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.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Looking for my Ornament Blog Hop post? Click the link or scroll down to the next post. This weekend was the big ornament exchange reveal blog hop (hosted and organized by Sally Russick). I gave a sneak peek of the ornament I made for Sandi Volpe, but didn't do any more than that because I didn't want to take away from her reveal. But I kind of wanted to tell you all about it. So here's the ornament on my tree before I packaged it up to send off to Sandi:

Ornament by Jennifer Cameron Glass Addictions

I had originally planned something else entirely, made the beads, but just wasn't feeling it. So I started thinking about using one of my Nightmare Insomnia beads. And thinking about the name. And the fact we just got back from "the most wonderful place on the Earth" just a couple weeks ago. That's when The Nightmare Before Christmas was born. Using on of my Nightmare beads, some black Swarovski crystals, and bronze wire, I wired up the ornament. I love the visual of the swirly hill that Jack stands on. But how to create something that felt like that, but didn't infringe on any copyrights and also looked good....

Ornament by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

I probably made the process of enameling the copper disc more complicated...because sometimes it's necessary to do everything the hard way. Also, I didn't try to research a technique. I just used the information I already have stored plus problem solving to do what I wanted. What exactly did I do?

Ornament by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

First, I decided the easiest and quickest way to do what I wanted was to punch out a copper disc and enamel it. But how to get nice crisp lines between the background of the moon and the swirly hill? I got out my little used jewelers saw, drew the basic outline of the hill (after drawing the size of the disc on the copper), and used the saw to cut it out. I then punched a hole in the disc and enameled the disc with various shades of yellow (not sure what the dirty speckles are, but I like them!) Then did a layer of clear over the yellow. Then I torch enameled the hill using a white base then black with a small sprinkling of some grays (not 50 shades of gray though...). The next part was the stressful part because I was afraid it would all crack apart. I added some Klyr Fire to the top of the disc and both sides of the hill. Placed the hill where I wanted it on the disc, sprinkled clear fusing enamel over the entire thing, then torch fired it again. As soon as the enamel was clear, I popped it into my bead annealing kiln (which had been pre-heated). I was worried that with all that enamel, that the entire thing would cool too quickly and crack. Once it was annealed, I wired it onto the ornament. It was a really fun experience in problem solving and planning. Here's our Christmas homage to Jack Skellington, a stuffed Jack purchased during one of our many trips to Disney, always lovingly placed in a place of honor on the tree.

Jack Skellington on the Christmas tree

Christmas Ornament Blog Hop

The talented Sally Russick is hosting her 2nd annual Ornament Exchange today. I was paired with Sandi Volpe, who sent me the most gorgeous ornament! In fact, when I opened it, I was horrified because she sent me this gorgeous, elegant ornament, and I sent her....well...I guess you'll have to see what she posts about it. The anticipation was killing me! But I still took time to photograph the box she sent the ornament in

The anticipation of seeing the ornament from Sandi

  And after finally opening the lid...

The unveiling of the ornament from Sandi

  And immediately hanging it on the tree...

The ornament on the tree

I don't like it, I LOVE it! FYI~the ceramic charm in the center is an Elaine Ray ceramic snowflake. And while Sandi will show you what I sent her, here's a sneak peek (I will write more about what I did tomorrow or Monday):

Ornament by Jen Cameron Glass Addictions

  List of Participants:

Sally Russick 

Lesley Watt

 Jenny Davies-Reazor

  Therese Frank 

Andrew Thorton

 Jeanette Blix Ryan

Maryanne Gross

 Rebecca Anderson

Melissa Meman

 Veralynne Malone

Miranda Ackerley

 Jen Cameron  <-------You are here!

Sandi Volpe <-----My partner!

Susan Kennedy

Kristen Stevens

 Shirley Moore 

 Cooky Schock

D. Lynne Bowland 

Tiffany Smith

 Patti Vanderbloemen 

Pam Ferrari

 Kim Hora

 Alice Peterson

Bette Brody

 Julie Anne Leggett

Lola Surwillo

 Kathleen Lange Klik

Erin Prais Hintz

 Mowse Doyle

Kristi Jaro


Advent Calendar for the "Away from Home" Students

As I've mentioned before, my baby boy went off to boarding school for high school this year. One of the big traditions in our family is the advent calendar, which is a cabinet with small numbered doors. I add things in each compartment for each day. I start by adding the Playmobil nativity set pieces that we've had since the kids were very little. Here are the sheep before I closed the door for them to wait their turn to be revealed.

Then I add fun stuff....mostly candy.
I was feeling bad that my oldest wasn't going to participate in the daily ritual of seeing what was in the calendar for the day. And while his enthusiasm in this tradition had waned in the last couple years, I was pretty sure he would still miss it.
So I started brainstorming how I could create something just for him, to fit his current status being similar to a college student. Here's what I came up with:
Basically I made envelopes out of Christmas themed scrapbook paper I had on hand (from a project I planned 5 or 6 years ago and never completed...or started).
I filled them with stuff a student living away from home would like. What kinds of things? $5 Gift cards to places they like that are within walking distance, candy, hot chocolate packets, cash, playing cards, lip balm, or anything else you can cram into an envelope.
You can find tons of envelope templates online. However, I have a thing I bought about 10 years ago called Kreate-a-Lope, which is fast and easy to use.
Select the paper you want to use and the size envelope you want to make.
Line up the template.
Tear the paper against the template. I usually clean up the edges just a little bit with the scissors.
Place the center portion into the template while it is still lined up with the paper you just created with the template with the printed side down.
Without moving the center portion, remove the template.

Fold the two sides against the rectangle first, then fold the bottom up, pressing crisp lines along edges as you fold.

Fold the top edge down last. Then remove the rectangle from the envelope.

Here are all the envelopes stacked up before filling.

I needed a way to seal and number the envelopes, so I decided to use my snowflake paper punch and the scraps left from the envelopes.

Then I stuffed the envelopes, glued the snowflake to seal, and numbered them.

He was pretty excited to get them in the mail. I wish I had thought of it earlier so I had time to do this for my niece who is attending Purdue this year as a freshman.

Let me know below in the comments what you think of this project and any other ideas you have for stuffing the envelopes. I will start my list for next year. Feel free to pin this idea to Pinterest.

Tomorrow is the ornament blog hop and I am super excited to show you what I got from my partner!


Got Copper Sheet Scraps? A Tutorial on Creating your own Components from Scraps


If you've got scrap copper like the piece above....or even totally different than the piece above, or if you don't have any, it's time to make something so you do have some. Then check out the tutorial I wrote up on Art Jewelry Elements on how to torture upcycle your metal into an interesting sculptural jewelry component seen below (it will be a pendant once I get back to my studio....hanging out at the lake house this week). You never know what will happen when a stressed out girl heads to the studio...

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment telling me what you think. Definitely show me pics if you try it out.


Rejects make me mad, but bring joy to others

Reject bead used for gifted necklace jen cameron

Conversation with my mom (who is the power of attorney for one of the residents at the nursing home where she works): Mom: I was wondering if you could make a necklace for Jane* with one of your reject beads. Nothing fancy. Me: I'm offended you think I ever make ugly beads! Mom: That's not what I was saying. Me: I'm pretty sure that is what you are saying. Mom: I know you make beads that, for whatever reason, aren't good enough by your standards. I know Jane* would love to have a necklace made with one. Me: As long as you don't tell anyone I made it.... I just happened to have one sitting on the kitchen counter right next to me as we were having this conversation. And while I said I didn't want anyone to know I made it (people, I HATE this bead!), here it is in all it's fugliness. I used 16 g bronze wire to make the headpin, used a crystal...I don't know what its called because I bought them forever ago. Because the resident is elderly, I simply strung the pendant on a length of leather long enough to slip over her head. Mom will be giving it to her this afternoon. Based on the stories I've heard about her, she will be overjoyed to receive it...which is better than that ugliness hiding at the bottom of a drawer. *not her real name

November Component of the Month Reveal

The lovely and talented Lesley Watt was the hostess for the November component of the month challenge. And it was definitely a challenge! I adore Lesley's work, and when she posted photos of the component of the month, I was practically salivating. I already had a design in mind (a stacked ring). Then it came in the mail. And my design plan was discarded. Because this thing is huge!

I wish I had taken a photo of me holding it before I started designing with it, but totally spaced it. I received the snowflake like the one in the top right corner of the photo. I don't have a ruler handy, but Lesley states these are 35 mm, which is almost 1.5" for us metric challenged types.

So I decided on a cuff like thing. I started with this gorgeous yarn:

And I knit a rectangle using large-ish needles...maybe size 15 US. I chose this particular color because it makes me think of a dramatic night sky.

Then wearing gloves and using super hot tap water, I felted and then blocked the rectangle:

While this dried, I made several attempts at getting glass to bend to my will. However, it was not cooperating. Eventually I did manage something halfway acceptable, which I stacked on top of the snowflake component. Using fireline, I sewed the stack along with a small bronze faceted bead to the rectangle of fabric.

In my mind, this piece is flexible. Meaning, I wanted it to be a cuff thing or a pendant. To achieve this and not look stupid, I made a coil of wire, pulled the coils apart, and threaded the coil onto both ends of the felt.

I created three lengths of 2 in 2 chain using bronze jump rings. There are several reasons for this. The first was that I don't own ready made bronze chain. Second, I wanted the chain to be heavy to overcome the weight of the stacked beads. Third, I needed three lengths so the cuff didn't go wonky while wearing it.

Here's my issue...I am not near my studio. If I was, I would have created a handcrafted bronze hook for both ends of all 3 chains so they can easily be added and removed. I also would have given the links and coil a light heat treatment to bring out more color in the bronze.

In addition to wanting the piece to be flexible, I also want it to have a sprinkling of seed beads for a bit of sparkle. After trying out several different colors, I stuck with bronze colored beads because using something else either didn't have enough contrast with the fiber, or looked too busy. However, that part is taking this girl forEVER since I am not particularly handy with sewing or seed beads. The plan is to have lots of seeds closer to the component, and getting less dense further out.

So that's it for now. If this blog post looks wonky, I apologize. I'm trying out a new app on my iPad to write this.

Make sure you visit the other blog participants. The list is located at Art Jewelry Elements.



Beads of Courage benefit auction final hours

The art charm auctions all end this afternoon and this evening. If you've had your eye on something NOW is the time to bid. We are SO CLOSE to my personal goal of raising $500 for Beads of Courage (currently about $17 short). Some of these charms are priced WAY below retail. And if you win one auction, you pay shipping many charms as I can stuff into a flat rate box for one low flat rate price.   Here are a few charms I haven't featured here yet (all photos are clickable and will take you directly to their listing) [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Robin Koza handmade art charm Art charm by Robin Koza. There is also a blue one being auctioned off[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shelley Graham Turner handmade art charm Art charm by Shelley Graham Turner. There is also a lime green one being auctioned.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Shirley Moore handmade beaded art charm Art charm by Shirley Moore[/caption]

Stephanie Haussler handmade art charm

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Susan Kennedy handmade art charm Art charm by Susan Kennedy[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Toltec Jewels handmade art charm handmade art charm by Toltec Jewels. There are 2 additional variations of this charm being auctioned.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Vanessa Gilkes hanmade art charm art charm by Vanessa Gilkes[/caption] Time's wasting! Go bid while you have the chance to own one of these wonderful miniature wearable pieces of art.

Day 3 of Beads of Courage Benefit Auction

We are doing great on the auctions so far, but we could be doing so much better! It would be super amazingly awesome if we could raise more than $500 for Beads of Courage. We are currently sitting at just over $300 raised (based on bid totals).  Every single one of the charms up for auction has been handmade, and most are sitting at FAR BELOW their retail value. Erin Prais-Hintz would sell her "chirp-up buttercup" charm for $18 and the current bid is $4.25... Now for the eye candy. Each photo is linked to its auction. First up...I FINALLY got photos of my auction charms. I forgot to take the pics when I did the rest of them, and by the time I got through listing 54 charms, I didn't have the energy to do more. The last 2 days have been one adventure after 4 brand new tires for my car yesterday when I didn't realize I needed new tires... So here's what I contributed to the auction: [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="486"]Jen Cameron handmade lampwork alien art charm blue lime green Art charm by Jen Cameron. Click photo to go directly to listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="454"]Jen Cameron handmade lampwork alien art charm red Art charm by Jen Cameron. Click photo to go directly to listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Emma Todd handmade art charm resin and polymer clay Art charm by Emma Todd. I've shown this one already, but she has 2 charms up for auction and this one doesn't have a bid yet....Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kia Dallons handmade art charm Miniature book with actual story and illustrations by Kia Dallons. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kimberly Roberts handmade art charm steel resin Charm created by Kimberly Roberts. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lea Avroch art charm Lampwork and penny art charm created by Lea Avroch. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Leslie Schenkel handmade art charm Art charm by Leslie Schenkel. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="481"]Linda Florian polymer clay cupcake charm Polymer clay cupcake charm. Do not eat, no matter how yummy it looks. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lynnea Bennett art charm Charm created by Lynnea Bennett. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Marcy Lamberson handmade lampwork robot charm Charm created by Marcy Lamberson. Clicking the photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="494"]Monique Urquhart handmade art charm The detail that went into creating this charm is pretty incredible. And lucky for everyone, there are TWO of these charms being auctioned. Clicking photo will take you to one of the auctions.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Natalie McKenna handmade ceramic art charm Created by Natalie McKenna. Clicking photo will take you directly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Renetha Stanziano charm Created by Renetha Stanziano. Clicking the photo takes you dirctly to the listing.[/caption] [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="493"]Rhonda Hagerman polymer clay charm Created by Rhonda Hagerman from polymer clay. Clicking photo takes you directly to the listing.[/caption]  
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