Monday, January 26, 2015

You're Giving Orange a Bad Name John

Oh my goodness this has nothing to do with art.  Why is John Boehner so orange looking all the time?  Well, maybe if you love the color Orange you notice things like that and it’s hands down my favorite.  But on a Republican from Ohio!   I mean no disrespect but it’s gotten ridiculous when you look like you’ve stood in the tanning booth to long wearing that old Q-T formula.  I guess though I'm not the only one wondering why you look like this:
Pull-eze Mr. Speaker, I’m from Michigan and we’re not that much north of Ohio and you should be pasty white like the rest of us poor Caucasian’s who live north of the sunny states. 
I have been pondering your plight every time I see you on the TV so today I googled it.  Boy oh boy – it’s quite the topic – just google “Why is John Boehner orange?”  Who knew?   I’m trying hard to take politics seriously, and I should.  And I watched the State of the Union speech - the disrespect in the cheers vs. our President left me very cold - and what does that say about our system and what kind of example does that set for our children.  Maybe if they don't like something (or someone) they should be allowed to boo or heckle.   Yikes - what a standard to live up to?  Congress sure didn't set the bar to high.  Really, it’s hard to take politics seriously when that's the behavior of the elected officials we are supposed to admire and when you look so silly with that much of a tan.
Orange is coming up a lot - like Orange is the New Black - a great show and concept actually for an orange lover.  At least orange is getting some respect.  And, obviously the Speaker loves it as much as I do but one of us isn’t dumb enough to paint our face with it….only our fingers.

Hey, maybe they should come out with a nail polish in his honor.  What could they call it – Nearly Republican Red?  Oompah Loompah John?  Boehner blush?  Come on my creative friends what do you think?  I want respectful red (and white and blue too) in my politicians and I want them to be the color they are naturally.  Be it white, black, brown, yellow, or red.  So let it fade John - let it fade. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goodbye Again U-Haul...and kiln, and torches, and....(sniff sniff)

Well, unexpectedly my youngest son had to come to Michigan so he did so in another large U-Haul truck.  So off to the races we went again with the packing, sorting, and loading.  Luckily, as you could see from the previous post, we were well prepared for this potential outcome.  We really didn't think it would happen so fast but it did. 

I actually think one last truck load might clear out the remains of our home in Michigan.  I sit here cuddling with Daisy and Brian and staring into Trudy's eyes.   She's curled up close on one of the remaining chairs.  I'm trying hard not to get reflective on Michigan.  It's a good state.  There are lots of lakes.  Drive in any direction and you'll run into them, big and small.  We are the "Motor City" state.  At my age you've had relatives who actually knew the first Henry in the "Ford" heritage.  Possibly the Dodge boys and others.  Everywhere you run into people who are either retired from the "Big Three" (Ford, Chrysler, GM) or worked in the associated industries.  There are families who great-grandparents started at the beginning of the auto age and their families continue to work for one of those companies.  Motor oil runs deep in many veins here.  My father worked for Budd Wheel.  They are now Thyssen Krupp and the plant has been dismantled.   The big presses that created things like this:

"The Budd plant — latterly, the ThyssenKrupp Budd plant — helped shape the contours of Detroit’s 20th century. Literally: in the 1950s, Budd Detroit built and assembled the body of the iconic, two-seat Ford Thunderbird."

I will miss the shared history of other children who's parents were members of that factory rat generation.  I mean how many can say they've seen these kind of presses in action.  They are monsters of manufacturing genius.  Now they reside in other countries.  They were dismantled and sold to Mexico, South America, and many other countries.  I guess in a way they live on despite the fact there will be no other teenagers dropping their fathers at work so they can use the car in Detroit.

Oh gosh - here I am getting nostalgic.  History has always been interesting to me - all of it.  And, of course, since I grew up in Detroit it's near and dear to me.
A little bit I feel like I'm part of the urban flight now.  A snowbird.  We used to laugh at the people who left Michigan in the winter - the snowbirds - they leave for warmer pastures in the fall and return in the spring.  Yup, me too now but it will be more permanent.  I will visit - I will still have two children in Michigan but I'm worried it won't feel the same. 
Life moves fast and I get I better get on the train before it leaves the gate.  Uh, and by the way - Budd made those too.  So every time you get on one now send out a good vibe for us Michiganders and think "Go Budd Go".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where'd the studio go...

Wow - wow - wow, things have been so busy here.   I'd like to be able to say we are all packed up and on our way to North Carolina but that's just not so.  Over the holiday we packed up that one U-haul.  It made it safely to NC and my son and his friends unloaded it into the house. 

We took about 10 days following the holiday to relax and regroup.  Now we are back to packing up.  I've just about torn apart the upstairs studio where I worked.  The soldering area is nearly packed.  A few more odds and ends and it will be down and ready to hit the door.  Here is a picture of my pile. Rolling mill, casting equipment, and boxes of glass and glass I will hand carry rather than box. 

This has been how the work is going in the basement.  That is where I lampworked.  Today Brian and I finished packing the majority of the glass.  You know - wrap the rods and pack 'em up nice and sturdy like they ship them to you.  All totaled I have six boxes weighing about 50# a piece and then there are two milk crates with downspout that have more in them - including the odd glasses and expensive ones that I want to take safely in the back seat of my car.   I kind of figure when it's all said and done there is between 350 - 400# of glass in my stash.  Uh, I'm thinking I better get back to making beads as soon as I get my studio back up in NC. 

The final "box" of glass - except the boro rods which are 3 feet long and I'm not sure I want to cut the tubing down

I've had some of that glass for a very long time.  When they used to ship glass "in the day" (LOL) they shipped it in 36" lengths.  You would nip off what you were going to use.  So when the glass came I nipped off a 12" length off of every rod to set into the short stack boxes to use.  That meant that in the long downspouts next to the desk were rods that were 24" long.  I had to go through all of that stash and cut them up.  It turned into a 3 hour project to get it all done - and I was nipping pretty fast. 

What I found when I was doing that was some pretty cool glass I had put away.  Hard to find parrot green, some great old ruby gold, and what appears to be Vetrofond black.  Could it be? I won't know until I get a chance to try it out.  Back then they didn't always put the names on things - just one tag with the number.  Frankly, it's been so long I'm just not sure anymore.  There's original coral and carnelian.  Lots of goodies to play with once I'm ready to go.

I have to say I'm both pooped by the packing and excited about having some new digs in a couple of months.   I'll be more excited when we can get this house ready and on the market and I can free up some money again.  The only untapped reserve is Daisy's hip money - she's plodding along just fine and should anything ugly and unseemly happen (it's like Murphy's law when you are not prepared) we are ready on that front.

So what's new in your New Year? 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward...

The first of the U-Haul trucks is on the road.  We were lucky enough (graced enough) to have children visit for the holiday who were willing and able to pack up a 20 foot truck of our lives to head toward North Carolina.  The Christmas holiday celebrations are behind us and shortly in the new year a new life will begin.  No, the entire life didn't fit into one 20' truck.  There is at least another 20' truck in our future - maybe more - but the very first load is out of here and on it's way.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old life - except maybe for the winters here.  We are grateful for the full life we've had here in Michigan.  We've raised three beautiful children and they are moving healthily ahead with their own lives.  It's just time to move on with ours. 

My right hand is feeling better - I was truly worried that the right thumb was going to give way.  The left thumb lost the CMC joint and I had to have  major surgery on it.  If the right had gone I'd of been in panic.  I did, however find a great brace to wear so I don't over do the joint again.  It's from Mueller and I got it on Amazon.  Love it.

I'm looking forward to the day I can unpack all of my equipment and start anew on glass and metal.  To that end I've been thinking about my focus lately.  Maybe I ought to consider narrowing the scope of what I do.  I have sincerely been considering staying within the confines of more metal fabrication and finished pieces when I can finally get myself set up again.  We will see what we will see but my ideas have been along that lane for a very long maybe it's time to do that.

I truly admire people who can pick a medium and stay there.  They're happy within those confines.  Maybe I need to concentrate and be more grateful to be setting up some of my own.

I hope your holiday was a happy and grateful one and you got to spend it with your loved ones - be it immediate or extended family and friends.  In this century, ah - maybe any century - I can't help but chuckle and think of the refrain from the song, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."  In fact, better if you just love everyone!

Happy Holiday's to You and Yours!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Missing My Art but found a good read!

It's hard to pack and miss out on playing with your art.  I needed a thumb brace for my right hand due to the packing (that was the order from Amazon) and while I was at that I also ordered a book I've been wanting for a long time. 

I picked up Margie Deeb's latest book (or newest to me) entitled The Beader's Guide to Jewelry Design.  I feel as far as jewelry goes I'm a "just okay" designer but certainly not a spectacular one.

So tonight I started reading it once I was too tired for packing or cleaning.  I knew I'd like it.  I'm only about 20 pages into it and it's wonderful.  It should answer a multitude of design problems when I'm stuck.  It certainly is making me rethink a few things that I've packed away and that are in mid-stage as far as designing goes.

So, if you feel like your designs have been a little bleak pick yourself up a copy.  I'm pretty sure you will like it as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I've been packing and getting so much ready to move.  You know how it is with art supplies and all.  But, what I wanted you to know is this so I'm posting immediately.  I ordered online from a company called Nile Corporation.  They have cheap jewelry supplies.  Last year at this time I ordered some supplies from this company.  They were the only company I had ordered from so there was NO doubt as to where the problem stemmed from.

You'd of thought I'd of learned my lesson last year, I'm a slow learner.  Within a few short days my credit card was full of thousands of dollars of charges that were not mine.  Of course, cancelled charge plate and yahdah yahdah. 

Fast forward to a year later (from the first credit card debacle) - lesson not learned - I was desperate with this move and needed more jewelry cases.  So, I figured I would order them.  I don't have time to search any out and it has to be an online order.  Did I pay for it in spades.  YES!  I only ordered from two places - Amazon and Nile on the same day.  Guess what, I got home from NC and while I was gone for the week - thousands of dollar of charges on that plate. 

Back to square one - plate cancelled.  AND, I will never ever order anything from Nile Corporation again - ever!  And, unless you want to go through this you probably shouldn't either.  Can I emphatically say it was from this company?  No.  You will have to draw your own conclusions from what has happened.  But, it sure looks suspicious.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Still Sorting and Packing

Thirty years - I have over thirty years in this house.  Uh, that is like 5 tons of I should have purged a long time ago.  And yet I still find myself looking through boxes and telling myself, "That's too close to being finished, I might use that some day, oh no - I couldn't possibly part with this".  What am I thinking - If I haven't done it by now I never will.  It's not that I'm not throwing things away.  That is happening and we've had to borrow the neighbors trash can several times over the past few weeks but it doesn't seem like nearly enough.  Maybe what I need is a dumpster.  If you pay for that thing then you feel a need to fill it up, right? 

I'm lamenting the fact I unplugged the kiln yesterday.  It's done.  No lampworking or clay for the next 3 months while we transition out of this house and into a new one.  It's sad.  I see everyone's holiday beads and such and I get a ping in chest.  The urge to go and not going to happen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Juggling Act

Sorry to have been out of touch.  My Samsung lap top took a tumble and I broke off a chuck of plastic that held in the battery charger.  Actually the Samsung was always a slippery sucker and I've often complained about it.  As far as lap tops go it was a pretty efficient one but that slippery trait and the placement of the touch pad was awkward at best.  I was used to a Dell laptop and loved the little thing.  I needed more power and was in a hurry and opted for the Samsung because I could get it immediately.  Bad move.  I'm back to a Dell now and except for the Windows 8 I'm a happy camper. 

There is something about getting a new operating system that always throws me for a loop and this one is no exception.  Swipe screens - and keyboards and a dozen ways to do the same thing.  Yikes.  And really, Outlook? When I wanted outlook on my last computer I had to pay for the darn thing - I refused to do that and simply got a new email (with Google) and I'm happy with it.  Now you want me to have a google account or I have to find a way around it.  Oh Pul-ezzze....stop it Gates!  If you want me to be happy with my Microsoft stuff then please just let me put on the things that I want on my computer and make it so us who remember the very first computers can do that with ease.  I don't want to have to take a computer course just to put "my usual" on my desktop.

Yeah, I know, its probably really simple...and if that were so why the heck can't the "geeks" just do it at the Best Buy. 

Anyhow, I'm back in business while the Samsung is being repaired and maybe I'll add sticky bumps to bottom of it so I don't lose it again on the floor.

And, if anyone know how to get gmail on their Window's 8 easily - without a code and without having to sign up for Outlook let me know.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Addition to the Reference List

Quotes from:  Wubber's University  (and you need to put Wubber's high on your speed order list - great pliers, tools, and this too:

"Today's Tip from Lexi:

Ever find yourself in a “tight spot”, where you can’t get a file or silicon wheel into a small area for polishing? This little tip helps a lot.

Use a Q-Tip or toothpick instead. Charge your toothpick with the rouge ...or tripoli polishing compound, then insert it in your flex shaft or Dremel. Use it just as you would a polishing wheel or cylinder.

If it breaks off, just grab another one, they’re cheap! This will get you into a lot of tiny places, and it’s great for rings. This also works great for cleaning the inside of a bail. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT POLISH CHAINS THIS WAY! The chain can catch and whip around your finger or the flex shaft/Dremel.

And, of course, ALWAYS have on safety glasses when using any power tools. Remove any residue from the compound with a mixture of water, Dawn Detergent and a bit of household ammonia."

And, check this one out - I've never encountered this idea before - brilliant, simply brilliant.  It's from a July 30th post at Wubber's University.
"Today's tip from Lexi:

If you are soldering bezels which are closely placed together, place a piece of mechanical pencil lead on the back plate between the bezels. This will keep them from moving on the bed of flux and soldering together. It works well with tiny little balls for decoration, too."

The Lexi in all of this is Lexi Erickson.  I've several of her videos and she writes for Interweave and Jewelry Artist Magazine, among others.  Great articles, great artist, great tips.