Sunday, August 31, 2008

Two Great Men of History in the Same Time Plane

Throughout our country's history, we have been blessed with many great leaders! Among those, but not living at the same time, were George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Each man was charged in his time with some of the greatest challenges our country has faced. George Washington lead our newly formed country as Commander and Chief and as our first President. Abraham Lincoln lead our country through a time of great division in the Civil War as our President and Commander in Chief. Today, at Civic Fest, I saw both of these men, together in an unprecedented reunion of greatness. Both George Washington and Abe Lincoln walked the halls of Civic Fest together telling their stories. I asked President Lincoln how tall he was. He replied, "It isn't a man's height that makes him a man, it is his honor that makes him a man." I believe in real life, he was 6'4" tall.

George Washington was soft spoken but carried himself with the grace and dignity of a man who lead a newly formed country into freedom.

Although, they took off their hats to me, I salute them both, and I take off my hat to them! As a country, we were truly blessed to have been lead by these men.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Civic Fest 2008

I made it to the Twin Cities safe and sound. I even made it to the Minneapolis Convention Center by way of car (and a gps that broke just as I was leaving), light rail, and leg power. Our orientation of sorts was confusing. People who weren't assigned to work in your area were being sent to your team and others on the team were being asked to go to other places. It was very confusing for me. We were shown where our water station was, and the water wasn't there. There were no chairs on which to sit. We were told to go back to the volunteer room to sit. I did. I was offered a diet coke, which wasn't cold. Snacks were made available. They were high in carbs and calories, and nothing you couldn't find in a vending machine. Although the team leaders were doing their best to make everything work, I felt that the volunteer "positions" were more for show than anything else and really weren't appreciated. I didn't do much but stand around for 4.5 hours. When it came time to leave, I was more than ready to go. Some friends of mine drove up for civic fest, so I stayed longer than I planned. We had a good time together. I was able to see some of the sights, and, yes, they were very good things to see and experience. The numbers of people in attendance were very low, in spite of the free admission for the first 5,000 people. I was very surprised at that.
The most popular attraction was the miniature White House. This project is one that James Zweilig and his family have worked at for the last 56 years. This is the last time this fabulous, detailed project will be displayed anywhere, other than in the Smithsonian. I took a lot of photos. It was amazing to see this detailed, miniature version of the White House. It is a current version of what is in the White House today. Everything from rugs to chandeliers is shown in each room. Nothing is different from what it is in the White House if you were to go for a visit. I couldn't get over the amount of time and work that has to go into this project! I've got a few photos to show. The problem is that these photos don't show the fantastic workmanship that has gone into this project.

Looking at this view, you'd think you were actually driving up the driveway to the entrance of the White House. If you'll notice, some of the shades are drawn in the rooms and some are not.
Close up, the shades look like pleated blinds.

This is the side of the White House that most people were interested in seeing. This is the main part of the White House where the President and his family lives and where the most famous rooms of the White House are located. I will show you the Oval Office in my next photo to give you an understanding of the detail of each room.

The rug in the Oval Office is the same rug that is there now. This rug was either painted or stitched. Some of the rugs that were stitched had over a half a million stitches in them. They were exact replicas. In some rooms, there were working tv's. The detail is amazing! If yu look on the table behind the desk in the Oval Office, you will see photos of the President's family. This site, the most popular one, and one in which people had to wait for 2 hours to see, was and is amazing!
When I left for the light rail, I knew I was tired, but I didn't know how tired I was. I actually fell asleep on the light rail. I made it back to my daughter's home, and, other than chatting with Deb online, I fell asleep and slept for 5 hours. At that point, I got up, ate, and went back to sleep. I slept through the alarm. I didn't go in today. My heel hurt. My back hurt. I don't know which one hurt the most. I hope to go in tomorrow. I bought a foot brace and ibuprophen. I had no idea that I could be this exhausted. It might take me more than one day to rest, I don't know. I hope not. I plan to take a nap soon. Maybe that will help me. Once the Advil kicks in, my heel, my knee and my back will be better. I don't know, maybe I just got too old for this kind of work.
Even though, I wasn't happy with everything about Civic Fest, I do think it's worth attending. If I can, I will put the DVD of me taking office and being sworn in by the "Chief Justice." I told the camera man to make sure my jewelry showed. He gave me a strange look. I haven't watched the DVD yet, but we shall see. Until tomorrow, I'll say good night today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Each Day Contiues to be Amazing!

Today was my day for orientation for Civic Fest. I will be an "exhibit host" at the miniature White House. I will go into more detail on this in later blogs. All I can say now is that this is an absolutely amazing work of art! Orientation was a bit longer than I had anticipated, but I was amazed to find out that a person did not have to volunteer for the entire week. I was amazed at that! I was also amazed that I actually managed to find my way to the Minneapolis Convention Center, with the help of a friendly cab driver and the light rail in Minneapolis. On my way home, I managed to find my way back to the light rail, and, ultimately to my car, with the help of a woman who was walking down the street in Minneapolis. Seems I was going the wrong way, as directed by a Minneapolis police officer, who didn't work downtown normally, but worked in the northern part of the city. However, what is amazing is that, as I was walking down the wrong path on the way to the light rail, I found an amazing discovery! Look at the name on the pub. This is for you, Deb, my Kiwi friend. Until I "met" Deb, I had never heard the name "Kieran." This is her second eldest son's name. What an amazing discovery when I saw this pub in Minneapolis! I'm sure that I will find many more amazing things in the days ahead.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today is a Much Better Day!

And it came to pass. Yes, yesterday has passed and today is a better day. I'm watching "America's Got Talent," and looking at my bills. Somehow, in this moment, it's much more important to watch TV than it is to pay my bills at this time. Can't get away without paying bills, so I have to do that tonight. Tomorrow is a busy day. I have to go to a meeting about Civic Fest, so I need to live in this moment. I need to pay bills. I need to quit watching TV. Oh, good, the show is over. I had better go and pay bills. Before I go, I have to show you a hand I made. I don't work off mandrel very often, but I did on this one. It was my first time. Other than the ugly color and bright, contrasting frit, I think it's pretty good. I sent a copy of the photo to Bernadette Fuentes. She's the one who said I needed to make a hand. The first 3 I made were more like the 4 fingered hands of cartoon figures. This one, in spite of the colors, really looks like a human hand. Now, don't laugh. Here it is. I don't think Bernadette has anything to worry about. I'm not competition, but it was a great learning experience. Oh, I haven't heard back from Bernadette. I know she'll be kind, but she knows, I'm no competition. More to come later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

All You Creatures Great and Small in Bittersweet

Today was a bitter sweet day. For those of you who know me, you know my sadness today. I won't go into it. It's just there, and always will be. The sweetest part of my day was the realization that teacher workshops began today in our school district, and I didn't have to go! Retirement is wonderful! At last, I am in my bed listening to something that will cease in a few short weeks. The sounds I am hearing are those of tree frogs as they call out in the night to their mates or prospective mates. The sound is endless, only interrupted by the sound of the distant train whistle and the whir of the cars going up and down the hill behind us. If today could be described in terms of summer, this was a perfect summer day, and this evening is a perfect summer night. Soon the little creatures I hear now will be silent, and the weather will get cold. The cycles continue. For now, these little tree frogs sing out their joy at their lives, limited as they are, and live intensely in the moment. I used to think that a dragonfly only lived 24 hours. I've now found out that they don't. Most live 3-6 months. I think that's much better. They are fascinating creatures. They, also, live intensely in the moment. Dragonflies fly and flutter moving from one place to another, hovering in another place, and then they are off where ever they go. Creatures live in the moment, doing what they are meant to do. They live their lives to the fullest. Most have rather short lives, a few have very long lives. The cicada is an example of a long lived creature. The ones who have come out of the ground this summer were hatched long ago. Their human counterparts have mostly died. These little creatures are finally in their old age! Enough now of these ramblings. I'm ready for bed, but I wanted to show you this creature I formed from soft glass. I think it's a boy, but I'm not sure. I only know it's a creature with no name. In spite of no name, I do like this creature, too.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Another Glassy Friend--Deb Batten aka FireBird FlameWork aka da Batt

I have to admit, I was absolutely thrilled when my Kiwi friend, Deb Batten, agreed to an interview in this Glassy Friends series! Deb, a native of New Zealand, and I met, online, through the forums on Lampwork Etc. She is an absolutely fabulous glass artist! So, I sent her some questions, and here are her photos, and her answers. First of all, a self portrait.

) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m me… anyone that knows me will know I don’t do short! Lol! I’m well seasoned Mum of 4 with a love for nature, colour, texture, warmth & light. Without them I am nothing. I don’t recall ever not having love art in some form or another – I grew up surrounded by music & colour, a Maternal Grandfather from the Mediterranean saw to that & as a result all of my life has been spent dabbling & working in one form of the arts or another.

2) If you could be anyone, past or present, who would you be and why?

If I could be anyone I’d be anyone, past or present, I’d be Cleopatra VII – Queen of Egypt.

Oh yeah – I know that in reality she was far from beautiful, of mixed heritage, had to fight to regain her throne & died a not too pleasant death. But hey – she was determined, lived somewhere warm & had GREAT jewelry!

Then again I wouldn’t mind being Xena….. all of that wonderful decorated armour…

3) Outside of the glass world, who is your favorite artist?
Yep throw me a toughy! A single favorite artist? Now that could vary from day to day. I adore colour – it rocks my world & I am hugely affected by it. I love the colours of Africa, warm earthy ochres, umbers, rich sienna’s. I love the way that light is different there & shows things in more depth.

That said, for today at least, I’d have to go with a South African artist Salomi Prinsloo. Her use of colour & light is amazing - & her paintings have a depth & flow that are mesmerizing.

4. A place to live is always important. Choose one location. Where would be the ideal place for you to live? Why?
If I was given the chance to relocate myself at this point in my life – I would have to be honest & say that without having visited them, there is no one location that I could definitively choose.
It’s tempting to say that I would set up a home base in Santa Fe, New Mexico – while I explored the rest of the world, primarily North Africa & the surrounding countries. I choose Santa Fe because the architecture & geography appeals to me, greatly….but then again perhaps the winter temperatures would not be to my heat seeking tastes. History holds a huge fascination for me – so it would have to be somewhere relatively old….& warm, very warm. Yep travel sounds grand – enjoy the summers & escape the winters ;o)

4) What is your greatest accomplishment?

Actually that’s an easy one – bringing up my kids to become relatively normal, happy adults…of course only two of them are at that point so far. Can I get back to you on this in another 8 years?

5) If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change and why?
The base line….I’d love to be able to change peoples perception of others & somehow make everyone more tolerant of the differences between cultures & beliefs. I think if that was achieved then everything else would just fall into place. Sneaking in a second one - I’d love for people to realise that this planet is not an endless supply of everything, & the need to replant , restock & put back into the earth is imperative for it’s future existence.

6) What is your favorite piece of art in your collection or outside of it?

OK another toughy – my tastes change day to day & according to my environment. Right now I would have to say that IN my collection is my “Huli Warrior” painting. Outside of it is a fabulous piece by the Artist I spoke of earlier – it is in fact the artwork that made me realise the importance of acting in the moment when you fall in love with an original piece of art. I missed this piece through hesitation &, even though part of me knows that it was never meant to be mine, I will always regret that it isn’t.

7) Choose 1: Fiber Arts, glass, wire work. Which is your favorite? Why?
Ok this one is easy – Fiber Arts, simply because it is so adaptable. I adore glass – but in my heart I know there will always be fiber. Fibers keep us warm, give us privacy & have so many practical applications – yet in it’s various forms can be used to created items of great beauty, be totally frivolous, completely impractical, wonderfully ornate & elegantly plain. It can be embellished & manipulated beyond anything else, used with almost unlimited other materials & in more applications than one person could possible explore in a lifetime. It is the base for so many items & the springboard for so many designs in other mediums. It’s is a fabulous teacher of history also. Yep, I adore glass – but will always be passionate about fiber.

Oh & something that you may not know about me….I name everything. Even my torch has a name, her real name is Venus, but I call her Mischief – that makes me the Mistress of Mischief ;o)

Editor's note: As I have gotten to know Deb over the internet, I have found her to be a wonderful, funny woman with a great heart full of compassion. I hope you get to know her, too. Check out her website. There's a link in the sidebar. Check out her ETSY store. There's a link in the sidebar for that. Now, I want to show you a couple of photos that I asked Deb to send.

When Deb was talking about fiber arts and her love of fiber, she wasn't kidding. Here's a photo of some silk ribbons that she sewed and dyed. I am fortunate to have some of these wonderful ribbons! Take a look!

Aren't these absolutely gorgeous? You should feel them in your hands and on your skin. They feel marvelous! These were hand sewn and hand dyed by Deb!

Now, here's a bead I love that Deb made. It shows her love of nature and texture. I think you should check out her website for more beads! Awesome!

Isn't that bead stunning? Organic, silvered, textured, warm, cool, natural. Deb, you are a most fabulous bead maker!

Thanks, Deb, for doing this interview!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Assignment and More Jewelry for Civic Fest

The email came this morning. I am going to be assigned to the White House area of exhibits. I don't know which one yet, but I could be assigned to the White House Rose Garden. I guess that this will be at the entry way to Civic Fest. Other possibilities include: First Ladies' Gowns, Presidential Entertainment, the Oval Office and Oval Office Diaramas, and the White House. This looks so exciting! I guess that visitors to the Oval Office will get to sit at the Presidential desk and sign a bill into office. They will also receive a commemorative photo. As a visitor, I hope to do that! I don't know where I will be assigned to work, but I plan to have the greatest jewelry there. How's that for a transition to beads and beading? I have another bracelet and necklace to show you. I made this bracelet by stringing hollows together with bicone crystals between them. The hollows are big and bulky and bright! This bracelet looks great on the wrist!

I made this necklace by stringing together a lot of left over beads. I used seed beads to separate the beads from one another. I used a toggle to clasp the necklace. It's about 18" long. It really looks great on. The best part of it is that I can put the toggle on the front or wear it in the more traditional way with the clasp to the back. Now how fun is that? I can hardly wait to wear my new jewelry.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here's What I've Made So Far for Civic Fest

Next week, Civic Fest and the Republican National Convention converge on the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. When I first heard about this event being in the Twin Cities or, as we call them locally, the Cities, I thought about the traffic, the people, and the idea that I could volunteer for this event. St. Paul will host the Republican National Convention at the X-Cel Center. Minneapolis will host Civic Fest. When I heard that volunteers were needed for these events, I submitted my name and waited for my security check to be completed. I soon received a notification that I had been accepted as a volunteer for Civic Fest. That's when I decided, I had to have some special jewelry to wear to the event. I still have some work to do, but here's what I have for the event so far. I made a Beaded Treasures Bracelet using Robin Atkins' techniques from her book, "Beaded Treasures." I also made a simple knotted necklace using the lampwork beads I had made for this event. I think I am going to string a bracelet to wear on the other hand. I'm also thinking of making another necklace. It's time to get into gear. Next week is when all the events begin. I need to get ready for this.

Do you like the necklace? It just slips over my head.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time to Bring the Beads Back to this Blog

There is a challenge happening on the Wet Canvas Forums in the glass section. The challenge is to make one or more beads with 100 dots or more. Hmmmmmm, I thought. Can this be done? Sundaisy, the person who started the challenge, said that it was all right to stack the dots. So, I thought, maybe it's possible. I made my first bead today. I counted dots as I worked. My total was 100. At that point, I stopped and put the bead into the kiln to soak. After the bead cooled, I cleaned it and counted the dots. The total was 92! I really miscounted. If there is a set of stacked dots in there somewhere that I didn't see, I guess it won't count. Oh, well. I really like the bead. I used my "shorts" to make it. I call it a Fragile Start to Autumn. As far as the 100 dots go, tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Was Going to Blog About This Today, But Things Changed Very Quickly

I was undecided about what I was going to blog about today, then I thought of the autumn flowers I have growing in my backyard. I also wanted to bring beads back into my blog, and I knew I had beads that would fit right in with the flowers (weeds) growing in my back yard.

Here are some Brown Eyed Susans growing in my back yard

Here's the dreaded Ragweed plant. I actually love to see it. It's so pretty.

Here are the beads I was going to tie in with the free growing plants (weeds).

That being said, I was on my way down to the backyard to take some pictures of these plants. When I got to the basement, I happened to look though the windows in the basement. I am so glad I looked rather than just racing out the door to take these photos. I honestly thought I would just see the free growing plants (weeds) in my back yard. Instead, look what I saw. I was truly amazed! Remember, I took these from a window. I didn't want to frighten my guests!

I don't know what a family of wild turkeys is called, but I had a family come to visit. They came for a snack.

I think this was the mama and the papa of the family.

Here's a family photo. They were hard to get to pose!

One of the young 'uns is hiding in the Brown Eyed Susans watched over by Dad, I think.

Here they are, right before they all flew over the fence and into the ravine. I tried to call them back. I'm sure the neighbors thought I was crazy as I stayed outside gobbling. They never came back, but I was so surprised by my unexpected company!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Old Dog Still Has It In Him

One of the favorite parts of Spike's day is his walk. When he was younger, we used to walk daily for over an hour. We could cover 4 miles in just a touch over that hour. The objective of the walk was to wear Spike out. Usually that didn't work. By the time we got home, he was still pulling me, and I was exhausted. He was still ready to play! Spike is 11 now. That's pretty old for a dog of his size. (Think about it, in human years, he's around 77.) Even though I try to take him for a walk everyday, we don't always make it. Sometimes, Spike needs a day or two off at a time. His old bones just don't want to walk that far any more. We have even taken our first walk to the corner and back. He was appreciative of that, but he was content with it, too. I try to gauge our walks by the way he starts out. We still do take that 2 mile walk once or twice a week. Most of the time, we walk a mile. Many days, that's challenging for Spike. He walks like an old man. He's slow, and just let him walk ahead so that he thinks he's pulling me. Then there are those days like today, and the day Spike tried to outrun that Jeep, when Spike forgets he's old and runs like the puppy that's in his heart. Today, I jogged 5 blocks with Spike pulling me all the way. I finally had to make him slow down, like in his puppy days, because I was gasping for air as I ran. Today was a good day. I only wish I could get those good days on camera because I would love to show you what Spike looks like when he goes into a gallop. You can see the smile on his face as he runs with the wind. We almost walked two miles today, but the rest we ran. Spike enjoyed his walk so much today. He's finally tired. I love the days when I remember Spike as a puppy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ooooooooops! I goofed!

I decided that I wanted to enter a monthly challenge on a blog to which I subscribe: This link, which you can find on the side bar, if I didn't goof AGAIN, should take you to their blog: Art Bead Scene Blog. I read the instructions on how to enter, but I goofed. I forgot to add the proper tags. Ooooooooops! I goofed. I don't know if I can redo my entry, but I do plan to try. I made a bead that says "Love." I added seed beads and a key charm and made a necklace. Well, I'll try again later. I sure hope I can add those tags!

UPDATE! The Art Bead Scene posted my necklace in the challenge even though I didn't follow directions! Thank you!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's This? It's August 16th! I think!

I was at one of our local hobby stores today, and, in truth, I had seen the beginnings of this before in July! The difference now is that the season is in full force, and I'm shocked, since today's date is August 16th and not December 16th. At least, I think it is. No, I'm sure it's August 16th Yet, when I went to Hobby Lobby today, the aisles were full of Christmas! It's 84 degrees outside in Minnesota, not 10 below zero as it should be at Christmas. I'm not ready for the season to begin so early. Too late. Christmas has begun, and I can't stop it. The good thing is that there was no Christmas music playing. I'm not sure, but I don't think that is far behind. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Somehow that doesn't sound quite right.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Me and My Shadow

Some days are like this. It's rare, but I'm bored. I shouldn't be because I have to clean my house, make some jewelry, and cook supper. Yet, today, on this gorgeous summer day, I'm feeling lazy and bored. When I was a child, I was alone a lot. There weren't many children in my neighborhood. Actually, there was only one that I could call a playmate. Her name was Dolores and she was 4 years older than me. She was very nice to me, but she was older than me, so I didn't see much of her either. I had no brothers or sisters. I was an only child. I wasn't lonely though. I had many friends. There was Fu-fu, Kastrina, and Drinkwater. Yes, you guessed it, they were imaginary, but they were my friends. I had one other friend, my shadow. We played a lot together when no one was around. Since I was so bored today, I decided to do something that I could never do as a child, and that is to take pictures of me playing with my shadow. Here they are. It's just Me and My Shadow.

Now, where did that Shadow go?

Here you are. I feel like Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind." This is fun!

We're stepping high on the grass! This is good exercise too!

Now, I'm a paper doll. I haven't played with paper dolls since I was little! I love it!

Now, we are at the disco with John Travolta strutting our stuff on the dance floor.

Well, I'm still dancing to the music only I can hear. I wonder what the neighbors think? Oh, well, me and my shadow have had a great time! Bye. I'm going to take a nap. I'm tired.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What has Spike done now?

That's what my kids and friends ask me about my dog. Everyday, with him, is a new day with many new experiences. I've told you how he loves to sit out by HIS tree. He really does love it and claims it as his own. I think, more than anything else, Spike loves his tree. When he is sitting out there, and I am in the garage working on my computer, I will give him a special treat. When he sees his treat, his eyes grow wide in anticipation, a little bit of drool begins to form around his mouth, and Spike goes down into his "Good Boy" position. (Essentially, good boy to Spike means sitting down and being still and quite for about 10 seconds. ) I always insist that Spike do "nice" when he takes his treat from his hand. If I don't, I fear for my hand. Spike does "nice," and very gently takes his treat from my hand. After that, I have assumed that he eats the treat and enjoys it. I did assume that until I saw this. Like I said, everyday is a new experience with Spike. Look at the picture and see what Spike does with his treats. Every day is truly a gift with that dog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Gave Blood Today!

The American Red Cross Blood Mobile came to Holy Rosary Church today seeking blood donations. I had signed up for an appointment 8 weeks ago, and today, I came to give blood. I was 2 hours late, but they were all right with me being late. They just said, "Go sit there and wait." I waited until I was called into a small, makeshift office where my blood pressure was tested, my temperature was taken, my pulse was counted, and my hemoglobin level was checked. I made the counts on everything. So I filled out a question-aire on a computer. When that was completed, I was sent to a table to lay down and wait. You can see that I had a good view of the treats that awaited me when I was finished!

Although I didn't learn his name, the young tech who worked with me was very kind and very capable. He measured and marked my skin very carefully. In the end, that did help.

After he found my vein, he asked me if I was allergic to Iodine. I'm not, so he proceeded to clean the area where he would insert the needle in my vein. He did a lot of cleaning with the iodine.

He inserted the needle when my arm was dry and I began to donate my blood. Can you see the red ball in my hand? They ask you to roll it gently in your hand to help the flow of blood. In truth, I didn't even feel the needle go into my vein. Sometimes, I do! The last time I gave blood, the tech was getting ready to insert the needle when someone came in asking if anyone in the room had a certain type of car with a Wisconsin license plate. My tech said that she did. The gentleman told her that her car had just been hit. I was hoping she'd go and check the damage, but she chose to stay and finish her job with me. OUCH! That needle hurt! This time, I felt no pain at all! He was good.

My technician was a very nice young man. He even took a picture of me as the blood was flowing into the bag. This experience was a good one. I'll be donating again in October!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Glass Friends - Sharon Driscoll - First in the Series

The first time I met Sharon was at this year's Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee. I had seen her store on ETSY, and I thought that it was a great store! Be sure to check it out! I have it linked on the side bar of this blog. I asked Sharon if she would be willing to be interviewed for my blog, and if she was to please send me a photo of herself for the blog. This is what she sent. ------------------------>
Now, as I have gotten to know Sharon, I have found that she has a wonderful sense of humor! Yes, I do believe that this photo is of Sharon. I really, really do. Yes, I do. Anyway, I asked Sharon what I thought were some different questions. She answered them, but she didn't send me back the questions. Luckily, I did find them. Here's what Sharon had to say about life!

1. Tell us a little bit about your life--a short bio.

Married, a mother of three grown children, grandmother of one. I work with substance abusing male delinquents for the State of Michigan as a Youth Specialist (behavioral specialist), and have for twenty years. You’d be surprised at how much an artistic bend helps with that. In college I took up metalsmithing, although I worked primarily as a printmaker. It was frustrating back then to find beads to compliment what I was designing. Enough so I decided that if I could metal I could melt glass and searched out a stained glass shop (over an hour away) that would teach me how to make beads. That was in ? and many years and torches later I still love it.

2. If you couldn't be in a creative line of work, what would you be doing?

No creativity…okay then I want to be Emperor, King, President, or the Pope. Or maybe something where I could influence the outcome of the world – like a teacher!

3. Which person, outside of the glass world, has influenced you the most?

Influential people – My initial knee jerk reaction to that question today would of have family but as I thought about it they were immigrants or first generation of immigrants. They thought globally and taught historically. I was a lucky kid and given a pretty broad view of the world so I’d say Gandhi and Mother Theresa. That strength of conviction and compassion is awe inspiring to me.

4. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an Indian Chief! You know, “Doctor, Lawyer, and Indian Chief.” My grandfather would play it with me and try to get me to like the doctor/ lawyer concept. But, Indian Chief it was! As I grew up he had to buy me American Indian related books and we collected feathers. It’s funny how it threads around through my life too. My grade school was Seminole. My husband’s relatives are Cherokee, my day job – I work at Nokomis (Hiawatha’s grandmother’s name). And one of my favorite places to go – Casinos (kidding!!!!) I actually do like Pow Wows and one of my favorite bead shops is Nawbin (Indian owned). They’ve got so many interesting things usually not in the bead stores.

5. If you could be a fairy princess, a pirate, or a dolphin, which would you be and why?

Pirate, Captain Jack all the way. Growing up I was ill and had pneumonia several times. Consequently I got to watch a lot of television. Errol Flynn and anything that swash buckled blew me away. When Captain Jack took that classic Errol Flynn pose with the Octopus I got goose bumps. Pirates, they’re the Robin Hood’s of the sea. But, consider this – I’ve been watching “Shark Week” and there is no way on this beautiful green earth you are getting me into or on the ocean! I guess it’s the Jolly Roger bath tub float for me.

6. What is your all time favorite book to read?

I wish I had some profound book title to pass to everyone. I’m a freak when it comes to art books. I think I have over 300+ at this point, and that’s after a library donation. Since I have a “heavy” job I do a lot of light reading – Patterson, Evanovich, and Deaver. If there’s a book I’m never without (it’s always next to where I’m sitting) it’s The Dictionary.

7. Name your greatest accomplishment.

Greatest accomplishments to date!! Let’s see, I was kicked out of career class in high school because in my final report I stated I thought that if I could raise children to be happy and productively contributing members of society I would think I had done a pretty good job no matter what career I chose. Off with her head!! Well, been there/done that, and they’re doing great. I’ve answered the accomplishment question this way because you never know what’s around the corner and what new artistic boundaries you get to push. Do I see myself competing again artistically in the future? You bet your sweet bippie I do! But Gandhi would be happier if I could be less competitive.

Now, do you see why I liked Sharon IMMEDIATELY? She is an awesome person, and, incidentally, a very talented glass artist. Sharon, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Oh, I knew I forgot something. There was another picture that Sharon sent. I'm really not sure who it is, but she said it should go in the interview.

I think I like the first one better!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Name That Bead!

One of the hardest things, I think, about lampworking, is naming your beads and sets. Of course, it is challenging to make a good bead. It is challenging to design that bead. It is challenging to shape a good bead, but, for me, the most challenging aspect of making beads is naming them. There are other things I would rather do than name my beads. Eating raw liver and onions comes to mind. Eating cooked liver and onions is a very close second to that. I think it's hard to find the right name for a bead or set that will attract a buyer. Sometimes, the name of your bead brings visitors to your etsy store, ebay, or website. I've talked with other beadmakers about this issue. I have found that some of them use actual names of people they know. One artist has used the last name of someone of Asian ancestry to name a bead. One artist I know uses tribal words to name her beads. Another aritst seeks names of sets that have been sold in the past and adjusts them to fit her beads and sets. Some artists use music to help name their beads. For example, one person made a creature out of purple glass and named it the Flying Purple People Eater. I thought that was clever. Some days I just sit and look at my beads and sets before I put them in my ETSY store. I sit and look and think, repeat, repeat, repeat. All the bead names I choose are the best that I can do. Clearly, some are better than others. I have found when the name is interesting, the items I list get many more views and seem to sell rather quickly. Last night, I listed this set of discs. I had planned to name them Funky, Wonky Disc Set 2, but I was talking to a friend who suggested that I call them Amazon Wild Fire. I had 33 views within a 15 minute period of time. These discs sold within an hour. I know that the name is what attracted people to these beads.

Then there was this long heart that I made. It's been in my ETSY store for a while. I'm working on finding a new name for this bead. I think I need to develop some renewed interest in it. I call it Pencil Stick Heart. The stem of the heart reminds me of a pencil stick. Perhaps the name reminds people of school, and, with it being summer, no one is ready for that yet! I'm working on it. We shall see.

I think this thimble needs a new name. Right now it's called Purple Handmade Lampwork Glass Thimble. Hmmmmmmmm. Doesn't sound too exciting, does it? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I am name challenged when it comes to naming my beads and sets. I only wish I had more imagination. Some of the names I've seen out there are names like; Misty Waterfall, Mystic, Shampoo and Conditioner. Oooooops, that last name is on my shopping list for Wal-mart. Sorry about that, but, maybe, who knows! Perhaps it can be made to sound more exotic. Let me think. How about this, Champu and Suavizante. That's the spanish translation for those words. Perhaps that might work. I think I'm going to rename my blue heart: To the Point. That seems to be much more interesting than Pencil Stick Heart. Let me know what you think. Now, for the thimble. I don't know.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What's This?

I have to admit, I am in shock! I looked out at the trees in the ravine in my backyard, and I saw it. It's only the beginning of August, and it's way too early! It's still hot and humid outside. We are just hearing the tree frogs chirp at night. I know it's going to happen, and we will see more and more of it as time flies by. It's just too early. I know we all need to rest. Tress just rest for a longer time than we do. I'm not ready, but that doesn't mean nature isn't ready to rest. I'm just not ready for nature to be ready. It's starting. The endless cycle of growth and rest that nature never changes but just accepts. The cycle continues from birth to death to rebirth. I do look forward to the cooler days ahead. I refuse to complain about the heat. I'd rather have that than the dire cold of last winter. I, like nature, need to accept the inevitable cycle of life and death, rest and rebirth. It's just time. Summer is beginning to end and autumn is ready to begin . The endless summer is melting into fall. It's time.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Two Boys

It is so amazing the way they interact when they are together. Truly, boys will be boys! They hit. They push. They run. They play. They chase each other. At the end of the day, they even sleep in the same bed. That's the way it is for Nick and Spike. Nick came home for a visit this week, and the action was never ending. Nick went home today. It's so quiet. Spike misses Nick. It's just way too quiet.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Night Time Visitor

Summer evenings, no, the evenings towards the end of summer are some of my favorites of the season. With the official start of fall only 46 days away, yes, that's just over a month and a half, the hot days combined with cool nights bring out the best of summer. The cicadas start to hum and scream their mating songs. Tree frogs start to chirp as they try to keep summer locked in the sound of their music. The mosquitoes continue to buzz and drink cocktails of blood from my body for their young. The gardens are beginning to ripen. My herb garden is being over run with mint, and we are being catapulted into the cool days of autumn with the promise of rest for trees, shrubs, and hidden life in the insect and animal world. This is the time we often have special visitors. Last night did not disappoint. I don't know the name of this moth, but we were fortunate to have this little critter on our deck last night. What a regal creature! I prefer to call him Zeus, the brave and daring. Thank you, Zeus, for visiting. I hope to see you again!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Strings and Things

Summer is the time for so many fun things! There are special foods to eat that you have a harder time finding in winter: potato salad, hamburgers on the grill, sliced strawberries, cucumbers picked fresh from the garden. I'm getting hungry! Then there's iced tea, lemonade, and kool-aid.
Now, how good is that? The perfect meal for the perfect summer day. Now, how about the strings? I believe in the KISS method when making jewelry: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Yes, KISS, for short. Recognizing that, I love the idea of using silk strings when making jewelry with my beads! Silk feels so good next to your skin! Silk adds elegance to a design. When paired with the right color, silk fades into the background and allows the viewer to focus on the bead. Finding the right colors of silk strings and ribbons becomes the challenge. However, thanks to online tutorials and discussions on Lampworketc, I learned the craft of using kool-aid to dye my white silk strings for making jewelry. It's really very easy to do. I heated up 1 cup of water and 1/2 c of white vinegar in the microwave until the liquid began to boil. To that mixture, I added one package of Kool-Aid. I stirred the kool-aid until there were no more grains in the water. At that point, I added the silk strings. The strings then sat in the water for about 5 minutes. I took the strings out of the water, and I rinsed them in cool water until there was no more color coming from the strings. I then placed the strings in a zip lock bag, but I didn't seal the bag. I placed the bag in the microwave for 30 seconds. I did this 4 times. The purpose of this is to set the color. I think rinsed the strings again, and pressed them lightly. The colors absolutely blossomed! Memories of summer? Yes, another one to add to the list--kool aid and silk strings.