Monday, May 31, 2010

Mad for....Toronto

For the last few years, we've spent every Memorial Day weekend in Toronto. Finding ourselves with a beautiful sunny Saturday morning, we parked our car and hopped on a streetcar to take a walk around the Kensington Market. I snapped a few shots of the colorful shops.

The red "Courage" cut out flags are my favorite. But what's up with the nude mannequins?

It still mystifies me that anyone can dislike yellow - it's so happy and well, sunny!

For those of you who have never been, here's a little video tour....

Do you have a favorite place to visit and explore?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
Looking to make some super-sized jewelry just perfect for a princess? Lisa uses large blueberry briolettes and a swarovski mix to create just that! Jewelry Making
Tammy ask in this quick poll about how you use social networking to promote you and/or your jewelry business.

Art Bead Scene
ABS is here to help you with your business. Check out Zazzle to customize your earring cards for your jewelry business.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Book Review: Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet

Beading Arts
How many people out there are participating in the Bead Journal Project this year?

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi's button maker is the reason for this new vintage image necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
This week's Wednesday Wire is a free tutorial, "Matchin' by Wrappin'."

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Learn about the Raku firing process and see the results of Melanie's new Raku adventures!

Heather shares some time management tips for creatives.

Jean Campbell
Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's wonderful new addition, Sculptural Metal Clay.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean is delighted to review Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert! You will LOVE this book which focuses on wire and art beads!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses the process of reworking a weak necklace design - the revised version of which now appears on the cover of The Best of Step by Step Beads.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Like Czech glass? Andrew hosts a giveaway courtesy of Raven's Journey. Find out how you can win these luminous beads!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shops going on Hiatus while the Blogging continues....

After alot of thinking, I've decided to put, my Artfire and Etsy shops on hiatus for the summer. I need time to refresh, draw, design and organize.

I won't be out of touch, though. I'll continue to blog throughout the week and let you know what I'm up to.

I'm looking forward to re-charging.

Will you be re-charging in some way this summer?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Wire: Herringbone Weave by Eni Oken and Friends is a well known website. But have you taken the time to visit and check out all the amazing tutorials?

One of my favorite tutorials is Eni's Herringbone Weave Tutorial and it's free! (photo credit: Eni Oken.

Do you have a favorite free tutorial you'd like to share?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mad for Monday....

This week, I'm mad for smokey quartz

I ordered Smokey Quartz from Rings n Things as part of their May Bloggers program.

After a bit of sketching, I created a 20 inch necklace entitled Smokey Blues.

disclosure of material connection

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links REALLY!

A Bead A Day
Lisa explains her thoughts behind part 1 of a new bracelet project. Jewelry Making
Tammy recently took a trip to the Bahamas and discovered some souvenir pennies in her purse. They were so bright and shiny they had to be turned into jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
It's the fifth month anniversary of the ABS Carnival Blog! Come see how we've grown!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Take a jewelry class with me at CREATE!

Beading Arts
The new Rubber Glass silicone has inspired Cyndi to create some beginner projects!

Carmi's Art/Life World
In an effort to use all that she buys, Carmi repairs and recycles vintage metal from Paris.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy's starting a new feature on her blog - The Wednesday Wire! Come take a look!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A gift from a local potter starts Melanie on a new clay adventure: Raku!

Heather explores 23 days of inspiration as she gets ready for the Bead & Button Show. See how Van Gogh has inspired her through the years.

Jean Campbell
Jean's just full of travelogues, isn't she? This time she went to a Kansas bead retreat.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Voting has now opened in the Bead Star competition, come check out my 5 entries!

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
The best wedding I never went to! My editor's incredibly romantic wedding -- Australian Beading Magazine

Strands of Beads
Like several of her esteemed colleagues, Melissa has a few pieces in the Bead Star competition to show off this week!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew has six finalists pieces in the Bead Star competition. Please take a moment to vote!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Wire: Free Tutorial Matching by Wrapping

I make all my Double Dips with copper wire. If you are creating a design in a different metal then how might you go about matching the metal?

Today's Wednesday Wire will show you how with a simple wrapping technique. I'm partial to the deep brown color of the Vintaj brass. Since it's impossible for a manufacturer to create all of the findings I could want, I often need to match the metals in my jewelry designs.

When using the Double Dips, I need the exposed wire to match the Vintaj bronze color. I buy fine gauge wire from Parawire to wrap around the copper wire of the Double Dip. Simple enough but there's a bit of a trick to it.

Gather up your tools and supplies:

Begin by wrapping a couple of winds around the wire leaving a 4 inch tail of wire at the end toward the glass bulb of the Double Dip:

Push the few wraps down toward the glass bulb. Now, wind in the opposite direction towards the other end keeping the wire nice and tight next to each other. I use my fingers to hold the wire in place as I wind but you can use your chainnose pliers to hold the wire in place as you wind.

When you reach the end, you can create a small "beadcap" by winding down onto the glass.

Cut the small gauge wire with your flush cutters.

Now you're done! Go to the opposite end and create a beadcap by winding and cutting the wire in the same way as you just did above.

Now I've got a double dip that will match the Vintaj brass perfectly!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A First....

Growing up, I showed an aptitude for academics so I was "tracked" out of "frivolous" things such as drawing. Somewhere along the way, I started to believe I couldn't draw, or I shouldn't draw. "Couldn't" and "shouldn't" became synonymous in my mind despite direct evidence that I could - the multitude of elementary school drawings scattered in class notebooks, the school gym floor painting and the full wall mural I drew when in high school. I drew and drew alot. But I've never had a true set of drawing tools. It's time I rectified that.

I'm fortunate to remember I loved to draw and not be afraid to get back into it. I admit as a younger woman, I was swayed by expectations whether stated out loud or not. I'm glad I have this first set of drawing tools.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mad for Monday....

Another Monday, another day of web-window gazing. I've got a hankering to do some crochet but have to finish up other projects so I'm looking at crochet related items again. One of my fellow glassies, Squid Glass makes these adorable fiber themed cabochon pendants. I love the crochet hooks!

I've started sewing again so I need a place to put those straight pins. Joyous Treasures read my mind and crocheted this sweet Mocha and Cream pincushion.

I've got a pile of crochet circles and I've been trying to figure out what to do with them. Making them is like eating potato chips, you can't make just one. Maybe I could put some together and make a necklace like this Sweet Summer Crochet Necklace.

Ok, enough web window shopping - it's off to finish a project!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Photo: REALLY?!? Cindy REALLY?

REALLY?!!?? Cindy! REALLY??!!!??? You've got a house stuffed with books in every nook and cranny possible, do you REALLY need another one?

All I've got to say to that is:

Kate McKinnon.

I'm buyin' it.

'nuff said.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
Creating jewelry for special vacations can help you look forward to upcoming trips and keep the memories fresh afterwards.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene has a new look and some new opportunties to get involved. Come see!

Beading Arts
Rubber glass? Rubber glass?!? What the heck is rubber glass?

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses some amazing digital images to create a new resin filled bezel necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Check out the new beads on Cindy's site - Turquoise Sky!

Heather shares some sketches of possible designs.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's inspiring new book, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry, with DVD included!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off new designs using cool skull beads and charms from Rings & Things

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosts another Thursday Giveaway! This time, the prize comes courtesy of Natural Touch Beads! Find out how you can win some awesome resin jewelry components!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Wednesday Wire - Double Dips and Braggin' Rights

Today marks the beginning of a new feature on my blog - The Wednesday Wire.

I learned basic and intermediate wire at Beacoup Conge in Tucson Arizona. I was a wire jewelry artist before I was a glass beadmaker. In fact, I remember vowing with one of the women who worked at Beacoup Conge that we'd never touch light up a torch to make glass beads because we'd get addicted for sure! How I laugh at that now!

Since I've got a wire heart, I want to wear it out on my blog. Every Wednesday, I'll write about wire in some way shape or form. Often when I make glass beads, I've got a design in mind with wire at the heart.

A good example are the Double Dips which are simply flameworked glass and wire.

I had several jewelry ideas in mind when I went to the torch to make them. I've used the Double Dips to create a couple of easy wire projects. That leads me to the braggin' rights - the Double Dip easy wire projects will be published in the summer issues of Step by Step Wire Jewelry. One of the projects is the set of earrings entitled "Meandering."

So welcome to the Wednesday Wire! Nice to have you with me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Feed My Soul

I've read many craft bloggers profiles that say  the blogger has been crafting all his/her life? After reading so many, it feels uninspired, trite. Yet the trite is often true, afterall, that's how it becomes trite. My profile doesn't actually say that, but it's certainly true.

Every craft I read about, I want to do.

I have my hands in so many media that I overwhelm myself.  I think the T.S. Eliot quote fits:

If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"

Let's face it, that's a quote you could use to describe alot of situations - yet it really refers to a style, a way of approaching things like I do.  Jump in with both feet and find out how deep it really is.

So I've gotten into whatever media to create and craft that I can. I love to work with my hands - even my "other job" uses my hands, sign language interpreting.

Am I growing in skills or flitting? Developing or losing interest? Jack of all trades (master of none) or Renaissance Woman?

Doesn't really matter, whichever it is, it feels my soul. I have to create, I have to make, I have to use my hands because they're all inexplicably connected to my spirit.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mad for....

I'm mad for crochet. When I don't have a torch in my hand or a jewelry hammer, I've got a crochet hook. So I'm always on the look out for cool patterns, even in the summer.  Browsing around ArtFire, I found this Elegant Evening Shawl Crochet pattern  from knot. sew. cute design shop on

The design is fresh and just the right amount of warmth for a summer evening. I'm going to have to download the pattern!

To go with that evening outfit, what's better than this elegant crocheted necklace from lovelycrochet?

Are you mad for something?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

A Bead A Day
What does swarovski sparkle mean to you? Lisa shares the happy feeling brought on by sparkly stars. Jewelry Making
Tammy has some fun in the sun summer time jewelry tutorials for you, including a cute turtle charm necklace.

Art Bead Scene
Free Project Alert! ABS has a new necklace project for free on their website!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has launched the first installment of her brand new e-book on bead embroidery...and it's free! Hurry over for your copy!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi finds a way to incorporate vintage turtle beads into a necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy works through her to-do list and lists a new set of glass birdhouse beads.

Jean Campbell
Jean's been at the grindstone, but also at the gardens...check out these beautiful images from the MoBG!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is back on track this week and is giving away coordinating beads with Sab's help, from!

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean brags! Yes, she really brags! It's worth a look because it's cool!
Should I patina or leave the metal bare naked?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Childhood Memory....

I grew up on a farm and every summer morning I would wake to the song of birds sitting in the trees outside my open window. There were all kinds of birds and one I saw frequently was a black bird. Here's my interpretation of a childhood memory...

Do you have a memory you try to re-create in your crafting?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Coffee Talk and Erin's Question on Quality....

Pour a cup of joe and have a seat at my breakfast table. I wanted to respond to a comment Erin left on my blog yesterday:

"Are those double dips easy to bend? I would be afraid to break off the glass bubble on the end."

Erin's question brings up the issue of quality and kiln annealing.

Let me answer the first part of the question, "Are the double dips easy to bend?"

Yes. The wire is annealed (which means I've put the double dip in a kiln at a specified high temperature) which will soften the wire. The copper wire is then dead soft. I want it dead soft because the wire will become more hard as you work it into your jewelry designs.

Now on to the second part of Erin's question: "I would be afraid to break off the glass bubble on the end."

Double Dips are kiln annealed and not only does it soften the wire, but it strengthens the glass attached to the wire. I wrote a Wikibeadia entry for Art Bead Scene a few years ago on kiln annealed glass and why it's important to quality.

I also prototype my work. When I make new designs, I test to see if the metal and glass is in the right proportion to resist cracking and I wear it in designs to make sure it will hold up for you.

My attention to the quality and durability is a good reason to buy my handmade double dips, imported beads just don't have the same level of quality and durability.

I first tested glass headpins 6 years ago. I'm happy to report that none of the glass has broken or come off the end.

You can feel confident in the quality and durability of the Double Dips. Not only are they durable but they're a lovely handmade addition to any design.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Turquoise Sky Glass Link Set

Certain glasses are no fuss, beautifully colored glass to work in the flame. This lovely transparent turquoise blue is one of them. It holds the heat well so you have time to shape it and put it in the kiln to anneal. Copper is a natural with it so I've added a couple of 3.5 - 4.0 inch Double Dips to make a set just for fun - the set is called Turquoise Sky.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday Video

I dream of driving a car that responds to the gas pedal. I know a V8 would do the job. Yet I sacrifice the kind of engine I'd prefer in a car for good gas mileage. Afterall, I've only borrowed the planet from the future so I need to take care of it. So I won't buy a V8 or even a V6 but it doesn't stop me from getting into my 4 cylinder fuel injected Civic and pretending I've got a "Rocket" by blaring Kathy Mattea. (Is there nothing better than the sound of a steel guitar in the right song?)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Silly Saturday and Sensational Links

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
Do you ever find beads in your own collection that you forgot you had? Jewelry Making
ISchool is in session, or at least, it will be when you sign up for one of these free copper clay e-courses.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's newest member opens her heart and shares how she feels about the Art Bead Scene. Maybe you feel the same?

Beading Arts
Here's a quick little tutorial on how to create a barnacle texture with seed beads!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Spring is the time for new life and new charms at Cindy Gimbrone Beads.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie spreads her wings and designs a new pair of carvings to be made into pendants.

Strands of Beads
Melissa uses lava beads to help teach her son about volcanoes

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares his trip to Denver for the Rocky Mountain Bead Society's Bead Bazaar.