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Archive for June, 2010


WooHoo!!!!!!!  I’ve done it…Finally…..relented, succumbed, a-kickin’ and a-screamin’ (well maybe not so much kickin” hehe) and bought a new torch!!  I’ve unscrewed my faithful old Hot Head torch from its moorings on my workbench and replaced it with a shiny new dual fuel Mini CC torch and 10 lpm Oxygen Concentrator!!

Mini CC Torch

Mini CC - Side View

Oxygen Concentrator

Some important facts before I go any further…..for those out there in blogsville who know nothing of the processes that go into making a glass bead…… A torch is used to melt the glass  (yeah, yeah – I know you got that bit…).  There are pretty much 2 sorts of torches that can be used – a single fuel torch (like my old work-horse, the Hot Head or HH) which uses only lp gas- the same as your bbq gas.  This is a great “beginners” torch, and although I do not consider myself a “beginner” and have been happy to use this torch for a few years, it does have limitations and is designed to melt soft glass.  The second type of torch is a dual fuel torch which uses both lp gas and oxygen mixed together – this creates a very hot, clean flame and melts glass really quickly (much quicker than my poor old HH).    The oxygen has to come from somewhere and you can either buy it in cylinders which can end up quite expensive over time or you can buy an oxygen concentrator (like the medical ones) which is expensive up-front but pays for itself over time. Oxy-cons  pull the oxygen from the air, concentrate it and pump it down a hose into said torch.  The combination of the oxygen and gas is mixed in the torch to create a “dual fuel” torch – mine of which can also melt the hard glass called borosillicate  or “boro” – the stuff that glass sculptures etc is made from (amongst other things).

Now – back to the story…….  The day has arrived – it’s here!  I’m excited, I’m shaking, I’m nervous – I can’t bring myself to hook it up because……well I’ve never done this before (well not with THIS sort of torch anyway) and I don’t want to blow myself up or anything (can that really happen????).  I had tried to put on the video that came with the torch – I thought it would show me how to attach this hose to that bit there and that hose to this bit here BUT…….the damn dvd didn’t work, did it???  I am a visual learner – I don’t “do” written instructions – they might as well be worded in Chinese – so I was in a bit of a state when the dvd didn’t work.  I emailed the lovely lady who sold me the torch, but I knew she was away so I didn’t expect an answer right away.  A couple of days later she rang me and talked me through all this stuff over the phone – better than nothing, I thought…..stuff = like what setting the oxycon needs to be on (I figured somewhere between 1lpm and 10lpm would be a good start!), what on earth these gauges that attach to the gas bottle are for, which knobs do I turn first – blah, blah, blah. (What have I done???  It used to be so simple!!  Turn on the gas, light the torch, start melting glass – doesn’t get simpler than that!).   Anyway – I found out that so long as I don’t have the oxygen knob open when I turn the gas knob on and put a lighted match near it – I won’t blow myself up!  Yikes!  And you wonder why lampwork beads cost so much???!!!  Danger money is what needs to be paid here!  I digress…..My DH helped me calm down and set things up – in the end all I  had to do was screw one hose to the oxycon and one hose to the gas and away I went (after all the safety checks, of course).

Now to say I am deliriously happy with my new set-up would be the under statement of the year!  I still cannot wipe the smile off my face!  I just looooove my new baby! Unbelievably quiet!  Maybe now, I will not go completely deaf due to my torch roaring in my ears!  Actually I feel a tiny bit guilty about wantonly discarding my dear beloved HH – but I told my disquieting thoughts that it was time for a rest, he deserved it.   Then I bought some new glass to celebrate. After all – one can never have TOO much glass…… it’s not like it goes “off” or anything…. hehe.  Does this look like TOO much glass to you……ok, maybe don’t answer that! lol

Part of my glass stash

Catch you next time with more “tales from the torch”…..

Sandy

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Good news!  Website is back on line and the world is rosy again!!!  Maybe I’ll get on with some new listings now…..

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Now if I were a person who ranted and raved and used copious quantities of bad language to express my self – now would be the perfect time to be expressing myself in said manner!!!  Where the hell is my website  ???????? My bill came through a month ago telling me my credit card would be automatically billed, nothing, naught, nicks, zero, to worry about and now this!!!!  Website gone!!!!  I tried to log into the administration area of my site and it tells me I have expired!!  What the…….?????

So……..I’m assuming that it is a glitch that will be fixed as a matter of high priority (by my service provider whom  I also pay for my Domain Name)  so that my customers …and me… can get back to accessing my website.  And I will have a few words of my own to say in their shell-like ear…..when I calm down…that is!  In the meantime, please rest assured that I have not gone out of business or anything like that….just have to hurry up and wait for this to be fixed up.

Cheers

Sandy

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Hi again, fellow bloggers!! Welcome to Day 3 of the infamous Sydney Trip! LOL… This is where we left off last time…….very tired and grumpy as well after an almost sleepless night listening to the melodious sounds of the fire alarm barking at us to “Evacuate the Building” – which we ignored on the advice of our neighbours who informed us that these sorts of false alarms happened on a regular occurrence, one said occurrence had also happened the night before….(please read previous “Sydney” blog for details…).

Today we would be travelling to Camden by train to see some friends of ours who had shifted last year to this neck of the woods. My son is best mates with their eldest boy, Jason – they share so many common interests, Star Wars, Dr Who, LEGO, Transformers, etc etc etc and they were virtually inseparable both at school and out of it. It is wonderful when your child finds someone that they share a unique bond with, isn’t it? Unfortunately, Jason’s family wanted him to move with them to Sydney, so he had to go too (I don’t know why they couldn’t just leave him here with us! I mean, they could visit him every so often surely?) Because we were in the vicinity, it was our turn to visit them.

Now my DH (this stands for darling hubby by the way, not anything else….hehe ) had been a very good boy and had studiously worked out exactly which train we had to catch, when and where from plus the return journey – so we were well prepared when we arrived at the train station……BUT (now you knew there was gonna be a “but” because surely no-one could be this organised and something NOT go pear-shaped…..) unfortunately on that very day, at that very time, on that very track…..City Rail was doing their once a century track maintenance, weren’t they!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!! I kid you not. So we had to make a very quick decision on alternatives for our journey. Now one of the alternatives was to travel to some blah blah street, get on a blah blah bus, travel to this blah blah destination where we would get off the bus and onto another blah blah train that would take us the rest of the way to Camden????? What the??? We’re from the bush you know? This might sound perfectly ok for a native Sydney-sider, they’re used to changing buses and trains at a moments notice, but we’re not! Blimey we don’t even have a public transport train system where we come from! Now we had no idea where this street was or whether we would make it in time for the bus or have to wait another hour for another bus and then what about the train connection at the other end????? All too hard so we took the easier option which was: get on the replacement train, get off in 4 stops, get on the bus that by-passes the closed track, get off the bus at Camden, get picked up by friends nearly an hour behind schedule. No worries, we had a lovely time chatting away and catching up and all too soon it was time to go – everything in reverse! Except that we were about 2 and a half hours behind schedule by this time!

Jason & Family

Now our other friends – the ones we were on holiday with – had spent their day in book shops and stuff and we were supposed to meet them at Sydney Aquarium a lot earlier than we did – but hey! We got there eventually. We had a cool ride on the monorail – witnessed a bit of a stressed-out-agro monorail driver go off his nut at some silly teenage girl who tried to push the automated doors of the monorail open when they had closed – so we caught the next one. Not sure I wanted to be travelling with that driver….this is the big smoke after all…I listen to the news…. Anyway, Sydney Aquarium was great! The boys got photos with the Mermaid – she was just some fibreglass figure with a tail and big boobs but they enjoyed it! I took lots of photos of all the fishies in the big tank – turtles, gropers, pretty coloured fish (Nemo’s & Dory’s – you know the ones…), sharks swimming overhead, our “lovely” sea cows of the sea – dugongs – and of course, big sting rays (my son has never forgiven them for causing Steve Irwin’s untimely demise!) What I found really awesome was the walkway through the tunnel – in one part it was glass and you could see the fish swimming underneath your feet – wow!! That was something else! A bit disconcerting though. The displays were really great, I liked the deep sea jelly fish that lit up with all these pretty colours! Jake liked the crocodiles (of course). We missed a lot of the daytime shows because we showed up so late and it was nearly dark by the time we managed to get out of the gift shop!

Time to eat! We made our way to this fabulous restaurant famous for its steak – can’t quite remember its name, The Steak House, or something similar. Anyway its the place where lots of famous Aussies eat and you can even pay over a great wad of cash for special membership rights and get your own “knife” which is kept on the wall as you walk in and has your name on it (I never did ask what that was all about…sorry). Anyway, the fact that we had an 8 o’clock reservation didn’t seem to mean anything because we had to wait over half an hour to be seated. But it was all good from there! Steak was awesome! Bill at the end was even awesomer!! (is that a word?) I know why famous people like it! We sat outside on a balmy Sydney evening and watched as all sorts of people waltzed on by – a fabulous end to a wonderful day! I tell you that I have no earthly idea how some women can manage to run in 6 inch heels! I don’t think my toes would even touch the ground if I wore 6 inch heels! Sounds like a good recipe for broken ankles and skirts around the waist, if you ask me! (I envy them, really…)

Well, it got really late….we were really tired…..couldn’t get a maxi taxi anywhere on a Saturday night…..didn’t want to walk back to the apartment….finally got 2 taxis…..fell into bed, finally…..with the promise that if that stinking alarm went off again, I would forget my country manners for a short while!   Tomorrow was gonna be a BIG HUGE day for me!! I had a date with the Sydney Beadmakers group! I’ll tell you more about that later…..enjoy the pics and have a great weekend!

Sydney Aquarium

BIG Shark

Croc

Dugong

Sleeping Dugong

Deep Sea Jelly Fish

Manta Ray

Mermaid Pic

Shark

Turtle

Cheers

Sandy

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