Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Heap of New Work Added to our Website. New Newsletter too!

Today I have added this lot of beads plus a bunch of jewelry as well to our website.  There is also a new tool on there which you can find featured on our homepage below the graphics and some of the videos.  It is a new switch system for our electric mandrel spinners.  I have also just sent out our monthly e-newsletter.  There is a coupon on the bottom of it that expires tomorrow night!  Have a great Saturday night!  Ciao, Monica

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Comment(s) - Change That and Win

Ok, so in an effort to see a 1 instead of a 0 next to my comments section below each post, I am offering a one time prize to the first person to leave a comment. Let me know you're out there. I also want to see how I am notified when someone does leave a comment. The prize is a coupon for 30% off of your entire order from anything on our website. It will have a one month expiration date.

Since I posted this blog post, someone has notified me that there is a problem with leaving comments. I urge you to still try since I tried to leave one and it worked for me, but then I deleted my comment so the comments number would be true.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Jewelry Portfolio Revisited for Inspiration

I am gearing up to make some more elaborate pieces as one of my last in the store just sold! With the kiddos it's hard for me to take a lot of time on one piece, but they are surely my favorite pieces to make. I looked to my portfolio page on our site and that helped me remember some ideas I have been wanting to try. Most of our new work recently has been put out for sale at our studio and I wanted to see how that went before taking all of the extra time to photograph them and get them up online. I'm due for a photoshoot though, so I'll post new work soon. In the meantime, perhaps you'd like to see some of my more elaborate pieces in my online portfolio.

Or look below to view my fancy slideshow.

Thanks for looking! The last couple of weeks has been camping, swim lessons, and day camp. That seemed to all come at once. It was fun though, but I'm glad things are getting more settled down around here.

Ciao! Monica

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Making Jewelry, Bead Centering Trick, Fair-Going Firemen

So the boys and I spent the last weekend with my sister out at the beach on Whidbey Island. I even managed to make some jewelry out there. The internet connection was a bit spotty, so I didn't bother with the blog. I need to get myself down to the studio soon and get some photos done of some of my new work. I'll just keep making it and photograph it as soon as I can. The boys have started swim lessons this week and it is every day, so I'm a bit thrown from my schedule. The photo below shows some of my take-over of the picnic table.

I wanted to share this tip as I find it an important step in paying attention to detail with your work. Scott makes his beads mostly on 1/16" mandrels. The sterling silver wire that I use most is 20 gauge. I find if I don't nestle round beads up against his beads to keep them in place, they can stick out to either side and look off-center. So, for those times I don't want to use a round ball bead up close, I instead fill the hole with small seed beads that are the right size to slip in and fill the void. I don't know what ones to get, I just tried some from my stash and got lucky. At least when you fine a kind that works, you likely have a lot of them. This makes a huge difference for me. Blurry picture, oops, but you can get my point. I made this necklace tonight. I'll show you the results in my next photo shoot.

While on Whidbey Island we checked out an art festival we used to do, Choochokam (Langley Art Festival). I think we'll try to do that next year if we can. A bag of kettle korn, two firemen hats, and two happy kids. Ahhh, the balance seems to be working out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Day 20% Off Bead Sale, New Work, and What It's All About

I have updated our website with four new bead sets (shown here) along with 2 new pendants. We are having a one day sale (20% off) for our Lampwork Bead Sets and Focals. The sale will end at 2pm Pacific Time on Friday July 8th. No codes necessary, sale prices shown on website. We take Visa/MC/Discover/Amex and Paypal.

So far I'm doing ok on balancing summer fun for the kids and working. The holiday and our recent statewide 18 hour broadband outage kicked me back, but I'll find a way to make up for it. I have found that some of my favorite things to do with the kids are also the simplest. Parades, kiddie carnivals, hay-rides. It is so fun to see the kids having such a great time over simple efforts made by us adults. I love that they let my son get this close just to make sure he won a prize. And the humble potato sack. Good times. These are moments when I find myself saying "This is what it's all about." For me anyway, I'm sure we all have that feeling at different times, but I'm glad to have them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Had a Good 4th! Finale Video Clip.

We just returned from a fabulous 4th with family and friends on Whidbey Island, Washington. I took the photos below with one of two children asleep in my lap. What a day. It was nice to take a break, but I am amped to get back to making jewelry and you should see some new glass experiments that Scott is teasing me with. Looks quite promising. I'll of course post here when I have something to show you. We'll see what the kiln opening brings in the morning. Hope you enjoy the video clip of the fireworks grand finale put on by my step-dad and cousins. At the end you can see that I pan over to the right. You'll see that we are on a waterfront cove and other shows are still going on. The far away echo of blasts is one of my favorite things, however, in many ways eerie and sad to think that for many long ago that sound didn't bring joy. Lets be grateful.

p.s. We just hit 500 Likes on our Facebook Page! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Six Colorful Lampwork Bracelets and The Tape Trick Photo Tip

I went for a short hike with the boys yesterday on one of our favorite trails straight into some long grass and bees. We thought it would clear up soon, but didn't, so we promptly turned around. That short time was long enough to spin me into a hayfever attack that took me down. Hence, I had an icepack on my forehead last night instead of getting my daily blog post in. Well, I'm back in action now! I've listed the 6 colorful lampwork bracelets (shown below) to our website and they are now available for viewing and for sale. I want to explain how I do the length measurements. I list a Total Length and an Interior Circumference. The Total Length is me having the bracelet stretched out on a ruler. The Interior Circumference is the measurement I get when I slide the closed bracelet onto my measurement cone. The width of the larger beads makes the bracelet "shorter" when you actually put it on. Am I making sense? To see what size would work best for you, I suggest getting a thin string and placing it around your wrist with enough slack to match how loose you would like a bracelet to feel. That measurement would most closely match the Interior Circumference. I include the ruler length because I think that is more industry standard. I do free sizing adjustments upon request, however for necklaces, sometimes I need to add a small charge if I am adding a lot more beads. So it didn't take me long to realize that I should just do a group shot instead of a Flickr Slideshow to show you new work. Duh. :o) The slideshows are still cool, but I don't think I'll use them each time. Remember in Blogger you can click the photo to enlarge it and then click it again to Zoom in.

Link to our website to view/purchase the bracelets.

And now, to my photo tip. The Tape Trick. A while back I was having a heck of a time photographing lentil beads without getting major glare from the lights and the flash. I knew I needed to prop it up somehow and was looking around for something. Scott quickly suggested I use a small crumpled piece of tape. I have since learned that double sided tape works even better. You just crumple it up and lay it on your table and lean the bead up against it. You can even then smash it down a bit or lift up and it seems to stay how you want it. Also, make sure to polish off finger prints. Lentils are famous for showing finger prints. Cotton gloves for this would be best, but like I'll ever remember to pick up some cotton gloves when I'm out and about with the kids. I have both full time this summer, no daycare. It is working out and we're loving being together, but I'd be lying if I said there wasn't more chaos. :o) Below is a picture of our photo station. Two 5500k photo flood lights coming from the right and left, along with a light box with a piece of white computer paper on it. I also use the flash on my camera. The light box helps to illuminate transparent beads and get some "under-lighting". The white foam core board in the back helps to bounce light back onto the bead. We then adjust the lighting setting on our camera to to the 5500k setting. I'm not saying my last photo below is perfect. I just wanted to point out that when I was trying to photograph this bead laying flat I got so much glare that the photo was unusable and has long since been deleted or I would have shown you an example. Enjoy your day!