Sunday, 25 August 2013

Earring Challenge Reveal 15- Weeks 31 & 32/52

So I still appear to be a little bit behind with my blog posts but better late than never eh!

Wk 31/52

It was a lovely surprise to me because when I looked these earrings were picked out for the AJE reveal. Thanks Kristi x

I've had these gorgeous headpins for ages which were made by the talented Teresa of Bo Hulley Beads and were included in one of the monthly packs from The Curious Bead Shop. It took me ages to work out what to do with them and finally had a brainwave with these hoops and some peanut beads and a couple of matching lampwork spacers made by myself.

Wk 32/52

One of the things I have been doing since I got back from the states is to play at making discs. I have an Electric Mandrel Spinner and I found out from my friend Debbie of Debbies Treasures that she makes all of her beads using her EMS. I really admired the necklaces that she wore which had these discs as one of the components and with her guidance I finally mastered the technique. Thanks Debbie!

Debbie also sells some fun and funky findings. Go check it out!

Don't forget to check out the other AJE Earring Challenge participants.

Thanks for looking.


Earring Challenge Reveal 13- Weeks 29 & 30/52

Now I could have sworn that I had done this blog post but I can't find it so I musn't have done! I know my memory isn't as good as it used to be but I didn't think it was that bad! I also seem to have missed the week 13 reveal and put 14 in it's place. So the numbers are a bit screwy. Anyway.....

Wk 29/52

Not much in the way of my lampwork beads just some little spacers but I bought an inspiration kit from Smitten Beads and I thought this colour was a good match.

Wk 30/52

and they seemed to go well with these beads too.

Don't forget to check out the other AJE Earring Challenge participants. Unfortunately I am too late to enter.

Thanks for looking.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 7

I apologise the delay in my posts, been a busy bunny.

The mini workshop tonight was 'Easy Metal Etching, Embossing and Colouring' by Lisa Liddy.

Debbie and Torri were on the workshop with me. It's strange how we had chosen mostly the same workshops even though we didn't know each other then.

I was really keen to do this workshop as I had just started experimenting with Vintaj patinas at home and had never done any etching or used the Vintaj Embossing machine although had seen it being used in online videos.

Usually with the workshop the teacher does a demonstation and then we have a go. That didn't happen this time. She talked us through how she does etching at home and showed us how to sit the metal in the etching fluid

Then she told us about a different method of etching which was much more suitable to a classroom setting but that she had taken the tutorial (with permission) from someone else. I'm not going to tell you what we learned as that wouldn't be fair. But here's a couple of pics of the peice I etched.

The next step was applying the patina to the piece we etched but again she didn't show us what to do but talked us through it so we were never quite sure if we were doing the right thing or not.
We could use the embossing machine which she did show us how to use but unfortunately the copper I brought with me was too thick.

We were all struggling to get a good coverage with the patinas, even with 4 coats I wasn't happy and I told Lisa that I had been playing with Vintaj patinas and in my opinion the coverage was a lot better with those.
I have to say I was really hacked off. I had been hoping to learn a lot on this course and instead I had learnt more myself at home.
I gave all the materials pack to my friend Debbie and just kept the metal because I can re-patina this at home. To be fair Lisa did refuse to take the materials fee of $65 as I wasn't happy.
I know that Debbie and Tori and Patrice who was sitting on my other side weren't very pleased with their results either (especially as Lisa was wearing a patinated necklace that looked far better that our attempts) but they didn't want to make a fuss. (I've sinced been told that Lisa's patina's are transparent and Vintajs patina's are opaque which would count for the difference)
Still we live and learn and move on to OPEN TORCH!
Open torch is where anyone can get to have a play on the torch of their dreams or watch talented lampworkers doing their stuff.
I didn't have a play but was happy to watch and then head off to bed with more exciting things to look forward too tomorrow.
Next post coming soon.
Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 6

Today was to be a day of! Yes today the 'Commercial and Technical Vendors' were open which meant I got to drool over lots of tools, glass and goodies. Sadly there was not a huge amount of glass to drool over, which is probably just as well as I doubt I would have to able to take that much back with me. Frantz is usually at The Gathering but apparently I was told he was not well and so not able to come this year.

So after my early morning swim and breakfast with Debbie we headed to the Convention Centre.

This is the full list of Vendors

Arrow Springs
Beads of Courage
Bethlehem Burners
CG Beads
Chase Designs
Double Helix
Jennifer Fahnestock Glass
Leonardo Lampwork Tools
Metal Me This
Paragon Kilns
Retro Glass Tools
Saki Silver
Soft Flex Company
Visions in Stained Glass
Wale Apparatus

I had been told my Debbie and Tory that the first place to head for would be the Double Helix stand, of which there would be a queue for the latest test batches which Double Helix create to make new products.

For those of you that don't know Double Helix is the main supplier for silver rich glasses, these are the glasses that produce the lovely mettallic and pretty shimmering colours in our beads. Unfortunately due to the high silver content they are also very expensive, so this was my opportunity to get some of the glass slightly cheaper as obviously buying it in the UK means it has been imported and has costs involved which makes it more expensive.

I joined the queue and decided which glass I would like to buy by looking at the sample beads that they had of each colour. I soon had a few bundles of glass in my hand which looked pretty plain and innocent but had the promise to do wonderful things when played with in the flame.

Next up I headed over to Arrow Springs. Debbie had been raving about their mandrels as I had been moaning about the quality of some of the big hole mandrels that I had bought in the UK. So Debbie showed me which ones she had been using and they looked great. I picked up a big handful of various sizes. Greg also makes some excellent graphite tools which I had seen being used by JC Herrell and Holly Cooper so I chose a couple of those to buy.

He also had some Bella Donna glass and frit for sale and it's not something that I had seen in the UK before so I looked at it with interest. Hayley Tsang had reccomended Teal-licious so I bought some of that to try.

There was also a gorgeous selection of crackle dichro. I was lucky enough to get dibs on some of this before they opened as I spotted it all layed out when I was doing my glass with Donna and Greg was quite happy for me to take select what I wanted.

CG Beadrollers were also present. It was nice to meet Donna who I had pre-purchased a big hole bead roller from before I left the UK and added a barrell roller whilst I was there.

Ami from Zoozii's was looking lovely with a cute little vintage hat on. Zoozii's mostly make brass presses had I already had one of their shell presses with the horizontal hole but I had a request from customers for ones with a verticle hole so I purchased one of those and a star press. I have a friend who has this press and it looks like a tricky one to use but I thought It would be nice to make star fish to go with my shells.

I bought a few of the great selection of tools from Leonardo Lampwork Tools and it was nice to get to see the selection in person as it is hard to gauge sizes when buying online.

I bought some jewellery supplies from Visions in Stained Glass and some gorgeous findings from Saki Silver.

Beads of Courage had a stand and I was pleased to see that Jolene Wolfe a UK beadmaker had her 'Beep Beep' beads there as she has taken part in creating a collection of tutorials for making beads for Beads of Courage.

At 4.00pm there was a First-time Attendee Orientation. Here was the place to get all the information for 'newbies'. Angie Rainy the president of the ISGB introduced herself and then Kendra Bruno went through the itinerary for the entire Gathering and answered any questions. This went on for an hour and then we were expected to go and meet our regional representatives but I had arranged to meet Debbie and Torri in the lobby to go for dinner at Dinosaur BBQ and then we had a mini workshop at 7.00pm so I didn't have time to stay.

Mini workshop 'Easy Metal Etching, Embossing and Colouring' by Lisa Liddy. coming up next.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 5

Holly Cooper class day 2.

Ok, so today was a progression on what we had learned yesterday with a simpler version of this bead being next up.

It was very tricky doing spirals in both directions and to have to fill a specific space.

This one is my attempt

Then came the big one......

I think this is probably Holly's signature bead, with the bird on. She demonstrated a simpler version before lunch and then after a trip to the chukkie wagon it was our turn.

I have to say I don't think my interpretation came out too bad and I really enjoyed my class with Holly.

I had another workshop booked this evening and there wasn't much time between each class so I popped out to Subway and got a chicken salad, had a quick chat with my husband on Oovoo (similar to Skype) and headed back. I have to say I was extremely tired at this point.

My mini workshop was with Jodie Mcdougall. The description of the class was: Sirius System Pendant; learn to make murrini cabouchons using the Sirius Jewellery Component System.

This is Jodie

The class was masssively oversubscribed which meant that there weren't enough torches for everyone to use. Debbie and Tori were both on the class with me and weren't impressed by this. To be honest were a bit dissapointed in what was being shown us so that we decided after we had watched the demonstations we were not going to torch but go back to our rooms for a rest.

The first official day of THE GATHERING coming next.

Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 4

Today is Tuesday and start of the pre-gathering workshops. One of the reasons I wanted to attend The Gathering was to do a workshop with Holly Cooper. As with all workshops there is a limited number of spaces and there was no gaurantee that I would get one.

I had to book my flights in advance although in the end I needn't have worried. My orriginal flights were booked with British Airways. One leg of my journey was cancelled and the flight they re-booked me on landed after my connecting flight departed. I was not impressed and ending up cancelling my booking with British Airways and re-booking through Netflights. I even saved some money.  I always thought that booking a flight in advance meant that the price was cheaper but apparently not. Maybe because there are so many flights going to the USA it means you can wait a while.

Anyway I digress, as soon as registration opened for The Gathering I was there, 3pm in the afternoon here - luckily it wasn't in the middle of the night - I was refreshing the page constantly until it was open.

I filled in all the details as quickly as possible, luckily I had read a thread on Lampwork Etc. which meant I had all the relevant information to hand, and pressed send. I awaited with baited breath and SUCCESS! I got a space. In fact I got a space in all 3 of the workshops that I booked. More about the others later.

So, what can I say about Holly Cooper, again it's all about stringer work and hers is pretty awesome. I'm not a huge fan of her style of beads in that I find them a bit dark, although I loved and was tempted to buy this one I thought it was a tad on the expensive side.

The classes were held in a large conference hall which had been divided into two. One side for the classes and one for the vendors which would be open on Thursday.

If you look in the background of the above photo, you can see all the propane and oxygen cannisters in the centre of the room. I'm not sure health and safety in the UK would be too happy about that. Although there was no ventilation, the room was large with a high ceiling and air conditioning and I didn't have any problems with the fumes like I did at Flame Off.

This the first bead that we were to make after Holly demonstated it.

Holly works on a hothead which is really unusual for an experience bead maker. But I can see it's advantages. Apart from the noise, it is really easy to work high up in the back of the flame due to the angle and the bushiness of the flame.

This is my attempt. It's not too bad but I don't like the way you can see the black through the ivory. The bead was made with a clear then black core to make it stiffer than when just using ivory as ivory is a very soft glass. I think mine could have done with a bit more of the ivory.

Here's Holly demonstrating.

and with the class watching, as you can see there are only 9 people watching, 10 including me. With close to 300 people attending The Gathering you can see how lucky I was to get a space.

We now had a break for lunch. There were some chukky wagons across the road so I went over there with the lady I had been sitting next to, Anita and had a chicken wrap.

Anita, sorry not the best photo

Our next bead was a bit more complicated

and mine

I have to say that if I hadn't taken JC Herrels class recently I would have struggled more with these beads. JC explained how to apply the stringer a lot better and I guess that as I had more time to practise on JC's class this helped.

This evening I was invited to join Tori, Debbie and two new ladies I was introduced to as Ellen and Barbara to go out to a restaurant for dinner. We set off in the car using Tori's sat nav Siri. Those of you with Iphones will know who Siri is, I don't have one but I am an avid watcher of The Big Bang Series and those of you who watch that will know what I mean.

So we drive about 3 blocks and Siri announces that we have arrived at the restaurant - to say it wasn't that far away, well, we could have walked. Torri and Debbie were a bit confused and saying that this wasn't the restaurant they went to last time and the one they were expecting to arrive at but apparently this one Nikko's had good reviews so we decided that as we had a reservation we would give it a try.

It turns out that Nikko's is a sushi restaurant. Now regular readers of my blog will know that I am not a big eater of seafood, in fact my recent trip to Murano was a bit of an eye opener for me. Debbie was a bit unsure too, as like me she likes reasonably plain food. We were assured that there would be other food on the menu, not just sushi. In the end though I decided to try it.

A plate of sushi was put down in front of me and I was a bit confused as it had a chilli garnish and I has specifically asked the waitress if the dish I was ordering was spicy and she assured me it wasn't. So I gave the chilli's to Barbara who was sitting next to me and likes her food hot. Well, I took one bite and spat it out quickly. It was tooo spicy hot! Our waitress then came round with some more food and it turns out I was given the wrong dish. They took it away and gave me the correct one and re-did the dish that had meant to be for Barbara. This is what I had

Tempura purple potato, avocado, cucumber,

brown rice, sour cherry-sweet soy
It was quite tasty apart from the sour cherry-sweet soy which I didn't like so much but just left on the plate.

Then onto dessert.
I shared with Debbie. It was extremely rich and very hard. We discussed it with the waitress who had a work with the chef. Apparently they were trying something new and we assured them it didn't work.
I didn't get a photo of the owner but he was very dishy with a gorgeous bod.
Here are some photo's of us
Debbie, Ellen and Tori
Barbara and me
Tori and me
Ellen, me and Tori, I think there were two photos being taken at once here.
Debbie, me and Ellen.
Day 2 of the Holly Cooper workshop coming up next.
Thanks for looking.

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 3

Awake reasonably early again, today I decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool.

I had it all to myself and really enjoyed the swim. There was also a jacuzzi which was also very nice.

This was the view of the rooftops that I could see whilst I was swimming.

So after another yummy breakfast at the hotel, I met Debbie and Tori in the lobby to go The Corning Museum of Glass. Tori drove and the journey took a little over an hour.

I had toyed with hiring a car and driving to Niagara Falls as it was only 1 and a half hours away from Rochester but had read that July is the busiest time to visit with lots of queues plus it has been a while since I drove in the states and I was never on my own. Now I am really glad that I chose not to do the trip as the roads are a little confusing at first.

The Corning Museum has a collection of 35 centuries of glass art as well as live glass making demonstrations, workshops, a section on innovation and a HUGE shop.

These were some of my favourite pieces in the gallery

My favourite flower, The stargazer lilly.

Outside was a live demonstration of glass making.


Inside was a live demonstation of the making of a borosilicate goblet which we caught the tail end of

Back inside there was this gigantic necklace, I liked the reflections of the string of beads in each bead and took this photo, I'm not sure how well you can see that.

and of course where would we be without glass beads. For this summer Corning has an exhibition called...

I'm not sure whether it was to co-incide with The Gathering but it was interesting to see all the old and new beads together.

Kristina Logans Constellation necklace was on display (I borrowed this photo from the Corning website as the picture I took of the one behind glass wasn't the best)

I'm pretty sure that one of JC Herrells beads were the lastest to be added to the collection but I don't seem to have a photo of it and I can't find it on Cornings website.

We spent a long time looking around the gift shop and admiring the work of some well known beadmakers. Tori bought a lot of her christmas presents there.

We headed into the town of Corning and had a look around a few of the cutsie antique and clothing shops and then had dinner in a pub which had been recommended to us. I'm not going to mention the name of it because I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. The service was extremely slow and the food meadiocre.

It was a lovely day trip and I was very grateful to Tori and Debbie for taking me.

Next up, Holly Coopers workshop.

Thanks for looking.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Trip to The Gathering, Rochester, New York 2013 - Part 2

I didn't sleep very well, I rarely do when I am away and was awake intermittently during the night. The time difference was only 5 hours but I woke up at my usual time of 8am being 3am in New York. I managed to go back to sleep for a while but ended up reading until it was time to get up for breakfast at 7am by which time I was starving.
The room was very nice, and the bed was huge. The view out of the window is mainly carpark, but to the right is the Genesee River which leads up to Lake Ontario. As you can see in the picture there are a couple of bridges and a weir.

I decided to eat breakfast in the hotel as I wasn't sure what places there were to eat nearby. I had eggs, bacon and waffles with maple syrup, yoghurt and fruit and a pastry along with a cup of tea. Very tasty. When the bill came there was a place for a tip and I was a bit unsure what to do, so I went over and asked a waitress and she thought I was so sweet to ask. She said that she usually tips between 15 and 20% and that the easiest way to work this out was to double the sales tax. So with taxes and tip breakfast came to $20 which is about £15. Not cheap but not too bad for an all you can eat buffet breakfast.
My next task was to head out of the hotel and find some bottled water (my husband doesn't want me to drink the water here as they put flouride in it). Reception told me that there was a family dollar store across the road. What she didn't tell me was that it didn't open until 10am and it was only 8.30am. So I went for a walk in search of an ATM as I wanted to withdraw some more money. I found one and surprise surprise it wouldn't let me have any. I was started to get a bit worried by this point. It's not a particularly nice area, the hotel is in the CBD (Central business district), in fact I don't think that Rochester is a particularly nice city apart from the river and canal which are is redeeming feature.
There was hardly anyone about and the people that were there were black. Now don't get me wrong, I am not racist but the island where I live it predominantly white so it takes a bit of getting used to the fact you are the only white person around. I got asked for change a couple of times which made me feel a little uncomfortable.
I headed back to the hotel and headed over to the conference centre to see if I could see anyone as I was sure someone must be setting up ready in time for the workshops but I couldn't see a soul. Feeling a little bit lost and wondering if I had done the right thing in making the trip. By this time it was 10am and so I headed over to the Family Dollar store and bought some water.
Once I was back in my room, I had the idea of emailing Kendra who had answered all my questions before I left. I sent her an email and then it occurred to me that I could go down to reception and ask if they would let me have her room number. They wouldn't but they did call up to the room for me. Kendra wasn't there but Angie Rainey the president of the ISGB was and I asked her if we could meet up. She explained that the conference hadn't started yet, so I said that I would be happy to help out any way I could with setting up. It turns out they were meeting at 2pm in the lobby to go and stuff bags, so I arranged to meet up with her then.
I thought I had better get some lunch and had spotted a Subway nearby so went and got a sandwich and sat down in a nearby little park to eat it.

I got a lovely welcoming hug from Kendra who told me how pleased she was that I had come and then we set off to the conference centre. I now knew why I couldn't spot anyone earlier and they were hidden behind a locked door!

Bag stuffing
A small team of people were already there, putting beads onto the bags that each person would receive when they registered. Full of goodies, a mandrel, some samples of glass, a piece of bronze clay, sample of Terra Cast and lots of magazines and catalogues. It was my job to help stuff the bags with these goodies in the correct order. No mean task with nearly 300 of them to do.

Whilst doing this I got chatting with the other helpers. One of them was Debbie Smith of Fun Funky Findings. Debbie took me under her wing, when I mentioned that I had hoped to go to the Corning Museum of Glass but that I couldn't go because it clashed with my class with Holly Cooper.
Debbie said that she and her friend Tori who hadn't arrived yet were going to Corning tomorrow and would I like to go with them. Well of course I jumped at the chance and said yes please.
As the afternoon wore on I started to feel tired, it was extremely hot in the room as the air conditioning hadn't been turned on for long. Once all the bags were packed I headed back to my room but arranged to meet up with Debbie for a meal later. She suggested Dinosaur BBQ so that's where we went.

The name says it all!

It turns out that Sunday night is one of the busiest with lots of bikers.

Lots of character

 The menu looked like it was in a foreign language to me so I had to ask Debbie for some help and settled on a plate of ribs with fries (chips) slaw (coleslaw) and corn bread.

The ribs and fries were nice.The coleslaw had pepper in it which I didn't like. The corn bread is kinda like a heavy sponge pudding.


I had a lovely time chatting to Debbie.

Part 3 coming up soon.

Thanks for looking.

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