Posts tagged: summer

The lazy days of summer

August has been spectacular, but the long summer days are getting a bit shorter and it was nice to get a bit of badly needed rain.  Some weeks were too warm for working on beads, and some new perennial garden additions came my way, so creating new flowerbeds for those took some time, but their flowers will reward me for years to come.

I made a string of black beads with starry white flashes to honor the Perseid meteor shower, which makes its annual appearance around August 12th.  One of them promptly split in two, but that makes a cabochon pair for earrings.  If a bead splits it usually means it was not cooled down slowly.  They usually break right away if they are going to, but now and then one surprises me and breaks long after being made.  At the end of the season the year’s crop goes into the oven for the annealing process, a heat treatment that strengthens and tempers the glass.

starry night

starry night




Sunshine rules

Summer continues with Seattle’s fabulous weather, warm enough to enjoy without becoming uncomfortable.  While the rest of the country is battling heat waves, we are in the 70’s and 80’s.  Life is good.

Many flowers are in bloom this year in the garden, they are now numbering some two dozen different species.  The old fashioned day lily is a garden staple in many areas of the country.

Day lily twins

Day lily twins



The cats are enjoying the summer and have me well trained to pet them just the way they like it, and groom all that shedding hair off them.  Mo likes having his chin scratched and Miss Nimbus likes me scratching the top of her head.




I have found time for a few side trips to Eastern Washington and Oregon, enjoying garden inspiration and great scenery along the way.  Here are some shots from Tucquala Lake north of Roslyn, WA.  It is the headwaters of the Cle Elum River, heading down to the lake of the same name, which was recently stocked with salmon.


Looking north at Tucquala Lake

Looking north at Tucquala Lake

 Tucquala Lake

Tucquala Lake

Garden delights

Spring has eased into summer and the garden is in bloom and producing a few edibles.  The steady supply of strawberries are yielding to raspberries.

The bead studio has been cleaned and activated, but only a few sessions have resulted so far.  As usual, it is blues and greens that are chosen first for warming up.

The cats and spring flowers are featured here.

salt and pepper cats outside the kitchen

salt and pepper cats outside the kitchen

volunteer flowers springing from the walk

volunteer flowers springing from the walk

Mo guarding the porch

Mo guarding the porch

I noticed one shrub had badly eaten leaves, the poor plant looked like Swiss cheese.  While examining the plant I saw a leaf cutter bee in action.  They are solitary bees so I hope with plenty of water and fertilizer the plant can stay ahead of the bee.  Check the above link to Wikipedia for an article on the bees with a photo.

leaf cutter bee damage

leaf cutter bee damage

September ending

Summer has continued through September in Seattle with hardly any rain, which we badly need.  The warm weather allows me to continue beading.  The shorter days mean that if it gets dark while I am at the torch, an assortment of insects such as those giant crane flies might get in and buzz around me.  If they are drawn to the flame they are toast.

red white and blue


Here are a couple new rows of handmade beads:  The ever popular red and black, colors that are just made for each other.  Of course they have tiny hints of gold.  Click on the photo for a closer view.

The dark blue beads were made on 9-11, the 11th anniversary of the attacks on our country.  They have a black core, layered with translucent red which is nearly invisible against the black.  Above that float specks of blue and periwinkle, with hints of white or white specks of sand and clear encasing.  They are a subtle red, white and blue but the colors themselves can represent mourning, fire, police, firemen, lost souls.  With hints of green and purple the sorrow is the color of a bruise.


A mourning cloak butterfly stopped by, a rich deep brown with yellow accents.

mourning cloak


Mr Mo stopped to check out another project in the works.

what's that Mo?


Summer crop of beads

summer beads 2012

This summer I have been mixing some custom colors by blending and stirring several colors together.  Browns can be especially tricky so by making several custom shades and blending them I have come up with some beads that resemble wood grain.

Another challenge was trying to match the color and shape of some green beads that were missing on a necklace a friend hoped I could repair.  I did not get an exact match but the unusual shape was fun to experiment with.

Here is a photo of some of the recent beads.  The round ones have touches of a bright greenish yellow called Uranium Green.

Click on the photo for a closer view.


Another glorious sign of summer are the crop of sunflowers.

summer sunflower


Playing with fire

Bead making season is underway at last.  The optimum temperature range for  lamp working glass is between 65 and 80 degrees F, below that range and the glass is too chilled to melt properly, and above that range the artist tends to melt.

Spring and warmer weather arrived long ago but playing in the garden won out, the lawn needed mowing and the vegetable garden had to be planted.  Now with summer here I can finally make time for playing with fire.

Below are a few photos of bead making in progress:  you wrap an initial core of glass onto the steel rod and marver that into a cylinder, then add additional colors on top.  Here I am using a technique to capture a small bubble of air by making a dent in the glass with a sharp steel tool, and then covering the dent with clear glass.

Seattle has a new glass museum, the Chihuly Glasshouse and garden will be an inspiring place to visit.

adding molten glass to the bead

poking dents into the glass

cooling the bead away from the flame


Dust bath season ends

The cats enjoyed dust baths in the driveway all summer long.  They flop and roll and stand up covered with dust, really pleased with themselves.  The fall rains have arrived now, and the amber lawn of late summer has returned to emerald green again.

dust bath time

Miss Nimbus seemed to be outgrowing her collar, so I treated her to a new baby girl pink one.  It is missing this morning, I will have to search outdoors for it.  This morning’s preliminary stroll netted me wet shoes and nothing more.

With the cooler weather, bead making season is winding down too.

The cats are enjoying the summer

Mo loves visiting the greenhouse

Mr Mo often comes out to help me tend the vegetables in the greenhouse.  There are some carrots, corn, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, beans and peas.  Lemon verbena, dill, strawberries and cosmos complete the crew.

Mo follows me out there, flops on the cool concrete and enjoys the heat of the hothouse.  Seattle has had a cool summer, so much more comfortable than the rest of the country, so the warmer greenhouse has pleased the plants.  The radishes however, were too hot and had to go outside.

Chilling with the lettuce and cosmos


Meanwhile, Miss Nimbus is locked indoors, wishing she could come out and play.  There she is looking out the kitchen window.


Not until dark!  As soon as she hears me shut the blinds she starts begging to be let out.  Maybe when she is older she will lose interest in hunting birds.

I see birdies, please let me out!