Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

In honor of my favorite holiday I am posting a picture from The Great Glass Pumpkin Patch in Palo Alto, CA. The annual event benefits the Bay Area Glass Institute and the Palo Alto Art Center. What could be better than glass AND pumpkins! My favorite material and my favorite inanimate object.

In addition, I just opened two new online stores for the holidays.

Stroll in and take a look.


Friday, July 9, 2010

White Squirrels and such

I guess it is nature week for me. I just posted white squirrel and acorn pendants in my etsy stores. I made these pendants for the Fourth of July festivities in lovely Brevard, North Carolina, reknown for its adorable white squirrels.

All is well that ends well

My husband and I were quite tickled a couple of weeks ago when a pair of Carolina wrens started building a nest in a squirrel-ravaged bird house on the deck by our kitchen window. (Needless to say, the INDOOR cats were also tickled to have good viewing perches.)

On Thursday, July 1, I finally saw three downy heads bobbling in the nest while the parents were foraging. We went away for the holiday weekend, and when we returned Sunday the three chicks had started to become quite vocal about feedings but were still mostly down. Russell insisted I was annoying the parents with my constant peeks, but fortunately wrens are pretty tolerant.

I grew quite alarmed when I heard the weather forecast for this week. I read that baby wrens often succumb to heat above 90 degrees and the weather reporters were predicting 100+ temperatures. Our deck is particularly sunny and hot so I rigged up sheets across the trellis Tuesday morning to create some shade. I was really worried because the babies appeared to be only about 9-10 days old and not yet ready to fledge.

When I got home late Tuesday night after a high of 101 degrees, I checked but couldn't see any activity at the nest. Wednesday morning it was quite clear that the babies were gone. I had read that the parents will remove dead babies from the nest and feared the worst.

Needless to say, we were both quite sad.

Thursday evening I noticed a couple of adult wrens foraging for bugs in a shady area about 75 feet from the deck. I could have sworn one of the them grabbed a worm out of some bark and took it up to a low branch. I then saw a smaller bird preening itself nearby. When the bird started to fluff out its wings, I saw that it was still quite downy and realized it must be one of the chicks.

Friday morning I went to check on the situation and found a clump of chicks huddling in a bush. All three seemed fine, preening and peeping. Then a couple more chicks hopped in from another part of the bush. I left when the parents started squawking at me but not before I snapped a few pictures. If you look carefully, you can see all five babies in the picture to the left.

I am so impressed that the parents were able to relocate this brood of five when the chicks are not yet flying. The group must have hopped over to this safe new home. The parents continue to be extremely attentive so I am sure the family will be fine.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I won the CGGE challenge! Check it out

Now I need to get back to work because Artplosure is just five days away.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April CGGE Challenge

Please help me get some free publicity and vote for my Tropical Blooms bracelet in the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy Challenge. The theme for April is "Spring is in the Air" and voting ends midnight 4/28.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Virginia Hot Glass Festival

I am busy getting ready for the Virginia Hot Glass Festival this weekend, April 24-25, at Sunspots Studio in Staunton, Virginia. It is my favorite show in my favorite place- Virginia's spectacular Shenandoah Valley.

Three floors of an old warehouse full of artists selling glass and giving demonstrations of their techniques. It is definitely worth the drive. You can check out the website:

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Show of 2010

My first show of 2010 is tomorrow at Ornamentea in downtown Raleigh. Mention you saw this ad and get 10% off purchases. To see who will be there, check out the website at


I know I promised to blog more faithfully, but I have been recovering from our Belize adventure a couple of weeks ago. My husband Russell and I had such an amazing time that I thought I would give you an abbreviated travelogue.

We have been interested in Maya culture for the past 15 years so we bypassed the obvious attraction of the Belizean beaches and headed straight to the town of San Ignacio close to the Guatemala border in the Cayo district. The town is in the valley of the Macal River and is bordered by the Maya Mountains.

Here is a view of the valley town from our balcony.

The hotel is on the highest hill in the town right next to an early Maya citadel. After walking up the gravel road from the town just ONE time in 104 degree heat, I understood why it was such a defensible place for a settlement. Here is one of the many small temples in the lush site called Cahal Pech.

We have made several unsucessful attempts to visit Tikal in Guatemala. My primary purpose for this trip was to get there through the back door, so to speak. The only delay we encountered this time was a teacher's strike that blocked up the border for a couple of days. It was a very pleasant group of strikers.

Tikal is amazing. The site is protected jungle and has an abundance of wildlife. Here is one of the furry friends we made. I was especially taken with the huge Ceiba tree, which is the national tree of Guatemala and has a significant role in Maya cosmology. The ancient Maya of Central America believed that a great Ceiba tree stood at the center of the earth, connecting the terrestrial world to the spirit-world above.

But we came to Tikal to see the magnificent ruins. Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of a number of pyramids via wooden stairways of varying steepness. The climb was worth the effort due to the views,
but my ankles were swollen for a week after a few days of this.

The next day we went to the Maya site called Caracol with a guide who is studying traditional Maya herbal medicine. This site is only around 50 miles from San Ignacio, but the trip there took three hours due to the terrible condition of the road AND the van. Our guide provided a lot of interesting information about current Maya beliefs and was excellent at spotting wildlife. Here are two of a group of five scarlet macaws we saw.

The remoteness of the site of Caracol makes it intriguing and very un-touristy. This was the beginning of the dry season and the archeological team from the University of Central Florida had just set up camp for the excavation season. Here are a few shots of Caracol, including Russell inspecting bromeliads growing on the roots of the ubiquitous Ceiba trees.

On the way back to town we stopped at the Rio Frio Cave and Rio On Falls. Here is a picture of some visitors enjoying the cave. When we were leaving Rio On, our transmission blew out and Russell was certain we would be stranded in the jungle with only two hours before dark. Then out of the blue Super Allison, a fearless pet-sitter from the DC area, drove up and agreed to carry us back to town. Allison, if you are out there, please email me!

The next day we took a local bus to a nearby site called Xunantunich, and it was our favorite place of all. The site is small and must be approached by a hand-cranked ferry, but it is very park-like and full of butterflies . We were also excited because we finally spotted a howler monkey. When Russell was reviewing the pictures, he noticed that the little guy had a friend located to the far right of the frame.

The flight back home the next day was annoying but eventful. (Our plane had been struck by lightning on the way down.) We were glad to be home with our animals, but we left a little of our hearts with the friendly people we encountered in San Ignacio.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Some New Glass

I thought I would show you what my sandblasted glass looks like at the beginning of the process when I stack pieces of glass 3-4 layers deep. The first shot is of the larger pendants. The second photo is bars of earrings and small pendants.

After the glue is set, I fire them and then they are ready to slice with the tile saw.

I was finally able to dig the tile saw out of the snow and cut the new glass this week. I took this picture after I had used it. Still a lot of snow left.

After the bars are cut into pieces, they undergo grinding, two more firings, and sandblasting.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When it rains, it pours

This year I should say "when it snows, it pours". The weekly snows and bitter cold (for North Carolina) have inhibited my glass production. Most of my glass work is done outside or in unheated spaces so it has been difficult to experiment as much as I like to do this time of year before the show season starts.

At first I was able to work a little on glass beads which are made on a torch in my garage until the oxygen concentrator I use for fuel quit. This production interruption gave me a little time to take and edit pictures hence the multiple posts.

So here we go with pics of the snow. This is the same location I showed in my first blog- only four months later. I decided not to put away the Christmas snowman until the snows stop, but the flamingo is getting a little cold.

The first snow was so much fun because I didn't have to go to work. It was like being a kid again. I made beads while my dear husband trudged to the store to get supplies for making his famous brunswick stew. It was the best weekend I have had in years!

When the roads improved a little, we were able to drive around near the house and take in the snowy wonderland.

I begin again

I fully intended to start a weekly blog back in November, but it was my first holiday season with Etsy and I did not know what I was getting into. With the activity there and at my holiday craft shows, I hardly had time to make glass much less work on the computer.

To catch up, I will start with Christmas. I really love holidays because I love to decorate. I believe life is a stage and demands a backdrop. I was disappointed that I had no company this year because my tree was the prettiest ever. Therefore I will share a few shots with you.

Each year I alter my color scheme. This year I added a deeper teal to my collection of ivory, gold, and pale aqua ornaments..
I thought they were even so beautiful when I dismantled the tree that I would have left them on the table were it not for my little "helper" Tobey.

It was his first Christmas, and although he had fun playing soccer with a few Christmas balls I was very relieved that he never tried to climb the tree.