Friday, May 27, 2011

Key Lime Trifle

Some blogs have "Show Us Your Life" days each week. Today I am linking to Kelly's Korner blog. She is having a favorite dessert day.

4 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/2 bottle Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice
I large container coolwhip, or whipped cream
1 box reduced fat vanilla wafers
1 lime to slice for garnish

Mix the sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice.
Layer vanilla wafers, key lime mixture and whipped cream in a trifle dish.
Top with whipped cream and garnish with a slice of lime.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Watercolor Washes and Mixing Glassline Paint

The pendants above were created as experiments in mixing Glassline paint. It is unlike any pigment I have worked with before. It is kind of chalky, and it takes some practice to get a feel for working with it. But it is most amazing because it can withstand the incredibly hot temperatures inside the kiln. I fire it up to about 1550 degrees and I imagine it could go higher. Once fired, it is a permanent part of the glass.

It does takes time and practice to get an idea what colors the finished piece will actually turn out to be. It is one color in the bottle, a different color when wet, it dries lighter and more chalky looking than you expect, and then once it goes into the kiln...all bets are off.

If you decide to cap your piece with clear glass, then the color is muted and you may get little air bubbles in pockets where the pigment is applied a bit heavier (I love those little bubbles). If you don't cap it then the color is much more vibrant. To cap or not to cap? It depends on what effect I am hoping for.

On the pieces above, I tried to apply the pigment, add a little water and then swirl colors into one another. Glassline paint dries quickly. Once dry, I scraped away some of the paint with an Exacto blade to reveal the black glass base.

The pendants below illustrate the difference in the pigment before and after firing. These were not clear capped either, so the end result is a little more vibrant.

Exuberant Garden

I worked on something that didn't involve glass or metal this weekend. While I had a kiln firing, I opened an unprimed board and experimented with acrylic washes, and glazes to create the painting above. I want to submit something to a contest and the them is the "Exuberant Garden."

I enjoyed working with the paint, letting the pure colors flow into each other, building up color and texture, muting it, pulling bright color back up to the surface.

As always, painting is difficult for me. I tend to overwork, to over think, to sap the joy right out of the process. I tried to maintain control and yet loosen up a bit too.

I'm not sure it's a success artistically, but it sure was fun!

A Sunny Pair

This Saturday, I made my first serious attempt at creating fused glass earrings. I had tried a couple of times before, but they always turned out a little too heavy for my taste. I decided to try again using one thin piece of black glass and glass line paint. I was pleased with the result. I am in the process of creating more, and even ordered the pieces necessary to complete them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken Casserole

Some blogs have "Show Us Your Life" days each week. Today I am linking to Kelly's Corner blog. She is having a favorite main dish day.

One of my favorite, easy dishes is this casserole. It is yummy, simple to make and perfect with a crisp salad. It is perfect comfort food anytime, but especially on a cold winters day.

2 cans cream of chicken soup
Large carton sour cream
3 cups cooked, cubes chicken
2 sleeves Ritz crackers (crushed)

Combine the soup and sour cream.
Mix in the cooked chicken.
Top with the crackers.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes
or until it's bubbling around the edges.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kristen's Creations Show and Sell

Today I am linking up with Kristen's blog. She is having a Show and Sell day every Thursday, where you can put things that you (or someone you know) hand makes and sells. Check out her blog if you have a chance.

A few years back, I started working in glass. I took a 2 hour class and got a basic introduction to the process. I was so intrigued that I began saving money from freelance graphic design work, and eventually had enough to purchase my own small kiln off of eBay. I've been fusing ever since. My first attempts were rough and often ended up in the trash, but slowly and surely, I began to get the hang of it. I enjoy experimenting with various materials and techniques.

I have been married for 24 years this July 4th, and I am the mother of two teenagers. I work full-time as the Creative Services Specialist for a local school district. I create printed materials, presentations, graphics for our website and TV channel, and do whatever else needs doing. During my spare time, I create fused glass and enameled copper pendants and artwork. I sell them to friends locally, at a few galleries and shops, on my etsy and yessy sites, as well as, in festivals in the Southeastern area.

This is a FusieDoozie - I enjoy creating these little glass characters that have there own mini biography.

This is a shot of the pendants I worked on while we were snowed in for a week this past January - a rare treat in sunny South Carolina!

A photo of my booth at the Chatty Crafty Indie Art Festival in Chattanooga, TN.

A glass tile created by hand painting lilies on a black piece of glass using Glassline paints (they can withstand the 1550 degree kiln temperature). The painted tile is then capped with clear glass and then fired.

This pendant was created using 4 pieces of red glass, on top of white and then layered on black glass. It was capped with a clear piece of glass and then fired. I loved how a small air bubble was trapped in the center of the petals. Really this was a happy accident. I wish I could say it was planned, but I don't have that much control of what happens inside the kiln. Notice the name of the pendant written in pencil along the side of the card. My husband names each pedant with it's own unique name. He says, "they speak to him."

I did these pendants on commission this past weekend. If you would like to hear more about them, see the post from Sunday called Pendants with a Purpose.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Smokey Sports a Pendant

My friend from work is a professional videographer, editor and photographer. He was planning a model shoot this past weekend, and I loaned him a few pendants for use in the photographs.

The session was delayed, but he recruited a substitute model and sent me a few of the final shots. I think I may need to start a new canine pendant collection one of these days!

Smokey, you look fabulous!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pendants with a Purpose

Last week, I was asked to create 5 pendants in honor of someone who recently passed away from ovarian cancer. I was asked to incorporate the teal ovarian cancer awareness ribbon in my design. The photos below show the creation of these pendants from start to finish.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Enameling Turtles

I alternate between glass and enameling these days. I have also started experimenting with copper clay. I will post more on that soon. Last weekend, I sold one of the enameled turtle pendants at Atlantic Beacon Gallery on Tybee, and I got a request to send more. I just mailed a package with 6 new enameled and 2 fused glass sea turtles.

My 2 Moms...

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle

For many years, I've listened to friends telling horror stories about their mothers, or more often...mother-in-laws. Thinly veiled insults, back-handed compliments, turf wars, downright animosity, destructive manipulation - their stories will curl your hair!

And so, I know I am particularly blessed with the two most wonderful mothers on the planet - one by birth and the other by marriage.

My own mother is a true "steel magnolia" - strong and in control and yet warm, kind and compassionate. She is my north star. When I am tossed by the storms of life, I am comforted by the knowledge that she is there, steady and true. She is my cheerleader, example, encourager, advisor and friend. She has shown me what unconditional love is. If I can be half the mother she has been, I will be a success.

And, as recently noted, my mother-in-law is willfully oblivious to all my faults. No one can convince her that I even have them... so she refers to me as her "angel from heaven." From the first moment we met, she wrapped me in a warm blanket of love and acceptance and made me feel like her very own daughter. Tim and I have been married almost 24 years now, and I can truthfully say that in all of those years she has never been anything but loving and kind to me.

So, this is my Mother's Day tribute to my two moms. I am so grateful to both of them for demonstrating such grace and unconditional love. I am also thankful to God for the blessing of loving and knowing these two remarkable women!

My mom and mom-in-law at The Breakfast Club on Tybee Island - on our recent trip to the beach.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Atlantic Beacon Gallery

If you are ever in Savannah, GA and feel like going on to the beach, hop on Highway 80 and head East. Highway 80 dead ends on Tybee Island, Georgia.

Before or after you hit the beach, take a few minutes to visit Atlantic Beacon Gallery. It's right on 80, close to Arby's.

Last summer, my mother-in-law, who is also one of my biggest fans, went in the Gallery to look around and gave them her "you really should see my angel from heaven, daughter-in-law's breathtakingly beautiful fused glass pendants" speech. The next thing I know, the nice people there had agreed to carry my work in their gallery. I would like to thank them, as well as my mom-in-law for this arrangement. I have a tendency to be too timid to do this kind of thing in person, but hopefully It will get easier with practice.

On our recent trip to Tybee, I restocked my pendants there, and even sent down some of my new enameled sea turtles last week. I also got a request from them for a little information on how these are created. So, below, I am going to put step by step photos of the creation of a FusieDoozie Sea Turtle named Tybrisa.

Step 1
I use a glass scorer to "cut" out several glass shapes that make up the turtle's body head and flippers.

Step 2
I put a little dab of regular school glue on each of these parts.

Step 3
I add the shell - a piece of glass with "rounded" corners.

Step 4
Using Glassline Paint (this paint can withstand the 1550 degree firing temperature inside the kiln), I begin to paint on details that make my turtle resemble a turtle.

Step 5
I allow the paint and glue to dry completely. It is now ready for the kiln.

Step 6
The pieces are placed on a prepared kiln shelf inside the kiln. I turn on the kiln, and the temperature begins to rise.

Step 7
I monitor the firing progress through a small window on the top of the kiln.

Step 8
Once the kiln reaches about 1550 degrees, the pieces will begin to fully fuse. Once this happens, I open the kiln to flash cool the pieces into the 950 degree range. The pieces must stay in the range for a little while for the glass to properly anneal. The hot, red glow will fade and color will begin to come back into the pieces as they cool.

Step 9
I allow the pieces to completely cool inside the kiln. Once they are cool to the touch, I can remove them and affix the pendant bail.

Presenting Tybrisa - a lovely little fused glass sea turtle, soon to be on her way to the beach and Atlantic Beacon Gallery.