Cassie Donlen, lampworking, beads, jewelry, lampwork beads, glass, hoypoloi, glass beadle, glassbeadle


Welcome to my News page. This is my little place to share life....a journal of sorts...dedicated to ramblings, observations, discoveries and cool new things. Find past postings in the Archive link above.

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This is the March 2011 Archive Page

March 29th: Just wanted to give you a head's up that you can find the article that shows how I make my handmade toggles with the lampwork beads in the latest edition of Step by Step Wire Magazine April 2011. These are so fun to make. And.. you can order just the lampwork beads on my Etsy store. (just follow the link at the top of this page)

And I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that we went from this

To this. The thought that lazy river is still 2 months away sounds like light years.

When we went to Orlando last week, there were a few of our friends from back home that also were going. Can you believe that we were able to travel 1,000 miles and be able to hook up with 2 seperate families and spend the day at the beach together? We all have boys too! It was a really fun day and I think everyone had a great time. I'm so glad it all worked out.

March 28th: We are hesitantly back. Didn't really want to come home to these cold temps and 6" of snow. Florida weather was incredible. It wasn't too cold and it wasn't swealtering hot. Just perfect with incredible breezes that made you want to just sit in one spot and soak it all up. We went to Orlando and stayed with my parents in their condo they had rented for a few months. Our plans were to just make it a low key and easy week. We did the beach for a few days, did Epcot at Disney World for a day, and the main reason we went was to go to Universal and Harry Potter World.

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I love the movies and the books and the entire feel of the story. I have always been one to never read a book twice or watch a movie more than once. The exception is Harry Potter. I know a lot of people are curious about this Universal attraction so I thought I would share a good handful of photos.

It was really really crowded and we got there about 30 min. before they opened and went straight to the attraction that was most important to us. Connor my 11 year old REALLY REALLY wanted to do Olivanders and to be the one chosen out of 20 to get to have the "wand choose him". It is about a 3 min. show where Olivander's assistant picks one person out of the audience to pretend to be in the shop to buy his first wand. He goes through a cute show and in the end and the 3rd time around of handling different wands, the perfect wand chose Connor. Connor had a plan before we even left and brought our Harry Potter glasses, scarf, and hat so it helped him to stand out from the rest of the kids in our group and he was immediately picked to participate.

This is a photo of the inside of the show part of Olivanders Wand Shop. It was taken right after we were done. We all then moved into the retail store that looks identical to the movie when Harry walks into Olivanders for the first time in the first movie. Connor bought the wand that chose him and the other boys had to buy a wand too. The man in the photo is the assistant that chose Connor for the wand part. All of the rooms are small and tiny just like the movie. Not a lot of elbow room. When the show is going, the lights are turned down so low that it is hard to see. Connor stood on the opposite side of the counter as a customer during the show part.

After this exciting part and 3 wands later, a Ravenclaw robe for Connor, a quiffle ball, a sneakerscope, and a monster book (which was my treat:-)we headed over to Honey Dukes and Zonkos Joke shop. It was so fun to look in these shops but everything is sooo expensive so be prepared to drop some bucks if you buy goodies.

This is Connor after he bought his robe standing outside Olivanders Wand shop. He wanted cash for christmas so he could buy this robe at the crazy price of $100. but he was so happy and loved wearing it. Even had a stranger stop him to take his photo. He felt like a blonde Harry Potter celeb.

Look at the crowds in the photo below! Check out the big barrel of Butterbeer. They sold this there and it tasted so good. Kind of like an irish creame soda with a yummy froth on top. We all decided that the frozen tasted better than the regular. The lines to get this would go back at least 30 people at these outdoor stands. We had ordered ours inside the Three Broomsticks where we ate lunch. The food was delish by the way.

So many people try to cram into Harry Potter that they start to limit entrance and you have to get a coupon that has a certain time you can get inside. So imagine people elbow to elbow. Then imagine a gal standing in line at about 8 people back in front of the Butterbeer stand that is shown in this photo below. Then imagine Randy and I and one of our kids walking by this line with our heads in the crowds and in la la land. All of a sudden I hear my name called about 3 times but figure that has to be for someone else because I don't know anyone else here besides my family. A beady friend named Ann recognized Randy and I. I was in shock and felt like I was moving in quick sand and couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that she was there at the same time and was able to recognize us from photos on my blog. What are the chances of that? Ann and I have have been email friends for at least 5 years if not longer. She is the one that got me started on doing the Christmas house elf. We only got to speak for a few min. and after I got over the shock and we parted, I was so mad at myself for not saying more and doing more. Thanks Ann for shouting out. It was so great to meet you as short as it was.

This is inside Honeydukes candy store. They had all of the candies that were mentioned in the books. Including incredible chocolate frogs that looked identical to the movie and even have card inside.

This is the front window where there was a huge display of Bertie Botts every flavored beans. The packaging was indentical to the movies.

This is inside the Zonkos joke shop part. The store was really small but all of the colors and displays were such a rich and overwhelming sensory experience. Look at the Pygmie puffs! They were so cute. I would have bought one if they didn't cost $18. I did buy a cute purple with metallic pink writing that said Pygmie puffs. It is really cute. That is my mom holding up a box of Extendable Ears.

This is Caiden inside the joke shop showing off his wand. He loved that thing. There is a good wand story that I will share later.

We then headed over to the castle which looks amazing by the way. They have the ride the Flight of the Hippogriff here. We heard from several people that is makes you kind of sick to your stomach. The ride wait time was 75 min. so we opted to just walk through the castle for the tour.

The tour was short but really cool. They had a stairway that had framed photos all over the walls and the people in the pics talked just like the movie. Then we got to see Dumbledore's office. They also have a 3D halogram of him speaking and it feels like he is really talking to you. If you look closely, you can kind of see him standing on the upper level. Way cool! Right at the entrance to Harry Potter is platform 9 3/4 with the Hogwarts training sitting there. The train conductor was really nice and had his pic taken with the boys.

Harry Potter World is a small area and easy to cover quickly but the atmosphere is so cool that you want to just sit and linger. They play music from the soundtracks while you are there and it just adds to the overall feel. I ended up walking back inside Harry Potter World about 3-4 times throughout the day for a mission. It all started with Caiden. The wand he really wanted was a skeleton one that Keegan bought. But of course Keegan didn't want him to have the same wand. So Caiden decided that he did not want his wand any longer and wanted a different one. He found one in the shop window that had a skeleton but the wand tip was curved. So we exchanged it for that one. Then walking around the rest of the park, he said that his wand was the second best and Keegan's was the best. You see his mind working and he was starting to do that, "hmmm...I think I want 2 wands. I really really want the one I returned. Well, I really want Keegan's wand." So then I started thinking that Keegan will never even touch his wand most likely when we get home so I'm just gonna let him get one like Keegan and he will just have to deal with it. So back we walked again to Olivander's and got Caiden a wand like Keegan. Well, you can just imagine how Keegan felt about that. He no longer wanted his wand because Caiden had one just like it now and decided that he wanted to swap for a different wand. I guess you can see where this is going. So back we went again and Keegan got a new wand. So in the end, I think I swapped out 4 wands!

So, I think this is the longest post I've ever made. I guess you can tell I enjoyed Harry Potter World. The rest of Universal was very nice too. I was impressed with the park and how clean and well lanscaped it was. If you ever get a chance to go, I think you would be pleased.

And to wrap up today's long post, I will leave you a pic of my baby who turned 7 years old on Saturday. YIKES!

March 16th: This will probably be my last post until around the 28th. I will still answer emails if you need anything.

The sun was not in the proper position for photos but I didn't have time to wait so the lighting stinks but just wanted to share some love. Six identical matching hearts for some special people. Within all the vines there are initials to make them personalized.

March 14th: Talk about the winter blahs. This is what we woke up to today. What? No, really? No seriously? We have about 4" of snow. I had no clue. They didn't bother plowing the roads and they were a mess this morning. I went to the grocery store and was not able to push the shopping cart out in the parking lot. Everyone was just leaving their groceries by the doors and driving up to load them up. I now have a new appreciation for snow plows. It is 12:30 p.m. and even though the weather dudes said it would turn into rain by early morning, it is still snowing large snow flakes.

The funny part is that it is supposed to be 70 degrees on Thursday!

March 13th: I'm just sliding by. I think everyone is finally well thankfully. It has just been so dreary and rainy and cold here and I decided that I'm done with it all and am ready for summer. The darn winter blahs have struck. At least it is the middle of March and not January. Which means that warm and sunny days will be here soon. I have a few jewelry goodies to list, beads to list, things to update but I don't feel like editing photos. So I will just share a photo of Keegan doing the static thing with his hair on a balloon. Not all too original but he always makes me smile.

March 6th: What an icky week. Caiden was sick earlier this week and missed 3 days of school. The week before everyone in the house but Connor had a bad cold. And now.. I have what Caiden had. The worst sore throat I've ever had and the chills and total body aches all over. This was supposed to be a big bead making weekend and that did not happen at all. Sigh....

I can't even remember what has gone on since I posted last. Connor crossed over to becoming a Boy Scout. He was pretty excited and they had a camp out this weekend. Which left Caiden home with me for a good part of yesterday while hubby was up at the camp. I felt so bad because I was in no position to entertain Caiden. He had to watch tv all afternoon.

I keep forgetting to mention that I had an article on doming and then soldering silver beads. I really liked out the article turned out.

The new Pokemon game came out today and I had promised Connor we would get it today. So I drug myself out of bed to take him up to Game Stop. They were giving out Pokemon cupcakes and Connor only ate half of his. I dined on the remaining half and it tasted delish. I just started watching a Harry Potter DVD as we are going to Harry Potter World in Universal studios soon. I'm pretty excited about it.

I had made some more glass head pins to sell on my Etsy Store.