Monday, September 26, 2011

Wine Bottle Finished

I finally finished the little wine bottle.  Here it is.  It’s 1 3/4 inches tall.

Wine Bottle

I don’t like it though.  I might do it over.  The label is too high, it should be closer to the bottom of the bottle.  And for some reason, it looks more like a beer bottle than a wine bottle.  I can’t figure out why.  Maybe the neck is too short in comparison to the body?

OK, I just measured a wine bottle to see what the actual proportions are for neck to body.  The bottle is 11½ inches tall, and the neck starts at 6 inches.  So, I do need more neck and less body.  Alright, I’m going to try another one.  I guess it would have been a good idea to measure the actual wine bottle before I started.  Oh, well, live and learn.

And look at the bright side.  I know how to make a beer bottle!

If I can do a good job on this, I might be able to sell some.  My friend is a wine consultant, and she said all her colleagues go crazy over any kind of wine decoration.  So I could probably make a bunch of these as purse charms and sell them, if I can get it to look like what I envisioned.

Cat  Cat face

Thursday, September 22, 2011


What happened to the spacing in that last post?  BlogSpot does some really weird things sometimes.  I must remember to write my posts using Windows Live from now on.  The only thing is, I can’t edit a previous post from there.

Cat Cat face


Has anyone tried Google+ yet?

It’s similar to Facebook, but run by Google (obviously…).

I’m feeling kind of lonely over there right now. Sad smile I signed up for it, but hardly anyone else that I know has it, so I’m following three people: the person who I got the invitation from, one person who I invited, and writer Wil Wheaton. Or I’m friends with three people, I don’t know, I haven’t quite got the concept of “circles” yet, and I don’t know the difference between following someone and being their friend.

If you’d like to try it out, let me know and I’ll e-mail you an invitation. Maybe we can liven up my page, or wall, or whatever. I think Google calls it my “stream”. I’m learning.

Edited to add: Oh, well, that's me, always a day late and a dollar short. Just when I finally wrangle an invite to Google+, sign up, and offer to send out more invitations, they open the whole thing up to everybody, LOL. They probably did it because everyone is so mad at Facebook today and they think they can get a bunch of people to switch over, or at least try it out.

Cat Cat face

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One bracelet done

I'm learning a few things about working with the chain. A lot of the designs that I had in mind didn't work, because the chain I'm using has oval links. When I attached the chain to the beadwork, the attached link would move so that the "short" end of the link was attached, not the "long" end as I had imagined. I will have to either work up some designs where that would be incorporated or buy chain with round links, lol.

Another thing I've learned is that chain has a mind of it's own. What looks really great on paper doesn't work out so well in practice because the chain has a tendency to move where it wants to go. Fine, but I just have to plan for that in my design. I'm really determined to merge chain and beads.

After working half the night and all day, I only ended up with one simple bracelet so far, mostly because I just wanted to have something to wear after all that time working. So I just made a simple daisy chain with the copper-colored seeds and some aquamarine AB crystals, and attached it to a slide clasp. Then I attached chains on each side of the beaded work. It's okay, but not WOW. I'll probably end up taking it apart and reworking it.

Meanwhile, back to the drawing board.


Monday, September 19, 2011

A Look at How a Design Begins

I thought I would give you a look at how my design process begins.

First I had it in my head that I wanted to do something with chain, maybe a bracelet.  So I got some of my chains out to look at them and try to get some ideas.  I laid them out on my bead tray – with a handful of jump rings thrown in for good measure.

Chains on bead tray

Then I hunted around in my stash of beads to pick out some shapes and colors that might look good with these chains.  I found some beautiful millefiore hearts that just called out to be paired with the black chain, some black snowflake glass cubes that would match either of the silver chains, and some grey Swarovski pearls.

Chains and crystals on bead tray

You can see that I also changed the color of the mat in my bead tray.  That’s because I put a few handfuls of Swarovski crystals on the tray, and I couldn’t see their true colors on the brown mat.  I really like the way the hammered silver chain in the back looks with the dark blue crystals and the copper-colored beads next to them.  While I was matching these into color groups, I had a new idea.  Anklets!  That’s what I’ll do with one of the chains. 

Now it will take me about an hour to pull tubes of seed beads, pour little piles of beads on the tray, and decide which colors I want to use.  Then I look at them under the Ott light, change my mind, and do it over and over again until I’m satisfied that I have a pleasing color combination.

I’ll take some time off from writing now to do that and finish up this post later.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wine Bottle Progress

I’ve been working on my small wine bottle little by little.  I had to take out the bottom, because I used a three-bead start, and the shape of the bottle turned into a triangle.  So I redid it with a five-bead start, and it turned out much more rounded.

Then it took me a little while to graph out the letters, since I had such a small space for the label, but I got it done.

Now, I need to narrow the bottle little by little to make the neck.  I’ve sewn it and picked it out about five times already.  It’s just coming out too angular for my taste.  I need to figure out a way to make the decreases more rounded.  On such a small object, it’s difficult, but I’ll find a way.

Here are a few pics of where I am so far.

Wine bottle 2

Wine bottle 3

Wine bottle


Friday, September 16, 2011

All About Goldstone

One of my very favorite beads is goldstone. I love the way goldstone beads shimmer and glitter in the sun! But, did you know that goldstone has no gold in it and it's not even a stone? I didn't, until one day when I stumbled across the way it is made while trying to find out the reason for the wide disparity in prices that I see.

Goldstone is actually a man-made glass! It is made from silica, copper oxide, and other metal oxides, which is heated, allowed to crystallize, and then cooled. It is during the heating process that the metallic copper crystals are formed. Once it is cooled, it can then be carved into beads or other shapes, and polished.

There are also blue, green, and purple varieties of goldstone. These are made with other metals, usually chromium, cobalt, or manganese.

And, as I suspected, there are definitely differences in quality! Most obvious is the talent of the person making the glass. Goldstone is not easy to make. It has to be heated to just the right temperature, with low oxidation, in order to form properly. The copper crystals have to grow to the right size without falling to the bottom of the crucible. If too much oxygen is used while heating, the copper can take on a greenish tinge. If the hot glass is not kept at the correct temperature, the copper crystals can melt. During the cooling stage, it must be cooled in a low-oxygen environment, and very slowly, so that the copper crystals remain evenly distributed and it does not crack. So, you can see all the difficulty.

Once it has crystallized and cooled, it comes out of the vat in a large mass. The outer layers of a batch tend to have duller colors, larger or non-reflective particles, and a more opaque-looking glass. These outer layers, as well as glass that has not been made properly through one or more steps of the process, are more than likely the reason why you will find some goldstone that is less expensive than others.

For these reasons, I always make sure I am buying high quality goldstone. I want a translucent glass that does not have too little, or too much, glitter. I want to be sure that it has been polished smooth, and has no inclusions. A quality bead makes a quality piece of jewelry. One that you will be proud to wear for years and years. So always make sure that you buy goldstone either in person or, if on-line, from a trusted seller.

And now a few "fun facts" about goldstone.

+ Goldstone's associated elements are earth and fire, its associated planet is Jupiter, and its associated zodiac sign is Sagitarrius. (Hey, I'm a Sag!)
+ It is said that goldstone will attract fame and prosperity.
+ Some think that the copper suspended in goldstone strengthens the bones and circulatory system, and eases arthritis pain.
+ Goldstone is believed by some to have properties that ward off stress.

This is just a test

I clicked a button on my computer’s toolbar (it looks like a little pencil) just to see what it did, and I found out that I can write a blog post without even going to BlogSpot.  It does it through Windows Live.

Believe it or not, writing the post through Windows Live I actually have more editing options than I do when writing it through BlogSpot.  I could probably do some of these things through BlogSpot if I knew more HTML, but I don’t, so it’s neat to have these options at the touch of a button.

I can add maps, horizontal lines, a table, a video, and smilies.  Lots and lots of smilies.

Smile Smile with tongue out Angry smile Party smile FreezingAngel Red roseCoffee cup Rainbow Martini glass Turtle Bunny Peace

The other neat thing is that the template that I write on looks just like my actual blog page; column width, colors, and everything.  So as I’m writing, I can see exactly what my finished post will look like to readers.

It even has a word counter.

word count

Now, I click “publish” and see if this thing really works…

Cat Cat face

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Can you help me please?

I don't even think very many people read my blog, but can those of you who do please help me with something? Last post, I told you about the earring stand that I made. In the pictures below, you can see that the earrings are just shy of two inches long. A great tool for on-line selling!

Now I have a couple of questions.

First, should I leave the lines blank or should I write the numbers on them, like a ruler? I think I probably should, it's just that I have terrible handwriting, and I didn't want to ruin the card. I printed the word 'inches' on it using my computer, but I couldn't get numbers to print in the right places. (my computer graphics skills are as bad as my handwriting) Maybe I can find someone with good handwriting to put the numbers on for me. Or maybe I can just buy some stick-on letters at the dollar store, LOL.

Second, can you look at these two pictures, and tell me which way the pic looks better? In the left side picture, I have the edge of the card showing, and in the right-side picture I cropped it so that the lines go all the way off the side of the picture and you can't see the edge of the card. I'm leaning toward the one with the edge of the card showing (the left one), but I keep flip-flopping back and forth, and I can't make a decision.

Thanks for your opinions, and please everyone who reads this, will you let me know what you think, because as I said, I don't get that many visitors.


Homemade Earring Stand

I made a special earring stand to help with my pictures when I'm e-mailing them or posting them on-line. I folded a piece of thick paper into a triangle shape, and then I drew lines on it every half-inch mark, starting at the top. I can hang my earrings over the top edge, and this way people can see by the lines that I drew on it how long they are. Here are some pictures of the stand. They were hard to take because the stand is white, and I have a white background, but I think you can see it.

If anyone else wants to make one, feel free to use the idea. It would be great for people who sell their earrings on-line and need to show exactly how long they are!

The first picture is looking at it from the top end, the second picture is the back, and the third picture is the front. Next post I'll show you a picture with earrings on it, because I have a question to ask you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Journals of Louviere

I don't know if any of you have ever been to the website of Brightlings Beads. I had never been there before today.

I found a story on their website, a story about a traveling bead salesman and his adventures. I've just started reading it, and it's kind of fun. The name of it is The Journals of Louviere, and it starts right on this page. I've just finished Day One of the journal. Why don't you read along with me, and we'll follow the travels of Mr. Louviere together.

I wonder what kinds of trouble a bead salesman can get into? Wouldn't you just love to be a traveling bead salesperson?


Monday, September 05, 2011

It's a start!

So, this is the first time I've beaded since I *sob* lost all of my bead patterns. I am creating this one myself. Maybe that's the kick in the butt I needed to start designing things.

Anyway, this is a picture of my beadboard (yes, it is always this messy, usually messier, lol), and the very tiny bit of beading you see will (hopefully) become a very small wine bottle. I am going to use it as a pendant on a necklace I am making for my sister-in-law, who sells wine.

I'll keep you updated as to how it goes.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

The cutest tiny things I've ever seen!

I was blog hopping today, and when I stopped by the Pieces of Me blog, she had linked to an Etsy shop selling the tiniest little crocheted animals I have ever seen.

And when I say tiny, I mean micro-tiny. These little animals can fit on the tip of your finger. How does someone even crochet something this small? Some of them even have movable legs and arms. I want them all! I have no idea what I would do with them, but they are just too cute!

You have to stop by this Etsy shop and see them all!