Friday, February 12, 2010

Corn Nuts

For me inspiration can come from some very unlikely sources. I've made beads inspired by wallpaper, shower curtains, a birth control commercial, even a freshly dropped cow patty. Yeah, pretty sad, I know. I live in the flat plains of the Texas panhandle. If you take inspirations from your surroundings around here, it's slim pickings.

Soooo not too long ago my daughter was chomping away on some ranch flavored corn nuts. Quite irritating listening to but a dimly lit light bulb went on over my head. Corn nuts? A corn that's nuts? I thought of two directions I could go with this. The first one, not so family oriented. So I got my mind out of the gutter and went with the second option.

I actually made two of these little fellers, however I didn't see the warning signs. :( I'm sad to say the other corn nut committed suicide. He jumped from my desk into the path of my chair rollers. Very traumatic. I didn't know him for long but he will be missed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Happy New Year

A new year is upon us and as usual I'm late to the party. The blogging party, that is. We are well into the second month of the new year and I've already broken at least 3 of my resolutions. The bright side is I have 11 more months to get on track.
One of my new year resolutions was to spend more time on my blog. This I'm having the most trouble with. I can never think of anything to say! Quite frankly, I'm at a loss now. My intention was to start posting more frequently and with more content to my posts. Sharing techniques and tips being the ultimate goal. But I've been so un-inspired at the torch lately that I seriously don't think I have any thing worth sharing.

When I'm at a loss on what to make, I usually find myself going back to my comfort zone. Floral! I'm obsessed with flowers. I think this is due to the fact that I cannot grow them in real life. I have tried planting several types of flowers that are suppose to be indigenous to my area and have absolutely no success. Every year I spend money on seeds, plants and bulbs and not once have they produced a single bloom. You would think after 6 years I'd give up. But each year, after the long winter, I renew my hope and try again. In the mean time, I'll make my glass garden bloom.
I've been working on hydrangea beads. They are still not exactly what I envision in my head but I have no doubt I'll eventually get there. The beads I've posted in this post is an example of my hydrangeas. Of course, the colors are not what you would find in a hydrangea flower but the over-all effect of the blooms is what I was going for. What I eventually hope to accomplish is the placement of the blooms. I want them to be closer together, blocking out the base of the bead, yet still uniform.
Another floral bead I've been working on is my "garden" beads. This incorporates several different types of flowers. The standard 3 petalled bloom, a "rose" type bloom, "button" blooms, and the leaves are used as fillers. As you can see, I'm really liking the new greens by CIM. Dirty Martini and Pea Soup (I think that's the name of the glass) find their way into most of my sets.
One tip I can impart is the tool that I find essential to making the creases in the petals. The x-Acto knife. In my opinion this is the perfect tool and a must for any lamp worker. The blade is thin enough to give a good clean deep crease and it holds up well in a hot environment. More importantly, it's cheap!
Well there you have it. My first post to the new year. Only 38 days late!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey FAIL!

Recently I was asked to make a turkey bead. Although I had never attempted one, how hard could it really be? After careful consideration. I decided to go with the "cutesy" version. More on the comical side. The version in my head looked so much better than it turned out at the torch. I don't think you could call this a turkey. Doesn't really look like any turkey I've ever seen. Pity, because I was really rocking the turkey form in my head. Oh well, we'll just chalk this up to the turkey Fail category!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A day like no other

At 1:00 am Thursday morning I was awakened by my 13 year old daughter. She had ran into my bedroom saying something was wrong, I think we are having a storm. I bolted out of bed to what I thought was hail hitting our house. I would learn later it was debris. I ran to the front door and looked out to the most surreal sight. It was broad daylight in the middle of the night? Still half asleep, I couldn't understand why it was so light outside. I ran to look out the back door and my blood ran cold.

A wall of flames and the loudest sound I have ever heard. My first thought was a plane had crashed in our back yard. I began screaming for my family to get up. My husband bolts our of bed to see what was going on. We realized that the natural gas line that runs through our community has exploded!

We live 4 streets over from where this fire ball is raging out of control. The pipe line runs right next to our property but has exploded at the pumping station 3 miles from our front door.

We know we need to act fast and throw on some clothes. I tried calling 911 but the lines are jammed and I can't get through. I yell at my husband to get the kids and I run out to try to save our mules. They are going crazy with fright. I can't get them haltered no matter how hard I try. My husband is yelling at me to get into the truck. We've got to get out NOW!

We drive down the street making sure our neighbors are getting out and our friends are safe. We all make it out to the main road. Emergency crews are on the way, the sky is lit with blue and red flashes. The fire is reaching 700 feet in the air. Houses are on fire, the noise is deafening and night has been turned to day. We could feel the heat as soon as we stepped outside. A mandatory evacuation soon followed.

We made it safely to my Mother's house in town. Around 3:00 that morning, the news crew reported the fire was somewhat contained. Thinking we could get back into our home and check on the mules we were not able to take, we head back out. The emergency crews would not let us back in and directed us to the middle school, where the sheriff and fire marshal would meet with us.

All of the families displaced in our community, the red cross, sheriff, and fire marshal all congregated to the commons area in the middle school where we were told we would not be allowed back home until after day break. Safety was the main concern. El Paso Gas employees where in the process of checking all the gas lines for air pockets to ensure another explosion wouldn't happen. Fire crews had contained all of the grass fires.

Around 5:30-6:00 am we were finally allowed back home. We had a home to come home to! No damage and all animals safe. Three families where not so lucky.

The house closest to the pumping station was leveled. The three occupants sustained injuries. One was listed in satisfactory condition in our local hospital. One flown to the burn center in Lubbock and one treated and released. I have heard, by talking to others, that they'll be OK.

The house directly across from the explosion, suffered severe damage. Windows blown out, shingles melted and cars burned. Another family's vehicle was melted as well.

The amazing thing was no fatalities! God was watching over each and every one of us. It will be a long time coming before we're all OK. This was a devastating experience to say the least. But we're alive to tell the tale and that's what matters.

Local News Coverage here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Changing of the Season

As much as I hate to see the summer end, I am looking forward to the changing season. In anticipation of those cooler days, turning leaves, harvesting of summer crops and of course Halloween; my designs reflect the fun in Fall.

Fall has always been a favorite time for me. The excitement of returning to school. Re-acquainting with friends, sharing summer stories and adventures. Although I am long past school age, I get to live vicariously through my daughter.

In my community, the coming of fall means block parties, fall festival and all out Halloween fun.

September brings a block party at the middle school. Hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream shared under a shade tree. The sound of a child's laughter all around. Younger children running around playing, older one's standing around looking cool. Teenagers dancing to the music and adults showing them how it was done in their day. Much to the embarrassment of anyone over the age of 13.
October bring Halloween. Dad's readying their trailers, outfitted with bales of hay. This is actually a completion in our neighborhood of who can decorate the best trailer. Mom's helping make the costumes perfect and stocking up on bags of candy and treats. Older siblings get the honor of passing out the candy because they are just too "old" to trick or treat anymore. Not the case with parents who are never to old to participate in the fun!
Then the convoy starts.
Kids and adults alike pile onto the trailers at one end of the neighborhood and in unison drive house to house. Kids trick or treating, while parents stand in the street and visit. Then on to the next group of houses. The great thing about living in a country community is the safety and comradery. It's not unusual to find groups of people visiting in a neighbors yard, the street closed down while children have fun running from house to house getting candy and showing off their costumes. Everyone watching out for each others kids. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cashmere Dreams

I love this set! It's a simple set. Nothing complicated in the making. Neutral colors. Easy creasing technique. But the creases give the beads such depth. I've made creased beads before but this time, I creased the glass diagonally in a zig-zag pattern and I love the end result. Spin the beads in your had and the solid color underneath the transparent encasing changes from light to dark.

I've paired some of my favorite fall colors together for this set and encased them in complimentary transparent. The green is a new olive green color from CIM (creation is messy) layered under Effetre Olive transparent. Red roof tile a gorgeous terra cotta color has been layered under transparent rose. Which tones the clay color down just a bit and gives it a rosy glow. The cream colored bead is ASK Moroccan Swirl. I wasn't impressed with this color at first but now that it is no longer in production I've discovered I love it. Go figure! I layered that under Effetra light brown, which just enhances the creaminess of the opaque color. Now the spacer really threw me for a loop. It is also a no longer in production color from ASK called Desert Chameleon? I think that the name but I could be wrong. I've used small amounts of this color before and wasn't too impressed with it at the time. That was until I reduced it in the flame. Wow! It really changed my feels towards this glass. Reducing it produces a beautiful silvery-mother of pearl shine on the surface of the bead letting the neutral tan show through.

You can stop by my Etsy store to see more pictures.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway (published on 14 May 1925) is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway in post-World War I England. Mrs Dalloway continues to be one of Woolf's best-known novels.
Created from two short stories, "Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street" and the unfinished "The Prime Minister", the novel's story is of Clarissa's preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. With the interior perspective of the novel, the story travels forwards and back in time, and in and out of the characters' minds, to construct a complete image of Clarissa's life and of the inter-war social structure
. ~~ Courtesy of Wikipedia
In 1998, Michael Cunningham published a novel entitled "The hours". Four years later the movie was released, starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore. I fell in love with both the book and subsequent movie.
Although I had never read the works of Virginia Woolf, my curiosity was piqued. I headed to the library and checked out all of her work. Mrs. Dalloway was the first book of hers I read. I was absolutely fascinated by her writing style. The pure poetry of her words. Her brilliance. I was completely enthralled by the story! To write a novel about one day, astounded me. How can one write a whole novel on a single day in the life of the main character?! Never once did my attention falter!
So I dedicate this set to Mrs. Dalloway and Virginia Woolf, two amazingly interesting women!