Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wait, did I say 3 1/2 pound baby?

The day after this picture was taken, I had my ultrasound, and they discovered that my "little" baby boy is actually weighing in somewhere around 8 lb 14 oz! So this explains why I'm too uncomfortable to move, to sit, to lie down, and to wear anything except my t-shirts and yoga pants. Hahaha!

I just keep telling myself, it could be any day now. I really hope it's any day now. I'm just so ready to have this baby.

My sister in law keeps telling me that this is the time when I should just be taking it easy and resting, but I want to cook! I've been beading a lot, and surfing the internet for interesting beads and jewelry designs, and I've been watching lots of "3rd Rock From the Sun" to keep my mind occupied. Poor Tom has had to take over the grocery shopping for the most part. He went to Plattsburgh this past weekend and came home totally ruffled. The shopping centers in Plattsburgh on the Saturday before Christmas are NOT the places to go if you want peace and tranquility!

So Moose has just been hanging out with me, what a good doggie!, and whenever I feel like I can move, I haul my butt into the kitchen to get a snack or to clean and do the dishes. We had Tom's parents over on Saturday for dinner, and I think we're still trying to catch up on washing the dishes. I didn't think we owned that many dishes!

I'll keep this blog updated as best I can until I have this baby. I just keep telling myself, any day now!

Monday, December 03, 2007

My latest update...

Well, my mother in law threw me a truly spectacular baby shower this past weekend. It was incredible. I was just glad that I could eat the food! A whole bunch of different kinds of tea sandwiches - egg salad, watercress and olive, cucumber, asparagus rolls, and pineapple and walnut. Woa. And homemade petits fours and lavender cookies, made by a neighbor who happens to be a professional pastry chef! Oh, and the cake - a diaper cake! I have never seen one of these before, but it's made from three tiers of rolled up diapers, and decorated with fuzzy Winnie the Pooh toys! How adorable!

A bunch of my friends came, and Tom's cousin came, and we sat around and ate and talked and just had a really great time. Wow. I couldn't believe it. I had such a good time, but was just sooooo tired by the time Tom's dad brought me home. And then I spent the rest of the night feeling sick as a dog, coughing and hacking and trying to keep my nose clear with saline spray and Vicks. Yuck. So much for getting a flu shot, I think I already had the flu!!!

Had my doctor's check up today, and everything looks good. Colden is still pointing head down and facing back (good boy!), and his heart rate was perfect. My next appointment is a week from today, and they'll do another ultrasound, and maybe I'll post some more pictures here when I get some more images from the ultrasound. Sandy is going to take me so I can get my bloodwork done right after the appointment, and I asked her if she wanted to sit in on the ultrasound with me and get a peek at her future grandson!

We had dinner with Kathy and Tom's parents tonight before Kathy goes home tomorrow morning. We ate an incredible spread of appetizers and snacks for about an hour and a half, and then Sandy made dinner!!! We were like, noooooooo more food! Hehhe... My stomach was feeling slightly uncomfortable, so I skipped dinner at the house and just re-heated a dish of leftovers when I got home.

Tomorrow night is Week 5 of our hypnobirthing class. I can't believe we only have one class left after tomorrow! Six weeks has just flown right by... Incredible...

Well, we got our plastic mattress cover today, so we've got to make up the bed with it tonight. Tom asked me why we needed a plastic mattress cover, and I said, "Just in case." He said, "Just in case what?" and I replied, "Just in case my water breaks while I'm asleep or lying in bed." He just got this horrified look on his face and said, "It wouldn't, would it?" I just laughed and said, "Just in case!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Beading and Babies!

So, whaddya think? Do these jeans make me look pregnant? Oh, no, wait, that's the 3 1/2 pound baby boy I'm carrying that's making me look like that! Tom took this picture today for me to send to Kathy. I didn't realize that I was this big! I mean, yeah, I know that I don't feel as graceful as I usually do, and rolling over in bed is a major operation that requires both arms and several pillows, but damn! At least my arms and legs are still normally sized, even if everything between my armpits and my hips has expanded!

In the last few weeks, I've managed to sort of get back on track with the beading and jewelry making. I've made some really cool fused glass bracelets, and I've been working on some other beaded projects, pictures of which I will post here as soon as I can format the photos.

The first piece I finished a few weeks ago is called "Flower Power" and I made it from Swarovski pearls with cylinder bead petals and strung with lots of cool vintage glass from my stash. The second doesn't have a name yet, but is made from pastel-colored wood discs that I knotted together. I used a pineapple quartz donut as the centerpiece and made a silk thread tassel for the bottom. Then today I finished a piece called "Butterfly Kisses" made with garnets and vintage brass butterfly findings. Next up for finishing tomorrow is a piece I'm calling "Bamboo Bib" that is a wire structure that is laced with bamboo beads, shells, and tribal-looking seed beads. After that, I've got a re-make of a vintage glass necklace with Swarovski crystals to string, a choker based on jewelry found in England in the Cheapside Horde, a woven necklace based on a piece I saw in "The Hudsucker Proxy", and then a whole series of woven pieces based on vintage lace collars. Woo-hoo!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Week 31 and Counting!

So, here I am at Week 31. I think the worst of the nausea is over, thank God, but I still have days (like today) where everything I eat upsets my stomach terribly. The good news is that I discovered that I can eat tempeh and seitan without too much trouble - two new sources of protein! Hooray!

Last week, my mother in law and I went down to Babies R Us to pick out some nursery furniture and other necessities. Tom and I set up the crib and the changing table in the baby's room (formerly my beading room!) and it just looks fantastic. I now have a new cozy corner in the basement, and while the light is less than ideal, I have a couple of good lamps and an Ott Lite that provides me with plenty of working light.

Now that I'm semi-organized down there, I finally started to pick up my beads again. I did manage to get out into the garage to make some fused glass a few weeks ago, but since the temperature dropped and the heater isn't working out there, I've had to cut back on the time I spend out there. (Not to mention the fact that I'm nearly out of glass and completely out of money with which I could buy more glass!) But I signed on to do the Beadin' Path's new bead challenge, Behind the Mask, and I've had some ideas already that I am working on.

So, with parenthood imminent, I'm really starting to think about how I can sell my work to make a living from home so that I can stay at home and raise my son. I still feel like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but life is a journey, not a destination, right? I just have to work it out as I go.

Well, it's getting late, and I need to get a snack and then get some sleep. We had Tom's parents and Rob over for dinner last night, and it was great - the first time we've had dinner guests since I started with this whole nausea thing - but today, I was completely exhausted!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's not morning sickness...

It's really morning, noon and night sickness, ugh, and it's driving me mad and making me depressed. All I want to do is be able to get in the car and drive myself somewhere without feeling queasy, nauseous, or worrying about where I can pull over in a hurry if it gets too overwhelming and I have to puke. (Or dry heave, which is almost worse.) I've had to quit my job because I can't handle hearing all the people coming in and mulling around, it makes me feel sick to my stomach and if I'm already tense and feeling nauseous, it makes me throw up for sure. I can barely walk out to the chicken coop let alone do any real exercise, and that has me worried for labor and delivery. I've tried every drug they've thrown at me, Reglan, Pepcid, etc., but nothing really seems to work. The other day, I blew $40 and bought some vitamin B6 lozenges in the hopes that they will help. Yesterday and today were pretty good days, but I'm so afraid that tomorrow is just going to be another crap day.

It's really getting me depressed. All I can do most days is drive down to the post office, walk inside and pick up the mail, drive back home, and get into bed for most of the day. That's not what I'm used to doing. I'm really worried that it's going to stay this way for the duration of the pregnancy, and again, that has me worried about labor and delivery, not to mention how the hell I'm going to get to prenatal classes in Plattsburgh!

I shouldn't be stressing about this too much, I know. What's going to happen is going to happen, and I just need to find a way to deal with it.

Tom has been much better lately in dealing with my incapacitation. He was great the other night when my stomach was out of control - he kept bringing me fresh towels and ice packs and he rubbed my feet and brought me cold ginger tonic. He kept saying, "Don't panic, calm down," but I'm not sure if he was talking to me or just to himself. He doesn't take illness any better than I do, particularly when I'm the one who is ill.

BUUUUUUUT, this month, September, is the month we have designated to clean out my former bead room and relocate everything into the basement in preparation for the kid! It's going to be one hell of an operation, considering I can't lug anything down the stairs, but when we're done, we'll be all ready to put up the crib and put together the dresser and the changing table. I wonder if we could get a rocking chair or some other type of comfy chair in there, too, so I have a place to crash while nursing. I think we're also going to put the spare bed from the basement up in there, so maybe that's what I'll make as my comfy spot.

The other day, I got a package from my sister containing two fleece sleepsuits that she bought for me while she was on vacation in Alabama. I took them out of the bag and got all teary-eyed, thinking, holy crap, we're actually going to have a little person to put in there! When Tom came home from work, I showed him, and he had the same reaction - teary-eyed, thinking about our son. Heh. Kids really do change you, I don't care what anybody says!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's already the end of August, I can't believe it.

And the thing that I can't believe the most is that merely a week after I posted last on this blog, I found out that I am pregnant! Tom and I had talked about having a baby and starting a family, but we never really thought it would happen since in the past, I'd had some doctors tell me it might be difficult for me owing to the fact that I lost that one ovary years ago. Well, what do the doctors know? I am now in my 21st week of pregnancy, and if it weren't for the constant nausea and dry heaving, I'd actually be feeling pretty good.

The nausea has been the worst, absolutely the worst. For someone who hates to feel queasy and who used to have an iron stomach (I used to eat raw onions for BREAKFAST, for God's sake!), the stomach upset is killing me. I've tried every drug they've thrown at me - Pepcid, Reglan, Phenergan. The Phenergan is great when I don't need to do anything because it just knocks me right the hell out. I can't drive, I can't even keep my head up for more than a few minutes at a time. The Reglan worked great at first, but now I feel the same even when I take it, and sometimes I even feel worse when I take it. It works by speeding up the emptying of the stomach and stimulating peristalsis (the movements of the intestines), but since I'm eating small meals throughout the day, it empties my stomach TOO quickly. Nuts. The only thing left to try is Zofran, but unfortunately, not only does my insurance not cover it, but also it won't work on the nauseous feeling.

The nausea has been so bad that I've had to quit my job at the Historical Society because I just can't function the way I did last summer. I can't clean the bathrooms at all - some days, just walking in there is enough to set me off. And now that I'm twenty weeks, there is no way in hell I am climbing up any more ladders to put those "open" flags out. Uh-uh.

I tried acupuncture a few weeks ago, but it didn't do much. The ginger tonic I got from the acupuncturist seems to help, though, and it also makes sure that I don't get dehydrated, which is key. I've tried Preggy Pops and Preggy Drops, and those seem to help take the edge off when I'm REALLY bad, and today I finally cracked and spent $40 on some vitamin b6 lozenges that might help. Taking my prenatal vitamins has been a nightmare, literally, because the iron in them upsets my stomach so badly. But I've been nibbling on them at night with a large snack before I go to bed, so maybe that will help.

It's funny - the more women I talk to, the more I hear that they were sick as dogs throughout their entire pregnancy! It makes me feel good to know that it's not just me, but at the same time, I am just yearning for some RELIEF. Traveling in the car is a nightmare because I've developed wicked motion sickness, too - the only way to get me anywhere is to give me a pillow, a big mug of ice cold ginger tonic, and let me sleep as much as I can while Tom drives. Sometimes, I'm too sick even to sit in the car while he drives, and then it's a real nightmare.

I have to admit - I am getting real tired of not being able to go about my normal business anymore. I just want to be able to go to the post office and go to work without having to worry about feeling queasy and causing an accident anymore. I've missed jewelry shows all summer because I'm too queasy to sit there and smile pretty at people.

I've been trying some simple yoga breathing and simple sitting and standing postures. They seem to help some days. Others, there is nothing, short of knocking me unconscious all day, that will make the nausea go away. Argh.

BUT, on the more positive side, now that I'm about twenty weeks along, we had our "big" ultrasound last week and discovered that I am having a boy! The ultrasound technician said that there wasn't a doubt in her mind because his penis was "sticking straight out". I was like, "Yup, that'd be my kid!" I have pictures of all my scans, and I'll post them here later on after I get them off my thumb drive. I've got them from the second visit around eleven weeks until last week when you can actually make out the kid's head and toes and fingers and feet! It's amazing. And every time, EVERY TIME, the doctor or Suzi puts that little fetal heart monitor on my belly and I can hear the little heartbeat, it just makes me tear up. It's so amazing. I never realized how much I wanted a family until I got pregnant, and now, it's just this amazing, amazing thing.

The only thing that they found that was abnormal on the last ultrasound was a tiny cyst on the part of the baby's brain that makes the spinal fluid. The technician did look a little worried when she saw it, but she told me that these occur in about 3% of all normal pregnancies, and the only time to worry about them is when they are accompanied by other multiple and major abnormalities in the limbs, face and cardiac pictures. When it is accompanied by these things, it's a sign of something called Edwards Syndrome (I did my reading!), but when no other abnormalities are present, 99.9% of the time, they just clear up by themselves. Since everything else looked absolutely perfect, the only thing they are going to do is recheck it when I go back for my next prenatal visit in September, and they told me not to worry about it until then. So, since I'm still worrying about bringing in an income to keep us afloat with this debilitating nausea, I'm not going to worry about the cyst. The doctors and the tech both said that everything else looked perfect, and this most likely is just that cyst that they see in the 3% of all normal pregnancies and that it will have resolved itself by September or October.

At the beginning of the pregnancy, I also had some cramping and bleeding, which worried the doctors enough to do another ultrasound where they discovered that the baby was fine but that I had a hematoma right near the amniotic sac. This also resolved itself. And because of that, they also discovered, lucky me, that my blood type is O-negative, meaning I get to have these lovely shots of Rhogam in my ass until the baby is born to prevent any kind of complication from antibodies I make that might hurt the kid. After our terrified visit to the doctor that day, I called my father, suspecting that his blood type is negative, and asked, "Dad, what's your blood type?" "O negative," he replied. "Great," I said, "So I have YOU to thank for the shot in my ass this morning!" Man, did that shot hurt. I'm sure it didn't help that I was tense as hell because I was worried that I was going to lose the pregnancy and I was incredibly nauseous and had been running around all over Plattsburgh trying to get some bloodwork done stat so the doctors could check the results by the time I got in for my appointment.

We're all signed up for our prenatal classes and a hypnobirthing class, which is something like lamaze combined with meditation. We'll see how much it helps, especially if I'm puking all through the delivery. Yikes.

Anyway, I know there's more I want to say here, but I can't think of it now and I should go back upstairs and get myself another cold mug of something to drink. The heat this summer, while it hasn't been as bad as it has been in summers past, has left me absolutely wrecked with the nausea. It seems that as soon as the temperature goes past 85 degrees, the nausea just kicks in full-force and there's nothing for me to do except hide in the cool basement and watch movies on Netflix-on-demand. Heh.

So....... I'm gonna be a mom!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oh, that's right, I'm supposed to update this from time to time!

Well, I've got good reason. (I always do!) I've been spending the last two weeks doing some intense learning-curve activities, trying to remember how to fuse glass after that class we took back in February, trying to save up money to buy fusing equipment and glass, and then actually trying to find the time to do it! I wound up buying a glass grinder after I swore I was never going to need one, and sure enough, as I was walking down Mary Jane's driveway with one big box of jewelry boxes in one hand and a small box of glass cabs in another, I tripped spectacularly and dropped the small box, chipping two or three of the larger cabs. No worries, though - when I got home yesterday, I set up the grinder and ground down the cabs that were chipped and then fire polished them while I was making dinner. When I looked in the kiln this morning, they were PERFECT! I ground two of them into some unusual shapes, so they may not be for everybody's taste, but they're definately sell-able! Yay!

No pictures to post yet, but I'll have those sometime tomorrow or the day after...

In the meantime, I've started taking Middle Eastern dance classes on Wednesday evenings. Wow! I never thought it would be so hard and so addicting! I absolutely love it! Chapin is in the same class, although I started almost a month ago, and I have yet to have a class with her in it! Hehehe... But I bought a leopard-print hip scarf covered in coins to practice in, and I just love it, I love it! It's so much harder than I thought it would be - I get the beat, and I can move on the beat, but it's really all about isolating different muscle groups. When your hips are moving, your shoulders have to be still. Not as easy as it sounds! There's a woman in the class who is REALLY good, and I watch her and the teacher doing hip movements and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I realize that I'm not as flexible as they are. They can really move deep into a particular dance move, but I can barely move my hips past my shoulders! I've been living for Wednesday evenings, and tonight is no exception. Now, if only gas would drop below $3.15 per gallon up here...

And speaking of high gas prices, what the heck is going on with that?! You all know that someone is getting fat and rich off of those high prices, and it's certainly no one that I know! Oil companies are posting record quarterly profits, and the little guy is suffering. And I'm not just talking about having to pay for gas, but the people that buy the gas for their vehicles can't spend money on other things, and pretty soon it feels like you work just so you can have enough money to fill up your gas tank and get to work! It makes owning a hybrid seem more and more attractive. You just have to balance the cons of owning a hybrid with paying through the nose for gas. Yikes.

Anyway, I went down to the NJ Folk Festival last weekend with Min Ping and Min Yee. Wow. I haven't been down there in YEARS for that event! It was so much fun! It was just like an excuse to sit on the grass and eat for an hour and a half. We had Korean food, and I had a fake Philly Cheese steak sandwich, and then on Sunday, Min Ping and I went to this killer Indian all-you-can-eat buffet before I went home. Wow. I really miss having a good Indian restaurant nearby. Oh, well, there are other things I love about the Adirondacks...

So, I'll post more photos in the next couple of days. Maybe I'll have something else interesting to write about!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sort of new finished work for April 2007

Okay, more finished work from the last two months or so... This is what I've been doing while hibernating indoors from all the snow we had! Some of these pieces will be for sale very soon on Etsy and on my website!

This first piece is a set of labradorite cabochons that I got as part of a mixed bag from Fire Mountain Gems. I bezeled each of them with techniques developed by Jamie Cloud Eakin, and then wove Ndebele tubes embellished with freshwater pearls to connect them. The whole piece is attached to two twisted Ndebele ropes and finished with a sterling silver plated clasp.

This bracelet was one of those "Ah-hah!" moments I had while soaking in a hot bath and perusing one of my vintage jewelry books. There was a photograph of a 1950's copper cuff bracelet with two twisted strips down the middle, and I just thought to myself, why not with Sensuede and peyote stitch? It came out pretty good, considering that was the last of my Sensuede...

The inspiration for this piece came from a set of Tiger Eye beads I bought in New York City back in August, that I wound up not even using in the finished piece! Funny how things like that happen... But the seed beads I used for the embroidery were also from that same bead shopping trip. I wasn't sure what to do with the embroidered panels when they were finished, but when I tried the piece on, it was stunning with my black sweater and brown high-heeled boots! I called this piece, "Tiger Drapes".

A piece that was waaaaay long overdue for finishing was this green and brown ruffled collar. I actually started this piece in January of 2006 while visiting Kathy, Kevin, Kady and Kinsey out in Reno. There was NOTHING to do on the five hour flight to Las Vegas... NOTHING! So, I pulled out my beads and bezeled the cabs. I actually finished the actual embroidery back in March of '06, but couldn't figure out what to do for fringe and finishing. It took me months to come up with the idea of - ta-dah! - adding a brick-stitch ruffle to the edges. And then it took me another eight weeks to actually finish the ruffle! I didn't realize how many little seed beads there were on the edge of this piece...

Another piece way long overdue for finishing was this lovely tribal-styled neckpiece I am calling "Azteca". Again, I finished the embroidery sometime around Easter last year while watching "Bride and Prejudice", which was a fantastic movie from the writer/director of "Bend It Like Beckham". But a fringe style just kept eluding me... Finally, I sat down one day with my bamboo tube beads and a few colors of seed beads and spent damn near an entire day strining a few strands of fringe, then deciding that I hated it and tearing it all out. But I think I finally got it right! And one of the best parts is that the natural bamboo tubes make a nice, soft noise when you walk with this piece on... Kind of like the breeze blowing through a garden...

The name for this piece, "Who's Getting Married?" is what Tom said when he saw me finishing it! I really believe that what you watch on t.v. or listen to on the radio has some kind of influence over your designs as you are working, and while designing and stitching this piece, I watched the Matt Damon/Heath Ledger film, "The Brothers Grimm" over and over and over. I think a little bit of the raw grace from the film rubbed off on the design. I used moonstone rondelles, tiny opal chips, and mother of pearl flowers. Again, the fringe was the hardest part, but I finally found a delicate pattern that wouldn't take away from the embroidery.

>WHEW!< Think that's enough? I've got a few more projects now to finish up, and it's getting really cold here in my basement office! (We've GOT to fix the heat down here!) Coming soon, four more pieces! (What's my husband's name again?)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Chicken stuff...

Well, wow. I guess I've been a little lax in updating this! But I've got good reason, really - on March 6, we received our baby chicks from the hatchery in Iowa! We are now the proud parents of 16 chickens who will supply us with fresh eggs for the next several years. It was sort of a nightmare at first - the hatchery shipped them during a BLIZZARD, and as a result, they were stuck for an additional 24 hours on an unheated truck without food or water, which proved fatal for eleven of the original twenty seven that we received. (Needless to say, we were greatly disturbed by this, and I let the hatchery know exactly how I felt about the whole thing!) Tom and I spent the first seventy-two hours getting up every few hours in the middle of the night to check on the ones that weren't doing so well, and we told everyone: if you're not sure if you're ready to have a baby, start with chickens! Nothing like rousing yourself at 2 a.m. when it's twenty below zero and dragging yourself out into a dark garage to check on dying baby chicks... Yikes! And of course, the day we got them was the start of a week-long cold snap where the daytime high temperatures ranged up to about...oh...five degrees above zero...! Good thing we have the monitor heater in the workshop to keep the place around eighty degrees for the little babies...

BUT, the sixteen that we have now are all thriving, and they are just some of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen! They each have these wonderful personalities, and I haven't told Tom yet, but I've started naming them... Last week, they discovered that they had WINGS and that they could FLY! So Tom built them a little set of "chicken bleachers" so they have a place to perch and roost. They are a ton of work, I won't kid anyone about that, but they are so much fun, too! We easily kill a few hours each day taking care of them and then just hanging about and watching them. When they sleep at night, they all pile on top of each other, and as I told our friend Rob (who is in on the whole chicken-raising operation with us), it looks just like someone emptied a bag of chickens out onto the floor of the brooding box! Next step: Tom and Rob have to buy lumber and windows and are going to build a well-insulated chicken coop out in the backyard under the pole barn for the girls. I feel as if I'm living on a homestead! Kinda nice, actually...

And on that note, of things kinda nice, I sold a necklace yesterday to the woman who works in the lab at the wastewater plant with Tom. She's been after me for a while that she wants to buy one of my pieces, and before she had expressed an interest in buying The Blue Beyond, but she wound up buying We're All the Same But Different! That's the last piece I would have ever figured she would like, but she asked me to lengthen it to a 20" necklace, which I did, and I delivered it yesterday afternoon to her. She put it on right away, and I have to admit, I just laughed out loud because it looked PERFECT on her! And it gave me such a good feeling, knowing that I crafted this necklace that she absolutely fell in love with, and then when she bought it, I felt like it really made her feel good about herself, and that made me feel good! It was just such a happy-Zen moment, that I immediately went home last night and started sketching a whole bunch of new designs to work on (in all my spare time, har har har...)

So, on Tuesday, I am driving out to Clayton with my friend Mary Jane to visit the gift shop at the Handweaving Museum and Art Center to talk to the gift shop manager and programming director about selling my work through their gift shop. How exciting! My first museum! It's such a beautiful museum, and I can't wait to look around the gift shop with Kim on Tuesday... I was hoping to have a line of fused glass jewelry ready to go by then, but I just haven't had the time (or the money) to invest in a whole new line of materials... As it is, I don't think I could have done much kiln work in the workshop with the baby chicks in there, anyway - I don't want to expose them to anything else that could make them ill! But, at some point in the near future, I will get into the glass fusing work more, and then I'll post some new work on my website and on my Etsy store.

Thanks for reading my blog, everybody, and I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing weekend! I am going to spend the weekend finishing my application for the Philadelphia Museum of Craft's annual show, so cross your fingers for me!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fusing glass is fuuuuuuun!

Wow, what a fun weekend! Mary Jane and I met in Burlington and had lunch at the Vermont Pub and Brewery, where, to ease my guilt at leaving Tom for the weekend, I bought him a growler (half gallon jug) of Dogbite beer. We stopped at Vermont Beads and Fibers in Middlebury on our way down to Chester.

We managed to find the Quail Hollow Inn ( in the dark in an area where I've never been before (an accomplishment!), and were completely enchanted with the place. One of the innkeepers, Peter, gave us a tour of the place before showing us to our room. This photo is the reception area of the Inn, looking into the dining room.

Our room - woa. The bed had to be one of the most comfortable beds I'd ever slept in, and the room was warm and cozy. We were right down the hall from the staircase that led to the bar and the hot tub! When we got back from dinner, our beds had been turned down and a little piece of chocolate had been left on our pillows. (I could totally have gotten used to that!)

The next morning, breakfast was an upside-down apple pancake cooked in maple syrup. Hot tea and fresh orange juice were already at the table, and Jane and I just loved it!

So, stuffed to the gills, we headed over to the Fletcher Farm School in Ludlow where we met our teacher, Cheryl, and the six other women we would be learning with this weekend. We spent what seemed like thirty seconds learning how to cut glass with the different styles of glass cutters, and then off we went!

We were each given a 1/2 pound bag of dichroic "scrap" glass, which were leftover pieces from whatever glass supplier Cheryl purchased them from. She showed us how to measure and cut a straight line (which I never did figure out!), and told us that for our first pieces, we should just do a single layer, meaning, a base of opaque or transluscent glass, a piece of dichroic or two in the middle, and a clear cap on top. Half of the fun was sorting through all the colors and patterns and textures of the glass to come up with different designs. We put our first attempts onto small ceramic brick shelves covered in special ceramic fiber paper, and into the kilns they went! When they came out two hours later, we were shocked - not only were they all beautiful, but they looked almost NOTHING like what we had put into the kiln two hours ago! Hahahaa!

This photo shows all the different cabs I made this weekend. Other students embedded fine silver wire into their cabs to use as earrings or glued bails on for use as pendants, but I left mine as cabochons so that I can embroider around them to make bracelets and pendants.

The second day was just as good as the first, except that we had to go home at the end of it!

For breakfast, another gourmet dish at the Quail Hollow Inn - this time it was French toast with orange zest cooked in honey, with maple syrup that, as Bob said, "kept us bouncing all day"! When we got to Fletcher Farm School, Cheryl had just finished loading up the kilns with the last of the pieces to be fused from yesterday. We worked on learning finishing techniques, which included using a glass grinder to sand down and straighten the edges a bit, how to cut a backing out of glass, and how to make a hole or include a wire finding into our piece. We all totally loved using the grinder - it was completely mesmerizing to hold our little pieces of glass up to the grinding wheel and watch them get smooth and straight! Then we would either firepolish them or fuse them again with a backing to create a hole for stringing or attaching to a piece of jewelry.

When we were finished, Cheryl handed out a little certificate that stated that we had each completed fourteen hours of class in fusing dichroic glass. I laughed and told everyone that the sad part was that I would probably get more use out of this certificate than I would out of my four-year college degree! At least I got a laugh out of everyone...

It was such a downer to have to get up this morning and go back to work! But this evening, I'll sit down and look at the Delphi Glass website and figure out what I need to buy to start making these lovely little gems here at home. I can't wait for my next show at the Lake Placid Library - I hope to have a whole slew of these made into jewelry and ready for sale!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Let it snow, ha ha ha!

This is the view from our driveway facing the road. Note the 2' walls of snow that we created with the snowblower so that we could get the cars in and out! Hahahaa!! Sometimes I really love living in the North Country - like last night when it was still snowing an inch an hour, and we took Moose outside in the yard to watch the snow and listen to it hitting the power lines and shrubs...

So, no way was I going into Lake Placid yesterday during that blizzard, and I didn't make it in today either, since by the time that the roads were semi-passable (read: still snow-covered), I was (unsuccessfully) fighting a killer migraine. Oh, well, life in the Adirondacks...

Well, the other day I received my notification that Metis was accepted by the Mountain Lake PBS Arts Auction for April! My excitement was dampened with a bit of sadness at the thought that I will have to part with her, but I feel better knowing that whoever wins her in the auction will give her a good home. I am so excited to be a part of this!

And, my friend Mary Jane and I will be traveling to Vermont the weekend of the 23rd to take a class at the Fletcher Farm School of Fine Crafts in dichroic glass fusing! That should be a fun weekend. We get to spend two whole days melting glass, and then stay in a beautiful Victorian bed and breakfast. Wow. This is going to just be sooooo cool - and then once I know how to make these beautiful dichroic glass cabochons, who knows what my art will start looking like?

Speaking of my art, I have started on a disturbing trend... During the month of January, I found myself cranking out pieces like crazy, and I really did manage to get a lot of work done and posted on the website. But now that I am working on pieces for the Bead and Button Show and some new projects for Beadwork magazine, I find that I get to a certain point in a piece and then get stuck. I managed to bezel and connect all the labradorite cabs for one piece, only to get stuck on the strap. (And this after I managed to make two twisted herringbone tubes for the strap which took me close to 16 hours!!!) And then I embroidered and backed a brass collar from Designer's Findings with moonstone, mother of pearl and opal chips, only to find that I am completely stumped when I sit down to fringe it. And then there's the beautiful swirly brown piece I started last August when I went to the city with Min Ping and Min Yee and bought those funky tiger's eye rectangles - I am a mere twelve 2" rows of bead embroidery away from backing and fringing the piece, but every time I sit down to work on it, I'm stuck. I finally forced myself to sit down and start "Her Name Was Bunny..." for the Bead and Button show, and I'm managing that nicely as long as I don't think too hard while I'm stitching... I think I need to watch "Kinky Boots" again or at least listen to the soundtrack to get my mind back on track. Does anybody else every get stuck creatively? What the heck do you do to get unstuck?

Well, I hope everybody has gotten shoveled out by now, and I also hope that everyone stays warm during the deep freeze this weekend!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"An Inconvenient Truth"

Tom and I just watched this movie this evening, literally, we shut the DVD player off about fifteen minutes ago, and I was so moved by that film, I have to write my thoughts down here, on my little soap box, while they are still fresh in my mind.

The first thing that I loved about that movie was that Al Gore hit the nail on the head when he said that we have a moral responsibility to take care of this planet and this issue. You can sit there and wrangle all day over the science behind it, and you could spend the next two hundred years debating the numbers behind it all, but really, we don't have time for that anymore. Whether we like it or not, our world is changing. I can see it here, in the Adirondacks, and we've only lived her for about ten years. This is not the same Adirondacks as it was when I moved here and we had our first snowstorm in October. This year, the temperature did not drop below zero until just this week. Eight years ago, we were sub-zero before Christmas. I found all the ice in and ice out information for Mirror Lake when I was going through some of the Historical Society's archival records the other day - thirty years ago, ice in was as early as the beginning of November. This year, in 2006-07, I don't think there's enough ice on Mirror Lake yet to support even a dog. (Two dogs actually broke through last week, according to the dog catcher.)

So, you can sit back and say, yeah, okay, we're in a warming trend, but so what, it'll just cool off again. Will it? Human beings are so changing the face of this planet to the extent that we just don't know if things will cool off again. How do we compensate for lost ecological niches? All of my reading back in college pointed towards the new ecological niches being filled by bacteria and viruses - small, simple organisms that can easily wipe out millions of us larger, more complex organisms. The ocean currents are changing. The polar bears could be extinct in twenty years. Twenty years. That's well within my lifetime. Imagine a child being born today who will grow up in a world without polar bears. (I think Coca Cola may have to find a new cartoon character for their Christmas advertising. Hope it's not an ebola virus.)

It all comes back to the things that I researched in high school. The rate of consumption in this country is staggering. And every one of us is at fault - my generation are the children of the baby boomers, who grew up with a lack of material goods. They gave us too much, and now, we expect "things". The problem with mindless consumption is just that - it's mindless. If we go out to the store, buy a plastic pre-packaged import from China, throw a card on it and give it to someone, well, what have we given them? What happened to the days when everything was made by hand, and the costs of things reflected that? If you needed something, you either made it yourself, or you paid for it.

The implications are so tangled, so vast, that when I start to trace all the route causes in my mind of the whole problem of mindless consumption, I start to get dizzy. (Or it could just be a cold coming on, I'll let you know in a few days.) But the other thing that Al Gore said that was right on the nose was this: we have the power to change these patterns. We have the power to stop what is happening. We have a CHOICE. It doesn't have to be like this.

I firmly believe that if more people were aware of what was going on and the relative simplicity of the solutions that the issue of global warming would be more of a non-issue. And I'm going to sound like some kind of bougeoius pig here, but I firmly believe that most of the problem rests with the oil and gas industry and the automobile makers. It's corporate America that is making the problem worse, and it is corporate America that has to back down. But how do you get the richest people in the world to give it all up? People are frightened. Fear is powerful. Powerful enough to make these people do everything they can to keep things the same. Change is frightening. But what is more frightening - the change to our global climate and the potential for the ultimate collapse of the world as we know it, or a change of our economy from an energy glutton to a more renewable energy economy?

Tom and I both know that we leave far less of a "footprint" on the world than the majority of people in our state. But that movie left me feeling like that's not enough. It really left me feeling like I have to sit down and think about what else I can do to get somebody else out there to sit down and think about what THEY can do to change the world, too.

There. Now that that's done, I'm going to put on my pajamas, sit in front of the wood fire with my dog, and then go to bed.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I do this every year. In January, try to come up with new goals and I look back at what I did (and didn't) accomplish the year before. So, my goals for 2007:

1. Enter four pieces of work in the Bead and Button Show
2. Submit a portfolio of work to The Guild
3. Apply to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Fine Craft Show
4. Submit photos to The Crafts Report for their Bead showcase issue
5. Work out an advertising budget and take out ads in The Crafts Report, Beadwork, and possibly Ornament or Bead and Button
6. Research high-end fine craft shows in NY, NJ, VT and NH for 2008.
7. Take as many classes as I can
8. Re-evaluate my business and marketing plans and update as necessary
9. Continue to create work - set goals for creating a certain number of neckpieces, bracelets, and earrings
10. Continue to evaluate and re-design marketing materials as needed
11. Continue to submit projects to teach at national and local shows
12. Continue mailings to retail galleries and individual customers to update them on upcoming shows and events
13. Find some time to sleep! (Ha!)

I think I did reasonably well in my goals for 2006. I managed to get my marketing materials printed (twice, grummble grummble), I did a mailing to over 200 galleries over the summer, and I managed to start a relationship with a small gallery in Lake Placid. And I think I finally got a handle on the whole photography thing, grummble grummble grummble, just in time to find out that I can now get a 7 megapixel camera for what I paid for my 4 megapixel camera two years ago. >SIGH<

I hope everybody who's reading this had a very happy holiday. A million times during those two weeks, I kept thinking I should add a post to the blog, but to tell the truth, I was so tired at the end of the day after spending time with my two nieces (ages 5 and 2 1/2), that I didn't even feel like switching on the computer. It was great, though. Kathy and Kevin and Kinsey and Kady came out just in time for Kinsey's 5th birthday, and then we got to spend Christmas Eve together, had the present-opening-frenzy on Christmas morning, and then got to spend New Year's Eve together drinking pink champagne and watching the Hee-Haw marathon on satellite t.v. (Really, the champagne helped!) We got to take Kinsey sledding at Angel and Eric's house, and Kathy, Kevin, Tom and I went to go see "Night at the Museum" on New Year's Eve. It all happened too fast. One minute they were here, and the next, we were packing up the van for their trip back to Albany and their flight back to Reno.

The photo of the bracelet is the bracelet I made for Kathy for Christmas. Actually, I started it for her birthday last year, and then got distracted with my day job and never got back to finishing it. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I thought, I've got to finish this for her, I know she wanted one! So, I just plugged away at it while watching my Netflix movies, and made sure that I took a few good photos before I gave it to her. It was so funny - Christmas morning, she opened her package from us, and saw that it was a box of echinacea tea. She laughed and said, gee, thanks, I know we've been sick, but... I told her to open the box to see what was inside of it and then explained that I had to use the tea box because it was the only box I could find that would fit the bracelet! Ha ha ha!

Sooo, let's see, what else is new. I submitted a piece to our local Mountain Lakes PBS station for their annual Arts Auction in April. I was amazed at how quickly she came together. I got the idea from an illustration in a book called "Living Wicca", and then when I saw this beautiful ceramic face by Diane Brieglieb sitting in my drawer, I thought that this was the way to work her up. The neckstrap, admittedly, was a bit of a nightmare. I didn't want to have a thin strap with such a dramatic focal pendant, but I didn't want to have a strap that took forever and would overpower the pendant. In the end, I kept thinking, okay, what's the second right answer? And I came up with it at four o clock in the morning as I was trying to get back to sleep. (Of course, when else do I come up with any decent ideas, right?) I took her to Mary Jane and got help taking pictures of her because I just knew that I wouldn't be able to do her justice. I named her Metis after a suggestion from my friend Ann to name her after one of the Greek or Roman muses. Metis was the muse of wise counsel, and I feel like that has a particular significance in my life right now as I try to figure out what path I am on and what path I want to take in the future.

Well, we're finally getting some snow, but unfortunately, it's turned into ice. I've got a million web updates to make, so I think I'm going to go off and try to get those done, and then post some new work later this week. Take care, everyone!