Monday, March 31, 2008

Red Bud Goddess Among the Maple Trees


The blooms of red bud trees should be appearing soon. I have already seen the forsythias bursting with sunshiney yellow blossoms, so the dogwoods and red buds should follow suit with their pastel tributes to spring.

Thinking about red buds and dogwoods always carries me back to the road on which my parents live. If you head towards Franklin Crossroads, there is a stretch of woods thats begins on the left side of the road, right after Bob and Maxine's house. There have been a few springs when my timing was just right to be visiting when the red buds and dogwoods splashed delicate lavendar and pale ivory blossoms throughout the woods that were otherwise bare. It is one of those scenes that remains in your mind's eye forever, one that can carry you straight to that very spot in a flash of thought.

Spring is showing herself here in my midwestern yard, even if there are no red buds or dogwoods or even forsythia. The maples are budding, the birds are noisily flitting from high tree branches to the ground and back again, and the puddles are no longer miniature frozen ponds. I hope you like my Red Bud Goddess with her lavendar blossoms delicately painting the bare black branches. She stands upon a piece of maple that fell from these very trees after the last ice storm, and she looks out at the woods as she listens to the sounds of spring emerge.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ta-Daaaaaaaa! One Small Shelf for Mankind, One Giant Leap for Me :)


Ta-daaaaa! Get a good look at the nice, orderly shelf. . . you know my track record, so how long do you really think it will stay this way?

Let me just say this to anyone who ever needs new shelves and starts to pick up a box of Gorilla shelves:

Put the box down! Run!
Your sanity depends upon this!

Once finished, they are really nice workshelves. Not fancy, but sturdy and relatively nice looking. Before finishing, they are a bitchinabox! I kid you not. Be forewarned, because I don't think you'll find these instructions anywhere on the outside of the box. Once you get home, you'll open the box and read that you need a rubber mallet and that assembly goes more smoothly if you have two people putting the shelves together. Heed this warning-- they are not lying about the need for two people!! All by yourself, you can not possibly hold all the pieces you need to hold together to get the shelf started. Two hands, eight pieces, real danger of getting whacked in the shoulder or head by falling pieces, 'nuff said.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Packrat Jungle

Packrat Jungle

I've never been neat,
although I can be sweet.

I've never been an everything in its place kinda girl,
although I have many times attempted to organize my world.

I've never been accused of efficiency to a fanatical degree,
but as I look around my workspaces, I can certainly see. . .
It's about time to overhaul the old "me"!

P.S. Wish me and the new box of Gorilla shelves luck :)



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Afternoon at the Creek, Listening to the Water

video

The water at the creek sounded so lively this afternoon, I had to try the video setting on my camera. I could sit there and listen to it for hours, but since that's not practical I'll listen to this once in a while! The kids were dropping small pieces of stick into the creek and watching the running water carry the sticks over the rocks. James decided it would make a terrific roller coaster for miniature people. You know I was scared as he kept bouncing around along the edges of the bank. Kate is the daredevil, but she's usually very aware of her surroundings. James is the typical bouncing boy, never slowing down to really closely observe what's around him. We sure had fun, listening to the creek sing, taking pictures, and inventing roller coasters!

Oh, and just as we were getting close enough to the creek to hear the water, a heron flew up and to the right of us. Kate saw it first, and I was too slow with my camera to get a close picture...so, I stood there and enjoyed watching the big bird climb and bank through the afternoon wind. Yes, it was a fun walk.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Eggs, Schmeaster Schmeggs...Howzabout Ya Pet the Cat Instead??


Easter Egg Hunts from the Cat's Point of View: Excuse me, but what's all this fuss over a basket of pretty eggs? I, the cat, appreciate eggs all year long, every single day I would be glad to hunt for an egg and crack it open to see what's inside. Pardon me, but don't you children have something more important to be doing? For instance, isn't there a fluffy feline whom you should be showering with adoration? Ahh, that's more like it. Pet the cat, pet the cat, pet the cat. . .

Notwithstanding the cat's opinion of Easter egg hunting, this is a beautiful day, literally and figuratively. It is 7:54a.m. as I write this sentence, and the sun is midway up in the morning sky, leaving the low-lying clouds behind for a bit. A robin bobs along the edge of the driveway, hoping to find a juicy morsel (which probably won't be very juicy but more slushy on this cold morning).

For Christians, this has to be the most beautiful day of the year, the day of Resurrection. What a joyous day it is, full of promise for those who strive to follow in his footsteps.

Yes, indeedy, it is shaping up to be a beautiful day here. I hope your day is full of hints of spring, lots of family time, and a few fun things like an Easter egg hunt or a warm and snuggly cat to pet!

Friday, March 21, 2008

My Bubby and Katie's Bubby


That's my brother on the left, and that's Katie's brother on the right. I've called mine "Bubby" for a long time, and Katie rarely calls James her "bubby". . . but they both call my brother "Uncle Bubby". At least William Lee Greer gets the title of "uncle" included in his name. Our sister, Annette Susan Greer, is simply "Soupie" to James and Katie. Once in a while, they tack on the "aunt," but it doesn't happen often. Mostly, it's just plain ol' "Hey, Soupie!"

Hmmm, actually, my children declined the offer to return to town with me this afternoon, instead preferring to stay at Grandma's with Soupie.
Methinks I gotta run now, gotta get done and get back to see what's happening. . . Yeah, I'm the nosy one who never wants to miss out on anything!





Thursday, March 20, 2008

Watching the Goldfinches


I've been watching the goldfinches arrive. Unfortunately, they've been keeping an eye on me, too! Every time I try to sneak closer so I can get a really good closeup picture of the little birdies, they fly away.

I keep trying, even though the darn cat has a better success record than I do so far-- me, no really close pics, the cat, at least one bird snack!

Okay, that's what cats do. Stalk birds, eat birds if they can. I just wish the cat would consider not stalking the goldfinches while I'm trying to stalk them for a picture!

Birdwatching is not my only preoccupation this week. Katie and James got new spring and summer outfits, and Katie got her first real haircut today! Almost 6, and now she really looks it, too! Flippy ends on fun blonde hair that just grazes her shoulders. . . the little girl is growing up :)

Oh, and you know glass is never far from my mind! Last night, I wound together some copper wires to make a necklace featuring my beads. It has a Grandmother Earth face (Nunkui), along with animal dangles (fish, owl, and frog). Look for pictures in my gallery pages at BeadArtists.org. . . that's where I'm heading right now to add pics. Toodles for now, Ang

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mmmmmm, Chocolate Bunnies. . .

Mmmmm, is that a solid chocolate bunny ya got in your basket?
Oh, come on, can't I have just one little bitty ear?
You know, I wouldn't even mention it exceptin' ya owe me from last Easter, so I'll ask it!
Pretty, pretty please, can't I have just one little bitty ear?
Mmmmm, are those genuine Jelly Belly jelly beans ya got in your basket?
Oh, come on, can't I have the cream soda ones-- I'll gladly leave you the root beer!
You know, I wouldn't even mention it exceptin' ya owe me from last Easter, so I'll ask it!
Pretty, pretty please, cream soda for me and for you some root beer?
Mmmmm, are those Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs ya got in your basket?
Oh, come on, I'm in dire need of chocolate and ya better just hand them here.
You know, I wouldn't even mention it exceptin' ya owe me from last Easter, so I'll ask it!
Dadgummit, no more pleases, hurry up and give me all of those Reeses!!


This little poem brought to you courtesy of AngelinaBeadalina, who dearly loves milk chocolate bunnies, cream soda Jelly Bellies, and yes, indeedy, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs. . . however, let me tell ya that after you reach a certain age, the thought of "just one more before they go away until next year" is coming close to making me puke! Blech! I truly cannot believe I just said that, but seriously, I think I may have reached my fill of Easter candy for the year. Or, maybe not, we'll see. . . Toodles! Hope you're having a wonderful week, everyone!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gum Boots and Teenagers to Be. . .

Can't you just see the teenage angst and deep thought and boredom with all things enjoyed by the grownups??

Yep, those are my children. Yep, they are almost 6 and almost 7, not almost 16 and almost 17. Yep, they were complaining that Grandma and Mom didn't know the way back home from the woods, that the briars were attacking them, that they were boooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeed, and that they never want to go exploring with us again.

Heehee, sorry, kiddos, but we had fun. . . and we were pretty sure you got something out of it in the end, too :)
They weren't too eager to go exploring with me in the rain this afternoon (I wasn't going to go out in the rain, but I didn't tell them that), but I'll bet by tomorrow if the sun shines, they'll be ready for a trek. After all, any chance to wear your boots and wade through puddles and ditches is a chance that should not be missed!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Dillydallying Around the Countryside on an Almost Spring Day



Daffodils Alert! Daffodil Alert!
The "March Pinks," as my granddaddy used to call them, are starting to bloom!
They already smell good, too!

What can be better than a bunch of daffodils, a puddle to wade, and the promise of spring's official arrival??

Not a thing.

. . . and that is why this is going to be a pretty short little note, today, too :)
We've got woods to explore, puddles and ditches to wade, cats to pet, and birds to watch, among other things!

Hope your day is full of special bits of spring fun, too!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Give Me a Little Wink, Ms. Spring!

Ms. Spring is waking up and getting ready to see to the growth of the world! First thing she's going to do is take a walk in the woods and catch up with the birds and the trees. The birds are already chattering, full of secrets to tell their beloved Ms. Spring. The trees are putting forth their best buds, anxious to create a welcoming path decorated with the finest tiny bits of green.

Ms. Spring told me a little secret this morning, too. Her wish is for a fine dress made of treasures from the forest. . . and so, that is one mission for me this week, one I am sure to enjoy!

Hope your last Saturday of winter is a fine one, one with hints of sunshine and warmth, one framed with the sounds of little birds gathering, one made richer with visions of buds beginning to open and daffodils sneaking their buttery yellow petals up for a peek at the world!


And, when you come inside for a break, you can always check out the new look at BeadArtists.org, where you'll notice Justin's new servers and page set-ups are making it even better for browsing the glass work of at least 428 artists!

Look for my newest gallery pages right under the MarketPlace goodies in the center of the home page, or just click here to go to my gallery home page.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Why I'm Going to Try It, Even Though I Could Become an Ogre and Still Not Have a "Green" Thumb!


Little carrots for Katie, no corn for James just yet, and some onions, peas, lettuce, and cabbage.
Why am I doing this? You know, I know very well my track record with gardening and flower growing. . . and it's a dismal record, to say the least. So, again I ask, why??

This is one reason "why"-- James. He had a great time drawing a cat and Spiderman on the end of the cold frame Pop made for me to use for starting seeds. I woodburned over James' signature and the cat drawing. Kate drew some pictures on her end, too, but I didn't get hers woodburned yet. I have to admit I had lots of fun decorating the two longer sides of the box, too! One side has the words "Serenity & Growth" woodburned along with a few scrolls and spirals. The other side is a work in progress, with a faintly scraped (you couldn't really call it carving because all I can do so far is scrape out along an outline) silhouette of an earth goddess lying on her side, stars, sun, moon, and "Creation and growth lie within" all meant to be woodburned.

Aha! You caught me! Yes, I decorated the cold frame instead of hurrying to find a place for it, filling it with some good dirt, and giving it time to warm up a bit. . . kinda defeats the purpose of having a cold frame for starting plants if you don't get around to using it until summer! So, the decorating stopped midpoint, and we shoveled and mixed some dirt yesterday afternoon. Kate picked carrot seed for her choice, and James wanted sweet corn. I told him we'd wait a bit on the corn but that he could sure eat onions with me if they come up.

By the way, it's true. I could be a green ogre like Shrek and Princess Fiona, and you still wouldn't be able to say that I have a "green" thumb. Mostly, I have the ability to set out a pretty flower bed, then get bored with it and forget to do anything else to it most of the summer. Last fall, we did a few cabbage seeds in containers. Eh, so-so results, but then I knew the containers weren't the best idea. Still, it's going to be fun doing this stuff, no matter what the end results!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Burnt Toast and Exceptional Customer Service!

Mountain Glass Arts
gets my A+++
for customer service !

No pics today, just a little story about excellent customer service in the glass industry. I have ordered from other places, and most of those were nice people BUT nobody takes care of their customers better than Mountain Glass Arts out of
Asheville, North Carolina.

So, I am not here to talk about the ones who disappointed me, other than to say they've really made me appreciate Chris, Steve, and Joe at Mountain Glass. You know, as a beginning lampworker-wannabe who didn't even have a kiln or torch or glass, I could call Mountain Glass and ask Chris questions about equipment. I've just passed the two year mark of glass melting, and I've asked many other questions and gotten helpful answers over the phone (1-866-LAMPWORK).

A few weeks ago, I called to order my favorite glass colors. Unfortunately they were sold out, but Joe found me the best shipping deal on the bead release (Super Blue Sludge) I love and sent it right my way. I got glass from someone else, but it wasn't nicely cut the way it always arrives from MGA-- instead, it had scraggly, sharp ends. Then, I ordered from someone else, waited a week to get the wrong thing, and now am waiting for the return postage and the right stuff. . . they were very nice about the whole thing, BUT I'm pretty sure the mixup wouldn't have happened in the first place if the order had come from Asheville.

If you aren't too tired of me bragging about my fav glass place (I am not affiliated with them in any way, except to say that I am definitely a die hard satisfied customer), let me tell ya what happened this morning. I've been trying to figure out a glassy problem but didn't have a clue what to do next, so I called Mountain Glass. It was early and I probably called before their official "open" time. No answer. I figured I'd just call back later, after I made some sugar toast for breakfast:

Spread margarine or butter on a slice of bread, sprinkle with sugar, add a dash of cinnamon if you're inclined, put on cookie sheet in a 375 degree over until nicely browned.

Well, before I took the toast out of the oven, the phone rang. It was Chris from Mountain Glass, checking to see if I had called because I needed something!

After getting some much needed help, I suddenly remembered the toast I'd put in the oven. . . And, that, my friend, is how you get the words "burnt toast" and "exceptional customer service" in a single blog title :)


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Little Bit of Sunshine Makes Everything Rather Fine :)


This goddess of creation didn't like having her picture taken in the shade late yesterday afternoon. Put her in the light of the setting sun, and everything was just fine.
This "glass goddess" who is writing this little note to you needed to torch this morning and part of the afternoon. Haven't gotten to make much lately, and another (good) break is coming up next week when the kiddos have spring break. Ah, but it's time to put her in the sunlight and see how fine everything can be :)
Thank you so much for visiting!
Let's shout it together, on the count of 3.

1

2

3

HOORAY FOR SPRING!!


Yes, I know, thanks to my ever conscientious six year old, spring does not officially begin until next week. . . but I'm not telling the robins that, and I'm not going to argue with the sunshine!
Hope your day is a fine one, too!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hey,Barb, Hey, Roxy, Here Comes the Sun, and I Say It's All Right...


Here Comes the Sun
George Harrison


"Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right

Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
It's all right "



Well, Barb and Roxy mentioned the words "here comes the sun," and I had to go find the song. Took a quick detour because I forgot it was just George, not the Beatles, but I found it. Ya know ya wanna listen to it, too, because it's the perfect song for today :)

If music isn't your thing, that's okay, just read the words and I'll bet you'll recognize the feeling! It's definitely felt like a loooooooooooooooong cold winter, and the ice is quite literally slowly melting this week.

Yes, I know the words have a deeper meaning, but hey, I say "It's all right."

Hope your day is filled with sunshine and a hint of warm weather!
Betcha that will in and of itself make your heart feel warmer today, too ;)


Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy 67th Birthday to My Daddy-O aka Pop!



Happy
67th
Birthday,
Pop!

Can't nobody fill my Daddy's shoes. . . of course, I might be able to give him a run for his money in the procrastination department, but we'll have to get back to you on that one when we get around to deciding who's better at that :)

Can't nobody fill the shoes of a Granddaddy like him. . . although James aspires to eat as many White Castles as Granddaddy did when he was a teenager.

Can't nobody fill the overalls and t-shirt of a Granddaddy like him. . . as far as Kate is concerned, official Granddaddy attire for working outside or in the shop is a pair of faded overalls and a white t-shirt.

Can't nobody fill Stanley Greer's shoes. . . his whole family looks up to him and loves him and will never miss an opportunity to hug him or nextel him for no good reason or you get the picture :)

LOVE YA, POP! HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cooperation and Collaboration and CyberFriends for Whom I Am Grateful


The graffiti scribbled on this piece of metal is "Creation is my essence & my strength."

The piece itself is still in progress, simply because creating things does seem to be an essential part of who I am.

The strength, now that is what I want to talk about when I say today's post is about "Cooperation and Collaboration and CyberFriends for Whom I Am Grateful." You see, many other glass artists have lent me strength and encouragement. Oh, art is not always a physical battle (ahem, someday we'll have a little talk and burns and rips and scars, but not today), but it is often a battle of confidence waged in the artist's mind.

It takes confidence to show other people your creations. It takes confidence to keep on creating what speaks to you, to keep pouring your soul into creations without letting considerations of "wonder if any one will ever buy this" cause intrinsic changes in your style.

What helps build this confidence? I'll tell you what helps build that confidence-- cooperation, collaboration, and cyberfriends! Cooperation with other artists can take the form of sharing opinions, critiques, ideas, tips, and techniques. Collaboration can be on different levels from sharing and building ideas to actually creating pieces that are made by more than one artist. Cyberfriends make the cooperation and collaboration possibilities practically endless.

If you live in a small town as I do, then what are the chances that several like-minded artists will live within driving distance of your own home? Oh, there'll probably be other artists, no matter where you live. Still, what are the chances of finding another glass sculptor who finds inspiration in sculpting goddesses living within twenty miles of me? Not too great, but the cyberworld shrinks the real world and lets me talk over ideas and learn about art from my cybersister in Waterford, Michigan-- Sheila Morley. What are the chances of finding another glass artist around here with whom I can dissect spiritual ideas and riff on quirky ones and just be my smartass, rambling self? Not too great, but thanks to the cyberworld, I can easily keep in touch with the best gem I found at the Tucson bead shows in 2007-- Carol Saker, wickedly funny, wonderful lampworker, jewelry designer, and Beads of Courage Director of Donations. What are the chances of getting to work with a glass pro when you're a relative newbie? Not too great if you live in the boonies, but thanks to the cyberworld and the U.S. Postal Service, I can collaborate with someone like Michael Mangiafico of FiG Studios in Pittsburgh, PA. What are the chances of sharing twilight-zone-esque coincidences and cheers and encouragement with yet another glass sculptor? Not too bad, given the help of the cyberworld in making the distance from Kansas City to Irvington a non-factor in trading those things with a sculptor like Lisa Rippee.

In fact, the reason I started this post was to share a DailyOm.com quote that Lisa sent me this morning. . . a quote that follows right on the heels of our chatting about cooperation and encouragement earlier this week:
"March 7, 2008
Successful Collaborations
Leo Daily Horoscope
The need to win or feel more capable than others could lead you to behave competitively today. You may be driven to outperform your colleagues or have a strong desire to come out on top while engaging with friends. Winning could feel satisfying, although you may discover that it is far less fulfilling than collaborating with others toward mutual success. If you feel competitive, try cooperating with people instead. Offer to help someone with a project or invite them to join you in a shared endeavor. Your willingness to work with others could strengthen a relationship and give a project greater depth. In pooling your efforts with others today, you’ll likely find that two or more heads are better than one.

By turning competitive feelings into cooperative ones, you can work hand-in-hand with the people in your life and achieve more than if you had worked alone. When you are not seeking to prove your superiority, you are free to pool your skills with those who share your goals. Together, you move forward faster and more effectively because you support each other during challenging times and cheer one another toward success. Working collaboratively gives you the opportunity to add new dimensions to your projects. People’s different abilities become strengths when combined. Work with others toward mutual success, and you’ll not only work more effectively but build stronger relationships."

Whew, this is turning out to be a long one, and I haven't even begun to mention all the people on my list of "I'm glad I know ya's"! Consider this a beginning installment :) Oh, and ya really gotta go back and click on the peeps I mentioned today, if ya didn't already-- from Sheila's graceful new Lady in a Dress cameos to FiG's incredibly-way-too-real insects to Carol's eye for elegant design to Lisa's fun and playful vessels, there's some good glass to be seen!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Essence



This is Essence. She's not all there physically, but she is really all there and then some when it comes to the essence of beautiful strength. She evokes so much feeling when I look at her, even though I'm the one who helped her out of the flame yesterday.

She is one of those pieces of sculpting that is boiled down to the essence of an idea, and I am so happy with the curve of her calf, the rounded back of her thigh, and the movement of her shape. She is why I will go back to the torch, even though today at the torch was less than inspirational. It's the excitement of potential that draws an artist to the flame in the face of certain failure, ya know.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ice, Ice, and More Ice


Hey, there! Nice to see ya! Why don't you park your car and come on over for a visit?


This is a new variety of grass we're growing this winter. I like to call it bumpy grass. . . it leaves quite an imprint if you fall on your a$$.


Oh, here ya go, you can take this chair. I think I'll just stand up so I can move around and show you a few things in our winter wonderland.


Yep, thought I might shed some light on this "spring" weather we are having. Oh, wait, it's not officially spring yet. All this ice is so hard on the trees, but it is neat to see. The security light even had rings of icicles.


This is one picture I took this morning as the sun rose and light sparkled in the icy trees.

Well, thanks for dropping in to say hello and have a look at our winter wonderland. Hope your day is a pleasant one!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Quick Message :)

3/3/08 Internet connection at home is not working. Snow and sleet are in the forecast for today and tomorrow, so I may not be able to come to town to check email. I apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for your understanding :)

P.S. The BOGO sale in my Etsy shop (doesn't include Bitchalinas) will continue until I get this problem resolved. Thanks again, Ang

Saturday, March 1, 2008

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