Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - The Reveal!

Welcome to the 3rd Bead Soup Blog Party!

What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?

Each beader was paired up with another jewelry designer and tasked with sending the following:
~ A focal
~ A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)
~ Some coordinating spacers or beads

Using the focal and the clasp was mandatory, but we could use anything from our own stash to round out the rest, and choose to use the coordinating beads or not.

This is my first time doing the Bead Soup Blog Party and I am mighty pleased to be here. But I just gotta say, as primarily a jewelry component designer and mostly put a focal on a chain kinda girl, this was challenging. In a good way, mind you.

My partner is Melissa Meman and here's the beautiful bead soup she sent me. There are faceted amazonite and white howlite, amethyst nuggets, and czech glass beads. And then there are the goodies she made herself.... A fabulous copper toggle clasp, 2 enameled beads, and not one, but two focals.  Melissa couldn't decide which focal to send me and I couldn't decide which one to use. Both are beautiful. So I had to come up with a solution.

In fact if you think about it long enough, those enameled beads are bit like focals as well. So now I have not one, not two, but four focals to work with. So this is what I did. I added my own handmade copper bead caps to the enameled beads and then suspended the pendants Melissa made from those beads.

Here's my solution. I had a lentel that I'd fabricated out of etched copper sheet some time ago. It was sitting there waiting for me to make others so I could let this one go. So I made a copper hook at the bottom of it so I could slide either pendant onto the necklace.

I chose to work with the amethyst nuggets and added copper links and czech glass coins to make a chain for the necklace. This is a long long neclace. It's about 22 inches and then add the focals at about 4 inches, we are talking very long!

Here's a close up of the clasp that Melissa made. It is a thing of beauty and I knew from the start that I didn't want to hide this at the back. So now we are talking five focals and for a hang it from a chain kinda girl this was challenging!

I'm calling this necklace "Have it my way" because I can wear it like this.

And if I'm in more of a teal mood, I can wear it this way.

Thanks Melissa for sending me such a fantastic bead soup!

There's a lot of people attending this party. I do hope you get a chance to hop around to see what these many talented designers are up to.

Many thanks to our party host, Lori, and the countless hours she's put into organizing this wonderful event.

Come see what the rest of us made! 

1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Kitty Durmaj, Perles and Life 
3.  Michelle Heim, Life In the Bead Lane 
4.  Lisa Petrillo, Lucid Moon Studio
5.  Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
6.  Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
7.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
8.  Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
9.  Heidi Post, Ex Post Facto
10.  Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio

11.  Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
12.  Rachel Walsh, Balanced Crafts
13.  Marian Hertzog, M's Place
14.  Mary McGraw, MK's Musings
15.  Sarabeth Burke, Chronicles of Sarita
16.  Deci Worland, Gem Trails 
17.  Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
18.  Laura Zeiner, Stick Lizard Designs
19.  Kristin Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
20.  Cathryn Brooks-Williams, Chile Cats

21.  Holly Westfall, Silver Rose Designs
22.  Janna Harttgen, Palima-Lim 
23.  Libby Leuchtman, Libby Leu
24.  Rebecca Anderson, Songbeads
25.  Deb Hunter, Living On Air
26.  Diana Ptaszynski, Suburban Girl Studio
27.  Jennifer VanBenschoten, VanBeads 
28.  Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
29.  Cyndi Lavin, Beading Arts
30.  Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul

31.  Stefanie Teufel, Stefanie's Sammelsurium
32.  Patricia Gasparino, My Life Under the Bus
33.  Tari Khars, Pearl and Pebble
34.  Kristi Bowman-Gruel, Kristi Bowman Design
35.  Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
36.  Becky Fairclough, Chameleons Designs
37.  Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead & Metal Works
38. Lynne Bowland, Islandgirl's Insights
39.  Barbara Lewis, Painting With Fire
40.  Lorelei Eurto, Inside the Studio

41.  Stacy Hartis, Sissy & Jack's
42.  Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
43.  Marcie Abney, La Bella Joya 
44.  Johanna Rhodes, Fire Phoenix Creations
45.  Nan Emmett, Spirit Rattles 
46.  Melissa Mesara, One Eared Pig  
47.  Amanda Davie, Articulations
48.  Cherin Poovey, Lanyard Lady
49.  Virginia Joste, ViviBijoux

50.  Andrew Thornton, The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
51.  Lori Dorrington, Lori's Glassworks
52.  Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
53.  Kate Gardenghi, Tropical Blonde
54.  Serena Trent, PinkIce Jewel's Blog
55. Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin de Koning
56.  Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
57.  Francy Inman, 8 Second Studio 
58.  Amy Freeland, Copper Diem
59.  Lisa Liddy, Joolz By Lisa

60.  Sandi Lee James,  Do Be Do Bead Do
61.  Mary Harding, Mary Harding Bead Blog 
62.  Stacey Curry, Star Hitched Wagon
63.  Leslie Gidden, Mad Maggie Designs
64.  Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
65.  Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
66.  Linda Djokic, Lutka and Co.
67.  Tracy Bell, Copper, Glass, and Recycled Trash
68.  Laurel Steven, Rue's Daftique
69.  Ingrid McCue, Wrapped In Silver

70.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
71.  Diana Hawkey, Diana Hawkey
72.  Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
73.  Jeanette Ryan, Jeanette Blix
74.  Jackie Ryan, Silver Lodge Gems
76.  Debbie Goering, Prairie Emporium 
77.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art 
78.  Jana Trupovniece, Stories of the Secret Garden  
79.  Amy Severino, Amy Beads 

80.  Emma Thomas, Fred Beans Nook
81.  Karen Zanco, Everyday Gypsy
82.  Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
83.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
84.  Dana James, Dana's Jewelry Designs
85.  Kristina Johansson, Wild Roses and Blackberries
86.  CJ Bauschka, CJ Bauschka
87.  Angela Barribea, Re: Angela Rae
88. Marcy Lamberson, Studio Marcy
89.  Tanya Floyd, Glass Migrations

90.  Lisa Kavanaugh, Beading Bliss
91.  Sue Hodgkinson, Hello Gorgeous 
92.  Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Bead 
93.  Nally Parfyonova, Nally's Creations 
94.  Karyn White, Releases By Rufydoof  
95. Emanda Johnson, Artemisia Studio 
96.  Sandy Richardson, Sandy's Coloring Box
97.  Cindy Dolezal,  Cindy Dolezal Designs 
98.  Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
99. Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads

101.  Nicole Valentine-Rimmer, N. Valentine Studio
102.  Jacinta Meyers, Jamberrysong's Creations 
103.  Charlene Gary, Gray Girl Studios
104.  Rubiee Hayes, Glitter and Keys Galore
105.  Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
106.  Elizabeth Freeman, Turquoise Sky
107.  Shelby Foxwell, Sundown Bead Designs Rhetoric
108.  Lynda Moseley, Diva Designs
109.  Grace Danel,  Grace Beading
110.  Lois Moon, Que Onda Quitman

111.  Agnes Shapiro, Beader Bubbe 
112.  Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo 
113.  Judy Glende, Judith B. Designs
114.  Mary Ellen Parker, Bee Tree By Me
115. Barbara Bechtel, Second Surf
116.  Charlene Sevier, The Bead Dreamer
117. Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles 
118.  Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie 
119.  Ronda Adams, The Ravished Heart 
120.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe Designs 

121. Anna Lear, The Laughing Raven 
122. Susie Hibdon, Vintagesusie & Wings  
123.  Amanda Austin, Sea Shore Glass 
124.  Jennifer Velasquez, Jen Judd Rocks 
125.  Hazel Ward, All Those Things 
126.  Brenda Salzano, Salzanos 
127.  Dee Gordon, Runako Designs by Dee 
128.  Anna Denisova, Anita-M 
129.  Margaret Saari, Mags-Jewelry

130.  Genea Crivello-Knable, Genea Beads 
131.  Penny Neville, Copper Penny
132.  Angela Blasingame, Hopemore
133. Helena Fritz, Beadwork by H's Blog
134. Stephanie LaRose, Confessions of a Bead Hoarder
135. Stephanie Haussler, PixyBug Designs
136. Diane Cook, Rosa & Josies  
137.  Maryse Thillens, Glass Bead Art
138.  Jennifer Pride, Jewelry by J.P.
139.  Shannon Chomanczuk, For My Sweet Daughter

140.  Lisa Godfrey, Bead Happy
141.  Heather Pyle, Welcome to My  Muse
142.  Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
143.  Liz DeLuca, Creative Arty Facts
144.  Sig Wynne-Evans, Beaded Bear's Nonsense
145.  Loretta Carstensen, Loretta's Boutique
146.  Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads 
147.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul 
148.  Shelly Graves, Stars Dance With Me  
149.  Jess Italia Lincoln, Vintaj Blog 

150. JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
151.  Carrie Tahquechi, Carrie T
152.  Staci Smith, Staci Louise Originals
153.  Katarzyna Kwiatkowska, Quiet Area 
154.  Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
155. Magdalena Sikora, Poranna Gazeta
156.  Nicole Keller, Nicki's Reef
157.  Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
158.  Noemi Baena, Fire, Metal, and Color 
159. Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman 

160.  Barbara Blaszczyk, Labotorium Flory
161.  Collette Collins, Firefly Myst
162.  Carola Greiser, Polymer Clay Shed
163.  Joanna Kopijczuk, Bizuteria z Filcu
164. LeAnn Weih, Summers Studio    <<<-----------------You are here
165.  Cassandra Watsham, Design by Cassandra
166. Anna Motz, Stunning
167.  Shea Zukowski, Gr8findings
168.  Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
169.  Lisa Boucher, Lisa's Clay Happenings

170.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
171.  Alison Crenshaw, Beads by Earth Tones
172.  Dorcas Midkiff, Wondrous Strange Designs 
173.  Melissa Rediger, Sea of Glass 
174.  Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre  
176.  Menka Gupta, Menka's Blog
177. Patsy Evins, Patsy Evins Studio
178.  Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
179.  Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux

180.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
181.  Lyn Foley, Lyn Foley Wearable Art
182. Tara Plote, The Newbie Beader's Blog
183. Natalie Schuetz, Natalie S Perlen 
184. Kim Hutchinson, Running on Ink
185. Haley Frank, Wide Eyed Smilin 
186. Grace Caputo, Suddenly Last Summer
187. Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp, Skye Jewels 
188. Erin Siegel, Erin Siegel Jewelry 
189.  Janea McDonald, Organized Chaos

190.  Kristi Evenson, Colie Bug & Co.
191.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
192.  Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
193. Whitney Lassini, Whitney Lassini
194. Nancy Schindler, The Rabbit Muse
195. Pam Brisse, The Blue Between
196. Beth Bricker, Vintage Sweets
197.  Ruthie Stickney, Rose Works Jewelry and Gifts
198.  Rose Noble, Lady Noble Designs
199. Karen Williams, Baublicious

200.  Claire Maunsell, The Next Bend
201.  Christine Damm, Stories They Tell
202.  Kerry Bogert, Kab's Creative Concepts
203.  Wendy Blum, Sand & Sea Designs
204.  Juli Cannon, Julsbeads
205.  Jenny Robledo, La Dona Boutique
206.  Krista French, French Elegant Jewelry
207.  Pam Krinski, Ewa Beads
208.  Melissa Meman, Melissa Meman, Art, Life, Love
209.  Dana Jones, Dana's Jewelry
210.  Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bead Soup Sneak Peek and an Award!

The time is near, very near, and more than 200 fabulous people will be posting their bead soup creations on Saturday, 26 February. I even have mine done! Photographed and ready to go!!! I am ahead of the schedule, at least for me. So plan for a leisurely Saturday of visiting these wonderful people who've turned out for this wonderful event organized by the oh so lovely Lori at Pretty Things. You can find a link to every thing in the world, OK, everhing in the world related to the Bead Soup Blog Party right here. And on Saturday, an unusual blogging day for me, you will find links to all 200 plus participants right here on my very own blog.  Yes, and my very own Bead Soup reveal.

(Shhh, my finished piece is a lot more done looking that that teaser photo up there. It even has a surprise thrown to me by Bead Soup partner Melissa Meman. Challenged I was by a bounty of goodies to choose from! So do come back and see how I solved the riddle.)

I got doubly blessed with a blog award today, by my friends Gunilla and Mary Ann. Gosh, golly, am I loved or what? Sooo part of this award is to reveal 7 things about me that you may not know and presumably might find interesting, if not amusing. So here we go....

1. I don't like breakfast. I eat left overs from the night before. I like soup for breakfast.
2. I like breakfast for dinner, cereal, pancakes, scrambled eggs are all fair game at supper time.
3. I love my dogs just as much as I love my children. My children are happy with that because they love my dogs just as much as they love me.
4. I am short, really short, like not all that much over 5 feet tall but not quite that wide. I do have a tall attitude and feel like I am about 5 foot 10 inches tall.
5. I don't much care for brocolli even though I know it is good for me.
6. I really, seriously really, like the combination of purple and green.
7. All of my dogs and cats have been named for family members.

Now, this is probably  much more information than you probably wanted to know about me. But it is all true! (Sadly). I am supposed to pass this on to 15 people. Seriously, there are so many bloggers that I admire. I know this is a total and complete cheat but I'm just leaving it all to you. Yes, broken chain, I know and I'll suffer those consequences silently.

But do go give some blog love to my friends, Mary Ann and Gunilla.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Elvis is alive, well, and 8 feet tall

It's true! I have seen Elvis. I've just come back from my daughter and son in law's wedding reception. They were married by Elvis in Las Vegas on Valentines Day. I've seen the video and Elvis was wearing a very form fitting black outfit, covered in sequins, playing the guitar, singing, and walking my daughter down the aisle. My daughter may be tiny at about 5 feet tall but I swear to you Elvis lookied to be about 8 feet tall. Maybe it was the platform shoes?

Doesn't she look pretty? Derek isn't too bad either. Yes, I know, I may be slightly biased. That's them on the way to their wedding in a pretty swanky car the make of which I don't know. But I do know a swanky car when I see one.

 They got married here at Graceland Wedding Chapel in a small ceremony with just them and their best friends as witnesses. I figure if Graceland was good enough for Bon Jovi, it might just be good enough for my daughter. No photos yet of the actual ceremony. They are on order and I promised not to link to the video. The truth is I wouldn't know how to do that but I felt pretty virtuous making that promise that I knew I was a shoe in to keep.

This is my favourite photo of them taken back at their hotel just after the ceremony. It's their favourite photo too. I actually liked it slightly better before they cropped it down. Up there on the top left of the original photo is a neon sign, yellow letters on deep blue background, "Peep Show" with fairly tame graphics. However, they didn't feel that the sign was in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, so snap, out it went.

We are so pleased to welcome Derek to our family. In less than 6 months I've gone from having a son and daughter to adding a son in law, daughter in law, and grand daughter. I couldn't be happier!

Blessings, Sarah and Derek!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Iteration and Intersection

Recently, Deryn at Something Sublime, wrote a post, What Not to Do, something she had told herself she would never do. It's about copyright and making things your own and it is a wonderful post. It's a prickly topic which I think Deryn has done a lovely job of addressing. It's a very supportive and positive post and definitely worth reading and giving some thought.

As it turns out, I was in the middle of making drawings for a new design. I was definitely inspired by a zen tangle tile I had seen done by another artist. I thought it might be interesting to take you through my design process, at least the on paper part, and then show you where the inspiration came from.

Rarely, maybe never, does a design spring from my pen to paper to a model in one step. It's an interative process for me. I draw out what I see in my mind. Make little adjustments. Start over. Redraw, refine. Each time I put pen to paper it seems that I see something new. A little tweak that might feel better to me.

This is the final drawing from which I made my mold that I used in ceramic and metal clay.

This is the tile that I loved, drawn by Christina Vandervlist shown here on her blog. See there that flower pattern in her tile? I love that. I'd thought about doing something as a texture plate and then as I was working on that concept when the idea to just do a flower seemed to work for me.

The intersection part of this whole thing is that when I contacted Christina to ask if I could post her tile, I found out that she is a bead weaver. I only knew her from the zen tangle community. She's been a bead weaver for 37 years, taught at Bead & Button and Bead Fest. Her work is published and her Traveling Spirits have been featured on the cover of Beadwork. I love and admire all things bead weaving and seed beads. How extraordinary is it that I would be inspired to make a jewelry component by a drawing made by a jewelry maker that I've never met?

In Deryn's post she references a published letter by Heather Wheaton, editor of Art Jewelry magazine. Apparently, there are all sorts of rules of thumb for how much of an alteration makes something your own, 10%, 20%, 30%.....  One of Deryn's DO's is to "Allow that transformation to take place and release the original artistic voice within."  Good advice!

As visual people we aborb images from everywhere. I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge that . For me, iteration is a process that allows me to absorb those images and let them come out as my own. In that process, I have time to reflect on what I am saying, what resonates with me. And I'll tell you with absolute certainty, that with the bitter cold we've been having, flowers and blossoms definitely resonate with me.

Thanks Christina for your lovely field of flowers and the inspiration.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The miracle of Walter

Walter is a cat. Walter used to be our cat. When we left Melbourne 7 years ago we faced a very hard decision. This dear sweet boy, all curled up in a perfect circle had a health condition, cardiomyopathy. He would not survive a 24 hour journey from Australia to our new home in the United States.  In fact, it was unlikely that he would live much more that 6 months.

I remember well when Walter came into our lives. I was sick in bed with bronchitis. Our neigbor came to the door wondering if we would take in a kitten that got hung up in their shrubs. It was mewling and their puppy was having nothing of this intruder. Sweet Peter said, ah umm, and me, from what felt like my death bed, called out, 'yes, of course, we'll have that kitten.' Oh, so very long ago.

Walter went to live with friends that were generous enough to take in a cat that maybe had no much time left. They loved him, he got to watch cartoons every day with their wee little toddler. We lost touch and I've often wondered about Walter and of course our friends.

Just a little while ago, we got photos of Walter from our friends. See those ears up there? We had to have Walter's ears amputated because he had sun cancer on the tips. This is a recent photo of Walter. He is now 17 years old, 7 years older than anyone thought he would be. An absolute miracle that this old boy has made it to this grand old age.

Thanks Em, Rob, and William! We still love Walter and feel oh, so, blessed that he has a loving home with you.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


It's taken me years to come to terms with making a buddha piece. I've made a few in porcelain that have been given away to friends. They were pressed from a mold I made of amulets that I brought back from Thailand a long time ago. That was when we were still living in Melbourne and it was just as easy (and no more expensive) to fly around the world with a stop over in Europe and Asia as it was to fly home to the US and back to Australia. I know that might sound a bit glamorous, but 15 hour flights aren't really a picnic and having to spend that much time away from home is draining. But I did love the opportunity to visit Bangkok.

I bought these amulets from an amulet vendor outside a wat (temple). They, like most amulets, are thought of as giving one protection. They also serve as a reminder of the Buddha's teaching. In Thailand all images of the Buddha are considered sacred. You see, 90% of Thais are practicing Buddhists and it is a very religious country. You see monks in safron robes every where. It is quite beautiful.

So my dilemma in making these pieces was the sacred part of the image and respect for where these amulets came from. The amulets I have are not by any means precious in any way other than their significance in a deeply religious culture. Amulet vendors are a common sight and people do in fact buy them as travel souveniers.  I have a deep respect for these amulets and their role in Thai life. It just did not feel right to make a cast of them.

The absolute calm of these amulets speaks to me. So I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about them and what was in them that was doing the talking, doing the calming, making me think, making me let go. I made drawing after drawing. Finally I finished with what said to me most, the essence of these amulets. This buddha has hands in his lap, right resting on the left. The meditation mudra, the final meditation and balance. It seems to me to be the essence of what we all strive for in life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Soups On!

The Bead Soup Blog Party package from Melissa Meman arrived on Saturday. Oh, I am over the moon happy with what Melissa sent. Totally different from what I might normally work with but so completely beautiful and inspiring. For beads there is amazonite, howlite, amethyst, and Czech glass in beautiful colours. 

And then there are the pieces she made herself, starting with this gorgeous toggle clasp in copper. I love hammered copper and the washer part of this clasp is beautiful. But then there is the really lovely spiral toggle bar. I've been looking and looking at it and just admiring the beautiful wire work that went into making this clasp. I'm thinking this clasp needs a special spot in whatever I end up making.

And I got not one but two enameled focals handmade by Melissa and two beautiful enameled beads that she made. Choices, choices. I want to use them both. In fact, I have a little idea simmering on the back burner of just how I might use them both in one piece.

Thanks Melissa! I love it all and just how did you know that purple and teal are my favourite colours?

Saturday, February 26th

Over 200 participants and heaps of fun, inspiration, and beauty.

Mark your calenders!

Friday, February 4, 2011


I let the random generator pick winners this time. Alice just wasn't up to it. It's the cold. It's got her a little down. The snow has covered up all of the pecans that she loves to eat and it gets into the pads of her feet. Well she's a little miserable with it, fair weather southern dog that she is.

Oh, yes, the winners! Counting up comments from here and here, and making this a much more difficult task than entirely necessary, the random generator pick number 5 and 8.  Congratualations Lorelei and Judy!

Just in case you are wondering. The good karma thing kinda sorta worked. We now have running hot water in our kitchen. We stood around watching it start to unfreeze drip by drip last night, 36 hours after putting the heater in the sink. It was a little like watching paint dry but oh so rewarding. The cold water is still frozen but the pipe is not burst. Life could be worse.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay warm and toasty!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brrrrrrrr, It's cold even here in Texas

This is all I've done today. Put the finish on a handful of bronze pieces. I had planned on doing some work with clay. But guess what? The clay is frozen out in my garage, sitting next to the kilns that aren't working because they are confused about the sudden drop in temperature here.

Yesterday, I woke up to some of this. Yes, I know, this is nothing compared to most parts of the country. Just a mere dusting of snow. But there's very little snow removal equipment here, the wind has been blowing, and it was a mere 1 degree out this morning when I got up. This kind of 'severe' weather brings things to a stand still here.

And this is one of the things that came to a stand still. That would be the underneath of my kitchen sink with the pipes that are frozen. That odd looking white panel in there is the heating panel from the garage that is used to keep the clay and the kilns from freezing.

I am not happy with this situation.  And I really hope that the fairies will come in during the night and clean up the cabinet under the sink.

But I am so happy you all stopped by on Monday and liked my hearts even with their little flaws. So happy that I'm going to give one of them away. I thought I'd just combine it the give away of the bronze heart. You've still got until tomorrow night to enter for that and you can do that here. In fact, I am going to let you enter another comment so you get two chances. I figure when you have frozen pipes in your kitchen that's just a sweet bit of good karma I can spread around  in the hope that maybe my pipes won't actually burst.