Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

It is almost 2012, and I am feeling nostalgic.  I hear fireworks celebrating the new year and I wish I could see them, but I like staying home.  Making resolutions is a good thing to do, even if we don't do very well at keeping them.   This year

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's over for another year- I love Christmas!  My kids were home and one sister came too, so we had a full house.  Great food and company!  We spent most of the time either eating or playing games- Clue, Pictionary, card games, etc.  They all left for their own homes this afternoon so the house feels empty, but it also feels good to be able to relax and nap.
This week is down time.  I will relax and enjoy the tree and decorations, and try not to worry about the long list of things that must be tackled soon. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Father Christmas!

The tree is up, the house is decorated and one of my favorite Santas is out!  He looks like Father Christmas!  He was made by friends so he has special meaning for me.  I used to sit him on my tv since it was high, to discourage my cats from chewing on him.  But this year I had to buy a new tv, and it isn't deep enough so I had to find a new location for him.  So far he has been ignored, and I hope that continues!  I will enjoy him until he has to say goodbye for another year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This is the year of boutiques!  I just finished my last show of 2011, but I am still working like crazy.  Somehow, I got myself signed up for 3 boutiques in December!  A local gallery decided to have a holiday boutique, so I thought why not and sent them my application!  Then another group in the Poconos that I belong to decided to set one up at an arts council gallery and  take only 15%.  Wonderful!  I could handle 2.  But then a friend decided to have one in her home.  She has talked about it for a long time, and decided to take the plunge this year.  So here I am, trying to supply 3 boutiques.  Maybe this will make up for my show that got snowed on!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Tis the season!

Monday, October 31, 2011

October snow

What a weekend!  The Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen Holiday show was Oct 29-30 at Kutztown University.  The weather on Fri for setup was sunny and cool, but oh boy did that change.  My drive to the show on Sat morning was in the rain, but by 10am it was snowing, huge big fluffy flakes!  The forecast was for anywhere from 4" to 12".  The real problem was the heavy snow.  Leaves were still on the trees, and with the heavy snow, a lot of limbs couldn't hold the load.  Roads became blocked from downed limbs and wires.  Many people will be without power for many days.  I planned on taking photos, but by Sunday, most of the snow was gone. 
I was surprised by the number of loyal customers that came to the show in the snow!  Around 3, the power went out and closed the show.  Sunday was bright and sunny, but the damage was done.  Who would have believed that an October snowstorm could happen? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another colorful necklace

I finished another necklace, using my new color wheel to choose the color scheme.  The combination worked out great, but now I have another problem- the photography.  Once again, the deep red beads don't photograph correctly, and the other colors look different too.  I took both these photos exactly the same, one right after the other.  The only difference is the background, and you can see how differently the colors photographed.  I started with one of my blown boro beads and added stones beads in dark and light teal, and a pale transparent teal.  Then I punched it up with small, really dark red beads and seed beads in a shiny, lime green.  I love the necklace.  Now I need to work on getting it to photograph correctly!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

New color combinations

After taking a color workshop a few weeks ago, I was anxious to put my new knowledge to work!  I picked out this big hollow bead of mine and went to work choosing from my piles and drawers of stone, glass and seed beads.  Choosing 2 colors is pretty easy for me, but adding a 3rd and/or 4th color can be a challenge!  This necklace has 4 colors- blue (light and dark), purple, red-purple and lime green.  I look for different shapes, sizes, and textures.  For some reason, this particular necklace took 8 attempts, but I am finally happy with it. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Yesterday I drove a couple of hours to pick up a new kiln.  Well, new to me.  She said she had used it a few times, but it looks pristine.  I have another one exactly like this one.  It is over 12 years old and still works like a charm, but I worry about what to do when it stops.  They are no longer being made, and it is the best bead kiln I have ever used.  Now I have a plan!  Today I tested it- my excuse for making beads!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Baby quilt

I have 3 sisters, and we all like to sew and quilt (when we have the time!)  Years ago, when the first niece became pregnant, all of us worked together on a baby quilt as a gift, and we have continued that tradition for each new baby.  We decide on a pattern, one of us buys all the fabric and distributes it to the others.  Each of us makes blocks that are then mailed to one sister to join and finish. 

The technique for this quilt was a new one for me- pierced paper.  According to the directions, I cut out the paper pattern pieces and sewed them to the fabric.  All those pieces were joined, and after each block was finished, the paper was torn out.  It was not an easy process, and thank goodness one of my sisters came for the weekend to help me.  I can't say I liked it much.  A lot of fabric was wasted, which to me runs counter to quilting!  But the resulting quilt is beautiful!

Most craftsmen and artists have skills in so many different fields!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jenna's beads

Jenna demonstrated for 4 days at the Kutztown Folk Festival.  She has done this for me for around 6 years, and it is the only time she gets to work on a torch.  These are the beads she made on the last day.  They were still in the kiln at the end of the day when she left.  By the time I was packed, the kiln was cool enough to put in my car, and then this week I took them off the mandrels and mailed them to her.  Jenna has done some sculptural beads before, so this year I loaned her my book about Sharon Peters.  As you can see, she got lots of ideas!  The lizard is on a big hole bead, ring sized.  The lion and pig are amazing, and the ladybugs are probably destined to be earrings.  She certainly has the knack of working with hot glass!  I tell her I want credit when she is famous!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kutztown 2011

The Kutztown Folk Festival is over and I survived!  The show was great, and the weather cooperated for the most part.  I kept forgetting to take my camera to the show, but I finally remembered the last day.  This is Jenna, who has demonstrated for me many years.  (I didn't get a photo of my other demonstrator Carrie.)  As soon as she lights the torch, a crowd forms to watch.  The "steam engine" comes by once a day or so, and is fun to watch.  I didn't get a photo of the calliope.

The food is legendary!    Lunch on Sunday was a corn pie, one of my favorites!

There is Michael Mootz fudge, which I had to finish because I didn't want to bring it home.  At least that is what I told myself.  I also had an ice ream sandwich, which was made with fresh waffles.  There were also funnel cakes, bratwurst, pork bbq.... I ate good!  The PA Dutch are not known for being slim!

Wind is always a problem for me, so everything is clamped or tied down.  I am careful what I store under the tables- any paper has to be placed where it won't get wet.  I have been in the same spot for years, so I know what direction the wind and rain blows.

Many people bring their dogs to the show, but this is the first time I have seen a horse!

All in all, it was a very successful show!  My dutchy clothes will be packed away for another year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spacer beads

It is June, and I am working overtime getting ready for the Kutztown Folk Festival.  This year it starts on July 2 and runs until the following Sunday, July 10.  Every day I make beads, and every evening I put those beads into jewelry.  My supply of simple spacer beads has been depleted so I decided I needed to make more, in many colors.  They are not very exciting to make, but it can be very meditative.  I worked my way through 8 colors, and after an hour or so I veered off and made some other beads.  But it occurred to me that I would rather make spacer beads all day than work at a "real" job!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bench chair

Here is my workbench chair, where I should be spending a lot of time this month.  I need to make tons of beads so I can put jewelry together for the Kutztown Folk Festival, which runs July 2-11 this year.  Getting ready for a major show like this is a huge commitment, and is very stressful.  I call it my Kutztown panic mode.

Notice the mat under the chair.  The floors slants away from my bench and the chair tends to roll backwards- a real problem when making beads.  I solved that by putting a heavy mat under the chair.  Oh, the problems beadmakers must deal with (with which beadmakers must deal?)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bead show treasures

It seems like every bead show where I exhibit, I find some stones, pearls or other treasure that I "need".  Every year I participate in a few craft shows where I sell jewelry, so I do need to put jewelry together.  At least, that is my excuse for buying more treasures!  I try to buy stones that will coordinate with my glass beads, but once in a while I buy something just because!  These slabs of agate  have been on my mind since I bought them in February.  I finally took some time to see if I could use them with my beads.  The smooth texture of the slabs is a nice contract to the rough texture of my frit beads, and I was happy with the resulting necklace.

One of the fun things about bead shows for me is finding stones or pearls that will combine well with my beads.  Sometimes I know exactly what will work, and sometimes the ideas need to percolate.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Furry family members

 I visited one of my sisters last weekend and I remembered to take my camera.  This is Thomas.  She rescued him from a shelter a while ago, and he is a real sweetheart.  Big orange cats are so mellow!  He shares his love freely with anyone, and is pretty vocal about it. 

My sister bought a folding laundry basket and he has claimed it- guess she will have to buy another one.
Of course I have to add a photo of my furry family member.  She is over 15 now but you would never know it.  She came from a shelter too.  I wish more people would adopt from shelters- there are so many kittens and puppies (and cats and dogs) that need a good home, and they make the best pets!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Every year I donate to 3 shows and organizations, and to make it easier for me, I usually make the same piece for each donation.  This year it will be my amber eye pendant in a cone shape.  The color combination is one of my favorites, and I often shade the dots from light to dark.  The design is based on the historical eye bead- each dot represents an eye, which helps to protect the wearer.

The donations this year will go to the Earth Center for the Arts (Tyler Craft Center) for their auction on June 3,  BCTV Octoberfest for their televised fund raising auction on Oct 17-22, 2011, and the  Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen Holiday Show on Oct 29-30, 2011 at the Kutztown University Fieldhouse. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kiln repair

Yesterday I was in my studio preparing to make beads, but unfortunately when I turned my kiln on, nothing happened!   I was not in the mood for dealing with it, so I turned on my back up kiln and spent the day making beads.  Today I decided to deal with it!  I seemed to remember ordering elements years ago and receiving more than one set, so off I went on the hunt.  In a dusty box, I found 2 sets of elements and the directions for changing them.  After locating screw drivers, wire cutters and needle nose pliers, I tackled removing the old elements, which was definitely in distress, and installing the new ones.  My kiln now works again, and I have the elements for one more repair.  I read some place that they are supposed to work for 10 years, and I haven't come close to that yet.  I am so happy to have my favorite kiln working again!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New butterfly bead

After much experimenting, I think I have finally settled on the colors for this new bead.  I call it a butterfly bead, since the inspiration was a butterfly.  The raised dots actually have a flash of color- I couldn't capture that in a photo.  The background is ivory glass and the rest is various colors of Double Helix silver glass.  I am having loads of fun experimenting with all the new silver glass colors.  I developed the first butterfly bead for my new book, which probably won't be out until early next year.  It is so much fun to work on new designs!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Out of the kiln

Yesterday I came down with some kind of crud, sore throat, etc, but today I felt well enough to work on my torch for a while.  These are what I took out of the kiln tonight.  The large one is a blown bead, and it doesn't have any cracks!  That has been a problem for me, and I am not sure if it is my annealing schedule or if they are going into the kiln too cool.  The bottom left three are my new butterfly beads.  I was experimenting with silver glass stringers, and it really made a difference.  The left one fumed too much and looks dirty, the middle one didn't fume much at all, and the right one fumed enough to turn the ivory glass darker.  I like it!  The gold ones on the right are experiments with a new silver glass.  It was a pretty good day, especially considering how I felt!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Signs of spring are happening!  We have had a lot of rain, not ice or snow!  I thought when Feb was over, I would be able to slow down a little, but that isn't happening.  I have to do all the things I put off!  Plus tax season is coming- not my favorite thing.  But with all this, I made myself a promise that I would get into my studio more.  My new beads were the ones that sold at the Berks Bead Bazaar, a sure sign I need to keep creating new beads. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Berks Bead Bazaar 2011

The 10th annual Berks Bead Bazaar was last weekend and it was great seeing my beady friends.  My friend Joan Miller and I started this show mainly because there weren't any bead shows close to us 10 years ago.  Patti Cahill came with her bright, happy colors and new crocheted collars.   Leslie Pope of Twisted Sistah was there with her seed beads.  Laura Drosner Schreiber had her bright, almost retro lampworked glass beads.
Marti Brown had her tools, jewelry and beading supplies set up.

Jennifer McGinithen had her wonderful borosilicate beads there.  There were lots of great stone beads, pearls, silver, polymer clay, and any other kinds of beads you can think of!

And we couldn't have the show without the help of two friends, Charlene Keller and Judy Conard, who always help with the admission table.  They are both jewelers who love to buy supplies at the show. 

We forgot it was our 10th year, so maybe we will have a special something for our 11th year!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Busy Feb

I just realized I haven't written a blog this month!  It has been a very, very busy month, and I will be glad when it is over.  My new book was due this month (more on that later) and I have 2 shows.  The IBE Clarksville MD show was last weekend, and the Berks Bead Bazaar is coming up this weekend ( so my friend Joan Miller and I have been working hard to get ready for that.  I am looking forward to seeing friends and some amazing beads!  There is always the usual stuff- bills, paperwork, cleaning (?), laundry...the stove needed repaired.  And on top of everything, there was snow, more snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain.  Some trees didn't handle the ice too well.  I need spring!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bigger blown bead

After 2 days of shoveling snow, I took a day off yesterday and made beads.  I have been anxious to practice blowing more huge beads, and this is the result of yesterday in the studio.  It is even bigger than the first one I made!  I am not sure why I am so intrigued with these huge beads, but I love them.  Thank you, Patti Cahill!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Huge hollow beads

I just got back from a fabulous one day workshop with my friend Patti Cahill, and among other things, she demonstrated how she makes her huge hollow beads. I had talked to her about it before, but there is nothing like actually seeing it!  Today, while the snow came down, I finally got to try it at home, and took this bead out of the kiln tonight.  Unfortunately, there is a crack in it, so this one will be mine.  I think I need to tweak the colors a little, but all in all, I was not unhappy (except for the crack!)  It is the largest bead I have made, close to 2" diameter. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011


This weekend I tackled a huge pile of paperwork.  I filed sales tax for 3 states and 3 local business privilege taxes, plus sorted and filed a lot of papers.  At some point I will have to start on federal, state and local income taxes, but that can wait for another day.  I usually don't mind the paperwork too much, unless it takes too much time.  Then I resent it; being in my studio is a much better use of my time!

I still need to hem 2 new pairs of jeans so I can wear them.  I can seldom buy any pants that don't need hemmed, and even ones for short people usually need a little hemming.  If I can get them done tomorrow, then on Monday I can start working in my studio with a clear conscience.  I need to melt some glass!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year!

It is a brand new year, and I have a brand new purse.  It took several trips to several stores but I finally found one I think will work.  Red wouldn't have been my first choice, but I really liked everything else about it, so I decided I liked the red after all.  Choosing a new purse is a big commitment, and leads to many possibilities for the new year.  There are lots of pockets, inside and out, zippered or not.  Who knows what will end up in them by the end of the year.