Thursday, 27 March 2014

Sparkly galaxy marble

 Can I get a decent photo of this lovely?  No!  So much depth in the sparkle nothing to focus on, but thought I would share this pretty, like a myriad of sparkling stars (get me, all poetic now ;)

Monday, 24 March 2014

What have I been up to this weekend?

Well on Saturday it was my turn to man the studio/workshop down on the wharf in Bude, a blustery showery day with a few visitors and I managed to get some work done and some new bracelets and earrings made up (at last!).  Then into our wonderful local pub on the edge of the Atlantic and home for supper.

Then yesterday I did something I have been meaning to do for months, but have kept putting it off as I just didn't know where to start!  That is going through all the boxes we brought back from Dad's flat when he moved into the home last year.  Thankfully one of my nieces in law took alot of the furniture and other large pieces had been 'left' to people in Dad's will so these pieces went 'early' to their new owners (Dad's flat is up for sale and had been sold subject to contract when we emptied it, sadly the sale fell through, but fingers crossed...).

So most of the boxes yesterday were odds and ends, crockery and books; lots and lots and lots and lots of books!  My parents were avid readers and were very well read; lots of classics, biographies, foreign language books (this was my Mum and not just learning language books these are novels) in French, Italian and Danish (I have studied Italian but these books are way way way beyond my abilities); and medical text books (my Father having been a surgeon).  Some of these medical text books are very old and some written by himself (must get him to sign his books at some point!).  There are also old stamp collections (my Victorian Great Aunt) and commemorative annuals from 1937 and books that were given as school prizes for Dad and for Mum.  How on earth do you go through these things, they are someones life, precious and cared for!

I had planned to end up with at least 4 boxes of books to go to a second hand shop, but instead have ended up with just two (one with Mum's foreign language books and one with books that I already have copies of!).  I kept picking things up and thinking, 'oh I might like to read that' and 'this is old, best keep it' and so on!  I actually got quite emotional about the whole thing.  Mum's passing was difficult, but in some ways a relief as she had been sooooo unwell; moving Dad into the home was difficult, but I see now that actually it was what he wanted, he was tired and old and although not much of a socialiser needed to have someone to talk to every day and to take care of him (and boy do the girls - and a few boys - take very good care of him where he is now!); packing the flat up was difficult, dividing up someone's belongings, but they had downsized over the years there really wasn't that much furniture left; but going through these books (and photo albums), finding old treasures and gifts from Dad to Mum (and the other way round) was painful, very painful.  For the first time in a year I shed a few tears over my parents lost youth (and mine I suppose).  We will take good care of these treasures and will ensure that the most precious are passed down the family when that time comes!  In the meantime we will now have to find somewhere to put all these wonderful books (and we have about 10 boxes of our own books to unpack yet!).

Friday, 21 March 2014

Some more of my work

Whilst I ponder posts about septic tanks and bore holes (although not together!) I thought I would share some more of my work.  These are lampwork glass beads that I make in my little studio at home.  Lampwork involves (in a nutshell and there is alot more to it than this!) melting glass rods onto steel sticks (mandrels) which have been coated with a fine clay mixture so that the glass doesn't stick to the rod in an oxygen/propane mix flame that burns at 1000 degrees C.  You can then shape the glass, add detail to it, anything you want really.  Once you are happy with your bead (and as you have seen I also make things other than beads) it goes into a digitally controlled kiln (pretty quickly otherwise the glass will crack) to cool slowly and to strengthen (I quite often have a couple of 'spare' beads in the shop and will drop them on the concrete floor in our shop to show how strong they are ;) ).

I then make the beads up into jewellery items (sometimes I do sell the beads on their own) and then sell them through a local farmers market (in the summer), through the workshop/studio I share with 3 other glassy ladies in Bude and through various galleries and other outlets.  These beads are being sold as beads through my Etsy shop :)

Thursday, 13 March 2014


No not ones that grow in the garden or countryside but glass sculpture!  I made this the other day (love making them, soooo relaxing), it is a bit big for my kiln (but I have a plan ;) ).  Stands 5 inches tall and 5 inches at it's widest point (roots). :)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

'Pretty in Pink' picture interlude

Spring is here, daffs are comming out and lots of other things!  Someone in the last few years was a bit of a gardener and the jungle (aka garden) is full of beautiful flowers and shrubs (in many cases I have absolutely NO idea what they are, but am learning!).  Took some photos yesterday of some lovely pinks.

Camellia - we have about 10 of these dotted around the garden!  Most of them will need a good prune once they have stopped flowering!

We also have an enormous number of fruit shrubs and bushes (more of that another day), but among the more unusual is a very straggly (again will need a prune later in the year) quince!  Quince jelly methinks!  The flowers are lovely :)

Wonderful colours and inspiration for some glass making :)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

From there to here - house!

When we moved down here 7 or was it 6 years ago (I don't know feels like we have been here for ever!), we were supposed to rent for 6 months and then buy our own place with a bit of land for a smallholding. Unfortunately we rather fell in love with our very old dairy farmhouse with fabulous views and were convinced that our lovely landlord (and he was brilliant) would eventually sell it to us so we were rather lackadaisical about house hunting.

In the early part of last year we had another 'oh go on sell it to us, you know you want to' conversation with the landlord and for the first time he gave us a very firm 'NO'! In the past he just used to say 'maybe, maybe not', but now the message was clear. So now we really had to go, we had to make a proper effort and so the house hunting started in earnest. We saw some great places, big, small, needing work, ready to move into, some mad ones on Bodmin Moor (one very very very remote and old and very very cold!), but all had something 'not quite right' about them. Then this very quirky house came on the market, AGAIN. Being a 'Rightmove and Primelocation' watcher (these are websites where you can see most houses for sale in an area from all the agents rather than having to check out each agent one at a time and stops all those annoying mail shots!) I had seen this house many times over the previous 6 years. When I first saw it they wanted an enormous amount of money for it; it was in the wrong area (a lovely area but not where we wanted to be, especially with my parents living in S Devon); had little land and no real outbuildings, but it did look very quirky, had no near neighbours and walking distance to the sea and always intrigued me. However, as it didn't fit the bill we never viewed it. Then in April it came on again, at a much lower price and we were getting desperate, so we made an appointment.

So on a hot April day (day before my birthday in-fact) we came to see this mad house. Quirky is an understatement and the garden is a jungle, but it was just 'us'! We had a second view, made a stupid offer (it had come down in price ALOT since I had first seen it 5 years before, and infact had changed hands once in that period) and got a prompt and very firm NO from the estate agent, so we waited and made other viewings for other houses.

3 weeks later a phone call, 'it's yours if you still want it'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was nearly sick, excitement and OMG! In July we moved in on a hot hot hot day (with my poor confused father phoning me to tell me that his flat had burned down and he had lost everything; he was in hospital by now and of course his flat hadn't burned down at all – poor chap!).

So we have bought a crazy house, miles from anywhere (except a lovely pub) with no neighbours, well water and only mains electricity which needs lots of work and comes with 3 acres of jungle (think there might be some garden under it all, including an acre of ancient woodland, ¾ acre of field and a veggie plot). In the 8 months since we have moved in we have done quite a bit, but it is one of those projects where trying to prioritise work is almost impossible and we want everything to happen NOW, but we are learning to be patient (just about).

Oh and the plan was to be closer to Bude just over the border in Cornwall as I spend about 3 or 4 days a week there in summer working, we aren't really that much closer but the commute is something else, with views of the sea all the way and going to work views of Dartmoor and Bodmin, beats the M25 I can tell you!

In my next post be prepared for scary, 'OMG the house is falling down' moments as I tell the tale of restoration!

Monday, 10 March 2014

From there to here - family

Ok, I have been thinking and decided to do a couple of catch up posts.  As my last post in 2011 talked about my Mum it seems to make sense to do a quick update on that side of things and then talk about our new 'project'!

I should just say in my defence of letting this blog lapse that I did start up another one about my glass making, but recently thought that this blog here could suit two purposes, one to talk about life in deepest darkest Devon and the other to talk about my glass work, so that's why I am back (hooray I hear you cry - I hope!).

Well on the family front my (now) 93 year old father was coping very well on his own thank you very much, still driving, getting the paper, doing some light shopping - I did a fornightly (that's every two weeks by the way) supermarket shop until last June when he suddenly went off and we had no idea why (later on it was decided that he had had a small stroke which didn't affect his mobility (as such), but caused him to become very confused and unable to look after himself.  I spent weeks doing a 3 hour round trip several times a week to visit him in the little community hospital where we managed to get him a bed (a fine little hospital it was too). 

We (including him when he was able) decided that the best thing to do was for him to go into a home (not an easy decision I can tell you and as those of you who have had to deal with this will know) but the most practical; to be honest I suspect that was what he had wanted for a bit and he had raised it but I had always refused to accept the idea.  Long and the short of it was that whilst in the throws of moving house and in the middle of a heat wave, I was also trying to find Dad the best I could in a care home (and I can tell you that I have seen a few in my time as an NVQ assessor for care staff!).  I did find him one about 20 minutes away and moved him up here (no help from our lovely ambulance service I have to say which resulted in a rather nasty experience in a public loo, least said about it the better really) at the end of July.  Now he has the lovely staff at his beck and call with a view over a lake full of ducks and geese and swans to watch, good food and a comfortable bed and me visiting twice a week and other family members when they can.  Once the weather gets better we will get him out and about for some trips (I am so impressed with the home that I have reserved my room already ;) ).

I know there will be people out there who have been through this and much worse (at least Dad, now, it completely back to normal now mentally and has a wicked sense of humour).  It is so hard to put a parent (parents) into care, feels like a bit of a failure (but there was no way we could have looked after him here).  Also so hard to think of that vibrant, highly intelligent, wonderful man reduced to an old man sitting in a chair in one room.  I just have to remember that he is getting the best care and he is happy (and safe) and that's the most important thing.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Still thinking!

Still thinking about post subjects to get this off the ground, but in the meantime thought I would share some photos of what I do for work these days!  Can you guess what this is?