Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Beadmaking Tutorials Sale and Retirement!

I am retiring my beadmaking tutorials! All tutorials will be 25% off until Sunday September 6th - then they will be gone forever! Get them now while you still can.

Go to my Etsy store and enter coupon code ETSYRETIRE to get your 25% off discount.

Of course I will still be posting here on this blog when I have glassy things to talk about. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Glass Testing - Cim Limited Run Colors: Autumn, Moccasin, Indian Summer and Emporer

Finally, another glass testing post! I haven't posted in so long - time flies when you're busy. :) I got another batch of gorgeous new Creation is Messy glass rods recently, and this post is about four of the new colors.

 All of the new ones are limited runs, and are supposed to come out sometime in the middle of September. The CiM website hasn't been updated to include these yet (Kathy says she'll have them up soon), so I won't have links back to the CiM site until that happens. I also don't have numbers for them yet because in my haste to work with the colors, I destroyed the labels and can't see the numbers anymore! But when Kathy updates, I will insert numbers and links so you guys can find the colors easier when they come out.

 Now, when I opened my lovely box of new glass colors, these four just jumped right out at me and insisted on being tested together. :) Sometimes colors have a mind of their own! I haven't been this excited by new colors in quite some time - these just make me feel good. You know when you look at a color and just can't come up with the proper language to describe how it makes you think and feel? This happened for me when I combined these four colors. So bear with me while I try to make sense out of all of that for you all.

What's interesting is that before I even got these rods in the mail, I bought yarn in this color combination because I was so taken with how these colors blended. Serendipity!

There are four colors in this post - two opaques and two transparents. The transparent colors are both striking colors, which CiM hasn't done often.

The first opaque is called Autumn, which is kind of a strange name for this glass I think, since it's actually a lovely peach color. In rod form it's a bit darker, which might lead one to believe it's a fall color, but it works up to be kind of a lighter version of Adobe.I love this pretty peach color because it's more dense and more saturated than CiM's other attempt at peach - Peaches and Cream. And it's not an opal color.

Spacers, along with a small faceted tab to show Autumn's color.

The one thing that does bother me about this glass is that when melting it there are a lot of little bubbles. It's kind of like Primrose that way - almost like seeded glass. However, once it cools off, the bubbles aren't really visible, so it's not that big a deal - it can just be somewhat tricky to work with - you have to just ignore all the little bubbles.

Autumn was also somewhat shocky, so either preheat it in your kiln or on a hot plate, or introduce it to the flame very slowly to avoid flying shrapnel.

Other than that, Autumn works up nicely, leaving you with a smooth, relatively stable color that is good for layering. Pale reaction lines happen when used as a base - pretty much like most light opaques. You'll see later that I used this color in a bit of an unconventional way, but I think Autumn will be a great base for Sakura or Peachy Keen for some pretty springtime color.

Next up is the weirdest color of the bunch - a transparent called Emporer. I have no idea why it's called that. :) In rod form, Emporer is kind of a pinky amethyst color.  I got two rods of this - one was darker than the other - and it did make a difference in the outcome.

Emporer is a striking color that kind of reminds me a little of Effetre Rubino, but not as bright, not as red. It's a lighter, plummy-er (is that a word?) color that spreads kind of like Rubino does. The nice thing about Emporer though is that spacers made from it don't go cloudy. It can be tricky to get the color to strike properly though.

You can see that in the batch of spacers I did. Some were washed out, some were a kind of grey color, and some struck nicely. The lighter rod struck lighter. The faceted tab I made struck just fine - it seems that Emporer will get darker the longer you work with it.

Emporer works up nicely - no bubbles or scumming, no shockiness.  Striking happens quickly - taking it in and out of the flame and letting it cool slightly helps bring out the color. 

When using Emporer as a plain color, it's a pinkish amethyst that doesn't have the brown tones that Effetre's amethyst purples do, which is nice. But I think this glass is probably better used as a layering color to expand your palette - because boy does it layer well!! 

In this bead, I used Autumn as the base, put a layer of Emporer (the darker rod) down, and then encased it in clear. The effect is a gorgeous shade that sits between watermelon and kind of a muted fruit punch. Then I put down dots of opaque Dark Pink and layered Emporer on top and melted, for a sweet shade of pink.

Emporer spreads out a little, but doesn't feather like Rubino can, which made it easier to use for melted floral petals. And boy, does it make a pretty peachy rose color when used with Autumn in raised decoration. I'm buying as much of this as I can when it comes out. It's likely to be expensive, though. :)

Next we have the other opaque - a pretty tan called Moccasin. This color is pretty basic - a lovely shade of tan that is not unlike Effetre Sage.  It has less of a green cast though and is a little more caramelly, which I really love. Not as much of a caramel as Tamarind. It's the camel tan I have been dreaming of.

Moccasin has a really nice density, and layers really well. It keeps its color, so even though it's a light opaque, it can hold its own. Moccasin wasn't shocky at all when I melted it, and didn't bubble up like Autumn did.

There's not much else to say about this color - it's stable and consistent.  It does show light, ghost-like reaction lines when layered, not unlike Dirty Martini, but these are attractive. Striations all but faded away when I made spacers.

Last we have the other transparent - a hue that sits somewhere between topaz and caramel. It's called Indian Summer, which seems to be a perfect name for this striking color. I got two rods of this as well - one darker and one lighter. I hope when these colors come out we get to choose the tonality, because it does make a difference.

Indian Summer is a gorgeous shade for fall I think. It's not as bright as other amber/topaz shades, and can strike darker or lighter depending on how long you work it. It's not a vivid striking color, though - the variations are subtle. It kind of reminds me of iced tea and honey. Or beer.

I have to tell you, Indian Summer is one of the easiest transparents I have ever worked with. It has a wonderful clarity to it, and has no scumming or bubbling issues. It seems to be the perfect consistency, and is really easy to strike. And as you can see from the pulled petal sample, it would be wonderful for making leaves! I adore this color.

Layered on top of Moccasin, the effect is kind of a spiced shade of caramel that is just dreamy.

So I have gushed enough about these new colors and will just show off the beads I made by combining just these four, along with clear for encasing. These are called Desert Spice. I hope you love them too!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Grey is the Color of Introspection

It's been an eventful couple of months.  There have been two deaths in my family, two births in my family, one pregnancy announcement, a lot of travel, a lot of work, and the dissolution of a friendship which had become unbalanced and somewhat toxic.

When things get a little bit crazy, I tend to retreat inward.  The introversion and introspection that happens with me colors my work, naturally.

So I have been working with a lot of grey these last few weeks. The color grey for me brings to mind soft wool, cool days, quiet reflection, and the companionship of animals. It's also a professional color - clean and somewhat aloof.

Since it's spring, I've been pairing grey with lighter, more cheerful colors like peach, aqua, amethyst, pink and green.  The result is a kind of subtle balance of sweet and somber - which kind of goes along with this year's fashion color palette as well.

For me, the best grey glass colors are in the CiM line - Adamantium for the opaque, layered with transparents such as Raindrop, Journey and Twilight.

I love grey when I want to slow down and really focus on things, and I adore the way it makes the other colors stand out without being too fussy. It's my favorite neutral right now. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Glass Testing: CiM 716 Chateau Ltd. Run and CiM 530 Zoe Ltd. Run

Continuing on with the testing for the giant batch of new colors I got from Creation is Messy, today's colors are the gorgeous aqua called Zoe, and the soft neutral called Chateau.

First up is Chateau, and lovely transparent brownish beige. It reminds me a bit of cream soda, and is a nice alternative for Effetre's Light Brown transparent.

 According to CiM's website, this color was created to be similar to Sepia, but without the reddish undertone.  It fits the bill nicely - it's a true pale brown without any reddish or greenish undertones, and works nicely as an encasing layer for any browns or creams.

One thing I need to mention is that this glass can scum easily if you heat it too fast.  Work it under a cooler flame, and when using it as stringer, don't let it get too melty or it will bubble up.  It's not too stiff, so there's not much of an issue getting it to melt.

One other thing - when using this color with Effetre Sage (the new handmade version, not the machine made version) I had some severe compatibility cracks when making encased florals.  I am not sure what the culprit was - but using it under a thick encasement of clear (DH Zephyr) produced cracks like I have never seen. I didn't get cracks with other combinations of similar colors, so I have narrowed down the culprit to either Sage or Chateau. The cracking didn't happen in any other beads made with these colors - just the encased florals.  So just bear that in mind.

Other than that, I really love this color - it's a nice neutral that adds a soft beigy brown cast to anything it's layered with. 

Chateau layered with Effetre Mudslide makes a nice toffee color.
Chateau layered with Effetre Sage is a soft latte brown - use sparingly to avoid cracks.        

On to one of my very favorite selections in the new color batch - Zoe.  When CiM sent the new batch of colors, there were quite a few in the aqua/teal/blue range.  That thrilled me because I really love those colors.  Zoe is one of the best. For some reason, this color just shines and sparkles more than any aqua I've seen in any brand of glass.

Okay, enough gushing - on to the important stuff.

The first thing you need to know is that transparent aqua shades are a bitch to photograph.  Seriously.  The camera just does not capture the real color very well.  It doesn't even look right on the CiM website, which frustrates me to no end, because I want to relay to you, the color addict, just how gorgeous this aqua blue really is. 

CiM made this color to be a light version of Pulsar ( which is basically CiM's version of Effetre Dark Aqua) It succeeds - it's lighter and slightly less saturated than Pulsar, which I really like.  This makes it the perfect shade for springy aqua beads.

As usual, CiM's aqua glasses are better behaved than Effetre's - they don't scum or bubble or spread or bleed, etc.  Zoe is no exception. There may be some scummy spots when you first melt the rod, but those will disappear quickly as you melt the glass.  Zoe can take a lot of heat without burning out or bubbling, which makes it an ideal layering color.  Zoe isn't too stiff, which is also nice.

I think Zoe makes a wonderful layering color with either Effetre Light Sky Blue (for a brighter shade) or CiM Duck Egg (for a softer shade). 

As I mentioned before, there are several other aqua shades in the new CiM color batch. Most of these are very close in hue, with just tiny differences in the amount of green/blue and in saturation. I'm sure there are lots of opinions on which is best, but Zoe is my personal favorite. Since color love is subjective, your mileage may vary.  So far, I am of the opinion that any one of these aqua shades will be a great addition to your palette. :)
Zoe layered with Duck Egg (the purples are Heffalump, Dark Lavender and Pale Ink Blue)

Zoe layered with Duck Egg (the purples are Heffalump, Dark Lavender and Pale Ink Blue)

Zoe with Duck Egg as a raised floral is nice and bright.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Glass Testing: Aquaphobia Frit - Fritty Bits by Melanie Graham

I've just tested the third Fritty Bits color I have - called Aquaphobia. As you'll remember, Fritty Bits is 104 COE frit by Melanie Graham.  It's meant to be compatible with the 104 coe line of glass in general.

Aquaphobia is a small-ish grain frit that is primarily made up of shades of aqua, with a smattering of other blues as well.  It has grains of opaque, translucent and transparent glass.

The color is pretty straightforward, which I really like.  The hues are clean and lovely. Aquaphobia does react to ivory, according to the sample on Etsy, which I think is really pretty.  

There is a small amount of an unknown striking glass (or perhaps just a color that's reactive) - similar to the dark spots that were in Jabberwock - a color I tested awhile back

These spots didn't appear on the white sample bead I did - only on the opaque blue/green (CiM Duck Egg), which leads me to believe this was a reaction. It adds a nice variety to the color on an opaque base.

On this set I started with the base of Duck Egg, applies a thick layer of frit, melted in, then did some clear scrollwork on top (with DH Aether). The effect is very pretty, I think. The frit does tend to bubble a little bit, but this is normal with most aqua transparent glass, and does burn off.

I really like this color, and would recommend it for people who love blue!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Glass Testing: CiM 529 Frost Ltd. Run, 535 Duck Egg Ltd. Run and 906 Sakura Ltd. Run

Over the holidays, I got a new box of color to test from CiM, and I finally had some time to break open the box and start melting! Let me tell you, there are lots of new colors, and a lot of them seem to have great promise. 
CiM seemed to fixate on aquas and blues this time around, and bright yellows as well. I am not so crazy about the yellow shades, but the blues are all really gorgeous. There are also quite a few translucent opals and moonstones. I will likely stick with the transparents and dense opaques, though, because I love layering glass. 

First up, we have a really pretty subtle opaque color called Duck Egg, which is a nice shade of pale blue/green. CiM stated on their website that this color was meant to be a bluer version of their Dirty Martini, and it fits that description pretty well.
This glass has a nice consistency - it melts smoothly and is not too stiff or too soupy.  It really behaves a lot like Dirty Martini does. 
As you can see in the spacers, Duck Egg can striate a little bit, but that will disappear when layering the glass. If you melt in dots and leave them uncovered, you may get lines of separation, which can be pretty as part of the design.

Beyond that, Duck Egg is a dense color, which means it stays opaque when layered, and holds the shade well. No bleeding or pitting from what I can tell, also. 

Duck Egg is used here as the layering color behind Frost (shown below)
Next up we have Frost, the lightest of the transparent aqua/teal shades in the latest batch of new color. from CiM. 

There are two things I like best about CiM's many, many shades of aqua/teal/blue.  First is that they tend not to scum or bubble or pit like Effetre/Vetrofond blues and teals. The second is that most of their shades are a step or two brighter or darker than any of the other brands' shades - which broadens the palette!

Frost is no different.  This shade of pale blue is a little more saturated and slightly bluer than Effetre's Pale Aqua, and behaves much, much better.  It's a gorgeous icy aqua color that stays clear of bubbles, and layers like a dream.

Frost has a wonderful consistency. It's stiff enough to hold its shape, but not too stiff.  It makes gorgeous encased stringer (used above, with Duck Egg), and equally lovely spacers. It even works well as an encasing color over a pale opaque.
 I'm buying more of this as soon as it's available (February, according to their website).

Lastly, we have a wonderfully odd color called Sakura. When I first saw this color, I thought it was just a medium pink transparent - but when I looked closer and when I melted the rod, I got a glorious shade that sits somewhere between peach and pink.  It's much more saturated than either the Vetrofond or the Effetre version of light transparent pink.  I would call it a kind of pale cantaloupe color.

Whatever you call it, it's freaking gorgeous. Sakura is Japanese for Cherry Blossom, I believe, so that fits the bill pretty well.

This glass is a little on the stiff side, but not too bad.  Just be careful when you layer it with any opaque pink - opaque pinks that are Effetre tend to be on the soupy side. I will still able to make flower petals with it, and they turned out really lovely. This shade also makes gorgeous encased stringer, because it's more saturated than any other transparent pink I know of, so the color doesn't wash out.

Like the Frost, this glass doesn't seem to bubble or scum at all, and stays perfectly flawless when melted.  

Sakura is going to be a spectacular spring color, I think, and I am going to buy a ton of this when it comes out, provided it's not too ridiculously expensive.

All of the new CiM colors I got this time (around 27) are limited run colors, which means you need to get them as soon as you can!

The bead sets shown in this post are made with the following colors:  CiM Frost, CiM Duck Egg, CiM Sakura, Effetre Petal Pink, Double Helix Aether and Vetrofond Black.

(I know I'm going to get asked - Effetre Petal Pink is a pale opaque pink that's not around anymore - you can replace it with pretty much any of the Effetre opaque pinks you like - they are all so close it really doesn't matter.)

Points to those who get the play on words with the name of these beads (Anna May)!  It's a Big Bang Theory show joke. :)