Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hanmade NW May 1st and 2nd

I will be there - come check it out - open both Thursday and Friday from 10am-5pm - I'll be in the atrium at the base of the Tram. Heres a link for more info

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Sale!

A sale, yahhhhh, everyone loves a sale, some of the EGA (etsy glass artists) members are participating in a sale. Each store will be having their own sale, everything from 10% off - BOGO 1/2 Off. You can search for our stores through, or by putting EGA, or EGATEAM in the etsy search bar.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Occupational Wrist Problems Anyone?

I thrash my wrists on a regular basis, so many people do. Besides the physical work with my hands, the endless hours spent typing on my computer don't help (I am convinced its the little mousepad on my laptop that really does a number to my right hand).

As surgery and major medical expenses are not my "to-do" list - I am a regular user of Baoding balls to soothe, strengthen and help my wrists when then are in pain.

Otherwise known as Chinese Medicine balls - these metal spheres are a great source of relief. The two balls are rotated around in the hand. For a beginner, the balls touch at all times (one is male and one is female, they make lovely little chiming noises and the female's has a slightly more femine pitch) and as you get more comfortable with them, you rotate the balls in your hand without the two touching at all. Its very soothing. You can get a set on for $5. Now that is budget-conscious!

When my wrists ache, I sit around in the evening watching some movie or something and rotate the baoding balls in my hand, first clockwise for 10 revolutions and then counter-clockwise with 10 revolutions... then I do it again... then I switch hands. Last night my wrists hurt. After this therapy, this morning they feel great!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making Frit from Scrap

A glass artist is never lacking in scrap bits of glass, and I always tell my students that they can turn their scrap into frit using a coffee grinder! Well, I figured I should try it out and see if it really works!!

Here are the necessary tools: coffee grinder (retired, never use for coffee again!), mask and eye protection

First cut up your scrap (rod or flat glass) into manageable size little chunks that will fit into the coffee grinder politely. Then put it in there, pulse away, and voila!

IMPORTANT: after you grind it up, wait before opening the grinder, and if possible hold the grinder under an exhaust fan when you open it up. There will be a good deal of powdered glass dust created and its important not to breath it in.

Bead Release

These metal sticks are used to make beads (the different diameter of sticks make different size holes in the beads). The sticks are called "mandrels" and the blue stuff at the tip is where you attach the hot glass to create a bead. This blue stuff is called "bead release" because without it the bead would become stuck to the mandrel rather than coming right off with a nice hole thru its center. Bead release is great stuff, when its hot it sticks to the glass and the mandrel, when it cools down it releases and the bead can be twisted right off the stick.

The worst part of bead release is that it must dry before you can use the mandrel to make a bead (any moisture left in the bead release can cause beads to break). So you must dip them in advance and leave them standing around to dry.

At the studio where I teach, the mandrels are dipped for you (we spoil people!!!) and today I spent a little time dipping a forest of mandrels. And I got to thinking that it might make for an interesting blog entry :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Standout Stampin' II

Standout Stampin' was such a hit, so here's another great stamp tip!

Years ago I bought this jewelers stamp (ordered it from Rio Grande) with my name on the tip. My original thought was making my own tags for necklaces, I like the not-so-perfect handmade look (I also like that the necklace is signed - I think its important to always sign artwork, even if its just a necklace).
However - what I realized is that I can literally sign my glasswork with this stamp!

As long as you keep the stamp out of the flame (and if it gets hot from contact with the glass, dip the metal stamp in water to cool it down), this metal stamp can be used to imprint your name, business logo, or some other simple signature into glass.

This picture is hard to read, but its the bottom of a drinking glass that I made, and I stamped the glass "LEAH". I love this. I only made these drinking glass for a couple of years and at first they were not signed, but the later batches were all signed LEAH, so it kind of dates them and adds value to their story. I think :)
Now I have used this glass to stamp all sorts of glass creations. One neat use that I don't have a picture of: I stamped small red puddles of glass with LEAH and then used these on a fused glass panel... the look was kind of like a wax stamp that people used to seal a letter shut. Sorry I don't have a picture. You'll have to use your imagination :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Be the Change

This construction site is in Portland Or where the Portland Saturday Market food court used to hang out on the weekends :)

After all the work is finished, Mercy Corps will be moving into their new global headquarters.

Are you familiar with Mercy Corps?
Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

Do you live in Portland and work as a entrepreneur/artist/small business-person?
Mercy Corps Northwest is an incredible resource. As Mercy Corps’ local economic development office, Mercy Corps Northwest promotes economic self-sufficiency through microenterprise development and self-employment in the greater Portland, OR-Vancouver, WA region. Started in 1998, Mercy Corps Northwest assists entrepreneurs in their desire for economic stability through starting or expanding a small business.

Let me just point out three amazing services they provide:
1. Classes: many many opportunities, for making business plans, doing taxes, hiring employees, etc
2. Asset Building Programs: a matched savings program(for every $1 you save they match you with $3), helps economically disadvantaged people learn to budget and save money to start or build a business or become more profitably self-employed.
3. Mercy Corps Loan Fund: loan fund provides financing and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who need capital to start or expand a microenterprise.

and this doesn't even mention the mentor program, the online resources, and endless other opportunities.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Boro Color: English Ivy

This little lady is made with a new color from Northstar called "English Ivy".

Aquila Glass School (where I teach classes) actually played a part in naming this beautiful green silvery glass - there was a color release event at the studio where our members got involved in the brainstorm process and Northstar decided to use one of the ideas that Beverly thought of: "English Ivy".

It's a beautiful color. Translucent green in foundation and the more I work it, the more purple and silver tones can be brought out. This lady was made with a simple neutral flame. I enjoy the silver hue that evolves on the surface of the color.

Friday, April 11, 2008

daffodil and tulip

Originally uploaded by LeahPellegrini
It was finally sunny today!!!! Yeah!

Now I just hope it lasts the weekend. The last few weekend its been rainy and hailing.

Today I brushed out the cat and hung outside as much as possible. We grilled. I put pictures on Flickr.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Etsy shop experiment...

Okay, heres my own mini version of experimenting with Etsy:

- I have been taking a lot of shots (or trying my best to make the time to do so) and I think the shop is looking good. There is always room for improvement, and its fun to try. I like the idea of relisting old pieces with new photography. I lack the time management skillz to really take as many pictures as I would like!

Timing of listings - I noticed that many of my sales happen early in the morning (PDX time, so its east coast and international buyers - cuz I am talking pre-8am PST) so this morning I made a couple of listings, purposefully at that peak time, around 7am here. After 12 hours it had 32 hits, whereas the evening before I had made a listing and in almost 24 hours it had only made 16 hits.

Synopsis: according to this mini-data-set, listing early in the morning (pre 8am) will get twice as many hits in half the time.

Hm... that is worth making my listings late at night, saving the finish page url and then hitting finish early in the AM the next day. yeppers. I'll have to do that more often.


A group from my local neighborhood highschool (Madison High in NE Portland) came into the studio to do some torchworking with me today. Here they are happily learning to make torchworked figurines, we made animals: snakes, slugs, turtles and elephants.

The kids were part of a group called "Focus" for students that are struggling with their studies in this large public highschool. Focus is so amazing that they have become their own program, separate from Madison. The kids learn to focus, stay in school, graduate from high school and get guidance in placement for continuing their education or getting jobs. One of the staff in the Focus program, Eddy, loves working with glass and she has taught her students to fuse. For a few years now she has been bringing groups of kids to Aquila to learn more about glass. So today was one of these "field trips" for a select group of guys. Eddy is great - she is a constant positive force for her kids and she is able to help them get grants to be able to do fun things like play with glass. She's an amazing teacher and its great that she brings in these groups to learn to torchwork.

It certainly keeps me on my toes, working with teenagers... but I am happy for them that they have such a good time. I would have LOVED to learn to torchwork glass while I was in highschool.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

home style mac.

home style mac.
Originally uploaded by janacakes
Oh my goodness, I do like to eat Mac n' Cheese. I cannot help myself. Its a weakness of mine.

I almost forgot to mention here in my blog... last week at the studio we had a Mac n' Cheese party. Yum. I found this great picture on Flickr to use as the invite and then for the evening I made 2 baked dishes: one was a butternut squash dish, ricotta and cheddar cheese mac - looks like orange mac n' cheese but a little bit sweet and full of fiber (the squash) and then I poached 4 lbs of broccoli and put a classic cheddar cheese sauce over the top of all of it and baked it for a while. Yummy. Although in retrospect, the quick poaching and then refrigeration made the broccoli let go of a LOT of water. I think there could be a better solution. Anyhow - the party was fun, it was just me and Aimee and Scott and Tim and a couple other people stopped in, but it was a small affair. Lots of fiber :)

here the recipe for the butternut squash mac n' cheese, its good, and its healthy :) I first heard of it as a way to get little kids to eat squash. works for big kids too


Serves 6

* 1 small butternut squash
* 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
* Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
* Pinch of cayenne pepper
* 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound elbow macaroni
* 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
* 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
* 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* Olive-oil cooking spray
* 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Split the squash and remove seeds. Roast the squash in the oven until soft. Remove from heat and let cool, remove skin and mash with milk; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
3. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.
4. Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

more Orange...

I've put some new color combinations in my Etsy shop... new computer mobiles!

And for a limited time I am doing a special - buy any of my new necklace sets and get a computer mobile (color preference is your choice!) FREE - this week only!
this picture may be small - but I am loving it - check out how I can put any computer mobile onto the monitor, nice eh?!

Monday, April 7, 2008

More Photos

I made these cute little slide-top boxes and took some more photos of these beautiful pendants... the box shows how it comes packaged, as well as propping up the pendant for a good view. Better pictures than the ones I took yesturday, I think.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Neck Shots

Okay, so I seriously just need to have a model for jewelry photo shoots - but in the meantime...

in response to a recent discussion at Tea Time (PDXEtsy style) I was inspired to take some shots of necklaces on my neck with no skin showing, (shirt vs. skin) something with a high neck so the necklace is laying on fabric and not skin. I found a pale gray top in my closet that has a big neck, it sorta worked, at least well enough to exhaust my amateur attempts to take a few shots.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Burn Treatment

This was my first bad burn (picture is from back in 2001), and this is my arm slapped down onto my scanner to document the brand. I had been torchworking and I used my mouth as a third hand, holding onto a rod with a gather of hot glass on the end of it... as I reached over to my side to open a kiln door I smelled BBQ and I thought, who's grilling? And then I realized it was my flesh. I had to pull the glass off my arm. Yuck. But I healed. You can hardly see the scar now.

Okay so yesturday a friend in the studio burned herself, torched her finger (rather than the glass) and yes I have done this as well. I have a scar on my right index finger. Well, Jan was alright, she is a tough cookie. Here is my advice for bad burns:

1. Run the burn under cold water (as cold as you can stand) for 15-20minutes.
The cold will be soothing for you and the running water will take away the heat of the burn. If you do not do this, the sub-levels of tissue under the burn will suffer even more damage after-the-fact, as you are sitting there freaking out that you just seriously burned yourself.

Seriously, if you do nothing else - do #1 - it helps immensely

2. Aloe. It helps, works pretty well, promotes healing and feels soothing. It's kinda lame, but easy to have around and it feels good. Also you can get aloe gel from the drug store that has lidocane in it, which will help kill the pain a little (don't use this if you are alergic) - its the gel that people use on sun burns.

3. After-the-fact - don't pop the blister! Let yourself heal properly. A blister will most likely form, if you resist popping it you will prevent infection.

okay - one last bit of advice - there is a great homeopathic remedy for burns, I have had this stuff highly recommended to me and I have seen this save a hand that was burned by a huge glass torch, and I just ordered 2 jars of it (one for home and one for the studio) so I will post again with a review sometime:

Homeopathic Burn Stuff "Keokuk" is the stuff, and evidently its the shiz-nit for bad burns. I have been meaning to stock up on it for a long time. Now is as good a time as any! And now Aquila Glass Studio will have a jar on hand as well!

Featured on Haute Innovations

I have been featured in the Haute Innovations website!

Harmonious Tranquility :: Leah’s Glass Creations

"Who says mobiles are for children?! Bring peace and harmony into your living environment with the mobiles by Leah’s Glass Creations"

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Computer Montior Mobiles

The image is a bit fuzzy... can't be enlarged at all... but I think it does a pretty good job of getting the concept across. What do you think?

I love my brother's feedback: "Ironic. I am getting eye strain just trying to look at the picture." ha!