Sunday, December 28, 2014

Spring colors

Even though we haven't made it through winter yet, I'm thinking ahead to the spring.  The Pantone colors for spring, 2015 remind be of a Caribbean vacation, aquamarines, classic blue, mint green, orange, yellow, rose pink.  To get ready for the season, I prepared two frit blends incorporating these colors.  The first one is made up of cool colors and reminds me of the Caribbean ocean:

It's a mixture of Effetre colors, including light and dark turquoise, dark aqua (transparent, and nile green opalino.  I've made two beads with the frit layer on clear and then encased in clear, with a strand of fine silver (28 gauge) melted around the equator.

The second blend reminds me of a colorful beach cabana:

It's made with light and dark turquoise, tangerine (Effetre 591412) and a yellow glass that I can't positively identify.  Unfortunately, some of the labels on my glass were lost in the move to Georgia.
Beads made using this frit with the same technique as described above are also shown in the photograph.

As usual, expect to see beads made with these blends in my Etsy shop (

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas is closer

More Christmas earrings.  This time, I decided to try my hand at frit.  I collected various shades of green and red, heated the tip of the rod and mashed it then put it in cold water.  The tip fractures into small pieces which I collected.  The result is a mixture of Christmas colors.  To make the earrings shown below:

I made a lentil shaped bead out of green nile opalino (Effetre 516), as in the previous post, rolled it in frit, melted the frit down and repressed the bead, then added a wreath of green aventurine which I accented with a twist.  Earrings made from thes;e beads are for sale in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas is coming

I heard my first Salvation Army bell ringer of the season last Friday, so that's my sign that I should start thinking about Christmas beads.  I love the smell of pine bough wreaths, so here's my first design:  shards of green mosaic glass (Effetre 023) on green nile opalino (Effetre 516) with accents of medium red (Effetre 432).

These beads will be made into earrings and maybe a bracelet, and will be posted to my Etsy shop ( in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


I love copper!  It's such a warm color.  And it reminds me of the sandstone cliffs of the Grand Canyon and Sedona as well as autumn leaves.  So I've been experimenting with beads that will go with copper findings.  Here are some of the beads that I've come up with:

Top left is Reichenbach Multicolor (RL6209) with Double Helix Triton frit;  top right is a bead made with the same glass, but reduced.  Second row left is Dark Violet (Effetre 274) with a twist of intense black and white swirled around the equator of the bead and heated so that the intense black begins to fragment.  Right is Fossil (Effetre 683) with shards of Italian Marble (Avenue Beads).  Third row right is Brown Rock (Effetre 654) with a stripe of Dark Turquoise (Effetre 236).  Third row middle is Pink Stripe (Effetre 253)---it's much darker than the illustration at Frantz glass.  Third row right is Sedona (Effetre 257) with a thin stripe of copper foil wrapped around the equator and burned off.  Fourth row are beads made of Opal Yellow (Effetre 266) with moss green (9350),  grey-green (9320) and aquamarine (9550) Thompson enamels accented with silver wire.

Right now I'm working on cooper bead caps for these beads and soon they'll turn up as earrings on the Etsy site:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Starry sky beads

In a recent issue of Soda Lime Times, I found out about an interesting technique using silver foil.  It has to be foil;  leaf won't work, not enough silver is deposited on the bead.  Take a dark color like black or transparent cobalt blue,  and make a base bead.  Shape as desired.  Then heat the bead and press silver foil all around the bead and marver it in.  Burn it off in the flame, and tiny flecks of silver will be left on the bead.  Then add glass frit, such as Bead Goodies Atlantis.  The frit will move the silver flecks, forming a halo around the pieces of glass frit.  Twist and add a cubic zirconium if desired, and voila:

For earrings made from these beads, see my etsy site:

Sunday, September 28, 2014


I've been experimenting over the past few weeks on making shards:  thin pieces of blown glass.  The technique utilizes a hollow mandrel.  a globe of glass is created on the end of the mandrel and when it is closed off and heated, it can be blown into a hollow ball of glass.  The glass can be shattered into small pieces which are placed on a gather of glass.  The result is a thin layser of color on a larger glass bead.  For example:

The above beads are made starting with a gather of periwinkle blue glass.  Shards of dark amethyst are added onto the gather after it is pressed into a lentil mold.  Then a stringer of amethyst glass is added to the top of the bead, twisted into a swirl and accented with a cubic zirconium.  This is just one of many possibilities of color combinations.  See these beads as earrings on my etsy site:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

More shells

I'm continuing to work on lampwork glass adaptations of basic shell designs---I guess I'm becoming obsessed with this project, but I love lampwork glass bead-making and I love shells!  For this post, I've made a nautilus shell and a moon snail (which is my favorite Florida shell).  For both types, I start with a round gather made of ivory, then I pres it.  I add an extension on one side to represent the mouth.  For the nautilus, I add a twistie of ivory and dark amber on both sides in a spiral design.  I then make a twist in the center of the bead to emphasize the spiral of the nautilus.  Two examples are shown below:

The bottom bead in the picture is my version of a moon snail.  I start the same way as the nautilus, but press the extension of the shell to create the "mouth".  Then I add a twistie of ivory and sandstone (which has grey overtones) on one side of the bead only, which mimics the subtle spiral of the moon snail.  I also twist this a little off center, and add a cubic zirconium in the middle of the twist.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bead exchange

Last weekend was the last lampwork beadmaking class of the summer, and as agreed, we all brought beads to trade.  My contribution was shown last week.  Below are all of the contributions:

What looks like a line across the top is a mandrel that I used to prop up the beads to display the donut beads.  I love the flamingo, and the shells and the donut beads, but my favorite is the bead in the middle by Lynn.  The olive green in the background is light aqua which reacts with ivory to produce the green tones.  Lynn then added stripes of pea green over the aqua.  It reminds me of the wind blowing through oat grass on the Florida Panhandle coast!

The bracelet that I made out of the beads is shown below, using Swarovski crystal beads as spacers:

Since I have a lot of T-shirts that are turquoise or coral, I'll get a lot of wear out of it.   Thanks everyone for sharing your creations!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trade beads for Margo's class

I can't believe we only have one more class this summer!  We all agreed that we wanted to make bracelet-sized beads to trade with each other so that we each can make a bracelet.  The colors we agreed on were the following: light and dark ivory, light transparent aqua, color (Effetre heat wave) and pea green.  We don't have to use all of the colors in the beads,so I chose light transparent aqua and light ivory to create a beach scene.  Then I added murrini made from light ivory and coral to create a sea shell effect.

I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


These beads are a take on scallop shells and are easy to make with a lentil press.   I started with light ivory glass, adding enough glass onto the mandrel fill the center of the lentil press, but not enough to go out to the edges.  Next I wrapped a twistie around the bead, and pressed again, this time filling the lentil press.  I used a variety of glass for the twistie:  light ivory and light amber, light ivory and dark amber and light ivory and rose quartz  (CIM 511907).  Finally, I textured the lentil with a knife, adding indentations along the edge of the bead, and the making incisions from the indentation of the middle bottom of the bead.  Here are the results:

The bead at the top left is made with a dark amber/ivory twistie, the one on the top right from a light amber/ivory twistie and the one on the bottom with the ivory/rose quartz twistie.  I should mention that I tried a twistie of pink opalino with ivory and the pink turned a nasty brown color as I was texturing the bead.  Evidently I got the bead too hot.  I haven't had problems with pink quartz.

I've been making so many shells that I've run out of light ivory, so I'm going to have to make a run to Flametree Glass to stock up.

Lucky seven bracelet

Yesterday, at the monthly meeting of Southern Flames, we made a leather bracelet using seven lampwork glass beads that we made or purchased.  Gerry and Stephanie White, of Beads by Design, guided us through the process.  Basically, we strung 2 to 3 beads on three strands of leather held in place with a jig.  The ends were finished with knots which were glued in place.  The completed bracelet is shown below:

The beads themselves were made from Ekho glass from Double helix.  The class was cooled then heated until I was pleased with the colors;  then the beads were encased.  I used 3/16 inch mandrels so that I could easily string the beads on the leather cords.  I'll be making more of these!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Next in the shell series (also from Small Shell Tutorial by Diane Woodall and Becky Mason) are augers:

These beds are made from a oval base bead, which is marvered so that there is a long end and a short, thicker end.   The bead in the lower right was made from a base bead of sediment;  all of the others were made from ivory, the lower left was dark ivory, the tops beads light.  The bead on the upper left had an additional layer of a twistie made from light ivory and medium transparent topaz.  After shaping the bead, an indentation is made in the thicker part of the bead and a dot of pink is added.  I used rubino oro in the top bead, which I think is too dark.  The others were made with pink opal, which worked fine, except for the sediment bead, where the color was muted.  Not sure if I'm going to use this combination.  Finally, the lower part of the bead is heated and a spiral is carved into the bead with a knife.  And you have augers!
Coming soon to my website:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sea urchins

More shells from Diane Woodall's and Becky Mason's small shell tutorial, this time sea urchins.  These are relatively easy;  just make a round bead, flatten the bottom, and place dots on the top section:

The dark green beads are made with Commando (CIM 475), while the light green are made with Lichen (Vetrofond 986).  I tried dots of raku (upper righ0t, but I think I like dots of silvered ivory better (the remaining beads).  I'm coming up with some good ideas about how to use these in jewelry, so visit my web site ( in a month or two.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sand dollar beads

Long walks on the beach at sunset are my idea of a vacation.  I'm trying to capture that feeling by making shell beads.  When I found out about Becky Mason and Diane Woodall's Focal Seashells and Small Seashell Collection Bead tutorials I had to buy them and try them out.  Here are some of my first attempts at sand dollar beads:

In their tutorial, Becky and Diane recommend using mandrels with bead release in the middle.  They suggest pouring bead release into a small container so that it mounds on the top, then rolling the middle of the mandrel.   I can't seem to use their method without slopping bead release all over my bench and wasting a lot when I pour it back into my container.  instead, I use a Nalgene bottle for my bead release.  By tilting the bottle, I can get bead release up to the middle of my mandrel.  I know this method is also wasteful;  after all you don't need all that release on the end of the mandrel, but it seems to work better for me.  Anyway, both methods will allow you to flip the mandrel and so that you are always adding dots and stringer from your "right" side.  Thanks, Becky and Diane, for sharing.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My take on Harvest Moon

I recently purchased a tutorial by Jacqueline Parkes describing how she makes one of her gorgeous organic beads, Harvest Moon.  After playing around with it, I discovered a video on Corinna Tattinger's website describing how to add to silver foil dot to a bead.  Wow!  What a combination.  Here are my beads:

Doesn't the silver foil moon just pop!  As usual look for jewelry made from these beads in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Disc beads

Looking back over my posts from the past few months, I see I've been negligent in posting regularly, but I do have an excuse---I have participated in two local jewelry shows.  I've been so busy preparing for them that I haven't had time to post to the blog.  here is my attempt to get back on track.

For a Christmas present, I received a new Groovy Tool designed by Heather Trimlett.  Just as its name implies, it has three grooves in three different diameters.  The largest one is designed for hollow beads (more about these later).  I've been playing with the smallest groove, making small disc beads in various colors and decorating them with dots on the outer circumference:

Earrings made from these beads which will be on sale soon in my Etsy shop (

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sedona stripes

A few years ago, my husband and I took a road trip to Sedona to visit my step-daughter.  I fell in love with the landscape, the red rocks, the pine trees, the sunsets.  These beads are a homage to Sedona:

I start the bead with a base layer of red roof tile (440), then add stripes of yellow ochre (460), EDP (254), light turquoise (232) and Vetrofond tangerine (944).  I place a layer of silvered ivory between the turquoise and the EDP, and wrap a few inches of fine silver wire (26 gauge) over the silvered ivory and burn it off, forming beads of silver.  Before I place the bead in the kiln for annealing, I heat in the hottest part of the flame to remove the white deposits which form on the EDP.  When the beads are cool, they are ready form make into jewelry which I sell in my Etsy shop (

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More on copper green

In addition to the reaction between copper green and EDP which I talked about last week, copper green reacts with iris orange or raku glass, manufactured by Reichenbach.  This glass has a COE of 96 and so can't be used in large quantities with COE 104 glass, but it can be used as frit, small particles of glass used on the surface of COE 104 glass.  When it is used in this way with copper green, it produces a bright turquoise line of color adjacent to the raku, as shown in this picture:

The top bead is made with lines of raku stringer over a copper green bead.  I make the stringer by tipping the hot tip of a clear glass rod into raku frit, melting and repeating until I have a nice gather of raku.  Then I pull it into a medium diameter stringer, which I apply to the copper green core.  After melting in the raku stringer, I added a few twists for visual interest.  The bottom two beads were made by dipping a core bead of copper green into raku frit, melting the frit in and adding twists.  As usual, look for jewelry made from similar beads in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Copper green and EDP

One of my favorite colors of Effetre glass is copper green (219).  I like the minty green color when it is used alone.  I think it goes particularly well with black.  It also produces an interesting reaction with Effetre purple (254- also known as Evil Devitrifying Purple because it tends to lose its glassy sheen and become matte if mishandled), which Lynn Short reported on at a recent meeting of Southern Flames. The effect is shown in the beads below:

The color of the copper green glass in proximity to the EDP intensifies to a bright turquoise.  When copper green stringer is applied to an EDP base, there is a line of intense turquoise surrounded by lighter green Upper middle).  The bottom two beads show the effect of EDP stringers on a base bead of copper green.  The downside of using this effect is the possibility of EDP devitrifying and producing a white scum, which it does quite easily.  As suggested on the forum Wetcanvas, right before you finish the bead, put it in the hottest part of the flame until the purple turns glassy.  Then take it out and don't put it back into the flame.