Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Week in February

The snow is melting a little more, day by day.  If I didn't know any better, I'd think it was late March.  I have some daffodils coming up next to the house foundation.  About the only place the snow hasn't receded is in the deep shade of the conifers.  Our driveway is an ice-skating rink which makes going out for the mail an experience.  The hens were in front of the garage the other day and I tossed them some lettuce leaves.   In their haste to get to the treat they came running, but when they put their brakes on, they skidded right into each other, bowling all of them over into a feathery pile.  No one was hurt in the incident, but it was rather comical to watch.  I think I need to run around with a feather pillow strapped to my behinder just in case.  We all know how graceful I am. Not.
The sunsets have been gorgeous this month. 
 I'm enjoying this weather as much as everyone else, but it still makes me feel uneasy.  I don't believe we are done with winter.  Ok, I'm not a ground hog (or a meteorologist) so this is not an Official Opinion, but I predict we will see winter return in a big way before too long.  I was driving home from the grocery store the other day and saw a teenage boy walking down the sidewalk wearing a tank top and shorts.  Ah, the Optimism of Youth.  It was 45 degrees out.  Of course, for Wisconsinites, that is really warm for February.  We're weird like that up here. And I can't forget last spring when we were hit with a 17" snowfall in April.  Our weather is weird like that up here, too.
I wish I could buy stained glass in those colors.  Every few minutes the colors change.
Speaking of stained glass, here's the pattern for the Tiffany reproduction Laburnum shade:
Paper holding pattern

This pattern is 662 pieces per repeat.  We have the first repeat done!   It's sort of like building a big, glass jigsaw puzzle.
662 down, 1324 to go.
Now all we have to do is make two more repeats.  I tried to get a picture of the way it looks lit from behind, but didn't have a lot of luck.  Here's a quick look:
This picture was taken before I had all the glass on the holding pattern, that's why there's 'holes' in the design.

On this first repeat, I used rather light yellow glass with slightly darker yellow for the flower shading.  The second repeat has much darker flowers and the third repeat will be a slightly different variation of yellow and near-oranges yet again.  The idea is to mix the shading up a little to avoid monotony in the shade as you go around it.  I have looked at laburnum flowers online but have never been privileged to see an actual laburnum flowering, so I have to admit I'm not completely sure this is the way they should be portrayed.  I'm just hoping for a reasonable facsimile.

Every year we send in pictures of our completed lamps to the stained glass lamp art group we belong to for hopeful inclusion in their annual calendar.  We've been lucky four years running and have had small pictures of our shades included.  It is an honor to have our work in the calendar.

 Speaking of photos, photographing stained glass lamps is a long-drawn-out exercise in patience and sometimes, futility.  We drag the dining room table up to the wall, set up a gray fabric background and a bunch of lights and take literally hundreds of pictures until we finally get one that looks like it does the lamp justice.  During the last week of January, we spent days (well, nights, really, since being dark outside helps) shooting pictures and screening them.  The job becomes beyond tedious.

There I am, obsessing over the way the lamp looks, trying to make sure it is as dust-free as possible.
I have some dental tools I use to pry any goop out of nooks and crannies.
We think (hope!) we have a fairly good picture of this shade and sent it off for voting last week, along with the quilt panel.  Maybe it will be in the 2013 calendar, or maybe not, but at least we gave it a try. 
The 2013 Calendar hopeful.

The moon was full tonight and I took the doggies out for a walk after supper dishes were done.  I tried to entice Carl to come along, but he was under the hood of my car, tinkering with the power steering pump.  The dogs and I headed to the Back Eight and we all enjoyed the brisk night air.  The temperature was around 20 degrees which is chilly, but there was no wind at all.  The stars were brilliant in the deep blue sky and the moon was so bright it almost hurt to look directly into it.  The blades of grass in the hayfield were all diamond-dusted and the moonlight glinting off of them was mesmerizing, like walking through a field of sparkling gems as far as the eye could see.  I wish I'd had a tripod along to take a picture.
Joel took this picture around midnight....if you look closely, you can see the stars.  And if the melt-down continues, soon you'll see the entire lawn, too.

But winter ain't over yet.  Not by a long shot,  no matter what Punxsutawney Phil says.

It was really cold out there tonight, and Kantankerous Karen saw her shadow.

I'm predicting more snow.

We'll see if I'm right. 


Sue said...

You really do some amazing work with stained glass. Must be such an immensely satisfying feeling to be able to create something like that. It's beautiful.

And I know last year we "thought" we were done with winter and got nailed late with snows. I'm not counting winter out at all here in Michigan. Tell your daffodils to go back to sleep--LOL!

Sueb said...

WOW! What a beautiful work of art the laburnum shade is going to be stunning and the Rose one is gorgeous to. You are so clever. I did laugh over the chickens. We have not had any snow to speak of but the ground is frozen solid. When the sun does shine I look out and I am tempted to go and do an hours clearing up then when I go out side it’s a whole other story our temperatures have been hovering around freezing it was -8 the other night. Needless to say I don’t stay out for very long.
Your moonlight walk sounded lovely. Oh and by the way I’m down ten you know what!
Hugs Sueb

FlowerLady said...

Dear Karen ~ You and Carl do fabulous stained glass pieces. I can imagine how tedious that work is and photographing the pics for hopes of being chosen for a calender. I love the one for 2012, and can hardly wait to see the one you are working on now.

Love the photos of your part of the country, just beautiful. That last shot with the stars is great!

Enjoy the rest of your week.


Donna@GWGT said...

I feel like you do Karen, that winter may reappear in March with Lake Effect snows. I really missed winter this year. We had very little snow and therefore very little moisture for plants and trees.

Your lamp is beautiful and your image can out very nice.

Tufa Girl said...

Last year at this time we were under 4 inches of snow and ice and 19 degrees. I'm glad that did not repeat but it has been awfully nice and warm here for the winter. Usually January and February is sweater weather but I will say some days I have had shorts on working in the loft garden as the sun was so warm.

Your glass projects are so beautiful, if it were up to me your entry would be on the cover of that calendar. Fingers crossed for you!

Junebug said...

A winner for sure!! Absolutely beautiful! And all I do is sit on my hinney all winter.
I agree with you about winter, don't think it is over! Hugs today!!!

El Gaucho said...

Your lamp is amazing, very impressive. I'm continually amazed that you guys regularly produce such incredible pieces of art.

I agree that winter still has a few treats for us waiting up his proverbial sleeve. It's been too mild in terms of both snowfall and cold temps to not be expecting a humdinger of a blizzard at some point.

shannon i olson said...

wow absolutely beautiful and impressive. You are so very talented...and patient! Amazing work

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh my what a gorgeous lamp you are making! I didn't realize all the labour that goes into one. And the finished one is stunning. I hope it wins a calendar page!! Wonderful outdoor photo of your moonlit yard. It was a bright night here too and cold at -20 celsius (below zero F!!). I agree, winter's not over. Have a great day.

Larry said...

Pretty impressive... the laburnum... you are courageous!
I'm having 'winter' concerns as well... Larry

Randy Emmitt said...


Incredible lamb no question!! Started our stained glass class last night. First night was a little boring as I'm already good at cutting glass, but picking out the glass was a lot of fun! said...

I am so happy that you are posting more about your stained glass work. Deputy Dave and I have taken several classes together at the local stained glass shops, it's highly addictive. We're very much looking forward to making a spot in our workshop on our acreage for this hobby. We just took glass fusion classes a couple of months ago, I'm looking forward to doing more of that as well.

I've never made a is incredibly beautiful.

A true work of art.


Peonies & Magnolias said...

Absolutely gorgeous. I love seeing your work. Hope you have a good week.


HolleyGarden said...

I laughed about the youth in the t-shirt and shorts in 45 degree weather. That's as bad as when it gets cold here (we consider 45 degrees cold), we bundle up like it's the next ice age. I have on three layers and a coat today and it's in the 50's! haha Be careful out there in the ice - it would not be funny if you were to fall on your tailbone. Your calendar hopeful lamp is just gorgeous. Such beautiful colors. I hope it makes the calendar, too. The viburnum pattern is really gorgeous. So detailed! That is going to be a masterpiece when you are done.

Lona said...

Another beautiful lamp! I love the roses. Where in the world do you find the lamp posts? That one just goes so well with the shade Karen. I look at the pattern with all those little pieces drawn out and think , "no way". LOL! So many pieces!

Carol said...

Lamp looks great. I haven't tried such a large project yet. Still sticking to sun catchers and garden stakes and other small pieces. Don't get the time to put into my glass like I would like to. Maybe one day. Love your blog. Carol

africanaussie said...

You are so productive, it puts me to shame! Don't you ever just veg out in a recliner in front of the TV? Love, love, love your stained glass. I am sure your photo will be picked for the cover. I adored reading about your moonlight walk - yo have great way with words.

Ginny said...

I am in awe of that lamp!
Like you, I'm uneasy believing that we've seen the last of winter. Well, actually, we haven't even seen winter here in NC yet - but that doesn't mean we won't! We, too, have had some glorious sunsets this month. I sometimes stop in my tracks and stand with my mouth open in awe at the sky.
Good luck on the calendar!

Zoey said...

Oh, I do hope all of your hard work pays off and you make it in the calendar. The shade is beautiful!

I am hoping that we do not get hit with any big storms, but I know you are probably correct in thiking that the big one is yet to come! I am ready to get out in the garden!

Sandy said...

Being down in Florida for the past few years I'm starting to forget the cold and snow.. It's been in the high 80's this past week and most of my flowering plants are coming back to life.. your yard is as beautiful as ever, snow or summer!