Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tulip Time

So, you know, I just might have to come back and edit this picture from large down to small, but WOW, I do love it. We have all of three tulips blooming outside the living room window. That's okay, I'm not good at keeping plants alive, so 3 is actually three more tulips than I'd expect to see! All three of them are this beautiful yellow, and that speck of red is the only one I noticed.

I decided to make some bright beads yesterday. No sculpting, just lots of stringer decoration. Well, one face did nudge its way onto a really cool coral bead with red and orange melted in stringer. I might show it to ya later on this week. I have to admit that I don't even buy clear glass anymore because I don't like to encase things, but I decided to encase those beads yesterday. Used a piece of Moretti clear, which happens to like to turn out scummy. I even etched them, but you can still see the scummy spots. The encasing itself wasn't too bad, considering I haven't done any of that for months :) Got lots of ideas for more bright beads, but only made three more beads today. Better get on to bed now, talk to ya soon! Peace, Ang

Sound of Music Ringing in My Ears. . .

First things first. The bead in the pic on the left goes with t0day's title because I was thinking of Maria singing on the hillside in "The Sound of Music" when I made it. That brought up a bunch of memories. The other pic is of me, about 6 years old, happily posing in my multi-colored striped shirt and wearing a patchwork skirt with a different set of multi- colors! Yesterday, I decided to spend the day imagining what people looked like as kids. I called it an experiment in kindness, because how could you possibly do that and not be nice to someone at the same time? Well, it was fun! I don't know how much kindness it spread, but it did spread some happiness along the way. I told ya I'd let ya know how it went. . . I highly recommend trying the same thing yourself. You'll have a blast, especially if you can talk people into showing you a pic of themselves when they were children. You just might learn something about their personality, too! See how brightly mismatched my style was at 6 years old? Now, is there any wonder that I grew up to favor plain white shirts and jeans/khakis??

Now, for the bead and "The Sound of Music". During college, I worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken during the summers. You know what? I never did get tired of chicken, like most people would expect. Worse! I'd go back down to Murray State University, craving an Original Recipe white meat dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, and cole slaw. . . only to find that the franchise down there had a different recipe for their cole slaw. How could they do that to me?? Hmm, what else comes to mind when I think of Kentucky Fried Chicken? Oh, yeah, supposedly, my Grandma went on a date with the Colonel (yep, he was a real person) after she was widowed. Well, she remarried, and I quite liked Grandpa since I'd never known Granddaddy Greer. . . but can you imagine the family reunions in a family like that? No need to stop by the local KFC to grab a bucket of chicken to go with your aunt's potato salad, because you'd know the Colonel would be bringing the chicken :) Another memory? One of those summers, I worked KFC in the evening and babysat my younger cousins during the day. I'd go into town to the KFC late in the afternoon, wearing that icky brown polester uniform. I'd work the cash register, take orders with a courteous smile, do dining room cleanup, pack orders, you know the drill. Then, at closing time, I'd hope for leftover chicken to take with me to Uncle Ralph and Aunt Carol's. We'd snack on chicken and chat for a while. Next morning, they'd leave and I'd be in charge of the kiddos. Tasha liked to sleep relatively late, compared to her little brother. Bobby liked to greet each new day with a rousing performance of "The Sound of Music" courtesy of a VCR that never did break down that entire summer. Did I mention he liked his Julie Andrews fix at about 6:30 in the morning?? Lovely woman, lovely voice, lovely movie, and now that almost twenty year have gone by, I can say those things. All that came to mind then, well, let's just say each mornings' thoughts involved some sort of catastrophe which would miraculously destroy that one videotape and leave the rest of the house unscathed. So, can you imagine my surprise and slight irritation when Julie Andrew's image started popping up in my mind while I was torching the dress part of this bead? For some reason, the swirling turquoise skirt brought to mind Maria singing and swirling around the hillside and singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music". That song ran through my head the rest of the torching session, so to my "little" cousin Bobby I say, "Thank you, and I do hope your dear infant daughter soon gets big enough to pop in her favorite annoying DVD and play it for you each morning." I said that with a smile, Bob, a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeallly big smile! Peace, Ang

Friday, March 30, 2007

Experiment in Kindness

Do you ever wonder what someone looked like when they were a baby? I love to see pictures of people when they were kids, love to look for similarities and changes in their faces from past to present. Wanna try an experiment? I've just been thinking about how people forget to be nice to one another sometimes, not really intentionally hurting each other, just plain forgetting to be kind. Of course, I'm no exception. Sarcasm is my middle name, and snarky one-liners are my game. ( So, don't worry, Carol, I haven't drunk all of the grape koolaid. In fact, I think some of it is getting ready to spew out my nose right now. . . )

So, here's my experiment for the day: Whenever I look or talk or listen to another grownup today, I'm going to imagine them as they were when they were a baby. Now, how can you do that and not be kinder in your response to someone?

I'm gonna try it. Time to start the day. I'll let you know what happens, okay?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mick and the Stones Were Singing to Me. . .

"With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats
You can't say we're satisfied
But Angie, I still love you baby, ev'rywhere I look I see your eyes
There ain't a woman that comes close to you, come on, baby,
Dry your eyes

But Angie, Angie, ain't it good to be alive
Angie, Angie, they can't say we never tried"
--M. Jagger/K. Richards

Poor Katie, I'm blaring the stereo this morning. She and James can certainly expect this from their father. Yep, my husband loves his music, and he's just a wee bit hard of hearing because of it, if you ask me. Anyway, the kids are used to hearing Daddy blasting the Cat Stevens' concert cd, turning the radio up louder for Beatles or Nirvana or Jethro Tull. What confuses them is when Mommy decides to play music. Isn't this the woman who's always uttering the dreaded, "Ow, that's hurting my ears, can you turn it down a bit"??

So, after I listened to Rod sing about Maggie May, I hunted out the Rolling Stones cd with the song "Angie" on it. Kate was already tired enough of my music selections that she'd willingly left the living room and starting straigtening up toys in their room. She wandered back in beside me when the first licks of "Street Fighting Man" exploded from the stereo. I got that "I'm almost 5, and my taste is 5 times better than yours" smirk from my own daughter for liking this song. So, I tried to change her mind about the Stones by telling her to listen. Shhh, listen, and see if you hear somebody's name you recognize. AAAAAAAAAAAAAnnnnnnnnnnn-gie! Well, finally got her interested at that. "Mommy, do they know you??" Heeeeheeee, that was tempting, but I told her the truth. Wouldn't want her to grow up thinking a song was written about her mom and then have her find out the disappointing truth. See, Pop? I showed some restraint, even though it was tempting. Unlike some people who tell gullible fifth graders that RIP stands for Rhode Island Police ;)

Anyway, break time is over, back to the housecleaning. Anybody ever figure out how paper and toys multiply overnight?? So, don't mind the noise if you pass by. It'll just be me, singing along and wishing I was already at the torch:

"I'm free to do what I want any old time..."
-Jagger and Richards

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

You Can See Through My Favorite Shirt!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the evidence. Sorry, but since I did say "gentlemen," there will be no photos of me wearing the darn thing. Do you believe that? That's not just one layer you are looking through, that's the front and the back of the shirt held up to the early morning light on the shaded side of the house! Good grief! Now, of course, I know that some of my favorite shirts are old and need to be recycled as dustrags. **Big Sigh** But they are the most comfortable t-shirts in my closet, nay in the entire universe! This particular one is a late 1980's vintage, I think. Truth is I can't remember what year, but I think it came from a race my ex ran in while I was still in college... hmmm, I graduated from Murray State in 1988. Whenever I look at how worn out this t-shirt is, I immediately think two things: 1.) It's the most comfortable t-shirt ever, and 2.) The Last Picture Show and those other Texasville stories by Larry McMurtry have come to life in my closet. Alright, so you understand #1, no problem, right? You probably have shirts like that yourself. Don't shake your head "no", Pop! I happen to know you probably have at least two packages of brand new t-shirts hidden underneath a whole stack of worn-out ones that you continue to wear (heehee, busted!). So, what about #2? Larry McMurtry? Texasville? You know, he's the guy who also wrote Lonesome Dove. Yeah, that guy... Anyway, I can't remember all of The Last Picture Show, but I think Annie Potts and Jeff Bridges also starred in the movie version of the sequels set in "Texasville". Annie's character, the housewife married to the oil man, wears t-shirts. Because they have money, she has lots and lots of clothes, but she wears t-shirts with sayings on them. I do believe she would like my t-shirt collection!

Dang it, now I've gotta go dig in the "Chinese" cabinet that I use for a book shelf and find some McMurtry books. How can you not like Lonesome Dove? And is the woman Annie plays named Carla or Carli? Why in the heck did I keep thinking it was Cybil Shepherd? Think she played Jaci, the movie star. Don't ya love a soap opera? Hey, hope you have something comfortable to wear today, your favorite book handy, and time to enjoy them! See ya later, I gotta go find something presentable to wear...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Only Black and White? Surely, You Jest!

Well, I don't usually use only black and white to make something. It does have a nice, crisp look. The problem with a nice, crisp look is that you have to do nice, crisp work! Me? I'm more likely to get it done with feeling and accept the imperfections as quirks that add to the personality of a piece. Of all the beads I've made since I started sculpting big focals last fall, the ones that usually get compliments are the ones that get made first in a series. Wonder why? The first time I make something, I usually figure out halfway through that there was a better way to do it. . . but of course, by then it's too late to do anything but make the best of what I've got so far. You know what, though? That first attempt usually has alot of expression and emotion in its face. Probably because at that point, I'm bursting with excitement about the new idea! Yesterday, I made the Jester head in the picture. I also made a body and a base. Unfortunately, the body didn't survive-- design flaw, most certainly. The head survived with attitude, though! I think I'm going to try again on the body, but I won't try to do an exact re-make of yesterday's body. Nope, that's not the way to go. It's taken me alot of experimenting (and there shall be more glass wasted before I'm done, no doubt about it), but I'm starting to grasp a few concepts that make art more appealing:

  • Less is usually more.
  • Don't dilute the emotion.
  • Work with passion.

So, here I go. Back to the torch with thoughts of how to make a fitting body for the simplified jester's head. Wish me luck, restraint and inspiration! See ya later, Ang

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wear Your Party Hat (and your big girl panties)!

My daughter found a paper party hat that escaped the trash when Mommy cleaned out the avalanche of toys not too long ago. She's been wearing it all weekend. Wore it with a sweater and pants this morning when we took her brother to school. Wore it with a t-shirt and jeans skirt and Sleeping Beauty dress-up high heels yesterday afternoon. It's not a bad idea, you know, celebrating every day like a party! So, put on your big girl panties and deal with it. . . we're going to wear our party hats around the house today :)

Mostly, I gotta put on my big girl panties and deal with a bunch of little things that add up to a big to-do list. After that, I'm hoping for a little bit of torch time. . . and that is the same as a party for me! Okay, that does sound like fun. Hmmmm. . . I'll be back later, I hear the flame calling!
Peace, Ang

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Teenage Mutant Ninja Mouses??

Thought you'd heard it all, didn't ya? Well, come stay with the Garren's for a while, and you just might hear a few sayings. . . There's still water standing outside here in the flatlands, so the kids have been happily playing their characters (James and Kate's name for any stuffed animals like Pooh or Mickey or the Care Bears). Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and Pluto took their cardboard shoebox to the drive-in today! Well, you know, the television screen probably does look massive if you're less than a foot tall. James just discovered the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I'm supposed to be hurrying with this blog entry because "I need to go to, Mom." Hey, don't click on that link-- I really don't know if the turtles even have a website, although who doesn't these days? Anyway, when you play characters and "talk" them, they have to do things in character. Mickey Mouse is now jumping around my house, wearing a paper mask and yelling "Teenage Mutant Ninja Mouses!" Minnie just donned her mask and joined him. Alas, though, poor Minnie still has some work to do before Mickey will accept her as T.M.N.M. James is currently giving Kate instructions on how to prepare Minnie to "do battle stuff."

Well, since I'm supposed to be hurrying, and since it's kind of hard to concentrate and eavesdrop on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Mouses at the same time, Ciao for Now! Peace, Ang

P.S. The willow tree in the pic grows between our driveway and the neighbor's corn field. It's looking so pretty these days, with all those wispy pale baby leaves exploding from the branches. Oh, I do love a willow tree! I hope our landlord doesn't decide to get rid of it since it takes a beating during the winter, as you can probably tell from the shape. Some people don't like willows, but I like them. Well, let me re-phrase that. I've always liked them except when I misbehaved as a kid and was told to go get my mom a switch. . . better hope there aren't any willows close by at a time like that :) Actually, I don't really remember any of the whippings I got-- what sticks in my mind is all the times I didn't get a whipping because I decided to shape up instead of facing the alternative :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kuan Yin, Bless This Mother, Too. . . Wouldjaplease?

Ever heard of Kuan Yin? She's a Chinese goddess and Buddhist Bodhisattva of Compassion. She was so pure, had so much knowledge, showed so much compassion that she reached the final stage of enlightenment. Instead of escaping the wheel of existence, though, she heard the cries of those around her and remained on earth to help them. She is prayed to by young couples wanting children, by mothers wanting well-being for their children, and even by prisoners hoping to be released from their shackles.

One of the stories goes that she was a virgin who refused to marry. Still, she sounds like a mom to me! Moms look around every time they hear a voice utter "help". Doesn't matter whether or not that voice sounds familiar. It doesn't have to be your own child, doesn't even have to be someone young enough to be your child. For this, I am thankful. Just reading about her made me thankful for my own mom, as well as all the moms in this world who have held out their hand along the way.

Now, Kuan Yin, as long as you're extending your blessings to all who ask, can I be on your list, too? Bring well-being for my children. I was all ready to get cheeky and ask you for a bit of peace and quiet, make a joke or two about moms sometimes being prisoners of the daily "raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken" routine, and then I looked at a picture of your statue. Such a serene face, such peace and goodness. Kuan Yin, thank you for the reminder (from across the world, from another time) that to be a mother is to be blessed.

Blatant Advertisement : )

Good morning, isn't it Friday a wonderful thing, even if you work at home? I woke up in a much better mood than yesterday. . . we might talk about tortuous Thursday later, after Kate and I drop James off at school and then run to town. Then again, we might talk about something else, no sense rehashing a bad mood day, huh? Now, for the quick, blatant advertisement for the day:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Superman and the Aztecs

Well, let me just say it's a two cup morning, at least as far as being able to write anything coherent or vaguely entertaining! I keep getting thrown off by the different setup here on blogspot. Not anything bad, just that I was more used to my yahoo setup than I thought. Ah, aren't we creatures of habit, even if we don't want to admit it? So, here I sit at the computer again, that second cup of coffee safely ensconced within arms' reach but not perilously close to the keyboard. . . and here's what I've been thinking about but not successfully putting into words. I just figured it out. Too many different trains of thought, no wonder it wasn't coming together smoothly. Ah, by the way, Starbuck's whole bean coffee-- try the Gold Coast Blend. When they say "extra bold", they mean it :)

First thing on my mind: The way my kiddos absorb so much from so many sources, put it all in their brains, mix it up, and come up with connections! James loves to watch t.v., but it's funny how he still puts his own spin on creations. And, contrary to what you always fear as a mom, the t.v. hasn't turned his mind to mush. Instead, I think it makes him ponder things and do some thinking of his own. He's the one who started the "Why Doesn't God Just Use Superman's Xray Vision?" conversation this morning. Oh, yeah, at least I'd already had that first cup of coffee! He was wondering about God, whether he's like Santa Claus, how he sees everything, etc. When I explained that God is God and can create whatever powers he might like, even superpowers, you could practically see the lightbulb turn on! "So, he doesn't have to borrow Superman's powers, he can just make his own xray vision, right??"

Another thing on my mind: The way the kiddos just assume Mommy is going to be learning about other cultures, reading books, making strange but cool things in glass. They just join right in, and it amazes me all the things they notice. So, see, it really is never too early to start learning ;) Katie has done this plenty of time before, but it still makes me beam when she studies alongside me. We've been looking at library books and writing at night, just a little quiet time before lights out. Kate has been looking over my shoulder, sketching from the same pictures I'm looking at, noticing so many details. That's her second Quetzalcoatl mask picture that she's holding. You should see the illustrations in the book I've been reading about Central and South American warriors and myths, so full of bright and bold and fanciful creations! She's noticed the combination of feathers and fire and mask in a particular picture of Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent), and she just amazes me the way she can capture the "feel" of it with her markers. I think I'm proud and a wee bit jealous, too. It took me years to understand that you get the most striking results when you extract the important parts of an idea and go from there!

Oh, my, enough musings. Coffee cup is empty. (I know, I'm weird about the coffee. Just a double shot of espresso with some sugar, barely fills the bottom of a cup, but I can nurse it along for half an hour. . . ) I'm so excited about another mask I took out of the kiln this morning! Really wan to try some clay again today, make a display for the mask. Yesterday's was so-so. Really cool design, but it wasn't built right. Okay, yep, that's what I'm gonna go work on! See ya tomorrow! Peace, Ang

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Harold and Maude and Me in the True Self Mirror

That's "Harold & Maude in the True Self" mirror in the picture. It's a bead from last fall, but it's one of my favorites so I chose it to accompany my first post here in the Beadmakers' Blog Ring. I figure it's a fitting choice, since I'll try to tell you a little bit about me today.

I've been blogging away since last fall, alternating between writing on the front page of my website ( and writing a blog on Yahoo that would be archived ( Usually, I'm telling stories that go along with the bead for the day, either stories about the theme or stories about my kids and family that somehow relate to the bead. I do love to write, so I can wrestle connections between almost any piece of glass and something else in my life! That's just what happens when you have a big mouth, a glass obsession, a funny family, and adorable children-- lots of subject matter for a journal.

Okay, here's the goods on AngelinaBeadalina: 41 year old wife and stay at home mom; grew up in Kentucky, still have family there; live next to an endless cornfield in southern Illinois (seriously, this is the flatlands; from here, we can see two different water towers from towns five miles away!); I graduated from Murray State University in 1988, with that ever-useful bachelor's degree in Psychology; I still like to listen to the country music I heard as I was growing up (how can you beat Johnny Cash's voice? or Bobby Bare's words? or, oh, heck, we'll just talk about it one day here in the blog : ) ); I started lampworking in February/March of 2006 (got my workspace setup in February, but got to start staying home with the kids in March so that's when I really got more time to play!); I melt glass with a Nortel Minor Burner hooked up to a used oxygen concentrator that surely must not have provided much oxygen to its medical customer because the thing sucks; oh, well, the thing about the sucky concentrator is that I still love to crank up the flame and work big and very hot, so I get some gorgeous reductions happening!; I've just ordered some clay to play with, and hopefully, there will be some of that to show you coming soon, just don't laugh too hard, okay?

Well, I'm guessing that ought to be enough to get started for the day. Hmmm, maybe I better put you another pic or two on here. . . yep, here are some of my masks. Well, shoot! I got them all mixed up, so you get to look at Harold & Maude twice. Hey, that's just something else you might as well know about me-- if there's anything remotely technical involved, chances are I'll try to do it but will screw it up somehow! Thanks for visiting, though, and I'll do better with the pics tomorrow! Peace, Ang