Friday, December 18, 2009

New Orleans - or How I Got Engaged to a Fantastic Guy

So, I just realized that I was so caught up in my pneumonia misery that I never actually blogged about my New Orleans trip - and what a trip it was!

We left Birmingham for New Orleans on Nov. 29th - which happens to be my birthday. Rich tried really, really hard to keep it a secret but at some point, he let it slip - poor guy! He really wanted to surprise me. The drive was about 5 hours - not bad and driving across Lake Ponchartrain at sunset was awesome!

We stayed at the Saint Louis hotel - right in the heart of the French Quarter. We had a wonderful balcony so we could sit out and listen to the music and wonderful food smells wafting up. That evening, Rich took me to Commander's Palace - another New Orleans staple and a fantastic restaurant. Rich made sure to tell the waiter to put us in a fairly private spot and while we were waiting for dessert, he produced a little black velvet box and asked me to marry him. Of course I said, "Yes!" The waiter brought balloons and wrote "Congratulations" in chocolate sauce on our bread pudding souffle plate. From Commander's, we went to Pat O'Brien's for a hurricane and to The Cat's Meow where Rich wowed 'em with some karaoke. What a night!

Isn't it beautiful? It's a champagne diamond in a gorgeous setting.

We spent the next couple of days enjoying New Orleans. It was a little cold and rainy but it was December, after all, and nothing could spoil this wonderful trip. I didn't get to see the French Quarter while I was in NOLA doing animal rescue several years ago so I was very happy to see the businesses open and that so much of the rich history was unharmed. We went on a culinary tour, to the aquarium and we even spent a little time (and even less money) at the casino.

Pralines - they were everywhere!

Beignet and coffee at Cafe du Monde - I loved these so much, we went back twice

So, after our three days were up, I was sad to leave but happy to return home to our critter crew and "real" life.

How'd I get so lucky?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pneumonia Sucks Wind

Right about this time last week, I was sitting in a doctor's office, being diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Oh my! What an awful, awful illness. You see, I NEVER get sick. Ok, well not exactly never but the last cold I even had was three and a half years ago at Bead & Button. So, this came as quite a surprise and I found that I'm not all sunshine and light when I'm feeling under the weather! Of course, it's hard to be happy when you feel like someone is sitting on your chest and trying to fill your sinuses with something awful.

I'm on the mend though and I even felt well enough last night to finish a sock I started working on, oh, about two years ago. That's a good sign, right? Now that I'm back in the land of the living, expect a few more updates and maybe even a bit o'blogging about my upcoming birthday trip to New Orleans.

Pic of sock coming soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Looonng Hiatus

How does this happen? Well, actually I know how it does. Life gets in the way and blogging suffers.

So, the move went off pretty much without a hitch. My wonderful friend, Lori, chauffeured us (my 6 pets and me) across country in a 26ft moving van. We made it from Spokane to Birmingham in about 4 days. Utter exhaustion followed for several weeks while we all adjusted to a new climate, culture and time zone.

Slowly but surely, it's all returned to some sort of normalcy. I've been swamped with web work, the job hunt (not easy in this economy) and lo and behold, I actually feel my creativity coming back (it was missing during the adjustment, I think).

Look for more frequent updates. I know, I know! I've said this before but I have so much FUN going on now that I'd like to maybe post about it. Today is a great show (attending not vending) at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Next weekend, I may be vending at the Down the Street Bead Show in Atlanta - I need to think about it today. At the end of the month, Rich is taking me to New Orleans for my birthday!

I'm such a lucky girl!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Changes A Comin'

I used to move every couple of years. That was exciting but kind of disruptive - all that packing, moving expenses, changing one's life... This time I'm sooo excited for it! I've lived in little 'ol snowy Deer Park for three years. I moved here under the pretense of making a better life for myself than I had in hectic Seattle. I can't say it completely turned out that way but I've made some wonderful friends along the way.

In about 5 weeks, I plan on packing up the house and moving to be with Rich in Birmingham. Oh my - it's a little overwhelming thinking about hauling myself and 6 animals across country. I'm not as young and adventurous as I used to be! It will work out though and It'll be interesting, if not down right fun. I'll update as the plans progress.

This week, I continued on with my little beadmaking streak and popped out these color tests of Momka's glass. The blue is Aurora Borealis and the red is a brand-new as of yet unnamed color. I'm so lucky to get to color test!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I have missed a month and a half of blogging. Oh how we make promises to ourselves and don't keep them! Terrible, terrible.

I have a few good excuses - I went to visit Rich in Birmingham and had a lovely time. In fact, while there, we went house hunting and found a beautiful one we both agreed on. He'll be buying it in a week! That left me scurrying to ready my house for sale so that I can join him as soon as I can. The house is "on the market" (here's a link to it) and I'm not-so-patiently waiting for buyers to call. In this economy, selling a house is a scary thing. I guess we'll see.

My crafty/artsy exploits have been sorta stifled but I did manage to get on the torch last night to try out some of Momka's new glass. One color, which she and I have named "Whisper Pink" is so very beautiful, I want to eat it up!

Since I have nuttin' else to show this time, enjoy a picture of Beanie - his face is art to me!

Monday, May 11, 2009

An Old Project Revisited

I don't know if you remember this post - Brother Francis Llama Rescue?

Basically, I was gifted bags of wonderful llama fiber from Brother Francis Llama Rescue and my intention was to process some of the fiber, spin it into yarn and knit and then felt a toy llama for the rescue to sell or keep or do with whatever they chose.

Finally, I've picked up the project again and this week, I finished spinning a second skein of this beautiful fawn-colored llama. Beanie helped while I was winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy (a device that helps you wind the yarn into a skein).

Here's the second skein.

Here's the llama in progress. I hope to finish him before I leave for Birmingham at the end of the week! More pix as he progresses.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Electroformed Inspiration

I dunno what happened, but my drive to electroform seems to have returned. It comes and it goes. I get on these streaks where my beaker must be full of some organic goodie or another and at other times, I can pour the solution back into its bottle and not think about it (or feel guilty about it) for a month or two. This week, a local flameworker called and wanted a kit. I went to the studio and gave an hour-long electroforming demo. Guess that got me thinking and I promptly had to get on the torch to make a couple of base beads. I'm still digging through my stash of dried leaves as spring has been so slow in coming to these parts.

These are the results.

I'm getting ready for my trip to Birmingham in less than a week and thinking about the millions of things I need to do to get my house ready to put on the market when I come back. I plan on moving down to Birmingham when it sells. Birmingham presents a new set of adventures and challenges but I'm very ready for a change. Bring it on!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I am a terrible blogger!

Well, I guess that means I've been very busy "offline".

Last I left you, I was making Hamantaschen for Rich and getting ready for the Glasscraft Expo in Las Vegas. It was a very nice show. A little slow at first, but traffic increased as the show went on. Met some fantastic new customers, business associates and saw old friends. The really nice thing about this show is that it's all things glass - from big to small. One comment about small - the table was way narrower than at other shows, which made it look like I had a lot of stuff but it actually made it difficult to fit it all on.

Rich met me in Vegas and we spent the week seeing everything we could see. We ate at the Carnegie Deli at the Mirage, rode the NY NY rollercoaster, saw a Beatles tribute band and walked until our feet couldn't take it any more. The week went waaay too fast - it was a wonderful time.

Now? Well, lots of web work and I'm preparing for a trip to Alabama in a couple of weeks.

I've listed some new items in my Etsy Shop - you can check them out at!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Yep, that's what I said - Hamantaschen. I was reading about Jewish holidays this week and I realized that Purim is coming up (tomorrow, in fact) and I came upon a bunch of different recipes for these triangle-shaped cookies. Being the avid baker than I am, I had to try them. I'm also not one to pass up a recipe that uses either apricot jam or poppy seed filling so there you go! To read more about what they are and why they're made, check out this site for an explanation - Judaism 101: Purim. I have no idea if they taste right or not, not having ever made them or had them anywhere. Rich can tell me what he thinks - against my better judgement, I sent him some. He can expect a package of 'em this week!

I'm still torching in anticipation of the Las Vegas show (less than a month away now!) and here are a few things that came out of the kiln -

We're supposed to get a teeny bit of spring next week. I couldn't be happier! It's been snowing off an on (more on than off) today. Confirmation once more that I moved to a place with 6 months of winter. Four seasons, yeah sure - but winter takes up half the year!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Alabama (not Washington) Snow!

Oh my gosh - it's March already! I got a lovely video today of the unusual snow in Alabama. It was beautiful and fleeting but I won't forget my snowy windshield message!

Even working for myself these days, time gets away from me. Maybe that makes me a bad boss? I dunno - but since my updates are sometimes a little further apart than I would like them to be, I'm updating with a bunch of pictures of things made this week.

It was a time for focusing on sets so rather than commenting on all of them, I'm just going to post some that came out of the kiln recently (feel free to click on any of these to see larger photos) -

This one is something a little different for me - I was asked to submit pictures of beads made into functional art for an article. This is a drawer pull - and it's really big! Well, not big for a drawer pull but that's a lot of glass again. It's fun to push the limits and see how big I can work.

Also including some pix of fan pulls I've made.

Finally, since we're doing show and tell today, I finally got around to firing some PMC and Art Clay Silver charms I've made. This stuff is so awesome - I'm going to try to work a little more with it and my BronzClay this week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Big Beads Rock!

I'm making beads for the Vegas show. I never seem to make enough to support a show and selling online but if you ever see anything you like and want here, by all means, contact me!

This week, I decided to play around with my Zoozii's Straight Sided Lentil press. This is a BIG press and I love it! In glass terms, it takes one and a half 13" rods of glass to fill this puppy up. Did I tell you that I love it? I cringed at using 1.5 rods of my beloved copper green for this one but I like the results, do you?

Here's another with a size reference image so you can see how big I'm talking about -

Been making other stuff too - finally finished my sisters' Christmas presents (oops) but they liked them anyway. These are commonly known as "Pandora" or "Biagi" bracelets. It's fun to collect the charms for them and of course, I made and silver cored the glass beads on them. If you're not familiar with these bracelets, the beads and charms have bigger holes so that they'll fit over the clasp and slide on the bracelet.

Finally, I've been meaning to post a pic - nothing special, but here is the hat I made for Rich. He doesn't really need it, as he lives in the deep South, but I had to make it for him anyway. It's nice to have someone in mind when you're spinning and then knitting something and I can't think of a nicer person!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Frit Testing

To my dismay this week, I got a shocking electric and gas bill. I think I'm pretty thrifty - I turn off lights, consolidate laundry, you know. I'm frustrated (a little) by the continuing cold and dustings of snow. Not that I can do a thing about it, so to take my mind off of it I have been trying to get things done.

I'll show you some pix next but first I want to put in a little plug for one of my favorite organizations - the International Society of Glassbeadmakers. I've been working on their website this week and found a veritable trove of awesome photos going way back chronicalling their work. It's amazing the talent associated with the ISGB. Keep checking back to the site too because we're putting up more and more stuff.

What have I been doing? Well, web work for sure. I also got down to the torch and did some frit testing for Val Cox. Here are a few pix of the results. Unfortunately, this week I also taught my sweetie, Rich, the word "frit". Do you have any clue just how many puns you can make with the word "frit"? We won't go into that now, will we?

Mandarin Yellow

Lipstick Pink

Tropical Seas

Tutti Frutti

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More of the same...

Well, ok, not quite but I am busy again today. I promised to continue the craft stories yesterday so here I am.

First though, I've got to show you the view in front of my house. Today, I got up early, fed the pests and was heading down to the elliptical when I was stopped in my tracks. Gorgeous! I can't capture all the colors with my camera but you get the idea. I do live in a beautiful if freakishly snowy and cold place.

On with some more "Spinning Rich's Hat" pix - We left off with me winding the yarn onto a mini niddy noddy (that's that little contraption in the post below). I then "set the twist" of the yarn in hot water and brewed up a blue dyepot -

It came out bluer than blue (about as blue as Rich's eyes) but he said he liked it -

You know, even though the hat is now all knitted up, I don't think I'm going to show it here just yet, because it is a gift after all. I think Rich will have to wait to see it!

Here are some other things I wanted to show you - my BronzClay results. Man, I think I love this stuff! What do you think? Click on the pix to make 'em bigger.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

You know, life is really, really good when you just don't even have time to blog. I'm serious! I keep myself so busy sometimes, I don't know which way is up - and that's a very good thing! However, this is me slapping myself for not blogging more because I like sharing my crazy crafting exploits and general life musings with you.

Here's a little of what I've been up to this week -

I've been chatting A LOT with my rediscovered friend, Rich. We were interns in Washington, D.C. when we were in college. It wasn't the right time for us then, but now? Maybe so...

It's been dang cold here - dang cold! I wake up to 7 or 8 degrees regularly. It's Groundhog Day and I don't actually care whether Phil saw his shadow or not, spring cannot come soon enough. This is my view out my front window.

We did get some snow last night but it just piled on top of what we still have from December.

I've been spinning Rich a hat. Here are some photos of the process. I love it that I've learned to spin - I'm trying to make myself more valuable for that deserted island experience, should it ever come to pass.

Thin spun singles from that wool that I saved and told you about in an earlier post -

Plied into a thick and thin worsted weight yarn -

Winding off onto my mini Niddy Noddy -

More photos of the "Spinning a Hat" tomorrow...

Finally, while semi-watching the Super Bowl yesterday (what a game!), I was playing with BronzClay. It's clay, infused with Bronze and when these are totally dry, I'll fire them in my kiln and the clay binder will burn away. I've had one terribly failed experiment with this already but I think I used the wrong carbon material for firing and I dried my pieces too quickly. Cross your fingers for these!