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Flower Power!

Lately, I’ve been making flowers. I purchased 3 used flower presses, but while I was waiting for them to arrive, I started making these lovelies:

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I’m having so much fun free handing it, that even though my presses have arrived, I haven’t been using them. I tried 2 of the presses, but the free hand flowers are way more fun to make.

I’ve never really liked flowers much (not a girly girl), but I absolutely adore these! They’re so pretty! They make perfect little desktop bouquets!

 Desktop Bouquet

These little bouquets are available for purchasing in my shop, with your choice of a clear, blue or tall vase. Or you can get just the flowers with no vase, single or bundles of 3.

I’ll also be adding more items to the shop this week, including angel wings and hearts, so keep an eye out. (Shameless plug 😉 )

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How To Remove A Stuck Bead

DSC_0145We’ve all been there. You work so hard and the bead turns out absolutely beautiful! You can’t wait for the kiln to ramp down so that you can take it off the mandrel and show it off before listing it. Finally, it’s all cooled down, so you pop it in a glass of water to soak a bit before taking it off. After a good soak, you twist, and nothing happens, so you twist harder. Then you get the rubber gloves and vice grips… Still nothing. Someone suggests a vinegar soak but that doesn’t work, either. You try it all: vinegar, the freezer, fabric softener, dragging the mandrel on concrete… All of it and nothing works! Dammit!! You worked so hard and it’s the most beautiful, perfect bead you’ve ever made. It’s going to sell for hundreds! Thousands, possibly even millions. Okay, maybe only $50, but in our minds, it’s a bucketload, but oh nooooo… It had to get stuck on the freakin’ mandrel! Stupid ol’ crappy bead release…

Yep. We’ve all been there. Well guess what? There’s a super duper, easy peasy way to get those stock beads off without so much as a struggle.

Rivet Guns!!

A rivet gun will push a stuck bead right off without you even breaking a sweat. And they’re cheap, too! You can pick one up at Harbor Freight for less than $5! ($4.99, usually: http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/hand-riveters/hand-riveter-set-38353.html) Check out this video to see how it works:

Although I’m not using anything in the video, you should really use something to cushion the bead from the rivet gun, like a piece of leather or a buffing pad. Just put it on the mandrel to provide a buffer between the bead and the metal part of the rivet gun. (Dremel buffing pads already have a hole in them and work great for this.)

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Mini Tutorial – Ribbon Cane

ribboncane2I made this mini tutorial several years when I had an “Aha” moment.  I’d never been able to make a proper ribbon cane until Jeff Barber took a moment to demonstrate it for me in a class I took back in 2006. (I raved all about it in this post.)  I posted the tutorial on LE, but not to my blog. Pretty dumb, huh? So, anyways, I’m sharing it here, now.  I certainly hope it helps someone!

First, choose a rod of a pale transparent (clear or whatever color you like):
1. Melt a blob (gather) and mash it into a paddle.
2. Square off the sides.
3. Paint a color (thinly) on 1 side of your paddle.
4. If you want a 2-tone ribbon, paint another color on top of the first color.
5. Cover the colored side with a big blob of the base transparent.
6. Flip the paddle over and put another big blob of of the base transparent on that side and all around the edges. (your color should be right in the middle of the blob, now.)
7. Attach another rod of the base transparent to the other side so that you now have a handle on each side.
8. melt the blob evenly, keeping it from getting distorted.
9. When it gets soft enough (melty but not quite drippy), flip it semi-vertical and start to pull and twist at the same time.

Don’t twist too fast or pull too fast because that will cause the ribbon to become distorted.ribboncane1

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Lampwork Cabochons, No Mandrel!!

Glass cabochons are really easy to make and, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a mandrel to do it! I free-hand all of mine. Not that I make a lot, and since I don’t, I never felt like a cabochon mandrel was something I wanted to add to my already overwhelming collection of stuff I don’t use.

So anyway, here’s a short video showing how I make mine. I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Horizontal Hearts

I shot this impromptu video a while ago because someone asked for tips on making heart beads and since Valentines Day is closer than you think, I figured I’d throw this post up.  And I also need more blog entries. I’m sooo LAZY!!!

So anyways, back to the matter at hand: Heart Beads!  Heart beads are super easy and super quick. This is a quick video on how I make my hearts. I prefer horizontal holes because it makes stringing them easier. I really hate wiring beads. : HATE IT!!

Steps:
1. Make a good sized bead, kinda fat. Make sure the ends are good (not jagged or lopsided).
2. Roll the bead lightly on a marver to flatten it and then heat the middle.
3. Using a straight edge tool, (like a butter knife or razor blade) roll the bead along the edge, like you’re cutting it in half . That’s your crease.
4. Heat the bottom center pretty hot and roll the mandrel back & forth quickly to form the tail. (watch the video)

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Personal Challenge

So, as most of you know, I don’t really torch that much unless I’m working. My home bench is was completely dust covered from lack of use. Well, I’ve decided to try to get in at least 8 hours torch time a week. I think I can do that. I just need to shoot for 2 hours a day. Easy Peasy, right? Well, here are the fruits of my labor from day 1:

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Some discs, some spacers and some push pins. I plan on making push pins with all of my colors and putting them on a reference board. That should be fun…

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Whooty Whooooo!!

<—-See that? That’s me doing a happy dance. Why, you ask? Because I’m finally done with that damned bulk buy!! Well mostly. There are still some items missing, but at least the main part is done. The rest is just clean up. Never again, I say. Never again! Now maybe I’ll have a little more time to actually get some torching in. Yayyyyy!!! I get to make pretties (or not so pretties, depending on taste). So anyway, that’s about all I have to jab about today. I have a lot of orders to get shipped and I’m a couple of days behind. Here’s some eye candy, though:





That’s all, folks!!!

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Torch Time, Baby!!

Woo hoo!! I finally decided to have some torch time, no matter what. So, despite being sick as a dog, courtesy of Mr. Tyler, I made beads this weekend. It was AWESOME!! I finally got to play with my new stash of Uroboros and I think I’m in love. The black is heavenly!! No reduction and no pitting at all!! And I have a tendency to cook the snot of black when I make godesses. Take a gander:

Isn’t she lovely? I even added backfat and cellulite! I call her Big Mama II. Mr. Tyler smashed the original Big Mama and I was crushed! 🙁 I still tear up a little thinking about her… Anyway, I digress. So I’ve decided that I really like Uroboros. It’s a lot stiffer than Effetre, so that took a little getting used to, but I have a nice size torch (GTT Cheetah). I just needed to crank it up a little. I love the colors and even though the color palette is limited (only 39 colors), it’s compatible with the furnace canes so I have hundreds of colors to choose from. Not a good thing for a glass ho like me who has to have every color out there. I guess it’s a good thing I’m poor…

So anyway, I’m just about finished with my nightmare of a bulk buy and I must say I will NEVER EVER have anything made in India again. I apologize if any of you reading this are Indian and are offended, but you have your fellow countryman, Imran Khan of New Designs, Inc. to thank. What a freakin’ crook!!! I still don’t have my entire order, so I had to find a local company pick up his slack, so now I’m paying double. I know a lot of people are bitter about things made in China, but hey, at least the businesses are honest and reliable there. This is just my opinion gathered after working with Chinese companies for years.

 

Once I finish getting everyone’s items out to them, I will be adding the rest to my store. Here is a letter opener that I made this weekend, also:
The beads are Uroboros Cherry Red Semi-Opal with R58 Old Gold Aventurine frit and some fine silver wire. I haven’t played with silver wire in ages. I’d forgotten how cool it is.
Well, it’s time for me to skedaddle. Maybe I’ll go make that ice pick, now…
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Didja Miss Me??

It’s been ages since I posted any news, so I figure it’s time to get back in the swing. I’ve had a helluva time these last few months, but I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say it’s been rough and leave it at that.

I just revamped the site and I finally finished my store! Aren’t you proud of me? Well, even if you’re not, my arm is in a sling because I strained my shoulder from patting myself on the back. I’m pretty happy with the new look and the way it integrates with the rest of the site. Stroll on over to The Goodie Shop and take a look-see for yourself. I’ve added a bunch of new items and I’ve got some great stuff that will be coming soon. Beadable serving sets, canape knives and other goodies. Here are a couple of photos of the beadable swizzle sticks (aka drink stirrers):




These are pretty cool and I can’t wait to get them added to the store and yes, I know the beads are crappy. I didn’t make them, so there! Now, If I could just find some time to play with my new torch and glass I wouldn’t have to use crappy import beads in my pics. I bought a GTT Cheetah a couple of months ago and I’ve only made 3 beads on it. Ack!! I also switched to Uroboros and BE. I haven’t used any of the BE I bought. I really need more hours in my day… Oh well. So life goes.

Well, that’s about all the updates I have time for right now. I’m swamped and I really should be working, but I’m slacking. I guess I’d better crack my own whip.

See y’all later!!

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Bead hoein’ and color sharin’


Hey y’all! I hope everyone had a safe 4th of July holiday. I most certainly did. Tyler, my little one, is afraid of loud noises so we stayed in. Poor kid doesn’t know what he’s missing. Oh well. At least I got some much needed torch time. I signed up to do a twistie exchange on LE, so I decided to make a bunch of those. Well, I used some really cool combinations and I liked them so much that I ended up using them all, lol. I’m such a knucklehead, sometimes. The focal over there <—-, which is called Dreamscape, by the way, is made with a couple of them. Actually 3, I think. And some Light Iris Gold stringer on a Vetrofond Dark Ivory base with Vetrofond 927 Sea Green ends and accent beads. Yeah, I know. You didn’t ask, but so what. I feel like sharing today. I also made another great set using Effetre Light Brown and Vetrofond Fish Pink. Everyone hates the Fish Pink, but I love it. I think it’s one of the most under-appreciated color in the Vetrofond palette. Take a gander:


Now, the set on the left (Caramel Delight because it reminds me of dark carmel, which I absolutely LOVE. I’d sacrifice a tooth to caramel any day!) is made with Effetre Light Brown and drizzled with Vetrofond Fish Pink. I think it looks really nice and I like the slight reaction between the 2 glasses. The bead on the left is a base of Fish Pink rolled in silver powder. Silver turns it brown, but I like the effect. The bead was supposed to be a peacock feather, but it reminds me more of a blue comet.

The Vetrofond ODD pinks are also under-appreciated. The Dark Pink is awesome, but people don’t really take the time to figure it out because the rods are a pale lavender color. Well guess what? It works up to a nice pink. Pink Pink. Not Purple Pink. I made this set a while ago:

At one point it was a quite lovely set. And then one day I, being the genius that I am, decided to etch it. What’s wrong with etching, you ask? Nothing. Just don’t be a dumbass like I was and forget about your beads. I left them in the solution for 2 days! Now they’re all rough and yuckala to the touch. They still look nice but they feel like ick. Ick, I say!

So anyway, that’s about all I have to say today. Did I mention that I don’t even like pink? I am starting to enjoy working with it, though. So everybody run out and buy some Vetrofond Dark Pink 956. Bill (islandglass!!!) has some in his eBay store (Moretti & More) for $16lb.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my auctions on Justbeads.com. You could be the first to ever purchase one of my beads! (heheheheh. More pimpin’! )

See ya!!