Saturday, January 31, 2015

Strawberry Ice Porcelain Bead

Strawberry Ice Sprig Technique Porcelain Nugget Bead
This cute pink porcelain bead is meant to be used as a focal bead as it is 23 mm from hole to hole. The stringing hole is 2 mm.

Pink seems to be very popular for spring this year, more so than in other years, and this darker pink seems to be right in line with Pantone's fashion colors for Spring 2015.

The Pantone website says this color of Pink: "...is suggestive of a cooling and refreshing delicacy, yet its warmth as a color is quite appealing. Subtle and charming, Strawberry Ice is an ideal shade for Spring/Summer 2015"

So there ya go ... here it is!  :)  Have a great day! --Natalie

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sampler Mix Showcased

Sampler Mix
A little bit of this a little bit of that.  Each of these beads could be used as a focal on a 'small delicate' type of necklace or bracelet.  The largest bead is only 15 mm. 

There is porcelain clay in this mix as well as stoneware.  There are lots of techniques from sprigs of clay being added, to texture, to random glazing.

If you have never worked with ceramic beads before, this set is priced affordably.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lavender Hand Painted Ceramic Bead with Iron Oxide Daisy Decals

Lavender Hand-painted Ceramic Bead
I thought I would showcase this bead that I currently have available at my Etsy store

I drew that daisy, scanned the drawing, saved it as a 300dpi jpg photo, and opened up my word processing program.  I copied and pasted the photo into Word, then pasted enough to make an entire row. 

I copied that row to make another row, until the page was filled.  I used a laser printer in order to print out the file onto special decal paper.

The decal paper consists of paper, glue, and plastic (in that order).  The laser actually prints on the plastic part. 

I cut out each daisy separately and dip it in water, then place each one onto a paper towel for about 30 seconds or so.  I want the paper to separate from the plastic. 

I hold the decal between my thumb and forefinger and rub my fingers together until the plastic separates from the paper.  There is a bit of glue on the plastic, which helps the decal stick onto the bead. I also slightly warm each bead before applying the decals. 

After the bead(s) sit for at least 24 hours, I load a batch into the kiln and fire the decal covered beads to cone 05.

If I want additional colors, I can glaze the bead too, as long as the glaze fires to the same temperature as the decals.  However, for this particular bead, I had already applied the lavender lines to each end.

If it seems like a lot of 'work', it is ... but when the bead is completely finished it is a satisfying feeling.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yay for Off-White Ceramic Beads

Vanilla Dimpled Ceramic Beads
These cute beads are so perfect for earrings or a cute addition to a bracelet or necklace. I took a stoneware white clay and pushed a dimpled texture into each bead, coated with a glossy white and fired. Simple, but elegant.

I left off yesterday with the news my kiln had been delivered.  It is a kiln I have saved more than a couple of years to afford. Unfortunatly I did not order the kiln I thought I had ordered and the person who took my order didn't ask questions.

I mean, who orders a digital kiln with a kiln setter attached without any manual control knobs?  Apparently I do.  :(

Well, nothing I can do about now.  Gonna have to make lemonade out of my lemons.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cherry Sage Leaves Stoneware Beads

Agh, I didn't blog yesterday. It was my first day of January not to blog.  If anyone missed it, well, I am back today with new resolve. On the other hand, Feedburner, which should be delivering my daily blogs is on the fritz or something because although I am subscribed, I haven't gotten a thing through email in more than a week. I don't know what is up with that. Hopefully I can get that figured out soon.

In the meantime, this morning I took this stoneware clay and some cherry sage leaves from my cherry sage bush out by the front sidewalk.  I rolled a ball, pressed the leaves into the clay and took my size 1 mm sock knitting needle and impressed this texture everywhere the leaves weren't.

As I was finishing up, the delivery truck pulled up with my new kiln. ;)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Today I separated our vast array of pennies.  Anything 1981 and under went into a Ziplock bag. I think I bagged about 100 of them.  Why?  The pennies that are made then have more copper in them.  I could be more specific than that, but there is always Google for those interested.  It actually changed somewhere in the middle of 1982, so I decided to make it easier by not using any of those from that year.

I put one of the pennies into my rolling machine and rolled it.  I thought I might dap it and etch it, or maybe stamp it ... maybe use it for a linking component for a bracelet. Maybe I'll dap another one and make a hollow bead.  There are many possibilities and I haven't decided what to do with it as of yet.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Turquoise Friday

Turquoise Spiral Sprig Ceramic Beads
These beads are about 15 mm from hole to hole. This turquoise glaze drapes lusciously over this stoneware clay.  It is not exactly the same shade as 'scuba blue' which is one of the 2015 spring colors from Pantone).

The description of "scuba blue' on the Pantone website says that it 'conveys a sense of carefree playfulness' and 'offers a feeling of escape as it is reminiscent of a tropical ocean' which is capable of taking 'us off to an exotic paradise...even if only a fantasy'.  Sounds good to me! :) 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Coral Red Sun Flowers

Coral Red Sun Flowers
These five beads are a lovely set that I've renewed over on Etsy.  One bead is slightly larger than the rest, it is 20  mm and the smaller ones are 15 mm. 

These are perfect for a rustic boho design, the larger one and two of the smaller could be used in a necklace and the other two 15 mm beads could be used as an earing set. There are lots of possiblities.

I got to thinking about what kinds of translucent gemstones might look good with these beads and came up with peridot or maybe tanzanite or blue lolite.  '

Gotta love PicMonkey ... it makes it easy to see if something like either of these combinations play nicely together.

I think I prefer the green over the blue.  Any ideas? Love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blue Circles Porcelain Ceramic Bead

Blue Circles Porcelain Ceramic Bead
This porcelain bead was made with geometric circles of various sizes, then coated in a wonderful cobalt blue glaze and fired in my outside kiln.

I googled "geometric circles" this morning and scrolled and scrolled through the images section.  So many pretty ways to depict a circle.

Then, as all internet searches go, I found myself at Ebay staring at a round rug with painted daisies on it, thinking to myself, "I really like this rug. Should I buy it?"

But no, I did not buy it. Maybe next time. :)  Have a great day! -- Natalie

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stoneware Beads with Blue Accents

I used a blend of red and brown stoneware clays to create these.  I used an opaque red/orange blend of glazes to cover them, and took a dark cobalt blue underglaze and painted these daisy type flower petals on them.  Fun! I don't have them listed anywhere yet, but soon.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Stamped Leaf Demo

  I had a "Stamped Leaf Demo" on my old website 'design' for many many years, and it had a lot of views. I noticed when I went 'the WordPress' route that I had somehow neglected to tack on those demos and after a bit of consideration, I'm redoing them here, randomly.

These barrel beads are rolled over a stamp and allowed to dry.  Next I glazed them with a light light green glaze from Mayco ... I think it was the Stroke and Coat "Celery Green" glaze.

I have sold a lot of beads like this over the years, and these types of beads are a lot of fun and satisfying to make.  I start out by rolling a ball of clay and then simply roll that ball onto the stamp. Usually I begin at one diagonal corner and roll to the other. This gives a randomness to each bead I couldn't have achieved otherwise.

The next step is to put a hole in the bead. I use an aluminum knitting needle for hole piercing. I try to center the hole exactly in the middle so that when the bead is on the necklace that each bead will hang nicely.

Note the translucence of the glaze which allows the leaf pattern to show through. I like how this particular glaze allows the pattern to pop out from the bead. The darkness of the clay gives the appearance of a light white-pink.

Have a great day!  -- Natalie

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Poor Bunny Bead Has A Spot

I somehow messed up this bunny bead with a small pink dot from another glaze.  It's a cute bead. It will go into the bead bowl for 'misfit' beads that I keep for my granddaughter.  I have given her a large used guitar string to string up beads for fun. It would be similar to what others may have with small wooden blocks and a string.  She has a lot of fun with my 'mistake' beads.

I have a couple of other bunny beads that did not become disfigured in the firing. I will begin offering them this week sometime.

Thanks for reading!  -- Natalie

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Nugget Beads, Salmon Color

I formed these nugget beads from stoneware a while back. I went to glaze them and used a combination of glazes. One was a tomato red to which I added some white and a bit of brown.  These are kind of a salmon color but I don't know if I am liking that color description.  Any suggestions?

Have a lovely Saturday!  -- Natalie

Friday, January 16, 2015

Storybook Porcelain Beads

I posted yesterday that these were in the kiln, firing.  The gray elephants need to be refired. I did not put enough glossy glaze on them and they were somewhat scratchy to the touch, which is probably the way a real life elephant feels. So I will be refiring those in the next few days.

Here are three little pigs and the big bad wolf. However.  I did make an extra pig and have it on my website for sale.

It's been a fun week, glazing, and taking pictures of beads, and writing blog posts about them. Thanks for coming along with me.  -- Natalie

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Elephants, Bunnies, and Long Ear Mice

It is going to be in the low 50s today and I'm so glad. It has been bitterly cold the last week and I'm tired of my fingers and toes being perpetually cold. It makes it difficult to glaze with my fingers, but still, I am glazing.

Along with the Elephants, Bunnies, and Long Ear Mice (in the title), I am also glazing piggies and a 'Bigh Bahd Wolffff'.  That's how my granddaughter says "Big Bad Wolf" she puts some air in each word, probably to emphasize her favorite part of the story, the huffing and the puffing.

These are all going into the smaller kiln today.  A few weeks ago I got into a roll of making smaller sculpture beads of little animal friends and now I have glazed them. The elephant is a light gray, the bunnies are either white or pink, and some have daisies impressed into their bodies (not shown). Leaning to the right is the 'bigh bahd wolffff'.  The long ear mouse is also white.

Beads always look very different after they are glazed and before they are fired.   Check back tomorrow to see the end result and thanks for reading! -- Natalie

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Today's Yummy Kiln Load

I took these beauties out of the kiln today. I have roughly 35 of them, each one is a bit different.  I glazed the 'daisies' with a white underglaze, and used a light celedon glass over that.  Because it is a brown clay, the glaze doesn't show up, it is subtle. I like that effect, though, and hoped it would come out something like it has. Oh yay!

I have not added any of these to my etsy store or my website, but soon. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stoneware Leaf Blues Ceramic Beads

Stoneware Leaf Blues Ceramic Beads

These are semi-round beads with leaf impressions. I say 'semi-round' because I roll each individually in the palms of my hands.

These are 15-16 mm with 2 mm stringing holes are are available on my website.

Today I have another load of beads in the smaller kiln. I'm in good shape glazing lately. I spent most of December forming beads (like these in the picture) and now I seem to be spending all my free time glazing.

When I enjoy it, it sure is fun. When I'm not in the mood it is sheer torture. Good thing I'm in the mood to be glazing.  I think what is making the difference is that I took the time about a week ago to re-hydrate all my glazes. Now when I go searching for a particular color I do not have to stop and add water and stir, or choose a different color.  I don't have to wait overnight or a couple of days for the water to soak in enough to be able to glaze with it.  It's wonderful to simply choose, open, and use my choice of glaze the first time.

I hope it is warm where you are (it's cold here, even my hens are not wandering far from the heating lamp in the covered part of their coop).

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Firing Beads on Rods - Kiln Demo

I have had a lot of people ask me, "How do you fire those beads?"  I have decided it would be good to post a picture of how I do this.

The glaze is only on the outside of the bead. If I dipped the entire bead into the glaze, it would fire and become hard like glass and not come off of the rod. So each bead has the glaze brushed onto it individually.

I have found a webpage that shows what these look like stacked up in a kiln (CLICK HERE).

Thanks for stopping by! 
- Natalie

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Brrr .... Cold Day in Texas

We're having our winter here in North Central Texas.  Each morning the temperature is in the 30s, and for some of those who live up north, why, that isn't very cold at all, but for me it is very cold.  I prefer the 80s, the 90s, and even the 100s.  Why am I not living in Arizona? Florida? Hawaii?

These two beads in the picture have served me well the past few years. I had thought to 'brand' them for my website and profile icons/avatar, but I think I will be retiring this soon in favor of something else. I don't know what, yet, but something.

I have another small load of beads firing, with the same two glazes as the other day.  I suppose this is the week I have spent glazing more beads than I have in the last several months. 

I have so many different ideas I want to try out in 2015.  But first I have to finish up some old projects.

 Currently I am making up some slabs to fashion into a dollhouse/carport for the grandchildren. I have three floors and a stairway in greenware. Now onto the walls and other sets of stairs.  After that project, I have in mind to make some fermenting pots for sauerkraut and the like.  And then I still have some mugs that are awaiting their 'first' firing. 

This year I am replacing my big kiln, and right before Jan 1, I ordered one. It should be here in another week or so. It is the same brand/size as my last except it is digital. I also ordered it so that it would have a kiln setter.  After I ordered it, I thought, "Well, that old kiln isn't so bad. It will be fine to bisque fire in."  I think that's what I will do, as long as it lasts. After that, I'll set it on the sidewalk and put on Craiglist:  "Free kiln.  To the first person who will come and get it.  Not working well."

And if no one comes for it, I will put a sign on it that says, "$25" and in no time at all, some enterprising soul will come along and put it in the back of their truck and drive away. That person will think he/she is 'stealing' it, but no, it would not be stealing it. That person will be doing me a favor.

Have a great day,

Friday, January 09, 2015

First Kiln Firing of 2015

I started my small (test) kiln yesterday morning with a small load of beads. Inside were white stoneware, porcelain, mixed porcelain/stoneware, and brown stoneware clay beads.  I used a bright blue under-glaze on some and others I coated with a light green celedon.

I'm pleased with the results.  What do you think? Tonight or tomorrow I am going to put some on my website and some in my Etsy store

I also wanted to fire my kiln up today but since the plug is shared with the dryer and laundry demands to be done, I will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime I have on my studio table all my re-hydrated glazes to choose color combinations, and hopefully I will make some good choices.

I am doing my business taxes, so it is a good time to evaluate costs.  I'm sorry to say I had to raise Etsy shipping by .30. I was seriously hoping to keep initial USA shipping at $2.  International shipping prices, however, have remained the same.

In other news ... I continue to be baffled by SEO requirements. I did get a plug-in for the Wordpress theme I am using that urges me to add SEO stuff, and I am hoping that other than filling in the required blanks and attempting to generate interest with good content, that it will be a good 2015.

I took lots of pictures of these, went to upload to my computer and found my memory card was corrupt.  After some investigation it was the card reader which had gone corrupt.  There are many ways to feed a cow, so I finally took a couple of pictures with my phone.  I will be buying a new card reader this afternoon to be able to list these properly.

So here's to you, 2015 ...cheers!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Cooler Shades of Pink

Dark Strawberry Ice Ceramic Beads
The current color forecast for Spring 2015 tends toward cooler colors and not warmer colors.  I have been searching for some cooler shades of pink, and such, and attempting to add them to my website.

These on the left are some that have a cooler temperature of pink, leaning on the blue side rather than the yellow side.

I have added them to my website for your viewing pleasure.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Bead Measurer Demo

Take some clay and make a ball. If you want a big beads, use more clay. I suggest making a lot of these and doing a bit of experimenting. At the very least, make five balls and have five sizes in mind: ex-small, small, medium, large, and ex-large.

Push it flat with your hand and turn it over so the flat side is on top.

Make an indention. If you want a precise measurements (say 10 mm, 12 mm, 14 mm, 16 mm and so on, my suggestion would to make about 20+ balls and start making different sized indentions.

Guestimate Guestimate Guestimate. These will be your sizes of beads. Make as many of these as you feel like making. Let it dry and bisque-fire it to Cone 06. This is your OWN personal Bead Measurer!

This is a porcelain bead measurer that I've already bisque-fired. Using your thumb, push in some clay and scrape the rest off. This is why it is important to have a flat top. Use the same pressure with every bead.

Pull it out. In order to pull it out, you'll have to really push in with your finger and then pull. If your clay is too wet, forget it. If your clay is too dry, it cracks when you try to roll it. But when the clay is moist and plastic, the beads are easy to pull out.

Because my clay is not too wet, I don't have to wait before poking the holes. Put them under plastic if you are making a lot of beads so they won't dry out too quickly.

After you have glaze-fired your bead, measure it with a pair of calipers. Those will be your sizes of beads.

Daisy with a Dress Ceramic Bead

Daisy with a Dress
Gotta love Pantone with its wide selection of fashion colors. I have been meaning to take out some of my beads that correspond with this Spring's selection.

 I found a couple of beads which sport a background of the Glacier Gray and a few elements of the Toasted Almond in the foreground.  What do you think? Close enough?

The Daisy with two legs and a dress is a special drawing of mine that I adapted into decal form and added onto the front of this bead.

The back of this bead has a completely different design, but the picture of that is on my website.

Take the CAPTION link (Daisy with a Dress) below the bead picture to view it and hey, thanks for stopping by -- Natalie

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Apple Green Geometric Circles with Spirals Ceramic Bead

Apple Green Geometric Circles with Spirals Ceramic Bead
Are you looking for a focal bead to use for a St. Patrick's day necklace? This may be just the bead you are looking for ...

Or maybe you are looking for a 'spring' or 'summer' bead because warm weather is just around the corner ... this may be just the bead you are looking for ...

Or maybe you just like the color green, and this is exactly the color of bead you are looking for ...

Well, if so, click on the caption of the picture to purchase this bead from my website.

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Monday, January 05, 2015

Valentine Beads?

Red and White Porcelain Bead Set
This bead set could be used for a necklace to celebrate Valentine's Day, or even Christmas Day or any day at all. You decide.

The red scroll focal bead is 19 mm hole to hole and 20 mm at its widest.  The stringing hole is 2 mm.  The scrolling pattern is one of my favorites to impress onto ceramic beads.

 The 6 square-ish white beads have been textured with a honeycomb pattern and have a stringing hole of 1 mm.  They range from 11-12 mm from hole to hole.

The honeycomb pattern reflects the light nicely with small sparkles of light that dance about in happy manner.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week!  -- Natalie

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Scripture Bead

Scripture Bead
I created this bead with a small Bible verse from 1st Corinthians 13.  It is one of my favorite passages. The 'love' passage is what it is usually called.

This bead says Love ... suffers long and is kind.

This bead is 20 mm and has a stringing hole of 2 mm.

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Tangerine Lime Ceramic Beads

Tangerine Lime Ceramic Beads
I remember when I glazed these, I used a green glaze that I thought didn't cover the bead well.  So I searched for a contrasting color and found this fun tangerine glaze which I swirled on top of the green, refired, and they turned out lovely.

It is amazing how an initial disappointment can turn out so pleasing at times.  This set consists of 6 smaller beads (14-15 mm hole to hole) and 1 slightly larger focal (17 mm hole to hole), with stringing holes of 2 mm.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Earth Orbs Ceramic Beads

Earth Orb Ceramic Beads
I was browsing through my stash and came across these two beauties.  They are 19 mm x19 mm with stringing holes of 1 mm.  The base glaze is green with lovely blue crystals which exploded into these wonderful bursts of color in the kiln.

I love it when this type of thing happens in the kiln.  It makes for a very unique bead pairings.  These would look lovely with a variety of natural tones in wood, polymer, and copper metals.

I would love to see how these porcelain beads are incorporated into a jewelry piece.

Thanks for stopping by. Click on the caption under the picture if you are interested in purchasing these from my website.  -- Natalie

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Sea Life in Beads

Happy New Year to one and all!  I sat on the couch last night and created beads and these are some that I have formed.

The theme is 'sea life' and I think I made 9 sets of these before the New Year actually began.  I know, I know.  I wrote an entire blog post yesterday about how I hate making duplicates, and then what do I do? I make a bunch of duplicates!  I'm an study in contrasts.

 I'm thinking of glazing them in three values of blue and two values of pastel orange/yellow.  Probably by the time I get around to glazing these, I will have changed my mind.

These greenware beads are sitting on small 1" tiles that a friend of mine created years ago.  She gifted me her extras and I made my own small tiled board, which sits on my coffee table. The cheerful colors and patterns brighten up living room and are an inspiration to my own creativity.

What inspires you this new year?