I am learning how to use my new lentil press from Jim Moore. So far I am loving it!
Even my husband was impressed by the quality of construction. I have told you before that my husband is a master craftsman. He can create anything. So for him to say how well made this tool is says A LOT. He even thought the cost was well worth it. I would have to agree that this tool is a beautiful creation in and of itself.
I have only had a little bit of time to create a couple of beads using it and I am more than happy with the way they turned out. This is a deep press, meaning that it requires quite a bit of glass to fill the lentil shape. I didn't use enough glass with a couple of beads and they didn't turn out quite right. But the ones I am showing you here, are just right.
I had some Facebook friends interested in this recipe so I thought I would share it here. I think it is perfect for sipping at some of those upcoming holiday celebrations.
The original version of this recipe came from a recipe by Sandra Lee on the Food Network. Her recipe made a pitcher full, so I modified my version to create a couple of glasses. Sandra Lee's recipe calls for cranberry-flavored seltzer and I could not find that in my stores. So again I modified the recipe to include cranberry juice and seltzer water.
This recipe makes enough for 2 martini glasses.
2 ounces orange vodka
1/2 ounce cranberry juice
1 1/2 - 2 tsp simple syrup (see recipe below)
Put ice in the cocktail shaker. Add above ingredients and shake it up. Fill martini glass 1/2 - 2/3 full.
Top off glass with seltzer water.
Pumpkin Pie simple Syrup
1 c sugar
1/2 c warm water
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
*make your own pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
In a small pot heat all ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The tree. As I pass by on a beautiful, clear sky morning.
I love this tree. I pass it everyday on my walk, sometimes I pass it many times in a day if I am driving by too. It ALWAYS captures my attention. I particularly love the tree when the leaves are off it. I find I am drawn to it on clear, cool nights, with the moon lighting it up. It speaks to me on some level. I'm not sure I can explain why. I see age and wisdom in this tree. I see strength and beauty. I see it embracing anything and everything that comes its way. I see this tree embodying grace.
Just some of my work that has been inspired by this tree...
My hope is that people will leave this tree alone and it will continue to stand strong, towering over our road.
Life is a balancing act. For me I am constantly trying to find the balance in life; trying to make sure everyone is taken care of myself included. The lives of my children, my work, my husband's business, taking care to see my friends and balance relationships, I can't forget taking care of my trusty companion, my dog and then I must take care of myself too . Planning, planning, planning. Planning for shows, planning for trips, planning for holidays, planning for my kids heading to or already in college. You know the ...the list could go on. Sometimes I get so focused on the To Do List that I forget to enjoy the moments. After all that is what life is all about, the moments.
The past few times that I have had the opportunity to enjoy my moments at my torch I have been focused on creating something specific. Custom orders, beads for upcoming shows, beads to list in my Etsy or ArtFire stores and alas a little something for myself. I recently purchased a cuff bracelet made of turquoise, sparkling seed beads and some brown stoney looking beads. I want to create a pendant that is similar in color with a textural look to wear with this bracelet. So far I have not been satisfied with the results. Apparently, I am my own worst customer. I have created some pretty beads but I have not captured the look I want to pair with my new bracelet. (This will be a story for another day.)
My plan for today was to make beads, my plan would be to try again to capture that perfect pendant for myself. As I began I felt frustrated. I did not want to work with "those" colors again. Ugggh! I was just not into today. "But I want to make beads so what will I make?" I was not coming up with any of my usual ideas. So I decided to stop thinking and just do. This felt so freeing for me. I tend to be a thinker and can think a subject or idea to no end. But today, in my moment, I was free. I didn't think or plan. I just picked up a colored rod that looked good to me and began to wind the glass onto the mandrel. There was no preconceived plan, stringers were pulled on the fly, matching colors were picked in the moment. I found myself happy and satisfied to just let it all go. I didn't worry too much about winding the glass perfectly balanced on the mandrel, if it wasn't perfect when I squished the glass I would figure out a way to embellish the bead to make a balanced bead. I am tired of all the to do lists and the planning. Today I just need to be and create.
So today I created my beads of balance and I love them!
Happy Thanksgiving...and then comes round two Thanksgiving is a multi day event in my family. It is tradition for the host or hostess to plan enough food for the day after Thanksgiving. The family will arrive for round two the day after. Personally, as the hostess, I prefer round two. This day is much more relaxed and fun for me. The food has all been cooked and the pots and pans have all been cleaned and put away. The only thing I have to do is take out all the fixings and let everyone reheat their plate.
After we are all full of another turkey dinner, plenty of pie (apple pie is my favorite), a glass of wine or two and tea or coffee we play a game of Scrabble, watch movies and sit by the fire.
I am thankful for my wonderful family. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.
Yup, I am going to say it... I am a tea totaler. I don't drink coffee, even though most people in the US are avid coffee drinkers. I thank my older sisters for bring me up to be a tea drinker.
As it happens, the week of a very big show (big and new to me show) I broke my favorite tea mug. I have my morning ritual and that includes sitting down with a warm cup of tea in my favorite mug while I morph into a state of consciousness. I don't know about you but I like to have my tea in that special mug every morning. On this fateful morning I managed to drop my mug on the hardwood floor and surprisingly it smashed into a million pieces. Thankfully it was empty at the time.
A few days later I was participating in an art show along with my friend and fellow Dunstable Artisan, Paula of Wallace Hill Pottery. I fell in love with her handcrafted mugs. The colors, the shape, the size, the feel of the mug in my hand were all just perfect. Naturally I felt I deserved to purchase a new morning ritual mug.
I do so look forward to my morning cup of tea. Isn't this piece just beautiful?
Earlier this year I was honored to become a member of the Dunstable Artisans, a local group of extremely talented and diverse artisans. This past weekend was the annual art show. I was honored to be a participant in this show, however, I have to be honest and tell you that I was more than a bit nervous. I have known of this group for MANY years and attended a show quite some time ago. I have always believed the individuals that belonged to this group were amongst the most talented artisans in the area. I could only hope to live up this reputation.
Back in August, it was with much trepidation that I began to prepare for the show. I have to admit that my expectations for myself can be high, so I push myself hard to be the best I can. I don't always love that about myself but it is what it is. Much would be needed; in terms of my work, I created as I usually do and even stretched myself to create some new products which have been running through my head for some time. Setting up a booth in this venue was going to be my challenge. I have done a lot of shows and fairs in the past but nothing like this. Almost all of the shows I have participated in the past have been outside venues. The one inside venue I participate in, is in a museum and only tables are allowed. Obviously vendors can not interfere with the museums pieces which are on display.
Preparing for a high end inside venue brings with it a whole new set of requirements regarding booth set up. I felt I would need to present myself , my work and my booth in a professional manner. The biggest challenge was going to be some type of wall system to define my booth. The Artisans were more than generous in their support, offering ideas and even offering equipment used by others during their "first" year of shows. It was important to me to figure out something I could afford and that I felt represented me. I began to look into pipe an drape set ups and was astounded at the cost of these systems. This was not in my budget, not this year anyway.
My husband and I began brainstorming. I should tell you that my husband is a self employed electrician. He is a master at his work but he also has the ability of being the most fantastic handyman, I am telling you...he can fix or create anything! We took a trip to Home Depot and browsed the store trying to find something that would work as a pipe system. We settled on fencing materials and some items from the plumbing department to create my very own customized pipe system, at a price I could afford. I scanned the internet for some reasonably priced, suitable drapes. I was proud of the set up we ended up creating. I think we both did an excellent job. (I hope you don't mind me giving myself a little pat on the back)
For the record..my wonderful husband created the wooden display stand for my focal beads, the wooden wine stop display and the black boxes for my necklaces to be displayed on. I seriously don't know what I would do without all his help. I think I will have to bake him a cheesecake for all his efforts, heck, I'll have to bake him a cheesecake a month for the next year.
I learned so very much from the artisans at this show. There are items I know would like to tweak before next years show but for this moment I can say I was happy with the set up I and my husband achieved. I am grateful and thankful for the generosity and support of the Dunstable Artisans. I am also grateful and thankful for the all the wonderful people who attended the show and were willing to support their local artists. I also have to thank my family for allowing me the time to let it be all about me these past few weeks. Now we will all return to our regular schedules....ahhhhh.
What a fun collection I found myself in, it's all about pumpkins and pincushions. I have a glass pumpkin featured but my quilting background allows me to thoroughly appreciate the pincushions. I wish I was still quilting enough to allow me to buy one of these beautiful pincushions.
I am excited about the art charm exchange I joined which has been hosted by Jennifer of Glassaddictions. Last week I gave you a sneak peak of the beads. Now I have the 10 beads made into charms. I mailed them off to Jennifer on Monday.
I wanted a group photo of all the charms but in my excitement to get them in the mail, I forgot to take pictures of them before I attached them to my cards. I had to back track a little bit and attempted to take photos with them attached to the cards.
I don't want to ruin it for the participants of this exchange so I won't show photos of all the charms until we have all received our charms. I will show you just one....I made all my charms different so no one knows exactly which one they will be getting.
As an artist I love to participate in exchanges like this. It always stretches my artistic abilities. It helps me to think beyond my preferred colors and methods. We all have our favorite color palette and the colors for this exchange are not in my palette. What I have found is that these colors work beautifully together and I will be making more beads with this color theme. I enjoy how something so simple as an exchange between friends can open up a realm of new possibilities.
It is also tons of fun to look forward to receiving goodies in the mail.
You can learn more about all 10 participants in this exchange by visiting their blogs.
One of the things I love about other lampworkers is their ability to share with each other. This can happen in a variety of ways; sharing techniques, general knowledge, working together in groups and one fun way is bead swaps. I think of the bead swaps as a way for grown ups to play. Recently I joined an Art Charm Swap hosted by a lampworking friend of mine, Jennifer of GlassAddictions.
Jen put out the word that she wanted to host an art charm swap. She had clearly defined guidelines to follow and three colors to use. If you are curious about the details you can read Jennifer's blog here. She choose three colors from the Pantone pallet, living coral, chocolate truffle and lagoon.
I have ten beads made up and ready to be made into charms. I will give you just a sneak peek.