Saturday, March 29, 2014

Smaller Solder Bits - best explanation I've ever seen!

This is a repost from Joe and Anat Silvera's newsletter.  I've Joe's first book and will be looking forward to this one.  If half the tips are as good as this it will be a definite winner for any library.

TIP: How to Split Solder
Here's a quick tip excerpted from Joe's upcoming second book on soldering, Soldering Beyond the Basics: Techniques to Build Confidence and Control, which is due for release in June 2014. You can pre-order the book at
Splitting Solder
A little bit of solder can flow a long way. I've witnessed 1mm chips flowing up to 12 mm (1/2") or more along a seam, if the join is good enough. But even a tiny 1mm chip can leave extra solder to clean up. It's hard to cut them any smaller, but they can be split with a pick while they're molten! 
Here's how to do it: Cut, and flux a 1mm chip of medium solder on your solder board. Balance the fine tip of your pick on top, with just a little pressure.  [ A ] Heat the the solder and tip of the pick,and when the solder become molten, press the pick down, separating it into two pieces.  [ B ] Remove the heat, but hold the pick in place so that they don't slip back together. You can also use this technique on the solder even if it's already been previously heated into a ball. 

And here is the post where you can order the new Silvera book where so many fantastic tips are going to be published.  Honestly, you can never have too much information or new tips.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This is a GREAT contest and you've plenty of time to enter

There's nothing like a contest to get the old juices following.  I swear this winter has just slowed down most everyone's creative thinking processes.  We are all so ready for Spring to arrive in a more permanent fashion.  Bring on the tulips and the contests please!

Fire Mountain Gem Contest Schedule for 2014 

ContestOpensCloses Materials 
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Seed Bead ContestNOW OPEN
04/30/2014Any combination of materials on the Seed Beads web page
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Creative Clays Contest05/01/201406/30/2014Any combination of materials on the Kato Polyclay™, Cernit® and Premo Sculpey™ polymer clay pages, as well as the Vitrium air-dried resin page.
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Seed Bead Contest07/01/201409/30/2014Any combination of materials on the SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS web pages
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Contest10/01/201401/31/2015Any combination of materials on the Metal clay, metal beads, wire, chain, jumprings or findings web pages
Send your inquiries to or
contact us at (800) 423-2319 or (541) 956-7700

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sometimes Glue is the Only Way

Quite awhile ago I mentioned a site you can go to when you're just not sure which glue is appropriate for your project.   It's called Glue This to That.  This recent chart comes from one of my favorite places to shop Fire Mountain Gems.  I also see there's a new glue on the market that might go well with bead embroidery.  It never hurts to have a chart or two around the house for easy reference.  I've taken quite a few of mine and laminated them and put them on key ring.  They're easy to find and it's helpful not to have to remember everything. 

Glue Types and Information 
Best Use:
very light ivory color
great for gluing cabochons to bezels or attaching an earring to a backing
Use for projects that need a tight, strong bond. This adhesive is great for gluing cabochons to bezels or attaching an earring to a backing. It is very, very strong.
Special Notes:
Epoxy will only harden once it is mixed with its curing agent. This epoxy will not shrink or be affected by water, oil or gasoline. Make sure to use proper ventilation when using this product.
clear but cloudy, waterproof
for all uses excluding foil backed beads
E-6000 is formulated to meet high performance requirements and permanently adheres to most all materials including: cement, hardwood, wood, metals, aluminum, rubber, fabric, copper, leather, most plastics, glass, brass and much more.
Special Notes:
This tough, flexible and highly versatile rubber-based compound offers adhesive, contact adhesive and sealant qualities. E-6000 is waterproof, washer/dryer safe, paintable and is safe to use with photographs. The adhesive sets in 5-10 minutes and for maximum strength allow the bond to dry longer than 48 hours. Use this product in a well ventilated area. Store unused E-6000 at room temperature in a dry area.
an amber clear color
bonding gemstones to settings, refilling damaged cloisonné, bonding broken stones and china, and with other non-porous components
Mix equal parts together on disposable surface and apply with toothpick or craft stick. Let dry completely.
Special Notes:
Cures in 12 hours at room temperature; also UL listed for 20 minute drying under a heat lamp.
light tan, waterproof
all-purpose interior/exterior glue
wood, stone, metal, ceramic
This strong glue can be used in any project that doesn't require too quick a drying time. The glue requires moisture to cure, so your project should be able to get slightly damp before gluing.
Special Notes:
This glue is non-toxic, acid-free, waterproof (not just resistant) and stainable/paintable. Once it springs into action, it bubbles up like a cauldron, so be sure you have something to wipe up any unwanted glue.
sets in five minutes
Incredibly strong bond
adheres best to steel, wood, aluminum, ceramic and tile
Impact-tough, two-part epoxy with reusable syringe dispenser ensures an easy and even flow from each of the two parts
Special Notes:
Water- and solvent-resistant once cured
goes on clear and dries white
incredibly strong and 100% waterproof
bonds to foam, glass, wood, stone, metal and ceramics
Precision glue pen applicator for small jobs and tight-fitting spaces.
Special Notes:
Liquid glue expands three to four times surface area when bonded together. A little goes a long way.
bonds in just 30-60 seconds
works best with metal, wood and ceramics
Thicker formula for easy flow control with anti-clog tip
Special Notes:
Rubber-toughened to increase impact resistance
cure for 24 hours
Good for all types of work with fabric, textiles, leather, plastic and foam. This is a great glue to use for sealing knots.
Special Notes:
This glue was developed for the craft industry, as opposed to GS's other beading glue, Hypo Cement (below), which was made for watchmakers. Keep both on hand - one for bonding non-porous surfaces, the other for bonding porous ones. Both have a very fine applicator that makes it possible to glue with pinpoint precision.
cure for 24 hours
half-drill beads
Works for all types of non-porous bonding such as setting cabochons into a bezel or gluing glass beads together. Many beaders have also used it to seal knots, but see GS Hypo's fabric cement- that's probably a better bet.
Special Notes:
This glue was originally made for watchmakers. The tube has a pinpoint applicator that makes it possible to do precision gluing.
clear, flexible bond
gemstones, rhinestones, sequins, or glitter to clothing
Use this for any project that requires gluing gemstones, rhinestones, sequins or glitter to fabric.
Special Notes:
This glue is non-toxic, will not stain and is permanently washable.
clear, colorless, hard, can be colored by adding dust of the material you are working on
water proof, does not shrink, not affected by water, oil or gasoline
cabochons, inlay, bola findings
Use for projects that need a tight, strong bond. This adhesive is great for gluing cabochons to bezels or attaching an earring to a backing. It is very, very strong.
Special Notes:
Epoxy will only harden once it is mixed with its curing agent. This two-part epoxy has a nozzle that measures and dispenses the proper amounts so there's no guesswork on the formula. This epoxy will not shrink or be affected by water, oil or gasoline. Make sure to use proper ventilation when using this product.
crystal clear
medium gap filling
irregular surfaces
Projects that require instant bonding, such as gluing round beads onto a flat, vertical surface.
Special Notes:
This formula has special gap-filling and non-running qualities that are key when dealing with small beading projects. The fine-tip applicator also helps you get the glue where it needs to be and not on other parts of your work (or your fingers!).
crystal clear
surface insensitive, good gap filling
fold-over bails, 1/2-drilled beads, plastics, rubber
Projects that require instant bonding, such as adding a backing to a half-drilled bead, securing a cabochon within a bezel or any other project that can't readily be clamped.
Special Notes:
This glue is different than other instant glues because of the wide variety of surfaces it will bond to. It has a fine-tip applicator to help with precision gluing.
dries quickly to a clear, high-gloss finish
Mod Podge® is water based and cleans up easily when still wet with simple soap and water.
great for finishing fabric and paper beads
It's a glue to adhere paper, fabric and other porous materials to almost any surface, it holds tight.
Special Notes:
Mod Podge® is an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish. It can also be used as a sealer to protect decoupage, acrylic paint, stain, fabric and more. Great for scrapbooking and for use with the Paper Bead Roller. Snap-top lid. Made in the USA.
dries quickly and clear
A starter pack of favorite Mod Podge® all-in-one glue sealers in a variety of finishes: Matte, Acid-Free Matte, Gloss-Lustré, Outdoor (water resistant) and Sparkle.
It can also be used as a sealer to protect decoupage, acrylic paint, stain, fabric and more. Great for scrapbooking and for use with the Paper Bead Roller.
Mod Podge® adheres paper, fabric and other porous materials to almost any surface
Special Notes:
A favorite of crafters and designers for its versatility and value, Mod Podge® is non-toxic and easy to use. Mod Podge® is water based and cleans up easily when still wet with simple soap and water. Snap-top lids. Made in the USA.
clear, strong
The strongest instant glue on the market today when used per manufacturers directions.
crystals, knots, bails, cabochons, anything
Perfect Glue 1
permanent, waterproof
will not bond to skin, solvent-free and easy to clean up
wood, leather, cardboard, fabric, Styrofoam, carpeting, rubber, canvas, paneling, vinyl, upholstery, paper and polystyrene
Perfect Glue 3
strong, waterproof
bonds porous and non-porous materials, made to work on rigid surfaces
aluminum, copper, concrete, steel, marble, brick, brass, stone
the adhesive fuses within seconds
also use with paper, ceramics, plastic and other porous materials.
ideal for polymer clay projects
Signature Series Poly Bonder™ is an instant-bond craft adhesive designed for high temperature use. Brush-on applicator allows for easy and clean placement. Instructions included.
Special Notes:
Safe to bake at temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rolling Ball Glue Pen
acid-free, photo safe for repositionable or permanent bonding, non-toxic
all hobby and craft needs
self-puncturing nozzle tips, screw onto tube to begin
instantly bonds metal, aluminum, rubber, most plastics, ceramics, china, wood, pottery, jewelry and more
Make sure surfaces are clean and dry. Apply glue sparingly (one drop per square inch) to a single surface only. Spread with applicator nozzle tip, not fingers.
Special Notes:
Not recommended for: bonding parts which are subject to great shock or immersion in water; polyethylene or polypropylene; glass (do not use for reattaching rear view mirror to windshield); porous materials such as paper or foam rubber; avoid contact with fabric and foam materials
light yellow
all-purpose formula; self-puncturing caps, simply reverse cap to use; waterproof
ideal for bonding glass, metal, china, wood, fiberglass or any project requiring 5-minute set time for parts
Bonding surfaces should be clean and dry. Roughen smooth surfaces with abrasives or sandpaper for better adhesion. Dispense equal parts resin and hardener from each tube, mix thoroughly with toothpick until color is uniform. Apply to both surfaces, attach and hold together with clamp, tape or weights. Remove excess glue immediately. Recap tubes (red=resin, white=hardener) for storage.
Special Notes:
Product sets within 5 minutes and fully cures in 24 hours. Cooler temperatures can extend times. Not recommended for drinking water applications. Pre-check color by mixing small amount on white cardboard and view after 48 hours.
clear, flexible water resistant bond
water-based, non-toxic, for difficult-to-glue surfaces
plastics, metals, ceramics, vinyl, glass, painted and varnished surfaces, wood, fabrics, leather, paper
Use for any project that doesn't require a quick drying time. It can also be used as contact cement - just lightly coat both surfaces, allow to dry clear and press together.
Special Notes:
This glue is non-toxic, flexible, and water-resistant.
clear in 15-20 seconds
short "instant" drying time
Colorless and transparent, use on projects which require tiny points of epoxy, such as gluing knots.
Special Notes:
Features pinpoint applicator tip to control drops and spread. Resistant to chemicals and low temperatures.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Art Abandonment isn't just for Yarn Bombing

Often I make a bead or a piece that I “like” but maybe it belongs out in the world somewhere.  I’ve always liked it when I’ve seen yarn bombings.  They often provide a bright spot where nothing else existed.  And we could all use an extra smile now and then, right? Right!  I’ve known fellow artists who bury beads in their yards for posterity.  The ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) has always held a ‘bead release’ program in conjunction with their annual Gathering (conference).  They leave beads out in the area with tickets on them for entrance to Bead Sale at the conference.  It’s a beautiful way to get the word out.  I have been known to pitch extra beads from the car into the woods – same posterity thought.  Maybe they’ll be found – maybe not. 

But, maybe I’m going about this all wrong.  Beads are popular as a component in jewelry making or just as little bits like my Grandma’s old button box.  Treasure, I so love treasure.  To this end I found a few interesting things while doing research on this and I’m posting it here.  I think leaving that unsold earring or bead for someone else’s enjoyment might be a marvelous idea – both for the giver and the recipient.
Leave it to the deMengs.  There is already an organized group for this – if you’re into the organization of it and maybe want some feedback here are some exerts on this topic – via Northlight Books and the deMeng’s:

"Have you ever creating something with the intention of sharing it or giving it away with nothing in return? This is the concept of the Art Abandonment movement, which 7,000+ artists contribute to by making art and leaving it in public places for others to discover, keep, and enjoy, with no strings attached (well, unless string is part of the art, but you know what I mean).
Andrea Matus deMeng, coauthor of The Art Abandonment Project: Create and Share Random Acts of Art, wrote, “We all know that you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate art, but I do believe that exposure to the arts is invaluable (share this idea on Twitter) in helping everyone gain a deeper appreciation for what the artist contributes to society. Art abandoners are taking on that challenge to make a change, one piece of art at a time. For individuals who find the abandoned treasures, the arts come into their lives in a very direct and usually meaningful way.”

You can join the Facebook Group here:  Art Abandonment

The basic idea of this Facebook group is simple:
  1. Create a piece of art
  2. Photograph the art….preferably in the location it will be left.
  3. (Optional) Leave a contact tag, so that the “finder” can get in touch with the “abandoneer” if they choose to..
  4. Post the photograph on the Art Abandonment Facebook Group
  5. Wait.  With any luck the “finder” will make contact.
  6. If contacted by the “finders,” post the response on the Art Abandonment group page
  7. Repeat.
See more about this at Create Mixed Media
What are you doing with your art projects?  New Beads - Orphans?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bargello Beads

Check out the new beads.  Finally, a little time to get to the torch.  Of real interest to me is the bead on the right hand side.  It's a Bargello design - where the glass is pulled to create the patterning.

blurry close-up of the Bargello pattern of the bead

I love making these kinds of beads.  Bargello is an interesting pattern to make.  It's not always easy and for certain doesn't always go the way you'd like but it's always interesting.  Bargello patterns are generally done in needlework and the designs can blow you away.  I wish I could do more of them in lampwork but the one I chose to do is pretty straight forward.

I'm so visually oriented I thought I'd add a quick sketch. 

I make a base bead in the main color I'm using and then add stripes around the circumference of the bead, melted in.  Any color or variety of colors you choose is okay since it is traditionally seen in many colors.  Then I use my steel paring knife to "barely" drag it down the length of the bead.  Since steel drags and graphite doesn't it's good to use a steel knife to do this.  You are carefully pulling the lines down the bead - this isn't like a plunge and drag, which would be messy.  You lay the knife edge on it and gentle pull down.  When one line is done you do another going in the opposite direction.  This, once you are all the way around will create the pattern.  There WILL be ridges across the bead length from this - don't worry.  Gently melt the bead back into it's shape and roll carefully along a graphite paddle...remember, not much drag on this one.  Be gentle and it will reshape itself to a nice form without ridges - just pattern.

Remember the old crocheted afghans in a zigzag pattern?  Yup, bargello.  It's on clothes, on quilts, beads in polymer and glass, all over the place.  Above are some simple patterns but if you go to the link I included above you will see a ton of images you can use for color combos and possibilities.  Pretty cool stuff huh?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Revealing My Soup

As you already know I've drawn Shannon VeVart (German), Miss Fickle Media.  I'm underscoring her sites so you can access them quickly.  Shannon is a great designer and has an outstanding on-line presence where you can purchase so many of the parts we use to create our designs.  She is au courant in her designs and supplies so how can you go wrong.

This is the soup she sent me to work with.  Are you kidding - I'm like over the top with this.  First, I love Melanie Brooks pieces.  I've been an admirer for years and have several things in my stash.  And what's not to love with what she matched that with - it's like pearl heaven.  To top all of that off she sent me a plethora of silver findings, links, earrings, and headpins - and, and, and....holey crap. 

Am I a lucky gal or what?
I don't think I'll put anything yellow with it - gosh I hate that kitchen counter.
If you need inspirations for your work you don't need to look far.  Shannon has many images online that will guide you through your own designs and processes.  Some times you just need a little eye candy to get you going. 
Miss Fickle Media:
There you go - check her out - you'll love what you see.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Late Mail Call and GREAT news...

We had a short interruption in our regularly scheduled program to bring you Abel Joseph (aka - AJ) - born to my daughter and son-in-law on March 16th....two weeks early.  He's happy and healthy.  I can't think of a better reason for my bead soup to be held up for a few days - LOL.

Proud new Mom and Son - Day 1

 Just before this all came about I was planning to show you two wonderful things that arrived in the mail.  First, I had entered the giveaway by Earthshine Beads for one of her adorable chicken necklaces.  What was I saying about you can't win if you don't play?  Well, I won one of them.  And talk about a sweet person - she shipped it all the way from England.  The chickens have a special meaning to me.  My second oldest son and DIL have a 22 acre farm in North Carolina.  They've three horses and chickens - cats and a dog.  The chickens live in something we have dubbed "The Chicken Palace".  We should all have nice 'coops' like they do.  I love my new gift and I will wear it with pride.

The other mail call item was a heart I purchased from Mallory thru For the Love of Beads (Mallory's Blog).  Mallory was raising money to help pay for her daughters medical expenses.  She has a beautiful daughter called Jenny.  Jenny is being monitored for her multiple myelomia.  This is no fun and very expensive.  Recently it is what Tom Brokow, the newscaster, has been diagnosed with.  Hopefully that will help to get the word out in a bigger way and garner greater funding for research.  Look at the cool heart I bought.  Mallory is becoming quite the polymer clay goddess.  Thanks Mallory - I love this one!

More about my Bead Soup tomorrow as I reveal the contents of that box Shannon sent.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bead Soup here we come....

First please let me introduce you to my partner - Shannon LeVart - Miss Fickle Media.

Wow - maybe I need a nice profile picture.  Isn't she a cutie?  Better than that, isn't she talented?  I hadn't realized it before but Shannon had at some point purchased lampwork/ ceramic beads from me.  I never much keep track of where the goodies are going and was shocked when I was checking out Shannon's images while I was collecting some links for this post and saw one of my hearts on this awesome necklace.
I was excited before - now I'm ecstatic.
My soup to Shannon went out a couple of days late.  Unexpectedly my happy little pregnant daughter decided to go into labor two weeks early and I had to dash off downstate for a few days.  I rectified this situation quickly when I got home and my soup went out in the mail today.  And what does my soup to Shannon look like....

That's all you get!  Actually, you are going to have to wait for Shannon's reveal because I was in such a hurry to make sure this got to the post office I never managed a photo of all of it.  LOL  I hate being late with things and this time it nearly drove me over the edge - hence you only get this photo of the package...sorry about that.  There is a glimpse here and there but it's packed from top to bottom with things.  In the spirit of not giving away to much - YET - and since Shannon is patiently awaiting this package I'm not going to show you any close-ups of what Shannon sent until this arrives in Missouri.
But let's take a peek, huh?

Nice wrap huh?  I love it - brown wrap - cleaver.
And inside....
No peeks beyond this until mine arrives but Gheeze Louise - Melanie Brooks goodies!!!!!
Holy - hit the jackpot.
Thanks Shannon.  I'm already teeming with ideas.