Saturday, February 29, 2020

Loving and Loss, Learning and Leaping

We had a busy Valentine season, selling many different roses.
 The month of February was one of loving, learning, loss, and last but not least, "Leap day". We started out the first part of the month by creating many glass roses of different styles and varieties for our Etsy customers. Then we worked throughout Valentine's weekend on our "Hot Date Night" glassblowing lessons. This has been a tradition holding steady for quite a few years now. It is a unique Valentine that couples really seem to enjoy. Some are a bit nervous to start out, but Russ is a great teacher and seems to be able to calm most people's fear of the hot torch flames. Others are eager to work in the Lamp Work flames and seem quite natural for beginners.
I also wanted to share the picture below, made in the past, regarding a unique memorial created for a beloved family pet. 
An idea to incorporate a beloved pet's ashes into glass.
This month projects were also completed that represented some great loss of beloved pets. My sister and her family lost their canine companion last summer. Her name was Rozy and she was part of their family for close to 16 years. Russ finally had the time to create some unique pieces for her. He cut and slumped the white glass first to create a puzzle effect. (She is the missing puzzle piece to their family.) Then he painted on and fired in the kiln, layer after layer after layer of glass enamel paints, until he got the replica of Rozy as accurate as possible. It took about a month to complete. 
Glass Enamels were used to paint these portraits onto glass puzzle pieces.
And finally, we are dealing with heartbreak at the end of the month, as our first grand puppy Bear, has passed away from cancer. It has been really hard to process. We have been through the loss of  our own pets before, but this is the first "grand"dog to pass on. He belongs to our second born son and his family. He was a Shelter dog and had a heart of gold. It never gets any easier, and the grief is still in the raw stage. My heart hurts when I think of all the good times we shared with this great dog. It has been very hard on my son and his wife and kids too. But I take solace in the fact that he has passed on to "Rainbow Bridge" without any more pain from cancer. He was yet another dog that loved unconditionally, like so many that passed before him. And this being a rare leap year, I like to envision him leaping into his new life with joy and memories of the good times with his human family. Until next time, make sure to tell the ones you love, how much they mean to you.....both human and furry companions. 💕💗💕

Grieving the passing of our first grand puppy this past month.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January Tune Up

 Most of this month found us both down for the count. Bronchial crud is not easy to get rid of. We had to go to the Doc. to give us both a tune-up. In between the coughing spells we got to work on various projects, and also managed to give the Studio a tune-up of sorts. We added a wall so I could have my own space for packing up orders. I have really needed this area, especially when the orders start piling up. And of course there is a need to start fresh in the new year, so we organized the room and repainted it too. It feels much better to enter our work space since making some much needed improvements.  Now to work on the front display area before the Valentine lessons start in a few weeks.  (You wouldn't believe how quickly dust settles on the glass.) 

Not many new projects to report, other than the tennis ball snowmen ornaments we worked on. They took up a good chunk of the first part of the month. It was reported they were well received by the tennis club members. Makes all the labor worth it to have happy customers. 
Working on a commission of  tennis ball snowmen.
We worked on a few miscellaneous orders too, like the pouncing fox and cobalt blue dolphin, pictured below. Also a variety of roses and tulips. (Customers seem to buy lots of Spring flowers from us in January, they must want to kick the January blahs with some pops of color.)
Pouncing Fox

Cobalt Blue Dolphin Ornament

Our glass roses and tulips come in a variety of colors.
We haven't had as many deer this year, but it was nice to step outside the Studio and see a couple of bucks in the backyard recently. There have been some poaching incidents reported around our area, so it gives me solace to see two bucks surviving both winter and bad humans. We've also seen many birds of prey, but they are harder to get a snapshot of. And owls hoot away at night, perched in our tree tops in our backyard, waiting to snag one of the many rabbits around the property. Have I mentioned how much I love witnessing the plethora of wildlife and the nature around here? 💓
Two bucks in our backyard.
The first full moon in January was a sight to behold in the early morning hours. It made me long for a zoom lens so I could get a better shot of the man in the moon. 😊 As you can tell by the picture below, we are experiencing a good Idaho winter this year. As I get older and wiser, I realize how important the snow pack is for our summer months. So, while it may be cold and dreary this January day, I accept it as a good thing. A good snow pack means a good storage of water for those hot summer months coming down the road. Well, time to stop daydreaming of Summer and get ready for our "Hot Date Night" Valentine lessons. See you next month.
The first full moon of the year, setting over our sleepy little town.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye to a busy 2019

One of many of our glorious Idaho sunsets.
Last day of the year, and I am finding myself in a state of reflection.  Thankful for so much, including the success we've had this year in our little Studio on the hill. We are both exhausted from the recent months of hard work, and many late night efforts to keep our glass orders shipping out in a timely manner for the holidays.  Time for a well-deserved break. We created so many ornaments this year, too many to count.
Chili ristras created for a customer.
Russ is going to take some time to work on this artistic piece while we have just a bit of down time. Many layers of glass enamels to fuse in the big kiln. I will post pictures when it is complete. 
When completed, this trout will look like it's caught in a net. 
Because of our new furry friends, we also had some home improvement projects to complete this month. Our pantry didn't have a door on it, so we decided in order to keep the kittens out of the food, we needed a door. I am really loving the end result, and of course glass was incorporated in the project. Screen printed enamels were fired in our large kiln, on float glass, to finish this project off. 
We added screen printed float glass to our new pantry door this month. 
We say we need a break from the Studio, but in all reality, there is always something to work on, including another large custom commission of tennis ball snowmen, pictured below. It was requested by a tennis organization in Texas and has to be out the door very soon. 
Tennis Ball Snowmen commissioned by a tennis organization.
We barely got the tree decorated in time for Christmas this year, and now that it's up, it's the kittens favorite "play toy". 😉
Our kittens won't leave the tree alone. 
Our favorite part of the holiday of course, is spending time with our sons and their families. We enjoyed their company even though many of us had some kind of  sick bug, and were a little under the weather. We managed to go to a local ice castle event while they were here. Definitely appropriate in these frigid temperatures. 
At the Labelle Ice Castles

Many great colors accented the ice tunnels.
My favorite! 

Enjoying time with my darling grandson.
Now on the last day of 2019, reflecting on what a year it's been, we are nursing our dear lab/retriever dog, as he was in an accident recently. We are hoping he makes a full recovery, as he is just like a child to us. It pains us to see him in pain. So, while others are making merry tonight, we will snuggle in our jammies with him by our side, and welcome in 2020. Wow, that just sounds so futuristic, can't believe what a time we are living in. Here's hoping the new decade will bring new opportunities for growth and prosperity.  Happy New Year!
Hoping our sweet boy feels better soon. 

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Inundated with Orders

November's Blog will be short and sweet, as we are inundated with orders, and I need to get back in the Studio asap! The Internet seems to have really discovered us this hard to keep up with the incredible amount of orders, many of them large orders of wholesale ornaments, shipping around the country. We are trying to pace ourselves, and have had to shut down some of our web presence, just to keep up. Below are samples of some of the ornaments shipping out the door. 
Packaging and shipping, repeat, repeat, repeat!

Hundreds of reindeer are in the process of being made for a customer.

We take great care in packaging our glass so it arrives safely at it's destination.

Another variety of reindeer ornament.
 Meanwhile, our dogs are feeling neglected, so we thought we'd brighten them up with some festive accessories....(actually, they were not amused!) At least they are decorated, not sure when I will have the time to do the same to the house!  
Our Lab/Retriever Handsome Doggie!

Our Border Collie humors us for a minute.

Our oldest dog is all lit up! (And asking "Why?")

That's it for the blog this month. Wish me luck in getting all these orders shipped out to their destination! I'm going to need it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Very Brisk October

My Halloween decor is covered in snow this morning.
 Wait, what?!! Sub zero temperatures and it's only October 29th?! Welcome to Idaho, the State where you never know what the weather gods are going to throw your way! This morning is no exception. Bone chilling temperatures probably means not many trick-or-treaters in a couple of days. Sigh....more candy for us I guess! (Not that I need it, oi! Maybe I'll dole it out to the grand kids.) 

Anyway, we are staying warm in the Studio (of course!) Fires are going non-stop. Even though we are a couple of "Old-Schoolers," the age of the Internet has kept us hopping all year, and this month is no exception. Internet orders continue to pile up. At the beginning of the month we created a couple of wildlife sculptures for the store in Jackson Hole. They are added to our other collections  at Wild West Designs, an amazing western-themed storefront. All kinds of hidden treasures can be found there. If you are ever up that way, pay them a visit, you'll be glad you did. 
Blown Glass Bugling Elk

Blown Glass Wolves
Before we got super swamped with ornament orders Russ had time to complete a personal project. He created a unique frame with some willow tree branches found on our property. It will be on display at the Beaux Cadeaux Artisan show next week.
Many hours were spent on the fox, using glass enamels which were fired on in the big kiln.
 The Fall-themed artistic piece below is still in the works, but will really stand out when it is completed. Russ enjoys creating when the time allows. Beats the heck out of making the same ornaments over and over. I keep thinking when he retires, his creativity will know no bounds. 
A Fall scene is in the works, using glass enamels and fused glass.

A new design of sledder ornaments were created this month.
 Speaking of ornaments, some new ideas were created for a customer this month, colorful glass sledders along with a preview in the kiln of what will end up being many hundreds of reindeer. These items are being shipped to Minnesota as soon as they are packaged up. (Haven't quite figured out the packaging process on the deer, as they have fragile antlers. There is a science to packing to avoid breakage of the glass while it is being shipped around the country. This one will be tricky.) 

A kiln full of annealed glass reindeer.
                Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go shovel snow so the little trick-or-treaters that DO                  show up at our door won't be slipping and sliding all over. Sheesh! Gotta love Idaho!  

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Senses

The Grand Tetons on a September Day.
September is a month for all your senses to wake up and take in the change of the seasons. There is so much to behold in the air, earth and landscape around us. I relish the vibrant colors and wonderful, woodsy and earthy smells. We got to re-charge our spirits, from spending time in our favorite National Park this month of September, enjoying the splendor of the Grand Tetons. I have also been enjoying walks off the beaten path with our dogs. Russ came across an owl in a dead tree while walking the dogs near our property. Amazing what you can see when you pay attention to your surroundings. 

September morning walk with the dogs
Gorgeous waterfall at Grand Teton National Park
An owl said hello...Whoooo is he staring down?

I can't get enough of this natural splendor!
Now that we are re-charged, there have been many projects to attend to this September in the Studio. Lots of little miniatures have been created, like the snowy owl pictured below. And our daughter-in-law received some new pieces to add to the Wall Art we gave them as a house-warming gift last year. The whimsical owls finished it off nicely. 
Miniature Snow Owl
A family of Owls accent this fused glass wall art.
    Russ is working on a commission of various mythical creatures for an author. The green dragon is the first endeavor for this commission. 

And I am packaging up a large order of music-themed ornaments for another customer. Here's a kiln full of treble clefs. 
Blown glass treble clef ornaments

We have lots of requests for scuba diver ornaments year round. Especially now, right before the holidays. The fires will be roaring all the way through to the end of the year
Blown Glass Scuba Divers

Well, that's about all I have time for this month. (These rescue kitties seem to be taking up much of my September days. Good thing they have not been introduced to the Glass Studio yet!)