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


Welcome to my News page. This is my little place to share life....a journal of sorts...dedicated to ramblings, observations, discoveries and cool new things. Find past postings in the Archive link above.

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This is the May 2011 Archive Page

May 27th: Today my babies hit another milestone. As I woke up the kids this morning I sang that this would be their last day for 1st grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

I think today will be one of those happy yet sad days for Connor. He is graduating from elementary school and will move over to middle school next August. He is the sentimental type. He had an incredible 5th grade year. A great class with great kids and a great teacher. We were so proud of Connor as he was one of 2 kids in his class chosen for the "Pride of Pond" award. This is a special award that goes out to kids that have great character. I always say that Connor is the Golden Child for teachers. He is a total rule follower, sweet and caring, and gets awesome grades. He helps make up for the extra hot and spicy character of his older brother Keegan. Keegan rocks and has the funniest personality and is also extremely smart. But he is all about being the class clown and being social. The teachers really like him and say he is a good kid but he is also very outgoing and a bit too social and that leads to a lot of trouble in the classroom.

So on Wednesday...amazingly the weather cooperated. Connor's 5th grade celebration at the outdoor park was a go. I woke up that morning to rain and thunder around 5:30a.m. Tornado warnings were in effect until 8 a.m. But the weather cleared for almost the exact amount of time we needed for the party. I had nothing to do with planning this awesome event and have to give a huge shout out to the mom's that spent all year getting this big event together. Everything was so organized and a total blast for the kids. The day flew by. I hung out at the face painting station and helped to do face paints. The boys always crack me up. Last year, they all wanted red kissing lips. This year, they wanted pink butterflies, and mustaches and facial hair. And I guess Justin Bieber still is high on the list for tween girls and there were girls that had to have Justin Bieber writtin on their arms and 3 girls got together to make a saying with one word on each forehead saying "I LOVE JUSTIN". Although they were saying after the fact that the "I" word should have been "WE".

Each 5th grade class had a t-shirt with a certain color. I loved that idea as it was really easy to keep track of classes and to sort out all the kids that are in Connor's classroom. There were same major games of class against class tug of wars. That is always a huge highlight. And a great show by Juggler Jeff. He really worked the kids well and was very entertaining. He juggled standing on a ball and even had one of the teacher's strap him into a straight jacket and then while standing on this big ball and having a student count to 60 while he escaped from it. Great food was catered in by our local famous Callier's Deli and you can't forget the karaoke machine that was on fire that day and a snow cone machine. Oops...just saw that I repeated a photo twice. Oh well.

So today is field day up at school where they all play outside and do organized stations. I'm getting ready to head up their shortly. I made 3 bracelets yesterday for teachers and gotta go see if I need to do any resizing. I made a few dangle bracelets with the Tantalizing Tangerine Beads that I had for sale on Etsy. Wish I would have taken pictures. They turned out really cute. But it was about 10:30 last night and I just wanted to get them wrapped up and inside the kids backpacks.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend and sending out a huge shout of thanks to all of those and their families that are and have served in the military.

May 26th: Oh my gosh, it feels like winter again here. Of course I sent the kids to school in shorts and a t-shirt and it is raining and 50 degrees outside. I even turned on the gas fireplace for a bit to warm the house up. It is supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend. Typical St. Louis weather for ya.

FINALLY, Etsy made some good changes to their listings and it makes it way faster to add new items now. If you are listing similiar items, there is a "copy" link now and it will start a new listing and you can just go in and change what you need. Huge time saver and it made it easy enough for me to post some toggles, bead caps, and a set of discs over. So they are available now. These are way too much fun!!!

May 25th: Two days! Yes, only 2 days left until the kids get out of school. So I'm very excited about summer break. I've waited all year for it darn it. But I must admit now that it is almost here, I'm just kind wondering about having the 3 kids home all day all summer. There have been so many school activites during the day and night. I think today was the final commitment. And I have Thursday and Friday to myself. I should do something special. I was thinking of just walking from room to room and enjoying the quiet.

I'm in the middle of watching American Idol and have been posting a few things on Etsy. This way I don't feel so guilty for just sitting around and watching TV. Hubby is downstairs priming the walls. We are getting closer and closer to the final steps of getting the basement finished. I'm sure it will still drag out a few more months. But we bought paint this past weekend. Got a few flooring samples for my workshop and I even ordered a few samples of grass wallpaper that I want to put on one of the walls in the workshop.

So over the weekend, I tried my hand at etching some copper and brass sheet. It was a fun experiment.

So I tuned the sheets into some toggles. They are gonna be listed over on Etsy. I've got one set on there now and the others will follow shortly.

All right, American Idol is dragging on. There are still 30 min. left. Let's getter done already!

May 17th: Just a few quick moments between the kids school activites. It's a busy day and night with hubby and I taking the kids in seperate directions tonight. I'm in shock that school is out for the summer next week. It doesn't feel like almost summer. It has been cool today.

I kind of stumbled on a fun ring design last night. It is big but I love it. During Bead Fest Wire 2010, I had taken a 1" copper disc to use as a demo soldering on a silver band. It has just been sitting on a shelf and for whatever reason, I grabbed this ring and I had a big hole bead sitting on my desk. Next think you know, I was epoxying the beads onto the ring. Lucky me, I happened to make the class demo ring in my size:-). These are too cool though and I will offer them up for sale on my Etsy store.

May 16th: Did you notice? I updated my homepage and blog and Etsy Banners. And have new business cards on order. I was just feeling like I needed to update my image a bit. Wanted to be more urban and edgy. I loved the boots photo on my home page. It has nothing to do with beads or jewelry but I wanted to figure out a way to use it. Keegan came strolling into the kitchen wearing hubby's boots. Not sure what inspired him to put them on but I thought they would make a cute photo with his skinny legs. While he was talking on the phone to a girl, I grabbed him by the wrist and made him go outside in the misting rain for pictures. He hated every second of it and that made the pic more fun.

I've got goodies that I will be listing over on my Etsy store over the next few days. This copper flower bezel is one of them.

May14th: We had a fun adventure tonight. It was cold and rainy all day and come dinner time, we were hungry and I wanted to go out for a bite. Hmmmm...but where to go. We are tired of all our cheap standard choices. Hubby came up with the idea to drive out to Youth City to eat at Fitz's restaurant. They are a soda bottling company and are popular for their root beer. It's cool because the restaurant has a viewing window and you can see them bottling the soda. Tonight they were making grape soda. We had about a 25 min wait and hung out at the observation window. Then along came a guy carrying a case of grape soda bottles. He was handing them out to everyone standing around. I must say that I was very impressed. He said to not drink them for a couple of days to let the favor set in. When we got home, the boys promptly grabbed a marker and put their name on their bottle and stuck it in the fridge. I helped Caiden write his name on his bottle and he told me I wrote the letters too small and needed to make them bigger.

This is the beginning of the assembly line. The glass bottles were just washed and there is water and soap bubbles lingering on the floor. The filling process begins here where the soda is filled in each bottle. The color is a very pale lavendar at the top and you can see a glob at the bottom of the bottle. As it works its way around the belt, each bottle gets turned upside down to mix the ingredients and then it is a nice bright looking grape soda.

Then each bottle gets capped, a machine slaps a sticker on the bottle, and at the end of the belt, you can see the worker boxing up the bottles.

Here are the boys with their gifted soda. The pics were all taken on my phone so they aren't the best quality.

We were starving as no one had lunch and lets just say dinner was devine. We all scarfed. And dinner wouldn't be complete without sharing a few infamous rootbeer floats.

So I posted this on Facebook but I haven't gotten around to doing it here yet. Bead Star 2011 is up and going. I've got jewels in the "Glass" category and the "Hearts" category. They aren't the most unique designs, but I'm thrilled that they were even chosen. Voting is strange this year as you can see the number of votes each piece is getting. Let's just say my entries need a little votin love.

So, if you are a Beading Daily member or wanna join for free, you can vote for Bead Star. If you vote for my jewels. Go over to my Facebook page and post a shout that you voted for my entries. After voting has ended, I'll pick a random winner to get some lampwork beads. Yum!

This is the bracelet that made it into the glass category. It is called Chunky Monkey. I had originally designed this bracelet as a new kit (except it has a different clasp as this one is pricey). I just need to get the beads sorted and write up the directions. Click on the photo to go to the voting page. As I mentioned, you have to register or log into Beading in order to vote.

Click here to vote.

This is the necklace in the "Hearts" section. It is titled Chain of Hearts. Click here to vote.

May 8th: Happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow mothers. I hope it was a joyful day chocked full of relaxation as that is the one thing that there never seems to be enough of. I know I had my fair share today and just closed my eyes to the 400 things that need my attention. I'm so blessed to be a mother to 3 wonderful boys. I can safely say that there is never a dull moment in our house and that my life is chocked full of excitement and even frustration as these boys are growing up and trying to spread their wings. At the end of the day though, I can't think of a better life than being a wife and a mother. I must give a shout out to my mother as she is truly a saint. Her love, kindness, dedication, generousity constantly flow. The older I grow (yuck!) the more I realize everyday what an incredible person she is. She is the perfect role model that I often say I don't even try to compete with because she is untouchable.

So the big reveal for Caiden's motorcycle happened on Friday night. Randy had it all set up and in the garage. He told Caiden they were going to ride bicycles. Then when Caiden got in the garage his eyes just lit up in surprise. So we got him all padded up with elbow and knee pads, Randy gave him lessons on how to ride, and off he went.

Within 15 min. Caiden was getting pretty cocky and Randy had to give him the lecture to slow down and take it easy.

The big boys rode their bicyles during it all and Connor had to give it a quick ride for old times sake. Then Keegan told me that his friend Eric who had bought Connor's old dirt bike at our garage sale years ago still had it in his basement. Darn it. If I would have known that, I would have talked Eric into selling it back to us.

The weather has been just beautiful these past few days. Dobby hung outside with us the whole time and enjoyed some fun games too.

May 6th: This week has totally flown by. I can't even tell you off the top of my head what I did each day. It has been a tad cool but the sun has been shining today and it is Friday. I love the weekends! Maybe, just maybe, I can entice hubby to go downstairs and work on sanding the dry wall in my workshop. We are so close that I can taste it but as luck would have it, the weather has turned nice and hubby's attention has turned to outdoor yardwork and lots of bike rides with the kids. Caiden has turned into an expert bicycle rider. He had it in his head that he wanted a power motorcycle. Has been begging for one. And, hubby's tactic is to say you can't have one until you are able to ride a bicycle. That is all it took and I think after about 3 days of learning to ride, he was off on a 3 mile bike ride with hubby and the other boys. I was amazed.

I feel like I'm in a time capsule as this exact same scenerio was played out when Connor was around 5 years old. It started with begging for a motorcycle and being told you gotta ride a bike first. Connor got that motorcycle and loved it. Now flash foward 6 years and the adventure is about to begin again. I have a feeling that tonight will be the big reveal for Caiden. Hubby put the motorcycle together a few nights ago and it is hiding in the garage under a blanket right next to the Harley. I can't wait to watch his face and as a mother, I'll just keep my fingers crossed tightly that he won't have any big crashes.

I've been trying to get back to squeezing in some time to work on updating my website the rest of the way. I'm focusing on the Bead Galleries right now and have page 1 finished and updated. No new photos but I've lowered the prices on some of the sets and the big thing is that I have added shopping carts to just order individual beads from each bead set. It is a huge time zapper but is coming along. After I get that done, I want to add new bead sets into the "small bead sets" link as that hasn't been touched yet. But since I haven't been able to find myself my very own mini me, it is just me and only me trying to juggle it all and I can only let laundry go so long before I start grabbing the kids dirty socks out of the laundry basket to wear as I haven't had a chance to wash them yet (insert sheepish grin here).

I made another bracelet header. Now I better drag myself off of this computer and go make some beads!

May 5th: You can tell it is getting towards the end of the school year. All sorts of field trips are being squeezed in. The kids are getting more wild and I'm getting more nervous wondering what the heck I'm gonna do with these kids all summer! I must admit that I love the lazy mornings. Although, I think Keegan is interested in doing swim team which starts at 9:45. Late enough for me to not have any problems about doing it but any earlier and I would be balking.

I was gonna sit down and be chatty but now it is 10:30p.m. and the long day is catching up with me and I've been running all evening between swim lessons for Caiden which is interesting all by itself and then a meeting for Connor's 5th class trip to the Smokey Mountains that will be in a few weeks. My baby will be gone for 4 days. He is gonna have a blast and it will be a great experience for him. It will get him preped for the week long boy scout camp this summer. Better him then me. I'm too old and spoiled to even contemplate sleeping in a tent for a week.

Here are a few pics of the Kick the Can bracelet for Bead Fest Texas class. It is always helpful to get another perspective on how the jewels look being worn. Makes ya want one doesn't it?

May 4th: I got to spend a fun day with my 2 nieces and nephew today. The youngest is 3 years old and you forget how entertaining a 3 year old can be. She is so funny. And I was surprised to see that I was even able to pull off finishing up a bracelet and packed up about 5 beady things to mail.

So guess what. I'm back on the teaching track again. It looks like I'm going to be teaching at Bead Fest Texas now. Yippee!! Registration is now open. They had an outside DOS attack on their servers though and it has effected some of the pages. But it looks like all of the classes are available to view and register. Just go to and click on the Texas event.

I will be teaching 4 classes this time around. The first one will be a repeat from Bead Fest Wire 2010 of the Summer Garden bracelet that covers fusing fine silver with a butane torch.

If you want to learn some soldering/metal smithing techniques, then the Whimsical Bezels class is right up your ally. We will be making silver and copper bezels filled with glass.

Then the other 2 classes will be the bracelets that I wrote about on the April 17th post. I'm really excited to teach these classes. The Overindulgence bracelet is chocked full with all sorts of learning techniques. From sawing with a jewelers saw, to using metalsmithing techniques to solder, to doming, stamping, wire working, and even making my tangy toggles. You will walk away with a boat load of information. Plus, you get to pick your color choice for making the bracelet.

The 4th class is the Kick the Can bracelet. This is a very yummy bracelet. It is a fun wire working class that includes making fine silver head pins with a butane torch, doming, making a patina finish and working with lampwork head pins and some awesome big hole lampwork beads. Plus, you get to choose your color choice. SCORE!

Gosh, I would love to have some of you guys in the class. Give me a shout if you register or just have any questions about any of the classes. We will have lots of fun as they are mostly interactive classes with soldering stations set up. You won't be bored!