Monthly Archives: December 2013

Night Lights and Printers and Minivans, Oh My!

nightlights1OK. Cue the Christmas Music . . .

“Night lights drying on a paper towel . . .
Jack Frost nipping at your nose . . .
Yuletide carols . . .”

Enough already. That was terrible, but I couldn’t help it. It got you humming, though, didn’t it?

So, there you have 16 night lights – fresh out of the kiln this morning, washed and ready to be glued to night light hardware like this . . .


Then Mark will attach the rest of the parts when the E6000 cures.

I am loving this way of making images, which is called kiln carving. Basically, you create the image using cut up pieces of fiber paper, which does not burn up, and the glass slumps over them when it fuses.

You can use punches or draw things and cut them out. That is what I did with my signature Jessica bird on some of them . . .

nightlightbirdThe little bubbles are a given with fused glass and are called champagne bubbles.

I have been firing every day to keep up with sales at the gallery. Customers in our village out here are more prone to buying art they can USE, so I have been making things like night lights and cheese plates . . .

cheeseplatesI took another workshop on Reactive Glass Special Effects which was really fascinating. The amber white and turquoiseI  plate shows some of that effect – reaction is what causes the dark outlines around the turquoise bits.

have SO MANY ideas for more artistic glass pieces but I shall wait until we are downtown again, where art lovers are happy to buy something just to look at it – without having to slice cheese on it (grin).

Tuesday, the 10th, Was A Very Fine Day . . .

We got back the money that was stolen through online credit card fraud a few months ago. It took a long time because the bank does not cover a business account with a provisional refund like they do a personal account. That’s a federal rule and I did not know about it before this happened. It took so long I sort of gave up ever seeing that money again, but it came back! Yay!

And I bought a new car (more about that in a moment).

In the process, I found out I have a really high credit score (How did THAT happen? Who knew?) so I could get a car loan for 1.9%. Actually, could have gotten 0.0% but the term was shorter and the payment was bigger and I guess I should make sure I can keep that good credit score.

That was like Santa Claus saying “You’ve been a very good girl this year, so you won’t get coal in your stocking”

And then, they called my insurance company to transfer my policy from a 2003 Caravan to a 2014 Caravan and I was cringing, waiting to hear how much my premium would go up . . . AND . . . they have built so many new safety features into these new vehicles that the rate stayed the same!?!

Geez – could it get any better?


Phone rings while I am waiting for the new car to be vacuumed because there was a piece of lint in it (if they only knew what my van usually looks like!).

It’s Mark at the gallery and he’s having a good day. This was the first day we had put any of my glass pieces in the gallery and he had sold SEVEN of them!!! Talk about some nice validation.

Days like that Tuesday are worth a lot of mileage.

And speaking of mileage . . .

My beautiful ice-green van had 153,000 miles on it.

When a cylinder went bad a couple weeks ago, I fixed her because I love her so much.

Some of you will remember when I first brought her home back in 2005 . . .

mistylattenewThe only thing I did not totally love was the tan interior (Really? With a jade green exterior?) Have the automobile designers run amuck?

mistylatteinteriorBut I got around it by giving her a beautiful name – “Misty Latté”.

She was used, but she had only 31,000 miles.

I used her a lot more for 8 years. We went a lot of places together and the miles piled up.

After I got her cylinder fixed, she ran great for two days.

Then another cylinder started misfiring. Drat!

With my lifestyle, I have to know that a car is not going to strand me on the side of some lonesome highway somewhere.

I had to think about buying a new car.

And THINK I did.

I drove my dear husband crazy. He was in the car business for 40 years, remember, but I can still drive him crazy.

I am not a soccer Mom. In fact, not a Mom of any kind, unless you count dogs and cats.

So, why have I been driving a minivan instead of some sexy SUV all these years?

Maybe it was time for a sexy SUV.

ME: Maybe I should get an SUV this time. I like the Lexus.

MARK: SUVs are much smaller.
The Huskies won’t fit.
You can’t afford a Lexus.

ME: Picky . . .picky.

MARK: A new Caravan will have those seats that fold into the floor and we won’t have to get a divorce because you make me take seats out one more time.

ME: I do like those disappearing seats.

MARK: We ARE moving the business in two weeks.


I still did go out and test drive some SUVs though (don’t tell). DH was right – the cargo space is on top of fold-down deats. The Huskies would be “floor” to ceiling and I wouldn’t be able to see through them to drive.

So, here is my brand new Dodge Grand Caravan . . .

bluenew1It’s rather boxy and the same color as the only nightmare-citrus-fruit vehicle I ever owned, but these headlights are sexy . . .

blueheadlightAnd the interior is beautiful black and light gray . . .

blueinterior1And it has Stow-n-Go seats (the back two are “stowed” in this shot) so I won’t have to get a divorce (for that reason anyway) . . .

bluestoragespaceLots of room for my Trader Joe’s freezer bags.

And the BEST thing of all . . . it has that “new car” smell.

What IS that “new car” smell anyway? Such a mysterious thing. It doesn’t really smell like anything else. And no matter what kind of new car you get, it smells the same.

It is a HAPPY smell. Like Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like it. All my friends have come around sniffing.

I like the new car smell a LOT.

In fact, I like just about everything about this new car, BUT . . .

ME: “I just have one problem with this car. I think it’s a boy.”

MARK: (eyes crossed a little): “What?!”

ME: “I’ve always had girl cars before. I feel a little peculiar about this.”

MARK: “You should feel a little peculiar about that.”

So I showed the car to my friend, Betsy, without telling her my suspicions.

“I love this new car,” she said, “HE is going to be very happy with you for a long time.”

AHA!  It IS a boy. Women just know these things.

Now I have to be careful picking a name. Can’t be anything too foo-foo if this is a boy car.

Do you have any suggestions?

Printing from Your iPad . . .

Thanks for your great response to my latest Workbook – and for your emails saying it is the best toy you’ll get for Christmas. It is.Unless you are getting an iPad for Christmas, that is. That’s the best toy ever!

To answer a question asked in Comments last time, the Workbook is a PDF. Therefore, if you put the download link you get on check-out into the Safari address window on your iPad, the PDF will open there with a button to tap to “Open in iBooks”. If you tap that, the Workbook will be in your iBooks library.

Your download link is good for 30 days, so you can also download it to your PC to have a copy there too. Just go to the Download link again and enter your Order Code again (NOT your Order number. The Order Code is a long number with hyphens – easier to copy/paste it, in fact.)

And now, for some more great news . . .

If someone can still spend $59 on you for a holiday gift, I’ve got just the thing.

epson310XPEpson Expression Home XP-310 Small-in-One™ All-in-One Printer

Have to credit my sister-friend, Vesta, for this one. It is the PERFECT printer (since my Kodaks are a goner).

Sells at Walmart for $59.

Sells on Amazon with Prime Shipping at this Link

Total ink refill cost on Amazon $37.00 (Same at Walmart.)

Wireless and great app for iPad and iPhone with EASY print window.

Durabrite Waterproof and archival ink.

All in one that makes copies and scans.

Great pass-through paper feed which handles card stock better.

I bought one to make sure it was the right answer and I love it.

IMPORTANT TIP: Choose “Best” quality when printing. “Standard” is not good.

AND, this printer is not real fast, but that’s ok, because we are part of the “Slow Art” Movement. Right?

To be honest, I  just wrote that Workbook for me September Retreat and did not have time to actually do too much playing and printing with it myself for my journal.

But now that I have, I think this whole thing is an iPad life changer.

So many times, I skip a photo that really would enhance my journal page because I don’t feel like going through all the steps of Dropboxing it to the computer to edit and resize in Photoshop and print.

But now, I can just do all that right in the iPad where the photo or illustration resides and send it right through the air to the printer. TOO cool. And I know it will  fit exactly the space I want to put it because I planned all that on my iPad.

This printer is small and lightweight too.

With my new Workbook and this printer, you can have anything from your iPad (or iPhone) in your journal in no time at all

Here, again, is the link to the Workbook (it will be on the website shortly):

And get you a little Epson to go with it!

Maybe it will have that “new printer” smell.


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Can you have fun Resizing Photos?


As all of you know, I have been teaching computer graphics online for a LONG time. And I am pretty good at explaining stuff that seems complicated.

But there is one thing that remains unteachable for the most part, no matter how hard I try.

That thing is resizing photos. I have taught myself blue in the face and still, most folks just glaze right over when the subject comes up – or God forbid, the need arises.

I was reminded of this again the other day when a nice customer at the gallery offered to send me some pictures of a rusted raven he bought from us – now nicely ensconced in his garden. He said he would just send them all since he hadn’t really edited them yet.

OMG. I got almost a gigabyte worth of email with HUGE photos that took forever to download, and when they did, I had to scroll to see them – on my 24″ display!

Sound familiar?

So the irony is that we now have more photos than at any time in history, and yet we don’t use them or print them much because we can’t figure out resizing.

I also teach art journaling, as you know, and when we had the Santa Fe Retreat last September, I knew that people were going to want to take pictures of Santa Fe – AND they were going to want to put them in their journals. AND they all had iPads.

So I wrote a book about it – and gave it to them – and they loved it – and NOBODY had a problem about their photos being the right size to fit on their journal pages – regardless of what space they had to occupy. And nobody wasted any photo paper because we could print a bunch of photos of varied sizes on one page.

And nobody had to even think about pixels or resolution or anything else like that. They just arranged their photos to fit their pages layouts. And it was fun and intuitive and creative and artistic. All of that – really.

So, I updated the book and added some helpful templates – for cards and things as well as journal pages, and I have published it just in time for the busiest PHOTO season of the year.

And some of you might get iPads for Christmas if you haven’t got one already.

But for sure all of you are going to greatly increase the number of photos you don’t know what to do with during this holiday season, so you NEED this book.

You don’t need any background or to have taken the iPad Studio Workshop. This book stands alone.

If, however, you don’t know squat about photos and images on the iPad – like where they are kept and how to move them around and stuff like that, you might also want my iPad Studio Workbook 1 – which covers all that stuff. Therefore, I am offering a bundle of the two which will save you $5. It’s in the Shopping Cart.

SO, here is the link to this revolutionary Workbook. You will never have to worry about pixels again!

Printing Photos from Your iPad

What else is new . . .

Tis the season to be SO busy. I’ve been making art glass, buying a new car (had to), and planning the big gallery move.

I have things to share but it will have to be next time because the timer just ding-a-linged to tell me my famous baked potatoes are done and there are people around here who cannot wait!

Here’s that recipe in the Wisdom Woman Archives . . .


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Quick and Easy – NOT!

glasses2You know those moments . . . you take your glasses off and massage the bridge of your nose for a bit – as if that gesture is going to massage your brain too, and refresh your senses.

Those moments allow random “headlines” to occur to me – ones that should be typed in all caps and put on billboards all over the country – this country anyway.

Here’s the most recent . . .


The odd thing is that this ridiculous idea actually came along way before the pace of our lives was ridiculous enough to warrant it.

My earliest recollection of hearing about “five minute projects” etc. is from the Aleene’s Creative Living TV Show, and the Carole Duvall Show carried on the tradition.

I think besides the fact that they wanted to jam several projects into a half hour program, the quick-and-easy thing was meant to convince people that they actually had some time to be creative.

But, as is true of most really bad ideas, this one took on a life of its own and became the rallying cry for the whole craft industry – with some spillover into the arts as well. 

Because the craft industry is the entry point into creative arts for so many people, the idea of taking your time to make something got lost.

Just try to find a tutorial that tells you the project will take several hours, or several days to complete. If you do find one, hang on to it – it is probably a very good one.

Art is not quick and it is not easy (good art anyway).

Even if someone can do a sketch in a few minutes that looks great – she didn’t learn to do that by any  quick-and-easy method. She’s been practicing for years to develop that skill.

I have NEVER been a “quick-and-easy” artist. Frankly, I think that is a contradiction in terms. Even my journal pages aren’t quick or that easy.

But I still am enthralled by artists who spend years on a project, and my timing expectations for my own art are still out of line.

The truth of this came home to me for a couple of reasons . . .

I got into glass and I got a kiln.

Toward the end of the first firing – after 16 HOURS of heating and cooling ramps, I was incredulous!!

WHAT? 16 HOURS and I still can’t open that thing and see what I’ve got?! After all that prepping and cutting and polishing and cleaning and assembling small pieces, I have to wait 16 HOURS?!? Or more!

It’s sort of like childbirth – although how would I know, but I’ve been told – It can’t REALLY be like this, and everybody knows it, and nobody told me?

OK – much better than childbirth, but still a shock.

How does anybody ever get any glass art done if every firing takes 16-18 HOURS?!

This will teach me patience, and I was put on this earth to learn patience. That is a good thing.

And then I found a tube of Aleene’s Tacky Glue in a drawer, and it all came back to me.

It got me thinking about how WRONG it is that we think art should be quick and easy in the first place.

The real joy of art making is in the journey.

Although you may smile and feel warm fuzzies when you see your finished piece (or not), that is not the same fun as being immersed in the process of creating that piece.

So, we should savor the creative process, and like we feel while reading a great book, we should not want the experience to end.

This is applicable to all pleasures in life, and indeed, to LIFE itself.

Enjoy the process, the journey, and hope it doesn’t end for a LONG, LONG time.

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