Thursday, December 12, 2013


Photo: Forever

This is the sum total of my creativity over Thanksgiving vacation.

We said "Good-bye" to my wonderful dog, Lucy.  She always wore a red collar.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Long Month

It has been a long and adventurous month!  In the first place, it has been years since I have worked full time. And I have never had a job where I needed to be at work at 6:30 a.m.  So that has been quite an adjustment.  I no longer putter around the house in the morning washing dishes and sweeping and whatever else that I find to do.  No, I must get up at the extremely unholy hour of 4:30 and rush through my morning and out the door by 6:00 a.m. to be to work on time.

I first started out working as the salad bar person.  And I enjoyed doing this.  I was responsible for making sure that all twenty items plus greens, and dressings were stocked and looked pretty.  I like to make things look pretty and I liked to chat briefly with the people that came through the salad bar.

I was just getting it all figured out and into place when I was asked to transfer into the bakery.  This is essentially a promotion (without a pay raise yet), so I agreed with some trepidation.  Well, I do enjoy the bakery and I have a large amount of freedom to be creative.

So my poor brain has felt completely overstuffed with information for the last month.  I am only now beginning to feel like I know what I am doing and am comfortable doing it.

Then to make matters really exciting, my daughter also got a job.  Her first full-time job--she has been looking for a long time for work.  She is working an opposite schedule from me.  She killed her car some time ago and it has been interesting trying to get her to work on time.  Oh, and I also get to do her chores in the evening.  This includes feeding the horses and trying to convince all her cats that they need to go indoors for the night...Mostly the cats run off and then reappear after my daughter has come home from work.

Now that things are beginning to level out and not be quite so stressful, I need to start preparing for a show in December and get back into making beads on a regular basis.  I hope to start doing that this weekend.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Camo Jewelry

A friend of ours is getting married very shortly.  She is a farm girl and a hunter.  Her bridesmaids will be wearing camouflage satin dresses.  As soon as I heard that I began to design jewelry for her and her bridesmaids.

The bride's favorite color is green and her dress will have a camouflage sash.  So she get white and green for her jewelry.  The white flowers have gold sparkly dots and there are gold sparkles in the green flowers.

This is her necklace.  It is 24 inches long and I wanted to make sure it had some substance as well as simplicity, so each side has double chains.

Below is a close-up of the pendant.

The bridesmaids are more the traditional camouflage colors.  Each set is slightly different and one of the necklaces is nineteen inches while the others are twenty-three inches.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Random Musings

 I know--it's fall, and this is obviously a spring picture.  However, all will soon become clear.  This is my lovely apricot tree that I assumed would provide me apricots for years to come.  Alas, it is not to be.  We had a crazy storm fly through Thursday evening.  It snapped my poor apricot tree off at the ground and sent it skipping across the driveway.  I was amused to discover that while the tree went sailing away, nothing on the bac deck even moved in the wind.

Now the yard looks barren and strange. 
We will begin looking for new apricot trees soon.  I want at least two and I would like two different varieties--an early and a later producing tree.

I am still faithfully applying for three jobs a week--as required by the unemployment department.  But I am very weary of filling out job applications!  I would really like to be working already. (As I am sure the other millions of unemployed would also prefer.)  Oh, well, this too shall pass.

I am very excited to be able to finally replace one of our poorly functioning toilets with a new one.  And we also have two new kitchen cabinets to replace the ones that are inconvenient and breaking.  The drawers are breaking, so that the top one falls into the drawer below--causing much distress.  It is going to be so wonderful to have new drawers that easily open and a cabinet large enough for all my pots!
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Friday, August 23, 2013

I won! I won! I won!

So, as you all know, I entered a piece of my jewelry in the local art show.  For me, this was mostly about networking, getting my name and what I do out there in the community and helping a worthwhile cause.  Oh, yeah!  And for fun.

Imagine my surprise to actually discover a ribbon next to my submission.  I had won second place!  I was pretty tickled with the whole experience--not the least of which was receiving a $50.00 prize check!  (It's already spent on metal-working tools to go along with my glass.)

I know, second place doesn't sound like such a huge deal. But to me it was a big deal.  This is the very first time that I have entered an art show.  And while I make things that I like and are true to my artistic voice it is nice to get a little validation that what I like isn't totally awful.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Our small community has an art show every August.  This year I was invited to display some of my jewelry for the show.

This is what I finally made and submitted.  I have named it Fantasia.

This is (obviously) a close-up of the front dangle.  I was going to hang drop beads from the brass flower and then decided that I preferred the small seed beads on long headpins to resemble stamens.

I loved the frit that I used for these.  It is very fine and gives almost a water-color type effect to the glass.  This is what I always hope to achieve with frit and finally discovered how to get that stain of color rather than obvious spots.

I love the sparkle of dichro and almost always can find a place for it in anything I make.  The charms and chain and front pendant were all procured from a local bead store.

When I took this to the show to have it entered the lady who was accepting submissions seemed somewhat disappointed that I had brought her only one entry.  I was given to understand that next year I need to submit three entries...and the necklace I was wearing was very pretty.  Well, yes, it was, but it didn't meet the criteria of being completed within the last twelve months.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Growing up I had two grandmothers--like most people.  There was California Grandma and Saskatchewan Grandma.  Both of them were very different and I only realized recently how much impact they actually had on me.  We moved a lot while I was growing up and both grandmothers provided a sense of constancy--they never moved.

California Grandma was artistic and musical.  She had a grand piano that I inherited and her house was full of books.  There was always something to read and usually a jig-saw puzzle needing to be finished.  She did not like to cook.  In fact she was a terrible cook.  She worked in the psychiatric field.  And her house was always a disaster.  She also loved to travel and would visit us with some frequency.

Saskatchewan Grandma was pragmatic and practical.  She didn't like to cook either, but her food tasted good.  Her house was clean and she had an enormous, weed-free garden.  Although, she was a firm believer in education, there were very few books in her house.  I don't know how many times I read James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small because it was the only book I could find to read.  Well, I guess there were also some Ukrainian books, but I didn't speak Ukrainian, much less read it. Because of the farm and the work it entailed, Saskatchewan Grandma rarely traveled.

Here is where things become interesting.  I am artistic and musical.  I love to read.  However, I love to cook and I am both good at it and can make food that tastes good.  My house is not spotless, but it is not usually a complete disaster.  I have an enormous garden, but it is not weed-free...I am able to preserve what grows in my garden.  My house is also full of books and music.

I am amused to discover that I am not like one grandmother more than another, but am a combination of the two with my own twist thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flying Summer

 July has sort of rushed on by!  I can sort of remember a barbecue with family and friends for the Fourth.

And then I got busy.  I started to help cook for harvest.  Not only that, add in all the job hunting I'm doing, and the somewhat neglected garden.  I'm also supposed to be making something for an upcoming art show as well as make beads for a friend's wedding.

I could be perfectly happy puttering around at home--as long as I could figure out how to pay all those pesky bills.  I have some ideas and would certainly welcome more suggestions.

My morning glories have started to bloom and they are so pretty.  They always make me happy.

Yesterday I had the day at home.  So I did a little yard clean up and did some shoring up of the irrigation ditch.  Then I went to war on the milkweed growing in my raspberries.  I like the milkweed, I really do, but it is completely taking over the raspberry bed.  So it must go.  We have some growing somewhere else for any misplaced Monarch butterflies who might pass by.  But that sap!  It gets all over my skin and makes me wildly itchy!  If I don't wash it all off, it leaves burns.  I persevered and pulled out about a third of the milkweed before I had to go and scrub.  Note to self--WEAR JEANS when working in the milkweed.

Today it rained, so again, I couldn't cook.  I finished most of the beads for the wedding.  And I am now off to find and price out everything I need to finish my piece for the art show.  The deadline is August 10.
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Friday, July 12, 2013


 Recently I was reading through one of my cookbooks and this was a recipe title that I found:  "Faux Fondue Au Beurre d'Arachide".  I looked at that title and without reading the recipe to see the ingredients, I loosely translated it to mean "Fake Fondue of Sipder Butter".  THEN I looked at the ingredients.  Ah...Fake PEANUT butter fondue!

Then, for some reason, I was reminded of my 9th grade language teacher.  Mr. P. was a very interesting individual (which, at 15, I couldn't quite appreciate).  He was a short, rather round individual and was quite as bald as the proverbial billiard ball.  He had emigrated to Canada from Lithuania or Latvia.  I don't remember which one.  I just know it was one of those little countries that were part of the USSR.  His native language was neither English nor French--this might explain the strange accent that people complained of later when I took French in college.

Mr.P had a number of entertaining quirks.  He was a firm believer in students arriving on time and not only paying attention, but acually looking like they were paying attention.  He also found gum to be anathema.  The thing I remember best from class is him bouncing between the rows of desks either inquiring,"Do you haf a chewing gum in your mouth?"  or demanding, "Seet op, seet op, seet op!!"  (Sit up!)  And heaven help the poor student who actually fell asleep in his class.

Partway, through my 9th grade year Mr. P decided for some obscure reason to invest in a bad toupee.  I don't even think he waited for a holiday or weekend.  One day he was hairless and the next he had this amazing wig.  We had all managed to close our mouths long enough to get through class, when the next class of students started arriving in the hallway.  The window in the classroom door was soon full of staring amused teen-agers.  In exasperation, Mr. P pulled the shade, so that they were unable to see.  Whereupon, one enterprising young man--being taller than most--proceeded to jump up and down in order to see Mr. P through the transom window.

At some point during my high school career, Mr. P also sponsored his sister and she also emigrated to Canada. 

I only had Mr. P for one year, but it is obvious that he made a lasting impression on me.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Vacation

 Summer far it has not really been much of a vacation.  I have been busy catching up on all the things that had gotten neglected while I was working.  Oh, and let's not forget...every "free" minute is being used to file for unemployment and look for work.  I shall soon be an expert at filling out on-line job applications.

I find filing for unemployment and all the necessary requirements to be extremely tedious.  I begin to suspect that I don't like to play by someone else's rules...And I am very frustrated by the wait.  I keep receiving letters telling me to continue to file for unemployment, but that I will not be receiving unemploymnet benefits for the weeks I have already filed.  Deep breath in...deep breath out...this too shall pass.

I have quite a few new beads and I have a new necklace started--pictures to come soon--all over the dining room table...AND I rearranged all the furniture because we have a major house repair project coming up (Yes, ANOTHER one!!) and all the furniture will have to be relocated out of the master bedroom.  Trying to find a place to put everything is requiring great skills of creativity and imagination because our house is not that big.

But for now, I'm going home to make a new recipe for Pad Thai.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013


I have been rather ungently ushered into the frightening world of the unemployed.  Last Friday was my last day of work.

I have already filed my claim for unemployment and have been looking for work for some time.  Knowing that it will likely take some time before I can actually find another job, I have decided to treat my lampworking and jewelry making as a business.  So...each morning at 8:00 I go to work.  I even have a schedule to which I am trying to adhere.

Every day I am melting glass for at least an hour and completing one piece of jewelry to add to my inventory.

I also have allowed time to choose glass, colors, clean up and look for ideas and learn new skills.

I am not buying anything new at the moment.  The challenge is to see how much I can make with what is already at hand.  And should I run out of things to do or grow bored, I still have to stain the back deck and the remodeled bathroom requires paint.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Last week one of my preschoolers wanted to know how old I was.  I told him I was old.  I was sooooo old that I couldn't remember how old I was.  Well, that didn't fly.  He looked at me with a great deal of skepticism and said, "Nuh uh!"  I relented and told him I was fifty-two.

About this time another child, who was avidly listening to this conversation contributes this little nugget--"Teacher, you aren't old!"  Then she moved on to the really important stuff..."I'm five!"  she reported, showing me five fingers, in case I didn't get it.

This little conversation started me thinking.  What if we all were to consider our age a matter of great pride?  We have managed to live to be five, fifteen, thirty-five, fifty!  What if instead of bemoaning our age--which we can't do anything about anyway--we were to celebrate it?  What if we used our birthday as a time to look back over the year and see all the things we accomplished?

Guess what?  I'm fifty-two!!!!!  I'm still married twenty-nine years later to my first husband...I bought a new camera and am learning to use it.  I learned how to blog!!!  I paid off another debt!  I tried vegan cooking!  It doesn't matter what we decide to do, we just need to continue learning new things, or maybe just being excited about the old things we know.  Or how about doing new things with our old knowledge.  I learned how to crochet dishclothes!  I started a new exercise routine--Zumba!  Whatever...just pick something.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Internet Experiment

I recently read on a friend's facebook that baking soda and peroxide mixed into a paste make a very good cleaner.  So--being the chemistry student who mixed all the chemicals to see what would happen--I tried it.  I happened to have both baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in the house at the same time.

I got my husband's popcorn popper.  We have one of the old-fashioned ones that you use on the stove and turn a little handle.  We have managed to kill several of the fancy electric poppers and so are back to a basic one which we hope will last a long time.  Anyway, it hasn't been cleaned since it entered the kitchen (I don't think) and was covered with a dark, greasy residue.

I covered it with baking soda and then squeezed hydrogen peroxide onto the baking soda.  There was none of the bubbling that I get when I combine vinegar and baking soda.  I let it sit for a while and then began to clean it off. 

For a non-toxic cleaner it works quite well.  However, it ONLY works if one applies copious amounts of elbow grease.  It doesn't appear to make everything wash off by magic--it requires major scrubbing.  I'm not sure it's any better than vinegar and baking soda.  It may not smell quite as wild as vinegar and baking soda does.

And here's my little experiment for today--frosted blossoms with sugar frit and my own headpins.

The headpins are made from rubino, light violet, and medium blue transparent effetre glass.  Since I'm still experimenting, I used a 20 gauge black annealed steel wire for the headpins.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Lost Word

Choose a word for 2013.  I didn't.  I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions and this sounded a little like resolutions to me.  However, my word had other ideas.  It chose me.  So I had my came to me while I was washing dishes...

This is easy, I thought.  I have a word.  I can do this.  Three months into the new year and I began to feel like Jane of Jane of Lantern Hill fame.  I had a word; I knew I had a word, but it was buried under all the debris of accumulated daily living.  I simply couldn't find my word.  "Create"--that's all fine, but I could barely decide what to fix for supper, never mind create.
So I made and whites...from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar...and they were good!

Then spring started to arrive.

The apricot started to bud and then to bloom.  All that promise.  I could see the jars of jam and almost taste the apricot pineapple pie...All that promise gone in one cold night even though we built the tree a small fire.  I may still get enough apricots for a pie...I always hope.

And then Spring Break came and I got oxygen at long last.

I think that perhaps I am becoming reacquainted with my word.  The ivory beads are ivory with small pieces of silver leaf and encased in clear.  I didn't completely melt the silver off before I encased it because I wanted some of the sparkle to remain.

And finally there are these recycled earrings.  These have my very first attempt at making my own headpins.  Since I was experimenting I used black annealed steel wire (and also because that was what the store had available).  Making headpins is quite fun.  I just have to discover how to get my wire straighter and how long to cut it so I don't scorch my fingers when working with it. 

Today I decided to rearrange the studio.  It is crammed with paraphenalia from the bathroom remodel and seriously getting on my nerves (or maybe my LAST nerve).  Anyway, I got the bright idea that it needed to be rearranged.  So I did...I am quite certain that this was NOT my best idea.  But since it was a lot of work, it will remain this way for a least a month.

I think that I am starting to live in the spirit of creativity again.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Has It Really Been a Month?

March.  What can I say about March?  I did have a lovely birthday.  I would say it was uneventful, but the cake we baked was an experiment and in the nature of experiments everywhere didn't quite cooperate.  The ganache refused to thicken in time and the final result--although tasty--was not lovely to look at.  We had made a peanut butter torte with cream cheese frosting and a chocolate peanut butter ganache.

We are still embroiled in bathroom remodelling.  This is likely to take some time as we are only buying materials as we have the actual money.

Spring break will be next week and I still have to get some oxygen for my torch.  I do not intend to go the entire vacation without taking some time to melt glass.

I'm hoping that the weather will cooperate long enough for me to get the early seeds into the ground.  I'm really wanting some fresh spinach and lettuce.

The laundry dryer has also decided to do its part in adding to the general chaos by burning out its heating element.  It still turns and blows air; however, it is cold air and takes all day to dry anything.  We have retaliated by drying things for about an hour and then hanging them to dry the rest of the way.  So far, it is working quite well.  It will go even better when it is a little warmer and a little less prone to drop rain without notice.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Greys

The weather continues to be mostly grey.  This is only relevant because grey weather causes ALL my motivation to go into extended hibernation.  All I want to do is eat chocolate and read frothy, insubstantial books.  However, even a visit to a bookstore yesterday left me uninspired and I left without buying a single book.

The bathroom remodel continues.  The ruined sheetrock has been removed--and surprise of surprises--and all fit into the trash can.  Now to return the new faucet that is missing hardware and get that installed.

Our white shepherd, Polar, is not feeling well this week.  She has been getting me up at 3:00 a.m.  Unfortunately, not before she has an accident.  So my brain is foggy from lack of sleep and the most ridiculous dreams imaginable...I have been forcing myself to exercise, remembering that I usually get a better energy boost from exercising than from sleeping longer.

This morning I grabbed the moisturizer instead of my saline to put in my contacts.  Fortunately, I caught myself before I actually used it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

February Fun

I've been suffering through the February "blahs"!  I also seem to have misplaced my brain.  So the picture that was going to go with this blog, is at home--in the camera, and not downloaded...

I haven't been able to work with glass much--being about to run out of oxygen, so I've been immersed in other creative endeavors.

Yesterday I made NYC Black & Whites (from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar).  Very good and very photogenic...picture to come later.  I consider baking to be a creative endeavor.

I had an unexpected day off work, so I finished my bulletin board in my studio and sewed some more on a summery top.  The rationale being that perhaps I can have it completed in time for warm weather.

Then I figured out that if I only crochet two rows each day, I can have the body of my afghan completed in 53 opposed to the over ten years that it took me to finish the last afghan I made.  Now if I will only crochet the two rows every day...I've been feeling a little tired and haven't gotten as much done as I would like.  The sun is shining today and that is always good for driving away fatigue.

I have my lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrot, and snow pea seeds purchased, located and ready to go in the ground.  If it stays nice I should be able to get them all planted this weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

I had all these grand plans of what I was going to accomplish and get done.  Ha! Now I must do something else.

Several years ago the hall bathroom shower began to leak.  Naturally, we had no money to fix it, so we all simply started using the shower in the master bath.  Recently we have been busily paying off debt and actually developing a savings account. (Yes, this is relevant...)

The master bath shower has always also leaked--somewhere.  It never leaked a lot and I could never actually discover where it was leaking, no matter how many times I pried off the plumbing access panel and had a look.  We knew we were going to have to repair this shower as well.  However, the entire bathroom is a 1970's relic (nightmare) and we really want to gut the bathroom and the walk-in closet and combine the space to make a more useable bathroom.  We were hoping that we would have enough money actually set aside to devote to remodeling before we had to start.

For some reason the master bath shower has decided to increase its leakage.  I still have no idea what is actually leaking.  But I can no longer deny that the leaking has become very serious.  We now have water damage to the floor in the bedroom!  And the bathroom floor has become rather warped.  And I'm sure that it isn't really desireable to have mushrooms growing around the bathtub.  Next, I imagine that the entire bathtub will simply crash through the floor.  Oh, and did I mention that we certainly do not have enough money saved to do any bathroom remodeling at this time?

However, demolition doesn't cost anything whatsoever.  So we have started to tear apart the first leaky shower.  The shower doors are now resting in state on the bed in my studio.  The fiberboard that someone actually thought would be waterproof is now in the process of being removed.  The good news is that the underlying sheetrock is not as water-damaged as we first thought. 

We do have a time-line for getting the first shower repaired.  First, we have to get it done before the one we're using DOES fall through the floor.  Secondly, and perhaps most importantly we have about three weeks before the early spring season hits and Kent is much too busy to do any home repairs. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013


 Another picture of the hoar frost that we had last week.  We have had nothing but high fog lately.  Not very good for any sort of motivation.  I have spent some time considering painting the house interior yellow and have several paint samples taped to various walls.  I think that will go a long way to eradicating the winter "blahs".  I really like the white on white color schemes that I see, but they really don't work for me.  When we first painted our current home we used a lot of white on the walls, hoping to counter-act the Seasonal Affective Disorder that comes calling every winter around October.  It didn't work!  Much as I admire the white in theory, in practise I find it too sterile for me.  So color is going on my walls and I will admire other people's white color schemes.

We did get a little sun today and what a difference it made.  My fingerless gloves are finished.  (Pictures to come soon.)I have started on my hat. And I tidied up my shelves in my studio and there is glass in my kiln.
I also pulled out my trusty screw driver and hung the little drawers that I picked up to house all the components to one project--one project in each drawer.  Now I'm ready to make use of them.

I have been trying to identify what makes me happy and what causes me stress.  And determining what I can do to fix the things I can fix.

My clothes are boring...easy!  I pulled out the blazer that I had cut out ages ago and I'm going to get started sewing it.  I also have fabric for a pink top that was purchased specifically to go with the blazer.  I'm already thinking of jewelry ideas...  And I found the cutest sweater pattern!  Yes, I know...MORE knitting!  And then there is the really pretty crocheted tank top that will look great under blazers and jackets.  Crocheting I find relaxing and enjoyable.

I have identified my biggest stressor...more on that later...I am taking steps to try to make that stressor less of a huge obstacle.  One way or another, I will surmount this hurdle.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013


 Last week there was some sort of "cookie" error when I tried to check my blog.  Ever since then, I have not been able to upload multiple pictures.  I am a little disappointed because I rushed outside with my camera to take pictures of the frost.

Since I am limited to only one picture at a time right now, I went through and tried to find the picture that really portrayed our weather the best...

We have been wrapped in freezing fog for several days now. Yesterday the fog lifted just a bit but left the frost behind.  This is one of the views that I get to see every day when I leave home.  I never get tired of it.  Maybe it will appear again in spring garb later on.  There are usually mountains to be seen, but they are hidden in the fog right now.

The only thing I want to do when we have this kind of weather is park by the stove with a good book and a hot drink...not so very good for getting ready for my show next week!
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Word

 I had started my blog only to discover that there is some kind of glitch that wouldn't allow me to upload my picture.  So I went back and started with the picture.

These are the fingerless gloves and loomed hat that I have been busily making all during the Christmas break.  I am now on my fourth hat and pair of gloves.  Looming hats is easy, quick, and fun.  I can finish one in less than an afternoon.

In reading other blogs I learned about the word...Choosing one word to live by during 2013 rather than making New Year's resolutions.  I rarely make many resolutions; the ones I do make I try to turn into habits with varying degrees of success--there is still unfolded laundry lurking in the laundry room...

I really wasn't terribly excited by the whole choosing a word thing.  It was interesting to read about other people's word, but I just didn't see myself doing it.

However, while I was busily doing dishes some time ago my word came to me out of the blue--so to speak--and chose me.  So I have a word for 2013, after all.  My word is "create" and has already made a difference...I may even get to that unfolded laundry...
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