Wednesday, December 22, 2010

To all the wonderful people in this world

Normally I keep my blog sterile of anything personal. I might show the odd picture of me hiking up Table Mountain, and slip in something here and there, but has always shy'ed away from things that affect me personally.

A lot of times I regretted that decision, other times I am glad that I did not spill my guts for all to see!

2010 was not my best year on a personal level. My dysfunctional relationship is finally on the rocks, and it blew out it's last breath a week or 2 ago. To say that I am sad, is an understatement. I have tried very hard to save it, but I had to give up the love of my life due to an unfortunate triangle situation.

The shop, my darling little place of safety is not so secure. Too many hours working, and adding frequent night shifts to earn enough money is slowly taking it's toll on my body. But I love it, I believe in it, and doggedly I will not give up without a fight. Reality is unfortunately sitting on my shoulder, and forced me at gunpoint to make a decision.

I have decided to keep up the fight till the 27th of February. What will happen then? The 27th of February 2011 is the final day of Design Indaba here in Cape Town. Should I get enough orders during the Indaba for my work to sustain me and the shop through the winter of 2011, we will stay open. If it fails, I will close the doors of Art of Hand ...

I have always been a cautious shop owner. I make contact with shoppers as they walk in, and listen to my gut. But last week, I did not follow through when my gut told me to ask someone to leave the shop. Twice he came back, the second time he managed to disappear with my shop rental, which was due the next day.

It felt as if my insides fell out when I discovered the theft. (About 5 minutes after he left the shop) Panic rose in me, bile taste in my mouth. I could feel how my body temperature changed. And seconds felt like hours. He disappeared down the street, gone, with money which was not his.

I had to voice my disaster, and wrote about it on An hour later I left the shop, to go and work a night shift. When I arrived the next morning at the shop, I was given the surprise of my life.

One of my best on-line friends, Davina-Marie (, sent out a plea for donations. She arranged some grab bags. Other friends jumped in, and offered some of their glorious work as part of the grab bags.

Loco donated the monies raised from 3 sweet toothpick glass holders, handmade by Loco. (I could not find Loco's website, but will add it as soon as I have it!)

Mary Kate offered a beautiful fused dichroic earrings and necklace set in a shimmery blue. (

Jo, our resident MacGalver on LE and another good friend ( contributed the sale from a tutorial to my plight.

Beth, the maker of the most amazing owl beads (, offered 5 (yes! FIVE) of her owl beads.

The monies that were donated by you were enough to help me to recover the stolen money. I am in debt to you and this community of caring people for ever. Thank you to everyone that helped me. Thank you for every one that made a donation to me for my free tutorials.

At this moment I can only offer my limited knowledge of glass bead making. should anyone need any help at any time, please feel free to contact me, and I will try my best to help you.

As soon as I can, I will pass this wonder that happened to me, forward to other people. I have always insisted on offering free tutorials as a way of thanking all the Lampworkers out there that offered their knowledge for free to me. I think I need to continue with that :-)

Summery bell flower pendants

I have sold the 2 bell flower necklaces that I made a couple of months ago, and had a request from a shopper to make a delicate little pendant using just one bell flower. Fine silver stamen anchors the glass bell flower to the chain. the stamen does move around, adding interest to the design.
It is available in my shop, Art of Hand, 305 Long Street, Cape Town. I ship anywhere!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday newness

I made these beads for my Etsy shop, but I have been itching to use it. Last week I made a few more disks, and knotted it today on the train into a 50 cm necklace. Sterling silver clasp.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Night beads

I made this necklace after I completed the grey and black set shown a week ago. I think I need to wear it tonight!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Hoop Earrings

I have made these hoop earrings some time ago, but decided to rather wait for the ordered ear pins, instead of making my own. 1 month to the date of ordering the pins, I got the notification from our Post Office. I have a parcel to collect. Honestly - I thought they disappeared somewhere in outer space. After I paid the taxes owed, I hurriedly opened the box. Lots of itsy little bits of silver. Thank goodness I had bought some stainless steel stud plugs some time ago, as these came without any.

I used the my new Triolyse glue to bond the pieces together, and voila! New stock for the shop!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Black and grey

A new necklace that I completed today. Softly etched black beads, knotted with some shiny grey beads that have micro stringers of white in the surface.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a tiny teaspoon ...

I got some teaspoons the other day. I was warned that they were on the small side, so I think I actually need to rename them as salt or mustard spoons. Cute and delicate.

SA Silly Etsy Sale now on!

It is November and it is time for a silly sale! All SA Etsy team members is taking part in this.

Please visit my shop. My work is discounted and you get free shipping anywhere on this planet!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Birthday sale at Etsy

It's my birthday, so I offer all my work in Etsy at a 10% discount! Valid till 26 October 2010!!!
Hurry! :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday pretties

I made this necklace a few days ago, after I sold a similair one. I would love to have one of these myself!

And some hearts that I etched. Ivory glass, some with coral and silver shard decorations. It still need to get a sterling silver bail bonded into the glass.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Play date with silver leaf and shards

Some new focal beads from the kiln this morning. I played with shards and silver leaf yesterday. I blew the shards myself. And all the beads are hand formed by me. I was very happy getting the round shape right for a change!
I got an e-mail this morning from someone who wanted some information about one of my beads. I might think about doing a tutorial on it ...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Glass Hoop Earring tutorial

So you would like to make some of these cool hoop earrings? This tutorial explains how I make them. I would imagine that there is lots of ways to make it, and you can go out and buy some fancy cutting tools, etc. I made them, using standard Lampwork tools that I already had in my studio. Please use this tutorial as a guide, and remember to always put safety first! I wear glasses, but should you have perfect vision, please wear safety glasses. Since you are cold working the glass in water, I do not think that there is danger of inhaling glass powder ...

Let's start, OK?

You need to have at least a 5 mm thick (minimum) disk bead. I used a 16 mm ring mandrel to make my disks. If you need help to make a ring/disk on a ring mandrel, please view my ring tutorial, also in this blog. (

I am going to cut a 1/4 wedge out of the ring. With my first attempt, I just cut a ring in half. It really did not look good. If you look at most hoop earrings with a stud post, you will see that they are about 3/4 of a circle. I drew a circle on paper and crossed it. This allowed me to mark the cutting lines correctly.

Since I use my normal diamond bit that I normally use to clean beads, it will eat about a mm of glass. For this reason I start cutting the ring a bit inside the 1/4 area that I want to remove from the ring. It will also allow me to clean up the ring after I completed it, and ensure that both rings is the same size.

Start by cutting just a small groove in the glass.

Now cut on both sides of the ring. The reason I do this, is to ensure that if the glass breaks while cutting it, there will not be a chipped edge.

One side grooved.

Repeat the same groove cutting on the other side. Remember that you need to cut inside the line ...

Now it is time to cut through the one side. At this stage it is important not to hold the glass in the 1/4 area that you will eventually remove. That area is your 'Weakest Link'. I allow the diamond tip to eat away at the glass, with minimum pressure on the glass. Move the diamond tip in the groove as you cut.
(Normally I do the cutting under water but for the sake of clear pictures, I have captured images in the air.)

The first cut is complete. You can see a slight butt of glass. That will be smoothed out later.

Repeat the same on the other grooved cutting line. Remember not to hold onto the ring in the wedge area that you are trying to remove. When I cut the second area, I take my time. Just allow the diamond tip to eat at the glass. Do not put a lot of pressure on the glass.

Now it is time to clean up the edges. I gently roll the diamond tip over the surface, Visually eyeballing it to see if the edge is straight.

Change the angle at which you clean the surface, make sure that your surface is flat. Repeat the process on the other edge. Measure the ring on your drawn circle, to make sure that you have removed a 1/4 wedge of glass.

All done. But is it really done? That is a tiny surface to glue a post on, and if you bond your ear post to the 5 - 6 mm area, how secure will it be long term? I think we need to do some more work!

Using my 1 mm diamond tip I start to drill a hole in the centre of the ring. Start slowly, allow the diamond tip to slowly open up a little hole.

Continue to drill a little hole inside the glass. I try to drill at least a 2 - 3 mm hole.

All done!
Now the easy part! Normally I make my own posts.
If you do metal work, it is real easy! I cut a small disk from sheet silver (diameter of the glass surface), drill a hole in the centre, the diameter of the post, insert the post rod in the hole, letting it protrude a bit. Solder, pickle, and polish ...
But, I found some earring posts online that is used for pearl ear studs. Just SO much easier! is just one of many online suppliers. My posts-with-peg is on it's way to me!
Use a good quality 2 part bonding agent, and cement the post into the drilled hole in your glass ring. I normally use Areldite, but I have been told that TRIOLYSE Glass Fusing Jewelry Metal Craft Glue is a very good bonding agent. And a little birdy have told me that Malcolm from might stock it.
Allow the bonding cement to cure, and enjoy your new Hoop earrings!
p.s. If you feel that this tutorial (or any of my other tutorials) will benefit you, and you feel so inclined, please feel free to make a small donation.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

a new button on my blog ...

I have never sold any tutorials on working with glass. I have always felt that it was my little way of 'passing it forward' all the good that I have received from the glass community. But as with everyone, times is tough ... So with that in mind, I have added a Paypal button, should you feel that you would like to donate a $ or 2 for tutorials that I have prepared. The next step for me is to convert my tutorials into PDF files. Should you require any of my past (or future) tutorials in a PDF format, please feel free to contact me! I will do it, still at no fee.

And speaking of tutorials, I think it is about time to do another one, lol! I have made these cute little earrings for some time now, and think that it is time to share it with you guys!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

squiggle necklaces!

Summer has arrived in Cape Town. Every afternoon when I reach the station I first slip into a food outlet and get myself a vanilla cone. By the time I board the train the cone has cooled down my tummy, jummy!

So it is time to get out all those bright summery colours. Here is 2 necklaces that I have made in the last 2 days. They are fairly short, and the squiggles open up in a fan pattern over your chest. It was fun making them too!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Purple bell flower necklace and other stuff

I have finally added some candle stick blanks to my Etsy shop. Hurry, there is only a few available! This will make a very nice gift to someone who does not wear jewellery, lol!

And a new necklace that I completed this weekend. I took the picture outside, and just loved how the sun played on the transparent glass.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I am in another treasury!

Spring flowers!

I made these glass bell flowers some time ago, and last night I finally decided how to assemble it. The sterling silver chain has been laying around for almost 3 years, unused. I loved it when I bought it, but never found that one idea to use it with. Fine silver stamen attach the flowers to the chain.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Want to be my friend on Facebook?

I just realised that I am not friends with a lot of you, and although I follow a lot of blogs, it would be nice to read more about you everyday.
You are welcome to befriend me on Facebook!

A Pretty bead, but damaged goods ...

I made this bead last week, and while I cleaned the hole, it slipped out of my hand. One of the tiny black dots on the edge of the bead chipped off. I REALLY loved this bead. The colours, the pattern, everything about it! Ugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coral and Turquoise

Large sand coloured disk pendant

Some new work. I really love this big disk. The colours is soft, blending into each other with a raked pattern. Soft raised dots is on the perimeter of the disk. This pendant could be attached to a leather or a silk ribbon.