Sunday, December 31, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
That these people take the time, and care enough about the gift, to actually send me a note, now that is thoughtful! Now I find myself writing thank you notes for the thank you notes.... this may never end! Honestly, there are so many nice people. It's really great to know they enjoy my work.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Can't decide what to get for someone special? Sometimes it is really hard to choose. That's why this year I am offering gift certificates. And the code to use in a nice card can be emailed to you, so you never even have to leave home to do your shopping. Even better, you might get a discount. See the details by Clicking Here.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The driftwood section lifts right off the cedar plank. It had to be designed like that for ease of shipping. But the main thing is, one single inch longer and it would exceed the maximum for Expedited mail, and need to be ship Perolator; the postage jumps from $60 to $360. So when I get the urge to build big, I keep my tape measure handy.
I always feel great when something like this sells. And then I feel not so great, because I realize I need to pack it. A real challenge! It takes time, a lot of packing materials, and some skill and imagination. No, the jobs not done until it's on its way. Once it's shipped I feel great~ until I start to worry about all three packages arriving in good condition!
Last minute shopping tip: Gift certificate cards now available! Click here.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Not into feeders? Not to worry. A huge selection of unique, very well crafted creations for the home, office and garden. Quick shipping. Great gifts! To see an amazing selection, Click here.
But remember~ shipping can take a little longer from Canada, so don't wait.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The kiddies and the dogs are having a ball. I felt bad, because I like to ship orders right away, and could not get out on Monday. Fortunately, there was a brief break in the weather yesterday, and I could dart out to the post office and also pick up a few groceries. Now we are back to... Snow!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Free tsk Design earrings with sterling hooks update: I still have a few sets left. See my 'Me' page on eBay for a picture. Until I run out, every order ($75 or over) gets a pair for Free! These are Great, and would retail for around $25 easily.
So check out my great selection of home, garden and office gifts, and shop early. Thank you!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
To say thank you for a great year, I am giving my customers a pair of my tskDesign earrings with sterling silver hooks for all orders $75 and over. My wife is something of an earring
fanatic collector, and of all the pairs she has, she says mine are the amongst those she enjoys the most, as they are pretty, unique, and very comfortable.
Colors are mossy green, light green, cobalt blue, light blue, champagne and frosty white. I used to sell these for $25 in a local store.
There are lots of good reasons to shop now, as, if past experience is anything to go on, things are going to get crazy in a couple of weeks. Prices may go up, and selection may go down. To see my amazing creations for the home, garden and office, Click here.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
What a wonderful job he did! I never imagined he would go to so much effort~ he did a super job! Others must like how he set things up, too— I've already had some sales. If you are at all interested in wind chimes, check out this great wind chime site (click here).
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
For more information on this and other glass art, or to buy, Click Here.
The glass for this blue glass wind chime is excellent. I'm all the more happy, because blue and frosty white are by far the two most difficult types of glass to work with. They are thinner, and more brittle. To get the mat finish and smooth edges, I need to work the pieces long enough, but if they are worked too long, they become thin and fragile, and fracture easily.
When the pieces are just perfect, they have a nice mat finish front and back, and are still thick. Most often, I have to settle for a little more gloss than I would like. But this time, for this wind chime, the glass is perfect.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
For shear beauty, for wide open and uncrowded, for low stress and peace and quiet, you just can't beat it. The long days are a bonus, since even if you pull into a campsite at seven or eight, you still have lots of time to set up camp, relax, cook dinner, and relax some more. The government campgrounds were all clean, well designed, and inexpensive~ $12 including firewood. The firewood was much appreciated, as it was much cooler than we had thought it would be, often getting down to around 40 at night, and only hitting 65 even on a sunny day. That coolness, by the way, was one more thing I really liked-- I hate traveling, getting out of the air conditioned car, and melting!
Not infrequently, there were only a couple of other visitors at a large campsite, and once we were alone~ a little scary, but also a memorable experience. When camping elsewhere, our lively, young golden retriever usually would have to be restrained on a twenty foot leash at a campsite, but not often in the Yukon. First, there would most often be no one for him to annoy with his friendliness, and second, those few times when someone was nearby, they were dog lovers and invited his attention. The Yukon is truly dog paradise, especially for a water dog like a golden, as there is a lake or river always a stick's throw away. The cool air and cold water limited our own swims to very brief plunges.
The roads and highways were all excellent. The few towns are (mostly) adequate for supplies. No malls (wonderful!). Very little traffic (low stress). Very few bugs (nice surprise!).
Driving back south after an all too brief visit, how odd that Northern British Columbia, that before had seemed so sparsely populated, now looked developed and busy. Even a short visit to the Yukon can change the way you see the world.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Why so long without a post? Well, a two week (wonderful!) holiday up to the Yukon (see the grizzly mom and cub) and a week to take it easy at home. I was all set to get back to work, and threw my back out~ Ouch!
It was all I could do to keep working and packing and shipping my art, so the ol' blog had to be put on the back burner. All is going much, much better, back-wise, now, and I hope to post more frequently. Thank you so much to those who continued to look in and check out my blog, and I am sorry it was always the same old thing. Stupid back.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I've been without a saw for several weeks, and so fell behind in all my wood work. Fortunately, my very kind neighbor just loaned me an extra saw he has, as the repair shop in Vancouver is now talking about August for getting the parts needed to repair my two year old (!) Bosch 4000. If my neighbor had not come along with this super offer, I guess I would have had to consider investing in another $800 saw. How nice not to have to do that!
So I have been working hard trying to catch up. I make my 'kaleidoscope' style wind chimes in a series, usually five or six at a time. A store in Victoria B.C. wants six of this style, and the store in Gibsons is sold out so I need to get some down to them. And then eBay always needs some. Putting these together, I suddenly thought of trying larger pieces of glass. Wow~ I like the look! Funny how just a little variation changes something so much.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
In the winter, one frustration is any wood I collect from the beach is bound to be sopping wet (not to mention the stuff from the lumber store!). That means several weeks drying by my big wood stove. In the summer, even if it is a little wet from the ocean, it dries in no time outside. So nice! The large driftwood wind chime pictured above is a case in point. In the winter, I doubt I would have retrieved that piece~ it would be a big thing to have lying around the stove. But I certainly could not resist it now, knowing it would dry quickly. I brought it home, even though I was not sure what I would do with it. Who could resist?
It sat around curing in the sun, and I spent time thinking about what to do with it. These big cedar stumps left by a recent logging operation were just the thing to cut big planks from. That done, I knew I wanted to somehow mount this big piece of driftwood. That is where the thinking came in: How best to do that. I thought of all sorts of possibilities, most comically complex. In the end, as I have come to learn, the simplest is the best: Two feet of copper driven into the base of the driftwood, and a hole in the stand into which the protruding copper fits. Simple and sweet, and set for shipping.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Should the bearings burn out in a $700 saw after two years? No. Has it happened to others? Yes. Browsing through the Amazon customer reviews, I found about 5 others that have had the motor burn out. Not good enough, not by far.
The good news is that not having the saw has given me time to catch up a little on chime production. The deluxe copper chimes with beach stone clappers take quite a while to make, and I am always short of them. I made about eighteen sets this past week. That's good.
And I also had time to put together some new ideas. Like the bird feeder double wind chime pictured above. I've wanted to do that for a long time, but never quite had the time. Now it's done. I also used my chain saw to cut some unbelievable planks from a cedar stump. Spent an hour sanding the top of one of those yesterday, and treated it with tung nut oil. Too beautiful for words! Not exactly sure what I am going to do with it~ but it's going to be great!
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Not just the usual glass making, creating, picture taking, listing on eBay, packing and shipping (already a job and a half!), but now a logging operation.
I needed to cut next season's firewood~ actually a chore that should have been done late last winter, but...
And then I saw that there were about fifteen cedars blocking most of my firewood trees. You don't want to burn cedar~ much too nice, and not great firewood anyway. So I am selling those to Westcoast Log Homes. You really should treat yourself to checking out there website~ Unbelievable homes. My cedars will be turned into part of some of these outstanding, artistic homes. I believe that they will be happier there, than in my fireplace.
By the way, did you know wood is actually one of the most ecological ways to heat? At least if you have a high-energy efficient stove?
But as you can see from the picture, back breaking work is involved. It's not a lot of fun wading through that war zone with a heavy chain saw. And it's not a lot of fun lugging the rounds out. And it's not much fun chopping the stuff up either. Fortunately, I have a very strong 16 year old son who works like a mad man-- if I had to do it all myself, I think I would collapse. Especially having to do it all under the blazing sun we have recently been enjoying. Well, gallons of water, both down the throat and over the head, and little by little it all gets done.
On Tuesday the heavy machinery comes in, and everything is going to look a lot tidier... I hope. Not exactly Better Homes and Gardens stuff right now.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Not to brag, but must say that I like everything I make. (I guess that is bragging!) Late yesterday afternoon, there was an opening party for a little gallery in town here, where I have lots of things, and people were wandering around oohing and awing (and yes, buying!) my work. Than Last night we had friends over for dinner, and they were wandering around oohing and awing about this piece and that. Nice for my ego.
This morning I was scanning through my eBay listings, and wondering which, out of all 85 creations, is my own favorite right now. Tough decision! I do like them all. But the one pictured above is perhaps, for now, my choice.
It's been out in the garden by the big Japanese maple ever since I put it there to photograph it, and it seems to have found a home there. I'm in no rush to sell it. On the other hand, when it sells, I will enjoy making another of this style. The big copper fork on the base of the large natural beach stone should be buried all the way into the soil, but I left it a little exposed so people could see how it works. It's super stable, and super cool~ and, for now, my favorite.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I use my table saw almost everyday. Yesterday, it broke. How did I ever live without it, and how am I going to survive for the two weeks it will take to have it repaired?
About 3/4 of the way through building six deluxe bird feeders, the bearings went. Not good. Especially for a relatively high-end saw that is only a couple of years old. And while I use it almost everyday, most often just for a few minutes~ maybe half an hour on average. So I am surprised and disappointed that the bearings already went. If it is just the back ones, they will replace them. If it is the front and back, it will mean a new engine. The worse is that I had to ship it off to Vancouver, and it will likely be two weeks before I get it back.
The good news is that I will be forced to get on with glass-making (something I have been putting off) and carving beach stones. It's okay. I have a ton of work to do that does not involve the saw. But I will deeply miss it.
To see all the neat things I make (with and without my saw), just click on the gallery links to the right. Worth looking!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I am still debating the best way to present a sound clip~ or even if it is wise to provide one. It seems like a good idea, but each recording is a little different, and I bet the system that it plays through adds even more variables.
Right now, the two best options seem to be a movie sound clip hosted on Google, or a sound Flash Media clip on Odeo. I am leaning towards the Odeo file, because the movie clip takes you to a different page (never a good idea, I think, to get people moving off your auction page), and I have not succeeded in producing anything but a very blurry image of the chimes.
My main concern with the Odeo clip is that perhaps not everyone has the software to load it. I wouldn't want to be responsible for freezing up someone's computer-- that's not a good way to gain customers!
Anyway, here are examples of both formats. Comments / suggestions / tips and hints deeply appreciated.
powered by ODEO
Saturday, June 17, 2006
The MicFlex ~ a nice little USB mic that seems to do a good job.
My first effort at a chime sound file got mixed reviews: some said fine, others said not loud enough. Thank you all for your opinions. I picked up a neat little USB mic, and have tried to capture a better, louder clip. Any comments deeply appreciated.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Remember my $100 workshop? Look what has taken up residence~
For a couple of days I was mainly using one of my other workshops, and this robin grabbed the opportunity to construct her nest. My workshop became her nest house, and I felt like an intruder anytime I had to go in and make something. So I kept my visits to the minimum and as short as possible. Somehow, it worked out okay, and the eggs just hatched. She is so busy feeding these guys she hardly notices me now, but I still work elsewhere, as much as I can.
So how long does it take for these babies to grow feathers and fly away? It's fun having them, but I still have to make a living.
If you like birds (who doesn't?), you may be interested in my super deluxe red cedar bird feeder with copper chimes~ the birds sure like them! To learn more, or to buy it, Click Here.
Friday, June 09, 2006
I discovered Karen's work over a year ago, and recently she made a few pieces especially for me (and hand delivered them all the way from Oregon!). Her choice of colors for this windsail reflects both her considerable artistic talent and her familiarity with my work. For more information on Karen, you can Click here. For more information on this wind chime, or to buy it, Click here.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
For more information on these, or to buy them, Click here.
I spent yesterday morning at a friend's who has a microphone. Unfortunately his setup has to feed through an amplifier, and the file always came up with a annoying background hum. Also, converting the file to Quicktime reduced the sound level, once again, too low. So more work to be done. My friend plans to get a USB microphone soon, so maybe then I will finally be able to put together a decent sample. I never thought it would be so difficult to capture a little snippet of sound.
Anyway, thanks very much again for all your help.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
For more information on this wind chime, or to buy it, Click Here.
I estimate that I have sold somewhere in the range of 500-700 wind chimes, and everyone has been very happy so far. But just recently I do have a lot more potential customers asking to listen before they buy. Before I used to offer to phone them, so they could hear them over the telephone. How primitive is that?
Then I found out that my new camera can record a five second sound file to a still picture. At only 150 KB, that's a fine size to email. But why wait for someone to ask to hear them? Lots of people would probably like to hear the sound before buying. So now I am investigating options for providing this service.
Being quite Web ignorant doesn't help. I learn as I go. What I came up with is hosting the image with the sound bite on Putfile.com, and working the HTML into a clickable button. I would very much appreciate any feedback~ particularly along the lines of whether this looks okay, if it works, if it sounds okay. It's only a five second clip. Thank you to anyone who helps out.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Somebody told me that as a general rule, artists should not raise their prices by more than about 10% a year. Someone should explain that to the copper market!
Not long ago, copper was on the market for about $.65 cents a pound. It's reaching $4.00 now. Gulp. Not so long ago, I could buy a length of copper for around $9.00. It's reaching for $20 now. Big Gulp! Apparently, just a taste of things to come. If I had the cash, I'd buy several thousand feet Right Now-- but that is not in the cards. I need that money for silly things (like food).
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
To make things like this...
Copper wire. Do I use a little? I buy it in 150 foot rolls. But there are seven strands, and I unravel those to make 1050 feet of wire. Each year, I use about two and a half rolls, or 2625 feet. Over the five years I have been working full time on this style of art, I guess I have used about 15,750 feet of this particular type of wire (I use other types too)~ that's almost three (3!) miles of wire. Yep~ I use a little of this stuff.
If practice makes perfect, my wire bending skills must be pretty darn close to perfect by now. Let's just say I'm comfortable with the technique.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The whole point of my work is to make new, exciting things. But when I have a design that is popular, it's tempting to just keep knocking them off. They are never the same anyway~ the glass is always different, and the wood, too. But still. So after a while, I just have to move on. Explore.
Sometimes that is not possible, oddly enough. There is a store where for complicated reasons I can only sell framed glass. At first it was great that these sold so well. But after making thirty or more, something had to change. Since this was the only style that could be sold in this store, I raised the price to slow things down. They still sold really well. So I raised the price again, significantly. That did the trick. I did not want to devote myself to making only framed glass.
I've recently been invited by two stores. I never go knocking on doors~ can't stand that. These are people who found me, and wanted my work. That's nice. And I can sell whatever I want. That's very nice. Probably what I most enjoy about my work is dreaming up new ideas, and turning those dreams to reality. I don't want to make the same thing over and over and.... well, you get the point.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Karen Godin, an exceptional fused glass artist living in Oregon, bought one of my wind chimes quite a while ago. She mentioned her own artwork, and we had a couple emails back and forth. After maybe a year or so, I heard from her again, and we exchanged many more emails as we were both looking for good Internet markets in which to sell our work. It was fun to explore different sites, and compare notes. I got to know her, and her stunning art work, much better.
It turned out that although she was born in South Africa, she grew up in West Vancouver, only forty minutes from my home. After I got the idea of begging her to make some fused glass windsails for my wind chimes, it also turned out that she would be going to West Vancouver this coming week for her father's birthday. She made the most beautiful glass for me, and will be hand delivering them next week. Isn't that amazing?
I wanted to learn more about fused glass work, and was very happy that Karen just wrote an excellent tutorial~ even using the windsails she made for me to illustrate the process. Her skill and artistic talent shines through. I do look so forward to meeting Karen next week~ not to mention getting my mitts on these fabulous fused glass windsails!
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
It ain't pretty, but it's home~ well, not exactly home. I do about 50% of my work in here. The saw is around back in a woodshed. And I work quite a lot in the garage, too. Picture taking, computer work and packing all takes place in the real house~ which fortunately doesn't look anything like this.
Would I like an attractive fully insulated well designed heated workshop? Sure. Would I like to pay the $40,000 plus it would take to build it? Nope. For now, I'm happy in my $100 hut.
Why not visit my store and see the beautiful things I make in my ugly hut? Click here.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Apparently one issue for many people working from home is getting out of the pajamas and to work. Quite the opposite for me. My problem is putting work aside and doing the other stuff~ fixing things that need fixing around the house, cutting firewood, grocery shopping, cleaning things up... all the things that must be done, but that are less interesting than the latest art creation. Even taking time for a little fun is not high on my agenda.
So, thank goodness for Yukon~ my four year old hound. They say dogs are Man's best friend~ I don't know about that, but I do know Yukon is high up on my list of best friends (and a mighty short list it is, too!). If it wasn't for this big yellow golden retriever, I have no doubt that most days I would work the whole day (workaholic), and be the worse for it.
Most of the day, Yukon is content to sleep nearby, once in a while opening one eye to check on the odd things I do. But sooner or later, usually just when I am doing something particularly tough involving both hands, fragile glass, and power tools, he finds a ball, carries it over, and drops it at my feet. It's time for a little fetch. I appreciate that. It's a reminder that there is more to life than simply working away. And so I throw the ball. And everyday we go for a walk, a walk that often turns into a long hike.
Sometimes in the middle of a particularly interesting new work, I might begrudge him his fetching and his walk. But it is just a momentary nasty thought. Once out in the peaceful woods with my fine pup, I find my energy levels increasing, my head clearing. I can return soon enough to work, refreshed. And so we hike on.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
is a big
The long thin box is the copper support. It is packed in a handmade birch plywood box~ really nice. The smallest box is the beach stone support, and weighs 50 lbs. Total estimated postage? Over $100.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
How relieved I was to discover the upper limit for shipping through the mail is 65 pounds. And even more relieved to discover the base stone I used weighs only(!) 45 pounds. That's great~ not only can I ship this work via regular mail, but I can make something even bigger! This work will ship in three boxes~ lots of packing fun.
I'm sorry for the new gallery~ this would have been a real treat for them to have. But I'll get down to the beach and find some super stones, and next week make an even bigger one for them. No crane needed yet~ but getting there!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Sadly, I have to make things I can pack and ship through the mail. If I can't pick up that stone, there is no way the post office is going to take it, no matter how many stamps. I am making larger works, to be sure. But each one has to be designed to ship.
Already, with these medium-size creations, packing is a job. Cutting plywood to sandwich copper supports. Fitting large stones into big boxes with fragile glass~ now that's fun! It wasn't overnight that I got to this point, thank goodness. If when I started I had been faced with packing some of these works, I believe I would have given up. It's good to keep challenging oneself~ it keeps it interesting.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The bears are awake again, coming down the mountain groggy from their long sleep, snorting around for fresh greens. We ran into the first one on the weekend~ A big one. I was not happy because the dog chased it like it was dinner on four legs. That's no good. First, the bear might get ticked off and turn on my pup (a neighbor's dog was killed last year), or the bear might get ticked off, chase the dog back, and take its anger out on me. That happens, apparently. It's exciting hiking at this time of year, but a little scary too.