Jim Loewer, Glass Artist and Teacher

I met glass artist and teacher Jim Loewer earlier this month on the  POST tour of  1241 Carpenter Street.  He studied fine art in college and graduated with a degrees in teaching and painting but always had a fascination with glass.  After spending a few years as a teacher, however, he decided to  follow his passion and became a full-time glass artist.   He taught himself by trial and error and now he is a  a successful wholesaler of his work.  If you take a look at his on-line gallery, it’s not hard to understand why.

Even better,  Jim has decided to go back to his roots as a teacher and give lessons in lampworking and glass blowing!  Here are some pictures of him demonstrating how to make a multi-colored  glass sun catcher.

Jim Loewer1. Jim’s torch.

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He has heated the end of a glass punty, added colors and has blown it out.

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Plunging on a graphite surface

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After some additional steps he breaks the disk off the glass punty and puts it the kiln.

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The finished product.

Jim offers regularly-scheduled pendant design workshops, and glass blowing lessons for one or two people.  You can contact him here for more information.   Click here to read some reviews from people who have taken his classes.  And check out his Etsy and Facebook pages.

Summer’s End in Bob’s Garden

Bob’s urban oasis is still going strong into September.  A new turtle has taken up residence in the above-ground  koi pond along with two smaller deputy turtles who paddle around furiously.    Bob has put a few catfish in the bottom of the pond to keep it clean.  The dahlias and gardenias have stopped blooming but the banana tree has started to sprout little babies.  

The water lilies have always been my favorite of the flowers but I am partial to the papyrus that grows in the pond.  It looks so elegant!  

Here are some pictures. 
BG Sept 2015 (14)

BG Sept 2015 (17)

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And how could I have forgotten Turtle?wpid-wp-1441221231691.jpeg

For prior posts on Bob’s garden, press here.

Flirty Flowers and Macro Lens Mischief

Bob’s garden is growing full force this summer. One of the Koi fish is as big as a whale but refuses to be photographed.

Copy13 copyFortunately, the flowers are not so shy.

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I didn’t have any problem getting them to open up for the macro lens

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I don’t know what this flower’s called – it’s from Seger Park down the street and I take pictures of it every year.

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Even Plumpton got into the act despite the fact that he is now a grumpy old cat of 19.

The View From My Front Door Bob’s Garden Summer 2014

I live in South Philadelphia where there’s not much greenery. But I’m lucky because my neighbor Bob turns the hot and gritty summer landscape into an urban oasis every year. Here are some pictures from this years’ garden.

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The Hawthorn tree

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The Koi pond

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wpid-img_20140728_174938blog_wm.jpgStreet view

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Banana tree

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 Flowers bloom, die and

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New flowers come up to take their place

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Lotus

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The Banana tree and koi pond

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Bob’s BFF Barbra keeps watch over everything.  Sqwalk!

If you want to see posts about  of Bob’s garden from summers past, click on the links below.  Not all of the slide show links work on the older posts but they will give you an idea of how the garden has changed over the years. 

2007 

2008

2009 

2011

2012

2013

How Do You Say Passyunk?

The weather this weekend was beautiful for walking.  There was lots happening on East Passyunk Ave. so I headed on down.IMG_20140427_115109Passyunk Square.  How do you pronounce Passyunk?   It’s Pashunk.  Two syllables, not three.

IMG_20140427_115001The fountain

IMG_20140427_115333Mama Maria’s Restaurant

IMG_20140427_115233The Crafty Balboa   artists were selling their wares up and down the street

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Flavors of the Avenue set up a big tent and lots of people were sampling offerings from the Avenue’s restaurants.  

But but it was a good day for just hanging out and people watching.

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This cat does not seem pleased that I  took his picture.  Purrhaps I should have asked him purrmission.

For more information on East Passyunk Avenue, press here.

It ain’t New Years without the Mummers

What happens when you ask a group of men walking down the street if you can take pictures of their shoes?  If it’s New Years day in Philadelphia, they are likely to say yes but only if your husband gets in  the picture too.

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Golden Slippers

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Here are some links to   for Mummers fans.

A Guide to Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade

It ain’t New Years without the Mummers Parade.

and a couple of old blog posts

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM PHILADELPHIA

NEW YEARS IN PHILADELPHIA MEANS MUMMERS

Have a fun and safe New Year!

I Murdered My Sewing Machine!!

I managed to murder a sewing machine.   I was busy sewing wonky log cabin blocks on my late Mother-in-Law’s Kenmore when I heard, GADUMP!  I stopped and saw I had a bent needle.  I replaced it and stared to sew but the machine  continued to clunk!clunk! clunk! And clunk!  And basically not sew anything.     I needed sewing machine triage.
Chain Piecing
Chain Piecing on the Kenmore
There is no sewing repair place near my house and I don’t own a car.  I was determined not to ask a friend to schlep me and my crippled machine to a repair place so I started to look for someone who would come to my house.   I found a guy on Yelp who had one five star rating.  That was his only rating.  I called him.
“How old is your machine?” he asked
“I don’t want to buy a new one,” I retorted.  (I am always suspicious.)
“I don’t want you to buy a new one,” he answered,  “the new ones aren’t any good; but I need to know how old yours is before I know  whether I can work on it.”
“Seventeen years old, ” I replied.
“I can fix that no problem.”  He made arrangements to come to my house the next day.
My husband let him in and took his card, Jack DeSorte’s Vacuum Repair.  Jack parked himself at my dining room table and inspected the machine.  “I’ll have this fixed in about an hour, ” he announced.
My heart soared.  For the next hour,  Jack labored on the machine and treated my husband and me to the short version of his life story, his philosophy of sewing machines, sewing machine repair and sewing machine restoration.  It dawned on me that I had a first class, genuine, A-Number One sewing machine nerd repairman seated in my dining room.  Which is a good thing in case you were wondering.
After an hour,  Jack rose from the table wiping his forehead and informed me that he would have to take the machine into his shop.  “I don’t know what you did to this machine, ” he declared, ” but I’m gonna have to take the whole thing apart and it’s gonna be messy.  I  might need parts.  I can’t fix it here.”
“Will you bring it back when it’s fixed?” I inquired.
“Of course,” he replied as if wondering why I had to ask about something so obvious.
“Wait a minute,”  I called, running down the basement steps, “I have something else.”  I returned with  my Mother’s 1961 Singer Slant-O-Matic 500A. “This was my mother’s machine, “I told him, ” and I used to sew on it when I was a little girl.  It works but it needs a tune up.  She got that machine when Kennedy was president, ” I added.  (This means that I felt comfortable enough with Jack to date myself.  Which means something but I’m not sure what.)
Slant O Matic
Slant-O-Matic
He was beaming.  “Will you look at that, ” he exclaimed lifting  up the lid that covers the double  thread spindles. “It’s so clean!  Normally when I see one if these it’s got all kinds of crap on it.”
“My Mother was so clean that once she broke our television to clean it, “I bragged.  “My Father wouldn’t get it fixed, so we had to turn it on and off by using the plug.  And my brother claimed that we were the only family he knew who had a brutal cycle on their washing machine.”Maybe you are starting to understand why I took to Jack like I did.
Jack wrote up the proper receipts and disappeared with my sewing machines into the night.
To be continued. . .

Philadelphia Holiday Traditions

Christmas Show in Macy’s (Wanamaker’s Grand Court). Click here for the history of this tradition.

Lighting the Menorah on Independence  Mall

Street Decorating in South Philadelphia. Read more about it here.

Kwanzaa Nguzo Saba Candle Lighting Ceremony and Dance

Holiday Train Shows Reading Terminal Market. Find out more here.

and finally, my favorite and the oldest of  all,

The Winter Solstice

Last year:

My Grandmothers’ Christmas Legacy

I Think the First One’s a Chicken

 I have posted before about the work of Isaiah Zagar’s walls and his Magic Garden.  You don’t always have the good fortune to see a work in progress but that’s what happened to me during a walk in my neighborhood.    I stumbled on what appears to be the latest installation in the neighborhood.

Here’s a photo of a work around the corner to give you a general idea of Zagar’s work.  You can never tell how something like this will turn out though.  It looks like a few of the pictures might be portraits including one of the artist, and I think one of the figures in the first picture is a chicken.  Will it remain a chicken?  I will post pictures of the finished wall when its done

Enjoy this cool video

Halloween in South Philadelphia

Some pictures from my neighborhood.