Saturday, January 30, 2010


Another big snow storm. This one is not as bad as the one in December, so far. There's only about 7 or 8 inches of snow this time, but still snowing and mixing with sleet, to continue into this evening. At least the holidays are not looming ahead and freaking me out. And there's no ice in the trees that would bring down power lines.

This time I can just sit back and watch the beauty and snuggle in. I'm making a pot of soup, reading a book and watching the birds on the front porch and the big flakes falling. I don't HAVE to go anywhere until next Friday. This storm has slammed most of the state and I've heard reports of several inches of snow in Charlotte and Raleigh. Therefore, there's lots of hype on TV and everybody's excited. To the point of the Governor declaring a State of Emergency.

I took this on the front porch, where just a little skiff of snow has blown in. Don't the birdy feet make a beautiful pattern?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Few New Things

Here's some things from the last batch, all completed. They're tiny little charms or pendants that were made from silicone molds I made from some antique buttons I bought from Kate McKinnon's "Exploding Pipes Sale" back in December. The first photo below is the original buttons for the three necklaces above, and the entire batch of buttons is below that. More fun to come!

I'm rushing to get through this post so I can get to the Dentist's office and have my permanent crown installed. The temporary was done back before Christmas and, with the holidays and bad weather, the permanent one is just getting done today. I'll be glad to have that finished, especially since I'm paying A LOT of money for it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why you won't see a Haiti listing in my Etsy Shop

A lot of Etsy sellers are proclaiming that if you buy something from them, they'll donate a portion of the sale to help the situation in Haiti. I don't think that's too efficient. If you were to buy something from me for $50 and I gave $25 to charity it would dilute your donation. You can give your entire $50 to the Red Cross or one of the other legitimate orgainizaitons directly. And you will get the tax benefit, not me. I don't need to be the middle man just to move some jewelry along. Plus, I'd never want to be accused of personal enrichment by way of this disaster, like Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation has.  Etsy sellers can proclaim to donate part of their sales, but there's no way to track it, and I won't use the poor suffering people of Haiti just to boost my online sales.  No matter how much I would like to help the people of Haiti, I want you to be sure that your donations will get to those that need it. So if you want to buy jewelry, buy jewelry. If you want to donate to charity (and I hope you do!), then there are plenty of organizations that will gladly take your money and put it to good use.  Do what feels good in your heart, as I have, and let's not confuse the two.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Stuff!

A big pile of fresh jewelry, all wire-brushed (done while watching the Hope for Haiti special last night - very beautiful and moving) and ready to go in the tumbler. This ought to keep me busy for awhile! After a couple of hours in the tumbler, I'll be putting on Liver of Sulphur patina and hand polishing. Then assembly, pricing, inventory, and photographing. It's really a long process from start to finish and ready to sell. I'll show off some of my favorites when they're done.

I figured out the disc cutter thing. I was trying to cut 22 guage brass when I first tried it unsuccesfully, so I switched to 26 guage copper sheet and got lots of circles cut with just one bang of the hammer on my butcher block. The combination of thinner and softer metal did the trick. The next kiln batch should be really interesting!

Heavy rain and "stream flooding likely" predicted for tomorrow. Sheesh! I hope it doesn't happen, but I'm a professional worrier.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another Ice Storm and Progress on Jewelry

Oh no! Not again! Ice has been accumulating on trees and power lines all afternoon and is supposed to continue into tonight. (Best seen on the shrub in the lower left corner of the above photo.) Let's pray that the power stays on this time. Notice that there is STILL snow on the ground from the December 18 storm. There are only ten days left in January -- maybe February will  be kinder to us.

I've been working away and almost have my kiln shelf filled. That means that I'll probably fire on Saturday and have some new things to show. I had an idea of how to make some lower priced items using brass and copper by cutting discs from sheet metal and embellishing them with silver. I borrowed a disc cutter from my friend and Craft Enrichment Program colleague Jim Rice last night.

He gave me a quick demo over at the Jewelry Studio on campus. It looked easy, just put the sheet inside the cutter, crank it down, put the cutting plug in and bash it with a heavy dead-weight hammer. He did one of them with one blow of the hammer. I tried it today and, after many, many hammer blows, finally got a second disc cut. I tried a third one, but gave up because I thought my house would fall down if I tried to hit that thing any harder. I found out later that I need to put the whole set up on concrete or steel so that the wood of my butcher block island doesn't absorb so much of the shock. I don't have any concrete.... Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What do you think?

How do you like the new look? New year, and a brighter outlook, I think. I'm still tweaking a little, so leave comments and let me know. I'd especially like to know if it's easy on the eyes, as I've seen too many blogs lately that have busy  backgrounds, or font colors too close to the background color and they give me a headache to read.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Wish...

I wish there wasn't so much suffering in Haiti. I just can't imagine. As with previous disasters I've had to turn the TV off, so that I'm not glued to the earthquake coverage all day. It's horrible. I know that. So I donated some money and I'm researching other ways to help. I hope that all of you will do your part to help, too. Haiti is truly hell on earth.

I wish I had some inspiration. During the winter months I usually work on building up my inventory so that I'm ready for sales when the touist season picks up. I've been in the studio a little bit lately, but I just can't seem to figure out what to do. I've worked as much of the kaizen that I can, even getting suggestions from fellow artists about what to do with some of it. And I've made a few new pieces, but nothing that I'm terribly excited about. They won't be fired for weeks yet, as I like to wait until I have the kiln shelf filled, and then patina and polish the whole batch. So, no pictures today.

I wish I didn't have to worry about my home. There's been some nice, warm days lately and the snow is melting quickly. Last night it rained hard and I was awake most of the night worrying about flooding. Imagining all that water sliding down the mountains on top of the icy snow. At daylight I could see that the creek was very high, and there are small lakes in my front yard, but so far, so good. I don't have flood insurance.

I wish I could interpret dreams. During the short time I was sleeping last night I had some very strange ones. The first was that I invented an new weapon to use against terrorists - a machine like a catapult that would launch frozen Florida oranges at them. (Acutually, not such a bad idea!) The other one was about a very strange Dentist who would not install my new crown until I helped her scrub the hull of a boat. 

I wish I knew why a demented male cardinal keeps flinging himself at his reflection in all my windows, sometimes drawing blood. It's probably a territorial thing, but he's been doing this for six months and hasn't learned that it's only a reflection. Plus, he poops all over my porches. I feel sorry for him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heat Wave!

I'm sorry to be posting nothing but weather reports, but that seems to be all that's going on around here lately. This is what my back yard looks like today and it hasn't changed much since December 18 when we got a foot and a half of snow. You can see from the photo in the post from that day just how little melting has been going on because of the sub-freezing temperatures and additional ice/snow. BUT, today is the day that the big melt will start! It's already 38 degrees and clear blue skies. It's supposed to be even warmer over the next two days.

This is my road/driveway. I've parked the nasty, salty car where it is so that maybe, if the sun ever shines where I usually park (the big blank spot), it will be easier to get in and out of the car without having to walk on ice. The hill behind the car is in full sun, so it's been clear of snow for awhile now.

This is the road up to my neighbor's lot. I don't know how they'll get in or out of there when they build their house.

My cat has forgotten what "outside" means. I haven't let him go out in over two weeks because it's been too cold. Today I opened the door and he just looked at me as if to say, "Really?" But he finally got the idea and is sleeping in the sun close to the back of the house where the snow is gone.

I've been having trouble with my neck for the last week or so, to the point of having to resort to left over pain pills from my root canal back in October. I went to the Chiropractor this morning and he said, thankfully, that there wasn't any disc problem, just muscular. So I must be doing something to aggrivate that muscle. Shoveling snow, perhaps? It feels much better now, so I need to crack my own whip and get back in that studio and make some new jewelry. There's still several things on sale in my Etsy shop, if you're interested in some bargains.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Brutal cold, so let's go shopping!

This photo of the New River was sent to Ray's Weather Center by Lynn Townsend yesterday. The river is only a few hundred yards from my house.
"Sections of the New River in Todd appear to be frozen pretty thick. These ice chunks are not on the banks of the River they ARE the New River right now. It will be interesting to watch how much thicker these ice chunks get with such cold temperatures still in the forecast for sometime to come."
It warmed up to about 30 degrees yesterday, and I was working at Hands Gallery. It was wonderful to get away from the house for a day and see some people. But, we got more snow last night and plunged back into the deep freeze today. The high at my house was 14 and it's 4 right now, with -10 wind cill. Looking ahead to next week I can see that there will be some warming, and by then anything above freezing might make me want to put on shorts and a t-shirt and plant my garden! (NOT!)

I decided to put some more things on sale in my Etsy Shop. The above piece was originally $98.00, but it can be yours now for only $60.00. I plan to add at least one piece each day until I get some things cleaned out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Counting my blessings

At least we don't have it this bad. Thanks, Diane, for sharing this!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cold but snuggly

It's been FYBO cold all weekend and I didn't stick my nose outside the house. It looks like it will continue all this week. Saturday the high was 16 and yesterday it got all the way up to 18. Today I decided that I was being way too much of a weenie and I was going to get out of here and go to town, by God! There are people that live in North Dakota that get out in these temperatures all the time! I'm a Mountain Woman! No big deal!  (These are the things I have to tell myself to psych myself up to do things I really don't want to.)  At 1:00 it was 17 degrees and little sparkly snow flakes coming out of clear blue sky. Not bad. I bundled up, went out and started the car, dashed back in and un-bundled. Waited ten minutes, bundled up again and headed out. Again, my PO box was stuffed full, and I had a package waiting that had been there since before Christmas. (Every time since then the PO has been closed when I was there.) I had a long list of errands to run and was looking forward to crossing them off my list. The closer I got to Boone, the worse the weather got. Snowing harder... black ice on the road... Realllllly windy... I went to the grocery store to re-stock the necessities (read: chocolate) and came back home. It was just too ccccooollllld and my face was feeling stiff by the time I loaded the groceries in the car. (I did buy other things besides chocolate 8-)  ). So I'm staying in for another couple of days, until I have to work at Hands Gallery on Thursday. The other errands can wait, but it felt really good to just get out of the house for a short while.

I've not been a slacker during my isolation. I've been cleaning my house from top to bottom and working a little in the studio. I have a tray of "kaizen" (Japanese word for continuous improvement.) pieces and parts that I've been making into acceptable jewelry. These are things that 1) hadn't sold and needed to be reworked, 2) parts I made that I didn't know what to do with, or 3) unfinished projects. In the near future I'm going to tear the studio up, throw away, clean, organize and then start working on new things. That's my plan, anyway.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Another year is over and I'm feeling a little melancholy today. How did 2009, or the entire decade of the new millenium for that matter, go by so quickly? They say it's a function of getting older - that time seems to rocket past in the blink of an eye. I don't make resolutions. It's too much pressure and I'm really more into eliminating stress than causing more. Therefore, the clicking over of one number to another really doesn't matter much to me. I was asleep by 10:30 last night because I knew that the ball would drop and the calendar change-over would happen even if I didn't stay awake to see it. I woke briefly around midnight because my neighbors insisted on letting me know that it happened, despite my lack of enthusiasm, by setting off fireworks. I mumbled "Happy New Year" to the cat, rolled over, and continued with my good night's sleep.

One reason for my less-than-enthusiastic mood is that I'm getting cabin fever already. The foot and a half of snow that we got on December 18 is still on the ground and, in my road where it's been driven on, is a solid sheet of ice. There's a steep little hill over a culvert that needs to be negotiated to get to the paved road. Durng the three (count 'em, THREE) times I've ventured out since 12/18 I've had mini heart attacks each time I've driven it, zig-zagging my way across, and praying that the car stayed where it was supposed to. Apparently it doesn't bother any of my neighbors as much as it does me, because no one has done anything to try and eliminate the ice.

The Christmas ice storm and power outage was very depressing. Not only was I missing my family, but sitting here alone in the dark really put me over the edge. I'm now entertaining thoughts of moving somewhere else because I feel really isolated. I managed to get out (one of my three trips out) last Tuesday and went to Raleigh for an overnight and belated celebration with my Dad and my Sister. With a stop at the Super WalMart in Wilkesboro on the way home to re-stock, I made it back before the next snow storm left us another couple of inches.

Our local weather man says we're going into the deep freeze for at least the next week. We won't make it above freezing and hardly into the 20s with over night temperatures in the single digits. (He actually said "we'll be like the forgotten lima beans on the back shelf of the freezer by the time this is over".) So, since it will be a balmy 30 degrees today, I think I'm going to get some of my frustrations out by taking a shovel up to the glacier in the road and chip some ice. If I know I can get out of here, even if it's FYBO cold, that might help.