Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ETSY and Etching

So I decided now that I actually have something handcrafted to share, I'd repopulate my Etsy shop !!
You can see it here:
Amy's ETSY

I've started to slowly get some of my lampwork beads listed for sale there. So go check it out!

In my most recent torch session, I remembered I also LOVE to etch some of my glass beads.
(How on earth could I have forgotten that? I dunno - but I did!! )
In my box of supplies for lampwork bead making, I found my bottle of Etch All.
It was like a 3 year old at Christmas!

Ran upstairs to where the most recent batch of baked beads was soaking in a soapy water bowl, rinsed them all off, dried well...and inspected.
Carefully selected only the ones that I know need to be etched.
Funny how none of them screamed to be etched until I became aware that I still had a bottle (and folks, not just a bottle - a BIG bottle) of Etch-All. The kind that will likely last me for the next 5 years of beadmaking (if I don't take any more hiatuses.)
Then they were practically jumping out of the bowl to be etched.

15 minutes later - yes, I set the timer on the stove - they were lightly surfaced etched & gave them just enough velvety feel that it was time to pour nasty brown liquid gold back into its BIG bottle & seal up for next time.
All were rinsed, patted, and permitted to dry until they were inspected again.

Bead Velvet Heaven!

Now to turn them into sets....

Get over to ETSY & see what the velvet fuss is all about!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Into the Swing of Things?

Today at 12pm begins my first self-declared week OFF from my full time career job in over 4 years. Not sick time, not scheduled moving time - actual "ok - I'm not answering the phone now"-OFF
YAY me!
I'm self employed, on many levels, and really don't get a day OFF from anything unless there is a real dire reason. I work 7 days a week, long hours.
Therefore, at 12pm, I have decided to turn my office phone to vaca mode.

I then plan on heading to the Boutique to sit in on a class that I'd love to take from one of my guest instructors.
However, then I'm hanging out as tonight is one of Pitman's Fourth Friday events.

But a day filled with Beads - I'll take it !!

So - onto the stuff I've been doing (ok, well, thinking about)...

Statement: I really do not like ironing.
I would rather scrub all the toilets in my house than iron one stinkin' piece of clothing. Which leads to a real problem when you read my post about Joann Fabrics and fusible interfacing. It means I have to actually bust out said iron & use it to fuse the fusible interfacing to the totally awesome quarter of fabric I bought. (bah !)

So yesterday, my lovely fiancee, in his morning rush, asks me to iron his shirt for the workday ahead. Um......I guess so...
Then I remembered that in order to start actually working on the intended project for this great fabric & that fusible interfacing, I have to start by actually fusing it together - which needs an IRON.
NOW - that's incentive! Finish dress shirt & then get to experiment with the new stuff I have !

Looked it up online, then read the instructions that came wrapped up with the fusible interfacing. Followed instructions (I think).
Lo and behold - great fabric is fused to backing !!!!!!
Now to cut apart components & start re-stitching them together with - well....BEADS !


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You Know You're a Beader When....

The start of this blog was because I wanted a place to jot down quick ideas (or full blog snippets) that I was afraid I'd lose in my fast lane called life. I will always do my best to keep these pages upbeat & fun.

However...I must share what's been up the last few days.

There was a horrible tragic car accident 1/3 mile from where I live. The impact was so strong that I heard it & knew something was terribly wrong, without knowing it was even a car accident. I can't describe it here, other than the sound would numb you. Seeing the aftermath from a distance & knowing more about the young woman involved, it has completely zapped me of any potential creativity I might have had flowing.
I feel just terrible for her family, she was so young.
If you are a friend of mine on Facebook, and want to read more, I have a couple of articles posted.

SO - since I won't be beading tonight - I am trying to cheer myself into a positive rest of my week.
Mama needs her spunk back!
Let's do something fun!
Inspired by a newsletter feature in my local bead society -

Share with me, if you will, your stories of "You Know You're a Beader When....."



Monday, July 19, 2010

Joann Fabrics thanks to Rachel Nelson-Smith

Several weeks ago I was forced into a trip to Ikea (hell on earth, too visually noisy to me).
My fiancee LOVES Ikea. Its complete artistic overstim for him. He browses & looks at everything.
Therefore, I grab the cart and head two sections ahead.
Turns out, there IS something at Ikea that gave me reason to browse !!
They have fabric. They not only have fabric by the yards & yards (apparently its used for curtain like structures in homes - *snicker*) they have fabric remnants pre-cut into approximate 1 and 2 yard lengths. And its THICK fabric too!
Thank you Rachel Nelson-Smith - you have given me a reason to enjoy a visit to Ikea, even if only briefly in one section.
Rachel's work has been a source of eye candy for some time now. I truly enjoy browsing through visuals of her work. She's such a nice "celebrity beader" too!! I emailed her a question when I attempted a pattern of hers, and she kindly replied the same day.
Anyway....Rachel has a truly unique piece featured in the June/July issue of Beadwork Magazine. She was one of the participants in a pattern challenge which won the editor's choice award! She designed & created an amazing piece using a great pattern she has from a greeting card.
It inspired me!
Read through the instructions & think that I just might be able to pull enough info from the article that I can use some of that fabric I bought at Ikea !! When I bought that fabric, I had bead embroidery in mind...being somewhat new to all of the embroidery techniques, wasn't too sure of how "construction" would work - but couldn't pass up that fabric !! Such awesome patterns!

So - I managed to escape the Boutique a little bit early yesterday & head to a local Joann Fabrics. I needed something called fusible interfacing.
(Side note - I don't sew. I have no idea what I'm looking for.)

But the nice lady at Joann Fabrics knows what I'm looking for & cut me a yard (making bracelets and/or pendants, at the rate I make things, I'm sure it will last me a while).
However, while I was waiting in line to have interfacing cut, I discovered THEIR fabric section....
An entire two rows of quilters quarters neatly stacked down the entire length of the store.
-Insert Unlimited Possibilities Here-

So I managed to reel myself back in. I left purchasing less than $20 of materials (pat me on the back). Fray Check, Snaps, 1 yard Fusible Interfacing, 1 quilters quarter, and 1 yard of a Keepsake Collection fabric (it was 30% off!).

The design construction is a multiple step process which involves first fusing my fabric selection to this interfacing.

Now...how long am I going to think about it before I get up off my touchie & drag out the iron?



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reluctantly, Creative side tapped !!

Yesterday was a fun one. I finally had the liberty of catching up on some sleep (originally lost due to Mother Nature's recent middle of the night rants). Then went into the Boutique for a private lesson scheduled with a good customer.

The designated class was originally intended for students to learn how to decoratively wire wrap larger beads to make them into pendants. Turns out, she wanted to learn how to take pieces of purchased sea glass & turn them into pendants - oh yeah, and some scalloped sea shells she brought home from Florida over the years.
If you do any kind of wire work, you know that wrapping a bead (with a hole) is much different than wrapping something that does not have a hole of any kind.
Insert *sigh* here.
After lounging all day, it was just something I wasn't mentally prepared for.
However, as a business owner, you always want to make your customers happy. So I winged it.
The answer to the question is yes, "Do you know how to wire wrap items without holes?"
I just wasn't prepared to not be prepared.

So after two hours, I had successfully taught her how to bind wire together and wrap supports around the pieces she brought with her. As a "purist" I don't use glue, however, she had brought with her several sample pieces that she had purchased over the years and all of them featured layers of store bought sea glass glued together, then wire wrapped around them to make it appear as if the wire was holding them together.
She learned how to do this without glue & even learned how to turn those shells into pendants too !

At the end of the class, I had used a few pieces of her sea glass & one of her shells to demonstrate the techniques. I had put them both back in her pile so she could wear them... We carry a variety of cabs, but not loose sea glass or shells without holes.
She had brought me a little gift too - a hand painted sea shell that says, "Life is better at the beach."
After she left & I went back to the classroom table to clean up, I found she had left a small sampling of sea glass & two small scalloped shells on the worktable. We had discussed how much fun it was & I had commented that I'd have to get out to get some sea glass myself!
So she left me a bunch to get myself started.
What a sweet gesture !

That being said, I can't tell you the possibilities that were running through my head.
Glass in hand must have sparked the ideas and before I could even get to my new virtual notebook to jot them down.

We have a huge kiln! It was originally purchased to do some medium scale slumping & fusing.
Of which, we still intend to get to... (its only been a year)
But OH - the possibilities of working smaller scale for glass sheet into wire wrapped jewelry pendants!

And then....we've been collecting glass bottles for about a year (see a trend here?).
It would be so cool to break some of them into shards, firepolish some of them & use those for said jewelry pendants.

OK - so noted.
To be placed on the "I hope to get to it someday" list.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Kids & Polymer Clay

This morning was an interesting one.
It starts with the usual waking around 5am & can't go back to sleep, so the mind starts wandering...
Eventually get myself up & going with a client appointment early in the day.

Follow that with a stop into the Boutique to help my staff member cover things while she worked with a small group of young girls.
Last week, we offered part one of our two part Kids Workshop. We had three young ladies sign up.
On Friday they spent over an hour making polymer clay beads. We baked them over the weekend.
Today they came back to make a necklace & bracelet out of their handcrafted beads, supplemented by some czech glass beads.

Turns out the girls had a sleepover last night, stayed up way too late (haa haa, remember those days?) and came in a little tired this morning.

However, their creativity was not lost ! They made beautiful pendants for their leather necklaces and used the rest of the beads they made in bracelets with a wide variety of colors.
About half way through their project with us, they seemed to come alive a bit.

Now, I personally didn't assist the children, I just watched from afar & helped the few other customers that visited that hour.
But it was refreshing to see their perspective on color & design...

A really well behaved group of young ladies. I hope to see them visit again!

Tonight brings an inventory project for me.
While I LOVE getting new beads....the inventory process is a bit nightmarish. Not only is it time consuming, its frustrating for a creative mind to have to sort, price, etc and not PLAY with those new treasures.
I must mentally design 100 things in my pea-brain when I'm doing inventory processes. Only maybe one or two of which actually come to life at any point in time.

OK - back to work !! :)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

The start of a new place to share

After many mental notes, reminding myself of this and that (of which I usually forget anyway), time has come to share my musings aloud. Several times throughout the day I have these great creative thoughts (well, I think they're great) and make myself a mental note.
Several hours pass & if you know me well enough, you know that my work day is SO jammed packed, that by the time those hours pass, those creative ideas/thoughts/inspirations have long been stored in the "I forgot" pile.

Here's my place to jot them down.
This will be my place to share them with others.
My hope is that this will help me get back to more of my creative side.
And inspire others to feed off of inspiration and creativity that I might share.

From time to time, you may see me run an idea by readers for the Boutique (see below).
Its always nice to have thoughts and opinions from others - and I truly welcome comments of all kinds!

I call it the Fast & Furious beader for a couple of reasons:
#1 - I'm a bead addict
#2 - I not only make jewelry and the like from beads, I also make beads of glass
#3 - My lifestyle fits the words perfectly: fast & furious (never a dull moment)
#4 - I like that movie !

While I'm full of opinions & most of the time you'll know what I'm thinking because I wear it on my sleeve - I do keep my personal life rather private.

About me:
- For 10 years I've been advising clients on what to do with their money - I am a Financial Advisor, Branch Manager, and Registered Principal with one of the leading independent broker/dealers in the country. This is my full time career and first business love!
- For almost 7 years, I've had a love of beading and all things bead related. So much so, that I now own a retail store in Pitman, NJ. Talk about a bead-a-holic ! Its my home away from home. Love love LOVE my customers !!
- 10 years & going strong - I'm engaged to a wonderful man that has stood by my side in all of my endeavors. He's my soulmate and so lucky to have found him. We'll get married when we're ready, so don't ask!
- Other things I enjoy: my little fuzzball kitty, educating people about money, teaching people new beading techniques, public & motivational speaking, making glass beads, checking in with my beading Fast Friends from eBay, and gardening (when I have time.)

So - off to another busy day - here's hoping the inspiration / "virtual notebook" pays off !!