Saturday, January 31, 2009

Playing with Jewels

I spent the day working on some jewelry (earring) designs... oh what fun! I am so excited. I hope to have a new line of earrings to debut at the Portland Saturday Market this season.

Think kinetic mobile meets earrings... mini mini mini mobiles that hang on ear lobes :)

.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finding Balance in the Office

I have been working on an idea that has been on the back of my mind for a long time. Juggling all the different roles of being an entrepreneur is always challenging. Being a sales-woman is an open opportunity for me, but mostly I squint at that open door and put it off for another time.

For years now I have been hoping that a sales-person would come into my life and want to sell my mobiles to doctors and dentist offices.

I think it would be wonderful to have a mobile to stare at while sitting in the chair at the dentist.

Mobiles are so hypnotizing and soothing - perfect for a doctor office. Colorful and fun, but calming and distracting at the same time. My doctor needs them in his office!

And the most tempting part of the idea is that there are hundreds of thousands of medical offices across the country, what an open market!!! (wheres my sales person when I need them!)

So I thought it was about time for me to try and do this myself. Be the saleswoman so-to-speak.

The first task (what I am currently working on): a tri-fold brochure. Second will be targeting some local medical offices here in Portland. I have a plan, I thought I'd just visit a few offices with my brochure and a small sample to give to the administrative assistant (a computer mobile) so that they will remember my visit. I'll start small and see where that goes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This Cat is a Rat!

My brother's cat is a grazer (like a cow), at night she wanders the house looking for stuff to eat. If you leave out a plate she will lick it clean, if a piece of onion drops while you are chopping, she will eat it. I think she has forgotten she is a cat. I swear we don't have a rat in the house. :)

Here she is, Oleo the cat. She was sick Monday morning, bad #2 style sick. Nuf said. I felt for her (isn't she cute!), however, this only happens when she eats something that is not her cat food.

We've been wondering what she managed to find. I had just swept the kitchen floor and nothing was left out for her to find in the night and snack. It really was a mystery.

Until today, we found this roll tucked and hidden away in a corner under a chair. She must have stolen it (literally she removed it from a bag on the kitchen table and carried it away to hide) and has been munching on its stale nastiness. What a rat!

At least now I know what was wrong. I swear she is the weirdest cat! What cat likes wheat bread? Evidently Oleo does.

White Background Photography

The beauty of the white background in product photography is that you can make the object look like it is floating.

One way to acheive this is to remove the background by hand using the magic wand (Photoshop) or the eraser tool. This is a major PITA and sometimes its the only way to do it.

The good news is that with the right lighting you can acheive this white background without all the Photoshop techniques. Use very bright lights and a white background to achieve true "nothingness" behind and around the object you are photographing.

And the secret tip here... use a lightbox! yep. You know the tracing tool, the handy-dandy lightbox. It makes a great source of light to put underneath your glass art.



Here is what I did:

I have my photo setup in a closet
(so I can shut the doors and close it all up, open the doors when I need to take a shot and its all ready for me!) with 4 light sources:



  • 2 diagonally facing the focal point (cheap metal hoods from the hardware store)
  • 1 directly above the focal point (if glare is a problem you can use a paper ball to cover the light, here you can see mine is just exposed)
  • a lightbox underneath the focal point

This technique is great for taking photos of glass! It can really bring out the true colors and translucence. You see all this bright light really makes the glass shine and look fantastic.
And wow does the piece glow! I swear it looks to me like I erased the background by hand. Thats fantastic. I just had to share. Its all about the lightbox under the bead here in this picture.

Heres another great post about photography:
Amateur Photography

.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free GiveAway!

video

I am giving away a FREE mini glass mobile!


If you look closely at the blue triangle there is a funny nick.

I accidentally put this blue triangle too close to its neighbor in the kiln (so the end of the wire tried to attach to this blue triangle and left a little gray nick) and then I forgot the flaw when I made this little mobile.


It is officially a "second", a flawed little buddy, a perfect free give-away for a friend.


Please feel free to enter this give-away. Simply put a comment on this post to get a chance to win. I contact the winner (via email) to get a shipping address when the give-away is over. So make sure I can contact you.

Spread the word to your friends too, its always fun when you know the winner!

This give-away will run thru the beginning of February. I will announce the winner around Feb 10th 2009

.

And the Winner Is...


The winner of the green and white swirly pendant is Frances! Congrats!

I will be announcing the next give-away later today... I just have to take a picture of it

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pictures of Puddle Mobile






I've been busy working on photography... what do you think?

If my pictures tempt you to buy this mobile - its for sale!
here is a link

Sneak Peak of Puddle Pattern

Yesterday I had breakfast at the Cup and Saucer here in Portland with my friend Jan. Finally I had a mobile to show her from the work we have been doing together. Her block prints on my glass pieces made into a mobile.

I had the "Mary Anne" for breakfast (egg sandwich with garden sausage on wheat toast) and I showed off some mobiles. Even the waitress had to come over and check out our handi-work! She proclaimed "I love mobiles!"

This new line of mobiles will be available for sale soon in my Etsy shop (as soon as I've processed the pictures I took... my new automated mobile spinner in my photo studio is awesome, however before I would take maybe 10 shots per mobile, now with my new technique I took 120, and they are all great!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

They Go Round and Round

I fixed this old spinner... this made me very happy so I thought I'd share. :)

I used to play with these motors as a kid. Hooking them up to Legos and computers and making creations come to life with very simple little programs in Basic. And my dad would use this kind of hobby motor to test batteries...

Playing around with this spinner and bringing it back to life, brought back old memories for me.

Its made of an old hobby motor and a few gears, simple enough... the wiring had just come loose, so even a new battery wouldn't make it work anymore. I took it apart and fiddled around and like magic it spins once again!!! (well, if you call magic getting the electrical wires to sit in the right place).

Now I have electronic spinning in my photo studio. Yes! No more tapping the mobiles or blowing on them to get them to dance for my photoshoots!

Now I have this hung in my photo studio so that I can simply hang a mobile from it (or at least smallish mobiles, my photo studio is just a tricked-out closest) and turn my camera to the "continuous picture" setting and hold down the trigger.

In moments I have a series of images that rock!


video

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cousteau Classics

Want to have some fun making beads! Come join me!
I call this series the Cousteau Classics

Each class (call it a fun workshop) is 1 1/2 hours long and costs $99 (this covers all materials and supplies used - all you have to bring is yourself and a good time!). The idea is to have fun making some whimsical aquatic creatures at the Aquila Glass School.
The Cousteau Classics series includes:

Introduction to Working Borosilicate Glass

Tonight I am teaching a class introducing the art of torchworking with borosilicate glass. Its a very fun medium - everything in the picture above was made with boroslicate.

Your imagination is the limit with borosilicate glass. Its very forgiving to work with and here in Portland we happen to live in the midst of the largest boro color producing companies! So there are many beautiful colors to play with. Borosilicate glass is well known for interesting color effects.

This class that I teach (Introduction to Borosilicate) is a great launch pad for any crafty person desiring to get into working with this medium. Knowing how to do a good glass weld is pivotal to most any boro creation - check out this video of James Minson making part of borosilicate chandelier! And working is color is what makes this medium fun!

We cover the basics - 1. Welding Glass and 2. Playing with Color

What we make? A 3-dimensional cube and some pendants
note: we do not make everything in this picture - the image represents a variety of things that could possibly be made in boro - the class is 3 hours long and introductory level :)

You could make a pendant like the one I am giving away this week!

To find out when this class is offered (if you aren't joining me tonight!) check out the schedule on the Aquila Glass School website

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Making Candles Even More Fun!

Have you ever had a candle that had presents inside?!

You know, as it melted little treasures inside would become exposed and you can pluck them out... I remember getting some as a gift back in the 80's... the packaging included a little set of chopsticks to help procure the little gifts hidden inside the wax.

You can make these! (if you have candle making supplies and some borosilicate glass goodies on hand)

The borosilicate glass does not mind the temperatures of hot melted wax. So you can drop any kind of fun boro glass into the candle. These make for really fun gifts!


Here I've taken pictures of some small jars that I filled with wax...

I am also making some big candles in molds, but I thought these glass containers would show what is going on.


After pouring the wax, before it cools,


drop the little glass treasures into the candle.

If its a larger mold(not shown here in pictures), be sure to drop the objects close to the wick so that the recipient can get them out when the candle is burning. Also pour the candle in layers (1/3 at a time) to distribute goodies throughout the candle vertically.

Ideas of what to put in a candle:
Marbles, Pendants, Rings, LadyBugs, etc

if you are a lampworker that works in boro, just about any small creation will do!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Give-Away: FREE Pendant

Who wants a free pendant!! Post a comment on this entry and get a chance to win this little beauty!

Its green and white and clear borosilicate glass - its about the size of a quarter. The lines of color swirl gracefully around this little pendant made by yours truely (ME!).

This week I am having a Torchworking Week - what does that mean? It means I am making a concerted effort to get behind the torch as much as possible and all my blog posts will be oriented around glass torchworking. Did you notice I even changed my banner in honor of this week? :)

So enjoy! heres a sneak preview of some of what I will be blogging about this week:
  • how torchworkers can personalize handmade candles
  • Wednesday I am teaching a class introducing Torchworking Borosilicate
  • next week my Cousteau Classics Beadmaking series is starting, so I will blog about that
  • and there will be a couple whimsicle surprises as well
stay tuned - especially you torchworking friends of mine - I hope this week will be full of fun reads!

and hey - this pendant could be yours! Winner will be chosen Jan 26th 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yoga

I have been working on my yoga again lately.

Both in the glass studio and on my body.

My brother now has the WE Fit and we've all been having fun with it and getting in shape (its nothing new to me to learn that my body mass index is a little disappointing).

The WE is fun, I like how it makes you very aware of where your center of balance is. This is very key to yoga.

Since I have more free time lately (for instance today I got to work in the studio rather than sitting outside at my booth at the Portland Saturday Market! whoopee! The PSM is closed during Jan and Feb) - its been easier for me to do more yoga in the mornings.

Last week I did yoga 3 times. This is huge for me. It feels so good for my body to get back into it. This morning I kicked my own ass with a "Strength" yoga routine by Rodney Yee that had me doing push-ups and downward dogs for 25 minutes. phew. My shoulders will be sore tomorrow! But it was great.

Balance is key to life, both emotionally and physically. Without yoga I feel more moody and my body starts to have more and more aches and pains. Its amazing that some mindful stretching and relaxation can be so pivotal in balancing my nerves and helping me keep grounded. I couldn't live without it. Even though I slack occasionally, yoga will always be a part of my life. That is a conscious choice that I make.

Lady Dud Winner!

I finally am announcing the winner of the Lady Dud contest!

drum roll please...

Amanda is the lucky winner! There are 35 of these "duds" and she guessed 37 - well done Amanda!

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reality Television Came to PDX

Secret fact about me - I enjoy watching reality television. Yep, the crappier the better. My favorite is currently the one about the woman with 8 kids. Why? I dunno. Back in '04 I was on a reality television show aired by the WE channel called "Please Take My Kids" (the plot: a family with a bunch of kids leaves the kids with the host while the parents get flown away to another state and entertained for a weekend) I was part of the out-of-state entertainment!

This very nice couple came to Portland and they made beads with me in the morning and went rafting in the afternoon (a very PDX visit if I say so myself!).

Here's the part of the show that I am on (why would you want to see the rest?! haha) - its only about a minute total, and I don't think it made me famous. Ah well, it was fun!

video

Friday, January 16, 2009

FREE Google Product Search

I have been fiddling around with the newly available Etsy statistical data and spending a bit o' time on the Etsy forums getting tips and tricks (and sharing complaints). I stumbled across a web-programmer/Etsy-shopper who said that she found Etsy thru an "organic search engine". Basically what she meant was that she doesn't pay attention to the paid adverts, she prefers the search engine results. She was giving her 2cents on whether Etsy shop owners should pay for Google Ad-Words (Pay-Per-Click). Her good advice was to sign up for the Google Product Search - its FREE and she said that her clients had experienced more sales with this campaign than with their Ad-Words efforts.

So I had to check it out. You should too! Heres a link.

Basically all you have to do (unless you are more savy, so far I have done the minimum) is set up a spreadsheet in Excell to create your "Data Feed". Save this spread sheet as a .txt file and go about setting up your Google Product account (be sure to put your website in the setting, the data feed won't work without this)

The help info was great and I've got my first feed running.

Here is the info plucked right from their site to explain how it works to your advantage to do this (did I mention its FREE - so why not! - common, go make a spreadsheet!)

_______________________

Increase traffic to your store with Google Product Search – for free

Google Product Search helps shoppers find and buy products across the web. As a seller, you can submit your products to Google Product Search, allowing shoppers to quickly and easily find your site.

Increase traffic and sales

Product Search connects your products to the shoppers searching for them, helping you drive traffic and sales to your store. Your products will appear on Google Product Search and may even be displayed on Google.com, depending on your items' relevance.

Submit products for free

Inclusion of your products is completely free. There are no charges for uploading your items or the additional traffic you receive.

Reach qualified shoppers

Reach shoppers precisely when they are searching for items to buy on Google.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a Little Felty Goodness I call Purple Mon

To continue with the non-glass crafting goodness, let me introduce this little creation I recently made. Purple Mon was felted out of some supplies I bought from YarntoSpin. After searching Etsy for a simple inexpensive source of bright felting colors, I found this shop, YarntoSpin. Now that I have a multi-pack of felt colors - its just a question of what to make!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Its not made of glass, its socks!

I made my first sock monkey today. How fabulous is he!!! His blue button nose is a glass button handmade by me, so I guess there is a little of my glass goodness going on here in this sock monkey!

Hes even got accessories :) A hat (made of the heel from a sock that was being made into a sock elephant) and a scarf made from the scraped fingers from glove animals (a dog and a rabbit made of striped gloves).

I had a lovely afternoon crafting away with friends - we made sock animals. Its always been a curiosity of mine to make my own sock monkey... now I've done it :)

Heres a pic of all the animals that were made, oh there is a birdy that is not in the picture... thanks for such a lovely afternoon ladies!!!

Beer Bottle Recycling Experiments

I am working on a new "green" line for my mobiles.

I am imagining some sort of bubbly bobbly rings of beery remains... I think they'd be great. I'll keep ya posted

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bullseye Reactive Glass

Bullseye Glass has a few new reactive colors, a reactive white and a reactive clear. This afternoon I was in the resource center here in Portland and I snapped this picture. They had made a really wonderful display of the "reactive" effects.
From top to bottom: (click on the picture to enlarge and see detail)
  • the top pieces show copper foil under clear glass, on top of white (looks blue) vs on top of the reactive white (looks coppery)
  • the middle pieces are silver foil on the reactive glass, to the left is reactive clear (isn't that effect insane!) and on the right is reactive white
  • the bottom pieces of glass are reactive clear and reactive white, with turquoise and cranberry on the samples to show reaction (stringer, powder and frit)
For all of the glass fusers who may read this blog and do not live in Portland, I thought it would be fun to share this. I love the new reactive clear. Its yummy. My favorite reaction is with the turquoise frit. But thats just my opinion. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Photoshoot at Hoyt Arboretum

Yesterday I did a photo shoot with Rebecca of CatchlightsNW. She was ever-so-kind as to contact me and ask if she could take a few shots. I couldn't say NO! Take a look at her blog, she's got an amazing eye.We met up at the Hoyt Arboretum. Her idea was to take pictures of me doing yoga under my mobiles. I loved it! C'ept for the minor detail of having to be in the pictures with my mobiles! Eek. Nothing I can't swallow, its a fabulous offer and a great idea. I need more pictures of me with my work.
Rebecca was a pleasure to work with, completely casual and friendly. The sun came out for a bit and made the mobiles glow. People walking thru the Arboretum were commenting on how beautiful the mobiles looked and how great the lighting was. (we had planned on using the one day that the weather forecasted a bit o' sun). The hardest part was getting my silly body to do yoga on slippery leaves on a slopes and odd spots. It was too wet to do any on-the-ground poses and too slippery to hold great standing poses for very long. Ah well, I have a feeling Rebecca got quite a few good ones. She has a good touch like that. Of course I whipped out my point and shoot camera a few times to capture the moment. I like this one of Rebecca.
Heres a sneak peek she sent me last night after taking the pictures off her camera. Very nice.
My bangs piss me off though, I shouldn't have gotten them cut, they seem so short now and they are simply not behaving very well. Such is the life of bangs I guess. I shouldn't complain though, they look fine and I love my haircut, I am just adjusting.

ps. Thanks Rebecca!!!