Baby Steps Provide Productive 2011

Celebrate what you want to see more of.
Tom Peters

The porch entrance is alive with colour.

Everywhere I look in this old, not-so-mobile home, I see the beautiful colours of my work from 2011.

While my friend, Reddie, worked on his carpentry skills, I enjoyed designing furniture & windows using gorgeous stained glass.

I’m amazed at what can be achieved with baby steps & a year:

Project 3 — Glamourous Closet

The first finished project was some much-needed storage for my closet — so beautiful I don’t even want doors!

While Reddie built a frame for my mattress, I started cutting glass for the headboard on the kitchen table — ooh, my aching back. 😐

Project 7 — Headboard Panel Glass

After building a higher project table, I finished the soldering & puttying for the panels. With some glass-topped tables & decoration, I had a beautiful bedroom suite:

Project 7 — Raising the Sun Victoria Style

In dire need of bookshelves [yup, I really, really LOVE books], the ‘Wall of Glass’ started with an unusual corner bookcase.

Hmmm, no glass here, but wait . . .

While I spent a month in Calgary helping my sister move into her beautiful new home, Reddie was busy making frames. So, when I got back to the Isle I was quite busy cutting glass.

Although I had planned to use only blues in the shutters, I couldn’t wait to go to the glass shop, so I used what I had on hand — the big change being the gorgeous orange. And what a gorgeous colour indeed:

Project 9 — Gorgeous Window Shutters

and the whole wall when the shutters are open:

Project 9 — Gorgeous Window Shutters

Of course, summer also meant prettying up the yard & I absolutely love the little planters we added glass to:

Project 10 — Glass Planters Shine

The mosaic idea came from the first set of windows I was working on for the home’s long plastic-windowed porch:

Project 11 — Double Mosaic Windows

and, all alone among the plastic, the porch came to life:

Project 11 — Double Mosaic Windows

I started the porch door with the upper half. A traditional design, almost entirely of clear glass, it added a magical quality to the porch at night:

Project 14 — Seeing Clear Through

But oooh, I wanted more windows in — ‘Green Trees’ fixed side windows were installed, while I put off the sliders glass work by using all clear glass [someday I’ll get back to finishing the branches]:

Project 17 — Green Trees Sliders Fini [for now]

and the porch is looking wonderful — even Lady agrees:

Project 17 — Green Trees Sliders Fini

When I won a piece of architectural glass [thicker & heavier than stained or art glass], I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it:

Project 14 — Architectural Glass Adds to Door

Definitely has the weight of a door now! I really love that Pardus got a little cat door in the bottom corner — even though the dogs are not happy!

Then I got my first stained glass art commission — OMG!

I’m getting paid to design something beautiful! 😆

A bit of pressure [mostly my own] but so much freedom to express my love of glass & animals. While I concentrated on creating a beautiful blue & yellow panel, writing & posting pictures on both Dawne Thoughts & Dawne Design declined significantly.

But I also managed some simple cutting projects like making two tables out of this red tray & a-little-too-high-for-a-coffee-table chrome legs:

Simple glass tables from A Big Roundup

Sometimes when I was stalled on my abstract panel design, some simple, straight-line glass cutting would calm my mind.

This 10-15 minutes ‘break’ helped me to go back & focus on the more intricate shapes in the commissioned panel.

And with winter just around the corner, a couple areas of plastic at the other end of the porch were torn & letting in rain & cold — something had to be done.

[Kinda funny stories — the sidelight plastic got really mangled after a couple racoons had no other escape from the dogs & so, of course, tubsy Pardus liked to use it after that — making the rips bigger.

As for the larger window — one late night, Miss Mollie decided she really had to get out to chase whatever was about [we think cougar] so she dragged her nails down & ripped through — eek! No worries, dog was fine & no sign of any wild animal — such a good protector.]

It seemed silly to spend time stapling new plastic when we could make simple glass windows faster! 😀

The mini windows [left] for the ‘back’ porch door sidelight were simple — 3 routered frames, each with 2 rectangles of glass separated by a 1″x2″ bar.

I started at the bottom with:

  1. brown & yellow glass, then
  2. cream & all-textured clear, then
  3. an iridescent crackle clear & almost-all clear with a few curved lines,

to finish at top of sidelight. I’ll use this colour scheme when I start on this door — later. 😉

Since I didn’t have time [nor project table space] to take on a full window, Reddie decided he’d make the larger window ‘all by himself’. Oooh, I don’t know.

What colours? What design? Hmmm, I can’t help at all ! You’re getting Glass-Smith to cut the sheets? Well, you’re losing the wastage I could use, but okaaaaay . . .

Then, bing, bang, boom — a simple, 3-panel, fixed window.

The two thinner sides use a white/clear stained glass, while the larger mid-section is all clear.

Another smaller project happened when Reddie decided he’d get glass & copper edging to make a shade for a grow lamp in the indoor garden he was concocting, hmmm sorry, building.

Only problem? He’d measured the length for the glass wrong [yup, shoulda asked me] & he didn’t get U-channel edging or even enough of H-channel!

I did a little bit of cutting some pieces of co-ordinating yellow glass & a bit of cursing while soldering copper & lead came together, but it adds a wonderful ambience to the main room in the evening:

Hydro Garden from A Big Roundup

During this time, I continued on my client’s abstract panel. I posted only a couple ‘sneak peek’ pics of it:

Blue Menagerie sneak peek from A Big Roundup

Meanwhile, I had a design in my mind for the next porch window that involved 5 or 6 panes with 3 or 4 different widths, each with different numbers of glass pieces.

Again, nature’s winter wind ripping some plastic caused us to change which window would be next — the front entrance outside the door.

The one I was thinking of leaving until after the inside windows were done. Of course. 😉

Modular design was needed — each panel had its own frame & was put in place separately.

While the other windows have one large frame & can be removed in one piece, this window has 5 separate frames.

I sized the first panel to fit a beautiful turquoise glass & the middle panel held the showcase glass — a beautiful clear ripple with black rods & green, plum, & blue ’tissue-thin’ triangles fused in the middle.

It was a simple, relaxing, 10-min. job to straighten one edge of the fancy glass & cut two smaller plum pieces

By this time, I’d finished my commission — it was puttied up & had to sit overnight.

So, why not cut up the pieces for the other green panel?

First panels waiting for two small partners.

The crowning glory of my year has to be completing my very first commission — Blue Menagerie:

Project 21 — Blue Menagerie

The most exciting part was my client absolutely loved it.


And I had a lot of fun expressing myself through the beautiful glass. 😎

After a couple days of floating, I returned to earth to finish the last two panels for the modular window. Now the entrance is complete [well, except for a much-needed paint job]:

The green, plum, & blue colour scheme was taken from the colours in the gorgeous fused glass.

and the windows of plastic are disappearing from the porch:

The 2011 progress on the porch — a good foundation to build on in 2012.

I still have to write about some of these projects — but that is on the list for 2012. And post some tutorials.  And, oops, finish my grand-daughter’s Christmas present.  And provide a better organized gallery here.  And . . .

What would YOU like to see?

Do you have stained glass in your home?

These windows always provide me with a beautiful joy — best antidote to depression is simply looking through them. 😀

I look forward to filling the porch with more windows — & especially, more beauty!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my work — good or bad.  I have big shoulders & can handle it.  😉

Vanessa Dawne Studio of Design

Functional glass & wood art on Vancouver Isle


I’m linking with:

shabby creek cottage
A Little Knick Knack
Tickled Pink at 504 Main


  1. I do stain glass but never thought of these ideas! they are great! I am now following you on Linky follower.I would love it if you followed me back.I always enjoy meeting new bloggers


  2. Hi Vanessa, I was checking out your work here and I’m amazed what you’ve created! The bed looks great, it’s so special! It’s something you don’t see anymore around here. My dad-in-law used to make this himself as well, but has stopped because people stopped asking about it. Anyway, this is art! You’re amazing in creating such beautiful work… Great for you that you’ve got some commission projects now! Will check here more often to see what else you will create in the future!!
    Love, Inge x


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