Monday, October 10, 2011


We've lived here for 7 years now and this is the first tarantula we've seen on our property. He's HUGE! About the size of my hand. Our outside kitty Jaimie found him for us and we relocated him so Jaimie wouldn't find him again but not before I took a few pictures.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Clio Revisted

Everyone has been talking about the tricks to get Clio a hot pink. It usually involves multiple layers of glass. Using orange as a layer requires a coat of clear before and after the orange to prevent cracking and to stop the orange from turning brown from the silver in Clio. Far too many layers and too much fussing around for me. Those of you that have done that, why not give Kalypso a try as a base layer? I'd love to know how it compares. This bead was made with a thin layer of Kalypso, struck and then encased with Clio. I then used silver foil, gave it a fairly good reduction and encased with Zephyr. Less reduction would have reduced the lavender luster and made it more pink.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beeswax 16 Year Anniversary Sale!

We're having a big sale for our 16 year anniversary. Orders of $50 or more get 20% off and orders over $125 get 25% off. The shopping cart is all set up to automatically discount your order and the sale runs through Friday August 26th. Please pass the word around to all of your stamping friends! I'd appreciate it. :)

We also have a Facebook page for Beeswax and you can find us here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Perfect Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I've been tweaking different recipes and I think I've put together the perfect vanilla bean ice cream recipe. It's rich and creamy and comes out perfect every time. You can use the batter as a base for other flavors as well by just omitting the vanilla bean. I'm still tweaking chocolate and strawberry but for now I do have a coffee variation. Warning: After trying this you won't be able to eat ice cream like Breyers or Dreyer's ever again.

I use the Cuisinart 2 quart ice cream maker (Williams-Sonoma is having a great sale right now). You need an actual vanilla bean to make this...don't omit it! The vanilla bean adds a ton of exotic vanilla flavor. Your best bet is to buy them from a site like Penzey's (thanks squid!). If you buy them at the grocery store you'll pay two or three times what you will buying online in bulk.

Perfect Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 2/3 cups milk
two vanilla beans
8 egg yolks
3 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine sugars and milk in a medium saucepan. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Use a blunt knife to scrape out the seeds and stir them and the vanilla bean into the milk/sugar mixture. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the vanilla bean.

Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually stir in about one cup of the hot liquid to temper the egg yolk and then slowly add the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat stirring constantly until thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it come to a boil or else you'll have scrambled eggs. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool a bit. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Mix in the heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract. Pour the batter into your ice cream machine and leave it mixing for about 30 minutes. Transfer the ice cream into a container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

Coffee Ice Cream Variation

Omit the vanilla bean. Mix the sugars and milk over medium heat with 6 tablespoons of instant espresso coffee, I use Medaglia D'oro that I found at the grocery store. 6 tablespoons will make a very strong coffee flavor so if you're not sure you'll like that you may want to try 4 tablespoons instead.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

AKDesigns Facebook Fan Page

It's been too incredibly hot here to do much of anything. So I thought it would be a good time to sit in our air conditioned office and get some work done. I've set up a FB fan page for AKDesigns which you can "like" here:
AKDesigns on Facebook

It will be a good way to keep up on my Etsy store listings. I'll probably put up some other glassy type things but nothing I don't already post here. Right now I have a couple of bead albums with work from 2011 and I have a couple more to put up.

For my rubber folks I'll be working on a fan page for Beeswax in the near future too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Western Scenic Tutorial

I was recently featured on the Gingersnap Creations blog as their May Muse. For the feature they asked me to do a western themed scenic tutorial. I'll get it up on the website at some point but for now you can see it here:

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I wasn't the biggest fan of Helios when it first came out but that can be pretty typical for me when it comes to a new glass color. I often have to play with it and then set it aside for a month or two and then come back to it. After that I usually like it. That's exactly what happened with Helios. This is only my first bead with it since I picked it up again. It's heavily stormed Helios topped with unreduced Helios and topped with Aether. It's a gorgeous streaky yellow gold. I'll have to experiment topping the heavily stormed Helios with other colors to see what else I can come up with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Newest Glass Obsession

My latest obsession is webbing with Terra2. Each bead comes out completely different from the last so it's never boring. Of course that means I can't reproduce a bead either but that's pretty much how it goes with silver glass anyway.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gingersnap Creations

I'm the May Muse at Gingersnap Creations. How cool is that? They are featuring me and Beeswax and they even included a couple of pictures of my beads in the write up too.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Images!

I've just finished putting up the 48 new images and you can find them here:
New Stamps

My apologies to those trying to shop on our website yesterday. Our shopping cart was down all day which is entirely out of my control. I've been using this shopping cart service for around 8 or 9 years now and it's the first time that's happened. The good news is that the company did a streamline version of the checkout system a month or so ago and I've just upgraded our cart to the new system this morning so it's supposed to make checkout even faster.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I thought I'd give everyone an update, especially for those waiting on the new images. I have the engravings and the matrix boards now so we are starting to make the molds. The biggest delay was the surgery I had last week. I don't usually share much in the way of my personal life here, at least not the serious stuff, but now that's it's all over (and all is ok) I will. I've had a thyroid mass for years and years and every biopsy had been negative in the past. This last biopsy came back with abnormal cells. Four different doctors told me it really had to come out so I caved in and let someone cut open my neck last Wednesday. The surgeon came highly recommended and he did a very good job. The final pathology report came back benign so all is good. I'm just waiting to see if the part of my thyroid I got to keep can do the job on it's own. Now that I'm back on track we can get the new images out. I'll probably have them up early next week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Delays Ahead

Well there has been a delay in the release of our new images for 2011. I know, I know....there always is but this time it's not my fault. I emailed the new images to my engraver (which I've been doing for many, many years) over two weeks ago. I usually wait a week and a half and if I don't have them delivered yet then I call and check in. Just about the time I'm expecting my engravings to arrive, I hear that the engraver has gone out of business. Huh? So I pick up the phone and call them. Sure enough, they are in the process of discontinuing their engraving portion of their business and FAILED TO CONTACT ME. No email, no phone call. Fabulous. So I've contacted a new engraver and I'm going to email them the images. This will change the timing of the release. I'll keep you posted but I'm expecting to release them mid March now.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Halstead Website Feature

Halstead Beads has now added a Glass Artisan Portal page to their site with a link to my freakin' cool is that?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Halstead Catalog Feature

Last summer Halstead Beads asked for lampwork entries for a feature in their 2011 catalog. I'm very honored to have been chosen along with one other lampwork artist. These are the beads I sent them and below that is the catalog page. They wanted me to leave the beads uncored because they wanted to glue in their own silver rivets to market those as well. I'm not sure why they changed their mind but just so everyone knows, I use a tool to permanently core all of my European Charm Beads with sterling silver. To order the new 2011 Halstead catalog you can go to their website here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stormed TNT

I don't think I've written about storming Terranova2 before here. You can get some really great color by doing heavy storming and also utilizing layering. The double row dot bead is just heavily stormed TNT topped with clear. The cream dots are heavily stormed Olympia Rain. The single row green bead is heavily stormed TNT topped with lightly stormed Golden Emerald light (TAG) and then clear. The Sea Pod bead is heavily stormed TNT topped with lightly stormed Olympia Rain and then clear. For a deeper blue try layering with Taxco light or Elektra light.