Sunday, April 29, 2007
It seems like only yesterday I was telling you about the latest snow fall totals... thanks heavens spring is definitely here!! We spent a big chunk of yesterday going to the town hall in my parent's neighborhood to load up on recycled leaf mulch. It's free... and it's thick and rich, and black and the gardens just love it. Last year we were too slow and it was all gone by the time we were ready to get a load.
If you put flower beds to "bed" in the Fall... then today was the day my bed got "woken up". I was a weeding, raking, shoveling, mulching maniac. I love being in my gardens. I hauled countless wheelbarrels of mulch to all the gardens around the entire perimeter of our house. I love dirt on my hands and under my nails. Though I had to wash my hands so many times to help the kids with stuff that I am now feeling the after effects. My hands are raw, blistered and very very dry. I am rubbing them with lotion every 15mins, lol. But I am not complaining.
I did try and sneak in just a teeny tiny bit of torch time this morning but I was scattered and distracted so I doubt there is anything great coming out of the kiln. Better luck tomorrow. I have too many ideas in my head right now. I really need to stop for a minute, grab my sketch book and organize my thoughts. I am still sticking to my "make something everyday" plan. Yesterday I used a few loose beads I had around to make some cool lariats and a few pendants too. I will be heading down to the wineries where my jewelry is available in a couple weeks... I really got to get stuff made just for them!! They love the little things, earrings, pendant, bangles and neckwires. Not the funnest things to make... but you do what you gotta do, right?
We booked a little spring get away yesterday!! Our family will be heading to Cape Cod for Memorial Day later this May. We will be there for 4 days and I can't wait to see the ocean!! Well, actually I am really excited to get to see my kids see the ocean for the first time. They will probably think it is a big lake, lol... but sandy beaches, miles of ocean front, cool shops and just relaxing... I can't wait!!
Last but not least... here is a pic of Penny, my Mom's English Bulldog puppy... she's getting so big.
Friday, April 27, 2007
I have been making a very conscience effort to make something everyday. I don't want to feel completely overwhelmed for show season this year. (Like I was last year.) So, today I was thinking... "what can I make....what can I make?" I looked around my desk to see what beads I had, when I saw these ones in my Bead Box bowl of beads. I think I have told you before... if you don't buy them up, I am gonna use 'em! It's one of the reasons I don't put beads on "sale"... I can always come up with something to do with them.
So, there I was... sitting at my desk... counting the seconds until my headache would go away (I had a doozie of a headache). I decided the plaid beads needed square accents. I thought of Eni Oken's tutorials that teach you to "frame" beads. I thought... "that'll work!... I'll make a wire wrapped frame and square the frame off to the shape of the nuggets." I made the first link and it took FOREVER!! Okay, not forever, but a good 40mins for one link it just way too long. So you know what I did?
I figured out an alternative way to do all that wrapping!! My way had the bracelet finished in about 30mins. Going from 40mins a link to less then 10mins a link is pretty cool wouldn't you say?!? Look close at the photos... can you see the difference? I think NOT!! I am so thrilled with the results. I love this bracelet. It is called "Framed". I think I might need to write an tutorial of my own for this link :)
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Lots to talk about today!! First a big huge gigantic HIP HIP HOORAY!! for my son, Andrew. He won a hooray award at school today for COOPERATION!! The elementary school, OP, that the kids go to teach important character building skills each month then reward studentst that exhibit those skils most. Awards the boys have brought home in the past have been "Respect & Responsibility", "Friendship" and "Caring & Compasion". I am one proud Momma. Though I have to share a funny story with you. One of these days I will devote a whole blog post just to my Andrew, he has quiet the life story. But to sum things up a bit, he can best be described as a paradox... just last week he was suspended from the bus for two days for writing a swear word on a piece of paper and giving it to a kid that is mean to him. LOL.. .suspended and awarded in the same two weeks... good job Andrew, lol.
Now jewelry thangs... FIRST, I have been forgetting to tell you!! Check out page 37 of the June 2007 issue of Bead&Button Magazine. If you have been with me for a while you might remember this blog post back in January 2006. Well, this is the issue that caused all that excitement last year. My necklace "Silver Lining" is in the "Show Your Work" gallery pages of this issue. You can see it HERE at the B&B website too. The publications date was changed from what they first told me, but that's how it goes. It is so cool to see it there now. Kinda weird too, cause I don't do that style jewelry anymore. It's neat seeing the change, huh?
Now this necklace here... the thing I was hinting at yesterday is the top one. Unfortuantely, it just wasn't living up to my expectations so it got taken apart and reworked this afternoon into this.....
drum roll please.....
Cool huh?!?! I am so much happier with the reworked necklace. I am calling it "Reeling" and it is a sorta handmade chain of beads. It is heavy weight 14 gauge wire scrolling in and out of 5 different sizes of glass rings. I love the process of making jewelry. I get all these ideas popping in and out of my head... I get to try to make them... then watch as they come to life... some turn out better then I expect and some (like this one) don't come close. But that is what I love... the not working leads to even more ideas... plus I get to go back and rework the other one too. I won't give up on the first version... just try again with a different spin.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I had a little time last night after dinner (before American Idol) to make beads. I pulled a bunch of rods in a "Seafoam" color pallet intending to work on a new necklace design that had POPPED into my head. But before I knew it, I was pulling twisties and making discs again. Which led to this, "Water Slides". Aren't these colors just perfect for Spring/Summer?
I strung this up this morning after cleaning the beads... then spent my day writing. I love writing, and I so far, I have loved doing tutorials. But for some reason, I have been putting off doing these latest ones. I just needed to sit down and do them. I was hemming and hawwing in my head... should I write an outline, then photograph the steps like I usually do? These tutorials don't need the photographs, so I was telling myself it would be a waste. But then again, could I really write the steps well if I didn't follow my "usual" process. Internal debts with yourself can be such procastination causing things, can't they? LOL! Anyway... they are written, so that is good. I am glad to get that behind me. I will send them off to my personal proof reader (Hi CINDY!) and then get them off to my editor.
Somewhere in there I also snuck in some torch time. Just an hour because I was puppy sitting for my Mom too and I wasn't allowed to leave Penny in her crate for more then an hour. I made the beads I had set out to do last night. I am interested to see how the turn out and if this new idea I have is going to come to life the way I hope it will. I used some new colors from CiM (Creation is Messy), a sweet pea transparent green color and a milky translucent white. (I should so get a job naming colors!!) I think the necklace is gonna need LOTS of beads... and I ran out of mandrels (that is the only hint you get). I'll share pics as soon as it's done!
Are you wondering when I will have new Bead Box Beads? Well, give me some color combo suggestions and I'll get to work...
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
YOO HOO!! Look at all those beads!! I told you I would have a ton to show you. And I know what you are thinking... your are saying to yourself "those are in a slide show, does that mean they are all on eBay?" YEP it does!! It was perfect timing. eBay had a 20 cent listing day today so I could get them all up and it didn't cost an arm and a leg. But enough complaining about eBay fees... lets chat about the beads!!
There are FIVE auctions in all. Two sets of 9 beads (sprees & nuggets) and 3 tube focals. First up, the bead sets... they are called "Martian Markers" & "Cosmic Crayons". I love both of these sets!! I really do, they are totally "me". I would see these online and want to bid on them. Luckily I made then, and have extras in my personal stash, so I won't need to bid. The first on is based on THIS piece by Amanda Hone. These are the ones I was telling you about yesterday. If I am being completely honest, on their own each bead is kinda weird, but when you group them together they are really cool!! The second set was inspired by THESE art magnets. One thing I think is particularly cool is how the sets are very different, opposites even, (circles & squares) but the colors pull them together and they would totally work together.
The focals just rock. You maybe thinking... "how did she pull those out of the Sarah Hornik style ones... they are NOTHING alike". Well, that is the whole point isn't it. The thing I was inspired by was the shape. Long, lean, slender tubes. Anyone of the three would be really cool as a drop pendant, a focal in a bracelet, or hey, even some miss matched funky heavy earring. Whatever you can come up with!!
While we are on the subject of what you can come up with. I want to add a "Designer Corner" here to my blog. It is a pain in the butt to add to my website, but easy for me to add here. If you have a website with a piece of jewelry using my beads, send me the link!! I will add the link here to my blog. I already have a few that people have sent me recently, so I will work on getting those up and running. Please understand though, I would LOVE to post a link to everyone's site, but I can't. I wouldn't have the room, please, only send me the link if you have jewelry or other items using MY beads. Thanks!!
Sun is shinning... I just bought a big ol' tub of chalk and a hula hoop... time to get outside and play! I hope you'll come back and bid on the auctions when they start later tonight AND go get a bid in on "Mystery" it's ending soon!!
Monday, April 23, 2007
I have been totally captivated by my torch the past two days. I can't pull myself away!! And you know that, for you, it is a good thing, right? It means I am gonna have loads of new beads for you to fight over!!
Let me tell you the stroy behind the past two days on the torch.... every morning I have a bunch of blogs and websites I love to check out. I like to see what people are up to, and I have a few favorites who's beads just make me drool. Yesterday morning, I knew I wanted to spend the morning torching... and I knew what kinds of beads I was gonna make. Had it all planned out in my head. But before I started working, I did my usual morning routine. I was reading a post by Sarah, at www.beadsbysarah.com, and by the time I got out to the torch I couldn't get Sarah's beads out of me head!!
Some of you may have seen or even bid on Sarah's beads on eBay. The are just spectacular and utterly inspiring. After attempting to make the beads I "planned" on making durning my torch time, I thought... "screw it, I am gonna make some Sarah beads". I figured it would be the only way to get them out of my head. I love the shapes, long slender tubes. I love the layers, there are SEVERAL. I love the way the glass just flows. I used what I had out on my desk for the other project, I didn't really plan very well. But I was THRILLED when these came out of the kiln. I LOVE them. Major Props to Sarah!!
I am gonna keep these in my personal stash of beads. As I have said before, I won't sell beads I make that use other beadmaker's style/design. Not until I can use the techniques and change the style enough that you can't tell where my ideas came from and they are totally "me". And what is cooking in the kiln today is just that sort of thing. It was the "throwing the plan to the wind" that let my imagination run wild. It was just what I needed and....
What till you see what is in the kiln!! They are more "Art Inspired Art", this time the paintings and collages of Etsy artist, Pinwheel (www.pinwheel.etsy.com). Amanda's art is just incredible and the style is very "me". Looking at her stuff can memorize me for hours. SO, I mixed up some Sarah with a load of Pinwheel and I got stuff brewing that I can't wait to see!! And if it turns out as well as I hope, I got loads of ideas lined up with contiue the design into a series. I sent Amanda an email via Etsy to show her one set that is finished and gave her an idea of the direction I was going to go next, and she said she loved it. She is the first "living" artist I have done sets inspired by. I was worried I would be stepping on her toes, but she is good with it. It is so hard to know what is acceptable and what isn't... from what I found, you just gotta ask, or you'll never know.
Last thing... let's get back on track with free beads being drawn on the right day, lol!! Today's winner is Heather H!!! YOO HOOO Heather!! Thanks again for your continued support of my site everyone, I do so totally appreciate it. I love you gals!!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Today is going to be even nicer then the past two. It is going to be in the 70s! We have plans to have all the grandparents over for a belated Easter dinner. I better get cracking getting this inside of this house as clean as the garage is.
I worked on beads Friday afternoon. I have a new set all ready to go, but I don't like weekend ending auctions so I will save it for during the week. I am going to try and get out there this morning and see whatelse I can get done. So be sure to stop back in tomorrow of pics of new stuff!!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Who all remembers what L.O.S. stands for? Do you know? I have mentioned it before... today is has TWO meanings!! First LOTS OF SUN!! Yoo HOO.. .I can't tell you how long it has been since be had a beautiful sunny springish day. I spent a couple hours this afternoon just sitting in the sun on our front porch soaking in the rays... and while I was sitting there, I worked on soem jewelry too. So, L.O.S also stands for Liver of Sulfer, the icky smelling stuff I oxidize sterlign wire with.
You can tell just how sunny it was by these photos. I took them on a sheet of copy paper in the sun on the porch. Little, to no, editing required on these kinds of shots, I love 'em. The first piece is "Rocker". It is made with the clear black and teal discs I showed ya last week. I love it, but then again I am bias. I love all three of the necklaces I made so far in this style. I have used up so much 18 gauge wire making these that I am almost out!!
This second piece is my "Mystery" bracelet. I was experimenting with the wire work. Something different. I don't know if I am happy with it or not. I am happy with the beads, I just don't know about the wire work. I mean the wire work is good, I just don't know if I like it... I would love to hear your thoughts. I think the links look a bit like a treble clef (am I spelling that right?) you know, the musical symbol. These were a few of the beads that I made the other day when I made the "Mystery" auction that is on eBay (go bid!). I was up in the air for a while on the beads too, just like I am about these links. But I grew to love them as I am sure I will the bracelet. I do love the mix of pink purple and red on these beads... yummy!!
My time at the torch yesterday was frustrating and very productive, lol. How could it be both? Well, I am trying really hard to get a very specific design on a bead. Very particular... and it is frustrating because I just can't get the vision out of my head and into a bead... but productive because I am learning a lot on the new torch. I think I am getting much more proficiant on in, sort of, lol. I am going to set my ideas to the side for a couple days while I work on beads for you all. let this very particular style stew in my brain a bit longer... in the meantime... I got ideas for you all too!!
Time to wash all this dirt out from under my nails (love dirt under my nails) and get the supper on the table!!
OH... and yep, I forgot, sorry... this week's free beads winner is LISA D!! YOO HOO LISA!! I'll get a fresh batch of freebies loads asap. Thanks so much for the support everyone, I love ya!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
It seems everything has me frustrated. Grrr.... the kids are doing great in school (parent-teacher conferences tell me so) but at home they are totally wound up and going just as stir crazy as I am. They can't play outside in the ankle deep mud so instead they nit pick each other until someone comes to me crying with a red mark on them somewhere. It's enough to make a Mom wanna run away from home!
Then there is our house... more grrrr.... since we can't get outside we are on top of each other. I have mentioned before I am ready to move, but my hubby isn't. Our house is small, too small for five people. It is fine when we get locked in around November... and it isn't so bad in December, but by April, I get all claustrophobic... the walls close in on me. I get miserable and frustrated with the house.
Then there is the whole glass/beads/jewelry part of life. I love love love what I do!! But it I can't seem to devote the time I want to it. Which puts me in a crappy mood. I have lots of ideas and no time to do it. There is "busy" work I could be doing, but it is boring, lol. I know, I sound like a kid that doesn't want to do their homework, I admit it!!
I watched that special on Oprah last week about "being happy" and I do really consider myself a happy person. I try to be positive, I try to take things as they come... I look on the bright side. I am not worried too much, I am sure this moodiness won't last very long. I just thought you should know what is going on in my head. That is what this blog is for right? So you all can learn about me, my life and my studio. Well, that is my life in a nutshell the past week... disenchanted. I'll perk up and come around... don't you fret. Letting you know what is up is already making me feel a little better (plus the beams of sunshine coming in the window over my shoulder are helping too). AND, I have a date with my torch at noon... and I am really excited about a new idea I have. I'll let you know how it all goes.
And on a somber note, I want to express my heart felt condolences to the many people effected by the awful happens at Virginia Tech. It is a truly surreal situation and I can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Grrrr... it is yucky today!! Here comes another boring weather relate blog update... uck, ick... :P ewww... it is cold and snowy and we might just be waking up to a FOOT of snow!! We all have our fingers crossed that this big 'ol nor'easter hits south of here.
I kept really busy this weekend. I am not spinning anymore, thankfully. But I don't plan on using the torch until tomorrow. The couple days break is good, I think. Yesterday we had friends over for an impromptu dinner get together. But before they came by, I finished this new necklace. It is one I have been slowly building, making a single ring here and there. If you follow my blog, you have seen bits and pieces of it. Now it is done!! It is very FUN!! And I can't think of a thing to call it... I would love to hear naming suggestions. It is a shorted 16.5 inches, lots of my favorite colors.... just can't think of anything clever to call it.
So made a necklace and had people over yesterday... today I painted the boys' room, after having my parents over for breakfast, and then this afternoon I played Lord of the Rings Risk with Ron and Andrew (kicked their butts, hehe). The room had to be done. I hadn't painted it since we moved in SEVEN years ago. The boys grew out of their bright blue room with white and yellow stamped stars ages ago. I kept it simple and painted it a calming taupe. Kinda like a grayish tanish color. Matches their bedding nicely :). I might add a big blue stripe around the middle of the room after the paint has had enough time to cure. Now we are kicking back, gonna relax with some leftovers for dinner and that is about it.
I'll let you know that status of the snow tomorrow, and hopefully have another necklace to show you... gotta keep at it to be ready for those summer shows!!
Friday, April 13, 2007
BEAD BOX BEADS!! Do you see? There are BEAD BOX BEADS!! I tried sending out an email update but was getting an error message from Yahoo. So, here is your notice!! Go check them out. They are all beached themed. I love these colors. I was inspired to use them by one of the gals at book club Wednesday night. Right now Chris is sipping wine on the deck of a sail boat in the Virgin Islands!! How soiled is she? LOL! She deserves it though and I hope she has a blast. Anyway... the thought of cool coastal waters and lovely sandy beaches gave me the ideas for these new beads. And honestly I love them all!! I could have kept and come up with designs with every set. I love the cubes with the silver mesh... the raku colors are incredible (thanks to the new torch) and discs were awesome!! So hurry, go check them out and grab a set!!
I told y'all I was working on a few new things, and I DID!! this new piece is called "Rolling". Are you getting a bt of a "rocker" vibe from this? I am... and I LOVE IT!! I wore it to book club the other night and the girls flipped for it. It was a huge hit. These are half inch black rings rolled in raku frit that are interlocked with handmade (by me) sterling silver wire rings. I patinaed the piece with liver of sulfer and then buffed the high spots. Edgey, rustic and sophisticated, that is what I think!! I already started making the rings to make a similar one to this with transparent etched beach colors... yummy!!
Remember a few weeks back when I said I was going to start keeping at least one set of Bead Box Beads for myself to make things? Well, I am sticking to it!! Do you remember me bracelets "Crisp" & "Rusted" from last summer and fall? Well, now we have "Coastal" to add to the group. Those "Beach Ovals" that are available in the Bead Box were my favorites, so when I was working yesterday, I made a lentil version with this bracelet in mind. The raku discs I made to accent it are sooooo cool. You are just gonna have to drool over them in person, the layers of color are outta this world!!
I have more beads done and designs I am working on. Plus I have 3 tutorials that need writting. I got word from Bead&Button the other day that they have accepted my "Hip To Be Square" tutorial and it is slated for the Dec 2007 issue. (That can change though, I'll keep ya posted!)So, I shouls have lots of pics and things to share. I'll make my eye open for some more inspiration to keep the Bead Box Beads coming too. Busy busy!!
On a more personal note... I had to take a trip to the doctor's today. I woke up this morning with my head spinning as if I had just drank 5 margaritas. I was grabbing the walls in order to walk down the hall and it wasn't long before motion sickness set in and I was throwing up (ew gross!). Anyway... come to find out, I have Vertigo. Nothing serious, and easily treatable with medication (meds that I can't take cause they make you extrememly sleepy... no sleeping with 3 kids running around!). It is dinner time now and I am feeling alright. Definitely better then this morning, but still dizzy and woozy. I am gonna stay away from the torch for a few days till I am sure it is gone. (It'll be something that always comes and goes.) I don't want to have the spins while spinning a mandrel in front of a 2000 degree flame, lol!! But that just means I'll work on all those other things I mentioned before. Anyone else have Vertigo? Do ya have any "home" remedies for me that won't knock me out? I would love to hear it!!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
My time started yesterday afternoon. I tried making beads but after two nights of less then 3 hours of sleep thanks to sick kids, I was just too tired. I did make an effort for an hour and wasted a lotta glass, lol. So, I turned everything off and took a nap instead. Then this morning, after a solid 10 hours of sleep, I have been torching away!! I also started another new necklace design. I have the kiln filled to capacity right now with all my large hole mandrels and new Bead Box beads. So, I am taking a break for lunch. I am gonna get a shower then just relax for the afternoon while the kiln is doing it's thing. Then I'll be back out there all day tomorrow. If everything goes according to plan, I should have some fabulous new beads to offer Friday or Saturday.
In other news, I have a new addiction. I can't stop browsing all the shops on Etsy!! Here are a few I have bought from in the last couple weeks.
First - "BlackBags" - found this one a few weeks back at kstyle-style.blogspot.com. I love the fabrics she uses and they are fantastic quality!! I had to have the Retro Spotted one, you all know me and my addiction with retro spots.
Second - "lotuswraps" - from time to time I just need to embrace my bohemian self and indulge in a silk wrapped skirt. I got a sweet purple, green and gold wrap coming from them!! And on their website they show how you can wear the skirt 15 different ways.
Third - "TallGiraffe" - another skirt I had to have!! And this artist is just awesome to work with. She had a green skirt with polka dot trim that sold and I asked if she would consider making another one. SHE DID!! And not only did she spend 3 hours driving around to find the perfect fabric for me, she custom sized it and she had it in the mail in less then 3 days. She is awesome!!
Finally (my very favorite) - "Pinwheel" - I could spend hours looking at this artist's work. Click on it and you'll see what I mean. Everything she does is so bold and graphic. I love her vision and style. I know I will be using several of these pieces for inspiration on new bead designs. Can't you just see my style beads and her style paintings hanging out together?!? I got a set of her note cards and that knitted hat pattern.
So, there is something for you all to do today... go hang out on Etsy supporting one-of-a-kind artists. I'll be back tomorrow with lots of beady photos of what is in the kiln today. PLUS tonight is BOOK CLUB!! So I should have all the girls thoughts on "The Mermaid Chair" for you too.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Here is what was sent:
From "valentin andrei" email@example.com
"Hello,I'm the seller of the item that you've recently bided through the eBay system (Item title:KABs Handmade Lampwork Glass Beads - 4WC SRA LE Item number: 190097219811)Because the high bidder could not finish the deal i have to offer you a second chance offer at your last bid price.If you are still interested in this item and want to buy it at your last bid price please reply me.The transaction will be made only through eBay service so we will be both protected by eBay SafeHarborTeam.I trully appologise for this inconvenience and sorry for disturbing you.Thank`s for your understanding and co-operation!!!"
The scam is that these people get you to pay for the beads and then keep your money. They don't have the beads, obviously. Watch for these emails!! Don't be a victim!! Never reply to them and if you ever have a question about an auction, please email directly with the "Contact Me" button on my website or through eBay.
No slide shows today, but new auctions!! Check out these two FOCALS. The first is called "Raku Cube". I am getting amazing colors out of raku frit and glass rods on my new torch. I love it. It is so earthy and organic, but in my "Cubism" and "Mod Dot" (below) styles, they are sleek and modern. I have never offered focals on eBay before... so I decided to try something different... they start at 99 cents. Yeah, that is right, under a buck. If you all like 'em and bid on 'em (they start later tonight), I'll make more from time to time. This top one is my favorite of the two, but then again, you know I love cubes lately.
This one is "Cosmically Mod", it is my "Mod Dot" style done in black, turquoise and raku. Again, really cool colors and a fabulous focal. There is one raised dot that has "micro bubbling", that comes from me over heating the glass in the torch, oops... but the bead is still "sound", it will not crack or break. And it was so pretty otherwise, I just had to offer it up.
I hope you like these... I would love to hear your feedback. They are definitely different then what I have been doing lately, but that is cool. I like mxing things up, keeps me motivated!!
On the family-of-nothing-but-sick-kids front, lol, I took Andrew to the doctor's this morning. No strep throat and no appendix problems... just "something viral". He is still running a high fever, has a sore throat and a little vomitting, but hopefully it won't last much longer. Lauren now has the sniffles, and I think I am feeling that "tickle" in the back of my throat telling me I'll wake up with it tomorrow too. Fingers crossed that I won't though!! I have too much to do!! This sick kidos thing throws a wrench in my plans to have Bead Box Beads later this week, but I'll try. Of course, I'll keep ya posted.
FREE BEADS!! (Sorry I have been terrible about posting the freebie pics, I'll try harder this week :)) This week's Free Beads Winner is.... JENNIFER P!!!! YOO HOO Jennifer!! Thanks so much for your support gang!! I really do appreciate it. I'll see what I can come up with for beads to give ya this week.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Oops... I mean HAPPY EASTER!! We were all a little confused this morning, lol. Check out what we woke up to!! About 3 inches of the fluffy stuff... yeah, really SNOW in almost mid April. And it isn't expected to get out of the 30-40s till next weekend. Can you imagine? I do think we had more snow this morning then we did on Christmas.
Honestly, none of us are feeling very festive around here... we were startled awake at 3am with a "MOOOMMMMMM, I'm gonna puck!" And poor little Andrew has been at it ever since. noone else is showing signs, everyone else feels fine... but the extended everyone else (aka my parents, and Ron's) want to stay that way so Easter Dinner has been cancelled. Ron and I are trying to keep up our spirits though. (Even though we are dog tired.) We are gonna cook dinner anyway, we are sharing some wine and he is kickign back with the Master's golf tournament on the TV. Lauren and Jacob managed to find all the eggs and baskets by 7:30am so they are relishing the chocolate and being lazy still in there pjs.
While Andrew was feeling good from the Mortrin and everyone was watching "Flushed Away", I snuck out and did some experimenting on the torch. I may have a few "focals" for you. I haven't really ever attempted larger single focal beads. I'll let you know how they turn out. In the meantime... go bid on "Quadrangles". The poor little things are feeling selfconscience out there in eBay world, all lonely with no bids. They are fun beads, really they are... they deserve a good home just as much as those other sets :)
Saturday, April 07, 2007
I know, I know... I have been a very bad blogger. I hate leaving you all without updates just as much as you hate checking in here and seeing the same post three days in a row. Hopefully all the goodies I am going to share today will make up for my lack of blog.
First up... a slide show of my latest Ebay Auction starting later tonight!! Check out "Quadrangles" (a word I found in the theraurus that is the same as "square"). This is my first set of beads off my new torch. As you can see, I remastered discs. And to make these totally different... they are all squares!! Which I think is really really cool. I actually debated for a while weither or not I would list them. I actually wanted to keep them for a new jewelry design, but hey, I can always make more!! So, I hope you love them as much as I do, and make sure you go BID BID BID!!
Next up... some torch experiments. I know I have been told you can't get "real" raku colors out of a Hot Head torch (my old torch). I always argued... "I can get good colors"... OH HOW WRONG I WAS!! I never realize what "true" raku colors should be. This is just one of the beads I made that has been rolled in a little raku frit. If only you could see it in person... there are amazing blues, greens and even purples in there. It is just yummy, and for sure you'll get a chance to fight over some raku beads in the next Bead Box update.
These are just another color experiment for the linked disc necklace design. They may or may not get etched (I am leaning towards etching them)... I love the clear centers and the POPPING teal. Another something fun for summer huh?
Anyway... things here are nutty. The kids are home and already bored. It is been snowing in April (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT)!! I am teaching a private class this afternoon for a few hours. I have a few orders that need working on and a torch that still needs playing with. So I have loads and loads to keep me busy. We are planning on have Easter dinner here tomorrow, too. The kids were up at 6:30 this morning hoping that today was Easter and they could look for their baskets... no such luck, the Easter Bunny didn't come last night... LOL... I am sure he'll be hopping through our neighborhood tomorrow though.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I spent a few hours today getting better aquainted with my new torch and we are getting along just swimmingly. I discovered something that I think is going to help with tackle the learning curve I was worried about.... I need to watch the glass and not the torch. I am worring too much about where I am in the flame. But if I watch what the glass is doing and move it till I see colors (molten states) I am used to, it is much easier for me to control. I actually had a pretty successful torch session today once that little idea popped into my head. I even have a new Ebay set cooking in there. (or the start of one anyway, lol) You know, I was much more nervous about the switch then I let on yesterday, but things are looking good.
I did something drastic yesterday. I cut my hair, again. And now it is super duper uber short. Really really short, lol. So short, I have to learn to style it and I won't be sharing a picture until I do, lol. I am in shock today over it. I don't hate it, I just don't recognize myself. I'll get used to it. I think it is rather trendy (even though I don't think short is "in" right now). It'll be fun growing it back out too... there will be loads of style possibilities as it grows too.
So... I think I covered everything I was gonna cover today... new torch going great... new hair really short... yep, that's about it. I am working on that Ebay set... I have 3 tutorials I am working on... and they kids are off school for 10 days starting Friday. I am going to try and come up with some Bead Box Beads... stay tuned.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I spent this morning on the phone with two local welding supply companies comparing prices on hoses, regulators, oxygen tanks and refills. Then, I spent mid day getting all the supplies I needed and guess what I was just doing!?!?! I WAS MAKING BEADS ON MY NEW TORCH!! YEE HAWW!!
So here is the deal. I have had the torch here for a couple weeks, but I have been holding off setting it up. I was nervous about setting it up. It is such a huge change. Plus a huge expense. The torch with shipping was $208 and the supplies to get it running was $315, encase you ever wondered what the start up is on a basic duel fuel set up. I am rather proud of what I did today. I absolutely refused to wait for my husband to come home to do it for me. I wanted to do it all myself. I am totally capable, I just needed to have confidence in myself.
I bought the hoses, those were pretty basic. The regulators I bought are Smith brand. Highly recommended by the techie gurus on the glass forums I frequent. I got "flashback" thingies. Which basically make it so the gases can't travel into the wrong lines and cause an explosion. Safety First people!! The tank of oxygen is a 244 cubic feet tank. It will be interesting to see just how long it lasts. It is huge! It weights about 125 pounds. The guys at the welding place loaded it in my car and told me to have my husband help me unload it... NO WAY!! I did it all myself. I am a big tough girl... I got big guns (aka biceps, lol). I hauled it into the studio.
I think we need to have a quiet moment of silence for my trusty hot head. It has been with me 2 long years and never let me down. I love that little guy.... okay moment over.... next thing I had to do was get the old torch out!! I spent a while this afternoon unscrewing the hoses that had been mounted to my bench for safety, I unmounted the torch that was screwed to the desktop. Then I had to do a little rearranging. The big desk moved down, the little desk was turned perpendicular... it is a whole new set up. I mounted the new torch to the desk. Yeah people, I know how to use a screwdriver, yep yep yep!! Once secured, I set to getting the tanks ready. I twisted the regulators on the tanks, tested the pressures, checked for leaks... then it was time to try it....
It is so cool... it is whisper quiet. Ron said he couldn't even tell it was running. There is definitely going to be a couple weeks of a learning curve. It is super hot and melts the glass very fast. Once I learn where the hot spots are, I'll be able to better control the glass. You should have seen my first bead!! It was lopsided and wonky. I think it was worse then the very first bead I ever made, lol. By the fourth I was back to being able to make basic rounds again. For fun I rolled a black bead in raku frit... and hot damn I didn't know that raku could go the colors I say in the bead. It is just amazing.
I am so proud to have set everything up myself... and I will be busting my butt the next few weeks relearning how to make beads on this new gem... but I hope you all will stay with my and watch my progress. Bare with me while I mess around, that kinda of thing. I will have Ron get a picture of me making some beads so you can see... for now, I wanna race back out and play some more!!
Monday, April 02, 2007
I am a huge fan of Before & Afters! So when Imade the decision today to oxidize something, I knew I had to get Before & Afters of it. I made these beads yesterday. They are a mix of Mosaic Green, Trans Gray and Clear. I was so psyched when I put them in the kiln. I thought they would be really cool. I thought the Mosaic Green would stay the darkish translucet color it was in the flame, I thought you would be able to see the color gradiant between the trans gray and clear.... I THOUGHT WRONG!! When I opened the kiln this morning I was sooooo disappointed! The green went all bright, and you can barely tell the difference between the gray and clear. Grrr.... I was so bummed I almost scrapped them. Seriously... I was just going to throw them out.
Something switched in my brain and I decided to use these more like test beads instead of tossing them. I cleaned them up while the kids ate their oatmeal this morning. The "test" part of these is how the etching solution would effect them. They were only in the etch bath for 3-4 minutes. You could actually see the "fog" like surface form of the clear while the beads were soaking... really cool. They all got washed again to neutralize the etching solution. By now the kids were ready for the bus...so I shoooed them out the door. And while they rode their scooters in the driveway waiting for the bus, I wired up the discs into my "Sunrise" style design.
Would you believe this design only needs a pair of wire cutters?!?!? I don't use any tools to make it! Well, correction, I only use tools on the clasp, but how cool is a design that doesn't need tools? All you need is tough fingers to wrap the wire. Anyway, this led to "testing part 2". I knew I wanted to see this style of wire work oxidized so into the liver of sulfer it went.
LOS is pretty cool stuff. I ordered some a few weeks back. I figured it was time to stop wasting hard boiled eggs and use some of the real stuff. (Yeah there is a way to oxidize with eggs, if you want details, send me an email) The new stuff worked like a charm and with in seconds the bright and shiny silver was black. Everything got cleaned again and then I set to polishing the wire. After oxidizing, you need to "highlight" the wire work. So you use polishing cloths to buff off the oxidation. It stays black and tarninshed in the low area and the high areas come back up to a shine. It really gives this design a wonderful depth.
So here I am sporting my "New Industry" necklace... the one that's beads were almost tossed this morning. Now an absolute FAVORITE!! The green matches a new scoop neck tee I got at Old Navy last week. It is definately a design that can be dressed up or down as needed. Did I mention I love it and it's my new favorite? Oh yeah, it is!!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
How could anyone possibly resist this little face? I would like to introduce you to Penelope, "Penny" for short. She is an 8 week old English Bulldog and she is my Mom's new family member. I don't know if I have told y'all this before but my Mom is a dog breeder of sorts. She has two pure breed basset hounds that she breeds from time to time and now here kennel is growing with this new addition. She had to have three dogs, one for each of my kids to walk when they are over visiting her!! Our house is much too small for a dog, but this cutie has Ron thinking we outta have one. Maybe in a few years when she has some puppies of her own.
We had a great family party yesterday for Lauren and the kids convinced my parents to take them home with them for an overnighter. I have been on jewelry, bead and tutorial writing over load lately, so although I should have seized the quiet time to work, I ended up taking the night off. Ron goes to play poker with friends every couple of Saturdays and I decided to tag along last night. It was just what my stressed out mood needed. I have been wound pretty tight lately so it is great to kick back for once. Ron said I wasn't allowed to play poker with the guys. He was worried that I wouldn't know what I was doing. But he did let me play in a Texas Hold'em tournament that the 6 of them had. And guess who wiped the table with those boys?! YEAH that's right... little miss "you don't know what beats what" kicked butt and won the hole tournament. YAHOO!! I can home with $40 :) And Ron said they didn't let me win, just the opposite, these are the types of guys that would happily take anyone's money if they can.
This morning I was still basking in my quiet time and made some beads. I was able to finish my "Sunrise" necklace and it is currently tumbling in the tumbler getting it's workout. We are going to have an early dinner and watch a movie with the kids tonight. Tomorrow I plan on getting over to the welding supply store to get my new torch up and running finally. I am really excited about it. I have ideas cooking for some new jewelry and some new beads too. Make sure you keep checking in to see my latest.