Monday, August 19, 2013

Back in Business

What a summer! Can't believe how long I was away from the torch. We got some wicked storms back in June that took out power for a few days and managed to fry my equipment. Throw a little European family vacation in the mix (will have to blog about that soon) and the next thing you know it is 7 weeks away from the torch.

My fabulous and amazing husband fixed up my kiln and got my oxygen concentrator working again so I have been back at the torch getting into the swing of things. So many new ideas and color combinations are running through my head I can't wait to get them into glass.

Here's a fun color inspiration trick for you to try. Come up with a word, type it into the magic Google search machine, and hit images. Then sit back and be amazed with all the eye candy. I did a Google image search on 'Havana' and this colorful classic car picture came up.  It was the inspiration for my latest set:


These beads currently up for auction on eBay.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Equipment Failure

It's broken.

I work in the IT field and my most favorite help desk issue is an email that says "it's broken" - with absolutely no other defining information whatsoever. You'd be surprised just how often that comes across my desk. I love my users.

So what exactly is broken? Sadly, it is my oxygen concentrator. And quite possibly my kiln too. I was in the middle of a most fabulous set of beads the other night when all of a sudden everything went haywire. My kiln shut off, except I didn't notice till the temperature had already dropped to 300 degrees. I am sad to report the beads in the kiln did not survive. [insert loud wailing and uncontrollable sobbing here]

My flame started to flicker and then a REALLY LOUD beeping noise went off and nearly gave me a heart-attack in my chair - which is highly dangerous when holding hot molten glass in your hand. Poof! The oxygen went out and my torch turned into a flame thrower.

And that was the end of my torching session.

A power surge or failure is to blame for the kiln. It may have fried the relay switch in the process. There wasn't even a spectacular thunderstorm to blame. Lame. Thankfully relay switches are inexpensive and somewhat easy to replace - when you have yourself a handy dandy engineer for a husband like I do.

The likely culprit for the oxygen concentrator is the cooling fan - since the cause of forced shut-down was overheating. That handy dandy engineer hubby of mine pulled it apart and noted the cooling fan was not spinning. Apparently this means it is not working. Again, a relatively inexpensive part to replace, however, a bit more of a challenge to actually work on.

Sadly this means I am out of commission until I can get new parts for my equipment and bribe my hubby to fix it all for me. I promise to be back in business just as soon as I can. Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Reichenbach Glass

I just love Reichenbach glass. The colors are so dense and so rich. I am slowly converting my lampworking glass from 104coe to 96coe so I am making color reference charts as I go. Here's my latest batch of colors.

R74 Granny Apple Green is a fun key lime green. It is darker than Effetre Pea Green, but more limey than Effetre Nile Green

R84 Dutch Blue matches its namesake and is a nice delft blue. It is a dead ringer for Effetre Dark Periwinkle.

R119 Mandarin is my most favorite orange ever. It is a soft yellowish orange - reminds me of butternut squash. It would be closest in comparison to Effetre Yellow Apricot without the dark streaks.

All three colors made spacer beads that came out the exact same color as the rod itself. No striking or extra work required.

R74 Granny Apple Green
R84 Dutch Blue
R119C Mandarin

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Inspiration - Essie Resort

My six year old recently started wanting to have her nails painted. No idea where it came from because my nails hadn't seen polish since I was pregnant with her. I decided to capitalize on this as a perfect mother-daugher bonding experience, and we went shopping for some new nail polishes. Retail therapy is always a great way to bond with your daughter.

We wandered into our local Ulta cosmetics and went straight for the new Essie display. Such fun, bright and cheery colors! The best part is they came packaged in the most adorable cube of 4 sample colors - which is great for me because I never go through a full bottle of polish before I tire of it anyways.

Nadia and I have been having a fun time painting our nails in all these fun new colors. I loved the color combination of the sample pack so much I decided to match it in a new bead set. I do believe I will be stalking Essie whenever they release a new collection - both for the bead-making color inspiration and the cute and fun nail polishes.

These beads are currently up for auction on eBay. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reichenbach Colors

A plethora of color charts and color sample pages can be found all over the web for most any glass color in the 104 palette. Unfortunately I have been unable to find a similar resource for the 96 palette.

I've been transitioning a lot of my glass studio over to 96 coe and am slowly building my color stash. Most of the time I go in "blind" when making a glass purchase because there may or may not be a picture of beads made with that color. And the photos may or may not be accurate and representative.

So this is my new little side project: make spacer beads and catalog colors of every glass I order in 96 coe for reference. Perhaps other lampworkers will find these little color references helpful as well. Happy torching!

R731 Dark Pink Coral
R087 Water Blue
R097 Lilac Red

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vegetarian 'Fish' Tacos (Zucchini Tacos)

zucchini tacos
Having been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years there are very few meals for which I have been unable to find a decent vegetarian substitute - at least for things I actually want to eat. The 'fish taco' phenomenon, however, has intrigued and eluded me ... until now.

Not long ago I visited some dear friends out West. We ate at a darling little place called Sena on Myrtle in charming Monrovia. Everyone ordered the fish tacos. While perusing the menu I saw something that sparked an epiphany: zucchini tacos. I ordered them of course. They were everything their carnivorous counterparts were ... well except for that whole meat thing.
They were delicious. And ever since, I have been on a quest to perfect a homemade 'healthy' baked version that my family would enjoy.

Vegetarian 'Fish' (Zucchini) Tacos:
  • 2-3 small zucchini
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • dash garlic powder
  • dash dried lemon peel
  • dash chipotle pepper
  • salt & pepper
Fish Taco Sauce:
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c mayo
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chop cilantro
  1. Mix all ingredients for fish taco sauce and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Prepare zucchini by cutting lengthwise in 2-3 inch strips.
  3. Rinse and pat dry.
  4. Beat eggs in a small bowl (for dipping).
  5. Combine panko crumbs and seasonings in a shallow dish.
  6. Dip each zucchini stick into the beaten eggs, then roll it in the panko mixture. **Do not be tempted to dump a bunch of them in at once or your panko mixture will get soggy and won't stick to the zucchini. Trust me on this. You really need to do them one at a time.
  7. Spread them out on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, or until the coating is golden brown.
fish taco sauce
I admittedly never measure my coatings. I just pour out my spices into the breadcrumbs and mix it around until the color and distribution looks right. Play with the spices. Tweak the amounts - especially if you like things hot. A small dash of chipotle is quite enough for my Minnesota kids.

Serve in a warmed corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, shredded cheese and fish taco sauce. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frozen Tundra

If you've never met another Minnesotan, then you probably don't know that the weather is an often discussed subject. All year round. We talk about the snow and cold. We talk about the heat and humidity. And then there is always the newsworthy tornadoes and straight-line wind storms. Those are fun.

This week has been cold. Bitterly cold. Freeze your knees "how can people live here" cold. The high temperature only hit -5 one day. That was a NEGATIVE number in case you missed it. Farenheit. I won't torture you with the overnight lows and windchill factors. Let's just say they were obscene and inhumane.

Why does this matter? Because I can't torch in this weather. My fresh air intake for my ventilation system successfully freezes out the entire house in a matter of minutes when the temperature gets this cold. I don't care because I am sitting behind a 4000 degree flaming hot torch. But apparently the kids and hubs do not appreciate having to wear their hats and mittens in the house while mommy is working away in the studio.

This is why it pays to be well diversified. Ah yes. I can still get my glass fix on by playing with the kiln. Thank goodness for cold-weather compatible fusing. Here's a couple samples of my latest batch of freeze your knees fused glass pendants. These will be available in my Etsy shop sometime this week. You can view the whole collection at my Flickr gallery. Stay warm!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday

It is hard to believe that 4 years ago today was the most insane crazy day of my life. My beautiful, charming, fun-loving little man made his exciting and dramatic debut into this world. Four years. Wow. Time is moving at warp speed. I wish I could just push the pause button. If only just for a little bit.

You make my life complete. I love your silliness, your dreamy eyes, your sinister laugh, your devilish grin, your sweet kisses, your tender hugs, your thoughtful conversations, your crazy antics, your loving heart. I love you - everything about you.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy!