Christmas Decorations

snowmanMany families have a tradition of collecting a new Christmas decoration each year.  As they put up their tree each year, they remember where the decoration came from or who gave it to them.  Some people also like to give Christmas decorations as gifts to loved ones, colleagues and even teachers.

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Bead Expo 2014

BeadLast Friday, Saturday and Sunday I attended the annual Melbourne Bead Expo, which is run by The Bead Society of Victoria.  I have been an exhibitor for quite a few years now.  It’s an enjoyable event full of beads and findings.

Several past customers came and bought more beads and some even showed me the beautiful jewellery they had made with my beads.  I met several new people and had some interesting discussions.  I also caught up with some of my fellow lampworking buddies.

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First Beaded Kumihimo Attempt

I was at a bead show a little while ago where someone was demonstrating beaded kumihimo.  It reminded me a lot of the knitting nancy which I used to love doing as a child.  So I bought a kit and some seed beads.

The stall-holder asked me if I knew how to use a bead needle.  Of course I did, what a strange question.  I’ve been sewing for years and know how to use a needle.  I cut my 8 threads into the appropriate length and then went to thread the seed beads on.  After picking up the needle and examining it for a while, I couldn’t find the eye.  My eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be so I put on my glasses but still couldn’t find the eye.  Maybe I’d been sold a dodgy needle.  After much frustration, I finally discovered that the centre of the needle separates and that is the eye.

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Blowing shards

I’ve been experimenting with blowing glass shards.  Basically you get a hollow stainless steel mandrel (or blowpipe) and build a layer of glass on the end of it and then blow through the pipe to expand the glass until you have a very thin bubble of glass. As with anything, there’s a few different techniques to blow a glass shard and it does take some practice.  I built up layers of glass on the end of the mandrel, making sure that there are no holes in the glass otherwise the technique won’t work.  Also, you attach the glass directly onto the mandrel, no need for bead release.

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Reorganising glass rods

I’ve just spent the morning rearranging my lampwork glass rods and trying to colour co-ordinate them.  This is my old storage system – PVC pipes.  When I first started lampworking and didn’t have many rods, they were simply stored upright in glass jars.  As the stash grew, it became difficult to find the right rods and I often caught my clothes on them as the rods were sticking up.

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