Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guess What????

Cat butt!
I am so glad I can amuse myself!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Advice to Myself:

This is a mountain:

This is a molehill:

Do not confuse the two!!!!!
Please note: this advice is intended as a reminder to myself. Your mileage may vary. Ignore as desired.




a. The doctrine that reality is composed of many ultimate substances.
b. The belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.
c. A theory that reality consists, not of an organic whole, but of two or more independent material or spiritual entities.

"True pluralism..., is always universal pluralism, (or integral-aperspectival): you start with the commonalities and deep structures that unite human beings--we all suffer, and triumph, laugh and cry, feel pleasure and pain, wonder and remorse; we all have the capacity to form images, symbols, concepts, rules; we all have 208 bones, two kidneys, and one heart; we are all open to a Divine Ground, by whatever name. And then you add all the wonderful differences, surface structures, culturally constructed variants, and so on, that make various groups--and various individuals--all different, special, and unique. But if you start with the differences and the pluralism, and never make it to the universal, then you have only the aprespectival madness, ethnocentric revivals, regressive catastrophes."
Ken Wilber

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Spell for the Refreshment of the Spirit

Sometimes I wish I could visit the Magician's house on the island far from Narnia, and peek with Lucy into that magical book of spells. We could all use a spell for the refreshment of the spirit at times, don't you think?

Thankfully we can create our own. Here are a few:

A Spell to Delight the Senses:

Ingredients Required: a large assortment of Victorian clothing, in every shade of white, from snow to eggshell to cream. There should be plenty of buttery soft old cotton, some crisp smooth linen, flowing lace, cobwebby net and plenty of lavish layers of embroidery. Be sure to include a variety of petticoats, blouses, nightgowns, dresses and aprons. Enchanting baby dresses are optional but add the magic of childhood to your spell.

Directions: Gently simmer your Victorian clothing in plenty of hot clean water scented with lemons and sparkled with soap bubbles. Rinse until spotlessly clean. Spin in a magical spinner device to prepare for the next step.

Next Equipment Required: A big wicker basket, two sparkling clean new washing lines (preferably silver in color), fistfuls of clothespins, some new, some weathered. Fresh air, gentle breezes, a brilliant blue sky, and soft dappled sunshine are essential to the success of this spell. Sweet smelling green grass forms the base of the spell and should not be omitted. A cat, to get in the way, is optional, but enjoyed by many.

Carefully arrange your clothing onto the wash lines. Pause to enjoy the textures and colors, the delicacy of 100 year old lace, the contrast of many shades of white against the blue sky and green grass. Feel the cool texture of damp linen and cotton, smooth a fold of lace, and pull a hem straight. Smile. Breathe deeply. Listen to the rustle and whisper of the fabrics as the breeze caresses them.

Allow several hours to pass, for the spell to come to fruition. You will sense when it is close to completion.

Lightly fold your garments into the basket. Bury your face in a mound of fresh, sun dried, breezy linen and lace. Inhale deeply, and store the sensations away for future enjoyment in your memory.

Your spell is complete!

A Spell to Remember Freedom:

Ingredients required for this spell are simple but exceedingly rare and difficult to obtain. A magical child is required, parented by two magical people in a house filled with love. Much whimsey, delight, imagination and unconditional love are neccesary for this spell to work.

Place the magical child on a beach, with silvery light and glorious waves. Sit back. Observe. Breathe deeply. Remember freedom. Be refreshed. Feel joy.


Pronunciation: \i-lü-zhen\
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin illusion-, illusio.
a (1): a misleading image presented to the vision (2): something that deceives or misleads intellectually b (1): perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live...We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience".
---Joan Didion, The White Album

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The tiniest wee froglet ever! I could barely feel it in the palm of my hand.

A beautiful Polyphemus moth, he quite cheerfully wandered up and down my arms and across my back. His antennae were marvelous!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oooh! A little extra...from last year!

I just remembered this very nice little Northumberland News bit filmed at last years show...and thought it might be fun to show it here. I think Kathryn was not extremely keen on being filmed! You do get to see and hear Anne's incredibly talented daughter Elizabeth, she is the most fascinating young woman (which is only to be expected considering her mother) and also you get to see me blathering on about beads, which I can happily do all day until someone shuts me up. No bits of hot glass landed on me during these demos (which is more than I can say about this years demos...)
Caution...it's quite loud at the beginning and the sound is rather uneven throughout.

Video about Kathryn's show.

Rain or Shine!

The show was great. It is promoted as a "rain or shine" show, and we had lots of both!
The new tent was wonderfully easy to put up...we went to Kathryn's on Friday evening and had it up in no time. We had popped over to the US Lowes to get it as I could find nothing suitable here. I wasn't in the market for a two-person crawl-in-on-your-belly tent, or for a marquee which could seat 40 people, and there didn't seem to be anything in between. The sides for the tent, (purchased separately) were quite peculiar though, with incomprehensible directions, velcro tabs and zippers in strange places and were several feet too long. I think they will be going back from whence they came.

Each show I do teaches me a better or more efficient way of organizing things, so the set-up went quickly on Saturday morning. The sun was bright, the flowers blooming, and it was hot. HOT. About 35, and very humid. However, it wasn't raining, and who could complain of heat in such a beautiful setting! I was well squirted with excellent spray sunscreen but missed a 6" section on the back of one arm...giving me an odd pink streak!

I was busy right away, which is always nice, and did bead making demos by request all day. It's tricky to do outside on a bright day because it's very difficult to see the flame of the torch. But it was a big hit. Even the simplest twisted cane is interesting to people who have never seen one made before.

I was able to take a brief break in the afternoon to wander about to see other people's wonderful work, take a few pictures and enjoy the flowers. Kathryn's garden is quite large and there are many secret "rooms" and hidden paths to explore. Here is a table ready for a tea break hidden in the cedars:

These are the two adobe ovens Kathryn built in the garden. Not only are the baked goods delicious, the scent of the woodsmoke is too.

14 Year old Maia, with her miniature paintings. In her current work, she selects a small detail from an old mater painting and repaints it in her own style. I bought the detail from Botticelli's Birth of Venus. I love it!

Maia is heading to Beijing next week, she won a trip to the Olympics in Visa's "Olympics of the Imagination" children's art contest. She and her brother Quinn are are some of the coolest kids I know. Quinn is an invaluable assistant and manages the orphan beads for me!

A view down towards the back of the garden. There was pottery, ironwork, furniture, tin smithing, soap, furniture, textiles, spinning, paintings in oil, acrylics and watercolor, jewelry, hand bound books, all kinds of plants, and more, all handmade by local artisans.

Diana and her art jewelry in her beautifully decorated booth:
Our host, Kathryn...coming out the door and being shy! Her home was built in the 1840's and she grew up on the adjacent farm, so every inch of her land knows and loves her. There's a nice article about Kathryn and green gardening in this summer's Harowsmith Country Life . Hollyhocks up to the eaves...
...and all around the house! Who wouldn't love to live in a house wrapped in hollyhocks?

My dear friend Veronica and her beautiful booth:

Now this leads me to one little difficulty...my own booth. I'll come right out and say it...no pictures. Sorry! When I came back from my little walkabout, the booth was full of customers with questions, and purchases and requests for demos...and taking a picture went right out of my thoughts. I remembered...when we had everything put away for the evening. Bonehead. This is after forgetting my camera last year, forgetting the battery the year before AND forgetting the #*!! memory card this year. I went out and BOUGHT a new memory card, I was determined to take some pictures. So you will just have to imagine my booth as being sublimely beautiful, brimming with excellent merchandise and incredibly efficient and organized. What you are picturing is probably much better than the picture would have been!

We enjoyed dinner on Saturday night, eaten outdoors on Veronica's new flagstone patio in her heavenly garden, surrounded by billowing poppies and more hollyhocks. It was great to see our friends Carol and Laurie again and to get caught up.

Charlie put on quite a performance for us. I call this picture "Flossing for Cats 101".

Sunday presented the "rain" portion of our rain or shine weekend. It rained all day Sunday in varying degrees, so some of us transferred our stock into the barn. The barn is whitewashed inside and lined with Kathryn's paintings, so we managed as best we could, and I was still able to do demos out under my tent upon request. We were surprisingly busy with determined shoppers who were undeterred by a little rain! I am happy to say that a nice amount of new work sold.
Corset rings are now on their way to new homes.
So took us to dinner at the Buttermilk Cafe, which is a tradition, as I must have a piece of their lemon pie at least once a year! My friend Chris came for a visit and joined us for dinner. It was so great to see him...we hadn't seen each other for a Very Long Time. He fit right in, and has a matching sense of humour so it was a laughter-filled dinner! I am happy to have a picture of him, he's a little shorter than I had remembered. Seriously, I'm not sure why he insisted on being photographed on his knees but it was extremely funny at the time. You'll just have to trust me on that one! And what am I doing? I have no idea!

Monday saw us back at the Buttermilk to have breakfast with Anne. And more lemon pie. Once a year, I get to have pie with breakfast! And it was goooood!
Our drive home was fairly leisurely, with a few pleasant breaks, and miraculously no Toronto traffic problems. We were very tired, and it is so very good to be back at the lake.

So had some dental work done today which was NOT pleasant and quite painful. How fragile our bodies are, and sometimes our souls go through fragile times too. It's a paradox that even in the most pleasant times, pain can be so close to the surface...of our bodies and of our minds. This evening's mission is to care for the pain of So's body, and to nurture myself a little bit too. I have a great deal of work to do, of many different kinds, but tonight is a time to rest and be kind to my own soul.
I know this was a long, long post! Thanks for reading this far...you know I'm always glad you stopped by!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Inevitable Waviness of Life

Life is just like this piece of beach metal: up, and down, and up and down, a bit rusty, but with it's own weathered beauty and a quite substantial strong springiness underneath.

I'm almost ready for the show I'm doing this weekend. It's called "In a Garden" and is hosted by Kathryn McHolm. She is an amazing artist, I wish she had some of her paintings on her website.

My boxes of treasure and my quirky display pieces are all packed and stacked ready to be stuffed into the van. Including my latest thrift store treasure, a great, extremely ugly, sturdy, folding 6 foot table. It's heavy (and did I mention ugly?) but it will make a great display table. I just wish I'd bought them all...there were 4 more but of course the rest were gone when we went back for them. Let that be a lesson to me. Of some sort!

Tomorrow is errands and books on tape from the libary for the drive, and appointments and bank visits and snack shopping and then we leave on Friday morning. I look forward to seeing my dear friends and returning and new customers. (Veronica reports that she has had constant inquiries of "Will the Bead Lady be there?", which of course I love to hear!)) There will be some great meals and lots of laughter.

The forecast is for hot hot hot weather which is fine, I'd prefer that to rain. Unfortunately the Swedish skin deals with the heat by turning my face as red as a boiled lobster (not sunburn, I'm slathered with spf 1,000). However, I will cope, with copious amounts of water, and perhaps popsicles.

I'll be doing demos all weekend again, which I quite enjoy once I get through the first one! That breaks the ice, so to speak. It always amuses me to observe the men in the vicinity, when they hear the roar of torch (I use a hothead for the demos and it's noisy), and realize there is a flame and something is going to be melted! It's not as irresistible as construction equipment, but it's more male attention than I usually get! Hee! I'm joking of course, I love the comments and interesting questions I get and I love doing demos for kids. Unfortunately I have no way of annealing the beads so I can't give them away, but I'll do lots of fish and flowers and bugs when there are kids around. I use my Japanese Satake glass as it melts beautifully in the cooler flame of the hothead.

I forgot my camera last year so I'll be sure to pack it this year. If I can get away from my booth I'd love to be able to post pictures of Kathryns amazing garden, and of all the other interesting work at the show. Kathryn has a large woodburning oven in the garden which produces a stream of tasty goodies all day. I'll be pleading for butter tarts! AND picking her brain for info about the oven which really is just a giant version of the Viking bead furnace I am pondering.... Hey! When not being used to make a bead or two I could bake tiny loaves of bread...miniature pizzas...dinner rolls one at a time...

The world is just so full of possibilities.

These days I an working on reminding myself constantly to:
Be aware of my blessings. I am surround with such an overwhelming flood of blessings that it really is sometimes hard to enumerate them, and easy to take them for granted.
Try not to brood over what I can't control.
Accept my shortcomings. I am human. I make mistakes. Forgive myself. Move on.
What other people think of me is none of my business, and it doesn't define who I am.
Be a little gentler to myself. I judge myself so harshly in ways I would never inflict on anyone else.

Be kind to yourself too! I'll be posting next week with a show report and lots of pictures!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Stuff I'm Making! Making Stuff I Am!

Eggs and Acorns:

Primordial Soup. For a long time I numbered these. But then I lost track, which seems more appropriate for Primordial Soup anyhow.

Copper capped beads. The patina is formed by brushing, filing, sanding, heating, cooling and swearing.

Copper-capped beads. I have a most attractive copper patina manicure right now!

Egg pendants of copper, silver, glass and wool. They say: "A Safe Wee Nest". I wish the patina on the backs showed better in the photos...it's really rainbow-y. Thanks to Gail for the inspiration!

Some colorful long tube beads. The Raku color really popped on these!

Some long slender organic style beads:

A jolly Dia de Los Meurtos gang!

And on a girlier note, tiny, teeny little flowers, leave and berries, made on wires like the vintage Italian ones I love so much!

So this is a little of what I have been doing. I'm enjoying the creative time, though the beach keeps calling me, (seductive lies that the water is warm, sure, come on down!). Just a few more gaps to fill in, some pricing, some small signs to print out, and the surprise balls to assemble. I'm only making 18 of them so hopefully it will go fast. Some GREAT goodies to put into this years batch!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meadow in the Afternoon

The hammock goes in the pine trees on the left!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Delicious Day

The weather this weekend has been heavenly...finally...and we ate a lovely breakfast outside. Crisp bacon, scrambled eggs with mushrooms and scallions, tomatoes with just-picked basil, and ripe blackberries and raspberries. We cooked together and it took no time at all. I love eating outside in the summer, with the soft sound of the waves, the rustle of the leaves, the insane shrieking of the grackles, robins and blue jays protesting our presence in their territory, and the ever so delightful sound of the next-door-neighbour-but-one vacuuming his lawn with some noisy piece of machinery. Probably a repurposed snowblower.

Oh well. I do entertain myself with fantasies of thought rays that are capable of remotely destroying loud machines...weed whackers. Lawn mowers. Personal watercraft. Chainsaws. Of course the users of said instruments of satan would remain unharmed. Puzzled, but unharmed.

I spent most of the day in the studio, doing some silverwork and some patina experiments (most of which did not work, but I gotta try). Made some beads which looked interesting going into the kiln, hopefully they will still look interesting when they come out of the kiln!

I had a short beach walk later in the afternoon, it was such a beautiful day. The water is still cool but it's warming up. I may soon be able to get out my down-filled bathing suit, and thermal swim mittens and boots. I hear some daring Canadian women are leaving off their Thinsulate swim leggings this year. We'll see.

I met this tiny fellow on the path down to the beach. He was very hoppity!

I found this great rock on my walk. I did not bring it home, now I wish I had. I try not to bring up every rock that catches my eye, because if I did we would be up to our eyebrows in rocks. In fact, that is one firm rule explained to guests...if you bring up rocks you have to take them home with you. I got tired of hauling buckets of rocks back down to the beach!
The little pit was full of the tiniest quartz crystals imagineable!

So made dinner tonight, homemade Mulligatawny soup. It was so good, lick the bowl good, toe curling good! So is a very meticulous cook...spices are ground by hand in a mortar, every ingredient carefully measured and organized in tiny bowls, complete attention given to the cooking. Unlike me...I toss in pinches or handfuls, read a book while stirring, and talk on the phone. Amazingly, edible stuff emerges, usually! Here is the beautiful soup with rice on the side. It was amazing!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Little of This and That

This lovely lady was resting on the garden hose and consented to have a little visit this afternoon. Isn't she beautiful?

Thanks Sam, for sharing this great Gothicky find:
Drac in a Box
All sorts of delectable goodies, plus they contribute to the Bat Conservation Trust. I love this!

The flowers on the deck, and the meadow are looking so lovely right now, I wish I could haul all the studio stuff out there. Not really. But it's awfully pleasant out there and calls to me with a siren song. I am ridiculously happy with our pots of flowers and herb. Much as I love a lush and elaborate garden, I am quite aware that I simply will not invest the time and energy that particular kind of garden requires. I'll continue to enjoy looking at other peoples gardens, but for me plants in pots are the way to go! Everything can be deadheaded, weeded, fertilized and/or watered in an hour.

The meadow is lush with mounds of pale lilac Crown Vetch. This has established all by itself. Some consider it an invasive weed, but the rabbits and the bees enjoy it and I find it to be very pretty when it's in bloom.

I made 36 pairs of earrings today, an uncounted number of bead caps and headpins, and have three fine silver corset rings ready for the kiln tomorrow.

I've struggled off and on for about a year with a particularly tricky soft glass called Kronos...I've seen so many beautiful beads made with it but I could never seem to get it to do it's magic for me. It requires a certain flame chemistry and a heating/cooling pattern, and I would generally get frustrated with it and go on to a more cooperative glass. I'm not sure what prompted me to try it again this week, but something clicked and I was able to persuade it to behave. Now if I could just tame it's sister glass, Terra...

A few new Voodoo fossils:
I haven't forgotten about posting pics of the studio improvements...and I'll do that soon. It's getting very lively out there! Colorful, and cheerful, and fun!