Sunday, February 21, 2010

back to basics

It's been a long haul these past couple weeks. talk about cabin fever, depressed. Normally I'm an upbeat, optimistic person who likes to daydream about the future who is always imagining going places and doing things.

Lately, its been hard because, for my situation to change, one of my parents will have passed on and i dont want that to happen. I cancelled the 2 weeks I'd planned to go to florida for a much needed change of scenery, which would also have been a working trip as i had 3 art shows lined up to do while there...but i couldn't leave my dad alone that long and my brother isnt dependable enough to come check on him. I feel so trapped-unable to go anywhere, unable to even dream of going anywhere, i'm dying a little more each day.

Thank God for friends...friends who have a life, who still go places, do things. Last year, I'd made an art piece for a favorite restaurant in Holmes Beach, Fl-Mr. Bones BBQ ( and was able to deliver it to them in November. The owner was out of town at the time, but I knew she'd like it.

Well, i just got this image emailed to me from my friend who's in florida at the moment and lo and behold, there is my piece! She had it framed and matted to protect it but its hanging right by the main doorway.


This last picture is because i begged for a shot of what i was missing most-the water. Ahh, now i feel better! Next Year.......

Anyway, NOW i feel good enough to get back to work...I have 2 special orders to finish, one order to mail out, and a third special order that just came in!!
On top of that, today was quite sunny and relatively mild-i believe it hit in the 40's!
Looks like i'll get through this afterall.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I was skimming through a couple new blogs that i marked to read later when i have more time. This one really had an effect on me: Check out her flickr account showing vignettes of her home, also.

It makes me long to go home again.

I'd like to be there a little bit each week to get it ready for my return, whenever that will be. But to know i have a space of my own, that i can paint and decorate, and then repaint and redecorate next week if i want-what heaven!

In the meantime, i can focus on reclaiming my space a little at a time and eventually regain the entire house. I can use it as staging for my photos. I have so many cool things that I love but I don't put out because there's no room, but I can rotate them.

I feel as if i wasted my time when i was there because i wasnt ready for it...i was still traumatized from all the break-ins and afraid but i feel so much better now...i'm truly ready to return, and yet i hesitate because that will mean one of my parents will have passed away and i DON'T want that. So, i think i will just start to visit there a little more each day.
(of course that will mean i need to clean up my glass cutting area-can't cut glass in the kitchen if i intend to eat there).

First on the list is to replace the 2 broken windows...then go ahead and make the decorative iron bars for the downstairs so i can open the boarded up windows...install the motion detector lights...replace the broken windows in the back porch and install the new back door. In the spring, i want to paint the house. I know they advised me against it because it attracts less attention when it's faded and worn but it looks so forlorn! I want something cheerful and hopeful to come home to...Buttery yellow with marigold trim...and a purple front door and porch railings with my wicker set on the porch and lots of plants-climbing yellow and red roses!!

Let there be change in my neighborhood and let it begin with me!

About those new years resolutions...

I don't do new year's resolutions. I know it's the beginning of a new year and a great new beginning and all, but its smack dab in the middle of winter. Even the holiday diversion is over and now the long trek towards spring begins. On top of that, I'm also out of work at this time, in the middle of the 3 month lull between fall pictures and our spring program, which is never as busy as fall anyway.
It starts off good with good intentions and good progress and good hopes and good dreams...but, the long dark days and nights that blend together just drag me down. My money begins to run out, I become lethargic and depressed, unable to just Get Out and Do Something. This is a golden opportunity that I am letting slip through my fingers. Duh!

So...This is the day to begin anew. I feel as if I am turning a corner finally. Time to get myself in gear.
Forgetting what lies behind, straining toward what is ahead, I will press on toward my goals.

Friday, February 5, 2010

what do I do all day?

People often ask me how I make my Urban Artifaks, so I thought I would take some photos showing what I do.

Since I now live in the apartment to take care of my dad, my home has become a working studio. It's 15 min. away-just far enough that when I go, I stay there all day. Takes too much gas to keep running back and forth.

This is my bottle stash (most of it). You can see all my Grey Goose Vodkas on the bottom shelf, then a couple shelves up are my Absoluts. On the other side, you can see my cobalt blue Skyy Vodkas, aqua blue Bombay Sapphires, the last of my turquoise Cabo Wabo Tequilas, my Patrons, and tons of wine bottles in every shape and color.

I know, I have a lot of bottles...and yet, I can't turn them down...And I'm always on the look-out for bottles I don't have. Like I posted on FB, I'm probably the only person who goes window shopping at the state liquor store!

When I go to my studio, I'll spend the whole day working on bottles. I generally work in stages.

The first stage is to cut the tops and bottoms off a LOT of bottles...I'll do about 60 bottles at a time. Next I cut them in half and keep only the parts I need. The rest goes into the recycling bin.

~a box full of treasures!~

I'll spend a couple days doing this because I use a wet saw and it's messy--and noisy. It's not bad once I get going, but it's probably my least favorite part of the process. (It's also when I cut myself the most. Right now it's difficult to type because of the cuts on my fingers and thumb.)

After I separate the fronts and backs, I cut them into sections. In this case, I have something particular in mind for the bowl of oranges on the back of the Grey Goose La'Orange, so I separate that section from the top and bottom.

Here it is, cut into sections.
Below shows the entire bottle back with the different sections and shapes. The top part will become frosted hearts. I like the slight concave shape. The middle painted part will become rectangular pendants, and the bottom with the text will become funky teardrops.

Here's a pile of pieces I've rough-cut.

I'll spend a few days just doing this stage until I have 2-3 trays of pieces like this. Not all of them will end up as pendants-sometimes the cut didn't come out just right, or it was too uninteresting or it just plain broke!

So, of the 60 or so bottles I've cut, about a third of them will be cut up into pieces right away and the rest of the bottle halves stored til next session. That way I can jump in and start cutting without having to get the saw out first.

I've never used all the pieces I've cut...partly because I cut so many, and partly because I don't always "see" anything in a piece right then. It might get picked out at a later session because that time I'm looking for something different.

Each time I work, I have a certain focus whether shape, embellishment, or design. (hmm, I wonder if in the future, you'll be able to tell which batch a piece came from, just like what year a wine was vinted?)

Enough work for one day: here's a small selection of what I accomplished:

Next visit, I start grinding the shapes into Shape. I might use tile nippers to chip away at the corners on the teardrops and hearts but I do this carefully. This is the time I often lose a good piece. Yesterday, when I was doing this batch, I had a beautiful teardrop from Three Olives Grape that perfectly framed the cascade of grapes...I nipped at the corner and it cracked in 3 small pieces. Gone forever...the only grape bottle I had, too. Oh well.

Here is 3 hours work--64 pieces, shaped and ground smooth, ready to foil:

When I finish this batch of necklaces, I'll post more pictures. See you then!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

things I've learned

Things I've learned:

1) do NOT, under any circumstances, carry a container of flavored coffee creamer in your checked luggage for under the plane once it has been opened.

need i say more?