Friday, October 30, 2009

Things that fly....and things that swim

For the past week, I've been working on this custom order Snowy Owl suncatcher. I was on a role, half way through having all of the glass pieces foiled up when I realized that there were things about the face that I really didn't like, but I couldn't put my finger on what those things were. I left the project alone for a day or two while I went over the problems in my head and finally came up with a solution. So, back to work today--I fixed the problem pieces and I can continue onward.

Here's another custom project that I did a few years ago. I was contacted by someone interested in my work~they had seen a different Largemouth Bass glass panel that I had designed, created and listed on ebay at the time.
There were a couple of requirements by the buyer-first, they wanted this panel to be 1/3 sky and 2/3 water. Second, the bass needed to be in pursuit of a frog that had made its way onto a lily pad~with the question remaining of whether the frog made it or did the bass snag it off the pad. Third, they wanted the letters 'H' and 'L' built into the panel somehow~these initials signified the pond that was on their property. Forth, it need to be built to fit into an existing enclosure.
I set about including all of these elements into the design and would email sketches to the client for approval since they were out of state. Once I had the final 'cartoon' drawn up, I sent a carbon copy to the client for their final approval and to make sure that the measurements were correct. I'm so glad I did this since I was given the wrong measurements but could easily make the corrections before I started cutting the glass. Because of this I still remember the measurements off the top of my head--this piece measured 20 9/16" wide by 29 9/16" tall. By the way-in this large overview you can see the letters 'H' and 'L' worked into the design--to the right of the bass in the swaying grass.

The thing about this project that kind of bums me out is that I didn't take a whole lot of photos of it like I should have. Here's the bass with all the glass pieces cut. I've used a taxadermy glass eye--just like what would be used in a mounted trophy catch.

Here's the detail of the frog--before the poor guy was given an eye.
My husband has been trying to convince me to redo this panel for our front door. As soon as I can find 2 months of free time to spare I'll be right on it~in other words I would love to redo this but I doubt I'll ever find the time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New glass in my shop-Cobalt Blue Star

While I'm waiting on a glass shipment for a custom project that I'm building, I decided to create and add this Cobalt Blue Star Beveled Stained Glass Window Panel to my Etsy shop. This design is truly my favorite to create, I have yet to come up with another pattern that I enjoy building as much as this one.
Shortly after listing this piece, I was notified that it had been featured on the Etsy FDL team's blog post on jewel tones from various Etsy sellers. Wow, how exciting for me, I'm really flattered that my piece was chosen to be included.
The following pictures show some additional details on this piece.

The center focal point is a clear glass bevel. I've surrounded the bevel with textured cobalt blue glass with the textured side facing forward. I tend to do this with much of my work, I think it adds just a touch more sparkle to the piece. The center 'petals' are surrounded with a different textured glass both in cobalt blue and in clear called Waterglass. Waterglass has a flowing texture that resembles water on a lake's surface. I've also used a pale blue textured glass in the background and textured cobalt blue glass with clear glass bevels in the border.

Once all the glass pieces have been cut, fit and foiled I will cut my frame for this piece. For square/rectangular panels I use rigid zinc came or frame.
This is cross section of the zinc came showing the 'U' channel. The outer edges of the panel fit inside of this channel.
I measure my came and hand cut the pieces using a hacksaw and a mitre box.
Here is the piece tacked down to a board using horseshoe nails along with the items needed to solder this panel front and back. From left to right: solder, flux, solder iron and a damp sponge to wipe the tip off during the process. Once soldered the panel is cleaned and polished and stored in my workshop while it awaits to be shipped to a new home (hopefully).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Asters~Its what's for dinner

A few days ago, I set out to do a little bit of exploring and see what was new in the wild kingdom. I went to two of my local favorite 'hot spots', areas that in the past have always had good things to see. At the first stop, a wild, overgrown area near a stream just a 3 minute drive from my house, I found the first of several Monarch butterflies I was to see on this day. What a complete surprise it was to see this beautiful butterfly on such a cloudy, dreary day.

In both places that I visited, there were wild asters in bloom all over the place. Part of the sunflower family, these blooms were being enjoyed by a number of different species.

The bees were also enjoying the small white and yellow blooms. Once these flowers dry they will provide winter seed for small wintering songbirds.

Ooops, I caught these two in the act! I saw them fly passed me together but didn't attempt to follow them. Just by coincidence I found the flower on which they landed.

The black-eyed Susans are fading away but are still adding some bright sunny color to the natural landscape. Another member of the sunflower family, these happy blooms have provided food for butterflies and bees and other insects while in bloom and will again sustain life once their seed heads dry and are munched up by songbirds.

Here is another interesting wildflower/shrub. Its a Heart's-a-bustin', or Strawberry Bush. Looks like they have busted alright. These seeds are eaten by browsing deed during the winter months.

SALE!! I've put quite a few items on sale in my Etsy shop until the end of October. All of my stained glass owl ornaments have been marked down along with all rainbow colored items including stained glass pieces signs, hot air balloon and small rainbow suncatchers.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy weekend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wings and things

I've tried for many, many years to get photos of hummingbirds, but they always move much to fast for me or leave the feeder just when I'm ready to get a shot of them. A few weeks ago, I got lucky. Right before I was to take this feeder down and switch it with a clean one, I took a break on my front porch-camera in hand. On this evening the activity at the feeder was pretty good. Here are just two of the half dozen that were flying around the front feeder~the activity at the back feeder was also good.

These are juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, the most commonly seen hummingbird east of the Mississippi River. They come to North America for their breeding cycle and I've been lucky enough to find one of their tiny little nest a few years back. The adult males with their shimmering red throats have already made their journey south to their wintering grounds. I'm jealous of the folks out West, they get a wider variety of hummingbirds. Strictly a "New World" bird, its always a pleasure to see these flying jewels. But these cute little jewels have an aggressive side to them and are extremely territorial.

The hummer on the left kept trying to get a drink of the sugar water mix~meanwhile the one that's in midair kept trying to get it to leave. A few times the midair hummer would actually try and land on the other's head to get it to go away.

After a little while things seemed to settle down and they realized that they could enjoy some 'juice' together.
As of today, we still have a few of these juveniles hanging around the yard. Soon, they too will be gone for the season. For the 10 years that I have been tracking their arrival and departure dates from three different locations in Middle and West Tennessee, the second week of October is when they usually leave for good.

Speaking of birds, here is my next project that I need to get started on. Its a Snowy Owl suncatcher and a custom order. Once its completed, it will measure nearly 14" diameter. The owl will be sitting on a snow covered log with snow on the ground around it. The background will be a deep cobalt blue with a full moon split in half by the trunk of a tree. I've been excited about building this piece for some time~but my customer requested that they did not want it until November at the earliest. I can't wait until its done, depending on how things work out I might build one for my Etsy shop.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, peaceful Sunday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I love black cats

Yes, I do-I love black cats~but then again, I love all cats!! I just added three new black cat ornaments to my Etsy shop. The first two are the fat face style-they are 5" wide. One has glowing amber eyes. The eyes are glass globs and after I get them soldered I hand paint the pupils so each is a little bit different. The amber eyed cat has the look in its eyes like my cat gets when there's no food in the bowl.

Here is the green eyed kitty. These glass globs are really light in color~almost a pale lime green.
And the last kitty has really cool blue eyes. I've never seen a blue eyed black cat in person, but I know they exist. For this cat, I narrowed the face a bit. I really like the shape of this one. I had another kitty~a blue eyed grey and white kitty all handcut, but I needed to order some replacement parts for my glass saw before I can go any further with getting that one done.

And here's some real black cat love~two of my black girls loving up to each other.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Its time for pears!!

A few weeks ago my husband came home with a box of locally grown pears. He had stopped to help a man resecure the load on this truck and in return the man gave up these pears from his Granny's tree. Well, honestly, I don't have a clue of what to do with them all--I don't can and there is just my husband and myself--the kitties don't want anything to do with them. Except to maybe roll them around the floor. So, I thought to find some suggestions on Etsy's Etc forum. It seemed like the logical place to ask for all kinds of advice.

I got lots of great suggestions and links to recipes that looked super yummy--but I'm really lazy in the kitchen. I really don't like to be there very long, except in the winter. I enjoy cooking in the winter. Its still too nice outside for cooking.

The first suggestion that caught my eye was to bake some like apples. Great! I got the crockpot recipe book out and followed the instructions for baked apples:

2 Tbsp raisins

1/4 cup sugar

6-8 medium apples, washed and cored

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp butter

Mix raisins and sugar (I used brown sugar) fill center of apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter. Put in crock pot, add 1/2 cup water. Cover, cook on low 7-9 hours or high 2 1/2-3 1/2 hours. These turned out really good.

The next pear treat I tried was Pear Crisp. HeatherScent suggested this recipe and honestly, I just love the way that she shared it~it just made me want to try it. So, with her permission, here it is:

Oh, I suppose you want the recipe!

Wash, peel and cut up a bunch of pears, enough to cover the bottom of a 9" square baking pan. Grease the pan first. Use REAL butter, please, not cooking spray or margarine or any of that funny business. Butter is the right thing to do.

In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cups rolled oats, 1/3 cup softened butter and 1/3 cup of flour.

By the way, I'm guessing at all of these measurements, since I don't actually measure when I cook. But even if thy are off, how wrong can it be? It's sugar and butter, that always works out nicely.

Mix that up nice and then dump it on top of the pears. Sprinkle with a whole bunch o cinnamon, and a little nutmeg too, if you're a nutmeg kinda gal. I'm not.

Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes (Oops, you should have pre-heated the oven. I forgot to tell you that). Serve it with real ice cream, for goodness sakes. Don't even think about putting Cool Whip on it.

This was really good! Hubby and I both enjoyed it, it was quick and easy and tasty.

We've gone through this box of pears, there is only about 6 left and they are now soft enough for table use. I really need to send him out again and see what other kind of fruits he might be able to bring home.