Saturday, July 29, 2006

Back and Posting

Well, after that great flurry of posting, I feel kinda bad having missed a week or so.

The computer being sort of incapacitated threw me for a loop, and then I had the bead show to work on in York. Came home to some soap orders and then restocking to be done, but now I'm ready again.

These are our stargazer lilies. We planted them some years ago and they have rewarded us every summer since with a fabulous show. It is short, but so gorgeous!

Every year, it is a little better than the year before.

And the chickens...

I can't seem to catch them all at once, but here you can see our rooster. We've decided they must be Scandinavian, so his name is Sven. We have Olga and Helga and are trying to come up with some other Scandinavian names for the girls.

Finally, this is one of the best beads I ever made. She is a purple fairy. Her proportions are great, her hair all stayed on, the ends are smooth, but... Even though I tried really hard to pay attention to keeping her evenly heated, her skirt just splintered beneath the surface.

I'm thinking I have a bit of an incompatibility problem. I used both Moretti and Lauscha. It should all work together, but, I guess this time it didn't.

I am really heartsick about her. But I have the picture and I'm actually thinking of painting her with resin so she will hold together. Maybe I'll encase her in a cube of resin and keep her as my "frozen fairy".

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Life in the Country - Kaboom!

I started to go into great detail, but suffice it to say that Tuesday afternoon and evening, we experienced a real "Thunderboomer" - and a little too close for comfort! We're not sure exactly where it hit, but it was close.

It took out (fried) our cable modem and router along with two desktop computers. My laptop is still fine, but this is the first I have been "connected" since the strike. Our electricity was out for 13 hours. The telephone line to the shop is not working.

Thunderstorms are usually not so destructive, but when they make a direct hit, they can wreak havoc. All the repair and insurance calls have been made, new surge suppressors have been installed.

Life in the country will now return to the usual chaos.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Good, the bad and... the turkeys

First the good news. This is one of my first uses of gold foil. I think the combination of clear cobalt glass and gold foil is magical. It reminds me of shooting stars at midnight, but I call it "Goldrush".

Imagine the feelings of those 49'ers. It must have been amazing, lying under the stars, late at night, dreaming of the big strike.

A second piece of good news is this vessel which I call "Green Jaguar".

The pattern is something I wanted to try that the originator calls "dragon scales". The color reminds me of the rain forest and the spots of something sinuous and stealthy... a Jaguar.

The lighter clear glass in the middle is my favorite, pale emerald, because it catches the light so beautifully.

And then the bad...
I say bad for two reasons.
First, you can see that I somehow burnt the handle. See the black spots on the inside of the handle? And second, on the other side of the vesel, there is a pinpoint hole. I saw it while I was working on it, and thought I had covered it, but, alas no. This was a lot of work. I pulled a number of twisties to lay on the surface and then placed a twisted flower right on the center. On the back, the design is more abstract, with raised and flattened dots.

Oh, well, I'll have to try it again like I did the mermaid yesterday. No photos yet, but she turned out very well.

TURKEY REPORT!! A neighbor stopped in yesterday just to tell me how much she loves the turkeys. She wanted to ask if she could feed them corn. Sure, make more poop. She didn't say, but, from her very forceful, "I like the turkeys!", I get the feeling that all the neighbors might not be in complete agreement.

Also, a PennDot crew was working on the road in front of our house. I left while they were there and noticed the whole flock of turkeys had settled in along the orad to watch them. Apparently, Bob, my husband, left shortly afterward and asked if the turkeys were bothering them. The "Stop sign guy" replied, "Oh, no, they're so tame. We almost caught one!"

So, now we know what the PennDot guys do. When they have a chance, they chase turkeys!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

New Mermaid & Pea Blossoms

If you click on any of the pictures, a larger version should open in a new window.
A new mermaid. Her tail is covered in fish scales, though not as precise as I'd like. I'll have to give it another shot today on another one, maybe. I do love her hair. The stringer came out pretty well and gives the curls lots of definition. Looks like it's just floating around her. And, she's modest... Sometimes those mermaids just don't know how to cover up!

The hole on this bead is lengthwise and mermaids look really nice as pendants, with a fringe of matching beads and seashells pouring out beneath them.

This color combo turned out really well. It's dramatic, but a really nice way to use the ocher and coral together. The little green turquoise beads I used as spacers match it perfectly and I call it "Pea Blossoms" even though I've certainly never seen pea blossoms that color, but the spacers look like little peas.

Oh, look, Rachel, they aren't glowing! I was trying to change the color of the backround with layers and found I must change the original or the glow "happens". Doncha just love Photoshop?!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Never a Dull Moment

Back in May, when it was first built, I posted a picture of this structure. With all the rain we have had, plus judicial care on Bob's part, they have grown at an almost frightening rate. Part of this "care" included installing electric fence around the whole thing to keep the turkeys out.

He also felt the need to install electric fence around where the turkeys slept the first night because we think a fox carried one off. This (I'm not sure if it was the fox or the electric) led to their most recent perch which I showed you just the other day.

The turkeys were not at their usual spot last night (thank heavens!), so we aren't sure where they are spending their time now. Bob's worried, but I think they were just probably insulted since he washed away the piles of excrement that they left on the brick path to our back door!

Okay, back to the gourds. They have started actually bearing fruit. These are just a couple of the tiny baby gourds forming all over the vines. These particular ones look like bottle or bird house gourds, but there are also snake gourds, dipper gourds and mini gourds that I think might be fun for jewelry use (somehow)!

This morning, the new rooster started crowing. A sound Rudy, our pooch, has not heard before. Rudy decided that the correct answer to this noise should be a howl! I was outside, talking to Tina on the phone when this interchange began, and both of us were highly amused. The rooster would crow, Rudy would follow with his answer, and it continued for some time.

Honestly, there is never a dull moment around this place!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Name challenged

Today I worked with silver and copper blue frit to make these lentils. The silver and frit combine to create this glowing finish. I looked and looked at the picture trying to come up with a name. They remind me of some splendid reptile. Although reptiles and amphibians don't necessarily make me think of jewelry... or anything pretty. Maybe "Enchanted Rain" because it looks like rain spatters on dry ground, only sparkling deep turquoise spatters on silvery ground.

I thought of the men in space right now and considered calling them "Nebula", but the next set is much closer to a nebula.

Looking at the picture of these has convinced me to change the original name "St. Elmo's Fire" to "Orion Nebula". They just remind me of the first pictures sent back from the space telescope. They were so amazing, with myriad colors and so many swirls and sparkles.

I remember how unimaginably beautiful those pictures were in, was it, National Geographic?

St. Elmo's Fire, gargoyles and Silver Wyandottes

We'll start with something pretty. This is the beginning of a set I'm calling St. Elmo's Fire. I'm going to pick out colors from the )Raku) swirls and make a bead using each one. It's going to be pretty and Tina bought a bunch of the color changing beads (which some of us remember as mood beads) a few months ago.

This is one bracelet where they would make sense since no matter what color they are, they will match something in the main beads.

Then we have the turkeys - again!

Every evening around dusk, they come in and roost at the end of the pergola leading to the back door. The first time they did this, we weren't aware and when we turned around and looked at the entrance, it was like finding our own set of 11 gargoyles staring at us!

The one on this end doesn't seem to be too keen on the flash.

Somehow we got on the subject of chickens on Friday night and Bob immediately began researching them. He found some that look like these at a farm nearby and fell in love. This morning, he will be going to pick up 5 hens and a rooster - Silver laced Wyandotte.

Yep. More birds. These are really pretty and I'm thinking they might actually have some purpose for a change. Apparently, the rooster really doesn't make much difference as far as egg quality goes as long as you collect the eggs when they are fresh and if we decide we'd like to have some babies, bingo!

I must have a talk with brother Mark and his wife Pam, though, about mentioning any new animals...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today and maybe tomorrow

Just one set today, and it isn't topaz. I've been wanting to make something in pinks and today was the day. This is a combination of pastel pink and transparent pink. The transparent tends toward peach, and I added a roll in salmon frit before I swirled the glass. The transparent is lighter than it appears in the picture, but I decided not to do so much fooling around with Photoshop today. (I don't know if you know this, but if you click on the picture, you'll get a bigger version in a new window.)

Most of the day was spent helping with Tina and Molly's official move. The one that included pickup trucks. So, now they are officially in. Even though they've been sleeping at the new house, half their stuff was still at the apartment.

Maybe tomorrow I'll start working on organization... yeah... tomorrow....

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Instead of cleaning

Well, I really intended to get some work done... cleaning the shop ... but instead, I had a bracelet to finish and decided to make some beads and put one more together while I was at it. This first picture is the bracelet that was ordered from a set of my beads. It's called "Funky Friday" because I felt the khaki and blue denim colors would be perfect for casual day in the office and the clunky shapes made it funky.

This second set is my own fireworks, a purple version of the aqua set I made a few days ago. I just love the swirls and the straight sided lentil is a more solid version of the lentil, so it takes the poking and prodding necessary for a design like this one.

I think I'll do another set like this with topaz, ocher and ocelot frit. It should be quite colorful with a bit of tortoiseshell look to it.

I call this bracelet "Olive Petroglyphs". The scrolls and lines remind me of ancient petroglyphs, the colors are great and all the silver makes it extra special.

Okay, okay, maybe I'll get back to the filing and rearranging. Oops, nope, gotta do some grocery shopping. Well, I evaded it for today...

Yeah, I know the pictures "glow". I'll have to work on my photoshopping....

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And we pause...

To celebrate our Nation's 4th of July.

An annual tradition with us, this year was better than most. Lots of people in our rural area have fireworks exhibitions of their own, along with the large displays in the various communities.

Saturday night, we gathered on the deck up at my sister's and watched the neighbor's display. From the vantage point on the hill, we could also see probably 3 or 4 other large displays, although farther away.

Last night, we had our own and while our "boys" were setting off their own, another neighbor proceeded to send bottle rockets screaming over our heads.

Rob and 3 of his best friends have been doing this (more or less), with lots of adult supervision, since 7th grade. Now, they are almost all 20 and staged their first (almost) solo presentation.

What a blast (sorry about that)! Tomorrow, it's back to beads, etc.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Beads - oh, and turkeys...

When I uploaded these pictures, they were in a different order, but I'll go with the way they came up to comment.

These are called "Sailing away" and I only made two of them to begin with - as a sample to see if I liked them.... well, I did. I made three more, so they are now a nice sized set. The gray-blue faceted spacers were one of the things I found at a show in Timonium on Friday and I was very happy to find that color since it matches one of my new favorites. It is like a well worn pair of jeans. The gray-blue makes a nice contrast with the sparkling medium blue transparent and the whole effect with the curling waves makes me think of sailing the seas!

Another set which includes the same color of gray-blue along with some purples and an ocher. It was a day of trying things... stringers, dots and twisties. I call it "Lollypops and Jawbreakers".

These guys again! Remember the little, ugly wild turkeys I showed you a month or so ago? Well, we set them free. Unfortunately, they seem to have imprinted on humans, specifically our family. For a while before we let them out, they set up quite a ruckus whenever they saw me or my sister since we had gotten into the habit of bringing them piles of chickweed to munch on. Now, I walk between the shop and the house and turn to see them (all 11 of them) walking quietly behind me in single file. It's kinda creepy. Reminds me of the velociraptors in "Jurassic Park"!

While mowing the back yard the other day, the whole "gang" suddenly emerged out of the woods. (A little unsettling!) They loved the cut areas with all the things hopping around rearranging their lives, etc.

And finally, some more beads. This is another of those unmatched sets. The only thing that they have in common is the colors and the shape/size. Another set of vintage porcelain beads used as spacers did the trick and really made them work together.

Soon, I will have my website updated. Some of the things I have shown on the blog are already sold, but many of these will soon be available on the pages of Torchsong Studio.