Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blog News

I have a new website for my art jewelry.  It's www.louiselittle.com

My lampworked bead website is still www.desertbloomdesigns.com

And I'm now going to be blogging from my new site

If you have followed this blog I hope you will continue to follow me by clicking this link  -  and on the blog page you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

So this will be my last post here.  thanks for looking...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Buying Seed Beads

So it seems that no matter how many seed bead tubes I have, I never have the right color or the right size.  I usually wait to buy seed beads in person when I attend the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee every June.  And when I'm there I like to shop with Beyond Beadery.  But recently I needed several colors for a project so I had to go shoping online.  Of course it always takes shopping at a few shops to get all that I need.  I shopped at Fusion Beads, Caravan Beads, Artbeads and of course Beyond Beadery .  And I got great beads from all of them. 

What I want to share is the email from Beyond Beadery announcing that my beads had been shipped...

"Oh, Joy!
Oh, Happy Day!
Your Beyond Beadery order has been prepared and packaged with loving care.

We had a wonderful celebration afterwards with party hats and margaritas as we all hiked down the mountain to the Post Office.
All 228 residents of Rollinsville gathered, their eyes shining with tears of joy, blowing kisses and waving “bye-bye” as our friendly neighborhood Postman carried your package away on this proud and happy day."

That put a grin on my face for sure.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cactus Inspiration

So do you know how to find your way if you are ever lost in the desert?

The Fishhook Barrel Cactus is often called the "Compass Barrel " because some of the larger plants lean toward the southwest.  One theory about why this happens is: the afternoon sun is so intense it slows the growth on the exposed side, causing the plant to grow unevenly. Older barrels can lean so far they uproot themselves and fall over especially after heavy rains when the soil is loose.
Fish Hook Barrel Cacti typically bloom in late summer (July - September) and produce a cup shaped bloom. Flower color is usually some shade of orange, but is occasionally yellow or red. The blooms emerge on the top portion of the cactus, and form a crown around the top. These flowers can be quite large (around 3 inches in diameter).  Cactus bees pollinate the flowers. The fruit remains on the cactus until it is removed by animals and may remain on the plant for more than a year. Birds, squirrels, deer and javalina are the main consumers of the fruit. 

The Fish Hook barrel cactus is one of the last cacti to flower during our summer time. When we see these bright flowers blooming, we know that summer is coming to an end.

I have a Fishhook barrel cactus just outside of my studio door.  It’s been blooming since late August and inspired me to make this necklace.

 Fine silver linked necklace with orange, yellow and crystal cubic zirconia stones.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mescal and why is the worm there?

Last Friday night while having drinks and dinner with some neighbors, the topic of the worm in mezcal  came up.  Why is it there?
Mezcal or mescal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant – a form of agave native to Mexico.  The maguey plant grows in many places in Mexico although mescal now is made mainly in Oaxaca.  Mescal is not as popular as tequila (which is made from the blue agave plant) because it has a rougher taste.
The maguey was one of the most sacred plants in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and had a privileged position in religious rituals, mythology and the economy. Cooking of the “piña” or heart of the maguey and fermenting its juice was practiced. The origin of this drink has a myth. It is said that a lightning bolt struck an agave plant, cooking and opening it, releasing its juice. For this reason, the liquid is called the “elixir of the gods.” 
So why the worm?  Certain mezcals, usually from the state of Oaxaca, are sold con gusano, a practice that began as a marketing gimmick in the 1940s. The worm is actually the larval form of the moth Hypopta agavis that lives on the agave plant and was put there as proof of alcohol content.
 As for why it's "cool" to eat the worm, well, it used to be considered an aphrodisiac that blessed warriors with strength and virility.
No, I didn’t eat the worm!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Native American Symbolism - the diamond

Perhaps two of the earliest design elements to be utilized by Navajo weavers are the diamond and the triangle. These elements were incorporated into old wearing blankets and continue in the modern day Navajo rugs. Again, we cannot be too sure of some of the meanings, but many Navajo grandmothers will tell you that the diamond is a symbol of the Dinétah or Navajo homeland with its four sacred corners that are marked by the four sacred mountains.
The Navajo are an indigenous people from the American Southwest. They call themselves "Dine'", which means 'people' in the Navajo language. The first Navajos settled in the Southwest in the early 16th Century. Today, the Navajo Nation stretches across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, covering over 27,000 square miles.
Navajo people tell us they learned to weave from Spider Woman and that the first loom was of sky and earth cords, with weaving tools of sunlight, lightning, white shell, and crystal. Anthropologists speculate Navajos learned to weave from Pueblo people by 1650. There is little doubt Pueblo weaving was already influenced by the Spanish by the time they shared their weaving skills with Navajo people. Spanish influence includes the substitution of wool for cotton, the introduction of indigo (blue) dye, and simple stripe patterning.
I chose the diamond pattern for my logo to represent my "weaving" of the culture of the Southwest into my art.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Learning new skills

So I decided to make a brooch.  The lampworked bead has been flat lapped and riveted with copper tubing to the sterling back.  I textured the sterling sheet with a hammer whose face has been altered to provide a linen like texture on the metal. I added faux brass rivets.

I also decided to make my own pin back findings instead of using purchased components. And I fused fine silver components onto the Argentium silver.

I'm fairly happy with the outcome.  I would do a few things differently the next time.  My finishing technique needs to improve.  But overall I'm happy with my new brooch.

I just purchased a new scarf for fall and it looks great on it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

pricing tags

One of the things I hate to do most is put the price tags on jewelry and beads.  I have tried lots of styles.  I don't like anything.  I find they are obstusive.  I did see the Taxom pricing system that Rio Grande is selling.  You print out numbers and buy little frames and they sit next to the item.  Very classy.  But it's a little to pricey for me right now.  So  back to Moo cards again.  This time I had my name printed several times on a mini card.  I punch it and cut it and voila - price tags - in my colors.  I tie them on with pretty ribbon or Chinese knotting cord.  not too bad!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Earring displays

While I was attending the annual Gathering of the ISGB in Seattle a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Bellevue Arts Fair which was held directly across the street from our hotel. Of course I love to look at the arts and crafts, but this time I was more focused on displays. Earring displays was high on my scout list. I was surprised at the number of jewelry artists who displayed their earrings on their own individual unique display. I have always wanted to do this ever since I took a class with Celie Fago and saw her earring displays. But there is never enough time. I have an earring display stand that I love so I decided to make my own earring cards - in my colors of course.

I bought an earring card punch at the Bead and Button Show several years ago which is fabulous and I applied the hanging back from Rio Grande. But they looked a little plain so I ordered some stickers from Moo with my logo.

And here is the finished product

And the stand

People like that it twirls!

And for some very special OOAK earrings I am going to make a few of my own stands.

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Marketing Materials - Tri-fold brochure

I have business cards, "Moo"  mini cards and various postcards in my marketing repetoire.  But I have been wanting to make some brochures ever since I saw the ones Vickie Hallmark made.  These brochures have a section on 'What is Lampworking?'   There is a summary of my awards, articles and publications, a guide on how to care for your jewelry, and of course some pictures of my beads and jewelry.  I had them printed at Modern Postcard, and they did a wonderful job.  I ordered the minimum for now as I am sure I will want to tweek the information at a later date.  But I couldn't be happier.  This product reinforces the colors and feeling of my website. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Display Photos

In a previous post I mentioned that I just purchased a display setup from Dynamic Display Systems.  I also ordered the black stretch velvet that goes around each unit.  I thought to myself that I might change out the fabric to a more desert suitable color.  But then I got to thinking about posters of pictures of my jewelry for the booth, and realized that I am not going to have any walls.  And I did not want to display a poster on an easel like I did at the Tucson Gem and Jewelry Shows because these units are higher.

I usually order my posters from Epingo and I rememered seeing some new products.  So I ordered 4 posters on their new Photo Tex fabric.  Here's a description...

PhotoTex adhesive-back fabric sticks to any non-porous flat surface and removes easily with no residue for sharp-looking, seamless graphics and superior photographic images every time. PhotoTex is ideal for life-size photographic cut-outs for walls and wall murals. It also works great for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, including windows, backlits, doors, sign boards, and other flat surfaces. The adhesive is removable, reusable, and repositionable. It does not remove paint from a primed wall, is safe to apply over wallpaper, applies without wrinkles, and does not rip.

I applied them to the velvet and they stuck and are wonderful.  There is one for each unit.  When I set up next week I will be sure to take a photo of this display.

Oh, they are not expensive!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New jewelry display for shows

So a few days ago I posted that I needed a new display set up for shows.  I have had Abstracta table top units before so I went to their website first.  Here's a picture of a set up used by Sue McNenly.  Looks great!  But I remember a lot of hammering to get the pieces together.

My next stop was to Dynamic Display Systems.  I already own one of their units because I needed it for a gallery in Dayton where I had it set up for 2 years.  It's really easy to set up.  And because each unit is a stand alone I thought it would suit me better.  So I ordered 3 more units.  I have them set up in my studio now and they really look great.  Here is a picture of a someone ele's setup.  Of course mine will not be red.  I will be sure to take a picture of my setup at my next show.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate in Paris and Chicago

this is a box of chocolates from Pierre Marcolini on the Rud de Seine in Paris.  His chocolate is infused with exotic scents and flavors.  His speciality “Calin Fondant” – chocolate-covered almond flour crisps with Tahitian vanilla and caramel.  Yum...  But all gone now!

Eating all the wonderful chocolates in Paris has really spoiled me, BUT I have found a brand here in the US that is quite superb.  I found them in the O'Hare airport of all places on my way to the Bead and Button Show.  Anyway it is Vosges chocolate and you can order from them online.  So far my favorite is the blood orange and caramel exotic bar. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Doing Shows

I have done lots of shows in the past.  And I love doing them as I can really connect with my customers.  I love watching to see what catches someone's eye.  I have done bead shows and outdoor fine art shows.  The bead shows have been easy.  They are usually inside and a table is provided so all I have to do is bring display items to fit on a 6 or 8 foot table.  Outdoor shows are harder.  You have to have a tent; more specifically you have to put up a tent and hope it doesn't blow away.  And you have to bring your own display cabinets, walls, tables, or whatever to show off your wares.  And you have to hope that the weather gods are kind.  I haven't done an outsoor show in several years.

Tucson is lucky to have a wonderful organization call SAACA.  The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance is a nonprofit organization supporting, creating and promoting Arts and Culture in Southern Arizona for over 15 years.  They sponser some fine arts shows - which happen to be indoors in some very nice venues.  I was juried into the show that is upcoming August 18th and 19th at the Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort.   And for the past few months I have been preparing for this show and a second show later this year.

The first thing I decided was that I needed to upscale my display cabinets.  I didn't think that a table on risers with a table cover ideally portrayed my "brand".  So I started to research options.  Stay tuned and I will elaborate on my research and final purchase.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Have I ever mentioned I love chocolate?

When I was in Paris earlier this year I went to several museums and soaked up art and culture.  I also went shopping to feast my eyes on the wonderful fashion.  I learned a lot of history.  And ate in some fine restaurants.
the most enjoyable of all.... chocolate.
The French have been evolving chocolate into decadent delights for over four centuries.  And I did my best to taste a few as I walked around Par-ee.  I discovered that a single bar is alled a tablette and a box is called un ballotin
Wish I could have brought more home!
Stay tuned and I will tell you about some of the chocolate I found in Paris.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

While I was in Seattle

I just returned from a wonderful week in Seattle visiting my daughter and attending the annual meeting of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB). 
In the meantime back in Tucson, this female bobcat was caught teaching her baby to hunt by silverpixel photographer and neighbor Carl Bowser - in his front yard.  LOVE living in the desert!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Last week one of our air conditioners died.  So here is a new one being installed yesterday.  I wonder why they were ever put on the roof to begin with!  But it's nice to be cool again.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Studio Retrospective

I decided to go through lots of photos of jewelry on my computer and to organize things. That led me to create a "studio retrospective" book of some of my creations and the inspiration for them.  Lots of fun!  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tennis Anyone?

Well, the last piece of the puzzle was just placed.  Our tickets to Roland Garros French Open 2012 just arrived.  So in a few weeks we will be heading for France.  We go to Normandy first to the D-Day beaches and then a week in Paris.  We have rented an apartment through Haven in Paris.  I first heard about Haven in Paris from reading Gail Lannum's blog.  I also have been reading the Hip Paris Blog.  so we already have dinner reservations at several restaurants.  Of course high on the agenda also is bead shopping.  Paris has a bead district!  I'll be sure to take pics!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Great earrings

Made these great earrings over the weekend.  They use both tila bead and daggers which I have had sitting in my stash now for some time.  The pattern is from a Dayton friend - Carol Ohl, and it can be purchased online here. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do you listen to music when you create?

A Native American Flute

I like to listen to music when I am working in my studio even though while I am making glass beads the ventillation system tends to drown it out.  So one day I decided not to turn the ventillation on because I wanted to hear the music.... not a good thing!  but that's another story...

Anyway, while in Sante Fe last year I had the opportunity to hear someone play a Native American flute and I was hooked.

The history of this flute is vague, but it's main appeal to me is the soulful, haunting, and emotional sound.  I found an artist that I particularly like; and I think his music has really inspired a lot of my new designs which I will be showing you all over the next few months.  Check out Scott August and his music.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Home From Vacation

Many of you know that I just spent three weeks on an expedition to Antarctica.  Wonderful trip.  Trying to catch up with emails, regular mail, and oh yes, gathering tax stuff.  I'll reopen the Etsy store at the end of the week.  lots of ideas for new projects.  It's great to be home.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Another purchase at the Gem and Jewelry Shows.  What is it you ask?  Never in a million years would I have guessed that it is a peice of tilapia leather; cured and dyed in dozens of lucious colors.  Had to have several.  Purchased from Nature Beads.  I don't think it's on their website yet; and they sold out at the show; it is definitely yummy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Gem Show Find

This is a spool of silk cord that I found at the holidome this year.  The color is magnificent and the picture doesn't really capture the shimmer.  I'm thinking a kumihimo bracelet would be wonderful or maybe a macrame bracelet that I have been working on in leather would look good in this cord too.  Stay tuned.  I definitely want to order more in different colors.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show

I had a booth at the To Bead True Blue Show this year.  The show was great and I was lucky to be near some wonderful people.
Next door on one side was Julie Picarello.  I bought her new book.
On the other side was Paula Best with her lovely whimsical multi media beads.
Acrosss from me was Karen Ovington.  Her husband helped in her booth and ordered pitchers of margaritas at 5pm.  How cool is that!
Next to Karen was Barbara Minor and Chris Hentz (of Chris's cables).  Her enameled beads are unbelieveable!
And down a few tables was Steff Korsage.  Steff has used my glass beads in her jewelry; and I was lucky enough to purchase a ring from her. 
And behind Steff were two friends from Dayton OH...  Bridget Beck and Colleen Girard
And right behind me was Amy who made raku beads. 
I could go on as every booth in the show was spectacular.  Had a great time!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jewelry Display Case

Selling my beads at the Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is my main focus, but I have always brought jewelry too; and surprisingly I have sold quite a few pieces.  I usually display my jewelry on the usual purchased necklace and bracelet and earring displays; but I only allot about 25% of my space to jewelry so you really can't show a lot without it looking too crowded.  This year I will be displaying some jewelry in a wonderful handmade display case that I purchased on Etsy.  It is 16" high and when opened is 44" wide. (in a past life it was a printer's drawer)  But the neat thing about it is that it hinges closed to just 22", locks, and has a handle to carry it.  When it's opened you can angle it and I plan to place it at the end of the table.  It is sturdy and it holds a lot.  (I know that for a fact as I have been working like crazy to fill it).  So if you want to see more of these go to BlueBirdHeaven's shop on Etsy.  If you want to see mine, visit me Jan 29 - Feb 3rd at the To Bead True Blue Show at the Doubletree Reid Park in Tucson, AZ.

Friday, January 27, 2012

More To-do.. Priorities

So if you have read my previous posts you know I am in an organizational frenzy particularly my to-do list.
So I’m still using outlook for the everyday personal tasks that need to get done.  But I purged all of the note like to-dos and put them in Evernote.  (Which I continue to love and blogged about last week)  But I still needed something to help me with my artistic projects.  It wasn’t enough to just have a to-do that said “make a necklace to enter into the ISGB show”.   That item was a project with lots of specific tasks, and I needed a way to break down the project to manage each task until completion.  Also I never work on just one project, so I had to find a way to track several at once.  So… if all else fails ask a friend.  And my friend Mickey recommended the app “Priorities”. 
I downloaded Priorities to my iPad and my iPhone (and they will automatically sync).  I haven’t looked for a PC or MAC version, but I don’t feel I need one right now.  What I instantly liked about it was its simplicity.  Priorities uses “pages”; and you can create different pages for different aspects of your life.  My first page I named “Desert Bloom” for my business projects.  Then I could create the priorities which for me were the projects.  And under each project you can have nested priorities which for me were the individual tasks to get the project done.  You can place all sorts of reminders and alarms.  And everyday I could look and see all the priorities for all the projects that had to get done on that day.
I have been using it for about 3 weeks now and it has really kept me on track. You need to plan out the project and think through what needs to get done and then list everything and assign it a date, but then it really works to get you where you want to be.   I am setting up for the Tucson Gem and Jewelry shows tomorrow and am happy that I completed everything I wanted to.  First time I went off to a show feeling this good.  I you are in Tucson stop by and say hello.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Keeping Track of my notes

In my last post about my to-Do list I stated that I wanted an app that would help me organize my notes.  I have used the notes section in Microsoft Outlook, but had trouble with them syncing properly to my iPhone.  I think that has gotten better, but in the meantime I found EVERNOTE.  And it is just wonderful.  I have the program on my PC laptop, and I also installed the app for my iPhone and iPad.  I can create a note on any device and they all sync via iCloud.  Magic!!
Of course you can keep track of more that the written word; you can add pictures and links and websites.  I think I am up to about 50 notebooks so far.  And this program has really helped me to trim my to-do list.
There are many ways to customize Evernote to work for you…  check out this blog.
Here’s a snapshot of one of my notebooks…..

next...  my projects organizer...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Getting Organized - The ToDo List

I love to-do lists.  I will admit that I have even added a completed task to my to-do list just so I can cross it off.  OK, stop laughing.  But last year my to-do list really got out of control.  So the first item on my to-do list this year was to create a better to-do list.
I use my computer for everything; so naturally I want my to-do list to be on my computer.  Plus I have an iphone and an ipad so it would be nice if it would sync there too.  I was using Microsoft Outlook and that program is still a good place for specific tasks that can be completed right away – go to the post office, pick up dog food, schedule a massage.  But I found that my list contained items like – “make a necklace to enter into the ISGB juried show” or “the shibourigirl shop on etsy has great silk to hang pendants on; can I incorporate this in my jewelry line?”   At the end of December my to-do list had over 100 items all scheduled on one day and when only 3 or 4 things got done it took me valuable time to attach new dates for all the things that didn’t get done.  My todo list was out of control.
I examined the todo list closely and realized that some of the todo’s were actually notes or bits of information that I needed to keep track of.  It was not an immediate action item and I didn’t know when I wanted to act on the item, but I wanted the information to retrieve later.  I needed a program to track and organize all of these notes. 
Other items on the todo list were projects.  I couldn’t complete the “make a necklace for entry into a juried show” quickly, so it got pushed down the list and consequently never done.  I missed deadlines and opportunities.  I needed a program that would take each “project” and break it down into doable items each of which could be realistically scheduled until the projects were complete.  I could even work on multiple projects at the same time!
Okay, I have identified two action items to help me achieve my better todo list.  I need a note app and a project management app.  Check back later for my choices….

Monday, January 9, 2012

Petroglyph Beads

So I started tube riveting the bead caps onto my hollow beads today....  for the Tucson Gem and Jewelry Shows.  These are some petroglyph beads.  I applied the drawings with an enamel "ink" that is cured in the kiln after the bead is made.