Friday, July 23, 2010

A bead giveaway--the fine print!

Okay, as the voting for Beads of Courage to win the Pepsi Refresh Everything grant giveaway is coming to a close (we have just over a week left!), I want to do something to help my facebook friends and blog followers get a little more involved with the entire process.

This is strictly MY giveaway, and is in no way linked to Beads of Courage or Pepsi or Facebook or Blogger or the price of tea in China...

Here's what you do. Go to and cast your vote for the program. You have to sign in before your vote is counted, but the sign in takes seconds, and if you're already on facebook, just click the "log in with facebook" and you're there. Vote. Then share the link on your facebook profile by clicking the facebook button just below where you clicked to vote and follow the instructions. It's that simple. Add a little comment if you'd like before you click the "share" button so your friends can see what you're doing.

Now. Why should you do this? Well, as outlined in yesterdays blog post, there are many reasons, but those were mine. A little incentive for you...

From now until the end of the month, any day one of my facebook friends posts the link to their profile to encourage their friends to vote, I will enter them in a drawing for a focal bead of their choice from my stash. I will also make a stash of beads for Beads of Courage and include the names of all my facebook friends who voted on the tag that goes with them for donation. If you leave a comment on this post to tell me to look on your wall for the link, I will have a better idea of who to enter in the drawing. You can also send me a message on facebook, or comment on any of my links on facebook about the program.

Again, this giveaway is purely through me, and is not sponsored or supported by any of the programs that I am mentioning. I am not affiliated with the Beads of Courage program other than the fact that I support it and say "we" when referring to it because I feel I am a part of the glass community that supports and runs the program. They're my friends because of the glass community we are a part of.

Please help this amazing program get some funding so they can expand to include more hospitals and train more health care professionals. It's fast, it's easy, it's painless and the benefits for the program will be incredible! Remember, you can vote every day through July 31, so vote daily! Do your good deed for the day! =)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help Beads of Courage--Spread the Word!

So, I usually reserve my blog posts for things that are happening in my studio and what is going on in my glassy little world. But today I've decided to appeal to anyone who might be reading this blog who hasn't seen my umpteen posts on facebook about it to support Beads of Courage in their fight to win a top 10 spot in Pepsi's Refresh Everything grant funding giveaway.

First, a little about Beads of Courage. It is a NATIONAL program that is available in some children's hospitals (the funding would help expand the program). Trained medical professionals help kids undergoing treatment tell their stories by allowing them to select beads of different colors for different treatments. Each color has a meaning, and the individual beads themselves speak to the child who chooses them to be part of their story. It's simple and yet means so much to the people who are involved. When the child completes their treatment, they receive a purple heart, like the US troops who are wounded in battle but survive. If the child passes away, the parents receive a butterfly, indicating a metamorphosis into something new.

Many beadmakers provide beads to the program by way of donation. They are lovingly handmade and shipped to Tucson so they can be sorted and distributed to the hospitals who participate in the program. So, it really has become a labor of love for the glass community to see this program be successful.

They intend to use the grant from Pepsi to train more health care professionals in the program and to launch the program in 10 more hospitals around the US.

My reasons for supporting this idea are many. First of all, my family has been impacted by cancer (although not childhood cancer), and I can see where a program of this sort would be a bright spot in a patient's life. It gives patients a way to tell their story. "Oh, I got this bead when..." It gives them a badge of courage to display so other people can visualize what they've gone through in the course of their treatment. It gives them a way to express themselves from the beads that they choose to the way they choose to display them. It gives them a little bit of control over what's going on in their lives.

Second, it's a national program. The funding would benefit people all across the US, not just those in Tucson where the program is headquartered. So many of the ideas in the running for funding are so local that only people in that particular community would be affected by them winning. This idea is SO much bigger than that.

Third, as a health care professional, I can see how a program like this would help a difficult job be a little brighter. We all enjoy helping patients and seeing them get better. That's what we do. But if we can do something that brings an extra smile to someone's face, wouldn't we? What child doesn't like a treat or a present after we've drawn their blood, given them a shot, administered a treatment that's going to make them ill. I see it as a way of "making peace" with the younger ones who might not understand that what we do is ultimately to help them, and as a reward for a job well done to those who understand, but don't like it anyway.

Fourth, as a beadmaker, I know the love that goes into making those beads and shipping them to the Beads of Courage program and am thrilled at the idea of helping brighten someone's day. As a glass community, we are very giving and supportive and we're thrilled at the idea of having this program expand, and with it, knowledge of our craft.

So, how can you help support this program? Go to and do a search for "beads of courage." To vote, you must be logged in. If you haven't registered, don't worry, it's fast and painless, I promise! You simply need an email address, you provide a password, and then you can vote. Be sure the vote counts go down to 9 after you've voted to be sure your vote has counted. Then log out. It's that simple. Or if you're on facebook, just click the "log in with facebook" icon and it will take you directly to where you can vote.

You can vote daily through July 31. Please take the time to do it. I do every morning while I'm drinking my cup of tea and trying to wake up (see, doesn't even take any brain power, just click, type, click...)

Once you have voted, PLEASE share the link on facebook by clicking the facebook icon just below where you clicked to vote. It will show up as a link on your wall that any of your friends can follow and vote.

Please, help us get the word out about this program and vote! Only the top 10 receive funding, and we've been teetering at 15th and 14th for the past several days. We're SO close, please give us that final push we need to make it to the top 10!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Silversmithing...let the ideas begin!

Well, I finally did it! I took my first silversmithing class last night in Ft. Collins, and I had a great time!

As I had detailed earlier, I have been trying to find a silversmithing class for quite some time. There were 2 people in Colorado that would come up when I did any search online. I emailed one, but he took forever to get back to me, so I had moved on to other options before I heard from him. The other is teaching in Estes Park, but I figured with the cost of a hotel, plus travel, plus the class (a total of 16 hours), I'd be spending close to $600, and I just couldn't justify that. I then looked at William Holland, but of course their classes were full. Then I got a friend from Florida to offer to teach me. So I booked a flight to Tampa and will be going next week!

Well, everything happened all at once after that. William Holland called me to let me know they had an opening. Of course it happens to be the week I will be in Florida.... And then the first guy emailed me back and said he had openings in the class. So I'm taking his class, and will be doing a make up session for the week I will miss when I am in Florida. So, by the end of the next month, I should have a pretty thorough knowledge of what I want--making rings, working with bezels. I have ideas and needed some nudging on how to make the mechanics of them work.

In other news, I am officially listed as a maker of doll eyes. That went live Sunday morning. Yikes! So, now it's become really apparent that I need to get my new computer to make adding photos of them a whole lot easier than what I'm doing now. The pictures I've posted to my blog are all uploaded from my cel phone, so sometimes the quality isn't what I want, and for the tiny little eyes (we're talking 4mm-ish) I definitely need a macro lens and some good lighting. Since my current computer takes days to upload images from the camera's card, it's just time to replace the computer. Hey, this one is 7 years old already. It's definitely time. I'm just procrastinating. As usual. ;)

That's life from my little corner of the world. Hey, I think it's exciting!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Here's looking at you!

Ok, so the dolls look just a little cross-eyed from this picture. But I finally decided to give a try to the tutorial for doll eyes that was posted on Lampwork Etc. The instructions for the blue eyes seemed the easiest to follow, so those are the ones I tried. And after 7 hours, I managed to come up with about 25 matched pairs. I will look at them again and see if I still think they are matched. I looked at them for so long to make sure they were the same size and everything, I think I was cross-eyed! No, I KNOW I was cross-eyed! So, here's my first attempt. I was going to try green eyes, but the recipe for the color is a tad bit more difficult than the ones for the blue. Apparently yellow and blue make brown. =) Of course, the color I ended up with is a neat color. Probably never to be repeated. But there are hues of lilac/cocoa/chocolate brown. It will make a nice iris outline for some lilac colored eyes.
That's all for going on. Family is visiting this weekend. Fun stuff.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Auctions, classes, schedules....

First thing to share is the benefit auction for the therapeutic horse riding program went well. I had donated 2 beads to the auction, one is the bead shown in this post. I had the two of them with a retail of $70, and they were bought for $45. Given where we are geographically, I don't think that is a horrible thing. In all honesty, I may have had them overpriced to begin with. I will definitely be looking at other artists and how they price their stuff and taking all of that into consideration with where I am currently situated. Caryl said I got some "wows" and some "oohs" and "aahs" so that makes me feel pretty good. She also said there was competition from another gal who uses semiprecious stones to make jewelry. I don't know what kind of jewelry she does (heck, I can use semiprecious stones, but where's the fun in that? Someone ELSE got to play with the fire to make those!) Anywho, I'm pleased with how things sounded like they went. I was hoping to stop by, but I got sidetracked by a bad experience with a mechanic and was in no mood to party.
I went to Harbor Freight yesterday and got my drill press. WOO! Now, to figure out where to put it in my studio and then get drilling! I stopped at Home Depot and got some drill bits. None of them are like Donna's (I couldn't find the size I wanted in the brand she showed me) but they should work for metal, so I'm hoping. If they don't, I can always shop at Lowe' and get them, and I'm told Snap-On sells a decent drill bit, too. We'll get it figured out. I just want holes in some horseshoe nails, dang it!
My bellflowers made their debut yesterday, as well as the horseshoe nail beads. In a real live person's hands even, not just in pictures! She was impressed with them. I like them, I just know that I have a little tweaking to do for the horseshoe nail ones before I'm completely satisfied with them. Back me up here, guys! You all know what I'm talking about!
Back to this mechanic thing. I was told yesterday I needed a new engine for my pickup, which completely took me by surprise. The price tag carried way more than it's fair share of sticker shock as well. $10,000. Or the cost of a new pickup, which the dealership had at $34,000. Eeep! So, that got me thinking.... I don't have a contract. I don't have a "job." I'm feeling really broke and life sucks! So, I made the decision to spend at least 40 hours in my studio this coming week. Hey, I dedicate at least that much time on a "real" job, if not more, so if I'm going to make this a go, I need to get serious and get my butt in gear. I have notebooks on notebooks on notebooks of ideas. I've got a Serger and silk and can dye some silk ribbons. I have clay so I can make some molds. I have mini-fusing projects I want to test out. I have tutorials I've never tried. I have a torch I've almost never lit. I have plenty of things to do out there to keep myself entertained, and while I'm still home, and still don't have any other things interrupting my schedule, it's time that I make time.
Happy torching, and have a great afternoon!

Friday, July 9, 2010

On horseshoe nails and bellflowers...

Ooh, yay! One little, two little, 15 little bellflowers! I think there are 16 in this picture, but one doesn't count.
I finally went to play with the bellflower presses yesterday! I am really excited about the way they turned out. I can tell you that opaque colors are more attractive to me than the transparents, which surprises me. But you can see more of the flower with the opaque. And the darker transparents are prettier than the lighter ones. Again, probably for the same reason, you can see the flower with the darker colors.
I tried my brass wire, black steel wire, stainless steel wire, and copper wire. The black steel wire is pretty forgiving. You can just mash that right into the heat and not worry about it. The brass...hehe. I think the coating that makes it "non tarnish" is a little on the flammable side (DOH!) because I could see a little line of fire running up the wire as it was heated. Kids, do NOT try this at home! I still need to clean the firescale off of them to see what wire I like the best. The black steel was easiest in that it was a larger gauge, so it didn't bend as I was putting on the glass. The stainless was the most difficult in that respect, but also the daintiest wire and probably the easiest for doing anything with the finished flowers to turn them into jewelry. I think the little pink (garnet colored) ones are my favorites. Then the little white ones (one of the Lauscha buckhorns...milky way?)
I tried horseshoe nails for the first time last night, too. That was an experience.... First, to drill the dang things took forever! I scoured the Dremel website (I LOVE that thing!) and found I had the proper bit to drill a hole in metal. So, I tried it. And kept trying. Kept trying..kept trying. . . . . . . . Well, after draining the battery on my little cordless Dremel, I successfully drilled ONE, yes, that's right, ONE nail. So I figured I'd bring out the big dad's corded Dremel! Well, that one is probably twice as fast, and heated the nail so much I had to keep quenching it to keep from setting the wood it was clamped to on fire! I did have success, but not without much smoldering, steaming, spitting, and annoyance. Definitely going to get a small drill press from Harbor Freight that will do the job much quicker. Probably safer, too, I'm just guessing. Sad, there is a perfectly good drill press in the shed that was my dad's, but SOMEONE who shall remain nameless has it covered with crap and won't take the time to show me how to use it, and considering the bit it has in it right now is bigger than my thumb, I don't really want to take my chances.
2 horseshoe nail pendants done. The first one is pretty hideous. Not balanced. Colors aren't right, dots too close together, not centered on the nail. You name it, there's not much I like about it. But it's the first one, and it survived, and that's important. The rest was a HUGE learning curve, but I think I did quite well. The second one was much better, though still not centered on the nail. So I know where I need to focus and what I need to work on for next time.
So, that's the story from the studio today. Horseshoe nails and bellflowers. Off to make more of the flowers!
Happy torching!


My first attempt at beads on horseshoe nails.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Wow. That picture turned out WAY bigger than I expected! =)

Not much going on in my little northeastern Colorado world today. It's dreary. The sun isn't shining. The cloud cover is pretty thick. The fog was rolling in a little bit this morning, but it seems to have cleared away now. I expect it to rain just any minute now. It's one of those blah type days. Definitely not what we need to be able to get the wheat harvest finished. (I'm sure that sentence may come as a surprise to some of you, particularly in California and Arizona...) I just hope it's not a repeat of the fall where it was too wet to get the corn harvested.

Now, back to the studio. The picture is one I tore out of a magazine. I like the colors. I like the patterns. It's just a good inspiration pic. So, when I finally make that horrid commute out to the studio (heheh), I will take this picture with me and use it to make some beads. It hasn't been glued to a notebook yet, but this is the sort of stuff I look for when I tear things out of magazines.

So, there's my humble offering for today. My brain just really isn't in gear to say much more than this. For now. Must...get....caffeine.... . . . . . . . . . !!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rain, rain, go away....

Today is one of those mornings I really wish I could drink coffee. I love coffee. It just doesn't love me. So, I'm sitting at my laptop, catching up with all my facebook need to knows, and drinking my usual giant cup of tea. I'm really thinking I need to hit my stash of "Awake" tea this morning. I really feel like I could sleep all day, if the cats would let me.

I finally broke down and ordered a couple of the Jelveh key mandrels. I've been wanting one for quite some time (I'm punty challenged) and figured I would find a way to make it so that I wouldn't have to put the whole mandrel in the kiln, eliminating the need for a billion of these particular types of mandrel. We'll see how successful I am. I have a button mandrel that's the same way--just the small mandrel pieces that make the button holes end up in the kiln. The body of the mandrel stays with you, so you just put in more smaller mandrel pieces and make more buttons! Very cool.

I just think there are so many things I could do with this key mandrel, besides the obvious key beads. Horseshoe nails, push pins, anything on wire (can we say bellflower presses?). I'll be running around every store I can think of trying to find crap to stick in this mandrel and put glass on. I can see it now....

The silversmithing classes still didn't materialize the way I had envisioned. William Holland only has 3 classes open. Every OTHER weekend in October. I really don't want to wait that long, and can't justify putzing around for a week between classes. On hearing the news, some friends in Florida offered me a chance to vacation there!

I met Jim and Cindy when I went to Germany last year. They're the couple I spent most of my time with. It was just Jim, Cindy, Kara, Marcie, and me for the tour. Kara and Marcie go way back, so they were up all hours, reminiscing and definitely boozing it up with the locals. Jim and Cindy were more my speed...much more laid back, and ready for bed before 3am! It turns out, I'd done business with them before (bought my first PVC "thingies" for my glass organization from them!). We had a great time hanging out in Lauscha, silently rolling our eyes at one another. It was a blast.

I had completely forgotten Jim knows silversmithing. I knew he was a rockhound, but for some reason that stuck with me, and not the silver. Go figure. Cindy said Jim would be glad to teach me, and I should come down in the time they have between their classes at William Holland. I've never been to Florida before, and I'm really excited about going! And it's just in a couple of weeks!

Well, I really need to be off to the studio. Those beads won't make themselves!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Silversmithing and horseshoe nails....

Well, yesterday I finally decided to do something about my urge to take a silversmithing class. I've been wanting to learn how to work with silver for probably 3 years now, but haven't done anything about it.

I've googled "silver+class+Colorado" and the results have been rather dismal. There is one guy who teaches in Ft. Collins, and I think his classes would be beneficial, but he hasn't returned my email, and it's been over a week. I have issues with people who can't reply to an email, particularly when they're trying to run a business or sign people up for classes. The other one that came up was some old guy teaching soldering with a torch from Ace Hardware. Not that cheap tools are a bad thing, mind you. But on his website, he sells "classes" in CD format. They're more than just CDs because you can contact him at any time with questions. Uh huh. But hey, at least he returns emails.

So this guy is going to be teaching in Estes Park this month. His only class in Colorado. $300 for 2 class days. Eh, that's not horrible, I guess, but by the time you figure lodging and meals, I'm looking at $600 for 2 days. Now that's kind of ridiculous I'm thinking. I decided to try William Holland instead. They offer silver classes, room, and board for $310 a week. For a full week of class! Can't beat that! I figure with the drive to Georgia, I'd still be looking at around $1000 for a full 2 weeks of class. That sounds much better in my book! I applied to William Holland yesterday.

They get back to me today, with, of course, the classes that I want are completely full. Wouldn't you know it? I either have to forgo William Holland and do the expensive class in Estes, or take the chance that I might still have some $$ left in late August and early September (when I was thinking I'd have to be taking an assignment...) and try William Holland then. Decisions, decisions...

In the meantime, I've been asked to donate a couple of pieces to a charity auction here in NE Colorado. It's to benefit "Freedom to Cowboy Up Therapeutic Riding Center which is opening this Saturday. It is run by a horse riding instructor and 2 Occupational Therapy Assistants, one of whom has been a paraplegic for 19 years. I figured it would be a good cause, and possibly good exposure. I've decided to do some pendants on horseshoe nails. I kind of thought that would be fitting for the cause. =) It just hit me when I was jabbering to Donna on fb about skeleton key beads and puntying them instead of using a special mandrel to hold them. It was almost like turrets, I was posting and then all of a sudden "HORSESHOE NAILS!" Gotta love that!

So, I'm off to my studio to play with the newly modified bellflower presses and horseshoe nails, and to think about how badly I want to take a silver class and where I see myself in the next couple of months. Those are the thoughts from my studio today...silversmithing and horseshoe nails.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bellflower presses!!

They're finally here! After months of waiting (I ordered them February 15, to be exact!) they finally arrived in my hot little hands yesterday afternoon! Ooooh, they're so pretty! =)

This envy first started when a friend of mine had mentioned on fb that she had such a press. I had no idea what it was, and did some research on LampworkEtc. to find out more about them. Of course, she and Donna had a playdate (without me! *snifff*sniff*) so Donna could become hooked on this little press, too. And I was hooked just by hearing about their adventures!

In the waiting time, I sought out wire I wanted to use when I finally got the chance to play with them. Donna suggested hi-temp 22 or 24 gauge wire. I think I have some of that out in my fusing toolbox, and will have to look. I had previously bought some steel wire, not sure of the gauge, but it's pretty small, maybe 22 or 24 gauge. I want to try that. Originally I had gotten it to do similar things as these flowers, before I knew the presses had existed. I was searching antique websites and found lots of little ornaments on wire stems (leaves, holly berries, etc, etc). Then Holly mentioned something about black wire, and then hunt was on. I went to my local hardware store, and after a few eyebrows being raised ("No, I don't know what "real" people use it for, but I'm going to use it to make flowers!"), I was finally led to a small section of wire where they had but one size of the black annealed steel wire. 19 gauge. Well, that has to be the right stuff, so here I go. I bought some. And some 20 gauge copper wire just for kicks.

Once I got the presses home, I did a test fit for the wire... Aww, crap! The 20 gauge copper fit in 2 of the presses, but not very smoothly. The slots that were cut in the cup of the presses need some refurbishing, if you will. But these are Carlo Dona presses! What the heck am I doing modifying such works of art!?! Well. The answer is simple. I need them to fit my needs. They're not going to do me any good if I can't do what I want to be able to do with them. So modify it is! So I go out to the studio and hunt for my dremel.

Of course, I'm scared! I've never used the cut off wheel on my dremel before, and have certainly never tried to hack out brass *anything* before! But, I took it slow, and eased my way into it. And I think I will be okay, the tool will be okay, and life will indeed go on! In the meantime, I can say that I successfully cleaned the burs out of the slots, and will widen them just a hair so the 19 gauge wire will be able to fit.

I was warned about the possibility of incompatibility cracks with the metal in the glass if I used such a large gauge of wire. I'm hoping it's because she batch anneals her flowers instead of putting them directly in the kiln. Also, I have larger press than the one she uses, so that will increase the glass to metal ratio and increase their chances of survival. I will have to play and see what works for me. I'm sure hoping the 19 gauge will be okay, because that's the only size I could of the black wire, and I really like the look!

As for other little brother surprised me the other day by bringing home a spool of stainless steel wire, about 20 gauge. I had mentioned that I wanted some to use for button shanks (the other steel wire I had just looked too small for me and for what I wanted to do). So one day at work, he went to the Snap-On dealer and ordered a spool of this wire. It took him over a month to get it, but he was able to get it! I was pretty excited, and very shocked that Joey would even think about ordering something for me. He can be a good one, every now and again.

Off to modify the rest of my presses and possibly get the kiln fired up for the day. No worries, I now have a/c so life will be good.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Failure is in the eye of the beholder...

There was some recent discussion on Facebook about fugly beads and what to do with them. So, today I decided to talk a little about what I do with my fuglies and why I decide to keep them. I even keep ones that broke (except the little spacers) or got stuck on mandrels.

To answer the question, yes, I do make fugly beads. =) Not intentionally, of course. They're usually when I get in a hurry and don't take the time to get them all the way centered. Or when I'm trying a new technique and just don't quite have the hand/eye coordination to pull it off without practice. Sometimes it's a color combination that just doesn't work (but it looked good on paper....haha. More about color chemistry to come, maybe in a tutorial, as soon as I whip it into shape!)

I have plenty of potted plants in my house. And at the moment, 2 aquariums. I suppose I could toss those fuglies in any one of those containers (tonight, you sleep with the fishes...). I don't, though, because each one of those fuglies provides an opportunity for me to learn something.

Take, for instance, the ring shown in the picture. It's a clear glass, fumed with gold, and the color is amazing. Gorgeous pink with gold luster. It was perfection. I created a little glass bezel and set a lab created ruby in the center. I had never had a ring band so even. This ring was to DIE for! And then, as it came out of the kiln, I noted very large incompatibility cracks around the ruby. It crumbled to oblivion when I took it off the mandrel. I was so bummed! (Still am!) But I kept the pieces to remind me not only how good clear glass looks fumed with gold, but as a challenge, because one day I will beat those little rubies into submission and I will be able to use them in glass without them breaking! As I noted on Facebook, I have about a 20% success rate with them right now, and that's just not good enough when you're spending that kind of time on a larger piece. The lesson: figure out WHY it cracked, and then work on making sure I can successfully pull off that particular piece.

I keep a notebook (okay, okay, notebooks now) of bead ideas. If I see something that I like by way of pattern or color combination, I will jot it down. I always carry a notebook with me (or my cel phone so I can get a picture). More often than not, I will jump right in to making the bead I have envisioned from the notebook, rather than making small practice beads. I think it's the instant gratification thing? I have no idea. It really wouldn't be that hard to make a tiny bead with the colors just to see if they'll play well with one another, and stuff them in a kiln blanket so that I can see them later in the day. Perhaps as I get longer with my torch sessions (and maybe I will now, thanks to Dean who so graciously put in a window a/c unit in my studio yesterday!) I will adopt this practice, but until then, I go full bore and make that bead. And sometimes it's doesn't quite work the way I had envisioned. Lesson: keeping things that weren't quite what you envisioned can allow you to think about what didn't work and think more about what you can tweak to make it better.

My practice pieces always go into a group of "these are ones that I did in a class or as the first time I did something" group, but I always show them to people so they can get a sense of what I can do. Hey, if I did it once, I can do it again. But better. My fugliest bead EVER (in my opinion) is one I tried the Chaos technique on. You beady people know what I'm talking about--embedding the copper mesh. Well. Of course, my glass didn't squoosh like it was supposed to. And the Triton, though it reduced beautifully, isn't applied with the greatest care. The dots are lopsided and uneven. It's just a fugly bead. Not to mention the base color that looks a little like smokey pink which I have to say, doesn't do anything for me. But 9 out of 10 (Richard LaLonde suggested that be the name of the bead) people who look at my beads pick that one up and exclaim it to be the most beautiful thing they've ever seen! It makes me want to harf every time! Lesson: As long as it's a structurally sound bead, include it! What you think is a reject may be adopted quicker than you think. Failure is in the eye of the beholder.


Beads from the contest with Donna.