Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Where to start. . .

Hmmm, we've been traveling a LOT, so I haven't had the internet capability to keep up with my blog of our trip and all we've been doing and I just KNOW, you're dying to know what we've been doing, LOL.  Well, if you're really interested, I have to back up a tiny bit.

You know we've gone to Albuquerque for the WONDERFUL Balloon Fiesta.  Then we went to Las Vegas so I could attend Clay Carnival Las Vegas 2012.  That was WONDERFUL, too.  It was exhausting and difficult for me as many of the classes this time were WAY out of my comfort zone, but I learned so much, reconnected with some "old" friends and made some new friends, and all in all had a wonderful time.  But now for the back up part.  for Clay Carnival, we always have a swap, where we swap polymer clay items with the other attendees.  In the past we have always made some kind of polymer clay "poker chip" (a poker chip sized and usually shaped polymer clay item).  Mine have always been cane slices.  This year; however, the decision was made to swap "inchies" which is a 1" square item made from polymer clay.  As I described it to a new CCLV attendee:  "They are any 1" x 1" square decorated any way you want. They could be slices from a square cane. They could be a square base with some type of sculpture on it or could be a faux look, like faux ceramic, they could have a molded item on them like a flower or leaf or dragonfly or frog from a mold. You could make a veneer sheet with flower canes all over it that you then cut into 1" squares. They could be a square with flat dots of differing colors or a square with little clay balls of varying colors on it. It can be anything you can imagine, but in a 1" square format.

I personally already had the item I wanted to swap done before the decision was made to make inchies, so my first swap item is sculptural, and not an inchie at all, which is okay, too. But then the conformist in me felt guilty, so I also made a 1" cane and cut slices of it so I have an inchie to swap, too. One year I was there, someone had a guest with them, at the pizza party, that didn't do
clay at all, she still wanted to participate and brought beautiful, intricate tatted ornaments to swap and that was okay, too, LOL. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy whatever you do."

Usually we have the swap with a pizza party on the last night of the Clay Carnival.  This year it was decided we would have the pizza party and swap on Friday of the 4 day Clay Carnival (which was the second night this year, rather than the last night).  I really liked having it on Friday, there weren't the sad, exhausted overtones of the usual good byes as when we had it on the last night.  As usual, it was fun and chaotic and crazy.  We have carnival games where everybody wins silly and fun prizes.  There is also a "raffle" for special prizes and scholarships for the next year's Clay Carnival.   

The classroom I was in, this year, is called "the Rowdy Room" for obvious reasons, we have a real true balloon tying clown in our classroom and we're loud, and noisy, and a bit profane, but we have a lot of fun.  Some of my table mates (as well as "Rowdy Room" friends) at the Pizza Party. 

Gracie, our clown, is on the right with the big eyed yellow top to her head band.  I won't explain the rest of this photo, but Clay Carnival attendees, especially the Rowdy Room gang and our poor instructor, KC who was the butt of many of our pranks this year, will understand. 

Then we have our swap:
Here I am swapping while wearing  my flower hat, courtesy of Gracie the Clown. 

Since Mr. C was there as a guest at the Pizza Party, he was forced to be part of the fun, too (in spite of himself, LOL).  Gracie Clown was kind enough to not make Mr. C wear a clown headband/hat, but made him his own "manly purple sword" to take in hand: 
When a friend took the first picture and started laughing uproariously and said, no that won't do, let me take another one, I didn't understand why, until tonight when I was choosing pictures for this blog post:
This one is the second one:

This one, however, was the first one she took.  Now I know why she took a second one.  Thanks, Janis for taking the second picture, too. . .  (although I think this is one of the very very few pictures we have with Mr. C actually laughing).  So even if it looks a bit risque, it's a very special picture to me, LOL. 


I was, previously, not able to share the items I made for the swap ahead of time as it would have spoiled the surprise, so although these were made this summer, I can finally share them.

As stated above, I had already made my swap item well before the decision was made to swap inchies.  I also didn't make the usual poker chips, I wanted to do something different that was near and dear to my heart.  As you may or may not know, I've been entranced with making dragon sculptures this year.  So, I made tiny (close to an inch) dragons, each one holding a "wish bottle" with dragon wish potion in them.  The bottles had stoppers with eye screws in them, so they could either be set out as a miniature sculpture or worn as a pendant.  Here are some pictures of my swap dragons.
Every dragon seems to take on his/her own personality, so although they are similar, no two dragons are exactly alike.  Their tails are different, their wings may be different and their ears and head decorations are different. 

Each dragon is signed, with my signature cane, and dated.  

Here are all of them, neatly laid out in rows: 

and all bunched together, over 90 miniature 1 inch "Wish Dragons"  They were so much fun to make.

However, then, because I am a truly a conformist at  heart, I began to feel guilty for not making inchies, so I also made this cane, reduced it to 1 square inch in size and cut slices for my "inchies".  Poor little baby dragon, crying and holding his teddy bear and tail because he's doesn't want to go to bed because he's afraid there are "children hiding under his bed". 

As usual, some people choose not to participate, but since I made plenty, I gave them to anybody, even if they had nothing to swap.   
 Here is the pile of over 80 of them, ready to go in the little bags with the dragon sculptures:

I also made special dragons for each of the instructors.  These are my special "Heart String Dragons":
Each of these dragons was 4-6" tall, the bottom of each is signed, with my signature cane of Sue C and dated.  My "signature" HeartString Dragons are each named and have a card with them stating their name and what a HeartString Dragon is: 
"HeartString Dragons are kind, caring, loveable dragons that tug at your heart strings!  Each has a safely enclosed, but visible, heart to show that even dragons can be loving and caring.  Every HeartString Dragon is a one of a kind; named, signed, and dated, work of art; lovingly created by Sue Castle (Sue C) out of Polymer Clay, glass embellishments, real gemstones, and/or crystals.

Your specially crafted HeartString Dragon's name is __________________.  He/she is a wish dragon with a special bottle full of wish potion to help all your fondest wishes come true.  He/she was created in 2012 by Sue C."

So this summer, although I wasn't blogging, I was busy creating tons of dragon friends for the Clay Carnival, Las Vegas, 2012.  Now, at last I can share what I was doing.

The inchies I received as swap items were just as varied as the people attending Clay Carnival.  There were people there from all over the world:  South America, Israel, France, just to name a few.  

This one really sums it all up, LOL.

This one had a cane background, some fish cane slices "floating" in resin in the foreground.

I believe this one was made with the help of a nephew who did the origami surrounding the pretty cane slice. 

France, of course. 

This one is another example of using a cane slice as the background and then layering flowers and a dragon fly in the foreground. 

This one used texture to make it appear to be actually knitted or crocheted or fabric. 

Some also had messages or agendas that are important to them:

Last but not least, the last one just means something to me personally.  This artist had many different sayings but this is the one that meant something to me:

So, this is long enough and I'll close for tonight, although I have much more to post about Clay Carnival 2012, as well as the remainder of our trip.  Smiles, Sue C

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh my, what an expected treat!!!

WOW, is all I can say.  What a surprise and treat we had this morning.  After watching a most fantastic fireworks display last night, (Balloon Fiesta fireworks, which were about the biggest, best, brightest I've ever seen, even from 5 miles away) from the fence line of our campground, we went to bed around 9 pm.  We woke up a bit early and decided to just stay in our jammies and go do some computering.  We didn't have anything pressing to do this morning.  We're meeting Mr. C's folks around 11 for brunch at Sandia Casino Buffet, so the morning was ours to just relax and do nuthin', if we so choose. 

Suddenly we heard a huge whooshing noise, Mr. C says, "Is that the wind?"  I didn't know, but it quit.  We heard the noise a couple more times and finally I raised the blinds a bit (remember, we were still in PJs and didn't have the blinds open yet) and found out what the noise was:  It was the whoosh of the "burners" heating the balloons that were going right over our campground!!!  Wheee, these first two were taken out of the window over our couch (for those of you who know how our fifth wheel is set up), with our neighbor's trailer in the lower left hand corner. 
You can see how close they were.  So, I quickly threw on pants, put on my jacket (no shirt, just the jacket) and zipped it up and out the door I ran, in my slippers, camera in hand.  There were balloons all around us, over us, beside us, landing in the field just outside the campground, one in the street that goes to our campground.  What a beautiful sight, the sun shining brightly and balloons, balloons, EVERYWHERE.

I ran back to the trailer and hollered for Mr. C to get some pants on and come out and see. . .   Then I started walking towards the fence by the road and here are some more balloon pictures to show you what I saw: 

  The shark was in the air, so was baby bee (and I didn't realize yesterday, the reason baby bee has a special seat is because his pilot is handicapped and uses a hanging chair since he can't get into or stand in a basket).  Our campground neighbors who are crew to some of the balloons were filling us in.  What a fantastic reminder to not accept our limitations as hard and fast rules.

What a very special unexpected treat, after the fabulous fireworks last night, we figured that was the last we'd hear/see of the Balloon Fiesta.  I couldn't believe they were so close and so many, seems like even more than yesterday. 

Well, that really made my day a special one.  I ran inside, got dressed completely and immediately sat down to share this wonderful treat with you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Smiles, Sue C

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A wonderful big surprise!!!

While we were attending the Balloon Fiesta, we had another big surprise (aside from the Dawn Patrol "Glows").  The Balloonists had decided to have their shaped balloons at the Mass Ascension on Saturday since everybody had missed them on Friday.  It was fantastic:

This post will be filled with mostly pictures (and remember, not all of them by any means, just my favorites and the ones I think my family will enjoy the most).  There's a special one just for my son-in-law M, and another for my son N, but they'll have to find them.  There are also lots my grands will enjoy.  I wish I had had them there to see them for themselves. 

As I explained in the previous post, the Mass Ascension is all the balloons flying (or tethered, as some didn't take off) that day, taking off one after another within seconds of one another.  It was beautiful and awe inspiring.

The Mass Ascension was started with this balloon holding the American Flag while a local trio sang a beautiful version of the Star Spangled Banner.  It brought tears to my eyes, as Verle and I stood saluting our flag as it rose into the air.  Most people near us stopped whatever they were doing and watched, but it is so disheartening, to me, to see how few men removed their hats or anyone saluted, but at least they paused and watched: 

Here are a couple distance shots over the field as the balloons were being filled:

Then came the shapes, the glorious shapes:

Remember, they all had official names, but I didn't write them down, so you'll have to fill in the blanks or I'll give you my interpretation:

One of my favorites was Baby Bee (I think Bitsy Bee) who had a special seat rather than a basket.

Baby Bee was quickly followed into the air by Mom and Daddy Bee. 

They always try to "lift off" while having a special kiss and hug and then hold hands while flying.

Now just some favorites in no particular order, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

There was also an attraction that wasn't balloons, but was still impressive, to short me, anyway:

The following ones were tethered and did not take off, but they were big and impressive.

Here's one of a bunch of balloons in the sky at one time, during the Mass Ascension: 

There were lots more, but I'm going to stop here, as there are more than enough to look at for one post.  I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did.  Smiles, Sue C