Thursday, January 30, 2014

Extreme Cold then Warm!

Every winter is different in our area.  This morning the temperature was down to 2 degrees, the same that it was on January 7.  But today it is already warming up to melt the snow (about 36 at 2:30 p.m.) and forecast to reach 60 degrees this Saturday.  These warm-ups (and a woodstove) make these extreme cold spells somewhat tolerable.

Last Sunday, I took this photo just before I turn on our road, about a mile from our house.  I always love the changing views of our hollow (valley) and Big Walker Mountain.  As you can see, we haven't had any deep snows this year.

One of these light snow storms was on January 21 where I ventured down our driveway with Kookie before the snow started melting.   We just seem to miss the big ones that have pummeled the northeast.  I am not complaining though!

I am already looking at seed catalogs and thinking about an early spring garden. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stafford Art Glass Class

My New Year's resolution this year is simple: try 5 new things.  My first new thing to learn is glassblowing.   Actually, I didn't know that was the first thing until I saw on Facebook that  Stafford Art Glass right here in Giles County was having classes this weekend. 

I signed up for a half hour class to make a "suncatcher" ornament.  I arrived early so I watched the student before me.  This helped as I could see exactly what I was supposed to do. 

 First, I got a big blob of molten glass and kept turning it in the furnace.

 I went over to the table of colored glass and picked up mostly blue glass but some other colors for interest.  I did this twice.

 Then, back to the furnace again with some more twirling.

 This part was too difficult for a beginner. The instructor twirled the pipe while using the tool to  shape the blob into a more rounded mass.  I went back to the furnace to heat up the mass, then shaping again.  Finally he used another tool to narrow the top (a lot like making the top of a narrow-necked vase on a potter's wheel).  Then I blew thru a hose to make the perfectly round ornament.

The instructor snapped off the top part to make a hole and then put a taffy-like molten glass on the top and bent it over to make a lip so you can hang it.  This is another skill a beginner couldn't easily do.  The suncatcher was put in a 150 degree oven overnight to anneal which relieves the stresses in the glass.

I picked up my suncatcher this morning and installed on my front porch. 

Glassblowing is a very cool thing to do for my list of new things to try this year.  I am not sure what I will do next.