The Ants (and other bugs) Come Marching In

Ants, wasps and other bugs are a part of life no matter where you live. Every year, these pests like to invade my yard, and sometimes my house. I have taken to spreading Diatomaceous Earth around the perimeter of my house to help decrease their numbers entering my house. This helps, but they are pesky and I still have to deal with them each year.

This year I am dealing with a bug invasion of my own making. Having seen some photos of fused glass garden bugs, I decided to make some of my own. Using the same technique that I did last year to make a centipede for my garden (see June 7, 2019), I created some more.

In order to conserve expenses, I sorted through my scrap glass and found pieces that would work for each bug. The glass pieces were then fused following full fuse and contour fuse schedules.

The copper exoskeletons were made from scrap copper sheet, pipe pounded flat and wire soldered together.

The glass was then adhered to the copper exoskeleton using E6000 adhesive

I now have some fun bugs in my garden. And, these bugs won’t find their way into my house!

Frogs – In the Garden (& Clinic?)

kung-fu-frog-batam-island-indonesia2

For those that are unaware, I am a pediatric dentist by profession.  I work with a group of seven doctors and 37 staff.  Nearly all of the procedures we perform (tooth cleanings, filling, crowns, etc) create an aerosol.  This is problematic in the current viral pandemic because the aerosol could put everyone at risk.  So, we know we will need to change our PPE (personal protective equipment) when we reopen our practice.

Because all of the PPE is being directed to medical facilities, as a dentist, it is nearly impossible to obtain face shields and masks.  In anticipation of this being a problem, when my son came home from NYC, I spent some time talking with him about 3D printers and how to use one to make our own masks and face shields.  I am very fortunate that, as an architecture student, he has lots of experience with several types of printers.

With his help, several weeks ago I purchased a Prusa printer kit. I ordered a kit for two reasons.  First, it was less expensive and I could get a better printer for less cost.  And, more importantly, the cost of the kit was just below the limit for having to pay import duties.  The kit took 18 days to arrive.  I am really glad I ordered when I did, because the estimate now is 5-6 weeks.

When the kit arrived, we needed to build the printer.  Okay, to be honest, it was mostly my son who put it together.  But, I did do a couple hours of the process.  The kit was like trying to build a house sold by IKEA!  The manual for putting it together was 225 pages long.  Fortunately the directions and photos were excellent.

A

It was exciting when the build was completed.  The first thing we printed was one of the sample files that came with the printer.  It was a tree frog.

Since the plan is to print things for use in my dental office, I wanted to verify that the printed items could be sterilized in our office steam autoclave.  I took the frog to one of my offices and tested it in the  autoclave.  The plastic filament was not impacted by the heat or the steam.  However, I forgot that the frog was printed as a hollow form with air trapped inside.  So, when the air heated up and expanded, it caused the belly of the frog to pop out.  I now have a pregnant looking frog!!.  This should not be a problem with the other items I plan to print because they do not have a large space with trapped air.

I am in the process of testing out different face shield and mask ideas.  I’ll give an update on those in a few days.

IMG_4852

In the meantime, and keeping with the frog theme, I thought I would give some information about a new piece of garden art that is in my flower bed.  Over the winter, one of the glass projects I made was a really cute frog.

The construction of this was somewhat similar to the turtle that I made last summer (July 14, 2019 post). It has a copper understructure with copper wire legs soldered and the glass attached to the copper.  When making it, I didn’t want to mess around with creating a custom slumping mold to “shape” the frog.  So, I left the glass flat.  Once the flowers start growing, I think this will be really cute in my garden.

Who knew there were so many inspirational quotes about frogs (google it and see for yourself)!

Perfect Day

img_4730

Each day, I spend time watching webinars, reading research papers and thinking about the ideas on how to prepare for providing dental treatment when we are allowed to reopen, while still protecting my patients, my staff and myself.

But this time can also cause a lot of anxiety.  So, this weekend, I also spent some time outside working in my yard.  The weather was so much better than last Sunday.  Sunshine and fresh air is great for reducing anxiety. 

IMG_4844

On Tuesday, I had a load of mulch delivered.   Seventy five bags of cypress mulch to spread around the shrubs and trees.  And, ten bags of black mulch for the flower beds (I like how this mulch looks like dirt when spread around flowers).  So, this weekend, I starting spreading the mulch and making my yard ready for summer.  

 

I also pulled out my yard art and put them in the planting beds and planters.  It’s nice to have something lovely to lift my spirit.  

IMG_4854

 

IMG_4855

A few weeks ago, I found a lovely flower wreath for my front door.  It really brightens up my entryway. 

IMG_4859

I even put out some new yard art that I made over the winter.  I now have a glass frog and a glass ladybug in my planting  beds. I’ll give some details on how to make these later this week.  

What really made today perfect, was reflecting on God’s creation around me.

  • The beauty of the flowers popping through the ground.
  • The delight of the bird’s singing in the trees.
  • The wildlife wondering through my life (well, maybe not the turkeys!). 

Papillon/Butterfly

I love butterflies. They are colorful, graceful, almost ethereal. Because I like them, I have used them in my craft projects, such as:

Quilting:

84e42-img_1627
Butterfly Art Quilt
93aff-img_1753
Butterfly Pillow

Fabric Dyeing:

76c2f-backing
Images from backing of Butterfly Art Quilt

and Fused Glass:

Butterfly Glass
Butterfly Wall Art
Butterfly Glass2
Butterfly Garden Art

 

Butterfly Necklace
Butterfly Necklace

Recently, an email from a yarn store featured several new patterns. The Butterfly/Papillon shawl pattern by Marin Melchoir caught my eye. Later that same week, while shopping a a local yarn store (Three Kittens, Mendota Heights, MN), the owner was wearing the shawl.  Written for fingering weight yarn, this was the weight of yarn she had used for her shawl.  I really liked the pattern, so I purchased it.  However, I wanted the shawl to have more “movement”.  So, instead, I knit the shawl in lace weight yarn, using the indicated needle size.  This created a softer, lighter version of the shawl, but the same size as the pattern. 

I really like how the shawl turned out.  However, I’m not sure whether I will make another.  This shawl took about 40 hours to complete!

One Smile Gala

The Minnesota Dental Foundation held their annual One Smile Gala last Friday evening.  The gala was an evening raising funds for the Foundations outreach to the under served in the state.  It was a fun evening seeing colleagues and friends from around the state.

The vision of the Minnesota Dental Foundation is to eliminate unmet oral health needs in Minnesota. The Foundation raised over $1M in 2018.  These funds were used for the Minnesota Mission of Mercy, Give Kids a Smile, and several other programs.

Along with attending the gala, I also donated a few glass items to the silent auction.

Flower4Flower2Flower1Flower3

These garden flowers were well liked and raised a couple hundred dollars for the foundation.  Perhaps next year I will do some other glass garden art for the auction.

 

 

 

Another Decorative Watering Can

I started gardening when my boys were very young.  When they were playing outside, I needed to be there to watch and supervise them.  While I would play with them, I found myself thinking of ways to enhance my landscaping and would decide to do something new to plant. When I were planting, I would have the boys help me.  As young boys, their favorite thing was to haul mom’s supplies with their Tonka trucks.  I would often have to walk behind them and pick up plants, rocks and/or mulch that bounced out of their trucks, or weeds that never quite made it to the disposal area. Now that my boys are older and no longer playing in the yard, I still  enjoy the time in my gardens.  Working in my gardens has become a relaxing and creative thing to do.

One of my more recent joys is to make art for my gardens.  One of these yard art pieces was a beaded watering can that I posted about two years ago (July 12, 21017).  Recently, I saw another watering can idea and decided to add it to my gardens.

So, another new project – a lighted watering can!

Materials

 

  • Watering Can. Unable to find a copper one to match the copper art in my yard, I found a copper colored brass one at Target that I decided would work.
  • Fairy lights.  I originally tried using solar lights, but found that they did not last.  After one week, and trying several different types of rechargeable batteries, they would not hold a charge.  To replace them, I purchased battery operated lights that had a four hour timer. These have been in my yard for over a month and are still working well.
  • Drill with metal drill bit.
  • Support to hold battery case inside the watering can.
  • GorillaWeld epoxy
  • Brass wire
  • Shepherd’s Hook

Steps:

Fused Glass Turtle

img_3091.jpgWaste Not, Want Not – that is my approach to my crafts. I just hate to throw away fabric, yarn, glass, or anything that could potentially be used in another project.  That’s why I have baskets of small pieces of fabric scraps, drawers of larger pieces of fabric, other drawers of yarn, embroidery supplies and beads.  I even save small pieces of batting because I never know when I might need only a bit.

In my glass room, I save all my glass scraps as well.  I even save my failed projects, things that crack or just don’t turn out the way I wanted.  These failed projects are given new life with pot melting.  These pot melts are really cute made into  mushrooms, of which I have made numerous.  Running out of people to give mushrooms to, I really needed to find another idea for using pot melts.

For the past  year, I have had three different pot melt circles sitting on a shelf in my glass studio waiting for me to come up with an idea.  When making the glass centipede for my garden, I finally had a bit of inspiration.  I was looking at clip art pictures of different garden animals and insects and saw a cartoon of a turtle.  Looking at the image, I thought that the shell of the turtle could be made out of a pot melt circle.

So, a new project – fused glass turtle!

Materials
Green COE 96 1/2″ pebbles, 2 pieces
Black COE 96, 12″ x 18″
Castalot Glass Mold Material, 3 cups mixed with water according to directions
Cardboard box for forming mold
Exacto Knife for shaping mold
Copper end caps, 1/2″, 2 pieces
Copper pipe, 1/2″ x 1 3/4″
E6000 Adhesive, clear and black

IMG_3088

Steps:

1. Pot melt a 7″ circle of glass. Slump over a bowl shape. Since I already had some of these, I used what I had.  In the future, I probably would not have fused the white pebbles onto the pot melt.  But, since I had already done this, I used what I had.

Turtle

2. Draw a turtle outline on paper and trace onto clear plastic.  Cut two pieces of black glass  from the turtle pattern.

If you want to replicate this idea, I am providing the turtle pattern.  Print out the photo, making sure that your printer is calibrated to the 1″ box on the pattern.

IMG_3603

 

 

3. Full fuse the two pieces of black glass.

4. Contour fuse eyes to the head piece.

TurtleMold5. Create a slumping mold.

Again, I am providing an outline of the mold.  If you want to make one, the mold is 1″ thick.

 

IMG_3639

6. After allowing the material to set for an hour, remove the cardboard and use an Exacto Knife to carve the edges of the pattern smooth. Allow to dry overnight and then fire according to the directions on the package.  Coat the mold with several coats of Primo Primer Kiln Wash.

IMG_3640

 

7. Place your turtle shape over the mold.  Slump the shape according to your kiln settings.

 

IMG_37568. Using the black E6000, adhere one end cap in the center of the back of the turtle and allow to set over night.  Meanwhile, run a thin bead of clear E6000 along the edge of the turtle shell and allow this to also set over night.  This bead will provide a cushion between the shell and the body of the turtle to avoid having glass against glass that could cause breakage.

9. Cut a piece of copper pipe the height of the slumped pot melt. Generally you want the  turtle shell to light rest against the turtle body.  Insert this pipe into the cap on the turtle back.  Add a copper cap to the top end of the pipe.  Place black E6000 on the copper cap and adhere the turtle shell to the copper.  Note that the copper pipe is not glued or secured to the copper caps.  This will allow you to take apart the turtle a wrap it for save winter storage.  Allow the adhesive to set overnight and your turtle will be ready to invade your garden.

IMG_3089

img_3090.jpg

 

 

Glass Centipede

IMG_3635Centipedes (from Latin prefix centi-, “hundred”, and pes, pedis“foot”) are predatory arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda, an arthropod group which also includes Millipedes and other multi-legged creatures. Centipedes are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. They are found in an array of terrestrial habitats from tropical rainforests to deserts. Accordingly, they are found in soil and leaf litter, under stones and dead wood, and inside logs.

Okay, enough with the scientific definition.  According to a patient I saw this week, a centipede is a “creepy crawly bug with a lot of legs”.  Gotta love working with kids!!

Cartoon

 While looking at ideas on-line, I saw a cartoon of a centipede and thought that this might be a fun idea for a glass project. 

My first idea was to fuse copper wire between sections of glass.  This idea didn’t go so well.  The glass was very fragile with the embedded wire.

So, instead, I decided to solder a framework (or exoskeleton, if you want the scientific term) for the centipede and then use a glass adhesive to secure glass sections to the framework.

IMG_2987

 

Materials
Green COE 96, 1″x1.5″, 16 pieces
Black COE 96 chips
Copper wire, 6 gauge
1″ (7 pieces)
6″ (7 pieces) with ends bent back
Copper foil tape, 1″ wide
1″ x 3/4″ (8 pieces)
E6000 Adhesive

Steps:

1. Position and solder copper wire and foil tape.  Bend the wire 1″ on each side of the framework to make legs, then bend each tip outward to make a flat surface to support the glass sections.  

IMG_3522

2. Full fuse two pieces of green glass with black glass chips.

3. Contour fuse eyes to the head piece.

IMG_36344. Adhere each piece of glass to the framework.

This new bug can now be found in my front yard flower garden crawling among the daylillies.

IMG_3636

One Smile !

Generic-OneSmile-logo-Outlines-652x256Tonight is the Minnesota Dental Foundation annual fundraiser gala. The vision of the Minnesota Dental Foundation is to eliminate unmet oral health needs in Minnesota. The foundation supports the Minnesota Mission of Mercy, Volunteered Dental Services, Give Kids and Smile, and many other programs.

The annual gala showcases the recent activities of the Foundation and highlights the organizations that benefit from the work of the Foundation.

I’m looking forward to spending a nice evening with many professional colleagues and some of my business partners.

One of the activities at the gala is a silent auction.  You can preview the auction items at  www.qtego.net/qlink/mndental.

Normally I do not purchase any items in the auction.  At this point in life, I really don’t need more “stuff”.  But, I do support the auction by donating items.  This year, I donated two custom made items.

Fused glass serving plate with the MDF logo.

img_2467

Stepping stone with MDF logo.

img_2466

Hopefully these items will bring some nice bids.  Looking forward to a nice evening!

Copper yard art for hidden animal repellent.

img_2345Our neighborhood is called “The Woodlands” and, true to the name, has a lot of trees.  Along with the trees come wildlife – squirrels, rabbits, deer and even a rafter of turkeys.  Over the years, I have learned what plants I can and cannot plant to avoid the damage caused by these animals.

This year, we have several additions to the neighborhood wildlife – triplet fawns and about a dozen baby turkeys.  While these young animals are really cute, they do like to eat plants, even ones that the full grown animals have learned they should stay away from.

Two motion sensing sprinklers have helped to chase the turkeys out of the backyard.  However, the fawns treat the sprinkler as a play toy, each taking turns triggering the spray while the others run and jump in the water.  Luckily I found an ultrasonic repellent that the fawns do not like.  So, in addition to the sprinklers, I have added one of these in my back yard. My backyard plants are now safe and are reviving.

Unfortunately, my front yard has not been so lucky.  The baby turkeys nibble away at any plant they see.  I have tried several different spray animal repellents but without success.  These young turkeys seem to like to eat anything!

While the motion sensing sprinkler did work for the turkeys in the backyard, I did not want to set this up in my front yard because it would spray anyone delivering packages to the house.  I tried the ultrasonic deterrent, but the setting that worked for the turkeys was audible to the human ear and quite annoying.

A few years ago, when I planted apple and pear trees in my back yard, I had read that most animals do not like the smell of Irish Spring soap. At the time, I cut a bar of soap into four pieces, tied the pieces in an old nylon and hung them in the trees to keep deer from damaging the new trees.  This seemed to work well at the time.  My trees are large enough now that I no longer have to worry about the deer eating them.img_2341

 

With the plant damage I was experiencing in my front yard, I decided to try the Irish Spring soap to keep the animals out of my flower beds.  I tied a piece soap in a nylon and hung in in various places in my flower beds.  This really seemed to work.  The young turkeys and deer were no longer eating my flowers and plants.

img_2334Unfortunately, I did not like the way the nylons looked and wanted to find a better way to place the soap pieces.  In my garden shed, I had some old copper pipe.  I just needed to make or find something to add to the end of a pipe that could hold the soap. After much thought, I came up with the idea to add a copper “flower”.

714gHanvLIL._SL1000_I purchased a rain chain made of copper lotus flowers, separated the chain into individual flowers, added a copper cap to the end of a 2 foot piece of pipe and soldered one flower to the cap.  The other end of the pipe was hammered flat, the pipe was pushed into the dirt and a piece of soap (1/8 bar) was added to the center of the flower.

Now I have a decorative way to keep the animals away from my flowers. And, the soap is creating a nice verdigris affect to the  copper.img_2344