Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ta-DAH! Glass Chain Links

Here are the beauties I was bouncy about yesterday - ta-DAH! They're linked glass links! A mini chain of glass - not perfectly round or smooth links, but organic glass links in crystal clear glass.

The links are free floating, each link moves independently just like metal chain. Glass Chain Links. I made them in groups of 2 or 3 links. Glass Chain Links can be used as a focal or part of a chain. Since they're crystal, they can go with any color. Lots of design possibilities.

The Glass Chain Links are unique. Not something you can pick up at the local craft store. Leave a comment and tell me what you think - I love to hear from readers!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Lots of bead blog buzz lately about social networking. On a social networking blog you can put what kind of mood you're in. Blogger has thankfully left that cutesy feature out but I need it just for today so I'm adding it.

This morning I feel bouncy (insert emoticon of happy face annoyingly bouncing up and down here).


Tomorrow I'll introduce a new variation on the Glass Links - whoo hoo! I can hardly wait!

"Well," you think,"that's silly, just put the #$%@!! things up today!"

"Yes, I could," I say, " but I wanted to update the website with the first variation, the Bling Links before I introduced another variation. AND I wanted to announce it on the blog first."

So, I'm bouncy in anticipation but I'm also bouncy because I updated my site. It's like re-stocking the shelves in a store. Oh and I wrote up and scheduled my May newsletter to go out.

I didn't do the laundry or clean the house - but who cares about that?!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's on Sale in the Jewelry section?

When you're Beading on a Budget, you always need to know what's on sale in the jewelry section of your local craft store. A couple of weeks ago, I found these for less than $2.00 US each.

Nice earthy, organic materials and colors - wood circles with pre-drilled holes and antique copper finish flower filigree charms.

I decided on a pair of earrings using my mini spirals in mango and combined them with findings from my stash. I bought the gunmetal findings on a trip to the Rings n Things Bead Tour. I'm still working out the details of the design, you know how I'm a commitment phobe but this is one design I think I'm gonna keep. I skipped a hole on both sides of the mini mango spirals to give the filigree charms some room to move. These earrings will be about movement and earthy colors.

What do you think? You like?

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I was a zombie last week because my double life caught up with me and I vegged when I wasn't sign interpreting. I've been planning a series on going green in my studio and last week would have been the perfect opportunity to run it!


Since I missed the perfect opportunity, no time like the present to put it off for awhile. You know you all would do the same thing.

Procrastination is the sincerest form of flattery, right? All right, I know that's not how the saying goes, but how else am I going to get it to fit putting off blogging green? Go with it, ok?

Next week, Beading on a Budget will make a brief appearance and then I've got a very cool variation on some of my beads.

Here's a quick blow up the skirt of Beading on a Budget - see ya tomorrow!

Studio Saturday!

Today is Studio Saturday over at ABS! Check it out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

I jump with both feet into cosplay

It's that time of year again, "The Con" or better known as Anime North is coming to Toronto, Canada. This is "Con" number 3 in the past two years and the second time at Anime North. I think The Boy (otherwise known as my son) has settled on Anime North as the best. I blogged about Anime North and Over Protective Parent last year - Over Protective Parents have re-emerged again this year, despite the fact The Boy is 16. Now that I've been to a Con, I know it can be fun but some of the activities are too mature for teens. Over Protective Parents go to serve as a base and "if I need you kind of thing." Besides The Boy is used to us as are his friends - afterall, I do have 10 teens in my house every Friday night!

This year, The Boy has asked me to make a cosplay . Since one of my birthday presents was a Babylock Creative Pro - I've got the equipment to do it. I used to sew all my own clothes but I haven't done any serious sewing since The Boy was born (ack! how is that almost 20 years ago?!?).

The Boy has been a fan of Anime since he was four - it started with Speed Racer and Pokemon and has evolved into Final Fantasy. Yes, I've watched the Final Fantasy movies and happily admit to loving the most recent one. But I digress from my task at hand - to sew a cosplay for The Boy.

His character of choice is Tidus.

Ok, I didn't say it would be easy, right?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Modern Glass Link Earrings for the Classic Mom

Today is my contribution for Ornament Thursday. If you're out of ideas on what to make Mom for Mother's Day, here's a quick and easy beginner project! Modern Glass Link Earrings for the Classic Mom!


2 Organic Glass Links in Black

6 inches silver wire

2 Anodized Aluminum 1/2 inch jump rings in silver

2 Antiqued Silver coated clay beads

Form ear wires. String Organic Glass Links onto Silver colored jump rings. Attach to ear wires. String Silver coated clay beads onto ear wires. Voila! A modern set of earrings in a classic color combination and goes with everything you own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nostalgia or I'd rather burn than bleed

I'm taking a walk down memory lane - or how I became a flamework/lampwork glass artist instead of stained glass. You're looking at the one and only piece of stained glass art I ever made. What you don't see is the $50 worth of glass I cut to bits trying to learn how to cut glass - I did alot of cutting, yeah but of my hands and not the glass! Lots of blood was spilled making this piece.

I took intro to stained glass along with my into to lampwork class - lampwork was where I burned myself - so I made a choice - do I want to bleed or burn for my art?

I'd rather burn than bleed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

and Queen Elizabeth! (Good picture of her in my favorite color - YELLOW!!) Since this all puts me a great and very British mood, I feel like having The Beatles sing me Happy Birthday! Wheeeee!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bling Links Review

Working in the studio today so it's a quick post - for fun, thought I'd show the week's worth of Bling Links. A new brown and silver Bling Link as a treat at the beginning! Enjoy!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Coming up this week....Ornament Thursday

Ornament Thursday is up this week! The OT Blog's teaser title is "just like a mother..." It makes me think of Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman"

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Material World: Rhinestones AND Silver

Adhering to the adage of "More is better," I took the Bling Factor techniques of melting fine silver and embedding rhinestones and combined them into the Organic Glass Links. The cobalt blue glass link has two rhinestones and fine silver. The Amber Rose glass links has two links with fine silver and one link with a rhinestone and fine silver.

All week while I've been writing The Bling Factor series, I've thought of Madonna's Material Girl - a campy impression of Marilyn Monroe with plenty of The Bling Factor!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rhinestones in Everything?

How about rhinestones in a gear bead? What do you think?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day Bling Factor: Rhinestone Spiral

It's tax day - Ugh! Did you have to pay in this year or are you getting a refund? Being self employed, there are no refunds for me. So, I've made myself feel happy by creating beads with The Bling Factor!

Rhinestones are everywhere and why not? They give sparkle and richness without being expensive. When I'm comfortable with a bead style, I'll experiment with all of the glass techniques to "kick it up a notch." Yesterday was silver and today is rhinestones. I've played with the rhinestones a couple of different ways - today is a single rhinestone in one of the spiral beads.

What do you think? One rhinestone is very Subtle Bling. What's your opinion?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Bling Factor: Fine Silver

This week is The Bling Factor in Flamework Glass. Once I came up with the off-hand organic glass links, I started to add different things to them to see what I came up with. What I came up with is The Bling Factor! Fine Silver foil can be permanently incorporated into glass when it's at the near molten stage. But since silver leaf and foil can give glass it's color, you want to be sure you don't burn all of it into the glass. When it sits on/near the surface or encased in clear, you get The Bling Factor! On transparent glass, it's particularly sparkly as in the Denim Blue Glass Link below

A Bit-of-Bling in the Silver and Summer Green glass links I showed you yesterday. I had to show them again because I love the happiness of the green!

Silver foil on ivory glass gives the glass link an earthy quality with just a bit of bling.

Which bling do you prefer? Sparkly? Bit-of-Bling? Earthy?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What's Up This Week?

Last week was Beading on a Budget and this week, I'm going for the Bling! Here's a little sneak peek.... Summer green glass links with silver for a little sparkle to the reflectiveness of the glass.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cindy's opened her sketchbook for ABS

Today is my turn for Studio Saturday on Bead Scene. I've actually opened up my sketchbook to share with you! Eeek! That's a scary think for me! I don't draw well. So c'mon over and take a peek at my new prototype modern bird before I chicken out and close the sketchbook!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beading on a Budget: Peek into a Beadmaker's Jewelry Box!

If you've been reading this week, we've made the Encircled Spiral Pendant on a budget so now how do we string it? Here's where my bead commitment issues are helpful. Since I don't like to commit a bead to a permanent design, I prefer to make pendants that are interchangeable - like the Encircled Spiral Pendant. Here are some good ideas for re-using necklaces you may happen to have in your jewelry box already!

Beadmaker Tip ALERT! Purchase a couple of high quality plain necklaces to use for interchangeable art bead pendants - a wise use of your beading budget and you don't sacrifice quality.

Here are a couple of ideas from my own jewelry box:

1. Finished Rubber Cord: String the pendant onto a 16 inch rubber cord necklace like I've done with the spiral beads below. The rubber cord has a sterling silver lobster clasp. The hole in the spiral is large enough to allow me to slip the spiral on and off so I can put a different spiral onto the necklace according to my mood!

2. Attach to a Base Metal Chain: The silver jump rings of the Encircled Pendant open so you can attach the pendant to a base metal chain like I've done here with a handpainted fused glass pendant. I can change the pendant by opening up the pretty colored jump ring and pop on another pendant.

3. Sterling Silver Snake Chain: A higher end option is the silver snake chain used here with a spiral bead. When I'm looking for a specific color to wear to the dinner party, this sterling silver snake chain fits the bill. I slide on a large holed bead and away I go for a night of dinner and music!

You can bead on a budget and still have style and quality. Creative thinking and creative buying will keep you beading happy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Beading on a Budget: Beginner Project

Here's a quick and easy pendant made from the supplies and spiral bead you've purchased this week. It's called "Encircled Spiral."

Beadmaker Tip ALERT: Beadmakers often have a story about the beads s/he creates. It's a cost free way to lend special significance to the jewelry you make.

Supplies I used:

1 Glass Spiral

Largest blue glass circle

3 round silver jump rings

3.5 inches silver 20 gauge wire

I show only 1 jump ring in the picture but after I started to make the pendant, I thought it would be more stylish and secure with 3 jump rings. You can use 1 - 3 according to your own preference.

Using your round nose pliers, or your stepped jaw pliers to make a loop at the one end of the wire. This will be the top loop.

String the spiral onto the looped wire with the loop at the top of the spiral.

From the bottom, wind the wire around the spiral moving toward the top.

Use the round nose plies to make a loop at the end of the wire.

Nestle the bottom loop into the spiral.

Open purchased jump rings with your fingers.

Attach 1 to 3 jump rings to the spiral and the glass circle.

Voila! You've completed the Encircled Spiral Pendant!

Wondering what to string the Encircled Pendant on? Yep, you guessed it, that's tomorrow's blog post! :-)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Beading on a Budget: Craft Store Glass Beads

You're creating a necklace to express who you are, yet you're on a budget. Let's say you've selected a Water Glass Spiral for your focal bead. You've decided you'd like to add glass accent beads. So you need to go to a local craft store to get supplies. Not all craft store jewelry supplies are created equal. Take a good look at what you're buying. Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you need to sacrifice quality.

BEADMAKER TIP ALERT! Glass beads purchased from craft stores aren't kiln annealed and could crack when you're wearing the beads.

Why should you care about kiln annealing? Kiln annealing strengthens glass by allowing the glass to cool very, very, very slowly. If properly done, it relieves any stress in the glass and the beads won't crack.

Below is a picture of a set of glass beads I purchased at a local craft store:

As a glass beadmaker, I know by where the crack is, that the bead has not been kiln annealed. A crack along the bead hole means the glass cooled too quickly. Glass cools too quickly when it hasn't been placed in a kiln.

So, when you're buying supplies to add to your creation, be wary of large, thick glass beads. A beader on a budget will invest her/his money wisely on quality artisan made glass focal bead and/or sets that are kiln annealed. Make sure to look for this phrase when buying handmade glass on the web or on Etsy.

Should you stay away from craft store glass beads? While in a craft store, I found a set of accent beads for the Water Spiral. The glass rings shown below are fairly thin as compared to the green lentil glass beads shown above. Although not kiln annealed, these rings may hold up. But be aware that they may not. The rings may still crack and break.

The colors are a perfect match to the colors in the Water Spiral. I bought silver jump rings and toggle clasps along with the blue glass rings.

Tomorrow, I'll show you how to make a Encircled Spiral pendant from these supplies.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Economy gone bad? Beading on a Budget

The economy is all over the media but you don't need Katie Couric to tell you that you need to budget your money. When watching your dollars, the first thing to go are your extras - beads are the last thing you'll be buying.

But why should they be? Not only is beading and making jewelry enjoyable, beads show your sense of style. A handmade piece of jewelry makes you different from the rest of the people around you. It's a statement, it can be subtle or it can shout who you are. Why should you give that up?

You shouldn't.

Today starts a new series, "Beading on a Budget." I'll give you insider tips from a beadmaker. I'll show you how to use easily found beading materials combined with my artist made beads to create your own style on a budget. A free beginner project and voila! You'll be creating one of a kind jewelry expressing your own style and staying within your budget too!

Are you ready? Let's start with beads.

You want to create a distinctive piece of jewelry expressing your personality. Artist made beads will lend a uniqueness to your jewelry that store-bought accessories will not. Spiral beads and organic glass links are hand crafted and are unlike any beads you find in your local mall.

Insider Tip Alert! Special sales are offered to newsletter subscribers only, so signing up will save you $$.

Bonus Tip Alert! Read beadmaker blogs. Beadmakers like myself or Art Bead Scene host giveaways for commenting. For a simple comment, you could get an art bead for free! Now that's easy on the budget!

Monday, April 07, 2008

And the winner is.....

"My Heart's Chatelaine" suggested by Kathy Mary! Here's an excerpt from Kathy's comment:

" old reference to a medieval woman’s (usually the wife of the castellan or the mistress of the house.) job of carrying the keys to all the special rooms of the castle, she was in charge of letting the servants into the places that held the silver, spices, special foods - anything that could tempt them to theft, etc....“My heart’s chatelaine because chatelaine can mean the woman who carries the keys or the keys, themselves..."

Congratulations, Kathy! Send your mailing address by clicking on the "Lampwork Diva's email" on the left of the blog and I'll send you the Organic Glass Links!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What's In a Name?

What's in a name? Free beads! Let's re-cap the names suggested for Cyndi's necklace:

Suggestions from Lampwork Diva aka Cindy Gimbrone's blog:

Spiral Door - Carlene
Fantasy Unlock – Ruth
Lilbitz4U - Elaine
Key to Happiness – Joann
Bowkey or bowkey spiral –missyb30
Key to Memories – Linda
Anyone Home? Karen
Beaded Beauty – mssherrieg
Madeame Labeaux’s Sanctum – Kwikarma -
Romantikee or Romanzkey or Romantique – Lori
The Key to your Heart – Rochelle
Key to Bliss – Shaiha

Suggestions from Cyndi Lavin's blog:

Key to the Kingdon – Joella Miller
Mystic Magic – Candace Parker
Heirloom Chic – Empy
The Key to my Jewels- Sharon Mehalof
Heart’s Key or My Heart’s Chatelaine – Kathy Mary
Lucky – Kelly Trimble
Twisted Truth or Hidden Twist – Hope
Nana’s Treasure or Sweet Catherine – Texastesla
Charming- Dora
The Jailer – Robin
Unlocked Treasures – Li
Unlocket or Unlock It – Debby Dittler-Ratliff
Bell Epoch – Chris
Key East – Rita
Riddle Necklace – Diana
Lady Violet Loses Her Slippers at the Ball – Marzipan
Victoriana – Cristine
Lorelei – Locksmithed Love
Darwin’s Keychain – Liz Roberts

What's your favorite?

Friday, April 04, 2008

What's coming out of the studio and coming attractions

These are...

Next week starts a new series of tips and tricks all focused on how to use Cindy Gimbrone Beads on a budget.

Don't forget to comment and leave your suggestion for a name! Winner will be announced on Monday, April 7th!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Keep the names coming.....

Hello Readers!

At least I hope there are readers...afterall, I don't REALLY know that do I? I mean I can't see you and this isn't a book you take out of the library so I'm assuming someone is reading my blog and not just me when I proofread it.

How I love to digress, anyhoo...yesterday I was telling you about how jewelry designing colleague, Cyndi Lavin and I are trying to come up with a name for a necklace she designed.

Readers have been posting their ideas for a name - keep 'em coming! If you've posted once and think of another idea, feel free to post again. One particularly creative reader added a history which I found unique - you may not read all the comments so I'm going to post it here. It was posted yesterday by Kwikarma

"It reminds me of the 1900's in new orleans when the creole madams would lock their girls in their room and keep time to get the cut. They were very exotice, dark and beautiful. The key is also a replica from that era . I think it should be

Madame Labeaux' Sanctum"