Thursday, April 30, 2009

Evening Shade

I wanted to pop in and share these pictures. I took them about a week ago, standing on the edge of my pool deck and watching the sunset across our lake. I did no editing whatsoever, except for a horizon straightening on the bottom one because it was slightly lopsided.

Can you believe those colors?
Isn't Mother Nature fabulous?

I took this one first. I know it's really blurry, but I wanted to show it anyway because the pink-purple was so vivid and unexpected.

I took this one about 30 seconds later. The sky just turned to fire.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Knife in the heart

I can't believe I'm actually posting about this but it's a serious subject in my house. Something so pivotal, so foundation-rocking that I just have to discuss it.

My daughter wants to cut her hair off. Her incredibly beautiful, nearly waist-length, honey-blond hair that flows and waves and sparkles with shimmering golden and platinum highlights. Her hair that makes grown women sigh with envy and run to the salon, willingly forking over hundreds of dollars to duplicate it.

Oh, the horror!

But, because I am a liberal-minded person and completely support her right to choose her own path and because it is, after all, her hair - I have agreed. Conditionally. I will allow her to take off half and add layers. If, after she has it that length and still wants more taken off, she is free to do that. But she must do it in stages. (If she really fights me, then I'll let her to take it all off. At least she can donate it that way.)

I don't think that's the way to go with her, though. I think she'd cry her little heart out if she did it as short as she wants and I know I would. My husband can't even talk about it. But she is a baby no more. She wants what she wants and I, of all people, can appreciate that!


We all have them -those times when our spark fades. When it feels like you've just drained out, mentally and physically? Not just when your creativity takes a break, but when your joy does, too. When you feel like you've lost your way, you've fallen off the path and into the rut beside it. When you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around.

Do you ever just take the time to recharge? Well, that's what I did last week.

Not that I wasn't busy. I worked harder than I have in a long time.
I got my summer garden relocated and set up and almost completely planted.
I did all of the spring yardwork.
I did total spring cleaning in my house - from the baseboards up to the ceiling fans.
I cleaned the garage.
I built a desk and bookshelves for my kids. And when I say built, I mean it. Not assembled. Built.
I made a handful of beads but was too exhausted by the end of the day to photograph them.
I threw a small going away party for my parents. They've headed back North for the summer.
I went bathing suit shopping. And I think we all know how draining that can be!

It's been busy, but that re-energizes me. Taking a break from the routine and getting everything in order is the best way for me to get a fresh perspective on things. What about you? What clears your mind and puts your feet back on the path?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Florida Glass Dragons

Well, I did it. I stepped outside my comfort zone and went to the Florida Glass Dragons Spring Fling event. I just sucked it up, told myself that, 'Hey, I'm an adult. I can put myself out there in an unfamiliar social situation with a bunch of strangers and I'll be fine. Really.' (Then I forced my mom to go with me.)

And guess what? I had fun!

At first, I did my usual shy-girl thing where I hang out in the back of the room, making very little eye contact and trying to be inconspicuous. (This is not that easy since I'm almost six feet tall with a head of the craziest, curly hair you've ever seen on a white girl. I don't really 'blend'.) But before long, people were coming up and chatting and introducing themselves and talking glass. Everyone was very friendly. It was great to spend a day with a group of people and not ever once say the words, "Lampwork beads. Um,,,glass beads. For jewelry." or "Rods of colored glass." or "No, I melt it with a torch, actually." or "Well, you don't drill the holes. You make them on a thing called a mandrel. Well, a mandrel is...."

God, it was fabulous!

We also got to see some amazing demos in a nice, small environment. I mean, seriously, in the course of just a few hours I got to see Pam Dugger, Ray Olson, Brent Graber and Heather Ferman work their magic! How incredibly cool is that? Pam made a dragon that was so gorgeous, I had to restrain myself from snatching it out of the kiln on my way out. :)

Though I've never taken a single lampworking class, I would take one with Heather Ferman in a heartbeat. Even though she was just doing a quick demo, she was awesome. She explained everything she was doing in detail, answered a million questions, gave away all kinds of fantastic tips and even explained how she got her hot plate set-up made.

And, to top it all off, I won a very nice door prize and a raffle prize. My mom even won. She walked away with a gift certificate from Double Helix which she promptly handed over to me. Yay!!!!!!

I only took three pictures, but here they are:

Ray Olson making a dichro winged fairy.

Pam Dugger warming up
Heather Ferman with her incredibly cool little torch

Friday, April 17, 2009

Random ramblings

I just have a few unrelated bits of info to share today so, here goes....

First and most importantly, my sons baseball team finally won another game last night.
Woo Hoo! Go Cards!!!
(This is only the second time all season they've experienced victory, so it was very sweet. They're not a bad team, just young.)

Second, I wanted to post a picture of a gorgeous lariat necklace that was made with some of my flip-flop beads. I hardly ever get pictures of finished designs so I had to share. I think it's so cute and fun. My copied image is not very good. The one on her blog is much nicer!

The designer is Kristen Latimer. You can view her blog here at and you can check out her items on Etsy at MJM Jewelry Designs.

Another fun bit of news is that I'll finally get to attend an event from the local ISGB chapter, The Florida Glass Dragons. They're having their Spring Fling this weekend at Rocio Bearer's studio in Cocoa.

I've wanted to become more involved in the local lampworking community for quite awhile, but I've always had schedule conflicts. So I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. They are having some amazing artists demoing including Brent Graber and Pam Dugger! Woo Hoo (again)! So, if you're in the neighborhood, you should definitely check it out. You can view details about the event at the Glass Dragons website.

Well, I guess that's about it. Have a fun and fabulous weekend.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guinea Pig, anyone?

I know, this isn't really a legitimate post because I don't have anything critical or inspirational or even slightly important to say or share. However, I love this little piggy so much, I had to put him here. I put him up in my Etsy shop last night.

Which brings to mind something that actually is legitimate to discuss. (See, I knew there was a point to all of this!) In an interview recently I was asked where I get the inspiration for some of my beads, like 'Bacon & Eggs', 'Coffee & Donuts' and 'Sock Monkey'. I like, look around my house, you know? I mean, sometimes I'll see something that is so mundane - so absolutely ordinary - that I just think it would make the most hysterically funny bead ever. Seriously, there are beads that I make that, when they're finished, I'm literally standing at the kiln laughing at them. I don't know, I guess I have a dumb sense of humor.

I do occasionally make intentionally 'weird' beads, too. Like monsters or silly characters. But those never strike me as being quite as funny as my everyday, ordinary stuff made mini.

And it's these beads, these silly little sculpturals - that keep lampwork fresh for me. It used to bother me that I seem to have a split-personality when it comes to beadmaking - half deadly serious and half whimsically ridiculous. I wanted to have a 'signature'. I wanted people to look at my work and say,"That is a Laurie Whitney bead. I'd recognize her work anywhere."

But now, not so much.

Because I use a completely different part of my brain to design and create this:

than I do for this:

It exercises my creativity, stretches my abilities and keeps my job from being too much like work.

What about you? What do you do to keep it fresh? Where do you get your best ideas?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Pursuit

The Pursuit of Happiness
I felt like this picture just really summed up the elusive bunny-egg hunt.

And now for a little lampwork. This is a Snowy Owl bead I have listed on Etsy right now. He's the first in a series of wildlife beads I'm going to be putting up in the next few days.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What to do, what to do?

This post is really for all of you lampworkers out there. I need your thoughts on a particular topic. Are you going to the Gathering? I'm undecided. I really, really want to go. It's close by for me, Miami this year. I can drive there in just a few hours.

At first I was completely gung-ho, all "I'm going. I am so there!" But now, I'm getting wishy-washy. It's a financial thing for me. It adds up to be pretty pricey and in this economy, every penny definitely counts. On one hand, I could swing it but I feel kind of selfish. That's family money. If I go to the Gathering, I'm probably using a good portion of our summer vacation fund.
I thought about a roommate or two or three, but I don't really know anyone else who's going or who might be interested.

On the other hand, this is really business. Oh, sure, I know it's a lot of fun. But it's also about getting out there, meeting other glass artists face to face, connecting with vendors, getting some amazing teaching tips and being completely inspired by some of the best in the lampworking world. I feel like I've stalled out and I think that going would be a great opportunity.

I don't know. I really want to go, but I'm just so up in the air about it. If anybody who's gone to a Gathering in the past has any feedback, input or ideas about this, I'd love to hear from you. Seriously, don't be shy, just let me know what you think or what your plans are. Or if you need a roomie!

In the meantime, I've got two new listings on eBay. I'm still plugging away over there and trying to be more consistent with my listings.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Hello, Sunshine

How cute is this?

After a whirlwind couple of weeks, I'm back home again. Just in time for Spring Break.

Camping was fun, but exhausting. The kids played themselves silly. I mean, seriously, they were delirious with so much sunshine and outdoors and 'rouging it'. Then, this past week, I was in South Florida working 12-hour days. Also fun and a good time hanging out with friends and meeting new people, but a lot of work.

So now, after so much time away from the torch, I'm sort of out of the groove already and now it's Spring Break for the kids. We're not planning on traveling at all, though I did want to take them to D.C. or, maybe, Costa Rica. It's just not feasible right now, unfortunately. I hate it because Anna, especially, is growing up so fast and it seems like our time to go places, to experience things as a family is rushing by. I really wish we didn't have to 'put things off' for a week, a month, a year. But, that's life. It's that way for everyone.

Anyway, back on track, I'll be trying to get some work in over the next seven days.
I've actually got some listings right now.

This is one of a few that I have listed on eBay right now:

And this is one of my new 'Toy' beads on Etsy. He's a little quirky, but I love him anyway.
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