Friday, September 30, 2011

From This to That - An Earring Makeover

I had some orders to fill and found these very old earrings sitting in a tray of unsold earrings. I wasn’t sure how long they had been around until I started to fool around with them today. Since I am pretty good at signing original things I was able to figure out when they were originally make – 1997. It had my name and date on the back. The fact is they held up pretty good for just sitting around ”carded” up for a show.

Everything then was a little slicker and not so mixed media and, obviously, they didn’t sell since they are definitely a mix of metals and incredibly plain. It just was kind of a plainer time for those things here in a rural area. In the cities – not so much. And look at the length of those ear wires! The first thing I did was took them off the earring body. They are definitely getting redone to a shorter length.

I decided to update the look a bit and see what would happen if I put them up for sale. Added a huge solid copper rivet - some curvature – holes for handmade beads. I shorted those earrings wires by about a quarter inch and added some hammering.

So far, so good. I've still a new finish to add with a lot more antiquing. Those beads (yet to be made), and back on go the earring wires after a good polishing.

I’ve two more pair to play with and I’ll update you after the last step to these.

I guess it goes to say - Anything can be recycled and maybe I better dig around some more.

Have a great day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Playing with Silk

I'm not totally sure where I'm going to keep using the recycled sari silk but I have to tell you I just love the feel of it and am going to keep incorporating it in my work. I purchased a bundle of colors a couple of years ago at B&B and have been hoarding it. There was a pink strand that just seemed to suit these super feminine pair of earrings. And, if you don't like it - well, they're just tied on. But these are soooo cute on your ears with them.

I made the earrings out of some lampwork discs I hadn't listed on Etsy yet and I think I'll make more of those earring wires. There's some cathartic that happens when pounding with a hammer.

There are a lot more designs to get out of the sketchbook and onto the work table....ah, sweet metal therapy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Inspiration - Customer Appreciation Sale

I needed a few pieces of paper for background or maybe a collage and decided to take a short fall trip up to Gaylord to visit the Hobby Lobby. They've a brand new one and I just love it. Some of what is fun to see are all the displays. and most certainly there is fodder for a bead or two in that mix of decorations. Besides, it's like cider or apples in the Fall it feels so gooooood to get into the Season!
I also found this cute display of Peace Signs and great colors I thought I'd share here. And, look at the design possibilities with those flowers.....

Frankly, I am NOT ready to even think about this..........but, if the Lobby has those displays up it must be time for me to make snowmen.

Have a great day and don't forget - Customer Appreciation Sale on Earring Beads is still going - Use the coupon "Earrings" at the Etsy check out to get 10% off on any Earring Bead Set!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Customer Appreciation Sale - Silly Sunday

This is Che Che. LOL - a friend from Brazil tells me those are female body parts. Officially she is Che Che Rodriguez Hogan. She was my Mother's fur baby and we inherited her when Mom passed away. Looks like a pleasant enough dog, huh? Think again! She's a terror - the boss of the roost and the retrievers will make a large path around her when she's having a "mood". Even the feral cat from the garage won't mess with her. You gotta love a dog with moxie.

This is our youngest retriever - Technically, Gertrude Jean. We call her Trudy. The little Bug (part Boston Terrie and part Pug) is my DD's dog - Penny. She was "hanging out" with Trudy for the Wedding.

This is both retrievers. They love a good trip to the Dairy Queen. The white faced fur baby behind Trudy is Nellie Belle. She is the eldest at 12 years. She is like the princess of the clan. Always sits erect, crosses her front paws, prissy (except with water - she thinks every water is a bath tub to be jumped into), she is also like a bull in a china shop. Absolutely no sense of her size. There may be plenty of room to walk and she steps on your feet - hits you with her butt - and gallops like a horse.

I love animals - it's constant humor.

Let's not even begin to talk about the feral cats born in the garage last winter. They now hang around the front porch and love to line up for hot dogs with what my DH calls "the girls". My son calls it the Zoo and call the dogs the "Sisters of Chaos." Never a dull moment.


Don't forget, I have a sale going on! Good prices on earring beads - topped off with the sale - it's a real deal and just in time for those winter gifts or art shows......check the previous blog post for the Etsy coupon.

Customer Appreciation Sale

Customer Appreciation Sale

I’ve received such wonderful support from my customers – so many have become friends through the many years I’ve been a shop owner on Etsy – that I am often overwhelmed by their kindness. And, don’t think I don’t know and understand what a patient and supportive group you’ve been too! In return for what you’ve given I’d like to offer a perk.

All customers can use the coupon code “Earrings” to purchase any of the Earring Bead Sets (they are all listed under the Earring Set Section in my Etsy Shop) at 10% off the listed prices!

I will continue to add on more earring sets throughout the SALE (ends on October 1st - 2011) so get ‘em while they’re hot AND on sale. Check back daily for new listings – I’ll be adding at least one set per day. You can even have me save them for the end if you’d like and I’ll bundle them up into one large shipment at one great shipping price.

Thanks again for everything – and have a great week!

Friday, September 23, 2011

You've Got to Love the Hippie Look

I've just posted a fun earring set of beads on Etsy - It reminds me of the tie-dye shirts I used to wear. I think I even have an old Batik dress upstairs too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Love working in Triads

I thought I’d show you an interesting triadic color combination I’m working with. One of the traditional ones you see – a kind of knock your socks off color explosion – is Red, Yellow, Blue. Usually it’s most noticeable in Fire Engine Red, Cobalt Blue, and Sunshine Yellow. Any triadic color scheme will work. Any triangle around a color circle will pop.

The house colors are a more subtle, but traditioanl color combo - Also, Red, Yellow, Blue. and isn't it magnificent on this house?

This is what one color harmony site had to say:

A Triadic color scheme has three hues from an equidistant from one another on the color wheel - such as red, yellow and blue - or orange, violet and green, blu-green, red-violet and yellow-orange.

• Like the complementary color scheme - triad harmonies can be vigorous, but they can be subdued as well.
• Example can be Red which might be translated as mahogany or blue as French grey or yellow as vanilla.
• Thus when used in subdued checked unity than the over all effect is one of well rounded balance.

This ia another Triadic Color scheme that pops up again and again in homes, beads, furniture, artwork and so on. You can also look at one of many of the Color Chart sites for color tips when you're feeling "stuck" on that next great lampwork project

Look at how well that scheme translated into this painting. Again, it's subtle but it works!

This is what I strived for in this bead set. The base color is a translucent yellow –one of those glass rods that is annoyingly not a great opaque yellow – but it does have the quality of being subdued and since it is translucent it has enough clear in it to hold the layers above in a crisp pattern. From there I had to chose the red’s and blues. If I’d of gone with the same shade of each of the colors it would have matched (you know – the bright Yellow, Blue, Red) but it may not have popped or been as appealing.

One of the things I look at when I’m perusing other peoples work is not just looking at the techniques. When it catches my eye I try and analyze why I was drawn to it. We do it with clothing, advertising, well – just about everything. The next time you find yourself wistfully looking at something that’s caught your eye think about why and translate it into your beads. It’s kind of like finding your muse.

Monday, September 19, 2011


It's always a hurry up and wait thing for me with Etsy. I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to list one day a week. Get them all up at the same time and then do it again the following week with one weeks worth of work. What do you all think would work best?

New pieces are up on the site and our photography is improving. Photography is a art all on it's own so it can be difficult to get them right.

Here's one of the latest! Why not combine my favorite things - Hearts, birds, the new flower petal look. All I need to add is a skull and a disc and I'll have them all covered - LOL.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Silly Sunday

This I how I looked when I woke up this morning

This is my DH when he looked at me

And this is what I thought of his reaction

Like I care big boy! After thirty years this is how I roll. Rolling right on to the couch with my coffee, my hair, my PJ's, and the Sunday paper. The torch is not going to care how I look either.

New listings on Etsy are up and there will be more listed tonight. Whoo Hoo! Let's hear it for SUNDAY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gaffer and Other Purple Rose Examples

I'm showing you the many purples in my life. The most important is the test run of the new Gaffer colors. I guess I really like the color because I seem to have plenty of it around.

The first bead on the left was my weak attempt to emulate Lara Lutrick's great twisted Purple Rose examples I mentioned from her blog. This bead is made of both colors over a base of opal white. I had a heck of time with devitrification and when I would clear that up I'd lose the color - that was annoying, but I don't think it was the glasses fault. It was user error!

The center bead was a squeezed example that is just beautiful and is encased with Gaffer clear. It did blanch out the rich tonal purples but it is a lush bead close-up that looks like layers of watercolor.

The bead on the far right - It was a mix. I used the purples, a luster clear, and blue chalcedony. I used the organic dripping process by super heating the bead and letting it flow. This bead has no encasement and was squeezed. Do I like the glass? - works very easily.

I just need a few more sessions at the torch with it. And considering some of the silver glasses and their learning curve this Gaffer is a joy. But then, I like Gaffer - they make a nice glass. Considering how much Italian glass I have around here that's no small statement.

It's going to be a great a purple fall around here so I'm adding in pictures of my other current Purple examples:

Flowers sent my by youngest son and his wife for my birthday. I LOVE that deep rich burgundy purple on that Calla Lily.

And then, I guess my foot had to get into the act. I was so excited about torching I wasn't watching what I was doing in the fridge and knocked a shelf off of the door (in defense of my clumsiness it does have a broken attachment). It was like a three story crash - shit! This Vlasic pickle jar came down full force on the toes....the now purple rose toes. It's also looking like they could use some lotion - macro does NOTHING for feet.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Gaffer Purples

It's been all over the Lampworking forums - this great new purple glass from Gaffer that replaces the Zimmerman 99. After seeing Lara Lutrick's write up on her blog and testing results that was it for me - order placed.

I also hadn't ordered the Blue Chalcedony they came out with so I picked some of that up too. The rods are totally great looking and I love that they sent a variety.

This glass is a lot of fun - It's loose - like an Italian Ivory so it's not so stiff and it's easy to use. I've already got some pieces to post for sale on Etsy.

Who's Got the Button

Hey, my tool arrived. Actually it arrived before the wedding or right after it but we've been hopping here. I have the old (I think they are) Trimlett button mandrel that looks like a hot dog cooker for the grill but much smaller. They served their purpose and worked but this one - well, it's just way to versatile to pass up.

Who knew Barb Reed is from Michigan - not me! Thanks Barb. I am definitely going to have a great time with this and as soon as I make some buttons I'll get them posted here and give you a shout out.

If you want one go to River's Edge Glass. She's a darn good lampworker too!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Glass Goblets

It’s not a bead but it is glass. If I’d of had time I’d of disassembled some wine glasses and made some crazy stems for them using clear boro and glued them onto the goblet/ and base. Alas – Our Daughter’s wedding was one week away when we decided these went so well with the outdoorsy country chic theme. First we made these great chandeliers for hanging wired mason jars off of with tea lights. And then Mom had an “ah ha” moment and saw a design for the wedding goblets. Since I’m no artistic wuss I went in search of the various parts.

So easy – we used ½ pint mason Jars that are tall. They also come in an 8oz. kind of short jar. But, with the candle holders we had chosen this was the best possible alternative. She loves them. We wrapped them with raffia on the handles and some silk flowers and name tags – it’s how the bridal party found their seats at the table. We answered a million “How’d you do that” questions so we knew they were a hit.

Okay – so it’s not a bead – but it is glass. And, what I used to glue the two pieces together. Its special glue I purchased at “His Glassworks”. It’s glue that has GUSTO. This stuff works so very well on glass to glass pieces. I have not tried it on glass to metal yet. I absolutely believe that its tensile strength is such that the glass will crack before the bond lets go.

See, I’m always doing something in the same glass driven vein………..Hope you like the goblets

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you on 911?

On the National Geographic site they have the 25 most unforgettable photographs of the 911 attack. They are worth seeing, they are not pleasant to look at, and they should never be forgotten. Where were you when it happened?

I was at work. We had access to televisions and were called immediately by family members who saw the breaking news stories. Everything stopped – since I worked at a residential facility for delinquent youth I went to the classrooms and gathering my group of kids and brought them back to a dorm area where they could also see what was happening. The kids watched it with us. It was awful – the kids were upset, angry, bewildered, we all were. You have to be careful how you react to things in that setting but it was hard not to – we were in shock. It was difficult to process the kid’s reactions to what had just happened and keep control of your own emotions.

I’ve had ten years to process that day. You look back at the various reactions and I realize I was sitting in this reflection of the general population (although a lot less worldly than adults). Some of the youth (a very small percentage) were interested, although somewhat indifferent to what had happened. They represented a rather traumatized and desensitized community. Another percentage – on the other end of the spectrum – had to be comforted. They are the super sensitive of the community, mostly victims who felt it to their toes and no doubt had nightmares later that evening. The majority had emotions ran wildly like a roller coaster. I, for one, fell into that group where I was angry, sad, panicked, and empathetic to the New Yorkers – the families I knew were watching with me and screaming in terror for their loved ones.

When you work with families, and children, and have both yourself, your mind just goes there. No one will forget that day, or the many other milestones we have witnessed. What a generation to belong to – may we someday find Peace for All.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Resource

My oldest son - My machinist at heart send his GOM (good old Mom) a birthday note and a U-Tube to watch. Okay, he gets Mom and he makes me these little "goodies" that I love and use. My Arbor press for lining beads is just a joy. Anyway, he thought I'd enjoy this U-Tube video of this machinist who is making a jewelry stake. Loved it!

Hello - why I didn't know about this fellah is beyond me, but I didn't. What a find for a tool freak like myself - - - and he makes pancake dies I can use in my hydraulic press. His name is Potter. Otto Frei apparently carries his line of tools but you can get them directly from his web site. I don't think he realized what a find he sent me but I'm sure glad he was thinking about me.

Maybe you'll like it too! It's from Potter USA - and to get to the web site - Google it - you'll end up bookmarking it for your resource list.

Thank You Bob - Love you too!

Friday, September 9, 2011

All I needed was a Gnome!

LOL - They had a repeat of the "Closer" the other night and it was the one where someone used a poor garden Gnome to, uh - - - off the current weekly victim. I have to admit, the poor Gnome did look a little ruthless. I didn't have one invited to the wedding but maybe I should have.

This isn't the Gnome. But, I had to tell you about these poor guys. Apparently - somewhere in Europe - and my friends over there beyond the great ocean please forgive me for not remembering the country - someone(s) decided to Free the Gnomes. They liberated them from yards and gardens and put them in other places. I wonder if they would of wanted my Mother's Gnome. He was a happy sort and slept in her garden. Eventually he was liberated to my daughter's yard.....and I don't think he's interested in a European tour. Gosh, maybe he (she - how can you tell? - pants?) would let me go in their place.

I didn't get time to play at the lake this year either. But if I did I'd of made one of these sand tributes. Mine would have just had the pointed hat sticking out of the sand and maybe a hand reaching out. I'm not one to put out energy in the sun, on the sand, while sweating bullets, and looking at some skinny chic next to me.

And to finish my little tribute to about the only thing I didn't have at the wedding...but we do have them in Michigan - Mushroom houses. This one is famous and is in Charlevoix. It's where I would imagine a Gnome might live if he had a choice. We have entirely too much time on our hand during Winters in Michigan.

Maybe tomorrow I better make a little glass Gnome - or two. Since it's time to get my fingers back to the torch it sounds like a fun place to start!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Does he look nervous or what?
The wedding bells have chimed and Katie and her adorable DH (Joel) have headed home. The tents are down; porta-potties are gone (whew!), all the decorations packed up, and extra food divvied up between neighbors and family.

Back to the beadmaking and jewelry : - ).

It was a great time.