Friday, September 28, 2007

Congrats to Dancing Mooney...

She entered my contest below, and is now the proud owner of the "Spring Green" earrings shown in the post below. The ACEO, officially titled "Simplicity" is now available in my Etsy store.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A contest!

I have always enjoyed participating in contests being held on blogs, so I have decided to hold one for you! This is also to celebrate the move that I will be making into a new position at work, starting Monday of next week - there's a lot of excitement going on right now!

What is the contest you ask? I want you to help me name this ACEO piece that I will be posting in my Etsy store.

In order to enter, just leave a comment with the name that you came up with on this blog. Make sure that there is contact information so that I can get hold of you if you win! I will be picking a winner at the end of tomorrow (Thursday Sep. 27).

The winner will receive their choice of a pair of earrings shown below.

I can't wait to see what you all come up with! =)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another swap - Promo items galore!

I'm still in swap mode on, this time around a swap organized by my friend Holly ( In an attempt to get exposure to my Etsy store, I decided to take the opportunity to swap promos with other Etsy sellers. The point being that when we get sales, we enclose these promos with the item sold - which is a benefit both to the buyer and to each of us as sellers.

From the 5 people I swapped with, I received buttons, magnets, coupons, business cards and more. I chose to make stitch markers, which could also double as charms, to attach to my business cards. I used a variety of beads that I have from my jewelry making efforts, and purchased 10mm jump rings to attach to the top. I'm really happy with how they came out and hopefully some lucky buyer out there will love them as well!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Knit stitch overdose!

I am in the process of creating woolly items for the winter - to sell in my Etsy store, at an upcoming craft fair (held annually at my workplace) and also to give to friends for holiday gifts. In particular, I have wanted to find some fun knit stitches for scarves and, in my mad googling ventures, I came across the site Knitting Fool. This site has to contain the most comprehensive list of knit stitches that I have seen to date!

The stitches are all cataloged alphabetically by name, with an easy to read grid the number of stitches and number of rows needed to complete the pattern. You even have the option to sort the list by the stitch count in case you are looking for a certain number of stitches. My only complaint would be that not all of the patterns have accompanying pictures, so it leaves a little to the imagination (but I can't complain too much because I can imagine it would take forever to knit swatches for each of the stitch patterns on the site)!

Here's my simple lace pattern for today, I'm not sure what it's called, but I believe it's a variation of the Faggot lace stitch:
Cast on any multiple of 3.
K1, yo, k2tog for each row until piece is desired length

It's simple yet effective, plus it's a reversible pattern. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A crafty bridal shower gift

I was so busy planning for my good friend's bridal shower that I didn't have all that much time to plan the perfect gift. Then it came to me that I'm one of those crafty folk that can make something unique last minute! I had bought some Mod Podge to decoupage something for a craft swap on and decided to put it to good use for this gift.

The couple were traveling to NYC for their honeymoon, so what better than to create something to put a couple of honeymoon photos in. I took a picture that I had taken while in NY a couple of years ago, cropped it, and decoupaged it to a glass frame. Here's the end result. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfect for the couple, if you know what I mean!
The good news is that both the bridal shower and the gift went down well. We played games from "name that love song" to "match famous couples through history" and created a CD of songs picked by the bride that included the bizarre and obscure. How Liz Minelli can appear on the same track listing as Def Leppard is a mystery (but a fun one none the less).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I've been tagged!

Dancing Mooney just tagged me. That means, I have to tell you 6 interesting facts about myself, and then tag 6 new people!

So, here we go...

1) I've already been a citizen of 2 countries (Singapore, where I was born, and England, where I grew up). I'm working on my green card for the US, and will hopefully get citizenship later on, which would make 3 countries and 3 continents!
2) As well as my day job and my crafty endeavors, my boyfriend and I are co-owners in an event production company - 4:SCORE Entertainment. He DJs and I use my photographic skills to make him look pretty. =)
3) I am completely self-taught in my photography. I started with a 35mm point and shoot, which didn't have a zoom or anything! It just took off from there.
4) I modeled as a kid, until I was about 13 years old - when I stopped growing upward (I'm 5'3") and became too "womanly"! (Yes, that's me aged 10 in the polka dots on the left.)
5) Despite living in England until I was 18, I don't have an accent. People always seem to think I'm Californian born and bred, but really I'm just incognito.
6) If I could have any job in the world, I would be a photographer for National Geographic and would fly around the world taking pictures of elephants and icebergs (not necessarily at the same time, but you catch my drift!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Etsy Featured Shop - The Bead Lounge

Having come across The Bead Lounge on Etsy, I was inspired to contact this seller for an interview. Amber specializes in glass work, which I personally find to be a fascinating art (perhaps because you get to play with fire and melt things!) It's something that I myself would love to try but don't think I'll get to anytime soon. So, why not take this opportunity to learn more about this art and this artist here.

How did you get your start making lampwork beads?
When I decided to learn lampworking, I was strictly a jewelry 'crafter' and wanted to make beads to use in my designs. I took my first (and only) class in 2000 with a local teacher to learn the safety and equipment requirements for the hobby. After my 3 hour class, I left with a basic lampworking kit and haven't stopped yet!

Does it take a long time to learn this craft?
It doesn't take long to learn "how" to lampwork. A beginner's class can be anywhere from 3 hours to 16 hours, depending on the teacher and their structure. It does take a long time to perfect a basic bead, learn how to control the glass, and you can spend endless hours learning new techniques. That's what I love about this art form, there are endless possibilities for working with glass...

What is the difference between making lampwork beads and creating fused glass pieces?
'Lampworking' uses a torch. Artists have the choice between a single fuel torch (which is an inexpensive way to learn) or a duel fuel torch, which will allow you the opportunity to work with a wider variety of glass and make larger glass items. Glass is purchased in rod form, which is about as thick as a pencil and 12-13" long. Using the torch, you melt the glass and wind it around a steel rod to form the beading hole.

'Fusing' is a warm-glass hobby that requires you to cut sheet glass specially made for fusing into the shapes you like and then a kiln to melt this glass together to make anything from small jewelry pendants and beads to larger functional pieces like dishes. The larger kiln you have, the larger the piece you can make. There are even 'walk-in' kilns available. Some artists make awesome sculptures like water fountains and fused glass windows!

Do you begin each piece with a concept or do you design as you go?
This depends a lot on my time constraints. Although I am a full time artist, I also have 3 children, a husband and a household to take care of. Sometimes I will sit down and make what I call 'production beads'. These are my simple supply pieces, like spacer beads. Other times, I am working specifically on an idea for a customer, requiring me to stick to a concept that has been requested by a client. I have the most fun when I can sit in front of my torch and just 'play' with the glass and see what happens. Usually, I am surprised by the color combinations that occur with no real effort on my part. That's where the joy of creating comes in for me.

How do you make your color choices for your beads?
I really like working with neutral, earthy colors. These are what I prefer to wear, design with, and am naturally drawn to. There is something so organic about working with glass. I have a difficult time creating with the brighter, more vibrant colors...for some reason, my mind won't wrap itself around designing with these as easily. A lot of the time, if I just pick up some glass and try random things, an idea will just pop itself to the front of my mind.

Do you prefer to sell your beads as they are and let others create from them or do you like to create finished pieces yourself?
I've been asked this question a lot. Right now, I simply create the beads and then hand them over to designers to work with. I tend to be very simple in my designing, and sometimes I can't wrap my head around how to actually 'use' any of the beads I make in a design I think they are worthy of! I have some amazing clients who do incredible work with my beads, far better than I think I could ever do!

What do you love about this piece?
Of all the beads I've ever made, the set I called 'acid rain' has to be my favorite.

There is something random, yet controlled with these beads, and they are the perfect example of how being playful while creating can get amazing results. This set wasn't planned in my head, it just happened by accident and I went with it. The flow of the set when placed together is astounding to me and the colors are absolutely breathtaking in my opinion. The luster glass used to create this set gives you so many colors all within one bead.

Where do you get your inspiration?
The wonderful thing about art, any art, is that inspiration is all around you. I get mine from everyday places - watching my kid's cartoons (how colorful are they!?!), the natural beauty around me (we live in a rural area with gorgeous scenery), and I am absolutely inspired by other artists. I try not to look too closely at what other people are doing with glass, because I never want to lose my own voice, but I definitely have artists I look up to and am inspired by. It is always my goal to take that inspiration and create something in my own voice.

What other crafts, if any, are you hoping to try?
I'd love to get my hands into PMC (precious metal clay) and silver-smithing. I have always loved the look of silver, and being able to create anything in that medium would make me really happy.

Do you have any advice for fellow crafters?
Do what you love. I've seen too many people get into glass (lampworking, fusing, blowing, etc...) because they see other artists making a career out of it. Success in this field doesn't happen overnight, and if that is the sole reason for doing it, you'll never be happy. After 7 years in the field, I'm still learning, growing and trying to build a name for myself. Creation (in any form) should happen because it feeds your soul and fills a void that can't be filled with anything else.
Lampworking especially takes a lot of hard work to become good. and when you are good, it takes passion to become great but, like anything else, if you fall in love, there is nothing else you would rather be doing. Find art in everything...

To learn more about Amber and her craft, also visit her website -