Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Springtime

Yea, spring is officially here! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and I even saw my first butterfly a week or so ago--a Mourning Cloak. It moved away much too quickly for me to get a picture of it, either that or I'm pretty rusty in the bug chasing department. Something I'll need to work on.
So, of course I had to put a butterfly together.

I was undecided on the colors that I wanted to use for this project. At first it was going to be a white/yellow daisy. I decided at the last minute to change the flower to more of a Black-eyed Susan type sunflower.
Spread out--the process of wrapping all the glass pieces with copper foil. At this point I was unsure of the colors--separately they were all pretty bright with the exception of the pale purple background. I was afraid that the end result would end up looking like a bag of fruity candy.
Pinned down and ready for solder. Once all the pieces have been handcut, grinded to fit, wrapped with foil the first side can be soldered together.

Flip it over and solder the backside

Black patina to change the bright shiny solder to a delicate calm dark grey

Soldered to the back is a single loop and a bit of chain for hanging. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. If I were to do this again I would use a few different colors for the butterfly

I also been wanting to do a project using purple glass. After some thought I decided that I had better do it now, before the leaves come in on the trees. I have a terribly hard time photographing purples and reds in the summer due to the green leaves distorting the color of the glass-they usually turn to mucky murky browns.

Even without leaves on the trees I've had a hard time getting pictures that I'm happy with of this new suncatcher. The center is a clear round faceted jewel surrounded by three shades of purple glass--all Waterglass from the Spectrum Glass Co. I've pulled the color samples right from their webside and posted them below.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Its been an amazing week!

Its been one of the best weeks ever! My good fortune started on the 4th, when I entered
Jen Maestre's 'guess how many pencils I've got' game on Etsy's Etc forum. I'm not normally a competitive person, but looking back at the thread I think I put in the most entries! The rules were to guess within 100 pencils, I guessed at 41,653 with the right number being 41,560. That's a serious amount of pencils!! I can't believe she counted them all~I think I would loose track at 28 and have to start over.
My winning prize is this wonderful leaf pendant made out of --what else--pencils!! Its fantastic and has now become my good luck charm.

If you are not familiar with Jen's work, she makes amazing sculptures and jewelry out of pencils. Her art is so wonderful and unique. Click here for a link to her personal website.
Jen also sent me a card featuring one of her pencil sculptures, 'Kraken', which will now join the 'Wall of Love' in my studio~kitty corner to the birthday card I won from Celtic Cat last year.

All this excitement made my outside kitty friend, Junior, so happy he wanted the world to see his beautiful white belly as he enjoyed rolling around in the leaves.

My good fortune continued on the 9th when my Spring Pastels Window Panel was one of the featured items in Etsy Finds: Spring Ahead.

To round out this incredible week, on the 11th my hummingbird suncatcher was a featured item in the ByHand spotlight.
I'm feeling so lucky from this past week's good fortune you had better believe that I bought a ticket for tonight's Powerball game! If I should disappear, please know that I'm having a wonderful time but I'll be back to have a give away of my entire shop.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hello, Yellow!

They are popping now! After a few days of warmer that what we've had temperatures, the daffs in my yard are opening up like crazy. Such a welcome sign~~spring might finally be here. Last year, we had snow in March~~~this year we'll probably have snow in April.

This is probably my favorite clump. These are actually in my neighbor's paved driveway. They come up every year and they seem to say that there's just no stopping the beauty of nature.

This large clump is in my backyard~in a spot that gets a lot of sunshine. Its wonderful to look out my kitchen window and see all these bright happy faces outside.

There's few things that bring me more joy then witnessing the reawakening of Mother Earth.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New glass for this week--How about some red

I've been wanting to build something red for some time now, but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do--if I wanted to recreate something I've already done or something brand new. Since I've got square geometric panels in my shop already I figured it would fun to put together something round.
This is a brand new design for my Etsy shop-- it started out as most of my creations do--scribbling and doodling, erasing and scribbling some more in a very small size and then recreating a pattern in a larger size.

Late last year, I ordered some beautiful glass teardrop jewels from the great folks over at
Harmony Glass. I've dealt with them for a few years now and they are just fantastic--super fast shipping and excellent customer service. So, the idea was to use the jewels and alternate them with bigger pieces of glass in the same shape as the jewels.

The center is a smooth round glass jewel surrounded by textured cherry red glass--textured side facing forward. I like this effect-it gives the finished piece some added interest when its hanging up, especially at night once the sun goes down and there's no light coming through it.

The alternating red glass pieces are wavy Waterglass with a gentle texture resembling slow moving water. I've also included 3 different textures of clear glass for this piece.

I've used the same textured side up effect on the border for the red glass, I've left the clear accents textured side down.

41 inches of lead? Even though this piece measures 13 1/4 inches diameter that's what it took to wrap this piece up. Once it was wrapped up with lead, I soldered two loops to the backside of the lead--one at 10 o'clock and one at 2 o'clock for the chain to attach to.

While I had the red glass out I thought I would put together another diamond shaped beveled panel. These glass bevels are so lively, when you walk past this piece the bevels just shimmer and shine. The center is a 2 inch bevel surrounded by 1 inch bevels and cherry red glass cut to 1x2 inches. For the outer border I've used 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch bevels in the corners along with 4 x 1 1/2 bevels. I had this piece hanging inside my house for day and it was fun when the sun hit it just right--I had little rainbows all over the floor from the prismatic effect of the bevels.
Spring is slowly starting to make its way here. Its been such a long cold winter but today we were finally able to open the house up for just a little while. Actually, just one window. Then it got too chilly and we had to light the woodstove back up! But, the kitties were very happy to fight over the window to get a sniff of the outdoors.
Wherever you are, have a safe and happy week. My daffodils are popping so I'll be taking some pics of them soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunny Yellow Daffodils~finally

I hate to admit that I have done no gardening at this house in the three years that we've lived here. I'm super thankful that someone at sometime in the past planted loads and loads of daffodils all over. Finally, they are starting to open up.

I looked at last years pictures and they were all in full bloom by the middle of February. I guess this year's colder than normal temperatures have slowed them down a bit. There's only a few flowers so far that have bloomed.

But, there are lots and lots of buds all over waiting for the right time to pop and show their bright smiling faces to the world. I can't say that I blame them for waiting. I'm keeping my winter coat on for a bit longer, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunny but slightly froggy in the morning

I've got a special affection for frogs and toads. It started when I was quite young, I'd always get excited when I would see one since I've always thought that they were cute. And I still get excited. We've got some toads that like to hang around the house, they should start coming out soon....In the meantime--I had to build one.
I recently added this Stained Glass Frog to my Etsy shop. This frog has appeared in a couple of different panels and suncatchers that I've built. The idea for a solitary frog in a small size came as a special requests from one of my Flickr friends. I'm always thankful for good ideas.
The glass that I used for the frog's body is Emerald Green Opal Mottled made by the Youghiogheny (YUCK-a-gane-ee) Glass Co. Its just perfect glass for a frog with the spots and all. And here is my model, a little resin frog I bought years ago. When I needed a model, I plucked him out of the garden where he was hanging out in the dirt. He's been promoted and now hangs out in the shop on the windowsill. The round black thing in the corner will become its eye.
For the eye I've used a black glass glob, or glass gem, half marble. I grind the glob down on all sides and on the bottom so it becomes more even with the level of the glass that surrounds it. What I like about this is that its a little bit more livelier that just using a flat piece of glass-the roundness of the glob shines and reflects a bit.

After soldering all these small pieces together I could see that there were some odd bumps that needed to be smoothed out. Left like this there would be some odd bumps that would show even with the lead wrapped around it.

So, gently these bumps were taken and smoothed down on the glass grinder.

Instead of using two pieces of glass for the web-like back foot, I've used one piece of glass and tack soldered a bit of wire from one joint to another.

A solder line here would be too bulky--this wire effect is much gentler.


My orange tabby cat has been featured on Brazilian Canvas' blog post on Etsy feline finds. I am really honored, there are so many great cat finds on Etsy all the time.
Spring is finally happening in this part of the country-slowly but surely. My daffodils are finally starting to pop open in the yard. Soon, the birds will be singing and the trees will be budding out and the wonderful smell of springtime will fill the air.
Wherever you are have a safe and happy week. And watch where you're stepping, there might be a frog wanting to cross your path.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Its almost time for hummingbirds

Soon, the real ones will be coming back to North America. We usually don't see our first hummingbird until the first week of April in this part of West Tennessee and since I've been missing them since they left last October I thought it was time to make one. I started designing this pattern a few weeks ago and was finally happy with it and ready to start. Below are some highlights of how I put this hummingbird suncatcher together.
I've already cut all the glass pieces out by hand and I've started the process of fitting them together on the pattern. The glass that I chose for the belly is a pearly iridescent white glass with soft hues of pinks/yellows/greens. Iridescent glass is reflective, like a mirror and its really awesome at night when just a bit of artificial light hits it.

Each piece needs to fit pretty tight to its neighboring piece. To get this close, the pieces need to be grinded to remove any extra glass. I've also chosen to use dark green iridescent glass for the parts that are the bird's head, wings and tail. The clear glass in the wings are textured iridescent glass, too.
Here all the pieces have been fit and I'm ready to start the foiling process.

I've used 4 different copper foils for this project. 2 are black backed foils at different widths for the glass pieces that are more see through and 2 are copper backed foils for the glass that is more dense.

Ready for solder, all the pieces are tacked down. Left to right--flux, 60/40 lead tin solder, damp sponge for wiping the iron tip off, glimpse of the solder iron and a block of sal ammonaic. Even though the damp sponge helps to clean the solder iron tip off, sal ammonaic helps remove the oxidation that forms on the tips for better solder results.

Here, I've started the solder process on one side of the suncatcher.

Once the front side is done, the piece is flipped over and the back side is soldered also.

I've measured out how much lead came I need. Lead came is the outside metal framing that gets wrapped around this suncatcher.

Here's a view of one of the loops I've soldered to the back of the frame so this piece can hang by way of chain. This piece has two loops attached.

I needed to give this bird an eye. The eye is simply a ball of solder added to a solder line.

Black patina--a chemical--darkens the shiny silver solder to a rich dark grey color. Left on its own, the silver solder and lead will eventually turn a dark color on its own--we're just speeding up the process.

Done! I really had fun putting this piece together and I really like the bright bold colors that I picked for it. I'll be doing more of these in different colors soon and in different sizes. This piece measures 12 diameter, 30cm. Next time I'll probably do one at around 8 inches.
Spring is finally springing up here--one of my daffodils has started to open up just a bit. Can't wait for the wave of yellow happiness that these beautiful flowers create in the months ahead.
Wherever you are, have a safe and happy week. Look to the skies if you get a chance--you might be pleasantly surprised to see an awesome creature of nature.