Thursday, April 30, 2009

And the Mailman Brought


Bliss in a box aka my supplies!
Oh yeah! Almost nothing excites quite like new glass.


Ok, perhaps it's just me that feels the thrill! The ginger ninja seems to be in deep denial



Yet, a couple of weeks ago, when I was trying to sort my chalcedony glass & get some packed for shipping....


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finally - the right light conditions

To capture Gaffer Chalcedony in it's natural state.

Sometimes (quite often in fact) indoor lighting just doesn't capture the colours as one would like, & certainly not as they appear in hand....unless you are prepared to do a bit of photo editing.
I've found this glass particularly hard to capture - but noticed that direct sunlight they appeared truest to colour. Of course direct sunlight causes it's own set of problems - namely reflection & bright spots all over the beads.

The next best option is on a sunny day, but just out of direct sunlight.

Today the masses got fondled again - taken outside, placed on the nice neutral weathered background in a shaded part of my old outdoor table & photographed. Not quite as vibrant as it appears in the sun - but gorgeous none the less.

So here it is "Gaffer Chalcedony Unplugged" - no editing at all apart from quickly cropping & resizing.

Gaffer 109 - Chalcedony Unplugged
Gaffer Chalcedony 'en masse'

Finally I can show you why this bead is one of my two favourites. It seems to glow from within - it certainly has a depth & flow to it that is unlike anything I have achieved to date. The striking cycle seems to be purples, plums & pinks first - then the blues & greens. You can have heaps of fun with selectively re striking certain area's of the bead for colour contrasts & variations.



Perhaps when my new glass arrives I will get over my infatuation & enthusiasm with this glass...then again perhaps I will have a greater selection of glasses on which to test it!

I'm still predominantly using the 96 COE's with this though, even though there are no signs of any incompatibility cracks on the beads I made using the Vetrofond Black 104 COE as a base. The bead that landed end down on the tile floor is, of course the exception.

I'm annealing a bit higher, a bit longer & with a slower ramp down - just to be on the safe side ;o)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do you know what this means?


Monday was spent sawing up cardboard posting tubes to length & printing out labels. Aside from the fact that it signifies I am organized in advance (for a change) - can you guess what it means?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Things that make you go Hmmmmm!

Cheeky males for one!
Especially cheeky males that 'think' an appropriate way to respond is via a blog post ;o)

Click on the "Things that make you go Hmmmmm!" title on the blog post & you will see what I mean.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gaffer Chalcedony - Just Getting Better!

My favourites so far, I think. Actually they have all been my favourites until I make the next one ;o)

Gaffer 109 Chalcedony Clear Stringer
Gaffer 109 - Chalcedony with Clear Stringer

Gaffer Chalcedony
Pure Gaffer 109 - Chalcedony

Saturday, April 25, 2009

ANZAC Day

Australia New Zealand Army Corps




ANZAC Day commemorates all New Zealanders killed in war and also honours returned servicemen and women. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles, the gateway to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Turkish defenders.

Thousands lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign: 87,000 Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, including 8500 Australians.Among the dead were 2721 New Zealanders, almost one in four of those who served on Gallipoli.
It may have led to a military defeat, but for many New Zealanders then and since, the Gallipoli landings meant the beginning of something else – a feeling that New Zealand had a role as a distinct nation, even as it fought on the other side of the world in the name of the British Empire.



In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



For me Anzac Day has extremely special significance - is it the birth date of my youngest son, Kieran, the same son who is in the New Zealand Army. Somehow I feel that he was destined to be in our Defence Force one way or another, perhaps his early arrival into the world was that meant he made his d├ębut on April 25th was for a reason. Early to arrive, always rushing around - & a determination to 'fly fighter planes' from the grand old age of four years old.

Anzac Day, is a remembrance of the past, but also the offer of hope for the future. These days the services & those that spend time with the Returned Servicemen afterwards, not only pay due respect to the past - but look ahead in the hopes that there will never be another 'World War' - but know at the same time our sons, partners, husbands will be better placed if there is.
I actually think part of the message from one of the 2008 Dawn service speeches say's it best;
"It is dawn …. It is the 25th of April
ANZAC …it is not a place, or a date, or an event

ANZAC is people - in uniform and supporting those in uniform – mates – who live together, fight together, and at times die together.

It is a testament to our veterans.
And it is a testament to those that still serve."

Knowing that these days conscription is not in force & that any person in the Army is there by choice, willing to serve their country in the name of world peace & help with ongoing peace keeping in the tumultuous countries that have experienced an uprising is somewhat reassuring for a Mother....& - especially a mother that knows her son is being deployed, instead of getting married later this year.

I'd say it's a pretty good reason to be proud.



Oh yes - HaPpY Birthday Baby boy ;o)





Friday, April 24, 2009

A decent size shard bulb at last

Lesson learned: As when learning stringer control, when first blowing shards - pick your glass carefully.

Shard Bulb with Gaffer 149 Nero Duro and Chalcedony
Shard Bulb with Gaffer 149 - Nero Duro and Chalcedony

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Make Peace With Imperfection

Ahhh chapter two in "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"....how very apt for me.

A while ago I read that to be a perfectionist is to limit oneself & I have been working on letting go of that for some time now.

However to read that whenever we want something in a certain way, better than it already is...we are focused on what is wrong with that thing & the need to fix it, rather than remembering to be grateful for what we do have.

Case in point - the view out of of my study window, something I see every time I glance up from the computer.



The 'fence' is too close to the house, part of it is rusty iron,backed by higher non rusty iron & part of it is made up out of the neighbours hideously disgusting shade of green garage wall. It has irritated me every since we moved here.

The silly thing is I love rusty corrugated iron (possibly just not as a view I see every day). For goodness sakes Deb, get a grip on yourself, the only artwork I have displayed in the house of mine is of a gecko on rusty corrugated iron!!
I have no idea why I developed such an intense dislike for this view. No - it's not perfect. But it could be so very much worse - so for now I have made my peace with it's imperfections .

Of course that doesn't mean that a bit of sheet metal wont get cut out & painted to look like a gecko & possibly end up decorating said fence one day soon.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am very much in love with this glass!

So much in love with it that I'm almost tempted to buy another kilo!
(But I need some Gaffer clear! - Bugger!)

Gaffer 109 Chalcedony - Gaffer 150 Black
Gaffer Chalcedony on Gaffer Black

These were made using shards over the various bases - to my mind shards give the nicest results.

Don't forget to check out KnattyDreadz Etsy Store if you need shards - there is a wonderful selection of silver glass shards & you can get your Gaffer 109 Chalcedony fix there too in both shard & murinni.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Also seen on Sunday

How wonderful are these Alpaca's?

Look at that one in the background - just making eye contact & asking for her photo to be taken.

I want two - not one (they don't like to be alone) but two!
The mailleman thought I was joking. I was deadly serious!
I even pointed out to him that the tenancy agreement states 'no dogs' - but it doesn't say a darn thing about Alpaca's.

See , I told you. She had attitude . I want that one!

Related to camels but far cuter I think an alpaca would be a cool pet. Less noisey than a dog too, so maybe not the best form of guard pet...then again we have two cats for that. Both are excellent at guarding a warm patch of sunlight with quite frightening ferocity....if they manage to wake up.

Imagine, nicer looking than sheep & less noisey than lawnmowers. 2-4.5kg of wool per year & they come in over 20 natural colours.
Pity that you need a bit more room than we have here .


All recently shorn so I'm not sure what type of Alpaca these are.

I kind of like the Suri Alpaca's, they are the ones with the long locks a bit like dreads - apparently the fleece is made up of longer silkier fibres....I can just imagine knitting or weaving with it!

A comparison chart against other animals, subteley inserted for the mailleman "Why Buy Alpacas"

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Soul Speaks and Listens

Two of my favourite quotes seem, to me, to go hand in hand.

"The soul speaks in image
." Carl Jung

"Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways
." Oscar Wilde

Colour impacts ours lives.
Whether we know it or not we absorb it, seemingly subconsciously , our very inner most selves mulling it over, associating it with various objects then transforming it into an image.

Whether that image stays inside us or is put out there, if we know how, in one artistic form or another - is entirely up to us.


Often it can be the other way around - we see an image of think of an object & immediately associate a colour with it... & so it goes on.
No wonder colour & imagery has such a great impact on our lives.

A dreary Sunday down under found me peering around the garden for something to focus on - surely I could find some colour there...
Of course I did find something ; a small & persistent Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) obviously transported here via a pot from my last garden winding through, around, under & over a row of stacked unused terracotta pots.

Bright & perpetually sunny, thankfully oblivious to the fact that everything else in the garden has died off in anticipation of winters approach!










So although I can't provide the answer to Mallorys' wish of a plant with two different types of flowers on it - I can suggest Nasturtiums that often have multiple, distinctly different colourways all on the one plant.
(Will have to work on the Raul & his steaming shirtless body for you too Mallory.....)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What do Rainbows and Eggs have in Common?

Not a lot, unless it's me still playing with the Gaffer 109 - Chalcedony....and getting a bit too carried away in the process to take note of the shape my bead has gone.


Gaffer Chalcedony
Gaffer Chalcedony on Gaffer Black

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gaffer Rainbows

Chalcedony is still rocking da house in this neck of the woods!
Capturing the myriad of colours showing in this bead was a bit of a mare under studio lighting....where is the sun when I need it?




Chalcedony thinly applied over Gaffer Black

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dont Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't you love that phrase? I know I did the first time my Dad said it & believe me in the last few years before he died, he used it quite a bit. He'd say it to Mum, he'd say it to me & often when Mum & I were talking about something, he'd say so quietly that you would almost miss it - if it weren't for the twinkle in his eye.


Recently Richard Carlson's book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and it's all small stuff" popped into my field of vision on Amazon "Frequently Bought Together" section as I was looking at another title. Of course I smiled & clicked, then added it to my wish-list. Later I listened to a sample chapter of it on-line & decided that I would definitely like to read it. Maybe I'm late to the party, but I had never heard of this book... although you can bet that Dad had not only heard of it but had also read it.

I forgot about it until a couple of weeks later when, once again, it came to my attention in a blog that I follow. I almost wondered if this was some kind of message - but yet again, having numerous things on my mind, soon forgot about it!

Today I had an appointment with the local beautician for the first time. Arriving a bit early I sat down to wait. Then I decided to explore the selection of magazines neatly stacked on the occasional table in her waiting area. Sitting there in the middle of that table was a copy of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and it's all small stuff" - the magazines didn't even get a look in. I picked it up & started reading. Of course the two minutes I had to wait weren't nearly enough, I was hooked.

Later this afternoon found me out in search of some Bali Silver in the city. Disappointed at not being able to find what I wanted (again) - I decided to treat myself to the themptation of local art supplies store. A small purchase of a white gel pen there & my memory was jogged about some layering techniques that involve ripping up old books.
Huge problem - I can neither bring myself to write in books nor deface them in any way. Ripping up books to use in my visual journal just wasn't going to happen - unless I went out & bought an old tatty already falling to pieces book at a second hand store.

I recalled the local second hand book store in our area & drove towards there with that purpose in mind. I enter & am busy rummaging through the only pile of oldish tatty books that I could see when the lovely lady behind the counter asks if she can help me. Focused on looking for the oldest tattiest book, preferably with a great deal of foxing on the pages I straightened up & said "Oh yes please, do you have a copy of "Dont Sweat the Small Stuff, and it's all small stuff". As it fell out of my mouth my mind was thinking "Well crap - where DID that come from?". As it happened, she did have a very tidy copy. Now I do!



So this weekend I have just added this to my 'read' list. I've already figured that whether I'll have the time to do so or not is just 'small stuff'.

What I can't figure is how I lost a day this week! Seriously, I knew it was a short week at the beginning, I'm sure that I knew it was Thursday yesterday. So today I am walking up the street wondering why on earth everyone has all their recycle bins out..."it's not Friday, today is Thursday". The worst of it was that I had to ask the beautician that I'd booked the appointment with what day it was when I got there.

Now of course I realise that this is the 'small stuff'. I didn't miss any appointments, or forget to be somewhere I should, pick someone up or drop them off - so what does it matter whether it's Thursday or Friday? ;o)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gaffer 109 - Chalcedony

There is nothing like having a new glass to play with - to chase away the "uh oh almost winter, yuk I loathe that season" blues.

Having bought a kilo of the lovely stuff I am more than happy just to play & see what it does. Usually, in the case of any striking glass, for me it is comparitively little compared to what others can get it to do. Not so with this glass!

Gaffer 109 Chalcedony

When I first saw it I suspected that it would do work very well as shards. Unfortunately I am not much good at blowing shards.
Upon playing with it the first time I noticed that it struck extremely well where my covering was thinner. Wanting to prove my theory, I attempted making some shards with it - two words spring to mind "abysmal failure"!

None the less I layered on my "far too thin to be safe" bit's of shard. Actually I had to roll the bead in them to pick the stuff up - it was that thin that it broke if touched.

Fortunately for those of us that cant blow shards, "Knatty Dreadz" one of the members at Seraphim FlameWorks had already got it into his head to make & sell some Gaffer 109-Chalcedony shards & some pretty darn fine Murrini as well.

If you are like me & don't have any shard blowing technique to speak of, or perhaps haven't been able to get hold of any of this glass through GafferUSA or your local supplier yet, be sure to visit "KnattyDreadz Etsy Store"



Gaffer Chalcedony shards by knatty dreadz

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Colours of the Coast

Sunday saw the mailleman & I deciding to take a trip North up the coast to the small township of Kaikoura. It's years since we have just gone for a drive for the sake of it.
In fact I may have commented that you know when middle age has snuck up & bit you on the butt, when you are free of kids & instead of planning a raging night out with booze & music - you plan a 'Sunday drive' instead! Oh my - we have become our parents! When did that happen?

Kaikoura is a town approximately 150 Kilometers(94 miles) North East of Christchurch. The trip itself involves quite a bit of hill driving & some pretty scenery. Unlike Christchurch the coast is rugged & rocky, with sea's that seem insistant on pounding the rocky shoreline & wearing it down even further. It's years since I have been there & often when I have passed through it's been grey & cloudy with a rough dark sea.
Sunday was an exception! Beautiful blue skies & a warm breeze. The light was amazing - & the both the skies & sea colour could change within a couple of miles of travel. Parts of the Kaikoura coast have mountains coming down to the roadside & this affects the light hugely.

Going over "The Hundalees"


Mountains to the left of us, Coastline to the right,
Here I am stuck in a tunnel with you...


Those wonderful worn rocks & Three "mine, mine, mine's"



Looking back across to the road & mountains



Towards Kaikoura



This shows just how changeable it was - only a couple of miles up the road from the last photo.



North of Kaikoura township



South Bay - Where all the whale watch boats leave from.


Head back home, through The Hundalees


A peek or a peak.



Towards dusk.

There are a few other close up photo's in the post below.

Limpets, Lichen and Rock Pools

One of the things that had prompted me to want to go to Kaikoura were childhood memories of playing in the rock pools there. We'd stay in Kaikoura on occasion, & no favourite toy was safe from being taken to play in the rock pools with me.
I seem to recall a couple of dolls suffering permanent blindness after the mechanisms that allowed their eye's to open & shut rusted.....

I wondered if my adult eye's would see the same fascination & wonder as my childhood eye's had seen.



There are h-u-g-e rocks pools...



and smaller rock pools.



Then there are very small rock pools...



In very large rocks!



There is lichen...




and limpets!



And if you pause a moment & look very carefully - you can even find a small, well disguised fish or two!


So very 'Kiwi' - a planting of NZ native plants.

If you take the time to look down & explore with a child's eye's, the seemingly rocky grey shore isn't as grey as it first might appear.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Bit of Mindless Fun

The mailleman found a new tool - or rather a new toy in the form of "Desktop Icon Toy".

For the next 5 hours & 38 minutes this little time waster is available free from "Giveaway of the Day".

For those of you that like to play with your desktop item layouts - or find it frustrating that for some reason your desktop shortcuts never seem to be where you last saw them, this is the tool for you!

It can make those mundane tidy rows transform into pretty patterns - or the shortcut icons bounce when you hover over them. It can also completely hide the usual text that accompanies the icons...useful, unless you have a whole load of folders on your desktop!! ;o)

In order to properly play with it, & have as much fun as the mailleman appeared to be having - I had to add a whole load of shortcuts to my normally 'sparse' desktop. I tend to only display the shortcut icons that I use frequently, preferring a fast loading at startup & a tidy desktop.

The normal "Deb" Desktop



After adding a few extra shortcut icons



Let the 'shape fun begin!

There is a variety of hearts....



and stars to choose from, as well as a plethora of other shapes.



I am kind of partial to the spiral.



This is the mailleman's favourite - a working clock!



But the thing that I really liked was that when I restored my desktop to it's former simplified glory (or lack thereof!) - I could hide the text!!!




No I wasn't bored (who has time for that?) - but at times I am very easily amused ;o)