Thursday, September 30, 2010

Still Moving Jewerly

I'm almost done moving all my 1KM jewelry to Artfire and Etsy

Speckled Cupcake Pendant on Artfire

Goldfish Crochet Necklace on Artfire

Halloween Cupcake on Etsy

I still have a few cupcakes to go but, I'm almost done! What a tedious job! But I feel good about the move!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend. See you Monday on the Bead Blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Color Forecasting

I always love to take a peek at the color forecasts on Fire Mountain Gems website to get color ideas for the coming season:
What ideas does this palette for Fall Winter 2010 - 2011 give YOU???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Purple Tigers!

When I first read Corina's Tutorial (in her book, Passing the Flame) years ago, the FIRST thing I tried to do with it was make a PURPLE tiger. I failed miserably. And I was kind of afraid of tiger beads ever since!

It's amazing what a few years of sitting my rear end behind a torch can do for improving my skills! Not only have my casing skills vastly improved, I now have an innate understanding of the purpose of each layer of glass required to build this type of bead! And suddenly, I had an got where I went wrong on my purple tigers.

These are two more of the "side roads" I took while working on my tiger bead project:

These will be added to my glass beads website in a day or two!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tiger Beads Are Finished!

Note: I started this blog two weeks ago but didn't really want to think about how many extra beads I made!

I FINALLY finished all the tiger beads I needed. A dear friend from my Carol Duvall days asked for them for a potential book project. Normally I would not have made SO many but I got a bit confused when I started... somehow, in my crazy brain 3/32 would a be a LARGER mandrel than a 3/16. And, well, it's not. So, the whole first batch with the smaller holes will be ending up on my glass beads website.

 Here is what all the fuss was about... the batch of 10 headed to my friend.

This was an especially  challenging project because tiger beads can have 4 - 5 layers of glass. Each layer has a certain thickness and yet, the project these were needed for required them to be smaller. I did all sorts of experiments - leaving off the first layer, casing with clear, thin clear, thinner clear - leaving the clear off all together trying to get the right look but keep keep them small and lighter in weight.

I thought it would be fun to do a rundown on all those tigers:

Number I made before I realized the hole was too small: 43 (Gulp!)

Number I made w/ the right size mandrel: 33

Number of tiger projects that distracted me: 10.

A tiger key,  purple tigers, eye of the tiger, big fat tigger, heart of the purple tiger ( purple photos later in the week), four tiger hearts (including one off mandrel!)  and one... that's just too crazy to share at this point...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Originally uploaded by splumb1us
Would you believe that in all the years I've been making beads, only ONE customer has ever shown me a finished piece with my beads in it. She's actually the same person I'm blogging about today, designer Michelle Plumb.

The pieces Michelle has shown me in the past are... well... personal to her and I just did not feel right sharing her gorgeous jewelry here in such a public way.

But... she's made a piece for the current Fire Diva's Jewelry Challenge and that... I can share! Michelle has done well in our competitions in the past. The thing that makes this piece extra special is the story that Michelle is telling:

Bracelet made with olive green bead set by Fire Diva Holly Dare, brushed vermeil heart beads, lampwork red & green dotted bead, 10mm and 6mm green fire polish beads, gold spacers, bead caps, branch drop and gold vermeil filigree clasp.

My inspiration is from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."

The bracelet depicts the Grinch's transformation, while the dotted lampwork bead on the clasp represents the Whos. The gold branch is the horn the Grinch tied on his dog Max’s head.
What would the holidays be without watching all those wonderful TV specials we grew up with?

Isn't that just awesome???

While we only have a few entries so far, ALL are wonderful. There are about three weeks left to enter!! Get busy ya'll!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oooh La La - MEGA Jewels

My wire wrapping 101 class has exploded for this weekend! I'm so amazed that so many want to learn this wonderful skill! And so grateful!

But of course, that means I get to go shopping! Whooo Hooo. And like most jewelry designers, I like keeping my resources to myself. It's too hard to find some of the things I like to use to just give out the source without a second thought... Except for one.

My resource for crystals - and I ONLY use Swarovski (because - jewel snob that I am -  I can tell when they are NOT Swarovski!) - is Mega Jewels in downtown L.A. You should know they are:

-wholesale only
-minimum quantities required

But if you shop for crystals in volume... they ROCK! And their prices are true wholesale, not wholesale plus markup.
My haul from MegaJewels USA today!

They are on 6th and Broadway but will be moving more toward the Garment district / Flower Mart come December to a MUCH larger space!

406 W 6th St Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 438-1409

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

1000 Markets - Sad News

I was very disheartened to hear that 1000 Markets - the venue where I list my jewelry - will be sold to Bonanza. This is not a market I want my handmade jewelry listed in... They sell tons of Chinese poor quality lampwork. People shopping for crap aren't looking for quality SRA lampwork.

My bead promotion team the Fire Divas will not be supporting this venue either.

But, that's good news for my customers! I will be moving my jewelry to Artfire! And lowering some prices to encourage holiday sales! Whoo Hooo!

This is win - win for both of us... I don't have the high final value fees from 1KM to contend with and I get to pass that savings on to you!!

I just moved this necklace over. It's a long crocheted rope and after I made it, I just had to make a bead to match. The glass bead part can be added or removed so you have an every day version and a night time version in ONE necklace!

It will be slowly moving over during the next week. I do hope you'll come take a look!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Still Loving Artfire!

Artfire is such an easy place to have a shop and I'm so loving this 5.95 / mo for life offer they have going!

Not only do they submit your items to Google's shopping base, they also submit to The Find... the two largest shopping resources on the web get YOUR info! 

And unlike other venues... they make it easy to share, embed or tweet your listings or collections. Here's one I created for the Divas... just a copy and paste to share it here!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Amazing Artfire Deal!

Artfire, my favorite selling venue is having a great deal and I thought I should let all you crafty /arty types know.

They are moving out of beta testing and making a big splash by offering 5.95/ month FOR LIFE selling fees. NO per listing fee. NO final value fee.

What if you are already on Artfire? They will lower your monthly fee. The deal is that they MUST get 20,000 to sign up and they are well on their way (I was #238!)! This is a phenominal deal for a wonderful sales venue.

I love their site for the amazing tech support. Unlike some other sites...they really listen. Not only that, if I wake up and feel like offering a sale, I can to it in seconds! I don't have to sit for hours editing every single item!!

This is a win / win deal... check out the fine print and you will be amazed!!

For details, click here!  Hope to see you on Artfire!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guide for Writing a Great Tutorial

by Holly Dare

With the abundance of tutorials flooding the market, I have to say, I haven’t been in a rush to buy even one. It seems that no one is selling the volume of beads they were before, and are instead trying to sell a tutorial on how to make “their” signature bead. Frankly, I have very mixed feelings… I would be nowhere without the abundance of free tutorials out there (and I wonder where all these “professional” tutorial writers would be without them either!).

But that isn’t the reason I haven’t purchased one. As a professional writer and television producer, I’ve spent a good chunk of my career “cleaning” tutorials written by craftspeople for televised shows or websites. Just because you know how to make something doesn’t mean you know how to convey what’s inside your head to others in writing. It’s a fear of feeling like I need to edit something I paid for that keeps me from purchasing.

So for all the would-be tut writers, here are this professional’s list of don’ts and dos:


Think it’s all about MEEEeeee. It’s not! It’s all about the project. We didn’t buy your tut to read how wonderful you are. We thought you were wonderful and then bought your tutorial. You don’t have to sell us on you. Sell us on the wonderful, most incredible bead ever! Stick to the subject. Edit out ANYTHING that has nothing to do with making the bead.

I read an article on the subject of scientific glassblowing where the writer rambled on for three pages about how talented he was and only got into the specifics on page four! Had that magazine actually employed an editor, they could have had three more pages of scintillating content instead of a rather boring diatribe.

Insult other glassworkers. This is mostly a self-taught profession. Sure, you can take classes. You can read tuts and talk to other glassworkers but until you spend some time behind the torch, you won’t get very far. And because of the solitary nature of the work, many of us pick up some strange habits…. because it works for us. If that doesn’t work for you, there’s no need to insult the rest of us.

Let’s say, you never warm your rods. Fine. Good for you. I’ve got some nice scars to show you from not warming mine. But if you were reading a tutorial, which sounds better?

I see some glass workers waving their rods around and taking forever to actually start making a bead…


Heat the rod to a pea size and roll onto the mandrel.

See the difference? #2 gets to the point and doesn’t insult the readers in the process. And really, unless the info that you never warm your rods is important to your process, who cares??? The point should be getting the glass on the mandrel, not that you don’t do what others commonly practice. Frankly, it puts the reader off and you come off sounding like an egotistical tyrant.

Let them know you are keeping secrets. I know a painter who will never teach her color combinations. That’s fine, but don’t tell me about it. When I heard that in class, I sat there wondering why I had paid her $400 bucks! Until that point, I was perfectly happy with the direction of the class.

It’s the same thing in tutorials. If you have a “secret” way to make a twisty and you have no intention of sharing, don’t advertise that fact…it makes your reader feel cheated. There is no need to tell them what you are not telling them. Instead say, Take a twisty and heat it in the flame, allowing it to wrap around the bead.


Get them excited about your project. This is where so many writers tell people how wonderful they are. See Don’t #1. Instead, introduce your piece. Why do you love making this bead? How did it come about? Why do you enjoy making it again and again? Tell us something to make us want to head over to the torch.

Include photos. Picture = 1000 words. Lots of pictures really add to the value of your tutorial. I would be willing to pay more for a tutorial with step by step photos rather than one with only the finished bead.

Get to the point. I recently tried a free tutorial that rambled on, using way too many words. Luckily, my printer left a really wide margin so I could translate for the torch!

The number of words used by the tut author is on the left. The right side is my margin notes to take to the torch:
21 words          Nickel sized round bead. Let droop.
62 words Melt frit. Spot heat. Chill with brass marver.
44 words White dots for eyes. Melt halfway.

Economy of words is always better - especially when your audience is playing with fire!

Let it go unsaid…We all know to keep the bead warm. In the tutorial above, the author reminded the reader a whopping 16 times! Twice, back to back in ONE step!

If it is vital to have the whole bead warm at one particular step – like before rolling in frit – add it to the text. If it’s a general working on a sculptural bead; keep it warm the whole time…it goes without saying OR consider adding a TIPS section at the end for things that are obvious to experienced readers but may be necessary for beginners.

Hire an editor. Or at least have a friend with writing skills look over your work. Freelance copy editors generally work for $30 an hour and up. Friends usually work for beads and a cool beverage. Either way, you get more coherent copy and hopefully, repeat customers.

State your terms upfront. Some tutorial writers have been selling their tutorials with the stipulation that the reader may not make the beads for sale. HUH??? Just what do you think they are buying the tutorial for?

Let’s face it. For every artist out there, striving to find her own path, there are 50 more “craftsmen” who have the skills but lack the imagination to do it on their own. They never experiment with color or materials but can take your words and advice and make a beautiful replica of your bead. If you aren’t willing to see that bead up for sale, probably for less than you would charge, don’t write a tutorial!

The same goes for teaching. If you don’t expect that your students will make the pieces for sale, the terms need to be stated up front before they purchase the class or the tutorial.

Whether or not you are willing to answer questions by email or phone should also be stated up front.

I know it seems basic but, take from a professional editor, just a few simple things can make your tut really stand out! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14 Deal of the Day - Won't YOU Give Witchy a Home?

I wanted to tell you about today's Deal of the Day because some lucky person is going to get one of my favorite pendants FREE!

She is one of my favorite beads made ... a long time ago. I set out to make a one-eyed witch and I thought she was so cute. But I was a baby lampworker then and hadn't learned to "skin" my rods. When I cased her eye to magnify it, I got some glass scum. Now, I would skin my rod or cool the bead a bit, spot heat and remove. But then, I just hoped for the best.

And while some might see this as a mistake, when I opened the kiln door the next day, I thought the cloudiness in her one eye made her even more endearing! She looked like she had a cataract! Isn't that just like life? It kicks you in your good leg sometimes! I really loved her and was sure she would find a home. When she didn't, I turned her into a piece of jewelry and ...still no takers.

So, today only, Spend $20 on any bead in my shop and ... she's yours... FREE!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jewelry Making with a Dork

I've expressed my challenges when making jewelry here before. I've had customers tell me my work is innovative and unique.
This necklace is so stunning in person, I've had orders for multiple remakes!

But if they knew how hard it was for me to take a piece from idea to completion - they would probably laugh.

So... I thought I would take you through the process of making my last Art Bead Scene entry piece featured in this recent post. 

  1. Gather the glass beads I made for the project. Gather tools.
  2. Run downstairs. Gather beading wire and e-beads.
  3. Upstairs, place all materials on the sofa. Realize I have no clasp.
  4. Run downstairs and search for clasps. Can't find them. Decide to make clasp out of e-beads. Go upstairs.
  5. Realize I need wire to make clasp out of e-beads. Go downstairs and search for wire. Return with folded laundry. 
  6. Sit down on sofa and realize I have no wire. Repeat step five minus the laundry. 
  7. Sit down on sofa and start looking for e-beads. Can't find them anywhere.  Stand up and systematically remove all items from the sofa to the coffee table. Search cracks of sofa. Go downstairs to see if I left them there. Find the crimps I left down there. Upstairs with crimps. Search cracks of sofa and go back downstairs. Return with dog food. Shake out the blanket on the sofa...nothing. Fold blanket and notice seed beads on the sofa. 
  8. String a loop of seed beads. Realize I forgot to put the crimp on. Unstring and restring. Crimp. 
  9. Make another loop, crimp. Realize I forgot to loop it through the first loop. 
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 TWO more times! 
  11. Repeat step 8 and FINALLY remember to connect two loops to the one I'm working on! 
  12. String rest of necklace. Look for wire to make the clasp. Find wire on the coffee table and make clasp. 
  13. Realize I need a bit of chain for the focal. Downstairs to hunt through chain stash. Upstairs to finish. Can't find pliers. Remove everything from the sofa. Find pliers and finish the piece. 
And you wonder why I don't enjoy jewelry making???? No, I'll stick to beads!

Today's DEAL OF THE DAY IS: 25% off glass beads and jewelry on good until tomorrow's deal is posted on the fan page!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Maybe Tiger Beads Aren't so Great

Yes, I hit "the wall" making tiger beads yesterday. I only have 10 mandrels that size and somewhere along bead 4 - I was just OVER it! Last night I cleaned them all and put all into baggies according to size. I need three more. Three MORE!

Which to anal retentive picky ole me means at least five more. And with my sizing issues equals TWO more torch sessions. ARGH!

But I guess I should look at it like ONLY five more!!! Yay! Truth be told, I'm dying to make some other things...

And since I was going to hit the torch an hour and a half ago and instead had a customer with some odd computer issues. (Warning: Soap Box Alert! - COME ON PEOPLE!!! Why, Why, WHY IS ANYONE STILL USING MICROCRAP INTERNET EXPLODER???? Mozilla and Safari are much better options!!!! ) I just got off the phone and have to leave for an appointment so... no tigers this morning!

But I do have a new deal of the day:

A Woman's Heart is 50% off today 9/9/2010 ONLY! 

I've been really good about listing the specials on the glass beads website as well as my fan page. So please check in over the weekend! New Deal of the Day EVERY DAY!

And speaking of weekends, I hope yours is WONDERFUL! See you Monday on the Bead Blog.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tiger Beads Are Still Grrrreat!

It's funny how you can get caught up in the monotony of making the same bead over and over again. Your thoughts start to wander to all the other beads you want to make when you're finally done with the production work. It's really wonderful for creativity.

And so I'm still torching on that order but every other session or so, I have to explore. And you might think the last thing I'd want to make is another Tiger glass bead....but noooo! I've so enjoyed exploring the texture and wonder of this bead that I keep dreaming of OTHER TIGER BEADS! LOL!

My millions of leftovers will be on the glass beads website really soon but here are two favorites already listed.

I really adore this Tiger Key:

And meet Big Fat Tigger - the kitteh in need of a glass diet! His head is a glassy thing of wonder...Hope you'll click the link and read about him!

I hope you are still checking the Fan Page for my Deal of the Day! Here's today's... a favorite off mandrel heart full of silver reative glass. It's so rich and elegant and a nice large size! Save $15 today only!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holly's Handy Dandy Beading Tip

When shaking your bead release, make sure the lid is actually ON said bead release jar.

On a more cheerful note, September's Deal of the Day goes on....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frit Disaster!

So the other day, I was torching... yes, tiger beads and I've been making tons of Duo / Split Personality Hearts as I make the tiger beads.  When I pull a twistie, I always hate that there's a bunch of glass that didn't pull and it usually ends up in a water glass. Honestly, glass costs too much and I hate to waste it!

I've trained myself to take the ends of the twistie punties and to quickly turn them into little off mandrel hearts. Hearts are some of my favorite beads to make! And for tiger beads, you use a ton of ivory and black twisties. I've been dipping the hearts into frit, but only on one side, to create an elegant, understated black and ivory with a colorful version on the other side.

So I had just pulled a twistie and was in the beginning stages of making a heart with the left over pull,

When a disaster struck!  I somehow managed to knock over a jar of my FAVORITE frit! Before I knew what happened it was rolling down my apron and onto the floor!

I put my punty in the kiln and carefully got up. I was able to save just this much from my apron pockets:

I got the bright idea to put the swept up bits into metal trays and hold the kiln about 500 degrees. NOT a good idea! Sure, the inert materials burns off but all the ash is still in the frit! C'est la Vie! Thank goodness, they sell refills and I can save a few bucks on the jar!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm more than a tad upset today because I realized all those tiger beads I've been making were the WRONG size! I got my mandrel sizes mixed up! And I'm sick over it!

So I have to hit the torch today and hit it hard! And that means a brief post here.

The Deal of the Day is this Swirling Olive Green glass bead set: 30% off today only.

Please check my fan page over the weekend for the newest deals...Deal of the Day every day in Sept!

Have a good weekend and hopefully, I have some decent large sized tiger beads to show off next week!

Search for mistakes

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Deal of the Day in September

It occurred to me that I have way too much in inventory and as I have exactly zero shows booked for the fall, I should maybe try and move some of it out of here. And since I tend to leave an ebay auction in tears, I thought I would try something on my Fan page.

I'm going to offer something on sale every single day this month. One offer is good ONLY until the next offer is posted to the fan page. I "might" blog about them here but... I don't blog every day and I'm not a heavy duty sales pusher here so... the Fan page is the place to check in!

Today's deal is actually one of the very first off mandrel hearts I ever made. It's small by my scale but it's depth and color created by a faux boro technique make it so pretty to behold. I named her Blue's Gal because I was kinda shocked at the blue color she developed when I opened the kiln.

Today only! She is reduced from $15 to $12 and I will include one of my rubber necklace's to hang her from!

And in other Arfire news... I'm "hoping" to get a new Calavera up there today. Before you go, I just have show off my latest from my glass beads website - a Calico kitty bead. Ain't she cute???  I wuv her...