Archive for September, 2009

I am not a morning person, and I am not a day person. My brain doesn’t work that well when the sun is out, it’s at its optimum operating capacity between 10pm and 4am. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been waking up at about 8pm these last several days. I really hate that – I prefer to be asleep by 5 or 6am and awake by 2pm, mainly so I can get pictures of stuff and run errands if I need to. If I’m still awake at 10am, like yesterday, I really hate to leave the house, but sometimes I must. I would compare being outside of the house at 10am to that awful recurring dream almost everyone has of being naked at school. I feel vulnerable and exposed with the sun shining all over me and stuff. Ick.

Today, however, I went to sleep at a much more reasonable hour – 7 or 8 am – and was up by 2, and taking photos. Days ago, I bragged about a soon-to-be great set inspired by the morning glories in my yard. Well, now they exist:

Certifiable Morning Glories

certifiable morning glories - sneak peek!

Pretty flippin’ neon, wouldn’t you say? In the photos, the main yellow-green looks a teensy bit more yellow in the photos than it actually is, and the lavender is a bit more pink in person. I’m not going to bother re-taking these, because I’ll get the same results. I think this combination of colors was just too much for my camera lens. It gets a little freaked out if there’s too much blue, too. Look for these, and other great stuff, at my Superstars sale this Thursday!

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Mom is the coolest.

Look at what she made for me! The photo is dreadful, but the pillow is anything but. It’s buttery soft, too.


As usual, there’s a story about it… Several years ago, we went to a hole in the wall of an antique shop that had just opened. Everything in there was in pristine condition (pristine for lived-with mid century, that is) and at unbelievably low prices. Mom found a Danish dining room suit, which included a table, 6 chairs and a nice china cabinet, for practically a steal – $250, I think? The cushions on the chairs didn’t match the colors in her dining room, so I told her not to get rid of the material when she inevitably re-covered them. We kind of talked about making a pillow out of them at the time, but never got serious about it. Just a couple of months ago, I remembered the old cushion covers and wondered if she still had them, and of course, she did. She decided now would be as good a time as any for that pillow. She took a chance and washed all 6 panels, and they didn’t shrink and came out very nice and soft. She fretted and sketched, trying to determine the best pattern. When it comes to stripes, one can get very creative  – there are so many possibilities that it can get a little confusing. Considering that, and the fact that it’s textured velvet (kind of like corduroy in that way, but more random and with deeper crevices), the direction of the nap, and the size limitation of each piece of material… well, let’s be glad she’s been sewing practically her entire life, and is such a natural at it! If I had attempted something like this on my own, I would be swatting at invisible birds with fistfuls of my own hair long before I got the first piece cut. Alas, she did not pass the sewing gene on to me.

We finally decided on the “God’s Eye” pattern. We both prefer the God’s Eye to be totally horizontal, in other words, like a square shape in pattern and form, rather than this diamond shape inside the square form. But we went with this, mainly so that the pillow could be this larger size, and we could have two full panels and some scraps to make one or two more pillows. This one pillow took so much of her time, effort and planning that I almost hate to ask her to mess with any more. I mean, she even took the time to tack down the little flaps of material to the inside of the cover so it wouldn’t bulge. Of course, she did that by hand. Eek. She also put in an invisible zipper (installing the special zipper foot on the sewing machine was another adventure altogether), and it surely is invisible. The only way you know it’s there is by the delicate little zipper tab, and you must be looking for it. It will look even better once the fluff wears down a bit – new pillows are always a bit too much, aren’t they? AND the pillow and cover both can be washed, which is a huge relief – I’ve never dry cleaned anything in my life. (If the label says “dry clean only”, that’s as good as a formal invitation to confrontation somewhere down the line. I already have a thing about handing my stuff over to people I don’t know unless I can be there to supervise, and it seems like people these days go out of their way to destroy your belongings the moment you turn your back. Dry cleaners, in particular.)

Anyway, we both had a thought about Mom making and selling pillows, so I took a look at the ones on Etsy. I was very impressed with some of them, but saddened to see that they’d been sitting there for months, even at prices much lower than what she would have to charge for her time and cost of materials.  Oh well… she says she’s getting too old to crawl around on the floor with pencils, patterns and material, anyway. (I offered to do the cutting and grunt work for her, but she’s too persnickety to let anyone else do it. Hmm, sounds very familiar.)  We’re going to try selling a couple of her jewelry pieces on Superstars this Thursday, and see how those do… after all, she’s as good with beads as she is with fabric.

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If I had it my way, my house would be covered with morning glory vine. I’ll have to settle for just the front window.


I MUST get a batch of orders out of the way so I can make the beads these have inspired. In my brain, they’re gonna be neon as all get-out and GOOD! (wait, I shouldn’t say that. The promise of something good before I even start on them usually renders them unsellable in some way. It’s totally psychological, I know, but it’s proven itself again and again.) It’s a relief to have a new color combination to look forward to, even if it doesn’t turn out to be all that great.

I haven’t been too inspired lately, mainly because I haven’t been all that excited about any new colors. Just ONE truly new and exciting color can keep me entertained for months. But it seems like these days, new colors from Effetre are prohibitively expensive and the majority are not that useful to me, or anything all that different. I’ve found the batch variations of their standard production colors to be far more interesting. I’ve always been impressed with Vetrofond’s odds and experimentals, though. Over the last few years, they have released a bunch of oranges, yellows and greens that I’m still finding quite fascinating.

Most of the new or experimental colors both companies are currently producing are technically “filigrana” – which means one color on the inside and another color on the outside, but can have more than one layer of color. Standard production filigrana is either a thin opaque core with clear around it, or a thin opaque core with an even thinner transparent encasement around that core, with clear around it. I never found much of a use for those. These days, filigrana is much more exciting – wacky cores of striking colors combined with non-striking skins, or vice versa, sometimes layered together in weird radiating star patterns – and often producing something very unexpected. Pukey green with a lapis core that goes pukey brown, a metallic brownish mauve that goes pale shimmery sweet potato…

some beads made with modern filigrana

some beads made with modern filigrana

Then there’s the watery dark capri that turns a brilliant streaky olive green…
green wood bling

green wood bling

Different flame chemistries, how the glass is heated and how long it’s worked, sometimes the number of hours spent in the kiln, can all yield different results. The same can be said of some of the standard production colors, but the experimental filigranas and odd batches are always an adventure.

There’s today’s glass lesson. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

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Yeah, well.

I can barely believe it myself.

I’ve already placed a little content here in anticipation of the “grand announcement” on my site, so that if you manage to land here (accidentally or on purpose) you’ll have at least a few minutes of entertainment. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that you won’t want those few minutes back, so consider yourself warned.

Over the years, a handful of people have told me that I need one of these blog things. I suppose they were nervously amused by my grating sarcasm, or touched by my quirky charm. I’m kinda moody, so there’s no telling which it was, or what YOU might end up with. It will be a while before I’m okay with having a blog (a friend told me it took her an entire year), and that sentiment is likely to ooze out the edges. And for those who are too literal to read the subtle agony between the lines, I’ll be sure to mention it now and again so it remains clear… but only until the new wears off, I promise!

I’ve been so resistant because, to me, having a blog is the same as admitting that “the times” have defeated me – reclusive, curmudgeonly, holding onto HTML like my sanity depends on it (and it kinda does), none of your business, tongue stuck out at progress, control freak, ME. Waah, Uncle. Seriously, folks. This has been a huge shock to my box, and it’s literally giving me a cold sweat. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be sharing weird ailments (you know, besides the aforementioned cold sweat) or pictures of my dinner, but I hope to be entertaining enough to draw you back from time to time, even if I have nothing for sale.

Another reason I’ve been so resistant: I find that the convoluted web of YouTube, SpaceFace, Blogs, Twitter, texting, etc., are far too often used for mass hype and insanity rather than coolness. And on a more personal note, it has definitely affected the way some people relate to those around them. You know, like, real three-dimensional people with feelings and lives that do not revolve around the social networking mania. It’s hard to relate to someone whose every breath is drawn somewhere in the maze of YouTube, or someone who thinks you must not love them if you aren’t reading their FaceSpace Washroom Stall every day. In all fairness, this is just as trying for the internet addled wingnut as it is for the one thinking  “what an internet addled wingnut.” I’m not sure I want to be associated with the degradation of society, and perhaps theology and geometry, as we know it. (I say that tongue-in-cheek, Ignatius J. Reilly style…) So, how’s that for a whopping, blogging, gas-bag of an opinion? That’s what this thing is for, no? Yeah, well, sure, I can get on a soapbox, but I probably won’t be doing much of that, either. Instead, I’ll work on new and exciting beads, find new ways to sell beads and dig up more cool links to put over there on the right.

Thanks ever so much for checking me out on WordPress!

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So, I have a blog. Whoop.

If you find this thing before I’m ready for you to see it, please be kind. I’m a bit overwhelmed with the magnitude of stuff I can put in my sidebar over there on the right. It doesn’t help that I haven’t a fraction of a clue about what most of that stuff does. And I’m not exactly comfortable with the idea of blogging. Not that I think bloggers or blogging is bad, but my own idea of ME having a blog makes my skin crawl a little. Maybe I’ll get used to it, and I might even enjoy it. I just need to remember to keep an open mind, and try to convince everyone (including me) that I’m interesting enough to have one of these things. We’ll see how THAT goes.

Essentially, I want to be able to use this blog as an extension of my website, where I can announce stuff that I would normally announce on my NEWS page, in a more readable format, and allow you, dear reader, be able to stay posted with less effort than it takes to remember to visit my site. For the common visitor, (as far as I currently understand, anyway) the RSS/Atom thing isn’t useful. Or is it? This is something I’ll have to sort out as I learn more and get some feedback from my more knowledgeable and blog-experienced readers and patrons.

So, anyway, what’s all this about? As some of you already know, I’ve been struggling with the inevitable change in how I advertise my piddly baubles. Since the beginning, ebay has been great for that – advertising that more than paid for itself – but for a while now, I’ve known that my days on ebay were numbered. And I’m not saying I’ll never sell on ebay again… maybe I’ll get over being mad at them eventually. But meanwhile, what will I do? Superstars are great, and aren’t going anywhere, so there’s no need to worry about that. But I need something to fill that sad little hole ebay’s absence has left in my Tuesdays. Pathetic, yes. I’ve found that if I don’t have something of a routine, even something I have to do only once a week, I go off into la-la-land, and my sleep cycle always comes along for the ride. Sure, I get orders completed and shipped and other beads made, no problem, but I will quickly lose touch if I keep my shades drawn to the www at large. Since I’ve mostly given up workaholism, I can only muster one Superstars sale a month, maybe two if I’m not otherwise really busy with orders or taking a month to work with borosilicate. A big rollicking Superstars sale every week would be preferable, but until I save up enough for a clone (for both myself and my equipment), that’s not really an option. However, a set or single once a week is most certainly doable – and to be clear, this would be in addition to the Superstars sales.

So, here’s what I’m thinking – maybe I can have a weekly special that I announce on my blog. Because, frankly, I can’t stand the thought of Twittering or asking any of you to Twitter, and this blog thing is a big stretch for me as it is. Perhaps I can update this blog reliably on Tuesday evenings with the new set or single for sale (at a certain time to be determined later). And don’t quote me on this, but if you’re somehow subscribed to my blog I’m guessing you’ll be notified when I make that update. ? Or you’ll know when to look, or you’ll be lucky enough to happen upon it at just the right time.  Or maybe I should just use my mailing list, and notify all 300 some-odd mailing list subscribers about ONE bead or set? I’m not sure I like that idea, I don’t want to go overboard with the notifications, or assume that those interested in Superstars would be interested in a weekly special.  But whichever way it’s presented, you can email me and request it, and the first one who emails me is the lucky one. This is just a thought, though, and the logistics must be ironed out… OR I can just bite it and open an Etsy shop to sell these weekly specials. But if you, the buyer, aren’t comfortable creating an account at Etsy, I don’t want to force that on you. OR if you don’t see the need at all for a weekly special I’ll just save it all for Superstars. Sorry for all this out loud thinking, but  here’s the bottom line: I want you to buy my beads, and I want you to be comfortable while doing it. But I want to be comfortable too, so I’m hoping we can reach a happy medium.

I welcome your input and other suggestions if you have them. Please feel free to email me or respond to this post with a comment.

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Bloggity Blog. Blog. Blog.

lipstick bling

lipstick bling


Yes, I have a blog. No, I have no idea what I’m doing.

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