Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dig Me, I'm Dorothy

UPDATE: A big whew, and thanks for everyone's concern and caring this week. Trees were downed, power was out until late that night, got to try out my emergency butane cook-top and have snacks by candle light, which was somehow enjoyable given that no one was injured. The next day we heard that one of the DWP (power company) men working to restore power to the over 180,000 without it was unfortunately electrocuted. When a severe looking wild brush fire burned the next day through the nearby Hollywood Hills, I did begin to wonder whether I should Google a recipe for chocolate covered locust and frogs.

Downstairs Clare pitched in after the storm last Tuesday. Plate-sized pieces and tiny chips of glass were dumped everywhere, as much as 40 feet away from the window that burst, including a knife blade like shard landing on our bed. (That'll keep me from sleeping in.) Our landlord called for workmen to board up the broken window straight away.

We had a semi-dry Microburst*** here on Tuesday. That's what the professionals call it. I'd call it a tornado; 70 mph wind, black sky around my building, huge glass window bursting from the pressure like it was shot from a canon, glass everywhere through the whole place, howling, roaring wind that I thought was an earthquake. No one here hurt, thanks goodness. I gashed my forehead open (during the continuing clean up).

In keeping with my glass theme, one of the things I was photographing just before the storm hit was a great new Halfland find, large hollow glass ink bottles (see the tiny quill?) to be used as the Writing Mouse character's ink wells.

Last weekend I stopped into one of my favorite art supply/creative inspiration spots, Ritual Adornments, a superb bead shop in Santa Monica. This place sells thousands of types of beads from all over the globe beautifully arranged floor to high ceiling by color. There's something so invigorating about walking into a well-stocked space replete with creative materials. Seeing and touching everything in there can really get me going.

I had been looking for miniature hollow glass bottles to use for oil lamps in Rana's cottage, etc. Short of making friends with a glass blower I resigned myself to using, well, I really hadn't resolved that bit yet. But then I saw these hand made glass beads that seemed the perfect scale, pricey about $6 each, too good though, had to select one, just for a model at least. Surprise! Unbeknownst to me that day was the biggest sale of the year for them, half-off of everything. Ahem, I went back and bought a few more things than I might have otherwise.

I decided while there that the Writing Mouse's ink bottles will mostly be... acorns! yay! (scooped out and cork topped) from the tree and other wooden containers so I also bought a model wooden bead there as well (seen above with a couple of real acorns I had on hand).

I may also experiment with some translucent polymer clays baked over strongly-colored glass beads to see whether that gives a nice liquid-filled bottle look as well.

I bought a few beads to embellish the wonderful felt beads that Hila had sent me in order to make them into three colorful necklaces. Hila can have her choice of the three when they are finished.

(***Microbursts – A small concentrated downburst that produces an outward burst of damaging winds at the surface. Microbursts are generally small (less than 4km across) and short-lived, lasting only 5-10 minutes, with maximum windspeeds up to 168 mph. There are two kinds of microbursts: wet and dry. A wet microburst is accompanied by heavy precipitation at the surface. Dry microbursts, common in places like the high plains and the intermountain west, occur with little or no precipitation reaching the ground.

People hit by a microburst might think it's a tornado. There can be an awesome roaring sound and even a cloud formation similar to a funnel, pushed downward from the cloud to ground by the rush of wind and precipitation.

But the key difference in a microburst and a tornado is that there is no vertical rotation in a microburst. Microburst winds can roll like a barrel along the surface, creating intermittent periods of damage a few miles away until surface friction eventually slows the winds down, but the downdraft itself does not rotate.)


  1. Tornado, and Darkness, and Glass - Oh My!
    Tornado, and Darkness, and Glass - Oh My!
    So happy you're all ok :)

  2. Good ya iz Ok!

    Is Halfland Ok (aargh!)?

  3. I felt that to Herself!!!

    At Lunch time we all went out.....and it was like a horror movie . Total dark and moody vibe....

    By the end of lunch it was all gone though....The sun came back out and it was back to normal.

    glad you didnt get hurt.


  4. Aint spring wonderful?

    Everybody loves spring so freakin' much, don't they realize it's not only rainy season, but also TORNADO season?!??!?!?!?!!??!

    Looks real purty though....

  5. i don't think you're in kansas anymore...

    the window sounds scary! glad all the furry and fleshy beings are okay.

  6. Well, glad you're *mostly* OK! Take care of yourself, k?

    What the heck's going on down there in L.A.?? McG just posted about fire in the hills today, too??

    (Could the fires have somehow caused the micro-tornado I wonder?)

  7. wow, i'm outta breath here trying to catch up! i don't stop by for a few days and everything's all puse colored and tornado-y!

    the new blog style looks great, very soothing, the kid movies are SUPER FUN.....and i really hope your kitty is doing better, that the glass is all gone now, and that your head is healing nicely (maybe you'll get a little scar out of it to tell tornado tales about!).

  8. Oh Shelley, sounds terrifying....glad you all are ok (poor Izzy, as if she hasnt been through enough lately)...I hope all is safe and well....

  9. Those Beads for Mousey Rock, I feel a conection between me and the mouse. Lol

    Do we get to hear more about the un-made background characters like the Handicapped Butterflies?


  10. Absolutely, Ben, thank you for asking about them. Readers will see each character as it develops here.

    The Handicapped Butterflies have a wonderful origin. I saw in my mind in 1993 very clearly the image of beautiful butterflies fluttering in Rana's flower garden. They had brightly colored wings like real butterflies except thir bodies were human in form. Not whole human form, each one was missing either an arm or a leg. Their demeanor as they went about their tasks was joyful as if they were perfectly complete.

    They came to represent the courage and nobility of persons living their lives with added physical challenges.

    Yeeeears later, I was sitting waiting for a ride when a physically crippled woman I know sat down beside me. I was in a grump over something but it dawned on me after a bit that she was talking about butterflies and how the city was covered in them that day because of a massive migration through this area and how sad she was that no one was taking any notice.

  11. Those beads are beautiful, Juli makes jewelry, has supplies all over the house but Ive never seen anything like that...I'll have to google 'felt beads' and send her a link...
    Great idea with the translucent sculpey and glass beads, I'm curious to see how that works for liquid filled bottles (I feel theres a mad-scientist tale in me somewhere :)

  12. Yay, Jeffery, Juli gets her choice after Hila then! I have two yellow ones and one red one left over after that as well that I can put in the package, along with a few bits of several more pretty colors of wool roving that Juli can turn into felt beads as she likes.

    Felting is a satisfying world, once entered, never left. Warn her, our mad-scientist, warn herrrrrr!

  13. Weeee, I'm getting a necklace? lucky me! Lots and lots of thanks :)
    Shel, You know how to make felt beads?
    I'd love to give felting a try!


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