Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowy Island....

It just keeps piling up! One storm after another and no end in site.

I love snow........but only before Christmas. And only if I don't have to drive in it. I don't have to drive in it this year but my husband does. He has a very long commute on snowy, frozen freeways. People in our neck of the woods don't know how to drive in the snow because we don't have it often enough to get much practice. So that means the roads are a very dangerous place to be and things pretty much come to a standstill. It's a good thing my shopping is done. I haven't made any beads the last few days either. It's just too cold in my studio/garage. A couple days ago the temperature dropped to 1 degree. It's up to about 30 right now. The only thing to do is hunker down and enjoy it....

Enjoy the Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Sweetest Gift

I added a new bead shape to my growing list yesterday. It's a cone shape bead that's perfect for dangly pendants, which I love to make. I got the special mandrel, (metal rod upon which the molten glass is wrapped), at Arrow Springs. The have a few different sizes and I think I may try a smaller version also. I have some other design ideas for this bead shape and I can't wait to try them. Meanwhile "Sweetest Gift" pendant on an 18", 1.5mm, snake chain is available in my Etsy store. Sold! Thanks J.!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Loosie on the loose....

"Loosie Goose" just listed in my Etsy store.

The holiday season is upon us and it's a mad rush to get everything done and still have time to make beads. Our tree is decorated and the house is all lit up. Now to get the shopping and baking done and still have time to make beads. I think I'll turn on some Christmas music and head out to the studio right now. The cookies will have to wait till later....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The 29 Gifts Challenge is going well but I don't have a story to share...yet. I will say that there have been a couple days where I suddenly think oh-oh, I haven't given a gift today. It says on the 29 Gifts website that if this happens you should sit back and think about events that happened during your day and chances are you've given something you didn't think of as a gift, but it was still GIVING. And I did stop and think about other things I have given that I didn't necessarily count. Like caring for my grandchildren while their parents work or feeding the neighbors pet rabbit when they're gone for the weekend. Doing special things for my husband or children. The challenge really makes you stop and think about things like that.

I decided to open an Etsy store. Seems many of my beadmaking and other artist friends are doing the same and also vowing to "Buy Handmade". Anyway, I look forward to the added exposure. The purse pendant pictured above was my very first sale, (thanks J.).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Took The Challenge.....

I found a really great website during my usual internet cruise with morning coffee routine. I usually poke around, looking for new inspiration and visit my regular bloggers. Well, this morning I ended up at a site called "29 Gifts Challenge". Give one thing away each day for 29 days. This is an online community to share your stories about how it impacts your life to focus on giving. Be sure to look down in the bottom right hand corner of the home page for the video link that the creator, Cami Walker, put together. The video explains how this whole concept began. What a great idea! I started my challenge today. I'll let you know how it goes. I intend to get my husband involved also. This is going to be fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Port Angeles in October...

Perfect October weather. (It was a little cloudy in the morning. But the sun came out right after I took this picture.) Beautiful fall colors, lunch in a nice restaurant, spending time with my favorite guy... What more could a girl want? We did a little shopping, a little walking and a lot of driving. I'm feeling refreshed and rejuvinated and ready for a busy week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Outta Here!.....

Just leaving for a little down time with Hubby. Back tomorrow afternoon with some pictures hopefully, (if I remember to take them that is...). This means I'll also be away from the computer so if you have any burning questions you'll have to hold them till then...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Website Redesign...

I finally finished my website redesign! I can't tell you how happy this makes me. It's much simpler and easier for me to update. Less that can go wrong, I hope. Anyway, here's a quick link if you'd like to check it out.

My website isn't the only thing I've been trying to simplify. I've been updating business files and trying to get ready for the holidays and eventually tax time. It's hard for creative types like me to focus on business. I hate paperwork and I procrastinate like crazy. I've gotten a lot done in the last few days though, and I'm proud of myself.

If you are one of those people that follow the handmade lampwork bead section on eBay you've probably noticed how it's slowed down. Many of the regular sellers are not there. I'm sure it's due to the economy and the fact is, people don't have the money to spend on extras. This is why I haven't listed many auctions lately. I think my time may be better spent working on less expensive items that people are more likely to afford. I've made bunches of purse pendants and they sell very quickly. I'll be thinking up some new items also for gift giving before the holidays.
Be sure to visit my new website design and let me know if I can create something for YOU.....

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's Miranda's Birthday!!!!

It's my granddaughter's birthday today!

It's going to be an action packed weekend full of paperwork! Bet you wish you were here..... Why is it I never feel like I'm caught up? Have a great weekend y'all and Miranda, I know you will do something fun for your birthday. I'll be thinking of you....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where'd the weekend go???

I blinked and I think I missed it. The weekend I mean....
Business has been really slow lately but on Friday I got a bunch of orders all at once. I don't know why that's always the way it is. Either all or nothing. So, I have spent the entire weekend making beads. Not that I missed anything. It's pretty quiet around the cul-de-sac for some reason. And I made a whole buttload of beads. I'm gearing up for the holidays and trying to make some new things for my website in addition to custom orders, gallery stuff, Ebay stuff..... No wonder I never find time to paint!
I also haven't had much time to work on my website redesign. My files are such a mess and when it comes time to update it takes forever because I have to hunt for files that aren't where they're supposed to be. I'll just keep plugging away. It will get done eventually. Be patient with me....
Hubby and I went to see "Eagle Eye" on Friday. I did some research beforehand and the movie only got so-so ratings but we enjoyed it. It was exciting and there were lots of great special effects. We also went to dinner so it was like a real date...sweet!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Computer

Well, I had yet another computer melt down and rather than sped money to get the old one fixed again I decided to get a new one. I bought my first laptop and I really love it but I don't love Windows Vista. I'm sure you've heard a list of complaints so I won't bore you with mine. I've spent the entire day on the computer trying to get things organized and start a couple Ebay auctions, (click the "Occasionally On Ebay" tab at right to see), which isn't easy when files aren't where they're supposed to be. So I finially finished but I don't have my address book to alert all you bead lovers. Sorry about that. I'll try to retrieve the address tomorrow. I really hope my address book isn't lost again. It's really a challenge to try and recreate. It's been a long day. Nighty night y'all.....

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Painting Practice and Custom Orders...

I'm having a ball with these cute little girl paintings. This one is my favorite althought I've only done 3 so far. I didn't put a layered background in this one because I just wanted to practice the face. I'm not sure that the layered background does it for me anyway. I'll try some more collage and stuff on my next painting and see how it goes.
Meanwhile, I had a full plate of custom jewelry orders this week and I couldn't paint until I finished them, which I did today. This bracelet is from my "Summer Softly" design. I think it's gorgeous!
Halloween is not too far off so my next bead set for auction will be a Halloween theme or maybe just Halloween colors. So stay tuned for that auction next week sometime.
Have a great weekend y'all!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday To You!!!

Today is my son's birthday and yesterday is was my good friend's birthday so in honor of birthdays, I made you a cake....sort of.


Yesterday Norm and I spent the afternoon at my son's mother-in-law's home for a barbeque in honor of his 35th birthday. We had such a good time. We don't get to spend much time with the boys all together in one place with their families and friends. And it gives us such a sense of pride to see what great friends they have. We are so blessed.

I'm taking an online painting class with Suzi Blu and this is a painting I did for practice. I'm not finding a whole lot of time to paint what with beadmaking and grandkids and a home and husband to take care of but I took some time this weekend to play with paint. I love to paint and I've done painting of one sort or another for periods throughout my life. I'm not as good at it as I am at beads but maybe I could be if I practice more. We shall see.....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!...

This has been a rather sad weekend for me. Honey, my friends Greyhound that we love so much passed away Saturday night. We will all miss her so much. RIP Honey.... You can see a picture of Honey in better days further down this page.
It's also sad that Labor Day, for me, marks the end of summer. We certainly haven't had much summer weather the last few days. I've been turning on the electric heat in the mornings to warm the house up and we just had our first load of firewood delivered. Soon we will be building that first fire of the season.

The deck is finally finished! Now it's on to other projects. One of them being a fresh new paint job for the exterior of the house. It's looking pretty shabby. You can really tell we use our gas grill a lot. We need to figure out some sort of hood or panel so the smoke doesn't stain the paint. And we need some new landscaping around the deck. It's looking pretty bare without colorful flowers.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the grandkids and Morgan, who's 5, is starting kindergarten this year. I can't wait to see how she likes school.

My "Hey Cupcake", (picture below), Ebay auction is starting this evening at 7 pm Pacific. Click on the "Occasionally on Ebay" link at the right to view, after it starts.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer Storm

The deck is so close to being done. Norm tried to finish but the weather turned really crummy. This is a shot I took just before dusk, right after the storm. The light was amazing. The bright sun shining through the last of the black rain clouds and a rainbow over the rooftops.
This shot marks the end of a very stressful day. It's over now and I'll spare you the details. We will have a nice and relaxing weekend to mark the end of summer. The sun is not expected to make another appearance for awhile but we will make the best of it. I think my torch is calling me.....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

End of Summer Days....

How sad that summer is almost over. Labor Day is just next week and then the kids go back to school. Especially since we, here in the Pacific Northwest, we got cheated out of a large part of our summer. We didn't have near enough sun. Just take a look at the sad state of my vegetable wait, don't look.

My daughter had a birthday party for Norm this last Sunday at their house. He will be turning 60 this week. The whole family came to celebrate with us. Even Norm's brother and our sister-in-law came from the other side of the state. How great to see them, it's been years. The only damper was the downpour outside, (just more of that great NW summer weather). Our 3 sons and their families, everyone seems to be doing great. Happy and relaxed. My daughter-in-law, Leslie, the one that's about to be a new mom was complaining of a little queasyness and we all sympathized with her. She's hoping it doesn't last long.

You may have noticed the link at the right of my page to Suzi Blu's online mixed media class that I'm taking. I don't have a lot of time to practice drawing and painting but I snatch some here and there. If you are interested in this sort of thing you may want to check out this low cost online class. It's 8 weeks and you can join anytime during those 8 weeks. It's really not hard at all. Lots of fun. Suzy is lots of fun too. Even if you don't want to pay for the online class she does vlogs on YouTube. And I'm not connected with her in any way I just liked her style of painting so I started watching her vlogs.

"Hello Cupcake!", (photo at top), will be starting on Ebay in the next couple days, I think. The timing is not so great right now with the long weekend coming up so I wanted to wait a bit. I'm still working on the pinafore beads. Tweaking here and there. In fact, I've just started the kiln so I'd better get busy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Come next April..........

Psst!..... A little birdie just told me Jamie and Leslie are going to have a baby! Yep, come next April I'm going to be a grandma again. I'm so happy they decided to have a baby. This family is excited!

My "Posies and Pinafores" auction is closing this evening and I have another auction starting at 7 pm (Pacific), that you aren't going to want to miss. New for me, never before have I done this.... A studio clearance sale. Yep, 114, Grade A, handmade beads. It will be on Ebay. Go check it out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I know it's been too long since I've checked in. I tried to post some pictures a couple days ago and there was a glitch in the system.

I've been busy with jewelry, household chores, shopping and I'm up to my eyeballs in paperwork! I did manage to get a new Ebay Auction started too. A brand new bead design. Check it out!

The bracelet pictured here is called "Dear Jackie" and it will be for sale at Seagrass Gallery later this week, (see link at right if you'd like to visit).

It's been gloriously warm here the last couple days. I spent some time at the community pool with my grandson yesterday and hubby after he arrived home from work. I wish I was there right now because it's muggy and humid like it's going to rain. I think a cool shower is in order.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This is a photo of Smith Lake which is just a couple blocks from my house. Lots of room for photo improvement here but I thought it would be good practice....

It's been a good day. I made beads this morning while Norm played golf and then we went to the local fair. We had a really great time and I should have brought my camera but I forgot. The number one most important thing to do if you want to improve your must remember the camera so you can take the photos you want to improve!
What's your favorite part of the fair? Mine is to find a table in the middle of the crowd and just sit and watch people. I am such a student of human nature and people fascinate me. Oh and we can't forget the fair food, the next best part. We hit our favorite taco stand first and then on to the Elephant Ears with cinnamon/sugar and fresh corn on the cob dripping with butter....yum!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Treasures From France

These are the treasures that my friend Diana brought back from France. Thank you so much! How exciting! Lavender and herb mixtures, in beautiful fabric bags, from Provence, French milled soap, raspberry jam , a colorful ceramic jar and best of all...Holy water from Lourdes in a pretty little bottle. SCORE!!!!

So we're one less dog and now my skinny kitty can come back home without fear of being chased by a bored greyhound.

We'll miss you Honey....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Web Photo School

It's sort of cloudy and cool today so I'm going to finish up my orders and then I'll hang out with Nathan, (my 8 year old grandson), a bit. Take the dogs for a walk. This is the last day I'll have
Honey. She goes home tomorrow. I'll miss her. She just sort of fits in with our little family and she's such a sweet dog.

This is Dandy. My little girl. She's sucking up and thinks she's going to get a treat. She'll have to do a little better than just look pretty.

And this is Honey. My friend's greyhound that we have been caring for while her momma is in Europe. She looks stressed out doesn't she? This picture was taken by my friend Robin Nellist who is a very talented photographer.

As I was saying in a recent post I've become obsessed with photography lately. I don't know if I'll ever take better photos but it's fun learning about it. While doing some research on a new camera I came across this website called Adorama. This is a site devoted to photography and I found out they have a Web Photo School. Now I'm not connected to this site in any way I just
wanted to pass on the link because I have learned so much since I found this site. They have some free lessons which I learned a lot from but they also have a sort of unique class system that you can get about as serious as you want to get or just take a couple lessons here and there. The classes start at $9.99 for a 30-day access to ALL of their lessons. The price goes up from there to access the lessons for longer periods of time up to a lifetime membership. I just paid
for 30 days and after just a couple days reading here and there on my coffee breaks and before I go to bed I've already gotten my moneys worth! So if you're looking to learn a little bit, (or a whole lot), check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Promised Photos

After visiting several of my favorite artist's blogs I got to thinking about back when I first started to learn about beadmaking and I combed the internet for any snippet of information I could find about the subject. I wanted to know everything and I remember trying to find pictures of a lampworkers studio and equipment setup. The place where they actually make the
beads. It all sounded so glamorous and well...artsy. I didn't find a whole lot of pictures of glamorous studios because I realize now that after spending probably several hundred, if not thousands of dollars on equipment and supplies to actually make the beads, who has the dough to glamorize the studio. This was certainly true in my case and I have avoided taking photos of my oh-so-unglamorous studio, (garage). But you know what? Back when I was hungering
for any info I could find about artists and their work I would have loved to have seen photos like this because it would have shown me that you don't have to be glamorous to be an artist. Maybe someday my studio will look more artsy.
Today all I care about is that it is comfortable and FUNCTIONAL. And it is both. I spend at least 6 hours a day out here. This is how it usually looks most of the time except it's messier and my car is usually in here too. I took the car out to sweep the floor. I don't want the grandkids stepping on chunks of glass while they fetch their toys, (the toy bucket is right under my work bench).

When my husband and I built the workbench we really just guessed at the height. It is 42" and it is perfect for me. I can work all day and I never have back strain. My Nortel Minor torch sits atop a 2"x6" block of wood and I just rest my elbows on the benchtop when making beads. I don't need any other arm rests. The top of my work bench is ceramic tiled and I have a half sheet of cement board, (non-flammable material), that has been painted flat black, leaning against the wall in front of me. The black background makes it so much easier to see the bead I'm working on. Above me is my stainless steel kitchen fan. It's pretty powerful, (380 CFM if I remember correctly). It was a scratch-and-dent Ebay auction win for about $60 with shipping and all. My propane is piped in through the wall and the tank is kept right outside the window in a vinyl locker. We actually cut a hole in the wall and the locker and then the hoses are run
through PVC pipe. The hole is then insulated so critters can't get in.

Here is a shot of my benchtop all neat and tidy. Believe me, it's not always like this. I generally tidy up before I start a new project or a new set of beads.

The little piles of stringer are left out and close at hand at all times. I guess I just never found a way to corral them that has worked for me. I like to see what I have at a glance and not have to paw through some sort of container to find just the right color and thickness. The only thing I forgot to replace before I took this shot was my bowl of water which sits right below the clear glass bowl of glass scraps.

And this would be where I take my photos. Oh-so-glamorous isn't it? Right next to my golf clubs, hot water tank and plastic tubs filled with all sorts of heaven-knows-what. But you know what? I don't have to put it away every time I use it and that's what makes it really convenient.