I thought I would share some of the new beads I have been making since the ISGB Gathering.  Still so much to learn and grown and perfect, but all fun to do.

The right one is made with a fun glass color called Caribbean Sea.  The core is a deep transparent green and there is a layer of light turquoise on the outside.  You'll see more beads made with that below.  The middle is turquoise with copper leaf melted in then clear.  I probably melted the copper too much, but I like how it added texture.  The one on the right has some twisty from my ISGB class. 

The two left beads were made with a "tan bag" frit that was in the goodie bag from Olympic Color Rods, one one on the right is dots with a big clear dot melted on top so it looks deep, but they got smeared a bit.

Here's more Caribbean Sea in my attempt to make matching (sized) pairs of beads.

I love beautiful hollow beads, unfortunately, these are not that beautiful.  I think I added way too much glass and then would get blow outs - I tried to repair and then finally gave up on the "Mars" bead.

I love the shape and the shiny-ness of these two.

More Caribbean Sea in the back and an effort to "ruffle" and some left over twisty on the front, that I heated the snot our of, so it smeared and made cool wavy black lines.  I added to black dots on top and like how it came out.

These two are the result of lots of clear over solid.  The blue bead in front looks like it has a really wonky end, but you can see very well the clear over top.

My stripe-y disk is a little wobbly, but not a bad first attempt, and the other barrel bead was one of my best even-shape-good-ends beads :-)

I had this entirely different post planned staring Layla, our dog, who is my constant companion now that I am spending more time at home, but then found a bunch of pictures in the photo stream that I hadn't realized that Greg took while I was in a class with Donna Felkner at the ISGB Gathering in Houston.  While I was trying to look cool to my son Michael, he was filling my ears with "Wow, look what you made Mommy" "That's so awesome Mommy" and other incredible cheer leading.  It was a great moment on so many fronts, and a small example of the great summer I have been blessed with. To see the beads I made during the class and other fun stuff I bought at the Gathering, go to this post here.

See other celebrations here:

It's about time I post something about beads!  If you are bead obsessed, and on the road, of course you look up the local bead shop.  A quick Google Map search in Austin pointed us to Bead It. It looks like a sleepy little cottage, but had many rooms behind many rooms filled with all kinds of goodies.  Here are my Czech glass purchases.  I was buying the second to last strand of those blue coins, and their policy is to sell the last strand for half price.  "Would you like that one too?" Of course. Those green nubby beads were too cool to pass up.

They had tons of metal components.  I loved this copper disks and the large beads, the copper dangles and keys begging to be parts of earrings.

I first found these saturn-like links as individual components - the copper beads roll around freely inside the frame - and then the helpful sales lady mentioned that is comes in chain. "One foot or two?" Two, definitely.

After our trip to Austin, we took a trip last week to Houston for the annual meeting of the International Society of Glassbead Makers. Wow, was that ever an awesome experience.  I took one class and then attended a day of the conference, with much shopping in between.  Even though the artists making formal presentations were a billion light years ahead of me, just watching them work and hearing them speak was inspiring, and I learned so much!  I took a class from Donna Felkner, the lovely lady behind CG Bead Rollers.  I bought both the one we used in class and two more.  I also bought that cool marver/rake tool from Karen Leonardo.  She makes lots of fun lamp working tools.

Here are the beads I made during Donna's class.  She loves using EDP (purple) glass so we played with that a lot.  There was a lot of talk of verifying and devitrifying that went well over my head, but I learned from her that I hold my glass too close to the burner, and learned some tricks for using rollers.  Yay!

There were a couple glass vendors but I really liked  Glass Sorbet - a shop that happens to be based in Houston.  They were so helpful (and always 25% off retail!)

For the last three mornings I have been making beads between the "take Emma to basketball camp" and "pick up Michael from golf camp" time - today I made a mostly round hollow bead - yay!  I will post them here when they come out of the kiln.

I am a bit behind on my focus posts - and to be honest my brain isn't very focused at all. Not for any bad reason - but because all I have been doing has been celebrating and having fun!

On July 3rd I retired from the Air Force!

On July 4th we had our annual cul de sac party.  

It started a bunch of years ago, dragging our chairs out to the middle to share some drinks and let the kids light off fireworks, and it's become the highlight of living in our neighborhood.  This year it doubled as my retirement party, which means we rented a jumping castle, a very good friend was DJ, and the neighbors let me invite my extended family and a couple other friends.

Immediately after the festivities Greg and Michael headed to Scout camp...

...and Emma and I took a girls trip to Austin and San Antonio, Texas.  Why?  Because she was born there, and loves BBQ, and because it seemed like a great way to kick off summer of fun.

We stopped by Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX where she was born.

We toured the Texas State Capitol, which is taller than the US Capitol they would like you to know.

And we spent some time strolling around the University of Texas campus.

I love the yummy food and drinks in the Southwest :-)
"Would you like to try tonight's margarita special, ma'am?"  
Definitely a sweet way to celebrate!

See other celebrations here:

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