Friday, February 28, 2014

"Clean Up, Fix Up Your Workspace" Blog Hop

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a notice on my Facebook news feed by Sharyl's Jewelry, asking if any fellow bead hoarders lovers would like to join her in cleaning up and organizing their work spaces, then share the results on a blog hop? This was a providential sighting for me, as I had been going quietly crazy trying to work around the chaotic mess of my studio. So I jumped right on in and signed up—knowing that being held accountable for blogging about it would be just the kick in the pants I needed!

I actually have two separate studios—one in the garage for making my glass beads and firing metal clay, and another one upstairs for making jewelry and all my other creative endeavors. My glass studio is only about 1/20th the size of my other one and is limited to basically the area of my work table and not much else, so it seems that I am constantly fighting to keep it in a decent production mode—no easy task when I am often on the torch for four to six hours a day and then spend a few more hours upstairs cleaning beads, packing up orders, photographing, and marketing too.

But with Sharyl's incentive urging me on, I forced myself to make the time to get things whipped back into shape. This is what my work space looked like BEFORE…

I bet you're wondering how I even managed to get anything done in all this, huh? Several long hours later, this is what it looked like AFTER…

And no, I didn't just throw everything out of sight for the photo! LOL All my loose glass rods and tools were all put back in their places and the table top was scrubbed clean. *whew!* It's amazing how much my spirit of creativity came flooding back when I had a clean, organized slate to start with again! 

I already had this studio pretty organized in terms of having places for everything to go—a must when I have such a small space that needs to function at the highest production level. In the upper left corner of my desk, I re-purposed a spinning pen holder from my graphic design days so that it now holds glass rods, mica powders, and various tools. Inexpensive metal pots from the craft store filled with vermiculite hold my mandrels, while others collect the short bits of glass that I can't bear to throw away. A skinny ice cube tray holds a variety of glass stringers in the right corner and most of my brass presses are stored neatly underneath the table on a shelf. 

In addition to the tools shown on the far right side that are hanging on magnetic hooks and a rack, I also set up a new place around the corner to organize more tools from my growing collection (although this is still not ALL the ones that I own! shhhhhhh!!). Some strong magnets from Harbor Freight, a couple of long hanging strips, and a metal filing cabinet, and BAM! All my favorites within easy reach of my hand while concentrating on spinning molten glass in the flameheavenly!

I had really hoped to get both studios reorganized for the blog reveal, but I guess I'll have to be happy that I at least managed to get my glass studio spiffed up in time. And now that I'm on a roll, I am planning to tackle my jewelry studio over the weekend! I did start working on it last year, but it's been a slow project often put on hold while other priorities have cut in…you can see some of the things I did from my previous post by clicking HERE.

Thank you, Sharyl, for giving me such a fun reason to clean up and I can't wait to see how everyone else in the blog hop did too! If you'd like to be inspired by the other participants as well, please click on this link HERE to visit Sharyl's blog (scroll to the end to see the full list)…then maybe tackle your own space and free up those creative juices again?! *Ü*

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Design Series: Verdigris

Well, as my luck would have it, another design series has quickly flown out of my torch as a branch off of my recent "Vetro Antico" series that I introduced in my last post! (Dontcha love it when your Muse is on a creative high?!?)

This new "Verdigris" series is also inspired by ancient artifacts, but more from the natural stone and architectural side. I use a Copper Green glass that has been given an aged surface treatment in the flame—hence the title of this series, as verdigris is the name of the patina that naturally occurs on copper over time.

These beads also have a more organic feeling to them, with natural striations in the glass, curdled reactions in ivory glass from silver, and fine silver metallic accents. And I'm loving the long teardrop shapes, created with my new Beadroller tool I got for my birthday last month. These sold out quickly, but I promise there will definitely be more where these came from! *Ü*

I would love to hear what you think of my two new design series and how you would use any of my beads in your jewelry? And please feel free to "like" and share my Facebook page (, if you'd like to get sneak peeks at my newest work!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Design Series: Vetro Antico

As a lifelong admirer of Old World antiquities and travel to Italy (three times so far!), it only makes sense that I would be totally in love with ancient Roman glass artifacts for as long as I can remember. So when I say I am beyond excited to offer this new design series inspired by these loves—that is an understatement! LOL

I'm calling it "Vetro Antico" which roughly translates to "ancient glass" in Italian and it's a series that I've been wanting to create from when I first started lampworking about seven years ago. But as with a lot of my *great* ideas, I often let them sit and percolate in my subconscious and design sketch book while I work on more pressing things, until my Muse jumps up and demands that she is in the mood to tackle it. Well, a few weeks ago she practically screamed in my ear to get started and this is what I've been creating in my studio so far…

A big part of my design influence is ancient Italian glass jewelry, which often had a lot of gold included in the designs. This focal has 23K Italian gold layered on the inside and also "gilded" on top of my variation of the Lotus flower, which was a popular motif in Roman architecture and design. I have also given it a subtle "aged" effect that creates a pitted and matte texture in random areas. It is even prettier in person, where you can really see how it glows in the hand!

Antico Focal No. 1
Antico Gilded Spacers
Antico Gilded Earring Drops

These next sets are more rustic in nature, but still coordinate perfectly with the gilded designs since they are all made with the same glass color, but treated with a stronger aging effect…

*sigh* There's just something about this soft blue-green color and the unexpected surface patina that is so soothing and elegant…it brings to mind a curiosity about ancient peoples who may have worn something similar, or serene beaches for these modern times. I feel that these beads all have so many different possibilities and I can't wait to make some statement jewelry pieces with them!

These all sold almost immediately after I shared them on my Facebook page, but I am busy making more on request and for upcoming local bead shows. And there are still many more shapes and designs knocking around in my head, waiting impatiently to come out—so be sure to come back and visit soon if you're in love with this series as much as I am?! *Ü*

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Share the Love Giveaway Winner!

Time to announce the winner of my Share the Love Giveaway contest! There were over 40 entries, along with even more wonderful comments during this week-long contest and I hope everyone who participated had a lot of fun! I put all the names into an appropriately shaped Heart bowl, squeeze my eyes shut tight, and pulled out one name…

(Drum roll, please…) And here is the lucky winner…

Congratulations, Louise! I just need to know which of these two prizes you would prefer and will mail it out for a sweet Valentine's Day accessory to wear!

I really appreciate everyone who liked and shared my Facebook page, and/or pinned the contest to Pinterest to play along. I just wish I had enough to send something to each and every one of you. But stay tuned, because you never know when I'll do another fun Givewaway (maybe when I hit 2,000 "likes" on Facebook?? hint, hint!) *Ü*

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Share the Love Giveaway

Inspired by the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday, I wanted to do a little Giveaway to show my appreciation for all the love my family, friends and wonderful customers have given me throughout the year!

So I've decided to offer one lucky winner a choice of two different prizes created with my lampwork beads—a Chocolate Heart pendant on an 18" sterling-plated faceted ball chain, or a Chocolate Rose charm bead that has been cored with sterling silver and will fit on a Pandora or any other popular brand of big-hole bracelet. 

To enter, you can choose to do any of the following (each qualifies as a separate entry):

1) Click on the photo and "Like" my Facebook page (from the "Like" button in the upper right corner, not the actual photo link). Please make sure to like it from your personal page and not a business one.

2) Share this event on Facebook, with a link to either this blog post or the announcement on my own page.

3) Pin this post to Pinterest.

DEADLINE to Enter: Monday, February 10, 2014

Then leave a comment here to let me know what things you've done and I will throw all the names into a hat and draw the winner on Tuesday, February 11th. That way, I'm hoping you will be able to get your prize in time to wear it on Valentine's Day?

Just liking, sharing or Pinning doesn't give you an automatic contest entry—you need to leave a comment here or on my Facebook post to say what you did so I can include you in the drawing. And please make sure to leave a link to your blog or some other way for me to easily contact you when you leave your comment.

Thank you so much and Good Luck! ♥ ♥ ♥

Please note that this Giveaway is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Facebook and I am the sole person responsible for this contest and the distribution of prizes.

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