Sunday, August 30, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

And won't be online again for almost 2 weeks.
My only contact with the big world will be twittering with my cell phone.

Meatfest 2009

If you're a vegetarian it might be wise to skip this post.
Today was the first annual Meatfest - something cooked up by my friend Jeff to celebrate his birthday. He felt he needed some sort of excuse to bbq his first whole piglet.
The pulling of the pork.

It was a grand day - the air was full of smoke and laughter. Dick did one of his bourbon soaked turkeys in the Weber grill. Just look at that ragtag collection of old rockers watching meat roast.

The late afternoon light was amazing and later the battered old tiki torches were lit...
the yellow cake w/ chocolate frosting was cut and the dog stole a beer.
A fine time was had by all.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Purple? No.

I am not a purple person.
Someone asked me to make some purple beads and I didn't know what to say.

I have some time scheduled with the torch this afternoon. Happy sigh. I want to make some more murrini and some bumble bees and some yellow plums and some faux labradorite. I am bursting with plans for fall beads. Autumn is in the air here. We're still sleeping with the windows wide open but is was so chilly this morning that the poodles had burrowed in under the covers with me. They're such rotten little thieves that they'll even steal your body heat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Frou Frou Raku

Another set in the making.
The base of each bead is black glass with a splattering of large size raku (iris orange) frit.
Each bean shaped lentil has a murrini that was added after pressing the bead. I use a pair of stainless steel ice tongs to make my funky lentils. Yes, I made the murrini.

Making murrini is very addicting.
A gratuitous plush photo.

It's a beautiful sunny morning here, cool and crisp. The light is long and slanting, a sign that fall is coming. I'm heading downstairs in a minute for a breakfast of sweet, local yellow plums and some nice strong black coffee.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Branching Out

More fake coral branches - I make a few each time I torch.
So my pile of them has grown from this to this -
Lots of colors of glass - opalino carnelian, cosmic storm, seashell swirl, copper green and opalino pink all embellished with a splotch of 24k gold leaf.

Kiki P. Oodle s'lounging in the late, late afternoon sun.


A little bird made with a center of Cim's Sange, a bit of fine silver foil encased in pale transparent aqua and spotted with happy white polka dots.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


A bouquet of sunflowers and basil on my dining room table.

Whirling in my kitchen like a dervish.
There is going to be a really big picnic at my house today - it's a dish to pass but that's not stopping me from going on a late summer cooking spree.

The centerpiece of the meal will be one of Dick's smoked turkeys done on the Weber grill. The big bird is happily soaking up a whiskey brine right now. He's also going to grill up a huge pile of hot Italian sausage links and some breakfast sausages. He loves to do the wee sausages, he refers to them as "sausage shooters."

I am making a red and yellow tomato salad with oranges and pickled red onions.
Two kinds of fresh salsa - first a red tomato, roasted corn, black bean and cilantro salsa with lots of jalapenos and a fresh peach and yellow tomato one. Maybe a white bean hummus. Of course there will be corn on the cob.

Oh, I almost forgot I whipped up some fresh dill pickles. Everyone needs to eat more pickles - people seem to have forgotten them. When I serve them guests go nuts - like they're something exotic?

And for my finale - fresh black fig gelato. I busted out my big Silmac icecream freezer, one of my all time great junking finds - only $30.00. I made a gallon of the stuff. The custard base is all figgy and brown sugar and vanilla - I am an icecream goddess today.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vintage Venetians

You just cannot make glass more beautiful than the Venetians.
A pair of vintage Venetian glass cabochon earrings.
Look they're made with clear, nile green and aventurine.
All of which are still in production, and available, today - I might have to give this combination a try...
They would make lovely glass buttons, no?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby Blues

There's a pair of these simple little glass blue birds - perfect for earrings.


If you see Napoleon P. Oodle today be sure to wish him a happy 10th birthday!
He does not have any special plans - just a full day of napping on my bed.
Maybe for kicks he'll grab the latest 'New Yorker' magazine and play a spirited game of keep away with Dick. Actually, a more accurate description of the game is - will you trade me this magazine (cd, toothbrush, bra, piece of mail, dirty kleenex, sharpie, whatever) for a baby carrot from the refrigerator? If he's feeling really sassy he'll hide behind the chair in the front room and dash out the door when no one's paying attention and race over to the neighbor's to see if there is any delicious cat food on their back porch. Of course, there is always just hanging around looking out the screen door and barking at absolutely anything that moves. oh yeah, It's good to be the dog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Long time, no blog, sigh.
It's too hot to do anything but bum around looking for air conditioning.
Normally it's not hot enough here to need artificial cooling - but not this past week and a half. We're melting, smelting and cranky, with no end in sight.

A close up of a large, long heart shaped focal bead that was wrapped in silver foil and remelted. I love the lacy, iridescent tracings the silver made on top of the dark red transparent glass.

Another of my long, lost plush buddies.
I took quick portraits of some of my favorites before loading them into their bags to be carted away and sold.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Antique Weed

I put loaded a bunch of treasures into my etsy shop today.
A giant old skeleton key, some cigarette cases, a double strand of glass baroque pearls that someone should take apart and make into some wonderful jewelry and two pairs of big gaudy clip on rhinestone earrings.

And best of all this...
An Art Nouveau Marijuana leaf brooch.
Yes, they smoked weed over 100 years ago and apparently even wore jewelry that depicted it. This brooch is a ruin, but it is of exceptionally fine quality. The blue around the edges is probably smoke trails.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Letting Go

This morning I packed up my entire vintage plush collection and sent it away to the Madison-Bouckville Outdoor Antique Show . Three giant black plastic contractor bags full of crazy, adorable old plush and rubber animals - to be sold. If you're going to the fair, please say hello to Dick and Margaret - they will be set up hawking our wares and living in the van until Sunday. Row 6, Booth 18, opposite the South Entrance.
This was not easy.
I think I will go make some beads.


For many years I worked a corporate job making a lot of Photoshop graphics and running a crew of computer artists making even more Photoshop graphics. No really, I wore pantyhose everyday to work and usually a suit. It sucked, when I left I rarely looked back.

Today I busted out my old skills and made a party invitation.
I must say I am rather pleased with my handiwork.
Marrying the can to the nipple and then stroking all the shadows and highlights was a trip down memory lane, so writing and laying out the copy.

And I am pleased to be hostessing this party.
Dick is going to smoke turkeys and maybe even tap a keg of cream ale. I think I am going to make a lot of deviled eggs and cupcakes. All the store kids & staff will be there and the usual cast of reprobate friends.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ghee Whiz ! Milkweed Pods

The tiny pods have started to form on this years milkweed crop.

A pair of 'organic' focal beads, large hand pressed coin shapes.
The base color on both of these beads is Cim's 'Ghee.' It's a lovely, earthy pale yellow.
There's also a lot of silver foil, silvered ivory stringer, a bit of dark ivory, some copper green and some silver plum.

A dessicated milkweed blossom draped over a newly formed pod.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Like a House Afire

Running around in speedy little circles seems to be my latest pass-time, everything is moving way too fast. It's summer and things are supposed to be lazy, right?
Shrubbery shadows on a red wall - a variation on the burning bush?

In any case, tomorrow should be less crazy. I have some curious old things to list on etsy and some new beads to photograph and share. A little painting might get done and some easy fresh picked tomato sandwiches should do it.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Black Eyed Susans #1

I work in a lot of mediums - my first love is painting, but my newest love has been glass.

I have been working through my big glass romance for some months, with my June trunk show sort of being my torch song of a marriage. But fall is in the air and the glass honeymoon feels over. My wandering eye is looking back at some half finished canvasses in the studio and wondering why I ever forsook them?

I have a big one, almost 4' x 6' that's been going nowhere for months. It never got off to a good start. It's time to mix up a big batch of raspberry black oil paint (alizarin crimson and black) and over-paint it into submission.

There's a plan for a big black eyed susan painting forming in my mind's eye.
I like the idea of mirroring the image.
A couple of years ago I almost went in this direction but some casual, cutting criticism of the idea derailed me. When it comes to your work - you should never listen to what anyone else has to say. They might just be being bitchy.

In any case, this post is just a way of introducing you to a new painting. I am planning to post the process of working through a big floral oil painting here on belvedere beads.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Karen Willenbrink

Seattle based glass artist Karen Willenbrink is in town this weekend teaching a master class in the hot shop at More Fire Glass Studio.

Last night she gave a public lecture about her work and tonight a public demo in the hot shop. Where she built a poodle in a skirt, on the back of a bulldog, riding a surf board on a giant wave. It was so far beyond any glass work I have ever seen live that I am sort of at a loss to describe it.

This stuff is big - as in life size. The "Great Horned Owl in Birch" (above) is 35" tall. Yes, the birch branches are also glass. Like I said, amazing.
I, unfortunately, am just a mere flameworker and do not blow glass. Never the less, there is much to be learned by watching her sculpting techniques and the way the decorates her surfaces.

I urge you to visit her website and see her birds and dogs.
"Bird Dog" by Karen Willenbrink.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Faux Coral

Glass beads inspired by old, pale coral branches. Half were made with opalino carnelian and half with an oddlot color called cosmic storm.

All of them have a little bit of gold leaf melted into the surface, very luxe.
There are another nine of these in the kiln cooling their heels. I want to make a double, or triple, twisted strand necklace of these.

It's happy daisy season, they're everywhere.


I guess I never knew that thistles blossomed - who else thought the prickers were the flowers?

Chugging along on a set of encased silver foil beads. I like the two grass green ones that are deeply lobed. I am no more certain of where I am headed with this set than the last time I blathered on about them. There are enough for a bracelet - maybe it's time to stop.

This stand of thistles is about eight feet tall. Absolutely magnificent, another plant native to upstate New York that is maligned as a weed but is indeed very beautiful.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bead (r)Evolution

Still working away on my set of Gauguin inspired beads.
This photo shows the evolution of the blue beads I have been making for the Gauguin necklace.
1. The top two are simply intense blue with a pressed dots of white.
2. For my second attempt, the middle ones, I added a stripey blend of blue glasses.
3. Lastly, the final version, the two beads on the bottom were decorated with my hand pulled murrini.

Ahhh, now they're right, eh?
The base colors of glass I used are Messy Cornflower, Messy French Blue and pastel lapis cobalt.
I made the blue and white floral murrini.
These fun little beads are some of my first attempts and making and using my own murrini.
This could become an addiction. I wanted them to echo the indigo decoration on the dress in the Gauguin painting.

Here's a close-up of a few of the left over murrini.
I loved making the cane to cut up into the murrine. Ages ago I took a class that included a small lesson on making murrini and recently I bought a Japanese book to help me learn, and refine, the techniques.

There are going to be a lot more murrini - I feel a glass obsession creeping up on me.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I always, always get the fortune cookie that no one understands.
An enigma wrapped in a cookie.
It's sort of poetic, but could someone translate?

I think the point this little cookie was trying to make is - if you spend all your time making preparations you might never get to the party.

Working Glass

A magical glass combination - ivory and double helix Triton.
All of the color variations and cobwebbing is caused by a chemical reaction between the two glasses. It just happens without any fussing or fuming.

Summer afternoon clouds above the parking lot at More Fire Glass.

Sometimes you can just sit back and let the glass do all the work.