Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Find: Finger Tips

Here's a Friday Find that I can thank my wonderful nail salon for! I like to get my nails done about once or twice a month, because I use my hands so much for my creative projects and they end up getting a lot of "wear and tear"—and as a result, are in constant need of professional help! LOL

Amy, my favorite manicurist, was doing my nails one day and I was bemoaning how nasty my nails were looking because I had just finished working on a big batch of metal clay charms, and I had dark brown dust caked underneath and scratches from my tools all over them. Then I noticed the rubber finger tips she was wearing as she was filing my nails and **BOING!!** I had the idea of "why not try those for my type of work too?!" When I asked her more about how well they work for her, she kindly offered to give me a pair to try out for myself—and as you can see from this photo—they obviously have been working rather well! ;-D

I was going to take a cool photo of me actually having the tips on and working on something, but I keep forgetting to ask someone else in the house to help me with it. And since it's a little hard to file a tiny metal charm with both hands AND snap a photo of it, you'll have to use your imagination a bit, k? 

These nifty little gizmos work by covering your fingers with a soft, flexible rubber tip that serve to protect them while doing repetitive work like filing or sanding. I just use one on my thumb and pointer finger on the hand that does the holding. I love how the rubber surface also helps me hold the tiny metal clay shapes securely as I do my refining work, and are tight enough on my fingers that I can still handle the delicate unfired pieces without breaking them. After I've fired my charms in my kiln, I also use these when I'm doing any kind of hand polishing work too!

Amy buys hers from a beauty supply store, but I also discovered that office supply stores have these as well. They can be found in the mailing/stationary aisle because they are used to help with tasks like sorting mail, and are available in at least two sizes.

This is the box I found at my local Staples store—they're not a pretty hot pink color like the ones Amy gave me, but I think they'll still do a fine job. Speaking of which… I think I'm due to make another batch of my bronze clay oak leaf charms!… *Ü*

What kind of work could you use finger tips like these for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bead Soup Goodies

The other day I got a package from my Bead Soup partner, Jill MacKay—and here's all the wonderful goodies she sent me:

Aren't they cool!! They include several beautiful things from her own line of sterling findings and some lovely green faceted beads, blue-green glass diamonds, what I think are natural stone lentils, and bronzy-green freshwater pearls.

I love the green colors (I'm a Nature Lover girl, remember?!), but don't usually work with crystal beads, so I'm looking forward to the fun challenge of seeing how I can incorporate them with my own lampwork beads and/or mixed media pieces into my finished jewelry design. The rules of the Bead Soup Party are that I only have to use the focal and the clasp, but I would love to see how many of these components I can use. That's the beauty of the Bead Soup concept—being challenged to get out of my comfort zone to try new things out and see how they can expand my creative horizons!

hmmmmm… the thinkin' wheels are a spinnin' like crazy! …*Ü*

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fire Divas Team Treasury Giveaway!

This month, the Divas are breaking out all the stops and creating a fabulous treasure trove of beads to be featured in the Fire Divas first ever Etsy Team Treasury Giveaway!

Most of you are probably familiar with Etsy's Treasuries, which are collections of items illustrating a special theme chosen by individual curators. Well, the Fire Divas are doing something a little extra special! Not only are we creating a Treasury featuring many of the Fire Divas showing off their renditions of a "Bead Jeweled" theme, but we are giving them all away to four—yes we said, FOUR!—very lucky winners! All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on our Treasury HERE and "heart" or add all the featured shops in it as a favorite.

Only one comment/person, please! Winners will be chosen at random on August 21, 2011.

The best way you can show your love and support for the Divas is to make sure that you and everyone you know stops by to view this amazing Treasury! Please also take a few moments to spread the news by posting a link to Facebook or your blog, tweet it, StumbleUpon, or any other social media you prefer to use.

And in the style of those infamous infomercials…"WAIT! There's more!!"

Since some of our team members don't have their own Etsy shops, we're also offering a separate Blog Giveaway here to one lucky reader, who will win a wonderful prize from Patrice of Shepherd Creations!

To enter our Blog Giveaway (separate from our Etsy Treasury Giveaway!):
Please leave a comment HERE on the Diva team blog (and please make sure to include the best way to contact you!) and one winner will be chosen at random at the same time we pick the other four Treasury winners.

They say that a person's greatest treasure is their friends—and you, our fans—are some of our greatest treasures too! Thank you very much for your support from all of us here on the Fire Divas team!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beachcomber Style

I love all things relating to the ocean and have recently been working on a new "Beachcomber" series inspired by it that I'm pretty excited about! One of my favorite things to do on the beach is comb it for bits of colorful beach glass, unusual rocks, and pretty shells. And I'm always thinking of ideas on what to do with them (besides stick them all in a clear jar on my shelf), but it's kind of hard to find pieces that are easy to drill a hole in to make jewelry with. So I figured it would be easier (and almost as fun!) to create my own "faux" beach glass and other ocean inspired beads out of glass to use. So here's what I've working on lately…

This is one of my "Tide Pool" heart focals, made with a lovely pale aqua glass that has tiny seed bubbles in it—looks like it's really underwater! Then I layered on some of my handmade silvered ivory shards (thin pieces of glass that are blown into large bubbles and broken apart), a fun starfish, and my handmade "barnacle" murrini. I love the cool 3-D effect on these beads and plan on offering them in several other starfish colors.

Next, I have my "Beach Pebbles" and yes, they're all made out of glass too! I've given them soft facets and dents, then etched them to look like they really just tumbled onto the beach…

And then some of my favorites—my faux "Beach Glass" that I've created into organic looking disks with a hole in the center, and also etched to a velvety finish. They look so much like the real thing, even *I* have a hard time believing I didn't find them on a beach somewhere (except the hole gives them away! LOL). I'm also making these in other colors, such as pale aqua and amber.

I'm working on these Beach Glass beads in other shapes and also have coordinating spacer beads made out of the same seeded aqua glass as I used for the Tide Pool hearts. You can find all of these new beads in my Etsy shop HERE.

I created similar beads last year to make this cool bracelet that was featured in Bead Trends magazine, but I haven't really dedicated myself to creating a series until now. But my Muse has been urging me on and I'm working on other coordinating designs that I hope to blog about soon…while the great ideas keep flowing and before I lose my beachcombing mojo! *Ü*

P.S. ~ And don't forget that I'm offering up to 20% off all my finished jewelry and selected beads from my shop throughout the entire month of August, with new sale items being listed to my "MEGA PromoFrenzy Special" section all the time! You can also search for great deals from all the other PromoFrenzy Team shops that are participating by either clicking on the links in my sidebar, or searching for the "promofrenzyteam" tag. ;-D

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Goin' to a Bead Soup Party!

Yippeeeeeeeeeee!!! I've been waiting for a year to get invited, ever since I first heard about the Bead Soup Party! This is a fantastic blogging event that happens only twice a year, created by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. Everyone who signs up (including yours truly!) gets assigned a partner and we send each other a focal, some coordinating spacers or beads, and special clasp. Then it's up to that person to create a beautiful jewelry design out of those elements and some of their own supply stash. When we're finished, all the participants share their designs on their blogs and visit all the other blogs in the event—for one HUGE blogging party filled with amazing eye candy!

I'll be sharing more, once I get my packet from my awesome partner, Jill MacKay. In the meantime, you can read all about this event on Lori's blog, HERE. Now I need to figure out what to send Jill and what to wear to the party—even if it is only in Cyberspace!! LOL

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pantone Color Forecast: Fall 2011

It's getting to be that time of year again…when the lazy days of summer slowly wane and morph into the crispness of Autumn (one of my favorite seasons of the year!). So for my fellow designers and fashionistas around the world, I'm excited to share with you Pantone's Fall 2011 Fashion Color Report:

Oooh…aren't they all just scrumptious!?! You might recognize Honeysuckle from the Spring forecast and I'm happy to see that it is still being featured since it's one of my favorite shades of pink. I love all the rich, warm colors here and how they complement each other so well—makes me feel like sitting down in a cozy sweater, in a comfy chair next to a crackling fire, sipping hot chocolate…mmmmmm

“Designers take a painterly approach to fall 2011 by artfully combining bright colors with staple neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art,”
said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette.”

Now if that quote isn't a siren call straight to any designer's heart, I don't know what is!?! I've already been busy working on some new bead designs inspired by this lovely palette and will be introducing them here and into my Etsy shop soon. And I'm really looking forward to doing more of my color comparison reports for glass lampworkers too, so stay tuned! *Ü*
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