Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Brick oven: Modifications

Just when you thought the brick oven was a mere myth and legend...


It's been a few months since the last update, and the reason is because Alan had some repairs to make. Earlier this year, he noticed the keystone bricks in the front of the chimney were sitting low. He reasoned that lifting them with an exercise ball and cementing them back into place was a suitable approach. However it turns out that pneumatics are stronger than cemented joins... the entire front lifted up. Alan ended up having to dismantle the entire arch and rebuild it.


Which brings us to more recent times. Alan rebuilt the tunnel with a squared-off roof this time. It might not be quite as traditional but it sure is easier to construct. He's got steel beams in there for rigidity (and to hold the bricks up) and now the chimney sits flatter on top, too. So it's all good.


Below is a picture of the first fire to be lit in here, in a while.



Now, we have to light some more fires inside, to dry out the new cement. When the weather gets a little cooler, it will be stucco time. Watch this space...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fan Lamp 2

I thought I'd make another fan lamp, but this time do it in fused glass. Here's some shots of how it was made and how it turned out.


A layer of petals, and a center.


Second layer of petals and some supports.


Inner petals.


Center in place, and frit added over the top for texture and interest. The white stuff is glue.


The final piece! Red glass is really hard to photograph with an iPhone, but there's a lot of visual interest going on here, especially when it's lit.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fan Lamp

I didn't know fan lamps were a thing until a neighbor introduced me to them. She is moving soon and I bought a load of art glass from her. In the pile was this lamp kit. Once I found out what to do with it, I had to make one!


I went with an Indian-inspired design on this. Laid it out in Illustrator (as I do with all my glass designs) and here we are. It has a 25W bulb behind it, which is plenty enough.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Proclamations

I've seen enough episodes of 'The Simpsons' and films to know that in America, sometimes the local Mayor will proclaim it to be a certain day. I've never actually seen this in real life until now. When we heard that one of our favorite local singer/songwriters was going to be honored at City Hall in Austin, we had to go along!


Here's City Hall. It's a very cool building. Lots of interesting angles in the architecture.



Inside the Council Chambers, they put Cheryl's album cover on the screen.



Cheryl played a song before the proclamation.



A few more shots of the Council Chamber while Cheryl's on.







The Proclamation is read out. I don't know who the lady in pink is but she seemed to be the main speaker in the Mayor's place. The Mayor himself was busying himself with the recipient of the next Proclamation who was the reason for all the TV cameras in the room. His loss!







(too bad they didn't get the spelling right but what can you do?)
Cheryl is presented with the official Proclamation.



And that was it! Short but sweet.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sometimes, they stop fighting

And sit near each other. But not _too_ close ;-)



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sleepy Cats

Prepare for cuteness!

Here's Smokey, all sleepy and spark out.



He even chose to ignore the fact that Sunshine jumped right up next to him. Usually that would be greeted with growling.


Another night. Mine, all mine...!


Last night. Sleepy Sunshine.


Extra sleepy.... head back; well out of it...


This behaviour seems to intensify when the weather is cold and rainy out... I think they like the warmth :-)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

UK2013: Back to London

And so it was on the final Monday of my UK trip, I went to the train station with my Dad, where we both boarded a train bound for London. He had a meeting to attend near Gloucester Road, which was close to the Museum area. My flight was not until early Tuesday morning. It would normally be my plan to stay at a hotel in Heathrow the night before, but friend Andrew had invited me to stay with him instead. So I had a few hours to spend in London before meeting him. I chose to spend those hours in the Victoria and Albert Museum.


I bade farewell to my Dad a couple of streets away from the museum; he went to his meeting and I went to meet some culture. The big London museums are awesome and the V&A is a wonderful place. It's filled with all kinds of art and architecture from all around the world. Let's have a look at some.


Here's the entrance to the V&A.

One of the main galleries with various stoneworks inside.

I'm standing on an upstairs walkway which opens out in four directions. Here you can see a clock in one of the archways. To the right is part of a fabulous glass sculpture, about ten feet tall, which hangs over the reception desk on the ground floor, below. It's a bit dusty... I suppose nobody dares clean that amount of fragile glass!

Another view looks towards this ironwork screen which used to be part of a church. It is all hand made and painted and is thoroughly beautiful.

Here's a close up of the two centre panels. I love the lightness of design in this.

The screen leads into an entire gallery of wrought iron fences, screens and panels.

Further down the gallery, at a meeting of ways, which open into this rotunda. An artist has placed flattened brass instruments at ceiling/floor height as a sculpture.

Downstairs, there are many galleries of historic artifacts. I love the intricate work of this door.

And the solidity of this one.

No museum of historical artifacts would be complete without a suit of armour.

I'm not sure of this was a screen or furniture, but the woodwork was magnificent.

There were two enormous halls, filled with major statuary and works. Some are replicas, others are not, but even the replicas are old. Take a look at the bottom left of this image; you can see some sarcophagus-type coffins there. The figures laid on top are life-size, to give you an idea of scale. The column on the right is huge.

At the end of the gallery, up a flight of stairs, there's a small window through which you can peer out. I was not expecting to see more above me, but the ceilings of these huge galleries are suspended below the original glass ceilings which are under restoration.

Even the ironwork of the building is beautiful.

I reluctantly left the V&A after four or five hours slowly digesting its delights (including a very nice sandwich in their extensive restaurant area). I indulged in a ride on the Heathrow Express again back to the airport, and found my way to Terminal 5. Here I met up with Andrew, who took me back to his place where I spent a very pleasant evening with his family, before he took me back to Heathrow in the morning, and I got my flight home.

That flight was entertaining; I'd managed to book the same flight as friend Tamzin, who had also been in the UK. So we depleted the aeroplane's wine fridge and kept the stewards entertained ;-) Thus ends the Tour of the UK 2013. I hope you've enjoyed the ride.