Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Friday

Being retired and one day of the week being much like another I'm not sure why I chose that title! That being said, I think I'm ready for a new week to begin. This one has been a bit off kilter for me. I seem to be running about one step behind and can't seem to remember all I need to remember.

One good thing about the week is the shell posted in the picture. It's the first time I have ever made a black shell but I like the way it turned out. Another good thing about the week is that my friend Angela gifted me with some beautiful Bulls Eye glass to play with! I hope I can fire up the torch tomorrow and that the fire goddess is good to me! Maybe some of Angela's talent was included in that box of glass. Look for her at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rings, Rings, Rings

Boy do these beads have BIG holes! I made them on a mandrel that makes a size 5 ring. I have to say they were a bit of a challenge as the balance of the mandrel is really weird. That being said, I really like the way these turned out. I called them Ancient Treasures on my Etsy listing as they remind me of something that might be found at some of the historic digs. Not sure why but, they do. I must admit that I kept a few and made myself a necklace!

I haven't gotten to torch in a couple of days because we have had ICE! Brrrrrrr. It has been really cold and it just takes so long to get my little studio warmed up so the beads don't crack as soon as I take them out of the flame! Flying hot glass is not a good thing. Did I ever tell you the story about setting my pants on fire? Well, that might be something better left for another day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tools, Tools, Tools

What a fun day we had on Saturday! My new friend, Debbie, called and said she had gotten in touch with the "Tool Man" and did I want to go with her to see him. Being the tool junkie I am, my immediate response was a resounding YES! So off we went to the little town of Valera and we met Mr. Darrel Tapley. What an interesting and talented man he is. He does lapidary, silversmithing and (drum roll please) he makes lampworking tools! I wanted every one he had on the table but tried to keep control and only purchased three. Debbie purchased a couple as well so now has her first lampworking tools. I hope my tool mania is not contagious or she will soon be unable to pass up a lampworking tool! I know she gave hers a try last night but, alas, mine won't get a work out until Monday. That's the bad part of having a studio separate from your living quarters. I know you are seeing four tools in the picture so before you think I can't count, Mr. Tapley gifted me with the two prong mandrel, for making buttons, before we left. How wonderful is that!!

Aside from buying tools we had a wonderful visit with Mr. Tapley and he shared some of his enameling expertise with us and showed us jewelry pieces he makes from the clam shells that come from the Concho River just southwest of where we live. The "mother of pearl" inside them is the most beautiful pink and is unique to the Concho River. Now I have the need to go wade in the river and see if I can dig up some of those clams! If you would like to learn more about Mr. Tapley you can visit his website at Oh, and did I mention that Mr. Tapley is an amazing 81 years young!

So that was Saturday and what a wonderful day it was. Sunday has been beautiful as our little "cold spell" has passed right on through and we were very warm today. It was our typical lazy Sunday. Church this morning and a nice walk this afternoon. Now it's time to curl up on the couch with a good book and think of beads that I hope to make tomorrow

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Dead of Winter

That certainly doesn't describe our weather here on Valley Creek today! I think we were near 80F so it felt a bit more like summer. Actually the title and the bead are from an exchange I am participating in with some other Wet Canvas Glass folks. I enjoy doing these beads and there are a couple listed in my Etsy Store. The Wet Canvas exchanges are always fun and I'm looking forward to seeing every one's beads. It was hard for me to come up with a theme as we don't have a lot of winter here in Central Texas and the landscape is mostly brown. Not very exciting for a bead exchange.

I was actually able to spend some time on the torch today but I am not calling it a good session. First I had a piece of hot glass fly into my lap! Fortunately I was wearing my new leather apron so I didn't catch my pants on fire this time. Next, I kept having decoration pop off the bead as my ambient air was not warm enough. Then, I was working on a large bead and suddenly my mandrel melted in half and the bead dropped onto my work table! Have never had that happen before. I grabbed a pair of pliers, picked up the bead, waved it through the flame and promptly placed it in the kiln. I'm wondering if it will survive and if it does will it be the shape I had originally started or will it have a big old flat spot because it went into the kiln while it was too hot. Tomorrow we will know the outcome. Check back for part two of the saga.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Girlie Bird

I don't use pink glass very often as it can sometimes be difficult to work with but, it seemed to be in a good mood when I chose it for this little bird. I rather like her and think she has a bit of a tie dyed look. This little girl is a combination of techniques from several different tutorials I have been trying out lately. I so appreciate the lampworkers who share their knowledge.

I received a couple of new presses today and I can't wait to give them a try. I have also been working on a couple of ideas that I think will make fun jewelry. The prototypes have come out rather good so I'll continue to move forward. I'm hoping to have some exciting new things to share later this week.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How Do You Like My Focal Bead?

I really liked this focal when it came out of the kiln so I kept it. It laid on my jewelry bench for a long time while it made up it's mind what it wanted to be. One day I picked up a package of garnets my niece brought me from Africa and it hit me that they were a perfect match for the focal. Silver really didn't work with it but I liked how the copper pieces played with the garnets and the colors in the focal. I think I'm really going to enjoy this necklace. If you want to make one yourself check out my Etsy Store. There is a similar focal waiting for you there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two For One

Here it is Sunday evening already and I just can't believe it! The weekend is over but then all seven days of the week are a weekend for me since I no longer have a corporate job.

I didn't post yesterday but I spoke to the Blog Goddess and she said it was alright to post two days in one! So today you get a "twofer".

Saturday was such a fun day for me. I had a play date! Play dates are not just for children you know. I actually met someone in my country area who knows what lampwork is and she wanted to learn! How fun is that!!! Her name is Debbie and she fuses glass. Oh my does she make some beautiful things. She has an entire container full of beautiful dicro cabs just calling out to be jewelry. I could just run my fingers through those pretty colors all day. And she has some picture frames all layed out for the Harley Davidson crew. Some beautiful plates and a piece for one of the rural Post Offices. Oh my, I love beautiful glass. Debbie is going to share her fusing skills with me and I'll try to give her a few pointers on making glass beads in the flame of a torch. This is going to be a fun journey with a wonderful new friend. Can't get much better than that!

Sunday was a nice day. We had a good attendance at our little country church and that's a good thing. A good attendance is around 15 or 20 folks. Many in the congregation are elderly and you always worry when they don't "show up" on Sunday. After our Sunday lunch we went for a nice walk down to our part of Valley Creek. It's still flowing rather well and has some nice, deep pools even though we have not had any rain in a very long time. We frightened some ducks and they went flying away and honking their displeasure at being disturbed. We saw our usual flocks of turkey in the fields and an armadillo searching for bugs around the base of the fence posts. Instead of showing my beads or jewelry today I thought I would show you the armadillo. Funny little prehistoric creatures but I think they are rather cute. Maybe some day I'll see if I can capture his image in glass.

I have a few things to put in my Etsy store so need to do that next. Tomorrow I'll be back on the torch again and hoping some wonderful things develop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Must Be A Moon Thing

Seems I am a bit off kilter lately and some of my friends say they feel the same. We have decided it must be because the moon had moved in so close to the earth and is now moving away again. If the moon can affect the ocean tides then I'm certain it can affect us humans as well. Today seems a bit better so perhaps things are getting back to normal, whatever normal is.

Keeping with the space thing, I'm showing some beads I made that my dear friend Andee said reminded her of a garden in space. They are in my Etsy store waiting for a new home.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Beginning - January 15, 2009

It is a new year and a new beginning for me. I haven't had a blog before but thought it might be time to start one. All my friends have one so why not me?

I want to be able to share photos of my creations and photos of my part of the world here on Valley Creek. Yep, there really is a Valley Creek and it runs through the western edge of our little ranch. We have all sorts of "critters" visit us and sometimes they let me take their picture. When I'm not watching the wildlife I spend time in my little studio creating treasures. Most days I work in the flame of a torch creating one of a kind glass beads. Other days I may take up my little hammer and beat some things out of different metals. Then the urge may hit to put all of it together in a piece of jewelry. Some of my creations are even for sale in my Etsy store.

Travel along with me as I learn the blogging thing and perhaps I'll get better at it as we go along.

Just to get us started I have posted a photo of a shell that was recently born in the flame of my torch.