Sunday, December 19, 2010

lampwork station almost ready!

Merry Christmas to me! While this little gecko in my Etsy shop hangs around here, I'll show you what I've been up to. :-)

This is something I have wanted to do for years. On the work area in this picture is the beginnings of a 'Barley box' named after the talented lampworker Michael Barley, who designed this set up. The lampworking torch is set up with this 'structure' around it, with enough space to work, and the ventilation is in the top. Because the space is 'enclosed' the fumes from the process are pulled out of your workroom through the vent that goes outside (which is yet to be week.)
I've tried many types of ventilation and this is what I've had in mind for ages but haven't had the resources actually to have it made. It's hard to find someone with the time and talent to do this. But luckily we have a friend who does work like this. He just insulated our garage walls and ceiling (thank you tax credit!) and drywalled, and painted, and carried the heat and cooling out there with a wall switch to boot. We are calling it the 'Garage-mahal' !! I asked if he could help me with the ventilation. He took a look at the pictures and went at it! He still will vent the box to the outside and line the box with a white metal. We started with a range hood that has 4 halogen lights in it. (woo hoo!) and the strongest fan we could find. Now, this may need to be tweaked. We'll test it to see if it pulls the fumes, the theory being that with it enclosed, and with the large tube that will go to the vent, and the short distance, this should do it. If not... it's easy to add a fan and the lighting and hardware is all there.
ahhh...... It's so exciting! I hope to post soon, a picture of an organized work space, ready to teach private classes in my own studio in metalsmithing and lampworking. Woo Hoo!! step by step it's coming together.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

finally back to the fun stuff

Finally! Since the bead show in October, I have had many beads to list and no time to do it. So today I put up some disc beads and hope to keep taking pictures and posting on Etsy.

One reason it's been difficult to make new things is the many orders I've had for some silver work, and another is the second picture. Our garage is getting insulated. Yay for the tax credit! But it must be done before the end of the year, hence, the speed (haha we put it off way too long)
as long as it's being insulated, then we may as well drywall. Soon a studio will appear and I will even have a good spot to teach some classes. How exciting! Our friend, Brian, who is as handy as all get out, even fixed it so the heating and cooling will work there. See the handy dandy switch on the wall? He is amazing. And ummmm see the mess on my workbench? Looks like there is some work ahead organizing.
Hopefully by Wednesday the sanding will be done, the drywall primed and the next step of putting the exhaust fan in will be done. It's going to be a great vacation over Christmas, getting this all put together! Maybe there will be some pictures coming of a neat and tidy studio space!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I took the plunge this week and had lasik. It was my concern when considering it (for years actually) that my close up vision would become bad, but after discussing it with the opthomologist, monovision seemed like the best decision.
I had the procedure yesterday and can gladly say seeing up close is still 'there' :-) Yay! time to throw away the glasses!
as I age (oh well.............) my close up vision has worsened in especially one eye, so that is now for distance. Optivisors will be handy but I tried a few things out today and it worked out great.
So back to the bench!! And the torch!! :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving week coming up!

What are you thankful for? Besides really cool beads. ;-) (which you can click on to buy in my Etsy shop)
Recently I read an article about a woman who wrote prayers , just simple ones, on scraps of paper, and put them in a box. After they were in the box, she let her worries and concerns be taken care of by a higher power. A beautiful story.
Another time I read of someone who wrote one special thing each day and put it in a box. She kept those notes' and each year. After a while she had a calendar of special events and happenings that she had written to remember great days. It may have been she planted flowers, or saw a friend or walked in the sunshine. She noticed the small pleasures in everyday life and looked for one every day.
A special things this week, I am thankful for.

My kids are all coming to visit! So it will be a great Thanksgiving. I bought the turkey today and it's thawing (yah right..) in the refrigerator. Now to get that guest room into tip top shape.
If I don't talk to you until next Saturday, have a great holiday and love your family. Give them hugs!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Next Blog

Do you ever try 'next blog' when looking at a blog? Most days lately, I have clicked on 'next blog' for three new blogs to look at. many times I leave a comment and wonder if the blogger wonders "who in the world left that comment? "

It's very interesting to read blogs I've never seen before
tonight's new blogs consisted of: a yummy pumpkin dip with ginger snap. I think it would be great for the Bunco group. a wreath made from a paperback book. Maybe something to do at school. quilting and nice pictures.

try clicking on 'next blog' and tell me if you find anything interesting!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthday Sale! is over thank you!

Yes indeedie, I am another year older. And today is the end of daylight savings. WOO HOO! my body clock is so thankful. The family teases me and says that it's my favorite holiday. :-)

so since I am now 57! (wow I remember being 3 or 4 years old and being way cuter--but I digress)
everything in my Etsy shop TODAY NOVEMBER 7th, 2010 is buy one get one 57% off. The purchase that is 57% off will be the one of lesser value.

You can wait till I'm 100 and it will be buy one get one 100% off LOL.

Help me celebrate! buy your beads, don't pay until you convo me for a new price. If I don't answer right away, I'm going out for Italian later on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!
We've had a fun week (haha) since my husband and I both teach at a middle school it's been a little crazy. The kids so enjoy Halloween. Monday they'll be sneaking candy into their classes in pockets and after telling them all "No candy in the Art room!!" I'll find wrappers here and there. I remember doing the same thing as a kid, taking candy that didn't have noisy wrappers!
We've been having a great time making our own books. After having 4 boxes of old computer paper donated (the kind that fed with punched holes on the sides) I have taught the 8th graders coptic binding. Sharon, my friend, suggested the project and it's been great fun. The kids are tearing paper and sewing and designing covers for their books. It is a super project.
Anyway.. here's one of my latest Etsy listings. A little lampworked bird. I have a few more and this summer, cast some silver branches to place the birds on, but I figured one could be on Etsy. This one is etched lightly and I love that porcelain/antiqued look. It's copper green glass, which has many personalities. Maybe you'd enjoy making a piece of handmade jewelry with this bead, or just hang it on leather. It's a sweetie.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Easy kind of like Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

since I have a bead set with a frit mix melted into it, I figured it would be fun to share a recipe too. it's been a while since a recipe has been shared on this blog. About time right?
A friend of mine who does weight watchers shared this with me and it's great if you like stuffed cabbage (I do!!) and also if you like to cut time out of that preparation. (sounds good!)

Carol's Weight Watcher Cabbage Casserole

1 lb ground turkey browned
one medium onion chopped
1/2 cabbage coarsely shredded
you can add 1 pepper chopped, but I don't
and you can add chopped celery (2 stalks) I don't

Now Carol cooks this and adds cooked rice. I put the rice in from the start so this is my variation on her wonderful recipe.
add 2 cups water and 1 c rice
1 lg can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper.

there you go! Put this all in a big pan (I use a Dutch Oven) and simmer until the rice is done.
yum yum
now that your dinner is simmering, go make some jewelry! I know where you can buy some great lampworked beads.

Fire Divas!!
check it out!

have fun!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Michigan Bead Show

I'm looking forward to being in Michigan this weekend for the West Michigan Bead Expo. It is at Calvin College Oct 16 for 10 to 5. This is a great bead show with all kinds of beads and many lampworking artists.
If you aren't too far from Grand Rapids, stop in and say hello!

Monday, October 11, 2010

think pink think teal

Ladies... while you are thinking 'pink' think 'teal' also and schedule that yearly gyn exam. ok?
I'm lucky to have had a couple great physicians help me and am now almost 9 years cancer free. I never knew that a clear pap doesn't mean you 'don't ' have uterine cancer. Did you? So if you have any unusual symptoms get them checked. Early detection is key. Scary? yes but even scarier if a tumor isn't found early.
So let's remember to schedule two appointments. A mammogram and a gyn exam/pap smear.
right! Pink and Teal ladies.... pink and teal.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ten things I like

1 freshly ground coffee beans
2 polar fleece blankets
3 flying to see my kids
4 floating on the lake on an air mattress
5 homemade gingersnaps
6 a glass of red wine
7 walks with my husband
8 toys :-)
9 sketch books
10 the Farmer's Market

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday beads

Ahhh the school week is over. It's been a long haul in Artville, getting lots of students on task, working projects, learning the art room rules. This year has been especially interesting since we have over 100 new students in our school. Where did they come from?
So there's been a bit of stress involved with finding seats, making seating charts, and setting up lessons for larger classes. My goal is to make the class a learning experience that will help kids enjoy art as a lifetime skill.
In the meantime, making beads has taken a back seat for about a week or so. I had an order to match some beads in the turquoise and ivory set that was listed in my Etsy shop. So there are many extras, since I just kept making beads with the same glass. Kind of a Zen like state and it does totally make me relax, staring into the flame (with special glasses on!) and just thinking of shaping the glass and melting to the optimal state.
So here is another set with my favorite glass combination. in my Etsy shop!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010




amazing. today a tree fell in the front of our school. it was a stately oak. I'm so sorry to see it go, but it has to go and so does the other oak. Safety is important at a school. Luckily this fell while kids were in classes. THUNK! it took out the flag pole too! I think of when this tree was planted and all the students who walked under it, how many hugged each other, or kissed. How many art classes drew a picture of it. Who enjoyed it's shade.
My plans are to be sure we plant a new one in it's place. 30 years from now, we'll drive by that 'new' tree and be happy to see it there.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

favorite beads

It's hard to show beads today since they are in the kiln! I've been getting ready for a show next weekend on Saturday.A blue grass and acoustic festival at Redbone Willy's
Does that sound like fun or what? So I'm working on some rings and bracelets mostly. Maybe you will show up at the festival for some fun!
In the meantime, here's one of my favorite sets of beads. In my shop on Etsy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

back to work

Teacher work days today, tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday. Then the bright shiny faces will show up!

Hard to believe this is my 35th year of teaching. Actually 36 if you count the year of substitute teaching. Amazing. If I put the entire 'sea' of faces together, what would it be like?

and umm.... I started teaching when I was 5 years old. yes indeed. That makes me 40 years old right now. hahahahah

a gecko bead for your viewing pleasure. In my Etsy shop.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Again picture taking/editing is the bane of my existence when posting to Etsy. These beads were such a challenge that I finally put them on top of my shelf above the fireplace, and wow.. the natural lighting there made at least the best picture I have gotten of these beads after working on it for several days. who would have thought after trying several different backgrounds, different places setting up the light tent, different lighting, that this worked. Not perfect yet, but better!
these beads make me think of hard candy. The bright transparent colors. It was harder to take a picture than to make them! They are in my shop on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Warm weather

It's been a tad warm in my studio (half of the garage) and the window AC keeps it 'ok' for the morning, but by afternoon I look much like this picture. Beads anneal through the afternoon and by evening I have some to clean. It takes me a few days to make enough beads to be in a good set, so little is on Etsy that's new. But I'm working on it!!
In the afternoon, we have been enjoying some of the fun that the Charlotte area has to offer and have been rather busy. We saw 'Inception' the other night at the I-Max. Great movie. My kids mentioned how much they liked it. It's nice to get recommendations from them because they have great minds and imaginations. I love to hear what they like and their book and movie recommendations are usually spot on.
It's the last week of summer vacation and we need to enjoy it as much as we can! We'll be back to work late next week with our teacher work days.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

the 'eyes' have it. lampwork today!

These are crazy! I was messing around with a couple odd pieces of glass and look at these 'eyes'!
The little bubble is from poking the hot glass with a tool and then putting clear glass over it. An easy way to have a cute little accent in a dot. The heat and glass worked together, reacted, and these dots make me think of eyes with the variations of color and depth.
It's always fun to melt glass because the fun just doesn't end!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Schedule of Classes

Here are the classes I will be teaching at Gaston School of the Arts

always on Tuesday evenings 6:30-8:30

oct 5 and 12 caged bracelet as shown in my previous entry $60 plus $15 materials fee

oct 26 and Nov 2 Introduction to Silver Soldering We will make a patterned silver ring
saw, forge and finish silver. solder with pallions and paste solder $60 plus $10 materials fee

more coming!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Back at home, and fall classes

We arrived home in NC last Sunday and this past week, I taught a kid's jewelry class in Gastonia. It was fun. The kids did all kinds of projects and it was neat to watch them use their new skills and creativity. It seems the biggest hurdle for them is to slow down and let glue dry. LOL

I'm setting up my classes for fall at Gaston School of the Arts. Tuesday nights 6:30- 8:30 on the listed dates, I will offer two week classes that are project oriented.
That's the goal anyway. That way, for students who took a class before, they can pick and choose classes that have projects they are interested in. There are no classes in September because I have two shows that month and can't deal with teaching at the day job, doing two shows and teaching an evening a week. Teaching one night is not bad, but the set up takes a bunch of time, putting together materials and packing.
The first session in early October is the bracelet pictured here. I think we'll have time to make either some earrings or wire rings too.
The cost is $60 plus a kit cost of $15 which includes all the wire and a set of my lampworked beads. These bracelets are so pretty and the skills taught in making them transfer to many other projects you can do on your own.
The class isn't up on the website yet for GSOA but feel free to call to sign up! We have a lot of fun together!

Monday, July 19, 2010

copper patterned washers

So you wonder.. where 'is' Susan lately? :-) I've been on a vacation but have still been listing a few things on Etsy. It's unfortunate that the computer I brought with me decided to take a nose dive, so I am unable to edit pictures. Soon I will be adding NEW stuff to my Etsy shop. In the meantime, these patterned washers are handy. I drilled holes in these and they are great for bracelets. Some jumprings, some lampwork, some mixed metals. Brass? Silver? These work great. Cool earrings too!
anyway it's been a warm and wonderful vacation and I've enjoyed seeing friends and family. Did a little metal work and lots of seed bead projects. Pictures of those later!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Challenge with the FireDivas

I love this group. It's a friendly bunch of talented lampworkers. I am lucky enough to be a member of the group. There is always some fun going on, sales, bead of the day, and some challenges too.
this challenge is for 'summer' and I put in it a bracelet of lively colored beads wrapped in silver. I have tried this bracelet with beads that have a design, but this is my favorite.
maybe you will go to the challenge page and vote for your favorite piece for 'summer'

just click on the link!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Isn't this the prettiest sunset bead? Unfortunately it's not something that can be sold or used in jewelry. It has the 'evil' devitrification.
I do see some lampworked beads on line with this problem, but to me, it's a sign of not working the heat in your torch correctly.
I've been messing around with some mixed glass powders and love this combination of glass and enamels, and powders, but too bad for this bead, it goes somewhere, but not into jewelry.
Devitrification is evident by a dull bubbled look. Can you see it near the flower on the right and below? Sometimes it happens just because I marvered (shaped) the glass with a brass or graphite tool. You 'learn your glass' and after a bit of practice, the issue is resolved by knowledge of what heat and oxygen combination to use.
And that, my friends, is why some glass color combinations are more difficult to find, and cost somewhat more. It also keeps working with glass always on a learning curve, and challenging fun.
more glassy goodness hopefully coming your way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

snake on the porch

Check out this visitor! I looked out on the porch and saw this snake and was pretty spooked. It's a 'good' snake. ok but why is it on my porch?
must be food right? I worried it got the baby birds in the birdhouse hanging on the other side of the porch, but there is a lot of movement in there so it must be they are safe. I can watch the birdhouse moving without any wind, jiggle jiggle, but I haven't spotted the Mama bird today. Hope they are all good and hanging a birdhouse there didn't put them in danger from ginormous snakes.

and look how long this snake is in the second picture. whoa....
so ok hopefully he/she won't come back. I turned on the porch light last night and there was a little snake. ok that's enough.
came home from work and there it was again. the little snake.
I put 5 boxes of mothballs around the porch and
under it. Hopefully that will help. A few people at work suggested it.
I never saw a snake like this in Michigan!!
In the meantime, I went in the garage and there was a bird in the garage! It was freaking out. Easy fix. I opened the door and shut off the lights, off it flew to freedom.

So spring in NC is interesting. I'm done being spooked by the snakes, and hope they decided to slither off to someone else's porch! Or we'll have to welcome the cat that hangs around on the patio and takes naps on the furniture out there. Think the cat could take this snake on? I wouldn't know who to bet on!

Wild Kingdom.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

crazy fun pendant beads

It's been a lot of fun lately making oddly shaped disc beads. I heat them, add extra glass, and dots and ruffles, to make a unique pendant bead. This one is so hard to list on Etsy because I want it for myself. It's a lustre glass and looks a bit like oil on water, then with the fushia kind of pink and the bright yellow, well, you can see why Bullseye glass is known for it's nice colors.
It's fun to work with Bullseye too because it melts a tad slower so the glass stays where you put it. The hard thing to deal with is that the glass won't work with Moretti glass. It will crack where they are melted together, so sadly, the two types of glass are incompatible.
It's expensive to have both types of glass, so my Bullseye collection of colors is limited. But this center pinkish red is so pretty, that it's tempting to just sit down and make a big order of new glass.

I have thought a lot about making a silver 'hanger' bail for this bead and wearing it myself. Thinking of making another one for sure!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Frog beads

Looking at beads in my shop. I love these little frog beads. A friend told me she told her daughter she had to kiss a lot of frogs before she found her prince. Maybe that's the 'draw' of the frog. Stuff fairy tales are made of. Lampworkers often call the green glass in this bead 'frog green'
I'm not real sure what the 'real' name is for that glass.

still working on new beads. I need to take pictures and post them on Etsy. with a show coming up, I'm using many of my beads in my own jewelry. (which is why I started lampworking in the first place)
It's fun to put things together and if another bead is needed, I can sit at the torch and make it.

way fun!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Torch enameling and lampwork

way back..... in the 70's, I began teaching Art. We did a bunch of copper enameling because in the '70's the thought was that art classes should be small. I was so lucky to have groups of 15 middle schoolers at a time, and we did big projects. Batik, acrylic painting on real canvas, were also a couple of the projects. It isn't something I would attempt with over 25 kids. Picture that... one adult 25 kids and pots of dye and hot wax. But we could do that in a small group. I will admit though, I 'have' done tie dye with big groups and it's a pile of fun.
A few left overs from that time in my life, are some copper blanks. It's possible to enamel using a torch, and I have been experimenting with it for a while. Here's one piece that was a success. It's a peace sign that I had in that pile of copper blanks from 'way back when' . How fun to have a 'real' peace sign, even though you can certainly buy a new one, it's kind of 'groovy' (couldn't resist) to have the real thing.
And then it had to have some bright hippie kind of beads to go with it. right?
It sure brings back some memories of bell bottoms, long hair, and of course lots of beads. :-)
click on the picture if you'd like to see it in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

ok I've been busy!

And this is what we've been busy with! My daughter's wedding.
Beads coming soon !!!


Monday, March 8, 2010

funky beads

Yes indeed, my life has been on overload for about three weeks. And in fact, there are still some very big, very stressful jobs to get done. Working on my torch is such a good way to relax, and let my mind go into a creative 'spot' A place where the stress just melts away. It's better than a good bubble bath. ;-)
This is what I came up with this weekend. It's ruffled at the top and dotted at the base. I so want to wrap some turquoise seed beads through the center and then make a seed bead necklace for this. In a few weeks, when things settle down a bit, I will, for sure be playing with these making finished jewelry. In the meantime, I am listing a few on Etsy.
It will be fun to see if others like them as much as I do!

Monday, March 1, 2010

a beadie talisman

A few years ago, I designed this bead. I was working in a situation that just became more and more difficult. Teaching art is a really awesome job until you have huge classes with over 40 students. I was hanging in there fairly well until the paycut. It just seemed that so many of my good friends were 'laid off' yah... like we never saw them again, so I would call that 'fired' . Having a fairly large paycut added insult to injury.
Art can be healing.
Working with glass is great therapy. I forget everything and it's just me and the glass, melting it, shaping it, and working the heat correctly.
The weekend after the paycut, as I sat at my torch, I decided to make masks. This particular mask design started with a cute mouth that is making a kiss. And then my evil twin took over on the torch......
I made a cute little behind for the bead. ahhhh the laughing at myself made things much better, and wearing the bead to work made things seem a bit easier too. I could present a happy face at work, and yet when frustrated, rub that little behind.
things are much much better in my life now. Regular sized classes, actual raises once in a while and actually a bonus several times. wow Being a state employee as a teacher has some real advantages, especially in a state where there is much support for teachers and how hard we work, rather than blame for financial hardships.
I still make the beads though, but end up wearing hearts. I love my job. :-) This type of bead was a great little talisman to try to push my frustrations into, and I still sell them because sometimes you just need to think something you can't say outloud.
this bead is in my Etsy shop. you can click on the picture to have a bit more of a view.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies

I am cleaning a shelf in the pantry and there are recipe books there, and a few loose recipes torn out of magazines. This must have come from the orthodontist office or some place like that because I didn't buy "Parenting" magazine in 2003. Do you ever sneak/tear a page out of a magazine in an office, silently ripping an inch at a time, and then folding it to fit in your purse? Or am I bad. ??
This recipe is much like a favorite one we have made for ages, but you don't grease the pan and you don't have to flatten the cookies so when finding it tonight, I figured it's time to make it or throw the page away.
So glad I made them! They are great. chewy too.
Don't be alarmed if you make them and when you take them out of the oven they have spread out flat and you can't get them off the pan because they are so fragile. Let them sit for about 5 minutes and then remove them from the pan.

Easy Oatmeal Cookies
1 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 sticks butter or margarine ( butter really makes a cookie keep it's shape better)
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 t baking soda
2 c oatmeal
2 c flour

cream together butter and sugars
add vanilla and eggs
add dry ingredients
place the dough by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets (I put 8 on a pan since they spread out a lot)
bake untill light brown around edges. 350 degrees about 12 minutes.

cool slightly before removing from pan

Friday, February 26, 2010

Faeries, chakra, and feeling centered

I'm thinking about my friend Sharon Berkan Dent today.Because I am wearing a beautiful dragonfly pendant she made using the lost wax casting process. It has stones down the center of it's body in the order of Chakra. Maybe it will help me be more centered today. ( right..........) In the meantime, it's the kind of pendant people ooooh and ahhhh over since it's so intricately made and beautiful. I am so lucky to have it.

Isn't her work gorgeous? A faerie like the one pictured on the right is also in my collection of her work. Her work is magical, and her skill with wax and casting is so 'there'. How anyone can get that kind of detail by carving wax is beyond me. Way beyond me actually since I have done some casting guided by Sharon and although my skills have improved much with her tutelage, I do know my limits!

Wearing the pendant makes me think of the people that were in the metals lab/class in Midland Michigan, and how much fun we had. It was my job to tell new people in the class that we took turns bringing homemade cookies and the new people had to bring them first. (no one believed me!) Over the 5 years of traveling to the metals studio weekly, we became a close group, sharing ideas, skills, gem stones, stories, and other fun stuff, like recipes and how to make scented lotion. (thanks Linda!) We even had a puppy shower one night. :-)

An inanimate object, in theory, has no 'powers' but is a reminder of times and places, souveniers of times in our lives. An engagement ring's meaning, the heirloom earrings from Grandma, a macrame necklace with a Lake Superior agate. These have those memories attached to them, as does my dragonfly and faerie. A centering of memories of very special people and special times. So my day may not feel 'centered' but it's all that much better to carry thoughts of loved ones.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

are you a tea drinker? I found this gem yesterday at Teavana.
The store itself is hard to find, but in Charlotte there is one at the South Park Mall. In Chicago, there are several, I think. My son got me hooked when for Christmas one year, he bought several types of tea there for me. The Yerba Mate is wonderful. Drinking tea everyday is great for you. Tea is filled with anti-oxidants which are healthy especially for hopefully keeping those mutating cells in your body at bay. (in other words, in theory, preventing cancer)
So I shop at Teavana, which is a great experience, sample their teas, and pick some up to be able to enjoy that daily 'cuppa' .
This infuser has a strainer in the top to put your loose tea, pour that correct temp of water over it, and as a general rule, I use water that has been boiled. Steep your tea, pull out the metal strainer basket and this stays hot for hours. Two glass walls (borosilicate) keep the water hot, and if you know me, you know I am into glass and not plastic for several reasons. One being, the flavor stays nice, two being you aren't drinking plastic and this is so much more environmental conscious, let alone nice looking.
You can put the tea leaves into the glass, but that could make your tea bitter since it will steep all the time it is in the hot water.
I am enjoying my tea from this, and tomorrow, taking the infuser/glass in my school bag to keep at work.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

fun in the neighborhood

Well -- fun in the next neigborhood actually. Lucky me! I was invited to play Bunco with a group of 7 other women. Being rather new to the area, it was great to meet some new people around my age, with similar interests. An evening was spent with good conversation, snacks, wine, and some dice. We will play again next month.
It's not easy to leave an area that we lived in for 30 years, and move away from long term friendships. One has to know, you have to socialize, and get out and meet people. Like after college but with a lot less energy. LOL By 11 or 12 oclock at night after a work day, I am fizzling out, unlike those days 20 or 30 years ago when we would stay out until 2 or 3 am. We have been so incredibly blessed to meet people and make some new friendships. Last night was a good example of a blessing. There are times that people don't 'need' a new friend, don't have time to make a new friend, and don't care to. They can be super nice people, but they have obligations and family. So to meet people who are ready to have some fun, and nurture a friendship is 'lucky' for me. Hooray for BUNCO!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

new toy

Here's a picture of what I got for Christmas. I can't wait until there is that 'free day' to make some jumprings and test it out. Chain maille is great fun to make and this should make getting rings the size I want a whole lot easier. Then the plan is to put jumprings in my Etsy shop. I imagine that isn't going to happen if I don't hook this up and play! First step will be to cut some 16 g copper rings for a byzantine chain. It's fun and easy to do byzantine in this size. A well cut jumpring should close with a 'snap' sound and the seam be barely visible. I have wanted to do Jenn's Pind also and that is a real challenge. But with two colors of jumprings, it could possibly be easier to understand.
It can be relaxing to make chain or it can make your eyes cross!
I'll let you know when I try out the jumpringer. My husband is such a nice guy..... he buys me tools for gifts. Hmmmm my kids do too. To know me is to know tools are a favorite gift.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February where has the time gone?

It's been a while! Blogging hasn't been the top on my list since Christmas. I've been lucky enough to travel to Tucson and wedding dress shop with my daughter. Her wedding is in April. Right now my job is addressing invitations which is way fun. The wedding itself will be in Arizona and we will enjoy a lovely spring break in a warm place. :-) What a great way to spend vacation, being able to see all of our kids.
It's weird to have a child marry, even though we certainly have anticipated this with happiness too since we so love our future son-in-law, it still is a new concept to me, having a married child.
Life is such a journey. It seems like yesterday I was in college with that long hair and denim bell bottom jeans, taking my art classes toward a degree in teaching art.
There have been so many joys and looking forward to this wedding just adds to the joy.

A heart bead that isn't in my Etsy shop, but maybe it will show up there!
Have a lovely day and to my Northern friends, a wish for warmth for you all and some sunshine too!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art Clay Copper

This is a great product! I teach silver metal clay classes and the cost to learn is somewhat high. A ten gram packet of PMC or Art Clay Silver is between $14 and $18 depending on the silver market. Lately it is closer to $18.
So I saw this art clay copper and found that it can be torch fired or fired in a kiln without charcoal or a charcoal pan for a half an hour.
50 grams for $15 what a deal!
The pictured pieces here are from one packet of Art clay copper. The piece that looks a bit like a clock is torch fired, the rest kiln fired. No problem at all with the torch fired piece! When I pick these up to carry them and they clink in my hand, they sound like heavy coins. And heavy they are, because I read that you should make the pieces rather thick. My next batch will be thinner. These were quick textured and cut just to see what would happen. It's cheap enough to play and not worry if things so wrong.
After they were done, I scrubbed them with a brass brush, tumbled to a shine, and then used liver of sulphur to antique them.
One thing I did wrong? One texture sheet had some dried silver clay on it and it transferred to the copper, leaving dark spots. You can't see them because of the antiquing, but when they say use separate tools for the copper clay, believe them. I had washed all my other tools but that particular texture sheet looked so tempting...... and I was careless. But no harm in this instance.
Now to hang these pieces on something to create jewelry. See the pair for earrings?
If you mess around with metal clay, this is something that was a lot of fun to try!