Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey in the Kiln

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! (And thanks to Colin and Chris for the wonderful smoked turkey which was NOT cooked in the kiln--we just kept it warm in there for a couple of hours.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Second Post Today

To make up for the lack of post yesterday--and because it's just too funny NOT to share--I post again this morning. While many kilns will be taking Thursday off as their owners celebrate Thanksgiving, Middle Ground--my 22" clamshell--will be called into service as a second oven to keep the turkey warm. For the first year in about 10 Dave is not deep-frying the turkey. Instead, our friend Colin is smoking one (but how do you keep it lit?) (I couldn't resist) at his house and bringing it over. Colin and Chris have lots to cook, we have lots to cook, and our house here (unlike the one we had in Austin) does not have two ovens and an extra-large cooktop so we are cooking in our respective houses for the first part of the day. Dave is almost obscenely excited at the prospect of almost cooking in the kiln. I can't imagine what he'd be like if I'd actually let him cook with it. (Before we moved here he had a steak at a restaurant in Alpharetta that cooked their steaks in a kiln and he said it was one of the best steaks he'd ever had.)

Rip Van Winkle

A large Dancing Goats coffee with a shot of chocolate and some half 'n half in a Batdorf Bronson mug, laconic jazz on the sound system. It's a coffeeshop morning! I feel like RVW after the 20-year sleep: I have woken up and the world has moved on. Summer has been and gone, fall is almost over, and what have I been doing? Sure, I can list a million things that got done, but I hardly remember doing *any* of them. Now I wake up and I have a hotshop, seven mega-minor torches and the accompanying great big whanging tanks (plural) of oxygen and propane, a glass resource center, a new permanent official part-time employee, and three new business associates/partners in my ventures. Wow!

The orders--but for one that came in yesterday--are done for the year (or at least the time being), now it's time to play and plan. This afternoon--and every working afternoon for the next few weeks--I will be taking a couple of hours to blow glass. I have had three lessons from Lee, and I am up to small blown vessels. I am going to practice this form for the next few weeks till I, if not master it, at least become relatively proficient at it.

Planning is for the new booth at the BMAC in February. Bill and I had planned to plan some months ago and it just never happened. First I was busy, now he is. We also didn't go to Philly to get our booth and work that's up there now to bring it home. Should've done it in September when we had the chance (though I don't remember much of September either...).

Siyeh Sleigh Ride the Sequel in 2-1/2 weeks, the Taylor Kinzel annual glass show the week before that. Let's see what new and creative work I can get done between now and then--and I'll try to stay awake.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And On The Fifth Day She If Not Rested, Relaxed--A Lot!

Coffee--with Ghirardelli sweet and dark chocolate in it--in the Chicago skyline mug, "Rockin' In the Free World" by Neil Young on iTunes. I am back on my game!! Ernie and I celebrated with a little Mafia Wars on Facebook after I took Jessie to school and now I'm ready to move on with my day. And a beautiful day it looks to be , indeed. Dave gets home from Austin tonight (whoo hoo!), J has a sleepover at a friend's, (whoo hoo!), and the house is CLEAN.

But this blog is supposed to be about GLASS so let's get back to there. The new postcard is on the presses as I type and should be shipped out this afternoon. A hint for all you artists who do postcards through one of the online places: Begin the order process, get as far as the "upload your images" step, and then put the project on hold and wait. Very likely your phone will ring within an hour and it'll be someone from the printing company who wants to know if you need any help. When you tell them that you're under the gun and need your postcards quickly, and in order to get them quickly the shipping will cost more than the printing so you're trying to decide whether to do them at all, they'll likely offer you all kinds of perks like one day turn-around at no charge and personally moving your proofs through the process as quickly as possible so you can use ground shipping instead of UPS' outrageously expensive one or two day service. Just my (frequent) experience. If you're one of those people who plans their printing weeks or months in advance, ignore it as we have NOTHING in common!

Today in the studio sees the completion of all those pesky little tasks (like pay the IRS last year's taxes... oops) that have been accumulating since, well, since June when life accelerated to warp speedier than usual. My inbox will be--if not empty--seriously depleted, papers will be appropriately sorted and filed, and I will begin the end of the year fresh. I can't believe December comes in a week and a half. Not only are the days in December some of the shortest of the year, it's also the shortest month because of all that we try to cram into it. Well not me folks! Not this year! Sure, my parents are coming from Montana to visit over Christmas with their bird and their dog, and my sis-in-law is coming the weekend before to make a gingerbread house with the J, and we have Siyeh Sleigh Ride, the Sequel the weekend before that, and Taylor Kinzel's annual Glass Trunk show the weekend before that, and Thanksgiving the weekend before that, and that's NEXT weekend... Heck, I guess I better enjoy the quiet of this weekend, hadn't I?

Seriously, it feels good not to have ANY work scheduled for the rest of the year. My orders are done, and I get to play and make gifts and fun things for the rest of the year (blown glass tumblers anyone?). Maybe the most exciting thing on the end-of-the-year horizon is that MY BOOKS WILL BE DONE AND UP TO DATE thanks to V the bookkeeper extraordinaire. For once I won't have to spend the weeks after Christmas sorting through little bitty slips of paper and trying to remember what all I spent money on (and what money all came in) during the past year. Whoo hoo!

The last pic in this post is from Lori and is me being crowned Queen of the Sleigh Ride at the first Siyeh Sleigh Ride. Around my neck is one of Todd's new, gorgeous wreaths (the blue "ice" wreath), and he is crowning me with a, um, wire tree... More fun and frivolity sure to occur at the next Sleigh Ride too so I expect to see More Of You There!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm a Woman

Sprout up and to school? check. Dave's car dropped off for service? check. Laundry folded and put away? check. Kitchen cleaned? check. House straightened? check. Cat box cleaned? check. Fruit flies decimated? check. Post card made for Siyeh Sleigh Ride the Sequel? check. Little girls picked up from school for playdate? check. Orders shipped? check. Bunny cage cleaned? check.Classroom set up for beadmaking class tonight? check. Dinner and Top Chef at Keith and Mike's? check. It was a fully rounded day. It was an Enjoli day. May there not be another one for awhile.

Dave comes home tomorrow for another three weeks--I can't wait. Back in April when he took this job and was gone Monday through Friday *every* week, I looked forward to the time when he would only be gone one week out of four (what we have now). But now that we are there, I find that one week gone out of four is still too much. I miss my spouse and I dread (i.e., count down to) the time he leaves and count again with great anticipation till he comes home. Tomorrow the new postcard--it couldn't compete with Enjoli today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Goeth

I wasn't planning on having any wine tonight (AJB Syrah 2003 in a Riedel stemless red wine glass). Nor was I planning on being in the studio till almost 9:00 pm again (especially and not get everything done). Add them to a list of things I wasn't going to do/that weren't going to happen today, and you'll have my day.

I woke with a spring in my step and (finally) the ambition to clean the kitchen (a bomb went off in it Sunday and left the dregs of Thai take-out for six and wine bottles strewn everywhere), slay the laundry monster (the hulking skulking pile of clean in the laundry room from the weekend), and get caught up on major bills and finances. Oh yes, I was also going to go to Commerce to meet Elaine to get metal pieces for orders that need to ship, and I was going to put in a couple of simple kiln loads (a firepolish and a slump). Easy peasy, I thought to myself.

I breezed through getting the Sprout up, dressed, fed, kitted out with lunch and snacks for her brownie troop, and safely deposited at school. I sailed through the Commerce run--and picked up a big order from Black Cat with an asap ship date. I figured I'd be able to squeeze it in today and ship Thursday (it's a two-fire order). Hah. The gods despise hubris and trounce all over it at every opportunity.

The afternoon--back from Commerce--started well. I got a call from Stephanie at the Oakhurst Community Garden that my holiday dish class for tonight only had one person signed up so it was going to be cancelled. I say "started well" not because I wasn't looking forward to teaching the class but because I was looking forward to an evening relaxing with the J at home, rewarding her for being so patient last night, and relaxing a bit. Then things started to speed up.

Brian arrived and I really needed to talk glass bead classroom set-up, tools and class details with him (and to help him incorporate his business online). Then Lee showed up (expectedly) and I needed to talk hotshop tools and equipment, classes, etc. with him. I also had to settle up with both of them from the past two shows and their equipment expenses to date. Then the phone rang and it was a woman who had just called the garden about tonight's class and had two--maybe four--kids who wanted to take it. So I called the other person who had been signed up and told her the class was on if she was interested. Then I realized it was 3:30 and I still had pieces to get out of the kiln, a couple of orders to ship, and my easy kiln loads and the new order from Black Cat to get in before 5:00, the J to pick up at 5:00 AND a class at 6:00 to set-up and prepare for!

Some things had to be put off. I'll talk to Lee tomorrow. I'll ship tomorrow. I'll talk to Brian Thursday. Black Cat's order will go in tomorrow. The class turned out to have seven people in it (two adults, five children), it was great and everyone left enthused to come back and do more open studio projects before Christmas--and maybe to take some classes too. The priorly-scheduled kiln loads got in, the J was acquired from school... and we made it home late again. At least tonight I fed her before heading to the studio.

Tomorrow Dee comes down to settle up from the shows and get her stuff back (she did a show with Brian yesterday--he took her work). We'll also start the planning for Siyeh Sleigh Ride the Sequel on December 12th and 13th. Bill was right: If there were no pictures, it didn't really happen. Since it didn't happen, it needs to! And before anyone roundly chastises me for overdoing it again, know that this was not my idea; it was Mike's. As it was Mike's, it can be counted upon to be a good, sound, sane idea--not me taking on too much (again).

I sip my Syrah, and life is good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Cometh

Just enough time to dash off a quick post before falling into bed. It's a late night and I am a bad mother. It's Dave's week in Austin so I picked J up from school at 3:00 today--and then continued to work in the studio straight on through until 8:30 (she wrote drew, and read to while away the time--after playing a bit with her bunny). Then I whisked her off to the pet store to get dog food, to the Wendy's drive-through for dinner (she was so patient while I worked that I gave her the choice of dinner and she picked Wendy's hoping to get a new audiobook), and finally a stop at Kroger to get the snack for her brownie troop tomorrow (turns out it is my turn and I just found out today). She's showering nowwhile I take care of her pet duties for her (and post), and then we're both hitting the hay to fall asleep to one of the Magic Treehouse books on her iPod.

That's the life side of the coin. The studio/resource center side of the coin is just as harried, varied, and rich. I'll have time to post about it tomorrow--though I won't have any photos of the Siyeh Sleigh Ride (artist open house) we did over the weekend as I still haven't found my camera and thus took no pictures!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Morning From Joe's!

Coffee in a big white mug, something by Mono on the sound system *lots* of chatter from the locals for background music. The sun shines in Atlanta again. After 2-3 days of straight rain from tropical storm Ida, we can see blue sky today. Whew. I was getting moldy. Today we start to prep for this weekend's artist open studio sale--the Siyeh Sleigh Ride. But before that I need to get some computer work done. V the bookkeeper has finally convinced me to put all my work as items in Quickbooks. I am desperate to avoid QB, but as I seem to have no other viable options, I succumb. The task is especially prominent with the newly opened Resource Center and all the additional things to sell and track.

What a short post today! I thought I had a lot to say, but then I ran out of steam. Till tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Did Somebody Say Something About a Saddle?


• GET LOOTED! shop 6 local glass and metal artists' work

• GET BURNED! studio tours + demos of beadmaking and glass blowing

• GET NOGGED UP! wine & horses' doovers Friday night, munchies throughout

• GET YOUR OWN ORNAMENT! Make your own kilnformed glass ornament


Friday November 13th: 6 pm to ?? Artist Reception and much nogging
Saturday November 14th: 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday November 15th: noon to 4 pm

• Brenda Griffith: kilnformed glass vessels , tabletop and wall art
• Dee Janssen: dicroic glass and fine silver jewelry
• Lee Ritchie: blown glass tumblers, bowls, and decorative pieces
• Brian Renoud: torchworked pendants and ornaments
• Todd Briske: whimsical wire sculpture and jewelry
• Rebecca Sizemore: torchworked bead jewelry

More info


Coffee in the New York Skyline mug, Ernie snoring gently beside me for music. I'm back in the saddle after a dentist appointment in the morning and an afternoon off yesterday. Finally got off my duff (with much prodding and help from Dee) and got out the announcement for the artist open house (i.e., Siyeh Sleigh Ride) this weekend at the studio. Dee uses Vertical Response for her bulk mailing program and I have to say I was impressed with it. It's easy to use, gives good statistics, is reasonably priced, and most importantly sends out email in a pretty format with uniform text and pictures. Next time I might size my final draft a bit bigger, but this was a great effort for under the gun.

Today I wrap up from the Waldorf Holiday Festival last weekend and figure out everyone's cut of the proceeds. Tonight is the first night of our first 5-week glass beadmaking class (yea!). Tomorrow we start cleaning up the studio and preparing for the Sleigh Ride this weekend. Slow down much? Today is also payday for my official new permanent, part-time employee Judy who is AMAZING. Hope V gets her all set-up.

Now off to ikebana with a bunch of Siyeh Sleigh Ride flyers clutched in my eager little fists.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday is Actually a Relief

Dee is on her way down with a grande pumpkin spice latte (and maybe a pumpkin scone) from Starbucks for me, "Missing" by Everything But the Girl on iTunes. My fingers fumble at the keys as I try to find my rhythm again. Last week was beyond tough for personal reasons and busy, busy, busy too. This week life is settling back to normal and it's busy, busy, busier for the studio. This weekend is the Siyeh Sleigh Ride and Dee is coming down to plan and to help me (finally) get the invitations designed and out. Late much?

The Waldorf Holiday Festival was this past Saturday and, as always, it was a lot of fun. This year the Siyeh Studio booth had work by Lee (blown glass paperweights and glass flowers), Brian (torchworked heart and goddess pendants and icicles), Dee (fused glass jewelry), and Todd (plant stakes, ornaments, people and jewelry--much of it with my glass incorporated). I had a last minute 8 year-old, after-school birthday party/sleepover Friday to whip up for the J--both before and after the 2-hour long adult preview for the holiday festival--and then a memorial service to attend the first half of Saturday so I didn't have any of my own work at the festival.

Yesterday I was was originally scheduled to have a Make a Holiday Dish class at the studio through Oakhurst Community Gardens but when the week went to hell in a handbasket and there was only one person signed up for it, I asked the director of the gardens if she would mind rescheduling. I'm not sure what happened, but it was a very lucky set of circumstances for Skippy when he and his mother showed up at the studio yesterday at 1:00 for the class (it's amazing they got there at all--Memorial Drive was closed Friday night through this morning just on the block in front of the studio for street repair) and I happened to be there. They had gone through so much trouble that I didn't have the heart to tell them the class had been rescheduled so I did an impromptu holiday dish class for Skippy and then he and his mother got to watch a little glass blowing in the hotshop. It was a good save--and renewed me more than I would have thought possible.

Now I need to get back to updating both websites, seeing if I can fill the last couple of spots in the 5-week glass bead making class that starts Wednesday night, and running a glass resource center. Hurry up Dee, I need that coffee!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Just Need To Get Through the Next 48

It's been a rough week--the kind of week where I could have used 15 minutes of Mafia Wars on Facebook right now instead of blogging (how sad is it that blogging takes almost too much energy?). But Mafia Wars is down for 30 minutes for maintenance (how dare they?!), and so I post. It has been a week of life: birth, death, birthday, family calls, friend calls... intense. It has also been a week of work: the Waldorf holiday festival is this weekend, the Siyeh Sleigh Ride is next weekend, and there were the usual orders to make and ship. I have class descriptions to get written up for the web and for a flyer, and class cards (of the Buy 4 Get 1 Free! variety) to create for sale this weekend. There is an open studio schedule to finalize, and a glass order (for the resource center and for me). I'll get through the next 48 hours, and then I'll be human (and post) again.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tuesday Marches On

It's a beautiful, chilly fall morning, I need to focus on the beauty and be reminded of life by the chill. Building a retail business is a series of waves. First you get it open, then you promote it to get people in to it. When the people come, you make sure you have everything in place for them to have a positive experience that makes them want to come back. Then you need more people so you expand your promotion mechanisms. A resource center offering supplies and classes is a vastly different beast than a production studio. If what you're selling is your work, there are retail and wholesale shows, ready-made on-line venues (like and Etsy), and there are trade magazines in which to advertise for the wholesale market. If what you're selling is classes and supplies, how do you build that business? Retail of this sort is completely new to me.

The resource center is open, we've had our grand opening weekend that Bullseye kindly promoted through their vast mailing list, and we've begun a modest mailing list of our own. Now what? We have a great class line-up, how do we get the word out more? It's a whole new set of things to think about and I have got to get comfortable with the idea that I don't need to do them all *today*. It will be enough for this week to get the class descriptions up on our website in their own page, to have postcards made of our class offerings and drop them around coffee shops, restaurants, bars, etc. in the little neighborhoods surrounding East Lake, and to get a form created for people to sign up for them on the web.

This is why I blog. I sat down this morning in a vast funk of what to do, what to do, and worked through the broad brushstrokes of it here before. Now I'm ready to get dressed and on with the day!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Just Need To Get Through

The morning and the week have begun. Both will be busy. I finally have to face 2-3 months worth of papers piled hither and yon, there are several orders that came in over the weekend that have to scheduled, some redos on the awards project from the summer to finish up, and I have both the Waldorf Holiday Fair and a holiday dish class through Oakhurst Community Garden this weekend. Oh yes, and it's our annual Ichiyo ikebana retreat this week Tuesday through Thursday and J's birthday is Wednesday. Dee is coming down this morning to plan for the artist holiday open house next weekend at the studio (Mike has dubbed it the Siyeh Sleigh Ride).

Every year right about this time I start letting things drop off the plate. Last year it was the holiday artist open house. Let's see if this year I can keep morale and energy and power on through. Even though it is my favorite time of the year (right after daylight savings time has ended), it won't be easy.