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


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This is the Sept 2011 Archive Page

Oct. 5th: Yesterday hubby and I celebrated our 14th year anniversary. I was going to dig up some wedding photos and scan them to share but never got around to it. I might still try to do it if I can find our wedding album. It's always fun to go back in time and look at old photos. Or not so fun when it shows you personally aging if you know what I mean! We didn't get to do a lot of celebrating yesterday but did sneak away for a bite of Mexican food in between taking the kids to swim practice and the school fundraiser for Teachers night at McDonalds. But... hubby is going to tag along with me on my teaching trip to the Bahama's and that will be a little anniversary get away of sorts.

Man did I have fun a few weeks back. It was a rainy Saturday and Randy and Connor were camping. Keegan and Caiden were vegging out so I went by myself to Chuck's Boots. If you are ever in St. Louis and like yourself some boots, then Chucks is the place you have to visit. It is a shopping mantra (what does mantra even mean? I have no idea. It just seemed to fit there.) The place is huge and it is loaded I say with boots. Mostly cowboy styles and even motorcycle and work boots. I've been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for a few years now and have been to Chucks with hubby and the boys on several occasions. It is almost overwhelming and there are so many to choose from that you end up walking away because you don't know what you want because there are too many to choose from.

The boots are mostly arranged by sizes. And there is a full isle of all your size. Then there are end caps of even cooler boots that have all of the sizes there. And... you don't have to wait for a salesperson to grab you the boot in your size. You just walk down the isle from boot to boot trying on each and everyone (well that is if you are me and can't resist touching them all!)

I admit it.. I spent over 2 hours there. It was so hard to decide. I almost walked out and left several times.

It was so hard to decide. I had it in my mind that I wanted a black pair because I have a brown pair of riding boots and needed to have color options. But all of the boots I liked were brown. There were some awesome boots with lots of bling. I should have taken more photos. All of these pics were just taken with my phone so they aren't the best.

So in the end after lots of debating. I found me the perfect pair of boots. I adore them. They are so dang cute. They look nice and worn in. Have turquoise stitching and aqua swarvoski crystals. I even had a sales lady try them on so I could see how they looked on someone else's foot. ha.... I only snapped a pic of one of them. I'll have to take a better photo as they are so deserving:-.

Oh, and I did learn something about buying boots that day. The sales lady said that you want your heel to slip up and down about an inch inside the boot. This will help prevent blisters. So I bought up a full size and it nice to have lots of room in the boot without feeling like your foot is stuffed inside a sardine can.

September 28th: New base metal chain available at both Etsy Stores. Yum Yum!

Septeber 27th:

Howdy everyone. I'm still here just being a busy bee. If I thought life was busy before, I had no idea. Hubby has traveled the past 3 out of 4 weeks leaving me to step up and do it all. And "all" it is. The kids are in full swing of swim practice 4 nights a week for 1 hour and 45 min. and soccer for 2 of the boys. Go Go Go...

I had to make some more PMC ring bases for the rings listed on my boutique page. I always have some extra PMC left over to make head pins with. I learned something that afternoon. Argentium silver does not do well in the kiln. I only had 18g fine silver on hand and I wanted 20g head pins. I've never tried it but have read that you can solder Argentium silver. Well after firing the PMC at around 1200 degrees, all of the argentium silver became very brittle and just crumbled into short pieces. Which made all of my PMC balls and pointy things I had made useless. I guess I could solder them onto wire but that just makes more work. Lessoned learned the crummy way.

And these copper flowers are awesome. I had these as a special request and it took me forever to set up my metalsmithing station again after getting the floors done. Which by the way..I'm still working out of boxes and not fully in the new workshop yet. It's getting closer. Hubby started on the baseboard the other night and then he just needs to add the trim on the doors and my side is complete. I'm starting to learn a few things about soldering with copper too. It likes heat and can be a big pain to work with. It makes it hard when making big items to get the solder to flow. I was ready to throw one of these across the room after a bit kept at it. I'm guessing it will get easier over time after I learn exactly what to expect and how to treat this metal. I love silver now even more. It just seems to flow like butter. I held these up to the copper ball and cog chain or the new chain that I recently started selling and it looks so cool.

Sept. 20th: Just posted a new bead set over on my Etsy store. It isn't my typical color combinations and I love that about these beads. I don't make this style very often and they seem perfect for the Fall weather that is slowly creeping in and starting to make the leaves fall and turn colors on the trees.

And I've got to give a big shout and Kudos to my darling father who is running my other Etsy shop called Tickle Me Beads. He is rocking it out and taking it all very seriously. I mentioned on the top of this page that he ships prompto and that he does.

I got a great email from Debbie who had recently ordered and it was so great to read. I love my Dad! Here is what she wrote.
"I have to tell you - I have ordered several things from your Etsy store and your Dad is lightening fast!! I ordered late one evening, like 10:00, and got an email about 30 min later saying my pkg was on it's way! I'll be darn - it came in 2 days! He's the bomb!"

So if you are needing goodies in a hurry. This is the place to get them fast. We are continually adding new items every week. Have you seen the new polyester chain. We have it in all sorts of great colors too.

Lastly...I wanted to just post that sadly I had to cancel all of my classes for Bead Fest Texas. I was really bummed about doing this but the registration levels just weren't where they needed to be. It costs a lot of money to fly, get a hotel, a rental car, ship all of my supplies, food, and well you get the idea. It is a big time and money investment and there were only enough students registered to maybe let me break even. I thought about doing it anyway because I really enjoy teaching but with 3 busy kids that have crazy active schedules, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I apolgize deeply to everyone who signed up for my classes. Hopefull there will be another opportunity in the future.

I am super duper excited thought that I will be flying to the Bahama's on Abaco Island to be doing some private teaching with Kim in early November. Can you believe that one? Way way cool. Kim and I are going to have a blast playing on the torch and beading away during the day and then late afternoon it is beach and relaxtion time. I'm starting to get really excited about this adventure for certain!! Just to rub it in a tad, here is a photo from our Disney Cruise last year when the ship stopped in the Bahamas. With a view like that, I think I could live in that shack:-)

September 17th: After many weeks of anticipation, the big reveal day is here for the 360+ participants. Isn't that a crazy wild amount of people for one bead swap? I've got to give a big shout to the hostess with the mostess which is none other than Lori Anderson. She is incredibly generous and patient and goes above and beyond when putting these swaps together. It takes a special person with many talents to be able to coordinate and execute such a huge endeavor and she deserves many kudos for putting it together.

I sat down to write up my post and about had a small heart attack. Once again, hubby installed some software on my laptop so that the kids could play dumb Minecraft and when I went to open up website software, it wouldn't open. The old "Ugh... he just promised me he was going to fix this yesterday and here it is today and he didn't fix it and of course he has to be out of cell phone reach on a camping trip with one of the boys. Now what do I do? So I've spent many minutes on hubby's computer grabbing the software, updating and transferring all of my blog html page over to this computer and then finding all the darn public folders for me to move my photos over to his computer. A feat in itself I must say and I can't believe I figured it all out. Just image if I would've missed the big reveal day all because of a software malfunction.

So as I mentioned a few posts ago, I was paired with the very multi-talented Beth Emery (click here to see her blog). She lives in Alaska which seems like an entire universe away and I find that so intriguing all by itself. I can only imagine what a different life style she must live all due to geography. Although, tonight we were at an outdoor concert and it felt as cold as Alaska in the winter time. Ok, not really but when you are cold, you are cold and it just feels to darn cold. But, I digress....back to Beth. Beth is very lovely and has a charming blog. She also is an extremely talented painter. Yes, I admit it. That makes me very jealous as even after several classes it is obvious tha painting is not in my arena.

As a reminder, here is what Beth sent me in the mail. I couldn't bring myself to take all the beads out of the packages. I loved them being seperated and labeled.

It was a total party when I opened up each and every little package. I knew it would be a fun swap as it contained all muted and rich dark colors with hints of greens and blues. And there were also loads of wonderful stones that I never work with so I was thrilled to try something different. As you might have noticed, all of the paper had some cute owls on the outside. Beth had a theme going and within the package was a darling pewter owl charm from Green Girl Studios and one of her handmade and stamped copper owl focal charms. It was almost like you could feel and smell the aroma of a nice sunny late fall day in the middle of a thick lush green forest and hear an owl hooting in the distance.

When I was collecting my beads to send to Beth, I could tell from her style that she is not a live and die "pink" person like I am. I eat and breathe the color. So to not make the palette to difficult off the bat for her, I forced myself not to include any pink beads. But she got an eye full of pink when opening up her package. I chuckled to myself on that and actually inwardly groaned wondering what her first impression would be with the pink overload in tissue paper and stickers and silk ribbon. So as I sit here and type this, I anxiously rub my hands back and forth wondering what concoctions she created

Beth included a personal note that made the beads even more special. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing a part of it but I think you guys would really appreicate her words.

"Even up here (in Alaska) you don't see many wild animals around town. I'd never seen any kind of owl before. One day on my way home from work, I stopped at a red light. Over on a fence there was a huge white owl. I thought it was stuffed but then it lifted it's enormous wings and swooped away. I strongly believe in the fact that animals appear to us when they have something to tell us- - - This owl was telling me to prepare to live in the moment, to cultivate widsom. This snowy owl was so beautiful . So majestic. Since then I always keep owl pendants on my table to sell. I made this pendant in honor of that owl. I hope you are inspired by this story as you work."

Well, how could you not be inspired by that story? It was a joy to read as I visualized what she saw. So I happily pulled all of her beads out of the box and started designing a necklace. I thought it was the best way to utilize such a wonderful collection of beads. I didn't add a lot to the mix. Just a few things here and there such as the turquoise lampwork flat flower and etched copper disc that is the center and another of my lampwork larger flower beads. Then I just added a few bead caps here and there to give some punch and draw the eye to her excellent choice of beads. I also added at the last minute a rust enamel copper disc and another patinaed copper disc. The rest us frin Beth's creation. I loved her owl pendant, the Green Girl Charms, and the big blue and green glass beads. She included several beads of each selection. I tried on several occasions to make a matching bracelet but never felt like I could give the necklace design a run for its money.

I love how the necklace turned out and was very excited to try it on. It isn't a "Cassie Donlen" style and I don't think anyone would ever look at it and put my name as in instant recognition of who made it. I like that and it makes it fun to create goodies that you don't normally create. With the price of silver going crazy, I've been trying to use more copper in my designs and this was a good way to play and create a design with a different medium.

So if you have made it down this far into all of my ramblings, then I shall reward you with several pics of my Aug/Sept 2011 Bead Soup Exchange necklace. I hope you enjoy what I created and that it does the story of the snowy owl justice. The beads and the colors were so perfect by themselves that I felt they didn't need any fancy metalsmithing work or fancy wire work to show them off. All I used was basic wire wrapping techniques.

So in the package and the beads that are used to create the necklace include:...

Beth's handmade copper and brass owl pendant, a handmade and soldered copper ring by Beth, a super duper yummy brass leaf toggle, green and blue glass nugget beads, several wooded beads in different shapes and colors, Green Girl Studios pewter owl and pewter nest, copper chain, green oval jade beads, white oval rainbow moonstone, green gaspite rondelles, round dark green BC Jade, gaspite, and labradorite. Isn't that a fab collection?

The only thing I didn't use in the box was the darling wooden flower that I accidently broke, some silk ribbon, and tigerseye.

If you would like to take a peek and get inspired by over 300+ designs from the Bead Soup Party, then please hop over to Lori Anderson's Blog page by clicking here.She has the links to all of the participants so that you may visit each and every one. I'm sure it will take some time to see them all and just like a good book, you never want it to end. So think of it as a great page turner that sucks you in vs. a fast short story that is over before ya know it!


Sept 10th, 2011

I admit it, I've been avoiding posting here this week. It seems like there are so many things that I want and would love to chat about that I don't even know where to start and it seems like a big chore just sitting down and trying to figure out what to write about. So I left it "for later". Which always turns into "later" and "later". I have so many "later" projects going on and even within the house projects that I feel like I just walk in circles and get none of it done.

I finally got a large bead order done that took me way longer than it typically does. I was so happy to get it completed that I did make any beads for a few days.

I've been wanting to brag about this new chain that I'm selling now. It was one of those that you open up the package and drool while the sun comes out from beyond the clouds and you hear angels singing in the background cool. I posted it for sale over on my cassie donlen Etsy store tonight and it is also for sale on the Tickle Me Beads Etsy store. I can't wait to create a few goodies with it myself.

And... it isn't much but I do have a few of the enamel flower toggles posted for sale on my Etsy store. I plan on making up some more in other colors later this week.

Lori Anderson's big Bead Soup Swap reveal is coming up on the 17th. So stay tuned for what I created with my bead swap partner Beth Emery. She sent the most amazing collection of beads and the packaging that they arrived in was incredible. I felt like a little girl at Christmas time having the time of her life opening up loads of little packages that had me giddy with glee. I loved how she labeled each packet so I would know exactly what type of beads they were. She also included a fab note that explained why she chose the beads that she did. I'll give you all the scoop on the big reveal day but for now I thought I would share pics of what came out of the swap box. (yea, I know you all are jealous:-)