Friday, October 31, 2008

Not-Teenage Mutant Ninja Pumpkins!!

Ninja Pumpkin does not speak. Ninja Pumpkin does sneak. Ninja Pumpkin moves with graceful precision. Ninja Pumpkin is the brainchild of a first grade ninja who left his mask on the pumpkin before his class went to lunch. (Non-ninja mom cannot remember which first grader was the instead of getting the name wrong, I'll just refer to him as a "brilliantly creative young ninja in training.")

Hairy Harriet the Halloween Hooligan does speak, and she says:
Well, I just couldn't do anything with my hair this morning! I tried combing it, but the comb got stuck in a piece of bubblegum that was already stuck in the back. I tell ya, chewing bubblegum right before you fall asleep is not a good idea. That's why I always keep a hat next to my bed. If the comb doesn't work, I just plop that hat right on my head! Now, I know you are wondering what I was doing while you were at lunch, so let me tell you. I peeked at your schoolwork. Yep, I sure did. Gave me the heebiejeebies, it did! Wow, your human brains are really smart!

Commander Rex, present. Intergalactic pumpkin clone at the ready to aid the Rebellion, sir! Just a moment, sir, I believe my guts are missing. . .whoops, left my seeds and stuff somewhere. Hmm. Maybe whoever found them will plant them and raise another crop of intergalactic pumpkin clones next year.

Like, wow! Like, did you see all the supercool costumes parading around this room? Like, wow, did you see Gabriella from High School Musical? She was here in her red dress, and Sharpay was prancing and dancing around in her shiny gold and red outfit. Like, crazy fun here in Mrs. Bradham's class! There were Clone Trooper Commanders,Ninjas, a Farmer with his horse, a Prom Queen, some Witches, a dead Princess, a Knight, a Transformer, Lizzie McGuire, a giant Jack-o-Lantern, and an Alien! Like, cool costumes, everyone! You rocked the school's Halloween Parade!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Will Pill Is 38, Pandas Are Being Drawn, and Three M's Have Tagged Me!

Happy 38th Birthday to Mine and Soupie's Little Brother!
Have a Great Birthday, Will Pill!
That would be Will Pill, aka Bubby, aka Wee-yum (as Rachel's Norm said it when he was little), aka William Lee Dreer (as Tasha said it when she was little), aka William, in the sunglasses. That's his sometimes shadow James carrying the Easter egg basket.

This would be a zoom of a picture of the pictures over the cookstove in Mother and Daddy's living room. See the three kiddos? That's Angela Faye, Annette Susan, and William Lee. I'm the dark haired oldest one of the stairsteps, Soupie is the middle one, and Bubby is the baby.

Now, for the panda drawing! Captaine Elaine Magliacane posted step by step panda drawing instructions in her blog just for Katie last night. Well, to say the least, Kate was thrilled, Elaine! She got out paper and markers and went to work, and the drawing above is her second one. The first one didn't suit her, so she did this one. She's still trying to wrap her artist's eyes around how to make the legs look like the panda is sitting, but I have a feeling she'll get that after she looks at your first panda sketch again :)

Aha! Now, time to get those 3 M's into the picture! Melissa/Marissa, Marcy, and Mari have each tagged me in the last week or so. How do people tag you from miles away? Why, they tag your blog and make you "It". Please check them out, if you don't already know about them:

Melissa of Villa Designs can be found talking about hammers and glass in the same post (ack!) at Musings of a Glass Artist. Melissa, aka Marissa, is just the cutest sweetiepie... not only that, but little kids love her. I know the Casperettes adore her, and after meeting her once, Kate thought she was definitely due for some teasing and attention getting :)

Marcy of Studio Marcy is another sweetheart who blogs about glass and all things quirky and fun that she uses for inspiration for her beads. Marcy is responsible for some heavy duty inspiration and motivation for me a few years ago, and I know I am not the only person who has ever felt their confidence grow because of Marcy's honest encouragement! Of course, James and Kate "know" Marcy from online because when she sent me a beautiful bead sculpture, she also sent them an alien and a cutie bug!

Finally, there's Mari from Whimsy by Mari. Mari has known me since I was a kid (sheesh, Mari, that makes it sound like decades, now, doesn't it? oh, right, it has been decades, LOL). I even babysat her son for a bit when he was little. Mari lives in the same neighborhood as my parents. She's a sweetie who encourages others (including me!) lots, too. Oh, and you know James and Kate liked going to Mari's house a few times this summer because Mari is good for snacks and not insisting on hugs if you don't want them but giving them if you do. . .and she has some cool doggies :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Heck with Purple Dresses and Red Hats! When I Get Old, I Shall Wear Purple Leathers and a Red Helmet!

This is it. I've made up my mind. When I am old, I shall pass right on by the purple dresses and red hats and head straight for the motorcycle shop. I'm thinking purple leathers and a red helmet
In fact, my writing muse has taken this whole line of thought and flown out the door and down the open road. . . and she refuses to be chained to the computer today. Guess I'll go torch (YEAH!) and do some meditating on the whole "meaning of life" thing.
Except now, I just realized I wrote "meaning of life". Heehee, Monty Python sprang to mind as soon as I typed that! Okay, so now, I guess I'll go sit at the torch, happily melting glass and trying to remember snippets of songs from The Life of Brian.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Snippets from Our Fall Festival Craft Fair Adventure

Something for the feline of the house...

Something for the mischievous (i.e. naughty ones about to get on the wrong list at the North Pole)...

Katie concentrates on her drawings for the front of the table...

James walks like an Egyptian (the boy could not sit still, and I think he must have checked out every booth in the place before Daddy rescued him after about 2 hours)...

Victoria was a great help entertaining James and Kate (and she did lots of the pricing and decorating, too). . .
We are all just chilling out today. Hope you've all had a good weekend!
P.S. How cool is this? Mrs. Bradham made sure to come see James and Kate at the Craft Show! When you're a little kid, it's hard to imagine that your teacher has a life beyond the school, so it's a thrill when you see them outside of school. It's especially nice when your teacher encourages you in all your endeavors, not just the ones that happen inside the school. Thanks, Mrs. Bradham :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Coke or Pepsi? The Challenge Begins...

Meet Kathy Bergen, kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, smiley face collector, wife of Jack, mother of Emily and Justin, and (most importantly for today's purpose) a (gasp!) Pepsi drinker.

When Coke machines appeared in the school hallway yesterday in preparation for the upcoming basketball season (Go, Irvington Indians!!), a few parents (okay, it was me and another parent, but I'm the goofy one) overheard Mrs. Bergen jokingly say she was all prepared to do a Pepsi commercial because she likes Pepsi. Oops, better rephrase that-- she wasn't joking about liking Pepsi! Did you see her Pepsi stash in the refrigerator?

Flash forward to lunchtime today, as yours truly, the Queen and Empress of Procrastination, was wiggling her paint brush (see Deb, I listened to ya!) and trying to think up new ideas for some of these Christmas crafts. My brain kept veering back to the Pepsi versus Coke thing. Wow, that's one of those debates that always gets people spouting their opinions. It's almost as good as the over versus under toilet paper dilemma when it comes to getting responses. Hmm, wouldn't it be cool to turn this into some sort of fundraiser for the school (and trust me, I am one of those parents who detests selling things, no matter how tasty or pretty or practical said things are supposed to be)?

Once again, the evil forces of procrastination forced me to stop painting holly leaves, grab the camera, swipe a couple of the hubby's cold Pepsi's from the fridge, and head over to the school, where I hoped to bribe Kindergarten Kathy into letting me record her Pepsi commercial. What happened next may not be history, but what the heck, it's going to be kind of fun to figure out what to do with this. As you can see from the interview in the video, Mrs. Bergen is game for the challenge and is composing her very own Pepsi jingle/slogan/commercial/whathaveyou even as you read this (well, maybe not as you are reading this, since the kindergarteners were due to return from lunch and recess a few minutes after this interview was recorded, but you get the idea).

So far, my thought is to have some sort of penny per vote contest and see whether Pepsi or Coke is the winner. . .when Irvington Grade School would actually be the winner, since the pennies would go to the school. Not sure about all the ins and outs of doing something like this, so if you have any experiences, urban myths, ideas, or connections with Pepsi or Coke bigwigs, do tell (leave a comment, 'kay?)!

For now, let's get a poll going. Which do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? Personally, Diet Coke runs in my veins, but I'd be willing to drink a Pepsi (gack! what a vile thought to me!) if Pepsi or Diet Pepsi wins the poll. . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Squirreled Santa

Well, I know of at least one other person here in the blogosphere who likes to experiment with photo editing. That would be Deb. Have you checked out her banner? That gorgeous mosaic of color is actually from a picture of one of her beads!
So, the Santa and Elves footstool is one of the few finished projects for Saturday's craft show. We have a grand total of three painted wooden purses and one "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" footstool ready to go. I'd show you a better pic of Santa, but I've already "squirreled" him. Heehee, Kate thought I said I "squirreled" the Santa pic when I told her I swirled it.
Back to the list of finished inventory. Shouldn't I be panicking right now?
Thus spake Her Majesty, the Queen and Empress of the Procrastination Universe.
Why, yes, I have earned that title, although the powers that be could have saved themselves some time and just given it to me upon my birth. It was a foregone conclusion. Angela Faye would be a procrastinator extraordinaire with that last minute flair. Heaven help me, I do love that last minute creative burst of ideas!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

By The Way. . .

By the way:
  • Those rubber-gripper kind of headbands are terrific for holding your bangs out of your face while you are working, as well as making sure your pencil doesn't slide out from behind your ear and get lost again. I made have been born a Greer, but the holding a pencil behind your ear gene must've mutated when it got to me. Come to think of it, that gene must be connected to the hang a cigarette from your lip and keep talking while you hammer a nail gene, so it's not all bad that I didn't get it. Sorry, you Greer boys, but I do believe I am talking about a bunch of you. I think Pop tends to keep his pencil in his shirt or overalls pocket nowadays, but whether accurate or not, my memory of him as a young man includes khaki work pants and shirts, as well as a pencil behind his ear. Ditto for Uncle Major, except for him, I inevitably picture a cup of coffee and a cigarette also.
  • Deciding to catch up with your family history and learn to use saws and drills and all sorts of other tools, when everyone else has been doing it for decades, is to just naturally make yourself the butt of a joke or two...but, then if I can't entertain someone someway, then I feel out of place :)
  • Six year old girls *do* want to save the world. . .one freaking earthworm at a time. Kate and friends had a terrific time digging up worms yesterday afternoon. It was very exciting to watch Angel get up her nerve and hold one of the worms! It was fun to watch Kate and Sarah try to spot the worms as soon as Tyler turned over a shovelful of dirt. It was even more entertaining to listen to the girls as they proceeded to name every single one of the dozen earthworms. "Susie, Alice, Tiny." Kate even took Tiny to the Worm Hospital in a curled leaf ambulance.
  • Rachel and Leah have been making goat milk soap to sell in their Etsy shop. Rachel tagged me with a blog award a few weeks ago, and I owe you a list of fun blogs to read, but in the meantime, you can check out her blogs at KentuckyFarmLife and WilmothFarmsHandmade Soaps.
  • DREMEL CUSTOMER SERVICE ROCKS!! WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!! Sent my poor, bedraggled Dremel XPR in to see if they could rescue it. Not only did I get it back within less than a week, but they reconditioned the motor that I smoked and fixed the collet and sent me a free sanding wheel bit! THANK YOU, CORPORATE AMERICA (well, at least, this particular part of corporate America. . .I could think of other ways to connect the words Dremel and spa vacations for executives of bankrupt companies, but hey, I think maybe rotary tool torture might be illegal).
  • Mich got a grip on her squeamishness about silkworms and held one for a picture!! WAY TO GO, MICH! I gotta tell ya, I don't think I could overcome my fears about many things at this point in life. Yep, at this point, either I'm scared or I'm not, and I'm not too keen on changing. . .but that's not good, so Mich, you are officially my hero!
  • When you think you are alone in the house and sense something moving just around the corner of your eye, look and see what it is. If it is dirty blue jeans and socks crawling toward the washer on their own, then it is time to do laundry!
  • Mallory tagged me, too! You have got to go read about her exploits-- attending all sorts of church suppers, making "bugger beads", and letting Spike take her for walks! Hers is definitely the kind of blog I like to read. It has people and glass and pets and fun and lots of good vibes :) Mallory, you are a joy to more than a few of us!
  • Mallory is featuring her favorite artist today, too. It's her daughter Jenny, so be sure to check out Jenny's photography! "When you need the best, call a GEEK!" Love your eye for detail, Jenny!
  • That is not gray you see in my hair. It is white primer. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. (Actually, from what I can tell, it really isn't gray...wouldn't you know it, I think my hair is skipping the gray stage and just turning straight to white when it can't muster up the pigments to make a dark brown strand!!)
  • And one final "by the way" for today: Have you ever noticed that you never get one of those impossible to reach itchy spots on your back when there are other people around who could scratch it for you?? It's always when you are by yourself, hands in those funky plastic dishwashing gloves covered with plaster. . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Is It with This Particular Human and Her Lame Attempts at Making a Funny??

Heh. Heh. Heh. Verrrrrrrrrrrrr-y funny, now where's my Cat Chow? Don't you have anything better to occupy your time? Say, maybe going fishing so I can have some fresh fillets for supper? or, here's an idea, how about you hustle on over to the pet store and buy me one of those double decker, carpeted lounging doohickies? While you're at it, stop by that Home De-pot place and pick up some lumber so you can pretend to be a carpenter and make me a new house with indoor plumbing? Uh, huh. You thought I didn't notice those tools you've been accumulating, while your 0bviously underappreciated feline goes unattended for minutes at a time?
Listen up, all you humans who come to read this misguided woman's lame attempts at making funnies, the Mooch has put her paw down. There will be no more internet access for this woman until this furline friend is sufficiently convinced of this woman's sincerity when she says, "But, Moochie, you know I love you! I'm just busy trying to figure out what to do with all this sawdust." Yeah, right. Then, it'll be time to go pick up those rugrats, instead of petting me. After that, she'll fix them some warm snacks, while I sit forlornly gnawing on cold Cat Chow. Oh, and don't even get me started on the spaghetti suppers and bacon 'n egg breakfasts for that one they lovingly call "The Big Kitty." Breadwinner, schmeadwinner. . . what's important? Greeting the hubby when he gets home, or petting the cat?
I rest my case. All those in favor of anchovies on silver platters and cream in china cups, raise your right paw and repeat after me:
Meow, me-meyoooooow, m, myow, myow, MEOW!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today I Feel the World's Fragility and Grandeur

Like the delicately veined eye of a white rabbit, the world is at once both fragile and grand. Some days, we see the fragility, and we are lost in thoughts of how to protect our world. Some days, we see the grandeur, and we are consumed with the pride of knowing we are a part of it.
Some days, we feel both, and we are struck with awe.
May this day fill your senses and your heart.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just in Case

Shhhhhh, the house is quiet, except for the squeak of the dryer belt to which I have become accustomed, and the coffee is good. I feel like Elmer Fudd, tiptoeing around the house, muttering to myself, "Shhhhh, be vewy vewy quiet...I'm hunting wabbits." Tammy Fae the Elf is trying to nudge me out of the chair and into the craft closet to look for paint markers. Oh, and a big THANK YOU to the commenter who told me that's what I need to use! I used to buy silver and gold ones at Christmas and write messages on presents or ornaments, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will unearth a plain black one in that stash. Who knows? I have this little addiction to paper and pens and markers, so it's quite likely that I might have grabbed a few other colors along with the silver and gold ones-- you know, "just in case". Oh, lawdy, maybe that should be plastered across the wall above my craft closet!


Just in case one is not enough, I'll grab two.
Just in case they aren't on sale next time, I'll grab five.
Just in case this is what I decide to use for presents, I'll grab ten.
Just in case I really like making these, I'll grab a dozen.
Just in case I ever actually complete all these ideas, I'll grab another twenty so I'll have something to do when the others run out :)

Oh, yeah, just in case. . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Faery FAIL!!

Spent part of last night and part of today fiddling around with acrylic paints and trying to make a newfallen snow scene for this little wooden purse.
Could not find a tiny paint brush for lettering. Had too much to write anyway. Got bright idea to use a Sharpie. Hey, it's permanent on most surfaces, right??
Yeah, right.
Not when you spray it with clear acrylic.
Especially not when you've also used it to make dainty eyelashes for your winter faery because you still couldn't find the dang teeny tiny paintbrush you need.
Get ready. Here it is. Your Faery FAIL of the day:

Methinks runny mascara on a snowflake faery don't look too hot. . .then again, maybe I'll leave it this way and hope for some Goth teenagers with spending money to stop by our booth next week!

Hope your day has been an entertaining one, too :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Madonna and Child for All Seasons

Peace and Sweet Autumn Golden Sunlight Wishes for a Wonderful Wednesday from Ang, who must get her rear in gear and cut out some more wood projects for the little people to sand after they get home from school and finish their homework. Methinks James will have a better attitude about his upcoming craft show venture once we get started painting. . .the boy detests sanding! Both of them are doing a great job of sanding with the grain and smoothing pieces until they feel soft, but James complains with every swipe of the sandpaper. Kate seems to like the methodical process of sanding, just like she enjoyed shelling corn this weekend, but we might have to butt heads when it comes to painting designs on some of the bigger pieces. Mommy has to admit that she likes to design her own stuff. Kate is the very same way, too! She's a darn good artist, too, with an eye for wild but pleasing color and pattern combinations. The headbutting is likely to occur because while we don't have the same end results in mind, we do happen to have the same preferences for beginning shapes and textures. . . c'est la vie, right? Considering the possible causes of headbutting in the future (ie when they hit the teen years), I suppose this is a fine problem to have :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nothing Like Grandma's Lap on a Chilly Fall Morning

Step barefoot onto the back porch, breathe in the crispness in the morning air, rub your arms with your hands, and wish you'd put on a long sleeve shirt over your worn-out sleeping t-shirt. . . those are the kind of autumn mornings that make Grandma's lap a kid's favorite spot for lounging while the grownups drink their coffee and watch for wild animals crossing the far edges of the fields by the woods.
Soaking up dew with the hem of your jeans, getting a wet blade or two or three of grass stuck in your flip flops that really ought to be retired for the season, searching the yard for new treasures, this curlicued dahlia center stops you in your tracks.
Play freeze-out on the dark country roads on the way to Grandma and Granddaddy's house on a Friday night after school. Belt out oldies and country classics with the radio when the four hour drive gets too quiet. Always, always, plan your trip so you must stop at White Castle in Corydon for either lunch or supper :)
Hear the gravel crunch under the tires as you come down the driveway. Turn the key, climb out the door and into somebody's arms. There's always Grandma/Mother, Soupie, Bubby, or Granddaddy/Pop waiting to hug some youngens and you as soon as you step on the ground. Hug each one, pet the cat, head inside. . . you know you gotta go to the bathroom because you drank the rest of your soda from supper that last hour of the trip, you know you gotta have a drink of water, you know you gotta walk back to the bedroom and see what new treasure Grandma has left there for you this time!
Grab an empty bucket, put on real shoes (no flip flops or crocs), walk down the hill behind the shop to the edge of the recently picked cornfield in search of ears of corn the combine missed as it turned corners. Fill your bucket, lug it back to the house, sit by the light of the fire in the metal firepit, and loosen the first kernels from an ear of corn with the side of your thumb. Laugh and joke with family as they do the same, dodge stray kernels as they fly by your own ear, and wait for the fire to die down enough to roast some sticky marshmallows.
Pick up walnuts, pick up hickory nuts, and scrounge in the barn loft for treasure (some elaborate crown moulding with peeling cherry red paint, plastic toy horses left from the 1970's, and a kitchen table waiting for you to refinish it...all of which get left behind this trip for various reasons).
Once again, wish the state of Indiana could be lifted up off the map and switched with Illinois so that the trip to reach all this would be a couple hours shorter :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

It Landed on the Wicked Witch in the Middle of a Ditch. . .

Munchkins: [singing] The house began to pitch / The kitchen took a slich / It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch / Which was not a happy situation for the Wicked Witch!

Hmm, Toto, don't think we're in Kansas anymore. . . but we are right smack dab in the middle of Halloween land! People put those inflatable monsters and haunted houses in their front yards. Pumpkin and skull lights are almost as plentiful as Christmas lights will be in December. Centralia devotes an entire weekend to celebrating with Trick-or-Treat on Friday night, a fall festival downtown on Saturday, a Kiddie Parade where munchkins can show off their trick-or-treat finery on Saturday afternoon, and a big parade with floats and marching bands and politicians tossing candy into the crowd on Saturday night. So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure anyone is even going to notice our measly addition of the Wicked Witch of the East's feet sticking out from under our house. . .there's too much other fanciful decorating to be seen along the streets!
P.S. Here's the elf after his plaster of paris facial! Can you believe I managed to save this much of him? I knew to watch for undercuts in my original design, but I also know I'm pretty inexperienced and figured I'd find in the end that I'd made a bunch of them. Not too bad, and the hat came out in one piece, too. Elfin ears must surely be fragile things, though. I would not recommend twisting an elf's ear unless you are ready for a fight!

(bet ya already know that stands for Thank God It's Friday, but have you heard the one for Thursday?? So Happy It's Thursday!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Elfin Dreams. . .

Are you old enough to remember a time when no one would be talking about Christmas decorations in October? Remember when you could buy a swimsuit in summer and a heavy coat in winter? Remember when you could go to the store on Halloween afternoon and still find bags of the "good" candy to give out to the trick-0r-treaters that night? Remember when you had to wait until after Valentine's Day to get a heart-shaped box of chocolates at a clearance price? Well, if you are old enough to remember any of that, then I apologize for starting to talk about Christmas! I know how silly it seems, but I think I've been bitten by the Christmas and winter decoration bug!
There have been years when I was ahead of the game and had a "Christmas in July" burst of creative energy, but usually I like to wait until the crisp, frosty air nips at my fingers before I start making Christmas doodads. That's the same reason you won't find me bragging about finishing my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. Then what would I buy during those last two days before Christmas?
And yet, here I am showing you the elf face I shaped out of clay this morning, and getting ready to tell you I'm itching to make a mold of him and pour him some sisters and brothers in either plaster or cement! I want to paint rosy pink on their cheeks, holly around the edge of their caps, and snowflake sparkle reflections in their eyes! I want to make some Nativity scenes. I want to make some winter faeries. I want to make a Snow Queen. I. . . umm, I think I want to grab ahold of my muse and tilt her head up at the tops of the maple trees in the yard so she can see the pretty oranges and reds starting to peek out from the greens. I think I better stop a minute and make sure I don't miss fall in all my excitement about winter (and I don't even really like cold weather, but I do love the holidays!).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Favorite Debate Question: What Is It You Don't Know, and How Will You Learn It?

Talk about a good question to ask U.S. Presidential candidates in an unscripted debate forum, the last question last night was a simple one but a good one. It went something like this:
"What is it you don't know, and How will you learn it?"
Isn't that a great question for guaging another person's personality? Well, I can tell you that I'm not going to discuss the candidates and their answers, but let's talk about that question. What is it you don't know? How will you learn it?

Me? I don't know a lot of things. I learn them when the inspiration strikes me, for practical reasons or for totally off the wall reasons based on hunches out of nowhere. Also, be it a practical reason or one of those wild hair hunches, I am one of those bullheaded people who wants to figure it out for herself in most cases. Okay, if it involves the technical aspects of the computer, then just give me the freaking answer, don't tell me about motherboards or surfboards or whatever the heck is inside one of these cases. BUT if it involves creating something with glass or clay or wood, hand me a tool and stand back. Stand waaaaaaaaaay back, as a matter of fact, because I'm not a natural at much of this hand-eye coordination stuff and am just as likely to inadvertantly sling a glob of clay at you as I am to hit the nail instead of my thumb. Truly, you never know what to expect when you unleash me :)

So, it worked out that I finally finished my tall worktable this morning, while still mulling over that question from the debate. Now you know at least one more thing Angie doesn't know-- how to build furniture! Oh, dang, if I'd decorated this thing with a list of things I learned from scrapping this together, there would be no room left for all these cool paint decorations. By the way, those look funky because I freehanded all of them. They are far from perfect, but I got great satisfaction from doing them. Yep, patience has never ever been my defining quality (beginning with me being about 5 years old and sticking my hand in the still very hot bowl of homemade fudge my mom was getting ready to pour into a pan...mmm, chocolate!), and drawing or painting lines without using a guide is one heck of a cardiovascular workout for that single teeny-tiny patience muscle I have.

Hmm, where was I? Got distracted by the mention of fudge. Do you know that almost forty years later, what I remember about that night is not the pain but the image of that bowl of hot fudge and creamy and yummy it looked? Anyway, the list. The list of things I learned from this project includes:

  • You really should make a plan before you start cutting. All I knew was I wanted a tall table with a curved edge, so I cut the piece of plywood for the top and then hodgepodged it the rest of the way. The brace pieces aren't all the same size because I didn't want to head back to the hardware to get another wide piece of board for the bottom front. I went ahead and used the wide part on three sides so I can store my big boxes of clay down there and keep them corralled a little bit.
  • Certain size nails will split certain cheap pieces of pine! Finishing nails might be great for the visible surfaces but won't hold together two pieces of wood when one is slightly bowed! If you pull out nails, then a clump of spare polymer clay really isn't a very good substitute for putty to fill those holes!
  • After two cans of cheap spray paint, a couple of coats of the good red paint, and more than a few @#$@$'s, I actually heard what my brother and mother said about p-r-i-m-e-r. Well, duh. I was working on the cheap, so I thought those coats would do the trick. Eh-eh. After a coat of primer, the rest went on soooooo much more smoothly.

Ah, yes, how appropriate-- the labyrinth in this last picture. Growing is a journey, isn't it? The journey inward, the curves and turns that make you think you've found your way, the realization at the center that you're only halfway. . . the realization that there is enough to learn during the journey that you hope to never come to the end :)

P.S. I actually like the idea that made its way into the response of both candidates. What I don't know is what will happen in the future, but what I do know is I will find a way to learn whatever it is I need to know to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We're Off to See the Pumpkins, The Wonderful Pumpkins of Fall. . .

We're off to see the pumpkins, the wonderful pumpkins of fall. Mother, Mother, Mother, do I have to smile into the sunshine? Okay, ignore Katie's squinting for a second and look at those pumpkins! Don't ya love the bumpy ones?? Wouldn't those make some really ugly puking pumpkins (you gotta click on that link and see all the funky pumpkin carvings that cycle through the slideshow on that page, including flaming pumpkins, alien gourds, and pumpkins puking their innards out at ya)??
Indian corn, ears and ears full of every color from pale yellow to purplish red, is the perfect backdrop for a pumpkin scouting expedition.
Don't ask me. I don't know what kind they are! They sure are interesting, though, aren't they?
These look like a riotous gang of potential Halloween marauders, dontcha think?
Aha! White pumpkins are the perfect choice for us this year. Kate had already said that she wanted to get a pumpkin, paint it white, and then draw black ghost eyes on it :) These also met with James' approval, since he wanted to draw a Star Wars character holding light sabers on his pumpkin (who the heck is General Grievous, anyway? some four armed guy with a light saber in each hand? I don't know if he's a good guy or a bad guy, but he sure is scarier than most jack-o-lantern faces, LOL)
That was our afternoon yesterday, and it was a fun one. Today is rainy, and I am busy battling red paint. My brother says I must show him a picture of this work table/desk thingie I've made. I think he just needs a good laugh because I've already admitted to him that it is fairly crooked, made of about three different kinds of hotdog wood (ya know, plywood and two by fours that I really have no idea what kind of wood makes them up-- sort of like not really knowing what's in a hot dog), and resistant to my efforts to paint it red. Hell, I'm not shy or proud, I'll show it but I gotta finish painting it first. . . and that, my friends, is what I'm off to do now. Toodles :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pumpkin Rescue Team!

The combine is coming for the soybeans, making its way across the other end of the field last night, almost certainly heading for our end of the farmer's field today. This poor little pumpkin planted himself from the seeds of last year's jack-o-lanterns. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to have an Old Farmer's Almanac handy. He came up late for the autumn party and in the wrong place.
Enter The Pumpkin Rescue Team (insert superhero music here)! Halloween Man and Harvest Woman spyed the combine working at the other end of the field and instantly leapt into rescue mode. . .literally, they jumped off the end of the deck and ran to check on the pumpkin! This was followed by a quick return to the Haunted Lair to fetch some bags for pumpkin picking. . .and another excuse to leap off the end of the deck from a running start, ya know.
Now, rescuing one tiny pumpkin at the edge of the field from certain tire squashing by the combine as it picks that outer row of soybeans is one thing. Wading into that field in search of other baby pumpkins that Kate "knows" are waiting is quite another. Yep, Halloween Man and Harvest Woman are the spawn of (drumroll, please) ChickenSh** Mother Who Shall Not Wade into Any Field in Which She Cannot See What Might Slither Across Her Feet! We don't even have to talk about respect for the farmer's potential grain yield, nor do we need to mention the fact that slithery critters probably don't even like the bean field. Doesn't have to come to that point in the discussion because I. ain't. putting. my. feet. in. a. spot. where. I. can't. see. them. and. what. might. be. with. them. Period.
James, aka Halloween Man, heard the mention of snakes and promptly decided there were things he needed to do inside the Haunted Lair. Kate, aka Harvest Woman, just as promptly decided she didn't care what else might be in that field, she was going to rescue those pumpkins she "knew" were still in it. Well, actually, as she explained the plan to me, she was going to look for the pumpkin babies from the edge of the field and then *I* was going to go in there and get them.
Sorry, kid. Maybe you'd like to console yourself by decorating the one pumpkin we knew existed and saved? Uh-huh, I thought you might.
And another day in the superhero Haunted Lair comes to a close. Tune in next time to find out the answer to these important questions: Why would she call it a Haunted Lair when she knows just the word "haunted" will give her the heebie-jeebies at some point when she's in the house by herself? Will the young superheroes get to purchase a much bigger pumpkin or two at Eckert Farms this afternoon? Will the Mom actually make a pumpkin pie this week?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just a Little Bit Warped at the Torch-- That's Me!

A long time ago, someone described my creativity as "a bit touched, but in a good way." Well, I have to agree about the "a bit touched" because I do have a warped, dry sense of humor that sneaks sideways into sculptures at times. This is one of those times.
If you could see me torching, you'd get it right away. I have a small artist's mannequin that I pose, but she's a stubborn piece of wood with funky joints and won't always stay posed. Even if she did stay posed, the truth is that the glass determines a lot of the shapes itself. Since I don't have three hands, I don't try to hold the mandrel with the glob of glass *and* re-pose the mannequin. What does that leave? It leaves me! Yep, I can stand up, move my legs this way or that, pose one arm while holding the mandrel of glass with the other hand, and even hold up one hand and move it into the desired shape. And I'm sure the fly on the studio wall is getting a darn good laugh at my contortions!
That little studio fly on the wall is often holding her breath, hoping I won't stick my hand into the hot glass to readjust a glob, too! Seriously, if you've ever melted glass, I'll bet you know the feeling. There are times when you get so involved in what you are making that you almost forget the flame is a FLAME and that it is VERY HOT and that the glass you'd like to nudge just a bit is SO HOT THAT IT IS MOLTEN. That's when the tiny voice in the back of your mind starts screeching and reminds you that you can't just nudge a bit of molten glass with your finger (although, I've heard some people say they've used a fingernail tip...sizzle, sizzle, flaming manicure).
All of that was on my mind when I made this Figure in the Sculptor's Hand. It's also a sly reminder that a glass artist works on the fly, without much chance for major revision after the fact. Now, there are glass artists who have the patience to reheat and mend cracked beads or sculptures, that's true. It's also true that I am not one of them...exploding glass is usually my result. For me, the sculpture in the flame breathes with life but can't be touched, taunts me with its choices of flowing this way when I'd like it to flow that way, sings a song of grace but shies away from any accompaniment, and makes me want to grasp it if only for a millisecond! Can't do that, can't do that, can't do that.
Sooooooooooo, I sculpted it-- sculptor's hand, lovingly cradling her creation, holding it this way and that. My warped way of seeing the world, sculpted in glass-- a bit touched, but maybe in a good way :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

What? Is That Glass I See in Angie's Pictures Today??

Last week, in the week-before-the-only-bead-show-I-usually-do rush, I didn't take many glass pictures. This week, I've pretty much taken a break from glass. . .and I think that was a good thing. Even messy-creative-types (slobs) like me will reach a point where our surroundings must be straightened or we simply cannot concentrate on creating. It's kind of distracting to try to torch while worrying that the recycling piles might finally tip over in the walkway that is your studio. It's tempting to not ever unwrap and put away statues or business cards when your desk is already covered with assorted picture frames, junk mail that might not be junk mail so you'd better open it just in case (don't ask me about throwing away important papers that looked like junk mail), sculptures-to-be, and receipts.
So, can ya guess what I've been doing these past few days? That's right, I've been straightening and quasi-organizing. And you're right, this could have major consequences for the environment, since hell is probably freezing over this very minute :)
Hmmm, I've always been partial to the "hell freezing over" jokes and expressions. For instance, the University of Kentucky, which is an incredible basketball school, generally sucks at football, and that is the basis for the punchline in this joke: St. Peter greets a new arrival at the Pearly Gates. Unfortunately, this new arrival has earned a trip on the down elevator, and St. Peter ushers him onto the elevator for the trip. Now, the new arrival may have had some ethical issues in life, but he was a very friendly, talkative guy, and he's chit-chatting with Peter as the elevator goes down to the bottom floor. St. Peter actually enjoys these conversations and is busy asking the new guy all about current events. They politely discuss the economy, politics, etc. Then the door opens to a view of an uncharacteristically frozen Hell, to which the new guy responds, "Oh, and I see the University of Kentucky finally won a football game."

Besides the lame jokes, there's also the grudgingly spoken hmmph that "when hell freezes over" adds to a contentious conversation. I suggest there might be no more appropriate response than this phrase to questions like, "Will you do me a favor and tell me what about this brand new outfit makes me look fat?", "Would you mind hopping into my brand new, untouched/pristine car and driving it to town for me?", or "Here, taste this new recipe for squash and beef liver casserole and tell me what you think?". Uh, huh, like I'm stupid?

There's also "well, hell a mile" and "hell's bells!" and "going to hell in a handbasket". Lately, I have been fond of reminding worrying adults from my parents' generation that the world has supposedly been going to hell in a handbasket since before they were born. . .but we're all still here. Nice way to say, it all works out in the end, don't ya think? Except, considering the state of the economy here this week, it's hard not to think we really are heading that way, after all!

Here's hoping you each have a helluva good weekend, despite whether or not we're riding in a handbasket :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, Clara Greer!

Happy Birthday, Mother!!
Yep, it's October 2nd, and that means Grandma is another year older. Happy Birthday from me and Ricky and The Rottens! James and Kate left you a message on your cell phone this morning before they went to school. James knew instantly how old you'd be today, and Katie insisted that she wanted to talk to you first. They sure do love their Grandma!

I love you, too, ya know. You are an amazing person, and you've done so much for everyone around you. Thank you for being you!

Did you all know that my mom is the baby of her family? Lee and Rosa had three boys before the little girl came along, and as far as I can tell, the little girl kept up with the boys every step of the way. Talk about a tomboy, Mother was one. She'd catch snakes and leave them on a neighbor's front porch! She was there the day her father chopped his finger off while chopping firewood, and I don't remember her ever saying anything about being scared.

Tomboy, brave, no-nonsense, that's my Mom. She's also the person who takes care of everyone else when they're sick, so there is a soft side that goes well with the tough side. She took care of her brother as he was dying of cancer. She took care of her parents. She took care of me when James was born and I was sick. She watches out for everyone, whether we realize it at the time or not.

Needless to say, her grandchildren adore her. James and Kate love to go thrift-shopping and yard-saling with Grandma, love to talk to her on the phone (James has to have his "pity parties" with Grandma when he's had a bad day), love to help her feed the chickens and get the eggs, love to snuggle up on her bed at the end of the day and talk about all sorts of things. . . there's just so much to do with Grandma!

So, Happy Birthday, ClaraBelle (and that is *not* her name, it's just Clara, but I couldn't resist)!
Love you lots!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We're Making the Wicked Witch of the East...Well, at Least What You Can See of Her after the House Fell on Top of Her!

Happy Hump Day, Everybody! Hope your week has been good so far, and hope it gets even better the rest of the week!
I'm off to run the errands: get milk, get bread, go to the bank, pay for a booth at the Halloween Craft Fair, stuff like that. Oh, the Craft Fair-- that's going to be a joint venture with the kiddos. I might add some glass to the table (how could I resist??), but it's mostly going to be filled with crafts that James and Kate can help me make between now and October 25th. Wish I'd thought of this before now so we could prepare more. Still, it's going to be fun (and hopefully, we will each learn new things in the process)!