Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesdays Child is Fair of Face

apparently - but her memory has gone awol! Fancy forgetting to post this beauty.

Whilst bending "The Ram" to do my bidding (read; get my head around what all the settings actually do & constantly consulting the manual) is going well - I am still working on the little details like the best way to capture the wonderful iridescence of the magical silvers glasses that actually decide to perform for me.

I think this just might be my most favourite bead that I have ever made. I want to keep it, yet at the same time want to others to see it as it appears in hand. I'm going to work some more with camera settings & such before deciding.

Restless Spirit

Monday, March 30, 2009



A Nor'west day here in Christchurch is hot & dry ....& usually very windy. There will be an arch of lenticular clouds across an otherwise cloudless sky creating what is called a "Nor'west Arch'. Often it is quite stunning.

The winds race across the Canterbury Plains causing dust clouds up country & you can feel them buffeting a car if you are driving outside of the city, the planes come into land at the Airport from a different direction.

Once in a while you will get a nor'west day where there is no, or at least very little ground wind in the city - those days are spectacular. If you are looking, often the first sign is the tell tale Nor'west arch in the sky - but if you don't have a clear view of the sky because of buildings & such the first sign maybe the sound of a plane flying into land.

We had two such days last week. To to me they are even better than Spring after a long winter. There is such a special quality about them, if one stops & takes notice. The air feels different, sound carries differently & even in the busy city there is an indefinable stillness. It's that quality that reaches inside of me & provokes a feeling of utter peace. I'll step outside, turn my face skyward & just stand there & absorb the quiet stillness.....it seems to blanket & suppress the little everyday noises.

I suspect that those feelings were still with me when I started editing & naming the latest lot of photographed beads last Thursday night ;o)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday - Skydancer

I'm quite partial to the way this bead turned out. The colours of the silver glass" Triton" are softer & slightly more ethereal than usual.
I've been browsing images of butterflies lately & in an abstract way this bead reminded me of butterflies.....
Skydancer with Triton

Earth Hour 2009

Our Earth Hour Results & some numbers to ponder upon.

First of all I have to say that taking part in last nights Earth Hour was enlightening. It totally eliminates that whole "I am just one person, or one household - what difference is what I do going to make" excuse, if I were of that mindset to begin with.

Our little households 'Earth Hour' results are in.

There were just 3 of us at home, & in the hour preceding the official start we ran on as usual.
We used 2 units of power.... a cost of about 54 cents.

At 8.30pm everything in the house was turned off at the wall - radio alarm clocks, computers, water heating etc & all lights. What we did leave on was the TV, because we were snuggling up & watching it for an hour, & also the microwave & fridge because we couldn't get to the switches without moving them first.

In the hour that 'almost' everything was off we used 1/10th of a unit - or 2.7 cents.
Ok relatively 'small stuff'.

But think on this:
New Zealand has a population of just 4,302,754. There are approximately 1,600,000 homes/dwellings. If we average out the numbers for the sake of ease - that is 3,000,040 units of power, or a monetary amount of $776,000.00 if every household turned 'almost' everything off for just one hour.
Imagine if all of the offices, businesses & huge buildings turned off all their lights & appliances as well.

For the sake of carbon emissions in New Zealand we probably haven't saved a whole heap during that hour - most of our power is hydro generated.
In the grand scheme of things though, that would be astounding savings.
It has certainly made me more aware .

Of course there is the fact that I just plain old don't like giving the greedy, sneaksy power companies money.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Weekend - Yay!

I have a project planned for this weekend....one that doesn't involve glass, beads or (for the most part) the internet. It's the stuff of colour, magic & dreams....more about that later!

Tonight at 8.30pm until 9.30pm is Earth Hour.
Homes & businesses taking part will turn off all of their lights & non essential appliances to support the worldwide action on climate change. Nearly 3000 towns and cities and a billion people around the world take part in this.

It is an event to increase peoples awareness & designed to illustrate the power of collective action to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. Just knowing the fact that this wee country alone could save a potential $500,000. in energy consumption in that hour is an indication of just how much energy is consumed overall, especially when you take into account that only 63% of population of the cities that had committed themselves to the project last year took part.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's a Kind Of Magic

“It is important to remember that we all have magic inside us.” JK Rowling

Even the most uninspiring glass in rod form can surprise us, it too can have a little magic hidden inside of it.
I'd heard this one was tricky, that it was disappointing & not worth the effort... all after buying it of course ;o)
I let that dissuade me from trying it & on the storage shelf it has resided for months.

How self defeating & silly! Stopping any dreams of making it work before even starting, not even attempting to explore the magic of Reichenbach's 6210 aka "Magic" myself.

Inspired to make some thicker twisties by the recent help offered on Seraphim Flameworks blog - I picked up a rod of this glass to use along with my nice safe favorite "Black".

"It's a Kind Of Magic"

(and of course now I have Queens wonderful song playing over in my head!)

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal
One golden glance of what should be......

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Dream....

and daydream often! I dream of the past & lands far from here, heat & warmth, old cultures & ancient civilizations.
Often I forget that New Zealand has a rich heritage of it's own, which started way before the white man landed & when the first fleet of canoes arrived to discover a land rich in forests & food around 1350 AD.
The Māori were, for the large part, transient. They would move to where the food & good hunting was & let the land they had occupied replenish itself . Because of the very nature of their buildings & villages there are no ancient dwellings steeped in history, no great metropolis & no grand temples. There are ancient & sacred burial grounds though.

Māori were 'of the land'. Their heritage wasn't documented, rather it was passed down through generations - & it still is.

At any Māori gathering, meeting, multi cultural event (including the beginning of a school year) a person will stand up to give a Mihimihi/introductory speech & part of this involves establishing links with others present. During the Mihimihi they will recite their Whakapapa/geneology. Quite simply it can't fail to move you I sit there totally absorbed, even though I understand very little of what is being said.... & then promptly switch off when the other speeches begin in English......

As a person of European descent, having grown up with this culturally rich heritage it becomes second nature - you are aware of all that it entails, but you are not 'of' it.

Still, it seeps in & becomes a part of who you are..... you almost take it for granted. That is until you realise that the scroll work you are trying to put on a bead has suddenly become less 'scroll' & more symbolic of some the wonderful Maori designs.

Fossilised Fronds

Kia mau koe ki nga kupu o ou tupuna.

Hold fast to the words of your ancestors.

New Growth

Whaia e koe ki te iti kahurangi;

ki te tuohu koe, me maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly:

if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Certain Young Lady

got a very special honour last week. Sophie was awarded the "Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit" in the New Zealand honours List.

The Order is "for those persons who in any field of endeavour, have rendered meritorious service to the Crown and nation or who have become distinguished by their eminence, talents, contributions or other merits."

An already talented 16 year old gets to add to her already impressive (VERY) collection of medals.

The Official Photo

My Favourite

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet Release

Bead release that is!!

One of the numerous things that I have been working on is formulating a bead release that works for me.
What can I say - I'm a tight wad! Whilst spending money on glass isn't too much of an issue, I get really grumpy at having to pay high shipping for 'wet' bead release. Essentially I'm paying for the water content.

The first lot of bead release I ever bought was a powdered release from Australia. Whilst it coated the mandrels beautifully & was as smooth as silk, I found that when working on bigger beads it would flake or break. Of course in one of life's little quirks it was often extremely stubborn in releasing. It cleaned out of the beads easily enough, seemingly due to a high graphite content, but this also made it a messy release to clean.
The draw card was that it was supplied in dry powder form. This meant that the weight difference between premixed & dry, for the amount I was buying was approximately 650gms (almost 1 1/2 lbs).

Next was 'Alices' which I loved, it was tough & durable (I even made a 5" bead using this stuff) & I never lost a single bead to it. It released perfectly - all the release stayed right inside the bead holes, where it remained a stubborn attempt to resist most forms of removal.
It didn't matter what consistency I mixed it to before dipping the mandrels - it still seemed to run down the dipped mandrels.

What I was after was a smooth release that held it's shape when wet, dried quickly, was relatively smooth, cleaned easily & withstood the punishment I like to inflict at times at the torch.

A bit of research, some trial & error & I'm almost there. I've been using it for a while myself & I've noticed that it even holds up well when the mandrels have been dipped for some time before using them.

The real test, so I was informed, was whether it would hold up over the time & marvering it took to create a bead over 3 inches long. It was put to the test & passed quite nicely!


Deeply Dippy - or rather 'dipped'

I lost the tip in the mesh at the back of the kiln - oops!

Showing the thickness of the coating.

The Proof......

I don't have a photo of my extremely happy bead cleaner, who swears that this is the easiest release that he's ever had the pleasure of cleaning - but I think the fact that he doesn't even bother to get the rotary tool out & does it all by hand speaks volumes ;o)

Monday, March 23, 2009

To Dream

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time." Marcel Proust

A while ago I saw a house that was for sale, with an expanse of undeveloped land around it. Not the home of my dreams (my tastes run in the opposite direction in fact) - but I love the verandah, the fact that it is a light colour brick, & most of all I liked the situation of the house. It fuelled my dreams of space & no 6" high fences.... not to mention no shared driveways & no disturbed or disturbing neighbours ;o)

Of course I love nothing more than a blank palette & the possibilities of what I could do with the garden started crowding in immediately.

How is that for a front yard....even room for the horse of Gabriela's dreams (& a dog...each!)

Yep I can imagine sitting here with my morning coffee & planning my garden!

There would even be room around the side or back for one of these to use as my studio!
Now that I have refuelled that dream somewhat - I'm off to the garage studio to play with my camera & torch!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Lack of Obliging Weather

meant no trip to the beach this weekend in which to test drive the zoom capabilities of The Ram. Of course I should have observed the warning signs that Autumn was well & truly on it's way when I visited the local Nursery on a mission a few weeks ago....just pulling up into the car park was a good indication!

An observant person would have also noticed the distinct lack of flowering plants.....

But the NZ Natives seemed to be in fine form!

There was even a splash of fresh & bright looking colour in the shade house to fool me.

Of course the ferns always look big & healthy. As you can see from the mailleman's arm, size matters!

Mary Poppins...oopsy I mean Gabriela, with a spring in her step was enough to fool any unsuspecting Mum that summer was going to last forever.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Girly Giggles

For some time now - we have been unable to have the kids friends to play, or stay overnight. Quite simply I wont risk subjecting them to the behaviour of a rather disturbing neighbour.
But things have settled somewhat, not perfect - but a whole heap better.

This weekend Miss Gabriela had a friend from her old school to stay. Not only is it fabulous that these girls keep in touch - but as the mailleman said, upon hearing the giggles of two girls making pancakes for breakfast, "Isn't that a wonderful sound to hear again?". It was!

Even the entertainment was cheap. They decided to do some Maori style weaving. With no flax leaves to use they improvised with some montbretia leave out of the garden.
I knew there just had to be a purpose for that weed's existence!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Worth Getting Up To

this is what greeted me at my desk this morning

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Singular Solution

for lost minds & failing memories there is only one solution:

To bring beads into the post of course I just had to show this wee experiment. Although 'it' doesn't look anything like the Decorative Food Hook from the Tambanum Village that inspired it & rather more like a Maori Tiki face carving...the fact that the protruding tongue seems to indicate 'pffft - raspberries to that sentiment' seems somehow apt! ;o)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Of All the Things I've Lost

I miss my mind the most. <----always loved that saying so I needed very little excuse to use it. The truth is I miss my memory at times!

First I forgot all about Mondays blog post, next I forgot that it was actually St Patrick's day here yesterday. There are other things I've forgotten - but I have also forgotten what they were!

Actually I had a very valid & understandable reason for forgetting what day it was yesterday. I was besotted, distracted & by the end of the day my head was spinning. I mean what is a girl to do while waiting for the battery for her new camera to charge. Read the manual & watch the DVD - that's what!

So Wednesday in Kiwiland sees Mondays blog post going up. But wait - this is actually, in a way, better than Mondays would have been because the photo's were taken with the new beasty camera - which she now has some idea of how to use. (no mean feat considering the last time I looked through the lens of an SLR it was a split focus lens!.....on a film SLR, over 10 years ago).

Mondays Blog Post can be found here "What was I thinking" (Back on Monday where it would have been had I photographed & added the photo's to the draft). Today it is just a shot of my prime targets with the Big Black oh so sexy Beasty Boy Toy - henceforth known as "The Ram".

Differences are easily put aside when it comes to a warm spot in the sun.

He likes to blend - what can I say, I adopted him for his décor value.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

HaPpY Dancing

It all started as an innocent white USPS box.

The courier handed it to me at the front door at 10.57am. The wait was finally over.

I tried to act calmly ....but I knew what was inside. Hot, sleek, black clad goodness - just begging to be fondled.

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words.....

The battery is charging. I'm waiting patiently (or not). Every now & then I just pick it up to fondle & feel that wonderful weighty balance in my hand. Oh my!

If you never see me again - you'll know why ;o)

Monday, March 16, 2009

What was I thinking?

Now I am not, most emphatically NOT, a frou frou type of girl. Period.

To me lace belongs on underwear & lingerie, flowers in the garden or a vase. I don't do frills, crystals, sparkles, sequins or any super shiny, reflective types of bling. I couldn't even do it in the 80's. Well maybe I did have a pair of lace tights......

Oh I've had clothes with flowers on them & tops with a bit of lace - but do I wear them more than once or twice? These days the answer is most emphatically "No"!
In part that is a generalization, as there always seems to be a rare exception to most of my 'rules' - I've had a couple of nice pieces of clothing in the past that had flowers on them & I loved them.
For the most part I am just not comfortable in frou frou stuff, & if it doesn't feel right - I don't feel confidant & therefore I don't carry it off well. Quite simple really.

I love jeans & trousers or well designed assymetrical dresses & skirts. Well cut & nicely tailored.
The same goes with shoes & boots, nice sleek simple cut & design with nicely detailed finishes!
Oh & just to show how fussy/picky/obsessive I am - I refuse to even try on footwear that has a seam up the front of the toe.
I don't know why I dislike it so much but perhaps it is because, to me, they look like there wasn't enough leather to make them so they had to join two pieces together. Of course, once again, there are exceptions.

So, here's the crunch - why, three or four summers ago, did I buy these??

What was I thinking? Oh yes, right away I thought of a modern day version of Arabian Nights - but really! Did I honestly think that the sale price tag of $10.00 would make me wear them ? Especially given that nothing I owned would go with them.

So there they sat admired but unworn - lonely & isolated in their box in the murky depths of my wardrobe.
Until I decided that I needed something to play with in the studio yesterday.....

The Result - eeeek!
But hey - I was just playing & it was an excuse to use some Gaffer glass as I seemed to have the right colours in that COE.

Oh.... & the irony was that I noticed what shoes I was wearing today as I took the photographs. These happily break every rule in my book - yet I wear them.

I wonder if it's because they are comfortable, or perhaps it's the slight difference in the price tags ;o)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

You Know You're REALLY a Lampworker

when you sit down to do your needlework & realise that you have put your Didy's with their magnifying lenses on instead of your hobby glasses.

Actually it was even worse than it sounds - not only had I walked out to the studio to pick up aforementioned Didy's, rather than pick up the hobby glasses that were sitting with my needlework - but I didn't realise my mistake until the Mailleman started laughing uncontrollably at me.

And I'd wondered why the light was strange ;o)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The perfect start to a Saturday

Latte & Eye Candy, by way of the latest Issue of the ISGB's Glass Bead magazine. Somehow the arrival of these always makes me feel somewhat less removed from the huge hub of lampworking that is the USA....& not quite so isolated way, way down here.

I saved this issue to enjoy at read & absorb properly, at leisure over the weekend. I was not disappointed!

A wonderful tutorial by Cheryl Brown from canada shows exactly how to use the "Big Hole Cross Link Mandrels" from Arrow Springs March Hot Yellow Flyer.

Now I could make these a lot more interesting & usable design wise with an extra hole for stringing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Mall Trip

with my Mum last week, reminded me of all the reasons that I tend to hang around home more than I used to!
It was wonderful to catch up with Mum & go out for coffee together. Well, that was the intention - however we ended up shopping. I enabled her by waving a new top under her nose, which she purchased - & then the clever woman enabled me by buying a nice (but oh so practical) merino top that I admired as 'an early birthday present'. Nice one Mum - my birthday is months away!

Ugly (but tidy) Facade

To think that not so many years ago I came to this Mall at least twice a week ....& enjoyed it. Now I feel I'm lucky if I manage to avoid it & only make the 5 minute trip there twice a month maximum.
What turned me off the place, I hear you ask. Pretty much the overwhelming commercialism. The sameness of this Mall to every other Mall in this country. Shiny tiled floors, super trendy décor, same type of food court, similar layout & worst of all - all the same darn shops (15 stores I can think of off the top of my head), with a few minor variations.
Unimaginative, unoriginal, uninspiring & overwhelmingly commercial. YUK!
Even the street façade is unwelcoming these days - surrounded for the most part by screened car parking.

It's single redeeming feature is that it has the name "The Palms" - & in a city where Palms aren't the flora of choice, it is quite nice to see some rather substantial specimens replanted there.

Two Old Beauties - replanted from Lindsay Street

Of course it doesnt take a lot for my imagination to go off on a tangent, & these two 80 year old Palm tree's were all that it took to inspire thoughts of a Tropical Island with long stretches of golden sands & clear blue skies (not to mention a lack of traffic & traffic lights).
Those daydreams managed to make their way into this mini set.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Change is in the air

Seasonal change that is! Nights & mornings get cooler & I somehow feel cheated that summer hasn't been long enough. This week seems to have skipped Autumn & tried to get right into winter. The skies have been overcast & it has rained quite heavily some nights. I don't mind rain but I miss the bright blue skies. I loathe how this affects me, my subconscious seems to do a subtle shift & I am not as even tempered & positive as I'd like to be. It's almost as if my body wants to go into hibernation.

Fortunately there is a huge upside to this! I have a very vivid imagination & can easily conjure up images of tropical islands & warmer locations - & I frequently do. It's at this time of year that my daydreams go into full swing.... Bali & Indonesia or the Seychelles, Morocco, Egypt & Malta - or pretty much anywhere around the Mediterranean Sea.
I shall happily put the responsibility for encouraging these dreams on the head of my maternal grandfather....or 'Papa' as we called him! Born in Malta, our childhoods were filled with his tales of growing up there. Quite simply it was magical!

So with thoughts of warmer climes in my head I set to torch trying to capture, in my own naive way, the essence of some of the countries I dream of visiting.
My mind first went to Malta & the thoughts of sun warmed, age weathered limestone building, surrounded by the sea.

It didn't turn out quite as I expected - but it has a nice feel none the less.

Next my thoughts turned to the luxuriously appointed interior of a Moroccan Tent.

Once again I didn't quite capture the feel I was going for! It did remind me of something though....

My old bedroom (here stripped of all the fun accessories - because the house was going on the market). That room was my sanctuary, I put almost everything I loved into creating it ....I never failed to appreciate the sense of calm that I felt every time I entered that room.

Maybe I should call the Beads above 'essentially Deb' ;o)