Friday, August 31, 2007

Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, & Pisces...All in One Kiln!

Astrology is something I've overlooked this past year. All the delving into different spiritual, religious, and mystical themes, and only one Aquarius bead...and I just named her that because she was bearing a bowl of water on her head, you know, Aquarius is the water bearer.
I thought I shouldn't try to do any zodiac themes because I'm truly a skeptic. I used to like to read my horoscope, but the real fun in that was interpreting how the vague prediction was going to apply to my life that very day. "You will do very well financially today" might mean that I had an unexpected birthday card coming in the mail. Oh, it's been so long, I can't even remember any good ones. Here, hold on a second while I get the newspaper and check today's horoscope. Alright, listen up, Aquarians:

A tough project you take on with someone who is much more experienced than you has stronger than usual chances for success. Don't hesitate to team up with just such a person.

So, how hard is that to fit into anyone's life, huh? Still, it did remind me that one really talented glass person once agreed to work on a project together. Aha! Maybe I should pay attention to all of these zodiac signs and symbols as I research pictures and descriptions. Maybe I should think about that project again and plan my part of it and suggest a collaboration?
Well, this post is turning into a good thing for me, but I'm not sure how entertaining it is for you. Dang, I owe ya big time for listening and for not complaining about the lack of entertaining rants and stories around here lately, don't I? Let me just say, THANK YOU FOR VISITING! Truthfully, I should be getting to the torch if I'm going to do that today. Better just leave it at this. The picture is a sneak peek at the zodiac signs I've done so far this week. I'm saving the sun/moon face and all the rest for when I can show you the whole shebang at once. Gotta get to meltin' glass, Ang

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pulse of the Ancients

That's what I named her-- Pulse of the Ancients. When she came out of the kiln, the first words that popped into my head were "tribal" and "pulse". I kept toying with names, kept picking her up and turning her around in my hand, kept coming back to "pulse". She has an ankh on her left shoulder and back, but she didn't seem to be only Egyptian. She seems to be universal, primal, elemental to life. . . pulse. She is the Pulse of the Ancients, the rhythmic reincarnation of all those who come before us. Oh, not literally a reincarnation of our ancestors, but definitely a reminder.

I like her.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What's Your Sign?

Know what my horoscope for today says?
You will be very happy when you open the kiln. Continue to be enthusiastic about your work, and it will continue to feel more like play than actual work.

Yep, that's me, born under a Gotta Create Cool Glass sign :)

Hope you have a fabulous day! There are more pictures of the zodiac bead in my gallery, but you already knew I was going to say that, didn't ya?
No torching for me today, got mom stuff to get done. . . but I can't wait to torch more Thursday and Friday! Let me tell ya, it is nice to work steadily through the morning and afternoon and then spend time with the munchkins as soon as they get off the school bus. Katie is so excited, she measures her days now in "how much longer til I go back to school" time. James is not too thrilled with first grade, but I think he's still enjoying himself most of the day. Okay, gotta run, talk tomorrow, Peace, Ang

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Compassionate Living

Om Mahne Padme Hum is a Tibetan mantra associated with compassion. It is written, carved, and painted on papers, doors, and flags. Reciting it or reading it invokes the blessings of the compassionate Chenrezig.

The small treasure box you see in this picture has the mantra woodburned on it three times. No special meaning to the number, I just managed to fit it on the box that many times. I put a prayer wheel inspired Buddha bead inside it.

Guess this really doesn't seem like a very thought-provoking or eloquent post so far, but I think I picked that box up for a reason. Actually, I know that I was thinking about compassion, and then I remembered this box and took a picture of it. Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day actually torching, and then I came online to check my usual rounds-- my Yahoo mail,, Watch Me Create, and Lampwork Etc. I love to get messages, so Yahoo gets checked frequently. I love to show my glass creations and talk about them, so my BeadArtists page gets daily updates and my spot in the rotation of Watch Me Create is cherished. Doesn't take that long to do those, though, so that leaves Lampwork Etc, aka LE, as my virtual home away from home. . . there are tutorials to read (which helped me when I was starting out), there are show and tells (which are great fun), and there are "rooms" where you can discuss just about anything. I've "met" some of the nicest people there! Yesterday, however, the first thing I read involved someone making unsolicited comments about another person's auction description and picture. Compassion, that's all I'm going to say, C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N. I'm a serious grouchy old grump sometimes, but days like that serve as a useful reminder to me to lighten up and treat other people with a bit of compassion, ya know?

Om mahne padme hum.

Monday, August 27, 2007

We Did It! First Day of School!

All smiles right before time to got to school this morning!
Yeah! We were all excited about the first full day of school!
Katie said "hello" to Mrs. Bergen, hung up her bookbag, and sat down in her spot at the blue table, with barely a nod to Mommy and Daddy. She was ready to get to work!
James practically raced ahead to his classroom. I hope he told Mrs. Bradham "good morning".
When we peeked into his classroom, he was busy talking to his pals. He didn't write a list for himself, but all weekend he would say, "Oh, and I have to tell Jacob about this, too."
Mommy did alright with her first day of working full-time on the glass, too :)
I have a kiln full of beads for a zodiac themed sculpture piece. Still have to do three more element beads (got fire, earth, and air finished), then I can start on the different signs. Gotta think a bit more about how I want to do those. I could totally make a sculpted water bearer figure for Aquarius, but am I really up to making twins for Gemini or a crab for Cancer? I was thinking flat tabs with lots of stringer symbols, but now I'm really seeing those sculptures! Oh, yeah, my mouth is practically watering at the thought of twelve, count them, twelve different sculptures that I could make in a few days of pure glass time! That's it! If your name is Bob and you need to tell me about a special free phone offer from Sprint, then you'll probably have to call back, buddy...this woman is going to be torching!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ta-Daaaaa! The Carrots Are Growing!

Lookie, lookie! Angie actually got something to grow! Don't know what happened, maybe the stars and planets were all in some miraculous alignment, or maybe I did plant them right according to the moon signs? Don't know...we just planted them, and now we're watching them grow.

Umm, yeah, it is a big deal for me. You don't even want to know my personal gardening history. It reads like a compendium of horrible disasters. There was the year I waited very patiently until there was no danger of frost up there in the mountains of West Virginia, planted some lovely dahlias (them babies aren't cheap when you buy a bunch at one time), and awoke the next morning to find some very fat slugs burping and lounging in the now empty flower bed! Okay, that's it. I'll have to tell you about more of the disasters another time, don't even want to start thinking about them, lest the memories act as some sort of slug/Japanese beetle/early freeze magnet for me. I want to be eating some of these carrots in a few months, ya know!

Hey, if you want to read more about the bead in the picture, check out my BeadArtists' gallery page called Plant by the Light of the Moon.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

JAVA, I Need Java, and I Don't Mean Coffee!

Okay, well, chances are I could stand another cup of coffee this morning before I deal with this JAVA problem again! Java, the coffee= mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Java, the software that is fighting with my computer and Yahoo Sitebuilder= grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

What's the problem, you ask? Oh, you knew I was going to tell you even if you didn't ask, you know how animated and dramatic I can be when I get mad and frustrated, don't you? Remember the story about me and the bowl of ice cream? No? It's provided a good laugh for everyone in our family for almost twenty years. I came home from work at the pizza parlor one night, mad and hungry. Grabbed a bowl of ice cream, and started talking. . . well, digging the spoon into the ice cream until it scraped the edges of the bowl, and ranting and raving between bites. It wasn't my finest hour, but apparently it was very entertaining :)

Suffice it to say that my current problem ranks maybe two bowls of ice cream, just because of the sheer frustration. I am not a technically adept person. I can break anything with moving parts, just by attempting to turn it on. This applies to objects with virtual moving parts, too! I learned to create a website last fall, just the easy-peasy follow the template directions kind, but nonetheless, a website. You can look at it here, but I warn you, it is sorely in need of updating and it looks funny on your screen if you have a monitor bigger than, oh, say, 5 inches! I know, I know, and I'm trying to fix it. I just have this notion that I'd like to use my laptop, instead of the almost "ancient" 5 year old desktop. Unfortunately, my laptop has a Java problem. If you get into this stuff, you probably already know that some computer companies had a squabble over Java a few years ago. . . and the upshot for poor techno-challenged doofuses like me is that I CAN'T LOAD MY WEBSITE SOFTWARE AND USE IT UNTIL I FIND A WAY TO FIX THE PROBLEM.

Yes, I am shouting about it. Called Yahoo, got polite help for other things and a great big, "I don't know, sounds like a problem Toshiba should fix for you." No complaints about Yahoo, heck, I even met someone who makes chain-maille jewelry in the process! Couldn't find my Toshiba number, so looked up Java instead and tried to make sense of the information. Fiddled around, still couldn't figure it out. Called Yahoo one more time, pleasant conversation and some light shed on the problem but she didn't know how to fix this particular glitch. Found Toshiba number, someone helped me. . . and as soon I hung up, I couldn't remember exactly what he said to do. More fumbling. Another call to Toshiba, another very friendly person who even called me back after I accidentally hung up (okay, so maybe I really wanted to give up and hang up). Anyway, he helped me some more, then one last call to Yahoo.

Let me just say this about fixing problems when they arise:
No matter how many helpful and kind people (and every single one of them was patient and polite and trying to help me find the fix) you encounter in your search for the solution, ulitmately, you are the person who is going to have to find that solution!

Ahem, the ice cream bowl is empty now, and instead of grabbing another, I think I might have found instructions that will lead me to the solution. Wish this techno-doofus luck, okay?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spidey & the Princess Are Ready for School!

It's almost here! James goes to school for an hour and a half tomorrow morning. No kindergarten class tomorrow, but everyone has a full day of school on Monday. Katie woke up with a big grin on her face today because she's excited! James is a little worried about the rigors of first grade, but from his perspective it is a bit intimidating to move from fun kindergarten to the big kid grades. We put all the school supplies in bookbags this morning, so they'll be ready to grab 'n go.

Now, this is where today's post could go in several sentimental directions. I could talk about how I'll be lonely once the house is quiet for the day, even though I've been looking forward to being able to work uninterrupted. . . however, since Katie is at this very moment taunting James and James is attempting to retaliate with his fist, I think I'll save that sentimental post for another day :) Another possibility would be to talk about my own fond memories of kindergarten, but I don't have any memories of kindergarten. Nada, none. In the great state of Kentucky in the year of 1971, there was no kindergarten in the Hardin County School District's small elementary school Lynnvale. Now, other people might have had kindergarten in the bigger schools, I just know we didn't. Don't think there was one at Howevalley, either. Howevalley was our school from the time we moved when I was in the middle of second grade until Bubby graduated from eighth grade in 1984.

Hmmm, lots of good memories from Howevalley. Go, Wildcats! Maybe I'll tell you about some of them this fall while I'm missing my kiddos during the school day. Right now, though, gotta get some last minute things ready for tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Welcome to the Bug Blog!

Good morning, and welcome to your new Bug Blog! AngelinaBeadalina, beadmaker and bug picture taker, at your service!

No, I haven't stopped making beads, but I sure haven't been torching as much as usual this summer. Nature has been filling in with photo opportunities whenever I don't have beads to pose, though. After you use the macro setting on a camera for so long, it just naturally occurs to you to look for patterns and beauty on a smaller scale, I guess.

Whatever the fascination, the picture taking is fun when opportunities like this pop up in your world! This dragonfly (honestly, I don't know where to begin to look him up, so I'm just going to call him/her a dragonfly and leave it at that for the moment) landed on the deck this morning while I was drinking coffee and trying to set up a neat picture for one of my new goddess beads. He was acting a little sluggish, and I got close enough to watch him wash his face with his front "arms" and "hands". That picture came out blurry, rats! You should've seen the little face and the way he was rubbing those legs all over it, almost the same motions as a cat giving itself a bath. It was fascinating. . . and if my brain hadn 't been turned on the macro setting, I wouldn't have noticed. Hmm, maybe the Bug Blog would be a good thing to start, huh? Just think of all the inspiration!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Morning. . .Glory, It's a Pretty Morning

Good Morning! It is a very pretty morning here. A little bit of sunshine, a little bit of clouds to filter it, and a bit of a breeze are all adding up to a day when I contemplate turning off the air conditioner. I resisted it until halfway through summer, and I was really enjoying open windows and let the air flow through the house. Then, the midwest mugginess and 95+ temperatures came calling.
I took that picture of the morning glory winding up a corn stalk in my mom's garden almost two weeks ago. Speaking of my mom and her garden, today's post has to be another short one because Grandma and Granddaddy are on their way here for a visit. . . and there might be a few ripe tomatoes from Grandma's garden coming with them. YUM!
So, back to the last minute cleaning and straightening. Talk to ya tomorrow, Ang

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happy Monday

Happy Monday to All!
I am sitting here staring at the laptop, wondering whether to write or go back to sleep for a bit, so I think I'll just say hello for now :)
You can see more pictures of the Graceful Offerings sculpture in the picture in my newest page at

Sunday, August 19, 2007

. . .and the Art Goes On! (with apologies to Sonny and Cher)

. . .and the art goes on!

Okay, here's what I was thinking when I wrote that title. I was thinking about how James and Kate are living a life that doesn't compartmentalize art as a once weekly class in school. They don't really separate the concept of art from other parts of their life. They just naturally look at the patterns, designs, and colors around them. They like to create pictures and sculptures with paper, crayons, markers, and tape. They like to look at other people's creations (like this scarecrow in a booth at Centralia's Balloon Fest). They give me ideas to try in glass (generally ones involving Spiderman or Mickey Mouse, but that's another story), and they make sure I see artistic goodies when they spot them,too. If they weren't waiting for Mom to hurry up and help them paint the plain white t-shirts we bought last night, I think I could write much more about this idea. For right now, though, I'll be humming "The Beat Goes On" as sung by Sonny and Cher a long time ago. . . except I'll be replacing the word "beat" with the word "art".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Plays with Fire and Sharp Tools!

Plays with fire? Check!
Plays with hot stuff like molten glass? Check!
Plays with hot irons for woodburning? Check!
Plays with sharp carving tool? Check!

Okay, so melting glass is hands-down-by-far my very favorite thing to do, but I keep trying to expand my repetoire. Last time we were home, my little brother graciously offered to let me borrow his expensive woodcarving knife. Basically, I think he had pity on my ignorance and decided to shed some light on the importance of sharp tools if you want to cut wood. See, I'd bought this little beginner's set (cheap) of woodcarving scoops and spatulas, or whaterever the real names are for those things. He took one look, tried to scrape one of them across a piece of wood, shook his head, and got out his real woodcarving tool.
So, now, when I can't melt glass with a flaming torch, I can practice woodburning (more hot tools) or attempt to scoop out a pattern with the woodcarving tool.

Seriously addicted to slightly dangerous art? Check!

Friday, August 17, 2007

End of Summer?

Isn't this a cool picture of the clematis vine after the petals have fallen? Summer brings such beauty, but so does the subtle beginning of the transition from summer into fall. Flowers with dwindling blooms leave behind intriguing patterns. A lone brown leaf dangles from the branch of the maple tree. The sound of a light shower reverberates through the drying cornfield, making a smattering of drops sound like a downpour. The air is still hot and heavy, but a stray breeze escapes and touches you briefly as you round a corner.

Here's what's happening around here this Friday:

  • Watch Me Create: Yesterday's post was written by me, all about Masks and Goddesses and Labyrinths. It's fun to go there and read about so many talented bead artists. You can look at our bead pictures bordering the left edge of the page and revel in the variety!
  • Come browse my gallery pages to see all sorts of bead sculptures.
  • Clara's Strolling Garden: The Green Tomato Relish series is a featured page!! Can you tell I'm excited that other people enjoyed the pictures I took while Mother made Green Tomato Relish last week?
  • The Centralia Balloon Fest is this weekend! Yeah! Hot air balloons fill the park, and lots of times the wind carries them all the way out here to Irvington so we can see them up close. Last year, the kiddos and I followed them down some of the back roads out here, parked, sat on the road bank with lots of other people, and waved at the balloon pilots as the floated overhead.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunset Daisies and the Munchkins Who Find Them

The Munchkins found this wildflower at the very edge of the backyard, among the weeds and tall grass near the railroad tracks. The storm had passed too quickly to dump much rain, but it did cool the almost 100 degree air so that we had a nice hour before sunset. When James and Kate spotted a bunch of these daisies, we went back to the house to get the camera. The sun was already getting low, and the flowers were in the shade, so we ended up not taking pictures of them at the time. Know why I like them? Because the munchkins each asked to pick one flower, and then they gave them to me.
Now, whenever I see this picture, I'm going to remember the almost golden sunlight dappling through the tall trees as we walked. James and Kate helping me search the treetops for signs of Athena the owl, the owl I saw in the backyard last week. The kids talking about all sorts of things, picking up sticks and throwing them like spears onto the landlord's burn pile, giggling because Moochie the cat followed us. . .
Hope you find some Sunset Daisies yourself today!

Watch Me Create 8/16/07-- I'm the writer today, look for it to be posted later in the afternoon

Clara's Strolling Garden-- If you haven't seen the Green Tomato Relish pictures, go check it out... and get ready to crave some relish!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Living on the Edge?

Are we living on the edge? No, that doesn't sound right, does it? We aren't big thrillseekers or huge risk-takers. Turns out we might be living on the edge geographically, though. While we were out exploring and looking for signs of Little Egypt yesterday, I remembered this little nook just around the corner from Foundation Park in Centralia. It's a bit of prairie grass restoration. Now, when I got home and was reading about northern Illinois' "corn famine" of 1832, I realized southern Illinois was being described as that place where the flatlands of the prairie give way to rolling hills. I wish I had the technical know-how to give you a virtual tour! This little piece of prairie, does have a slight roll to it. Then you travel south of town towards our house, and it is so flat here that we can see the Hoffman water tower (5 miles west of here) and the Centralia water tower (about 3-4 miles north of here)! So, looks to me like we're literally living on the edge :)

Kate, the picture ham, gladly posed, but James was more interested in nosing around inside the little shelter to see what was there. We did walk down the path and across the covered walking bridge you see, but it was so hot that our visit was fairly short. We walked up the the tall prairie grass, but we didn't follow any of the trail. Come to think of it, I should've had the kiddos stand next to the grass so they could see how tall it is. Guess we might have to go back one day soon and do that , huh?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nefertiti and the Sands of Little Egypt

Did you know that our part of southern Illinois is known as Little Egypt? I have to admit that I can't remember the reason that got started. However, right now, with the high temp forecast at 102F today, I feel like we might as well be somewhere in the desert! As luck would have it, when Kate turned on the Travel Channel this morning, we caught the tail end of a piece about a luxury oasis "campground" in the desert in Dubai. . . now, I'm really in the mood to do what I've been planning this morning! The kids and I are going to do a little photo-journal this week featuring these Nefertiti beads and all the Egyptian-related things we can find here in our part of the state. I don't think we'll make it all the way south to Cairo, but Centralia has a few places that'll be a great start. Hope you'll join us and check our pictures to see the sites as the week goes along :)

Now, time for the mommy to get some little to-dos done before we can go exploring and hopefully see some sites! Hope you're having a fun day, too!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Got My Fairy Wings, and I'm Outta Here!

Well, I really don't know if this is a "she" or a "he". Don't know much about these critters, except that all my life I've seen the abandoned shells but never the former occupant as it left. Look at those gossamer wings! This one was a few feet over my head, so the angle of the pictures isn't the best. I was trying to hold the camera over my head and steady at the same time.

Just had to show ya this critter. This time of night is turning out to be a great time to spot interesting creatures outdoors. Last week in Kentucky, Katie and I spotted a mama rabbit and one of her babies scampering near the edge of the soybeans. Last Friday night as I was cooking supper, I saw an owl walking under the trees in the backyard. I followed her, got to see her swooping from tree to tree, and I named her Athena. Tonight, while I was outside hoping to spot Athena again, Katie yelled at me to "come look, Mommy". This locust was what she'd found.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Buddha, Another Labyrinth, and Soupie's Trumpet Vine

Out of control!
That goes for me, making so many Buddhas and goddesses and labyrinths out of glass!
That goes for Soupie's trumpet vine, too, growing wildly on and practically over her deck!

Hey, I was running out of my favorite glass colors not too long ago, so keeping my budget in mind I ordered only those favorite colors. Bet you already know what they are: Nile green, light turquoise, dark turquoise, and dark ivory. Yep, I acknowledged my obsession with burning and reducing colors so I can work extra big. . . I know, I know, it's a rut that I don't even want to drive out of right now. You see, those colors just get this wonderful aged look when you really cook and burn 'em. That look just happens to fit perfectly with the spiritual/mystical themes I like to sculpt in glass.
Out of control, I say! Just like Soupie's trumpet vine that keeps on growing a foot every week in this summer heat!

Friday, August 10, 2007 do you define it?

I think my idea of beauty is constantly maturing. I look back at what I thought was beautiful when I was 10 years old, and that definition was much narrower than the one I hold now at 41. Beauty is more than the physical pattern or shape, more than the nuances of color. Beauty is also the way delicate shapes and subtle colors blend harmoniously with their surroundings.
Beauty. . . how
do you define it? It isn't just in the eye of the beholder, it is in the myriad of images in that eye.

No matter how you define beauty, I'll bet you can agree that there's nothing more beautiful than spending time with your family. . . and in that respect, I've just had the most beautiful week in Kentucky :)

Now, I'm back home and ready to get the kiddos ready for school and dig into the glass! Be sure to check my gallery this weekend for new pictures of my latest Buddha meditating while sitting on the trumpet vine that grows almost out of control on Soupie's deck.

Then, watch Clara's Strolling Garden for new pictures. . . I've got a whole series of colorful shots of Mother's green tomato relish, from whole tomatoes and peppers right down to the finished relish sealed tightly in its jars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Green Tomatoes and Little "Swat" Bees

Hey, check out the little bitty bug trying to suck pollen from the lid of one of Grandma's new jars of green tomato relish! I took some great pictures to share with you later in the week-- all of Grandma making green tomato ketchup or relish. But guess what caught Katie's eye when she saw this pic?? "Quick, Mommy, make it bigger so I can see that 'swat' bee!" It only took me a second to make the connection. We call those little bugs "the sweat-bee looking things that don't sting" for lack of knowing their real name. However, Pop (and the rest of us, too, whether we admit it or not) feels the need to SWAT those things. Voila'!

Hope you're having a fun week yourself!
Peace, Ang

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Super Sunday? in August?

P.S. Thanks for checking out my gallery at!
Every time you do, it helps keep my glass art visible!
If you like reading about lots of different glass beadmakers and how they create, be sure to check out Watch Me Create.

Well, yeah, I'm going to call this post Super Sunday, even though it doesn't have a darn thing to do with football! Okay, Super Sunday does occasionally fall on my birthday (Feb. 3rd), so maybe I could tie that all together will a string of words and throw in a few beads, too, but I'm not gonna try it this morning :)
Reasons why this is a Super Sunday:

  • The kids and I are going to visit Grandma and Granddaddy and Soupie and Bubby and the rest of the bunch!
  • Ricky and I just agreed that I can work full-time on the glass stuff when the kids start to school. If I can make it more of a business than just an obsessive hobby, then I don't have to get an outside job come the new year. You know what? I think that's a pretty good deal. . . for all the times we two stubborn people butt heads over our vastly different opinions, there really is some good in him :)
  • For those of you who know about my unexplained health symptoms that have been worrying me sick for the last month, I did find out more about what's not going on. . . and that makes this a Super Sunday, even though I still don't know for sure what is going on. Oh, and I am happy to report to my brother that the MRI did find a brain in this skull. I knew he'd be making cracks about that, how could he resist?? Okay, yes, I'm a whiner and a worrier, and I apologize to anyone who has to deal with really serious health issues for not being a little more stoic and patient.
  • It's a Super Sunday because it's almost school time, and that has always been my favorite time of year! I love school! I really should have been a teacher. Of course, I'd never make any money at being a teacher because I'd spend everything on books, papers, pens, more books, bulletin board goodies, rewards for the kids, etc. James, Kate, and I will have to go school supply shopping sometime in the next two weeks, and it will be so much fun! They already have Spiderman and Princesses backpacks (thank you, Grandma & Granddaddy).

Friday, August 3, 2007

Enter the labyrinth.

Trace your fingertip along the path.It winds from front to side to back to side to front again.

The only place it breaks is where a middle line has to cross the mandrel hole.

Pretty cool, huh?
I wrote a bunch about the labyrinth idea yesterday, or at least I wrote some and posted a bunch of links so you could read more if you wanted. I really like this idea for beads, even though I know it has been "done" (and done very well) by other current bead artists (I'm thinking of Teresa from Lavender Creek, and I think JC Herrell probably has done it, too). . . in fact, knowing that plenty of other people have done it made me wait a long time to actually explore this idea. The thing is, when I run across one of those ideas while googling/reading/exploring spiritual or cultural topics, that's when my mind gives it the "okay". That's when I see the big picture and realize that it isn't a topic that any single person would claim as solely their own. Once I can see that, then the ideas come and I can make my own version. And just let me say, hey, memorizing the path and then trying to do it with as long of a stringer as possible is a challenge that appeals to me. . . this is fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Labyrinths and Mazes on my Mind

Rustic Labyrinth Stone

Did you ever read about labyrinths or mazes? Of course, I have a vague memory of reading about the minotaur in a maze in mythology, so I just googled that to find the story again. That's the story where Icarus flew too close to the sun while trying to escape the maze, so I guess that's not such an appealing, feel-good reference to labyrinths, huh? Oh, but I know that can't be the only thing written about the subject! There are all sorts of mazes and labyrinths designed for people to walk through, you know you've seen them, too-- from classical gardens to cornfields .

I started thinking about making a labyrinth bead or two after finding this page about labyrinths yesterday. Following the pattern of a labyrinth is a way of thinking about traveling inward in your thoughts and then traveling back outward. Ah, another way of meditating! Ah, and another idea for something to include in a garden when we get our own house! Since I'm better at glass than gardens anyway, I decided to make a few of these yesterday. That page I just linked has a diagram showing how to draw a labyrinth. I practiced step by step until I could do that basic one without peeking at the steps. It turned out kind of rustic and bumpy in glass, though, because you start with just a cross center and then add lines. Now, on paper, this can be done smoothly, but in glass there is a bump where you join the lines. . . at least there is when I try to do it! So, I'm thinking I'll go practice drawing the entire thing without lifting my pen. If I can memorize it, then I can make a much smoother one when I do it in glass. **sigh** Glass sure does play a big part in any kind of meditation I try, huh?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Whatcha Think?

Oops, not one picture turned out clear, but I had to show you this larva and its cocoon dangling from the tree. Katie and I watched it for a long time Monday morning as it gradually pulled itself back up to the tree leaves. Forgive me if it is a pest that will now hurt the tree, I just couldn't disturb it at the time because it was working so hard to pull itself back up. We could even see the gobs of thread that it had already pulled, and we watched it use its first set of legs to grab more of the thread. Seeing this up close was really neat.

Of course, the Moocher cat kept us company during the worm vigil!

Now, in the interest of entertainment that isn't as slow-paced as worm-watching, let me tell ya about Wildheart's Works blog. Joe Cheray even featured me there just the other day. I won't give you any humble lies-- it was really cool to have someone ask to write about my glass! Now, she's tagged me with a birthday meme-- another version of a blog tag. The instructions for this one are to go to Wikipedia, type in your birthday, and then find these things that are associated with your birthday: three events, two birthdays, and one holiday. Of course, you get to tag five more people when you're done, but participation is up to you-- if you don't like this sort of thing, just smile and don't worry about it :) I think it might be interesting to see what I find for February 3, 1966, so here goes:

One holiday: Setsubun, a Japanese holiday
This traditional holiday, although not a national holiday, marks the beginning of spring. Setsubun inherits a number of traditions peculiar to the season. One of these traditions is mamemaki, the throwing of beans. In which, one throws roasted beans out of one's home, crying oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi ("out with the devils, in with good fortune"). There are regional variations of this saying, and one temple in Nara Prefecture even invites the devils in. During Setsubun, each person also eats a number of beans equal in number to his or her age. In recent years, people in Japan have begun using peanuts instead of Soybeans for this part of the holiday festivities. Supermarkets, however, still stock both peanuts and more traditional soybeans for this purpose.

Two birthdays: There weren't any listed for 1966, so here are two from other years.

Three events: Okay, click here for the list of February 3rd events throughout history. Hmm, I think these three are interesting, says Angie after skimming a few:

1690 - The colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in America.
1815 - The first commercial cheese factory is founded (Switzerland).
1959 - The Day The Music Died: A plane crash kills rock-and-roll performers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.

That's all for now, folks! Talk soon, Ang