Archive for April, 2009

Less haste, less waste

Weds morning

The chaos continues as does my floundering. I’m trying so hard to use this time that I have unexpectedly on my hands, but it seems to be slipping through my fingers like a handful of sand. I’m trying to do my two column A4 long list of jobs and have only managed to knock 5 off so far, I think I may have to look at getting the quick ones done so I can have the pleasure of more ticks and crossing out. I should also set up my stock control programme that I bought a couple of years ago, as now would be the perfect time for stock control with it being a new financial year and having all my glass indoors near my scales……..oh dear, doesn’t it sound boring? I think if I start counting and logging stuff I may just loose the will to live, which is odd because I didn’t mind doing this stuff years ago when I was a student and got paid for it. I guess it’s different when there’s lots of other things you’d rather be doing, like making beads and jewellery, but of course the beads production is definately off at the moment. I may attempt to start making pieces for the Open Houses in June, or at least start making lots of headpins and earhooks for my special pieces, but oh no, that’s a bit mind numbing too, oh dear.

The good news is that my tool for lining big holed beads came last week and it’s wonderful. It’s so much quicker than doing it with dapping punches and doesn’t leave lots of dents and scratches that then have to be polished out. I’ve lined 4 beads succesfully which are sitting proudly on my Pandora bracelet, and only managed to break 2 so far, and that was only because I was being careless and was in a rush as I had to pack up for dinner. So the addage ‘more haste, less speed’ is so true (….or should that be ‘less haste more speed’?) although maybe I should tweek that to ‘more haste, more waste’ (my tip for the day….slow it down). So Silver Lined beads will be coming soon, I have a few that I made a while back using the traditional method and that fit the Troll bracelets with a 4mm hole, but I will be doing some larger 5mm hole beads to suit Pandora also. Now I have to think of a suitable name, which is quite hard for me as I never really do the fancy names, watch this space.

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Never ending story, well, job actually

Saturday evening

You know how when you start a job you think ‘Oh, we just have to move this, do that, buy the other, then we can move the wangle, relay the wotsit and job’s done’? Well, how come it never is? and why am I always surprised that what I thought would be a simple job is never straightforward or easy? I’m talking about the garden reorganisation and overhaul that started off as a simple, ‘let’s take down the studio, lay a few more slabs’ and is now a major remodeling and terracing of the garden, especially as we have 2 huge Hippo Bags full of earth and another one threatening to be filled as we have to cut away yet more earth on the non slopey slope just to allow the new shed door to open. Oh my, so poor Rick has to chop away another load of earth, but I’ve had this wizzard idea that we should pile it on the slope next to it to form a flat terrace, result. All I have to do is decide how many sleepers I need and get them deliverd. We also have to sort the surface in front of the door, clear a path or make a new one (more decisions and possible cost), repair or replace the back fence – see I said it had gotten complicated, that’s what comes of  tearing down our back fence to reveal all the pernicious squibs…sorry  Virginia Creeper. We also have a huge Climbing Hydangea to replant, which at the moment is precariously perched in a Hippo bag full and overflowing with earth. This relocation in turn means preparing a raised border, which also means removing yet more crazy paving path…..arggghhhh…….I can’t cope with all the crazy paving. There’s masses of it, the previous owners obviously liked the stuff and very generously decided to have a path that went all the way around the garden and back again, in addition to the patio and a path around the patio.

I feel a few days (maybe weeks)  coming on of chipping away at these York stone slabs, diligently removing concrete so we could maybe reuse the good ones, if I can persuade Rick that he wants to lay them instead of forking out for new slabs.

Hmmmm, so while I drone on about all the jobs to do, I should also announce that I’m taking part in an exhibiton that starts next week at a  new gallery in Chobham that opens next week. The gallery is called Bank Gallery, the exhibition is a ‘taste of what’s to come’, and is due to be opened by the Rt Hon. Michael Grove MP. Please see my events page for more details.

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Studio progress update

Monday tea time

Where did the Easter holiday go? Why am I sooooo tired? Why am I skint? Why is there a huge pile of washing up in the kitchen, you know, all the posh stuff you don’t want to ruin in the dishwasher? Why are there masses of glass jars and bits all over the lounge floor? and who left that shed in pieces around the side of the house?

OK, so here’s the plot, Monday before Easter we emptied my studio, that took longer than I thought it would, even with my packing things and tidying stuff away the week beforehand. Late Monday afternoon Rick removed the benches, power and stuff screwed to the walls. Tuesday we took the shed apart and carted it around the side of the house, this was very enjoyable as there was no way I could have done that for the last 10 or so years previous. Then Rick started excavating the plot to lay the next 12 slabs we needed, including digging out the pesky Virginia Creeper shoots and ivy plants everywhere. We managed to fill 2 of those Hippo bags you can get from builders merchants with the soil from the slope, which didn’t look particularly slopey until he started digging of course. Then he had to lug 12 bags of sand, 12 huge slabs, move the 2 heavy sleepers that were holding back the lawn, then move them 3 or 4 more times as they kept gettong in the way. After the slabs were laid we started repairing the surrounding fences, and removed 2 panels from the back of our garden so that we have slightly more room to walk along the back of the new studio to remove leaves and stuff. The panel removal revealed a huge tangle of more Virginia Creeper, which all had to be prised off the fence and chopped to fill the recycling bags, and the huge root dug up and disposed of. I also went around the garden and pulled out all the brown long leaves from the Crocosmia and grasses around the place, cut back the Pyrocantha and the Fatsia Japonica to reveal the Hellibores we planted last spring, and generally got rid of the plant rubbish. I then attacked the front garden border and had several subsequent trips to the dump, which in itself was entertaining as the bags were so heavy I had to drag them, then pull individual handfuls of plant bits into the skips until the bag was light enough to pick up and tip the contents away. Phew. Oh and we also had 2 trips down to look at cars, one of them to buy a car we wanted and had rung up to check it was still there, only to be told casually ‘Oh we sold that one yesterday’ when we got there. Typical.

That’s the progress so far, we now have to finish repairing the fences, paint them, and decide how many new sleepers and slabs we need to complete the area around the studio and the path down to it. I also need to organise the insulating materials, the internal cladding, the flooring, the ventilation and what benches I want. I’m also trying to choose a couple of lovely garden shades to paint the shed when it’s been up for a while. That’s all the good news, the bad news is that I’ve been let down on when the studio is being delivered, which is after I was supposed to be starting teaching again. This is very annoying and stressful because I now have almost 3 weeks without a studio, the time slot that I had planned for fitting out my studio perfectly, and now we have to make it just ‘OK’ to start teaching on time, and that’s with having had to rearrange a couple of students to come in June instead now. Of course even OK will be plenty to actually teach properly, it just won’t be fixed up permanently and decorated.

As far as the rest of the holiday and my tireness, that’s probably down to going away to the Flame Off last Friday and Saturday, but thats another post!

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No studio!!!! New studio…coming

Wednesday evening

So much is happening at the moment, I don’t seem to be able to squeeze in blog time. I went on a fabby course this weekend gone, at Creative Glass in Medway, Kent. We were tutored by Gail Crossman Moore, a renowned glass artist who works mainly in borosilicate glass, and so the course was all about this type of glass, one that I haven’t even dared try to use before. It was very informative and lots of fun, especially as we turned out to be a very small select group of 5 including Gail, 2 students having bailed out just prior to the course. Gail gave us a really solid grounding in using boro, teaching us about the metals used to make the colours, and good colour combinations, and how to vary the effects.  We also had the added bonus of making a felt bead, that was fun. I feel so fired up by what I’ve done, and can’t wait to get my beads that I had to leave there from the second day. I was also very pleased that we all went out for dinner on the Saturday evening (this is something that doesn’t normally happen unfortunately) and the added bonus was Rick and our daughter being with us too as they’d driven to Kent to collect me (still only 1 car). The only down side is that I now am bursting to go and try what I’ve learnt and can’t because we dismantled my studio yesterday.

Oh yes, it’s all in pieces, and all my equipment is in the garage or scattered around the lounge floor. Oh it’s fun to be back in chaos in our house again, not, but it is worth the mess and disruption. It’s amazing how little I can actually do when Rick is working on a project. I seem to spend my whole time troubleshooting and running around buying things we need, or brewing endless mugs of tea, preparing lunch and cooking dinner. I still haven’t managed to do the washing up, but I did actually order a washing machine last night, so that’s another good and necesary job done, just the car to find now! and all the mini problems of landscaping the garden to solve to accomodate the new shed.

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Tuition Dates

Thurs evening

I have a couple of spaces available for beadmaking courses

The first is a space for 1 person on a 1 day beginners course Thurs 21st May.

The second is suitable for you if you have taken a course but not yet set up your studio, or if you are self taught and want to improve your skills or simply see someone else make beads. The dates for this 2 day refresher course are Sat 16th May and Weds 20th May.

See my tuition page for more information and email me now to reserve your place.

Plans are going ahead for my studio refurbishment, or should I say demolition and rebuilding. It’s been a long time coming, we chose a new shed last year, but the weather was soooooo cold in January that I had to put my plans on hold as we were concerned about freezing concrete. I’ve since found out that I don’t need to lay a concrete base, which I’m really happy about as it’s not very green laying masses of uneccesary concrete. I ordered my shed on Monday, with a whole 25% discount, the best I’ve seen for this make, and it should be here in 2 to 4 weeks. In the meantime we will be packing up the studio on Monday and dismantling it, then lifting the old slabs, cutting away the lawn to make space for the extra 2 foot width and hauling the sleepers along before laying the base. There’s so much to do but I’ve decided to deal with each stage about a week before it’s due to happen. I can’t be doing with sourcing everything right now as I have an urge to make as many beads as I can before I see my studio collapse.

So what about our fabby new car? Oh dear, after masses of agonising on Tuesday we walked away from the deal because the dealer couldn’t locate the Service History. To say we were gutted would be an understatement, but the saying ‘that you get what you pay for’, and ‘some things are too good to be true’ are spot on. It was such a good deal, very new second hand car with a low mileage and a high specification that was 1K less than it should have been.  So now the hunt continues, although I think we’ve narrowed down the choice of cars, so could possibly task a garage with the fun of tracking down our ideal car.

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