Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"I just got on my pony's back and away I went." ~ Gordon Richards

So, yesterday I tried my hand at sculpting glass! It is completely different feeling and kind of like frosting a cake and using modeling clay that you can't touch.  It was AMAZINGLY hot being just an inch away from a solid mass of glass and slippery.  I have had this image of fat ponies made of glass in my head for quit and while and decided I wanted to try it out.  Surprisingly it went very well from the start!

So, I walk into the hot shop, draw a rough sketch on the floor and say I want to sculpt that!  I am surrounded with teachers and Jukke and we all start to brain storm where to start, where to end, what tools I will need and in general how this shin-dig is going to go down.  In the end I am armed with Rebecca as my assistant, a machete and leather glove from Jukke and a flame thrower that Julia Childs would be jealous of (yes, she did use flame throwers!).

I managed to make two adorable and fairly accurate to the sketch ponies!
 Above we have Lady, attempt number 2, she is running (thats how you tell them apart).
 And, this handsome fellow is Sven, he is galloping but because all his feet are together he is standing on a pad of glass.
 They are very wide as you can see, ready for their tiny kids to bounce off them when they try jumping.
 Sven from the other side, he has a big butt, but don't talk about it, he is secretly sensitive.
 And, Lady, with her head held very high struts her stuff.
 And now, time for the glamor shots, no not really, just trying to get a better picture where you can actually see what is going on and not reflections from a thousand different things. 

 I think Lady is very graceful despite her size, I think it is the tail swish she's got goin' on.
 It was exhausting make these two, it took me all morning, but it was really fun.  I plan to make some more, but I am mulling over the shape and general look of them.  But don't worry, there will be more "My Little Ponies" as Micke calls them!

Today I worked with Thomas in the hot shop, I made some champagne glasses and he made a jug inside a jug!  It was pretty cool, there is literally a tiny version of a pitcher inside a bigger one!  I will take a picture tomorrow so you can see how cool.  We didn't get it perfect, but some really nice ones came out in the end I think.

After school I went to Tempo and got stuff for a stir fry tonight (which turned out really good) and saw these tulips:
 Its like a pansy and tulip had babies and this is the magical product!
I have never seen flowers like this so I was really impressed, maybe a little too impressed, I got weird looks while I was taking pictures.

Now, I need to get back to packing... I am going to Gothenburg to visit Rosanne for the weekend.  She has been trying to get me to her home town for forever and this weekend will be perfect.  It is (I think) the second largest city in Sweden, supposed to be full of super cool people and really beautiful.  Also, this weekend is the end of April, first of May which is big celebration for Sweden from what I understand.  Eva said they burn stuff like Christmas trees and things to bring in Spring, so I have to assume something cool will be happening in Gothenburg!  Also, Rosanne is going to take me out to a proper Swedish club she says and I am getting a fancy hair cut, I am thinking just above the shoulders.  I am super excited and leave tomorrow at lunch, so I need to finish packing and cleaning :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Where it is duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat." ~ John Morley

Happy Tuesday which actually feels like a Monday... is anyone else's body confused?  I learned something today, it hurts to blow glass when you are sunburnt!  I didn't think of it, but the heat coming out of the glory hole and furnace feel off the charts HOT!  So, in the future I will try to give myself at least one day of recovery from excessive sunshine before going back into the hot shop.

I found this lonely little champagne glass that I made on Thursday.  I was inspired to make the old fashioned wide glasses from all the shows I have been watching like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire.  It took me forever to get the shape right, but I am pretty close I would say:
 In real life it doesn't look so crooked I promise, I am not sure what is going on in this picture.
 This evening I made myself a super delicious and, I think, healthy dinner.  I had super good salmon with a marmalade mustard glaze (found here) and fresh sugar snap peas broiled then tossed in asian delight sauce (found here).  I am super pleased with myself, it was surprisingly good and I am sure I will make it again.

And, since this is all of the pictures I took today (didn't do anything exciting in the cold shop this afternoon and you have to wait to find out what I did in the hot shop) I decided to show you my long weekend!
 Friday morning I laid in the sun reading my book and the afternoon and into evening there was a camp fire in Flygsfors.
 There was swimming, OK, only Jukke jumped in and I am pretty sure regretted it almost instantly.  There was some fire twirling, which wasn't as exciting as it sounds, as you can see.
 The Fins outnumbered all the rest of us, but it was a good time, and a way too long night.

The next day (Saturday) I had breakfast with Jonatan and Bjorn, we had pancakes (their specialty I think) and then played lawn games (kub and frisbee) with this guy named Tobbe (who doesn't speak much English).  Finally, we decided to go to Stugby where Jonatan was going to swim, or get rid of his winter coat as the Fins say, meaning to take the first swim after the ice has melted.
 He very quickly decided it was waaaay too cold.  Then next thing we know Jonatan and Bjorn climbed the light house!  It is a bit of a mini light house, but impressive all the same.

 This is Jonatan (the 16 year old heavy drinker in my house) riding his bike.  He is constantly trying to do tricks and is constantly almost wrecking. It is a bit scary to walk near him or ride behind him!  We went back to my house, has a feast of pasta with meat sauce and then all fell asleep on the couch watching The Simpsons at about 8:30 haha!

Sunday, yes Easter Sunday, I slept until about 12, woke up to Bjorn and Jonatan coming over for breakfast again.  This time Bjorn made "eggy bread" or french toast to the rest of us.  It was pretty nice having these kids show up and make food in the morning!  We ended up going to Mads' place for a barbecue and drum circle:
Bjorn is on the left, then Mads, Bosse playing something in his mouth and Jenni's boyfriend Jani in the dreads.

 They had to stop after a while though because the neighbors started to complain even though it was the middle of the afternoon.  The big plan for the night was to bury some meat, pour coals on it and then have slow cooked delightful meat... the problem was the fire took forever, the meat got buried in cold dirt and I don't think anyone ate it until about 11 pm!  
 As you can see I had sausages!  Below is Jenni, me and Jonatan all crammed on the coach and enjoying the last of the Sunday sun.
 Then someone found the fire starting liquid, got the fire roaring and then this happened.
 Children: these are trained glass blowers, do not do this at home, or ever for that matter!
 Jukke and Mads, the two most out there guys, spewing flames!
 It was actually pretty impressive and amazing.  They said it tasted pretty damn bad if you are wondering.  They didn't catch anything on fire and surprisingly the neighbors didn't complain about this.  I manged to leave this party pretty early.   Had eaten too many sausages and drank too many beers in 3 days... I had to hit the hay.  But, I woke up bright and early on Monday!

So, Monday for breakfast the boys and I had bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches!  Talk about a good weekend for breakfast right?!  Chilled in the yard and finally decided to go to the big lake (which is called Orranäsasjön) in case you were wondering, I can never remember the name.  We got bikes and went out there with Mads who slept most of the time causing him to only get sun on one side of his body.
 It was a perfect day, nearly 30C I heard (in the 80s F) and almost no wind!
We swam as soon as we got there and our bodies were still warm from the bike ride over.  I managed to walk in, dive in once, come up screaming and run out.  The others stayed in a few more seconds but not very long.  Jonatan finally got his swim in though, so he was happy.
 All of a sudden Bosse and Tobbe rowed up on a boat!  They were fishing, but they were using coffee cake for bait so it wasn't going so well for them.
 They docked on our beach and somehow started a rock skipping contest.  So, we have Jonatan on the left, Tobbe, Bosse (the man in black like Johnny Cash), Mads and Bjorn.  I think Bosse won with like 16 skips or some thing like that!
 And then they rowed away... into the sunset, no not really.
 We laid in the sun (that is sleeping Mads in the top corner) and played frisbee and recovered from our long weekend. 
 The view was amazing and it was the perfect end to the long weekend.
I went home early, cleaned the apartment (boys are very messy in a short amount of time), watched a movie and put about 3 layers of lotion on!  But, as I said on Facebook, sunburn = good weekend.  I am not too worried, I am sure the sunburn will turn into tan (it mostly is already) and that after this I won't have to worry about burning.  Also, I am not going to eat another sausage for WEEKS, I think I ate them 3 different times!

It was great to get back to school today to do something productive, I enjoyed the relaxing weekend but I like to be productive more then idle.  I am sure your weekend wasn't as full of as many yummy breakfasts, yard games and sausages, but I hope you had a nice Easter with your friends and/or family.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"After the departure of the land parties, I embarked with six men on thursday, the 21st april, on board my newly made boat and began the descent of the river." ~ William Henry Ashley

Alright, so I have no idea what that quote is about, but it fits because this past Thursday (when I was supposed to post this) it was the 21st of April!!  I tried to load the pictures on Thursday night, it took forever, I fell asleep and then forgot the rest of the weekend.  Soooo, here they are!!!

So, in anticipation of Easter coming up I made some bunnies with the flower cutting wheel!
 There is even a butterfly in the top left, so cute and spring-y!
 I took it home this weekend and filled it with a little loose candy for the holiday.
 Which looked really good until boys came over and ate it all in one night!  

I also did some fish on the flower cutting wheels.  I was practicing for this big bowl I made which reminds me of a gold fish bowl.  I tried a couple of different fish types:
 That kind with neon stripes through their tiny bodies.
 And the big, pretty, fighting Beta!
 I like them all, so maybe I will do one of each on my bowl, but I think they need gills still.

Then in the hot shop I had made this BIG, awesome bowl!! It has the rim made with the cup of color technique I tried to explain last time.  It turned out really good and I am very pleased :)
 I am going to try to find a way to get this guy back to the states I like it so much :)
I put a "klapp" on it it which is like a Swedish foot or "klack" but it is thinner and you grind it off in the cold shop, so that is why it is sitting a bit sideways, it will be straight soon!

After school on Thursday I went for a cookout at the big lake to get our long weekend (4 days off) kicked off right.  The weather has been perfect, I have eaten my weight in grilled sausages and have a very pink glow to my skin.  I even went swimming it was so warm!!!  But, I will tell you more later :)  Hope you all had a good Easter too!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." ~Chinese Proverb

Do you remember yesterday evening I said I had put a candle in the graal and was sitting with it lit next to me?  Well here it how it looked!  I reminded me a bit of a child's night light, the kind where the outside spins around a scene is played out on the walls of the bed room.  I always thought those were cool and maybe it shouldn't be a dragon (a bit scary) but maybe a horse, or different carousel animals.  It was really nice with the candle and I think that is how it should always be seen :)
 Last night I also decorated some easter eggs.  Over the weekend I had blown out a few egg shells when making my breakfast and was waiting for them to dry properly.
 Well, the finally did, I colored them and strung them up on these flowering branches with dental floss.  Looks pretty damn festive I must say :)

On Friday Åke showed this technique where he made a piece with a ring of color on the edge and 3 different colors in the inside!  He had yellow, blue and pink colors swirled together, put them into this hollow cup of white, covered it all in clear and magically made a plate out of it!
 Here is the finished plate, pretty big and pretty awesome.  It is a neat way to really have all the colors come together, the color around the rim isn't sitting on top of the others, or clear it is really IN the piece.
 Well, after watching this Vegard of course wanted to try it out yesterday! Åke and Micke said since it was a holiday week they would be nice and let us try!  Well, first we tried with white, it was REALLY tricky since white is so hard to work with.  I made a sort of cylinder vase with a narrow opening.  The one on the left is actually a very pretty steel blue on the rim that we got from the factory workers.
 They are both a bit think, but I like them all the same!  Vegard's was even thicker then mine and I think he was a bit disappointed but willing to try again.
 So, today he made giant plates with the blue rim.  He also made one with a blue rim and a sort of lime green inside part... not sure how that will look but we have high hopes.  I made a giant bowl, it felt like a giant punch bowl but maybe it is more of a large salad bowl... it is so hard to tell how big it really is.  It was a good day, but exhausting because we stayed in the hot shop the whole day and it was really hot in there today!
 I thought you might like to see this is Vegard's graal he did at the same time as I did mine.  He used the same reddish/orange I did but his is more orange because it isn't so thick.  His piece is super thick and heavy though, he said he might plant herbs in the pot.
And, finally the trees are blooming, you can see little buds of leaves forming and this tree on the way to school has become fragrant and pretty.  It is the same kind as the Easter branches I have in my house with the eggs I think.  I waiting to get a good picture of the trees turning green before I change my heading picture, I will try this weekend, I think it will be beautiful here!!