Non Toxic Pickle

No, I'm not talking about those things some people eat. I'm talking about a chemical which cleans the firescale (nasty black stuff) off metal which has been exposed to flame or kiln. After a bad experience with the VERY toxic pickle I purchased at a jewelry supply place, I swore off that nasty stuff. It will eat holes in anything it comes into contact with. However, I started  making lots of lampwork headpins on copper wire, which come out of the kiln covered in firescale.

Glass headpins jen cameron glass addictions

While using steel wool gets a good chunk of the firescale off, I still wasn't 100% thrilled with the results. So I started googling non toxic jewelry pickle and found a recipe using regular (cheap!) white vinegar, which I purchase by the gallon anyway. And regular table salt (also cheap!). That's it. The suggested ratio was 1 cup vinegar to 1 Tbsp salt. I placed the vinegar into a glass jar and heated it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then I added the salt and stirred. I dipped the end of one headpin and swirled it around for a second or two. This is what it looked like:

Non toxic jewelry pickle for copper glass headpins jennifer cameron glass addictions

  So I dumped all of them into the pickle

Glass headpins in non toxic pickle jennifer cameron glass addictions

  After a 1 minute soak:

Glass headpins in non toxic pickle jen cameron glass addictions

  I removed them from the pickle at this point and just wiped the rest of the "soot" off with a paper towel. They are a dull pinkish color at this point

Glass headpins jen cameron glass addictions after soaking in non toxic jewelry pickle

  Rub them a little with 0000 steel wool and they get the shiny copper back.

copper after pickle and steel wool jen cameron glass addictions

Glass Headpin Earrings Tutorial at Art Jewelry Elements

Glass headpin earring tutorial #AJEearring glass addictions jennifer cameron

Today on AJE I wrote up a quick and easy earring tutorial using some of my glass headpins. Yes, I have more headpins. No, I haven't listed any. They are a really pretty mix of purples and pinks and tiny bit of blue. I didn't have very good light when I took the pic. Let me know in the comments below if you are interested in a set.

Creating a Master Bedroom Retreat

Everyone needs some little (or big) luxuries in life. I decided when we built our lake house that the master bedroom would be as luxurious as staying at a posh hotel. Minus the maids....(if only the budget allowed for that extravagance!) Because we were starting out with a clean slate, we were able to add things we wouldn't necessarily be able to do in an existing a fireplace tiled with harlequin shaped tiles and filled with glass and stone rather than gas logs. Or a private deck looking over the lake.

Master bedroom #lakelife

However, that's just the skeleton for the space. The important stuff is in the details. However, the budget is really really tight for brand new upscale furniture, etc. While I'm still working on furnishing and decorating the space, I thought I would share a few things I've done so far. Almost all the furniture, the lamps, etc. is stuff from the guest bedroom of the "city" house or hand me downs. My mom moved in with us right after the lake house was finished. This worked out perfectly as we needed the stuff out of there so she could bring her own bed and her own stuff. And we needed to furnish another house. With the bed, I splurged on one of those memory foam mattress covers on sale for a great price. It's super soft and makes the extra firm mattress comfortable. Then I purchased high thread count sheets, which are so lovely to slip into at night. Hubs has promised to make me an upholstered, tufted headboard. I can hardly wait!

Master bedroom #lakelife

With the floor being ceramic tile, we wanted a rug under foot for cold mornings. We found one we liked on sale for a great price at Menards. Nothing in our room matches, but I actually really like that. We put a chandelier with some crystals (but not too over the top blingy) in the room over the bed

Chandelier master bedroom

Master bedroom #lakelife

And what big luxury does every fancy hotel room have?

Coffee bar in master bedroom #lakelife

A coffee bar! This...console table was purchased for the guest bedroom a few years ago at 50% off. It's about 3.5' high, two drawers, open underneath. I loved it because it was black with the silver harlequin pattern (I have a thing for harlequin pattern...). To make it into a coffee bar, we purchased a Keurig and a tray. We have a couple mugs we purchased on our first vacation together that we love, but the shape is kind of weird for drinking from them. However, we have moved them from place to place to place. Never using them. Now one holds Stevia packets and the other holds coffee stirrers. In the top drawer of the console table you will find the K-cups for making coffee and tea, plus more Stevia and coffee stirrers. The bottom drawer holds bottled water (we have well water here that tastes nasty.) Under the table is a small stainless steel trash can, and a stainless bin for recycling. If you have a tiny corner of space, you can have a coffee bar too...if that's something that would make you feel like you're on vacation every day. We still have to put art on the walls and furnish the sitting area of the room, but I really love how this room feels like a retreat. I love it so much, we've started working towards converting our master bedroom so that it feels more like a fancy hotel as well. Currently it has LIME green walls. Which I love. But I'm tired of them. So we're probably going gray. Although I love the muted lavender of our lake house bedroom...'s definitely different than the lime I'm used to

Bead cleaning and other random stuff

Yes, I've been neglecting this blog. I really don't have much to talk about and I'm rarely in one place long enough to do any "damage" in terms of torching, designing, organizing (the thing I want to do most right now). Monday I finally cleaned some beads I made specifically for earrings.

Cleaning lampwork beads for earrings #AJEearring Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

Today is the first day I don't have any appointments or places to be or chores that HAVE to be taken care of during the day while my kid is at school. So today will be an earring making day. And hopefully a tutorial writing day. Here are a couple random photos from the last few days...all taken with my iphone. Hubs has many nicknames. One of them is "orchid whisperer". We have several orchid plants around the house that he coaxes into bloom every year. I personally want to throw them out during the "stick" phase (where they basically look like sticks in a pot of dirt) but he won't let me. They reward him for his life saving. Here's the first one to bloom so far (they all have buds and should bloom any day now).

The orchid whisperer is at it again by Jen Cameron

Enjoying a lazy Sunday morning in front of the fireplace drinking coffee.

Enjoying this chilly gray morning with coffee in hand in front of the fireplace by Jen Cameron

The rental car I got while my car was in the shop had a special built-in Snickers bar holder

Discovered the Ford Escape I rented this week while my car was in the shop comes with a special Snickers bar holder!

Our sugar glider

Cookie the sugar glider by Jen Cameron

Challenge Earrings 1/52

Today over at Art Jewelry Elements I share details about the who the what and the why of the first pair of earrings I made for the 52 week AJE Earring Challenge.


December Component of the month Reveal: The Labyrinth

Today is the big day for the Art Jewelry Elements component of the month reveal. I am very late posting my piece because I overslept. Way overslept. Because I spent hours making this thing (with breaks for meals and when some friends came over....) and got to bed around 3am. We each started with one of these components by Jenny Davies-Reazor:

These components contain labyrinths and Jenny created these as she thought ahead to the new year. She wrote up some interesting info about labyrinths here. I know today is a big party day and you are probably busy. So I'll stop talking and start showing. I spent hours making these coils yesterday. They are made of 18g bronze and they were very hard on my fingers.

Making bronze Egyptian coils Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

If I had been thinking ahead, I would have torch fired then FIRST to get that nice patina (rather than AFTER) so they were softer to work with. Sigh. My fingers would have been much happier. Oh well. I'll remember next time! And this is the almost finished piece. It needs a clasp. But I was too tired and my fingers too sore to deal with making a clasp at 3am

The Labyrinth bronze and lampwork Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

A close-up

The Labyrinth bronze ceramic, lampwork Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I made the Egyptian coils because no matter what design ideas I had, the coils wouldn't leave me alone. They kept whispering they were meant for this necklace. And so I googled Egyptian labyrinth just out of curiosity and discovered that the first labyrinth written about in history was "found" by Herodotus in Egypt near the "City of Crocodiles".

The Labyrinth bronze ceramic, lampwork Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

Visit the other component of the month contributors for December:

This months guests of honor: Emma Todd Lee Koopman Jess Green And participating AJE team members: Jen Cameron  <------you are here Kristi Bowman Diana Ptaszynski  Kristen Stevens Lesley Watt Francesca Watson Melissa Meman Jo Tinley Linda Landig Sue Kennedy Jenny Davies-Reazor, your hostess 

Have a safe and wonderful New Year!


Macro vs zoom lens

A few days ago I mentioned one of my two Christmas presents was a macro lens.

Merry Christmas to me (from hubs and the kids) macro lens Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

Yes, I am pretty excited about the possibilities. So I tried it out. I took photos of the same bead. First, the old zoom lens (28-135mm). It was zoomed in all the way with the lens as close as possible to the bead. This photo has not been altered in any way except to resize it.

bead with old zoom lens no editing Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

Clearly I need to have the interior of the camera cleaned (I had no idea it was so filthy!) This was taken with the macro lens, same lighting conditions, as close to the bead as I could get.

bead with macro lens no editing Glass Addictions Jen Cameron

Wow! I am totally excited about this. I was cropping my photos so much that it was destroying the integrity and crispness of the shot. There is a learning curve with this new lens because the settings I'm used to using in certain lighting conditions are not working the same way. Now I just need to have my camera cleaned and I will be happy to photograph the backlog of work.

Super Easy Super Yummy Recipe Revamp

You know those Hershey's kisses in multiple flavors you picked up for 50% off the day after Christmas? (or later...because those things seem to hang around forever) It's time to make them even better. Because I was SO unorganized this year, I missed out on buying Rolos. I still don't understand why those things disappear so quickly. Actually, I do. Because they are so good and you can make these with them. But it would be nice if people would leave a few for a girl who doesn't shop for them until say....December 23... So. Plan B. I spied caramel centered Hershey's kisses. Like a Rolo....and my eye wandered to the candy cane flavored Hershey's kisses. Hmmm....what to smoosh them with? I grabbed a bag of peanut butter M&M's and regular M&M's. Of course you will need a bag of pretzels. Preferably flat ones with a grid pattern. I've seen round and square. To make: -Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees -Grab a cookie sheet, cover it in parchment paper, and place pretzels in a single layer over the parchment paper. -Place an unwrapped chocolate of choice onto each pretzel -heating specifics given with each variation below

Pretzel, peppermint Hershey's kisses, m&m's Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

These were obviously made with the peppermint Hershey's kisses. The white chocolate in these melts differently than the brown, and continues to melt longer than the others. My first batch went to a puddle, but still tasted awesome. 5 minutes in a 175 degree oven was just right with these. Take them out of the oven then smoosh an M&M into them. I smooshed them with a regular M&M, but dark chocolate would be really really good too. Or maybe you have other ideas? Please share!

Pretzel, caramel hershey kisses, pb m&m's, Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

This is the caramel Hershey's kisses with a peanut butter M&M smooshed into it. These should be heated for no more than 4 minutes as the chocolate wall is thin and the caramel is a bit more runny. I made twice as many of these than any other variety. They are gone. These definitely passed the taste test. If you like nuts, you could use an almond or something like that instead. My daughter hates anything with nuts in it. I also made some of these with regular Hershey's kisses (milk chocolate because my kids have decided they don't like dark chocolate any more. Sigh). Heat for 6 minutes then smoosh. Some have peanut butter M&M's and others have regular. It's all good. I wanted to make a cheesecake for dessert Christmas day, but wanted something festive. So I made this recipe, with some alterations because I have never heard of or seen soft peppermint sticks before. We substituted the peppermint sticks with Ghiradelli peppermint bark.

Candy cane cheesecake Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

So what are the highlights of your holiday baking this year? Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave a comment if you have something to share. Jen

A Day of Peace and Rest

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="295"]Christmas morning 2012 at the lake house Jen Cameron Glass Addictions Christmas morning at the lake house[/caption] There are certain moments...peaceful, that you forget until you are in the moment once again. The day after Christmas is one of those. The last week has been a blur. A good sort of blur filled with family and fun, my kid coming home from school for 3 weeks, my baby sister home for a few days. Smiles and laughter, marathon cooking and eating. But this day, the day after, is peace.

Snow at the lake on Boxing Day Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

We slept in, watched snow falling outside on the lake. Ate leftovers, watched Lord of the Rings trilogy (we are FINALLY on the last of the 3 extended versions of the movie). And used our various electronic devices.

Lazy day at the lake Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I blogged about Boxing Day and the sale the contributors are having on Art Jewelry Elements. I added a coupon code (HOLIDAY20) to my Etsy shop good through December 31st.

  I would love to show you new photos using the amazing Christmas gift my husband and kids got me, but I left my camera at the city house.

Merry Christmas to me (from hubs and the kids) Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I only asked for two things. I didn't expect to get either of them. Hubs is of the opinion that if I get what I ask for, then I won't be surprised. So I usually don't ask for anything. And honestly, I definitely didn't expect to get a macro lens. However, I have been complaining all year that my bead photos are not crisp enough due to the type of lens I am using and lamenting the need for a macro lens. But I wasn't really quite willing to invest just yet. I casually mentioned I wanted only two things...a macro lens, and some method of listening to audiobooks with my iphone over the speakers of my "antique" (2004) Suburban. So the kids got me this to hopefully make this happen.

For my "antique" Suburban

The night is still young, I need to finish watching Lord of the Rings, start knitting the sleeves of a sweater for a gift, and probably hop in the hot tub for 30 minutes or so. Tomorrow I will share an update on one of my favorite yummy easy to make treats (I started experimenting because the stores were out of Rolos).

Spare Tools

A couple months ago I was trying to problem solve, in writing, how to set up a 2nd studio at our lake house that didn't cost a ridiculous amount of money or drive me to drink.

Making jewelry at the kitchen table of lake house

I am slooooowly working through that problem, but I might still drink anyway. Just because I love a glass or 2 (or 3) of a good red wine. But I digress.... [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The "just in case hubs dies from heart surgery" party a few days before his surgery No, I didn't empty these bottles by myself. I definitely had help...[/caption] We spent all last week at the lake house. It was wonderful. However, I packed up a bag of tools and a couple things to work on. But guess what! I needed more. So I would drop my daughter off at school everyday (her school is about halfway between the lake house and our "city" house) and head back home to work in my studio. Plus grab more things to take to the lake. It was getting ridiculous. After a couple days of this, I thought to myself, "this is really @$%*!^# stupid. I have money in the business account, I'm at least going to buy the basic tools I need." So I placed an order that day. It's difficult to decide what is truly basic, and what is stuff you just want. So I considered what tools I use the absolute most. I considered if I REALLY need to have 2 sets of Lindstrom Rx pliers (no, but I really really love those things...) Most of all, I considered the budget. I needed to make sure the biz account was padded enough to pay all sales taxes for 2012, plus income taxes for 2012. I refuse to buy a 2nd set of tools using money from our personal account. I told my daughter, and warned my husband that there would be a box of shiny new tools coming and that Glass Addictions had bought itself a Christmas sanity. Here's what I got:

Traveling tools to keep at the lake house

And the why: Bronze wire sizes 16g, 18g, 20g, 22g, and 24g: I am currently OBSESSED with bronze wire. It's so beautiful when it's been heat treated. It is more expensive than copper or brass (which I like both of those too), but I only have a little bronze wire left, while I have LOTS of copper and brass still. Silver is cost prohibitive to have laying around. And I can more easily transport OUNCES of silver than POUNDS of bronze... Steel Bench block: for hammering metal. Which I do. A lot. Until I get some kind of a bench or huge tree stump or something, I will probably be hammering on the concrete garage floor..... Hammers: Chasing, brass, and dead blow. I have several hammers in my studio, but these get used the most. Flush cutters: One for finer wire in tight spaces, another for the heavier gauge wire. I will also add a hardware store wire cutter to the collection for things I want to cut, but will damage these cutters. Pliers: a German long nose round plier (the same one I always use in my studio. I love this tool for its versatility and durability. I hate the teensy round nose Lindstrom RX pliers I own that collect dust). A long slim line chain nose plier, flat nose, and a multi-stepped bailing plier. The pliers on the upper right are not basic tools. In fact, I've never even tried them before and were kind of an impulse buy (if you can call impulse constantly monitoring the shopping cart, deleting things because the total is too high...) Anyway, they are dimpling pliers and I can hardly wait to try them out. Not shown in the photo above is the Lenk LPT 500 torch I bought to keep at the lake house.

Lenk LPT 500

Also, I have a few duplicates in my studio that I can probably part an extra pair of Lindstrom Rx angled pliers. I have 2 on hand for chainmaille, but don't need to use two most of the time. I also took an extra enamel tray for working on from Jerry's Artorama. The trays are great for containing projects, or creating a surface appropriate for torching.
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