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The Blue Between Studio

2007 was an exciting year for The Blue Between! We built a brand-new garden studio where I can once again play with fire, melt glass and make my lampwork beads.

Spring 2008
Clematis trellis installed, Rhody tree in bloom:


Garden growing up around it:


A new hutch I build for the "stash":



And the little shelf I built to store bead-making supplies:


October 8, 2007 - Settling In
It's been a few months now that I've been able to work in the studio somewhat regularly - I've added some fun new things like my shiny cool glass storage rack, a "creation station" to hold my torch with armrests and elbow padding, a wired "busty" lady to hang finished pieces from, a shelf made from an old shutter, etc etc. I have not been able to hang anything on the walls yet... for some reason I can't bring myself to hammer a hole into that plaster I worked so hard to create. It will come.... soon I hope.

The Blue Between Studio


glass storage rack

glass storage rack

June 22, 2007 - My Working Studio
Well... what a crazy week (or was it two?) since I last posted. First of all, my hood did not work and it was SUCH a disappointment. After several days of trying things, the best solution ended up being a sheet of metal acting as a baffle. It works fine now, but is definitely not as easy on the eyes as before. I will probably change it to something else, down the road...

But here it is, mostly done on the outside, it just needs a little patio and path so I don't have to walk in the mud to get to it.

It has a skirt

Inside, it still needs the trim painted, but we rushed getting the stuff out there because we have a house guest and needed to make some room in my old art room for a guest bed. So it will get painted eventually, and shouldn't be too much of a hassle to do it even though all my "junk" is now out there. I also need some storage, shelving, art on the walls... it's definitely not feeling homey yet, but it sure is NICE to hang out there and melt glass!

Here is my lampwork bead making side:

melting side

And here is my jewelry creation side:

beading side

Thank you everyone for all your nice comments along the way - it HAS been fun watching it go up! But I sure am glad it's just about done and I can get back to work again creating beautiful things. xoxo, Pam

June 11, 2007
Today I got propane. Tomorrow I get power and we can see if all of this works. Cross your fingers!

June 10, 2007
Oh, what a good weekend this was for the studio. Frank just about knocked himself out though - he had to dig this ditch so the electricians can come this week and electrify my studio -and he dug most of it in torrential downpours:


ditch done

Then he started hanging the trim inside:

trim hung

And while he was doing that, I painted some trim outside (just the corners - I think it looks better, don't you?):

painted corners white

AND THEN!!! We hung the hood - oh, we are SO close now!!! It's just too exciting!

hood up

June 3, 2007
This is Big!! We got the studio painted and it's SO cute! I just love it, though the "cape cod grey" I picked out seems a little lighter than I was really thinking. I'm just not the best paint picker am I? I think it has something to do with lacking patience. Anyway.... It's done and I'm happy. I grouted too, but it needs the last bit of clean up still before I can show that to you.


Not too much left to do before I'm out there melting glass and creating again. Interior trim, hanging the hood, punching a hole for the propane hose, cleaning off the dusty grouted floor and sealing it, and getting the electrician back out to do the finish work. Outside just needs a lattice skirt and some plants!

May 29, 2007
Frank built this for me. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it's rock solid and will keep the fan noise out of my studio - or at least, that's my hope. So we are ------ THIS ----- much closer to being done!

studio vent system

studio fan box

May 28, 2007
Now THIS was satisfying:

studio floor

Tiles are a little darker than the picture shows, walls a little lighter - strange. Will try to grout tomorrow maybe.

May 23, 2007
I gave up on the faux/weathered look. Went with Ben Moore's Aura AF-535 - a foggy beachy blue, it's a little darker than this, but it will be good once the trim and floor are in. You can see the floor tiles under the starfish.

studio wall

May 22, 2007
Holy Moly, it's been a month since I've had progress to report - not good. But now I have some.

Steps were finished last night:

I finished priming and started painting. I'm trying to get a look similar to this (from a Veranda magazine cover, Feb 07):
veranda cover

Here is my first layer, glazes go on next:


April 24, 2007
I finished the mudding today - the studio is all taped up and texturized and will be ready to prime and paint tomorrow! Well, maybe just prime, I haven't figured out paint yet.

April 20, 2007
Playing with Mud - This was actually more fun than I thought it would be - it is like preparing a giant canvas with my kind of textured base... the only thing is now it's giving me new ideas how to paint the walls... trouble, because I really just want to get it done and melt glass, not turn my studio walls into a work of art! (Though that WOULD be fun too...)

April 19, 2007
The last piece of sheetrock went up last weekend and the hole for the exhaust fan got cut. Frank's work out there is just about done, now it's my turn. I've got to mud the walls next (I'm not sanding, I refuse, so I'm going to make it look old-world and textured like a rustic old cottage), then prime, paint and then figure out the floor.

Lampwork Bead Studio

April 11, 2007
I've decided, the interior will be painted in soothing beachy colors - just like in this necklace. Sandy tiled floors, seafoamy blue walls, paler seafoamy blue ceiling. Silver worktop, silver lights, silver vent hood. I can't wait.

April 10, 2007
The view from my studio today. Isn't this the best? So much better than the dark cave my last studio was. I'm feeling very lucky today.

April 8, 2007
Sheetrock has been going up!

Lampwork Bead Studio

April 1, 2007
Attached the brackets to my hood - I added the galvanized bars to give it a little more support since I can only get one hole of the hangers to fit... It should work because it's not too heavy, crossing fingers.

Lampwork Bead Studio

March 31, 2007
Things are coming together! Frank has been working hard all day on this and it's almost done. After I built some of the components (cut duct, pieced things together and taped up), I mostly stood around handing things to the poor guy on his back under the studio. Here is how it's looking on the inside so far - these two ducts will bring fresh air in to replace the toxic air the fan (which will be centered between them) will exhaust out. Under the studio, they run about 10 feet and have mesh to keep the rodents out.

And here, a picture looking under the studio - doesn't it look like it's about to blast off?! I'm happy this part is done, but I think Frank is estatic about it.

Lampwork Bead Studio

March 30, 2007
Not too much happened all week, but today we made some big progress. I finished insulating and Frank finished the support/cross beam things in the roof and then prepped the ceiling for sheetrocking. Not very interesting BUT then we got into some good stuff. At the last minute as we were about to cut the holes in the wall for the return-air vents, I got a bright idea. Frank isn't calling it that, but I am. He's more along the lines of "pain in the butt idea", if you get my drift.

Anyway, my idea was this: instead of having the make up air come from the wall behind me while I torch, blowing cool damp air past my head on the way back out of the vent hood, why not have it right under the vent hood itself and duct it under the studio so that it's clean air coming in? Why not? Well, other than the pain-in-the-butt factor, and the more-money factor and the more-work factor... it sounds like a great idea. And so off to Home Debit I went and got all the materials needed. And Frank started cutting holes and putting it together. It's too dark to get a good photo, so I'll share a boring insulated wall one instead. I'm really excited, it's going to be so GREAT!

Lampwork Bead Studio

March 25, 2007
Inside construction began today. Frank and I built my workbench - the base of it - which will eventually be covered with my stainless steel top. I insulated part of it (extra thick insulation that will hopefully keep the fan noise out of the studio), and Frank worked on making the support beams "prettier". Yes, PRETTIER, because if you know me at all, pretty matters!

Lampwork Bead Studio

March 24, 2007
Phase 1-Done: The construction workers are all done with the studio (they still have some clean up to do.) The doors are on and even have door knobs and locks.

The rest is now up to us. Outside, we need to give her a bath, put a porch on, and she needs a skirt and some flowers planted around her. Inside, we are insulating, putting up prettier support beams, building a work bench, sheetrocking, painting, tiling the floor.... lots to do. Really a lot, but I hope to be melting glass SOON.

Lampwork Bead Studio

March 23, 2007
I got started on the vent hood. Here's what I've done.

First of all, I have to recommend safety glasses and a place that is easy to clean up - not on your living room rug, for example, as I learned the hard way. You don't want metal slivers all over the place. And I do mean all over the place. Gloves might be a good safety precaution as well, an afterthought as I try to type this up with a finger all bandaged up.

I'm using a big galvanized washtub. I put my duct starter ring (8 inches round) in the spot I want it to go and drew a line around it. (Don't mind the box containing my new bathroom sinks that is sitting in my living room - at least the cat is finding it useful as a scratching post... better than the couch I say.)

Lampwork Ventilation Hood

Lampwork Vent Hood

I cut out the hole with tin snips. First I pounded a starter hole in with a screw and then a chisel thing I found in Frank's tool box. Don't worry Frank, I'll put it back!

Lampwork Vent Hood

Then I stuck the duct starter ring in the hole, tipped the whole thing over and bent back all the tabs.

Lampwork Vent Hood

Lampwork Vent Hood

I taped this part up good and tight. Not the prettiest job, but it should work. For now, I've stuck the 90 degree duct on, but won't tape that up until later.

Lampwork Vent Hood

Next, I have to figure out how to attach the plant hanger brackets. But I'm taking a break and letting my poor finger heal.

March 21, 2007
The electricians did their rough-in today. My studio has it's own circuit box, outlet boxes, light boxes, an in-wall heater (it will be right at my feet when I'm at the torch!) and switch boxes for the lights and blower. And a light for outside.

This is the corner with the circuit box:

This is where my workbench will be - the 4 plug box is for the kiln and is on it's own dedicated circuit. I'm not sure that was necessary, but that's what the electrician thought was a good idea. One plug above the bench, one below for my oxy-con (can't you just see it now?!).

And my light boxes for my track lights:

Kind of boring, huh? But exciting all the same. None of this is powered up though - we need to dig a ditch so they can connect it all to the house power. Soon, I hope.

March 20, 2007
Roof is done, skylights are on, they tried to do the doors but there is something wrong, I don't know exactly what yet... still need to talk to the contractor about it.

Have been working at getting everything else ready - I got the first piece done on my vent system today - lampworking makes all kinds of toxic fumes and they need to be vented out before they make you sick. The ventilation system is probably the most important part of the studio - without it, you shouldn't melt glass. For more technical information on designing a ventilation system, click here and here.


First, this is "The Plan" for the vent hood/fan:

Blower goes outside of building, to help keep noise down:

1. Cut hole in end cap, unscrew the thingy from the blower fan, stick end cap in between thingy in blower and screw it back on so that I now have something to attach the fan to the duct with. (DONE March 20!)

2. Build a base shelf to hold blower with a rectangle hole in bottom of it for blower to blow air through. Put screen over hole (to keep birds/rodents out), screw blower to shelf, so it goes blower, screen, shelf.

3. Attach round duct to end cap on fan, tape up good and tight.

4. Stick duct through hole in wall, attach blower shelf to wall. Put that expanding foam stuff all around hole/duct to seal up good and tight.

5. Build a wooden box to over the blower and attaches to shelf... to protect blower from weather. Decorate to look like a birdhouse maybe. Or not.

Outside part done... somewhere in between here the electrician will hook up blower to on/off switch. (info on connecting the blower to a switch)

Inside part:

1. Cut hole in washtub, insert "duct starter ring", figure out how to attach.(DONE March 23!)

2. Insert 90 degree elbow and tape up good and tight. (DONE March 23!)

3. Screw plant hanger thingys on to washtub for brackets.

4. Attach elbow to duct in wall, tape up good and tight.

5. Screw Brackets to wall.

6. Turn Fan On and See if it Works.


This is step 1 of "The Plan" above. My blower/fan that will suck all the fumes out of my studio. I had to attach something to it that would let me attach a vent tube and this is how I did it. All by myself!

Step 1:
Gather together blower, 8 inch end cap and a screw driver.

This is the fan I got, from Grainger:

Blower,495 CFM,115 V
Shaded Pole Blower, Air Flow @ 0.000 Inch Static Pressure 495 CFM, Speed 1570 , Voltage Rating 115 Volts, Power Rating 225 Watts, Current Rating 3.25 Amps, Frequency 60/50 Hertz, Thermal Protection Auto, Wheel Diameter 6 1/4 Inches, Wheel Width 4 1/4 Inches, Air Flow @ 0.100 Inch Static Pressure 476 CFM
Grainger Item # 4C445

Step 2:
Unscrew the 4 screws off the round part. Take that piece and trace around it on the top of the end cap. Mark the screw holes.

Step 3:
Notice there is a lip that bends in and make another circle in between there so that it will fit back in the hole is cut. Hammer holes into the screw holes with whatever - I used a pointy screw and a screw driver to make my holes. Then I turned it over and hammered it all flat.

Step 4:
Start a bit of a hole by hammering in that screw a few times and then hammering in a flat screwdriver. Then take the tinsnips and cut away the hole.

Step 5:
Put the end cap and lip ring thing together and screw back on blower.

It will be attached to a hood eventually. I'm making my hood out of a galvanized wash tub that I got at Ace Hardware and will hang it upside down with plant hangers that I got at Lowes. It's going to be cute! I might even paint some flowers on the washtub.

I also bought my outside light and the interior tract lights. The electrician is coming tomorrow to hook them up and install a wall heater. Moving forward. Happy.

March 5, 2007

Today was exciting! They got the roof up and mostly shingled. Getting close!

studio day 6

February 26, 2007

They were only here for a few hours this afternoon, but they got the roof framed.

And holes for my two skylights!

February 26, 2007

My doors arrived this morning, and the guys are up on the studio building the roof now.

February 22, 2007

A floor, 4 walls, an opening for the double doors and some roof! Isn't it HUGE? It does not at all look like a cozy little garden shed. Not at all. It does look like a great big garden studio though.

February 21, 2007

Doesn't look like much, he wasn't here for very long though, so it would be hard to expect a wall or anything. I did get a floor, I shouldn't complain. Maybe more tomorrow.

February 20, 2007

Wow, this thing is NOT turning out the way I envisioned it. It's going to be way high off the ground and now it will need a little porch - not planned for, can't picture it in my head even. And the windows didn't work out so I ordered French doors - the price for them caused Frank to stop breathing... so I canceled that order and went with a slightly less expensive set of glass doors aka "Store Doors" - without the French grids or separate panes - maybe I'll add a grid to them in some other day. Or faux them with paint or something... Or just plant lots of flowers all around so you don't notice... or something. Crazy day, I feel like I could use a do-over. The builder guys are cute though, and like dogs, especially Zoe, the one you either love or hate - they love her, always a good sign. One of the guys went on and on about how nice my house was, how much character and how interesting, what a great layout, blah blah blah. Was very nice to hear instead of the typical "You traded your nice house in Carnation for THIS???? And you paid HOW MUCH for it???? Are you CRAZY???" Even if it just means there is one more crazy person in the world that sees this house the way I do, it makes me feel a little better. Huh.

Anyway... here's a shot of the progress... more tomorrow.

February 17, 2007

Good news, the pipes under the new studio are no longer in use. The yard is all marked up with red, yellow and orange paint and little yellow flags to show where NOT to dig. None of them point to the studio. Things should start moving forward again this week. The contractor is having a hard time finding windows in the style I want so I'm thinking maybe double french doors and no windows. That will still be lovely. And some climbing peace roses growing up the wall next to the door. Perfect!

February 13, 2007

What are these pipes? They are running under my would-be studio. All work is on hold until a "locator" comes and gives us his opinion. I can't imagine these pipes are connected to anything real anymore... but better safe than sorry.

February 12, 2007

Not a whole lot of progress, but we broke ground! Tomorrow will see the holes filled with concrete and then they need to dry... and THEN they start building. Hopefully on Wednesday. Valentines Day.

February 11, 2007

We've plotted out our spot - it's going 9x13 feet. I'm also adding in two little skylights, one on the South side and one on the East side. The contractor doesn't know yet, I hope he won't mind! We've been working all weekend getting the site ready for the contractors tomorrow. Hope it all goes easy from here on out!

See the ropes in the far corner?

The view, standing where the door will go:

February 9, 2007

This big pile of lumber was just delivered. Construction on my studio starts Monday!

January 9, 2007
BIG NEWS!!!! I'm so excited! I'm getting a new glass studio and it is being built February 8-9. One month away... and counting! This is my plan, it's from and old Sunset Garages and Sheds book - I believe this plan is a Summerwood design.

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