Monday, July 5, 2010

5 Tips For Buying Quality Stained Glass

Recently, I was once again asked to repair a piece of stained glass for a friend which got me thinking about customers who like stained glass but don't know what to look for when they are buying a panel or sun catcher.

If you are in the market for a nice piece of stained glass that will last, here are 5 things to look for before you buy.

1) This probably can go unsaid, but it’s not a bad idea to make sure the glass is indeed glass and not just colored plastic. Glass is heavier than plastic and sounds different than plastic when you tap it with a fingernail, coin or key.

2) The glass should fit tightly together with no “wiggle” room. If it’s not snugly encased by the foiled solder seams or the lead came, it will eventually crack or fall out.

3) Structurally, straight lines in a design are not as stabilizing as curved lines unless they have been reinforced with rods or stiff wire. This is especially important around the edges in a free-form piece, such as where the hands meet the sleeve on an angel.

4) Look for rounded (bulbous) solder seams. Flat seams will eventually peel away from the glass, especially around the outside edges.

5) Avoid buying a sun catcher or art glass panel with long narrow pieces of glass. When pieces of glass are very narrow (less than 1/4” and more than 5”, which is a ratio of 1:20), they are prone to cracking across the smaller dimension.

There’s nothing like seeing stained glass in person. However, if you are buying a piece of art glass online, read the description carefully. E-mail the artist with questions about tips 1, 2, and 3, especially if the answers are not evident in their product descriptions or photos. Hopefully the artist has included some detailed close-ups of solder lines, joints, and embellishments (as in the photo at the beginning of this article) and you will be able to see the quality of their soldering and look at their design elements.

If you have any other questions, just Ask Me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St Patty's Day Blessings in Green

Having a wee bit of Irish in me blood, I just couldn't let tomorrow pass without posting some clever handmade goodies that made me smile. Smiling itself is a blessing these days, and I hope seeing these bring a smile to you this Happy Saint Patty's Day.

Thanks to the artists behind these green pieces that were found while roaming the pages of Artfire and Etsy.

May God grant you every blessing, especially the ones you forgot to ask for.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Say I Love You with a Gift that Keeps on Giving

Here comes Valentine's day, and if you are like me, you are still recovering from the pace of life during the Christmas holiday season. So, if you are looking for a simple inexpensive way to say "I love you" on Feb. 14 or for your anniversary, why not give a gift that keeps on giving.

Read on for the story behind the inspiration for this item and how it can take otherwise ordinary moments and make them extraordinary.

My husband and I went on a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend in 1989 while stationed overseas, and for the past 20 years wehave continued to be involved with other couples who strive to enrich their relationships on a regular basis. This gift idea was inspired by a short presentation given by one of those couples about 15 years ago. They talked about how good solid relationships are built one moment at a time. At the end of the presentation each couple was given little hearts and encouraged to hide them for their spouse to find. At first it sounded kind of childish, but we decided to give it a try, and I'm glad we did.

We each took a heart and hid it for the other to find. The first time I found one I had an instant flush of excitement tingle in my cheeks that put a big grin on my face as well as in my heart. Over the years, I've experienced this warm and fuzzy sensation whenever I find a heart that my husband has hidden. I then spend a few minutes trying to think of a good hiding spot where he will stumble upon it and get a similar sensation. Sometimes they are so well hidden that it's days before we find one, but it's a little romantic gesture or game that we continue to play simply because it is fun. Sometimes, when one of us needs to travel we each keep a heart in our pocket so we can finger it, which prompts fond thoughts and feelings about each other.

Approximately 5 years ago, we shared the idea with another group of couples as an inexpensive way to introduce a little fun into their lives. Recently, they've begun asking about getting some new hearts to replace the well worn ones that have inadvertently gone through a laundry cycle and the ones that have either been lost when they fell out of a pocket or hidden so well they are considered missing in action.

Their inquiries and the release of the movie Fireproof, prompted me to dust off this idea, upgrade the quality of the hearts we were using as tokens of our love, and make them available to any couple who is willing give this simple idea a try. Or if you'd prefer to do it yourself, check out my article on entitled DIY Valentine Project – Make a Gift that That Keeps on Giving. Its publication date is scheduled for January 17, 2010.

Whether you buy one of my packets of Love Tokens or decide to make some for yourself, my hope is that you will at least give this idea a try as a way to appreciate the unnecessary and add a spark of romance into your everyday lives.

Happy Valentine's Day!