Monday, May 28, 2012

Quest for Wit and Wisdom 2012

 I'm still perfecting my setup and have a long way to go.  Decent displays are on the to do list and next year I want to have divided trays or boxes for the sets instead of the baggies.  I told everyone to feel free to take beads out of the bags to look closer but some folks seemed reluctant to.  I think boxes or open trays would encourage a more hands-on shopping experience.
 Considering the budget I was thrilled to be able to find a free rack I could use to display earrings (don't ask what it was intended for because I have no idea.)  The bargain bins are very popular and I always do well with them.  They're all sets that aren't the same size or color test beads or oops beads.  I sold quite a few pieces of jewelry and some sets - again, I think I would have done better with a more user-friendly display.

Also, for next year - a real, white tablecloth instead of the fabric that was the first I grabbed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Safety First

I took a glass shard to the right eye today when a rod blew up in my face.  I stupidly banged Effetre ivory in the flame like I'd been doing the juicy Double Helix and CiM colors I'd been working with on the previous bead.  Essentially, the rod blew up in a way I never thought possible.  Spectacular and fun to watch from a safe distance, I'm sure.  Not good to be on the receiving end of.  A word of warning.  Wear your safety glasses.  I was wearing my diddy sunglasses and the shard found its way around them.  Wear real, wrap around ones.  I'll be fine.  The shard was embedded on the corner of the iris and even if there's scarring it won't be in my visual field.  I'm on drops to combat infection that help the pain for a moment or two but otherwise nothing stronger than Motrin.  It ain't worth it.  Even though my wrap arounds are a pain and I feel like I can't acutually see through them, I'll never use anything else again.

Here's a picture of the beads that tried to blind me - of course I finished them before I went to the ER!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers' Day

I spent the first Mothers' Day in a very long while with my family.  A very good day.  I did forget the memory card for my camera, so no pictures (something ironic about that.)

Some families have a glue that holds the family together and that's my mom.  Family is uber important to her and she makes sure to get us together as often as feasible.  She includes family of family that might otherwise be isolated - relations by fellowship rather than blood.  She puts out an ordinary meal that is special because everyone contributed something, even if it's a hearty appetite.  The television doesn't get turned on because we're too busy yakking.  She is the one who has cherished pieces of battered notebook paper covered in painted macaroni.  We talk about everything from Dancing with the Stars to medieval English politics.  At some point or another each of us can talk and each can listen.

We used to take a walk around the yard after dinner and we did tonight.  It was a little sad because it was so changed.  The last of the Russian olive trees died and needs to be cut down.  The grape arbors my dad cherished and I labored over are gone.  I won't miss the work but I will miss the grape jelly and the piece of my father that they contained.  A corner of the yard is overgrown and the grass has died under the shade of evergreens.  An apple and a pear tree survive and are very green.  I wonder if there will be fruit this year.  I've made a lot of applesauce and canned pears.  My dad planted a little grove of trees for his own little retreat that he never used.  The trees are now huge and when you walk into the grove the bustle of the suburbs is subdued.  There's nowhere to put a hammock, though.  I wonder if he would have liked it.

Some things are the same.  Some are better.  The little house my dad built for us is still there, even if I think it's held together with paint.  The Christmas trees we planted are bigger than the house.  The lawn looks great - which it never did when I cut it, let me tell you!  The sweeping steps from the driveway to the front door are being replaced because even railroad ties will rot given enough time.  There are flowers on the deck and by the mailbox - I hope the mailman isn't allergic to bees.

Wherever Mom is is a piece of home.  I'm very lucky because both of mine are still together.  Mom is the same as ever - the years have been very kind.  It must have been a virtuous character or all that clean living or something but she hasn't aged in 20 years.  I'm very happy to be home and very blessed.

Happy Mothers' Day!  Here's to mine!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Hot Tip of the Day

Sometimes a custom order requires frit that just isn't available.  This means I have to make it myself, a process that leaves me cursing with tiny bits of glass flying all over the studio that Joe finds with bare feet.  I just found the best way ever to make frit without investing in a special machine.

I blew bubbles of the desired colors in the proportions I wanted then popped them in a deep saucepan and crushed them with a hammer UNDER WATER!  No glass flying all over the place.  Most of the water poured right off and the little bit that was left was easily boiled away.  Nearly instant frit!

Note that I used the saucepan Joe made rice in that had been burned so badly I had to use pumice to scour out the carbonized remains so I couldn't hurt the pan any more than it had been already.  I wouldn't suggest trying it with something good.

Here is a picture of my test bead - no pictures of the process, since I can't trust Joe with a camera

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Latest Madness

I'm sure many people become obsessed with an idea and have to flog it until it's done.  I'm just going to talk about it a lot.  Enamel.  It's a new world.  I can't wait to get other colors and will soon.  I'll play with it and write about it and I'll wish I'd never heard of it and move on.  Above is a set of purple beads I covered with oxford light enamel.  I can't get enough of the spatterware effect.

Below is a set I made using CiM African Grey and Psyche.  I love the colors it makes!  I wish CiM would do African Grey again just for me!


 I got a hold of some green aventurine frit and naturally the first thing I had to do was mix a bit with blue just because.  I love the streaky underwater kind of thing.  The bottom beads are a base of CiM Stoneground and Roman bronze pixie dust.  They're pretty, but if I wanted that look I'd get copper glass pearls.  Not doing it for me.


Now these are cool.  The same frit blend as the streaky beads above but just melted into copper green.  Does copper green ring and separate on everything.  Pretty sure it does!  I still like these and if they don't sell I'll just make them into beads for me.  Bonus!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back in Business

I'm delighted to announce that I've finally been able to make some new beads!

Here they are
 Waterlilies frit on CiM Stoneground with silver foil above.  Below, a base of CiM Tuxedo, rolled in light Oxford Thompson Enamel, then decorated with scrolls of more Tux.  I hadn't used enamel before but I'm loving it!

 Above is Effetre dark ivory (the curdled batch) with scrolls of Double Helix Psyche.  Below, a base of dark ivory with Tuxedo and Effetre 14K, light topaz and medium topaz.
 I made a couple cupcake beads and some Caribbean type beads with CiM Freemen, Effetre blue aventurine and Devardi green aventurine.
I just had to share - making beads again is wonderful!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hurray!

Today has been a great day!

Joe started his new job at Home Depot this morning!

The thermocouple for my kiln arrived today, is installed and the kiln is firing well as I type!  I'm going to make beads soon!