Poppy Headpin Challenge Reveal

Today is the day to reveal what I made with the adorable Poppy Headpins from Jo Tinley. Immediately my mind went to earrings...especially since Jo sent 2 headpins. But I really didn't want to do the obvious thing. Instead I decided to make a funky ring using the poppy headpins as charms. The side benefit is you get to look at a ring on your finger all day long. Plus this could substitute as a weapon.

Poppy headpin challenge ring

First I folded the copper wire in half over a round nose plier, then stacked 2 of my lampwork beads (the round one contains fine silver mesh, which reminds me of a garden trellis), then a brass disc I etched and heat treated to bring out the colors.

Poppy headpin challenge ring

Once I strung both ends of the wire through the bead stack, I made a ring with the remainder of the wire end lengths. Then I created a jingly jangly sparkly party on the loop on top of the ring with swarovski crystals and the poppy headpins. I left some of the wire of the headpin to create a little swirly thing opposite the poppies.

Poppy headpin challenge ring

If I were to do this again, I would patina all the bits before assembly. I didn't want to dunk the etched and heat treated disc in case I ruined the color, so I left everything shiny silver and copper. Because this is a blog hop, you will want to go see what everyone else made:

Jo Tinley:  Daisychain Designs

Marissa:  Sea Flowers Studios Molly Alexander:  Beautifully Broken Me Kristi: Curiosities by K Fiona: TizDuster Jennifer Cameron: Glass Addictions   <---------You are here

What Do Art Jewelry and a Pair of Breeding Peacocks Have in Common?

The monsters (meaning my children) go to a wonderful school that is financially supported by a local foundation so that tuition costs are about half what they would be without that support. I am more than happy to donate handmade jewelry to their yearly fundraiser. This year I decided to make something that ties in to the school's theme: “Tall oaks from little acorns grow." Acorns and oak leaves are prominently featured in the school decor, literature, website, etc. I bought a resin filled acorn pendant from Jade Scott and used a resin filled branch with leaves from my stash, also by Jade Scott.

 School Auction Donation

I selected a couple lampwork beads I made for a different project that brought out the coral-ly (yes, that's a word) colors from the pendants and added some ceramic leaves, cogs, and toggle by Karen Totten, the talent behind Starry Road Studio.

School Auction Donation

You may remember I won the auction for her gorgeous bowl filled with goodies she made. The event was really fun and I'm glad I was able to go and support it. The only thing I was disappointed in was the window my daughter helped create was auctioned off in a live auction. We were very disappointed not to win it, but it went for $1400, which is great for the school. People were there to spend the $$$$. We also tried to win the weekly dozen fresh organic eggs until the end of the school year plus a whole chicken, some pork, and homemade noodles (all grown by the students at the school's farm). But we were outbid on that at the last minute in the silent auction. The most entertaining thing available to purchase was at the "grant a wish" table. The middle school made a wish for a pair of breeding peacocks. I'm not sure what the middle school wants with peacocks...I asked my son who is in middle school, but he didn't know. Ultimately, the only auction we won was dinner with the head of the school. My husband bid on that one. It should be an interesting and fun evening.

The Bead Soup has landed at Moobie Grace's Place

Which means you get to see what I sent her. I started out by making these lampwork beads:

Lampwork Beads for my Bead Soup Partner

Then I added the supporting ingredients:

 Bead Soup I sent my partner

The clasp is a starfish from Green Girl Studios. The rest of the beads include Kyanite, Labradorite, Amethyst, fresh water pearls, and Czech glass. All the designs will be revealed on March 3, so clear your calendar for the day and be prepared to see the magic happen at 200 different blogs.

Exciting News x2

I have had a FANTASTIC week! Over the weekend I officially found out I am a contributor for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup book.

Bead Soup Book Cover

While this has been in the works for what felt like forEVER, there was always the possibility of last minute cutting of projects so I never assumed I would automatically be included even after submitting beads and a project. And sorry, no sneak peek of the project. For the 2nd piece of exciting news, I found out just yesterday that the single piece I submitted to Lark for Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry: Photographs of Beautiful Contemporary Beadwork was juried in! I could  not be more excited.

 Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry Book Cover

After seeing posts on facebook from some of my beady friends having their work accepted, seeing the cover (gorgeous seed bead weaving), I was pretty sure my piece was not accepted because it's nothing like this. I went ahead and checked my email just in case and was thrilled to discover an acceptance email in my inbox. This piece I can show you. It's titled Carnival and is completely made up of handmade/handformed components. I started with glass rods and sterling silver wire and this is what I came up with: [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="photo by Ken Rieves"]Carnival[/caption] I made tons and tons of single color transparent hollow beads.

Bouquet of Hollow Beads

Then wired each individual bead into it's own pendant. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="photo by Ken Rieves"]Carnival close-up [/caption] I then formed the sterling silver neck wire they hang from. The best part of this necklace is the versatility. You can wear all the pendants on the neck wire and have a party around your neck. Or you can remove as many as you want for a sleeker or more professional look.

Carnival Hollow Bead Necklace

If you would like to own this necklace, you can find it in my etsy shop.

Experimenting with a Knitted Cuff

A friend of mine posted a link to a tutorial for a cuff that involved knitting yarn onto a chain on facebook. I immediately fell head over heels and pinned it:

That wasn't good enough. I needed to TRY it. I have a ton of large link sterling silver chain left over from a design phase I went through and decided to try using that chain. However, it was immediately apparent this chain is not the best choice since the links alternate directions. You can see how the cuff is a bit...wavy for lack of a better term. And yes, I did block it.

Experimental Knitted Cuff or Bracelet

And even though I knew it was going to be a problem, I proceeded because I wanted it done that night. It didn't turn out too bad in spite of the obvious issue:

perimental Knitted Cuff or Bracelet

However, there are defintely some thing I would change. The first is using curb chain or perhaps doing a simple chainmaille bracelet with large jumprings being held together with very small jumprings. The second thing I would change is the number of wraps per link because the cuff ended up with these pointy corners that flip up and just look icky (technical term).

Experimental Knitted Cuff or Bracelet

I do like the openness of the links on my bracelet better than the other versions of this cuff. It's also very nice to wear and I used a small bit of sock yarn I had left over from another project. I could still make at least a dozen more bracelets with that leftover yarn. Anyway, I plan on playing with this some more and perhaps adding some beads in there somewhere. What do you think?

New Beads

I managed to list a few new beads on etsy last night. Here's a new Nightmare Insomnia bead:

Nightmare Insomnia Series lampwork glass focal bead

And this one, which is much prettier in person:

Hidden Shells lampwork glass focal bead

One more...I will never tire of making this style bead:

Alien Skies lampwork glass bead

Thanks for looking! See you all tomorrow with an exciting announcement.

Healing Heart

Without going into tons of details here (because it is complicated), my friend Shirley Jump has a brother who needs a heart treatment that is not approved in the United States and is quite expensive. It involves having his blood drawn in Florida, transported and stem cells extracted and multiplied in Israel, then transported to the Dominican Republic and reinserted into the heart. You can visit and like his facebook page for more detailed info. Anyway, Shirley is a book author and put out a call to her author friends on facebook for book donations to auction off at a benefit for her brother. I haven't written any books, but I offered to make a piece of jewelry for the auction. What I initially wanted to do was cut a heart shape out of copper, cut it in half then "sew" it back together with silver. I happened to flip through my copy of Mixed Metal Mania right before I was going to start and saw the copper heart St. Jean demos in the book. I loved that it was fold formed and the fold textured. It reminded me of a scar.

Healing Heart

So I did a heart similar to the one in the book, punched holes in it and added the silver wire for "stitches"

Healing Heart

I then looked up the ribbon color for heart disease, which is red. I created lampwork beads using a red base, some silvered ivory and sparkly aventurine to break up the red base, then encased in crystal clear. Using a brass paddle and controlled spot heating, I made the beads an irregular nugget shape rather than leaving them round.

Healing Heart

Then I created the chain using a couple spiral links and a ton of jump rings and used Liver of Sulfur to patina. After the patina I used steel wool to remove some of the patina and then tumbled for several hours. And while I should have technically pickled the heart to remove the black, I actually like the black and leaving the heart imperfect. Shirley picked it up a couple days ago and said she loved it. I'm hoping it gets big bucks for Fred at the auction.

Free Tutorial Friday: Hand Coiled Finding for creating adjustable Necklaces

Ever wonder how to use that gorgeous silk hand dyed silk ribbon without having to tie it? Then today is your lucky day. Materials and Tools list: -Hand Dyed Silk Ribbon -20 or 21 gauge wire (I used sterling, but you can use whatever you want) -something round approximately 4mm diameter. I used a steel mandrel. -pendant -beads, wire, or charms for embellishment and weight Instructions: Begin by hand coiling wire on your mandrel. You can work directly off the coil of wire to save materials.  This particular mandrel seems to be the perfect size to allow the ribbon to move easily when tugged, but not to slip on its own.  

Coil until you have about 1/2" long coil. Cut tail about 3/4" long.

Begin to spiral the end of wire toward the coil.

Continue until the spiral sits on top of the coil.

Repeat on the other side.

If you will not be attaching your pendant or beads with jump rings, you need to add those to the ribbon now before you add the coil.

Feed one end of the ribbon through the coil.

At this point, make sure the ribbon isn't twisted in a manner you don't like. The 2nd end of the ribbon needs to be fed into the coil from the OPPOSITE direction. This is a challenge. To aid me, I grab a piece of scrap wire sitting on my table and use it as a trocar (surgical reference. It's the only thing I could think of to compare.) to guide it through the coil in the opposite direction without pushing out the other end of ribbon you already fed through the coil.

If you managed feeding both ends correctly through the coil, you just completed the most difficult part!

Now it's time to embellish the ends. You could just do a knot on each end and call it good, but that's not as much fun. Also, if you want to wear your necklace short and have the ends dangle in the back, it helps to have them slightly weighted. For this demo I slid a bead on each end then knotted the end.

Here's the finished product (listed on Etsy if you want to see more photos): For Lime Blueberry Fizz, I used some scrap sterling silver wire to make some fun spiral zig zag charms and tied them into the knot. For this Nightmare Insomnia in the Garden Necklace (sold), I added small Hill Tribe flower charms to each end. Have fun playing with this technique and make sure you show me pics of your creations.

My Favorite Tools of the Trade

After cleaning up my torch space which was cluttered with a plethora of glass and tools and frit and murrini and metal leaf laying about, I went minimalist. If you look at the bottom right corner of the photo below, you can see a small peek of tools piled up. Yes, it's difficult to find the tool I want in this mess.

Jan 14 2012 messy studio

After cleaning and reorganizing the space, I laid out only the tools I use most frequently. The other tools in the pile above are hardly ever used.

Jan 14 2012 lampworking tools

Here's a tour of my 5 favorite lampworking tools (other than my hands, torch and kiln). Starting from the left side of the photo: 1. is a brass tool given to me by my friend Lisa Atchison several years ago. Her husband makes these and I cannot live without mine. I use it on at least 50% of the beads I make. The end you can see in the photo is perfect for shoving or spreading molten glass where you want it to go. The other end is a point and is what I use to poke holes in glass like the dots in my Nightmare Insomnia series beads below.

Nightmare Insomnia Series focal

2. brass stump shaper. I love this for shaping ends of beads I've squeezed into a flattish shape, for mashing the bead into a shape I want other than round, and especially for burnishing metal leaf to the surface of a bead 3. Osibin Lentil Shaper. I love these for getting nicely shaped curved ends, shaping bicone or egg shaped beads. 4. Osibin Curve Shaper. I love this for rolling beads on to try to get them centered and to shape out any lumpy bits I don't like. 5. Marble Mold. No, I don't make marbles. And I rarely use this for actual shaping of beads. I mostly like it for measuring the initial footprint of glass when I need to make more than one of a similar bead. It increases my chance of success of actually making the beads the same size. As a lampworker, it's very easy to get lured into thinking you need more tools and toys. I have bought lots of tools and then they collect dust because I prefer my simple tools and I prefer using the heat of the torch and gravity to do most of the work for me. The tools above just help me refine what I'm doing.

The Best Laid Plans

My plan the other day was to clean the entire studio. torch area was such a mess: Jan 14 2012 003 resized and: Jan 14 2012 001 resized and: Jan 14 2012 005 resized That I didn't get past cleaning just that area. People, there were LAYERS of stuff. I took it all apart, cleaned up all the short rods, frit, powders, etc that caked my torch area. Jan 14 2012 012 resized I also tried to organize the rods of glass laying all over my table into something a bit more user friendly (meaning I wouldn't spend 10 minutes trying to figure out where I laid the rod of clear). I did this by taking old jars and dividing the colors up by red. orange/yellow, green, blue, purple/pink, neutrals (white, clear, ivory, black) and then the glass that contains high concentration of silver and makes the really cool reactions. Jan 14 2012 013 resized Now that my table is so clean and organized, I am scared to use it. Not really. But after spending an entire Saturday on this one small section of my studio, I'm thinking I probably should be better about cleaning up after each torch session or at the very least once a week. Now I need to carve out some time to tackle the rest of the studio. Wish me luck. The rest is just as bad as the torch area.
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