Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday May 29th

Well good morning to all.

It has been a rather crazed week of travel and visits and more travel and work and more work. I got into Albuquerque around dinnertime on Sunday and well Sunday was Sunday. Monday was a day spent at my newly portable bench working on a piece that I was to have had done before I had even arrived in Alb., so needless to say I was just a bit behind on that task and since Monday was a holiday I rather felt cheated that I did not really take advantage of that whole “take the day off” attitude the rest of the country was engaging in. Oh well, I really did have a VERY fun day and the piece came out very nicely indeed, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday was the early day of driving. I had more horrible storms and when I crossed into Colorado I was pelted with HAIL. The temperature dropped 25 degrees in 10 minutes and as I was in shorts I was just hoping that I would make it over the pass without incident. I only made it to North Platte Nebraska that evening. I had actually hoped to get several hundred miles further but as I filled my tank and watched the torrential downpour I knew that I was finished for the day. I grabbed a beer from the store and a bowl of chili from Wendy’s. (TOTALLY healthy dinner…NOT) I crashed in my Ho Jo’s rooms and slept in till past 7:30 the next morning.

The drive on Wednesday was just grey and dull. I had not seen the sun for several days and I have to say I am feeling the effects form the lack of sunshine. But I arrived in Iowa City around 3:30 and was just so very happy to pull up into Cris’s driveway get out of the car, sit in Paul’s chair, drinking a beer catching up. We had really good Indian food for dinner and I tried to stay up to see my Bruddah Paul who had to work till 1am. I did not make it. I crashed about 45 minutes before he got home.

Thursday was a GREAT day of working in Cris’s studio and once again unpacking my portable studio. We had a blast and her friend Cindy Slater (owner of Bead Haven in Cedar Rapids) came over and joined the fun. I actually had the best time listening to these 2 great friends banter back and forth and making each other laugh. I got 3 pendants finished up, and completed a necklace for myself that uses a new bead from Terri Caspary Schmidt that I sort of procured off of her bench. All I have to do is spend an hour and clean up the chain and throw it into the tumbler and I will have a piece of jewelry that has a BEAD on it.. (Does that make you happy Cris? I did it just for you.)

It is now Friday morning and I am actually seeing the SUN for the first time in days. I have my cup of coffee and am having sweet morning interactions with Cris and the very very sweet Miss Sophie.

The elegant Miss Sophie soaking up the rays and surveying her realm.

It is nice being here with my friends, just sort of relaxing and having fun before the insanity of Bead & Button starts up. I sit and look at the past several years and find that the changes that have taken place are amazing. What I also fine fascinating is how quickly a pattern can be integrated into your circuitry. I have read that you can totally integrate a “habit” into your life by simply doing that thing for 21 days. I have created some new “habits” in these last months and I am finding it even more intriguing how I find the way to incorporate these into my travel routines. The funniest part is that Cris and I have not spent any alone time together since I came through Iowa City last year and after about an hour or so of catching up, having a beer and playing with Sophie we both grabbed our computers and became engrossed in our emails, FaceBook and the news. We never stopped chatting on and off but really, the things that we enjoy and desire to maintain is really funny. We had quite a laugh about how we both just needed to have our worlds on out laps.

I leave for Milwaukee early tomorrow to set up my classroom and start seeing the rest of the circle of people that are my creative family circle. Safe travels to all and I am looking forward to seeing all of you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Tarot that is to good not to share...

The Root - Two of Pentacles: Change

The Root card deals with past events or influences that have played an important part in bringing about the current situation, and these influences are still likely to have an effect now.

The encouraging aspects of your situation at the moment have been brought about by making a change for the better, particularly in terms of your material circumstances. More difficult aspects are likely to be the result of suffering from a tendency to vacillate between ideas and decisions, or not being able to find anything to rely on.

The Covering - Four of Swords: Truce

The card in the Covering position highlights the important events, issues, attitudes or influences around the question or current situation.

This should be a more peaceful time after recent trials and tribulations. Things can get better now after a period of struggle, and this hiatus will give you the opportunity to collect your thoughts and formulate a plan of action. This card often indicates a period of recovery and recuperation. Your intellect is stronger now, so make use of it.

The Future - Page of Wands

The card in the Future position suggests fresh influences or events that are about to come into play and are likely to operate in the near future.

You are entering a time when you can be yourself and have the confidence to take risks. You will have the opportunity to be daring, individualistic and enthusiastic, letting your brilliance shine through. You should channel your energies into practical affairs and be willing to take a chance, but curb any tendency to be domineering or superficial. The Page of Wands has connotations of travel, and an important journey may play a part in this process of individuation, as may visitors from far afield. In his role as a messenger, the Page may bring significant news.

Sunday May 25th

I was up a 5:30 and out the door by 5:45am to grab the rental car at the airport this morning. A full thermos mug of coffee and off I went to stand in line and grab my vehicle. I got back to the house and had the car all packed up and my all showered and clean and ready to hit the road by 10am. I was actually about an hour behind my desired departure time but I knew that I was in no rush today and I was looking forward to plugging my iPod into the Aux port and listening to my tunes and watching the landscape drift by.

All 18 office boxes, my entirely over packed self, the PMC kiln and various other items all stored very effectively in the back ¼ of one very large SUV.

So, I had quite a drive from Tucson to Albuquerque today. After I crossed the state line into New Mexico I was met with a very impressive display of lighting, thunder and the biggest raindrops that I have ever seen. I was almost certain that it was hail. Well this lasted on and off all the way to Albuquerque. It is an awesome sight to see the clouds light up and an amazing sound to hear the crackling of the thunder as you drive towards it.

The waves of the storm fronts were so incredible to watch, I had a hard time sort of remembering that I needed to pay REALLY close attention to where the heck I was going… Yes that is me behind the wheel of the SUV driving forward and trying not to drift off the side of the road. This automobile could actually take the place of Noah’s Ark if required. It can hold a pair of everything yet I found it oddly comforting driving this behemoth in this weather. At least I knew that I was not going to be doing and hydroplaning in that bad boy.

Here is one of my favorite new singers that I was introduced to..

Antje Duvekot on YouTube

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday May 23rd

Well I have a really large pike of boxes that are to be loaded into my rental car tomorrow and I am on the road for Bead & Button. I am taking the slow approach to the show this year. I am going to spend a day and a half in Albuquerque and then I am going to spend a few days in Iowa City just trying get a bit rejuvenated and rested up before I start the 2 workshops and 10 classes that I am teaching this year.

My time in Iowa City will be fun. I am spending some time with my friends Cris & Paul. I am hoping that Cris & I get to have a play date in her studio. I have a few small projects that I would love to get finished and I am just a bit too tired to do it before I leave. I know that having Cris there will be fun and motivate me to finish up my work.

Last year during my journey to B&B I had to outrun the storms that eventually caused very severe flooding in Iowa City and in the surrounding states. There were tornado's that actually touched down in downtown Milwaukee. Last spring was so very hard for so many it seems unreal that it was just a year ago that all of that happened. A place that I actually ate a deep fried pickle may have actually just recently re-opened. If that is in fact the case, I would “relish” the opportunity to once again partake of that delicacy. (It actually was really good..)

I will post pictures of the trip and of classes… I hope to have safe travels and to arrive in Milwaukee with “Bells On.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday May 21st.

My many distractions continue as I attempt to get ready to leave for Bead & Button on Sunday. I am getting all of the handouts finished up and my printing finished. My bench is calling to me and I have to still take the photos for one more handout this afternoon and get the handout done before I go out to dinner with some friends that are in town.

All of us are SO ready for the show and we are all excited to be together for more then just 2 or 3 days. This is the show where we actually get to really hang out nad have some fun together

I took a few days off the last weekend and even though I did work on the computer I was out of the house and away from the piles of things before me. I made sure that I was ahead of the game and really planned it out so I could take those few days to clear my head. The only drawback to the time away was the fact that I got knocked on my butt by an under-cooked hamburger. It is NO fun to be in the bathroom at 5am when you would so much rather be in bed fast asleep.

It started raining here today, not the monsoons, just a soft steady rain that is giving everything a much needed drink. I woke to a cool 60ยบ and a soft breeze in my house. I love the rains so much the clean scent of the water on the earth. We did not get that amazing aroma of hot rain in the hot desert earth, it is not that time yet. But the cool of the rain is still so wonderful.

I am not sure if I have mentioned this yet by my bats have come back. It has actually been hot enough this year to enjoy the pool almost an entire month earlier that in years past and one evening at dusk two of my bats arrived. I sank down as low as I could in the water and I let them skim the pool for a drink as they took off to the streetlight to feed on the insects that were gathering. It just seemed that all was right in my back yard again with their arrival. It makes me happy to see them each evening as the sun sets behind the arbor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday May 12th

I had a long 13 hour workday today. I got my silver order in for Bead & Button yesterday afternoon and first thing this morning…(meaning 6am) I started packing up all of the kits for my 12 classes. I got 10 of the 12 done today. This means I packaged 94 Woven Chain Kits, 80 Fine Silver Finding kits, 80 Fine Silver Chain Making Kits, and my 2 workshops… All I have left to do is make the jump rings for me 2 chain maille classes. That will be my task for tomorrow and that will give me the peace of mind that I need to go out of town for the next few days.

I did get about 90% of the printing done yesterday that I needed and all I have to do is make the 2 new handouts for those above-mentioned Chain Maille classes. I have time scheduled for all of that and I know that they will go easily and smoothly.

I am excited about the last space shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Telescope. The images and insight that this telescope has given us are priceless and to think that it was almost one of the biggest blunders ever sent into space. (Remember…the mirrors in the telescope were not right and all of the images were blurry?) Did you know that these images are yours? You, as a tax-paying citizen of the United States, own those images. Please take the time to really look at the gallery of images at the Hubble Web Site. There are things that defy imagination and take your breath away just knowing that these things actually exist and are really real…

Dust Band Around the Nucleus of "Black Eye Galaxy" M64

Monday, May 11, 2009

Just for Fun today!

Please watch the entire thing. This is truly amazing!

This just reminds me of being in the back seat of the non-air conditioned car with my sister as we drove to Florida each summer.

Just sassy and cute.

This could be Niki and this could be my house.

Just made me laugh out loud. (Still Does)

Monday May 11th

Remember to check out and Pre-Order my Complete Guide to Low Tech Metalsmithing DVD.

I have spent these past days just trying to get everything ready for Bead & Button. I am having a really hard time realizing that I have to be in Milwaukee in just under 3 weeks. I still have a bit of work to get done but I am really making good headway. I am going start the really crappy job of PRINTING all of my handouts this morning while I spend the day at my bench finishing up several projects that I have sitting there that need my undivided attention.

Work wise, I have taken some 6-gauge wire and passed it through my rolling mill a few dozen times to make some really excellent fine silver bracelets. I have a dozen Moss Agate disks that need to be set in their Fine Silver round settings and I also have a few glass beads from Terri Caspary Schmidt that need to be set and finished with those bails that we came up with and a few of those also need some hand-fused chains to go along with them. My plate is a bit full.

The printing has started and hopefully by the end of today I will have all of the handouts for classes printed and packed, ready to go. I have my fine silver order arriving today and as soon as all of that is sorted out I will be able to write my 2 new handouts for my 2 new Chain making classes at B&B.

It is going to be a very interesting year this year. I feel a general sense of optimism growing in the world and yet people are approaching larger and discretionary purchases with caution and really thinking them through. I do feel that everyone is doing all that they can to make sure that the independent artist can survive all of the obstacles that everyone is facing.

I hope that we are starting to see the light at the preverbal light at the end of the tunnel. All of us are keeping out fingers crossed for a REALLY good show.

I asked my Byzant Tarot if I was in the “Right Track” this morning… I liked the response that I received. And taking all of this into consideration, I am finding it really amazing that it is already the middle of MAY. Can someone please explain to me how the space-time continuum is all out of whack right now and how time is FLYING be at an alarming rate. Life can happen so quickly and surprises are always just around the corner.

The Root - XIX The Sun

e Root card deals with past events or influences that have played an important part in bringing about the current situation, and these influences are still likely to have an effect now.

The encouraging aspects of your situation at the moment have been brought about by being positive, happy and fortunate. More difficult aspects are likely to be the result of matters taking longer than expected to work out, or unhelpful arrogance on your part. You must try to approach things in a positive, level-headed manner.

The Covering - King of Swords

The card in the Covering position highlights the important events, issues, attitudes or influences around the question or current situation.

This is a time when you need to use your skills and talents, and actually act upon your ideas. Now is the time to stand up for yourself and gain the respect you deserve. But remember, always consider the effects of your actions on others.

The Future - Page of Cups

The card in the Future position suggests fresh influences or events that are about to come into play and are likely to operate in the near future.

You are entering a more leisurely time when you will have the chance to appraise your situation and follow your feelings. Matters will proceed at a leisurely pace, and you should take the chance to consider your options and not try to rush things. Artistic pursuits will go well, and you will be able to afford to indulge in a little day-dreaming. Be kind and gentle in your dealings with others, but be careful not to be lazy, selfish or manipulative.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday May 6th

Well, I had the best-est of Monday’s.

My local bud Margaret Zinser & I had a run to Phoenix to our states only IKEA. MZ was creating a wall of bookshelves and display cases for her AMAZING glass collection and as a belated birthday present I offered my lifting/hauling/construction services to her. The awesome thing about MZ is that she enjoys the whole IKEA process as much as I do, we prowl the top floor whether or not it is needed, following the arrows through the maze and then head downstairs to put all of those deals that you just did not know that you needed onto your cart. Then we head out to the warehouse to pull all of the shelving units onto out cart. We had such a great time and then had organization down to a science as we assembled 7 bookcases and installed lighting in 4 of them.

Yesterday was spent updating my website and I have to say that I had a VERY frustrating day with it. Mostly my frustration was self-induced. I had SO many brain freezes that it took twice as long as it should of taken. But all in all I think that the up-dates look good and there are new dates that are going to added to my calendar.

BUT here is the BIG new of BIG new. I have made the link to Pre-Purchase my DVD LIVE.

The Complete Guide to Low-Tech Metalsmithing

The DVD will be shipping out late August to Mid-September. I am offering free shipping to all who pre-order the DVD.

It is going to be an excellent DVD. I have had to re-think some of the elements of the project due to the creative exploration that I have taken on in these past few months and it has altered some of the ways that I do my work. As always, we artists need to keep looking at the way that we create and when we discover a new technique it needs to be incorporated into the process.

So, Pre-Order your copy today and I can promise that you will not be disappointed in the final product.

The weather here is warming up quickly and I have the awesome news that I have been able to start enjoying my pool. There is nothing better than greeting a productive work day with an invigorating few laps then go directly to work for the totally jazzed to get at it for the day. I am crazily getting ready for Bead & Button and am at it full steam ahead till I leave for the show.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday May 3rd

Sorry for the long absence.

The Denver was interesting. My drive from Albuquerque was uneventful till I got to Denver Proper. A great deal of construction was taking place and the required slowdown to 55 from the 75 or 80 MPH seems like slowing from light speed mach 10 to molasses in winter. The Merchandise Mart was hosting a gun show next to our quaint little bead show. It was really very easy to figure out who was going to which show. The crowds that were lined up to get into the show were very brisk and as always this year, the people are doing everything that they can to keep the independent artist afloat till this nightmare that we are all in turns the corner.

As I was packing up my show on Sunday afternoon and loading everything into my car to drive south it was pouring rain and that rain actually turned to snow later that evening. But my drive was beautiful, the clouds broke here and there as the sun was setting and then the stars came out so brightly as I approached Santa Fe. The highlight of the drive, heading both North & South was the sighting of a coyote loping along the side of the road. They are so beautiful and both looked very healthy. It was really a very excellent site to see.

I spent the next 2 days just hanging out in Albuquerque and relaxing before I had to face the reality of getting ready for Bead & Button. I knew that once I got back to Tucson I was going to be slammed with task after task to get ready to head out to Milwaukee in just four weeks. And that prediction has come to fruition; I have been slammed since I walked back in the house. I got back home on Tuesday night to a warm pizza and a cold Boddingtons. I crashed rather early knowing that Wednesday morning was going to be the start of the races.

So, Since then I have been making lists, adjusting lists, ordering kit materials and trying to figure out just how much of a risk to take this year. I am finding that I am actually unwilling to take much of one. These past months have been hard for everyone and it just seems prudent to be a bit more careful and make sure that the risks taken are not to great.

I have been stunned watching all of the Swine Flu news. A friend of mine brought up a very interesting and salient point. Here we have a FLU that had killed over 700 people and the world is taking steps to see that the spread of this illness it curtailed as much as possible and people are donning those surgical facemasks to try to protect themselves, yet the spread of Aids is still at epidemic proportions. We can wear masks to protect ourselves but refuse to take the simplest precautions in other areas of our lives…Come On Folks…this should not be that hard.

So in response to that I now give you the MUPPETS!

Furry Happy Monsters...