Friday, August 27, 2010

VIP Customer

A while back I received a custom order for duck earrings. My customer was very specific. She didn't want her earrings to match. She wanted a yellow duck and she wanted a green duck. And also a blue duck. What she wanted was a pair - and a spare. Plus, this customer was in a big hurry. She wanted those duck earrings and she wanted them now. On top of the special rush order, she also wasn't planning on paying for them. She didn't exactly tell me this, but I knew. I knew her type.

Despite knowing I wouldn't be compensated monetarily, I got to work quickly. I didn't want to disappoint my customer. She had been known to put in special orders in the past, but I tended to ignore them. I was too busy, I said. This one would have to be different, or I might lose this special non-paying customer.

I'm happy to report that my customer loves her duck earrings, and even wore them to school today.

One yellow duck.

And one green duck.

The spare blue duck is safe at home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

L@@ky What I Bought

I will never lose my keys again! I got this alien octopus from Katy at LethargicLass, and I quickly put it to work guarding my keys. He's doing an excellent job.

There are more of these adorable yet intimidating keychains in Katy's shop ~ they come in several colors, including purple:

It's also quite fun when your husband has to drive your car and he asks for the keys.

Happy Thursday ~ Buy Handmade!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Art Charm Swap

A few weeks ago I signed on to do an Art Charm Swap. I've done a bead swap before, but only once, and it only involved one bead. So when my friend Jennifer of GlassAddictions posted her idea for an Art Charm Swap, I decided to expand my horizons and join. I'll be making 10 art charms (I better get going!) and sending them in to Jennifer within a month. But there are rules, and one major one is that we have to use at least one of these three colors:

I love lots of color, so I'm down with that. Now to come up with a bead (yes, mine will involve a lampwork bead, likely a critter bead, go figure) that would be appealing to all the participants. Jennifer said they don't all have to be the same, but I'd like to keep them similar. I'm really excited to get going on this project, and I can't wait to see what everyone else puts in the mix. I already know some of the participants, but not all. I'm especially anxious to see all the different mediums people use.

Here's a list of the Art Swap participants:

I don't yet know the rules for secrecy, but I'm guessing I won't be posting pictures before the official swap. I will definitely post them afterward, so you all can see my new goodies!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Murrini Monday

You can imagine my sheer delight when lori and kim posted their new Spooky murrini blend. Two packs were in my cart before I could say "omg mini jack-o-lanterns!" My murrini packs arrived last week, along with Dumbledore (I couldn't resist those magical, color-changing murrini any more than I could say no to Dumbledore himself), and so far I've allowed three lucky critters to choose a pumpkin from my little patch. I've also been having a blast with the eyeball murrini!

I feel like Oprah - "You get a jack-o-lantern! You get a jack-o-lantern! And you get a jack-o-lantern!" I don't get quite the same reaction as Oprah does when she's handing out cars, but believe me, the critters are happy on the inside.

Green eyeball murrini. Is there a better use for it than a one-eyed alien? I think not.

Wait - I take that back. Green eyeball murrini also works quite well for headless green goblins.

Yes, I did try out some of the other murrini in the Spooky blend. This fall turtle was lucky enough to land some really fine shell spots. See how happy she is? I think she wanted a car.

Some of these beads are in my Etsy shop and some will be listed soon. I've still got lots more murrini to play with . . . . Happy Murrini Monday!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fire Divas Jewelry Challenge- I Dare You to Enter!

Have you ever bought beads from me or my fellow Fire Divas? If you have, and you like to turn them into jewelry, we want to see your designs! The Fire Divas are hosting another Jewelry Challenge! For this challenge, the theme is "The Holiday Season." There are several holidays coming up, and we want to celebrate them! You can see holiday-inspired Fire Diva creations in our Flickr. By entering this challenge, you have the chance to win some seriously cool bead prizes:

All submissions must feature Fire Divas' lampwork. We require the name of the Fire Diva who made the beads used in the submitted piece, so if you submit something, please be ready to provide that information.

We will allow one submission per person per contest, and a maximum of two photos per submission. Entries may be submitted here ( for approval, no later than October 15, 2010. No Flickr account? No problem. You can also email your submissions to firedivas @ gmail . com (no spaces). Please include, in the comments section or in your email, the following:
Information about the beads:
Description of the piece:
Inspiration for the piece:
Submissions will not be approved without all of this information.

Fire Divas reserve the right to approve or reject any submissions.

Fire Divas reserve the right to modify or cancel the challenge at any time.

The winners will be determined by an open poll which does not allow multiple votes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Then & Now

When I'm downloading pictures to put on Etsy, sometimes I accidentally click on a picture file with the same date, only two years earlier. The other day I was putting bead pictures on Etsy from a file dated 8.15.10. I noticed I also had a file from 8.15.08 - so I clicked on it. And this is what I saw:

This is one of my original owls. The head and body were basically one unit, and apparently I believed owls had big feet back then. Also, notice the feathers on the owl's head - kind of sad, like a lame comb-over. But back then I thought this owl was pretty darn good.

Here's an owl from 8.15.10 - two years later. I think it's a lot more fun, mostly because I've learned in the last two years that owls and other critters can come in any color. Plus, they can have rainbow star murrini on their bellies.

Going back in time got me thinking about another bead I had made last summer. This weenie in a tube was one of my favorite beads. I thought it was very innovative, and I'm still proud of it.

This summer I expanded on that idea and got my doggies to sit upright in their tubes. I think they're much more confident that way.

Do you ever look back at your past work? You should. You may cringe (as I do), but it's fun to see how far you've come.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ First Day of School

Second grade.

Junior High.

Notice the high school kid got his picture taken inside, where there are no witnesses.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fire Divas Bead Challenge ~ Joy

This month's theme is Joy. We have beautiful entries! See them below, and then vote for your favorite on the right hand side of the Fire Divas blog. Easy peasy!

Entry 1:

Entry 2:

Entry 3:

Entry 4:

Entry 5:

Voting ends in two days!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Murrini Monday

Happy Murrini Monday!

Fancy dog spots murrini. Chalcedony murrini by rosebud101.

Penguin belly murrini. Murrini by lori and kim.

Turtle butt murrini. Murrini by lori and kim.

I have more murrini than I know what to do with, but I just ordered more! Can you blame me? It's from lori and kim and it's on SALE! I can't resist a good sale . . . or little jack-o-lanterns.

In other news, I just picked the winner of my owl pendant giveaway - and it's pam! I'll be in touch to collect your info, but if you see this first you can shoot me an email at - thanks everyone for entering!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Giveaway Time! Hoo Hoo Likes to Wear Critter Beads?

Do you like animal beads? Do you like to wear animal beads? Obviously, I love animal beads. But I've only just started wearing them. As much as I love making them, I hadn't really considered wearing them as jewelry. I've always preferred to blend in, rather than stand out, and I guess I figured that wearing a brightly colored glass hippo bead with googly eyes would not exactly help with the blending in part. But lately I've realized that by not wearing my own animal beads, I'm not utilizing one of my best marketing tools - me. So a while back I made a tiny owl bead and have been wearing that on a black rubber cord - nice and simple. Yesterday I picked out a slightly larger and brighter owl bead, with a startled expression on his little face (in the bottom picture the one one the right), and I put that on a cord to wear. Who knows? Maybe there's a penguin in a cowboy hat in my future.

But enough about me. I want to hear from you! Do you wear animal beads? Would you if you won one? Say, the bright yellow owl above with the perfect pink flower murrini belly (by lori and kim), turquoise beak and toes? Leave me a comment about what kind of animal beads you would wear and where you would wear them - on a bracelet, a simple chain, earrings, belly button, etc. If you prefer to keep your animal beads on a shelf or under your computer, that's ok - I'd like to know that, too. Also, be sure there's a way for me to contact you if you win. I'll use the random number generator to pick the winner Sunday night (Aug. 15).

For an extra entry:

Become a follower of my blog and leave a comment saying so. If you are already a follower, don't forget to let me know in a comment.

Join my Facebook page and leave a comment to let me know. If you're already a fan (or a liker), let me know in a comment please.

Thanks for playing, and Happy Friday!
By the way, I'm now offering Custom Hooters in my Etsy shop! That's right - you can custom design your very own hooter. Or go crazy and get a set of custom hooters! You pick the colors and belly design - frit feathers, murrini or polka dot feathers - and I'll make it. It's a win-win!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Murrini Monday

I was anxious to try the little rose murrini pieces that were in one of my blends from Lori and Kim, but at the same time I was nervous and didn't want to screw it up. I decided the perfect spot for it would be on a pink cow.

Cow, do you accept this rose? Yes, I do - I'm so mooooved.

A pink owl was the next to receive a rose. Owl, do you accept this rose? Of course, hoo wouldn't?

Finally, this rainbow murrini was in a blend of giant murrini from Lori and Kim. I love how the colors pop on the intense blue.

Happy Murrini Monday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How'd You Put the Hole in There?

It's a question I'm asked fairly often - how did I put the hole in the bead? I assume other lampworkers get this one, too. So today I thought I'd let you in on the secret. Just between you and me . . . Lampworkers make their beads on mandrels, or metal rods. The hot glass is wound around the mandrel, and when it's cooled and pulled off . . . voila! There's your hole! The size of the hole depends on the thickness of the mandrel.

The thickest mandrel I use is for pandora-style beads - which is the one on the left. But mandrels can be much, much thicker. The size I've been using a lot for my critter beads lately is 3/32" - the middle one. The one on the right is 1/16", and I like to use that skinny one for beads I might turn into jewelry, simply because my findings match up with the holes pretty well.

I can change which way the hole runs (vertically or horizontally) by making the critter face a different way. Most of my beads have the hole running top to bottom, but for pandora-style beads, the hole has to run sideways through the bead. This was a challenge for me when I first started making this kind of bead, but now I'm getting the hang of it.

The gray chalky stuff on the mandrel and under the bead is called bead release. All mandrels are dipped in bead release before they are used so the glass doesn't stick to the mandrel. Sometimes the bead can be tricky to remove, and I've even had to put some mandrel's in a vice in order to twist the bead off. Those situations don't always end well. Sometimes it's just better to leave the bead stuck on the mandrel and stick it in a plant. And if I had any living plants, that would be a swell idea.

And here are the beads removed from their mandrels. I haven't cleaned them yet, so there's a nice layer of bead release in the holes. I'll use my nifty Dremel to clean out the holes and smooth out the edges, and these beads will be ready to go.

Any questions?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010