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Lampwork and Metal a bit of a rant

Saturday, December 13, 2008
I haven’t been on the torch as much as I would like. It’s been a combo account of the lack of motivation and the cold. I knew moving from Austin would take a lot to get used to but…I had forgotten just how cold it get here compared to Texas. I’m freezing most of the time. I physically adjust to the warm, humid weather. Bob really didn't because he traveled so much.

Yes, I know that I will adjust and it just takes time but for right now, I’m still a bit grumpy. The grey skies get to me to. I miss the sunshine. Geez, I miss a lot of the people…the diversity…the educational level of conversations…the shopping (open markets)…the super fast, high speed Internet connections…sitting on my back deck in December without being wrapped up in a coat and long johns.

Now there are lots of things that I DON’T miss about Austin too. Like…the SUPER lousy traffic…all the traffic accidents when it rains…the snakes…drought and brown grass…being so far from my parents...the mongo sized bugs…always getting lost...not seeing the four seasons come into play…not staying in contact with my Midwestern friends...well there’s more. Both places have their pros and cons…don’t get me wrong. It just takes a bit to adjust. I guess I’m in my adjustment phase.

The biggest issue is that I didn’t count for the space I needed for my studio. Yep, you heard it before we moved and now you are hearing it again. What it comes down to is that I made a mistake. So next year, that issue is on the top of my list. More on that later. So once the studio moves (again) out of the house and I get used to the weather...I think life will be fine.

The above necklace is sample...something that I'm working on but not yet complete. It's one of my ideas that hasn't yet come full circle.
On the positive side, it's something that I would wear BUT the leaf is Bali Silver. OK but not what I'm going for. Yes I do metalsmithing but I'm thinking that PMC would be a better option for some of the pendants. I also think that some silversmithing is also in order...handforged clasp...maybe even some sterling tube beads. Then I'm also thinking about some beaded beads as well. Just thought you might like to see what I'm been playing with. If you have any ideas or comments...just get me a shout.
OK...I really am missing the torch so I'm off!
Have a happy, creative day...and stay warm and safe!

Lampwork Pictures...Yay!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I've finally got pictures (eye candy) processed. Believe it or not, it's really an ordeal to get all the beads organized (not to mention, cleaned), then the tracking numbers, then the layouts, then the pictures taken, and then the pictures processed. Then after all of that...I upload them to Etsy. I'm not's more to explain the process. Online is just as complicated as doing shows. Not as complicated as doing studio or trunk shows though...BUT each person is different in their tracking system and how they go about things. I've got a couple of friends that dislike doing trunk shows because of the hassle. Where as I enjoy them. I think I enjoy them because it's mostly ol'friends or people that I know that invite it's more of a social thing for me. Where as studio shows give me a reason to clean up the place. :-)

The colors of the above turned out well. The below is from my Dish series. I made several sets, in different sized barrels, because of the requests that I re-visit the series. I have to admit, they are easy to design with. If you like to mixed stone and glass together, they are perfect. They work well in chain or wire designs as well.
The below is a rarity for me...I normally don't make squeezed beads much anymore. I might have to change that. They are great for bracelets...smooth on the wrist with a large canvas area but aren't heavy. This is one of the shapes I use for my own jewelry. (Why it never occurred to make them for everyone else. I guess I normally keep most of them.)

More Color Gizmos...

And more Color Gizmos....this series is just about done. I might re-visit it later but for the current time, it's time to move on.

Ribbon necklace...I got into a huge large (1/8 size mandrel) bead making. What I like about this size of bead is that they work on chain, ribbon, and wire. They also work well with multi-strands of seed beads or again, wire...or as spinners.

Here's another large hole set. The focal on this one is spot reduced and fumed. It turned out perfect...well, perfect for me. What I like about it, is that is has a bit of bronze hue in the design. Great for some of the brown jaspers or bronzite.

Here's another one of the ribbon necklaces. I made six will see three up on Etsy. I decided to keep the other three. :-)

Well that's it for the eye candy....
Right now I'm working on some 'Heavy Metal'...lots of spot reduction, lots of shine, lots of silvered beady dudes, and lots of texture. These won't be ready until later this week. One of the furnace glasses I like so well, doesn't look so well if I leave it in the kiln too long. It turns black. So they have to be made as I'm getting ready to shut down for the session. So I torch these beads for an hour and then they are annealed for an hour...then it's the overnight ramp down of the kiln. So that's how I get the colors that I want on the bead. Like you REALLY wanted to know.
Anyway, it's just a heads up on next week's beads. Yes, my shows and gift making time is over so I'm back in the beady saddle. :-)
I'll be posting on Etsy today...just another heads up. I'd really like to get enough beads up there to send out a Newsletter but...who knows if I well or not. I've been a bit lacking in that department.
Have a happy, creative day!

I've been a bit lampwork pics

Sunday, December 07, 2008
Oh's been a while...but I did include some eye candy. I've just busy as a cat in heat. It seems that I still don't have enough time in a day.

I love the organic design of the above rocks/nuggets. I etched them so they have a smooth feel to them.
More barrels!

I was very focused on the trunk show the past couple of weeks. It was a great opportunity to test market some new jewelry lines and see old friends. What a combo!!!!
It was also a eye opener in several ways. One, finding all the displays. I mean that it's been moved from Austin, then moved again when we had the carpet laid. So everything had to be pulled out, repacked, and then packed again for a small set up. So now I have a trunk show/home show set up that I can pack up in a moment's notice.
I’ve found that I might want to think about changing my design style, if I want to sell locally. My style is bright and bold, which also takes a self-confident woman to wear. Most of my designs scream, ‘look at me’. So I think it’s time that I toned it down a bit. I’m focusing on collections. For example, one is a mix of Bob’s chain maille, my beaded beads, my lampwork, Marti’s excellent PMC charms, and a few other surprises. Then there will be bright lampwork with my wirework. Anyway, I’ve got beads to make…I’ve been concentrating on jewelry for the past couple of weeks that I miss my torch badly.

I’ll have more lampwork bead set pics in the next couple of days…so for now, adios!

Have a happy, creative day!

Back to Color Gizmos...more lampwork beads

Sunday, November 23, 2008
I'm back on the torch...feeling totally better...and got sucked into the Color Gizmos series. I really thought this would be a mini series. It's not...I started jewelry designing with a couple strands and I loved working with them. I'd show some pictures but the pieces have already left to their new homes. I also figure, I that need to make more jewelry to get back to my ol'creative muse juiced pieces. So I'm still not taking any jewelry customs. If you need something right now, contact me and I can set you up with a couple of designers that I would buy jewelry from.

The below will be up on Etsy within the hour....

These both turned out well...I like the surface designs...not to much but not boring either.
Below...if anyone has any undyed blue coral hanging around...they match perfectly. I made a set for me that I added blue coral, lapis, and red jasper that turned out NICE.

Now for the fun news...I'm in the process of re-working my metalsmithing arena of my studio. When we moved, I really thought that everything would doesn't. So I'm doing a bit of a redo. Glass has taken up most of the physical space so I'm starting there. Then moving on to open up an area for all my equipment. I still don't think I'm going to be able to go whole hog in metals but...I do have a plan. It comes down to doing what I love most. I love metals...where I love color I'm just going to have to figure all this out.
I don't plan on taking my studio out of the house until Spring 2010. That gives me more time to decide on my mediums and a new style of jewelry designs.
Recently I've found that my jewelry designing style has changed. It's more metal...less Dr. Seuss. Don't get me wrong, I still like brights but I really don't' wear them. I wear more urban with dashes of steampunk and Casa Moon. I'm hard on jewelry so it has to be Timex to survive a week with me. So add all this'll be seeing some fun stuff from me soon.
OK...I'm lots to do today!
Have a happy, creative day!


Friday, November 21, 2008
Hello Everyone!

I want to thank everyone that sent me e-cards, emails, and a few phone calls....all inquiring if I was alive or needed anything. Those that inquired about beads...they will be coming. I've really only been back on the torch full time for a couple of days. This stomach flu hit me hard. It's been several years since I've been sick. I'm just not used to it. Bob is also back in action and back to work.

I've only have a dozen or so beady strands to take pictures of so....that will get done in the next couple of days. Many of the sets, I'm now keeping.

Remember when I said I was giving up making jewelry? Well it seems I lied...I can't stand it...I miss it. I won't be going back to my full-court press frenzy of jewelry designing but I will do some. Like I'm gearing up for a trunk show at a new gallery in Irvington called Blooming Dragon Emporium.

Ok...I hear the torch calling me so I'm off!

Have a have happy, creative day and a wonderful weekend!

The Gift that keeps on pics of the livingroom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Hello everyone!

Last Thursday, my hubby flies in from Kansas City late evening and not feeling his best. He's got the stomach flu...and if anybody does a lot of traveling knows that stomach flu is the bain of all fliers. Anyway, he's home...sick...typical male feeling bad. By Sunday, I'm not feeling so Monday, I'm really sick. Still two days later, he's doing well and I'm still a bit queasy. I didn't get all the nasties that Bob had to deal with. I'm now just very queasy and very bored.

I have no new pictures of beady dudes to show ya...sorry. That will be coming soon. I also will be back on the torch by tomorrow...hopefully.

I did take few pictures of the living room that you have endured me blogging about. The below is a highlight of another Etsy Artist...MaryLou of Time2cre8. I fell in love with her prints. The cats are some of my favorites but my hubby liked the turtles and owls. If you look close in some of the other pics (translates to click the pic to enlarge) you will see several pieces of her work in the living room. I plan add a bit of MaryLou splash to my design studio as well.

The prints just liven up the place.

The living room still isn't totally done but you get the idea. I still have art to buy for the room. BTW, these pics make the room look really, really small. It isn't...the couch is over 9 feet and most of the pieces are large. Plus the walls are a pale golden yellow...I wonder way I did this time? Oh well...I guess it's just the photographer again. :-) Anyway, that's Nox in his window.

So there ya have's got the bare essentials but it's coming along.
Now, it's time for my nap. I seem to be dreaming in beads.
Have a happy, creative day!

New Lampwork...HOPE

Friday, November 07, 2008
It's eye candy time...again, as normal. In the past couple of days, I've been influenced at the torch by what's happening on CNN. The beads are rainbow...with lots of fine silver...on a black base. I won't go into all the inspiration but the colored stringers were crystal clear encased so that the color isn't influenced by the silver.

The beads are much nicer in hand that in the pictures. I think what was happening is that the camera lens is focused on the shinny parts of the silver instead of the color.

These will be up on Etsy in the next couple of days. I figure if they don't sell quickly...I'll keep them. :-)

I'm currently in the process of a huge raku frenzy. I'm getting to the point that I'm just about ready to finish it up. You will see some of the beads on Etsy but most of them I'm keeping. I've got a couple of trunk shows that I've scheduled. I know, I said that I didn't really have the time...well I don't BUT it's hard for me to say 'NO' to I miss designing. lots and lots to do today!!!
Have a wonderful weekend !

Yes, We Can

Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Grant Park in Chicago, 11/04/08...

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words...Obama with the Boss and his son, Sam in Cleveland, OH on 11/3/08.
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." -Obama

"This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. "

Now the hard work's not just up to Obama to clear up this's up to all Americans.

On January 20, 2009, there will be a new resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Mmmm...btw, I wonder if the White House has any equity left with the current housing issues????

Time to go home Palin!
My greatest fear that I would be represented by this 'pro-life, gun slinging, red-neck, and six-pack Joe type' of person on a National level. Of all the things that has happened in the last 24 hours, I know that Palin is out of the picture, at least for a while.
I rarely write about political happenings on my's more for eye candy and light chatting....but there are times that I am so thrilled that it seems to run over into my blog as well. On the personal level, eyeball to eyeball, I have great respect for all people's opinions and work very hard to see from their eyes. There are just times, I just don't get it. Like I just don't get Palin.
On the other hand, if you ask my opinion...I will be more than glad to give it to you. Even though you aren't asking this's how I feel about Palin. I am a well educated, middle class, middle aged, main streeter, white Independent female, that is appalled by Palin's platforms. By no means do or ever have wanted a Dick Cheney in a dress to represent me. What I'm so appalled about isn't just the attitudes but what these platforms could bring to the future. I'm not going into it further, it's over and done with. Time to move on.
Since I've moved to back to Indiana from's been a culture shock. (don't get me started on that tangent, I'll be at the keyboard all day) But to see Indiana turn a lovely shade of PURPLE...I feel that there is hope.
My opinion that it's now Rainbow Rules and Geek Power will start having the most influence within our will shape a new face of American policy and leadership.
So tomorrow, it will be back to more eye candy!
I'm off to make beads...this evening I will be uploading some bead sets on Etsy!!!
So have a happy, creative day!!!

Color Gizmos...again...yep, more lampwork beads

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Yep, I've still been playing with color. The CiM glass creates some of the most lovely hues in glass. Now they aren't like your typical crayon box colors but what they do have to play with, is GREAT!!!!! The other 104COE colors make up for what CiM lacks.

Below (254) Plums, berry, and pink nuggets...yeah, even with a hint of indigo.

Below (252) I like these type (design) sets...enough for earrings, bracelet, and a focal pendant.

Below (253) Focal and accent beads...just right for a necklace and a pair of earrings.

Below (257) More nuggets...enough for two bracelets.

Below (241) These nuggets scream 'COLOR', I think that's why I like them so much.

Below (243) I can picture these beads along with some matching Czech glass flowers...add a few unique design touches...poof, mod pod garden bracelet.

Below (242) Can you tell that I really loved using these colors. Sometimes, there are certain color combos that just do it for me. This was one of them.

Below (236) The blue base is an odd shade (for 104 COE glass that is) that I fell in love with. It's not a typical color and it's not a typical pastel. It's more of an opal. Plus depending on the placement in the flame, it will do different things. It behaves much like the old French moonstone glass or German milky way (in some ways). The only problem with it is that it pits easy so I have to keep the bead in the cooler part of the flame. Plus keep the O2 up higher than normal.

Well that's the eye candy...
Today, I've got to get caught up on everything. I've got a kiln full of beads (lots and lots of raku beady babies). I can't wait to pull them. I'm playing with 96 COE glass this week. I finally got some of my backorders in. (don't get me started)
Anyway, after that, I will be watching the election. 7-8pm will give an idea of which way the election is going to turn. What I mean is that will give a clue because the results from Georgia, Indiana, Virgina, Ohio, NC, and SC will be in. That's a good indication of what be happening. Mmmm....I wonder if Indiana will change from Red to Blue? Right now, it's a bit purple. :-) We'll see...I never thought I'd even see Indiana purple. ya think that this state would ever turn Green?
No matter who wins...I'd like to see change. :-)
Happy Election Day!

Color Gizmos...more lampwork beads

Monday, November 03, 2008
I've been still working on the pictures of my mini series,Color Gizmos. It is a mini series that was inspired by ‘sweater shopping’. Doesn’t it make you wonder where I get my ideas from? Well…we won’t go into that. Anyway, the whole idea of this mini series was COLOR. It’s my opinion that its color, in all its richness, is what makes the world keep spinning. (translates to…crack for color junkies)

Below (249) is a Focal with some accent bead pairs...

Below (248) is a spree set with one of the larger, 21mm, sprees...

Below (250) bracelet sized rondels, with some earring pairs...

Below (240) Nuggets...the dark purple looks darker than it really its on my screen though...
Below (239) more nuggets...the base plus is more of an opal than the pictures shows. That's one of those things that the camera doesn't pick up well...

Below (238) Nuggets with a XL Nugget focal...

Below (237) Nuggets and rondels...again, it's the plum base opal that's hard for the camera...

Below (235) just a fun focal set that I'm betting that will make up into a lovely piece of art jewelry...

Well that's the end of the eye candy. I'll be back tomorrow (same bat time, same bat station) with more beady dudes.
Have a happy, creative day!

I'm Back!!!! Update on the House and New Lampwork Beads!

Sunday, November 02, 2008
For those that just want the down and dirty eye candy...
I'm back

Here's the skinny. The house is just about done. The new carpet has been installed, the pod has been unloaded, all the furniture is back in it's place, AND my design studio is finally (whew) unpacked plus organized.
I can now make jewelry again without being so frustrated that I just give up. I can find my tools (amazing) and even all my wire. Not to mention all the sparklies plus a box of UFOs. If you don't know me very well, or have not been to my studio before...this is a good time to mention the amount of stuff I have in my studio. I have given up most of my pack rat ways but when it comes to beads...nope. I've got a selection of seed, metal, stone, glass, and lampwork beads that would make most bead store owners drool. I'm don't mean to sound immodest but when you've been collecting/pack ratting for over two (almost three) decades, the beady selection becomes very large...also very heavy. I'm getting a bit sick of toting all this stuff across country and back...then from one room to another...BUT I'm done for a while.
I still have to unpack some of the bench...mostly my solder and finishing equipment...but that's it. It's been a while since I've had a home studio...I had forgotten just how much of a PITA it can be. BUT there are some good points to it as well. I'm keeping the studios at home over the winter as a test. It it works, then we will add on to the house or build a glass shack or something. If it doesn't...I'll find a retail space that can double as a studio and gallery. There are issues with both...I just have to find the lesser of the evils.
That's it for me...time to get a few things done...
Have a happy, creative day!

Busy...busy...busy...My Wyrd

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
It never seems I have enough time. I just don't get it. I'm organized...I'm proactive...I've pared down doing mainly lampwork. I work at my medium so that my speed doesn't interfere with the quality. So why can't I get everything done?

I'm not complaining...I'm lucky because I actually have more call for my beads that I have time to make beads now. I find that amazing because I don't teach, I shy away from being published, I really don't chat much on the glass/jewelry/art forums, and I'm not a big name in the biz. I still don't consider myself a lampworker...more of a silversmith and jewelry designer that happens to make lampwork beads as well. Which is rapidly changing because most of my time is spent in the torcher chamber.

I'm honest with myself to know that I will never be a GREAT lampworker. I make beads, not for the sake of beads but for jewelry designers. There's a difference. Great beads can stand alone but that's not my goal. My goal is to create beads so that the next person can create a piece of wearable art. Does that make sense?

This whole dialogue comes from a recent conversation. A person asked me why I feel this way. The bottom line is that I will never make glass sing, just as as I never made clay sing. I can make metal sing. Metal is my medium but it's the color tangent that keeps me going back to glass. There have been several times in the past five years that I almost walked away from lampworking. Every time, it's my wyrd to migrate back to glass.

I've finally come to the conclusion that I need a change. I haven't decided what that change is yet...but one is coming. Maybe it's just an attitude adjustment...maybe my new business venture will fill the need for my creative juices...maybe I just need to move to studio to different location. The last time I felt like this, I walked away from potter and moved back into jewelry. I don't think I can give up's too ingrained in me now. I more likely think it will be going back to doing more metal. Maybe mixing glass and electroforming or PMC.

I think that some of my 'change' need will ease up after I get the house smoothed out. I still can't find all my tools...that just drives me nuts. Enough...rant's the eye candy....
The above makes me miss Texas. I really seem to like this design because I keep repeating it in different colors.

The above is's a off shoot design from the mini Aurora Borealis series. I'll be adding the beady dudes to my Etsy shop today.

The below is from my Dish series. I had a huge custom order of Dish beads and made one extra strand for the Etsy shop. I really need to expand on the Dish concept. I've seen some jewelry that has been made from this series. I was very impressed on both how the beads worked up into jewelry designs and the designs themselves.

I've got a couple more projects that I'm in the middle of...then, it's Dish exploration.

Have you ever had an idea...that's not fully formed but you know you need to explore. It just nags at you until you just sit everything a side and run with it. Well, that's what the Dish series has been doing for the past couple of months.

Ok...I've got to get some work one...

Have a happy, creative day!

Working Vacation...more lampwork bead sets

Sunday, October 12, 2008
I’ve been looking at my calendar. The current schedule of work that will be going on in the house isn’t going to be pleasant. What’s next is carpet installation…that entails packing up and moving the entire downstairs except for the kitchen. Everything will be moved into a freestanding pod. The moving starts this Friday…the carpet will be pulled and the sub floors have to be sealed. Then the new carpet will be installed on the next Friday. All of this moving, packing, and noise going on isn't going to be compatible with business. So I’m taking a vacation. I won’t be accepting any more customs until mid-November and my Etsy shop will be closed from 10-17 to 10-25.

Ya know, I will be glad with this is ALL over but I’m dreading packing and moving my design studio. It has been only less than 6 months ago that we moved cross-country. Now, with my memory fresh, I know what I'm in for.

The above set turned out's a color scheme that I've been playing with.

The below was a joy to make...the colors just blended together like hot wax. I was actually impressed when I opened this kiln to find these two sets. I had a couple of request for larger sets than you normally see on Etsy so here's one.

Now on a personal not...I decided on a leopard print for the living room carpet. I figure if I had to live in a cookie cutter house (I'm not much on housing developments and much prefer historical homes), I needed something a bit more interesting to look at everyday. I was very, very tempted to do each room in a different animal print...but common sense prevailed. There is too much of a good thing.
The living room furniture is brilliant blue with lots of glass and chrome. There's floor to ceiling book shelves on one wall with a flat panel TV on the other wall. So I just couldn't figure out how to make it more interesting of a room...then I thought animal prints. Yeah...that's the ticket. :-)
I thought about doing the dinning room in tiger print or zebra but I'm using that room as my design studio right now. The family room has a big fire place in it so I also needed to add a fireproof hearth rug so I decided to do that room in that I can put a large run on top of it. I like the layed, textured look sometimes.
OK...I'm off to run some errands and to the airport.
Have a happy, creative day!


Saturday, October 11, 2008
I've always had issues with my photography...even more when the beads have a large amount of blues or metallic sheen to them. The below set is's the base glass. It's not an opaque and it's not transparent...more like an opal. Again, these colors come from CiM and again, I'm impressed with the glass.

What I do like about this photo is that the beads are just about true to actual size. Well on my monitor they are.
I've pulled a neck muscle so I've been moving rather slowly today. I worked at the torch, very slowly, for most of the day. I got two sets in the kiln currently. I'm betting that you will be seeing either of them. The only productive thing I really got done today is test some color combos and test a new mold. There's a learning curve with any new piece of equipment or tool...even new glass. The normal rule of thumb is that opaques normally melt faster and spread easier. The opals that I've been getting in have to be torched to figure out how they will behave. Time and practice are the best teacher.
I did get my paws on some new PINKS...the shades range from almost a fuchsia to almost a rose quartz hue. I'll start playing with these in the next couple of days. Right now, I've still got the violets and purples on my bench. I'm having a tough time changing color schemes.
Ok...I'm off to baby my neck.
Have a happy, creative day!