Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Burning the candle at both ends...

So, we got home from the weekend of frivolity. I knew I had two big orders waiting to be filled. I knew we had a garden show to get ready for. I knew there is a new book and a new magazine which will need to be set up very soon.

I had forgotten that the show begins on FRIDAY. That meant a 3 day week!

Tina came up and gave me a hand. We got the orders out and 4 batches of soap put to bed. I got most of Tina's book transferred into the right format and actually have a few days to get it "massaged" into shape. Parts of the magazine are in place...

One more day of prep for the show... I think we'll make it.

Oh yeah, and she's trying to get moved! At least that can take place at a leisurely pace - more or less.

Pictures at 11 - well, soon.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Weddin'

So here we have the new cousins-to-be, Kristin, Molly and Rob. Kristin is holding her bouquet, Molly is holding some "props" for a blending of the sands ceremony which works well in beach weddings - much better than the unity candle. Rob is just standing there with the girls, waiting for the wedding to begin.

This was a pretty nifty idea. It was early enough (10 am) that the beach wasn't yet crowded or overly hot. The weather was glorious after all the last minute worries about a stormy day.

And the happy couple were gorgeous themselves. I have a feeling everyone is happy that it went well and is OVER!

The wedding went quickly and then many there hung out on the beach.. We aren't especially fond of the beach anymore, although the kids came back to the motel, changed and then headed back over for an hour or so.

Dinner was scheduled for 5 PM and we had a great dinner at the Village Inn in Chincoteague. We all went back to Sue's parents' house to play a little Guesstures and then headed back to the motel... A game playing family .. sounds familiar!

Friday, May 26, 2006


So, here are the beads I made to match the sarong/scarf that I'm planning to wear to the wedding tomorrow along with my dress.

They wound up pretty "flashy" so I etched them to try to make them a bit "softer". I did manage to make a bracelet and probably will get a pair of earrings done for tomorrow. I don't have the chain with me that I would like to use to make the necklace from the extra large straught sided lentil. Maybe I can make it into a pendant since I do have some silver wire with me.... we'll see.

So, the day today was mainly spent driving to Chincoteague. This is the view from our balcony - sunset over the Chesapeake Bay... a "God sky".

I used to come this route when I was traveling back and forth from Norfolk for some medical stuff over 20 years ago. It used to be so much easier back then - or at least it seemed easier.

The roads seem to be much improved although also much busier.. I really did love the trip back then and, in fact, would drive it from time to time just to visit friends who were going through procedures at different times than I was!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Exciting events

I hate to be reporting on the same things as my sister, but since we basically spent the past two days together and they have been somewhat eventful, I guess that's what I'll have to do!
Tina's been working on a new book which will be called "Wild Foods for Every Table". Yesterday, we decided it was time to start planning the cover. As we planted the garden up at what will soon be her new house, we discussed ideas and by the time we were finished, we decided to give it a shot.

The picture to the left is not the one we will be using for the cover. You can see the finished product at the link to the book, above. This particular picture didn't have enough room at the top for the title, but we loved it and think it would make a great poster... We'll see! Of course, I played around with a couple of effects on Photoshop which make the candle flame more prominent, etc.... (Don't worry, I still have the original, which is probably better anyway).

The other memorable thing was this morning. We had a delivery to take out deep into Amish country and set out on our way relatively early. We got off the highway and immediately noticed a LOT of Amish buggies on the road. I mean a LOT! It appeared that the entire Amish population was out and about... taking back the roads!

We saw the basic buggies, and THEN there were the chariots, the station wagon style buggies, open buggies with ponies pulling them and any other kind of horse drawn vehicle you can imagine... It was very weird. I've lived in this county all my life and NEVER seen anything like it. The buggies, which are usually relegated to the side of the road, were two abreast (they were PASSING each other).

As it turns out, this is Ascension Day, which is a big Amish holiday. It is an excuse to take the day off and picnic with family and friends... very similar to the way we celebrate Memorial Day. All the Amish businesses are closed today (which foiled our delivery).

I know I wound up in Amish Country before on either Ascension Day or Whitmonday (which I still don't know what that is - apparently both are quite important in Amish holidaydom!) and no one was open... I just never saw the profusion of families on the move before.

Aside from these two things, I did finish a "different" set of beads this morning and may be able to photograpgh them a bit later. The colors are perfect to match a sarong/scarf I just bought and may wear this weekend (as part of an outfit)for our brother Tom's wedding at the beach. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fairies - as promised

Here's a surprise! For a change, I am doing what I promised.

Yesterday, for the first time in a long while, I sat down at the torch and decided to create some new fairies. They seem to keep flying away, which is a good thing, but I do love them and love having them around.

The first fairy is a combination of purples. She has some silver inside which sparkles through the purple layers. Somehow I grabbed an orange stringer (by mistake) to start her hair and it turned out just beautifully. The orange hilights add a little oomph to her coloring!

It is unusual to see them alone - not made into a necklace - because they just seem to inspired me and I can't help but put them together with some gorgeous beads. I guess it's because fairies have such an affinity for sparkly things!

Second is the blue fairy... I just love doing these because I use the Galaxy glass I got a year or so ago to give the blue fairies a dreamy look. And, before you ask, no, she is not topless.. she has a gossamer wrap about her (ample) bosom.

I tend to hoard this glass because I've never seen it available since that first time. I tried buying, from another supplier, a glass called "Iceberg" that is very similar, but has yellowish tinges to it, rather than the pure icy, creamy blue of the Galaxy.

Anyhow, the blue just seems "right" for fairies... too much Pinnochio, I guess!

Monday, May 22, 2006

So, what's new?

I will show you some of the latest.

The lovely birds on the left are the most recent addition to our never ending menagerie. Bob decided we need some wild turkeys in the woods... so he bought in some peeps and here they are. They are standing on one of the numerous shelters inside their roomy cage. They are still too young to be out in the world alone... although yesterday, we were planting some wild plants down in the woods and thought we heard some wild, wild turkeys chattering away just waiting for their new friends to join them.

The cage (aviary!) is next to the asparagus patch and these guys are about as friendly as they can be... We go out to pick asparagus and they are all over on the roof (like in the picture) asking what we are doing, and when are we going to throw in some more of that delicious chickweed?

There are some younger pheasants in the garage.. still bathing under a heat lamp and we're waiting for a bunch of partridge chicks... Never a dull moment. Yup, that's why I married him!

And then, there's this structure. My brother, Tom, had to call me just to find out what the heck this is for. Well, this year, it's going to be an arbor for gourds to grow on. That will be the experiment this year. Next year? Who knows?

Oh, the little towers in the front? It seems my dh, Bob, was watching Martha Stewart(!) and saw this use for old windows. He had been rehabbing some rental properties and just happened to have a number of old window frames. They are now tomato towers... pretty cool, huh? You plant the tomatoes inside and tie them up to the windows and crossbars. We've never really groomed them properly, but I think if you keep after them, they'd be really nice. Maybe this year we'll do them right!

Tomorrow.. some new fairy beads!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What I could say

I could tell you about the past couple of days at Landis Valley and all the fun it was seeing old friends and making new ones at an event we haven't attended for over 5 years, but, you'll have to check in at Tina's Blog for that.

When I got home last night, I put my feet up and pretended to watch TV. From time to time, I would regain conciousness and think about eating something or going to bed, but it wasn't 'til about 11 when I finally dragged back to bed and crashed for real!

I think my Mothers' Day gift was the guys showing up yesterday afternoon at the end of the show to load up the tables and everything they could take in the pick up. Neither Tina nor I are as spry as we were 5 years ago when we would load and unload everything with no problem except a few laughs and groans. The guys came in like the cavalry and really were wonderful.

This morning when I came out to the shop to unload the Rav, these flowers were my Mothers' Day bouquet. I took a bunch of pictures, but loved the rose against the turquoise, red and white of the shop!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Resin experiments, etc

For the past week, I feel like I've been in a whirl with a number of projects going at once (like that's something new)! I'm getting ready for Landis Valley Herb Faire, working on a Viking knit bracelet (how ya doing on yours, Faith?), catching up on soapmaking and playing with resin.

The class I took a few weeks ago from Susan Lenart Kazner was about casting with resin. Shapes, embedding, etc.

Sunday morning, Tina & I were playing with it and yesterday, I finally sat down, with a bit more experience under my belt and produced a few things that might actually warrant a look.

The yellow flower in the first photo is a tiny Johnny-Jump-Up. The resin is apparently alkaline and pulls blue colors out of most things that are embedded. I think the flower wound up looking like a yellow orchid.. pretty cool.

The background is still rough and will become quite smooth if I apply a thin layer to the back of the piece and allow it to cure.

The second picture - the Maple leaf is actually a stamp of a Maple leaf. I stamped it on a piece of Shrinky Dink and shrank. Then I applied a "dam" around the piece and added resin.

I think it turned out pretty well. The leaf looks real - very tiny and detailed. Because it is on a clear backing, it seems to just float in the middle of the puddle.

The last piece I'm showing is my Lancaster County Soapworks logo.

I did a couple of these and they all turned out well. I printed out the logo on the computer... it's only 1/2 x 1/2". I had a tiny square of glass the same size and put "dams" around the sides.

First I poured a drop or two of resin on the bottom, then slid the tiny slip of paper on top of it and finished filling the mold.

Since I took these pictures this morning, I have worked on the charms and found that the sides on most have come off somewhat easily and after a bit of filing, they look almost like cabochons. Little nuggets. Now, to decide what to do with them.

I'll have to think about it as I continue getting ready for the Herb Faire... Still got lots to do on that project!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Candle & Soap beads and the real thing!

Wow.. I'm managing to combine a bunch of things all in one post. It even has something to do with business!

Last year, I started making soap beads with holes large enough to be strung on a chain and hung around the neck. We took them to a couple of soap conventions and sold quite a few.

This year, Kitty from Kangaroo Blue contacted me to see if I could make someting special for her. Kangaroo Blue is a popular supplier to soap and candle makers.

I made a slightly different version for her. They are charms - wired with a sterling silver loop for hanging. I found a rectangular press so they are now much more uniform in size and shape than last year.

Kitty wondered if I could do something for the chandlers and I wracked my brain until the idea for this candle charm popped into my brain.

It so happened that shortly after the idea hit, I was attending a bead show where I was able to find the exact components I needed to make this charm.

I love the little sterling candle holder and the sparkly crystal candle "flame". It really turned out better than I had even hoped!

Now, as to soap... Yesterday we had a fun, creative and yet productive day making some new soap varieties.

We had some special soaps to make for one particular customer, but once we got started... It just got the creative juices going et voila!

Starting from the top left and going clockwise:

Rosemary - scented with Rosemary eo and swirled with the powdered herb.

Doublemint - one of my favorite combinations of eo's and double swirled with the same colors (red and aqua) as the Starlight mints flavored the same.

This is close to the scent I call Wise Woman, but changed just a bit for a special customer. So we don't get confused, we marbled this one with burgundy oxide.

And finally, Happy Camper, a soap made to combat the itching of poison ivy and mosquito bites. We collected and blended jewelweed and plantain to make the interesting "pesto-like" addition and then scented lightly with tea tree and lavender eo's.