Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lampwork Glass Ornaments for the Blog Hop!

Ah, so, the other day I was inspired to make some glass bird beads. Yes, I've tried this before and not been completely pleased with the results. This time I came up with a couple of different styles that I rather liked. Some were turned into earrings, others into ornaments~ all ready for the ornament blog hop! Click here to see other wonderful artisan made ornaments.

These are so easy to make~ you just need a rather heavy weight, long headpin and some complimentary beads. Line 'em up, make a loop and Bob's your uncle, you're ready to roll!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and enjoying making loads of cool things!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Handmade Lampwork Glass Pins! For scarves, shawls & sweaters

The other day, while showing off a couple of felted scarves on facebook, someone showed me a nice pin that she'd made with her own lampwork beads, which got me thinking about the different types of pins I make with my beads and why.

First is the fibula pin, which your leg bone was named after, not the other way around (or so I've been told). Mine are made on 16 gauge brass wire, which is pretty thick~ so that it won't bend out of shape easily when used. Brass is nice because it doesn't patina like copper and it is cost effective. Because these pin wires are so thick, they should really only be used on loosely woven things like shawls or sweaters. Otherwise they might make big old holes in your lovely scarf! Fibula pins are rather time consuming and tetchy, so I've come up with two different options.

Next came the fork, which can also be used to hold hair back (mine works best when put in while my hair is still wet~ I have the thin, slippery kind of hair, so it will slide a bit as the day progresses otherwise). I was happy to find that these had two good uses. They are also quite thick as they are made on 14 gauge brass wire. So, again good for loosely woven items.

Then came the simple bent stick. Really cool because it is so simple and it works quite nicely! This is very similar to the hair stick option, but with just one wire to thread through the shawl. Another 14 gauge choice, so still not great for a scarf.
Once I started making felted scarves, I got serious about stick pins again. The pin part of these is quite slender and, after searching high and low, I found some hat pin blanks in stainless steel that were nice and strong. The bits and pieces to put these together come from about 4 different companies~ yikes! I find it easiest to insert the stick pin in and just leave it there, putting the scarf on and off over my head.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Making a Wet Felted 'Tulip' Bowl

Well, weeks ago I promised to write down directions for making this type of wet felted bowl. So, finally, here we go. I'm not going to give you detailed instructions for basic wet felting here- hopefully you've got that bit down. I refer to these as 'liriodendron' bowls, named after the tulip tree or yellow poplar.
This bowl began with a couple of layers of white wool, placed perpendicularly to each other for the base. Wool was added on each side in some pretty contrasting colors. Four layers of wool were used; more would make it even sturdier. Since both colors would be seen on the finished piece, I wanted something a bit showy~ the colors are so nice and vivid when wet! Colors were added to one side, some warm water and natural dish soap was sprayed on, then it was covered with plastic and rolled flat with a pool noodle until it was sticking together well. Then it was flipped over and colors were added to the second side, another quick roll with the noodle, and then it was all wrapped around the pool noodle with a towel around it and rolled about 100 times in each direction (Roll 100 times, unwrap, turn 90 degrees, wrap up, roll again, etc. Then flip over and do it all again). At this point things should be holding together pretty well.
When everything looks as if it is felting together and shrinking has begun, it's time to shrink it the rest of the way. This is done in different ways by different people. Here the piece was first rubbed all over and the edges were kind of rolled and rubbed to be sure they were fairly straight and well attached, then it was rinsed in very warm water, rung out and tossed against the bottom of the sink  100-150 times.
It was then rinsed in cold water with vinegar to neutralize the soap, then really hot water and then once more in really cold water. This shrinks things up a bit more.

While still wet, the corners were sewn to shape the bowl. The orange and pink side is meant to be the inside of this bowl, so the seam was sewn with that side out. Seems the inside of the bowl is what will be seen most most often, so it was bright side in! This will be flipped after sewing, but for a different look, it could be left with the sewn bits sticking out.

So here it is before the flip and after. With the corners to the inside, it kind of reminds me of a tulip.

The final step is to steam the bowl into shape. A heavy pottery bowl was placed inside this bowl to shape and weigh it down, then it was placed in a strainer over a bowl of steaming water, covered and allowed to steam for a couple of hours. After drying for a couple of days, it was ready to show off!

The idea for this type of bowl cam from Lark Books '500 Felted Objects'. Sadly, I don't own this book so cannot tell you the artisan's name.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pink and purple lampwork memory bottles

I recently had a request from my daughter for a friend of hers for a 'memory bottle' in pink and purple. I love making things in this color combo, so I jumped right in. Made three before it was all over (and I could have kept going with this for a while)! This is why, when someone asks me to do something in a particular color combo, I ask them to look through the beads I have to see if something looks about right. Or send me pictures of something in the right color, or something fas a reference point.

Because there are a lot of colors out there and many of them are swirling about in my brain all the time~ whether I have them in the form of glass rods or not...

Hope one of these is just right.