Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I have only been following little Julian's plight for about 2 weeks, a gift from Kelly Snelling, and I have been very moved by the experience. I did not even know that such "care pages" existed. Little Julian truly touched my heart and opened my eyes to a world we all like to ignore, but one that is so needy of our support., our listening, our prayers.
Thank you, Ju Ju King! Please smile down on all of us and gift us with just an ounce of your courage, your strength, your love! Have a Great New Life! The world will truly be a less bright without your shining gem.
...so for Gratitude Day 12, I am grateful to Julian and his mama Mimi who have taught me so much in such a short time. ....and I am truly grateful to God for gifting me with my own two boys who are adults now, strong and healthy. Our children are such amazing gifts. .. as Mimi would say, over and over....kiss you children. NOW! Hold them. Smell them. Love them. Take them for who they are and let that be enough.
Friday, January 18, 2008
But I am grateful when I am working somewhere where I can go into a real art store and pick out real supplies that I just MUST have.
Of course, I oppose kitzy commercial development here on the island - I like it wild and primitive. But I do appreciate good shopping and am grateful and can go somewhere else and get a shopping fix when I need it!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I am grateful for my brain.
I am excellent at making decisions and seeing the whole picture. I intuitively assess a situation and how a decision one way or the other will ultimately effect an outcome way down the road. I have a great sense of priorities and timeliness. At work I am incredibly organized and I can multitask very effectively. As a matter of fact the more complexities I am dealing with at once, the more fun I am having. It is important to me to plan to great detail, yet I am flexible enough that even without any notice, I can scrap that plan and wing it. I am calm, quick and inventive in emergencies. I may fall apart later, but during a crisis I come through and make decisions that must be made, because they must be made, now! I love fitting in all the little pieces of the puzzle to make the best whole. Because I see all sides, I am also very , um, ...just. which can get me into trouble when one of my big bosses wants me to do something that I consider...unjust. I'm a big advocate of fair and honest and loyal, too. When I was a kid I was always told I was way too "gullible"....but that's another story.
I always did well in school and was blessed to be one of those people who did not have to struggle - for the most part I just always got it. (OK, in college I just couldn't get the basics of genetics, i got an A in the lab, and the only D I ever got in school, for the class. I just could not get THAT!) I could always (and still can) cram the night before, and retain the info. I test well, guess well, and write convincing essays on subjects I may know nothing about.
Now at home, I am a mess. I am disorganized and getting anything done (especially art) takes me forever. I am quite the opposite of my work ethic. I don't do it on purpose. when there is no pressure,...there is no pressure...i just do not create that "work" atmosphere at home. I stand down, I do not need to be in charge anymore. I forget things, where I put them what I'm doing. I lose total track of time. My DH says I am a bit ....ditzy. He likes my silly side. At night sometimes I have a hard time shutting my brain down - i waste(?) a lot of time thinking, thinking thinking.
I am very thankful for my brain...it has been a very good brain to me..... tirelessly it works on, despite it's derelict and neglectful owner...
Sunday, January 13, 2008
This is my sweetheart. The neighbors had lit a fire and the smoke looked beautiful in the sunlight. he's standing at our front gate.
This morning he brought me coffee in bed, then he called me in our shop to tell me lunch
was ready, and then he made me the loveliest dinner - he's quite a gourmet cook - rib eye steak with burgundy sauce, string beans with red onion and mushrooms, and a baked potato. He is very artistic and before he retired he was a director of photography, who did metal machining and lathe work as a hobby. He is very creative and artistic and is one of those men who can fix anything, and is a perfectionist about it. He can rebuild a carburetor, or overhaul my computer.
I am grateful for my wonderful husband. He is my obsession, my addiction. ..he even reads to me almost every night ...until i fall asleep!
This is a crab spider. Next to it is something it has caught and is eating. They come in every color imaginable! - but they are very small. This is a rather large one, probably only about 1/2 an inch. They come this time of year, every year, and last until june or so. Around April they become so profuse that I have to walk around the gardens and the trees and knock the webs down so my DH and I don't get entangled in them when we mow and clean up the yard.
...and this is just a fun texture photo i took from our lanai
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Today I went back to the "glass heart" idea for my pendants. They are still in the kiln - I will peak at them tomorrow.
It was another beautiful day here....a bit of the tradewinds...i trimmed the neighbor's overgrown oleander off of our fence today (about 200 feet worth!) . If it's not too windy tomorrow DH and I will take a long motorcycle ride into town.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thank you for calling it to my attention. I hope it didn't scare anyone away....
This is along the same lines as yesterday and is mainly the reason for my wonderful childhood and also the reason I am who I am.
oh, she was also a firm believer in the occasional use of ....ay dios mio and manana.
she liked to swear, too.
This photo shows how they turned out in general, and also the 2 that blobbed together. When I did my first fusingI had one layer of background glass and i topped it with a circle of white. At this time I should have added the dichroic crescents and it would then have melted into the yellow in one layer. Then when I capped them with clear, i might have avoided the huge and numerous bubbles. The yellow background glass I do not like. It turns a muddy yellow green with uneven browning on the edges. Yes, some of them do look like eyeliner, but some of them just look sloppy. I need to take pieces of all my glass and TEST them in the kiln to see if the color changes. Glass does that - what you see is NOT what you get. The white glass I used was just something I had. My original eyeball prototype used Wasser 90 COE precut circles. Although that glass also spread, it melted evenly and kept its shape. Notice how after 2 firings the whites of the eye are completely misshapen. Wasser white glass is also whiter, cleaner looking. These are sort of dullish white (like half cooked egg whites).
Here's a close up. I could have lived with the unintentional bubbles, but the distortion of the whites is totally unacceptable. They look really amature. (which I am!). Also, some of the dichroic I used left edge marks - easily solved by lightly beveling the edges when I was grinding them - (but didn't do). And lastly, it is important to grind down the first fused shape to a uniform shape that matches the glass cap. Live and learn.....
So I will start anew. These are SCRAP!
Thursday, January 10, 2008
..and here they are in the kiln with clear toppers all ready to be fired.
I fired them at 1490 on a slow ramp (1000 degrees per hour) with a hold of 15 minutes. when done i quick cooled to 1150. At that time I was able to see how they were. 2 had fused together (bad, bad, bad) and all seemed to have 2 bubbles, one on each side. This was caused by the dichroic glass creating an air gap between the bottom layer and the clear cap. i knew I should do it in 3 firings, saving the clear cap for when the bottom layer and the dichroic layer had been melted into one solid layer. But I got lazy and for some silly reason was thinking about the cost of electricity...which really isn't much! So dumb.... Well, this is how you learn. They are annealing now and won't be cool until tomorrow, so I don't know if they are acceptable or not. Obviously the 2 that are fused together have to be cut apart and then refired to smooth the edges. I hope 10 are good because I need 10 for a swap I am in......
Today i am very very grateful for ....my childhood.
I truly had an idyllic, blissful childhood. Some of my sisters would disagree (for themselves), but for me it was a childhood made in heaven. I was allowed to be a child for a long long time - I still played with babydolls until I was 13 and I never had a barbie - just not my thing. I've written about this topic before, so this time I thought I'd post part of a round robin book I worked in ages ago. The theme was "childhood" and I wrote and illustrated about my own....
"The House on Bird Avenue"
The closed pages. Each word opens a window with a photograph and explanation...
The pages opened....This is what it says:
I GREW UP IN A RAMBLING 2 STORY 5,000 SQ FT SPANISH STUCCO HOUSE ON 2 ACRES. The house was located in the heart of san jose, calif at the base of the curve in the road. The house itself was set back 50 feet from the street, with a 3 ft high white 2 foot thick concrete white fence that protected the house from the street traffic. (many a night we would hear the screech of tires and the crash of glass as someone once again was driving too fast and missed the curve in the road….but they never could penetrate that fence!)
My sisters and I and our friends would spend hours on that fence playing statues...like the local traffic didn’t think we were really kids standing in awkward positions on the fence as they went by!
The front yard was lined with 100 foot redwood and pine trees. Many a Halloween my mom would string flying witches and ghosts from those trees. My brother built treehouses, 40 feet up in the pines… we also had many water balloon fights from those huge, strong trees. Mama had an extensive garden with giant colorful peonies, snowball trees, calla lilies, elephant ears and snap dragons. There were 3 other homes in the neighborhood that grew champion irises, so of course our yard had gorgeous hybrid irises of every color everywhere, compliments of our neighbors!
The front yard also had a fish pond with tadpoles and fish and lily pads…..and the front door was placed deep on a brick terrace.
This house was a child’s dream! There was always something to do! In the main backyard we had more huge pine trees for climbing and a swing set. ..and there was a great mulberry tree full of fruit every year.
My dad put in a 20” doughboy pool, and then when I was in high school, he added an addition to the house and put in a huge built-in swimming pool.
The backyard had a detached 4 car garage that my parents set up as a rec room, with a billiard table. My dad built me huge extensive breeding cages, and I raised rats and guinea pigs. I loved those animals! My mom sold them once a month, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I found out she was selling them to Stanford University for research!
Many of the rats would escape from those cages, and my mom adopted them as pets and they would run wild in the garage...(she would feed them in their own dishes everyday).
We also had lots of dogs, and rabbits and even chickens, once. But no cats. Mama hated cats!
The back yard was fenced separately. It had avocado, peach, apple, cherry, apricot, persimmon, orange, lemon, walnut, and almond trees. My mother also grew artichokes and rhubarb year round. Once a year my grandfather would come and plant corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and potatoes. The potatoes never grew!
…and to top it all off, one half of the “2nd backyard” as we called it, was naturalized with yellow daffodils – still my favorite flower.
Our house was a kid magnet! You could bring home anyone you wanted and not have to ask permission. My mom never fed less than 20, every night…..when I was in high school I had no less that 5 different classmates move in – from 2 weeks to one year - everyone was welcome in our house. Everyday after school my mama had beans and home made tortillas and rice pudding or Italian cookies for us to munch on…wednesday was always spaghetti night...
But- we were not spoiled…..we didn’t have a lot of money and I thought my dad was the cleverest man alive, the way he built things and recycled things….and my mom sewed all of our clothes and canned our food and we sold the fruit and nuts…and she did lots of volunteer social work for the church and our community, and we did volunteer work, too! (mama would have me babysit very old and infirmed women over night so that their caretakers could take a night off – very scarry in their old houses…one old lady made me snort snuff with her – I was 12!) …40 % of any money we earned had to be given back to the household…and we all had jobs early in age….
My mom loved fires….and would pack all 8 of us kids into the old station wagon to follow the firetruck. I still remember the fireman saying to my mom – please, Mrs. Rinaldo, take your children home !
We had a crazy woman named Millie, who lived in our basement. Mom had hired her to help with the ironing., but she never did a lick of work…
mom didn’t have the heart to throw her out in the street, so she made her an apartment in the basement and Millie would bang all night on the plumbing pipes and berate the air. But she’s another story….
the house was always chaotic and noisy and wonderful. Mama made mud pies with us and sang to us, and made funny faces at us that made us laugh. She told us great stories and had an incredible imagination which she shared with all of her children…. I could go on and on with my childhood memories…I was very lucky…….
My childhood was a joy !
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Being healthy is truly a gift from heaven.
I am one lucky lucky gal!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
These are the eyeballs right out of the kiln. The "orange" glass was actually a lovely orange and yellow striated glass....and the yellow was a bright solid yellow. I'm pretty new to all of this. i guess the heat necessary for a full fuse is too hot for this glass because all of the yellow edges are a bit browned - and the orange/yellow turned solid dark orange. oh well.
To the left of the eyeballs are crescents of dichroic glass. The don't show up in the photo dichroic, but they are. they will go on either side of the "white' part of the eyes. the copper goes over the white of the eye, with some white still visible and the black pupil showing through. Then it is all capped with an oversized piece of clear glass. I really should have added the dichroic on the first fuse so that the clear cap would drape evenly and i would have less chance of bubbles, but i didn't, so now when i fuse all the remaining pieces together there will be an air gap caused by the thick dichroic layer and it will probably bubble. We'll see! i will fuse tomorrow.
These are the clear caps, rough cut and numbered to follow the shape of each different eyeball. I need to grind them roundish and smooth.
We finished our mowing! We got all of it done except for the swale (the mini rivlet, full of water) and about 1/4 acre above the swale on the back 2 acres. We had to mow twice! I used the small mower to bring it down to 6" and my DH used the big mower to take it down to about 3". I had some heliconia leaves to pick up too, but when I was all done and came in for my shower, my DH had prepared a lovely dinner of rack of lamb with roasted potatoes and green beans.....very, very yummy!
Also, fellow Diva Kari McKnight is doing a journal on Gratitude for the month of January. Check out her blog to read all about it and to view her beautiful journal. (just click on her highlighted name) I love this idea. I have been sooooo blessed in my life and I have so much to be grateful for, not just big things like my sons and my husband, but little things, too. I'm a little slow to start, so i thought I'd start today and do it daily until Feb 8th. Then I may extend it, but I won't commit to that yet....
Today i am grateful for ... sunshine!
Yes, it has stopped raining...after 5 weeks! A new storm is scheduled to come in tomorrow, but yesterday and today (so far) NO RAIN! My DH and I are going to mow our lawns. We have 5 acres and MOST of it is lawn - it hasn't been mowed in 5 weeks, so it will probably require a couple of passes. Some parts we will leave unmowed because they are still a swamp. It will take at least 7 days of no rain to be really dry, but hopefully today we will be able to get most of the work and the clean up done. Our yard has a natural drainage area in the back that makes a small river through the back of the yard. That's the part that is still deep - it had toad tadpoles in it!
Yeah! Mold and mildew will DIE in the sunshine!
Monday, January 07, 2008
This is a pic of my glass saw. I got it for my birthday way back in the beginning of November. Today I watched the dvd AGAIN, reread through the instructions, finished it's assembly and....
VOILA! I cut glass. It is not as fast as using a regular manual glass cutter, but it is capable of cutting in any direction and is very accurate doing intricate cuts. it has a water reservoir under the white table with a pump so your glass stays lubricated and you don't wear out the diamond blade to quickly. It took me a while to figure out how to insert the blade onto the machine, but now that I understand that it is SUPPOSED to take a big press of the finger to pop it in, it seems easy. I was worried when I turned it on - is the blade seated correctly? is it supposed to be noisy? what if it jumps out or the blade breaks? But it all went easy - and it cuts glass great! I did wear a dust mask and goggles. ...and a good thing too - that tiny wet glass goes flying everywhere!
These are the bottoms of some "eyeball" pendants. I also cut out some white roundish centers. I glued these two pieces together with glastac, and then i topped that with a small black round piece of glass. No pics of that, yet, cause it's still in the kiln annealing. oh, yeah....i fused it in the kiln at 1490, full ramp, with a hold for 11 minutes. I've already cut out copper circles with the centers cut out (they look like washers, but are really thin) and coated them with boric acid solution. Tomorrow, I will put those over the black eye irises and then put some dichroic paper on the sides and then top it all with clear glass. Then i will fuse again!
Sunday, January 06, 2008
The charm below on the left is the one I had hoped to use, and the one on the right is the one I ended up using. A few of the dice had to be white ones, because I ran out of black ones. I just ordered some more - I'm going to make some into earrings.
Every New Years Day our friends Les and Eileen host a New Years Day potluck. This year about 100 people attended, even though it was raining! Lots of food, music and friends!
This is a moth kite Eileen has on her wall. I love it!
Another view of it. The red strings are are the moth's legs!
...and a short slide show with more pics from the party....
Thursday, January 03, 2008
The drill press has an xyz travel (it moves right, left and backwards...and of course up and down)...and it also has a mini vise that holds pipe and roundstock....and you can lock in the depth - just like a regular sized big drill! Here are some holes i drilled for practice...
It was WAY easy peasy! My dh showed me how to tap lightly to make a small starter dent so that the drill doesn't "travel" and then how to drill partly through, blow out the dust and then drill all the way through. Tomorrow I'm going to learn how to use my glass ring saw, which I also got for my birthday. It's a bit more complicated and my DH can't give me a lesson with it, because he's never used one......
I committed to one more charm swap - for Valentine's day! I painted these wood cubes white, glued hearts of my own design on all sides and put a gloss finish on them. This is them drying:
My intention was to string them on brass, with a hammered squiggle, swarovski crystals and a red glass heart. They are very tiny - about 1/4 of an inch. They look cool, don't they?
Unfortunately, when they were dry, they were very LUMPY looking....and some of the gloss had turned yellow. They are not for Amber's charm group, but she has taught me well, and she would be appalled! It was the Alene's brand, and it said it dried clear.......hah! they really look lame! I would just make new ones, but it won't stop raining and I can't get anything to dry right. Since they need to be mailed end of next week and I also have a pendant swap due before I go to the mainland, and I have to assemble 52, I decided to use the same brass and beads and instead of my own art as the focal piece, i am using mini dice. I'm calling them "Lucky in Love".
Not what i intended, but ....oh well. I'll post when done, but they are not nearly what I envisioned.
Here's a great quote that Gabe Wizard on my glass group said in response to a members comment over a project gone awry and creative solutions to fix it.
"I am a firm believer in experimenting just to see what happens. Sometimes you get spectacular results. Sometime you get spectacular failures. Sometimes the failures inspire new successes. What a world."
How true, eh?
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
At first i had no idea what word i wanted....and then one just popped into my mind! Completion.
That's my word for 2008. I am a terrible procrastinator. This year I want to finish things. Things I create, ideas I have, commitments I've made. I want to see things through and push my limits.....shoot for the stars and if i fall a thousand feet and get a bit smushed in the process, well...oh well. .....at least I went ALL THE WAY. I SAW IT THROUGH!
I cannot begin to tell you how many exercise programs I've been on, how many cleansing diets I started, how many vitamins I've bought that just sit on the shelf, seeds that never got planted, kits that never got put together, submissions I never sent in, tools I've never learned to use, recipes i never bothered to make, phone calls I never made, or letters I never wrote, etc. etc. I collect stuff, buy all the supplies, write down ideas, draw up plans, lie in bed at night and dream up incredible stuff to make or detailed plans of worthy things to do....and then it just doesn't happen. Or it gets started and then buried under an avalanche of other "began and forgotten" stuff. I just never quite get around to completing IT . (whatever IT is.) There is no closure, no satisfaction of a job well done, no thrill in the afterglow of attempted brilliance.
I mean, hey, "you can't kiss the boys at the Sunday Schoool picnic if you don't go".
(...my Sky HATES me to use that quote). But it's true!
....Now if I can ... just somehow, someway ... for once.....as a goal for 2008..... complete....... "completion".
i'll start tomorrow. maybe.