Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

Another Christmas day over. A quiet one, spent with family.
Somehow it never seems quite complete when one of them is not here. Kieran, aka Baby Boy, is on deployment in Timor Leste. It was somewhat quieter without him.....

Being a good Mummy I took photo's of what I knew he'd miss the most...& it wasn't the gifts!!

Mandarin Mousse - a la Nana


Fresh fruit Salad - a la Mummy

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009

Gifts all purchased - check
Food Ready - check
Wine Purchased - check

I'd like to say that I was well prepared. The reality is that until earlier today I had done nothing - as in not. a. single. thing. purchased or organized. The only thing I knew was what I was getting Miss Gabriela & what food I needed to get for the day.
Strangely enough I wasn't in the least stressed or panicked about this, & didn't leave the house to start getting it all done until 2.00pm.
I figured that if it didn't come together, Christmas would come regardless.

After all of the decidedly naff Christmas carols being played in the malls, it was time to focus on some real Christmas music when I got home. I have always had "Do You Hear What I Hear" on my list of Christmas favourites, & was recently introduced to Third Day's version of it. This has to be my all time favourite version, & not just at Christmas.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Always on my mind at this time of year

Way back in 1984 a song was released that, upon looking back, started the change in the way I thought of & saw Christmas.


It is still one of my favourites all these years later.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good Memories of a Great Dad



My Darling Dad would have been 81 years old today. It's kind of hard to imagine, as just under three years ago when he died he didn't look or act like someone with only a year to go before turning 80.
I still miss him dreadfully, but every now & then something happens to remind me that there is a reason for all of this. We grow, although we don't see it as such at the time, & we become stronger people.
I have always missed the sound of Dad's voice, quiet, calm & practical in times of upheaval & stress, but the rest of the time there was always a laugh not far from the surface.

He adored all of his grandchildren, big & small, & I have great memories of how those same children loved their 'Papa' beyond measure. A couple of months ago it was fabulous to discover that Mum had a couple of short videos of Dad with the two youngest grandchildren, Milla & Zoe. I can't begin to describe how good it was to hear his voice again.


video

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Gaffer's Chalcedony Glasses

I'm grateful. I find it impossible not to get colour from Chalcedony & I know that I am fortunate in that. It doesn't matter whether I use a high oxy flame, neutral flame or a reduction flame, the colour just seems to want to come.

When I compare these to my early results, which I might add I was pretty darned pleased with at the time, I can see that perseverance has paid off. I guess that it takes a glass like this to encourage one to really learn their torch & the way different glasses behave in different flame atmospheres.



G1095 Blue Chalcedony
A twistie bead made in G-1095 Blue Chalcedony

G 109 Chalcedony
G-109 Chalcedony - Beautiful Autumn Colours.

G1095 Blue Chalcedony
The G-1095 Blue Chalcedony etched.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Chalcedony Rod

Isn't this scrumptious? To me these look like core samples of agate that have been polished - they are so beautiful!
I don't think that I am going to able to bring myself to break them up. What are they - two beautiful rods of G109 - Chalcedony. These are what they *gasp* smash up into frit, or pull smaller canes for decoration down from.
No way I can bring myself to smash these babies.


G-109 Chalcedony

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Comparisons II

It's always interesting to see how a new glass stacks up against its peers.
Having noticed a lot of similarities in results & the way I achieved them when working Gaffers G-1095 I thought it would be interesting to see how they looked alongside each other.


On the left G-109 Chalcedony & on the right G-1095 Blue Chalcedony.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Comparisons I

Now who would have thought that after working so hard to get good colour & a high shine in a striking glass, that one would want to etch it?

I'm not sure what made me etch the first Chalcedony beads that got thrown into the tumbler, aside from the usual Deb thought of "I wonder what would happen if ...."
I am so pleased that I did.

How fortuitous that I just had these two sets sitting here ready to list the other day when I got a custom request for a set of each!


Chalcedony Etched & Unetched

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Suprise.....

I promise that I won't swamp you with this glass (well, I shall try very hard not to anyway).
A couple more images of the Blue Chalcedony test beads. The best of them are on their way up to Gaffer Glass on Monday & I shall start working on what else I can do with this wondrous stuff.

My first set of spacers made with it came out of the kiln before work this morning & I am well pleased with them. In a spacer size bead the difference between the first of Gaffers 'Chalcedony' glasses, G-109 & this G-1095 is there, but more subtle than on a bigger bead.

I'll try to get decent photo's of them when I produce something else 'show worthy'.
Lets face it - I'd far rather be playing with the glass itself, than trying to take decent photos of the stuff ;o)

What I can tell you is that using both Chalcedony's together produces some wonderful results!

G-1095 Blue Chalcedony

G-1095 Blue Chalcedony

Friday, September 25, 2009

Close Up's of Blue Chalcedony

Once again my photo's dont do this glass the justice it deserves. It seems that to get the colours to display as they do in hand & give a fair online representation of them, the only way to take them is outside in natural light.

It seems that no matter what I have my camera set on & regardless of whether I use one daylight lamp, two of the darn things of all four - there is always the undesirable yellow cast that just isn't there in hand.

Chalcedony.... I adore you as a glass, but gee it's hard to capture your true beauty in photographs!





Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Day , A New Glass - Blue Chalcedony

For over 3 weeks now I have been sitting on my hands & trying to conceal my excitement about testing Gaffers new G-1095 - to be known as "Blue Chalcedony".

It all started with the arrival of a few different labelled rods for me to test to see what colours would bloom from them in the flame.
Gaffer, with their usual high standards are ever mindful of being able to produce a glass that they can replicate exactly from batch to batch. The five test batches were narrowed down to one that immediately outshone the rest, then tested against their master glass for compatibility before production of a full batch commenced.....


Meet G-1095 - Blue Chalcedony

G-1095 Blue Chalcedony

Just to show what it looks like stacked up against it's 'big brother', & the forerunner in Gaffers "Chalcedony" glasses

Chalcedony Combo

In the middle row are some encased G-1095 beads and beads made using both G-109 as a base & G-1095 as decoration in various forms. Believe me they play very nicely together!!


You are going to love this wonderful glass - I already do!

I'll talk a bit about working it a little later :o)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Accentuate the Positive

Sometimes, in order to preserve a vision, you have to take a step back from negativity.
If you allow it to, it will eat undermine the determination you have to reach your goals.

It will start to colour everything you do & before you know it you will be saying to yourself 'what is the point' of this or that.

I don't see the world through Rose tinted glasses, I only have the standard colour sunnies, & a blue pair & an orange pair. They suit me just fine.

Times are tough for everyone, unemployment leapt to a 6% high here in June this year, the highest quarterly jump in 20 years!
I see the closed down businesses, sad empty establishments that have been in existence for as long as I can remember - yet I go to the Mall & see that the Telecom shop is full as always of people looking for new cell phones, the people are still in the store at Silver Moon (a NZ chain of jewelry stores & kiosks). There are still crowds in the fashion stores browsing & buying the new Spring fashions.
Those are the visions that I prefer to take away with me & perhaps later dwell on, they allow me to follow the path of my dreams.



Monday, September 21, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Chalcedony.... again.

I rather like this bead. The colour is a little different to what I have been getting - then again it is mixed with a special ingredient.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do You Remember The First Time?

I doubt Hercules does, he was to busy sleeping.....as usual!
It was the first time I have seen him get into a box, unlike Bizkit who gets into every empty box she see's.


Not to be outdone by Grumpy Cat sitting nicely in the Gaffer box - he strikes a somewhat more relaxed pose. What can I say - he's a cool dude!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

You Know How It Is

Buying just one of something & later wishing you had bought two or more in that shape at the time, kicking yourself that you didn't because you weren't quite sure how 'that shape' would feel to wear.

There is a definite upside to being a lampworker. My practise run.....


Friday, September 18, 2009

The Aroma

There is something so incredibly heady about the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans.
As seen, & sampled, at Ris'tretto Cafe.
I'm sure that I go to get my daily 'real' coffee fix there as much for the delightful smell of fresh coffee as I walk through the door, as I do for the taste of the wonderful Fair Trade Coffee that Andrew roasts...not to mention the friendly ribbing that I get from the staff. 'Dangerous Deb' indeed!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Could Be Somewhat Obsessed

Darn that silly game on FaceBook! (yes, I can hear you say "which one, there are many").

The only one that I check in daily on is "FarmVille" - I'm sorry to say that it had me hooked the minute I figured I could plan & build a garden of sorts.
Daily I rotate, harvest & replant crops & tend to my virtual animals...which I only have so that I can get more points faster & eventually purchase better crops. After that I will sell most of them. That's if I dont accidentally send another cow off to the slaughter house by clicking the delete button. Oops!
I do feel rather bad about that, of course I would feel worse if it had been an Alpaca, but FarmVille doesn't have Alapcas yet.

Sad, but true. I'm addicted!

Still it does satisfy the need to plan a garden. Far lower maintenance than a real garden too. Quite amazing how the soil always provides a bountiful crop with no need for fertilizer or bug, blight or pest control.

However when one see's a tractor over at the park & dashes to get her camera & take a photo (hey, do you know how often we see tractors in the city?) because it reminds her of the tractor in FarmVille - one has to sit back & take a long hard look at ones self ...doesn't one?

Right - off to plant my grapes, before bed ;o)

Monday, September 14, 2009

More, more, more

Every time I show a Chalcedony bead I think of the Andrea True Connection song "More, more, more". Showing my age there methinks!


Are you all getting sick of it yet? Chalcedony I mean! I almost wish that I was - but no such thing! I discover something different every time I work with it, & I just love every little thing I discover. This glass has taught me so much & allowed me such a vast amount of freedom that I feel as if I owe it big time.

The minimal investment in comparison to other silver glasses, has allowed me to relax without fear of wasting money if something doesn't work as anticipated. Heck - if I'm truthful this costs me less by weight, than getting a 1/4lb of one of the Vetrofond oddlots, or most of the CiM range.

I've relaxed a lot & been able to focus my attention on form, shaping, ends & all those little things that needed improving, due to working with this glass. Knowing that it will do something, no matter how long I work it in the flame has relieved me of the juggling act that was associated with trying to maintain a design & shape, have nice puckered holes & tidy ends - without risking losing any design elements by the repeated marvering required at times.


Because of the strike cycle of this glass, I have learned patience & how to work slower. I have an gained insight into heat control that I never had before. I have learned to read the heat of glass & when it is ready to be marvered or pressed.

Because of this my skills have improved immensely. I still struggle with even ends on tube beads, but that too will come. I finally feel as if I am 'getting there'. It's amazing what relaxing can do!





Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm Not The Only Convert



...and to think I used to call her psycho kitty. It seems she's not as silly as she acts. She still looks perpetually grumpy though....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This Guy Lives for Pleasure

While the rest of us toil & sweat over a hot torch, this cat lives in the lap of luxury...well, when he's actually awake.

All he has to do to earn his keep is be sure to find a sunny spot to sleep in, or lie near a hand & be petted. Good grief, he doesn't even have to clean up the masses of hair he sheds after himself!



He still thinks the 'road kill' position is cool.


And he still doesn't realise how dopey he looks.
None the less I want to come back as a cat!



Friday, September 11, 2009

Mariners Swirl

Still playing with the fabulous Gaffer palette & gradually managing to 'sometimes' drag myself away from the Chalcedony to work on some beads in the styles I enjoyed 'BC'.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Spring Cleaning.... or sorting

For some bizarre reason Spring always brings out the worst in me. Time to clear out the clutter (along with the dust & cobwebs) & minimise things somewhat.
I like my clothes grouped so that I can see what I have at a glance. I've found if they get messy, I forget I have stuff - which perhaps points to the fact that I have way to much stuff, stuff that I dont wear.

A weekend spent with visitors & kids saw my tops & jerseys from my dresser sitting unsorted on the bedroom floor. How did they get onto the floor? Valid question.

The arrival of some new glass last Friday found me feeling a little overwhelmed, I had packing & posting to do, custom orders to photograph, listings to get up on Etsy & drawers emptied when the surprise parcel arrived. Some new glass to test. YAY!

After much thought, some really good advice ( something about throwing clothes - and ending with "After all, we know us beadmakers have our priorities in the right order...") & not expecting to have the next 4 days with this house being a mini version of Grand Central Station, I hit the torch. That night as I went to jump into bed I realised that it was covered with the contents of my drawers, so I placed all of the piles on the floor, & there they stayed until today. Oops!

I really do need to go through them & GET.RID.OF.STUFF.
But what did I do - placed them all back into the drawers. I'll minimize next week. Might do the wardrobes too...



Monday, September 07, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

Nothing better than doing the airport run, only to get home from said run after dropping Kieran at the airport then doing a quick dash to the other side of town to pick up packing supplies, grabbing a coffee on the way home & sitting down to relax for 5 minutes before packing my orders, when the phone rings.

Guess whose flight had been cancelled. Guess who had to go back out to the airport & pick him up.
Guess who had to take him back out there later. Just as well I love the kid!


Three return trips to the Airport in one day is overkill - unless it's me getting on the plane ;o)


Point A is home, B is the Airport & the blue arrow is my packing supplier.
9 Kilometers (5.5 miles) each way.

Getting in the Groove

Thoughts of days at the beach (minus the bitter wind) prevail. With those thoughts follow a new species of shell.
A Fantasy shell, in Chalcedony ....what else?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Getting Away From It All For a Day - Part III

On the way back to the city there is a new satellite township being developed. Apparently it has been in progress for a few years & a drive around inside had Mum muttering that it hadn't really developed much, house wise, in the years since she had last had a look.
Me....well I wasn't even aware of it (shows you how much I get out!)& I have to say that a quick drive around had me shuddering in my boots! Big houses on minuscule sections & just so manufactured looking. No thanks, that'd be my idea of torture.

However the entrance to the 'township' of the main road is worth a mention, or at least a photograph or two.



Well, perhaps not the 'actual' entrance, but the statues that adorn the walls either side of it are pretty cool. These are a slightly simplified style of ancient Maori Carvings that are becoming a lot more prevalent in the South Island than they have been in the past.

I really like seeing them used, instead of the more conservative European styles that we have become so used too over the years.









Friday, September 04, 2009

Getting Away From It All For a Day - Part II

After Oxford it was time to head back towards the East Coast towards the motorway & home.
We stopped at a wonderful Cafe, Bar & Gift Shop in Cust. Oh my! Five minutes after entering we had only moved 6 feet inside the door! There was so much delightful stock to look at that we spent over 30 minutes just browsing around the gift part.

I can highly recommend a stop at "Route 72" if you are ever travelling in the vicinity.



More green vista's to be had from the main road in Cust. Can you just imagine the view that house to the left has? I could live with a view like that!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Getting Away From It All For a Day - Part 1

Mum & I decided to escape the city on the first day of Spring. A long talked about day trip to Oxford, a township about 40 minutes drive North of the city, was decided upon.....so long as it was a nice day. It was when we left the city.

As we approached Oxford the weather was overcast & rainy. I really didn't mind as it afforded us the best view of a rainbow I have ever seen.... while travelling in the car we could see both ends in the fields alongside us.

Of course after jumping out of the car with my camera in hand, I realised that I should have brought my wide angle lens with me. (Can you tell I am such an amateur at this?).
No matter how far back across the other side of the road I went I could not get both ends of the rainbow in one shot. OK, so I could have jumped fences & got really adventurous, but I really wasn't dressed for that!





Fortunately by the time we had stopped in Oxford & had a coffee, the weather cleared up & signs of spring were everywhere!



We browsed in a couple of the shops there, but I was more thrilled with the beautiful views to be had when just walking up the main street.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Warm 'n Toasty

Perhaps not quite the Hot & Spicey Colours that Amy gets in her wonderful G109 Chalcedony beads, but Warm 'n Toasty none the less.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yipeeeeee!!!

It's Officially

Spring

A Camellia in Mums Garden

The Last month of winter always seems to be the hardest. Not that things change instantly because all of a sudden the date says it's officially Spring, but the mind set does.
The evenings have already started getting lighter & the days seem somehow brighter, but that doesn't mean that we wont get a cold spell, or a late frost.

The difference is that they are bearable!

The fragrance of Spring has been noticeable for over a week now, with blossom trees in bloom all around the city & the grass starting with it's fresh new growth. The park has been mown & when the days get warmer still, that has to be the one scent that makes living here worth it. To walk down the drive & smell freshly mown grass on a warm bright day. Yum!


This one is called "Debbie" - a misnomer as it isn't Orange,
but Mum always has it in her garden.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gaffer Opals

Nothing makes a day brighter than when the knock on your door is the courier handing you a rather hefty box.
Better still when that hefty box contains 6kg (13.2lb) of Gaffer Opal Colours.


Still a few colours short of the complete range, sadly most of the colours I am short of are ones that I have never tried in a sample pack. Bugger that the one I want the most, Ivory, isn't there. I can still add a couple of the colours needed to complete my Gaffer Crayon Box bead set though.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Funday

Some misguided person decided that a trip to the beach was in order today. I wanted some driftwood, & had promised a certain 12 year old that we would go to the beach on Sunday.

Added incentive was some potential studio space up for lease that we wanted to look at.

So we went to the beach



I found my driftwood



Admired the view....



And marvelled at the wisdom of a certain 12 year old, who found a way to avoid the biting cold wind.



No leisurely walk along the beach this time, we simply weren't rugged up warm enough. Lesson learned; just because it is warm & sheltered at home doesn't mean that the same is true at the seaside.

A quick look at the space for lease & we realised that the letting agent had portrayed it somewhat differently, neglecting to mention that it was an upper level space & not on the street front.