Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Egg & I

Lookie what Bob brought in to show me today!

He came in from letting the chickens out for their daily roam around the area with his hand closed. I hesitated to accept his proffered gift, because we have different ideas about what one should hold in their hand! He turned it over and Wow!

We were like new parents! Well, not that excited, but pretty pleased that the chickens have finally produced an egg.

It's pretty small, I have it in an egg box with two "large" size regular chicken eggs. "Our" eggs will increase in size and number soon. How cool is that?

Here's the gang. I forget if I posted an actual picture of our own little "flock".

We've gotten used to each other now. They roam during the day and know enough to come in to their coop for a safe night's sleep. Just as it gets dark, Bob goes out and shuts the door.

Between the chickens and the gardens, we're becoming a bit more self sufficient. It's a nice feeling.

Well, I'm off to make a number of vessels for an order. Just finished all the soap beads and they're ready to go out. I have a set or two of regular beads that I want to finish up before "Colonial Day" in East Berlin on September 9. Plus, of course, there's always soap to make and wrap.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Okay, okay!

So, I saw that Tina bugged me to post my angel.. Just remember you can click on any picture and it will come up larger in its own window.

Since so many people call my fairy beads angels, I thought I'd make a real angel. She's dressed in white, with goldstone stripes thrugh her skirt, a goldstone halo and a bit for sparkle in her wings.

I'm not sure how many of these I might do. I seem to be on a white kick at the moment and made a victorian lady before the Gem Miner's show. She's mostly ivory, but has white "fur" around her hat and skirt hem as well as her muff. No picture of her today.

What's really been taking up my time this week is making a bunch of soap beads. They were ordered last week and I've been trying to get them done ever since the show. I have a lot of trouble doing the same thing over and over, but I did make a plan to do one color each day.

Now they're ready to be engraved and then they just need to be popped in the kiln to round off the corners of glass and set the enamel. Once they are made into charms, they are ready to go out.

I feel like I have to do something to break up the monotomy when I have a bunch of soap beads to do and there is a charity auction going on here for a place for women to get a fresh start called "Milagro House". I thought, since I often donate soap to them, it would be nice to make something for the auction.

This purple winged heart seems like something that might be appropriate. I even sifted purple enamel over it and it looks pretty cool. I think that special charms are called Milagros (miracles), I may be wrong, but this just seemed right. I want to make it into a pendant, maybe with a few crystals added, and I think it will be perfect.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Winter Wonderland

I'm still getting ready and attempting to produce as much as possible before the Gem Miner's Jubilee in Lebanon this weekend. It's a 3 day show (Friday through Sunday) and today, I'll be going up to get things set up.

This set is called "Winter Wonderland" because it reminds me of a winter landscape. The black tree branches against the snow. And silver sparkles all over everything.

I was just experimenting without a lot of direction and this happened. A good share of wonkies and orphans were produced yesterday, but when I hit on this combination, I went wild, even adding a big old focal!

The kiln is clicking, which means it is ready for another day's work, so off I go... Can't wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I was sitting at the torch. Made some more leaves plus spacers to go with them. Eventually, I'm going to have a killer leaf necklace. Of course, it's a fall color scheme and by the time I have it done, it'll be spring or summer!

I was lacking in inspiration and happened to glance up at the wall in front of the torch where I have my inspirational photos! I have a number of pictures of Jen Geldard's beads. Someday I hope to take a class with her, but meanwhile, I have some of her beads up there just because I love the style.

These are my pale imitations. The shape is right and the general "feeling" is okay, but, of course, the surface treatment can't equal hers, and I don't seem to capture the inner glow hers have. I do like the shape though and the whimsiness.

I also believe Jen has moved on in her creations. She's off on other tangents at the moment, but I seem to be stuck with this shape and style. They are pretty cool as pendants. The center purple bead, I left alone, but the side beads, I etched. That gives them a velvety texture that I really like.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More for the Weekend

I've been trying to get more beads made for the Gem Miner's Jamboree this weekend and these are some of what came out of the kiln today.

So, I did another set that is very not me. I call it "Rickie Tickie Stickies" and it reminds me of the wild flower stickers that were stuck all over everything in the 60-70's.

It's another blatant copy of another artist's work, but I just had to try it.

Then back into my usual comfort zone, nice muted combos and the half and half, straight sided lentils I've been making lately. I really like this combination. And the silvered ivory just shines so prettily.

I call it "Starlit Seas" because it just looks like seafoam at night with the stars and moon dancing across it.

And a couple of floral/focals:

The green one has a dark green base with two layers of a frit alternated with clear. The flowers just look like what I would expect if I were walking across a meadow as the sun rose. They would just be opening and shining with dew...

I call it "Enchanted Meadow". Sorry I got a nasty reflection in the photo.

And finally, "Pretty in Pink". Another one layered with frit and clear, this time over a white base. Then a vine cane and flowers.

I added the pink ends just for the fun of it. If you click on the picture, in the enlargement, you'll see I managed also to collect a number of bubbles in the encasement. Oh, well.

The flowers on both of these were the same combination. Silver pink base dot and then light pink transparent. It results in a delicate pink, but definitely a pink!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lititz & Shibori!

This is how we spent the morning yesterday. We have some of our soap products in a coop in Lititz, PA. Lititz is a sort of "Artsy" town, one of those little hometown places that has actually achieved the rebirth/renewal thing that a lot of small towns seem to be striving for. Many quaint shops and well attended arts and crafts fairs throughout the year, a real destination. It probably doesn't hurt that Wilbur Chocolate is there sending wonderful smells into the air!

We had agreed to do a soapmaking demo on the porch of the coop (that's Tina behind the table). Unfortunately, we were too off the main street which had been shut down for a street craft fair, so had little traffic ourselves. We made our soap, visited with the other craftspeople on the porch, then packed up and left around noon to get home in time to see Tina's daughter off on her way to the beach for a week with her dad.

Meanwhile, I was inspired to make a new set of beads on Friday. I'm kind of excited about it, just because it seems like an unusual color combo for me. The picture behind it is an ad which was on the back of the latest "Ornament" magazine. I bought the magazine for the article in it about Sage & Tom Holland's Islamic folded beads. (The article was fascinating, btw.)

The magazine was lying face down on the coffee table and when I started out to the shop to make beads, I saw the ad on the back. The colors just popped and I thought, "I wonder if I could make a bead with those colors."

They're not perfect, but I think they convey the colors and movement of the dress in the ad. I call them "Shibori" because that was the company the ad was for.

By the way, I finally got some new vessels up on my website. I'm working on updating all the pages, but you can check out the vessels page here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Autumn Leaves and stuff

These are the autumn leaves I mentioned that I made yesterday. I'd like to make spacer beads, sort of like the flower bead in the center, or maybe just plain ones of the topaz glass... hmm have to think about it.

The leaves are pretty big, probably would make a stunning necklace. They are over an inch long, not including the bead/stem.

It's certainly seasonal - or will be soon. Isn't that a sad thing to think about? Well, it is today since our weather is some of the best of the summer. Mild, low humidity, just beautiful.

These are still in a summerish vein. I wanted to try making some patterned beads and only etching the backround. I wasn't the best resist painter, so there are a number of spots where the clear base didn't etch, maybe I'll try it one more time.

Etched glass always reminds me of sea glass and the colors used to decorate these are definitely ocean colors... cruise colors.

Finally, this big boy was another experiment. I was reading some threads on a lampworking forum and decided to download some of the pictures for inspiration. This is very close to being an almost exact copy of someone's bead.

Copying is a pretty big issue, so I won't be doing a lot of these, but I think to try a technique, often we wind up copying, before we manage to come up with our own interpretation of the idea.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Man in the, uh, Soap

So, in the past two days, we knocked out 8 batches of soap. Today, I was cutting some of them and this is one of the slices it produced.

I thought it looked a little odd and even seemed to see a face in it. A lot like seeing the man in the moon, who was very clear and easy to see last night.

He looks a bit sinister here, but when I separated the bars, the middle turned out like this:

I think when the bar is seen alone, it looks a little like the man in the painting "The Scream".

Don't his eyes look haunted? And isn't his nose sort of aquiline and sensitive looking?

Yep, that's what happens when you soap a little too much! As I cut the soap, my mind wanders, especially when I cut the marbled soaps. They reveal so many pictures if I let my imagination go wild.

I made some beads today, too... autumn leaves. Show ya tomorrow!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pickles & 'Maters....

So, I haven't done any freezing or canning for years. Last week, we spent the morning freezing 46 bags of corn. This week, we had lots of cucumbers and decided to make pickles!

Here is what we started with - an overflowing basin of cucumbers and a few tomatoes. We figured we might as well can a few tomatoes while the kitchen was heated up.

Neither of us had ever canned pickles before and we were going to use a recipe for dills that looked especially good. When I was buying the jars (threw out all my old jars a few years ago!) I saw the pickle mixes and bought the Polish dill mix. While she was at the store later, Tina bought the bread and butter mix and the sweet pickle mix, so.....

First we canned the few tomatoes we had available. As I recall, this is a job usually done in the early part of September, but, oh well... The red ones don't seem to be coming along as quickly as the yellow ones, so we did a mix and threw in a little extra citric acid, just to be sure the solution was acidic enough since the yellow ones don't seem to have as much acid content as the red ones.

Then, the pickles. Our sinuses have been cleared and we have pretty much used up all the vinegar and sugar in our house! We made 6 pints of Polish Dills, 4 pints of Bread and Butter and 6 1/2 pints of sweet pickles. We chunked the sweet pickles and the chunks appear to have floated... oh, well.

We have more of the mix left and may make some more of them later. It was fun and it will be exciting opening these jars this winter to serve with special meals.

So long ago...

Yesterday was actually our anniversary, 32 years. We got married that day so long ago because that was what we had decided a month or so earlier, that Bob could get away for a few days "when the hay was in". We "eloped" to Alexandria, Virginia on the recommendation of one of my co-workers. There was no waiting period and we could have our blood tests done that day. We got there, found the courthouse and were given a sheet of instructions. We followed them and were married shortly after lunch in the basement of the courthouse. I don't even have any pictures from the day, or from the few days we spent afterwards in Wildwood, NJ!

The day we were married was a Monday and on Thursday, we got home and went out. We invited everyone we saw to come over for a picnic on Sat to celebrate. It was a fun party. Our real honeymoon was the next February, when we spent two weeks in Acapulco. There are pictures from the party and from the trip, and one day I'll dig them out an scan a few in...

So, here we are, 32 years later. And they said it wouldn't last!

I started the day early yesterday and made a couple of new sets of beads. This first set is a pretty simple pressed set using the Autumn green frit Rachel gave me on a brown. I can see the flatter diamond beads as a bracelet, alternated with silver diamond beads I have. One of the "gem" beads would be a dangle on the bracelet and the other two would be matching earrings....

These "tablet" style pressed beads have a poppy frit on the turquoise base with ivory splashed on top. I love them with the branch coral.

We went out for a very nice lunch yesterday to celebrate. We had the house to ourselves again since Rob was away, so it was a nice quiet relaxing day. Like a lot of the days way back when...

Well, looks like today will be pickle day. We have tons of cucumbers and Tina and I both bought some pickle mixes... Polish Dill, Bread and Butter and sweet pickle mix. This is something new. We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Great Turkey Roundup

Well, I had all good intentions of getting out to the torch early this morning but hesitated because Rob had some friends here from school and I wanted to see them off early - on their way to Odicon (I guess that's how it's spelled) in Baltimore.

I went out to the shop anyway and was toying with the idea of heating up the kiln when the phone rang. It was a neighbor - at least half a mile away. It seemed the turkeys were in her peach trees and she wanted us to do something about it.

Bob wasn't here, but I got in touch with him and he came home right away. He headed right over to the neighbor's house. Apparently the turkeys had left - on their way to terrorize someone else.

About 15 minutes later, the phone rang again and it was the neighbor's neighbor. The turkeys were headed back their way. So, we piled in the pickup, Bob, Rob, Rob's friend Molly and me. We had a number of cages in the back along with something that looked like a large butterfly net.

We screeched into the neighbor's driveway and searched the area around the peach trees for signs of turkeys. Finally, we spotted them out in the field across the road, seemingly headed for home.

Bob headed out on foot with his herding tool (the butterfly net). He told Rob to bring the truck and so Rob and Molly took off after him. Meanwhile, two other pickups stopped to ask if the birds were wild turkeys.

Rob came back and got me and then we all proceeded slowly down the road home. Bob was out on the road, herding the turkeys and Rob kept them from coming across the road and getting out of control.

I was relieved when we turned into our driveway because Bob and the turkeys were really exposed if any other vehicles had come flying along the road the opposite way.

So, the turkeys were "home", but of course, they weren't staying here. They immediately headed up the hill to our next door neighbor's yard. It was extremely hot and at least they were out of the peach trees, so we just decided that when they came in to roost tonight, we would try to capture them. We have another neighbor who actually raises a lot of birds and haad said he would like to have a pair of the turkeys, so we figured he'd be happy to see at least two, possibly four of them.

Rob and his friends left on their latest adventure and we made plans for the evening.

Mid afternoon and Bob was going out to prepare things for the big roundup tonight. He was outside for probably 45 minutes and came in looking quite proud of himself. "The turkeys are in the big pen!", he said. It seems they were headed down from the neighbors and Bob asked the kids and the neighbor's wife to help him guide them into the pen. They calmly and slowly guided them in and shut the door...

Later he took two pairs of them over to the bird guy's place. The rest, 5 of them, are all males and I think they may be going on a ride to the State game lands tomorrow.

The moral of the story is, don't allow wild game birds to imprint on humans. They had absolutely no fear - and no sense. I think we may be finished raising Wild Turkeys. The Pheasants are still great and certainly not tame as the turkeys were. The Chukkers had to be released so the large pen was available for the turkeys. They certainly didn't imprint on us - just the dang turkeys!