Cassie Donlen, lampworking, beads, jewelry, lampwork beads, glass, hoypoloi, glass beadle, glassbeadle


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This is the June 2011 Archive Page

June 29th: Think I will just sit here and avoid doing work. Don't mind if I do. We just finished up dinner, my house is so messy, I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. last night and am ready for bed, AND hubby is coming home tomorrow from a 12 day trip to China. Whew...I sure am ready for him to come home. Although I must say it is much easier when he travels in the summer time then during school. I've avoided cooking and we have eaten a fair share of take out meals and I'm thinking tomorrow I better slow down and clean my house.

The part I can't stand about summer break is my kids picking at each other. I swear they go out of their way to drive me absolutely insane. I thought I was pretty clever on Monday night though and came up with a great plan. My middle child has this most extremely annoying habit of telling me every single infraction that happens to him through out the day. So my new rule is that they can have 1 free tattle-tale a day. So make sure to save it for when it is really needed. Otherwise, they are more than welcome to come and complain to me about every single injustice installed upon them but it will cost them $1 for each complaint. HA! I was pretty proud of this solution. Yesterday it worked great and today it did too. Keegan really knows how to push Connor's buttons. But instead of him coming yelling to me he sucked it up and just bickered with Keegan. That hasn't stopped but at least I don't have to hear about it every single time. YIPPEE!!!!

I can't dog on my kids too much as they really are super duper kids and I'm so proud of them. Boy are they just loving swim team. They have had two meets so far and really did great. Keegan broke the swim team's record on Breast Stroke on his very first meet. He was so pumped!! And Connor who wasn't really enjoying it, got three first places on his first meet in the heets that he swam in. Their meet on Monday night was tough as they had some incredibly fast kids on their team. They had 150 kids and we had around 130 kids competing. It makes for a very long night. I was asked to be a timer for Monday night and that was so much fun. But, I must admit that I was in major panic mode when they asked me. I'm not a swimmer. I've only started learning about swim and all the stuff that goes with it this year. But after my good friend explained it all to me and made sure I knew what I was doing, then I was able to breathe. Plus, they had 2 other timers in the lane with me so I had plenty of back up. Keegan ended up getting a personal best and beating his record by 2 hundreths of a second and Connor got 2 new personal bests. So they go loaded up with more ribbons today. Hubby was in China for both meets and I know he is looking forward to the one next week.

I made up some more etched copper toggles. I riveted some of the enamel discs I had made after getting back from Bead and Button. Someone bought most of the sets before I listed them but the one on the bottom left hand side is listed on Etsy for sale. Snag it if you want it.

While at Bead and Button, I had bought a book about working in steel wire from Brenda Schweder. She was so nice and Joan actually knew her so that made it even more fun. Anyhoo... she had a project to make a steel wire ring in her book that I thought was so cute. So I made one up and added my lampwork head pin to the mix. It is available for custom order on my Etsy shop.

Then the ring got my juices flowing and I took the design in another direction and made this necklace that cages in one of my lampwork beads. I just listed it on Etsy too.

OK, I've procratinated long enough. The night is moving on. Off to work. TTFN

June 26th: Just sitting here through another rain storm. Boy we have had more than our fair share of rain and storms this season. I'm ready for summer and hot days to return.

So you remember the Kick the Can bracelet that I designed for a class to teach at Bead Fest Texas in Oct? I made it in another color combo. This bracelet was gifted to my friend Joan when I went to visit her for Bead and Button. I would have never created it in these colors but she had made the comment that she needed a pink and grey bracelet to match an outfit. I thought this bracelet design would be perfect in these color combos. YUM! I just posted the finished bracelet (made to order) for sale on my Etsy store. I'll post the other color combos for order too.

June 25th: Just spending a leisure Saturday hanging out with the kids. I'm not feeling 100% for some reason so just relaxing on the bed while watching stupid Sponge Bob with the kids. Thank goodness I have my computer to entertain me. We went to go see the new Cars 2 movie yesterday. I think we all really liked it. I love everything Pixar does though. They had a really funny short story from Toy Story before the movie started. It is worth it to just see this short. Then we spent the evening outside at our Town Center to watch the latest version of Karate Kid. I do have to give our small city kudos on local entertainment. They have a band play earlier and serve free hot dogs, soda, and shaved ice. The kids run around and have a blast while us adults get to hang out and socialize too. Since they have to wait until it is dark to play the movie, it didn't get done until 11:30 but we had nothing on the books today so we all slept in. AWESOME I dare say.

We took a small adventure to finally release our tiny little catfish that the kids caught last summer. I was so dumb and let them come home with 2 crawdads, about 5 tadpoles, and the cutest little tiny catfish that was maybe 3/4" long at the most. It really is a boring fish as all it does is sit under a rock. You never see it. Believe me when I say that I've thought many times about just flushing it but I could never do that. It didn't ask to come home with us and so over the past year, I've been giving it fresh water and feeding it. This morning the air pump stopped working. YIPPEE the perfect excuse to let it go. So we took a small adventure in the rain and drove to a nice fishing pond a few subdivisions over and let the darn thing go. Good riddence I said but of course Caiden and Connor were fighting the entire time over who the fish belongs too and who gets to hold the bucket. My reply was that good grief. We are getting rid of it in a few minutes so who cares which kid it belongs too. Whine Whine Whine. You see, I show no pity as those kids paid ZERO nada attention to the darn thing. Keegan even commented this morning "You mean it is still alive?". I had moved it down to my workshop area about 6 months ago and it has hung out with me and the cat. So I did a little happy jig as we drove off from the pond and celebrated by going to the gas station for a Coke and a Butterfinger!

So I just posted a few new things on Etsy while hanging out. The copper disc features one of the enameled discs I made last week. I've got more etched copper toggles to post too. Just need to take pics. Editing photos is not a fast process sadly but you have to have good pics if you are selling on the internet.

Then I made this necklace which is so darn eye catching and knew that my mom needed it. She wears a lot of gold. She wore it when we met for dinner the other night and it was so striking. I wanted to eat it up. I'll have to make another one. I also have this same chain in copper. Way way cool. I have plans to start selling the chain I fell in love with very very soon.

I'm totally smiling. Are all of your kids going around saying "I know. Right?" 7 year old Caiden has just said this twice when he heard me laughing because Sponge Bob made his pants round and no one know hims because he doesn't have square pants. It just seems funny hearing it come out of his mouth.

June 23rd: Man, I feel like I have been running on full blast for the past month and I'm just running on steam. I'm not sure why this summer is different from any other year but it is just CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY busy at home. I've been staying up till 1 a.m. trying to work on things every night for the past week and I've still got neglected emails to answer and have various jewelry designs that I've slipped in between orders that I've wanted to post and share and haven't been able to pull it off. I finally got Tickle Me all restocked as inventory was pitiful. And I bought new things to add to the website which I seem to always do and never get listed.

I need some more mini me's. But.... I do think I found a small solution. MY DAD!!! Yes, Dad, if you are reading this then this is another hint hint. I call my father Dumplin. I have no idea why I started doing this but it was probably around when Keegan was born almost 13 years ago. Dumplin is awesome. We all love Dumplin and love to give him a hard time. (Isn't that a fun name to say?) He loves teasing my boys and it can be quite comical to watch the go arounds. Dumplin is retired and has lots of free time. Mom and I decided that he has too much free time. He finally got a Facebook account a week ago and Mom claims that he is on it all the time and lives on the computer. But how can you blame him when he got himself a new Mac laptop not too long ago. (yes, I'm coveting his laptop). So when we were all out eating dinner one night last week, I mentioned that he would be perfect at running my Tickle Me Beads store on Etsy. He could list all my supplies. Add the loads of supplies that I have never gotten around to posting. They have a few trips and activities coming up but after that, I'm grabbing my lasso and bringing Dumplin on board. Wish me luck! As I figure Dumplin should like beads too. He doesn't realize it but it is in his blood. ha! Actually, Dumplin get intrigued by making money on little things here and there. I'm betting that is enough to bring him on board.

I told myself that tonight, I was going to list some of the new creations I made with those beads I showed you the other day. I've made more and have all sorts of ideas for them. But.. golly wolly, I can hardly get posted what I've had sitting here for a week. So I'm ignorning emails yet another night and listing these 2 necklaces. I was going to go to bed early but here it is almost midnight. I've learned that I'm a total night owl. I hate morning. I hate getting up early. I like to sleep in. I'm lucky in the fact that my kids like to sleep in too. Plus, they are old enough that they don't come storming in the bedroom early morning and say something like my little 4 year old niece "Wake Up Sleepy Heads. It is morning. Time to wake up". Then you are up even if you don't wanna be. But, she can get away with it because she is so cute and has the cutest little squeeky voice.

So here are the 2 necklaces that I posted. Whew...that was a lot of typing to just get to these photos!

June 18th: It was an exciting morning in the Donlen household. I got my babies home from Boy Scout camp. They have been gone since last Sunday and I missed their big send off as I was flying home from Bead and Button. I think they had a really great week. (better them than me as a week sleeping on a cot inside a green canvas army tent is not my idea of fun) Their arms and legs are loaded up with bug bites and tick bites but they are smiling and happy. We rushed them off to the showers and then Keegan promptly grabbed his phone, i-pod, and took over the TV. Connor bless his soul is sitting down with hubby right now working on his scout book to see what he needs to do next to become a second class scout. They have an awesome scout troop and it was a wonderful experience for them. It was really hard being without them both but it was really healthy for them to spread their wings and hop out of the bird's nest so to say for the week. So now it is my turn to do laundry and clean up their trail of destruction as it rained a lot this week at camp and everything is wet and muddy. I wonder how many pet bugs they brought home with them.

Hubby was traveling for work all week which left just Caiden and I home alone. That was a nice unexpected treat and I really enjoyed our time together. Lots of attention and fun adventures were had all week. He is at such a great stage right now and is really maturing leaps and bounds. I just look at his cute face and beam when I watch him. For the past month he has had that sparkle and gleam in his eyes. His aura is just glowing and you can tell in his mind that he is sitting on top of the world and loving life. As a parent, this is the most rewarding thing to watch. Man I love that little boy.

So needless to say that my beading time has been pretty limited. And man that is hard to swallow as there are so many things I want to play with and create and rejoice in the hoopla and excitement over Bead and Button. I love all of my fun new treasures and also harbor the fear that all of my overwhelming ideas and thoughts of things I want to create will leak away and I will loose this golden opportunity to seize the day of bubbling excitement and the thill of possibilites in the beading world.

But... I did get to make a few new beads. These are so exciting. It has been a while since I've been excited to open the kiln door in the morning and I've had this fun experience on several mornings this week. I've turned a few of these into necklaces with my new cool chain and have plans to list the beads on Etsy once I get a grip on catching up on bead orders.

June 14th: I made it back from Bead and Button. It was an incredible weekend. I posted a short video on my Facebook page under Glass Beadle. It is an open page and anyone can view it. But of course, I'm not opposed to you "liking" my Glass Beadle page either:-). I forgot my camera on the kitchen countertop and all that I was armed with was my phone. So the pics kind of stink.

Joan and I had a blast and spent way too much money. I'm so excited about all the great finds I made. I was curious as to what to expect this year with the price of silver being so high. I was thinking there would be a lot of booths popping up selling more copper and brass findings. That was certainly the case. Not near as many silver booths and the ones that were there were not hopping like previous years. I was really needing to stock up on silver toggles that were simple and inexpensive but didn't find any of those. The only silver I bought was from Saki silver. We learned that Liz and her hubby Saki are moving to Thiland on Thursday of this week. She said they would be back next year but there was hesitation in that statement. Which is a bummer because their booth of one of the first we usually go to.

Here is a table of all pewter beads. It was huge. About 20 feet long. I've never seen so much in one place before.

So Joan picked me up at the airport in Chicago and we headed up to Milwaukee. We have our operation down to a finely tuned machine. But I must admit I was a tad nervous that we were going to run out of time as in a 2 hour time span, we had only gone to 3 booths. Can you believe that? But it was so much fun. I got some of the bestest chain that I'm super duper excited about. I've had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to start mixing in base metals into at least some of my jewelry designs if I want to have some fun inexpensive jewelry for sale. Now I'm pretty excited about the prospect as these chains are killer. I have so many ideas floating in my head that it is about to explode. I love that feeling. I'm still going to use a lot of silver but having a combination of both really opens up a lot of new creative doors.

Here is a pic of one of the chain booths.

It has been cloudy and raining here the past few days so I haven't been able to take any good pics of my purchases. But in between orders, I have been playing around a tad. Wait until you see the new beads I've made. One of those that you can't wait to wake up and see what is in the kiln excitement. I haven't had that feeling for a while and it is devine. I bought some enamels for enameling on copper. Already tried it out and added a few discs to my next batch of etched copper toggles to sell on Etsy. Way cool! It takes more time that I expected as you have to coat the front and back with around 3 layers. To be honest, I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I'm kind of winging it. And while I was buying supplies for enameling copper, I figured I would buy some enamels for my lampwork beads. I'm in LOVE with enamels. I've always stayed away from them because of the health factor and the fact that you should wear a respirator because you don't want to breathe in the fumes or the tiny shards of glass. So I broke down and tried it out. YUM YUM YUM. Can't wait to share pics of these beads.

But I digress. So we had about 5 hours of shopping on Friday and then the whole day on Saturday. I think we covered it all. This is the first year that we weren't running to booths trying to grab a last purchase before they closed but that didn't stop us from finding a booth 10 min. before closing and making a final purchase. I met some other really neat artists that I've only known through their work and blogs. Such as Loreli Eurto. Love her work. She has a great jewelry style and is really funny on her blog. Then I also got to meet Heather Powers of Humble Her work is incredible and so eye catching. You gotta check out her new eggs. They look so real! Plus, she had a really cool display. I also had the pleasure of meeting Erin Prais-Hintz of jewelry. She was hanging out at Heather's booth and was really fun to chat with. Go visit her fun blog at Heather and Erin also are from Art Bead Scene. Which is an awesome blog that you MUST check out. They were all really personable and likeable right off the bat.

I worked really hard this year on making sure that I bought enough of whatever I was buying so that I wouldn't want to not use what I got because then they would be all gone thing. And sure enough, as always... I got back home and thought of all sorts of things I wish I would have bought and other beads I wish I would have bought more of. But it is probably a good thing as a gal has gotta have beads and I ended up pulling out the credit card and now I need to work extra hard to pay off the bill when it arrives. It was worth it though and you can't help but think tax write off. Right?

So, the party had to end and I flew home on Sunday. But not before Joan gifted me with 2 of her buckles and the most beautiful scarf. Joan's buckles rock. You can find them on her etsy store at I wish we lived closer to each other as we would rock it out. It's 12:30 a.m. here and I'm not proofing reading this thing so please forgive all the typos:-)

June 9th: By the time you see me tonight my hair will be standing on end and I will be frantically making all my last minute details before tucking myself into bed. I'm heading out to Bead and Button tomorrow morning for a devine weekend of girlfriend fun and shopping. I can't remember how many years I've been meeting my girlfriend Joan for this fun adventure. I think this might be my 6th year. It is something I look forward to all year long. Just take a combination of more beads than you can imagine, being able to buy those beads, and having a great friend that likes everything you do and is so much fun to shop with and you have an incredible girls weekend. I would spend a small fortune if I could but I have to be a good girl and buy just the things that shout to me.... "Oh must buy me. I NEED to come home with you. IF you do not buy me, you will be dreaming about me after I'm gone. Don't do that to yourself Cassie. You know you want me. Then I cave and say "Come home with me you cute little bead. I totally need you. Actually I will need at least 6 of you."

The funny thing is that I have special buckets that contain my Bead and Button purchases over the past 3 years that have still not been used. Here is where a confession comes into play. I can be a bead hoarder. If I buy beads where I know I can't get more, I tend to not use them because what happen's if I really like them? Then what will I do? It is totally wigged out. I know. Hubby used to buy me gift certificates for massages which I have always loved. But I let a few of them expire and he swore he would never buy me anymore. (he hasn't either). When he asked me why I wouldn't use them, my reply was that then I wouldn't have them anymore. I liked knowing they were there and that I could get a massage when I wanted one and if used it, then it would be gone.

The big boys are going on a week long Boy Scout camp and they leave on Sunday before I return. So today I've got to get them all packed up, myself all packed and organized, and tidy up bead business.

I'll follow up on this when I return but wanted to give a shout out that I will be listing on Etsy the beads used to make the Slinky Dink necklace that is featured in the latest issue of Step By Step Wire. It has been out on the stands for a few weeks and I haven't had a chance to take pics and get it listed. So stay tuned but here is a pic of what I'm talking about.

June 6th, Finally...a seed is planted and growing.
Over the years we have tried to find activities that the boys like and want to get excited and passionate about. We have done Tae Kwon Do in which they are one belt away from getting their black belt, to soccer over the past years which Connor loves, to piano lessons, to violin lessons, to drum lessons...well you get the picture. If you are a parent, you totally get what I'm saying. Ever since the boys were little, I had them in 1 week of swim lessons every year. That is about it. We spend loads of time at the pool each summer and have noticed that Keegan is a pretty decent swimmer. Connor has great form but not a lot of speed.

This year, Keegan said he was interested in participating on a swim team. YEA! Something he wanted to do on his own. I tried to get Connor interested but he kept saying "no". That is until the night before it started. He decided that he wanted to do it too. I was thrilled. They have a lot of friends on the team and it's a great way for them to socialize and have fun and get some good exercise 5 days a week.

Keegan has found his calling. He is loving swim. And...he is good at it. It makes my eyes smile when I watch him and see his confidence build and his excitement bubble forth. They held time trials today and he beat the kiddo that is supposed to be the best at breast stroke for his age group. It might be beginner's luck but he looks good. Especially since he has never done any of this before. He had a few clinics over the weekend and today to work on his technique.

Sadly, this isn't Connor's cup of tea. At least right now. He just doesn't have the competitive drive in him. It might take time as Keegan didn't either. So of course as the session progresses, Connor will be out done by Keegan and the middle child syndrome will be in full force again. Connor got out done by his 7 year old brother last week that decided he liked some roller coaster type rides which Connor hates. So, I will continue to seek and channel Connor to find something that makes him want to fly.

June 2nd: Wow, I can't believe it is summer break. I still keep pinching myself. We have been going non stop since Friday morning. I usually stay up till 11:30-midnightish and I've been crawling into bed at 9:30 from being so dang tired. The big boys are both doing swim team in the mornings and I've been trying to wake up early to do a quick jog to beat the heat and then after swim, we are in full throttle till bed time. Tomorrow, I am claiming as my own and we are staying home all day!!! We went to Six Flags yesterday and then off again today at Six Flags to do the water park with friends. It is cloudy though and storms are North of us but I think we are gonna me missed.