Monday, July 30, 2012

Same bead, different stitches

Happy Monday!

Today's post will be a quick one.  We had a lovely visit with Steve's parents, and now I need to kick the jewelry-making machine (me) into high gear to prepare for the Donna Lexa Memorial Art Fair in Wales, WI on August 18th.  Also, the Bead&Button Show faculty submissions are due on August 10th.  Ack!  That's next Friday!  I'm in pretty good shape for that.  I know what designs I'm submitting and have the instructions written for everything.  I have pictures taken for all but 2 of the designs, and all that's left is writing the descriptions and all that.  I should be able to use most of what I wrote last year.  Still - lots to do!

Last week (in my Anatomy of a Spiral post) I showed you a spiral rope necklace I made using vintage bicone beads.  Here it is again:

Using the same bicones and the same 15/0 seed beads, I made a bracelet using Right Angle Weave:

If this looks somewhat familiar to you, it should - it's the same stitch I used with the red saucer beads and black peanut beads in my Red and Black post about a week and a half ago.

Where there's a necklace and a bracelet, there must be earrings:

These are 12-bead beaded beads (try to say that 10 times fast!) - essential Right Angle Weave stitched together to create a circle.  With 4mm crystals it looks more like a bead, but with these 6mm bicones it looks like a doughnut.  I don't know if it was because they're bigger or if it's because the edges are softer.  Doesn't matter.  They're doughnuts.  So I put a bicone on a headpin, put the beaded bead on with the obvious holes on top and bottom, then put another bicone on top.  With the two beads nestled in it looks like a proper beaded bead, and none's the wiser.  Except for all of you, of course, and everyone you tell (while you're telling them to come read my blog).  Okay - everyone's the wiser.  I can live with that, especially if you're recommending my blog!  (hint hint)

Another option, of course, would be to string the bicones on beading wire.  But I've been having fun playing with the different stitches.  What else should I try?

I paid $5 for the bag of beads.  After making a spiral necklace, RAW bracelet, and beaded bead earrings, I still have a fair amount of these beads left over.  I think I definitely got my money's worth!  I get lots of compliments on the pieces, and I can wear them with a number of different tops.

A note about these beads:  You can see from the above pictures that the color isn't consistent throughout the beads.  The shape of the beads isn't consistent, either:

I chose the ones that were more "bicone-like" (like the ones on the left) for the bracelet and earrings, as any deviance in size would throw the stitch off.  The ones that were definitely off but still useable (like the ones on the right) went into the spiral.  I was going to throw the "snub-nosed" ones away, but I found there were far too many of them.  Much better to put them into a spiral where the defects don't matter.  Keep this in mind when working with your beads.  Don't get angry - get creative!

Friday, July 27, 2012

More vinegar!

Today Steve and I were busy with last minute preparations for his parents to arrive.  The day went something like this:

"What else needs to be done?"

"De-furring (4 cats create a LOT of fur that gets deposited on EVERYTHING), back bathroom, floor, litter...."

"Oh, crap!  Look at _____.  That needs to be cleaned!"

Along with all of this I needed to make German potato salad for tomorrow.  My mother and stepfather are coming to see Steve's parents, and Steve requested the potato salad.  Here's how the conversation with my mother went:

"So, what can we bring?"

"German potato salad?"


"Okay - how about deviled eggs and corn on the cob?"


I had already come to peace with making it myself, but it was worth a shot!

(note, greater than and less than signs are HTML tags and should not be used while emoting groans or cheerful acceptances, even when typing in "Compose" mode)

But, Traci, this is a CRAFT blog.  Sure, you go off on tangents every once in a while, but really, you need to tie this into crafting somehow.

Alrighty, how about scrapbook pages?

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.  I didn't use the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for these pages because I think the brads I'm using for the bullet points are too bulky.  The resultant scan would probably be blurry.  Besides, Pixel is on my desk, and I don't have the space to scan.  Also besides, it's been a long day, and I wanted to do something quick.

I love making pages for family recipes.  First of all, this is a great way to keep the family recipes safe, especially those that get plastered all over a blog.  Second, by taking pictures of the process, it can help people who haven't made the recipe before figure out what needs to be done.  In this case it's not essential, but there are a few steps in the German wedding soup that benefit from pictures.  Third, it really makes you stop and think about what you're doing if you're taking process shots while cooking.  If you can find old pictures of family members eating the dish, that ties the whole thing back to what's really important - your family.

Since those pictures are pretty small, let's blow a few sections up for further scrutiny:

  • Before-during-after.  This is a quick way to show how to do something.  Yeah, I could have skipped the first two pictures, but how else would you be impressed with the process of peeling a mountain of HOT potatoes then slicing them?

    Steve:  "But why do you peel them after boiling?  Wouldn't it be easier to peel them before?"

    Traci, Traci's Mom, Traci's Omi, and all other women before her:  "This is how it's done."

  • Split the title across the pages.  This helps tie the two pages together.  Granted, it doesn't look all that good separated like this, and in an album the pages will never be RIGHT next to each other, but it does help draw the eye.  Also, if you create a vague title like mine, people will ask you what the food is.  Honestly didn't occur to me to have to name the thing.  It's obviously German potato salad.  Duh (for someone who has eaten it her whole life).

  • Write directly on the pictures.  Do not use a regular pen for this.  Use a Slick Writer pen or photo marker or something that is specially designed for glossy surfaces.  Otherwise you'll have a smeary mess on your hands.  Now everyone can see "The Drama of Potato Slices" and how beautiful my hard boiled eggs were that day.  Not so my eggs since I moved into this house with its electric stove.  I've looked online for help, but no matter what I do, I'm having a really hard time getting the shells off the eggs without taking a layer of whites off as well.

    I did grab the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner for these pictures and the rest on this page - crops from the main pictures were far too blurry.
  • Use brads for bullet points.  See - the bulkiness of the brads made that part of the page blurry with the scanner.  Anyway - you can see most of my gas-stove egg-boiling process.  For electric stoves, I've been putting the eggs in cold water, bringing the water to a rolling boil, keeping it on the heat for about a minute, then taking it off the heat for about 12 minutes.  Rinse in cold water and swear while peeling.  Anyone have a better way?

    Anyway.  If you use brads as bullet points, they help separate the processes as well as being pretty.  I remember that I used all of these brads - 3 square and 2 round - on this recipe.  In case you haven't figured this out from yesterday's post, I really like using things up.
  • Use your own (or a relative's) handwriting.  I've mentioned this before (see my blog post from June 28th, 2010), so I won't go into it now.  Yes, you can make mistakes (like I did with "boil" in the upper right of the above picture), but that helps the page have personality.  If you happen to have the recipe written in your grandmother's or mother's or great aunt's handwriting, make a copy of it and USE it.  You'll hear her voice in your head whenever you make the recipe.

And finally...

  • Bacon.  You can't go wrong with a picture of sizzling bacon and onions (a German staple).  Seriously, though (not that bacon isn't serious enough), Lazy Scrapper didn't want to mat all the pictures, so I matted two - one on the left (the potato process) and this one.  It's subtle but helps to draw the eye along the page, unless your eye is drawn directly to bacon.

This was supposed to be a quick post.  Hopefully you've gotten some good ideas out of this.  Or, at the very least, I hope you've gotten hungry.

For my non-scrappers:  You don't have to scrap to achieve the same results.  Get an album with sleeves for certain sizes of pictures (usually 4x6).  Take the process shots and put them in the sleeves along with the handwritten recipe.  They actually have recipe books just for this purpose - I've seen them at Archiver's.  Any ready-to-use scrapbook with sleeves will work, though.  The most important thing is to get those recipes down so that future generations will be able to keep your family history alive.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My 100th post!

I'm a little surprised, but I shouldn't be.  I was very prolific in posting when I first started the blog - 76 posts in 2010.  Only 8 in 2011, but I'm picking up speed in 2012!  Fifteen posts so far, with 9 (including this one) in July.  I'm really looking forward to experimenting with different techniques and telling you all about them.

Before I get into today's topic, I want to show you the bracelet I made yesterday (referenced in yesterday's post):

I think it turned out cute, even if it is mostly brown.  I'm not fond of brown, yet I have many brown beads.  The best thing about this bracelet is that I used all of those round brown beads!  Zero left!

Today's experimental technique is enameling.  I've been interested in enameling since I saw Jill Erickson do a demonstration for the Loose Bead Society in March, 2010 (you can see a picture of her here - feel free to scroll through the pictures to see more from that meeting).  I became more interested when I found C-Koop - her enameling is really neat, but I can never afford more than a few things at a time.

Then came the Bead&Button Show this June.  Steve likes to go shopping with me - to monitor my spending (although I can get away with more now that I have a business and that I made a lot more than I spent at Meet the Teachers) but also because he likes to spend time with me and to get something for me as a challenge.

We went by The Urban Beader booth.  I like them in general because they've had postcards that say "got stamps?" (although they're talking about stamps for metal instead of the stamps I have - I don't care!), and I got a T-shirt with "got stamps?" on the back and "tool whore" on the front (available for purchase here).  Steve does not like this T-shirt.  We looked around the booth and saw the enameling stuff.  Kieu (pronounced "Q") asked if we'd like to see a demonstration.  "Sure!" we said in unison.  She showed us how to enamel on a bead.  I knew I had a pack of those beads in the B&B Show bag and was quite interested to see the transformation.

Well, before I know it, Steve grabbed a pack of 12 colors of enamels.  Then he looked at the copper gears that they had.  Kieu said, "The process for flat things is different than for beads - you can't hold flat things on a pick like you can a bead."  Next thing we knew, we got a tripod, a very sharp and dangerous trivet that Steve thinks looks like some sort of throwing death star thing, and some holding agent so the enamel will stick to the flat things.  "I'm buying you a new hobby!" he said, even though some of it came out of my own budget.  We should have gotten a few more things, like a tray to put the enamel in while working, some Penny Brite to clean the copper pieces, and a sifter.  We're making do with an empty (and clean!) tuna can to put the enamel in while working and vinegar to clean the copper.

We did not buy a torch because I already had one that I use for silver clay.  Click here if you'd like to read about the last time I worked with silver clay.

After everything from the Show died down, I decided to try the enameling.  I grabbed all of my supplies and my handy-dandy micro torch and.... became quite frustrated.  I must have tried to put 10 layers of enameling on the bead.  Steve tried it and got slightly better results, but it still wasn't great.

Steve's side is on the left, and mine is on the right.

After much discussion:

So I bought a bigger boat torch.  My previous one fit easily in the hand, could be filled with butane, and wasn't cumbersome to use.  My new one... enormous.

Why did I pick today to enamel, you may ask yourself?  Steve needed to pull stubborn, overgrown weeds in the driveway (before his parents come tomorrow) and thought torching them might work.  It didn't.  They got scorched and a bit burned and smelled of roasted corn on the cob, but it was pretty ineffectual.

It's not heavy, but it's a little difficult to hold one-handed while twirling a bead to get hot.  I have to put it down so I can get the enamel on the bead, then pick it up again... I can work with it standing up like that, but the flame is nearly above my head.  I put three layers of enamel on a new bead.  Here each side is next to the first one I did:

It's better, but still not great.  I'm finding it difficult to get enough enamel on the round surface while it's hot enough to stick.

I decided to try a flat piece.

Last weekend we broke down and bought a tea sifter (we thought we had one, but if we do it's lost to the ages) from Williams-Sonoma (which is how I know that their magnetic knife holder is $40).  We only paid $1 more for the tea sifter than what Urban Beader sells, and the look that the Williams-Sonoma people gave us when we told them we were going to use it for enameling and not tea or spices was priceless.

I had to mix together the holding agent (I hope it's equal parts water and holding agent - I couldn't quickly find online what the proportions are supposed to be), then I brushed it onto a vinegar-clean gear, careful not to touch it again.  I sifted enamel onto it then asked Steve to take the halves of the tea sifter apart - the chain was irritating me.  I torched it from below like Kieu said to on my tripod/trivet apparatus:

On the stove with my fire brick handy.  Very safe.  Not like when Steve tested the torch out - in my studio near the scrapbooks!  Send your hate mail to.....

After a few touch-ups it looked pretty nice.  I remembered Kieu saying that you need to enamel both sides, so I dutifully flipped it over (using the tweezers) and repeated the process.  After a few touch-ups, it's gorgeous!

The back side, though, doesn't look so good anymore:

It looks neat, but not like it did when I flipped it over.  I don't know why that is.  Steve and I were a bit dubious about firing a side from underneath that already had enamel on it, but it's supposed to guard against the other side's enamel from coming off.  I'll have to ask Kieu about it.

I also enameled a few head pins:

I'll use those for earrings, possibly with my two enameled beads.  If anyone asks about the thin color, I'll say it was an artistic choice and not that I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

Yes, all of the projects seen here are using lime green.  "Bitter green" actually.  I initially chose it because it was my least favorite color in the set, but, as I mentioned in the Red and Black post, I'm starting to like the color.

I have a number of gears I can enamel plus a number of copper blanks that are plain or embossed.  I'm now very much looking forward to what I can come up with!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Anatomy of a Spiral

I'd like to thank everyone who complimented me on my studio reorganization!  I had comments here, on Facebook, and on Pinterest.  How sweet you all are!

Here's what Kat said:  "Good job, Traci! Looks great! Now get to work and make stuff! ;)"

She's a bit bossy (love you, Kat!) but right.  It's time to get beading.  I have an art show coming up in August, and I need to make lots of fancy-looking things so I fit in.

One stitch that gives a lot of bang for the buck is spiral rope.  Once you learn the basics, you can play with the beads used for a number of different looks.

Spiral rope at its essence consists of two parts - the core and the spiral.  The core is the part of the rope that holds everything together (hence it being the "core"), and the spiral is the fun part that dances around the core.  I tend to use neutral or muted colors for the core, and the spiral can be just about anything (within size reason, of course).

First, you need to establish the core and the spiral.  The "typical" spiral rope uses 4 size 8/0 beads for the core and a size 11/0 seed bead, a 4mm bead (fire polish beads are wonderful for this), and another size 11/0 bead.  String all of these on and slide them down the thread, leaving a fair amount for the clasp (we won't be discussing putting a clasp on here - it varies based on what clasp you have).  Insert the needle into the first bead again and up through the core.

When you pull the thread tight it looks like this:

To continue pick up ONE bead for the core and your spiral.  Stitch through the last 3 beads of the core already there plus the one new core bead.

When you pull the thread tight, push the new spiral next to the last one added.

As you work, always push the spirals in the same direction.  That's it!  Keep doing the same thing until the rope is the length you want.  Here's what it looks like after working on it for a while:

Here are a few pieces I made with just the "typical" spiral layout.  This first one uses dark green crystals along with clear seed beads so the crystals stand out:

This one uses pearls:

This one uses vintage bicone beads, and I get many compliments on it.  I say, "It's just spiral rope," and they do a double-take.  "Really?"  And then I usually fumble for the clasp (it likes to move around like clasps usually do) so my complimenter can see it up close.

The next one was made for my Mother-in-law for her birthday.  After quite a lengthy and tense discussion of colors that were appropriate for Mama (in which most of the beads I have just "wouldn't do"), he said, "These will be good."  Green cubes with a slight goldish sheen to them.  I messed around with them for a while then decided to try spiraling them with the smaller cubes as the core and the larger ones as the spiral.  Looks funky but cute:

Here's one using three peanut beads in place of the usual larger focal bead in the spiral:

For a thinner rope you can use just seed beads.  You may have to play around with how many core beads are used (3 instead of 4, for example) and how long the spiral part is.  Here are two that I did so that the rope wouldn't take away from the pendant:

And if you're extremely patient, you can do a double spiral - two spiral strands going into the same core.  My friend Judy makes these where it looks like two colors are twisted, but I haven't tried that yet.  The double spiral in this necklace doesn't look like that but looks interesting in its own right:

It got a lot of admirers but no purchasers (the price wasn't nearly as high as it should have been based on how long it took me to stitch)..... until my stepfather bought it for my Mom.  Yay, John!  Then he commissioned me to make earrings.  No double spiral there, but I was a bit anxious until I found crystal rivolis to match the pendant!

Once you're comfortable with making a spiral rope, you can add different things to give the rope more dimension.  The above instructions are from my "Divine Vine" design.  After establishing the rope I start adding leaves, flowers, and glass disks.

If you'd like the full instructions, they're available on my Etsy shop:  PDF tutorial (start working today!), or kit and printed tutorial (everything you need to create a bracelet very similar to the one pictured - the glass disks may be a bit different).

My "Falling Leaves" design (it's not on Etsy yet - let me know if you're interested, and I'll put it up right away) uses spiral strands of seed beads interspersed with ones with leaves:

So, are you ready to spiral?  I am!  Lunch first, then I'll "get to work and make stuff" as Kat said.  When I was going through my reorganization I found a bag of shell flowers with holes in the middle.  I can't wait to see how they look on a spiral rope, "Divine Vine" style!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A place for everything, part 4

This will be the last I post about my studio reorganization.  I'm not completely done, but I don't think I ever will be.  There are a number of things that still need to be "gone through", but they are now contained and not cluttering up the joint.

In case you're new to my blog or need to refresh your memory:

Original post about my craft room
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I'm very pleased with how everything is turning out.  It feels a lot more peaceful in here, and I can't wait to get working on a few new ideas I've had.  My desk is the last thing that needs to be finished up, and apart from the shelf above my desk, the rest of it is pretty clean.

While I was flipping through bead magazines to determine which I could part with, I saw a tip about having a magnetic knife rack to hold pliers.  Great idea, and I have the perfect place for it below my magnetic boards.  True, I'll have to turn around to get a pair of pliers, but they will be out of the way when not in use.  I went to Harbor Freight today to get it - it was on sale for $4 from $9.99!  You can't find it any cheaper.  At Walmart, they're around $16-21, and at Williams Sonoma they're $40.  Click here for the Harbor Freight item.  The one I got wasn't red like the one pictured there.  It's black, and I'm grateful for that.  I may still cover it with vinyl, though.  While I was there I got a pair of diagonal cutters and a pair of flush cutters for under $3 each.

Anyway, by now you're probably DYING to see the wall unit all filled up.  Here you go!

On the side of the unit is the zig-zag corner shelf thing that was on the wall in that corner, and below it is a quilt that my mother-in-law found for me at a thrift store:

I put it up there with sticky-backed Velcro so I can take it off and wash it if necessary.  I was very happy to find a place for it.  It's so beautiful.

Here are the top two "scrapbooking" rows close up:

There isn't a lot of room at the top of the unit, so it's perfect for little stuffed animals I'm fond of.  There's room for more if I need it.  The first space holds punches plus some pens and decorative-edged scissors (plus Diego, the dragon that Steve gave me).  The second space has my general scrap tote plus some embellishments and mat stacks.  The first space on the second shelf has adhesives, embellishments, my cutter, scrap paper, pens, more pens, more embellishments, ribbon, thread, and interfacing for bead embroidery.  A few of the boxes are empty so I have room to grow.

The rest of the unit is for jewelry making supplies.  Yes, I really have that much stuff, and this unit doesn't hold all of it.  A few things are in a closet, and my main bead boxes are on a bookshelf.  The first space in this picture is for polymer clay.  The second is for enameling, crystal clay, and resin, and other like interests.  The next shelf has dominoes/game pieces, washers (different types plus projects I'm working on that use washers), decoupage supplies, and a few miscellaneous things.

Here are the bottom two shelves.  The first space here has tools, wire, paints, crayons, and colored pencils.  The next space is primarily project-specific.  Not all of these boxes are full.  I have a box for each design that I teach and sell kits for, including some very large bags of peanut beads.  There are also boxes for projects I want to not lose track of, including the saucer beads I talked about in my Red and Black post.  The bottom shelf has the photo box containers which hold seed and shaped beads, sorted by size and/or shape (of course).  The middle space is full of EMPTY BOXES!!  The last space has a few miscellaneous things plus the trays I use to sort beads and sometimes work on.  I have 5 of them, and many of them were filled with items I hadn't put away yet mainly because I didn't know where to put them.

But now I have a place for everything.  I have room to grow (a little), and I now know where everything is.  When I need something, I can go right to it, and I can easily put it back when I'm done.  I'll be able to keep my desk clean so I can work (provided the cat lets me).

I was able to empty a number of bulky containers, including a rolling scrapbook tote and the purple rolling cart I talked about a while ago.  I was able to sell most of it at the Loose Bead Society Rummage Sale on Saturday.  I've purchased only a few things - the magnetic tool rack, two cigar boxes (which were very cool), and a box with irises and the word "Iris" on it.  Since that's the theme of the room I really had to get it.  Besides, it was 40% off, and I had a 25% off total purchase coupon (including sale items).  It was a no-brainer.  I spent less than $10 and made around $80 at the rummage sale on things I decided I didn't need anymore (after table cost).  I think I've done well.

After all this, what does the wall look like where that idiot folding table was?

This was my grandmother's sewing basket.  It was in the guest room, and I've always been irritated by that.  I've wanted it in here, but there was no place for it.  Now that I don't need the small bookcases or any other unit, I now can have my Omi's basket close to me.  I have a similar sewing basket, but it's smaller and doesn't have legs.  That one is in a closet within pretty easy reach.

And here's the other wall:

The shelves aren't perfectly organized, but by going through my magazines (and donating them to the bead society to sell at the rummage sale) and clearing a number of other things out, I was able to move my scrapbooks back in here from the guest room.  I also now have a good place for my printer paper where it won't be in the way or get messed up.

Throughout this process, I have learned a number of things:
  • I have quite a number of hobbies and interests.
  • An awful lot is needed for all of these hobbies and interests.
  • However, I don't need to keep absolutely everything "just in case".  I've kept quite a bit, of course, but I was able to sell a number of things at the rummage sale and have set aside some things to sell on ebay or Etsy.  It's okay to let things go.  It's better for someone else to have them and use them than for me to grimace every time I see items that clutter up my space.
  • Cleaning out my closets and using the space properly (planning the shelves out instead of throwing things in there willy-nilly) was essential to having so much empty space in the rest of the room.
  • It helped to make lists so I could chunk the process down.  I concentrated on one drawer or shelf or interest at a time.
  • It also helped to have Steve help me, not just with the heavy lifting and such but also with "gently encouraging" me to work on a certain area.  Otherwise I'd probably still be walking around in circles saying, "I don't know what I want to do yet."
  • Less is more.  All this empty space makes me feel so good (I sometimes just sit and stare at the nothing, feeling the peace of not having my eyes trip over all the "stuff").
  • I'm now motivated to work on other areas of the house so I can feel that peace everywhere.  Most of the house is in good shape, but there are a number of areas in the basement that need attention.  I need a good way to store my show displays.  That's probably next.
  • I'm glad to have room to grow in various parts of the room.  Drawers (most of them, anyway) aren't full to bursting, I have empty parts of closet shelves, and I have a little room on one of my bookcase shelves, not to mention the empty boxes I mentioned above.
  • I didn't have to spend a lot of money to do this.  I was lucky that my mother and stepfather had this wall unit, but I could have done pretty much the same thing using the bookcases I already had.  I was able to use whatever boxes and such I already had to keep everything separate and contained.
  • I'll save a lot of time looking for things and keeping up with my new system.
  • I need to dust more often.  My allergies have been HORRIBLE!
So, that's it.  I hope I've given you some good tips and some encouragement to work on your own studio/craft room/corner of the dining room or wherever you create.

Well, that didn't take long.  Better there than on my desk!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Red and black

I'm still working on my studio, making a lot of progress.  I'll do one last post once I get everything in place on my new wall unit.  Until then, I'm going to post about other things I've worked on lately (and by lately that could mean the last week or the last year).

In case you're dying for more "in process" photos, here's one that should hold you until my next studio post:

 Really?  The studio must be too clean for her.

When I went to the Rings 'n Things bead show in May, I picked up a number of strands of dyed white wood 8x5mm saucer beads.  Each strand was only $1.91, and there were anywhere from 69 to 79 beads on each strand.  The colors are gorgeous, but the most startling thing about them is how light they are.  They remind me of the Three Musketeers commercials - if I don't hang on to them, they'll float away.

Here are the colors I picked up:

The big surprise is that I chose the lime green.  I've worked with it before and have decided I don't hate the color.

But this blog isn't titled "My goodness!  I like lime green!"  It's titled "Red and black".

I wanted to see if these saucers would work in Right Angle Weave (RAW).  I tossed the red saucers into my beading caboodle so I could work with them when I had time.  The spare time came right after the Bead&Button Show when I stayed the night at my mother's so I could take her to doctors' appointments on two consecutive days.

Although the saucers fit nicely together in RAW, there was an awful lot of thread showing at each corner.  I dug into my box and found size 15/0 black beads.  Nope - they slipped through the saucers' holes.  Next came 11/0 Delicas.  No, those were too small, too.  What else did I have in this magic box?  Peanut beads!  Black ones, too!  They were perfect.  One peanut bead between each of the saucers hid the extra thread and added an interesting element to the middle of the bracelet.

Here's the completed piece:

Right Angle Weave is a very quick stitch, so even with futzing around with the clasp (I had to redo the bar end to make sure it would fit through the ring), I was done in about an hour and a half.  This is while talking to Mom, watching TV (she made me watch "Toddlers and Tiaras"!), and having a dog on my lap part of the time.  I am looking forward to figuring out earrings that can go with this bracelet and maybe even a pendant.  Also, I can't wait to find peanut bead colors that will go with the other saucer colors.  While I have PLENTY of black beads, I'm going to find something different for the other colors.  If you have ideas (especially for the lime green), leave me a comment, please!

The other red/black I've loved lately has been with my skeleton keys.  In March I found some galvanized red 11/0 Delicas (#603) and 15/0 seed beads (#41) at Funky Hannah's (in Racine, WI) and just KNEW they'd look spectacular with the black skeleton keys.  I made up one set and put it on my sample board, so I'm making more that I can sell.

Here, I'll show you the ones from my sample board.  I can easily find it now!  Yay!

And now the sample board has been put away.  Goodness, is this nice!

The pendant was done in peyote, and the earrings were done in square stitch.  Both were embellished with black beads on top of the base tubes.

I wish you could see how gorgeous this red is in person.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  When the light catches the beads just right, they look like they're lit up.

I'd better get back to it so I can play more with these light as a feather saucer beads!

I'll be gone all day tomorrow, so you'll have to survive without me for a day.  Big hardship, I know.  :)  Back on Sunday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A place for everything, part 3

Okay - I have 45 minutes before I have to leave for an appointment.  Is it possible for me to blog in under 45 minutes?  Let's find out!

And, GO!

Before we get started, I finally figured out my "Guns in the Sky" earworm.  Steve is reading Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky, and it's sitting on the kitchen table.  If you haven't watched the video I linked to yesterday, don't.  It's rather stupid.  The lead singer is strutting down a hallway over and over and over again.

To catch people up who may be new to my blog (because you all have told your friends, right?), click the following links to read all about my studio and what I've been doing:

Original post (in 2010)
A place for everything, part 1
A place for everything, part 2
That blasted earworm

So after cleaning out the closet and getting all of those lovely empty containers grouped together, I had a dilemma.  I wanted to put my scrapbooking totes (the one I carry to crops, the sticker one, the Coluzzle one) and all the various paper, uh, I don't know what they're called.  They're divided up, close at the top, and there's a handle.  Anyway, I wanted all of those things plus the boxes of paper (yes, I really have that much paper) all on one shelf, but the one I could easily reach wasn't tall enough.  Then I noticed that the top shelf could be moved.  The owner before us actually was the architect for the house, and there are all kinds of neat built-in things here - my desk, shelves in a few closets, two china cabinets in the dining room, hooks and what-nots all over the place that make life a bit easier.  And he planned for the ability to move shelves around in my studio.  Yay, Mr. Nissen!

I huffed and I puffed and I blew the shelf up onto to the next level.  No, that's not right.  Well, I did huff and puff, but I couldn't get the shelf anywhere but diagonal.  It's heavy, and I'm not all that good with spatial reasoning.  Steve comes home, and in less than 5 seconds the shelf has been moved.  Totally not fair.

After dinner we discussed what could be put on the top shelf, and he brought up two smaller bins from the basement (yes, we really do have that many empty containers, bins, and boxes lying around the house), and we moved the yarn into those from the bigger bin that won't fit on the shelf in its new configuration (the empty bin went downstairs).  Here's what that shelf now looks like:

The messenger bag (that my MIL sent me from Land's End. I LOVE this bag!  It's so ROOMY!) holds my current projects.  There's a project plastic basket behind it with all kinds of things, and the yarn and thread waiting to be used is next to it.  Confession time - that's not all of my yarn and thread.  I have two XXXXX large Ziploc bags in another closet with more yarn.  This is nothing, though.  When I moved I donated boxes of yarn to my friend who's a Girl Scout leader.  Also, I have a bunch of thread I had gotten on eBay a number of years ago that I'm going to release back into the universe.  I wanted to make a tablecloth and even have a pattern in mind, but after 10 years (or more!) I haven't started it yet.  Besides, try as we might, we can't get the cats to stay off of the dining room table, and Fe is really good at snagging things.  So off it's going to go as soon as I have the time.  If anyone wants more information about it, let me know, and I'll send off the particulars.

After some messing around, the next shelf is perfect to hold all of the scrapbooking things that I wanted to put on that shelf.  I have to say that because I have a bunch more scrapbooking things that will not fit on that shelf.  Here's how that looks now:

Yes, that's the Cricut in the front and Cricut cutting mats on the door.  That box on top of all of the totes is my vinyl and magnets.  I can still get my working tote out without disturbing anything, which is the most important thing.

But, Traci, you wanted a dedicated Cricut station!  A place where you could set up your Cricut and just leave it there for all of your creative paper needs!

Yes, reader, that is true.  However, the cutting mats are 24 inches long (plus the border).  That means I need about 24 inches on either side of the Cricut, or about 50 inches (including the width of the machine) plus 16-20 inches wide.  That means bringing that light-blinded table back up here, which I will not do.  It'll just become a dumping ground  again.  I don't use the Cricut all that often, and the kitchen counter is a good place for when I do need it.  We've been keeping it clean.

The moral of this blog post is that when you manage your closet space effectively, you can put an awful lot in there.  I still have one shelf free in this closet and one in the hall closet.  I am confident that I will not need to bring in either short bookcase or the purple rolling cart.  One bookcase has been moved into the bedroom, so that's out no matter what.  :)

Two more quick pictures, then I have to dash.  My desk has borne the brunt of the chaos (including piles that have been falling off).  Simoon seems to thrive in this chaos:

The black thing in the center is the cat

And Pixel luxuriates in emptiness:

Okay - time!  It's 10:59.  It's a miracle!  I finished the blog through posting on Facebook, chatting with Sylvia in Facebook chat, and a phone call from Kathy!

One last thing before I go - please click this link and vote for Michelle Kearney's necklace.  Share it on your Facebook page and get others to vote.  She is an amazing woman who creates beautiful jewelry with her mouth.  Yes, her mouth.  Not on a whim but because she has no other option.  Vote as much as you can, please.

Now I have to run.  I hope there are no typos or grammar problems, because I don't have time to re-read.  I'll fix any Steve finds when I get back.