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Thursday, December 23, 2010


Sometimes I am in the mood for labor intensive beads.This is a new design I've been planning since I ordered a metal prong device for forming murrinis. These are the first raku murrini I've made with it and I'm very proud of them! Making the murrini takes a bit of extra time in itself but I decided to do a two layer white heart bead and then etch it for that wonderful glow. Now comes the labor intensive part! I applied a liquid mask to each murrini to preserve its shiny surface while the bead is dunked into the etching bath. Then I had to clean the mask off. The dots are metallic black.
I'd had this image in my mind of how I wanted them to turn out, but they exceeded my expectations!
Here is a picture of the nifty gizmo that begins the forming of a murrini. Several layers of glass are rounded up into a fat cylinder and then plunged into the center of the brass rays. Cool a moment and pull out and use another color to fill the slim channels. Heat again and pull to a diameter of 4 to 5 mm. Cool and cut with glass nippers into small sections about 3-5mm. I'm going to have to make and sell A LOT of murrini beads to pay off this $ little gadget!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Disaster Strikes!

Every bead in the kiln was melted off its mandrel into spreading shiny puddles across the kiln floor! Usually, after the soak cycle ( gradual cool down) I turn the kiln off and let it cool slowly overnight. This time my husband went out to the studio to do it for me. He accidently turned the control dial past " off " and it went into a super heating cycle. This is a bit of bad kiln design, ( it's an AIM) as the red light was off but the heat wasn't. Fortunately he went out into the dark garden about 2 hours later and noticed a strange glow from the studio window. Extreme heat met him and he quickly unplugged it.

I thought the kiln elements would be ruined but it runs fine. Getting the sheets of melted glass off the fire brick bottom was another story.

I waited two days and then grimly remade the 50 or so beads...

Here is a picture of a remade set I especially liked.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saying "Goodbye" is so hard to do.

From the song, "Saying Goodbye is Hard to Do", to letting go of favorite bead sets! I made this set over a month ago, it has traveled in my pocket, purse, and decorated my computer desk and photography light box. I just couldn't bring myself to offer it for sale not knowing if I could make it again. For a while I decided they were "my" beads and I'd make myself a necklace with them. Then I had to face the fact that I have way too much jewelry and have had a self imposed moratorium on making anything for myself. I listed them at bedtime last night, they were sold when I woke up this morning! Packing them up to mail off I feel sad to see them go..... Some buyers send me photos of what they design with my beads- I'm hoping that this buyer will too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What else can I make with beads?

I had saved up my lumpy, bumpy, beginner beads. Some went in between bricks in the garden but some I epoxied around the edge of my license. One day I pulled into a gas station and a car pulled in right behind me. A woman hopped out and said"I've been following you. Do you make beads?" I gave her my card and later she did buy beads from me! I've been thinking of getting a personalized plate...... what should it say?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I have a package of gold leaf but its high cost has made me hesitant to use it. I like the gilded flash look of gold and just discovered that by starting with a layer of silver foil and quickly encasing it with the right transparent , presto! it looks like gold. These nuggets are hand shaped with a little brass palette knife(once a mustard spreader). This creates a faceted surface with much more light bouncing off it. I SO much want to make myself a bracelet of these.... but I've taken a vow not to add to my excessive supply of bracelets.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Retro Socks

If you are not a knitter, you might think these retro socks have some complicated color work going on.

Ahh, but if you are a knitter then I can't fool you. All the color changes are in the ball. It is "cheater yarn" because it is easy to do knitting but has an interesting color pattern going on. It makes knitting plain socks not so boring, I keep waiting to see what color round is coming around the bend. I'm using size 0 needles for longer wearing socks. I am heading down to finish off the toe where I'll face the dreaded kitchener bind off. (You knitters know what I mean.)
Now that our daughter has moved to the cold environs of Chicago I can knit up warm things for her- Yeah!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yes, it IS a dog bed!

After throwing out our dog's old bedraggled bed and replacing it with a cushy clean one we have yet to convince him it is a bed. He will sit in it if we give him a cookie but never looks at ease. Maybe it doesn't smell right, maybe it seems too plush...... ah but to the cat, Whisper, it WAS a bed upon first sniff.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beads Don't Have To Be Jewelry

I keep finding new ways to use my beads. My mailman appreciates the change to my mailbox.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hollow Beads

I've been trying something new, blowing glass. These are large shell focals but are light because they are hollow. They make great simply wired pendants and I like wearing one just slipped onto a silver cable choker necklace.

This black shell is dusted with reactive raku frit and a gold powder which gives it a subtle metallic shimmer.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Signs of Summer

I know it's summer when my garden pathways get shouldered out. The warmer nights push everything into a growth spurt . Plants tumble into the walkways and slow our progress walking through the garden. The fragrant white nicotianas are over 7 feet tall, the old fashioned triple orange daylilies are everywhere, incredibly bright. From the shady spots spread plate sized clematis. And my most favorite flower for June - the gardenia! The large bush has hundreds of buds, every day I pick a dozen to bring into the house. The other plant that makes this a most fragrant month is the Easter lily. I always buy a potted plant at Easter and later tuck it into the garden and forget about it. They return every year and multiply happily. I just have to remember to cut off the pollen on the plants that lean out to greet us- what a stain it makes!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Fun and Fragrant Day

Since I spin, I end up with lots of extra dyed carded fleece. I've seen a UTube video showing how to felt wool around a bar of soap. It looked fun and easy and hopefully would use up lots of wool. These are two batts I'd made as samples but didn't like well enough to continue carding more. I used a bowl of hot water, one of cold, and a bamboo sushi mat for a textured surface to rub it on. The bars turned out great though it hardly made a dent in the heap of fleece. I also made a ball cat toy. ( I used a ping pong ball with a slit cut in the side so I could insert a bell.)

My second fragrant fun today was weaving lavender wands. I have a plant that produces really long stems perfect for weaving a satin ribbon through the "cage" formed when the stems are bent back. When they dry they get put in my lingerie drawers or in with pajamas. Just a little squeeze refreshes the sweet smell. One picture shows a wand in the half finished stage.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Most often when I sit down at the torch I have a plan in mind, sometimes even on paper. But the best things happen when I begin without a preconceived "to do" list. I've found this go-with-the-flow style works best when my work surface of gigantic clay tiles is covered in a drift of glass rods. I just start with a playful attitude of "what if" and the only rule is to try colors and styles together that I've never done before. The new beads I invent aren't always keepers but I have some favorites I love that I'll share a few pictures of. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Color Experiments

Dyeing always brings out the mad chef in me- a dab of this a bit more of that! No following recipes- it's way more fun and this time brought happy surprises. I had a gift of a sock blank to use as my canvas. If youhaven't tried one before,(I hadn't) they are ingenious. It's a machine stranded double knit long rectangle. There's enough yarn for a large pair of socks. So when it's unraveled it will make two perfectly matching socks. The smart thing to do is to get enormously long circular needles and knit the 2 socks at once. The directions boggled me, I'll have to get someone to actually show me how that's done, so my husband helped me unravel it into 2 balls. I am knitting one at a time and finding that it's creating a sort of blurred faux fair isle look. I used Jacquard acid dyes set with vinegar, rolled the blank in plastic and steamed it for 30 min. As I squirted on the dyes I had No Idea how it would turn out- just random fun! Can't wait to try this again. Because you're dyeing a knitted fabric it takes the color in soft uneven depths of shade- very pretty.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garden Tour

I've gotten behind on beadmaking, spinning, knitting, and weaving. So, what have I been doing with my"spare" time? Our garden will be on the spring garden tour that benefits the local Children's Hospital. I go on this garden tour every spring and am inspired by the beautiful ,( and perfect) gardens. Now I'm having this feeling of panic about cleaning everything up, ( how to camoflage the compost pile?) trying to guess what will be in bloom in two weeks, (will those roses bloom? will the iris be all finished?) and the long to-do list to be crossed off before The Day. This garden walk has become more popular every year, last year 800 tickets were sold!! Here are some garden pictures if you can't come to visit!

Catalina Glass on Etsy

About Me

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Basically I love working with my hands to create with color and texture. I fill my days with lampworked hot glass, teaching, spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting, gardening, reading, cooking and traveling. Come to to see my current work