Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

Yep, I know I'm late with the Christmas part - couldn't be helped.  At least I'm on time with Happy New Year !  lol !  Anyway - I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous New Year in 2016. 

What I'm looking forward to - Seeing our new grandson again, colder weather soon,  making beads and more beads, learning and practicing new techniques at the torch, a less stressful year. 

We were in Missouri for the holiday's and witnessed the flooding caused by all the rain in about a 4 day period.  It rained continuously for at least 3 days where we were visiting and obviously in other parts of the state.  As most know, I-70 was closed at Hwy. 79, in both directions for about 12 hours due to water over the road !  That just doesn't happen !  It didn't happen during the '93 floods even !  We lived in Missouri in 1993.  As we found another route to the airport, we passed MANY rivers and streams that were at the road, ready to go over the road.  One did, on Hwy. 50 at Union, Mo.  going west.  Thankfully, we were going the opposite direction on 50.  At the Arch, the river is at 44 feet we heard and in 1993, it was at 49 feet and at the Arch's steps.  This is ALL from rain.  Only rain in just a matter of days.  In 1993, it was from several months of snow melt and rain.  Incredible.   

This past month has been an interesting one.  I did get a new press.  A cute little guitar press and I love it and had a lot of fun playing with it the first week I got it.  That was what seems like ages ago but in actuality was only a few weeks ago.  Am ready to play some more.  :)  Photo's to come just below.  It took some searching to find this press but finally did.  So far, the guitars are simple with no real designs added but that's coming.  I just wanted to practice using the press so that's what I did.  I also found a little elephant press I had forgotten about so tried that as well.  The little critter really is cute !  Will explore more.  :) 

That's all for now.  Time to get my day started and get some more catching up done !  Thanks very much for coming by !  Come back again sometime.  :) 

Come on over to my Facebook page at:  ALL MY BEADS  to keep updated.  You can also find beads, OPB's, silk cord and jewelry all for sale.   

I still have a sale going on in my Etsy shop.  Come on over and check it out.  Click on the photo's to the right of this posting.  Will take you directly to my shop. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving and Beads

Ok, so there's really no connection between Thanksgiving and Beads in reality however, that said, I must say I am thankful that I found this wonderful craft/art of making glass beads.  sigh.  It was a long time coming and I just can't give it up. 

I am the first to admit, I am no artist.  There are folks out there that are so creative and artistic in this medium that I just cannot compare.  That's ok though.  I knew long ago when I started I was no artist.  Never tried to be.  I just enjoy being mesmerized by melting glass.  What a joy ! 

So what does constitute being an artist ?  Is it the ability to create new and unique objects/items ?  Here is the definition of an artist, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary: 
a person who creates art :
 a person who is skilled at drawing, painting, etc.
: a skilled performer
: a person who is very good at something
I am none of the above !  lol ! 
It says nothing about creating "new and unique".  I KNOW for a fact there are bead artists that will disagree quite loudly.  lol ! 
Definition of craft according to Merriam-Webster:

 an activity that involves making something in a skillful way by using your hands
: a job or activity that requires special skill
crafts : objects made by skillful use of the hands
That's where I'm at.  A crafter and I love it.  :) 
Since I have no artistic qualities (hehehe) I make simple, uncomplicated beads right now.  I did the complicated stuff in the past.  When I had more energy.  lol !  When I was more ambitious I guess.  I'm at that point in my life where, easy is more fun.  Oh don't get me wrong, I still have PASSION about this craft.  I can't get enough.  I LOVE the choice of colors, the different glasses, the frits, the tools, etc, etc.  lol !   I think about it often when I'm not at the torch & get excited.  I have dreams about it.  lol !  All that passion stuff, I still feel.  I just prefer taking the easy way whenever possible.  Why not ?  And those days when I feel extra rambunctious, I dig in to the tutorials and go for it.  lol !  I have LOTS of tuts I've never even tried due to the complicated steps.  They're fun to read and look at the pictures though.  :) 
Since my last post, which seems ages ago, I have FINALLY just gotten back on the torch in the last 2 days and it feels soooooooooooo good !  I've made simple fritted beads pictured below, more bellflowers which are still in the kiln and a few experimental beads which I won't show.  They aren't worth the time to photograph.  lol !  The second set below is a "re-do" of beads I made previously.  Too big of a set so downsized and made 2 sets.  This one with a focal. 
So enjoy the eye candy for this post and come back again soon.  Time for Thanksgiving dinner is drawing near.  Cracker Barrel has a really good turkey dinner !  lol !  Thanks for stopping in and I hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving day !   


Friday, November 6, 2015

Since My Last Post...............................

It's been a long few weeks with no torching and still I can't breath out of my nose.  Feeling better, just can't breath.  Ugh.  Since no beads were made, I have no brand new photo's to post - except a few of beads I "re-did".  Photo's below. 

Since my last post, the time fell back and it took everyone a week to fall forward !  lol !  Time for that tired tradition to end.  No need for it to change at all anymore. Leave it at Spring Forward.  More sunlight in the day means healthier people. 

Since my last post, I noticed not as many folks have stopped in here.  I am guessing that has to do with my removing old, outdated posts about Kumihimo.  Can't help it.  That "art" has moved far ahead of where I was when I made those posts.  So, bye bye. 

Since my last post, I got a couple new "toys" to play with.  I did try one out last week and LOVE it.  Can't wait to use it more.  It's a masher that mashes absolutely perfectly  parallel compared to any other masher out there.  Pricey but worth every dime.  Second toy is a press or mold that came from Germany.  Can't wait to use it either.  

Since my last post, I I've cleaned up/out my bead stash.  It was a long time coming.  BOC got a nice box full of almost 300 beads and a nice person overseas got a nice boxfull of beadies !  :)   

Since my last post, the weather is changing dramatically however not like it should be.  Instead of getting cooler and STAYING cooler, we are getting temps in the 70's !  For pete's sake, it's NOVEMBER !  The leaves are covering the ground and still falling and it's still in the 70's !  Very little color in the leaves I'm guessing because we had very little rain all summer.  Yet, we have been getting TONS of rain the past 2 months.  Go figure.  

Since my last post, I've cleaned up my desk, my torching area and my silk cords are better organized.  

Since my last post, I've added OPB's (other peoples beads) for sale on my Facebook page.  Destash Beads For Sale  I've had these beads for MANY years, never used any of them so they need to find new homes.  Send me a message over there if interested in any of them. 

Promised eye candy photo's.  Enjoy ! 

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


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beads - Beads - Sick (you know like, " Duck, duck goose ! )

I know it's the same ole' same ole' but it's what I do and love doing.  Still, the last week and a half it's been no beads, no torching I should say, nada.  Sick and more sick is the way it's been at our house.  Yuck.  Still feeling it but starting to ease up.  What bothers me is within 48 hours of going to the doctor, who INSISITS everyone MUST come in every 6 months whether or not we need to, I was sick.  Yep, went in healthy and 2 days later, sick.  This is just ridiculous.  I need a new doctor.  Hard to find one that's even likable where we live.  Anyway, that's the last time I do that.  It's happened before.  After going to the hospital once for a mammo.  Within 48 hours, sick.  It's crazy.  Doctors offices and hospitals are for sick people.  We need places to go to if we are NOT sick and just need an xray or bloodwork done, we can go and not have to worry about what strain of flu we're going to catch or when will the cold kick in - or worse.  No, I'm not a clean freak or sterilize everything freak, I just want to be able to go into a doctor's office and feel at ease that I won't get sick.  lol !  Yeah, I know, it ain't gonna happen.  Oh well............

I am getting a few things accomplished this weekend.  Finally getting my bead bowl cleaned out.  Have a nice little bowl going for BOC.  It's been a long time I sent in any beads and it's about time to get moving on it.  Back to making at least one bead each torch session for BOC kids.  I know they need them.  They always do.  It also means I'll get back into sculpting a little again.  I love to sculpt the little dino's I've done in the past and teeth.  Those are fun to make.  So that is my mission - at LEAST one bead per session for the kids.  :)  The few photo's below are what I have done in the past for them.  Fun stuff. 

I am anxious to get back on the torch.  So what's new right ?  lol !  Can't help it.  Looking forward to trying something I've never worked with before - gold leaf.  Have used silver foil, leaf and powder many times but never gold.  Mainly due to the cost.  That stuff is EXPENSIVE because it IS real gold.  And we all know how much gold is per ounce these days.  So, will be very careful about using it.  First, I'm going to "build" a little tool that will help me work with it better.  A fellow lampworker posted a free tutorial on how to make this tool on her blog here Hot Glass Chick's Blog .  It will hold the gold leaf in one place in order to make it easier to use.  That stuff just literally flies away.  This tool will keep it from doing that.  So if you're a beadmaker and have never seen this, check it out.   Well worth the pennies you'll invest in it.  :)  Thanks to Shawnette for sharing this.


Time for me to sign off for now.  Thanks for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon !   Have a great week ! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cool - Crisp - Autumn Air = Making Beads !

Indeed it does !  Equal making beads that is.  This is the time of year when I can and do make beads ALOT.  At the torch most every single morning.  I love the fall weather leading into winter.  Winter is THE BEST time of year for me.  If only I could live in a snowy area, I'd be in heaven !  lol !  The colors of fall are what inspire me.  When I went to bed last night, all I could think about was making fall color beads.  And that color palette is more wide open than people might think. 

Fall and winter color palette's are truly wonderful with so many deep, rich and vibrant colors to choose from.  Think of the changing of leaves on trees in the fall.  Rich oranges, bright yellows and reds, soft and mutted browns and tans and green in just about any shade you can imagine.  Even purples are considered fall and winter colors.  There is a website that's pretty much indispensable for color combinations.  Here's the link  and as you can tell it's called Design Seeds.  You can get inspiration in your email daily if you choose.  I was doing that for a long time until I took a break from making beads.  I'm starting it up again as there are times I do need that inspiration.  I am one of those people that I can try to make the same color combinations and sometimes I do however I have found that when I do, I get very bored and most of the time the beads just aren't the same.  I am no good at "production" work.  Anyway, fall and winter colors are the prettiest in my book.  I feel "at home" when making them.  Don't get me wrong, I love bright colors too.  Oh and of course blues and reds..........oh brother, I admit, I pretty much love all colors BUT fall and winter colors truly are my favorites.  

So onto some eye candy.  I have been busy at the torch lately but did manage to remove myself from that torch for a few mornings last week.  Life gets in the way of torching mojo sometimes.  lol !  The days I did torch were mostly test beads.  Trying different color combos and playing with my new toys too.  :)   I did get a few sets done along the line. 

         This first set I love !  Made on one of my new toys called the Baroque bead shaper.  LOVE !  This set has 3 graduated sizes of the baroque shape with donut spacers.  The color is actually 2 fairly new glass colors and each rod is a mix of two colors.  A good size set to be sure.  This is available on my Facebook page

This set is quite organic.  With chocolate brown, silver, ivory and turquoise all swished, swirled and twisted about so it has no set pattern . I like that. :)  Sorry but this one is not available but I can make more !  This one I wouldn't mind redoing at all.  This sort of  technique is always fun to do.  You can contact me on my Facebook page here if interested. 

Yes, I'm pushing my Facebook page.  It seems to be the way these days.  So come on over and check it out. 

I am having a sale in my Etsy shop.  EVERYTHING expect the hand dyed silk cords is on sale for 15% off !  Come on over and do some shopping !  The link to my shop is on the right.

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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cleaning Things Up & Flowers

Yeah, it was time to do a little "updating" to my blog.  Deleted some things and updated others.  It was time.  Still a bit more to do but that's for another time when I actually have some time.  lol ! 

It's torching weather at last.  It's about time !  This was one of the hottest summers I remember since moving to Georgia.  Little rain too but we're getting it now. 

With the great cool weather I am back to torching as often as I can.  Usually in the mornings, early.  The best time of day for me.  I get a lot accomplished then.  I do try to limit myself to no more than 2 hours tops but sometimes I will end up in the middle of something or want to test out just one more color combination.  :)  I've been into making sets these days which is something I never really did liked to do.  Different time- different year.  lol !  Back when I first started making beads, it was sculpting.  Hardly anything but sculpting.  LOVED it.  I still do actually but my hands do not.  I don't remember the last time I actually sculpted anything really.  I really never did "production" work.  Never wanted to so never did.  Sets were an on and off thing.  Made them here and there.  Got into making LONG beads for a long time.  Still love to do that when I can.  So many things you can do with a long bead.  :)  So sets it is for now which is fun and of course can be very frustrating.  lol !  

Since I've had a little time with my new "toys" I have been playing with one in particular, the baroque bead roller.  I enjoy that shape of bead.  Fun to play with.  I don't have any new beads of that shape photographed yet but they're on the way.  I've also been making more bellflowers.  I got some brand new glass and ooooooo are they gorgeous !  Those flowers are in the kiln cooling now.  In the meantime, I managed to "conquer" Rubino !  That is one glass color I used to have fits over !  Hard to work with but finally got it figured out.  Second photo, gorgeous blue and the last photo is pinks and purples.  Some opaque, some transparent and one translucent.  Nice.  Bellflowers are such fun to make.  Having the proper tool is very important.  I use nothing but the best which is the Carlo Dona bellflower press.  A work of art in itself.  There isn't another bellflower press on the market that compares to the quality of the Carlo Dona tools.  They come in a variety of sizes and flower points.  I have and use the 12mm 6 point - 14mm 6 point and the 20mm 8 point which is what the flowers below are.  I will be getting another press when available in the 16mm 6 point size. 

So did I only make bellflowers this past week ?  Nope but again, I need to take photo's of everything.  It's not that I didn't want to get that all done, I just haven't had time.  lol !  Such is the way sometimes.  :) 
                           Stunning cranberry color in these flowers. 

These flowers are done in a wonderful shade of transparent  brilliant dark blue.  Gorgeous ! 

This set of flowers are in purples and pinks.  Quite lovely really. 
It's time to sign off for now.  Thanks very much for coming by.  Please come back again soon.  I'm trying hard to post on a regular basis.  :)  
Come on over and visit my All My Beads Facebook Page.  You can see what's going on daily there.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lampwork Tools and Toys - It's Time To Play !

It was a really great week at the torch last week - finally !  Yes, it's been cool enough, at least in the mornings, I can get back to doing what I truly love to do - make beads !  And I sure did.  Had a blast.  Got some new tools and toys to work/play with which made it all the more fun.  New stuff requires learning to use the item and LOTS of practice.  With practice comes many failures which end up in the water can.  lol !  So if I made 50 beads, probably half ended up "canned".  lol !  That's perfectly fine with me.  It gets me to that goal of the bead being well done.  :) 

So what did I get ?  A few tools that will help in many ways - these for example.  PHOTO #1 is of what they call "shaping tools" mainly for sculpting but one can find other uses as needed.  I got mine at Harbor Freight (actual store).  Pretty inexpensive really considering all that can be done with them.  PHOTO #2 - I also got a new rock tumbler.  That can be used to tumble glass beads to give them that gorgeous matte finish without using chemicals.  Mix it up with water, silicone carbide (grit), some glass beads like pony beads and a drop or two of liquid dish soap and off you go !  PHOTO #3 - below the tumbler shows just one set beads I tumbled in my new tumbler.  You can tumble as many or as few beads as you want but I prefer more so when I do want etched beads, I'll wait until I have a nice, large group.  :)  I also got new filters for my face mask.  It is all about safety afterall.  While this art/craft is a lot of fun, it requires extreme caution at all times.  You are dealing with gas + oxygen = fire and fumes.  Nasty, deadly fumes.  Along with a powerful ventilation system, a gas mask is a must - at least for me.  I use a 1/2 mask which is much more comfortable. 

Ok so on to the fun stuff !  lol !  I got a few new toys to play with too !  :) Some new bead rollers which are in the photo's below.  I forgot to mention - I did "borrow" all of the photo's you see here EXCEPT my beads.  :)  Anyway, these are the first bead rollers I've purchased in a very long time.  Probably years.  Am having fun with them !  You can see the website address to Donna's online shop - CG Beads in those photo's.  Her bead rollers are great, the original bead rollers and they are made right here in the USA !  Anyway, I had the last bead roller in the photo when it first came out years ago but sold it because at the time I was not into making sets much.  So of course I had to buy another one.  lol !  It would seem I'm into making sets now.  lol !  Anyway, with all these new bead rollers comes a lot of practice using them.  Sometimes it's easy - sometimes not so much.  The key - learn how much glass is needed.  If you start out with the smallest mold and add too much glass, at least you can go to the next size up.  :)  PPP is all it takes.  Oh and your imagination of course.   The last photo is of just one little set I made using the first mold called Baroque.  I really do LOVE this shape !  Just so much fun !  I rarely make anything purple but gotta say, I like this little set.  More to come of this shape to be sure.

Well, that's all for today.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back again soon !  Check out my facebook page here  for all the latest including news about my Etsy shop. 




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Blogging Information Please

I'm overdue for a post.  The last 2 weeks have been tedious but that's not why you come to visit.  :)   Forward I go................ 

If you blog, do you check on who's looking at your blog ?  Do you see where they are posting from ? 
Whenever I log on to my blog the first page that opens up shows posts that folks make that are on my blogs to read list.  Those are blogs I have links to or follow.  I look to see who's made a post and if anything looks interesting, I read.  There are several I enjoy although not regularly.
The other thing that shows up is a chart showing there are visitors to my blog.  I check out this chart each time I log on.  It tells me where the visitors are coming from.  Not any of their personal information, only that someone has clicked on my blog from another website.  For example:  Say I go to a beading website, see someone's link to their blog, click on that link and there I am at their blog. 
You do not see personal info on me nor do I see anything on you.  It's just interesting information letting the blogger know there is someone looking at their blog that came from a beading website.  

Today I noticed of the top 6 websites where someone has visited my blog, 5 of them read posts about Kumihimo.  Some days, of the top 6 websites where I had visits from, they were reading posts about lampwork.  There is one website that is ALWAYS #1 that I get visitors from on a daily basis.  The post they are reading is more than 3 years old !  :)  I find that most interesting.   

The other information these posts give me (and all bloggers) is the country the post is coming from.  It does NOT give any addresses or even the city, only the country.  Truly shows that the world wide web is up and running just fine 24/7.  

Now it's time for a little eye candy.  lol !  Yes, I was able to torch a few times a week or so ago.  Once again, during a brief reprieve from the heat and humidity ! 

I adore this first set !  I love the frit and I love it etched ! 

This is a simple 3 shades of transparent amber barrel beads set with sis and then etched to give them that wonderful soft matte look and feel.  Yummy.

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Beads and Silk Cords

Beads - they're in my blood.  I can't get away from them.  I don't want to get away from them.   All kinds of beads make me happy.  Lampwork beads are my favorites of course but I enjoy all the rest too.  Seed beads, clay beads, wood beads, ceramic beads, metal beads and on and on.  They are addicting.  Maybe that all goes back to my "hippie" days.  Afterall, I am a child of the 60's.  I didn't make them back then but I did wear them and often.  Plus as a child we all played with plastic beads in some form and who didn't play with marbles ?  Marbles are beads - they just have no holes.  Beads have been around for so long I don't think there's too many people that haven't done something with some kind of bead in their life.   Beads - they are a part of our society and many others - like it or not.  They're all around us and have been for centuries.  They aren't going anywhere and I'm sooo very happy for that ! 

This week, I've had the pleasure of being able to be at my torch a couple of mornings before the heat sets in.  The thing about that is it means the mornings are becoming cool again, slowly but surely, which also means, fall is just around the corner.  Yay !  My absolute favorite time of year - next to winter !  lol !  Which also means, many more days at the torch and for longer periods of time.  Which also means more beads are coming.  As long as my back and hands hold up.  lol !  Anyway this week, I was able to make a couple of sets, managed a pumpkin for Halloween and pulled some special stringers for some special types of beads.  Those stringers, took TWO, yes TWO hours to pull !  That was my day at the torch yesterday.  See, sometimes these pretty beads you see, all pretty with special decorations added in, take ALOT of prep time before even making one bead.  And then with so many additions to the bead, it can take a very long time to make that one bead.  Anyway, I wasn't able to make one of those beads yet but they will come.  :)  The beads I did make are still waiting to be photographed and a set is still soaking in the water.  Will have to show those beads later. 

I also worked on some brand new colors for hand dyeing silk cords and that's exactly what I did last weekend.  There are more new colors coming very soon too.  Colors I've never dyed before so it's pretty exciting for me !  :)  Anyway, photo's below of the newer colors.   All will be in my Etsy shop soon but are also available on my Facebook page  All of the cords now available in my Etsy shop can also be purchased via my Facebook page.  Just message me over there.  :)

                                   Deep Blue.  So pretty.
                          Deep Red  This red is darker than it shows and really stunning.
                              Neon Green !  Yes it's NEON !  :)  LOVE this !  More neons coming.
                              This is more a strawberry red.  Pretty.
                              Two tone turquoise.  Nice.

That's it for this week.  Thanks so much for coming by.  I hope you come back very soon ! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Heat Wave Beads

This wasn't the planned post for this week.  In fact, I'm a few days past it being a week since my last post.  Our desktop computer decided it was time to go blank and require attention from a computer savvy person.  lol !  It's in the shop and supposedly we're suppose to get it back by today.  I am skeptical.  Anyway, it has all I needed to create the post I wanted to.  That will be for another time.  In the meantime, we have a "stand-by" laptop I am using now.  Typing on it is, let's say, problematic.  For me anyway,  I am not use to typing on flat keys and I always have trouble with that part of it. 

Yep, I was able to torch a few days over the last couple of weeks.  Right in the middle of this damned heat wave, a few mornings here and there it was down in the high 60's early, with no humidity.  I took advantage of it.  :)  Early in the morning is the best time for me to torch anyway no matter the weather.  I accomplish alot more than any other time of day,  Always been a morning person.  Anyway, that's why I call them heat wave beads - made during a brief respite in the heatwave. 

My time at the torch these last few times went in a few directions.  I actually made another set of beads.  lol !  Practiced on a new mold/press and mostly tested some ideas.  So that said, here they are:

The first photo is of a set of fall leaves.  I went a very different way than I have in the past and I really like how they turned out.  Color is on both sides.  Now, the question is to give them the matte finish or not.  The second photo shows one in the center that has that soft, matte finish.  Not sure what to do. 

This next photo shows what I've been practicing- dolphins.  Yeah, I need LOTS of practice there !  lol !   Each one took LOTS of time and patience.  Will need LOTS more practice to get them right.

This last photo is of a little set of a focal and spacers.  This is an xx large size of the cleo beads I made previously.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this size best. 

Until next time - thanks for coming by !  I hope you come back again soon.

Monday, August 10, 2015

They Love Pretty Jewelry Too

Yep, they do so I decided to finally take my jewelry making (bracelets really) into a whole new direction.  I have no idea if they'll "go over" or if anyone will like them or even if they'll sell but that's the thing about the unknown - one just doesn't know what's gonna happen.  lol !  The REALLY big thing is - at last, I got a little bit of mojo back !  lol !  Yahoo !  The jewelry making muse has made her return.

Ok so what am I talking about here ?  Well, as I get older, I have found it more and more difficult to manipulate clasps of all kinds except the magnetic kind.  I've made plenty of bracelets and necklaces with magnetic clasps and that's fine and dandy.  The magnetic clasps I use are super strong and can take ALOT of "punishment".   Still, there are those that don't like the look of the magnets on jewelry.  So what else is out there to make it easy for folks like me who have this issue of dealing with hard to handle clasps ?  What about tying cording ? Uhm, every time- no thanks.  Still too hard for some.  What about memory wire ?  Tried it for myself and just did not like it.  What about good ole' elastic stretch cord ?  I decided to give it a try recently for the very first time ever.  Made one bracelet, then another and another and etc, etc.  Yep, this is the answer I am thinking.  I always "thought" that elastic cord would cheapen the jewelry but why should it ?  If you use quality beads and componets it will look just like any other beaded bracelet except with no clasp.  The most important part, it will be easy on and easy off.  So, as it is, that is the direction I am taking on with my bracelets now.  Let's face it, we are all going to be older some day and still want to wear pretty jewelry.  This is for all of them including me.  :)  I'll still make pieces that have clasps.  I have quite a stash of all kinds but for now, it's all in the elastic baby !  lol !  These types of bracelets are for all of us that have hand, wrist and/or arm issues but also for everyone that just want's a pretty piece of jewelry that's easy to take on and off.  :) 

The photo below shows what I've put together so far.  There is one bracelet in there that I've used one of my own focals.  The rest are gemstones, OPB's, crystals, shell beads and seed beads.  I'm using up beads I've had forever and need to find new homes.  :)   I've had alot of fun putting these together and will be doing many more.  All are for sale and you can see some individual pieces on my Facebook page here 

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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Cost Of Making Glass Beads - Lampwork - Melting Glass

 I know there are numerous posts on blogs, forums and personal websites about this particular issue, I’ve read them.   They all make great points.  I decided to add my 2 cents as well.  Mine won’t go into great detail about the actual prices of such things but will give a little bit of an idea of time and money spent.  Let’s face it, no matter what hobby or business you ARE in, it’s not cheap. Supplies and other expenses just keep going higher and higher.  I have a decent supply of glass that will last me some time however I needed a couple of colors recently.  I went shopping at the place I usually buy all my glass. Talk about sticker shock !  I hadn’t bought any glass in a while so was taken totally off guard when looking. No matter, I needed the colors so bought them.  I use to be able to afford buying by the pound – not so much anymore - unless there's a great sale going on but regular pricing, basic color glass such as white is $14.00 a pound.  Beads with silver glass, you know, those super shiny, pretty color beads that seem to just “dazzle” or look like metal – Well, those beautiful glasses START at $100.00 a pound !  Then, and only then, if you master how to work the glass will you’re bead not look like mud.  lol !  There’s more to that as well such as the torch you use, your flame chemistry and so on but that’s for another time.

Ok so here’s the list of what most lampwork bead glass artists/crafters have in their studio.   Not everyone mind you but the alot.  If you love to melt glass, you will have a well set-up studio with time, with everything you need and some extra’s.  This list is in no particular order. 

Torch ($200.00 and up), kiln ($400.00), GREAT ventilation ($500.00 give or take), controller for kiln (if your kiln doesn’t have one - $425.00 and up and a pyrometer if you prefer is $110.00), mandrels ($6.00 for 10), glass (No way to set price on this – different for everyone and can run into the thousands), bead release ($35.00 large bottle that you will need to replace as needed.  Depends on how often you make beads), bead reamers (usually a dremel with diamond bit) ($50.00 and up), marver ($30.00 and up), eye protection ($80.00 and up), face mask plus replaceable filters ($10.00 and up plus filters), table to work on (???), chair to sit on ($125.00 – I use an adjustable chair), great lighting, protective surface on table such as steel plate, protected floor, oxygen tank ($175.00 plus $35.00 and up to fill every time) and/or oxygen concentrator ($450.00 and up), propane or gas ($60.00 for tank plus $35.00 to fill each time).  Misc. items to add to your bead such as frit, murrini, enamels (hard to determine but could run well into the hundreds). such as knives, presses, molds for making murrini if so inclined, pokers, mashers, etc (Hundreds of dollars).  Most beads you see these days are not hand shaped unless the person states that.  Most are made with presses now. This can get extensive and expensive as there are many items that can be used for tools and shapers (starting at $30.00 and usually around $65.00).  If you are going to sell your beads you need: a decent camera (hundreds), lighting ($30.00 plus), photo “box” of some sort (handmade using at home materials or $12.00 for a cheapie and up), probably a tripod, photo editing program (there are free ones as well but the better ones cost), computer, printer, printer paper, printer ink, some sort of online shop or website that have their own fees or go to festivals (whole other ballgame).  Advertising –LOTS of time spent here, you need business cards as well.  If you’re going to sell, you gotta be able to ship the bead somehow.  So with that, you have to invest in proper packaging.  Remember, this is glass you are shipping.  Bubble wrap and/or “peanuts”, boxes, plastic bags to gather the beads and of course padded envelopes or possibly boxes to ship in. 
Time – you need lots and lots of time to learn, practice, take classes, etc. Even the pro’s out there learn new things all the time.  I’ve been doing this for 10 years, on and off (I don’t torch in the summer at all) and I learn new things all the time.  :)  With learning comes purchasing – books, tutorials, classes and webinars.  Yes, there is tons of free info out there but believe me, you can’t learn it all from the free stuff.  Just not possible.  Time to clean the beads, photography, advertising, listing and shipping all have to be included.  How does one value their time ?  Taking all I’ve just listed  into consideration, let's say it takes one hour to make a single focal bead with decoration, how much should that lampworker get paid ?
So there is my 2 cents.  I know I’ve left out some things but you get the jist.  It’s not cheap, in fact, it’s VERY, VERY expensive and the person you are purchasing that bead from is investing A LOT of their time and energy here. Also, you are getting something that is made with heart by someone who LOVES what they are doing.  You can’t do this unless you have passion for it.  Why spend so much time, energy and money in something you have no passion about ? 

I love to make bellflower beads/headpins.  Here’s what goes into making just one flower including the supplies needed. 

List of supplies: ONE bellflower press, the ORIGINAL bellflower press, (these are EXPENSIVE costing $150.00 and up depending on the dollar) but worth every dime as they are a piece of art themselves ! ), glass, wire, pin vise to hold the wire, pickle (to clean the wire later), scrubbie to clean the wire later and small crock pot. 
Prep:  Set bellflower press out, cut wire (if you make 20 flowers, cut 20 plus wire).  Choose your glass color.  Turn on concentrator for 15 – 30 minutes to warm up for session and kiln to bring it up to garaging temp.  Using lots of electricity here.

Ready to make flower:  Turn on your ventilation (more electricity) !  Put wire in pin vise, tighten to make sure you won’t lose it, turn on torch and when ready, melt the amount of glass needed to make the flower, put the glass and wire in the press and press.  Now, put it in the kiln to anneal.  Annealing – At least a 12 hour process of ramping down, cooling, from holding/annealing temp of 950 degrees to room temp.

Ready to Clean the wire:  Usually the next day. Warm up your tiny crock pot, add warm/hot water and pickle, add flowers. Wait for about 20 minutes or so, remove flowers, rinse in hot water.  Dry and proceed to clean the wire further with scrubbie or Brillo pad.  Now they are ready to photograph and post to your shop, Facebook page, website, etc or use in making jewelry or in a project. 
That’s for just one bellflower and of course, more than one is made during a session. 
What do I charge per bellflower - $3.00.  :) 
If you’ve read this far, thanks so much !  :)  You now have a very basic understanding why handmade lampwork glass beads made by one person at their torch in their studio might cost what it does and might be well worth it. :)  Again, I thank-you for your support.                 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Information Please

Hello to one and all !  This weeks post is simply put, all about information about this and that.  Probably not going to be very long post but hopefully some fun and info about my little corner of the world.  :)

First of all, I am hosting a giveaway over on my Facebook page.  Click All My Beads Facebook  to go directly to my Beads page and LIKE my page.  Once I reach 100 LIKES on the PAGE (not on a post) then I will be hosting the giveaway and will post what the giveaway prize will be and the rules.  Don't worry, the rules won't be a hassle to deal with.  lol !  Some fun little game or something.  :)

My Etsy shop listings are finally dwindling down.  Slowly but surely.  Just an FYI - If you want anything over there, please shop now.  As all of the listings expire, I am not and will NOT be relisting any of it EXCEPT for the hand dyed silk cords and bellflower beads/headpins.  You can check out my Etsy shop HERE or click on any picture to the right in my Etsy shop.

With the heatwave still in full force with temps in the high 90's and with heat index temps of over 100 degrees, I'm still unable to sit at my beloved torch and make glass beads.  sigh.   Even very early in the morning it's still in the 70's with 100% humidity (we live near a huge lake).  Just can't justify opening that window to draw in back up air and heat up my work area anymore !  lol !  With a kiln set at garaging temp of 950 degrees to 960 degrees and the heat of the torch PLUS humid outside air, UGH !  Really not worth the impending heat stroke it will cause me !  lol !  So, I sit and wait for the cool.  sigh.  It'll come.  :)

Still no inclination what-so-ever to make, design, create jewelry.  Not one iota of creativity either.  What's up with that ???  lol !  Usually summertime, when I can't torch, is the high point of my jewelry making.  Not this summer.

Very soon I will be updating some posts I've made in the past.  One in particular, tips and tricks for using the bellflower press.   If there are any other posts you'd like to see updated or revised, please leave me a comment below.  :)  It won't show up immediately but it will be posted.  :)

Below are just a few of my favorite photo's saved from the web. 
I don't know the photographer or even remember where I got the first photo but isn't the color amazing ! 

Just for fun.  I LOVE Snoopy.  One of my all time favorite characters.

Think Snow !  :) 

Ok that's it for now.  Thanks so much for coming by !  I hope you come back again very soon. 



Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Days

Ohhhh man is it HOT and humid out there !  I hibernate during these hot days of temps in the 100 degree range - with and without heat index !  Today's high - 105 with heat index.

Because of the heat, no torching.  It's just too hot to melt glass.  I'd melt right along with the glass !  lol !   With the torch going and the kiln parked at about 950 degrees the torching area is almost the same temp as it is outside plus the hot air coming in the house.  Nope, can't do it.  So the beads you will see are ones that were made before this Hades heat set in.  :)

Jewelry - well, it's just not there yet.   Such is life.

I do have a few bead pictures I can show so here goes.
This first set is more fun with that new press I have.  I love making beads with it !  This particular set is made with some new frit I have and includes a few donut shaped spacer beads with it.  Love the fun colors in the frit and I really have fun cutting !  lol !
This press is one reason I can't wait to get back to the torch when it cools down.
White base with fun colors in the frit. 

These round beads are fun to make too.  Round with sparklies added in then lightly encased in clear so the sparklies have some depth to them.  All transparent colors except the lilac which is almost transparent.  ;)  More of these will come about too later on.  

I finally bought some glass to add to my supply.  I haven't bought any glass to melt in a very long time so there was a bit of sticker shock involved.  Prices have increased dramatically compared to the last time I bought any which was probably a year or so ago give or take.  And honestly, there's just no reason prices need to be so high.  It's a total ripoff but nothing any of us can do about it - if we want to melt glass.  That whole scenario is for another day.  All I know is, my glass will last a bit longer since I don't torch during the dog days of summer.  Think SNOW !  LOL !

I can't remember who took this photograph but it was taken in the Smokies and posted on the Great Smokies National Forest Facebook page HERE.  It's so gorgeous and perfect to help one cool down on this nasty summer day.  Go to their page if you're on Facebook and check out all of the fabulous photograhers that post there work.  Amazing stuff.

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