Sunday, November 26, 2006

What I've been working on.

I'm getting a jump on spring with dozens of cottage roses. Ran out of LP last night when doing the last 3 blue ones. Nice surprise when I discovered a spare tank here and didn't have to run to town today to get another one. They look so cool in the bowl by the computer that I just had to share!

I'll be putting up auctions for a dozen of each color and one auction for a mixed dozen. Hint, hint!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quick Update

I haven't updated my website for awhile, except to take the bead sets and some of the jewelry off for the bead show. I've started to put all my stock on ebay since they sell faster there than on my site. I will be putting several fused glass candle shelters on the website as soon as I set-up a decent photo booth for them. They are similar to this here.

As for beads on the website, think it might be better to offer several designs, made to order and stick with ebay for new sets. Would make it easy for customers to find coordinating lampwork to match what they already have. I just can't seem to find enough time to keep both sites loaded with new beads consistently.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Bead Show & Display

Just did the Bead Expo show in Grand Rapids, MI. The DeVos Center is such a great venue for a show. The room is large with wide isles and good lighting. The location of downtown brings in a good crowd every year. The volunteers are fabulous, thank you for making the day run so smoothly for us! This was the third year for this show and I only see it getting better as time goes by. Hear's a picture of my display table and of the piece I raffled off as a freebie. It was won by a lady from Kalamazoo, MI.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bead Storage Solution

Like anyone who starts to collect beads and other componets for jewelry design you soon find your storage area has become a tad inadequate. For me, a bakers rack used for plants in our office/sunroom was a good place to keep my bead boxes since it was right next to the diningroom where I could spread out and work. Fast forward a couple years and now not only was it an eyesore, the rack was dangerously overloaded with weight. I needed a storage unit that would look decent and have a good amount of space in it. Since I'd rather spend my spare cash on glass, new tools, and beads, saving for a nice storage unit wasn't at the top of the list.

DH and I found this "bead box" (what he calls it) for my birthday. I love it, not only does it hold all my stuff with some space left over, it looks great! It was half off in a clearance section to boot. I love the seedy reed glass in the doors too, no need for me to make stained or fused glass panels for it. This is the best gift he has ever given me, next to my daughter of course.

What an improvement!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Setting Goals

Been thinking about making some changes in my lifestyle. I turn 50 (bleh) next month! None of my past birthdays have bothered me one bit. I don't like the sound of 50, however if it pushes me to make some positive changes for the better it can't be all bad, lol. Its time to take charge of my health.

I need to quit smoking. I did quit when I was pregnant 17 yrs ago. In my early 40's I had a complete physical check up with all the tests thinking that would help me change some of bad habits. All the stuff they tell you not to eat, etc. I passed with flying colors (great genes) and was told to keep doing what I was doing (except for the smokes of course).

When I still worked full time weight and exercise were never an issue. My job was physical and heavy which kept my weight in check. I was also single for several years so the refrigerator wasn't stocked up like it is now. I quit the job in 95 and have slowly gained an extra 20-25 pounds.

Not that this is an interesting read or anything... just putting my thoughts down thinking it might help me reach these 2 goals if I can express them in print. I'm the type who knows I can do anything once I set my mind to it. It is making the commitment that I struggle with now. lol, I'm a Virgo so I tend to analyze everything. The plan is to curb bouts of smoking withdrawals (only a past smoker can relate) with bursts of exercise. Hopefully the need for instant gratification will pass and eventually be replaced by seeing results with the workouts. I just ordered the "Slim in 6" dvds to help speed up those results, or so they claim. With DD back in school by then and DH out hunting in his spare time they'll both survive those first couple of weeks relatively unharmed, lol. It will also give me the time needed to work on myself.

Enough of that, want to see some beads?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Time to get Going!

Didn't get much done in the way of beadmaking last week. I worked four 11-12 hour days instead. Not used to being on my feet that long on our hard tiled cement floors behind the bar. This week will be more fun! Only working on Friday, well, in town I mean since I work constantly in the house and glass shop at home.

Wish my new bead kiln was ready, Labor Day is my last outing this year where I could make beads while gone. Packing up my layered kiln from the basement shop is a pain. Maybe I'll work on jewelry instead this time. Off to clean the bar & get some groceries, then torching the rest of the day. I put a couple more auctions up today too, if you're interested there's a link on the right.

Have a safe Labor Day Holiday!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Playing Catch Up

After spending another 10 days away from home I've got plenty to catch up on. My mother took this picture of me making beads while we were camping up in Evart MI during the Dulcimer festival in July. It is rare that I take a half-way decent picture that I'm willing to share, lol. I was in the middle of listing a few new auctions (link to them is in the right column) and decided to add that picture here too. Put a face to the artist so to speak.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A New Week

Woke up this morning having no Direcway Satellite connection! I've heard tons of stories about Hughes Net (new name for Direcway) having awful problems and lousy customer service. Man, I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Once I unplugged & replugged in the modem, it appears to be fine. Whew! I'm in no mood to sit on hold for hours with some tech in India, lol.

I wasted the whole day yesterday, didn't do much of anything. Still depressed over losing Moose. Received several nice emails of condolences which I appreciate, thank you.

My daughter borrowed a game cube and the game Animal Crossing. She left it home for me to play with while she went on vacation with her BF's family. I'm not just a glass addict, seems I'm a game addict too. Had to buy one of these for us on ebay. My excuse is... Its a nice small unit to take with us camping for when it rains. Gives the kids another thing to do too.

I am going to get to my torch today for sure! My tools & kiln are still in the truck from last week. Easy enough to set back up. Planning to build a small metal box kiln with a good controller so I don't have to pack up my revamped for bead annealing hot box from my shop everytime I travel. With a top, bottom, bead collar, main unit, and the stand alone controller it isn't very convenient to travel with it. Friends of my folks are giving me an old test kiln that I can use the brick and stainless from. I'll get new electrical parts for the rest of it since they're pretty cheap to buy.

Time to get busy!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rest Now Big Boy.

With love and much sadness our family said goodbye to our loyal friend and companion today.

I knew from the day I first laid eyes on Moose at the shelter, he was special. While all the others were overly excited running back and forth in their pens, he sat calmly looking at me as if he were sizing me up. I had a worker take him into a play area so I could see how he would react to our daughter who was only 3 at the time. He didn't react to her one way or the other so I called my DH and told him I wanted to take this girl home. Girl? Yes, they had his cage tagged as a female, lab mix, approx. 10-12 months old. I had no reason to check since the shelter is in the animal business and with his longer underbelly fur we didn't notice his family jewels until 2 days later. There is no doubt in my mind that this gender mishap was suppose to happen just the way it did. I had gone to the shelter only wanting a female, had I known that day he was male I might have passed him up. Thank God that I didn't know.

Once home I asked our 10 yr. old son to help me get some "groceries" out of the back of our truck. The look on Chris's face when he saw him was priceless! Moose and Sara quickly became good buds. He escorted her daily to and from the bus stop instinctively knowing what time in the afternoon he wanted out, usually about 10-15 minutes before the bus arrived.

He was so gentle he let a baby bird we were caring for climb around his head and nose. But when needed he rose to the task. Last summer I had to wake him from a nap (he was deaf by now) to remove a snake our stray cat had brought in the house and let go in the livingroom.

Though always well behaved in the house he did have one bad habit in the early years, he liked to intimidate people who drove up to the house. He had all the utilities workers (gas, electric, postman) fooled. His loud scary bark (with friendly tail wagging) was guaranteed to earn him a bone or too and he played it for all it was worth. After he heard of Moose's death the electric meter reader spent 15 minutes talking to my husband about the games he and Moose would play and how much fun they had.

We live in the country on several acres and he made quick friends with some of the other dogs out here, even had a thing going with the female lab next door who followed her twin boys every time they came over to play with our son. While the kids were playing in the house the 2 of them would stroll around the yard and pond or take a nap under a tree in the lawn. Sometimes at night we could hear them softly barking back and forth to each other.

He had some trouble with his hind legs, ended up being arthritis in the knees. We had to try and keep him from following the kids when they were riding their bikes or he would run himself so hard that later in day he had trouble with those first few steps when getting up. Because of his knee problem he received special treatment at the kennel while we were on vacation that year. The lady who ran the kennel fell in love with him, informed me of all the treats he really liked and that she was positive he had some black & tan hound in him along with the lab and rottwieller. Made perfect sense to us due to his goofy personality and occasional howls.

He spent many summers camping with us. He loved kids and was never harsh with them even when they got a little rough. He was very protective of us too, watching every move a stranger would make and sometimes growling under his breath when he knew I felt uneasy. Once I left him outside by mistake during a flash thunderstorm, he was hiding under the trailer while we quickly tried to cover things up and get inside and I forgot he was still out. He was so afraid of storms I felt so awful.

If he didn't get a cookie from the gas station when you got a treat for yourself he gave you the big sad eyes until you went back inside and got him one. It was that or have him start drooling so bad you couldn't eat yours for the guilt, lol.

DH took him up north to our property several months ago. He knew Moose would wear himself out trying to follow the 4-wheeler so he made a platform for him to ride on in the front. He really enjoyed the ride. The sheriff just waved at them as they were driving on the edge of the road (illegal in MI) to visit a neighbor.

That was the last time Moose was away from home. I had stopped taking him camping last year. With hind legs that didn't bend he never could jump up in the truck by himself. I was afraid he would hurt himself getting out. At 14 years of age he was still young at heart but the ol' body wasn't doing so good. He had several tumors by now, the most troublesome were the 2 on his feet and another on his front leg. He also was having small tremors when he slept and some labored breathing.

Though we might have had him in our lives for a couple more months we chose to let him go with love, dignity and respect. His personality wouldn't let him show pain. A close friend put it this way, "He's trying so hard to be normal." He has brought us closer together as a family and we'll miss him dearly.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Good Morning

Boy did we get the rain last night! I was looking for my camera power cable so I could put up the new bead sets I made in the "outdoor studio", thought it was still in the camper. I ended up weeding for about an hour, really let the gardens go this summer. Normally I'd be showing off pictures or them, lol.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Insomnia again?

I'm not sure if its really a case of imsomnia or just the fact that I keep really goofy hours. I worked the graveyard shift for 14 yrs. and ever since my schedule has basically been no schedule at all. Aside from the few things that need to done at a given time that is. You get in the routine of sleeping days for 4-5 days and then switching to sleeping nights for the weekends.

These days I work in town for my husband one day a week and also help out during the lunch hour on Fridays. Rest of my time is devoted to playing with glass, caring for our daughter, & keeping up with the house and gardens. I've been a slacker on the house lately though. So it seems like a great time to get a blog started, quite a chore for one who still has to watch the keyboard while she pecks at the keys.

Been thinking a lot about the frustration the lampworking community is suffering over the cheap imports flooding the US market. We need to continue to educate the jewelry designers about the whole beadmaking process and the importance of proper annealing of handmade lampwork. Just like furniture, you can shop at Walmart or at Klingmans. Most people can see the difference between the two and expect to pay a premium for high end furniture. The average person cannot tell the difference when it comes to art glass beads. If you have ever done shows you already know what I'm taking about. A woman boldly said to me at a show "These aren't glass, they're plastic" or "What kind of paint to use on them?"
We need to educate, educate, educate!

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