Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inspired Design Challenge No. 1

Are you looking for a little design challenge to spark your creativity? I'm constantly looking around for new ideas to try, but I know a lot of people need a little boost or are suffering from the dreaded "Artist's Block" (and we can all certainly relate to that, right?!).

So I'd like to invite you join me in a fun new venture, beginning today: Inspired Design Challenge! On the 1st and 15th of each month, I will post a photo and during the time period in between, I would like to challenge you and myself to create one finished design or set of something based on how it inspired you. Your creative inspiration can come from the colors, textures, subject matter, or even the feeling or memory that you received when you first saw it. And anything goes—it doesn't matter if you like to work in glass like me, or prefer a different medium like clay or paint. I would love to see a variety of results, ranging from jewelry, wall art, cards, clothing, doodles—whatever your Muse jumps in and delights your heart with!

Here's the Challenge No. 1 photo, full of delicious Springtime colors from one of my favorite sources, the Design Seeds website:

Cupcake Hues

All I ask is that you keep your designs to a decent subject matter (i.e. no provocative artwork) and nothing politically motivated. Post a link to your finished project as soon as you can in a comment after this post and throughout the active working time of this Challenge I will share them on my Facebook page HERE, my Pinterest board HERE, or on the next Challenge announcement blog post.

Please post ONE photo and link to your project(s) by Thursday, June 13th. And don't forget to include what materials you used and how the photo inspired you.

I'm hoping that this will become something we will all look forward to each week and have a lot of fun sharing together. So let the creative sparks fly! *Ü*

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Tribute

I remember as a child growing up, seeing my Dad solemnly put up the flag on the house to commemorate each Memorial Day and realizing what a special meaning this holiday has. My Dad served for 25 years as a tough Gunny Sergeant in the Marines and Kraig's father served as a bomber pilot and P.O.W. before it was even called the Air Force. And even though both of them have passed on, we are proud to continue the tradition of honoring the sacrifices their fellow soldiers gave to keep our country safe and free.

This year, Ashley had the wonderful idea to buy two Stars & Stripes helium balloons and suggested that each of us write a note to our Dads to attach to them. Then we could release them into the sky as a special tribute to remember them by. Kraig and I LOVED her idea and released them over our neighborhood lake, just before the rain set in.

It made us both cry to watch the balloons slowly float up into the air, but they were proud tears and we felt their presence somehow…that they knew how much they were loved and appreciated for their bravery and strength, as well as all the other wonderful things they did for us in their lifetimes… This is definitely a new tradition that we plan to do every year from now on!

Missing and thinking of you, Dad…xo

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Frit Testing: Lilac Mist

I'm getting ready for what will hopefully be a fun and rain-free Memorial Day weekend with my family, but wanted to share a few things first! I just received several samples of the new frit blends from Glass Diversions and although I've only had a chance to test two of them so far, I can tell these are all going to be wonderful to play with! This blend is called Lilac Mist and has a lovely combination of purple, blue and grays in it.

From left to right: Swirled over Effetre Pastel Gray, over CiM Hades and silver foil, over Effetre Violet opaque, and over CiM Peace white.

I ended up encasing all four test beads since this frit tended to devit a bit if I worked it too long in the flame (which I usually do when just playing around to see what a glass will do). I'm sure if I worked it faster and cooler, I could skip the encasing layer if I wanted to, but I usually like that effect since it magnifies all the pretty colors and patterns. This blend is softly feminine and easy to work with—sure to become one of my favorites!

And are you wondering about the funky new shape in the third bead from the left? That was created using the Baroque Beadroller from CGBeads that I got while I was at the Whole Bead show earlier in the month. I've been playing around with it this week and having a lot of fun learning how many different looks I can get with it!

Someone recently asked me on my Facebook page what I used to mark the sizes on my graphite tools, so I thought I'd share my answer here too, for those of you who might be having the same problems? I first clean off the surface dust with a damp cloth and let it dry, then use a Silver Metallic Sharpie pen to write the sizes next to each cavity. (If you make a boo-boo, a little nail polish remover on a Q-tip will take it off.) I do this for my brass presses too, but with a black Sharpie pen. This really helps me when I make my notes for different bead designs and sets as a quick reference for when I'm writing up my listing descriptions for Etsy, and it's easy to recreate them any time I like.

If you're a fellow beadmaker, you're in luck, because Donna is offering free shipping this weekend on all her beadrollers! Just click HERE to get to her website, where you will also see how to enter her Giveaway for one of her Round rollers. I'm also doing this cross-promotional Giveaway with Donna and Amy from Zoozii's to celebrate a recently published tutorial I wrote, so be sure to read my last post HERE to find out more details if you're interested in a chance to win some great prizes!

And finally, let's not forget to take some time this Memorial weekend to think about our veterans who have lost their lives in service to our country, and thank our present servicemen and women who are currently serving here at home and abroad! *Ü*

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bead Maker Giveaway!

(edited to add: Congratulations to JCS in SATX, who was the winning #12 comment chosen by the Random Number Generator! Thank you so much to everyone who entered our Giveaways and please make sure to visit Amy and Donna's blogs to see who won their prizes too!)

Many moons ago, I submitted an article to Bead Design Studio magazine and was honored to have it accepted and published in their April 2013 issue. The topic was a tutorial on how I make many of my pressed bead designs using a nifty process I developed of "pre-measuring" the glass with one of my favorite tools before I press it into its final shape.

I especially love this technique with designs that have decoration on them—and any bead maker can relate to how frustrating it can be to have too little or too much glass when they go to press it and ruin the design or have inconsistent sizes. Having to keep this under wraps for several months was hard, but now I can finally share it with all of you—and not only that, but I've decided to do a special Giveaway to celebrate!

I asked my friends Amy Ouellette from Zoozii's and Donna Felkner from CGBeads to join me in the fun, considering that I couldn't do this technique without a lot of help from their fantastic line of tools. Amy makes her own line of brass presses and Donna makes her own graphite bead rolling tools—and I can vouch that both of these lovely ladies make some of the highest quality products on the market and are wonderful people too! 

We are each giving away separate prizes that relate to my tutorial through our blogs, so if you're a bead maker too, make sure to visit each of theirs to enter to win those as well! I bet you're wondering what they are, huh? Well, to start off, mine is a mint copy of the April issue with all the detailed instructions on how to make these Zebra beads using my special method that will give you perfectly shaped, decorated beads every time (as well as plenty of fabulous jewelry making inspiration!)…

And the actual beads that were published and shown here and a Surprise Bonus of a pair of matching copper headpins are also part of the deal!

You have up to THREE separate chances to enter to win this Prize Package:
1) "LIKE" my Facebook Page by visiting it HERE.
(Note: Liking my page doesn't automatically enter you—you have to leave a comment here on my blog too.) If you have already liked my Page, please comment with a suggestion for a new bead design or color combination you'd like to see me make.

2) and/or SHARE this Giveaway with a link back to this post on your own blog or Facebook site. You can share a link by either copying and pasting this link: http://loribergmann.blogspot.com/2013/05/bead-maker-giveaway.html or from my Facebook page you can click on the blue "share" word right under my Zebra photo to share it to your own Facebook timeline or Page.

3) and/or "HEART" my Etsy shop by clicking on the "Favorite" button in the upper right corner of my shop page HERE. If you have already hearted my shop, post a link in a comment to one of your favorite items in my shop and tell me why you like it.

For any of the above actions, leave a maximum of three (3) separate comments here after this post saying which one(s) you did, i.e. one comment for liking my fan page, another comment for hearting my Etsy shop. And please make sure to also give me your name and a good way to contact you if you are the winner on at least one of your entries.

Along with the above goodies from me, you can also enter to win the same Round Beadroller tool I love to use from Donna! Just visit her website's home page (click HERE) for all the details on get one for yourself…

And Amy will be offering your choice of two size options for the same Slim Straight Sided Lentil Trio press I used as her prize, which you can enter to win by visiting her blog (click HERE) and following her instructions

Deadline to enter is midnight on Monday, May 27th. 
I will pick a winner on Tuesday afternoon with Random Number Generator.  Amy and Donna will announce the winners of their prizes on their blogs then as well.

Good luck and please help spread the word to all your bead loving friends too! *Ü*

(Please note this giveaway is in no affiliated with Facebook or any of its subsidiaries. Any information you provide will be used solely to add your entry to this specific promotion event.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lynnwood Whole Bead Show

Today is the last day of my fun weekend sharing a booth with my friend Lara Lutrick and Judith Billig at the Whole Bead Show in Lynnwood, WA. I still have a few VIP passes left, so if you haven't had a chance to visit us yet, stop by and mention my name at the door to get one for free admission!

I've been having a ball with Judith and Lara every day, as well as getting to know our fabulous neighbors like Kristi Bowman-Gruel, Linda Landig, and Sheila Davis better. There are so many wonderful goodies sparkling at every turn and I admit I've already spent all my profits so far! But I promise not to enable you too badly if you come out to visit us and see it all for yourself (…unless you want me to!? LOL). *Ü*

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