Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picture Berries

I have new beads up on and they are so much fun!  I have to give mighty big props to Amy K at for the massive amount of inspiration she gave me and for her friendship and support, too. 

Effetre Earth

Have you guys seen this color yet?  It's called Effetre Earth and I am in love.  I haven't been this excited to see a new (non-silver) glass since I was a newbie.  It is a combination of green and blue that looks, to me, like actual lapis.  I love it!!!  Did I mention that I love it?  Yeah...well, I do. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall is coming!

Autumn is in the air (at least for the next few hours, according to the weather report) and I am READY for it!  I love the crisp breezes and the crunchy leaves underfoot.  I miss rain and I miss sweaters.  The only sadness I will feel is when I have to put my flip-flops away until spring.  I've been making beads that match the upcoming season and it is just delightful to pull the rich hues out of the kiln.  I will go back to brights in a few weeks, I'm sure, since I never stray for long but it is nice while it lasts. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011


Took some photos of beads I had hanging around in my bead box.  I really love how easy it is to make interesting, intricate beads with nothing more than 'two rods of glass and some murrini' as someone so eloquently put it.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Learning process

I have been knee deep in orders and murrini this month so I haven't had a lot of time to play at the torch lately.  I visited my friend Alex yesterday, though, and what a refreshing break that was!  It was great to sit and chat with a friend all day long.  No making beads, no packing or shipping, just visiting.  Well, she's a beadmaker too so we did talk about beadmaking.  She shared her technique with me for making the most gorgeous beads.  I couldn't wait to try it...
Hers are way better but I was pretty pleased with my first attempt.  Before you get too impressed with mine - go check out her gorgeous beads at eBay and in her Etsy store.

The other bit of learning I did a couple nights ago when I was reading through the latest issue of Soda Lime Times which is all about frit.  I was reading, in particular, an article by Val Cox entitled, "Why your frit beads may suck." or something like that.  How did she know?  LOL.  She is an expert on frit, that's how.  I would say that I instantly improved my frit beads after reading that article.  I mixed up some frit and tried out Val's suggestions.

That's what I like about glass.  The more years you work with it, the more you realize there is still so much to learn.  It is simultaneously humbling and encouraging.  I'm feeling pretty lucky to have such a fun profession and such talented friends to share ideas with.  Very lucky, indeed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Artists Statements and Signature Beads

Oh you guys and your high-falutin' ways.  LOL!  I have never been a big fan of artist statements.  They are frequently written in the third person, as if some random admirer was doing a short biography of the artist when, most of the time, they are actually written by the artist about themselves.  Creepy.  There.  I've said it.  It's creepy.  And pretentious.  And don't get me started on people who proclaim a certain style of bead their "Signature bead".  Honestly, I don't know how people do this with a straight face.  You're either known for making a certain kind of bead or you're not.  Proclamations don't really make it so.  I've heard people say it at bead shows and I've seen it A LOT on websites. 

Why do I care?  Honestly, I don't really.  Other artists can do what they like and I am happy for them to do so.  I just have an opinion and I thought I would share it since I don't really have anything else to write about in my blog today.  Well, my back aches today and I am hopelessly addicted to deep, rich coffee but how many times can I write about that?  Not many.  I'd bore myself and you.

I think I would like us all to take ourselves just a little less seriously, especially when it comes to beads.  I've seen people rip each other apart in the name of territory, which is funny when you think about the fact that this is BEAD territory.  I've seen people claim to be the originator of designs that were most obviously not recently discovered.  But, because they made more than 5 of them, they've decided they now own the style and you'd better not step on their turf or there will be hell to pay.  I will never, in my life, understand this behavior.  I understand lots of people make their living selling their artwork and therefore it's their livelihood they are trying to protect but, really, their energy is wasted on trying to take a protectionist stance.  Use the energy to make and sell more beads.  One of my favorite phrases is, "Keep your eyes on your own paper."

And those are my thoughts for today...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stole this announcement from Donna's blog (

There's a new beadmakers magazine on the market. It's an online publication and you can get check out a free issue. I have read the first issue, holy cow, this is an awesome publication. Diane Woodall has been writing her local ISGB chapters newsletter, and is now she's turned her writing skill to be benefit the entire community.
Soda Lime Times
I've put up some new beads on  Here's a little peek:

Friday, July 22, 2011


I have to say that StrikingColor glass just might be my favorite glass ever.  It can produce a rainbow of shades with very little effort.  I just love using it for making murrini.  It's just yummy.  We have some StrikingColor murrini available - just in case you don't want to make it yourself.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Something New

Ok, Kim has been avoiding the whole bead selling business for a long time.  She has a website and Etsy store but doesn't have time to keep it up and, really, it's not where she wants to focus her time.  Sooooo, guess what?!  I'm going to handle the selling part for her.  YAY!  I think it would be a shame for her beads to not be out in the hands of jewelry designers and bead enthusiasts since they are such gorgeous beads.  Her bead styles are, frankly, a jewelry designer's dream.  Tasteful, lovely combinations of colors and lots of detail in perfectly formed little works of art.

Here are a few pictures to whet your whistle:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Secrets Revealed

Ok, this seems like a good enough place to bare my soul....

Remember those Mavis Beacon typing programs? I do. I spent a lot of the 90's at Fry's Electronics, feeding my inner nerd. Anyway, the software had a picture of a woman on the box. I remember she looked friendly and helpful and could probably improve my typing but I had many reports to run and learned to speed 10-key instead and my free time was spent with a tiny blond haired girl in hopes of keeping her off the pole. Mission accomplished, there, by the way.

Flash forward a decade or so. I'm sitting in my living room with now pink and black haired teenager and husband and a Rosetta Stone commercial comes on. I say something I wish I could take back a hundred times.

"I always liked Rosetta. She looked so friendly and helpful."

I was not aware of Rosetta's ancient Egyptian ancestory, apparently. Bring on the laughter from the peanut gallery. Lots of it.

More than a decade later...I still get gibes and pokes whenever we go by a Rosetta Stone kiosk in the mall or one of those commercials comes on the TV. FML.

Since we're only as sick as our secrets...there's mine. I'm an idiot.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's hot.

Yep, it's been pretty darn hot this week.  Bleh.  I find myself trying to keep busy inside, doing this and that, while my heart is really out at the torch.  I have managed to squeak out a little torch time here and there but, for the most part, it was make a bead, take a break, pull some murrini, take a break, and so on and so forth.  Lots of breaks and not a huge amount of production happening.  Such is life.  I am going to Kim's next week (where she lives is even hotter than here) so I will have to buckle down and just suck it up and put on my big girl panties and so on and so forth. 

Summer, you've had your fun, now run along and send Autumn in, thankyouverymuch.

I have some beads I need to list...I guess I could do that while the A/C is working its little heart out.

These two photos really illustrate my inner struggle.  On the one hand, I love putting faces on stuff.  Those are my favorite beads to take out of the kiln.  They're fun and bright and make me happy.  On the other hand, silver glass makes me swoon.  I look at those boring amber and putty colored rods of glass and they just dare me to make something amazing with them.  It's always a surprise and usually a good one when I pull those beads out of the kiln. 

So, every time I go out to the torch, I have to decide whether I'm going to listen to the child or the grown up.  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

A bead

Striking color glass rocks my world, once again.  I just can't get enough of playing with this glass.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I've finally had a chance to try out Helios glass.  Oh my, it's just magical!  The yellow/green one is encased in Aether, which reacts with the reduction and creates that gorgeous effect.  Love! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

I have some things to add...

I did a pretty long diatribe on how to create and maintain an etsy store a while back.  I have some addendums to make, mostly about how, if you work it right, you may not even need one! 

I've been recently selling beads straight off my facebook page.  No fees, other than paypal.  Sweet!  I just post pictures of the beads and people say "mine" and there you go, Bob's your uncle, they're on their way to a new home.  Well, there's a paypal transaction in there somewhere but you get my drift.  Yes, there is more back and forth communication needed since it's not quite so automated as Etsy but I kind of like that, actually. 

So, give it a try! 

In other news, I have more beads to show (already on their way to their new home) and some new murrini, too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Whoa. Long time, no blog!

I can't believe it's been so long since the last installment.  What's been happening....hummmm...well, lots of beads have been made and sold and made again and sold again so that's always good news! It's been a pretty busy spring, murrini-wise, too.  Kim has been a busy teacher but still manages to out produce me every time, as far as both murrini and beads go!  How does she do it?  She stays off the darn computer, that's how!  LOL!  I, alas, cannot.  I need to keep connected to my internet peeps.  Besides, I'm the one who handles all the shipping, emails, accounting and such.  Yeah, she's pretty darn productive, though.  I'm always impressed by that.  She showed me how to make some really cool beads...wanna see?

Aren't they just divine?  What you can't see here is all the wonderful depth they have in person.  Sooo cool.  I've been making a bunch of them.  Squashed they make awesome kidlet bodies, too.  Check it out:

Ok, so that's about it on the bead front.  The home front has been pretty eventful, too.  Puppy got into a pack of gum (we don't know where it came from since we didn't buy it) and it contained xylitol (toxic to dogs) so we had to rush her to the emergency vet on a Sunday night.  They induced vomiting and it was constant monitoring and blood tests every 12 hours for the next two days.  Fun. Not.  She is fine now, thank goodness.  We caught her right after she ate the gum and got her stomach emptied within the hour so I think that helped with the outcome.  She horked up 5 pieces which was, for her weight, a substantial quantity.  All's well that ends well but keep that xylitol away from the pups, peeps!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Grand Day Out

Friday, March 11th was a very big day for me.  I got up early (for me) and did my packages, ran to the post office and then it was off to meet my friend Linda for lunch.  After a nice, long lunch with my recently funemployed friend (yay! more time for me!) I drove home and donned my iTorch t-shirt, grabbed a few moo cards and was off to stand in line at the Apple store in Los Gatos to get the new iPad 2.  I drove down the main street in Los Gatos and noted that the line was already quite long even though the store wasn't going to be open until 5pm and it was only 3pm!  I almost decided to just order online and wait the 2-3 weeks. 
I am so glad I didn't.
I parked the car, walked to the end of the line and thought how appropriate it was that the people directly in front of me had Segways.  I mean, nothing says technonerd like a Segway, right?  Then, just then, I stopped and stared and stopped breathing properly.
I think I might be standing behind Steve Wozniak. (co-founder of Apple!!!!!)
I might have said something stupid like "are you who I think you are?"
He responded to my inane mumbling, "I know who I am, who do you think I am?"
"I think you might be Steve Wozniak." I said, without using any discernable oxygen.  In fact, I think I might have squeaked it.  What a winner I am.  Sheesh.
Anyway, he turned out to be a pretty swell guy.  Smarter than I can fathom and pretty engaging and witty.  I stood behind him for the next three and a half hours.  We chatted for quite a while and I am hoping I didn't sound like a complete moron for at least some of it.  I met his wife, Janet, too.  She was ridiculously smart and funny and kind of sarcastic.  I might have liked meeting her even more than Steve, if that's possible. 
I also met a handful of people in line and they were AWESOME too!  As you can imagine, meeting a Silicon Valley icon was kind of an icebreaker and the usually impenetrable personal space bubbles were immediately disolved and we were instantly bonded for life.  :)   We started a running commentary on the never ending stream of people wanting to meet and greet with The Woz.  And let's admit it, that's fun.  There were lots of great, laid back folks who wanted to just take a picture, shake hands and have a quick word.  And then there were the not-so-laid-back types.  Wow.  I'll just sum it up by saying that Steve and Janet are very gracious people who are clearly skilled at dealing with the public.
And yes, I got an iPad 2 and after waiting for that long, I was very grateful that they weren't sold out (which they did soon after I got one.)
That's me (in the green sweatshirt) and Woz is sitting and talking to me.  Can you believe it!!!?
Here's a photo of Steve Wozniak and his Segway.  He let that kid ride it for as long as he wanted.  How awesome is that?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Etsy Store Selling Tips part 2

If you want to read the whole thing - go here:

Descriptions / Categories / Tags

     -take a look at similar items for keyword/tag/category help

I know this seems like cheating. But, really, it is the easiest way to make sure you get tags that make sense for your product. Take a look at a few different products before you pick tags, though. Some people use tags inappropriately. Make sure the tags you pick actually make sense for the product you’re selling. If they don’t, someone might report you and your item may be removed.

     -dimensions, materials used, facts
Make sure you give all the pertinent information for the product. It may seem obvious to you that the item you are selling is teeny-tiny because it’s in front of you. When you look at macro photos of the item, it may seem MUCH larger. Let the customer know what to expect so they aren’t surprised when they receive the item. Same goes for materials used. If you used sterling silver, let them know. If you used base metal containing nickel, let them know. Nothing worse than wearing something that gives you an unexpected rash!

     -inspiration and artist stuff

Some artists like to include a story, like how the item was conceived, inspired or stumbled upon during the creative process. Customers like to catch a glimpse of the artist’s soul. Remember, you’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling the item!

Listing Strategies

     -list a few items a day rather than all at once

The default search result for Etsy is newest first so you probably want to be on the first or second page when someone searches for an item like yours. If you list frequently, the chances are better you will be easy to find and be seen by more people. Also, keep in mind that the more items you list, the more items you will sell, generally speaking. If you only have a couple things in your store and never update it, you won’t be as successful a seller as someone who keeps their store fresh and fully stocked with exciting new items.

     -list and promote, list and promote, list and promote
Etsy makes it really easy to promote your items now. One button push and you can publish your item to your Facebook page! Same goes for Twitter, too. You can also send out newsletters to your customer list to let them know when you have new items and sales.

After the sale…

If you want feedback (and you do) you need to leave feedback for your buyers. Thank them for their quick payment or for supporting your art.

     -tracking sales/ customer base/ follow up

Keep a list of customers and get a mailing list going. Make sure you check with them before adding them to the list. No one wants spam. There are a lot of free and paid opt-in mailing list generators you can use that will add a form to your website. Some of those are Bravenet, Constant Comment, Vertical Response.

     -packing and shipping

Pack your items securely so that they will arrive at their destination in one piece. Make sure you include a hand-written thank you on the receipt or even on the back of a business card. You can personalize your packages by adding special touches like gift boxes, pretty tissue paper or whatever makes you happy and furthers your brand image. Get creative! Oh and don’t forget to ship promptly!
Advertising and Promotion

     -paid and targeted

There are tons of advertising opportunities for artists out there but you have to look for them. If you want to pay for advertising you can sign up for Google Adwords or buy an ad in a magazine that targets your audience. I like advertising on forums I actively participate in. It is pretty reasonably priced and super targeted. It pays to do some online research to see where your customers are gathering.
     -Blogs / Facebook / Twitter

A blog or posting to Facebook or Twitter is a great way to talk about your creative process, promote your items and let customers know about your latest creations. If you’re not a good writer, just post photos and links!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Etsy Store Selling Tips

If you want to read the whole thing - go here:

Online Selling – Etsy and Beyond - Lori Peterson   PART 1

Picking a name

Try to pick something that will either identify YOU or what you are selling. “Your Name Designs” is one that I recommend (i.e. Lori Peterson Designs). It covers a broad range of products and services, should your focus change. I chose Loribeads before I really thought about that. Also, think about what website names are available. Chances are if you want something like or it is already taken. Do your research before making a final decision on picking an etsy store name.

Policies & returns

I could load this section up with examples of what not to do. Put enough info in the policies to inform and protect your interests but not so much that it puts buyers off of doing business with you. Keep it simple, straightforward and above all else, shopper-friendly. Don’t gouge customers with shipping charges. If you want to make more money on the product, price it accordingly. Returns policies should reassure customers that you want them to be happy with their purchase. Try to keep that in mind. Occasionally you will get a difficult customer, that’s just the way it is. Try not to let those experiences form your policies. This is my opinion only.

Logos and branding

Pick a look and create a logo, online banners, etc. Etsy is a good place to look if you want someone to create all that for you. Some website hosts will have templates you can use and customize. Branding is so important that unless you are just dabbling in selling, spending time getting this right is really important. Make sure your logo/banner says something about your aesthetic.

Announcements and artist intro

Here’s the place to announce your grand opening! You can also announce sales, coupons, new products and even general chit-chat here. Artist profile is the place for your artist statement, how you came to be an artist, stuff like that. I don’t like to shop at a store when I don’t know their location so be sure to put where you are, too.

Photos, photos, photos
     -lighting and cameras

Honestly, it’s more about the photographer than the camera. Get a decent camera – no need to spend a bundle – most point and shoot cameras are fine for web photos. I sell beads so I made sure the camera I picked had a macro setting.

     -photo tents and lighting

Light diffusion is pretty important, especially when photographing glass. I recommend getting some good, bright lights and a photo cube, sized for the product you intend to sell. Ott lites are a good choice for lighting but other daylight bulbs will work just as well. Most bad photos are bad because there wasn’t enough light.

     -post production
Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, there are many different photo editing programs out there. Some are free, some are really pricey. I have tried them all and trust me when I say that none of them can turn a bad photo into a good one. Pick one that works with your level of photo-editing interest. Photoshop can be a resource hog on a slower computer and is very expensive and has a pretty big learning curve but it is the industry standard for photo editing so if you get stuck and need help, you’re likely to find someone online who will have an answer to your question. The bare minimum you will need from a photo editing software is to be able to resize photos. Out of the camera, they will likely be too big. Etsy has a 1000x1000 pixel recommendation for your shop photos.

NEXT INSTALLMENT - description, catagories, tags, advertising, networking, etc.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More coring to do...

These are just out of the kiln and ready to be cored.  Yikes.  That's a lot of coring!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Murrini Beads

I will be taking orders for these - $15 for each silver lined bead.  Just email me at

Tuesday, January 11, 2011