Friday, February 27, 2009

Win Stuff - Blog Contest!

Welcome to our Herb Blog Group Contest!
For the week between Friday, February 27 and Thursday, March 5 you can enter simply by entering a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning a full year's subscription to The Essential Herbal Magazine! The Essential Herbal is written by, for, and about herbie people and the things they love. It is a grassroots publication that talks about the things you want to know when it comes to herbs.The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs. If you are already a subscriber, we"ll just add the free year on the end. Be sure to leave an email addy in your response so that we can reach you if you win!

Possum Creek Herb Farm
Blessings of an Herbwyfe
Garden Chick ***
SunRose Aromatics ***
Herbs from the Labyrinth ***
Patti's Potions ***
PrairieLand Herbs ***
Aquarian Bath ***
The Rosemary House ***
Natures Gift ***
Torchsong Studio ***
The Essential Herbal ***

*** These blogs will be taking turns having contests for the next 10 weeks for their own products. Be sure to come back!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My treats!

I know I mentioned the big project I am working on and so I am working on the torch much more than I have been. It's kinda wonderful because I feel like I have to complete a number of the required pieces every time I sit down. After I have done my "must do's" I treat myself by making something I really want to try or do... Yesterday, it was mostly vessels, but I did have one set:
I call it "Winter Wonderland" or "Winter Whites". It is pretty simple, but it is a great color combo that seems to go with everything in the winter time and was probably one of the first successful organic-style bead sets that I ever made.

My first vessel was "Golden Tea":I call it that because the top and bottom are made of a gold luster glass and the center is clear glass called iced tea. It is interesting because some of the luster actually turned gold, but it also fumed the iced tea glass. It is see through, but there is a sort of oil slick look to the whole thing..

Next, I tried a different combo and came up with "Gold Depths":
This was a different gold luster glass that seemed to behave a bit better. I used it with a veiled olive green glass. The bubbles in the glass along with the aged gold look makes it look like something that has been pulled from the depths of the ocean.

Finally, I think this is one of my all-time favorite vessels, "Blue Luster":
I don't think I ever used this glass since I purchased it a year or so ago. I just seemed to discover it yesterday. The top, handle and bottom are blue luster and the center is a veiled blue gaffer glass. There is a strong iridescent or metallic effect all over the dark blue while the center is clear, threaded with blue. In person, it is very much like a shimmering blue soap bubble.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Signs of Spring - and beads

In February, we're always looking for signs of spring around here. This picture shows a few of them. First, you can see two scooters parked in front of the shop. We had a little break and the temp actually got up to the 60's over the weekend and the guys immediately got the scooters out and went on a short excursion.

Then, there's Bob working on the tractor, getting things ready to go as soon as there's a real break

And, of course, there are the chickens... They're traveling in packs now. Little harems. Lots of squawking and chasing going on, so I guess they believe winter is soon coming to an end!

While we're waiting, I've been getting in some torch time. Mostly I'm working on a large project that I'll be revealing in a couple of months(!) But, I am getting a few things done here and there and doing a bit of experimentation.

I haven't made any "nebula beads" recently and I love them. Everyone who sees them seems to love them too as they disappear almost as soon as I make them!
And then, this is an interesting little collection that has grown through various experiements with new colors and techniques as well as a couple older ones. The beads were all together and I realized they would make a great set/bracelet just as they are.
I'll be making the bracelets up soon and getting a bunch of stuff up on the web site as well as probably taking some to Radiance in Lancaster.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Winter beauties

So, it looks like the groundhog has thrown us a curve ball this year! I'm sure it's just temporary and we can fully expect our usual 6 more weeks of winter, but today, you could hardly believe it.

A couple of days ago, we narrowly missed a real "dumpage" of snow. A rare band of heavy, isolated snow showers covered a good part of our county with 12" of snow. We had a few flurries earlier in the day and when the reporter came on TV that evening talking about the amounts in Lititz (15-20 miles away from us) I found it hard to comprehend.

When the newly inaugurated automatic phone call system for Lancaster Country Day School woke me the next morning AT 5:30 AM (!) to let me know there was a 2 hour delay, I was still confused, especially since my son graduated from the school in 2004!

So, the next day, when we took out a few deliveries, it was interesting to see all the snow within miles of our house.

We had stopped at Landis Valley Farm Museum and were greeted with different vistas than usual. A couple of the buildings really stood out in the white background, much more than in the usual lush greenery I am accustomed to.

This yellow building is right across from The Weathervane (the gift shop) and I had never noticed how bright it was until this day, seeing it framed by the bright blue sky, the bare branches and the snowy ground.
As we were climbing in the car, I thought a shot of the newly painted Weathervane Shop would be in order too. This is really a lovely place to visit. You might want to think about it if you come to visit our fair county and have never have been there. The museum is full of nifty old farm equipment and lots of interesting stuff for kids and grownups as well!
The other thing I wanted to share today was a charcoal drawing I did, probably 30 years ago. I had just finished a drawing from life class and was pretty pleased with how my skills had progressed.
One afternoon, I set up this still life and started drawing. It has always been one of my favorite pictures and it is framed and hangs in our living room. A new forum I frequent has a thread right now of people's artwork and although I don't think I'll share it there, it inspired me to take a picture of it - just in case something should someday happen to it.

We've just realized that orders are starting to come in for spring (despite the groundhog) and we are sadly in need of some soap on the shelves... Today will be spent getting a couple of orders out and then preparing to make soap: weighing fats, preparing molds, etc., etc.