Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kiln Woes! And Joys!

My Jen-Ken Chilipepper kiln

Last year my oxygen concentrator went on the fritz and had to be shipped all the way across the country to be fixed - fortunately it was under warranty.  This year my kiln has decided to call it quits - not under warranty.  However in talking to the manufacturers, I think it is just needing a new element - and one is now on it's way, and is apparently quite easy to install.  It was so fortunate that the kiln decided to quit after my shows and not before.  This got me thinking about how dependant I am on my equipment, so I have decided to purchase another kiln - a brick lined one this time.  I have always wanted a brick lined kiln, so I could do things such as glass fusing, PMC, and such.  So a new Paragon Bluebird XL is on it's way - yippee!!

My new Paragon Bluebird XL
 Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me . . . . .la la lala!  LOL!

Friday, December 9, 2011

CHRISTMAS SALE in my Etsy Shop


All items in my Etsy shop are marked down 30% until approx. December 23/2011.  No codes to remember - the price has already been changed. 
My Etsy Shop
I will be closing the shop after the sale until some time in January 2012.
Thanks for looking!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Toy!

I went off to Canadian Tire yesterday and purchased a new toy for myself.  I was given some money for my birthday and for Christmas, so decided to splurge on this new espresso maker.
Now I am going to try to make myself a caramel macchiatto - YUM!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Amethyst rounds on Etsy

I am quite pleased how this little set turned out.  Just opaque white and transparent amethyst.  I think it would make a great bracelet.   It's in my Etsy shop right now.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Lots of leaves!  I just listed a bunch of new leaves in my Etsy shop.  I love the colour of the ones in the middle.  Unfortunately I can't find the glass anymore.  I purchased a whole lot of glass from a lady that was going out of lampworking, and in it there was this lovely large rod of the most wonderful green - but just the one rod.  It is sort of a blue spruce type green - dark with a hint of blue.  If any of you beadmakers out there know what the glass is, please let me know - I would love to get some more.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Trio of Trees" - new tutorial coming!

Well, I have finally decided to go ahead with the tutorial for my tree beads, called "Trio of Trees".  I started typing the narrative part a few of days ago and have managed to get the verbal instructions for two of the three trees completed.  Sometime in December I will get my daughter to come over and take the photos as I make the beads.  The tutorial will hopefully be released sometime in mid January 2012.  I thought about getting it done before Christmas, but I just don't think it is possible - sorry!

This "Frosty Morning" bead is one of the beads that will be taught in the tutorial.

The other two will be my "Arbutus Beach" (known in the US as the Madrona tree) and one I am presently working on called "Faux Wedgewood".  Keep your eyes on this blog for the announcement when it is ready.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Studio Tour weekend

Last weekend (actually Thursday to Sunday) we had a self guided artist studio tour in our area.  There were 21 artists participating, along with many of the local restaurants and watering holes.  The only drawback, is that I can't go out on the tour as I am stuck here all weekend!

I had two other artists participating with me in my little studio - Vicki Forkin with her Herb Garden Pottery, and Gail Petrie with her lovely Christmas boxes/centerpieces and ornaments.  We had lots of people come through - over 350!  Our poor gravel driveway looks quite well used.

My part of the studio.

Herb Garden Pottery

That Crafty Lady (Christmas Boxes, etc)

Sorry about the quality of the pictures.
It is back to the torch now, as I have a couple of orders that I have to get ready for the beginning of December.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my US readers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder - maybe??

I'm so sorry for my absence from the blog world - I just figured something had to get put aside while I got through the shows so I wouldn't be a total basket case.

The above photo is from the Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair which was on Nov 4 - 6.  My daughter feels that with the show's black draping my booth is too dark, and I think she is right.  Several times I had someone bring a friend back to my booth, and the friend said  "how did I miss this one".  So I think I will be going back to my ivory brocade table covers - I was just so tired of them, but they are a lot lighter and brighter.

Sales were down for me about 25%, which is not good.  However several other jewellers stated that their sales were the same as last year, so who knows - it's all just a guessing game anyway.  I haven't decided yet if I will do the show again next year, or take a year off and do another venue.  I have asked for a corner booth next year, so perhaps if I can get that then I will do it again.  Decisions, decisions!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Craft fair this weekend!

I am busy packing for the Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair.  It is November 4 - 6, 2011 at Beban Park,  2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo, B.C.  This is my 4th consecutive year.  This is a very well run fair, with lots of different vendors, and even a kitchen that serves pretty good grub, and will deliver it to your booth, which is always nice when you are stuck by yourself!
 Hope to see you there! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New beads for show


Over the Mountain, side one above and side two below.

These are a couple of new beads I have made for the upcoming Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair on November 4 - 6.  I am sooooo not ready!!   I have quite a lot of beads made, but I have to get them all made into jewelry.  As some of you know, I am not thrilled by making jewelry.  Fortunately I have a fairly good selection of nice chain, so I think most of the focals will be made up into pendants, and hung on a chain.  So on that note, I had better go and park myself in front of my jewelry making desk.

To see what I was up to yesterday, click here.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home from the bead show

 It was a great weekend - except for the fact that my bad back decided to act up Friday night and Saturday morning.  However with the help of my booth partner Judy Baun, I was able to get through it - thanks Judy!!  Sales were a little bit better than last year, which is always a good thing.  Judy had her vintage cutlery bracelets there along with her beads, and I had my polymer buttons and my glass beads.
Here is a picture of our combined booth - a fairly simple set up, but I like the rust cloth.  I am not too thrilled with the ivory coloured risers, but they serve as a great place to hide all our assorted bits and pieces.

On our left was Eugenia Chan and her incredible metal work click here.  I just had to purchase one of her incredible key fobs.   

To the left of Eugenia was Judy Mackenzie with her Kazuri beads click here.

To our right was Glenda Tyski.  Glenda used to live in Nanaimo until last January when she moved to Mission.  I now have Glenda's spot at the Nanaimo Friday Farmer's Market - small world.  To see Glenda's work click here

We had a great time, and Judy only steered me wrong once or twice - lol (we were staying with friends and she was the navigator, and I was the driver.)

The quality of the work in the show was absolutely fantastic - I only wish I had more money to spend - as it was, I spent probably nearly as much as I made.

Over the next few days I will be posting photos of  the other lampworkers that were at the show on my other blog - Vancouver Island Fireflies. click here

I am now back at the torch madly making beads, as I have two more shows to get ready for.

Have a good week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This Weekend - the Fraser Valley Bead Show

Our booth from last year - 2010

It's almost time for the fall Fraser Valley Bead Show.  Judy Baun and I will have a booth again this year - we have changed our table design somewhat from last years layout and colours.  I will try to remember to take a photo after we are set up and put it here on the blog next week.

The FVBS is held  at the Cascades Casino/Convention Center, 20393 Fraser Hwy, Langley, B.C.,  Friday Nov 21st to Sunday Nov 23rd.  The show times are 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm on Saturday, and 10:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday.  Check out the great classes available here.  Everything from stacking rings and metal clay rings to all kinds of bracelets and necklaces to fold forming, enameling, soldering, resin and etching - that's a lot of classes, and there is sure to be something to interest you.

Judy and I will both have some new items at the show, and I will have a show special:  one of my poppy disc flowers with 2 leaves of your choice for $12.00!!

Sure hope you can make it - it's a great show, and we would love to see you!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Harvest", beads for the FVBS

I love the colours of Fall, and I must say that it is my favourite season.  The rich browns, olives and burgundys make me think of frosty days to come with the wood stove going and a mug of hot chocolate (or herb tea if I am on one of my perpetual diets - lol).

These four sets of "Harvest" beads are ready for the Fraser Valley Bead Show which starts in just over one week - and no, I am no where near ready. To check out the location and times of the show, click here.  They have some great classes as well.

I'm not sure why the orange is so bright in some of the beads - it really isn't!  In reality it is more of a pumpkin colour.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Copper Bails for Disc Type Beads

I have finally figured out how to hang disc type beads without them wobbling back and forth.  Thanks to the ladies who commented on a previous post, and got my brain thinking in the right direction.

This first picture shows the front of the finished piece.  The disc bead has been attached to the bail, and then I have slipped a rubber tubing neck cord through the hole/channel.  I have also made some smaller channeled ones that will be great for a finer leather cord that I have.

The second photo shows the back of the finished piece, and gives you an idea of how I attached the disc bead and the danglies.

The third and last photo shows the bails I made from sheet copper before being attached to the disc.  I think these will work perfectly with the poppy disc flowers that I made too.

Thank you to all of you who made me think outside the box to figure this out!

To all my Canadian followers - hope you are having a great Thanksgiving weekend.  I am cooking today's dinner/feast - ham, yam and potato bake, carrots from our garden, and sprouts in lemon sauce.  Dessert is baked apples from one of our trees with vanilla ice cream (of course).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Misty Cedars - glass tree focal bead.

One of my "Room With a View" style beads called Misty Cedars (artistic license on the tree form).  I really like these pseudo scrimshaw type beads, and someday I plan on exploring other subjects besides cedar trees.

Well, it is out to the studio for me - only two weeks until the  Fraser Valley Bead Show and I am very much behind in my bead making.  Then I have two more shows after that - yikes!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Glass Bead Headpins

Let me tell you - those are a royal PITA to make!!  I started out wiring the pieces of wire that I wanted to make the headpins out of to a regular glass bead making mandrel. Well that doesn't work very well, because when you put them in the kiln they just slide out with the weight of the mandrel.  My kiln is very short from front to back, and is made so that the mandrel sticks out of the door.  Usually this is not a problem, as the beads I make are heavy enough to keep the mandrel inside the kiln - also there is a part of the mandrel sticking out in front of the bead that pokes through a perforated piece of metal in the back of the kiln.  So I decided to cut very long pieces of wire and just hold them.  Did you know it is nearly impossible to get 20 gauge wire to be absolutely straight?  So here I am trying to roll the wire around between my fingers, as you would a mandrel, and it is just waving all over the place - grrr!!!  It was a real comedy of errors to see.  I finally managed to get enough glass on the end of the wire withoug burning off the wire (which was realy easy to do), and get them into a rough semblance of a round.  I am not sure if I will take these to the bead show, or will just use them for myself - because I sure won't be making any more.  I now have a profound respect for those bead makers who are making these on a regular basis.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two New Floral Glass Lampwork Beads

Two new florals for the Fraser Valley Bead show.  The first one is a Sunflower on a base of Reichenbach Antique Green - a very expensive glass, with not much to show for itself.  I like it, but not at the price they are asking - it has what looks like minute bubbles and a sparkle of some sort inside.  Pretty, but I think I will just stick with a pale green Effetre glass next time.

The second flower I can't remember the name of - someone help me.  For some reason I keep wanting to call it an Echinacea flower?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"A Frosty Morning" Lampwork Tree Bead

It won't be long before it looks like this outside in the morning - brrrrr!!!  I'm making a few of these to add to the collection of tree beads that I will be taking to the Fraser Valley Bead Show on October 21 -23.

My daughter - the computer techie - said I had to make my titles a little more "search" friendly.  So that is why I didn't just title this post "A Frosty Morning". She told me that if people were searching for glass tree beads they certainly wouldn't find it the way I had wanted to title it.  Actually to be honest, she didn't say anything about this post, but she made comments about my previous posts.  She looks after me - it's great!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A new blog!

I belong to a group of lampworkers (glass bead makers) called Vancouver Island Fireflies.  I have been thinking lately of starting up a blog dedicated to our little group - reporting on such things as our meetings, tutorials, profiles of our members, and anything of possible interest to the group.

Here is a link to the blog for anyone who might be interested to follow our little band of glass melters. Vancouver Island Fireflies

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A great giveaway at Manuela Wutschke's blog!

Head over to Manuela Wutschke's blog - she is giving this bead away as a birthday gift from her to you (maybe you - maybe me - lol).  Here is a link
Good luck to everyone!

......and the winner is.......

In a previous blog post I requested some help with ideas for hanging one of my disc flowers.  Four lovely ladies replied, and thanks to them I have some ideas on how to proceed.  I will post the photos of the results in a future post.  OK, so you are saying "get on with the draw"!  I put the 4 names into a box and pulled one out - congratulations Alice!  I will be sending you the ruffled flower disc and leaves just as soon as you email me with your address.  If you would prefer a different flower (see the photo in a previous post), just let me know.

Once again, thank you very much for all your help ladies!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arbutus Beach tree beads

Here are two more of my Arbutus Beach tree beads.  As I have mentioned before, the Arbutus (called Madrona in the US) grows along the coast here in British Columbia.  It is always shedding something - leaves, bark, flowers and berries, depending on the season.  I have a definate love/hate relationship with this tree.  I love to see it in the wild, but don't let it anywhere near my property!!

I hope you are all having a good start to the week.  I have to go to the dentist tomorrow - oh no!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Glass shards

I have been playing around with some really neat glass shards that I purchased  This bead starts out with a base of black, then a strip of silver foil, and then the shards.  I love the way they have gone all mottled.  I also trailed a stringer of silvered ivory over the top.  Very simple, but I think it is quite effective.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Help wanted - incentive prize offered!

This is a necklace I made up with one of the disc poppies and leaves I have been making lately for the upcoming bead show.  I made up a sample so that customers can see how I have used it, and to give them inspiration.  However I am not happy with how I have "strung" it.  You can see the back side of the bead in the picture below.  I put a long headpin through a small accent bead, then through the front of the flower to the back, added another small bead and wire wrapped it using what I call "birds nest" wrapping.  Then I bent the loop upwards with my pliers, and threaded it onto a copper figure 8 link - then added a hammered copper washer.  The washer acts as a bit of a ballast and somewhere for the large chain, leaf and bead dangle to hang from.  I have worn it several times, and it does not turn around (I was really pleased about this), and is quite comfortable.  I want to be able to add one of my disc poppies to a rubber tube/cord type of necklace, and don't think this method will work with that, as I want the flower to be centered on the rubber cord.

OK - now for where I need your advice - how should I go about attaching the flower to the rubber cord?  I don't want to just wire wrap it on, as it would possibly cut into the rubber and could flip so it was facing downwards, which is what I want to avoid.  The problem is that this disc is not like a regular focal pendant whose hole is from top to bottom - the hole in the poppy disc is from front to back.  So I am offering an incentive to someone who has an idea that will work for me with either the rubber cord or to streamline the method above.  In about a weeks time I will draw one name from all the people who have given me a suggestion to my problem and that person will receive the ruffled disc poppy shown below. (Or a plain one if they prefer).

Thanks for your help!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Building up show stock

I can't believe it has been two weeks since I last posted on my blog - sorry about that.  I have been busy getting beads made for the upcoming Fraser Valley Bead Show in October - only 4 weeks left.

The beads above are a small sample of the beads I will be taking.  The bead at the top is one of my Pacific Reef beads, and the three florals are a new style I have been working on this past summer.  I know that sunflowers have larger centers and smaller petals - just call it "artistic license".  I thought I might do some in colours other than yellow too - maybe pink, purple or blue (more artistic license).

I am going to post a picture in a day or two of a necklace I made up with one of the poppy discs that I showed in an earlier post.  I need your help with suggestions on how to string it.  Prizes will be involved too!
So keep an eye out for the next post - hopefully some time over the weekend.

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Organics in Abundance

I recently purchased a lampwork recipe e-book from Jacqueline Parks aka Gems in Bloom, and have been enjoying making "organics" with her recipes.  It is amazing how the same glass can be used by so many lampworkers, and each one comes up with a different interpretation -  even if you try to make the beads like the samples that she shows, they never turn out the same.

All these beads were made with basically dark ivory, silver foil, and intense black.  Some of them have a base of a slightly different colour, but more or less all the same.

I was at the Downtown Nanaimo Farmers Market today, and it sure was windy.  I was really glad that my tent back was tied to the outside railing, and that I had weights on the ftont.  Now that the children are all back in school, I sure notice that the number of customers has dropped dramatically - however sales were about the same overall.  Tomorrow - another town, another market!

Have a great weekend all!