Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Free Preview - The Essential Herbal

You know, I know I've mentioned the magazine, The Essential Herbal, that my sister publishes. I think I've mentioned that I do the layout every other month after she has pulled it all together.

But , If you are interested in having a look, we've never offered that opportunity, until now.

This issue (March-April 2007) has sold out and Tina has made it available for download. Click on the cover or here to download.

If you like it (and I'm sure you will because all we hear are raves after every issue) go here to subscribe. It's a fabulous magazine, filled with lots of great herb related info and it is well worth much more than the $20/year subscription price.

If you want still more information, check out the full site to see even more of what this magazine is all about at The Essential Herbal. Then Subscribe!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shards, Forget-me-nots and ceramic tile!

Well, I've been seeing lots of "shard" beads online and have been wanting to try them for myself. This is my first attempt.

I actually tried one before and the shards I used were very, very thin. They melted into little blobs and just looked like mistakes on the bead that I put them on.

This time, I used the thickest of the shards I had blown, but I believe I now know how they should be applied - it takes a lot of heat control.

So, this was my first attempt... next one I show will be better.

On the other hand, Molly, my neice, loved the bead and had a very specific way she thought it should be used in an art nouveau style necklace and I may just try it.

She (Molly) was torching yesterday while we were making and wrapping soap and after she and Tina went home, I sat down at the torch myself and made the bead above and also, this set.

The base of the beads is Lauscha cocoa, the vines are avocado and the "Forget-me-nots" are pajama blue.

I haven't made a set like this one for some time. When I first started making pressed beads, the florals were all I wanted to do. This one was almost relaxing to make - a comfort set, if you will.

Another ongoing project around here is the remaking of our basement. This summer, when we did some other work on the house, we added a nice, private, outside entrance to the basement and will be making it private from the rest of the house with a door inside.

Our son had taken it over for years and just recently, we moved all his stuff over to the unfinished side so that we could convert the finished side into something like an apartment.

We enlarged the powder room to a full bath and are going to basically use a large set of bookcases as a room divider to make the large room into a livingroom/bedroom. The old paneling has come down and drywall has gone up and we've finished painting it.

My husband and I have always wanted to try our hand at laying ceramic tile - don't ask me why, but we have. This was our chance.

The picture shows the view from the bathroom door. The picture is pretty washed out so you won't see the seams very well. We have laid most of the tile and next week will finish it off and grout it. It's been fun and looks pretty darn good for a couple of amateurs!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Almost Finished...

If you read my blog even occasionally, you might be getting tired of seeing this style of beads from me: I've just been so fascinated by the reactions and the gorgeous results I've been getting and, as you can see, I've made up two of the sets into bracelets. I'm about to get started on the other two.

They are so versatile. The combinations are almost neutral, but they are downright stunning. I have been wearing the finished bracelets almost non-stop and have gotten more compliments on them than on anything else I have even worn.

Part of the charm is the crazy bird's nest spacers that I made to go with them. They are made of sterling wire which has been oxidized to give them depth.

I suppose I'll have to start letting them go, so if you are interested, please get in touch. I'll try to put them on my website, but I know there are at least two people who already want one!

Here's another work in progress:
This will give you an idea of how I work. I take a set of beads and find the complimentary beads that I want to use with them from my stash. Often, I'll just take out everything that could possibly work with them. In this case, the usual silver findings just didn't work with the beads I put together, so I wound up using Gold Vermeil as the metal. I tried different combinations; strung, unstrung until I was happy with the look. I have had this sitting around for a while, just to be sure it was the way so I could pick it up from time to time and make sure it still was a combo that pleased me. I think I'm ready now to finish it off with a magnetic clasp and a dangle.

Yeah, I keep saying I'm almost finished. Just hope I don't go off on another hare-brained tangent before I do!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunflowers in January

This shows both sides of a 39 x 17mm focal.

Sunflowers seem to be an ongoing theme around here. I've made sunflower beads before, but never really got a combination of greens and yellows that wasn't "jarring" until this one came out of the kiln.

With the weather so mild right now (better post this fast before it changes) flowers seemed to be a great theme at the torch.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Lots of conflicting feelings right now.

Our son is leaving today on his great adventure to an unknown new life across the country.

Here he is many years ago with his first "vehicle". Now, he'll take a very different vehicle and truly set off to see the world! It is very sad and yet very right.

I remember the little guy that said, "Mommy, I want to stay with you forever" and would wrap his little arms around me and hug as tight as he could. I think part of him is still feeling that way, but his eagerness to find his own way is heartening as well in that perhaps we managed to give him both his roots AND his wings.

I think this was the theme of a post shortly after he left for RIT.

I suspect he'll wind up back here one of these days, but for now, Godspeed! I'll try to control the rising panic and the lump in my throat and just wish him the very best.