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Flower Soup Mosaics
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If you are following the Soup to Nuts blog, please note that I also have another blog called The Score at It's part of a course requirement, and I update it twice a week. I review products and techniques, highlight artist's work, talk about inspiration, and even include freebees when I can. It's all things glass!


Thanks for following!




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When they're not there or their.

Homophones (a word that sounds like another word but is spelled different and means something different--NOT a phone for same sex couples) cause all sorts of problems for many people. If you are of a certain age, "certain" meaning "old", these words were beat into your head in Language Arts and a subject that was called "Spelling". Yes, we even had text books that were dedicated to teaching us how to spell. (I understand that now that is the responsibility of spell check.) 


But a homophone will trick spell check, and then you have your writing telling someone that you are not "sore from your awesome workout," meaning your muscles ache, but that you some how managed to learn how to fly (soar) after your workout. I guess. Anyway, the there, there, and they're dilemma is all over FaceBook, Twitter, and anywhere else people type random crap. Even spell check underlines each one of those words in green just to help you make sure that you used the one you actually meant to use--if you know which one that is, of course (or if you are homophone confused: of coarse).


I have a solution for this. Let's just pick one and forget the other two. Yes. An English major, former editor and all-around word nut suggested to drop a grammar rule. Everyone knows that language is fluid and it is always evolving. So all of this confusion only makes people like me angry all of the time. If we just pick one, and decide that when you see that particular spelling of "there/their/they're", you will know what it means by the context of the sentence. (God, I hope it's a sentence.) And then people like me can move on to focus on other language abuses and atrocities.


There (or their or they're). Problem solved. 


And if you need a reference for all homophones, here's a resource:


So to be a good sport and not an English major snob, I will share that I recently perpetrated homophone abuse, to my great embarrassment. I was the writer for our Costa Rica team, and my professor found a place where I used "principal" (the person in charge) instead of "principle" (a fundamental idea). It was a first draft, so I hope that I would have picked it up in an edit. Still. Ugh.


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Just When I Got the Hang of it

I worked hard to try to get a tiny little understanding of Spanish before going to Costa Rica. Obviously, three months isn't enough time to learn a lot, but one thing I realized when we got there is how awkward it is to start incorporating a new language as habit. The easiest thing to do is get the basics: hello, how are you, please, thank you, etc. But when I got to Costa Rica, I felt foolish and scared to even use those. I was really afraid that someone would try to continue the conversation after I had exhausted my canned Spanish, and then I would be embarrassed and confused.


After a few days, though, I began to realize something: we all say "hello" and "how are you" all the time and never expect the conversation to go beyond that. So I started using the basics. And it went ok. I never got into a situation where someone tried to extend the conversation. What's even better is that I worked with native Spanish speakers who were willing to help me learn more. 


I was in Costa Rica for 8 days, and it was probably day 6 or 7 before I was more relaxed with my limited grasp of Spanish. It figures. Just when I got the hang of it, it was time to go home.


I'm still learning and practicing more Spanish. I want to be ready for my next trip.

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Costa Rica dia quatro

Bamboo "cave" at Parque del Este

I realized yesterday that I have had the rare opportunity to see Costa Rica in a way that most tourists will never experience. I know that the resorts are lovely and eco tours are special, but we got out into areas that I could never have even thought about.


Yesterday my team went out to interview two families who depend on one of our clients, Centro Diba. We started off going to Parque del Este in San Jose. Costa Rica has such an interesting mix of tropical plants, like palm, yucca, etc, and hardwoods that grow together. The hills are covered with both and create a lush environment. This is the park where the clients of Centro Diba come for their physical therapy. They use the trails, the play areas, and the pool.


Afterwards, we went to our first interview with a parent and dependent individual. As the interviewer/writer it was my task to work with the interpreter (the wonderful Annie) to make the interviewee feel at ease while the cameras were being set up. It's tough to do interviews with a language barrier and I tried to learn as much Spanish as I could to be polite and understand a little spoken Spanish. With the extra consideration of working with disabled individuals, we really wanted to be very sensitive, but everything went extremely well and the result is touching. 


On our way to the next interview, the driver pulled of the road in a random place. We all wondered what was going on. He crossed the road, leaned over a fence, and came back with coffee beans! Straight off of a bush. Our client guide told us we could open the outside, which is red and easy to open with your finger nail, and put the beans in our mouths, but not to chew or swallow them. They were sort of sweet, with a slimy, almost furry texture. Weird, but not totally gross. I can't bring any home, which is a shame, but that was a neat experience.


Then we were off again. The next interview was further out and we took a short detour to check out Braulio Carrillo National Park, of course I was thinking we would get to a spot where you can look out over the rainforest in the way that you stop in the Blue Ridge Mountains. No. There was a stone stair way, and at the top, you have to stop or fall off of a cliff into the rainforest. Seriously. It was beautiful and scary.


The roads in Costa Rica are in bad shape. I mention this because on this trip, we traveled "the most dangerous road in Costa Rica". It reminded me of the Tail of the Dragon in the NC mountains, but in worse shape and with tractor trailers. 


Our next interview was another success and very touching. I came back from our day's work feeling like we can really help Centro Diba. In Costa Rica, if a person is disabled, they can get government help and services until they are 15. After that, there is no additional help. In most families, the mother has to stay home to take care of their child or other family member. Centro Diba allows mothers to work or even just to have a break, because they do not have any age limit when they refuse an individual. 


Annie and I spent all afternoon and even some time after dinner transcribing the interviews. We are getting up waaaay too early in the morning to head off to Manuel Antonio National Park, so I have to save blogging about today for later.


Pura Vida!



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Costa Rica, Dias Dos y Tres

Sugar cane

The past two days have been muy ocupado. Client visits, interviews, videos, meetings--I don't even know where to start. 


Yesterday our team went to the gardens of Molinos Verdes de Moringa. I had fresh sugar cane cut right off of the stalk---loved it!

I also tried "peanut plant" (katuk) leaves, which are not peanuts, but taste like peanuts, and golden fruit, which is wonderful. I also sampled a juice made from a fruit called cas, a member of the guava family. It is SO good. It tastes like a less sweet, slightly tart pineapple juice. It would be very refreshing on a hot summer evening over shaved ice (and maybe with a splash of vodka).


Today we worked with our other client, Centro Diba, an organization that offers services to mentally and physically challenged teens and adults. Tomorrow my group is traveling to do on site visits with families to capture stories and video.


We are always on the bus at 7:30 pm and usually don't get back to the hotel until 4. Then we have team meetings and more client meetings after dinner. Working with two clients in such a short amount of time is truly a challenge. I'd be too optimistic if I said that we are confident, but we are staying organized and have two great advisors to guide us. Still, I'm soooo looking forward to our  free day at Manuel Antonio National Park on Saturday!


Pura Vida!

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Costa Rica, Dia Uno


Today has been so exhausting. We all met at RDU at 4 am for our 6 am flight to Atlanta. To my great delight, though, the metal rod in my leg didn't set off the scanner! So that was good. 


Sometime during the delay in Atlanta, everyone started to feel the effects of getting up at 3 am. By the time the plane had leveled off for Costa Rica, I was napping in my seat.


Getting through immigration was daunting, but only because of the lines. There must have been 200 people waiting to go through immigration and then customs. The check points were straight forward, thank goodness. 


Everyone was in high spirits when we got onto the van. Costa Rica is so interesting. It's windy and warm with plenty of flowers in bloom and palm trees here and there. The way people drive is disorganized despite lights and signs, but I've seen worse in Miami. The motorcyclists often ride between lanes of cars and do about anything they like.


There's graffiti everywhere, some good, some ok, and some really good. The buildings and homes ranged widely from nice with cool iron work detail to run down.


The hotel is a story of it's own ( None of the pictures on their website look anything like what I've seen here. The inside looks like a stucco villa, with stairs that go up to the floors from the middle of the lobby after you pass the check in counter. There's an elevator, but it is so small, only 1 person and their luggage can fit. We filled it with luggage sent it up and then went up the stairs. At each landing, there are 3 Spanish-style ornate chairs. If you look up from the first floor in the dining area, it looks like you are in a courtyard. There's a fountain with gold fish in it, which is cute, but loud. The whole thing says, "We're trying", but the result falls short a bit. They use real keys and when we leave, we have to leave the key with who ever is at the front desk. There's no A/C, and I can't tell if the rooms are heated, either. No sign of vents or heating ducts. We have a big window that allows the breeze in, but also all of the noise.


A train track is just 10 or 12 feet from the window of our room. It's like a short Amtrack and runs from 5 am until after dark in regular intervals. The horn or whistle doesn't sound like any train I've ever heard, either. It sounds like a firetruck horn. Another strange thing about this place is that there are two (very cute and don't look like strays) dogs downstairs that seem to live or hang out or something in the garage area of the parking deck. So here comes the train and then the dogs bark like nuts. Train, dogs.


Our advisor gave us ear plugs. 


We had meetings with two clients also. The last was over at 9 pm.


I wish I had more pictures right now, but I will definitely get some tomorrow--and a video of that train!


But, for now, here's a picture of one of the dogs.



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Espanol and Hollister

I am deep in preparations for the trip to Costa Rica, which means I am going back through the Pimsleur Beginning Spanish 1 course every day and trying to figure out how to pack everything I think I'll need. 


That is how I wound up at The Streets at Southpoint mall here in Durham. I needed a proper fitting pair of jeans and to return a Christmas gift to Hollister. I have never been in Hollister. I actually walked right past it the first time and had to back-track. It has that beach-shack look, which I guess I just don't associate with retail.


Inside, it didn't get better. It's lit like PF Chang's in there. I don't expect to go into a clothing store and have to get out my iPhone light app to see the prices on the tags. Then I had a bit of trouble understanding the layout. One side appears to be women's and the other is men's wear, but then there's this middle section with mostly just jeans. I guess men's and and women's jeans? There were no sales associates on the floor. I actually had a couple of questions, but by the time I had wandered through the store, I didn't care anymore. The clothing styles were just 'meh' and priced higher than I think the quality warrants. I will admit I lived through the first fashion trend of half shirts and have no business (or interest in) wearing one now, but the ones in Hollister were really boring.


At least it didn't smell like Abercrummie, which assaults the senses as you walk past the place. I've never been in there, either--mostly for that very reason, but their CEO is a jerk, so there's that reason, too. It reminds me of a corner gas station I used to stop at. They served hot lunches that included anything and everything fried, including chicken hearts. If I walked in there at lunchtime, the smell of deep fryer grease enveloped me like a cloak and followed me out of the store. I don't want to smell like deep fried chicken hearts any more than I do fancy club models. The music did seem too loud, but it wasn't club music pretending to be hip, drilling that annoying beat into my ear drums. 


I thought I would use the Hollister store credit for my return on something, but nada. No me gusta.



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Oops, Time Does Fly

iMedia logo

Feliz Ano Nuevo!!


I just opened my blog today and realized how ironic it is that my last update was LAST YEAR almost to the day. If I wanted to be really ironic, I guess I could title this blog "New Changes For 2015", but that just seems cheap and would only encourage me to update annually. 


So why am I just now getting around to an update? I'm going to Costa Rica with a group from my iMedia class to work with a couple of clients on their internet presence. We are leaving Monday, January 5 and coming back on Tuesday, January 13. Our advisor, Dr. Amanda Sturgill, requires us to keep a daily blog for the trip, so I'm going to use the Soup to Nuts blog for that. Maybe that will start a good habit, since my blog posts are a bit, uh, erratic.


Here's the FB page for one client:


And the name of the other group is Centro Diba. They have an almost nonexistent web presence. Centro Diba is a day center for disabled individuals.


I will post pictures, too! 


Pura vita!

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New Changes for 2014!

Me and my walker

Season’s Greetings!


I hope that all of my friends, colleagues, and clients have had a productive and enjoyable 2013 and are looking forward to 2014! 2014 is going to bring a major change for me and Flower Soup, so I’d like to take a moment to share my news with you all.


After some searching and planning, I applied to the Master’s of Art in Interactive Media program at Elon University back in the early summer. I was accepted and will start the program in July 2014! It’s hard to relate how excited and anxious I am about this opportunity.  It is a 10-month fast-track program that combines graphic design and technology. The types of work this will open up to me is quite broad and the program allows the students to hone in on their particular interests, which could range from end-user experience design/testing to multimedia management.


So what will this mean for Flower Soup Mosaics? Well, for starters, I am not teaching any contracted classes for the foreseeable future. I will update my “classes” page online with resources for anyone looking for fused glass or mosaic technique classes. There is a possibility that I could teach some small workshops based on local interest. If you are local to the Durham area and would like to be included in any information about such an opportunity, just send me an email and I’ll keep you up to date.


I am not taking any more commissioned work after March 2014. I will not have time to dedicate to commissioned work after classes start, so that should give me time to complete any commitments before July. Also, I still have work available ranging from mosaics to fused glass jewelry. Feel free to contact me about anything that you are interested in.


Although I plan to keep an inventory of work at The Scrap Exchange and Bull City Art and Frame, I do not plan to participate in the art shows that I have traditionally, such as the Durham Art Walk, the Watts-Hillandale Art Walk, and others.


The down side of 2013 for me is that I broke my hip on December 4th, which has slowed me down considerably.  Presumably, I had a stress fracture that cracked when I accidentally fell off my crutches. I’ve had surgery and the bones have been aligned with pins and rods. So far everything is fine, but the healing will take a couple of months. I’m getting around on a walker and trying not to take on too much at once, which is hard at the holidays!!


I do not intend to drop out of the arts scene by any means! If anything, I hope this opportunity will allow me to support my fellow artists and create my own work as I choose.


Thank you so much to all of my supporters, students, clients, and fellow artists. May 2014 be a healthy and prosperous year for you all!

Best wishes,


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Fall shows, Winter/Spring classes

It's that time of year! The holiday shows are on the calendar and I hope I will see some of you over the next two months!


Fall Shows

Dia de los Meurtos Gato

Acrylic on reclaimed glass window


Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department Holiday Vendor Event

Saturday, October 20

9 am to 1 pm

Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department

1409 Seaton Road, Durham, NC


Watts-Hilandale Art Walk

The 10th Watts Hospital Hillandale/Old West Durham Artwalk!  

My host site is Club Blvd.

Sunday, November 4th 



Durham Holiday Market

Friday, Novemeber 16, 5 pm to 9 pm

Saturday, Novemember 17, 10 am to 4 pm

My host site is TBD, but there will be maps.


Craftland at The Scrap Exchange

Novemeber 16 through January 18th

923 Franklin St., Durham (behind Golden Belt)

Store Hours: MTW 11–5, Thu & Fri 11–9, Sat 10–5, Sun 12–5



Winter/Spring classes at Cary Arts Center

Dry Ave., Cary, NC



Fused Glass, Beginning (adult)
4 classes
Mondays, 6:30 - 9:00 pm
January 7, 14, 28, Feb. 4 (no class 1/21)

Teen Fused Glass Art
4 classes
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26

Stained Glass Mosaic Art
6 classes
Wednesdays, 6 pm to 9 pm
Feb. 20,  and 27 March 6, 13, 20, and 27
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