Diary of a Demented Store Owner

Friday, 27 June 2008

Mars Soil Good for Glass Manufacturers

Preliminary chemical test results streaming back from the Phoenix spacecraft that landed on Mars May 25, has brought some shocking revelations. It's been discovered that the Mars environment is much more hospitable to human life than initially thought- one that might allow future colonists to live, work and even do stained glass on the distant planet. 
"We're absolutely over the moon about this news" says Gary Marron,  assistant to the fill-in scientist on the wet chemistry experiment for the spacecraft.  Analysis of Martian soil shows a pH level of between 8 and 9 which means that while we can grow crops such as corn, wheat and rutabagas (Gary's favourite), more significantly we are able to manufacture a glass from the sandy soil that is similar in quality to a Bullseye artglass. This was confirmed when a test utilizing a sample of soil about the size of a sugar cube was mixed with some soda, lime and some of Ed the Cat's cremated ashes brought from Earth. The excellent quality of this glass came as quite a surprise to scientists given that for years it was argued that Martian soil could only sustain production of a lower quality glass such as those from machine rolled manufacturers.
Further tests are planned in the days to come to see if the coefficient of expansion of this glass can be adjusted to allow colonists the opportunity to make nice shiny fused objects in their spare time...

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Rodent Tool Use Helps Mold Manufacturer

Fantasy in Glass’s new glass slumping mold supplier has discovered that rats can be trained to help in the manufacture of their molds for glass slumping and fusing.
Apparently it's not just any rodents, but the "highly social, intelligent" degus- a small caviomorph rodent that is native to Chile. And while they don't use tools in their natural habitats, they were taught by researchers as well as the staff of this mold manufacturer to do so in captivity.
After several months of training and practice, researchers say, the degus can move a rake as smoothly and efficiently as croupiers in any Las Vegas casino- a handy skill when mixing the mud-like slurry that these molds for slumping glass are made of.
“This is first time rodents have been trained to wield tools”, said Gary Brownley, a neuroscientist, who led the experiments at the Laboratory for Really Cool Science in Toronto. He elaborated about how they are so efficient and quality conscious that the Teamsters’ union has petitioned the mold manufacturer to either stop using these poor little helpless animals or to certify them to unionize the shop.
While these degus rodents are best at manufacturing molds 14” or smaller in diameter (a size that is easily accommodated by most of the kilns sold at FIG) scientists from the LRCS are considering training baboons in the manufacture of larger molds- a specialty of Brownley’s.
While it has long been thought that tool use is a hallmark of higher intelligence, Dr. Brownley said, the brain structures that underlie such abilities may lie dormant in many animals with good hand-and-eye or paw-and-eye coordination. Training them to make molds in captivity provides insights into the plasticity of their brains, he said, and may even shed light on how early humans evolved tool use in the first place.
In separate studies, Dr. Brownley notes they are examining gene expression in the brains of macaques and marmosets trained to check the coefficients of expansion in Bullseye glass.
To see the handiwork of these degus rodents, come down to Fantasy In Glass next week when Mikey and staff take delivery of over 300 molds of various sizes and complexities. Pricing on most of them at under $25.00! Go here to see pictures…

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Andre's Somewhat Weekly Sale

The inaugural and first of Andre's Weekly Sales.

This week from Monday June 23 to Sat. June 28-

2" x 2" square bevels- $6.66/box of 30!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

New Staff Complaining Not Enough Sales!

If it's Saturday, we must have another staff member- this one comes to us by way of Sud Tirol- Andre.

As you can see from his picture he's quite an intellect. Andre has already decided that we don't have enough things on sale so he's put together a series of weekily specials which will be posted on our blog every week.
First sale to be posted Monday...

Friday, 20 June 2008

Beginner Class Student Finally Graduates!

We've been in business for over a quarter century now, and have met some wonderful people along the way. Some of our students though, just seem to never learn. Feeling extremely sorry for these students, after 25 years of classes Mikey decided it was about time he bent the rules and allowed Florian the chance to graduate. She can be seen on the far right, and her graduation party, and it's true, she's been a steady student for over 25 years. Actually, she was taught by Mikey at a high school before he even started Fantasy In Glass.
Congratulations Florian! Now let's see if you can do the Intermediate course in less than a quarter century!

It's Our Birthday!

So, Tuesday July 1 is Canada's birthday, and Mikey has to bake a cake, get sparklers, buy buttermilk, etc. To make sure it all gets done, he's giving everyone Monday June 30 off as well (so he can sit at home drinking Amsterdam Brewery's new Raspberry Wheat beer while The Missus does the baking, etc). Happy Birthday Canada!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Glass Patterns Quarterly Summer 2008

Just brought in our front door (Pat's favourite moment because she gets to drool over the UPS driver in his sexy shorts). And what is Glass Patterns Quarterly- only our most popular selling magazine (Mikey likes all the pretty pictures). GPQ comes complete with full size patterns and plenty of full colour illustrations of at least 16 projects in each issue. You also get to info on what's happening in glass with articles describing new products, books and videos that are available. Very important if you don't read Mikey's blog. But you are, oh, never mind...
Back issues are alwayson sale too...

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Kiln Free to New Home

We have an old kiln sitting in our back studio now for several months. Honest, we really wanted to make use of it, but...
It's 24" round, and 24" deep, and it's FREE to the first person who throws 25 bucks into our Sick Kids Donation Box and carts it away!
It looks sort of like the pic above, it has manual controls, and isn't quite as pretty or shiny. But, hey, remember, it's FREE!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

RIM Boss Fails Second Time to Buy NHL Team- Will Buy Fantasy In Glass Blog Instead

Research In Motion boss Jim Balsillie is known to his friends as a man possessed of smouldering ambition, adroit judgment and an uncanny ability to exploit an opponent's weakness: the hallmarks of an outsider who, as his BlackBerry empire grew, attained legendary status in the business world for helping turn RIM into a company worth nearly $40 billion. But even as his empire continues to grow, Balsillie's failed attempt to buy the Nashville Predators for an astounding US$238 million has raised his frustration level so much so that he has decided to purchase the ‘Diary of a Demented Store Owner’ blog owned and operated by Mikey, President of Fantasy In Glass.

It all started a few days ago; with his name slipping from the headlines and other suitors lining up for a shot at the suddenly desirable Predators, Balsillie found himself frozen out of the NHL. With some free time on his hands, he decided to surf the net and came upon this wondrous website known as fantasyinglass.com. Seeing the ‘Go Here First’ button on the home page he was unable to suppress his curiosity and clicked on through coming upon a fantastic place where only good things happened and the most amazing adventures took place. He was smitten, and spent hours reading about Mikey and his exploits- his find of the ToyoFigus bone in the Neander Valley, the video on the city of Moldopolis and how Spiderman saved the day, even of his account of Conrad Black and the settlement of a recent lawsuit. So many adventures, so many trials and so many tribulations.

Said Basillie, "I think that this site of Mikey’s is capable of being as famous as Google in coming years. Therefore, I am interested in being the owner of this site.” One of his staff, Gary Brownlee "I don't blame him. This site is indeed marvelous and mesmerizing (Gary’s big on alliteration). I think that he has done a good move by trying to buy this site."

Balsillie again," Of course, I would make it more interactive once I own this site. Put in some pictures of Mikey. Also, people will be able to have conversations with each other in a better way and have more to explore. We might even consider buying the entire stained glass industry and make Mikey King of Everything if he would agree to it. Just imagining what Mikey could do as the King of the only stained glass supplier in Canada would make the cost of this purchase more than worth it!”
At press time no response has been forthcoming from Mikey, President of FIG. Apparently the Ferrari dealership closes in another hour…

Lawsuit Finally Settled- Fact or Fiction?

For those of you who have short memories, or no attention span and haven't yet read Mikey's entire blog, you might have forgotten this story from a couple of years ago-

Toronto, CANADA- Fantasy In Glass Owner Mikey filed suit in federal Supreme Court in Ottawa today accusing the Bullseye Glass Company of copyright infringement for widely using the word 'Glass' in the title and marketing of their products. FIG claims de facto exclusive legal use of the word. "We have established the strongest brand name in the history of modern civilization. Whenever someone sees the word 'Glass' they immediately think it should be preceded by the words 'Fantasy In' so we want to avoid any confusion amongst consumers", said company owner Mikey.

Attorneys for Bullseye had attempted to dispute the suit as 'frivolous' and weak efforts to placate the staff of Fantasy In Glass with Bullseye T-shirts and aprons have proved to be unsuccessful. As a result L.M. has agreed to allow Mikey to shamelessly promote Bullseye as a friendly, cooperative glass manufacturer who understands a free plug when they see one ....
So here's an inside look at the workings of Bullseye Glass, along with some prose and pretty pictures shamelessly taken from their site, with permission, and thanks to Lani and all at Bullseye-

The Mixing Room

Bullseye manufacturers thousands of products, from sheet glass to rods and stringers, to powders and frit and fractures, yet they all originally come from a palette of over 300 colours.
The process of manufacturing any one of these colours begins in this room where Bullseye mixes the raw materials that make up their artglass, called “batch”, in 55-gallon drums, and they do about 120 of them each day.
Looks pretty crude on one level (sort of like Mikey before 11 am… The Missus). On another level, the degree of precision required is staggering (like The Missus… Mikey). In measuring out the batch, a miscalculation as small as 50 parts per million can result in off-color glass. An error of 1/4 of one percent of sand or soda can result in incompatibility. Often there are as many as 18 ingredients in a single barrel.
I think that equates to over 1000 opportunities to muck up every day.
So how long and how much? From sand to a sheet of glass- that takes about 24 hours, and one barrel will make about 22 sheets…

The Screw Charger

Now imagine you’ve dashed past the mixing barrels and are darting across the hot shop floor, dodging guys running by with ladles of molten glass. Then you come face-to-face with this guy operating something that looks like a cross between a howitzer and a speculum. It’s called a screw charger. It’s used to feed the batch into the furnace. It takes about 90 seconds to charge the contents of a single barrel (350 lbs) into a furnace. We used to shovel the batch in by hand. The screw charger reduces dust and back aches. Each furnace will get charged 6-10 times during its 16-hour melt cycle.

After 16 hours of melting at about 2500F, the glass is ladled out of the tanks. By hand.

The casters need to move fast. As it gives off heat, the glass starts to set up. It needs to get to the rolling table before it’s too stiff to roll easily.

Bullseye operates two styles of rolling tables. The single-roller (shown here) consists of a water cooled steel table and one roller that flattens the glass across its surface. A caster spreads the gob of glass across the table in front of the roller to insure even coverage. A single rolling table lets us make collage glasses like fracture-streamers, stringer glasses, etc., where the chips and/or threads of glass are composed on the table before the sheet is rolled.
On the second style of table, the double-roller, the glass is pressed between a pair of rollers, creating a sheet with more uniform top and bottom surfaces.

More to come…

Friday, 6 June 2008

Yippee! Another Spectrum Sys96 Fusible Out!

I've got to admit- the new stuff from Spectrum is actually almost, sort of, kind of getting me a little excited. Their new OpalArts, and Spirits offer something different to everyone involved in stained glass and in particular, the fuser (and slumper as this stuff looks so cool just slumped into a plate or bowl).  In the store today is their newest addition- Monterrey Spirit- ivory opals streaked across a clear base- great for a background, clouds, angel wings (think Mikey)...

Thursday, 5 June 2008

No Comment

Sitting in the store for a year now, we felt that out-of-town people may wonder about the status of this culinary delight. I know, it's been done before...

Some New Books

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, come in and pick up a couple hundred thousand here. Three new books just in.
You also have the opportunity to gaze upon another unflattering picture of Zenia holding;

1) Box Column Lanterns- patterns for 12 full-sized lamterns in Art Noveau, Craftsman and Mission style,

2) Garden Harmonies-fused glass wind chimes,

3) Splendor in the Glass- 120 pages, over 45 designs, many in full colour, plus some technical advice on designing stained glass.

Suitable Pic of Zenia Found June/July Sale Finally Up

The monthly sale has been a tradition at FIG for quite awhile now. And posting an unflattering picture of Zenia is an integral part of that process. After all, if we can't make fun of the results of our gene pool, who can we we make fun of? Glass manufacturers perhaps? Or maybe suppliers? How about Gary Beige? See my point? Nah, I don't either. In any case, we finally found a pic and now the sales are up- here...
This month's sale actually runs for two months, until July end, and all items are on in-stock inventory. As for Zenia's picture, we have more...

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Dichroic Glass As Part of This Month's Sale

About six months ago we took delivery of well over 700 1/4 sheets of dichroic glass- predominately in 90 coe, but also a significant amount in System 96 (the really cool stuff like Spectrum's Spirits to go along with Bullseye's Mardi Gras)(see packing slip here). This shipment of course includes many of CBS' newest patterns such as Corkscrew.
Moving into the slow summer months we'd like to drop our inventory levels, and are going to have a massive June sale to announce later today. In the interim have a look at another Francis Ford Pattyopolla Production, this video featuring BeadGirl giving a tour of our Dichroic Glass Selection...

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

No Soldering Irons!

So, enjoying myself once again after the weekend, I went once more to Blockbuster to rent a movie figuring a movie rental place would have movies to rent. Of course they did. Then after that, I went to the drug store to pick up some... well, let's just say we all don't need to know everything... and yes, they had them as well (extra small). So now I'm on a roll, and off to Canada's one and only stained glass supplier (you know- the one that has been promising better pricing, bigger selection, no supply problems, etc- editorial to follow) to buy some soldering irons. Guess what? That's right! They have no soldering irons! Honest, I wish I was makingg this stuff up, but really, I can't- I'm not that creative. I've had a drink so I'll stop here...

Why Can't We all Just Get Along?

Such a nice picture isn't it? Both Bullseye fusible 90 c.o.e. and Spectrum System 96 co-existing, getting along side by side? There still is hope for humanity.
Certified fusible scrap now available from and for both the 90 and 96 coe crowd. At scrap glass prices too...

On a separate note, that's correct- we have not yet posted our sales for June (Mikey's planning a big one). The delay is due to our inability to find a suitably unflattering picture of Zenia for the posting. Our June sale should show up in the next day or two...