Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday Woof

I've really been enjoying comments from all of you on the glass escapade. Today, I'm sharing just a few of the photos I took of the dogs on Saturday morning before the glass class.

Any time Gus is looking intently into the distance or up, just know there is a squirrel in the hickory tree making merry with the hickory nuts. Except for this first one, that's when the chain saws started cleaning up downed trees.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Glass Class, befores and afters

Before I show the afters from yesterday, a word about today's project: circles. Take a look at the material below. Do you see a circle occurring naturally? No. The circle project went well for the rest of the class, but I seemed to be circle challenged. My clear layer was about 1/4" larger than my colored layer, and that was after I asked for help cutting from the instructor. So absorbed in this circle business was I that I forgot to take pictures of the projects around me. Lea made a beautiful bowl with a clear layer, a layer of clear and white opaque streaky glass and then blue and aqua squares around the outer edge.

Mine was clear layer, pimento red layer and then orange/coral streaky glass and yellow glass squares. I'm crossing my fingers ;) The glass is then fuse fired or tack fired. Once that is done, the piece is placed on the mold you chose and slump fired. That's about what it sounds like: you fire it to a temp and for a long enough time for the glass to soften and take on the shape of the mold. Mine is a 9 5/8" bowl that I made a little smaller at 8.5".

The second project of the day was a window hanging. The base was clear glass and then you filled in your design with colored glass from the scrap boxes. Below is Signe, hard at work.

Lea was making a floral scene to hang in her bathroom window. See the green at the bottom and the red flower petals and blue sky?

And here's mine. Think abstract nature scene: yellow sun, the many shades of blue that the sky is, a tree, white wispy clouds and a strip of green grass at the bottom. The clear gap on the lower half got filled in with darker blues - you know, the way the sky is darker at the edges. I have it set to be tack fired, which means everything retains it's shape, but may be it should be fuse fired where everything mushes together. Thoughts?

Coasters you saw yesterday before they are tack fired:

Coasters after tack firing - the single below matches the lower right above:

Everything retained it's shape but was heated enough to anneal (fancy word for bond, I think). I like the coasters. I need to find some little rubber feet. Oh, and don't worry about the white smudge on the one below. It's dust from the kiln that I haven't wiped off.

Here's my pendant before. You take a clear glass base and add two support strips top and bottom. Just under the top support strip, you place a thin strip of this fire fabric stuff. Then, a colored layer on top, it's aqua in my example. And then a piece of dichromatic (one color at 90 degrees and another color at 45 degrees) glass. This is fuse fired so that everything merges together into one piece.

Pendant after firing:

I hope I've encouraged you to go play with glass! I learned today that you can slump fire a wine bottle and they make a spoon rest shape, or a serving piece. The instructor said they have to be fired higher since they are generally blown glass. There's more to glass than meets the eye!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Glass Class, in which I get started

When Signe and I were driving back from the Charlotte, she invited me to go to a glass workshop she'd learned about. It was a 2 day workshop and you got to make coasters, a pendant, a bowl and a window hanging.

We signed up.

Below is the classroom.

Supplies line the walls. Supplies of any sort make me happy, but supplies with color make me really happy.

We learned about the types of glass, that all the glass one uses for a piece must have the same COE so that they melt and cool at the same rates, the various forms glass comes in and to pick your hand up and move it on a piece of glass, never slide your hand along an edge. Makes you cringe just to think of it, yes? We learned about all the types of cutters and when to use them. All the while, our instructor, Jen, was demonstrating and making it look easy.

Then it was time to practice on float glass - think scratch paper. Signe went first.

Then it was time to create our first project: coasters. We took an 8" x 8" square of glass and cut four 4" x 4" squares. Then we got to select one colored piece of glass, and were shown where the odds and ends were to select accent pieces.
I didn't realize it at the time, but Signe made coasters that used the colors in her blouse: deep blue and green.

The dark pieces below that appear black are a dark green with a metallic glitter like surface.

This is Lea. She said I could take her picture. Her friend was at the other table.
I like the colors she's using. See the amber family of colors next to her? Those belonged to Molly2. That Molly had to leave early to rescue a stranded teenager. Because we hadn't gotten enough rain in Atlanta, it was really raining hard and her child was stuck somewhere and needed her. She'll be back tomorrow. I like not being the only Molly in the class. Because I usually am. Usually the only Molly period.

On the end is Signe's masseuse. I call her Magic Fingers. She has on gloves because she can't risk her hands being cut because that's how she makes a living. My space is at the end of the table, lower left. I finished a bit sooner than the others because I was, well, more relaxed than the others about my design.

I kind of liked the edges not being perfectly aligned. Once we cut our pieces, we glued them to the clear glass squares. "Dots [of glue] not lots". And before we glued things down, we cleaned our glass - with vinegar, no less. Did you know plain white vinegar will remove Sharpie ink from glass? Believe it.

We left the coasters in the kiln, and will get to see the magic when we go back for part 2 tomorrow. We also made a pendant, which we will fire while we work tomorrow.

Can't wait to see how things turn out!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Name this Photo

Hi there! It's Friday! Can I get an Amen? Amen.

I shot this the same night I shared the ones earlier this week. I wanted to put this one up with a title, but I can't come up with one. Any suggestions? Karen, if you're reading, you have a way with words...I hope you make a suggestion. Sorrow? SSG? Marlene? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I'm ready for Fall, ya'll. Blue skies, brilliantly colored foliage. I'm ready.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Coming Together

Okay - so here's the project I've been working on. Until I had an illustration, I wasn't sure I could explain it.

First, you write 350 words worth of nouns that explain or illustrate you for each letter. The 350 is a target so that the text will fit in the template provided by the teacher.

Then you come up with two photos per letter that illustrate what you've written - doesn't have to be a literal match, but something that reminds you of what you wrote. In the example above, you can see that I don't have my two 3"x3" photos for A or B. Yet.

Then you print your text in the templates, print your alphabet blocks from the templates you customize by changing their color, cut out those plus the decorative paper, and hey,presto, you've got yourself an abridged encyclopedia of you!

Obviously, I have a bit to go to get completed, including the cover page. And there are some entries I'm replacing because I've thought of something better.
In other news, it's been raining forever in Atlanta. As opposed to last year in the draught, when it never rained in Atlanta. Trees are falling down, creeks are flooding (including one near my home) and roads are flooded. Folks were on the radio talking about their houses being under water. It's scary - a tree fell on my neighbor's house last night, but hopefully there's not much damage.
Take care out there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Gus and Midnight

Around midnight, I found myself wide awake and watching Practical Magic on Bravo. I was itching to take a photo. Luckily, a model was snoring on the floor.

I do not know why, but the sight of these crossed back feet on either dog is just adorable to me.

My, what big paws you have!

There was a moth that was fluttering around near the fireplace.

If I close my eyes, is that thing going to land on me?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I am traveling on a day trip today to join my brother and family for Nephew 2's safari park birthday. It has been raining forever here, and I couldn't roll another foot without new wiper blades.
So, I sucked it up and installed them myself between rainshowers this morning. Dry weather would have been better, but then, how could I have tested them for effectiveness?
As I type this, the rainshowers have started again. And I am pleased with myself for getting the wiper blades installed. Let's just hope the rain lets up long enough to get the dogs in the car to go to doggie daycare.
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blogging takes a Backseat

Lately blogging has taken a backseat to Overtime and another creative project I'm working on. Blogging began for me to have an outlet for photos and as a communication channel. I'll probably never be an 'author', but I like writing and it's one of those use it or lose it skills. I'm not nearly as good as I was years ago.

The project I was working on was a confidential one, by law, and as of yesterday, by law, I can talk about it. My company had a stock offering yesterday, and by all accounts it went well. We are pleased at the reception from the market.

That means I can get back on my project, which is very interesting to me as well as being a creative outlet. It's a project called Me:The Abridged Version and is based on Amy Krause Rosenthal's book. She wrote an encyclopedia formatted memoir or biography about herself. My project is a class thought out by a very inventive and creative designer named Cathy Zielske. I highly recommend this class.

And for one last happy note, the photo above is the first I've taken in weeks. It shows the color scheme for my project. I'm looking forward to returning to some semblance of normal in the next few days, and having a bit more free time.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 14, 2009

In the Chair

I can think of no worse place to be than the Chair.

My shoulders tighten and levitate up to my earlobes. My fingers grip the armrest, claw like. My toes curl. I feel my blood pumping through my veins. One leg crosses over the other.

When I become conscious of my body language, I am a human pretzel.

I take a breath to calm down, uncurl my toes, and loosen my grip on the armrest. It lasts for about 40 seconds.

It’s not without reason: my first root canal had to be done 3 times. I’m still not convinced it’s right, but you can bet I’m not saying anything until the pain is so excruciating that I can’t stand upright.

When I’m in the chair, inevitably I think about the dream I had in my thirties: I’m standing in front of the sink and my teeth fall in a graceful arc into the sink, plink, plink, plink.

I wonder if the family genes will catch up with me, after all these trips to the Dentist's Chair.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Vitamin D

Hey, there! I've been on a very intensive project at work that has involved some long hours and quick thinking. But I work with a great group of people, so we are getting it done. You know how every so often a project will come along that becomes a great team event because you have one shared objective? This is one. Today is a lull while another group catches up and we expect to gear back up tomorrow. As I type this my blackberry is going off, and it's 50/50 work or junk email.

I've just gotten back from the daily double (that's two goldens, two miles) and it felt so good! Warm in the sunshine, and pleasant in the shade. It's our habit now and we really miss it when something happens to interrupt our walks. Some of us handle it better than others, too ;)

A few more days and things will get back to what passes for normal around here. We are headed into my favorite season: Fall. I love the blue skies, brisk breeze and fall color.

Have a good weekend - and get outside, do something fun and soak up some vitamin D.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pearl Peacock, Cousin

Note:work has gotten crazy busy, so I'm using the writing-I use that term loosely-I'm doing for the other project...and I haven't had time to pick up a camera in two weeks. I hope to get back to it soon!

Every year in December, Sister, Aunt Foy, Grandmother, Rob and I walked to the bottom of Elm Street across from the Children’s Home. It was an event of some excitement, because it was Cousins Pearl’s Christmas Party. Cousin Pearl had been a Troy schoolteacher, and every year she threw a big Christmas party for the teachers she had worked with. I don’t remember what the adults ate, but we kids got butter-me-not (is too so a brand) biscuits with ham, and bottles of Coke. I do recall one year she had everyone sign their name in pencil on a tablecloth and she embroidered the signatures and used the tablecloth the next year. Cousin Pearl painted china, and every year gave each person a piece of her painted china. That party is a tradition I would like to establish, and was close to when I began doing a Christmas lunch for the assistants.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Here's another entry from my abridged encyclopedia:

Ugly, the good, the bad, the

Seems like a fitting title for habits, yes? Some are good, like checking the front door is locked before I go each morning, or walking the dogs two miles a day. Some are bad, like routinely eating more than a regular portion size. And some are ugly, like procrastination. Piles of procrastination sit around my house. Based on repetitive history, the most Herculean task I undertake on a routine basis is to get my tag renewed. The notice comes with ample time to get an emissions test and mail in the form with the check. I always put off getting the emissions test, always. So much so that if something needs to be repaired, there is no time before the tag is due. Then, I dawdle about getting it resolved. And finally, finally, I go downtown and get the tag. I believe that longest I went without renewing a tag was from my birthday in August to some time in November. The impetus was that I was planning to go to Troy for a visit, one presumes Thanksgiving but since all years run together, I am not certain. The past two years have been exceptions: I got my tag by my birthday. This year, I back to normal: I procrastinated.

See also Disney Mugs

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Project Entry

I'm working on a project that involves writing abbreviated encyclopedia entries about myself. At first, it was a daunting prospect, but now that I've gotten started, it's become fun. And, things are surfacing that I haven't thought about in years.

Popsicle, banana

My best friend in grade school* was Paige Lee Tompkins. She moved away at some point in grade school when her dad changed coaching jobs, but came back a few years later. When she came back, her mom helped her re-entry by buying me a birthday present and the two of them coming to visit. Later on, I recall visiting her and playing in the pool of their apartments (where they lived while having a house built). When we got out of the pool to go inside for Popsicles, we were running on the concrete walkway and my feet slipped out from under me and I landed on the back of my head. Never one to really want to draw attention to myself, when Paige ran off to get her mom, I got up and claimed I was fine when they returned. The funny thing is, I can almost hear the crack of my head on the concrete in my memory, but I don’t recall any pain. And we did get Popsicles – I think mine was banana.

*who was my age

Friday, September 4, 2009

Five Star Follies

It's been a long time since I've posted about my trip to Italy. As I recall, I left off just as we were getting to Florence.

We arrived at the edge of the old city amid a cloud of scooters. In our search for the hotel, we went in circles, down streets lined with more scooters, like this:

Why did we go in circles? Because the solid stone of the old buildings lining the narrow streets confused TomTom the faithful GPS that had gotten us all over Tuscany and Umbria. TomTom was released from his position shortly after the sidewalk driving incident, in which I was afraid I would need the number of the American Embassy. But I digress.

We finally found our hotel, the Hotel de la Ville. It's the only 5 star I believe I've stayed in, stateside or outside the states.

We checked in quickly because the time it took to locate Eurocar to turn in the car went a bit long. Did I mention driving across the sidewalk? Yes.

Well, we got back to the hotel and met our delightful guide (Pam found her recommended in a Rick Steve's book, and she was worth every euro and then some). That's a different story because of the incident in the cathedral - the one with the relic. Sacred relic.

We decided to refresh and then go have cocktails in the lounge. We went to the room - it was a 2 story like the one below - and by then it was getting dark outside. We tried to turn on the lights. We tried in every way imaginable. We tried the bedside lamps. We tried the bathroom light. We tried the upstairs lamps. We opened the door to the hall.

We admitted defeat and called the front desk.

But of course, you silly Americans - put the room key in the slot by the door.

Why didn't we think of that?

Finally we were ensconced in these very chairs with a glass of wine and some simple snacks.

It had been a good day.

The next day we started in the dining room having breakfast. With yummy Italian coffee. I don't know why, but I learned to love breakfast in Italy. Chocolate granola, maybe? The coffee? Oh, it must have been sunnier yolks in the boiled eggs. Or the shaved ham and salami. Anyway, for the first time ever, I heeded the "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" admonition.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Coffee Table

I've been in my house since 2005. Still I do not have a respectable coffee table. Once I saw this one on The Lettered Cottage, I became hopeful I could find a thrift store table and come up with something along these lines.

There must have been a run on coffee table material, because to date? No serviceable options.

Love the coffee table in the shot above. Love the art over the fireplace, for that matter. Back to coffee tables.

This is one from the old Shabby Chic site. It gives me ideas also. But see paragraph 2 above.

This coffee table? I swoon for this coffee table. And it works in a small space.
So, there you have it. The tour of coffee tables - do you have a favorite?
See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not Feeling It

Hi gang. We've just been through another round of layoffs at work. And while the folks who are let go have the most up hill battle, those of us who are left are reeling also. It's like losing family.

So, I'm showing a bathroom I really like above, because it has nothing to do with layoffs. Or the economy.

It does have beadboard.

Then there's this - isn't the glow warm and inviting?

I've had these photos saved forever, so I've lost the credits.

Thanks for stopping by today. Here's hoping for brighter days ahead.


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