Monday, December 11, 2017

10 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself During the Holidays

Todos Santos, December 2014.
'Tis the season to offer gifts to those that you love. Feeling all "bah humbug" about that? Well think again. There is actual research data supporting the notion that giving and receiving is associated with the same kind of brain activity that occurs when we feel physical pleasure. How utterly cool!

It's important to show kindness to yourself as well as to others. There are a multitude of ways you can show yourself some love. Here are a few:

1. Say No to a holiday obligation.

Nobody finds you fun to be around if you arrive at all 20 of your scheduled holiday events out of breath and exhausted from all of the holiday fuss. You don't have to attend them all. Heck, you don't have to attend any if you don't feel like it.

2. Buy yourself a gift.

While you are no doubt buying a lot of gifts for others, why not buy yourself something you've been lusting after for a while? After all, who knows better what might trip your trigger than you? I just so happen to have an online shop full of my handmade art glass jewelry that might just do it for you. My holiday bench sale is ON and if you'd like to get free shipping on your order click here.

Speckled acorn pendant. Now available in my online shop.
3. Make yourself some food that you love.

The short days of winter are no time to feel deprived. Fortunately, you can make healthier versions of your favorite comfort food, and not pay the price at the scale.

Of course if you're not concerned about calories, why not make this favorite of ours?

Leek Bread Pudding. To. Die. For. 
4. Unplug from the craziness.

Even a half hour spent in candlelight, reading a favorite book while listening to soft music can recharge your batteries and help you get centered again. Personally, I love to slip into the jacuzzi outside under the stars, and breathe the cool night air in as my muscles and brain get back into a relaxed state.

5. Take a nap.

Well, those of you who are able to do this, more power to you! Even short naps can be restorative, and help you feel more powerful as you check off those items on your never ending holiday to do list. Need some help with this one? Here are some napping tips.

6. Pare down.

It's easy to go overboard during the holidays. Attending every party. Sending cards to everyone you have ever known. Getting that perfect family portrait. Buying the Perfect Gift for each person on your list. Doing All The Things. But who's keeping score here besides you? Nobody expects you to do all of these things, so why kill yourself trying? Simplify.

7. Spread that Holiday Spirit out through the year.

This one might be hard for you to hear. What's so magical about doing the Usual List of Things at this particular time versus all different times throughout the year? Why not make special food in March, for example, or invite your favorite friends over for a little party in June? The more I honor the spirit of the holidays all throughout the year the more relaxed I am when December comes. Struggling to envision this? Here are some tips.

8. Express Gratitude.

Whether you do it in private, or acknowledge it in front of others, expressing thankfulness for the good things in your life is powerful medicine. As in #7, this one is best practiced all throughout the year.

9.  Find Serenity

There is comfort to be found in letting go. This applies to things, people, and activities that no longer serve you well. It's freeing to realize how many things we try to control but in actuality have no control over. Here is the serenity prayer:

"God, grant me the serenity,
 to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

We like to do this on the Solstice. Each person writes things they would like to let go of (things they realize they cannot control) on a separate paper. Each is tossed into the fire as a silent prayer is said.

10. Focus on those who have less.

Sometimes doing things for others less fortunate than ourselves helps to put everything in perspective. In the past we have felt enormous gratitude from helping out at soup kitchens, supporting toy drives for underprivileged children, and finding people to spend time with during the holidays who have no family around. This one helps you feel good by giving, and by finding gratitude for the blessings you have.

For more inspiration on how to treat yourself with kindness over the holidays, visit this link.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mad Science Electroforming Workshop at Sonoran Glass School


Intrigued by the idea of adding some metal zing to your glass work? Or maybe you've found just that intriguing something on the ground while hiking and wanted to preserve it in metal forever.  Copper electroforming is a technique that can accomplish all of these things for you and more.


I'll be teaching my "Mad Science" electroforming workshop at the Sonoran Glass School in Tucson on November 18 & 19 this year. You can be a soft glass worker or a boro person and still take this class.   You will learn how to use electricity and scrap copper to enhance your lampwork beads, pipes, or other glass or porous organic objects such as acorn caps and twigs.  I will cover how to properly seal and electroform natural materials such as acorns, twigs, and leaves, as well as synthetic materials such as polymer clay and glass.  I will also share techniques for making pendant-style beads off the end of the mandrel with beautiful electroformed bead caps.  Students will bring several of their own beads or small sculptural pieces to class to be electroformed. For more information please visit the Sonoran Glass School website, and sign up.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Art Beads Online Trunk Show Oct 30-Nov 1



Hey all, it's gotten crispy cool around here and while we're not truly into our rainy season yet, I've been warming myself by the heat of my torch and cranking out loads of new beads for my trunk show in the Art Beads group on Facebook coming up in a week. This time of year I get a little bolder with my colors. Something about jewel tones for the holidays...

Lots of sparkle in this show! Encased dichroic beads, and animal prints with lots of sparkling goldstone.
 The show starts at 9pm Pacific on Monday, October 30 (Halloween Eve!), and goes until 7pm Pacific on Weds, Nov 1. If you'd like to see and be eligible to purchase the goodies, you need to join the group - just visit this link and click "Join" to be a part of the fun.

Some petite sparkly disc shaped beads with encased silver glass bubble dots. Yummm!
If the whole idea of an online trunk show makes you scratch your head, no worries. I have exclusive use of the "wall" in that group from around 9pm Oct. 30 until 7pm on 1 November to share pictures of my beads with you. They will be offered as "BIN" ("Buy It Now") items with a set price, and also as auctions where you bid. I post a picture and descriptive details, and you post your comments, "BIN"s, or bids in the comments below it. Some items will have the option for me to Make then to Order (MTO) for you if they sell out before you get to them. Easy peasy, and then at the end of the show I send you a PayPal invoice for the items you have purchased. I ship within 24 hours of payment, and MTO items are completed and shipped within two weeks.

Candyriffic.
I'll be sharing some more sneak peaks over the next week of the goodies to come in my show. Happy Fall!


Monday, October 2, 2017

Dayna Schutter 3D Flower Murrine class

Dayna Schutter
Have you seen the latest trend in lampwork bead making? Artists are using incredibly realistic looking murrine making jaw dropping encased floral beads. These flowers are made from murrine, which are slices from cane made by building detailed elements up from the inside out.

I've been using Dayna's murrine for a while now - I love the extra sparkle they have from the goldstone inside, and I love her color combinations.  Here's one I recently made from her murrine.

My bead, Dayna's murrine.
Dayna is coming to teach her 3D floral murrine making techniques in my Los Gatos, California studio on January 27 and 28, 2018.

This is a class for intermediate bead makers who want to learn how to make 3D flower murrini and use them in their beads. There are different styles of making murrini. This style will focus on layering the glass as the murrini is built, rather than making individual components and assembling them. We will make a flower cane with a single layer of petals. You will be able to build on these skills to make more complex flower murrini as you become more comfortable with practice. We will discuss color layering techniques and recipes, and how to successfully pull the cane to the desired length and thickness. Day 2 will focus on taking these murrini and creating beads using various techniques for application. Techniques such as applying flat chips, how to pull points and apply, murrini implosion buds, and how to encase them in a bead without smearing them. We will also do a fun leaf cane twisty to add to the beads. Cost: $480. There are only a few seats left, so please contact me if you'd like to sign up.
My Los Gatos studio
My studio is located in the beautiful coastal mountains near Silicon Valley, California. It's an easy 25 minutes from the San Jose International airport, and only 13 miles from the beaches in Santa Cruz. There are nearby hotels in the charming town of Los Gatos, as well as Scotts Valley, also within 15 minutes from here. I tend to pamper my students with delicious lunches and social time after class, so be prepared to forget your worldly cares and learn some fabulous new techniques from some of the world's best teachers. For more information on my classes please visit my website.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Earring update: Capturing the work


I've been working on earrings inspired by the season and today was a photo shoot day. I think I almost love taking pictures as much as I love melting glass.  Since these are spring-themed pieces I thought I'd include some seed packets, because when I'm not melting glass these days I'm thinking about growing things.

My work is mostly one of a kind, and I make it myself, slowly, with intention and love. There's no factory, no production line. No marketing department, no payroll department (that I've heard of anyway), and no sales representatives. You won't find my work in stores and you won't find me every Sunday at the Farmer's Market (selling, anyway - I love a good savory crepe as much as the next girl).  My in-person show list has gotten smaller and I'm spending more time in the studio. It's just me, and my time, and my love for glass, and the creations that I am blessed to channel into this world.

I'm thinking about offering my work in regular shop updates, as collections and batches of newly created things. I can give you a sneak preview here of what's to come (hint: the image above is a hint for next week), and then make it available all at once for a few days.  What do you think about that? I can commit to a schedule, maybe even once a month, to offer you the latest pieces from my bench. Would you do me a solid and let me know whether that idea sounds good to you? I would love to hear from you.  It's been too long.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let your ears do the talking

The fashion magazines have a lot to say about earrings this spring. In fact, the earrings themselves are speaking, and they're making a huge statement. Biiiig, long earrings are the "it" thing this season and they can take many forms. Whether they are mega hoops, or long dangles, they can be a perfect complement to your outfit and make a statement at the same time. 

One of the trends in jewelry for this season is "art school" earrings: 

Image from Vogue.
Possibly a bit too far out there but this trend is evident in some tamer offerings from Etsy shops as well, such as these sculptural beauties from GitasJewelryShop:


And these super fun, colorful ones from :


And these fan-style numbers from


I personally love a long, chain-styled dangle like these from :


Unsure how to work these kinds of bold pieces into your wardrobe? Here's 5 tips to get you started:

1. Wear all black, or even just a black top, to let your earrings get all of the attention.
2. Tie your hair back or up, to shine the spotlinght on the full splendor that is your ear candy. 
3. Wear all white, for a similar effect to #1.
4. Pick one solid color from your colorful statement earrings to wear on the top, and let the harmony begin!
5. Go super casual (e.g. torn jeans and a t-shirt), to put all of the focus on your magnificent, oversized earrings. 

I've been working on some bolder earring designs of my own for this season, and have learned so much in the process.  I am *so* excited about how these came together, in harmony with my nature-oriented theme, yet still kind of... out there.  Let's just say a little birdie told me...

I'll be rolling out my newest collection of statement earrings on May 10, and I hope you'll be there for the big reveal. Stay tuned for more on that!


Saturday, February 18, 2017

New work for Stitches West 2017 - Glass buttons!

Since I got home from the Sonoran Glass Art Show in Tucson I've resumed my prep for my first appearance at the Stitches West Marketplace in Santa Clara next week.  I'm so excited to show my work in this vibrant venue, and hope you will stop by my booth (1137) and say "hi".

Here are some of the shank style buttons I've been making lately.


These delicately coloreds ones are difficult to photograph.




 See you at Stitches West! The show opens with a Marketplace Preview on Thursday, 2/23 from 5-8pm, and goes through Sunday at 5pm.


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