Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Katie!

It was a little belated, but we finally got together to celebrate Katie's 17th birthday this week! Her actual birth date is November 19th, but having the luck of arriving 11 days earlier means every year she has to fight for a party spot just before Thanksgiving break. We had to wait a little longer this year because she had several friends who were also having their parties before the holiday, so she ended up getting two parties of her own! LOL One was dinner out at her favorite restaurant, The Outback Steakhouse, with just our family and two of her best friends on her real birthday. Then she had several more friends come over for pizza and movie night this past weekend. Fun was had by all, but I'm a little depressed to think that we'll only have her for one more year before she leaves us for college? EEK!

The whole gang, ready to chow down on birthday cupcakes and ice cream! *Ü*

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Lighting Webinar

I know a lot of you who read my blog are fellow scrapbookers and photographers, so I thought I'd post about a new Creative Techs webinar I just heard about, called "Lighting From A to Z." These are the same people who have hosted several other webinars (online seminars) that I've taken, so I can personally assure you that they are great. Plus, you can't beat that they're free! *Ü* If you're interested, click on the title link and check it out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Internet Insanity

This week, I think I went a little crazy…

Against my better judgement, I made a commitment to participating more on Facebook, but after a few days realized that my worst fears had come true...  

I'm hooked!! 

Combined with blogging, Etsy listings, and online forum lurking, I've been mesmerized for hours at a time—sometimes to the point where my bum has gone numb (I kid you not!). I should be working on a long list of remodeling projects, baking Thanksgiving deserts, melting glass, making Christmas gifts, mailing out cards—I could go on for at least another three paragraphs…

…instead, I'm compulsively wandering all over the internet following thread and links like Alice looking for the White Rabbit (ACK!)

Good thing my kids are old enough to fend for themselves and the hubby likes to cook dinner! Add all this to the fact that my family has also been pressuring me to join the Modern Communication Age and finally learn how to text them over the phone…oooooh, boy! I'm scared silly this just might send me right over the edge?!

There must be someone who is working on inventing the perfect "Anti-Internet" drug for people like me who are desperate to get some actual work done during the day? Surely I can't be the only one suffering from this illness?! ;-D

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wine Stoppers - Special Delivery

Last year, I gave handmade bottle stoppers to my extended family for Christmas gifts. I love to make my own gifts whenever I can, and these were great because I could create unique glass beads to coordinate them specifically to their own home decor and tastes. But sometimes I worry that the people getting the gift might have preferred something store bought instead? Turns out they were a hit with everyone—so that was a big relief! My sister-in-law, Andrea, loved hers so much, she even commissioned me to make her 11 more stoppers so that she could give them as gifts to her own friends and family! Here's the photos that I sent her recently to make sure she liked all of them:

(please ignore the black rubber gasket that slipped off on the stopper on the far right—I fixed it after I took the photos!)

I used some of her favorite colors and tried to show a variety of designs. I'm especially proud of the golf ball design, which I first made for my Mom's gift last year. I've never seen one done in soft glass before, so maybe I'm the first to try it? I think they all turned out rather well, don't you? I'll be sending these off to Andrea soon and I really hope the people she gives them to will enjoy using them.

Now I just have to figure out what to make for everyone this Christmas?! *Ü*

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beads of a Different Kind

Last weekend, my friend Lara and I took at class at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle to learn how to make mini sculptures in glass. Boy, was it a blast! Rachel Rader was our instructor and she was really fun and taught us how to make several different shapes on the glass rod itself. It was so strange working without a trusty steel mandrel like I'm used to, but it didn't take long to relax and have fun just playing around and seeing I could come up with...

(from left to right)

1) These fried eggs were the first thing Rachel taught us how to make because they're fairly simple and it was easy to learn how to "punty" them off the glass rod they were made on (a process of transferring the shape to another glass rod temporarily), before putting them into the kiln to cool down.

2) Next, we moved on to berries, which was a little harder than you might think. The technique of adding all those tiny dots next to each other requires a lot of attention and patience. I went for a raspberry and a blackberry and they look yummy enough to eat!

3) Then we learned the most complicated technique, which was how to create faces. Rachel showed us how to make a life-like human head with nothing but a butter knife and poker tool. When it was our turn to play, we all took different tangents and created other fun designs using the same techniques. Lara made a funny little alien that had us cracking up. I started out making the panda head, but halfway through, I realized that I wasn't quite sure exactly how their faces really looked. But I muddled through, laughing the whole time because of his funny expression that he ended up having. Doesn't he look like he's wondering where the rest of his body is? LOL

4) Next, I tried a more human looking face and made a little Flower Fairy. I love her little button nose and dimpled smile, but unfortunately one eye started melting down the side her face, which gives her bit of a distracted expression. I already have several other fairies that I know I'd like to make soon. Next time, I'll try to get those eyes better! ;-D

5) And finally, we learned how to make 3-D flowers by creating individual petals and leaves, then adding them to the center one by one. We only had 10 to 15 minutes to make them at the end of class, so mine is a little wonky because I was slapping them on so fast. But I loved this technique and it surprisingly turned out kinda nice in the end. I'm thinking these would make awesome Christmas gifts this year too!

Overall, this was a great experience and I'm so glad I tried it! This was actually my very first formal class I've taken in lampworking, besides the 2 hour quickie workshop I took about 3 years ago when I was first introduced to this art form. Back then, I learned how to make a simple donut shaped bead, and how to make and apply basic stringer to it. After that, everything I've learned has been self-taught by reading books, exploring internet message boards and tutorials, and watching videos and live demonstrations whenever I can. And of course, lots of play time on the torch! *Ü*

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CiM Testing - Round 5

I've been a busy girl these past few weeks, testing out the newest Creation Is Messy (CiM) colors and putting them through their paces. I love the testing phase—playing around with each one and seeing what makes them unique from existing hues and brands. The only down side is that I end up with a ton of weird looking beads because I like to put an emphasis on experimentation and seeing how they react on their own and with each other in various situations. But I did end up with some winning combinations and am still in the process of creating some more finished designs now that I'm better acquainted with these new colors. They're all gorgeous, and I'll be posting more about them over the next few weeks, especially the ones that fit in with the Pantone Winter/Spring fashion forecast! ;-D
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