Gathering Loot 1

I’ve been back from the Gathering for two days and even though I was able to pace myself successfully so that I’m not exhausted, I’m still have that after-conference brain buzz that does not allow me to focus too much. I think it’s probably because I don’t have another show until November so I’m feeling kind of free.

But anyway…I have so much to write about and am starting with a handful of things that I picked up while I was at the conference. It’s a souvenir from Rain City Artisans (Ellen Harbison?) for my penguin-obsessed 10 year old. So cute.

New flip up magnifiers in +3.0 and +5.0 strength from Anne Mitchell’s booth. All the better to see my micro mosaics with. I’m windering how much more detailed I might get not…I’ve been working with +2.5s. Now I have to figure out what to clip them to.  Hmmm.
My Ali VandeGrift. Love this bead. I always say, “I don’t need anymore beads” which is true. But I don’t necessarily see the ones I get as beads, per se. Not for jewelry or to wear. They are my collection to look at. And I like ’em big.
A bigger sifter. This one may not seem like a big deal but when you’re chopping up all of those stringers, there is dust and tiny pieces made. When you’re trying to pick up the pieces to apply to the mosaic it gets in the way and causes problems. It also is nice to not have it in the storage baggie when I’m done. The strainers/sifters I’ve already tried have too big of holes and the actual chips fall through with the dust. Hopefully this will be the answer. It’s the little things that end up helping me be more efficient and work more quickly.
A Zoozii Knob press, ’cause you know I need more presses, right? I have two knobs made by Rebekah Higgins that I received as a trade a few years back and I have them on drawers in my studio. Every time I open those drawers I love how they feel. Every time I open the other drawers, not as much. So, I’m finally committing myself to make the knobs for the rest of the cabinets and drawers. In my spare time.  :o)
So, that’s where I am right now. Lost more to show, lots more to talk about, lots more inspiration that I’m trying desperately to keep alive before it slips into that place in the brain where all of those lost moments hang out.

Modifying a graphite bead roller

You know that I love tools.  I also know that tools are guides and sometimes take work to get the right end result in your bead.  Some can even be frustrating in that process.  Such  has been my relationship with round bead rollers. I love them and hate them at the same time.  I have acquired many of these round cavity bead rollers and each has their subtle pros and cons. I think I have finally come up with a modification that has ended my search for the ultimate round bead roller.

Enter my CGBeadrollers.  I so love them as they are.

image from

However, I did struggle a little bit. I know all of the tips and tricks. I’ve written about them.  Use the front of the cavity, roll in a smaller size than you want, blah blah blah. But, no matter what, I would inevitably get hung up on the edge of the cavity.  You may not even realize it but that is what causes those ridges when you go to roll.  The crisp edges are what cause you to get hung up and leaves marks on your beads. Sure, you can go to a bigger cavity to roll but here is a better idea…

Modify each cavity to have an “infinite” rim of sorts. Read Drew Fritts’ explanation of infinite rim.

Here is a before of the nice crisp edges of the cavity:

All I did to them was take a very fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit) and rub it around the edges until they were smooth:

If you try this, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to make round beads.  You may also find the magic of rolling on top of smaller cavities to refine your rounds.  But don’t stop there.  While I didn’t have as much of an issue with the ribbed roller, I thought, why not try it there too…maybe that will make a difference too.  Beware…graphite is MESSY when you start sanding on it so prepare for that!  Before:

And after.  Note that only the pointed part of the ribbing gets knocked off and acts like a slide into the cavity:

Always remember…do a little at a time. You can always take more off but you can’t put it back on.  I also suggest trying it on one cavity first and seeing if you like it before you commit to modifying your entire tool.  I am confident that if you do it correctly though (it’s easy) you will want every cavity modified.

I would love to hear how it works out for you and if you see a difference.


Don’t judge me.

Once upon a time I was a tool tester.

Some were good and some, not so good.  But yet, they all had to be tested.  This week’s task for my helper was to organize them in some way so I can pack them up and stow them away somewhere else.

Then there are the ones that I like enough to keep close.

And the ones that I REALLY like and keep on my table or out for easy access within reach.

And then there was time that I was into the handheld press tools.

And recently graphite has been making me happy.