Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sunspots Studios -- Glassblowing

It’s spring and there is a light at the end
of our homeschooling tunnel! 
It feels like a good time for a little field trip. 
We had a day outing, and one of our stops
was watching the glassblowing at
Sunspots Studios in downtown Staunton, VA. 
(I could go to downtown Staunton and be happy
 just roaming the streets – it’s so beautiful!)

At the studio there’s a lovely shop full of hand blown glass.  
(Hold on tightly to your children’s hands!!)
In one corner of the shop is an unobtrusive door.
On the other side of this door is where the magic happens! 
People are free to sit on bleachers and watch the artists
create beautiful pieces from glowing globs of molten glass. 
It was fascinating!

One word of warning:  I’m more of a ceramic kind of girl
and not so much in love with fine glass. 
But… after watching these men at their craft,
I had a very strong desire to go back into the sales room and start buying! J 
It’s so lovely!

This is the white hot beginnings (comes out at around 2,400 °F)
being shaped with a wooden “ladle” soaked in water.

Heating the glass again.  
The hose over the artist's shoulder is attached to the pipe,
 and he blows into it
to create hollows in the soft glass.  

This mold will cause a swirl design in the finished product.

The end design this artist was working on looked sort of like these bowls.  
I didn’t get a photo as he whisked it away to a “cooling oven” 
where the glass cools very slowly overnight to avoid cracking.

There were bits and pieces of pretties scattered 
all around the workshop among the tools.

Back in the gallery there were collections 
of beautiful glass for sale.

"I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; 
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 89:1

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Unexpected Faces

Have you ever suddenly noticed a face
that’s been right there all along,
but you’ve just never realized it?!

We have them in our house. 
And when I started thinking more about it,
they all seem to be in the bathroom.
 A little disturbing maybe? 

Anyway, just for fun, here they are!

A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Maybe you’d like to take a few minutes
to consider these little works of art 
crafted by some of the small feathered creatures we take for granted. 
Every bird builds its own specific nest,
made with certain materials, woven in a particular way,
distinctive to its breed. 
It’s truly amazing when you take the time
to consider these little bits of God’s creation!

This is most likely the nest of a Red-eyed Vireo
 that hangs its nest from twigs
and binds the grasses with spider’s webs.

 These nests are some from my mother’s collection. 
She’s skilled in the in the knowledge of birds,
and my information here comes from her expertise! 
I appreciate the hands-on love of nature
that she passed down to me.

Another tiny hanging nest secured
with spider’s webs.

 And a quarter to show
just how small it really is! 

A tightly woven nest interlaced
with spider web.

A woodpecker’s residence. 

 The more rustic style
twiggy home of a Cardinal.

The swinging bag style nest made by
Baltimore Orioles using string
and long horse and cow’s hair.

A nest made of hair,
most likely by a Sparrow – probably a
Chipping Sparrow.

This little Goldfinch nest fascinates me. 
It’s woven so tightly into the crotch of twigs
that it looks like it would hold water. 
It’s lashed to the twigs with spider webs.

And here… just look at this perfect, miniature,
Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s nest! 
It's so perfectly formed with lichens.

And again, a quarter so that you can
marvel at its size! 

Here’s the nest of the familiar Robin. 
It’s a good sturdy home,
 lined and held together with mud mortar.

The speckled wing feathers of a
Downy Woodpecker.

And last of all,
another perfectly tiny 
(less than two inches across)lichen nest,
camouflaged to look like a knot on this branch.
This is the fragile nest of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

“What is the price of two sparrows--one copper coin?
But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground
without your Father knowing it.”
Matthew 19:29

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It’s the Season for…

It’s the season for…
Toughening up the tender white winter feet again…

 And Swinging.

 It’s the season for…
Loosening up the soil…

 And planting seeds – some indoors
and some out.

It’s the season for…
Sunshine so warm that puzzles
should be done outside…

And postponing housework
until two weeks of laundry
absolutely cannot be ignored any longer!

 It’s the season for…
The daffodils to dance in the breezes again…

And wondering when I’ll find time
to sew spring things…

 And tasting a few tidbits of green things
from the garden.

 It’s the season for…
Wishing I didn’t have such bad allergies
and could turn this into and arrangement…

 And the first ride of the year.

 It’s the season for…
Bouquets picked by little girls
(which had to live at Grammy’s house not ours)…

 And finding the flowers, jackets,
and such forgotten for better things!

 It’s the season for…
Buds opening wide…

 And joy for simple things of life.

Oh, that we might know the LORD! 
Let us press on to know him. 
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn 
or the coming of rains in early spring."
Hosea 6:3

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