Thursday, July 30, 2009


I wish you could smell these.


A patch of big showy lilies right by my front door.

Torch time tonight, sigh.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Budding Ideas

The beginning of a set.
Very simple beads. A small core of black, wrapped in silver then encased in a vivid transparent. The grass green and the light blue worked great, but the striking red is a little too dark and murky.
I shaped them with my ice tongs to make curved, elongated cubes.

*** A tip for encasing silver foil - never let the flame touch the silver. ***
Right now, I am not sure where I am going with this set.
Maybe different colors over the black - all with this same shape?
Or maybe just the blue and green in different shapes?
Or maybe just make the blue and green pair into mismatched earrings and move on?
Ponder, ponder.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bloody Beautiful

A big heart focal.
Double Helix Triton wrapped around Cim's Sangre.

I love Cim's Sangre so much I am going to marry it. It's opaque, it's transparent, it's bloody red orange. And when it melts it's heaven. It even has a sister you can date - a beautiful translucent orange called Clockwork.

Hello Grasshopper

A big buggy grasshopper stuck to the side of the house right next to my front door.

I keep partial sets of beads in vintage Murano glass bowls all over my work table. This bowl is full of my Gauguin beads, so far. I don't have the patience to make an entire set in one, or even two sittings. I just make a few each time I get some torch time and sooner or later there are enough for a necklace.

One of the best things about summer is the bugs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Laundry List of Complaints

Napoleon P. Oodle doing the laundry.

I got some torch time in today, but it was disjointed and brief.
A marble, some experiments with both light and dark ivory mixed double helix triton, a silver foil bead or two, a black & white button, blah, blah, blah. I need a full, uninterrupted afternoon of flame. Please, more fire. I neeeed it to stop raining. Please, some sunshine.

Fresh Pine

You see three wet pine cones - I see new beads.
Some copper green, maybe some nile green, a bit of red tile roof ocher...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Water Witch

I'm cranky - it's raining too much.
The whole of my little world is sodden and chilly. More summer please.

There are great deals on glass this week at my favorite place to get lampworking supplies.
Moretti & More
Did you know they will even sell you single rods? It's a great way to discover all the luscious colors of Messy Glass and try out some Double Helix on the cheap. Sshhh, don't tell anyone what an extravagantly large order I placed with them last night. Mostly basics, like ivories, blacks and whites, but a few indulgences like messy marshmallow, aurae, frog pond, the new messy olive and sweet strawberry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It's such a small bead for such a big picture.
This seed pod has a base bead of transparent gray with applied petals of dark silver plum.

Instruction page from my bead sketchbook for making midnight seeds:
1. mash and pull dark silver plum petals
2. make a clear (or transparent pale gray) core bead
3. add a band of dark silver plum to the bottom of your bead.
4. apply the petals to the dark silver plum end of the bead, heat and shape.

Queen Anne's Lace - another weed that's too beautiful not to cultivate, I wouldn't dream of pulling one out of my garden.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bees & Beads

A big old bee in the milkweed.

A heart focal bead made with a center of transparent topaz wrapped in silver foil and dotted with more topaz and an iridescent silver laden glass called Aurae.

The shape is a little wonky. I could have corrected it but sometimes I like to let them be soulfully imperfect - almost painterly. This certainly is not the way of most glass bead makers. There are a lot of perfectionists out there in the flame world. I jump the fence every once in a while and let my beads be a bit wild at heart.

It's too bad they sting, I would love to hold one and see if that yellow fuzz is soft or bristly.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Another Bead Pile

I am still de-stashing loose beads.
So much great stuff from estate sales that is never going to get used by me - so up on etsy it goes.
In this pile there are some copper ethnic hollow beads, some more Murano beads and 144 especially nice root beer colored round glass beads, etc...

I just reached 75 sales in my curiousOldthings etsy shop - whoa.

Carnival Prize

Carnival Heart winged bead.
I am not a big fan of actually going to carnivals. I love the idea of a traveling party with spinning rides, corn dogs, freaks and impossible games, but I hate being in crowds. So carnivals, and their side shows, are more of a romantic notion that a real destination for me.
The bead is big, almost 2" long.
It is an end of the day bead. An end of the day bead is the last bead which is made out of all the shortie rods, leftover frit, stray bits of stringers and popped off bits of glass that are laying about beneath your torch. Some people actually sweep it all up and throw it away (gasp) - I always make a heart as the last bead of each session with all my bits of glass crap. Waste not, want not.

Friday, July 17, 2009

poppy petals

Ages ago I made a single poppy petal.
You can see the original post here.

My intention was to torch a whole set to be worn as a bracelet, which, as you can see I finally got around to almost a month later.

The petal edges were spot heated and ruffled by twisting with a pair of non-serrated edge tweezers. The rod colors are medium red, dark special red, carrot red, cim's sangre, cim's clockwork, transparent striking red and purple red - just about every red kicking around in my stash. The black splotches are black with a dot of raku (iris orange) frit.

The leaves were also made with tweezers and a knife. Thet were made with nile green, a liberal sprinkling of course avocado frit and transparent grass green veining.

Here's the layout for the bracelet.
I am extremely excited about this set. Every once in awhile you make some beads that just seem to be better than what you've made before. I feel like I am finally getting somewhere with the shaping and sculpting of glass into natural forms.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Julia Nunes

This is Julia doing her latest cover of a pop song on YouTube.

Has anyone told her grandmother Lucy that over 200,000 people have seen her in a nightgown?

***it's a few days later - has anyone told her the 250,000 people have seen her in a nightgown?***

**update - july 22 - now 275,000 plus have seen Julia's grandma in her nightie.**

Tomato Saucy

The first cherry tomatoes are starting to blush red!
I torched today and my beads are in the kiln cooling their glass heels overnight. There are new poppy petals and sculpted poppy leaves, a big berry, a couple of birds and one really overly decorative end of the day heart with wings. I promise there will finally be some new bead pics tomorrow. It nearly killed me (big dramatic sigh) to not make any beads for almost two weeks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday's Lily

A wee winged bug tap dancing through the pollen.
I had a half an hour of bliss today - that's how long I managed in stolen moments of torch time before my duties as bead hostess began. Who knows what I made? I can't remember I was working so fast. Don't come looking for me tomorrow afternoon - I have a long date with the flame planned.
It's silly, but hey look like itty bitty Cheetos don't they?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eensy Etsy

As promised, I put up some treasures from my stash in my curiousOldthings etsy shoppe.
etsy pile
There are vintage Murano glass beads, a Victorian pink glass rosary chain, an empty old pocket watch case, a smiling Buddha begging to have his belly rubbed for luck and even a little something for my Belvedere shop - a glass heart pendant.
nature girl
Nature Girl - a lampwork glass heart & sterling silver love token.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Crazy Daisy

He loves me, he loves me not;
how many petals has a daisy got?
Should I count, should I dare,
thought the meadow maiden, fair.
Up close, these daisy buds look rather sinister.

I finished up my assistant glass bead making teaching gig today. Despite my trepidation, I had a great time and I think the students did too. I missed out on getting to make any glass myself this week - two sessions of hostessing and two days of helping to teach - now it's my turn to play.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wild Berries

There is a mass of unruly black raspberries that have taken over a big corner of our yard.
I have never known what to do with them, they're so tiny and wickedly seedy. Today, inspiration struck. I took a half a bottle of vodka outside and picked the berries right into the bottle until it was full of wee drunken raspberries and vodka that is getting purple-ier by the hour.
In a few weeks I expect it will be stellar mixed with some fizzy water to make a summery adult raspberry soda.

Sweet & Sticky

Finally. Summer all ripe and sweaty has arrived. I love the heat.
It was sticky and thick most of the morning and then, boom, a sky rattling thunderstorm rolled through town. It rained so hard, and thundered so loud, that it was exhilarating. The storm clouds were so dark and heavy that at noon the street lights kicked on like magic.

Flies really are gross, eh?
Look at those weird pad feet and buggidy red eyes. Lots of enlightened folks can see beauty in every bit of nature - me - not always. Yet, I know I am going to make some big, old gross glass fly beads.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summertime, Summertime

A wonderful day - from Fender Strats to strawberry shortcakes - perfection.
Sunset from the parking lot at More Fire Glass.

Tomorrow a bit of bead (assistant) teaching and then I am going to make a batch of fresh strawberry ice cream. I found an ice cream churn for my flamin' red KitchenAid stand mixer today at an estate sale - it's still in the box! My honey can no longer eat sugar - so I am going to surprise him with some homemade frozen goodness.

p/s - I am beginning to sort stuff for a big de-stash. I find all these great beads and found object components for jewelry at garage sales but never seem to use them. So starting next week I am going to etsy a bunch of it in my curiousOldthings shop. I already put up some beads and a mess of fossilzed shark teeth. I have antique handmade tiny pearl buttons, a pocket watch case or two, beach glass, old skeleton keys, vintage murano glass beads and other loose beads galore.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Emerald City

New test beads - hand pressed lentil beads - Emerald City
Nile green centers with aventurine (goldstone) frit encased in transparent light green.

A bead sketchbook page with more ideas for color combos for this shap - I especially like the Neopolitan ice cream colors.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Metallic Luster

I know I am late to the party but this Double Helix metal rich glass is stinkin' gorgeous.
These were made by raking threads of Aurae over a base of ink blue. This picture looks - eh, but the real beads shimmer like an art nouveau Tiffany vase. Everyone who sees them abruptly asks if they can have them, it's sort of funny. I cannot wait to make more.

The drawings are a bit small and wonky, but here are my sketchbook notes to myself on how to do a peacock feather style raked bead.

I swear, it's time to build an ark. We are mildewing. It was lovely and sunny here for a couple of hours this morning, but now the pouring rains are back. This is crazy, we are going to wash away.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Gauguin Beads

Back to beads.

Far and away one of my favorite painters is Gauguin.
His painting 'Vahine no te vi,' or woman with a mango, is the inspiration for some new beads.
I saw the painting a couple of summers ago in Boston and it completely overwhelmed me. To say it is strikingly beautiful just seems weak - I would need to be a lot more skilled with words to even begin to adequately describe it.
The candy corn shaped beads are two different oranges with large size raku frit, the mango is transparent striking orange and the lentils are transparent cobalt with pressed droplets of white. These are a first go at it - a little tweaking and I think it will work.
The plan is to make enough for a necklace.