Monday, December 29, 2008

95% complete.....yay!!!

I looked back on the forum I like to frequent and it was over a year ago that I first hinted that we were thinking of turning the pantry into a mini studio. I remember that there were a lot of nay-sayers (sp?) but my thinking's my studio....I can do whatever I want so long as I adhere to the rules of safety. So...without further are the 95% finished pics. More tomorrow as I add back some of the gear but for now it looks wonderful!

The corner workspace where I will primarily be working. The vent, instead of going up and out, now goes down and out. We hooked up a honking vortex fan which wound up being too strong so we added a speed dial so that the fan can be adjusted easily. Also, the table tops will be wrapped in metal so no fear of smoldering or burning.

This is the arm of the desk where my kiln will sit. Originally I thought I might try to put glass storage underneath or store my oxycon there after working but I think I might keep it clear because it makes the room much more airy.

A pic of the whole setup. I moved my balance ball chair from upstairs to my studio so now I'll have to find alternative seating for the study.

And the room from the doorway. I'm keeping the dental cabinet even though I originally didn't want to because it took up so much room but it's awesome for storage. All my miscellaneous tools, presses and whatnot are easily accessible. And it was a steal at $7!!

I love my room!!! DH worked super hard on it for me - even breaking into his vacation time just to make me happy so I'm a lucky duck :D

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Walls and floors...

The last time I posted we - well Kev - had thrown up the drywall and taped and mudded the seams. This time we primed and painted the finished walls and when that was done yesterday we got to work on the flooring today.

Here is the room just painted. Hard to tell because of the lighting but the walls are pure white. I wanted to keep it clean and because it's such a small space I didn't want color to overwhelm it.

Here is the corner where my workspace will primarily be located. You can see the gas outlet near the floor. That hole in the floor is where my ventilation system will come up through the floor. That dial on the wall is the speed controller for my ventilation fan.

Here is another pic of the walls with the flooring. We still have to put up baseboard around the bottom but that's a quick job and should be one this week.

Here is a pic of the actual flooring. It's laminate. I think it's supposed to be rustic pine looking or something like that. We got it on super blow-out at Lowes. We paid $3/case and picked up 3 cases so the flooring cost us virtually nothing. The nice thing is that it's a floating floor so it can be changed out easily (not permanent) and it was almost free!

This room looks really good empty :D

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick hello....

Hi all!

Not much exciting to tell you. The studio reno continues and Kev was busy taping and mudding today. I think we should be ready for primer and paint by next weekend. I wish this meant that we were close to finishing but there's still tons to be done least of which is the building of the custom tabletop that's going to be my workspace. Yeah. That's going to be interesting.

On a happier note Kev found me a way to create custom ringtones for my iPhone. That, to me, was always one of the greatest flaws of this great phone - the total inability to put ringtones on unless you bought them (what a racket!)

So, if you've been struggling along with the set group of ringtones that Apple has decided to stick everyone with and are looking for a way to create your own ringtones click on this link: How to create your own ringtones for the iPhone.

All you need is iTunes 8.0, music you've uploaded (can't be purchased from the iTunes store), and an iPhone!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

The reno continues...

Nothing terribly interesting to talk about. Well...that's not entirely true...there's alot I could talk about but I am unable to because I'd be committing some major HIPAA violations and that's not cool. Suffice it to say sometimes people can really suck and I wish I felt like I worked with more people who are team players. Enough about that.

So Kev had 4 days off in a row which is a really big deal for him! He spent 1 day totally farting around doing absolutely nothing. Day 2 he started working on my room and got some drywall up.

He got the wall directly ahead done. We took Saturday off from drywalling but Kev did pull another line for me and so now I have a dedicated 20amp outlet that I can plug my kiln into.

Today we worked on more drywall and now all the walls are done and we just need to tape and mud (which I really hate doing!)

See that dial on the wall? That's the speed controller for my fan that's going to power my ventilation. I was so worried I wasn't going to have enough ooomph that we kinda went a little overboard. The solution? To put a speed controller on so I can adjust as needed. Kev's the best!

I wish I had beads to show or something fun to talk about but it's really been all doom and gloom at work and the most fun thing I've been working on is the studio. Keep checking in for more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paint your pot....

I had a run of days off so I decided to do something crafty. Ever since I played with PMC at Andrea's class I've been reading through books and surfing the net for cool PMC tools and supplies. I've come to realize that the one thing that all PMCers fight with is trying to keep their clay moist.

I borrowed this idea from some book I took out of the library and with about $20 in supplies and 15mins of my time I made up a whole bunch of these for my PMC buddies (so if you get one you won't be surprised!)

Supplies: Mini terracotta pot and saucer (bought at Michael's), paintbrush, sponge, recycled rope handle from an old J Crew shopping bag, acrylic sealer. You could use spray on sealer. I chose the paint on type because I don't like sprays and I felt like this would give me more control.

Here you can see I've sealed the saucer - important because you don't want the terracotta to soak up any moisture from the clay you'll be resting on the saucer. I also sealed a portion of the outer surface of the pot. This is up to you. You could seal it all? I only went part way because...well...because I felt like it :) I cut out a sponge circle big enough to fit snugly in the bottom of the pot. The rope I formed into a loop and tied a knot.

I then threaded the loop through a hole in the center of the sponge. Then I threaded the loop through the hole at the bottom of the pot.

Here's a view of the inside of the pot with the sponge and loop knot. To use you'd simply soak the pot in water long enough to saturate the clay and of course the sponge would hold water in it as an additional source of moisture.

Here's the finished product. You could paint your pot all sorts of cool colors I suppose but I kinda like the earthy simplicity of the clay pot. Voila! One very cheap, very simple, PMC humidifier. The most expensive component was the sealer but for $4.99 you'll be able to seal a gadjillion things. I mostly used stuff I had lying around the house but if you don't have these things the dollar store is a wonderful place to find cheap crafting supplies.

Now it's your turn to paint your pot!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Let the games begin!!

So I finally wrangled Kev into doing some work on my tiny pantry-turned-studio. It's about the smallest studio you could ever imagine but there's enough room to work and I figure so long as all the basics are in place it's better than freezing or roasting my butt off in the garage :)

Here are the post-demo pics:

View from the door.'s pretty tiny. We measured and it's about 4 1/2' x 6'.

There's a crawl space entry there to the left which is a fairly large space under the stairs. I plan to cut out some wall in between some of the 2x 4s to create some "built-in" storage. See! When you have such little space you learn to maximize.
This is the 6' length of wall. We're going to build a table that will be essentially L-shaped. My torch will face the corner and the kiln will sit along this wall.

Down to the subfloor. We found some uber cheap flooring on clearance at Lowes a while back so we'll be laying that once the walls are done and all the other stuff that needs to go in has gone in. It's hard to see but over in the corner where the level is there's a hole in the floor (has a pair of blue jeans stuffed in to prevent air from entering). That's where my ventilation ducting will be coming up through the floor.

I originally had my venting going up but that took up a lot of space and made my tiny workspace even more crowded. After Andrea's class we decided to change it up and vent down and out using a setup similar to what Whit built for her. We got a Vortex 6" fan that blows 450CFMs (which I honestly didn't think would be enough) and it's too strong! Kev is going to add a speed controller so that it can be adjusted for maximum pull.

Keep checking back. I think that the new walls should be in place and done by next weekend (Kev has some days off!) I'll keep posting pics to keep you updated.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I had to blog about this although it was probably ALOT funnier at that very moment in time. Still...

So we went out today. Ran a bunch of errands. Wound up at the local Target and while Kev was checking out I wandered over to one of the sample stations where they were giving away freebies of Starbucks chocolate (who could resist, right?). As I get up to the station the woman standing behind it says to me "You have to have your parents' permission if you're under 14." I'm wondering if this woman is speaking to me and I look at her. I guess I must have had a really funny look on my face because she then says "You look really young......." I totally bust out laughing and informed the nice lady behind the counter "I'm thirty-three" to which her eyeballs totally widen and her jaw drops open. I wave Kev over and ask her to repeat what she said to me. She tells Kev "Sir, you look like you have a child bride." At this point I'm totally keeled over laughing and just can't stop. She offers us each a sample of the chocolate and I tell her she's totally made my day. Imagine me laughing all the way out of the Target. I'm sure I sounded like a crazy woman.

Good thing I got a ton of laughs earlier in the day because then we got home and we realized that none of our fans would work for the new ventilation setup in the studio and I'm now missing the one essential piece that will prevent me from torching tomorrow :( Aaaaarrrrrgh! Now I have to find a fan solution that will work. Why can't things ever be easy?

Here are some pics that I forgot to post earlier of some other beads that I made during Andrea's class.
The bottom left is supposed to be an Ammonite bead (it didn't turn out because I screwed up one of the essential steps!). Top is a Sea Garden bead and right is a Moth Wing.Close up of the Moth Wing bead. I was very happy with the way this one turned out.
Moth Wing from another perspective. Yup. Love this bead.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And the winner is.........


Wooooohoooooooo :D Thanks for participating in my first ever blog-related bead giveaway. Please get a hold of me to give me your mailing info so that I can get your prezzie out to you. It might be a little convoluted but you can find my contact info if you link through my profile (see over to the right). If you have problems finding me then leave a comment and I'll try to find you.

Thanks everyone else for joining in the fun. Keep checking back for more.

I never did get around to posting again yesterday (my bad). I spent all day online shopping for stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Of course I need all of this stuff to make the new, most awesome, beads that I learned how to make this past weekend!

This morning finds me getting ready for a class in neurology so I might not get back online anytime soon but we'll see.

Have a great day everyone!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just Pics....

Quick post with bead pics. More to come later.....

Don't forget today is the last day to enter the drawing for a bead/bead set. You need to add yourself as a follower of this blog (look over to the right side of the page) and then add a comment and I'll add you to the draw :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home Sweet Home...

Yup. We're back. It's great. I love the "being there" and "being home again" aspect of travelling but not so much the actual travelling to get there and back. There would definitely be something to the whole concept of teleportation. I wish I was like Hiro on Heroes - bend space and time, close my eyes and be anywhere at any time. That would be so cool!

Anyhow, the trip was a blast. I am fully overloaded on what I learned. I have too much shopping for new equipment and supplies to do. I have to catch up on house stuff. I have to get back to work. Sigh. It was a blissful escape. I think I'm going to have to make it part of my plan for personal mental health - must travel at least 4-6 times a year.

Will try to post more pics tomorrow with another update. Will definitely include some bead pics.

Have a good night all!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More pics....

Today was head is spinning from all the information thrown at us. The most amazing thing to me is that I totally haven't made anything that resembles what I normally make and am, therefore, working outside of my comfort zone. Not just with colors but with techniques and the sheer sizes of the beads I'm making. My glass supply is going to be dwindling alot more quickly if I keep making beads this large!

These are some beads from yesterday's haul. It's hard to see but most of them are on larger mandrels in preparation for what we'll be doing tomorrow.

Tomorrow we work solely with silver. PMC. I'm totally stoked about this as I've been dying to learn how to use PMC for the longest time. We've got tons of beads to line with silver and a bunch that we'll add caps to. Goodness....there is going to be a frenzy to purchase all the new supplies I'll need when I get home ;)

In the meantime, here are some photos. The sun actually came out today so there were some good photo ops. I hope the sun's out tomorrow too!

This picture is taking straight from the backyard of Andrea's place. The views are absolutely breathtaking!
Looking over to the right of Andrea's place. There is access to the beach which I'm sure is fabulous when it isn't raining.

Another view from Andrea's backyard. Yeah...if it wasn't so gloomy and rainy all the time we would actually consider moving to the PNW :)

Wi-Fi!!! we may be off on some island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean but there's wifi at the local grocery store. Sweet. So here are some pics as promised. I wish they were pics taken on sunny days but so far all we've had is rain.

I'd love it if only it wasn't gloomy like this all the time.

This one is the view looking out of the studio that we're staying in. I really like this place and would recommend it to anyone looking for something other than a hotel to stay in.

Here's one that Kev took of a random view on his way over to Bellevue. I think this is Port Defiance?

This is the view on the trail down to the beachfront. Another pic taken by Kev.

Anyhow, signing off for now. Off to class with Andrea!! I think we'll be spending more of our time at the grocery store on this trip :)

Quick hello

I just wanted to say a quick hello. Turns out here's no wifi where we' re staying so all my grand plans to update this blog have crumbled. I am, however, having a most marvelous time! If you ever get the chance to take one of Andrea's classes I'd definitely recommend it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring

Our cross country trip commenced at a painful 4:30am this morning. Up and off to the airport after a quick shower and last minute lookover to make sure we hadn't left anything on and that we had all the essentials with us.

One short layover in Cincinnati and then we were off to our final destination - Seattle. A long 4 hours later we landed somewhat bumpily and set off to get our rental. It was raining when we landed and it continues to rain as I type this update.

What I could see through the rain looked wonderful, green, and lush. I only wish that the forecast was predicting something other than rain for the duration of our stay. The studio that we rented for our stay is as cute as I hoped and I think it's going to be a nice haven for our long weekend getaway.

After getting settled in we got back in the car to explore Port Townsend. I like it! Quaint and historic, there are tons of neat buildings and niche businesses. We found a pub/bar joint for an early (5pm PST/8pm EST) dinner and I'm pleased to say that the food was spectacular. I think we'll be giving it another try before we leave.

Before I get off the computer for the evening (really poor wireless connection) I'll leave you with a pic snapped quickly as we were exploring. This is of the coastline which I bet is gorgeous when the sun is out!

Hope you're having or had a sunny day wherever you are. Keep your fingers crossed that the sun comes out tomorrow over here on the dreary west coast.

Don't forget to add yourself as a follower of this blog and then leave a comment to be entered in a draw for some beady goodness. Draw will take place Tuesday, November 11th.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Antsy in my pantsy....

Yeah....I'm getting totally antsy. This week I get travel to take a master class from one of my all-time, most admired beadmakers - Andrea Guarino. I've been lampworking for close to 5 years now and never taken a class because 1. they're usually far away 2. they cost an arm and a leg 3. I just always figured if I put my mind to it I could probably figure out my own way of doing it :)

Well, I'm ready for an adventure. I'm heading out to the Pacific Northwest and I've bought my ferry tickets ready for the trip from Seattle to Port Townsend (picture the ferry scene on Grey's Anatomy). I can't even begin to express how totally STOKED I am about this trip.

We were looking for a place to stay and I was hoping to stay away from the usual run of hotel/motels. Well, I think this is just the neatest place. Kinda the same idea as the place we stayed at while in Asheville.

Check out 331 Cook Ave. Studio if you're ever in that neck of the woods and want a unique place to stay. I do believe this is about 1 mile away from Andrea's studio so really it's just about as perfect as it can get. I hope the sun comes out to play while we're up there because all the pics show the location with the sun shining and it's just beautiful.

I'm going to try to take pics and upload them during the trip (if I remember to bring the right cable with me!). In the meantime I just have to survive the next 3 days at work. Maybe knowing that I have this awesome get-away coming up will give me the added boost that I need to make it through the week. I'm totally excited about getting to meet some of the folks I've only ever "met" online through the glass forum. This is definitely going to be a trip to remember!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shameless self promotion....

Yes. It's true. I guess everyone wants to feel loved so here it goes. Add yourself as a follower of this blog (see link in the column to the right) then add a comment to let me know you've done so. You'll be entered into a drawing for a set of beads. Drawing closes November 11th when I get back from Andrea's master class.


The will to live....

You may or may not know that in my real job I work as a nurse in a critical care unit. I used to work in the emergency department but after a while found that I needed a bit of a change and so I made a move that seemed to be the natural progression for me. In the ED I would work to stabilize patients and get them moved out to which ever unit could then continue to provide them the care they required. It made sense to go from that to "The Unit" where I would learn (and am continuing to learn) how to provide continued care to patients who suffer from a whole host of medical problems.

I could go on and on about all the things I'm learning but I just wanted to take a moment to say that the one thing that has struck me the most is just how resilient people are and how strong the will to live is in certain folks. It never ceases to amaze me that human beings can bounce back (albeit slowly) from the most debilitating circumstances. Just when you think maybe it's time to prepare for the worst something happens and before you know it the patient you didn't think would ever wake up again is slowly opening their eyes. They're following commands. They get extubated. They're getting transferred out of the unit and are going to a floor bed.

I like to sometimes think that we, as care providers, did something that made a difference. That we somehow helped this person in their deepest, darkest hour of need to make the decision to fight, to stay alive. Maybe it was simply by talking to them while in their room. Making them more comfortable by propping and padding with pillows. Washing their faces. Combing their hair. Touching their hands and assuring them that someone is always there watching over them. Oh I know there's more to it like administering meds yadda, yadda, yadda. But I think it's the human touch that can make the difference between staying or going. Does that make any sense?

I am humbled by each and every person for whom I have had the honor to care for. I have learned something from each of them. They have all had a strength I can only hope to have should I ever find myself in similar circumstances.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Healthy back....

I've been thinking about my back a lot lately. Actually I've been feeling it more than anything else. When I was in nursing school we had a whole class on ergonomics with emphasis on how to prevent injuries to ourselves in our line of work.

I have to say....we, as nurses, suck at ergonomics. Yes...we may have lifts and we may even try to pretend that we subscribe to the notion of a lift-friendly environment but when push comes to shove (and believe me....there's a lot of pushing and shoving....of patients) it's just bloody well faster to grab a bunch of people and give it the old heave ho.

The problem is that I've never had back pain until just recently. I think it may have something to do with the fact that we're dealing with patients that are getting heavier and heavier. And, no offense, these are the folks who tend to wind up with the most health issues and subsequently wind up in either the ED or the ICU. How fortunate for me that these are the two units I work in the most.

It scares me to think that in a few years I may be a candidate for disability. It's true, isn't it? How many nurses out there are on disability for something or another? If it isn't feet, knees or legs it's probably the back or spine. I told myself that I would be smart about it, take care of myself but I've come to realize that I'm sacrificing my own health for the sake of expediency at work.

So....what to do? Well, changing how things are done at work is like climbing Everest. For me I decided that I'd start doing little things at home to help myself and my back. So...step one. I got myself one of these:

Not that this thing is going to save my back but besides work I spend the most time sitting in front of my computer so I figure I can work on my home ergonomics.

I love this chair. It forces me to pay attention to my posture. I can't slouch or be a chair slob like I used to when I used my other chair. It can be just a chair or it can be an exercise tool as well :) I love things that serve more than one purpose. So, while I'm sitting in front of my desk I can do a bunch of stretching exercises. I can even pop out the ball and use it by itself. I've been wanting one of these chairs for the longest time and now I'm kicking myself for not getting one earlier. If you've been thinking about changing your seating situation think about getting one of these. I think you'll love it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The water bottle to end all water bottles!

I've been on a quest to find the ideal water bottle. One that keeps liquids cold. Doesn't sweat. Doesn't build up gunk in all sorts of weird places. Believe me....I've tried them all. Nothing worked out as well as I'd hoped until I went out on a limb and bought this bottle on a recommendation from an online acquaintance.

Let me tell you. Everyone needs one of these. I'll tell you that I put water with ice in the bottle at 10am and at 6pm there was still ice in the bottle. The bottle didn't sweat. I never had to wipe it down or worry about watery puddles.

I'm in love.

I'm going to buy the black one :D

I'm throwing out all the other bottles I have accumulated in my cupboards. They dead to me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Perhaps I was a magpie in a previous life....

I definitely have a prediliction for bright, shiny and colorful things. I think that's how I wound up with this.

Yeah...maybe to the average, untrained eye it might not look like much but to the lover of odd-lot glass it's a veritable box to drool over.

Let's not forget...this box of glass turned into a new roof for our house. Yup. Who needs stocks, bonds, or shares? All you need is some odd-lot glass and voila! Instant appreciation. Turn $30 into $400 if you just hold on long enough.

Funny thing is these days I'm trying to divest myself of all the extraneous stuff. I still love colorful things and have my fair share of glass but I'm definitely better about not hoarding everything under the sun. My philosophy these days is to try to obtain the best results working with the glass I currently have and not buying more hoping that the new stuff is going to make what I create any better. Lemonade from lemons?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm home...

Wow....I'm home. My head is buzzing with all the information I gathered this weekend. I'm dying to sit down at the torch tomorrow to see if I can replicate some of the things I learned over the last few days.

I wish I could describe how great of an experience it was for me. I've never taken a formal beadmaking/lampworking class before and while this wasn't exactly a class it's the closest I've come to one. I loved watching other people make stuff and was overwhelmed at how generous people were to share tips, techniques, just about anything you could want. Everyone was kind and wonderful and I'm all ready to sign up for the next event!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Weekend getaway...

Finally.....I put my foot down and decided that whether or not we had time I was going to make time to get away. Do something other than stay home and do nothing on the weekend. Just my luck there was a spot open for a lampworking/beadmaking retreat in Asheville and I paid my fee to reserve my spot.

I'm looking forward to meeting all my fellow beaders who I've only had the pleasure of conversing with online but never met. I'm definitely thrilled about the opportunity to learn new techniques and watch other people work. Most of all, I'm happy to be up in the mountains, enjoying a little bit of an adventure.

Originally when I was going to make this trip alone I had booked myself into a Red Roof Inn. Then Kev decided he wanted to come along and so we decided to see if we couldn't find more interesting accommodations. An online search found this place: Asheville Rabbit Hole

I think it's pretty neat that there are places like this out there to be found. We're doing the same thing when we head out to Port Townsend in November. We'll be staying at 331 Cook Avenue Studio and I think that's going to be a blast.

The best thing about both places is that they're just minutes away from where the classes are being held and it's kinda nice that they're not your typical hotel. Maybe that will be my goal from now on - to find neat little artist studio spots to stay in whenever I travel.

We've just gotten settled in to our getaway spot. More pics and stories to come later!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dual personalities....

Yup. It's official. I'm developing split personalities. I guess when you work in two totally different places where all the policies and whatnot are different you kind of have to learn how to turn off the part of your brain that "belongs" to the other place. Ever since I started splitting my time between two different hospitals I've found that it's a little more difficult than I thought it would be.

Having said that, in the short period of time that I've been doing it I've come to realize a few things about what direction I want to be heading in - in terms of my nursing career. It's been an eye-opener. I find it somewhat ironic that all the things I think I want tend to wind up being the opposite. Do you find that? It's like coming full circle. When I first started nursing I was convinced that the ICU was where I wanted to be. But then I found the ER and that is ultimately where I started. Convinced that the ER was going to be "it" for me I moved on to a larger, level 1 trauma center and here's where the irony sets in. I find myself being pulled back towards the ICU for all the things that the ER doesn't offer me. In the end I think that I thrive on the thinking that you need in the ICU but also on the adrenaline and doing of stuff in the ER. So, the solution is simple......find a job that incorporates all those things! more talking about work. What I do want to talk about is the new Blogger tool that you'll find over there on the navigation bar on the right. "Follow the yellow brick road". If you read this blog even semi-regularly why don't you sign up to follow this blog? It's a little bit of self advertising. People read this, see you as following this blog, click on your link, read your blog! Kinda like a blog ring but snazzier. Go ahead....give it a try :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kit Kat Update....

Remember I talked about the crazy green tea Kit Kat I found while on my last trip back to Toronto? Well, I finally broke into one and it was pretty interesting.

So it comes in a pretty swanky cardboard box that hinges open at the top. Inside are two individually wrapped sticks. Each stick is about the same sized portion as 2 of the sticks on a regular Kit Kat bar.

Taste-wise? Not too terribly different from a regular Kit Kat. Maybe a little less sweet. The green tea was barely discernible. The overall consensus is that it's cool and gimmicky but not worth the premium pricing (they were $1.50/ea CDN). I might pick this up if it were being sold side by side with a regular Kit Kat and was the same price but I wouldn't go out of my way to look for it :)

I'd be curious to see if anyone else has tried this version and what your thoughts are about this new flavour.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New job....

So I survived the first week of the new job. Not actually on the job because it was more administrative orientation stuff this week. Next week is when I get to do real on-the-job stuff. I have to say that I'm excited and scared all at the same time. I guess I must have felt the same way the first time I actually had to take a patient all on my own. It's not that I'm not confident I can do a good job it's just that things are going to be so different - a different computer-based charting system, different protocols, different people. I guess it just takes getting used to :)

All in all things are going well. It will be interesting to see how the next 6 weeks pan out. Will I absolutely love working at a level 1 trauma center? Who knows? But I'll try my best to keep you posted.

Enjoy the weekend! I'll be indoors working all day tomorrow.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home Sweet Home....

Let me say again how sweet it is to be home. There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed, being surrounded by all your own stuff.

So, not a long update today but I did want to post a couple of pics - nothing major - from my trip. I have to admit that I'm a horrible picture taker. I'm just not one of those people to whip out a camera whenever something catches my eye. I think I'm going to work on that. After all, with camera phones these days I should be able to take a pic of just about anything, right?

OK. Here's a pic of my first meal upon my return. What else? Noodles. Yeah!!!

I swear, if someone would just open up an honest to goodness genuine Chinese noodle shop they'd make a killing down here in Raleigh/Cary.

Anyone interested? I'd invest in your venture :) My faves? Some kickin' wonton noodle soup with a side dish of simple veggies with oyster sauce. Nothing like the basics to make my tummy happy!

After the noodle shop we stopped by the ubiquitous asian grocery where upon browsing the shelves I saw these.

I wish I woulda grabbed the ones that had the english wording but the overall gist is these are KitKats with......matcha green tea!!! I swear. Only in Toronto. If it's hip (green tea/matcha is pretty hip right now) then the asians are all over it.

I haven't actually opened one up and tried it....yet. I'll be sure to post my impressions when I do. Haven't scientists been saying all along that chocolate is healthy? Well, with the addition of green tea and all those antioxidants this stuff has got to be even better for you than before, right?

And here's my final pic. Just for kicks. I've never seen anything like this before. Has crime really climbed to such an all-time high that this is what we have resorted to in Toronto?

I wish I would have looked a little more closely to see what the rental fee is. Gone are the days of the simple metal racks where you'd park your bike and clip on your handy-dandy bike lock.

I wonder whether those bike lock companies now include Toronto on their list of cities where they will not offer a guarantee against theft??

Well, that's all from me this fine Sunday morning. Hope you're all having a good one wherever you are!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I love my iPhone!

What else would I be doing while sitting in the airport terminal waiting for the plane to finally take me home? I swear this thing is the greatest invention of all time. I can surf the net regardless of the fact that wifi isn't free (what's up with that?), send and receive email, and do goodness only knows what else!

I have some funny pics to post from my trip that I'll get to when I get home. Unfortunately the my camera didn't like the cable I tried
to use to download the pics.

Anyhow, just a quick update from moi. It's good to get back stateside.

Sent from Yee's iPhone

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Toto.....we're not in Cary anymore......

Living in Cary, NC is a unique experience that some have referred to as being similar to being in the movie Pleasantville. Everything's manicured and color co-ordinated. Some used to joke that Cary was like vanilla ice-cream with flecks of vanilla bean. Make of that what you will. 9 years ago I moved from metropolitan Toronto to the small town of Cary and that was an eye-opening and life-changing experience.

Let's just say that the pace of life down south has grown on me. Making my way up to Toronto to spend some time with family and to get some paperwork done has only served to solidify my belief that it's highly unlikely that I will ever move back here.

Take driving for example. Yes it's true that there are some really dumbass drivers down where I live - those who can hardly manage to merge onto the highway. No problems with that up here because everyone drives like a maniac and it's bumper to bumper every which way you look. It's enough to make someone who isn't claustrophobic become it. Traffic snarls with no end in sight. Eeeeek....I wanna go home!

But, for all the craziness that this place brings it also has things that one would never see south of the 49th parallel ( a good friend just pointed out...I was a couple of parallels too far north at 49. Maybe closer to the 43rd!). Just wait until I get my pics downloaded and you get a look at some of the things I've found in just my first of 3 days back.

More to come......

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Don't know what to do with myself....

It's not often that I get more than 2-3 days off in a row. I know, I know...some of you out there may be thinking you never get more than 2 days off in a row ever. I guess my thinking is that I work 12-hour shifts and usually at least 4 of those a week so it's just always happened that my days wind up spaced in such a way that I don't get a huge chunk of time off unless I purposely plan it that way.

Anyhow, somehow I actually wound up with 6 days off in a row! Nice, right? Not for me....that's too many off in a row :D I picked up an extra shift so instead of 6 days off I get 4 off, 1 on, 1 off, then 2 on. I'm a nut. It's not bad though. That's just about the most time off I want to take....for now.

My problem is that even when I have a whole bunch of days off instead of getting tons accomplished I get absolutely nothing done. There are a million things I could be doing but instead I'm totally frittering away my time - surfing the net, vegging, hunting mice on Facebook. Will I ever actually get anything concrete accomplished??

I'll be heading back to Toronto for a couple of days shortly. Maybe I'll take some pics and post them. I can't wait to get back....lotsa yummy food that can't be found here in the south. Can we say "real" dim sum and authentic asian cuisine??? My salivary glands are working overtime!

Hope you're having a great weekend wherever you are :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My tiny studio - in the works!

So a long time ago I promised that I would bring you updates as my studio progressed. Well, so far we've gutted what used to be the pantry and the setup in there is bare-bones with most things mocked up to see if it would all fit and work as a bead-making space.

I'm happy to say that it appears that the space will do nicely for a tiny, in-house bead studio. Of course, it would be splendid if I could build myself a bead castle like some other folks but my homeowner's association would never let that fly and we're saving a major studio for the day when we have a couple of acres to ourselves and DH can have the woodworking space he's hankering for.

In the meantime here are some pics of my very unfinished space.

Above see a pic of just about the whole workspace. It needs tweaking. We're designing a custom tabletop that will be L-shaped so that I have room to spread things out. The kiln that you see at table top level will move up onto a shelf about a foot or so above the tabletop so it doesn't feel quite so crowded at elbow height.

The hood needs some further work. It's been difficult to find the best setup for a corner but everything works nicely and it just needs some beautification. I'm also working on a nicer method of baffling the setup to keep all the fumes travelling in the right direction and not escaping.

You'll see the flexi-pipe underneath the table. That's bringing in my make-up air that flows through a register at the back of my table. The register can be opened and closed so that it keeps out the majority of air when it's not in use.

That cream colored cabinet was a $5 find and is an old dental tool cabinet. It's perfect for that small space and offers a ton of storage solutions. I love the narrow top drawers for laying out tools and storing stuff like silver wire etc. The larger bottom drawers I use for my presses and misc. frit and frit-making tools. The smaller silver cabinet next to it I use for all of my frit jars. They're separated by color family :) This cabinet is almost full!

The opening you see on the left is to the crawl space under the stairs. We're working on emptying out all junk that's accumulated there and then what we plan to do is where the wall is next to the opening we'll open up the spaces between the framing and build custom storage for glass. I'm really only wanting space to stack all the fence rail and perhaps that would also allow for some recessed space where I could put my stereo? Right now my glass is all underneath the kiln (on a rolling cart) and I'd like to get stuff off the floor in that area so that the working space stays relatively uncluttered.

The plan in the next little while is to re-sheetrock the 2 walls that form the corner where I'll be working. I'll be tiling the tabletop and carrying it up the walls to create a 1-1.5ft high "back splash" to protect the walls from all the hot stuff. We found some really cheap, blow-out flooring at the Lowes so I'll have manufactured flooring in an oak? pine? color that I won't worry about glass falling on etc.

That's about all the planning I've gotten done. I'll post more pics as we work on the room and hopefully get to the finished product sooner rather than later!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So little to say...

Another month has come and gone which just goes to prove that I usually don't have much to say. Actually, most of my friends would probably laugh their heads off at that statement :) I usually have something to say about everything else but me!

Lots has changed in the last month, especially in the last 2 weeks. I made some huge changes to my career - still in the same field but making a move to some different places. I really struggled with this decision as it meant leaving all those near and dear to me. I've spent the last year and a half working, laughing, cursing with these folks. Most of them taught me just about everything I know and it's going to be tough not seeing them on a daily basis.

I am looking forward - with a bit of trepidation - to moving on to bigger, though who knows if better, things. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll come back and blog about the new job.

In the meantime I've cleaned up my bead studio. Dipped a gadjllion mandrels. Pulled endless feet of stringer. I'm ready! That means beads in the near future. Keep checking in!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

SRA?? What's that all about?

I was going write a while piece about the SRA but realized that I've pretty much covered is in this statement that I wrote a while back for my website. So here it is again...

Please click on the image above to find out more about the SRA program!

So, you may have seen the SRA logo shown above cropping up all over the place recently and wondered what the heck it's all about. If you click on the logo you'll get just about the best explanation you can find and even better than what I can give you so I recommend you check it out there first and if you still have questions I'd be more than happy to answer them for you!

Over the last several months (maybe even longer!) there has been a huge controversy brewing in the land of lampworkers over the misrepresentation by one vendor of the type and quality of beads being sold. I'm writing about this because I feel that it is important for you, as a potential buyer of lampworked beads, to understand what there is out there and what you should be on the lookout for.

First, let me say that I do believe there is a market for lampwork beads of all qualities and prices. Let's face it....not everyone out there is creating works of art with one-of-a-kind beads that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. What is of crucial importance for me, as a seller, is to ensure that you, as a buyer, are aware of what it is you're buying.

Having said that, let's consider what you're getting when you buy beads from a self-representing artist:

  • handmade beads made by one individual
  • beads that are properly annealed for strength and durability
  • bead holes that are smooth without any rough edges
  • bead holes that are clean and free of bead release
  • an unconditional guarantee from the artist regarding breakage

When you buy from a seller who is selling mass produced/imported beads you're probably getting:

  • beads that are made overseas by workers working in less than ideal conditions
  • beads that are most likely NOT annealed and very likely to break
  • beads that do NOT have the bead release cleaned out of them
  • no guarantee from the seller as to the quality of the beads
  • no guarantee that you will get your money back if the beads DO break

These are just a few of the major points I think are important for you to know as a consumer. I'm not saying that you should only buy beads made by self-representing artists (well...that would be nice!) but simply be educated about what you're getting and who you're getting it from.

Without naming names there is a seller on Ebay who has hundreds and hundreds of listings for lampworked beads claiming that they are not mass produced but rather quality artisan made beads. I urge you to look at the feedback for this seller and use your own good judgement to determine whether or not these are indeed artisan beads that meet some of the basic criteria I listed above.

This seller, I know for a fact, has/is used/using images stolen from many reputable, self-representing artists to falsely advertise and represent their own beads. Consider that you may be doing business with a vendor who knowingly misrepresents the origin and quality of the products he/she sells using images stolen from other hardworking, honest, self-representing artists.

There is a place for all types of beads and sellers of beads and as always, caveat emptor! Know what you're buying and who you're buying it from. It's like if you go to the boutique and buy a genuine Louis Vuitton you KNOW you're getting the real deal....if you're really on the ball and know your Louis you might still get the real thing somewhere else BUT, if you take your chances and don't do your homework beforehand you may think you're getting a real Louis but most likely you're getting a dud. Do your homework and get the real deal!

My $0.02 worth :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Artsy-related new stuff

It's been a while since I blogged about anything artsy. I've been so busy with work that really I've not had much creative juice flowing. With my studio partially finished I've found it difficult to overcome the dry spell and so this week I decided it was time to jumpstart my creative endeavors and leap head-first into a couple of new things.

First: I made an effort to re-introduce myself to an Etsy group I joined a while back - NC Triangle Street Team (see links/image on side for more). I hope that this effort will motivate me to create more and to advertise and put myself out there so that more people can see what I'm working on :)

Second: I joined another Etsy group - Lampwork Etc. (LE) Street Team (see sidebar for more links). This one caters more to the lampwork group and I'm also hoping that this membership will prod me into becoming more productive at the torch.

So, I've committed myself to participating in these two dynamic groups. There's no turning back! Visit tomorrow when I plan to blog on the SRA and some other thoughts about recent goings on in the art world.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A veritable rainbow.

When we first moved into our house back in 2004 the first room we painted as the master bedroom. Wanting a space that would promote good sleeping and tranquility I convinced Kev that the darkest of dark blues would be a good choice. And it was....for about 4 years. This past weekend Kev finally decided he'd had enough of the blue and that it was time for a change. to Home Depot we went - like thousands of other homeowners on a long weekend - gathered paint samples and bought all the requisite supplies to tackle the job of covering up dark, dark blue.

3 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint later we have a brand new room. All I can say is WOW. What a difference a color change makes.

Here is the before (we were still finishing the floors!) and the after.

So we went from the deep abyss to an enchanting land (that's actually the name of the new color). The green is actually much lighter than in the photo but you get the overall idea.

OK. No more painting...for, like, the next 10 years!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who'da thunk it...

I actually made a freakin' A in my stats course!!!! 'Nuf said :D

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Long time no see.... you know what they say about the best intentions. My intention was to blog daily if at all possible. I think you've probably realized (if you're at all visiting this thing somewhat regularly) that I am definitely NOT blogging daily :)

So...what's new you say? Well, that dreaded Stats course is drawing to a close (thank goodness!) and my final exam is due on Monday. I'll be glad to be done with this math madness. There's a perfectly good reason why I could never be an engineer or scientist or anything that involved using complicated math on a daily basis. That's because my brain just doesn't process numbers. This is something I've come to realize in taking this course. I sucked at Stats in highschool and that is something that hasn't changed in 15 years!

Otherwise, work is going well. There are the usual ups and downs. I think I'll stay off this particular topic as it's a bit of a sore spot right now. Besides that life is good....I have my health, am gainfully employed, (mostly) enjoy my work, my husband is wonderful, the weather is beautiful and there's nothing that I could possibly complain about. Nope. Nothing at all :)

Life is (still) good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Catching up...

Hi all! How's it going out there in the rest of the world? My little part of the world hasn't changed much :) Still working too much and not doing much recreationally. I think I need to fix that part.

Still working on getting through my stats course. Only a couple more weeks then I'll be done (hopefully with an A but we'll see how that goes!). Got signed up for a bunch of work-related courses so April and May has me working less but still doing lots of work-related stuff.

Bead-wise? That's virtually non-existent. I keep saying I'm going to get back to the torch and it turns out there's never enough time or I just don't have enough energy. Sad really. Some days I feel like I wouldn't even know how to light the torch I've been away so long!

Big plans for tomorrow. A group of people from work are all getting together for a fun lunch and I think it's going to be great. Imagine 20 crazy ER folks, mowing down on yummy Italian food - family style - and just shooting the sh*t. It's going to be great!

Best thing about tomorrow? I won't be at work (and I'm scheduled for a massage!)

Seeya :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Straight talker.... I haven't had much to say's not entirely true. I always have something to say and many times it's probably not what you're going to want to hear. This is especially true for the ER patient who really doesn't need to be in the ER.

My problem, I've come to realize, is that I'm a straight talker. I don't mess around. Don't beat around the bush. I just tell it like it is. I have a sarcastic sense of humor that I've discovered doesn't go over really well in the ER.

For example. Dude walks into the ER and says he's been bitten by a snake. Don't know what he told the triage RN but from what I can gather apparently he's some big naturalist...knows all about snakes and whatnot....but can't tell me what kind of snake bit him. Spent 1/2 hour chasing said snake before he decided he was feeling woozy and should mosey over to the ER. I walk into the room expecting the worst, ready for some huge swollen, red, painful, necrotic something or other. Nope. Can't even see the freakin' puncture wounds. No swelling. No pain. No nothing.

Dude says..."so if it was a poisonous snake I should be feeling something already, right?" Here's where I got in trouble....(inject sarcastic wit). "Sir, I don't know much about snakes but I imagine that if it were a truly venomous snake you'd probably be dead by now".

Yeah....didn't go over too well. Apparently you should all pity me because I don't have any feeling left in me to offer some sympathy to my patients. Actually, I do. I offer sympathy to those who truly deserve it. Not someone who comes to the ER and makes a huge fuss, spends 1/2 hour on the public phone retelling the story (which, by the way, became one where the snake had fangs 1/2" long and caused him to gush blood all over!) to anyone who cares to pick up his call, who then REFUSES all treatment and signs himself out AMA.

Yes. You may call me jaded. For good reason you think? Just another day in the ER.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Quick catch up...

Well, if I'm not wrong it's been about a month since I last had anything to say. That's pretty sad I think. It's not that I don't have anything to say but just that once I get started it might not be so easy to stop me.

There's always the same-old, same-old going on at work. We're understaffed and seeing twice as many patients as the hospital has capacity for. It's been pretty crazy as of late - most days we're just holding people until they can get a bed and, of course, if they aren't leaving the ER we're not able to get new people in. You can bet your booty that our customer service scores are going to be in the dump this reporting period. Sigh.

With all of the time I'm spending at work I'm falling further and further behind on the creative stuff. The studio is 75% up and running. I can use it fully but it still needs the final finishing touches. My sincerest apologies to all of you who are waiting on goodies from me. I promise I haven't forgotten about you and that they will be coming.

Then there's the spectre of stats that constantly looms over me. The constant running to keep up with assignments and tests is wearing. Luckily I think we're about 1/2 way through. Just gotta stick it out another 2 months and then I'll be done. I can't wait for that day!

So, not much that's exciting from me. Just wanted to stop by to say "HI" and hope that you're all having more fun than I am (not that it would be all that difficult!!). Check back for more on my upcoming trip in September. I'm taking a month off and not even going to feel guilty about it. I'll try to share my planning and thoughts about the trip as much as I can :)


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Nothing much new...

Yeah....I'm up to my eyeballs in stats homework. Who knew that regression and correlation could be so mind numbing. Sigh. Only 3 more months of torture left.

The best thing to have happened in the last day or so is I finally went for a massage. A full 1 hour- pamper-myself-I never-want-to-leave-massage. I think I will most likely take them up on the monthly membership. may be impossible for me to make the most of a gym membership but who wouldn't want a massage membership????

The bead closet is up and running as barebones. The walls and floor are definitely not finished but at least I can work in there which is good because I'm seriously behind on some glass melting.

I would tell you about work but it's been a b*tchass couple of weeks so let's just not go there. Here's to you all enjoying your weekend! I know I'm going to celebrate these days off :)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Go Patriots Go!!!......or not...

Sigh. It would have been too good to be true if the Pats would have actually won tonight. Gotta hand it to the Giants though....they brought GAME!!

The team that showed up tonight deserved to win.

Now...on to Spygate.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mean, Median, Mode....

words to strike terror into the heart of one who swore never to take another math class after she got out of highschool.

Yup. That would be me. I managed to get through a whole university degree without ever taking another math class until now. If I ever want to go forth and get an advanced degree (which I think I probably will at some point) they tell me I need a statistics course and another biology-type course.

Yuck. There is nothing that could be worse to me than math. So here I am trying to conquer the world of statistics and all the confusing terminology, equations and graphs - through an online course. Was this the smartest thing to do? Some might say no but on the other hand I'm finding it relatively comforting that everything is open book and I get to work on my own time.

Check back in a couple of months when the course is done. I'll let you know how it went. No matter how much I may dislike math I'm still determined to keep my GPA up so I won't be happy with anything less than and A!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What on earth is a Neti Pot?

This was my thinking when I scrolled through my favorite lampworking forum, where someone was asking whether anyone had used a neti pot and if it was effective.

Curious me did some reading and for all of you who are now similarly intrigued here's a link to Wikipedia. Turns out it's all about nasal irrigation. For someone who is currently suffering from congestion due to a crazy head cold I was all over anything that would clear my sinuses. So off I went with DH in tow to the nearest pharmacy where I proceeded to check out all of the nasal irrigation kits out there.

I opted for a positive pressure device (essentially a big squeeze bottle) instead of a gravity device since I couldn't really figure out how to put a teapot to my nose. Anyhow, suffice it to say that I'm sold!! In went the solution and out came the guk. It's awesome!!! I can breathe again and I'll be the first to recommend nasal irrigation to anyone suffering from congestion whether due to allergies or a cold.

I'm not affiliated with these folks at all but liked the Sinus Rinse from NeilMed.

Hooray!!! I can breathe again.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Still human...

I don't talk much about work because I figure there are tons of other bloggers out there who are saying pretty much what I'm thinking in a much more eloquent way. However, when I read this particular 2-part post I felt compelled to jot down a few thoughts.

Undoubtedly if you've read any other blogs by healthcare professionals, especially those who work in the ER, you'll have already figured out that we're chronically short-staffed seeing a bunch of people who really are not having emergencies but who have no other form of healthcare and use the ER for their primary care.

We're burned out and short tempered and, for me, alot of the time many things are reduced to how much paperwork has to be done. For example, blood transfusions and moderate sedations are a pain in the butt because you have to fill out so much frickin' paperwork (don't even get me started on people who use the ER for their routine blood transfusions then get made at you because they're going to be admitted and aren't going to be going home right away!). Sadly, even death has become about paperwork.

Rewind to my opening paragraph. When I read the post by DisappearingJohn I found myself with tears in my eyes. Gosh, am I ever glad to find out I'm still human because most days I feel like a robot.

Thank you John!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sux to be sick....

So I've been working like a madwoman. I guess my body just decided it was too much and my immune system took a break since I wasn't going to. Now I'm phlegmy (sp?) and coughing and my sinuses are all clogged up. Yuck. Do you think this is my body's way of telling me I should slow down a little?

On top of all of that I finally signed up for a Stats course. It's online. Eeeeek. AND I found out today that my first assignments are due by midnight on Sunday. much for my relaxing weekend off.

I need a vacation.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hi. My name's Yee

and I'm a glassaholic. Yup. I have an illness that compels me to buy glass (rods that is!) even when I already have tons of stuff sitting around that hasn't yet been melted.

Actually, I think I'm actually getting better. I've sold of most of my stash and have been really good about holding off buying (much of) anything new. I just sold of my entire stock of Bullseye glass (minus odd lots) and am now down to 3 types of glass only. Oh....don't get me wrong. It's not like I haven't been tempted. All the talk of new odd-lots coming from Vetrofond. Even the borosilicate glass manufacturers are getting into the odd-lot phenomenon. True to our natures as addicts all of us crazy lampworkers buy, buy and BUY!!!!

But it isn't limited to glass. I think I'm just addicted to colorful things. Back when I was sewing it was fabric. You wouldn't believe how much fabric I had accumulated when I finally decided to go through and liquidate it.

In a funny way I do think it is somewhat of a compulsion and the compulsion, whatever it is, lurks inside each and every one of us. We all have our vices. The question is whether we have those under control. I think for now I've curbed the glass monster but there's no telling how long that will last. Besides, how can you say no to pretty, colorful stuff when it allows you to make this: