Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Artists ~ Kim Vredenburg ~ Hope Valley

Artist’s name: Kim Vredenburg

Shop name: Kim V glass


1. Tell us about your work. 
I have worked with glass, in one temperature or another, for over 30 years. My love affair with glass started when our local school district offered a stained glass class as part of their Adult Education program. I’d always been intrigued by glass and signed up. As my designs became more complicated in nature, I wanted to include fused glass details. One day my husband asked me what I would like for Christmas and I immediately told him that I’d like a kiln for fusing. Another year, he asked again what I’d like for Christmas and I told him a basic lamp working kit would be nice. All I wanted to do was create coordinating glass beads in the fused glass jewelry that a local shop was selling. Once that beginners torch was lit I was hooked and the poor fusing kiln sat neglected (but don’t feel badly for it…it has recently been fired up again to create pate d’verre pieces) A number of years ago, I decided to take my glass up a notch and became the first in the area to create jewelry combining torch worked glass with metalwork. When health issues forced me to step back from the torch, I added glass enameling to my repertoire. I am happy to say that I am back at the torch and playing with fire again!

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I've always been creating something. I remember knitting sweaters for Barbie :) As retirement was coming closer, I knew that I would finally have the time to devote to a small art business.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
I am definitely inspired by antique/vintage things. I've been told by an artist friend that I create jewelry with a feminine industrial look. Perhaps it’s due to my love of antiques. Perhaps its due to my fascination with how old things work. Perhaps it’s due to having lived all my life in the area that was home to the American Industrial Revolution?

4. What’s your favorite item to create? 
Even though they are very time consuming, my favorite pieces to create are my electroformed skeleton keys. From the creation of the glass cabochon at my torch through the electroforming process itself, I am always intrigued by what happens. I love the mixing of new glass with vintage keys! I often find myself wondering what was unlocked and who did the unlocking with those keys.

5. What’s your best seller? 
It’s a toss up. I do sell a lot of boro glass beads on horseshoe nail pendants. But I also sell a lot of boro glass hearts, especially the ones that I include a small vintage key as an accompanying dangle. Due to the nature of how the glass reacts to the torch chemistry and the kiln temperatures, no two are alike, even if they come from the same glass rod. 

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
With the exception of my first couple of years, I have always lived in Rhode Island. Is there any better place to live? :)

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
I love the fact that I can live in the country, but can be in a small city within a short period of time. I love the fact that I see wildlife in my yard (ok, maybe not so much when they eat the garden). I love that I can be walking on a beach or meandering in the woods in the same day if I choose. I love the friendly people in our small state. I love doing shows and chatting with people that I chatted with at another show. I love the history of our state. I love local antiquing. I love that my grown children live in the same state and it’s only a short drive to visit with them. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Doing good ~ Ornament Rescue League ~ Providence

ORGANIZATION NAME: Ornament Rescue League
SHOP NAME: Ornament Rescue on Etsy
TWITTER: @OrnamentRescue

Once a year, Christmas ornaments make their way out of the attic and onto the tree, glittering with our warmest memories, shining with our brightest hopes.

Because everyone deserves their chance to shine, the Ornament Rescue League refurbishes old ornaments to create new holiday memories for your family this Christmas. And with all proceeds benefitting Hasbro Children's Hospital, each ornament brings the hope of critical health services for children all throughout the year.

We are a group of friends who have come together to have some fun and do some good. Members of the League range from professional artists and designers to crafting rookies. Everyone's welcomed. All it takes is a little Christmas spirit (and a glue gun!)

The Ornament Rescue League is dedicated to the memory of Jill and Cheryl's mom, Betty McCarthy, a glitter of hope for all who were blessed to know and love her.

Each member takes a different approach to rescuing ornaments which makes our collection eclectic and unexpected. If you'd like to see the rescue process in action, stop by our blog.

For us, no matter where the creative process goes, we love watching the transformation from tattered to terrific!

We're just getting started, but so far folks have responded to our Christmas Lights collection.

In addition, we were honored to be asked by the Frates family to support the Ice Bucket Challenge campaign and Team Frate Train ( with our Ice Bucket Challenge Santa ornaments in honor of all the shivering heroes of 2014.

Our members range in age from 25 to 80, hailing from all parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, one Rhody currently living in Colorado, and one long distance member all the way down under in New Zealand!

Small but mighty, Rhode Island pride runs deep! When we tell people that all proceeds are going to support Hasbro Children's Hospital, everyone beams and buys an ornament!

Thanks to all the family yard sales who have generously donated old ornaments to the cause. We hope you like our rescue efforts!

And finally, if you and your friends are interested in starting your own chapter of the Ornament Rescue League to support Hasbro Children's Hospital (or whichever cause is dear to your heart), reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or the blog. We'd be happy to share our experiences and help you get started!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Read Rhody ~ Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

buy Waking The Merrow (The Merrow Trilogy) (Volume 1)
at Amazon
I picked up Waking the Merrow after reading about the Rhode Island Writers Expo in the Providence Journal.

It's an interesting read. I say that because Evie, the protagonist, is easily one of the most unpleasant people I've ever seen as a main character in a story. She's rude and obnoxious, deeply flawed, with a drinking problem and rather careless parenting skills. I didn't connect with her as a person. To pile on, most of the story is in first-person narrative, so there's no avoiding her unhappy, snarky attitude.

Even so, I found the story to be a page-turner. While I didn't much care what happened to Evie, I was curious to see where the story went. There was a lot of history built into the story, starting with an emigration from Ireland, and ending in today's Pawtuxet Village, with stops along the timeline that include the burning of the Gaspee and a peek at Pawtuxet Village's Gilded Age past. Rhode Islanders will find a lot of the place references and history familiar.

It's no spoiler to say the story involves mermaids (merrow) - a glance at the cover makes that clear. It's the history of the relationship between the sea and land dwellers, and how it culminates in a clash with Evie's family that make for compelling reading.

Waking the Merrow is meant to be first of a trilogy. I'm looking forward to reading the other novels and see how the whole story unfolds.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Museums ~ Museum of Work and Culture ~ Woonsocket

by Mommy

Museum of Work and Culture
42 Main St.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island

We embarked on our first trip to Woonsocket with little more than a destination and skepticism. We weren't sure that we, let alone the kids, would enjoy a museum with the word "Work" in the title. We had not researched the museum at all, so we had nothing more than a name and address when we left home.

What a pleasant surprise! The Museum of Work and Culture took our family back to late 19th century Woonsocket, where the Quebecois-French immigrants came seeking work in the area's booming mills.

This was a fun and educational experience, with interactive pockets that engaged all our kids. We loved pretending to be textile workers and racing to see who could sort bobbins the fastest. Our favorite exhibits were:
Papi: "Pretending to be a union leader rallying the workers."

Mommy: "The Catholic schoolroom, where we learned about what a class looked like 100 years ago."

Pappo: "Pressing the buttons that told us different stories and lit up."

Peeper: "The house where I got to play the piano."

Wren: "I like it princess!" It was a statue of a nun in the Catholic schoolroom, but when you are 2, long dress = princess.

We were happily occupied for a couple of hours, but could have easily stayed a couple more. It was a budget friendly trip, being only $8.00 per adult, and kids under 10 are free. We think this is a perfect trip for elementary school aged children.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

Read local ~ Independent Man Comic

Independent Man
by N. L. Hoffman and E. Fulford

A fun find at this year's Rhode Island Comic Con was Independent Man, a comic by locals N.L. Hoffman and E. Fulford.

Told in a wry, tongue-in-cheek style, Independent Man flies from the roof of the State House to ward off the evils threatening "Provadenz," with the codependent help of his friend Nibbles Woodaway. But don't tell Independent Man he has help. He can do it all by himself.

You have to be a Providence resident and know some of the history to really get the in-jokes that run rife through the pages. There were one or two I wasn't clear on, myself. But the comic could be amusing for those who have a sense of humor about the foibles of our fair city.

I met Ms. Hoffman at the Con, and she promises more adventures for our golden bastion of self-reliance. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Artists ~ Sara Chaffee-Standish ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Sara Chaffee-Standish
Shop name: Sara C. Accessories

1. Tell us about your work
I have a line of bridal purses that are all designed and handmade here in Rhode Island. Each piece is handmade to order which allows me to customize with a personalized embroidery message.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I would have to say that I fell into the profession. It was a very organic process and still is to this day.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration? 
I love old hollywood glamour so I think that my work has a bit of a vintage flair. I also draw my inspiration from the current bridal fashions and trends.

4. What’s your favorite item to create? 
I love creating a new design… although the process can be tedious and frustrating, when the end result produces a product that I am proud of there is no better feeling!

5. What’s your best seller? 
My Ostrich Feather purses are my best sellers year after year. My Ostrich Feather Purse in dove grey has been seen on the red carpet in hollywood and in many different publications throughout the years.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island? 
I grew up in RI but spent 8 years living in Southern California. I recently relocated back to RI to be closer to family.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island? 
Since I've lived out of state for so long now coming back I have a whole new appreciation of lil Rhody. I love the small town feel that the entire state has, I love the beaches, I love the changing seasons (something southern california lacks!), I love exploring the different many different areas of RI.. there is so much beauty in this state!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Events ~ Water Ways Opening Celebration ~ Providence Children's Museum ~ November 8 & 9

Water Ways Opening Celebration
Providence Children's Museum
100 South St.
Providence, Rhode Island
November 8 & 9, 2014. 9:00am - 6:00pm

PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence Children’s Museum’s popular Water Ways exhibit gets a whole new look and will transform the Museum with torrents of fun-filled, imaginative new water play when it opens on Saturday, November 8. This dynamic environment will invite visitors of all ages to splash, discover and playfully experience water in ways new and familiar while investigating its properties in different forms – liquid, ice and mist.

Water is intrinsically fascinating – the ultimate “loose part.” Whether splashing in puddles and bathtubs, floating sticks in rivers, or building fountains at the Children’s Museum, water naturally invites open-ended play and exploration. Water play is a mesmerizing sensory experience that fosters creativity, stimulates curiosity and promotes problem solving for all ages and abilities. It offers children endless possibilities to engage with science – to notice, question, experiment and develop a sense of wonder about the world around them.

Water Ways will immerse Children’s Museum visitors in engaging, interactive new water play as they:

  • Transform the size and shape of billowing mist and water domes by rotating valves that regulate the rush of water
  • Connect pipes to form fountains that funnel the flow of mist and water
  • Send boats, balls and other objects swirling and whirling through vortexes
  • Investigate, scoop and sculpt ice using a variety of tools
  • “Paint” watery designs on a large slate wall and watch as they slowly evaporate
  • Build mazes and dam water cascading downstream with blocks and sandbags
  • And much more!

Water Ways opening celebration at Providence Children’s Museum
Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9 from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Families also join a series of programs exploring water on weekends in November and December. Create water art, paint and sculpt with ice, design and race paddleboats, and more!

Exhibit and activities are free with $9.00 Museum admission. For more information, visit


Providence Children’s Museum – play is powerful!
The Museum is located at 100 South Street in Providence’s Jewelry District. September through March, open Tuesday through Sunday and Monday school holidays, 9 AM to 6 PM, and selected Fridays until 8 PM. April through August, open 7 days. Museum admission is $9.00 per person; always free for Museum members. Call (401) 273-KIDS or visit