Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vacation's All I Ever Wanted

I'm on vacation! No, I didn't suddenly come into money and I'm not somewhere exotic. But when I realized I had this week off from teaching and a holiday weekend was coming... making listing beads a fruitless effort, I decided to give myself a break. I'm doing what I want to do this week while being at home - may favorite place on earth, really!!

My ONLY rule this week is I WILL TORCH EVERY DAY!  Pretty darn cool, huh???

I torched quite a bit over the weekend and my cleaning bowl is overflowing...LITERALLY! And while my weekend was uneventful, yesterday was awesome! I cleaned up in the shop so it's more than a Mabel-width path to move around in! And I torched! Then the BFF and I went to the florist handling our niece's wedding and got all the flowers for the whole ceremony planned! Then it was downtown to my favorite crystal vendor, Mega Jewels, to get s new shape of Swarovski crystal to add the PERFECT touch to that antique crystal necklace I've been blogging about. We finished off with dinner in Chinatown at one of my favorite restaurants!

On the downside...I've been fighting some kind of bug for a few days now... why does this always happen on vacation??? I've got very sore glands and have sudden waves of nausea! Hours later, I feel fine! But at three this morning, I was certain I was dying!

After doing three loads of laundry - which is clearly so important when you're dead - I ventured into the world in my nightgown and bathrobe at 5 am to find ginger ale and crackers only to discover that a Starbuck's coffee is readily available at that hour, but groceries are NOT! So I drove up the mountain with the cool wind on my face and the pupster in the back, always game for adventure until I found a dang grocery store that was open!

Back home by 6, ginger ale (the strong kind!) and crackers in my gullet, I went to bed and slept till noon. And that's OK... cause I'm on vacation!!

Just in case anyone here has their mind on beads instead of my crazy holiday... I thought I should mention my "Cindy's Coach" bead is now on Artfire:
Check out the sparkles in that Tangerine glass!

Have a good week and... I may be here... or not... cause I'm on vacation!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beads Old and New

Just a quickie before I hit the torch...

I've been mentioning my cleaning phase on my blogs and the other day, while cleaning out a microwave I've been using for storage, I found a display from a local traveling art show that included an old style of snake skin beads. I haven't made this type of bead in ages (costly time consuming beads...) but they are still some of my faves!

I love the way the silver and ivory react and look so lovely under a layer of clear... and the bubbles fascinate me!

I also have a few new Pandora sets on the glass bead site:
Teal Seas is listed already and I plan to list the plain ivory shells later this weekend:

I do hope you will pop over and check them out!

I'm planning a torch session this morning (on one of our hottest days evah!) and then plan to cool off with a swim and a movie (free a/c!).

What are you folks up to this last weekend of August???

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What IS It with Bronze Wire???

I wrote about the antique wedding necklace my niece needs repaired way back in June. I got the delicate wire I needed and made a few initial repairs only to realize that in addition to the 1" on length she needed, the piece also needed a new clasp.

I made one with the 24 gauge wire and quickly realized that wouldn't do the trick. No... this piece needed something heavier. Since I found the 24 g. at Fire Mountain, I went to purchase their 20 g.. Out of stock... til October! I called my local bead store...out of stock. Artistic Wire...out of stock.

What the heck??? Is it due to the popularity of Bronze Clay ( cause who can afford silver anymore???)?? I don't know but it's annoying the heck out of me.

So... If anyone has a few feet to spare, maybe we could work a trade??? If so, please get in touch!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Amazing Tutorials on EVERY BEADY SUBJECT!

I am really out of sorts today with my sinuses and... Mabel took off after a coyote while hiking last night and came home with a big ol' cactus  stuck in her thigh! It took two of us over half an hour to get them all out. Today, she's being a total dork baby and not wanting to be more than 2" from me! Imagine trying to torch like that! So everything I had planned is out the door... UGH!

So I thought I would share  the most amazing set of beading tutorials I've seen in ONE place ever! Check out just some of the tuts on the Fusion Beads Website:

Now don't go shopping for your glass beads there... Chinese made, not annealed, rarely properly cleaned. Remember you get what you pay for... ;-)
Always buy your glass beads from artists!! Right??? Right!  Carry on!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Creating Passwords - a Tutorial

You know I'm a gal that's all about handy dandy tips and tricks, right? Well, the subject of passwords and hacking what should be private accounts has come up more than once lately so I thought I would share my tip for creating a foolproof password no one can guess.

First, think of a song that has great meaning to you... Got one???

Next, think of a favorite line. I personally think it's best if you think of a line that has a proper name in in the middle of it.

My bestie and I have been listening to endless love songs lately preparing music for our niece's wedding. And the song "Home" by The Magnetic Zeros has been my favorite earworm lately. So for example, this is a good line for a potential password:

Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my Ma & Pa

To create a password, use the first letters of each word: AAIdlmM&P  or if symbols are not allowed: AAIdlmMaP (using a for "and").

But then I mess with it. Everyone assumes you use your own birthday because everyone else does! Or a spouse or significant other. That's too obvious! Use your mom or dad's. I also use my parent's last four digits of their socials!   But get a four digit number... that's not your birthday... and insert it somewhere in the middle!

So now we have:   AAIdlm1234MaP

Now if they allow symbols, EVEN BETTER! Put the ampersand back in where it belongs or my favorite... Pick one of those numbers that has some meaning... we all have favorite numbers, don't we? (Please don't tell me I'm the only one!!!???!!) Let's say in this case, that 2 is my favorite number. In place of the 2 in that string, use the symbol over it on the keyboard, which is @

So now my password looks like this: AAIdlm1@34M&P

Who on earth could guess that???? Protect yourselves people!!!

Now for something beady... the Fire Divas Team Treasury is over and my zebra pendant is on the way Illinois but, there's a matching heart! Just thought I would show it off so we could have a picture to look at!

Have  a wonderful day and be safe out there... the Internet can be a scary place!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Team Treasury Giveaway Drawing Saturday

I'm simply exhausted today... Grateful this crazy week is OVER! Let's see... yesterday's catastrophe??? Finding out the college had scheduled my evening cookie class at 1 p.m. at 11: 53 a.m.! I pulled it off, thanks to my amazing  best friend.... but I'm still not sure how!

I had planned something a bit meatier today... but can't summon the strength to even fix lunch! (It's almost 4 as I write...) So, I'm just going to remind anyone who happens to pop in here that the Fire Divas' Team Treasury drawing is this weekend. So it's you last chance to get your entry in to win some of those gorgeous beads!!

All the details and the first place to enter is this Fire Diva's Blog post.

And for a photo... here's a pic of the pendant I'm donating... It's a long time personal favorite...

Have a lovely restful weekend!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inside My Jewlery Box - Another Hollow

This is actually the very first hollow bead I ever made.  It was a bit off center so I kept it for me. It's purple but covered in places with palladium leafing and the center of the sunflower has the most amazing goldstone.

 It's sparkly and beautiful and I've sold five or six of these just by wearing this one.  It is true... we are the best advertisement of our own work.

After this one, I became obsessed with making hollows and hollow shapes. I love making a hollow heart, drilling one end slightly bigger and filling it with Swarovski crystals and cubic zirconia for extra sparkle and then wiring the whole thing shut! The one below is just waiting in the glass bead shop for someone to come along and add a nice chain...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bead Bowl - The Most Perfect Hollow & LAUGHTER

I'm having a really strange week and running behind prepping for class this Thursday. Let's see...this week it's stolen credit cards, a humongous stamp order that requires access to some files I no longer have the software for and and "almost" broken printer which turned out to be a power outage in the shop! And that was just MONDAY!

Thank goodness I can laugh! I actually force laughter breaks sometimes and last night I was enjoying a favorite website that had me laughing so HARD, I thought I was going to pass out! And all night long, everytime I woke up all I had to do was say the key phrase from the funny post which was "Horse Whisperer" and I would get wide awake with laughter! And all this led to a funny dream. I was teaching a cookie bouquet class and I was saying to my student, "You know what would go perfectly with this??" (I was pointing to a cookie in my dream.)

The student looked to me waiting for an answer. And I said, "PANTS!" Like... what do pants and cookies have in common??? So half the time I woke up saying "pants" and laughing and the other times it was "horse whisperer." Either way, I'm in need of some sleep!

Laughter puts me in a great mood and gives me ideas... and I have no time to torch. UGH!

And I don't have time to blog so, I dug through my bead bowl for something interesting and decided to show off the most perfect hollow I've ever made... DON'T LAUGH, ok???!!!

I made this in a Heather Trimlett class at the Mandrel. I LOVE this bead because it is SO perfect... the ends are puckered beautifully, it's perfectly round and hollow... but... How would you know??? It's NOT made of transparent glass. You want to make hollows from transparent to show off their hollowness... and this is black and orange and opaque gray!

I have an excuse. It was the end of the day and I was hot and tired and on total mental overload from all that Heather had inspired. I watched her demo and I sat there... debating going outside to cool off. But Heather walked by and told me to "Make a bead, try the hollow technique!"  Feeling lazy and drained, I decided to make one but... the only glass that I had long rods of in front of me were the ones you see.

At the time, I thought, "I don't care about the color... I just want to try Heather's method..." and her method turned out to be the best ever!  And so... I'm the very proud owner of one opaque hollow!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The Fire Divas are hosting their first ever Etsy Team Treasury Giveaway! The team will be GIVING AWAY all the the gorgeous beads you see here!! I've handpicked one of my personal favorite glass bead pendants  for the team's promotion.

If you are familiar with Etsy's Treasuries, you know they are fabulous collections of items illustrating a special theme chosen by individual curators. The Fire Divas are doing something a little extra special! Not only are we creating a Treasury featuring many of the Fire Divas showing off their renditions of a "Bead Jeweled" theme, but we are giving them all away to four—yes we said, FOUR!—very lucky winners! Each winner will receive four awesome beads from this collection. All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on our Treasury through Etsy HERE and "heart" or add all the featured shops in it as a favorite.

Only one comment/person, please! Winners will be chosen at random on August 21, 2011.

Now, lets take a look at the  fabulous treasure trove of beads to be GIVEN AWAY!!!

'Bead Jeweled - Fire Divas Team Treasury GIVEAWAY!' by AshlynDesign

The Fire Divas are offering this fabulous Giveaway to FOUR lucky winners! To enter, leave a comment (1 per person), and add EACH shop here to your favorites. For more info and a chance to win other prizes, visit our team blog at: http://bit.ly/qM8KpR

RESERVED for Fire D...

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RESERVED The Fire D...

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Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

The best way you can show your love and support for the Divas is to make sure that you and everyone you know stops by to view this amazing Treasury! Please also take a few moments to spread the news by posting a link to Facebook or your blog, tweet it, StumbleUpon, or any other social media you prefer to use.

"But WAIT! There's more!!"

Since some of our team members don't have their own Etsy shops, we're also offering a separate Blog Giveaway here to one lucky reader, who will win a wonderful prize from Patrice of Shepherd Creations!

To enter our Blog Giveaway (separate from our Etsy Treasury Giveaway!):
Please leave a comment on the Fire Diva's blog post (and please  include the best way to contact you!) after this post and one winner will be chosen at random at the same time we pick the other four Treasury winners.

They say that a person's greatest treasure is their friends—and you, our fans—are some of our greatest treasures too! Thank you very much for your support from all of us here on the Fire Divas team!!

Winners will be chosen at random on August 21, 2011. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Display Bead

With the Kramer Bead I showed off last week, I'm now on my third bead for display! I love wearing big heavy beads so... this is a totally new concept to me.

I know I mentioned artist Michelle Plumb of Pocketsful before...she commissioned my first display bead. Well, she purchased another bead and turned it into a display. Meet Empyrea's Egg:

I know I'm not going to relay the story totally well because, I've never been wired for video games and Michelle takes AMAZING inspiration from them. But here's my screwy version... Empyrea the bird can save the world and keep darkness at bay but she sacrifices her own egg and offspring. In Michelle's version, Empyrea gets to save the world and keep her egg! So cool!!!

Don't you just LOVE nest made of wire???

What's on your weekend agenda??? I've got a huge order to pull off, still cleaning like a mad woman, lots of hiking and swimming and pup cuddling around here!

Hope yours is special!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Hectic Class Day!

Teaching on weekday has put yet another kink in my schedule... I just can't get used to this! I always forget I have to walk the dogs early in the morning... and by the time I remember, it's darn hot and miserable for all. And puts more kinks in my day. And now it's 5 and I need to leave for class and I need a shower(!!!) and I need to load the car and I haven't blogged.........

So.. There's even more kumihimo goodies on the glass bead site now... 8-D

Please check in tomorrow... I have something neat to show you!! I promise!! For reals...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fresh Glass 8/10/11

It was most rewarding just torching for ME... At least I know my customer will like the beads! LOL!

I made two focals for jewelry projects I'm thinking of: a big lentil full of reactive silver glasses & dichroic with surface decoration of a sunflower wrapping around the side and a big circle of life scroll in blue aventurine.

The other is  BIG hole squished bead. I wanted it with a HUGE hole for a kumihimo project I want to demo. I wanted what amounts to a tiger bead with some brown and olive accents instead of straight topaz. I really like the way it came out.

Lastly, I played with my emerald press and realize... there's a learning curve to it. Still a lovely shape though!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Well Duh!

I had about a kajillion things I wanted to post here over the weekend... and now on Tuesday morning... I got NOTHING! Maybe it's the fog I'm watching roll in that has taken over my brain!

This kind of cool weather is unheard of here in the mountains east of the San Fernando Valley. And I plan to make the most of it. I'm going to try and torch today. Just for me... a few jewelry projects I have in mind. Something with no pressure; no consequences when it doesn't sell.

I'm trying out a different kind of tiger today:

I should mention, I spent the weekend busy on the glass bead website. My Kumihimo students had been asking me to get the products I sell in class up on the website and now, there is a whole Kumihimo / E bead section. I'm adding a few items every day so as not to overwhelm my fan page with posts!

So far, the prettiest thing there is thread! LOL!

I promise, tomorrow will be  more news worthy! Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sea Dreams

I wanted to show you a pretty necklace made by one of my customers. Cheryl F. makes jewelry just for fun for herself, friends and family...Hmmm... Isn't that how all jewelry addictions start??? Anyway... her work is beadutiful!!!

This is my Sea Dreams Set. I wanted to show you the colors against white so you could see the gorgeous purples:

And this is Cheryl's stunning necklace:

I hope you have a lovely weekend. I'm going to do my best to get myself back on track!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Kramer Bead

If there is any one bead I enjoy... No... LOVE making, it's a memorial bead. To me, it is a great honor to be entrusted to share in the last steps of a long journey between loved ones. Such an honor was the high point of last week.

I have to say, it's also one of the most challenging beads I've ever made. Kramer was a beloved golden retriever and he wore red and black tack. His owner wanted the bead to be golden with red and black accents.

Gold is a fussy glass color. Red is a fussy glass color. Black is a semi fussy glass color...see the challenge??? I often make a test bead so that my customer and I can agree on colors and shape and even size. With this bead, I made five test beads! That's a record for me.

I had to find just the right golden tones for the base. I made one large heart for my glass bead shop as a size reference but in colors I wanted. Then there were three hearts - small ones that ended up in my bead bowl - testing no less than SEVEN shades of red! Then as we closed in on the final design, I feared the black would look either too purple or too "runny" on top of the chosen base color. I also realized that Kramer's ashes would change the look of the vibrant red to a more muddled color.

In the end, I simply went for it! I used Kramer's cremains in the vine cane glass and only used the runny black as the center of the flowers. And the red that won the beauty contest??? Effetre's Medium red (not too light, not too dark but JUST RIGHT!)

As usual, parts of the vine cane just sparkle... a reaction of the phosphorus in the bone. I was a little freaked when I started applying the vine at the bottom of the bead and it discolored. But I like to think it was Kramer's input on HIS bead. I left one flower on the shoulder without a center... a deliberate choice because only our higher nature is perfect.

This bead is SUPER large. Kramer's owner wanted to display it in her home. It came in at 2.5" long! It was a very rewarding experience to be a part of this beautiful memory.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adventures in Not Selling

Hey, I never promised you a rose garden in reading this blog. I'm not one of those shiny-happy-everything-is-fine-fine-fine-all-the-time artists. (Are people like that even REAL??? )

No, I have my ups and I have my downs and I vowed when I started this blog to lay it all out ... the "business" of being an artist (which in and of itself is an oxymoron and makes me feel like a plain old moron most days!).

So, my adventures on ebay have not been exactly fruitful but I knew to expect this... people are looking for Chinese junk over there. One bead that took me over an hour in the flame sold for the bare minimum price. About a 1/3 of it's value to me.  The going rate is less than minimum wage BEFORE considering glass costs, kiln costs, cleaning time, photography and photo manipulation time...

And another set didn't sell at all which will shade the way I use those colors (patriotic - red white and blue) in the future... if there is a future.

Yes, folks, I am THAT low. I had a miserable torch session this weekend where I hated absolutely everything I made. And...I'm wondering...wouldn't it be a helluva lot easier to just go back to work for the man?? No, I wouldn't feel like I had a soul and three hour hikes on a Monday afternoon would be a thing of the past but, I could seriously get used to having money again!

I have no answers and I'm in a blurry sinus medicine haze today. But since I hate the way this blog posts without pics...here's an ugly glass bead to look at: