Thursday, August 31, 2006

Writing, Writing, Writing

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John on iTunes, Book word count: 4533 words, 1081 of them written this morning. We must be in some kind of weird thunderstorm belt right now. Went to bed early, exhausted and was awakened at 12:30 by the deerhound, the lightning and the thunder. The lightning was really amazing. These have not been your garden variety thunderstorms for the past week or so. Thankfully Jessie slept through this one and I got back to dreamless sleep myself until 6:00 am.

Yesterday's box cracked upon removal from the kiln. It is the technique and I am going to modify it a bit to see if I can come up with something faster and non-breaking. Did a slump load in the big kiln including the fountain bowl--it failed in a really weird way, the stone S-Curve piece--I should have done the curve opposite of the way I did it, and assorted pieces for Marietta which all turned out fine.

I also did another pot melt in the middle kiln and it did not turn out as hoped either. I tried doing it at 1600 degrees and that was not hot enough to get all the glass to come out of the pot. I must've had some red mixed in with the orange cathedral as there is a lot of red in the piece (didn't want any). And finally either the pot wasn't high enough above the piece or the glass just flowed too slowly at the lower temp, but the design is not as spectacular as it has been on previous attempts. These pots are also only good for one melt--they crack in half around the middle when you take them out of the kiln. But I'll try again today and see what I get this time. TGIT. (If it were Friday I would have to be putting a long-firing load in for the weekend instead of getting to try this one again.)

Finally I redesigned the necklace for the book and am going to fire it in the little kiln today. Got another slump load to go into the big kiln and it is a DEADLINE DAY for the book--I turn in my first writing in the basics chapter (the 4533 words or approximately 10 pages). Now off to Ikebana for a bit of break and then back into the studio.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another Hump Day

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Had Enough" by the Who on iTunes, no updated word count, but it will happen today. The words of the day: Sleep Deprivation. Lightning storm at 2:00 am caused deerhound #2 to come up the stairs all a-twitter. By 2:30 neither of us had been able to get back to sleep so Dave got up and coded. At 2:40 J came in to join me. She had nightmares accompanied by teeth gnashing (what a creepy sound THAT is) and flailing until 4:30 or so. I managed to doze between 4:30 and 6:00 when Dave came up and spatulaed her back to bed. He then went to fill my car with gas for me (no, he doesn't usually do this--I am not that spoiled--it was a trader for my not doing it last night and delaying watching the two remaining episodes of House on our Netflix dvd). Of course I was convinced he ran out of gas and I stayed awake tensely waiting for the phone to ring until I finally broke down and called him. He was fine, almost home, and thought I was a sweet twit.

What does all this have to do with glass? It is the context for the day to come. Today is primarily a writing day. It has to be. I have four more pages due tomorrow than I have written. Oops. Not a good start for the whole writing part of the book project. Yesterday and Monday I packed the big kiln to the gunwhales (I love that word. I always want to write "gunnels" so that it looks like it sounds) with pieces for Marietta this weekend. Last weekend I was within a hair of canceling doing Marietta, and now I am glad I did not. That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Sleep deprivation encourages use of cliche and metaphor. Today's writing ought to be... interesting.

Overall I am still confident that I will be done with the manuscript by November 1 and no one will have to die. That confidence is especially reasonable if I make a move to take a new apprentice today. I am running a couple of pieces in to be drilled for the weekend and the man who owns the place where I have my glass drilled's wife would like to apprentice with me based on the work she has seen him drill for me. Could be cool, could be a disaster. People are so risky and messy. I try to avoid them on the whole but I might have to make an exception in this case.

Today the third attempt at a box comes out of the middle kiln. I have great hopes for it and am not going to rush it in ANY way. I do not understand how they start to crack when they are still a faint bit warm but when they are cool the crack doesn't continue to run and the piece feels rock steady. Anyway, it will be a cold day in the kiln before I touch this piece (see? Another mangled cliche. Oy.)

Finally I have what I consider to be the perfect piece for the Art Institute's spring offering and I am sending it off to the buyer today in response to her request for pieces. It is a new departure for me in the Morceaux de Verre style. I have done colored morceaux before, but I have always screened the colors after crushing them and used only one size of the crushed color (the large morceaux). This time I did the crush of each color separately and then used all of each color. I like the look and will be debuting the colors and the style at the Buyer's Market in Philadelphia in February. Now that's thinking ahead.

(639 words in half an hour. Why can't the book flow like that?)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, no music, no updated word count. Yesterday was a day in the studio, not a day writing. Today will be split between studio--last fuse load for Marietta Art in the Park this weekend--and writing with a bit of paperwork and a trip to the DMV thrown in for fun. I can tell how tight my schedule is this morning as I carried the last studio garbage to the curb just in time to put it in the garbage truck myself. I hope it is the 'making it' aspect of the experience and not the hot sweaty sticky part that is the portent for the day.

Trying to get over a difficult night's sleep. Got to just slog through it. Got a good idea for a piece for the Art Institute of Chicago's website this spring. Need to send it out. If I could put blinders on the sides of my mind, today would be a good day to do it.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Walking on a Wire

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Walking on a Wire" by Lowen and Navarro on iTunes, 2064 words. The song is completely appropriate, and the word count is better than it looks--it is exactly on target for the materials section. I will probably add more, but I can do that as I have room. Sleep, sleep should be the closing part of the first paragraph of every Glass Incarnate post. This weekend I went back to bad dreams and restless sleep. Last night I endlessly put in the same kiln load and woke certain that I had forgotten to shut both kiln lids (I left them open an inch for venting at the beginning of their firings yesterday.

I am obsessed with boxes. I spent the weekend picturing all the cool boxes I want to make. The problem with boxes is that they take a minimum of three days in the kiln which limits the number I can make, and the kiln is also tied up for those three days so I can't do anything else In spite of that I am almost tempted not to put the box project in the book, instead keeping the technique all for myself. Would be more reasonable if I had a replacement project. Box test #3 went in yesterday and I am determined not to crack this one. Time to throw the fiberblanket in the kiln to help it cool evenly.

This weekend is the Marietta Art in the Park festival and I am committed to doing it. It lasts all three days (Labor Day) this year. I think it was only two last year. I am freaking out about it. Not only do I not have any work for it which adds to my schedule this week, but it will also take up three days and a lot of energy just to be there all day, all weekend and do it.

Today I begin writing the techniques section of the basics chapter and I begin with how to cut glass. Think it will go faster than the materials section did. Hope I have enough to say to fill the target number of pages. I still think fiction would be easier and more fun.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Yeah, Yeah, It's Saturday, So What?

Coffee in the Alaska skyline mug to celebrate soon-to-be-former governor Frank Murkowski's resounding loss in the primary last week. Music is again "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen covered by Jeff Buckley. Word count: 2077. Again, not great but respectable. Yesterday's section was on the inclusion of metals and required a lot more research than other sections will. While I know a bit about what you can do and what you should never do, there are a lot of metals I have not experimented with and would still like to mention. I have always relied on the kindness of strangers....

What's wrong with the picture above? I'll give you a hint, I was tired and didn't check all the dams before it went it and the pattern bars... oozed. It could have been worse. Interestingly, the two bars did not stick together where they touched. Somehow cool enough to flow and cool enough not to stick.

Although this box did not turn out either (not fused enough and hairline cracked upon removal from the kiln) I am closer and am very optimistic about having it ready as the ultimate project for the book. My project review is scheduled for sometime around 9/8 and the box firing takes three days so I need to get another one in today. I also need to get the redo of the table in--now that I've written the section on metal inclusions I should get more predictable results on it, as well as the pocket vase, the re-fire of the mask and the S-curve platter and the garden stake.

Next weekend I have the Marietta Art in the Park festival and I have No Work. Also got a commission for one or two large pieces from Taylor Kinzel yesterday. So in addition to the book projects listed above I also have retail and wholesale work to do. Going to be a full weekend. Thank heaven for Dave. He is shouldering all Sprout wrangling--at least for today--so I can work.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Mathematics of Writing

No coffee yet, no music either, even though it is relatively late. New item to add to the morning roll call: 1013 words. Not a great day, but respectable and includes the physics of compatibility and coefficient of thermal expansion.

So how many words are there in one of these pretty project books? The editor has given me an estimate of 400-500 words per page. The basics section is to be about 54 pages with another 84 pages of projects and 6 of miscellany. And there are at lease 20 pages that only have a photo on them. So I figure I have between 49,600 and 62,000 words to write. There are 67 days until the manuscript is due at the publisher. That means I have to write between 740 and 925 words or an average of 833 words a day. I average just shy of 600 words per post here. (At least that's what Word counted on the ten that were on the main page yesterday. I love word count!)

Though the juxtaposition of those two numbers (833 and 600) should comfort me, I am realistic enough to know that I'm writing about apples and oranges. What takes no more than an hour to do here took me the best part of the day to do on the book yesterday. Here what I write is true because I say it is. In the book I am writing about external truths which are agreed-upon by the other members of the kilnforming glass community and I write with the sense that they are all looking over my shoulder ready to pounce and rip me to shreds if I get something wrong. Takes me back to writing my Master's thesis, and boy was that a painful experience. Painful enough I never wrote my dissertation.

Ok, enough fear. Today I need to write a lot more than 833 words as I will not get to write much this weekend. So it's time to short myself here and get on to coffee and there.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sixty-One Words

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen covered by Jeff Buckley playing on iTunes (or it will be as soon as it has finished downloading). As you can see from the title of this post, I have 61 words written in the book. Coincidentally, it is the same number of words that are in this post so far.

Now 61 words might not seem like much of an accomplishment. One might think I slept poorly or awoke stressed and anxious in the wee hours of the morn. Those who think that are clearly glass half empty people. My glass, on the other hand, is totally full. The 61 words I wrote are not just any 61 words in the book, they are the first 61 words of the book. Getting started is the hardest part. Finding your voice, setting the tone, tweaking the content; once all these things are done you are ready to rock. So I slept like a rock and woke very late--just in time to help J get ready for school and get the spaniel to the groomer (it's his first time for a professional bath and trim since we got him--I hope he doesn't come home with a bow on his head...).

And let's be fair. Yesterday I didn't sit down at the computer till after 4:00 and only got to write till 5:30. The rest of the day was spent filling all three kilns and letting them rip. Today I am writing all day. If I end the day, the first full day of writing, at 132 words it will be time to panic. Let the letters begin!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

An Historic Day

No coffee yet, but I heard the beans being slain and have hope for imminent caffeine. No music either. Not a single kiln load went in yesterday (though three were scheduled) and results were mixed on the ones that came out.

The table is too dark and you can't see the copper leaves and wire swirls I put in it. I am going to have to re-do it in completely clear glass. The fuse of the pieces from the screen melt for the S-curve platter has a couple of areas where the French vanilla did not flow smoothly so the surface is not all even and flat. I am nervous about fuse firing it again--the more you fire glass to fuse temps, the more you risk devitrification and stress from coefficient of expansion (COE) shifts. The mask (picture posted yesterday) has a couple of large popped air bubbles on the surface and one rising from the back which created a dimple on the front. It needs to be fused to full temp again on its front and then slumped/firepolished. The little leaves I cast to make the pieces to over the hole where the water comes out on the fountain lost more volume than I thought they would. I may need to recast some. The draping of the lace lamp did not work--it was too large and heavy and didn't fall in graceful little folds. I may try it one more time with a single thickness base, but in the meantime I fused a base and more lace to make a bowl to replace the lamp as a project.

I did get the box cut and loaded to fire and that kiln will go as soon as I set-up the pattern bars (they are also all cut) and cut and set-up the supports for the fountain. Then I get to prep the new paperweight molds I bought, fill and cast them in the little kiln. Finally I will slump the birdbath, the fountain base, and the strip-piece plate (is that all?) in the big kiln.

Eventually I am going to have to prep and cast the mold I made from Best Mix. But after the debacle I had over the weekend with the fiber blanket molds I made for the wall sconce and the pate de verre bowl, I am reluctant. When they say "Don't open the kiln during firing as the burn off of the rigidizer causes acrid smoke" they really mean it. I used my sandblast cabinet vacuum venting system to try to vent the kiln but it wasn't enough. Next big purchase: a serious vent hood over the medium kiln.

Big news of the day was one of my wholesale accounts from New York calling to see if I could fill an order for 50-100 paisley sushi sets (first 30 due October 13) if they decide to feature them in their Christmas catalog. Lucky for me I have 5544 small circles winging towards me via UPS and enough glass on hand for them and the rest of my orders. Time to do them, well that's another thing. I may need to step up getting an apprentice.

Other biggish news on the gallery front is that a couple of weeks ago I applied for the new American Craft Retailer's Expo (ACRE) wholesale show in Las Vegas in May. Even though I have not formally been accepted, they have asked me for hi-resolution images of my work to use in their publicity (I anticipate being accepted). That was cool. Part of the deal with doing the show is that you get a one-year membership to which includes a wholesale commercial website. You don't get that benefit unless you are accepted to the show, but this past weekend I got an inquiry from a gallery in Phoenix generated from the webpage even though I don't even have a page up yet! Turns out that the jury for the show can solicit from you before you are even accepted and that is what happened. The gallery owner saw the images and pricing of my work and sent me email.

But back to today. Getting the kilns loaded is only going to take a a couple of hours and then I get to make history: today I begin to write the basics section of the book and everyday from now until November I will be writing. Enough writing about writing, it's time to write about glass. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Looking for a U.F.O" by Adrian Belew on iTunes. I have never heard this song before. It is from a cd Dave had when we married that I ripped to our iTunes library. Perky. Unlike me. Let's talk about yesterday before I whine about today (song is now "Fell on Black Days" by Soundgarden segueing into "Don't You Feel Small" by the Moody Blues... iTunes has a sense of irony this morning). Did *four*, count them *four* kiln loads yesterday including a combing between 9:30 and 10:00 pm with my trusty spouse and side-kick to hold open the kiln. Pic of said combed project (a mask) at right. Then the night went to hell in a hand basket.

Starting about 11:30 pm with two kilns firing, the biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen came rolling through. Seraph (the female deerhound) hates thunderstorms and we decided we would try to let her sleep in the bedroom during it last night but she had no interest in sleep. After the fourth nose in my face (and the same number in Dave's) and a couple of attempts to join us in the bed (90 lbs of deerhound--not going to happen) I put her down in the studio. Then I went back to bed and watched the lightning, waiting tensely for the power to go out while Dave snored gently beside me.

The big kiln will pick up where it left off due to power failure when the power comes back on. So as long as it is not out too long, the firing will be fine. The medium kiln, however (the one with the mask in it) just flashes "error" after a power failure. Sure enough about 12:30 the power went out for a few minutes. When it came back on I went down to the studio, comforted the woebegone deerhound and reset the kiln. The storm lasted a long time, but I finally fell into a restless sleep until 2:00 when Jessie came in with a tummy ache. She stayed, flailing around the whole time, for about a half an hour and then Dave spatulaed her back to her bed. Then at 3:30 Baxter (the cocker spaniel in his crate in the breakfast room) started whining and barking and fussing. Got up and let him out--it was still raining so he really needed to go badly. Side note--why do we always end up with dogs that hate the water?

Jessie came back in from 4:30 to 5:00 (her visit coinciding with another power failure--I'm sure it wasn't her fault) and was sent back to her bead again after pulling the fine little hairs at the nape of my neck. It was an accident, but a very painful one that I was uninterested in chancing repeating. She came back for the third time at 6:30 and the night was declared officially over. I am still not awake and look to remain sluggish for the day, but the sun is shining, and the whining is done. Now on to the conundrum.

This is a picture of the necklace I have fused for the book. Dave is over the moon over this piece and doesn't want me to do anything more to it. I think it needs a little something more to give it the final polish. It will be wirewrapped with either gold or silver wire and hung from a gold or silver chain. I had planned to paint squiggly lines of either gold or platinum across the surface of the pieces, but Dave is right--there is no undo function on such an action and I could ruin it. Finished dimension are 4" X 2-1/2". Any suggestions?

This morning--maybe in the next half hour so I had better finish up and get dressed--another artist with whom I did a trade will be dropping by to pick up her piece. It is a 24" X 16" hanging panel in Morceaux de Verre "Ocean". It turned out really well and I am thinking of adding it to my catalog.

And speaking of catalog, the rep from the Art Institute wrote last week inquiring about new work for their spring web assortment. Dave suggested the necklace, I would like to offer the fountain but it is too much work. I'll see how the screen melt piece turned out today (an S-curve platter from pieces of the original melt) and maybe I'll be able to work a new series around it. And now off to work--the box, the pattern bars for the mirror, the support posts for the fountain, a bunch of pieces to slump and some paperweights to cast today. All three kilns going again. I hope they fire on more cylinders than I am.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Let the Writing Begin!

No coffee, no music. It's another early one. Already have a lampshade draping in the medium kiln and have three more firings planned for the day. Got to miss Ikebana today due to the early drape--have to watch it fall and turn it off at just the right time.

Had a long talk with the Publisher Friday. They sent me an interim schedule on Wednesday that had me turning in 54 pages today and then 15-20 a week through September. I sent them back my revision on Thursday which had the 15-20 a week starting to come in after the first of September and the 54 being done after that. Friday at 5:00 pm after an hour of discussion ("no, I really can't do that now/have that done by then" being my main contributions) I was given a list of very reasonable reasons why I need to turn in at least some of the non-project writing asap. I agreed with them and so I am reworking my pass at an interim schedule and sending it back in this morning. I also re-wrote the first two projects based on their edits and am sending them back.

As I prepare to set off into the prose (as opposed to step-by-step instructional) parts of the book, I spent the weekend alternating between abject terror and lambent complacency (we're all going to die! I can do it!) and am now numbly docile (or is it docilely numb?). I still have a lot of firing to do this week as I wrestle the last of the projects into submission, or they me. And somehow, some way I have to work in preparing and teaching 1-1/2 sessions of a course on starting your own arts/crafts business as part of the first Creative U this October/November at Creative Spirit Gallery. Oh yes, and four more gallery orders to get out between now and November 1 and an art fair to do Labor Day weekend... And I thought I could get a piece submitted for the Niche awards and Corning's New Glass review this year!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Two Months and Two Weeks till Manuscript Due Day

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "In Without Knocking" by Mission Mountain Wood Band on iTunes. "I'll be raising hell or drinking whiskey down" before the day is over too. Decided to switch the order of my day today so I hit the studio at 6:00 am and had two more pieces in the kiln before 7:00 am. There are currently six projects in there to fuse with another one to two to be squeezed in.

Right now I am posting and waiting on hold for Apple. I finally got a live body after 10 minutes, answered a couple of questions and was put right back in the queue and told another 15 minutes... I begin to not like Apple. First the hard drive failed after 20 days in the iMac, now the battery has completely died in the 8-week old MacBook Pro. I wish I had a phone headset as I am getting a crick in my neck.

Got email from the publisher yesterday. They would like the basics chapter of the book (the first 54 pages and the toughest part to write) by Monday. I had to regretfully, respectfully, adamantly decline as I am as far as the outline on it. I am good, but not *that* good. The rest of the schedule looked do-able though it still made me hyperventilate a bit when I read it. Mostly I think that's because seeing in writing the amount of time I have left to do everything is, well, scary as hell!

Ok, phone call done--Apple is sending me a new battery--so it is time to get back to work. I will finally ship the orders to the two galleries today--had to wait on four more paisley pieces which I thought I had and didn't (doh!), and I will finish the table and garden stake designs. I might also begin entering project notes and specifications into the computer. Stranded in the South tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Choose... Sleep!

There is coffee, but there is no Coffee Mate so I wait. The spouse has run to the store to get it for me. I am truly spoiled. No music. I woke at 3:00 and then again at 5:00 and then again at 5:30 and then I dozed on and off till 7:15 when I actually got up. It was light and I felt like I slept in. After the hour-long, full-blown, shaking, internally-screaming panic attack I had between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm yesterday, I figured I needed it. There was a trigger but no real cause for the attack, but it wiped me out completely. I will be glad to be done with this book.

Yesterday morning after posting I went to pack up my orders to ship them and found four pieces that I was not comfortable sending. I ended up grinding down the edges on three, fixing the surface of one of them and one other and refiring all four in two separate kilns (the big one to slump temp and the middle one to fuse temp). So nothing got shipped and two unplanned loads got fired before we left for Joe's. I painted and fired the platinum luster on two of the necklaces when we got home last evening and I do not know if I am satisfied with the way they turned out--I may have covered too much of the surface.

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug (at last!). I feel it course through my veins (I decided to attach an iv direct from the mug this morning to get quickest results). Today could be a very interesting day. After six weeks of no communication from the senior editor on the book there was a message on the machine yesterday asking me to call her. I have been working for the past six weeks, but I fear not so much on things that will interest her.

She would like lists of photos and illustrations and word counts and page counts for each section. I understand these needs, but I haven't been able to fulfill them before hammering out the exact details for all the projects--how do I know what techniques need to be covered in basics before knowing which ones are going to be covered in techniques. And how do I know they are going to be covered in techniques (or at all) without validating them? And truth be told, I am still not done with the hammering yet. Even now I might switch out the garden stake project for a mask. I am not happy with the stake hardware--visible, useless holes in the sides, and no way of attaching the glass other than siliconing it in. I just changed the lamp back into a bowl. I can't make the sides steep enough in the size the publisher dictated--under 14"--to do a lampshade. And the final size on the table is still TBD. I have to decide if I like the new stand I just got from Hoy's--16" and mission style, but it looked a bit flimsy when I opened the box.--or if I want to stay with the one-piece stand from the mosaic store which is only 12" and needs painting.

I would've liked till next week to finish making everything before talking about it and presenting the projects to the publisher, but you can't always get what you want. I am also still stinging a bit from having the barrette project cancelled by them back in June because "barrettes are dated". When I said I was willing to listen to suggestions I did not mean that I was willing to let them decide what I should make and in what colors. Recommendation, yes. But if you want to tell me what to do and how to do it, you can damn well do it yourself. And we're to the nut of the issue: it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

So today I ship the orders, take the car in for service, find out why a gallery I just loaded with consignment work is closing one of their locations and didn't tell me while I was there, tweak my documentation of the book and projects, and call the editor, all before 1:00 pm. After 1:00 I hope to fire a lot of glass but am resigned to a bunch more writing about writing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Soon to be Live From Joe's

No coffee, no music. It's Wednesday, it will be live from Joe's in a few hours. In the meantime I have the order for two galleries to sign (I engrave my signature on all my work), pack, invoice and ship. Out of the four firings I had scheduled for yesterday I did two--the slumps of the gallery pieces in the medium kiln. However it is not the case that I did nothing on the book projects. I am still slogging through loading the big kiln with the eight projects listed yesterday and when it is full, I will turn it on. For a brief moment last night I thought about taking the two hours tonight while Dave is at a cooking class learning to make espumas (foams) and working in the studio, but I am a Mommy and that is just not going to work: Child to feed, cuddle, bathe, read stories to and get to bed.

I woke this morning from dreams of Christmas. What does it say that my dreams every night (well, for the past two nights) are now propelling me past the time when the book is due to the publisher? Am I subconsciously trying to escape the pressures of the me in the now? If so, why am I dreaming of other stressful times? Have I forgotten what life without stress is like? Sure, dreaming of Christmas sounds good, but I was running around a big warehouse building with the associate director of J's school assessing which fluorescent lightbulbs needed to be changed while figures from ancient pagan winter solstice rituals cavorted and drank in the falling artificial snow inside the building. Who were they? How should I know. Ask Neil Gaiman. I got it all from primal memory or reading too much weird fiction.

And not to be a whiner, but it is still dark! Bill said something yesterday about it worsening for the next four months and then getting better. What I am worried about is what it's going to be like when we do the whole "falling back" thing in October. On October 29 it is going to either be a lot darker when I struggle from bed at 5:30, or I am not going to be able to get up at all. It is almost 6:30 right now and I am looking out the window and it is really, really dark! There is only a faint lightening of the sky and I can now make out the neighbor's shed in the next yard which I was unable to do an hour ago. OK, maybe worrying about how dark it is going to be in two months (three days before the book is due to the publisher) is a bit whacked, but it fits with the overall futuristic stress of the day.

At least I found 6" metal rings for the windchime supports yesterday. I was thinking about having part of the project be the construction of glass rings from which to hang the chimes, but this is a beginner project after all. I also thought about offering making the glass ring as an optional design in the project, but it would probably require too many instructions to be able to layout well. Not like the paisley clock where I can offer using squares instead of circles in the design if you want an easier project.

I picked up several hanging panels and the fountain plates yesterday from Dixie Glasshoppers where I have them drilled, and I may also have picked up a new apprentice--just in time to grind the tabs off the 5544 circles I am having waterjet cut for paislies. My former apprentice Maggy was only with me a short time before she moved back to Michigan. She is here visiting now but soon to depart again, and my Mom is tired of doing shows with me so I really should be looking for someone else to step in on a regular basis. It might even be a good idea to have an assistant for this winter's One of a Kind Show in Chicago in December. I was toying yesterday with increasing my booth size--people actually couldn't get in last year because it was too full and writing up orders myself I lost a few because I couldn't write up fast enough.

Wow. Yet another problem IN THE FUTURE. Yesterday I couldn't focus on anything, today I don't seem to be able to focus on anything immediate. Time to go pack up glass. In keeping with the futuristic theme of the morning I am not going to get paid for this work for 60 days. The other side of that coin says that's just in time to use the payment as a return of the advance to write the book. But as we are not going to go to the place where the book is not finished on time (and we are being very careful here not to go there), we are certainly not going to go to the place where it is not finished at all.

PS--The spellchecker for blogger thought "lightbulbs" should be "lustfully", but that would've been a whole 'nother dream.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Too scattered to come up with a title

No coffee, no music, just a whiny spaniel. Great. I woke at 5:30 from bad, crabby dreams about booth set-up for a show I am not doing till next May and ankle cramps. Maybe the Crocs aren't as good a studio shoe as I had thought. It's dark this morning, darker than it is supposed to be at 6:00 am and the dogs are all grumbly at being woken. I can sympathize as I am grumbly at being awake. But anxiety and schedule leave me no choice so here I am. Here Dave is too. Misery loves company. (It's so dark!) We sit on the couch in the dark with our laptops--isn't it cool that the keys on a Mac Powerbook is automatically backlit in low-light conditions?

It is not just my writing that is all over the place this morning. Since yesterday I have been as flitty as a damsel fly when it comes to getting on task. It has taken me 36 minutes to get this far in this post. At this rate I will never have the book in to the publisher in 2 months and 17 days. Zip, zero, zilch, nada done on it yesterday except spending more money ordering more things for it (a lamp base).

(Sound of a loud slap) Pull yourself together, man! And yet I don't seem to be able to, I continue to wander hither and yon. The magic beans are ready (all but the last two cups which require the extra double-push of the button). My first choice of mug was the New York Skyline, but it had dishwasher schmutz in it. My second choice was Denver, but it, too, had dishwasher schmutz in it. What the hell! The third time *was* a charm and Los Angeles was clean and is now filled with redolent beans--coffee and vanilla. OK, I cheat. The vanilla comes from the French Vanilla Coffee Mate I mix with the low fat Coffee Mate and no actual vanilla beans died to make it.

It's almost 7:00. Posting time is over and I have to go clean off my desk. I missed paying my Siyeh Studio visa bill last month as I am pretty sure it is still in the envelope, unopened on my desk. Whoopsie daisy. On tap for the rest of this fine, no-longer-dark day? A run to a new (for me) retail glass supplier to buy yet more glass for book projects. I have succumbed to using System 96 for a couple of the book projects with the advent of the new Spirit and Opal Art glasses. Then I hope to get my energy and focus back with kiln loads in all three kilns of predominantly book projects: platinum lustre firing on the necklace in the little kiln, the last slump of pieces for the gallery order which ships tomorrow in the medium kiln, and the wind chimes, the fountain bowl, the garden stake, the hanging panel firing #2, the bird bath, the S-Curve platter, the lace for the lamp--which may turn into a bowl, and the pocket vase in the big kiln. Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Antipenultimate Week in August Begins

There is no coffee yet, but I just heard the sweet, sweet sound of grinding beans so I do not have long to wait. The music of the morning is the sound of spaniel slurping water and munching chow. Baxter is a noisy eater.

The weekend was good. I worked in the studio all day Saturday except for a brief hiatus to see a matinee of Superman with Dave and J. Sunday I didn't do anything Siyeh-Studio-related until 9:00 pm when I worked out my firing schedule for the week. Instead, I posted on Stranded in the South (and I have decided to post there regularly on Saturday and Sunday as I have begun to chafe at the self-imposed rule of posting here only Mon-Fri). Oh yes, and Dave and I girded our loins donned mosquito repellent and eye protection and tried to rid the backyard of long grass and weeds. Dave did get the lawn cut, I was unsuccessful in the attack on the weeds: first the weed whacker ran out of nylon whacking line, then a gallon of Round-Up was not enough to cover everything I had been unable to cut. This problem is going to have to wait for another week.

Saturday I fired the clock and the base for the lace lamp (ala Cailleach's Cradle) and cast a glow-in-the-dark starfish and a tropical fish in the commercial casting molds I bought. I haven't done the curing fire for the mold I made from Best Mix so I haven't cast in it yet. Though I was pleasantly surprised with the way the surface texture on it turned out. I had been concerned about big floaty chunks in the mix interfering with the detail of the cast object. But when I unmolded the butterfly I cast, the surface was perfect. In the places where the Best Mix had been against glass (the base) it was a smooth and shiny as the glass itself--the smaller particles in the mix filled in around the larger chunks for a perfectly detailed finish. There might be a few tiny air-bubbles, but that would be my fault as I didn't have a vibrating plate to jiggle the bubbles out as the mix set.

But enough on past accomplishments. Can't rest on my laurels, I have other glass to fry. Ikebana starts up again today after a month off for me, and is going to take a two-hour chunk out of a very full day. I have to cut, grind and slump all (prep all, slump most of) the pieces I fused last week for the two gallery orders scheduled to ship Wednesday. I am ready to paint the platinum design on the necklace and fire it, and I *still* have the table and the garden stake to design.

One sad casualty of the weekend was the box I cast. I am just too damn impatient. When I took it out of the kiln I started cold-working it immediately. Yeah it was room temperature (more or less) and I used hot water to wash it and on the lap grinder, but that wasn't enough and I cracked it. I probably wouldn't have been able to use it anyway--I lost 50% of the volume so it was a pretty short box and the coloration was not so hot as I had had an accident while filling the mold and ended up with the colors way more mixed than I planned (and maybe a bit of kiln wash in it too). But I am undaunted and have another attempt to try later this week. The good news is that my engineering theory worked and the shape held perfectly and I was able to unmold it easily. Whoo hoo! But I may tweak my annealing schedule just a bit in case the cracking was caused by residual stress in the glass and not just impatience.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It Can't be Friday Already

No coffee and no music. This needs to change. I may need to make my own (sound of loins girding). Naw, (she slumps back onto the couch) I am too lazy to be an addict. One of the casualties of the switch from Windows to Mac is the loss of access to the Glass Eye software, a design program targeted for stained glass artists but which I have found very useful when doing detailed geometric designs for fusing. Lucky for me I have found an almost adequate replacement: Microsoft Excel. You can size the cells to be little squares, shape them into larger squares or rectangles and fill them with color. Pretty nifty. Last night I decided to be anal and actually design the layout for the pattern bars instead of letting it fall to random chance. The screen shots of the Excel designs are shown at right.

Yesterday's wild, exciting ride got even wilder and more exciting about 11:00 when I heard back from the gallery whose order at the BMAC was a third of my show total. They had already ordered for two of their locations--Disney World and Chinatown in Chicago--and yesterday they added another 13 pieces to the Disney World order and asked that *everything* ship ASAP. My carefully wrought schedule went the way of the dodo, and I scrambled till 6:00 to get the big kiln as loaded as it would go. No progress was made on any of the book projects (except for the pattern bar designs which I finished last night at 10:30 while IMing with Bill who did not believe I was still working...).

I smell coffee, it is going to be in the Denver skyline mug today. I hope he made a lot as besides needing to completely fill all three kilns today--gallery orders in the big one, book projects in the middle one and I have to pre-fire the casting mold I made in the little one--I also need to run a bunch of pieces to Dixie Glasshoppers to be drilled. The 24 X 16 hanging panel in Ocean that I did as a trade with another artist is STUNNING. I need to add it to my regular repertoire. And the two plates for the fountain are ready as are the two 16 X 24 Cosmos panels I fired yesterday. Well, they'll be ready as soon as they are cooled. And I have one last run to make to pick up a bunch of Paisley pieces from Taylor Kinzel to ship to Florida. This is known as robbing Peter to pay Paul. But when Peter does consignment and Paul pays cash....

I do not like being so over-extended that I keep having to pick up work from one of my consignment galleries in order to have enough pieces to do shows or ship orders. I just re-stocked Taylor Kinzel from my depredations pre Austin Fine Arts Festival (TAFAF is now taking apps for next year's show and I am not even tempted--got a wedding there in June, that's enough for me) and now I have to pull eight pieces today so I can fill the Florida order. The problem there is that the pieces they added yesterday are all Paisley pieces and I do not have enough circles cut to make them all.

On tap for fun today: pattern bars and the first box casting I have done--and I'm using completely my own method... I am excited and nervous all at the same time. First dates will do that to you.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Isn't August Over Yet?

No coffee, no music. Oh Bean Boy.... It's cool enough that the fish ate this morning. Some days it's just too hot and they hang around the bottom of the pond and pant, oh wait, that's the dogs, or me. August is not a good month to have major production deadlines. August is not a good month for anything but lounging on a beach with a bunch of trashy books and sipping frozen concoctions. I want that life and someday I am going to have it. August is definitely not a month to be trying to fly from London to the US. Poor travelers.

Yesterday was full (thank you Ren for your sympathy and good wishes) and I, of course, did not get everything that was scheduled done. So today's list is longer and tomorrow's will doubtless be the longest yet. But I did not get as old as I am without having learned a few things along the way and I didn't schedule anything for Saturday or Sunday. So I will get caught up over the weekend and be back to a normally insane schedule Monday.

Today I must, must MUST get the table designed and cut. Today is also the day I am supposed to do the pattern bars for the wall mirror, the cast box and the mold-cast butterfly. I don't think the butterfly mold is dry yet so I am going to use a pre-made mold and do a starfish or fish. I might even do it in the cool glow-in-the-dark frit I bought. It is supposedly compatible with Bullseye glass. Glow-in-the-dark frit, do we live in a great country or what?

Tomorrow is supposed to be the pate de verre bowl, but I am pretty sure the rigidized fiberblanket mold I made for it is not dry either so that one will probably also wait till next week. Slip sliding away--that's August and my schedule. I am just going to keep having beach dreams and slogging through it. But Next Year, next year there will be a beach for me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Life is Full of Weird Sh*t

No coffee, no music, let's not even go there. I woke suddenly at 5:45 with the thought that I have three versions of the necklace for the book fused and I *could* do the surface decoration firing today and still have time to do the finishing silver work, photograph it and send it in to the eMerge competition. They are the only pieces I have even close to appropriate and finished. I spent the next 45 minutes lying in bed and working out the details, nevermind that spending the entire day chasing this wild hare would completely derail the project schedule that took so much effort to hammer into shape.

There's an expression for you, "chasing a wild hare". I have never seen it written, and in my mind right up to this minute I have always had it as "chasing a wild hair". But I realized as I started to type it that it made no sense to chase a wild hair and that the correct word was probably hare. There you go.

And there is a problem beyond mucking with my carefully wrought schedule--I am not a jewelry artist and do not wish to become known as one. Even if I should happen to win (let's pick ourselves up off the floor from the laughing now), the work would not be representative of my work--back to yesterday's post--and furthermore, it wouldn't be representative of work I would like to do. So what's the point?

All kinds of things sound 'really' in the pre-dawn morning. They can be either really good or really bad, it doesn't so much matter which. All that matters is that they are really and not just a little. Now that I am awake what sounds really good is coffee. And lucky me, there is a full thermos from yesterday that I did not drink as we went to Joe's. Off to the microwave...

It's a morning for odd discoveries. I just found my threshold for feeling obligated to microwave old versus make new. Our coffee maker has an idiosyncrasy where it often shuts off before all the water has passed through. Sometimes it leaves just a little in the reservoir, sometimes--like yesterday--it leaves two cups. When you only make six cups, a loss of two cups is a lot. It's 33% to be precise. And here is the weird thing: I cannot throw out six cups of coffee just because it is old because it is a full pot. But a partial pot... that I can throw. And when I went to the coffeemaker just now and discovered that it still had two cups of water in the reservoir, well it was a no-brainer to throw it all rather than push the button and wait for the last two cups to come through. Here's the weird part (there's more?) the amount of coffee used was the same no matter how much water went through, and it is the coffee waste (expense) that should count. Whatever. The fresh, new coffee is ready.

Enough about me, let's talk about glass. I spent hours yesterday working on the application for the new American Craft Retailers Expo (ACRE) in Vegas next May. They are doing an on-line application process and let's just say it's not Zapplication. Today I really need to Back To Work. Tomorrow is the Deep Fuse day. Every project for the book which is really thick and therefore needs a loooong firing schedule is going to be done together tomorrow. It will be interesting, and I hope I have thought the ramifications through thoroughly. One of those projects is a one-piece cast box and I really can't wait to see how it turns out. Now that would have been a good entry for eMerge. But there's always next time.

Last night I used the Best Mix for the first time and made the mold around the butterfly that I am going to cast this week. That is one project that may have to wait and be fired on its own instead of in the deep fuse as I don't think the mold will be dry in time. Initial thoughts on Best Mix: It is very sharply chunky and I am concerned that the size of the materials in it are going to interfere with the detail of the object being cast. We shall see. I also have a bag of 50/50 (hydrocal and silica flour) that I bought from Phil Teefy's Rainbow Glass works years (and years) ago and I should be able to use it to whump up a new mold if the Best Mix doesn't work out. That is, I will be able to use it if it is still good. I tend to buy things in expectation of the time I will need them with no or at best the most casual disregard for shelf life. When I was making the rigidized fiber blanket molds last week I found a bag of moist pack (fiber blanket with the rigidizer already applied) from 2001 on the shelf. I know that it probably is no longer any good, but of course I still didn't throw it out.

Today, thanks to my sojourn at Joe's yesterday, is really, really full. Three pieces still to design, three pieces to cut, one piece to tack fuse, the ACRE app to finish, and the jewelry piece to get done, photographed and in to eMerge. Just kidding on the last one.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It's Tuesday, It Must be Joe's

Coffee is a mocha with Ghirardelli chocolate in a ceramic cup with cows on it. The satellite radio isn't working so there is no music. Yup, it's Tuesday and I am at Joe's. This Joe's Day is going to be different from the normal Joe's Day as I brought my large sketch pad and sketching tools (compass, rule, pencil, eraser, etc.) and my plate glass modeling clay working surface, extra modeling clay, dental picks and other tools and butterfly-model-in-progress.

Before we left I loaded the medium kiln and started the final draped vase project. When I get home today I will cast it in Best Mix. With luck, the mold will be dry and ready to use Thursday and I will make a butterfly paperweight (of course it's another project for the book).

This morning I was dismayed to discover that I either lost a large section of my firing log to a file overwrite (saving the wrong version in a merge) or I just didn't bother to log several crucial firings. Whatever the cause, I do not have my schedules for the pot melt, the original drape, and who knows what else.

In spite of that, the schedule I used yesterday for the screen melt (pics posted here) worked really well. I lowered my top temp yet again to good result. Detail is shown above right, full front and full back follow. The most striking thing about the back is how clean it is--by not going so high I did not get so much kiln wash sticking to it. I am going to try another pot melt with this new even lower schedule to see what I get. I am betting on more defined areas of color as it will not flow so fast at the lower temp. And I bet I can keep reds from turning brown by not going as high. We shall see.

Because of the book I am pushing the boundaries of "my work". I brought the screen melt piece upstairs to show Dave this morning and he said, "That's not you, it's nice but it doesn't look like your work." This always seems to be the time of the year I try to expand my scope--though usually it is to a much lesser degree as the cause is a perceived need of work not my own or better than my own to enter into one competition or another. Usually the boundaries get pushed right back into shape at the end of the experiment by the pressures of production work for one gallery or show or another.

And there is a vast difference between my production work and work that would be taken seriously in Bullseye's eMerge (deadline tomorrow--I haven't even done a piece for it this year, much less had it photographed) or Corning's New Glass Review (deadline October 1) or even the Rosen Niche Awards (deadline September 5). I expect to make the Niche deadline and even have time to throw my money away on the postage for the New Glass Review (that is the real brass ring), but I am not too sad about missing eMerge this year.

Of course there is also a difference in the work I am doing for the projects for this book--aimed at beginners--and the work I would need to do for a competition. But it is the playing with new techniques and no boundaries which is inspiring me right now. I dreamed of a series of boxes last night before I went to bed and am eager to try them out. Fortunately for me, that dream might actually get followed as the jumping off point for it is one of the projects for the book. Memento mori boxes. Ossuary boxes. Yes, I am in a grim state, but it's a creative one!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Woken by Deerhound Alarm

No coffee, no music. I *could* have slept in this morning, but I was woken by the deerhound alarm clock. The deerhounds are not allowed upstairs. Jester wouldn't come up anyway as he will not walk on the hardwood floors so the hardwood stairs would be just beyond him. Seraph is not allowed up as I do not like a cold deerhound nose shoved in my face when I am sound asleep. Of course deerhounds also do not understand prohibitions so there is a baby gate at the top of the stairs which is kept closed to enforce the rule. The upshot is that Seraph comes to the top of the stairs and wags her tail. If you have never seen a deerhound tail you are probably unaware that it is a mighty weapon. The Scots of old used to take out swathes of British soldiers by sending the deerhounds (the royal dog of Scotland) cavorting through them tails a wagging. So Seraph stands at the top of the stairs and slams her tail against the wall till I get up to let her out. This would be an okay thing if she really wanted out. But as soon as I have struggled into my jammies and blearily stumbled down the stairs (often literally), she goes right back and lays down on the living room rug. I, of course, have none of that and drag her 90 lb carcass over and heave it out the door. I am just a wee bit grumpy this morning.

The weekend was productive. I finished the wind chime, necklace and window panel designs for the book and experimented with different ways of ornamenting the surface of the necklace with silver (paint, leaf and mica in suspension). I also tried the fountain with irid glass and used a soup can for a slumping mold for the wind chime support bars. Yet even with all this progress and adherence to a well-defined schedule, I am still not confident in the final product. This is either a flaw in my character, or I am right and there is really something to worry about. Unfortunately I won't know which until the projects are done and turned in to the publisher for final review. I have the singular inability to reliably judge my own work.

On tap for today? Model a bas-relief fish in clay and cast it, crush the glass for the birdbath, and do a screen melt for the S-curve platter. I also need to design the table, garden stake and clock. Best get to it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Brains, Chemicals, and the Internet

Coffee in the Washington D.C. skyline mug. It has fireworks on it and anyone who got through yesterday deserves fireworks today. Yesterday was one of the worst days I have had in a long, long time--a statement which leads inexorably into a philosophical discussion of just how bad could it have been as I still have all my limbs, my life, my friends, family and security. That is a discussion for Stranded in the South, but frankly I don't have time to be posting hither and yon right now--one a day is all I can manage--so it is going to have to shoe-horned in here. Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

Every minute of every day someone is being horribly (by definition) tortured, mutilated, maimed raped and/or killed by someone else on the planet. So how can I even begin to whine about what a lousy day I had yesterday and expect any recognition or sympathy--even from myself? How can I be completely shattered by the one damn thing after another day I had in comparison to what the people living in Israel and Lebanon are going through?

Then there is a friend who just spent weeks in the hospital and went through extreme abdominal surgery with pain and tubes and drainage bags... blech. Surely my little trials of dog poop in the car, kilns running at 750 degrees all night, cupcake delivery scheduling woes and web site design companies who take six months after promising three weeks and then don't deliver the crucial piece (password protection) at the end should be taken in stride with the phrase "Thank God this is the worst of my trials" reverberating in my head.

The words I am looking for here are context and spectrum or range. Our brains like to feel needed. They have a whole bunch of chemicals that they dole out to us to make us feel happy, sad, enraged, suicidal, ecstatic, you name it. They do not take into account anything outside of their own context which is the daily life of the bodies they inhabit and direct. Brains also do not all work together with some of them sending out sorrow chemicals, and some of them sending out joy chemicals based on the comparative life circumstances of their bodies. Each brain pretty much ignores the others and convinces that brain's owner that the only circumstances that count are the ones the owner is personally experiencing.

Not only that, but just because things aren't bad doesn't mean the brain won't make you think they are. If everyday is the same--and pretty good so you should be pretty happy--the brain either gets tired of the same old same old or just runs out of the chemicals for joy and so decides to shake things up a bit and send out the chemicals for extreme depression. Maybe it figures we need to experience a constantly shifting range of emotion. And maybe it's just some brains that are like that. Brains like mine. Rationalization? Pathetic excuse? I don't think so.

Yesterday did have a bright spot. While I was making my delivery to Creative Spirit I saw an ornament dangling from the mirror in the bathroom. It was a little fairy sitting on a crescent moon with the quote on it "Tell me, what is it You plan to do with your one wild & precious life?". The words resonated in my bruised soul so I asked Becky where she got it and she said down the street at So Rare, a little vintage garden furnishings/antique store in Decatur. When I had to run back to the studio (for the second time) to get the stands I forgot to bring for my delivery I drove past So Rare so I stopped in and bought one for a pick-me-up.

This morning I did a web search for a picture to post here and I found so much more that all of my synapses fired at once and are now shorted out for the day. Bruce Sterling (and my husband) can eloquently yet concisely verbalize the explosion that happens in your head when something gets shoved in your face that, in the context of your own life, shows you how much your life and your connection to the world has changed because of the internet. Alas, I can see and feel the idea in my head, but I lack the verbal skills to describe it.

Suffice it to say that from my little seach for an image I found first a place to buy the ornaments on-line (and bought five cards with the Precious Life ornament on them to send to friends) complete with a bio and personal information on the Portland Oregon artist Laini Taylor who made them. Then I found her blog. Then I looked up the originator of the quote, Mary Oliver and the poem it comes from, "The Summer Day".

So what was one little spot of inspiration yesterday now has a rich context full of details on the lives of two more American women artists, all thanks to the internet. And for the first part? I am going to go back to influencing my brain's choice of chemicals with caffeine and alcohol and Just. Get. Over it!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

And on the Fourth Day...

No coffee yet, but I heard the beans grinding and have hope. I might as well give up on the idea of actually listening to music as I post anymore. It's too early and the J is still sleeping. The J sleeping makes a nice change--for the past two nights she has either been hell to get to sleep (midnight Tuesday) or playing musical beds all night (last night). I'm afraid I finally got a bit cranky and told her to stay in her own bed at 2:30 when she came in after I had just fallen back to sleep after the last move back to her own bed at 1:30.

And it's Thursday. This is the worst day of the week for me. Many people hate Monday because they have to go back to work after a weekend of sleeping in, relaxing and doing fun social things. Me, I hate Thursday most (sorry Boomtown Rats). Thursday is the day all the weird non-glass-producing chores get stuck. Today I blog, then I invoice the Art Institute and write the production schedule for the book projects at 7:00 (oops, late already), clean for the cleaning women at 8:00, pick up and deliver cupcakes for J's school at 9:00, get my legs waxed at 10:00 (don't go there), deliver to the gallery next door to the leg wax place at 11:30, and have a training call for the ecommerce catalog on my website at 1:00. That means I get to start firing 2:00. And sometime in there I have to shower, dress and brush my teeth.

Thursday is also the day of reckoning for the week. Monday is full-sail optimism on projected productivity, Tuesday the world is still your oyster and even Everest isn't too high. Wednesday you think you can still make it if you really push. But by Thursday it's clear that even if you work all weekend you are going to slip. Again. I hate Thursday.

Post script at 7:40: To add insult to idiocy, I just got around to logging yesterday's firing (the pieces for the fountain) and I realized that I had forgotten to put in the last segment of the firing schedule. So I raced down to the studio and, sure enough, the kiln was off and holding at 750 degrees. This is a feature not a bug, though times like this it is hard to see it that way.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Alone Again.

Coffee in the Atlanta Skyline mug, no music, no sounds at all. Dave has taken J to school (we are trying out a new routine) and I am getting ready to start my first day home alone in over a month. I took my Mom to the airport this morning and I already miss her. She might find this surprising as I was very crabby and snarky with her during the entirety of her stay. And as she came out here solely to help me with the BMAC show, how ungrateful is that? I'm sorry Mom. I should rename my blog Snarky Dork. No wait, that name is taken already. I'm sure I deserve it more, but life is sometimes unfair.

Enough wallowing, time to work. The heat and the aftermath of the BMAC (for those who went) are affecting everyone I know. We took Mom to the aquarium yesterday and between the heat and the crush of people, I have made a vow not to leave the house till September. The dog days of summer are here and I am going to focus on conserving energy and morale and slogging through the projects for the book.

Speaking of projects: in honor of the heat, today's project is the fountain. I have been refining the design for the past few weeks and I think I have finally arrived at one that will be spectacular. I might have post-worthy photos tomorrow. Now, off to work!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New Month, New Schedule

No coffee, not even a hint of a waft of the magic bean. My husband is clearly slacking. No music either just the steady hum of the airconditioner and all the ceiling fans. Is it hot enough for ya? I have already showered and brushed my teeth because I was so hot and sticky when I woke up. Yeah, yeah, keep the prurient juvenile thoughts to yourself (if you had any--it might be too hot everywhere to indulge).

Behinder than ever with today not looking like a catch-up day. J is staying home from school for Gramma's last day here and we are going to the aquarium at noon. In roughly one minute I am going to get an hour in on the outline (and wouldn't it be nice to get THAT done!) and then I simply MUST get a firing in--I haven't fired since I got back from the BMAC and I have stacked up orders at this point. Okay, minute's up.