Thursday, November 22, 2007


It's a [lightly] snowy Thanksgiving morning in my Minnesota neighborhood. Brrrrr. I have yet to locate my winter coat. LOL. Time to start searching. It SHOULD be in an obvious & planned location. Nope. :o)

I got up early this morning & torched for a bit. It's been several days. I decided that I needed some pieces to take along (ie. show off) to the in-laws as some of the people who will be joining us haven't seen any of my beads since Easter. With a tiny bit of practicing between then & now, I think I've improved a touch. :o) Anyway... I needed to do a little torching because all of my serving pieces are @ that boutique. I don't even have any snow domes! Oh well... they can see pictures. :o)

So... what are you thankful for today?

I'm thankful, of course, for my family. My husband who puts up w/ my messes, especially. :o) My kids who ask "are you torching AGAIN?" (who don't understand that I'm not just playing, LOL!) I'm also thankful for all of the obvious... health, happiness & a roof over our head.

But this blog is [supposed to be] about GLASS, right? I'm VERY thankful for glass, LOL. For taking on this wonderful art & for whatever talent I've been given that allows me to make such beautiful pieces w/ it. I'm VERY thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have many things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Anybody know how to balance a glass obsession (that OBVIOUSLY won't be going away) w/ the rest of your life?? :o)


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Even more than what I thought it was. I worked there tonight, it was enlightening, amazing, etc...

My original take on this non-profit boutique was that it was a bunch of non-profit artist groups that rely on fundraisers like art sales to fund their businesses. NOPE. Some of them are... like the Bloomington Art Center that I'm involved with... it's a beautiful art center that has a gallery & many many great classes, as well as two different theatrical theaters. They rely on memberships & fundraisers to keep them going & their involvement in this boutique will help fund scholarships for low income children to come take classes & workshops. BUT, there are many many other non-profit groups that are involved in this boutique who do such incredible work with people in so many dire situations, it was a pure pleasure to be there to offer my time to help.

Another volunteer there tonight was a man from "Camp Heartland". He works with children who are HIV/AIDS infected or affected by someone in their homes/lives who have HIV/AIDS. Josh. Neat guy. They had items there that were from artists who work w/ the children or even who just donate their art to help raise funds.

MANY MANY other groups... people who work w/ homeless or even ex-cons just need someone to reach out & give them a little boost to get them moving in the right direction. Gosh, there were so many groups, I can't even pull up names at this point. It was very cool.

One of the really awesome things that this boutique had was a wall of "ShareGifts" that are available exclusively at Twice the Gift. A ShareGift honors the recipient by supporting specific services or items needed by Twin Cities nonprofits, such as:

- Purchase a set of classroom books for elementary school students participating in an academic enrichment program.

- Provide one week of emergency shelter for a family of four fleeing domestic violence.

- Provide one day of spoken language instruction for a child with hearing loss.

Scholarships, funds for an individual to get his GED, the list goes on.

If you're in the Minneapolis area, please come by & check it out. Gaviidae Common II, now through January 1st. There are so many beautiful items for sale, many great books, too, & it's all for a good cause.


I am now the treasurer of our local ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) chapter... which also makes me a member of the 5 person board. I'm thrilled that I will be able to be more involved w/ the group... to be able to take part in the decision making process... maybe bring more ideas to the table.

I already asked, at our last meeting, what it would take to get some big names here to teach some classes...lots of interest there. There are several that are on the top of the list... Andrea Guarino is at the top of mine, Larry Brickman", too. Many others. Maybe if Anastasia was ever back in the US we could talk her into coming back to Minneapolis. :o)

Any recommendations??

Monday, November 19, 2007


I did the Twin Cities Bead Bazaar at the end of October w/ my local ISGB chapter, Star of the North... I got some FANTASTIC feedback from the public & other artists, which I was really excited about.

A few weeks later @ the Bloomington Center for the Arts Holiday Art Sale, I was sitting @ the check-out table & a young lady walked by me & saw my necklace... I saw her reaction & she said "You're here!" She recognized my style from the bead bazaar.

How cool is that? I guess it DOES pay to get your stuff out into the public, doesn't it? :o)


The "Twice the Gift" boutique opened today & I've already gotten an eMail from someone who saw some of my finished pieces & wanted to purchase some of my beads on their own! Yes!! :o)

This is really exciting!! This is the first time my stuff has REALLY been out in public in a RETAIL sort of way! LOL!

Doin' the happy dance. :o)

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I needed a charm for a surprise bracelet w/ a "farm" theme.... I first made a barn bead, which was cute, but not exactly perfect or creative enough for me.

I had just received these great hill tribe silver wire lentils that I thought "hmmmmmm... I bet I can turn that into a nest!" So, I took a couple & hammered the heck out of them w/ my dapping tools to cup them, soldered a jump ring or two & there you have it, nests.

I made simple little eggs off of the end of the mandrels so they only had one hole & I epoxied them really well into the nests.

Cool, huh??

Can you picture colorful little Easter Eggs in them??


For anybody in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, here's a unique shopping (& giving back to your community) opportunity for you. I'm involved in a holiday boutique in downtown Minneapolis on the 2nd floor of Gaviidae Common II...right along the skyway system. (and directly across from the Nicolett Mall Light Rail station, very handy!)

It's a fantastic little non-profit boutique called "Twice the Gift" that is funded by the Pohlad Family Foundation. It's open from November 19th through the new year! 45 different non-profit groups are being represented... everything from Camp Courage, who work with children infected & affected by HIV/AIDS, to the Bloomington Art Center where I'm involved, to other non-profits that do good in the community. NONE of the proceeds go to the Pohlad Family Foundation... it all goes back to the non-profits & a percentage of my sales will go back to me. It's in a really upscale retail building w/ stores like Saks on 5th, Neiman Marcus, Ann Taylor, Talbots, etc... lots of boutique stores & salons, etc. (& a food court on the 4th floor!!) I'm excited. There are some really beautiful items there for sale. I think it'll all do really well. I really think all of my items will do really well.

I'll be volunteering in the store several times over the next month. If you want to meet ME, eMail me & I'll give you my schedule.

It's on the skyway system with lots of office buildings surrounding it, so it's a big shopping area for the holidays.

Fantastic opportunity (& last minute! The art center only heard about it around a week before they needed our stock!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Well... I'm FINALLY about to launch my new website. I've had a "next to nothing" one up since the spring, but have never taken the time to really get it set up. Well, I've signed up to advertise w/ a bunch of other lampworkers for the next year in Step by Step Beads magazine... the first ad will be in the January/February issue & will probably be in the mail & in the stores by the 2nd week in December, so YIKES!! It's good, though... making me commit to getting this together. I purchased a Flash template in the spring, too, but it's completely over my head, so I finally hired someone to help me out, THANK GOD!! Erinn has been great to collaborate with. Here is a "sample" of the "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" home page...

I just put it up on my website (instead of the pitiful PappaShop one that I'd not done anything with) to announce that I'm opening soon!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


So... when my 12 year old was in kindergarten, I couldn't simply purchase some plain cupcakes for his class birthday celebration, NOOOOOOOOoooo... I had to TOP them with something "above average". So, since he has a January birthday, the WINTER theme was a little obvious. As I was scowering the cake decorating store for inspiration, I came across a package of small bowling pins that were made to top a cake. I remember seeing a cute snowman SOMEWHERE made from a paper mache' bowling pin & thought that these little pins would be PERFECT to make into snowmen for these cupcakes. I made something like 25 of these, drew eyes & dotted "coal" mouths, & little painted orange noses! I decked them all out in pipe cleaner scarves & hats or ear muffs & put toothpicks into their little bottom holes :o) to stick into the cupcake. ... they were FABULOUS!! :o) Fun. (excuse the old pictures!)

The next year I decided to do it again but make them something that could stand up on their own, but I couldn't find the plastic pins, so I made them out of polymer clay & glued them to clear glass pebbles. So cute.

I've made them many times since then. Last year I was party mom for my younger child's 3rd grade class & when I was hunting for a craft for them to do @ their "Winter (Christmas) Party", I found this little snowglobe ornament in Family Fun magazine that had a little plastic deer standing in a snow-covered forest. The "dome" was a clear Solo cup. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen.

Well... w/ lots of searching, I found that these cute little plastic deer were about $1/each. There was no way I could spend THAT much out of the party funds for a small part of a craft, so I decided that for only about $5, I could make a few dozen snowmen out of clay for these ornaments, they'd be perfect... & they WERE!! I prepared most of everything up front for these, the kids just glued them together.

Here's my youngest w/ his ornament & then the prototype that I made w/ my niece.

...SO... (yes, there's more, LOL!) once I started lampworking, I KNEW I was going to have to try to make some snowmen out of glass!

This is my first glass snowman (girl)... she cracked. :o(

Here is one grouping of some coordinating ones:

Then, of course, I had to "rethink" the snow dome. I couldn't very well put a plastic cup over the top of some cute glass snowmen, could I?? Noooooooo. :o) So, I hunted down some small glass domes (used by pocketwatch collectors) & made the footed wooden bases & there you go, my own original design, 8 years in the making...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


...AND once I got into the "beadable" pieces, I started searching for other beadable items, mainly on woodworkers' sites & found things that woodworkers would sheath in turned wood, like the beadable pens & such. What I got REALLY excited about were these cool little kaleidoscopes! I saw them & thought, "it's just a tube, I think I could make a big hole bead to fit that!!" I made 5 & sold 4 of them @ the sale!! $50 ea. I only had ONE mandrel that fit at first (I only came up w/ the idea a few weeks before the show)... how frustrating to only be able to make one every day & 1/2 or so!! LOL! I got 3 more mandrels from Malcom @ Artco... how awesome to be able to make 4 @ a time!! LOL! I made up the rest that I had (7) for a holiday boutique I'm doing in downtown Minneapolis & just ordered 25 more! LOL! (red, green & blue wands). That picture is about full size. Cute, huh?

I searched for kaleidoscopes on LE & only found mention of "kaleidoscope beads", which are a bead style, from what I gather... so I'm kind of excited that this "might" be an original-ish lampwork idea.

What do you think???

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I'm so excited about these pieces. In preparation of a holiday art sale that I knew I would need "finished" pieces for, instead of going the jewelry route, I decided to go towards "gifts". Beadable items like utinsils, bar items, etc... really nice pieces that I mainly picked up from Karen Thomas Designs. These are so cool to make. They consistently challenge me to make larger, coordinating beads, etc. They "feel" nice, too, as they have a very substantial weight to them.

They were a HIT! It was really exciting to watch people oooh & aaah over these fabulous pieces. Mostly, I was REALLY happy with the feedback I got from the other artists who were impressed by my "awesome" beads 6 months earlier!!

Yes, I've improved... just a bit. :o)
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