Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Only 2 more days left......

Colorful stacked dot bicones.

....of 2010. All I can think of is the paperwork I am so behind on.

Norm and I just spent the entire evening rolling coins that he has been saving for over a year. We decided not to use Coin Star this time and do it ourselves. Over $400. Wow! Done except I still have to roll the pennies. Tomorrow is another day.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back in business....

Well, I did end up having to buy another oxygen concentrator. It wasn't quite as costly as I first thought although plenty expensive for a reconditioned machine. I thought about buying a new machine rather than having to mess with another reconditioned model and dealing with the sometimes "fly-by-night" vendors that sell them, but I found out you have to have a doctor's perscription! Hmmmm.

You see the problem is, it's impossible to find someone local to do maintainance on an oxycon that's used for "non-medical" purposes. In order to have my machine worked on I would have to pay shipping both ways, (from $50-$80 one way), and then whatever is charged for repair. It's also very common to incur shipping damage because we all know how "careful" the shipping companies are the way they throw things around. I wish I knew someone who would be willing to learn how to maintain this equipment because I have a feeling they could stay pretty busy with all the beadmakers in my area. So let's just hope this machine lasts as long as the last one did.
Here are the first beads made with the newer oxygen concentrator. No name yet as I haven't decided what to make with them, if anything. Just happy to be making beads again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hand dyed silk ribbon and beads....

I have to think about finishing up my Christmas shopping this week. I have just a few more things to buy but I actually have to physically go out and shop. I purchased most everything online this year. I love to shop online. I'm not big on crowds and people get so CRANKY this time of year.
I also have to think about a new hairdresser. I've had the same hair person for the last 15 years. My sweet Tana has moved to West Virginia. Every hair on my head will miss her. I loved the way she cut my hair and now I have to get used to someone else. Wish me luck I have an appt. next week!
I'm having some problems with my oxygen concentrator, (can't make beads without it), and I may have to buy a new one. Very expensive and takes a bit of time. Not like you just go to a store and buy one. I could use tanked oxygen but that would also be very expensive and not very practicle. I'll have to do some research.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thoughts on hollow cone beads......

I've been asked by beadmakers many times about my cone beads. I've inspired others to make their own but many are frustrated with their failed attempts. Let me just say that if I can do it, so can you, IF, you are willing to practice and work through your mistakes. You don't really think that I started making perfect cone beads right from the start do you? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!

First of all I buy my cone mandrels from Arrow Springs. They are the Osibin Cone Mandrel and I have the 5/8" and 3/8".

Here are a few tips on construction:
I cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with bead release. I do not however, cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with glass. I start wrapping the glass about 1/4" from the bottom, (fat end), of the cone. If it makes a difference to you I use Fusion or Fosterfire bead release. Make sure to spend enough time preheating your mandrel insuring that it is RED HOT before applying the glass. The nice thing about the Osibin mandrel is once you preheat it it holds the heat really well which means a lot when you're trying to keep the bead from cracking as you apply finishing touches.

I use fat stringers, (about 3mm at least), for the initial wrap so I pull several before I start.

The bead release almost always cracks as I am applying the initial wrap. I'm very careful not to push or pull too much causing the bead release to flake off because if the molten glass touches the bare mandrel I'll have to start over. This is why I think people are having a problem getting their beads off the mandrel. The bead release has flaked off exposing the glass to bare metal. Usually this means a hopelessly stuck bead.

I use the thick stringers to cover the mandrel initially, making sure each wrap touches the one before. Once the mandrel is covered I then spend time evening out the surface of the glass on the cone. Adding or moving glass around with my tungsten poker before using my brass and/or graphite marvers to further smooth the surface before adding any embellishments. All the while applying heat where needed to keep the bead from cracking.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions please let me know by leaving a comment. Good luck and don't give up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Date night...

"Tomfoolery" necklace
Norm took me out for dinner tonight. Olive Garden....yummmm! I love their spaghetti and meatballs. And, I love their salad and bread sticks hot from the oven. I'm a happy girl. Now I'm home watching reruns of "The Office" on TV before I hit the hay.