Strawberry Ice Porcelain Bead

Strawberry Ice Sprig Technique Porcelain Nugget Bead

This cute pink porcelain bead is meant to be used as a focal bead as it is 23 mm from hole to hole. The stringing hole is 2 mm.

Pink seems to be very popular for spring this year, more so than in other years, and this darker pink seems to be right in line with Pantone’s fashion colors for Spring 2015.

The Pantone website says this color of Pink: “…is suggestive of a cooling and refreshing delicacy, yet its warmth as a color is quite appealing. Subtle and charming, Strawberry Ice is an ideal shade for Spring/Summer 2015

So there ya go … here it is!  🙂  Have a great day! –Natalie

Sampler Mix Showcased

Sampler Mix

A little bit of this a little bit of that.  Each of these beads could be used as a focal on a ‘small delicate’ type of necklace or bracelet.  The largest bead is only 15 mm. 

There is porcelain clay in this mix as well as stoneware.  There are lots of techniques from sprigs of clay being added, to texture, to random glazing.

If you have never worked with ceramic beads before, this set is priced affordably.

Lavender Hand Painted Ceramic Bead with Iron Oxide Daisy Decals

Lavender Hand-painted Ceramic Bead

I thought I would showcase this bead that I currently have available at my Etsy store

I drew that daisy, scanned the drawing, saved it as a 300dpi jpg photo, and opened up my word processing program.  I copied and pasted the photo into Word, then pasted enough to make an entire row. 

I copied that row to make another row, until the page was filled.  I used a laser printer in order to print out the file onto special decal paper.

The decal paper consists of paper, glue, and plastic (in that order).  The laser actually prints on the plastic part. 

I cut out each daisy separately and dip it in water, then place each one onto a paper towel for about 30 seconds or so.  I want the paper to separate from the plastic. 

I hold the decal between my thumb and forefinger and rub my fingers together until the plastic separates from the paper.  There is a bit of glue on the plastic, which helps the decal stick onto the bead. I also slightly warm each bead before applying the decals. 

After the bead(s) sit for at least 24 hours, I load a batch into the kiln and fire the decal covered beads to cone 05.

If I want additional colors, I can glaze the bead too, as long as the glaze fires to the same temperature as the decals.  However, for this particular bead, I had already applied the lavender lines to each end.

If it seems like a lot of ‘work’, it is … but when the bead is completely finished it is a satisfying feeling.

Thanks for stopping by!

Yay for Off-White Ceramic Beads

Vanilla Dimpled Ceramic Beads

These cute beads are so perfect for earrings or a cute addition to a bracelet or necklace. I took a stoneware white clay and pushed a dimpled texture into each bead, coated with a glossy white and fired. Simple, but elegant.

I left off yesterday with the news my kiln had been delivered.  It is a kiln I have saved more than a couple of years to afford. Unfortunatly I did not order the kiln I thought I had ordered and the person who took my order didn’t ask questions.

I mean, who orders a digital kiln with a kiln setter attached without any manual control knobs?  Apparently I do.  🙁

Well, nothing I can do about now.  Gonna have to make lemonade out of my lemons.

Cherry Sage Leaves Stoneware Beads

Agh, I didn’t blog yesterday. It was my first day of January not to blog.  If anyone missed it, well, I am back today with new resolve. On the other hand, Feedburner, which should be delivering my daily blogs is on the fritz or something because although I am subscribed, I haven’t gotten a thing through email in more than a week. I don’t know what is up with that. Hopefully I can get that figured out soon.

In the meantime, this morning I took this stoneware clay and some cherry sage leaves from my cherry sage bush out by the front sidewalk.  I rolled a ball, pressed the leaves into the clay and took my size 1 mm sock knitting needle and impressed this texture everywhere the leaves weren’t.

As I was finishing up, the delivery truck pulled up with my new kiln. 😉

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Today I separated our vast array of pennies.  Anything 1981 and under went into a Ziplock bag. I think I bagged about 100 of them.  Why?  The pennies that are made then have more copper in them.  I could be more specific than that, but there is always Google for those interested.  It actually changed somewhere in the middle of 1982, so I decided to make it easier by not using any of those from that year.

I put one of the pennies into my rolling machine and rolled it.  I thought I might dap it and etch it, or maybe stamp it … maybe use it for a linking component for a bracelet. Maybe I’ll dap another one and make a hollow bead.  There are many possibilities and I haven’t decided what to do with it as of yet.

Turquoise Friday

Turquoise Spiral Sprig Ceramic Beads

These beads are about 15 mm from hole to hole. This turquoise glaze drapes lusciously over this stoneware clay.  It is not exactly the same shade as ‘scuba blue’ which is one of the 2015 spring colors from Pantone).

The description of “scuba blue’ on the Pantone website says that it ‘conveys a sense of carefree playfulness’ and ‘offers a feeling of escape as it is reminiscent of a tropical ocean’ which is capable of taking ‘us off to an exotic paradise…even if only a fantasy’.  Sounds good to me! 🙂 

Coral Red Sun Flowers

Coral Red Sun Flowers

These five beads are a lovely set that I’ve renewed over on Etsy.  One bead is slightly larger than the rest, it is 20  mm and the smaller ones are 15 mm. 

These are perfect for a rustic boho design, the larger one and two of the smaller could be used in a necklace and the other two 15 mm beads could be used as an earing set. There are lots of possiblities.

I got to thinking about what kinds of translucent gemstones might look good with these beads and came up with peridot or maybe tanzanite or blue lolite.  ‘

Gotta love PicMonkey … it makes it easy to see if something like either of these combinations play nicely together.

I think I prefer the green over the blue.  Any ideas? Love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!


Blue Circles Porcelain Ceramic Bead

Blue Circles Porcelain Ceramic Bead

This porcelain bead was made with geometric circles of various sizes, then coated in a wonderful cobalt blue glaze and fired in my outside kiln.

I googled “geometric circles” this morning and scrolled and scrolled through the images section.  So many pretty ways to depict a circle.

Then, as all internet searches go, I found myself at Ebay staring at a round rug with painted daisies on it, thinking to myself, “I really like this rug. Should I buy it?”

But no, I did not buy it. Maybe next time. 🙂  Have a great day! — Natalie

Stoneware Beads with Blue Accents

I used a blend of red and brown stoneware clays to create these.  I used an opaque red/orange blend of glazes to cover them, and took a dark cobalt blue underglaze and painted these daisy type flower petals on them.  Fun! I don’t have them listed anywhere yet, but soon.

Stamped Leaf Demo

  I had a “Stamped Leaf Demo” on my old website ‘design’ for many many years, and it had a lot of views. I noticed when I went ‘the WordPress’ route that I had somehow neglected to tack on those demos and after a bit of consideration, I’m redoing them here, randomly.

These barrel beads are rolled over a stamp and allowed to dry.  Next I glazed them with a light light green glaze from Mayco … I think it was the Stroke and Coat “Celery Green” glaze.

I have sold a lot of beads like this over the years, and these types of beads are a lot of fun and satisfying to make.  I start out by rolling a ball of clay and then simply roll that ball onto the stamp. Usually I begin at one diagonal corner and roll to the other. This gives a randomness to each bead I couldn’t have achieved otherwise.

The next step is to put a hole in the bead. I use an aluminum knitting needle for hole piercing. I try to center the hole exactly in the middle so that when the bead is on the necklace that each bead will hang nicely.

Note the translucence of the glaze which allows the leaf pattern to show through. I like how this particular glaze allows the pattern to pop out from the bead. The darkness of the clay gives the appearance of a light white-pink.

Have a great day!  — Natalie

Poor Bunny Bead Has A Spot

I somehow messed up this bunny bead with a small pink dot from another glaze.  It’s a cute bead. It will go into the bead bowl for ‘misfit’ beads that I keep for my granddaughter.  I have given her a large used guitar string to string up beads for fun. It would be similar to what others may have with small wooden blocks and a string.  She has a lot of fun with my ‘mistake’ beads.

I have a couple of other bunny beads that did not become disfigured in the firing. I will begin offering them this week sometime.

Thanks for reading!  — Natalie

Nugget Beads, Salmon Color

I formed these nugget beads from stoneware a while back. I went to glaze them and used a combination of glazes. One was a tomato red to which I added some white and a bit of brown.  These are kind of a salmon color but I don’t know if I am liking that color description.  Any suggestions?

Have a lovely Saturday!  — Natalie

Storybook Porcelain Beads

I posted yesterday that these were in the kiln, firing.  The gray elephants need to be refired. I did not put enough glossy glaze on them and they were somewhat scratchy to the touch, which is probably the way a real life elephant feels. So I will be refiring those in the next few days.

Here are three little pigs and the big bad wolf. However.  I did make an extra pig and have it on my website for sale.

It’s been a fun week, glazing, and taking pictures of beads, and writing blog posts about them. Thanks for coming along with me.  — Natalie

Elephants, Bunnies, and Long Ear Mice

It is going to be in the low 50s today and I’m so glad. It has been bitterly cold the last week and I’m tired of my fingers and toes being perpetually cold. It makes it difficult to glaze with my fingers, but still, I am glazing.

Along with the Elephants, Bunnies, and Long Ear Mice (in the title), I am also glazing piggies and a ‘Bigh Bahd Wolffff’.  That’s how my granddaughter says “Big Bad Wolf” she puts some air in each word, probably to emphasize her favorite part of the story, the huffing and the puffing.

These are all going into the smaller kiln today.  A few weeks ago I got into a roll of making smaller sculpture beads of little animal friends and now I have glazed them. The elephant is a light gray, the bunnies are either white or pink, and some have daisies impressed into their bodies (not shown). Leaning to the right is the ‘bigh bahd wolffff’.  The long ear mouse is also white.

Beads always look very different after they are glazed and before they are fired.   Check back tomorrow to see the end result and thanks for reading! — Natalie

Today’s Yummy Kiln Load

I took these beauties out of the kiln today. I have roughly 35 of them, each one is a bit different.  I glazed the ‘daisies’ with a white underglaze, and used a light celedon glass over that.  Because it is a brown clay, the glaze doesn’t show up, it is subtle. I like that effect, though, and hoped it would come out something like it has. Oh yay!

I have not added any of these to my etsy store or my website, but soon. 

Stoneware Leaf Blues Ceramic Beads

Stoneware Leaf Blues Ceramic Beads

These are semi-round beads with leaf impressions. I say ‘semi-round’ because I roll each individually in the palms of my hands.

These are 15-16 mm with 2 mm stringing holes are are available on my website.

Today I have another load of beads in the smaller kiln. I’m in good shape glazing lately. I spent most of December forming beads (like these in the picture) and now I seem to be spending all my free time glazing.

When I enjoy it, it sure is fun. When I’m not in the mood it is sheer torture. Good thing I’m in the mood to be glazing.  I think what is making the difference is that I took the time about a week ago to re-hydrate all my glazes. Now when I go searching for a particular color I do not have to stop and add water and stir, or choose a different color.  I don’t have to wait overnight or a couple of days for the water to soak in enough to be able to glaze with it.  It’s wonderful to simply choose, open, and use my choice of glaze the first time.

I hope it is warm where you are (it’s cold here, even my hens are not wandering far from the heating lamp in the covered part of their coop).

Thanks for dropping by!

Firing Beads on Rods – Kiln Demo

I have had a lot of people ask me, “How do you fire those beads?”  I have decided it would be good to post a picture of how I do this.

The glaze is only on the outside of the bead. If I dipped the entire bead into the glaze, it would fire and become hard like glass and not come off of the rod. So each bead has the glaze brushed onto it individually.

I have found a webpage that shows what these look like stacked up in a kiln (CLICK HERE).

Thanks for stopping by! 
– Natalie

Brrr …. Cold Day in Texas

We’re having our winter here in North Central Texas.  Each morning the temperature is in the 30s, and for some of those who live up north, why, that isn’t very cold at all, but for me it is very cold.  I prefer the 80s, the 90s, and even the 100s.  Why am I not living in Arizona? Florida? Hawaii?

These two beads in the picture have served me well the past few years. I had thought to ‘brand’ them for my website and profile icons/avatar, but I think I will be retiring this soon in favor of something else. I don’t know what, yet, but something.

I have another small load of beads firing, with the same two glazes as the other day.  I suppose this is the week I have spent glazing more beads than I have in the last several months. 

I have so many different ideas I want to try out in 2015.  But first I have to finish up some old projects.

 Currently I am making up some slabs to fashion into a dollhouse/carport for the grandchildren. I have three floors and a stairway in greenware. Now onto the walls and other sets of stairs.  After that project, I have in mind to make some fermenting pots for sauerkraut and the like.  And then I still have some mugs that are awaiting their ‘first’ firing. 

This year I am replacing my big kiln, and right before Jan 1, I ordered one. It should be here in another week or so. It is the same brand/size as my last except it is digital. I also ordered it so that it would have a kiln setter.  After I ordered it, I thought, “Well, that old kiln isn’t so bad. It will be fine to bisque fire in.”  I think that’s what I will do, as long as it lasts. After that, I’ll set it on the sidewalk and put on Craiglist:  “Free kiln.  To the first person who will come and get it.  Not working well.”

And if no one comes for it, I will put a sign on it that says, “$25” and in no time at all, some enterprising soul will come along and put it in the back of their truck and drive away. That person will think he/she is ‘stealing’ it, but no, it would not be stealing it. That person will be doing me a favor.

Have a great day,

First Kiln Firing of 2015

I started my small (test) kiln yesterday morning with a small load of beads. Inside were white stoneware, porcelain, mixed porcelain/stoneware, and brown stoneware clay beads.  I used a bright blue under-glaze on some and others I coated with a light green celedon.

I’m pleased with the results.  What do you think? Tonight or tomorrow I am going to put some on my website and some in my Etsy store

I also wanted to fire my kiln up today but since the plug is shared with the dryer and laundry demands to be done, I will have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime I have on my studio table all my re-hydrated glazes to choose color combinations, and hopefully I will make some good choices.

I am doing my business taxes, so it is a good time to evaluate costs.  I’m sorry to say I had to raise Etsy shipping by .30. I was seriously hoping to keep initial USA shipping at $2.  International shipping prices, however, have remained the same.

In other news … I continue to be baffled by SEO requirements. I did get a plug-in for the WordPress theme I am using that urges me to add SEO stuff, and I am hoping that other than filling in the required blanks and attempting to generate interest with good content, that it will be a good 2015.

I took lots of pictures of these, went to upload to my computer and found my memory card was corrupt.  After some investigation it was the card reader which had gone corrupt.  There are many ways to feed a cow, so I finally took a couple of pictures with my phone.  I will be buying a new card reader this afternoon to be able to list these properly.

So here’s to you, 2015 …cheers!