Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Tis Better to Light a Candle than Curse the Darkness

 Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and just the right temperature.  It was, in short, the perfect day to take pictures of the beads I've got piling up for listing.  By the time I got home from the day job, it was too late to do anything more ambitious than make dinner and catch up on my down time.  I did not take advantage of the fading light to photograph anything.
 Today dawned hazy and, indeed, while I was slogging off to the bank and grocery store, errands that needed to be done if I wanted the cats to let me back in, there were even a few brief moments of hazy sun.  This was not destined to last and as I put the last can of cat food away, the sun went behind a cloud for good.
 I was forced to decide whether to list these with pictures taken with artificial light, not showing their best, or wait until the sun reappeared and hope I was at home when it did.  This deep transparent purple vessel actually doesn't look too bad.  It looks a bit better in sunlight, of course, because it is transparent and artificial light doesn't show this well but if I have to use these pictures I could.
 This vessel, made with CiM Sangre, is not going up until I can get a decent picture.  The one on my hand isn't bad but it's nowhere near as red as it is in real life.
 This one isn't as good.  I had to use a lot of editing stuff, and it looks it.  The others I took aren't even this good...
So is it better to light a candle or curse the dark?  Not sure.  I'll light a candle anyway but still curse.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sweet Summer Dreams

One of the things I like most about summer is that all-too-brief respite from the daily toil and strife known as vacation.  I'm actually taking one this year, and to celebrate, I've created a special sale section of my Etsy shop.  click here to see it

My little cutie above is in it and more.  All prices are reduced 10-25% and will return to normal when I get back.  I will be putting the shop in vacation mode from a few days before until I get back, and I'm leaving my coupon codes "bonus1" for an additional 10% off and "freeship1" for free shipping active, so the oppurtunity for saving is very great indeed.

Here are some of the other beads and jewelry items I've discounted:

 My Earth bracelet
 My Leaf necklace
 My Sea Lentils bead set
 My Some Like it Hot earrings
and my matching Some Like it Hot necklace

These are only a small number of the items on sale, so check it out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Different Way to Spend a Day

I had planned to spend today photographing and listing pieces on Etsy, but the sun did not cooperate so I browsed Etsy and created this treasury list.

I also made quite a few beads, a few of which I hope turned out.  There are always so many that aren't what I thought they were going to be.

One of the things that kinda freaked me out glasswise was my last batch of CiM Stoneground.  It is a wonderful color that I had been having pretty predictable results with.  CiM is known for the consistency of their colors and when they have one that doesn't perform within parameters, they label it as a unique.  Their standards must be pretty high, because some of their uniques are practically indistinguishable from their standard colors.

The last batch of Stoneground I got was not a unique but for me it's not at all like the last two I bought.  It comes out lighter and strikes differently.  I don't know if it is because of the silver content and the extreme variability it adds to glass (which is why a lot of us like it) but for whatever reason it strikes pink and purple like Canyon de Chelly instead of the golden brown I'm used to.  Here are some pictures to illustrate
 Here are rods of both and a bead I made with the new.  The top rod is the new batch and the bottom 2 are the old.  The worked end shows some of the difference.  Notice how the struck end is pinker on top.  Pay no attention to the way I work a rod down until the 1" masking tape I have at the end catches fire and burns my fingers.  The color of the unworked rods isn't too different, but I can see a bit of pinkness in the shimmer on the top rod that is absent in the bottom.  The bead didn't come out as golden as I'd hoped for this animal print bead, but under all that amber and topaz it isn't ugly.
The vessel on the left is the last one I made with the old batch.  I got a little pinkishness on the flared part where I suppose it received the most heat, but this is pretty much what I was getting all along.  The other vessels and beads were all made with the new batch.  I thought the blue lizard would show up very nicely against the golden vessel, and he still would have looked nice if I hadn't given him a snout like Jimmy Durante.  I'm calling him my Rodney Dangerbead.  The strange vessel with the blue aventurine and silvered ivory was an effort to see if working it longer helped.  It made it worse, and to make matters worse, I somehow deflated the back of the vessel and cracked it near the rim trying to fix it.  I just popped it into the annealer and resolved to do better next time.  I like the other blue lizard even though his bead is still pinkish. 

I'm getting used to the new batch and if I look at it as a different color, I like it just fine.  I love striking glass and glass that does weird stuff.  Now I just have to learn this one's tricks.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Of Beads and Pictures

 My "studio" has been invaded by wildlife, of a glass variety.  This little cutie showed up yesterday and I'm hoping to find him a good home.  He's just over 1 1/4" long including his vessel.  Snout to tail, I guess he's about the same, but he wiggled a little.
 The leopard may not have changed his spots, but some of them are on this Euro style bead.  It's a shame that the color doesn't show up very well in this picture.  The one above is the most true to the color of the bead, and the one below is most like how it actually looks.  I hate the way the first picture looks so photoshopped too.  Meh...

I Got My Etsy Back

I little while ago I was moaning about losing my Etsy widget from my blog, which I must have removed in a fit of madness when I was making beads again but not listing anything.  That empty spot did seem to mock me.  I started listing again, but lo and behold, I couldn't figure out how to find it again.  I searched high and low on Blogger and on Etsy, but nada.

There it was, on Etsy the whole time.  I clicked on my account, and under promote was the Etsy mini widget.  No more roaming through widgets that for me were meaningless.  Gone were the (for me) too challenging bits of HTML and words like source code.  Five minutes and no pain.  Now if I do something insane and lose it again I'm set.

To recognize this momentous occasion, here's a picture of a vessel I played with a lot before I got it down, a blown glass mini flask that holds almost a tablespoon.  When the sunlight hits it, the CiM sangre is the most gorgeous, transparent red!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Key Beads

 NEWS FLASH!!!  I tend to obsess.  Seriously, I'll get stuck on something and nothing will do but for whatever obsession it is to run its course and then I can move on.  For me, right now, it's keys and vessels.
 I don't know whether it's the secret hoarder in me or whatever, but the possessiveness of keys and vessels drives me.  I suppose a good therapist could fix me but first I'd have to want to be fixed.  (Getting a little agricultural here)
At any rate, the blue Pandora's key and the marbled ivory key are available in my Etsy shop but the black and white key is a wee bit wobbly for sale.  Don't forget to type in bonus1 for a discount.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Expect the Unexpected Part 2

 I make beads because they make me happy.
 I love to learn new things, and every time I sit down at the torch, I do.
 Sometimes it's learning to look at something a new way...
...and sometimes it's a reflection.

I'm running a coupon in my Etsy shop for my blog readers, 10% off.  Just enter the coupon code "bonus1"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

 It's not always easy working with glass and I've had a few stellar burns, but this is to be expected.  It's the hidden challenges that make life interesting.  Like settling down for a spot of picture taking in a sunny window and accidentally picking the one the cat wanted.
 My window!
 Yes, I'm still here.  By the way, that is only one cat.  She's wrapped herself entirely around the dish and got her body going in two directions at once.  Only a cat can do this.
 Maybe outside will work out better.  Oh, I forgot.  It's milkweed season.  It's almost as bad as cat hair for finding its way into shots.

Glass works its way into every aspect of my day.  Sometimes very unexpectedly.  I was sidelined yesterday with an exacerbation of my leg problem but finally found my way off the couch into the kitchen.  I stepped on a short piece of stringer that had imbedded itself into the rug.  It drove itself almost all the way in and I did the one-footed dance of pain until I could work up the nerve to pull it out.  I did not take a picture of the glass or my foot.  It wasn't pretty.  Joe helped mop up the blood.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Decent Pictures?

 I'll be the first to admit that I am photographically challenged.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  The first is that my camera and setup are miserable and the second is that I am working on my attitude towards taking pictures of my work.  I've always had a casual attitude about pictures in general, something like "I know what it is."  This doesn't work for trying to sell things.  I am working on improving both my attitude and my ability.  Above is a picture of a pair of earrings I recently listed on Etsy.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  Below is a picture of the best I would have been able to do before I figured out how to use that part of my editing software.  It's a decent picture, but in the one above, these earrings really shine.

Same with these beads.  This one's with software, and below is without, and I am very happy with how the software works.

 Of course, there are still things I don't know how to do, and one of them is to make things show up well on black.  My pictures are either washed out of blurry, or both.

Here are the watermelon beads I just listed, and I am happy with the picture above both because it spotlights the beads and because it is a slightly different composition than the ones I've used before.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taking on the Learning Curve

 I'm trying out new stuff again and this means making a few mistakes.  Case in point:  Blown vessels.  I've been making some good ones by coiling glass on the mandrel but they come out a bit solid.  These are nice and lightweight but ugly and holy.  The one that looks whole is cracked.  It cooled off too much before being annealed.  It's also fugly.
 This guy's cute even if he is a little twisted.
 My hands do get truly filthy cleaning beads.
 I seem to have a lot of room to improve on this.
The biggest problem:  Gravity works.  Need to set the hole a little higher on the bead if I want him to fly right side up.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Warning: Excessive Photo Content

This is why I hate taking pictures.  I take about a million pictures of something I have made and they all turn out to be not quite what I see. 

This is a nice vessel.  It's hollow.  It's a pretty color.  I like to think that it is saying what I want it to say.  But these pictures don't convey the size and weight of it, nor the volume of what it holds, nor the way the light really hits it.

 This picture is ok.  It shows at least how big it is, and a little of the way the light looks when it goes through it.
 This shows the color and all, but I'm not exactly thrilled.
 We're not getting better.  Quit while I'm ahead.
This is a cool necklace.  I had a lot of fun making it and am really happy with the way the beads turned out.  So can I take a decent picture of it?  Not a chance, but not for want of trying.  Thirteen pictures were worth fooling around with, and none of them show what it looks like in my hand.

This one's pretty, at least.

Got some nice sparkle from the light on this.  I made that clasp myself.

Here's that close up.  Note the natural sunlight.

Yep, it's a pile of beads.

 What was I going for here?  Don't know.  It's a good picture, but of what?
Not doing it for me, sorry.  Good picture--everything in focus, pretty good detail, It's got nice color and composition, but it's not happening.

This does show what it would look like on the wearer, if the wearer is made of black velveteen.

There you go.  If in doubt, bring in the frog.  It may not show the necklace to its best advantage and I'm sure there's lots wrong with it as a composition or whatever else, but I like my frog, and he's making me happy.