Monday, March 19, 2007

Okay, I'm getting ready for bed, really!

Just had to add a bit of comic-relief. I love this Weird Al video that parodies that one rap song. Yeah, I'm up on pop culture. Totally!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Getting to Know You...

Well, I just got my brand new Morton Maxi Surface and Portable Glass Shop out of the box and am in the process of learning all about its many benefits. There's an audio CD talking me through reading the manual, so far. And what a nicely illustrated manual it is! (It is available to download here, if you need it.)
While sitting here, I came across an interesting tidbit that I was about to highlight, but figured I should just blog it instead. So, tonight I am sharing my Morton board lesson with you all:)

The first interesting fact I came across was the Flares, Burrs & Voids section. "These are terms to identify unwanted results when scoring and breaking glass." Turns out that a flare occurs when the glass cutter runs at an angle to the glass you're trying to cut. In other words, the cutter should be held perpendicular to the glass while scoring it. Also, they suggest picking up a Morton Runner Safety Break, a device that allows you to start the break in the middle of the piece of glass, as opposed to the edge of the glass (like when you use running pliers).
I've found that if you're trying to make a long break in a piece of glass, it works well to gently squeeze the running pliers from one edge and then finish the break from the other edge, also squeezing gently.
From the instruction manual: "It takes time for the break, that was started by the score, to travel through the thickness of the glass. As you add pressure to break the glass, a slow steady squeeze and hold type of pressure, is much more effective than a quick hard squeeze with no holding pressure."
Okay, so I really haven't had too much concern over "flares" on my glass. True, they can surprise you with a bite that bleeds, but flares are not that hard to grind off with the grozing side of the breaker-grozer tool. The edge may not look perfect, but chances are that it will look fine when it melts down in the kiln. (Unless, of course, you're going to be foiling the piece for stained glass work, in which case you'll be covering the edge with copper tape.)

I have made a mental note, though, to check out the angle of my cutter the next time I am cutting glass. I will try out this "new" technique with my Morton board tomorrow and get back to you with results. Flares be warned!

More on this subject as I read on. But for now, I'm off to bed to dream about glass:)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Biodiesel Dreamin'

For nearly four years now, I've dreamed of having a car that could run on veggie oil. Biodiesel is a close second and recently the Napa Valley Register ran an article on Biodiesel. They listed retailers of biodiesel that deliver to Napa County as well as a few others that do not. I just thought I'd document it for future reference.

Deliver to Napa County:

Sonoma biofuels
21600 8th St. E.
Sonoma, CA

Royal Petroleum
365 Todd Road
Santa Rosa, CA

San Francisco Petroleum
4290 Santa Rosa Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA
(can deliver depending on quantity)

Yokayo Biofuels
150 Perry St.
Ukiah, CA

Peoples Fuel, San Francisco

Biodiesel pumps in the region:

Biofuels Oasis
2465 4th St.
Berkeley, CA

Golden Gate Biodiesel
3575 Pacheco Blvd.
Martinez, CA

San Francisco Biofuel Cooperative
8th and Bryant
San Francisco, CA

New pendant ideas!

Well, it's been quite awhile now since I've produced any new pendants. What with being away from the studio for two months, and then having my father visit for a month, and fighting the "blahs" of winter, and not having the proper lead-free Silvergleem solder...I'm finally approaching the day of reckoning! Yes, today I am gathering all of my design ideas from the last three months and beginning to cut some glass!!!
I've wanted to make some glass pendants that are "stained glass"-esque, and I've got lots of ideas floating around in my head. So, keep your eyes out for my new offerings!

Update...check out this post for finished pendants.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

How to Make Nourishing Herbal Infusions

Susun Weed started the Wise Woman Series and Ash Tree Publishing. She teaches classes at the Wise Woman Center in Woodstock, NY. My introduction to Susun Weed began with her book, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

From an article by Susun S. Weed.

An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.
I make my infusions at night before I go to bed and they are ready in the morning. I put my herb in my jar and my water in the pot, and the pot on the fire, then brush my teeth (or sweep the floor) until the kettle whistles. I pour the boiling water up to the rim of the jar, screw on a tight lid, turn off the stove and the light, and go to bed. In the morning, I strain the plant material out, squeezing it well, and drink the liquid. I prefer it iced, unless the morning is frosty. I drink the quart of infusion within 36 hours or until it spoils. Then I use it to water my house plants, or pour it over my hair after washing as a final rinse which can be left on.
My favorite herbs for infusion are nettle, oatstraw, red clover, and comfrey leaf, but only one at a time. The tannins in red clover and comfrey make me pucker my lips, so I add a little mint, or bergamot, when I infuse them, just enough to flavor the brew slightly. A little salt in your infusion may make it taste better than honey will.

Roots & barks: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per pint (500 mL) of water for 8 hours minimum.
Leaves: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per quart (liter) of water for 4 hours minimum.
Flowers: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per quart (liter) of water for 2 hours minimum.
Seeds & Berries: Use 1 oz (30 grams) per pint (500 mL) of water for 30 minutes minimum.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Business Development Grant for Bridge Jewelry

So for those of you who are over-achievers, and have your taxes done already...I'm sure you're looking for another project to tackle. PLUS, this one gets you money back...a whopping $6,000.00!!!

Okay, so what's the catch? Well, you must be an aspiring businesswoman who:
-is a student or professional jewelry designer
-intends on pursuing a full-time career in bridge jewelry
-intends on developing a branded line of bridge jewelry for resale
-intends on selling their branded line on a regional or national level
-started their bridge jewelry business after January 1, 2004
-has never been convicted of a felony
-is a US citizen

What is bridge jewelry, you say?
It is the middle segment of the jewelry industry that falls between fine jewelry (precious metals and gemstones) and costume jewelry.

Halstead Bead Inc. is interested in supporting jewelry designers in this segment due to the increasing competition from mass merchandising and cheap products from overseas.

A list of the things they require for entrants:
-Short Answer Application Questions
-Long Answer Application Questions
-Application Form
-Signed Contest Terms and Declaration of Originality
-5-10 Color Photographs of Original Bridge Jewelry Designs
-List of Materials Used in Each Design
-Wholesale and-or Retail Price for Each Design
-Marketing Collateral Materials- tags, brochures, catalog, etc.
-Resume including education and past employment
-Business Plan

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, check out

Have fun and good luck!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007



Never before in history have copyright terms been so expansive. The big studios have gotten the limits on copyrights extended more than a dozen times, far beyond what the authors of the Constitution could have ever envisioned.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) is a technology used to control access to and usage of digital data or hardware, and is often used to prevent people from copying their music to share with others.  But, at times, it also prevents you from accessing music that you purchased (like if you wanted to switch from a Zune to an iPod, for example).
    There have been arguments throughout history for restricting access to music:


" I foresee a marked deterioration in American music…and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue—or rather by vice—of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines…"
- John Philips Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)

"The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials."
- Record Label Executive on FM Radio  (1925)

"But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder…"
- MPAA on the VCR (1982)

"These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it.  So it's time to get paid for it."
- Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Doug Morris, November 10, 2006

Now corporations are trying to manipulate copyright laws to protect their bottom line, while restricting our access and taking away our freedoms.But check out this...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My first California Earthquake...

So, I was sitting in my bedroom, pruning back the poor peace lily that's been sitting in sub-zero temps in the back room all winter, when I felt a jolt like someone pushed the room from the outside. Everything moved for a split second, and then stopped. It really spooked me out until a few minutes later when Todd announced that there was just a 4.2 magnitude earthquake centered in Lafayette (about 30 miles SSE of Napa). Wowsers!!
Now I know.

On another note, I just finished writing out the quote, "Dreams are the seedlings of realities," from James Allen's book "As a Man Thinketh," on a 1/8" piece of clear glass to be fired with my dimensional "painting" project. See the pictures below for a better idea of what I'm talking about:

The three layers of 1/4" thick glass laid out side by side...

and the three stacked upon each other. Next week, I'll add the text layer. After that, a little UV glue to secure it to a base, and the piece should be finished.


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