Category Archives: Travels

Glassblowing in St. Louis

Check another one off the list! On November 3rd, I took a glass blowing class at the Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. I’ve been interested in the topic ever since reading books on the subject and visiting the island of Murano in Italy (prized for its glass blowing). I was nervous beforehand since the closest I’ve gotten to glass blowing is watching just a few minutes of men working in Murano and at the Silver Dollar City amusement park in Branson, MO. I bought the book ‘The Art of Fire’ by James McKelvey which laid out all of the basic steps to glassblowing. There are a lot of them!

Once we arrived at the factory we were greeted by the sight of urban sophistication – the entrance was a large room clearly meant for entertaining, and further inside there was a beautiful gallery:

… and the hot shop blocked off by glass doors for easy viewing:

Once we got started we dove right in, practicing moves with props before we started with the glass. We repeated different steps, learning them in sequence so we could eventually each make a cup- kind of like learning the steps to a dance so you can string them together. Finally each of us students (the three of us) were able to work as a team to make our cups.

Forming the basic shape in the new gather of glass:

Sitting at the bench creating the jack line after gathering the glass and blowing the first bubble:

My team helping out as we formed the bottom of the cup:

Connecting the punty to the bottom of the cup in order to work on the opening of the cup:

Flashing the cup in the glory hole- this was a constant. Working with glass basically means controlling the heat. That and always turning, turning, turning the piece! This was sort of a restful part, since it sits on rollers that greatly assist in the rolling, but I still kept thinking of Harry Potter’s Professor Moody- “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!” lol:

It was SUCH a fun experience, I had a great time.

My cup was delivered, and you’ve never seen such a sad, messed up sucker. But honey, I love it. It has a trumpet top, bubbles, marks from the tools and a slightly wobbly bottom, but it also has so much character. And let’s be honest- it’s a GLASS CUP that I made!! So cool. I think I may make it a vase though. That trumpet top is just calling for some flowers.

The finished product:

After the class was over I was so tired and ready to eat! We looked up a close restaurant and found Rigazzi’s- the oldest restaurant on the ‘Hill’- with the same family ownership and true Italian recipes.

The manicotti was amazing!!

It was such a fun day, enjoy this video of my experience. I tried to set it up in a step-by-step of the process. Curtsy of my amazing dad that photographed/video taped almost the entire process! (Which, by the way- takes much longer than the video!):

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St. Louis Shenanigans

We spent  our last morning in St. Louis visiting- of course- the Gateway Arch. It was fun to explore the surrounding area and sight see a little. Next time I’d like to spend more time downtown and in the Forest Park area. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from our day!The last picture is where we parked for $4… DOWN BY THE RIVER!

Coming up soon- my glass blowing class!

Road trip to St. Louis!

On November 1st I took off work along with my parents and we set off on a road trip to St. Louis!  I had signed up for a glass blowing class on Saturday and decided to make a fun weekend of it.

We took the scenic route as any good road trip must include- so after stopping for a BBQ lunch in Concordia, MO we zipped south and hopped on highway 50. The trip was gorgeous, but so hilly we all felt a little car sick. It was a long drive, but very fun- and a good opportunity for me to finish reading the beginning glass blowing book I had purchased, and to catch up on a little napping. 😉

We stopped at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO for a 30 minute walk

We stopped at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO for a 30 minute walk

Photo op on our 30 minute walk break! (Please ignore my unhealthy McDonalds...)

Photo op on our 30 minute walk break! (Please ignore my unhealthy McDonalds…)

We climbed the old fire watch tower- and could see Missouri's state capitol!

We climbed the old fire watch tower- and could see Missouri’s state capitol!

Driving tour of Hermann, Missouri- such a cute town!

Driving tour of Hermann, Missouri- such a cute town!

Pretty rooftop in Hermann, Missouri

Pretty rooftop in Hermann, Missouri

I wish I could have a camera attached to my retinas sometimes- there were so many things I would have taken a picture of – including someone’s yard that was so completely full of Halloween decorations I’m surprised they could get inside their house, beautiful drop-offs and views, and a gorgeous sunset as we made it to St. Louis.

Up next- a blog on our shenanigans in St. Louis on Sunday. After that is my glass blowing class on Saturday. I’m waiting on the cup I made to be shipped to me so I can take pictures of it before I post anything. 😉

Road trippin’ to Colorado!

The weekend of July 28th through Tuesday July 31st Anna and I road tripped it across Kansas and through Colorado to Anna’s sister’s family in the burbs outside of Denver. We had a fantastic trip, seeing the Rocky Mountain National Park, exploring Boulder, CO, having our own Olympic competition in their living room, and hanging out with Anna’s niece Evan who is the cutest and sweetest little girl you could imagine. The video above is a compilation of our trip- enjoy!

*Sorry the music is inappropriately dramatic at times- I had to switch it up with what I originally had. It’s better than silence I suppose. Or if you prefer silence just turn it to mute- there are points where the original video sound plays though. The next movie compilation (whenever that may be) will be much much better, I promise!! 🙂

Why I love London, England

5 years ago my friend Danielle and I were lucky enough to go to London and Paris before heading onto a sketching and photography tour of Italy with our studio girls in college. The Olympics (along with the wedding of Will and Kate- and the Diamond Jubilee) have me dreaming of London and wishing I could go back. We only had a couple of days there but it’s left an impact- between braving the English rain, walking all over creation, mastering the Underground system, exploring London’s sites, touring Windsor Castle, and seeing the Phantom of the Opera on stage (in the first row center!!), it was a trip of a lifetime.

My own tour of London- circa 2007:

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Omaha, Nebraska

The weekend of July 7th we visited family friends in Omaha, Nebraska. Like normal we went to the Henry Doorly Zoo and had a blast! The zoo “features the largest cat complex in North America; “Kingdoms of the Night” is the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp; the Lied Jungle is one of the world’s largest indoor rainforest, and the “Desert Dome” is the world’s largest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world. The Zoo is Nebraska’s number one paid attendance attraction and has welcomed more than 25 million visitors over the past 40 years.” We started out in one of my favorite areas, the Lied Jungle:

    

    

After the jungle (which was so much fun!) we went to the aquarium. I love this place, it’s a must on the list every time we go to the zoo:

    

    

I’ve never been on the Skyfari before- it was so much fun!!!:

We walked down to the giraffes and the outdoor penguins- the penguins were hilarious, standing at their door waiting for food to come. I’ve never seen this area so deserted. Probably because of the heat, but I’m not complaining!:

The next morning we attended church with our friends and got to hear Matt play his violin. He’s so good!!:

After church we had a nice backyard lunch and had fun with their pet bird:

We saw a squirrel stealing an apple right off their tree too! The boys had a great time chasing it:

Info from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Doorly_Zoo_and_Aquarium

Europe 2012- Day 15, Flight back to America

So this is it- the very last day of our European Adventure. We had to wake up very early again. We took the bus from Busingen to Schaffhausen, then the train from there directly to the airport in Zurich:

    

On the train to Zurich we were treated to a beautiful foggy morning with flashes of color and light and texture:

At the airport in Zurich we had some time to explore the duty free shopping areas. Must say, I thought it was awesome that the packaging on the cigarettes had to say ‘Smoking Kills’ in huge lettering:

Ready for our crazy long flight:

    

Edge of France:

At least the entertainment was good- our on flight movies were ‘This Means War’, ‘Big Miracle’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Game of Shadows’! 🙂

    

    

We had a couple hour layover in Atlanta, GA and got back to Kansas City around dinner time. We stopped to eat at Wendy’s and then got back home and all fell into our beds, dog tired. We had an absolutely amazing trip, we’ll remember it forever! 🙂