Wednesday, February 29, 2012

glass is in the kiln, happy in the heart

Here is my favorite from this run! I love making donuts!

I think I finally got a handle on frit casting, woot! Before, I've had serious problems with air bubbles. A few bubbles are OK, but I would get so many it looked like boiling water under the surface of the glass!

While I can imagine when that look might indeed be fabulous and exactly what one would want, but bubbles ruin the 3D effect of Dichro glass.

So the last couple of times I frit casted I've slowing been turning down the temp a few degrees and adjusted how long I hold at this or that temperature. I've also figured out to be very frugal on using fine frit.. larger frit works much better. I have another frit load running tonight, and hopefully it will confirm my findings!

Here it is in the kiln, ready to be turned on!Here they are out of the kiln! notice how it's sort of pinkish/purple above, and white here? The kiln wash is colored so you can ensure even coverage, and then turns white when you fire.
close up ... notice the sharpies on the edges... I'll knock them off or gently grind them, and then probably run them through the kiln again for a fire polish...

Monday, February 27, 2012

finds this weekend

What I really want to talk about is my Bead Soup Blog Party piece which I finished last night ( wooo hooo!) but as I cannot do the reveal until Saturday I will instead show you pics of my flea market/ antique shopping this past weekend.

Strangely enough, it was at Jerry's instigation. about 2 times a year, Jerry actually wants to go with me on my strange adventures. Never let it be said I don't humor my husbands' every whim!!

We drove all the way out to this flea market in Winterset advertised on Craig's list. It wasn't as big and grand as the ad made it sound, but I still found something very kewl there.. vintage shoe buckles. I think these are pretty old actually, it's on my list to research further.. a quickie search didn't turn up any useful info.

I also found a bag of Japanese bottle caps... kewl huh? most are Japanese beer, but a few are Coke!!
I bought this jar of buttons. Most are cheapo plastic ones, but I found a few metals one of interest, and 8 crystal buttons. Hard to capture in the photo, but these are really nice quality, possibly the good kind.. pretty either way!

I got a couple of other items, but these are the hi-lights. I really must find out more about the buckle..

This weekend will be the big blog hop reveal, and it's the big flea market at the fair grounds. I can't wait til Saturday!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Random, no, rambling....

I think I"m catching a cold. hate that.

The only thing I want to blog about is how my Bead Soup Blog Party project is going. I finally have an idea I'm excited about!! But I can't really talk about that or share pictures until Revel day March 3rd. OK, I will give a hint, subject to change depending on how my idea goes: copper. Bawh hahahahahaha (evil laugh of course!)

Course today is housework day, which means catching up the kitchen, hitting the bathrooms and general pick up. ugh. Good thing I have poor standards, otherwise I would never get any artwork done!

I've been working on another round of applications for shows this summer. I tend to work 2-3 at a time. I'm starting to get some info back.. I"ll be in CountrySide Village Art Fair again this year in June, yeah! (or at least they have cashed my check) In the next few weeks I should be hearing back from several other art shows.

Here is a show I wish I was in, but it's a game convention weekend (and I'm not allowed to book those weekends) : Sycamore Market in Iowa City.
They seem super nice, and I know some of the artist's who will be in it on March 31Th. So if you are in Iowa City, it's got to be worth the trip to check out local talent and have a good time!

I hope to get back to glass this weekend once I get my blog party piece done. That is if I can get it done. (hint: copper) (hehehehe)

Well, it's time to swish the toilets. oh joy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trip Pics

To sum up the trip.... wicked fun, and when is the next one??? !!!! ???

This is my favorite piece I made this weekend! Steampunk dragonflies!
this is what I took with me. Seriously, this is light packing for a girls weekend!
Sue, Kat sitting, and Cathie. This is Cathie's wonderful house!
Shopping in Omaha... why yes, yes that's alot of crystals!
here is some of the jewelry I made this weekend!

To sum up the trip.... wicked fun, and when is the next one??? !!!! ???

Friday, February 17, 2012

Roving Reporter - Special Report

It is once more that time of year when this reporter can spy glimpses of the famous beading artist, Kat out and about on her journeys. This year brought unusually balmy weather and with it, the giddy need to shop. Kat was joined in Omaha, Nebraska by her cohorts, Cathie and Sue along with their faithful retainer, Matthew. The trio with husband Jerry and Matthew in tow slipped into the exclusive restaurant and bar called Wheatfields, where they have met before. From glimpses in the windows (this reporter has been banded due to an unfortunate incident with a potted palm), it could be seen that the group had most of the restaurant to themselves. It was apparent that the restaurant owners were being their normal accommodating and gracious selves. The group lingered over lunch, apparently making plans for the ensuing day and after transferring some light weekend luggage, Jerry returned to the home he shares with the artist, their daughter and a bevy of feline companions.

Following the target, this reporter slipped into traffic behind the pale silver cloud of a mini-van. The driver nearly evaded me, but I was able to reacquire Kat's transport at a particularly fortuitous change of lights. After only a few miles, the van pulled into the unobtrusive parking lot outside an exclusive store the bead artists' favor for the finest in supplies and inspiration pieces. The owner pf Papio Creek Beads, Kathy, is a long-time friend to the artists and the three artists spent an hour or more pouring over new acquisitions, discussing shows, and making new purchases according to an inside source who was there at the time.

Following the short visit, the friends all returned to the van and they turned northward to the exclusive Littles' Resort and Spa where the artist had taken retreat to in the past. It is obvious that the impeccable service and luxury accommodations have not wained in the previous year. This year, this reporter came prepared for the ever-vigilant guard dogs and was able to catch a glimpse of the three artists at their work at custom-tables surrounded with a truly dizzying array of sparkle and flash from beads, crystals, semi-precious stones and metals of every description.

In the afternoon, the group took a light break for a lunch to celebrate Sue's birthday with other family and friends. Following the meal, Kat and Cathie did a bit more shopping in Sioux Falls and returned to the Resort for more creativity and visiting. Dinner was catered by a tiny, but favorite Chinese restaurant known by the owners of the spa.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! and more Heyer

I hope everyone had a great Valentine's day! Mine has been as good as expected, if not exactly romantic. Romance is a little hard when everyone in the house either has a cold or is fighting one. Jerry and Jess have it, i"m still gamely fighting that, or possibly a sinus infection. The Netti pot is getting a quite the workout right now, is all I"m gonna say about that!

So tonight for Valentine's day Jerry and I headed out to B & N, and I bought 2 more Heyer's ... Devil's Cub and Venetia. Then we got take out and ate at home, so not to infect all of greater Des Moines.

I love the current printing of the Heyer's books: Lovely, trade paperback editions, large print and great cover art. It was also started by a woman, and seems to cater to women. Got to love that in a book company!

Strange but true: I adore Heyer's Regencies, not so much the other historials, and not so much her mysteries. So I'm trying to buy all the regencies she wrote, preferably via the Sourcebook imprint.

I took a minute and realized I"m not far from my goal... I"m only 14 books shy. Of course not all of them have been reprinted yet but will be in the next year or two.

I'm missing Pistols for Two, Spring Muslin, The quiet Gentleman, April Lady, The Masqueraders, and Powder and Patch . The rest I'll have to wait til they are printed!

Now, if I'm good, I"ll go back to packing for my trip, if I"m bad, I"m going back to my newest Heyer book!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Random thoughts

Next weekend is my annual journey to South Dakota to visit my good buddies Sue and Cathie. I know, traveling to south Dakota in Winter seems **insane**! but they are worth it.

For the last several years I've either gone to South Dakota or met them Mid-way in Omaha or Minneapolis and we spend our time together gabbing, eating, and making jewelry.

I always bring lots of beads and jewelry components to play with, but I always try to plan out specific projects to work on. I can't bring my whole workroom (though hubby, who carries it all out to the car, thinks I do) so if I don't plan things out I will get down there and get excited about a piece and not have that perfect finding or bead to finish it. While my buddies are very good at sharing, we all have different stashes and tools. It still happens of course, because sometimes your design changes in mid-creation.

That's one of the things I'm doing today... pulling out my idea files and making up "kits" to work on while we visit, gab and sing along to our favorite songs.

I never get everything done that I pull, but that's OK.. sometimes it's nice to have something ready to work on when you aren't feeling the inspiration.

I've also been working on round 2 of applications.

This summer is going to be strange as I've had to block out 6 weekends in a row. We are planning on a huge summer trip, but the timing isn't completely nailed down, so I'm leaving those weekends free for now to be flexible as possible for the trip.

This means that I will be doing fewer shows this year. Even once we have vacation plans firmly fixed, I will have missed my window on most show applications for those dates.

While I might be able to find a pick up show here or there, it feels strange that I might be taking such a huge break in the summer.. it would be the first time in probably 10 years to have such a gap during show season.

Course since most of what I apply to is juried, there is always a chance I won't get into anything!! and boy wouldn't that leave a gap! LOL

OK, I"m not that pessimistic about juries, but you can't count on a show until they send you a letter of acceptance, even if you have been in that show before. You can do things to increase the likelihood of getting into a show ( good professional slides, follow the directions exactly, etc) but it's really a crap shoot.

Little Girl and Jerry are gone this weekend, so I've declared it a PJ day.. all weekend! I also get to cook foods they don't like but I love and never get when they are around. (I'm baking oatmeal scotches later this afternoon.. doesn't that sound yummy?? )

I just got a huge order of brass stampings in..... and I'm sorting them by color and subject. I love organizing components!! I've got my sketch book handy and I've jotted down a couple of ideas as they occur... and at least 2 of them are in my pile for Girls' weekend projects.

I have another pound to sort through .... I'm guessing I'll be adding another project or two!

And I'm reading off and on my newest Georgette Heyer, "A Civil Contract". It's not as funny as some of her works but it's been a very good read so far.

I am currently working on another fused glass cab / brass etched plate combo, among other projects. What I don't work on this weekend will most likely end up in the trip pile.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My blog hop partner got her stuff!

wooo hoo! My Bead Soup partner Silver Parrot has posted what I sent her, so I can now talk about it! ( and you can she her post with most excellent pics here )

Do you remember that huge plate of brass I etched a while back?
yep, that's the one....

Anyway the brass back for the pendant I sent KJ is from that plate.. I positioned the cab until I like the design that showed around it, and cut it out.. then filed and sanded the edges. The clasp is from the plate also. I used a torch to give them patina. The notches that I ultimately used as part of the wire wrap was a happy accident.. I actually cut too far, so I came up with notching it all the way around to "hide" my mistake and give it more texture and decoration. I think that worked out great!

Oh yeah, the glass cab is of course my own.. I'm super pleased that the focal and clasp I sent to KJ is all my own work.
Here's the whole package that I sent. I included crystals in close colors to the cab, and some Vintaj and Trinity brass to match the back plate. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with!

And I have her delightful selections to me sitting on my desk, waiting for "the" idea to hit......

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blog Hop UPDATE!

I've just been informed by my Hop partner KJ of Silver Parrot Designs that I misidentified the focal..... they are ceramic Raku made by Star spirit Studios (check out the feet and hands they have in Raku... makes my mouth water and my brain think good creative thoughts....)
The clasp is copper with heat patina by Patricia Healey ( she doesn't seem to have much in her shop right now... I also found her work on Lima Beads check out the lockets.. yummy!) Since I just started to play around with torch patina, I'm awe of the colors on this clasp!! I want to be able to do that!! ( I kind of thought when I first saw it that it was heat patina, but then thought naaa! 2 colorful! lol)

Let's get this Party Started !

I got them!! I got them!! I got my beads for Bead Soup Blog Party! WOOT!!

My partner is KJ Morgan's Silver Parrot Designs and she sent some very interesting stuff!!

The focal of my challenge is the polymer clay pendant. it's hard to see in this picture, but it's a black horse on a Raku type finish. yummy!
The clasp looks handmade, has lovely patina and a small round black bead with another horse, this time the horse has the Raku coloration instead of the back ground.

She sent some Czech crystals, 2 hole flower buttons, 3 snowflake obsidian and some MOP donuts in grey.

Now the fun part... I need to design something using the focal and the clasp, and if possible some of the other beads. Then I ( and 199 of my new best buddies on the Hop ) will post our creations all on the same day, March 3rd.

I have some ideas, but I can't tell or show you until March 3rd. (insert evil laugh here)

I can't wait to see what my partner KJ makes what what I sent her!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

more adventures in glass

I'm trying to make a filigree candle holder. You take many pieces of scrap glass, arrange in a pleasing manner and fire it at full fuse. Then you fire it a 2ND time on slump mold. Well, my first attempt --- not so good. I think I had 2 many gaps so when it slumped, it pulled away. I might have fired it 2 long or 2 hot since it wasn't a single piece of glass also... and I have cracks in a couple of places. ugh.

Here is my 2ND try, pre - fire. When it came out of the kiln the first time, it seemed much better fused and not as many gaps ( but hopefully enough gaps to make it look good!)

I ran the 2ND fire last night, and this morning while the glass was alittle 2 hot to handle, I took some pics.
here it is upside down!

This one turned out much better. There is no gaping and I can't find any cracked glass ( when I ran it this time I reduced the top temperature by 10 degrees and I didn't hold it quite as long) I'll inspect closer tonight, when it's cool enough to touch! I know I don't like this corner that sort of poked out of the side:

I think I'll give the candle holder one more try, but maybe I'll do solid clear base and just decorate it with a sprinkling of other colors/ dichro.