Monday, March 28, 2011

Everyday Wear

I wear this bracelet about three times a week.

It's brown leather, hammered brass and glass beads.

It's crazy comfortable and indestructible.

When I finally get going again with my beads I am going to make a mess of these in wonderful spring colors.

Put A Bird On It

Saturday, March 26, 2011


If you know me, you know that I like everything used. New stuff just stresses me out. I believe that there's enough of everything out there already. I almost never buy anything (other than food, bedding and underwear) new. It was very difficult for me to step up and buy my torch and kiln - I wanted used - but nothing was ever available.

This was not the case with my studio furniture and work surfaces.While browsing the websites of companies holding household sales this week I spotted this photograph of a table.

I asked my husband: "do you I could be so lucky as to find a metal table the day I need one?"
Sure enough, it is a huge metal welding table.

$50. Sold to the over-excited lampworker.

Next on my shopping list - a storage cabinet for tools. Found it at the very next sale - $20.

It's in excellent condition, the color is the most amazing green and the drawers are spring loaded and slide like a dream.

I paid for them on the spot. My husband teased me and asked "are you going to buy anything today that weighs less than 200 pounds?"

Now that I have scored such great deals on my studio furniture I am starting to feel better about spending on the new kiln and torch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Movin' On Up

I collected my keys and moved the first piece of furniture into my freshly renovated studio space late this afternoon.

Richard ponders the view.

The view.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird Party

Irondequoit Bay, Rochester, NY

Monday, March 21, 2011


Shrimp eggrolls?
No thank you, I would like an order of the overly philosophical eggrolls please.

Big Red

This morning while I was yakking on the phone with Anne 'bout beads something huge happened.

Something enormous arrived by freight truck.
That weird black blur in the lower right corner is an over-excited miniature poodle running circles around the giant cardboard box.

No, it's not a box full of extruded, weird, spray foam insulation.
I have to say it was a brilliant way to protect my new baby during its trip here from Texas - and probably way fun to do back at the factory.

Ta da! Eighty pounds of red hot kiln love.
Maybe it just looks like a big red rectangle to you, but to me, its a dream come true.

I am exercising a lot of self-control and leaving it in the box until I take it over to my new studio. 
There will be more pictures later, just like a glowing new mom posting cute baby pictures.


They're here! The crocus are  blooming, happy sigh.

In anticipation of spring's most welcome guests I made this pair of bangles last night, and then this morning. The real thing stuck themselves up out of the ground right in a neighbor's yard.

Hello beautiful.

The bangles have a hammered circles that I wrapped in nuggets of amethyst and little faceted jade beads. I like their "rough luxe" style. 

Just like the happy crocus blossoms the bracelets look like them might have come up out of the ground.

There up in my "Belvedere" Etsy shop.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Bouquet

Micro mosaics - something else the Italians do with glass that is simply amazing.

Look at all those murrini chips stuck together inside this brooch. I would love to take a class and learn how to do this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blue Bubble Gum

More inspirational vintage Venetian beads from my collection.

Monochromatic beads can be so beautiful.
Sometime I think I just make my beads too complicated.

The color of glass used in these vintage Murano beads is still available - it's from Effetre and is appropriately named "Sky Blue."

The beads are simply ovals with little pinch marks all over them. The tweezers the lampworker used obviously had three prongs instead of two. I wonder if I can track down a pair of these weirdo tweezers.

Don't you think they look a bit like gum wads?

Right after I took this photo the old thread they were strung on gave out and beads went clunking about on the table. They're now restrung into small bunches and are up for sale in my 'Curious Old Things' Etsy shop.

Yes, of course, I kept a few for myself as a reference.

The Bangles, Totally

I made myself some jewelry on Sunday night.

From my bead stash I excavated a box of gem chips, and tiny pearls, and fashioned some bangles with my hammer and some vintaj style brass wire.

These were totally inspired by Kerry Bogert and her book "Totally Twisted."

When I peeked in on Facebook this morning I saw it's celebrating it's first birthday today. Immediately I knew it was the perfect day to share pictures of these bracelets.

Without Kerry there would be no coiled wire in my life...

Also, it didn't hurt that I was watching Beverly Hill Chihuahua on tv while wiring them together. Don't judge me, I just got sucked in. Who can resist fancy, fancy, fabulous talking dogs? I think I need to make some gemstone and wire tiaras for my poodles.

L to R: labradorite, dark pearls, garnets and rose quartz

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Filthy Snow

Melt already, would you?

The daffodils are giving it their all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Oh, the anticipation... sigh.
Everything is ordered and I am just waiting for it all to arrive.
The renovations to my studio space are underway.

My new torch - isn't it beautiful.

And my kiln - sort of.

After a lot of waffling about the kiln I chose is a Pargagon Bluebird XL.
ABR has two custom paint jobs available - purple and Rastafarian. I called them up and asked if they could make me a solid red one using the paint from the Rasta one on the right. They said "hey that's a great idea, I don't see why not." So, the incredibly nice people at ABR & Paragon are whipping me up a redbird. Sweet.

The last big piece of equipment for my glass studio is the oxygen concentrator.
This magical device will pull all the oxygen I need right out of thin air. I got the larger 15lb one so that I can melt the big stuff. I dream of making goblets, big ass marbles and chandeliers... someday.

Come on UPS ground, let's get this party started.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Triple Play

moon beads : sketchbook # 2 - pages 30 & 31

chinese lantern : sketchbook # 2 - pages 40 & 41

golden berries : sketchbook # 2 - pages 104 & 105

clicking on the photos will open a large version.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Fairy Stories

A few more pages from an old, old bead sketchbook. Book # 2 - pages 46, 47, 48 & 49.
If you click on either of the pictures you can see a much larger version.

Baby beads. I think I had been at the torch about a year when I made some of these. It's hard to say because I am always adding and subtracting from the pages. Lately I have been better about scribbling in dates.

Did you know that sometimes when you encase silver foil in pink glass it changes to gold?


I think not, my guess is that some of the gold in the pink glass precipitates, or plates, itself onto the silver foil.

Who knows?

In any case it is a very cool effect. Poor man's gold leaf.

This bead, one of the original "Fairy Stones" has a base of Cim's Gelly's Sty that was rolled in silver foil and then encased in transparent pale pink. Once it was all encased I spot heated the bead and added the facets with a cheese knife. A cheese knife? Yes, one of the all time great bead shaping tools. Get a stainless steel one in any kitchen store. I like one with a nice pointy end. The hand faceting gives beads loads and loads of sparkle and it's lots of fun to do.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Wild Flowers

Look at these crazy beads.

I found them in a fruitcake tin, in a sewing cabinet, at an estate sale.

The couple had traveled to Africa in the 60's and I am assuming that this is where these are from. I love that they are a rustic, tribal version of Venetian millefiori beads.

I am always trying to get my murrini perfectly round when I melt them in - look what you can do when you just let them run wild!

I just listed bunches of them in my Curious Old Things etsy shop.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I saw my future lampworking studio for the first time yesterday.

The raw space is a little daunting. Big holes in the walls, bigger holes in the floor, a broken window, electrical wiring that made me roll my eyes. But, the superintendent swears that in two short weeks it will be a paradise - 300 square feet of heaven.

I am so excited. It's going to be crazy good to be back at the flame.

Wait until you see the view from my other window. The studio is on the 4th floor so it's a panoramic view of the railroad yard with a castle (the armory) in the distance.