Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Treasures From France

These are the treasures that my friend Diana brought back from France. Thank you so much! How exciting! Lavender and herb mixtures, in beautiful fabric bags, from Provence, French milled soap, raspberry jam , a colorful ceramic jar and best of all...Holy water from Lourdes in a pretty little bottle. SCORE!!!!

So we're one less dog and now my skinny kitty can come back home without fear of being chased by a bored greyhound.

We'll miss you Honey....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Web Photo School

It's sort of cloudy and cool today so I'm going to finish up my orders and then I'll hang out with Nathan, (my 8 year old grandson), a bit. Take the dogs for a walk. This is the last day I'll have
Honey. She goes home tomorrow. I'll miss her. She just sort of fits in with our little family and she's such a sweet dog.

This is Dandy. My little girl. She's sucking up and thinks she's going to get a treat. She'll have to do a little better than just look pretty.

And this is Honey. My friend's greyhound that we have been caring for while her momma is in Europe. She looks stressed out doesn't she? This picture was taken by my friend Robin Nellist who is a very talented photographer.

As I was saying in a recent post I've become obsessed with photography lately. I don't know if I'll ever take better photos but it's fun learning about it. While doing some research on a new camera I came across this website called Adorama. This is a site devoted to photography and I found out they have a Web Photo School. Now I'm not connected to this site in any way I just
wanted to pass on the link because I have learned so much since I found this site. They have some free lessons which I learned a lot from but they also have a sort of unique class system that you can get about as serious as you want to get or just take a couple lessons here and there. The classes start at $9.99 for a 30-day access to ALL of their lessons. The price goes up from there to access the lessons for longer periods of time up to a lifetime membership. I just paid
for 30 days and after just a couple days reading here and there on my coffee breaks and before I go to bed I've already gotten my moneys worth! So if you're looking to learn a little bit, (or a whole lot), check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Promised Photos

After visiting several of my favorite artist's blogs I got to thinking about back when I first started to learn about beadmaking and I combed the internet for any snippet of information I could find about the subject. I wanted to know everything and I remember trying to find pictures of a lampworkers studio and equipment setup. The place where they actually make the
beads. It all sounded so glamorous and well...artsy. I didn't find a whole lot of pictures of glamorous studios because I realize now that after spending probably several hundred, if not thousands of dollars on equipment and supplies to actually make the beads, who has the dough to glamorize the studio. This was certainly true in my case and I have avoided taking photos of my oh-so-unglamorous studio, (garage). But you know what? Back when I was hungering
for any info I could find about artists and their work I would have loved to have seen photos like this because it would have shown me that you don't have to be glamorous to be an artist. Maybe someday my studio will look more artsy.
Today all I care about is that it is comfortable and FUNCTIONAL. And it is both. I spend at least 6 hours a day out here. This is how it usually looks most of the time except it's messier and my car is usually in here too. I took the car out to sweep the floor. I don't want the grandkids stepping on chunks of glass while they fetch their toys, (the toy bucket is right under my work bench).

When my husband and I built the workbench we really just guessed at the height. It is 42" and it is perfect for me. I can work all day and I never have back strain. My Nortel Minor torch sits atop a 2"x6" block of wood and I just rest my elbows on the benchtop when making beads. I don't need any other arm rests. The top of my work bench is ceramic tiled and I have a half sheet of cement board, (non-flammable material), that has been painted flat black, leaning against the wall in front of me. The black background makes it so much easier to see the bead I'm working on. Above me is my stainless steel kitchen fan. It's pretty powerful, (380 CFM if I remember correctly). It was a scratch-and-dent Ebay auction win for about $60 with shipping and all. My propane is piped in through the wall and the tank is kept right outside the window in a vinyl locker. We actually cut a hole in the wall and the locker and then the hoses are run
through PVC pipe. The hole is then insulated so critters can't get in.

Here is a shot of my benchtop all neat and tidy. Believe me, it's not always like this. I generally tidy up before I start a new project or a new set of beads.

The little piles of stringer are left out and close at hand at all times. I guess I just never found a way to corral them that has worked for me. I like to see what I have at a glance and not have to paw through some sort of container to find just the right color and thickness. The only thing I forgot to replace before I took this shot was my bowl of water which sits right below the clear glass bowl of glass scraps.

And this would be where I take my photos. Oh-so-glamorous isn't it? Right next to my golf clubs, hot water tank and plastic tubs filled with all sorts of heaven-knows-what. But you know what? I don't have to put it away every time I use it and that's what makes it really convenient.