Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And the Winner of the Tripod is....

And the lucky winner of the tripod give-away is Krista!!!

I have started a page on my website to centrally locate buttons for the most current give-away, as well as chronicle the winners of each of the contests (this also serves to authenticate that I honestly am sending people free stuff!)

Check it out and you can have a sneak peak of the upcoming give-away (which will be officially released September 1st)

Please keep your eyes out on my blog for the constant give-away opportunities... its always fun to win free stuff! And spread the word - thats the idea here - if you think this is fun, tell your friends, increase your odds of knowing the winner and getting to play with the prizes... word of mouth is so key for a small business like mine! :)

Fused Glass Embellishments

I am teaching a class on October 20th called "Torch for Fusers", the name says it all: you learn to make embellishments for glass fusing using a torch.

The above picture shows a glass flower that I created in the torch which later I fused down onto the glass circle.

Here you can see the finished piece.

Class takes 3 hours and you will learn a number of techniques that make for really fun embellishments. We will do flowers, petals, swooshy lines, dots, encased dots (which are pretty much really simple millefiori), latticino (swirly canes) and curly cues. Its a great way to take your fusing to the next level. Some of those design elements that involved a curved line or a rounded organic touch can be achieve by using a torch to manipulate the glass. So this class is a great way to open up your fusing, as well as a fun way to learn how to use a glass torch!

If this sounds interesting - call the Aquila Glass School to sign up or ask questions - I teach this class periodically during the year, so even if its 2009 when you are reading this, if you would like to sign up call: (503)240-9449


Monday, September 29, 2008

fun times with stop motion film

This is what I did for fun today. I bought this sweet action figure on Etsy - its a great design by Bre Pettis, laser cut into a small rectangle of plastic. You pop it all apart and assemble the little guy - MK1 Flatpack Monkey.

It arrived over the weekend and I was excited to put him together, but when I looked at it I saw the awesome opportunity to make a neat stop motion film. So I waited a couple of days until I had the time.

I think my patience paid off. I even found a function in my camera that allowed it to take continuous shots at set intervals (I used a 7 second delay). It was fun.

Stop motion videos make me grin - and they are really easy to make with Windows MovieMaker.

Check it out - I think it turned out great!

Torchworking Glass with Natural Gas

Many glass torchworkers are now using Natural Gas (Methane) instead of Propane.

There are advantages and disadvantages - the short end of the story is this: Natural Gas is safer but setting up the system takes a little of bit of know-how.

One of the major hurdles is that residential NG comes at a very low pressure that will not be sufficient for your torch. Some small torches will run on the low pressure, but you will inevitably want more. You can purchase a booster (pictured above) and this will solve the problem. In fact, you will have to purchase a gas regulator and attach this to the booster to dial down the pressure to your ideal level.

Let me first spell out the advantages of using NG so its clear why its worth it to go thru the trouble.

1. both NG and Propane smell bad, but Propane is heavier than air (so it falls and smelling leaking gas can be elusive and very dangerous) where NG is lighter and will rise, so you can smell a leak! Thats a good thing.
2. NG can be plumbed into your studio (hire a professional to split off the gas already coming in for the furnace) where Propane comes from a cylinder that must be filled and kept outside
3. Propane and NG run similar hot temps when run with Oxygen.

and here are the disadvantages:
1. set-up required! first get the NG plumbed in with an on/off valve, then fit the NG line to your flexible red gas line (heres a great Lampworkers Etc. thread with pictures that details how to do this)
2. Natual Gas pressure at a residential home is usually 1/3-1/2lbs of pressure, when you most likely need more than that

But hey - if you overcome those two disadvantages - you never need to fill a propane tank again! Safe and easy - who doesn't like that!
In fact, if you take things a step further and purchase an oxygen concentrator (pictured to the right of the booster) - the two machines plug into the wall (electricity) and into your torch - and you will never need to purchase or fill a gas cylinder again! When you are ready to work you simply go into your studio and turn it all on... work for as long as you want, as many days in a row as you want, and you will never need to stop and fill a tank or change one out. Boooyah.

Okay, so my friend Spike was kind enough to invite me into his studio and let me take a bunch of pictures. I had never seen one of these NG boosters before. Its a great little number.

Spike also has created a couple of saftey mechanisms that are well worth sharing:Here he has built a simple wood housing for the NG on/off valve. When it is off he can lock down the wood around it and then his grandchildren cannot play with the valve and turn it on. So brilliant eh?!

Here he has plumbed in water under his studio bench at hand level, so if something rolls away from him and he wants to put out a fire, bam, grab the hose. He has also has an extinguisher present and hes painted all surfaces with fire retardant paint, but this simple garden hose attachment at hands reach is a wonderful addition to any glass studio!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And the Winner is....

here you can see my hand picking the lucky winner - Lisa! - she will be receiving a box of glass circles.

The number 1 blog entry by popular vote turns out to be the "Glass Fishies" video. I must agree. Life in the studio is fun, especially with Aimee around cracking me up. This video was a real spur of the moment thing, Aimee was playing with her freshly handmade little glass fish, making voices for them and whatnot, and I just grabbed the camera and flipped it to video moment. Its precious. :)

Thanks everyone for taking the time to vote - it was fun to look back and fun to see what other people thought.

Stay tuned for the next big give-away... I announce the prize on Wednesday Oct 1st.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Craft Mafia Show

There's a show this Saturday evening at the Secret Society Ballroom, the Craft Mafia is hosting, consider yourself invited!
I will be there - come and check it out and celebrate the local craft scene - we have a mafia now!

and I am in it :)

Come one, come all, this Saturday evening at the Secret Society Ballroom from 5pm to 10pm

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Learning to Make Beads

This coming Monday I am teaching a Beginning Beadmaking class

Have you ever wanted to learn to make your own beads? Come and play with me and you will be well on your way. Not only will you learn to make beads, you will also gain access to unlimited torch time at the Aquila Glass School (they only charge $8.50/hr for torch time! (glass not included) included is gas, annealing, and tools - wow)

Beginning Beadmaking
is such a fun class, introducing the art of playing with fire to create small glass objects. Its an ancient art and a modern facility, I promise you will enjoy yourself. I love seeing what people make, you never know, and some first-timer beads are masterpieces that couldn't ever be recreated!

There is space available in this class - click here if you are interested in reading more about it - or call the shop to sign up: (503)240-9449

More Thoughts on Photography

Okay - lets talk photography - this is a popular subject in my world.

I had fun taking pictures of this little project.

The first pictures are from when I made (outdoors in the sunlight), and then back in the studio under all the photo flood lights and whatnot. Makes for a good example of what you can do on a small budget.

The second picture here shows this little tree under 3 lights - simple setup: metal hoods plugged into a surge protector with photo flood bulbs in my closet setup. Look how it pops into focus.

I barely need to use a white balance with this setup.

The third picture shows the tree in the same light setup with a greyscale background underneath.

You can use all sorts of backgrounds: colors, textures, etc... tape the back of the background paper up to the wall so that it can gently slope down underneath the item, this provides the infinite horizon.

This last picture is just for fun. I love the little birdy in the tree. Had to take a close up picture, he was proudly sitting in the sunlight, still warm from the torch.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Glass Yoga Ladies

Seems there was a yoga class going on in my photo studio today. The ladies were trying to look their best under the bright flood lights.

I listed a whole little crew of glass ladies doing yoga in my etsy shop... and a few beautiful little trees. Oh my goodness, one has a bird it, the bird is super tiny. Gotta go check it out


Monday, September 22, 2008

The Garden of Leah is 1yr Old!

Show a little love for the ol' Garden of Leah!

In celebration, I am doing a garden give-away this week. The winner will be announced on Friday. (the big Tri-Pod give away is still going on thru the end of the month, if you know anyone that needs a tri-pod to improve their photography, don't forget to enter!)

My first blog entries were on Sept 19th of 2007. So this past weekend was "the Garden of Leah"'s first anniversary. My goodness. Can't believe its been a year. I took the time last night to read thru my last year of blog entries and it was such fun!

I am doing a poll - did one last year, gave a little mobi away, the whole sha-bang was very popular - so I am doing it again, this time with an even better prize!

Heres the poll:

Which is your favorite ol' blog entry:
I've provided some choices to make it easy - although if you have a different favorite, leave that as a comment and you will be officially entered to win the prize

1. Standout Stampin'!
2. Glass Fishies
3. My Etsy Packaging for Shipping
4. Amateur Photography
5. Woops!
6. Photos, lots of them
7. PSM 2008 Day 1
8. Design Sponge Biz Lady Meetup
9. Making Glass Coils
10. Glassworks Tour

And heres the prize: some glass circles - you can hang them in your garden or make art out of them, or do whatever you please. I will send them to one lucky winner. This will be a quick celebration - I'll announce the winner at the end of the week.

Remember - post a comment to have a chance to win the prize - and vote in the poll (on the right of the screen)

Organics to Me!

My Organics to Me deliver just showed up at my door, friendly man with a big head of hair is always smiling when he drops it by.

I get a bi-weekly delivery of the "Bin for One" and I have found that it suits me fine. There are two men around to help me eat it all (brother and boyfriend) and yet still we are finishing some of it on the second week.

Have I mentioned how much I love this company!

heres whats in my box today:
2 Bartlett Pears - *LOCAL, farm direct*
2 Gala Apples - *LOCAL*
2 Peaches - *LOCAL*
2 Dapple Dandy Pluots - 'Cali'
1 bunch Carrots - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 bunch Spinach - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 Lettuce(mixed) - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1/3lb. Green Beans - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 heads Broccoli - *LOCAL, farm direct*
3 Tomatoes(mixed) - *LOCAL, farm direct*
3/4lb. Summer Squash//Zucchini - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1 paper bag of mushrooms (shitake) - *LOCAL*
1lb. russet Potatoes - *LOCAL, farm direct*
1-2 Onions - *LOCAL*

PS. hey if you want to sign up for yourself, make me your reference and I think I get a free box :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Get Crafty Kit

Okay - heres my idea - you order this fun kit from Etsy that includes everything you need to make a little fun glass mobile.

Plan a day of it:
- get some tasty food for fuel (creative juices need fuel),
- go to your local Art Museum and sit under a Calder mobile (this can be done in so many cities around the world, I love that!) and watch it dance, let you mind wander about kinetic art.
- embrace your inner child - if you can't get to a museum, go to http://www.calder.org/home and read all about him.
- grab some pliers and your glass mobile kit and make a mobile!
- stick your new mobile to something (sticky bits all included in kit) - and now you have made that day's smiles contagious.

if you would like to purchase more than one kit from me, or certain colors, just let me know.

It even comes with handmade directions (printed on origami paper) to help in construction. You don't have to follow the directions, but if you need assistance, the guidance will help.

Pictured above is the first kit that is now available in my Etsy Shop. I know everyone loves to get crafty - so here ya go - everything is included in this kit to make a little mobile that can stick to anything. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I love this Poster

I used to work at a Gallery that sold KOG art glass and I came across this image one time when I was cruising their info looking at all the amazing info they have available about their company. When I was ordering some artwork from them I pleaded with the nice person on the phone to send us one of these posters - I even offered to pay! They said they would look for one, but no luck, no poster. Isn't it a sweet poster! Circa mid '80s... the Motley Crue tee... the sunglasses, oh the mullet and the mustache and the saying, its so awesome "We Make the Glass that Makes You Famous". I love it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tool o' the Day: Tripod

If you are crafty and interested in selling your own work, or you already do sell your artwork online, photography is a must, and DIY photography requires a few tools. One of the most important things to have for good pictures is a handy dandy Tripod. The tripod will allow the camera to capture more detail and crispness, which looks very pleasing to the eye. Better pictures = more sales online.This tripod (not the garden hose - its just a prop) could be yours!

It spins, it swivels, it will be many different heights, its simply an all around great tripod. Good for most any camera, includes the screw fixture that holds your camera to the tripod, easy to use.

Rather than buy one - why not win one!

Here are the contest details: All you have to do is blog about me and my blog (or this contest specifically, either is fine with me) and put a link in the comments here. At the end of the month (its Sept 15th now - so in 15 days on Sept 30th 2008) I will choose a winner and email you to get an addy - I will send you this tripod free of charge.

I believe what comes around goes around, and good photography is a must - so hey - join the fun - try and win this tripod. Even if you already have one - you could give it away to a friend in need :)

This give-away is part of what I hope to be a more regular effort to do fun free give-aways on a semi-regular basis on my blog. So stay tuned and spread the word!


Friday, September 12, 2008

CraftyPodCast with me about Etsy Street Teams

Check it out - you can listen to me on the CraftyPod - Diane makes the best podcasts and this one keeps up with the rest. We discuss the Etsy Street Teams, of which I am part of the PDXEtsy team, the Etsy Glass Artist Team and the newly formed Portland Independent Artist Co-op.

Click the Orange Headphones to the right to listen to the PodCast or go to CraftyPod and listen there!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sale in My Etsy Shop

hey if you are thinking about getting started early on your holiday shopping...


come get a sweet deal on some of my glass artwork! The whole shop is on sale. Go for it.

and to see more shops on sale in this 3 day 30%off sale Check out the Etsy Glass Team


Friday, September 5, 2008

New Website - Win 10lbs of Bullseye Frit!!!!

Check out this great website run by Helios Kiln Glass Studio - it has all sorts of great tips and tricks for fusers.


They are having a contest - this weekend only - if you fuse with Bullseye glass you should definitely go and enter the contest! They are giving 10lbs of Bullseye Frit to the winner! Here are the details (copied from their website):

We want your help testing FusedGlass.Org so we are giving away 10 pounds of FREE Bullseye Frit to one lucky winner. Here is all you have to do to enter:

  1. Registered on the site before 12 AM (CST) Monday, September 8 will get ONE chance to win. If you've already registered then you are already entered. Woo hoo!
  2. Everyone who posts to the forum (either a new topic or responds to an existing one) between 8 AM (CST) Friday, September 5 and 12 AM (CST) Monday, September 8 and you'll be entered THREE times to win.
  3. Posting multiple times does not increase your chances of winning. We hope you'll join in because it is enjoyable and/or educational -- but you won't be rewarded for spamming the site. You wouldn't do that to us, would you?
  4. The frit prize can be coarse, medium or fine in the colors of your choice. No more than 5 pounds in total may be Bullseye "E" or "F" grade frit. We will pay standard UPS postage.
  5. The contest is open only to residents of the United States. Sorry Burundi but our lawyers made us do it.
  6. Employees of Helios Kiln Glass Studio (all 5 of us including the dog) and it's suppliers are not eligible.
  7. If we determine, in our sole judgement, that an individual has created multiple accounts then that person will be disqualified. If you can provide a letter from a credentialed medical professional attesting to the fact that you have been diagnosed with multiple personalities then we will consider extending an exception to this rule for you. And for you. Yes, you too.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tool o' the Day: Nippers

This odd looking tool is called the Rolling Edge Nippers - and man they are useful in snipping up little pieces of glass. You can cut a rod in half with this nippers, or snap off a bit of scrap glass from flat pieces. Its really a great tool!

Pro: easy to use, very effective and efficient
Con: the rolling edges need to be tightened a lot, when loose its hard to actually snip down on the glass (as the rolling edges simply roll off the glass rather than cut it) and this can get frustrating.

One amazing use of this tool is cutting up Millefiories.(pictured to the left courtesy of Murano Millefiori)

This technique comes from the Italian words "mille" and "fiori" meaning millions of flowers. It is a labor intensive process of creating canes called Murine that have intricate patterns inside that are viewed from the end of the rod. These Murine canes are cut up into many many little tiny discs, each one bearing the image of the flower or whatever intricate design was made in the cane.

These rolling edge nipper tools would be how one would cut up the Murine canes to make the Millefiories. This is an ancient Italian technique that is associated with Venetian island of Murano - the picture to the right shows what I am talking about and it is courtesy of the incredible website Murano Millefiori

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tool o' the Day

Tool o' the Day: Elmers Glue

yep, no lies here. Although this sticky grammar school crafting adhesive isn't technically a "tool" (I'd say its more of a "supply") its definitely useful in the glass studio.

There are other products out there on the market, ones that are sold specifically to use with glass fusing... and I have tried some of these... I will not use names cuz they are all well and good, I just don't prefer them, they tend to take a LONG time to dry and they are kinda wet and just not the right tacky substance that I am looking for, and Elmers is cheap... readily available... and I like the little dispenser.

Most of the time when I am using glue, the purpose is to make loading the kiln more efficient and simple. If everything is glued together its easier to pick up and transfer onto kiln shelves.

Glue is used in glass fusing to temporarily tack the glass pieces together before they are fired. Small amounts of the glue is a key consideration, too little and the glass doesn't actually stick, too much and the glue itself leaves a residue on the finished piece of glass. You must clean all the glass impeccably before firing. I do all my cleaning before I glue anything. If a large amount of glue is used it can possibly result in a residue, or even a dark smudge in between translucent pieces of glass. However, used in moderation, the glue will burn away at temperatures that are far below the point at which glass even begins to melt. So you put your glued creations in the kiln and you go about your merry way, and afterwards the glass is all fused together and the glue has been completely obliterated, its no where to be seen, its no longer necessary and no one ever would know.

Until now. Or being that you read my blog and you are probably a crafty sorta person, you probably already knew about how glue is used with fused glass... but if you didn't, now you do.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cute Artists Boutique

Splurge has a new website - and I thought I'd take the opportunity to spread the word about a great artist's boutique here in Portland Or. Its called Splurge, located in NE Portland on Fremont.
Splurge is a most wonderful place to shop. Happens to be one of only 2 places where you can buy clothing made by One Root Embroidery. This weekend I got a new skirt for myself from One Root - doesn't it look great (don't mind the jeans underneath the skirt, it was kinda cold yesturday).
I love these skirts, they are embroidered with designs drawn and created by the Lee family, Erin and Byron, two really good friends of mine. If you want one for yourself, find them at the Portland Saturday Market, or at Splurge.