Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday is on FIRE!

This week I have the honor of featuring Fire Diva Janel, from JanelDudleyBeads on Etsy. Her shop is filled with gorgeous focal beads and stunning sets, and her encasing is impeccable. Janel also incorporates her beads into eye-catching jewelry and makes wonderful hemp bracelets and necklaces. So let's get to know some more about Janel . . .

How did you find your craft, or did it find you? I literally found it, a bead, while helping a friend clean up after a party. It was that one bead that got the whole thing going!

Favorite color glass? That's a tough one so I'll go with my favorite color blue.

Do you have a nickname? Nelly Belly

Do you have another job besides melting glass? I'm a part time waitress at a wine bar/bistro.

Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla! Dipped in chocolate!

Laundry hamper: full or empty? LOL! What laundry hamper? If we had one it would be full right now!

What did you have for dinner last night? Leftover chicken helper, some of my homemade potato salad and Kashi cereal!

Favorite song? "No Quarter" originally done by Led Zeppelin but the Tool version is my favorite!

Bed: made or unmade? Made

If you could eat only one thing for a week, what would it be? Quiche made using Phillo dough

Last book you read: The Family by Jeff Sharlet, I still haven't finished it kinda lost interest in the middle of the book, but I do intend on finishing it! It's intense but politically boring, sorry Jeff!

Salad dressing: on the side or mixed in? S.O.S Sauce on side baby!

Ever eat Playdoh? YES! LOL! Way back when, it's just so salty and the paste always smelt more appealing!

Three favorite condiments: Terriyaki sauce, BBQ and wasabi! Is wasabi considered a condiment?

What's on your living room wall? An awesome picture done by Robert Marx, he's a talented artist I had met before a Phil and Friends show at Red Rocks. Check out his work, it's awesome!

Last vacation you took? We went to Salt Lake City for a Tool show a couple months ago!

Are you a morning person or night owl? Definitely morning, I have a hard time keeping my eyes open after 9 PM

How do you like your eggs? Any way except for runny!

Ever have a perm? Yes! I wish I had never done that! LOL

Deep dish or thin crust? Deep dish

Favorite smell/scent: Hhmmm that's a toughie, I'm going to say the ocean!

Can you play an instrument? Not any more, I used to be able to play the piano.

Pets' names: Booger and Maynard

Ever try their (your pets') food? No, but I've thought about it!

What's on your nightstand? My personal jewelry collection, a lamp and a bra

Ever broken a bone? Last year I broke a pinky toe 2 times in a row, OUCH!!

Do you like guacamole? I love it! I love it! I love it!

Top picture: Lampwork Focal - coral base, silver glass squiggles, encased in clear

Lampwork Beads Set of 7 made with River Rock and silver leaf

Lampwork Focal - funky and bumpy

Dichroic Bead Set of 5

Natural Beauty Lampwork Necklace

Hemp Bracelet with a Lampwork Bead

For more about the Fire Divas, visit the Fire Divas Blog

Thursday, September 24, 2009

(Aroma)Therapy Thursday

Back when my husband and I were dating, we always looked forward to Thursday nights. The way we figured it, it was practically the weekend, and there was Must See TV. At the time, I worked weekdays writing ads and weekend nights waiting tables, so Thursday was our night. We'd order burritos from our favorite burrito place (aptly named El Famous Burrito), park ourselves in front of "Friends" and just enjoy the evening. Now, about 15 years later, I still think of Thursdays as burrito night. But with three kids added to the mix, there are after-school activities and homework that come first, and sadly, burritos are no longer a staple but a treat. Which is probably a good thing.

I'm still a big fan of Thursdays, so I've decided to honor the day by posting something therapeutic - something fun or funny or feel-good or inspirational (nothing deep, believe me). I'll call it Therapeutic Thursday. I'm starting off with some aroma-style therapy, in the form of Lemon Cream Sugar Scrub (pictured above) from HeathensHearth on Etsy. I'm down to my very last bit, so now I just open the jar each morning and take a nice long whiff, and I'm telling you - it smells AMAZING! Just the right amount of sweetness to brighten my morning. My mom and sister are hooked on the Cafe Mocha, and my hubby likes the Coconut Lime.

I'm thinking that this Mojito Sugar Scrub with Lime and Peppermint would be quite therapeutic, too.

What lifts your spirits on this first Thursday of the fall?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oktoberfest Staples ~ Beer & Encased Meat

Mmmm, a hot dog and a beer. Perfect game food. I like my hot dog with the works - and by that I mean mustard, relish, tomato, pickle, sport peppers, celery salt and even sauerkraut. Notice I didn't say ketchup - that's a no-no here in Chicago. How do you like your hot dog?

If you like the hot dog and beer beads above, I'd love your vote in this week's Etsy Voter celebrating Oktoberfest. Cheers!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday is on FIRE!

Red Hot Chile Peppers on Etsy

Mallory, from rosebud101
on Etsy and rosebud101 on ArtFire, is this week's featured Fire Diva. She makes the most wonderful disc beads, but she also creates amazing focal pieces, sculptural beads and finished jewelry. She's even making her own findings and is stocked with some lampwork supplies in her ArtFire shop. So let's get to know Mallory . . .
How did you find your craft, or did it find you? It found me because I took a single class, and then I was hooked.

Favorite color glass? Bubblegum pink

Do you have a nickname? A lot of people call me Mal, but I don't like it.

Chocolate or Vanilla? ... Chocolate

Laundry hamper: full or empty? At the moment, empty! Yipeeee!

What did you have for dinner last night? Spring rolls with peanut sauce and a flour-less birthday cake for my daughter.

Bed: made or unmade? If you could see it now, you'd know it's not made.

What's on your nightstand? My bible and prayer book.

Favorite fruit: blueberries

Last book you read: Mistaken Identity

Ever eat Playdoh? Yes. When my children were little I wanted to see if it would make them sick, so I ate some. It didn't taste good, but I didn't get sick.

How do you like your eggs? Whites only, with crisp brown edges.

Ever have a perm? Yes, but not now.

Deep dish or thin crust? Thin crust

Favorite smell/scent: jasmine

Can you play an instrument? sort of--I used to be good at the piano, but that was before my glass days

Three favorite condiments? mustard, dill pickles and onions

Pets' names: I just lost my Spike.

Ever try their (your pets') food? I tried a dog treat once to see why Spike liked it. I wasn't overly impressed.

Ever broken a bone? Yes, when I was 8 I broke my arm and when I was teaching I broke my leg by slipping on ice.

Do you like guacamole? YES!

Most proud of: My children!

Albuquerque Sunrise Discs on Etsy

Candy Corn Beads on Artfire

Cherubs on ArtFire (aren't they adorable???)

Denim Heart on Etsy

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New ArtFire Beads

I admit, I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to my ArtFire shop. But that's about to change. I just added a new turtle bead to Maybeads on ArtFire, and I plan to stock up my shop in the next few days with dogs and other critters. Also, I have a few kids' stretchy necklaces there that are only $10! These normally go for $15. So please keep an eye on that shop for some new goodies! Thanks!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Inspires You?

As a critter bead artist, I find I have trouble answering this question. I think that's because I want to say something poetic, like the change in seasons or the ocean waves. But I make cartoon-like animal beads; a.k.a. critter beads. They are brightly colored and have googly eyes. So saying something about my inner feelings and a quest for order would make no sense at all.

Recently, when I was asked in a blog interview (by my sister, by the way) "What Inspires You?" I answered, "cartoons, dogs, animals everywhere." But that answer wasn't exactly complete. I'm also inspired by stuffed animals.

And sometimes I'm actually inspired by some real-life things as well, like the Original Rainbow Cone. Once in a while I get a picture of that real-life thing, and I'll try to post it here with my bead interpretation.

If you've every been to the Taste of Chicago, you know what the Rainbow Cone entails - it's composed of five flavors - chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (cherry flavored, with chunks of cherry and walnut), pistachio ice creams, along with orange sherbet - packed into a wedge atop your cone. I took a picture of the sign above the Rainbow Cone booth - it was an overcast day this year at the Taste.
Here's my daughter patiently posing for a picture with her rainbow cone, when I knew she just wanted to start licking.

And here's my interpretation of the famous Rainbow Cone. This bead just found a home, with a former Chicago-area resident no less, and I hope it brings taste of Chicago out east.

And now - what inspires you? I'd love to know.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Woo Hoo! Free Shipping! I'll be listing new beads this weekend, so keep an eye on my Etsy shop.

Friday is on FIRE

One of my favorite Fire Diva shops is on ArtFire. It's called GlasstasticTreasures, and it features some super fun sculptural animal beads, as well as lovely focals, finished jewelry and adorable cell phone charms. With Halloween on the horizon, this is the perfect time of year to visit this shop. You'll find all sorts of glassy Halloween treats, and a few tricks as well. So let's get to know Jamie, from GlasstasticTreasures.

How did you find your craft, or did it find you?
My friend kept bugging me about taking a bead class and I kept saying no, that I really didn't have any use for beads. Well, she bugged me for months and finally I agreed to go. I left the class that day with a kit under my arm, and I haven't stopped torching since! It is amazing!

Favorite color glass?
EDP, or evil devitrifying purple. It does aweful things while you work with it, but when you use it with copper green and intense black or ivory it makes for a very interesting bead.

Favorite bead?

Do you have a nickname?
My business nickname is Glass. But my Dad calls me Mangy. Like mangy mutt, because my younger brother couldn't say Jamie, he said Mangy. lol My dad gave us all wacky nicknames. Stink, Punkin, Fink, Twerp, Que Ball, Pinky, Butch are just a few of the family nicknames. His nickname is A.H. Stand for @#$ %^&* (but that's between him and mom). I get my sense of humor from him!
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate only!

Laundry hamper: full or empty?
full 6 days out of the week. Hey, I'm too busy making beads!

What did you have for dinner last night?

Bed: made or unmade?
both, some times I forget.

Do you root for any teams?
Just my Fire Divas

Favorite fruit:

Last book you read:
Twilight Series

Salad dressing: on the side or mixed in?
I have a salad shaker, so mixed in!!

Ever eat Playdoh?
No, but I licked some once. Salty!

How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled and watery with cheddar cheese cooked in.
Poached on toast with cheese on top
I make a whopping Jamie McMuffin!
Okay, fine, I love ALL eggs :)

Ever have a perm?
Ah, my mother was a hairstylist and so was I, so yes. I have one now. I'm bringing them back in style.

Deep dish or thin crust?
The thicker the better!

Favorite smell/scent:

Can you play an instrument?
I can play the opening verse of The Sting theme song and some other crazy kid ditty on the piano. If my mother had let me when I was younger, I would be playing the piano, the violin, the fiddle (not sure what the difference is) the drums but mostly the first two. She said no.

Pets' names:
Cat is Austin Powers, international cat of myster
Dog is Mylee. My grand daughter named HIM that. Poor dog :(

Ever try their (your pets') food?
Ahh, not telling

Ever broken a bone?
Lemme count: one, two, TWO, both arms, and dislocated one. I'm clumsy.

Do you like guacamole?
LOVE it piled on chips with salsa and sour cream

Most proud of:
My adorable grand kids. Wanna see pictures?

Images, from Top to Bottom:

And for more about the Fire Divas Lampwork Team, check out the Fire Divas Blog.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rubbing Elbows with NLC Beads

My candy corn critter beads are getting to know a pumpkin dinosaur made by Nikki, aka The Sheep Goddess, of NLC Beads (lucky little critters!). A customer of mine owns all three and sent me this picture, which cracked me up. Nikki's beads are what inspired me to concentrate my torching efforts on critter beads. I would head to ebay every week and just drool over her quirky and creative creations. So for my beads to be in the company of one of Nikki's is a huge thrill for me. Want in on Nikki's bead auctions? Go here and be ready to join the bidding frenzy.

My customer says "The doxie and dino are having a standoff (or maybe it's one of those "who will blink first?" contests), and the turtle is appalled by the whole thing." :-)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Hump Day!

A few of my favorites to get us all over the mid-week hump. Hope you like them, too!

Throw the Ball by elukka

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Name Game

As a kid, I remember my family voting on our new kitten's name. We had narrowed it down to "Muffy" and "Daffy." I voted for Daffy. Daffy lost. And Muffy turned out to be the sweetest and fattest fluffy calico cat - her name suited her just fine. She joined our brood of Bootsy, Goody, Daisy (her mom) and Rufus the Irish Setter. But I felt cheated about her name. I wanted more say in those matters. Now I have a bead box full of little critter beads and I can name them whatever I want - you'd think my animal-naming dreams have all come true! But lately I'm finding that coming up with names for turtles, dogs and elephants is not as easy as it seems.

I try to keep a running list of names I'd like to use for my beads. But already I've doubled up on a few. So . . . I'd love some help keeping my list fresh - anyone have some good names they'd like to share?

This is our dog, Chunky. He came with his name, so we didn't get to name him.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two Months and Counting . . . Sort of

In exactly two months I will be 40. I'm not traumatized by this fact, and I actually don't think it's a huge deal. Plus, having another birthday sure beats the alternative, right? One by one, my friends have been turning 40. Some were dreading it, some tried not to acknowledge it at all, and some celebrated big time. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I don't dread it, but I won't be using the occasion to have a big bash. I'd like to have a nice dinner with my family, and of course, some birthday cake.

In the meantime, during these two months prior to my foray into the next decade of my life, I'm going to try my damndest to whip my 39-year-and-10-month-old body into shape. I realize I'm not giving myself a whole lot of time to accomplish this daunting task, but I'm determined - and maybe I'll work better under pressure. Then on November 7, I will eat that birthday cake (it will be chocolate, by the way) with gusto and feel absolutely no guilt, only happiness.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My First Bead Show

Last weekend my critter beads were in their very first bead show, The 2nd Annual Suburban Bead Encounter in Naperville, IL. Tammy Deck, from TLD Design Center and Gallery, in Westmont, IL, (where I took my lampwork classes) had asked me if she could sell my beads at her table at the show. She typically sells students' beads and instructor beads, as well as lampwork tools and glass. She also would have information about TLD classes available. I readily said yes, but then realized I had no idea how to price my beads. And I mean physically price them, as in a price tag. I did some research and asked my Fire Divas lampwork group for advice and got lots of creative ideas. But it was actually my husband who came up with the idea that stuck, literally - it involves hot glue (but don't worry, none of the animal beads were harmed in the pricing process). Lucky for me, my husband is a printer. So he printed small black cards with my shop name on the front, and I put the name of the bead (yes, they're all named!) and the price on the back. Then I hot-glued each and every critter bead to a card. This way the critters could stand upright, the way critters ought to be displayed. And the customer could take my little card with my info with them. The critters just peel right off the cards.

Here are three critters ready for the show. Rufus, on the left, sold before he left TLD. He never made it to the big show.
The critters are all hot glued to their cards and ready to be transported to TLD, which will display and sell them at the Suburban Bead Encounter.
Here's the set-up at the show. The critters are putting on their best "please adopt me" faces, just how I trained them.
A wide angle of the table shows the work of another student and the talented Hannah Rosner and Tammy Deck. My critters were in very good company.

My mom and I popped in to the show in the afternoon. I really enjoyed seeing other artists' beads up close - it was all so beautiful. I bought a few silver charms to incorporate into jewelry with my beads. My mom bought some, too - then she handed them to me and told me to make something for her with them. I sure wish she liked turtles.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Weird Cat, Buzz

Does your cat do this? Or is mine the only one? He likes to pump (not hump) his paws on my kids' stuffed animals. He once completely flattened an alligator into a green pancake. He has his favorites, too. If one is up too high, he'll mew at it and eventually swat it down so he can go through his weird paw-pumping ritual. There have to be other weird cats out there ~ tell me about your weird cat so I don't feel so alone.

Hah! Caught you in the act! Poor doggy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday is on FIRE

It's only fitting that today's featured Fire Diva has been in the midst of the California wildfires for about a week now, but she marches on and keeps listing beautiful beads in her Etsy shop. Meet Holly, from HollysFollyGlass.

How did you find your craft, or did it find you? I was working as a producer on "The Carol Duvall Show" for HGTV (back when they were a cool network that had crafts!), and one of my guests would come in dripping of lampwork. We did an outside studio piece on a lampwork artist and glass just started popping up everywhere.

Favorite color glass?
It's whatever I'm in the mood for but I do have favorites: Vetrofond Seashell Swirl, Steel blue, aventurine...I was obsessed with red-purple for a long time! LOL!

What else do you make/do?
What DON'T I do would be a shorter list! I did work for the Queen of Crafts for a reason! I own a rubber stamp company and we make food safe rubber so you can decorate cakes and cookies with it. Another division packages kits for painting on cookies so I'm a real expert at crafting but keeping it safe for food. I decorated cakes for a long time before becoming a stamper. I've taught all kinds of craft classes since I was a teen and still teach in our local community college system. Invariably, I go in to pitch a class that has to do with my business and they see my jewelry and ask me to teach that instead... I also knit and make jewelry but it's making glass that I love.

Do you have a nickname?

Chocolate or Vanilla?
... Chocolate

Laundry hamper: full or empty?

What did you have for dinner last night?
Trader Joe's frozen Gnocchi Sorentina with added heirloom tomatoes, herbs and fresh Grana Padano parmesan

Bed: made or unmade?
Made...only to keep the dog out.

Favorite fruit:

Last book you read:
Just re-read my favorite - To Kill a Mockingbird.

Salad dressing:
on the side or mixed in? Both!

Ever eat Playdoh?

How do you like your eggs?
left in the kitchen...seriously I HATE them. But my doc has MADE me so scrambled (makes it easier to feed to the dog!)

Three favorite condiments?
Ranch, bbq sauce, plain old yellow mustard.

Ever have a perm?
LOL! ROFL!!! My natural hair is so curly... I thought about getting a perm to straighten it!

Deep dish or thin crust?
Cracker thin!

Favorite smell/scent:
Water lily and jasmine

Can you play an instrument
? flute

Pets' names:
Mabel Lou

Ever try their (your pets') food?
I sometimes hold treats in my mouth when training... but that's about it!

Last vacation you took?
2008 Bead and Button to grand, glorious Milwaukee. I didn't really know many beaders then so I was all by myself and I had a blast. Funny thing...on the bus ride to the hotels, I "re-met" a lady in my ISGB group and we had two classes together so that was the best part.

What's on your nightstand?
My ipod radio, a beaded candle holder, remote for the fan / light, and a phone.

Ever broken a bone?
Not until I was 36!! My right pinky. Then at 39, I broke a bone in my right foot.

Do you like guacamole?
LOVE guac!

Most proud of:
My ability to get things done... I'm one of those people who could move an army through a jungle...or anywhere else!

Under the text, from top to bottom: Pineapple Orange Swirl I Scream

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eat Cake ~ Book Recommendation

I love to read. There's nothing more exciting than being sucked into the lives of people on the pages of a compelling book. So I've decided to share some of my favorites here from time to time.

First up is a book called "Eat Cake," by Jeanne Ray. Published in 2004, it's out in paperback. If I had to describe this book in one word, I would say "sweet," and not just because there are cake recipes in the back. It tells the story of Ruth, a somewhat compulsive baker, who has come to the most trying time in her life. Her household, which includes a moody teen-aged daughter and cantankerous mother, is turned upside down when her husband loses his job and her estranged father (divorced from her mother) severely injures himself and asks to move in. Ruth deals with the stress by baking cakes, which the author Jeanne Ray describes in utmost delicious detail. When the house is in complete chaos, Ruth loses herself in her recipes and eventually finds a way to solve her family's problems. Mix in a lot of humor and warmth, and this book is definitely a recipe for the best kind of comfort food.

I have given this book as a gift several times, and everyone loves it. Ray's other books are just as good, with real characters that are so easy to relate to. So check out "Eat Cake," and when you've finished and want more - try "Julie and Romeo" and "Step-Ball-Change."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting to Know . . . The Tiny Fig

Connie from The Tiny Fig agreed to answer my random questions so we could get to know her better. Her charming Etsy shop has been a favorite of mine for a while now. You'll find everything from whimsical earrings to stickers and zip pouches. My daughter recently got her ears pierced, so we had a blast picking out some earring studs for her, and also stocked up on a bunch to give as gifts.

And right now, to celebrate the shop's 2-year anniversary, The Tiny Fig has marked down everything in the shop 50%! The sale runs through Sept. 14, so hop on over to The Tiny Fig and check it out! Also, for every item you purchase between Aug. 30 - Sept. 14, you will be entered in drawing to win a new French Toast Tee (not yet available in the shop).

So, let's get to know Connie, creator of the winking toast:
How did you come up with the burnt bread & winking toast (two of my personal faves)? When I first started playing with polymer clay I made a batch of bread slices. I painted some cute faces on them and my little sister said Ii should call them bread buddies. So that is what they are called. A while after, I was making another batch of charms and some how my toaster oven got cranked up to broil. The clay burnt and my whole house stank for hours with all the windows open. I posted about it on the Etsy forums and some people said it would be funny if I made burnt toast! So that's how they came to life.

Do you have a nickname? Right now everyone calls me Tiny Fig or Figgy but some of my older Etsy friends and my real life friends call me Coonies as a fun way to say my actual name Connie. I actually use to have a shop on Etsy under that name until someone told me it was a bad word... whoops.

Chocolate or Vanilla? CHOCOLATE!

Laundry hamper: full or empty? Half full.

What did you have for dinner last night? Rice and ribs.

Bed: made or unmade? always unmade.

Favorite fruit: hmm.. I don't know the english name of my favorite fruit. It's tropical and it grows on my family's farm in Malaysia. I guess other than that I would say white nectarines.

Last book you read: I don't read... The last book I read if you don't count my accounting textbook would probably be Heart of Darkness.

Ever eat a crayon? No.

What's on your nightstand? I don't have a nightstand

Favorite color? Purple

How do you like your eggs? Easy over.

Ever have a perm? no way! I have a round face.. It would look horrible on me.

What's on your living room wall? Nothing. I don't really have a wall that doesnt have furniture up against it so it's blank.

Deep dish or thin crust? can I choose regular? haha

Pets' names: My dog is named Suki

Ever try their (your pets') food? No but it smells good.

Ever broken a bone? Nope thank god!

Do you like guacamole? I love it!

Most proud of: Starting my own business.