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.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Enough of the grey days of winter

This winter has just seemed to go on and on and on... I'm ready for the bright bold colors of spring and summer! And even more, I'm ready for some warm temperatures. The stacks of wood that we use to heat the house are shrinking at a very fast rate and it looks like we might have to start dipping into the wood that is stored for next winter.

I thought I'd cheer myself up and create a few new flower pieces. Day lilies are one of my favorite summer flowers, they pop up all over the place around here. I don't know why I never thought to make one. I sat down one night and came up with the design and couldn't wait to get out to the shop and put it together.

This Orange Day Lily Suncatcher measures 7 inches diameter, about 18cm. I used a dense yellow glass in the center along with orange wispy glass for the petals. Wispy glass is translucent in places along with 'wisps' of white glass swirled into it. The little bit of white really makes this piece pop with just a bit of sun behind it, but its quite bold even on a cloudy day.

This is from a couple of weeks ago when we got dumped with a bunch of snow. The kids, and some grown ups in the neighborhood had a blast sledding down the hills-formerly known as roads.

The idea for these two glass glob suncatchers started like lots of my projects do, simply sketching ideas~sometimes the ideas work and sometimes they don't. The centers of both are large glass globs--each measure about 2 inches diameter. Glass glob-what a fun name. Some people call these glass gems, I like the word glob. For the Red and Orange Daisy, I used the same wispy type glass as the Day Lily, added green leaves and a purple background to see how these secondary colors would look together.

And for the Red and Yellow Daisy its the primary colors. Each measure 5 1/2 inches diameter, 14cm. The yellow glass is a little different, its a bit more dense than the orange glass.
What's coming up? There's a frog in my very near future--I pulled out a pattern that I designed last year and have been slowly getting things together for it. And a new hummingbird suncatcher idea~I'm just finishing up some details and should be starting on it in the next couple of days.
Hoping for some warm weather soon!! Enough is enough already. My luck, we'll be in the 90's by mid April and I'll be wishing it were winter again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yankeegirl creates beautiful works

My friend and watercolor artist, yankeegirl, contacted me the other day to find out if I would mind if she created and listed one of her beautiful watercolor paintings based on a picture of a zinnia I had posted to my flickr account last year. I was so delighted!! I roam around the neighborhood~when the weather is much better~ taking pictures of things I see, mostly flowers in bloom and the creatures that feast on them.
The resulting painting is just gorgeous! I recognized this flower right away. Available for sale in her Etsy shop, Anna's Flower measures 11 x 14 inches, mat included.

red She did a fantastic rendition! Here is the original photo I took last summer. Please stop by her Etsy shop and take a peek at her beautiful paintings and lovely photography.

Thank you, Yankeegirl! I'm sure your zinnia will bring joy and happiness to the place that it will call home.