Archive for December, 2015

insert your own clever title here

Becuz I ain’t got one.

I parked all this stuff on Etsy:

Twilight in the Suburbs:


Autumn Rain Hana:


Fancy Shmancy Sprees:


Mom’s Kitchen:


Leaf Turn 2015:


HOT Sprees:


Sundrop Ring – size 7.5:


They’ll be on Etsy for the foreseeable future… if you like any of them, you know what to do!


I’ve been busy with other silver projects. I made these for me, more treats for the lizard brain. The first one is a clear foiled glass cabochon (made by Moi, of course) set in sterling. The second one is tourmilated quartz in a rather large drop shape. It’s my new favorite… for now.


The drop shape is surprisingly easy to create a bezel for. The seam is at the top of the drop. If you have a fairly dramatic point on the drop, it’s probably your best option. I used fine silver for this bezel. I don’t usually use fine silver because it’s more expensive, but for a heavy bezel such as this, fine silver is preferable due to its softness. The only drawback is that it seems to scratch up more easily.




Obviously, this isn’t how I wear them. But I have a bear of a time taking photos with my left hand when the picture button is on the right side of the camera. Yes, dear readers, I still use an ACTUAL CAMERA for my photos. Can you imagine!? It blows my dinosaur mind that a phone can take better photos than my old digital Olympus. Perhaps I should rethink…

And looky what I got!


I’ve been curious about Sahara Noir since the moment I found out about it. The only place I could sample it was at Saks Fifth Avenue in Tulsa. I made a special trip to Utica Square last year to give it a try. I didn’t have room for it on my skin and only had it on paper. I went in this year for another whiff and found it had most likely been discontinued. I was able to eak out a teensy bit from the nearly empty tester and wear it home. It met with Mom’s approval on the long drive, she kept getting whiffs of it. It smelled like honey, incense, expensive perfume oils and oddly, wool. Most of all, it smelled just like incense Mom and Bruce used to burn in an adorable incense burner shaped like a little adobe house. The incense looked like tiny little particleboard bricks and smelled of burnt cedar and sandalwood and probably some other stuff I like but can’t readily identify.

As you can imagine, I’ve been stalking Fragrancenet for this for a long time, and didn’t see it there until late last month. It showed as sold out and I continued to stalk until they restocked a day or two later. At $89, this was a steal (1.7 oz retails for $150), and even though I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to spend that much on anything at all at the moment, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t grab it while I could.

Now it’s time to stalk the mailbox. I knew delivery would be on Dec 2nd, and the postman came and went. Instead of my precious Sahara Noir, the postman leaves a package from Forever 21 for another address on my porch. Have you ever been to Forever 21? If not, you’re not missing a damned thing. JCPenney has more style and better quality… but I digress. I checked online, and the tracking info says the recipient, that’s me, REFUSED the package from Fragrancenet. Well, I know for a fact this didn’t happen.

I go to the post office first thing the next morning, and they can’t tell me anything until the postman gets there. They’re gonna call me. They don’t. I call them the next day and they find my package and tell me to come and get it if I want it today. They absolutely cannot figure out why it was marked as refused, but were not forthcoming with the real information when I asked what it looked like on their end. Whatever. As they’re searching in the back for it, I’m speaking to a clerk, and another clerk comes up and asks the one I was talking to a question. Then profusely apologizes for interrupting, although he didn’t. I noticed both clerks had their name tags turned towards themselves so they couldn’t be identified. As our conversation went along, I gathered that just about ALL people who visit the post office this time of year are in terrible moods and are likely to complain loudly about anyone or anything.

Why do people have to act like such jackals during the holidays? The holidays are supposed to be about kindness and giving and all that, but instead, the opposite seems to be the case. I try to stay home, mostly, and stock up on toilet paper and light bulbs mid-November.

Anyway, I’m still working on silver for a bit and then it’s back to beads at some point in the not-too-distant future. How’s that for planning ahead? I try…
Thanks for reading!


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Lookit this mess. It only took me a few hours to make it.
Possibly interesting facts about what’s in this photo – click on it for a better view:
The bulb in that fluorescent lamp has been burning since the early 1990’s, maybe longer.
I was listening to Ohgr on the tablet
The tablet is resting against an anvil made from a railroad track… it sat rusting in my mom’s back yard until I noticed it and rescued it
Dad and I put this jeweler’s bench together
My grandpa built the table to the right of it
The WD-40 is for keeping my tools oiled and rust free
that’s a bottle full of metallic stars next to it
those are flintstones chewable vitamins behind that weird vise on the left side of the bench


The other bench – this functions as both the soldering area and lampworking area – you can see some of the glass that’s been put aside while I work with metal. It’s a tight space so I must move things around to make room for whatever project I’m working on. Stuff in this photo:
fine silver foil scrap in the jar next to the glass chunk jar (the vlasic pickle jar)
spinning soldering pan with pumice, and solderite/charcoal stacked on top
pyrex quench bowl
boric acid flux in the tiny jar with the black brush sticking out of it
syringe of easy paste solder (this stuff is a huge pain in the ass) – I only use easy paste solder for easy soldering of small bits like balls and stick-on thingees… I generally prefer sheet solder
the little rice bowls are for elevating weighted base tweezers to hold things in place while I solder on the blocks
the surface underneath is homosote, which is fire-proof board… it can flare up but the flame won’t spread

Yes indeedy, I’ve been going bananas at the various benches and burners this month. You should expect to see AT LEAST 12 selections on the Superstars page, but right now it looks like more. Beads (sets, focals and experimentals) and some silver stuff (charms, a spike and a most fabulous ring). This is what happens when I get to work. Here’s a little hint of what’s to come:

we're bon-bons! we'll be at the sale tomorrow! you can click us to get to the superstars page.

we’re bon-bons! we’ll be at the sale tomorrow! you can click us to get to the superstars page.

The past couple of weeks have been nearly fatally annoying, computer wise. My hard drive crashed and we had to reinstall everything. Not everything was back in working order until the 99th hour, including my email program and website software. For a minute there, I was afraid this big Superstars sale wasn’t going to happen and I was about to go to the grocery in the middle of the night and drown my frustration in some Betty Crocker brownies. I resisted, good for me and my girlish figure. AND we had a big fricken ice storm last weekend and we were without power for 12 hours, and my beauty operator cancelled my hair appointment, and we had to reschedule for Thursday, the day of the sale. I’ve lost some precious working hours but I think I can pull it off. I’ve done some of my best work under pressure. So a word of warning: if any last minute bugaboos happen, please don’t hold it against me! It’s just me here, and I’m working as hard as I can and probably with minimum sleep.


Meanwhile, I got reacquainted with the Lost Highway soundtrack. I bought it in 1998 and then got rid of it later, but I can’t remember why. It’s fabulously dark and haunting. I particularly enjoy Angelo Badalamenti’s contributions. I even like the two Marilyn Manson tracks, and I’ve always rolled my eyes at Marilyn Manson. Some movie soundtracks might feature selected songs by well known contributing artists, with instrumental “score” music sprinkled in that has lots of flash and bluster but no real substance. However, Lost Highway’s instrumental tracks have all that flash and bluster with an infusion of swanky blackness. The best way to hear the album in its entirety is to find it on google play or just buy the album.


Laura Dern’s famous cryface in Blue Velvet

When I was a kid, it seemed like my parents watched a lot of David Lynch movies. I think they were mom’s choice, she likes weird artsy films. I think I remember watching The Elephant Man with them. She wouldn’t let me watch Eraserhead, even though I thought the cover looked really interesting – probably a good parental decision on her part. And I’ll never forget walking into the room during the infamous Blue Velvet scene when Dennis Hopper yells “Don’t you (blanking) look at me!” I looked at mom, perplexed, and she promised to explain after the movie was over. She attempted, but couldn’t, it was like trying to explain a bicycle to a fish. I’ll be the first one to admit, I still don’t really “get” his film work – I feel exhausted every time I watch one of his movies. Mulholland Drive is a good example of this – not only was I exhausted, I felt off for days afterward. It’s as if too much brain power is required to keep up and understand, and I’m not sure he wants us to understand anyway. I’ve also noticed that Lynch’s female characters are often silly in a blank sort of way, with outbursts of exaggerated emotion. Maybe we actually do look like that, and Lynch is handing us the mirror.


Anyway, here’s what to expect tomorrow (Thursday) evening:

It’s all happening on the Superstars page of my website, http://www.z-beads.com:

7:30PM CT – 8PM CT: Sale preview. Take this time to read, look and decide, and ask questions if you have any before making any final decisions.

8PM CT: Start sending in your requests!

Thanks for reading, I hope to see you at the sale. It’s gonna be big and it is not one you should miss!

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