Tuesday, July 27, 2010


my latest beads

The demo by Hearts of Glass at The Glass Shoppe Studio was soooo good! Heather and Andrea were so generous in sharing their experience working with glass. My only regret is I forgot my camera.

Watching Heather make a fish bead was like seeing it come to life. At first it was just a pretty glass blob as she added colour and frit to make the body, but soon we saw shapes and personality as she built the eyes, mouth and fins. And the off-mandrel calla lily was gorgeous! You can see pictures of another of their fish and calla lilies here.

The whole time Heather was torching, she was talking, explaining what she was doing and why, providing pointers for working with glass. Where Heather left off, Andrea jumped in so there was a continuous flow of information along with the glass. I learned so much about glass and how to manipulate it.

I can't say enough how much I loved the beads but what impressed me most was Heather's control of the glass. Definitely something a beginner like me should aspire to emulate. 'Course now I have so many ideas, where to start?!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going dotty

...for beads that is!

At my last studio session, I focused on laying a good footprint  - that's getting the initial layer of glass on the mandrel (steel rod) when making a bead - and applying dots to the footprint.

It is so nice to take advantage of the excellent work space at Glass Shoppe Studio: soft instrumental music in the background, comfortable and safe set-up, and an expert lampworker at hand.

Grace gently pointed out that I need to be more patient when laying the footprint so that I don't pull the glass. Also, I need to have more attitude when placing dots. The dots should stick out like a half-circle bump, not a ball touching the bead. Otherwise, the dots can easily get knocked off the bead...which is what happened to the bead on the left of the picture.

I am really looking forward to the demo on Saturday July 24th at the studio. Heather Stewart of Hearts of Glass will be demonstrating a fish bead and off-mandrel calla lily pendant while her partner Andrea Steinwand will discuss jewellery finishing techniques.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bees over spiders

I've tried really, really hard in my life to get over a fear of spiders. With apologies to Margaret of Resurrection Fern, I have also tried to appreciate their beauty, but I am not quite there yet. Two things have helped enormously: having kids, as I don't want to pass on my fear, and gardening gloves.

I do however love bees. I love their buzzing, their fuzziness and what they represent. I'm also thrilled to see them hard at work in my garden.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just for fun

I'm really looking forward to practising lampworking. I've started buying glass and tools as well as studio time. My first session should be tomorrow night. In the meantime, I've had some fun stringing some of the beads I made during class time.

Some of the techniques I'll be focusing on include laying stingers and placing dots. It's amazing what you can achieve playing around with these skills - providing you actually start to manage them!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happiness today is...

Finding a baby zucchini growing in my garden.

A refreshing drink for a hot day. I made a lemon-ginger simple syrup and dilute with sparkling water.

Making tortillas with my daughter for tonight's taco dinner.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer reading

Hot, lazy summer afternoons should be spent with a cold drink and a good book, in a shady corner where I can admire my efforts at gardening. And definitely not with a view of what still needs to be done cause that just is never going away...

I'm enjoying Talking with My Mouth Full by Bonny Wolf. It's another food memoir, (see Trail of Crumbs), with a focus on how food grounds us.

From the book's introduction:

"And through this baking and breaking bread together, we come to know who we are and where we come from."

This is a warm, chatty book brings us to the table for stories and recipes that anchor of family traditions and life. It speaks to the same need I have to share my love through food. It reminds me that I really need to organize all my clippings and hand-written recipes that I gather from friends, family and media.

While I may not love jello salads and cakes made with instand pudding, I love Aunt Tessa's Poppy Seed Cake and  Sis's Plum Conserve. And I love this book and the spirit in which it was written.