Saturday, January 25, 2014

GOOOOOOO, Hawks!

I am so beyond excited to watch the Super Bowl next weekend, mainly because our beloved Seahawks will be there! In preparation for the epic battle that we're all anticipating, I made a few beads to show my support for our team…


The hearts were made with the same technique as the red Valentine's Day ones I shared in my previous post, and the two big-hole charm beads will go on a bracelet with a few other beads in Seattle colors. I still need to core them with sterling, but I couldn't wait to take a photo and share. The one on the right has hearts going all around the band, while the one on the left also has hearts, but in a different colorway—I even figured out how to sneak in a reference to "the 12th Man" in there!

I had so much fun making these, that I think I will start to offer them for sale through my Facebook page and Etsy shop in any other team colors that faithful fans might want (but the Broncos fans will have to pay double! LOL).

Just hope I don't lose my voice cheering the Hawks on like I did last time! *Ü*


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Romance Is In The Air!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and since I'm a total Romantic at Heart, I've been in a frenzy of making new beads and goodies that fit right in with this special holiday theme…
















Let's start things off with the heart pendants in the above photo, which I hand-formed into slim puffy hearts with a wire bail embedded into it while the glass is molten so that it creates an instant pendant. I love how I can make the bead with a much finer tip than if it had a hole running through it and you don't even have to be a jewelry designer to use them, as they can be easily slipped onto a key ring, looped onto a thin cord, or a variety of other things. This was a new technique for me and it has quickly become one of my favorites!

My little faux Chocolate Truffles in a Tin are always a big hit this time of year, so I made sure to offer several different design mixes to please every Romantic's palette. They come in a set of four beads, packaged in the cutest little tin with a see-through lid—and make perfect gifts just as they are, or you can make your own jewelry design and then put it back in the tin for a unique presentation.


I also created a few necklaces with my Chocolate Heart beads and a pretty silver-plated snake chain—simple and sweet!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/176753271/sweet-chocolate-heart-necklace-for?ref=shop_home_active_5

Mini heart-shaped head pins are also a brand new design and these are the very first ones I made—aren't they adorable?! They are much trickier to make than they look, as it takes some finesse and breath holding to shape the molten glass without melting the wire in the process. I can see a lot of potential here and will work on refining my technique so I can offer them in several other colors and a stainless steel wire version soon!


And last, but not least…I've been focusing on big-hole charm beads featuring a wide variety of Chocolates and Heart/Love designs. (Can you see where I used one of my new little Heart head pins?) This batch is going to a special customer, but I am working hard to make more for last minute shoppers (and you know who you are! LOL).


I am pretty pleased with myself—not only for challenging myself to think out of the box and learn some new techniques, but also for actually getting on the ball and offering these well before Valentine's Day, so my customers have plenty of time to work on a gift for the special people in their lives. And the great thing is—Chocolates and Hearts are always perfect to give not only on this one day or anniversaries, but throughout the entire year!

P.S.—A lot of these beads were shared on my Facebook page as soon as they came out of the kiln, so that my "fans" could have first dibs to buy them before I listed them in my Etsy shop. If you would like to take advantage of these sneak peeks too, I would love it if you "liked" my page HERE and shared it with all your fellow jewelry loving friends! *Ü*

Friday, January 17, 2014

40 Bead Challenge: Days 5 and 6

Its a good thing Heather Trimlett's 40 Bead Challenge is one of those "do at your own pace" things, because I had to stop it in its tracks once the Fall season hit, as I just had too much on my plate at the time. You can see how my first four bead making sessions turned out in my last post HERE. I've had my lovely strand of beads sitting on my desk all this time since, teasing my brain and begging me to get started on finishing them up—and I'm so excited that I'm finally able to get back on track with the program again!

While I would have loved to be able to complete the last 20 beads all at one time, the rules of the Challenge are to make no more than 5-6 beads in one day, so that you have time to really focus on the technique at hand, which is using nothing but heat, gravity and dots of glass to create the design. So I reluctantly reined myself in and here are the results of Days 5 and 6, continuing with my strategy of sticking with one design theme per session…

DAY 5: Overlapping Dots

Up to this point, I haven't really attempted using overlapping dots to create patterns and it turned out to be a trickier process with some of the designs than I thought it would be. These beads definitely took more time and thought that most of my others, especially the pair of scale-like designs on the far left. The one on the left was actually my first attempt to achieve the look I eventually got in the second version to its right—but I love how this "happy accident" turned out!

DAY 6: Flowers Revisited

And since I can never get enough of flowers in real life or in my beads, I decided to dedicate another day to seeing what other floral designs I could come up with, using only dots of glass as my medium. The one on the far right is my favorite and was the most intricate to create, of course! I love how it turned out looking like something from a Damask fabric and I would love to explore this pattern in more depth with other color combinations!

And here is what my strand containing all the Days I've done so far looks like…


My goal was to keep all my beads as close in size as possible, but seems like they got a little bigger after the first two days? I might have to go back and re-make those if I decide to put them all into a necklace after I'm done with the Challenge (yeah, I'm a Perfectionist and Glutton-for-Punishment type of person! LOL) But for now, I'm pretty happy with how these all look and already have my design themes for the last two sessions planned out! *Ü*


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Birthday That Shall Not Be Named



Okay, there is a point in everyone's life when you hit a big age milestone and can't help but say to yourself "It's all downhill from here?!"…and this year, I hit it hard! LOL So I've decided that every year from now on, I'm going to insist that my friends and family refer to my birthday as "The One That Shall Not Be Named," in honor of all the years we had Harry Potter fanatics running around the house (myself included!). We shall celebrate and enjoy it just as much, but without needing to see or discuss the way those pesky numbers keep climbing up and making me feel way older than I do on the inside!


In addition to the table full of lovely and thoughtful gifts that surprised me in the morning, I also enjoyed getting sweet phone calls from both of my daughters who are away at college (I still can't believe they each remembered on their own?!?) and earlier in the week, I received some new Bead Roller tools that I couldn't resist ordering for myself. I'm hoping to play with these soon and perhaps make some jewelry for myself with the beads they make too?


My wonderful hubby, Kraig, also made me a special breakfast and gave me a choice between three different cake mixes and two icing flavors that he offered to make himself for my cake. And as if that wasn't enough—his gift was a surprise trip for just the two of us to Hawaii, all planned by himself!! Now can I pick 'em, or what?!?! He's going to whisk me away this Winter so we can try and see the whales like I've always wanted to do, and I am beyond excited!!


All in all, it was a quiet, but wonderful day and I enjoyed all the birthday wishes I received from my Facebook friends too. I feel extremely blessed and thank you all so much for helping to make this day extra special! *Ü*


Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Globe Suprise

One of the things I wanted to do before my daughters headed back to college after Christmas break, was to surprise them with a special gift that could serve as a reminder of how much we love and miss them when they're away from home. And because they love my glass beads, but don't like to wear a lot of jewelry, I decided to try my hand at making some personalized Snow Globes using these cheerful little Snowmen I made using some of their favorite colors…


I think they turned out rather adorable, don't you? I've made Snowmen beads before, but this was the first time I'd made them as sculptural designs instead of having a hole run through them. They were made all at one time on my torch in one piece—even the little glass "branch" arms, which were the trickiest part of the whole process and something I could never be able to include on a bead for jewelry. I also made each one his own little Birdie companion, to make sure he wouldn't get lonely after I put him into the glass dome.

After I mixed in some recycled baby food jars, paint, glitter, and water, I ended up with this fun result:


A gentle shake makes the glitter swirl around in a silvery shower that is so pretty (but very difficult to capture while one hand is holding the camera and the other is shaking it! LOL) I also wrote "You are "snow" special!" on the top in silver Sharpie pen (based on a funny family inside joke)…


As this was the first time I'd ever attempted to make my own snow globe from scratch, I had a few hiccups along the way and it ended up taking longer than I expected to get the job done properly. But I think the effort was well worth it, if judging by the look on my girls' faces when I showed it to them! Now, whenever they get homesick, they can just give the globe a shake and know we're thinking of them too! *Ü*


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ringing in a New Year


Wishing all of you a Very Happy New Year and I hope you celebrated it in high style! Looking back, I had a wonderful 2013 and feel very fortunate to have the health, success, friendships and family I was blessed with. I'm not one to make a ton of New Year's resolutions, but this year I do have a few things on my list that I'm going to try really hard to stick to:

1) Post at least once a week to my blog.

I admit I have fallen prey to the ease of using Facebook this year and have sadly neglected my blog in the process. It's so much easier to pop in and out of my Facebook page, but I love how a blog allows for more in-depth content and visuals. Plus, I know there are many people who don't participate in Facebook at all—shocking as that may seem! So I promise to post here more often and please bear with me as I may post a few things that aren't in the proper chronological order, as I still need to catch up on some articles that have been sitting around in draft mode because I haven't finished editing my photos. But if you'd also like to see more of my beady sneak peeks, inspirational ideas, and other fun tidbits on a nearly daily basis, please feel free to "like" my page by clicking HERE.

2) Try a new technique and/or artistic medium each week.

This is something I try to do as often as I can anyway, since I think it keeps my creative juices flowing better, but I would like to do it on a more consistent basis. Some will have to do with lampworking and jewelry making, but other times I'll explore new things that have been accumulating on my "I wanna try that!" list over the years. I will share my results—both positive and failures—and hope you will be inspired to try your hand at it too!

3) Create my own online website and store.

While I still love my Etsy store and will continue to keep it well-stocked, I have been dreaming of opening my own site for over a year now. And it's high time I kicked myself in the rear and made it happen! I already have my domain name taken care of and have been looking into a few host sites like Indiemade that look really promising, but if you have any suggestions on ones you've tried and have any info on the pros and cons of it, I would love to hear it!

4) Get in better shape.

I admit, my body has definitely taken a turn for the worse once I hit 45 years old and it saddens me to realize that I can't eat like I used to and maintain a killer bikini body (not that I ever really had one?! LOL). And running up and down the stairs 30 times a day because I keep forgetting things between my two studios isn't really cutting it for my physical activity requirement (another sad side effect of getting older!). So I'm going to try hard to do something fun like Pilates or Zumba at least 2-3 times a week and see if I can't whip my metabolism back into shape—along with the rest of me. Plus, I think when you're feeling and looking good, you're in a much better space to think creatively and produce better quality work!

So there you have it—all my big dreams and goals for the coming year, added to my mainstay prayers for good health, happiness and safety for my family. I wish the same for you this year and hope that all your dreams come true! *Ü*

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