Archive for May, 2010

Big Fat Update

Points of interest:

– I got my postcards and business cards. The backside of the postcards were screwed up, and it was my fault, not the printers. I saved the business card file as the postcard file. Dumb. So, both the postcards and business cards have the same thing on the reverse sides, except one, I can’t remember which, is missing a hyphen somewhere. I had been staring at and obsessing over those buggers for days and then went and totally screwed them. Because of this, the postcards aren’t technically postcards and can’t be mailed. Bleh. Oh well. It’s not like I ever do postcard mailing campaigns anyway, and the pictures are fine, and that’s what matters.

 – I’m dreaming of gems. Not even the precious, perfect ones – but the cloudy, included, flawed inexpensive ones – they have more personality. I’ve been scouring the internets for them, familiarizing myself with them, so that figures. I’m trying to figure out how I’ll make room for a jeweler’s bench. I rearranged some drawer space to accomodate some boro clear rods that have been in cardboard boxes for years. And I cut 2 entire cases of full length borosilicate rod in half to eliminate the bulky mile-long boxes that have housed them for the last couple of years. I put them into plastic storage containers without anything between the layers to keep them from scratching each other. I just didn’t care after cutting dozens and dozens and DOZENS of clear rod.

And I still can’t figure out how I’ll fit a jeweler’s bench.

 – I’ve taken more days off than I really should have. It all started with our 7 hour Dexter watching marathon on Friday evening. (We finally renewed our Netflix subscription.) It’s been hot and muggy, and we gave up and turned on the AC. It isn’t even June yet. I tend to drag along as I adjust to the heat, but I perk up eventually. I’ll be catching up on orders over the next several days. People, this is why I don’t like to take deposits or full pre-payments for orders, and don’t give an exact completion date. This is also why avoid making custom jewelry like the plague. I could be a few days, even a week late with an order (or months late when it comes to jewelry)… like, say, for instance, if I’m trying to find something. When I’m trying to find something in my house, it could take hours, even days to find it, and I WILL NOT STOP until I find what I’m looking for. I can’t think of or do anything else until I find what I’m after. And if I start a project, like rearranging a room (or cutting two cases of boro rod), I can’t stop until it’s done. Luckily, my focus is the same when completing orders once I get started on them. It’s all about the momentum.

I may have mentioned once or twice that before I started making beads, I had a dream about a large garage filled with glass items on aisles and aisles of shelves up to the ceiling. (however, this isn’t unusual, as I often dream about finding treasure like this.) There were so many colors and shapes and inclusions in them like foil, dichro, mica… and when I imagined something I hadn’t seen yet, it would magically appear, exactly as I had imagined it. This wasn’t as much a dream as it was a premonition. Taking the time to make a bead is anything but magic. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t actually pull these brightly colored, interestingly shaped things out of my ass, clean and shiny and ready for pictures and shipping. But having unique ideas and the skill to execute them is the closest thing to it. And it took a long time, more than a third of my lifetime, to get where I am with glass.

I’ve been wanting to work with sterling silver for a long time, too – to make bezel set rings, with interesting textures and stamped designs with my beads and other gems, pendants and charms incorporating my beads, vintage glass buttons, whatever… anything that’s clever. I think it’s time for me to do whatever I can to make it happen, and I’ll be working toward that over the next several months. But worry not. The glass will continue to be my main focus. I think it will be fun to see how I can incorporate little bits of silver thingees here and there in my bead sets, as I learn about fabricating something with an entirely different approach and set of tools and materials. It will be a challenge, since I’ve been such a glass purist for so long. And rings? I already have so many ideas for those…

I really wish my grandpa was still alive today. He’d be really really old, and completely insane, but he’d surely be thrilled to pieces. He kept offering to build me a jeweler’s bench when I was much younger. I never had a use for one until now. I’ll just have to find one, I guess. But I do have several cabochons that he gave me, and a funky little ruby I inherited after he went. It’s probably worth next to nothing, but I treasure it anyway, and will set it in a special piece that I keep for myself. That ought to please the old heckle.

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Sorry I’ve been so quiet… but I have lots to share! I’ll be back later with an update. Meanwhile…

Click HERE to visit my shop, or click on the thumnails below to get to each item.

the sandwich is back - click me

rose garden - click me

And don’t forget about these, they’re still available – but only for another week:

this year's merlot - click me


I’ll be back in a bit, after I’ve had dinner and written about what’s been going on. Thanks for checking in!

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Click HERE to visit my shop, or click each thumbnail below to see the individual listings.

this year's merlot - click me

earth shimmer spikes - click me

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…but on Sunday, we didn’t get so lucky. No, those aren’t pretty decorative rocks in our driveway, that’s a bunch of HAIL. I was sure it was going to break our windows, but it didn’t. Some friends of ours, who live only a few miles away, got creamed. Their cars are totaled. Mom said it wasn’t all that bad at her house, and she only lives 5 minutes away.

In other news, I finally got some metalworking stuff. Just a little bit, nothing I can do too much with yet. I can hardly believe it. I got a doming set, some funky practice files, a couple of hammers, and some copper tube to practice with. I still need a steel block – you can’t do much without one of those – but that will come later. The plan was to try coring beads/making bead caps to get a feel for the metal, but I’ve quickly become much more interested in stone setting, soldering, etc. After looking at the tools and such, it won’t be such an overwhelming investment if I just get little bits at a time. I suspect the biggest investment will be in the silver, because even the stones I’m drawn to tend to be the most inexpensive and synthetic ones. I’m going to force myself to stop buying glass for a little while. I have enough glass.

I’ve also been surfing the internet obsessively for info about safety, safer alternatives to commercial pickle, the safest flux, watching videos about the basic processes, etc. Here’s an interesting (but short) article about safer practices, organic/chemical-free alternatives to pickle and liver of sulfur, and safer methods for disposal of acids: http://bario-neal.com/bn/blog/?p=337

Now, before anyone starts to wonder, I’m not planning on using the “green” gimmick to push my wares.  It’s all in the interest of self preservation, and doing what I can, personally, to lessen the gunking up of the planet without turning into soap-snubbing martyr. Although I do bathe regularly, I clean my house so rarely that I feel I’ve already done much of my part.

BTW, new Etsy listings will appear tomorrow evening. I find myself planning my bead making time around the various severe storms (at least, the ones I’m expecting) and I won’t be at the torch tomorrow evening, so it’s a prime time for etsy listings. Hope to see you then!

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Today really is Tuesday…

… And that means I’m right on time with my Etsy stuff.

Click HERE to visit my shop, or click on each thumbnail below to visit the individual items.

rainbow flames fly-eye rondells - click me

tomato patch spikes & dangles - click me

autumn poppy bff - click me

Have fun looking… thanks for checking in!

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I’m okay. Yesterday, there was a “tornado outbreak” here (the catch phrase our local ABC station chose) or a “twister swarm” (that’s what Good Morning America called it.) What’s funny is, most of us don’t call them twisters around here. We call them tornadoes, because twister seems less serious, perhaps comical. As many of you well know, tornadoes are serious business. For the first time ever, I actually sat in my closet and waited. As I was waiting and listening to the news, the weather people said that the three separate storm cells merged just before reaching the OKC area, causing the whole she-bang to weaken a bit. The power flickered several times, there was one incredible lightning strike that sounded as if it were in my back yard, but that was it. Be that as it may, the computers stayed off well into the evening hours. I’ve had to replace modems, hardware, even an entire computer once, thanks to seemingly innocent power flickers. The battery backups/surge protectors help, but unless you plug your modem into the phone jack in the battery, it doesn’t protect your modem if the phone line gets struck. We learned that one the hard way.

I had a dream about working with sterling silver right before I woke up. Guys, I want to work with metal so bad, I can barely stand it, but I’m so immersed in the glass, in some ways by choice, in others, by necessity. I must be getting old enough to feel overwhelmed at the thought of learning something new, because I keep thinking of reasons to put it off. Like, I don’t have the TIME to throw myself into learning something new – which is true – and I don’t have the physical space to dedicate to a new endeavor – also true. Every time I look at the bare minimum of supplies I’d need, my mind boggles at the expense. Then I think about taking a class, just to find out if it’s for me, and there’s only ONE place in my area, and they charge way too much. Otherwise, I’d have to enter into a degree program at a university to learn it. As if. So that leaves learning it on my own, which is fine… it’s just a time/space/cost constraint. I need a new car and to own a house much worse than I need a new thing to learn. But who knows, maybe the perfect opportunity will fall into my lap, and I’ll be able to swing it.

Anyway… all the crap blew east in time for me to turn on the kiln last night and put together a few things for Etsy later this evening… be looking! I’ve got some pretty good stuff!

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Yesterday was WEDNESDAY, not Tuesday. You guys must think I’m an idiot. You’re probably right.

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Aw, heck.

I’m so excited and pleased with my new postcards/business cards that I must show them off.

z-beads postcards, 2010


z-beads business cards, 2010

It took me a couple of weeks to get them just how I wanted them… I’m so glad I know photoshop. Let’s hope I did everything right and that I fully comprehended the bleed issue. I’ve never had actual business cards before, just postcards, so these ought to last me several years at quantities of 1000 each.

And I don’t get just any old business cards – I like Silkcards. They’re extremely durable and are matte/silky to the touch. I get them printed with 4 Color Print, and they’re not cheap, but cheap business cards aren’t always a better deal. My stylist uses Silkcards for all of her stuff, and I love how my hair appointment cards always stay in one piece in my wallet. (My wallet is where stuff goes to get CUBAR: crinkled up beyond all recognition.)

I’ve already been charged for the job, so hopefully, my cards will be here within the next couple of weeks. I can hardly wait to begin including them with your orders. I was getting low on my last batch years ago, and still have a few left. I’ll keep those last ones for myself.

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Click HERE to visit my shop, or click each thumbnail below to see each individual item.

dotty limon bff and friends - click me

frog pond smooches - click me

You’ll notice some blue in these listings. Am I feeling blue? Nope, I’m pretty glad. Yesterday, Fred’s fang socket received enthusiastic approval from the vet, I got my business and post cards uploaded to the printer, and we found an excellent pizza place, and it’s only two blocks away. Now, I really want to make more Smooches, but they must wait until I get a couple of orders done.

Hope you like these! Thanks for checking in.

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Fred is doing better!

By Sunday night, he was up to his old tricks: pa-toinging from dresser to bed, slapping Mo for screaming too loudly by the food bowls, and happily curled up in the bead room chair as I cackled at my previously recorded travesties. And he was insisting on his crunchy food by then, too. Mom and I are about to take him back in for a look-over, but he seems to be doing just fine and isn’t hurting, and that’s good.

Wow, the Made To Orders just keep piling in, and that makes me happy. I’ve received about 8 of them since last Thursday. Many lampworkers won’t accept orders for re-makes, which is totally cool, I understand why – but steady work and a little play in-between surely does grease the financial wheels. Certain times of the month (if you know what I mean) I couldn’t come up with a creative thought to save my own life, and that’s when I’m most relieved to be able to re-make something and know that someone definitely wants it.

Mr. Sarah has started on the yard… he planted flowers and tomatoes, cut the lawn really short, and finally trimmed the burning bush right next to the driveway. There’s more work to do, and a long wait for the tomatoes, but hopefully they’ll be worth it. He’s pretty good at growing stuff. One year he planted squash and red tomatoes and they managed to cross-pollenate, and we ended up with one really long, kind of lumpy yellow tomato. Or squamato, as it was.

Anyway – I have some stuff for Etsy, but I think that must wait, unless I still have some good light when I return from the vet’s office. Otherwise, tomorrow.

See you later on!

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