Show Recovery Period is Over (sort of...)

Has is really been a week since my last blog? Time really flies when you are totally stressed out!The Indiana Art Fair was a huge success. The museum has gobs of helpers for assistance from car to booth and then at the end from booth to car. It was such luxury to have that kind of help-and with smiles too! One of the gentlemen that helped me unload my car when I set up Friday came back to see it set up and chat with me on Saturday.There was also a reception for the Indiana Artisans Saturday evening that was wonderful. We got to chat, eat yummy cheesecake, and see the amazing job the museum did with the Off The Walls Exhibit (that will be running until the middle of June). What an incredibly talented and diverse group!I also have to give a well deserved shout-out to my friends Jennifer and Ron. They let me and my 7 year old daughter crash at their house, fed us, watched my daughter while I was gone most of the weekend, AND Jen helped me at my booth most of Saturday and then showed up at the end of the show Sunday to help me tear down and pack up.My booth was situated between two of my ISLAGA buddies: Julie Miller and Fran Carrico (website coming soon!). They both do beautiful work and made the slow traffic times pass more quickly. We probably did a little too much chatting and laughing though...I was asked by a couple friends and family if I was concerned about having a booth between two other lampworkers. I can honestly say that no, I was not, for a couple reasons. First is that I am just as happy for their success as I would be for my own. My ISLAGA peeps are the best group of people you could ever know and I cheer them on every chance I can.Second is that all three of us have very different styles. In our small corner of the art fair, there should have theoretically been something for everyone.Third is we had so much more fun being together than if we had been seperate.I also got to meet a few other artists located near our booths. Andy Chen does beautiful photography and gave me a candy wrapper to sell on ebay. I am totally getting rich from that thing.My booth was across from fellow Indiana Artisan Teri Barnett who does the coolest paintings. I also got to meet a couple Lafayette girls: Sara Vanderkleed and Terri Duncan and can hardly wait to visit their gallery called Artists' Own when I am in Lafayette in a couple weeks for a class.I bought a painting from Terri Duncan at the art fair while she was packing up. It has a music theme and vibrant colors. Perfect for our great room that has the baby grand. I will post a photo of it once DH hangs it (or sooner if it takes too long!)Here's a photo of my booth. Sadly, I noticed the drooping skirt as I was bringing the camera down from my face. I fixed it then forgot to retake the picture. Oh well. I never can remember to take good photos of my booths.

I need to do some serious revamping of the set-up if I am going to continue to do shows. I am way too short for this set-up and can barely see people when I am standing behind the table. Most of the display props were bought clearanced at various stores because I didn't want to spend lots of money if I decided not to continue doing shows.

Nightmare Insomnia's Aura

A new Nightmare Insomnia bead finished at 2:30 am and cleaned and photographed a few minutes ago. As usual, the plan is for this guy to accompany me to the Indiana Art Fair next weekend.

Favorite Party Recipe

Tonight we have a party to go to. This isn't just any party, but a party to celebrate the "end of the road" for cub scouts. My 10 year old "baby" is having his final den meeting as a cub scout and as a Webelos II before they have their Arrow of Light Ceremony at the Blue and Gold Banquet next week. I couldn't be any more proud of him. He has his sights set on attending his first boy scout meeting ASAP and earning his Eagle Scout by 15. What an accomplishment that would be! But for now, I am feeling a little sad (and on the verge of tearing up-that is SO not me!) that he's getting so grown up.Here is a photo of him before his very first den meeting as a Tiger Cub in 1st grade about 4 1/2 years ago:An important end of the road party requires good food. So I made one of my very favorites and it is so quick, easy and unbelievably delicious. You really want to make the entire recipe because it goes FAST.Grape Salad2 lbs. green seedless grapes2 lbs. red seedless grapes8 oz. sour cream8 oz. cream cheese-softened1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used Splenda)1-2 tsp. vanilla extractTopping Ingredients (optional)1 c. brown sugar, packed, to taste1 c. crushed pecans, to taste1. wash and stem grapes and set aside in large bowl2. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla3. Stir mixture into grapes4. For topping: combine brown sugar and crushed pecans5. Sprinkle over top of grapes6. Chill overnight7. ENJOY!

New Fun and Funky Neck piece

Untitled as of yet:This has been sitting on my bench since before Christmas because I wasn't happy with the direction it had taken. The center portion from the bead up to the 1st set of rings was already in my head when I started. It was the rest that was kind of fuzzy to me. I added a hand dyed silk ribbon to each ring and although it didn't look "bad", it wasn't "right". So there it sat, forlornly on my bench until last night I took the ribbon off, and decided it would get finished. Here is what I came up with. This photo shows a close-up of the new portion (except the 2 rings in the bottom of the photo. Those were part of the original design).This is a close-up of the section I had already sketched out (during my son's band concert...shhh! Don't tell him I was busy drawing up design ideas instead of paying attention to all ther other bands!). There are 2 things I love about this.First is that it feels "dangerous" because the wire holding the bead is wrapped precariously around the two straight wires and the only thing keeping that bead on there is that those wires were hammered a little flat at the ends. Yes, I know I have revealed a very sad secret about myself by telling you that info... My life is so pathetically boring that I feel a bead depending on a wire being hammered flat is considered living on the edge.
But WAIT there's more! That bead spins freely! I love it when they spin freely like that. It means it's time to play with your jewelry! It adds motion and interest and when the bead is not adorned with caps and tons of wire wrapping, the bead becomes the focal point and not part of an ensemble.
I am hoping to make a couple more of these beads for some matching earrings and they will accompany me to the art show.

Terra Discs

Lampwork discs made with my ever dwindling stash of Terra by DoubleHelix Glassworks. It will be a sad sad day when my last bit is gone because word is it will never be recreated. I better make something for myself with this magical glass before my supply vanishes. Some of these discs will be made into earrings for the art fair. The rest will go into a bracelet or necklace or both. What do YOU think I should do with them?

The interesting thing about these discs is they are all more rainbow looking on one side, and the other side of every single one of them is heavier in the blue/purple range. I absolutely adore Terra.

Not all it "cracked" up to be

I had one of "those" days a couple days ago. I finally had time to sit down and make a few beads and I couldn't make a nicely shaped bead to save my life. With a show looming in 2 weeks, I don't have time for one of "those" days.However, I decided to play with a silver glass color I had never played with before. Even though the beads technically left a lot to be desired, the color combo I used with the glass and the reaction of the glass itself were nothing short of spectacular. Even though I knew these beads were not going to be offered for sale, I could use them for myself or a family member and I was super excited to try the combo again when I could actually get my hands to shape a proper bead.Imagine my surprise when this greeted me from the kiln the next morning:Do you see all those cracks? Everywhere? If you are a lampworker, you will know these kind of cracks are a result of incompatibility. If the cracking were thermal cracks (the bead cooled too quickly and did not anneal properly), there would be just one crack on each side of the bead and it would simply split in half.After posting a question about this particular glass color on Lampwork Etc. to see if anybody else has had this happen with this particular silver glass, the answer was yes and that it may not even be compatible with itself (meaning you can't even make small spacers with it because they will crack too). Bummer. Silver glass is very expensive and this particular batch appears to be worthless. I made a couple spacers today so we'll see what happens with those.

New Beads

I finally got around to photographing a couple from a week or so ago. I've been playing with a lot more clear and the lightly tinted colors recently after reading the Val Cox Frit Secrets book. I love how these came out with so much depth. There is just one teeny tiny problem that I forgot because I usually prefer saturated transparents or opaque have to work a LOT harder to make the bead holes look nice in transparent beads!
Both of these will be at the Indiana Art Fair Feb. 21-22 at the Indiana State Museum.

VanGogh's Irises

Sometimes I make goals that sound good in my head, but don't formalize these goals or take steps to actually achieve said goals. It could be laziness, goofing off on the computer too much, fear of failure or some other equally goal inhibiting behavior. Today I am taking a step to eradicate this behavior. One of my goals for the year was to participate every single month in the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge. I view it as a way to not only see what I can come up with using the theme, but also as a way to challenge myself to try new techniques or materials.

This month's theme was based on the painting Irises by Vincent Van Gogh. This is what I came up with. There are 14 of my lampwork beads all using the Spring Violet frit blend by Glass Diversions. That is where my comfort level ended. I decided on a lariat, having never tried making one before. I also incorporated amethyst, peridot and fluorite. Amazingly, I've never used any gemstones in any of my jewelry! I am usually a silver (or copper) with lampwork beads purist with an occassional swarovski thrown into the mix.

I also tried out the Vintaj findings that have been sitting in my studio in the box they came in since about October. They are just stunning! I need to order some of everthing now that I've played with it. I only had two issues with the Vintaj stuff. First is that all the links in all the chain are open, which I admit makes me uncomfortable. Also, the wire is almost too soft to wire wrap. However, I worked around it and can hardly wait to use it again.

It took so long for me to finally sit down and create this thing, that I may have submitted too late. But that's OK because at least I did it and am excited to see what the next challenge theme will be.

Something For Me???

Confession time...I don't like to wear jewelry. Shhhh! DON'T TELL ANYONE!!!! However, I know the importance of using oneself as a billboard if you create jewelry and try to sell it. So when I dropped this beloved bead (titled Nightmare Insomnia and the Atom Smasher) on my CERAMIC TILE floor, it was no longer saleable, but still OK for me to wear.
--->Note to current and future really does not like ceramic tile or concrete (I know, SHOCKING!). However, a properly annealed bead will bounce and not shatter, but will probably sustain small nicks.
I couldn't think of a design that would be good for me to wear without wanting to toss it across the room after a few minutes, but still looked fabulous enough to be good "advertising". Along came a new shop called Cahootz which is the dream team of Robin Koza (you will also know her as the owner of Glass Diversions ) and Carol Watson of In The Woods Designs. They feature the most luscious hand dyed silk ribbon, end caps for viking knit, sections of viking knit for those that don't want to make it themselves, and beautiful handmade fused silver links. I ended up with the most gorgeous Berry Vine ribbon so I could wear this bead as simple as possible to fit with my everyday casual style.
This necklace is super easy to make. After stringing the pendant onto the ribbon, make a coil of silver wire (about 20 g. or so) on a 1/8" mandrel and thread each end of ribbon through the coil in opposite directions. Then bend, curl, twist and hammer simple little sterling silver charms and tie them to each end. You can adjust to any size necklace for any type of neckline and have sassy little charms hanging down the back. You could also substitute coordinating lampwork beads like this one here

New Beads!

I am really excited about some of the new beads appearing in my kiln each morning. I don't have time to photograph all of them right now, but here's a sampling including 2 new Nightmare Insomnia Series beads. Because I am trying to build up inventory for the Indiana Art Fair on February 21-22, I won't be listing these on etsy unless I come home with them.
I did list this chainmaille bracelet on my 1000 markets shop I was really excited what a difference this particular Hill Tribe silver clasp made in the overall design.
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