About Me

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I am an artist, wife and mother, paraeducator, yo-yo dieter, and small town country girl. I love singing in my church choir, computer time, beading and making jewelry. And I love enameling! There is something very magical about turning powder into smooth, shiny, and colorful glass.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Kylie Parry Beads

I just love Kylie Parry's ceramic beads especially these sweet birds. I think I'm building a flock! I haven't created anything using her beads yet but I'm sure I will. I might have to buy more birds first.
These are my newest acquisitions. I love the nautical theme. Even the string is cute!
Lily Pad   

I also have a "thing" for acorns. The whole mighty oak coming from the tiny acorn idea, I just love it!
Even Kylie's packaging is just so clever and beautiful.
Check out Kylie Parry's Etsy shop, she has lots more ceramic art beads to choose from!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Warrior

Because I work during the day, I don't get a lot of enameling done during the week. So on Saturdays I turn on the kiln and go to town!. Sundays are often used for paying bills and house cleaning but I usually fit in a little studio time especially if I have custom orders. I am a weekend warrior for sure! These center drilled beauties are what I worked on today. I love the vibrant opaque mix and match colors. All of the copper blanks were purchased from Metal Fetish on etsy. They have a new web site but they didn't have the starflowers or small flowers. Hmm,  I'll have to email them and inquire because I'm out of those.
I envision these components stacked and attached to brass stampings and leather or chain.

I fired on a layer of clear front and back first. I've found the clear is important when the copper blanks are small and have pointed parts. Then I fired two coats of the opaque colors. The tiny pieces were a pain!
And I had some problems with this one on the edges. I have no idea why the enamel didn't stick but I assume I got some dirt or grease on it.
Very maddening!
Much better!  Buying premade copper shapes and enameling them in solid colors is easy and will get you great results. I'll be listing these in my etsy supplies shop soon.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


One of my favorite things to do in the summer is Saturday yard sales. I work in a school so I have plenty of extra time in the summer to scout out "treasures". In fact, I hope to open up an Etsy vintage shop one of these days. Well, that's my excuse for buying cool old stuff that I don't need. So I was excited today to see signs to an estate sale in my neighborhood and I was especially excited to find this miniatures display shelf.  Now here is something I actually need! It will be perfect for organizing beads, craft items, and all the stuff that is taking up my beading table. It's pretty big but I figure I'm using that much space with my mess so I might as well organize the mess.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday's Thoughts

I'm still working the alliteration theme!

looking forward to Lilacs in bloom!
 I had good news yesterday at my Doctor's appointment and I'm so pleased I had to share. Last October, I had my yearly (OK, I admit it was more like a year and a half) check up and blood work. My weight was up (once again) and my blood work and my blood pressure were not good. Lots of scary elevations which led to a cat scan, more blood work, and a visit to a specialist. Guess what he said? All heath concerns were reversible with weight loss and exercise. Blah, blah, blah. So what else is new. But I was freaked out enough to take it seriously. I turned 60 years old this year and I could see how my hopes and plans for the future were in jeopardy because I wasn't taking care of my health.  After losing 35 pounds, walking an hour four days a week, and eating a disgustingly healthy dietmy blood work was normal. Only my cholesterol was still a bit high and not in the right proportions but hopefully with some more weight loss and exercise that will improve also. The hardest part for me is keeping weight off but my family is very happy, relieved and proud of me so I'm going to use that as my inspiration!

here's to the beautiful butterfly in all of us!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Even though I make shiny colorful beads, I also love these beads from the Philippines. They are earthy and neutral and are made from nuts, seeds, and exotic woods. I think they would blend with just about anything. And, what luck, I sell them in my etsy supplies shop! : )

exotic Philippine woods

seeds and nuts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tutorial

I can't promise that I will have a new tutorial every Tuesday but it's a good idea, isn't it? I will try, I promise. Today I'm going to show you how to get an interesting matte finish on your enameled pieces. Here's a finished enameled bead.
You need a commercial etching creme like Etch-All.
Make sure you use rubber gloves because it is strong stuff. I used a few different techniques to apply the creme but I ended up just covering the whole bead in a goopy manner. I let it sit for 1/2 hour instead of the 15 minutes the instructions recommended.
 Rinse off the creme and you've got a great finish that looks a bit like pottery or ceramic. If you're not happy with the matte look you can fire the piece again to get the shine back.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Warrior

I love disc beads! These colors caught my eye, very juicy don't you think? They are handmade by
 Alisha White who also makes some beautifully unique hollow beads.

 These beads have a soft matte finish called luster. They're made by one of my favorite lampworkers, Paul from PaulBeads. I love the wavy shape!
  Discs make beautiful earrings but it can be tricky to get them positioned just right so the disc doesn't hang down instead of flat. So I made some hoop style ear wires and the simple design really showed off the beads. I used some of my new colored wire to embellish the silver. The hoops may take some practice to get the hook closure just right and I want to make some in copper, too.

I'm very happy with these, I may have to keep them for myself!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

I read that Wordless Wednesday is a "thing" in blogging now where you just post pictures. What a great idea! Of course, I'm writing words right now so this is my (almost) Wordless Wednesday.

nature inspired enameled pendants

Monday, April 16, 2012

Colorful Wire Wraps

I absolutely love my new colored wire!! It is called parawire and I bought it from Bello Modo. It is copper wire with a nylon coating. It's very easy to manipulate but you do have to be careful not to mar the wire because you can chip off the color. It comes in many colors and gauges, I bought the 24 gauge to wire wrap some sterling wire clasps. Bello Modo has lots of different supplies to choose from, a nice web site,  and very fast shipping but you have to pay a 15% "restocking fee" if you want to return anything. Is this something new? How could it possibly cost 15% to put an item back in stock? OK, my rant is over.
It also comes in great metal colors like these. They are, from left to right, Antiqued Copper, Vintage Bronze, and Gunmetal.
I made my clasps from 16 gauge argentium sterling silver wire and put them in my tumbler before I finished the ends.
I wrapped the wire around the middles.
Then finished the loops and added argentium sterling closed rings.
I love the added punch of color!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rectangle Dangles

I love how colorful, but at the same time rustic, these rectangle dangles look. I used them to make a few necklaces such as these:

But it never occurred to me to put them in my supplies shop. A customer saw the necklaces, asked if I could make her just the rectangles and they came out great so I wanted to share. You can buy the copper blanks from Bopper on Etsy and they come in different sizes. It takes longer to fire a 3 dimentional shape so I upped the temp to 1470 degrees F. First I fired a coat of clear. I did two sides at once but then I got the bright idea to use my bead mandrels to hang the blanks during firing so I could fire all sides at once. It was very messy but saved time. Since you're going for rustic it doesn't matter if you get a coat on every spot. The opaque colors got two coats.
I used two different colors on each one for interest.
The transparent colors got a coat of white first, then two coats of the color.
Resist the urge for perfection, rustic is what you're going for.
These are the 1 inch size, very cute I think!!