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Saturday, January 31, 2009

CPSC Grants One Year Stay Great Valentine Gift to Glass Artists

U.S. crafters and small business owners have been given an early Valentines Day gift from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) which is due to go into effect February 10th. Essentially, it would have shut down most small independent businesses who sell products for children 12 and under because they wouldn't be able to afford to pay for the necessary independent testing for lead. Glass artists and other crafters now have a one year stay of testing and certification requirements, while the committee reviews everything. There are certain industries that still have the law going into effect such as lead content of paint, and other higher risk areas .

This affects glass beadmakers who sell to younger people, but in a larger way, the wonderful program, Beads of Courage, (BOC). BOC uses lampwork beads donated by our beadmakers for hospitalized children who have cancer or other life threatening illnesses. Each procedure they go through has a special bead that represents it and at the end of their treatment, they have a very long "necklace" that tells the story of their medical journey. This program has been growing and is one way of lampworkers giving back to others.

To see the full press release on CPSC's web site, please go to:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tagged, But Quick Save- What About Promotions?

I was tagged by soccer mom and jewelry maker extraordinaire,  Sue of Signature-Sterling on Etsy. It's a different style of tag that is intriguing.  Here are the rules:

Show Me Your Picture 6x6x6
1. Post the 6th picture from the 6th folder in your computer's "picture" file, ("my pictures").
2. Write (blog) about the picture.
3. Tag 6 new people- be sure to go to their blog, make the "tag" by leaving a comment and direct them to your blog to get the instructions.
4. Copy the permalink for your 6x6x6 entry and post it as a comment to your original tagger's 6x6x6x entry. Be sure to post the permalink, not just the link to your blog.  Get the permalink by clicking on the blog entry title and then copying that http address.

 So I went to my iPhoto to find the 6th folder down there.  The photo that I should have posted is my husband in a swimsuit on the beach in Costa Rica.  As handsome as he is, he would be VERY unhappy with me, if I showed it.  So  I went down to my Projects Section and found the 6th project and 6th photo.  Here you go. It's a  a rough draft of a calendar that I was toying with months ago.  Let's hear it for August- beach time.

Let's chat a bit about making calendars.  I have a plethora (cool word, isn't it?), of photos of my work.  I bet a lot of you who sell online do also.  Have you thought about making a calendar from your images and selling it?  It was an eye opener for me when I started playing with the concept.  Looking at the beads, the scale in which I would show them, the quality of the photos, the color combinations, etc.  Suffice it to say, the project got scrapped.  If I ever sell a calendar, you can bet it will have been planned out and beads made and photographed specifically for it.

If you make non-sculptural beads, (I call them traditionally shaped, but there's probably a better term for it), it might be different for you as you don't have real objects that you're making art from.  But I found it bothers me having a seashell larger than a mermaid, but I just didn't have any mermaids laying down and beckoning to the closest sailor that would fit that larger rectangular shape.  

So there's my tagging as well as my calendar project all rolled into this post.  And perhaps I should have just made a husband in a swimsuit holding beads calendar.  Hmmm, maybe 2010.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stretching Your Glass Rod Color Range

One of my friends had access to buying some Systems 96 COE glass at a great price, and asked me if I wanted some. But I wasn't sure what I should purchase.  So I bought a pound or so of clear, black and blush colored glass and decided that I'd add to it from there.

I've had this stash sitting in a corner, collecting dust and decided to pull it out the other night. It was time to channel my inner mad scientist.

So I picked out a few jars of frit that are or are close to the same COE and I mixed them with the blush to see what I'd get. Exhibit A- my new colored stringers.  And it felt great to actually use up some of it. Because the frit is already small, it's pretty easy to melt and mix in.

If you haven't tried this before, here's a simple way to blend new colors when using frit.  I have two rods of the same color.  The first rod, I heat and fold back on itself a couple of times so that the gather is a bit thick.  I let it cool slightly and then heat up the outside and roll in frit.  (actually, depending on the type of jar, sometimes I just dunk it in.)  Then I melt in that frit and re- roll until I have as much color on it as I want.  Then I heat up that mass and the second rod until they are mushy and start twisting and mashing.  I know that some people say that you can capture air bubbles in it, but I seem to have pretty good luck.  I keep both glasses pretty warm and gooey and twist it together until it's mixed well.  If it looks too pale, I add more frit and try to add as little of the rod glass as possible.  From there, I pull it into approximately 3mm stringers.

I found when working with these stringers that you can tell a little bit that the COE might be slightly off, so don't use a lot of it and don't encase it and you should be fine. Also, when heating it up, go slowly so it doesn't crack. It feels a little brittle. I tested this glass by making seashells and floral beads and they look just fine.

Have fun with this and join me in being a bit of a mad scientist.  See what happens when you mix multiple frits together for a different color, and make some stringer.  Play and have fun.  I mean seriously, isn't that a good part of the reason why we work with glass?  And of course, I'd love to hear about your experiments and any fabulous colors you come up with.  Just watch your COE's.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dinner & Chat with Fellow Beadmaker Sylvie Lansdowne

My friend and beadmaker, Sylvie Elise Lansdowne was making beads long before I even knew that lampwork existed. We live close-by and get together for dinner every so often to chat. Both of us love whimsical sculptural glass and have found lots of common threads in our ways of looking at it.

The top photo is of Sylvie's "Head Over Heels" bracelet that she has sold in a kit and has taught around the country. She has an Etsy shop that carries her different kits. You can find it here.

After over 2 hours of constant chatter last night, we decided to share some of our dinner conversations through each of our blogs. There are tips and tricks as well as just two beadmakers' way of looking at life.

Remember my blog post about what artists should wear? Of course that hit the table running. Sylvie believes that when selling, we should dress like our customers. Hers wear cute and funky bright clothes and great jewelry. I have only met a few of my customers, so I'm not sure what to wear. I know that I'll need to leave my sweatshirts and flip flops at home. I tend to dress in solid colors so my jewelry shows up more, but perhaps it's time to break free and find my inner artist. Sylvie suggested Quacker Factory on QVC. I'm going to check them out. The problem is, Sylvie is very tall and can wear patterns, while I'm just 5'3" and think solids will make me look taller. (and slimmer too, won't it?) If you have style advice, please let me know. Sylvie is also a shoe lover, and I'm a Teva flip flop or Chucks type fan, so I would be open to artist shoe selections too. This could be a new feature, "dress the beadmaker".

Sylvie is still hoping to get into Bead & Button and I would love to go too. It's an uncharted territory for me, while she has lots of experience. If you are going, please look for her. I promise, you will love everything she has. If anyone knows of a booth to share or has words of advice for me for B&B, please feel free to let me know about it.

We chatted about longer length camp type classes and Sylvie told me about her week at Haystack, in Deer Isle Maine. She chatted about how observing other areas of craft and art will lead you to different ways of learning, styles, etc. For example, a cermics class had people make all the parts to a teapot and then put them in the middle and each take someone else's pieces to put a new one together. They were asked to manipulate the parts and change them. People are more willing to change other people's pieces because they don't have the same "ownership" in that handmade art. That was how Sylvie's pass the bead exercise was started which is widely used by other teachers and groups today.

I'm headed to the Appalachian Center for Craft July 5-10 this summer for an extended glass class with Shane Fero and Fred Birkhill. I'm so excited. Other than it being glass, I'm not sure what we'll be learning. But I've always admired their work and know that it will stretch me as a beadmaker and all their years in glass means there will be a lot to learn.

We also discussed the value of taking from teachers who have opposite styles of what we typically do. I know I've mentioned that concept here before. It stretches your brain to think a little differently and for your hand and eye coordination to get a work out too. Yes it's hard, but it's also like people who only hang out with others who think the same way. How do you grow, if that's all you do?

Sylvie and I are going to be roommates at the Gathering. I know she'll be a good calming effect on me as I'm scheduled to teach my first class there. She's already taught at the Gathering, so I know that last minute pointers will be available.

And one more tip, there's a magazine available at Barnes & Noble and other book stores called Artful Blogging that is a must read. I'm heading out this morning to find it. It's not technically oriented, but more artistic.

There was so much more - life, kids, more and more glass, new stuff we're working on, etc. Two hours of chatter flew by and now I'm looking forward to the next time we share a meal and lots of our lives. To read her version of our dinner, click on her name in the top paragraph.

By the way, that's my bead in the bottom photo. It was a personal exercise, (and the only kind I do), to take a simple coloring book picture and turn it into a bead. But that's another post.

Tomorrow I'm writing about how I added lots of color to my System 96 glass and I'll show you how.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Joy Of Adding Little Details to Your Beads

One of the benefits of making whimsical sculptural beads, is that I sometimes chuckle while doing it.

I can add details that make me laugh, and hopefully my customers will have a similar sense of humor too.

This is the backside of "Kayla" my sassy hula dancing Panda bear. She's wearing her grass skirt, (made from grass green and black striped stringer), and a flowered lei.

I added some rather large dots so she would have a curvy and obvious tail end. I thought a low hanging grass skirt would be the perfect complement for those "assets".

So hopefully you'll think of an extra detail to add to your next bead that both makes you smile and enhances what you're trying to show.

Kayla is currently in my shop, if you'd like to see the other views of her, feel free to head over there.

I think tomorrow's post will be interesting to all glass artists. I have to take some photos and make some beads to go with it first. Stop by if you can.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Sculptural Bead Packaging of Choice...Baby Socks!

I just need to clarify, no adorable chubby baby feet have been left to get chilly due to this quirky packaging idea of mine.

When you're needing to transport your sculptural glass beads, it gets quite time consuming and unwieldy, wrapping them in layers of bubble wrap and tissue to protect the protruding pieces from being bumped.

My solution is to use thick baby socks. Yes, you read this correctly. I buy them from our local Dollar Store. They come three pairs for $1.00, which means I can protect a minimum of six beads or more. I can re-use them, and just pop them in the washing machine when they get dirty. They fold and contour to each bead. Then I place them in a padded 6 pack beverage container which easily zips up. (I find those at the Dollar Store too!) It's lightweight and easy to transport. Now you have it, my quick, easy and inexpensive (as well as good for the environment) re-usable packaging and transportation system. Do you have a method that is a little offbeat too? Post it and let us know. I've included a photo of my glass lampwork Christmas ornaments all protected in baby socks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Come Vote For My Glass Entry, Skylar the Bird

Our Lampwork Etc. Street Team is hosting our January Challenge. It's for beads that make you think positively or make you happy.

There's quite a wonderful array, and plenty to choose from. I'm hoping that you will mosey over there and vote for the bead of your choice. Of course I always love your votes, but I'd be just as thrilled if you found another favorite or even voted for someone with fewer votes to even things up a bit.

This is Skylar the technicolor bird- my entry, who is currently living in my Etsy shop. Skylar is based on a heart shape before her extra feathers are added. I think I made her body from Check Glass, and the feathers from Moretti and her cheeks of course from my favorite cheek color, CIM's Gelly Pink. Love that pink. And if you look carefully at the wings, I used various shades of transparents and then blended them together, which I do for fins too. I think Skylar is even prettier in person.

Don't forget to vote and hope your Sunday is wonderful.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Etsy Glass Artists- Different Strokes for All the Folks

Have you ever visited this blog?  It's the Etsy Glass Artists' blog and I'm a member of this Street Team.  One of the things I like about this group, is that it's a combination of different types of glass artists, so we can learn about each others' areas and ask questions.  It's nice to hear what products they use and get a handle on some tools that I might not have been aware of before.

Some of our EGA members have joined the One World, One Heart promotion, so we have a couple of pieces to giveaway.  You can click here to go to the blog and comment, which will put you in the running to win the gifts.

Here is my addition to the "loot".  It's Loki the elf mischief maker.  I thought with all the Valentines Hearts, he could stir things up a bit.

Hope you have a minute to stop by and comment.  Some great prizes to win and it's always lots of fun entering free contests.  Take a few minutes to poke around the blog too.  You might just find some new information that will help you in your own creative endeavors.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Craft Gossip- The Glass Art Writer and Her Many Websites

Do you ever notice someone and think, "This person really rocks. I need to keep an eye out and watch what she's doing." I've found that person, her name is Lori Greenberg.

You probably know her or have heard of her. She's a glass artist and a writer and recently started writing for the Craft Gossip Blog Network. She covers glass areas like casting, lampwork, stained glass, fusing, blowing, mosaic, sea glass, etc. You can find her almost daily posts by clicking here.

Lori featured my Free Ice Cream Tutorial
the other day, but the best part about it was the amount of exploring and information that I found on that website when I went over there to look. You want to know more about glass...or Indie Crafts, Quilting, Jewelry Making, etc., pop by, but plan on reading for awhile.

Lori told me that she feels like she has all this info and thoughts inside of her that need to burst out. "When I find something interesting or that works for me, I want to share it with the world", she explained.

Lori is also the mastermind behind the "Watch Me Create"blog. I'm lucky to be one of the bead artist writers there who write about their creative processes. If you haven't, check it out.

And of course as a bead artist, Lori has her online bead shop website called, Where you can find her latest offerings.

But for me, I saved the one that I love the most for last. Her Bead Nerd site covers everything you want to know about the art business side- it is packed with technical information, (I really need this) selling skills, how to be more efficient, and so much more. If you read and practice her tips, I promise you'll come out ahead.

And now I'm off to read her article from a Wiki about "How To Dress Like An Artist". The title brings back a funny memory of when an out of state student came to my home studio for private lessons. I saw her physically surprised when she met me, which made me laugh to myself. Later, we chatted about it. I told her what I noticed and asked her whether she was expecting me to look differently? She said "yes, you're an artist. I expected you to look like one." I responded that when I had previously left a message, her answering machine had classical music on it. I didn't know how old she was or anything about her, so I dressed in some of my more conservative "Suburban middle-age Mom" clothes, which is partly who I am too. We shared quite a laugh, but it also taught me a lesson about mistaken assumptions. So I'm off to read Lori's post and find out which wardrobe adjustments I need to make.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Esme & Naomi BFFs and Inseparable

Meet Esme and Naomi. Esme is the pig and Naomi is her BFF and also the Bluebird of Happiness. Not a bad thing for a friendship.

Esme doesn't mind when Naomi sits on her head. I mean she just a feather weight and is always singing.

Sometimes Naomi even lets her choose the song. They range from the vintage Fraggle Rock theme song to even a little "I Feel Good" by James Brown. Who knew that pigs like to dance and get funky? I'm afraid I do get the giggles when they burst into "It's Raining Men". But music is personal taste after all.

If you have any song requests, please add them in the comment section. Who knows, they might just burst into song when you least expect it.

Esme and Naomi can be found in my Etsy shop, Studio Marcy. As always, there are more views, if you want to see other angles. If you choose to adopt them, I request one thing. Please reinforce that the bacon in my shop is probably just a soy product.

Come back to visit tomorrow. I'll have a great review of a wonderful blog that I know you'll love, if you haven't discovered it yet. If you're like me, you like to be entertained as well as informed. This one has both and more.

And if you've got a little extra time- feel free to "friend" me on Facebook under Marcy Lamberson. Be sure to write "blog" in the message, so I know that you're a friend. Or if you're on Twitter, follow me. I'm StudioMarcy there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ice Cream In Cold Weather- Here's a Tutorial on How To Make Your Own

To me, it's never the wrong time of the year for ice cream, no matter how cold outside it is.

I thought I'd tell you how to make your own ice cream cone, so when the warm weather hits, you can have plenty on hand.

1. Using dark ivory, make a small cone.  I use my torch mounted marver to roll it out.

2. Using the ice cream color of your choice, start adding glass to the top of the cone shape and once you have the top section full enough, gently melt it so it becomes rounded and smooth.

Hint: be sure to rotate your mandrel so the glass can flow into place,  I often have my mandrel upside down, so the glass flows next to the mandrel and rounds out on the very top.

3. Now you're ready to add your "drips".  At the bottom edge of the "ice cream scoop",  I make "V" shapes with more glass.  I also take the end of my rod and drag it farther down, if I need to.
Melt slightly so it's smooth.

4. With a razor or the sharp edge of your Stump Shaper, carve a circle around the original scoop, so it shows well.  That also pushes glass in each direction and enhances your drips.

5. With your razor,  gently heat one area at a time on the cone and make your diagonal slashes.  I do one direction first and then the other direction afterwards.

6. Using a red of your choice, you can add the cherry on top.

7.  Voila!  A calorie free ice cream cone ready for you.

If you want to purchase a ready made ice cream cone, click here.  And don't forget, I'd be happy to make one in your favorite flavors...just ask me.

And if you haven't joined in yet, check out my One World, One Heart post below.  The details to win Scoot the Valentine Pup are in it.  This goes through February 12th.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One World, One Heart Giveaway- Scoop the Valentine Pup

Before I give you the Info on my give away, please note that I am having a Buy One, Get One Half Off SALE right now in my etsy shop, StudioMarcy- through February 7th. If you enjoy whimsical, one of a kind glass beads, this is a great opportunity.

I am participating in the One World, One Heart Giveaway this year. It's where bloggers who craft are each giving away a specific item to one lucky winner who comments here in this post. It has to be in this post to be eligible.

This program ends February 12th and I'll ship out your prize just as soon as you respond to my email.

If you want to see more people who are participating in this event, click on the One World, One Heart blue circle on the right of my blog. It will bring you to the mainpage of the organizer.

Here is Scoop the Valentine Pup who is my giveaway. He is technically a handmade lampwork glass bead that I made, but works well to keep you company as a little statue too. If you'd like to wear him, I'd be happy to add a sterling silver loop so you can put a cord through him. He's holding his tennis ball and a heart between his paws.

So comment away, and good luck- hope you win!

Historic Day - New President and New Web Presence on Art Fire

It's a big day today. We have a history making Presidential inauguration that so many people are excited about. I know I'll be catching a little of Barack Obama on the screen.

And in a far smaller way, but still historical for me, I've just signed up to sell on Art Fire. My web address there will be Or you can click here. I've just included a couple of items to test the views and see how it works. If I like it, I'll stay, and if not, I'll end my presence. I still love Etsy and will have most of my inventory there, but thought maybe I could catch a few new folks on the new forum. We'll see.

Anyone else on Art Fire? Tell me how you're doing. What do you like about it and what don't you like about it? Are you selling, or getting the views?

If you're on Art Fire, stop by and say hi. I'm going to sign up for google analytics, so that will help me test out some of those features too. And tomorrow, let's chat about making beads. I'm ready for it. Today will be a long day in the studio working on custom orders.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stuffed Vultures & Other Monday Musings

I couldn't resist this photo and caption that I saw on a website...

"When you give a plush Vulture to someone you Care about....
You'll Make Them Feel Really Special & Loved"

Nothing says love, like a Vulture, I always say!

Now for some musings...
My twenty something musician son was discussing a fabulous group he saw live in Atlanta the other night. He was talking about the music they played.  It included songs that wouldn't be well known to a general listening audience, but to well versed musicians, they would be really cool.  He was talking about the songs being, "musicians' music". That got me to thinking.  Do we have the equivalent in glass?  Do we look at some beads in absolute awe and think they're fabulous, when the untrained eye or person who uses beads in jewelry wouldn't recognize the skill and art that goes into some?  Have you thought about that?  And are there some beadmakers who you think make "beadmakers' beads" who we recognize, but perhaps the public does not?  If so, who are they?

And here are a few kudos and a small pat on the back....
*A huge congratulations to Maureen McRorie of FlameTree Glass who did win the Frabel Novice Glass Award.  I am so happy for her and thank any of you who were so kind as to vote for her.  She deserved it.
*And to blog reader Louise Ingram congratulations for winning second place in the Dec./Jan. contest and a $75 gift certificate for  I won second place in the other category and the same gift certificate.  Louise and I are debating which items we'll choose from their selection.  Lots of brass tools and tough decisions.

So to all of you, I'm sending a virtual plush vulture, because I want you to feel special and loved. Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to click on the button that says, "Follow My Blog The Easy Way" down on the right hand side.  You won't miss any that way.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A First Attempt At Making An Obama Bead

With the excitement swirling around of America's first African American President, I felt the need to attempt a bead to commemorate the occasion.

Unfortunately, I didn't do him justice, but for a first try, I'm pretty happy. I learned a lot from the experience.

Finding the right colors for it... I wanted him to look more Presidential, so I used a dark blue for his jacket, a white shirt and red tie complete his outfit. If I were making this bead again, I would use the same colors, but build him differently with both the front and the back a little flatter and more squared up.

For his skin color I tried a few and decided upon Red Roof Tile. This photo is a little lighter than in person and the glass color adds a nice shade of brown mixed with some warm reddish colors. When you're debating which color to use, make tiny spacers on a mandrel and leave them to cool on your table. That way, you'll be able to immediately see whether the colors are what you'd like.

And finally a few comments about his appearance. I noticed in photos that he has short hair. I tried to make dots with a stringer and then partially melt them in. I used a commercial stringer and think next time I'd use a hand pulled one, because these dots were too large and didn't give him short enough hair. I tried to make a smile, but next time perhaps using a murrini that has the teeth and lips in it, might be better. His head is small and it was hard to work in such a small space. And finally, one of his characteristics is that his ears stand out a bit. I was sure to do that, to help identify who I was trying to characterize.

Hopefully, my lessons learned will help you look at photos and people a little differently when making beads.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Key West Vacation and Inspiration

I had made this bead quite a while ago and named it, "Vacation Wishes". As I was going through my vacation photos, I realized that this bead must have been lucky, because mine had come true.

My friend's husband had won a house for a week in Key West with with a $25 raffle ticket and they generously invited us and another couple to join them in their bounty.

The weather was gorgeous, the tropical plants were plentiful and you couldn't beat all the fresh fish right from the day's catch. I can see why people go down there and return often. There were a lot of characters living down there and they seemed to pride themselves in it.

We stayed in Jimmy Buffet's previous home and the most recent guest had just been Hulk Hogan. That sure made us laugh.

It was a very nice, but definitely not over the top place with three bedrooms and two baths, but the best part, was that it was right on the canal, so a boat could motor right up to the back. I spent a lot of my time on that back dock near the water. A resident blue crab, lots of little brown and white jelly fish and other fish seemed to be the major inhabitants among the coral. I really enjoyed watching them, checking out how the current was and that red kayak that you see in the photo got plenty of use too. We'd kayak around the neighborhood and get a great view of what houses and boats were nearby.

For those of you familiar with Key West, it's not all lazy days. The nightlife is quite active too. We did our share, but tended to gravitate to the outdoor local hangouts in the harbors where people and sunset watching is at its best. There are plenty of characters down there for sure. We did a bit of the tourist stuff and I noticed they could use a few lampworkers down there. The cruise ships come in and the town is packed.

But for me, I'm okay returning home. Yes, my friends continued sending me photos of their fun filled days as they stayed for the entire week and I was sorry to miss the rest of the explorations. But I'm anxious now to incorporate some of my photos and sketches that I made down there into some tropical beads. Our International Society of Glass Beadmakers' annual Gathering will be in Miami this summer, so I'd like to have a small line of beads that are in tune with the locale. This short vacation was perfect for the inspiration and photos to get me started.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Glass Fire Breather Perfect for Valentines Day

This year, I wanted to design some different Valentines Day glass beads and sculptures. Yes, I'm sure the traditional hearts, flowers and chocolates will be good sellers, but as usual, I wanted to also offer something a little different.

Here is my first design. It's a Valentine Dragon. I'm going to make a variety of my little animals and creatures each with a heart. This one is sold already, but I've got another new dragon to list later today. She's periwinkle blue with green accents and a red heart. Rather cute, if I do say so myself. Look for other styles in the upcoming days. Nothing says "I love you" like a fire breather.

I saw these chocolate food charms with hearts on
another blog. (I wish I could remember where.) They didn't say who made them or where you could buy them, but they also seemed like a good inspiration for bead makers. They combine hearts and chocolates which has to be a good bet. It gives the holiday a little sweeter and they'd be cute year 'round too.

What are you offering for Valentines Day? I'd love to hear about it and feel free to add a link in your comment too.

Tomorrow, I should have some of my Key West photos downloaded and I'll tell you about my trip and some of the inspiration I found while there. It will be a chatty post, I'm sure. I'm still missing the warm, balmy weather since we returned to chilly Atlanta.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gorgeous Glass Calendar

Do you collect calendars with gorgeous glass bead photos on them? I do. I just like drooling on the photos and well to be honest, I usually don't use them for what they're intended.

Marjorie Oxman from LampworkEtc has put together one and I must say, there are a lot of wonderful beads in it. And (ahem) I just happen to have my Snow Woman Bobblehead in there too. I think she's Miss December, but not sure. Because it's just hot of the press and available here, I haven't received mine yet.

I'll see you tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Something Just To Start

Have you visited this blog yet? It's called, "Something Just To Start". You'll probably want to add it to your list of cool sites. Coleen features all kinds of artists and indie shops that are unique and interesting. And she does it out of the goodness of her heart too.

The best part is that I can find lots of stuff that interests me. It's fun and a lot of it is whimsical and funky too. I'll bet you that you will click on some of the offerings. And on the left side of the page are blue moving arrows that have a link to email Coleen. Drop her a quick one and tell her how great her blog is. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you.

(Check out one of my favorites is the chakra jewelry in the center column at almost the bottom of the page)

See you tomorrow with more glass chat. I've got a good one planned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Have You Tried the Typealyzer for Your Blog?

Have you joined in and tried the Typealyzer on your blog yet?  I did and this is what it said about how I was thinking when I am writing my blog.

And then it shows me which areas (if any) of my brain are dominant when I'm writing it.  As I'm usually writing it at the crack of dawn, I was thankful to see at least some of my brain was functioning.

And of course it makes me smile to see that none of my imagination section of my brain works while writing the blog.  Looks like I'm going to have to change things up a bit.  Perhaps this is too dry for fellow artists.  But seriously, I do try to include some details and explanation for what I'm doing in glass and how I feel about things, so perhaps it's a little closer than I think.  And I have to say, that  the above paragraph "The Performers" does suit me pretty well.  

Try it out on your blog, if you have one.  Or on other blogs that you read and see how close it gets.  It's a fun activity that gets you smiling no matter what.

And I'd like to thank Julia Benson-Slaughter of "Art of the Fire Bird"  whose interesting and enjoyable blog brought this to my attention.  (and here's an item in her Etsy shop that I really like too.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Key West Greetings

I went cold turkey and didn't bring my computer on vacation, so my friend who has intermittent access let me use hers. ( I think I was beginning to twitch because it had almost been a full 48 hours without one.)

Just wanted to send out a quick "hi" and let you know that this place is really pretty. We're staying in Jimmy Buffet's old house and it's got some of his memorabilia still here. The canal is out the back door and we use the 2 person kayak to paddle around. We've hit the beach, a few galleries, eaten fresh fish and tonight we're going on a sailboat to watch the sunset. What a change of pace! I've taken lots of photos for future bead ideas and today spent a lazy morning weaving palm fronds to make a little boat to send down the canal with some flowers in it. I hope some kid sees it and wonders about its origin.

I'll fill you in on the details when I return and tell you more about life down here. It's a pretty crazy group of people and so sunny and warm.

Back to the pina coladas now.....

Let's Talk Acid Etching on Glass

Are you like me that you like the velvety feel of acid etched glass? It changes the texture and gives the glass a totally different matte look.

If you're not familiar with the process, acid etching is when you cover the surface with hydrofluoric acid. Some beadmakers and glass artists use various materials as a "resist" to keep the acid from etching certain parts of their beads. Some use commercially made products, other products I've seen have been tapes, stickers, nail polish and even a wax application.

I use a product from my local craft store, Michaels. It's called "Etch Bath and comes in a 16 oz plastic jar. You must use extreme caution with this product. I suspend the beads directly into the jar. Depending on the amount of etch that I desire, they could be there anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes. Be sure not to get any on you. Wearing rubber gloves is recommended as well as good ventilation.

Here's a little historical tidbit...acid etching was first developed on a commercial scale by Richardson’s of Stourbridge, England, which registered a patent in 1857.

Recently, one beadmaker whose work I've really noticed who uses acid etching is Katherine Wadsworth of Natalia Designs. I think her purple iris bead is exquisite.

So what have you tried with acid etching? I'd love to see it. Or tell us about your experience. I know I'm going to be doing more of it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Precious Gifts

I wanted to show you a precious gift that I received from one of my wonderful customers.

Before Christmas a package arrived from one of my customers who has become a friend. Quite a while back she showed me the quilting and embellishment that she does and I was (and still am) quite wowed by it. I love it. And besides, her sense of color and pattern is my taste too.

Well I have to say how very touched I was to receive this piece from her. I love the flying kitties in gorgeous colors with wings. It makes me smile every time I look at it. And I look at it often. It is right next to my desk within arms reach so I see it all the time when I'm on my computer.

So thank you Julie. Your gift of your time, and artistry, as well as your heart means a lot to me and I'll always treasure it. Thank you so much.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Importance of Background Colors

I'm using these three pieces of fabric to illustrate how much difference your bead's background color makes.

 Each one gives you a very different feeling, even with the exact same pattern on them.

Do you feel that to get stuck in a rut by using the same colors all the time? If so, what can you do to 
change things up a bit?  Besides being conscious of what you're doing, how about considering the time of year it is?  Different colors tend to be bought during different seasons.  And as I'm sure you know, we're headed into the red and pink season right now.

These three fabrics also help show which colors stand out more against each background.  We've always heard that complementary colors show up best against each other.  The green background, makes the red/coral colors really show up.  And the darker red background, makes the bright white rice really pop.  

I've been making sushi beads for years.  And after comparing these three fabrics, I know that at shows, I'll be displaying them against a green fabric.  These background colors really are important for a variety of reasons.  

When I'm debating colors for a pattern or combination, sometimes I'll make just a quick little donut bead with the colors together on it.  I don't bother annealing it, because I want to see it right away.  I just carefully lay it down (far enough away from me in case it breaks) on my work table.  When it's cool, I can see if my colors are what I want.  Sometimes I notice that there's a reaction that I don't want or the colors don't look as well together as I had planned.  This can be a great time saver in the long run for you.

Now get out there and mix it up a bit.  Let's see what you can do to make your colors stand out and be the superstars they're meant to be.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Creating A Bead To Match A Customer's Tattoo

Well, this was a new request for me. I had never been requested to make a bead to match an upcoming tattoo and I was should I say...tickled pink about it.

One of my longtime customers said she was planning a tattoo and wanted a pig to go with it. I was a little scared to ask where this tattoo pig was going to be residing, but it didn't matter, really.

Of course it drew a chuckle when I read her request. She is the type of person who would do this. One of my most creative custom order request-ers- she has asked for things like a Carmen Miranda Shoe Bead, red and green striped Christmas bees, a cherub with purple tipped wings, a doll, parrot and a lavender and purple ice cream cone and cupcake to mention a few. What a lot of fun for both of us.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Changes in Attitude, Changes in Lattitude...

Woohoo, I'm excited. My husband and I are joining two other couples for a few days in Key West, Florida. I've never been there before.

It's been very gray and rainy here for the last couple of weeks and a few days of sunshine and goofing around sounds very refreshing. I'm looking for some fun inspiration too.

If any of you know about Key West or the area around it, would you mind telling us of places to go or things to do? I'd appreciate it. We leave this weekend.

Reportedly we're staying in one of Jimmy Buffet's previous homes. I'll let you know if the margaritas and cheeseburgers in paradise make me want to sing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hidden Tutorial and Tips Resource- Mid Atlantic Chapter ISGB

I know many of us check out the main forums for hints, tips, tricks and tutorials. But do you know that a lot of the ISGB Chapters have websites that have this info too?

One of my favorite places to visit is the Mid-Atlantic Society of Glass Beadmakers' website. Lots and lots of wonderful beadmakers in that area and many have generously written out tutorials, tips and all kinds of goodies related to it.

One of their members is my friend, Alice St. Germain whose Patty Pan bead I am featuring here. Alice and I co-hosted a fun garage sale when she lived here. As things wound down, we had cocktails in the shady driveway and I taught her the joy of playing Yahtzee while waiting for customers. I miss her.

I digressed, sorry. Anyhow, here's a link to Mid-Atlantic's home page. The top left area of the homepage has the link for tutorials, classes and archives. That's the area that has the really juicy resources, but poke around the rest of it. And don't forget to look at the bottom left section of the home page that has links to other Mid-Atlantic Beadmaking Groups. There's tons more info there too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From Photo to Pandora Bead

 I get some fun requests around the holidays and this was one of them.  One of my past customers had bought for her Mom, some large hole sculptural beads that were significant to her for Mothers' Day last year. 

Well, I received a frantic email a few weeks before Christmas telling me that her Mom knew every gift that she was going to receive and that she had an idea for a surprise.  Her Mom had just gotten a new puppy and she wanted to add to her Mom's Pandora bracelet with a bead.

Meet Katie.  Isn't she a cutie.  She's a Shih Tzu  
I love seeing everyone's pets.  They're all adorable and some day I'll tell you a funny story about one of them.

Katie is a very tiny bead.  She has the large hole bead that fits that specific type of bracelet, but she is only about 8 mm wide.  So when you see the large picture of her, imagine how tiny I was trying to work to get in some of her coloring and the general feeling of the new puppy.

Here's to cute pets, surprise gifts and of course custom orders which make people happy.                                                                                    

If you'd like your pet made into a bead, please contact me through my etsy shop, and we can discuss it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tool Lust

I'm in Tool Lust.

I saw this Carlo Dona tool called a "Spoons Crimp" and I fell in love. I know that somehow I need it, but not sure exactly for what.

The spoon itself is 1 1/16" which is too large for ears , but might make a dandy base for bowls and other roundish items. (where was it when I was making my cereal/noodle bowl in my previous post?)

I just don't have the extra $189.00 plus shipping for it.....yet.

I think I need to contemplate this tool and his other crimps a little more and find a way to justify it in my mind as to why I really, truly need it. And perhaps I don't. It could be a figment of my imagination, which could be a relief also.

If you want to look at more of the beautifully made tools by master tool maker Carlo Dona from Italy, visit and feel free to drool along with me.

And if you have suggestions as to how I can use it, please feel free to post those too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Off The Radar Inspiration Source

Over the years I have found some rather atypical sources for inspiration. And as the latest email advertising arrived, I decided to share it with you.

You see, I have a "thing" for the Antique Drapery Rod Company. Yes, you read it correctly.

I like the large photos and the sculptural shapes of a lot of their items. The bee and floral rosette pictured here
are just two examples.

You can find their website here. And don't forget to check out their finials. A lot of their products are basically "bead shaped", but have a twist on them. I would love to see what you make from using them or a similar product as inspiration.

And now it's your turn. What's one of your "off the radar" type inspiration websites that you don't mind sharing?

See you tomorrow for more creativity and glass talk...right here at

Bowls to Noodle Over

Sometimes beads just pop in my head as I'm already making something else. And I take a hard right turn from my original intent. Does that happen to you?

Let me tell you the story about this Noodle Bowl bead.

You see, the original intent was to see if I could make breakfast cereal in a round bowl. I made the periwinkle base bead and decorated it with some fun purple striped stringer. (Look at my listing for a better view of that) And then I had some striped and cased stringer for the cereal. If you look inside this bowl, it didn't end up looking like cereal, but it did look like noodle soup.

So I built up the sides of the bowl and decided that if the bowl was more square, it would look more modern and perhaps Asian in appearance. So that came next and don't forget to use your brass tools to help pull out the corners of it to square it up more easily.

I thought it needed something else to "show" what the bead was, so I had a hare-brained idea to try to make chopsticks to lay across the top of the bowl. As you can see, this one needs more practice. This was my original stringer used for the cereal/noodles and it's pretty small. I was trying to lay it down between two connection points on the top of the bowl to give it the diagonal look. Let me just say, it's really hard to do. If it were to lay across a solid surface, that would have been a lot easier and as you can tell, the chopsticks must have been made out of Curly Ash Wood, instead of Oak.

I tried slightly heating to straighten them, but the heat just made it want to sink into the bowl, instead of being nudged into place. I think this would be easier with a stiffer glass (this has an ivory base)- and using boro would have been a piece of cake.

If I were doing it again, I would make stringer with a stiffer glass core that would hold it more in place- like a transparent dark brown and then case it in the opaque glass, so it would still appear as lighter wood.

I had a blast making this bead and thought I'd share the 90 degree right turn as well as some of the lessons I learned while making it. It's funny, in spite of having wobbly chopsticks, I really like this one. and think it would make a cute pendant. The breakfast cereal will be attempted again, on another day.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Off With Her Head- Bobbleheads and Colds

Are there ever days that you think you'd be better off without your head?  Your throat burns, your eyes don't fully open,  your nose runs and your ears ache?   

Some days I'd like to trade places with one of my Bobblehead glass figurines.  Like this Marie Antoinette for instance, whose head can easily be removed.  She lost her head in the French Revolution and although I'm sure she didn't feel any better for it, at least these darn head colds can't get to her anymore.

Of course I'm kidding about ever wanting to trade places with sweet Marie, (even if she is carrying her own cake),  but I do wish there was an easier remedy for full tilt boogie colds. If anyone has a favorite remedy out there or even product, feel free to post it.  I'd really like to bounce back soon. I miss making beads.  Strong cold medicine and 2000 degree torches do not mix.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Contest Winner & Do Olive Dishes and Beads Go Together?

The winner of my Name The "S" Curve Bead is ....Deb! I have decided to call it "The Squiggle".
That word sounds funny and leaves it open to interpretation- hopefully some that are amusing as well. Deb, I will be contacting you to send you your prize. Congratulations!

I saw this on the sale pages from cb2. What do you think, would this make a cool bead display? I have a "thing" for dishes with little compartments.

Here's the link.'

And I have a pretty bad cold, but I will try to post tomorrow. But the good news is that strong cold meds give me some pretty wild dreams, so maybe some new beads will be in the future. Enjoy your day!