Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions. . . or Are They Really Un-Resolutions?



  • A year-long resolution is too easy for me to mentally shove into "next month", so I will start each morning with a resolution for the day.
  • It would be a good idea to think about this daily resolution as I drink my morning cup of espresso. Maybe that's a key to forming a new habit-- tie it to the coattails of an already ingrained habit!
  • Exercising and eating better, those classic New Year's resolutions, really ought to be on my daily list, too. These are the ones that I'm so good at mentally shoving into "tomorrow" or "next week" or "starting on the first day of next month". For a while after I had the kids, I really tried hard to eat right, lift weights, and jog. . . and then almost three years ago, I fell off the wagon big time! It started with the excuse that it was just too hot and humid outside, then it was too cold, yada, yada, yada, until here I am almost 42 and feeling rotten. You know what? That has to change, so right now I am going to save this post and go use that elliptical exercise thingie. . . be back in a few minutes! No sense promising you I'll go do twenty or thirty minutes, but even 5 minutes will be more than I have been doing, ya know? *****Okay, I'm back. I did 7 minutes, got off to check the clock, went back for 4 more minutes. I guess maybe there's a reason Nike's "Just Do It" catchphrase was such a hit once upon a time, huh?
  • Once a packrat, probably always a packrat, but I will try to limit the amount of new stuff I accumulate. Glass can come in the door, of course. A new t-shirt once in a while, that's okay. Library books, those are a good thing, so I'll limit the books I buy.
  • Recycle and reuse more! I promise not to dig in your trash can for aluminum cans or bottles (nope, I'm not the one who actually does this; this is just a way of saying I won't be quite as bossy about it as some people), but I will do more of it myself. I prefer reusing things, I really do, but that tends to feed my packrat tendencies. . . so more effort shall go into the recycling part this year :)
  • The inner soul resolutions, well, those I intend to take day by day. I really wanted to talk about those in this post, but my writing muse isn't feeling very eloquent today. . .there's so much to delve into when it comes to working on yourself, isn't there? One thing I'm learning is that learning is a lifelong process. Nobody suddenly turns 40 and instantly knows the secret to life. I've heard it won't happen at 50 or 60, either :)
  • Water, gotta drink more water and less Diet Coke.
Well, that's a start, isn't it? Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Of Jimmy Neutron and Funny Little Kids. . .


Katie woke up this morning with a joke in her brain.
"Psst, Mommy, turn around here and listen to this."
So, I turned my head and looked deep into those light blue eyes, and this is what I heard:

"Roger that, big-headed kid!"

If you don't know about Jimmy Neutron, you won't get the joke, but that just happens to be one of our favorite quotes from that show. Jimmy Neutron's brain is so big that his head is huge. No one on the show mentions the big head very much, although they do count on Jimmy's brain to solve all sorts of problems. One problem involves a giant Ms. Fowl, the military, and Jimmy. As the military leader is flying to the scene, Jimmy radios a message to him and the reply is

"Roger that, big-headed kid!"

It's too funny when it comes out of the mouth of a grownup who's supposedly leading soldiers to the scene of mayhem. My kids know it makes me laugh every time, too :)
This Neutron-fest continued with made-up quotes from Jimmy's friend Carl.

" I don't know, Jimmy, I'm allergic to space. . ."

"I would Jimmy, but my mom doesn't like me exploring space without my air helmet."

There's just nothing like a good giggle with the little people! Hope your day has been a fun one, too!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pashmina, the Chess Queen


She's warm.
She's caressable.
She's an heirloom in the making.
Pashmina, the Chess Queen.

This is definitely a chess piece, gotta be the ivory queen because she's so powerful and feminine at the same time. She's got an incredible texture, thanks to the properties of dark ivory Effetre glass. She's got attitude, too, thanks to me (but you already knew that, didn't ya?).
The name Pashmina comes from the Christmas present from my sister, a pashmina shawl that is soooooo caressable, soooooo warm, soooooo durable. . . and I think this particular "Pashmina" reflects many of those traits in her face.
I've been thinking about all sorts of ideas this week while I was away from the torch, and this is one of them-- instead of making an entire chess set in one fell swoop, why not make a series of extraordinary glass queens who can replace their ordinary chess piece counterparts? Each one will be a collectible, but in a very usable way. Your own signature chess piece, how's that for cool on the board?
More ideas are brewing, but the van must be unloaded. Goodness, gracious, what a lot of goodies we all got for Christmas! Yep, real life calls. . .talk to you again soon!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Call of the Wild...and the Tail End of the Holidays


Hey, everybody, how's your holiday going? Mine is great, but passing by much too quickly!
This is the first time I've come to town by myself (that's the big treat for me when we come to Grandma's-- gotta love the Grandma!), and I'm sitting in Panera, sipping a Jones' soda instead of the espresso I was anticipating. Argh! I just heard the espresso repairwoman drop a piece and then ask the restaurant staff, "Sooooooo, do you guys have a Lowe's or Home Depot around here?" Guess that means I might as well not plan on grabbing that espresso before I leave here, huh? Oh, well, it's still a nice afternoon.
You can probably tell I'm not in a writing groove, can't ya? Sorry to make this lone post so far this week a short one, but shopping all by myself calls! Actually, I still have three little presents to pick up, so better get to it. Hope everyone is having a great week, Ang

Friday, December 21, 2007

Something Pretty and Sparkley

Sneak peek at something pretty from me!

You know I do "soulful" more often than "pretty," so this is an unusual direction for me to take this week. . .but it is fun! Layers and layers of glass flow into these masks, and then I get to play with my old stash of seed beads, crystals, and silver so I can decorate the masks.

Don't forget to click me up while you're at it, okay?

Hey, here's to a great weekend! Happy Holidays!
Ang

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dance with Abandon. . .


Find more photos like this on Indiepublic


Now, what have I told you about each new thing I make becoming my "all-time favorite"??
This free spirit is definitely going to hold a place in my heart for quite a while. . .
Don't we all wish we could live and dance and love and create with such abandon?

Here's to a bit of such freedom in your life today. Let it take you some place you've always wanted to be, or let it take you back to some time you've always regretted leaving. Let it open your soul, or let it heal your soul. Let it whisper inspiration to your muse, or let it grab your hands and guide them as you create. Let it, just let it.



P.S. Still photos are in my gallery at BeadArtists.org

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Torch It Tuesday! Yeah!


Oshun Rising from the River

She's another goodie from the Glass Line article I did for December/January. She is one of my all time favorite pieces, well, so far, anyway.
Every new thing I make become my favorite, if you really want to know the truth!
I just finished torching for the day, the first time I've torched steadily all day long in weeks.
It was great!
I don't know if there are any pieces to rival Oshun in the kiln right now, but I do know there are some pretty cool things. They're biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig, too! I wasn't going for detail, so I didn't do any multi-piece sculptures like Oshun today. Nope, today, I did great big honkin' hunks of molten glass nudged into shapes. Big, chunky, abstract feeling shapes.
Damn, that was fun!
Hope your Tuesday has been a good one, too!
I am now off to get the kiddos from school. . .TaTaCatchYaLaterGater :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Would You Like Ice with That?



Just in case you are one of the few people in the Northern hemisphere who didn't get snow and ice this weekend, here are a couple of pics :)

Catchup day here, so look for bead and sculpture pics later in my gallery at BeadArtists.org.
Check out my Etsy shop for last minute holiday shopping.
Have a fun day, and send me some warm-enough-to-melt-snow weather vibes, 'kay?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Jack Frost Meets Mother Earth


This morning, there is a layer of ice-encrusted wet snow on the ground, but yesterday morning, it was all Jack Frost's show!
Crystals of frost clung to the hardy cabbage leaves, and Mother Earth thought it would be a perfect setting for her portrait :)

Just checking in today, thought you might like a picture of this latest Mother Earth sculpture.
We aren't snowed in here, but we have family visiting and they've decided to spend another night instead of doing the rest of their long drive in mushy snow.
More from me tomorrow, tatafornow, and have a great weekend,
Ang

Friday, December 14, 2007

Weird Stuff. . .Brights and Not a Goddess in Sight


It's four a.m.
This picture ought to be good for keeping me awake
or
It just might trigger some kooky weird cartoonish cubist dreams if I go back to sleep.

Wanna guess the inspiration for these?
Long story, relatively short: Been having these strange problems involving my ear and jaw for months now. Waiting to see a doc in St. Louis. Whole thing is fairly disconcerting, makes it kinda hard to concentrate on anything else. Decided to make a funky ear mask or two. Remembered Van Gogh cutting off his ear but got him mixed up with Picasso. Not an art history buff, can you tell? Anyway, the first one reminded me of Picasso's imagery and Van Gogh's ear.
Going to put this trio on a display and call it

Pablo, Can You H(ear) Me?



Right now, though? Gonna go back to bed for a few hours. Friday is going to be rushed but fun. Gonna spend the (real) morning cleaning house, then family coming to spend the night! James and Kate are so excited to see their cousins, they've been counting down the days all week long.
Hope you have a great start to your weekend, too!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Toooot-tootl-lee-toot! Marketing Yourself as an Artist


Toot- toooooot-toootl-le-toooooot!

That's the sound of me, blowing my own horn and being excited because I got my Glass Line December/January issue. . .and I'm in it! I wrote an article about distilling emotion and pouring it into glass, hoping it would give lots of people ideas for inspiration. Each and every creative soul is unique, so I did not write a follow-it-by-the-number, step-by-exact-step article. Instead, I listed ideas for finding inspiration at the torch.

*sigh of relief* See, that bit of marketing myself wasn't so hard to do. Now, those of you who've known me all my life will smirk and say with a smile, "When did you ever have a problem showing off?" The rest of you, well, your perceptions could vary widely, depending upon the day and where you run across me. Sometimes, I am practically shouting, "lookie, lookie, I'm so excited, look what I made!" Other times, you'll wonder why I waste good advertising space on rambling thoughts about art and life, instead of pimping my Etsy shop in hopes of making more sales.

Chances are, if you are an artist, you have the same quandaries about marketing yourself. Sometimes it's easy and fits naturally with a situation, but other times it feels forced or phony. Well, I'm here to tell you, it's okay! I'm also here to tell you, I don't have the answers or I'd be living off the royalties of a best-selling book with the title How to Make a Living as an Artist. You've been warned, so don't forget to take these ideas with a grain of salt. Take the ones you can use, make them work for you. No matter what the study of economics says, I happen to think there's room on this planet for as many artists as we can find :)

Here are some basic ideas for marketing yourself. Many of them might sound boring, but sometimes we all need reminders, huh?

****First off, don't forget that this isn't really so much about marketing as it is about having self-confidence ****
  • Wear your work if possible! If you make jewelry, make sure you are wearing a piece of it everywhere you go, and that includes out the door in your pajamas to get the newspaper out of the box ;)
  • If your work isn't the wearable kind, then take a picture of it and have it transferred onto a t-shirt that you can wear!
  • Give a piece of your work to someone who loves it. We're not really talking about just marketing here, we're talking about self-confidence. Just knowing how much someone else appreciates a piece of work made by your hand is going to be a boost to your confidence every single time you think about it. Giving of yourself is funny that way-- it multiplies joy exponentially because the recipient feels the joy and shares it with others and you feel incredible when you realize "they like me, they really do like me." You may be the giver, but in reality you are the recipient!
  • Display your artwork in your home. Display other artists' work in your home. Art is essential to the soul.
  • Each and every day, tell somebody about something you've made recently. If you don't tell them, how will they know? Plus, your enthusiasm for creating will probably inspire someone else along the way. . . and as far as the marketing part, well, the more times you do it, the more comfortable you'll be the next time :)
Okay, I know I oughtta give you some links to some printing sites and marketing discussions, but I'm supposed to be torching. . . and I have to admit that I'm not sure who has the best deals, who has the best advice, etc. So, adios for now, amigas.

And, hey, don't forget to carry your business card with you everywhere you go!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Nuts and Bolts of Glass



Ever wonder about the nuts and bolts of glass?
Well, this might sound nuts, but so did I. . .
Wonder about bolts in particular, that is.

I've seen lots of antique keys with beads melted right on them lately, and they are really neat(if you click here it takes you to Jayne of Badger Beads and her cool keys)!
I didn't have any old keys laying around, but I sure do have a five gallon bucket full of junk salvaged from Pop and Bubby's scrap buckets in their big shop.

By the way, if it's in Pop's or Bubby's scrap bucket, it really is scrap. . . those guys save everything that might have any possible use anytime in the future of the universe!
So, I tried a few blanks that go with the hardware on bathroom stalls, but they either didn't stick or really didn't look interesting at all.
The last thing I tried was a big old bolt.
Don't know what it goes with, but now it has a decorative glass face for a handle ;)

Now, to the nuts and bolts of my day-- get kids ready for school, take some pictures for my BeadArtists gallery pages, put something new in the Etsy shop, you get the idea.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Winter Day in Microcosm

A Winter Day in Microcosm

Consider this a mini journal of a stymied photographer's quest for colorful visual interest on a bleak and foggy morning in December. I am starved for a bright flower or stray feather with touches of red, for pristine snow clinging to the north side of a gnarled tree.
My ear was feeling as foggy as the dark gray overcast horizon, so I decided to go outside in search of these distractions.

No bright flowers mistakenly blooming out of season, and no feathers strewn about under the trees. I did find these seed pods on a vine:

This lonely birdhouse is nestled behind that vine with the interesting seed pods. I hear geese in the distance some mornings, and flocks of starlings cover the treetops on other mornings. The bitty songbirds and their friends who might like this little condominium don't seem to be at home these days. Of course, I know winter is upon us, and I know enough to know that I don't really know which small birds winter here. As usual, my interest in a particular aspect of nature seems to be ill-timed. Ah, but if we only peered at Mother Nature when she's displaying spectacular foliage or twittering songbirds, we'd miss a great deal of the show, wouldn't we?

I have to say, though, that to my dismay, I've come to believe our backyard is something of a "green desert." I don't remember where I ran across that term. It refers to an environment which is natural looking at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious there aren't as many different species of plants and animals thriving in it as there might have been at one time. The landscape has been cleared of plants that are native to the area, weeds and "wild" plants have been removed. There may be abundance, but not variety. The animals which would have lived in these tiny communities no longer have a place to burrow or build nests or find seeds, so they leave for thicker thickets.

Lonely as they seem in world of sameness, these maple trees do indeed inspire me. How could they not? Even on a dreary day like this, I found a tiny waterfall created as what little bit of ice we had melts and drips down the moss covered bark of a maple.

And just to end this little montage on a greener note, the cabbage plant didn't get the memo about winter arriving! How's this for a hardy plant? The bugs ate the first leaves way back in September, so I gave up on the cabbage. Before I knew it, the cabbage had recovered on its own, with no extra water or Miracle Gro from me. When the frost bit hard a few weeks ago, I took the barely palm sized head of cabbage from the middle. . .but the rest of the leaves continue growing, even gathering water from melting bits of ice.

Hmmm, I guess you could say my journey outdoors this morning didn't follow a path I chose, but it did follow an interesting path after all!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Study of Beauty

The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated.
--Charles Baudelaire

Well, Monsieur Baudelaire garnered attention in the 1800's because the subjects of his poems were scandalous, but this quote is wonderful. What artist hasn't contemplated beauty? What artist hasn't struggled with his skills and available materials and tried to wrest a beautiful object from them?

What artist hasn't been defeated by this duel?

There are so many personal nuances in the definition of beauty. I won't bother trying to define beauty, but I do want to talk about the artist's struggle to portray it. I think all artists define themselves in relation to beauty, whether or not we want to admit it. Each stroke of a brush, each chip of stone, each gentle nudge of molten glass, all of these are made by an artist trying to define beauty in some way. Some end results are beautiful in a very "pretty" way, some are beautiful in a very soul-baring but not necessarily pretty way.

In the end, many of the things we create do define beauty in some way. Whether a particular piece of art is an affirmation of beauty or the antithesis of beauty, it lends boundaries to the concept of beauty. Whether a piece of art recreates the perfect, intricate details of a rose or reveals the inner soul of a withered rose of a human-being, it tells us something about beauty.

I don't make "pretty" beads. This is my own assessment, and the thought that accompanies it in my mind and makes it acceptable to me is "but I make soulful, evocative art on occasion." Still, when you think about it, those soulful, evocative pieces of art are also expressions of beauty-- inner beauty. Each attempt adds to the definition of beauty, lends another image to the description of inner beauty.

Seems Monsieur Baudelaire was right about one thing-- the study of beauty is quite the inner duel for many an artist. It may not always make us cry with terror, but it sure does make us think, doesn't it?





Sunday, December 9, 2007

Building Fake Gingerbread Houses


What a way to start a Sunday morning-- using icing from a can and graham crackers to build fake gingerbread houses! It was fun, but we did have a few structural problems, as you can see from the collapsed roof on Katie's marshmallow and jelly bean creation.

We glued graham cracker squares together with the icing, then anchored them to the paper plates with more icing. After Mommy carefully painted the sides of the houses with a very thick coat of icing, James and Kate decorated them with marshmallows, jelly beans, and pieces of Twizzlers. Katie had a smiley face on one side of hers, and James had some Twizzler/licorice siding happening on his.

I know there are people who have the patience and knowledge to create incredibly elaborate gingerbread houses. Click here for proof, this is a gorgeous palace created by someone named Jackie French Koller. Wow, and that's just the beginning, I'm sure. Her name was just one of the first that came up when I googled "elaborate gingerbread houses."

After plenty of experience working with both elderly people with Alzheimer's and with children in a daycare, my take on these things has to be a little different. . . when I do these things with my kids, I tailor the activity so that it becomes something they can almost do by themselves. I also make sure to get enough materials so that I can make one of whatever the activity is, too. That way, I don't feel the need to keep tweaking and perfecting their's. That, my friends, is easier said than done if you have an ounce of creativity! Your fingers itch to grab a falling wall or straighten a stray piece of Twizzler.

We'd talk about it a little more, but I believe my graham cracker builder and the marshmallow brick layer are snitching materials from the building site! Better go put a few things away! Have a nice Sunday, stay warm and dry and happy :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Santa, Why Don't Ya Just Shop Here?


Wonder where Santa does his shopping for all the good big boys and girls on his list?

I was carrying this Mother Earth goddess statue around the house, looking for an interesting photo backgrounds, when I saw this Santa hat laying on the counter. Ah, that oughtta have some good possibilities, huh? Look for new pictures later today in my gallery at BeadArtists.org.

Now, back to the question. Wonder where Santa does his shopping for the grownups on his "good" list? Ya gotta hope he supports all those artists and artisans out there, huh? Well, if you are on your way out the door to play Santa and check some names off your lists of presents to buy, why not take a minute to check out Etsy first? Etsy is filled with handmade treasures of all sorts, and you're sure to find something unique and special for at least one of your loved ones. Don't forget to stop by my Etsy store for some interesting glass goodies with spiritual and mystical flair. . .okay, they may not be everyone's style, but that's why Etsy is cool. Once you check out my style, you can scope out literally hundreds of other glass artists.

Hope your Saturday is a fun one! We can talk about Santa some more later! Did you hear? He's not real?? I don't believe it! I happen to think he's alive in the spirit of giving. . . oh, yeah, we'll talk some more, but right now I've gotta to-do list tapping its fingers on the counter and impatiently waiting :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mmmmmm-Marshmallow Igloos


Oh, the weather outside was not frightful, and the kids thought some snow would be delightful, but since we had no snow, we just built things with marshmalloooooooooooow. . .

James and Kate are not-so-patiently searching the sky and the weather forecast for snow these days. They see a snowflake on the weather forecast and foresee snow drifts and snowmen.

Yesterday at the grocery, marshmallows were on sale, and it reminded me of something I did with the daycare kids one time. The school age kids at the daycare spent an entire afternoon engrossed in this activity, so I figured it just might be a hit with James and Kate now that they are older. Exactly what do you do with the marshmallows? Why, you poke toothpicks through them to hold them together, and you build igloos!

Bonus: You can eat the fluffy part of your building material. Personally, I'm not too crazy about a marshmallow unless it's had a little excursion over the fire and come home with a deep tan. James loves them, though. . .and the nice thing is that he quickly tires of the novelty of them when there are packages and packages of them right before his very eyes, meaning he doesn't eat too many of the sugar blobs.

Whatever you're building today, hope it's fun! Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cape Dance Woman


Remember Abstractia from yesterday? I asked other glassy peeps at LampworkEtc what they saw in it, and I got some interesting answers. One of my favorite interpretations was that Abstractia called to mind a goddess with a flamboyant wrap, "like she's doing a Spanish dance."

I also got to talk to my friend Joan yesterday. Joan is so down-to-earth and kind, and she's a wonderful cheerleader to have on your side, too! When she tells you she likes your art, she really means it. . .and you know it, and that just makes a creative soul soar!

Well, all these ideas and thoughts were swirling in my mind when I finally got to the breezeway to torch yesterday afternoon, and it made for a great day! It was one of those torching sessions where you just know what comes out of the kiln the next morning will be as spectacular as you remember it being when you put it in the kiln.

So, there ya have it, the Cape Dance Woman and the thoughts behind her :)
And let me see if I can't hook ya up with some links to the homepages and photos of some of the wonderful people who were (unknowingly) a part of it:

Those are just the peeps who had links to their websites in their signature lines, so I gotta also say a big Thanks to everyone else who took the time to comment :) You made my day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Abstractia


Oh, well, I thought, "it's another opportunity to practice and experiment." I started with the intent of making a flat round labyrinth bead, one with a dark turquoise base and Nile green path. The path didn't cooperate with the size of the base, and so I melted it all in and started squishing and mixing it with my tweezers. At that point, I decided it needed a base so it could stand by itself. The interesting thing about adding a base or a top to a flat round bead is that it will get a graceful turn in it if you work hot and fast. I love this turn, and it always makes me think of goddesses. . . so here she is, Abstractia the abstract goddess.

She calls to me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Christmas Tree for the Birds

Take some branches that fell in the yard. Stick them into an unused flower pot (pour in a few gallons of hot water to thaw the frozen dirt if you need to-- hey, it worked). Buy a jar of peanut butter just for this task (scroll down to see why you don't want to use the same jar you plan on using for sandwiches). Give the kiddos butter knives and instructions to cover some branches in peanut butter (it ain't as easy to do as you might think-- ask James how many globs of peanut butter got away from him).


Grab a handful of birdseed. Cup your hand around the peanut buttered branches. See how much bird seed you actually get on the peanut butter (once again, it ain't as easy as you might expect-- could have dipped the coated branches into a plate of bird seed, but that wouldn't have been as much fun, ya know!).


Note to starlings who were stealing the cat food yesterday-- check the ground under the bird seed tree for some extra goodies (and please leave Moochie's chow for her to eat! and by the way, you are birds, she is a cat, ain't ya just a little skeered of hopping around in her territory?).

There ya have it, a Christmas tree for the birds. Hopefully, some of them will like it. I'm hoping the smaller birds will be able to land on the branches and get some chow. I'm not sure about the bigger birds, but hey, they can always steal the cat food :)

I'm not a birdwatcher, by any stretch of the imagination, at least I didn't think of myself that way until I read How to Be a (Bad) Birdwatcher by Simon Barnes. Talk about a fun weekend read! It isn't chock full of specific information, but it is chock full of Barnes' attitude and humor and stories about birdwatching. What you take away from reading it is an enthusiasm for just looking at birds and starting to learn a few that you don't already know.

Barnes starts out by reminding you that you already know many different birds. What?? Me?? Yes, you. You know ducks. You know cardinals. You know eagles. You know swans. You get the point. Then, he gleefully reassures you that you will never be able to identify all of the bird species in your part of the world. . . and that's okay. Just have fun, enjoy the birds, learn a few at a time, and be a "bad" but enthusiastic birdwatcher.

I like this attitude. I'll let you know if I catch a glimpse of any birds at their Christmas tree today. . . and you can rest assured the starlings will be here to snitch a bit of cat chow.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tree Spirits: Experimental Sisters to Green Men

Tree Spirits.
Experimental glass.
Real soul.


For those of you who do glass, let me just say that these are called "experimental" for good reason. You know I pretty much always ignore the rules and burn the snot out of ivory and turquoise and Nile green, so I've gotten used to working hot and big and fast. That doesn't work so well with transparents like the greens and ambers in these big Tree Spirits. I think I kept doing it, though, because the soulfulness of the faces emerging from the not quite perfect bark was apparent.

The December/January issue of Glass Line magazine has an article I wrote about distilling emotion and pouring it into glass.(I'm the second author down in the bulleted list, Angela Greer Garren.) One of the things I said was that when it comes to working glass, I'm more comparable to a moonshiner than a vintner of fine wines. I work crude, I work fast, and I'm going for the "punch". I want the emotion in one of my sculptures to knock your senses for a loop, just like the guy taking a swig of Pappy's moonshine in the song "White Lightning."

Is this the way I want my glass career to go, eschewing refined skills for crude soul? Right now, it seems that I cannot force myself to work on both aspects. When I do sit down at the torch, I need the creative release of making something that speaks to me, instead of the methodical practice of one skill. Maybe this will change over time. After all, I'm still a relative beginner (it'll be two years in February). The allure of the flame and using it to create is still strong. Once that levels off, I'm guessing I'll be ready to make myself a practice curriculum to follow for a portion of each torching day. We'll see.





Sunday, December 2, 2007

Buddha. . . and a Question about Helping Others


Buddha sitting on a rock, meditating under the branches of a sheltering tree.
You can see more pictures and read about him later today in my BeadArtists.org gallery pages.

Right now, I have a three part question for you.
  • If someone gave you $1 million to use to help others, what would you do with it?
  • If someone gave you $100 to use to help others, what would you do with it?
  • If someone gave you $10 to use to help others, what would you do with it?
I don't know my answers yet, and unless Oprah calls me with an offer to help with the $1 million, that answer isn't pressing. I can do the $10, so that's what I'm going to think about today. The $100? Can't say that I'll do it all at once, but why not make a plan for the new year?

Okay, I'm off to do some Mommy stuff and plan the best way to use that $10 later this afternoon. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sunshine and Shells. . . and a few annoyingly cheery songs


Sunshine and shells, right here on the kitchen counter!

I'd love to take this picture outside, in the sunshine, but alas, it is all of 30 degrees F and the sun is not up yet! I love ya and all, but I ain't heading outdoors in my flannel pj's and fuzzy fake converse houseslippers to take another pic.

The shells and sunny colors of the beads kinda brighten things up, though, dontcha think?

Here's something else to brighten your day:

Carrot Song video

Egg Song video

They are cheery, aren't they? Almost annoyingly cheery, good thing I had my cup of coffee already. Now I want some eggs for breakfast!

Hope your Saturday is a fun one!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Scandalous!Tigger Crashed the Barbie Hot Tub!

Look out! The toys are getting out of control around here, and I can't guarantee that the WebKinz gorilla won't snatch that banana right out of your hand before you even get the first bite. Hey, the little yappyfluffypoodletype stuffed animals have been sprung from their purses and are constantly underfoot. The Barbies are in the bedroom plotting a scheme to lure Tigger out of their hot tub. SpongeBob, Patrick, and Plankton have put aside their differences and joined forces against the baby dolls.
Yep, Tigger was happily bathing in the Barbie house hot tub this morning when I came into the living room. No more Hunnert Acre Wood camping out for that guy, he's hooked on the amenities now!

If you are snickering and wondering if the toys have finally driven me cuckoo, you just might be right. . . well, not insane yet, but man, oh, man, we have too much stuff in this house! I cannot shirk all of the blame onto others. I'm the one who used to feel guilty about the long hours the kids had to be at "work" with me when I worked at the daycare, so I'd buy them a toy on payday. Seemed harmless at the time, seemed like they deserved something of a little treat, and seems like I wish I'd thought that one all the way through! Of course, the kiddos also get goodies because they are the only grandkids on my side, some friends here don't have grandchildren yet and "adopted" ours, and let's not forget that my children love to go thrift store and yard sale shopping with me and Grandma. Geezopeezo, little kids can sure find a lot of bargains with three bucks in their hand.

You know what? The rest of this post could go oh so many ways. We could talk about how kids have so much more today than we had as children, and how we turned out fine. We could talk about how lucky we are that this is our "problem," and remember to be truly grateful that we have all the necessities and then some. We could talk about how our children deserve to be taught about the more important things in life, instead of always getting treats.
But, seeing Tigger lounging in the hot tub just put me in a goofy frame of mind, and I wanna talk about things like:
  • Did Barbie and Ken ever get back together?
  • How come you never see Winnie the Pooh washing his hands, and don't you imagine his fur is all sticky and matted from all those globs of honey?
  • If Squidward really hates working at the Krusty Krab so much, why doesn't he get another job? or did he get a liberal arts degree in college,too?
  • If the Cat in the Hat came to visit your house, would you be like the goldfish and tell him to go away? or would you want to play?
  • Do those WebKinz really go to sleep when you put them to bed and log out of the program, or do they flick the lights back on and call up their friends for a party?
Okay, okay, enough goofing around. Time to get to the day's work. I've got laundry and torching to do! I hope your Friday is a fun one, and I hope you got a smile from reading this :)
Later, Peace, Ang

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Digital Discord-- My Camera and My Laptop Just Had an Argument


Please, enjoy the picture because apparently my digital camera and my laptop computer just had a fight and are no longer speaking to one another!

The picture is James and Katie demonstrating their penguin waddle. They're pretty good at it, too, cracks me up every time :) There's nothing like quietly cooking supper in the kitchen and being startled by the sound of shuffling feet as the two "penguins" come waddling through at high speed. Last time we went to the St. Louis Zoo, we got the shivers walking through the chilly penguin abode, but we also got the giggles. The humans might be shivering as they enter the chilled building, but it still isn't quite as cool as some penguins would like. Apparently, the little guy flapping his wings was standing over the air conditioning vent so he could get cooled off! Too funny, sort of like a penguin version of Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate.

Now, as for the digital discord in this house, I do hope it's just a minor spat and not a digital divorce! I am spoiled by the speed and portability of my laptop compared to the virtual dinosaur desktop. . .and I even took disposable cameras on vacation last week instead of subjecting my camera-baby to possible mishaps.

Even as I type this, there is a running discussion at LE about being clumsy. Oh, yeah, you know I chimed in-- I'm a clutz and not afraid to admit it. Actually, wouldn't matter whether or not I wanted to admit it, everybody already knows! Bumped my head while straightening the bunk beds not too long ago. Always walking into the wall when going around corners. Effortlessly able to trip over my own two feet. . .wait a second, how did the discussion go from digital discord to clutziness? Oh, right, talking about not subjecting my camera-baby to possible mishaps. Yeah, things just happen to me.

Well, guess I better go bumble my way through the rest of the day :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come to Your Senses


Pear peel feels just like a worn out piece of coarse sandpaper. Can't you just feel the outlines marking where the large grains were? Bite into it. The gritty peel scrapes across your tongue. The tart sweetness of the pear juice can't disguise the coarseness of the cream colored flesh.

Twist two pieces of copper wire together. Leaves smudges of metal goop on your fingers, as if you'd played at erasing the marks of a fat first grade pencil. Twisting, wrapping hands over and under, coiling soft metal. Sometimes the bends are tight against each other, sometimes you relax for a second and the bends become swooping loops.

Woven silk scarf in dusk colors. Deepened sunset sky with dark purple clouds. Let it float and billow as you drop it onto the table for a background. Imagine yards and yards of silk flowing across your room, creating a river of colors.

Come to your senses.
Savor the world around you.

This moment inspired by my "baby" cousin Bobby, a grown man with a toddler and a wife carrying the next one. He asked me where I find joy. My first answer was a gesture; I pointed to James and Katie as they were hunting for a missing toy in the living room. My second answer was "glass". Here is my third answer, now that a few days have passed and I've contemplated the possible depth of that question. Where do I find joy? I find joy in being, joy in creating, joy in sharing those tiny discoveries with others. I find joy in the dark blue pools that are James' eyes, joy in the much paler and grayer blue lakes that are Katie's eyes, and joy in being able to investigate those nuances. I find joy in grabbing the camera on a cold morning and heading to the backyard, joy in listening to the birds in the distance and hoping they will light in a tree near me, and joy in realizing even the bushy-tailed squirrels are hiding from me and the cold on a day like this. I find joy in choosing a tiny gift for my sister, joy in imagining how the thought behind a fairly inexpensive gift will make it a treasured one, and joy in having the opportunity to choose.

I think I shall try to remember these things more often.




Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rice Pudding for Breakfast


Let's see if I can remember the recipe without dragging the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook out of the cabinet. Three eggs, one cup cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup golden raisins, and some cinnamon to sprinkle on top. Bake 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees. Have a bowl while it is warm, and put the rest in the fridge to have for breakfast!
James liked it, but Katie had to force herself a bit to smile and say, "Oh, I think I do like it." Of course, Kate doesn't like pudding to begin with, so lumpybumpy pudding with raisins isn't likely to be a favorite with her.

Every time I make rice pudding, I think about two things: 1. Scott's version of rice pudding and 2. my Grandma Brashear's rice pudding.

I think Scottie's version goes like this-- stir up and heat cooked rice, milk, and sugar. Scott and Lisa are both good cooks, but I think I have to say I'll gladly eat Lisi's chocolate eclair cake for dessert but I'm still not sure I want to try Scottie's rice pudding. On the other hand, if I could cook meat the way he does, I could be an all-around good cook.

Now, Grandma Brashear's rice pudding recipe remains a mystery to me. In fact, I don't think I ever tasted it, so I couldn't even begin to guess the ingredients. What I do remember is my mother periodically trying to make rice pudding for my father. "ClaraBelle" is a darn good cook, but I don't think she ever recreated that rice pudding the way Pop remembers it. I tried with my version a few years ago. Pop ate a couple bites, deemed it okay if no other dessert was available, and that was that. . . still no rice pudding like Grandma made.

Mmmmmm, rice pudding. Custardy goodness with bits of rice and plump golden raisins. Sprinkles of cinnamon on the golden top. Mmmmmm.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Brrrrrrrrrrr...Back to the Flatlands and Winter


Brrrrrrrrrrrrr. Good chilly morning! We just returned to the flatlands after a trip to Florida and Kentucky, and let me tell ya, it's just tooooooooo cold up here in the Midwest. Well, not really, it's typical early winter dreary and cold weather but it's not too bad-- unless you've just spent half a week in Florida where it was sunny and at least 70 every day. We got lucky with our trip. The kiddos got to get in the unbelievably neat waterslides at the Nick Hotel, we didn't get rained on at Disney, and the cousins in Tampa had plenty of room for playing indoors when it did rain on Thanksgiving Day.

Oh, and yesterday, the Greer family had a big turnout at Grandma and Granddaddy's. The four "boys" were all there with their wives, and lots of cousins were there with their families (including one of Uncle Major and Aunt Marianne's to represent the fifth brother). Let me just shout this out because I don't think she ever thought she'd be called Grandma herself: Barbara Ann is a Grandma to lovely little Gracie! Lisa was already a grandma, but it's somehow more fun to tease "Barbie" just a bit since she's the oldest of all the cousins :)

The kiddos are back to school today, Ricky's back to work, and I am playing domestic goddess catchup while also trying to update a few things online. The sculpture in this picture just got added to my gallery pages at BeadArtists.org, and I have a winner for the Woman Emerging sculpture. Gotta get movin', but I'm sure to have stories to tell as the week goes on!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Let the Glass Flow!


Oh, boy, here I am without torching until next week, and as I started cropping the pictures of this Green Man bead to put into my gallery pages at BeadArtists.org, I got the urge to melt some glass.

We are having a fun week! Thanks for checking in with me, and I'll be back to the daily routine next week. Don't forget about the contest to win that sculpture in the picture at the top of this page...you've got a good chance of winning, but I won't know to put your name in the drawing iffen ya don't enter :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I am thankful for all of my family and friends!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Trying to Catch the Tree Spirits


Well, if you know me at all, you know that I'm half skeptic and half believer in all things mystical or spiritual. Ask me at any given moment what I think about the existence of anything, and you never know which way my answer will go.
There is this tree in my backyard that has been catching my eye for about a year now, making me think about why people would believe in tree spirits or Green Men. She is lovely, don't you think? Can you see the subtle hourglass shape of a woman? I've been trying to capture the spirit of this imaginary creature of the forest in glass.
My last attempt was dubbed a "reindeer" by Katie and an "alien" by James. Drat. . . but that would be another story in and of itself, one about a "housecoat" my mom sewed one time and paybacks as you have your own children :)
Back to the attempts in glass, I have to say that I do keep learning new things and getting closer each time I try to do a tree. Sculpturally, the texture of the bark is a challenge. I'm getting closer to that by laying down different ridges of glass as I work around the tree. As for the color, that continues to vex me. Art is all about creating an illusion, not necessarily copying details realistically. Still, brown is too brown, and gray is (you guessed it) too gray. I have gotten closer this past week. Don't know why I'm telling you this when I don't have much to show ya yet. Maybe, that tree is there to remind me and others to stop and look closely at the wonders of nature?
Hope your day is filled with things that make you think and dream!
Peace, Ang

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"O Holy Night, the Stars Are Brightly Shining..."

"O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Savior's birth."

That's the music playing in my head when I look at this Madonna and Child, and I think the whole feel of that song does more to explain my fascination with Mary and Child than anything I could write at the moment. That song is an exaltation of one of the most important moments in Christianity. It sets a beautiful scene in your mind when you listen to it, and it is all about that night. . .not presents or food or where you'll go to midnight services. Oh, I don't mean we should give up presents and food and celebrating with others, no way! What a wonderful holiday, with all the thrills and frustrations of finding just the right gift for our loved ones. What a wonderful feast, with all the German Chocolate Cakes and roasted turkey and real mashed potatoes! What a wonderful celebration of family, with all the get-togethers and that cozy feeling of sleepily walking out to the living room to see who's already awake!

Oh, but sometime during the season, I'll stop and think about the Madonna and Child on that night and start singing softly, "O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. . ."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Carol, Here's a Glimpse of Fall Just for You :)


This bit of fall brought to you in honor of my friend Carol who lives in Arizona. Apparently, the only time it has been cold in Arizona was last winter when I thought I'd be escaping the Midwest chill and arrived in Tucson to be greeted by winter temps!
If you look up the street from our tiny Irvington post office, you will see a tree lined corridor leading to the city park. Okay, so corridor implies a big, wide, much-traveled road. Couldn't find a better word for it, though, because it is a grand scene with all those brilliant fall leaves.


This gorgeous maple is one of those lining the "corridor" in the top picture. Isn't it beautiful? I could show you pictures of the maples in our yard, but they didn't have the same brilliant colors this year. Don't know why. Maybe ours are a different variety of maple.


The park has lots of kid-friendly things to climb. I suspect my two aren't the only kids who've gotten stuck part way up the geodesic-dome-looking-climber-thingie and had to be rescued by their parents.

"I can see for miles and miles and miles. . ." Who sang that? I've got that song playing in my head, happens every time I look to the west from our driveway. On a clear, sunny day, you can see the water tower that belongs to the next town over-- Hoyleton is five miles from here!


Doesn't the corn field look desolate? It's a cloudy day, and we've already reached our high temp of 63 degrees this morning. You can see miles and miles in this direction on a sunny day, too. Centralia is five miles north of here, and we can see that water tower, too.

Hope you're having a great day! If it's a cloudy and dreary one where you are, warm it up with a smile or kind word to someone you meet along the way :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Here's the Mail, Dear"



"Here's the Mail, Dear" Santa & Mrs. Claus Christmas Scene
New 3-day listing on eBay, ends Nov. 14th at 18:44:28 PST.


Happy Monday, everyone! The kiddos are sleeping for a few minutes longer, and I am finishing my coffee. Just enough time to say I think the holiday spirit might be creeping up on me :) I could do Madonna and Child beads and sculptures all year 'round, but Santa and Mrs. Claus are definitely relegated to the winter holiday season. . . hmmmm, wonder what will strike my fancy at the torch today? Hope your day is a wonderful one, Ang

Sunday, November 11, 2007

WipeOut! at the Bend in the Drive


Here I was, sitting in the pre-dawn semi-darkness, trying to find a pic to write about today, and then it hit me. I could write about the big curve at the bottom of the hill at Grandma and Granddaddy's house. Zooming in on one of the pictures I took from the top of that hill last weekend, I realized that Kate has already experienced her first wipeout on the curve. Can you see her at the bottom of the hill, Jeep stuck in the grass? James saw it first, and he ran off to the rescue. Since no injuries seemed to be involved, this traffic 'copter just spied on the action from a distance. Big brother ran down the driveway without wiping out himself on the loose gravel. There was some earnest conversation, the hood of the Jeep remained closed this time, and Kate hopped back in to steer while James pushed. A much happier ending than my wipeout on that curve some thirty years ago!

So, yeah, I still have a scar on my right elbow, and obviously haven't forgotten about it :)
Wooohoooo, remember coasting down hills on your bike? You had to be brave to let gravity take over as you perched at the top of a hill and gave the slightest of shoves with your foot. I know, I know, the really brave kids were the ones who could pedal furiously part way down the hill and then let go! When I was a kid, we actually lived across the road from the house my parents have now. My dad never did like for us to ride bikes on the road, but eventually we got big enough to make the trek down the road to Tommy and Jason's on our bicycles. Exhilarating, but treacherous, this coasting down their driveway. One afternoon, I completely lost control by the time my pink bike with the banana seat got to the bottom of the hill and into the curve. I skidded, left the skin of my elbow in the gravel, and ran into the neighbor's house crying. Tommy and Jason's mom sat me down in the kitchen, washed the wound, and talked the tears away.
My parents bought that house the year I went away to college. It's been a long time since the wipeout, to say the least, but Thank You, Evelyn, for tending the neighborkid's "tragic" wound. I can't remember what adventures the Greer and Lucas kids pursued that afternoon, probably exploring in the ditch behind the house or maybe playing tag in the barn loft, but I'm sure we had fun. . . just like James and Katie have now, roaming around Grandma and Granddaddy's farm.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Winter Garden Goddess


A Winter Garden Goddess

A pared down reminder that though Mother Earth may seem a bit less verdant as the winter comes, there are still many things growing and flourishing. The evergreens have significance in the religions of the world for this very reason, this flourishing in the face of the hopeless, dreary winter. The lone, spare garland of holly leaves and berries trailing around this elemental Mother Earth represents this hope that flourishes through the cold winter months. . . a celebration of life.





Friday, November 9, 2007

Tooth Fairy, Part Two :)

Well, if you were reading along on the post just before this one, you were expecting a story involving the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I had to make a quick escape, though, for two reasons: low battery and a little boy who can read rather well now! Thank goodness, I hadn't written anything incriminating yet :)

Thinking about playing Tooth Fairy just reminded me of being 6 years old and quizzing my mom about Santa. I'm sure I'd asked about the Tooth Fairy, too, but I remember standing by the sink while she washed dishes that day. I kept asking more and more detailed questions about the jolly old elf, and finally my mom admitted that she didn't know too much about Santa because her family had been too poor for Santa to stop at their house every Christmas. This was certainly not an exaggeration, as those four kids were grateful if their stockings held an orange and some nuts or hard candy on Christmas morning. It didn't take much for me to make the connection that Santa must not be real if he couldn't stop at every house like proclaimed in all those songs and stories. It didn't really bother me. In fact, I felt immensely grownup and important, being in on this secret that I must not tell my little sister and brother.

All of this comes just as I've been reading a book called Not Buying It My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine. In 2004, the author decided to chronicle a year of living without purchasing any "extras". So far, I've read into July, and it's led me to discover a few interesting websites. As a packrat who is slowly paring down what she buys, I am intrigued by giving up all but necessities. Not ready to do it myself, especially not a month before Christmas, but it is intriguing. Levine gave up eating out, purchased locally grown food, didn't go to the movies or any other event that required a ticket purchase, and broke the rules of her experiment buying a shirt and pair of pants at a thrift store. While googling Voluntary Simplicity from Levine's book, I stumbled across No Impact Man, as well as one of his critics. No Impact Man has given up toilet paper and electricity, riding his bike through New York City. . .but his self-proclaimed nemesis Idyllopus points out that No Impact Man's sacrifices are going to culminate in a book and a movie. Well, it's all a very thought provoking, these conversations about using one washable glass jar versus a myriad of paper or styrofoam cups, these musings about whether or not one person's actions really make any difference, and the inevitable subtle bickering and finger-pointing between all the different factions with their different levels of carbon footprints.

So what about me, what do I do to reduce my carbon footprint on Mother Earth? Not enough. I use a real plate every meal, but give hubby and the kids the paper plates they prefer most meals. Hubby recycles, to the point of digging aluminum cans out of trash cans at a friend's house, but then he won't eat leftovers. I've pretty much narrowed down my purchases to gifts for others, glass supplies, and books, but my children are enamored of Happy Meal toys (actually, all toys, and it's my fault) and I can't bring myself to give up junk food. Guess No Impact Man is serving one good purpose-- making me think more closely about the necessities.

If You See the Tooth Fairy. . .Have Her Give This Message to Santa Claus

The Tooth Fairy just left a pile of quarters in exchange for James' front tooth. I am waiting for him to wake up and gain solace from these coins in exchange for the trauma of seeing his own blood in the sink last night when the tooth came out. He wasn't excited; he was in tears. After lots of reassurances, he fell asleep while talking about other things, but not before telling me to remind him "not to look in the mirror until my new tooth grows in all the way, Mom."

Hooray, the little boy just woke up, and his face lit up when he remembered that he needed to check under his pillow!

Oops, low battery. . . gotta go for now, be back later!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Personalized Gift Charms/Tags for the Holidays


I've been thinking. . .and yes, William, dear little brother, I know that is a dangerous thing :)
I've been thinking about adding a listing for personalized gift charms to my Etsy shop. I like for each AngelinaBeadalina creation to be a unique-can't-find-another-one-like-it-anywhere glass goodie, but I really do need my own version of earrings to sell.
What do earrings have to do with this discussion, you ask? Well, lots of jewelry and glass peeps will tell you that earrings are a very good moneymaker. They don't cost as much as a bigger, more complicated piece, so people will often "treat" themselves to this relatively inexpensive item while they just look at the more expensive glass art. Those "little" sales add up quickly, and everyone feels like they got a good deal-- the consumer got goodies from you without blowing their holiday budget, and you got a bit of money to buy more glass.
I just can't seem to do earrings, though. . .too little, too necessary to make them match, and I can't wear them so I never know if my attempts are acceptable or not. Aha, but I do love to write with glass stringer, and I love decorating gifts, so why not try personalized gift charms as my "earrings"?? Hmmmm, whaddya think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mum's the Word!




The word for today is chrysanthemums. The pictures for today are from my mom and dad's yard. The feeling for today is quite literally f-r-o-s-t-y! It was a whopping 23 degrees Fahrenheit this morning in Irvington, Illinois, and that was after the sun started rising. Who knows just how cold it was in the dark, still hours of morning before sunrise!

I read some tips about writing blogs the other day, and the one that struck me was that you should limit the number of words you write because people don't really want to read much. You know me, that just doesn't seem right! However, got lots on the Mommy/DomesticGoddess/GlassArtist agenda today, so I think I'll practice what "they" were preaching and just leave you with those lovely mum pictures for today :)
TaTaForNow, Ang

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Going for a Sunday Drive in the Barbie Jeep :)


Kate and James were Jeep-drivin' fools this past weekend at Grandma and Granddaddy's house. They drove towards the chicken pen, around the front of the house, down a hill behind the shop, and swerved just in time to avoid the rock pile. Actually, I think they intended to test the four wheel drive capabilities of the Barbie Jeep on the rock pile but chickened out at the last minute. I was watching from the window inside, so I couldn't hear the conversation. All I know is I was scrambling for a pair of shoes and getting ready to run out the door to the rescue when I saw Kate hang a hard left away from the rock pile at the last possible moment. If you heard a sigh of relief around ten a.m. Sunday morning, that was just me. . .

Back when four wheel drives started becoming popular during my childhood, my dad's friend Charlie had a four wheel drive and we went for a ride with him and my dad. I think it was a Jeep, but it's been a loooooooooong time ago, and I was just a kid who really didn't care what the name of a car was, as long as it took you somewhere. C.W. McCall was big on country radio around that time, dontcha know. "Breaker 1-9, this here's the Rubber Duck." Back to that ride in the four wheel drive, it seems like Pop was driving Charlie's new toy but that's not what stands out in my mind. What I remember is riding up (yes, I said "up") the side of an Ohio River flood wall! Funny, how your childhood memories can be so exaggerated. I know that flood wall must not have had a slope as steep as it seems in my mind. What an adventure, hanging on, wondering if it were possible for us to slide off that slope!

Alright, back to the everyday adventures. . . Be sure to check my BeadArtists.org gallery pages for pics of the Santa and Mrs. Claus I made for my mom yesterday. They are less detailed than my usual big sculptures, but the Grandma said she wanted them about the same size as the one that gravity chipped. Each of them is a single bead, right at three inches tall. I think I'll have to make some more versions of the Claus' today!

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