Thursday, June 30, 2011


As I write this my mom is within a few hours of arriving for a summer visit, and I can't contain myself!  The house is as clean as it's going to be, her bed is made and little bouquets of freshly cut flowers from the garden are scattered about, and the fountain in the front yard is gurgling again.  I'm so grateful for her energy, her loving friendship, and her willingness to travel, and I really enjoy preparing for her visits, anticipating our time together, and making things pretty.  She's excited to escape the awful Memphis heat, to meet her new grand-chickens and kiss her grand-dog, and find out what's in store for her week in the mountains.

What's in bloom in my garden:  lacecap hydrangea, feverfew, Shasta daisies, my favorite old shrub rose, and the most precious peachy-lavender wallflower you've ever seen.  

Some time ago she suggested that we tackle a project together when she comes, kind of like her own parents used to do when they visited.  In the last couple of years we've accomplished two of these - removing the wallpaper and painting in our bedroom, and converting some curtains into a table skirt for my bead shows.  Of course, we always manage to fit in some fun as well, like hiking, sightseeing, or dinner with friends.

Guest soap from Renee, in one of her own dishes.

She doesn't know it yet, but this summer's project is to refinish a loveseat and coffee table that her father built for a lake cottage they used to have in Northern Michigan.  It's seen far too much weather without proper protection, and needs some TLC.  I've found some cushions to replace the makeshift ones I made from an old futon, and have some weatherproof stain.  I wanted to paint the wood but my husband lobbied heavily for stain, so we'll give it a go.  It's just pine, so it probably doesn't matter.  I wish that Lowe's had a bigger selection of fabric for their cushions, but the price wasn't bad.

The Project.

I'll keep you posted as the project progresses!  I'm off to fluff more pillows, and to resist the temptation to wash windows.  She would understand, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I heart macro

I just discovered i heart macro (yeah, I know, a bit late) and want to play!  The post says it's still open but maybe not as it's Tuesday.  I'll give it a shot and will do another come Sunday.

studio waterstone

Friday, June 17, 2011

How I made this bead

Since I've been getting inquiries about how I made this bead, I thought I'd share the process with you.  Not exactly a tutorial, but you'll get the idea.  What I love about it is how I was able to combine techniques I've learned in classes with Jennifer Geldard (catch her next year in the Bead and Button Master's Class), and Trey Cornette.  When I look at this bead I'm fondly reminded of them both.   The encasing technique (described later) is one I learned with Jennifer.  The surface application of twisted raku cane is something I've done for years, but learned more about in Trey's class.  I highly recommend taking classes from both of these masters - the techniques I learned from them were invaluable and I draw on them still, years later.

 Photograph by David Orr.
Just a word about my description first - I'm not trying to be cagey about some of the colors.  I rarely make notes and it's hard for me to recall exactly what I used for a particular bead.  I've used raku for years in various forms - the 1 kilo mondo rods you have to break up and pull yourself, the 5-6mm pulled stuff, frit, etc., and I've also used the chalcedony (blue and "regular") from Gaffer Glass, and find that they work very similarly.  I've got lots of twisted cane using both on my bench, and I honestly can't recall which I used for this bead.  But one thing's for sure, you have to be patient with it, and eventually you'll get some very nice color.  This post by Mike Hengler on the Gaffer Girls' blog is very helpful for working with chalcedony.  Thanks to Deb Batten for calling my attention to it.

This 46mm long bead was made in 3 separate layers, and took me quite a long time to make.  I started with a long tapered bicone that was green in the middle and blue on the ends.  I shaped it carefully as if it were the final shaping.  Then I used the strip casing method to encase the whole thing with clear, possibly using a transparent blue on the ends (it's been a while) to intensify the blue underneath.  I like that method because it results in a thin layer of clear on the bead.

Once the whole encased bead was nicely shaped, I applied twisted cane (twisties) that I made using raku and black or blue chalcedony and black, one side at a time, near the ends of the bead.  As in Trey's class, intense, focused heat and gravity is applied to the twistie to get it to flow toward the center of the bead, elongating the stripes.  A lot of reshaping is necessary after doing this as the mass of glass gets very distorted.  When I'm done with this the stripes have essentially met in the center of the bead.  Then I spent some time playing with heat and O2 to get the raku or chalcedony to "bloom".  I applied a goldstone stringer (this is also encased) around the center of the bead.

Then I used a clear glass stringer to twist around the center of the bead in five different spots.  On top of each twisted spot I applied a dot of silvered glass (likely Triton or Psyche), poked it with my tungsten pick, and put a dot of clear on top.

The final task was to apply dots of reduction stringer (likely iris gold) on the ends of the bead.  That's it!  Easy peasy and only an hour to do.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New goodies in my Etsy shop

Been fusing and hammering away...

Antiqued, hand forged silver and glass briolette earrings
Antiqued, hand forged silver and smoky glass briolette earrings
New Meanie brooch / hair clip
This lovely little Meanie brooch can also be worn as a clip in your hair.  I just love having options like that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reflections of a pretty girl

At Kate's suggestion I put a mirror out in the girls' run, and as she predicted they were drawn to it. One in particular, Princess Laya.

Posture, Posture!
Here she is, standing proud and pretty.

Do these feathers make me look fat?
She is just fascinated with herself!

Chica Loca pretends the mirror isn't there
Chica Loca couldn't be bothered.

Practicing my runway walk
Here she is practicing her runway walk.

Ahhh....I could look at myself all day.
She's very enamoured with that girl in the mirror!

Where did that cute chicken go?
And this, this made me smile. There is more to that bird brain than you'd think.

Happy Wednesday! Stay cool... We're hot and I'm loving it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Baja Sand and Sky

We didn't get to go to Baja this year as we normally do. Too many schedule conflicts. But in these last (hopefully) throes of winter (yes, it's true, it is like WINTER here still with a fierce winter-style storm due to hit tonight) I'm dreaming even more of the soft Sea of Cortez breezes, the incredible water, and the starkly beautiful coast.

I captured my dreams in this special piece, an asymmetric, convertible necklace featuring my own handmade lampwork beads, hand-forged and antiqued brass findings, and some snakeskin jasper that will knock your socks off. The greener stones in my gemstone strand went toward my last piece, but the ones dipped in a beautiful Sea of Cortez hue were saved for this one.

Baja Sand and Sky Necklace
It's here, in my Etsy shop. This is how it looks with two strands in front (see last photo for another way to wear it).

Baja Sand and Sky Necklace
The etched ivory spacers in my beaded links reflect the many dichotomies we find in our desert paradise.

Baja Sand and Sky Necklace
I really love making these brass components, and have fallen in love with the rich look they have after patina.

Baja Sand and Sky Necklace
Memories captured in bubbles.

Baja Sand and Sky Necklace
Here's another way it can be worn, with 3 strands in the front. I think a girl should have a choice about things like this, yes?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Green is Happening

Shades of Green Necklace
Shades of Green necklace, in my Etsy shop now.
38" worn singly, and makes a delightful 19" double strand piece.

The rain is working her magic with the earth, which is feeding the bazillion shades of green wowing our temperate rainforest world right now. I walk these forests daily, and I do believe it's soaking from my eyes into my brain, and emerging from my hands as I work.

Shades of Green Necklace

Shades of Green Necklace

Shades of Green Necklace

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh Yeah.

Want to see a picture of a happy woman?

First time at the new bench.

Here's another:

It's working out well!

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


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