Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Abundant August evening in the straw bale garden

It's been a while since I've updated you on my straw bale garden, so last night our ball-tired pooch and I took a little stroll and some video.

First a disclaimer - This is the second season for most of the bales, so a few of them are in sad, slumpy shape.  I've replaced some, but many are leaning over and falling apart.  I planted everything quite early (April, which is about a month too early where we live), but it got cool and things are really lagging.  I've also been traveling quite a bit and not tending to it as well as I did last year.

That said, I was amazed by the abundance I saw there.  Lots of things are coming ripe and there is promise in the air.  The beans were a flop so far this year but I've got new seeds coming up for a late harvest.  Once my potato bales slumped over the hardware cloth gopher barrier the burrowing pests invaded and pigged out, so even though it's time, I'm not getting much of a harvest.

This year I decided to plant flowers in the bales that would work as cut flowers in the house, which I adore.  There are tons of rudbeckia, and some really nice looking dahlias, which the Straw Bale Gardening book says love the bale environment. They are right.

Next year I'm going to enclose the rows in a structure of 2 x 4s and hardware cloth - completely enclosing the bales so that if they slump, they stay more or less upright, and no critters can invade.  But I don't blame them - I've sunk my hands into the deepest depths of these soft bales and it's the richest humus I think I've ever felt.  I'm sure it's incredibly fertile.

If the video isn't useful at this resolution I'll work on getting an HD version up. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

New snap charms in my Etsy shop!

As my grandma used to say, "busier than a one armed paper hanger".  That's what coming back from 12 days in Europe and preparing for a home studio class will do to you.  The class was last weekend (bead capping and coring) and we had a ball, and it was just the push I needed to do another studio clean up. 

I've also got a couple of travel posts in the works for you, but in the meantime, I've also been having lots of fun with my cab mandrels making snap charms.  Turns out I forgot my main bag of jewelry for the trip, and all I had was a small pouch of earrings and my snap jewelry.  Snap bracelets to the rescue! 

So in gratitude for that, I've been busy entertaining my summertime muse of beach and ocean themes, and flowers.  Here are a few just listed today:

I'm offering this one as a completed bracelet, in your choice of brown or black leather.  Tidepool!

The one on top is here.  The one on the bottom is here

Same as above on black.
A lovely tropical flower snap charm. 

And a stargazer lily.

Tiger lily.
There are a new baker's dozen listings today, with more to come.  I've been a very busy paper hanger. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beads in the House!

Photo by Doug Baldwin
No, it's not my husband's battle cry when I spread too much of my glass art making around the kitchen. 

I've actually listed some focal beads in my Etsy shop.  Yeah, I know, Etsy is on my ishtlist right now for all they are doing to squash independent artists by promoting factory made goods on their site, but it's what I have for now.  But at some point in the future you'll entertain shopping with me on my own site, right?  I can see it will be a win-win for both of us, so let me do some checking with my site host and figure all of that out.

Meanwhile, beads.  This week I'm in a neutral, warm zone so these are all kind of related.  Kind of embarrassing how long it's been since I've offered beads in my online shop - there's been all kinds of jewelry but not so many beads, but it's not because I didn't have any.  Here's a quick peek - click on anything to check it out over on Etsy. 

I've also finally listed some of the snap charms I've been making for the Noosa-style bracelets and other findings.  I've had great fun with these, and they've been received well, so I've finally put some up, but I took the lazy approach and instead of taking individual photos of each of the 40 charms/chunks/poppers I've photographed them as a group and numbered them.  We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tucson Recap!

I'd say I was "just back" from Tucson but it would be a lie.  I've been back for the better part of a week but out of commission with a bad cold.  Heidi and I both got it at virtually the same time, thankfully after the show was over, but before our "fun" time in Tucson and the looong drive home.  But we took some small comfort in our mutual misery, coughing and sniffling in unison for 700 miles, and I think it's safe to say that we're both pretty much over it now.

After making what appears to be our annual navigational error in Los Angeles and then barreling through the desert on a very quiet I-10 (thank you, Superbowl!) we were welcomed warmly, and it was just the start of a wonderfully comfortable visit with our hosts.  Delicious dinners (I got the recipe for this one, in my oven now), a drink, latte or shot of tequila just when you become aware you might need one, these people are natural born hosts, and we love being with them.

Almost like clockwork the javelinas (ok, just one extroverted one) showed up just outside Terry and Barnes' fence the very first morning we were there.  We love this little ritual, especially when they come with their babies.  It was our only sighting except for late one night while I was outside on the patio on the phone in the moonlight, and I spotted one tiny baby underneath a parent's silhouette near a quail feeder.  Magical.  We also spotted two coyotes one night just before dusk, and they looked very well fed.  Hopefully it's due to the lady who reportedly feeds them dog food, and not from javelina babies.

Imagine a tiny little baby javelina under the arch of this one's belly in the moonlight.
Lunch at the original El Charro downtown.  A nice reward for being done with setup.

It was a great show - the traffic the first morning was heavy and we barely had time to think.  We got lots of great feedback from customers about the show - it seems that everyone likes a show featuring handmade glass art.  It was lovely to see some of my regular Tucson customers at our new venue.  There were soft glass bead artists and boro artists and marbles and sculpture, and even though the medium was the same the diversity was striking.  Doug Harroun and his family did a wonderful job promoting and running the show, and was always asking us if we needed anything.  I hope he's taking a well deserved rest right now, because he worked his butt off.
Lori Heiden-Engle and Paul Engle.

We were happy neighbors with Lori and Paul, and I was excited to get a signed copy of Paul's new book Conciatore.  I had seen several great quotes from it on Facebook in recent months, and was thrilled to actually meet the author.  I can't wait to dig in.  And Terry came to Lori and Paul's rescue when their boxes did not arrive on time, loaning them some lights until theirs came.  Artists helping artists, as we are all one big family.

The lovely Mz. Zinser.
The best (and most hilarious) booth neighbor EVER!  Ren Farnsworth, who actually drove all the way to Tucson from Connecticut. 
The weather this year was nearly the polar opposite of some prior years, with temperatures nearing 80 and lots of sunshine.  We even got a bit of sunburn and broke a little sweat while hiking one of the gorgeous trails just West of town.  This year we even had to do a little shopping for some cooler clothing to get us through the show.

This year I signed up for Kate McKinnon and Kyle Cassidy's photo shoot event, to get some shots of my jewelry on models,  It's kind of surreal to see your work on someone, posing as models do, and looking so INCREDIBLE.  I'm so glad I signed up for this, and will likely be doing it again in the future.  Kate outdid herself finding models for this, and the Atomic Ranch has so many cozy vignettes just waiting to be shot.  Kyle is a gifted photographer, and super easy to work with, not to mention a really nice guy.  I mean, the Dalai Lama wouldn't let just anyone take his picture, right?  
The lovely Suzette, modeling this necklace.  You will not BELIEVE some of the shots we got.
The Sonoran Glass School's annual Flameoff was a great time again this year, and well attended.  I'm happy to report that a female flameworker took the prize this year!  Congratulations Veda Bickley!  And three cheers for BBQ Rush - now that I've sampled an array of BBQ purveyors in Tucson I think these guys are my favorite.  This year they had several food trucks on site for the Flameoff so everyone could get what they liked and not have to wait long.  And let me tell you that we have reason to believe that perhaps there is a reason why lone leftover BBQ ribs and the plastic tubes that your spork comes in are EXACTLY the same size.  I won't say who stuck an unfinished pork rib in their purse for the ride home.

The show finished on Saturday, leaving us free to party with Jean Baruch and her awesome crew at the Metal Arts Village for the Beads of Courage "Bead Inspired" fundraiser.  As an honoree last year, it felt great to welcome the new crop of bead artists to the Bead Hall of Fame, and I even got to accept an award for someone who wasn't there, Carol Crye from Tennessee.  Congratulations Carol!  

It was so nice to have some down time to visit with our friends and see a little more of Tucson.  On one of our free days after the show we took advantage of the incredible weather and hiked a few miles on the Sweetwater Trail, climbing up above the homes near Marana.  The varieties of cactus were mind blowing, as was the brewery lunch we had at Barrio Brewery, and a wonderful dinner at Agustin Kitchen.  There is no shortage of good food in Tucson, that's for sure.

Both Heidi and I had the pleasure of watching Terry work in her ceramic studio while we were there.  I was struck by some common threads that our respective media share, for example, needing to find the center of things (e.g. when working with metal discs, or carving designs on semi-dried clay), getting things on center.  If you're around Tucson this weekend and would like to see some great ceramic art, my friend Terry will be in this show in Tohono Chul Park.

So that's about it.  We will be back, Tucson, and you will be sweetly in our thoughts and dreams until then. Thank you again for some great memories.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tucson Recap in 3...2...1...

I'm back from Tucson and SOOOO want to share some of my wonderful memories from the trip and Show, but unfortunately one of the unexpected things I brought home (Heidi too), was a nasty cold.  Booooo.  I feel pretty crappy, but hopefully I'll bounce back in a couple of days and will share some highlights.  It was super fun, profitable, and we got to meet lots of great people and do tons of fun things.  I'll leave it at that for now. See you soon.

Heidi and I in one of many giggle fests, this one with Kyle Cassidy at Kate McKinnon's photo shoot.  Photo by Kyle Freaking Cassidy.  More to come from that wonderful day.  


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