Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

So, I've been trying to be a little more ahead of the game when it comes to holidays. I usually only think of making seasonal beads about a week before the actual holiday. With this in mind, I started searching for a heart shaped mold for the upcoming Valentines day.

I was probably a bit picky in my search. I wanted to make hearts that weren't too flat, or too tall. I also wanted to have them puffy enough so I could use my flat lap to reveal an interesting core. It can't be too big or too small. I'm not even sure if I knew what I wanted.

After lots of browsing around and asking about custom molds, I had someone offer to sell me their Carlo Donna heart presses. I jumped right on that because I had heard nothing but good things about them. I did my usual stalking of the mail carrier until it arrived.

I ended up purchasing a small set and a larger one for focals. I had never used a tong style press, and it took a bit of practice for me. The biggest struggle for me was using a light touch when mashing. I had a rough time not messing up the bead release. And boy does the focal size use a lot of glass. They turn out beautifully though. Here's a bit of eye candy for you all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Revisiting Pixiedust

I know I've written about pixiedust in the past. I've always really liked pixiedust because it's pretty inexpensive, easy to use and of course, it's sparkly! You just make a bead, heat it up a little bit and dunk it in the pixiedust. The only thing to really worry about it overheating the bead once it's been covered in pixiedust.

I had always thought of pixiedust as the last step of a bead whenever I used it. My pixiedust beads were pretty much all pretty simple spacers. After looking through some advice on the Lampworketc forums, I can see that it has a lot more uses than what I thought. It can be used on the surface, encased even pulled into a stringer. It even comes in different size mica flakes. I felt like this whole new world had been opened up to me, so for the past few days, nearly all my beads have pixiedust on them. My workbench is very sparkly.

I haven't done a lot with encasing the pixiedust, but I'm sure I will soon. I'm really enjoying how wintery and festive the pixiedust is making my beads look. Take a look :)

Can anyone guess what colors have been used in this last set? It makes a neat looking tropical pink color. I love it. Particularly with all this snow on the ground.

So, if you're a lampworker with jars of pixiedust collecting dust, get those jars open and start playing! If you're looking for a bit of sparkling for your jewelry designs, then stop by my Artfire or Etsy and take a look :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bead Giveaway! Cute little Santa Mousie

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
I'll be drawing for this on December 1st. Here's how to win him for your own.

1. “Like” my Facebook fanpage

2. Refer a friend to “like” my Facebook fanpage

3. Comment on my blog

4. Promote any of my stuff online (tweet, blog, whatever)

Each time you do one of these, you get your name put in a hat and I’ll be drawing a name. When you do or more of these send an email with the subject “Free Bead Drawing” to and what you did, so I know who wants to play, so I can keep track and so I can contact you if you win :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Overrun by Glass Beads! Random Giveaway!

So, as I've been cleaning my desk, my studio and the rest of the house, I keep finding more and more beads. Whenever I do laundry there are beads in my pants pockets. When I hear one of the cats batting something around, it's a bead. They are everywhere!

I'm pretty good about putting sets together, photographing them and filing them away. Everything you see photographed has been neatly bagged and is ready to ship out to its new home. Everything else is a couple matching beads that I keep meaning to add a few more to make it a set, or some other form of orphan. I'll set them somewhere I can see so I can make a point to get back to it, but that never happens. Or I do end up making more beads to complete the set, but one of my cats decides the original bead is a new fantastic toy.

So, to help alleviate this problem I'm going to start giving some beads away! Hooray!

This will be in the form of random drawings either monthly or biweekly. Here's how to get a chance to win.

1. "Like" my Facebook fanpage

2. Refer a friend to "like" my Facebook fanpage

3. Comment on my blog

4. Promote any of my stuff online (tweet, blog, whatever)

Each time you do one of these, you get your name put in a hat and I'll be drawing a name. When you do or more of these send an email with the subject "Free Bead Drawing" to, so I know who wants to play, so I can keep track and so I can contact you if you win :)

Hope you guys have fun with this. I'll start a November drawing in the next post.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Windowed Pendants

I just wanted to share some of the new pendants I've been making lately. I love them and I hope you do too. Each one has a different unique core encased in a thick layer of clear. Using my flat lap, I added windows to make them look like geodes.

This one is my favorite. The outside has been covered in black enamels for a bit of a texture. It's really neat to grind away at the plainer surface of the bead to find an awesome looking core.

Here's a couple more

Friday, October 29, 2010

So Much to do, So Little Time

I'd say the title pretty much sums up this post nicely. There are just so many projects I want to start and not enough time. Where to start...

I've just opened up a new Etsy store for my own handmade jewelry created with my beads. My lampwork bead shop was getting a bit crowded. Unfortunately I can only do ten different categories per Etsy shop and I was really starting to feel that limit. I'm hoping to move anything that is ready to wear into this new store.

Here's the one item I have in that store so far. I've got a lot of work to go on getting that store stocked.

I personally love simple elegant pendants. I think they're perfect for a nice clean modern look that can go with office wear or jeans and a t-shirt. I have a few other colors in the same style that I will get photographed soon. Now you can have a pendant to go with every outfit :)

I was going to make this a long post about the other projects I want to start, but I should get on some jewelry photography instead. I just reminded myself.

Off to go be productive....hooray.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here's some of what I've been up to lately

Just popping in to show off some of the goodies I've been making. I've got a couple topics to write about, but not yet.

Metallic Scrolls on Creamy Ivory

Metallic Scrolls on Mirrored Red

And lastly, I've been doing some work with my new flat lap machine. It makes some really unique windows in my beads.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Studio Tour

I noticed a thread on the Etsy forums of artists showing off their workspace, so I thought I'd share mine. I always love seeing where the "magic" happens for artists. So here's where I make my glass goodies.

Above you can see my minor burner along with a bunch of glass in my workstation. I'm not the best about cleaning up when I'm done. When I do actually clean up, I can never find anything, so this works out. The green hose connects to the oxygen concentrator at my feet and the red one leads outside to my propane tank. The containers full of sand hold my mandrels that are dipped and ready to be used. There's a couple jars of pixie dust and frit hanging around too.

Here's my kiln. After creating each bead, it gets placed inside a 960 degree kiln to be held for 30 minutes or longer and slowly ramped down to room temperature. This helps relieve the stress in the glass caused by manipulating it.

Here's my jumble of tools. They're not exactly organized. Not even a little bit. I drop them on my feet when I'm reaching for them sometimes actually. The flame handled tools are beadrollers from Donna at CGBeads. I love them. They are fantastic for consistent sizes. I have several tools by Zooziis as well. I love the flat shapes as a nice canvas for scrollwork. Last but not least is my most used tool, the giant spoon I stole from the utensil drawer. I use this constantly to pat down surface designs.

Here's my 10 lpm Oxygen Concentrator.

Some of my glass rods. Most of these are Moretti, but I do have a little bit from everyone.

My reject pile. I need a bigger bowl. I was thinking of trying to fill one of those giant water jugs.

Here's my 1200 Cfm squirrel cage blower. It's attached to a hood above my torch to blow the noxious fumes outside. It's quite loud, but ventilation is too important to ignore.

This is Onny, the studio kitty. She's very helpful.

Here's where I take my bead pictures. There's normally a Cannon DSLR camera on the tripod.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Lampworking

Buying a new tool is always so much fun for me. I'll research it for weeks, trying to justify the money I'll be spending on it. I look at other artists' work to see what they've done using that tool, trying to think of how I would put my own spin on it. I order it and hound the poor mail carrier. It finally arrives and it's like Christmas!

This month I bought myself an Ameritool Flat Lap machine. I love it! With this tool, I can create windows into the core of my lampwork beads. Here's a few examples

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Glass Week on DeviantArt

For those of you that are on DeviantArt. The group ArtisanCrafts is hosting glass week. Take a look at some of the interviews and featured glass pieces

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hey everyone! Hope everyone's enjoying the end of Summer before school starts back up and Fall begins. I've been playing with a new shape this week among other things. It's called the Kalera long and lean by Zooziis. It's a perfect flat canvas and makes a fantastic focal for a pendant. Here's a couple focals I've made with this new press. Let me know what you guys think.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Metal Line a Bead with the Impress Bead Liner

I just made a quick tutorial about lining beads with metal using the Impress Bead Liner. I bought this tool early in the year just for fun, and it is awesome and a great value.  Take a look and let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gathering 2010!

Hey there everyone. I just got back from the ISGB Gathering! It was fantastic to meet all those amazing artists. So much of the work I saw on Saturday's Bead Bazaar just blew me away. I wish I could have been there the entire week. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the entire week off. Darn day job.

On Friday I saw a bunch of demonstrations. It started with Margaret Neher's beautiful boro flowers. They were so realistic. She had a table at the bead bazaar and she really does have some amazing work.

Next I shopped for 15 minutes and then back to a presentation about painting with enamels. Bronwen Heilman showed us all how she paints designs using enamels, heats it back up and then fires it. After seeing her presentation and a few other folk's beads in a similar style, I bought a bunch of enamels. I'm looking forward to playing with those.

After some lunch, Leah Fairbanks showed her amazingly detailed floral beads. I don't make a lot of florals, but I drooled over her beads for a long time before I was able to set up my studio. It was even better seeing her beads in person. She demonstrated her florals, but also showed us a bit of coldworking to make facets. If there had been a lap machine available for purchase in the vendor's area, I probably would have bought it.

Next Wesley Fleming showed his tiny detailed soft glass insects. I didn't even know you could sculpt like that in soft glass. I found that presentation very interesting. I wanted to buy one of his spiders at the bead bazaar, but they were so realistic I was a little creeped out.

Last but not least was Eun-Suh Choi. Her sculptures were made entirely of clear boro glass. They were so incredible. It may sound simple since it's all clear and a repeating pattern of branches, but they are amazing. When showing some slides of her other work, she mentioned a piece in the Corning museum that was 13 feet high. I am going to have to look for it when I'm there next.

I think in the end I was sad to go, especially since there was so much more to do on other days, but I was so packed with information I think I might have exploded with much more.

Oh, and I bought a little something for myself. This is a cored and capped big holed bead from Hayley Tsang.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I've been slacking

Just wanted to give a quick update since it feels like I haven't been able to torch or post in a while. I feel like such a slacker lately, but I do have my excuses. I managed to crash my car and get a nasty cold in the same week. My car has been fixed, but I'm still feeling pretty crummy. Unfortunately that means no torching until I'm feeling a little better. You wouldn't believe how difficult stringer work is when you're sniffling and sneezing every two seconds.

I should be back soon. I miss my torch :(

Friday, July 2, 2010

Interview with TheMayFlower

TheMayFlower is a growing business on Etsy that sells fun and unique clothing and jewelry on Etsy.The first thing that caught my eye when browsing were these adorable little turtle earrings. Too cute!

Check out for more cute jewelry.

How did you first start your craft?

When I entered middle school, I learned the social hierarchy of cliques and how discriminating they could be. You were not considered "cool" unless you dressed a certain way and wore a certain brand. Of course, this infuriated me. I could not be accepted unless I conformed! Instead, I enrolled in weekend class at the Fashion Institute of Technology and learned how to sew and make jewelry. From then, I practiced the skills I learned day after day. I've made a few things that I've worn outside and I received many compliments from my friends and family. They encouraged me to open an Etsy shop and I did so last August.

What was life like before your craft?

I have always been artistic most of my life. At a young age, I started drawing and eventually took lessons. I learned how to use pastels, paint and sketch. It was fun at first, but I eventually got bored of it. I was never passionate about painting or sketching. Art is interesting, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't for me.

What made you take it a step further and sell?

It was my passion for designing and making jewelry that really pushed me to open an Etsy shop. All the compliments from my friends and family and the need for money were factors too, but it was the fact that I loved doing this that convinced me to open shop.

Where do you sell? What are the pros and cons about selling in this venue?

Right now, I only sell on Etsy. I started expanding to MyHandmade and UsTrendy, but I don't know if it will produce sales. The great thing about Etsy is that there are a lot of buyers who love discovering handmade products, but the downside is how many sellers are on Etsy. I'm competing with hundreds of thousands of other shop owners and it takes a lot of effort to get noticed!! The positive about selling on MyHandmade is that I get to choose how much % of sales they receive. The negative is that there aren't as many buyers as Etsy. UsTrendy seems to be more toward my target audience, but again it faces the same problem as MyHandmade; the number of buyers are significantly less.

What is your daily routine?

Oh gosh. I don't have a routine! My life is too crazy to have a schedule! I am a full time college student, so during the school year I am basically limited, but I do not stop crafting at all. I will stay up nights on end thinking of new ideas or sewing a garment or piecing together a necklace. During the breaks, I tend to wake up, exercise, eat breakfast, check emails and Etsy convos, chat in the forums and promote a bit, finish up any orders i have, eat lunch, come up with new ideas, promote some more, take a break (read a book, listen to music, exercise some more, etc) and then execute my new ideas. But I dislike monotony, so I take some days off and babysit, or play ultimate frisbee with my team, go out to lunch with the girls,and other things like that.

How do you define your style?

I think the perfect way to put it is in Leonardo Da Vinci's words: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

What are your goals for the future?

My first goal is to create more clothing pieces. I want to expand into shirts, shorts, pants, cardigans and other items. I'm also planning on making printed t-shirts and open a separate Etsy shop for them. In addition, I also want to make more headbands. I started with a few this year, and they were fun to make, so I'm trying to find new ideas! My second is to blog a bit more! I usually don't have enough time, but I'm trying to at least write one post once a week.

Who or what inspires you?

A lot of things inspire me, but my surroundings have the most impact. If you look at my Spring/Summer collection for this year, I was mostly inspired by gardens, clusters of flowers, vines, acorns, etc. that I have seen. A lot of designers inspire me as well. Leanne Marshall and Halston are two of my favorite. Their designs are simple, yet elegant and stylish, and I strive to make my jewelry and clothing pieces the same way.

Do you have any tips of advice for others in your medium and other crafters?

Well, I'm still a newbie, so I don't know if my advice is any good. But one thing you should always do is constantly check Google Analytics. Don't just create an account and ignore it. Use it. It's very helpful. It allows you to determine how many views you get in a day, bounce rate, how many visitors you have each hour in a day, where they're from, what page they landed on when they were searching, what keywords they used to search. It can really help you find the correct tags for your listings, so that you're targeting the correct audience.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Steampunk is such an awesome category to browse through on Etsy. You can steampunk anything it seems! Here's how Wikipedia defines it...

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, frequently featuring elements of fantasy, that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain[citation needed] — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.

It's quite random, but a lot of fun. Here's a selection of fun finds on Etsy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Happy Summer Friday!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of update last week. I was on vacation from work and laziness just kicked in :) You know how that can be. This has been a great summer so far, but it's not very good for motivating me to get to the torch.

Anyways, I've got tons of scrolls this week on Ebay. Ebay is becoming a more regular place to find my lampwork beads. You can always click above on available work to see what's ready to buy.  Here's a small sampling of my Ebay auctions.

I've also been posting sparkling pixiedust sets on Ebay. Pixiedust is always so much fun.

On Etsy, I've been on a pandora bead kick. So if you have a bracelet you need to fill up with pretty beads, stop on by. My favorites lately have been these striped beads.

They look like cute little tigers and I've been creating them in multiple bright colors like aqua and lime.  I haven't decided if I will be offering these on a made to order basis in the future. Either way, they're super cute.

Anyways, see you all next Friday :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lots of Scrolls for Sale

So this week has really been a scroll week. I have a lot of scroll weeks though. I do think they're my favorite style of bead to make. I love the curving lines, the raised texture, and the precision of the stringer design. It's taken me a lot of practice to get good at them, but I think it's been worth it.

I've also been back to giving ebay a try. Long ago when I was making beads on a hothead in an apartment, I sold a handful of beads on Ebay. Since then the fees on Ebay have gone up quite a bit, but it's still fun to have an auction style listing.  So here are some of the bead sets I have on Ebay now, or I will be putting them on Ebay this week.

I do have a lot more too, but I don't want to bombard you guys with too many pictures. Just check out my ebay, etsy or facebook. I can reproduce any of these sets as well, so I will be adding pairs of each of my newest sets up on Etsy as a made to order listing. When I finally get beads available to buy on my website (I'm slacking with this), They'll be available here as well.

I'll be updating you guys on more beads for sale next Friday, til then I hope everyone's enjoying their summer.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jolly Rancher Discs and Sparkling Cheerios up on Etsy

So this week, I've really been focusing on the simple beauty of transparent colors. Nothing against pastels and all those beautiful metallic glasses, but when we all think of glass, the first thing that comes to mind is transparents. I replenished my glass supply last week, so I had to reacquaint myself with transparent colors.

This week, I put up disc pairs in my Etsy store. Each of these handmade discs is made with a transparent color and embellished with a stripe of either silvered ivory or Psyche glass. These beads really make me think of jolly ranchers.

Silvered ivory is a lot of fun because of the unique organic look. The longer ivory is worked, the more crackly lo0oking it gets. When fine silver is added to it, it gets some beautiful striations.

Psyche glass is black or dark purple before being hit with a propane rich flame. Once the glass is worked in a propane flame, blues, greens and purples bloom with a metallic sheen. Pretty!

I've also been playing with a lot of pixie dust beads this week. I always have pixie dust spacers available, but I've recently created pixie dust big holed beads for Pandora and Troll bracelets. They're very sparkly and a perfect splash of glimmering color for your bracelet. I've left them uncored to keep them inexpensive. I can't help but think they look like sparkling cheerios though. Lol

These will be available to order as many or as few as you want. Feel free to stop by my Etsy or contact me

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Interview with Morning Star Arts

Morning Star Arts is a family business with Amy, making jewelry and fiber articles, John making copper and glass items and occasionally one of their sons listing one of their many creations. Their Etsy store has tons of beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. My favorite is their kaleidoscopes. But then again, their currency boxes are really awesome! Feel free to check out their shop here.

What do you create?

Currently, as well as the jewelry, I am needle felting and embellishing recycled sweaters; my dh makes our glass "treasure boxes" and other glass and copper items.

How did you first start your craft?

Well, I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 25 years, and a homeschooling mom for the last 17, so it wasn't as if I was looking for something else to do! But, my dh started lampworking about 8 years ago and wanted me to take a jewelry class so I could "do something" with his beads. I did, and I did, and now he doesn't even lampwork any more! But we have saved the equipment and hope to both do more of it when our boys move out and we have a little more space--too many hobbies ate up the house.

Where do you sell? What are the pros and cons about selling in this venue?

In addition to selling on etsy, we attend about eight or nine art shows per year, I consign with a couple of local boutiques, and I (just) joined a gallery where I hope to sell both jewelry and sweaters. I love seeing people enjoying my workmanship, but I am naturally an introvert so the actual selling has taken a lot of effort, and I still wouldn't say I'm particularly good at it.

What is your daily routine?

At the moment, my daily routine is in a seasonal flux; during school I address my boys' schoolwork first, housework second, and business third, but this varies enourmously depending on what needs doing most urgently; each summer is different and I don't really plan a routine, just kind of "fall into" one. The one constant is that I usually work on needle felting for an hour or so before bed; I find it very relaxing, and then I know I accomplished SOMETHING that day. I try to spend an hour doing online/etsy work each day.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are pretty simple--I'd like to be able to sell all I make. Right now I've had to put the brakes on jewelry-making a little bit because, with the economic situation, jewelry sales have slowed down, whereas the sweaters have been selling very well (though they may slow down during the hot weather months).

Do you have any tips of advice for others in your medium and other crafters?

My advice to others would be to try new venues and don't be disappointed with the ones that don't work out; I have tried one or two new shows each year for several years and about half of them just didn't work for me (I've found that my designs sell better at "art" shows than at "craft" shows, and better at juried than non-juried--this is different than many of my friends). And be organized (not TOTALLY!); don't skip from product to product without giving your ideas a chance to sell--sometimes it takes a while for people to start buying something new. I don't know how or why this is true, but it's been true for some of our biggest sellers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ocean Lentils, Aqua Beads and Sparkling Pixiedust Pandora Spacers to Share

Lots of freshly listed goodies up on Etsy and Ebay this week.

I particularly like this set up top. It's made of half blue and half teal with sparkling green aventurine mixed in with the teal. The two colors are divided by waves of silvered ivory. These beads are pressed into lentils which are perfect for bracelets. This one is up on ebay

These ones are a bit similar. I think the warm weather this week was making me think of a soothing sparkling beach. These have been pressed into the nice lentil shape and made with cool aqua glass. They have stripes of metallic glasses that have been raked across the surface. These are always such a fun style. These are listed up on etsy.

Last beads I'll share with you today are these pixiedust spacers for Pandora bracelets.

These are perfect for if you just want a splash of sparkling color for your Pandora or Troll bracelet without breaking the bank. I've been making these in various summer colors with different colored pixie dust sparkles. These are all going up on Etsy and once these first sets sell, can be made to order.

Thanks for looking everyone! Talk to you next Friday.