Monday, January 28, 2008


I spent the weekend cleaning my workroom. I have more glass and silver beads than I know what to do with. I can design for the next year without buying anything. If any of my bead suppliers are wondering why I haven't bought lately ..... that's why. And it's not like I've used up all the goods ones and only have ugly beads left .... I have some gorgeous beads that I just haven't worked with yet. I tend to be obsessive. When I get into something, I really get into it. I know some of you can relate. So I am only buying basic supplies until I reduce the inventory.

Below are a few pieces I finished up over the weekend. The first is a pendant from Mary Hettmansperger's workshop. The glass bead is by Michele Goldstein. Keep an eye on her website for her Valentine's update. The silver piece in front I split when hammering it in a doming block .... hammered it a little too hard. Finesse has never been my strong point .... but it seems to fit with the overall style of the piece so I decided to use it. I think I need to patina this with LOS bring out more detail in the silver. It's a bit flat.

I also finished up a bracelet. Beads by Robyn Knapp . I still need to hang some small dangle from the clasp. As soon as I get some more PMC...which is on it's way!!!...I want to make some mice charms to hang off the bracelets.

When I'm not using PMC...I love to use Thai silver in my pieces...and since my goal is to use up my inventory I will be using more Thai in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Generosity of the Human Spirit

I was searching for some information last night on Yahoo's Metal Clay Group and I decided to create an photo album there. So I posted a note to let people know and have them take a look at my work. Wow...these people rock!!! They are so supportive and complimentary. Many have come to take a look at my blog. It has taken me months to get 400 hits....not that it's a contest....but it is interesting to know that people are reading what you have to say. Today....I got 100+ hits.

I have to say one of the best things that I have done is getting involved with other artists. I go to the Bead and Button Show every year and I have met some wonderful people and have a group of friends that I always look forward to seeing each year. I also got involved with the local PMC chapter and I enjoy getting together with them each month. The support and encouragement that all these groups give is amazing. The generosity of the human spirit is priceless.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

That's Madame Secretary to you

OK. So at today's PMC guild meeting I became the secretary for our chapter. Wasn't planning on this....but it will be fun. It is a great group of artists. So many are going to the PMC Conference in July. Turns out I will probably go too. I only need to take 2 days off work. It is at Perdue University in Indiana so I can drive in. Mapquest says it takes 4.5 hours....which means I can probably make it in 3.5 hours :))

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yeah....I meant it to look like that

Here is a pic of the bead I made last week. When I took it out of the kiln it had this huge gash in it due to the presence of the cork core and that I didn't hold temp of the kiln at 800 degrees to burn it out thouroghly. What to do...what to do?? It was a heavy bead and I hated the fact that all the silver was wasted. So I took a bunch of the little clay balls that I had and filled the gash with them. It looks kinda little blood droplets coming out. I want to add a few smaller ones across the middle strip but I am totally out of clay. Time to get the credit card out and let it smolder a little. With the price of silver, PMC is getting more and more expensive. Here are a few more pics of pieces I've made recently.

I've finished reading The Thirteenth Tale. Good book. If you are looking for something to read...try this. It caught my attention right away and kept me going until the end. Haven't decided what to read next.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things to do...things to do

Busy week. Signed up for Bead & Button on Tuesday. I was actually a little nervous sitting at my computer waiting for the registration to open up. How stupid is that. But I got all the classes that I wanted....fusing and cold joining with Anne Mitchell, color on metal with Debra Weld, and rings with Susan Kazmer. My first 4 days are spent with my long lost twin...Cristina. I don't think these people will know what hit them. Imagine me in duplicate. I think we have to be the only two people to get chastised by Celie Fago in the middle of a PMC class. I left a full day open to shop in the exhibit hall and hopefully find some time to put ideas to paper while I am there. The week is such a whirlwind that it will be nice to have a day to do nothing. Every year I go back I know more and more people. The first 2 years I made Lou go with me so I wouldn't be alone. Now it would be difficult if he did go because all my time is spent in classes or the exhibit hall and with friends.

Went to dinner with Lou's daughter, Rachael, last night. She brought Matty along...our 18 month old grandson. He is sooo cute. Everyone in the restaurant was stopping over to see him. She is trying to break him of 18 months. He was playing with Lou and fell down on his butt. He looked up at Lou and said...."Fuck". It's hard not to laugh.

Did the business taxes tonight and trying to make my way through a pile of papers I have stacked up by my chair. Things I wanted to get to or read or things that I need to do. No wonder I am up to 2 in the morning. And to top it off I got the new Tool catalog from Rio today.'s like being a kid again and getting the toy catalog at Christmas time. I believe the term "Tool Whore" has been passed back and forth between Cris and I. I had to laugh because Mary Hettmansperger referred to herself as a book whore. I am one of those too. Tool whore, book whore, bead whore.....

I pulled a load of silver out of the kiln. Most of the pieces turned out nice. I was making hearts with faux rivets in them and they looked like I moved the faux rivets in a little bit and did make mice. They are really cute. I take some pics tomorrow. I made this really cool bead around a cork clay core. This was the one piece that I was really looking forward to seeing. Popped open the kiln to find that the bead had split open. Turns out that when firing around a solid core you need to ramp the kiln up slowly and hold at around 800 degrees for 20 minutes so the core has time to burn out prior to taking the temperature up. Who knew??? I found out by doing a search on the PMC group in Yahoo. Oh well. Shame though ... it's a heavy piece. I think I am going to line the split in the bead with tiny little balls of silver and refire....try to make it a design elements instead of a mistake. Oh Yeah...I meant for it to look like that.

How do you like this??

This is a Parisii stater ....translation...old French coin from around the 1st century BC. I've traced the design and I am going to try to transfer the image to PMC either by the tear-away technique or with a photopolymer plate. I have been searching the net for other ancient coin designs. I've found a few I like so I am going to do a small collection of pendants with these designs.

I found a couple of web sites that have some very cool transparency images that would work great in resin. The first is Crafy Individuals located in the UK. They have got a great collection of transparencies...what they call acetates....I love the vintage portraits. The other site is Tuscan Rose located in Texas.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Weekend...Mine, Mine, Mine

I have nothing planned for the weekend. I love weekends like this...filled with opportunities. I got my hair cut today. I had Joanne cut the back short and angle down to longer in the front. It's short enough in the back to spike it up. Then Jennifer came over to drop off some Arbonne, which is a really great skin care line. I was having problems with some nasty breakouts....I'm 50 and I have acne...what's up with that. The Arbonne system that I am using has done a great job of clearing it up.

Lou and I went out to Border's in the I don't have enough books. I picked up Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. It was written over 60 years ago. I saw the movie with Joan Fontaine and Sir Lawrence Olivier a while back. It was Alfred Hitchcock's first American film. The book was on sale for $3 so I bought it. I also picked up Blasphemy. It's a new book by Douglas Preston....sci-fi vs. religion.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working with my PMC. I only had 1 package left so I am using it up before I order some more. I cringe at the thought. The price of silver just keeps going up and PMC has gone up $14 per package since I started working with it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weekend Workshop

There's a new teacher on my Favorite's List.....Mary Hettmansperger. Our PMC guild had a weekend metals workshop with her. GREAT CLASS...GREAT TEACHER!!! We hammered, cut, punched, drilled, embossed, textured, torched and twined copper sheet metal. We also combined it with PMC and fired it. Half way through today's class I was exhausted.

I took my splint off before class....good thing...with my clumsiness this week I would have probably caught it on fire. I ended up hitting my thumb 3 times with the hammer. I finally realized I should hold the small pieces with a pair of pliers while hammering...DUH.

Mary with Wendy at the torch

Vanessa, Brenda, Deb and Jen...all hard at work on their projects.

Colleen (VP), Cathy (Pres), and Mary Ann

Mary with Deb. Dulcie and Jan in the background.

The pic sucks...but here are some of my projects....they all need to be finished. Upper left and lower right we sandwiched extruded PMC between sheets of copper. Upper right and lower left are PMC and copper combined and fired. The other pieces are just some experiments with copper and color. I was amazed at the colors that you could get from copper. I think that was my favorite part....pulling the copper from the torch and watching the color spread across the piece.

Check out Mary's website. She is talented in so many things. Her gourds, baskets and weavings are amazing. And she is very nice and has a great sense of humor. The weekend was a blast. Too bad I have to go back to work tomorrow. All I want to do is stay home and work with the new techniques.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I seem to be pointing at everything today

When I close my hand I point the way, or point at someone, or point at the ceiling.

I cut my hand last night while doing the dishes. There was a broken glass that I didn't know about and as I stuck my hand into it....I jammed the broken edge into my hand. The cut itself is small...less than 1 inch long...but it was deep. It looked like the guts were coming out. I just bandaged it up and continue my housework. At work today I had one of my doc friends in the research institute look at it. He suggested I get stiches. So I was off to the ER...luckily it is just across the street from my office. My Doogie Houser doctor said that they don't stitch a certain period of 6-8 hours. The risk of infection is greater to close up the wound at this point. So he put some steri strips on the wound because it keeps popping open when I bend my finger and we both agreed that a splint would help. In comes my Belgian male nurse to put the splint on. He started teasing me and suggested that the next time I decide to cut myself I do it in a place that is more convenient for him to splint. We decided that since I wasn't going to be able to use my hand that he was going to be my assistant...but I'd have to get him a blackberry. So he wrapped me up and I look like I cut my finger off. All this for a 1 inch cut.

The worst part of it is that I have a weekend workshop on metals. Should be fun to try to cut, hammer and file.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

One of the things that both Lou and I agree on is 2007 just flew by. Last night we went to dinner with Lou's son and his wife...Jason and Megaly... possibly the cutest couple I know...

and Lou's golf buddy and wife...Gene and Barbara....definetely the nicest couple I know. Plus Gene has the honor of being named Lou's second wife since he spends more time with Gene during golf season than he does with me.

And Lou and I....he just loves it when I squish his head into mine. I don't remember tugging on him this hard...but it's not unusual for me to get him in a headlock.

We went to Farenheit in Tremont. The food was amazing...fried goat cheese salad with a sour cherry tapanade. Steak over a gruyere and fontina cheese lasagne with a wine sauce. It was wonderful. It was an early seating so we went to dinner at 6pm and we were home by 9pm. I suggested we might stop at my brother's party...but then Lou reminded me that we weren't invited. So we went home and watched a movie with the kids. They left before midnight to go to church. Lou and I struggled to stay up ....we are getting old. He crashed at midnight and then I stayed up until 2AM reading The Thirteenth Tale. It's a mystery / ghost story.

Such a cold, blustery and snowy day today. The weather forcast is for snow through the week and to warm up on the weekend. I hope so. I have a metals workshop at the Chagrin Falls Art Center with Mary Hettsmansperger. I don't want to miss it because I can't get there. I took a twining class from her at B&B last year. It was a great class and she's a fun teacher. I even go there? I make them and never keep them...but here goes.

This year I want to devote more time to my jewelry. I am in this terrible rut of coming home exhausted, sitting in front of the TV and not doing anything until it's time for bed...which is usually 1-2AM. So the key to spending more time on jewelry is to get more sleep during the week, break away from the TV and spend my time at my bench.

I want to eat healthier. Another part of my rut is eating too much fast food. On the way home I can't even imagine coming home to cook, so the car just pulls into the drive thru. I'm going to have to find some quick and easy recipies. If you have any....forward them to me. And hopefully eating healthier will lead to some weight loss.

So weight loss makes the list. Along with eating healther I need to start an exercise program. I pulled a schedule for walking off the internet. I need to work up to a full workout. This one starts with 10-15 minutes a day and builds you up to 30 minutes in a month and goes up from there. Cleveland Clinic is so large and has a number of skyways. I need to take a break during the day and walk. I get antsy at 3PM anyway so that would be a good time to take a break.

Spring clean my life. Get rid of things that I don't need (garage sale time), stop doing activites that don't contribute to the goals (I think I might have to quit my that's going to happen), and stop associating with people who suck the energy out of my life.

Happy New Year. I hope it will be a good one.