Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After Christmas

My hope is that everyone had a peaceful and happy Christmas holiday (or any other holiday that is celebrated at this time of year).

With most of the children out of the house, we are trying to make some new holiday traditions--and also fit things around everyone's schedule.  So we decided to have a late supper after the Christmas Eve service.  It's a little late for me to eat and I'm not sure if we'll try that again, but it was fun.

I decided to knit fingerless gloves for all the girls.  This, in spite of not liking to knit or having kniited anything in a very long time.  I think I started knitting right around Thanksgiving. The last pair was sewn together this morning.  They turned out quite nicely and I'm going to make myself a pair before I forget the pattern...(pictures will be posted later).

And I had to make some jewelry for a Christmas present.

These are "Winter Vision".  The poked bubble dots always remind me of eyes.

This is the matching necklace.  "Winter Sparkle".  I was really happy with how the dichroic beads turned out this time.

I was especially entertained by how well the dog hair shows up in the pictures even though I very carefully picked it all off before I started to take pictures--at least I thought I had.

Today I picked up my daughter's knitting loom and started to knit a hat to match the fingerless gloves.  Loom knitting is quite entertaining.  Someone took the concept of spool knitting and expanded it, so that instead of some useless rope, you actually can knit something that can be turned into a wearable item.  I must say it is quite a bit faster than "normal" knitting.  There are some slippers in her instruction book that I want to try soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Open Floor Plans

I love open floor plans!  I like how the spaces all flow together and I really like the airy, not-closed-in feeling (no, no claustrophobia here).  And I really like open floor plans with lots of windows.

There is, however, a drawback to open floor plans that I never thought of while I was in college and poring enviously over pictures in interior design classes...

We had the opportunity a few years ago to upgrade our old, falling apart single-wide mobile home (we bought the property for the view--not the house) to a slightly newer less falling apart double-wide.  It was not perfect, but it would work better.  The newer home has essentially an open floor plan.  The living room and dining room and kitchen are pretty much all open to each other and a large opening in the entry opens the living room to the family room.  Or as we use it--computer room.  And here is where the drawback comes in.  Our master bedroom opens off the living room.

I don't like to have my doors closed, if at all possible, so my bedroom either has to be spotless (insert hysterical laughter) or everyone can see that we pretty much live like pigs.  And where did that pile of dog hair come from?  I JUST swept!

The major drawback however, is that there is no place one can go to be undisturbed or to not disturb someone else.  So if I can't sleep and would like to go read a good book, I have nowhere to go where light won't bother my husband.  I haven't tried to go into the studio and close the door.  The bedroom where the dogs sleep has huge holes in the door (thanks to my curious sons--yes, you really can punch a hole in the door with your fist) and they can see out, so I would have to be really sneaky in order to get in the studio and close the door.  I can't close the bedroom door because then we have dogs on either side of the door that really want to be somewhere else.

I used to sneak out when my studio was off the garage, but even that wasn't ideal because the dogs would sit on the bed and look through the window and cry.  Yeah, the dogs pretty much rule the house...

I am going to give some thought to providing a space to go since not sleeping seems to be becoming more frequent.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Taking Pictures

 Last spring I bought a new camera.  It is quite a nice camera, and the last model before one steps up and invests in the SLR with interchangeable lenses.

Last weekend I made a monster for a gift exchange for one of the local 4-H club's Christmas party.  It was a really cute monster.  It was transparent emerald green with a white heart on its belly.  It was 4-H colors, in fact.  I cleaned it, wired it, added crystals, hung it on a lanyard clip, sent it off to the party...and completely forgot to take pictures.

This seems to be a recurring theme...I make something, give it away or sell it, and completely forget to take a picture of it.  Obviously, I am going to have to be a little more vigilant about picture-taking.  Somehow that is the step I always manage to forget.  I see a check sheet in my future listing taking pictures as one of the steps.

I think it might help if I were to take the old camera--expensive, film-camera--out of the camera bag and replace it with the new digital camera.  Or maybe even get a new camera bag for the new camera.  I put the last (cheap) digital camera in a bag to carry around along with other art supplies, but the bag isn't big enough for the new camera (I don't think) and I haven't tried to keep it anywhere other than the box used for packing. 

I DID remember to take pictures of the twenty bookmarks that I just completed.  The monster in the photo is one of those twenty.  I really like the combination of the periwinkle and rose glass.  I will be making more beads in this combination.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012


Here are the earrings that I just made.  I had a lot of fun with these.  I really like the antique bronze earwires with the crystals.
These earrings actually have transparent pink dots on them that are hardly visible.

These have encased dichroic glass in them.  They sparkle so nicely!

I love the amber sugar beads with the butterfly charms. So naturally, these are called "Give Me Some Sugar".  I absolutely love these butterfly charms.

These are my "Earth Mother" beads.  They have a golden amber frit melted in.  I created these for someone who  wanted a green and blue color scheme, and they are now one of my most popular beads.

Here's a second pair of "Earth Mother" earrings.

These are my emerald heart beads.  They also have dichroic glass in them and sparkle nicely.

I had originally made beads like this for a bookmark.  They were substantially larger than the ones I wanted to use for earrings.  The challenge was to incorporate all the beads and not come up with an earring too heavy to wear.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Not Real

 Every year about this time, I get this feeling that time is speeding up like an out of control merry-go-round.  I constantly feel like I don't have enough time and that there is too much to do.  It's not real!

I know this happens every year because I distinctly recall my Facebook post from last year about worrying about all that I had to do.

I think I may have finally found the root of this feeling.  Close to twenty years ago I had a job.  It had been a great job and then the company was sold to an individual who really had no clue about how the business operated.  It became a very stressful job.  At first I was working part-time.  This soon became full time work that I didn't really want--having three small children at the time.  It wasn't long before even full time wasn't enough and I was working seven days a week.  Talk about stress!  And there was never enough time to get the work finished.  I think that my boss had difficulty with scheduling...

Anyway, I was fired from this job (best thing that ever happened) the end of November.  So these feelings of anxiety probably stem from this time.  I thought I had worked through these issues.  I find it interesting that they come back to haunt me years later.

An amusing side note on this story...Several months after I was fired, the woman who owned the company called me back and wanted me to come back to work for her.  In fact, she tried to get me to return at least two more times.  I did NOT say what I was thinking (mostly along the lines of "when hell freezes over"), but I also did not ever go back to work for that company.

Yesterday I again felt like I was overwhelmed, so I finally wrote my to-do list out.  Not that much to do and I got most of it done.  To continue to conquer this feeling, I got a nice, shiny, new notebook and started my to-do list BEFORE I went to bed.  There wasn't that much on it and I slept much better.

The earrings at the top of the post are one of seven pairs that were made for a friend to give as Christmas gifts.  I will be posting the pictures over the next few days.  I also have pictures of the twenty bookmarks.   Downloading all those pictures was one of the things I needed to get done.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Random Tall Tales

"It was a dark and stormy night..."  In the first place this is slightly redundant--it was night, therefore it was dark.  And I don't know how stormy it actually was, but I do know the wind was blowing.  For some strange reason, the latch on the screen door does not work, so whenever the wind blows, we have to make sure that we lock the door or it flaps merrily in the wind--making a lot of racket and threatening to break the glass.

For some reason, I had forgotten to lock the screen before I went to bed and I didn't really ever hear the door banging in the wind.  Oh, and I can't forget that the door also squeeks and screeches like a Halloween sound effect...I didn't hear the door--what I thought I heard was mice.  We have been waging war against the mice and are not always the victor...Anyway, I was sure that I heard mice squeeking and rattling in the cabinet under the kitchen sink!

When I explained this to Kent, he looked at me oddly.  "I only heard the screen door.  Why didn't you get up and lock it?"

"Well, because...I thought I was hearing mice."

"Mice??  Any mice making that kind of noise you only want to see over the sights of the gun barrel."

"No, no, no!!!"  I exclaimed, "You may not shoot the mice!"

"Why not?"

"Because I don't want my kitchen walls to be ventilated!"

"But it would be a great way to get a new kitchen," explained Kent.  (We need to remodel the kitchen, but it's not in the budget just yet.)

"Ha!"  I commented.  "I wouldn't get a new kitchen.  Oh, no!  I'd have to go around and repair all the holes that you shot in the walls with flattened tin cans.  I can see it all now.  'Look, Dear, I did it all by myself.  I fixed the holes with the bottom of a  shortening can.'  Or maybe you could make the holes big enough and we could stuff them with old glass bottles."

All nonsense aside, we did have a lovely, restful Thanksgiving and my bathroom sink is now repaired and draining nicely.  I can now entertain myself by watching the water happily drain instead of backing up gurglingly into the sink.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Company Dinners

 Last weekend we attended my husband's annual company dinner.  He wanted to go since he's now been working ten years for the same company.  I don't really enjoy these affairs.  Mostly they are extremely boring and the food is incredibly mediocre. 
There was a small bit of entertaining conversation this year, however.  There was a comment about how there was a Harbor Freight nearby where we could go shopping.  Well, I would love to go to a Harbor Freight right about now.  I have a rather long wish list of tools that I would like to have to get started in metal work.

So I said I wanted to go to Harbor Freight.  I needed a whole bunch of tools.  The man gets a slightly indulgent look on his face and asked what I wanted.  Well...I want a disc cutter, a dapping block, the accompanying punches, a hole punch, the embossing punches for both the alphabet and numbers, oh, yeah, and a rolling mill.  Also a jeweler's get the idea.  So his next comment is: "I really don't need to know."  My husband kind of snickered and said, "Well, you did ask."  "Yes, but I thought she'd just say she wants one of these and one of those things.  No, she knows exactly what she wants."  "Yes, she does," responded my husband.  I have a list...

I always get funny looks when I start telling people I want this or that tool.  I also get funny looks when I go into an automotive parts store.  I complained about this once to one of my friends and her response was,"You are always going to get funny looks when you go to those type of stores because you are too girly!"  LOL!
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lunch and Lilac Blooms

 This is one of my purse charms.  They're quite a lot of fun to make and I can get really creative with the bead combinations.  I call this one "Lilac Blooms".

As I am getting ready to leave for work this morning, I am aware that there are no leftovers in the refrigerator to heat up quickly for lunch.  So I ask Ariana to please put potatoes to bake for us to eat, since we have to leave quickly again after we eat  and go back in to work.

Just before I leave I ask her what she is supposed to do for lunch?  One--to make sure she'll remember, and two--to make sure that I actually asked her to do something.  Today her answer was..."To heat up potatoes for lunch."

"No!"  I said.  "I don't want you to heat up potatoes for lunch. Heating potatoes would indicate that they have been previously cooked.  I want you to BAKE potatoes for lunch because I want baked, totally cooked potatoes when I get home."

For some reason this struck Ariana as inordinately funny.  She was laughing so hard that she nearly fell over.

Here is a completely unrelated factoid...If you are desirous of making leaf and wax-paper decorations, make sure that you get the leaves between the wax paper as soon as they are picked.  The wax-paper acts as a preservative and will help the leaves retain their color.  If you gather leaves and wait a few days (like I did with the children at preschool) before putting the leaves in the wax-paper, much of the color will have been lost and the leaves will be a uniform and fairly unappealing brown.  This might not be the case with sycamore leaves, but that is what happened with our maple, hawthorne, and redbud leaves.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Burning Questions

 Yes, I voted...that is all I'm going to say.  I realized that in spite of all the histrionics, I still have things to deal with in life that will not be resolved by this presidential election...

There is my bathroom.  About the only good thing to be said for it is that it is indoors and I don't have to trek outside fifty to a hundred feet in the cold, damp and wind to use it.  The sink hasn't drained right in years and seems to suddenly not want to drain at all!  It gurgles and bubbles like there is a mud monster living and breathing in the pipes.  And then there are the times it spits back!

I don't really want to add plumbing to my skills, but this sink is really testing my patience.  Part of the problem is the hard water has coated the pipes in mineral until the actual size of the drain has been reduced to the size of a pea.  I just installed a new towel bar and shelf--complete with screw anchors.  How hard could replacing the pipes be?  Probably harder than I suspect.  Mostly I see a recipe for a huge mess...

And then there's my car.  The poor thing needs tires.  I already had one unrepairable flat.  The nice tire store very kindly put a used one on that will get me by until I can manage to replace all the tires at once.  It's only tragic that their fall tire sale doesn't include the ones I need...

I'm not done cooking through the Veganomicon.  I really couldn't see myself cooking through one of Julia Child's cookbooks (being most definitely vegetarian), but I'm having the best fun trying the recipes in Veganomicon--and I'm not really vegan.  It seems that it is mostly the dairy products that jump in price whenever I'm shopping, so I'm mostly trying to cook without them as a way to save myself money (and also protest the ridiculous price increases).

My metallic black monster is part of the order that went to Canada...I love working with the metallic black in this size bead--it has so many variations.  I also love his gooseberry green eyes!  Hmm...I think I forgot what color green I used for them.

My newest necklace "Summer's End"  practically made itself and will be photographed soon.  I didn't run fast enough and the current cold/sinus infection caught me.  Then when I felt great on Monday, I overdid it just a trifle and had a relapse...So, hopefully, after the weekend I will get busy with the camera and get pictures taken.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Critter Drama Continued

It turned out that the crying dog of the other day, was not responsible for the disastrous state of my floors.  It was my wonderful Lucy who had been sick.  The crying dog was afraid that she was going to be in trouble.  And this after living with us over ten years and never once being beaten (she's a rescue).

Lucy is now fully recovered and back to bouncing around which is rather alarming given her size!

But yesterday our beloved Buttons kitty died en route to the vet.  I think she must have somehow contracted leukemia, in spite of being spayed.  She was just a few months past a year old. 

Today, I was happily working out to my new Zumba Fitness (for Wii), being somewhat tired of my Wii Fit Plus--to say nothing of the fact that the disc is wearing out and no longer wants to play.  When I was finished and ready to hit the shower one of the golden retrievers proceeded to have a seizure!  She had spent most of my workout in the living room with me watching from the couch.  Obviously, the rythm, lights, and sound was too much for her.  So now I will have to make sure that the dogs are elsewhere when I exercise, or that I have the lights on in the house to minimize the contrast between the game and the ambient lighting.

The picture is of a necklace that was part of a recent order that was sent to Canada.  I especially love the sparkly, iridescent beads.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

One of Those Days

 Yesterday was one of those days!  It started of innocently enough and quickly degenerated into a farce.

When the dogs went out before their breakfast three of them decided that it would be a great time to check out the happenings in the neighborhood.  This is never a good idea.  They always reappear--highly unrepentant--dirty, stinky, and having found nasty things to eat (that make them sick).

Work was fairly uneventful until I was at my afternoon job.  I needed to get something out of the car, so I ran out--sans shoes and coat--to grab it.  It didn't occur to me until I was trying to get back in, that I had left my keys behind and shut the door--locked--after myself.  I pondered this situation for a while and decided that breaking a window was probably not the best way to solve it.  At that very moment, it dawned on me that my daughter was just across the street at the library with a spare key.

So off I went, in my sock feet, in search of the key.  It had rained earlier, and although the sidewalks were dry, the streets were still very wet.  Fact:  asphalt is more porous than concrete and you'll get your feet soaked.

The rest of the afternoon was peaceful until I arrived home.  To a crying dog and a house  with every room needing to have the floors scrubbed.  Unfortunately, I couldn't just scrub.  The floors themselves were in serious need of a good sweeping which I couldn't give them due to the nature of the mess on the floors.  So I had to roam through and spot clean all the rooms.  This weekend I will actually sweep and then do another thorough scrubbing.  Naturally, when I was all done I felt contaminated  and rather in need of a good cleansing myself. 
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Learning and Fall Projects.

 After posting my blog requesting help for installing some of my gadgets, I got a message from a friend.  Her husband--who is a computer genius extraordinaire--would be happy to help me figure out what I needed to know.  So Friday afternoon I got to go over to their house and have a quick computer tutoring.

As you can see, I now am the proud owner of a "follow me on pinterest"  button.  I also can now claim to have the link to my Facebook business account.  This is a good thing because I have many more pictures on Facebook than I actually have on my blog.

And then I was shown how to pin to my own pinterest board.  I wanted to learn how to post my own projects on pinterest.  I have yet to see if I actually learned how to do that.  The last time I tried to pin my own pictures, I was informed that it was an invalid pin!

I am thrilled to have gained some new knowledge.  By the time I was finished, I felt a little like my brain was about to explode from a surfeit of information.

Also on Friday I shipped a lovely, larger order of bookmarks with monster charms to Texas.  I'm always somewhat nervous about trusting my "babies" to the postal system, but our local post office is very nice to deal with and, so far, I haven't had much breakage.  I think I lost one shell.  So I can't complain.

Now that the bookmarks are finished and on their way, I have an order of earrings that I am putting together for another customer.

Added to all this glass activitiy, I am finishing up the final canning for the season.  I have been making apple butter with our apples--this is a first for me.  I think I have ten pints stashed away as well as the batch I sent home with my sons.  I've been using a very simple, but very good recipe.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In Need of Assistance

Could someone please, please, slowly and carefully--using simple words--walk me through how to install the "follow me on pinterest" button onto my blog.  I cannot figure out how to do this and I would really like to have a follow me button.  I try to copy and paste, but blogger tells me that the gadget is broken.  So today I wrote down the address and tried to put that in and it still told me that it was broken.  Obviously, I am not doing something right...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I see that it is almost a month since I last posted.  I really have no excuse...I haven't had any pictures to post, I haven't had anything interesting to say, I've been busy making monsters for an order of twenty bookmarks.  Oh, and I had to pick the last of the garden produce and I've been busy making apple butter.

October is one of those months...where I can succumb to depression if I'm not vigilant.  Well, I do not have time for depression this year.  So...I'm thinking that once my twenty bookmarks are finished and shipped off that perhaps I will reward myself with a gallon of paint.  The raspberry walls in the kitchen are woefully faded and I'm tired of the pale green cabinets!  I still have a lot of apples to preserve; some to make into apple butter and the rest into applesauce.

I also got some new cookbooks (to replace the ones I gave away...).  I've been exploring the outer edges of vegan cooking.  Not for health reasons or any other large, political, save-the-world, reasons, but because I'm tired of paying high prices for dairy products--and I don't like milk that much anyway.  Most of the things I've tried are very good.  I still cannot, however, seem to develop an appreciation for tempeh, even though I have tried several different ways of preparing it.

The studio has new bedding, so now I actually have a place for guests to sleep.  And I can see some more organizing and decluttering projects in the near future.  And I'm really certain that it is time to learn some new glass techniques.  Today I have to make one last monster and the last accent beads for the bookmarks that I intend to ship Friday.

Brent acquired a new beagle rescued from a local shelter...he was supposedly looking for a parrot.  He's a cute little dog and christened "Sonic" for his tendency to do everything at hyper-speed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Of Not Much Importance Whatsoever

Yesterday afternoon I ran out of oxygen.  I knew I was going to and had been stressing over this eventuality for some time.  So it finally happened--mid-bead as is to be expected.  I was going to put off replacing my bottle until today, but I will have a fairly nice block of time to torch in this afternoon and didn't want to waste it unnecessarily.  So I asked my middle son if he would be willing to take me and my bottle to the store.  He was most agreeable and I have a nice full tank of oxygen waiting for me to hook up this afternoon.

Well, my unscheduled gallivanting left me a little behind.  I have supper fairly well in hand when Kent texted me to say he was on his way home. 

He got home and immediately went to work on his lunch for today.  He leaves so early for work right now that things like lunches need to be done the night before.  So he's in the kitchen fixing chicken for his sandwich.  I am cleaning up, loading the dishwasher, and occasionally stirring my pot, so it won't burn.

Kent lays down a fork beside the sink.  I pick up said fork, rinse it off, and put it in the dishwasher.  Along with other miscellaneous dirty dishes...

Pretty soon--"Where's my fork?" asked Kent.  "You put my fork in the dishwasher," said rather accusingly.

"No, I didn't.  I didn't see your fork.  I didn't take your fork,"  in spite of the fact that I pretty obviously had.

Pointing to the bare counter.  "Do you see a fork?  No, there is no fork there.  You took my fork and put it in the dishwasher."

Meanwhile, our oldest child is sitting at the dining room table laughing hysterically.  "This is so funny!"  she announces when she is able to speak again.  Her own private sit-com...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Celebrations

September is always a very busy month.  We celebrate a birthday and an anniversary just three days apart.  Of course, that is only if the fall seeding hasn't started and my husband is spending his days (from 4:00 am to 9:00 pm)  in a tractor.

Seeding is just getting started, so we actually had a little time on Thursday to have a small birthday celebration.  I am not a cake person, so I am always trying to find a cake that I will actually like.  This year's cake was a chocolate creation with layers of strawberry cream.  The ganache frosting is still the best part of the cake.

Our anniversary was on Sunday and we SHOULD have been able to do something would think.  Not so much!  The hay trailer developed a flat tire that necessitated the removal of all the hay and an emergency trip to park in the driveway.  Then we had a lawn to mow.  I met Kent in town at the yard in question.  By the time we were finished it was getting on to dark.  So we went out to eat...  Being as Kent was covered in hay dust and I was wearing ratty jeans and old boots with a distinct green patina (acquired from years of yardwork), we decided that we were only fit to be seen at Dairy Queen.

Our town has such an enormous number of restaurants to choose from...We have a McDonald's (not good for the vegetarian), a Subway (no greasy fries), a couple of rather nice Mexican places (not in the mood for Mexican), a couple of Chinese places (ditto on the mood), and Dairy Queen.  Since neither of us wanted to take the time or waste the gas to go home, clean up, and head into Walla Walla, Dairy Queen it was.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday Supper

I come home from running errands last evening to find both my husband and my son rolling around under my son's truck.  I left them to it and went to make supper.  While I started supper I also tackled the fridge cleaning.

I really don't like to clean out my fridge.  There is always something unidentifiable lurking away somewhere.  I didn't have much choice because I couldn't get one of my vegetable crisper drawers to open.  Somehow it had gotten something sticky in the track and it would not pull out.  So I had to dismantle the entire crisper assembly and give it a good scrub.  I tried to clean underneath at the same time, but I don't think I quite got everything.  I don't understand why there is always this nasty, sticky goo under the drawers...

The fridge was done about the same time as supper finished cooking.  It was dark by this time and the guys were finished with the truck--at least with the most difficult part.  They came in to wash up and eat.

Craig looked into the pot, grabbed a spoon and started eating straight out of the pot.  I watched this for a moment and suggested, "Get a plate or a bowl and put food on it and eat the food."  So he does.  He gets a plate, piles it with food, and continues to eat straight from the pot...His excuse--I wasn't specific enough.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I started back to work the Tuesday after Labor Day.  It has been kind of a jolt this year.  I had gotten into quite a little routine over the summer.  And now I have to change it up and do something different--like go to work.

This wouldn't be such a problem except for the fact that I have gotten into the habit of tidying my house first thing and then going off to make glass or whatever.  Well, now there isn't time to tidy everything up first things.  To find a new routine that will work...

We are going to have company coming tomorrow.  We're very thrilled to have company coming, but my house isn't quite as spotless as I would like since I'm still trying to get back into my school routine.  And in the midst of filling my latest order, canning tomatoes, getting ready for company, grooming the messy dog, and what have you, I now have laundry drama...

For some time now the washer hasn't wanted to run after it filled with water unless I banged on the lid--or the cats jumped on it.  I figured that's just the way things will be; it's an old washer, after all.  But this week it decided that now was the appropriate time to die.  I had finished one load and gotten the other started and went outside to enjoy a little of the last of our wonderful weather.  I came back in and from the kitchen could see a puddle in the hall.  At first it looked like perhaps one of the dogs had had an accident.  But as I followed it down the hall, it quickly became apparent that this water was originating from the utility room and in a quantity far larger than a canine accident.

I checked the washer.  It assured me it was through with the wash cycle and everything was ready to go in the dryer.  When I lifted the lid, I realized this was NOT the case.  The washer was still half-full of water.  I tried to run another spin cycle thinking it was maybe out of balance or something.  To no avail.  Instead of happy draining noises, I heard nasty sloshing sounds and soon water started to creep across the floor.  I'm still (the completely incurable optimist) hoping that perhaps my drain hose is clogged, but the truth is that this is an ancient washing machine (26 years and counting), and most probably it won't be resuscitated.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Current Projects

There is something incredibly unprepossessing about uncleaned beads.  They're covered in bead release and don't sparkle or shine at all.  And then the colors just scream at each other.  I look at this mish-mash and I'm tempted to become discouraged.

I am NOT discouraged, however.  I have orders for twenty bookmarks that I have to have completed and shipped some time in early October.  In this carton, I have accent beads for about eight bookmarks.  And at least one idea for a new necklace for me--since I have nothing red right now.
And then I have these earrings that I have finally gotten around to photographing.

A friend sent me an entire peacock's tail worth of feathers and I promptly put together these earrings.

I wore them to church exactly once so far.  They are just a little on the long side for my liking.  And I got a lot of surreptitious, indulgently amused looks when I wore them.  I'm thinking maybe next time I go out someplace "fancy", I'll wear them again.  The camera simply does not do justice to the lovely iridescent shimmer of the colors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Goals

I had several goals that I wanted to accomplish this year.  I am delighted to announce that I have done most of what I set out to do.  Then I spent some time just floating because I had neglected to set some new goals.  I am now in the process of setting new goals.

I've decided that my jobs are interfering with my life.  So one of my goals is to be able to quit working so much and become more involved with my glass.  One of the things that has to be done to make this happen is to question every purchase I make...Do I actually need another shell for my Miche bag or would I like to quit my job?  You get the idea!

One of my goals is to make my yard beautiful.  This actually can be accomplished with a minimum of expenditure.

The morning glory seeds itself once you get it established.  I had this pre-conceived notion that morning glory was this tiny little vine that produced a few flowers and fewer leaves.

I couldn't have been more mistaken!  It's fabulous!

I have these amazing walls of green the front gate and by the garden.

The geraniums in this pot are so very extremely happy!  I intend to winter them this year instead of allowing them to freeze.

And, of course, if I don't have to be gone working so much my yard will receive much more attention.  I want to add cosmos and some other self-seeders and perennials next spring.

I am also able to do more with my glass since I am moved into my studio.  There is still work to be done, but I have the torch and kiln set up.  I am trying to decide where and how to market my beads and jewelry.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thunderstorm Drama

Our heat seems to have finally gone away for a bit.  Although I do love summer and the warm days, I am grateful that we are enjoying slightly cooler temperatures.

I'm tired for no very good reason.   I suspect it has something to do with our interrupted night Monday--I think it was Monday.  Our weatherman was promising us thunderstorms.  Just what I always wanted with all my paranoid dogs. And, sure enough, we had a thunderstorm.

Oh, the drama!  Personally, I didn't see the need for as much drama as there turned out to be.  I woke up and Mack was up and digging at Kent.  He reserves this behavior for when he is frightened.  But there didn't seem to be much happening.  I did finally see a little lightening, but it was faint, far-away, and the thunder was minimal.  It was enough for the dogs.  The ones down the hall started to bark, and since I really didn't want them undoing all my house-cleaning work, I got up and let them out.  That may have been a mistake.

I went back to bed and had one large panting golden retriever on either side of me.  I finally got them to let me in bed and actually lie down.  They then proceeded to pant in my face for an interminable amount of time.  This whole time there was barely any lightening...Finally one of the goldens wandered off in search of more space and left just one.  He was perfectly happy as long as he was lying on me--he wasn't picky--a foot, a leg, a knee, completely across me.  This was fine until I finally got cold (most likely around 3:00 a.m.) and tried to acquire some covers.  This necessitated a repeat of the whole sit up and pant nervously procedure.  I think that at one point we actually had five dogs on the bed...Three large dogs, one medium dog, and a small one!  Kent got up grumbling about it NOT being a three-dog night.

After all the humans were up and sluggishly moving around for the day, the dogs that had caused all the uproar proceeded to sleep most of the morning away.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Toxic Wasteland

The boy's former bedroom has been preying on me lately.  Both boys have moved out of the house for now and their old room has been unoccupied--except by dogs--for the last few months.  It hadn't been cleaned in ages.  And the smell!!  It has two perfectly useable mattresses in it, and I have company coming.  So today I tackled the unthinkable and actually started shovelling out this space.

I was only half-joking when I told my husband that I was going to need dynamite, or that being a little extreme, most likely a haz-mat suit and a shovel.  The first order of business was to get rid of the beds.  I managed with Ariana's help to muscle them outdoors to sun and air out.  They will be sprayed with vinegar and ruthlessly vacuumed before being allowed back into the house.  There may also be a judicious application of chlorine...

Next we started picking up the mess on the floor.  I now know where all the socks went...We threw out several trash bags of rubbish.  I'm tempted to put a box by the side of the road with a sign on it saying "Found--free dirt.  Help yourself", but I suspect it's all my dirt--dragged in on dogs' feet. 

Then I attacked the bunk bed frames.  They had become extremely wobbly over time and the boys had reinforced them with strategically placed 2 x 4's.  That created quite a challenge because I couldn't simply separate the beds into their components.  After some fairly useless banging with the hammer, I finally took a wrench to the carriage bolts attaching the frame to the headboards.  That worked.  I could remove the metal and then we took out the headboards still attached.  These will NOT be coming back into the house...

The mini-blinds were broken beyond repair and are now gone--waithing to be replaced.  I still have to finish scrubbing the floor, shovelling out the closet and rearranging the dressers--minus all the trash on top.  And there you have it...there's nothing left that a little paint and a few minor repairs won't fix.  (I think I'm going to paint the walls a very pale gold--the room is on the north side.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Give Me Back My Cushions"

Occasionally, the technique of ignoring problems until they go away actually works--I don't recommend this approach even though I tend to try it myself more often than I should.

Some time ago I did housework and assorted odd jobs, including chauffer service, for a local individual.  Between her issues and my issues, it wasn't a fun or pleasant experience.  I remedied the situation over a year ago when I finally decided that the money I earned simply wasn't worth it and refused to work for her anymore. 

During the time that I was working for this person, I was given several cushions that needed to be recovered.  I took them home.  Before I got my studio set up I never actually had a place to sew, and so, I put the cushions and their covering fabric in my closet.  Where they were very much in the way.  They took up space.  I tripped over them.  They got knocked over and blocked the closet door.  I fully intended to get the things covered and returned to their owner.  Somehow, it never happened.

When I got my studio almost completed, I moved my sewing machine and now have a dedicated area where I can sew.  The cushions--those thorns in my side--were moved to the top shelf in the closet in the studio.  They took up space.  They weren't in the way, but I wanted that space for other things.  The time was coming closer to when I would actually attack those cushions...Right after I got my own sewing projects finished...

Today I got a phone call.  The person to whom the cushions belong has retired and now has time to do more things.  She wants her cushions back!  I almost didn't play her message until later because it was lunch time and then I had to go to work.  But I listened to the message;  I took the time to package all those cushions up along with their fabric and they will be returned to their rightful owner this afternoon with much gratitude and relief!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Voyage of the New Holland

OK, it's official.  We are all farmers.  All my guys work in agriculture.  My children were all in FFA.  My grandparents were farmers.  My mother tried her hardest to get all the farmer out of me, but I'm still happiest barefoot and with dirt under my fingernails.  So this next story should not come as a surprise.

When it was time to cut our hay the first time around the swather was non-functional.  Knowing that swathers are expensive, I asked my husband how he planned to fix it.  His response--drive the tires under a new one.  So they have been looking for a new swather for some time.  Naturally not brand new, just new to us.

Brent found a swather for sale at our local New Holland dealership.  Eveyone went and looked at it and pronounced it perfect.  Brent was able to get financing and last Friday he went to pick it up.  I somehow got roped into helping to flag on the trip to the field.  For those of you who don't know, flagging is when you drive either in front or behind a large piece of equipment with a yellow flashing light and a huge sign proclaiming "oversize load" at a rather reduced rate of speed.  Lots of fun!

We all met up at the dealership where Brent had somehow managed to acquire a trailer to aid in the effort to get the swather to the hay field.  The first adventure was trying to get the swather on the trailer.  It went up the ramps slowly, settled into the first wheel slots and stopped.  After some back and forth it finally crawled up the next ramp and settled into place.  Then, of course, everyone had to take pictures and congratulate each other on such a fine purchase.

Finally, the lights were in place and the signs were up.  And here begins the second adventure.  The signs on the truck I was driving had been cobbled together quickly the night before and attached to the truck with C-clamps.  They wobbled alarmingly.  However, everything seemed to be in place, so we proceeded.  The swather and trailer started out creaking and groaning and wallowing much like a ship at sea.  The turn-arounds were somewhat alarming, but we managed to get through.

The fun began when we actually got on the highway.  We had not even gone a hundred feet when there was this awful racket.  I looked out to see my "oversize load" sign flapping wildly around with one of the posts completely loose and trailing dangerously behind.  I quickly stopped before anything could be damaged.  Obviously, the brackets weren't going to work.  What to do?  Meanwhile, the swather is blissfully travelling away from us and our radio wasn't functioning to inform Brent of the fact that we were stopped.

I managed to get the sign unscrewed from the posts and finally decided the best thing to do would be to attach it to the tailgate with baling twine.  We did this and then proceeded to rush down the highway in search of our wayward swather.  Brent, in the meantime, is trying to get me on the phone while the only thought in my head is to catch up with the rest of my caravan.  We finally caught up with them some fifteen miles down the road.

The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful.  The narrow bridge doesn't count and everyone managed to fit just fine.  It was when we went to unload that things again began to be interesting.  The swather would go so far and then refuse to climb out of the wheel slots.  Finally, the front flagger got out a large chain, attached it to the swather and proceeded to pull.  The swather followed, the trailer followed, and the truck towing the trailer followed...After watching this for some time I finally decided that maybe some judicious application of brakes on the truck would keep everything from following.  This actually did the trick and the swather then docilely drove off the trailer.  The final  assessment was that it would have been easier to drive the swather rather than tow it on its nifty trailer...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Repurposed Bullet Casings

 I recently picked up the current copy of Jewelry Affaire.  There was a picture of a pair of earrings that looked like they were made from empty bullet casings.  I don't think they actually were, but my imagination immediately went into overdrive.

I told Kent that I needed some empty casings.  I didn't want them too small and I didn't want them too big.  I thought that the shells for his .44 might be just the right size.  They weren't.  They were much too big.  He thought that I probably actually wanted 9mm shells.  That turned out to be the case.  I know lots of people that target shoot--however, they usually do not shoot 9 mm pistols.  But as my good fortune would have it, my sister-in-law had collected some 9 mm shells when she was at the shooting range.

Naturally, I'm going to have to have a hole in these to connect the earwires and everything else together.   Instead of drilling a hole my sister-in-law suggested that I just punch the primers out.  Well, that is easier said than done.  I asked Kent to punch out the primers for me, but he's heading into harvest and is very busy and I (obviously) want everything done immediately.  So today I set up my little vise, grabbed my trusty hammer, a small nail (brad actually) and after pounding the shell out of the vise, getting it turned sideways, using too large a nail, and smashing my fingers actually managed to punch the primers out myself.  I'm quite pleased with myself;  I didn't even bleed on the white feathers.

I had already wired up all the things I want to put with the shells.  To finish this project, I'm going to make some glass drops in purple and fuschia and then wire everything together.  They may end up a little long, but they have been really fun to make.
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

...And On to the Next Project

I mentioned that I wanted a unique bulletin board and since I have time and less money right now, we constructed one ourselves.  Kent built the frame out of pallet wood. 

 I actually used recycled cardboard for the back of the board.  It is double taped into the wood frame that Kent constructed.

Next, I covered the cardboard with wrapping paper.  I know, I one is ever going to see that because I am going to have it covered with inspirational and idea pictures.

Then I decided that I needed to have some decoration, so I twisted and hammered some recycled copper wire.

The cardboard is now double-taped into the frame and is sitting on my kitchen floor with state-of-the-art weights making sure that everything is flat and secure.  (More pictures later--I was running low on batteries).  Meanwhile, I started making butterflies from some of the unused cardboard and attaching them to the copper spirals.  The spirals are nailed--more or less--securely to opposite corners.  The butterflies are fastened with fine black wire that spirals up to form antennae.

I think that I am going to make bright yellow and turquoise glass flowers and lime green leaves to go along with my butterflies.  The next step will be to install the hanging hardware since the whole thing is rather heavy.  The flowers may wait a while because the kiln got the house really hot today, so I think I'll wait for cooler weather before turning the kiln on again.  But they can go up at any time.

Since I now have new batteries, I will take some more pictures this afternoon and maybe even get this creation hung this week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Shelves Finished

Finally, today, I was able to get the rest of the cookbook shelves cleaned, dusted, and organized.  The crystal is washed and I put little ornaments in the empty spaces.  It looks very nice; and will continue to be so until the next windstorm...Then everything will be covered with a layer of dust again.  Talk about exercise in futility!

I am happy to have this behind me and can now move on to another project and more down-sizing.  The counter under the shelves is piled with mail and is in serious need of cleaning and filing.  I am going to have to get myself another or a different filing cabinet.  The filing cabinet we have is very difficult to open.  All the drawers (all two of them) stick, and it doesn't help that cats have found it necessary to annoint it with greater frequency than I like.  So I am on the look-out for filing ideas.

The most current project--and there will be pictures--is a bulletin board.  I want a large bulletin board in my studio over my sewing desk that I can use to display all my inspiration pictures.  So I mentioned to Kent that I wanted a bulletin board, but didn't want to buy one.  He promptly constructed a frame for me out of recycled pallet boards.  He brought me home some cardboard that I have cut to size and covered with wrapping paper.  Then I want to coil a copper wire (recycled from old wiring) around one side and attach cardboard cut-outs of flowers, leaves, and butterflies...It would have been easier to buy a bulletin board, but I will certainly have a one of a kind when it is all completed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Cookbook Shelves

My downsizing and organizing has hit a huge snag.  For the past while I have been trying to clean, organize, and dust the cookbook shelves.   I am having this huge mental block.  I know what it is, but it doesn't make it any easier to work through.  The last time I was orgaizing shelves was last summer when our Rufus died.  I didn't manage to finish the shelves then and I still haven't gotten them all finished.  I think I might be about half finished this time.

I have, however, in spite of everything, given away quite a few cookbooks.  I must confess, I love cookbooks.  I have been collecting them since I was first married.  I read them like novels and for bedtime reading.  I look at the lovely pictures.  I even cook out of them.  But I have over three hundred cookbooks.  Some of them I have not even tried a single recipe.  So after some serious soul-searching and a huge conversation with myself, I managed to give away a few of my cookbooks.  One stack went to live at my oldest son's house and another stack went to live at my youngest son's house.  I know where they are, and if I'm suddenly smitten with a irresistable urge to cook out of one of these cookbooks (nevermind that I haven't used them in twenty-some years), I can run over and copy the recipe I want to try.

Naturally, I felt the need to reward myself for this accomplishment, and I got myself a new cookbook...This one more in keeping with how I actually cook.  I recently read Life Is A Verb, by Patti Digh.  It's an amazing book and I enjoyed it very much.  Somewhere toward the end she recommended trying out the cookbook Veganomicon.  So after checking it out online, I actually ordered one (from our local bookstore).  The recipes are as good as they were purported to be.  Of the few things I have made so far, every one of them was fairly easy to prepare, did not have weird ingredients (OK, my idea of weird ingredients might not be normal), were mostly inexpensive, and tasted good.  AND I have to finish cleaning the cookbook shelves because there still isn't space in the vegetarian cookbook section for a new cookbook...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Midsummer Madness

July is invariably the month where money becomes extremely tight.  There is a lull after spring work and before harvest.  Naturally this lull translates into less work and less money.  I have already been off work for a month and so my income is also seriously curtailed.

This year I have decided that I am not going to spend undue time stressing about the situation.  Instead, I am looking around for projects that I can do that require no cash outlay.  Looking for projects to do that require no money has kept me diverted for quite a while. Some ideas are easy--weed ALL the flower beds.  I have some that are nothing but weeds.  I know what I want to do with them and getting them weeded and prepped this summer is a good start.  And I want to make some new flower beds as well.

I want our property to look clean and more attractive.  Again--easy.  I am going to start at the gate and start killing the weeds and preparing the roadside strip for maybe lavendar or wildflowers.  I have plenty of "scrap" 2 x 4's to edge my raspberry bed.  I have a small sitting area in the front yard with a "spool" table and two adirondack chairs.  I want to have it look neater and more appealing.  This one just requires elbow grease.  Kent brought me home a stack of pallets and I am going to construct a deck out of pallets.  I plan to put dirt between the slats and grow a high-traffic ground cover in the cracks between the slats.  I have also started to make a pallet deck in tha back yard where the barbecue is. So far, I have one in place...

I also have fabric on hand and patterns.  This week I completed one shirt and started and finished a second one.  I still have fabric for at least three or four more shirts.  And since I am in dire need of new shirts, I will  get started on their construction.

I have plenty of glass to play with, so I will start doing some more experimenting with my glass.  I started making disc flowers that I then pinched with pliers to look like poppies.  I start making discs and then I quit and then when I start again I cannot remember why I quit making discs the last time.  Well, THIS time I remember why I quit.  For some reason I have great difficulty keeping my discs warm.  As they cool they tend to shock and I have little bits of hot glass flying around.  Very disconcerting...I have decided that I'm just going to keep practising until I can manage to keep my beads warm enough that they don't shed bits of themselves everywhere!

I also ordered some silver leaf some time ago and I'm quite certain that it is now ripe enough to use.  I, just this week, found all my little mini punches to use with my silver leaf, so I have that to try out also.

This has been rather an exhausting week.  The guys are all out of town--leaving just us "girls" behind to keep everything together and to also dogsit Brent's two dogs.  The night before the 4th we thought that maybe we were going to have a relaxing and not too stressful time.  There were few fireworks and the only dog upset was Kent's and I was able to keep him fairly calm.  Well, this was a fond misconception.  There were plenty of fireworks on the actual 4th and ALL the dogs were distraught.  It took three attempts to get them to bed before they finally settled down (at 11:30).  There were no fireworks last night and everyone still didn't want to go to bed.  However, the humans were rather tired and became slightly more insistent that they go to bed much earlier.  They did under great protest and retaliated by insisting that it was time to get up at 6:00...

So today has been one of those days...I feel like I'm moving in slow motion and I haven't even attempted to accomplish much at all.  And with the temperature heating up, there may be no more work done; we might just spend the rest of the afternoon in our pool.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spring in Summer

It's been a while since I posted any pictures.  I haven't done much with glass for the last little while.  My garden has not allowed me time to do anything else.  Yesterday I actually took a little break from the garden and finished sewing two new shirts for myself.  I still haven't replaced all the clothes that no longer fit, so this was actually necessary.

This is one of my projects that I completed some time ago.  I called this piece "Spring Equinox".  I think I actually started making the beads for this right around the spring equinox.  It is a graduation gift for a daughter of a friend.
This is a close-up of some of the beads.  The flower beads are a new style for me, and I have been experimenting with "pixie dust" for a while now.  I love the subtle shimmer is gives to transparent glass.

This is the center pendant.  The entire necklace is 24 inches long.  I tend to wear my own necklaces fairly short, but I try to make longer styles for other people.