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Monday, October 14, 2013

Birch Logs


I guess I'm not done with my woodland phase  I saw these birch log pillows and am quite smitten with them as well.

Growing up in Connecticut, there were loads of these trees at my grandparents' house.  I loved the bark and would make little canoes to float on the water from it.  There was something about the pale bark with the black knots that always drew me to it.  Maybe it was the contrast that caught my eye?

Well living in the South, I don't see these too often and miss them. And as long as you are reading, I have a funny story to tell.

One of my talented interior designer friends was looking for some birch logs for her show house room design.  My brother in law, in Vermont knew of a neighbor's tree that was dead and could cut some.  It was winter and he did it anyhow.  Well, my husband brought them back and they were installed in the beautiful room.  A few days later, all kinds of little bugs crawled out of the thawed logs and created havoc in this expensive place.  I guess they had been hibernating in the dead tree.  Yikes!  Nice how things get more amusing as plenty of time has passed.

So with that firmly in my memory, I really LIKE the pillow logs.  Yes, the real thing is preferred, but these are pretty cute too.  You can find them here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

From Little Acorns....

I think all my years in the Rocky Mountains were the root of my love for woodland type furnishings. I make pinecones, leaves and even gnomes out of glass.

 Most recently, these sweet little handmade turned tiger maple and walnut acorn boxes caught my eye on etsy.  You can find them here.  And my other favorite items in this shop are the succulent planters.  The patterns and shapes along with the plants make a pretty cool combination.




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Poke Salad Berries

 
A few days ago, I walked in to the Hot Times glass retreat in Ashville, NC bearing this vibrant little plant sprig that I had found growing on a large bush wild, by the side of the road.  Being among a slew of Southern women, I knew someone could identify it for me.

It took maybe a minute or two.  The fuschia branch and spring green pods are a young version of the Poke Berry plant and I was immediately warned about the poisonous berries.  And that folks for generations have made poke salad from the greens. (My sources mentioned that they didn't care for the bitter taste either.)

I had limited glass colors with me, but wanted to try to capture this cute little plant.  I got out my EDP and made a thin bead on my 1/16th mandrel.  Of course it started denitrifying, so I took the chance of striping it with some Rubino and switched to an oxygenated flame to try to keep the color.  I had made a small striped encased cane and cute it into small murrine.  It was kind of like making barnacles in different colors.  I used pea green as a base with dark blue thin stripes.  I cased that with a transparent medium blue to tone down the green.  I didn't get it exactly, but close for a first try.  I love trying to match colors.  It reminds me of my days painting watercolors.

So after the stalk was made, I added tall dots and the gently heated murrina on each.  Once it set, then I would reheat from below the flame and then poke the center to bring the stripes up.  I didn't bring a poke tool, so I used my 1/16th mandrel end.  The results weren't as precise as if I had used a sharper point.

Well, I ran out of time, so the branch wasn't finished, but it still enjoyed is quick glass adventure to capture the moment.  My sprig is fading, but I will have my glass memory.