Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Only 2 more days left......

Colorful stacked dot bicones.

....of 2010. All I can think of is the paperwork I am so behind on.

Norm and I just spent the entire evening rolling coins that he has been saving for over a year. We decided not to use Coin Star this time and do it ourselves. Over $400. Wow! Done except I still have to roll the pennies. Tomorrow is another day.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back in business....

Well, I did end up having to buy another oxygen concentrator. It wasn't quite as costly as I first thought although plenty expensive for a reconditioned machine. I thought about buying a new machine rather than having to mess with another reconditioned model and dealing with the sometimes "fly-by-night" vendors that sell them, but I found out you have to have a doctor's perscription! Hmmmm.

You see the problem is, it's impossible to find someone local to do maintainance on an oxycon that's used for "non-medical" purposes. In order to have my machine worked on I would have to pay shipping both ways, (from $50-$80 one way), and then whatever is charged for repair. It's also very common to incur shipping damage because we all know how "careful" the shipping companies are the way they throw things around. I wish I knew someone who would be willing to learn how to maintain this equipment because I have a feeling they could stay pretty busy with all the beadmakers in my area. So let's just hope this machine lasts as long as the last one did.
Here are the first beads made with the newer oxygen concentrator. No name yet as I haven't decided what to make with them, if anything. Just happy to be making beads again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hand dyed silk ribbon and beads....

I have to think about finishing up my Christmas shopping this week. I have just a few more things to buy but I actually have to physically go out and shop. I purchased most everything online this year. I love to shop online. I'm not big on crowds and people get so CRANKY this time of year.
I also have to think about a new hairdresser. I've had the same hair person for the last 15 years. My sweet Tana has moved to West Virginia. Every hair on my head will miss her. I loved the way she cut my hair and now I have to get used to someone else. Wish me luck I have an appt. next week!
I'm having some problems with my oxygen concentrator, (can't make beads without it), and I may have to buy a new one. Very expensive and takes a bit of time. Not like you just go to a store and buy one. I could use tanked oxygen but that would also be very expensive and not very practicle. I'll have to do some research.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thoughts on hollow cone beads......

I've been asked by beadmakers many times about my cone beads. I've inspired others to make their own but many are frustrated with their failed attempts. Let me just say that if I can do it, so can you, IF, you are willing to practice and work through your mistakes. You don't really think that I started making perfect cone beads right from the start do you? NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!!

First of all I buy my cone mandrels from Arrow Springs. They are the Osibin Cone Mandrel and I have the 5/8" and 3/8".

Here are a few tips on construction:
I cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with bead release. I do not however, cover the entire cone part of the mandrel with glass. I start wrapping the glass about 1/4" from the bottom, (fat end), of the cone. If it makes a difference to you I use Fusion or Fosterfire bead release. Make sure to spend enough time preheating your mandrel insuring that it is RED HOT before applying the glass. The nice thing about the Osibin mandrel is once you preheat it it holds the heat really well which means a lot when you're trying to keep the bead from cracking as you apply finishing touches.

I use fat stringers, (about 3mm at least), for the initial wrap so I pull several before I start.

The bead release almost always cracks as I am applying the initial wrap. I'm very careful not to push or pull too much causing the bead release to flake off because if the molten glass touches the bare mandrel I'll have to start over. This is why I think people are having a problem getting their beads off the mandrel. The bead release has flaked off exposing the glass to bare metal. Usually this means a hopelessly stuck bead.

I use the thick stringers to cover the mandrel initially, making sure each wrap touches the one before. Once the mandrel is covered I then spend time evening out the surface of the glass on the cone. Adding or moving glass around with my tungsten poker before using my brass and/or graphite marvers to further smooth the surface before adding any embellishments. All the while applying heat where needed to keep the bead from cracking.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions please let me know by leaving a comment. Good luck and don't give up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Date night...

"Tomfoolery" necklace
Norm took me out for dinner tonight. Olive Garden....yummmm! I love their spaghetti and meatballs. And, I love their salad and bread sticks hot from the oven. I'm a happy girl. Now I'm home watching reruns of "The Office" on TV before I hit the hay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Early snow for Thanksgiving week.

It's a little early and though I'm not ready for snow, it is rather pretty. I was just waiting for Mr. Furnace Repairman to show up. Hmmm. What a time for the furnace to be on the fritz... We won't freeze. We're all cozy with a fire in the woodstove. 
Sitting here thinking about the holidays ahead. Thanksgiving in just a couple days. My son and daughter-in-law are hosting this years feast. I miss having everyone at my house but I don't miss all the work of preparing a huge meal and the cleanup after.
I've started working on Christmas decorations and I'm thinking of some holiday themed beads and jewelry maybe. Busy times ahead. Norm is very busy with the bar and I don't see him much during the week. I expect a rush at Norm's Place with it being a short work week and all. Especially Black Friday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you Veterans!

Thank you to all the men and women that have served in the past and are now serving our country! I pray for you, I cry for you and I raise my glass to you and your families!
It's been a productive week for me. I made several new pieces that I will be adding to my Etsy store as soon as possible. Hope you like them....
I'm off to Norm's Place to meet some friends for dinner. Did I tell you we are having Karaoke this Saturday and Sunday, (Nov. 13 & 14)? We're gonna have a blast!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I spent the whole day at the torch making beads today. I hope to get some new things made for the old Etsy shop this week. It's nice being home again every day and having the time to devote to my business and no longer feeling obligated to spend every waking hour at NORM'S PLACE. We now have an entire staff working to help Norm with the bar so my time is pretty much my own again.

I've also been working on a new type of jewelry, (new for me anyway). Very delicate strands of braided cord with gemstones or pearls. I then add small sterling charms, gemstone drops, and other interesting things. The necklace above was woven with tiny turquoise gemstone seed beads and roundells. I used some Hilltribe silver charms, a faceted oval aquamarine and one of my lampwork beads.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting back to a "new" normal....

After weeks and weeks spent cleaning and spucing up a very old building I've spent the last three days at home catching up with laundry and housecleaning and I even managed to make a few beads turning them into this adorable bracelet......"MERRY ME" available in my Etsy shop.

I'm just wondering what our "new" normal will be like. Norm and I now own a business together and he will be spending nearly all of his waking hours there to begin with. Norm's Place (a bar and grill) will be open for business for the very first time in just a few days and although I will help out with shopping, menu planning and playing hostess at times, I won't be there every day. I plan on spending as much time as I possibly can restocking my gallery space, (Seagrass Gallery on Camano Island), and Etsy shop with lots and lots of new items before the holidays. I know, I know....not much time....

Thursday, September 30, 2010


What a magnificent fall day! The sky is a brilliant blue and the sun is unusually warm for this time of year.

I've spent the day catching up on household chores that have been ignored for the last few weeks. Still getting the new business ready to open. We have a ways to go yet we will get there. We have had so much help and support from family and friends. We are so blessed. I don't know how we will ever repay them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where have I been?

I know I've been pretty scarce lately and I apologize for that. You see my husband and I have started a new business venture. Yes, instead of going into retirement, which Norm just wasn't ready to do after losing his job in this miserable economy, we decided to buy the little neighborhood bar that he has dreamed about since owning one back in the eighties.
No I'm not giving up beadmaking. Norm will run the bar himself with little help from me eventually but getting it ready for the public is taking all the resources we have at the moment. The building has suffered years of neglect and we have been slowly removing years of grime. With the loving help of friends and family we've come a long way but still have tons to do so that's where I've been most everyday the last month minus the days I've spent on the computer filling out reams of paperwork for licenses and such. Oy! So much paperwork!
I intend on announcing our opening here in the next few weeks and then I'll get back to beadmaking. After all, this isn't a blog about a bar, it's a blog about beads ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Southwest feel...

Labor Day has come and gone and the leaves are turning color. Mornings are crisp and cool and there are spider webs everywhere I turn! Fall is here. Our very short summer has ended and it's time to start thinking about warmer clothes and , I've worn flip flops all summer long and yesterday, after wearing sneakers all day, my feet were not happy :-(. And what little bit of summer tan I had is fading very quickly.

Here is another necklace I finished recently. "Cimmeron" features one of my handmade lampwork heart beads and I've paired it with turquoise gemstones in an oval shape and Karen Hill Tribe silver seed beads. You can find it in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall-like day......

I'm not ready to let go of summer yet. We had so little of it, it seems. Today feels like November is already here. Pouring rain, wind, and cool temperatures. Makes me wanna build a fire in the fireplace and take a nap. Maybe I'll just think about some more fall themed beads and jewelry instead. Like this adorable witch's hat necklace that I just listed in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fun weekend!

I spent a really fun weekend with a few of my very dear girlfriends. Yep, a golf outing for just the ladies. We left about noon on Friday and spent the afternoon in Leavenworth, (Wa). Did a bit of shopping and had lunch and then continued on a few more miles to our destination. Wenatchee is where we spent the next couple days playing golf, laughing lots, eating lots, and shopping a little.

Wenatchee is a beautiful town in the eastern part of our state known as the apple capitol of the country. The photo above is a shot taken from the clubhouse at Highlander Golf Course in Wenatchee and it shows just a bit of the spectacular view of the surrounding hillsides. I took more photos but they just don't do justice to what we experienced in person. The sky was so brilliantly blue and the grass so green. It really doesn't matter where you are in town you are always surrounded by these gorgeous views of the hillsides and apple orchards. I was really sorry to come back across the mountain pass this afternoon to our dreary weather on this side.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Small Doses

I think this necklace turned out really cute even though it isn't a real vessel. The tiny hole closed up as I was doing the final flame polishing but even so there was still an opening to add a tiny cork stopper. So adorable! Check out the little sterling silver heart charm on the side. The vessel pendant is stung on extra supple deer leather lace and it's totally adjustable just by tying a knot. You can wear it long or wear it short.

Happy 24th Anniversary!!!!

"Carlotta LaBoosh"

Today is our 24th wedding anniversary. 24 years....WOW!!!! Where does the time go?
We are celebrating by going our for a nice dinner later at one of our favorite restaurants. It's on the waterfront in Everett, near the marina. Should be a very pleasant evening.

I've made a sister for "Carmen" . This is "Carlotta LaBoosh", another whimsically colorful hollow cone pendant that will be part of a whole new series called, you guessed it, "The LaBoosh Sisters"!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We have a winner!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeanette Savina Cobb you are the winner! Contact me to claim your prize.

Thanks for playing!

I want to thank everyone for leaving comments on the purse pendant giveaway post! I'll be drawing the winner in just a few hours so stay tuned........................

Here's a photo of Linkoln and I kickin' back and relaxing while camping this weekend. We had a great time with the kids and grandkids and really enjoyed the perfect weather.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


WANNA CHANCE TO WIN THIS PENDANT???? All you have to do is leave a comment on the "FIRST EVER BLOG GIVEAWAY!!!!" post. Contest ends Friday, August 13, 2010, at 12 midnight, (Pacific). Winner will be drawn on Sunday, August 15, 2010, at 7 pm (Pacific), by random drawing the old fashioned way, (usernames will be written on slips of paper and drawn from a bowl). Good luck and thanks for playing! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

see, I can be subtle..................


A fellow beadmaker posted a funny comment on this bracelet yesterday after seeing a photo I uploaded to an online forum for beadmakers...."Vickie, those bracelets of yours are always so rich.... and I like the down tempered tones of this one, especially delicate are the greenish flowers, admiring your work." She's right, I don't do subtle, neutral tones very often. And I know that my bright, happy, in-your-face colors aren't for everyone. I'm okay with that. So every once in a while I like to make jewelry for the other 10% of the population......(snort!!!) ;-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fun Filled Saturday!


Our annual mini golf tournement and barbeque was held yesterday and even though the weather was less than desirable we had a great time with all the friends that participated.

Instead of enjoying the afternoon on the deck in the sun we had to improvise, because of the pouring rain, and ended up in our garage. Yep, you just can't count on the weather in the Pacific Northwest, even in August. Oh well, our garage, (aka my studio), was plenty big enough to hold all 22 of us, and no one seemed to mind. We were warm and dry and very well fed! I can't wait till next year!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ConeHungLo Tassel Necklace

Now here is a really fun necklace of colorful African trade beads, called "Christmas" beads, and I've incorporated one of my hollow lampwork cone beads made into a tassel-style pendant. The long, 32" necklace has no clasp and easily slips over the head for ease of wear. The cone pendant has dangling strands of trade beads that have been strung on black silk cord.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Funky Chicken

Just listed....Etsy.
"Chicken Dance"

Luau and Pig Roast

It doesn't look very appetizing in the photo but it was very tasty!

Last Sunday was my daughter and son in laws annual luau and I remembered to take some photos of their "authentic" Hawiian pig roast.
I wasn't there when the whole process was started, (early in the morning), but this is what I saw when it was finished. I was told it takes 6 hours for the size of pig they used.
A length of chicken wire, mayber 4 or 5', was lined with a bed of greens, (looks like lettuce but there may have been some other things added, like herbs). This I assume is to keep the meat moist. The pig was then set upon the layer of greens and covered with more greens. Now, the chicken wire acts as sort of a sling, which can then be lowered into the hole in the ground. The hot lava rocks are arranged around and on top of the pig and then many layers of burlap are spread on top of the pig, creating a sort of oven. 6 hours later, the pig was removed from the ground by grabbing the corners of the chicken wire and then set atop a makeshift table to remove the succulent and moist meat from the bone, where it was then placed on a large platter for everyone to enjoy. And enjoy we did! It was tender, juicy, moist, and very flavorful.
My daughter and SIL live on a rural 5 acre, farm-like spread, so there was lots of room for people to spread out and enjoy the yard and gardens and even the small menagerie of farm animals. An unused pasture served as a parking lot for all the cars and this is also where the hole was dug to roast the pig.
There were many, many guests to enjoy all the great food and conversation that day and the weather was sunny and warm. Close to 100 people of all ages attended and everyone brought food to share which was set on prepared tables on the deck and on awning covered tables in the yard. We all left very full, content, and happy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not enough hours in a day.....

"Circus Act"

I'm a busy girl! I've added lots of new work to my Etsy store this past week. More to go but it takes time to photograph and write descriptions and I'm also preparing to paint and redecorate my bathroom. This was not a planned task but while doing some much needed spring cleaning, I removed some curtains to wash and was appalled at the dingy wall that the curtain was hiding. After I thought about it I remembered that it was about 7 or 8 years ago that I last painted that bathroom. So that's what I'll be doing in the next few days. Gotta get it done before the mini golf tournement we are having the first weekend in August, for a bunch of our friends, with a barbeque at our house to follow.
Next weekend we are headed to our daughter's for their yearly Luau. They are expecting about 100 people. I really hope the weather is good. The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been pretty iffy this summer and we really can't count on sunshine, even in late July. Anyway, my son-in-law will be digging a hole in his pasture, as he does every year to roast the pig in. It's a very interesting process and I'll try to remeber to take some photos. I can't remember exactly but I think they build a fire in the hole and put the pig on the coals and then cover it with....dirt?...and let it roast.  I'll get all the details and fill you in..... 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program....

Art by the Bay was a smashing success and even though I'm worn out I had a really great time! I LOVED meeting the people who came to see my work. Everyone was so appreciative and encouraging. And because of the almost perfect weather there were lots and lots of people. I say 'almost' perfect because we did have a bit of fog in the mornings and a tiny bit of wind on Sunday but I'm not complaining. And the new location, the Stanwood fairgrounds, gave us more room to spread out, more food booths, more space for parking, and a stage for the music. I'm not sure of the official count but I'm sure this year's show brought more people than ever before.
A friend of mine took some photos of my booth and I'll get those posted as soon as I catch up with her.
It's been a busy week getting things put away and doing that housecleaning that's been ignored for way too long. I spent today listing some of my inventory in my Etsy store and there will be more in the next few days.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!!!!

A photo taken from inside my garage where I've been working on my table display for "Art By The Bay".

As you can see there is lots of color here to hopefully catch the eye and attract people to my tent.
I've added quite a few new things to my collection of handmade displays. A faux "cake" on the left, serves as a riser for my earring display, raising it to eye level and making shopping easier for my customer. It's a set of paper mache boxes that I added lots of different scrapbook papers to. I got the boxes at the craft store. The cake project ended up taking much longer than I anticipated.
I also decorated a sweet little black birdcage from TJ Maxx, with lots of colorful ribbons and the handpainted paper mache dress forms I made a few years ago. I'll be replacing the black velvet, easel style necklace displays, with some new neutral colored linen ones, (they will match the color of the sequined table covering). I will try to get several much better photos when my tent is all set up at the show. One more week to go......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tell me you're hot and I'm gonna have to slap you!!!!


We are still waiting for summer to arrive. Record low temperatures and dreary, cloudy, wet, days. What did we do to deserve this?

On a lighter note, I finally got a new phone. A fancy, schmancy phone, and I love it! It's a Droid. Quite the learning curve for someone not so "technically advanced", shall we say. I've spent some time every day since I got it trying to learn all the different features. It's gonna take awhile...... I feel like I need to find the nearest 10 year old to teach me what I need to know :-)!

Still working on inventory and table display stuff. The cupcakes pictured above are made from polymer clay. Baked and then hand painted. They are pretty colorful as you can see and meant to draw some attention to my tent/booth at "Art By The Bay", (click here for details). I've been working on some other colorful display items as well. I'll be sure to take some photos when I get everything set up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feeling CHEATED!!!

Earring rack is almost full. I've spent the ENTIRE week making earrings.

I hate it that nearly every blog post has become about the weather here in the Pacific Northwest but when it's nearly the middle of June and we are still wearing coats and using the furnace to heat the house it seems to be THE topic of conversation. At least around here it is. We are being cheated out of our summer! This year the corn in the garden will definately not be "knee high by the 4th of July"!!!!!!

The recent weather also makes me very nervous about the outdoor shows that I've been preparing for. Building an inventory from the ground up these last few weeks and putting my online business on hold while I do that. I have so much invested both in time and money that I really need the weather to improve, and soon.
Anyone know some sun rituals we could start performing????

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rain = Dentist

"After Midnight"

I sort of feel the same way about each.....
It is June 2nd right??? The weatherman says we are to expect the same weather pattern for the next 14 days. Clouds, rain, wind, cold. Scotty, beam me up..... I'm still using my furnace to heat the house. Yep, June 2nd, uhh hhhh!
Off to a lovely visit with the dental hygenist.
I Hope your day is filled with sunshine.....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Aunt and Uncle's 50th Wedding Anniversary

My aunt and uncle will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next weekend and to help them celebrate, their two daughters have arranged an open house type party in their honor. I will be there to help everyone celebrate. 50 years! Wow!

I remember being at their wedding as a little girl but I had forgotten that my parents were Matron of Honor and Best Man. My cousin sent me this photo along with some others that I don't remember ever seeing. Thanks Cousin! My mom is on the left, my dad on the right, and my aunt and uncle, of course, the bride and groom, a beautiful couple. They all look so young and happy. Mom looks so pretty and my dad so handsome. My parents are both gone now and I miss them so much so it was great to see this photo perhaps for the first time. And I can't wait to see my aunt and uncle, cousins, and family members, that I haven't seen for a very long time.