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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?  

Studio Wear or It's a glamorous job, but someone has to do it

The other day I posted a picture on my personal facebook page of my feet wearing the official studio shoes. Maybe I need some new ones?

Studio Wear

However, I suggested that perhaps I would do a patch job with some zebra duct tape. I performed surgery the next day

Studio Wear

I'm pretty sure my friends and family are horrified by what I consider perfectly appropriate studio wear. It's better than going barefoot, which I do sometimes...at my own peril. Let's see...hot sharp shards of glass flying, dropped glass rods, metal bits...it's not the place to risk bare feet. I usually work in very fancy attire of pj's, old ratty clothes, or yoga pants and t-shirt. When there is the potential to have hot glass land on your clothes and burn holes in them, you don't wear things you are attached to. The yoga pants are a new addition though. I bought a couple pairs 2 weeks ago and I LOVE them. In fact, I'm thinking about buying another 10 pairs and wearing them all the time including to bed and nights out on the town. LOVE THEM. Since the Disney Princess half marathon, I've added the tiara to my studio uniform since it goes so well with the ripped up shoes and pj's, adds a touch of glamour, and reminds everyone within my realm that I am the queen. Studio Wear

Running isn't fun unless you're a Princess

Looking for my Bead Soup Reveal? Click here. Two weeks ago I got to be a princess. It was excruciating. Not because I had to wear heels and a giant voluminous gown, or spend hours on make-up and hair, or smile until my face was frozen and wave until my arm fell off...it was because being a Princess involved running 13.1 miles (that's 21.0824 km, my metric system using friends) and getting up at 2:45 am. That's the time I'm usually going to bed. Ugh. I signed up for this torture?!?! I admit that getting up at 2:45 was actually the most daunting aspect of everything we had to go through that weekend. But this being Disney World and all, everything is hurry up and wait in line, take a bus, be herded like cattle, etc. We had to catch the bus before 4 am. Yes, you read that correctly. 4 am. We got to the bus at 3:30 to be on the safe side. Then we rode the bus to somewhere in/near the Epcot parking lot. Honestly, I'm not really sure where we were because once we got off the bus, we had to walk about 20 or 30 minutes to the pre-race area. The pre-race area was...fun. There were tons of people in a similar state as us (meaning no sleep and uncaffeinated) but the DJ was pumped, the dance music loud and pulsating, and nervous jittery women dressed as princess crammed onto the dance floor partying. (Please excuse the photo quality. I didn't take a camera, just my cel phone)

Disney Princess Half Marathon

A few quick facts. There were approximately 21,000 runners. 1,000 of them were men. Men were not permitted to place in this particular race. All prizes and recognition went to women. Also, if you are a single man, it might not be a bad place to meet someone if you can get past the lack of primping and the smell of sweat. At about 4:30 am, we started walking to the starting line area which was divided into corrals (just in case we didn't already feel like a group of herded cattle). It took about 20 or 30 minutes to walk to our corral. So it was 5am when we got to the corral and our start time wasn't until 6. Let's do some math...shall we? Up at 2:45. Race doesn't start until 6. That's more than 3 hours of mostly walking, standing, and riding a bus. One hour of that was standing in a corral. (Sit on the ground at your own peril...)

Disney Princess Half Marathon

They shot off fireworks for each corral start, which was my husband's favorite part (being Mr. Obsessed with Fireworks).

 Disney Princess Half Marathon

If you've never been to Disney World, it's all out immersion into the Disney theme. The Princess Half Marathon was over the top. You know how you go to the various theme parks and you might see a character or two? The half marathon had every princess on the route and you could stop running, stand in line, and get your picture taken with them. There were also several other photo-ops with non-princess characters. When I'm running a half marathon, my #1 concern is making sure I complete within the allotted time and #2 is not being the last one across the finish line. I did not take the time to stop and get my picture taken with any characters. Because I'm paranoid. Also, because I looked like I was dying. Granted, I couldn't actually see myself, but I felt like I was dying, so I probably looked like it too.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

My favorite part (other than crossing the finish line and getting the awesome medal) was running through Cinderella's castle. We also ran through (under, around...not sure) the Epcot ball thing at the end, but I totally don't remember that part. I do remember going to Epcot later that night to go "drinking around the world" with some friends who also ran the race. Except, I really only drank in Mexico and Italy and got Fish and Chips in the UK, so that probably doesn't actually count as drinking around the world...

Disney Princess Half Marathon

I left my GPS watch in the room (bummer! It helps me stay focused and motivated), but remembered to wear my brand new tiara. I had my cel phone with me so I quickly downloaded a stopwatch app about a minute before we were released from our corral. Even though I started it when we crossed the starting line and then after the finish line, my official time was about 5 minutes slower than the stopwatch. What else can you use your cel phone for while running? A camera. Also, to call the front desk of your hotel to tell them you lost your room key. Yes, they had to listen to me huffing and puffing. I found my key at the end of the race. It had somehow worked it's way out of my pocket, up my shirt, almost to my bra. That's talent, people! At the end of the run, after we got our medals, our picture taken, and grabbed some post race snacks, we walked walked walked to the bus back to our room and showered. What do you do when it's about 11 am and you've been up since 2:45? You go get lunch (our first meal of the day) and head to a theme park. We decided on Disney's Hollywood Studios. I wore my tiara all day because I decided I deserved it. I did not, however, wear the medal. That thing is heavy. Lots of other women did though.

Disney Princess Half Marathon

It was such a fun weekend overall...and I was so happy my honey agreed to run the Princess Half Marathon with me and stay by my side the whole time. My pace is closer to a slow easy jog for him, and it's difficult for him to hold himself back so I appreciated it. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Look! It's the middle of the race and he hasn't even broken a sweat yet."]Disney Princess Half Marathon[/caption] PS~I wore the tiara the next day to the airport, in the airport, and on the plane.

 My tiara for the Disney Princess Half Marathon

Bead Candy Bouquet

Looking for my Bead Soup Reveal? Find it here. Here are some of the beads I made yesterday. I'm only showing the ones in bright spring colors.

Headpin Beads on 19g dark annealed steel wire

I don't often work in these colors. I'm not sure why because they make me very happy. I literally gasped when I opened the kiln this morning to so much color.

Headpin Beads on 19g dark annealed steel wire

There are more of these, but I only wanted to show the fun colors outside my normal color palette. I won't be listing any of these because I am trying to build inventory for my show at the end of March. However, if you see something you have to have, let me know.

It's Time to Party Bead Soup Style

A refresher...this is the soup I started with from Moobie Grace Designs:

Bead Soup from Moobie Grace Designs

She made this amazing polymer clay clasp:

Bead Soup from Moobie Grace Designs

And a matching focal:

Bead Soup from Moobie Grace Designs

People...I STRUGGLED with this soup. Not because I don't love it (I totally do!) but because as much I love these beads and her talent, I don't do flowery or pastel pink. LOL! I wracked my brain for weeks thinking of ideas for lampwork beads I could make to coordinate with her gorgeous beads. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. For me, designing jewelry without my lampwork is similar to abandoning my children. However, it was time to bite the bullet and do it and maybe use some of the other pretty beads collecting dust. Last weekend as we were flying home from Florida, I was thinking about how I wished there was a new episode of Downton Abbey to watch. I am completely obsessed with that show. While it is like a soap opera, I think I am just fascinated by the idea of having servants who do everything for you including dressing you. Several times a day. I kind of love the idea of getting dressed up in dresses and suits to eat dinner each  night. However, that won't be happening in this house unless we get servants who do all the cooking and cleaning up. I will dress myself. Anyway, the point to all that rambling is that I adore the jewelry they wear on the show and decided to try doing something in that style. After some research, I discovered Downton Abbey takes place during the Edwardian time period for jewelry. Edwardian jewelry uses lots of white metal (mostly platinum and white gold) and diamonds. These materials are a bit outside my budget. I also discovered that peridot was very popular during this time period. I looked up Edwardian jewelry online, searched for images of the Downton Abby ladies, looked up information in the books I have about the history of jewelry. I learned a negligee is more than just lingerie. It's actually a style of necklace with 2 pendants hanging at unequal lengths. Without further ado, here are my "inspired by Downton Abbey" pieces. First is the necklace. From the bead soup Tania sent, I used the amazing focal, the copper keyhole, and one of the green pearls she sent.

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

Out of my stash I used a really cool clasp I got from Star's Clasps at Bead and Button a couple years ago.

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

I also used lots of peridot, some freshwater pearls, and swarovski crystals. This thing sparkles. A lot. Too bad you can't see just how sparkly in the photos.

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

  Because Tania sent me such wonderful beads, I also made a matching pair of earrings. They are a bit too dangly for Edwardian times, but I still like them anyway.

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

And last but not least, is a multi-wrap bracelet. You can wrap it around your wrist several times. Or you can double it around your neck for a necklace. What I read is that women in Edwardian times would wear several bracelets at a time. This is my interpretation:

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

I used the clasp and chain out of the bead soup for the bracelet. From my stash I used peridot, Quartz, swarovski crystals, and seed beads (no, I haven't been abducted by aliens).

Bead Soup Blog Party March 2012

Now go see what Tania made with this bead soup I sent her:

Bead Soup I sent my partner

After you've visited Tania at Moobie Grace Designs, hop over to Lori's to see the full list of bead soup blog party participants!
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