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So I saw this ring on a museum website:

Details of the image are as follows:
Glass rings and bracelets, 1st century B.C.–4th century A.D. Roman
Average ring diam. 7/8 in. (2.2 cm) (do you think that is outer or inner diameter? I wonder)

I decided I wanted to try to replicate it. I went and bought a bunch of short lengths of stainless in the right size for my finger and experimented.

I started with clear glass for cheapness:

Discoveries thusfar:

1) The rod gets HOT. Wear gloves.
2) The rod is heavy. Can't easily hold and rotate with one hand. Must obtain a mandrel-rest
3) It is hard to melt enough of a gather to do this and then hard to apply it evenly.
4) It is hard to get the gather to stick to the rod.

5) The ring will come off the rod relatively easily. It fits, though tightly (maybe make the layer of release a wee bit thicker next time, or my fingers might just be fat this time of night).
6) The ring broke within minutes of me putting it on.

The existence of a thousand year old roman ring made entirely of glass (and this is far from the only example I've seen) suggests that there is a way of doing this so that the band of the ring is even (mine was not) and so that it stands the test of time. Anyone out there tried this or does anyone have any suggestions?

Go vote!

Jan. 23rd, 2006 12:09 pm
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Been up to stuff but not much either interesting or productive.

Last weekend we toured model houses, which I think I discussed before. Having looked at the listings in Edmonton, I'm pretty convinced that we are never going to be able to buy a home - very depressing. There were a grand total of exactly 4 homes between $150,000 and $200,000 in the city on MLS AND com-free (the private sale site), and many of them were already sold. A whopping 4 homes in the 200,000 - 250,000 range on com-free (didn't count MLS) and it just goes up by leaps and bounds from there. The saddest part was that none of those homes were even as big as, much less bigger, than our current rental. Not much incentive to move I say. We may not be "building equity", but neither are we paying for repairs of having to pay for transportation to work - and that saves a bundle. Affordable housing my ass. Maybe compared to Toronto or Vancouver, but only because they are completely ridiculous! And again, adult me knows I should be saving for a downpayment on a mortgage, but childish me can't get excited about stashing money away and "doing without" so we can spend a lot of money on something less nice than what we have now.

Went for my first attempt at a chiropractic appointment on Wednesday and was sent for X-rays before he'd touch anything. Spent the rest of the afternoon wandering White Ave. indulging in retail bliss. Spent a whole lot of money at Lush, which appears to have been money well spent. So far enjoying everything I bought. Spent a moderately ridiculous sum at a fancy dog boutique. Haven't tried the "musher's wax" yet as the purpose is to keep paws from cracking in extreme cold or heat and it has been blessedly moderate all winter thusfar. Bought "dog smog remedy" which is like Binaca for dogs. Anna is NOT impressed. And it seems to only barely mask it for minutes, not improve it over time as advertised. They're next to me on the couch right now absolutely stinking up a storm.

Thursday I went for my first actual chiropractic treatment, having confirmed that I had not in fact fractured my spine all those years ago in Australia. Oh my GOD!!!!! I have never heard such a horrible noise! And it hurt to breathe after! I enjoyed shooting pain intermingled with dull ache for the next 48 hours. After which my spine seems to have returned to the base-achy-pain level of the last 5 years. Going again tomorrow and hoping it goes better.

Wasted Thursday and Friday trying not to hurt myself. Finally put away the Christmas decorations on Saturday morning. Only to find, once they were all nicely tucked away in the basement, that Jason missed one thing while clearing out the bathroom - isn't that always the way? Didn't accomplish much else that I can remember. Sunday lazed around most of the day, ran out to the grocery store to get stuff to make dinner, but then decided to eat junk food and put off the actual cooking until tonight. Picked up more glass at Canadian Tire and was thus able to finally get back on the torch (I think it's been a month or so and all the gas I had before had drained out because I forgot to remove the torch head). Had a completely unproductive evening of beading. First tried a hollow bead. I did obtain a hollow bead, but it's clunky, uneven and not delicate at all. On the bright side, it didn't collapse, so that's a start. On the down side, it fractured in cooling, so it's not long for this world I fear. I also attempted the "perfectly round bead". Um, yeah, perfectly round my ass. Looks the same shape as any of my other beads. Might have to try it again and work out where I went wrong. The hollow bead, ironically, is perfectly round - go figure. Also burnt myself stupendously bad! Was opening the bottle of bead release when I hit the back of my hand against the torch. Stuck a piece of my skin to the torch! Totally not kidding! There's a little hole on my hand, and a little blackened stain on my torch from where it burnt off when I lit the torch for the next bead - uuuugggghhhh! Surprisingly, not nearly as painful as whn I accidentally passed a thumb through the flame.

Today's plan is to walk the doggies to the polling station when Jason comes home for lunch. Not like my vote will matter at all since it's pretty much a foregone conclusion in this province. Stupid parties have turned this election into a one-or-two issue thing for me, and I support a woman's right to choose and the gay/lesbian right to marry, so I'm sure you can figure from that who I'm voting for if you really want to know. So that makes myself, Jason and maybe 20 other people in this riding - go us! And to show just how much support we have in this area... I had to go look if we even had a candidate to vote for, since last time I checked we didn't. Anyway, don't care who you vote for, just get out there and go it.
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After way too much time away from the torch I finally got inspired this weekend. We were at the Avacal Coronet tourney, and when I checked out the A&S display, there were some beads made by some of my friends. I also admired a new colour of glass on Gemma that I absolutely must have for myself. So when I got home, I was all inspired to do some work of my own at last. Unfortunately, [ profile] rectangularcat was staying in my studio. This meant the table and tools were all spread all over the house and unusable. Actually, that should probably read "fortunately" since we didn't get home from the event until 1am and I would have been tired and only done crap work after that full a day.

It took a few days to get the studio back together and sit down and do some work. I started yesterday late afternoon with only the central beads and two of the ivory beads done and completed the rest of the necklace in a day. I also made the world's most subtle stealth-laurel. 69 beads in the necklace and it is a choker. Which makes me wonder... how many would I need and how long would it take to make a real "pull over the head", "look ma, no clasp" necklace? Anyway, that's a whopping 65 beads completed in a single session (interrupted by dinner and some snuggling of beagles). Even though the vast majority of them are spacers, that's the most beads I've ever done at once and I'm pretty proud of myself.

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I'm very pleased with how consistent I was when creating my masses of spacers. I had originally thought of making this necklace to send to New Orleans as part of the effort to get people down there back in garb, but never got around to actually making it. I'm sure it's a little late now. But after giving it a good look last night, hubby and I guessed that if I'd sent it that no one would have thought they were hand-made beads, and instead would have assumed they were commercial - pleased about that I am :) After all, the whole point of making something yourself is to have complete control over the results, not to have the "home-made" look to it - yech.

more pics behind the cut )

I'm not 100% pleased with it. I might try again without the ivory. I like the ivory well enough when the necklace is just on display, but I'm less than fond of it on me. Or maybe I need more shades of amber. And of course I still want that "ink blue" of Gemma's. Off to the glass store this afternoon methinks.

Experiments in mixing glass brands, or why you shouldn't )
In other news, the beagle bathroom is filled with snow and -12 degrees. The beagles would like to officially say "this sucks". And thus begins my battle to convince them that just because it's cold out doesn't mean you get to pee on the rug.

Also, while I was writing this, someone from my landlord FINALLY came around to look at the window I complained about that doesn't seal in my spare room. Of course AFTER I have my house-guests. Isn't that always the way of things?


Sep. 5th, 2005 06:15 pm
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One weekend to a complete festoon. True, it's a short one, but I also dinked around with a few beads I chose not to use. Here's a sample of the beads I made today:
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I made two of each of the beads shown, these were the best ones.

And behind the cut ) the whole festoon.

Finally, no more ugly commercial beads for me. Not even any beads made by other artists. Just mine. Feels good.

Now, off to write all those thank you notes. Maybe dye my hair first... so procrastinating.
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Didn't accomplish much of anything else, but had a really nice, relaxing day at the torch.

Started on a set of blue, yellow and white beads for myself (those were the colours I taught my sister on, and I found them quite striking)

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The actual colour is somewhere between these two extremes. The yellow isn't quite that bright and the blue is blue, not black, but not quite "electric blue" either.

Only had one heartbreaker. The first bead I worked on was a stacked dot bead that I managed to get 6 stacks. Broke while cooling. Going to glue it back together once I buy new crazy glue.

Also experimented with totally non-period SCA heraldry beads. Decided to experiment with my old kingdom, Ealdormere's trillium. Not overly impressed with how it turned out, still much to learn, but not likely to do so as I have absolutely no use for such blatantly out of period beads. NEVER going to experiment with my current kingdom or principality's arms as I think I can do neither a lion nor a griffin on a bead and I'm not going to try.

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The first bead is actually a flatish medallion-like thing, with the trillium on one side only. The trillium is mostly raised, with only the green leaves melted in. The "flatish" is because it was flat when I decorated it, but afterwards I was trying to even it out and thus made it kinda strange on the back-side. The second bead is your standard round bead with a trillium on each side (2), with the leaves entirely melted in and the "seed" in the centre left raised.

Like I said, with my wanting to stick to period beads for my own use I have no use for these myself. If anyone out there wants them, speak up!
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I brought my lampworking stuff on the road. I first pulled it out under a picnic shelter at Avacal Inlands war to finish my thralldom graduation present. In the end I had 50 beads to give to Wernar. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of them. I'm hoping maybe I'll have a chance to take a shot later since it turned out to be a pretty good set.

The surprise at this site was that even on relatively still days there is still enough of a breeze to move the flame and redirect the heat. This made working very difficult, but I managed it.

Then it was back to Ontario where I set up in my parents' garage. I then learned that the ambient temperature can have a HUGE affect on the work. The glass heated a lot faster, the glass was molten for longer and the beads took a long time to cool.

I finally arrived at Pennsic and first I set the stuff up so I could try to teach my apprentice sister. That's when I realized that the sunlight was so bright that I couldn't see the flame. Which isn't a problem for me since I know where I'm supposed to be working and all that, but makes it hard to teach. Odette got to try it again early evening, but then the ambient light is really too little to see anything but the flame. Finding a compromise was tough.

The course was in a tent, so the lighting wasn't much of a problem there, and the walls sucessfully cut the breeze, though the heat (being over 90 degrees) did make working at all on anything really hard. The class itself was rather unsuccessful as it was in land grab week and wasn't advertised in the site book as I got it in too late. I only got one walk-in and my apprentice sister. However, it was nice that Odette got some quality time on the torch and I hope she enjoyed it. Unfortunately I left my brand new safety glasses at the bead night, or dropped them out of my belt on the way there or back.

I did a few more nights of work, but with the combination of too much ambient heat (burnt a LOT of beads) and the breezes, I wasn't pleased with most of my results. However, I was particularly pleased with this bead that I made for Heather:

First attempt at heaps of stacked dots:

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Unfortunately, it was lost at some point in the week. I don't know if Heather had it or if I did, I have no idea if it's in my stuff or lost somewhere in the grass at Pennsic. Fortunately I got a pic of it the night before it was lost.

I also finished the beads for the fighting laurels' prize tourney but didn't remember to take a picture of them. Not a big deal as I wasn't terribly impressed with them in the end. The set started so well, but got totally derailed by working at Pennsic.

On the bright side, I did attend an advanced bead-making class, at which I learned some new techniques that I can't wait to try. I'd be in my room working on it now but my husband is out so I have to watch the hounds. Maybe when he gets home...


May. 31st, 2005 02:02 am
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A good few days of bead making. The disasters were really bad (ran out of gas and that kind thing) but I'm pretty happy with those bits that worked. I tried the type of bead that was in the last set but which cracked and managed to get it done in less time and not cracked. I'm also getting better at the zig zags. Still not perfect, but improving at least.

Documentation is also available for this new set. I actually tried to match the colours a little too, but I didn't photograph it yet. It's late, I need to go to bed.

images behind the cut )
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Ever had one of those days where you know the universe is just out to break your heart? I spend half an hour making the most beautiful bead I've ever made (in my eyes anyway). Let it cool for what I thought was sufficient time. Then went to take it off the mandrel and it broke clean in half. I wanted to cry.

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Being the practical woman that I am, I refused to be defeated, went to the toolbox, fetched myself some crazy glue and tah dah!

Final product behind the cut )

Time to have a shower and a quick breakfast and go new car hunting :)
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It's pretty much a given that I'm not going to place well. I will be pleasantly surprised if I come in anything but dead last in fact. So instead, I'm hoping to make a good showing on the prize table. I'll be happy if my prize turns out to be one of the ones people hope is still there when their turn comes.

Following The wise hel_ana's suggestion, I will devote 3 hours to bead making and then run my entry by my laurel to see if it really meets the grade.

I've also decided, since this is a laurel tourney, I won't make a single bead I can't document (at least the form and design, colour is a little harder, and don't get me started on production method). What follows below is the first batch of beads (hour 1) and the accompanying documentation from the book that arrived in the mail today (don't you just love how these things work out sometimes), Glass Beads from Anglo-Saxon Graves: A Study on the Provenance and Chronology of Glass Beads from Anglo-Saxon Graves, Based on Visual Examination. The book is dry as all get out (mostly maps and stats actually) but there are a few pages of pictures at the back which are useful. And I'm sure I will eventually get around to reading the rest of it.

And yes, I started with relatively easy stuff. I will work up to a few really complicated show-piece beads later.

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My beads, and yes, I am aware that the photo is really rather fuzzy. I just couldn't get the camera to focus on these beads today (and I took like 30+ pictures on several different surfaces, so I don't know what gives).

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Documentation for spotted beads. Yes, I am aware that they are a different shape from mine. I was working from memory, because books + fire = BAD. I might try again and aim for that shape, but I don't think that shape was arrived at by lampworking. Maybe a mould of some kind. I think it might be pierced, not made on a mandrel. I'm sure if I actually read the book I'd know.

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Documentation for zig-zag beads. Theirs are much nicer and much more even than mine, but I'm still learning the control required for this particular technique (you're seeing the "good" side of my beads, the back isn't so pretty).

So that's it for the first hour. Very much looking forward to this tourney!
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I was looking at this picture today, and I have always wanted to do a replica, and it suddenly occurred to me that I might have been misinterpreting...

Is it just me, or does that look like the "pearls" might actually be milky-transparent glass? Check the way they look pinkish over her neck and greyish at the nape of her neck where the hood is in the background, not to mention greyish all over the head-dress. Pearls are opaque.

Soooo, if this is meant to be glass, not pearls, I think I have an A&S project on my hands. Anyone want to give me any good pointers on making perfectly round beads? Mine have been rather "ring" or "Barrel" shaped thusfar. These beads are clearly round.

Shape description as per this site (about 1/3 down)
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Pretty productive weekend until I ran out of black stringer, and discovered, horror of horrors, that the rod of black I have isn't exactly black. When used as a stringer, the results are less than pleasing. Unfortunately, did not discover this until I'd made, cooled, and had a chance to look at 5 or 6 beads - grrrr.

Also discovered that the more design you put on the clear purple, the more white you better have under it if you don't want it to look black. I'm thinking of maybe trying to make a regular-sized lilac bead and covering that with a thin layer of purple to get the desired effect. Worth a shot. Can't try it now though because I ran out of gas on the last bead (not posted, disasterous) and hubby's gone to get me more.

Today I tried to learn the "vinework" effect. No instructions online (that I could find) so I had to wing it. Fobbed up the first bead as a result (not posted, v. ugly) but I think I have the hang of it now. The last two are the blue and white ones and I think I'll try to find a pendant I can wear them with to work on Monday.

The solo bead was the last bead I made for the norse necklace. Got it all strung up in time for the event yesterday, and then decided that sleeping on the couch with my dogs was a lot more attractive than actually getting dressed and leaving the house. I guess I'll have to show it off later. The picture of the finished necklace (shown on the dress, which no, is not on a person but hanging in a doorway, but you get the idea) is at the bottom of the post.

Warning image intense )
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Last night's efforts (took me until now to charge the batteries and get the pics off the camera). The ones on the left are kinda yuck (still figuring out how to deal with the green, and the purple spots were just and experiment to see how the clear purple laid on the mauve, not well I think). The ones at either end aren't sensational either, but usable at least. The rest all turned out pretty well though. Even had decent enough control over the green to keep it from bleeding too much.

I think I'm about 2-3 beads away from the necklace I want now, at most. I've even got the stringing order figured out. I'll post it when it's all put together. Which better be by tomorrow in time for the event.

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In other news tax season is over for me. All my work is done, except my own taxes that is, and I don't have to do all the documentation and working paper junk I do for work, so that should go easy. It'll be nice to have a life again, or rather for the weekend until school starts up again - sigh.
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Pretty pleased with most of these, or with my effort on them, kinda unimpressed with how my green is interacting with other colours and with itself.

The solid green bead has a dark stripe through the middle. No idea what caused this or how to avoid it in future, which is annoying. Any beads where I tried to apply green on top of white or vice-versa, instead of acting separately like most colours, it mixes with the white, causing blurry lines, an unattractive colour and it just doesn't behave like it is supposed to. The purple and green on white bead for example is supposed to make triangles. I didn't actually use enough glass to make nice complete triangles, but while the purple is taking on the triangle-ish shape, the green is clearly not. It's just going all to mud and growing out into a non-distinctive blob. And the green bead with the dots, the white looks off-white, which it doesn't on any other bead I've done, picking up the green again. I guess I already knew this from my other experiments with the green and white, but I had hoped it was something I was doing, like overheating. It's disapointing because it lessens the number of green beads I can have in the final necklace, and I rather like the green. It brightens and warms the set. But solid green beads just don't do it for me, and there's only so many light purple on green combinations I can do. Ah well, might pick up a different green next week and re-experiment.

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Anyway, I now have 18 beads in the red, black and yellow series (I need at least 50) and 32 in the purple and green series. I think I'd like to make more in the purple and green series so I can aford to be picky when I make my necklace. But there's at least a handful in there that I know are keepers for sure. Still haven't decided how I should string them or what look I'm going for exactly. I've just kinda been creating randomly and waiting to see how I get inspired by the final selection of beads. Suggestions are welcome.
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Today I went searching online for new techniques and found this page showing a neat technique for making stripes. Apologies for the bizarre non-glass related images on that site, I don't know what they were thinking. Anyway, most of my work today was experimenting with that technique. First in black on red, then yellow on black on red, which was cool when it worked but was hit and miss, then green on purple, which I wasn't satisfied with as the clear seemed to bleach the purple, then my dark purple on white.

I then experimented with Directions for a combed, raised design which was somewhat frustrating. I was unable to get the wavy line effect in step three, which was what I was really trying to achieve. The first bead I combed, the second my torch ran outta gas, the third I combed again and was rather pleased with the result. Then I tried a simple spotted bead, and after this, things went all to hell and I made a lot more glass blobs due to broken bead release than I did actual beads. At which point I figured it was time to call it a day and experiment with the camera instead.

What follows are images of today's beads taken outside with natural light and then inside on my trusty blue fabric. I still think the indoor light works better for me.

beads behind the cut )


Apr. 19th, 2005 12:33 am
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It was a meh kind of night. I didn't burn myself, which is an up. I found out I didn't much care for the home made stringers (too skinny and hard to control). I experimented with making wiggly lines on my beads and had one that I really, really liked (far left), though the colour scheme and shape reminds me of a fishing float. I was lukewarm on the rest. The purple on white is especially blah and lifeless. Husband likes the black with the small red spots like measles.

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Almost have enough to make a full string in the purple and green theme, but not enough yet to afford to be picky. I think it will be a few more sessions yet before I'll string it.

Anyway, off to bed.
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Passed my thumb through the flame of my torch while trying to make stringers. Didn't hurt too much when I did it. Hurts soooo very much now!!!! From now on I buy stringers. Grrrrrr.
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As I said in my last post, tonight's experiments went extremely well. I tried layering the clear purple over white, and while it still isn't what one would describe as "royal purple", it is still definitely, visibly purple now. I imagine it will look even better under natural light.

The long skinny beads are more of my Viking household series (house colours are red, black and a bit of gold). Nice because they are quicker to bang out than the spotty beads I've been doing. Bad because I'm sure the striping and marvering isn't period (maybe each individually, but I don't think I've seen them combined). If you have evidence of textured, multicoloured beads, I'd love to see your sources.

I'm really impressed to death with my triangular bead. It is really, very obviously a triangle, and not even a wonky triangle either. It's a little small, but I'm not going to get picky.

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playing with levels )
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Tonight, a little practice with stringers and an attempt at swirls. Had one really nice one, then overheated the bead and the whole thing went wacky (the black on white bead).

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Displayed not on a stringer as per Lunesse's suggestion (my stringers are too large, they won't fit) but on a mandrel instead. Good suggestion, adapted.

Anyway, the last two beads on the right on the mandrel are out of that dark clear purple. It's a great colour when held up against the light, but I just can't figure a way to make it intense without it looking like black. I'm thinking next I might try a thin layer of white at the core of the bead and laying the purple over it. Who knows if I have the skill for that, but worth a try I guess.

I really love the diagonal dented violet bead. The edges are a little sharp, but the bead is lovely, so it will be used anyway.

Sleep time


Apr. 10th, 2005 02:57 pm
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The torch finally came in yesterday. As the furniture was all set up, it was hard to resist going to pick it up, then getting the rest of my supplies from Inga, and proceeding to waste the rest of the evening up there. The torch burns A LOT hotter than Inga's defective torches, and that took a little getting used to. In fact, the entire first lot was destroyed because I put it into the vermiculite too early and it got all warped and bits of vermiculite stuck to it. Damn, because there was at least one bead in there I was fond of. Here's a picture of the second set I did. The best of the weekend I think.

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The new studio is quite the success though. I love my new table, and there's a place for everything in the cabinet. Next weekend I'll try to put some time into getting the place totally clean as opposed to the barely tolerable it is now.

Under the cut are images and comments on all the other beads I made this weekend.

Fire, fire, heh, fire )

That's it for today. Now, a bit of a nap and then I'll do some real, paid work.
norsegirl: (Default)
Hello friends!

I've just started into making recreation Norse glass beads, and I'm so obsessed I made a community. If anyone else is similarily obsessed (with either making glass beads or with the use of beads by the Norse, or with the use of beads by any people in the time and place the SCA re-creates), please come join me


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September 2010

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