Saturday, January 9, 2010

SEARCHING FOR THE BONE


OK, did you figure out what's that in the picture? If not, you have to scroll to the bottom of this blog to find out.

I finally got my hit yesturday and spent a productive time at my torch. What with a long break during the Christmas/New Year holidays, it has not been easy getting my 'rhythm' back. I was spending about two to three hours at the torch since the beginning of this new year, struggling to get one bead made; I was constantly totally lost in space, unfocused and was so-called experimenting. Why do I call it 'so-called experimenting'? It's really pseudo-experimenting to be honest, for trying to look busy. I mean, I am a full-time lampworker and it is like an 'office' job, though I could come and go as I like and don't have to punch in any time-cards.

And, yes I still continue to knit after I am finished in my studio. I can't sit in front of the telly without doing anything with my hands. I realized that knitting keeps me away from snacking unnecessarily. Pretty good way to keep off the snacks, huh?! No, don't worry, I am not hyperactive, just nutty.

Here's what I did yesturday -

MINI-BEANIES
pretty small beads, eg lentil bead is about 13mm diameter
Made with Bullseye glass

MAGNOLIAS IN SPRING
each bead alternates with purple and green
accompanying smaller beads are also matching in colors
each Magnolia bead about 15x17mm


MAGNOLIAS IN SPRING, close-up

TOPAZ MAGNOLIAS
beads have almost the same size as the top set
from light to dark topaz

TOPAZ MAGNOLIAS, close-up
So, the top photo is actually our Sandy sticking his head into the snow and pretends to look for something interesting, here is another photo of him. Now, do you see what he's doing? Like searching for his buried bone, isn't it?! The pictures were taken on our balcony - you can see how much snow has collected here. The dog goes out to eat the snow, I guess it must be like ice cream to him.


Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FINALLY...A COLD WINTER

After several years of wishy-washy winters without any snow in Germany, I am happy to with the current cold spell we are facing now. Up here in Hamburg, we are waiting for the Alstersee (Lake Alster) to freeze at least 20cm. Why? Well, when that happens, the frozen lake will be one big party locale! We will be allowed to walk or skate or do whatever we like on it. There probably will be vendors selling Gl├╝hwein (special hot wine/punch, usually served in winter in Germany) and grilled sausages stands. The only times I experienced this was back in 1996 and 1997, what a thrill it was! The lake had not frozen between then and now. Anyway before that can happen, there must be a permanent frost for at least 14 days so that 20cm of the lake will freeze thoroughly. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

In November last year, my younger daughter Sydney asked me to show her how to knit a scarf. The last time I knitted was about 15 years ago. I picked up knitting on my own, made a few sweaters with help from the sales assistant of a wool store in Hamm (Westfalen) where we used to live before. Anyway, Sydney opened a can of worms for me and now I am into knitting again! Oh gosh, knitting is such a huge distraction and I have to make myself sit at the torch these days to make beads.

Strange as it may be, I love using and wearing warm colors in winter and in summer, cooler colors. Besides, the colder months turn dark quicker and with colors like yellow and orange, it does help brighten up the mood, don't you agree? Here are several of my latest beads -

Tuscany Sunrise
26mm diameter per bead
Beads are actually more orange than in the photo. I couldn't get the right exposure.


The second set is called 'Flamingo Magnolias' which also consists of two-tone petals and is heavily encased in clear glass.

Flamingo Magnolias


When Sydney saw the beads, they reminded her of the lupine photo she had taken in summer 2007 in the UK. Here is the photo she captured.


Pink Romance

Kissed By The Sun

Snowy Danish Coast

Hello to a brand new and exciting new year!! May I also wish you a very successful, healthy and happy new year, everyone!!!

Last month, we spent our first family vacation since 2006. We took the opportunity to escape the usual Christmas stress - ah, Christmas sounds so faraway, doesn't it? Though it is only about 8 days before. We rented cottage at Henne Strand in Denmark for a week, which allows dogs and basically that is one of the main reasons why we even opted to holiday in Denmark. The Danish are well-known for their beaches which allow pooches the entire year round. In summer, there is a mandatory on-leash requirement when the dogs are on the beach and in winter, the dogs are allowed to run off-leash. As our dog gets older, I am more reluctant to leave him behind with a dog-sitter or dog kennel. He is 12+ and is in a good healthy condition; I guess dog lovers will know how I feel.

My husband has been on annual winter leave and yes, your spouse or partner definitely influences your activities! I only turned on my torch twice for the past week - he returns to work tomorrow, which also means I will return to my usual torch routine. It has been really nice and relaxing, taking my 'vacation' from my studio while my husband is his leave. Basically I spent my days cooking and trying out old as well as new recipes. I have picked up knitting again. The last time I knitted was 15 years ago and back then, I was learning how to knit with help from the sales assistants from the wool store! I am now using books written by Elizabeth Zimmerman to guide me through my knitting these days. Anyway, I am most happy to be occupied with my hands while away from the torch.

Here are some holiday photos mostly taken by my husband which I'd love to share with you. Henne Strand, according to the locals, usually does not have any snow during winter and this is one of the rare occasions when they have a white Christmas.

Miles and miles of undisturbed coast


Sydney, our younger daughter, freezing away...

Sandy taking his usual nap at noon

Sun did show up once during the week long vacation

That's me, my husband - Kai - and our pooch, Sandy

Cara and Sydney, our two girls

Sandy and my husband

Sydney
Sydney

Cottage we rented