Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

I made a last-minute executive decision to use my own personal random name picker - my daughter. She happens to be awake past her bedtime and was game to help out. Plus, with only a small handful of entries, it was quick work to write down all the names on little pieces of paper. I included one entry for someone who had trouble posting her comment here but contacted me through Facebook and left her comment there. So without further ado . . .

The winner is:


Thank you, everyone who entered! I know it wasn't a quick giveaway entry to make, and I really appreciate everyone taking the time to head on over to the Fire Divas blog to check it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This giveaway is two-fold. First off, I'm doing it as a way to thank my customers and blog followers. Without all of you, I couldn't keep torching, so thank you! Secondly, I want to show my appreciation for my fellow Fire Divas. This is a group of talented and generous lampworkers I've known online for nearly 3 years. When I have a question about a kind of glass or a type of torch, they are always there to offer advice. We all work together to promote each other and get the word out about artisan-made beads.

So for this giveaway, here are the rules:

In order to be entered, you have to go to the Fire Divas Blog and take a little looky look around. You'll see our Etsy shops down the left side of the page, and our ArtFire shops a little further down on the right. Take a moment to visit one of my teammates' shops, then come back here and leave a comment about an item in that artist's shop (be sure to include the shop name, too).

For a second entry, head on back to the Fire Divas Blog and check out the other features we have there. You might see the Bead of the Day or you may want to Meet the Divas - there are lots of features to explore. Then leave a second comment about what you discover that interests you (or that you think we could improve upon).

As Jeff Probst would say, "Wanna know what you're playing for?"
The Thanksgiveaway prize is the charm-sized owl bead shown at the top of this post. It is cobalt blue, with green toes, beak and eyes. It's wire-wrapped in sterling silver with a swarovski crysta ~ ready-to-wear!

A Couple of Important Side Notes

**A complete list of the Fire Divas who are participating in Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales is HERE.

**If you'd like to follow my blog, you can do that on the right side of this post (thank you!).

**Thank you so much for entering, checking out my blog and exploring the Fire Divas blog! I will choose the winner by random number generator on Tuesday, November 30.

Evolution of a Bead

The title makes it sound so scientific, doesn't it? Don't worry, it's not. I recently had a customer ask me to make an elephant for her Pandora bracelet. But up until then, I had only made elephants that looked pretty much like this:

Notice the giant ears and short, stumpy trunk that sticks out. These features wouldn't work well on a Pandora bracelet. Plus, my customer specifically wanted a nice, long trunk on her elephant. I knew I had to do some reconfiguring, because that long trunk would have to be attached to the bead. So here is a design I came up with:

I was so happy with how the Pandora-style elephant turned out that I started making my regular elephant beads in the same style:

And then I realized that this taller style of bead would accommodate other animals as well. So I made a cat:

And I'm sure there are other critters I can make in the same way. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Murrini Monday

It was pouring today when I left for work. But now the sun is out and it's a beautiful, unseasonably warm Monday in November. Let's celebrate with some murrini!

Cedric the retired circus elephant is showing off the orange star from his days under the tent.

This little kitty has squeezed himself into a Christmas stocking adorned with a perfect green and white snowflake murrini.

This turtle went straight for my Tannenbaum murrini blend when he was putting up his Christmas decorations. The Christmas tree murrini sure looks sweet.

All of the murrini featured today is from Lori and Kim. You can also find them on Etsy here. I am hopelessly addicted to their murrini. In fact, I'm off to buy this blend right now. I've resisted long enough!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fire Divas Holiday Bead Challenge

Every month the Fire Divas have a bead challenge, and this month the theme is Christmas/Hanukkah. These challenges are totally optional for members of our team, but we love coming up with entries, and we especially love seeing what our teammates create. Each month brings a new challenge, and with that a new opportunity for us to stretch our creativity. It's all for fun, and it's a good excuse to make some new and different beads. It's time for another Fire Divas Bead challenge! There are 9 amazing entries this month ~ so please take a moment to check them out, then head over to vote for your favorite on the right side of the Fire Divas Blog. Thank you! Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Entry 1
Entry 2
Entry 3
Entry 4
Entry 5
Entry 6
Entry 7
Entry 8
Entry 9

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You Might Like . . .

Do you buy or sell on Etsy? What do you think about the new feature on the front page that suggests items You Might Like? I've seen some talk in the forums that it's intrusive and that people don't want blatant suggestions. But I have to admit, I kind of like it. For the most part, it's spot-on with what I might like. The feature obviously pulls from our favorites or from shops we have already purchased from, so I'm happy to see more ideas from these shops. Of course, I do get side-tracked looking at all the goodies that I might not normally be looking for, but I always have the option of clicking away. Plus, if other shops are being recommended to me, then my shop must be recommended to others as well. I can't find a reason not to like that idea. So today I'm posting some of the recent things I might like, according to Etsy.

Knitting Pattern - Bear Pet Costume by xmoonbloom. I'm not a knitter (although my mom has been after me to learn for a loooong time), but I know why this one keeps popping up on my personal front page - because it's so darn cute! And I love cute. I also love cats. I've spent some time in this shop browsing, and I'm pretty sure I've used another item from it in a treasury.

Blue Murrini by rosebud101. I'm shocked that Etsy would think I might like murrini - hahahaha! If murrini didn't show up I would be disappointed. And I happen to own lots of Mallory's murrini and LOVE it!

I've never seen anything like this before. I don't use enamels on my beads, but if I ever got to try them, I would LOVE to use this tool! You can find this bird lampwork bead stamp at ShardsFactory.

This Spotted Snail glass bead by Nikki at nlcbeads has been making an appearance on my front page ever since it was listed a couple days ago. Do I like it? Yes, I do!

I'm not at all surprised this Tis the Season Whipped Soap Gift Set by sunbasilgarden showed up on my front page. It's as if Etsy is reading my mind. I love browsing this shop! The soaps are the prettiest and most creative I've ever seen. What I've been wanting to try (and will probably use as a gift as well) are the whipped soaps that are pictured, as well as the lotions. They all look scrumptious!

Hanukkah is early this year, so it's only fitting that this Star of David Bottle Cap Necklace by Eileen of Dorset Hill Beads would pop up on my front page. I'm a big fan of her lampwork beads, and I happen to own one of her fantastic bottle cap necklaces, which I adore.

I just purchased this Cardinal Ornament Needle Felting Kit, along with another kit and some felting supplies from fancytiger, so items from this shop show up on my front page all the time. I think they're adorable, and my daughters will love receiving them for Hanukkah - I have no doubt.

I'm always happy to be greeted by the hilarous beanforest buttons when I log on to Etsy. I often get side-tracked in this shop! I've bought several of these button/magnets, and I know I'll be back for more. This one can be found here.

So what do you think of the You Might Like feature? I Like.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Merry Murrini Monday

Who doesn't want a wiener dog in their Christmas stocking?
I used a perfect little slice of Christmas tree murrini from Lori and Kim for this bead. I have about 5 more of these left, and I'm going to be very particular when I use them. They are fantastic!

Even hippos love murrini! I found this pink hippo hanging out in my friend Nikki's shop, nlc beads. She even made the rainbow murrini he's wearing!

More murrini from Lori and Kim adorn this teal turtle. I encased Smurfy blue in clear, then added a different piece of murrini on every side.

Another encased turtle shell ~ this one decorated with super fun Runts murrini from Lori and Kim. Mmmmm. Runts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mmmm, Popsicles

My daughter is going to a birthday party today. She and the birthday girl are very tight, and they share an intense love of popsicles. So much so that they even invented a secret language based on popsicles. So when I was browsing Old Navy a few weeks ago and saw this sweet popsicle t-shirt, I knew it would make the perfect present. It's even scratch-n-sniff! I bought two, so the girls could each have one. Then my daughter asked me to make her friend a popsicle bead. I wasn't so sure I could do it, so I went to my freezer for inspiration. There I found orange, grape and cherry popsicles, but when I spotted the red, white and blue rocket pops, I knew that would be the kind I'd make. Now we'll add a homemade card and we'll be all set.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fridays are on Fire ~ Fire Diva Fritty Beads

One of my new favorite things to work with is frit. Frit is crushed glass, and it can be tiny or chunky. You can make your own by heating a rod of glass and then plunging it into water, where it will break up into little bits. But you can also purchase it, and there are lots of suppliers that make some fabulous frit blends. So when your bead is nice and hot, you just roll it in the frit and voila! You've added texture and depth and color . . . and it's different every time.

This blue pendant heart by Karen at giapet is covered in purple frit. I love what happens to the colors where Karen has stretched the bottom of the heart.

Frit takes on a different look over transparent glass. Amy from ahouston has a lot of fabulous fritty beads in her shop, including this one called Gypsy Skirt, where she paired a frit blend called Gypsy Skirt over medium transparent topaz.

Judith of icarusbeads shows how exquisite frit can be on beads. For Dreamtime Rolos, she sprinkled her beads with reactive clear frit, then encased them in clear. Talk about dreamy!

For this lovely lampwork glass fish bead, Laurie of glassbead added raku frit and gave it a swirl. The effect is really cool.

Susan Lambert calls this set simple, but the possibilities are endless with lampwork beads a bit of frit

For more from the Fire Divas, please check out the Fire Diva Blog. You'll find contests, gossip, fantasy shopping, Ask The Divas and much, much more!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Therapy Thursday ~ Late Afternoon Edition

Now that it's getting dark earlier, I find I'm losing steam just a little earlier, as well. I find that a cup of coffee (or tea, if you please) in the afternoon is just the pick-me-up I need. Lately I've been treating myself to a splash of peppermint mocha creamer (available year-round) in my coffee. Mmmm. If I hadn't been busy/lazy today, I would have made some biscotti to go with my coffee, but for now I'll just enjoy the coffee.

Have any special rituals that get you through the late afternoon?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fire Divas Bead of the Day 11/9

My Gator in a Santa Hat is the Fire Divas' Glass Bead of the Day for Nov. 9 ~ this means he will ship for FREE if you purchase him by the end of today (Nov. 10). I will refund shipping charges through Paypal. Even if you purchase other beads along with the gator, the whole package will ship for free.

Be sure to check the Fire Divas Blog daily for other "Bead of the Day" deals, interviews with the Divas, contests, fantasy shopping, gossip and more! Better yet, become a follower of the Fire Divas' blog and you'll keep up-to-date on all our business.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Incredible Chicken

What are you having for dinner tonight? We're having Incredible Chicken. I'm not bragging - that's the name of the recipe, and believe me, this chicken lives up to its name. It is SO easy, it's almost ridiculous that it's an actual recipe in a cookbook. It's from Noteworthy, a collection of recipes from the Ravinia Festival. Ravinia is a nearby venue for outdoor summer concerts, and it's very popular to pack an elaborate picnic and a couple of bottles of wine to take to the concerts. Every recipe in this book has been good, so I couldn't pass up one called Incredible Chicken. Here it is:

This unlikely combination of ingredients is delicious (it says this in the book)

1 chicken, quartered
garlic salt
1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar

Arrange chicken skin side up in a lightly oiled baking pan. Season fairly heavily with garlic salt. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Bake in preheatd 375 degree oven 1 hour. Cover with foil after 30 to 45 minutes if chicken appears too dry. May be served hot or cold.

Instead of one whole chicken, I use bone-in, skin-on breasts. It comes out great every time, smells delicious, and is really good with rice and veggies.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Murrini Monday

The critters around here are getting antsy for the holidays. So they've started rifling through my murrini stash and decorating the trees.

The tree on the left has murrini from lori and kim, rosebud101 and nlcbeads. Talk about a Merry Murrini Christmas!

These German Short-haired Pointers are big-hole beads for a custom order. I dressed up a couple of them with murrini collars.

And look where I found a fun piece of lori and kim murrini? It's on a turtle named Groovy in my friend Eileen's shop. DorsetHillBeads is filled with wonderful glass focal beads, bead sets and lots of new earring pairs.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fire Diva Friday

It's Friday, and today I want to dedicate to my Fire Diva teammates. We all work hard promoting each other, and we have just moved in to our "new and improved" home for Etsy teams here. So when you're on Etsy, be sure to search "Fire Divas Team" for a fabulous variety of artisan glass beads. Here's a sampling: