I made this…

Hobbies, Stained glass No Comments

I didn’t have the glass to make panels based on the custom patterns I’m working on, so while I waited for that order to arrive I used some old glass to make a smallish practice panel using a pattern (not mine, I got it off the internetz) inspired by Art Nouveau glass by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It looks like this, and is 8″ x 11 1/4″:

mackintosh-rose-panel

I still need to solder some loops on it so I can attach a chain and hang it in a window, but I haven’t had a chance to get to the hardware store yet. Happily my glass order arrived as promised, in two business days, and shipping was much less than expected. (I budgeted $80 for shipping, it cost $23. Huzzah!) I’m really happy to have found the very friendly and helpful folks at Atlantic Stained Glass — having a relatively local reliable supplier just makes this all so much easier.

Games, games, games

Games, Hobbies 10 Comments

Robber!

We’ve been playing more non-computer games and it’s awesome. Included: Settlers of Catan (pictured above), Catan card game, and Munchkin. I’ve had some other games recommended to me lately but haven’t had a chance to really look into them at all. If you know of some kickass boardgames we should try (2-6 players, with 3-4 being the priority), leave a comment.

My next entirely irresponsible purchase

Hobbies, Photography 4 Comments

Turns out camera phones still suck (suck suck suck), and my awesome camera (DSLR, Nikon D70s) is still big enough that I just don’t carry it around me. Thus I need a small camera that I actually stash in my purse thing and have with me for those random moments I want to take photos of random crap I see in the real world.

Nikon (I am genetically-inclined to Nikon products, don’t bother trying to argue this with me) recently produced the Coolpix S50 which is totally badass. While it’s tempting to pretend I’ll get a Leica D-LUX 3, I just don’t have the intestinal fortitude to drop that much on a camera. So, instead, I’m going to get an S50 and be alternately verklempt that it has more megapixels than my D70s and doesn’t support RAW format. I’m sure I’ll survive.

Nikon S50

Update: apparently the D-LUX3 isn’t $5k (I was thinking of the M8).

Fun with macros

Hobbies, Photography, Pictures No Comments

fireglass


Spent some time messing around with my macro lens, taking detail shots of some stained glass I have. I need to sort out a better rig for this sort of thing — after 70 shots leaning over a glass table with a not-featherweight camera, my lower back was killing me. All in all a fun experiment.

New toys

Hobbies, Photography, Pictures No Comments

Rob and I went to the camera store today, after I did some research on wideangle zoom lenses. Ended up buying a Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 wideangle zoom and a Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 telephoto/macro zoom. And filters. And a camera bag.

Widangle test small

I really am a big fan of wideangle shots. This and the 18-70mm will be my standard “walking around” lenses, and the telephoto and my fixed focal-length macro will be for special occassions.

Glass is cool

Art, Hobbies, Stained glass 6 Comments

This evening I attended the first of six beginner’s stained glass classes at Northern Art Glass, a local studio that (in addition to offering a whole bunch of courses) does custom and restoration/conservation work. They do some seriously gorgeous work (one, two, three) so I was pretty excited when I stumbled across their website poking around for a place to take a class.

What surprised me most (and is clearly an indication that I need to get out of the house more often) was that the store (in spite of the “Closed” sign on the door) was full of people. There was at least one or two other classes being taught, and it seemed like a bunch of other people were there using the studio/workshop space for personal work. My class only has three other people in it, and Lynne (the instructor) was fun and friendly and obviously excessively knowledgeable about her craft. I’m pretty sure she could have gone on for the full two and a half hours just talking about the various types of glass available.

After a quick rundown on the whole process of doing copper foil glasswork, we finally got down to the serious business of turning larger pieces of glass into smaller pieces of glass using a variety of glass cutters (and, to the man, drawing blood in the process). Lynne, after watching me struggle valiantly with a pen-like glass cutter, made fun of me a little, asked me how sore my arm was, then suggested a more ergo-friendly cutter. Valuable advice, in that it made my cuts easier, more accurate, and significantly less stressful on my wrist/fingers/arm. Yay! Ergo stuff rules. (Aside to shaver: Yes, I ordered my Kinesis gear.)

So after chopping up some plain old glass into random bits, we spent some time chopping plain old glass up into non-random bits, following a very simple three piece apple pattern. Once we got a hang of that, we moved on to actual coloured glass and chopped it up into the apple bits. Then, surprisingly, it turned out that 2.5 hours was over, and I jumped on a bus to come home.

I had a lot of fun, and am already looking forward to next week. I’ve always loved stained glass (windows, doors, lamps, candle holders, panels, room dividers, what have you), so I could see this actually becoming a relatively viable hobby. The equipment and materials aren’t exceedingly expensive, and it might be a nice way to get away from the machines for a while. Hm!

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