Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stained Glass

My wonderful husband is a Toxicologist by profession.  But, away from work, he has many interests and talents.  He is a really good cook, he has a green thumb and enjoys gardening, he can paint beautiful pictures, he enjoys kayaking, and he is a stained glass artist.  Over the years, he has made stained glass projects for special occasions and as gifts for those people that he loves.  He hasn't had very much time in the past few years to create with stained glass, mainly because of our kids, household projects, our kids, church commitments, our  kids, helping his parents, our kids, household repairs, our get the picture.  Hopefully, he will have more time in the next few years to get his work area re-organized and have the time to create beautiful stained glass works of art.  I can't wait to enjoy them!

My sweet husband...and no, he really isn't a grouch.  But, he will ham it up for the camera, especially when he is encouraged by our daughter.  I bet he didn't expect this picture to reach the Internet...hahaha!

Yes, this is what he really looks like.  My husband , the stained glass artist.

My husband's father was a landscape architect and had his own landscaping business.  My husband created the beautiful stained glass tree, below, as a gift for his office.  It now belongs to my daughter...but, we are gratefully taking care of it until she is ready for it.  It looks beautiful in our living room...

As stated above, this stained glass tree was proudly displayed by my FIL in his landscaping office.  When he retired, it was moved to my in-laws beautiful log home.

Before my in-laws built their log home on a lake up north, they had a small cottage with a large picture window overlooking the lake.  My husband made these stained glass panels that were placed across the top of the picture window.  The colors were so pretty with the sun shining through them.  When the cottage was removed to make space for the log home, he saved the panels.  Our plan is to frame the panels in two vertical groups of three and hang them in our living room windows.  We will be so happy to have the sun shining through these panels in our home!

Of all of his stained glass creations, this is one of my favorites!  My husband made this for his mother; it used to hang in their log home.

I grew up in this house and have some pretty great memories of my childhood here.  See, that little window on the second floor, the one in the middle?  That window was in my Mom and Dad's bedroom.  As a gift for my parents, my husband made a beautiful stained glass window for this space.  My father absolutely loved it!  Scroll down to check it out!

Since my father's death, my Mom has moved into an apartment.  She brought this window with her and it is now proudly displayed in her bedroom.  It really brightens up her room...and is another one of my favorites.

My MIL, FIL, and  brothers-in-law really love(d) to sail.  This is their joy...their Hobey Cat.
I will admit, even though I didn't have any idea how to sail, I sure loved to ride on it.  I distinctly remember one time when we were sailing, we lost wind across the lake, and had to get in the water and paddle back pushing the Hobey.  I loved it!  My husband made this for his parents so they could enjoy the Hobey Cat all year long, especially in the winter.  It now belongs to my daughter and reminds us of all the fun we had up at the lake.

My husband made this for my parents.  The "doily" was made by my grandmother, my father's mom.  The glass protects the doily and displays it sooo beautifully. 

This is another gift that he made for my parents with dried flowers displayed inside. 

My husband made a number of music boxes.  This one belongs to my mother. 

My husband made this dried flower arrangement and the glass "terrarium" as a gift for both his parents and my parents when we were married.  The "lace" flowers were made of the same lace that was in my wedding dress.

My husband made a number of these leaded glass votive holders.  They are especially pretty at night with the light reflected on the glass.

My husband made this pretty little blue bird for his Mom.  She is a true bird lover and enjoys watching birds to this day!

Young and in love!  This picture was taken in my apartment when we were dating, about to be engaged.  The rest of the stained glass creations, below, are all gifts given to me by my sweet husband.  I forgot that he was so romantic.  Of course, they are all my favorites, too.

This is a music box that he made for me.  Purple is one of my favorite colors.  But, even better, the music box plays "Moonlight Sonata."  My honey used to play it for me on the piano...I love that piece.  Want to hear something morbid?  I want "Moonlight Sonata" played at my funeral.  I have no idea why!  (It's the only part of the funeral that I have planned. ) Anyway, I love my music box and still listen to it every week!! 

This is one of the yellow roses that he gave me when we were engaged.  He dried it, arranged it, and preserved it in this beautiful glass box.  It was been on our bedroom wall since the day we were married.  I love it!  (p.s. He inscribed " I Love You" really tiny on the side.)

This beautiful lamp was my wedding gift from my husband.  I love daffodils and tulips, as you can see.  I think it is truly beautiful and his workmanship is perfect!

 The icing on the cake, a stained glass frame for our wedding picture.  We haven't changed a bit!

My honey...I sure picked a good one!  

Hope you enjoyed my husband's stained glass creations!  I really enjoyed sharing them!

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ukrainian Easter Eggs- "Pysanky"

Pysanky are Ukrainian Easter eggs, decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method.  The word, Pysanka, comes from a verb meaning : "to write" because the designs on Pysanky are written or drawn on the eggs with melted beeswax using stylists called "Krista."  The wax is not painted.  The word Pysanka specifically refers to an egg decorated with a traditional Ukrainian folk design.

My family is responsible for decorating the following Pysanky.  We were lucky to have cousins who learned this great art and taught us how much fun it is really is to decorate Easter eggs.  We haven't had much time in the past few years to make more Pysanky and are hoping to make time in the future to jump back into this amazing tradition.  It is true that the more you do, the better you get.

This happens to be a Pysanka that I made.  Traditionally, girls would give Pysanky with heart motifs to boys that they fancied.  I guess the lovebirds represent my husband and I!

This is another Pysanka that I made with a large star motif.  The "Sun and Star" motif stands for life, fortune, and growth.

The cross on this Pysanka represents the cross on which Jesus was crucified. The cross hatches represent nets.  In other words, Christ's reference to becoming "Fishers of Men."

The ribbons on this Pysanka represent everlasting life.  The seed pods represent rebirth, springtime!

This is one of my son made it when he was pretty little.  Curls represent defense or protection.  I am sure that's what he had in mind when he designed it.  We're calling it a Pysanka since it does meet the criteria for a traditional Ukrainian design, at least I think it's close enough!

This Pysanka was made by my husband.  It has a number of motifs:  Pine needles/boughs represent health, stamina, eternal youth.  The ribbon design represents everlasting life.  This egg also includes a life band, a band encircling the egg.

This Pysanka was made by my son when he was 8 years old.  He used a little more geometric design this time.  Of course, the crosses represent Christianity, the circles could be the earth.

Another favorite, this Pysanka was made by my daughter, long ago.  The triangles represent Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or heaven, earth, and hell.

Decorating Pysanky is a wonderful family project.  The eggs are very time consuming, especially the more detailed eggs.  We were taught to decorate raw eggs, and let the inside of the eggs eventually dry out.  The only problem is if you accidentally break one after you have had it awhile.  Pretty smelly!  Sadly, this happened to a few of ours.  But, as you can see, quite a few made it and still look pretty good.  It is a fun way to prepare for Easter!

There are many websites that have "how to" books available to teach you how to make Pysanky along with the supplies that you need.   I encourage every family to give it a try.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter celebration!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Collection of Teeth???

Yes, a collection of teeth!  As I have mentioned before, many of my collections were not items that I set out to collect.  This collection falls into this category.  But, as you will see, it is pretty interesting.

I have an older brother, who has always been a great brother to me!  We were pretty close growing up and have always had a lot in common. 

My brother and I...looks like a picture from the 50's, right?
My brother has a very creative mind.  He  likes to try new things, learn new information, read, create, problem solve, and have a good time.  He's a wonderful dad, husband, son, and of course, brother. He likes being out doors, and appreciates nature.
Again, my brother and I...this really shows our personalities!
We have had a lot of good times together, and share memories that only the two of us have.

Don't get me wrong, we are typical brother and sister with our share of fights and arguments when we were growing up.  Wait, it was more like teasing and annoying!  Anyway, it was all pretty mild and the fights sure didn't last long.  I wonder what he remembers?

My brother is a forester.  About 35 years ago (wow!)  he was hiking and came across some teeth.  I don't know many of the details.  But, he stopped and collected them and gave them to me.  I love this for two reasons.  First, it makes me feel happy to know that he would think that I would like something like this, which is so true.  Second, he gave them to me because he said he thought that I would probably like to do something artistic with them.  Again, a really nice compliment.  I have had them in my gourd decorations box, and am planning to embellish a gourd some day with them, or maybe something else.  But, we have used them over the years, they were great for "show and tell" at school.

These are probably the teeth of a cow.  However, according to the Internet, it is very difficult to tell the difference between a cow's and a buffalo's teeth....but, it was probably a cow.  A cow has 32 teeth.  If you count, there are 38 here. Huh?

I am not a scientist or a detective, but I am guessing that the teeth belonged to a cow and maybe a calf.   Again, according to the Internet, a calf can be born with 0-6 teeth.  If you look closely,  you can see six very small teeth that I can't imagine could fit into the mouth of a cow with the other huge teeth you see here.

Here is a close up of the grinding surface of the teeth.  I think all the cracking is from age.

Tooth surface.

You can see how long the roots are.  If you compare the teeth, you will see that some look as though they were in the jaw bone longer, as they are discolored.  But, some of the others look bleached out.

Here is a smaller tooth, but still quite a bit larger than the possible calf's tooth.

Here is what I think is one of the calf's teeth.

Notice the difference in size.  I would love to hear what you think...any ideas on the extra teeth?

Now, these are tooth models that a dentist gave me.   I don't remember why...But I think they are really great. They are made of plaster.  Again, another good "show and tell" item.

Here's another view to show you that they are pretty big.  I am still trying to think of something to do with them. 

For some reason, my dentist gave me these.  They aren't my teeth.  I think that they might be my son's.  He was hit in the mouth with a rock when he was in middle school and the rock broke off two of his teeth.  The dentist put caps on the teeth and I think this is the model after the caps.  I am not sure, though. I should have labeled them.  But, I probably thought I would never forget whose teeth they are.  It's kind of amazing that I did!

Here's my son...we were very safety conscious as you can tell!  Anyway, check out his teeth, he' got a few missing, right?  Now scroll down......

Yep, the Tooth Fairy returned his teeth after collecting them and I have a little jar of my son's baby teeth.  According to the Internet, all children have 20 baby teeth.  I only saved 15 and have no idea what happened to the other 6.  Yes, I can add correctly, but my son had 21 teeth, because he had an extra tiny little tooth next to his left front tooth.  See the tiny little tooth?  He had lots of nicknames and one of them was "Double Tooth!"

And here is my sweet daughter, she seems to be missing a tooth, too. Scroll down......

Yep, the Tooth fairy was very efficient.   Another little jar of baby teeth.  But, I have 16 of her teeth, only missing 4.  Now, when I pulled her jar of baby teeth out of my drawer, most of her teeth had broken into pieces.  I have no idea why.  She is five years older than my son, so maybe his will break later on.  Anyway, it took me forever to fit them back together and Super Glue them.  Now she will have them forever...except that she thinks all of these teeth are disgusting!

Last but not least, this is the tooth of a prehistoric shark.  It actually belongs to my son, the engineer.  But, since it is still in our house, I will count it a part of my teeth collection until he moves it out!  Sounds fair to me!

When I was researching cow's teeth on the Internet, I found that there are a lot of people that have collected teeth from animals, snakes, fish, etc.  My collection pales in comparison to theirs.

Anyway, if and when I figure out how to use the cow's teeth artistically, I will certainly share the results.  Have a nice day!