Sunday, December 31, 2006



Are you all napping and saving your energy for the count down tonight? We aren't actually napping but we are taking it easy around here. We have had a great lazy couple of days. For tonight, we are heading over to our good friend's home. Pat and Julie have two boys, Louis and Joey, that are close in age to Lauren and Andrew. All the kids get along great, or rather, Jacob can tolerate these youngsters very well, and we always have a wonderful time with them. I can't wait!! This is out third New Year's eve get together and I think it is a tradition that we'll keep going for a long time.

I got lots of bead goodies ready for Tuesday. I have been working in this one color combo for what feels like weeks now and I am already ready for a change. I have something fun in mind for the next bead box update after Tuesday's. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. For this update, I am really excited about a new "squared" design. Today at the torch I was in a lovey-dovey mood, lol. I have lots of hearts cooling. Free form heart pendant, hearts on lentils, hearts on nuggets... hearts hearts hearts.

Have fun tonight and be safe... SEE YA NEXT YEAR!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Color Theory

I watched a fascinating special on PBS a few nights ago about piano prodigies in competitions in NYC. It followed several pianists ages 14-18 through an event that was several days long and had them doing things they had never done before, like this thing they called 1 Piano 4 Hands. You should have heard the amazing threads of sounds these kids could pull out of the pianos. It was just awe-inspiring.

There was something that stuck with me after watching that. This one teacher was saying how she had perfect pitch at the age of 3. She could just tell when things didn't sound "right". The amazing music I was hearing was truly art with the piano as the media and notes as the colors. Once my brain started connecting those dots, it made me think of myself and my art. Since I was very little, I could see when colors weren't "right". I wonder if that is one of those "gifts" that I have as an "artist", like knowing the sounds a note should make is a gift that musicians have. Sounds kinda snotty of me to give myself "gifts", lol, but it was just something that stuck with me. I do love color, love finding balances, love combining just the right shades of this and that. I see when the wrong colors are together and they are fighting for attention.

I have always found it very difficult to embrace the term "artist". I really respect the label and think too many people use it too freely. Especially in this area of NY I am in. It seems that artists have lost a lot of respect, that people see them as a dime a dozen and that anyone could do what an artist does. I think finding things that set myself apart from the everyday crafter/artist will help me better identify myself as an actual Artist. This new theory on color is going to be one of those things in my mind that I think sets me apart.

So, I just thought I would share my little theory and enlightenment. Feel free to share the things that set you apart from the jewelry maker next door. I would love to hear what you think!! And if you can't think of anything, then that is what you need to make your New Year's Resolution... find what makes you different and celebrate it!!

In other news... thanks so much for all your Hope-You-Heal-Soon messages. My fingers are feeling much better. I just need to try really really hard to not pop the big blisters. I was actually able to make a couple beads yesterday. I did some things that didn't require a lot of detail, so my hands stayed away from the flame. I am very pleased with what I am seeing. I keep squealing when I open the kiln so it's a very good sign. I am hoping to do a Bead Box update on Tuesday when everyone heads back to school and work.

My Mom picked this week's freebie winner and it's CHRISSIE K! Yoo Hoo Chrissie!! I will get the next pic posted asap. The beads are already strung and ready for their debut. Something bright and colorful :) Thanks sooo sooo much for your support everyone. It is very greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cry Baby

Yesterday's post was rather incomplete. I was interupted no less then 10 times so my trains of throughts kept getting stopped. Since I was so oftenly rudely interupted there was lots I forgot to tell you about! So here is attempt two at a proper posting.
Are you wondering what you are looking at in today's photo? Well there is a long story behind this. First know this, my Mom is a very very very thoughtful gift giver, always finding just the thing to make you cry. When my Mom and Dad were dating, more then 30 years ago, my Dad gave my Mom a Linde Star Sapphire ring as a promise ring. Way back when people used to give pre-engagement rings. A few years later he gave her a matching pair of earrings. Bonnie and I have always debated "who gets what" when Mom kicks it, sounds aweful, but it has always been in good fun. Well, it has been said that I get Mom's wedding rings, Bonnie gets Mom's sapphire and Charity (our cousin) gets the earrings. In a very wonderful turn of events, Mom took her earrings and had the sapphire in each one set into a ring, the ring in the photo, one for me and one for Bonnie. Mom was balling before she handed us the boxes, lol. This is a very special ring to me now and as soon as I get it sized, it won't be leaving my right hand :)
Yesterday I was finally able to give that private Berry Wine lesson I mentioned a couple weeks back. HEY MARCIA :) Things went great and my student left with not one but two great Berry Wine bracelets. I like the quiet lessons here at my house. I definately want to have more of them. And the kids like them too cause it ment they got to go to McDonald's, then Bowling, then out for ice creams with Daddy, lol.
I have a bit of bad news, shortly after my lesson yesterday, Ron was putting together a casarole for dinner. Yummy. Well, I was standing in the kitchen with him and we were chit chatting away. He was making some stuffing for the topping and some spilled on the stove. We have a flat glass top stove, and thinking that he hadn't actually started to cook on the stove I brushed away the crumbs. OUCH!!! I have 3rd degree burns on three fingers of my right hand. Stupid, stupid girl. I tell my kids no less then a 100 times a day that the stove is hot, stay away! I need to listen to my own advice. Why is this bad news, other then hearing that your friend has been hurt? It means that I can't torch have a couple days. Heat makes burns throb. And until the big blisters are gone, it isn't going to be really comfortable holding glass rods. But I hope, it only lasts a day or two. And it wasn't sooooo bad I had to go to the ER or anything. I'll be fine. I am kinda bummed cause I heard a rumor that Santa sometimes brings people money for Christmas and that those people like to spend their Christmas dough on cool things for themselves, like beads. I wish I had some for ya, but I only have two little tiny sets. As soon as I can torch, I'll get as much made for you as I can. I have a big list of requests AND I wanna get a jump start on hearts!! You know February is my favorite month! (Mark your calendars for the 13th, it's my birthday.)
Okay, so for today... I have a dentist appointment in an hour or so. Then I am going to stop by Studio 34 and pack up my display that it still there from the Open House. They had decided to have the Open House run all month. Now that it is the end of the year, I want to collect my pretties that are left and bring them back home. (OH, and I need them cause the store owner that created the ring in the photo up there wants to see it for his shop!) After that running around... who knows whatelse we'll do today. Probably check out a hey episodes of Star Trek The Original Television Series on DVD (Santa's gift to Ron).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Naughty List


Or rather Merry Day After Christmas, :) I hope Santa made an appearance at everyone's houses. I am sure, if you are a friend or customer of mine that you were on the Nice List, for sure. LOL. It seems that all three of my kids made it to the Nice List, though I don't know how, they are monsters. But I guess Santa sees something in them worth rewarding with buckets of presents.

As it turns out, I forgot to send Santa my wish list cause there was no new camera under the tree and no new torch. Better luck next time. But there were these two amazing Cosanti bronze bells with my name on them. Aren't they pretty. Their sounds are amazing. If you check out the website click on "Bronze Windbells", they are #111 and #101. Ron loves windbells and he has been trying for a while to find one for himself, it wasn't until he wanted one for me that he was finally able to win an auction for them, lol. Funny how that goes huh.

So all kinding aside, yesterday was a great day. We woke up early, founds lots of goodies under the tree, had hours playing and having fun, spent quailty with our families and were all so thankful for each other. Hope you all had day's just as nice.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chain and Single Stitch

I had an "AH HA" moment yesterday on my gift for my sister, and of course, I had to come share it here. The other night at the book club holiday party Renee's book Needful Things by Stephen King came wrapped in a fabulous felted purse. Everyone wanted that bag!! Renee said it was crocheted and felted. I had instantly assumed it was knitting. Knitting is completely out of my realm of possible hobbies. I have tried to do it before, my hands just will not move in the right way to knit and purl. BUT I can crochet!
So Renee shared the pattern with me the other night. I filed it away in the back of my brain as a project I would like to do for myself sometime. Until yesterday. When I suddenly thought... I should make one for Bonnie!! These are how they turned out. I went with a dark chocolate brown, oatmeal, and a rich plush red/orange blend. I should have taken a before and after of these. When you felt something (aka wash it in skalding hot water so it shrinks) it shrinks up by about half. These were HUGE before they were washed.
Crocheting, for me, is like playing the clarinet. I took clarinet lessons in elementary school for 3 years. I could play just fine but I couldn't read music. I played by ear. That is what crocheting is for me. I can make the stitches but I can't read patterns to save my life. So, my Mom helped me decifer the instructions for these. The one on the right is what the pattern actually said to do, the one on the left is my own variation on the pattern. Cool huh?
Time for a late morning breakfast sandwich... then we are all going to work together to get the house ready for tomorrow. No dustbunnies allowed in the corners on Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Eve's Eve

It's Christmas Eve Eve, lol. Kinda weird having Christmas on a Monday, don't ya think? Just having a regular old weekend then all a sudden, boom, it's Christmas morning. I have a feeling the next 48 hours are going to fly by. Then again some moments are just going to drip by.

Sorry about skipping the update yesterday. I was actually holding off in hopes that Franc from book club would email me the group photo we took at our book club party. As soon as she does, you can bet, it'll be posted. Unless I think I look terrible in the photo, lol. The party, needless to say, was a BLAST!! YOO HOO!! I arrived around 7pm (Ron had class so I was a little late waiting for him to get home) everyone was there just getting ready to hear all about painting pottery. You wouldn't believe how hard everyone was concentrating on their painting!! It was impossible to get a glass of wine down, lol. No time to sip and chat, must paint. The ladies were getting a quick snack while waiting for layers of glaze to dry. And everyone painted their own stuff!! No designated painter jobs for me. Though, I did give Linda some advice on how to stencil a "K" on her ceramic wine stopper which led to a big black blob that I fixed. SORRY I MADE YOU MAKE A BLOB LINDA! LOL. I am dying to see my finished piece. The pick up date is Jan 30th, so I'll have to wait all week to see it. But lets see if I can describe it. I didn't have a plan, just kinda went with the flow. I picked a large ceral style bowl and I chose dark cabernet, deep blue/green, sea mist, black and white. The inside is half checkered half solid blue/green with cabernet and sea mist polka dots. By time I got to painting the outside it was 15 mins to closeing so Linda helped me slap on a layer of passion purple and I took little bottles of some random colors and made swirls and dots all around the top edge.

The shop closed at 9pm so we popped into the resturant next door to do our white elephant book exchange. I have never done a white elephant exchange before. I don't really know why it's called that but anyway, we each drew a number 1-12 and piled all the wrapped books in the middle of the table. In order we picked a gift and opened it. If the next person in line liked what you opened, they had the option to steal it then you got to open another one. I opened a great cookbook at first. Then it was stolen by Chris. And I opened "The Kite Runner". It was the book Tami brought. Tami and I have very similar reading tastes and she just loved this book so I am excited to read it. I hope I can get it done by the next book club so she and I can talk about it. The book I took was "Gap Creek - The Story Of A Marriage" by Robert Morgan. At first Chelsea opened it then Renee stole it. LOL. I think Renee is gonna love it. If you are looking for a reason to want to hug your husband and be thankful for the life you have, read Gap Creek.

Yesterday was another day of running around. It was the kids party day at school! Lauren had an early morning party with Santa at preschool!! Then Andrew had an afternoon gathering with a school concert afterward. Singing is number 1395872983492 on Andrew's Top 10 things to do. He really loaths singing, but he did surprisingly well, I think I saw him mouth at least one of the songs, lol.

Ron is out golfing this morning with my Dad, I told y'all it was warm here. It's around 50 and sunny which to Ron means hitting the links. He loves to golf!! He went Wednesday too, remember. When he gets home, I am hitting the streets for some last minute Christmas goodies. I stayed up til after midnight wrapping last night and ran out of paper, again. I still have 5-6 things left to wrap. I also need to figure out what I am getting for my sister. I am just not having any "AH HA" moments on what she'll love. But I am working on it.

So, our plans for the big day... festivities start tomorrow. The five of us are heading out to mass at my grandparent's church. Then over to Ron's Uncle's house for the Ange Family Christmas Eve party. I am hoping we are home by 10pm cause otherwise people get grumpy Christmas Day. We'll be up bright and early to check out Santa's goodies. We'll play games, make breakfast together, and have some fun. My parents and sister will be here for dinner and then my in-laws will be by for dessert.

I'll stop back in between now and then with lots of photo for you!!

Till then... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Party With Bookworms

Yoo Hoo! I am soooo excited about tonight's book club holiday bash! A dozen of us girls are headed out to Color Me Mine for food, wine, conversation and paints. I have volunteered to be the designated painter. There is always someone who thinks they aren't "crafty" or that they don't paint. I love love love to paint so PICK ME PICK ME... I'll paint something cool on yours, lol. This is one of those places that you pick a piece of pottery, paint with glazes, then they fire it in their kiln and you go pick up a week later. So, I won't have pictures for you until next week. It turns out that they have a party room in the back that can be rented. We bring our own food and drinks, they bring the pottery and glazes.

Look I do have a photo for today... a tiny little sneak peak at the "Kiss & Tell" beads. Aren't they cool. I know I know, the photo is crap, again. But I am hoping that Santa is bringing me a new camera. You know what I found out the other day? My camera is only 2.1 mega pixels. OMG that is just barbaric. I need at least 5 mega pixels, lol. I don't exactly know what a mega pixel is, but I know I want more of them. Back to the beads... I am not thrilled with the orangey color that the cinammon coral turned, I need to find just the right shade, I wanted more of a fushia red pink color. But they are still really cool. AND I have that color I want coming in the mail, I think. I bought some CiM (Creation Is Messy) Bordello Red, I think it is going to be just what I am looking for.

Ron is home and Lauren is vegging watching some cartoons. I need to get some clothes in the wash or I will have nothing to wear tonight. Then I need to hit the shower, do some baking and making of an appetizer. I'll be back with party details tomorrow!!

OH... a little PS for you... I just added a few wine stoppers and bangles to the website... go check them out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Counting Down

Did anyone make a paper chain to count down the days to Christmas? Is your house the kind that counts Christmas Day in the count down or do you stop at Christmas Eve? Either way you look at it, it's right around the corner.

I am almost done with things here. I still have some last minute things to pick up. My Dad and sister are the impossible gift people this year. I can't think of a thing for either one of them. I have LOADS of wrapping left to do. The kids spent the night at my parents last weekend for Ron and I to go to that work Christmas party. We took what free time we had in the morning to wrap but we ran out of wrapping paper. I had gotten one of those Target wrap packs that came with 4 rolls of paper, ribbons and some gift tags. NOT A LOT OF PAPER IN THOSE!! LOL, two tubes were that foil paper and only had like 10 feet of paper. That was enough to wrap one pair of rollerblades.

Speaking of rollerblades, that is what I decided to get the boys as their "big" gift this year. They have some old garage sale blades from the kid across the street. But we had a rock driveway for so long, they never got to use them. The boys are growing so fast, I am sure Lauren would fit those old one nows. Here is the best thing about this "big" gift of theirs.... ON SALE AT TARGET! Andrew's new skates were only $12.99 and Jacob's were $16.99. How awesome is that?!? Normally I would be thinking... rollerblades, bad idea... they won't get to use them for the next 5 months. BUT, seems we have confirmation that there is NO chance of a white Christmas in these parts. So, I know they will be on the driveway as soon as the boxes are open.

I told y'all how I like to see the boys in cute Christmas sweaters, no likely this year. There seems to be a total lack of cute sweaters out there. I went to Kohl's, Old Navy, Target, and Wal-Mart and had no luck. If it wasn't a solid color sweater, it had a weird colored stripe arcoss it.

Alright... enough Christmas chit chat for today, more chit chat tomorrow... on to some beady news. I cleaned beads yesterday. The red/purple ones and the new b&w discs (how do you all spell disks? 'c' or 'k'?) I AM LOVIN' 'EM! I will be trying to sneak out to the torch again tonight. Starting tomorrow, Ron will be on vacation until January 2nd so I am hoping to have lots of torch time then. Of course, he will say go make beads, and I will say, but I need to do another load of laundry and clean up the mess you made at breakfast, but eventually I am sure I will get some time in.

On the publication front, there is exciting news... I just got word from the editors at BeadStyle that the March 2007 issue will be on stands January 30th!! I can't wait to see it!! I am dyeing to know what the photos look like and how they wrote the article. Remember, this one I just sent them the piece, they wrote it.

I am also excited to let you know that I submitted my piece "Frozen Branches" to ArtJewelry magazine this week. Unfortunately, they feel the piece has too much beadwork to be featured but they did ask if I would be interested in writing an article on wire connections (aka links). I am still thinking about it. They are looking for one article with several of my previously unpublished links. I haven't decided yet if it is a good idea to give up a bunch of my secrets in one article. But then again, it is another huge publication that would give me great exposure. So, I am weighing my options. Also need to figure out if I know a bunch of links that would go good in one article, lol. I'll keep you posted.

My my what a blabber mouth I am today. Look how long this post is.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Late Night Jitters

How many times have I told you people to not let me drink coffee in the evening!?! I know I know, there is nothing you can do to stop me. Last night I had the chills so around 6pm, after dinner, I had a small cup o' joe. BAD IDEA! I was up till after midnight tossing and turning. It did warm me up enough though to get my wheels turning. So, before the Survivor Finale, I popped out to the studio to do some color combo test beads. I still can't seem to get dark red with lavendar out of my head. I made just three beads, watched the finale, and then went back out to the torch and made a few more.

The test beads turned out sweet. I love 'em. Now that I have finally got the color combo looking the way it does in my head, I will do a few more mini sets for the Bead Box. I will probably hold off on posting them though. We'll see. But lemme put it this way, "Kiss and Tell" is their name, Valentine's is their day. Yes, I am acting like discount chain stores and looking at holidays months ahead of time and even before we finished the one in front of us. Don't you hate when Christmas stuff is out in October... what happened to Halloween? Oh well.

The service today was very nice and thanks to those that sent messages today. I will let Ron know you were thinking of us. We didn't know Jake well, but from the feelings at the ceremony, he was a really great guy. I am thankful though that there are no more step-grandparents in this family or I would be worried. People say bad things happen in threes. I really don't want another funeral this holiday season.

So, I was just out at the torch again, playing before dinner. I only had a little time so I was working on discs again. I had black and silver silk cording now so between Bead Box beads, I'll be creating another disc-ie piece of jewelry. ALL BLACK AND WHITE. I am addicted to black and white. Which is why there was 2 pounds of black glass in the order that arrived late this afternoon. I run out so fast.

Alright, enough playing on the computer, Ron could use a hand making dinner. Chicken on the grill. Yeah, it's in the 50's here so it's still grillin' weather. WHERE IS THE SNOW??? Looks like we are in for a muddy Christmas.

FREE BEADS>>>> THIS WEEK'S FREEBIE WINNER IS CINDY W!! YOO HOOOO CINDY!! Thanks so much for the support everyone. I do so greatly appreciate it, keep the votes coming. I will photograph and post new beads tomorrow. THANKS AGAIN :)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

An Art Outing

Sorry about going MIA again the past few days. I am here, I am healthy, it has been another bunch of busy busy days.

Here is a play by play...

Thursday's private class went great! Wende and Andrea were wonderful ladies and a pleasure to work with. We had a mini Totally Twisted class and also went over proper finishing techniques for stringing, using crimps, crimp covers and that kind of thing. During a short break we hopped over to Sas A Fras Flowers for a little aroma therapy. It is a fantastic flower shop in the warehouse that Studio 34 is located in.
The beads I told you about were not fit to be photographed. They turned out terrible. But that is okay, it wasn't my twisties that sucked it was the colors that weren't working. So, I will keep making practice beads until I get a color combo I really love.
Thursday evening was a rough one. The kids are really really wound up anticipating Christmas and with Ron's new schedule at school, I was too tired to deal. I closed myself in my room as soon as Ron came home and went to bed early.
Friday was another hectic one. I am one proud Momma though, at Ontario Primary (Andrew's school) each month they focus on a different character building skill. The kids are honored with "Hooray" Awards when they show these skills. At the assembly they also give out academic "Hoorays" too. Andrew was given a big HOORAY for writing this month!! YOOO HOOO ANDREW!! This from the boy who would even attempt to form sentences last year. I am soo proud of him.
But at the same time we were at the assembly, we got a call that we had another death in the family. This time Ron's step grandfather, Jake Bargo, had past away. He was 97!! What a long life to get to live. We will be at services tomorrow and Monday so if I am MIA again, you'll know where I am. Jake was a very nice man and a mentor to my father-in-law as well as Jacob. I know he'll be missed.
If all that wasn't enough, Ron and I had a work Christmas party last night too. It was a welcome break from all the hullabaloo of the holidays. All three kids went to my Mom's for an overnighter (as the kids call it). They were spoiled with pizza, air hockey, and apple pie. The kids all said the visit was too short. They wanted to stay all day today. Ron and I took the kids free time and got most of our wrapping done. But unfortunately, I got the wrong kind of paper (the 25 square foot kind). We ran out fast, so I will have to hit the dollar store for some more paper this week.
Anyway... that leads me to the events of this afternoon. My good friend Lindsey and I had been planning an art outing for a while now. The Georgia O'Keefe Art and Conservation Exhibit came to the Memorial Art Gallery here in Rochester. We finally got to go and check the exhibit out today. The photo on the blog here is of my favorite piece at the show it is called "Corn #2". What I love about it is that it was actually painted with transparent greens over yellows and ivorys. The art was nice, but honestly, the exhibit was a little disappointing. The work on display was more of her abstracts and early work. I would have loved to see more of her florals. The few that were there were stunning. I got myself a very pretty print of a beautiful purple flower. I will be hanging it in the studio when I can find the time. After we went though the show, we went and wondered through the rest of the gallery. I forgot that the gallery has several Monet's and a Renoir too. Just beautiful!!! I don't know many better ways to spend an afternoon.
So there is lots going on this week. Classes, book club, Christmas.... I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

While surfing...

I was making my usual blog rounds today when I noticed at Krissy Beads, Krissy was sharing photos and links to artist she met at a holiday gathering. I was checking out the links and look what I found... Heather Trimlett. Check out her "What's New" area... she makes really cool disks!! I would love to learn how she makes sweet bicone shape. It has to be some kind of marver but I haven't seen one with that tight a shape before. She has some awesome color combos too.

So, I didn't make beads last night, but I did practice some thing new... TWISTIES!! Yep, all by myself, my own twisties. When I was at Studio 34 on Sunday testing torches, Marilynne gave me a five minute mini twistie lesson. I had never seen one made in person before and it made a world of difference to watch how it was done. I made a bunch of black and white ones. Then this afternoon, I made a bunch of different white, turquoise and aqua ones. I have some test beads in the kiln right now. I finally made a few beads with my "squeeze" press. So they are twisty squeeze beads in blue and white... I wonder how they'll turn out. I know the more I do it, the better I will get at the twisties. And that is going to be a great thing to get to add to my own style.

Time to get dinner going. I'll check in tomorrow with the twistie squeeze bead results. But, for most of the day tomorrow, I'll be teaching a private class at the studio. I was requested for a private wire lesson. Kinda cool, huh? It'll be a four hour class on wire working and some finishing techniques for straight strung jewelry. I also have a private lesson on the Berry Wine bracelet happening at my home studio this weekend. I think I am going to like the one on one classes.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chocolate Wrappings

The auction has started! You can check it out HERE!

I decided that these beads are just too cool to let them collect dust on my desk! So, I have turned them into one big set, renamed the "Chocolate Wrappings" and popped them up on Ebay. They are just such friendly beads, and they play so well together. I know they will find a good home and become something great! I am only slightly concerned about Ebay's fickle befavior right now. If they don't sell, hey, it's a sign that I need to do something cool and great with them, right? The auction starts later tonight so be sure to click the link to the right and check 'em out. There are lots of new photos.

These colors for sone reason are just impossible to photograph!! I took about 60 photos, with flash, without flash, outside, and inside, with bright lights, with natural lights... nothing worked! So you know what I am adding to my list for Santa? A photo tent! I don't know if they make all that much difference, but I think it's worth a try. I want to have a photo set up in the studio downstairs. One that I can walk up, flip on some lights, snap a few shots and be ready to go. Winter can bring days of no sun here, I can't be limited to taking picks just when the sun is out.

I have been forgetting to tell you all where I will be traveling this summer... I AM GOING TO THE BEAD AND BUTTON SHOW!!! I am on pins and needles waiting for the class catalog to arrive. My roomie, Holly over at Silver Lotus Studio, already got her copy. I am thinking I will take an advanced lampworking class (Holly says there is a cool one about dots not being round), maybe something in PMC, definately something wire related, and I wanna so some kinda metalsmithing. Holly and I are thinking of taking a class by Susan Kazmer. You will remember her from the SBS Wire issue I was in, she had the cover project and a featured artist article inside. I am SOOOO excited to go!! I hope time flies by between now and then!!

I haven't been in much a beading mood since Saturday but I am hoping to get to the torch tonight. I have a couple orders to work on and more disk designs I need to get out of my head. I have great plans for that new design!! I also have some new Bead Box Beads in mind, anyone in the mood for white, aqua and turquoise? Before I can do too much though, I need a fresh order of glass to get here. I am out of clear and black, again. Plus I ordered some new colors that loads of people on the forums are raving about... CiM French Blue and CiM Leaky Pen... I haven't found the ASK colors yet, but I will keep looking. I tend to be a creature of habit and only order from one company, so until they have it, I won't get it.

Alright, enough blogging... it's time for Lauren's lunch!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Free Beads 12/11

Just a quick post to let you know the free beads winner!

This week's winner is Andrea S! YOO HOO Andrea!! Thanks, as always, for your wonderful support gang! New beads are on the way :)

Back with more tomorrow!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A hunting we went

I am warning you now, if you are on dial up... go away... go far away. This page is going to take forever to load!! I am giving you a play by play photo tour of our tree hunting expodition. We went to a little place we have gone to before. We don't go there every year, but most years. It's Dennie's Christmas Tree Farm. It is in the back yard of a family that I remember from elementary school. Turns out that cute guy, Tim, that I had a crush on in kindergarten and first grade is now a doctor in Syracuse. lol. Oh well, he did alwasy like Liz Steele better. I am over it. Anyway, back to tree hunting. Lauren picked this tree right away, I wonder why? lol. It was just her size, but I told her to look for a BIG one.

With in moments of arriving a battle insued. There was a big gang of tree hunters on this adventure. My Mom & Dad, our five, my cousin Charity and her husband Brad, Brad's Dad and his brother too. Brad is like an uncle to the boys, no wait scratch that, Brad is like on over grown kid to the boys, lol. He is 6 foot 3 inchs and all fun, lol. He started the snow ball fight that lasted about 45 minutes. Andrew wouldn't even pause for a picture... he had to make another snowball.

It is fun to have a snowball fight in the tree. There are so many good hiding places. Here is Jacob getting ready to bounce. I, unfortunately, didn't get to play. Andrew wore a pair of mittens that weren't good for making snowballs, so he took my gloves. You can't make snowballs with bare hands and live to tell the tale so I had to stay out of the way.

That cousin and husband I mentioned before... this is them. Charity and I have been cousins forever, that's just how it goes, families and all. Our Mom's are twin sisters. So we were raised together most of our lives. Charity and Brad have been together for ages and were married in 2003. Guess what... see that little bump in Charity's belly? They are expecting there first in June!!! Poor thing has been sick as a dog. So sick that the doctor has put her on anti nausa meds and sleeping pills. I never noticed it before, but me and Charity kinda look a little alike. You can see our Mom's in us I guess. Except that my Dad is German French and Irish, her Dad was pure Italian. See that snowball in Brad's hand? I told you he is an instigator. I told him we are trying to find a tree no more playing. And I told him stop playign with my kids and get your own, he said he is working on it, lol.

I keep going off on tangents. So it goes. Anyway, once the snowballs stopped flying and we got down to picking a tree, this is the one everyone agreed on. It's about 7 feet tall and has a big full body. Jacob thinks we made a copy of last years tree. I guess we like a certain kind, lol. We have so many bulbs and ornaments that we have to get a big one!!

Jacob wanted to be more grown up this year and cut the tree down. Ya know that didn't last long! Sawing is hard work. He did try though and so did Andrew and Lauren too. I have photos of everyone taking a turn cutting but since I already have soooo many pictures, I'll spare you the download time. Ron ended up doing the rest of the cutting. But I know that one of these years Jacob will get that saw all the way through. Make note of how little snow is left on the ground. That's because the kids were still making snowballs even though the fight was over.

It is has be come tradition the past three years to make the boys carry the tree to the car. Trees are surprisingly light. They drag really easily. Once we got the tree home, we but on some hot chocolate and It's A Wonderful Life then got to work. I put on the light and the star while Ron worked on a pan of awesome sauce. He makes pasta sauce from scratch that should be jarred and sold. It was incredible, but that's another blog for another day. The kids and Ron hung all the ornaments. I am the ornament boss, I sort and pick which ones get hung. I hand then out one by one to be hung with care. We made it though the whole trimming with sacrificing only one bulb to the garbage. (yeah, Andrew broke that one.)

Didn't we do great!!! It turned out sooo pretty. It was dark by time we were done so the photo is aweful. My camera really doesn't work well for these kinds of photos. The kids love the tree and can't keep their hands off it. They keep moving ornaments, lol. I am going to add some beady garland later. Can you believe there are six strands of lights on there and it still has bare spots!! You defiantely don't get the scale of how big it is in this picture. Just wait until Santa comes!!
So today I am going to do some Christmas shopping and I am heading up the Studio 34 this afternoon. The studio has extended the Open House through the end of the month with Holiday Hours every weekend until the new year. Today is one of my "shifts". I can't wait to show off the new necklace :D Plus, the studio has one of the torches I want to upgrade to so I will get to test it out today! Should be fun! See ya tomorrow ;)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Playground Antics

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!! It's DONE! I did it!! I am in love with this new piece. I am going to run out to Old Navy tonight and pick up a bright orange sweater to wear with it. Check it out, this is "Playground Antics". I rolled over at about 6am and was instantly wide awake. I couldn't stop thinking about the bowl of beads I had sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be cleaned. So I got up, made some coffee, cleaned the beads and set to work. It took about two hours to string. It was worth every minute! This piece is just so cool.

There are 58 beads in the finished design. I love the tinkling sound the beads make when you touch the necklace. The bright colors are just so wild and alive. EEEEEEkkkkkkk! I am still so excited!! Now I wanna make one with purple blue and lime green cording, then a black and white one... plus matching bracelets.

Now I knew you would want to know what it looks like on. So I took a quick modeling shot for you. I used the blur tool in photshop to fuzz out my wet freshly showered hair, the molding around my closet you could see in the background and my wrinkly neck, lol. I so HATE taking pictures of myself!! Grrr....
So, anyway, I just had to show you. Now I need to clean the house and get the kids ready to get the Christmas tree. I'll be back :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Freezing Fanny

Brrrrrr.... chatter chatter chatter.... can you hear my teeth clicking as I shiver? Dang it is cold in the studio!! I just spent 2 hours making beads in the freaking freezing garage. It was only 30 degrees out there, and it's only 20 something outside with a windchill in the teens. I can't complain too much. Santa brought me a little mini ceramic space heater for under my desk last year. It keeps my little toes warm and my legs up to my knees. Then the warmth of the torch keeps my face and hands toasty. What is left out in the coldness of garage space is my fanny. (For you British readers, I am refering to my butt, I have heard fanny means something else over there.) LOL! I came in and (you are going to laugh) I wanted to change in to some pajama pants to warm up... here it comes... my backside was ICY!! Okay, not iterially icy, but extremely cold to the touch, lol. Do they make stools with heated seats? If you know of any, send me the link, I need one bad.

My torch time was really productive and I can't wait can't wait to see the new kiln contents. I worked on a couple orders and had a blast doing more disks. I never got out to the torch yesterday, I forgot Ron's school schedule has changed. He is in class Tuesday and Thursday nights now. So I made up for it this afternoon. I have two dozen more disks annealing right now. I also started to string up the ones from the other day and I was literally squealing because the new design is turning out soooooo cool. EEEKKKK!!! So cool that I have designed a matching bracelet too.

Everyone got there VCRs set to tape Rudolf, Frosty and Frosty Returns tonight? We have a few tv specials on tape but Rudolf and Frosty aren't on the list. So, the whole family will be watching tonight. Then we are heading out Christmas tree hunting tomorrow. Today's photos are of the ornaments I told ya about the other day. One for me, Jacob, Andrew and Lauren. They are button wreaths. JoAnn Fabrics sells mix packs of buttons for a couple buck a piece. The way we did it we got 2 wreaths a button pack. The rainbow one is my favorite. Didn't they turn out cute?
Ron just pulled in so time to wrap up... I'll be back tomorrow with tales of our Christmas tree hunting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More from the Playground

I made beads yesterday... YOOO HOOOO!! It was just like riding a bike, lol. Even though it had been a while (10 days to be exact), it was like I never left. I was so worried it would be a "bad bead" night. That I would be out of practice, get frustrated with everything, then wanna just go to bed. But it was actually quiet the opposite. I was having a sort of "Zen" beading hour last night. All I had was a quick hour before dinner. So I pulled a few stringers while the kiln warmed up, clean some mandrels and pulled out lots of brightly colored rods. I'll be spending the next several torching sessions making all the beads I need to work out what I am thinking. I was only able to make a 15 disks in that hour I had and I know I am going to need more.
Don't I say all the time "when in doubt, pull all the colors out", lol. I have this idea playing around in my head right now. And I wasn't really sure what colors I wanted to focus on for the design. I finally settled on all of them. You all have seen disks from me before, see "At The Playground". Those little guys were about the size of dimes, just time pops of color all around the silver. These fella's are the size of quarters! They are big, bold, and full of character. I had ideas to make some of the disks doubles, some triangles, some squares, and some regular round ones. No two will be the same! This guy here is my favorite so far. He didn't photograph well, he's shy, but sooo cool. He is a double disk, with red and turquoise stripes on one side with green turquoise spots on the other. I love his clear center too.

There are some colors I tend to keep put away, especially "striking" colors. I could never figure out how to strike them. They would either revert back to clear or go all dark and muddy. Someone on mentioned that you need to apply it, cool it, then bring it up to a red glow. LOOK HOW GREAT THAT WORKED ON THESE TWO!! I used striking red and striking orange and they are perfect. They are both doubles. The front one has a black and white twisty triangle on one side and the red yellow and turquoise on the other side. I am hoping to get at least another dozen of these made tonight. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Beads, Cheap Beads and More

My days of the week are all screwy. I finally remembered to take free bead pics and draw this week's winner. You can go check out the new freebies and the mystery freebies on my website now. Thanks for your patience gals. A big YOO HOO goes out to Heather H. as this week's winner! Yooo Hooo!! I really appreciate all your votes, I know this is a hectic time of year for everyone and I know you have better things to do then sit around your computer voting for free beads. So thanks for taking the time to remember me!!

This time of year, as well as being hectic, is very finiky when it comes to beads. I know some Ebay beads are getting hundreds and hundreds of dollars and others aren't getting a second glance. I don't know if it is people saving their pennies for the holidays or what but it seems to be a pattern. This time every year, things slow way down. Which is fine, but I got a bunch of Bead Box beads just gathering dust. So, against my better judgement, I marked them all down! Sale sale sale!! Go check 'em out!!

Speaking of beads, maybe you'll remember that I actually make them, lol. Though I haven't seen the flame of the torch in almost two weeks now!! I keep saying I am going to make beads then things keep coming up and I don't get to it. Look at this blog of mine, it has been weeks since I had a photo of new stuff. I will tell you, I was kept awake for a while last night designing some new pieces in my head. So, fingers crossed, I will start to come up with some new things soon.

I have started researching new torches!! I am thinking winter is the best time to upgrade because from what I have heard, it takes a while to relearn techniques on a new torch. I am considering a "Bobcat" from GTT. It's very exciting but I have yet to actually order it. I am scared to, it's such a big jump. Plus, I still need to research tanks, hoses, regulators and oxygen concentrators. Do I wanna have an oxygen machine or a tank that'll need to get refilled? Hmmm.

Alrighty, I need to get a shower, take Lauren to school and I am off to some holiday shopping.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Domestic Duties

Does anyone actually know anyone (besides Martha Stewart) who enjoys domestice responsibilites?

LOL, I don't and boy am I loathing my chores. Is there ever a time when there isn't something that needs to be dusted, washed, swept, laundered, or cooked? How is it that the angle of the sun in the winter is just right to illuminate the dust that heaters blow all over the place this time of year? Is that one of Mother Nature's inside jokes, lol.

And when a domestic diva isn't doing one of the dozens of things that needs to be done around the house, she is expected to remember the social security numbers of everyone in her family, the library's story hour schedule, countless doctor appointment dates and when the cat last had a rabies shot.

Are we Moms, Maids, Managers or Magicians?

Can you tell I spent my day doing laundry (6 loads and counting), sweeping (living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, and bedrooms), dusting (counter tops galore) and recertifing the kids health insurance papers? LOL.

It is definately time for me to seek refuge in my studio!! I'll you know the results :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jacob Claus

Thanks for all the ideas on dealing with this holiday delimma of mine. I had forgotten how, when Bonnie and I were little, my Mom would give us the big JCPenney Christmas book to make our lists. It's a great idea. Andrew already has a jump on his list, it's current 4 pages of pictures cut out of the Target Christmas circular. LOL, he hasn't quite grasped the concept of cost yet. Which is to be expected, he is only seven.

I ran around like mad woman for most of today. It started with a 9:30 dentist appointment that I finally did NOT reschedule. My jaw is soooo sore. It was a little filling but I have a bit of TMJ, so holding my mouth open really wide for a long time hurts. Then Lauren and I helped my Mom run a few errands. She is brewing a big pot of chili today and needed some chili powder, or something like that. Then Lauren got dropped off to school and Jacob got picked up early (well child exam today).

Jacob and I rarely get any quality quiet time together. It was wonderful spending the afternoon with him. And he was an awesome resource that I had completely over looked. Jacob and I had the big Santa "talk" last year. My Dad had me convinced that it was time since he (my Dad) had known by first grade. Anyway, when we had this big talk I told Jacob that he has a responsiblity to help keep the spirit and magic of Christmas alive for others. He is such a smarty, he knew just what I meant. So we were driving to his doctor's appointment and by time we got there, he had a list of a dozen things he was hoping to get and a bunch he knew Andrew wanted too. We got done with the doctor's early and I decided to pop into Target with Jacob. He LOVED shopping for his little brother and sister with me. Okay he didn't really enjoy shopping for Lauren things, but he was sooo helpful for Andrew. Check out what we found. Pretty cool huh? Andrew is gonna love it!! Now all I have to worry about is keeping the kids out of my fiding place in the garage.

Slowly but surely, the Christmas buzz is starting to sink in. I love it. There were flurries of snow today, Christmas carols on the radio, and Jacob & Lauren are watching A Christmas Story right now. I am going to help the kids make our annual ornament later tonight. We are going to mini button wreathers. Today's photo is from years ago when the boys were in a small in home daycare, while I was working in an "office" (that only lasted one year). Jacob is four years old, too cute! I have a matching one of Andrew too. If you don't have an ornament planned for this year already, this one is super easy. You just need a Santa Claus hat and some shaving cream. Snap a pic them glue it on card stock or craft paper. Ta da....

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Rant

Anyone in the mood to hear a holiday rant? Lol, I am guessing not but I am going to complain a bit anyway.

Before I start complaining though, I want to thank all of you who sent me emails Friday and yesterday. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. Yesterday was a long day but for the most part, everything went fine. It is good to have this all behind us. My Mom is doing much better now that the hard part is over and we'll be getting back to our usual lives, hopefully, soon.

Now for some holiday ranting... UUUUUGGGHHHH, am I frustrated with the holidays this year!!! I have been to Target, I have been to, I have checked out Top 10 lists and FamilyFun Magazine... I can't find anything!! I have brought this situation on myself, I realize that. I should deprive my kids more so that they have less and I can buy more meaningful things that they really want. But I don't. If they have a really good week, I will get the new Disney movie that is released on Tuesdays. Ron comes home on a random Thursday with a video game they have asked about. What's that do? It makes it them the "they-already-have-everything-immpossible-to-buy-for-kids".

Here we are just 3 weeks to Christmas and what have I got? A new bike helmet for each of them. I have no idea what to do!! You should see me at Target, walking up and down the aisles with a glazed look in my eyes and totally clueless. I refuse to spend $100 on a remoste control suv that will either break in a week or be pushed aside to the back of the garage by spring. Then again, I am not going to let me kids wake up on Christmas morning and be utterly dissappointed and devasted when there are no gifts under the tree. Where do I find the balance people??

Then there is Ron... another person to make my head ache. LOL. I am certain somewhere in Ron's childhood there is a holiday that was so utterly and completely mind blowingly bad that he has blocked it out and totally desenseatized to all future holidays. The man is NO FUN!! I get great ideas for things for him. I hint to him what I am thinking and my plans get shot down. For example, I saw this great wine cooler at Target. I think he'll love it. So when we were having a glass of wine the other day, I say "wouldn't it be great if we had one of those little wine coolers to keep this just the right temperature?" He says "those things are a total waste of money, not to mention the electricity to keep it running all the time." He takes all the fun out of it. He is another one that never hesitates to buy himself things either. So there is nothing that he really wants and has been waiting to get. Grrr... and ya know what else? He thinks his mentality goes for me too. He puts in no effort to make Christmas an exciting experience for me. I am not hard to please, just show a little effort. Get some of my favorite bubble bath for my stocking stuffer, he knows I love Old Navy... get a cool scarf for me... I love my art, get me the new 2007 glass artist calendar (I even sent him the link).

I know I know, Christmas isn't about the presents. But still, you have to admit, deep down, that we have been trained to have it be a big part of it. I love the look on my kids faces when they see the tree Christmas morning and rip into all those boxes of goodies. I love when they open new games and we spend the day as a family playing those games together. I love when they wear their new matching sweaters from Santa.

I guess I am just trying to find the magic this year that I remember so well from when I was a kid. I want my kids to feel (and remember for themselves) the warmth and love the holidays should have. If any of you know where the "magic" is hiding, send it my way!! I think a little of it might be in Lauren. She will be my saving grace this year. All she needs is a few things purple or pink and she'll be grinning from ear to ear. I can't wait to see her smiling and laughing.

Alrighty, I got that out of my system, it's time to move on, lol. I got things to do today. I am setting up our Christmas village and hanging lighted garland around the house. I also wanna get myself out to the torch at some point. I haven't made beads in over a week. I think it'll really help lift my spirits. I'll share what I come up with :)

Friday, December 01, 2006


I have kinda been putting off this post all week. I really try to keep my blog lively and mostly upbeat. But I am thinking you may be wondering why I have been somewhat Missing In Action this week. Then again, maybe you aren't, lol. But I was feeling rather detached from you all and it's going to be another couple strained days still to come so, I thought it was about time that I explain.

My (step) grandfather passed away on Sunday. He was sick for a very long time and it was expected. He has been in a nursing home for the past 7 years in Florida and I haven't even seen him since my wedding in 1998. What wasn't expected was a funeral. Initially it was thought that there would be a small quiet burial in FL. But (as in very common in this dysfunctional side of my family) all heck broke loose and suddenly his body is up here in NY. We are now having a full blown formal service. Today I spent the afternoon at the first part of the calling hours and I will be at the funeral and burial all day tomorrow.

Under normal circumstances, a family would be happy to be together during a difficult time and thankful to have each other. Unfortunately, things are not running very smoothly at all. I am fine, and for the most part my family is fine. I do have one sane relative that I am really enjoying spending time with this week. But the whole thing has been really rough on my Mom. It is terrible to have to say but my grandfather wasn't the nicest man when he was raising my Mom and her brothers and sisters. She is very very strong and I know with support from my sister , Dad and me, she'll be just fine by next week when all this is over.

Anyway, I thought I should tell y'all what was up so you wouldn't start to worry. Thanks for your support, thoughts and prayers.

On a lighter note, I saw a fabulous necklace from Italy on one of the book club gals last night that gave me an incredible idea for a new piece. Stay tuned for it, I am thinking it is going to be spectacular!!