This blog is intended to document my journey into the world of handmade artisan lampwork beads.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

No Excuses

As is the case with everyone at this time of year, I have been in overload mode. Hazel Green employees, family and friends have been keeping me busy at my torch. Thanks to everyone for this. If I didn't love doing it now it would be a problem. But even when the pressure is on, I do not dread making beads and jewelry. If I am not making something I am researching new ideas and techniques. It is amazing that projects that friends suggest and I am not supper excited about seem to turn out to be my favorites. Usually they are outside my comfort zone, is why I hesitate. Please keep asking me to try new and different things. A perfect example of this is a teacher at school asked me to try and do an apple bracelet for her sister who was completing her education to become a teacher. I was a little hesitant, I hate to disappoint anyone. I played around a bit, cracked the first one. Showed her a sample, she of course said it was fine. I proceeded to make lots of little apples. It ended up, if I don't say so myself, pretty cute. I am anxious to hear how her sister liked it. It is definitely something I will repeat for other sales venues.

I also made two sales at the gallery. I was pleasantly surprised to receive two checks right before Christmas. I was on the fence as to whether to continue in that avenue.

Hopefully everyone has a wonderful Christmas. Ours was a little different. Patrick being in Korea was not with us except via the internet. Maggie was supposed to come home yesterday but due to horrible weather her flight got canceled. She is coming home with Brian's parents via car today. So we will be waiting anxiously to be able to spend some time with her. So our Christmas was very quite but very nice. My father had back surgery right before Christmas so his holiday was a little different also. He is doing much better now. He was is so much pain, he is not a complainer, so when he says he is miserable you know it is bad.

Last but not least, due to a very supportive husband and a wonderful father I am the proud owner of a new beautiful camera. This is not only a wonderful gift but will help me sell my beads online. It is really hard to sell online without good pictures of the items. No body in their right mind is going to buy something that the picture doesn't make it look it's very best. I am so looking forward to learning everything about it. It is very similar to Maggie's, so hopefully she can help me learn quicker.

So over the past year I have complained about needing a new camera - Now I have no excuse not to blog with lots of pictures and hopefully list more items on Etsy and hopefully in the near future a actual website.

Some of the following pictures were taken with the old camera and some with the new.

New member of our household Abbygail (Patrick's cat)
Trying to figure out our pecking order.
Lots of beads.

Thanks for visiting. I will try to post more often with my new toy in hand.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hope this weekend was my payment. Danny and I sold at our first Artisan Fair. It was an eye opener. The amount of work that goes into a craft fair booth is unbelieveable. And what ever happened to if you build it they will come. Well they didn't. I guess this is going to be my first and worst show, I hope. I did learn a whole bunch of things. My neighboring artists were wonderful. Everyone had a tough time, not sure as tough as mine though. They were helpful, informative and more. My very best friends stopped by and Staci was really kind enough to take some booth pictures. Thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Friends

The best dog in the world and the luckiest kitten ever, taking a Sunday nap. Topper is so good to marshmallow. This was the view out my kitchen window this afternoon. He literally has taken to motherhood like it was natural.

I had a rather productive day. Did some sewing, some mending and some beading. Yesterday I finished a necklace and a bracelet that had been laid out on my bench for a week or so. Sometimes I have to stare at the layout for awhile before finishing it to make sure it is the way I envisioned. I really do not redo things very well but will if it needs it. Can't decide if I will sell the necklace, I do not make myself many things but I kind of like this really well. The bracelet is made out of beads that I made about 6 months ago.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Second Thoughts

I rarely wear a bracelet but this one tugs at my heart strings for so many reasons. It has been sold along with several other pieces to a group of women that are friends of my husbands friend Keith. Someone asked me if I ever had trouble parting with pieces after slaving over them in their different stages of completion. Normally I don't because I know that with a few exceptions I can recreate it for me if I decide to.

I used to wear a gold mesh bracelet almost every day years ago. Then I moved to KY which is more relaxed and I got out of the habit. I always wear a watch but almost never a bracelet. When I made this one, I was thinking about my mom. She has been gone 5 years, she loved the ocean and this color palette, and pearls. I made donut shaped transparent glass beads, smashed them then etched them to look similar to sea glass. I added bicone crystals and pearls, a clasp and a starfish charm. If I had kept it I might have worn it but it would have to have been to somewhere other than work, due to writing so much. My mom did not wear many bracelets either, even though she had some. One of her favorite things were charm bracelets. She started both my sister and me one when we were young. Mine was stolen years ago in a home burglary, of all the things stolen that time, that is the one thing that haunts me. You just can not replace something that is created out of memories.

I have already made some more beads like the ones above. I may make another bracelet and maybe try to design a necklace that I would wear.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Productive Weekend

This picture really does not do this bracelet justice. Again I need a decent camera desperately. Maggie where are you. But if I don't take a picture I tend to forget what I have done in the past, even if it is a bad picture. This weekend I made Wildcat beads and for a change they all turned out usable. Usually you have a few at the beginning that are not too good as you get into a rhythm. Then I spent Sunday making jewelry. Wildcat bracelet, 4 pair of wildcat earrings and the above bracelet. The above bracelet was intended for Sue's Birthday. I had to bring it back home though it is too big. So restringing it is. I am not real good at the redo thing. I probably will take out the big bead out of the pattern so it is the right length.

I have always been very proud of my parents keeping up with the changing world and changing technology. They have always grown with the changing times. My Dad now even has a Facebook page. I really think that speaks to his great attitude toward life as a learning journey. Love you Dad. You are the very best ever.

Patrick seems to be doing great in S. Korea . He taught his first classes today. He appears to like teaching. Go figure. Of course who would have thought I would spend 16 plus years working at an elementary school. You never know where life is going to take you. He is experiencing all kinds of new and exciting things. It was hard to comprehend Maggie doing things in England, it is just as hard to comprehend Patrick being in S. Korea. Wow!

Maggie's first day of classes at UNCG was today also. She met with her professor on her Graduate Assistantship first thing this morning and then off to class. Seemed to go well. She will be awesome in both roles. She even found a parking spot, major hurdle she says.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Patrick is Adjusting in S. Korea

We have heard from Patrick twice since he left on Monday. We did have a few days of silence which was agonizing for us. I am sure he was fine. Danny took these pictures of him leaving Nashville. He did comment last night to Danny that his beard even though allowed (short and trimmed) is scaring little Korean children. I do not think they encounter many beards. He seems to be socializing with the other English speaking teachers (one is from South Africa). This is good. He does not have his permanent residence yet as that gentleman has not left yet. Patrick is is training for at least 3 weeks. I am so sure that he will be great at this.

I just could not concentrate on making beads until we had heard from him. It was also the first week of school which is absolutely horribly busy for me. Today I was in a much better frame of mind. I worked for about 4 hours. I have a kiln full. Who knows how they will turn out. I also strung a badge lariat, just need to add clasp. I have got several people wanting things, which is good, but got to get focused.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You Never Stop Being a Parent

Maggie took these pictures the last day she was home. Topper has assumed the parenting role of Marshmallow. Danny and my parenting duties continue with trying to get Patrick ready to go to for a year to S. Korea to teach English to 4th thru 6th grade students. It is all the little details that are difficult. The big things got taken care of last week, this weekend it was little things that were on our minds. We really are excited about this opportunity for Patrick and think he will be great in this new job. He promises to write in a blog. He leaves tomorrow at 2:00pm from Nashville and doesn't get to Korea until Wednesday. I do believe he is getting a little nervous.

I have a few orders on the bead front that hopefully I will be able to concentrate on this week while worrying about Patrick and Maggie. Danny is taking him to the airport, sadly I can not go due to it being the first week of school.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Boy Was This Summer Short

Today was the first day I worked in the 2010-2011 school year. Not ready to go back, at all. Sat in a Medication training all day. Tomorrow gets even better - meeting at central office, can't wait. I have been trying to take care of all the things people had asked me to do, hemming, earrings, lariats, etc. I am trying to burn beads in the same time frame. I have tried two hollow beads with the new puffy mandrels. Not easy. I seem to be able to make the glass move but they still are not very hollow. We will see how my second one is in the morning. Maggie is now attending UNCG and their colors are navy and YELLOW. If you know me well, I do not do well with yellow. I made two beads tonight with a navy core and encased in clear with Yellow dots, two different yellows. Mag says that the yellow is a golden tone, even worse for me. But she can't wear red and black (WKU) colors at UNCG. I will send them to her and see which one is the ONE. I am also working on a orange with black dot set, maybe Halloweenish. Orange was my favorite color when I was 13, everything I wanted was orange. I think I overdosed on orange. It ties with yellow now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big Move

The big move to NC I think is complete. It was hot, long and sad. But everyone has survived. Maggie and Brian's apartment is coming together nicely. They did an awesome job of being organized and resourceful. The apartment is very comfortable and reflects their personalities. Hopefully the parents did not stress the two of them too much. Danny and I are back home and a little sad without her. We are also a lot poorer. Our fairly new car had issues and barely got her stuff down there. The next day it had a major melt down. Due to Danny's diligence we did get it fixed on Monday morning and were able to return on schedule.

On the way home we stopped at a Glass distributor in Asheville, NC, Mountain Arts Glass. Steven was so helpful without being annoying (a fine line with me). He was so enthusiastic. Danny was so patient and supportive also. It was awesome to see all the colors in person. They also had the Puffy mandrel that I have wanted but did not want to pay shipping on. Can't wait to try to make a hollow bead on it. I read the directions and am a little hesitant. It looks like patting your tummy at the same time as rubbing your head. LOL. I think I will try it with my cheapest and ugliest glass and when I am all by myself. The cuss words might be a problem. Karen Johnson Kane has a necklace that has several unique hollow beads on it. It is a beautiful necklace. After seeing it last fall, I have been interested in trying hollow beads. The hollows in this necklace are all different shapes and really cool.

Yesterday, trying to recuperate from the weekend, I needed to mow the knee deep grass. I was making lots of progress, although at a very high setting. Then the oddest thing happened. The blade just fell off the riding mower. What is up with that?

Patrick is getting everything together to spend a year in South Korea. It is hard to try to help him, not knowing what he has done or needs to do. We will be going to Bowling Green this Saturday to try and get a better feel for what he needs. This has been the strangest summer trying to prepare for both of our children to not only live in a different city but different state and different country. How many parents experience that in the same month? Oh well I guess we will adjust, we do not have any choice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Big Day

Well today is the day we take all of Mag's and my hard work and put it into the U-Haul. It is supposed to be mid 90's to boot. I am excited for her but sad for Danny and me. It really is a joy to have her around. She is great at calling so maybe it won't be too bad.

I am excited for her to start her new adventure. So many new experiences, Graduate classes, Graduate Assistantship, and a part time job as a Personal Trainer, all at UNCG. She also will be moving into her first apartment with long time boyfriend Brian. He is very supportive of everything Maggie does, which is a lot of things.

Your job as parents, as I have always seen it, is to prepare your children for the world. Both of my children are fully engaged in the big outside world. I hope that Danny and I have prepared them well. I think we have. Problem is we will always be parents and can not help but worry. I guess they will not understand that until they have kids of their own.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last week with my Favorite Daughter

Maggie took the above pictures of the kitten when she came home two different evenings from Brian's house. How she gets up there we have no idea. This kitten is a pistol and full of personality and has the loudest meow when hungry. We have named her so I guess she is a keeper. Her name is marshmallow when clean and when dirty it is toasted marshmallow.

This week has been enjoyable but also a little sad. We are putting the finishing touches on packing and getting ready to move Maggie to NC. Where did the summer go. When I needed the longest summer ever, I got the shortest one since working in the school system. I made some pretty cool wine glass coasters yesterday from some fabric she picked out in Berea. Today I am going to divide the Clivia that my Mom loved and shared with me years ago. It had a baby (rare) so the baby is going with Maggie. I am also going to make her some cloth napkins to go with her (my old) dishes. I loved those teal dishes and got good use out of them. I was just wanting white again. Sad to see them go. I also have got to rework a pair of earrings and mend some items for her before packing the truck.

The above necklace was made by my cousin Vickie Kane Mathieu, it was sent to Maggie as a graduation from college gift. Vickie is an enamel artist from Arcadia, California. It is amazing. A shimmering blue background with a gold heart. She could not have picked a better size or design for Maggie. Maggie was a baby the last time Vickie saw her how could she have known? I do not know if she sells her work or not, but she should.

Maggie and I are going to meet with Stacey Wilhite tonight to discuss Peacock Beads for a project she is designing. I am not sure if I can help her but I sure will try.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Animals, Animals, Animals

I really have had the lick with the pets around here. Topper had a Vet appointment today for some shots. He is deathly scared of storms. At about the time we needed to start the fight to get him in the car, which is picking him up (over 70 pounds) and putting him in a Jeep Liberty against his will, it started to pour the rain. After Maggie, Topper and myself were totally drenched and unsuccessful in getting him into the car, I gave up. Topper ran under the porch. We are going to try this again on Monday. Can't wait. Off to have dinner at a friends. Have to still take some pictures of some beads that I did the other day using some of Avenue Beads Shards. Turned out not bad.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Addition to our Cat Population

Well the new cat has been to the vet ($76.00) and has been named (marshmallow). The only issue now to be resolved is it's living quarters. I vote for outside, 3 indoor cats is enough for me to take care of. but the rest of the family vote for indoor. A long haired white cat really doesn't work to good outside. Topper tried to give HER a bath and she looked more like a toasted marshmallow. So I had to give her a bath, she came out of that one a bit better. She does have ear mites and fleas and I did find a tiny tick. The Vet thinks she is in pretty good health, just a little skinny.
I also had a first yesterday. I listed this bead and with in a couple of hours it sold. I was absolutely in shock. So Maggie and I were going to town anyway and we shipped it to GA. I have always been shocked when bead makers say that they list something and it sells so quick. Well I guess that can happen. It was a bead that I had intended to list last winter and just didn't get a good picture of. I have two others listed at this point. Wish they would sell that quick, no such luck.

Friday, July 9, 2010


All of our animals at this time were not planned. They just found us. Well yet another one has just found us. Yesterday, Danny on his way to work got halfway down the hill and saw a tiny kitten (solid white, long hair) sitting in the road. He stopped and almost got to it and it ran into the woods edge and stared at him. Well he was dressed in good clothes that would not have worked with the terrain, so he went on to work and called and told me about his find. I did not go out yesterday so we didn't think to much about it. Obviously someone had dumped it. We live in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forrest and it is pretty remote. So this happens a lot with different animals. Danny had gone to bed and Maggie and I were watching TV and our dog Topper (also a found dumped animal) was acting weird at the sliding glass door. He was wagging his tail and looking toward the driveway. I got up and didn't turn the light on, looked out the glass door and there stood the brightest white kitten. I opened the door and it let me pick it up. It is very attention needy. We woke up Danny, fed the kitten ( I never saw anything eat so fast) and played a little with it. We put it in the down stairs bathroom, it cried some but eventually was ok. This morning I opened the door to a absolute attention whore (as my son would say). I never have seen a kitten that could not sit still for one second with out looking for attention. Under my feet, up my leg, on my computer etc. I finally had to put it back in the bathroom in order to breath. Maggie got up and we tried again. She did not believe me. She does now. We finally let Topper in because he kept watching from outside. The kitten did not want us any more, Topper was all it wanted. So guess what we put the two of them outside. Poor Topper, the kitten would not let him rest. He basically is a porch dog but not with the kitten around. He even tried to give it a bath. Funny. We have a Vet appointment at 2:30pm today. It may have some health issues?? We will see. This is not what we had planned for today.

I would take some pictures of the beads I made yesterday, but it is overcast and looks like rain. The best pictures lately have been outside. Maybe later.