Sunday, May 3, 2015

Making Glass Beads - Pure Joy !

 It would seem my muse has made a comeback - finally !  lol !  Not sure the creativity has returned (if I ever had it) but at least the joy of melting glass has returned. :)   It feels wonderful !  I have to say of EVERY craft I have dabbled in or attempted, making beads - melting glass - lampworking - flame working - whatever one chooses to call it, is my first love.  And I have dabbled alot over the years.  lol !

I was able to torch several times over the past week.  Since I am still "recovering" from that long absence of melting glass, I am taking things slow and steady.  Not jumping into sculpting or anything too detailed.  Returning to tried and true color combo's, easy twisties and using alot of frit - which I hadn't done in a long time prior to the absence.  The thing about frit - it's soooo easy to use and make gorgeous beads.  Just a matter of how you use it.

Let's talk about frit.  It is a conversation that has been discussed over and over and on many places on the net.  It's in every beadmakers stash whether they are just trying a bit or have hoards of it !  lol !  There is such a variety to choose from these days AND we can even make our own.  It's easy to do - find what colors of glass you like and either crush them up or melt the rods on the ends.   While still red hot, stick them in a container of water that has a coffee filter in the bottom to catch the glass and wha - la, you have frit.  The color combo's or even single color frit is limitless !

Using frit on a bead is about as easy as it gets.  Just heat up your shaped bead and roll it in the frit and melt in.  Put the frit on the entire bead or on just one section.  Easy. Another way to use frit, heat up a ball on the end of a glass rod and dip it into frit, melt and pull into stringer.  Use stringer on your bead.  Easy.   Another trick, put silver foil on your bead then put the frit on.  Gives your bead a pretty sparkle.  :)  These are just a few ways frit is used to make gorgeous glass beads.  There are plenty more tips and tricks out there but I don't have all day to type them here or the room.  lol !   Do a search on the internet and see what you come up with.  You'll be happy I'm betting.  :)

On to this weeks eye candy  - beads !  Yay !  Simple, basic beads but I enjoyed very minute of making them.  The first photo are all focal beads.  That's what I've been into these days plus some cones.  I got some new cone mandrels and am practicing with them.  As with anything it's a learning curve here.  Anyway, the beads are all frit beads and all have silver foil melted in as well.  My favorite - the upper left.  LOVE that frit and it's no longer being made.  sigh.  Oh well, it happens.  I still have a bit of a stash so that's good.  :)  

The next photo, below, is of 3 frit beads and one twistie bead.  The 3 frit beads are called faux boro because it LOOKS like boro glass but it's not.  It's soda lime glass or soft glass.  Boro is called hard glass.  Anyway, that's for another day.  There is another way to make faux boro but I found some frit long ago that did that in frit form so thought I'd try it.  It's pretty and shows all the blues and greens that come out which is what the description said it would do.  Those beads are also encased.  The twistie bead is a favorite combination of mine and many others.  That color combo has been around for a very long time.  First published in one of Corina's how to books.  Anyway, it certainly didn't start out that way but all beadmakers know, what isn't working can be made into something that does work !  No wasting glass if at all possible !  lol !
 Then of course we have more bell flower beads/headpins.  Still alot of fun to make and still need to make more.  I was trying a couple of colors I've never used before with the flowers and like the outcome.  I have so many now I need to start listing them.  Want any ? If you do, they are $3.00 each with a minimum of 3.  Just send me a message here or in my Etsy shop.

That's all for this week.  I have more beads in the kiln, a necklace waiting on findings, and another project in the works.
Thanks much for coming by !  Please come back again soon.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beads - That's it - Just Beads ! :)

It's been an interesting past week.  Lots happening (as usual), new and old.  Back at the torch a few days and LOVED it !  Want more.  Still waiting for the heavy pollen to stop.  Drove past the lake the other day and it (the pollen) was just floating around, like oil slicks, on top of the water !  ICK ! 

Torch time is limited for me right now so when I do get to "play" I try to make beads worth using.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  Last torch session, on Monday, I made 3 decent beads.  When I was done cleaning them I sat them on a towel to dry them off and forgot they were there.  Sigh.  Yep, you guessed it, I picked up the towel and 2 of the beads went flying, hit the tile floor and broke !  UGH !  See that picture below.  that's what happened.  So yes people, drop a large size glass bead on the floor and it'll break.  I've seen smallish round beads drop and bounce on this same floor but bigger beads, especially large pressed beads, don't stand a chance on ceramic tile.  Sad.  Still, the colors were tried and true so I can make more.  :)  

This is the one that survived.  Not as big as the others but a good size to add to a bracelet.  This one was a surprise when I got it out of the kiln.  Do you see it ?  Yep, a mushroom !  Not planned at all.  lol !  This can happen alot when making this type of bead.  It's always fun to see what comes out of the kiln !  :) 

Then of course, bell flowers.  :)  Had a bunch of fun making all of these !  These were made over a couple days.  These are always fun to make, use or just admire !  lol !  I now have 3 sizes of the presses so LOTS more flowers are coming.  Look at the white flowers to get a good feel for the sizes.  They are all 6 "petal" flowers too.  My flowers are a bit thicker than some you may see online.  I do that because if the walls of the flowers are too thin, they're going to break very easily - especially when used in jewelry such as bracelets.  Also, I have always used German silver wire that cleans up beautifully.  Copper wire is fine to use as well but I've never used it.  This wire shines up beautifully just like sterling silver.   These are great to use as headpins too ! 

If you would like to purchase some of these flowers, just let me know via a convo from my Etsy shop.  Tell me the colors and sizes you want (just say size small, medium or large) and I'll make a special listing for you.  The flowers are $3.00 each.  If you buy 25 or more, I'll give you a great discount ! 

Time to run.  Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beads, More Beads, More and More Beads...........

............will it ever end ?  NO !  NEVER !  lol !  Beads are global and have been for CENTURIES ~!  I'm happy about that.  They may have their ups and downs over time but never go away completely.  I think right now & the last couple of years, lampwork has been in a downward spiral but they are still here and will always be.  A weeding out process has taken place.  Those that got into it for the money - a quick buck - are gone.  Those that are coming into it for the money won't last.  So who's left ?  Artists, crafters and all those in-between who are in it for the LOVE of it.  ;)  Yeah, it's cool to make a buck or two (or lots, lol !)  but it's way cooler to have fun and enjoy yourself with something you love to do.   That's where I come in.  I'm not in it for the money (oh brother am I not ! lol ! ).  I do not consider myself an artist at all there fore, I am a crafter, always have been and that's just fine with me.  ;)  I LOVE what I do.  I have fun ALMOST every time I sit at my beloved torch.  If I can sell a bead, great.  If not, I don't fret.  Don't get me wrong, making a buck is good for me too.  I like making a dollar if I can.  I can then afford to continue on and enjoy what I'm doing. 

So will beading of any kind ever end for me - yes, of course it will. :)  It will for us all however until then, I'm going to enjoy the hell out of all those beads !  That is to say - All My Beads.  hehehe  :) 

What I made during the past week.  A little of this  - a little of that.  lol !  Ok first, I did torch one more day but those beads just aren't worth a showing at all !  lol !  So moving on, I managed a few braids - two satin braids and one beaded braid with pendant.   I hope you enjoy the eye candy.  :) 

This first braid is a pattern I hadn't done in a very long time.  Wanted to revisit it on my brand new Marudai and this is the result.    I really love the color combination and how it turned out.  I will make more.  :)

 This is a flat braid I made using a pattern I never tried before.  The pattern I found online and it was directions to use a square foam plate.  I made this one on my new Marudai.  I love the pattern but it's not as tight as the braids I typically make.  Still very pretty. 
  And of course, another one of my dragon necklaces.  This one is in reds and I do enjoy it very much !  The kumihimo beaded braid is done in dark red, black and gold seed beads.  Very goth I guess.  lol ! 

That's all for this week.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon.  I have surprises coming in the weeks ahead !  lol ! 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Go Away Pollen ! I Want To Torch !

I had a post nearly all finished about doing business online but deleted the whole thing.  Why bother ?  My opinions about online selling and buying are not important to anyone but me so no point.  Gonna keep my posts related to what I'm doing and the fun I'm having.  Yes, I know, life isn't all fun and games.  Believe me, I know all to well that point but on my blog, it's how I choose to keep it.  So let the games begin.....:) 

Since the last post here, I have been very busy !  Like everyone else on this earth I keep myself going sometimes too much and pay the price.  lol !  Anyway, there is so much to chat about that I need to choose one thing and just go for it.  So this weeks  post will be about making beads and spending time at my torch. 

I am only warming up with my torch time these last couple of weeks.  Only stolen "moments" a day here and there when it rains.  That way, the icky yellow and other pollens stay out of my house !  :)  When that's over I'll be able to spend more time making beads.  :)  In the meantime I have made a few more since the last bead posting.  I'm still warming up since I can only torch here and there.  Makes it hard to be consistent.  lol !  Still,  I have fun.  It's my first love.  I'm not a great bead artist/crafter but that's ok.   Lately I'm into the huge beads so that's been fun - good and not so good  !  lol !  Yesterday was a "not so good" torch session.  lol !  It happens and that's ok.  It was I wanna try something different for me day.  So because of that I learned a few things.  lol !  I'll get into that later. 

For now, the picture below is from the session prior to yesterday.  The one on the right has a ton of silver in it.  I LOVE the frit used as it's soooo reactive !  It's white before the heat hits it but then it can turn a very pretty blue and a golden yellow as well as staying white.  The one on the left also has silver in it but not so much.  They both took a very long time to make because of my torch but I still enjoyed it.  :)  That's the last session I had before yesterday. 

More eye candy since I only have the one current bead photo.  This second photo is from back in 2007.  I was into making little doll beads back then and enjoyed it alot.  I still have the little Halloween and Christmas dolls.  The others are sold or given away to family.   Can't quite remember.  lol !

Also a favorite of mine - a hollow puffer fish.  Can't remember when I made this one but he's in my faux aquarium still.  I love how this one turned out.  Made from a tutorial that was printed in one of the magazines long ago.  :) I did mainly sculpting back then.  Not a set maker at all.  lol ! 

 That's all for this week.  I'll be better about keeping up here.  Thanks so much for coming by and please come back again !  :) 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lampwork Glass Flame Made Beads

How's that for a title to a post ?  lol !  Kinda says it all I think.  lol !  

I had a very productive, hectic week thus far.  Not just with arts/crafts but with other stuff happening on the home front.  We are considering a move so that's taking up alot of time.  In between all that I do manage to "do my thing" beading, jewelry making, Kumihimo braids with and without beads.  Those keep me sane.  Those keep me happy.

So my happy parts brought me back to the torch finally over the weekend.  As long as it was raining, I could torch.  That rain keeps the pollen from filling the air so I can do just that.  It is pollen season again and it's been in full swing for the past month. 

 I had 3 torch sessions.  Fun !  The first day was pretty shaky but after that, I was fine.  Did some things I hadn't done in YEARS on that first day basically to prove a point.  It worked.  lol !  And those beads are the first picture below.  I made BIG beads all three days plus some flowers and leaves.  All pictured below.  Photographing the beads with the dime shows just how big those beads are.  :)  I had to make big beads for several reasons and am very happy with the outcome of all of them.  :)  Haven't decided yet if they'll be listed or will go in a piece of jewelry.

In the last photograph, there are 3 HUGE beads.  It took me forever to make each bead and it was due to the oxygen supply.  Will have to fix that.  Anyway, the beads turned out decent enough and I had fun making them.  That's what matters.  :)  The flowers and leaves will go in a bouquet I think.  I need to make a couple more rose type flowers yet.  In the last photo, that honkin' blue bead is my favorite of all of them.  I LOVE that glass and as far as I can tell, it's no longer available.  sigh.  That bead came from one rod of glass.  Soooo pretty.  It's been my favorite glass for years.  That one for sure is going in a necklace.

It would seem that the glass will keep calling me back in.  lol !  I have thought maybe it's time to quit - again with all these long breaks but something just keeps bringing me back every time.  I'm thinking it's the "zen" of melting glass.  Sounds corny I'm sure but it's the truth.  Seeing that glass melt then form into "something" is amazing to me and I can't wait to see the final outcome - good or bad - every single time.  :)        


 That's all for this week.  Thanks so much for coming by.  Come back again soon. :)

Please come on over to my All My Beads Facebook page and have a peek.  All My Beads Facebook  Leave a comment or message.  I'd love to hear from you.  :)


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Time to Torch plus More Kumihimo

I'm overdue for this weeks post.  No excuse other than it's been another hectic week.  So much for slowing down and taking things a little easier !  lol !

I'll be off to the torch this morning !  Yay !  It's been so long. I hope my glass muse has made a comeback !  I have designs in mind to play with or possibly make some bell flowers.  The latest bell flower tool I bought is the Carlo Dona 12mm 6 point flower.  The other two I have are the Carlo Dona 14mm 6 point and the 20 mm 8 point.  My favorite is the largest one.  These tools are the best quality tools made by a family that's been doing it for decades in Italy.  Anyway, I can't wait to play.  Hopefully I'll have something decent to show.

What has kept me busy all week is Kumihimo of course.  I made several pieces and thankfully only one had to be torn apart.  sigh.  I hate it when that happens but it happens to all of us.  We find that one little mistake that just happens.  lol !  And it was a pattern that one has to use tiny beads with.  I hate that too.  So that will be put away for another day.  :)  I did have much success with that pattern that has enthralled me lately.  I love doing it and don't see an end in sight.  :)  Pictured below are 3 bracelets I made using that pattern.  I love love love how these turned out.

Left to right - pale pink and lime green with silver and creme soda seed beads.  A hummingbird clasp brings it all together.  Pretty spring colors for sure !  And the hummers will be back very soon !  Next up,  Peach and shades of green and gold matte beads with silver and gold seed beads.  A pretty gold clasp to end it.  Lastly a gun metal and icey blue gray magatama beads with silver and pearl gray seed beads.  The clasp has 3 hoops to size this bracelet up to a very large size.  The one on top right is sold but the other two are available for sale if interested.  Just send me a message here in the comment section below.   

Next up, another dragon necklace.  :)  This one is so cute !  Great for a young lady of any age. lol !  A turquoise blue and pink dragon adorns this Kumihimo beaded braid necklace.  The colors of the braid match her perfectly in pink, turquoise, silver and gold.  She guards her precious orb close to her body.  The silver plated chain will extend the 17 1/2" necklace up to 20" if one chooses.  :)  And yes, I am obsessed with these dragons !  lol !  Soooo cute !

Lastly, another bracelet using that favorite pattern !  lol !  Yep, I just had to do it.  :)  I had this color combo in my brain for a while.  Love how it turned out.  This is AB Amber, gold matte mag beads with gold and AB amber seed beads.  I love how this turned out.  Perfect for fall however it can be worn any time of year.  The antique gold color leaf clasp works great with it as well.  Also for sale.  If interested, post in the comments section below.  This one fits up to a 7 1/2" wrist very comfortably.  :)

 I guess that pretty much shows just how busy it's been.  lol !  What's not shown is the two braids I made on my Marudai as well.  lol !  Craziness.  A slow down seems nearly out of reach these days.  lol !  It is what it is.

Until next time.........thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Time Change - Kumihimo - Dragons - What a Week

Well, it's that time of year again where the clocks had to be changed.  sigh.  This is so stupid.  Leave the clocks one way or the other for petes's sake !  There is no need to do this.  It is proven it takes some people weeks to recoup from the twice yearly change and that's just not good let alone productive.   I could go on a major rant here about all this but I won't.  Time to move on.......

The last several weeks have been so busy (as I have stated more than once) I've had barely enough time in the day to finish up what I start.  Doesn't matter what it is.  So time to slow down, like I mentioned last week, and pace myself.  Do you ever find it's just too much sometimes ?  I'm there.  lol !  I have a list of what I NEED to be doing and as I look at it, I am making plans on when and how much time I will spend on each item.  Maybe it'll take more time than what I planned for a particular "job".  With that, next time around I'll plan it better.  :)

I have been "playing" with beaded Kumihimo of course as I have been for months now.  Have I learned anything new recently ?  Not alot but that's only because I haven't had the time to sit and learn something new.  lol !  I have several new books to read, a BUNCH of tutorials to go over and actually make something, including a new lampwork bead tut.  I've glanced over a few things and am anxious to try it all.  So in the meantime, I'm still making some jewelry pieces, as time permits, and having fun with that.

The first necklace I made weeks ago.  It was one of the braids I made to go with the shell pendant - possibly.  It ended up going with the little blue dragon seen below.  Such a great match !  Turned out really good together.

This second photo is of another dragon necklace.  This little dragon is Esmeralda.  For whatever reason, as I was braiding the Kumihimo braid, I kept thinking the braid belonged to Esmeralda, the little purple dragon.  :)  There she is.  The braid is made with my own hand dyed pink silk cord, purple satin cord and one "strand" of gold color seed beads.  LOVE it !  She is for sale if anyone is interested.  Just message me.

That's a couple things I was able to finish up last week.  I really enjoyed making the pink and purple braid.  I love working on my Marudai and would do it daily if I could.  ;)   The beaded Kumihimo braids are all made on a foam disk.  Which is fine but I get more pleasure out of using the Marudai.  Not exactly sure what it is.  The feel of the fibers ?  The movement of the cords ?  Could it be I can actually DO more on the Marudai ?  Meaning making more movement of the cords ?  I'm not sure but I love it.  :)

 Please remember to come on by my Etsy shop for a look at my new hand dyed silk cords !  Lots of colors available with more to come in the next week.  All are available by the yard ! 

That's all for this week.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again sometime.