Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Seascape Necklaces

 I’ve been so busy trying to keep my shop stocked with charm beads for months and haven’t had a chance to make necklaces until now. I love making the beads for these because they are bigger and allow for more complicated designs. These beads are made by essentially painting in glass. I start with a white background like an artist starts with a blank canvas and add all the colors in layers. Of course unlike with a painting I have the benefit of being able to heat up my whole “painting” and manipulate the glass to get more flow or move around an area if I want to.

                                                    Moonlit Seas Bead in the making.

 After I’m happy with my seascape “painting” I shape the bead, and add the moon detail.

Both of these piece are currently available here on eBay.

If you are a glass beadmaker I do have tutorial available on my seascape beads here.

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Growing Up in a “Disadvantaged” Area

It’s funny to think that I spend all most of my time making art and pretty things because I was raised to be VERY practical. My parents did not introduce me to art or teach me to appreciate beautiful things but they did make sure to teach me the value of hard work. My mother never wore jewelry, makeup or nice clothes. I grew up in a single wide trailer but there was never any feeling of shame or lack about that fact. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I learned that rural Maine and our home in particular were something many people would look down upon.

I’m very thankful for the people who did introduce me to art. My elementary school started an art program when I was about halfway through and the teacher we got was wonderful. I was lucky enough to take private sewing lesson from someone who creates the most artistic quilts I’ve ever seen and does other amazingly original fiber art projects. I then went on to high school where I had another excellent art teacher and was lucky enough to have art class everyday all four years of high school.

That said I don’t regret that I wasn’t raised in a city with lots of art museums and culture, or that my parents weren’t highly cultured people or even artists themselves. They encouraged me and helped me to pursue my interests even if they knew nothing about them. Anything more than that would have been unnecessary.

My rural, practical upbringing was an amazing gift and though most would look at Washington County Maine and see a depressing place lacking in opportunities, I realize that it was the very thing that gave me such a valuable and unique opportunity.

How exactly? If my parents had had a perfect beautiful home they never would have let me set up a torch and kiln and melt glass in it as a teenager. Keep in mind I had taken no classes, watched no youtube videos on the subject because we had dial up internet at the time and I had no idea what I was doing. My closest previous experience was probably with 4th of July sparklers. Dad was willing to risk his old workshop/shed that he and mom built out of logs however.

If my parents had had high hopes for their honor roll student going to an ivy league college they never would have let me live with them while I figured out how and if I could make a glass bead/jewelry business grow straight out of highschool.

If as a teenager I had had activities and parties and a fantastic social life I never would have had the time to devote to learning lampwork.

And of course there are many more reasons just like this.

Today I don’t live in a fancy home and I have to drive a long time just get groceries or go to the doctor. I don’t own nice clothes not because I don’t like them but because I work from home. Even when I do go out in public, everyone else is dressed in jeans and flannel for the most part anyway.

But in return for those small sacrifices I have a job not only doing what I love, but the very job that I dreamed of doing from the time I was a teenager. I live debt free in a half renovated 1860’s farm house with unlevel floors so I can be sure to continue to do what I love. And I live in what I believe is one of the most beautiful places in the world so I am never lacking for inspiration.

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This is what it looks like outside.

Beautiful yes, but the lack of color can get old quite fast. Not surprisingly I love making beads in the winter because I get to snuggle up (but not too close) to a warm (2000 degrees Fahrenheit) torch by a wood fire and dream up scenes like this…

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Wearing Charm Beads in Unexpected Ways

 This is a necklace I wear all the time, and while it’s very unique to me personally, I wanted to share it with you so it can give you an idea of how to wear my or other brands of charm beads without a Pandora, Trollbead or other brand bracelet.

The gold chain is
antique from I think the late 1800’s and it’s a little longer than I
like. It came on an antique locket I got lucky and won in an eBay auction. I thought about shortening it but because it’s antique I didn’t
want to alter it. However with the beads added in this way it’s the perfect
length. The lion charm is a very sentimental piece that I’ve had since
junior high. The two glass beads are beads I made and liked how they
turned out so much couldn’t bare to sell them. One is a simple encased
dot bead and the other is one of my large focal flower garden beads. I SO adore teal with a little bit of purple. This necklace combines many things dear to me, gold AND silver, lions, flowers, luna moths, and antique things.

To make a piece similar like this, all you need is…

-A charm or pendant

-One of more charm beads

-A flexible chain, preferable in some kind of link style. Most chains sold as rollo, cable or link should work. Make sure to get a length longer than the length you like to wear. If the chains clasp is not simple or is too wide the beads may not fit but for the vast majority of chains this is not a problem.

Add your beads onto the chain  first, then add your charm and simply double the chain through the beads again. Center them out on the chain and you’re done! 

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Reflecting on my Disasterous Resloutions for 2015

2015 was an amazing, life changing, full of surprises year for me.Yes, I’m expecting a baby early this year, but my pregnancy was one of the few things in 2015 that I actually did plan. :) This time last year I had a lot of goals and expectations for myself which I won’t even bother to write out here. Instead of presenting me with smooth sailing and the opportunity to accomplish them, 2015 threw new challenges at me that I had not dreamed of facing. To top off an incredibly difficult year, my closest friendship ended in a way that was completely devastating and I’m still not able to fully process it. I had had such a difficult year and I had lost the one person I went to to talk about everything… even the most minor annoyances of my life.

Towards the end of this year I had so much STUFF to process that the only thing that kept me sane was trail running. The endorphins together with the beauty and peace of the woods were the very best therapy I could find. Then within one week I got sciatica so severe I could barely walk across my kitchen and had to give up running and even walking outside at all.

Though I might be tempted to think it, life is not against me. Life is showing me that I’m much much stronger and flexible than I think. For every setback there is an equal blessing, if I can only look past my disappointment to see it. In losing my friendship, I learned to appreciate my family and others in my life so much more. Because of being forced to stop running I
discovered yoga which I never dreamed of having the patience for before now.

Leo, who writes one of my favorite blogs, http://zenhabits.net/ says
that goals are not always helpful and that instead of making a goal we
should focus on making a small change of habit, or by setting a “rule”
for ourselves. For example if you want to write a book you don’t make a
goal to finish a book by 2017, instead you simply schedule 20 minutes of
time to write in your day. The only real difference is that the focus
is on the activity (writing) rather than the end of the road (the book).

I’ve learned to aim more for intrinsic versus extrinsic goals, and at least some of the time I now remember more than ever to be grateful for the incredibly rich life I do have. I’m a lot happier with myself, and happier in the moment. It’s not about goals, it’s about life as a journey as a whole and more than that it’s about accepting each moment as it is now and seeing the beauty in it’s imperfection. You can’t focus so much on goals that you forget the big (and invariably better) picture. You can’t try to force things into being perfect or how you want them to be without missing the beauty in what is.

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