Friday, January 29, 2010

Something New in the Bedroom ~ Ooh La La

That's right, I'm sharing something personal here. It's something new in our boudoir. Well, it's not exactly new. It's something we've had for a while, but we just hadn't been using a lot, so we'd been keeping it in the basement. It's something we got right around the time we were married. We had it in our first bedroom together, and it was used constantly. When we moved to a different townhouse and had our first child, there it was in our bedroom again, but it wasn't used quite as much. And when we moved into our house 10 years ago, we just put it in the basement. And that's where it has sat until a couple weeks ago, when something possessed me to bring it upstairs and see what would happen. It brought a lot of excitement to me when we first brought it home, and now the excitement is back. Any guesses?

That's right, it's a kitty condo! And for anyone who thought differently - you sickos, you. We got - actually, I won - this kitty condo in a drawing. My husband and I were at a pet store and there was a drawing for this massive piece of cat furniture. So I put my name in. About 5 times. And when I got the call that I won I was SO excited! At the time we had two or three cats. My husband didn't share in my joy, however. We lived in a one-bedroom townhouse, so space was limited. And, we both drove small cars, so getting the thing from the pet store to our home was an ordeal. But I was determined. I'd never won anything like that before, and I wanted that kitty condo. We brought it home and put it in our bedroom, and the cats LOVED it. Two were kittens, so they played on it. Our cat mostly slept on it, and at times all three would be on it at once. When we moved to a larger town house, we again put the kitty condo in our bedroom. The cats used it a little less, but our then-toddler son used to climb through the tube on the bottom. And when we moved to our current house, we put it in the basement. One of our less social cats slept on it down there.

But, as you may know, we recently adopted two kittens. They have endless amounts of energy. I started thinking about that kitty condo in the depths of the basement where no one goes unless they have to, and I thought it was time to bring it back. I lugged it out of the storage area and got out the Spot Shot and the vacuum cleaned it up. Then I hauled it up the stairs (luckily we live in a ranch, or it would be in our living room). I moved our hamper and pushed the kitty condo into place by the window. Once again, it's a highly trafficked area - by the kittens, the cat, and one little girl.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Therapy Thursday

One of my oldest friends (and by oldest, I mean I've known her since we were kids. I'm actually older than her) sent me this video and it cracked me up. Warning: there's strong language. But isn't strong language therapeutic at times? See if you can relate. Happy Thursday!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One World One Heart


The One World, One Heart International Blog event is HERE, and I've got a ticket to ride the magic carpet. As a new blogger, I'm joining hundreds, probably thousands of other bloggers in this magical blog-connecting event. It's time to explore other blogs out there in the blogosphere, and maybe win some great prizes along the way. Click the host icon above for more information about the event, and to find out which blogs are participating.

My giveaway prize is this bright and cheerful alien bead named Abner. Wouldn't you know it - his spaceship ran out of fuel, so he's hitched a ride on the One World One Heart Magic Carpet. He's going to explore the blogosphere along with me, and then he'd love to do some real traveling . . . via the USPS. If you'd like Abner to travel to your neck of the woods, leave a comment on this post. Be sure to leave some contact information so I can contact you to let you know to expect a visitor from a far off land. And to start stocking up on Ju Ju Bees, Abner's favorite food. The winner will be announced on February 15, so my cut-off time for entries will be at noon, US central time, on Feb. 15.

The Fire Divas blog is also participating in the One World One Heart Event. There are several chances to win some fabulous lampwork beads from some amazing artists.

Murrini Monday ~ On Sunday!

Murrini Monday is running on Sunday night this week due to a blog scheduling conflict tomorrow.

Boy did I have fun with my murrini this past week! And my turtles were the lucky benefactors of that fun.
Turtle butt murrini. Sometimes the murrini is placed just so. Not intentional.

The little turtle has fallen and he can't get up! Don't worry, I flipped him back up after the photo shoot. He's a tiny turtle with a pea green shell and lavender striped murrini topped with clear.

This turtle had murrini fever. She needed a bigger shell to support her murrini habit.

When murrini goes bad. I had this excellent idea for a googly eyed turtle using the red "O" murrini from my SWAK mix from loriandkim. Sadly, not all ideas are good ones. But luckily, my girls LOVE him, and he'll be added to their massive wonky bead collection.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Waiting . . . It's the Hardest Part

I haven't had anything new in my Etsy shop for a while now. That's not because I haven't been busy torching. In fact, I have a bunch of new beads that have been annealed and cleaned and are all set to go. There's just been a slight back-up -- at the photo staging area. Here's how it works around here: I make the beads, anneal and clean them. Then I take pictures of them using my husband's camera, which he has set up on a tripod in front of our light box. Then my husband processes and sizes the pictures for me (which can take a while - thanks, honey!). This week, however, my husband took the camera (the nerve!) off the tripod to shoot some pictures at a friend's son's hockey game. So my critters have been lining up at the light box, much like the American Idol contestants do outside the various tryout stadiums. Yesterday my husband set his camera back up and all the critters cheered. I even heard one say "I'm the next American Idol!" They get carried away on photo shoot day. So I was able to start photographing again. There should be quite a few new beads in my shop in the coming days. Thanks for waiting!

Don't worry - that's not a rocket ship in the picture. It's a blowy thing (technical term) for my husband's camera, but we use it on the bead holes to get the excess bead release out. So the critters aren't about to blast off into outer space.

Dogs of Glass

Beano the dog

Beano the glass dog bead

Custom dog beads are one of my favorite kinds of beads to make. They're also one of the most challenging. I often get requests from people for a bead that looks like their dog. If it's a breed of dog that I've made before, then it usually isn't a problem. I ask the customer to send me pictures of their dog and I use them for reference when I'm at the torch. Some dog breeds I just haven't mastered (small, long-haired dogs), so I let my customer know this and give them a referral. But Boston Terriers and Wiener dogs are two of my favorite breeds to make, so I thought I'd post the results of some of my recent custom orders. Beano, above, is a Boston Terrier. His markings are unique, which added to the challenge of making him into a bead. But I really enjoyed making this dog and it taught me a lot about sculpting when I made his face. Chloe and Cricket (below) are wiener dogs with classic wiener dog looks. These are my favorite wiener dogs to make, and I really enjoyed this order. It's still tempting to put a bun and a squirt of mustard on them, but I resisted.

Cricket and Chloe (above)
and their glass counterparts (below)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Therapy Thursday

As you know, I make critter beads. You may also know that I didn't set out to make them. I skipped the chapter on critter beads in my glass bead books, kind of like I skipped the chapter on colic in the What to Expect When You're Expecting book - it would never affect me, I thought. Wrong. On both counts. My son had a bad case of colic up until he was around 3 months, just like the book said (I did go back and read it once his doctor explained why he was crying non-stop for hours on end). We finally figured out that running the vacuum cleaner all night was the only thing that soothed him. So in my first month or so making glass beads, I came upon a penguin tutorial online and something possessed me to give it a go. After that first, semi-recognizable penguin, I went back and read about critter beads in my lampwork books. I began trying different critters, honing my skills and creating my own critter style. This involved a lot of research online. Ok, it was more like online stalking. I quickly found a critter bead artist (Nikki the Sheep Goddess from NLC Beads) that I wanted to emulate. And if I couldn't accomplish that, which I couldn't, I'd at least spend a lot of time looking at her beads every day. It was research, after all.

Now I happen to be lucky enough to own some of Nikki's beads. But with two new kittens in the house, I didn't feel the beads were safe unless they were way out of little paws' reach. So I put up a little shelf and placed my beloved collection on it. I included a gorgeous focal bead by Martha Brogdon that I received in a bead exchange - so the critters have some lovely artwork to gaze at up there on the shelf. Artwork for my artwork.
I love my new collection of critter beads - a yellow dinosaur, a red and white cow and a perfect pink sheep. Looking at them makes me feel happy. It's as simple as that. What could be more therapeutic?

What do you have on display that makes you happy to look at?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Mom the (Promoting) Tool

Are you using all the promotional tools available to you? I know I'm not. There's one tool I haven't used to its fullest potential: my mom. No, I'm not actually calling my mom a tool. But she's been one of my best promoters and I wanted to make that easier for her. My mom doesn't go around telling random strangers about my beads. But she does wear them (no, she doesn't wear turtles or dogs - I do make regular round beads on occasion and I turn them into earrings for my mom), and she's more than happy to tell people who made them when they ask. So here's how I'm about to make things easier for her, as well as get my name out there a little more. I bought these super-fun snap wallets from The Spotted Barn on Etsy. I bought more than one, so I'm going to let my mom pick which one she likes best, then I'll fill it with my business cards. So the next time someone compliments her on her earrings, she'll take out her cute business card holder and give them my card. I'm also keeping one of the card holders for myself (these card holder/wallets are so adorable - there's a huge variety at The Spotted Barn - check 'em out!), so I'll always have my cards handy.

My other excellent promoters are neighbor girls who wear my stretchy necklaces everywhere and give them as gifts. But somehow giving them business cards to pass out just doesn't seem right. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Murrini Monday

Here we go!!!

Groovy the Far Out Turtle, above, is from DorsetHillBeads on Etsy. He's sporting some really fun murrini from loriandkim, my ultimate murrini destination. Turtles are slowly creeping in to DorsetHillBeads, and they are as cute as can be! This one has murrini on its shell, but the others are just as fun, sporting floral, sparkly, and Valentine shells. If you love turtles, you have to check them out!

Here's Herbie the Love Pug, who wears his murrini heart on his belly.

And meet Vito the Valentine Boston Terrier. He's ready to snuggle up in his red murrini heart jammies.

Stretchy Necklace SALE!

From now through the end of February, I'm putting my stretchy necklaces on SALE - 2 for $25. These are normally priced at $15 each. Above you'll see some of my newer Valentine designs (with more hearts coming). The penguins come in three fun Valentine colors, each with a heart on its belly. The mitten is a new design and can have a heart or be polka dotted. Below is a picture of how these necklaces fit - they are chokers and are easy to put on and take off. Contact me in my Etsy Shop if you're interested. Thanks!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Caught in the Act

Up until just recently, I've had a little routine for listing my beads. I'd bring my beads to my computer and keep them in front of me while I wrote my listing. I keep my ruler handy near my computer, so I measure the beads there, too. Then I usually keep the beads under my computer for a while. They keep me company while I blog or surf the net. If they don't sell right away, they get transferred to the bead box, unless they are a new favorite that I just like to keep nearby. At times I have 8 to 10 beads lined up watching me from under my computer.

But, as you may know, things have changed around here lately. We adopted two very rambunctious kittens (an oxymoron, I know), and they are wreaking havoc on my routine, not to mention my beads. It didn't take them long to discover the little critters sitting helplessly under the computer.

Ernie the kitten is caught in the act taking a swipe at the poor doggie, while the turtle and puppy cower together, frozen in fear.

Here Ernie sneak attacks from behind, knocking the poor turtle off his perch.

Now I can reassure you that all beads have been swiftly transferred to a safe spot, out of the reach of kittens. No beads or kittens were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Therapy Thursday

Some days you just need to take some time for yourself. Self-pampering can be extremely therapeutic. Even if it's just 20 minutes to yourself to read the paper or a book, go for a quick walk or take a bath. It can jump-start a good mood. The other day I needed a little "me" time. I had just done a lot of cleaning (four litter boxes included), so I treated myself to a bath and a book. Our bathtub is in our hall/kids' bathroom, where the above picture, Max the Very Clean Cat, hangs on the wall. It's a good reminder about taking the time to do things for yourself, isnt' it? It also cracks me up, as well as every guest who has used that bathroom. I found it in CrazyBliss, who has got the best shop announcement I've seen (talk about a pick-me-up!). Now back to my bath - I also lit a serenity candle from DavesHomemade. Ahhhh. Now that's some crazy bliss.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Murrini Monday

Oh Happy Day! I received my latest package of murrini from loriandkim last week, and I've been busy playing with it ever since. I got two packs of their new Valentine murrini called SWAK, and one pack of Spellbound. They are all wonderful! The butterfly above, however, is made with Glee murrini I bought a while back.

I had to use the pink and red flowery shaped murrini for owl eyes - it was inevitable. And check out the owl's backside.

Did you know that the way to a penguin's heart is through his stomach? At least it appears that way. This red and pink penguin is sporting my favorite heart from the SWAK murrini blend.

And here is that same pattern I used for the owl's eyes on the backside of this girlie turtle.

Here's some more Glee murrini in action - on a funky, bumpy heart.

Ever wonder what a fish would look like with human-like blue eyes? Now you don't have to.

And finally, what I thought would be a shoe-in for Etsy's front page - an owl in a chunky cowl, adorned with a lovely pieces of murrini as a button. It's still in my shop, so you never know, it could make the elusive front page yet.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I started making turtle beads because my sister has pet turtles, and she kept asking me when I was going to make them already. So I finally tried one. And I loved it. They're a fairly basic sculptural bead to make because you start with a round bead that doesn't have to be shaped. But there are still the usual challenges of keeping parts of the bead out of the flame while you add features. The turtle above is one I made almost two years ago (like that flashy red background?). My turtle beads have evolved over time - I've experimented with colors and am now able to keep the eyeballs from melting into the head. They've even grown toes. The turtle below is a more recent creation.

My friend Eileen, of DorsetHillBeads has just started making turtle beads, and they are sweet! Meet Lucy. She's ready for love.

And I love this pink girlie turtle with her strategically placed heart. Plus, she's already wire-wrapped and ready to go.

And check out this new sea turtle in glassbead's shop. It would make a really cool pendant, and I expect it will be swimming out of her shop soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Therapy Thursday

One of my newer Facebook friends posted this yesterday, and it gave me a good laugh. Hope you enjoy it, too. Happy Thursday!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Murrini Monday

If you've been here lately on Mondays, then you know I've devoted a whole day on my blog to my newfound love of murrini - those little slices of glass that we lampwork artists like to add to bead to give them a little something extra. The murrini above is from loriandkim on Etsy. It's a gorgeous Victorian blend that just so happens to be on sale. What I like about Lori and Kim's shop is that they give examples of how the murrini looks on a bead. Below are some beads adorned with the Victorian murrini ~ isn't it lovely?

I don't have any new murrini beads that have been photographed yet for this week, so I decided to search out some other artists' handmade murrini.

Check out this amazing set of Under The Sea Murrini (above) by GlassArtEndeavors. I can't get over the clown fish! This set has everything you'd want in an aquarium bead, and the artist also gives examples of the murrini incorporated into beads.

And here are some really cool Little Skull murrini by JohnRizziGlassworks. His shop is filled with murrini blends, from pink flowers to peace signs, each one unique and just waiting to be pressed into a bead.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dog + Snow = Love

Our kittens have been getting all the attention around here (and rightfully so, they are so darn cute), but I had to show some love for our dog, Chunky. Winter is by far his favorite season, as you can see from the picture above (taken by my hubby). He doesn't care that it's 2 degrees outside, he wants to play in the snow. And he wants someone to throw his tennis ball for him. That's my hubby's job, and when it's really cold he'll lean out the door and wing the ball across the yard and then pull his head back in to keep warm while Chunky tracks the ball in the snow. And it's always funny when my husband throws the ball and it gets stuck in the fence or on the swingset, and then he has to traipse out there and get it. Does your dog like the snow as much as Chunk?