Karen and Diverticulitis

At the end of March, Karen and I were running some errands when she said she didn’t feel very well and would like to go home. When we got there, she laid down but it wasn’t long before she said she was feeling even worse and she would like to go to an “Instacare”. She thought maybe she had a bladder infection or something like that.

They ran some tests at the clinic and determined she did not have a bladder infection and suspected it may be something much worse. They thought she had diverticulitis and said she should go to the hospital emergency room as soon as she left the clinic and get a CAT scan.

Emergency rooms are always a case of hurry up and wait. We cooled our heels, had an initial screening, cooled our heels, had the CAT scan, waited some more and finally the doctor came out and took us to a consultation room where he showed us the results of the CAT scan. For me, who didn’t have any abdominal pain the whole process was pretty interesting. For Karen, less so.

The doctor showed us a movie of the scan as it ran down her body from her ribs to her thighs. He said, “These are the kidneys, here is her stomach, the small intestines, and finally the large intestines.” At the point where the trouble was he said, “See this dark area? That’s a diverticulum and worse yet, it has ruptured.” Luckily, it was in an area contained by the abdominal lining so the infection couldn’t spread very easily.

They admitted her to the hospital and started loading her up with morphine and “high-test” antibiotics. She ended up spending 4 days in the hospital before she was well enough to come home again. During that time she saw our family doctor and a surgeon. The surgeon said she needed to have the part of her intestine where the rupture happened removed. He said if it happened once, it was sure to happen again and the next time, it may be in a worse part of the abdomen and she could get peritonitis which would be very bad. He suggested that she have it done six weeks or so after she was recovered. We penciled the operation in for May 14th.

The Operation

A bowel resection is a serious operation. They remove a length of the large intestine that includes all the naughty diverticula. Then they have to fit the two ends back together and seal them off. It is done laparoscopically. That means they make some small holes in the abdomen and inflate the gut so that there is plenty of room to work around the parts. In Karen’s case there were 4 smaller holes and one big one where the bowel section was removed. In all, 12″-14″ of the intestine had to be removed.

While the operation was going on, I waited in the waiting room. The procedure was scheduled to take about 2 hours but they reserved the room for and additional hour just in case they had any unforeseen complications. At the end of the three hours I still hadn’t heard anything and it was another half hour before I finally did. The doctor came out and said the operation went well. Everything was ok and that she would be in the recovery room for about an hour before they transported her to her room. I have to say I was pretty relieved. But the hour of recovery turned out to be 2 hours, then 2 1/2. I started worrying again and had the receptionist check to see what was going on. Finally she was ready to go to her room. Groggy of course, but awake. I didn’t stay too late because she wanted to rest.

We discovered that if I stayed till about 10:00 at night on most days, it was best if I didn’t get there much before 10:00 in the morning. That was our routine. So there I was the next morning looking at a wife that seemed as if nothing had happened to her.

 We passed the time by having lots of electronics to play with. The hospital has wifi and as bad luck would have it, our wifi at home went out just as Karen went into the hospital. It wasn’t till she was home a few days before we got that fixed.

She couldn’t have anything to eat for the first couple of days. Then she could have clear liquids. Then thicker liquids. Last would be solid food. She had the operation on a Wednesday. Her doctor said that he had to be out of town from the following Friday till the next Monday and that his partner would be in to see her while he was gone. But he did say that she would be in the hospital 5 whole days not counting the day of surgery. That made the next Monday her earliest release date.

She was progressing nicely with her increasingly more solid foods and by Saturday she had done everything they required to release her but the actual eating of solid food. The doctor came in in the morning and said she was making great progress and when would she like to go home? In unison we said,”Today!” He couldn’t see why not so we were in our own home a few hours later.

Just a few days after we got home she wanted to go for a little walk in the country. Here’s how she looked. Pretty good, huh?

Over the next couple of weeks she took it easy, feeling pretty well. Not perfect, but pretty well. A few days ago she had the stitches take out and we don’t have to see the doctor again unless something goes wrong. She should be fully recovered by the time we want to go on vacation this fall.

Posted in Daily life | 6 Comments

Ben for the Weekend

While Lance and Cherise were having their 15 year anniversary honeymoon, we were having Ben. He had his bike with him for his time with us. We had a good time riding around our street that doesn’t have much traffic.

We also rode around at Karen’s old elementary school which had a lot of open space.

Ben on his new bike

Later, we baked another cake. This time it was a white cake with white frosting and multi-colored sprinkles.

The cake with sprinkles

Next on the agenda was roasting marshmallows. It was too much trouble to fire up the fire ring so we chose to roast them on the stove. We took a lot of care to make sure that they did NOT catch fire which is the sloven’s way of roasting marshmallows. Low heat, careful turning, that’s the trick. Perfect roasted marshmallows!

Roasting marshmallows on the stove

Stove roasted marshmallows

 

 

 

Posted in Daily life | 8 Comments

A Week with Wyatt and Augie

Earlier in the year we were thinking of going to California for spring break and visiting Wendy and family. When we called to find out dates, etc., Wendy told us there was a little problem with the plan. Zach had won an honor and his company was going to fly him and Wendy to Italy for a week at a fancy seaside resort. The same resort Justin Timberlake got married at, the Borgo Egnazia resort in Puglia, Italy. That same week the boys had their break. She suggested that they bring the boys with them to Chicago, we meet them there, and we take them back to Cedar Rapids while they were gone. Perfect!

Monday – April 7

The Copleys weren’t scheduled to arrive in Chicago till 6:00 in the evening so we had plenty of time to get there. We always have trouble taking the right road going into O’Hare Airport so I suggested that we just meet at the motel. Zach said there was a shuttle to the motel so we decided on that. In the end, they missed the first shuttle, but they called us when they were leaving the airport and we went down to the lobby to meet them. We had already checked into our room which was right next door to theirs and as soon as they were settled in, we all went across the street to a Longhorn Steakhouse for supper. The boys took the opportunity to capture Grandpa’s likeness on their place mats.

Augie's and Wyatt's artistic interpretation of their grandfather

 Tuesday – April 8

Wendy and Zach’s flight didn’t leave Chicago till 9:30 at night, so we packed the boys up early. Wendy and Zach spent their day going downtown to shop or whatever. We got a new van last year that had a TV screen for the rear passengers but we had never used it before. We figured out how to make it work, mostly. On the drive home they watched Toy Story 3.

Karen had done some research and discovered that there was a John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL. When we were at the Science and Industry Museum with the boys last year, there was a display of several pieces of giant farm machinery that Wyatt and Augie particularly liked. The John Deere Pavilion had all these machines and many more; combines, tractors, bulldozers, rice cultivators, tree harvesters. You could climb up in all of them. They also had some simulators so you could practice running the machines. And it was free to get in.

Augie and Wyatt driving heavy equipment at the John Deere Pavilion

When we got home we showed them where we kept the toys and got them settled into their room. They spent the rest of the afternoon playing and finding their way around the house and yard. For supper we made home-made sausage pizza. Augie helped roll out the crust and Wyatt added the sausage and cheese toppings. After supper we all had a well-earned dip in the hot tub. The hot water took a bit of getting used to for the boys but they were soon lounging by the jets and grooving on it. At bedtime, Karen read stories to end the event filled day.

Wednesday – April 9

Karen had several activities planned for the day. The first was to mix up a bunch of Snickerdoodle dough with her helpers. It has to chill so you can work it properly. After it was assembled, into they refrigerator it went, ready to be rolled and baked later in the day.

Making snickerdoodles

We had also gone to Lowe’s to get a couple of woodworking projects. We got pirate ships and banks.  The boys chose the pirate ships to work on first. We bought a kit for them each and the kits contained about 14 pieces, not counting the hardware and the sails. It was almost a disaster. The kits were made in Southeast Asia somewhere and the steel nails were as soft as copper. They kept bending every time you tried to pound them in. But we persevered and got them all put together. Then we took them down by the shop and spray painted them. We never did get around to making the banks and returned them after the kids had gone home. We would not recommend the kits to any other grandparents out there. The boys were game but it was too hard for them to have any real success without adults doing all the work.

Augie assembling a pirate ship with Grandpa Butch

Wyatt assembling a pirate ship

Our friend, Lynne Carlson is a horse riding enthusiast and invited us to the barn where the horses she rides are kept. One of them was Albert, a “rescue” horse. He is probably a Shetland pony and a little skittish. We saw bigger horses too. The boys were wary of them all but did a brave job of getting up next to them and giving them a rub on the nose. They were most interested in the big round bales of hay stored at one end of the barn and were intrigued with climbing on them.

Wyatt petting Albert with Lynne Carlson

After that we drove a little ways down the road to find my Abbe Creek School letterbox. The boys do some letterboxing and geocaching in California and I thought they would like to find one I planted myself. I gave them the clues to find it verbally. Once discovered, we looked at the journal inside. Most letterboxers register their finds so I know about them, but some don’t and it’s always a treat to see who has found your box.

Augie discovering one of Grandpa's letterboxes

 A little further along we got to Palisades Park. 

At Palisades Park

 

We wanted to stop there because you can get right up next to the Cedar River. Both of the kids had turns at throwing rocks into the river. Augie spent as much time collecting rocks as he did throwing them and Wyatt was particularly delighted with stomping around on the muddy bank, caking his shoes so much he could hardly lift his feet. He thought it might not have been as fun as he first thought when I made him scrape it all off before he got into our clean car.

Skipping rocks at Palisades Park

Next stop, Bever Park playground. This place is just a couple of blocks from our house and is usually pretty fun. They have been there before and like going there.

Augie and Wyatt on the tire swing at Bever Park

Back home it was time to bake the cookies. You get a spoonful of dough and roll it into a ball. You are supposed to roll it around a pan of cinnamon to coat it all over. Last time our other grandson Ben was here he hit upon a more efficient way. Instead of rolling the balls around with the palm of his hand, he moved the pan like he was panning for gold. This is a much easier process and Wyatt and Augie took to it right away. After the cookies were baked we had to try them out of course.

After our supper of Chili dogs for Wyatt, G’ma and G’pa and Corn dogs for Augie, we watched a video of Puss-In-Boots, then off to bed. You may have noticed that we are not maintaining the highest standards of nutrition, but hey, we were all on vacation! And both boys ate huge lunches, always with just a little room for more.

Wyatt and Augie have a hearty lunch

Thursday – April 10

The big activity Karen planned was to go to Des Moines. Our motel had a water park built into the center of it but you couldn’t check in till 4:00 in the afternoon. We had lunch at Bennigan’s which was close by the motel and then went to the Blank Park Zoo. I don’t remember ever going to the zoo when I was a kid and lived in Des Moines, but maybe I did. As we walked in you could hear the lions roaring and we tried to get close up to see them, but when we found them they were way on the other side of the pen and had tired of entertaining the crowd anyway. It was a little early in the season so some of the attractions hadn’t started operations yet. We were sad to have missed the train that goes all around the outside of the park to give you an overview of what was there. They had started running the merry-go-round however and we gave that a go.

Augie on the merry-go-round at Blank Park Zoo

Another thing that interested them was the hippo water fountain. It wasn’t even turned on yet, this early in the year.

On the hippo drinking fountain at Blank Park Zoo

Most of the animals were pretty skilled at keeping you from having a good look at them, but we did see some ostriches and rhino. I don’t think the zoo turned out to be the biggest hit for the boys.

Ostrich at Blank Park Zoo

In the general direction of heading back to the motel, we took a tour of my old neighborhoods. The first house I lived in, on Merle Hay Road was torn down years ago because of termite damage. When I lived there, there was a cluster of commercial buildings around the intersection of Merle Hay Road and Urbandale Avenue. Everything else was residential. But with the passage of time and the ever increasing traffic on Merle Hay, one by one, the houses in our neighborhood have give over to commercial. Of the 8 houses on our side of the street that I consider my home range, only 3 of them are left and one of them is derelict. We did drive by the other house I lived in, at 4111 52nd Street, but it was pretty much the same and of little interest, especially to the kids.

It was a short hop back to the hotel and we played in the water park from 4:00-7:00 pm. The kids had a great time. The park was divided up into different attractions; a shallow pool with a pirate ship that was bristling with little water slides, another stand alone slide, a deeper pool (3’6″-4″ deep), a great big 2-slide 3-story water slide, a lap pool and a hot tub. The kids could go on all of them but the hot tub that was reserved for adults. I made the mistake of taking our electronics poolside. With thousands of dollars worth of cell phones and hearing aids that could get stolen, I figured that either Karen or I needed to stay with our bags while the other grandparent played with the kids. Note to self – leave electronics in motel room next time. I did get a short dip in the hot tub and a cool-off in the tepidarium next to it, but I didn’t really get to do anything with the boys.

Augie on the slide at the water park

 Wyatt on the slide at the water park.

We had dinner in the motel restaurant which wasn’t that great, but it was ok. Three hours playing in the water does wear boys out and Augie nearly fell asleep at the table. When we got back to the room it was bedtime for sure.

Friday – April 11

We had breakfast in the motel restaurant and were in the pool again from 9:00-11:00am. We held it back to 2 hours because we had to get back to the room to check out by noon. We left our electronics in the motel room and without having to worry about anything getting stolen, we had a lot more fun. We all got in the water and Wyatt rode the big slide scores of times. Augie jumped into the lap pool with NO adults there to catch him. He did a great job!

Our plan for the day was to go to the Science Center IMAX and see the movie, Island of Lemurs. The movie was pretty good, but the theater is a domed IMAX and is almost unwatchable. The seats were 6″ too narrow and very uncomfortable.

Island of Lemurs, Madagascar

Once we were back in Cedar Rapids we had chicken quesadillas for dinner and because of all the things we did during the day, we were all happy to go to bed early.

Saturday – April 12

Wyatt and Augie are limited in their screentime at home. But this is vacation at Grandma and Grandpa’s and some of the rules aren’t enforced quite as diligently, hey.

We all went to Target so Karen could buy the kids some clothes and toys. Augie got a ninja dragon action figure set and Wyatt got a tin of Pokemon cards.

Ninja dragon and Pokemon cards

In the afternoon we went to see Mr Peabody and Sherman.

Mr Peabody and Sherman

Later, Greatgrandma Paddy and Greataunt Lisa came over for a visit. We had hamburgers and potato chips on the porch since the weather was so nice. We told the boys it was “family time” which meant chatting, telling stories, and getting to know their relatives which they seemed to enjoy. Both boys are great conversationalists and have a great sense of humor.

17a

I reintroduced Augie to the activity of nail pounding which he particularly excelled at the last time he was here. Wyatt had a shot at it too and also displayed exceptional skill. He also filled the  bird feeders while the rest of us were chatting. At the end of the day we watched Toy Story 1 before going to bed.

Sunday – April 13

In the middle of the night we were visited by a particularly boomy thunderstorm. It continued as pouring rain all the next day which resulted in even more screen time than we we would normally have allowed. Lance, Cherise, Rachel, and Ben visited in the afternoon so it was nice that the cousins got to see each other. We had nachos for dinner, stories and bedtime. This was the first night that Augie asked about his mom. He wanted to call her in Italy but since that wasn’t practical we settled on writing an email about his new dragon. He was satisfied with that and was happy to see her response when he got up the next day. 

Monday – April 14

Wendy and Zach weren’t scheduled to get back to Chicago till 6:30 at night so there was no need for us to break our necks getting there. Before we left I called the motel to see what the arrangements were. There was a problem. Wendy and Zach were in transit the whole time and therefore, incommunicado. I sent Wendy an email hoping she would see it when she got to Munich, but I don’t think she received it till she was already home. The motel had lost any records of our reservation and there were no more rooms available there. Fortunately, there was another motel just across the street so we got a room there. As we cooled our heals in our room, the confinement as a result of the rain yesterday and the long drive today made the boys the tiniest bit naughty. Not too bad, but we sure didn’t want the vacation to end on a sour note.

When we left Cedar Rapids it was a little bit gloomy but it wasn’t raining or anything. By the time we hit Davenport we started seeing just the lightest flurry of snowflakes. The snow increased as we drove along but the temperature was above freezing so it never stuck to the highway. It was starting to accumulate a little in the grass and trees on either side of the road. By the time we got to Chicago and our motel, there was about an inch of pure, white, sticky snow on the tops of things. It was a delight for the boys. They have seen snow before of course, but being from California they are not as steeped in snowlore as their Midwestern counterparts. Augie was right onto trying to make snowballs but wasn’t sufficiently skilled in his technique. I made him a nice apple-sized snowball which he promptly pasted Wyatt with. The snowball fight was on. The snow was perfect, sticky but not icy. Neither wanted to touch the snow directly with their hands so they tried to pull their sleeves down far enough that their fingers wouldn’t get cold. After a while they started to get the hang of it.

When Wendy and Zach finally made it to their hotel we zipped over for the big reunion. Lots of hugs and kisses and stories about the past week ensued! Everyone was pretty tired and we left to go back to our hotel so they could get some sleep.

Tuesday – April 15

The next morning the kids had to leave early – earlier that we really wanted to get up. They hadn’t left by the time we finally did get up though and I had a chance to send them a Bon Voyage text message. We drove home from Chicago, a little sad that our time with the boys was over, but happy with the great time we had with our guys.

At last, on the way home

Posted in Autobiography, Family | 4 Comments

Baking A Cake

We are watching Ben for a couple of days and we are constantly trying to find something fun to do. Karen had the great idea of making a cake. Ben was all for it. We didn’t have a cake mix laying around so Karen decided to make it completely from scratch. They turned on the oven first thing, then got all the ingredients together.

Next up, measuring…

1 - Measuring the Ingredients

Pour in the milk…

2 - Pouring the Milk

A quick stir to get it blended…

3 - Stirring Up the Mixture

Then the electric mixer to get the job done really well…

4 - Now for the Electric Mixer

After it’s put in the oven, we test to see if it’s done…

5 - Testing to See If It's Done

Now for the frosting…

6 - Frosting the Cake

And the final product…

7 - The Final Product

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African American Bikerack Sculpture

In the spring of 2008 the Bike Trails Committee in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, issued a call for entries to artists who were interested in building a sculptural bikerack. There were 6 or 7 locations to choose from and the bikerack for each location was supposed to follow the general theme of where it was to be located. I chose to design one for the Riverside Park skateboard area.

 At the last minute I decided to knock out another design, just in case the first one wasn’t chosen. It was to be located in Maseryk Park, named in honor of Tomas Maseryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia.

 

As it turns out, they didn’t select my skateboard design but did select the one for Maseryk Park. I can’t say I thought it was my best effort and I would much rather have built the skateboard, but it didn’t happen that way.

There was a meeting of all the designers with the committee. It turned out that some of the people who submitted designs and were chosen, were not fabricators. During the discussion I volunteered to make the design for the African American Museum and that proposal was accepted.

A few months later, the worst flood in Cedar Rapids history devastated a large portion of the town along the Cedar River. Most of the bikerack locations were in this floodway so the project was put on hold, for years.

Finally the projects started again but two of the locations had had some vandalism after the flood, one was mine at Masaryk and another was the skate park. It was decided that these two would not be built after all.

I still had the African American Museum project to work on. Early on, the designer of the bikerack concept, Ashley Fulton and I got together and did some web research to see what sort of inspiration we could get. Her design was of the Primordial Couple and we found a very good example from the Dogon tribe in Mali. It looked like it would lend itself to fabrication from steel so we showed it to the Bike Committee and they gave us the go ahead. Bicycles would be locked to the tall, four columned base beneath the actual artwork.

But, as luck would have it, I had my knees replaced in January of 2011 and I faced several months of recuperation. Even after that, I could only work for a few hours at a time and it was very difficult to get anything done in the cold months since my shop doesn’t have a heater. The project dragged on.

Finally by the fall of 2012 I was finished and called my contacts to let them know. It was late in the season and it was decided to wait till Spring when the weather was warmer to install the concrete pad to mount the structure to. All through 2013 we waited for word that it was time to install the piece, but priorities were higher for other projects and it wasn’t till a week or two ago that we got the go ahead. On October 18th I delivered the sculpture and it was installed. Hooray!

 

Posted in Sculpture | 5 Comments

Goodbye Old Friend

Today we sold our 1995 Chevrolet Lumina. We bought it brand new.

1995 Chevrolet Lumina

 

Early in 1995 we needed a new car. We started looking around and since we had had pretty good luck with our Chevy Corsica, we thought another Chevrolet might be the way to go. We wanted one just a little bigger than the Corsica, so the Lumina seemed like the right model. We wanted 4-door model. The Monte Carlo was the 2-door model in this body style. While I much preferred the Monte Carlo, the roof line was much lower and I hit my head trying to slide into and out of it. We also wanted a bench seat and the Monte Carlo only offered buckets.

When we were talking to the salesman, he said we might be interested in a particular car because the price had gone up on new cars after the first of the year. It had features we didn’t want and it didn’t have the bench seats but it was cheaper than the comparable cars only a few months newer. I asked him if they had a list of all the cars in the nearby dealerships. He did and he looked around and found our car at another dealership. They trade them among each other so he sent off for it. A few days later it arrived. Just what we wanted.

Despite the fact that we had him go and get just this car and we had no bargaining room at all and that we had agreed to pay the price he quoted us, he still left us to cool our heels in his cubicle while he made sure everything was ok with the sales manager. I hate that. St Patrick’s Day was just a few days away and the newspaper had a coupon that said if we bought a new car on St Patrick’s Day they would give us $500 rebate. I thought we wouldn’t get it because we were just coming in to finalize the deal, but they honored the coupon which was a nice little treat.

Doug, while we were cleaning out the trunk for the new buyers, we found a bag of lead shot that we used for the counterweight of the trebuchet we so unsuccessfully fired off up at your cabin at Deer Lake.

The Lumina was Karen’s car and she drove it to work every day. By the time we sold it, it had 175,000 miles on it and it had a bunch of minor irritations; some rust, a dent, the driver’s side windows didn’t go down, and the air conditioning needed recharging. But it still ran well. A young couple with car fixing savvy bought it and seemed pleased to get it for the selling price of $400. The dealer where we bought our new van said he didn’t even want the Lumina in trade so we figured everything turned out all right.

Posted in Daily life | 3 Comments

2013 Family Portrait

Every Christmas since Rachel was very young, we have taken a family portrait. For a couple of years, Wendy wasn’t able to make it home, then one year many of the family were sick. The picture didn’t get taken that year either. So when Wendy and family came to Iowa this summer, we jumped at the chance to document ourselves for posterity.

Those of you on Facebook will have seen this a couple of weeks back, but for those of you who only get the Butchie Boy blog, here is how we all looked in July.

2013 Thorpe Family Portrait

 

Ben didn’t want to be in the portrait. I took a picture of him when he was sitting on his dad’s lap and “photoshopped” it in later. His comment, “You know Grandpa, you really shouldn’t put people in pictures if they don’t want to in them.” I suppose he is right, but I hope he will not be so annoyed when he gets older.

Front row: Butch, Wyatt, Karen, Cherise. Second row: Lance, Augie, Wendy, Zach, Rachel, and Ben.

Posted in Autobiography, Family | 3 Comments

A Tradition Continued

Ever since our kids were very young we have decorated birthday cakes for them. This went on till at some point they got too old for it or moved away from home. Luckily, they started having kids of their own so we got to make cakes for the grandkids. Here is an example of one of Lance’s cakes.

BirthdayCake-Lance7

When I was working on a cake for one of the grandkids. Lance said he would still like to have a decorated cake. I very stealthily made an entry in my computer calendar to decorate a cake for him the next time he had a birthday. Well that was this weekend. Cherise said they had watched all the episodes of “Big Bang Theory” recently and she thought he would like a cake with Sheldon Cooper on it. He’s the main character on the show. I thought doing a portrait of Sheldon was a little beyond my skills, but when she suggested the word “Bazinga!”, that I could handle. So Lance got a cake once again and the tradition continued.

Cake for Lance's 44th Birthday

 

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy!

Posted in Daily life, Genealogy | 2 Comments

A New Van

We have been having some trouble with our old van and the muffler is about to fall off our second car so we decided to get a new van. We really liked the old Dodge Caravan so we decided to get a Chrysler Town and Country which is exactly the same as the Caravan. It is a cool gray/silver color called “billet” whatever that means. It has many fancy features including a DVD player for grand-kids with blue tooth headphones and a satellite radio with cool oldies stations. You can sync your phone to it and then answer and call hands-free. (maybe we will actually use that but maybe not)

20130906_174901Web

 

This will be Karen’s car since I got the last one. We leap frog who gets the new one.

Chrysler is offering a 0% financing option so we could get a much nicer car for the same monthly price. It has many more doo-dahs than what we’ve had in the past. We look forward to driving it longer distances that we ever would have considered with the older vehicles. Who knows we may even drive to California.

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Brucemore Garden Show – Year 7

I thought I had been writing up reviews of my participation in the Brucemore Garden and Arts Show all along, but when I went back to look at the things I had written in the past I found that I had only documented the first two years. How time flies. Some of these intervening years have been very good. Others have been dismal or so so.

This year Karen and I collaborated on a new approach. She has been taking classes in glass fusing at the Ceramics Center. She made different “tiles” in various sizes that we incorporated into the steel sculptures I normally make. Some redesign was required to be able to fit the glass in, but the basic design was similar to things I have done in the past.

2013BrucemoreRustySet

True to form, I ordered the materials with plenty of time to make the new pieces, but then procrastinated so I had to work like crazy the last week before the show. I came up with 11 new pieces altogether, with another two ready to be assembled.

Our friends Doug Beach and Lynne Carlson offered to help us set up our area the night before the show and the additional help really made things a lot easier. We got everything put up by a little after 7:00pm.

We set the alarm for early the next morning and were up by a little after 5:00am. That was really hard for us because we hardly ever wake to an alarm anymore. We hustled around and did some last minute things like putting the prices on the pieces and settled down to wait for the first customers.

They started trickling in at the 9:00 start time and within the first hour we made our first sale. I have been arranging “sets” of sculptures in groupings of 3 and this year, people just assumed that was how I was selling them. It is nice to sell 3 at once. I will sell them individually but 3 is better.

2013BrucemoreRedSet

I figured the “baby blue” sculpture would sell first but it turned out to be the red set. The price was enough that all my expenses for the show and the materials to make the new things were covered in that one sale. The baby blue piece did sell next.

2013BrucemoreBabyBlue

By the end of the day we sold 8 of the 11 new pieces and had an order for another set. Karen also sold 2 of her 6″ glass tiles and two fairy houses she made last year.

2013BrucemoreTilesAndFairyHouses

As I was writing this blog entry, a lady who had wanted the red set telephoned Karen. She didn’t buy it when she was in our booth and when she returned a little later, it had been sold. She wondered if I could make her another set and we agreed that we would repaint the blue set to be red and Karen would make her some new red glass tiles.

2013BrucemoreBlueSet

 

Posted in Sculpture | 3 Comments