Monday, September 21, 2009

It's About Time!

I have been remiss in posting to my blog. As I recovered from the loss of our dog, I just got busy taking care of me and focusing on the shows I would doing this spring, summer and fall. I am here, do have a life with my husband John, am making beads and doing shows. This blog thing is somewhat like climbing Mt Hood. From a distance it looks beautiful and covered in snow most of the year it kind of takes my breath away when I see it. You WANT to be part of that mountain; majestic, free and awe inspiring. From the base it looks impossible to climb and the mental effort knowing you are about toh start up, seems insurmountable. Although I enjoy reading about, feeling involved in and watching the creative process of others, through their blogs and postings I don't actually understand how they get everything else done. It's not only the blog, it's Facebook, it's emails, it's sitiing at a torch, it's making jewelry, taking pictures, processing pictures, posting things here and there and trying to keep the cobwebs cleaned off of my website. I don't mean to whine, it just sounds like it! Then the excuses begin. Who cares what I have to say? Why would anyone be interested? I've got things screaming at me that I need to do. I must to get up out of this chair and conquer something that can be seen and realized. Not leaving the house to work has created some boundry problems. It's a challenge to compartmentalize each area when I'm doing several things at once all over the house. I've gotten better but still have areas to improve in, on regular posting and organizing my life around the business of beads.

My friend Mona has encouraged me to post (she's not the only one!), so this one is for her. The bead is a wonderful big focal that looks great on one of those sliding knot necklaces. This focal is made with a base of Pistachio, a dot sequence of Chalcedony and Latte and raised dots of Green Luster. It's all Gaffer, and I like using Gaffer Glass because of the intense colors. The Chalcedony was fun to use and stikes with beautiful colors almost immediately. I haven't used anything but Effetre for 5 years so using something different is fun, but I'm a little color challenged, being so used to the Effetre colors. The viscosity of the COE 90 (Bullseye) and COE 96 (Gaffer, Uroboros, Reichenbach, Zimmerman)glasses is a lot more tolerant to design, which I love.

I'm off to conquer the day!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Boomer, our beloved dog
8-3-95 to 4-23-09

I've been dragging around for two weeks now trying to put this post together so that it would be meaningful to me and possibly helpful to others. I had no idea this would be so hard.
It was 1996 when Boomer came into our lives. I had not finished grieving for our first Lab, Snickers. She died very unexpectedly at 13; from breast cancer that had spread to her trachea making it impossible for her to breathe. Within a week my friend Kathy ErvIn’s told me that her in-laws had just had a yellow Lab pup returned, because the owners did not have the time required for a dog. This 10 month old that weighed 80 pounds had never been on a leash; was not house trained and was as wild as a crazy Wildebeest. We should have known when we arrived at the in-law’s home, that we were getting in way over our heads. The man at the front door, who was over 6 feet tall, looked like he was trying to hold onto a leash that was attached to a hurricane. We proceeded to somehow coerce this wild dog into a crate for the drive to his new home. By the time we arrived, the leash had been chewed into 3 pieces and John and I were both thinking silently, “What have we done?” Snap out of it I thought, there is crazy dog here. So, the first thing we did was have a trainer come to the house. We quickly learned about the smart dog we had and how he would become our best dog ever. Yes, he could clear a coffee table with his tail, but we still loved him. We learned how to be good owners and consistent teachers and then Boomer followed right along, just like a Lab does; always wanting to please. Years passed. Children grew up and left home. We moved to OR and life revolved around each other and Boomer.

While we were on our nightly walks last fall, Boomer would stop and not want to go further. A trip to our Vet resulted in an x-ray that showed severe hip dysplasia and bridging of the vertebrae in his lumbar spine. This would be similar to a human’s lumbar vertebrae fusing together and compressing the nerves, causing pain and weakness in the lower body. He had turned 13 years old in August, so I knew his life would be slowing down, but we had no idea how hard it was becoming for him to move around. He never cried out or complained until the very end.

Our Vet started him on Deramaxx; an NSAID that reduces inflammation. Within 24 hours he was like a new dog; able to go for short walks, and up and down our stairs from the bedrooms to the basement. We were amazed and grateful for the extra time we had with him. So, for an additional 6 months Boomer was able to come and go and be up and down, without a complaint until 4 days before his death. His wail of pain from just trying to get up from his bed was heart breaking. His legs were weak and were unable to support his weight. The time had come, and we knew our loyal companion was in pain and there was no recovery. He had given us all of himself for 13-1/2 years. Now, he was finally at peace and pain free. John and I cried for our loss, that day and many times since, but were happy that Boomer was no longer suffering and convinced we had done the right thing.

Our home has been eerily quiet and lonely, with no loud barks and no big yellow tail wagging at every opportunity going boom, boom, boom. Life for us will get better, but we miss our big guy and will always remember our Boomer’s sweet face, endearing brown eyes and little blonde eyelashes, always eager to be a part of all that we were. He had a great life with us and so did we with him.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gotta Watch That Chill Factor!

When you're leaning over a torch melting glass, sometimes it's hard to know how quickly your bead is cooling. Most of the time you don't want it gooey hot when it goes in the kiln, but it shouldn't be too cool either. Flame polishing always brings out the shine on the exterior of the glass and you want to do that before it goes in the kiln. It was late into the night and I really misjudged this one. One second it was fine and the next second it was in two pieces on my work table. Disappointed was the word of the moment! When things like this happen I've learned to appreciate whatever lesson might be forthcoming. As my husband says, "There's a pony in the somewhere."

Here's how I've used the information from this broken bead to help me with my beadmaking techniques. The ends around the hole are nice and rounded, no jagged edges or sharp areas. That's a good thing. The clear encasing is symmetrical and round. Yea! I had not thought too seriously about the uneven texture of the bead release, unless it was visually exaggerated when I dipped the mandrels, but you can see on the green base around the center of the bead that there is a little textural effect. I don't think that is a factor worth worrying about as the center is smooth and cleaned of bead release. It reminds me making a mold using a glove and filling it with plaster of paris. When dry, and the glove is peeled off you can sometimes see little irregularities in the texture. Is this taking me back to kindergarten? Or are these the same bubbles I see in pancake batter? Oh my...

You can see the plunged center on the white accent flower, near the bottom left side of the half on top . The petals are super heated and the center is plunged with a tungsten pick. This brings the petals together and is then covered with clear which allows the little air bubble in the flower to materialize. It's best not to reheat the center of the bead too much or it may break away from the mandrel; so I was getting close on that one as it's a hard thing to judge when you can't see through the bead. It was a great bead and I'm very happy overall with my progess as a glass beadmaker. This will have to go down in the books as one more lesson learned on the way to the perfect bead!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Beautiful Blast of Yellow

It's officially the first Monday work day of 2009! Whoo hoo! As I was moving through my morning rituals with 3 cats and a lab I saw this glimmer of yellow out of the corner of my eye. Lo and behold my little rose is blooming. My kids are always trying to keep me young, and for my birthday last year they gave me a VW bus planter with the word "Hippy" on the back license plate.It was a lot of fun and made me smile. The colors are bright and wonderful and inside was a miniature yellow rose bush. This made my heart melt. Last night we had another 2" of snow, which you can see in the background, but my rose is blooming. Can you smell it?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No Time Like The Present

This seems like the perfect day to start a blog. There have been more exciting days recently with this wild weather we've been having in the Pacific NW. There was at least 18 inches all around our house. It was beautiful. A bit of a challenge to get out of our steep driveway, but it forced me to stay home and melt glass! My favorite thing to do. Boomer seemed to enjoy it outside!