handmade


So what is frit? Crushed glass used by lampworkers and fusers to add color and design to their glass creations.

My EGA friend Rhonda Willis from www.rwillisglassartist.etsy.com shares with us a great way to make frit:

A friend of mine works at a local glass store, and she is always coming up with wonderful ideas. Well, her dad (an engineer) came up with this idea for a home-made frit maker. After seeing it, I made a quick dash to the Home Depot (Lowe’s or Ace should have them too) so that I could make one for myself.

Materials from hardware store:

One 1-1/2″ x 8″ heavy lead pipe
One 1-1/2″ cap
One 3/4″ x 10″ heavy lead pipe
Two 3/4″ caps

From a glass supply company:
Glass Frit Sifter set (I love this set!!)

The coffee grinder just doesn’t do it for me, and like many glass artists, I’ve been hammering the glass in plastic bags to make my frit. Now I just put my glass in the 1-1/2″ pipe and use the capped 3/4″ pipe to crush the glass. Then I poor the contents into the glass sifter set which separates the sizes of the frit. I then poor the frit into my 2-oz. storage containers (a gold-mine find at a local thrift store).

The caps aren’t flat, so I have to store the frit maker on its side. I’m sure you could flatten the cap. But, I’m not particular. I’m just thrilled to have this! The weight of the capped 3/4″ lead pipe makes it quick and easy for me to make my own frit. And, to make the “crusher 3/4″ pipe” even heavier I threw in some heavy fishing weights (a garage sale find). Rocks, lead balls, or anything else you can find to add some weight to it will work just as well. Smile

Happy crushing!

Kumquat Tingle - Wire Wrapped Fused Glass Pendant Large

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come from almost anywhere, the littlest things can spark inspiration. The way a crumpled piece a paper lays, the way a shadow cast across a yard, even in my case when a batch of glass falls to the floor and makes a large crash and a huge mess even music can inspire us-so why not a scent a glorious smell. Can a scent inspire us to create? maybe if it is a great one hey? Anyone that knows me knows I love orange and struggle not to use it in my work but oh man after I got a whiff of this soap by daisycakessoap all bets were off it rekindled my love for the color orange LOL No kidding!

I shopped late for my own mothers day gift again this year and I popped over to JM’s shop knowing full well I would buy something fresh and fruity. Kumquat was perfect because it was orange. I had no idea what it smelled like- I totally trust JM and I knew it would be good but never knew it would smell this yummy. I keep telling her I swear I didn’t eat it but it smells good enough to lick.

Now everyday I can smell that soap at my studio sink and it really sunk into me because now I can’t quit making orange pendants- Like I ever could ha ha!

This pendant is in honor of JMs soap and my love for Kumquat Soap- Thanks for making my studio smell great!

If you read my blog we might have 1 thing in common an addiction to glass or jewelry and wanting to make enough money to support our habit, right? More than supporting our habit would be even better. Well bear with me and I am going to point you in the right direction. This plan will work for the Jewelry designers/beaders too. It can work for most home based handmade items!

Display is keyWhen I first bought my kiln seven years ago I went off half-cocked. I didn’t think about what I would do with the things I made, and then I had buyers remorse. Huge purchase and ton of money in supplies, that was it. Kind of all dressed up and no place to go, if you know what I mean.

After a few years of struggling with Ebay, I put my big ol thinking cap on and devised a plan to broaden my fused glass adventure. I started doing Home Jewelry Parties. Much to my surprise, it worked. Ebay quickly fell by the way side, because the interaction with people was intoxicating and the money was GOOD!

Here are few tips to home party bliss:

1. Make a well planned brochure that outlines your party plan (I am going to make your life easier here; you can use my brochure as a guide as long as you don’t live near me LOL).
2. Have business cards on hand at all times and strategically hand them out. Creepy people do not need your info. ;)
3. Carry a calendar and brochures with you at all times.
4. Put a message on your answering machine that tells people they have reached the right place. Nothing’s worse than calling and not knowing if you reached the right place.
5. Make sure you wear what you make, otherwise what is the point? If you won’t wear it, who will?
6. Put on your seller face and voice in public. In other words smile and be nice. That draws them in to ask about what you are wearing.
7. Don’t over commit yourself. Ya gotta have time to make stock.
8. Present your items well. Put your creations on cards with a logo and contact info.
9. Make available to your customers chains and cords so they can wear their purchase right away or give them as gifts. Easy shopping is the key to great home parties.
10. If the budget allows – advertise. Make postcards and send them out to advertise special sales and shows you will be selling your works from. Add your logo and site info to your car. I can’t tell you how well that works for me.caradvertising.jpg

Your Etsy shop will grow with these parties. Your website makes you accessible to people outside of the parties.

I quit my real world job to do what I love. I am able to live off of it and support that glass addiction I have. Life is good!

Good luck in your new adventure! Hope this helps!

Click here If you would to see copy of my Home Jewelry Brochure and use it as a guide to make your own. I would love to know your thoughts and would love to share any other ideas you have as a party giver. This plan has worked wonders for my business. home-jewelry-part-new.pdf

I have to do it, I just have to get that shop in gear. Sales motivate me to make more stuff. It is not the money it’s the moving of inventory that motivates me. In my tiny mind it makes me think if someone buys it, I have made something good and when sales are low I get down and think maybe I SUCK. I know it is probably 12 year old thinking but this too shall pass. Every August I go through retail slump blues. So I am having a September-UNSLUMP sale! Okay unslump is not a word but I am using it any way LOL.

Here is the deal- Buy 2 and get a third one of equal or lesser value FREE. it’s not hard and I think any one can find 3 things in my shop they like right? Just convo(email me with the third choice and I will add it to your package. http://shoozles.etsy.com

Help me UNSLUMP!

peeking in the kilnSometimes it is so hard for me to wait to see what the kiln has in store for me, so hard that I can’t move on to the next project. Does that ever happen to anyone else? I catch my self thinking about what is in the kiln instead of thinking of the next thing I can do. It truly is a joy for me to open that kiln and receive the gift it has inside. But the waiting is like kids waiting for Christmas and it take so long.

Yesterday I worked on painting with fusable high fire enamels and then printing on top of my glass only to run out of time(I was pooped) I was not be able to fire then the 2nd time until today. So first thing this morning the kiln was on and and I waited all day for the kiln to cool, resisting the urge to peek, dieing to see what the kiln had to offer.

This is what I got this evening a wonderful batch of trees with hand painted background. I think I just might sleep better tonight now that they are done LOL

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boyscarding1.jpg

Here they sit on my studio floor with cards and punch and hemp string all ready to help MOM!

The boys have been employed by me to card all my jewelry. I pay them 5 dollars an hour to put jewelry on cards for my shows, home parties and from my Etsy website. I cut all the cards and they punch and tie them to the cards then I name and price the lot. There is probably 200 pieces all together in the boxes they have in front of them.They never want to do it but once they get started they can get quite a lot done and the best part is the cash they get when they are done. I have a box party this week and all my jewelry needs to be carded so get to work boys!

green blossom BarrettesIt’s always about “NEW” Maybe I get bored easy, or maybe I am afraid my target audience will not come in and look at my shop if I don’t change it up from time to time. I am probably right about both of these things. I feel the need to offer items for a younger crowd and I have to keep in mind not everyone likes the same things as me. For instance I made these hair barrettes today, I am 40 and not a cool 40 okay? So I would look like an idiot if I wore them. I guess I had to step out of my box today. I have had this idea for over a year I bought the felt flowers last fall and never got the nerve to do these, thinking the idea was dumb now this stuff is everywhere. Who Knew-well I guess I did LOL the moral of the story go with your gut and step out of your little box.

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