I have been rising edible plants from seed at home for the past couple of months in a walk in greenhouse that my partner gave me for my Mother's day present. Some of them have become juicy and delicious enough to be considered a fine buffet by something slimy in my garden. As you can see a little beastie went to town on this runner bean plant. It made me realise that though I have been digging, weeding and planting potatoes, I've been reluctant to take any of my precious wee plants down the lottie (daft...because that is what I'm raising them for!!) because I don't know how to keep them safe from pests. I read about copper tape that slugs do not like to cross which inspired me to make little rings for the stems of my runners to keep the slugs at bay in the walk in greenhouse. They seem to have done the trick.
Luckily for me I have a secret weapon, his name is Roger and he is frankly
brilliant. One of the lovely lass's on CP (Craft Pimp Forum) has put me
in touch with her Dad who worked an Organic Kitchen garden for a living
for 54 years before retiring not very long ago. I'm absolutely
privileged to be able to pick his brain and our most recent chat has
been all about slugs and snails. Roger told me that the simplest way to controls slugs is to use pellet's, there are ones readily available that are child and pet safe and environmentally safe. One of these is called Growing Success.
Roger also recommended grit/sharp sand used around individual plants like squashes and courgettes as gastropods do not like to travel over it. Another great tip was to try is to lure them into the shade of slates, tiles or upside down pots so that they can be removed by hand even using half Grapefruit and Orange skins as bait.
I will definitely be trying out all of these things and reporting back on progress!
It's week 21! in my year long challenge to make and donate a special bead for each week of the year for the Beads of Courage program here in the UK. The program here is sponsored by a small family run charity called Be Child Cancer Aware and is in place in more than 40 UK hospitals for children with cancer and blood disorders.
Unique handcrafted glass beads like this little robot are called Act of Courage beads. They are given to mark milestones on a child's treatment journey and are much treasured. The strings of beads (in many cases hundreds of beads) that a child enrolled with BoC will collect through the course of their treatment are a powerful tool. They are a tangible way for friends, families and care givers to be able to see and recognise courage and bravery.
The Beads of Courage program helps to help to reduce illness related distress and encourages positive coping strategies. Every treatment bead gives a child something tangible to use to be able to discuss their treatment and experience. Beads of Courage are very powerful and I am very proud to be able to do something to help bu doing something I love, making glass beads. If you would like to know more about the program here in the UK please visit http://www.bechildcanceraware.org/beads-of-courage
Yay, brilliant news, 2013 Summer Beadathon is officially official and in the news! Beady news that is! We have been given a wonderful promo in the current issue of Beads & Beyond Magazine including a snap of Heather Kelly who made the very first bead at the very first Beadathon last year and our lovely Laney Mead too. What a fabulous way to launch the madness.....24 hours of solid lampwork bead making and fun, creating Act of Courage Beads and raising a bit of cash for the amazing Beads of Courage UK program. Can't wait! :-D
Who? A top notch crack team of volunteer glass artists working their tushies off What? 24 hours of continuous bead making for Beads of Courage Where? Kitzbitz HQ When?Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of July How can you get involved?
Why not make a small donation to our fundraiser page or pledge to make
some beads at home for BoC that weekend if you are a lampworker too.
One of my lovely chums recently showed me a fab blog post with reuse/recycle ideas for potting on your seedlings. I was rather taken with the idea of these sturdy newspaper pots so decided to give it a go. As you can see I've made a rather bumper crop, two newspapers worth. Follow the link above to see how they were done, the post is superbly easy to follow.
I'd already started to think about re-purposing deli and food trays with some holes punched in the bottom, this one contains cauliflower and cabbage seedlings which are ready for thinning out and potting on. One of the great thing about these paper pots is that you can plant the whole thing in the ground when your plants are big enough to go outside.
The clear container here is a supermarket grape punnet, these are the perfect size for 6 paper pots and they already have holes in the bottom for drainage.
I made so many paper pots today as I have started off some wild flower seed mix for kiddies corner on the lottie. I sprinkled masses of different kinds of flower seed in 3 large trays like the one in my second picture. With plenty of paper pots to hand it will be a cinch to prick them out and pot them on. We just need to eat more grapes now!
The paper pots are all round brilliant idea, loved making them and so practical!
This week has been a good and productive time down the lottie, I widened the raspberry bed and put in 5 new canes. The local council were digging up some flower beds in our local park and I managed to mump a few very pretty tulip bulbs and spring annuals that were destined for composting for kiddie corner. On Saturday My lovely OH helped me put in 2 more short paths across the middle of the plot so that this
coming week I can concentrate on digging over enough ground to get my
brassicas in, only a dozen or so plants so doable I think....fingers crossed for the weather.
Today's lottie post is all about potatoes though, top left is a picture of the first leaves from my early potato bed (Charlottes). It's the first time I've ever seen potato leaves, pretty exciting. On the right is a picture of one of the Sarpo Mira seed potatoes that I have had chitting on my kitchen side for the past few weeks. I kind of wish I had got a close up shot if these sprouts before they went in to the ground as they put me in mind of Romanesque Broccoli (Roman Cauliflower).
I dug three trenches about 6 inches deep and placed generous handfuls of fresh cut Comfrey in the bottom. I then cowered the Comfrey cuttings with a little multipurpose compost and placed my seed potatoes on top about 9 or 10 inches apart. I then covered the potatoes with loose soil and raked the whole bed level. I'll earth up the plants periodically over the coming weeks to help keep any newly formed tubers covered from daylight.
Hopefully the quick rotting and nutrient rich Comfrey plants will give these seed potatoes a really great start.
It's week 20 in the Craft Pimp Forum year long challenge and this green eyed monster is the big sis of last weeks blooming amoeba for Beads of Courage UK. This pretty Blooming Amoeba bead has 3 kinds of flowers on the front and a yellow and black heart on the back.
I want to give a shout out to a very clever, driven and talented lady called Lynn Davy who has, inspired by this challenge, raised the stakes to a thing a day....after 20 weeks she has never missed a day! It brilliant :-D
I've been working in a special glass colour chart resource for about 10 months or so now. It's a very kitsch and geeky Alphabetical Chart of (CiM) CoE 104 glass colours.
To the left here is just a small section of the chart as it stands
today, this is just the S section.....all in all there are 163 beads.
Every bead has it's name doodled on it in glass too.
When I started
this project I wasn't sure that the chart would ever become a complete
representation of every glass that CiM have ever produced as some of the older colours are out of production.
I made the
decision quite early on to exclude the colour variations labelled as
"uniques" partly because they would all just get filed under "U" and partly because I have always liked the way that CiM have
given their glass special names that conjure up a mental image of the
shade, Freman, Clockwork, Crocus, Army Men.....utterly appealing :-D
Creation is Messy began production of CoE 104 glass for bead making back
in 2006, a year or so before I even began lampworking. Even so,
because CiM take great care to maintain colour consistency within their
regular line, I have been able to source some of the earliest colours
from later melts.
Between my own stash, colours I'd been sent for testing and the lovely CiM shopping spree prize sponsored by Off Mandrel for coming second in Beads & Beyond Jewellery Maker of The Year competition (lampwork) last summer, I was well on the way to pulling the glass together for this project. Four colours remained completely elusive though, Algae, Sunshine,
Tabby Grey and Dusk.
Just a couple of weeks ago I received the loveliest gift from JamieLynn who runs Howaco Glass in the U.S, and her friends. When my friend Sue showed JamieLynn the colour chart project on Craft Pimp she had a good look round her studio and also put out the word about the chart and that I was missing these colours. Amazingly she managed to find them all!
When I wrote to thank JamieLynn she told me....The four colors actually came from four different
people, each of them just had the one color and no one else had any of
the colors, so I do believe it was ment to be.
I am so grateful for the kindness of these five lovely ladies who have made the impossible possible.
With the addition of these four colours, at this very moment my CiM Colour chart is completely up to date.....though I did just spot the next collection of ltd run glass on the CiM Artists Preview Page. Am looking forward to having a play with those, Aloe Juice looks particularly appealing.
Today I am looking at a trio of gem toned ltd run colours from Creation is Messy which were released in March 2013. They are called Breeze, Mediterranean and Berry Mist .
I made this set of nugget beads with the intention of etching them to make frosted beads that have subtle muted colours inside. Once I got them out of the kiln though the colours were so bright and pretty that I couldn't bring myself to etch them after all. Each bead has a small tube shaped core of saturated transparent colour which I then heavily encased in clear and shaped. From right to left the three beads in the front row are Mediterranean, Breeze and then Berry Mist.
This pretty set of nugget beads are made with one half of Reichenbach Antique Clear twined with one of my test colours and finished with a band of silvered ivory stringer (sis). As you can see there are no obvious reactions between any of the test colours and the silvered ivory stringer.
The top half of this sweet teardrop shaped bead is Mediterranean with Reichenbach Antique Clear at the bottom. The narrow section of Mediterranean at the top looks much lighter than the thicker middle section. There is also a much less dense looking band where the two colour meet because this area is a thin encasement of Mediterranean over Antique clear. This glass is quite saturated and very pretty.
Breeze is definitely my favourite of this ltd run trio, it is a deep, vibrant and happy true aqua colour. Here you can see Breeze encased with Effetre 006 clear. This colour is so gem-like and appealing that I'd love top see it become a permanent fixture in the CiM palette.
This last focal is made with a core Berry Mist which has been encased with Effetre 006 clear. Berry Mist is lovely, used on it's own it's neither too light and dilute too or saturated and dark...... Goldilocks would say "this purple is just right."
It's been a funny old week on the Lottie, lots of organising, a bit of weeding, very little planting...
On Wednesday my lovely OH came down and helped me to create this long pathway along the full length of the back of the plot. It is edged with planks from an old decking pathway, plastic sheet and then covered with lots of wood chips. It means that the children now have the full run of the plot, front to back and side to side without the need to step over any junk. they can romp from the kiddies corner to the shed and back again, no problemo. Thursdays job was to begin digging the dreaded bindweed out to make a new bed for my runners, there are only 6 of 16 plants in the ground so far, rootling out all of the snaky roots is a time consuming job.
I have needed to find a place to put all of the bamboo canes and useful
poles and pipes that used to be stored behind the shed (until I shifted them due to imminent perimeter fence work).
I have also been putting off making a decision on where to site my compost heap because I imagine it is going to get pretty big. Solving the two problems in one, Friday's job was to turn a kind of low table-like platform on it's side and cable tie big metal grills to each end to contain clippings and kitchen waste. The sections at the back formed between the platform legs and the back of the shed are and ideal storage spot for canes.
Compost spot in place, on Saturday the kids and I spent some time raking
all the leaves and twigs up from kiddies corner and creating this fab
picnic spot. I put layers of plastic sheeting down then we hunter
gathered some logs from around the communal wood chip pile and brought
them to the plot. This area is much bigger than it looks in the picture,
you can easily fit two grown-up size bottoms on each of the longer log
seats and it will no doubt become the heart of kiddie corner.
Our other Saturday jobs were to re-purpose some old-CD's to make bird scaring mobiles, give the Charlotte bed a big dreching with the hose pipe, to de-bindweed a spot in the back trench for Ruby's Sweet Peas that she grew at home from seeds and to make a second rough and ready trellis for them to climb up.
We took the tiddlers to Whipsnade Zoo for the first time today, had a ride on a little steam railway around the paddocks and watched the Sea Lions showing off in their daily show. It was a lovely day out, here are a few snaps of some of the critters we saw...
So it's been a little while since I posted anything to do with what is new on the lottie, we've been on hols and I've not found the time until now to catch up. The cute froggie (quite big he was) turned up on Thursday last week to say hi. he was a quick little hopper and it took a bit of doing to get this snap. I did a little google search to find out more about him and he's simply just called a common frog (rana temporia). For some reason it kind of boggled my brain to read here that there are only 6 kinds of amphibian native to the UK and that only one of them is a frog, this kind of frog, whilst the other 5 are toads and newts.
My next visit was not until the following weds, nearly a whole week! The bindweed had defeated me time-wise and my plan to dig my second potato bed before hols didn't pan out. I was about two thirds done and I was going to crack with that but when I arrived at plot 36 there was a lovely surprise waiting, a gift of 30 or so baby onions sitting there on top of one of my grow-bags. I dug out a spot for them at the end of the Rhubarb bed (as every other part of the plot is covered with tarps and junk right now - am still waiting for the new perimeter fence to go in). I suspect they are a bit close together and I'll shift every other one to another spot as soon as I get a chance.
I managed to grab a hour on the lottie on Thurs and Fri too and finally rootled out all of the snakey bindweed roots out of me tat bed :-D two honking great buckets full from a space no more than 3m squared. It will be a little bit of a waiting game now as the Comfrey is beginning to grow taller now and I really want to wait until it is ready and cut some to line the trenches and feed my Sarpo Mira spuds when they go in.
Saturday on the lottie was really lovely, the children came with me and planted the little sunflowers that they have grown themselves from seeds. We rigged up some canes (you can see them at the back of this pic) to support them as they grow and covered them with some homemade plastic bottle cloches to try to keep the slugs away and the cold off on their first night out on the tiles. We also spotted another pretty butterfly - this one is called a Speckled Wood(Pararge aegeria) and I only managed to get this one fuzzy snap before it flitted away and was gone! Have a lovely sunny bank holiday weekend, Jolene xx
I have come to the conclusion that Odd Lot glass is not for hoarding no matter how pretty it is! So I chose two of my favourites for my April Mini Mo' glasswork collections. I've chosen Vetrofond Banana Cream odd for the Banana Split collection, and teamed it up with Effetre Chocolate Brown.
This lovely little lentil is made with CiM Vanilla Latte and has some of the Banana Cream twistie wrapped around it and some Banana Cream murrini. I pulled the lines of these starburst murrini together in the centre with a poking tool before patting them flat.
This lentil shows banana cream twistie over a base of Banana Cream glass to show how only the short lines of chocolate brown are visible when the cane is applied and melted flat.
This banoffee bean focal quite a few layers, a core of Effetre medium topaz, a coil of Banana Split ribbon twistie followed by a layer of Effetre 006 and some fern, vine and leaf decoration.
My second collection for April is called Granite and uses Vetrofond odd Painted Desert and CiM
This first trio of bead uses the Leaky pen petal cane over a base of leaky pen and under Effetre 006 clear. The murrini is a cut piece from the end of one of the canes.
This fun sculptural floral focal shows how the granite murrini look when poked and left raised. I have used them to create the centre of some big pink blooming flowers.
My sweet lentil trio here shows how the same murrini looks when poked and then melted in flush over Painted Desert shards.
It is now possible to join the Mini Mo' Club via Etsy for 3, 6, 9 or 12
month long subscriptions. Please check out my shop link for more info. Frit N Chips lampwork supplies.
Starburst murrini are very versatile, this mini tute gives seven illustrated examples of how to get a different look from just one style of murrini chip.
1. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat and press gently to flatten. Continue to heat and press a little at a time until the murrini is flat to the surface of your bead.
2. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat and press gently to
flatten. Leave the chip raised and encase with clear to give your murrini a lens.
3. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat until glowing and press the centre with a dental pick or other poking tool.
4. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat until glowing and press the centre with a dental pick or other poking tool. Heat and press your murrini gently. Continue to heat and press a little at a time until the
murrini is flat to the surface of your bead.
5. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat until glowing and press the centre with a dental pick or other poking tool. Leave the chip raised and encase with clear to give your murrini a lens with a trapped bubble.
6. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat until glowing and press the centre with a dental pick or other poking tool. Heat and press your murrini gently. Continue to heat and press a little at a time until the
murrini is flat to the surface of your bead. Spot heat your murrini then take a clear stringer and twist the murrini to look make it look like a vortex.
6. Apply the murrini chip to your bead and then heat until glowing and
press the center with a dental pick or other poking tool. Heat and press
your murrini gently. Continue to heat and press a little at a time
murrini is flat to the surface of your bead. Spot heat your murrini then
take a clear stringer and twist the murrini to look like a vortex. Spot heat again and poke with your pokey tool then encase with clear to give your murrini a lens with a trapped bubble.
I hope you have enjoyed this murrini mini-tute