What a Difference a Few Degrees Makes…

Happy Mother’s Day! Yesterday it rained so both the city-wide cleanup project and the Little League game we were planning to attend were postponed so I had some free-time to play in my art room. I had cleaned off my big work table Friday after finishing the last illustration for the book I was working on so now I can have a bit of “play time.” My bead torch had been looking pretty lonely on the shelf lately so I decided to make a few beads.

DCF 1.0

When I first got the torch I was making beads like they were going out of style but then there was a problem with the torch and it would not spark so I had to light it manually, like with an open flame, so I called the maker Diamond Tech and they happily replaced it for me! I love that company, they make the microwave kiln and bottle cutter I use too! I had a replacement mid February but was so busy with projects that I hadn’t had a chance to use it.So, getting around to the title of the post my last bead making experiences were in February with it was about 55 degrees Fahrenheit in my studio, brrr, what can I say, I suffer for my art LOL! Well it is now May and a balmy 65 degrees down there so I went to work making beads with my Devardi Glass known for being cheap and shocky. It was so much easier to work with! Now I realize that my beads reek of an amateur  they are not centered, the edges are uneven and I think I overheated the aqua glass because there seems to be some brown schmutz in the glass. But I made them, they are a leg on my journey as a bead-maker and I love them. I also tried making two beads the same size (really harder than it looks!) so I turned them into earrings. Not great, but not bad for a 4 month hiatus from the torch.

DCF 1.0

It is very relaxing to work with glass at the torch which is funny because your hands are inches away from a very hot flame and molten glass. To each her own right? 🙂 I hope all the moms out there have a nice Mother’s Day and til next time happy crafting!

My Bead Cores Arrived!

Howdy folks! It was a banner mail day for me on Friday  The bead cores I ordered from ebay arrived (1000 for $4 and free shipping!) and I got a new torch. The torch I got for Christmas stopped igniting and I wrote to the company Diamond Tech who make the Fireworks torch and they offered to send me a replacement free of charge if I sent them back the broken one.  I had my new torch a week after I mailed them my broken one. Wow! I was so relived and impressed with that company. I wanted to mention it because we don’t hear about when a company does good often enough. Here are some beads I used the new bead cores on:

DCF 1.0

I had a hard time deciding what size to get but after much deliberation I picked the smaller ones and I’m glad I did because he others would have been way too big. As it was I had to use nylon pliers to press the cores into the beads. I actually cracked 2! I will put another coating of bead release on my Pandora mandrel next time to make the hole a wee bit bigger and they will be perfect!

A couple of weeks ago I bought some plastic divided boxes from the Dollar Tree, they are a usual item they carry and they are perfect for storing my handmade beads! I put half of my bead cores in one with my hand-made glass beads…

DCF 1.0

And the rest in a box with handmade clay beads…

DCF 1.0

I’d say the boxes are roughly 8″x10″ and they stack too! Well that’s all for today. We have an early indoor league softball game this morning so I have to boogie! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

WOYWW: Unstuck Beads and Soldering Savvy!

I had quite a fruitful day of creative play…well…I played anyway! 😀  I decided that I desperately needed to improve my (aka acquire)  soldering skills for some jewelry I wanted to make so I decided some full immersion soldering boot camp was in order.

DCF 1.0

I wanted to make some sea-glass pendents, earrings and bracelets and I have a very elegant vision in mind of pastel shades of translucent sea glass rimmed with silver with dainty jump rings attached…however what I created was less than elegant due to my sloppy solder job.

DCF 1.0

I used to be a cracker-jack soldered back in the day when I worked at Radio Shack but apparently that is a skill you lose if you don’t practice. Oh, and if my awesome job at Radio shack doesn’t make me quite nerdy enough check out the Doctor Who and Sherlock microscope slide pendants I am working on…

DCF 1.0

I’m nerdy and I know it!

And in Other News….

I got glass beads off of my mandrels!!! Not the beads I made last Saturday, I had to take a hammer to those suckers but I know what I did wrong so here are my lampworking bead tips (OK, I’ve made 17 beads, 10 of which I had to smash, you might not want tips from the likes of me, don’t say I didn’t warn you)

  1. Wash new mandrels well with soap and water to remove any oil residue from the factory. Don’t skip this step, it’s apparently important. Dry.
  2. Dip in bead release and let dry overnight.
  3. When making a bead make sure the glass is gooey hot like thick honey, not pully like taffy, so that it flows on the mandrel rather than sticking and pulling at it. Honestly, this makes no sense until you make a bead. My glass was too cool and pulled off some bead release that wasn’t stuck on too well to begin with since I did not wash the mandrels properly…
  4. After the bead is cool (after 90 minutes in fiber blanket) soak the beads/mandrels in water for 15 minutes to several hours.
  5. Grab the bead with a towel and pull and twist while holding the mandrel with pliers. I found that wrapping the mandrel with a rubber sheet first was the only way to get a good grip on it. See photo

DCF 1.0

All that you have left to do now is make some snazzy jewelry!

DCF 1.0

So, do you want to see other crafters desk’s of awesomeness? Well, head over to the Stamping Ground for What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and you will get an eyeful! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: