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Thursday, July 24, 2008

watching paint dry

We've decided to start some serious sorting and packing, even though we don't have a buyer for the house, or a moving date. We figure maybe the Universe will catch up if we get a jump on all this. Maybe... we got a call this afternoon. After a long no-show spell, we have Lookers coming tomorrow afternoon. As always, we'll see...

After only seven years in this house, we're finding an astonishing amount of useless crap tucked away for safe keeping. Some of it is merely silly and annoying, and some of it is Dangerous Useless Crap that needs to be disposed of properly. Aside from sorting out many "old" beads, which by the way, do not go stale, and will be sold soon, we also dealt with things like p-nuts. Oh, dear me, how I hate these things. Because we can't buy it at any of the three grocery stores in Taos, we ordered a case of unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk. It arrived today in a very large box, filled with dissolve-o p-nuts. When I took the small box out of the big box, I discovered yet another smaller box. How absurd. Good thing we need boxes right now. And we thought we'd do a little experiment. Rather than throw those dang p-nuts in the trash can, we took them out to the dirt part of the yard (most of it is dirt, actually) and hosed those suckers down until they went away. Didn't take long! So no Water Guilt either.

Next we tackled the awful silver-smithing chemicals. I'm not going to do all that soldering and stuff. Pretty as it is, it's just not my thing. Give me fine silver that knows how to stick to itself! And who wants a crusty old crock-pot full of murky, used pickle? Even in Taos, probably nobody. So we spread out some old nasty plastic, and newspaper on top of that, and poured the skanky chems on the paper so they could dry in the sun. Now, of course, they have to go to the landfill. I'm so over this metal and chemicals thing.

I'm saving the best for last. It's almost like art! Old paint... it's not a horse, it's actual paint that's been frozen and thawed for several years. (Yes, we have those colors in our house. So?) No good, and nobody wants it. The solution to dropping gloppy cans of the stuff at the dump? Pour it out on the unused lids of long-gone plastic boxes, stir it up to make it psychedelic, and wait for it to dry in the hot New Mexico sun. I'm tellin' you - this is a fun little art project.

Man, it's been like a long hot day at Girl Scout Day Camp here. One cool project after another. But if you're feeling like you want something a little more soul-soothing, I hear you, loud and clear. Check out Kate McKinnon's trip to France. Sniff, sniff... I was going to go on this trip with her, but things said no, so here I am. But you know... I'm enjoying her fun a whole lot. Honest. Maybe you will too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

rio vacation

We don't get to take an actual vacation this summer, what with moving and gas prices and slow bead sales and all. So we go down to the old Rio Grande every so often, just to sit and relax and be "someplace else". We were there on Sunday, and settled into a nice little spot that had been under water the last time we were there. We had this terrific view up the river, and sat for a couple of hours as the rafters came in. Really quite wonderful. Look at all the people. Everyone from Texas tourists to local hippies, to the woman in the pretty sari that just happened to match the boats, to Cisco the River Man, in the black hat. I happen to know he's been running the river since the 60's, and he's also one of the best dancers in town. You want to learn to two-step, track this guy down.

And hey! Our house is now listed on CRAIGSLIST! Tell all your friends!

Back to work... I have a studio to clean!

Friday, July 18, 2008

thunder moon

They call the July full moon the Thunder Moon. I don't know about other parts of the world, but for Taos, it's the perfect name. We're in the thick of monsoon season, with big, dark, noisy clouds rolling in almost every afternoon, and flashing, crashing, drenching light shows almost every evening. I don't love this season as much as a lot of people do. I prefer summer evenings to be warm and dry and spent outside by the campfire. But every now and then these storms coordinate themselves into the most dramatic, beautiful spectacles of nature imaginable. Like last night, when the sun was setting, the wind was blowing, the sky was dark and thunderous, rain was falling in huge, fat drops, and a double rainbow popped in to join the party. Not knowing where to look, I took a quick series of pictures all across the yard and stitched them together for you here. This is what I see from my front door...

(click the photo for a bigger view)

Later on there was a break in the clouds, and we did get to see the July Thunder Moon. Yes, sometime I wonder why we want to leave this place, but that's another story...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


... and the livin' is... hectic.
There's a lot more doing going on here than being. Certainly no fishing or road trips to the Grand Canyon. Not for now anyway. That's OK. I'm making progress in all sorts of areas, but there's really no time to chatter on about it. Who cares anyway? It's just life stuff. So today I'll give you a couple of links to sites you might enjoy. Not that I want you to spend your hard-earned disposable income on anything but my beads, but hey, I know there's more to life. So here you go...

There's a wonderful silversmith at Taos Pueblo, named Wings. Cool name. I wish I had a cool name. Anyway, I got a ring from Wings a few years ago. Actually, he gave it to me after noticing me trying it on several times over several visits. That's just too amazing, and so is the ring. I wear it often, and especially when I want to feel "lighter". We were out at the Pueblo recently with our Swiss friends, Nicole and Eric, and we took them to visit Wings at his shop. I pointed out a terrific silver-turquoise-coral bangle bracelet to Rick, and said something subtle like, "I like this. My birthday is coming up. This is a hint." And sure enough, he got the hint, and got me the bracelet for my birthday. What a guy! I always think it's best to buy art directly from the artist when possible. Visit Wings. Buy something. You'll be happy.
Wings Silver Work

And link #2 today... My friend and good bead customer, Peri, has a sweet little eBay shop. She sometimes sells jewelry made with some of my beads, but mostly she has clothes. Beautiful designer clothes at knock-out prices. She sent me a couple of things along the lines of this skirt, and I was really surprised and pleased at how nice the fabric is, and how, uh... forgiving these pieces are on a goddess sort of body like mine. We all need something new to freshen up the wardrobe now and then. Rather than make the department stores richer than they already are, I like to shop friendly. Peri's stuff is crazy-affordable, and it goes great with all my jewelry! Peri's Potpourri.

HiHo, I'm off! Happy Day to you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

oh my dog

I'm watching the sun come up. Even the birds are still quiet. I've been awake since 2:30 this morning, thanks to Lucy, who was whining to go outside at that ridiculous hour. I couldn't go back to sleep, so when she was up again at 4:00 I gave up, got out the laptop, made tea and a peanut butter sammich, and got a jump on the day. It is sort of nice to watch the sky get light, and I guess I can take a nap later. Nothing all that pressing going on today, except maybe a trip to the vet if poor Lucy continues to have tummy troubles. At least little Heidi is happy and enjoying her new life here at camp. She's gotten so brave and adventurous. She keeps track of the neighbors and runs the fence line, barking at the dogs on the other side. She also enjoys her patio time, and likes it best when we let her have her own chair and blanket. What a funny little girl. We do love our doggies so.

Monday, July 14, 2008

plan b

Still waiting, waiting, waiting to sell the house. Not at all patiently, I might add. But since we have no control over our situation (who ever really does?), we're trying to stay calm, and keep planning for what we hope will happen. Planning can only get you so far, but in this case, it helps keep us positive. Someone is going to buy this house eventually. We still hope that will happen this summer, but it's getting late enough in the season already that we have to consider what we might do during the winter. The current Big Plan is to buy a travel trailer and gypsy around in it for a year. Sure, why not? It makes sense to take our time finding Home, and it would be so silly to try to rush and buy something in time to get settled for winter. Go ahead and tell me I'm crazy, and rattle off all the reasons this is a Bad Idea. I'll ignore you. I need to have some time to catch my breath, and some time to figure out what's next... if we have any say in it at all, which I'm seriously beginning to wonder about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

what a fun day

I had a great birthday! We started with a visit to the river, and then met with a few best friends for pizza and beer, followed by a death-by-chocolate dessert, and sparklers at D&T's house. I made little silver "FRIEND" charms for party favors, because I never show up to a party empty handed! This was a small celebration, since we'd just had another little get-together over the 4th. I needed to keep it low-key, and after all, it was all about me this time. When we get around to moving, the guest list will be much longer. With any luck, that will happen soon. But anyway... here's a rather lengthy slide show of my special little day...

Monday, July 07, 2008

ah... july!

I say it every year. I love July. It's the perfect month, the heart of summer, and also my Birth Month, which I celebrate all month long. And now it's my Birth Week, so wee ha, let the fun begin! This is a perfect time to listen to the best birthday song ever. All you other July Babies out there, come on, let's dance! And everybody else too, of course!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

4th of july - arroyo seco, nm

Well, I have to say, I think it's a lot more fun to be in the parade than to watch it. I've done it twice, and it was a total blast both times. The Arroyo Seco 4th of July Parade is a small one. Very small. But it's really a great little hometown sort of parade that makes everyone feel happy. There's a little something for everyone. And while this year's event was certainly on the political side, it was still all fun and friendly. I walked with the Obama group, and it felt really good to hear all the cheers and applause as we walked past the crowds. I had the unusual perspective of watching the watchers watch us, so I took lots of pictures.

Sure, there were a few boo-ers. That's to be expected. But the overwhelming show of support and love and hope more than made up for those folks. In fact, it did a lot to heal my dings and scratches from the recent cyber-rocks that have been thrown at me. I've known for a long time now, over a year, since people started to tighten up their purse strings, that I needed to think outside of the bead box and gather new customers from a bigger world. It didn't occur to me that I'd have to let some people go in order to make room for the new ones. But silly me, of course that's always the case. I'm reminded again that the only way for anything new to find its way into our hands is to leave those hands wide open. Things and people and houses and money will come and go. It's all good and just as it needs to be. I got a lot of attention yesterday with my fat strand of Obama Beads, and sold several right off my neck to people who were not "bead people". I'm beginning to find lots of these people, and they're telling their friends about me and these cool beads they've been buying. I have a feeling this is going to go big, and in the process I'll not only be able to help with something I really believe in, I'll also be finding those new customers I've been hoping to find for so long. How 'bout that.

Meanwhile, my heart is warmed, and my hope for this country restored. There's nothing like a town full of people with similar, and different views, getting together for some good noisy fun. Everyone played nice, and I have to hold the thought that we can all get together somehow and make a difference for the better.

Friday, July 04, 2008

happy 4th of july

I only have a minute here today. I'm getting ready to go to the big-little parade in Arroyo Seco. I think I'm walking with the Obama float. Not sure there is an actual float, but there will be a lot of festive people, no doubt. I usually dress in predominantly black, but today I'm digging out red silk pants, a blue top, and a white linen shirt to keep the sun off. I'm already feeling uncomfortable in these colors, and I'm only thinking about the outfit. But I am brave. I can do this. I'm also wearing a full strand of Obama Beads. It looks fabulous. See?

It will have lots of happy, festive, 4th of July juju in it by the time I come home. Want it for your own little self? It's only $1125! Not bad for something that comes pre-energized!

And all you grumblers. Just shush! Here's a song for you. For all of us. I can't get the video to show up here, so just click on over to YouTube.

Happy 4th Of July!! xoxo!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


You remember a while back, when a neighbor kid smashed his mother's car into our tree (no one was hurt) and I made beads from the broken glass? Eventually I used up all that glass and had to find a new supply. I couldn't go around chasing car accidents. That would be creepy. So I went to Taos Auto Glass and the nice guy there gave me three car windows he couldn't identify, and therefore couldn't use. I was prepared to buy them from him, but he didn't want my money. He just told me to go to him is I ever needed a new windshield. That's my kind of deal. I'd give you a link to his website, but he doesn't have one. But hey, if you ever find yourself in Taos with an auto glass need, go see this guy. He's a peach.

So you might think free glass is actually free. I thought so too. But the process of getting glass from window form to bead form turns out to be rather lengthy, as do so many things that start out seeming simple. It's fun though, so I thought I'd show you how I do it. Here we go...

I start with a very clean car window. It has to be a side window because these crumble into nice little bits when they're broken. Windshields have a layer of plastic stuff laminated between two sheets of glass, so they don't break the same way, and would also put off a lot of toxic nastiness when the plastic was melted in the flame. Yuck. So side windows only please, if you decide to send me something.

Next I put an old comforter on the ground, wrap the window in it like a giant burrito, and then give it several good hard whacks with a heavy hammer. The sound is something like bang, bang, poof. The poof is when it finally breaks.

When I unwrap it, it continues to crackle for a while, and little bits pop around like rice crispies. Sort of amusing, at least to me. Then I put my gloves on and put it all in a big plastic bag. Voila! Now I have something I can work with.

The next step is to heat up the kiln and put a little pile of the broken glass inside to preheat for beadmaking.

Once it's all up to temperature, I light the torch, heat a steel mandrel to red-hot, and pick up a small amount of the hot glass with it. I heat it in the torch for a while, and shape it into a longer rod shape that's more suitable to make beads with. About now I start to look at all the ready made glass rods on my table, and wonder why I'm going to all this trouble...

But this is where it gets easy. Time to make beads! I usually put three on a mandrel, and will get maybe two mandrels full before I need to heat and shape more glass again.

Is it worth it? I think so. Sure, they're just simple beads, but they're beautiful and meaningful too. I like the idea of turning garbage into art, even if it takes a little extra effort. I've read that broken glass symbolizes some sort of breakthrough in our lives. It's not bad luck at all. It's actually good, if you want to be superstitious about it. I do, so I call these Breakthrough Beads.

And yes, I do cut myself when I'm doing this. Often. But we have an old saying in the beadmaking world...

You will get cut.
You will get burned.
Become a lampworker.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

swiss beadist friends

We met Eric and Nicole at an ISGB Gathering a few years ago, and have stayed loosely in touch ever since. When they emailed to say they'd be in New Mexico this summer, we were thrilled. They've been staying with a friend in Santa Fe, and came up to Taos this past weekend to hang out with Rick and me. We had a blast. There was, of course, a little bit of studio time. No beadmaking actually, but I showed them some of my silver working tricks. In return, Nicole showed me a way of knitting that's far superior to the standard way that I learned, with all the awkward yarn-slinging. I'm sure lots of people know this simplified Euro-version, but it's news to me, and I'm squealing with delight over it. Honestly. I now have several projects going on at once, and all I really feel like doing today is knitting. But hihohiho, I think it's about time to get back to work.

Anyway, here are some pictures...

Rick, Nicole, and Eric on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. It's 600 feet above the rio!

We had this bizarre idea to take our Swiss friends visiting New Mexico up to the ski valley to have a beer at the Bavarian. It was freezing up there, but we had those beers anyway, along with fresh, warm, salty pretzels, fries, and apple strudel. This picture of the four of us is terrible, but it's the only one I'm in...

A short stroll after our snack brought us to this beautiful, cold stream. We all decided if Nicole fell in, we'd pick her up downstream somewhere, rather than jumping in after her.

I'm hopping around with the sequence here. No matter. This was at the Gorge Bridge, when Eric went out to cut some sagebrush for smudge sticks. This raven came flying right over to him, and chattered and squawked for a long time. It even swiped his scissors and tried to take off with them. It was a friendly encounter, and very strange. Ravens do not like to get close to humans.

Here's Nicole, enjoying the wind. I think she enjoys almost everything. She's so much fun!

Rick and Eric are a lot alike. Both lovely, kind men. If we could clone them, we'd be rich!

Back at the bead ranch, Nicole walks the labyrinth and the rest of us relax on the patio.

We had such a great time. Wish they could have stayed longer. I guess we'll just have to go to Switzerland someday. We had a day of semi-quiet here, and then went down to Santa Fe yesterday for a quick visit with Rick's sister Vicki. We just had time for lunch and a lap around the plaza, but it was good to see her. More pictures!

Vicki and Rick on the plaza in Santa Fe.

Vicki and me. We look like sisters!

And no trip to Santa Fe is complete without a visit to the jewelry vendors outside the Palace Of The Governors. All of the jewelers are Native American. They come out here every day and arrange their wares on simple blankets on the ground. It's the best place in New Mexico to shop for jewelry, and you get to meet the artists too. Vicki bought some nice things for her two daughters. Yay for moms who travel and bring back presents!

And tomorrow... I think I'll smash some glass for you!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

a quick hello

I'm back, but only sort of. I'm going to Santa Fe today, so no time for chit chat, but I'll be around tomorrow. I think. I want to tell you about our visit with Eric and Nicole, our wonderful Swiss friends. Also have some pictures of what it takes to make beads from car window glass. Hint... there's a big hammer involved.

I'll be back!