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 :)