Thursday, June 29, 2006

Did you say vessels?

So, I got this new glass and felt the need to make a bunch of it into vessels. It is wispy and nice to work when making hollows... a bit "stiffer". These are not the best pictures... not a great angle, but they were quick and dirty, just to get them up.

"Orange You Glad" I started with this one? I grabbed this vibrant orange rod and voila! The very center wrap is yellow which doesn't show up unless you are really looking for it. The neck of this vessel is very slim and sinuous, swelling to a voluptuous body... wow!

"Spun Sugar" I almost feel like this one would be sugary and sweet like cotton candy at the Fair. I even love the (unplanned) bubbles in the handle. It is just sweet, sweet, sweet. The top is straighter than it looks in the picture - as I said, the photos are not the best.

"Deep Sea Amphora" This one looks like it may have been dredged up from the depths, or found by chance along the shore. What a find that would be! Again, I'm using one of those colors I love that remind me of beach glass. Pale turquoise swirls.. yum.

"Sparkling Jungle" Can you see the sparkles in this one? The glass has tiny bits of silver all through it and in a bright light, it sparkles like stars shining through the canopy of a rain forest.

Tomorrow, some experiments with some more of those half and half beads... and a trip to the Intergem show at Timonium.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Outta the kiln...

These are the florals I was talking about yesterday (I think it was yesterday). I was having some problems getting a good picture and finally got the tripod out and these turned out better. The one on the left has silver wrapped on the base, under the flowers and the oneon the right is an experiment with dichroic. I think I need to read up on that a bit more.

I'd save the best for last, but I'm so anxious to post this. It is Caliente glass from Canada and very similar to Gaffer. It is hand pulled and I love the effects that result, just from the "plain" glass. The handles are even. which is a major accomplishment in itself! And the Foster Fire release, again is amazing, not much residue to wrestle out in a vessel... YES!

These are what resulted yesterday from just trying to make something interesting with some of my favorite colors... Teal and Topaz. I'm not thrilled with them, but will persevere and maybe wind up with another nifty charm bracelet full of various styles of beads, with just colors to tie them together.

Monday, June 26, 2006

In the groove

It seems I've finally found my rhythm. Get up early, turn on the kiln, clean and photo beads, then torch for a couple of hours. These are the goodies I produced yesterday and I'm pleased. Nothing spectacular, but a fun set nevertheless. They remind me of toy jacks, so that is what they will be called.

I also made a couple of large florals - one with silver inside and another using dichroic (one of my first ventures into using it). I didn't get any good pix of them yet. Gotta get the tripod out for the close ups.

The rest of the day is free for soap and whatever other project awaits.

The current project is trying to get my sister, Tina, moved. We're experiencing a LOT of rain and storms, so actual moving is out of the question and luckily, it isn't pressing (except, she and her daughter are ready).

We have had a lot to sort through because this was the house where our mother lived until her death last March. Mom had not only her own possessions, but also, those of her mother stashed throughout the house. She was also something of a pack rat, so there are lots of decisions to be made.

We made three piles: what needed to stay, what needed to be thrown away and what would go to a yard sale (to be held next month at our brother's house). This sorting is interesting as we find the bizarre and the long lost treasure. Feelings would have been too raw to make the decisions that had to be made last year and I am glad we had the time for healing.

So, the kiln is clicking and it's time for my morning torching session... I can hardly wait to see what comes out of the kiln tonight!

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Phew! Well, it appears that little blip is over, so on we go...

First, I must begin with these beads. This is one of my favorite color combinations in glass. They were in my head and actually appeared as I envisioned them. (I love it when that happens!) I cleaned the holes, but they still need a bath in Coke to clean up the grayish haze on the solid color. Even with the haze, they are just what I was hoping for. Such a "beachy" feel to them, I think I have to make something from them rather than holding on to them to sell as a set.

Not to be outdone, we played with some new soap ideas and are pretty pleased with the results.

The first soap, on the left is the result of the Bear fat I showed in a previous post. It is so hard and creamy and white. We scented it with a nice smoky, woodsy combination of essential oils and it turned out really nice. I washed my hands with it almost immediately, even though it hadn't cured yet. The lather is lotiony, but, of course, since it isn't cured, my skin was tight (although still very soft) after washing. If those mountain men could have gotten hold of some nice coconut oil, they would have had a lovely soap!

The swirly copper colored soap is "Wild Ginger". We love the scent and if it holds, it is a sure winner. This is the first soap I have ever made that will actually match the terra cotta pavers in our main bathroom and also, our "cinnamon taupe" (okay, pink!) kitchen. And the aroma.... a citrusy ginger.

The third soap is something I just wanted to do for midsummer. We made all three of these on Midsummer's day, but this was special. Almost every fancy schmancy oil and butter I had went into it along with powdered rose petals and rose clay. Not as glamorous as I had hoped, but it should be fabulous when it is cured.

For any soapers reading this, I have to mention that after making soap since the early 90's I have never tried discounting my water before and these are the result of my first experiments with water discount. After this experience, I will never use full water again and can't believe it took me so long. If you have not tried it, don't wait any longer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hmmm Something strange going on

I don't know what's going on with this blog. Everything was fine and suddenly there's no sidebar and no history... I'm aware of it and am working on it, but with my limited knowledge of html, I'm not sure if it'll get fixed. If not, I guess I'll start a new one and post the link to it here.

Edited to add: Well, it seems all I had to do was to make a new post... I have no idea!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

And still more..

Yes, I waited 'til the kiln was cool enough. And I have to say, I've been using Foster Fire bead release and can't get over how quickly and completely the beads clean up with this stuff..

Anyhow, I had to come up with a name for these and all I can think of is "Custard Dots". The yellow color reminds me of custard, so creamy and oddly enough, I guess the pale lavender/periwinkle color does too. I had some fun with a new press for the cubes and "jewels" and was pleased to see that I was accurate enough that the dots actually hit the corners of the beads. A few squiggled kaleras sprinkled in and it's a pretty nice set. Oh, and of course, the heart!

And then I made "Daisies Won't Tell". I've personally been wearing a lot of the bright "grizzly green" (as my grandmother would have said) with my jeans and this is a perfect match for that combo. Doesn't it look - perky?

The flowers are pretty detailed in that I split the petals so they look even more natural than usual. The round blue beads are some sponge coral that I searched and searched for last year because I knew it would match this glass so well - and because I just love the color.

All in all, it has been a pretty productive couple of days. I need to do this more often!

Torching again

I've been back to the torch. A little rusty with the stringer control, but this color combination just inspired me to keep going and going!

There are enough here to do a bracelet and earrings, maybe even a necklace, if there are plenty of "companion" beads added in.

I have some others in the kiln and am having trouble letting it cool completely. I'll post them later, or if I must, tomorrow.

The past couple of mornings, I've been getting up early, coming out to the shop and just "going to town". It's a good system for me and I need to keep at it. There is a "edge" involved in lampworking and too much time away from the torch will cause one to lose it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Babies & bear fat

Aren't these little guys adorable? They're the latest additions to "Bob's Menagerie". I wish he had put his hand in with them so you could see how tiny they are. Fluffed out, they aren't quite as big as ping pong balls!

They are partridges - chukkers. We raised them before and a few of them hung around for months. They found a place to roost inside one of the bays of our shop. We left the doors open and they would come in to get out of the wind. They would line up on a rafter and it was a bit disconcerting to be standing there talking to a Christmas tree customer and happen to look up and see a line up of chukkers looking back. I'm sure it was even mor startling for the customer!

And then there's this stuff. This is bear fat. A customer was here for trees and one thing led to another. The next thing I knew he came back with these jars of bear fat for me to use to make soap.

I know how to do it. I have no doubt it will turn out well. I just can't decide how to scent it. Something woodsy? Yeah, that's probably a good idea. What should I add? Coconut for bubbles, for sure. Nothing will be necessary to harden it up. Maybe some honey!

And one last thing. Have you seen the new Ford commercial with Taylor Hicks - our new American Idol? I like the guy. I like the commercial, but, jeesh! They must play that commercial a million times a day!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Catching up

It isn't that I haven't been thinking about blogging. Everything just wasn't in the right place at the same time... how's that?

Last Saturday - was it that long ago??? we got the latest edition of The Essential Herbal in the mail. As always, it's going to be another great edition, full of lots of info and fun articles.

We somehow managed to get this edition out at almost the same time we put Tina's latest book together. It's the one about wild foods I mentioned before. I may be tempted to try some new "wild" stuff even though that isn't my usual cup of tea, so to speak!

One of the last few evenings, I snapped a picture of the sunset. They are so beautiful around here - the creamy colors of the sky and all the trees in silhouette.

This is our view from Frog Hollow. As you can tell from the name... we are usually looking up at the sunset.

I have been working on jewelry and beads.

I think I've shown these fairies before. One lady bought all three as Christmas gifts - and another lapiz one that I haven't finished making into a necklace yet.

Anyhow, this is how I string them on waxed linen with matching beads from my stash. The fringey part must be trimmed and finished, but I'm happy with how they are turning out. They are special beads and they will be very special necklaces.

Today, I was working with twisties and made a couple of pretty nice vessels with them. I like to make them so that they are transparent and it is easy to see that they are actually hollow. I haven't cleaned it yet... I get the idea I shouldn't be showing it without cleaning, but I was excited that I produced something for a change, so here you go...! The little post in the center will be gone once it is cleaned. That is the "mandrell" or the stick that the glass is wound around while it is being worked.

I made another vessel that unfortunately wound up with a pinpoint hole in the side, so it will just have to reside with me... It's ivory and covered with various twisties. I guess it was just a little too complex to make it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

What a Weekend

Well, this was a fun weekend! After finishing up the orders, we had most everything still packed up, except the soap, from Landis Valley.

Alloway Creek Herb Farm is tucked way back from the main road. Barb and Roger Steele put together a great bunch of artists and herb people to produce a really nice show.

There is garden art, jewelry, clothing, plants (of course), soap and bath products, books and magazines - and great food, too!

We met some great people and really enjoyed ourselves, despite the heat of Friday and the chill on Saturday - all the while being menaced by hovering clouds....

One of the cutest things we saw was an 8 week old Corgi Puppy! One of the vendors was telling us about her new baby and then her kids showed up at the end of the show to help break her display down. They brought the baby along.... awwww....

Almost enough to make me think maybe Rudy DOES need a new brother!

The other adorable thing we saw both nights, on the way home, was the neighborhood Alpacas. I've shown them here before, but they never warmed up to the camera before... and now they've been shorn.

I'm not sure what is going on with the black one on the left... but they were all much more friendly than ever before... I wonder if they think they look funny when they are wooly and so they try to hide.. Yeah, that must be it... shy...

Doncha just love the little pom poms they leave on their heads?