Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Check out this cool clocks my friend
Peggy Monaghan has created!

Peggy is a local musician & record producer who successfully has
produced events such as the "Song Writer of the Year",
the monthly Arctic Siren's Cabaret at the Snow Goose stage
& most recently Patrick Ball concert via the Irish Club.
She is the owner &
artist behind Arctic Siren's Records.
One of the results of producing records...
ah correction (I'm dating myself),
Cd's is that she often has lots & lots of left overs,
flawed, & old or outdated material.
After trying to come up with a way to environmentally
recycle the vinyl she's created these
charming clocks!
They are Clocks With A Past!
Each is made with a Cd, an old 45, 78 or LP!
If you can't play them anymore at least you can still enjoy them!
I'll have her creations at the
this weekend.
The clocks run from $10 to $20 each!
What a cool gift for the musician or music lover in your life!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Make It Alaskan Festival 2010!

Join me at the Make It Alaskan Festival
on October 1st, 2nd, & 3rd at the Sullivan Arena.
Friday morning from 9 to 12 pm is a wholesale
preview for retailers.
The retail Festival starts on Friday at noon
& runs through Sunday.
See you there!

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Strange Truths For Mature Humans"

My sister emailed me the following list. She especially liked #24 on the list ~ probably because she lives with 1 husband & 2 sons all of whom play hockey. I thought the list should really be titled as

Strange Truths For Mature Humans Women

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighbourhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewellers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Budweiser than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Equinox & The Lemon Queens

September 21st represents the autumnal equinox, the point in the year when the length of day and night are equal (the exact time this year is 11:09 p.m. ET). Starting today (September 22 nd), the days will be getting shorter, the air brisker, the nights a little longer. Sunflowers and other garden plants that have been working hard to grow leaves and blooms now subtly switch tactics. The shorter days are a signal for them to devote most of their energy to making fruits and seeds against the time when they will eventually stop producing energy altogether and dry up.

Even though the days are shorter, there will still be blooms on many a sunflower throughout sunny September. You may want to consider saving your sunflower seeds & especially the Lemon Queen Sunflower seeds. as these are a favorite of honey bees!

If the birds and other critters don’t beat you to it, you could have a nice stash of sunflower seeds for planting or sharing next year. It’s easy. Just follow these steps:

1. Identify the earliest, biggest and best-looking sunflowers in your garden.

2. Watch and wait for the plant's seeds to ripen. When the flowers begin to drop away, you will see little green nubs all over the round head of the sunflower. In a week or so, they will begin to darken and the pollen tips will fall away easily.

3. Once the seeds are ripe, cut the sunflower head and carefully place it upside-down in a paper bag, ensuring any seeds that fall go directly into the bag.

4. Hang the bag in a cool, dry place.

5. Examine the seeds every few days. As they dry out, some the seeds will easily fall out of the flower head to the bottom of the bag.

6. When the seeds are dry (about 2 -3 weeks) remove the seeds completely from the head, separating out any leaves, stems or other debris.

7. Store in a closed container and label with the year and type of seed. If stored away from moisture, most seeds will be viable for the next few years.

Sunflower varieties readily mate. When they do that, the seeds produce plants that are intermediate between the two parent types. This means that if a bee brought in pollen from one of your neighbors Mammoth sunflowers, next years seed will not be true Lemon Queen.

Happy Autumn!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Favorites Night at the Anchorage Accordion Club!

Join us tonight for a Favorites Night at the Anchorage Accordion Club!
BYOB, dessert, a tune to share with the group & your accordion!

I've been practicing "Can't Smile Without You."
Yep, that old Barry Manilow favorite.
It's a lethal combination!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Be My Friend....Or NOT?

I cracked up when I saw this card!
Appropriate since my husband has been bugging
me about not using Facebook for my business & keeping in touch.
I'm so not into the whole
Facebook thing ~ who has the time???

Well, over the weekend I made my husband "my friend."

Glass Fusing ~ A Project for Kids Part 2!

Here's a shot pre-firing of some of the Halloween plates
we put together ~

The plate in the upper left corner is actually
yellow & orange powder that will strike (turn color) upon firing.

Here's the post firing shot.
You can see that some of the colors were transparent
so there's a bit of variance in the color.
To intensify the color the powder has to be put on thick & even.
These were done by a 6 year old & were his color choices so I think they look pretty good!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Glass Fusing ~ A Project for Kids!

Halloween is right around the corner & we're getting a jump on our holiday decorations. We typically have a gathering at our house for hot soup, cider, & magic & then head out into the night with all the ghouls for trick or treating. This year, William & I decided to make some special hordvous' plates for our guests.
William is designing & choosing the images & helping with the production....
oops, er creative process. (Old habits die hard!)
The first step is to trace the glass blank on a piece of paper. this gives you an idea of how much space you have to work in for your design. It's good to leave a half to full inch of space between the design & edge of the paper.

William wanted to make a bat plate so here's his basic drawing on paper. Then he traced it onto stiff tracing plastic. This is a plastic tracing stencil material used frequently for quilting. He traced the design on the plastic & then it was cut out.

When planning the colors for the piece you have to think in reverse order color-wise. We decided that a spring green background with a black bat would look best ~ high contrast colors between the base & image plus a little spooky-ookie for Halloween.
Using a Sharpie maker draw an outline of the bat/design on the glass so you know where the image & background colors will be placed. The background color goes on first so here's William sprinkling on the green Bullseye frit around the bat for the base color. We're using powers which are the finest ground (08 within the system). He's using a small sifter & gently tapping the side to evenly spread the glass power over the base. It's important to use a respirator so as to not breathe in any glass & to wear protective eye gear.

Next gently place the stencil on top of the base color ~ you should still be able to see the outline of the design that you drew on the glass blank so line up the stencil over your tracing lines. The Sharpie ink will burn off in the firing. After the stencil is placed you can sift on the black for the bat image. William went a little crazy here & even covered all of the pink stencil but you really just need to fill in the open areas of the cut out design.

After the black is evenly sifted on, gently lift the stencil off & viola' you have a bat!
Now comes the fun part of embellishing. William used larger chunks of frit (01) to add eyes, nose and mouth. Be aware when you're using other accessory glasses with the powders that they will either fuse in or give texture depending on your firing schedule. These will be fused at about 1435 degrees Fahrenheit ~ cooler than a full fuse but warmer than a tack. I don't want any red eye balls coming off in someones fruit!
OK! This is off to the kiln for firing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall Is In The Air

Fall is in the air!

Cold & brisk in the morning with sunny warm afternoons!
I love the fall. I think it's the memory.

Memory of starting school in the fall.
The excitement of everything new. New clothes, \
new supplies (new paper & crayons still give me a thrill),
new experiences, & new friends!

The cool mornings walking quietly on the sidewalk and thinking.

I guess I was always a thinker & the time walking to school was my meditation.
Quiet time alone is a gift & something so precious & valuable.
If given a choice between a party & being home alone I'd always choose to be, eating, working in the studio.

My "little grey cells" are revisiting these experiences through my son.
He's started kindergarten. (sob!)
(I won't go into the whole gory story of the Charter School &
Optional School issues in Anchorage but it's a nightmare &
worthy of another post or letter to the editor)

And we walk to school almost every morning.

Saying rhymes
It's my meditation

It's a special time to walk with your child & reflect on meaningful things,
These are the things I hope I always remember ~ even if I have Alzheimer's.

As we walk....we talk.
And we collect.
We collect little memories for our table altar.

Little do-dads like leaves, rose hips, pine cones, a rock, a dead worm, rain, a stray candy wrapper, a weed, a dried flower blossom, grass... you get the idea.

All these items lead to discussion. "Why is the rain gone???"
"Let's have a burial for the worm"
"why would someone throw a wrapper on the earth?"

We are not lacking for dinner conversation at our house!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rock On!

Rock on Will!
Here's my 6 year old son....ah, RockStar, playing
his Flying V. It even has it's own little plug in amp.

Yep! You're a cool dude!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lighten Up!

We've had a summer that felt like fall & now a fall that is feeling like summer!

Beautiful sunny & warm days.

It's a trick...fall is coming but that's OK it's my favorite season.

So in honor of a beautiful fall here's a few new

candle holders in warm colors to bring on the light!

So lighten up & embrace the change!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No accordion practice this week....


Because of Labor Day, here was

NO Accordion Practice this Week

for the Anchorage Accordion Club.

So in honor of "no practice"

here's some funny antidotes about the accordion.

I love to play the accordion,

playing with my friends, & stories / jokes about the accordion.

Do you have one???

Send it to me & I'll add it to my collection!

A Primer for Beginners

  1. Get an accordion. The cheaper the better because they all sound the same. Do not tell anyone what you have done - it will only cause them to worry. They will find out soon enough.
  2. Take the accordion out of the case and strap it on. It is better if the accordion rests on your chest instead of your back but, for the first few weeks, it doesn't really make that much difference.
  3. For sounds to be produced, three things must happen: The bellows must be moving in or out. One or more of the keys or buttons must be pressed. All potential weapons within a one mile radius must be collected and secured. The third is the most important
  4. The buttons on the left side are chord buttons. The "C" button has a dimple or nipple so you can find it without looking. (This is a safety feature. Before it was invented, thousands of accordionists suffered painful and sometimes disabeling injuries - much to the delight of the general public). Never use more than three buttons. "Professional" accordionists appear to be using lots of buttons but they are acutally just desperately trying to find the damned "C". "Professional" means they have learned to smile while they do it.
  5. Play the black and white keys. The high notes are at the bottom and the low notes are at the top. (That arrangement isn't supposed to make any sense. Accept it.) Note: If you find the high notes at the top and the low notes at the bottom, you have either put the accordion on upside down or you have tried to repair it yourself. If the former, turn the accordion over. If the latter, pack your acordion up with thousands and thousands of dollars and mail it far away for a long, long time.
  6. Continue playing until someone begs you to stop or threatens your life, whichever comes first.
  7. Put the accordion back in its case.
  8. Order an accordion tee-shirt and wear it to the Mall.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Glass Suncatchers!

It's a beautiful sunny day so it got me thinking
I should be cleaning my windows before it gets too cold.
But that's crazy talk!!
So instead of doing that I made some new glass sun catchers!

These turned out cute!

Small & colorful with a copper silhouette between layers of Bullseye glass.

They're finished off with a copper hanger & bead accent.

I think I'll make more in other sizes & styles to

brighten up my windows before winter!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bubbles in Glass

Bubbles naturally occur in art glass. It's one of the ways that you can tell
you're purchasing art glass versus a
lower grade of glass such as float or pressed glass.

Although recycled glass is really in vogue & people always ask if
I use recycled glass it sort of makes me chuckle
because the quality is so low & it's hard to work.

Recycled glass is often not even compatible with itself
so the result is cracking, haze,
and generally poor results.

Sometimes, however, an artist might want to create
bubbles within a glass piece.

If you're "painting" with glass & want to make some bubbles
in the sky or water areas of your piece the effects can be cool!

Here's a couple of examples ~ or rather poor examples!
I just threw these into the kiln on a full fuse to see what happened.

The glass piece on the left has Borax sprinkled between the glass layers & the sample on the right has baking soda sprinkled between the layers. The baking soda really bubbled up & the glass was stretched very thin while the borax didn't really react at all. Go figure??

I think I'll keep experimenting because I want to use this effect in some new pieces I'm painting up. Anyone out there have experience with making bubbles? Tell me your techniques!