Spacer Beads

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Well, I got through my final exams. It was a pretty stressful few weeks. I didn’t get a lot of beadmaking in (although I did get out to my torch a few times, just to try to relax a little!) In my exams, I always made sure to wear a few of my beads (usually just a few strung on some cord around my neck, something to fiddle with and remind me of the other side of my life that isn’t all about grades and the other pressures of school).

Anyway, I am out on the other side of it now, and looking forward to a summer full of creating, vending at our local market, and doing a few other summer craft shows as well!

One of the things I have been making quite a few of again lately is spacer beads. They are so simple that I had stopped making them for a while. I always figured if people wanted them, they could ask (and I think I say that somewhere in my Etsy listings… need extras or spacers? just ask me!) But then, when I started making more bracelets and other jewelry of my own again, I realized that spacer beads are really useful. And when I started making spacer beads again, I realized that I actually don’t mind making them as much as I remembered. In fact it is sort of fun because you can make a lot really fast and it feels productive!

So I have a few sets of spacers listed on Etsy – I did them in colour schemes rather than just one colour, because they are actually really fun even on their own for bracelets or small earrings, if you string a bunch together they look really nice! Simple yet effective.

Shades of Blue Spacers

These are Moretti 054 Transparent Medium Blue (the transparent beads), Moretti 224 Pastel Light Sky Blue (the lighter opaque beads), Moretti 228 Pastel Dark Sky Blue (the darker opaque beads that are almost a bit turquoise), and Moretti 240 Light Cobalt Blue (the darkest of the opaque beads)

Purple Spacers

The opaque purple is CiM Thai Orchid, the pinky lighter purple is CiM Heffalump, the lighter transparent purple is Moretti 046 Transparent Pale Purple, the darker transparent purple is CiM Simply Berry.

Pretty in Pink Spacers

I am having a bit of trouble identifying some of these pinks, because I ordered some CiM pinks and they weren’t all labeled. Anyhow, the opaque pink is definitely CiM Gelly’s Sty. There is plain old Moretti 204 Pastel White, and the two transluscent pinks are I think CiM Pink Champagne and CiM Blush. But I am not positive about those two! They are both very pretty pinks and they are definitely from the CiM palette.

Root Beer Spacers

These were a mix of the transparent browns. Not exactly sure which ones, because I don’t have them well labeled. The opaque beads mixed in there are CiM Canyon de Chelly.

Wow, that’s a lot of colours isn’t it! Part of the fun of making spacers too is, you don’t have to worry about what colours will play nicely with each other.


Purple Things

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Today I have some purple things to share. Purple is probably one of my favorite colours, in all of its varieties.

Purple Paradise

This set has Creation is Messy Simply Berry (one of my favorite transparent purples), in all the beads – the plain purple rounds are pure Simply Berry. I used Vetrofond Seashell Swirl Odd with Val Cox African Violet frit as well. The African Violet frit is just a gorgeous bluish shade of purple, and the Seashell Swirl is of course a great base for frit.

Two Froggies Focal Bead

I made this focal bead using two shades of purple by Creation is Messy – Heffalump and Thai Orchid (Thai Orchid is the darker purple froggy, Heffalump is the lighter purple). It was a real challenge finding a spot for all those little froggy toes!

More about Seashell Swirl Odd
More about African Violet
More about Simply Berry
More about Thai Orchid
More about Heffalump


Blackberry Smoothie lampwork set

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I made a whole set based on the purpley pink bead I made the other day. I am so loving the colours!

White, Creation is Messy “Simply Berry”, clear, fuschia frit, and some rubino oro.

I decided to list this one on eBay too because the market there seems good right now.


eBay Auction

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I will probably post this to some of the LJ communities later in the week when it is closer to ending. However, don’t be afraid to come bid now! I’m starting it at $50 because I’m just not feeling ballsy enough to do a .99 start. This set is wonderful and I know it’s worth a lot more than $50… but that is the least that I would be happy with getting.

It was made using 412 dark yellow, 422 orange, and 236 pastel light turquoise. So simple and yet it just came out great!

Here are a few other things that came out of my kiln today


More purple, and a couple of floral focals

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I used a lot of different glasses in this set. Let’s see… I started with a base of moretti/effetre light purple transparent. Then I did a layer of vetrofond odd seashell swirl. Then, a bit of CiM thai orchid and CiM simply berry overtop… followed by some CiM cirrus frit, and some silvered ivory stringer. Whew! The light coloured rounds have all the above except the CiM thai orchid and simply berry. The darker small rounds are just thai orchid. Etsy listing here.

Base of vetrofond odd poppy, with white and yellow plunged florals. There are a few layers of florals, lots of depth. Etsy listing here.

Base of vetrofond odd poppy, with white plunged florals. Again there are multiple layers here. Etsy listing here.


Earring pairs & a goddess

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I tried to do a more pregnant goddess. The glass is called intense blue.

Dark topaz base with white and turquoise plunged dots, and brown raised dots.

Dark yellow base with turquoise and light red.

Dark topaz base with white and light red flat dots, and dark yellow raised dots.

Light red base with white and dark topaz plunged dots, and turquoise raised dots.

Brown base with white, dark yellow, and turquoise flat dots, and dark topaz raised dots.

Blue lavender base with dark silver plum decoration. It seems to come out very metallic all on its own when its used as raised decoration… I can’t quite figure out how to get it do the metallic thing when it’s flattened in…

White base, with CiM simply berry and dark silver plum (which again doesn’t look metallic, it looks like black basically…)


… and more baubles

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The sad thing is, I can only do 4-5 at a time. I have 5 mandrils… I could buy more, but I can’t fit more than that in my little bead kiln comfortably anyway. Oh well.

I think the shape is improving somewhat.

left to right: vetrofond orange punch; white with some random frits all over; CiM leaky pen; clear with CiM simply berry and vetrofond orange punch swirled around.


I got my hollow mandrils yesterday!

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It was pretty fun blowing glass for the first time. I actually felt fairly intuitive about how to do it… and although I had a few blowouts from blowing too hard, overall I’m really happy with these as first results, and can’t wait to do more and more! There’s something soo cool about how glass stretches when it is blown. It’s completely different from just melting i.

Here’s my first one. Ivory base, with some CiM simply berry and some CiM bordello frit. The bordello frit is the dark red, it stretched out to almost look like blood vessels. Very cool.

This one I managed to put arms on. It’s tricky because once you blow the glass, if you get it too hot again it will collapse back on itself and deflate. But, I’m always paranoid about introducing stress by letting something cool too much. So I tried to keep it ever so slightly warm while putting on the arms, without getting too hot. The good news is, if it deflates, you can just blow it back out again. The colours I used were copper green, dark ivory, some goldstone aventurine frit, CiM cirrus frit, and reichenbach green reduction frit. Just a big mess of stuff really.

Here is a pic for size reference. These vessels are bigger than the ones I have done before. I think I could go bigger still, too.

The other fun aspect of having hollow mandrils is making shards. Shards are basically little chunks of glass with cool patterns on them. What you do is, get a blob of glass on the end of the hollow mandril, cover it with lots of cool looking frits and bits of other reactive glass, silver foil, whatever, and then blow it out. This one used all of the stuff that went into the vessel above. Then, you smash it, and you can use the shards to decorate beads.

So excited and can’t wait to do more!!


Working on craft fair stock

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More buttons. The shape is getting a bit better, but the holes are still a bit too rough. The orangey colour is vetrofond odd lot orange punch… the dark colour is CiM simply berry but it isn’t showing up especially well. I think it’s quite a dark transparent purple and might look better overtop white or ivory or something.

A goddess made with vetrofond odd lot orange punch.

CiM canyon de chelly goddess. I am loving this glass! I find that goddess beads end up getting struck a lot (struck in the glass sense, as in cooling then heating quickly, not struck as in hit with a baseball bat or something). It’s because while I’m working on part, another part inevitably cools somewhat, then I stick it back in the flame to heat it up again so the whole thing doesn’t crack. So using colours that strike for making a goddess almost always has great results.

Copper green goddess, reduced somewhat.

An implosion pendant with some nice bright colours..

CiM canyon de chelly implosion pendant

I think CiM canyon de chelly is one of my new faves. This is how it looks encased. I am still not really sure how to strike something and then encase it… but it looks really pretty and subtle like this.

Also, I have found a way to help eliminate scum in my clears – cleaning them with pure white vinegar. It seems to be helping a LOT! So, I expect to be doing more encasing in the near future.