Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day weekend..continued. We arrived at the campground about 4:30-ish, and when we pulled into our campsite I couldn't believe it...the place was (literally!) a giant pile of rocks! There wasn't a square foot that didn't have some football-sized rock in the ground! (good thing I packed the air matresses!)

It didn't take TOO long to get the tent up, and while Matt and I assembled it, the girls went exploring in the giant field of rocks. Turns out it was an absolute haven for toads and chipmunks. You couldn't walk anywhere without seeing a toad hopping around, or a chipmunk scurrying over the rocks, trees (even our car!)
After we set up camp, we found there was very little in the way of firewood. So I made a run to a nearby wal-mart, hoping to buy an such luck..they sell guns, but no axes. So I had to buy a couple stacks of firewood from the locals along the road to the park, who all seemed to be selling stacks of firewood lol.

Sunday morning we were up fairly early, and decided to take a nice nature walk before it got too hot. We drove over to the trailhead, and on the way found this Eastern Box turtle slowly making his way across the road.

I stopped the car, picked him up, showed him to the girls, and then put him safely away from the road on the other side, where he could continue on out of harm's way.

We reached the trail after only passing by it 3 or 4 times (it was not very well marked). It was a nice, easy trail for the most part, gently winding through the forest. We found this old well? Cistern? It doesn't show well in the picture, but it was a deep, circular hole in the ground, that I didn't let the kids get TOO close to.

About 1/2 way through the 2 mile trail we found a hillside covered in huge rocks, which, of course, the kids wanted to go play on.

Then we reached the 1/2 way mark of the trail and found it went straight UP. There was about a 600 foot elevation we had to go up, then back down. I must say my calves are STILL feeling that climb! The kids, of course, were running up and down the whole time. Ah, to be 8 again lol. Ladybird handled it very well, too. She was just as energetic at the end of the trail as the beginning (though she did drink a lot from the doggie canteen I brought). Though when we got back to camp and I put her in her x-pen, she immediately zonked out.

A really beautiful fern-covered rock at the end of the trail.

We finished about 11, and got back to camp to rest a bit. After lunch I took the girls swimming. Sara had to have a rubber glove taped onto her hand to keep her stitches dry, which didn't make her happy, though I pointed out she could just NOT swim, which at least made her stop complaining. Even though the park has 2 lakes, you are not allowed to go swimming in them, and have to go shell out 7 bucks a person to use the pool. It was a very nice pool, but still if we wanted to swim in a pool, I have one in our backyard that is free. Anyway, the girls had a great time, and I brought a folding chair and a bag of new books, so I got to spend a few hours reading, which is something I don't have a lot of time to do anymore.
Sunday night was cold, with awful thunderstorms, and a lot of rain (we found the tent has a hole in the roof, somewhere, which I'll have to patch up before our weeklong trip in july).
Monday we learned a good lesson. Always read the campground rules CAREFULLY. We were almost out of firewood, so Matt took the hatchet and chopped down a very dead, but still standing tree at the back of our campsite JUST in time for a nice park ranger to come and give him a ticket. Seems standing trees, even if dead, are off-limits. Which makes sense when you think about it, but we didn't. The fine will be set by a judge...hopefully this will not be a horrendously expensive lesson.
We packed up and headed out about 4 on monday, got ice-cream on the way home, and ate leftover chicken from Sunday for dinner. I managed to get everything put away and all our laundry done, before collapsing in my nice, warm bed.
I really had a good time, and can't wait to do it again. Our next trip is a five-day stay in the adirondacks in mid-July when we go up for dad's annual pig roast/family reunion.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a way to spend a Friday night. Sara, while trying to close her bedroom window, managed to put her hand through the glass. She was bleeding quite a bit and I couldn't tell if she had glass in her hand, so we put a towel around it and drove down to the emergency room. After 6 hours, a couple x-rays, and a package of starburst, Sara came home with a few stitches.

But we didn't get in till about 5 am, which meant our Saturday departure for our camping trip was delayed. I got up about 10 am, and had to run out to do a few errands (like hit the bank, get ice and bandages for Sara). It's a good thing we have the station wagon, because everything I wanted to bring would NOT have fit into my poor, old focus. To be honest, everything I wanted to bring didn't fit into the station wagon (maybe if we had a But I got most everything into the car, with enough room for the 4 of us and the dog (Sara ended up inviting her best friend Mia to come with us). So we got on the road about 3:30, and luckily the campground was only about an hour away. I'll post about the camping trip (along with pics) as soon as Matt gets home tonight and I can remember to get the camera out of the car.)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here are the two necklaces I have done so far, Jen.

This one is gradiated shades of amber chips, african copper beads, and various glass beads, with a focal bead of a frog on a rust-colored ball. I know you said 18", but since you originally said you were looking for a "longer" necklace I made them just a little bigger. This one is 22". (I know the focal bead is a bit fuzzy..still trying to figure out how to get good, tiny pics out of my camera).

This one is alternating patterns of light and dark amber shell beads, coconut beads, and betel nut beads with a wrapped copper disk accent. The inner strand forms a 20" neckline.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yesterday I had to go down to the new apartment for our new furniture delivery. Luckily, the delivery men were prompt and finished quickly, so I had quite a bit of time to kill before I had to get back home before Sara got home from school. Since I was near Baltimore anyway, I decided to head into the city and visit Beadazzled, a bead/jewelry making store I had heard about. Thanks to Yahoo maps, I found the store easily. What I could not find, though was parking. I figured I would drive around the block, and see if I could find somewhere to park. Unfortunately, most of the roads in the area were one-way, so I drove around the area...getting lost, finding it again, getting lost, etc. Luckily I eventually found parking.

The store was great, a nice-sized store full of big, round tables. Each table had rows and rows of cups set into to top, and each cup was full of beads, organized by color. Plus a ton of bead strings on the walls. A lot of the beads were ones I could get online through jewelry suppliers, but it was really nice to be able to see them in person. Plus there were some (like the laquered origami pendants) that were entirely new to me.

When I design a piece of jewelry I start by picturing it in my head. I break down each part of the piece in my head, and then go searching for beads that fit what I see in my head. sometimes I find pieces that do not go with thigs I have already picked out, so I have to go back and forth, deciding which ones fit my mental image the closest. Needless to say, this takes a lot of time...I must have spent three hours pacing around beadazzled. Of course, sometimes I find beads so unique, or so interesting I have to revamp my whole design just to incorperate them (or I have to finish my orignial design, as well as coming up with a second design for the new beads). In the end, though I came out of Beadazzled without spending TOO much money.

Today, I had to go BACK to the apartment to meet with the comcast guy who was going to hook up our phone/internet/cable. I brought my beading supplies and got a good bit of work done in the 5 hours I was sitting there. I hope to finish and have pics up before I leave to go camping this weekend.

Also, while browsing Etsy I came across this shop: I LOVE these beads.... if they weren't $45 I'd get some just to make somethng for myself. (Not that they aren't WORTH $45, the time and skill to make these must be's just Matt would kill me lol).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm starting to get together all our stuff for our plans for memorial day weekend. We're going camping at French Creek State Park ( I'm excited to go out camping again..we had so much fun last year. I need to run out this weekend and get an excersize pen for Ladybird, as well as a new cooler. Apparently, when I left the cooler outside last fall to drain and dry, the children thought it would be fun to fill it with grass. When I went to the shed to get it out, it was filled with rotten grass-sludge. I tried several rounds of bleach, but I CANNOT get the stench of rotten vegitation out of the plastic....sigh. Since we have a couple pretty long trip planned this weekend, I'm looking at something like this ( which is big, and says it can retain ice for 5 days. I also want to get a compass, since French Creek has a large orientation course. I used to do orientation in high school, and it was a lot of fun..I think the family can have fun wandering through the woods with me :-). I got Matt's fishing licence today, so he can spend as much time as he wants fishing on the trip.

Still working on getting the last of the stuff packed for the move. Matt helped me get the tread mill and large cedar chest downstairs last night. I'm going to start on the utility room this afternoon, and hopefully get another carload of stuff down this saturday when I go to meet the cable guys who are coming to hook up our cable/internet/phone. I got our new furniture ordered (our current livingroom set will not fit in the apartment well) things are coming together.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I can't believe it has been 2 months since my last post...well, I can, I guess. The past few months have been insanely busy! Our big news: about a month ago we decided to move. Matt works in Baltimore, so that gives him about a 3 hour commute daily. After 4 years, it's just gotten to be too much. Plus, looking at our finances, we realized we could be saving a LOT of money if we downsized our housing. So, we're picking up and moving to scenic Reisterstown, MD. It's only about 40 minutes south of here, but it's 25 minutes from where Matt works. We're renting a lovely apartment (though downgrading from 3000 sf to 1200 sf means I have a LOT of stuff to sort through and get rid of). The place has a very nice pool and playground for Sara, and is extremely pet-friendly (it has a dogpark, which I will have to check out before I bring Ladybird...I've heard a lot of small-dog horror stories about dog parks, and at a whopping 4 lbs she just barely qualifies as a dog and not a dust bunny lol).

So I have been running around like a crazy person trying to get ready to move (we're officially moving out somewhere around the 20th of june), plus I'm still working, keeping house and trying to help Sara with the last of her school-work before summer starts. She just finished up her science fair project (her topic was "Do cats have a paw preference (ie are they right or left "handed" like people?)). She got an A+...though in true cat nature, none of the four cats we tested cooperated very much :-).

As for my art, I am sad to say I will have to pack up the glass studio, for now. There is a place I can rent torch time in baltimore, so I can still go and bead every once in awhile, but I'm going to focus more on jewelry-making for the time being, because it is a lot more space-friendly. I'm keeping my kiln and supplies (they don't take up THAT much room) and hopefully down the road I'll have a studio again.