Sunday, April 28, 2013

Repurposed Molds!

Inspired by a thread in a glass forum, I went searching in my kitchen for alternative molds for fusing glass. Can you guess what the prior use of this cactus mold was? A wrought iron cornbread pan! It took many, many small pieces of glass to create this cactus paperweight and the detail of the mold is terrific! Go on - check out your house and garage and I’ll bet you find a funky object you can repurpose for a mold for fusing glass too!
(sorry about the cornbread mold, guys, you'll have to get your cornbread in a loaf now!)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Use that glass scrap!

 I frequently get asked what I do with all my glass scrap. One great use is scoring leftover end pieces into strips and using a murrini mold like the one pictured. The sample I have shown used 5 thin strips of Bullseye 90COE glass stacked and full fused in the mold. Now all I have to do is cut the cane into slices to use in my designs. So use that glass scrap!

A couple of years ago my husband and son made me 2 of these large planter boxes, one for the front of the house for flowers and one outside the kitchen door for herbs and fun fairy chimes. Didn't they do a great job?!

This year they're going to make me a wishing well. They just don't know it yet.
I'd like one with flat sides so that I can decorate the sides with bits of glass, stones, and pieces of whimsy that I've been collecting over the years.

After they stop jumping for joy at this latest request and actually build it, I'll post a photo of it in its naked state. It will probably take me a couple of weeks to finish and I'll post those photos too .... stay tuned :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Repurposing Glass: Another Reason to Love Flavored Extracts!

Here's a sneak peek into one of my kilns where I was slumping vanilla extract bottles.
I'll turn these into mini spoonrests when they're done and I plan to acid etch some for a matte finish and I'll keep others shiny, beautiful root beer brown!
I love off-time in the studio just experimenting with new designs and techniques and I look forward to using more of these upcycled little bottles in my work (next up will be those tiny syrup bottles you get at Cracker Barrel!) 
Another fabulous way to repurpose glass and keep it out of the landfills. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Outside the Studio Doors

We've been in our home for over 6 years now,  and I'm finally *finally* getting around to planning for the area outside the studio doors.  I'd love to do a stamped concrete patio, but can't because the French doors to the left have pipes running underground that lead to our septic system and if we ever need access to that, I wouldn't want to break the patio up.

So I'm pondering other ideas such as a bricked patio or something else. I'd also love a pergola for part of this area as well as some beautiful seating and an outside firepit for our awesome view of the mountains.   This would be mostly an adult area to kick back after the kids have gone to bed (yeah right, the kids usually outlast all of us!!)    We're on just over 5 acres, so there is a lot of potential for fun areas and I'm currently working on a hideaway fairy garden in a lightly wooded area which is almost halfway to completion.   I'd also like an extended play area for the grandkids (4!!)  with maybe a tree house and fort (hey Chris, Keith and Danny, I need your help with this!),  planning on some really fun projects I saw in Lowe's and their own little mailbox that I'll hide notes and little treasures in. I bought some molds for stepping stones and garden borders which I'll personalize for them with glass and other wonderful things.

One potential plan I'm playing with in my mind is using the right half of the space for a stamped concrete patio (about 13 feet across by 12 feet out) and the other half for a pergola and fire pit area.   If you can visualize it, it would mean the spaces adjoining each other.    Oh, and don't forget the beer cooler.

So .... I need more ideas for this space because right now the space is bland and boring and too vanilla!!    Anyone have any ideas for this space? It's approximately 26 feet across and I'd like the patio to be no more than 12 to 14 feet long and something I can DIY.   And affordable would be oh-so-good :)    Come on, bring those plans on!    If I love, love, love your ideas and use them, $50 and $25 gift certificates to my Etsy shop could be yours :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kali's Curveball

2012 started badly. I'm writing this post as a narrative because it's been hard to keep my head (and heart) together.

On January 2, our little brown rescue dog, Kali, was savagely attacked in our yard by a feral cat. We immediately rushed her to the vet clinic (it was just after 5 p.m. so of course our regular vet was closed for the day, isn't that always the way?) We were told that she had trauma to her right eye and were given drops to release the pressure and some painkillers and told it would take a week or so for her to heal. A couple days later, my gut told me things weren't getting better and we took her to her regular vet. More exams, more pills, more drops and told her recovery should be 10 days. Kali is always my shadow but in those 10 days, she was like a crazy glue stick. If she wasn't in such pain, I think I would have taught her how to cut glass, she was that close by all the time. I hope you are as blessed as I am to know dog-love, there is nothing like it.

I am one of those people who sees the glass as half empty and frequently battle depression (despite my attempts to turn it around). I think I knew from the very beginning that she would be blind in that eye and that was o.k. with me, because I still had her and things could have been much worse. My husband on the other hand is a Pollyanna and is frequently in denial as to the reality of some things. I don't always whistle a happy tune.

After 10 days and then 14 passed by, I knew she was in trouble. She was still in pain and her spirit was damaged as well as her eye. I noticed that she was walking with her body to the right wall to compensate for the lack of sight (to give herself boundaries). Back to the vet we went and were advised to make an appointment with a dog opthalmologist. Fine. Get us in asap. Anything for my dogs. Of course, the appointment couldn't be made for another week and this opthalmologist was the only game in town (actually several towns). And of course, he confirmed what I knew all along, Kali was indeed blind in her right eye. We were given 3 options, one which I wouldn't even consider. The other options was enucleation (complete removal of the eye) or having a prosthetic eye put in for cosmetic reasons only. The prosthetic could cause future problems (infection, possible rejection by her body which would mean another surgery to remove it, etc.)

As you can imagine, I did more than a fair amount of research in January and knew that for Kali, enucleation was the best and most humane thing for her. My spouse was still in denial and "couldn't do that to her". To me, a prosthetic is merely a cosmetic fix and honestly, Kali does not care if she looks like she's winking all the time. I don't care; the day I rescued her from the side of the road, she also rescued me and I was strong enough to do what was best for her. Within 2 days, she had her surgery scheduled. She had her eye surgically removed in February with no prosthetic put in. I do not give a flying crap what people think and what their comfort level is. She is beautiful to me.

Her recovery went as well as it could although she hated the collar she had to wear for 13 days). We moved a mattess onto the living room floor as she couldn't go upstairs to the bedrooms or downstairs to the studio. I think her being confined in that way was the worst thing for her. I moved all the furniture (couches, etc.) in the living room around so she couldn't get onto them. After 10 days when she was able to jump small heights, I moved the couches back around and the first time she jumped onto one, I held my breath but she smiled that doggy smile and took a nap. After another 13 days, she was cleared, her stitches were removed, and she could then reclaim the beds for naps. Life was good for my pup again.

We're travelling this road of adjustment together, Kali and I, the rest of my family, and Kali's 2 dog "sisters" Daisy and Lanah. Life is a bit different now, she's not quite as feisty as she was before and is always with me. In time, hopefully that will change because Kali is a warrior, fierce and independent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I live in a part of the country that has
four distinct seasons and from now through March is my least favorite time
(I much prefer Spring and Fall). The last couple of years in particular, I've had a really hard time getting through the
bone-chilling and hard Northeast winters. Driving is
treacherous here on the unpaved back roads in Cow Country and though I love my house and acreage,
I don't know how many more winters we'll withstand here. New York is a tough place to live and though I'm a native and have been here all my life, between the winters, the roads and the taxes (don't get me started), I think it might be time for a change.

Does the Winter inspire you to create more or do you hibernate? I find myself alternating between being creatively active and just wanting to snuggle under a quilt with good books. The library has been one of my favorite places since childhood and I still go every week. My library of choice is the Cheney Library in Hoosick Falls, everything a small town library should be with a great selection, friendly staff who are always ready for a chat about books, good hours, and access to the online upstate NY library system, so for what isn't on hand in the libary, they can get for me within a few days. Ironically, the book I'm reading right now is Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. I highly recommend this author and I'm working my way through her books now. Time for a few chapters and a cup of tea now!