Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Animal Prints & Sea Glass

Just a quick update with my latest experiments.  I've been working on those leopard print beads again.  Still trying to find the perfect background color.
The 7 beads on the left are my current formula and we will see what my customer thinks of them.  She also requested some more tiger striped beads so I made 3 standard ones (next in line) and then, I got to experimenting some more.  The last one in this photo I'm calling a snow leopard bead.  At least that is what it reminds me of.

The first 3 beads in this photo are more experiments.  They are light tiger striped beads.  I really like the new snow leopard bead but I think I prefer the old style tiger striped bead over the newer ones I show here (again the first 3 here.)  Now I know you are probably tired of seeing the next beads since I've posted them 3 times now but I just like to keep them in here for comparison for my testing reference.  I also did a little zebra experiment on that last bead in this series.  Not really a zebra because the stripes are too round and swirly for a zebra.  I like my original zebra style so I'll stick with those from now on.

And these two photos show my sea glass style beads.  I finally got to use my "Etch All" today!!!  I added some SIS to some just to see how it looked.  I know that sea glass does not come in all these colors but I like them all and it just seems like a perfect name.

I'll be away from my torch and computer for a few days but I'll be back at it next week.
As always, thanks for reading and let me know what you think of my experiments if you like!  I always enjoy reading what you have to say!!!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Beads - New Jewelry!

Well I've had a couple productive days filling orders!  I made beads yesterday and already turned them into finished pieces today. 

First up is a bracelet that I'm just loving!  I posted awhile back about the decisions my customer had to make about the style and while waiting for her reply I went ahead and put it together hoping she will like my design.  If not, I'll adjust or remake it.  So this one may end up for sale on artfire - unless I keep it for myself ;-)  The black viking weave does not show well in the photograph but it looks so nice with the pink and black of the beads.

I made these blue frit beads yesterday to fill this order.  I hadn't made these in a while so I ran a test and I actually like my new formula a bit better.  I made a bunch of these beads using Val Cox Winter Blues frit and bases of Lt. Turquoise and Blue Sky Lt.  They look so similar that the base simply does not matter with this particular frit mix so I can use which ever I have the most of next time.  I also made a few beads using the same bases but used DH Triton frit (not shown) and there is nothing special to them so I might as well use the less expensive Winter Blues frit for these.  All the beads are encased in clear.  My customer actually wanted a smaller clasp so the final piece is slightly different but I like the size and style of this clasp too.

I actually made these black and white beads a long time ago at various times.  I've been getting ready to make this necklace for a friend of mine whose birthday is coming up.  She had asked about a simple black and white necklace so I hope this is what she had in mind.  Guess I'll find out soon!

Most of these beads were made yesterday but a few of them I made a while ago.  They are simply black, white, light and dark turquoise.
This shows the full necklace.  I believe this is sold but if not, it will be for sale on my artfire site as soon as I know for sure.

I got the replacement coil for my kiln today!!!!  Now I will see if I can install it myself or if I have to wait till Tom is here to do it.  It looks pretty complicated.   I also got a shipment of glass and the Tonbo Dama -Japanese Glass Bead book (I've been wanting for a very long time and had patiently been waiting for it to go on sale) from Frantz today!!!!  It was a good Fed-Ex day!  Tomorrow I may try some of the new glass but if the weather is beautiful I may have to take a day off and head to the beach to relax and read my book.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Great Day at the Torch!

When I opened my kiln this morning I was smiling from ear to ear!!!  I saw some very colorful beads and was happy to see that they looked as nice as I'd hoped.  Sometimes when I put a bead into the kiln that I think is going to be awesome, I am disappointed when I see the colors did not turn out the way I thought they would. 
I am putting 3 photos of these beads up because the different lighting conditions seem to show some beads better.  The first photo is inside and shows all the beads and the other two photos are taken in sunlight.  When I started making these beads I had a general idea of what I wanted but the first 4 beads were not quite getting it.  So I added black to the mix and then my vision for my beads popped into reality!!  I like putting black on many of my beads when I think about it.  I'm very happy with the intensity of the color especially on beads 5 - 12.  These beads have the following glass colors in them:  Black, 591031-M Green Emerald Pale Trans., 591026 Teal Lt. Trans. (also called Sea Green depending on the distributor,) 591036 Dk. Aqua, White, and I may have used a little El Phaba in one of the bases before applying the transparent green but I am not sure.  I remember thinking it would be a good idea and I had a rod sitting there but honestly I can't remember if I used it or not.

This next batch was a color combination I had read about on the Messy Color Site.  I didn't have the exact same Periwinkle that I had read about but I had another brand to use and I think it worked very well. 
I don't care for the last two beads in this set because of the bleeding and streaking of the glass mix.  I much prefer the ones that have clear encasement separating the layers of color.  These are made with: 511492 Sherwood, 511589 Zachary, 791220 Periwinkle, a bit of White (effetre,) and Super Clear.  I really love the vivid colors that Creation is Messy provides.  They are also the makers of my all time favorite color, Commando! I like the way the glass melts and it's an easy glass to encase and probably would be a great scroll work glass for a beginner - like me.  I love the look of scroll work on beads but I don't take the time to practice it.  I'm still a dot girl at heart! 

I made 3 more beads to experiment with the leopard print background.
The first two beads have the Butter Pecan base and the third one has a White base.  First one is encased with 591018 Brown Lt. Prem. Trans., second bead is encased with 591048 Yellow Straw and the last bead is encased with Root Beer.  The dot decorations are the same colors I used yesterday.  I am still not achieving the right background color but getting close.  I may have to mix my own glass for this one - first time for everything.  I'll be reading up on that.  I also think trying intense black may help with the dots but I'm pretty happy with the shade of brown used in the dots.

Here they are side by side with the batch from yesterday - for easy comparison:
When I look at them all together the last one is the closest to what I had in mind.  Now I'll see what my customer thinks and hopefully one or two more tries and I'll have the formula down and be making her the set she wants.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hooked Up The Old Kiln!!!

Alright I admit it, I'm a lampwork addict.  I had good intentions of making more jewelry yesterday but I really really felt like making beads.  Good news is my new kiln will be fixed but, the bad news is, not for another week so I got the old kiln out and hooked it up yesterday.  It was a cool day and it was perfect - so perfect that I made 42 beads!!!!

A friend/customer of mine asked me to make some "leopard print" beads.  So this is my first go at it.  Actually I had a lot of fun even though I didn't really "get" the proper bead made for this.  I think the last bead is the closest but the background is a bit too dark.  I may have solved that issue but those beads are in the kiln now so I won't know for sure until tomorrow.  I tried different things and in no particular order here is the glass I used in the above beads: Butter Pecan, Brown Lt. Prem. #591018, Ivory, Root Beer, Black,  and a stringer made with ivory and 791448 Dark Brown Special.

These beads really are this vibrant!  I used Pulsar, Freman, Oz, White, and Clear.  I think I will make some more of these in the near future! 

Three different views to try and show as many sides as possible.  While I like these beads they are not exactly what I was trying to make.  But it's a start and now I'll try again and I think I know what I need to change.

This is Vetrofond 791985 - Moss Agate Odd Pastel.  The bead on the left is just a bead of the actual glass and I tried hard to swirl the inner green layer out to the top but it just looks black.  The second bead I swirled it over ivory and the green did come out a bit here.  Now this has some potential. 

These are very hard to photograph to show the true pink color in these.  It's a nice soft pink - like old fashioned bubblegum and it shows more blue in the photo than it is.  I used 591260-BP Pink Bubblegum Lt. as a base, SIS, all encased in clear.  These are really pretty in person!

While I had the pink out I ran a test.  The first bead is the pink bubblegum lt, encased with Rose Quartz 511907-2 and I love the way this bead looks.  Again, these are all a bit on the blue/purple side in the photo and are a much nicer pink in person.  The second bead has the same base but it's encased with Lt. Pink Transparent (I think it's effetre) and the last two are the same as the first and second but the bases are just plain white.  I much prefer the first two bead colors - in person that is.

Okay another, "while I had the pink out" experiment is up next.  The first three beads are a base of the Pink Bubblegum and over that is a twist I had from another day - it's RO and White.  I think these beads look like peppermint candy or peppermint ice cream.  These are also showing a bit on the blue side.  The two smaller beads are the same base and just a stringer of RO wrapped around and melted in.  I made a few black spacer beads to clean up my work space - no waste here!  And that final ugly bead is a waste of glass in my opinion.  I was using up a black and white twisty and thought it would look good on the bubblegum base and a little RO on the sides - NOT!  Oh well, can't make great beads every time right?

Now if you were counting the beads I posted in the photos you have noticed there are not 42 shown.  The 3 beads I didn't show were super ugly and they were a mystery glass I was just trying to figure out what it was, what it does in the flame, etc.   They looked like cement no matter what I did with them so I left them out of the blog.  I'll probably try the glass with some silvered frit and see if I can get any type of reaction and if no luck there I will turn them into punties. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Jewelry Making Day.

I started off my day changing a clasp on a bracelet for a customer.  This is on a bracelet that I was happy to have back because I had forgotten to take a picture of it before deliver was made.  I was really happy with this bracelet - with either clasp.

 This set is for a customer.  Matching everything!!!!  I love when that happens!  All Sterling Silver too.

A simple set of earrings and necklace.

This one is a sample for a customer.  I was giving her options for many components for the bracelet.  I have my favorite combo but we will see what she picks.  She will need to choose which color of viking knit she likes along with bead caps for both the knit and the beads.  I think this is going to be a great bracelet!!! 

I have been wanting to try my hand at making some pins.  This is what I came up with today.  Nothing great but it's a start.  These haven't been tumbled yet so they are not as shiny as they will be.

While I was looking through a bead/jewelry making magazine I came across a bracelet I thought teen girls might like.  This is just a test bracelet while I am figuring out if I like the overall style.  I would not use a green clasp on a final one - I was using wire I had laying around to try it out.  I think it has some potential. 

And my final fun for the day was forming a wire bangle.  This is a free form test bracelet to help me get an idea for what I want to do.  It's like making a sketch before making the actual finished piece.  I plan to make these with general wire wrapping and also making one with some lampwork beads.  You will get the idea from these "sketch" pieces.

Wow, I got a lot done today.  I didn't think I had till I was taking photos of everything.  Now I need to go clean up my mess before I knock beads all over the place.  It seems that when I don't clean up right away, I accidentally step on the edge of a bead bin and then it all goes flying. 

No word on my kiln yet so I'll be back making more jewelry tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Day the New Kiln Died. And they were singing bye bye Miss....

Okay so here it is, the dreaded day - March 8, 2011, that sparks flew around inside the kiln while I heard popping and cracking.  I had just put my 17th mandrel in the kiln and had returned to my torch when I heard the noise.  I was pretty startled when I looked over at the kiln and saw an unusual flashing glow around the kiln doors so I hurried back to the kiln not knowing what I should touch or if I should touch anything at all.  Should I unplug it?  Should I flip the switch off?  I'm wondering if I'm going to need my fire extinguisher?  Should I call 911?  Should I turn my gas off?  But before I could make any decisions the popping and glowing had stopped and I noticed the temperature had spiked to about 1000 degrees and then was dropping rapidly.  I peaked in the door to see if a mandrel had touched the coil and didn't see anything so I pulled the plug and hoped for the best.  I called Pam and Mike (kiln maker) to see if they could give me some guidance over the phone but had to leave a message.  I turned everything off and hoped the kiln would slowly bring the beads down to temp naturally so they wouldn't crack.  So far the beads look good and I think they are small enough that they will be durable but I will continue to wait before I use them and even at that I will only use these for my personal jewelry.  These were supposed to be for a customer - a custom order of course is when this stuff happens right?  At least the good news is, I talked to Pam today and we did some diagnosing and I sent her some photos to review and it looks like my kiln will be fixed soon! 

So until then, here are the photos from that day: 
 These beads were for a necklace and these beads:
were for matching earrings.  I think the set on the left were the best match.  I am not too happy with the center set as they are too uneven in design for my liking but the last set turned out very nice but the color does not match well.  I'll keep that last set for another personal project.

Now it seems I'm getting lots of requests for pink and black these days so these next photos are for the same customer who wanted a necklace and matching earrings.  I'll remake all these as soon as my kiln is fixed.  Thank goodness my customer was not in a hurry - thanks Betty!  For the necklace she just wanted one single focal bead hanging from a chain.  Not sure which one she will like but since I have to make new ones anyway, I'm curious to know what you all like if you care to comment. 
Well the kiln was only used 3 times before I managed to fry it somehow.  Not sure what happened but it will be fixed soon!!!  So it's on to my jewelry making phase which I need to do anyway so I can't complain too much.  Pam and Mike make wonderful kilns and are great to work with - unlike my experience with Paragon customer service.  I loved that kiln too but this new one is super sweet!!!!

As always thanks for reading my blog and watching me learn and grow with my bead making.  I love it more than any other hobby/art I have ever done before and I see myself doing this for a very long time.  I love everyone's comments and I appreciate all the support and encouragement from all my friends, customers, and family!!!!

Second Day With My New Kiln!!!

My mother in law saw the cosmic storm beads I made and wanted a few for her Pandora Style bracelet so I got to make some more of these fun beads!!  As before these are hard beads to photograph and in addition I was under some time issues with the daylight coming to and end so I took the photos while they were still on the mandrels.  Sorry for the not so pretty pictures.  They really do not do the beads justice. 
I'm not going to list the glass used on each bead but I tend to like the ones used with aqua and green bases best.  The ones in the middle are much prettier than they show here and are made with either carnelian bases or rose quartz or pink champagne bases or encasement. 

Here are a few close ups:
That's it.  Check back soon for the kiln disaster day post.

First Beads Using My New Kiln - before it died yesterday

Yep that's right, I did get to make two batches of beads in my new kiln before it died yesterday.  This batch of beads I made on request for a friend who wants a few jewelry pieces made for her.
These beads are all made with black, white, and Rubino Oro.  Some have some clear and the darker pink ones have a little lt. transparent purple on top.
The third bead in this set is an example of using the lt. trans. purple with the RO.

I also tried a few beads that I saw on Corina's site.  Thought I would give them a whirl and experiment with a few color combinations of my own. 
The first one is my favorite and is made with Corina's formula.  The rest of the beads I used either a white or ivory base, RO and violet or black for the stripes.  The second bead has an encasement of crocus instead of clear and is much too dark to see the nice stripes. 

So it was a short day at the torch and I really loved my new kiln.  I'll be making the top set of beads into jewelry soon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kiln died today - grrr.....!!!!!

Darn it!!!!  My kiln popped and crackled and died today.  I won't be making beads until it is fixed so I apologize for the delay on my current bead orders.  I will be switching over to jewelry making with all the beads I did get done prior to today.