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Summer Breeze
Alice Dalton Brown

The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-August2008.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Dog Days of Summer

2. Welcome New Subscribers

3. What’s new?

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

5. Project of the Month

6. Challenge of the Month

1) The Dog Days of Summer

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Dog Floating on Raft in S...
Chris Minerva

As we head into August the days are hot and sadly we can start to see summer slowly winding down. The “Dog Days of Summer”. Where did this saying come from anyway? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?” In ancient times, when the night sky was clear, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. In the summer, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.

There you go, now you can say you have had your constellation lesson as well today.

2.Welcome New Subscribers

A big welcome goes out to all of my new subscribers! This website wouldn’t be worth creating if it weren’t for all of you. Thanks for your continued support! It’s great to have you all here.
3.What’s New?

I have been very busy this month adding new sections and pages. There are now gift ideas for summer gift giving. I have also been adding many pages to the Edible-gifts page and the

Gift In a Jar Gifts Page As always if there is something you are looking for and can’t find please e mail me or if you have a great gift ideas of favorite project you would like to share….. by all means, send me those too. I would love to hear from you.

4.Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

This month we are going to meet a glass bead maker by the name of Renate Hunt. She creates beautiful glass lampwork beads. I can tell you from experience that this is no simple task. I have taken lampwork bead classes and I am not to proud to admit, I just don’t have the knack for it. So I can definitely appreciate the time and talent this woman uses to make her beads. So, hold on to your hats, socks, underwear, whatever you want to hold on to, because here we go…..

Q. Hi Renate, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have always enjoyed art projects, ever since I can remember, drawing flowers & suns in elementary school. I have study art in my local Community College Umpqua Community College & have an AA Degree. I have enjoyed painting in oils, acrylics, watercolors & more.

Q. How did you start bead making? Are there any artists or other bead makers that you feel influence your style?

In 2003 I was introduced to lampwork bead making by Sonya Husko Addicted to Beads. It was instant love but took hours practice before I was making beautiful beads. I love working with transparent glass & making flower beads. I developed my own style of flower bead with the two vines & four flowers, but I like to make a variety of shapes styles & colors, gets boring doing the same thing over & over so I like to change it up. LOL!

Q. How do you make your beads? How do I make beads: well I have a Minor torch that runs oxygen & propane. I buy rods of soft glass 104coe that I melt onto nine in rods of steel that have been dipped in bead release so that the beads come off, also makes the hole in the bead. To start I first light my torch, & start melting glass onto the mandrel (steel wielding rod dipped in bead release) you have to keep the mandrel twirling at a constant slow speed, which makes the bead round. Although that takes some practice to make them round. Usually I put a bottom layer of glass then encased in a clear layer of clear glass then add flowers & designs, cool until beads not red hot, then put the beads in the kiln.

Q. How do you get the ideas for the different designs for your beads?

I think to start with bead makers look at lots of other bead makers beads styles & in books to get ideas, color combo, styles, but eventually you come up with your own style, that would be my flower bead style. I would say I got that idea partly from my husband Jon. He would make bead with white centers & incase them in clear glass & etch & they sold really well & they looked so beautiful, I think they glow. I took that idea & added flowers to it, but it took a while to come up with my own flower design I liked.

Q. What does your work space look like?

My workspace is a mess. I have twists & cane & rods of glass everywhere.

Q. Is your jewelry business a full time business or do you also do something else?

I make beads full time along with other lamp working businesses. We own Foster Fire bead release & www.lbsupplys where we have your entire lamp working supply needs as well as advice from experience bead makers. Jon & I started selling on ebay in 2003. I now have bead sales on ebay. My seller name is bubble beader. I also sell on ETSY under seller name bubblebeader. There is also a link to our website for lampwork supplies if you want to make your own beads. The link is;

Q. If someone was interested in trying bead making what advice could you give them to get started?

To those who are interested in making lampwork beads I would find a fellow lampworker or a store where you can take class & go & make beads & see if you love to make them & are willing to practice enough to make beautiful beads. Any questions on lampwork bead making you can email me (Renate) at I do make special orders set if you can find a color your after but see a style you like let me know.

5. Project of the Month I am posting my stepping stone that I made for a friend of mine for her and her husband’s 25th wedding anniversary, Sadly, I didn’t receive any emails with reader stepping stone pictures so I have nothing to post. It’s not too late though. If you have a picture to send me that would be great and I would love to post it for all to see! Don’t be shy send them to me! If you have a project idea you want to tell us about for the project of the month section please email me that too!
6. Challenge of the Month

Send me your favorite summer craft example or idea. Make sure to include pictures if you have them. We will vote on the best idea. I didn't receive any stepping stone pictures for July so if you have the please send them my way so that I can post those as well! Don't be shy! It's all about sharing and learning!

I will post the project I do for next month along with instructions and pictures for you all to see.

Here are some more crafty summer gift idea resources

Do you know somemone who would like this e zine as much as you do? Please forward it to any family or friends who enjoy arts, crafts, gift making and giving!

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