Friday, August 8, 2008

The Story of Weetie

I love my kitties so much! I've been told that I'll probably be one of those crazy old ladies with 100 cats roaming around. I kinda hope not, but ya never know. I really need to write up my will to provide for the care of whatever cats I have when I kick the bucket.

This is the story of my Weetie, real name Sweetie...A/K/A Biscuit.

Before we moved into this little neighborhood that we live in now, we lived up on a big hill surrounded by big trees and ledges with no neighbors to be seen from the house. One day, just when my husband was getting out of the shower, he says that he saw this small kitty walking past the front of the house just screaming in agony-the "Death Rattle" he called it later. He quickly put on a pair of undies and slipped into his big rubber boots and followed this tiny cat with a bucket of dry food. She was too afraid to come near him, continued to scream but kept going further and further away over and under the ledges and through the woods.

All that he could do was to set out little piles of dry food for this little critter, hoping he could gain her trust. When I came home from work that day he told he about his little adventure. "I just got out of the shower, but I tried to get this little cat to come to me--getting covered in ticks and getting tripped by the brambles".

Later that evening, he heard her outside--the familiar scream! We grabbed some ham and cheese and went outside. She was about 10 feet from the house, threw her some ham and she came closer--she was a bag of bones!! So hungry, once we got her to come closer he grabbed her---for a small cat she is a fiery critter!! We threw her into the shed with another kitty that was rescued just days before (they can't stand each other to this day!)

So, this little thing was so sick--just full of internal parasites. We treated her and off to the vets she went for the neuter job. It was time to bring her in with the rest of the family--5 at the time. I have never seen anything like this--she came out of the cage at full bore and chased the rest of the cats, all way bigger than her up the stairs and out of site. We had to keep a blanket over her cage and keep her locked up for a whole week in the house in a cage and had doubts if she would adapt. She finally calmed down....and she is now one of the sweetest most loving kitties ever. At her small size--12" from the bottom of her toe pads to her shoulders she still packs a punch and is not intimidated by any of the bigger cats. She's another special little love of ours!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

1969 Seagoing Houseboat

My husband never seems to surprise me--one day he announced that he would like to have a boat-but not just any boat...He wanted a houseboat. So, living close to the Tennessee River I thought we wouldn't have a real problem finding something.....Granted, neither of us had even owned a canoe, (we've been canoeing), let alone a real boat--but that's o.k., life is full of adventure. We set out to find a good boat. We did find one outside of Nashville, TN--it was great, looked like an old tugboat! And it was blue and white--I had dreams about a blue and white boat. We called up our old friend who was familiar with boats and asked him to take a look and possibly move this momma for us...He did, looked at the river charts and said, "Ya know, its gonna take 350 river miles to move it!" Hmmm, we said, its only an hour and a half out of Nashville in the car-he said, "Are you crazy?? You can't move that boat overland without special permits." So, we offered him a special adventure-move this boat out of Nashville and bring it home to us close to us near Perryville, TN. We loaded up our gear, food and booze for this 3 day cruise down the Cumberland River to the Tennessee River...On the way I learned to tie knots in rope-something I still use to this day, how to tie up at a lock to pass through a dam (we passed through 2) and how to read river charts. What a great adventure, I wouldn't trade it for the world! Even the time my husband was at the helm and I spilled all over the floor-I was in the head--because he had a screw up and couldn't figure out how to read the red and green barrels marking the channel and was turning the wheel left to right like a madman! We sold the boat in 2005, I kinda miss it. We had some great times on the river, even while docked at the marina and having fun just watching the water!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New glass panel--Day 4, cutting the border

Another great tool that I'm so lucky to own is a strip cutter.

Its a glass cutter with a ruler and a base combined together. The cutter can be set to increments on the ruler depending on the width of glass desired. The base rides on a surface higher than my cutting surface and scores the glass in a nice even line.

Then the glass pieces are broke apart from each other. Next, I'll need to fit the border pieces to the original design. I've chosen to have a 1" border in the same pale green color that is in the body of the panel but in a different texture. The border texture is called rough rolled and it is translucent with a slightly rippled texture. For the corners I've decided to use 1" square clear glass bevels.
In the next few days I'll go to the next step in this project--foiling the glass pieces.

Shown: strip cutter, fitting the border to the body of the panel.

New glass panel-Day 4

Finally we are going to get to the glass grinder. Its a great tool. There's a flat grid surface with a water basin beneath. The grids allow crud from grinding to fall into the water pool. There's a motor in the base that turns a diamond coated grinder head/bit which smooths down the uneven surfaces of our mishapen glass pieces to allow them to fit tightly. A sponge sits behind the grinder head and wicks water up to the surface to cool the glass and provides lubrication to insure a smooth finish.

So, I always start in the center and work outwards. Each glass piece surface is grinded smooth to follow the paper pattern that's been glued to it. Then, I'll soak the glass piece in water to release the paper, dry it off and see how it fits onto the working design.
Now that we have the body of the piece done we'll go ahead and cut the border.

Shown: glass grinder, fitting the glass pieces onto the original

New glass panel--day 3

I've let the pattern pieces dry overnight. The next morning I've gone back out to the shop to begin cutting the pieces apart.

Cutting is really not the right word, what's happening is the glass is being scored. I use a pistol grip glass cutter that has a built in oil reservoir to lubricate the surface while in use. There is a wheel on the end. The wheel of the cutter plows a fissure in the glass surface, weakening the surface along that line. This is scoring. Next, pressure is applied and the glass breaks along the score line. But, I like the word cut so that's what I will call it.

So, each glass piece for the panel is cut following the glued down paper pattern piece getting as close to the paper all possible without gouging it. Too much excess isn't good either--I'll spend the rest of next week at the grinder!! And you can see that once all the glass pieces are assembled onto the working design, they don't quite fit right. There are excess edges here and there where neighboring pieces are not fitting close. The glass pieces need to be like loving partners with the next piece. So, we need to get all of these glass pieces to the glass grinder....this is a lot of fun!!

Shown: pistol grip cutter with glass piece, all the pieces of the body of the panel together, close up of glass pieces.

New glass panel--the work begins

Now, I need to think about what colors I want to include in the new design. I've chosen 4 colors: pale pink, pale purple, pale green and pale amber--all pastel colors that will look might lighter off of the paper and hanging in a window. The four colors are all of Waterglass--its translucent with a delicate texture that resembles water rippling on a lake's surface. I also need to choose a clear glass for for this I've chosen clear seedy. Seedy is lightly textured and appears to have thousands of tiny bubbles trapped within. The bubbles pick up light and makes it sparkly.

I have taken my carbon copy and have cut it apart keeping all of the different color sections separate. The original and the carbon have corresponding numbers so that I know where each piece belongs. Next I brush each edge with liquid paper for two reasons--first, the edges are easier to see and second, liquid paper makes that craft paper waterproof and the edges won't peel up later when I grind the pieces...more about grinding later. Now, I'll glue with a glue stick the pattern pieces directly to the glass. I'll let the pieces set overnight to dry well and go inside where its cool and have a couple of cocktails.

Shown: glass selection and pattern pieces glued to the glass.

Let's make a stained glass panel

I've started a new glass panel project! I'm going to go through all the steps involved in the next few days and show what it takes to get it done.

First, I started with a plan. I knew that I wanted to include a star shaped clear glass bevel for the center. Bevels are glass pieces that have had their edges cut in such a way that they are almost prismatic. So, one night while just sketching out ideas I came up with something that I thought might work. The original idea was only about 2" big so I needed to design something a bit larger to work with.

The next day I went out to the shop and came up with the working plan. The bevel will be in the center surrounded by other lines and curves and a 1" border. Once its complete the size will be approximately 14 1/4" square.

Shown here are the bevel and the plan along with a carbon copy of the plan. I use the original to work on, to fit the glass pieces onto to check for fit. The carbon copy I cut up with scissors and actually glue on to the glass that I plan to use...more about this later.

The parking blocks

I was really not that enthusiastic when my
husband installed these concrete parking blocks outside of my shop last year. He wanted quick easy way to divert rain water away from the house.

Now I love them!! They have become home (for the time being) for at least 3 baby toads. I can be working on the inside and peek out at them. Sometimes they come out of the holes for a short while but then quickly go back in for protection. I'm sure that the sun hitting the concrete helps to keep their cold blooded bodies warm, too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Orange Lily and Purple Coneflower

These two beauties caught my eye this morning....aaah, summer bloomers!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Story of 'The King'

This is 'The King', originally named 'Boy'. He is one of our rescued cats--my husband found him as a kitten when we lived in Ann Arbor, MI, and he brought him home to me to fix my broken heart. My dad died on Christmas Eve 1997 and before we could leave for the funeral in Florida we had to have another cat put to sleep (the cat had cancer and wasn't going to make it much longer). The King is 10 years old and has earned his name--he keeps all the other cats in line, will break up fights between them and commands their respect.

My door

This is the door that leads from my kitchen to my workshop. Originally it was a 3 pane door, but last year I broke one of the panes. Instead of replacing with regular glass I decided to build 3 new panels for the door. Each panel measures 8 1/2" wide by 33 1/2" tall. There are a total of 41 glass bevels and 4 faceted glass jewels within the 3 panels. I choose teal glass--its one of my favorite colors and I thought it would be a good match to the wood door.

Shop photo

Here is one view of my shop. I have glass stored under the table in boxes and also under the workbenches.

Welcome to my shop

After weeks of procrastinating I have finally set aside a day to work on my blog.

I'd like to show you where I work.

We bought this house last year and it was a great find for the money. Its located at the Tennessee River Art Village in Perryville (Parsons), Tennessee. The Tennessee River is within walking distance and my neighbors across the street have a great view of the river from their backporches. Me-I've got a great view of a beautifully wooded hillside.

The house had a carport and my husband and I enclosed it for my work space. We found a great deal on the big windows. The window man in town misordered the color for a large job and he was selling these windows cheap--$85.00 each. My husband added workbenches on both sides of the room. The large table in the center was our old dining table, unfortunately it was much to large for our kitchen. Fortunately for me, its a great work table!