31/03/2013

52 little things - week 13

It is very hard to fathom how we have reached week 13 in the Craft Pimp Forum Year Long Challenge already. 1/4 of the year! This little week 13 Amoeba bead is all dressed up for spring, I'll put a couple of pictures here to show you, front and back.





If you would like to find out more about BCCA and Beads of Courage please click here

Have a lovely week
Jolene xx

29/03/2013

Reichenbach glass and mixing CoE....

I have recently rediscovered a CoE 96 Reichenbach glass rod sample pack purchased way back in 2008. 

I stashed it away out of sight because it is CoE 96 and all the other glass rods I had in the studio at that time were CoE 104. It is a common practice in lampwork to mix CoE 94-96 furnace glass frit with 104 in small amounts (5% rule of thumb) but for some reason, probably the fact that this furnace glass came to me in rod form, I was thrown on how to get started with it and then I forgot I even had it (tsk tsk tsk).


The beads above are a base of CiM Peace decorated with tiny dots of Reichenbach 141 Cherry Red placed with a 1mm thick stringer. This glass is a striker but I found that it coloured up quickly and evenly for me. The dot work is very bright and vibrant with a kind of soft (as opposed to crisp) looking outline against the white. My favourite bead from this set is the soft looking twisted rose at the back.

To the right are beads made with Reichenbach 009 Fuchsia. This colour is utterly glorious! My favourite bead from this set is the twisted wave bead (top right). The deeper crisp looking dots were made by the fragment of stringer left behind when using the Fuchsia stringer as the twisting tool.

I did experiment with a third colour in the same time torch session but have no pretty pictures to show. I tried out Reichenbach 730 Copper Ruby Extra but completely failed to coax (strike) any colour out of it at all. Still 2 out of three's not bad :-D

I am really pleased with my first experiments with that glorious bundle of forgotten colour. The super saturated furnace glass colours bring something very special to these simple designs.

Wishing you a fabulous bank holiday weekend, Jo x

27/03/2013

Messy Testing - Tangerine ltd run

This pretty glass is called Tangerine Ltd Run and is one of 9 ltd run colours released by Creation is Messy in America in January 2013.

Tangerine is a lovely shade of glass, this trio of nugget beads have pretty wisps and striations and colour variation. I found it nigh impossible to strike Tangerine to a consistent single shade but the ethereal look of these nugget beads is just delightful.

Left you can see a half and half bead made with Tangerine and Peace (with a wrap of dilute Goldstone stringer) which has been worked for longer and struck several times. You can see that although I have not managed to bring the whole tangerine side to a single colour it looks altogether deeper and richer in tone than the beads in the image above which were worked much less.

My last image shows a pressed lentil with a Tangerine core encased with Effetre 006  and swiped with dark violet Effetre glass before being shaped with a brass lentil press. The tangerine core of this bead is a deep luscious bright orange tone which tells me that it responds well to the rapid cooling that goes along with working wot brass tools. I have finished this bead with Effetre trans cobalt flowers placed white dots. All in all I do like this glass, as much for its wispy characteristics as for it's unique place in the 104 palette.

Jolene xx

Messy Testing - Absinthe ltd run



Luckily I was able to get my grubby mitts on a rod of each of the 9 new CiM Ltd Run colours released in the US in January before some of them sold out completely.  They were an early birthday treat from a lovely friend. There were 9 colours  in the Creation is Messy January release and I am planning to blog a little about each of them.

First up is Absinthe Ltd Run, I am really loving this colour, the nuggets above were made quite quickly in a hot neutral flame, wound on the mandrel, shaped round in a graphite roller and then struck once when re-heated to form the facets on a graphite paddle. This delicious colour is described as milky green moonstone but I would describe these little nugget beads as pale juicy lime green.

Left you can see how Absinthe looks when worked for longer and struck multiple times. This nugget is half and half Absinthe and Peace with a band of dilute goldstone stringer around its middle. It has fully opacified and is a delicious pale pastel opal green.

Now for something a little more complex with Absinthe ltd run, the core of this lentil is made with Absinthe which has been wrapped with a Sherwood twistie and encased in Effetre 006 clear before being pressed. The flowers are large dots of Absinthe over small Peace dots. This moonstone glass has stood up well to being encased and being chilled with a brass press. There is a lovely dreamy quality to the petals of my raised dot flowers too. I used my standard kiln program for this bead, garaged and annealed at 520 degrees C.

I wish I had grabbed a bit more of this glass for my stash when I had the chance but until you try them out it is impossible to know which colours you will fall in love with. If I had my way then this pretty, well behaved moonstone glass would be part of the Messy Color standard palette.

Jolene xx


52 little things weeks 11 and 12

I've been having a lazy couple of weeks of it in terms of cleaning beads and taking photos - love making them, not so keen on cleaning and photo editing....please forgive my tardiness but here are my Craft Pimp forum's Year Long Challenge BoC beads for weeks 11 and 12....a couple of Fun Guys.



Have a great week, Jolene x



20/03/2013

Plot 36, getting my hands dirty

When I left  Plot 36 two weeks ago Saturday I had only managed to move most of the bigger bits of junk strewn across the plot and cut down the majority of the brambles and taller weeds. I left a third of the plot covered with an old tarpaulin to try to suppress any further weed growth but did leave a strip uncovered that is about a meter wide and the full width of the plot along the left boundary where I found a Rhubarb crown growing. 

Since then, whilst waiting for my own set of site keys to be cut, I've been doing quite a bit of reading and fact finding, learning as much as I can about crop rotation and allotment pests. The children and I have also been and also planting our first few seeds at home in little pots on the kitchen windowsill, just 4 seeds each of purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi and heritage tomatoes (not sure which ones, they were taken from a seed mix of Chocolate Stripes, Green Zebras and Yellow Grape saved from last year's plants) and some Sweet Peas for the flower garden that will make up part of our plot.

I picked up the keys at the weekend and yesterday I went back for the first time on my own and spent an hour and a half clearing the Rhubarb bed, brilliant fun. The site gently slopes and our plot is at the bottom of the slope. After two weeks of torrential rain plot 36 is pretty boggy. Next job is to find out as much as I can about improving the drainage and what grows best on a soggy plot!

Jolene x

07/03/2013

BiG Hige Labs - do fun stuff with your photos

I just stumbled across this site bighugelabs.com and have been having much fun playing about with some of the fun stuff on there. Here is one of my little poppy pics transformed with just a few of the options available on this fun little site....





Enjoy, Jolene x

05/03/2013

52 little things - week 10

Good morning, this year is speeding away so fast, it's week 10 in the Craft Pimp Forum Year Long Challenge already. This little poppet is my week 10 bead for a special kiddie on the Beads of Courage program. You can check out the week 10 show and tell thread here.


If you would like to find out more about BCCA and Beads of Courage please click here

Have a lovely week
Jolene xx

04/03/2013

Plot 36, researching herbs for companion planting


While waiting to get my hands on my very own allotment access key I have  been doing some more research on companion planting. I'm looking particularly for herbs that are known to work well with the veg choices I have already made and which veg combos are known to work well together or best to avoid. Writing this blog post is going to help me decide what to plant together in the first beds that I dig, the results of my research today is:
 



Veg - Companion herbs - Avoid

Potatoes - any aromatic herbs - Avoid tomatoes
Kohlrabi - Mint, Chives - Avoid tomatoes
Leeks - ? - Avoid legumes, beets
Carrots - Mint - Avoid dill, parsnip, radish
Tomatoes - Basil, Chives - Avoid brassicas, potatoes
Broccoli - Chives - Avoid tomatoes

Marigolds are attributed with attract snails away from many types of plant, especially brassicas and tomatoes so I'll deffo be planting some in my mixed beds. Nastertium attract predatory insects and taste nice in leaf salads too.

So, looking at the above I think I will plant out my first bed with
Potatoes, Marigolds, Rosemary

Second bed with
Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Marigolds, Chives

Third bed with
Leeks, Carrots, Mint

Fourth bed
Tomatoes, Basil and Nastertiums.

I traded in some Tesco vouchers for Thompson and Morgan gift vouchers yesterday, off to have a look now and order some herb seeds.

have a lovely week, Jolene x

references -
http://www.howtogardenadvice.com/garden_info/companion_planting_chart.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants#Flowers

03/03/2013

Plot 16, Plot 36 and the beginnings of a plan..

Being an absolute total novice allotment-er the thought of taking on a derelict plot was really very daunting. I did a lot of reading of websites and blogs yesterday about methods of clearing and overgrown allotment and it was very reassuring to have come up with a plan of action to strip back the brambles, simply cover the whole plot with tarpaulin and then work at digging it over just a small piece at a time. To the left is a pic of how Plot 16 looks right now. We arrived bright and early, about 9 this morning, to get the ball rolling and had some unexpected and fabulous news. Another plot had become available, plot 36, would I like to see it? Yep yep yep


And here she is, Plot 36, an infinitely less daunting prospect than Plot 16 . This plot includes a sweet little shed with some hand me down tools inside, perfect, and as you can imagine I jumped at the chance!

I spent a couple of hours there today cutting back brambles and some of the bigger weeds and found my first edible plant, this small crown of rhubarb. It will be a while before I can imagine having cleared enough space or raised any veg plants from seed that are ready for planting out. This year I would like to try to grow some potatoes, purple broccoli, kohl rabi, leeks and fast growing snack sized carrots alongside the heritage tomatoes that I saved seeds from last year.

I've also been doing a little research on complimentary planting and stumbled across this useful chart.

My lovely chum Kat gave me a heads up about a great Tesco clubcard deal, £5 worth of clubcard vouchers for £15 worth of  goodies from Thompson and Morgan (linky to the deal page). I want to try see if I can interest my kiddies in growing things and also I want to try to encourage beneficial insects in to my new allotment so there will be quite a bit of focus on pretty flowers including the planting up of a wheelbarrow with my daughter. The vouchers mean that she can have the flowers she would like for her first allotment project as plug plants rather than to grow them from seed (which would seem like forever to a 4 year old) and I can choose companion plants for my veg guilt free.

Jolene xx

02/03/2013

Plot 16? I must be off my rocker.....

Last summer, very enthusiastic from having grown my first ever tomatoes right from seed and even harvesting seeds for this year from my own crop, I applied to go on the waiting list for a local allotment. I got a call out of the blue last week to ask was I still interested and could I come along at the weekend for a look at the plot? Yep yep yep.

Sooooooo I went to look this morning, expecting to see a pretty overgrown plot, I was not disappointed.  This particular space has not been cultivated in at least 2 years and even has saplings growing there. There is a compost bin though which made my Daughter very happy (thank you Mr.Bloom). There are also brambles that are as high as my waist in many places. It'll take quite a bit of graft to get Plot 16 cleared and ready for any sort of planting but I'm so up for the challenge, despite the fact I am a complete novice gardener, know almost nothing about growing veg and will be learning on the fly as it were.

I will be heading back there tomorrow after breakfast to make a start on clearing some of the brambles, and right now I'm off to surf the web for all the helpful advice I can find!

Have a great weekend, Jolene x