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Inspired by...Weeds

Today is Inspiration Monday at Art Jewelry Elements where people share what inspires them and how it inspires them. I created a bead based on this photo by my friend Carol Dean Sharpe:   First dandelion in spring by Carol Dean Sharpe Sand Fibers   Here's the bead:

Dandelion in Spring

And here it is when not backlit:

Dandelion in Spring Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron

Join the blog hop by visiting AJE and linking your inspired by post to AJE.

Tapestry

Exactly 4 weeks ago to the day, I was setting up for my first show of the year. In fact, it was the first show I had done in about 3 years. Amazingly, this afternoon will be spent setting up for my 2nd show of the year at an event called "Tapestry: a day for you." The "you" being women because this is not really for men. Anyway, it's a fun show to do because it doesn't get any more low key. I will be there on Friday from about 7am til about 5 pm. There are set shopping times where I will be very busy, but then the conference goers go to their breakout sessions and I can sit and catch my breath for a minute, straighten up the booth, do some viking knitting, etc. You would think with only a few hours to shop, it wouldn't be profitable for the vendors. However, I have always done very well for the few hours of work and low booth fee. Here's a piece using a Jade Scott pendant, one of my lampwork beads, and some swarovski chain I will have with me tomorrow that I have never shared with my online friends:

Necklace with jade scott pendant and glass addictions by jennifer cameron lampwork bead

Kyle

As many of you know, I don't really "do" men's jewelry. The men in my life tolerate their wedding rings and sometimes even a watch. That's about it. However, last fall, the Iowa chapter of the March of Dimes asked me to please make something for their male ambassadors. This resulted in a leather wrap bracelet customized with their kids' names hand stamped on sterling silver pieces. The wife of one of the men who received this gift from the March of Dimes emailed me about how much her husband loves it and could I make something similar for her friends. Without going into too much detail, her friends have a very sick little boy. He spent months in the NICU. After years spent in and out of several hospitals, multiple surgeries, and all the horrors involved with that, he has been sent home on hospice care because there is nothing else they can do for him. Of course this story just broke my heart and I wanted her gift to her friends to be perfect. For Kyle's dad, she wanted a wrap style bracelet like her husband's with all the kids names on it.  

 Custom men's wrap bracelet glass addictions by jennifer cameron

She also wanted something for Kyle's mom. However, she already has a necklace with all the kids names. So she requested a bracelet with just Kyle's name and somehow incorporating orange, which is his favorite color.

mom's custom bracelet by glass addictions by jennifer cameron

I saw pictures of mom, and she is teeny tiny and I learned that a bracelet she regularly wears is 6.3" and huge on her. I wanted to make sure the bracelet I made for her was to scale with her tiny size and also adjustable since I didn't have her actual wrist size. I also had to scale back on my grand plans of adding a bunch of frills to it because it was just too much. I think I took this apart and redid it a few times trying to get the scale right, but found this chain hiding in a corner and fell in love instantly. The key was to keep it simple. This is how the back looks:

 Clasp of custom bracelet

How to Display Jewelry when using Large Hang Tags

My hang tag tutorial was a little popular...getting over 500 hits a day for several days...which was super exciting for me. I had no idea it would be so popular and I'm glad some of you found it useful. One of the questions I was asked was how I was able to display my jewelry effectively with such large hang tags. The answer is: it depends. For necklaces on busts or mannequins, it's a no brainer. The tag goes behind where it can't be seen. I tie them onto the necklace so that it stays in place, but doesn't interfere with trying it on. A few pieces (mostly bracelets) were laid out straight on cloth covered trays with the tags continuing the line of the piece. Not ideal, but it worked. These did require lots of straightening, but it still looked fine.

Hangtags with earrings on wire structure from garden section of store

My favorite method for display were these wire structures...maybe called a cloche? I found clearanced in the garden section of Meijer. I simply attached the hangtags using clothespins. You cannot fit a ton of pieces on a single cloche, but I am of the school of thought that less is more in a booth display. I have found most customers get overwhelmed when faced with too many choices and then walk out with nothing. If they ask for more choices, or want a specific color, then I get out more inventory for them to look through. Anyway, anything you can either clip the tags to or add a nail into to hang the tags from (pre-punched holes!) is fair game. Be creative.  

A Rebirth to share this Easter Holiday

Way back in September I showed you photos of the caterpillars we found in our veggie garden. This week, 2 of the 4 remaining chrysallises "hatched". I caught the second one emerging just in time as I was trying to set the camera up to do time lapse. However, if I had succeeded, I would have missed the entire thing because it only took a few seconds. I grabbed the camera and started taking pics as soon as I noticed movement. Enjoy, and Happy Easter if you celebrate it.

Eastern Black Swallowtail chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail Emerging from Chrysallis

Eastern Black Swallowtail

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies

Art Show Treasures

As I've mentioned several times already, I was a vendor at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace last weekend. I was also a shopper. People, there were so many amazing creations, I spent about $10,ooo inside my head. My wallet was in serious danger, but I managed to spend much less than that. My first purchase was a watercolor called Jacks and Marbles from Joyce Jensen. She was one of my booth neighbors and I just loved chatting with her and her husband. They are both so charming and kind. Anyway, I don't generally love watercolor, but her work is so vibrant, I was immediately drawn to the color. The subject matter is fun and I joked with her I love glass so much that I want to buy paintings of it...Anyway, this pic does NOT do it justice. You can see a better photo on her website and check out the other piece I really want titled Roswell on the same page.  I haven't decided yet where I'm going to put this. It kind of depends on if I can talk hubs into buying me Roswell too.

Watercolor by Joyce K Jensen

My next purchase was from a lapidary/jeweler Chuck Bruce, who was fun to chat with. I learned so much from him about his process and I LOVED his work with it's clean simple lines completely different than anything I make or ever will make. Also, I have a total weakness for labradorite. I LOVE that stone...the flashier, the better.

 Pendant by Chuck Bruce Designs

If you live in the Indy area, he teaches lapidary classes and spool knitting with wire. The spool knitting looks very similar to viking knit, but is done in one long piece of wire so no ends can ever stick out. I may try it myself one of these days. My next purchase was some fudge from The Sweet Shoppe & Dessert Cafe to take home to my super awesome husband who loves fudge more than anything else.

 Fudge from the Sweet Shoppe

The most interesting flavor I got was the Kentucky Bourbon Fudge. I also got him some chocolate pecan, peanut butter cup, and tiger butter fudge. Every single one of them was excellent and probably the best fudge I've ever tasted. (FYI~You can order online...) And last but not least, I purchase a snake jug from my other booth neighbor Thomas Wintczak. I adored these guys from the moment I laid eyes on them. I had a difficult time picking my favorite, but ended up with the shortest squat-est version because I liked the shape so much.  

Snake Jug by Thomas Wintczak

Tom was also an excellent neighbor, friendly, engaging, and very knowledgeable about the history of the pottery he creates.

 Snake Jug by Thomas Wintczak

His pieces look like they belong in a museum.

Snake Jug by Thomas Wintczak

He also won best of show. Being next door to his booth, I'm not sure if that made me look bad, or good... I have to tell you that the artists at Indiana Artisan were so amazing. I wanted to buy something from Amy Greely and also Nancy Lee. Specifically, I want this necklace. Isn't it so awesome?

Hang Tag Tutorial + Inexpensive Branding

Hangtag

Indiana Artisan Marketplace was a HUGE success! The venue was great, the quality of the artwork and food was top notch, the volunteers ROCKED(!), I met some really awesome people, and oh yeah...I sold a lot of my inventory which was really exciting. It's the ultimate complement whenever someone is willing to spend money they have worked hard for on something I've made. I know my particular style isn't for everybody, but am amazed when somebody likes it enough to spend their $. Anyway...I showed you my new logo a few weeks ago.

Glass Addictions by Jen Cameron logo

The intention was to then print up new biz cards and a banner, create hang tags, etc with the logo. However, with only 2 weeks to go before the show, my brain was too fried to try to design something and have it printed and here in time. I instead decided to look into a custom rubber stamp and ordered a total of 4 traditional wood handle stamps from Simon Stamp. I had them in my hands 2 days after ordering and the quality is great, the prices very reasonable. They are very stinky when you first open the package though. However, the smell goes away. I decided to create my hang tags out of shipping labels. I am definitely not the first one to do this. However, this is how I did it to get this particular look.

Hangtag

 I made them vintage-y looking, plus they smell good and I cannot even tell you how many comments I got on these tags. Just about every female that walked into my booth told me they loved them. So how did I take the boring industrial looking shipping labels and turn them into something beautiful? Today is your lucky day because I am going to show AND tell. You will need: -instant coffee -water -vanilla extract -Shipping labels (I got mine 500 for $5 at Office Depot) -tea kettle or sauce pan -baking pan -cookie sheet -oven -heavy book -decorations for label *Boil the water in tea kettle or pan then let sit for a few minutes. *Add some instant coffee crystals to the baking pan. I didn't measure, but I think I used quite a bit....maybe 1/3 cup? Maybe more? It's not an exact science. The darker you want them, the more coffee you use. *Add some hot water to the instant coffee. Again, not an exact science and depends on how dark or light you want your tags to stain. I would say you want the water to be at least 1" high so the tags can be easily submerged. *Allow the coffee to cool to room temperature *Add some cheap vanilla extract (don't use your expensive stuff for this!) and stir it around a bit. The purpose of the vanilla extract is to make the tags smell more pleasant. Trust me, it's very effective! *Heat oven to lowest temp. On my oven that's 175F. *Add the number of tags to the coffee that will fit on the number of cookie sheets you're using and allow to soak. The amount of time the tags are allowed to soak will affect the color too. I soaked mine about 10 minutes. You can do less or more and get great results.

Hangtag *once they are finished soaking, lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet. You do not need to drain them or anything like that. Just pick them up, let it drip if you want to prevent it being too messy, then plop them on the cookie sheet. 

Hangtag

*Place cookie sheet in oven. At 175F in my convection oven, the tags took about 10 minutes to dry. You do not have to dry them in the oven. I did for 2 reasons. #1-it's quicker and I didn't have space to lay 150 tags out single layer all over the house. #2-when I laid them out to dry, the color became very uniform and that wasn't the look I wanted. *When dry, they will start to curl and pull up off the cookie sheet.

 Hangtag

 *Use a heavy book to flatten them a bit. *Once they are flattened to your liking, decorate them however you want. I used on of my custom logo stamps on the front. I also ordered a stamp with my website address and stamped that on the back. Keep in mind placement for your jewelry when decorating or stamping so you don't ruin the effect. *punch holes for earrings or tie onto necklaces, bracelets, etc. I like to punch the holes so they are not in perfect alignment.

 Hangtag

 *As an extra bonus, these tags provide ample room to write info about each piece on the back. I included materials used, sometimes process or inspiration info, the name of the piece, and the price. This was time consuming and I had writer's cramp, but the customers loved this personal touch and appreciated having the info. To give my branding a bit more continuity (especially since I didn't do new biz cards), I also stamped my logo onto kraft paper shopping bags

Shopping bag

I used the Green Way line of bags from Nashville Wraps. They are made of 95% post consumer waste and also made in the USA. Gotta love that.

 Shopping bag

 All I did was use my large logo stamp on both sides of the bag. Simple. Much more inexpensive than having the logo printed on bags for me, but still looks custom (hand)made.

 Shopping bag

 Edited to Add: I ordered the 1" x2" traditional wooden stamp for the shipping tags. The most important dimension is width for this application, so I uploaded my logo and figured out the shortest height I could get away with to get the width I needed. The cost goes up the larger the stamp in either direction. For the bags I ordered a 2.5" x 5" stamp.

What the frit is frit?

Perhaps you've heard me or another lampworker or glass blower mention using "frit" on glass pieces. Because it's a term we use all the time, it doesn't occur to us glassy types that the non-glassy types don't have a clue what we're talking about. It's like going to the doctor and they only use medical terminology to explain why your foot hurts. To the non-medical type, the condition sounds like maybe it's terminal and you want to know how long you have to live. The short definition of frit is that it's chunks of glass. However, that's rather dull and why would anyone care if we use chunks of glass. Frit ranges in size from tiny chunks (.05 mm) to larger chunks of about 10mm. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I used frit to create the twisted cane used on these beads. It's a favorite technique and a super quick way to make a twisted cane that looks amazing."]Autumn Pebbles lampwork bead set[/caption] Frit comes in a rainbow of vibrant colors and everything in between. Frit can be reactive (cause really awesome reactions with combined with certain colors) or non-reactive. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="I have a few frits that are my absolute favorites. This is one of them. It's magical."]Alien Skies lampwork glass bead [/caption] Frit colors can be combined into gorgeous blends. I don't do this myself when there are already supplies doing this for me. The two suppliers I buy from are Glass Diversions and Val Cox Frit.

 Donation to Wellspring Silent Auction

Frit can make a simple bead look amazing. I personally love to use an opaque base glass, frit, then clear on top. The clear magnifies what's going on below and is so yummy.   [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Another favorite frit. It's called Prism and it's sold at Glassdiversions.com"][/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="416" caption="I love this frit too. There probably aren't many frit blends I don't like."]Bead Soup Blog Party #2[/caption]

What a Week(end)!

The last week or maybe longer...I'm not sure at this point...has been incredible. I keep thinking it's May or June instead of March. It's all very confusing, but I am not complaining. In fact, I hope it stays like this until July. Yesterday's high was 75 degrees. The previous record high was 70 degrees. The average high for March 18th is 49 degrees.  It's been gorgeous and perfect and lots of yardwork got done. Of course, lots of weeds and bugs are already appearing. Sigh. I guess you get the bad with the awesome. Here's our 10 day forecast. I cannot even tell you how giddy this makes me. 

Weather Forecast

So how did I spend my gorgeous weekend? Making jewelry, making jewelry, making jewelry, going to my niece's 18th birthday celebration, watching basketball, hanging with my honey, taking my daughter to an audition for the Disney Christmas parade (keep your fingers crossed for her please!), lots of yardwork, and spending very little time inside my house. Making jewelry mostly happened at the Scrap-a-thon to benefit Kate's Kart. I am a volunteer for Kate's Kart, have helped to organize the ice cream social for the last 2 years, was on the Board of Directors for 2 years, and support the mission of Kate's Kart 100%. However, I don't scrapbook. So I packed up my jewelry supplies and tools and made jewelry for the upcoming (less than 2 weeks) show. It was lots of fun and I was way more focused and productive than I am at home. Let me tell you, I felt an immediate bond with those scrappers. When I packed up 2 bags of stuff to take with me, I worried I overpacked and they would think I was crazy. Holy cow! They had more tools and supplies with them than I thought possible to stuff into a single minivan. Like, an entire Hobby Lobby scrap section of stuff at each table. It was awesome. One woman even brought an additional table with her. I guess one 8' table wasn't enough space...my kind of people I tell ya! We cooked out on the fire pit one night. I bought some hard cider while picking up hot dogs, chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers. I could lie and say I associate hard cider with summer and cooking out... 

Oliver Hard Cider bottles

But I've never had it before. I bought them for the really cool art on the bottles. The cider was eh. I would take a glass of smooth red wine before this stuff anytime. Hubs never suspected me of my real motive, but when I fessed up, he just shook his head and said it didn't surprise him. March Madness always reminds me of the start of 8 very long weeks I spent on bedrest while pregnant with my now 13 year old. We didn't have cable and had about 5 channels. Guess what we watched... So it's with mixed emotions I watch any of the NCAA tournament. But I'm rooting for IU and think it's total garbage that Kansas beat Purdue. I would show you pics of what I made this weekend, but I haven't taken any. Soon though. Very soon. Here's a pic of an orchid that hubs actually coaxed into re-blooming. I love orchids, but they are pretty ugly when not in bloom. I tried multiple times over the last year to throw it out. But if I did, I would have missed out on this:

 Orchids

Logo-licious

Looking for my Bead Soup reveal? Find it here. It was time for a logo. I've always been stuck for a logo idea. I guess that's why you hire a pro. The woman who designed my logo is a friend of a friend who worked for a graphic design company here in town until her husband's job took them out of state. She is in-freakin'-credible. She came up with pages and pages and pages of awesome design ideas. It was nearly impossible to decide on a design and I really had to be ruthless to narrow it down to just one. However, as a person who loves color, it was even MORE difficult to decide on color. I was pretty neurotic about the whole thing and about tore my hair out over it. Here is what I finally decided on: Glass Addictions by Jen Cameron logoI'm pretty excited about it! What do you think?  
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