Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Don't Usually Toot My Own Horn.....

...but I'm really proud of this one. I just received notification of my acceptance as a Juried Artist in Best of Missouri Hands. When I was writing tech manuals at Boeing in St. Louis, I never envisioned that someday I would find a second calling as an artisan much less that my work would be accepted by my artistic peers. The Best of Missouri Hands is a statewide Missouri Artisans Association. From the website, "Receiving Juried Membership acceptance indicates that an artist has developed his or her craft beyond mere competence of technique to a high standard of quality. Jurying is done from images by a panel of craftsman and professionals." Juried artists are allowed to display a banner in their booths at shows and festivals, so at each show we do I have, of course, noticed those artists with the banner. Now I too can display this banner. I am honored to be accepted as a juried member and will continue to grow and develop my art to meet these high standards.

Hummingbird fact for today: About 21 species have ranges north of Mexico but only the Ruby-throated is usually found east of the Mississippi. Actually "east of the Mississippi" includes such states as Iowa and Missouri and east of the Mississippi is merely a rule-of-thumb. Of the species seen in the US, 16 breed here, 1 is a regular visitor, and 4 are seen rarely and are considered to be strays. Four species are regularly seen in Canada.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why Was I Worried?

Wow! What a difference it made getting that cataract off! All the post-op eye drops are a pain, but other than that all my worries were unfounded. Thank goodness! And it's a good thing, because we got a new wholesale order in yesterday, so I have things to make. Yay! We're also gearing up for our first venture at a Lawn and Garden show. Come see us if you can. Springfield, MO, Expo Center at the Fairgrounds, February 15-17.

Hummingbird fact for today: The shiny feathers on a male hummingbird’s throat are called a gorget.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Just Call Me Chicken

I know that tens of thousands of people have a cataract removed every year. And I know that it's almost as routine now as having a tooth filled. But I only have two eyes and I can't think of any hell worse than not being able to see. It's to the point now, though, that I have no choice. So I'm off for a few days while I let a surgeon, who looks young enough to be my grandson, poke, prod, cut, and implant on my eye. I'm one of those people who has a cataract on only one eye. Go figure. They're not going to correct the vision in it totally, because the other eye's vision is so near-sighted as well. So I'll have to wait for a couple of weeks to get new glasses and go back to work. Wish me luck! (I can do this....I can do this....I can do this....)

Hummingbird fact for today: A hummer’s heart can beat 1250 beats per minute when active and as slow as 50 beats per minute at night.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Talented Glass Artists

I use repurposed glass in my art. Glass is such an amazing medium. I admire those who can actually create glass. There is an Etsy group of these wonderfully talented artists and I encourage you to explore their wide range of skills. Visit when you have some time to explore. Their glass is not churned out in a factory - it is handcrafted art.

Hummingbird fact for today: The Ruby-throated hummingbird, most common in the US, weighs about 1/10 of an ounce (just over 3 grams), about the weight of a dime.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fun Ways to Reclaim, Recycle, Repurpose

I discovered a great site with a group of very talented artists. All the work is made from reclaimed, recycled, and repurposed materials. The work is creative because the artists think out of the box. These talented people have found innovative ways to repurpose things I hadn't thought of repurposing! This site has everything from home decor items to jewelry to clothing to furniture. Each item is different and unique. Take a look at www.repurposed4you. It's a fun site to explore and marvel at the talent that is out there.

Today's hummingbird fact: The smallest Hummer is the Bee hummingbird, in Cuba, about 2 ½ inches long. The largest is the Giant hummingbird at about 8 ½ inches long.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Doing Nothing Requires a Nap

I love watching cats. Their movements are so graceful. When they stretch, they stretch all over. They spend the day doing nothing, and then take a nap to rest up. We have two cats - a yellow tabby and a black one that probably has some Siamese in him. They were pound kitties that we adopted. We have a mixed marriage - I'm originally from St. Louis and my wife was from the Kansas City side of the state. So our blonde cat is George (for George Brett) and our black cat is Ozzie (for Ozzie Smith). One minute they'll be snarling and glaring and swatting at each other. The next, they're curled up together on the bed napping. Ozzie is a touch-me-not. He sort of yips when you touch him. George likes to be with his people, but doesn't like to be held. I just learned this week that George will come when I whistle. Maybe he's just a dog in cat fur.

Today's hummingbird fact: Hummers flap their wings from 20 to over 50 beats per second. This rapid rate accounts for the audible “hum” we associate with them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm Proud of Her

Is it sexist to say that I am very proud of my wife? She is a constant source of amazement to me. It is her belief in my abilities that I am happily involved in making copper art and our little business is a true partnership. She made up her mind to return to college and makes A's. And she's a pretty good writer. Check this out:

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummingbirds can fly forward, backward, hover and even fly upside down. All except forward are very rare in other bird flight.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Humdrum Doldrums Monday

Do you ever feel the humdrum doldrums? You know, when you can't do what you want to do and have to do all those pesky little things you need to do because you've put them off as long as you can? That's today. The car registration is due this month so I have a vehicle inspection today. The truck is overdue for an oil change, so I'll go back to my mechanic for that after the car inspection. Got to make a trip in to the post office to mail some items we sold on eBay. The weather here is unseasonably warm so we'll take down the outside Christmas lights and store them away for another year. It's laundry and vacuum day for my wife. She spent all day yesterday working on bookkeeping so I stayed out of her hair. She's not a pleasant person when she's working on the books. We'd both much rather be getting ready for an art show or working on a wholesale order. I guess there are times when you just have to buckle down and take care of the mundane....

Hummingbird fact for the day: Hummers are the smallest birds in the world but have the largest hearts pound for pound.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Old Stuff, New Stuff

Remember George Carlin's bit on "stuff"? I always think of that bit this time of year when my wife has new "stuff". She goes through her old stuff to make room for the new stuff. Usually it's a major upheaval in the house. This year has been no exception. However, this year her old stuff ended up in my new stuff. She's a margarita drinker. She even keeps a bucket-o-margarita in the freezer. So naturally this year she received some new margarita glasses (mainly because I have managed to drop and break all her old ones). In order to get the new glasses in the cabinet, she had to clean out some old stuff. Part of that cleaning out process included four champagne flutes that are so seldom used I didn't even know we had them. I've utilized flutes before in my feeders but this was the motherload - four identical matching flutes. First we made sure that we could fit each with a stopper and feeding tube. Then I disappeared into the studio for several hours while my creative side took over. Those four flutes are now one amazing (if I do say so myself) multi-station hummingbird feeder. Sometimes cleaning out stuff has its rewards.

Hummingbird fact for today: Rufous hummingbirds migrate from Central America as far as Alaska – a 12,000 mile round trip, longer than any migrating goose.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


According to my thermometer, it was 12 degrees this morning. That's durn cold! At least we have no snow or ice on the ground. It does make it difficult to think about hummingbirds, though. Aren't they amazing creatures? The ruby-throated is the species found in Missouri in the warm months. It is generally believed Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico in the spring and possibly in both directions. This trip is believed to take a hummer 18 to 20 hours. This is a remarkable journey and certainly the trip carries the extra danger of adverse winds with little margin of error for the tiny travelers. Birds lose a quarter to half their body weight during migration. Scientists suspect the birds navigate by stars when traveling at night. Some parts of the US have hummers all year for entertainment and enjoyment. Wouldn't that be nice? Fact for today:

A hummingbird will add up to one-half its weight in body fat in preparation for migration, a phase called hyperphagia.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One Man's Scrap....

... is another man's art. I've been trying to get my studio organized. This is MAJOR as I tend toward the unorganized. So yesterday we gathered up all the scrap copper leftovers and took them to the recycler. The guys there are always on the lookout for the size/type of copper that I use, and sure enough they had some nice wire for me. So I sold my scrap and bought someone else's scrap which I will use in my art. The whole recycling circle is rather mind-boggling and wondrous. I guess if I were the philosophical type I could somehow take this into deeper thoughts. I'll leave that part up to you as you welcome the new year. It's only 3 1/2 months until the hummingbirds will return to Missouri. The hummingbird fact for today:

Hummingbirds are found only in the Western hemisphere and generally only in the tropical zones though several species migrate widely and range from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.