The Grecian Urn Pendant has now been retired from classes and is now available as a downloadable tutorial on my Etsy!

I also have ONE kit available, in the same colorway as the sample.  Let me know if you’re interested!



Nicole Rogalski is my next guest blogger!  She’s a good friend and a wonderful lampworker.  Plus, she’s really good company and saved me two years ago at the Meet the Teachers event at Bead&Button.  Take a look – she talks here both about lampworking and also the Beads of Courage event she just participated in!
It’s like Christmas Every Day!

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  – Confucius

I never really understood what that saying meant until I started making glass beads.  From day one… I have enjoyed sitting behind a torch, music playing and melting glass and completely loosing track of time, totally immersed in what I would call a mesmerizing state of bliss.  And it didn’t end there…because the anticipation of waiting for my kiln to cool down so I could see the finished beads was like waiting to open presents on Christmas Day.

It was eleven years ago I started my lampwork adventure and I was having such a great time gifting my beads to friends and family and selling off the rest that before I knew it, my love of my craft turned into a small business.  Granted, there are days when my creativity is as empty as my fuel tank but those are few and far between and I cant imagine doing anything else.  It really is my bliss!

I recently read online that Artmosphere Studio (a cool glass studio in Anchorage  AK) and Beads of Courage (the awesome organization that provides artisans lampwork beads to children dealing with life-threatening cancer) were collaborating once again on an event called “Beads on the Trail for Beads of Courage 2017” (  They asked for artists to donate their beads for the Iditarod Trail 2017, a 1000 mile long sled dog race.   As someone who has donated beads before to the Beads of Courage program, I quickly signed up and promised to donate 3 sets of beads with an Alaskan theme.  
There are 76 mushers who will be participating and each musher will carry an artist’s bead with the remaining 4 beads going for fundraising to give strength and courage to the children who are in a race for their lives, living with cancer.

For the Alaskan theme, I choose polar bear bead faces (photo right), salmon (photo above), and spiraled lentils in a grey and blue transparent glass representing the water and skies of Alaska in winter (photo top).   I hope the children like them as much as I did making them.  

To learn more about Beads of Courage, visit their website at .

xo – 
Nicole Rogalski, KNR Lampwork

Like what you’ve seen of her work?  If you are reading this the weekend of February 17-18 2017, then Nicole has an online trunk show she’s doing on Facebook.  You can check it out by going to  If you’ve missed it, don’t fret…  she’s also got one on March 17 & 18, April 14 & 15, May 12 & 13!

I just returned home from a really wonderful Bead Retreat in Florida that I’ll tell you about later on in the week. Meanwhile, though, the amount of time I spent in airports and the plane was LOOOOONG. They lost a bag on the way there and all three of them on the way home (I hope they find them and it doesn’t take 3 days this time)!

But long plane trips do allow me to rework tutorials, and I finished this one somewhere over Nebraska.

JUST UPDATED – Bead Pattern Ndebele Crystal Cables Herringbone Beaded Bracelet tutorial instructions – by Hannah Rosner

Use seed beads and crystals to make your own version of this handbeaded bracelet.
This class is level 3.5 out of 5. That puts it at an Intermediate/Advanced tutorial. Students SHOULD BE ALREADY FAMILAR WITH FLAT HERRINGBONE/NDEBELE STITCH before they begin this project and should be well versed in bead weaving.



About two decades ago I met my friend Adlai Stein.  I called him a blacksmith back then, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago that he decided to leave his office job and become a blacksmith full time.  As a result, I asked him to write a little bit on things he considered before he left his job and also a few things he found out along the way.

Tomorrow night you can “meet” him too.  He will be featured on the History Channel Blacksmith Competition “Forged in Fire” Season 3, Episode 15 at 10/9c. 

By the way, he shared with me that writing a blog post for me was preferable over doing his taxes.  

Things to Consider Before Quitting Your Day Job to be a Full Time Maker
(or – Quit Your Day Job!  But think about it first!)


    •   Figure out how much money you need to make each month.  Items to consider are bills, food, supplies, tables, tents, displays and studio or office rent  if you don’t work from home. There are also a lot of little things that you don’t expect when getting started, like how much you have to pay for taking credit cards (2% to 3%   per transaction), booth fees if you are doing shows, gas, and hotel if you are doing shows out of town.  All of all of that should go into your budget.


    •   Have at least 3-6 months worth of income in savings to get through the first transition.  It’s difficult to have enough money coming in right away. I personally took part of my 401k to pay off my truck, my credit cards with high interest and  get a jump on having some in savings just to get through lean times.


    •   Ask yourself: Are you good enough at your craft to make a living on it? It’s something that keeps us all up at night but it’s a real fear. I was blacksmithing for over 20 years when I quit my day job. As hobbyist and part time maker, I certainly hadn’t logged in 20 years worth of hours. I blacksmithed here and there.  During some hard times I had a year or 2 off when I didn’t work at all.  When I worked regularly it was maybe 2 3 times a month, life happens. Working full time is a great way to get better.  It took me about a year to feel comfortable enough with my work to really feel like I was getting good enough.


    •   Do you have enough back stock to do shows and do you have enough variety of things to appeal to your audience?


    •   What audience are you appealing to? What kind of things appeal to your existing clients?  I’m not talking friends and family since they have a soft spot for you. I’m talking about total strangers who like your work because it strikes a chord or need with them.


    •   Make a plan to establish an online reputation. Post works in progress (WIPs) and finished work on your website and on social media. Have a business page on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter that is separate from your personal page. It’s ok to cross post to your personal page but potential customers like a personal touch, they usually don’t want to see your food or friends and family.


    •   Find good shows that you can do multiple years in a row, you may not do well the first year but people will come looking for you in that same spot at future years.  Have business cards and hand them out everywhere. You are your best cheerleader – promote yourself like crazy.


    •   Can you be outgoing enough to really engage people as they walk by your

      My friend Adlai, looking like a blacksmith!

      booth or on line? Being shy does not sell product. My looks and appearance are distinctive – I go out of my way to look the way people imagine a blacksmith should . There is no doubt in their minds that this is my work. I’m gregarious and try to greet every person that walks by my booth. Sometimes it draws people in who would otherwise walk by.


    •   If you think you’ll have more time for your family think again. Yes, you’ll have a more flexible schedule to be able to be able to match their schedules but in order to be successful you’ll be working a whole lot more than 40 hours per week.


    •   You’ll have to keep yourself motivated.  The upside of this is that there is no jerk boss setting deadlines for you. If working from home, try setting up a studio or private area so it feels like you are going to work. Have a routine like you did before;  shower and have coffee or breakfast/lunch then go to your bench and get started. Personally, I have a shop away from my home to work from, otherwise I won’t get anything done at home. For me, home is where I relax.


    •   Have a good network of friends you can trust to help and vent to when things go wrong. It’s very helpful and not something we always think about.


  •   The big thing is don’t worry it to death.  Just get off your butt and do it! You’ll never know  if you are too scared to take that risk.


    Handmade Rose

Adlai Stein, Blacksmith at Macabee Metals

You can catch up with Adlai at

A couple of days ago, you might have caught my little post about getting the
That’s a pendant I made with
Jodie McDougall’s murrine on the
cover of February 2017 AJT!

cover story for Artisan Jewelry Times.  I’ve been writing for the magazine for a few years now, and also for its sister magazine Soda Lime Times.  

So, I asked Diane Woodall to write a little story for me on how she originally set out to publish both.  Lucky me!  She agreed!
Publishing Soda
Lime Times
is my dream job! But I didn’t set out to be a magazine
publisher. I studied journalism and business in college and spent 26 years as a
real estate appraiser in Houston, TX.   
I never truly enjoyed what I did, and always
envied other people who loved their work. 

When my sister, Becky Mason,
introduced me to lampworking in 2002 I fell immediately in love, and while I
continued to labor away at my appraisals, I finally had an artistic outlet that
brought me tremendous joy. I’m sure many others feel the same way about melting
glass. It puts you in your happy place!

A couple of years after I started making beads anther
local beadmaker and I
One of the original Soda Lime Times.
Diane shared with me that this was from when it
was still the newsletter from the Houston Hotties. 

started the Houston Hotties, the group that would later
become the Houston Society of Glass Beadmakers. I was elected president and
enjoyed watching the group grow. Within a year or so we decided to start a
chapter newsletter, and Janet Robinson was our first editor. Janet was a
wonderful editor and I awaited it eagerly each and every month. It was Janet
who came up with the name Soda Lime Times.
She was our editor until health issues forced her to turn it over to me – and I
knew NOTHING about writing a newsletter. But I dove in, and in doing so
discovered that I truly loved writing it. I applied myself to the newsletter
with the same passion as I did beadmaking, and soon our members were sharing it
with their friends from all over the world.

Early in 2011 my husband Paul suggested that I could
produce the newsletter as a commercial project, but I
Diane and Paul!

was still working full
time as an appraiser and wasn’t sure if it had the potential to actually make
money. I ran the idea by the members of our local chapter and they almost
unanimously encouraged me to give it a go. Thankfully Paul is a bit of a
computer whiz and was able to handle the IT end of the business while I was
responsible for content and production of the magazine. The partnership was an
immediate success, and the lampwork community was supportive from day one. If I
had known then how little I really knew about publishing a magazine I would
have been terrified to try it, but thankfully ignorance is bliss!

Our philosophy from the beginning was to give our readers
an interesting,

exciting and beautiful magazine at a low price – to constantly
overdeliver. The first six months we were in production I was still working
full time, so it was an exhausting half-year. But the day I did my last
appraisal was one of the happiest days of my life! I could finally concentrate
my efforts solely on Soda Lime Times!
Late in 2014 we made the switch from using Word to Adobe InDesign for our
publishing platform, and the magazine has become more professional and
attractive as the years have passed. Paul and I have learned on-the-job what it
is to be a digital publisher, using all our combined skills and talents to make
SLT a respected magazine.

In January 2015, we launched our second digital magazine,
Artisan Jewelry Times, this time
partnering with Karen Leonardo as editor and Debby Gwaltney as graphic designer.
It has been a pleasure to work with these talented ladies. Paul continues to be
our computer guru, and also oversees customer service and web design. And we
couldn’t publish a single issue without our copy editor, Darryl Jadaa. Artisan Jewelry Times has the potential
to out-perform SLT because of the vast number of jewelry designers out there,
and we are very proud of the quality and beauty of the magazine. Over time we
feel that more and more people will embrace the digital platform as print
magazines struggle to survive in the digital age.

I really do have the best job in the world! Being able to
work on something I love with people I love is the greatest blessing I can ask
for, and I hope there will be many more years of SLT and AJT to come!

Diane Woodall

You can subscribe to Soda Lime Times at
Back issues are available at

Artisan Jewelry Times is available as a subscription at
Back issues are available for this magazine too!

Got through editing and updating two more tutorials and they are perfect for the beginning level beader who also wants to find a use for lampwork beads.

Here’s the pendant…


And here’s the bracelet…


Its true.  I have a fringe issue and a bead hoarding issue.  I pretend that I can quit anytime I want, but I probably can’t.  I also pretend that its completely under control and that I don’t quit because I don’t WANT to quit, but when I started reworking my old tutorials, I could have just ‘fessed up and said that I was just going to remake samples for all of my older tutorials WITH MORE FRINGE.

Anyhow, so when Karen Leonardo and Diane Woodall asked me to write a tutorial for the February issue of Artisan Jewelry Times I thought I’d try for something beginning level and without fringe.  And there I remained, stuck FOR MONTHS.  

I tried a macrame bracelet.  And scrapped it.

I tried a braided bracelet.  And scrapped it.

I tried a steampunk style necklace with some handmade beads.  It was UGLY.

So I finally did what any crazy bead lady does when faced with a lack of inspiration and took out a cabochon  Jodie McDougall gave me years ago and I’ve been hiding away to make something just for myself and decided to make something just for me.

But of course first I had to go bead shopping because this thing for me was going to have fringe and I didn’t have the right beads!  When it was done, I looked at it and thought, well, I’m not sure why I was making this so difficult.  This thing is my current FAVORITE thing and it can be a tutorial.  And so… here it is.  The cover tutorial for the February issue of Artisan Jewelry Times!

You can get your magazine delivered right to your mailbox – its available for subscription at

Back issues (if you are reading this after February 2017) are available at