Glass Votive Candle Holders

Now that Christmas and a few January birthday gifts have been given, I can post some recent projects.  Today, I am showing some votive candles that I made for two in my extended family.

In November, I completed a four panel fused glass project for my sister-in-law.  After making this four seasons picture, I decided to make a matching votive candle that had the four seasons depicted on sides of the glass.

First, I fused together two pieces of clear glass to form the main part of the votive. Next, was to add the trees.  Since the votive candle was small, the trees would need to be made from something other than traditional fused glass – that glass would be too thick.

Option 1. Bend brown stringer to look like a tree.  I tried this but never could get two trees to look alike.

Option 2. Draw trees with Glassline paint  I thought about it and wanted to try something that would look better than hand drawn.

Option 3.  Cut trees out of fusible transfer paper.

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This is the option I decided to go with. A few years ago, I had used transfer paper to make a sign for another sister-in-law’s kitchen.  While printed black, the iron oxide in the toner fuses to the glass with a nice sepia tone.  This brown color should work nicely for trees.

Using an older model black laser printer (the toner cartridge needs to have a high iron content), I printed a black square on the Photo Transfer Paper.

Then, I used a paper punch in the shape of a tree to make four tree shaped transfers.  Each punched image was then transferred to the four corners of the glass and allowed to dry.

Using medium and fine frit in various colors, the ground and leaves were added to the trees.

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Around the same time, I decided to make a votive to match the “Cook’s Kitchen” sign.  For this I made grape vines using the tree punch but cutting off some of the branches and turning the direction of the tree.  Green confetti glass was used for the leaves and medium weight purple frit was used for the grapes.

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The glass was then contour fused and slumped over a metal mold.

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Pretty gifts to give to a couple special ladies.

Christmas 2017

Today we celebrate the birth of our King, Jesus. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for who he is, all he has done and his great love for us. Yes, Christmas is a special time of year here at the Erickson house.  Merry Christmas to everyone!

A Christmas Craft – Fused Glass Ornaments

 

A Christmas Recipe – Cranberry Honey ButterIMG_2579

1 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs orange peel

Beat together all ingredients and divide into jars.  Store refrigerated. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Fused Glass Seasons

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I recently completed my first “commissioned” piece of fused glass art.

After visiting a local art fair, my sister-in-law contacted me to see if I would be able to make something similar to a piece of art she had seen there.  The photo she showed me looked like a fun project to do – Four Seasons of Trees set in a frame that resembled a window.  The item that was available at the art fair had a black frame, but she wanted something more “organic” or natural looking.  So, we found an unstained framed made out of reclaimed wood on-line and ordered it.  After it arrived, it was time to start making the fused glass panels.

After measuring each opening, I cut two matching pieces of clear glass for each pane 5.75″ square.  These were then fused together with a Full Fuse schedule (maximum temperature 1465, 20 minute hold) to create the solid background for each pane.  No need to show a picture of this as it was just clear glass. Because of the size of my kiln and the size of the panes, each one needed to be fused separately – so four firings needed for this step.

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Next, I cut brown glass to resemble the tree trunks.  Generally a tree would be leafless in the winter, and in the spring the tree would be less full than later in the year.  So, I added some strips of glass to make branches for the trees.  These were then Contour Fused (maximum temperature 1375, 10 minute hold) to pull the pieces together and round the edges of the glass. Because glass wants to settle at a 1/4″ thickness, I could not Full Fuse these pieces.  If I had, the shape of the trees would have been melted away into a amorphous log of unusable glass. After making the tree trunks, I fused red opaque medium frit to create small frit balls that would resemble apples for the summer panel.  I chose full fuse for this step because I wanted the apples to be well rounded.  If I had been thinking ahead, I would have done these at the same time as I did the clear glass to save me one fusing cycle.  But, that wasn’t the case – so these two steps were two more fusing cycles.

Finally I was at the fun part – creating the pane for each season.

Winter:  I used white opaque glass for the snow – fine frit and medium frit, as well as some clear dichroic glass to add sparkle to the falling snow. The pane was then fired at a Light Fuse schedule (maximum temperature 1350, no hold time).  I chose this schedule so that I did not loose too much of the detail of the glass frit pieces.

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Winter Pane – before fusing and after fusing.

Spring:  For this I used opaque green fine frit for the base layer.  On top of that I sprinkled Clover Blend medium frit.  To create the apple blossoms, I used Cherry Blossom medium frit.  This pane was then fired using the Light Fuse schedule.

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Spring Pane – before and after fusing.

Summer: I used a mixture of translucent and opaque green fine frit with opaque green medium frit sprinkled over top. The “apple” frit balls were then placed in the tree and the pane was Light Fused.

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Summer Pane – after fusing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn:  I used a mixture of translucent and opaque tangerine fine frit for the base of the tree.  The same green mixture that I used for the summer tree was used for the ground.  On top of this I sprinkled opaque red, orange and sunflower yellow medium frit.  I allowed some of the frit to land between the tree and the ground so that it looked like the leaves were falling.  This pane was then Light Fused following the same schedule as before.

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Autumn Pane – after fusing. 

After a total of ten firings, the panes were ready to be attached to the wooden frame using clear E6000 adhesive.

This project turned out very nice.  It reminds me of a project that I completed about two years, a Four Seasons Tree. This project required a total of 16 firings (four for each panel).

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Front Yard Redo

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Sadly, things just don’t last forever.  With our house being nearly thirty years old, many of the existing features are wearing out and needing to be replaced.  Last fall, the carpet in the living room and dining room was replaced with maple hardwood flooring, making a big change to front part of the house.  A big improvement!

The next big project on my list was to replace the retaining wall and landscaping in our front yard. Interlocking retaining wall blocks, when originally designed, were meant to last about 20 years.  Our wall was built in 1989 and was definitely showing its age.  Over the past five years, several of the blocks had deteriorated.  When a block in the center of the wall would break down, I would remove it and transfer a block from the ends of the wall, covering the gap in the exposed ends with landscape rock.  This strategy worked for a while.  But ultimately, I could no longer postpone replacing the wall.  Too many of the blocks were now crumbling.

So, over the winter I designed my new wall, sought estimates from contractors for removing and replacing the old wall, and had everything set to go when spring arrived.  On May 2nd, I started working on prepping the yard for the contractor to come.  This involved relocated as much of the landscaping rock as I could dig out, and moving my perennials to our back yard in an attempt to save them for replanting in the new landscaping.

The contractor started on May 11th, with the removal of four large trees and the existing retaining wall.  The following Monday, he started to dig out for the new wall. Unfortunately, it started to rain mid-afternoon. . . and continued to rain for the next ten days.  Every day, the contractor would come and pump out the water hoping that he could start working on building the wall.  But, ever day the rain continued to fall.

Finally, when he was able to start, it was just before Memorial Day.  So, our wall, which was supposed to be completed by May 20th, wasn’t done until June 2nd.  And, to top off my frustration, the contractor kept making changes to the shape of the wall. Some of the changes I accepted, because to redo them would have set the project back several more days.  So, every change in the wall meant a change in the plant design that I had been planning.

After the contractor was done, I was able to take over.  Shrubs were planted, perennials transplanted from the back yard to the new front  yard, mulch spread, brick edging placed around all of the planting areas, and black dirt spread over the yard areas. A large maple tree was planted by Arbor Hills Tree Farm (glad I was home the day that they came as it was amazing to watch them dig and plant the tree in less than thirty minutes). After having part of our front sidewalk replaced and new sod installed, the project was done.

After adding some decorative elements, my front yard is now complete.  So, here are some before and after pictures as well as a short video of the project.

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Planters

Window on My World – quilting and hand embroidery. I’m done!

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After hours of quilting and hand embroidery, I have finished my lanscape quilt. I am very pleased with the result. Hopefully when I look at it, I won’t find something that I want to change.

Each season has lots to look at – animals, plants, etc.  It really does look like my backyard.

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Winter / Midnight
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Spring / Sunrise

 

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Summer / Midday

 

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Autumn / Sunset

 

Some of the details:

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Our first dog, a German Shorthair Pointer named Striker, and some hand embroidered flowers.
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One of our first cats, Comet, who liked to climb trees, and some more flowers.
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Our yorkie, Duke, barking an our cat, Onyx.  Onyx is always trying to get up and away from him.
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Our oldest cat, Squigglez, who will be thirteen years old this summer, does enjoy wondering in the yard in the summertime.
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Having a heavily wooded yard and lots of plants, we have lots of wildlife that visit.

 

Window on My World – designing a landscape quilt.

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Our home, once filled with the busy-ness of four boys, is considerably quieter with only one son still living at home.  And, this week he is on a field study trip with his school making our house even quieter.

Looking to the future, my husband and I have started thinking about moving in a few years.  When that happens, we will leave behind a house that I have spent considerable time and effort into making a lovely place to live.

My backyard is especially enjoyable to me, with the trees and flowers and many places to sit and relax.  To help remember this space, I decided to make a landscape quilt that shows my yard.  I plan to call this quilt “Window on my World”.  The idea is that the quilt will depict a view of my yard looking out of a window. Since all seasons and all times of the day are enjoyable, I plan to incorporate various times into the quilt.

The window will have four panes in it.  Each pane will depict a different season in my backyard – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  And, each pane will depict different times of day – Midnight, Sunrise, Midday and Sunset.  So, starting from the farthest left pane and going right the landscape quilt will show the my yard:

  • Midnight in Winter
  • Sunrise in Spring
  • Midday in Summer
  • Sunset in Autumn

The first step in creating this quilt was to draw out my ideas on a few pieces of paper. I’m not very good at drawing, but these do show the idea fairly well.Composite.jpg

I now need to plan out the background.  To make the quilt more visually interesting, I am playing around with different piecing ideas for each pane. That will be the topic of my next posting.