Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

A few weekends ago, hubby and Keegan trimmed the house and yard with lights. Usually it is just hubby that does it all, but Keegan graduated into being a helper for Randy. Man, my boys are growing up fast. Scary Fast.

Crazy St. Louis weather. It has been so mild until a few days ago. Crazy to think that early December and my kids are outside in shorts!

We have all been begging for Snow Flakes to get us in the Christmas spirit but zero luck yet.

On the same day as hanging the lights, we also trimmed the tree and brought home a new couch. I laughed and told Randy that this was going to be our Christmas card this year. And since I haven't had the chance to get the boys together I'm getting worried I might have been right. Just say "no" Cassie.

Hoping everyone has been able to enjoy the season so far. For those of you that have snow, please send a few flakes my way pretty please!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I need a shot of mojo

Man you guys... I really need to get my inspiration hat back on. I guess you have noticed by my lack of posts that I haven't been very motivated to write much. I guess I'm just in one of those valley's in the beading inspiration world and have no desire to stretch my wings and push myself to explore.

I would like to blame part of it on finding out that I'm anemic and have been supposed to be taking iron supplements but I'm a crummy pill taker and haven't been doing well on that end. Geez, you would think I would want to swallow the bottle to get my energy back. Everything is going great in my life. The kids are wonderful. Hubby is my rock and the man that rocks my world. He has been super busy with work and traveling sooo much. I'm sure that has had a big impact as it really does change the dynamics. I feel like both hubby and I are just hankering down and in survival mode during this time of huge travel.

This is my favorite time of the year so I plan on trying to soak up the holiday cheer and look forward to the new year and new beginnings.

I hate making posts without any photos. So I'll post a photo of a custom necklace I made over the summer that I loved and have had plans to make another for sale but guess I should just list it as a made to order as that has never happened. I still had a few more flowers that needed to be wire wrapped onto the chain.

Friday, November 23, 2012

In Honor of Black Friday Sale...

One of my favorite days of the year is Black Friday. Although the shopping part is crazy fun, it is all about a fun tradition spent with my family. Some of my most fondest and hysterical life moments have been experienced waiting in long lines and doing the crazy dashes for must have items. It seems like every year we relive these fun moments while sitting in line 2 hours in advance and start laughing hysterically all over again. I know a lot of people think Black Friday shoppers are crazy and I can't say I really deny that, but if you go with the right attitude and look at it as an experience then memorable moments can be created and cherished.

And it should really now be called Black Thanksgiving as I was home by 1:30 a.m. today. Usually it is an all nighter waiting for all of the stores to stagger their openings.

In honor of Black Friday, I'm having a sale on my Etsy Store . 20% off everything both in stock and for the first time ever also items that are listed as "made to order" too. I'm late to the game in getting this posted so it will be good until tomorrow (Saturday) night. As is the way with all stores, this sale is not available for past purchases and you have to use the code in order to get the discount.

I hope everyone had a festive Thanksgiving and the day was full of joy and merriment. We went over to my parents house with my brother  and his family. My mother is an incredible cook and I had a great time overindulging.

So after dinner we sorted through the ads and made our plan of attack. There wasn't really a lot of must have's on our list but a tradition is a tradition and we couldn't not go. Thankfully it was one of the warmest Black Friday's we have had but... after we got all our chairs set up and settled in, about 10 min later the rain came and the photo below should have been changed to show umbrellas. We still had a blast and even let my 13 year old and my niece come with us for the first time ever. They had a great time. My brother is the one that took the photo and my other cousin was sadly missed this year as she traveled out of town.

It is so strange having the sales start so early this year. I was done at home at 1:30 and that included a dinner at Steak and Shake. Which I am kind of sad as that is not tradition. It has always been the iHop for a good hearty breakfast after shopping all night but of course they aren't open that early or late if you wanna call it that.

The night before Thanksgiving we took our two oldest kids out for dinner at the infamous Blue Berry Hill where Chuck Berry to this day still performs.

Then we surprised them by taking them to the Fox Theater to see the Blue Man Group. Holy Cow did that show rock. I thought it would be good, but it was incredible. I had it in my mind it would just be these guys all painted up in blue and hitting drums with paint flying all over. That was only a tiny part of the show.  We were so entertained. It was actually very comical and I found myself laughing and smiling through out the entire performance. If you ever get the chance, I would so recommend you to go see them. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A few new Goodies

Just listed a few new goodies on Etsy. Trying to get some new and fresh items available. Keep things spicy ya know. Still only getting those few hours of work but hubby was finally able to get back in town today. And I'm so happy as he will be here all next week too. I've gotta hand it to single parents as I often feel this is what family life has become for us these past several months. Hubby hasn't been home during the week for the past 7 weeks. It's been so long that I can't even remember when he was here for an entire week. It takes a huge weight off your shoulders knowing he is here and that makes me so happy:-) 

Artistically I feel like I'm in a huge slump and am getting by on bare minimum. I'm too tired and lazy to do anything that requires inspirational momentum and starting new projects that require mental jazziness seems too daunting. It isn't a fun place to be as an artist, but I realize there are many reasons that are contributing to this place and I'm just in a tuck and survival mode during this season. I am just kind of looking at this as a stage of hibernation and sometime next year I'll be out and ready to go. But having said all of that ...:-) our refrigerator died last week so I thought I would try to step up my work time the best I could to help get a new one. Hubby was hesitant to let me go buy one on my own because as he put it "I'm afraid you will go out and buy a Cadillac." He knows me well. I teased him as I texted and said I found the perfect fridge that has a built in TV and stereo with Bose speakers and I was so excited and bought it. I almost said it had a built in iPad but then I knew he would know I was joking. So he texted back and just said "I hope you are joking".  Then he mentioned that it sounded like I was looking for an iFridge. I would so buy one of those if they were available! But since living out of coolers for a week wasn't really an option, I had to shop for the fridge that I could have delivered in the shortest amount of time. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Time Flies...

Well, I wish I could say that I disappeared on some grand adventure these past few weeks. I guess if you call living the daily calls of life a grand adventure than that has been what I've been doing.

Funny how life gets in the way of beading. I did the numbers in my head this week when trying to figure out why I feel like I don't get a lot of beading work done. It made me feel a tad better mentally. By the time I get the kids off to school and they make their way home a few short hours later, it gives me a total of 5 hours to manage the household and my beading business. Hmmmm, that alone is less than 25 hours a week. which half of that goes to running errands, cleaning, cooking, laundry. Emails are a huge time sucker and then of course so is the internet that just sucks you in which leave me about 5 min to make beads, jewelry, and post new things each day. I was really starting to feel like a louse.

My middle child turned 13 last Friday. Which blows my mind. He had a wonderful birthday. The kids are still busy swimming and Caiden has his very first swim meet on this Saturday. He is doing great and I keep waiting for him to whine and complain about going to swim practice 3 times a week but he never does.

So the new Skylander's Giants video game came out a few days ago which has lead to a new quest for Caiden. I have been to 3 different Targets, 2 Walmarts, and Toys R Us trying to make sure I have gotten all the figures that are out there. Hmm.... that is why I don't have much beading time. I'm to busy out on a quest. For you parents that are looking for good Christmas ideas for video games, Skylanders can't be beat. My 8 year old loves these things but even my 13 and 14 year old enjoy playing the game and had to get their own characters the other day. I just wish they would come out about a week before Christmas because there is no way I can get the kids to hold off and wait until Christmas to collect the characters to play on the game.

I did manage to list a few new toggles on Etsy.  Baby steps right?

So now I need to skid addle and get my youngest breakfast so he can go off to school. Hopefully I will be back sooner than later next time:-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

We Have a Winner....

Thank you everyone who left a comment in the last post. There were some incredible comments and I had so much fun reading them. Thank you for all the smiles.

So I went onto and generated a number from the entrants and Fresh Baked Designs is the winner for the lampwork beads, copper flowers, and copper toggle. Congratulations Lynda. I'll shoot you an email but if you don't get it, give me a shout to claim your prize.

I plan on having give aways just for the heck of it every 4-6 weeks so keep checking back to play again!

So hubby and I went out to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary at Lemp Mansion here in St. Louis on Friday night. It was one of those dinner mystery theater plays. Hmmm..... I was trying to find something different for us to do. Let's just say it was a strange but an entertaining night. It was an interactive play and the other patrons there were so diverse that it led to lots of giggling for us. The food was horrible and very disappointing. At 50 bucks a person, I would never go back just because of the food. We left there and ended up going to one of our favorite tapa's restaurants to get some decent food which just made the night more fun so in a way I guess that was a good thing.

Saturday night we celebrated my mom's birthday and she got loaded up with lots of new jewels. I made her a duplicate of the necklace with the big lentil in the previous post, and then a few other necklaces. This one below was inspired by Mary Hettmansperger's book. She has the coolest style and Joan, and I buy something from her booth at Bead and Button every year and have yet to meet her in person. She has always been away from her booth. But man, if you want some great inspiration...snag any of her books fast. This one is over 2" wide. I admit that I had to wear it out one day before giving it to her. LOL

I made her a few earrings but now I can only find the photos for these ones. I also made a duplicate of these earrings and they will be available on my Etsy store shortly.

Well, it is way past my bedtime so off to call it a night. Catch ya soon!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Tour & A Give Away

Heidi Ho there everyone. Today is special in more than one way. I want to give a shout out to my hubby as we celebrate our 15 year anniversary today. I love these days of reflection and realizing how blessed I am that God gave me someone to love, cherish, and love with all my heart.

Today I get to join on on chatting about Lori Anderson's new book during this book tour from all the contributor's to her book.

The process was started over a year and a half a go when I got an email from Lori asking if I would like to participate in  the book. "Heck Ya" I said. That is a total non brainer. So after a few emails  back and forth, I learned that I would get to work with Libby Leuchtman's bead soup. All I can say is that when I opened up my pack of soup, I was jumping up and down. Have you seen her Lampwork pods? They are incredible. I had always admired them in photos but to see them in person is a revelation. This thing is big, bad, and bold. It measures at least 2" tall.  Truly fabulous, and I couldn't wait to design with the awesome collection.  Working with a large focal can be intimidating to me because I'm never sure what to do with it besides the obvious of just stringing it on a chain.

When I sat down to create with the soup, the design just came together all on its own and there was zero struggle or conflict in the designing process. I do remember thinking that I'm not a big fan of the color peach so I'm going to use the pink as my accent color since or course it is my favorite color. Don't you love it when you have one of those "on" design days?

Here is a teaser photo of the necklace. There is also a matching pair of earrings. The full photos are in the book.

Honestly, Libby's pod beads are drool worthy. You can find them and her other cool beads on her Etsy store.

There are some fabulous creations in the book and each project is written as a tutorial so that you can follow along and make a similar creation or using them as a spring board for creating your own jewelry designs.

Here is the soup that I put together for the book. It includes one of my red Lampwork Hearts that I attach to a hand sawn and shaped sterling silver heart. Lori ended up using it for one of her several bead soup projects. You will have to see the book to see the cool necklace she created with the mix.

So.... For the Give Away....

Just leave a comment here and on the morning of October 9, I will draw a winner and make the announcement of who won. I think Lori will also place the winners on her site too. There will also be one grand prize winner that Lori is hosting a gift for that will be for everyone who posted on any of the Bead Soup Contributors' blogs during the book tour.

The winner chosen from the comments made on my blog will win one of my handshaped and patinaed pure cooper flower toggles that measures 1" wide. AND... 4 of my lampwork beads and 4 pure copper smaller flowers. Use them together or separate them out. Loads of possibilities.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

4 New Necklaces

I discovered something super duper way cool a few nights ago. Something that made me love new technology. For those of you who use your iPhone or iPad to take photos for your blog, Etsy, or other on-line sites where you need to upload photos.... the latest ios6 update now enables you to upload photos directly to your Etsy site, blog or other web sites.

Which means... that I have found a few freedom. I have mentioned before that I think about 80% of my blog/bead/jewelry photos are taken with my iPhone 4S. It's an incredible camera and with iCloud, my photos are on my MAC and my iPad through photo stream. That alone is awesome. Then I usually edit my photos with photoshop on my MAC.

I have tried before to list on Etsy just uploading my photos from my iPad and it didn't work. I was always so bummed by that inability. Now that is no longer the case. You can upload away. There are lots of apps out there for photo editing. I am digging the snapseed app but not 100% satisfied with it. But, if it means the convenience will let me list items more often on Etsy, then I'm all over it. The photo editing may not by 100% to my liking but I'm pretty happy with a 85-90% satisfaction as it now means that I will most likely list more often as I can randomly do it while playing on my iPad.  (sadly PicMonkey requires flash or I would be using them on the iPad)

So here are four new necklaces that I listed on my Etsy store all by just using my iPad. I can promise they would have never been done earlier as I usually like to take my laptop to bed at night and do photos and new listings then. But I'm so darn tired by the time the kids are in bed that it hasn't been happening. I'm just thrilled with having another option and opportunity that makes my life more simple as that is what technology is all about right? Hope this tip might help you guys out too!

Now... if anyone can tell me why my MAC computer and Paypal now no longer get along, I would forever be grateful . The issues have gotten worse every week. I'm at the point where I am lucky to even log onto paypal with my MAC. I can't print out shipping labels without it erroring out. I can not even make a payment using my paypal account. Nor can I send an invoice or transfer $ to my bank account. I have to do to hubby's computer or do it on my phone or iPad.

Am I the only one having these issues? Any suggestions on what the deal is? It's making me really dislike Paypal as heaven forbid that I ever dislike my MAC:-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Bead Soup Book Tour

So this is the week that some of the participants from the Bead Soup Book are joining in on the Blog Tour and talking about their creations they made for the book and about the entire experience. 

Each day from Oct 1- 8 visit the participant's website to join in on the fun and read all about it. Then, leave a comment on each participant's blog to be entered into a drawing for a free give away or discount. If you comment on anyone's post, then there is a grand prize give away from Lori Anderson that will be announced on Tuesday, Oct 9. I think all of the give aways will be announced on Oct. 8 or 9.

So come back for my day on Thursday, October 4. to read my thoughts and to be entered into the yummy give away I'm offering up.

Below is the list of the Book Tour participants with their special day marked with links to their Blogs. 

Monday, October 1st
Lori Anderson -- 
Rebecca Anderson --
Barbara Bechtel -- 

Tuesday, October 2nd
Lori Anderson --
Kerry Bogert -- 
Jennifer Cameron --   

 Wednesday, October 3rd
Lori Anderson --

Thursday, October 4th
 Lori Anderson --
Jeannie Dukic --  
Lyn Foley --  

Friday, October 5th
Lori Anderson -- 
Cindy Wimmer -- www.SweetBeadStudio 
Barbara Lewis -- Painting With Fire

Saturday, October 6th

Sunday, October 7th
Erin Prais-Hintz --  

Monday, October 8th
Lori Anderson, 

Friday, September 28, 2012

No Wonder...

Hmmm.... And I wonder why I can't feel productive and get some things done. How is a person supposed to work in this rats nest? It's a total disaster! You wouldn't know it but there are about 8 -10 separate projects in different stages within this small space.

Here's hoping that you have a way better more organized day. I better get this cleaned up as I just had a huge pow wow session last night with my oldest over his school binders being a disaster and being so disorganized that ended up with a trip to Office Depot to get him all structured up. Shhh..... don't tell him that the apple isn't falling far from the tree here. A few of those projects I'm excited about and can't wait to see completed. Now if I can only find my steel wire. I see myself playing Waldo in this photo looking for it. LOL.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No more goal setting!

Well, so much for my previous post about trying to list more. That obviously did not happen. It was an epic fail as a matter of fact and I listed even less than I normally do.

So maybe I just better go back to my own pace that I can manage according to the chaos in my life.

All 3 boys started their swim team schedules a few weeks ago and with a husband that travels for weeks on end, I'm juggling 2 of my kids that swim in different pool locations 3 nights a week. One son that swims at (of course) different pools than the other 2 boys 5 nights a week, and then the other 2 boys have soccer practice one night a week (of course) on different nights and locations. So you do the math, my life is not my own and thank goodness for family and friends as hard as I try, I can not be 3 places at one time.

So these past few weeks has been a learning process for me to get the schedule down and figuring out the best way to attack it. When the boys get home at 2:30 then my life turns over to managing them. Then after I get them to bed, I'm exhausted and too tired to work like I used to do. So that isn't even happening. I think once the routine is established, I will have a better grasp and not feel like I'm spinning out of control.

So bare with me while I get my life in a more stable position.

In the mean time, to not look like a total louse.... I listed this set of beads on Etsy. I started the listing and then almost did a "No, My Precious" thing. But then I slapped my hand and told myself I could make me a duplicate set.

Stay tuned as I still need to shout out about Lori Anderson's newly released Bead Soup Book that I was fortunate enough to participate in.

There will be a blog hop with the participants of the book. My particular day is on October the 4th. And.....there will be a GIVE AWAY that day too. And... I already have it made and packaged up so you won't be subject to me being lame and not getting anything new made!

I plan on being back before then but wanted to give you a "SAVE THE DATE" call out so that you can join in on the fun!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trying to list more often

Well, I just realized today that quarterly taxes are due in what? like 10 short days. I need to get my act together to pay my fair share. So... I've made it a goal to list at least 2 new things every day on my Etsy Store.

Plus, I am slowly starting to give my website some TLC. It needs tons of it as it has been ignored for too long. So that is my secondary goal. Lots of goals. I won't even go into all the other ones like doing laundry more often or better yet... at least putting away the folded clothes that have been sitting in laundry baskets for more than I care to admit. Or.... here is a really good one....trying to cut sugar out of my sugar hound life. That one needs a lot of help. I can't get away from the junk. I'm a coca cola gal and love drinking the stuff + chocolate + cookies + anything with sugar. I don't pick favorites. So my first day of this sugar free life (yesterday) involved me having the genius idea to make my boys a Gooey Butter Cake (It's a St. Louis thing) and something that tastes out of this world. The whole time I'm making it I'm thinking to myself that I'm such an awesome mother. Here I am making this wonderful treat for the boys for after they get home from school and I'm not going to eat any of it because I "don't do sugar" now. Well, I guess I don't have to spell out how that comment went over. Let's just say it tasted DELISH! That was yesterday and I can safely say that today it tasted just as good. Maybe tomorrow it will be too stale and won't taste good anymore. In the mean time, I'm sure I can come up with some other treat that my boys will say in return "You're the best cook in the whole wide world Mom." And I will say....."Too bad I can't eat this stuff since I don't do sugar anymore" and the vicious cycle will start again. Sigh.... Just say NO Cassie.

Now that I totally just derailed discussing my first and more important goal of being able to pay taxes... here are a few pics of items that I have recently listed on my Etsy store.

And These....

And this....

And these....

I'm sure there are more goodies in the shop that might float your boat. I'm finding it scary that more and more people are starting to talk about the holidays and getting geared up for the season. Wasn't it just summer yesterday?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The winner is...

Just got all set up to do the drawing. Since it was a fun small group, I just wrote out each name on a piece of paper and did the old fashion drawing.

The winner of the copper toggles goes to Cassi. Congratulations Cassi. I find it funny that we have the same name but just missing the last letter of how I spell my name. LOL  So Cassi.... email me at with your address. Thank you everyone for participating.

This was fun and I'm finding that blogging on a hosting service is way easier than my old website and that makes me happy.

Happy means.... plan on give aways way more often.

I've got the makings of another batch of toggles started that have a smaller whole which will allow for the toggle bars I made to fit. I also ordered some silver clay to make a few silver toggles.

Coming shortly are a few new bracelets I'm listing on my Etsy store.

And I couldn't resist and had to turn one of those owl sets into a simple bracelet. The silver rings are just beaded silver wire that I made into a ring and soldered close. Then you take a hammer to flatten it. The torch turns the silver black which led to a perfect patina.

Hope everyone is having a nice Labor Day weekend. We are getting the rain remnants from Hurricane Issac and are getting some well needed rain for a 3 day prediction but it just stinks it has to be over the weekend. This is the last weekend the pools are open and we can't enjoy it. I'm so sad. Hoping Monday will be "the day".

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Toggles and a Give Away

Oh no...,I just accidentally hit the delete button instead of the publish button on about 5 comments just now (Wednesday night around 6:45 central time) if you left a comment but don't see your name, please do it again. I'm soooooo sorry.

Have you guys seen the Fall issue of Stringing Magazine? They have the 100+ must have jewelry-making accessories and tools in this issue.

It was my lucky lucky day that my handmade copper toggles were featured in the clasps section.
Do you remember these clasps? You can still find them on my Etsy store.

In the mean time, I finally got some of the copper clay toggles listed for sale on my Etsy store. I love these and the textures.

So in celebration, I want to do a give away for a set of two handmade copper clay toggles. Just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing on Saturday morning. I don't usually have a lot of comments left so you've got a great chance of winning!  Here is a pic of the toggles you can win.

So Caiden brought home school germs a few days ago and I have been knocked out for two days getting almost nothing done in the beading world. I hate being unproductive but in a way, it has been nice hanging out in bed all day chillaxin.

Speaking of chillaxin, I have a cool find for you. Have you ever heard of a Hydro Flask? My brother discovered these and had bought our Mother one as a gift. She liked it so much that I had to buy us a few.

It is basically a magical insulated water bottle. These are the best thing since sliced bread. They can keep ice and water cold for up to 24 hours. I can fill it up with water and ice at bed time and when I wake up in the morning, there is still ice in the cup!!! Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night or early morning to an ICE COLD drink. I take mine in the summer hot car and many hours later, I can get back in the car with over 100 degree temps and there is still ice inside.

I bought mine at Amazon. Just do a search for Hydro Flask. Oh, and I recommend the add on pop top lid for another $6. I don't like having to screw the lid off every time I want a drink. If you get this lid, make sure you order the "Standard mouth" size Hydro Flask. We have a few of the 21oz sizes. I also bought the smaller 12oz size for Caiden to take to school. His teacher lets them have a water bottle in class and now he has nice ice cold water all day long. He loves it and I feel like I'm being a good mother:-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Loving Fall Festivals

I forgot that this time of year brings all sorts of fun festivals to light. Something entertaining to do for the kids and a great way to enjoy this excellent weather we have been having. Yes, I'm still on count down to when the pool closes and it depresses me every time I think about it, but there is also joy in changing seasons and we are having fun tapping in on the activities.

Yesterday was our little town centre's annual Founders Day celebration. Complete with a parade. Connor decided that when he is "old" he is gonna join the Shriners Club so that he can drive one of those little cars. They were loaded up with candy and ready to start their day. There were no big floats and extravagant affairs but for a local community, it was fun and we had a great time watching all the local sponsors from the Cub Scouts, the local Ski Club, HS Cheerleaders, dance squads, horse clubs, vintage cars. Well, you get the idea.

Poor hubby is in the middle of rebuilding our front porch steps so while he and Keegan were working on that, the other boys and I ran up to the Towne Center to see the old time car show, and walk around and soak up the great weather and see all of the activities. It was a hopping place.

So, being the good and patient mother ( I did mention patient right?) that I am, I stood in line for about 1 hour and 15 min. so that the boys could get these extravagant balloon shapes. My dogs were barking (feet) and the line moved so slow because there was only one guy making the balloons. But man, his creations were incredible. What else did I have to do with my time? (insert smirk here). But in the end, they got these cool creations and Caiden was sooooo excited with his monkey on a palm tree and felt so special walking around and having everyone ooohhhh and aaahhhh over his balloon.

I waited in line a long time for these balloons darn it. So I've gotta show more than one photo to help justify my time:-)

Last weekend we went to a festival in Historic St. Charles. It was huge with tons of vendors and loads of food. The weather was perfect and we spent several hours as a family enjoying all the booths. Which is saying a lot considering we now have a 14 year old in the house and even he seemed to have fun.

Historic St. Charles is a long, long street that is loaded with lots of small mom and pop shops where you can find everything from quilting stores, knick knacks, all things England store, an Irish store, Florals, Crafts, and wonderful restaurants. The streets are still paved with original brick roads. If you are ever in St. Louis, this is a great area to visit.

On one side of the street, most of the homes have been converted into shops. Although there are still some private residences intertwined within. I always think that would be so cool to have a house right there but you would really lack the privacy.

We alway love when we see the craft tents that have all of the metal creations turned into animals and objects. I was totally coveting this plant monster creation. If I would have had some spare $ to drop, he would have been in my car!

There was an entire other shopping area down a level by the Missouri River. I had the fortune of meeting a local lamp worker in person too - Peri Hogrebe  Holy cow. Her booth was huge and I had never seen so many lampwork beads from one artist all in one location. She had so much to look at. I think I have maybe .2% of her inventory. She had some beautiful things and it was great to meet her.

So if there are fun festivals in your area, make sure to go and visit them. It's a great outing and helps support so many local artists, local businesses, and organizations. We came home from this trip with 3 waxed cast hands that the boys made at one of the art studios, a back scratcher that Caiden just had to have (yea, I know. strange) and 2 jelly fish necklaces for 2 of the boys that are made out of real tiny jelly fish encased in class and they glow in the dark.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Copper Metal Clay beads and Glass Owls

Life is slowly getting back into a school routine and I think I have worked more in this past week than I have all summer. Which isn't a lot but it's getting there. The weather has been stunning in St. Louis this past week.

So as our thoughts turn to Fall, I thought I would make up another set of Owl beads to sell on Etsy. These are so cute and whimsical and totally make me happy when I look at them. They are available now.

And, I've had a chance to fire the copper clay beads that I made the other day. As with any new medium, there are always trials and tribulations. The toggles I'm still working on but these discs in the photo below were just listed on my Etsy Store and are available now.

So my trials have been with the toggles and then making a few of these 2 layer disc beads that Gail Crosman Moore taught us in her class. I thought the beads in the center supporting the top disc were pure copper. They were described that way but in fact they are not. After I polished them, it looks like they were brass with copper plating. They did not like the 1725 degree temps of the kiln and turned into these disgusting pitted and melted pieces. I had made 3 of these and every one turned out like this. Total bummer because they were cool up until that part. So now I have some real copper spacers and will give it another go when I get a chance.

And the toggles...well I made a bunch of metal clay copper toggle bars but realized after they were fired that they are just a hair too short which means that they can accidentally if they arrange themselves just right, slide out of the toggle and come undone. That would be bad for jewelry so now those are back the drawing board to be remade. I might just whip up some of the copper wire toggle bars for this batch.

It's all a creative process and I do enjoy learning and discovering new things. Keeps the juices flowing. I made a few new molds this morning from a nature walk with the dog so excited to see how those turn out. I have orders I need to work on though so it will be a few days before I try again.

AND.... don't forget that tomorrow is the third and final Bead Soup Party Blog reveal. Loads of great inspiration here. The next one won't be until January. Here is the link to Lori Anderson's Site that has the list of all 400 participants and links to their web sites. Scroll down to see the participants for the Third reveal to see all the new fresh and exciting creations.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back To School Sale

Time to celebrate Back To School. I'm having a sale on my Cassie Donlen Etsy Store. This sale is for any item that is already made and "In Stock". These words are put in the title of every item that is ready to ship. You can easily view these choices by doing a search within my store with the words "In Stock" and all the listings of what is in stock and available to ship now will be displayed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rearranging for more work space

Well the boys survived their first day of school. 8 year old Caiden was informing me all morning that "he wasn't eating breakfast and he wasn't getting dressed" and every other tactic he could come up with to not go to school. I'm thinking it is going to be a grueling long year if he already has that attitude.

I spent my first day of school at Panera Bread Co with about 8 other moms after school started celebrating the first day of school. We broke up around 11 a.m. but I didn't feel like going home to a quiet house. So I just did some random shopping and errands for a few hours. It looks like Home Goods was the store to be in as I saw a few other school mom's there enjoying the first day shopping. I'm still in shock that summer break is over.

So I spent a good chunk of timing cleaning and rearranging the small enclosed workshop that is connected to my regular workshop the other day. Yes, I know when hubby sees this post he will yell at me as this space was supposed to be his but when he wasn't looking, I moved myself into his room. I needed more space. Well, actually my pretty official workshop room is well, so clean and pretty and I didn't want to muck it up with all these tools and soldering station and messy stuff.  I love this space and honestly love hanging out in this room all of the time. When it was finally finished, I was ready to move my bed into the room. I've shown these photos when the workshop was completed earlier this year but just couldn't resist sharing my bit of beading heaven again. It only took almost 4 years for hubby to finally finish it all. Well worth the wait in the end.

What started the whole thought process was that I decided I needed a space to work with metal clay. I had been using the metal clay on the kitchen table for years but it is a pain cleaning up and packing it all away every time I want to use the stuff. So I decided to make a space in the little workshop (aka hubby's former workshop:-). So I moved all my glass rods that were in the cases. Removed pounds of glass rods in colors that I have never used and stored some more in a box that isn't worthy of the everyday use. These were sitting on a prime workbench just taking up space that could be better utilized.

So all that glass on the left of the photo below was moved over to the back wall of this room.

And now I have this clean work table freed up that will be a perfect additional work station.

I was so excited to have this new found space. And, I feel like a big girl now as I finally bought a flex shaft machine and hooked up the stand on this table. So this teeny tiny room now has two work stations. A beading heaven.

When we were at Home Depot, I bought some of this adjustable shelving rack system. I need hubby to install it. This area is still a sore spot with him and when I bought the shelves he started scolding me because he had plans to finish off the rest of the walls and dry wall that has been hung and now he can't do it with all my stuff in the way. No way I'm moving out though as I may never get back in it!

So I played with some copper metal clay the other day (on the kitchen table:-). Here it is before it was fired in the kiln.

It did a lot more shrinking that I expected. The package says around 20% but it sure felt like 30%. My plan is to offer more findings and bead components for sale. All the beads with the center holes are supposed to be turned into toggles. With the price of silver being crazy, it seems challenging to find "cool" alternative metal findings.

Here they are below after they were fired in the kiln and polished up. They come out of the kiln very dark. Like they have had a nice long bath in liver of sulpher. They still have a matte finish instead of a high shiny gloss. I think I like that better than the shiny copper. I had cleaned up one pretty good and heat treated it with the butane torch to get that more reddish with rainbow colors. I liked it a lot but couldn't decide which way I liked better. I was kind of leaning towards just the patina matte look. Any thoughts?

I need to make the toggle bars. I was thinking of doing just the handmade looped ones but then was thinking these look pretty cool and might be deserving of a better toggle bar. I should probably make some toggle bars out of the copper clay to take them to the next level and make them look more artisan.

I didn't put make any holes in them before firing them. I figured this way it leaves options open on how to use them. It is really easy to just use one of the 2 hole screw down punches to make a nice clean hole. So stay tuned to see how they evolve.