Be Careful What You Ask For …

When will I learn?!?  I’m an ER nurse … this means I’m a pretty superstitious sort – and yet … It looks like I’ll be slowing down in my studio after all … I’m receiving a thermocouple error on my production kiln.  (Which means it’s not running – AT ALL….)

Thermocouple ERROR!!!

 I’m hoping for a simple fix, but … we’ll see.  (Must be time to learn about HOW kilns work … really would have been happy waiting to learn about it, though.)  I discovered this ‘little problem’ as I was trying to fuse my next batch of spoon rests … I think they’ll be pretty (if) when I can get them fused/slumped.

 Emerald City Spoon Rests (future)

I do have the coffin running with a large collection of bowls for slumping …

 Coffin slumping

There’s another pink bowl (special request) in there.  Fortunately for my Number One Child (that would be John, the DH) – my production kiln didn’t die before I got this made, as he gave away my other pink bowl(!) … could’ve killed him earlier this week!  Instead, I sent him to Lansing to buy more pink glass.  AND, he’ll help me fix my kiln.  Then, maybe after a decade or so … I’ll forgive him.  Smile

Pretty in Pink (II) bowl

I have some more ornament ideas I want to try … And – some fun projects with shattered bottle glass (recycled wine bottles) … So, I need my production kiln back!

In the meantime, I’m playing with decorating cheese spreaders … kinda cute.  And, keeping myself busy making some Origami Christmas boxes:

 New (beaded) cheese spreader Origami Boxes

I’ll leave you with him … He’s from a previous litter, but still … too cute!  Meanwhile, Tunie and pups are doing great – eating, sleeping (and pups are growing).  Looks like we’ll be having another litter of Yorks (from our Monet), due around (ON??) Christmas day … Smile

  

A time to reflect …

Saturday’s craft show was good.  And I learned so much that day … now, it’s time to figure out the best way to move forward.  We did well – not great, but good.  My ‘hope’ had been to sell so much, that I essentially cleared off my dining room table, making room for the next series of projects.  Basically an unrealistic goal, I know …

Our booth

We had tons of compliments … The best was the lady that said, as she approached our ‘thrown together’ display …“Ohhhhh – REAL art!”  While she didn’t buy anything – it was a great compliment.  It also pointed out that a craft show in a rural, country/farming community is probably not our best venue.  We were ‘competing’ with toy swords made of foam and pipe insulation/tubing, mason jar candles and decorations made from Christmas floral picks … Great stuff – just not ‘artsy’ …

My on-line shops have been steadily picking up traffic over the months compared to when I first ‘opened’ them, but … neither bazaars nor on-line sales are enough to even partially recoup costs of supplies I like to ‘burn through’ (ha ha) … To date, this is my most expensive hobby – by far (and John thought yarn was expensive! Smile) … While I certainly have enough supplies to keep at it for quite a while yet, I just can’t justify the ‘hog wild’ spending spree I’ve had over the last 13 months … So, my dilemma – trudge on and find some other venues (galleries, more ‘artsy’ shows, something else?), slow down (and maybe lose the interest/traffic I’ve built up), or walk away …

There are folks that make a lifestyle involving traveling from show to show.  With my current work schedule, our kids the age that they are, and our four-legged family – that’s just not an option.  I don’t think I’d enjoy it, even if it was …

The flip side I believe I know to be true – even though I’m not a ‘business major’:  Expect financial loss for at least a year or more  … As it’s just a hobby, and not a means of support – I certainly have time to reflect before I make any decisions …

scales

Bubonic Plague …

So – I got my Tetanus/Pertussis immunization shot on Monday morning, and have felt like road-kill all week … sore muscles, achy joints, headache, my arm is red/swollen and John tells me it’s now including my forearm area … I’m either reacting to my shot or I have the Plague … While I’m glad I won’t be inadvertently  passing Whooping Cough on to some poor infant – I sure wish I’d known I was going to feel like this all week.

In the meantime, I’ve tried to stay productive in the studio.  Somewhere along the line, I decided I wanted to make more ornaments … I have 19 cooling in the kiln now.  With that much time at the grinder, I wonder when I’ll get sensation back in my fingers …

While trying to decide how to set up for the craft show, I’ve been taking stock of our stock.  We’ve made some 90+ bowls this year, 50+ dichroic cabs, 8 night lights, 30+ ornaments, 50+ magnets and 30+ slumped bottles (and a Partridge in a Pear Tree) … Wow!  I guess I really like my new hobby.  Smile  But back to prepping for the show – it’s amazing how small 10X6 feet is … In my head, we’d have room for so much more … Just not enough room, so we decided to skip the night-lights, as that display is too big.   I’ll try to take a photo or two once we actually set up, but you get the general idea … And, we decided to bring our electronic photo frame, filled with process pics and our stock – kinda neat:

Entry way rough 'display'  Slide show picture frame

The coffin loaded with future Poppy plates (iridescent glass) and ornaments:

 Ornaments and Poppy plates New ornament - pre-firing

The coffin loaded with the final batch of blanks for de-bubbling – which should give me time to slump tomorrow … um, I mean later today:

Last step before slumping

Time to sleep for a bit … Then I need to clean up this studio!!  But the Yorks say it’s bed-time (and poor Winston has some awful bed-head) …

Studio madness - where's the maid? Sleepy Yorks

Tick … Tock …

At the end of the day – a good story:  Tunie had her pups on Thanksgiving day … 2 boys and a girl.  On Saturday she went to the vet – she wasn’t eating, had a fever and I thought I could still feel ‘something’ in her belly.  She had an emergency section, as she had retained POC’s (‘fetal stuff’).  She is now doing great – as are her pups.  She’s back to her spunky, finicky self – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Smile

Tunie and her 3 babiesOur youngest son had the flu on Thanksgiving day – so his big ‘feast’ was Ginger Ale.  But he loved the turkey sandwiches on Friday.  All is healthy and well at home.  OK, not well – as I’ve started the neurotic dash for the craft show.  Even though I promised myself low-maintenance/no stress – I just can’t do it.  The kilns will run round-the-clock till the wee hours of the morning Saturday … More ornaments came out this weekend, bottles slumping as I type, and the poor production kiln will be running non-stop.  I’ve got just enough time for one last major coffin slumping (had one this weekend too) – so the blanks will keep coming …  And, I want to try to squeak out a few more poppy plates (in iridescent red, blue and peach).  And – I’ve got an idea that might work nice for an ornament I want to try … I know, I know … I make MYSELF crazy!

More ornaments New blue bowl

Dickens II bowl Blue Moon Bowl

Decadence II bowl Alchemy Bowl

 Speaking of which – this weekend certainly was (crazy) – at work.  I was in charge on Sunday (WHY anyone thinks that is a good idea, I don’t know) … Apparently in honor of the largest shopping weekend of the year, we too, decided to pick up the volume … At one point, we had received, triaged, and settled seven ambulances in under an hour …. uggghhh!  And, unfortunately, as we get closer and closer to the holidays, we’ll see more depressed, suicidal/overdose patients …  Bah Humbug!!  On a brighter note (??), I met a woman this weekend that I want to have adopt me.  She had a displaced wrist fracture (means broken REALLY bad).  I was a couple of minutes into triaging her before she casually pointed it out.  OH MY!  OUCH!!  When we got to (my) dreaded question in triage, “on a scale of 0-10, how bad is your pain?”  She, again casually says, “I have a pretty high pain tolerance … but this hurts … maybe a 5 …” as she flops her upper arm/elbow to bring her wrist up onto her lap!  My HERO!!!  Which is why I’m keeping my whining to a minimum … I got my latest mandatory shot at work (tetanus/pertussis booster) – and my arm is SORE!  Smile

Since it’s been so long since we ‘worked’ a craft show, we’ll be setting up our ‘booth’ in the dining room this week, to figure out how to safely display all our GLASS for perusing pleasure … (I‘ll have nightmares when I DO sleep this week about monster children with grabby fingers tossing glass bowls in the air …) But, I started tonight with our small jewelry box …

Jewelry box 

Time to make the donuts … um, I mean cut the glass … Smile  But here are a couple of photos of Tunie’s little Doberman Mice … no really – they’re Yorkshire Terrier pups!

Tunie baby Tunie baby Tunie baby

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since Tunie is still very pregnant and sticking very close – she gets up every time I do, the poor little heifer … now is a good time to sit at the computer.  We just might have Thanksgiving babies … how wonderful!

And – John surprised me with a new gift … It’s awesome!  And tell me – who doesn’t want a ‘Black Bull’???  (You’re jealous, right? Smile)  It’s a sandblasting cabinet … no more outside in freezing weather, dripping wet to sand the blanks … And – when I get around to it, I can play with etching glass too!

 Black Bull

I put some of my ornaments in the kiln last night … they turned out so cute!  I’m thrilled with these stupid little things!  The poor kids had to ooh and ahh at dinner over them … multiple times!!  I don’t know how long I spent bent over the kiln placing all the darn white frit (snowflakes and Santa’s beard) – on the plus side, it was probably good P.T. for my knee.  Anyway … here’s the before and afters:

 ready for cookin' Pretty little ornaments

 Aventurine tree Santa

'Frosty' 'Rudy'

I have a new blank running in the production kiln now … using a new color (pale gray), so – we’ll see tomorrow …  After sandblasting in the ‘Bull’, I should be able to get my next coffin run going … Yay – then slumping!! Smile

Spent some time (OK, a long time) rough cutting some spoon rests at the saw … ever since we broke the blade, I am very gentle with the saw.  Anyway, here they are – they’ll need to go in with the coffin run to flow them out (and thin them down), before they’ll be slump-able, but you get the idea:

 future spoon rests

And – I re-ran the purple and green blank that I was unhappy with in the last post … much better now:

 original - dark blank New - improved blank

I’ll spend tomorrow playing Martha Stewart in the kitchen – no studio time, but good family time.  I am thankful and blessed – a great family (two and four-legged), a hobby I love, a profession I’m proud to be a part of, and wonderful friends!  Oh – and after the flu on Monday – I have my health back!  Smile  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tis the Season

Oh My Gosh!  Who snuck that full-moon weekend in there without warning me?!?  Lordy, this past weekend was tough!  And, to make it so much MORE fun … we have officially entered the next round of the (never-ending) ‘flu season’. 

Yesterday is an achy, feverish, nauseated, coughing, sniffling BLUR for me, as my MANDATORY flu shot did nothing to keep me protected.  But – unlike what (feels like) EVERY other member of my community does – I suffered at home, in bed alone without calling an ambulance or visiting the ER.  I guess I figure, if nothing else – the last 36 hours is a good weight-loss technique, as we enter the holiday season, and all that food.  And – I’m sleeping and napping like I’m ready for the nursing home!

So – work in the studio is getting off to a slow start this week.  I did work on a few quick and easy ornaments late last week;  A trinket sized rough blank in pink and blues; Did another coffin bottle-slumping – I like the textured clear bottles – and I LOVE this bottle – how cool!  Final slumped some trinket bowls and the (second) Amethyst & Peridot spoon rest; I completed a requested green and purple blank, but wasn’t pleased with it (I have it against my window/door, which is the only way the colors showed off) … so after cutting it up into little pieces – sweating like a pig, as my fever broke, at the saw – I’ve got it running through the production kiln again, this time with more whispy-white/clear.  We’ll see;  And a couple of quick pendants to add to our collection for the upcoming craft show.

More ornaments Pink & blue rough blank

Clear textured slumped bottle Silk screened slumped wine bottle - very Cool!

Trinket bowls Amethyst & Peridot spoon rest (#2)

Green/purple blank - I don't like it Simple dichro pendants

Did some of my favorite internet shopping … glass supplies coming my way, all the way from North Carolina!  $50 freight charge … ooooh those are gonna be some BIG boxes!  Smile   Shopping – a better cure for what ails ‘ya than any medicine.  That’s it for now.  My ibuprofen must be wearing off, or I’m working up to a hot flash … either way, must be time for another nap!

Embracing insomnia …

Might as well – since I can’t sleep.  I’m on puppy watch – as my York, Petunia (Tunie) is due any day now … so, I tinker and surf and organize and plan and … everything but sleep.

Had a work in-service yesterday, brushing up on my OB skills since our local hospital decided to close it’s Labor unit.  Not sure why that’s in the best interests of the community, but – there it is.  While I hope to never ‘catch’ a two-legged baby (I deliver pups all the time) … it might be kinda cool if I can talk some eternally grateful Mom into naming her child after me … Smile

While surfing for glass ideas, I came across some fused ornaments that talked to me, so I’ve spent a few hours in the studio slicing up my fingers working on tiny bits of glass and grinding my manicure away … but I like what I’ve got going.  I have a few more ideas that I’ll get to later today, but here’s what I have ready for the kiln so far …

Penguins – I love ‘em.  I have a mini-tree in the rec room that I leave up all year long, dedicated to penguin ornaments … Aren’t these cute?  Yeah – they still need eyes, I think I’ll try drip fusing black stringer for the eyes … haven’t tried that yet, but it appears pretty easy (famous last words …)

 Penguins

And a Santa … same thing with the eyes, but I sharpied some in for now – cuz he needed them!  🙂

 Santa

Had a coffin slumping … got our Christmas bowl done, photo’d and in the shops; Some requested items, and a few others just because I liked the color combinations …  I’ve spent the last few days working on special requests … it’s fun, but challenging too, since I’m trying to create what I THINK someone is describing/asking for … I’m making myself a little crazy with it, but it’s all good.

Coffin slump  Christmas Bowl

Tortoise Shell Bowl New 'decandence' blank

Completed special request version 1 3 versions of special request

I’ve been running the production kiln with lots of blanks, so I’m hoping to have another big (coffin) slump run next week.  I’m fire polishing pendants and spoon-rests now …

That’s it – all the news that’s fit to print.  I’ll leave you with my rationale for not sleeping … HE’s sleeping enough for BOTH of us … Yep, DH slept all night and now he’s ‘keeping me company’ – catching his after-breakfast nap, snoring away …Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Why I can't sleep ...

And they’re off …

So starts the countdown … for the holidays.  Since I’ve decided to turn my little hobby into a business of sorts, I didn’t realize the additional ‘stress’ I willingly added to my load.  Hmmm … crazy me.  But it’s all good.  I can handle it.  I love stress.  Yep.  Sure.  Thanksgiving, craft show, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating (did I mention we put up 3 trees … a 12 footer, 9 footer and an ‘arch tree’ that looks beautiful over my entry way door …) and CHRISTMAS …  All while working my 2 jobs, having puppies (1, maybe 2 litters expected – loads of fun, but still ‘work’ – especially at delivery time …), keeping up with the DH (and his business) and – of course, maintaining my June Cleaver household/kids (haha) … Wow – if I were prone to panic attacks – I might just have one. 

BTW – for those NOT aware – 45 days till Christmas …

 Arch Tree

It’s all good.  Business is picking up in the shops, thanks to the fast approaching holidays.  So, work in the studio continues.  I have photos … :  Our completed, decorated up-cycled cheese/hors d’oeuvre trays (yes – they’re sitting upright – but it shows off the neat texture), complete with (new) recycled ‘raffia’ and cheese knives; blanks (one trial – shooting for requested burgundy, cream and brown – hmmm, not sure where the olive color came from); spoon rests (trying to stock up); and dichro pendant – wire wrapped.

completed upcycled bottles close-up bottles

trial blank larger blank

Spoon rests Simple wire wrapped pendant

Got through my birthday.  I feel loved.  My co-workers are awesome, having a mammoth pot-luck for me.  ‘Course it might just have been because night-shifters love food … but, still … Smile  I received hugs and kisses from my TEENAGERS!  (I KNOW, right??? – 2 of them boys!!!)  And my husband has finally come around to accepting that the entire MONTH of November is MINE – cart blanche for shopping!  Yep, I feel loved!  Smile

With faces like this looking at you … how can you not feel loved???Neapolitan Mastiff pup

Time marches on …

Feeling a little blah this week … maybe it’s preparing for winter hibernation (mine) or mentally preparing to acknowledge another birthday … anyway, not much in the studio by way of creativity.  It’s been a busy week too though – DARN SANE meeting (people suck!), appointments, airport runs, voting, lots of emails and phone calls  … Wow – no wonder I feel blah! 

A few pendants to add (one of them .925 silver wrapped – see the twisting in the middle, kinda?), along with a wine stopper:

 simple pendant simple pendants and wine stopper 

silver wrapped pendant

A neat bottle (Twisted Smirnoff), and a pretty blank (I do like these colors):

 Twisted slumped bottle blank

A spoon rest (no, not UM colors, our local high school’s colors) and a larger platter/bowl – not quite the 16 inches I was shooting for, but a good 14 inches anyway …  I guess it’s not ALL about size, as I think this turned out pretty sharp:

 Eagles spoon rest Blues Platter

I’m soaking more bottles now, prepping my next ‘blank’ run, and mentally working around why I’m struggling with PMC … here’s my first attempt.  It’s definitely different than working with play-doh or even polymer clay.  Hmmmm …

 PMC

And our Drucilla (Dru – one of the ‘ugly [step] sisters’, along with her sister – our Anastasia) watching over us as we pack the last of the summer outdoor ‘stuff’ away …

Drucilla

The list(s) …

The first round of our dichroic pendants and badge reels is in the production kiln for fire-polishing.  I am hopeful we’ll have some new finished pieces by the end of this week!

pendants and badge reels - last trip in the kiln

The large blue blank is slumping in the coffin, along with a couple of wine bottles that needed texturing and the blue/yellow spoon rest.  The studio will be warm tonight!

Large blue blank, more bottles and a spoon rest

I also have a sink-full of new bottles soaking for round one of scrubbing/sterilizing. 

The plan is to keep both kilns running much of this week … I love that! (Although, I refuse to think about the heat bill …)

Did get some additional photos taken … uploaded cheese trays and wine dishes to the shops.  Am playing around with ‘when to upload’ to see if it makes any difference (the time of day) regarding shop traffic – in my Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) head – it’s got to all even out in the wash, but we’ll see … (‘experts’ claim it matters – but don’t identify when.)  Tomorrow, I will upload some additional items at a different hour of the day.

Wine bottle serving tray (the back - showing off texture) Wine bottle dishes

Magnum dish
Remember this ... my large blue bottle. Here it is, ready for candy! 🙂

Ordered some ‘stuff’ to prepare for the craft show … bags in various sizes, bubble wrap, tissue paper, etc. … I won’t say how much, as I didn’t warn the significant other.  He seemed to think it would be okay to just use “lots of plastic grocery bags”… He never has understood the importance of presentation.  My attempts at ‘gourmet’ dinners are always wasted … 

I have a hankerin’ to make some more soy candles … hmm – which scents to choose.  Although – I am starting to have ‘storage problems’ … I keep telling John, “I’m OK, I’m just THIS SIDE [still ‘normal’] of a hoarder …” (But – if I keep this up … ???)

my candle scents ... Candles ... just a few

Huh – that’s it.  That’s all I’ve got floating around in here.  Except maybe to add – we (my coworkers and I) got through the full-moon weekend pretty easy … I did get to cardiovert a patient on Sunday – always fun to electrocute someone in the name of helping them.  It worked.  As the patient was rolling out via ambulance transport, he thanked us for his “electrifying stay” … Smile