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Archive for August, 2010

ETSY!!!

Look at me, doing what I said I’d do.

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

the obligatory autumn (mini) set - click me

rococo neon turning leaf sampler - click me

hana seascape what-nots - click me

martha's garden variety - click me

Hooray for beads! I hope you enjoy looking at them… and as of this moment, the boro beads are still available on Etsy as well, and will be until late Thursday evening or at some point after that, whenever I remember to deactivate the listing.
Now, I’m gonna go find something to eat and watch the last few hours of Dexter  – the season that just came out on DVD. Now, THAT is a show worth releasing on DVD.
Thanks for checking in!
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Have I told you lately…

… that I love you guys? Really. I don’t mean to get all sappy on you guys, but seriously. My mind still boggles at how you still buy my beads even though they’re total luxury items and The Economy Is In Crisis. I also can barely fathom that you read this crap I call a blog. I was feeling a bit weird about getting to work this evening (I’ll explain why in a minute) and was reading some of my past blog posts instead. I do go on, don’t I?

Anyway, thanks for being such great buyers, and friends, even. I cherish it.

So, Monday, it was the hottest it’s been all summer – 104 degrees. We knew it would be bad, but we also knew a nice break from the oppressive heat was in the works, so it wasn’t quite so torturous. Over the weekend, they were saying Tuesday would be 91, then closer to the end of the weekend, Tuesday would be 85. Whoa! So Tuesday morning comes along, bringing the cold front we’d been expecting. But in front of it were strong winds and scary looking clouds. So I turn on the news… OH! The high for Tuesday will be 76 degrees. Fantastic! A teensy bit of rain and a sudden 15 degree drop was a huge relief. Only problem was that the power somehow went out during this poor excuse for an early morning rainstorm, and while I was in the middle of making a bead. (And while my kiln was running. Great.) That was weird – because of the flame and the heat from the glass, I could easily see what I was doing and successfully finished it up in the dark. I was able to put that bead in the kiln, (which was illuminated by the flame) and the kiln was presumably no cooler than 900 at that point. The power stayed out for about 40 minutes. So as soon as the power came back on, I turned the kiln back on. The temp had dropped to 600, so I had to think fast.  Hmm, do I want to send it back up to 960 at full power? No way… luckily, I had already created a batch anneal program for a similar happenstance a few years ago. So I set it to program 2, which is a ramp-up at 240 degrees per hour until it reaches 960, hold at 960 for 1.5 hours, and then 100 degrees an hour to 750, then 200 degrees an hour to 500, then off. So, slowly UP through the strain point, and of course, even more slowly down through the strain point, as usual. Luckily there was nothing large in there, or I wouldn’t have even bothered with any of this. Even more luckily, none of yesterday morning’s beads were destined for today’s Etsy listings. I’ll be keeping them for observation, just to see how well they did. But they’re so small and simple that I’m certain they’ll be just fine

So, the good news is, I’m sitting here this fine midnight with the windows open, no A/C, and without a drop of sweat on me. Fall is inching closer, and once again, life is worth living. I’d love to be making beads right now, but I must get my Etsy stuff ready for later today. And with my luck, it would start storming as soon as I turned on Mr. Blue. And no coffee for me so that I can get up at a decent hour and take photos…

See you later today, I have some EXCELLENT stuff in store for Etsy!!

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Dear Crabbypants…

Off and on throughout my life, I’ve vaguely fantasized about being an advice columnist. I liked to think of myself as a reasonable, rational person while I was in my twenties, and when my hormones were still a bit more consistent. Now that I’m in my thirties, being an advice columnist is more of a pipe dream than ever, thanks to the pre-pre-menopausal hormone blender that swirls my brain around every month. (I figure when I hit my 40’s, there will only be one “pre” in front of “menopausal.”) So for my own sanity, I’m thinking maybe I should try to embrace the two weeks of even tempered okay-ness, followed by two days of incontinence, followed by two or three days of mild paranoia, and the crying over all the crap I have to do all the time and how I’m too stupid to do any of it. The only thing that can bring all of that to an end is the exclamation point that crashes into my life and runs over me with a tractor trailer, and then proceeds to repeatedly stab me in the gut for the next 24 hours. It’s actually a relief after several days of inexplicable self-loathing. So, here’s me poking fun at the gawd-awfulness, and simultaneously fulfilling that vague fantasy of being an advice columnist. Hopefully, this will get it out of my system and I’ll only have to bore you with it this one time. Thanks in advance for humoring me.

Dear Crabbypants,
Here, I will outline my list of current grievances against the world at large. If you don’t mind, could you please tell me what I can do about these things, and maybe, you could come help me find the werewithal to find the mate to this green sock? On my own, thanks, I’d rather just be left alone after you help me with that one thing. Oh, I mean those two things, just not the sock thing, ok?

1. If you still can’t get 2 Stupid Dogs on DVD after all these years, you shouldn’t be able to get Cougar Town on DVD, either. The first season of Cougar Town isn’t even over yet, is it? It’s so boring and bad and full of fake lips and has dragged on for so long that I barely noticed. Yet, there it is. Out on DVD.

2. The fleecing of the American consumer continues. My favorite laundry detergent has not only been pushing the liquid stuff on us for a while, making it harder and harder to find the powder – but now they’re watering the liquid stuff down. If it weren’t blue and fragranced, you’d barely be able to tell the difference between it and blue toilet water. And it isn’t like I even HAVE blue toilet water, because in line with popular belief, artists are slobs. While I can’t possibly be an artist because I and all of my beads suck, there is definitely no disputing the fact that I am a hapless slob who kinder souls refer to as an artist when they’re feeling generous.

3. I’m almost positive that my husband is cheating on me and my cats with some other girl and her cats, and is going to take my cats and give my cats to her. I need you to tell me where to hide my cats where he can’t find them, and also, to help me figure out how I can get HER cats, because a girl like that doesn’t deserve cats at all. It might be nice to have a couple more cats to keep me company when my husband leaves me for being a stupid, hapless slob.

Really. I know that for years I’ve been saying “it isn’t PMS, it’s absolute clarity.” Can I be wrong??? And since I already know what the answer is going to be, because I know EVERYTHING today, maybe you can let this steep for a few days and then you can tell me what I already know, anyway, just because it would make me feel better? Is Midol REALLY that scary? Meep, whine, snivel.

Please and thank you.
Sincerely,
Me

Dear Me,

Why let it steep? I know you’ll get around to reading this after you’re mentally and physically vertical again, and that could be a while.

A friend told me once that sometimes socks can get stuck under the agitator in the washing machine and disintegrate over time, or can go over the side of the basket and get sucked down the drain. I also heard that some dads use apparently mate-less socks in their backyard tree-torturing/sculpting projects. I think that green sock is gone forever.

You might just go ahead and sign the 2 Stupid Dogs On DVD Petition you found on the internet. If it makes you feel better, then who cares if it’s just an email address harvester cleverly disguised as a good cause for all the Hanna-Barbera fans of the world?

Get used to watered down stuff. Good thick laundry detergent, long taquitoes, 50 more squares of toilet paper, and decently sized chicken nuggets are all a thing of the past. If you need your laundry room walls to be literally bursting with suds to know that your clothes are getting clean, well… you should know that I read somewhere that the suds are all for show, anyway. In case you hadn’t heard, The Economy Is In Crisis. There are children IN THIS VERY COUNTRY who have no nuggets OR suds. Appreciate whatever you can get your hands on, which is still everything you could possibly want or imagine – but some of it is going to be less than what it used to be. Americans are too sudsy, anyway.

Now, wait a minute. Your husband NEVER EVER asks you that one question husbands are Forbidden By Society to ask when you act this way. He lets you be while you stomp haughtily around in your enormous shoes, and he’ll even hug you and be nice to you. He washes his dishes extra good when he sees that look on your face. He’s not cheating on you and your cats, and you know it. How could he? He spends all of his free time with YOU, dumbass. In fact, the worst thing he’s done in recent memory is get sidetracked at Dude’s house when he was just going over there for a few minutes to retrieve the submarine sandwich he accidentally left behind in Dude’s refrigerator. He’s a dude, for crying out loud. What do you expect to happen when a dude, another dude, a sandwich, a huge flat screen TV and a Wii end up in the same room together? And that was, like, a year ago. And you don’t need any more cats. Two cats is plenty.

The best advice I can give you here is “get over yourself.” That’s really all you need to know, and to remember this time next month, and the month after that. The worst of the emotional stuff lasts only a couple of days, so get a grip and stop exaggerating. But yes, Midol really IS that scary. You haven’t heard of most of the ingredients listed on the package, and what’s worse is that you can’t even pronounce them. That’s why you didn’t buy it that one time, even though you were feeling desperate enough to consider it. Remember? You can pronounce “aspirin” and “ibuprofen” just fine, so it’s best to stick with the devil you know.

Now, go have some Happy Cola gummies. Doesn’t that feel better?

Sincerely, Crabbypants

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ETSY!

I would have given you a heads up earlier this week, but I was too busy making beads. Hooray!

Click HERE to visit my shop, or the thumbnails below to see each individual item.

acid grass mod pods - click me

 

fish scale berries - click me

 

citrus candies - click me

 

uber tulips - click me

And the boro beads are still available, and will be until next Thursday:

melon teal - click me

Hope you guys enjoy looking at the beads… I love them all, except for the Fish Scale Berries.  A bit too subtle for my liking, and I think I’ll try bright colors next time. The Uber Tulips are really nifty, and I love the extra bright and shiny metallics.

I think I finally figured out how to avoid sharp holes on my hollow beads – it’s simply a matter of a thinner and very uniform “footprint” for each hole, and then a slightly thicker wind-on for the remainder of the bead. Then, I use gravity as I would for any other bead to form a slight pucker. The pucker doesn’t work every time, but at least this way the holes are flush, rather than sharp. Not that I’ve ever sold any hollow beads with sharp holes – this method simply produces a higher success rate with fewer useless hollow beads. Give it a try! Your mileage may vary, but it seems to be working pretty well for me.

Thanks for stopping in… we’ll chat again soon!

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bead musings

Since there isn’t always apparent rhyme or reason to what beads people gravitate toward, I often wonder if I’m offering a good balance of the different types of sets I make for sale at Superstars or on Etsy. I’m reluctant to gauge this with the Made To Order queue, because there’s no real pattern there, either. I’ll outline the different types of sets I make and why I enjoy some better than others.

The “cohesive 1 focal + matching” set. Let’s take Martha’s Green Garden, for example. This set, while not consistently matching in exact color from bead to bead, still has a specific color theme. I think I might have a short attention span, and that’s why while I can make somewhat matching bead designs for this type of set, they have to be different colors that follow the same theme. Also, I have to make sure that when there is two of anything, they have to be pretty close to the same size, which I sometimes struggle with.

martha's (green) garden

 

Then, there’s the matchy-matchy-but-not-too-matchy set. These sets consist of several of the same design, but often in a color theme where each bead is different:

!red! mod pods

 

Or like these, in so many colors that even The Rainbow might be jealous. (What do you reckon a jealous rainbow would look like?)

chunky dory happy tabs

 

Then, there’s the sampler that follows a color theme, a little bit of everything, no two of the exact same design. This is my favorite kind of set because I get to rearrange the colors here and there, and don’t have to worry about matching sizes.

rococo campy relish

 

Lastly, there’s the Miscellaneous style sampler. A little of this and that, no matching colors, but the colors still look nice together. These are generally a comglomeration of extra good whatevers that happen to be kicking around the bead box.

uncle judy

 

Also, I often wonder if I should be using more cooler colors? Blues, purples, pinks? It seems that most of you prefer my warm color combos to my cooler ones, but just when that seems to be the case, a blue and purple set gets the most requests at a Superstars sale or is the first to be grabbed up on Etsy. So I think, okay, I’ll make some more cool blue stuff, and then nobody seems all that interested in those. Not sure what that means – maybe it means that it’s all meaningless, which is quite meaningful in and of itself. Know what I mean?

If you have any comments, preferences, opinions, feel free to share! There’s a slim chance for a Superstars sale before the end of this month, depending on how a few things turn out. Perhaps this will help me decide what to make.

Today was the first day (in what seemed like weeks) that the high temps didn’t hit the 100 mark. It’s downright COOL outside tonight. I’m going to take advantage of that and get to work!

Thanks for reading…

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It’s what they sold me at the stained glass shop when I was buying my start-up lampworking supplies. Its texture is like a cross between cardboard and sheetrock. It’s fire retardant. My guess is that it may keep your work area a bit cooler than metal heat-proof boards because it can’t reflect the light and heat. 

I’ve been using this same board since I started. See all those little brown marks? It’s where molten glass has fallen. If it’s really truly molten, it will make a vague flame for a second, which goes out quickly, and it smells a little.  That’s what I meant by “E211 hasn’t darkened my homosote since 2002”. It was also a sly jab at handpulled Effetre – more often than not, shocky as all get-out.

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ETSY!

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

melon teal - click me

sun dress dotty lollies - click me

wallpaper - click me

twilight swamp triple toggles - click me

Just look at all those beads!

Thanks for checking in…

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Ugh.

It’s SO HOT, you guys. The high temps have been over 100 degrees for several days in a row, with heat indices of 110-115 degrees. According to the forecast, the high temps should drop down into the chilly mid-90’s next week. Mr. Sarah said he’s as ready for a break from this extreme heat as he was for a break in the extreme cold last winter. It’s making me loopy, frankly. If I sit really, really still and do absolutely nothing, I just sweat a little. If I stand up and walk around, I sweat profusely. Even in the A/C. And when I’m making beads, even in the middle of the night? Imagine!  I’m yearning for cool breezes and open windows. I was telling Mr. Sarah that I could hardly wait to wear my long sleeves and sweaters and socks and real shoes. I’ve just been wearing flip-flops. Which means I must religiously pumice and ped-egg and wear toenail polish. What a hassle.

Speaking of loopy, I revised my international shipping policy. Again. Sorry guys. And not because anyone complained. Sometimes I have to let something stand for a while before I know I can be happy with it. I really shouldn’t do anything when I’m feeling hot and crabby, which is when I’m most likely to get bogged down and overwhelmed by the details. I think this newest revision is good, and will work well until something better comes along. I want to be fair, I know it sucks to be international when it comes to mail order from the States, but I also want to make sure that missing packages can’t ruin me financially and cause huge disruptions in my work schedule. So goes the life of a self employed artist/fine craftsperson/dingbat/whatever you want to call me. Please see the Payment/Shipping section of the Made To Order page again:

I now ship USPS Express Mail International with Insurance for all international orders valued at or over $100, or for ALL one-of-a-kind items that can’t be reproduced. This costs around $30, however, I will split that charge with you, so you only pay $15.

For international orders valued UNDER $100, and if the set can be re-made, the shipping charges start at $7.50 for First Class International + Registered Mail. I’m splitting this cost with you, as well – it generally costs at least $15 to ship this method.

Also, I thought I might let you know that my spam filter has been very overzealous lately. If you think you should be getting an email from me, please check there to be sure. I’ll find at least one legit email in there every day, and luckily, I’ve been thinking to check. I’ve gotten tons of spam in my regular inbox lately, too. I don’t know if it’s affecting outgoing mail, though. Why can’t people use the internet for good instead of evil?

So, does anyone else think tomorrow is a good day for ETSY? I think so, but that’s just me. Look for new goodies roundabout tomorrow evening. See you then for more beads and chit-chat…

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ETSY!

Still this week, right?

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

coneflower triple toggles - click me

rainy saturday bling - click me

acid lime + coral bling - click me

Thanks for checking in…

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OH! And before I forget…

Please see the Made To Order page on my website if you’re an international buyer – I’ve updated my international shipping policy/prices there, and in my Etsy shop as well. You probably won’t see any changes until I have new listings in my shop, but it’s the same as it is on my website. I do apologize again for any inconvenience this higher shipping cost might cause, however, I find splitting a $30 shipping/insurance cost with you to be far more fair and convenient for both of us in the long run. I won’t have to replace who knows how many sets on my own time and dime, or hand you a flippant “sorry charlie” if your package is lost in the mail.

THX, The Management

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