I Love the Man in Brown

Because he brought me the goodies I ordered for enameling on copper. isn't all just for enameling. But if I wanted enamel discs larger than 1/2" diameter, I needed a larger disc cutter. If I wanted to be able to dap larger shapes cut with a saw, I needed larger dapping tools. It really is never ending! But now I'm set up for a little while at least.The reason I "needed" all this stuff? Because I want to continue making cool stuff like this necklace I made in the Susan Lenart Kazmer class.

Lampwork Beaded Jewelry fit for Aliens

I did not forget I promised to show the completed projects from the class I took with Sara Sally LaGrand at Bead and Button. Here they are. Day 1 we made the beads. Day 2 we assembled a corsage brooch of sorts (it makes me think of a corsage an alien might wear) Flickr doesn't cooperate with me very well any more, so try clicking the image to be taken to a larger picture. Or click here to be taken to my Bead and Button photo album.
After we completed the brooch, we started on a neckpiece. We created an armature and wove a thin wire to create that really neat pattern and texture and added in the elements as we wove the wire.

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

Not MY reveal, but my partner Lori Anderson did her reveal using my beads yesterday. I was going to blog about it last night, but after 10 hours of set-up, the ice cream social, and then tear-down, plus going to see a movie afterwards, I just couldn't function well enough to put two words together. Today I had to be up early and drive a gaggle of boy scouts (including my own 12 year old) to camp. I have seen that boy a whopping 6 days out of 21. It makes me very sad. And then I crashed. Hard. My poor husband is feeling a bit neglected this father's day.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand...Lori ROCKED my beads with THREE designs. You don't want to miss them, so click here: Bead Soup Reveal
While you are there, click on the other participants' links too. There is some incredible work coming out of this party and you don't want to miss it. Leave comments too because it's fun to hear from readers.

Kate's Kart

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you might have noticed I've been posting quite frequently about today's free ice cream social benefitting Kate's Kart. It is a local organization that hands out new books to children in the hospital to take home with them.
Kate's Kart was started by the Layman family after their little girl Kate died from a heart abnormality. Kate endured several surgeries, procedures, and over 150 days in the hospital. One of her favorite things to do while in the hospital was to look at books and have others read to her. After Kate died, the Laymans wanted to give back and honor Kate and originally intended to have a cart of books in one local hospital.
However, as of the end of May 2010 (and 23 months of giving out books), Kate's Kart volunteers have given out over 17,500 books in 12 area hospitals!
I never knew Kate personally, but she has touched me, my family, and countless others who have a received books as a result of her short life. I love meeting and talking with scared parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and encouraging them to read to their babies, or the little boy who is feeling really yucky and seeing the excitement when he picks out a book of dinosaurs, or the teenager who tries to seem uninterested, but lights up when she sees a book she has been wanting to read.
As of this June, Kate's Kart has been rolling in the halls of area hospitals for two years. Kate's birthday is June 26th and as a way to celebrate her life, her love of books, and her love of ice cream, there will be an an ice cream social, free to the community, at the Parkview North Campus Family Park from noon until 4pm. Not only will there be free ice cream, but there will also be free live entertainment courtesy of Madeline's Toybox (rock band for children) , the Conglomernotes (a 17 piece swing band), and Peto the "Almost Magnificent". You also don't want to miss the free games, free door prizes, balloons, and facepainting. It is going to be a great time! Kate's Kart will also be having a Scholastic Book Fair, and will also be accepting donations of NEW books or money.
Each family gets to enter their name in for a door prize (and there are several REALLY COOL door prizes!). I decided to design a special piece just for this purpose. It is fairly simple. The logo for KK is: "Kate's Kart, Books from the Heart" I fused fine silver into a ring, hammered it flat and stamped "books from the heart". Then I hung an ice cream cone charm, book charm, wagon charm (Kate loved wagon rides too), and one of my lampwork beads done in pinks with a touch of goldstone sparkle inside.
You don't even have to spend a dime to win. So stop by, say hello, have ice cream, buy a book, enter for free door prizes.
I will be blogging later tonight about the kick off to the bead soup blog party. So don't forget to come back tonight!

Psst! Look what came home with me from Bead and Button

Everything is being stored in plain brown paper bags inside a cooler. I don't want anybody in my house to see what I got. LOL!My first stop was Lisa Peters Art. If the feeding frenzy on etsy is any indication to how popular her booth would be, I wanted to make sure I was able to walk away with SOMETHING before she sold out. Here's a picture of all my LPA purchases. Funny story, while I was selecting, a woman was next to me asking which tray I got the single holed beads from. I showed her and she says "I wish I had gotten here about 5 minutes before you because I want the ones you have." LOL!I didn't take Lisa home, but here she is looking beautiful and composed while people are scooping up her cabs and beads left and right. A view of Lisa's table. Hands were moving so fast, they are a blur!
Here are a couple Anne Choi beads and sugar skull charms I picked up.
When I saw that Star's Clasps was going to be one of the vendors, I was really excited. I've never ordered from them, but every once in a while I will go to their website and drool. I used to lack a selection of clasps. Now I don't. Plus I got some cool cones and end caps.
Here is a close-up of the cool vintage button clasps I got:
Andrea Guarino is a super talented lampworker that I have had the privilege to take a class with. Her metal working is pretty awesome too. I've seen photos she's posted of these bracelets before, but when I saw and touched them in person, I had to have one. Those tiny little cups? They MOVE and they are so FUN to play with. Plus, they look really cool.
I have an obsession with labradorite and tiny little irridized fresh water pearls. These chunky labradorite beads are to die for and are so gorgeous in person. I think others must have thought so too, because I bought the last strand and it was at one of those places where they have about 5000 strands of every type of bead.After the enameling class with Susan Lenart Kazmer, I bought some Ice resin and the DVD because I've been wanting to try it anyway. They had their booth set-up in the classroom. That was brilliant...for them and for the students.
Unfortunately, the Ice resin wasn't the only thing I bought. I spent a small fortune on bezels and other objects.We got this little baggie of crystals as we walked into the Meet the Teachers reception. Those big crystals with an amber kind of color are really cool. I've never seen anything like them before.
Anyway, that's about it. Tomorrow I will show the pieces I made at Sara Sally LaGrand's class.

The Awesomest Glass Rod Carrying Bag EVER

So, a girl going to Bead and Button and taking a lampworking class needs her glass rods to travel safely and in style, you know? Enter the awesomest mom ever (mine, in case you were confused as to who that might be) and my simple request for a bag to carry rods, deal with short rods, be protective of the cargo, and look cool too.
What you are about to see is her solution to my "throw glass rods into the tool bag" problem that usually guessed it, broken glass rods. Broken glass, unless it's supposed to be frit is a really big bummer.
Sorry for the cruddy photos, but I am working with what I've got here at the hotel. I'd love for them to be larger, but again, working with what I've got.
First up you can see how there are 14 reinforced pockets (to prevent ripping the fabric when adding sharp rods) and each pocket holds 3 rods of glass.
The fabric at the top is used as a flap to cover the ends of the rods and hold them in place once the carrying case is closed.
What you cannot see in the photos above is the shorter pockets stacked on the taller pockets so that when I come home with shorts, they don't get lost in the tall pocket that requires dangerous digging to remove them.
The case rolls closed and ties in three places for extra security. The strap is adjustable and is meant to be slung over the shoulder. Think of it like a quiver of arrows, but instead it's a carrying case for glass rods.
I got to use it for the first time today taking Sara Sally LaGrand's class. Tomorrow we assemble our glass creations into corsages or necklaces depending on what we want to do and I am super excited to see how everyone's pieces come out.

Bead and Button Day 1

Bead and Button BABEEEEE! It's my first year and it's been awesome so far. I got into Milwaukee Monday and this is my view:
Cool, right? I can see the river and a cute gazebo in the other direction. I went wandering a little trying to find dinner and took lots of photos along the way. I uploaded some photos to Flickr and will add any new photos each evening. However, I find I don't take photos during classes because I am too busy taking notes or paying close attention to what's going on. Taking photos is too distracting to the class.
So today I got to take a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer teaching us enameling (on copper) and hollow forms. The class totally ROCKED. Here's what I made. I modeled it in the bathroom mirror so you can see size (it's kind of big...) and then got out my portable Ott Light to try to create some decent light.
I. love. this. thing. The necklace I WAS wearing with chainmaille and lampwork has been put away and I will be wearing this for the rest of the week. Or the rest of the year. I haven't decided yet.

Bead Soup Blog Party Sneak Peek

About a week ago I wrote about the frenzied activity before our early morning departure for the airport. One of those activities included finishing up a set of beads for my Bead Soup Blog Party Lori Anderson. There's nothing like waiting until the last minute to make me work quickly and efficiently. However, I wanted to get those sent out before we went on vacation. Unforunately, I also managed to overpack the week leading up to leaving with too many activities and errands.Typical.
Anyway, I took those beads out of the kiln at about 200 degrees, wrapped them still attached to the mandrels in a towel, placed in a bag along with the dremel, jewelry baggie, clasp and a bubble mailer into the suitcase. I cleaned the beads when we finally got to our hotel the following afternoon and mailed them from a post office close to my husband's grandma's house.
One small problem...I didn't have time to pick out some nice accent beads to go with them and with the silver foil I used, plus the reactive glass, the colors are....different. So I looked up the closest bead store to the hotel and it was an hour drive. Nope, not happening. So, I sent just lampwork and the super cool Green Girl Studios clasp I had picked out. I didn't even take pictures because I didn't have my "good" camera with me (too heavy).
Lori blogged yesterday about the beads I sent. She will be getting another package from me in the next day or two that has some other fun accent beads that may or may not look good with these.

The Art of Procrastination

...Or how this disaster:
became this:
The mess in the top photo? That is the current state of my jewelry bench. I have about a 2" strip at the edge in which to work. It is not particularly conducive to creativity, efficiency, or to completing any projects. So, Friday afternoon I decided to tackle the mess so I could work. I put away exactly 2 containers of beads when I noticed the baggie of charms.
These charms having been sitting in the same spot for nearly 2 1/2 years. Let's just say I am easily distracted. Perhaps it's procrastination, but that doesn't explain how I can take a list with 3 items into a store and spend 3 hours looking at bright shiny things that catch my eye. In this case, I saw the baggie and decided it would be fun to look at and fondle the charms.
What's the deal with the charms? Well...they are from a charm exchange I participated in on the Lampwork Etc. forum. The original thread is here (although, I am not sure non registered people can look at the thread).
Anyway, I laid all the charms out and wondered why I had never actually put them on a bracelet (oh WAIT! I don't like wearing charm bracelets. Too much fussiness getting in the way of what I am doing with my hands). So, at that exact moment, I started assembling a chain (chainmaille parallel chain to be exact) to attach the charms to and attached all the charms (including the 2 extras I had made).
I tried it on and the sides looked really nice, but the center looked so...bare. So, I started making tiny little charms with swarovski crystals and also some made super easy and cute spring shaped sterling wire charms. I ended up adding about 120 more tiny charms. The entire time I was thinking what kind of crazy person does this?
Here you can see the bracelet in progress. There is a huge difference between the left side where it's been filled in, and the right side waiting for its turn to get some sparkly stuff added too.
I had to work at the kitchen table because, you know, there was no space at the bench. The bracelet is finished and I wore it today. It's very fun, noisy, and heavy. I love it.
Tomorrow? I will start cleaning the studio.

Fire(works) and Paper

I love to play with fire and glass. My husband? He loves fireworks. Good thing he doesn't read my blog or he might want to try his hand at using fireworks on paper. The idea makes me shudder. I am already dreading out annual fireworks display because I'm pretty sure our neighbors hate us because the fallout of his annual playtime is really really bad. Like 2 lawn sized garbage bags bad.
I can't imagine what would happen if he decided to become the next David Sena, the famous tattoo artist who paints with fire(works). Go to his website and click on Other Projects. There you will find a super awesome video showing his process. Please do tell my husband about this website or it could be really really bad. Trust me.
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