Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Future Is Bright

I thought that was an appropriate title, given what my post is about, today.  I've been contacted by a product rep who is interested in...

Yep.  You guessed it, the infamous "Rulasaurus."  I'm experimenting with some different base styles as part of an exclusive line for her to bring to exhibitions around the country.  Pretty cool. 

In the mean time, I've been working on a centerpiece for a holiday party, if you can believe that.  I was approached by a company to do an "industrial metals" theme and we came up with an art deco styled illuminated tower, much like you'd see in an old Superman comic. Here's a little teaser...just the top.

  And, it's going to move!  How 'bout them apples?  


Friday, August 3, 2012

Post Renegade

It seems as if every move we made during the last 6 weeks was geared toward the Renegade Craft Fair.

  We had a great time, met a lot of people and set up some pretty substantial future business.

So, we're excited about that.  And, since life in the village was kind of slow this week, we spent our time catching up on our online sales shipments.  The rhythm is working.  It's a bit tiring, but that's what happens when one tries to expand a business.  It'll probably be this way until we climb high enough up the food chain to actually hire people full time.  We're not quite there, but we're warming up to it.

One thing we really need to do is get our couch moved out.  We're expanding what up until now has been our gallery space into a book section.  A lot of people here in the village complain about the lack of book stores to satiate the need for some accompaniment to that cup of coffee.

Along with that, the website now has an expanded e-commerce section and better visuals that clearly show what we've got going on here at the store.      

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Building the arsenal

Santa's workshop is alive and well.  I believe the phrase has already been coined by Father Retail, "Christmas in July."  More stuff, please.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Throwing in a side dish

I thought I'd add a little spice to our Renegade event with a newer and improved version of something I made last year - the book light.  Last year's version was made literally by hand.  I carved out the hole with a knife during a two day long stint of rain here in southern california.  The store was still new and people weren't coming in just yet, so I had plenty of time on my hands, back in those days.  My how things have changed.

I got smart and decided to do my next incarnation with some proper tools.  Super clean. 

We also put together some fun mason jar drinking glasses...

We call them adult sippy cups.  We dropped one off a table and it held up just fine.  

And, our friend John Neiuber delivered one of his newest floor lamp creations.  He affectionately refers to them as "Floor-Deliers."  He takes chandeliers and attaches them to floor bases.  Good times.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Burning the candle at both ends.

It's been pretty hectic around here as the Renegade Craft Fair approaches.  The bottle cutting has gone basically nonstop for a few weeks, now.  

We tried a new glass chandelier with Voss water bottles and they've been a big hit.  

The first one left our shop the same day we finished it.  And, the next one is on it's way to Reno, only 5 days later.  I think we're on to something.   For Renegade, we're going to be displaying two or three chandeliers and several pendant lamps.  We've also decide to make a small selection of the ruler lamps. I've started cutting the bases.  Now it's sanding, staining and attaching the ruler.  

And, we did a photo shoot with the luminaries. 

Our catalog mock-up is ready for print!

Stay tuned for progress on the amazing centerpieces we're doing for an aluminum manufacturing company's holiday party!  Whew!  


Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a rough business.

Graveyard of broken dreams.  It's sometimes a rough business breaking glass for a living.  Today wasn't my day.

But one good thing...I realized that with all the leftover pieces of bottle bottoms, I could place the tops that I don't use right over a little tea light and make a neat table top hurricane lamp.

Pretty cool.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Been busy at the shop.

We've been pretty active over the past week, here.  First, Emily stopped by to see if we could help her with an idea she had.  That's my favorite question in the whole wide world, and the answer is always, yes!  She has an old guitar case and wants to turn it into a wall mounted jewelry cabinet.  Hmmmm.  I never met a project I didn't like.

 My first thought was to do it out of wood.   But, that wouldn't have been very inclusive since I'd have to make it at home.  I also wanted to use materials that could be cut right here at the store.  Aha!  Old books!

Luckily I have a pretty badass paper cutter that can make quick work of those thick covers.

Then, we scored the back sides of the covers for the contoured portions of her framework.

This thing is getting crazy!  She didn't know what she was getting herself into.

Clamps, for Pete's sake!  I taught her the art of clamping and glueing.   We finished our three days together with the first drawer, shaped like the bottom curve of the guitar.  

Emily is out of state for the summer, but we'll be resuming the build in August.  Good times!

Shortly after that we got cleaned out of our stash of bottle lamps.  I whipped up the first four-light pendant chandelier, which I think came out pretty cool.  

And now, all sights are set on Renegade.  Only 5 weeks away.  Lots to do!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Cool Project

So, today a customer who took our wine bottle pendant class wandered in with a very unique circumstance.  We love those.  She wanted to take her guitar case...

...and turn it into a vertical jewelry display cabinet.  Oh boy!  I could hardly wait to get started. 

First, I gathered up a pile of books from the Prison Library Project down the street.  They get tons of books donated that they wind up having to unload.  Lucky for me!

Then, we got to business!  

We cut up the book covers into support pieces for her drawers.

Everything is going to be glued and framed out.  It's coming along pretty sweet.  She's coming back tomorrow, for more fun and games!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keeping up

In between cutting bottles, I'm jumping back and forth between the workbench and the cash register, then to the computer, helping customers and searching for new design inspiration on the net.

I need to keep expanding our artwork inventory for the luminaries as I want to be loaded up for Renegade, in July.   A customer came in asking about some cool liquor bottles and our "Cigar Lounge" luminary.  I think it came out pretty cool.  This will wrap around the glass and look pretty smart in her little cigar lounge setting that she's creating for her husband's birthday party.

The bottle cutting wasn't going so well, yesterday afternoon, as I wound up breaking a bunch of bottles.  I think the heat was too much and I need to dial that down from now on.  I searched the dumpster behind my favorite architecture firm for cardboard tubes that hold blueprints.  The bottles fit perfectly inside, so they'll serve beautifully for packaging.

Here are two more bottles I made yesterday.  They blew up on Facebook.  It's always good when that happens.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ramping up production!

The plant is up and running with our first release of customizable luminarias.  They're starting to sell right out from under us before we even finish the prototypes.  And, we've got orders for more, on the way.  These are the first few designs we have that can be all customizable.

I threw together some more lamps for the store and after placing them on our online shop the phone started ringing.  First, the owner of 4 restaurants in Ohio wants 15 for his newest eatery, and I'm doing two for "Lisa's" basement bar.  She's deciding between these two bottle choices for her set.

And this is my job?  I'm pinching myself.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We filled our first wholesale order for "Decenni," in Santa Monica.  They picked up a supply of our glass bottle pendant lamps to sell in their showroom on Main Street.  Pretty darned exciting!

In the mean time, we're ramping up our design studio, with over a dozen cool images so far, for our customizable luminaries.  We placed  a few out on the floor with some great success.  Custom orders are being filled and someone came in today with a request for her company's holiday party centerpieces.  I think we're on to something.

Monday, a former student of my Wine Bottle Pendant Lamp class will be bringing in her guitar case so that I can help her fashion it into a wall cabinet.  I actually get paid to do this?  I'm pinching myself!

It's off to the post office to mail another lamp to an online customer in Pennsylvania!  Happy week after Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great Week at Heirloom

We've been burning the midnight oil over here in Claremont, California, designing the artwork for our upcoming line of customizable luminaries.  They've been such a hit, so we're taking it up a notch.  If you want to see what we're talking about, visit our web page for more pics and info.

Also, we received a call from an upscale furniture store in Santa Monica that is interested in carrying our Wine Bottle Pendant Lamps in their showroom.

There must be something in the air because we'll be unveiling our line of lamps at Renegade, as well.  In the meantime. the fountains are on parade with a couple of different styles that we'll be rolling out in the upcoming weeks.  Here's the original design with some striking white rocks.  Great contrast, eh?

We just finished cutting some new bottles.  Aren't these super cool? 

Tabletop hurricane glass for tea light candles made from the tops of FUGU Vodka bottles.  That's a picture of a blowfish on the backside of the glass.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pushing Forward.

Mother's Day was off the hook, here at the store.  Since we haven't done this whole "owning a retail store" thing, we're experiencing growing pains every step of the way for our first year.  Mother's Day is kind of like Christmas.  Who knew?  But, we survived.

Coming up next, we've got a sold out crowd on Sunday for Becky's Sewing 101 class.  Now, that's pretty cool.  Glad we can be of service to all the folks who have been using their sewing machines to prop up their record collections in their closet.  In the mean time, we're gearing up for the fountain class this Saturday.

It's new for us, so some prep work must be done.  We have to waterproof the wood trays and let them cure for a few days.

We also just finished a bunch of cool glasses from wine and liquor bottles.  We just love making these things.  You never know what you're going to find when you hunt for bottles.  There always seems to be a new kind of glass to make.

And then in our spare time, we're doing more custom luminaries along with a catalog of customizable designs.  Designing our booth for the Renegade Craft Fair is a new challenge.  It never ends!  Stay tuned!

Friday, May 11, 2012


We've been accepted to participate in the juried Renegade Craft Faire in July.  This is part of the faire's visit to Los Angeles.  Next, they'll be off to Chicago, San Francisco and a few other cities around the country.  It's a really fun time, as there are food trucks, lots of cool handmade items for sale, and even some activity booths.  Look for heirloom in L.A. at the end of July.

Also, we just finished some more custom luminarias - an order that the elementary school at Claremont McKenna College will give to its staff.

If you haven't gotten your Mom anything for Mother's Day, we'll guarantee that she'll love anything handmade that you can make on the fly, here at the store.  Hurry down and we'll set you up!  You can make a card like this one with the help of our die-cut machine.

Monday, April 30, 2012

More Custom Work

Whew!  Lots on the horizon in the world of custom gifts and things.  Our oil lamps arrived.

These will go into our centerpieces for twenty tables at the big Claremont Heritage Foundation's summer fundraiser.  We're selecting a few varieties of glass that will surround the oil lamps for a beautiful hurricane lamp effect in the garden.  I think this one could be a winner.

We'll load some cool colored sand at the base and rest a cluster of the oil lamps on top.  The distorted flames should be beautiful.  

And, another order for luminarias.  These are really going to be beautiful, wrapped around the glass cylinders.