Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Clean Studio

One benefit of this horrible winter weather is that I've gotten a huge jump on my spring cleaning. When spring finally gets here I'm going to want to be outside in the garden, so I've been doing the heavy-duty cleaning over the last few weeks. It's my annual purge of dust, cat hair, crud, and things that I no longer want that weigh on my creativity. It's a relief to have a clean start. The studio was the last space in the house that I've tackled, and I still haven't done the closet. (Just close the doors and it disappears, right?) Maybe I'll clear out the closet another time. So, here's what my new happy place looks like, all cleaned up and ready for a burst of inspiration.

This is the side where I do beadwork, wire work, and final assembly of each piece. It's an old computer desk and the sliding shelf where the keyboard is supposed to go is a perfect place for tools.

On this side is where the metal clay work is done. When I need to do soldering or other smithing work the kiln gets moved out of the way and the rest of that equipment is moved in. It's the most efficient use of this small space that I can think of.

On the opposite side of the room is where the business end gets done. My least favorite thing. I haven't seen the top of that desk  in a long time. I really did clear off the bulletin board, but I need all that stuff that's still on it, and if it wasn't on the bulletin board, it would be on top of the desk.

It feels so good to have everything clean, organized and the clutter cleared out. I do have mixed feelings, though, about working in here. I don't want to make another mess, but the thought of being able to find everything makes me want to get started on some new projects. There are lots of ideas in my head that are screaming to get out. The show and tourist season will be here before I know it and my current inventory will start to shrink. Time to get to work!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Several news items

Ahhh... for the last three days we've had blue skies and warm (well, relatively anyway) temperatures. Yesterday it was over 50 degrees!!! That means there's lots of snow melting and this is what my driveway looks like today. It actually hasn't snowed since last Thursday and isn't supposed to snow again until Wednesday of this week. That's almost a WHOLE WEEK in between snow storms. That's gotta mean that spring is on the way.

There's still big piles of snow from the plow. The LP gas truck tried to get to my neighbor's house today and couldn't get up there. I sure hope they don't run out! Now that the heavy, wide gas truck has come down the road, we'll have to deal with the Dread Mud Beast for a few months. The Beast shows up every spring and tries to swallow up small cars in it's slippery, gooey jaws. (Who else do you know that's named the huge recurring mud hole in their road?) The UPS truck is another contributor to the return of the Beast, and I just placed a large order for supplies for the upcoming Jewelry Making With Precious Metal Clay class at Appalachian State, which starts on March 15. 

I got good news in the mail today. I was accepted to Art in the Park in Blowing Rock, NC for the May 15 show, and I'm on the waiting list for the other shows. (There's one every month from May through October.) I did this show for many years, but, due to changes in the venue and other reasons that I'll never know, I wasn't accepted in 2008 or 2009. I'm happy to have this prestigious event back on my calendar this year.

I also booked another Trunk Show at my step-daughter's house in Forest, Virginia (near Lynchburg) on April 29. Anyone in the area is welcome to come, so contact me for details if you'd like to join us and haven't been to one before.

And, I scheduled a play date with Debbie Keen, who is a master at making lampwork beads and all-around jewelry maker and dabbler in many mediums. We have similar interests and thought we would get together regularly this winter to try out new ideas and break the winter doldrums. Unfortunately, winter kicked our butts and the weather has stopped us from meeting. Now we'll have to wait a couple more weeks due to other obligations, but it's on the calendar and I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm headed to Raleigh this weekend to attend the Polar Party to Conquer Cancer at Brier Creek Country Club. My sister and brother-in-law started this event several years ago and have raised over $44,000 for the American Cancer Society. Not only is it for a great cause, but it's a ton of fun too! I've donated several pieces of jewelry and have collected some lovely art from my fellow Hands Gallery members for their silent auction. It's looking like I'll actually be able to get off the mountain and see some PEOPLE,  including my Dad. I'm so excited!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Funny thing about too much snow...

I agree completely. Hang the damn snowman!!

"Gee, I wonder where Bambi went?"
There's a Facebook group called "You know it's snowed too much in Boone when..." that got almost 3,000 members in 4 days. Here's a few of my favorite completions to that sentence:

when you step outside and realize you're standing on your picnic table.
when the piles of snow from the plow in the Walmart parking lot are higher than Walmart.
you had to buy a second snow shovel because the first one blew off the porch and got buried.
when you start taking  bets on how long the snow piles in the mall parking lot will last (I'm guessing June).
when you start to think that the Winter Olympics should have been held here, instead of Vancouver.
you wonder if the sun still exists.
when we've had more snow than Alaska.
when the forecast calls for 1-3 inches and you feel a sense of relief.
when you know all the rules and lingo to Curling and wish Boone would build a Curling facility.
when you can't find your car because the snow plow dumped 7 feet of snow behind/on top of it.
when the snow plow truck slides across the intersection only to get stuck in the same snow bank it just left on the sidewalk.
when you see a snow plow that's spray painted, "THINK SPRING!"

And, my favorite:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

70 Inches and Counting...The Studio's Finally Getting Cleaned!

I know I said I wouldn't be posting about the weather any more, but when I said that I really thought the snow and cold would be over soon. Oh, how wrong I was! In an average winter we get about 35 inches of snow and the last several winters have been very mild with only a little snow, so I've been spoiled. And it varies from one side of the county to the other. But... 70 inches so far this season? Give me a break! That's more snow than I am tall! It's been another stretch of being trapped in the house - 4 days so far and it's not supposed to quit snowing for another 2 days... then a 1 day break... then another crap storm. I feel like I'm in the remake of Dr. Zhivago!

I finally quit procrastinating about cleaning out the studio. It's amazing how much stuff accumulates in a space where I'm supposed to be creative - including dust and cat hair. I finished sorting and cleaning the beadwork/assembly area yesterday and will start on the metal clay side today. I'm still procrastinating on the closet, mainly because I can close the doors and hide everything, but it's getting to the point that the doors might not close if I keep stuffing things in there! I'd hate to think of myself as a hoarder, but over the years it's been difficult to toss things "because I might find a use for it some day". I'm a huge fan of Susan Lenart Kazmer's work using found objects and I always thought I'd like to make some pieces with that in mind, but I've never been able to pull it off. No more! I have a huge pile of things to give away or donate. It feels good to eliminate some of the clutter that's been weighing me down. I'll post pictures when it's all done.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Etsy Listings

I've listed these pieces in my Etsy Shop over the last few days. I'm trying to freshen it up with some new things, just for YOU! Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blogging in a Blizzard... Blah Blah Blah

The Yeti who lives in my back woods.

When I first started this blog I thought I wouldn't have anything to say. Then I slowly got into it and it was really fun for awhile.  Now I've realized that there's not been much to talk about over the last few months other than snow, ice, cold, and other bitchiness about the weather. So, I'll get that out of the way for today and then I think I'm done for awhile. Maybe all my blogging about bad weather is what's been keeping it here.

Last Monday I tried to get out of here, but got stuck in the ditch. After un-sticking the car, I promptly drove it back into it's happy little parking space and it's been there ever since. A friend offered to take me to the grocery store if I walked up to the paved road, so off we went to the Super Walmart. I had to tie the groceries to a sled and drag them back home, because a lot of what I bought was heavy, like cat litter. Someone called it a Laura Ingalls Wilder adventure and I sure felt like I was a character in Little House On the Prairie! It's been a week today since I've been able to drive out of here.

Today we have an actual real-life blizzard. 40-60 mile per hour winds and snowing sideways and occasional white-outs. The thermometer is frozen, so I have no idea how cold it is. The weather web site says 18 degrees.  The top blew off the bird feeder and the seed is gone. Now the birds are hanging on the screen looking in the window at me. I might have to close the blinds today so I don't have to look at it. The weather man said we might get 9-12 inches of snow, but it's impossible to tell because it's all stuck to the sides of trees and drifted up against the north-west facing buildings.

I'm officially stuck here in the house again, for who knows how long. I can totally understand what cabin fever is all about. I have a hard time remembering what day it is and forgot to re-schedule a Vet appointment for the cat (that had already been re-scheduled one time) because I didn't remember that today was Wednesday. All the days are running together. I can't remember if I've eaten, so I just have to rely on the growling of my stomach rather than the clock to tell me to eat something. Although I do manage to get a shower every day, I've put on the same clothes for 3 days in a row. (Hey! I'm clean - how can the clothes be dirty?) At least the power has stayed on this time so I can get that shower every day.

I did see a cool thing yesterday, though, that I never would have seen if there wasn't snow on the ground. For about 15 or 20 minutes I watched a mink hunting on the stream bank through binoculars and I saw him catch a muskrat for this dinner. I spotted his dark fur against the snow when normally he would have blended right in with the background. I haven't seen any deer in weeks and I wonder where they go in weather like this? The only other wildlife I've seen are birds, and they're not happy with me right now.

I've decided to try not to dwell on this any more. Therefore, unless there's something else to blog about, you might not hear from me for awhile. Let's all pray for an early spring!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Etsy, Weather Update and One Hilarious Video

I've added these three pieces to my Etsy Shop in the last few days. Click on the description to go directly to the listing. I have several more to put up there, and I'm trying to add one thing every day, so keep an eye out for new work. And, yes, I have been working a little bit in the studio, in between house cleaning chores. I'm doing a thorough spring cleaning, because you know that as soon as the weather turns nice I'm going to want to be outside working in my garden!
And, now for another weather report: I've been living from one weather report to the next. Last Friday we had 7 more inches of snow on top of the 4 inches left from the previous storm. Then about and inch of sleet and freezing rain on top of that, so it's like cement. Over the span of 2 days I managed to clear a path from the house to the car and to get the stuff off the car. I had to beat the snow with my fist, or stomp on it with my foot to break up the ice before it could be lifted with the shovel or brushed off the car. You can walk on top of this stuff without breaking through it. I had to quit because my back was starting to hurt. Another big storm coming tomorrow night and the guy that plows my road is out of town. I've already been stuck at the house for 4 days and I guess I'll be here until the snow plow arrives, if not longer.

But, no matter how bad it is, you've got to admit that it's really beautiful. That's what I keep telling myself. Polly Positive here. I'm trying, at least.

This video is hilarious - enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Now is the winter of our discontent...

Richard III by Hogarth, courtesy of

It's snowing hard again. There's 5-6 inches, on top of the 3-4 that was still on the ground. It might change to freezing rain this afternoon, with accumulation on the trees again and more power outages. This is like the week of Christmas all in one day. No pictures today - it looks exactly like previous postings, so I'll spare you.

I'm tired of shoveling snow, of buying and spreading ice melter on the little hill over the culvert, of filling the bathtub and all my big pots with water in case power goes out, of looking out the windows and seeing nothing but white, of re-scheduling my life because I can't get to appointments, of living from one weather forecast to the next. This is enough. I'm about to throw a conniption fit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunshine is a good thing!

I noticed that things look so dark and gloomy in the previous post, like a completely black-and-white world. I guess that's the reality when it's cloudy and snowing. This is what it looks like today. The pine trees are green and that sky....  OH! that sky! As the saying goes: "If God is not a Tarheel, then why is the sky Carolina Blue?" It was so bright that I almost had to wear my shades in the house.

I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do much. I'm taking on small jobs and looking toward ripping up the studio and doing some big time purging. I started with the top of my desk and it feels good to actually be able to see the wood. There's just too much junk that's accumulated and it's starting to crowd me and I think that's what's squashing my creativity. At least, that's my excuse for now.