Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fire Divas Summer Jewelry Challenge

Every few months, the Fire Divas has a Jewelry Challenge, where blog readers can submit their own jewelry designs using Fire Diva beads to potentially win some awesome prizes. So if you're a Fire Diva fan or are interested in hearing more about this fun contest, you can read about the rules and requirements here. To inspire you, here is a sampling of the great prizes you could win:

Good luck to everyone who enters! *Ü*

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Katie's Academy Graduation

Well, folks, it's official...Katie survived six months of military academy and graduated as a Corporal at the top academic level for her class! Yippeeeeeee!!! Not a bad ending for her Junior year, eh? It was a tough course, but she hung in there and worked harder than we've ever seen her work, even as at least 30 other girls from her Platoon either quit or flunked out of the program. Sometimes it's hard for a teenager with low self-esteem to realize all that they are truly capable of, and when they announced the graduating class at the end, she burst into tears when it hit her that she had accomplished so much and how she's grown after this experience. She did so well there and we're all extremely proud of her!

I wanted to post how many miles she can run now (I think it's 7 miles a day??), but the day after we picked her up from graduation, she left for a week long Business Training event for high schoolers at a nearby college. (She would have never asked to go to something like this a year ago! LOL) So I'll have to update you on that later, k? All I know is that she's now one very physically fit young lady! ;-D

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Beautiful roses are blooming not only in my garden, but all over my beads! I've been working again on the watercolor technique taught by artist Dolly Ahles and am really having a lot of fun with it. And now that I finally have the method down, I'm playing around with different color combinations—discovering which ones work well together, and some that definitely don't play as nice as I thought they would. Here are a few of my favorites:

I think they turned out so nicely, you can almost smell them! ;-D The only drawback is that each one of these beads took me at least 45 minutes to create, so at the end of one 5-1/2 hr. torching session, I only had 4 beads sitting in my kiln. There's just no easier/faster way to create this wonderfully layered, watercolored effect, but I think the time and effort is well worth it when I open up my kiln the next morning. All of these beauties have found loving homes, but I'm working on more this week to put in my Etsy shop and sell at our local Farmer's Market (only a few more weeks to get ready?! eek!) So be sure to check back later if you'd like to pick a special bouquet for yourself! *Ü*

Saturday, June 5, 2010

ISGB Glass Retreat

A few weeks ago, I attended a weekend retreat at Frantz Art Glass, hosted by the local ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) group. This was the third year I got to go and as usual, I had a great time! The weekend was full of wonderful demos from various artists, I got to re-connect and make new friends, and we all shopped 'til we literally dropped in the Frantz warehouse. I admit, I was a bit of an enabler for some ladies who first walked into the store claiming they didn't really need anything—but by the time I got through showing them all the beautiful glass I was excited about, they ended up buying more than they had planned on! LOL I can't help it—my happiness over discovering new glassy colors must be contagious?!

I also got to attend a special class by Kerri Fuhr, who is a marvelously talented and generous bead artist I have high up on my "favorites" list. She creates the most wonderful wildlife and tapestry style beads. We promised we wouldn't post unflattering photos of her, but I have one still in my camera that I think just might be the ticket to blackmailing her into giving me one of her beads??? LOL

This is one of the beads I made in her class that I was kinda proud of. It's a honker though! Kerri insisted we all make these humongous beads so we'd have more surface to decorate as we practiced, and it was a hoot sitting by Lara and seeing both our eyes bugging out as we created bigger beads than either one of us had ever made before. I can't wait to work on this technique some more (perhaps, on a slightly smaller bead?)!

This is my friend Lara Lutrick, showing us how she creates her marvelously organic Nebula style beads:

This is Scott Bouwens of Bearfoot Arts, showing off all the cool tools he's invented and demonstrating how to make a blown vessel with his Electric Spinning Mandrel (EMS). I ended up buying several new tools to go with the EMS I already had, and have been loving how much they help with my beadmaking.

This is Kathy Seamands, the owner of Creation is Messy, which makes some of my favorite gorgeous glass colors. The little cutie in her arms is Zachary and I loved hearing and watching him laugh. I've been doing new color testing for her for almost 2 years now, but this was the first time we've been able to meet in person. We hit it off the bat right away, of course!

I shared a hotel room during the weekend with my friend Ann and had a great time together, even if we both kept getting us lost while driving around town (and we had GPS!?!) Ahh, the trials and tribulations of the Directionally Challenged! LOL We also learned how to use bronze clay to create embossing molds for glass and how to solder wire and metal to create jewelry. Thanks to everyone who was so free in sharing their knowledge and skills, I came back from the retreat feeling refreshed and inspired to try many new things. My only complaint is I have more ideas in my brain now than there are hours in the day to do them as quickly as I would like! *sigh* I guess I better high-tail it out to my studio now, huh?! *Ü*
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