Trying too hard … ???

So – I’m getting over my virus – slowly but surely – and maybe that’s why this week feels like it was less successful in the studio – my head is still ‘germy’ … 

I’m shooting for a large (17 in) blank … have used almost 10 pounds of glass and I’m less than thrilled with the results.  The first attempt was a disaster – somewhat salvageable (in pieces) but … the second try ‘worked’, but I’m not pleased.  The colors mottled together instead of swirling … Kiln too hot maybe? …  I’m inclined to think so, as I made another pink and Christmas blank in the same firing and both the pinks and the red ‘muddled’ – which is usually an indicator of toooo hot!  They are just blanks, so can be further worked or re-worked, but … ouch!  All the excitement and anticipation, only to open the kiln some 15+ hours later for disappointment.  It’s just no fun!

Latest blanks

Although – my first Christmas blank – smaller scale than above and cooked in the production kiln, DID turn out nice …

Christmas Blank

I checked out the local PMC store – it’s overwhelming in it’s ‘filled to capacity and then some’-ness.  Stuff EVERYWHERE!  A nice place to visit, but if I had to work there – I think I’d go nutty.  And yet – I feel it’s a success story … whether I’m right or not in my assumption, I felt like this was a couple who had turned mutual crafts/hobbies into a family business that supports households.  (A dream of mine …)

Did have better luck with the dichroic this week … including a group photo of cabs waiting for their final fire-polish in the kiln.

Dichroic Cabs

Also stopped into Borders and now am armed with several books to get myself up to speed with more recent web design … 2 books (or 1300+) pages of light reading … Smile  As well as a third book to learn the intricacies of tweaking/customizing wordpress blogs …  Books – another downfall for me!

And … (busy week …) I stopped at a local restaurant/bar – they’re willing to save their wine bottles and magnums for me!  Sweet!  I’ll be up to my elbows in soap suds and bottle scrubbers in no time!    Speaking of which – I did get several bottles cleaned up – some interesting ones too – the Patron and EJ Gallo have potential for being pretty neat.  Note the large blue magnum … yep, I suffered for my art … and now I have the bottle to slump!  (For the record – THAT blue bottle was the only thing I drank – the others aren’t mine … HONEST!! Smile )

  Bottles for Slumping

Tomorrow will be all about errands and tasks to prepare for the weekend … apparently the maid’s been sick and nobody’s done any laundry!  Go figure!! 

Leaving with a photo of Tunie (Petunia), our smiling Yorkie, who was ‘roughing it’ on the recliner last night, waiting for me to go to bed  …


Prioritizing the To-Do list …

Got through another weekend – or as I like to announce to my coworkers on Monday morning, as I leave the ER achy, tired and drained of most of my compassion … one weekend closer to retirement.  Which is funny to me, as that particular tunnel (retirement) is so long, I see no light or end in sight.

But for now, it’s time to flip hats and focus on the weekday projects:  … while surfing the blogging world I stumbled on an old, no longer kept updated local blog that mentions a store still in existence in my area … one that has PMC supplies, classes, etc.  Must check that out this week!

I’ve fired up both kilns: … haven’t had much luck working with red glass using our particular technique, as the temperatures get so hot, the glass often turns a muddy brownish color, but … I’m trying it again.  Trying for a Christmas slab in red, greens and white.  It’s cooking in my production kiln as I type.  I’ve also fired up the coffin for a melt.  Since I’ve had some requests for larger bowls/platters – I’m finally getting around to one of those … This melt should produce a 15-17 inch slab, so it’s in the coffin all by it’s lonesome, as it won’t fit in my production kiln.  My studio will be warm tonight!

Still playing around with the dichro, learning what glass designs/combinations work well.  Had some dismal failures last week, which is a more painful way to learn, but still – it’s learning … I want to do more with pendants and badge reels, so I plug along.  Am thinking about getting a table top kiln for this – and probably will, but I’d have to clear a spot in the studio first – not as easy as it sounds.

DSC06453 Future badge reel John's dichro

Also played with another marble trivet last week in reds and orange … it’s cracking, which tells me they’re different COE’s and thus can’t be mixed. I’ll keep playing with the marbles, but realize now I can’t have the creative fun I’d hoped to have.  Slumped my first trivet into a bowl of sorts … it’s cute:


As part of my Monday morning drive home routine – I stopped at the grocery store and discovered a blue magnum wine bottle.  I make my own wine, and that’s the wine I like, but … I also wanted this large size blue bottle.  So – suffering for my art, I will drink it down!  Smile

blue magnum bottle

3 words … precious metal clays

Let me start with this … I’m sorry about the last rant … I really believe if I wanted to blog about public awareness, I’d … um, make a blog for that.  But there are times when cruelty and lack of human decency hit me right at the knees … and other times it’s just a really big dog (170 pounds) …

Apology (for humanity and compassion) given, moving on …

With that out-of-the-way … I MAY NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!  I finally have my PMC kit, along with new books and other (completely necessary) supplies and … there just aren’t enough hours in the day!  I can’t wait to get started, but am forcing myself to hold off, as I don’t believe toxic fume potential, really hot temperatures (1500+ degrees) and cold medicine mix … there’s no warning label against it, but … I think I’ll wait.

This new medium will allow me to combine some of my ALL TIME FAVORITE things … jewelry – real jewelry – not costume stuff – with real stones and real metals … copper, bronze, silver and gold!!!!  Can you believe it … necklaces, earings, bracelets … and yes rings, but I have to say I’m not crazy about the rings I’ve seen in my books … we’ll see.  AND …  I get to MAKE them … how COOL is that?!?!

Today was our oldest son’s birthday … had great family time – retelling the story of his arrival (City Slicker style) 16 years ago today, dinner at his favorite restaurant, and ice cream cake (a favorite in our family) … So – not a lot of productivity in the studio, but a good day.  I do have some new photos to share … a new slab in requested colors – this was a test run, but I think it’s pretty – and PINK; an iridized marble trivet – playing around with this as I have access to about 40# of these marbles (& other colors) – one photo of front, one of the back; another spoon rest – the green in it is aventurine (sparkly) …; and a couple more rough pendants …

Pretty in Pinks slab marble trivet - front Iridized back of marble trivet

spoonrest #2 Grinch's eye Dichro rough pendant

And … I’ll leave you with some photos of (NOT MY WORK) PMC projects that caught my eye – and I can’t wait to try my own version ….  Gem stones, and photo charms, and – Bears, OH MY!!!   [chanted like the Wizard of OZ … 🙂 ]

Sleep must be over-rated …

At least that’s what my body is telling me … ok – I guess it’s my brain, but same effect.  My husband, who is snoring away, amazes me – we’ve spent SOME time analyzing my insomnia and his reply – in true male fashion – “I just turn my brain off and go to sleep.”  (Literally, that’s what he said!)  Dang … I missed that on/off switch somehow …

It’s all good though.  I use this time for exploring the internet (what new hobby can be discovered??), developing glass designs, prepping photos for uploading and keeping my kilns going.  I have my dogs to keep me company, and my wine to keep me quiet. 🙂

I went to the DARN SANE meeting this week – [WARNING – I’m about to start a rant that has nothing to do with glass fusing, but everything to due with humanity – lasting for the next 4 paragraphs … ] which is an amazing gathering of GOOD ‘powers that be’ (prosecutors, law enforcement, social workers and LACASA – our local agency for child abuse, sexual assault prevention). 

 What an awesome group of people who deal with an incredibly sad sect of the population – from the victims that never deserve what life has handed them to the scum that take advantage of them in such twisted, perverted, sickening ways that even this jaded, sarcastic ER veteran is left with her eyes wide and jaw dangling … no sassy comeback here!  And this is my little HICK county … no big city influence, no metropolis of ‘culture’ or jet-set lifestyles  (- no personal tutors on-set to educate while you get hammered on liquor at age 7, in between sets of your next block-buster motion picture).  Arrrgghhh … it’s so fundamentally broken – where to fix it?  After that meeting, one step at a time feels way too slow, way too little, way too late …  And I’ve been invited to go back next month … ???  HIPPA prevents me from delving any further but WOW! … If you didn’t snap at an old person, yell at a child or kick a dog today (see how we’re not EVEN touching anything sexual) … consider yourself in the running for sainthood!

Too little sleep has me delving into issues that are too deep for my little glass studio blog – but, I ask this of anyone checking this out … consider doing something – volunteering at any outreach, church, community organization … something.  Find something that you feel remotely passionate about – be it geriatrics, kids, hospitals, animals, pregnant teens, soup kitchens, blood drives, lobbying for tougher sentencing for evil people … SOMETHING that connects with you – and make an effort to do something GOOD this week.

OK … ratcheting down.  Alright – not yet, but almost…  Should you ever find that you’re feeling sorry for yourself, must need one more anti-depressant or anxiolytic or some other pill … consider this – if you’re not denied food, clothing, shelter or SAFETY – BY YOUR PARENTS; if you’re not forced to perform sexual acts at age 8 (or younger –  or older? does it make a difference??)… ; If you’re safe from the threat of violence or death in your own home; If you’re not fighting for your own survival (be it in the US, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., … ) do you really have anything to gripe about?  It’s all about perspective … remember that, please … The next time you want to take an ambulance to the ER for a urinary tract infection cuz you’ve had your symptoms for 30 whole minutes (and while there’s some sarcasm there, there’s also truth! … it’s called CRANBERRY – and they sell it in pill form OTC, so you don’t even have to drink that WHOLE bottle of juice, or take the antibiotiocs that cause yeast infections, and if you add some yogurt – you’ll never even have to meet me … )  CONSIDER  …

OK – wow – how to go upbeat from here … Remember what I said about sainthood, I guess …

And here is a pretty picture of a spoon holder (?!?) – and some Yorkie pups to lower the blood pressure (ok – mine) … 

  Emerald n Amethyst Spoon Rest  Yorkie pups - nap time

I’ve got the bug …

Well, actually I have TWO … the cold virus (BUG), as some lovely child felt compelled to sneeze into my face at work this weekend …

But – what I’m talking about is I’ve reacquired the web design/developing bug … About 5 yrs ago, I got it, and taught myself enough to develop and run a site of our Neapolitan Mastiffs … Now, with blogging, my etsy and artfire shops and trying to customize them … I’ve caught that bug again.  ‘Course it’s 5am, so that particular bug may go away once I sleep … but I don’t think so … I want to learn all about CSS, SQL and php – doesn’t that sound FUN?  I think I’ve found the book (900+ pages), but instead of getting it online – I’ll pick it up at Borders so I can flip through it to be sure …

Meanwhile – I hope to get back to Delphi later today or tomorrow.  But work in the studio continues … did some picture taking and uploaded a few pieces to the shops tonight.  John wrapped another pendant.  A new blank came out of the kiln today.  A couple new rough pendants.  And, I’ll probably fire up the coffin with more wine bottles later today. 

Streaming Colors Nite-Lite Green Cheese Tray
Cobalt Blue Wine Bowl Goblins n Ghost Bowl
Wire wrapped pendant Stormy Clouds blank
Rough pendant 'I See Angels' rough pendant

Had a mishap with the saw … John broke the blade – guess it’s good we’re planning on heading back to Delphi for a replacement … not sure what we’ve done wrong, as they’re supposed to last 6-9 months ‘EASY’ … it’s only 2 months old.  Ohhh well – it’s only money, right?

Our oldest son turns 16 this week … and gets his braces off later this month.  An exciting time, and yet – it makes me feel old.  🙂

John surprised me – he’s talking about doing craft shows … as they’re all on weekends – and I work every weekend, my help will be minimal to non-existent … we’ll see … We used to do them years ago (3 jobs, 2 houses ago), but stopped when the twins were born (they’re 13 now), and he used to complain about the set-up/take-down … I, on the other hand LOVED them.  We’ll see …

Alright … I’ve lost the battle with sleep tonight – I need to be at the prosecutor’s office in just over 2 hours (for my other job – the DARN  SANE thing).  Insomnia and a cold – not a good mix for health!  😦

And – since I seem to be gearing up for the holidays – I’ll leave you with my latest mosaic ‘creation’ … our Christmas tree, made of photos over the last 5 yrs (in this house) … Smile

Keeping up with ideas … dealing with disappointment

We went to our area glass supplier yesterday … always an exciting (and expensive) day. Brought home some really fun ‘soon to be’ projects and supplies – the most exciting of which is silver clay … I can’t wait to get my hands on it … but I’m going to have to … the kit that we bought is the wrong one and I can’t put it in my kiln … Drats! Looks like I’ll be heading back to Delphi next week …

And on that disappointing trend, pulled my larger ‘Goblins and Ghosts’ bowl out of the kiln to discover major heart break … The bottom split! My guess is the blank started to drop too fast, which amazes me, as the kiln heats up achingly slow … I suppose I could re-slab it, but I’m so bummed, I don’t want to … I think I’ll take it to work and donate it to our nurses station break room …

Lg Goblin & Ghost bowl Split

On a more upbeat note … did finish some very nice projects (see below) … and I’ll be firing up the coffin using some of my new molds …  I also got my Artfire store up and running … more time at the computer, but it’s good.  (

Silver and Pinks  Amethyst and Emerald Spoonrest  Mod Heart Badge Reel  Nite-lite

Now it’s time to get ready for work … see whose life I can make better …

It’s not just glass …

So, I’ve spent the last two days taking photos and sitting at the computer, uploading and entering data … not really my idea of fun.  The good news – my etsy shop more than doubled in inventory … the bad news – I think my arse is permanently fused to this seat.

Just kidding – I have been prepping blanks for the next big slumping; working on more badge reels and pendants; playing at the ring saw – cutting pretty small pieces;  rough cutting my next night light; and got all of my magnets fired, cleaned and stored …

And! (I know! – right?!), I attended a seven hour seminar (in the MORNING) on becoming a Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) nurse … to go along with my Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) role … I asked if they would consider changing the ‘T’ in DART to an ‘N’ (for nurse), so that I could officially be called that “DARN SANE nurse” … we’ll see … 🙂

Coffin prepped for blanks 2nd firing Badge reel Close up of Dichro center Swirl with dichro

Magnets waiting for their turn to be used ... Nite Lite New 'Goblins and Ghosts' blank ...

Plus, while waiting for photos to upload, I was playing with a manipulation program, and ‘created’ this … Sophia, composed of pictures of all of her pups from her last litter … how cool!

My Sophia mosaic

So – I had decided I wanted to make some themed magnets – and have thus started “Magnet Madness” in the studio … It started as a simple-enough idea, but now my fingers are numb from spending so much time at the grinder, my manicure is all but shot … yep, MADNESS it is … but I think they’ll be cute!

The first picture shows the images on their white backgrounds … sure are a lot of them … The second photo is as I was adding the background color pieces, and the third photo is ‘Round 1’ in the kiln … there will be at least two more trays … it really didn’t look like that much on the paper … 🙂 

 Step 1 Adding backgrounds (color) to the image Round 1 - in the kiln

Meanwhile – I’ve had some other things cookin’ (when my fingers still worked) … A wine magnum ‘dish’ and a new Halloween ‘slab’ – which will evetually become a bowl

New wine magnum 'dish'  Halloween 'slab'

And my latest finished night light … The camera isn’t capturing the iridescent flower petals well … it’s very pretty.  🙂

Night light  Another angle

And lastly, our completed pendants … hope to get things listed up to our Etsy shop soon … (

  Blues, greens, gold  Pinks, purples, gold Orange/rust, blues and greens

I’d hoped to have everything done before starting my 12 hour shifts in the ER this weekend, but … Noooo – I have to show up to testify in court tomorrow – EARLY in the A.M. (which I’m allergic to … both court AND mornings), will be celebrating birthdays with family tomorrow evening, AND I suppose the kids will want to be fed too … just no studio time DARN IT!  🙂

I’ll leave you with a cute pic of one of our recent babies … she’s 2 weeks old, cute as a bug and growing like a weed!  Her name is Betty, and she’ll be living in Georgia when she gets bigger … 🙂

Betty, the blue Neapolitan Mastiff

It’s chilly outside, but the kilns are kickin’

I’m working on some magnets … working out the design aspects of them, but in the meantime, some pot-melt ‘blanks’, some of the past ‘non-bowl’ stuff and some recycled (excuse me – up-cycled) bottles went into the kilns today, as well as a new pendant …

coffin - with newly slumped bowls, etc. 'Baby' - with non-bowl projects 2nd batch of coffin projects   

Some of the completed bowls …

 Beachy Storm  Platter of Blues - for my sister

And two others …   

 Stormy Ripples Green Lantern - or Jamaica II  

And our latest pendant … with a serious question … which end to make the ‘top’ … in the first pic, it reminds me of Jamaican dancers in traditional dress, in the second … I’m not sure … which one looks better???    

Jamaican Dancer ? Star Trek Comm ? 

I’ll leave you with my ‘peanut’ … we’ve been having thunderstorms lately … and my Maggie snuggled into my robe, left on the bed, apparently to cover her ears from the thunder …


Falling into Autumn holidays …

With the cooler weather seeming to take up permanent residence, hopes of an Indian Summer start to wither with my garden … While I love Fall, I hate losing Summer – closing up the pool; moving flower pots, baskets, decorations and windchimes to storage, as our Michigan winters destroy anything left to the elements; thoughts of the soon-to-come Winter hibernation …

But I do love Fall – for those few short weeks – just warm enough during the day with cool nights, the vibrant colors of the leaves changing, thoughts of apple cider and doughnuts … Just last week I made several fall/’homey’-scented soy candles – Pumpkin Cinnamon, Sugared Pecans, Creme Brule, Butterscotch.  My studio and the house are full of wonderful scents … the kids came home from school thinking that I had been baking … so silly! 🙂

But with cool weather here, Halloween and Thanksgiving just around the corner, time to think of my next Autumn-colors bowl …

Trick or Treat Bowl Fall Colors Bowl Candy Corn Bowl Autumn & Tomato Soup Bowl