Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just Another Christmas Post

The season is upon us with Christmas less than a week away now.  Are you ready ?  I am thankfully.  I hate being "behind" in things this time of year cause there's always so much more to catch up on in the end.  Yet, when it's all over, do you feel relief, let down or are you asking yourself," What just happened ?"  Or in other words, did I just miss something ?  It goes so fast and seems like every year it speeds by even faster than the last.  Yes, I am of the ages I see the years zoom by now.  lol !  It happens to us all but that's for another discussion.  :)  Onward and upward - as it were.

Since I did not torch this past week, I did manage to make a couple of bracelets for myself.  Yep, I was selfish and gave myself another couple of little Christmas gifts.  lol !  I had those fabulous purple beads to either list in my Etsy shop or make something with them.  I realized I might not get that edp to turn out so great ever again so I HAD to keep them and use them for me.  :)  Cool thing is, that color matches the colors in a new shirt I have so -  perfection !  I didn't have ANY jewelry with that purple in it so this worked out quite nicely.  It's a tad on the larger size but it still fits. 

I also wanted and needed a bracelet with Christmas colors.  I have snowman earrings and needed something to fit the holiday & to kinda match.  Beaded kumihimo was the way using these fabulous magatama beads.  I love the look !  And may I say, there is NOTHING like using a good, strong magnetic clasp.  So easy, so fast and secure !  Love it !  :) 

That's all for this week.  Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon ! 
I wish you and yours a safe and very MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS !


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Early Christmas Gifts are FUN !

Yep, they sure are !  I've been wanting a new DSLR camera for a very long time.  I have a digital point and shoot camera that worked "ok" but not great for my needs, which of course was bead and jewelry photography.  I also have an old Canon AE-1 Program 35mm film camera which I LOVED and used for MANY years.  Have a bunch of lenses to go with that camera too.  Well, a couple weeks ago, QVC had a great TSV for a Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR package. Came with 2 lenses and a great package as the Q tends to do.  :)  I ordered it.  It came Monday and let me say - a lot has changed since the days of using 35mm film but a lot has remained the same as well.  It's just a matter of learning new things - again.  lol ! 

So once again I am on a learning adventure but this time with a camera - and I'm having a fantastic time !  I'm just going over the various functions of the camera this week but will start really practicing hopefully next week one chapter (in the instruction book) at a time.  :)  Simple and easy at first so I'm thinking the auto function will be a huge part of simple and easy.  lol !  Still I'm anxious to learn more about depth of field the most.  :)  

I've added just one picture I took just playin' around.  The octopus bead is a "Secret Santa" gift I received a few days ago. The glass forum I belong to has a Secret Santa every Christmas and this year I participated.   I have been drooling over Joy Munshower's octopus beads for some time.  She brought a HUGE smile to my face a few days ago when the package from her arrived.  I tore into that package and there it was - (along with a few chocolates and a lovely Christmas card), a fantastic octopus bead !  That bead will go into my faux fish tank as soon as I can find time to do the rearranging.  Thank-you once again Joy for helping make my Christmas a little nicer.  :) 

Anyway, octo bead was just sitting there on a sheet of white paper, I set the camera to close up and just shot.  No special lights, no adjusting the lenses, nothing.  Just shot.  I didn't even edit the colors in my edit program !   I was amazed !  The colors are PERFECT !  I do know of course, this won't happen with bead photo's much.  This is a HUGE bead though so I'm guessing that was part of the reason the photo turned out so well.  So more fun will follow.  :) 

I have but one photo of a bead I made this past week.  Alas, this little guy is all I could come up with.  A doggie with no tail !  lol !  So he'll stay home with me.  I do have some flowers in the kiln this morning.  Just been busy with other things this week.  Sometimes melting glass has to wait.   
Thanks much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon ! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

'Tis the Season to be BUSY !

I know we already know that but I needed to repeat it.  lol !  It's been crazy and 3 weeks from today - Christmas is already over.  Well, at least officially it is.

The beadmaking muse has escaped me once again with all the hub-bub going on with the holidays.  I did manage to get in a couple of hours at the torch over the weekend but that was about it.  I made a pretty little set of beads using edp once again and although the purple didn't come out exactly as it's "suppose" to, I still think they are pretty.  The name of the glass - evil defritifying purple is absolutely the correct name for that glass.  lol !  Even though I supposedly KNOW how to control it, it obviously can still do it's own thing.  I still enjoy the beads though and I think this set will go in my Etsy shop soon.  Someone very dear to me suggested I sculpt a beloved cartoon character into a bead so that's what I'm going to do.  I only have one week to accomplish that so keep your fingers crossed !  At least it's a challenge.  Seems I need those to get motivated anymore.  Geesh.........  

Since I have been online doing some shopping, I decided it was only fair to do a bit of shopping for myself.  lol !  Hey, why not ??  Anyway, I have been watching a porcelain bead artist recently hoping to catch when she loads her Etsy shop. I was able to snag a few pieces of hers yesterday !  I am totally surprised I was able to get anything at all since there was a feeding frenzy - literally !  The shop was EMPTIED in less than 5 minutes except for 3 faces and those were gone in short time.  So I snagged these three cabs - A hummingbird, a sea otter and a barn owl.  I am so very anxious to see them up close and personal.  The question I am asking myself now - what to do with them once I get them ???  Will have to work on that one.  lol ! 

Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon ! 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Week of Nothing

Yeah, it's been one of "those" weeks.  I only torched probably twice and those sessions produced zilch.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I did manage to get thru one challenge I wanted to do but the rest was blah. 

I have been getting color idea's from a this website  emailed daily with two color scheme's to do with what I want.  :)  Plus I can go to that website and pick and choose if I so desire.  The first color scheme I wanted to work with is called Minted Brights.  The first photo below is of that color combo.  The colors I used are the closest I could find in my glass stash.  I admit they might not be exact but as close as I could get.  I LOVED it !  It gives me the colors to use but I need to come up with the design and techniques in which to incorporate the colors.  Nice.  Fun.  Just more of what I need to do for myself right now.  I seem to need these challenges to keep moving forward right now.  I needed to keep the first color challenge simple so I made simple beads.  Simple for me anyway.  lol ! 

The second picture is of a small set of beads I am soooooo thrilled with !!  I've NEVER been able to get EDP to produce the gorgeous purple it's suppose to be until I made these beads 2 weeks ago !  Wow !  I guess I held my tongue in the right position, crossed my toes and fingers while making them then waited until they came out of the kiln !  lol !  Perfection !  :)  I only hope I can do it again because that purple is divine !  :)  And typically, I'm not a purple fan. 

 Hopefully this coming week I'll feel more up to being at the torch.  It's the time of year I USUALLY produce a whole bunch more than I have been. 

Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon to see what's happenin'. 
I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday ! 
PS - There is still a 30% off sale going on in my Etsy shop !  Come on over and shop !  :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Baaaaaaaaack !

My mojo, my muse or whatever you call it to get the creative juices flowing again !  lol !  Yay and Thank-Goodness !  :) 
Thank-You Heather Trimlett for the 40 Bead Challenge and Thanks to Haley   for rallying the lampwork folks to join her in her efforts on LE !  There's a very long thread there with everyone that has participated and are still working on their 40 Bead Challenges !  It's a work in progress as it were.  :) 

So, now the question is:  What did I learn ?  Ok so here's the short list:
  • Patience is required.
  • Slow and Steady makes for a better outcome.
  • Molten Glass has a mind of it's own.
  • Dots are amazing creatures !
  • Beads can and will Grow !   
  • Black and White is an outstanding color combo !
  • I remember why I usually use the EMS for starting all my beads.
  • Using no tools has reminded me why I use tools - when needed of course.

Yeah, I know these are all fun facts or fun lessons BUT lessons learned and re-learned and REAL.  :)  Regardless of what I learned, which was ALOT, this exercise refreshed my "muse", brought me out of the funk I was in, woke-me-up and got my mojo working again THANK-GOODNESS !  I NEEDED this in a major way.  It did what I was hoping it would do.  It reminded me once again WHY I LOVE melting glass and THAT my friends is always a good thing.  :)

So, here are my 40 beads !  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feel of all of them in my hand !  It's amazing to me.  Even more amazing - and I reiterate here - it's so amazing what a simple little dot can do that's it just stupid !  lol !   The proof is in the photo.  The lines you see on any of those beads is created by masking.  These beads have only dots on them.  That's it. 
The dots in these beads are all melted in.  Imagine what can be done with rasied dots or a combination of both ?  Limitless.  lol ! 

Thanks so much for stopping in !  I hope you come back again soon to see what's happening !  I have yet ANOTHER challenge I'm "working" on.  This time, I'm challenging myself !  :) 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Forty Bead Challenge Continues

This is going to be a fly by post cause it's late in the morning and I need to get moving !  So here goes.

The 40 Bead Challenge is still in full swing here.  I'm having so much fun doing it that I will participate in the second challenge that is now in progress on LE. 

My progress - coming along nicely.  I'm half way to the finish now and have learned so much already.  :)  Sticking by the rules completely and totally is a bit hard but doable.  The one I'm having real trouble with is getting a consistent size.  Adding dots and more dots sure can increase the overall size but I already knew that !  lol !  Some of my challenge beads are focal size !  lol !  Starting smaller would of been a good thing !  lol !   Oh well, I'll continue to plug along. 

The first photo below is of Day 2.  Beads 10 - 15 right to left in that order.  lol !  Yeah, I did it backwards.  Anyway, I am thrilled with how these turned out.  Better than expected actually.  Something else I learned - patience is key.  And I have to say it - I enjoy using a full rod of glass to lay down all of the dots.  Not only is it easier for me but I am learning better heat control.  You can't make tiny dots with a full rod of glass without heat control.  :) 

Photo #2 is Day 3.  BIG SIGH.  Beads 16 - 21, left to right in order.  I am sooooo disappointed with several of those beads.  #'s 16,17 and 19 I used a different glass manufacturers black and it bled into the white.  UGH.  So upset because now I'll have to redo those beads.  sigh.  The others turned out fine.   All were quite time consuming so double whammy.  I am happy with the patterns overall though so that's good.  Still, what a waste.  :(  Onward and upward as it were.  I'll redo those 3 when I get to the end of the challenge.   

Ok, so that's my fly by posting !  lol !  It only took about 20 minutes.  lol ! 
Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again to see my progress with the 40 Bead Challenge ! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Key To Getting Your Mojo Back or How to Kick Your Muse Into Action

I mentioned in the last post how my "muse" just sorta left the building - as it were.  I was uninspired even though I was still making beads.  They were easy to me beads to make and I was actually getting bored.  There, I said it.  lol !  I didn't want to revisit things I had done in the past.  That really is one way to get the mojo working again for a lot of folks no matter the art/craft.  I just didn't want to do that anymore.  Coming up with new designs just wasn't working either.  No mojo, no muse, nothing.  UGH !

A while back, I read about a challenge put out there by well known bead artist Heather Trimlett.   Here's the link Click Here  When I first read it I figured it just wasn't for me.  My hands are too shaky, I don't have the patience to do such repetitive stuff, not sure I could follow the rules, etc. etc.  The excuses were there.  lol !  Fast forward to the present.  Too much boredom actually made the decision for me before I even realized it !  I started this challenge yesterday and am joining in on a group of a whole bunch of people that frequent Lampwork Etc also doing this challenge.  I was so excited to get started I just dove it yesterday without adding to that thread at LE.  I'll be doing that today.  lol ! 

So just below is what I accomplished yesterday.  I am so very excited to be doing this I just can't explain !  :)  Not only is it FUN, I am sharpening skills I should of sharpened LONG ago !  Because my hands tend to be very shaking I never did much dot practice.  Not only is it about sharpening skills, it teaches you MANY things that Heather talks about in her pdf.  The very first thing I have learned, I CAN make a fairly decent round/donut shaped bead WITHOUT the EMS (electric mandrel spinner) !  I was very leary about that.  I have always used the EMS simply because of the problems with my hands and arms.  The problems are still there and I can feel the 10 beads I made yesterday but I will forge on !  lol !  It's just too much fun not too and it's working.  I am getting out of this "slump".  

It is AMAZING what just a simple little dot can do on a lampwork bead.  The things that can be created is endless.  I am ready and anxious to be at the torch again this morning adding to this group !  I made 10 beads yesterday.  One is missing from the photo because it stuck to another bead when I put it in the kiln.  UGH !  It was flat on one side because I tried to separate them when it was too hot.  Oh well, I'll make another one today.  

Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon to follow along with my 40 Bead Challenge !  :) 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Is Here At Last !

I LOVE this time of year !  I LOVE the cool, cold crisp mornings that lead into cool, cold crisp days.  I LOVE to open windows and let all that cold take over the house even for just a minute.  The house smells so fresh and new afterward.  :)  Soooo much nicer than the heat, humidity and just plain stale air of summer.  

The past week has been interesting (or not) depending the attitude taken.  lol !  Right now, the attitude is that of blah.  My "muse" seems to have fled the premises and it doesn't seem like it will return any time soon.  I have been drawing a blank and reverting back to basic easy beads.  Which isn't bad really cause basic and easy keep me in practice.  Still I need something to get the mojo going again and not real sure what that might be.  I am not one to just ho hum it and let it pass.  I NEED to be at the torch even if it's just for the sake of being at the torch and keeping in "shape" as it were.  That said, the past weeks beads were familiar ground for me and I did enjoy making them.   I managed to get in a few more beads for Beads of Courage as well but need to buckle down and get a bunch more made of those too so they can be sent in.  Pictured below are just a few of the beads I made this week.  Flowers and some focals with reactive glass.  I do enjoy playing with very reactive glass and those colors just love reacting with one another.  lol !   If you're interested, a couple sets of the flowers are listed in my Etsy shop now along with a couple new listings for focals.   


Hopefully this time next week, I'll have a brand new "attitude" and it will be because my mojo has come back !  lol !  Only time will tell.   New attitude means new beads.  (insert big smile). 
That's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by and I hope you come back again very soon !  Have a great weekend !  And remember - Christmas is only.....wait, Halloween hasn't arrived yet !  Geesh.............:)   

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mid October and Ready for Fall

Ok already with the 80 degree temps !  Geesh, it's mid October after all and suppose to be nice and COOL !  I never EVER imagined running the AC in October !  This is crazy - but expected for the south I guess.  Give me 50 degrees and MUCH cooler and I am a very happy camper.  Now, onto the beads....................:)

After waiting to get a glass order and limited torch time, I have finally finished that special project I mentioned in a previous blog post.  This is something that could of been finished in about a weeks time if I had all the right glass in the first place.  Still, once I got that glass, I was extremely disappointed.  It did NOTHING I was hoping it would.  It didn't even match what I needed it for.  sigh.  Obviously I'm doing something wrong not to get the color it shows it's suppose to look like on the website.  I'll keep working on it.  :)  And if and when I get the needed color, I'll post all about it here.  lol ! 

So the project I worked on was a flower bouquet for that newly done bathroom.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  The photo is just below.  The bathroom colors are peach, chocolate and pale seafoam green.  The buish/green bell flower smack dab in the front center is the exact color of that seafoam green.  I am thrilled how the roses turned out and always love the bell flowers.  There are two critters in this bouquet, Blueboy worm and a very soft peach butterfly.  The main rose in the center is peach and the two on the sides are a very pretty pink with crimped petals.  I've added a few smaller pics of the side view and top view.  Just click on them to see a larger version.  The vase is a gorgeous sparkly deep brown with gold in it.  This is the 4th bouquet I've put together and I just have a lot of fun doing them.  :)  I can make one for you too.  Just contact me here by posting a comment or click on any picture in my Etsy shop to the right and send me a convo.  :) 



Finally, since I haven't been at the torch much, I've not been able to make too many Beads Of Courage Beads.  Only a few each torch session.  The bowl is filling up VERY slowly.  I'll have to take a day or two to get it filled and get it sent off.  They are STILL very much in need.  Pic below shows the few I've been able to get done.   Gotta get more done ! 
That's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again very soon ! 
This weeks question:
I make a lot of beads using MANY shades of one primary color.  Name that color and win this weeks giftee !
Place your guess in the comments section below.  Only one guess per visitor please.  First person to guess correctly wins however I will not post the winner until Saturday the 19th in the evening.  
New rule:  Recent winners need to opt out for 2 weeks to be fair to all.  :)  Thanks for understanding.   


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Autumn In The Air (not really) & Torch Time

It's kinda hard to believe Autumn and fall like weather is suppose to be here when it's 80 plus degrees outside !  lol !  Even though it gets into the 50's at night sometimes and is so nice and cool in the early mornings.  One good thing about those nice cool mornings is they will be nice cool DAYS very soon and I am anxiously awaiting that !  :)  Ok, onto torch time..........

This past week it's been all about revisiting sculpting and of course more beads for the Beads of Courage kids.  I didn't get as many of those done as I would of liked at each torch session so I made up for that a bit yesterday at the torch.  That said, I didn't torch as much as I would of liked either.  Only 3 mornings for a couple hours.  Busy week.  Anyway, the BOC beads are waiting to be cleaned so no photo yet. 

The revisiting part - Sculpted flowers.  I am working on a project for myself again.  This time for our newly remodeled half bath.  Finding colors to coordinate has been a challenge but finally getting resolved.  Some of that glass won't arrive until next week.  In the meantime I've been getting my hands warm again by practicing sculpting roses and other sorts of flowers.  I've revisited the basic rose I was doing before but adding new "twists" literally - to some.  lol !  See photo below.  I actually really like that twist/crimps but it's not exactly what I was trying to accomplish so will keep working on that and reveal that in another post.  Maybe this isn't even a rose type flower with the twisted/crimped petals !  lol !  Whatever it is, they are kinda pretty I think.  Those orange flowers - are suppose to be dark yellow.  sigh.  Anyway the rose in the middle and the flower with transparent petals are close to the colors I need.  In the meantime, I'll keep playing.  :)) 

The bottom picture is of a set of beads I might still add to yet.  It takes a couple of torch sessions to get all the beads in the photo.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out !  The color combinations of the base color and the frit are really wonderful !  It's so hard to tell in a photo.  Be sure to click on the pic to see the close up.       

I'm going to start something new here on my blog.  Every post I'm going to ask a single question about something in the post.  If you can answer correctly in the comments section below, I'll send you a little surprise gift !  It might be something about a technique I use, a tool I use, a color, etc.  All in fun !  The first person to respond and answer correctly gets the gift.  Easy peasy !  :)  The question will always be posted down here at the bottom.  This weeks question is: 
What tool did I use to twist/crimp the petals in the flowers ?
HINT - Everyone has one in their home/toolbox. 
Winner is Therese of Therese's Treasures Blog.  Thanks for playing along !  :) 
Thanks for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon ! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Finally - Beads for Grown Ups Again (and BOC too of course ! )

Yes indeed, more beads for the kids of Beads of Courage but this past week I needed to get a few sets in my Etsy shop so had to make some beads for grown ups too !  lol !  Not that the grown ups are doing any shopping in my Etsy shop.  :(  Still, it needed to be done and I had F-U-N making them too. 

I always have fun making beads for the kids and I am continuing to do that with each torch session.  I've made at least two beads for them every time I sit at the torch.  Lately the only reason only 2 beads is because they have been bigger and have taken longer to make. 

The bowl with the BOC beads needs to be mailed because it's filling up pretty quickly since I am torching about every other day now.  The count right now is 55 with a few more in the kiln.   Top two photo's below are of BOC beads I've made recently.  So much fun.  Top photo is a new design for me of little dinosaurs.  I hope the kids like them. 

The beads for grown-ups were a lot of fun to make as well !  And I LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out.  The last photo below is just one of the sets I made the other day.  Not in my Etsy shop yet but will be by Monday.  I love the color combo's in this set and I really like them etched. 

Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon ! 
Fall is in the air which means cool temps and fall colors !  Yay !   

Thursday, September 19, 2013

For Beads of Courage Again and On and on and......................

Yep, more for the kiddo's.  :)  I can't help it.  I'm having too much fun making these beads.  I hope the kids like them too.  If anything, making some of these beads has shown me I need to work on some skills !  Like stringer work, encasing (of course !) and not working too hot when it's not needed.  It all takes practice of course.  I have NEVER been good at stringer work and most likely never will be.  My hands tend to shake too much.  Just me.  I'm not nervous, just a bit shaky when I don't want to be.  lol !  So I hope the kids aren't too critical when they see a spotty or shaky line where it's not suppose to be.  lol !  I don't think they would be.  

This weekend Flametree Glass Shop in Roswell, GA. is having Beads of Courage day.  They invite beadmakers to come in and make beads all afternoon for the kids.  They provide the mandrels and glass !  What could be better !  Free glass to play with and the kids get the beads.  Nice.  :)  Here's a link to their website page from a day of beadmaking for Beads of Courage   Looks like a blast !  I generally do not make beads in the afternoon but maybe this is just what I need for a change.  Plus I'd get to finally meet some fellow glassy folks.  Now that would be cool !  

Ok so here's a couple of pictures. The first one is of my favorites so far this week and the second one is of all the beads so far .  I need to count them but I'm guessing right around 45 give or take.  Plus there are more in the kiln.  I just got a new press so played with it today and created a couple new to me critters with it.  We'll see how those turned out !  lol !  Anyway, the white polar bear, peace signs and love bug (white dots on wings) are all from the BOC book of 20 tutorials, Hot Glass For Cool Kids, that Diane of Soda Lime Times put together.  Here's the link again  which also takes you to the e-mag Soda lime Times.  :)   The little mouse on a wedge of cheese is from a seperate issue of Soda Lime Times.  All the rest are just my fun times at the torch.  As you can tell, I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with bright colors.  They are my favorites.  I love most all colors but the brights are my most favorites.  :) 

That's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon to see what's happenin'. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Beadies for the Kiddies

I'm still able to torch early in the morning so that's where I've been lately.  The cool early mornings are great then around 9 - 10 am it's time to close up shop so to speak.  The heat and humidity are back.  lol !  "They" are saying we're going to cool down - 80 degrees - for a high come this weekend.  Nice.  I am anxious for fall and winter weather !  My time of year ! 

Ok so since I'm able to torch a bit in the early morns, I've been making more beadies for the kiddies of Beads of Courage.  They are still in need as far as I know and I'm sure always will be.  I've been so totally inspired to keep making beads for the kids that I've let my Etsy shop wane and I need to get busy with that again too.  Not enough time in the day geesh....Anyway, as long as the kids need a bead, I'll keep at it.  :)  I'm inspired, I'm having fun, I'm learning new techniques, I'm revisiting old techniques and just enjoying all of it.  Knowing too that each bead I make for the kids will be loved.  The kids themselves are such an inspiration.  All that the kids have to deal with on a daily basis I just can't imagine.  So yes, they inspire me to keep on keepin' on !  :)  Wow, now that's an old sayin' I haven't heard in a while.  lol !  

I've mailed in two boxes this past week and the picture below shows the most recent one.  I had so much fun making these beads !  It was recently posted that the kids love bumpy beads, dot beads, encased beads, odd shaped beads and the Peace sign beads.  Sooooooo I made bumpy beads, a few odd shaped beads and some critter beads.  No encased beads mainly because I am lousy at encased beads !  lol !  I give it a shot every now and again but more on that another time.  The critter beads are hard to see because they are standing up on their "paws".  lol !  The peace sign beads are soaking as I type so those will be pictured another time along with today's beads. 
So as I mentioned before, if you are a beadmaker, PLEASE take a few moments of your torch time each time you torch and make a BOC bead.  Send them in when you get about 30 done.  Believe me, you will feel soooooo good knowing you're bringing a smile to some kid who truly needs a smile.  :)  Besides that - it's fun ! 
Thanks so much for coming by.  Please come back again soon to see what else I've been up to.  :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Calling Out to All Glass Bead Artists Again

Beads of Courage is still in desperate need of your handmade lampwork beads.  Please do what you can.  When you're at your torch please take a few moments and make just one or two beads for the kids.  I promise, the more you do it, the more you get into it !  lol !  It's such a great feeling knowing that little beadie you just made will go to a child that's gone thru some serious stuff.  These little bits of our own creativity will bring a simple smile to a kid who needs to smile.  :)  Those little beadies are well loved by these kids too so you know YOUR bead will be cherished !  That alone is a great feeling I think. 

It was recently posted on LE ( ) that the kids LOVE certain kinds of beads.  Those are:  Beads with the Peace sign, bumpy beads, anything encased in clear and polka dot beads.  It also said the boys in particular love dark and bright colors and odd shaped beads. 

I've posted a photo below of the box of beads going in the mail today.  The post also said the minute the beads are received, they are shipped out to hospitals in the program.  Most of the beads pictured are made from the tutorials that are in the e-book I posted a link to in the previous post.  Here it is again  There are some in there that are my own playtime beads.  lol !  Still, that e-book is chock full of 20 tuts the kids will LOVE ! 

Please do what you can to help out the kids.  So easy for us to do and really not at all time consuming.  Just a couple a day and send in when you get at least 30 beads.  That's it.  :) 
Thanks to all of you that have donated and those of you that will be.  :) 
Until next time, thanks for coming by !  Please come back again soon.  :) 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Handmade Glass Artists, Glass Beadmakers, Lampwork Artist, Etc - Beads Of Courage Needs Your Help

Yep, they need our handmade glass beads !  :)  Seems they have plum run out of stock of these types of beads which are Act of Courage and Long term follow up beads.  Act of Courage beads are special beads the kids get to choose for special courageous act during treatment.

A new e-book of tutorials is now available to anyone that wants one for a mere $20.00 and is chock full of 20 tutorials of beads to make for the kids.  Or just for anyone that wants to try something new or to just look at some fun stuff.  All proceeds go to BOC.  You can order your e-book here which is also a link to Soda Lime Times monthly e-magazine for glass artists.  Which in itself is nothing short of FABULOUS !  :)  For only $5 bucks a month you can't beat it !  Not only do you get great art to look at and read about but also tutorials are included every single month for you to try.  Yes, I said tutorials - with an "s" !  Always more than one !  lol ! 

If I may offer a suggestion.  If you really can't do whole sessions of just beads for BOC, it's really not a biggie but if you could just make one or two or three simple beads each session and send them in when you gather a bunch then it would help TREMENDOUSLY !  Simple bead, hmmmmmm maybe a frit bead with eyes !  lol !  Or a frit bead with a smiley face on it.  Simple and fast.  :)  You know all those pretty and/or fun murrini you bought and have never used - perfect !  Add some frit to a bead and a few murrini and WHA - LA !  :)  The kids really do need beads.  

Ok so here are a few examples of some beads I made using some of the tutorials in that e-book I mentioned above.  I had a blast trying out a bunch of those tuts !  I usually do NOT torch during the summer but hey, I can handle a little heat and humidity which is nothing compared to what these children are dealing with.  

Have fun looking at the photo's and PLEASE - take a few moments of your torch time and make a bead or two for the kids.  Believe me, it's an incredible feeling to know how much the beads will be loved !  :)  

These are from two torch sessions of about 2 hours a piece.  I have more beadies cooling in the kiln now that will be added plus I'll be at the torch again today.  :)  Like I said, I'm having too much fun making these beads !  lol !  The only two beads here that are not in the e-book of tutorials is the little doll bead and the fishie bead.  The little doll bead I learned from Anne Ricketts and she has a tutorial available for that on her website here .
Thanks for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon to see what's new !  :) 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Photographing a Bead - How Hard Can It Be ?

When we begin to learn all about melting glass into these pretty little gems we call lampwork beads, most of us NEVER guess we need to become nearly professional photographers as well !  lol !  If it does come into our minds, we figure we can get away with taking those shots outside in sunlight or with a zoom lens to take close ups, oh the ideas that come to mind !  lol !  Well, of course it doesn't happen that way.  That's too easy.  So then the research begins.  Eye eye eye !  The camera, the set up, an editing program and of course -  the beads !  lol !  After working with both making beads and photography of them on and off for nearly 8 years, I have come to the realization that no matter what set up one uses, or what camera one uses - it's all in the eye of the beholder !  lol ! 

I have tried every which way one can think of to take pics of my beads and jewelry as have just about anyone that sells online.  The latest version is a couple of light "boxes" with a graduating gradient background.  These light boxes are pretty darned cool and work great !  I got 2 of them thinking these things are going to greatly improve my pics with little work or time involved - NOT !  lol !  That's what being naïve about these things can do.  lol !   Long story short, I just don't have enough light according to a professional photographer. Problem is,  I have no room on my table for another light let alone anything else.  Well you be the judge with the photos below.  Good or not so good ?  The first pic is how it starts with the new light boxes and no editing at all.  The second pic is after editing.  The colors in the beads have not been altered at all.  Trying to get that fine silver to shine is a major undertaking and one I have not quite accomplished yet. 

I'll keep playing.  Maybe someday I'll get it right.  :)  Taking photo's can be fun - if you have the right subject !  lol !  To be continued................................  :) 

Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again sometime soon ! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bringing Autumn In

I can't help it.  It's been so hot I needed to think about the cool, brisk mornings and the changing of the leaves and all the color.  Ahhh, my most favorite time of year !  It's not so far off afterall.  :)  That said, I did play at the torch some and went in a whole different direction.  Nothing brand new but something I never spent a lot of time with - off mandrel leaves.  Fun.  I hadn't done an off mandrel anything in a very long time so it was time to give it a go and with fall arriving soon, what better way than with leaves.  :)  

Fall to me is like Spring to others, it gives me a brand new sense of being alive !  The cool air makes me "wake-up" out of the sluggish, hot, humid weather of summer. 

Working with off mandrel anything can be a challenge to those of us that don't do it on a regular basis.  My biggest re-learning was the loop that needs to be added.  No loop means there's no way to hang the pendant if that's the intention of the final object.  That was my intention.  lol !  Too little glass means a thin loop which can break easier.  Too thick and it looks awkward.  I got there but it did take a couple sessions at the torch.  lol !  In the end, it all came together and I really like what I ended up with. 

Pictured below are just a few of what I've made recently.  I think my favorite is the focal leaf at the bottom.  All the leaves shown are a mix of several colors in one leaf.  Fun.  The top set and the focal are in my Etsy shop now as well as leaves from last season.   

That's all for now.  Thanks so much for coming by !  Please come back again and see what's happening.  Next time, I'm pretty sure I'll be showing jewelry !  lol ! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bell Flower Press Tips and Tricks

Thought I'd post a little bit of info for a change on how to use this great press. 

Since buying the bell flower press I've made hundreds of these pretty little flowers.  Because there are no instructions on how to best use these tools, everyone has to learn what is the best way for them.  There is a tiny bit of a learning curve but once you get the swing of it - nothing to it.  :)  Still I thought I'd post a few tidbits of info I found useful as I was learning.  Nothing major, just a few helpful (I hope) tips. 

- I use 20 gauge German silver colored wire purchased at Rio Grande.  I found this information online at  in a post by another beadmaker.  With this wire you can actually hold it in your fingers as it does not conduct heat to the end that's not in the flame. Copper wire DOES conduct the heat to the end of the wire that's not in the flame.  Ouch.  You can use something to hold the wire as you transfer it to the kiln however I find that's just another step that I personally don't want to deal with.  To each their own of course.  :)  **After re-reading this I found it might be confusing so I needed to add this bit:  When I mention holding on to the wire with fingers, I mean when you remove it from the wire holder you're using and put it in the kiln.** 

- Preparing the wire is pretty simple and basic.  I find that cutting it to a length of about 3" or so will give you plenty of wire to work with in making jewelry.  Once cut I leave some wire as is and do nothing to it.  With most of the wire, I take my round nose pliers and make a half loop on one end.  I then take my flat nose pliers and bend that loop into the wire and press it flat.  Doing that makes it easier for the hot glass to grab onto something.  It will still grab onto the wire if you did nothing to it but giving it just that little bit of extra wire helps a lot and makes it easier to wrap the glass.

- To hold the wire while winding the glass I use a tungsten pin vise that can be found on many glass websites.  I attempted to make my own holding devise but found ready made was better - for me.  :)

- It is unnecessary to heat up the wire before winding on the glass.  The hot glass itself is hot enough to grab onto the wire.  Sometimes you need to touch the glass to the wire a couple times.  Keep in mind, if the wire gets too hot from the flame, it will melt off and it'll melt off FAST !  lol !    

- Winding on the glass to the wire can be tricky in the beginning in a couple of ways.  You first need to determine how much glass you need.  With each bell flower press the amount varies.  Believe me, I've had all three sizes of the presses and it DOES matter.  :)  Another very important point I think is you can make the flowers different lengths.  The width will remain the same but the lengths can change according to how much glass you use.  For example: using the 20mm 6 point press the width will always be 20 mm BUT the lengths I have gotten are 12mm up to 16mm.  It just depends on the amount of glass you use and how hard you press.

-How much pressure you put on the glass once in the press will depend on the look you want to end up with.  The harder you press, the thinner & longer your flower will be.  It's a matter of personal preference of course.  I prefer a bit of a thicker wall.  The thinner the flower the easier it will be to chip and break.  No matter what, it's not a good idea to drop them on a hard surface.  :) 

- As you use your press it will become very hot.  I keep a couple of cool, wet rags next to me and wrap the press up as needed.  That is usually after several flowers.  I also add bees wax to the inside of the bell while hot.  It will help the glass from sticking after it does become that hot.  The wax will melt off the glass in a puff of "steam" or smoke and possibly a bit of a flame but it will not harm your flower.

- Now that your flower is done, pop it in the kiln and anneal like any other beads.  :)

These little flowers are so much fun to make !  I don't see myself NOT making them for a  long time to come !  :)  I have MANY ideas floating in my head on how to use them for home décor and jewelry.  

These presses are made by an Italian family run business called Carlo Dona.  They have been in the glass tool making business since 1923 so they really do know how to make the very best quality tools for glass blowers and bead makers.   

Below are a few photo's of some of the bell flowers I've made.  There will be more to come !  lol !  

Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon !  :)

My All My Beads Facebook Page -  All My Beads Facebook Page 
All My Beads Etsy Shop - My Etsy Shop


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Project

The time has come to do the big reveal.  This is something that has been in the works for months.  It takes months to do this sort of thing simply due to having to make all the beads/headpins for it.  Since I don't torch daily nor do I make these flowers at every session hence months.  ;) 

My big ball of bell flower beads and/or headpins.  I'm not sure what this would be called.  I looked up topiary and it is sort of like that so I think that's what I might call it.  Course it could just be called the ball of flowers too.  lol !  Either way, I rather like how it turned out and am very happy I can add it to a table or a shelf somewhere in my home on display.  

I had so very many of these bell flowers that I simply had to do something with them.  They're so much fun to make that they kept piling up.  I have them for sale in my Etsy shop but the listings I have are for made to order so I just didn't need all these flowers to just sit.  They needed to be used.  Plus I will continue to make them so more "projects" will come.  

The only real problem I had during the whole process of putting this together was the little pot holding the whole thing.  It was nothing but Styrofoam and from the weight of the flowers it started rockin' and rollin' pretty fast.  lol !  The solution - remove Styrofoam and add cement.  Worked like a charm.  Not sure how heavy the whole thing is but it's HEAVY.  And very steady now.  :)  Something I didn't do was keep track of how many flowers I used.  I sure wish I would of but alas, no count.  I did measure around the circumference of the ball and it's 19" across.  The flowers cover every inch of that ball including around the trunk.  

I used 3 sizes of the bell flowers - 12, 14 and 20 mm but most of them are the 14 and 20mm size.  I also added a few other flower types I made plus a little butterfly critter at the top. 

The photo's below:  First one on left shows the entire thing.  Second one is a top view and the last one shows a close up of one side.  Make sure to click on each photo to see a larger and closer pic.  :)         

If you would like to see more photo's of my bell flower beads/headpins, check out my Etsy shop for a nice selection.  Just click on any of the photo's listed. 
Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon !  :) 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Heat & Humidity ............. just terrible !  I really do dislike summer !  It's a miserable time for me.  UGH.  So, that said, no more complaining.  That's not what this blog is all about even though it does affect my torch time.  Moving on now............

I did get a bit of torch time in this last week in the early morning hours for a few days.  I managed to make more bell flowers of course for that project I'm going to be getting into now.  Limited or no torch time means more time to do other projects.  I did start it a few days ago but it has sat for about 3 days without me doing a thing to it.  lol !  I'll get there.  Life tends to get in the way sometimes.  Some of the bell flowers are pictured just below.  I mixed up some red, yellow and orange colors and made these.  I love them. Love the brightness of them.  Will be adding them to the project.  ;) 

Problem is, when I get going making these flowers, I end up not making any actual beads !  lol !  The bottom of the kiln get filled with these flowers and leaves which means there is plenty of room to add beads on mandrels.  The mandrels sit on a mandrel rest inside the kiln.  Oh well.........I figure as long as I'm enjoying it, go for it !  lol !  I can make sets or a focal another day.  :) 
Speaking of beads - I have lots up for grabs in my Etsy shop !  Why not go on over for a visit and see what's available.  You might find something you like ! 
Thanks for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon ! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Having Fun Again !

Being at the torch the past week had been rather fun for me.  That's what having a "hobby" is all about isn't it ?  Yes, this is pretty much a hobby for me.  If I were trying to make a living at it, well, let's just say I would be a "starving artist" for sure !  lol !  Actually no artist at all.  lol !  Anyway, I made more bell flowers for a project I have in mind that I will need LOTS.  That's no problem because they are just a blast to make.  So much fun.  The only problem with making them is deciding what colors to use.  lol !  I'm trying to make all I need before the major heat and humidity set in and I can't torch anymore til fall.  :)  The photo below is what I made on Sunday.  Just one more "bouquet" waiting to be used in that project.  :) 

As I was playing with the bell flowers, I decided it was time to try my hand at sculpting again.  I've wanted to make a new little octopus for my faux fish tank for the longest time so that was my goal.  At least to attempt to make one.  Five octopi(?) later, I achieved that goal.  :)  They aren't the prettiest -  but I like them.  lol !  They were fun to make and at least one will go in the tank.  :)  The others will most likely go to Beads Of Courage.  Oh there will be more coming.  They were a lot of fun to make that's for sure.  Sculpting was always my first love in melting glass and I had gotten away from it this year.  It was nice to give it a go again.   I think my favorite is the light green one to the right in the first picture.  Those two are Simon and Schuester.  The second two are Burns and Allen and the last one is Ollie.  Ollie is pretty cool too.  He's made with a silver reactive glass called Ossa and some of that silvery shine came thru but mostly it's a purple color glass with white dots.  I thought it would look good as an Ollie Octopus.  :) 

Technically, these are beads as the base was wound on a mandrel. They could be worn as a VERY large and very heavy pendant but better use would be to let them stand on their own just to admire. 

That's all for now.  Thanks once again for coming by !  I hope you can come back again sometime for a visit.