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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finally Got to Make a Few Beads

I have been working on the Tax and FAFSA thing lately and have not made any beads for a few days. It felt good to sit down and just play. I tried a few things that I have read about on the forums. Then I tried to practice with the Beadroller tool. I do believe that I might get the hang of it someday.

We had a another snow day today. Makes 18 snow days this year. I do not know about tomorrow yet. I think it is a 50/50 chance. I guess we could have some icy roads from melting snow.

I still have some work to do on the taxes and FAFSA, boy do I hate doing it. I have a deadline though, in order to get Maggie’s FAFSA done by March 1.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday and No Snow for A Change

I am again trying something new.  Windows Live Writer allows me to post to my blog remotely from the Windows format.  I am hoping that it will be a tad easier to get things lined up.14

One of the most annoying things about the setup on the blog was that you could not wrap text around the pictures.  I just figured it out in Windows.  That makes this step worth it in my mind.  I even got a border added to the picture. This is a pair of earrings I made for Mag last summer.  Not the best picture but worked for test purposes.

Sorry about not posting the past few days.  I have not felt real well; battling a UTI.  I did manage to make some beads that I am fairly pleased with, some weren’t what I expected though.  I tried a round shape in my Beadroller tool and for the first time it came out round.  I even like the design.  Nothing earth shattering but a twist on something that I have done before and I think everyone else has done too.  My son’s girlfriend wants a pair of light blue earrings, so I managed those.  I have issues doing the same thing over and over again, when I have a set in mind, I just do one or two each session of that design.  The thought of doing nothing but one design in a session just isn’t me.  It might make me more productive and the design better but what fun would that be.

Danny took the Census Bureau test yesterday and passed with a 97.  He is thinking of doing that for a couple of weeks for extra cash, since our car is in the shop.  He suggested that I try also but I am a little leery about me going to some houses in this area by myself since I am so well liked by some parents.  There is the problem of meth labs also.  They train you in March and then you work 20 to 40 hours a week in April.  I don’t know if I can manage beads, school, census and house etc.

I also have been working on my father’s Birthday present-a windsock.  I love the design but why oh why can I not pick something simple.  I always start a project thinking I can finish it sooner than I really can.  I forget how long it takes to stitch all of those pieces on.  When you look at the whale it looks simple but not in reality. I plan on working more on it today.  Hopefully I will feel good enough to be patient with it.  Sewing a windsock for me is a contrast in emotions.  I love it because I can work with patterns and fabric that my mom so loved.  The other side is struggling with not being able to ask her questions.  I also worry that my design and quality is up to her standards.  I am not sure my father is as picky as my mom or myself.  So I hope he will like it even if it is going to be a little late, nothing new on that account.

I am going to try to take some decent pictures again today.  The 2 mg pixels is just not cutting it.  Need to really get with Darrin and have him take good pictures.  Maggie will be home in two weeks for Spring Break, hopefully with her camera in tow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Layout

Hopefully this new look is easier on your eyes. I am experimenting, so not sure if I will keep this one either. I found it a little frustrating. I tried to bring the banner from my Etsy site to it, but it didn't like that. I will keep trying different things until I get it the way I want. I visited many blogs and theirs all look great. I need to spend more time on it. It is amazing how much time all of this really takes.

I read an article on pricing jewelry by self employed artists. They said you should add all of this kind of time into the equation for your selling price. I am not sure the market could handle the cost of my learning curve. Maybe that is how that necklace out of really ordinary, but pretty lampwork beads was listed at $1,000.00.

Check out the neat Mini-Etsy that is now on the page. I saw this on another blog, so thought I would try it here. Please let me know what you think. Is it too commercial?

Yesterday's bead experiments were a bit disapointing. I did research on how to use several of the frits (glass chips) that were sent free with a book that I got for Christmas. I tried several of the ideas but was not really impressed with the results. I did get one bead that may have possibilities, it is a glass called opal yellow with a frit that looks blue and is called Kronos #2 by
Double Helix. The frit is a silvered glass that is supposed to have reactive qualities when introduced to a reducing flame, mostly propane and very little oxygen. The opposite of this is a oxidizing flame, which make other glasses change colors such as Raku. Sometimes it is quite confusing and then introduce the human factor, timing, different torches etc. and the results are never predictable. I guess that is what keeps glass artists so intrigued.

I was accepted by the Self Representing Artist organization that I discussed last time. Their response was remarkably quick. That logo now appears on this blog also.

Well guess what? Another snow day tomorrow! What is new? I think it will make 17 days we have missed since January 1, 2010. You only get 20 to a month, there goes June.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Big Snow Day

Today was another snow day. I used it to take pictures of beads. It takes longer than you would think to just do that. Then you have to download adjust, adjust, adjust then save.

I did manage to list the above bead on Etsy today. I also applied to a organization of Self Representing Artists. The process can take up to 3 weeks. The group promotes glass lampwork artists and tries to educate the public regarding the differences between mass produced beads and a handmade bead. Believe it or not, no fee, optional donation. You had to send proof in pictures of your studio, beads that you have for sale, etc. If approved you can use their logo on your site selling beads only. I hope my application will be approved. I would not have been ready to do this a few months ago.

I burnt some beads tonight, concentrating on organic style bicone focals. I am anxious to see what the kiln fairy will bring.

After you view the next pictures - Do you think we are going to be out of school for a few days?
These were took out the sliding glass door down stairs.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Well as it seems every weekend, we are expecting more snow. Danny's car is at the bottom of the hill so he can get out. I am going to be really mad if we have gone to all this trouble and it doesn't snow for a change.

I didn't get a lot accomplished today other than normal chores. I did sort through a lot of beads and make decisions on what should be done with them; whether to make some jewelry or sell them as individuals, pairs or sets.

I also did get some pictures taken. They are really not as good as with Maggie's camera but it will have to do for now. I even listed a new focal. It is a bead that I made without the aid of a press and it is bigger than I normally make. I am really fond of it and I think it will make a great pendant or be great in a long necklace. Maybe tomorrow I can get some more pictures taken and list some more.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Etsy Rolls On

Yesterday, I sold another bead on Etsy. It is a slow process to build up a customer base but I think I could get used to selling a bead or two every once in awhile. The bead I sold had been listed awhile and was one of my favorite ones. In fact I had made a necklace out of similar ones back in the summer as a gift to a very special friend for feeding my very special pets when I was in Oregon at the very special bead show in Portland. I think I will make some more of these type beads maybe in a different shape. This bead sold to a different Etsy customer/seller than the first three items. That pleases me. Maybe it wasn't a fluke.

My daughter's very special boyfriend Brian, has expressed some concern that I am selling them too cheap and not making a profit. My DH has the same concern. I think I am ok for now. Yes, I am not getting rich quick. I am loving every minute of the journey and learning as I go. Yes, I think my beads are worth more than money and sometimes it is very hard to part with them. But it is a necessary evil in order to make more beads. My daughter feels that I have something in common with the TV show "The Hoarders". I am trying to prove her wrong, although my mother and I do have that tendency in common. What good would a whole house full of beads do anyone?

It would be wonderful someday to command the prices that I see sometimes on the web for my work. I realize that will take time, practice and a very good reputation. I am willing to work for it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Productive Snow Day

Listed this earring pair on Etsy today. It reminds me of spring and boy am I ready for it. We have missed so much school for snow already this year. Hope we do not have to work all summer. They will let the students have off but classified staff will still have to finish their contracts. Maybe I will work spring break in order to make up some days.

I finished some valentine gifts today. I had the hearts done for awhile but could not decide how I wanted to finish them and to whom they would go. Danny took the pictures for me and got very frustrated. It is not as easy as it looks. I definitely understand, been there.

I received my free chain from Dreamland Jewelry today. It is really pretty and looks like a good deal. I also received my new mask N100 for particles today. I really needed it. My other one fogs up my two pair of glasses. Making beads with a torch is not really very safe if you can not see. I wear my regular glasses and then a special pair of glasses over those so that I can see through the flame and don't damage my eyes from the sodium flare.
This mask is wonderful. I made a white heart with purple and pink enamel and could breathe and see. Can't wait to try all the design possibilities with enamel and pixie dust (mica).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Testing Found Camera

My husband found a Sony FD Mavica camera at work . We are testing to see what kind of image that we can use on the internet. Bear with us. First picture is with my daughters camera, drool. But the freebie doesn't do to bad. Maybe it will do for awhile with Darrin's help in between.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I am So Excited - First Etsy Sale

You know how you have these great ideas and then they don't happen like you think they will. Well I was about to get discouraged with selling on Etsy. You struggle to wonder if your items are good enough, does the picture do the item justice, is your price right, are the colors and designs what someone else would want to wear. Well I am pleased to say that a nice lady in IL thought that my beads were worth the price that I asked. In fact, she bought 3 items that I listed totalling 7 beads in all, 3 earring pairs and one focal. They happen to be some of my favorite combinations.

I had read tonight on a forum that one seller just couldn't keep a certain bead in her store. It is a very different bead than what I have been doing, and her price was about 8 times higher. I was really starting to doubt myself. But thanks to one nice lady, everything is good. I think just because she made my month, I will throw in some spacers to boot. I guess I will be making a run to town and the Post Office tomorrow. I haven't been out of the house in 5 days. Starting to go a little stir crazy. But now I am re-energized to continue on this journey. I know it is not always going to be easy, but now I know I am on the right track.

On another note, could not even get a hold of my husband or daughter to share this wonderful news. Today is my husbands 60th birthday and he had to leave on a business trip this evening.
We both were a bit disappointed, not that we had big plans but it really is a special day. We will have to celebrate his birthday this weekend if it doesn't snow again like they are forecasting. My son's birthday is next week so it would be nice if we could at least see him soon.

Believe it or not -- We have another snow day tomorrow. I think it will really be more of an ice problem in the morning than snow. There was a really bad wreck not to far from the house this morning due to slick roads. Kind of glad Danny doesn't have to deal with the hill tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Another Snow Day

These are the two listed on etsy tonight. They haven't been listed before now because they are two of my favorite combinations. I wear a lot of cranberry or rasberry and it is my favorite salad dressing. The frit on this bead is so dense, I love it. The next set is a lentil set that I think would look great with jeans or khaki slacks. The ink blue stripe is very dense also and has a purple cast to it. The silvered ivory stripe never ceases to thrill me and the khaki stripe is actually glass called avacado but it looks like khaki pants. The lentil shape is really a comfortable shape to wear. Some shapes like diamond or crystal, I think in some applications would be uncomfortable. But the lentil could be earrings, bracelet or necklace and lay flat on your skin as well as having a large surface for design. We will see if these sell. I still have not had anything sell. But only 8 total up on the site. I must be patient and that is not my strong suit.

I tried to go out of my comfort zone in my bead session today. I love the look of enamels but I really need to get a better mask, this one makes my glasses fog up. It is a little tough to make beads when you can not see. I tried my tool that Danny got me for Christmas for sifting enamels on the bead. Absolutely loved it. I have a line tool but that will be on another day. I also tried AGAIN to put murrini on a bead without destroying it. I know I failed misserably. I will try again. I was trying for an watercolor look. My mom loved the ocean and was a painter. Some of my favorites pictures of hers are her watercolors. I also tried a bead that I thought might look like a abstract ocean. Who knows what it will look like in the morning.