Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tool Fix: Stripped Key Mandrel

I've been making a lot of keys lately...

...and have found it harder and harder to get them off the mandrel. With my last key, I had to use vise-grip pliers to get the mandrel apart!

I went to my local hardware store for a new socket nut and quickly realized the nut that is welded to the key mandrel is stripped... what to do??? In this economy, this poor artist cannot afford to zip out and buy a new tool!  Plus, I always wondered why they welded that nut on... I would always want free moving parts. Sure, it's one more piece to lose but it's also one more piece that can be replaced for pennies!

With the nut stripped, I bought a #6 3/4" Phillips head screw and a wing nut.  The screw fits right through the stripped nut and only attaches to the wing nut. I like this better because I can hold a Phillips screwdriver on one side and a vise-grip on the other should it ever get stuck... and will be far less likely to bend the shaft of my key mandrel!

Update: Thanks to my dear glass friend Janel Dudley, I want to let you know that many of the cheap nuts and bolts out there are made of zinc which has a melting point just above 700 degrees Fahrenheit! Zinc can splatter in the flame too and it is TOXIC! So... make sure you use steel nuts and bolts!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm a Winner!

The Promotional Frenzy Team had a giveaway on their blog back in June and I won!!! I won a pair of earrings from Pagan Cellar Jewelry. To my surprise, Bill, the mastermind behind Pagan Cellar Jewelryon Etsy sent me two pair! Score!

The talented folks on the Promotional Frenzy Team ALWAYS have something going on... You ARE playing along in their Pin to Win DAILY Christmas In July giveaway on Pinterest, right????

Today's Giveaway is sponsored by Oh Honey Hush

Monday, July 23, 2012

I HATE You Vetrofond!

I got a custom order from an Avon Walker...making custom boobie bracelets for the group of ladies she's walking with. She wanted half pink and half ivory. OK... easy peasy... but I quickly discovered I was out of my beloved Vetrofond dark ivory.

I know many bead makers think "Ivory is Ivory." Oh, but it is NOT!  Case in point... These two beads were made with two colors... the only difference being one is Effetre and one is Vetrofond. And, you know it... my favorite is the green which is vetrofond!

But my tale of woe gets worse! I found out Vetrofond is "no longer making rod for beadmakers".... GRRRR! So instead of making nice little perfectly pale tan boobies like these:
 ...they came out like this:

I think they are too pale and kinda anemic looking ( so yes, these are ON SALE! on the Fan Page at the moment)

But at least my customer liked the pink ones...
At least I got the chance to make my customer happy but... I feel so betrayed by a favorite glass maker...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

True Confession: I'm a Glass Hoarder!

Sometimes I make a beads and list them right away. Sometimes I just... can't! Sometimes a bead is so pretty, I simply can't part with matter what. Sometimes, I need to stare and appreciate them for a while.

One I made recently using a tut from Kim Neely with an added flourish from Kimberly Affleck falls into the sit and stare category.

 Dark Waters side one

Dark Waters Side 2

I finally shared it on the fan page... but I'm not sure when I'll have the heart to actually list it. Yes, I am she who needs ALL the shiny beads!

Here's a video so maybe you can see what's so mesmerizing to me:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fresh Glass 7/11/12

These are still hot!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Memorial Bead: Lucy, Olivia & Kramer

I was honored when a dear friend asked me to make a memorial bead as a gift for her dog trainer. The bead was to contain the ashes of three of her beloved Dalmatians: Lucy, Olivia & Kramer.

She requested the bead be heart shaped, about an inch wide with a hole big enough for a ribbon. Blue and green were the color choices but she wanted a little gold heart to decorate the beads to symbolize the color of Olivia's eyes:


I just love when a client sends me photos and details about the animal or person who is being memorialized! I knew when I saw Olivia's eyes that Double Helix' Aurae was the color to use!

I have a little photo holder by my torch that will hold 5 pictures and after reading all about these sweet Dals, I placed them on my desk to supervise the work!

Their mom was kind enough to include lots of details about their personalities too! Lucy was a mother to 12 and very talkative!

Kramer was a father of 64, a clown and a food thief.


But, I have to admit, that Olivia with the gold eyes really touched my heart. Aside from being a drama queen (you Creekhiker readers know I have my own drama queen!),  her mom writes:

Loved being the only dog, going on errands & peanut butter. We understood each other  & loved each other when others didn't.

If you've ever had a dog like that, you, like me are probably shedding a few tears right now! 

The process of making these beads is not always an easy path for a sensitive soul like myself. And, it's never just make a bead and mail it off! I have made as many as four beads in preparation, showing each to the client along the way. I made three this time.

The first attempt, I realized the aurae was too transparent for the background colors:
 So, I made a second small color test using white under the aurae. I left the mandrel in place to show the client so she could understand where the hole was. We decided the colors were right and to make it with a bigger hole.
 So this is the 3rd version with the cremains of the 3 pups. I LOVE how the creamains reacted with the reduction of the aurae and turned gold... Olivia's eyes showing off!!

It was an honor getting to know these pups and their mom!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tutorial: Fritting the Sides

Have you ever been making a frit bead and just can't get the frit on the sides? This happened to me recently and as it was for a custom order for a Memorial Glass Bead, it had to be perfect!

First the finished bead:

You can see the sides got good coverage...thanks to this technique.

Here's a before photo clearly showing the problem of the missing frit:

To me, all that white makes the bead look unfinished. I've tried scooping it on but my tool gets too hot and if I have an odd shaped bead, rolling is impossible. The simple fix would be to have a rod of the same color frit but, most frit is made of 96 and that's stuff I just don't have in rod form!  But it's still fixable!

  • Take a rod of a similar color and heat it in the flame. You don't need a gather. It just needs to be hot enough for the frit to stick to the rod. 
  • Roll the rod in the same frit you are using for the bead. 
  • Heat and dot the frit in the gap area on your bead. 
  • Don't do a bunch of dots in the same area... you want to spread the color around just as the frit would do. 
  • Make sure you don't run out of frit... keep heating and dipping the rod as needed. 
  •  Once you get the coverage you need, melt in and do your final shaping.

If you enjoyed this tut and found it useful, please consider supporting the starving artist that wrote it.
My glass beads and tools are here.

My Starbucks account. Click the link and enter my card # 6044305060554270
My Paypal:

Thank you!!! I hope you enjoyed this quick fix!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Promo Frenzy Glass Heart Winner

Congrats to Erika of ArtfulRising on Etsy for winning my glass bead  heart in the Promotional Frenzy Team's Pin It to Win It Giveaway!

Erika is from Texas and creates lovely custom journals and she has an amazing blog about journaling! I love this post about the lies we tell ourselves (I'm so guilty of that!)!

I just adore clipping recipes (I like having a book to flip through!) and think this recipe book is a great idea.

On the flip side, Erika tells me that her weight loss journals are her best sellers:

I wish I had known about Erika's journals when we were doing the niece's wedding. Is this a terrific guest book?

Please be sure to check out Erika's Artful Rising Shop on Etsy and... Don't forget to "Pin It to Win It" all month long over on Pinterest! Today's giveaway is a vintage bracelet  from PaganCellarJewelry!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fresh Glass 7/3 / Contest

Fresh Glass - Yes I'm on a Mickey Minnie kick ( Or as I call them Micnie / Minkey - depending on who gets top billing!) It's been a very stressful time with my sister being so ill and I just need a little fun! The Disney beads are not for sale.. personal collection only.
Also, PLEASE remember to Pin to Win by 9pm EST tonight!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pin to Win / Christmas in July

The Promotional Frenzy Team of Etsy is so excited about Etsy's Christmas in July Sale, they're hosting a give away EVERY DAY this month on Pinterest! I'm proud to be participating and my glass bead heart is up for grabs by midnight EST tomorrow!

Just repin the ORIGINAL pin and be sure to leave a comment so I can contact you should you win! I'm including one of my friction clasp rubber necklaces so this baby comes ready to wear! ;-)

Now for the sales specials:
I'm offering free shipping using coupon code freeship30 for free shipping on orders over $30. IF you are a fan, mention that in the comments for a 10% refund on your order!

1. Entire shop 20% off

2. Entire shop 20% off - Coupon Code SUMMER2012

3. Entire shop 10% off - Prices already reduced, no coupon code required

4. - 20% off everything in my shop - Coupon: XMASJULY

5. - 20% off everything - Coupon: CIJ2012

6. 10% off everything- Coupon: CIJ10

7. - 20% off orders of $30 or more- Coupon: CIJ25, 10% off orders under $30 Coupon: CIJ10

8. - SHIPFREE for free shipping in Canada and USA; and FREE GIFT.

9. - freeship30 for free shipping on orders over $30. Mention that you are a fan for a 10% refund on your order!

10. - 30% off - Prices are already reduced, no coupon code required. (Cannot be combined with any other offer) Soap favors are excluded.

11. - [See shop announcement] Get 10% off with coupon code cij10 +always free US shipping, also get a free fourth print with 3 print packs, and $5 gift coupon with $25 purchase, $10 with $50, $15 with $75, & $25 with $100 (all before shipping and tax).

12. - FREESHIPPING for free USA shipping. International customers - contact me for a special discount.

13. - 20% off everything in the shop
Coupon Code: CIJ2012

14. - 25% off of EVERYTHING in my shop. No coupon needed, prices already reduced.

15. - Code CIJ2012 for a 15% Off on all Purchases

16. - Coupon: FREESHIPUSA for Free Domestic Shipping - see shop announcement for international shoppers.

17. - code CIJ2012a for 25% on $25 purchases.

Be sure to check back for updates to the list after the holiday and get over to Pinterest for a chance to win great prizes everyday!!!