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Creative Casey's Blog

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hot Glass Bead Making 101- Highly Recommend!

This past semester was a crazy one. I really wanted to focus on creating more art and trying new mediums of art. I received my town's spring continuing education classes and immediately registered for this Hot Glass Bead Making 101 Class through Studio 34 Creative Arts Center;

I was all excited and raced there from work one day only to find that it had been canceled due to a family death (completely understandable). However, I found out that the Studio never received my registration and when I contacted the school continuing education department they said they never received my registration and check. Long story short; I had to pay the bank $35 bucks (!) to cancel the missing check which was pretty much the cost of the course $34 plus $10 for materials. Needless to say I didn't want to repay to take the class.  I mentioned my dilemma to the owner of Studio 34, Marilynne Lipshutz and she immediately said that I would not have to pay a second time. She told me to pick a class time I could come to and then just pay the material fee. This was such an incredibly kind gesture in a world that often times isn't this generous.

I went to the class a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I was a bit nervous about using the torch and melting glass, but I had an amazing time. Once you get the hang of it you just want to continue to create. One of the things I loved most about this experience is that the glass changes colors when it's melted so you really never know how it will turn out until it comes out of the kiln a day later.  

I really want to go back and take another glass making class. I think my mom would enjoy this so maybe it will be something we do on one of our Girls Weekend's!

I learned how to make heart beads and ended up making a keychain with the heart bead for my mother for Mother's Day. I also made my sister a keychain (but forgot to take a picture of it and just mailed it to her today-oops).

Here's the 5 beads I made in about an hour.

Good Reads!

So, I've been lucky enough to squeeze in some reading time over the past couple of months despite working full time and taking night classes. Here's some books you may (or may not) want to check out:

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler  *****
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe ****
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel * (horrible could barely make it through the first 100 pgs)
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis ****
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ****
Good to Great by Jim Collins ****
How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton *****
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg *****
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer***
Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge***
A Day With a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory ***
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Duggard ***

I've also had the luxury of reading many fluff books. I've been into scifi and Hunger Game type of books recently. So if you are in to that then check out these books:
The Partials series by Dan Wells
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
Life As We Knew It, The Dead and the Gone, This World We Live In Series by Beth Pfeffer
The Silenced by James DeVita
Origin by Jessica Khoury
Unwind by Neal Shusterman

More Fun Adventures!

Here's some fun things I've been up to recently:

1. Chocolate and Wine- I purchased a Groupon for this place because I've always wanted to check it out. When my mom came up for a Girls Weekend we went and checked it out.‎
It has some great wine and awesome deserts. Yummy!

2. Mani/Pedi- My mom and I purchased Groupons for a mani/pedi at Serenity Day Spa;‎.  I wouldn't recommend this place. It took us three different appointments to finally get in and even though they offered a free upgrade to gel manicures for the hassle it was still less then stellar of an experience. Regardless it is always nice to be pampered and was an inexpensive treat.

3. Full Body Massage- On another Girls Weekend to celebrate Mother's Day, I treated my mom and I to 50 min. massages at Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage;‎.  Love this place and would highly recommend it. Inexpensive massages since it's a teaching/learning school but very professional and great massages.

4. Hot Glass Bead Making Class- I took a 2 hour class at Studio 34 Creative Arts Center. Amazing experience that I will blog separately about.

5. Flash Women's Soccer game- My co-worker and her husband have season tickets and invited me along one Saturday evening. It was a beautiful day and evening and we had a great time. Of course a bit of a bummer that Abby Wambach was not playing due to a concussion but hey maybe I'll get to check out another game this summer.‎

6. Imagine RIT-is an innovative and creative festival held on the RIT campus in Rochester. This is a huge family friendly festival that is absolutely FREE. I checked it out with some friends and had a great time. The campus is huge and there was a ton to check out. Of course these students are total geniuses and their inventions and programs were way over my head, but I enjoyed seeing the inventions. Mostly I enjoyed this one building of fun things like the Adult Size Candy Land that you could go through (check out Queen Frostine's Candy Castle business). This was fun and yummy!

7. Created By Us Pottery- I love this place! While I find creating pottery by scratch wonderful, it's quicker to go to a pre-made place and focus on the painting portion. I purchased a Living Social deal where you pay $10 and get $20 worth of projects.  So I went after work on a rainy day last week and made a mug for my grandmother for her birthday and made a little vase for me! Boy, 1.5 hours goes by fast when you are listening to music and just creating!

8.  Comedy Club- I went with my co-worker and her husband to a comedy show at‎.  It was hilarious! I haven't laughed that hard in a while. I think my stomach hurt the next day.  There's a couple of performers including Drew Carey coming this summer that I want to check out.

9. Lilac Festival- My mother came up for Mother's Day weekend for a Girls Weekend mostly because she wanted to attend the Lilac Festival. She has only been to it once when my nephew was very young so we didn't get to stay for a long time and never walked through the lilac's (mostly because it's a rare year when they are actually in bloom during the festival-typically the rain makes them short lived or they bloom later if it's a long cold spring). However, this year it was perfect timing. We got to walk through the lilac's, hit up the great festival foods (fried door and roasted cinnamon almonds), and browse through the arts and craft tents. Ooooo and participate in a lot of food tasting. Yummy!‎

First gel manicure.

Chocolate and Vine

Mom and I at the Lilac Festival.

Tried my hand at the bubble technique.

Sunflower mug for my grandmother's birthday.

Imagine RIT- fake brick wall made from knitted squares

Look art therapy is every where! :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gnome Garden: Classy or Trashy?

I have these horrible huge tree trunks in the back of my yard. The neighbor who the trees belong to has refused to take care of the trees over the years. I dread the day they split and crash on the nearby garbages of my neighbor or me. Anyway, the trees have gotten so big their trunks and roots are all over my yard and they uplifted the back fence. Before I bought the house someone planted ground covering (which got out of control and I had to step in and put it in it's place last year). I've stared at these trunks for 4 years trying to figure out a way to make them look less obtrusive and ugly. I came up with a Gnome Garden!

I purchased some ceramic mushrooms, a welcome bouncy gnome, two gnomes playing checkers with ladybugs (this is a solar light), and 2 mosaic solar lights all for 50% of Rite Aid (total cost $20).  I opted for medium size gnomes. I didn't want the large ones because they seemed to tacky.  Then I found a 1920's laundry shoot door that I had in the basement and distress painted it. I put a decorative knob on it and a client of mine who is wonderful with clay and creating delicate things created a very detailed door knocker for it.  I then found this idea on Pinterest to make large mushrooms out of plastic bowls and went to Savers and purchased 3 bowls for 1.50 total. I painted spots on them, sealed them and then drilled them into the branches sticking up from the roots. The link to make them is;

Here's some pics of the outcome. What do you think...tacky or classy?

Guess What Happens When You Mix Watercolor Paint & Salt?

In an Art Therapy group I was facilitating a client asked if we had salt. She was using watercolor paints and poured salt on top of the paint on watercolor paper.  It created this really neat textured effect.  I set out to replicate this. It took a few tries but I finally got it.

Here's what I learned:
-works best on watercolor paper
-use salt not sugar (sugar melts with the water and gets stuck whereas salt absorbs the water and color and flakes off later thus causing a water mark effect where the paint is absorbed)
-you can use a blowdryer to get it to dry faster and it works
-really water down the paper (works better that way)
-use real genuine nice quality of watercolor paint for popping colors and best effect‎

Chainmaille Jewelry, Great Food and Awesome Friends...

My friend Sara invited a few of us over to her place for a wonderful homemade dinner of stir fry (which yes I tried, ate and liked) and then taught us how to make Chainmaille jewelry. It was so much fun we created past midnight.  She taught me how to make a Byzantine bracelet and a Captive bracelet with pearls.  I've gotten so many compliments from people and a client wanted me to make some for her moms. :)  To hard to explain how to make them but boy it does take patience and it does hurt the wrist after a while, but these were the beginner levels and it was doable. Sara is making a beautiful necklace for a wedding gift for a friend and it is very intricate and time consuming. She's spent probably 16 hours on it so far. It's soooo beautiful!

Here's some links to check out if you want to find out more about Chainmaille making:

Here's some pics:

February and March Art Project Donations

I spent and evening in February and an evening in March at the college I work at working volunteering and working with students from various Civic Engagement programs teaching them about Dress A Girl Around the World and how to create the dolls.  In the first evening we made about 33 dolls. The second evening brought in a bigger crowd throughout the College because a group of 4 students taking a Women and Gender Studies class picked up on the project and asked if they could host the event and invite other students. Of course I said sure!

I taught them how to prepare all of the materials and the night of the event we had about 25 students participate from student athlete's to a nursing major and her 5 y/o daughter. I gave a presentation about the program and then their was a host at each table that gave instructions on how to create wish dolls. My wonderful co-worker spent hours making "doll" cookies with homemade frosting that we served that evening.  And the hosts were so pleased that the founder Angels of Mercy, Inc. and her partner showed up at this event and talked with everyone about the wonderful work they were doing.

All in all that evening we probably made over 40 dolls. Swear I took pics of dolls and cookies but can't find. Will add if I ever do. Here's some links to check out if you are interested in this project:‎‎

Whoa...I'm back and trying new things!

I've been stacking up blogs for over a month and am finally making it my mission to get caught up. Something about working full time (all different hours), taking some night classes, community art classes and trying to have a social life has kept me pretty darn busy over the past couple of months.

So, here's what I've been up too. I've tried my hand at making some new foods. Yes, can you believe that!  The first was kale chips recommended by a co-worker and the second was getting a smoothie mixer and starting to make smoothies.

Kale chips- Get a bunch of kale about 1.99 a batch. Pull apart into small pieces. Rinse and dry throughly. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet pans and then spread kale pieces all over. Spread one table spoon of olive oil and then I sprinkle on some seasoning and  bake for about 10 minutes. FYI- smelled like something was burning when it was baking.  Tasted pretty good and kind of crispy. Problem came when it was still warm and I put it in a closed container, left it in my car for a couple of hours before going to the party I was bringing it to. Yuck! Quickly became awful and ended up throwing it away and chose not to serve it.

Next recipe I made. Well, not really a recipe. I purchased a Hamilton smoothie blender for 16 bucks on Amazon. My students actually schooled me that you can buy frozen fruit (yeah I didn't know this- hey don't pass judgement) and they told me different kinds of smoothies I could make.  I've made a couple. The first was chocolate frozen yogurt, reduced fat peanut butter and a third of a banana. Pretty good but a little to much banana taste for me.  Second and third smoothies were made with mixed frozen fruit (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries), a serving container of Danon strawberry greek yogurt, and some fat free milk. First attempt a bit thick, second attempt much better consistency. Tasted pretty good!  My goal is to continue to gather smoothie recipes and keep trying.

Here are some pics of my effort:

All baked.

Finished smoothie.