Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cassie and the Bikers, our heroes

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My darling youngest granddaughter was a recipient of the generosity of Oregon A.B.A.T.E. who bought her a much-needed piece of equipment which the Oregon Health Plan had denied 11 times in the past two years. Thanks all you wonderful guys and gals in black leather!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Finally back again

My most sincere apologies to those of you who thought I fell off the face of the earth. I am alive and well and attempting to keep up with life at this point. I will be adding photos tomorrow, so check back and see them, too.

I recently returned from the trip of a lifetime with my cousin Nick (he paid for it or I couldn't have gone), and his (my honorary) Aunt Kay. We went to "French Polynesia" aka Tahiti, in other words most people spoke Tahitian and French, and a few of them spoke English. The language of kindness, compassion, genuine warmth and friendliness was spoken by all.

We left the Portland airport early the morning of Nov. 6, flew into LAX, and departed there for Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui arriving in Tahiti in the evening . . . and boy were my arms tired. Seriously though, the flight was filled with laughter, movies and pretty good airline food. The flight attendants wore four different uniforms by the end of the flight, and were kind, helpful and amazingly beautiful (handsome). The seats were hard, too close together, and very painful by the end of the 8-hour flight.

We spent the next couple of hours getting from the airport to our hotel, since the shuttle from the airport was taking people to a variety of hotels before ours. We waited on the bus for at least an hour before we even left the airport, it wasn't our fault we cleared customs faster than most since we were the wheelchair brigade. The hotel was beautiful, and the first room we went to was totally inappropriate for an 85-year-old, a 66-year-old disabled person, and a 56-year-old grandma who gets around, but not without a cane . . . it was a two story townhouse set-up, and pretty obviously not right for us. So, they called and found a different room we could have that was one level. The housekeepers came in and split the queen bed into two twins and made up the sofa bed as well. It was a good thing we had eaten on the plane since the dinners that night were $150 per person due to some fancy chef from Monte Carlo being there. The breakfast the next morning was $45 per person, so we opted to take a shuttle downtown and ate at a cute little outdoor fruit/food stand. I think our breakfast there was in the $25 range for the three of us. We stopped next door and bought postcards to send home. They worked out to be about $4-5 each including postage and made it back home the same day we did, it's all about timing.

Our day's agenda was to find some Polynesian shirts, an artisan's marketplace I had seen on the internet, and a pharmacy. The first place I saw was the pharmacy, which we went back to the next day. If I had known what bad shape Nick was in before we left the hotel, I would have suggested he stay in our room with room service . . . but he didn't and we had to deal with his being unable to walk more than a few feet at a time. He would collapse on his walker about every 2-3 minutes, and wasn't covering much territory as it was. We made it past the pharmacy, and halfway down a long block. I told him and Aunt Kay to rest for a few minutes while I scouted ahead a bit, locating a T-shirt shop and "The Market," returning to collect them and get them to the next resting spot. Aunt Kay kept up with me just fine as long as we could go at her pace, but Nick was another story. When he collapsed on his walker at the shirt shop he bent the front wheels, making it impossible to continue without relinquishing my walker (I opted for that instead of my cane since I knew we would be going a long way on broken pavement). It's a good thing I had the walker since he was unable to move without one. He bought several shirts to wear on the trip, and a couple for his brother as souvenirs. The lady at the shirt shop let us store the broken walker there until we were ready to head back to the hotel. (I forgot to mention what fun we had trying to get him on the shuttle to begin with. It seems they have no accommodation for handicapped passengers . . . such as a stool to help get in the vehicle . . . so a worker at the hotel crafted one swiftly from wood and we were able to get him in the big van.) Did I mention how nice the local people are? We went the half block (big blocks) to the market and Nick waited outside while Aunt Kay and I did some exploring. We entered this giant open-air building to find flowers and floral arrangements in every known color, fresh fruits and vegetables galore, hand-woven baskets and hats, Monoi products (coconut oil created the traditional way using either crab or shrimp and flowers), delicious baked goods, shells and shell jewelry, pareos in every color and style of decoration, and even a tattoo shop. Pareos are commonly referred to as a sarong in a lot of places. But the Tahitians use lots of traditional designs and fabrics, and hand-dye or paint most of them, including working into them the name of each island. I have pareos from each location and several tops made using pareos. Since the locals also wore them I knew they would be cool and comfortable, also made large enough for me. We went back and got Nick and headed back to the area where we had been dropped off. He had to stop several times and just rest before we made it, but we were finally in the area we had started (once around a city block). After getting him situated I went back around the block and collected the broken walker. Not an easy feat considering the front wheels wouldn't turn. I was much relieved when I realized we could hire a taxi for just a bit more than the shuttle fare had been. Our Taxi driver, Felix, spoke a little English. He got Nick in the front seat and managed to get both walkers in the back of his little SUV cab. He told us a bit of the history of Papeete and also about Moorea (the nearest island, also his birthplace). He said for $100 he would take us on a tour of the local area and help us find a market to shop for dinner and breakfast for the next day. He took us to a local religious site called the Fern Grotto, two beautiful caverns with lush vegetation. He helped Aunt Kay up the big hill to the top and even took our photo with a "medicine tree" he told us all about. He was a kind and generous man, and so very helpful and informative. Upon returning to the hotel we decided to have lunch in the restaurant, no matter the price. Fortunately there was a daily special that cost 2300 francs each or about $31 per person. Did I mention how expensive everything is in paradise?

For dinner we had fancy ramen noodles and local bananas,the flavor is unlike any banana any of us had tasted before. They were small like the sweet bananas found in Florida, but had a tangy flavor unique to Tahiti. The following morning we ate the rest of our bananas and local coconut bread and awaited the arrival of the shuttle to the beautiful Pacific Princess. From the moment we set foot on the ship we realized the crew was going to take very good care of us. Our cabin was a bit too small for three people, but we did have a deck outside where the coffee table lived when the sofa became a bed for Aunt Kay, and laughter was the best medicine of all. The heat in the tropics was both a welcome change and an exhausting nap-inducer. I don't remember ever sweating as much in my life. It seemed like every time I turned around . . . or walked more than three feet . . . I was soaked. Imagine feeling this way while pushing a wheelchair everywhere. Since the walker incident in downtown we decided the only option was a wheelchair, provided by the ship. We had left the broken walker at the hotel, and might as well have left the second one there as well since it spent the voyage living on the deck with the coffee table. Our steward, Geoffrey, introduced himself and made us very welcome. I told him a few of the things to be prepared for, and we took off on our first excursion aboard ship.

We headed immediately for lunch in the buffet, fortunately I had studied the deck plans in advance so knew where to find things. From our first bite we knew we would be well-fed. We were taken to a table where Nick was seated and waited on hand and foot. The Pacific Princess is a small ship compared to the ones that carry 2,000-3,000 passengers, carrying only 650 or so. Consequently there is less to do, but shorter distances between things made it a more pleasant journey for me. Nick's favorite part of the trip was spent in the Lotus Spa having daily massages and being wrapped in algae, seaweed and (as he said) tin foil and being baked. Aunt Kay spent a bit of time in the casino, and she and I went to the nightly entertainment one deck below our room. We even got Nick to go with us a few times. There were production shows featuring a group of young people singing and dancing, there was an older comedian who was very funny, one night there was a juggler (don't groan) he was not run-of-the-mill he was outstanding and hilarious with audience member assistants however unwilling. One night a lovely young woman sang opera and played the piano. All around the entertainment was just that . . . entertaining. We were back in our cabin by 10 pm most nights and gladly so since for some reason our bodies thought the time to get up was about 5 am.

And now about our dinners. The food was spectacular, but the best part was definitely our wonderful waiters and the couple we shared our table with. It was amazing to find ourselves at a table with a couple from Oregon, and even more amazing to find the wife's name to be Rita (same as me). We made fast friends and I really miss chatting with them each evening.

Our wonderful waiter Lucio and his assistant/wine steward Abu were so amazing we wanted to bring them home with us. He not only made sure we were swiftly seated, but helped me with Nick's wheelchair, cut his food for him and made sure we were well-fed and pampered. A couple of times they sought us out in the crowd in the atrium area outside the shops and brought Nick into the dining room when we were running late. Lucio was also our waiter in the mornings in the buffet, thanks to him spotting us heading into the buffet on our second morning on board and making sure we were seated in his section. One morning I waved to a beverage server we had befriended the first day on the ship and he came to our table to chat for a moment. Lucio (not knowing Jayson and I were friends) said, "No, he is not to get your beverages, Emil is." I told him I knew that, but Jayson and I were friends and he had stopped by to chat. Lucio smiled saying that was wonderful since Jayson was his "shipboard son, and he his shipboard father." I said that was wonderful since Jayson was also my shipboard son, and asked Lucio if that made him my shipboard husband. You should have seen the amazed look on his face. He stuttered trying to think of something to say as we all laughed at his shock. He came over and putting his hand on my shoulder said, "Is there anything you need sweetheart?" I told him, "No my darling, everything is wonderful." And so went the rest of the trip. I told him he was a wonderful husband and he told me he was a grandfather. I told him I was a grandmother so I didn't mind. I told him his wife was a lucky woman.

We found out our steward, and many other employees on the ship sign on for a year at a time. Most working for 10 months without a day off, then getting a two month holiday to spend with their families. I don't know how they do it. Lucio found out he was a grandfather after being home for three days. He said by the time he arrived home there was nothing to be done about it anyway, so it just hurt his feelings that it was hidden from him for fear of his being upset. They had wanted his first few days home to be happy and relaxing. He felt he had lost several days with the new grandchild and made his family swear to tell him everything immediately in the future.

The islands we went to were amazingly lush with vegetation. Do you know how many varieties of papaya, mango and breadfruit there are? I had no idea how many different heights and types of palm trees there are either. We saw noni-fruit, pineapples, mango and all sorts of other fruits growing along-side the road. Our taxi driver said no one in Tahiti goes hungry. Food grows wild everywhere, and no one is every turned away by a neighbor if he is truly hungry.

When we were on the island of Rangiroa Aunt Kay and I went on a glass-bottom boat ride. What a fascinating adventure that was!! Beautiful tropical fish, some sort of "pipe fish," huge eels, sand sharks, and even a manta ray. Wow, we were so lucky. Marcello, our tour guide, said he hadn't seen a manta ray for a long time. Even the snorklers who were nearby missed seeing it.

The people were beautiful, and had the most amazing hair. They said their skin and hair (especially the women's) is treated with Monoi (the traditionally made coconut oil). Most of the women allow their hair to grow long, many of the men, too, but short is acceptable. If they are seriously involved in dancing the girls and women let their hair grow long, the boys and men are often tattooed with traditional designs. Many of the women are too. The dancing is similar to what is found in Hawaii, since it too is Polynesian. We were treated to dancing exhibitions in a couple of different ports, but the one that stands out was in Raiatea. It was the only port aside from Papeete where we could dock directly instead of having to take small tender boats to the wharf. They brought a variety of children on board, the youngest being two 5-year-old girls, which of course I found interesting since I have a 5-year-old granddaughter. They were adorable and so photogenic. The older ladies (mamas) also brought a variety of leis and "crowns" for sale, so Aunt Kay, Nick and I ended up looking very Polynesian that night. The flowers smelled wonderful and made our cabin a lovely tropical place to sleep as well. Tiare Tahiti is a wonderful variety of gardenia and the scent is sweet and used in many of the varieties of monoi products along with ylang ylang.

We visited a lot of different local shops as we traveled around and I quickly became accustomed to the different money, interpreting prices for Aunt Kay. There were a few location that accepted US currency, including Rangiroa and Bora Bora. The exchange rate in Bora Bora being the best for local crafts, one dollar per hundred francs. Many places the exchange rate was 7000 francs per $100. Needless to say I bought a gift for myself in Bora Bora. I took an amazing underwater tour on something called an Aqua-Bike. Riding on something that was a cross between a motor-scooter and a submarine. The tour lasted about 2-1/2 hours including a wonderful boat ride around a large Motu (offshore island). We even saw a school of stingrays in shallow water (no we weren't in the water at the time). It was an amazing adventure, and my back is still peeling from the sunburn I got that day. My gift for myself, purchased at Baldini's, is a beautiful black circle pearl set in sterling silver and mother of pearl in the shape of a sea turtle (one of the special symbols of the islands). Nick sent me back the next day to buy three more for him to give as gifts. My pearl is a beautiful grade B peacock color. Those I found for him were different colors and all grade A in the same jewelry shop at the same price, but new merchandise the jeweler had just brought in that morning. It's all about timing, I guess.

We only got Nick off the boat in a tender in one location, Moorea. And the tour we went on was fascinating, unfortunately it was raining horribly so we couldn't really see much. We drove to the top of a mountain to have a wonderful view of the mountain known to fans of the movie South Pacific as Bali Hai. Fortunately we had seen it from our balcony on the ship first thing in the morning.

Our voyage was put on film at every port and at a couple of formal evenings. I don't normally wear much dressy stuff, but tried to be as dressy as I could with what was relatively cool and comfortable.

Each day brought new adventures both in and outside our cabin. My daily ritual began with preparing Nick's medications for the day. (He takes about 15 different types of pills and 2 different types of insulin shots. I got the meds ready for the entire day first thing each morning while my mind was fresh.) Then got us both dressed and headed out the door with the assistance of Geoffrey. I knew we would return to an immaculate cabin, and a big welcome back smile and friendly greeting for Aunt Kay, "Sir" Nick and me.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I said of course I wanted to go on a wonderful vacation with them. I don't remember working this hard for most of the past 10 years. The rewards were a lot of laughter, and seeing Nick enjoy the times he was able to. I am still tired and we have been home for a week and a half now. But looking back I wouldn't change a thing, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Good grief this summer is flying past

Here is the favorite bead of the most recent ones I have made, I call her "Mango Mamma:"

The hours in the antique mall get extended from 11-5 to 10-6 which takes a big hunk out of my days, not to mention making me get up an hour earlier. That might not sounds like much to those of you who only have to get yourself ready to face the day, but those of you with small children or elderly parents like me have another person or persons to prep, too. I get up at least two hours before I have to leave the house just to factor in time for getting my dad up and going in the morning. And of course factor in my daughter getting married this coming Sunday, and you pretty much have the picture of my life lately. Some days it only takes a half an hour and those mornings are a blessing, actually allowing me the time to shower and take care of me. Other mornings I am still running back and forth like a maniac and tossing him PB&J on my way out the door, praying the traffic won't be too bad and I make it the four miles to work in time to open the door at 10. Well, not only have I not been updating this for a bit, but I haven't had many beads to add either. And here is a new photo of me in my new Ghost Trappers T-Shirt. I won it in a raffle on The Gamers Force website. Ghost Trappers is a Facebook game, which has a huge following and tons of special events players can participate in. Obviously I love it!!

Obviously I haven't made too many beads this summer yet, but I haven't given it up nor do I plan to. I am awaiting the delivery of my oxygen concentrator (which I think will occur in about two weeks time), and then will upgrade to a bigger torch with more flame control, as well as more heat and the ability to create far more beads in less time. I actually have put in a few torching sessions since the last post, but not many. Let me start back at the beginning . . . of summer that is. I hurt my back and then my shoulders, so obviously I took a few weeks off, and have been crazy busy with wedding plans ever since. Not to mention (okay I am mentioning it) the gem / bead shows I have been to and the one I was a vendor at. I have also been to a farmer's market as a vendor. It was awesome!!! I have had a lot of fun, learned even more and even figured out what sort of displays work and don't work for selling lampwork beads. Yay!!!

Hopefully once the wedding is over (this Sunday) I will find more free time and a bit more energy again. Plans are also in the works for me to reduce my days at work to four, which would benefit both my dad and me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Beads, of course

Well, it has been too long since I updated this so I will pop in here today and say a couple things.

First, my dad has been back home for a week today, and he is still very weak but glad to be home anyway. The doctor said the spot in his lung is a little bigger, but not a big worry yet. Not that they would operate anyway, but something to be aware of.

Second, I finally had enough energy to fire up my torch on Sunday afternoon and make a few beads. I swear this weekend I am doing nothing before I spend a few hours on the torch each day. I really need to get some things made for a couple of exchanges I am in and some things to sell as well.

I made a couple of cats (as usual) my favorite one cracked, darn it, but the other one is cute. I also made a couple of new things I hadn't tried. I got some tools called Tapley's Tongs and they make perfectly shaped lentil beads. I had longed for something to make those lovely lentils and it worked perfectly. I need to experiment a bit and see which sizes I will use the most and sell the others. I also tried making an alien, actually two, but one is not for public consumption. The last thing I tried which was new was a little focal bead with some cute blue bugs on it. The first cat I attempted is now known as the cat gone wrong since the bead release broke in the middle of shaping it. Anyway, I will let you come to your own conclusions.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dad is in the hospital

Just thought I would let you all know we need all the positive energy we can get flowing this direction right now. My dad is in the hospital and we are waiting for test results, they have poked, prodded and scanned, and we have yet to hear anything from the doctor. Waiting is a horrible thing. Dad seems to be doing fine now, he was dehydrated following a short and intense illness, but is in good spirits now and they are finally feeding him. Two days with nothing to eat made him not too happy. If you know my dad, he loves his food. I think that runs in the family. He is having some skin issues, some bowels problems and got dehydrated very quickly. He had also had a cough for a few days, we thought it was an allergy, but who knows. Hopefully we will get more information tonight.

I'll keep you posted. Please keep him in your thoughts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday night, or is it Thursday morning?

I hope to find a time for hitting the torch and melting glass either tomorrow or Friday, or both days with luck. Watch for beads to come.

While you are checking things out on the computer visit a fun site for a few minutes entertainment. It is on FaceBook, a great place to connect with friends and family in a safe atmosphere, and find tons of stuff to see and do. This is a fun slot machine game. Try it out. If it doesn't cost you anything it can't be gambling, right?!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally, back on the torch again

I felt like my last weekend wasn't my own, even though it was Mother's Day. What's up with not doing what mom wants to do? Well, I can't really complain since I was treated well, worked to death, but fed, feted, and fondly remembered. I also got to see the latest Star Trek movie, which was fantastic. But, and trust me for me this is the deal breaker, I got no time to torch . . . melt glass . . . feel the heat . . . get my flame on. (Get the picture by now?)

This weekend was sooooo much better, even if it was a Friday and Saturday. Friday I said I didn't care what else was accomplished this week I was definitely making beads. About noon I turned on my kiln, and by 1:30 I fired up my torch and set some glass on fire . . . well, okay not on fire, but melty running fun anyway. Here is what was created in the process: three little cats, one of whom thinks he is going to take over the world by hypnosis and mind control, one who is a cross between a cat and a space alien, and one who my daughter says is the spitting image of my cat Baby. I also made a transparent blue organic bead wrapped in a bit of silver foil, a big organic bead in ivory, silvered ivory, light blue and turquoise. These were followed by a special order from my daughter. She said none of my glasses were grey enough to suit her but since her favorite color was green I should make her a green raccoon. Then in keeping with my trying to catch up with one of the glass groups I am in I made an olive, complete with pimento stuffing. Perfect picnic fare, or a lovely little addition to my martini. I may have to make more of these. I have been think about trying a little onion, too. Hmmm, maybe a whole new line of beads for me. Veggies made while you wait. Oh, and the wait on these is quite a while. From the time I finish making the bead and it going straight into the kiln to be annealed (about two hours) until the time the kiln actually cools down enough to open it is usually at least 6-8 hours. Sometimes I am impatiently tapping my foot, others I have given up and gone to bed.

This time I pulled the beads out of the kiln before going to bed, popped them in a nice bath of Dawn detergent and warm water and left them for morning. After removing them from the metal mandrels (no easy feat) and rinsing them again, I took them into the living room and let my 89-year-old dad take a look at them. He really loves the little raccoon. He found it hilarious my daughter wanting a green raccoon, but thinks it is pretty cute anyway.

I think my favorite bead type is the character bead, whether it is a cat, dog, or a raccoon. I like trying to give them personality. Now if I could just get good at the fine detailed little scroll work and dots I see in my head. I know, PPP (practice, practice, practice.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lampwork Bead Pendants on Parade

I thought I might as well make this it's own little post. Here is a photo (two put to gether actually) of the display of pendants in my daughter's area in the antique mall. The first photo shows the sign that hangs above the display. The top row has a stone pendant, and two rings in it, the rest are my original work.

Don't forget you can click on the photos and see them larger in more detail.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Been Crazy Busy, How About You??

Hi all!! Most of my absence is due to my being too exhausted to think straight. My daughter and her SO expanded their shop in the antique mall and added a whole new section which we filled with a huge new shipment which came in on Friday. So to start my weekend we were at the mall until 8 pm, then back there in the morning for over two hours. Some day off, huh?!! Then we went to about a half dozen outdoor locations looking at possible sites for the wedding. Did I tell you they finally set a date? On Sunday we met at the local coffee shop, Pacific Grind, for breakfast. They were so sweet and said I shouldn't be cooking on Mother's Day, and we had a wonderful time. We returned there for lunch, and continued the search for the “perfect” wedding site. We needed not only somewhere that had a beautiful spot for the ceremony, but also plenty of room to park, and wheelchair accessibility. Yikes, do you have any idea how hard it is to find a lovely treed natural spot that is wheelchair accessible? Take my word for it, hard!!! We finally found the perfect location, and it is in a state park about 5 miles south of us. Yay!!! My daughter asked the local coffee shop (our favorite) if they would be open to having an open house style wedding reception held there for a couple of hours later in the afternoon/evening on the day of the wedding. They are going to do it, so that will be interesting. Tess said she and Eric will pay for regular coffee for everyone, but if they want specialty coffee or tea drinks they will have to buy their own. Then to cap off the Mother's Day weekend festival we went to see the new Star Trek movie. It was amazing!!!! The only thing missing from my weekend was torch time. Which is probably why I am so exhausted. Flames calm me down and center me, and I didn't get any. Oh, that and the problem my dad has been having with his “intestinal” issues again. I think we have paraded up and down the hall to the bathroom on about a 1-2 hour interval since Sunday. Fortunately once he is asleep it seems to stop so at least the nights have been uninterrupted. I know he is as tired of it as I am. There is hope though because he has only been once so far today. Yay!!! The end (pun intended) is in sight!!!

I promise there will be bead photos later, along with photos of the new necklace display in the shop . . . all with my lampwork beads made into pendants. Yay!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Latest batch of beads and more

Well, the city-wide garage sales were held this past weekend and I actually had time off to go to them for a change. My daughter and I went to quite a few the first morning, then after lunch her SO joined us and the three of us hit several more. That evening we took all our "finds" to the antique mall and priced and displayed them. We had even sold a few items come Sunday. We went back out for a while on Saturday, too, just didn't find much.

Well, the city-wide garage sales were held this past weekend and I actually had time off to go to them for a change. My daughter and I went to quite a few the first morning, then after lunch her SO joined us and the three of us hit several more. That evening we took all our "finds" to the antique mall and priced and displayed them. We had even sold a few items come Sunday. We went back out for a while on Saturday, too, just didn't find much.

Saturday night my dad's lift chair broke. I wasn't at all sure what we were going to do about that, but at 89 not having one was NOT an option.

After my daughter arrived, after her SO had spent hours trying to repair the broken chair to no avail, she said she remembered reading in one of the ads a sale actually had a lift chair for sale. We checked the ads and sure enough there had been one, a one day only sale, Saturday. We took the chance of it being a typo or the people being home. The house was obviously unoccupied, or a vacation home. We found the security patrol and he told us who owned the home or at least who was having the sale. Fortunately we knew him, he still had the chair and would let me make payments. It was $300, which was what it had cost for a repairman the last time the chair had broken. This time the chair wouldn't have been able to be repaired. It had a broken weld in a major frame structure. Darned thing.

Dad has his new lift chair now and is very happy with the easy controller and the comfort. Yea!!! Here are my beads from Sunday. I got interrupted several times and still managed to squeak out four beads. Not bad considering I only had about an hour on the torch. The bead with flowers is based on a color challenge using the initials in your name. I used my maiden name so I would have three colors: red, lavender, and celery green. I also made a bead inspired by something I see on a daily basis, my crazy cat Baby, also known as Baby Bob (by my youngest granddaughter), Robert Kitten (by me), and Bob (by my dad). The bead with the goldstone center is a spin on a bead I made last week. Someone told me I should do several in different shapes and make a necklace or bracelet from them. I really like the idea, and plan more soon. The final bead is one that is a continuation of the exploration of black, raku and goldstone. I like this combination very much, what do you think?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here are the beads I didn't get uploaded a couple days ago

I don't know if there is much here, but here they are any way. First off are the purple hearts and butterflies I made for Beads of Courage. These are my first attempts at butterflies, so don't laugh.
Okay go ahead and laugh a little, I did, too. I really want to make them more realistic, but I don't think that is in the cards at this point. I will make some more cartoony butterflies this weekend. I know I will find a few hours of torch time in store for me then.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Sunday, what's that mean? More BEADS!!!

I spent several hours yesterday and today both creating glass beads. I have no clue what the ones I made today will look like, but the ones I made yesterday are great!!! I am really happy with them all. Check them out and tell me what you think. If you want to see them bigger, just click on the photos. Today I made several beads for Beads of Courage, if you don't know what that is, please click on the name and it will take you to their website. It is a really important program supported in part by fellow glass melters like me. Look through the information there and figure out where you can help out.

I will be back later tonight after the kiln cools and show you what I made today. It is warm and beautiful here today, of course the kitchen area is really warm, the torch has been going for over four hours and the kiln has been on for six.

The cat is trying really hard to drive me crazy. I let him in not more than five minutes ago and now he is crying to go back out. This is a pretty normal activity around our house. I just can't get a cat door because there are too many animals in our neighborhood who would love nothing more than to sneak into our house and go on a scavenger hunt. Not the least of which are raccoons. They got into my daughter's home last summer and destroyed half her kitchen and ate everything that wasn't either canned or in the refrigerator. What a disaster area it was when they were through.

Dad and I both have a cold / flu right now and are trying to get over the cough. It has been an uphill battle and I don't see the end in sight. Hoping a cold is all it is. If so it will be over in another 5-6 days at most.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday again

My goodness the last week passed in a blur. It was spring break in Oregon, and the central Oregon coast is a popular destination. The place I work is an antique mall and consequently tourism driven like many local businesses. The horrible traffic and long hours paid off with lots of sales and sore knees. I was longing to get back to the torch, but at the end of the day just too tired. So yesterday and today I spent many hours with flames and melting glass. Yea!!! Some of the things I made even worked out as well coming out of the kiln as they did going in. The photos are of what I found when I opened the kiln last night. I am hoping for an even better showing tonight. I especially like the long SW colored bead, the cute little cat (with a crack, darn it), and the pea pod. I finished up a lot of beads I needed for a Sock Hop exchange I am in, as well as the crazy looking one that was an assignment for an online class I am taking. Overall I am pretty happy with the results of over three hours spent melting glass. What do you think?

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Blog got an award!!!

My friend Louise, from Fireseed, gave my blog an award for exhibiting either gratitude or a great attitude. I am very honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award. Here is what it’s all about:

The Lemonade Award is given to sites which the giver thinks show either great attitude and or gratitude.
The rules for these awards are:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate 10 other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

I don’t think I’ll make it to link to ten other blogs but here are some for starters!

They are not just my friends, but they are incredible designers / flameworkers / silversmiths, but also fabulous promoters of their own work and the work of others!! Thanks for all you do!!

Pam The Blue Between
Maggie Bead Towne
Gwen Valley Creek Studio
Cheryl Lavender Cottage
Angela Blue Lagoon Blog
Barrie Barrie's Jewelry World
Deronda Deronda Designs

Well, nothing much new today. Got my beads out of the soak this morning and there are a couple of good ones some mediocre ones and some really bad ones. Oh well, at least I made some. I also know now why Louise makes Monkees and I make cats, and skulls. The monkeys that survived are sort of like Larry, Moe and Curly. One of the peapods has a crack in the back and the other one has a sharp spot (I am going to try filing down). Yikes. But dang it one of my skulls had its pupil pop off. I was so focused on heating and reheating I forgot to melt them in a bit. At least there are a couple of things that actually worked. That's what I get for trying to make Sock Hop beads. I made five spacers on one mandrel, but only have four because I have no clue where one of them went to. It came off the mandrel hit the kitchen floor and shot off somewhere. Dad says I will find it with my bare feet after I have forgotten about it.
From the final bead you will see I even tried pulling twisty, quite an feat for someone who has never really been taught to pull stringer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday is here, the calendar says it's spring . . where is it?

Just a quick drive by to say I had a fantastic time torching last night. I didn't make much, but what I did is great. Here is a preview of what I made. See if you can identify it:

I'll be back later with the rest of the beads. Suffice it to say this was definitely my favorite. How fun is this!!! I also made a ruffled bead, a purple and turquoise bead and some little ivory spacers (4-on a rod) just to see if I could.

As promised, here are the others. Some little dark ivory spacers, a wavy bead made with copper green and silvered ivory stringer (SIS to glassy folks) over Opal yellow. I heated gravity swirled and crimped it, then reduced it to bring out the metallic shine. Then I made a bead that is nearly 1.25" (31mm) high using a dark ivory base with turquoise and EDP (Evil Devitrifying Purple-I love it!!) and SIS, then squished and dotted and melted and dotted with transparent purple. Isn't it a cool bead. I made the back flat so it would lie nicely when worn. Don't forget if you want to see them bigger, just click on them.