February 2, 2011

  • It's that time again....time for our ...

    February Challenge "CRITTERS / WINGS"

    And this time, you have no excuse not to go and VOTE!  Every variation of the word "vote," (voters, voting, voted, vote, etc.) has been hyperlinked to the voting page.  So...Go Ye and VOTE!!

    Welcome to the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy's February challenge! Our theme for February is "Wings/Critters". As you can see, this theme has some similarities among the entries as well as some differences. The idea of critters is that it can be interpreted in many different ways.


    Only one vote per person, please. One (1) vote consists of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entry. If you choose an entry for 1st place, please do not also vote for it as your 2nd and/or 3rd place choice. Duplicate votes will not be counted.

    Voting will be by the public and by PCAGOE team members. Voting begins Feb 1, 2011 and ends Feb 7, 2011 at midnight, Eastern U.S. time. Winners in each voting category will be announced at www.pcagoe.com and here on February 8, 2011.

    Five lucky voters from the public, chosen at random, will also win beautiful polymer clay prizes created by one of our many, talented member artists! Winning voters will be notified at the close of voting and have one week from the date we contact you to furnish us with your mailing address so we can send you your prize. If you do not respond within one week, another name will be pulled from the pool of voters.

    February Challenge Entries


    Butterfly Wing Set by Maggie of MaggieDayStudio

    I took a photo of the back side of a Monarch butterfly wing (no butterflies were harmed in this project! I found it dead). I sized the photo down, glued the photos to polymer clay backings and highlighted them with gold metallic paint. Pendant is 1 1/8" wide and 1 1/2" long from top of bail; earrings are 1/2" wide x 5/8" long. Silver-plate on black silk cord.

    Fleur by Cindy of ArrowdaleArtStudio

    This is my entry for the February Monthly Challenge of the PCAGOE "Critters/Wings."
    My critter has wing, so I guess she qualifies! Made almost entirely of polymer clay except for a sheet each of aluminum foil and waxed paper used to make the base, and the MagicGlos and fusible fibers and wire used for her wings. I used Kato Polyclay, and dusted her body with PearlEx powder for shimmer

    Butterfly Brush by Lisa of HiGirls

    PCAGOE February challenge: critters with wings.
    I began with a plain wooden brush and covered it with custom mixed purple polymer clay, cut outs of butterflies from pink faux mother-of-pearl and silver mica shift have been inlayed. Finished with mica powder and semi gloss finish for a pearly glow

    Butterfly Barrette by Berit of ClayCenter

    This is a fun barrette I made from my own cane work, embellished with glittery clay and beads. My entry for the February 2011 PCAGOE challenge "Critters and Wings".

    I love your wings! by Peggy of Peggers

    I loved creating this Butterfly Fairy. He is admiring His little pink butterfly while another butterfly rests on his foot. He is resting on a polymer clay leaf. He has bendable polymer clay glitter wings with a purple butterfly sweater and of course pink rosey cheeks and toes.

    The Butterfly Goddess by Marcia of marcympc

    The goddess of butterflies has come to visit.

    Clown Fish Ocean Scene Soap Dispenser by Angela of PolymerClayCreations

    This is my entry into the February PCAGOE Monthly Challenge. It is a ceramic soap dispenser covered in my own design. I first made a skinner blend sheet ranging from pacific blue, to turquoise then to an aqua green. Next I added one piece at a time the coral, sea grass and clown fish canes.

    Mayra's Dragonfly Pendant Necklace by Lorraine of WiredOrchid

    This is my entry for PCAGOE's February challenge: Critters/Wings. This polymer clay pendant is stamped with a dragonfly and antiqued with copper acrylic paint. The custom colored base is textured with embossing powder. The necklace is made up of brown tiger eye, orange aventurine and turquoise heishi beads. This is one of my favorite necklaces. I think it speaks of spring -- it makes me happy!

    #9 Blue Swallow by Els of BeadElz

    Pendant made with a Polymer clay blend with a silkscreen print

    Impressions of a Peacock by Marie of YoungCreative

    These impressionistic peacock feathers grace the back of a hand-held mirror for my newly decorated 1940s style bathroom.
    They are made from glazed Mokume Gane sheets applied to a matte black background. The stones are aquamarine-my birthstone

    #11 Tooth Fairy by Deb of RenGalSA

    This is my entry in the February PCAGOE challenge. "Critter/Wings"
    I made this over 10 years ago out of Sculpey III - yes, I confess. It is brittle and delicate, but one of my first experiments in polymer clay EVER. And it's where my addiction began, so it seems fitting to enter her. =)

    Five (5) lucky voters chosen at random will also receive one of these beautiful polymer clay prizes created by our talented member artists!

    Voter Prize Pool:

    February 2011 Prize Pool

    1st Row, L-R: NKDesigns ; BeadElz ; jkollmann ; PolymerClayCreations

    2nd Row, L-R: ElPasoClayNation; MarciaPalmer; DebbieCrothers

    3rd Row, L-R: WiredOrchid; RozPetalzStudio; PipsJewellery; CreateMyWorld

    Several of the entries are also available for sale in our members' etsy shops, so please check them out to see these and more one-of-a-kind works of polymer clay art.


    As you can see, we've really worked our hearts out on this one, so please, VOTE! 

    * * * * * * * * *

    Faron's got about a dozen applications in, and we check them every day to look for new ones he can apply for.  So far he's heard nothing but in the database it looks as though no one has looked at them yet. (Their statuses all say "New Applicant.")  So maybe that's not a bad thing. 

    I loved making my pink dragon and since I did I've made a few more - photos soon!


January 19, 2011

  • Hey, how about a regular ol' chatty post?

    Haven't done one of those in ages!

    Lots happening - Today is Faron's last day at Grizzly - the tension at work for the past year has been increasing almost daily and finally he couldn't tolerate it any longer.  It's rather scary to be looking for a new job in this economy and at his age, but, as he says, we are going to trust the Lord on this and just do it! 

    Prayers for a new job with much less stress would be greatly appreciated.  I've said it a dozen times since he made this decision - one thing I know of for sure, is that my husband would flip burgers at McDonalds before he'd let our bills go unpaid, so in the larger sense, I'm not worried.  But I would like him to be happy in his work.  He's put out a few applications and will of course continue to do so. 

    As the Lord would have it, Faron's Uncle Lee died Sunday morning and will be buried on Friday. (Which was to have been Faron's last day.)  Tomorrow, Faron and his sister Deb are driving to Pittsburgh to bring their Aunt Ruth back so she can be at her brother's funeral.  She'll stay here with us through Sunday.  We haven't seen her since she moved out there almost 10 years ago so we're looking forward to the visit despite the circumstances.  His Uncle Jack is on his way from Florida, and we look forward to visiting with him, too.  That's the weird thing about funerals - it's such a great opportunity to see those we care about but haven't seen for one reason or another. 

    We both had nasty colds after Christmas and then I put my back out (just a pulled muscle) two weeks ago being a doofus.  (I tried to move a heavy television by myself, being impatient for someone to help - I'd have had to WAIT!  Imagine me, impatient! So the first part of the year has been kind of a wash for me but I have managed to do some claying - this piece in particular I'm quite pleased with.  It's my entry for the February Challenge.  (I"ll post links for voting closer to the time - for once I'm finished and entered nearly 10 days ahead of the deadline!)  The challenge theme is "Critters/Wings," and mine qualifies on both counts.  :)

    This view shows off the wings - a first for me, using a resin product called MagicGlos, fusible fibers and pearly mica flakes on a wire frame.  I like them. 

    And these are just two other shots showing more of the dragon herself - her name is....Fleur! (Clever, ain't I?)

    I chose this shot for my entry photo. 

    Other than claying and trying to keep my stuff organized (I got a new convection toaster oven (the polymer clay artist's dream oven!) that now is in my room, instead of having to use the oven in the kitchen, and it necessitated some re-organization.  I wish I could say I got rid of a lot of stuff but, alas, there's not much in this room I don't consider NECESSARY.  :)  

    I will need to go through my clothes again, though.  I got a lot for Christmas - including two jackets!  One, an anorak, was only $8.99 on sale and is a perfect three season coat.  The other, an equally great bargain, is a beautiful burgundy leather swing coat.  Yummy!  :) One of my Dercum's buddies received it as a gift and it didn't fit her well, so she sold it for a phenomenal price of $45!  I've always really wanted a leather coat but the practical side of me wouldn't admit it, as they are pricey for as often as I'd wear it.  For that price, I can live with it not being worn daily. 

    So that's life in Cogan Station this week. 


January 5, 2011

  • Vote! Vote! Vote!

    January Challenge - Tri Color Combo

    Welcome to the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy's January challenge. Our theme this month is "Tri-Color Combo."

    The members who chose to enter were asked to create entries using only 3 colors - blue, yellow and green. They also had the option of deleting one of these colors and adding one, but only one, of the following: White, black, silver or gold.

    The only other rule is that each entry must be at least 50% polymer clay. We have 10 extremely creative selections for you this month!

    Please vote for your top 3 favorites in the pull-down menu at the bottom of the page. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it may take a few minutes to load.

    Voting begins January 1, 2011 and ends at midnight Eastern U.S. time on January 7, 2011. Winners will be announced here on January 8, 2011 and on our team website at pcagoe.com. VOTE HERE.

    Only one vote per voter, please! One vote consists of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner. Please do not choose one entry for all three places. Duplicate votes will not be counted..

    Winning public voters will be notified as soon as possible after the time to vote closes. If you do not respond within one week after being notified, your prize will be returned to the pool as unclaimed.

    You may also sign up for our monthly newsletter when you vote.

    Our members love to hear your comments about the entries. Please take a moment to complete that section when you VOTE. We also love to hear how you learned about the challenges.

    January Challenge Entries:


    1) Funky Spiral Pen and Matching Holder by ClayCenter

    Berit's description of her entry: Pen covered with polymer clay and matching hand formed pen holder.

    2) Brain Cane Clock by MarcyMPC

    Marcy's description of her entry: When I learned how to do 'brain canes', I had to try with different colors. This one was blue, green and gold, making it perfect for an entry in PCAGOE's January Challenge!

    3) Lapistear 110 Pendant by 11BoldStreet

    Susan's description of her entry: This entry for the PCAGOE January Challenge incorporates two of the required colors, blue and green, plus one alternate which is silver. This base of this pendant is a faux lapis blend with both inlays and surface applied colors of green and silver. Hand sanding/buffing and selected areas of UV resin contribute to a gloriously shiny surface.

    4) Make It Personal Ornament - Finished to a "T" by AshPaints

    Arlene's description of her entry: This "Make It Personal" ornament in the shape of a T features an extruder cane down the left side. Those same colors - blue, green and white - were marbled to create the coordinating colorful "fabric" that covers the othe side. A stripe of white divides the two sections. Coordinating beads strung on gold craft wire finish the ornament.

    5) Brasil Ornament by PolymerClayCreations

    Angela's description of her entry: I made this ornament for my Mother who is from Rio de Janiero. She and my Father met while he was stationed at the American Embassy in 1956. She says it was love at first sight seeing the handsome Marine in his dress blues. She is my total hero. I cannot imagine marrying and moving to a country half the world away. This is my entry into the January PCAGOE Monthly Challenge. The challenge was to create something using only the colors yellow, green and blue. Perfect for making my tribute to my fantastic Mother.

    6) Vulcano Grasshopper by Beadelz

    Els's description of her entry: I have made vulcanos in many different ways but never in pure green and yellow. The texture and golden paint gives the green something extra.
    These colors are a real challenge.

    7) Blue Star by KellyPlaysClay

    Kelly's description of her entry: Although I titled this pendant Blue Star, it reminds me of a pineapple. I just want to pull out a leaf and see if it is ripe.

    8) Preserved Pendant by Peggers

    Peggy's description of her entry: I started with the green and yellow and added my 3rd color with a black silhouette carved tree and covered it with a thick glaze. Carving the bark and framing the entire pendant to tie all three colors together.

    9) Not Your Grandma's Valentine by ArrowdaleArtStudio

    Cindy's description of her entry: My entry for the January Challenge of the Polymer Clay Artists' Guild of Etsy, three color challenge. My colors are blue, green and one of the alternate neutrals - white. I created at least a dozen items in several combinations of blue, yellow and green or an alternate but there's something about this pendant that I like. A simple "marbling" of the three colors of clay - just enough to liberally combine the colors without actually blending them - they still are very distnct. A simple pressed edge and a silver plated bale, strung with a bit of white satin ribbon.

    10) Tri Color Flower Basket Bead by JKollmann

    Jill's description of her entry: The challenge is to create a piece using only green, blue and yellow. This bead is the latest in my Flower Basket Bead series and can be used as a small focal.

    Some of the entries are available in the member's Etsy shop. Click on the member's name or the title link to check any entry you are interested in purchasing.

    Five (5) lucky winners chosen at random will also receive one of the prizes shown in the prize mosaic below, all of which were created by our very talented members.

    January Prizes:

    5261743556_e3c37d3a93_o (1)

    1st Row L-R HiGirls SCDiva, ArrowdaleArtStudio, AlisonEKurek
    2nd Row L-R RenGalSA, ThePleasantPheasant, WiredOrchid, PipsJewellery
    3rd Row L-R ClayHappy, JKollman, ClayCenter, DebbieCrothers

    Thank you again for your votes. We hope you will join us again next month. February's theme is "Wall Art". We hope to have many beautiful entries to inspire and delight you, and maybe you will find something for that special someone for Valentine's Day.

    We have also voted on our 2011 themes. Here is a partial list of themes to look forward to this year!

    Under The Sea
    The 4 Elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, & Ice

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    This is my first Challenge as the new president of the PCAGOE.  I'm hoping it's got a strong "voter turnout," so please, do your part.  VOTE!!



December 17, 2010

  • The Christmas letter


    Merry Christmas!

    It’s been a busy, eventful year for the Cogan Station Matthews, starting with a cancer scare for Faron in January.  Actually, it started Christmas Eve when he was told it was likely he had prostate cancer, and that the spots on his lungs could very well be lung cancer.  Backing up a bit, he’d had swine flu in the fall, with a bit of pneumonia, so no one was sure if those spots were leftover “effluvia” from the flu or the start of something more ominous.  Thankfully, when all the tests were done, and even when he was double-checked 6 months later, no cancer found.  A very scary time but we’re very thankful that’s all it was – a scare!


    We’ve all had a bit of a travel bug this past year, Tiana and I more than the guys – not that they don’t want to. We just get more opportunities.  Tiana went back to Minnesota twice last summer, once as a planned trip, and another time because she was homesick.  She went back one more time when her grandmother passed on, later in September. Her other travels included a couple of trips to Atlantic City, a flying trip to Las Vegas with a friend, which dovetailed nicely with a trip to Durham, NC for a conference, causing her to be gone for a very long 9 days, as Jason would attest!  Last trip was with Jason, in November, when the two of them went to Hawaii to see Tiana’s good friend, Bobbie and her family.  They had a lovely 11 days there and if they could have figured a way to finance it, they’d have stayed.  One trip to the grocery store cured them both, though.  They got a box of cereal and stuff to make a taco salad and spent well over $100. 


    I had a few trips, too. In May, I went with Hazel and Ron to enjoy a few days at a rented beach house on Cape Hatteras, NC, with Hazel’s son, Duke and wife Darla, their son, Erik and his wife Amber and son, Kael, as well as Amber’s parents and sister. Stacy, Mel & Magaly were there, too.  Well, Mel left before we got there, but we chose not to take that personally.  Our niece, Tammy and her husband Leroy live on the island and this was my first time there.


    Of course, always the adventurer, the first morning there, I fell and broke my foot, restricting my movement a great deal while it got bigger and bigger and more and more purple.  While everyone went to the beach one day, Tammy took Ron and me on a tour of the island.  We had a blast.  She even got me down the beach, right to the water in her snazzy little pickup truck.  It was a great time, although Hazel and I have decided never, ever again will we rent a house and call it “vacation.”  Having been on a couple of cruises – THAT’S a vacation!  This was a beautiful house but the main living area was on the third level, and even without a broken foot, I doubt I’d have gone upstairs much.  As it was, I was grounded.


    Early in June I went to visit Amy & the kids for a week while Joe was off on Guard duty. We had a wonderful visit.  It was great to see the kids on their own turf and to see up close and personal just what a great mom Amy is!  Those children are certainly blessed with their parents.  Joe’s the original Super Dad and Amy’s got her own Superhero cape, too.  It goes without saying that our “bonus” grandchildren are practically perfect in every way, but it’s easy to see how it happens.  The boys are now 3.5 and 20 months old and they keep us laughing and give us so much love – we’re so thankful that their biological grandparents are so wonderful about sharing them with us. 


    Jason’s travel was limited to the trip to Hawaii apart from a trip over New Year’s with Tiana to her parents’ in Minnesota.  He experienced -40 temps with even more wicked wind chill factors and he chanted, “I love my wife.  I love my wife.  I love my wife,” to keep himself from heading right on home!  In the spring they did get away for a weekend to the Finger Lakes for a wine tour and came home with a few old favorite wines and a couple of new ones. 


    Faron & I had a lovely trip to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park in September, stopping to climb the Mt Washington Auto Road (in our tiny Yaris!) on the way home.  The weather in Maine was pretty nasty – raining and cool, but we still enjoyed it a great deal.  Faron even tried and enjoyed a lobster roll!  He wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic about his first ocean “voyage,” a trip on a whale watching tour.  We had a great trip for seeing sea birds and whales – we saw 6 whales, but he was miserably seasick out and back. 


    On the way home through New Hampshire we stopped in Jackson to do the Auto Road – a 7 mile climb at a 40 degree incline.  First gear all the way – in fact you are warned not to use any other gear, and not to stop your car. Either way will end up unhappily!  That day was sunny and the mountains were ablaze with fiery color, and it was a lovely 70 degree day.  It’s a trip we hope to repeat one day, perhaps with Jason and Tiana.  We learned that my being disabled has an advantage – I have lifetime free access to National Parks – me and my party.


    Apart from travel, we enjoyed many cookouts, the four of us, and visits from Joe & Amy and the boys a few times.  Faron and our friend Peter planted a huge garden on the flat at the bottom of our property, corn and potatoes and pumpkins and melons and cucumbers.  And Faron planted another garden up behind the barn – tomatoes and peppers and onions and peas and carrots.  Celery, too but it never came up.  We got 91 packages of corn in the freezer, and I lost count of the bags of green peppers.  We didn’t get any tomatoes put up – we just weren’t prepared for that, although maybe next year we’ll take a shot at some salsa.  A lot of potatoes, more than enough for both households, but our pumpkins weren’t as plentiful or as big as the year before.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to disappoint the boys – Joe & Amy couldn’t get up before Halloween so they got their pumpkins elsewhere. 


    I swam a lot this past summer and generally tried to get in as many outings as possible, knowing that winter sees me cooped up pretty tight.  Faron & Jason continued their diligent work on the house, closing in the back porch to make what is now our “spa” room.  We got a hot tub in the fall, as well as a wood stove that fits as though it were made to do so, in the fire place Faron built out there when we first bought the house.  After a bit of tweaking and by adding a damper, it takes no time to warm the room up to more than 70 degrees, making it almost too warm to enjoy the hot tub.  But we do enjoy it, Faron especially.  I like it, but it doesn’t like my sensitive skin.  Jason & Tiana love it but they only get up on weekends Tiana doesn’t work. 


    The guys are also working on adding a workshop to the back of the barn, so Faron can put all his power tools in a place that can be heated, unlike the barn, and, that can be locked up, again, unlike the barn.  He’s hoping to be able to do some woodworking for pleasure someday. 


    So that’s what we’ve been keeping ourselves busy with – all of us.  We are blessed in our children by birth, “adoption,” and marriage and in our grandbabies, and while we both wouldn’t mind replacing a few aching body parts, we’ve enjoyed good health this past year and are thankful for it.  So as we approach this time of remembering the incredible blessing of the birth of Christ, we would hope that this year has found you all with similar blessings.   We hope to see each and every one of you as often as possible.  See how cozy and inviting the house looks with the Christmas lights?  As far as we’re concerned, the welcome mat is always out – stop by and see us sometime!   






    Faron & Cindy

    Jason & Tiana


December 1, 2010

  • Ok - skipping on to current events...

    December Challenge - Faux Mokume Gane

    Welcome to the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy's December challenge. Our theme this month is "Faux Mokume Gane."

    Mokume gane is an ancient Japanese metalsmithing technique which artists in other mediums, including polymer clay, have adapted. The term Mokume gane literally means woodgrain metal or eye of the wood metal, and refers to the elaborate woodgrain patterns which can be created with the technique.

    There are many ways to achieve the look of mokume gane in clay. The traditional method is to stack different colors of clay and/or translucent clay and foils, compress the stack, emboss it with a patterned texture sheet, then shave horizontally the raised areas of the stack to reveal the different colors and patterns. It requires a light, but steady hand. If you shave too deeply, you will ruin the pattern. If the cut is too shallow, you won't reveal all of the color bands.

    Some artists stack the colored layers and then use a ripple blade to slice vertically, revealing wavy patterns in the clay.

    Each entry must be at least 50% polymer clay.

    Please vote for your top 3 favorites in the pull-down menu at the bottom of the page. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it may take a few minutes to load.

    Voting begins December 1, 2010 and ends at midnight Eastern U.S. time on December 7, 2010. Winners will be announced here on December 8, 2010 and at www.pcagoe.com.

    Please note each voter is allowed one vote. A vote consists of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner. Please do not choose one entry for all three places. If you vote for the same entry for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, your 2nd and 3rd place votes will be discarded.

    Winning public voters will be notified as soon as practicable after the time to vote closes. If you do not respond within one week, your prize will be returned to the pool as unclaimed.

    You may also sign up for our monthly newsletter when you vote.

    Our members love to hear your comments about the entries. Please take a moment to complete that section when you vote. We also love to hear how you learned about the challenges.


    December Challenge Entries

    1) Special Earrings Circle in Purple by BeadElz

    Els' description of her entry: These earrings are a special design. I was looking for a replacement for metal hooks because of the allergic reactions. The nylon cord inspired me to design these funny, modern looking earrings. The fun is that you can use any color or shape, small and big. The nylon cord goes through the ear and behind the ear back through the metal tube.

    2) Beautiful Blues Long Pendant Necklace by HiGirls

    Lisa's description of her entry: Long necklace with brass chain using mokume gane technique in polymer clay. Achieved by stacking many layers of clay, distressing, then shaving the stack. I used the shavings over a base piece of clay, the entire thing molded in a handmade floral shaped mold.

    3) Mokume Gane Christmas Ornament by PolymerClayCreations

    Angela's description for her entry: This ornament was made in the mokume gane technique using red, green and pearl metallic clays. Along with transparent and black. There are also several layers of copper metal leaf. It was stamped with an intricate design and then carefully shaved away. It was sanded in several grits of wet/dry and sandpaper and then buffed to a shine.

    4) Autumn Heart Pendant by ReignbowDesigns

    Connie's description of her entry: This autumn heart is filled with the colors of changing leaves, red, brown, green and gold with layer upon layer in the mokume gane technique

    5) Asian Wine Bottle Stopper by YoungCreative

    Marie's description of her entry: This wine bottle stopper features the "Mokume Gane" technique. Thin layers of chocolate brown and gold clay and gold foil with translucent clay added to the indentations to form the pattern. Reverse side has a hand-stamped Asian coin

    6) Desert Nightrise by Phoenix Rose

    Suzen's description of her entry: This may be my favorite piece. It is a mokume gane necklace on a satin cord with Czech glass, brass and mokume gane beads to match the pendant. The pendant is mokume gane turquoise, blue, orange and black layered and pressed through a pasta machine at the lowest setting then stamped and carved, layered, and finished with gold dust.

    7) Space Oddity by RiverValleyDesign

    Christi's description of her entry: This pendant was made using a texture plate I made. The texture plate is quite unusual, big holes all the way through, and lots of texture. I mixed up some custom colors with piles of scrap clay and stacked it to create my block. Smooshed the texture plate into it, and started slicing away! This was one of the pieces I sliced off. Mokume gane is a wonderful polymer technique. It has always been one of my favorites.

    8) Bracelet with Handmade Polymer Beads by CraftsByCAG

    Carola's description of her entry:

    9) Copper & Bronze Asymmetrical Necklace No. 117 by 11BoldStreet

    Susan's description of her entry: For the PCAGOE December Challenge "Mokume Gane" I chose this neckpiece. I love the whorls on the focal piece, which almost look like metallic fingerprints, but are slices taken from a block of polymer which was layered, deformed and reshaped multiple times. I then rolled some of those slices like jelly-rolls, and took slices from them. The accent beads were formed from the same stock and the pieces were married with multi-strands of complementing seed, glass, copper and Czech glass beads.

    10) Mokume Gane Star Ornament by MirameCreations

    Lupe's description of her entry: This Christmas ornament was created by me using a Mokume gane cane and foils. China glass and crystals were added for some bling.

    11) Sky Blue Pink by PipsJewellery

    Pippa's description of her entry: These beads were created by making a stack of layers of tinted translucent clay with silver leaf. The stack was distorted and then thin shavings were sliced from the top of the stack. Love this technique!

    12) Desk Set in Shades of Pinks by NKDesigns

    Linda's description of her entry: This is my challenge entry for December in the technique known as Mokume Gane. It is done in dark and light pinks with silver leafing. This desk set would make a great gift for your secretary, your assistant or perhaps yourself. The little box can hold paper clips, binder clips, erasers, and many other office supplies. The rose was hand-formed and I highlighted the edges of the petals with white Pearlex. There is a matching pen to complete the set. There is no additional finish on the box nor the pen, just sanded and buffed to a soft luster.

    13) Moonlight K by PolyClarific

    Amanda's description of her entry: This is my mokume gane letter K keyring. I love the pearly blue that shows through underneath. Such a fun technique to use!

    14) Red Mokume Gane Ornament by WiredOrchid

    Lorraine's description of her entry: This tropical ornament is my entry for the PCAGOE December Challenge: Mokume Gane. I used custom blended peach, white, alizarin red and copper polymer clays, a stamp with a large leaf design and an ornament shape cookie cutter. Happy Holidays from South Florida!

    15) Bouru Vase Necklace by TheSageArts

    Sage's description of her entry: Mokume Gane 'rainbow jade' bowl vase on antique copper chain.

    16) The Morning Sun by Peggers

    Peggy's description of her entry: Inspired by the first rays of sun in the summer mornings. The dew on the leaves create a rainbow effect when the sun hits it just right. I used a rainbow of metallics to create this Mokume Gane. I added a fluttering butterfly to this rainbow.

    17) A Marriage of Metals Pendant by SCDiva

    Lynda's description of her entry: This pendant is the focal component in a necklace of the same name. It is part of my "Ancient Romance" series. All the pieces in the collection were created from metallic clays. For this pendant, I stacked thin layers of rich bronze and pewter polymer clay, which I compressed and stamped with a diamond patterned texture sheet, then shaved with a flexible blade to reveal the layers underneath and manipulated the sheet to exaggerate the shapes. I stippled it to add a little texture and antiqued it with a dark bronze acrylic paint before curing, then sanded and buffed it with 8 grits of wet-dry sandpaper to bring out the shine.

    18) Mokume Gane Pendant by ElPasoClayNation

    Kathy's description of her entry: I made this pendent by layering solid colors and metallic gold Kato clays. I placed balls of clay beneath the layers and shaved them.

    19) Cranberry Rivers by AshPaints

    Arlene's description of her entry: This necklace was made to match a sweater I recently purchased that had some beautiful colors - a rich red running all the way from bright to the cranberry color in the name, then various shades of purple and green. I custom mixed the colors to match and stacked multiple layers along with gold leaf then impressed different shapes in to create the "rivers" of different colors.

    20) Jingle Kringle Bangle and Earrings by ArrowdaleArtStudio

    Cindy's description of her entry: This bracelet/earring combo set was made from discs of wood cut from the rare, priceless Arborvita Kriskringlesia, known for it's fascinating cross-grain show of the amazing colors of red, white & green. When cut, edges show silver, making for beautiful jewelry pieces! The loose discs at the bottom are included to show the variations of pattern achieved. I layered red, white and green clay with silver leaf, then poked and pushed and manipulated the stack to create striation patterns resembling wood grain. I then rolled it thin, cut 1" circles and cured them, then painted each edge with a leafing pen before stringing the discs with silver jingle bells on clear elastic cord. For the earrings, after the pieces were strung together, I glued them into the shape you see, then drilled more holes to insert jump rings and the fish hook earring wires, all of Sterling silver.

    21) Carnival Perfume Pen in Pink with Blue Teardrops and Yellow Triangles by RenGalSA

    Deb's description of her entry: This is my entry in the December PCAGOE challenge. It has a pink mokume gane background made from various shades of pink mixed with translucent clay, ink dyed translucent, and silver foil over a white background. It is accented with teardrops and triangles from striped millefiori canes.

    22) Mokume Gane Elegance by MarciaPalmer

    Marcia's description of her entry: Mokume Gane has always been one of my favorite polymer clay techniques. There are quite a few variations of this Japanese metal working technique that have been adapted to polymer clay. This challenge gave our members a chance to highlight several of those techniques. Check out all of our fabulous entries.

    Many of the entries are available in the member's Etsy shop. Click on the member's name or the title link to check any entry you are interested in purchasing.

    Five (5) lucky winners chosen at random will also receive one of the prizes shown in the prize mosaic below, all of which were created by our very talented members.


    PCAGOE December Challenge Prize Mosaic

    1st row, L-R: ArrowdaleArtStudio, BeadElz, PipsJewellery, CreateMyWorld
    2nd row, L-R: RozPetalzStudio, MarciaPalmer, AlisonEKurek, HiGirls
    3rd row, L-R: PolymerClayCreations, ThePleasantPheasant, JKollmann, DebbieCrothers

    Thank you again for your votes, and for supporting the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy. We hope you will join us again next month. The theme for January is "3 Color Combo." We hope to have many beautiful entries to inspire and delight you.


    I apologize for not ever finishing our vacation reporting - not sure what the deal is but at least I got this post up!  :)   Hopefully I'll get back on track now.



October 10, 2010

  • Finally ready to share some vacation photos.

    We were both wiped out when we first got home - we didn't even get unpacked until the weekend.  Then, I had a couple of bad pain days and although I'd uploaded all our photos onto my computer right away, we both used cameras and it was a bit of a daunting task to sort 500 photos for 3 days' travel and come up with a few short stories to tell!  :) But finally I got through enough for a couple of stories so here we are. 

    Between the two of us, only one photo was taken that first day when we drove from here to Ellsworth, Maine.  (Ellsworth is directly inland on Route 3 from Bar Harbor/Acadia, about 15 miles or so.)  The address on our motel's website was "Routes 1 & 3, Ellsworth, Maine."  I programed that into the GPS we borrowed from Jason, and we got up there in very good time - well before dinner time.  Sometime after we'd entered Connecticut, I'd realized that we didn't grab even one of my jackets - a hooded sweatshirt or my heavy winter coat! - from the doorknob where I'd hung them next to where my bags waited for Faron to carry them out. So before dinner, we planned to go looking for a WalMart to get a couple of sweatshirts or something for me to wear up Cadillac Mountain at sunrise the next day, and on the cruises we planned.  We noticed very quickly that in Maine, and New England in general, you are welcomed to a town a full five miles before you see anything looking like a town.  We knew Ellsworth was no great metropolis but we did expect more than the occasional barn!  :)

    But Madame Le GPS had gotten us this far with no hitches so we turned when told to, and turned again, and followed this road to the end.  About the third turn of Route 3, we ended up leaving paved roads.  This didn't sound right but we went along. That is until we approached a private house on a private lake.  I'd just been telling Faron we were in Stephen King country, and we passed a couple of creepy, empty houses behind brambly shrubs before we came to The Estate.  We half expected Cujo to come tearing around the house, ripping our tiny car to shreds but we were able to turn around and get outta there without attracting any attention that we could see.  We did see a pretty little area near a spillway from the lake.  Faron jumped out and snapped a photo or two:

    We ended up backtracking and driving from one end of town to the other before we finally asked and found our motel.  We dumped our stuff then went back to where we'd seen the WallyWorld and did our shopping, then, as it was getting to be near 8pm and none of the restaurants I could see sounded like any of the ones I'd read about, we settled for a boring ol' Friendly's and went back and settled in for our first night of torture. 

    We haven't shared a bed since Faron shattered his ankle.  Our room was only large enough for a double bed and four legs - three of which are more than a bit sensitive, are about 2 too many for a double bed!  Well, the room I'd reserved said "2 Queen".  I expected 2 queen beds.  No - it was Room 2, queen bed.  :)   Faron said I hit him all night.  Well, he snores.  (So do I, ok??)

    One thing about sleeping so poorly, it makes getting up at 4:30 to get to the top of Cadillac mountain for sunrise quite doable. 

    We threw on some clothes and Faron brewed himself a mug of coffee and I grabbed a bottle of water and we were off.  Our first glimpses of Acadia National Park were of the carved with signs with their glow-white letters in pitch darkness.  We didn't know what to do about paying admission for the park at that hour - they do - you don't.  It took a bit for us to find the right road up but we were guided by a determined runner (a guy from Kansas, on vacation, running at 4:30 am.  And he was 60-something.) and found our way up.  And up.  And the "upper" we went, the mistier it got.  And it was foggy at the motel. 

    We got to the place that was labled "Summit" and we parked.  Faron got out and walked around - he was the first to climb to the top that day.  He came back reporting that there are accessible paths all the way to the top, not too steep and with plenty of spots I could rest if needed.  We waited in the car for about 20 mnutes.  Until 5:30 I think.  Sunrise was at 6:27.  We had the forethought to grab the blanket we'd tossed in the car, and that's the only thing that kept me from fleeing back to the car.  The wind was blowing HARD - at least 35 miles per hour, and it was dark and maybe about 50 degrees or colder.  The fog was a thick, wet mist that had my hooded sweatshirt and pants wet in minutes.  I sat in the seat on my walker and Faron tucked the blanket around me before he went off exploring in the dark.

    Here's a photo he tried to shoot in one of the brief seconds of the mist clearing, when he could see the lights of Bar Harbor below us:

    It was too brief.

    But here he is, happy as a clam to be up there, even though we never did see the sun:

    You can see he's about as cold as he can stand to be.    I headed down the mountain at this point.  He stayed to scramble around some more.  There are paths leading down from nearly every direction.  By the time it was as "full" light as it was to get that morning, we'd been joined by about 40 other stupi...um, hearty souls.  The thing is, Cadillac Mountain, being the highest peak on the eastern coast of the US, and maybe North America??, is the first to get the sun as it rises.  If there's no mist. We'd read that you can't MISS sunrise on Cadillac Mountain.  Well, we did. 

    We went on down into Bar Harbor after that, to find breakfast.  We went to the Jordan Cafe and had wild Maine blueberry pancakes.  They were fantastic.  Surprisingly filling considering there were only two of them, and of course overpriced but they were good.  And there was no grumbling when we ordered hot tea, and it was LIPTON! 

    After breakfast we got back in the car (we'd been fortunate to find a parking place a door down from the restaurant) and tooled around Bar Harbor.  We ended up down at Town Pier, where Faron parked and I told him to beat it - I wasn't about to go trudging around a hilly little town in the rain after a filling breakfast when i was already damp.  "I've got a book, my sketchbook and a bottle of water.  Go!"  He was gone for perhaps 5 pages (maybe 5 minutes?) when he came back to say that they were selling tickets for the whale watch's morning run and should we get ours.  We'd already decided to wait and see if Tuesday was more promising weather but I could tell he really wanted to go so we did. 

    A quick shot from the gangwalk looking out over the harbor:

    Not a promising day, eh?  This next shot is of one of the privately owned islands just off the coast, Jordan Island, showing a rich expanse of beautiful pink granite:

    We had a great whale watch - saw 6 whales, including the nearly extinct Northern Right whale.  The one decent photo I got of a whale was of that whale's tail - even though it was taken at distance and through the width of the boat:

    Faron had a ball.  Here are some shots of him enjoying the sight of so many whales and so many unusual, especially to us landlubbers!, seabirds. 

    We were warned if we were wearing ball caps to turn them backwards as they go quite fast and they won't turn around for ballcaps.  I thought Faron was adorable with his hat like that. 

    I kept encouraging him to go and be on deck - he was getting seasick when there were no whales and he'd go but then he'd worry about me on my own and gravitate back. 

    He got sick on the way out and on the way back.  I think it'll be a long time before I can talk him into another boat trip of any kind.  He got sick on the flight to Las Vegas last year but he didn't any of the other times he's flown.  We'd planned another cruise for the next day, around Mt Desert Island, but after his adventures, even though he loved the whale parts, we skipped that.  He said I should go on my own, but that's a lot to ask of a crew - an unattended person with a walker attracts a lot of their attention, needed or not.  I just didn't feel it was necessary. 

    After that, we headed back to the motel for a nap.  After riding all day Sunday, sleeping poorly Sunday night, and getting up before even a half-crazed rooster would consider it on Monday morning, we were tuckered out.  

    The nap did its work and we drove back to Bar Harbor to the restaurant at the pier where we left from for the whale watch.  Our trip that day entitled us to a 10% discount, on top of the early bird special, which we were more than ready for, having skipped lunch.  The Fish House is a nice restaurant with fresh everything.  :)   I got a lobster roll so Faron could try it before committing himself and he got fresh haddock.  Both were fantastic.  And I had a cup of the BEST clam chowdah evah!  The restaurant is on the lower level of the building that houses the ticketing agent for the boat trips, as well as a couple of gift shops and an adventuring place.  There's a long ramp from street level down to the pier level. 

    By the time we navigated that and got back to the car, it was dark and it was obvious that Bar Harbor in September rolls its streets up pretty early.  Back to the motel for some rare television time.  No cable at our house!

    Note the moose on top of the shop in the center of the photo.  We got a big kick out of all the moose crossing signs, and looked diligently for moose, but alas, the only moose I've seen since my parents took Kim and me to Yellowstone in 1968 are the two legged kind.  (Hazel's brother-in-law Moose, and my friends, the Moosebugs!)


September 26, 2010

  • By the time most of you read this...

    We'll be on our way north - we're headed out for a few days in Maine and New Hampshire. 


    In the meantime, I want to show you a few things I've been working on. 



    A clay-buddy, and fellow member of the PCAGOE, Laurel Steven, makes beautiful lockets of clay - hers are much more refined and arty, but this was my adaptation of her process.  I wanted something unique to me to offer for my first design for Polymer Clay Production's new e-magazine.  This is what I came up with:

    My lockets open on a pivot, swinging up and away from the tiny surprise inside.  I've submitted my completed tutorial, and it will appear in the first issue, which is to be released soon - more about that as I hear more. 

    And, it's Challenge time.  This next month's theme is "Southwest," and here is my submission:

    I just had to go with tiny houses!  :) Stacy was kind enough to model it for me, although she didn't want her face shown.  "My hair is a mess!"  As if she isn't always gorgeous. 


    And, I had it in my mind to make a Mr & Mrs Santa to put in my etsy shop for sale.  Well, I had some mechanical problems and had to paint Mrs' face and repair cracks in Mr's back, so these are for my own collection:


    As you can see, I've been busy.  Add to that getting my room organized, a few medical appointments and getting ready for vacation, and I've been very busy. 


    The other night was the Harvest Moon.  My friend Kelly missed seeing it, so I tried very hard to capture some photos of it for her from our porch.  As it happened, that wasn't possible - the trees across the road blocked my view from the porch.  Only way I could see it was from my bedroom window.  Through the screen.  Sorry, Kelly!


    It really was lovely. 

    I'm taking my laptop with me on vacation, and hope to taunt all of you with photos of the beautiful Acadia National Park.  :)   So watch this space!



September 17, 2010

  • Labor Day Weekend Photo Montage...

    I've been remiss, to say the least, about getting these up, with the very best of reasons.  My new dresser finally came, and so I've spent days sorting, tossing, organizing and putting away all of my clay and other crafting/art supplies.  This is a JOB!  My room is so much more fun to work in.  I'll post photos here of it soon, but have to get these done first. 

    Joe and Amy & the kids came on the Sunday and spent the night.  Faron and I had gotten the boys their very own sleeping bags, which, at least for the moment, are going to "live" here.  (If at any time the boys want to take them home, that's fine with us, of course.) Most of the time we just enjoyed the boys - the photos will make that very clear.  :)   A few will require explanation, and I'll try to be brief.  (But we all know how good I am at that. )  Then on the Monday we went to Hazel's for a picnic.  It was such a cool day, after several down right cold nights - the pool was almost unbearable, but Joe and Amy toughed it out when the boys wanted to go in. 

    Ok - you have the set up.  Now the photos...


    If I were Joe & Derek in these last two photos, I'd be worried about just what that driver can see!  :)   The boys love to play on my scooter, which sits in a corner of the living room, for lack of a better place.  (It must be kept indoors or the battery can fail.)  We've been careful not to let them know it "goes" all this time, for fear we'd never be able to get them off my lap.  Hah!  I just had to go outside when Grandpa was pulling the boys in his little red wagon (photos didn't turn out - sorry) and neither wanted anything to do with riding.  They thought it was pretty cool to see Grandma drive, but that's all. 


    These were Monday morning - the boys eating breakfast and looking so much alike.  :)   And the other is Jared showing off his sleeping bag-walking-skills.  (He is so cute scooting into the bag - how do they know how to do these things?? )


    Derek wanted to go outside very early on Monday morning, when it was still like 50 degrees outside.  We told him he couldn't because he didn't have a coat.  Soon, he says "Now can I go outside?"



    Amy baking brownies for the picnic.  Jared had found her shades and insisted she wear them.  How's that for a cool culinary chick? 



    The water was VERY cold - Jennie & Maggie keeping warm. 



    It was Derek who wanted to go in the pool, but notice, there are very few photos (only one!) that show him in the water.  He was smart enough to steer clear once he realized just how cold it was. (Hypotheric, declared Amy after she came up from jumping in the deep end.)  But Jared loves to swim and toughed it out, and Joe and Amy, bless 'em, did too.  Faron got a kick out of how he'd be told to swim from Daddy to Mommy and he'd take off in the right direction but veer off just far enough away to avoid getting nabbed quickly.  :)  

    One final shot - the kids wanted to know if we sisters had planned our attire:

    We did not.  My shirt isn't truly "pink" but "coral."  At least that's what the catalog called it.  

    I've also been very busy claying, developing some new designs and having fun.  But more about that later. 



September 2, 2010

  • Ok - it's tomorrow, and here's the entry as promised.


    September Challenge - IMAGE TRANSFERS

    The September challenge theme is "Image Transfers." This month, we are pleased to have as our sponsor, Corinna of Piddix.etsy.com.

    Corinna creates and sells the most beautiful digital collages sheets in her shop at Etsy. Several of our members have purchased images from Corinna, and when she approached us about sponsoring a challenge, we jumped at the chance. We had already voted on Image Transfers to be the theme of our September challenge, and so it was a perfect opportunity to showcase Corinna's images and our members' creativity.

    Corinna provided four digital image collage sheets. The members were required to choose one of the collage sheets to use in their entries. It was very interesting to see which of the collage sheets our members chose: 1)Flora and Fauna 2) Gothic Stained Glass Windows 3) Blue Fairies 4) Antique Playing Cards

    The only other rule is that the entry must be at least 50% polymer clay.

    Corinna will also be providing our winning entry prizes, a free collage sheet of the member's choice to each of the top 3 winners in the public and member categories, as well as a $25 Gift Certificate to be awarded to one special "Judges' Winner" chosen by Corinna, Linda Riopel of NKDesigns, our PCAGOE President; and Lynda Moseley of SCDiva, our PCAGOE Vice President.

    Image transfer work is not one that many of our members had experience with prior to the challenge. It is a delicate process which requires patience and a gentle hand. To prepare for the challenge, several of the members attended a workshop and participated in a learning thread at our team forum. There are sevearl methods by which images can be transferred to polymer clay, and the members had a relatively short time to choose a technique, master it and create their entries, and we hope you will agree the results are amazing!

    Please vote for your top three favorites in the pull-down voting box shown AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN. DEPENDING ON THE SPEED OF YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION, IT MAY TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO LOAD.

    Only one vote per person, please. One (1) vote consists of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place entry. If you choose an entry for 1st place, please do not also vote for it as your 2nd and/or 3rd place choice. DUPLICATE VOTES WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

    Voting will be by the public and by PCAGOE team members. Voting begins September 1, 2010 and ends September 7, 2010 at midnight, Eastern U.S. time. Winners in each voting category will be announced here and on our guild's website at www.pcagoe.com on September 8, 2010.

    September Challenge Entries:

    September PCAGOE Entries Mosaic


    As always, non-member voters are eligible to win one of several beautiful prizes donated by various members of the PCAGOE. 


    Voter Prize Pool:

    First Row, L-R: ThePleasantPheasant, WiredOrchid, ClayCenter
    Second Row, L-R: ClayHappy, HiGirls, Polyclarific
    Third Row, L-R: LauraBeeStudios, RiverValleyDesign, PipsJewellery
    Fourth Row, L-R: NKDesigns, RenGalSA, PolymerClayCreations


    There's even an image transfer piece, by one of our expert transfer artists, Linda of NKDesigns.  As stated previously, Linda, and Lynda of DivaDesigns, will. along with Corinna, the owner of the sponsor store, PIddix,  be judging a special "judges' selection," as they are both past masters at this technique. I have one of Linda's pieces and let me tell you, calling her a "master," at transfer is not an exaggeration! Beautiful. 

    So, trot on over to the challenge page and vote, being careful to choose three favorites - three different favorites, that is.   Just make sure I'm your first choice! winky





September 1, 2010

  • Sunday evening

    Hazel & Ron were baptized by immersion, in their pool.  It was a very simple, very moving moment, especially Ron - he was a sweetheart. 


    As with most things "Meyer," it involved a family gathering - of course, this time with members of their new church, the Light & Light Chapel (Free Methodist - going WAY back to our grandmother's/great-grandmother's roots.)  Here are a few photos.


    This is Great-Aunt Robin with our sweet Emily Eliza, who loves the water!


    That little sweetie looks SO much like her momma! 


    And Rachel, Jennie & Zoe all got haircuts for the start of school.  Here they are all together:


    The amazing thing about this photo (and the ones to follow) is that the girls cooperated - even WANTED me to photograph them.  As you can see, Rachel also got her hair colored.  She wanted BLACK!  but her parents wouldn't have that - a bit too much.  But I like this brown with blond highlights.  Of course, she looks more like Robin than ever!  They are three such lovely girls - 13, 14 & 15 (in two weeks, that is.) 

    Here's Rachel's solo pic, Rockin' Out!


    With her French cut t-shirt and that haircut, she looks like a rocker, eh?  :)


    And Jennie, who was just being silly - she couldn't think of a pose:


    She has blossomed so much this past year - she's so much fun to be around.  Very silly and way more confident and chatty.  She was telling me about her new school clothes and she said she got a pair of - "What are they called mom?  Chinos!  Yeah.  Chinos.  And they look GOOD!  I make them look good!"  I love it.  :)  

    And our Zoe - a lovely young lady herself, much more mature this year and in love with her baby sister - I know it's always hard for both her and Elias to go home after they've been here for a while - after spending all summer with the adorable Emery, I know they'll really hate leaving.  Zoe had her own pose - not sure what it was, but it's cute!


    Finally, I had my curtains open the other night to let the cool air come in - we'd turned off the A/C with all the cool weather, and it warmed up all of a sudden in here.  This beautiful harvest moon was "shinin' down on me." 


    Sorry - it was taken through the screen - but you can see just how bright it was.  So pretty! 


    Things are going well.  Faron and I are getting excited about our first ever solo vacation - we're off to Bar Harbor Maine and Mt Washington NH later this month.  Just five or six days, but we're looking forward to getting away together, to seeing such a beautiful part of the country and, to trying out traveling with me and my walker!  :)   I've emailed as many of our desired activities and destinations as possible to make sure they are all accessible with my walker and so far, everyone assures me it'll work.  Even a whale watching tour!  And I called Dr Wallace for a dramamine prescription for Faron - he got so motion sick on the airplane last year going to Las Vegas, we are sure the boat rides will get him good without good drugs. 

    Tiana just got home from a few days in Duluth visiting old college friends.  It was her birthday present, from us and Jason, that plane ticket - she got so homesick for them after her birthday wishes on facebook!  :)   Then she's off to Las Vegas with a couple of girlfriends next month for a few days, and in November, she and Jason are going to Hawaii for 10 days.  She's a travel-maniac.  A future possibility is a Clay Cruise next September at this time - she and I and perhaps a couple of others are planning to go.  I am hoping things are a bit different than this year's cruise, which is on the very same ship I've cruised on twice before, and which is ALSO going to the Bahamas again.  But, Tiana's never cruised or been to the Bahamas, and this trip is all about the clay for me.  They get several "names" in polymer clay to give instruction on all of the "at sea" time, and then while the ship is in port, the instructors take turns "manning" the clay room, so anyone who wants to can clay with them in a more casual environment.  Yowzers!  I do hope that trip comes off. Tiana says, "I can just wheel her into the clay room and go and DO MY THING!"  :)

    Jason's back seems to be healing well - he says the pain is much less now, after 3 weeks of wearing the brace.  He never felt the broken rib so that wasn't a biggie, except it bothered those of us who love him to wonder why/how he could break his back and a rib and have no idea when or how!  He is taking calcium to help in the healing.  I hope he continues to take it.  He has never been much of a milk drinker, and he rarely eats ice cream even. 

    Faron's been busy with the gardens.  We put up 89 quarts of corn - in the freezer.  And we've gotten lots of sliced and diced green peppers done. We thought about and rejected the idea of doing tomatoes - just way too much work!  :)   We've also gotten zucchini and carrots and one or two other things in the freezer in much smaller quantities, and of course, it'll soon be time for potato digging.  They put in even more than last year, when they got over 800 pounds of potatoes.  Sheesh!  He also just finished building two more new cabinets for the kitchen - he's ordering glass doors for them today - a co-worker builds them.  They look terrific - they make that smaller window make sense now.

    And me?  I've been claying, of course - today starts the voting on September's challenge.  I'll post pics tomorrow, I promise.  This particular post is plenty long enough! I've also spent a lot of time on the 'Net searching for motels and activities for our trip, and swimming when I can. 

    Life is good!