28/09/2013

Messy testing - Antique Lace, Cake Batter, Daffodil, Alley Cat

I've been revisiting an idea from last summer, beads in a cave painting style, and it was an irresistible temptation to head straight towards my test rods of some of the newest CiM colours, Alley Cat in particular which is a glorious bright orange ochre opaque.

The plan was to make tab beads and then burnish on patches of  silver leaf to vapourise in the flame. I wanted to try this over some of the new ivory-ish, yellow and orange shades to see how much of an organic "ageing" effect I could give the glass colours.
The picture above shows my finished beads and cabochons which have been lightly etched with Etch All Dip'n Etch liquid. To the right is a picture of the back of each of these beads which shows the organic effects of the silver leaf before etching.

First up I would like to talk about Alley Cat ltd run. Love at first sight for me it was for me with this colour, it looks so bright and happy.Where the silver touched the bead there is a strong reaction which looks almost bronzish in places and the silver seems to fumed areas of Alley Cat adjacent to the silver giving a deeper shade.

Next up, Daffodil, not a new colour but new to the UK. I've used  Daffodil ltd run once or twice before and so already knew that it works up much darker than you would think when you see it in rod form. It reacts strongly with silver leaf leaving an finish that looks something like an antique mirror finish before it was etched. It is a cheerful sunny colour that is a couple of shades lighter that Alley Cat. Both are fab, well behaved glass colour with a retro feel.

Antique Lace also has a strong reaction with silver though without the hoped for patchy organic patterns than I got from either of the orange glasses. It was fumed faorly evenly from a light almost grey toned cream to a really pretty deep beige colour. The bright orange you can see on the front on my Antique Lace bead is Daffodil.

The last colour to mention today is Cake Batter which in rod form is the palest shade of pastel yellow. It behaved similarly to Antique Lace in that the whole surface area of the bead was fumed by the silver leaf when I vapourised it in the flame without distinct areas where the silver leaf had been touching the bead. In this case the colour change is striking, I got a deep almost distressed looking sandy brown, the lovely sandstone effect I had been hoping for.

Jolene x

Homemade Banana Muffins

I've been baking today, 'nana muffins, and they are pretty tasty so I have decided to do a quick post and run blog post because you'd be surprised how many times I have had come back here for an ingredients list for something I've made before (my usual method of making cooking notes is on random scraps of paper or backs of envelopes which, as you all know, house pixies like to use to line their nests).

Nana Muffins


  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 200g of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of bicarb
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 75g of butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
Combine sugar and butter, add wet ingredients, mix, add dry ingredients, mix, stir in bananas, pop the mixture in paper cake cases, cook on gas mark 4 for 25 mins....


I'm fairly sure the original recipe came from http://allrecipes.co.uk somewhere...but don't quote me!


Have a lovely weekend, Jolene xx




27/09/2013

Golden Hearts Fund Raiser

There has been a lovely response on Facebook to the Gold Awareness Hearts that I have been making for Beads of Courage and my 52 little things project through September. I've even had a few requests from folks who wanted to buy one but I don't make and sell beads that I've designed especially for BoC as it wouldn't feel right somehow.


 What I decided to do instead is make some and auction them to fund raise for Be Child Cancer Aware. That way these very special beads will be supporting kids on the Beads of Courage program here in the UK. There are only 8 Gold Hearts in total, 4 that I have gifted to BoC for Act of Courage beads and these 4 which are on Facebook and up for auction...please click HERE to take a look and see how the bidding is going, last bids will be 10pm on Monday 30th of September.

The one that is golden

The one with all the dots

The one with all the flowers

the one with all the stripes





Have a super weekend, Jolene xx

26/09/2013

Papering the first rooms.....

As a crafty treat for Roo this evening she and I gathered some supplies together to wallpaper her dolls house bedroom. I decided to go for PVA for hanging the wallpaper as we already had plenty here. We used scraps of the paper in her own bedroom that were stashed away for a rainy day.

I did the cutting and Roo had a fun time pasting the walls with PVA ready for putting up the wallpaper in her mini bedroom.



Below is a snap of Roo's finished mini bedroom. I've used self adhesive purpose made dolls house carpet for the floor that I had found on ebay. It was really easy to cut and apply. I suspect when we get around to decorating Roo's real bedroom we'll need to redecorate her mini bedroom too :-D
Next I covered the outside lower story walls with yellow brick  paper - bit of a mishap when I forgot to cut out one of the windows before sticking the paper to the wall but I think I got away with it by snipping a cross in the paper from the centre to the corners of the window and folding and sticking the paper down inside the window frame.

The next job was to paper and carpet Ethan's mini room to look like his proper bedroom too. This is not a very clear picture as the paper has silver Dinos all over it, really cute.
I didn't remember to lave a little flap of extra paper to run down to the floor and under the carpet so there is a little white line around both of the rooms where the paper and carpet meet. I'm thinking that adding skirting boards at some point would be a nice thing to do to make it look much neater. I will definitely remember to leave an overlap for the floor on the next rooms to get papered though!


These three pics show how I made some plaster to render the front door alcove and pathway around the  house. It is a mixture of white emulsion, PVA, and food colouring.



The next bit was really fun, I dabbed the gloopy "plaster" on with a paint brush to give the alcove and pathway some interesting texture. I'm not sure what to do with the pathway area next really, maybe the kids will want to paint it grassy green or maybe we could make some planters and pots of flowers to decorate the outside space. I saved the left over gloopy mixture in an old coffee jar just in case we need it again for something.
And this is where the house is at so far.... I wonder how long the gloopy painty sand mixture is going to take to dry!

Here are some useful links on how to wall paper a dolls house that I found on google...

http://www.dollshouse.com/dhe/content/how-to-wallpapering-tips.aspx

http://dollhousedecorating.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/how-to-put-wallpaper-in-your-dollhouse.html

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/five-ways-to-wallpaper-a-dollhouse-177887

Jolene x

24/09/2013

52 little things week 38 and 39

Good afternoon, here are my super special 52 little things beads for week 38 and 39 for Beads of Courage. September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness month and I have designed these beads with gold awareness ribbons especially for September.

There is a little tutorial on my blog to show how they were done, you can check it out HERE
Another little project that I have been helping with recently is a special page on the Be Child Cancer Aware website especially for Lampworkers to be able to share their Beads of Courage tutorials.

http://www.bechildcanceraware.org/beads-of-courage/lampwork-tutorials/

There are 7 fabulous tutes on there at the moment that have been created by talented UK bead makers, Emma Green, Laney Mead, Trudi Doherty and Helen Vanek. If you would like to make some beads for BoC kids and are looking for inspiration then pop along and check it out.

Off to the shed now, catch you later, Jolene x


23/09/2013

Beauty Base Zero

Anyone with dolls house renovation experience, you may want to cover your ears at this point, but it seemed to me this morning that what would be really helpful is to have a proper blank canvas to work on. Beauty base zero if you will. To that end I popped down the shed and hunter gathered a big tin of brilliant white emulsion and a couple of two inch brushes.
My plans for the house are pretty loose at the moment, what I do know is that this project is one that I really want the children to be part of and for them to know that the house is theirs to play with. As most of this base coat will be covered in paper and carpet eventually it seemed a great time to get my littlest involved, so it was on with the painting shirt and out with the paint brushes and we set to work.
I separated the body of the house from the roof and we painted it in two parts starting with the roof. I think the house will need a rub down and a second coat tonight, particularly outside of the first floor which is not going to be papered at all. Stage two will be papering the roof but I am finding it hard to find info on the best way to tackle that on the net. Probably best to make a series of templates out of plain paper first I think.

We both have paint in our hair and smiles on our faces, so that is all good.

have a lovely week, Jo x


22/09/2013

Renovating a dolls house and a little bit of bead weaving

A couple of weekends ago I went to the GBUK AGM (Glass Beadmakers UK) and was lucky enough to have a class with Carol Passaro on how to make a beaded Bezel. It was really lovely sitting around with a group of gals and working on a project together, time just flew by with all of the cheeky chat and laughing, a refreshing change from making beads in the studio at home with the radio for company.

I finished my project at home a few days later and even though I had to unpick it and start over 3 times I learnt a lot and am pleased with it, especially as a first attempt. Needless to say this necklace featuring a lovely Cabochon by Debbie Dew was quickly smuggled away into my Daughters treasure box.

Last night I thought I would see if I could take the technique and use it on a bigger Cab and made this bezeled mirror for the dolls house out of a Haematite cab that's been kicking around here forever. It was thumbs up form the little ones when they saw it this morning.

Things are ticking along slowly with the dolls house renovations. I've sourced and bought some tile and brick paper for the outside of the house and my friend Sam has had a rummage and sent me a perfect front door and fancy yellow and white window frames too, exciting stuff. She also sent some very cute little bits and bobs for the inside including a tiny little loo roll holder including a roll of paper! These little details really make me smile.

 Learning how to bezel a cabochon also inspired me to have a go at making some glass cabs at the torch the next time I managed to get in to the studio. These are on a base of CiM Stoneground with powdered glass added for a shot of colour. These sweet cabs are currently available in my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KitzbitzArtBeads and they were such fun to make that I know that I'll be adding more of this sort of thing to my shop inventory very soon.







This morning the kids and I spent a productive hour stripping as much paper as we could off of the walls and roof. It would be fair to say we trashed our living room with all the little scraps of paper and sticky flooring but the worst of the job is now done. I also took out some very old and defunct lighting fittings and wiring. I'm not planning to put in a working lighting system into the house this time around because the kids are eager to get on and play with it! Maybe next time....



One thing I am worried about it the damage on the roof, it seems to be splitting at the corners so I need to have a good google and read up on what can be done to repair it or stop it form getting any worse.


Wishing you a lovely lazy Sunday Jolene x

16/09/2013

52 little things week 36 and 37

I am playing catch up with my 52 week project in September, my kiln has been out of action and had to go in for repair which meant no beads...

I had planned to make bright yellow beads this month as it is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and so here are my bold bright zingy sunny yellow beads for Week 36 and 37.

Hopefully they will go down a treat with the Beads of Courage kids.
I've also written a little tutorial showing how to make a gold and black flat cane to use for creating the Awareness Ribbon detail - you can find it on my blog here

http://kitzbitzartglass.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/gold-ribbon-beads-special-tutorial-for.html

Have a super week
Jolene xx


15/09/2013

Renovating a dolls house


My sons playgroup have had a massive toy clear out over the summer and were planning throw this gorgeous dolls house away if no one wanted to take it home and do it up. It is pretty tired looking and run down but it has clearly been made by hand  with lots of love and is still really sturdy.

I know it is a big project, but doing up a dolls house has been on my want to do that list for ever so long so after umming and ahhing about it for a few days (as Ruby already has a dolls house) while it sat unclaimed and unloved,  I decided to go for it and took it home. I just couldn't bear the thought of something this lovely ending up in a skip.

Sooooo I have not got much of a clue where to start, there will definitely be a big learning curve for me and I don't expect to get it all beautified in a hurry but yay, so excited!

All hints, tips and stories of doll house renovation much appreciated
Jolene xx

Gold Ribbon beads, a special tutorial for International Childhood Cancer Awareness month

Beads of Courage is dear to my heart, in the UK the program is funded and supported by a small family run charity called Be Child Cancer Aware. As part of their fundraising BCCA sell Gold Ribbons, the colour that represents Childhood Cancer Awareness. September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness month and I wanted to do something to help to raise awareness too. I decided to make all of my September 52 little things beads in bright yellow with gold ribbons and also to make this little tutorial to share how I make the canes for the ribbons in case anyone else would like to make some.

 Glass

1 rod of Effetre special dark yellow
1 rod of Reichenbach deep black
plus some scrap clear glass to make a punty
 Step 1

Melt a gather of glass on the end of the yellow rod, about the size of a Malteser (or a Dime) will do.
 Step 2

Flatten the gather between two heat proof surfaces to make a paddle. I've used a torch top and handheld marver.
 Step 3

Square off the edges of the paddle with your hand held marver, heat and flatten again.
 Step 4

Add swipes of your black glass to either side of the paddle.
 Step 5

Prepare a punty by melting the end of the clear scrap glass rod and flattening the end to make a maria. Make sure the maria is wide enough to cover the yellow and both swipes of black.
 Step 5

Heat the end of your paddle and maria and join them together. Heat the paddle, turning frequently to heat both sides evenly, until the paddle glows orange and is soft enough to pull.
 Step 6

Take the paddle out of the flame and allow it to cool slightly before pulling the softened glass out slowly to make a long flat cane that is about 5mm wide. Place the cane on a heat proof surface to cool and remove the punty and glass rod with rod nippers.
Step 7

When your ribbon cane has cooled down enough to handle you can use it to draw Gold Ribbons on your beads.

Make sure that the end of the cane has been nipped flat for a clean edge and lay on a short diagonal line from left to right using a low flame. Soften the next part of the cane gently in the flame so that you can draw on the curved part of your ribbon motif and then finally lay down the last straight part of your ribbon.

Use rod nippers to cut the cane from your base bead for a neat finish and bathe your whole bead in the flame.

Heat and press the ribbon cane gently to make sure it is properly anchored to your base bead, bathe in the flame again and place in a hot kiln to anneal.

If you have any beads that you would like to gift to BCCA - Beads of Courage UK please follow this link to the Bead Donations Form


Ta, Jolene xx

11/09/2013

52 little things week 35

Not surprisingly my week 35 52 little things bead for Beads of Courage UK this week is ocean themed. I've been on a sea side kick over the past couple of weeks, and I've completely fallen in love with a heart press that I recently bought second hand. It's the 3mm puffy heart from www.beadpress.com

This special heart has a wee baby octopus on the front and a starfish on the back too.


Jolene xx

09/09/2013

Etsy Mentor Month week 2, SEO, tags, titles, getting found....

There are 6 of us on CPteam taking part in Etsy Mentor Month for Teams this September. I'm jumping in with my mentor month blogging on week 2 as last week was hols and I was away for most of it though my mentoring partner Kat and I did critique each others shops and talk a bit about photography, styling and branding. As I am yet to make any changes to my shop in terms of images so I will come back and blog about week 1 topics later in the month.

That aim of week 2 is to look closely at our listings and improve their SEO and findability on Etsy Search with use of descriptive terms and phrases. Today I am going to look at one of my listings and rejig search terms, tags and the listing description to hopefully increase the number of views of my work will have via search engines and Etsy Search.

I've picked this set, Meadow, as it is a fairly new listing and I am pretty happy with the photography already


  • Currently my title is - Meadow Lampwork bead set - 11 beads
  • Tags are - glass, bead, lampwork, lampwork glass beads, handmade glass beads, leteam fhf, handmade glass, fhfteam, cpteam, artisan glass beads, deep green, large bead set, grass green, ink blue glass, dotty beads, love heart.
  • Description reads - Very pretty set of 11 green and teal beads that are just packed with detail

Some stats...... I listed these beads on the 12th of August and they have only had 58 views in that time. 7 of which came directly from Etsy search with the terms
  • lampwork
  • glass lampwork beads
  • lampwork beads
  • lampwork beads large sets
  • lampwork bead sets
They have been added to peoples favourites 11 times though which means that they are liked well enough by the few people that have seen them.

After working on my listing today
  • My title is - Lampwork handmade glass beads (11) encased meadow green beads with dots and stripes
  • Tags are - handmade lampwork, european sra, green lampwork beads. green glass bead set, Jolene Wolfe, Kitzbitz Art Glass, Forest green glass, dots and stripes, jewelry making, lampwork bead set, grass green beads, Lime green heart, CPteam FHF LEteam 
  • Description reads - Handmade green glass bead set with delicate dots and stripes and stringer work detail. These encased beads are made with shades of lime green, grass green, forest green and teal with black and white.
 I've also added more keywords to my materials section so as well as glass I now have - cim, moretti, effetre, reichenbach, creation is messy, coe 104


Will these changes bring more views and and bigger better stats for my listing? Only time will tell but hey it's got to be worth a shot!

Have a great week, Jolene xx

07/09/2013

Little Carrot Cakes and Courgette Loaf Cake

I've a glut of Courgettes at the moment, amazing considering that I only planted two courgette plants on the lottie this year. This morning I went looking about on the net for a fun recipes to get my kidlets cooking and also eating up their greens and found a lot of good recipes on www.allrecipes.co.uk.

As usual I realised that I didn't have all of the right ingredients to follow any of the recipes exactly and so I jiggled the quantities a little and as both the carrot cake and courgette loaf cake turned out pretty well I thought I'd pop them up on my blog (because I am a sucker for loosing those important little bits of paper with the ingredients list on them and we'll likely want to make these again!). First up, Ethan and I made a dozen little Carrot Cakes, they didn't even get properly cooled down from the oven before the kids tucked in!

Carrot Cakes

Dry Ingredients

  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Wet Ingredients
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 1 Medium Carrot (grated)
  • 2 eggs

We mixed the flour and dry stuff together in one bowl and sieved it a couple of times. Next we put the butter, sugar, carrots and eggs together in another bowl and gave it all a good mix then added the flour and whisked it up with the electric mixer, plopped the batter in to cake cases and baked on 4 for about 20 mins. Whilst the carrot cakes were baking Ruby and I got started on the courgette loaf cake.


Courgette Loaf Cake

Wet ingredients
  •  200g Courgette (grated)
  • 150g Granulated Sugar (we didn't have any Castor Sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml Vegetable Oil
Dry ingredients
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 75g Plain wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarb
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1tsp Mixed Spices
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1tblsp Lemon Juice
As before we combined the dry ingredients, sieved and set them aside, then bunged all of the wet ingredients together in another bowl and whisked with and electric mixer before adding the dry mix and whisking again. This batter mix was much more liquid than the carrot cake batter, we popped it in a buttered/floured loaf time and cooked it out slowly on gas mark 3 for 1hr 20 mins. The recommended cooking time was just 45 mins but the cake was nowhere near ready at that point. Next time I think I will reduce the oil content a bit and cook the cake on 4 to see if that works better.

Cougette Loaf Cake with a sprinkling of icing sugar on top!

The tiddlers did try a little bit of the loaf cake which was all moist and crumbly and lovely but much preferred the carrot cakes, next time I think I'll take the skins off of the Courgettes before grating as they will be completely invisible!

Have a lovely weekend, Jolene xx