The Art of Glassblowing


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Other - Beauty & Style | Posted on 02-09-2015

Throughout history, the art of glassblowing has been a widely popular trade and hobby. From fine art, to dishes, to pipes, several beautiful and practical objects can be made from glass. Depending on your intentions, you can begin glassblowing as a trade or a hobby for a relatively minimal investment of time and money. This article should help you understand the history, attraction, and the basics of the art of glassblowing.

A Brief History of Glassblowing                 

The very first appearance of glassblowing dates all the way back to 4000 BC with the first recorded appearance of man-made glass amulets and beads. During this time, the basics of creating glass were discovered through the melting of limestone, plant ash, and sand. The Mesopotamians inside Egypt created the first large glass containers in or around 1500 BC, creations that became highly prized amongst royalty and the very wealthy.

In the Roman Empire, the first glass blowpipe became a highly coveted treasure around 300 BC. In the middle ages, Venice became the first known region where glassblowing became a common trade. By the 17th century, window glass, glass bottles, and drinking glasses had become abundant.

Glassblowing came to the American colonies around 1607 when professional glassmakers began making decorative glass pieces for various uses.

The Basics of Glassblowing         

There are several different ways to learn glassblowing. You might be able to find some classes in your area or even learn from an online course or ebook, and you’ll be surprised to discover how quickly you can become proficient. Many of the courses available also focus on necessary precautions and can advise what type of equipment you’ll need to get started. A good book to start with is Beginning Glassblowing by Edward T. Schmid. Schmid discusses the basics of glassblowing and his passion for the hobby is apparent throughout the text.

What it Costs to Get Started       

If you’re interested in starting glassblowing as a hobby or as a trade, there are a few different expenses to consider. First off, you’ll need to consider how much you want to invest in learning how to blow glass and whether you want to take a formal class or if learning through online resources will suffice. Next, consider what your supplies will cost. Torches can cost anywhere from $160-$450 depending on the width of the flame and the quality of the torch. You’ll also need a kiln, which can cost roughly $500-$2000 depending on its size. After that, you’ll need oxygen, propane, regulators, protective gear, and of course, glass. The entire project could cost anywhere from $500-$4000 depending on the type of equipment that you buy.

Regardless of how involved you want to get with glassblowing, any involvement in the hobby can be rewarding. You might even surprise yourself with how quickly you take to it: can you imagine one of your glass masterpieces gracing an upscale gallery in New York? Even if you’d rather just focus on more practical or simple pieces, there is plenty of room for fun and creativity once you start glassblowing.


A self-identified glass and window expert, Dan Stratton enjoys contributing material on glassblowing, fancy windows, window replacement and other similar topics; those with replacement needs are encouraged to view the services of

Cool Hair Curlers Currently on the Market


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Hair | Posted on 02-09-2015

Whether you’re an every-day kind of hair curling gal or if you only use them on special occasions, chances are, you have a go-to curler you rely on to get the job done. But if your hair curler is on the fritz or if you simply need a change of pace for a new look or ease of styling, a glance at the market reveals several nifty new hair curlers. From half-inch and two-inch barrels to straighteners and crimpers, there’s something new and fun for everyone.

Hot Tools Spring Iron

Available in eight sizes, the Hot Tool Spring Iron makes InStyle’s list of best curling irons for 2013, and it’s already been a winner of the award eight times previously. They’re durable, and you won’t go broke when you buy one, as they retail for about $40.

Air Curler

Get healthy curls in just twenty seconds with the Air Curler, which features a cool attachment that fits onto your hair dryer. Your hair will air dry and curl at the same time in a swirling vortex motion, without the harsh burning you get from a traditional curling iron.

T3 Tourmaline 1.25″ Curling Wand

A favorite of Chloe Kardashian’s, Glamour magazine writes that this round silver barrel curler features adjustable heating — up to 450 degrees — and tourmaline-infused ceramic for long, wavy, luxurious curls.

Babyliss Miracurl Nano Titanium

Creating perfect curls every time, the Babyliss is a neat contraption that allows you to control temperature, time, and curl direction to form loose waves or soft swirls depending on your mood or the occasion. You’ll even hear a beep indicating when you should release the curl, featuring instant heat-up and recovery. The Babyliss has been featured in such style and beauty magazines and “Seventeen” magazine.

BeLissPRO Curl Genius Professional Titanium Curl Machine

Showcasing a sleek look, the Curl Genius features safeguards and energy savers, with three time settings and two heat settings. For occasions when you’re trying to get dressed, working on the computer, or getting the kids’ lunch ready while you’re doing your hair, you’ll love the fact that this comes with an eight-foot power cord.

Remington Tstudio Salon Collection Pearl Digital Ceramic Curling Wand

An affordable choice, the Remington — inspired by Kim Kardashian in Glamour magazine features ceramic pearl technology that boasts a smooth salon finish thanks to an inch barrel that tapers down at the end, allowing you to create many different types of curls. It’s safe, too, with automatic shutoff and a heat protective glove.

InStyler Heated Ceramic Styling Shells

This isn’t your grandmother’s curling set! The InStyler styling pods feature patented heat set technology that actually uses less heat so you don’t burn your hair. Treat your locks well and use this product to create natural loose waves and curls. In this kit, you’ll get five large C-shells, five regular C-shells, and a handy zipper case.

The Chi CA1035 Curling Iron, 1.5 ” Air Texture Tourmaline Ceramic

Boasting luxurious curls that last all day, this curler uses even-heating tourmaline ceramic technology, combined with an anti-frizz tourmaline ceramic curling iron for results that leave your hair shining. You also get an anti-slip balanced design so you don’t drop it while doing your hair. Let’s face it: we’ve all done it and it’s not pleasant! With quick heat up and digital temp control, as well as a nine-foot swivel cord, you get a product that cuts down on frizz gives your hair a magnificent shine.


Zachary Meyers understands that it’s important to have attractive, well-groomed hair in the modern world; for this reason Zachary recommends that readers visit My Curler to view their items in this area.

The Fascinating Story of the Hope Diamond


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Money, natural resources | Posted on 01-09-2015

The history of the Hope Diamond is a fascinating one. The subject of tales new and old, this diamond has captured the hearts of history and jewelry buffs alike through the centuries. But you don’t need to know a lot about diamonds to know this one contains a long and compelling history sure to captivate any audience. This well-known piece is one of the most valuable diamonds on the planet, leading many to wonder how it got that way, and why we’re still so mesmerized over it.

The Beginning

This story begins in the 17th century, when a French merchant traveler named Jean Baptiste Tavernier bought a 112 3/16-carat diamond. It is believed that the diamond was most likely mined from Kollur in Golconda, India. It featured a triangular shape and a somewhat rough cut, with a deep violet color. Not knowing what to do with the valuable piece, Tavernier sold the diamond to King Louis XIV of France in 1668, along with an assortment of other large and small diamonds. The court’s jeweler — Sieur Pitau — re-cut the rock in 1673, essentially turning it into a 67 1/8-carat stone. Royal records describe its color as steel blue, lending it the name “Blue Diamond of the Crown” or the “French Blue.” Set in gold and looped onto a ribbon, the king treasured his diamond, and often sported the necklace during important royal ceremonies.

A Continued History

The diamond’s next owner was Henry Philip Hope, after whom the diamond is now known. Although it’s not exactly known from the 1839 entry of the gem collection catalog how much he paid for it or where he got it, it was passed to his nephew Henry Thomas Hope and then his nephew’s grandson Lord Francis Hope after his death.

In 1910, the Hope Diamond was shown to Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean of Washington D.C. at Cartier’s in Paris, where she promptly had it reset and mounted on a headpiece featuring a three-tiered circle of large white diamonds.

It wasn’t until later that it took the form of the pendant we now know today. After McLean’s death, the Hope Diamond was a centerpiece of many exhibits and events, and was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958.

Other Details

After much debate on the Hope Diamond’s weight, the issue was finally laid to rest in 1974, when it was removed from its setting and revealed to weigh 45.52 carats. The pendant around the diamond showcases sixteen sparkling white diamonds in pear shapes and cushion cuts. All together, the necklace chain boasts forty-five white diamonds.

In 1988, the Gemological Institute of America evaluated the diamond and found that it was suffering from signs of age and wear.

It remains housed in the Smithsonian to this day, enjoying its status of one of the most visited museum exhibits in the world. It is considered priceless — and has even been called cursed — but the fact remains that it holds an allure as the most beautiful diamond ever to grace the Earth.


Samuel Gifford is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas. Sam understands that it is imperative to keep one’s precious jewels clean and well-maintained, even if these jewels aren’t quite as valuable as the Hope Diamond; to learn more about jewelry upkeep take a peek at an established outfit in the area of jewelry repair in Houston.