Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Irene Downtown New Bern Facebook Page

Since I am incapacitated I feel helpless with so many people needing help to recover from the hurricane. I am doing what I can, sitting here in my home.

For a couple years I have been maintaining a Downtown New Bern Facebook Page. On this page I generally post special events going on in Downtown New Bern. Well since the hurricane people have been asking questions about where to get help, whats going on, and so on.

So I've been passing on any information I have, mostly concentrating on Downtown New Bern but when I do know something about an outlying area I am posting that too.

Wish I could be out there delivering food or shoveling. I'm so sorry I can't!

Here is a link to our Downtown Facebook Page, don't know if you need to be "on" Facebook to see it or if anyone can.

Jan Francoeur

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday after Irene

Finally! Got a good nights sleep Saturday night, woke up to a Sunny crisp day. That is the only good thing about a Hurricane is when it blows out it leaves clean, cool, dry air!

This morning no telephone, internet, tv, cell phone weird. Limited service, very spotty. Could text but could not call. Finally about 6 pm tv, phone, internet came back on and cell is a little better.

Many surrounding areas still without electricity.

Many, many, many trees down, my friends house across the river burned down saturday because the road was flooded and blocked by downed trees so fire department could not get there. The were marooned and had to use a skiff to row to the neighbors.

Many neighborhoods without power, probably for several more days because of the number of trees and lines down.  That is what we love about living Downtown, we usually don't lose power but if we do we usually get it back quickly, helps to be 1 block from City Hall. Flooding all along the river. We are just lucky that the wind was not higher.

Feel very fortunate that our home and business was not damaged. Our thoughts are with those that did not fare so well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene Saturday

Thia i our corner taken from our 2nd floor
this is the corner of pollock & e front
NOT a river!
Went to be early (for me) at 10 pm last night hoping to get some sleep. Wind started picking up a little at 11:30 so then couldn't go back to sleep. The water is coming up our street from the river. We knew it would and have seen it before but it's still disconcerting, especially that early in the approaching hurricane.

We have lived on our corner since 1993 and have seen the water over the corner of Pollock and East Front many times, say probably 7 times. We have only seen it really high once before, during Bertha and the leading edge of the water on Pollock Street was at the Harmony House. We have seen photos of a boat at City Hall. Hoping and praying it doesn't get that high this time. During Bertha once the wind shifted it was like flushing a toilet, whoosh and it went away just like that.

1:20 am, the wind and rain is coming in waves.
Another hurricane, don't remember which one when the wind shifted it sucked all of the water out of the Neuse at New Bern, the only place there was water was in the channel. Very odd.
1:42 50 mph gusts right now, not looking forward to 75.
2:17 arghhhh can't sleep

That's the Pollock St Deli, notice water in front
Water is almost to the intersection of Pollock and E Front
3 am it's higher!!
6:30 water within 1 foot of our front door.
9 am the water is going out some!!
9:30 still in western eyewall, 74 mph winds sustained.
10:20 still blowing pretty good
Hopefully the water won't come back up, it shouldn't, it got as high on Pollock Street as the Meadows Inn, that was the leading edge.

Blew the entire day.

A little higher, yikes!

Looking across the street at
Persimmons surrounded by water

Yet to the south the street is dry, just a little bit higher

Our Corner!
Had internet cell, tv, and phone all night until 9 am. Then everything went out. The storm continued and was actually worse until about 6 pm

Friday, August 26, 2011


Go away! 

New Bern is on the Neuse River, where it is about 1 mile wide you can see on the map where it opens into Pamlico Sound.  Downtown New Bern doesn't usually flood from rain, it floods from wind.

Water piles up in the sound and as the rivers get narrower there is no where for the water to go so it floods. As far as tides, we don't have tides in New Bern but if the tide is high at the beach it means more water to be pushed into the sound, ergo more water for New Bern! We ARE lucky that is has been dry here, unlike New England.

Our house is about 100 feet from the river.  We built our house/studio in 2007 and one of the things we told the architects was that it needed to be hurricane proof, as much as anything can be. We will see how well they did! That being said, we LOVE our location. Right now I'm laid up so other than going to the hospital/doctor I've been home. But it's not a bad place to be stuck. I grew up on the water and can sit and look at it forever.

We have spent the past couple days getting things up off the floor on the 1st floor, which is our pottery, Michaels workshop, and garage. We'll take the car Downtown and put it behind Carolina Creations which is 8 feet higher than the 1st floor of our house. Just finished loading a kiln and are firing it now. It takes 10 hours to fire so should be done before we start to have high water. If it gets wet it will be ok once it's fired. When it's done we'll go unplug all the kilns and hope for the best. We think they'll dry out ok. Too big to move.

Our biggest concern is our gallery. It is at 14 feet but if we have a 10-11 foot storm surge, that's a little too close for comfort. We'll keep our fingers crossed!! This is what the city is saying "hurricane winds expected to reach around the center of the hurricane 70 miles and tropical storm winds reaching 290 miles around the eye of the storm." We are about 40 miles west of Cape Lookout, 100 miles west of Cape Hatteras.

At 11 am this is what the WITN website says -
POTENTIAL LOCAL IMPACTS: Note: These potential impacts are based solely on the latest NHC forecast and certainly could change with future updates. Most of the listed impacts will occur from Saturday morning through Saturday evening.
WINDS: Hurricane force winds of 75 mph up to 100+ mph are possible primarily east of highway 17. Winds of 40 to 75 mph are possible from I-95 to highway 17. The further east you are the greater the wind threat. Widespread power outages are likely, along with some structural damage...especially east of highway 17.
WATER RISES: Water level rises of 6 to 10 feet are possible over the Sounds and along the Outer Banks. 4 to 7 foot rises are possible up the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers. Low lying areas will be susceptible to flooding.
RAINFALL: 3 to 6" of rain will be possible west of highway 17, with 6 to 12" possible east of highway 17. Widespread flash flooding will be likely. Be extra careful around stream, creeks, culverts, and any areas of running water.

It keeps talking about Hwy 17. Hwy 17 is 1 block from our house. At this time they were saying it would go between Cape Lookout and Ocracoke.

One good thing, the worst is supposed to be between 6 am and 6 pm on Saturday. It will be light out, there is nothing worse than a landfalling hurricane at night.

Brian at the Sun Journal was down yesterday and took photos of Michael putting up the storm shutters. here is a link to his photo. It's our first hurricane since we have had them. They are stamped "approved for Dade county" so we're hoping they'll do their job. Won't do much for flooding though.

Lou took some photos too., thanks Lou!

Way to go Michael!

Will post again to let you know how we fared.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blown Glass Ornaments

We sell our blown glass ornaments all year long. People often hang them in their windows, much like we have them in our window at Carolina Creations. Another thing people do is put them in a bowl. Here I've shown how I have them on my dining room table.

It's a nice thing to collect. For some it's the thing they look for as they travel. Looking at each brings back a memory of where they got it.

As my friend Jude says - art is functional, it lifts your spirits every time you look at it!

Each of these ornaments is made by hand and here is how it is done.....
The method of making blown glass ornaments or sometimes referred to as hand blow glass ornaments has changed very little over the years. As they say "If it ain't broke don't fix it" Blowing of glass started in Roman times whereby a gather of molten glass would be gathered on the end of the blowpipe and air blown into the other end to expand the molten glass into a bubble.

The blown glass bubble can be swung by the glassmaker to elongate the piece to the required length and shape to produce various types of vessels. During this time the glass item being made, still attached to the blowing iron, would be put into the glory hole from time to time to heat it back up to a good working heat. The glass blower, throughout all these stages would be turning the gather to prevent it sagging due to the still flexible form.

Once satisfied with the dimensions of this eventual hand blown glass ornament, another member of the glassblowing team, or chair, would heat a pontil iron with a small amount of glass on the end and attach this to the end of the bubble on the blowpipe.

The opposite end of the bubble would now be cut from the blowpipe and can be further worked on, on the pontil iron. The open end can be opened out further, closed, stretched, given a spout, frilled edge or given whatever shape is required. At this still soft state handles can be added, other applied decoration, pinched and almost anything the glass artisan wishes to do.

The glass making process is not complete until the glass is annealed. Only when all hand work is finished the pontil iron would be cracked off and the item placed in the annealing chamber to cool down at a gradual pace. After a period which can take days of this gradual cooling, the blown glass ornament will be strong enough for use. When next holding a piece of beautiful hand blown glass, I hope you will now better understand the skills required and how glass is made.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Painted Silk Scarves made in New Bern

Welcome to Heidi DiBella one of our newest artists!

Heidi paints on silk and her scarves are beautiful!

"With all my artwork, I paint loose with a lot of color. I love to pour on primary colors & watch them flow together. The traditional method of Serti painting using a frame, paintbrush and resist that blocked the flow of dye was too restrictive for me. 

Applying different watercolor techniques to the wet material allowed the dye colors to flow & blend together creating a variety of colors.  Other techniques create texture, shapes & designs. After the dye is set, I can decide if I want to add more to the scarf like hand painting, stamping or drawing a design. Each scarf is unique & no two scarves are the same."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Taking a break (no pun intended)

Since breaking my ankle a couple weeks ago I've spent a lot of time on my back working on my computer and thinking about business. My laptop is my lifeline! I've been out to go to the hospital, doctor and one day we went to the gallery early, I was there long enough to know that it would be disruptive for me to be there when we are open.

For one thing I have to have my leg up all the time or it aches and swells, I can only sit in the wheelchair so long before I have to get out of it. I am determined to follow the doctors instructions since I don't want to take any chances that it won't heal properly.

So I've been laying here emailing family, friends and business associates from across the country, doing my bookwork and working on our website.

I was worried about not finding any new Christmas ornaments for Christmas - well I've found some really great ones!

We'll have our usual wonderful collection of
- blown glass ornaments by various glass blowers but new this year will be
- porcelain snowflake ornaments
- gold and silver plated leaf ornaments
- gold and silver dog bone ornaments
- can ornaments filled with seeds
- shell ornaments
and of course my new New Bern ornament - to be revealed in an upcoming blog post.

You might ask how can we be thinking about Christmas when it is 90 degrees out. Well to be honest we start thinking about Christmas in the spring.

Our Downtown Christmas committee has been meeting since March and once again we are going to have a wonderful Dickens of a Christmas!

Between now and then we have our ArtWalk in September with featured artist Elaine O'Neill, American Craft Week in October with demonstrations every day, November ArtWalk with featured artist Pat Holscher, our Christmas Open House the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, then an exciting month of getting everyone prepared for Christmas.

So I guess I can't really say I've been taking a break, just taking a break from being in the gallery. But it is in good hands with Lou, Donna, Donna, Michael and Lori!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Bern Christmas Card 2011

I actually got my Christmas Card done on time this year.

You may think it is really early but people start asking for them in September!

The price is 10 for $9.50.

The greeting on the inside is "Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year"

You can order online by clicking here.
Pictured are the towers of the Federal Building, City Hall, Courthouse, Convention Center, Spider Lily Sculpture and the Ada Mae.

I think it is neat that after 20 years of doing New Bern Christmas cards there is still something new to paint in our beautiful downtown!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slow Blogging Fessing Up

I haven't posted in a while because it has been an interesting week.

Last Sunday, August 8, I was having a fabulous ride on my bike when, crash, I hit a curb and went ass over teakettle.

There were several fortunate things that happened.

I had my helmet on, if not would have done major damage to my head.

I could have broken my right arm.

And I crashed right across the street from the New Bern Fire Department.

I started to get up and realized there was something major wrong, like feeling bones move. I've never had a broken bone before but it was pretty obvious what it was.

Five firefighters rush across the street with their first aid kit. Called the ambulance and off I went.

In the er by 8:30 out by 11. The bad news was my ankle is broken both the tibia and fibula and needed surgery but because of major road rash (worry about infection) and swelling they couldn't do it right then.

Was told to keep my ankle above my heart for the forseeable future.

I had the surgery on Wednesday so now I'll set the alarm off every time at the airport. Got sent home with a splint, again ankle above heart until next thursday when they put a cast on.

Another fortunate thing is when we built our house 4 years ago we built it hoping we could still be in it when we are old and maybe be handicapped by that time. So I am able to move throughout the house with relative ease.

Michael went off and got me a wheel chair so I can at least get to the bathroom. The rest of the time I've pretty much been on my back in my studio. I was supposed to be in NY this weekend and week on business. Some of my friends from galleries across the country are there and have offered to share what they find. Thank You!

I have been pleased how much work i've gotten done! I found I can lay on my back and paint pottery (good thing because I had A LOT of commissioned pieces to do), on my laptop work on our website, do bookwork, do ads etc.

I'm fortunately to have a loving, caring and handy husband and wonderful loving, caring, helpful staff at Carolina Creations!

So I'll have to be off my feet for at least a month but it can't slow me down! It will be better though when I can sit up.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Tea Pot Sale!

Just for fun we decided that we would have a Teapot Sale in honor of the kids going back to school.

Take some time after the bus pulls away to sit down and have a nice cup of tea (after adding ice to it of course).

We have some fabulous teapots! All hand crafted of course.

We're reducing the price by 40%.

And just for fun we are taking 15% off anything in the gallery that has a teapot on it. I know we have some note cards, paintings, prints, journals and I'm sure there is lots more. The thing is, we really don't know what we have that has a teapot on it so its like a treasure hunt.

Click here to see some more of our teapots!