Welcome to A Hot Piece of Glass!

WELCOME to my colorful corner of the world! I write here about the things I make, in glass, fiber, metals, and whatever else I can find to play with!

**And if you want to read more about me, check out Adventures In Living!, my personal blog, or The ScooterMom, where I write about my adventures on two wheels! If you're interested in medieval, ancient and Renaissance glass, check out my history blog, The Medieval Glassworker!**

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perspire, Inspire

Good grief, but it's hotter than the surface of the sun around here! We've had temps in the I-kid-you-not 100's for the past week, with 45% humidity. I hate it. I lived in Miami for ten years when I was growing up, and as soon as I graduated from high school, I went as far from Miami as I could. Do not like excessive heat. We've been spending a lot of time finding indoor fun, and also going out for brief periods early in the morning for fun like this:
One of out local outdoor malls has a fountain and they let the kids play in it. It's like a little water park and it's so much fun! It's even better that there is a Starbuck's right next to it so Momma can have her weekly Java Chip Frappuccino while the kids play.

Because the heat has been so ridiculous, I haven't been able to make any beads!! It's just too hot to even THINK about sitting in front of a huge flame, sweating on my glass rods. Yuck. I wish I could say I have been churning out the jewelry pieces, too, but alas, not so much. I've had a lot of great ideas, and I have been playing around with new (for me) types of wire, but not a whole lot is coming together.

This is a tough time for spending a lot of solitary creative time. The little kids are off of preschool for a couple of weeks, so my days are full of managing them, spending fun time with them, and doing things that are not focused on jewelry or glass or business. I've also been working at my 'real' job (which I do about ten hours a week), and between that, and the kidlets, well, there hasn't been a whole lot of creative time.

So one of the things I have been doing is focusing on storing up images for color inspiration for later. I took these pictures at my kitchen window...
That is one of the zinnias from the kids' garden in our yard. I love cobalt blue glass and this bottle always sits on my windowsill. I think they make a very intense and mysterious combination. It makes me think of the deep end of the ocean, or summer twilight.

Playing with the cobalt blue and magenta zinna, I added in this:
The sheer green of the tomato and the bright orange of the washcloth...I like the blue-magenta-orange, and I like the green-orange-blue, but all of them together isn't doing it for me.
This, however, I like. The sheer green, with the olive green and the cobalt is just pretty.

I might have to see what I can come up with later this week. It's supposed to be-- gasp!--in the 80's for a few days! Woohoo! Time to set up the torch!

Okay, I promise, a new jewelry piece this week. I'm working on something right now as I type (yes, I multitask...I have three kids...).

For now, though, a picnic awaits...

How do you stay in touch with your creative-ness when you can't make art directly?

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Today is the final day for the Bead Soup Blog Party. What a party it has been! So much to see and so many new people to virtually meet! It's bee really great, and thank you SO much to Lori Anderson, of Pretty Things, for all her work putting this together! I had a great time, and now I want to do even more collaborative work like this in the future!

So here are the last of the party people....go visit!

85. Melissa, One-Eared Pig Beads

86. Rebecca, 2SistersBeadwork

87. Karyn, Releases by Rufydoof

88. Denise, Bling on the Blog

89. Doris, Glaszwerg

90. Megan, Churchy & Her Sailor

91. Jo, Daisychain Designs

92. Jen, VanBeads Jewelry and Design

93. Kristie, Artisan Clay

94. Jess, Vintaj

95. Suzann, Beadphoria

96. Sharon, Sharon's Jewelry Garden

97. Michelle, bMichelle

Friday, June 25, 2010

And on the Seventh Day....there was MORE SOUP!

The owl necklace, 'Wise In The Ways' is going to a lovely home in Ohio tomorrow! Thanks, Kate!

'Reach' is still available....the earrings come with it, too!

Day Seven, you guys! Check it out!

72. Cindy, Cindy Dolezal Designs

73. Valerie, Hot Art

74. Courtney, Beads by Breul

75. Johanna, Fire Phoenix Creations

76. Shea, gr8findings

77. Julie, Pryce Designs
78. Jeannie, Jeannie's Blog

79. Patricia, Verre Design

80. Christa, Adventures of One Beady Woman

81. Heather, My Muse

82. Susan, Night Beader at Large

83. Sonja, Drachenei

84. Jennifer, Glass Addictions by Jennifer

Thursday, June 24, 2010

They're Up!

The frog necklace, 'Reach' is now up in the Etsy shop.

So is 'Wise In The Ways', the owl necklace.

**Purchase 'Reach', and you will also receive the matching earrings!**

On the Sixth Day of Bead Soup....

For those of you who are interested, my Bead Soup pieces will be listed in my Etsy shop on Friday!

And the hits just keep on coming! Here's today's fresh batch of soup....eat up!

60. Carol, Carol Bradley Designs

61. Wanda, A Frayed of Fibers

62. Diana, Vintage Blue Studio

63. Marieke, Marieke's Blog

64. KJ, Silver Parrot

65. Maire, Maire Dodd

66. Shannon, Miss Fickle Media

67. Dana, Dana's Jewelry Designs

68. Charlene, The Bead Dreamer

69. Elisabeth, Beads for Busy Gals

70. Cathryn, Chile Cats

71. Missy, Melissa Rappaport

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And we're on Day 5 of Bead Soup!

**EDITED TO ADD.....The three Bead Soup pieces, 'Reach' and the matching earrings, and 'Wise In The Ways' will ALL be listed in my Etsy shop by the end of the week. See my shop link on the sidebar ----->

This stuff never goes stale! Check out the list of today's yummy and fresh soup designs, all served up virtually -- no calories, no guilt, and always ready to serve!

48. Nan, Spirit Rattles

49. Amy, Copper Diem

50. Malin, Beading by Malin de Koning

51. Anne, Gardanne Glass Lampwork

52. Alice, Alice's Beads and Baubles

53. Barbara, Second Surf

54. Amanda, Articulations

55. Heather, Humble Beads

56. Melissa, Melissa Meman, Art, Life, Love

57. Kate, Organic Odysseys

58. Patti, PJ Clark Designs

59. Stefanie, Stefanie's Sammelsurium


I promised you guys some of my own new work, besides the Bead Soup pieces. Well, here I am to deliver....I picked up the new issue of Easy Wire (which, if you don't own it, you should go get it). In that issue, there are a number of pieces by one of my very favorite jewelry artists, Cindy Wimmer. She even had one of her pieces on the cover! I love that wire rose necklace so much that I went ahead and made one for myself!

I also made myself some earrings to go with the necklace.....

There's a bracelet, but I have not finished it to my satisfaction as yet....still experimenting with design ideas using the wire rose pieces. Of course, working with Cindy's ideas sparked all kinds of new ideas for me, which is awesome! I love when that happens!

With my necklace, I'm not especially in love with the ribbons, although I loved the ones Cindy used on her necklace. I'm thinking of adding some strung seed beads, or maybe a larger piece of ribbon or something. I also used a copper chain as opposed to a silver one. I do like the contrast between metals, but I just didn't have any silver chain available when the need to make this necklace came over me. :)

Anyway, that's what I have been up to lately! How about you? What's up in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unbelievable Generosity.....and....MORE SOUP!

Go immediately to check out Denise Yezbak Moore's blog for the details on how to enter her amazing giveaway. She is giving away a HUGE stash of beads to a lucky artist. It's incredible, and I hope you (*I*) win it! :) Seriously, LOOK at all the beady goodness! *drool*

Speaking of unbelievable generosity, thank you everyone who left me such inspiring and loving comments about my Bead Soup creations yesterday. You all are terrific, and you have no idea just how much you made my day. Thank you all so very much!

And without further ado.....check out today's special on the menu....Tuesday Bead Soup!!

37. Filomena, Pink Velvet Bird

38. Lyn, Lyn Foley

39. Tari, Pearl and Pebble

40. Rebecca, Song Beads

41. Regina, Regina's Writings

42. Nancy, The Rabbit Muse

43. Whitney, Whitney Lassini

44. Maria, Garden Path Beads

45. Michelle, Life in the Bead Lane

46. Ann, My Critical Eye

47. Lisa, Lucid Moon Studio

There are SO many beautiful and yummy creations being cooked up....you are really missing out if you don't go see them!

Stay tuned for some new work from me later on today (...hopefully...)!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hey, Hey, The Party's HERE!!

Okay, so I got an amazing collection of fantastic beads from my Bead Soup partners, Beth and Evie McCord, of EB Bead and Metal Works. At first, I didn’t know what the heck to do with the big enameled frog, but after a little while of sitting with the beads and playing with them, and looking at the gorgeous enameling job on that frog (not to mention the seriously good sawing!) the design came to me.


The first of my three projects is this one….called ‘Reach’.

Rather than hang the frog from a necklace, I wired it to a piece of heavy-gauge copper wire that I bent into a branch-like shape. Then I made a length of braided and beaded cord and combined it with copper chain. I added the green beads as accents on one side and to, along with the green beaded cord, suggest leaves or rainforest trees. That’s what I had in mind, anyway.

They had sent me a silver toggle clasp, but I didn’t like it for this design, so I made my own. It’s a toggle of 18g copper wire with a copper washer I stamped. I added the copper tag to the bottom of the necklace, attached to the loop on the ‘tree branch’, and stamped it with the word ‘reach’. I thought it kinda looked like the frog was reaching for the next branch, and it seems a good sentiment to have on your person as you go about your day.

The whole necklace fits over your head, so you don’t really need the clasp, but I liked it as a design feature anyway.

The next piece is a pair of earrings to go with ‘Reach’. Nothing terribly fancy here; I wanted them to be simple, so you could wear the necklace and a pair of coordinating earrings without feeling like you were totally draping yourself in jewelry. Two lampwork beads, each hung from a short section of the same chain in the necklace, and finished with copper earwires I made myself.

For the last piece, I used the remaining set of beads and the silver toggle clasp that I couldn’t put into the first piece. This necklace is called ‘Wise In The Ways'.

I strung the beads on a length of silver 18g half-hard wire (hey, it was all I had on hand! Remind me to never buy half-hard wire again…). I made simple loops on each end, then hammered them slightly to flatten. I cut a long piece of hand-dyed silk ribbon in half (I bought it from JamnGlass), and looped it through the silver bar with the beads, then sewed it to the toggle clasp. Finally, I wired up one of my white owl beads and made him the centerpiece of the work. These earthy beads just reminded me so much of woodland areas, and the layered dot patterns on them reminded me of an owl’s feathers, so I think this is a fitting piece to use these beads in, overall.

This has been so much fun! I feel like I stretched beyond my usual style a little bit, and really got into trying to make a piece that was not only wearable, but different, and captured the essence of the beads and other goodies I was given. I know my partners TOTALLY rocked their design with my beads!

I think I might try to do another swap or soup party again.

This party goes on all week, so there’s still lots more to see! Here is today’s list of blogs to visit. I’ll post the day’s list every day of the Blog Hop!

27. Lisa, Alterity
28. Dale, Dales' Flights of Fancy
29. Melanie, Kookie Designs
30. Christine, A Hot Piece of Glass (MEEEE!)
31. Nancy, Beading From the Heart
32. Laurel, Rue's Daftique
33. Sandi, Do Be Do Bead Do
34. Nicki, Nicki's Reef
35. Virginie, ViviBijoux
36. Janeen, Wild Vanilla

More soup!

It's Day Two of the Bead Soup Blog Party!
I know you haven't had enough of the yummy beady goodness yet, so go on and check out today's reveals:

14. Jen, Jen Judd Rocks

15. Kella, Me But a Little More In Depth

16. Emanda, Artemisia Studio

17. Marie, Skye Jewels

18. Loretta, Designs By Loretta

19. Stacy, Sissy and Jack's

20. Joanna, Filcowe

21. Diane, Diane Hawkey

22. Marianna, Pretty Shiny Things

23. Anna, The Laughing Raven

24. Marcie, La Bella Joya

25. Lois, Que Onda Q'town?

26. Jayne, Mama's Got To Doodle

I'll be posting my work with beads from my soup party partner tomorrow! Can't wait!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Soup's On!

Here is the list of the first round of chefs in the Bead Soup Blog Party....go check out the goodness!

1. Lori, Pretty Things

2. Lorelei, Lorelei1141

3. Norma, Moonlit Fantaseas

4. Beth, EB Bead and Metalworks

5. Katie, KatieBead

6. Kimberly, Bahama Dawn

7. Debbie, Prairie Emporium

8. Lisa, Joolz by Lisa

9. Kate, Tropical Blonde

10. Janet, Singing Woods

11. Julianna, Juls Beads

12. Erin, Treasures Found

Everyone has got some simply STUNNING work...definitely drool-worthy!

My partner is in the first group -- Beth and Evie McCord of EB Bead and Metal Works. They are number 4 on the above list, and you MUST go there NOW to see the amazing thing they did with the bead soup I sent them. OMG, I can't believe my beads could look so good!

I'll be posting my work with their beads and a cool focal piece on Monday, so definitely be back here then to see what I made!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bead Soup Blog Party is almost here!

Okay, you guys....my work from the Bead Soup Blog Party will be displayed right here on this very blog on MONDAY, JUNE 21st!

Stay tuned and don't forget to check back here on Monday to see the THREE creations I have made using my soup goodies! (yes, I said three...I had some good ideas....)

See you Monday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here's what you need to do....

Okay, so....if you haven't heard already, registration is NOW OPEN for the ArtBliss Inaugural Event this September!

I'll wait while you go over to the site and get yourself registered for some AWESOME workshops.....







All done? Okay, great. You are in for a creative treat the likes you have never experienced. Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Ryan really know how to put on a workshop, and the classes and fun stuff they have on the schedule will blow your mind.

I'm taking Melissa Manley's 'Hard Candy' class on Saturday, and considering her evening class on the same day.

This is all part of my 2010 plan to get educated. So much of what I do is self-taught, and that's fine, but it's also nice to not have to learn everything the hard way, ya know??

It's also part of my 2010 plan to get to know people in the art jewelry world and sort of make my way into it as an artist. Everyone always need more friends, right? And how better to make new friends than by going to places where there are like-minded people? Plus, I know I am going to get to hang out with some of the coolest jewelry and metal and glass and mixed-media people there are!

So, go on! Go get registered for a class and join me in an adventure!

(So? What did you register for?)


I listed this beautiful Viking knit bracelet in my Etsy shop last night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

(Not Even Remotely) Wordless Wednesday

I was reading a post this morning by Lorelei Eurto over on Art Bead Scene about her not going to the big Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee this week. It's a huge trade show with tons of opportunities for classes, networking, hobnobbing, and of course, bead and bead supply buying. heaven for those of us involved with art jewelry, or really, ANYTHING that has to do with beads.

I have never been to Milwaukee, and I want to go, for the show, definitely, and just because the last time I traveled alone to a location I have never been to before was....senior year in college? Eighteen years ago now. I forget what it's like to travel alone, to manage everything all by yourself, get through the airport, to your destination, find food, necessities, get around the city. I was too scared to really do much traveling when I was twentysomething; I much preferred the safety of the "known world" I inhabited at college. I wish I could have had the sense of adventure and relative fearlessness THEN that I seem to have developed NOW. Isn't that always the way? Sometimes I find it hard to let go of regret over choices I made when I was young.

I hope I instill a sense of "give it a shot, go for it, explore!" mentality in my children. One thing I have learned over the last year with my art journey is that it's never too late to do what's in your heart.

And, in a totally random way....here is the new kitten that has unexpectedly joined the Brandel household:
I give you -- Shadow! She is six weeks old and SO Very Tiny.
My husband is a very compassionate man. He found this little beauty mewling piteously behind his office building yesterday and couldn't bear to leave her. Sorry for the crummy picture, it's hard to snap a shot of a feisty little furball such as this when you are by yourself.

I've been getting into a daily exercise routine, to help increase my energy level and maaaaybe lose some weight (maybe). Having more energy definitely increases my creative activity, so that's an awesome side-effect. Additionally, I have been trying to change my diet, slowly, ever so slowly. I have a choke-hold on carbohydrates of all kinds....can't live without good bread...and WON'T live without good ice cream and good beer...so that's been difficult.

I had a killer workout this morning, on only four hours of sleep (that kitty!), and fueled by two cups of coffee and a banana and some very loud Green Day in my mp3 player.
What's that you say? Is that...? Why yes, yes it is. My post-workout breakfast DID consist of last night's leftover red cabbage slaw...
Not that you all are interested in my breakfast habits, I just wanted to show you the beautiful magenta color of the cabbage. Isn't that just fantastic? I have to figure out how to get that color in glass. I have several friends who are knowledgeable in the art of dyeing with natural materials, like onion skins, beets, and the like. I bet this would make a great dye! I know it would make a great glass color! I'm sure I can find it in some COE 104 glass....hey, maybe I should work on the torch today...

Hope your Wednesday is productive and creative and colorful!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I can't show you the WHOLE THING yet, but here is a sneak preview of ONE of the pieces I am making for the Bead Soup Blog Party kicking off this month!

I had enough materials to make two pieces, so I am working out the design for the second one right now....

This is going to be so much fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A quickie for the weekend

I'm learning honest-to-goodness metalsmithing!

Not surprisingly, it's HARD to hammer a piece of 16ga copper sheet into this shape. It's fun, though, and this bowl isn't quite finished yet. More hammering, some application of heat, and more hammering after that.

And....I made end-of-year gifts for the little kids' preschool teachers. Single-charm bracelets....silverplated chain with one of my Bloomz beads as the charm:

The teachers all loved them, which makes me happy. They do an incredible job for little pay, and we are grateful for their dedication to our little ones.

What else...what else.....oh! My garden is really growing now! Must be all the heat, humidity and rain we have been having. I must have a dozen or more tomatoes just waiting to get ripe. Aaah...I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the first tomato sandwich of the season!
I especially love looking out into my yard and seeing that happy pinwheel spinning in the breeze! The shot of color amidst all the lush greens of summer is particularly lovely.

I hope you all have a great weekend....next week will hopefully bring more jewelry and beads to show off, and --gasp!-- maybe I'll even update my Etsy shop with some new lovelies!

Stay tuned!


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