Thursday, June 25, 2009

Flamework Beads

I bought the lovely flameworked beads that I use in the Lifesaver Earrings line at the recent Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee from Isis Beads. Isis Ray, owner of Isis Beads, was at the Show selling her handcrafted beads in person, and she had an amazing array of beautiful wares on hand. Deciding on which ones to buy, when they were all so tempting, was far from easy.

I also bought some other beads from Isis Ray, and will be making earrings and also a bracelet from them in the coming weeks.

Here is a great explanation of how flameworked beads are made, written by Isis Ray:

"Flame-worked beads are made by melting glass canes in the flame of a torch and winding the liquid glass around a steel rod, which has a clay based releasing agent on it to keep the glass from bonding to the steel. The rod must be evenly rotated to center the hot glass, and the correct temperature of the bead must be kept even without losing the desired shape, all with a light touch so that the thin clay coating doesn't break. The finished beads are held at 950 degrees F in a kiln to anneal, or align the glass molecules. They are allowed to cool very slowly before being removed from the steel rod, which forms the hole of the bead.

Each bead is a bit of magic, made with glass and fire, hands and eyes, but coming from the heart. I draw on a background in Fiber Art to make beads with a balance of color & light, design, pattern and proportion. "

-- Isis Ray

You can reach Isis on the internet at and by email at

After the beads used in the Lifesaver Earrings were formed, Isis added an additional step, of etching them in an acid solution, which gives them a matt finish, very much like sea glass.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sailing 101

I spent Monday and Tuesday taking a sailing class with my husband. We sailed out of Burnham Harbor in Chicago aboard a 33 foot Hunter sailboat, the KnotACare.
We had to run the inboard motor to get out of the harbor, but once out on Lake Michigan we turned off the engine and got underway using sail power.

This is a view looking over the bow of the boat. That black triangle in the left corner is part of the entryway to go below decks.
The boat had two cabins, a galley (kitchen) and a head (bathroom). It also had air conditioning, which to my dismay I found out wouldn't work once we left the dock, since it operates off of ac supplied by a plug in to the electrical supply on the dock.

But once we got underway, we left the 100 degree heat of Chicago behind, for the pleasantly cool breezes on the lake, and the A/C wasn't needed anyway.
The round metal object (winch) in the foreground with the sheets (ropes) tied around it is used to position the sails, which is called 'trimming' the sails. There are a lot -- a whole lot -- of terms associated with sailing, it's almost like learning a foreign language, and I've got a long way to go yet.

I was a bit apprehensive about getting seasick. I went whale watching once off the coast of Cape Cod and spent most of the time deathly ill.
But the fates smiled on me during the sail, and I felt fine.

The boat in this picture is the Sea Witch and she has a lot more sails than The KnotACare. The KnotACare had two, the mainsail, which provides most of the propulsion, and a jib, which helps out on propelling the boat, and which also is adjusted when the boat is moved in different positions relative to the wind direction.

The mainsail is also adjusted, or 'trimmed' during the sail. This is done manually, by pulling on the ropes attached to the sails. After awhile, this gets a bit hard on your hands, not to mention your back and arms. I was surprised just how strenuous sailing is, and gained a whole new respect for the men who used to sail the tall ships during the days of shipping by schooner.

One surprise to me was the presence of flies out on the lake. At the harbor there were hardly any, but once off shore, they were a constant and annoying companion. Why they're out there I haven't a clue. The second day of the sailing lessons we brought bug spray, and solved the problem of the biting black flies.

It's so beautiful out on the lake. This is the view looking back to Chicago, that thin hazy layer was really there, it's not an artifact of photography.
The water was that lovely blue, and the sun sparkled off the surface.

There was Captain Jim, our instructor, my husband and myself, and another student on the sail. We learned to trim the sails, steer the boat, and how to care for the boat and what the rules of the road (they call them that, even though you're on the water) and some of the laws concerning boating. And also practiced rescuing a man overboard, which thankfully was just a seat cushion overboard.

At the end was the much dreaded test, which we had to pass to get our certification. We each had to go through various maneuver's with the boat, taking turns skippering and also trimming the sails, demonstrate some different knots, and then take a 100 question written test. I'm happy to report that all three of us passed!

I'm looking forward to going sailing again. We've got one more sail with an instructor, to learn to dock the boat on our own, and demonstrate one more time our newfound sailing skills, and then we'll be able to sail alone. It's going to be a lot of fun to go sailing with just my husband, enjoying the serenity of Lake Michigan.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fabulous Beaded Creations

On display at the Bead & Button Show at Milwaukee were prize winning pieces in various categories. In the flameworked beads, this necklace was an hard to miss, it looked delicious, in fact!
By Debra Kallen, of Langley, British Columbia, Canada, and titled Xmas Garland.
It looks like strands of candy and popcorn, but it's all handmade beads.
Who wouldn't like to find that in their stocking on Christmas morning?

This necklace is composed of flameworked beads, with many different shapes and colors, just a lovely work. Unfortunately I don't know who the artist is, but it was a prize winner , and just stunning.

This miniature Bakery is so adorable! I just love miniatures, and this little shop looks like you could just walk right in and enjoy the beautiful food, doesn't it? Sadly I don't know the name of the talented artist who created this lovely Bakery, all from flameworked beads.

The tiny tea service, and all the beautifully detailed food is amazing. What little girl (or big one!) wouldn't love to own this darling shop.
I know I would.

I was completely bedazzled by the incredible skill of the ladies from Japan, who's legendary beadwork must be seen to truly appreciate it's beauty. My photos certainly don't do them justice, and after seeing them in person, I don't think it's possible to capture their delicate beauty photographically, because they're more remarkable than even professional photography shows.

The red beadwork is a covered box, as large as an ottoman, and all worked in the tiniest of seedbeads. The hours and hours of meticulous work it took to create this stunning work are numerous, I'm sure.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lifesaver Earrings

I'm working on a new line of earrings, which will be called Lifesaver Earrings. They'll be in lovely pastel colors, with hand soldered wires, using the skills I picked up in my recent soldering course.
I bought the beads at the Bead & Button show, they look a bit like lifesavers candy, and have a frosted appearance like beach glass. I'm really excited about the new earring line, and hope you'll like them too!
The earrings will be in my etsy shop this week, and I'll put some photos up here, too!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dalkullan Jewelry Wins A Blog Award

Thank you very much Glenna from Your Fabric Place blog for giving me the One Lovely Place blog award! I'm really happy that you thought enough of my blog to do this, thank you!

Here are the One Lovely Place blog award rules:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

These are the 15 wonderful blogs I've selected, in no special order of preference:

1.) SleepDreamPlay
2.) NomadCraftsEtc
3.) TeddyStartedIt
4.) ThePaperButton
5.) AllThingsTangled
6.) CabinandCub
7.) AudreysCountryCrafts
8.) TethyisDreams
9.) HighHopesStamps
10.) SumpinElseCustomGifts
11.) LittleDickensDesigns
12.) EviesToolEmporium
13.) JulieAnnArt
14.) Trudette
15.) Angela-SummerTravels

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Soldering Class

Last week at the Milwaukee Bead & Button Show I took a class in soldering. I've done some soldering before, I've made a couple pairs of earrings for myself and one of my daughters, but wanted to improve my technique. And this was definitely the class to do just that.
The class was taught by Mr. Joe Silvera, you can reach him online. He crafts amazing jewelry, and also teaches jewelry making classes. Joe is very patient, encouraging, and explains things clearly. He provided a lot of demonstrations in different aspects of soldering, which I really enjoyed. It's always fun and relaxing to watch someone else work, and to learn something too is a definite plus.
We melted sterling wire to form little balls of silver, learned to solder jump rings closed, and to solder jump rings together. In class we completed a pair of soldered sterling earrings, with a hammered and soldered motif at the bottom. Unfortunately I was a couple hours late to class, but I did manage to finish the project during class time. Overall I'm pleased with the outcome, I met my objective in learning more about soldering, and saw some wonderful demonstrations. The hammered motif on the bottom of the earrings has some symmetry issues, but the soldered joints look really good, and they're strong, which is what I was focusing on. With more practice I feel confident that I'll soon be incorporating soldering into my designs for my shop, and that's exciting! There are so many ideas I have which I really need to solder to execute. Jewelry crafting is a creative adventure, one that I'm enjoying immensely.
The earrings were a lot of fun to make,and I'm looking forward to crafting my own designs, and perfecting my soldering technique.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

MZ Glass

There were so many venders with so many beautiful beads at the Milwaukee Bead & Button Show, it was pretty overwhelming. Very exciting to be there, and just drink it all in. I walked around for a couple hours, seeing what was available, and enjoying being in the same room with hundreds of people who all shared the same interest -- beads and jewelry. The picture on the right shows only a fraction of the vendors at the show.
My strategy was to only buy beads that I had a definite plan for, and not succomb to the temptation I'm sure everyone who's ever shopped for beads has experienced -- the urge to buy beads because of their beauty, and hope to devise a design for them later on. I've heard it referred to as 'releasing your inner magpie', something I've done on more than one occasion.
After my first circuit of the marketplace, I got down to business. Beautiful, handcrafted beads, made by the vendor herself, was my quest. And I found just that in MZ Glass, Margaret Zinser's amazing flamework beads.
Margaret is a wonderful person, warm and friendly, and it was a pleasure to meet her and to chat. You can reach Margaret through her website
and view and order online her gorgeous flamework beads.
Her work is also featured on the cover of "The Flow" magazine. I bought some lovely beads, just what I was hoping to find, which I'm going to make into earrings, and will have listed in my Etsy shop in the coming weeks.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Show Floor

I'm heading back to Milwaukee today to attend the Bead & Button Show, this time to buy beads and supplies. I can't wait to see all the beautiful beads and jewelry. If you ever get a chance to go to the Show, don't hesitate, it's really something.
There are cases displaying all the contest winning jewelry pieces, and they are incredible. Photography really doesn't do them justice.
I'll be posting more on the Bead Show, and my class soon. The class was awesome, Mr. Joe Silvera and his assistant were just the kindest, most patient, and incredibly skilled jewelers.
Hope you have a wonderful day today, and thank you for reading my blog!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Making Metal Beads Class

I'm really excited about the class I'm taking tomorrow. It's called "Making Metal Beads" and it's held in Milwaukee at the Bead & Button Show. I'm going to improve my soldering technique, and then I'll be able to incorporate that into my jewelry making.
It's a major step for me, and I'm eager to make progress in crafting jewelry. I've done some work with a torch before, I ball earwires and headpins with my trusty torch, and I've soldered a few pairs of metal earrings for myself and as gifts, but I haven't offered anything soldered for sale yet.
Making my own metal beads will open up a lot of design possibilities. It's going to be fun, wish me luck, please!
I'll be blogging about the class, and hopefully have some pictures to share later this week. Thank you for reading my blog.
Wishing you all the best,