Sunday, September 28, 2008

finger cookies

A friend sent this link to me
aren't they so awesomely cute? Thanks Dianne for the link!

I have been gone for a few days to Asheville, NC for Hot Times in the Mountains, which is a gathering of about 30 hot glass artists. We share techniques, trade beads, have demos, and incredible door prizes.
It was way fun and I will post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Teaching a silver metal clay class tomorrow. I use art clay silver to teach with because then I don't have to haul my kiln to the bead shop. We make charms and earrings. It's a lot of fun. It's at Expressive Impressions in Charlotte, which is a shop filled with beads and findings. It's a good place to pick up copper findings and silver too.
During the week, on Tuesday nights, I teach a jewelry making class at Gaston School of the Arts. There are three ladies in it this session. We've made rings and pins and are working on bracelets, all of the projects being done in silver and copper wire. I wish there had been classes like this when I first started working with wire way back in, I don't know, maybe 1995. I couldn't decide what kind of wire to buy, what gauge was best for what, what hardness. I made many mistakes.
Now I know
20 g half hard for earwires
18 g dead soft for wrapping
that's a good start!
And the tools? That was trial and error also. I had no idea you should use tools that don't leave marks in your silver and for goodness sake, how do you get those marks out? I had to learn that too. Luckily my friend Sharon has given me so many bits of information and now there are books. And classes!

These beads today would be such a great addition to a wire worked bracelet! And because the next sale I make is my 100th sale, I will offer this set to any of my faithful blog readers for 1/2 price. Just mention my blog if you do happen to go to my etsy shop and buy it. Sold to Rosebud! Thank you Rosebud you sweetie, you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Etched Beads

Just a picture. :-) Can you believe how awesome clear glass looks when it is etched? This is why bead making just never gets boring. There is always something to do. I've been making a few regular sets for jewelry because I like sets. :-) It's nice to have them when a bracelet design is rolling around in my mind, or a necklace. Having some spacers and sets of beads ready and waiting is great and I'm so lucky I can make them when they're needed!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

a little extra for a lampworked disc

I love to make discs. So it's been something that a lot of time has been spent doing. Like playing piano, the practice makes it easier and the final product better. Little tricks, color combinations, and learning what glass melts how fast and what glass holds it shape have been things that I've picked up along the way.
My fascination with discs has lasted maybe two years, maybe three. Here is one way I use the discs to hang them as a pendant on an omega type necklace.
It's so nice when something starts to flow and become easier. When people say the way to learn something is PPP, (practice, practice, practice) they are just so right.

I make these disc holders from silver metal clay (pmc or art clay) and love using them with a thick silver wire to support the pendant. The silver wire is forged to hang on the omega.
The color combinations and sizes are endless for a unique piece of jewelry.

And this is all I have to write about tonight. It's been a busy weekend with calls from my kids (love it!) house hunting (maybe successful! woo hoo!) and company for dinner. Plus torch time filling a few orders (for discs!)

Talk to you all later!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A little purple in our lives

So you've probably noticed that I compare beads and life. I wonder why that is? hmmm

Maybe it's because the beads themself reflect where I am in life. Like the time things were so bad at work I made 'kiss my ass' beads. Those were fun. And sometimes hearts are the thing I just have to make. After going to the beach, it's shells.

Why is this set light purple/violet and gray? Is it calm? Maybe it's representing some calm in my life. Things settling down, boxes unpacked, looking for a house, getting the kids at school settled and following the class rules. Like, you know, don't throw art materials, ''this isn't the gym so quiet down!" "sweeping all your pencil shavings off your table onto the floor isn't cleaning up!", and on and on in that vein. God help me, I need patience! Other days it's just a breeze and then those wonderful things that do happen make the job so worth it.

Anyhow. If beads are a reflection of where I'm at, then these beads certainly show a calm and yet some fun. Fun patterns with a splash of color. Sounds like a good map for life as usual.

And as a postscript for my gentle readers.. EGA Etsy Glass Artists are having a three day 30% off sale. I'm in the group so in my shop click on the EGA category and you can take 30% off .
For other EGA artists go to this link

have fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Homemade Natural Cleaner

Another 'spacer' day. Relaxing and putzing around the studio and house.

Today my post is about something important to me. I work in a school and teach Art. The tables get so dirty, covered with glue, graphite, paint, clay, whatever. To clean those tables with cleaner from a store fills the room with a heavy chemical scent. It seems that if a person was transported into my room from say, 100 years ago, they would exclaim 'What is that horrible smell!' gag gag gag....But we are used to the cleaning solutions and solvents that we buy in the grocery. Look at the back of your spray bottle of 409 and see what is in that bottle! You are breathing in those fumes!
So I make my own very powerful natural cleaner. When the students come in my room after the previous class washes tables, they complain, 'it smells like vinegar!' and they get my lecture as written above. We discuss chemicals and environment and their own place in time as teenagers with growth spurts. I read the back of the bottle from a commercial cleaner. Then they write down my cleaning recipe and some of them make it at home with their parents. Just a little way of changing the world. :-)
Maybe you can do the same. This isn't fancy and it isn't pretty, but it's amazing. The best cleaning solution I have ever used on tables. You would be surprised at the dirt this lifts. I make it for other teachers in my school in hopes they aren't 'toxi-cizing' the kids when they clean.

Get a gallon jug
put in 1/2 c of dish soap (ok that isn't real natural...sorry!)
add 1 c white vinegar
add 2 T borax
fill with water

keep that in the cupboard or closet and use it to refill spray bottles.

Easy yes?

Yes it smells like vinegar but vinegar is a natural deodorizer and the odor gently disappears.

hoping you'll be a little more natural, step by step and we can stop using just one more toxic item.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Leaf me alone

Ok I just couldn't resist saying that.
But this really isn't about being alone. It's about fall. In Michigan the leaves change colors and it's so rich and beautiful. Cold! but pretty.
Here in North Carolina, there isn't that kind of change in the season for autumn. We gradually slide into cooler weather.
So today in Art class, I did a project with my NC students that I used to do in Michigan. You rub crayon on colored tissue paper to get impressions of leaves. Kind of like when we were kids doing rubbings of leaves and using all kinds of fall colors, creating these really nifty pieces of art. So the kids in NC haven't done that! A couple kids said "oh I've done that before!" and the majority hadn't. I couldn't assume anything. Like they didn't know you put the back side of the leaf up so the texture is better.
Once the rubbings are done on tissue paper, you cut them out and use white glue and water (mixed) to glue the transparent leaves on paper, layering them so the overlapped parts make a new color.
The kids loved it. And I smiled inside, thinking of the crisp autumn days, the maple tree in the front yard turning red first, the walks in the crunchy leaves and having the opening day of deer hunting season off.
Do I miss it? Yes..... and no. Life always has new adventures to enjoy. Actually this will be the first time I've been in a state that could get hit by the hurricane! I was going to be in a little Etsy art show in Charlotte this weekend, but am opting out thinking the rain and wind would be not all that good for a day of jewelry sales in an easy-up tent! We won't get the hurricane, according to the weather service, but we will get some wind and some 'gusts up to 20 mph' . Hey, I'm tough, but why get all my cards moist and wrinkly, and really wonder if anyone will be shopping. So I'll stay in my cozy garage and make beads and some jewelry pieces to take to a gallery. Sounds warm and inviting right now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

skull beads by Sharon Driscoll

Aren't these cute?
Sharon Driscoll, my good friend, has been making them and selling them on Etsy. You might visit her shop to see some really neat creations! See the link on the side bar to her blog which will take you to her shop. It's fun to read what Sharon writes. pr click here for her shop.

And that's my blog post for today!
I'm tired and want to go soak in the bathtub and nest in bed with a couple magazines. You know? It's Wednesday night and it sounds like a real good idea.
I have bath salts and know how to use them.


Monday, September 1, 2008

lampwork disc beads

This is what I've been up to. These are for a lady who is going to use them in a creation of a chandelier. I can't wait to see what it turns out like.

other than that? First week of school with kids. House hunting. Unpacking the stuff the mover brought to the rental. Just generally busy.
But we need to stay in touch oh my fearless readers. :-)
will be back soon!