Friday, June 29, 2012

Get those !@#$ beads out of the kitchen sink!! A dry sink photo tutorial.

If you're hearing this from your significant other, or simply want to unclutter your kitchen from bead cleaning flotsam, I've just created a photo tutorial on how to set up your own self-contained bead cleaning sink.  I guess it's called a "dry sink" because it's not plumbed, which is good for this purpose, since bead release can really do a number on your plumbing.  This project takes a commercially sold laundry tub and vanity combo and turns them into a functional sink that you can use anywhere.

The tutorial is here.  While I bought this (admittedly overpriced for the quality) vanity and sink as a combo, you could get really creative with your own design, using most any container with a drain hole as the "sink", and any piece of furniture for the vanity.  I like that the bucket and water supply jug are hidden behind the cabinet doors, but they wouldn't have to be.

Have fun!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Such a tool! Sara Sally LaGrand class too.

Today my mother in law leaves her home of over 40 years to move out of state and be near her daughters, in a place where she can get the help she needs.  It's a big move for a nearly 90 year old, and has forced her to sort through a lot of things and let them go.  I can't imagine how difficult this must be for her at this age, to leave many of her things, routines, and friends after all this time.  I will miss seeing her so often, but look forward to a visit to see her new home next month.  And I'm definitely glad she'll be less isolated, and her needs better looked after.

I feel lucky to have been given this from her stash.  Can you guess what it is?  Sure, it has a nice brass hammer head and a useful bottle opener, but check out what's inside.

Turns out it's a bar accessory from the 1950's.  What a cool addition to my new studio this is!  I don't think it's sturdy enough to do any real hammering, but it will be a nice thing to have around, and a warm memory of my in-laws, who lived the high life in Reno and Lake Tahoe, and were never caught short of the proper bar implement.

I think the only find that could have been more exciting may have been an absinthe balancier.  One day I shall have one of these too...

Meanwhile in my studio, I'm happily practicing techniques I learned in a fabulous class with Sara Sally LaGrand at Bay Area Glass Institute last weekend, and adapting them to a series of work I've been dancing around ever since I started my glass journey.  Sara is the ultimate artist, and I enjoyed every minute with her.  She convinced me that I need to attend the Glass Art Society conference some day, where the focus is the art and creativity goes sky high.  The fashion show sounded incredible.  Anyway, if you get a chance to learn from Sara, grab it!  

Here is the broach I made in class.  I used some of the twisties I made recently as the center part of the "crater" beads, and as stand alone "pods".  I'm always too overloaded in class to think about coordinating a nice color scheme, so this one was pretty random, but it still seemed to come out ok.  The ninja is there to guard it from marauders, of which there were a few. 

Yes, the lovely and talented Shirley Cook was taking the class too, but apparently did not want her fans to know this, so she went incognito.  Her piece turned out beautifully, as did everyone's. 

Monday, June 4, 2012


There's been a lot going on around here this spring!  Holiday brunches, family visits, hiking, salmon fishing and crabbing, outdoor tidying and gardening.  Not so much glass melting, but that's soon to change since I've gotten moved into my new work space.  Other than improving the storage situation in there and tidying up a bit, I'm ready for visitors.  I'll be sneaking some photos in here soon, when the sun comes out, and gearing up for some giveaways.

We're having an unusual rainy start to June here and it's just yuckky grey out there.  In one of my first creative acts in there recently I discovered that the sun streams into the skylights at just the right time of day to take some amazing photos right on my work table.  After precariously balancing my photo cube on the deck railing every time I needed a photo, or hustling around to find alternative spots of light in our partly shaded yard this is music to my ears.

My mother in law just turned 89 over the weekend, and at her request I made her this bracelet using some of my own beads, combined with some cut glass, stichtite, and sterling silver beads.  It's sassy, sparkly, fun and different, just like she is, and it was wonderful to be with her in person to see her face light up when she saw it.  I thought she would appreciate the elastic, since she could put it on herself.  With the recent death of her husband she's transitioning to the next stage of life in an out of state assisted living facility, and having to say goodbye to belongings, routines, and friends that she's had for decades.  It's got to be horribly hard to do this, and I admire her courage.

Sybil's new bracelet.

Mom spent a week here with us recently and as usual, we tackled some projects together.  The biggest one was to repair and spiff up the housing that shields our water pump system from the elements.  It was built from plywood, and aside from a missing lid, was in pretty good shape.  We painted the base, and used leftover Suntop style roofing for the lid - the remnants from my glass rod storage cabinet project last year.  There's OSB under the plastic so it may not last a season, but it's better than nothing and cost almost that as well.  I swear, I think we got as much paint on the dog as anywhere else - he just has to be in the middle of things.

New pump housing.  It's so satisfying to use remnants.

Later this week I'll share a little tutorial on how to turn a laundry tub and vanity into a dry sink.  My new workshop is not plumbed, and one of my goals was to stop cleaning beads in the house.  It turned out great!


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