Sunday, June 29, 2008

Have a Heart

Heart of Gold

Today was an annual increase in age event! HaPpY BiRtHdAy Me!

If you’re curious about my age – it’s 29 + tax, postage, handling & insurance…..that’d make it around 47 ;o) Cool huh?

Gotta say this much – it’s a boat load better than being 27, in oh so many ways!
When we are young & hear parents or older friends & so on say “I wish I knew then, what I know now” – we think “yeah sure you do – you just want to feel good about being OLD!”. What we don’t realise is that they do feel good about being older. It’s not so much a case of knowledge, experience, wisdom gained – although all of those have been & do matter, but rather it’s a sense of self. It’s a difficult thing to define – but you know it when you get there….many (like myself) think they are ‘there’ in their late 20’s – little realising that they have yet another decade to go.

I did have a couple of things I would have liked to celebrate my birthday doing, small things really – lining my printers tray ready for my bead display, torching & making up a very special bead into a necklace. However typical weekend life got in the way …. Including the girls squabbling over who was going to use the computer – more than once. That will keep.

So how did I celebrate? I changed my earrings – ROFL!
I kid you not – this is a big thing for me. I have a pair or earrings that quite simply I live in, as they are so comfortable yet effective. They are a second favorite pair – I lost one of my original pair a week or so after we moved into this house. I was gutted (I cried like a baby when I realised!) – so I borrowed my daughter’s plainer version, but they’re just not the same. These earrings were a special gift - & without fail at least once a week someone would comment on them.

Mum arrived fully armed & equipped for dinner – bring the main contenders (in my book anyway) of stuffing for the chicken we were roasting & Chocolate Roulade & Mandarin Mousse for desert. Calling out & wondering where I was – I called down the stairs “I’m celebrating my birthday” – don’t know what she expected when I waltzed down – perhaps a dye job or a makeover – but she laughed when I told her I had changed my earrings!

All in all it’s been a very mellow day (apart from aforementioned daughters) – I’ve spent time chatting online with a dear friend, whom I’ve promised to send some stuffing & desert & an ex workmate called & wished me Happy Birthday & we had a bit of a catch up. A nice meal, a bit of TV (& teasing of a certain cats!)& then revisiting an early birthday present that the lovely Ms M sent me a wee while ago. Here I’m showing the lovely treasure woven bracelet– but there was more, all orange :o)
Every time I look at this bracelet – Divines “Cha Cha Heels” starts playing itself in my head…. I love it! Showing my age??? Well - good!
Someone knows that orange is my favorite colour!

Ms M – check your inbox, stuffing & desert await!
Allan – next time you mumble “so what do you want for your birthday” …the answer is in this blog post ;o) ….or a dog!

Treasure Woven Birthday Bracelet

Sunday Photo's

Ms M's wonderful orange glassy goodness...a fish, a heart, a big ass straight sided lentil & a beautiful veiled cane winged heart in not one but two shades of orange!

Michaela - her turn at the keyboard! Please Note: to a teenager - multi tasking involves chat AND a telephone glued to your ear.

Winding up da Kitty

Still winding up da Kitty....Bizkit won !

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's not to Love

Christchurch City Sunrise

The other night as I sat here listening to the gentle hum of my Hard Drive…well ok it’s not so gentle, in fact it is irritatingly loud…but hey I was trying to wax lyrical.

So let’s pretend that my Hard Drive, which at times gets a vibration thing going that can only be compared to the roar of a Hot Head as opposed to the quite background noise of a dual fuel torch – is quite.
To some it would be considered quiet ….members of a Heavy Metal Band for instance.

Back on track: – a couple of nights ago I was sitting here at 2.00am in the morning, pondering the meaning of life, the universe & everything (glass, beads & LE, silver jewelry components). I suddenly realised why it is that I hang around so long after everyone else goes to bed….the total lack of sound, the blissful silence – the pure unadulterated PEACE. Being able to think uninterrupted thoughts – map out idea’s while they are fresh in my mind, before sleep & then the subsequent early morning rush intrudes & erases them.

Not that many years ago I used to do almost everything at night – often knit or sew right through until the sun rose. I’d read books until they were finished & the birds were chirping away merrily. Any decorating was done after everyone was in bed & out of my way…. & I’ve lost count of how many Birthday Cakes I’ve still been icing at 4.00am.

Maybe I should try making beads at night – watch the sunrises, be inspired, capture thoughts & idea’s in the peace of early morning before I get the kids off to school & the house empties so I can sleep during the day. What's not to love about that?
I know I’m not a morning person - & really there is nothing to stop me if I want to.
Perhaps I shall think on this some more……

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yes We Have No Banana's

Random Behaviour
Strange title for a blog post - I know, but it pretty much sums up my mood right now....strange. It's almost as if I'm in limbo - waiting for something to happen, yet knowing it's not going to. The attention span of a gnat & a distinct lack of focus (which 'could' be attributed to a lack of coffee - if only I didn't know the opposite were true), a feeling of being a bit stir crazy & just generally unsettled. Maybe it's subliminal messages from listening to an eclectic assortment of teenage music when the girls get home from school - lol!

Maybe it's just winter when I usually tend to hibernate - even though that temptation hasn't been evident this year I still know I am slowing down in accomplishing things - but then I blame that on the lack of focus. Maybe it's just the thought of an anual increase in age event - or should that be non event.

Any which way - when I came across this bead which was photographed & named last week ready to be posted to this blog (see what I mean?) - it became apparent that this 'mood' has been lingering for longer than I thought.

What's happened to all the exotic names that normally pop into my head when I look at a bead - ahh that's it, I think they are hibernating for winter.
Anyway - I think this is a rather nice bead, probably deserving of a better name than it has been given. But I'm sure it will get over it - as will I ;o)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Confessions of a Hopeless Romantic

Ang’s comment on my last blog entry got me to thinking ….which always a bad thing believe me – I have one of those minds that wanders off of it’s own accord & in it’s own direction – before you know it, it’s miles away from wherever it started & can’t find it’s own way back….at least not without the help of copious amounts of coffee!
See – off track already!

Anyway, what I had started thinking about was, Ang’s comment about Jayne’s intriguing name for her necklace – & as I was typing a response to her comment my mind did a backward flip to exactly what it reminded me of – some of the wonderful lush graphics in the only PC game I have ever purchased for myself! “Pharaoh” & it’s extension pack “Cleopatra” were an early favourite of mine on the computer - & to be honest more for the theme & the graphics, as I never did display any great skill at building villages & such (I think I got as far as an early Pyramid ….once).

My priorities weren’t always right – I could eventually improve my homes from crude huts to impressive mansions, but I got far too easily distracted by putting the fun & pretty stuff all over my cities. “Ohhhhh statues, gardens” & “oh my….bazaars” - shopping! Then of course I’d forget to feed my people & even when I did remember something else would be waiting to claim them such as plagues of locusts, famine or fire.

Ahh there was life before glass!

However, to make more sense of “Thor (you know him - Norse God of Thunder) meets Cleopatra” (she, ruler of Egypt, & of asp & beauty fame) I decided to post the photo of the original bead & the sort of thing I imagine inspired Jayne’s wonderful piece which concluded with this inter-dimensional marriage ;o)
Intriguing indeed!

Psst Ang if you read this – did you realise that “Isis” was Cleopatra’s patron Goddess – given that she’s the Goddess of Wisdom I suspect she may be yours too!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WoW- just WoW !

"Thor meets Cleopatra"
Jaynez Jewelz

Sometimes you are just cruising along quietly, minding your own business - a bit like playing Poohsticks....when something comes along & blows your particular stick out of the water! In a good way!

A while ago a first time customer bought some beads off of me via an auction site here in New Zealand. Jayne was lovely to deal with - the perfect customer in fact & asked if I had any business cards as she liked to give credit to bead creators when she made a piece. At the time I didn't have any business cards on hand - but I had just placed my very first order for some. I duly sent her a few when they arrived.

She had mentioned that she was going to enter a piece using one of my beads in her creation into a competition. Over time I forgot about this - too busy with my head buried in glass & life in general.... it just slipped my mind.

Friday last week I got an email from the website here that was running the competition - "Beadaholic NZ" . I was a little confused as I had never joined the mailing list there. Of course when I read the email my memory was jogged about the first ever “New Zealand National Creative Jewellery Making & Beading Designer Awards”.

Still confused (it's easy - believe me!) about why I was getting the email I curiously clicked the link to see what the results were & what sort of items had been submitted.

Happily scrolling down the page with gentle sighs of oohhhhh & ahhhhhhh at the beauties displayed .....& that there were those out there that have the patience (& the eyesight) to play with seed beads & such - I suddenly stopped in my tracks & let out a squeal!

OMG there was Jayne's, "Jaynes Jewelz" , lovely set "Thor meets Cleopatra" - did I say lovely? - it is STUNNING, & to be honest the set stopped me before I realised who had made it & what significance it had to me - it's just my kind of thing!

Jayne had indeed given me credit & then some, for the small part my beads played in her piece - but mainly I am so very thrilled for her in that she won the "Creative Merit" prize that she did.

Of course now I know why I got the email too - lol!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Imitation - the Highest Form of Flattery......

"Winged Isis Egyptian Goddess"

Every so often, well - quite frequently really, a thread will come up on LE about copying. Now while it is all very interesting & sometimes aspects of it are realtively valid in certain instances, I personally feel that it's not worth get all hung up over. Far better to put ones energies into creating, rather than debating.

One particular lady on LE, an artist whom I very much admire not only for her gorgeous glass creations & sculptures but also for her wonderful insight & brilliant words of wisdom is AngelinaBeadalina (or Angie or Ang - lol), summed up the whole issue perfectly:

We each make our own footprint in glass. If you look ahead of you, there will be the footprints of those who came before you. You will notice their footprints crossing over one another, sometimes landing in the same space even though they've come from different directions and once again diverge and follow different paths. If you look behind you, there will be the footprints of those coming behind you. You will notice some that appear to follow you, but if you put yourself in the shoes of the people ahead of you, then you realize that to them it may look as if you are merely following in their footsteps. You will also notice those behind you moving at different speeds and in many different directions. We are each making our own footprints, but you'll notice it is inevitable that all the ground as far as you can see before you and behind will become covered with footprints. Before you assume someone else is following your path to closely, better look at your own from a different perspective. . . just because your feet have landed momentarily in the same spot does not make either of you owner of that spot.

No one owns a piece of the path, no matter how heavily or lightly trodden it might be. Just enjoy the walk!
Oh, and a few other thoughts that could come from this loose analogy:

--If you have made some superduperspecial bulldozer to clear part of the path, don't forget that someone ahead of you probably used a different version of it somewhere along the line. Feel proud of your work, but it might be arrogant to assume no one else in history has ever used the same type of idea. Also, remember that just because you moved part of the path still does not give you ownership of the path itself.

--If you pay someone to guide you along a new or difficult part of the path for you, show them respect and thank them for their help. If you take money from someone for guiding them along a part of the path you know well, show them respect and thank them for trusting you. Both of you should remember that neither of you owns the path.

--Remember that babies learn to walk partly by observing others and partly by trying to walk themselves.

--If you always ride piggyback, certain things will happen: you may never learn to walk by yourself again; or you may get a needed break and then walk stronger; or you may only succeed in hurting the back of the one who carries you while simultaneously deepening their footprint. Still, no matter what happens with the footprints, neither of you will be able to claim that part of the path as your own.

--If someone alongside you could use a hand as they traverse the path, please be kind. You never know when you will need their hand in return.

--This path really is a wonderful one. You share it with many wonderful people. Share it, enjoy it, glory in it .

Be sure to check out Ang's blog & her gallery at - both are well worth adding to your favorite places to hang out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

True Treasures

Black & White Treasure Woven Bracelet

There are many things I treasure, collections of shells & pebbles found on beaches over the years, my childhood memories & those of my children, special moments & time shared with family, time spent in front of the torch, peace & quiet (especially the uninterrupted sort when there is absolutely nothing I should be doing) & of course friendships.

Joining a recent exchange on LE for Treasure Woven Bracelets - I couldn't have been more thrilled, when the draw for who was making a bracelet for whom resulted in Mallory (Rosebud101) making mine.

When asked for my colour choice I suggested "Black & White". I figured everyone would be expecting me to say 'orange' as I had already put it forward it as a likely contender upon joining the exchange when listing my preferences, but the rebel in me kicked in - lol!

Afterwards I realised that poor Mallory had probably been looking forward to creating something a little more vibrant.
But hey - I like Black & White - it has a certain panache to it1
So does Mallory.

That wonderful lady managed to impart some of her brilliant vibrant & enthusiastic personality into my bracelet, taking Black & White to places I imagine it has never been before. No formal line up of beads here my friends - rather a fantastic selection of wonderfully individual handmade components that literally shouts 'look at me' to all who see it! It is simply perfect.

Now I have a bracelet full of treasures, made by someone whose friendship I treasure dearly. I think this personifies a Treasure Bracelet.

There were a few other surprises in the box - but they are for a later brag ;o) ....
oops! I mean blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Eye of the Dragon

"Eye of the Dragon"

This week that has flown by far too fast!! In fact I feel it should be given a ticket for excessive speed in a built up area ;o)

Going back to work for three days has left me with little time for torching & deal with other things soon ate that time up - quick smart!

A fabulous occurance came from going back to work though - so I can't get too eaten up about my lack of torch time this week.

I finally found the courage, after some gentle nudging from a friend, to post a bead in the daily Show & Tell on LampworkEtc. This is no small task - as often you find the best of the best that the international lampworking community has to offer displayed in the daily 'S&T's".

That posting resulted in my selling the bead directly to a client who came into work - one minute we were discussing the difficulty of pricing ones own work, the next she was wanting to see what I made. I showed her the thread - she spotted my bead while I was still scrolling & stopped me with a "WOW - I love that one" . When I told her that was my bead I was greeted with "I want it - it's beautiful". The rest, as they say is history - I'm just hoping it's history in the making!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Challenges in Many Forms

One of the places I like to hang out for a bit (usually accompanied by a coffee) is an online forum for lampworkers - LampworkEtc.
When I say for 'a bit' - I mean so many things. A bit of inspiration, a bit information or to meet the occasional challenge, then again there are the exchanges (my main way of challenging myself to learn something new) & last but not least there has been, at times, quite a bit of fun.

I have met many wonderful, talented & extremely helpful people through both exchanges & challenges - some of whom have encouraged me to push my limits & forget about such things as what is possible or achievable, & instead just go for it & 'do'.
The first example of this is pictured below - the result of a weekly challenge themed around 'Hats' - not one to shirk my responsibility in having a bit of fun while I'm at something....

''The Cat in The Hat''

and of course I thought this was somewhat related to my last post - so worth sharing...but then again I have been wrong before ;o)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I may have omitted mentioning

Two Beads were born that day. Upon seeing the second bead - it's name was a given. It really named itself.

"The Zax"

The Zax
By Dr Suess

One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.

And it happened that both of them came to a place
Where they bumped. There they stood.
Foot to foot. Face to face.

"Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said, "I say!
You are blocking my path.
You are right in my way.
I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!"

"Who's in whose way?" snapped the South-Going Zax.
"I always go south, making south-going tracks.
So you're in MY way! And I ask you to move
And let me go south in my south-going groove."

Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
"I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!"

"And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
"That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.

Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least!
Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

Well...Of course the world didn't stand still.
The world grew.
In a couple of years, the new highway came through
And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.

Didn't Dr Suess know how to give a lesson, a valueable one remembered even many years later. The Zax is a lesson in compromise. Something I am learning to do in glass - as in life.

Ode to Hundertwasser

Ode to Hundertwasser

Ever had one of those days when things don’t seem to go quite according to plan?
Whose plan they aren’t going according to is questionable at the best of times, I feel – but I am talking about the days when we have a firm idea of what we would like to achieve.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, my loosely conceived ideas seem to take on life of their own & are accompanied by crystal clear images inside my head.
Usually these mental images are far above what my skills & the techniques I’ve acquired so far as a flame worker are capable of attaining. Of course this doesn’t stop me trying.
Sometimes the results are not at all similar to that which I had hoped to achieve - & I look upon the bead with disappointment, but often find in there at least something to recommend it.

I set out to make a bead (once again) with abstract flowers on it – not minding too much if they looked like something from outer space, in fact kind of hoping they would.
Once again (can you tell I have tried this before?) I managed to get everything a little too hot & a lot too flattened. Once again a feeling of disappointment the next morning when I removed it from the kiln. As I was cleaning it I realised that it was one of those beads that had a certain feel to it. It seemed to grow on me over the next few days & the initial disappointment went away.

A friend visited, saw it & passed the comment “that reminds me of a Hundertwasser painting”. She was right – it was Hundertwasser’ish. Strange that the minute that bead had something real to identify with & be compared to, away from the preconceived image in my mind, I no longer felt that I had failed in what I had been attempting to achieve – yet again fallen short of my own expectations. Rather I had taken another step towards finding my own voice in glass.