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 …


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 …


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

Everyone needs love …

Update for the full moon weekend:  I’m pretty sure I got to meet a few people that have strong beliefs regarding ‘Keeping It All in the Family’ (brother/sister –> husband/wife couples) … we didn’t actually discuss it, but … Yep, I’m pretty sure.  [Hark – is that a banjo I hear in the background???] 

And – for the first time ever in my 20 years as a nurse … I was actually ‘hit on’ by a trach/vented patient.  Again – not sure – but that was my take.  Wow – how special I felt, when he gave me a ‘come hither’ look with his weepy, crusted eyes and slowly brought his finger to the side of his lips (Betty Boop style) in response to my question, “Are you in pain?” … The ‘icing on the cake’ for ME – the fact that he was sent to the ED for ‘copious, tenacious yellow secretions’ … YUM!  Nope – just can’t have these interactions in any ‘ole job!


Viruses, Goblins, and Full Moons … oh my!

So, I’m making some progress – finally feel like my head is no longer sharing space with the virus tumor (Yes – it was a tumor, liquefying my brain – or so I whined to my co-workers on Sunday).  Anyway – the head is mine again – so the insomnia returns.  It’s ok … I’ll deal with that vs. hosting that miserable virus.

I will even be playing with silver clay tonight!  Already have it designed in my head, now time to see if it’ll translate to an actual pendant.

But – in the meantime, some quick shots of what I’ve been working on this week. 

Bottles:  Slumped my big blue wine bottle, along with some others.  (I have the EJ Gallo jug in the coffin as we speak, ‘bottles – round 2’.)  The Patron bottle didn’t quite turn out as I’d hoped … it’s too odd of a shape, but I do like the open neck that allows the original cork to stay with the bottle … I also really like how the green cheese/hors d’oeuvre tray turned out – I like the extra texture – making it just a little different …

Slumped bottles - round 1 Bottles - round 2 PatronGreen cheese tray

Coasters – I brought that custom mold back out and tried again … I really like this color combination.  It’s only at the first stage – still more work to be done, but I like it …

Cafe au lait coasters

Pendants/Badge reels – work continues, but we have almost a whole kiln-full ready for fire-polishing …

Pendants & badge reels

Spoon rests – cut/grinded and in the kiln for the first pass …

 future spoon rests

I’ve done more with blanks, but now … they’re waiting for their turn to be wet-sanded, which is such a wet mess, we normally do that outside … Have you checked how cold it is out there right now?!?  We even had snow/freezing-rain the other day … I’m waiting for a break in the weather!

And – an update.  I’m back to mother-of-the-year material … OK, maybe not, but – my son’s retainer is fixed, and he is in complete control of his saliva again … Thank You God!

And now to prepare for working the ER this weekend with a full moon bringing in all sorts of ‘creatures of the night’ …


Charging my batteries …

While I don’t hold it against Maggie, the rubbing of the Buddha belly did NOT work for this past Sunday … (must have needed more candles.)   And – if I give it much thought, I’m already fearing this weekend, as I watch the moon get larger and larger … Scientifically proven or not, those of us that work in the ER know it as fact – the full moon brings in bizarre patients … But – it’s only the wee hours of Wednesday morning, too soon to dread. 

My oldest son got his retainer this week.  Oh boy – this is gonna be a long year.  For anyone that doesn’t know – the retainers are pretty similar in structure to dentures – except (I HOPE!) his ‘top plate’ doesn’t seem to be fitting right …  He seems to be having saliva-control issues.  Anyone that works with me, especially our night shift respiratory therapist, knows – I don’t do oral secretions well.  So – with my son making this noise – it’s bringing about all of these visuals of copious yellow/green, sticky, stringy ‘snot’ oozing out of trach holes – diligently ‘holding on’, refusing to be suctioned away … I’m not feeling so much like mother-of-the-material, as my son is literally making me want to vomit.  We’ll be calling the orthodontist today.  Movin’ on …

I’ve been a bum the last 2 days:  Discovered a couple of new authors I’m avidly reading, playing with the pups, having some family time.  Not much for productivity in the studio.  Although I am shipping out a couple of items.  And we’ve been making some ‘baby steps’ with the pendants and badge reels … made a few rough, got a few more ready for fire-polishing.

Oh … we are officially participating in a craft show.  Yep – John committed.  So, if you’re not doing anything December 4th – come on by the Warm-n-Cozy Bazaar … and give my husband some grief!  Smile

Heart and bubbles pendant Heart pendant Cabs ready for fire polish


So maybe I won’t be quitting my ‘day job’ …

Had a great night in the E.D. last night.  It wasn’t crazy busy – but that’s not why.  I had a bunch of great patients – normal, pleasant, appreciative (ok – not all, but more than not) … how cool is that? 

But wait – there’s more … I had a stroke patient who came in with one side of her body paralyzed, her family did everything right and called 911 promptly (less than 3 hours onset of symptoms), everything went like a well oiled machine on our end (ok, there were some technical glitches – damn computers anyway – but our staff rolled with it, improvised and overcame – so no effect to patient care), she received ‘clot busting’ medication and before the helicopter flew her away, she was gaining function/control over the affected side of her body!  That’s just so cool – you just can’t do stuff like that in other jobs.  This patient was scared and tearful on arrival, and while she was nervous about flying in a chopper, she was smiling as she left.  She may still run in to trouble (as clot busting medication isn’t without some risky side effects), but I was involved with the team that got her through this major hurdle … THIS is why I became an ER nurse!

With that said, I’m going to drag my tired body to bed, thinking about all the great PMC projects I have floating around in my head.  This coming week I’ll be busting out the silver to see what beautiful successes or dismal failures I can create.  Smile

And, before I go back to work tonight, I’ll light some candles, ‘rub Buddha’s belly’ (which is Maggie, my oldest Yorkie) and hope that this shift can go as well …

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 … 🙂 ]