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Have Journal, Will Travel

My super awesome husband gave me the best Christmas gift ever-a set of tickets to see the play Waiting for Godot. It wasn't just the tickets though. It was that the play stars Patrick Stewart, who I have had a crush on for at least 15 years. And it wasn't totally about Patrick Stewart either. Waiting for Godot is playing in LONDON. Not London, Kentucky (although I am sure it is a lovely place...) but London as in England, as in across the ocean, as in I get to go on a super cool vacation with the best husband in the world.My friend Kim told me about a wonderful bookbinder named Kristen Crane that makes custom travel journals and has a shop on Etsy. Because we will spend half our time in London and the other half in and around Dublin, Ireland, I had her create a special travel journal for me.Here is the back cover showing a map of England with London in a place of prominence:Here is the front cover showing Ireland:Once I finally decided what I wanted, Kristen completed the journal very quickly. I got it today and it is absolutely gorgeous! The quality is better than anything store bought and it is handmade and personalized especially for my trip. The photos do not even come close to showing how stunning this journal is!If you are traveling, you NEED to get one of these from Kristen! Just convo her to have her make you something special. You will NOT regret it.

This Class Rocks!

We have completed day one of the two day class with Kerri Fuhr. She couldn't be any nicer, or have a more positive outlook. It is so refreshing to hear someone with a positive outlook on lampwork beads and artists in relation to the economy the world is currently dealing with. 
Not only did she teach us her incredible tapestry beads, but she gave us a bonus belly dancing lesson in the middle of the day. I didn't take any pictures of that...but if I did I would wait to post them until AFTER she teaches her dragonfly bead and how to translate anything into glass during tomorrow's class ;-) 
Stephanie Ann is the TA and she should be teaching too. Holy crap she makes AWESOME beads too! I will just have to purchase a bead from each of these talented and wonderful ladies. If only picking a favorite wasn't so difficult...

New Focal and a Question

Check out this new Nightmare Insomnia Series bead! It's been dubbed Disco Ball because that's all that comes to mind when I look at it even though it looks nothing like a disco ball. There is nothing subtle about the sparkly dichro in this one! It's been listed in my etsy shop. This next bead has me torn and I would love opinions about it. Originally I made it to send to Beads of Courage. However, my attempt at making a prettier purple by encasing periwinkle backfired and the entire heart looks more blue than purple.So, here's the question. Do I send it anyway? Is it "close enough" to purple? Or do I sell it and donate the proceeds? Of course, if someone wanted to save me the decision and tell me they wanted to buy it right now to help out those children going through cancer treatments...Otherwise, I'd love to hear opinions on this.
Maybe you have noticed the new widget to the right? My blog is now listed in the blogher directory. It's a cool place-go check it out!
I will be attending a Kerri Fuhr class this weekend and I couldn't be more excited! I will try to remember the camera and take some class shots to share.

Baby Shower Fun!

A fun baby shower? How is that POSSIBLE? I mean, all those silly games the pregnant mom-to-be and guests are forced to play...UGH! However, I hosted a baby shower this past Saturday and it was so FUN because we each made one (or more) onesies for the baby.I wish I could claim the idea of having a onesie making party, but alas, I did not. I saw the idea on The Naughty Secretary, which is one of my favorite blogs to read. Not only did her blog give me this great idea, but because I left a comment about doing this for my sister in law, she sent me a package of Crafty Chica fabric markers! How cool is that? Thank you Jennifer Perkins (aka the Naughty Secretary)!Here is the pile of onesies before everyone arrived. A couple days before the party, my husband, kids, niece and I each made a onesie for use as "samples" for the party. I had purchased a bunch of stencils, paint, and some extra markers for a variety of colors and size tips. I thought there would be leftover onesies after the party (I bought a TON of them in 4 different sizes!) However, people had so much fun painting, some did more than one and there were no more onesies left for me to do "The Alien" (one of munchkin's nicknames in utero).
Decorations were kept simple. A plastic baby shower themed table cover to protect my table from stray paint, a diaper cake that my husband's aunt and I whipped together in about 15 minutes, and a gorgeous diaper wreath made by my other sister-in-law Melissa. Melissa also created these awesome party favors with Starbucks chocolate bars. Apparently she recruited my brother to help her with them. They turned out so CUTE and made a huge impact.
As you can see, we had all ages participate in making onesies. Each guest was instructed to "sign" the onesie somewhere so that Rebecca (the mom) could make a memory quilt out of them once the baby has outgrown all of them.
Rebecca even got in on the action and used a 12 month sized onesie to make a 1st birthday outfit for her little munchkin.
Here's a photo of most of them drying on the rack. The kid has enough custom made onesies that he won't need any other clothes for the first year!

Show Recovery Period is Over (sort of...)

Has is really been a week since my last blog? Time really flies when you are totally stressed out!The Indiana Art Fair was a huge success. The museum has gobs of helpers for assistance from car to booth and then at the end from booth to car. It was such luxury to have that kind of help-and with smiles too! One of the gentlemen that helped me unload my car when I set up Friday came back to see it set up and chat with me on Saturday.There was also a reception for the Indiana Artisans Saturday evening that was wonderful. We got to chat, eat yummy cheesecake, and see the amazing job the museum did with the Off The Walls Exhibit (that will be running until the middle of June). What an incredibly talented and diverse group!I also have to give a well deserved shout-out to my friends Jennifer and Ron. They let me and my 7 year old daughter crash at their house, fed us, watched my daughter while I was gone most of the weekend, AND Jen helped me at my booth most of Saturday and then showed up at the end of the show Sunday to help me tear down and pack up.My booth was situated between two of my ISLAGA buddies: Julie Miller and Fran Carrico (website coming soon!). They both do beautiful work and made the slow traffic times pass more quickly. We probably did a little too much chatting and laughing though...I was asked by a couple friends and family if I was concerned about having a booth between two other lampworkers. I can honestly say that no, I was not, for a couple reasons. First is that I am just as happy for their success as I would be for my own. My ISLAGA peeps are the best group of people you could ever know and I cheer them on every chance I can.Second is that all three of us have very different styles. In our small corner of the art fair, there should have theoretically been something for everyone.Third is we had so much more fun being together than if we had been seperate.I also got to meet a few other artists located near our booths. Andy Chen does beautiful photography and gave me a candy wrapper to sell on ebay. I am totally getting rich from that thing.My booth was across from fellow Indiana Artisan Teri Barnett who does the coolest paintings. I also got to meet a couple Lafayette girls: Sara Vanderkleed and Terri Duncan and can hardly wait to visit their gallery called Artists' Own when I am in Lafayette in a couple weeks for a class.I bought a painting from Terri Duncan at the art fair while she was packing up. It has a music theme and vibrant colors. Perfect for our great room that has the baby grand. I will post a photo of it once DH hangs it (or sooner if it takes too long!)Here's a photo of my booth. Sadly, I noticed the drooping skirt as I was bringing the camera down from my face. I fixed it then forgot to retake the picture. Oh well. I never can remember to take good photos of my booths.

I need to do some serious revamping of the set-up if I am going to continue to do shows. I am way too short for this set-up and can barely see people when I am standing behind the table. Most of the display props were bought clearanced at various stores because I didn't want to spend lots of money if I decided not to continue doing shows.

Nightmare Insomnia's Aura

A new Nightmare Insomnia bead finished at 2:30 am and cleaned and photographed a few minutes ago. As usual, the plan is for this guy to accompany me to the Indiana Art Fair next weekend.

Favorite Party Recipe

Tonight we have a party to go to. This isn't just any party, but a party to celebrate the "end of the road" for cub scouts. My 10 year old "baby" is having his final den meeting as a cub scout and as a Webelos II before they have their Arrow of Light Ceremony at the Blue and Gold Banquet next week. I couldn't be any more proud of him. He has his sights set on attending his first boy scout meeting ASAP and earning his Eagle Scout by 15. What an accomplishment that would be! But for now, I am feeling a little sad (and on the verge of tearing up-that is SO not me!) that he's getting so grown up.Here is a photo of him before his very first den meeting as a Tiger Cub in 1st grade about 4 1/2 years ago:An important end of the road party requires good food. So I made one of my very favorites and it is so quick, easy and unbelievably delicious. You really want to make the entire recipe because it goes FAST.Grape Salad2 lbs. green seedless grapes2 lbs. red seedless grapes8 oz. sour cream8 oz. cream cheese-softened1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used Splenda)1-2 tsp. vanilla extractTopping Ingredients (optional)1 c. brown sugar, packed, to taste1 c. crushed pecans, to taste1. wash and stem grapes and set aside in large bowl2. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla3. Stir mixture into grapes4. For topping: combine brown sugar and crushed pecans5. Sprinkle over top of grapes6. Chill overnight7. ENJOY!

New Fun and Funky Neck piece

Untitled as of yet:This has been sitting on my bench since before Christmas because I wasn't happy with the direction it had taken. The center portion from the bead up to the 1st set of rings was already in my head when I started. It was the rest that was kind of fuzzy to me. I added a hand dyed silk ribbon to each ring and although it didn't look "bad", it wasn't "right". So there it sat, forlornly on my bench until last night I took the ribbon off, and decided it would get finished. Here is what I came up with. This photo shows a close-up of the new portion (except the 2 rings in the bottom of the photo. Those were part of the original design).This is a close-up of the section I had already sketched out (during my son's band concert...shhh! Don't tell him I was busy drawing up design ideas instead of paying attention to all ther other bands!). There are 2 things I love about this.First is that it feels "dangerous" because the wire holding the bead is wrapped precariously around the two straight wires and the only thing keeping that bead on there is that those wires were hammered a little flat at the ends. Yes, I know I have revealed a very sad secret about myself by telling you that info... My life is so pathetically boring that I feel a bead depending on a wire being hammered flat is considered living on the edge.
But WAIT there's more! That bead spins freely! I love it when they spin freely like that. It means it's time to play with your jewelry! It adds motion and interest and when the bead is not adorned with caps and tons of wire wrapping, the bead becomes the focal point and not part of an ensemble.
I am hoping to make a couple more of these beads for some matching earrings and they will accompany me to the art show.

Terra Discs

Lampwork discs made with my ever dwindling stash of Terra by DoubleHelix Glassworks. It will be a sad sad day when my last bit is gone because word is it will never be recreated. I better make something for myself with this magical glass before my supply vanishes. Some of these discs will be made into earrings for the art fair. The rest will go into a bracelet or necklace or both. What do YOU think I should do with them?

The interesting thing about these discs is they are all more rainbow looking on one side, and the other side of every single one of them is heavier in the blue/purple range. I absolutely adore Terra.

Not all it "cracked" up to be

I had one of "those" days a couple days ago. I finally had time to sit down and make a few beads and I couldn't make a nicely shaped bead to save my life. With a show looming in 2 weeks, I don't have time for one of "those" days.However, I decided to play with a silver glass color I had never played with before. Even though the beads technically left a lot to be desired, the color combo I used with the glass and the reaction of the glass itself were nothing short of spectacular. Even though I knew these beads were not going to be offered for sale, I could use them for myself or a family member and I was super excited to try the combo again when I could actually get my hands to shape a proper bead.Imagine my surprise when this greeted me from the kiln the next morning:Do you see all those cracks? Everywhere? If you are a lampworker, you will know these kind of cracks are a result of incompatibility. If the cracking were thermal cracks (the bead cooled too quickly and did not anneal properly), there would be just one crack on each side of the bead and it would simply split in half.After posting a question about this particular glass color on Lampwork Etc. to see if anybody else has had this happen with this particular silver glass, the answer was yes and that it may not even be compatible with itself (meaning you can't even make small spacers with it because they will crack too). Bummer. Silver glass is very expensive and this particular batch appears to be worthless. I made a couple spacers today so we'll see what happens with those.
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