Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of the Year Beads

It is the last day of 2014 and I have been enjoying looking back over the year and seeing all the changes that have happened.

My grandson was born in March and I have enjoyed getting to know him. My granddaughter turned 2 in April and I cannot believe how tall she is and how smart she is, but I am a Granny and Grannys usually have this opinion about their grandchildren.

I took up knitting again and so from September until just before Christmas I was busy knitting Christmas socks for my daughter. I am a slow knitter.  I knit left handed Continental style, except I still hold my yarn in my right hand...I don't think there is actually a name for this because it does cause me to knit a bit backwards.    I took a sock knitting class a few years ago and the ladies who taught me were a bit surprised at my knitting and actually taught me to knit correctly and I did ... for a while.

BUT this is a blog about ceramics and so you may be wondering about the picture of greenware beads above.   Since Christmas I have been making beads instead of knitting.  I have a short attention span so if you look you will not see many duplicate beads in the batch above.

I have a love/hate relationship with doing things the same way every time.  Many times I sit down to make a certain type of bead and by the time I'm finished I realize I haven't made any of the type I set out to make. This is why custom orders are so difficult for me.  I try to make something like I've been asked but some other design takes over and before I know it, I am forcing myself to pay attention and make the custom bead, but it is not fun.  This is the real reason I do not take on custom orders often. They are not fun.  There are many artists who enjoy custom orders.  I am not one of them.

Every so often a customer sends me an email or convo and it just so happens that I have been thinking of making a bead like the ones they have described and I make them and it is all easy and it is all fun. But that is rare.

So as the new year is about to begin, I wonder what sort of beads I will make in 2015.  I am beginning to tire of my 'sprig' beads and so I sense some sort of change beginning, but I do not yet know what.  I hope to work more with metals.  But I just ordered a new kiln so I know that ceramics is still definitely going to happen.

I hope whatever sort of year you are about to have is wonderful, too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

New Website Design Complete!

I'm having a sale to celebrate, both at my personal website AND at my etsy store.

Use the coupon code: take20 for 20% off at both stores. Hint:  My personal website also has free shipping over $50.

Personal Website (http://nkpdesigns.com
Etsy Store (http://nkpdesigns.etsy.com)

If you see something on my personal website and would rather purchase it through my etsy store, just shoot me a convo over there or send me an email at nkp at nkpdesigns dot com.

Thanks for visiting!  -- Natalie

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dark Pink Lined Nuggets

Earlier this spring, I got a bit obsessed with lines and using the top of a water bottle to roll over my beads (go check out a water bottle lid and the lines on it).  I rolled and rolled and rolled some more. It was a lot of fun.   Then last week I was finally able to glaze and fire these. I have more that I hope to list. If you want some just let me know and I can either list them on Etsy special for you or on my website.  I have a few of the larger and a few of the smaller.  I can mix or not.  Just send me an Etsy convo or leave a comment here.  In the meantime, these in this picture are listed right now on Etsy. I have some that are a violet-green too, but I plan to list those tomorrow.  They have an underglaze of pink with an overglaze of a pastel green. They are lovely.

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Blue Beads

Last week I put beads in the kiln most every day. Saturday I took this batch out of it.  It is like a dark dusky blueberry.  It's a glaze I've had forever and used a few times when I first started glazing beads and I have no idea why I shelved the glaze.  It's really stunning. Maybe I needed to make the right texture for me to enjoy this shade of blue.

I hope to put these in my etsy store over the next few days. Thanks for stopping by! -- Natalie

Friday, September 19, 2014

More? Yes! More!

With the help of PICMONKEY I was able to make this collage.  The top two photos and the one on the bottom left hand side are all the items which still require firing.  They did not fit in the first two loads.  The items on the top right are not beads, but small alphabet blocks which I'm making for my sweet granddaughter.  She's is SO good about never putting anything but food in her mouth but still I will be watching her carefully when these are fully fired.

However, the picture on the bottom right hand side are all the beads I created this summer that did fit in the first two kiln firings.  Today I'm sorting them out into baggies and planning on which color to glaze them. When I have enough glazed for another load, I'll also include the rest.

As you can see, I have my plate full. har har har ... Thanks for stopping by! -- Natalie

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bright Blue Beads, Part 3

It was a delight to open up the kiln this morning and see so many pretty blue beads, and the best part is that I did, in fact, choose the correct blue under-glaze that I was a tad bit worried about in my previous posting.  Marine Blue under-glaze on Porcelain Clay (I'm putting it here so I can remember forever).  And for any who may be wondering how long it took: 7 hours and 12 minutes!

Today I have more of these in the kiln, some are different shapes, same color. I am also bisquing some beads I have worked slowly creating this past summer. I will have an entire blog post about that with pictures soon, so I won't go into much detail other than to say that I am excited about having them in bisque form so that I can finally glaze them.

I am going to be selling all these organic Star Fossil porcelain beads individually on my website . I have five listed right now but I will be adding more later today and tomorrow.

  Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bright Blue Beads - Part Two

This is what a bit over 100 glazed beads look like. It took longer than I thought it would, but I just kept at it, and then they were done.

I had to get away from them for a short while, so I went for a bike ride (I have a road bike, and it is wonderful exercise) around my neighborhood.

After returning from exercising, I had to choose between fixing dinner or putting the beads on the stainless steel rods. I looked in the fridge and realized we have a couple of chicken breasts that were grilled yesterday still in there ... decided to stir fry some veggies, throw in some Raman noodles, and chow down.  The veggies won't take more than about 10 minutes to chop and realizing I had plenty of time still to spare, I strung all the beads on the rods and stacked them in the kiln. 

 I probably could fit more in the kiln than I did, but whenever I squash the beads together I usually lose more than a few from bumping together during the firing.  So 2-3 beads on each rod works best for me.  The rods are not bright and shiny because they have been fired so many times.

Most of these beads which I have glazed today are in my 'star fossil' design which appeared in the Fall Stringing 2014 magazine.  I realized when the magazine hit the store shelves that I had sold so many of them over the spring and summer that I only had one or two left.  I did a bit of searching and found quite a few of those designs in bisque form.  After finding them, I had to figure out which underglaze I had used.  I hope it was Marine Blue because that's what I glazed these in ... if it was a different blue, well then, oh well.  Blue is a great color, no matter what color blue it is.  Can I get an Amen?

Here is a photo of the beads that fit into the kiln and all the beads that will have to wait for another firing.   

There are three rows of beads.  The first two rows have 12 beads each, so that's 24 beads, and the top row has 17, 42 beads in total for this firing.  That's almost half of what I have glazed, and I will try to get the rest in the kiln later. 

I did go ahead and start the firing. It will take about 6-8 hours.  I am firing this batch to cone 04.

The kiln should shut off between 10 pm and 12 am.  I won't go to sleep until they are fired.  I am not able to sleep with that kiln firing.  I like to keep my eye on things and make certain all is well.

 I'll take pics and post the results tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


  I am glazing today!

I have glazed and glazed and glazed this morning.  I have used a bright marine blue under-glaze on these beads in the photo.  Now I will have to glaze them with a clear gloss.  As you can see I have applied some clear gloss on a few already.  It doesn't look glossy, does it?  Well, after they are fired, that glaze will melt into a clear glaze, making that blue really shine.

Later today I will put all these on small stainless steel rods, and tomorrow load them into the small kiln.

 I also have got to do a few more pottery mugs/dishes/bowls so that I can fill up my big kiln. Or maybe I will just fire what I have. It is amazing the way things get away from me as I get older. I have so many, "HEY, I MEANT TO FINISH THAT PROJECT" moments.

 Have fun and thanks for stopping by! -- Natalie

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Website Update

I have been updating the look of my website and today I made a lot of progress, adding about 20 new bead listings.  If you don't know where it is, it is very easy to get to: http://nkpdesigns.com and if you want to go directly to the bead page it is here http://nkpdesigns.com/inventory/beads.htm .

I'm still playing around with the look of it ... but for the most part this is what I've come up with. I'm trying for a bit of a showcase gallery feel and then if (and only if) someone wants to get the specifics on an item, each picture can be clicked on for a closer look.

I hope it is easy to navigate. Let me know if you have any problems.  Thanks for dropping by! -- Natalie

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Whistles Ceramic Whistles

One good thing about having my own domain and storage space is that I can put small audio files of my whistles online.

Here is a whistle and its audio file. This whistle has an added bonus that if it blown into really hard, it just fizzes out completely, which means no one blowing the whistle next to you is going to hurt your eardrums.

So if you want to have a look and listen at my whistles, visit my the whistles on my webpage

Thanks for reading!  -- Natalie

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time for a Face Lift

It's been a wonderful summer so far and it isn't over yet.  I have traveled a lot and had a lovely time away from home.  Once I returned I took a look at my website and decided it was badly in need of a face lift.  I want to be able to offer items on my website that are easy to put into a shopping cart and pay for. I wanted a minimalist look and feel to it, as close to an online gallery as possible.  I wanted to offer my pottery and whistles as well as my beads.

I am in the process of transferring my inventory from here:
to here:

Hope that makes sense.  I will be adding a few items every day until each area is well populated.

And when one thing gets a facelift, everything gets a face lift.  In case you haven't yet noticed, this blog has moved from a pink theme to a aqua-blue theme.

As far as the creating of actual pottery and such goes ... yes, I have been throwing some mugs and I look forward to putting them in the kiln soon. I did all that type of announcing earlier this month on Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook ... it is so easy to jump over there and update there that I found myself updating over there fairly regularly.  If you haven't 'liked' my Facebook page, please do. 

The other thing that I realize I have forgotten to mention are the publications my beads have appeared in the last few months.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beads Published in Step By Step Wire Jewelry

I have some beads in this magazine off to the left. A huge shout out to Step By Step Wire Jewelry!  They are so great about showcasing artist beads and jewelry.  Love them!

I think I submitted the beads in this issue about a year ago for another issue.  I had almost forgotten they were included until the magazine showed up in my mail a few days ago. I don't know if it is available on the store shelves yet, so if you want it right away you can order it here:  CLICK HERE .

I have some cranberry color delicate scroll beads and I know I have some around here, so over the next few days I'm going to include them in my website shopping area.  I think I'm going to add a page just for beads that have appeared in books and magazines so they will all be easy to find.  They won't be the exact same beads, but they will be similar.  I have been searching for just the right blue glaze for some beads that appeared in Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry  and I think I have found a close match, but it is just that, a close match. That wonderful discontinued glaze ... sigh ... I've searched all over the internet for spare bottles but no amount of searching has helped.

One of the beads in April 2014's Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine is this bead off to the right.  It is hard to tell from the magazine photo that this is a lentil shape bead.  It is hard to show that unless the hole is showing from a certain angle, at least that's been my experience. And it is also hard to show that the front and back are completely different unless two photos are taken.  I have found bead photography to be completely difficult on every level. I sure would hate for a customer to think this bead is round only to find it is a completely different shape.  I did a whole series in this shape and type of bead, wrapping small strips of clay around a lentil shape and texturing the sprigs.  I rarely have the patience to sit and glaze them separate colors like these, so when you do find them in my store it is best to snatch them up as quickly as possible because I don't do custom orders.  I could do a blog post about that someday but really, it's kinda obvious ... I don't do custom orders because I make beads for myself and if others enjoy them that's great and if not, oh well .... (insert silly grin here).

Have a great day and thanks so much for stopping by!!!!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Clean-up, Fix-up" your workspace BLOG HOP

The idea is to take photos and explain a little of what I did to get from A to Z (or in my case from A to B because I procrastinated and got started at the last possible minute).  I am giving a lovely baby shower for my daughter who is having her second (a boy this time around) in the morning,  and so tonight I am rushing to get everything done.  Wait, let me reword that, we are throwing her a SHOWER in the morning. The baby isn't due for at least another month.  lol

I waited until the last possible moment to start cleaning the kitchen (for the shower party), and while I was cleaning the side of the knife holder I sliced open the knuckle of my middle finger.  Clearly I have no depth perception.  I will spare my readers any gruesome pics of that. It probably could use a couple of stitches, but I dosed it with rubbing alcohol and  hydrogen peroxide and bandaged it tightly so it would stop bleeding.

And it did.  I got the kitchen clean.  And because I could only use one hand, it took a very long time.  It was after 9 pm before I got around to beginning cleaning up my studio.

Before I expose the shocking state of my workspace, let me show off what it looked like a few months ago, pristine, organized, clean .... 

I had just gotten my new bench and put my old worktable behind it because is there such a thing as too much workspace? 

I think not.

In no time at all, it looked like this: (scroll down)  Excuse me while I blush a bit. It's quite messy, but from what I gather many artists studios are in much the same condition.  Most of us are not Martha Stewards, we only aspire that level of wonderful.

For the record, I do prefer it clean rather than messy.  And even though at the moment my finger is covered with a bandaid, I can't bear to leave it in this current state.  I am going to get in there and clean because who knows who might want to peek their head into my studio and see my workspace tomorrow at the baby shower?

By the way, the new baby's name is going to be Caleb, and of course he is going to be adorable, even if he's red, wrinkly, and has a squished nose, he will be the most beautiful baby ever, except for his big sister of course, who is tops in my estimation.

It was 9:40 pm when I went into my wreck of a studio and 20 minutes later had most of the bigger stuff picked up and put away nicely.  While I was opening a drawer, the bottom of the drawer came loose and pulled forward.  Thus one of my heavier hammers (it WOULD be the heavier one) fell out and onto my foot and scraped some of the skin off. It really hurt. I yelped.  But I didn't need a bandaid and I'm not going to take a picture of my poor beaten up small pinky toe.

I suppose I'm having a clumsy sort of evening.  This is why all things worth doing ought to be done after the morning coffee and before the afternoon weariness sets in, but actually I am not tired tonight.  I have lots of energy (for once).

The baby shower in the morning  is going to be quite small, less than 10.  Since this is the second baby, she is only lacking in baby boy clothes. 

Rather than have the party games, I decided to serve beautiful food and let the conversation flow.  We have some Greek pasta salad, and I found a lovely wedge of blueberry cheddar cheese at the fancy grocery store. Can you imagine? Putting blueberries in cheese? I bought some gourmet crackers for that, oh, and some hummus too.  I will also be serving fresh fruit. I had a really neat idea about cutting the fruit into flowers and had watched a video on you tube about that.  It was fun to watch and after we got home from the grocery store, I tried to make a strawberry look like a flower.  Instead it was a mangled mess and I tossed it into a Ziplock bag for the hens to eat tomorrow.  Here's the video though. Looks easy, huh? Well, it's not!

So at about 10:20 pm  I went back into my studio and decided to give it to the top of the hour.

It only took about 10-15 minutes to whip it into shape.  I haven't addressed the shelves, that's for another day.  I have my unfinished/to be finished projects on the extra table in front of the bench.  But I now have plenty of room to stretch out and for that I shout out a happy THANK YOU to our hostess, Sharyl

Oh, one last thing .... have some calorie free Shower cake .... YUM!

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Participant List:

Host: Sharyl McMillian-Nelson 

… http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com

Donna Millard http://fyrebeadz.blogspot.com/
Beda Hendrix ... https://www.facebook.com/SasijuhlsThings
Ann Schroeder… http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com
Pamela Rachelle… http://crazycreativecorner.blogspot.com
Kristin L Oppold… http://www.yayjewelry.blogspot.com
Heidi Kingman ... http://heidikingman.blogspot.com
Andi ... http://strungoutjewelry.blogspot.com/
Patricia Buchanan Click “Blog” on the menu bar at
Helen Simon… http://helensharvest.com/
Kashmira … http://sadafulee.blogspot.com/
somethingunique ... http://somethinguniquebylana.blogspot.ca/
Renetha ... http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
Kathy Lindemer ... http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com
Swapna Dinesh … http://www.swardaa.com
Linda Landig ... http://lindalandig.wordpress.com/
Ann Schroeder ... http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com/
Beti Horvath ... http://stringingfool.blogspot.com/
Sam S ... http://samsbeadshopandjewelry.blogspot.com/
Christina Miles ... http://wingsnscales.blogspot.com/
Islandgirl ... http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/
macmillanmarie ... http://www.macmillanmarie.blogspot.com
Emma Todd … http://www.apolymerpenchant.com
Neena Shilvock …
Dee Clark… http://biz-e-bead.blogspot.com/
motidana ... http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.com/
Here Bead Dragons ... http://beaddragons.blogspot.com/
Carol D. ... http://dillmansdallies.blogspot.com/
Pam Sears ... http://crazycreativecorner.blogspot.com/
Nan Smith ... http://wirednan.blogspot.ca
AliMc ... http://northwoodscreativestudio.blogspot.com
Kari Asbury ... http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Shirley Moore ... http://www.beadsandbread.blogspot.com
PyxeeStyx ... http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Jayne Capps … https://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Louann Elwell
... https://plus.google.com/117746558861718110652/posts
Rain ... http://honeyandollie.com/
Lori Bergmann ... http://www.LoriBergmann.blogspot.com
Helen Simon… http://helensharvest.blogspot.com/
Arlene Dean ... http://aglassbash.blogspot.com
Sandra... http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de/
Alicia ... http://www.allprettythings.ca
Natalie Pappas ...  http://blog.nkpdesigns.com/

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What Makes 'Ceramic Clay' Ceramic?

There seems to be a bit of confusion on this issue recently, especially with the addition into the marketplace of Laguna's Air Dry Clay which does not need a kiln in order to harden.

It's clay ...right?

So if the material is clay, then it must be ceramic ... right? 

It's not ceramic unless certain conditions are met, and these conditions can only be met with the addition of heat.  Why? Because heat makes the clay crystallize. Ceramic clay when fired form opaque crystals.  I would never call ceramic clay "glass", or even "opaque glass" -- even though technically it is the same material as 'glass'.  Why?  Because it would be misleading to do so.

Sometimes customers purchase polymer and glass beads which mimic a 'stoneware ceramic bead'. Fantastic!  And they are glad to know which medium they are truly purchasing.  I've seen some gorgeous beads which mimic stoneware ceramic clay.

AND anyone who knows me, also knows that I value every kind of medium for creating beads: paper, metal, wood, seeds, glass, resin, plastic, polymer etc ....  If a customer types in the search term "clay bead", they may be fooled into thinking an air dry clay bead is made from ceramic clay. That would be a shame.

"Why can't the term 'ceramic' be interpretive?" or "What does it matter, anyway?"   The answer is because the term 'ceramic' is a scientific term describing a scientific process.  If a clay can go through these six stages, it may be called 'ceramic':

Condensed from "Pottery.about.com/od/temperatureandmaturation/tp/tempclay.htm"

"First Stage: Atmospheric Drying (212 degrees)
Second Stage: Burn Off of Carbon and Sulfur (572-1470 degrees)
Third Stage: Chemically Combined Water Driven Off (660-1470 degrees)
Fourth Stage: Quartz Inversion Occurs (1060 degrees)
Fifth Stage: Sintering (1650 degrees) -- it is a fusing process

Bisque firing usually is done at about 1730⁰F (945⁰C), after the ware has sintered but is still porous and not yet vitrified. This allows wet, raw glazes to adhere to the pottery without it disintegrating.

Sixth Stage: Vitrification and Maturity
Vitrification is a gradual process during which the materials that melt most easily do so, dissolving and filling in the spaces between the more refractory particles. The melted materials promote further melting, as well as compacting and strengthening the clay body.

It is also during this stage that mullite (aluminum silicate) is formed. These are long, needle-like crystals which acts as binders, knitting and strengthening the clay body even further.

It is also imperative to note that different clays mature at different temperatures, depending on their composition. A red earthenware contains a large amount of iron which acts as a flux. An earthenware clay body can fire to maturity at about 1830⁰F (1000⁰C) and can melt at 2280⁰F (1250⁰C). On the other hand, a porcelain body made of pure kaolin might not mature until about 2500⁰F (1390⁰C) and not melt until over 3270⁰F (1800⁰C). "

SOLUTION:  Feel free to ask the artist:"Is this clay one of those air dry clays?"

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Will Be Spring Again, Really!

Hey it's almost spring, right?  I had these lovely leafy green beads and thought I'd group them together. They will make a wonderful nature themed piece of jewelry.

Click here to see them in my Etsy Store

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Buttery Yellow Ceramic Nuggets

   I had fun making these nuggets. I impressed a flower texture on each sprig and when it came time to glaze, added a light blue underglaze. To see them in my Etsy store:  Click Here  

Monday, February 17, 2014

From My Heart To Yours

Found these sweet heart beads in my stash, decided to photograph them.  I wonder if I have more? I don't think so .... I believe this was a combination of two glazes (one with blue crystals) because I had a bit left in each jar and was curious as to how they would turn out.  I wonder what the name of those two glazes are?  I wonder if I was smart enough to record it in my glazes book. Hmmmmmm 

Here's the link to see them in my store:  Click here

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Marbled Sprig Beads

This is one of my favorite things to do: take porcelain and stoneware clay and marble them together, then add sprigs and coat with a single glaze.  The mix of clays end up shining in a variety of colors.  Find this one here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Handpainted with Iron Oxice Designs

After I scrolled thick black lines on this bead, I applied my hand-drawn lacy iron oxide decal and re-fired.  I found it in a bowlful of beads which was sitting in my living room and thought I'd offer it for sale. Find it here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Button Pattern on a Ceramic Bead

One of my favorite ways to add texture to a bead is to impress it with a patterned button.  That's what I did with this bead, and the glaze settled in the recesses in a wonderful glazy way. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ginger Ceramic Nugget Bead

I'm thinking of renaming this to 'golden' nugget, but it's more brown than gold. This glaze came out unexpected on this bead. I was expecting more of a caramel color...it might have something to do with how I dipped the bead into a watery mixture of black undergaze before the caramel glaze I applied. If it was that ... my memory is poor.  I think if I wanted to make another bead that color I would fail because now that I think about it, I'm not really sure which glaze I used.

On the other hand, my granddaughter toddled into the room where I keep my beads to photograph and she squealed, "BEADS!"  Because yes, there was a whole bucket full of beads that I had gathered from every area of my house (trying to get organized you know...).  Ironic that I think I have just as many in my studio, but at least those are sorted in containers. These just got bagged (well, some of them) and placed in this bucket for later. And this, my fellow bead hoarders, is what happens when I take beads out of the kiln and decide to keep them around a while so I can stare at them a bit longer.

.... and yet I still have some beads half-glazed ready to fire in my studio....

My sweet granddaughter scooped out some choice beads and petted them, "Pretty," she cooed, then ran to show them to her mama.

Can't wait until she's old enough to help me around the studio. Maybe she will be a whiz at photography and help me to get all of these online, lol

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Winter Bead

Is it cold and wintery where you are?  Well, it is very cold and wintery here in North Central Texas.  Right now the snow outside from yesterday is slowly melting, but not much because it is so incredibly cold.  It is in that vein that I offer this snowflake bead, to honor those who are going through this winter of 2014.  See it in my store here.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Stoneware Sprig Rose Decal Mug

I handthrew this mug and added small curved feet to the bottom, ribbon sprigs with pressed roses, glazed them, fired the mug in a clear glossy glaze and later added small rose decals to further make it girly.  It's comfortable to hold.  I just renewed it in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Owl Ceramic Bead

I had to play around and make a ceramic owl. I actually made a few, so if you want more than one, let me know.  I put this one in my etsy store this morning.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Iron Oxide Orchid Nugget Beads

I was surprised to find these had 26 views since uploading them late last week.  They were originally this lovely purple shade and I added some original homemade iron oxide decals of my own drawings and refired them.  The decals came out perfectly and I am very happy with them.  I wasn't expecting to get so many views and so many folk 'favort-ing' them either. What a nice surprise.  Find them here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Blue Foam

I will be surprised if this stays in my store for any length of time. The blue crystal that was on this teal blue glaze looks like lovely blue foam, almost like an ocean wave. So pretty. See it here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Orchid Geometric Porcelain Ceramic Beade

This orchid glazed bead has pierced clay to resemble lava and geometrical circles and squares to represent civilization.  Yes, those are the things that go through my mind as I'm designing. I have it in my etsy store right now. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rustic Turquoise Ceramic Bead

I added this bead to my store today. I realized I didn't have any of my lentil shape 'ocean wave' beads in my store because they have all sold.  I went hunting in my stash and found this one in a turquoise glaze, which I had also applied an under-glaze onto in order to achieve this somewhat rustic look.  Click here to see it in my store.

Monday, January 27, 2014

1000 Beads Book out for Preorder on Amazon

I got the acceptance letter a few months ago, the last day of October actually.  I didn't really believe it until I saw the index where my name is listed on Amazon.com.  Many of the beads are available to preview. Mine are not included in the preview but I'm on pages 294 and 352.  Here's a link: click here to preview and/or preorder.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Turquoise Square Beads

These beads have all been turned so their holes face one another.  As you can see, their patterns are not exact or uniform, perfect for the project where you are aiming for a similarity between beads, yet want that unique touch.  I put them in my etsy store this morning.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Red Beads for Valentine's Day

A friend reminded me that Valentine's Day was fast approaching and so this morning I added a few sets of red beads to my etsy store.

Summer Pinks

I am beginning to stock up my etsy store with some bright spring and summer bead colors.  Take for instance, this beautiful dusky dark pink sprig and pierced bead.

I used the end of a pen to make the small circles, which adds a lot of negative space/interest to this bead, in my thinking that is.

Have you seen the new Pantone spring upcoming colors? If not, here is a link.  I sometimes try for what is going to be in season, other times I get lucky by accident. Other times I ignore it all together and simply glaze in colors that appeal to me personally at the time.

Here is another link to the spring 2014 colors on Pinterest.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chartruse Egg Shape Finger-Nail Texture Ceramic Bead

I made this particular bead on the beach of Galveston. Our family had gathered for a small family reunion on my husband's side, and I had brought some clay to mess around with, as I often do when I travel.

I usually keep my nails fairly short, because it is difficult not to leave marks in clay when they are longer.  Plus, it is hard to get the clay out from underneath the nails.

However, this time I decided to make the most of it because, well, why not? The end of my nail was a perfect half circle.

I only made one of these (it's in my etsy store, take this link if you are interested.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What I'm Working On ...

 I took out a couple of stoneware clays and step by step, came up with the beads in the second photo.

I started off with a ball, smashed it with a texture on both sides.  Wrapped a noodle of white stoneware clay around that circle.
Next I textured the sides with a small knitting needle, pierced the middle and added round sprigs, and pierced once again.

I think these would be fun as bracelet links, possibly buttons.

They are drying now and will be fired next week sometime.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blueberries on a Bead

Fruit on a bead ... what a concept!  I had some of these decals and a light colored red bead in which to apply it. I only made this one.  It is available in my etsy store.  Yay.

For the Potters:  Ceramic Arts Daily has  a new downloadable PDF file on making glazes.  Here's the link. I have dabbled in this from time to time and it is always rewarding to tweak a recipe and come up with something that nobody else has in their inventory.

I also found this on the web: it's on Pinterest (a site that has for the most part baffled me). It's full of free jewelry design tutorials.  If there is some technique that has been baffling to you, there might be something on that board to clarify it.  Have fun!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome 2014

Howdy and hello! 

I just added this sweet bead to my etsy store.   It's a glaze I have played with in the past and I think it is visually more interesting with the addition of iron oxide decals, of my own creation of course.

2014 is exciting. I have two beads which are appearing in a Lark book due to come out in April, if memory serves correctly.  I believe the title is 1000 Beads, and features beads of many mediums, not just ceramic, but glass and metal and paper and well, lots of mediums.  I was extremely surprised to get the acceptance letter and I have resorted to pinching myself to make certain I am not dreaming.

In the last year I have acquired chickens, one of which lays the most beautiful green eggs.  I am due to be a grandmother again, and you know what that means ... more fun!

The cancer is still in remission and because it is the first of the year I am due for yet another battery of biopsies and scans to make sure all is well.  I try not to think about it.

In any event, thanks for stopping by and I hope your 2014 is even lovelier than your 2013!