Saturday, December 31, 2011

Whoops, There it is!

It’s easy to get down in the dumps. Its winter – politicians are arguing worse than ever – the economy still sucks – ACK, I’m getting older – life is messy. It is the final day at the end of the year and there is probably some smuck on TV out there reminding YOU to count your blessings. Am I right? Damn tooting I am.

Okay, so let’s work with this a moment. There are thousands of possible ideas to cover the cup half empty/full analogy. I’m going to point one out that is very – let’s say – experiential.

Experiential is a way of learning things that helps you to remember the lesson (it requires involvement – mind and/or body….it’s like (in the most graphic of terms) when you burn your face with the curling iron you learn really fast not to get that thing so close to your skin. That’s a negative experiential learning process, but an effective one.

Now you have the concept of that type of learning. So how do you apply that physical/mental learning style to “blessings, gratefulness, thankfulness, and half-full cups”?

You are reading this blog and one leap in assumptions I can make is that you are an artist. You probably have a good imagination so I don’t think there is any need for you go and burn your forehead to get the gist of what I’m telling you to imagine.

EVERYONE learns experientially – if we didn’t we wouldn’t learn to ride a bike, or write, make love, and so on. These experiences help us to improve on the first lesson…or not to repeat it if it hurt too much in the first place (the burn).

You’re still waiting for this end of the year punch-line lesson. Right?

Here it is. It works – I know because I taught and facilitated groups of distraught teenagers and some adults on how to do this for 23 years.

Let’s take me for example – my knees hurt (I weigh entirely too much and have arthritis – just fact) – when I think negatively about this, and I find it “getting” to me, I take a moment to meditate. While I meditate I visualize myself in a wheel chair, or without feet, or on crutches with my armpits a flame. You’re creative – remember me coaching you on that earlier? Me too! And after I do that, like Nemo, I go to my happy spot for a moment and then open my eyes again. I think to myself – whoa, am I lucky…two feet, armpits don’t hurt, no wheelchair. This isn’t to disrespect the people who are disabled. It’s all about how to think and feel about the disability or personal challenge that counts, I think there are plenty of disabled people who understand this. How we think – it’s important.

If your cup isn’t half full – WHY NOT? Determine why you think it isn’t and change the mental scenario around it. This is a simplification of the process for sure and some life situations are beyond your control – but everyone has plenty of blessings and plenty of things they can whine about, be depressed about, or be hateful about if that is what they truly want. Me, my cup is half full and I hope yours is too. And, if for a tiny moment, you can’t find a blessing in your situation try the exercise I described above – apply it to your circumstances and needs….maybe it will help.

I wish you health and happiness.


Friday, December 30, 2011

How to Survive and Thrive In an Art Recession

Recently, while reading another blog, I felt another artists pain when an art show did not meet her expectations. The show had the potential and she most certainly had the "goods". First, let me say DH and I did the Art Show circuit for over 27 years. It ain't what it used to be. BUT, it can continue to be lucrative in this economy if you alter you expectations and make it part of a whole marketing package. Here are some tips that might help:

Originally posted by SimaG Jewelry on September 9, 2009 at 3:13pm in my Handmade Handbook

How to Survive -- And Thrive-- In this Recession

9 steps to a Better Today and Brilliant Tomorrow for Art Festival Artists:

1. Remember: Not Only Good Things Come To An End
The current economic climate will change-for the better. The economy is like a pendulum, swinging first up, then down, then up again. The momentum of the current downtrend holds the energy for the upswing that is surely on its way.

2. Your Art Is Still Your Art-and Your Life's Work
Do not depreciate the value of your art. Do not cut prices just to make sales-but always be willing to negotiate in good faith. You have spent years establishing the value of your work to your customers. It is a whole lot easier to lower your prices than to bring them back up later on when times are good.

3. The Customer is Not, Repeat, Not Your Enemy.
It is all too easy to view people who don't spend their money on your artwork as adversaries. They are, like all of us, strapped for cash, or worried about being strapped for cash. Greet each potential customer as though he or she is a millionaire, which may just be true. And, remarkably, what seems unaffordable today becomes easily purchased tomorrow.

4. Never Reveal Your Financial Situation to a Customer
Your finances are yours, private and nobody's business (well, maybe the IRS!).
Act neither poor nor rich around the public. You are an artist-that is sufficient to the business transaction. Why? People of means like doing business with other people of means; people without means do not want to be reminded of their economic status. The best course: be yourself. Dress well, but not extravagantly; present yourself within the confines of your profession.

5. Clean Up Your Act
Take a hard look at your booth presentation. Is it cluttered? Filled with old work in dog-eared mats? Too dark? Too Light? Too unlike a small, exclusive gallery? Now is the time to turn your booth into an inviting, welcoming, happy, exciting, restful (yes, those two can happen together) and ultimately dollar-beckoning environment. Look at it this way: would you spend you money in your booth? Make certain the answer is yes.

6. Smile 'Till It Hurts
When the customer enters your booth-or before then-smile. When he or she says hello (or you do), smile. When he or she remarks on a piece of your artwork, smile. When you converse, smile. When the customer leaves-whether you made a sale or not-smile. Smile during setup and teardown. Smile on the way to the show. Smile on the way home. The point is this: happiness is inclusive; sadness craves seclusion. If you are down, that is the direction your sales will go.

7. Communicate 'Till It Hurts
Say hi, say what's up, say can I help you, say do you like the work, say it's sunny out, say it's raining out. Then, remember that silence, too, is a form of communication. Engage the customer, make him or her comfortable, lead them to your work, leave them to enjoy it. Then start talking again. The longer the customer stays in your booth, the better your chances of making a sale.

8. Don't Just Level the Playing Field, Change It
Offer to visit the potential buyer at his or her home. Suggest that your work would look great in their offices. Intimate that you might be willing to take payments over time (a check each month is better than none). Negotiate from strength: offer two pieces at a discount, but not one. Lead off communication with an offer of the discount (yep, right after you say hello). Let pieces go overnight on approval (with a valid credit card on file, of course). Send thank you notes-of course-to buyers, but also to those who do not buy; it often leads to a sale.

9. Set Only Realistic Goals and Reduce Your Disappointment
The art festival business is simply not what it used to be. Neither is much else in life; change is the only true constant. Money is no more than a (necessary) commodity that changes hands as we use it. Art lasts. What we create says much more about us than how much of what we create we happen to sell. Goals are important, certainly, but monetary goals are transitory. All of us are learning to live with "less" in these-transitory-times, but all of us can learn to enjoy what we have to a greater degree. And, down the road, there will be a show where you sell more, earn more and-using the lessons of these remarkable times
-enjoy more.

Live, love, laugh, create.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I'm still in the spirit but it's getting to be the time of year, isn't it? You know....the end.

It's a time of assessment, revision, and reinvention. I've been looking over the blog and think it's time for a new look. Maybe a little streamlining - a tighter vision. Hopefully by the New Year I can work out all of the particulars and away we'll go....not a new adventure, just an adjusted one.

I've been checking out blog headers and such. One of the most interesting finds has been Seth Apter. He has a blog called The Altered Page. I ran into blog via some newsletters I've been receiving from Creative Mixed Media. He has been posting this whole series called Your Blog, Your Way. You can get to it via his blog and it's just outstanding. It's broken up into ten chapters and each is very thoughtfully prepared.

I was already on this quest before this post but running into Seth's series is most certainly going to help.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Are you ready?

This is so NOT my house - but I can dream....

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!' ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide"

It's almost here! Tomorrow morning - ACK! Home alone - Should I be putting my palms on my cheeks? Maybe. I have saved my Secret Santa gifts - from the artists on Lampwork Etc. for the morning. And, I'll admit it - I'm looking forward to them.

I believe in kindness - - - - - - - - - - - - - - pass it on - - - - - - - - - -

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cake Pops

It’s official – I live like a troll. I have never heard of cake pops. We have no bakery here…unless you want to count the Walmart bakery. I’ve known the girl that works there for years but I know she wouldn’t consider herself a pastry baker. I used to decorate cakes – ah, that was in my twenties when I could afford the calories. I also made candy. That experience pretty much killed candy cravings for nearly a decade.

I was searching for something to make for the holiday – and somewhere in the insane Internet surfing I’ve been doing I ran across Cake Pops and Bakerella. What the heck – where have I been?

This is definitely like a call to arms for me. No one could ever accuse me of being a hip cat but how did I not know about this? I feel like an Ostrich in the Sahara. I’m making Cake Pops. This is sort of like the recipe I used but following some other recommendations for leaving them in the refrigerator for at least two hours before putting them in the dipping chocolate.

So what are your favorite recipes for the holiday? Have you ever made cake pops? The photo of finished cake pops isn’t mine – mine are still in the fridge .

This is your basic cake pop recipe:

Make a 13×9 cake. Any flavor you like, just follow the instructions on the box. Let it cool. Crumble the cake (always fun for the kids) and add in 1 can of frosting. Throw it into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

1. After refrigerating, dust off your Playdoh skills and form the mixture into balls. Then place a sucker stick into the top of each cake ball. Pop them into the refrigerator for another quarter hour.
2. While waiting, start melting your candy melts.
3. After 15 minutes in the fridge, dip and swirl each pop into your candy melt.
4. Once you’ve got an even coating on the cake pop, place the stick into a Styrofoam block while the candy melt shell hardens.
5. Announce to your family and friends that the cake pops are ready.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Darn YOU Hoffman!

Source: via Sharon Driscoll from Pinterest

Okay - so now I have to "shake off" this terrible computer surfing issue and get back to business. It's all Mallory's fault. She posted on her blog about the Pinterest site. It's an on-line bulletin board. Yup, that was her crime. Isn't just like the criminal to blame someone else? I love the photo above - Wouldn't you just like to shake off the day like that? I was visiting Pinterest tonight and see that the Lark Blog has been doing the same thing since I saw some neat things posted in both places today.

Yes, I know - Get off the computer Sharon. It's not a toy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mixed Bead Sets

I've been creating small batches of beads over the past couple of weeks, aside from the Christmas ones I've already listed. Since I've been working both in ceramic and lampwork I decided to concentrate on finding some complimentary colors to mix up into some sets. The contrast between the two is exactly what I wanted, although with glazes the ceramics are also shiny. I can't wait to mix in some metalsmithing. This is the set I just listed on Etsy. I kept it neutral and added a rustic heart I cast this summer. If you added a piece of leather and a few more pieces of silver it would make a great bracelet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lark Book Giveaway

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it dozens of times here on the blog. Shout it from the mountain tops – I love books! Right now I am walking on air because I was just notified that I won one of Lark’s super fantastic book giveaways. On the way to my hot little hands and soon to be tired eyes and high blood sugar, from all of the eye candy (LOL), are 21 (yes – that is not a typo) Lark books coming to live at the Driscoll household.

And now – they are giving away another great batch (38) of their top titles. And how do I know these are so wonderful, you ask? I already own about 15 of them. They are invaluable as reference and inspiration. Someone has to win them – Why not you? Besides, it’s a great blog and they send out the best notices of fun new crafts, tips, and fun crafty things to so from their books.

Enter Here!

When the new books come I’ll post them here – I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Carnage Before Christmas?

Carnage in the front room - Is this Bones or CSI?


This is the younger retriever - Trudy. Do you think she knows it's almost the holiday? I'm beginning to wonder. She always unstuffs her toys but this seems a little bold to me...body parts are everywhere. It is like a little kid who keeps his blanket until there isn't anything left but a raggedy little corner. And, she loves her tattered pieces. I pick them up. She pulls them out.

New toys for Christmas? Maybe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kiln Full

Aside from torching I filled the tiny kiln with a little load of ceramic beads. I really need to find a better system because this is just kind of willy nilly. I should purchase more kiln stilts so I can arrange things both high and low. It's just a small kiln so there isn't much room but that is good. I really don't see me getting a bigger one. Sooner or later I will figure it out.

Do you like the "Candy" tag? This one is on Etsy and I have one I put with a peppermint designed bead and some crystals on a long necklace to wear. It would look good with glass chocolates and charms too.

How's your Holiday shopping going? So far for me - not so good. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hot Elves!

I suppose you were expecting to see a sexy elf? Sorry. This is my elf - I have a few to post for the holiday. This one is in used Ivory glass for the face and Bubblegum for the cheeks. He's a cutie and comes with a ceramic "Believe" in a golden green. I wish I could post more today but I have torching and photo editing (sizing) for Etsy to do. Later...

Saturday, December 3, 2011


One of the most fascinating things about a blog is that once in awhile you run across someone who is accessing it at the same time you are. In the case of my blog I can not tell you how excited I get when I see other countries pop up on my little world map. Europeans seem to be such global thinkers – and I feel as if I have lived in a box. Once in awhile I see someone check in from Russia so I wanted to say “Hello” and I looked up the translation.

Lest anyone think that isn’t very forward thinking of me since most of the world tends to be bi-lingual and us Americans tend to be spoiled by that I’d like to explain. It’s not that I haven’t heard or seen Russian. As a child I was not allowed to learn it or mimic what I heard. My maternal Grandparents were Russian. My Grandmother died before I was born but my Grandfather lived with us and until I grew up and moved out. He was a constant in my life. He spoke several languages and occasionally redressed my mother in Russian. When I’d ask him to teach me he would politely refuse. My mother told me it was because he believed you should assimilate to the country you chose to live in. Bunk I thought, but I respected his wishes.

My Grandfather taught me to dye eggs with onion skins, render fat for soap and make soap, grow a wicked garden and save the seeds of the best plants for next year, and so many wonderful things. How can you not love all of those things and be fascinated by the country that made him who he was?

Some where, I am sure, I am probably related to someone overseas – my Grandfather had family. He refused to tell us much – Bolsheviks, Khrushchev, and a great fear of someone punishing him for being the first born and being sent off by his family. He really did think if he went back to find family that he would be kept. How the world has changed, huh? I hope it continues to evolve and to my friend in Russia I hope you are reading and know how happy it makes me – personally and artistically, that you stop here to read this blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011


I thought I'd better mention something - although no one has brought this to my attention I was thinking about it today. My knowledge of ceramics was based on one absolutely perfect class taught by Jennifer Heynen (Jangles) at Bead and Button a couple of years ago. She was outstanding. I described my knowledge as fitting on pin-head because, unlike Jennifer, it is not my area of expertise. She is a wealth of information and an expert, having studied ceramics.

I just don't want anyone to think she is a poor teacher and that is why I referred to my knowledge as minuscule. SHE is the bomb and if you can take a class with her in Georgia at her shop or at Bead and Button you should jump on it.

Now - if you have an questions about lampworking or metalworking - I'm your gal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let’s talk ceramics – which, I can assure you, my information bank on this one would fill the head of a pin. What I can do is tell you what product I’m working with to make these.

First off, I’m using low-fire Earthenware clay in white (from Runyon Pottery Supply, a Michigan company but I think most States and Countries have similar suppliers). It also comes in red and gray. I have some old red left from my DD’s days on the pottery wheel and it looks like even after all of these years they might be useable too. The clay is sitting soaking up some extra moisture and soon I’ll knead/ and wedge the reconstituted stuff.

For the under glaze colors I’m using the ones Jennifer Heynen gave us in class – simply labeled by color. I also bought some new colors to mix from the Big Ceramic Store and Runyon called “Concepts” by Duncan. They’re compatible with the clay and firing that I’m doing.

After they’re fired to the bisque and nice and hard I under glaze them and cover that with clear glaze. Fire again and voila.

Seems simple, huh? Well, I only think it is because I’ve followed Jen’s instruction and her book. I do have a daughter to refer to but she did it for fun, it wasn’t her area of study. Since I’m such a lover of books I will admit to a half a dozen on the topic but other than that I can do little but learn as I go on this one – so far I’m having a great time.

Nellie update:
The stitches are still in but they removed the tube and she's finally perking up. YES! I was getting worried. Whew!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis' the Season, what a great way to start!

Done like you've never seen before!

This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area.
To the surprise of the villagers, over a half million people have viewed it! Check it out for yourself:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Newest Bisque

There is plenty of moss growing under these feet – LOL. Isn’t it just like that during the holiday? Oh, we’re all busy alright! It’s just that the artwork suffers a bit while you recharge the personal batteries with family – hence the artistic moss. It’s a good thing to enjoy family and take an artistic break (aside from playing nurse with Nellie). Here is the current plate of bisque pieces ready to be painted. They probably won’t be up on Etsy until next week – after there is a kiln load painted.

On the Nellie front - the vet visit went well but they did not pull the tube - Yuck -three more days of pads and arm sling covers. They also piled on the antibiotics and her stomach is not taking to the Rimidyl what-so-ever. Can we get a break here please? Back to the vet tomorrow....and hopefully the torch too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poor Nellie - Who thought of this fashion statement?

She is on the mend - at at least that is what we hope to hear from the vet tomorrow who is meeting us at her office on a Saturday. She'll be removing a tube from her leg. This is our beloved fur-baby, Nellie. She is our 12 year old golden retriever. Some place along growing up she developed a growth on the inside of her left rear leg. It never bothered her and we had it checked yearly - but it just kept getting bigger (double grapefruit bigger). Finally it interfered with her walking and we decided it had to be removed. And so it was, on Tuesday. Wednesday, the day before the "big turkey", we picked her up from the vet.

She has to have a temporary tube covered so she doesn't bother it - and there has to be plenty of changeable padding there to absorb the dripping. I think I deserve an award for ingenuity on how to keep the pads and gauze on...and up where they belong. I'm calling it the ultimate arm sling. Take one old shirt and cut the arm off with plenty of material up to the neck and presto - leg warmer.

Poor thing - but she can walk with it. LOL - and do the necessary business. We've run out of Leopard print cotton arms and today's new sling is hot pink polyester. I'm not sure which is worse - the indignity of the get-up or my poor choice in recyclable long sleeve shirts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Entirely TMI On Thanksgiving

I know this is more than you want to know about Thanksgivng here in the States and elsewhere but what the heck - If you are reading this you can dazzle your friends and family with after dessert trivia. This is reposted from World Gormet.

Thanksgiving - A Celebration of Plenty

Did you know that eight nations of the world have official Thanksgiving Days? Those countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Switzerland and the United States.

The tradition of declaring a special day or period for giving thanks is an ancient one. It dates far back to the time when our ancestors hoped that an ostentatious display of gratitude would placate their capricious gods -thus ensuring continued bounty. But these days of thanksgiving were also occasions for celebrating the year's plenty with feasts and joyful gatherings. The thanksgiving celebrations of the ancient Greeks took the form of an annual fall festival, during which offerings were made to Demeter, the goddess of corn. Every October the Romans held a harvest festival called Cerelia, in praise of Ceres (Demeter's Roman counterpart) which included games, parades and a feast. The Jewish harvest festival, Sukkoth, is still celebrated every autumn as it has been for 3000 years.

One of the most well-known symbols of Thanksgiving also dates back to ancient Greece. The cornucopia or "horn of plenty" comes from the myth in which Zeus gave Amalthea (who had fed him with goat's milk when he was an infant) one of the goat's horns as a gesture of thanks, with a promise that it would bring an abundance of anything she wished for.

Proclaiming days of Thanksgiving for various reasons - success in war, a bounteous harvest, the recovery of a king from illness - was part of European tradition for centuries. The first rite of Thanksgiving to be held in North America took place in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher arrived in Newfoundland and ordered that a ceremony be held to thank God for protecting his crew during the long and dangerous sea voyage.

However, much of modern North American Thanksgiving lore is associated with the Pilgrims. In 1621, a year after arriving in the new world on the Mayflower, and following a severe winter in which many of their numbers had succumbed to disease, the colonists celebrated their first successful harvest by organizing a thanksgiving feast to which they invited the neighboring Native Indians. On the menu for that first American Thanksgiving were almost certainly some foods that have become staples of the holiday - turkey and pumpkin - along with other wild fowl, venison, oysters, clams, fish, corn cakes, and wild fruit and nuts.

Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November?

Because President Abraham Lincoln declared this day a holiday in his famous Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863. Yes, but who was behind this decision? The answer is Sarah Josepha Hale, one of the most important, yet least recognized, women in American history. She lobbied the President to officially proclaim a day of Thanksgiving, convinced that observing it on a national level would bind the warring country together and ensure peace.

In Canada

During the American Revolution, many colonists desiring to remain loyal to the British crown headed north to Canada, bringing with them many New England traditions, explaining the continuing similarity of many US and Canadian Thanksgiving customs and menus. Following European tradition, general days of Thanksgiving had been officially proclaimed in Canada since 1799 to celebrate royal events or the end of wars or epidemics. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, a day of thanksgiving for an abundant harvest was proclaimed each year for a Thursday in November, later moving to October, perhaps because of Canada's colder climate and earlier harvest. Eventually Thanksgiving came to be celebrated on a Monday, though in the 1920s Thanksgiving was once again observed in November, the Monday before Armistice Day. Finally in 1931, Canadian Thanksgiving was fixed for the second Monday of October, a move formally enshrined by Act of Parliament in 1957.

But enough about history! What's for dinner?

On most North American tables, a turkey still holds pride of place for the annual Thanksgiving feast. In the US alone, over 40 million turkeys are consumed on this holiday weekend each year! It is usually accompanied by gravy and stuffing, the particular accents of which are determined by region. Along the eastern seaboard, oyster stuffing is traditional, hearkening back to the days when these shellfish were a cheap and plentiful source of food. In the south, you are more likely to find cornbread stuffing, while in the northern US and Canada you might find wild rice among the ingredients for the turkey dressing. Cranberry sauce is traditional, made with fresh or frozen berries, or perhaps in the form of a jiggly cylinder that slides out of a can! A staple of many American Thanksgiving dinners is sweet potatoes, combined with sugar, spices and butter, turned into a casserole and sometimes topped with marshmallows. Other vegetable dishes, salads, pickles and rolls usually round out the meal, followed by the traditional pumpkin pie and whipped cream. In many households, a final Thanksgiving tradition is to retire to a comfortable chair to loosen one's belt!

If you made it through your dinner and are reading this you are probably already napping and I hope you had a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cold Feet - Warm Heart

Right now I’d settle for 70 degrees – that is the temperature in North Carolina tomorrow where one set of my grown children reside (Son #2 and Darling DIL). Alas, it’s Michigan and tomorrows high will be 45. I’m thankful for no snow at the moment. I’ve shopping to do!

This cold weather contributes to cramps in my legs and cold feet. I hate cold feet. A very smart country doctor, who took care of the nursing home folks; and me, gave me some sound advice. He said that when they changed over to nice wool slippers for the patients, because of the chronically cold feet and cramps, that the majority of patients responded favorably -at least those whose cramps weren’t contributable to other medical issues. His advice to me – go on-line and get yourself some Eddie Bauer wool slippers.

My slippers are Walmart specials but I think some of these would be nice. The Martha Stewart pattern is free and they look very comfy. And then, there is a pattern on Etsy at Fibers and Twigs that appeals to me too. It uses old wool sweaters that you can felt up in the washer and then cut out and sew.

Best of luck my cold weather friends – I hope this helps you all keep those tootsies warm while you’re torching and working away at your favorite cold weather projects.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indelible Memories - An ISGB call for submissions...

Hey there everyone! We just received a notification from the ISGB about the upcoming 20th Anniversary show for the Gathering. They've had many a good topic in the past - but this one - well, I really like it. I don't know anyone who hasn't had a time in their lives that they can't reference back to.

For example, I cannot smell cinnamon without thinking of my Grandfather making oven toasted cinnamon with sugar on old bread in the oven. It was crisp - crunchy - sweet. Conjures up a brown necklace - maybe frits - or crushed clear glass like sugar - maybe hollows with spices captured within. The possibilities with this theme are endless.

What's your indelible memory? Here is the call for submissions (I've made ISGB clickable above):

A Collection of Personal Narratives Expressed in Art Glass Beads

In everyone's lives are moments that stand out, moments that we remember more clearly than others. We can call these certain memories to mind as if they happened just yesterday, no matter how much time passes. What makes these moments unforgettable may vary greatly. Maybe it was doing something for the first time or for the last time. Perhaps it was an entirely commonplace occurrence but one day, that one day in particular, something different happened. These are the moments that become etched in our memory permanently. Sometimes, all it can take to transport us back to that moment is a smell, a word, or a sound, and we can play that memory over and over again in our mind's eye.

Reach back into your memory. Pluck out the details from one of your most memorable or special experiences. Take those sights and sounds and translate them into glass! Paint a picture of that memory using glass beads as your brushstrokes and jewelry as your canvas. Turn that special memory into a wearable work of art.

This is an opportunity for ISGB members to participate in a special exhibition that will open in conjunction with our twentieth anniversary Gathering in Bellevue/Seattle, Washington. Jewelry can include but is not limited to components such as seed beads, fine metal, PMC, fibers, etc. Multiple mediums are encouraged; however the main focus of your piece should be hand-crafted glass bead(s). Members may choose to work solo or with partners of their choice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Handmade Meaning...

I'm having the usually "Silly Sunday" but did some browsing this morning with my coffee. When I did I found this interview on Etsy which contained Seaworthy's explanation of what she thinks qualifies as "handmade". She hit the nail on the head for me.

While growing up my Grandfather lived with us. He was a professional chef - I not only basked in grand parenting I also got interesting things to eat. Would I consider that handmade? Absolutely! Chef's are artists with their materials too. I guess I've lived a handmade life...crocheted and knitted blankets, sewing, cooking, lace, shoes, toys, gardening, and so much more. How about you?

This is what Seaworthy had to say when asked, "What does handmade mean to you?"

"Handmade, in my opinion, is about human connection. Handmade isn’t just tangible items – it extends to locally-owned shops and restaurants, small wineries, organic farmers and people who make made-from-scratch meals for their loved ones. It’s about people doing and making what they love and sharing it with the people who enjoy and appreciate it. It’s all about the human experience and how we connect to one another, as corny as that may sound."

Bravo! You can
see Seaworthy's incredible wares by clicking on her underlined name above. It will take you directly to her Etsy site. She mades some great jewelry.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When I Wish...

It's on a Star!

This is one of the first totally finished and Etsy listed ceramic, lampwork, and metal mixed works. Let's see - I have a 50# block of clay - I've had it for years. Today I had to dip back into it because I've used up the first couple of fist fulls I've had wrapped up in my ceramic box...LOL. It's still in perfect condition! Yeah, Runyon Pottery Supply! Who'd of thunk it. I ought to be able to get a million stars out of that block of gray stuff - right? That's a lot of great sculpting fun.

When my friend Susan and I teach she has a funny saying that makes me chuckle every time. "Now, let's see - If we can just sell a million of these at a dollar a piece we'd be rich." It's a quick nod to the fact you'll probably never get rich doing least not in the pocket book. Thank goodness there are all kinds of rich!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ceramic Treasures

This is the pile of bisque from the kiln. Now, I'm just waiting for the kiln to cool so I can remove what I painted - YES! Off to torch and everyone have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

While I'm Working...

Today is a creative day. Yesterday I fired up the kiln for the clay pieces I left behind to dry and today it's back to the torch - YES! Until I get some photos of what I'm working on I thought I'd show you an assortment of the items available for purchase at FaerieCon. Whatever your faerie persona you can fulfill it here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wing Whacked and a Fin

Costume judging for the adults - there is one for the kids too!

Steam Punk and Mermaids are well represented!

Gothic Faeries are always welcome.

Watch Out for Wings !

I feel a little "wing whacked" after the drive back - but joyful about the experience at FaerieCon. Since I'm too tired out to write a bunch I thought I'd just let the photos speak for themselves. I've talked before how you have to be careful sometimes when you are walking around FaerieCon...because...some of the Faerie's wear very large wings and when they turn in a confined area you can get thwacked a good one. Included are some of the many many wings of FaerieCon, a few Princes and Queens, and tons of assorted creatures. Tomorrow when I get time I'd like to show just a few more photos before I sign off of this years fun time and gear back into normal. What's normal anyway?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On the way back to reality

I'd edit a batch of pictures to share tonight but it's late. FaerieCon has ended another mythical year in Maryland and we've packed and driven part of the way home. I'll post the best of the rest tomorrow night....but for now I'm going to snooze. Just like this tired little Gnome who was busy being cooed and coddled by all of adults for his costuming.

Catch you tomorrow.......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More from FaerieCon...

Check out this Viking, he is just so dignified and has a booth close to Mystic Swan.

This is Jenny Davis-Reazor. She's a Mixed-Media artist that caught my eye yesterday when I was browsing around the booths. Her clay and jewelry work is great. If you were here with me I'd take you down to see her booth but since I can't I've made her name clickable and it will take you to her web site - and from there you can check out her blog and Etsy too!

And, then there is this photo of this wonderful couple. I was at the costume competition and when I turned around to leave when they were finished there they sat. They were having a wonderful time - and so am I.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Having a Faerie Nice Time

I'm just to pooped to write much so I'm sending some Faerie love your way. Just a few photos I edited tonight. We are here and having a wonderful time. Tonight we went to the Good Faerie's Ball and heard Delhi 2 Dublin play. Holy Crap - they rocked, and the floors in the Maryland Ballroom just shook. Wish you were all here to enjoy this......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FaerieCon Here I Come

Sorry I've been missing in action again. I've been making ceramic and lampwork beads like crazy and trying to get ready to leave for FaerieCon. I attend to accompany my friend Sharon Dent of Mystic Swan Jewelry - she gracious invited me to add some of my work to the mix but on this show I just so enjoy being the side-kick that I've declined.

This year Sharon has moved to a larger booth in a downstairs ballroom and we will be closing at an earlier time which will allow us time to attend the Faerie Balls. It's always fun to see the costume changes and listen to the music. This year a popular band called Qnytal will be playing at one of the Balls. And then someone I haven't heard before called Priscilla Hernandez.

I promise I'll be posting from FaerieCon and sending along the daily photos of what's happening. Plus, if you have never been to a Renaissance Festival or one of these you ought to consider it.....such a feast for the eyes and soul.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thinking Orange and Halloween

Thinking Pumpkin here! These are Mac-O-Lanterns from Indestructables.

I wish we had little ones around because I used to love to decorate the house up. It was an all out front porch festival….bales of hay, lights, pumpkins, corn stalks. I just loved it. Now…well, we don’t even have neighbors with kids. Mine are grown. Really, I need to move – this is retirement villa and I’m prepared for adoption. I don’t care if they are the neighbor’s kids….send them here and I will bake cookies. Uh, I can also do carrots if you’re into the vegetarian thing better. And I’m damn crafty and entertaining.

Today an email from Indestructables arrived and reminded me of the whole holiday thing. This reminds me I need to get my “Nightmare” Christmas tree out; but first, about the email. Sometimes they (Indestrucables) just crack me up. I’ve posted a photo from there. They’ve a whole section of Halloween ideas.

I’ve also added a link to one of the best pumpkin carvers I have ever seen. I’d carve one but no one would see it here. Instead I gave money to the local Halloween party given by the Lion’s club. Actually, it’s a huge bash I’ve mentioned before that’s held at the High School.

Enjoy the links…….

Ray Villafane - This is a link to the greatest pumpkin carver of all time! His U-Tube tutorials. This is his site: Villafane Studios

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post Flu....YES!

Where’s Sharon now that she is feeling better. I’ve listed some new lampwork on my site – holiday items. It’s fun to make snowmen while it’s still Fall weather. I doubt I’ll feel that way about January – about then I’ll be making flowers and wishing for Spring.

It’s still clay time too…kind of like play time? Here is the plate full of goodies to go in the kiln for bisque fire. And a photo of the newly fired stuff that just came out. I’m still considering the options for using it. It’s like having a brand new writing tablet and getting that first line drawn on the paper….sometimes it’s just agony. But, once the doodle begins the pages are fair game!

I’m learning some things about packing the kiln. I ruined four pieces when I strung them on kanthal wire too light to hold the weight. The wire bent and the pieces either touched the bottom of the kiln or each other – POOP. Lesson learned. I’ll need to get out Jennifer’s great book again and look some things up. Since I’m only making a small quantity of things to use it would be great not to lose too many.

This is so much fun. I'm hoping to create some mixed media projects when I have an assortment to choose from in metal, clay, and glass.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Silly

I'm feeling much more like myself again. The cold, aches, and boiling fevers are gone...whew! So now I'm just pondering what to do with my day. I have made some clay beads to add to my lampwork but they haven't even reached the kiln for the first firing. I'll get some photos of the stages they go through later.

I had a good laugh at myself - Jennifer Heynen is such a great teacher and wonderful artist. She posted the new photos of her studio and gallery on line. In the photos you can see the racks of air drying items getting ready for the kiln and all of her luscious hand painting. When I go in my kitchen - - - - I see my paper plate of drying items.....LOL. I'm such a geek.

But, at least, I'm a nerd without the flu!

Monday, October 17, 2011

******FLU******Get Your Shot!

No, didn't fly anywhere. It's the flu. Get your flu shots. I got the flu on Sunday (I have not been sick in over four years). Okay, I'm lucky - I take precautions. Washing hands is no problem. Getting shots - no problem but I hadn't done that yet Unfortunately, Sunday the FLU knocked me right on my ass and has not been letting up.

Last night I felt a little better so I started to work on some wax pieces I want to cast in brass to go with the ceramics. I was able to drag a brush across a few bisque pieces. Okay, I said to myself, "you're a little weak but this is a 24 bug and on its way out the door."

I guess flu didn't get the message and today I had a fever spike to 102. I felt like the princess and the pea. I had plenty of cushions, blankets, and pillows. Still I could feel the awfulness of my aching shivering body.

Tonight the fever has broken.

Can tomorrow be the demise of this miserable stuff? I hope so.

Or, tomorrow some people in white coats could show up at my house and take me away - maybe even my Turkey. If a Flu Virus was a bead - well it would be pretty....but in a body with it's prickly things just working away on you - it's not. I've been watching to much SciFi while on the couch.

Enjoy the photos - This is the enemy! Wash your hands and get a flu shot.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A color blast of Ceramics

Fall gets me all colorful - can't help it - we all know my favorite color is orange. So here I am looking out the window and decide with all of this color going on outside I ought to try a little inside. If DH wasn't such a "neutral" kind of guys the walls would be a color riot.

Clay is interesting addition for me. I'm still not over the texture and getting it all over my hands. It's okay to work with. It's not okay as it dries on my hands - ick! I prefer wax work for casting or making lampwork. But, I like the colors you can get with glazes and it a kind of "glass".

I was taught how to do this from Jennifer Heynen (Jangles) at the Bead and Button Show one year. I thought it would be useful to mix with glass beads in necklaces and other things - heavy on the bead work and not a copy of Jennifer's incredible work. More like a variation on a theme and definitely not a wholesale item.

These are fun - colorful. I guess when it's fall and bright you want to capture that last flower and make it last until spring has returned you mimic the colors. I'm going to be doing some riveting - maybe some waxed linen knotting. Truly I'm not quite sure how it's all going to go together but I know I'll never get there if I don't get some components ready. Wish me luck!