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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


After a weekend away to refresh and re-energize, I took some time to play with more glass yesterday.

I had a goal to make some "simple" beads to compliment all the ornate beads that I have already made.  The goal was to create a set of one color beads that I could put in creations and give the eye a place to rest.

I made four red beads, but only three survived.
The red beads are disc shaped. 
The two blue beads are more rounded,
and the yellow beads have a wider disc shape.

Then, I moved on to create a striped disc bead.  It was fun to create and I would like to do some more.  I think (if I can keep the bead release from getting on the bead) these will be great to use as a sideways element.

Then, it was time to have some fun.   I added some green stringer to this yellow barrel bead.  Then I started to play with dots.
My daughter said it reminds her of a clown fish.

I also wanted to find out what would happen if I tried to make a striped bead with two colors.  I think it worked out pretty well.

Now, I am starting to play with putting some of the beads together.  This is a choker that I found at a bead shop over the weekend.

Today, I went and bought a lot more glass.  Tomorrow, hopefully I can get back to my torch and make another batch.


Friday, March 23, 2012

When all else fails.....

Read ALL the directions!

That is a rule that I should know by heart by now.  Even if I extend it to "study ALL the pictures", I should have this down.  But, sad to say, I had to re-learn it yesterday.

I started the day with some 'warm-up' beads.  I did two beads with stripes.  One is round and the other is the same technique, but  I added some textured by rolling it over my marver.

Then, I started working on my 'triangle' beads.
My first attempts look no different than the ones
I had done before.

So, I decided to re-read ALL the directions. 
I realized, I had missed a step.  I was not allowing the dots to melt into the bead before I put the clear glass over the bead. 
So I decided to give this a try.

Now, you might think "there is nothing wrong with that bead."  And you are right.  It is a great bead.
It is just not what I was trying to do. 
I let the dots melt in and as I was trying to add the clear glass on the top, I got the whole bead too warm and the dots were dragged all over the bead.
I like the bead.  Don't get me wrong. 
It was just not what I was trying to do.

So, I tried again.

And this time, I think a did a whole lot better.  They are not perfect and I will be making lots more till I can do them in my sleep, but they are better.

I also found a great way to wear my Red, White and Blue beads that I made the other day.

Those silver plated hoops are going to get a lot of mileage in my house.  On my trip to Wally World today, I will probably pick up a few more packs.

Have a great day!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wearing My Beads!!

The only thing better than wearing something that you made is having someone notice that you are wearing it and compliment you on it.  I have to say, I got to experience both yesterday.

But let me back up and tell you the story of my day.

I started with my daily trip to Wally World.  No day in my life is complete without this trip.  As my daughter and I are both feeling the effects of whatever is going around right now, I made this trip to stock up on cough and cold products and Apple Juice.  (That is Meg's one request when she is sick).

While I was there, I decided to stop in the crafting aisle to see if they had any memory wire.  I know I have some somewhere, but I will be darned if I could find it yesterday.  They didn't have the memory wire, but they did have these:

What are they?
 And why did they excite me? 

They are sterling silver plated hoop earring!

With a latch back closure!

And they are designed to show off.....
Wait for it.....

Glass Beads!!!

This is the first pair that I tried. 
But I think they might be a bit heavy to wear.

Then, I did these.
  I was wearing a navy blue shirt yesterday and they looked great with it.  I wore them to the gym (yes, I did) and my best friend noticed them right away.

It was a super good feeling.

Hope you all have a great beady day!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stripes, and dots, and swirls.... oh, my!

I got some more time to play yesterday and here are the results.

I decided that I am either not ready for sculptured work yet, or I don't have the right tools yet. 

 So, I practiced Dots and Swirls.

I started the day making a simple dot bead. 
 It was a great way to "warm" up!

Then, it was on to stripes. 
These beads start with a royal blue base bead.
  Then, I placed 4 white dots around the equator of each bead.  Before the dots could melt in to the bead, I placed  a layer of Clear glass over the whole bead.
 When the clear glass melted in, the white dots formed stripes.

Then, I moved on to make a pair of 'triangle' beads.  
The base bead on each of these is red. 
The Blue dots were supposed to form triangles under the clear glass when it melted in. 
I am not sure that it did, and I will need to try some more of these to get them right. 
But I will say this, They Match!

My final bead for the day was a bit more complicated.  I actually made two of these beads, but one cracked while I was cooling it.
This bead started as a red tapered barrel bead.
I then took stringers (narrow rods of glass) in white, blue and milky white and wrapped them around the glass.
I let them melt into the bead, then I squished the bead.
I heated the bead to allow me to use a tool to drag the colors as you see them here.  Then I added the three clear dots on top.

I want to work on all of these techniques more and more!  I am having a great time.

Tomorrow, I'll show you some of the great way I have found to "wear" my beads.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday, Beady Sunday!

I spent yesterday afternoon playing in my "glass studio" with my torch and my thoughts.

I had some goals for going out yesterday.  I did a lot of reading and was ready to try some new things.  But first I had to tie up some loose ends.

Remember these two Red, White and Blue beads that I made last week?  I was not happy with them as a pair.  So I wanted to try to make one that would match one of them.

The bead in the lower right hand corner is the new one that I made yesterday.  I am pretty thrilled with it as a match for the one at the top!  Now to make something with those.

Then, I moved on to make this pair! 
 I am feeling pretty good about my "dots"

Some other things are going to take some more work.  The bead on the left was supposed to have a raised flower.  But as you can see, it turned into a swirl bead.  The flower did not go as planned, so I decided to play with swirls to get some practice in that area.

The center bead is okay.  I would like to see my flowers get a lot better than this though.  And the one on the left is the same.

Then, there are the things that make you say
 "What was she thinking?"
I agree!  This one needs some serious work! 
But I just had to try.

Well, I went through a full tank of fuel yesterday and quite a bit of glass, so I am not sure what I will do today.  But I thought I would share these with you today.

Have a good day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Blind Girl" with a Torch

So, what do you think?  Should someone with an eye "injury" work at a torch?  I'll let you be the judge. 

First, let me show you the eye injury.  Of course, the injured person is me. 

 My sweet Puppy, Tanner, gave me a black eye yesterday while we were playing!

I have to admit, it does not hurt.  It just feels heavy! 
So, yesterday afternoon, I decided to go out and play in my glass studio. 
These are the beads I made:
I have  been trying to perfect my "dots".  This was my "warm up" bead. 
Then, I decided to move on and make a matching set!

And another matching set!

What do you think? 
I am not going to let this shiner hold me back. 
I'm hoping to do some more this afternoon. 
I am Hooked!!!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Making More Beads

I have been blessed over the past week and a half to spend several hours in my "glass studio" and I must say, I am having a wonderful time.

The first day, I worked on some techniques.  I did some barrel beads and come dot beads.  They came out pretty well, but I realized that I needed some work on my dots.

I watched several tutorials on YouTube.  Different people do things in different ways.  I was hoping I could see what it was I was missing.  And I did.... I think.

Saturday, I spent two hours working on nothing but dots.  I also decided to stick with a color palet of Red, White & Blue so that I might be able to do something with the beads when I am done.

Here are the results of Saturday's session:

I think these Dots look a lot better than the first ones.  There are not extra strings!!!

I just got 4 new books on glass beads!!! Yes, I said 4!!!  Can't wait to dig in.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday in the Studio

I had so much fun making beads last weekend, that I brought home the "beginner kit" from the beadshop.  And I spent the week trying to put together a space where I could work.

Sunday, I started cleaning my garage.  I wish I had taken a 'before' photo so I could show you what I started with.  But I didn't.  I was so focused on getting a well ventilated space that I just started cleaning and sorting stuff.

I took 6 large bags of kitchen stuff and old books to the local thrift shop.  And I filled 4 large bags of trash.  I also sorted out several large items to sell on Craigslist.  It was a very successful day.

Then, on Monday, I started looking for a table to put in the garage.  I was so lucky.  I stopped at Goodwill on my way home from the gym and found the perfect table for $20.  Now that I drive a pick-up, I had no trouble getting it home.

I spent the rest of the week putting together the odds and ends that I needed for my "glass studio" and looking forward to Saturday.

Today, I woke up excited and ready to work.

Here is the space that I set up:

I know, it looks a bit crowded.  But the stuff in the background is actually against the wall.
My bar stool sits behind the table and I have plenty of room to move and work.

This is the view from my side of the table.  My DH was concerned that I might be startled when I was working if someone opened the door behind me, so I made sure I was facing the door.

Here is the first bead that I made in my new 'studio'!!!!  Unfortunately, when I was taking it off the mandrel later in the day, it broke.  I am not sure that I like the bead release that came with the kit.  It gave me some other issues, so I plan to look for some of the release that I used in my class last week.

And this is the complete set of beads that I made on my 2 hour Saturday Studio time!!! 

I was pretty thrilled with the results.
I plan to order more mandrels this week and spend some more time in my studio next weekend.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

A dream come true!

I had a spectacular weekend!!!  I got to realize a dream that I have had for a Long Long time.  I got to try my hand a making lampwork glass beads!!  I had so much fun and I am hooked for life!

This is Paige.  She was my teacher.  I was so lucky to be the only one in the class yesterday.  I was so happy that she did not cancel.  I learned so much from her.

We started the day talking about materials and safety. 

While Paige gave me an overview of the day, she set me to work dipping the mandrels. 

Then she taught me how to flame-dry them.

Mandrels are the metal rods that the beads wrap around.  They can either be left to dry overnight or dried in the flame of the torch.

After we got a mandrel dried, Paige showed me how to make my first basic bead.
She heated the glass rod.

Then she started putting the hot glass on the mandrel.

Then, it was my turn to try!
These are my first three beads!!  The bead on the far left is my first bead.  It is a basic bead in my favorite color, purple.  The other two are three-color beads. The one on the righ has a texture done with a marver.

Then, we moved on to adding dots.  These are dots that I allowed to melt into the glass. 
Had I chosen, I could have left them raised.
And this bead combines dots and another technique using clear glass to create a flower bead.
I still need a bit of practice on this one. Hopefully, I will get some time this weekend.

And these are two of my three-color barrel beads. 
I was so happy that they came of the mandrel easily.

 And this was the last bead of the day.  I tried to combine several things.  I made a three-color bead, then I used a red stringer to draw the strip.  While the glass was still molten, I use a rake to move the red glass into the line that you see.  Then I filled in the space with the yellow dots.

I have to say, I am hooked!!!  I brought home a Kit to start working in my garage.  Then I spent all day Sunday cleaning to set up my space.  Today, I am going to buy the fuel for my torch and some more glass rods.  Hopefully, this weekend, I will be able to make some more beads.


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