Fused Glass Sun Catchers

I’m playing with glass again!  

I have read that it is best to put glass on a kiln shelf to make sure that the temperature around the glass is as uniform as possible. But, I have a small kiln with a bit over 4 inches of height, making using a kiln shelf only possible for fusing flat. Also, I have been wondering if I can “double up” and flat fuse a couple items at the same time, one on the floor of the kiln and one on an elevated kiln shelf. 

To test the effects of location in the kiln, I decided to make some sun catchers for my sewing room.  After cutting the glass pieces, I compiled one sun catcher on the floor of the kiln. Then the kiln shelf was elevated above it on 1″ posts. Two more sun catchers were put together on the shelf. The glass was fused following a contour fuse schedule. I selected contour fuse because I wanted the glass pattern be more distinct and crisp than full fuse would create. Also, I thought this temperature would better show if any differences would result from the location in the kiln. 

What a learned was that placing glass directly on the kiln floor caused the glass to reach a higher temperature. 

The sun catcher fused on the floor of the kiln was closer to full fused and lost much of its defined lines. Still pretty, however. 

The two sun catchers fired on the kiln shelf were truly contour fused – defined glass edges but nicely smoothed. 

These are now hanging in my sewing room window. I think I may actually make some more soon for the other window in the room. 

Garden Art – Fused glass flowers and butterflies. 

I’ve recently shared some of my art projects for my gardens. Over the years I have enjoyed making several other projects. This year, having to  redo a worn out front yard (retaining walls and plantings), I am relocating some of my older pieces of art.

So, I decided to post a few pictures of some flowers and butterflies that I made in the past.

Enjoy the images!

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Pot Melts

I’ve been accumulating lots of bits and pieces of glass from my many fused glass projects. What to do with these scraps?  After looking at ideas on-line, I found several blogs that talked about a technique called pot melting and decided to try it.

A Pot Melt involves placing scraps of glass in a clay pot with holes in the bottom.  A terra cota planting pot is the simplest form of a pot for melting glass inside the kiln. When the glass is heated to a high enough temperature, the glass will flows from openings in the bottom of a clay pot onto the kiln shelf below. This flowing thick syrupy glass will result in unique spiral or circular patterns.

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For my pot melts, I found that a terra cota pot was too tall for my kiln.  I tried to drill a hole in a terra cota pot base, but both times I tried the base cracked.  So, instead I purchased a clay pot made for pot melting.  The pot I selected had seven holes in the bottom and was purchased from Bonny Doon Pottery.

 

This pot was placed over a stainless steel ring lined with fiber paper.  Clear glass scraps were placed inside the ring before the clay pot was positioned over the ring.

After firing to 1600 degrees and holding for 90 minutes, the glass flowed through the holes leaving behind a thin layer of glass in the mold and a nicely swirled circle of glass below.

Lots a glass pieces – several pot melt attempts!

Now, to make these useful – that will be my next posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Results:

 

 

 

Veggie Tart

IMG_2243My Facebook news feed is generally filled with fun things that my friends are doing. When a “Suggested Post” (aka – annoying ad) shows up, I usually click Hide Ad because I hate seeing them.

Every once in a while, however, there is an ad that I like.  That was the case recently when the Food Network had a video for “Rainbow Rose Veggie Tart” that showed up on my new feed.  It sure looked tasty, so I wanted to give it a try. The original recipe can be found at Food.com.

After reading some of the reviews, I did decide to alter the recipe.  The two main criticisms of the recipe were (1) the veggies were too stiff and (2) the cheese tart was too bland.

To reduce the stiffness of the vegetables, I precooked them in water for six minutes in the microwave.  This resulted in soft, easy to roll veggie slices.  To change the flavor, I decided to add some of the spices that I normally use when making quiche. The spices added a nice taste to the tart.  The original recipe called for varied colored carrots. However, I found that the purple carrots lost their color in the precooking.  Next time, I think I will try eggplant instead of purple carrots.  I think they will keep their color better and add some additional flavor to the recipe.

So here is my version of the recipe.

Veggie Tart
1 sheet Puff Pastry
15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
carrot, peeled
zucchini
broccoli

  1. Unfold a puff pastry sheet and roll thin before placing in a tart or quiche pan. Place parchment paper in the center and weight it down with beans or pie weight (I actually used a glass pie plate, which worked very well).
  2. Bake the tart base in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper. Let it cool.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs, and spices until smooth.
  4. Slice strips carrots length-wise using a potato peeler or a mandolin. Place the slices in a bowl of water and cook in the microwave for 6 minute. This step will soften the slices and make them much easier to roll.
  5. Slice strips of zucchini and eggplant length-wise.
  6. Cut broccoli heads into small pieces.
  7. Spread the cheese mixture on top of the tart base.
  8. Take one slice of a vegetable and roll it up very tightly—this will form the core of the rose. For the carrots, take another slice and keep rolling. With around 2-3 slices you should obtain a decent-size rose bud. A single slice of the zucchini and eggplant is sufficient to make a nice looking rosebud. Place the buds in the tart, pushing it down into the cheese. Keep rolling roses of different colors and place them in the cheese mix.
  9. Bake the tart at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

Split Blocks – Fun and easy quilt piecing

Sometimes ads come up on my Facebook news feed that catchIMG_1524-2-352x228 my attention.   That happened recently with some fabrics. The offer was for pack of  5″ charm square, 102 pieces in all.  The colors looked so nice and the price was excellent.  So, I purchased a set.  I had no idea what I was going to make with them, and I certainly didn’t need any more fabric.  But, they were just too pretty to pass up.

Once they arrived, I started thinking about the many quilt patterns that I want to try. Since the pack was small 5″ squares, I knew that I couldn’t do anything really fancy with them.  So, I decided to try some “split block” ideas.

Split block techniques involve sewing squares of fabric together, either jelly rolls, 5″ charms or other sizes, and then cutting them along different lines and/or angles to make new blocks.

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The first idea I tried was an Interrupted Four Patch.  This pattern involves sewing the charm squares alternately with a background fabric. IMG_2067

The sewn piece is then cut into strips 1/3 and 2/3 of the  size of the blocks. A contrasting fabric strip is then sewn between each horizontally cut strip. This is repeated with verticalIMG_2069 strips, borders added and the quilting completed.

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The nexIMG_2062t idea I tried was the “Twister”. This pattern also involved sewing the charm squares together alternating with a background fabric.

 

Then the sewn piece is cut at an angle with a template, twisted to make pinwheels, and sewn together.

There are templates in a variety of sizes available for this quilt pattern. But, I really don’t need more templates, so I just drew temporary lines on my 4″ square template and used that.

For this quilt, I did not have enough fabric to make as many pinwheels as I needed.  So, I decided to add pinwheels with quilting.  Kinda a fun way to continue the pattern to a larger size.

Some interesting blocks to try in the future:

  • Disappearing four patch
  • Disappearing nine path
  • Fence Rail