Thursday, January 29, 2009

You know you've had a good day at the torch

When Reichenbach 108 - Iris Orange (Raku) just behaves the way you want it too.

Of course this is helped when a person has shared their tips for getting that colour to pop after you have burnt it all out by overworking the bead.

I'm convinced this stuff varies from rod to rod (nevermind batch to batch) - & also reacts according to how the stars are aligned, the phase of the moon & the way one is holding their mouth at the time of working it. But needless to say I am pretty darn happy with this result.

reichenbach 108 iris orange raku"The Force"

Of course I also say that there is no substitute for natural daylight photography, & others say that studio lights intensify the colours - to that I say "bah humbug"!

may the force be with me

Still Sitting Down?

I should know by now never to assume that just because something goes right one time when playing at the torch - that it will go the same way the following time. Next Session armed with Wilbur, stringer & a positive sense of being I set out to conquer the world of stringer control.

Whilst not perfect (& I have no desire at all for absolute perfection these days) - comparatively, it didn't go too badly. I achieved in part the look I was aiming for - but feel the need for some serious pre-planning with regard to placement.

Whilst doodling one night thinking of the sort of stringer designs I'd like to do 'eventually' - I came up with a couple of basics that I thought would work well together.
I should have quit while I was ahead - but oh no, I just had to go on & keep playing, thereby ending up taking one over ambitious cluttered sketch to the torch with me...... & immediately dismissing it as impossible when I looked at it for idea's.
Lesson Learned .....for this time anyway ;o)

Oh yeah - the 'Quit While Ahead' parts are indicated by the arrows!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Hope You are Sitting Down

Because, oh my goodness, - it's actually something glass!
Now don't tell anyone - but I got to the torch & made beads. After 5 weeks it was not like riding a bike & for the first two sessions while I did what I felt I should be doing, nothing much went right....or at least the way I intended.

Boy there seemed a lot that needed to be re-learned, but my friendly audio book narrator & I stuck at it. By the third session, with tales of ancient Egypt being absorbed, the flame burning hot & bright, & the effects of the pre dinner G&T still gently lingering I adopted my 'stuff this I'm just going to relax & play' was then that things got considerably better.

For the first time I actually got some stringer to go exactly where I wanted it to my murinni I made didn't seem such a waste of glass when teamed with this combination of ivory & silver glass stringer! Now all I have to do is work on not melting the stringer completely in....& somehow cutting the Murinni shorter so I can melt it in further without distorting the overall shape of the bead ;o)

Three views of "Reyhan"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Once Were Villa's

Yep that's right - I'm wondering what is happening to all of the old homes built in this area in the early 1900's.
A walk into the city showed what I fear the most - that soon there will be none of the wonderful reminders of times past left. I know I whined about this in a post last year, but it is a real concern.

A good percentage of the earlier homes built in Christchurch were situated quite close to the central city area. Sadly, rather than encouraging our city to naturally spread into the surrounding area's as it continues to grow, our local city council is promoting an increase in the density of the existing housing units.
Theoretically this is to better use the existing infrastructure - the reality is that it's cheaper to use existing amenities to lay new roads, pipes & lines etc.

But at what expense? When old homes, like these, on decent family sized sections are being inbuilt, or worse still completely bowled & replaced with

These! Within a two block distance (approx 400 meters/437 yards) I counted 15 lots of these units.

Scary huh? If anyone asks me they all look like they fell from the ugly tree & hit every branch on the way down - so perhaps it's best that no one asks ;o) Personally I think that any architect that drew up the plans for most of these should be treated to a warning shot between the eye's. I did say 'most' - there are one or two that given a bit more space around them would look quite good.

Friday, January 23, 2009

When the Cat's Away....

....or in this case the kids!

Mum took the kids for the weekend - yeehaaaa! Believe me I kind of needed a wee break!
Normally their Dad takes them somewhere for a couple of weeks over Christmas , but this year he'd recently had a 7 week vacation in Australia, USA & Europe with his partner instead, & doesn't seem to have had much time available off work to spend with the kids. Never mind ;o)

Anyway: + two adults - two kids = go anywhere, do anything & eat whatever you like time (around here anyway). Exciting aren't we?

We went shopping - food shopping at the supermarket at the Mall ....& to the Asian food Warehouse. We'd decided to treat ourselves to easy grazing types of food while the kids were away & needed to stock up on essential items like Olive oil, chick peas, nuts, certain herbs & bulghur wheat to do so.
The Mailleman say's he isn't taking me again. Apparently I am worse than going to a supermarket with kids.

OK, so I may have taken a few detours that involved clothes shops & changing rooms at the mall, I think he was kind of expecting that anyway as I had mentioned something about synthetic board shorts melting when hot glass landed on them & jeans just being a bit too hot to sit & torch in at this time of year.

But I definately came into my own at The Asian Food Warehouse.

OK so a packet of fruit burst sweets had hopped their way into my the basket at the supermarket & the new seasons Apricots were just to juicy & ripe looking to walk past without picking up a few.
Really, is it my fault that the Bulghur Wheat, Chickpeas & Tahini that needed to be picked up from the Asian Food Warehouse had incense sticks, tissues that were too reasonable to resist, & two different types of talcum powder (I couldn't decide which I liked best) & the most divine smelling freshly ground Moroccan Spices added to them?
I think not!

But I digress. We got home & the food preparation began. Realising we had no ground cumin I set the mailleman to do the heavy work with the whole cumin we have.

An hour or so later we had our 'grazing' food, rather substantial quantities of it in fact enough so as some could be stored for the next couple of days for further grazing, my favourite type of food - Tabbouli, Hummus & Dukka.

Some light refreshment to go with that & I was replete from head to feet!

Something else you can do when the kiddos are away - break all the rules & put your feet up on the coffee table!!!
(Actually I only did this for the photo , I can never relax with my feet up on a table so I guess some things ingrained into my system! lol!)

Ahh you just know you've reached middle age when a fun night without kids is food & Some good British Comedy on TV ;o)

Natures Beautiful Sun Umbrella

Albizia julibrissin or more commonly the "Silk Tree".

Delicious pink & cream silky flowers

A long time favourite of mine & one of the (many) things I miss about having my own garden. A rather spindly looking sapling of this species was the first ever tree I planted in the first large garden I created.

I'd just finished laying a large cobblestone patio & had created some raised beds around it - in one corner, in view of the kitchen window, I planted a spindly specimen of Albizzia. In a few short years it grew to provide the most wonderful dappled shade over part of the patio.
I loved following the paths of the seasons through that tree, but the best part of all was always January & February when it flowered.

On Saturday while driving through the city I realised it was that time - so went home & grabbed my camera & took some photo's of a few that I could see from the street. No cloud & bright relentless sunshine did not make this an easy task.....

Planted close to a fence they will shoot mainly upwards

Left to do it's own thing.

Reaching skywards due to close tree neighbours

Perfect Umbrella shape when left with room to spread

Oh yeah - I remember sitting out there in the shade of one this shape with a nice Gin & Tonic , or wine in the evenings ;o)
I didn't even mind the clean up of the fallen flowers, & later in the season, the leaves.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Fantastic Finish ... Finally

Something I tempted you with a 'teaser' of last week is finally finished. I kept the focal bead for the finished piece from view, because I wanted to share the impact of the piece as a whole.

The focal bead is, in my mind, an absolute stunner made by Hector from Seraphim FlameWorks. I believe it was the first time he had ever sacrificed one of the elegant tubes shapes that we associate with Seraphim FlameWorks to that particular form of torture, oopsy...I mean "crunch press" & boy am I pleased that he did!

"Desiree" has been sitting in my collection, & at times pocket, for just over a year....quietly just waiting for the right moment to make it's début as a wearable piece of art. I just knew this bead had every intention of telling me how it wanted to be presented ;o)
Being a wonderful crunched bead that felt so good in hand - it got a stay of execution from being incorporated into such, simply because I liked picking it up & handling it so much.

What a fabulous palette of colours this bead contains. Having a spectacular bead to design around lets ones mind run wild with visions of the possibilities. It' an absolute joy to indulge in the ultimate pleasure of letting something dictate the colours one needs to use with such a wonderful piece.....& also a really good excuse to raid carefully hoarded stashes of semi precious gems stones & silver.

I already had the carnelian, moonstone, red aventurine & some blue-green glass beads of unknown origin, but hideously expensive, that I thought just might work. But I still needed something to pull them all together, something that would compliment, but not compete with the focal bead.

A pre Christmas outing with my friend Rose resulted in us discovering a wonderful strand of Fire Agates. I didn't have the bead with me, & in fact hadn't even picked it up & fondled it in some time, but I knew instantly that they were exactly what was needed. A quick & merciless raid of my stash of silver & voilà!


This rather important looking piece doesn't have a name as yet - but as you can see from the above photo this baby is all mine! Excuse the boring black t-shirt, I know it deserves a far nicer setting. In fact when the Mailleman's son visited earlier this evening the suggestion was made that his Dad needed to take me out somewhere that required dressing up in an outfit to showcase this piece!! Nice lad!

For your own piece of Seraphim FlameWorks magic check out their Etsy Store & their eBay listings, you wont be disappointed!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Bookish & Enlightening Week - Part Three "Fortune"

A while ago I saw a 'Beading Color Expert' mentioned one of the blogs I follow - her name is Margie Deeb. I'd already somehow discovered Margie & was following her blog, "Color For BeadArtists" & had checked out her website. I later bought her wonderful PDF "The ColorQuest Series: THE SECRET". But what I really, really lusted after was her book "The Beaders Color Palette".

For one reason or another (read: tempted by so many, butI have a hard time prioritising), I put off buying it. I did, however, suggest to all that would listen here that "Universal vouchers" would be a great idea for Christmas so I could make a start on my ever growing list of needed books!
Of course once the "Universal Vouchers" were received, that just created a new dilemma - where to start? Eeeek!
I hesitated, for some reason even though I had narrowed it down to three vastly different books, two of which I could afford with my loot, when fate stepped in. I got an email from a wonderful & very generous friend saying that she was sending me "The Beaders Color Palette".
You have no idea just how much this particular email made me smile - it was better than Christmas....& certainly more satisfying, in the long run, than chocolate ;o)

My book arrived last week & quite simply I am completely enthralled, it is everything I thought it would be & so very much more! It's even been personalised by Margie & really what she has been written say's it all about the book:

This book is definitely of as much value to the lampworker as it is to a beader...believe me on that!

Margie Deeb has written what is, to me, the most essential book dealing with color, glass & beads. Over 190 fabulous high quality pages absolutely crammed full of idea's, inspiration & information. With hundreds of vibrant photo's of nature, buildings & such married perfectly to Margie's representational palette's shown in CYMK ink formula's you have so many choices about where to start.
The bonus comes with a stunning jewelry piece that has been inspired by one of the palette's on each page. You simply can't go wrong.

It's a positive visual feast! I know eventually my eye's will stop darting all over every page in my eagerness to absorb all of the images & my mind will settle down & find a palette that inspires me more than others - but in the meantime I am enjoying the 'rush' that this book is giving me.

If you need any more convincing Margie has some "Previews" of what is inside to download as a PDF from her website.
While you are at Margie's website - be sure to check out her January 2009 Margie's Muse Column - "Making your Monochromatic Magnificent".

Me, well I'm blessed to have made some very attentive friends (with better memories than mine) in this wonderful world of glass. Thank you all ! Each & every one of you has aided me in learning as I travel this path - whether you realise it or not :o)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Bookish & Elightening Week - Part Two "Serendipity"

The next 'first' was an indirect result of some 'junk email' from Delphi Glass ...or rather a subscription that I hadn't got around to cancelling (& am now hesitant to do so -lol!). Cleaning out my inbox I accidentally, or fortuitously depending on which way you look at it, clicked on a link that took me to a page of books.

There I discovered an absolute gem, something about the thumbnail on the page instantly grabbed my attention & almost begged me to click on it. A book called "The Creative Entrepreneur" by Lisa Sonora Beam.

I read the 'blurb' written on Delphi & looked at the smaller images they show of inside the book, it was enough to pique my curiosity in a big way, but I knew there to be more to it than they described. Google is my friend I typed in the title & discovered Lisa's "The Creative Entrepreneur" website! WOW!

Me, I am so not business orientated that you would wonder how I survive. Numbers & I are like oil & water. Idea's, plans & strategies have no problem at all forming in my mind, but getting them onto paper & figuring out the whys & wherefores bores me to distraction - quite simply it lacks the visuals & colour's that I exist for. This looked like the perfect solution. I read further - it was the perfect solution!

Off I shot to Amazon & purchased my copy, thanking my kids silently for the Christmas gift of "Universal Vouchers"! (Cold hard cash that had made it's way onto my credit card).
Feeling the euphoria that only a purchase that inspires you can create, I had to pace myself to be patient when I realized that Amazons delivery estimate to New Zealand was just over a month.
Back on Lisa's website however I discovered an hidden gem....

"Ahhh", I thought, "now that should sate my appetite & impatience for the book to arrive in the short term!"

Friday morning I was up bright & early, eagerly waiting for the seminar to start. My very first teleseminar & it was absolutely fantastic, brilliant in fact.

Did it sate my appetite? No way!! It stimulated it beyond belief & I'm now about to start stalking the postman in anticipation of my book arriving. I know, I know patience is a virtue - but right now, this instant...well I don't feel like being very virtuous ;o)

Fortunately Lisa can be followed on Twitter & on Facebook. That should help somewhat.
Please if you are creative - & even attempting to sell some of what you make, then I feel this could be the book for you. Click on the links - read what Lisa has to say. If it's the only thing you do for yourself this week - I suspect it will be by & far the best thing you can do.

And yes, Mallory - I know I have already enabled you!

A Bookish & Enlightening Week - Part One "Discovery"

& a complete revelation! This has been a week of firsts in many ways for me...

The 'me' who loves books, & feels there is almost nothing better than to have my nose firmly buried in one, could just never imagine listening to a book. Like reading online, the thought of audio appeared as if it would lack that whole concept & feel of a 'real' book - the smell of the paper, the weight in your hands as your mind transforms words printed in black on white into visual images within your mind.
What can I say - I'm old! Whoops - I mean old fashioned!

I was given a gift of some audio books a wee while ago & I have just discovered how wrong I was! I actually have a choice too, how cool is that?
I can relax somewhere plugged into my MP3 player with my headphones on, zone out, just listen & absorb as the words turn into images right away or I can listen while doing something else, enjoy the story line with intermittent visuals. I can even listen at my computer if I like - although that could provide you with some interesting reading if I try to type blog posts & listen at the same time.
I'm rapt. It's given me access to far more than I could ever have time to read just by picking up a book alone.

Currently I'm following the fourth in Wilbur Smiths The Egyptian Series, "The Quest" (after having read the first three in the 'traditional manner') .

I'm thoroughly enjoying the whole experience! Never before have I had two novels on the go at once, I always finish reading one before starting another - mainly because my poor overworked mind is likely to get the storylines confused.
Can you imagine an Egyptian Warlock & warrior mincing about in Henry VIII's court while plotting against Anne Boleyn, or cruising the Pacific Islands along with Billy Connolly? Now THAT could be interesting.
But this wonderful mix of audio & visual is just a completely different thing - it's great! I love it - I guess that makes me bi-bookeral!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yesterday, Today.

Ang had a wonderful idea on her blog yesterday, & given that it was the first thing I read yesterday morning - it held great appeal at the time. Sadly, in the words of Robert Burns "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry".

Check out here to see what Ang had to say "Hey, Is Everybody A-Okay Today?"

However in the words of Deb - "Better late than dead on time". Of course you can read that how you like as I seem to have forgotten to punctuate it ;o)

Failing being able to post a picture of the dream & the sun I woke up to that made me smile, this is an image that always brings a smile to my face - my back neighbours small but immaculate back yard it's just a spot of colour that is the first thing I see as I get out of bed each day.

You have seen this before on my blog, under water in the winter floods - I really admire their determination in draining it & replanting every season.

Thank you back neighbours...even though I don't officially know you.

Below is the still unfinished piece I am working on. It's such a special bead, to me personally, it kind of needs a royal treatment. I still feel that I haven't done this the justice it deserves....but you know me I had a very vivid picture in my head. Unfortunately I don't have are the resources & skills to enable me to complete that picture the way I would like.

Today I am hopeful that I will get this completed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Today, Tomorrow -lol!

This one is dedicated to, or is that about, a certain NFL.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just when I thought it was safe to go out......

to the mailbox that is! ;o)

The usual pre-Christmas glut of shiny circulars daily dumped in my mail box is well past. Next was all the 'New Years' sales advertising & they're in the past too. So what could be next Valentines?....Easter?..... WRONG!!

Back to School! Yep - that's what's next here in New Zealand. Now I know I could put a "no circulars" sign on the mail box, but then again the little delinquent from next door would most likely just tear it off...besides I would miss all the fun stuff, like drooling over certain items in the brochure on the top left.

And what if I needed new underwear? I mean how would I know where to find it if I didn't get a circular depicting a skimpily clad only marginally older than teen model with a subtle golden tan (even though we aren't meant to get tanned in this fierce Kiwi sun) & a nice flat stomach smilingly seated, saucily displaying the half price bra that everyone must have? My first thought there was "would that be one cup or two"?
To protect your tender sensibilities she has been tactfully covered by the more ordinary displays of school stationary & such.

Todays quota was 9 multi page circulars from different companies. Now I don't mind circulars - honest I don't, occasionally. But why oh why did they have to get me all excited about "back to School"....when it's still another 2 1/2 weeks away! Teasers :o(

What did bring a smile to my face was this image:

Who can't remember doing this with a pencil - or a pen? Gosh it seems like it was only yesterday.
Oh wait was only yesterday! Being the sensible, mature person that I am I was fooling around when sorting some supplies out - much to the disgust of two girls who looked at my antics & chorused "Muuuuum!" together in that voice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Todays Video is for all of us 'Woman'

I just had to play the original of this song! I loved it back then in 1973 (yikes!!) & I still think it's the best version.
Personally I kind of like Helen Reddy ;o)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Just For Ang!

Probably not the perfect choice, but the first song that came to mind when I read your blog earlier....& certainly one that is capable of putting me in a better frame of mind when I have one of THOSE days.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Deserted Park

My favorite area of green is right across the street. Often that area of green is my sanity! Just seeing it as I walk down the drive reminds me that I'm not really trapped, feeling surrounded by high fences, other houses & decidedly dodgy neighbours!
The freedom is just 'over there', should I need to escape the feeling of being enclosed for a few minutes.

Today the park is deserted. Completely.

No Kiddies in the playground.....

No bigger kids playing ball games in the middle area...

No one sitting in the shade....or in my favorite seat that causes me to daydream of a laptop!

Why? Because it is yet another scorcher - I suspect the highest temperature we have had so far this summer.
Yesterday it reached 32.6°(about 90°) & at 9.00pm last night it had finally dropped to around 29°. One of those nights when just a sheet will suffice - & you pray for no emergencies in the middle of the night ;o)

According to "wunderground" the temperature here in St Albans is currently 34.6° (a little over 94°)'s 32° in the lounge. Thank goodness for very little humidity & a fan!

I think the beach might warrant a trip a bit later!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A couple of exciting New Years announcements

from & for this side of the Pacific anyway.

Sophie was awarded the honour of being a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Years Honours List.

Just to explain here is a little background on the NZOM. It is basically taking over from the British Honours system of Knights & Dames (no chance of a slip of the sword then ;o)


The New Zealand Order of Merit, an Order of Chivalry, was instituted by Royal Warrant, dated 30 May 1996, and comprises five levels. On 10 April 2000 it was announced that The Queen had approved the discontinuation of titles (knighthoods and damehoods) within the Order and that in light of this decision had approved new designations for the first and second levels of the Order. The various insignia (badges, breast stars, miniatures and lapel badges) for both levels remain unchanged.

Here is a link to the full article that appeared in the paper: Golden Girl Order of Merit

She has also been nominated as a finalist for the for the Halberg Awards in February. The Halberg Awards is basically a sports persons Oscar. Awards are given for different categories & teams etc, with a Supreme Sportsperson award also available.
Last year it was won by a able bodied woman shot putter, who also competed at the Beijing Olympics & brought home a Gold Medal. She's apparently the current favorite for this lot of awards too.
That could be pretty exciting ;o)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

My Grandpuppy

When Kieran & Kerry came down for Christmas I was informed that I am 'officially' a their baby "Missy".
Missy is Kerry's dog who has lived with Kerry's Mum for the past few years, but now that the kids have their own house on base, she is living with them.
While the kids stayed here over Christmas, Missy stayed out at Kerry's Mum's lifestyle block - quite simply because she knows them, & there are none of the associated dangers of an unsecured yard in the city. .... & there are also no temperamental, unpredictable cats.

However the day before the kids left Missy came to meet her other 'Nana', before going off to my Mum's house for dinner with the kids. Apparently my Mum fell in love with her - & Missy had a roast lamb dinner along with Kieran & Kerry.

She thinks that she is a lap dog & she's certainly Daddy's girl....

What a perfectly behaved dog she was too. She's a cross between a Jack Russel Terrier & a Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), that Kerry rescued from the Dog Pound a few years back. She quietly stayed in her doggy bed for the duration of numerous rowdy, hilarious games of Cranium that didn't end until 2.00am in the morning. I got to babysit her the next day while the kids went out for breakfast & I have to say that it was kind of nice having a little buddy that just curled up by my feet under my computer desk.

She got to meet Hercules, who was quite inquisitive & not at all phased about the prescence of a dog. Bizkit on the other hand issued one her of 'back off' warning sbefore making herself scarce.

Pink is my "Favourite" colour

or in the words of Aerosmith:

Pink is my favorite crayon, yeah
Pink it was love at first sight
Pink when I turn out the light
Pink it's like red but not quite ......

Well maybe not quite! But almost!!

Certain people in this house at the moment seem to enjoy kidding me about pink being my new favourite colour.
It's not.
My favourite colour is still & will always be Burnt Orange, even though I have taken to temporarily wearing a shade known as 'Burnt Pink'.

The reason for their taunting & teasing is what I scored at the New Years Day picnic.....

A couple of days down the track it is settling down.
Yes, I managed to combat the icky head cold only to get myself a decent dose of sunburn...*SIGH*.
I know you've heard of Pink Grapefruit....well I can tell you that pink Kiwi 'aint quite the same ;o)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Day Picnic

The family Matriarch, aka Mum, decided before Christmas that since everyone was in the same city this year, we should all head off for a picnic on New Years Day. I suggested a venue that we hadn't been to before as a group & it was a done deal. The only thing I didn't account for was the fact that this particular spot had a New Years Day Gala. Ooops!

We got there & the place was packed. Being in the first batch of the clan to arrive it was my effort to find a spot with some shade for everyone. Like any adult, recalling that there were toddlers coming along on the outing, I took my responsibility seriously.
Across the far side of the park I spotted a nice shiny chrome trimmed motorbike, parked all alone in a safe & visible place. Subconsciously registering that there was a tree in the general vicinity I said "ohhhhh, bike, pretty - lets head there".

Boyz will be boyz - especially with new toyz!

The Mailleman - in what has been dubbed his "Brokeback Hat"

Gabriela shows & then shares, her new gadget with her cousins.

The cousins, big & small.

Another nice one of Jeremy & Kieran.

Some even swam - I call this Kierans "Baywatch" shot ;o)

Sasha experiences her first Ice Block/Popsicle.

Finn gives Daddy a Thai Massage...complete with shoes on!

A fabulous day was had by all. I even was tempted to enter the sea for the first time in over two years. Only up to my knees though....deep enough to get nipped on the heel by a crab & nearly fall in fully clothed as I quickly withdrew my foot whilst hopping about laughing.

Oh & as the shiny pretty bike left, I remembered to take a photo......
A very tidy Norton!