Friday, December 25, 2009

Fresh Air Life land is in the midst of a blizzard... so I thought I'd post an appropriate poem written by Geraldine Kilgore, a poetess who spent her childhood northeast of O'Neill...
The Snowstorm
Today we had a snowstorm,
It sneaked in with the rain.
Damp and clinging, heavy snow,
It stuck to everything.
The walnut tree is cotton trimmed,
It's stark branches soft and white.
And dogwood, blessed little tree
Is draped in ermine for the night.
The garden just this morning
That was weed rough and so bleak,
Is smooth as icing on a cake,
Glistening now and sleek.
The pines beside the window
Are a picture of delight.
Like great arms holding mounds of snow,
Bowed down in prayer tonight.
And even the small and spindly rose
Huddled by the drive this morn,
Is bundled up in snow tonight
And looks quite snug and warm.
This poor old saddened world of ours,
Beset with care and woe,
Seems more peaceful and so quiet
When God sends the soft, white snow.
Geraldine Kilgore copyright 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Work of His Hand

Beth Seng, sixth in a family of six girls and one boy, was born and raised in Tanganyika, (Tanzania) Africa to missionary parents. Her parents had arrived in Africa in 1933, and for the next 33 years, her father was to do a "pioneer work" with the Africans. At that time, most of Africa had not been reached with the Word of God. Beth's father, a "very gifted man--a man of great faith", and an evangelist and a pastor, would bike to far-from-home remote villages, accompanied by another national pastor, teaching the Word of God to people who had never seen a white man, nor heard the name of Jesus. Later in his life, he taught at a national Bible School, training men to be pastors. Many of these men, even though they are now very old, in turn, fanned through-out the country to spread the 'Good News' of Christ.

At the age of 6 years, Beth was sent to a small boarding school in Tanzania for grades First through Fifth. All through her school years in Africa, from First to Twelfth grade, the schedule rotated with 3 months at school, and 1 month at home with parents. For grades 6-12, Beth attended the Rift Valley Academy, a well-known boarding school in Kenya that is still in operation today. The academy overlooks The Great Rift Valley, a continuous geographic trench, that runs from Northern Syria in Southwestern Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. From her home in Tanzania, Beth would take a boat, traveling over Lake Victoria for one day and one night, arriving at the town of Kisumu. After a day's rest, the children boarded a train that would transport them overnight to a station near their school.

Beth spoke of the bonding and close ties that were formed with the other missionary children at these boarding schools, but she also acknowledged the difficulties and the loss as a result of their inevitable parting... "The problem with missionary life is that you're coming and going all the time...there are furloughs, people are leaving, sometimes they leave for good--you just leave them for the rest of your life!" "And then, when it's time for you to leave after you've finished school at age 18, you're going and you're never coming back."

After graduation in 1967, Beth returned to the United States, moving in with her sisters (who had previously graduated and left RVA) in Baltimore, Maryland. She received a degree from Gordon College in Massachusetts, and began work as a first grade teacher. Upon marriage, she quit teaching and devoted her time and efforts to her marriage and raising her three children. Later, she lived in Pennsylvania, and South America (as a missionary for Wycliffe Bible Translators for eight years), then moving to Tucson, Arizona in 1992, where she lived until moving to Page, Nebraska in March of 2007.

When speaking of her artistic ability and her interest in clay sculptures, Beth recalls an observant fifth grade teacher--also an artist herself--who noticed Beth's talent for art and told her she 'had a gift'. "She had people sit and we were to draw them and add shading." "She saw a gift even though what I saw of what I drew, I thought, 'well, it's okay, but it wasn't all that great...', but she noticed the gift and I just remember that she said, "you have a gift in art and you should pursue it."" "I've always loved to draw and copy things, and I love any kind of art work, but I've found something different---the clay work is 'me'."

During Beth's time in Arizona, she was first exposed to glazed dough art, a craft that became very popular in the 1980's. Beth eagerly tried her hand at this craft and found that she had a lot of imagination when it came to creating figures and objects--much more imagination than with her drawings. She began creating and selling 2-dimensional scenes on wooden plaques--the only problem was that within 5 years, with the glazed dough being exposed to the elements, it began to disintegrate and fall apart.

1n 1995, Beth came in contact with a woman from Germany who had crafted a refrigerator magnet of a pot with the tiniest, most delicate flowers. Beth enquired as to what this medium was---and this was her serendipitous introduction to polymer clay. She immediately purchased some clay and began making and selling earrings, necklaces, and figurines. One day, a woman asked if she could make 'Storyteller' earrings. A Storyteller is a Native American doll that depicts an elder telling the children the legends and traditions of their people. This request, and Beth's eventual completed design, turned out to be "one very significant change in my artwork".

Beth continues to create earrings, necklaces, figurines, and nativity sets with her polymer clay. "I love the clay because I was able to begin without spending a lot of money." She uses the Premo brand of polymer clay, blending different colors of clay to make stripes (as beautifully illustrated in the robes and blankets) and a finished product that resembles the look of wood. She also uses a pasta machine to make flat pieces for clothing and a clay 'extruder', which is useful in making strands for hair. Obviously, Beth's fine-tuned imagination is the stepping off point for any creation; she must visualize the figure or animal she wishes to create, and then design poses and clothing. First is the body, and then clothing, shoes, hats, and accessories. The process is time consuming, intricate, and inventive, and her figurines exude personality and emotion in their facial expressions and poses.

Beth has been supplying two stores for the past ten years with her Polymer clay sculptures and nativity sets; one in Tubac, Arizona, and a tea room in Tucson.

Beth states, "Having the background that I have, and how God has developed my character through life and through traumas and joys, all that's gone on in my life---I want my work to be a reflection of what God has done in me." She continues, "I can see how He's turned so many things that I thought were negative in my life to where they have become something that I'm thankful for." " I really do have joy in my life and I feel like that's what I want to show in my craft." "When my grandchildren look at my work, I want them to see a reflection of what God has done in me."

Since this interview, Beth has moved from Page, Nebraska to Tucson, Arizona. She now has an Etsy site for selling her clay creations.  Please click on this link to view her current creations.


Photo credits: #1, 3, 6, and 7 by Beth Seng

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Momentarily Runnin' Out of Steam...

No, this isn't the end of the line, but I'm going to take a brief break from 'Fresh Air Life' to do a little 'deep breathing' on my own... With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, I've a million tasks to take care of, leaving me little time to invest in some quality interviews. But don't run off... even at this moment, I have in mind two individuals who I am wanting to visit with before the year is out. So, enjoy your time with family and friends, eat heart-healthy, and check in here for your much-needed dose of good ol' Fresh Air Life. As always, you can contact me through e-mail, and you can still see what I'm up to @

Oh, and BTW, check out my story that's been recently e-published in the on-line magazine, 'Nebraska Rural Living'. Under 'Also Featured This Month', you'll find my literary contribution entitled, 'Flowers From Mom'. You'll enjoy the rest of the magazine also!

Now, I need to get crackin' on making those hand made Christmas gifts...


Thursday, November 12, 2009


During the late 1990's, while living at my in-law's farm, I had many occasions to observe my father-in-law, Marvin Richter, toil for hours, even in his advancing years. He would arrive from town (he and the family had moved to O'Neill in the 1960's, but they kept the farm) early in the morning to disc, plant, combine, work cattle, fix machinery, cut musk thistle, fix fence, bale hay, or any other chore that was necessary to keep the farm running and producing. After sliding out of his Ford Bronco, he'd step into the house to say a "Howdy-do" and briefly discuss what he had planned for the day. I would top off his coffee (he had a McDonald's breakfast McMuffin on the front seat of his car), and after a bit of mild arguing with my husband (the really loud stuff came later), he'd be out the door and off to the task at hand.

Marvin purchased a secondhand combine, which had been manufactured in the 1940's, from a farmer in Ewing, Nebraska. I'll never forget the day I saw it come lumbering up the drive...going full bore at around 3 miles an hour...he claimed he had put the pedal to the metal and it had topped out at a breezy 13 MPH on the highway from Ewing to the farm. I was positive that it wouldn't make it half way through the next harvest. I was wrong.

This particular morning, I looked out the kitchen window to see him driving up the lane in his light blue, Chevy 'LUV' pick-up, the bed loaded with plastic trash cans and lids, stacked within each other. (Husband and I always enjoyed shouting, "Don't take your LUV to town!") Now, Marvin is a spontaneous sort of fellow...he'll come up with an idea and be ready to jump right on it, so I just settled back and thought I'd see what he was up to this day. I think, amongst others, one of his slogans should be, 'Where there's a will, there's a way...' and this morning, despite his storage and equipment limitations, Marvin was going to fan some alfalfa seed---130 acres of it--give or take an acre or two.

That fall, he had let his alfalfa crop go to seed, wind rowed it, and then combined the seed. He purchased an old fanning mill---from an even older friend---and was determined to separate the 'seed from the chaff'. Various weed seeds needed to be removed; sand drop seed, foxtail, sunflower, and a bit of brome grass. This fanning mill had originated from between the 1920's to the 1930's, and Marvin had to craft and replace a few pieces so the mill would operate. This would not be a difficult task, as he has not only been a farmer in his life, but also an excellent carpenter.

He set up shop in the 'garage', which had been built in the early 1900's by his father as the original home. It was "the first house on the place". The 'place' had been homesteaded during the Kincaid Act when Marvin's forebears had arrived from Germany in search of 'greener pastures'. Marvin's older half-sister, Thelma, who died in 2004 at the age of 100, had lived in this house with Ernest her father, and her mother Addie, Ernest's first wife. Addie later died after childbirth, and Ernest then married Barbara, Marvin's mother. After building the present house on the property, this building was converted into a two-car garage for the family's Ford Model T car.

Now, I don't pretend to understand how machinery works, and especially this particular expertise was in taking the photos and visiting with Marvin at the same time... However, it appeared to me that he would dump the alfalfa 'horns' (and other weed seed) in the top of the mill, a belt would turn a wheel which in turn, moved or shook a tray, which I believe had a screen on the bottom, that somehow separated the alfalfa seed from the chaff. Please excuse my use of technical jargon.

The chaff would fly out of the chute and onto the ground, leaving the finished product---the minute alfalfa seed--ready to go back into the plastic trash cans for storage. This clean seed, of course, was sold for an enormous profit...

"And then the cow says to the farmer..." (some light bantering while working...)

Marvin labored for two days until his project was completed, only stopping for a bite of lunch on our screened-in porch and a bit of a snooze (while sitting in a chair) afterwards. Then, as the afternoon turned to evening, and as Marvin's strength and energy played out, I would see him slowly walk to his pick-up and drive away into the sunset.
Marvin turned 86 years old this past October. He is the father of 6 children, 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 3 more on the way---if my figures are correct. He's a West Nile Virus survivor, 'Energizer Bunny', wonderful Father-in-law, and his current hobby is wine making. He still does some occasional farming and within the past couple of days, he assisted in moving cattle out of his pastures. With deer hunting season upon us, he'll most likely be out to get a deer also.
Photo credit, top photo of combine: Maria Rath 2007

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tompkins Corner

In the year of 1883, Archibald Tompkins, Neil Tompkins' Great-Grandfather (of English descent) arrived from New York State to homestead a parcel of land in Inman, Nebraska where today, Neil and his wife Ruth, a nurse, now live. Neil was born and raised here and he and Ruth, have in turn raised four children here; two sons and two daughters, now grown with lives of their own.

Neil is the fourth generation on the 'home place', where he operates a dairy and is a member of the Dairy Farmers of America. Neil says, "The place has always had milk cows and beef cows..." This is evidenced by the existence of the large red barn built in 1913 by Neil's grandfather, Leon. The sturdy barn, now used for hay storage and an occasional newborn calf, also has a rope swing in the hay loft that the Tompkins children spent hours playing on. There is also the requisite farm pet...a very friendly cow dog name 'Spicey'. And upon hearing the gentle mooing of a cow, the complete mental picture of 'farm' and all that represents, comes into focus.

Neil's dairy herd consists of a mix of 80 Holstein and Jersey cows. Each breed has it's advantages and disadvantages in relation to milk quality and production. The Holstein is the widely recognized black and white spotted cow that we usually envision when thinking of a dairy cow. The Holstein produces more pounds of milk, but has lower milk butterfat components. (Milk is made up of three components: butterfat, protein, and other solids.) The brown Jersey cow is a smaller breed, with less milk production, but a higher percentage of butterfat. Neil says, "Higher butterfat is affected by genetics and feed. I work with a nutritionist that recommends a balance of protein; so much corn, so much hay..."

At two years of age, and after a cow has had her first calf, she is then classified as a milk cow. "At any given time, 80% of the cows are being milked, and 20% are dry". An 'ideal' situation is a cow that is producing milk for 10-11 months. Since constant milk production is stressful, a cow is given a two month rest period to build up it's health before having another calf.

The cows are milked twice a day---at four o'clock in the morning and four o' clock in the afternoon. Neil has one full time and one part time employee who, along with himself, take turns with the milking. As there are 14 milkings a week, Neil is responsible for five of them. The cows are pastured and need to be rounded up and brought in each time, which takes about 15-30 minutes. "Cows are a creature of habit and they do like a routine". The milking parlor can accommodate eight cows at one time, four on each side. The equipment set-up takes from 30 to 40 minutes, and milking the entire herd takes a little over 3 hours. Neil states, "It takes ten man hours a day to run the operation." The raw milk is picked up every 2-3 days, and hauled to either South Dakota, Iowa, or Minnesota for processing and then, distribution. When Neil and Ruth's children were younger, they were 'forced' to help with the milking. Neil joked, "That's probably why none of them are talking of coming back home..."
I asked Neil about the 'Good, the Bad and the Ugly' of a dairy operation... The 'good' is, "A regular cash get a check twice a month, and even though the amount varies (depending on the price of milk), it gives some stability". "And milk cows and stock cows compliment each other in terms of equipment, machinery, and facilities". He adds, "It's a way to be in agriculture, to 'be your own boss'".

The 'bad' is "Mastitis"---a bacterial infection. "It can be treated, but it is hard to get rid of". "Feed is the #1 cost, in addition to the on-going expenses of labor, equipment, upkeep, and replacing animals". And, "if a cow won't breed back, they have to be sold for slaughter".

The 'ugly' is, "No days off". "Milking has to be done whether it's a sunny day, a blizzard, or a holiday". Even worse is when a good production cow is down and can't get up. The day I was visiting, a Holstein had given birth the day before and had become weakened and unable to get up. Neil and his crew were trying to get the cow on it's feet, and would be trying for another few days. Hopefully, the cow would not have to be euthanized.

Neil says he has always been interested in agriculture, and when in college, he had briefly considered becoming an agriculture missionary. However, he felt that God showed him that in His plans, he should continue the dairy business with his parents. Overall, Neil loves the lifestyle of the country and the physical work, and he is convinced that the fresh, country air and the sparse population density has kept him healthy. Besides, there's that undeniable and indescribable heart connection to the land and the history and heritage of the Tompkins family.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I've recently visited with Inman resident Neil Tompkins about his dairy operation. The story will be posted soon!

Friday, October 30, 2009

This Time of Year

Autumn Days
These are the days of gold and blue
Of yellow, orange, and scarlet too.
Of chilly nights and clear, crisp days.
Of morning shrouded gray with haze.
Of chattering birds that congregate
On field and fence and garden gate.
Of pumpkins laying abandoned, lost
Since vines have felt the first, hard frost.
Of roses brightest of the year.
And rows of cornstalks, brown and sear.
Of rosy apples, juicy and sweet.
Of leaves that rustle at our feet.
Of low hung ribbons of smoke that glides
From burning leaves at eventide.
Of cold, gray mist that meets the dawn
That turns to rain before it's gone.
These are the days and all too few.
These autumn days of gold and blue.
Geraldine Kilgore Copyright 2009

And of course, we hope and pray for dry weather so the farmers will be able to harvest this crop!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Life Walk

Cheryl White... horsewoman, maverick. Her journey has been a long road with many twists, turns, surprises, disappointments, and now, steps of faith.

As a two year old, Cheryl's father, a veterinarian, sat her upon her first pony (also a two year old), and was told that when her tears ceased, she would be allowed to dismount... from that time on, horses have been central to her life. Her grandfather raised horses in the 1920's and 30's, and her father was an ardent calf roper, team roper, and always loved to barrel race. Cheryl considers herself a "third-generation cowboy/rancher". She grew up competing in rodeos and was very successful in barrel racing, and with her father also being involved in the barrel racing competitions, she was exposed to many fine pedigreed horses that she feels privileged to have ridden.

After graduating from college, Cheryl immersed herself in the work world; she has worked in journalism (having written articles for equine publications), sales with the Xerox corporation and Johnson & Johnson, was a stockbroker for seven years (at one point being one of the only two women in Omaha, Nebraska who sold stocks), a small business owner, and for the past four years, has been working in the pharmacy department at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill, Nebraska. But her first dream has always been to breed and train the American Quarter Horse--a dream that she knows God has instilled in her heart. Over the years, she has made great sacrifices to achieve this dream.

Eighteen years ago, Cheryl, who lives on her ranch in Atkinson, Nebraska along with her two cattle dogs, 'Pete' and 'Jubie', started out with two good brood mares, using outside Stallions for breeding purposes. She has bred, raised, and trained many horses over the years, and currently owns ten 'great mares', four baby colts, and the 'love of her life'---her Stallion 'Yardstick', or 'Stick' for short (meaning he is the one by which she measures the quality of all other Stallions.) Cheryl explains, "a great mare not only has the parentage to do what I want, but they have to ride and have the physical ability and the mind to do what I want". Cheryl breeds horses for barrel riding, roping, and reining.

Since she doesn't start training a horse until it is three years of age, ("a two year old has the attention span of a gnat..."), she isn't able to immediately discern if they are of the quality she is aiming for, so essentially, the horse "just hangs out here" until it reaches a point when Cheryl can make that judgment. One realizes the time, effort and love it takes to bring this goal to fruition---and in the meantime, she's falling in love with the horse which in turn, makes it extremely difficult to let it go.

But, let it go she must, and that is the where the difficulty of 'generating hype' comes in--the goal is to get the horses out to the 'right' people--those with money or influence. Ideally, that would mean a website (it's in the planning stage), and reaching the people who are going to do something with the horses. Usually this is accomplished by word of mouth---that it becomes known that her horses are of stellar pedigrees. Cheryl has admired the traits of the Driftwood horses; an amazing horse in the 1930's that had a lot of speed, athletic ability, and an instinct for cattle. She chose this pedigree long before it became popular--she just thought they were nice horses. Now, they have become "hot property". She acknowledges that she couldn't have foreseen this, and feels that this good fortune for her, is surely from God. She has a pedigree that people want, "now it's just a matter of getting it out there". Her desire is to raise a "quick athlete" that can be used for team roping, calf roping, and barrel racing. "This bloodline (Driftwood) excels at these traits".

Cheryl has a bit of a claim to fame... one day out of the blue, she received a call from a certain Mr. James B. Pickens, Jr. asking for some documentation for one of her horses that he had purchased by way of a seller in Montana. Cheryl had no idea who this person was, and she simply followed through on his request and thought nothing of it, only expressing the hope that the horse would be a blessing to him. She later found out that he is the star of the TV show, 'Grey's Anatomy'. Mr. Pickens has been a spokesman for the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and is also an avid horseman who competes in rodeo events, and team roping and penning.

Cheryl says her desire to raise a better horse ("the goal is to have a colt that is a better horse than it's parents were") came from her grandfather and from God. "It becomes your whole life work". "You might look at these horses and think they are just a horse, but I can look at them and watch how they move across the ground and know if they're what I want or don't want". "So many people walk through life without a dream, and so few people that we rub shoulders with don't know what it's like to sacrifice for a dream". She continues, "At the end of the day, it's never been about making money, it's always been about how I just want the horses to be a blessing". "The one saving grace of my life has always been a horse". "God can take the ashes of your life and grow roses in them...I am one of the most blessed people I know".

Her number one goal in life is to "honor God with these horses". At this point in her life, she doesn't know if she should "scale it back or ramp it up". "All the hard work is done, now I've got to do the next work, which is the hardest work of all---I've got to let 'em go". "I'm at that crossroads of steppin' out in faith again..."


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Returning For a Visit

It's a beautiful fall day--this may be our only fall day... so I decided to take a leisurely ride along the Cowboy Trail. Just like the last time we visited the trail, when you were able to kick back in your chair, that's how we'll handle it this time also. I'll ride the bike, and you just keep an eye out for some of nature's beauty.
I was hoping I would see these horses... They galloped around the pasture, kicking up their back feet, nipping at each other's necks, and even at one point, rolling around on the ground, their hooves up in the air.

While avoiding the many Garter snakes on the trail, I noticed the abundance of deer tracks. And I'm wondering if this little fellow's fur coat is any indication of the severity of our coming winter weather.

This electric pole, out of commission long ago, still has the old insulators on top--after all, this trail used to be the old railroad line...a few railroad ties and iron scraps can be seen along the path.

These horses in the opposite field, were lazily grazing and had come to the windmill to get a drink. I'd have liked to have been closer, but those 'No Trespassing' signs mean what they say, so I had to be content with poking my camera through a metal gate.

A hawk circled overhead riding the air currents, and a warm breeze blew from the south, bringing the scent of sweet clover and cottonwood trees and reminding me of my days growing up and the passing of time.
Thanks for coming along for the ride...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coming Up...

This morning I visited with Cheryl White of Atkinson, Nebraska. She breeds and trains American Quarter horses. Her story will be up next week...she's a unique and interesting woman.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nebraska, USA

Nebraska, USA

There's a land of quiet meadows
And of cornfields and of grain.
Where the wind sighs through tall grasses
And sweeps across the plains.
There are rolling hills, wide valleys,
There's old barns and country lanes.
There are cities, little hamlets,
Also rivers, creeks, and streams.
Where you'll find a friendly people
Who will great you with a smile.
They'll stop and make you welcome
And chat with you awhile.
Here the meadowlark serenades you
Thru out the summer day.
You'll find it west of the Missouri,
It's Nebraska, USA

Copyright 2009 Geraldine Kilgore


'The Church That Is No More...'

On a recent post about poetess Geraldine Kilgore, she mentions the little town of Dorsey (approximately 20 or so miles north of O'Neill--'as the crow flies'), that 'is no more'. I came across this photo of the Dorsey Presbyterian Church, taken in 1996. Within the year, the church had burned, but the sweet and tender memories of family and friends who worshipped here, remain.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Enterprising Woman

The 'Pioneer Spirit' is very much alive and well at Sue Chohon's place of business in O'Neill, Nebraska. Step inside and you will observe a very industrious lady with a seemingly odd combination of interests. 'The Sundance Shop' is where Sue works Monday through Friday with her laundry and ironing service, plus her lampshade business.

Twenty-five years ago, when Sue first began cleaning homes for hire, a few of her clients enquired as to whether she would also do their ironing. She added this service to her cleaning jobs, and her customer base expanded. Then, realizing she would rather "clean houses less and iron more", she soon dropped the housecleaning and continued with the ironing, eventually adding a laundry service. These jobs fit in perfectly with being a stay at home mom with three young children.

In the meantime, she became interested in the creative art of replacing old lampshades with new fabric and decorative bead and fringe trims. Her mother had done this for years, and when Sue first tried her hand at it, she "loved it", discovering she had quite a talent for this venture. Again, here was another ingenious way to earn extra income and still be able to care for her home and children. Sue says, "You do what you can do without a (college) degree...", and she definitely has the 'can-do' attitude.

Three years ago, Sue purchased a charming little house at the west end of town on Highway 20 as a base for her business pursuits. As time has passed, she has realized that she would prefer to place more emphasis on her lamp shade creations and less on the ironing--(I guess you could say that she is 'pressing on' to bigger and better things...) The house is a perfect setting for showcasing her exquisite lamps; original woodwork fills the richly colored rooms where the lamps are displayed in eye-pleasing vignettes.

Ideally, to begin the process of creating a new lampshade, there would still be the original wire shade frame for the lamp, although Sue can order a wire frame and come up with a lamp base--whatever the customer may prefer. She finds lamps at auctions and sales, and on occasion, has come across some real treasures at garage sales. And if need be, this talented lady can also do a simple re-wire. Sue has a stash of fabric available, or she can order fabric, or a person can supply their own. The same goes for the fringe trims and beads---she can order through certain companies, although she says the fringe is the hardest to find, and only a few companies will dye it a specific color. 'Candy glass', or 'sugar paper' shades are popular and unique in their texture and appearance...they're "kinda spendy", so creating this particular fabric finish is a technique Sue would like to learn how to do herself.

The process of making a shade is quite labor intensive and takes several hours. First, Sue wraps the wire frame with twill tape and allows it to dry, then paints the tape (if needed) to match the fabric color. She makes a pattern with foil, cuts out the fabric and lays it on the shade, and then glues it to the taped wire. Next, trims are added to cover seams, and the final striking touch that we all oooh and ahhh over... that gorgeous moody fringe and glistening, colorful beads that absolutely glow and sparkle when the lamp is lit. She tops it off with an attractive finial, and her creation is ready to light up a special corner in any room.

So, the industrious, inventive, and clever Sue Chohon has got it covered--from the shirt on your back to the shade on your lamp. Stop in when you are in town and see what she can do to 'light up your life'.