Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why you should look for an SRA badge.......

I thought I would revive this information that I have always had posted on my website just as an FYI :)

Please click on the image above to find out more about the SRA program!

So, you may have seen the SRA logo shown above and wondered what the heck it's all about. If you click on the logo you'll get just about the best explanation you can find and even better than what I can give you so I recommend you check it out there first and if you still have questions I'd be more than happy to answer them for you!

The movement to form a group for SRAs stemmed from a huge controversy in the land of lampworkers over the misrepresentation by one vendor of the type and quality of beads being sold. I'm writing about this because I feel that it is important for you, as a potential buyer of lampworked beads, to understand what there is out there and what you should be on the lookout for.

First, let me say that I do believe there is a market for lampwork beads of all qualities and prices. Let's face it....not everyone out there is creating works of art with one-of-a-kind beads that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. What is of crucial importance for me, as a seller, is to ensure that you, as a buyer, are aware of what it is you're buying.
Having said that, let's consider what you're getting when you buy beads from a self-representing artist:
  • handmade beads made by one individual
  • beads that are properly annealed for strength and durability
  • bead holes that are smooth without any rough edges
  • bead holes that are clean and free of bead release
  • an unconditional guarantee from the artist regarding breakage
When you buy from a seller who is selling mass produced/imported beads you're probably getting:
  • beads that are made overseas by workers working in less than ideal conditions
  • beads that are most likely NOT annealed and very likely to break
  • beads that do NOT have the bead release cleaned out of them
  • no guarantee from the seller as to the quality of the beads
  • no guarantee that you will get your money back if the beads DO break
These are just a few of the major points I think are important for you to know as a consumer. I'm not saying that you should only buy beads made by self-representing artists (well...that would be nice!) but simply be educated about what you're getting and who you're getting it from.
Without naming names there are many sellers who have listings for lampworked beads claiming that they are not mass produced but rather quality artisan made beads. I urge you to use your own good judgement to determine whether or not these are indeed artisan beads that meet some of the basic criteria I listed above.

There are also sellers using images stolen from many reputable, self-representing artists to falsely advertise and represent their own beads. Consider that you may be doing business with a vendor who knowingly misrepresents the origin and quality of the products he/she sells using images stolen from other hardworking, honest, self-representing artists.

There is a place for all types of beads and sellers of beads and as always, caveat emptor! Know what you're buying and who you're buying it from. It's like if you go to the boutique and buy a genuine Louis Vuitton you KNOW you're getting the real deal....if you're really on the ball and know your Louis you might still get the real thing somewhere else BUT, if you take your chances and don't do your homework beforehand you may think you're getting a real Louis but most likely you're getting a dud. Do your homework and get the real deal!

My $0.02 worth :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

To all my American friends and a belated Happy 1st to all my Canadian peeps.  Guess it's just a grand ol' celebratory weekend this weekend :)

Here's what I was up to this AM.  Unfortunately, I was so in awe of my ability to make these that I stared just a bit too long which resulted in thermal cracks through both :(  Back to the drawing board.

If you're interested in owning your own interchangeable ring base you can purchase one through Jet Age Studios or Little Castle Designs and then you can shop for the toppers and change the rings out to suit your mood!

Hope you're all having a safe and fun-filled 4th!

Saturday, April 30, 2011


because I'm so good at it :)  But really I need a brain-break from studying.  I've been at it non-stop (it seems) and I can't stop until the last final on Wednesday.  The great news is that my last final for this semester is on Wednesday!!!  Other than that.....well, I wish I had more fun stuff to tell you.

Let's see.  The beads I showed you in my last post sold so I had to say was sad :( That just means I'll have to get to making some more!  I've been feeling a little bit like a "dealer" lately. Lots of purple powder has been getting measured and shipped out. If you're looking for Zimmermann Z-99 Purple Rose powder you'd better mosey on over to the Etsy store before it's all gone.  Don't I only wish I could reproduce this "lampworker's gold".

Allergies are finally subsiding a little so I can breathe.  This is a good thing.

Looking forward to starting clinicals in a few weeks (could also say I'm slightly nervous about the whole thing!) I probably won't be around much but will definitely try to keep you updated. I keep thinking it would be super cool to tell you about all the stuff I'm doing at school but I worry about all those privacy issues so I think it better to keep it simple.

So that's my blah update for the day.  Weather is beautiful. Stuck inside. Maybe I'll try to escape the house a little later on this afternoon :)

Hope you're having a great one!!

ps.  Here's a pic just for fun.  You know I'd go into severe OCD induced shock if I had to deal with this on a daily basis!

@DH's workplace!  How do you find anything???

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All sorts of good things.....

1. My last post contained sad news about my friends S and J but in a miraculous turn of events they did get the baby and everyone's just thrilled that Baby K will be coming to Raleigh soon so we can all meet her :)

2. The semester is almost over (3 weeks to go!) and I will able to say I survived my first semester of grad school!!

3.  DH switched to a new group at work and is all happy, smiley again.  Woohoooo!!

4. DH got a certification that he had been working on and I'm so totally proud of him for putting his nose to the books and getting it done.  Some nights he was studying more than I was!

5.  The weather is warming up and everything is in full bloom.  I love this time of year.

6. Made some super sweet beads which, when the time comes, I don't know if I'll be able to part with.

Hope life is treating you well!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Keeping it all in perspective.....

Hey everyone!  I'm still here.  Another month has passed since I last wrote and I thought I'd finally sit down to put my scattered thoughts into words.  Many times in the last few weeks I wanted to blog out my frustrations.  There are have been so many things I've wanted to vent about but thought it prudent to keep things on the DL. 

The events of the last few days have motivated to me to write this post.  My friends, S and J, recently had a devastating thing happen.  The short of it is......they were matched with a birth mother and were totally ready to welcome a baby girl into their home when the mom changed her mind after giving birth and decided to keep the baby.  I can't even imagine what this feels like.  I have no words and the standard platitudes are just that.....platitudes.  Whenever I think about this I want to cry so I imagine it must be 100x harder for the two of them.

Which just makes me matter what I have going on that I may want to vent issues are trivial.  When I was working I would be reminded on a daily basis of how unfair and sucky things could be and it really helped me keep things in perspective.  Now that I'm away from it I find myself losing perspective more easily and I don't like it.

Today I am thankful for so many things:
  • the most wonderful, supportive, and loving husband
  • friends and family who listen and help keep me grounded
  • good health
  • all the opportunities that have been given to me
 I hope that you are having a good day wherever you are and thank you for reading this blog. Each and every one of you mean a lot to me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One down......27 to go....

Yup.  Hard to believe that one month has already passed and that we're into February.  Of course, since February is a short month it's going to be over in a flash too.  Funny how that works.  At first I thought school would never start and now it's just starting to pick up steam and I bet this semester will be over in the blink of an eye.

So, it hasn't been bad so far.  A bit of a change of pace.  Just getting back into the swing of full-time school has been challenging.  I'm trying to treat this like my job for the next 27 months and get into a routine - get up at the same time, if I'm not in class then I'm in the books.  Surprisingly it actually is working out nicely.  I'm less stressed than I thought I would be and enjoying the learning (mostly!).  Most importantly I feel like I still have time to spend doing other things which I really thought I wasn't going to be able to do.

Creating has fallen by the wayside.  I'd be lucky to get in a day of torching every few weeks I think.  I did spend this past Sunday doing some sewing.  Just needed to get away from the books for a while and do something non-educational :)  The upside to that is I'll be swimming in scrub caps by the time clinicals start.

No pics for today.  Maybe I'll try and see if I can get back with a more detailed post about what my days are like and the courses I'm taking.  For now, I'm back to the books.  Yay ;P

Hope you're having a great day wherever you are!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First day of school.....

I wanted to post after my first day but was super swamped and never got around to it so this is just a bit late. 

It's official. I am an unemployed, full-time student.  And on my first day of school I felt like the kid in the picture above.  It's finally set in that yes, they did indeed mean to offer me a spot in the program and no, they did not make a mistake :)

Last week was orientation so we spent a good deal of time just dealing with logistics and administrative stuff.  I think that might have been the worst're ready to get going and yet it's dragging by because you're not really in "school mode".  Well, if I wanted school mode I certainly got it this week. We jumped right from the frying pan into the fire!!!  Never-ending reading. Concepts that have my brain screaming for mercy. More paper, more assignments, more reading....more, more, MORE!!!

But I LOVE IT!!! And I'm so totally excited about it.  Today we finally got to the good stuff.  The anesthesia gas machine (AGM). Yeah!!!  It makes sense!! It's awesome!! I can't wait to drive it!!!  Instead of dreading it (like I thought I might) I'm totally stoked about this....about all the learning and the challenge.  There's something to be said about being an adult learner.  I think you take it all so much more seriously and it's more meaningful somehow.

Anyhow, I'm rambling but it's because I was up way too early this morning and have already put in a full day. And my brain is fried because I can't comprehend pKa, pKb and all the other p's.  ;P

I hope that I get the chance to take you all on this crazy journey with me but I can't promise frequent updates. I'll do what I can.  In the meantime......keep calm and carry on!