Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fused Glass Ornaments: Fun for Kids

My little ones have been begging to get in the glass studio with me for quite some time. I haven't felt comfortable with the idea until now. Christmas ornaments seemed like the perfect project for kids to introduce them to the art of glass.

Christmas Ornaments 2014

I pulled a bunch of pieces out of my scrap bin and ran any rough edges through the diamond grinder so they weren't sharp. I had amassed a collection of pre-fused frit balls and broke up a bunch of colored stringers and let them create their masterpieces.

by Nadia, age 7 & Benno, age 5

Previously I pinned a bunch of cute examples to my Pinterest board, pulled it up on the iPad and let them choose what they wanted to make. It was so much fun watching them design and create with very little guidance from me. I think they turned out fabulous!

by Nadia, age 7
It is almost hard to see them all go to new homes with family, but I believe they will be very much appreciated.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Power Tools: Not Just for Boys

A girl can never have too many power tools. I know, I know. Most girls are into fashion and makeup and sparkle and glitter and all that jazz. Not me. I could spend hours on end perusing the power tool section at the hardware stores. I can't last 5 minutes in the mall. My husband is the luckiest man on earth.

One of my recent tool purchases (to the delight of my husband) is a drill press. He's been wanting a drill press for as long as I've known him. Apparently he was just waiting for me to suggest adding one to the workshop.

A drill press isn't required to bring my glass work to the next level, but it certainly helps. I tried drilling a hole with a hand drill once. Once was enough. The press makes it much more precise. And I'm less likely to drill through my finger.

I absolutely love the new finish the drilled holes give the pendants. I personally feel it adds another level of sophistication and refinement. With holes I can finish them off with fine sterling silver wire instead of silver plated bails. And the durability cannot be beat.

There are still a couple shapes that actually look better with the glue-on bails and I will continue to use them in my work. But you can expect to see a lot more pieces done with drilled holes and fine silver. Hope you like them!

These will all be listed in my Etsy store sometime this week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fused Glass Cabochons

Considering I haven't been in the studio for almost 9 months [see my previous post] I thought I would get my feet wet with some fused glass kilnwork before lighting up the torch and potentially burning the house down.

I always like to come back to my comfort place to rebuild the confidence when I haven't done something for a long time - even though it is a lot like riding a bike.

These little glass cabochons are cute and fun. There are so many possibilities. They can be turned into just about anything: buttons for sewing, fridge magnets, wire wrapped jewelry, mosaic and craft projects, and anything else you can dream up.

I've decided to list them as cabochons and let my customers decide what they want to do with them. Of course if you want them finished off into buttons, cufflinks, mini pendants, or fridge magnets I am happy to do it for you.

Feels good to create again. The creative juices are flowing and I have a lot of new ideas spinning through my head. Stay tuned for some new pieces in the coming weeks - just in time for the holiday shopping madness.

These glass cabochons will be listed in my Etsy shop this week - unless you message me first!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mid-Life Crisis

There. I said it. I’m having a mid-life crisis. Admittance is the first step to recovery right?

It has been a long, difficult year. The last few winters in Minnesota have been exceptionally cold, snowy, and downright miserable. They canceled school 5 times last year due to ridiculous cold temperatures. Unfit for human inhabitation. That is what it has been.

I began my swan dive off the [crisis] platform over Spring Break. We took the kids to Disney World and also spent a few days ocean side at Cocoa Beach, Florida. I woke up in the morning and drank my coffee on the balcony watching the sunrise over the ocean, and something inside of me just snapped. I couldn’t go back.

But we came back. To more snow. And more cold. Shoveling 16 inches of snow on April 28th will send just about anyone into crisis mode.

Turning 40 in May certainly didn’t help. Of course aging is usually to blame for these type of things. And hormones. I’m sure they aren’t helping either.

Making matters even worse was the death of my father in August. He was only 66. Cancer sucks.

So there you have it. This is why I have seemingly fallen off the face of the Earth. I haven’t even stepped foot in my glass studio since March. But things are about to change. I have an amazing support network who have been carrying me through, and I am starting to see the light.

Of course retail therapy always helps. I ordered myself a new power tool that should be here today. Hoping it helps re-ignite my passion for glass and puts me back in the studio where I belong. Because glass makes me happy. And I like to be happy. Enough of this mid-life crisis crap.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Roasted Lemon Basil Cauliflower

Or as we like to call it in this house "crackflower" because it is so ridiculously tasty you just can't stop eating it.

Even my 5 year old pickiest eater on the planet asks for seconds.

Simple enough you will wonder why you ever bothered to prepare cauliflower any other way.

And so good you will question whether it is healthy or sinful.

  • 1 head cauliflower - chopped into florets
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt
Wash and chop up cauliflower into florets and throw in a bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil (I always eyeball it depending on the size of the cauliflower head but 1-2 tablespoons should do).

Add all ingredients and stir until everything is nicely and evenly coated.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

Roast at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until desired crisp-tenderness. We like it ever so slightly browned and caramelized.

Devour and enjoy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I confess I have a problem. I am a collector of crafting supplies and I can't use them. Because I am saving them, you know, for that perfect special project ...

The problem is those words "limited edition". It won't be around forever? I can't get more if I use it all up? Oh the horror. Better save it. And the collection continues to grow.

It's not just a specific craft either. It seems to be all of them. My desk is a fire hazard with the stacks and stacks of scrapbook paper that is just too pretty to use.

My studio glass racks are at capacity because I am hoarding these odd lot out of production glass rods that you will never get again! Because you know glass lampworking cane is a valuable collectible. Um yeah, not so much.

I might be able to fund my retirement with the stash of sterling silver beads and toggles that are just waiting for the perfect necklace. But hey, at least sterling silver is a precious metal and traded commodity so maybe that one isn't so bad.

And the kicker; I learned how to knit so I've been a knitting fiend during this icy cold winter that is freezing me out of the glass studio (a girl needed something to do to keep sane since I couldn't torch). I just discovered a fondness for hand-dyed wool yarns. Yep. You guessed it. Hand dyed = rare and potentially non-reproducible. So guess what I am knitting with these? Nothing. I have to save them, you know, for that perfect special project.

GAH! This silliness has to stop. I don't do "New Year Resolutions" but this year I am making an exception: USE IT. I cannot keep hoarding all this stuff or I am going to be turned into one of those reality television shows. Or maybe that wouldn't be so bad. I could get my 15 minutes of fame and have my life splattered all over the tabloids. Um, no. Back to the resolution.

I am going to knit with my hand-dyed yarns. I am going to make beads with my rare glass. I am going to create a necklace with my precious silver. And I am going to get cracking on that scrapbook for my daughter and use all the pretty paper. Just use it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Focal Mania

In case you are not from around here (Minnesota), we are having the coldest winter on record in the last 20 years or so. It is so ridiculously cold the governor has canceled school for the entire state on Monday because the forecast HIGH temperature is going to be NEGATIVE 15. That's just plain wrong.

Sadly, this means I am not getting a lot of torch time in. The outside temperature needs to be above 20 degrees or my ventilation system freezes out the whole house and my fingers start to go numb - which doesn't generally help my stringer control.

Since it appears this cold trend is going to be around for the rest of the winter, I have decided to maximize my sparsely precious torch time by only making focal beads. I can usually get 3-4 focals made in a torch session, whereas a set will often take me 2 sessions to finish. By limiting myself to focals I can offer more beads with more variety during this cold snap. Be on the lookout for some new and exciting bead sets come Spring when we can finally crawl out of this hole and come out of hibernation.

We just so happened to have a little reprieve last week and I was able to finally make some new beads after another short hiatus (I seem to be taking a lot of hiatuses lately ...) Here's a sneak peek!

All these beads will be listed on eBay over the next few weeks. If you want to know exactly when they go up for sale follow me on Facebook as I always post my new listings on my Facebook page. The first one is up for sale now on eBay.

Stay warm and happy beading!