Kiln-worked glass plate with candle

A candle for Paul

When a Christmas time news report says that someone died, my heart goes out to the family. This year it is my family grieving.

On December 20 my brother Paul left for work as usual about 4:30 a.m. Before getting in his car, he awoke his teenage son and said good-bye. Iowa roads were icy that Friday morning, another miserable day in what has been a difficult winter across the Midwest. Paul had about twenty-five miles to get to the manufacturing plant where we was a draftsman. With only two or three highway miles to go, he lost control of his car and collided with another vehicle. Paul died on impact.

Frost family last April
Frost siblings
Paul was one of my youngest brothers. He’s third from the right in this family photo snapped last April. As a child he had a cherubic face and a happy demeanor. He preferred working with his hands over careers that required higher education. So after high school Paul earned a barber’s license and worked his way through trade school to become a draftsman. I was impressed upon learning that my kid brother wore a business suit and flew to big-city meetings for the Minneapolis company he was with.

Paul Frost
Paul was down-to-earth and had a wry sense of humor. He was fun to be around and I was so pleased when he drove more than half-way across Iowa to spend an hour with me during my visit to Waterloo last August. Paul loved his wife and held on to their marriage until it became impossible a couple years ago. Then he did what he had to do to take care of his son. Paul was working hard to support the two of them, which might explain why he went to work Friday morning despite icy roads.

Kiln-worked glass plate with candle
Light in our darkness
When you light candles or your Christmas tree this season, please say a prayer for those whose eyes are brimming with tears. Remember that there would be no pain at a death unless we live deeply and love well. Look at the light reflected in your loved ones eyes and thank God for all that is good.

Colorful Christmas ornaments on small glass platter

Simple, stunning centerpieces

One-candle bridge with leaves and blue berries
Candle bridge as autumn centerpiece
When we prepare for dinner guests or for holiday meals, Jay shares the cooking but not table arrangements. Sometimes I don’t think much about how to set the table until it’s time to do it. Then I need a need a centerpiece that won’t take a lot of time to create. With a piece of fused glass and a little something else our table is quickly transformed into a lovely setting.

Red & orange blend candle-bridge with leaves & yellow weed
Glass candle bridge as autumn decoration
While our candle-bridges look lovely with no more than simple candles, they become special with the addition of something from the outdoors tucked in the sides or ends. Last fall the same one-candle bridge had various looks depending upon what Jay found in the yard (he helped by gathering) and what color candle I added. Whether it’s spring, summer, or fall, leaves and weeds are free and easy to find.

The same candle-bridge with a red candle and some holly becomes a winter centerpiece.

Red & orange blend candle-bridge with holly & yellow weed
Red & orange candle bridge with Christmas trimmings

4-candle bridge centerpiece
4-candle bridge with gold and blue trimmings
When dinner is for six or more, a four-candle bridge has more presence on the larger table. The yellow weeds we didn’t get around to pulling out during the summer come in handy. We don’t know a name for a small-leaved shrub that grows at the edge of the woods, but its sprays of silvery-blue berries are fine for autumn and winter arrangements.

Change the blue berries to holly, and the same four-candle bridge is festive for December holidays.

Four-candle bridge as centerpiece
Candle bridge with holly and yellow trimmings

Christmas candle bridge centerpiece
4-candle bridge with holly and greens
Blue berries and holly berries along with some pine pick up the blue, red, and green colors of this candle-bridge to the left.

Red & green candle-bridges with holly & pine
Christmasy candle arrangements
A candle-bridge isn’t limited to one season, no matter what its color. Many with red or green can be used in the summer with flowers or in the winter with evergreen and holly. Match the colors with whatever is in season. The four-candle-bridge in the lower right of the photo taken at our Skytop Lodge exhibit was inspired by rose petals. With some pine and holly sprigs, it takes on a new look. The predominantly red one-candle-bridge with blue “rimations,” in the center of the display, would dress up a table for Independence Day or any American national holidays.

Fused glass pasta bowl with clear globes
“Seamist” bowl with clear tree ornaments
Fused glass bowls, plates, and platters filled with seasonable objects also make festive centerpieces. Choose a bowl that goes with your color scheme and fill it with clear, metallic, or colored glass balls or Christmas tree ornaments. The same kinds of ornaments work well in a bowl in traditional seasonal colors.
Fused glass pasta bowl with clear ornaments
Clear globes on red & green bowl
Or pile colorful heirloom tree ornaments on a platter for the family Christmas dinner.
Colorful Christmas ornaments on small glass platter
Heirloom ornaments on platter

Every one of these centerpieces is eye-catching yet easy and inexpensive to put together. Make the fused glass candle-bridge that looks good on the living room coffee table or bedside stand the center of attention once in awhile. Instead of serving food in your kiln-formed bowl or on your glass platter, serve up a feast for the eyes. Fused glass has more than one use.

Blue & green Skytop rack

Thanks for the weekend

Fused glass pasta bowl with dessert
Butternut Pecan Cheesecake
This Thanksgiving we broke with tradition. It was easier to roast beef and garden vegetables than prepare a turkey and trimmings. Jay cooked dinner, I made dessert: Butternut Pecan Cheesecake. We were grateful for the sense to cut back on the kitchen work and for the pleasures of the good meal.

Stained glass panels
Rhythmic and rondel panels at EMCA
Included in our thanks-giving that day was Marian at the Endless Mountains Art Council Gallery in Tunkhannock. She accepted our glass late. A date mix-up and snowy roads delayed delivery for the gallery’s Holly Days, which began on “Black Friday.” The gallery is open extra hours this month and will help celebrate Christmas in Our Hometown on Saturday, December 7. (Check hours at 507.846.3622.)
Bowls and candle bridges
Fused glass at EMCA
Cardinal ornament and glass
Rondel panel by the EMCA tree

Jay and are glad we get to read good books and we finished two last weekend. Jhumpa Lahiri’s newest book, The Lowland kept me reading every day, sometimes in the middle of the night. Lahiri is a terrific writer who tells a great story. During our weekend travels Jay and I, who enjoy recorded books while in the studio and in the car, finished “reading” Too Much Money by Dominick Dunn. His last book provoked chuckles and guessing at who his characters represented in real life.

Skytop red rack
Fused glass dishes featuring red
Have you ever helped prepare an exhibit hall for a show? Before exhibitors arrive someone must measure and mark the floor for booths and ensure that electrical connections, tables, chairs, and signs are in place. We were among other Pocono Mountain Arts Council members who helped with those tasks Friday morning at Skytop Lodge. Fifty-five or so booths is not a large show and show coordinators Catherine Schratt and Nancy Pitcher had it well organized. Thanks to them and plenty of hands to make quick work of the job. Plus everybody was in a good mood and moved surprising well considering the previous day’s likely overindulgence in food and under-indulgence in activity.

Red & green fused glass
Winter holidays glass
Well before noon Jay and I were loading-in our glass and setting up our own booth. And we were done in time to cook dinner (leftovers) at home. We always appreciate sleeping in our own bed when a show is within an hour’s drive of home.

Hemlock Ballroom, Holiday Arts Festival
View from our Skytop booth
During the Holiday Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday we were thankful for all the beautiful pieces on exhibit and marvelous comments and stories we heard. The young woodworker across from us makes beautiful turned bowls and furniture in the tradition of his West Virginia family roots. Some of the jewelry makers taught me a little about their stones and methods. A visitor to our booth said one large bowl reminded her of Japanese Imari porcelain.
12CLB15 fused glass bowl
Red Speckles classic bowl
Jay and I took time for individual walks around Skytop Lake and to the dam, and visited the Gingerbread House.

All in all it was a good four days.