Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Snow

"A lot of people like snow.
I find it to be an unnecessary
freezing of water."
- Carl Reiner

It snowed again today. I just came in from shoveling our wide driveway and sidewalk. It isn't something that I enjoy doing, either. Fortunately, my son Joe brought over his ATV with the plow blade on it last week for me to use again this Winter. It makes the job a lot more tolerable, but I still have to shovel by the garage doors and the sidewalk by hand. I'm sick of the snow already, and the season has just begun! Kim and I were planning on having a 'play day' today in my studio, but because of the weather, we just chatted on the phone for about an hour instead. We're shooting for next Monday to get together (weather permitting, of course).
Little Junior has been up to typical puggie naughtiness. He has made himself quite at home already, and is constantly tagging after his new big brother, Popeye. Mugsy, the eldest of the boyz, seems rather bored with their antics, and prefers to be laying around watching them, rather than chasing them.

(Junior is quite the little chewer!)
On just his second day living here, Junior found a book that was sitting by the fireplace, and began chewing on it. When I caught him with the book, I actually had to laugh, because the book he was chewing on was the "Dogfessions" book that Jessica gave to me when Otis had to be put down.
(Junior chewed the corner of my 'dogfessions' book up!)
The funniest part is where he chewed on the book...right under the words, "I didn't do it." I just had to take a picture of the book and put it in this post.
(Closeup of the chewed book)
I guess I better go back upstairs now and see what the three little angels are up to!!!

The Official Shulse Family Portrait

"The family is one of
nature's masterpieces."
-George Santayana

(First Official Shulse Family Portrait)
l to r: Daddy Mike, Mugsy, Popeye, Mama Jill, and new Baby Junior
I've been busy yesterday and this morning putting the finishing touches on our first family portrait. This is Mike and myself, along with our three little 'love children.' I think little Babycakes has finally got a name. Mike and I have decided on 'Junior,' because he looks like a cross between our sainted pug, Otis, and our little Popeye. He's like the little kid brother who tags along after the big boys. He seems to have bonded with Popeye, and Popeye is already showing him the ropes....like running and jumping up on my recliner before I sit in it...stealing rawhide 'chewies' and hiding them from the others...chewing on things that aren't meant to be chewed on...begging for treats...etc. He has won our hearts, and fits in well with our little 'blended' family.

Monday, December 1, 2008

And Baby Makes Three (Again!)

"Pugs are like potato chips...
you can't have just one (or two)!"

I had a little surprise happen this past weekend...I guess you could say the 'pug stork' flew over our house again, and we now have a new little baby boy 'puggie' addition to our family. This adorable little guy is 5 months old, and already has a lot of wonderful wrinkles. I must say that daddy was not very excited about the prospect of being a Pug Papa yet again, but when I snuck into the house with our new baby, his heart melted. We haven't picked out a name for him yet, so for the time being I'll refer to him as little 'Babycakes.' He's happy and healthy, and is already 'learning the ropes' from his 2 big brother pugs, Mugsy and Popeye.
This is my first official portait with little 'Babycakes" Shulse.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving

"Thanksgiving is a time of

quiet reflection upon the past

and an annual reminder that

God has, again,

been ever so faithful.

The solid and simple things of life

are brought into clear focus."

- Charles R. Swindoll

(Partial shot of the Thanksgiving Dinner. Aren't the water bottles a festive touch?! I don't think Martha Stewart would think that it was 'A Good Thing!')


I have so much to be grateful for, and I thank the Lord every day for everything He has blessed me with. The most important blessing I'm thankful for is my family. I am so fortunate to have been raised in a very loving, thoughtful, and caring family. My family is small, but we are very close-knit. I guess that over the years, I just took it for granted that most families interacted and cared for each other the way my family did. But once I became a teacher's aide for emotionally-disturbed middle and high school teenagers 11 years ago, I saw first-hand how tragically untrue that really was. But anyhow...... (Jessica baked three pumpkin pies for the occasion! )

Jessica came over Wednesday night, and offered to help me bake the pumpkin pies. She has never made a pie before in her life, and doesn't have much experience in baking, but I showed her how to make the pie crust the way my mother taught me when I was young, and guided her as she mixed up the ingredients for the pumpkin filling. She was an excellent student, and her 3 pies turned out absolutely perfect! She was sooooooooooo proud of them on Thanksgiving Day, and she deserved to be...they were delicious! On Thursday morning, I made the traditional turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and steamed broccoli. My sister helped me out by bringing a fruit salad, cauliflower salad, a wonderful cranberry relish that our grandma used to always make for the holidays, and dinner rolls. We had such a nice Thanksgiving day here...it's so nice when our family gets together.
(I wanted a picture taken with my children...can you tell they're 'less than thrilled' when the camera comes out???!!!)

Of course, I usually like to get the camera out in the afternoon and take pictures, and my kids are always 'less than thrilled' when that happens. When I ask someone to take a shot of them with me, they reluctantly stand next to me with 'can we just get this over with' expressions on their faces (as you can see in the picture).

(My dad posed with 'his girls'...My sister Mary Beth, Myself, and My Daughter, Jessica)

I like how this picture turned out. That's my dad, my sister, myself, and my daughter. Dad is ninety-one and a half years old, and is still quite a character. I am truly lucky to have such a great family!

"An open home, an open heart,
here grows a bountiful harvest."
- Judy Hand

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Birthday I Won't Soon Forget

"Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me...."

(Our Backyard at 7:00 a.m. on Monday Morning)

I celebrated my birthday on Monday, but there wasn't much to celebrate. The day was more like a summary of 'Murphy's Law.' I woke up early in the morning (as usual) to take the boyz, Mugsy and Popeye, out for their morning potty. When I opened the front door, I was shocked to see snow...measurable snow! I must say, it was pretty. Everything was covered in a blanket of white, and large snowflakes were still lazily falling from the sky. The scene looked just like when you shake up a snowglobe. Everything was quiet and peaceful as the darkness began to turn into day.
My son Joe came over mid-morning to wish me a Happy Birthday, and to give me my gift. He had been bugging me for weeks as to what I'd like for my birthday, but I just couldn't think of anything in particular that I wanted. But he really came through, and gave me a generous gift card for Hobby Lobby, since he knows I love to shop there, and am probably one of their better customers! Last year he gave me a drill press for my dremmel, which was something I really wanted. I must say, both of my children are very, very thoughtful. They both always remember every one's birthdays, special occasions, etc. (I guess I must've done something right in raising them! lol)
As we were talking, all of a sudden there was a loud crack, and the lights flickered off. They then just started to come back on when another loud crack happened. This time, though, the power was off for good. That's when Mike came out of his office to see what was going on...and we could smell the odor of burning electrical looming from the inside of his office. After some careful 'sniffing,' we discovered his fax was fried. We figured with the slippery roads, someone must have hit a power pole or something. Everything was dead, including our telephones. Thank goodness for cell phones! But of course, I hadn't charged mine in quite a while and it only had 1 bar left. Anyhow, Joe finally decided to take off and go deer hunting, and Mike and I tackled the snow shoveling in front of our house. We've got a really wide driveway, so it's more of a two-person job. What else was there to do anyway??
Several hours later and still without power, we got company. My dad drove over to see if we had power. He lives in a little nearby town, in the same house I grew up in, and he was without power too. So dad spent most of the afternoon sitting at our house. At least the gas fireplace in our livingroom worked, so it was comfortable to sit in there. My daughter Jessica then stopped over to wish me a happy birthday and give me my presents. She's a great little gift-giver, and always knows exactly what I like. I got a really nice sweater and a scarf that I love, but the card she got for me meant the most. The verse was so meaningful for both of us, that we were both tearing up as I read it. Seriously, the bond between a mother and daughter is truly very special, and it seems to get stronger as the years go by.
As the afternoon wore on, Jessica decided to go back to her place (where there was electricity), and dad wanted to go home before it started getting dark out. So Mike and I sat in the livingroom with the little pugs chasing around the house as our entertainment.
By 5:00 p.m. darkness set in, and we were still without electricity. We did have 2 flashlights that actually worked, and I got a bunch of candles lit in the livingroom. I was starting to worry about the thanksgiving turkey and all the food in the refrigerator and freezer, though...
At 6:00 p.m. Mike decided to call the electric company again to see how much longer they thought it would take before the power was restored. Apparently there were several poles hit by cars, and it was a larger job than they had anticipated to fix. They thought it would be restored by 7:00 p.m. And you know what??? At 7:00, the power finally did come back on...sort of. It was really weird. Some of the light switches worked, while others on the same switchplate didn't. Thank goodness the freezer, refrigerator, stove, and microwave were all working again. The cable was still out, so the phones didn't work yet, but at least the furnace was back on, so we went to bed.
(Another view of our backyard on Monday)

So yesterday morning we started checking the computers, etc. to see if we lost anything else besides the fax machine. We were very, very lucky. Both of our computers were on a battery backup, so Mike shut them down as soon as the power went off, and they were fine. We've got really good surge protectors on our computers, televisions, etc., which saved our electronics. Mike went out and bought 3 new surge protectors yesterday, because 2 of them took smelled cooked. But they saved the televisions!! Our cable finally came back on yesterday morning, so we had phone service again, but we still had the strange issue with only partial current with our switches. Nothing was tripped on our breaker box in the basement. So we got a hold of an electrician to come and see what was wrong. Wow...and were all the electrician's in this area busy!!! Fortunately the one we called was already working at several other houses on our street, so they came over to assess the situation while they were at a house across the road. They checked the box in the basement to again see if anything was tripped, which nothing was. But we didn't realize we have another emergency circuit box in the basement too, and when they checked that box, they found several were tripped. Once they reset them, all our power again worked in the house. They checked all the outlets throughout all the house to make sure they, too, were working properly, and then they told us how lucky we were!!! The 2 neighbor homes that they were also working at were not so lucky!! The outlets in those houses were black and melted!!!!! The electrician said he has never seen anything like it! They were really busy at those homes!!!!!! He was actually going to keep one of the fried outlets because of how bad it looked.

So anyhow, that's how I spent my birthday. It was certainly quite memorable in an odd sort of way!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"A Place To Bark" Art Auction on Ebay

(Popeye, licking his buddy, Mugsy's ear)

(Popeye...The one-eyed mischevious one!)

(Sweet Mugsy...you'd never believe this guy was starved, hairless, and near death when Bernie rescued him, would you??)

I want to let everyone know that my good friend and fellow artist, Bernie Berlin, currently has several art items listed on eBay to benefit her wonderful cause, "A Place to Bark." Click on this link to view the items currently for sale:

http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/aplace2bark_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ

Two of the items listed are hand-painted purses created by me.

A Place to Bark is a no kill foster and adoption rescue dedicated to the welfare of animals and was founded by Bernie Berlin. Established in 2001, they mainly work with Animal Control Agencies, rescuing animals from high kill shelters and fostering them until they are healthy. This provides an ideal situation for the animals. They are then placed for adoption through Humane Societies in various parts of the country. They cover all costs for the medical care of the animals with no cost to the Humane Societies. They also handle some private adoptions after a strict screening process.
I have the privilege of being the proud 'puggie' mom to two adorable pugs that Bernie rescued. I adopted Mugsy two years ago. When Bernie found this poor little guy, he was starved and stick-thin...hairless from horrible mange...full of open sores and serious infections...and left for dead in a pen at the pound along with several large pitbulls. When Bernie saw him, she didn't even realize at first that he even was a pug, due to his horrible condition. But as soon as she realized he was a pug, she immediatly took him home and, after extensive medical treatment, got him nursed back to health and gave me a call. She knew I was a pug momma already, and totally spoil my pugs rotten. So...along came little Mugsy. But since I've had him, he's not 'little' anymore. He's more like my happy, 'portly' Mugsy Magoo.
Then, about a year ago, I got another call from Bernie. She said, "Jillllllllllll...guess whattttttttttt....I've got another puggggggggggggggg." Well....I already had 2 pugs living here, so I was a little apprehensive about getting yet another one. And Mike was in the hospital at the time, recovering from his accident. I was excited about adopting another little puggie, but my fear was that Mike wouldn't be as gung-ho about having 3 spoiled pugs running around the house. (But what's another little pug, right????? They are soooooooooooo cute and lovable!!) So I agreed, and broke the news to Mike in the hospital. My exact words to him were, "Guess what, honey???.............the stork is flying over our house!!!" I think his jaw dropped to the floor!!! I had to quickly add....'The PUG stork!!!!'
Well.......Mike eventually warmed up to the news, and Bernie delivered little Popeye. Poor popeye was sooooooooooo starved and skinny, he almost looked freakish! When he came in the door, he ran around the house at about 50 mph. I just thought to myself, "what DID I get myself into????" And to top it off, he had somehow sufferered severe trauma to his left eye before Bernie rescued him, and it was in bad shape. To this day, we have no idea how his eye got so horribly damaged, but after doing absolutely everything possible for it that the vet had recommended, and watching it get even worse, I finally had to have the veterinarian remove the eye. He told me it was in such terrible shape, and there was so much pressure building up, that it could pop out with a bump to the head! Well, I must say, Popeye actually looks cute with only his one eye! It's not nearly as freakish-looking as I thought it would be. It's like he's always 'winking' at you!!! And he turned into the most loving, sweet, 'momma's boy' I could ever want (although Mugsy is a big 'momma's boy' too!!)
I can't imagine not having these two sweet, funny, quirky little wrinkle-balls around the house!!! I am sooooooooooo grateful to Bernie, for rescuing these poor little creatures from certain death, and bringing them to me.
Please help Bernie continue her cause. Visit her website listed above, or go to the right-hand side of my blog and scroll down to my "Kewl Places to Visit" and please click onto her name. It will take you to her blog, where she has pictures and stories of other dogs (and cats too) that she's in the process of rehabilitating, and who will also be in need of loving homes.
Thanks for everything, Bernie....you are truly an angel!!!!!!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Nice Way to Spend the Day

"A loyal friend laughs at your jokes
when they're not so good,
and symphathizes with your problems
when they're not so bad."
- Arnold H. Glasow

I can't believe it's already the 22nd of November!!! Where has the time gone? Even though the sun was shining brightly today, the air was crisp and cold outside. The river in our backyard has frozen over, and there were 3 people behind our house ice-skating for a good portion of the afternoon. I would've never believed the ice was thick enough to walk on yet, but obviously all that blustery weather we've been having has thickened the ice very quickly. I must admit, as I was watching those people having so much fun, I was thinking I should figure out where my skates are so I can goof around on the ice, too, because the river looks as smooth as glass. When I told that to Kim as we were observing the skaters from the worktable in my studio, Kim just smiled at me and told me she'd much rather be making artsy stuff inside where it's warm. (Party Pooper). I must say, I guess Kim was right...we spent the day having fun inside, each working on some jewelry projects. Kim wanted to make a necklace that she could attach all of her charms onto from the swap at her Retreat last month, while I was working away at repairing a pair of earrings that I had broken a while back. I love it when Kim comes over. The time just flies by, and we never run out of things to talk about and laugh about when we're together. I'm hoping that we can get together again before Thanksgiving. Perhaps then we'll do some metal-etching or work with PMC. It's about time I try out that kiln I bought back in August!!!

(The necklace that Kim made)



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

...I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends...

"Friendship"
A friend will give you comfort
and hours on the phone.
A friend knows when you need a hug
or want to be left alone.
A friend knows when you need an ear
to just sit there and listen.
A friend helps you to calm your fears,
and cheers on your ambitions.
A friend can make you laugh out loud
even when there's no one around
A friend is someone who makes you proud
of the friend that you have found.
- Gina Marie Lauchner
When I started out on my artistic journey four years ago, I have been very blessed. I have made some wonderful friendships with very, very talented and caring individuals. These friends have stuck up for me when they feel I've been wronged, and have been so very supportive of me and my artwork. I am not going to name specific people individually in this post, but I'm sure they will know that I am referring to them when they read this.
I am very thankful and grateful to have friends like you, who continue to stay in contact with me, and who go 'above and beyond' when you feel I've been wronged in some way.
Thank you all, for your care and concern for me and my work!!! I am sooooooo grateful that you have all come into my life, and that you are all so supportive of me! You are all the best friends that I could ever ask for!!!!!!
Hugs to you all!
Jill
xo

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The End of a Busy Month

"Life is to be
fortified by many friendships.
To love
and be loved
is the greatest happiness
of existence."
- Sydney Smith

(The Raevn's Nest 'Elite' L to R: Bernie Berlin, Kim Nugent, Judy Wise, Michael deMeng, and Laurie Mika)
October was certainly a busy month for me. For three weeks in a row, I was busy travelling to different workshops that I had signed up to take, oh so many months ago. It was unfortunate that these classes all fell in such close proximity to each other date-wise, because I felt like I couldn't fully enjoy them. When one workshop was ending, I was already contemplating what supplies I would need to get packed for the next one. It all began with my Thomas Mann workshop the beginning of October. I was at Valley Ridge for 6 days...came home...and then 4 days later had 2 Michael deMeng workshops and a Laurie Mika workshop at Raevn's Nest Retreat in Cedarburg. The following week I went back down to Valley Ridge for 3 days for my Lynne Perrella workshop. What really sucked was that I literally had to unpack all my supplies from my metalsmithing workshop, and repack totally different supplies for each remaining class. I'm proud of the fact that I actually put away my tools, etc., as I was unpacking before I began dragging out a bunch of other stuff for the next class supply list. I couldn't bear the thought of letting the studio get out of control again...(not to mention the wrath of Kim Nugent , since she was instrumental in organizing the chaos!).
(The 'Michael Lisa' at Raevn's Nest)

Raevn's Nest Art Retreat in Cedarburg was a wonderful experience. My good friend, Kim Nugent, made her dream of hosting a gathering of artists a reality - using the quaint community of Cedarburg, Wisconsin as the backdrop for her venue.

(Bernie and Judy -- Bernie is taking a pic of me while I'm taking this photo)

Thursday evening was an informal get-together, where people could get to know each other, participate in the various swaps which were held throughout the night, while listening to
the gritty, bluesy sound of the Alex Wilson Band, a local favorite of Kim's.
(Michael and I striking a very studious pose)

She had assorted inks and feathers available in the center of each of the tables, so you could draw and doodle while listening to the music and chatting with friends.

(We're enjoying each other's company Thursday evening)

I had the privilege of spending the evening chatting with Michael deMeng. I have taken several workshops with him over the past few years, so it was nice to be able to just relax and catch up with each other. (Michael critiquing our Morpheus Box Shrines)

The workshops began on Friday morning. My class for the day was the Mosaic Shrine class with Laurie Mika. I have never taken a workshop with her before, but I very familiar with her work, as I purchased her wonderful book way back when it first hit the bookstores.

(Everyone's Morpheus Boxes ready for Michael's critique)

I love Laurie's unique style, coupled with her wonderful choice of color and design. She was a great instructor, and everyone in the class
enjoyed working on their own, unique tiles. I have to admit that conditioning the clay was rather tedious...Laurie loves to work the clay by hand. (I would much rather prefer to use a pasta machine and soften it faster).
(Here I am frantically assembling my Matchbook Reliquary)

The class ended around 4:30 p.m., and many participants got their pieces finished, or nearly finished. Mine, on the other hand, has a long way to go before it is complete. I am pleased, however, with how it was turning out. (The Shrine I was working on in Laurie Mika's Class)

The other two workshops I had signed up for were both with Michael deMeng. Friday evening was making Matchbook Reliquaries, and Saturday was the Morpheus Box. I didn't get either of those projects finished either, but I got a good start on both of them, and hopefully sometime this Winter, I'll get the motivation to finish them.
Kim's retreat was a huge success, and I look forward to attending it again next October. I admire her determination to make her dream of hosting such a huge undertaking a reality!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Busy Week!!!

It's been a busy week for me. Last Tuesday morning, I left for Valley Ridge Art Studio in Muscoda, Wisconsin, to attend "Metalsmithing Basics," with Thomas Mann. It was a 3-day workshop, and was focused on honing our skills using the jeweler's saw, and different soldering techniques using an acetylene/oxygen torch. We all were taking extensive notes as Tom was explaining in detail the mechanics of what we were going to be doing, and giving us our instuctions for assignments we had to work on during the class.











The workshop was very intensive, and I think a few people were beginning to get a little overwhelmed with the abundance of information given, coupled with a bit of frustration if their assignments weren't turning out as they had hoped they would. However, Tom was an excellent instructor, and went out of his way to really work one-on-one with anyone who was experiencing any glitches or problems with their techniques. And we really needed to hear all the information we were given to properly learn the background of what we were going to be doing. I've never soldered with acetylene before, so the whole soldering experience was new for me, and I can now sweat solder and also attach wire to a metal plate, as well as attach metal balls and jump rings to the end of a piece of wire, which will be extremely useful when making jewelry. I'm certainly going to need to practice a lot, so I get the hang of it better, though.
















I loved the workshop, and learned so much! I even 'passed' Tom's test on sawing and soldering!!! So much so, that he approached me the evening before the last day of the workshop, telling me I am a very talented artist, and asking me if I would be willing to stay on for the next workshop he was teaching to be his assistant! I was in total shock! I felt such a sence of pride and honor that he singled me out because he feels that I have what it takes to go to the 'next level' with my abilities. So...after calling my husband to make sure it was OK with him, I eagarly told him I'd love to stay. Kathy, the owner of Valley Ridge, was kind enough to let me do a batch of laundry in her house, so I'd have clean clothes to wear, and I also had the privilege of staying in the 'Artist Quarters' in the main house!!! Their home is indescribably amazing!!!! And Saturday evening, Tom cooked us an absolutely fabulous gourmet dinner!!!















The workshop I assisted Tom with was the "Sandwich Brooch Pin." It was a 2-day workshop, and I had taken that workshop with him last year, so I was familiar with how to create it. The gals taking the class were all very nice, and I found it a lot of fun to help them with all their questions as they began to create their pieces. I think everyone gave me a hug when they left, thanking me for all the help I gave them, and telling me what a good job I did. Tom told me I did a fantastic job assisting him, and said I have a good way with working with others. Who knows, maybe down the road, I'll be able to teach a workshop of my own down at Valley Ridge!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On the Road Again....

"Technique
does not
exist
in itself,
It is only the
substance of the
creative
machinery."
- Ansel Adams
This morning, I'm packing up the car and heading to Valley Ridge Art Studio in Muscoda, Wisconsin. It take about 3 1/2 hours to get there. I'm going to be taking the Thomas Mann workshop, "Metalsmithing Basics." I took a workshop from him last year, and really learned a lot! This workshop is a 3 day class, and I'm sure it will be jam-packed with lots of techniques and information.
I plan to bee-bop my way down there...checking out the different antiques shops I pass during the long drive. At one shop in particular that I always stop at during each of my trips, the owner recognizes me, always checks out the jewelry I'm wearing, treats me to soda and snacks, and puts things aside for me that she thinks I might be interested in between my visits. I tell her ahead of time the dates I'll be stopping, so she gets things together for me to look at. (Pretty kewl, huh??!!)
Well...I have to finish packing so I can hit the road.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

...With a little help from my friends...

"To like and dislike the
same things...
This is what makes a
solid friendship."

(Kecia, Kim, and Myself at Valley Ridge - August, 2008)

This posting is to Kecia and Kim...You both are such wonderful friends. Many thanks to both of you for sticking up for me!!! There's strength in numbers, and power in friendship. I am swigging my 'JD Downhome Punch' as I'm writing this... and I'm raising up my bottle to you both, as I listen to ABBA!!! (And who doesn't know who Abba is, right??!!!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Happiness is...
Spending the day with my friend,
creating art."
- Jill Marie Shulse

The weather has been spectacular all week, although it is apparent that Fall is here. Even on warm days, you can feel the crispness in the air, and the leaves are beginning to turn color. By 7:00 o'clock in the evening, the sun has gone down, and the chilly darkness sets in.

When I got up on Thursday morning, the sun was shining brightly, and the view from my worktable in the studio was so beautiful, I took some pictures of it. This is what I look out at through the patio doors as I'm sitting and working on my art. Aren't I the lucky one???!!! I've been busy getting my charms completed for the swap at RaeVn's Nest Art Retreat next month. I decided I would make soldered charms. (Not that I'm the greatest at soldering, but what the heck!). I made two different collage pictures, and shrunk them down to 1" squares. I then sandwiched them between the glass, and began the tedious task of placing the copper foil around the edges. The weather was so gorgeous outside, I took my supplies upstairs and sat out on our deck to work. I didn't realize how time consuming doing that is. Probably because I don't do it very often, and I'm sort of a perfectionist. I didn't want uneven borders. Friday morning, Kim called me to see when we could have another 'play date' in my studio. I love it when she comes over, so I told her to come right over. She had a project she wanted to work on for her retreat, and I was busy soldering all the charms. I was in my 'art mode' and was eager to work on my soldering project. After getting a few charms finished, I was having a difficult time getting the solder to flow. It was a battle! Nothing was working! I was getting frustrated! Finally, I gave up and decided to get a new soldering iron. Kim is always 'game' for a road trip, so we stopped what we were doing and headed to Hobby Lobby. I found a nice iron that was a much higher wattage than the little cheapie I had, and wow, did that make a difference. This iron is great. The solder flows so nice, and I no longer have to struggle to get the solder to melt. The afternoon passed by sooooooo quickly. Finally at 5:00, we decided to stop, so Kim could get home. But when we got upstairs, we had a nice surprise....Mike had steaks on the grill for us on our deck, and he persuaded Kim to stay and have dinner with us out there. The three of us relaxed on the deck, enjoying our meals and the tranquil beauty in our backyard. We chatted and had a lot of laughs out there, and didn't come back inside the house until it became too dark and chilly to sit outside any longer. Kim called me again yesterday morning, to let me know she got her advanced copy of the book she wrote. It had arrived while she was over here yesterday afternoon. Of course, I told her I couldn't wait to see it, so she came over in the afternoon so we could go through it together. It turned out great, and I am soooooooo happy for her. I can't imagine the feeling of having your very own book published! I am also honored to be one of the artists she invited to participate in her gallery. Her book is entitled, "Interactive Art Workshop: Set Your Mixed Media in Motion," and it can be pre-ordered at http://www.amazon.com/.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Yearbook Photos

"A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words..."






















I couldn't resist having some fun with a picture of myself last night. I was on my friend Kim's blog, and she had found this kewl website where you can make yearbook pictures of yourself. I was intrigued by how realistic her pictures looked, so I thought I'd give it a try. Here are the results. Wow, I really changed over the years, huh??? In fact, in 3 of the years, I seemed to have morphed into an African-American!! If you're bored some day, check out the site at http://www.yearbookyourself.com/, and have some fun of your own!!!

(Update: My husband, Mike, saw this posting this morning, and he actually thought they were my yearbook pictures!!! Geesh....I'm not that old! LOLOL)