Monday, April 30, 2007


River Rocks on my site now

Hi Folks, Im recovering from last fridays ordeal, and getting ready for the next one this thursday.

Im allowed to return to the torch today, so this is just a hit and run post to let you know that I survived and am putting my nose to the marver today. Keep your fingers crossed that the Muse is around here somewhere - otherwise I will have to go and find the floor in the laundry room or something else equally as thrilling. (NOT!)

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Superb Fairy Wrens, Ferocious Predators

As the fall deepens here in Oz, the roses put on thier final show for the season. Inevitably, aphids arrive by the gazillions, and try to ruin the show.

Normally, Id hit them with a homemade chilli spray, but theres been so much going on around here lately, that I hadnt gotten to it yet.

This week, a troupe of Superb Fairy Wrens swooped in to the rescue. They were amazing! They spent hours and hours each day, scurrying from rose bush to rose bush, devouring aphids like tiny little feathered vaccums.

The Birds in Backyards Factsheet has a picture of a male in his breeding plumage, which features the most amazing bright blue. At the bottom of that page you can listen to these birds in an MP3 format. Enjoy!

Back in the studio.......Ive made a few beads so far this week. Fewer than Id like to have. Working with reds for a change, concentrating on having fun just melting the glass, not putting pressure on myself to 'perform', still working on getting the groove back. Have to admit Im feeling a bit stifled in all areas this week, as Friday Im due in hospital for an investigative procedure, and I just cant shake the willys over it. So I will just be extra nice to me till this is over - and hopefully they wont make me wait too long for results!

Be good to yourself today.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Endings - Tip for Lampwork Bead Buyers

Ive just been browsing on ebay and I feel the need to share a very important tip with all buyers of Lampwork beads:

Look carefully at the ends of the bead in this picture, you see those sharp ends? This would not be a good bead to buy! Sometimes you will see beads for sale with only a part of the end sticking out sharply.

Those sharp ends will cut your stringing material, ruining all your hard work at desigining and stringing your creation together. They are also weak, even when annealed, the thin edges on the sharp ends will chip away and eventually undermine the strength of the rest of the bead - not to mention...theyre sharp! Ouch!

Sharp ends are a sign that the maker was either: 1) very new to the craft, and is still lacking the skill to prevent sharpies...OR...2) the maker does not care about the quality of thier work.

If the auction description says something about the maker having 'smoothed the ends with a diamond tipped bit', then chances are pretty good that the bead had sharp ends and the maker has ground them down. I do not know whether or not that solves the problem, but I would take my cash elsewhere.

So, whats a good end? Glad you asked! A technically good end is one that is puckered inward...a good example is BELLY BUTTONS....on beads you want an "inny", and NOT an "outy".

On beads that are very round, an inward pucker is darn near impossible, so dont let that trip you up, but look carefully at the ends around the mandrel hole, and you should not see evidence of an 'outy".

So next time you fall in love with some beads, remember to check for a "Happy Ending".

Saturday, April 21, 2007

She was Robbed!!!

She was robbed! Or, the buyer got a Steal. Whats your call?

Sherry Bellamy's Parachute Heart Focal Bead

This bead makes me sick with desire. The desire to own it? Yes, but worse still is the wanting to have made it myself! (Hows this for total honesty?)

I like to imagine that I could figure it out if I applied myself, I think I know how the parachutes are done. But when I contemplate giving it a go myself, well...remember in Pirates 2 when Jack Sparrow makes the deal with Davy Jones for 100 souls to replace his own on board the Flying Dutchman? After the deal is done Jack says he feels "sullied and unusual".

Im still looking forward to the day when the direction I should take my work reveals itself to me. My Magmaforms need to be taken to the next level, or perhaps a whole new 'thang' is going to come along. Either way, I shouldnt have missed the end of this auction, this bead of Sherry's should have fetched a higher price, dont you agree?

If you are a lampwork bead-maker and selling on ebay, you might agree with me that the bubble seems to have burst there. (Many reasons/theories we wont go into here right now.)

If you are a lampwork bead-buyer and buying on ebay, the world is your oyster! LOL

Friday, April 20, 2007

Meet the Budgies: Uno


Uno, (Italian for 'one'), is a Recessive Pied Budgerigar hen with a yellow face. She and her matching brother, Secondo, were hatched about two years ago. She is especially fond of grass runners, milett sprays and corn on the cob.

Recently she paired up with Goliath, a yellow-face blue male. He is totally smitten with Uno, even though she treats him rather badly.

Perhaps she just doesnt like public displays of affection, because today she laid her first ever egg!

Irrefutable proof that there is some hanky panky going on when Im not around.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Beads, Photography, Migraines, BORING

Greetings Readers! It wont let me put up a picture today - must have something stuck in its craw.

Since my last post I had two more torch sessions, both of which yielded little joy. But thats the way it goes sometimes.

Then I got a migraine, just mentioning it as it came on about two hours after I took a solemn oath to blog at least every other day. Kinda figures doesnt it?

Anyhow, I didnt let it keep me horizontal. Yesterday I photographed the new beads, and some older ones that I found about the place, and today loaded up my site with them. Feels good to have something there again!

My camera is a Kodak DX6490, and I can get some amazing shots with it, but generally it requires a monumental effort on my part. The most bothersome of its quirks are: 1) it is incredibly light hungry - you just cant give it enough! And 2) When photographing beads I often take three shots at each exposure level I think it needs, (which seems to change from day to day, although my set up is exactly the same each time.)

It is not unusual for each of those three shots to show a different colour 'cast', one pinkish, one yellow, and one greyish. ITS MADDENING!!!! All four of the lights I use to illuminate the photo tent are daylight balanced, and although Im aware that all lights 'flicker' to some extent, well, I just cant account for this wild variation in colour from shot to shot.

Quite by accident, one shot I took had my finger in the frame - across the top of the photo. When reviewing the shots I noticed that this shot had the best - (read that "nearest to white") colour balance. So I went back and shot some more, all with my finger covering the topmost few millimetres of the lens. These shots were the best of the lot. Now, honestly, it doesnt make any sense to me. Is there some sort of conspiracy at Kodak to drive me insane?

Ergo: I do not recomend the Kodak DX6490 for bead photos. And as a bonus cautionary tale to those looking to buy a camera for bead photography, remember: just because the salesman insists that the unit has a macro - that that dont necessarily make it so.

Oh well, I lived to fight another day. But it looks like it is time I upgraded to Photoshop, from my dinosaur PSP6.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogs, Beads & Tunes

Its autumn here in Oz, and the roses are making thier last show for the season. The bees are still hard at it too.

Ive had two good sessions making beads! I felt 'The Love' returning, and I didnt want to turn off the torch - good stuff!

Maybe nothing to call the Guggenheim over, but some simple, lovely beads. The break seems to have done me good. I should have something to show you in a day or two.

If I ever get to build my dream studio - a big honkin' disc changer is on the top of my list. I like music while Im torching and during my last session, it occured to me again how ecclectic my taste in music is, take yesterdays 'set':

Dr Didg - Serontonality
Ocean Colour Scene - Moseley Shoals
Santana - greatest hits
Cake - Fashion Nugget
Cream - Strange Brew, the very best of
Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hot

Are you a blogger? Would you be interested in periodic tips by others who blog? Got something you'd like to discuss with other bloggers? Lori Greenberg runs a group on Yahoo, Art Blog Co-op. Maybe youd like to join? You wont be inundated with emails from this group, but the ones you get will always have a useful nugget of info for you. Lori Greenberg's Blog is always a good read too - check her out!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Progress, NOT Perfection

Id never seen a DOUBLE rainbow before the other morning, amazing!

Thank you Heather, for your great tips! I hope other readers will feel free to share what has helped them through creative burn out - to offer encouragement to others who find themselves there.

Ive spent time in my aviary, selecting a couple pairs and setting them up to breed, making all 19 of them thier favourite treats and making perch improvements. They love to sit on my hand and 'wrestle' my thumb, or preen my hair, or just sit on my shoulder and tell me all the birdy gossip. Budgies are really great pals. In the USA they are called parakeets.

Ive also spent time in the garden, digging out the last of the drought victims and seeking a new vision for its re-design. Using library books and the internet, Ive been researching new native plants that have the potential to thrive in defiance of this 'big dry'. I rescued the veggie bed from invasion by a vicious thorny weed, and planted lettuce, sweetpeas, broccoli and garlic.

The Most DH and I have spent some time together too. His employer closed for a week over easter and so we had some bonus time. We read books, went out for coffee and dinner, watched movies, and exercised our imaginations extensively on how to best spend $27 million if we won the lotto this week. We didnt win. Bummer.

While all these things went on, in the back of my mind Ive been trying to work out what brought on this case of creative burn out. The most significant points in my case are: Perfectionist tendencies, stubborness, lack of life-balance, poor health, and being a business.

Now that I know what to work on, I will light the torch today and see what comes.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Crispy, Crunchy, BBQ'd Artist

First off let me tell you that this Blogger stuff is not hard to learn - what a relief! If youre thinking of joining up, go for it!

Im still in a creative funk. So much so that I havent lit the torch much since my last post. An even more telling 'symptom' is that I havent even wanted to order more glass! Anyone who knows me well, knows that this is a very serious sign indeed.

Creative Burn-out. I wasnt sure I wanted to post about it. Never thought it could happen to me. Then I thought, "Heck! I cant be the only artist who ever walked this mile."

Im trying to take the time to do things that might 're-fuel' me creatively, and stay hopeful that this dismal time will pass - quickly!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Ergh - learning new things

Now Ive done it - now Ive got to learn a new I nuts?
Dont I have enough to do in a day?
Oh well, best to buck up and get on with it, eh?
Prior to this entry I was hosting my blog on my website, if youd like
to have a 'sticky beak' check it out at
Im off to find my way around this - will see you soon, Cheers!