Monday, June 30, 2008

Digging Up Dirt. . . No, Not Gossip-- Real Dirt!

Argh, forgot to take a picture of this old flower bed before I started pulling up grass. That's what I've been doing today. I can't grow flowers worth a hoot, but I decided to do something with this flower bed that my mom hasn't had time to do much with this summer. Of course, the woman has one, two, three, oh, heck, I can't count all of the flower beds she has scattered around this place! Plus, she has a huge garden, chickens, and dogs to tend.

So, this spot at the end of the old shop already has some hen 'n chicks planted in the clay pots, as well as some growing in the recesses of the concrete blocks that form the boundary. A bit of mint (if there can ever be just a bit of mint growing anywhere), some gladiolas, some rose of sharon, and underneath it all grow the magic lilies that will spike up out of the ground somewhere around the beginning of August.

Here's my start at fixing yet another outside place to sit and relax. The stairs were left over from a job Uncle James did a few years ago. The concrete blocks came from behind the new shop. The enamel pan to the right of the stairs has been re-purposed. It is now the seat for my little stack of concrete blocks!

Here's the view to the right of my little spot. That's yet another garden way out near the trees you see in the fence line at the top middle of the pic. That's my mom's potato patch.

And now, I need to head back outside for a bit before sunset. Thanks for coming along on a tour of today's project! I'll show you more pics as soon as I get some plants to put out around the chairs and stepping stones :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Too Much Fun!

How could a kid not love this backyard? Granddaddy is building a playhouse with real doors and windows for the munchkins. Check out the way the roof hangs out in front-- that's because there's going to be a humongous porch. Heck, *I* want to claim that playhouse!

Actually, I have to hope we're visiting when it comes time to paint, because I am itching to do some two dimensional decorating. Don't know what yet. Can't draw worth a hoot. Still, I wanna add something to it. . .

Did I ever tell you about the year when I painted the picnic table for my contribution to the July 3rd picnic and fireworks? I painted the table and benches red, white, and blue. Wish I had a picture to show you. I can't remember all the details, but I distinctly remember the finishing touch to the waving colors-- I wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner on the table top. Yes, it really was cool :)

Well, this is going to be one of those busy weeks, so I better tell ya "Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite". Oh, and Happy Monday (I'm posting a little early).

Amphiptere Dragon Magick


Born of the flame, given no name, this enchanted melding of dragon and goddess flew from my imagination...she was so easy to imagine, I knew there must already be a name and description for her. I found it this morning while googling dragons. Of the many definitions and references to amphiptere, dragon-like winged serpents, the one I found fascinating was the description at The Serene Dragon. There, amphiptere are described as guardians flying the astral plane. Ah, that is who she is-- a winged guardian traveling the astral planes.

So much more to explore, but gots to get the kiddos dressed. Talk to ya soon. Hope your day has a bit of flame fun tossed in to it, and hope your imagination has good thoughts to toy with today!
Peace, Ang

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where the Eagle Flies

Where the eagle flies, the beats of its strong wings send waves of freedom over me.
Where the eagle flies, its keen eyesight looks toward the future and telegraphs those visions of continued freedom to me.
Where the eagle flies, the pieces of history that have been woven into a flag of tattered dreams curl round me.

Those pieces of history, woven into a flag of tattered dreams,
they bring a flood of emotions to me.
They bring joy and sadness.
They bring pride and shame.
They bring hope and despair.
How can I not grasp for a tendril of that as the eagle flies over me?

Wherever you are, whatever your country, always grasp for the tendrils of life embodied in your flag. Celebrate the good, mourn the bad, and never forget that there can be both woven into the same piece of tattered fabric. A piece of fabric, as well as a piece of history, would never hold together if it had only the good threads running all in one direction or only the bad threads running all in one direction. . .it is when threads are woven into and out of one another that the fabric gains its strength.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How Many Angels Would Fit on the End of a Glass Rod?

How many angels would fit on the head of a pin? I know that phrase from somewhere, but I can't even tell you its origin. For some reason, in my mind it has a connection with philosophers and the 19th century. I could look it up, I suppose. Might even do that later.

But for right now, my question to you is "How many angels would fit on the end of a glass rod?" The answer? One wobbly one when I made this angel off mandrel! I wish I could fully describe to you the differences between working with a glob of glass that is supported by a stainless steel mandrel versus working with a glob of glass that is supported by just itself. With that wire (mandrel) assisting me, I've come to the point where I blast the heat and still keep ivory soft glass from slithering off the wire and glopping onto the steel worktable. I revel in it, actually. I love it. Now, I'm trying to coax hard glass (aka boro, or borosilicate, or that pyrex stuff) to move and be shaped. I will learn this, I will.

I guess this is one of those mornings when I'm all talked out, so that's all the rambling for now, folks :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Real Question Is, "Why Am I Wearing Corduroys in the Middle of Summer??"

So, the question of the day struck me as I was trying to take some quick snapshots of yesterday's boro tubing experiments. No, the question for today is not whether I think anyone will even notice that I used stringer to write WCAG along the top of this wonky little goblet. The question isn't why I can't remember to just make a maria (flattened disc of hot glass) to use for the bottom of these little wonky vases and goblets instead of trying to layer the boro like I do soft glass. Oh, and that doesn't even beg the question, "Why don't you just make a separate base and then attach it like you're supposed to do, Ang??" I think we can all guess the answer to that one-- because it's too much to learn to coordinate all at once when you're a clutz like me!

Seriously, the real question that occurred to me is, "Why am I wearing these brown corduroy pants in the middle of summer?" Well, I hardly ever wear shorts, so it's always capris or jeans for me, anyway. I wore this comfy pair of brown corduroy Dockers from the clearance rack practically every other day this past winter. You got it-- they are as soft and comfy as any old pair of jeans, plus they're worn so thin that they can't possibly be any hotter than a pair of jeans!

What also occurred to me is that I associate wearing corduroys year 'round with a certain kind of personality, one that I don't dislike, but one that really doesn't match mine in very many ways. I had a professor in college who wore corduroys all the time. Let's just call him HippieRat. He was very smart. We all liked his classes. I think we were all just a little bit awed by him in a strange way, too. At the time, most of us being good kids who grew up in Kentucky, he was something different that we might not have encountered before then in our young lives. He was obviously a hippie who had gotten his Ph.D. despite a little flashback problem that I think even he joked about. (Looking back, I don't see anything too strange about that, of course. )

Here I sit, some 20 years later (hey, I graduated college 20-freaking-count-them years ago!), dressed like the HippieRat, except I don't have a Ph.D. certificate on the wall and I sure don't have flashbacks of the sort he had. . . but am I really that much different? I kinda don't think so. I think if I had been one of the college kids who joined in the psych department parties, I would've found out that HippieRat was probably a very laidback guy who loved his work and was just happy to have what he needed in life...everything else was just a bonus. I think I'm growing into that person, slowly but surely. I think I like it.

Yeah, I think I like it. I have my family. I have two beautiful, goofy, smart, loving children. I have a once upon a time laidback hubby who's become a corporately driven CPA... bless his heart, I do get to stay home with the kids and I do get to play glass. I have a roof over my head and (obviously) plenty to eat. I love it all, even in the midst of the little daily frustrations that come and go. I have a stack of library books about sculpture on my desk. I can just play with a different kind of glass if I choose (when I get a chance to torch), and I can just learn and think and enjoy it all.

So, here's to the HippieRat in all his perceived weirdness. Thanks for not conforming :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Goofiness Reigns Supreme around Here. . .

That's my daughter, the Princess of Particularly Goofy Faces and Moods! After so much seriousness in the last week or so, I thought you might enjoy a shot of goofiness to start your day.

If Uncle Bubby or Aunt Soupie happen to read this, let me warn you ahead of time. Your niece has some new goofy voices and acts in her repertoire. One is a squinty-eyed version of this face, accompanied by a hunched over back and a running one-way conversation that goes something like this, "I'm just a little old lady, a little old lady. . .Can I have a drink of your Diet Coke?" Do I have any more explanation? Nope. She's just goofy.

Here's to a bit of goofiness and fun in your day, too!
Peace and a few scrunchy goofy faces, Ang

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wonky City Glass. . . Possible New Studio Name for Me!

I played with borosilicate tubing last night for the first time. Ever seen those guys making goblets at the torch? Blowing puffs of air into pieces of glass tube they've heated in the flame of the torch? Those guys? Heehee. I'm not them!

But I damn sure had fun :)

Peace to you from AngelinaBeadalina who is soon to do a Prince/Puff Daddy kinda thing and change her name to
Wonky City Art Glass!

Seriously, it was meant as a joke, but I'm starting to grow fond of it. . .

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Let It Shine... Let Your Soul Shine

Let your soul shine, and we will light the world together.

Oh, I have so many things to say, so many people to mention, so many rambling thoughts that would like to be corralled. . . and yet, my brain is tired. That is a funny feeling for me, to be sure. My mother has said that I started talking at 7 months (or 11 months? can't remember now) and haven't shut up since. I am not offended by that. . .I know it's the truth. So, I am fairly surprised to find myself trying to write this morning and having my brain screech, "Hey, enough is enough. Let me rest and catch my breath for a few minutes." I don't even feel like writing the requisite "stop snickering at that, Bubby." (But of course, I will.)

You know the wheels are turning in the background, though. I'm trying to write a brief little essay about how I started making goddess beads. So here's what I wrote this morning, just to tell Suz that I'm working on this ( I think I might clean up my language just a bit in places, so you'll not get the exact copy, but you'll get the idea):

Hey, Suz, I have so much to say about the goddesses, sculpting, etc., and I want to try to make sure I don't leave anyone out. . .Freddy (she used to hang out here but I think she probably hangs out more at The Melting Pot; dunno, but she uses the same name almost everywhere) did piss me off, but Amber (*Naos*) always encouraged me in the S&T's (she does that for everyone, and it makes a difference). Teresa gave me advice and encouragement! We don't talk all the time, but almost every conversation I've had with her has made me wish I could be her next door neighbor and has ended up guiding me in subtle ways for a long time. For instance, if you ever look through my gallery pics on BeadArtists, you'll see I love stringer work almost as much as sculpting. But when I mix the two, I tend to get too involved in adding details and the elegance of the form suffers. Teresa and I once talked about "less is more". I can't remember all the details of what was said because it seems so long ago. What I do know is that every time I just let the glass flow and try to capture that "less is more" simple elegance, I think of her encouraging me to remember that. Every time I look at a finished piece that has captured that, I mentally thank Teresa. Also, Teresa and Sheila Morley and I all seem to like the same kinds of themes. Sheila and I have talked about it a lot...I think at first we were kind of taken aback, but we started talking in the early fall of 2006 and soon discovered we have a lot of similarities that end up getting translated into our glass. I describe it this way-- we travel the same creative highway, but we tend to choose different exits to explore. Teresa has never grouched at or scolded me for pursuing goddesses or masks. . .you can bet there are some people who would grouch. When my brother told me to "put some clothes on them naked women," I did. I put dresses on Cleopatra torsos, I made rather sexy women with transparent gowns. I also told Teresa about the "put some clothes on them" comments and snickers from my DH and his friends. She basically said the body is beautiful and don't cover them up if you don't want to. I'm telling you all this partly because I thought you'd like to know since you are family (are you her aunt? or do I have that mixed up? sorry). It makes such a long story though, because that's just the beginnings and look how long this message is already, LOL. I want to really write it out in a nice way, include as much of the evolution as possible, but I don't want to completely bore anyone or look like I think you gave an invitation for me to write a whole darn book! So, this morning the DH actually wants me to help him put together a little metal shed he started yesterday. He never thinks I could help, even though I know more than he realizes Anyway, I will be incubating my little essay in the back of my mind. I don't know about you, but my brain is really is tired after all this week's discussions. Funny, my mom says I started talking at about 7 months and haven't shut up since, I believe her, and this is one of the few times in my life when my brain actually feels fatigued. Not fed up or ready to move on to something else, but plain old fatigued. Hope your school work is all wrapped up by now! Hope you get to spend the day doing something fun! Ang

P.S. Freddy never really talked to me online. One day after I showed this headless figure of a girl sitting on a rock, she pm'd me with some advice about sculpture. I took it less than kindly when she suggested I go to museums or parks and sit and sketch the sculptures so I could get a good feel for the way the body looks. Now that I think about it, she might have been tweaking me, but she was also helping. Anyway, she pissed me off, and I decided I'd just show her. I'd been avoiding putting heads on those figures, but after her comments I really dove into making heads and faces so I could eventually put them on figures. If she hadn't made me so damn mad (whether she meant to or not), I might never have gotten the courage to actually try the heads.

Well, geez, you thought you weren't gonna have much to read this morning, didn't ya?
Hope your Sunday is a good one!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oh. My. Gawd. I Am in Love with Glass!

I am in love with glass.

Oh. My. Gawd. I am in love. . .in love with clear borosilicate glass!! The crystal clear quality. The stiffness that helps slow me down and keeps me from melting in all the curlicues on the ends of waves. The whole thing!! (More pretty pictures here)

I am in love with glass! Howzabout you? It seems like every other word I write these days is about the gazillions of possibilities in the world of glass. I don't think it's a contradiction for me to believe in all those possibilities and still believe there is nothing new under the sun. People have happily been exploring with glass for thousands of years (at least, the lucky ones have!), so I firmly believe that no matter what I make, chances are that someone else (past, present, or future) will independently run across the same idea. Does that take away the possibilities that are new to me? Hell, no. Enjoy the journey, people, enjoy the journey! We are the lucky ones who know about the joys of glass! Peace, Ang

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dragonfly with BabyWings...More Practice Needed, It Seems

I made this dragonfly faery before I got the new torch hooked up, so she's about a month old by now. I've been watching her flutter around the sculpture shelf all that time. I'll pick her up, start to take her picture or make her a base, and then put her down again. I like her wings. I don't like her wings. They're in proportion for her body. They're not in proportion for a dragonfly. I shouldn't have left the tweezer marks. The tweezer marks give the wings texture that's needed in the dark glass.

We're always second guessing ourselves, aren't we? Oh, I could write volumes about that, I think. Of course, those volumes would be so crampacked with convoluted ramblings that you wouldn't be able to read them, but I could write them ;)

Maybe, I'll try to write just a little about the tendency to second guess ourselves and how it can be a positive thing. How can all that back and forth, wishywashy stumbling be positive? I think if you listen to yourself when you're doing that wanna-nah, don't wanna conversation, you'll find that you aren't approaching the situation from the right direction. Maybe, you can't decide between heading North versus heading South simply because you really need to be turning East or West.

Something to think about, courtesy of your motormouth blogging friend :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Goddess Interruptus

Quickie post. This is the result of trying to do one sculpture last night. Goddess interruptus. Actually, after browsing some books on Greek sculptures, I'm itching to make some sculptures with "missing" pieces. A torso with just a portion of the head remaining, a standing figure "broken" unevenly across the chest, they all have such power and grace exuding from them.

Yep, my shadow Katie woke up before I could get done fixing the goddess last night. I did a pretty good job of building up all that glass for her belly and hips. Managed to get shoulders, breasts, and head. Then I broke her neck when I tried to remove the punty, so I just fire polished her as she is. I came up from the breezeway for a drink of water to find lights on and Kate up asking for me. . . Daddy won't do when she wants Mommy in the middle of the night. I think I could've added a new head and done a better job with the punty if I had gone back down there. If I was even better at it, though, I would've realized I could lay the glass down and come back to it sometime today. It's all about getting into a rhythm and applying your experience to the next attempt, isn't it? Maybe tonight I'll do a better job of it :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Keeping Creativity in Motion with the DragonMamaKundaliniQueen


What a mouthful that name is! Each part of it describes this one, so hey, I just christened her the DragonMamaKundaliniQueen. See, the thing is I love to torch but simply have not gotten my daily doses of flame time lately. It looks like once or twice a week might end up being the torching schedule for me this summer. Yep, I am whining just a wee bit.

For me, melting glass is the way to express myself and actually feel that I've done something that counts. My sketches are no more than outlines to guide me through sculpting the molten glass. My sewing machine is still buried under other stuff in the avalanche closet; face it, if I really wanted to sew nowadays, I wouldn't have that machine at the bottom of the pile. My posters and cards are last minute slap it together wish I'd started earlier creations that usually bring a smile but certainly aren't art.

Ah, but you can't let yourself think this way about the alternatives to your favorite creative release, or you risk letting your creativity stall itself in the middle of the expression highway. New application of those physics laws you vaguely remember from high school-- creativity in motion will tend to stay in motion.

So, what am I doing to keep my creativity in motion? I'm ordering lots of sculpture books from the interlibrary loan system at our local library. I'm skimming bits and pieces of these books. I'm checking out the pictures for ways to add more to my sculpted figures without detracting from the graceful, "less is more" flow. I saw a sketch last night of a Greek sculpture (<--couldn't find the sketch online but this link is an interesting one about Greek art) in which the marble robe flowing across the female figure looked as if it were gossamer. How do you give the illusion of gossamer when your material is literally hard as a rock? I'm going to have to try to do that in glass. I've got the fluidity in my sculptures, but can I add the delicacy?

Putting glass thoughts into words is another way I'm trying to keep the creativity in motion, hence the DragonMamaKundaliniQueen's strange but interesting name. Her story is incubating in the back of my mind, even as I write today's blog. Oh, and she has a story, it just didn't reveal all of itself while she was in the flame. Dragon-like tail and Eastern influence, goddess mama, kundalini yoga coiled snake energy, and regal bearing of a queen are all bits and pieces of the story.

Maybe I'll try another modeling another clay figure and using it to make a waste mold for a concrete piece. Thanks to Sheila's tips on using the plaster, I finally did a decent mold this spring. After playing with the concrete mixture a few times, I think I'll make a better consistency for pouring into the mold this time. It's another creative addiction in the making, though, and if I have a block of time available then I want to spend it torching.

Just writing that last sentence points out the key to the beginning of a solution. Just as I no longer save my reading for times when I can read cover to cover until a book is done, I need to start thinking differently about art time. I get too caught up in this all or nothing mentality when I think about torching. Most of my sculptures take at least an hour to make, and even the few I've done with the big boy torch so far took about forty-five minutes. I'm not willing to try garaging and reheating pieces every fifteen minutes to do them in segments, but why do I think I have to make more than one sculpture in a day? Wouldn't making one be at least as satisfying right now as sitting here lamenting that I can't go downstairs and make three or four goodies?? Gotta open my mind to all sorts of possibilities, instead of boxing myself into a stifling little corner for no reason.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Torch Is Downstairs Crying for Me. . .

My torch is downstairs crying for me. . . and I'm upstairs busy being the Mom. I think the torch will still be there, but the kiddos won't always have time to spend with the Mom, huh? The kids and I just came from a summer drawing class for older kids, and I am once again reminded of how much I love art and love creating. I also love watching James and Kate learn about art, so this morning's class was fun for me, too.

James, Kate, and their friend Jacob were learning to use color pencils in drawings. The two day class is part of KICK, a summer program organized by Kaskaskia College. Thanks so much to Ms. Renee for letting the younger trio experience this class. They were toasting "Art" with coffee cups and Sprite at lunch. They may have fidgeted, but they were indeed listening...and they were all three talking about what they want to draw to show the teacher on Thursday!

This makes me so happy, this enthusiasm they have for learning about art. Oh, just like the older kids in the class, they were scrunching their noses up at making a color wheel and learning the names of different kinds of shading. In the end, though, Jacob was coloring a picture and blending blues and purples for the sky. Kate was carefully shading in a heart frame she wanted to draw. James was using different horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines to make a web for the Spiderman character he drew. Did they realize how much they were learning? Maybe, maybe not. What they did realize was that it is fun to share an experience like this. Next time they have art class in school, I'm willing to bet they will be telling their friends about hatching and crosshatching and explaining a few things about the color wheel.

Each step leads to another and another, and I want them to have a long and satisfying journey in the pursuit of art :)

P.S. You can see more pics of Eve in my gallery pages!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green. . .

Well, I have no idea why I chose the title "It ain't easy being green" for today's ramblings, except that I'm planning on trying to melt and recycle some beer and champagne bottles left from this weekend's celebrations. Heather's sweetie Brian snagged two empty champagne bottles at Jeff and Deana's reception, but I was too slow in grabbing the others. Ricky suggested trash-can-diving to find oodles more. . . until I lifted a trash can lid and showed him the prospects of actually finding the bottles :) This used to embarrass the hell out of me, soon became merely fodder for my jokes, and now is apparently an option in my own repertoire-- my recycling crazy hubby will dig recyclable bottles and cans out of the trash can at a party (unless it's a work related soire, for those he attempts to reign in his diving and followup scoldings about how we have to save the planet for our kids). Egads!

The quasi-eyeball in the picture above is the bottom of a beer bottle. I was playing with my photo software and added the pupil and lines in the iris. Which gets me to thinking, wonder when someone will start putting pictures on the bottoms of bottles? I'll bet it's been done sometime or another, after all I really do believe there's nothing new under the sun. I'd just like to see some. . . maybe I'll google that later.

Oh, oh! and I'll have to show ya some of the goodies I recycled from Jim Bob's scrap metal pile, too! Hot dog! Jim made the mistake of mentioning he'd just added some things to the pile. Before he and Ricky could even blink, I had waved bye to Sara and shot out the garage door. When they finally ambled out to the scrap trailer, I already had a pile of goodies :) Score! I got an old metal box, some rusty old-fashioned bottle openers, a tin bottle of oil, a rusty shovel head, and all sorts of little odds and ends that I crammed into the metal box. I also put dibs on some of those metal legs for sawhorses, as well as a small table saw stand. . . I kinda got the feeling I'm not going to get those, though. Heehee, I think my enthusiasm for my finds rubbed off on the boys, because they were discovering all sorts of bits and pieces that Jim shouldn't have put in the scrap pile after all!

Okay, the kiddos are up and I need to get my day started. Catch ya later!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Granddaddy!
I love you, Pop, and I have so much fun watching you watch the rottens and play with them!
I hope you and Ma have had a wonderful time camping this weekend! We'll call ya later this evening.
Love, AnFaye

Happy Father's Day to my husband, too! Our children adore you and have so much fun playing with Daddy. Kate is just like you, you know, always the class clown, always pestering, always equally loving when she's not in clowning mode :)

And the boy, well, the boy loves to do stuff with Dad. When he's waiting for you to get home in the evenings, he is so full of things to tell Dad and plans for "battles" with Dad.

Happy Father's Day to all the Daddy's out there! You are loved and adored much more than you can even imagine!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Indiana Jones Wrestles the WebKinz Snake

Dr. Jones gets up his nerve and wrestles the WebKinz snake. Okay, so his outfit looks like he could just as well be the Crocodile Hunter, but the little boy was thrilled with getting to open birthday presents one day early. . .and he was thrilled with the combination of goods. Grandma just happened to choose a snake WebKinz for him, and the M.O.M. picked out new clothes with an eye towards the boy playing Indiana Jones. The cowboy hat turned out to be too little, but stuffing the snake inside it for him to open was pretty cool.

Of course, with more of the cousins here for the weekend, he and Kate ended up with oodles more toys. Sheesh, this birthday season has been an entire month of celebrations. From Kate's birthday four weeks ago, until James' birthday today, these kiddos have been super-spoiled with attention and presents. The kid in me understands their delight, and the mom in me hopes it doesn't totally turn them into greedy little boogers.

Apparently, my new seven year old grew up overnight, too. This morning he gave me a high five when I told him "Happy Birthday." I'm sure the hugs won't stop coming, but I have a feeling that seven is a magical growing up number in the boy's mind. Looking at him this morning, I think he feels older.

Remember that? That notion that you would automatically change on your birthday? The feeling that you were instantly an entire year older and more "grown up"?
My wish for my little boy is that the magical feeling lasts for a long, long time :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Face It. . .

Face It. . .

  • Even when you don't have a set Monday thru Friday schedule, Friday's have a special feel to them
  • Quiet coffee time by yourself to start the day beats everybody chattering and cartoons blaring and drumbeats on the couch (don't ask)
  • Orange juice tastes better with pulp
  • Glass is good
  • The end of the toilet paper should hang over the top not under
  • Boys will be boys will be boys
  • Ice cream tastes better on a hot day
  • Ice cream may taste better on a hot day, but that doesn't mean it tastes bad on a cold day ;)
  • No matter how ripe you like your bananas, the ones you just bought two days ago are already rotten when you reach for one today
  • Cats are weird, good, but weird
  • Dogs are goofy, good, but goofy
  • Writing muses are easily distracted
Time for me to get on with the day. . . Maybe, just maybe, my day will include putting something together for this fun fairy face. She was made on the mandrel, and she's wide enough and heavy enough that my sweating hands were having trouble holding on to her by the time I started adding lips and wings. Face it. . . asymmetry is my thing :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Help! Got Any Ideas? Thanks!

Alright, ya caught me sneaking back to that online lampworking forum I said I needed to take a break from reading for a few days. I have to admit this to you because I want to spread the word about something my cybersis Sheila Morley posted in the Garage Sale section:

Need Kiln Fast!
My kiln broke. I am in Southeast, Michigan...
I need to work.
I wonder if someone has one around they want to get rid of.
I'll be honest...I can come up with $100.00 and some glass?
beads or some of my double helix stash?
send me a pm if interested.
thank yoU!!

So, if anyone knows anyone who might know someone who might have an idea or know of an available kiln, please would you pass the word along? You can contact Sheila through her website, or you can leave a message here and I'll forward it to her. Sheila is a wonderful person, and a hardworking one, too. I wish I was closer to Michigan, but since I'm not, I figure I can at least help spread the word. It's a small, small world, and you never know. . .

Now, in my you-never-know-what-she's-gonna-ramble-about mode, let me just tell you that I now know I do indeed love my children more than chocolate! Oh, I love them with all my heart and soul (even when they are fighting over who gets the red popsicle). Still, some things are sacred. Take, for instance, my chocolate. I do not willingly share chocolate, I have to admit it. Since James is a chocoholic extraordinaire, I tend to hide the "good" chocolate that I like and give them the things like the Mr. GoodBar and Three Musketeers snack size bars that the librarian sent home with us. Oh, and "good" chocolate is a relative term-- it doesn't mean expensive in my case, just means the stuff I like best, such as the still fresh Twix snack bars that were in that same bag of treats from the librarian.

So, when I went to the grocery without the kids this afternoon, I bought a fresh package of Turtles. You know, a heavenly trio of chocolate and caramel and pecan. Mmmmmmmm! Three in a package. Oh, and I knew it was a fresh package because I did that sly poke your finger in the middle of the package to see if the caramel is still soft thing. Shhh, you don't have to tell everyone you know that I did that. Anyway, I did not scarf down those Turtles before getting the kids. I actually waited, and I actually shared. One for James, one for Kate, and one for the Mom. There ya go, I love my children more than chocolate :)

Second Dragon...Hey, That Sounds Like a Mystical Kung Fu Designation

Second Dragon.
You are not the Dragon Warrior. Yet, you may someday be.

Heehee, sorry, too much Kung Fu Panda talk around this house. Oriental art, even Disney-fied Pixar versions, just makes my muse rub her hands together and squeal with glee. You know what that means for the glass, right? That means Ang will be stuck on chasing those elusive off mandrel dragons. Since I was so excited about the first one, going to see the movie later that day just intensified the fascination.

Oh, and I included more pics of this Second (Imperfect) Dragon for you, even though I'm not sure how much you can see. Clear glass is so mesmerizing in person, but it sure isn't happy with the way I take its picture!

Yep, I called it the Second Imperfect Dragon. Wanna know what I messed up this time? I stuck his fat head back in the flame too quickly and caused a massive crack in his left jaw. Clear glass is so confusing when you're looking at it in the flame. I kept melting that crack, and I thought I couldn't see it any more. Eh-eh, still there and even bigger when I took this baby out of the kiln. Drat.

Kilns. That's another story. I have an Aim 84BD kiln which is a wonderful firebrick kiln but has a teeny tiny bead door which wouldn't let my dragon come inside no matter how I twisted and maneuvered it. I got so involved in that, I forgot to fire polish the spot where I broke off the punty. Anyway, I ended up putting on gloves and lifting the top of the kiln aside to gingerly lower the dragon to the bottom of his sauna.

P.S. I really gotta say another "Thank You" to you guys. . . It's a real boost to know someone is listening to my glass blabbering. I always miss someone when I try to list people, so please forgive me if you're the one I forget this time (and I'll be smacking my forehead on the way into town later when I remember who I left out this time!). Ellen, Mari, Lea, Jeannette, Carol,Mike, Sheila, P~, Jenny, Teresa, Aunt Carol, Soupie, Bubby, Ginger, Melissa, all of ya, I hope today is one of those days you drop by here because I hope you see this and know how much I appreciate ya!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enter the (Imperfect) Dragon!

HoT DaMnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!
Yesterday was the beginning of a new torching saga for me, and it was funner than sipping the finest bourbon Kentucky can make plus eating a Dairy Queen blizzard on a hot summer night plus looking at the stars while smoking a stinky expensive cigar plus trying on a pair of Levi's that fit perfectly plus shifting a rumbling V8 engine from 1st into 2nd at 45mph ALL ROLLED INTO ONE!!

And thank goodness for that, in more ways than one! Since I'm not even sure which is the finest Kentucky bourbon, haven't had an expensive cigar in ages, the Mustang was part of what seems like another lifetime, and the Levi's currently won't cooperate with my forty-something body, then I'm doubly grateful for the torch :) By the way, I can see the stars a heck of a lot better since I finally got new glasses/contacts, and we had Dairy Queen last night after laughing all the way through Kung Fu Panda. . .I am in love with my life!

If you do lampworking, then you'll know what I'm talking about when I tell you what I did yesterday. If you don't do lampworking, you'll probably just scratch your head and mutter, "So?!" Hang in there, either way, and I'll also tell you how Kung Fu Panda was ;)

I finally got to fire up the big boy torch yesterday. Oh. My. I'd never worked with an inner and outer ring. I gingerly turned the outer ring knobs, and whoooooooooosh! Talk about your radiant heat! I didn't even turn the knobs very much. So, I only saw part of this baby's potential. In anticipation of what this flame would be like, I had cleaned my worktable and put away all traces of Effetre glass. Yep, broke out that box of boro I've had since I ordered my supplies to begin lampworking.

Let's see, big boy torch-check. Boro instead of soft glass-check. Might as well give off mandrel another try even though I failed miserably at it last year when I finally tried it- CHECK.

I made a tiny goddess with no head (ran out of glass because I'd only cut a single rod of clear). Then I made a sun with some funky pretty but more pink than orange Momka's glass encased in more clear. The Momka's is pretty in the middle, but I didn't make it very smooth shaped (it's lopsided as hell, and I usually like a little asymmetry). Aha, but the clear rays extending from the sun, those are sweeeeeeeeeet for a beginner. Then, I made the dragon you see in these pictures.

Yes, enter the dragon, imperfect though he may be! I did it! I broke his legs and wings at the end, but I did it! I tried! I think I'll probably save him forever, even with his broken off leg and wings that are no more. I managed to do a cold punty, which I'd never gotten the hang of doing when I tried off mandrel last year.

I finished with a paperweight Goddess, and now I can't wait to try again. I think I know why the wings broke off the dragon's body. I didn't let the joints really flow together when I added them. The leg, well , the leg probably broke because I'm clumsy and because I should've chosen a different spot for attaching that punty. I should've put the punty farther away from the leg so I could tap the punty off without beating the leg against the table in my clumsiness.

Wow, thanks for listening to all that! I am just so excited to be taking steps on a path that intimidated me for so long :)

P.S. Kung Fu Panda was hilarious, and just a little bit mystical. Hey, remember this-- "the secret is that there is no secret ingredient." Good message encased in laughter, that's what I'd say about this one :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Self Imposed Isolation? Just Might Do It for a While...

Oh, no, don't get your hopes up. **wink**grin**virtual hugs to all who read here** I won't give up blabbering in my blog, and as soon as I actually get to torch, I'll be putting more pics in my gallery pages and listing those items in my Etsy shop.

No, can't give up those things that are a creative release for me, that's just the way I'm selfish. See this wonderful sculpture we saw at The Magic House? Don't you love the way the empty space was made so a real live child could grasp the hands of the frozen-in-motion ones? Did you notice the way it completes the ring of shadows? I know there are a bunch of metaphors in this picture. Most of them have to do with the connections between humans across all times. I just might have to rehash this photo another day and talk about them, too, but for right now I just feel like the idea of connection and the joy and the satisfaction it brings is the point.

Yes, connection with others who are doing the same thing you are doing and feeling the same joy from it, now that is a good thing! I've gotten that feeling from an online lampworkers' community for almost as long as I've been melting glass. So many individuals who are kind and helpful and funny and just plain fun! So many people I respect and love.

So, what's the problem? Why would I be considering a self imposed isolation from that connection to fellow glass peeps? Well, part of it is that I can write some wise things about tolerance, but I can't always follow through with tolerance of my own. I am too caught up in shaking my head over the intolerance of others to truly be tolerant myself. It's taken me a long time in life to really start believing in the importance of "live, and let live."

There are a few things that still challenge me, though. Funny, the things that present the most challenge get echoed in my responses to them. Reacting with a sigh of disbelief at the pettiness of others just shows my own petty inability to tolerate someone else's opinion. Shaking my head at negativity...well, can you see the irony there? In the end, being disheartened by the fact that so many people I like and respect have a much different opinion than mine about the copying issue is less than tolerant of their opinions. So, let's see, I'm whining about others being intolerant and negative and petty, which makes me intolerant and negative and petty when I think about it.

Best to take a break until I can let it go. I will be missing my connection with the world of glass, but maybe this way I can avoid the personal struggle to just break down and say some things that are truths to me but would essentially be shit-stirring to people who disagree with my point of view. Dang, that wouldn't be any fun, either. So, send me some "live and let live gracefully" vibes, send me emails, send me links to your blogs in case I can't find them since my list of bookmarks is in horrible disarray, send me updates about what you are doing, send me nasty letters for being so selfish as to draw myself away and expect you to come find me once in a while. . . Peace, Ang

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh, No! Quadruple Trouble!

Watch out, parents! The magic of The Magic House can be scary at times :) Instead of the usual double trouble team of James and Kate, I walked around the corner of this mirror maze to gaze upon this apparition of quadruple trouble!

We sure had fun playing and exploring everything at The Magic House yesterday. I think the grownups were having as much fun watching the kids as the kids were having playing with all the cool things.

Terry and Eileen talked to an elderly man who had come along with a whole brood of grandchildren. He was marveling at the way the kids found the greatest joy playing in the restaurant set-up and the other "stores" in the Children's Village. It's true. Our kids liked the experiments with magnets and the hair-raising generator, but they could have spent all day pretending to cook pizzas and wait tables, writing checks and making bank deposits, shopping in the produce market, and checking out books in the library.

Remember that time in your life? Remember when all you wanted to do was be a grownup and do grownup things? Wow, all four of us adults were heard saying, "Wish we'd had this when I was a kid!"

It sure was a fun day!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Serious Moment. . .

I have tried and tried during my relatively short glass melting journey to describe my feelings about copying. I get so upset when I see someone complaining that someone else copied their style or copied their "signature" bead. Hell, I've got a trucker's mouth when it comes right down to expressing myself when I get mad, so I usually try to just shut-the-@#$*-up. I don't want to offend anyone because we all have the right to our own opinions. Still, to me, there is something sooooooooo not right about the copying issue. To me, it's a non-issue. Well, yesterday, I finally found a way to express my feelings in what I hope is a non-offensive way. If you agree with me, please, please, copy it and post it wherever you can :)

We each make our own footprint in glass. If you look ahead of you, there will be the footprints of those who came before you. You will notice their footprints crossing over one another, sometimes landing in the same space even though they've come from different directions and once again diverge and follow different paths. If you look behind you, there will be the footprints of those coming behind you. You will notice some that appear to follow you, but if you put yourself in the shoes of the people ahead of you, then you realize that to them it may look as if you are merely following in their footsteps. You will also notice those behind you moving at different speeds and in many different directions. We are each making our own footprints, but you'll notice it is inevitable that all the ground as far as you can see before you and behind will become covered with footprints. Before you assume someone else is following your path to closely, better look at your own from a different perspective. . . just because your feet have landed momentarily in the same spot does not make either of you owner of that spot

No one owns a piece of the path, no matter how heavily or lightly trodden it might be. Just enjoy the walk!
Oh, and a few other thoughts that could come from this loose analogy:

--If you have made some superduperspecial bulldozer to clear part of the path, don't forget that someone ahead of you probably used a different version of it somewhere along the line. Feel proud of your work, but it might be arrogant to assume no one else in history has ever used the same type of idea. Also, remember that just because you moved part of the path still does not give you ownership of the path itself.

--If you pay someone to guide you along a new or difficult part of the path for you, show them respect and thank them for their help. If you take money from someone for guiding them along a part of the path you know well, show them respect and thank them for trusting you. Both of you should remember that neither of you owns the path.

--Remember that babies learn to walk partly by observing others and partly by trying to walk themselves.

--If you always ride piggyback, certain things will happen: you may never learn to walk by yourself again; or you may get a needed break and then walk stronger; or you may only succeed in hurting the back of the one who carries you while simultaneously deepening their footprint. Still, no matter what happens with the footprints, neither of you will be able to claim that part of the path as your own.
--If someone alongside you could use a hand as they traverse the path, please be kind. You never know when you will need their hand in return.

--This path really is a wonderful one. You share it with many wonderful people. Share it, enjoy it, glory in it

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Party in the Pit Time :)

Big party in the foam pit at the local dance/gym studio for the kiddos this weekend. . .it's gonna be fun!

James, Kate, and I just filled treat bags to pass out to the other kids. Boy, I can't imagine all the expense all those over-the-top party parents go to for birthdays. We're doing something fun, but the price for renting Studio 50 is pretty reasonable for an hour and a half of fun romping around on trampolines and diving into the foam pit. Heehee, I guess I was going to start talking about how cheap I feel for not putting more/cooler goodies in the goody bags. Bubbles, snack crackers, water balloons, and kiddie candy. . . maybe that will be okay with the kiddos :)

Anyway, we invited both James' classmates and Katie's classmates for a combination birthday party since James' birthday is always after school is out for the summer. These kids are all so sweet, and they have so much fun together. It should be a wonderful time!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dancing with Abandon...I Have Done It

Cruising through my pictures, trying to find something to show you, I came across the Dance with Abandon sculpture. . .you've already seen her, but she is a pleasant reminder to enjoy life full tilt.

Doesn't mean you have to go dancing all night, doesn't mean you have to make any dramatic changes, doesn't mean you have to suddenly start wearing thong panties and drink sinful drinks. Just means to really throw whole self into whatever it is you are doing at the time.

So, I thought I'd never been any good at "dancing with abandon" because I am a relatively mild-child with a fairly undazzingling lifestyle. Ah, but that's not the idea at all. The idea isn't about the dance move itself; it's about how you let yourself go and throw yourself into any particular dance move, whether it be an elaborate tango or an off-beat shuffle. The idea isn't about the actual speed of the sports car; it's about how you let your hair blow behind you and sing very loudly to your favorite song on the radio as you glide down the road.

Bet you're better at it than you thought, too. Ever done any of these things or found yourself in a similar state of mind?
  • looked for a four leaf clover
  • had a really fun waterfight that left you sweaty and wet and smiling ear to ear
  • found treasure in a pile of plain gravel because you looked at every single rock
  • burped for the pure joy of accomplishing mega-roars
Yep, you've danced with abandon. We all have. We've all been children. All those things in that list above are things my kids did yesterday afternoon. I know I've done most of them myself (except the burping on cue, never understood the fascination with that one). Sitting in the grass, searching for four leaf clovers, noticing the heart shaped delicacy of the smallest clovers, I started realizing how simple it is to dance. Watching Katie dig in the driveway, seeing her shirttail full of "regular" but special rocks, I started remembering all the times I've danced. Listening to James show off his burp repertoire to Uncle Steve, looking at that little boy's proud grin of accomplishment, I still didn't feel the need to burp with abandon, but I sure felt the joy.

Dance with abandon.
Open yourself to life.
Set your soul aflame.
Your heart will rejoice.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Annnnnnnnnnnn-ti-ci-paaaaaaaaaaaa-tion... and Studio Angels

Long weekends with family, kids out of school for summer, hoses that aren't in stock when you change torches, killer humidity and air conditioners that decide to not come on for the summer. . .big sigh from me. Just wanna torch. Just wanna create. Just wanna bring a bunch of ideas to life! Remember the song "Anticipation" and all those ketchup commercials? I feel like the little kid with a plate of french fries, waiting as the ketchup moves micromillimeters per minute.

Ah, but then I find good signs like this Studio Angel hovering around the chaos in the combination studio/recycling center/storage catchall, and it reminds me that breaks from running can be good for the creative engine. You know, to mix a few more different analogies into the thought, hunger can be a good thing if it isn't prolonged. Think of that kid with the french fries, waiting for the delicious ketchup. Would that ketchup be half as mouth-watering if you didn't have to wait for it? (Agreed, runny ketchup with that clear ketchup blood can't be mouth-watering, but you know what I'm trying to say.)

Looking at the Studio Angel resting on my newly cleaned and straightened worktable, I can't help but feel recharged and happy to pass the days of my break doing other things. The kids and I each have our learning projects for the summer. New notebooks, fresh paper, and cool ink pens never fail to entertain me! Same for watching my kids learn-- never fails to entertain and excite me.

Ah, it is going to be a good summer with plenty of sculpting to come when it's the right time...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Super Power Strawberry Punch :)

Katie's first science experiment for the summer involved making a concoction that has now become my new favorite summertime thirstquencher. Kate wanted to see if adding orange juice to the cherry lemonade I made would give her super powers when she drank it.

And the results, please. . . Kate took a sip, ran out the door, raced across the gravel drive, swung a hard left around the maple tree, spun out, jumped up, dusted herself off, and declared, "It worked, Mom! Look, I ran so fast I tripped!"

The rest of us took drinks of it, too. James decided it did give him a superpower boost. We grownups discovered it doesn't give superpowers to grownups but does taste very good! Yesterday, I plunked a few strawberries in my cup, and that was even yummier.

Here's your recipe for Super Power Strawberry Punch:

1/2 Sugar free cherry drink mix
1/2 Sugar free lemonade drink mix
Add orange juice to taste (I did about 1 pint to 3 pints cherry lemonade)
Throw in a few luscious ripe strawberries

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Hey, Pop, This is how much bigger the new torch is:

See, Pop, it's just a little bit bigger. I've got it bolted on now, just haven't taken a new picture. Now, I'm waiting for the local welding shop to order in the 3/8" hoses I need for this one. Oh, and I mooched a really cool saw blade/cutting wheel or something from a guy who was in the welding shop to order a new one. He said they just throw the old ones in the trash, so why not ask for one?? Of course, he wouldn't have known to tell me they throw the old ones in the trash if I hadn't asked him what he was gonna do with the worn out one ;)

Cardboard Robots and WebKinz Sneak Attacks

The masterminds who create special things for their WebKinz have taken the MOM's challenge to create a robot from two apparently normal cardboard boxes. These are the children who renamed Grandma's cat from "269" to "Agent 269". Same children who assisted their slightly older cousin in making schoolbuses and stadiums out of boxes, all for the enjoyment of their WebKinz animals.

Special Agents/Inventors James and Katie add details to the WebKinz robot. MOM had to help spell words: laser, self-destruct, private jet disguise. When working these top-secret missions, S.A. James and S.A. Kate don't have arguments, they have heated discussions regarding design. MOM handed down an executive decision which made the work flow more smoothly-- two sides for each agent, or the boxes go straight to the recycling pile. Solomon she ain't, but MOM has learned a few things ;)

WebKinz Secret Agents Water Sprayer, Blaze, Maddie, and Katlyn man the top-secret WebKinz disguise robot, sort of the Trojan Horse of modern day cardboard. It looks like a robot, but it's really a way for the stuffed secret agents to sneak up on the enemy.

Oops, Secret Agent James just informed me that these are really Super-WebKinz, not mere secret agents. So, there...that's what happens when munchkins get big enough to read over your shoulder!