July 31, 2010

Last Day For Chirstmas In July And A Bonus!

Sorry, bonus and sale is over!

Just a reminder that today is the last day for my Christmas in July Sale. Save 20%!! And all items are already marked down. I love ArtFire's coupon codes!!

And as a bonus I'm also offering FREE shipping on orders of $35 or more! Use coupon code: CIFFREESHIP

Last day, so don't wait!

July 30, 2010

What I did today.....

Cleaned. Blah!

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like cleaning. I hate it. I have better things to do, like chat with you guys. I try to keep the house fairly clean, there's no mud on the floors, or cobwebs strung across the ceiling. But there's dust in the corners, and every now and then I get a bug up my butt to clean. And today is one of those days.

The bathrooms are first on my list today. I started in the guest bath which is the smallest bathroom; cleaned the toilet and washed rugs, but quickly moved on to the master bath when I realized that was where I left my Swiffer (I love my Swiffer).

I took one look around in there and realized I needed to get that done first, or it would never get done! I have a corner spa tub which is amazing for catching dust in the back corner, right where it's the most inconvenient to get at. Kitty-corner from the tub is the shower. This layout creates little nooks which are wonderful places for dust and hair to collect on the floor. Let's just say there are lots of little nooks and crannies for dust and dirt to collect around the base boards.

It's not a huge bathroom, so it shouldn't be so hard, but it is full of CRAP. My mother is right, if I had less stuff to dust, I'd also have less stuff to move to get the cleaning done. But, sadly, I have the decorator blood in me from my old Home Interiors days and I just have to decorate!!

I'm half finished, and I've already removed a lot of items, so I can't do too real before and after pics. Suffice it to say that just picturing the worst scenario in your mind is most likely accurate. But I will take some pics and be back with "after" shots. Wish me luck!!


Okay, so remember when I said up there that I was half finished. I lied!! It took me THREE hours to clean the master bath, top to bottom!!! Ugh. I even used a toothbrush for those hard to reach places.

Following are before and after. Now remember, I had already started cleaning the tub area. You can click on the pics to enlarge them.


Oh, and yes, I have a toilet and a shower. I just didn't think you really cared to see those. But if you do I'll come back and post them.

So, this is what I did today. I don't think I have the energy to do the other bath. But it is pretty small, and way cleaner then this one. So maybe......

What'd you do today?

July 29, 2010

Project Wonderful is here!

I just wanted to post a short update and let you all know that I know have Project Wonderful add space on my blog.  If you are in the market for affordable add space, check it out.

Not sure what Project Wonderful is?  Well, it's pretty darn fun, that's what it is.  You can bid on add space that is found mainly on blogs, and some are on forums and personal websites.  You bid on the spaces and it's more fun then Ebay! Well, at least I think so.

You can bid on which sites you want your add to appear on.  Or you can set up a campaign which you set parameters for, and the site bids for you! PW even emails you when your bids expire so you can go renew them.

They have stats so you can see how much traffic a site gets that has your add, and how many clicks you've received from that site. 

Please check out the totally awesome sponsors who now have adds up there; click, click, click!!!

July 27, 2010

I'm Certifiable!!

It's true, I've been certified! Certified as a Handmade Artisan and Seller on ArtFire, that is.

This certificate is your assurance that all the items in an ArtFire shop are completely handmade by the artisan. You'll see this badge on the left side of the shop's homepage.

July 24, 2010

Christmas In July is still going strong!

The Christmas In July Sale is still going on over at ArtFire! Now is the great time to get your loved ones some awesome handmade goodies. You can find just about anything you could ever imagine.

I still have 15% off all items, even sale items, until July 31st (items already marked down!). AND, today I just added free shipping for purchases of $35 and over!! Woohoo :D Use coupon code FREESHIP (COUPON CODE HAS EXPIRED AS OF 7/26/10)

Receive free shipping on Order Total (orders above $35.00)
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

July 12, 2010


ArtFire - Buy Handmade - Sell Handmade

Save 15% off everything from now until July 31st! Click me. Go ahead, I know you want to!! CLICK ME!!

Okay all my ArtFire friends! Post your CIJ sales here ;)

July 11, 2010

Do You Know - About Artisan Lampwork Beads

Recently I explained a little bit on what lampwork is. Today I'd like to explain something that is very important to all jewelry designers, and is very close to the heart of every lampwork artisan.

Today lampworkers have been labeled artisans. I often describe some lampworking styles as "painting with glass" when a scene is made that is reminiscent of a painting. Lampwork landscapes are a great example. And it truly is a beautiful kind of artwork to behold. (see the example above from MyJoyfulCorner)

So, what about lampwork beads? Well, there are two types of lampwork beads: Artisan made and what has been coined as imported or manufactured lampwork.


Artisan made lampwork is handmade by the artisan with great care and detail. These beads are properly kiln annealed (kept hot for the required time, and slowly cooled to realign the crystal structure properly). This tempers the glass making it stronger and more durable. Care is also taken to properly clean the bead release from the hole. **Please note, not all artisan lampwork will be kiln annealed, and should be labeled as blanket annealed if that is how they are made.

Artisan beads are unique often one-of-a-kind items which are used as focals in a design or creation. Some are made as matching sets. And all are well done and beautiful works of art.

The artisan lampwork community is also very knowledgeable in proper safety and working conditions. Molten glass gives off carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes depending on what the glass is made from. Some glasses actually have metal in them, and these fumes can be unhealthy to inhale.

We are also very aware of the dangers of looking directly at the flare which occurs when glass is held in the torch flame. This can do severe damage to the eyes, and we buy special glasses or other eye safety gear to block those harmful rays. (the photo of the Bench Mount Shield is the type of eye safety I use)


Imported lampwork is still handmade. But we call them "manufactured" because of how they are made. Manufactured beads have come a long way in the last few years. But if is very important the buyers understand what they are purchasing, and the differences between artisan lampwork and manufactured lampwork.

The main "flaw" (for lack of a better word) of manufactured beads is the fact that they are not properly kiln annealed. You may often see visible cracks in the beads. However, sometimes these cracks will not show right away, but will appear later when the beads are mishandled or stressed in some way, like being dropped. Proper cleaning is another clue to help identify manufactured beads.

Manufactured bead | Artisan Lampwork

The above bead, on the left, is a great example of a manufactured bead that was not properly cleaned. You'll notice the hole is full of bead release, click on it to enlarge it for a better view.

So you have the combination of poor working conditions, improper annealing and uncleaned beads with manufactured beads.


So now you're probably wondering how in the world you can possibly tell whether or not you're buying artisan lampwork or imported lampwork. Even at craft and art fairs there are still many unscrupulous people who will buy imports and pass them off as their own.

Here are just a couple tips when searching for artisan quality lampwork beads:

  • Price: Artisan lampwork is always more expensive due to the time it takes to create a bead, the price of the glass, and the equipment/overhead cost to make quality annealed beads.
  • Volume: Immediate supply is a good gauge. Lampwork beads take time, and high volume may indicate the seller may not have made the beads themselves. Ask the seller how many sets they have of the same design/color. Chances are that some beads may be imports if they have many of the exact same sets of beads. This is just my thought, and in no way is a guarantee that the item is or is not made by that person. Look the person directly in the eye and ask them if they made the bead you want to purchase.
  • Quality. The bead hole should be nice and clean. There should be no visible cracks or sharp edges. (Please remember that someone just starting out in lampworking may not make "perfect" beads, but they'll make up for that in enthusiasm, which you'll feel when you talk to them!)
I hope this helps give a little more understanding on the quality and cost of artisan made lampwork. I'm not saying there should be no imported lampwork beads. But I do want to make sure people are aware and are able to choose the beads that are best for their budget and designs. And to help give a little more knowledge to buyers so they are not duped into buying beads they think are artisian made when they aren't.

July 05, 2010


I want to thank everyone who participated in my drawing for Nobody Ever Gives Away The Good Stuff For Free!! I had 32 entries and Random.org chose #20. Can I have a drum roll please!!! *inserts drum roll*

The winner is Holly, from SpoiledBratzwear!! I want to thank everyone who commented and signed up for my newsletter and "liked" me on Facebook!! I love you all!!

Holly, just contact me with your address info, either via Facebook or ArtFire!

I know some of you worked your butts off, so I'll have a surprise for you all in my next newsletter, which is coming this week!!
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