Thursday, December 26, 2013

In Praise of Veiled Rubino Oro

I'm so excited! For the first time in years, I've added veiled rubino oro back into my glass repertoire. So what, you ask?! And what the heck does that mean anyway?

Rubino Oro is the Italian name for a lovely dark pink glass; it means 'gold pink' and it is actually made using gold as a colorant.

Veiled glass is kind of like a glass sandwich- in this case that lovely pink between two layers of clear. The clear surrounding the pink ensures that the pink won't react in either a good or bad way with the glass around it. It appears that it still strikes to a darker pink too- makes sense as that is related to the heat applied.

Rubino is one of those colors you want to stretch as much as possible because it's a bit on the expensive side due to the gold content, and the veiled rods help to do just that.

The beads at the top also include a bit of orchid pink enamel, so the bright pink is not all a result of the veiled rubino; it was mostly used as a background. The top half of the wee bottle is veiled rubino all the way- see what a nice color it is!

For more information on using rubino oro glass, you can look at this blog post of mine from years ago.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

C Koop Beads Blog Challenge

I was so excited to be a part of this challenge using some book covers from C Koop Beads to make something new and different. And what fun I had! As soon as I saw these little book components, ideas started swirling around in my head. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive in the mail!

 Inside this micro book are two sentences- ‘My life is quite full’ and ‘Your glass seems half empty.’ Each word is on a separate piece of paper, so there are actually a lot of different sentences that can be made. You’ll have to figure those out for yourself. This is definitely a test piece- plenty of  things need improvement, like making sure the words stay lined up, but it was an interesting little experiment.


The components used include C Koop’s Book covers, a couple of copper dangles from Kristi Bowman Designs, my own handmade lampwork glass and copper headpin, and some small teardrop and triangular beads from the Beadchicks (yes, that’s what they call themselves) at Argenta Bead Company in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s a great little shop with a marvelous selection.

To see what others made with these cool components, take a look at Superior Beads facebook page. Thanks to C Koop, Superior Beads and Lorelei Eurto for the opportunity to participate in this fun challenge!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ornament Blog Hop- Art Bead Scene

Lampwork glass ornaments- trees, angels, horses, hollow beads, you name it- what fun! This ornament blog hop from Art Bead Scene caught my attention and sent me off to make a bunch of  ornaments from my own glass beads. I had to make this little guy before I even decided that I'd go to the 'hop'! But I was so pleased with it that I have been making more and more. I finally just had to stop! They're also nice sun catchers or window decorations in a safe spot.

The lampwork beads and headpins are all handmade glass, made by me in my home studio. This one is a bit fancy, with silver bead accents.

Now get hopping to see what others have been inspired to make this holiday season!
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Here are a couple of the others that were inspired by that first ornament.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Making Lampwork Glass Headpins Tutorial

Ever wondered how to make those cool lampwork glass headpins you keep seeing around? Here's a tutorial showing how it's done. These are really simple to make, and are pretty versatile too. I've been using them to make Christmas ornaments lately, but I've also used them for necklaces and they're great for earrings too! P.S.- for info from me on making headpins with a wonderful new tool that makes this all so much easier, look here!

As with all of my tutorials, these instructions are meant for those who are familiar with working with hot glass and torches. Your safety is your own concern. This should only be attempted by adults. 

Tools and supplies:
Copper wire-18 gauge
Small pin vise device         Scissors
Locking Hemostat            Graphite paddle 
Amber and clear glass       White enamel           
Goldstone stringer             Raku Frit

 Have frit and enamel ready to use. Mine is laying out on a piece of marble on the workbench.

Cut a piece of copper about 7-9 inches long, or whatever length you prefer; cut it at least an inch longer than you want the finished head pin to be. Flatten end of copper gently with hammer if desired. I'm adding a little caution here- some folks say you must flatten or ball the copper to make sure the copper will not pull out of the glass later, so it is most likely best to do that! Insert bottom end into pin vise. Make sure it is secure and will not pull out accidentally.

Warning- the copper will move and bounce around as you are adding hot glass. This copper is not nearly as stiff as the steel mandrels you are used to.

Heat Clear glass and add a blob to the copper, encasing about 1/3 inch of the copper in glass and being sure to cover end completely. You may find that you need to wrap the glass around the wire rather than rotating the wire and letting the glass flow on. The movement of the copper wire just makes it hard to do things the 'right' way. Since you are working at the end of the wire, it really won't cause you any problems to work this way.

Heat Amber glass and encase clear with amber glass. Yes, it's kind of blobby. I'll shape it nicely in a minute!

Roll the glass in white enamel, melt in and then roll in raku frit. Make sure the glass is pretty hot for this step as you can't really push it down well. Melt in. Rolling in the enamel and frit will help to smooth and round the glass.

 Add 4 or five stripes of goldstone
stringer working from base to tip.
Warm tip of amber rod and attach to the tip of the headpin. Twist a bit and detach rod with flame.

Heat glass to smooth. Hold vertically with tip up while hot to allow glass to droop slightly towards the back end, making sure glass is nice and smooth and there are no tiny stray bits that will crack off later. Repair if needed by adding a little glass to that end  to even up. Roll on marver to smooth further.

 Heat tip of headpin and tip of amber rod.
Attach and pull firmly to point the headpin.

Now comes the fun part- detaching the copper from the pin vise. I have found that it is quickest to lock the hemostats onto the copper about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the pin vise and simply cut through the wire. It can be really difficult to open the pin vise and pull out the wire. That can be done after the headpin has been put in the kiln.

I like to leave as much of the copper as possible sticking out of the kiln. That way it will not become dead soft from the heat. Though the copper on these can be cleaned with pickle, I prefer to soak them in warm water for a few minutes and then sand the fire scale off with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. The headpin may need to be hardened a bit by hammering with a rawhide mallet if the copper has become overly soft.

This tut is just a starting place for making headpins- you can decorate them in any way you please, just like beads!These are made from Italian Moretti soft glass. I've also made a few of these out of recycled bottle glass- go here for special tips about that.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Focus on Life Week 46- Reflections

Oh my, it's been a long time since I've posted a photo. New place, new life, new work to be done- it all adds up. I wanted to be sure and tell y'all about a book I just read: Eight Girls Taking Pictures by Whitney Otto. I don't usually recommend books, but this one was wonderful and very inspirational- it's historical fiction with an emphasis on the lives of women throughout the 20th century.
On to this week's prompt- I love to look at things in mirrors. I'm having a hard time choosing from the photos I took last night- the three part mirror in my bathroom is so much fun to play with! I've always been intrigued by the idea of multiple mirror reflections. Here's a little something that explains a bit about it and shows some cool examples.

 I also like to put some of my beads on mirrors- like these marching hedgehogs. I know, I'm supposed to be reflecting on my life- instead I'm reflecting on mirrors! Check out the blog links at the bottom of the page to see what others are reflecting on.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Focus on Life- Week 35- Growth and Change

The Chicken
Part of the Wall
Well, I have been focusing on change so much lately that I haven't even written anything or shown any new pics for weeks! It feels like I've been moving, moving, and moving some more- to cabins, sublets, tents and, finally to the seasonal place I'll be care taking for the winter- a big house and carriage hose that can have up to 25 guests! Wish me luck (I just may need it...)

As far as photos- well, hmmm... I had cause to go back to a campground I stayed in a bit over a month ago- I'd built a few rock sculptures, with the intention of having them go all around a wall. Lo and behold, most of my sculptures had fallen (we've had a few pretty good storms), but there are now rock sculptures standing all around the building- so many different styles-and I just had to add a few more! Community art at work.
Sorry these photos are all a jumble- I can never seem to make them appear where i want them to.
To see what everyone else has been up to, start at Sally's Blog.

Perched Bird


This little guy was there to greet us

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seahorse Tutorial Results

The sweet seahorse Doris made!
I'm always so excited to see the results when someone uses a tutorial that I wrote. Doris Stumpf makes a lot of wonderful sculptural beads- whimsical little people and such. I was pretty excited when she decided to splurge on my seahorse tutorial a few days ago- she made a wonderful seahorse and even wrote a blog about it! Thanks so much for sharing this, Doris!

And, if anyone should have a yen to try this tut themselves, you can buy it right here- I think it's actually a pretty good bargain. Lots of information, and it even tells you how to make the seahorse with the steps two different ways around. I naturally go in a certain order, even though the other way makes a bit more sense! You can pick your favorite.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Focus on Life Week 32, From Where I Stand

This week the prompt from Sally at focus on life was 'from where I stand' so, as you can imagine, Fats Domino singing 'I'm Walkin' was one of my theme songs. Had to just take this literally and show you some of the places my feet took me this week.

 OH, and I found some new shoes- cheap! And the question is- socks or no socks? I was informed that they looked wrong with the socks. Just old fashioned, I guess!

I'm sending you to Islandgirl's Insights to see where others are standing this week!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hues of Blue- Focus on Life week 31

On the way to the post office (and the beer store)
Well, I have to admit, this was a bit last minute for me. I knew where I wanted to go and take photos, but totally forgot about it til just a little while ago. I've been roaming about a bit these last few weeks, and find myself in an apartment complex for the month- very close to some wonderful scenery. So I thought I'd treat you to a bit of a Hogwartian campus with a lot of cloudy blue sky. Wish I could show you all of the hues at once. And in the tradition of showing off my post office adventures, I'm including a photo of the scary suspension bridge I now have to walk across when I go to the P.O.
What the camera saw
I couldn't resist photoshopping a couple of these photos to accentuate the blue. When you're at the top of the town, the sky is very big, and everything seems quite vivid!
What I saw!

  See more wonderful blue hues while you listen to BB King sing the blues at Sally's Blog!
A bit of extra blue for you

Had to add this Nigella (Love in a Mist) as I know we all love our flowers!