Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is That a Torch in Your Kitchen or Are You Just Here for A Giveaway?

Welcome to the latest stop on the Painting with Fire blog book tour!  I'm thrilled to be able to share a little bit of my creative world--especially how I've added fire into my crafty repertoire.  :)  

I've always been a fan of enameled beads but they were sort of a mystery to me since they were metal and glass all kinda put together in what seemed to be some magical way.  Then, I had a chance to take one of Barbara's workshops and I was hooked!  Just a few relatively simple tools and I could make my own fantastically colored beads!  I'll never forget the first time I got a bubbly sort of finish on a big copper round and went running over to Barbara to show it off like a second-grader with a frog!  We laughed and laughed at how easily excited I was!  I immediately knew I would be taking the torch kit home.  It just made so much sense the way Barbara put everything together in a kind of "pack and play" setup.  See, I live in an apartment so I don't have a big cellar or garage or front porch or other space that I can devote to a large torch setup.  This seemed like the perfect solution:  clamp the torch on the counter, lay out a fireproof surface, set out the bead pulling station, and go to town!  Here's a little "before and after" of my kitchen counter/workshop:
Although there's a bunch of other stuff around on the counter, like little copper scraps and some random wire and tools, the actual workspace is nice and compact.  I think just about every enameling project in Barbara's book could be made in this little workspace.
I wasn't sure about what to put my enamels into when I got started...the containers need to be big enough to dip the beads into, but also resistant to heat.  Lo' and behold, I realized that my fatty catties would be able to help out and I found some cat food cans!  They are perfect!
I experimented with quite a few colors--mixed some opaques and transparents.  Some were awesome and some just looked like dried blood.  haaaaaaaaaa  Some of them were crackly because I didn't heat them right and some ended up with chunks of vermiculite in them, but all were great practice.  I even tried out some frit--that's the little green glass chunks in the photo above. 
After fishing all of my sweet little treasures out of the bread pan, I had these beauties...and a few uglies, but we won't focus on them. :)
After putting the kitchen back to its normal state and packing up the torch-head, tools, and barenaked copper beads so they'd be back in the closet and out of the way, I set out to make some special pieces to share in this post.  

Here's the first one...I consider it a celebration of handmade since there are seven different artists represented in here:
- can see the purple and green bead on the right--that's one from the batch above that I made using a mix of purples to coat the bead and then some transparent green frit.  I also made the paper bead with my own painted paper, the lavender solid bead on the left, and the purple disk pendant.
- Barbara Lewis - the enameled filigree beads are some of her original enameled work.
- Nikki Thornburg - supercool pod headpins and the purple square connector are lampwork pieces from  an artist I newly discovered at a local bead show.
- Alice St. Germain - the fun purple and green lampwork rings as well as the green flower-shaped disks that are paired with the pod headpins.
- Julianna Cannon - the blue lampwork bead with the green dots that matches the paper bead so perfectly is a Juls bead!
- Kristie Roeder - there's a little green stoneware pendant with a purple center that's catching the light just right on the left.
- Bronwen Heilman - the green ring in the middle is a bit of her recycled glass.
I really wanted to keep that one when it was finished, so I decided to make another one...this one I'm willing to part with, so it's a GIVEAWAY!

This is a nice long necklace that features two of my special paper beads, two big solid beads that I created with layers of blue and raspberry along with some of my very first brass bead caps, two enameled filligree beads that I made with various purple shades and then a few accents of lampwork rings from Leah Deeb and Swarovski crystals from my stash!
Plus, as another sweet deal, Barbara is including these awesome pendants enameled with decals as one of the prizes...yes, another giveaway!
Winners will be chosen for these at 10:00 tonight, the 15th of October so you'll know if you're the lucky one tomorrow!

There are bunches of other lovely things to see on this tour, so here's a list to follow along:

     October 6, Mary Jane Dodd,
     October 7, Gaea Cannaday,
     October 8, Linda Larsen,
     October 10, Andrew Thornton,
     October 11, Lori Plyler,
     October 12, Diane Cook,
     October 13, Lori Anderson,
     October 14, LeAnn Weih,
     October 15, Jen Judd Velasquez,
     October 17, Melissa Meman,
     October 18, Lisa Crone,
     October 19, Shannon LeVart,
     October 20, Cindy Wimmer,
     October 21, Laura Twiford,
     October 22, Erin Prais-Hintz,
     October 24, Jennifer Cameron,

Plus, there's even more going on to celebrate:

There are prizes throughout the book tour plus a grand prize at the end!  The more you spread the excitement, the more chances you have to win some of the goodies our bloggers are giving away!

1.  Leave a comment on this post and become a follower = 1 chance.

2.  Tweet, facebook or blog about the giveaway and leave a comment at this post:  the original Virtual Book Tour post  = 1 additional chance.

3.  While you're at Barbara's Blog, if you become a follower or say that you're already a follower in your comment = 1 additional chance.

So, you can earn up to three chances per giveaway.  A winner will be selected by 10 p.m. eastern time and be announced the following day. You can check back at Barbara's blog for the name of the winner or at any other of the participating blogs.

To thank you for following along, we will have a BONUS PRIZE at the end of the book tour!  All of the entries will be included in the drawing for a kit containing all the elements of "Floral Cascade," one of the projects in the book! You'll receive everything you need to make the necklace, including the chain, jump rings, clasp, enamel beads, and head pins!
But that's not all!
For a chance to win the Grand Prize - a Torch-Firing Kit (or $110 shopping experience at - please leave a review at by November 24.  Remember, leave an honest review... the book must stand on its own.
Thanks for playing along!
P.S. Unfortunately, we have to restrict the giveaways to U.S. residents.  Winners should contact Barbara with their name and address through her author website: so that you can receive your prizes!


  1. your creations are beautiful! I love how you incorporated various components from different atists. And thank you for participating in this "tour" great idea!

  2. That is a perfect set up. Kitchens should be multi-use. The kitchen bench is where my tumbler lives. Now I think I need to get a torch in there too.

  3. Gorgeous necklaces! Thank you for the "studio tour", it's a great set-up! I am ashamed to say that I bought a kit and instructions from Barbara last year and still haven't used it yet (insert sheepish grin). I ordered her book yesterday and I'm breaking the kit out this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This blog tour is wonderful -- I'm seeing so many beautiful new blogs that I'd never read before. Thanks for participating!

  5. Jen, I love your set up! Pile everything on top of the ceramic tile and cart it away! The beads are great ... the green and purple are spunky ... just like you!

  6. Jen - I had to triple take at that photo! I couldn't believe it was the same square footage! Nice transformation... I would love to be entered!

  7. The best part about your product is the pictures don't do them justice...amazing!

  8. The kitchen set up is great.
    Love your beads and your necklaces. Very pretty.
    You rock!

    I am a new follower.

  9. Great set up! I've been wanting an island in my kitchen and this will be added to the pro's list. I love your beads and the necklaces you made! I'm already a follower.

  10. I think your experiments turned out great. I actually thought this would be harder and take more room, but after reading some of the reviews, it looks like it would be easy to set up and loads of fun. (And of course I'm here for the giveaway, too.) I'm a follower of your blog.

  11. I just tweeted about your giveaway.

  12. I'm a follower of Barbara's blog, too. (Didn't know if I was supposed to post that here or just at her blog.)

  13. Your necklaces are gorgeous! The kitchen set-up is great - love how your beads turned out!

  14. I am having a ball following this Virtual Book Tour. So many talented artists. I was fortunate enough to take Barb's Forging Ahead Bracelet class with my daughter in Portland. We are now disciples!

  15. Wonderful, thanks for sharing. I love the pendants.

  16. Jen, that post title cracked me up!!!! How clever to put your torch setup on the kitchen counter. But if it were me, I would leave it way and the poor family would most likely never get fed.

    Your necklace is beautiful! I would love to win it!

  17. I love your set up, its much better than mine, my dining room table, amd an industrial sized baking sheet.......I love your necklaces you made, its so much fun both enameling, and then creating some thing with what you enameled!

  18. WOW! I love what you've made and the giveaway piece is so perfect. I've wanted your paper beads since you first showed them to us so now something with those plus the enamel? Sounds pretty much perfect to me! I'm already a follower. Thank you!

  19. Your necklaces are AWESOME! Sure would love to win!

  20. Wow! I love what you've done to your kitchen cupboard! ans it cleans up sooo nicely!

  21. As a first visit to your awesome blog I am totally blown away! I love your counter transformation but the work you produced is utterly amazing! You have an awesome style of writing as well! Thanks

  22. Thank you for sharing pictures of your studio set-up aka your kitchen counter. I've been trying to figure out just how and where to set up and your pictures help to make it so much more do-able.
    Love, love, love the colors in both of the necklaces.

  23. I've become a follower (and not just because of the giveaway).

  24. I love how you've set up your workspace. It really shows you don't need a big studio to create amazing things.
    I'm now a follower of your blog and am already a follower of Barb's.
    Thanks for taking part of the tour and the great prize:)

  25. Oh no Jen!!! What will I do??? I have no cats! :) I love that solution. You have really provided some great insight into the process. I showed my hubby each and every item listed above ;) so he would know EXACTLY what I needed! Thanks for the beautiful giveaway!

  26. I am scared out of my mind to try this but the more I look at all the creative people on this hop,the more I am inspired.Thank you so much for giving us a peak at the process.Warmest Regards,Cat

  27. beautiful beads and beautiful necklaces!

  28. Way cool thanks so much for sharing your workspace, cool unique beads and neckless with us :)
    I got a real kick out of Shirley's comment re showing her hubby, lol

  29. Jen, I had to laugh when I saw your torch set up! I have mine on a table in the cockpit of our boat. Your jewelry is beautiful! I am a new follower.

  30. Ooohh, I just drooled. Both pieces are yummy! And, I love how you used your work space.

  31. I may need to try this since we moved and I don't have my studio anymore! I think I will set something similar up on the screened porch at the house we are at now. Thanks for sharing your workspace!

  32. I could totally fit that set up into my work space. I have the book and kit on my wish list. If hubby doesn't get a clue for my birthday next month, I'll just have to get myself a Christmas gift☺

    Love both of the necklaces!

  33. That is a great little space!!!I love your little dishes of beads ya got there-very cool colors. The "bubblies" are fantastic! Pretty pretty necklaces too-fabulous purples:)

  34. I can totally relate to your excitement over creating those luscious enamel beads. I had the same reaction when I took Barbara's classes. I also love how you identified all the artists who contributed to your creation. We all create great synergy together.

  35. Thanks for such great inspiration and set up, I just got my PWF kit and will be working on my kitchen island too. Great job on the beads and necklaces, fantastic colors!!!

  36. I love the colors you are using, how inspiring. Your kitchen space works very well and it feels so homey.

  37. I totally work on my kitchen island too! I am impressed you clean up when you are done I am usually too lazy and tired.
    Anyway loving this tour and your beads look great!
    Have fun,
    Shannon C

  38. Oh I just LOVE that title for your post!!! LOL
    Your beads are lovely!! Geez, I won't get a chance to get need my book until about the middle of this hop.....seeing all these lovlies and not getting to play? tooooorture!
    Doreen aka LuniLadi

  39. Kitchen counter top is a perfect place...well lite and roomy .... nice pieces of jewelry!

  40. Great post- I like how you try things and report on successes and not so successful tries. I have been having fun following along on this book tour and seeing everyone trying enameling. You all make it look so easy but I know its not! Thanks for the great give away. I am a follower of your blog.

  41. I am a follower of Barbara's blog too

  42. You give me hope! I could do this!!!!!


  43. Your necklace is a real inspiration. I'm laying in bed playing with the few torch fired beads that I have hoping I can come up with a necklace that might live up to yours.

  44. Very cool necklace and bracelet! Your kitchen counter workspace ghastly inspired me to get off my rear and do some more kitchen table enameling! Also, am now a devoted follower of your blog : )

  45. Thanks for the sneak peek into your studio. I enjoyed seeing how you combine diverse art beads in your lovely pieces.

  46. We are sisters separated at birth at how we take over any horizontal space with our tools and beads and what not! LOVE that! And your work is so cool. I have all the enameling stuff but have I taken time to do anything? Um, that would be a no. But after my last show in March! Yeah. March.

  47. Jen, I absolutely enjoyed your book tour post!!! What a fantastic studio shot...and the best part is how you included a side-by-side before and after!! I think so many of us can relate to this one. I do all of my mini-torchwork in the kitchen as well. You have a beautiful kitchen/studio, btw! And your enameled beads are so are a natural.


Thanks for coming by...I would love to hear what you think!


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About Me

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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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