Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Just wanted to come in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. I'm sick. Like, 'flat on my back, coughing up unrecognizable things, dizzy and have completely lost my voice' sick. I've been this way for over a week.

I still managed to fill a couple of orders but that was it. One day, I had a small organic bead set and a set of cupcakes that were custom ordered that I needed to get filled. I was able to make everything except for one measly little Black Forest cupcake. I was so sick that, even knowing I was going to have to wait until the next day, fire up the kiln all over again for ONE bead, I still just couldn't make myself stand there any longer. I absolutely, positively couldn't make that cupcake. F*****ing cupcake!

On that note, I leave you with a thought:

No matter what your religion or lack thereof, this is a special time of year, a spiritual time. Enjoy it, embrace it, appreciate what you have and try not to covet what you don't. Don't allow yourself to be ground down and 'Scrooged' by the expense, the hassle, the crowds, the pressure. Spread your joy through gifts of love, not just empty material items and it's true - that old cliche' - you'll be rewarded 1,000-fold for your efforts. That, I think, is Karma which may not exactly be a Christmas philosophy, but it works.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I'm taking a little hiatus over the next few weeks. I'll still be listing some already made items and a new thing here or there, but I have some custom orders to fill and I have a new project that I'm working on that's distracting me from everything else. I'm so ADD, it's hard for me to focus once I get a new idea in my head. I need to get this new one out of my system.

Sooooo, I'd like to keep the blog interesting during that time and I think a fun way to do it would be to feature a different artist/artisan/craftperson/next-door-neighbor every couple of days. It would include some pictures, a quick blurb and links.

It doesn't matter what you do or make. It doesn't matter if you're a fellow lampworker or not.

I'll be out scouting for interesting items myself, but, if you'd like to participate or know someone you'd like to promote, email me at laurie@mermaidglass.com or leave a comment and I'll get in touch.

Don't be shy. I think this will be fun and a great way to help promote the artistic community.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Treasury

I got a new Treasury on Etsy this morning. It's a pretty one.

Of Sea and Sand

Is it 2009 yet?

It's a jungle out there!

I just started shopping and it's crazy out there. Usually, I start scouting for those 'perfect somethings' in the summertime, but this year I just had no get-up-and-go, I guess. The commercialism makes me queasy. So does the economy.

So does the media.

They've been beating us down for months about how bad the economy is, how people are losing their jobs and their homes and can't afford to buy a winter coat.

Yet, suddenly, when I watch the morning news, it's full of "The Season's Hottest Toys" and "Don't Forget to Buy for So-and-So". Admittedly, it's all budget minded, but still....

I mean, my daughter watches the news, too. She's confused by all of the, "Hey, we're broke and the average family has 10 grand in credit card debt and can't pay their mortgage, but go ahead and by that new IPhone or flat-screen or Wii. You can deal with it later." Very unsettling.

In protest, we're having a "Cash Only/DIY" holiday. If you can't afford to pay cash for it, staying within a set budget, then you have to make it yourself. Each gift must be personal to the individual receiving it, well thought out and created to the best of your ability. I anticipate the most meaningful Christmas ever!

Off-topic Topic:

Has anyone read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver? I can't believe I just got around to it. Wow, what a powerful read.

An amazing book full of insights into human nature, politics, religion and history all with a rather light touch. There's such a wealth of human emotion but it's constrained within such beautiful prose that it sometimes sneaks up on you. That can be rare in some of the heavy-handed novels today. There's a line in the Author's Notes portion of the book where she thanks her parent's for teaching her to navigate the path between 'righteousness and what's right'. I loved that.

If you haven't read it, you should give it a try. It might be your thing. And it's a strong antidote for some of the confusion of this season.

Hey, I guess I wasn't off topic, after all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stuff and Nonsense


I've been asked again about teaching a lampwork beadmaking class. It's something that happens every few months and I never have an answer. I'm left sort of hemming and hawing and looking bewildered and confused and finally pretending I have to take another call.

Even when the person contacts me by email.

In theory, I like the idea of teaching. I think it would be so fun to spend the day with people who love making beads as much as I do, sharing and getting feedback. It's just that I've never done it.
What if the students know more than me? What if I make a dumbass mistake and everybody asks for a refund or, worse, laughs at me? What if I burn myself and am unable to continue the class and must be driven to the Urgent Care by one of the students?

See? All valid concerns.

If anyone else has had this dilema, please email or comment and let me know. I'm curious and confused.


I've been forcing myself to take pictures and edit them and try to get some stuff posted. It's a hateful chore. Don't get me wrong. I'm an avid amatuer photographer.
I just don't like taking pictures of beads. Very tiresome.

But, I did it and so here they are.

These are on eBay right now. Listed very, very low.

~Cabo Set~

~Cabo Focal~

This one, I'm not sure what to do with. I love it. It's gorgeous. I was thinking of making a piece of jewelry out of it but I'm not sure.

~Retro Wave Hollow Focal - Rainbow~

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm baaaaack!

I hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing holiday. I did. Lots of pie. Yummm!

It was good to see the nephews. They're all grown up now, so they go about their own business most of the time and holidays are about the only time we see them. Or that they speak to us.

I'm trying to gear up for Christmas. That's my holiday. I cook the meal and host the open house and entertain on the big day so it's a lot of work getting everything decorated and cleaned and baked. I love it. I totally feel like a matriarch (even though I'm not) when everyone's gathered at the house and relaxing and hanging out. So cool!

I found the funniest thing on Etsy that I just had to share with you. I hope someone gets this for me for Christmas. Not so subtle hint, hint:
You can find this hysterically inappropriate mug, along with other fun-loving attitude
at the DirtyDishes shop on Etsy!

On a personal note, my fingers finally healed up after what I like to refer to as 'Laurie's Adventures in Organizational Hell' and I've got some things made so I thought I'd share a little bit. I don't have pics of everything, but I'll show what I've got.

On Etsy:

These are going on to eBay tonight at about 9:00.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Got beads?

No? Well I do!

Seriously, I've got more beads than I know what to do with. In fact, I have so many that I decided to put together some small jewelry pieces to use as Christmas gifts for friends and family. So, yesterday, I got all the beads I wanted to use out and got them organized. But, as I was rescuing some from my lampworking bench, I noticed what a horrible mess it had become out there.

So I decided to clean it.

Then, as I cleaned, I noticed that one of my glass storage shelves was sagging.

So I decided to fix it.

And after I fixed it, I decided I might as well completely reorganize my storage system and color layout as I was putting all of my glass rods away. Unfortunately, this required me to cut about 800 feet of PVC into 1 foot lengths in order to create new storage pockets for all of the weird, random rods that I've accumulated since the last time I organized my glass.

To do this, of course I had to get in my car, drive to the Depot and buy some PVC.

Anyway, to try and shorten this long and extremely boring story, about 4 hours later I had completed my tasks but was so sick of the sight of glass that I actually felt a little bit queasy at the thought of even touching a bead.

Also, I stabbed myself in the fingers so many times as I picked used rods up off of my table that I now totally understand how diabetics feel after they have to test their blood sugar, like, 20 times a day. I don't think I can use my hands for anything more useful than petting the dog for at least a week.

So, in the meantime, here's some pics of beads that are listed or will be listed in the next couple of days.

On Etsy

On ebay I've got my ~Palm Beach Hollows~ listed now and I'll be putting up the organic focals a little later in the week.

Friday, November 21, 2008


So, I was arguing with my daughter last night...this is something we seem to do often these days. She is nearly 11 going on 16. I don't know if the eye rolling, huffing, laziness and smart mouth are all part of the deal at this age. I don't remember acting like that until I was about 12-13. Does it start earlier now? I think it must

She's always been such a sweet girl and is still young for her age in many ways. But in some ways now, not. I don't really know much about children. I was the baby of my family, five years younger than my sister. I've never spent a lot of time around kids before having my own. By choice. So my knowledge of preteen girls is extremely limited.

Anyway, we were arguing furiously when - to my surprise and my daughter's horror - I suddenly burst into tears. Very uncommon. I am not a crier.

Needless to say, the argument wrapped up quickly at that point, but the emotions stayed with me. Because, in the middle of our battle, as I watched this child who is no longer so much a child, I was overcome with an image of her as she was just a few years ago. A sweet smiling, round cheeked little angel who always had a silly face to make and a hug for everyone. Who would go into the woods and collect treasures and make pictures just for me. Mommy's butterfly girl, always.

As these pictures flashed through my head, I realized how short this part of our time together is. This is the beautiful, golden time when there is still unconditional love in it's purest form and the time when parent's are not just necessary but wanted - not yet a burden to be endured or an obligation. And I know how quickly it will race by. Already she prefers friends to family. Already she opts out of certain activities that she used to love. In so many ways, I'm so proud of how she's growing up. I love watching her change and begin the journey that will take her to the person she'll someday become, discovering new interests, developing her own style.

But in so many ways, I hate even the idea of her changing. No, not hate. Just...can't really accept.

I don't want these fleeting times to be filled only with memories of petty bickering. I never want to look back and regret the distance between us, the harsh words, the anger. But I also don't really know how to deal with some of her behavior. I can't just let it go.

Can I......?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Well, we all survived the weekend. Barely. I don't think I'm quite sane anymore but I am present and accounted for.
  • It rained when we first got there. It was dark and we couldn't get set up quickly, so a bunch of our stuff got wet, including bedding and the inside of the tent.

  • The temperature dropped into the 40's. Did I mention that our bedding was wet? Ugh!

  • Connor got lost in the woods. In the dark. Twice. Well, once he wasn't lost, he just left camp with a group of kids and didn't check in with anyone. It was scary. The camp is a very big place, 100's of acres of woods, on the banks of a huge lake. There's lots of danger out there.
When people think of Florida wilderness, I think they mostly think of alligators as being the dangerous creatures. They don't think of all the other scary things that lurk in the pinewood hammocks.

Rattlesnakes and pygmy rattlers, bears, panthers and bobcats, coyote, water moccasins, brown recluse and black widow spiders and, yes, alligators. To be perfectly honest, it's the snakes that scare me the most. Yes, very frightening.

He was pretty scared the night he got lost, too. He's still afraid of the dark and he was totally on his own in the woods. He went off with another, older boy and then the kid ditched him. I don't think he did it on purpose, just being careless. The other kid is 10. Connor is 6.

On a happier note, the kids both got to shoot BB guns and practice archery. They raced pinebox derby cars. Connor was actually a finalist in the Rain Gutter Boat Races. He was only beaten because his opponent, an 11 year old girl, was taller than him and better able to reach her boat. He just couldn't get high enough to blow on it as well as she could. Still, she barely beat him. She went on to win the entire thing.

It all worked out in the end, though, and the kids didn't want to go home!

Safe and Sound

On a work note, I stumbled across this piece of jewelry, made with one of my margarita beads, yesterday. I thought it was so cute, I just had to post a picture of it.

You can find this and other creations at the beautiful Mermaid Creek shop on Etsy.
I'm a huge fan of her jewelry. In fact, this is a piece that I've had marked as a favorite for a long time. As soon as I make enough money to do more than just cover my bills, I'm going to get it for myself. So pretty! !!
I've got some new things to list on Etsy myself, so I'll update in a day or so to show you what I've got.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Into the wilderness

Well, I'm off. Off to the deep, dark wilderness. Actually, I'm off to the Boy Scout camp about an hour away from my house. But still... I mean, an entire weekend with a huge group of little boys shooting BB guns and bows and arrows and running around in the middle of the night? I might as well be in the darkest heart of Africa.

Should be fun!

The whole family's going on this trip. Well, all except Duffy. He's not allowed. Apparently, the Scout's think he's.....a DOG!!!! Quel horreur!

Does this look like a dog, I ask you?

I've also made a pivotal decision regarding my lampworking future. I've (be calm and don't panic when you read this) decided that (seriously, STAY CALM, I beg you) it's time for me (deep breaths, all) to (here it comes) join a group.

OMG, there it is. It's out there. I said it.

I, Laurie Whitney, notorious loner and anti-joiner, am considering the possibility of joining the local chapter of the ISGB, the Florida Glass Dragons. Don't ask me why. In the 3 years that I've been lampworking, I've never joined or participated in anything with fellow craftsfolk.

I am not a joiner by nature. I like my own company and I am horrendously shy about my work. That's one of the things I like most about this job: the solitary nature of it and the relative anonymity you can achieve by communicating via the Internet.

That sounded a little creepy, didn't it? Sorry.

Anyway, lately I've been feeling a little bit lonely for like-minded conversation and a little bit of fellowship.

I don't know. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I've got auctions ending: ~Ba Da Bling~ and ~Xmas Coffee & Donuts~ are ending this weekend.

And I've got some new things posted.
Have a peek.

These are some new focals that are currently listed on eBay:

~Sweet Dreams~

~Dream On~

and these are some new things up on Etsy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A little dis and dat

Wow, another busy weekend!
We had our annual Veteran's Day party. It wasn't as hectic as usual. Normally there's around 50 people, this year a little more than half that many. It's more fun that way. I actually get to talk to people instead of dashing from group to group for about 74 seconds apiece and then moving on.
Plus, since the kids are older now I don't have to constantly wonder about them. They're much more self sufficient now.

Then, on Sunday we took the kids to the fair, as we always do. That was a little stressful. I accidentaly got into a word fight with the chick in the the lemonade stand. I'm a really calm person, for the most part, and am used to dealing with difficulties. But that one just sent me over. I'm not going to go into any tiresome details but lets just suffice it to say that:

1. I don't like people who are self-important and arrogant and

2. I hate it when people mouth off to me.

Well, in any case, I don't think she'll pull what she tried with me on any other customers, that's for sure.

Here's a picture of one of the Monarch's the kids 'hatched' this year. It was a very friendly one and didn't want to leave. Please ignore Connor's 'bed head'. He's growing his hair out and right now the style looks a little bit like my mom's. Sorry, Mom, nothing personal.

Finally, on a businessy sort of note, everything on Etsy is still marked way down, so try and check it out.
I've also got some new beads listed on eBay right now.

~Ba Da Bling~

~Coffee & Donuts~

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack the Vote!!!

What a great day for America!
No matter who your choice was, no matter what your political views, this is an accomplishment that we should all look at with pride. Finally, American's were able to look beyond the color of a person's skin and make a choice based on ideas, beliefs and common goals. Make a change that's been too long coming.

Will he be a perfect president?
Of course not. No one can.
Will he accomplish everything he sets out to do?
Most likely not. That would take a lifetime.
Will he solve all the problems we face as a country?
Impossible. This didn't happen to us overnight and it will take a long time to fix.
But I do believe that he has a vision that he will fight for. I do believe that he wants to end the war as quickly as possible, but not at the expense of our soldiers safety. I think he'll fight to get our economy back on track, rebuilding jobs and the dream of a future for our children. And I think that our tax money will be put to better use than it has in a very long time.
Interesting times ahead, to be sure.

Now, how about a woman next time?
We can do it, you know we can!

P.S. Completely off topic, I've marked every single item in my Etsy shop down 20-25%. Come check it out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote!

I always loved that slogan to push young voters to the polls. It was quite effective.

Did you vote?
I just got back myself. Helping make history, one way or the other.

Hope everyone had a spooky Halloween. We did. Lots of candy was eaten by all and we had a chance to see our neighbors and socialize a little bit. Very fun.

I'm on my way over to Etsy right now to mark down a bunch of stuff. I'll post again when my discounts are done. I've got to start moving some things out of there. We're in a major financial crunch right now, so every little bit helps.

Right now on Etsy I've got some holiday cuties listed:

~Snowy Guys~

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How pretty is this?

Just had to pop in and share.

A while back I did a trade -my beads for some findings (which I still haven't had time to use) - with a beady friend, Dhea Powers. She sent me a pic last night of what she made with them and it really turned out beautifully.

Mine are the leaves. I love those acorns, though. I'm not sure if she made them or if they were from someone else.

Of course, her work is always gorgeous. She also makes the most amazing boro beads. Here's a link to her Etsy shop:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too much to do!

So, I haven't posted in forever. Not because I don't have anything to say; I have too much going on. No time. Must have rest.

Must interject. Am accidentally watching a movie with Kim Basinger in it while I write this. How the hell does that woman get hired to be an actress. She is so crap! If I was as bad as her at what I did for a living, I swear I'd go on welfare.

Seriously, I feel like I haven't had real sleep in days and there's just more of the same ahead.The kids are too busy. I'm too busy. We're all run ragged. I've had so much going on that when my friend asked me what I did over the weekend, I honestly couldn't think. I know I did a million things, but I could barely sort it out in my head.

So here goes:

I've made about 200 beads, photographed them all, edited the pictures and started listing again.
I've been camping. Again.
I've Christmas shopped.
I've birthday party shopped.
I've been to a birthday party.
I have constructed a butterfly habitat and assisted in the metamorphosis of 6 Monarch butterflies.
I've volunteered at school 5 of the last 10 days.
I've been to 2 soccer practices and 2 soccer games.
I've been to 4 swimming practices and a swim meet.
I've hosted the Den meeting for Cub Scouts.
I've chaperoned yet another field trip.
I've have done all of the fall cleaning, trimming and landscaping for the entire yard. It's an acre of manicured veggie, tropical and perennial garden.
I've been to a Cheetah Girls concert. (Isn't that enough, for the love of God!)
I've cleaned my carpets.
I've purchased and begun to prepare food for a party of 50.
I cleaned my entire house in preparation for the party. (And I'm talking 'Party Clean' not 'Family Clean'!)
I made my son's Halloween costume.
I made my son's 'Hoe Down' costume. I had to do this because the school thinks Halloween is offensive and won't allow it to be recognized so they have an alternative party. How queer is this?
I made my daughter's Halloween costume.
I am on a diet.
I have lost 7 pounds.

I have lost my mind.

Oh yeah, and I still did all the rest of the stuff that needs to get done on a daily basis to keep this machine I call a family running.
I am so tired that I can no longer sleep.

I made these beads.
They are for sale.
There will be more soon.
Seriously, lots more. I'm looking at, like, 7 more focals and three more sets right here on my desk. I'm just too tired to finish editing them.

~Siren Song~
(This is, perhaps, the most beautiful bead I've ever made)

~Spice Island~

~Candy Land~~He Said~ (Yes, there is a She Said)
~Serenity~~Silver Tiger~

~Silver Tiger Focal~

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Monarchs are here!

I love this time of year. We have butterflies just about all year round, but none seem as friendly and as accesible as the beautiful Monarchs. We're lucky because they winter here in Florida, so we get the chance to watch them, from egg to adult. Over the last week, they've decimated my milkweek and, just today, I noticed that all but a few have vanished. They're off to build their chrysalis'. It won't be long now!

Here's a shot of one of the big, velvety caterpillars.

Speaking of cocoons, does anyone know what creature this one belongs to? I found it in the yard and it's incredibly cool looking. Almost like a little fairy house. It probably has some enormous, disgusting creature in it. Ewe!

Oh, I also went on the "Mud Walk" with my daughter's class. Apparently, it's a 5th grade field trip tradition around here and the kids look forward to it for years. I, not being from around here, was not aware of exactly what it entailed.

Well, now I know.

Basically, you hike a mile or so out into the hammock and then proceed to hike some more miles (probably only 1 mile, but it definitely felt plural) through the flooded low lands. I'm not kidding you, that mud and water was almost waist deep in some places. And the smell! It smelled like a cow farm.


And the water is all murky and brown and you're in the middle of nowhere and you know there are alligators and water mocassins out there...somewhere. It was creepy and stinky and pretty exhausting, but it was also fun.

I mean, how many times as an adult do you go out and play in the mud all day? The teacher had her disposable waterproof camera so, as soon as she processes them, I'll post some pictures.I've relisted ~Coffee & Donuts~ on eBay and that's all I have for right now. I have a bunch of new beads but I've been too busy doing yard work to photograph them. I'm going to try to do it tomorrow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Half full, half empty


Are you all sick of hearing about the financial crisis? I am. And you know what else? The more the media hunts it down and leaps on it and rips the story to shreds and gloats about it, the worse it's going to get.

Remember that old song, "Dirty Laundry"? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

The 'Financial Crisis' is the new Brittney Spears. Watch our economic structure self-destruct, right before our eyes.


Wow! What a fabulous morning at the torch I had. I've been so busy and preoccupied, filling custom orders and running kids around and chaperoning events and trying not to lose our life's savings while the banking executives take off to the spa on our coin that I've really felt sort of out of the groove lately.

Not like a few weeks ago, when I was so discouraged. Just....like... wanting to get to the torch but not having anything to 'say' when I got there.

Do you know what I mean?

But today I had a birthday gift to make for my 'niece' and a couple of fun orders to fill and a technique I wanted to try so I had to get the creative hat on and it was worth it.
I may be jumping the gun but, if it comes out of the kiln looking as fabulous as it did going in, I just made a gorgeous bead. Maybe my favorite ever.

I might even keep this one!!!!!

I got some amazing reaction from Double Helix's Luna 2, which is my favorite silver glass. The problem is, as always with silver glass, it's been inconsistent. The first batch I bought was awesome, my second batch of it sucked, my third batch was just so-so. But, when it works, it's fantastically beautiful.

Today it worked.

Oh, and I have this set of Painted Ladies listed. I like it because it's very Autumny.

~Fall in Wonderland~

Monday, October 6, 2008

Camping with the Boys

My son joined the Cub Scouts about a week ago and so had to immediately go on their campout this weekend. Now, it's been a long time since I've camped in a tent. We have a travel trailer and I have to admit to being a little spoiled.

But it was actually fun. So many kids! Unlike the Girl Scouts, when the boys go camping, they bring the whole family. Both of my kids had a blast and can't wait to do it again. Strangely, neither can I.

I didn't get much work done this week, but I did have time to list a couple of new focals on eBay. This is one of my favorites.

~Juliette's Regret~
I also really like this one. It has gorgeous, unique color.

~Girly Swirl~
I've also got some new items on Etsy. A few for Halloween.

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