Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jewelry and Soon Metalworking

Happy November everyone! Halloween is over so we can all stop trying to resist all that yummy Halloween candy and prepare to be stuffed with Thanksgiving fare. Yum!

So, I've finally been making some finished jewelry. I very rarely make finished jewelry, but lately the few things I have made have been so much fun to create. I love making beads, but it's so awesome to see a finished product made from your work. It's exciting for me.

Anyways, I had a little bit of extra money, so I got excited and purchased some tools from Harbor Freight (which is an awesome store by the way) for metalworking. I didn't go too crazy on tools, and just bought what I would need for basic charms, bead caps, and lining beads with metal. Unfortunately, I bought all that, but I didn't have time to shop for some metal to play with. Doh!

I was hoping to maybe have some first metal projects to share with you, but it'll have to wait. Meanwhile, here's some of the finished jewelry I've been making. It's all up on my Etsy store.

Ok, that's enough shameless promotions from me. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Photographing with close up filters

So I bought a 15 dollar set of close up lenses for my Canon DSLR camera this week. At first I was pretty disappointing because I couldn't figure out how to screw them on to my camera. Of course I was doing it backwards and I felt pretty dumb. Obviously I'm not the most camera savvy person, but I've had a lot of experimenting with this camera, and I can at least take some decent bead pictures.

I'd love the have a macro lens, but those are a wee bit pricey for me, so I went with these close up lenses. I read that with these lenses you do sacrifice sharpness a little, so on to experimenting.

I took a ton of pictures to show the results with the various lenses. Each picture was taken in a light box with a tripod and given a 2 second timer (for my wobbly button mashing fingers). I had it set on f20 so each time the camera took a picture, the lens was open for about .6 seconds. I'll let you all be the judge of which one is the best.

Here is +1
Here is +2

Here is +4
Here is Macro

Here is Macro with the +1 screwed on top of that one

I'm still not quite sure which one I'm going to end up using. I think it would look different with sets of beads, so I'm sure I'll try that, but for those of you with focals I hope this experiment is helpful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So when I first started selling on Etsy, I didn't really have a method of organization. I didn't really think that far ahead. I had this napkin on my desk where I put all my beads. Very professional eh?

That evolved to placing them in sandwich baggies, but I ran out of those fast and I needed them for packing my lunch, so that didn't last long. Next I bought some cute little gift bags, but they don't work that well for storage. I found that while I do sell pretty often, I sit on a lot of inventory, and it is a waste to buy fancy bags for everything when everything isn't selling.

I finally bought some simple little 3x2 inch plastic Ziploc baggies. I should have done that first thing! I really don't know why I didn't. I got a thousand of them for like 15 dollars off of ebay.

Anyways, the moral of this story is to invest a little time and money into organization when you first get into selling. Otherwise you have this....
on your desktop every day until you get some organization going.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lots o Lentils

This week I seem to have gone back into lentil mode. I don't know what it is about lentils. They're nice and smooth and flat. They make such a wonderful canvas for scrolls and other surface decorations. I like that you can make a giant lentil without as much weight as you would a giant round bead. Maybe I'm just crazy, but I love my lentil press. If I were made of money I'd surely purchase more.

Anyways, enough of me babbling about my love for lentils. Here's some of the lentils I've been playing with this week. Scrolls and lentils do make an excellent combination. Add some gold fuming and yum :)

I've been working with a new color for me called apricot. I'm sure it's been around for a while, but fall colors are not usually what I play with. I love this warm swirly color though. Top it off with coral scrolls (cause we all know how much I love the scrolls), and very yummy.

And then there's this awesome tutorial about making "storms" in dots by Amy of AKdesigns. You can see them really well in this bead. They're multicolored and awesome. If you're a lampworker, this tutorial should definitely be in your arsenal.

Anyways, I'm off to go exercise, eat dinner, and go make some beads. Wooooo!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lots of distractions

So the past few weeks in Rochester have been a way too quick transition to Fall. It's been cold and wet and miserable. Blech! I don't have a fireplace, but at least I can stay nice and toasty in front of my torch and kiln. The leaves have been beautiful to watch change color, but other than that, I really miss summer already.

With the weather being kinda yucky, I've been glued to my computer lately. You'd think I'd be doing more productive work, but really I've been addicted to a couple new games. My husband built me a new computer a month ago and I just HAD to buy a few games so I could....test out the new graphics card. Yes....that'll be my excuse.

Batman, Arkham Asylum is so awesome! I watched the animated series all the time as a kid. It's so nostalgic for me. It's also way too fun to have all those bat gadgets at my disposal. I've also been playing Left 4 Dead a bit. It's just a nice simple zombie game. Sometimes it's fun to just shoot zombies for a half hour (or a few hours) and then get back to work (or not).

Time for a Change

When I first started this blog I told myself I would post twice a week. I was determined that these posts would be about lampwork and beads, not my personal life so much. Ambitious huh? Lately I've been lucky to do one post a month. That's horrible isn't it? I tried thinking about the blogs I read regularly. What do these people write about that I find so interesting? I realized that they wrote about daily life more than their craft.

When I stick to writing about my work, I'm really limiting myself. So from now on I'm going to try to post weekly, but this time there will be some posts about daily life in Rochester. Maybe it will be interesting, maybe not, but I'll be writing and hopefully getting a chance to interact more with anyone who reads this.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm finally posting about Double Helix's Ekho

I've been having a bit of a love affair with Double Helix's newest silver glass, Ekho. It's the first glass I've ever purchased within the first week of it's release. I was very excited. I kept running to the mailbox. I felt like a starstruck fan or something silly. It was worth the wait, because it's such a fun glass. I still haven't explored it as much as I should.

Here's what Double Helix's website says about it. "Ekho was designed to offer features of both reduction and striking colors. Ekho can retain a pearlescent luster under encasement, while striking during normal beadmaking operations. For best results, Work Hot, Cool, Reduce, and Encase. Melting the clear encasement using a cool flame will encourage a "mother of pearl" luster, while reheating the encased Ekho will further develop the struck tones. "

It's just such an awesome glass to work with. You can strike several different colors with this glass, and if you control your heat, it has that beautiful shiny luster that we all love about it. I usually get tones of blue, purple, and a touch of green. I'm still working on getting consistency with this glass. I'll just haveto practice more.

Anyways, I've had this glass for a bit over a month, and here's a sampling of what I've created with it. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bicone Madness!

Hey everyone. I'm not updating as much as I'd like, but it's been because I've been making so many beads, not just laziness. I've been experimenting with different shapes a lot this month. I still love using a bead press because of the consistency in size, but hand-shaping focals is so fun!

This week I've been making nothing but bicones. It's bicone madness week I guess. I'm very proud of these beads, because long bicones have always been a shape I struggled with. In the past they always would come out wonky and uneven. The ends would be sharp and poorly defined. Something must have finally clicked for me because they are coming out beautifully. Take a look and tell me what you think.

They're all up for sale on my Etsy. Take a peek. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oilslick Sparkle on Ebay

I've actually been creating quite a few beads lately. It's like I finally got enough summertime fun and I can really FOCUS! Well there's always room for more summer of course, but either way I've been productive.

Recently I've been flirting with ebay a little bit. I'm still posting items Monday through Friday in my Etsy and Artfire store, but look out for a few Ebay auctions too. Here's what I've got so far.

These are very pretty. The base has shades of blue, purple, green and even a little bit of yellow in it. Each bead has a bit of an oilslick sheen to it. To make it even more sparkly, I've added scrolls of purple aventurine. I hope you all like it as much as I do. I'd love to hear what you think either way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday's Mini-sets

a Here's a couple little bead sets that just got listed on Etsy and Artfire

The base of these beads are made with Aurae glass encased in clear to really bring out that opal-like luminescence. The pictures do not do these beads justice. Each bead is decorated with scrolls of sparkling goldstone.

I definitely want to make an entire set of these beads. You might be seeing a larger set of these up on Ebay later in the week. They are very pretty, but for the moment I just had time for this cute little earring pair.
The base is made with Psyche for that shiny oilslick look. Then I decorated the surface of these beads with sparkling purple goldstone.
That's all I have for the day, but I do have a couple more small sets like these that I'll be posting tomorrow. Yay!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Awaiting my new glass!

I just sent a decent sized order for more glass last night. I get way too excited. I'm already about to go downstairs and check the mail even though I only sent the order about 9 hours ago. It should be here now right? I ordered a few moretti staples (white, black etc), some new CIM colors, and lots of rods of silver glass.
I am in love with silver glass lately. There are so many things you can do with it! I love just making reactive silver scrolls over any pretty color. It's just the right amount of bling to me. Or you can be extravagant and make a base bead with silver glass and layers of clear to magnify the beauty of the glass and cover it with whatever decorations you want!
Have I mentioned that I'm loving silver glass?
I'm eagerly awaiting this new glass that was released on Thursday called Ekho. I've never actually purchased a glass right when it was released. I'm usually way behind on things. I'll definitely be showing off my new experiments. Just waiting for the stuff to arrive. I wish there was free overnight shipping on everything I buy just because I'm awesome. Oh well.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gold Fuming!

A few weeks ago, I finally broke down and shelled out 60 bucks to buy the smallest amount of 22k gold I could. After a week and a half it finally arrived. I was so excited! I knew I didn't purchase that much, but there was a decent sized box stuffed in my mailbox. I raced up the stairs with my package and tore it open. I fumbled through the packaging materials and the bill to find a tiny little two inch piece of gold. I looked again at the bill.......Ouch!
I knew in my head how much a pennyweight of gold was, but seeing it in my hand next to the bill was a little painful. It took me a while to gather the courage to use that gold, but I finally did, and I'm very happy with my results :)

Can you believe that base color on these beads is simply clear?

These ones have a base of black with red scrollwork. They make me think of chocolate. Maybe I'm just having a craving.
For those of you lampworkers who have the proper ventilation, you should give this a try. I know I balked at the price of gold, but a little goes a long way. Try it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Graphics provided by

Everyone have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Lately I've been going a little crazy with scrollwork. Scrollwork was always one of those things that I loved to look at, but sucked at when I was first starting out. I would have my stringer ready and positioned, I'd make a perfect scroll and then breathe out a sigh of relief. The force of my breath pushes the flame towards my perfect little scroll and melts it partway in. AAAAAH!

Since then I've gotten a lot better at it. I've learned to breathe softly and have a much better handle on my scrolls. Here's a little collection of recent stuff. It's all up on Etsy and Artfire :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Vacation!

Hello everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful summer so far even if it's not technically summer yet. I've been very busy lately between my day job and promoting my art. Please accept my apologies for not updating my blog like I should.

I'm on vacation starting today! Yay! I'll still be making beads and promoting and whatnot, but I don't have to go to my day job for more than a week. That makes me very happy :) My new goal that I'm trying to jump start this week is to list items every day Monday through Friday. So far I've been doing well, but it is only Tuesday. Wish me luck with that.

I've joined Twitter and Myspace over the past month, so if you have an account, add me!

Honestly I'm not a big fan of twitter. I guess I just don't really get it, but I'm trying it out for a while. If you have any suggestions or anything I'm open to them.

Anyways, you guys all have a wonderful June!

Friday, May 29, 2009

More Pixie Dust!

For some reason I can't stop dipping every bead I make in Pixiedust. I don't know why. Everything sitting in the kiln tonight has been dipped in it.
I've also been working in christmas colors for some reason. I have no idea why. The other day I made these lovely rich pink whiteheart beads that were dipped in pixie dust. Tonight I made emerald green whitehearts also dipped in pixie dust. I'm very excited to pull them out of the kiln tomorrow.
Whenever I make beads I get so excited for when i can take them out of the kiln. It may be a little sad, but I've had nights where I can't sleep because I'm excited about what's in the kiln. It means I have some crappy sleepless nights sometimes, but it's worth it :) I hope I'll always have that enthusiasm about my art.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fun with Pixie Dust and Some New Etsy Listings

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. I was working my day job, but now I have three days off. Yipee! I've been making quite a few beads this weekend even though I've still been working. I have pictures to take and beads to clean so they won't be up on Etsy for a day or two.
I purchased Pixie dust a while back and I finally got it out to play with. Boy is it messy! I was wearing black pants when I tried to gently tap a little bit onto my marver. I did manage to get some on my marver, but more of it was in a pixie dust cloud in the air and allover my once black pants.
I did figure out how to use it with minimal mess eventually and I made some very cute little spacers. I listed them yesterday and they sold immediately. I always like when that happens. I have more sitting on my desk made with gold pink. They're very christmasy. I think you'll like them, I know I do.
Anyways, here are a few things that I recently posted on Etsy. Hope you like them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Photoshop, Twitter and Ebay Oh My!

It's been so lovely outside lately that I haven't been terribly motivated to stay inside at my computer and work. I did stay up ridiculously late last night playing with photoshop and I turned out with some pretty neat pictures. I wish I had the patience to do this for all the etsy listings I put up, but boy is it tedious. If only I could dye my hand green or something when I take these so I have an easy green screen hand.
What do you think? Cool or what? Maybe I'm just easily amused.
I've been considering trying to sell on Ebay once a week. I do like Etsy of course, but Ebay is where I started selling many years ago when I was still torching unsafely in my apartment. It was pretty fun watching the auction style. It's just too bad Ebay is known as Feebay now. Blech. Still thinking about it though, so let me know what you think. I love reading your comments even if I have been a little neglectful of my blog lately.
I also joined twitter recently. I still don't really know if I like it, but it is cool seeing what's going on in other people's lives. I still prefer reading blogs, but it's kinda cool still. Feel free to follow me, I always try to follow back.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bead size

I've been a little bit neglectful of my blog lately. It suddenly started getting nice out and I just want to go outside and play! I keep leaving my day job early too because it's so nice out. That's not the best thing when you're paid by the hour. I've still been downstairs torching pretty frequently though. Nothing can really turn me away from that.

Yesterday I stopped at a lampwork bead bazaar in my area. I didn't really have any money, so I was really just browsing around and trying to meet new people. I did notice that most of the beads displayed were a lot bigger than mine. I know the size doesn't really matter too much because everyone has their different tastes. I know I prefer things a little smaller and more subtle, but I've seen some amazing necklaces that are huge pieces. What do you guys think?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring is Here!

It finally feels like Spring in Rochester. Of course it's thundering outside as I write this, but it was beautiful out today and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer. After work today I enjoyed myself outside with the kitties and did a little gardening. It felt good to be outside. Here's a couple pictures to share. We also found a little toadie. The cats didn't really know what to make of him, but it was cute watching them.

I have some beads to post, but they still need to be cleaned. But I will share them because they are super sparkly! Everyone needs some sparklies to bring some cheer. Oh and I didn't forget about the beadcam. My internet has been very flakey lately and I've decided to only leave the camera on when I'm actually making beads. I still hope you'll be able to see me online sometimes.

Anyways, it's workout time and then torching time. Yay!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Bead Sets on Etsy

Hey everyone, thanks for the comments on the torch cam. It hasn't been up as much. That's only because I decided to only have it running when I'm actually torching. Otherwise you'll be listening to me workout. Some people recognized that I was watching the Colbert report while running on the elliptical. I thought that was kinda funny, but it's probably more than you want to hear. Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on it or just stopped by. I appreciate it.

I've got some new sets on etsy tonight. I've been playing with metallic black and more double helix glass. I keep making mushrooms too. I kinda want to make one into a little cellphone charm for myself. I'll have even more sets tomorrow!

I'm hoping to get some torching done tomorrow as well, so look for me on camera.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Live Streaming Torch Cam!

Alright, it took me a little while to figure it out, but I now have a live streaming torch cam! Yay! I'm still testing things out, so bear with me. Any constructive criticism is appreciated. Unfortunately I spent all my torching time figuring this out and now I need to go to sleep since I'm due in at work in seven hours. Blech. I should have some time tomorrow afternoon to evening so maybe you guys will see me then.

I believe it is set up to be a chat room, but honestly I'm way too distractable and I'll probably drop hot glass on myself if I try to chat. I know there are other people who are capable of multitasking, but not me. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them.

I've also noticed that most of the other live streaming video feeds on this website are younger folks. I feel a little out of place, but who knows. Maybe I'll infect them with the beadmaking bug!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trying New Things

A while back, I purchased a pound of clear boro glass. The only reason I bought it was for fuming silver and gold onto my soft glass beads. It's been sitting on my work bench since February, so I thought I'd play around with it. I've only really worked with soft glass, so working with boro was very different for me. It's very stiff and much slower to melt, but very nice for sculpting.
After some time, some failed attempts, and looking through Milon Townsend's book, I managed to come up with this.

It's far from perfect...very very far, but it's still a big step for me. I don't know if I'll ever work in boro, but it was a lot of fun.
So what do you do to push your limits in your craft? I'd love to hear.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lampwork Beads From Double Helix's "Triton"

I've recently had the opportunity to use glass rods by Double Helix. Double Helix is a small family run business that was started in 2005. They make some wonderful reactive glass. I'm behind the times as I just recently purchased my first batch of glass from them. Here are some of the first sets I made with "Triton" glass.

Triton is described on Double Helix's website as, " producing a satin iridescence, swirls of multi-colored silver and retain its luster under clear." It really makes me think of an abalone shell. When it is left on the surface, it's super shiny! I love this glass!

I have the entire weekend off of work, so if I can get all my chores done early, I'll be making a lot more beads out of this wonderful glass. You'll be seeing them on my Etsy and possibly Artfire.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hot Chocolate on a Snowy Day in Rochester

There is not much better on a cold snowy day than a nice cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. It's supposed to be spring here, and we had a few days of nice weather to tease us. Yesterday I woke up to a sheet of ice on my car and an inch of snow on the ground. I was not happy.

Today the snow is starting to melt, I don't have to go to work, and I have a nice cup of hot chocolate, so I'm happy!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Annealing Lampwork Beads

Ok, so I'm sure you've all browsed through lampwork bead listings on Etsy or Ebay. I'm sure you've seen listings that say "annealed in a computer controlled kiln." What does that mean?

As glass is heated, manipulated, and cooled, strain occurs in the bead. It doesn't matter if you use the same rod of glass or how fast you work, or even if you try to slowly cool the bead using the torch. That stress is inevitable. That is why annealing is absolutely necessary. If the bead is not annealed, sooner or later that stress will catch up, and the bead will likely crack.

It is important to heat the glass until it reaches a stress-relief point, or annealing tempurature, and hold it until all the stress has left the bead. After being held at the proper tempurature, the beads are slowly and evenly cooled, so no more stress occurs until they are room tempurature. This process takes several hours. I usually let my kiln run overnight.

Many imported beads are not properly annealed and can break and chip easily. When I leave my own beads on the desk, I drop them all the time, but I've haven't had one break on me yet because they're properly annealed. They're like rocks! When you are shopping for handmade artisan beads, ask if they are annealed. It will ensure a long happy bead life.

What is Lampwork?

So a lot of you reading this know what lampwork is, but I know there are a few that might not. It is the process of melting glass with a torch. Some people make sculptures, ornaments, beads, pendants, whatever. It's similar to glass blowing, but on a smaller scale. Whenever people give me an odd look when I tell them I like to make lampwork beads, I just tell them it's glass blowing. I know the two are different, but sometimes I get too lazy to explain.

When making beads, I wrap melted glass onto a steel mandrel and use gravity and tools to shape my bead. Then I add whatever decorations I want for that design. Often times I'll encase everything in a layer of clear to really magnify it. After that I put the bead directly in a kiln and hold it at 960 degrees. This removes any stress in the bead that would cause trouble later. Slowly the tempurature is lowered until the annealing process is done. I clean the beads, string them and photograph them.

Anyways, here's a few pictures of my studio and me making beads. Enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cute little Mushrooms!

I seldom ever play around with sculptural work, but I had some fun the other night. I created these adorable little mushroom beads. The hole runs vertically, so they would be awesome as pendants or charms or cell phone lanyards. I'll definitely need to be making a few more soon. I have two of them up on etsy. There will be more! Oh yes!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

New Favorite Set

I love this set so much! I'll be listing it on Etsy later tonight unless someone emails me first of course. It's the perfect size for my wrist if I added a toggle clasp. I keep telling myself that the perfect length of the set means I should keep it for myself and make another piece of jewelry. I suppose if it doesn't sell I won't be too heartbroken. :-P

It was hard to take a good picture of it. It's actually slightly deeper red, more of a blood red. The spacers I made to go with it have a velvety finish and are very iridescent. They have subtle notes of blue and purple. This is definitely a new favorite of mine.

Let me know what you think.