Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another garage find!

Remember the post a while back about Cindy's cabinet and all the neat things I use in my studio and shows that were found here and there?  I have something new, er, old to show you!

Today Steve spent some time in the garage cleaning things out - salt under the cars, tools from the storage space above the cars, stuff like that.  I poked around in there a little after chatting with a few neighbors, and I saw something I'd never seen before:

Do you see it?  No?  Let's zoom...

A little spool!  How neat is that?  I coaxed it down with a rake because even Steve isn't tall enough to reach up there.

It's really neat.  The ends are about 4.5" in diameter, and it's just over 3.5" tall.  It says "General Electric" on one end and "Please return" on the other.  Oops!  It's really old, though, so I'm going to keep it and hope they don't come after me.

I cleaned it up and put it on some tissue paper so it won't roll, and I draped my Simple Stitched Saucer bracelets on it to test:

It's a little too big around to fasten the bracelets (well, except for the ones sized to fit me), but I think it makes a great display.  I can't wait to put it on my table at Meet the Teachers on Wednesday.


Friday, May 30, 2014

SDN15 earrings and picture-taking woes

I posted earlier today on my Creative Pursuits Facebook page that I was going to be knee-deep in Super Duos and 15/0 seed beads while I take process shots for a new tutorial.  I had some distractions - phone calls and visits from a few contractors to give us estimates for running gas piping throughout the house (we're purely electric/oil and want to change that) - but I did get a lot done.

Remember the spiky, "Dino-spine" bracelet I blogged about a lot (the final bracelet can be seen here) and the pendant to match?  Those are going to be part of my "SDN15" suite of designs.  That sounds fancy, doesn't it?  The more I play with the base triangles, the more ideas I come up with.  I'm writing an "SDN15 Basics" tutorial, and all the other designs will assume that you know the terminology and how to make the parts of the triangle.

But before I can make the tutorial, I need to take those pictures I talked about.  I mentioned recently (in my last Hera's Seduction earrings post) that I've been moving away from using my purple bead mat and onto white or gray backgrounds to save cyan ink.  The problem with the white backgrounds is that they're not white, no matter how I try.

Here's the first step of the SDN15 instructions:

That's on a white piece of paper with two Ott lights shining down on it.  I have the white balance option checked, and I have the exposure bumped up to +1.0, but it's still gray.  I'm not happy with it.  I started a discussion on my personal Facebook wall about it, and unfortunately there was nothing anyone could suggest that I could do.  I have a Sony Cyber-shot (I reviewed it here), and I can't change the aperture or shutter speed settings (that I know of).  I modified the picture in Photoshop by fiddling with the exposure slider, but that made everything a bit too washed out, not just the background.

After doing some searching online, I found a discussion that mentioned light boxes (which haven't worked, either) and fancy camera settings that I don't have.  The other thing they mentioned was Levels.  I tried it in the "Quick" mode and didn't like it.  I tried it in the "Guided" mode and found a white eyedropper.  Ooh, what does that do?  I clicked it and clicked the background of my picture, and...

Huh.  It looks a lot whiter in my graphics program and in my Word document than it does on the screen here.  There must be some converting going on that I don't have control over.  You'll have to take my word for it, I guess.  It looks a lot better.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of steps to get from a gray background to a white one, including all the saving and "yes, I really want to replace the picture" clicking going on.  Using the Ctrl+L shortcut saves a little bit of time, but not much.

However, it's a lot easier than my eternal struggle to get a white background from the camera alone.  I give up.

Sometimes, though, I get lucky.  Using my new simple rack that Steve made for me so I could take better pictures of earrings, I took some pictures of the earrings I made that will go in the "SDN15 Basics" tutorial.  Here's the best one of the bunch:

That's a little grayer than in my graphics program, too.  Oh, well.  It should be clear enough for you to see the earrings.  I've been taking earring pictures by positioning the rack with the light pointed right at it, and I duck down to put the camera right under the lamp.  It's not ideal, but it's getting the job done.  I don't know of another way to get a head-on shot.  Yes, I could use a tripod, but the camera would still be wedged in under the lamp.

Enough about the pictures.  What do you think of the earrings?  Oh - have I mentioned what "SDN15" means?  "Super Duos 'n 15/0s."  Kim from Knot Just Beads came up with that, and it's brilliant.  I frequently have problems coming up with names that others haven't already come up with.

While I was taking pictures today I lined up two of the triangles in a different way, and I think I may have yet another design brewing in my head!  The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Riding the Waves simple earrings

It took me three days, but I finally finished writing the tutorial for Riding the Waves.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Steve read it and gave me an A+.

The tutorial covers stitching a spiral, adjusting the length of the core for longer beads, organizing a large number of different kinds of beads, and adding a clasp.  It also shows how to use the One Step Looper to make a pair of simple matching earrings, which I made today:

I did a few other behind-the-scenes today, along with finishing my shop page for this design.  You can check it out here if you're interested.

That's it for me today.  I have two more tutorials I want to write before next Wednesday's Meet the Teachers Reception at the Bead&Button Show.  It'll be tight, but I might be able to get them done.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A fitting thank you card

If you missed yesterday's post about Abby's first stitching experience, please check it out here.  I'm really impressed!

A few weeks ago we were talking to Steve's mother.  She said, "We've sent you something we're really excited about.  It'll be there on Thursday."  She refused to tell us any more, so we had to wait.

Four days later, I ran some errands.  After I parked in the garage, I opened the little door to go in the house, but my way was blocked by two really big boxes.

They were way too heavy for me to move.  Fortunately I could get out of the garage through the big door and close it using the keypad.  I really liked that the box marked "Fragile" was underneath the big, heavy one.  Luckily nothing was crushed.

Once Steve came home, he lugged the boxes inside and opened the first one.  Right away we saw very old track.  He knew instantly that it was from a Lionel set and a very old one at that.  He unpacked more and found that along with a lot of rusted track there were a number of train cars, a few engines, and a few other items.

A call to Steve's parents cleared up the mystery.  They belonged to their friend and had since the mid-1940's.  He no longer wanted them and thought Steve might have a use for them.  If not, he was perfectly fine if Steve did whatever he wanted with them.  Steve took a bunch of things into work to talk with the Classic Toy Trains folks.  They said that if there were any pictures of the original owner playing with the trains as a child, they could make an article out of it.  Unfortunately, no pictures were found, so there won't be an article.  That's too bad.

Here are a few pictures of the cars and other equipment:

Steve set up a little "museum piece" for his window ledge at work:

None of the track can be used - it's too old and rusted.  Instead of trashing it, I would like to make some sort of art piece with it that we could hang outside.  There are a bunch of curved pieces, so I should be able to design something interesting.  Steve will have to help with assembly, of course, because I'm pretty scared of the soldering iron.

A gift like this deserves an appropriate thank you card, don't you think?

As the wife of a train buff, I have acquired some train stamps.  They're useful for scrapbook pages and birthday cards for Steve, and they were perfect for this project.

Steve ripped a piece of paper and started stamping the train:

At this point I left him alone to work without camera flashes.

Here's the finished card:

I always find it interesting when Steve makes a card.  I would have only stamped the train in a straight line, but he stamped it as if it was going around a track.  It's so cute!  The "Thanks" was from a stamp with a bunch of "stuff" around the word.  He used a pen to ink the "Thanks" only.  He got the idea to put it in the smoke from the frilly bits of the stamp he didn't use.

On the inside of the card, he used a stamp I bought him a few months ago that I found on Etsy:

The recipient loves cats, so this stamp is perfect for him, too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest post: Abby - Beginners attempt at bead weaving -- Simple Stitched Saucer Set (RAW)

In our house, Abby is known as "Xuron Abby", as she works for Xuron and has given me tool samples to review (if you missed my reviews, you can catch up: Fireline scissors, 4 in 1 Crimpers, and Split ring pliers).  When we talk about the tools, we also chat about our cats and other things.  She's become quite a good friend, and I'm not just saying that because she's featured me in the Xuron for Jewelers newsletter.  :)

The morning after I posted about my shop page for kits that are available for my new BeadStyle article, my phone dinged that I had received a PayPal payment.  It was Abby, and she purchased a full set kit and the PDF on how to stitch the full set (the bracelet is in the magazine, and the necklace and earring instructions are separate).  I called her right away and said, "What are you doing?"  She said, "Well, I really like the lime/pink one, and I thought your shop needed to be tested."  She's such a dear!

I sent the kit to her right away, and she received it last Thursday.  When she first looked at the kit, she expressed a concern about the "really small beads".  I had to laugh, and I told her that those really aren't really small beads.  I should have sent her a link to my Peanut bead question blog post from two years ago.  They're far from the smallest beads, but I can understand her concerns!  They look really small when you compare them to the saucer beads.

She made the bracelet over the weekend.  This was the first time Abby had ever stitched with beads.  While I'm extremely flattered that she chose my project as her first, I felt a bit of anxiety that she would have problems and would hate doing it.  I don't want it going around the beading world that Traci Otte turned Xuron Abby off of stitching!

My fears were unfounded, as it turned out, but I'll let her tell you all about it:
I have never so much as threaded a needle (a bead weaving needle that is).   This proved to be the most challenging part of the project!!

Instructions were perfect. Photos provided great guidance as well.  I did watch a few YouTube tutorial videos (a decent one from showing RAW using large bicones) because I felt I needed to actually see someone doing the work.  Once I completely grasped the concept of going in circles I was fine.  I also sketched out a crude diagram so I could be sure I was following the correct path of the weave.

I did a test piece using 6mm bicones and after three RAW units I felt confident I could start the bracelet.
Ready to start the test piece

The test piece looks great!

All the tools are assembled, ready to make the bracelet
After my first couple of RAW units of the bracelet I had the hang of it and found myself naturally working from left to right and I was glad to read in the instructions that this is OK providing I keep with the weave pattern. 
 Mid-bracelet progress

Ready to add the clasp
The clasps were very simple to accomplish and again, this was due to the great instructions. 
Project finished!

Perfect fit!
I did make some mistakes but I’m not bothered by them as I don’t feel they detract from the end result.

How long did this take – well, one full cycle of the dishwasher!  I started the dishwasher just before I started the project and I was almost finished with the first clasp when the dishes were done. 

I didn’t know how to make a knot so I just did a lot of extra weaving and hope it holds  -- if not, I’ll do it all again :)  I since looked at the project in Bead Style Mag and saw that the project included instruction for a half-hitch knot.  Next time I’ll know.

I also did not have a bead stopper – I just kept good tension on the tail thread and had no problem.

Threading the needle was difficult for me because my close up vision (even with readers) is poor.  I invented my own trick (well, I’m sure others have done this since it’s pretty simple) – I used my TweezerNose Plier (Xuron Model 450) to flatten the end of the Fireline, then trimmed it and it threaded like a dream. 

My dining room table doubles as my craft space and my home office so…. It is generally cluttered.  My advice to a first timer is to be sure you remove all clutter as the long piece of Fireline easily gets caught on things.  Have handy just the items you need.  

Last – cats and beads are not a good combination!!  Rudy was not helpful (even though he wanted to be). 
Hi, Rudy!
I loved this project and can’t wait to make the necklace!  The saucer beads are perfect because they are easy to work with and a perfect size for beginners. 

Have you considered videos?  I wonder if you could do a quick “technique” video for knotting, needle threading, a few stitches?  

I love my new bracelet !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for teaching me to weave :)

I'm so glad that Abby had a good experience with her first stitching project.  My reputation is safe!  :)  I'm really looking forward to seeing the matching necklace and all the thousands of stitching projects she'll make in the future.

Thanks, Abby, for choosing my bracelet to be your first and for letting me share your experiences with my readers!

If you'd like to make your own Simple Stitched Saucer bracelet or set, kits and tutorials are available here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Key cheat sheet

Happy Memorial Day, everyone (although since it's 10p, you're probably reading this on Tuesday)!  I hope you had a good weekend and sent a thought or two up for those who fell in battle.  I was lucky that my father made it home from the Vietnam war.  If he hadn't, you'd be reading someone else's blog now.  :)  Here's a picture of him and my mother when he was stationed in Hawaii:

I don't have a lot to share with you on the crafts front today.  I tried working outside on my computer, but the glare was so bad that I got a really bad headache.  I was able to complete the Hera's Seduction earrings tutorial, once I took a nap to clear out the rest of that headache.

I also made up an insert with stitching suggestions to put in with my key kits.  Here's a screenshot of part of that insert:

I feel that will give added value to the kits, and if someone wants to know where to get more, I have that information in there, too.

Did you make anything neat this weekend?  Send pictures to, and I'll post them here!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My shop is live!

Very soon I'll have pictures from a new stitcher.  I've seen her progress so far, and she's doing a wonderful job!

Today (after we saw X-Men: Days of Future Past) I spent a lot of time working on my website's shop.  I'm going to show you a screenshot of one of the pages, and I'm going to provide a link to it if you'd like to check it out, but in general I'm not going to talk about the shop.  If I make something that happens to be one of my designs, I'll put a link to the shop page, but that will be it.  I want the main focus of this blog to be sharing my processes and projects with you.  I know it seems like most of my posts lately have been about my business, but that's because I'm in heavy show mode.

When I posted about my new website, I mentioned that after a few false starts I went with WordPress.  I was able to find a WordPress online shopping cart that processes payments through PayPal and is pretty easy to implement.  I did have to create a page for each of my designs and place all the buttons (including item name and pricing information), and there were a few other hoops to jump through, but once I did one page, all the other pages were easy.

As of today, I am about 90% finished.  I still need to add kit information and "Add to Cart" buttons for some of the designs, but every page now has PDF and printed tutorial purchase options.  Well, the Tubed Key, or Not Tubed Key page still needs all of the holiday patterns and a few other things, but the rest of the pages with kit options are nearly finished.  The ones where there aren't any kits are finished.  Yay!

Here's what the shop looks like for my "Dainty Flower Earrings" design:

I know it's small, but at the top you can see the menu now has "Shop Creative Pursuits" as an option.  Under that is "Tutorials and Kits", where you can see all of my available designs.  Down the right side is a brief shopping cart and a list of all shop pages, including the Important Information page that has, well, all the important information for my shop.

The main part of the page has at least one picture of the design, a description, links to similar designs if appropriate, a Tutorials section, and a Kits section.

Apart from using PayPal, the thing I really wanted in a shopping cart was the capability to handle digital downloads for my PDF tutorials.  There's no sense for someone to wait for me to e-mail them the PDF if they can access it right after purchase.  How it works is that the customer will get an e-mail with a link to where they can download the PDF.

There is a hiccup for some domains like, though.  Our personal e-mails are with AT&T, and while testing from Steve's e-mail address we found that he didn't receive the e-mail from the shopping cart.  He received the PayPal e-mail but not the one generated from the cart that included the PDF link.  After a few phone calls and a number of tests, GoDaddy told me that AT&T sometimes just deletes "form" e-mails without delivering them.  They don't go into spam boxes - they just. get. deleted.  I'm going to keep an eye out for any digital download sales from and send the link to the PDF over myself just to be sure it gets there.  There's a note in the thank you page letting customers know that if they don't receive the PDF e-mail to let me know.

Except for that little problem, I'm very pleased with how the shop looks and works!  It's clean and simple, and that new stitcher I mentioned before said it's easy to use.  If you'd like to create a shop like this on your own site, e-mail me at, and I'll fill you in on what plugin I'm using and how the basics work.

If you'd like to take a look at my shop, click here.  I will still maintain my Etsy shop, but that won't have all my designs like this one does.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Two-holed triangle spiral success!

Steve and I have finished watching all the X-Men movies we're going to so we can go see the new one tomorrow.  While we were doing that I spent my time wisely.  I finished making the Riding the Waves kits, then I decided to "relax" by working on that two-holed triangle spiral technique I discussed a week and a half ago in Color conundrum.

In that post I discussed how I hated the colors, but the technique also needed a little work.  The piece was a little too difficult to stitch.  When I can't sleep, I sometimes think of beading, either what I'm going to write in a tutorial, beads I'd like to work with next, and different techniques.  For a few nights I thought about this spiral and how the technique could be altered to make it less rigid and easier to stitch.

Tonight I tried the altered technique with gray and purple instead of the "flame" colors that didn't work for me before, and I'm much happier with the result:

The stitched part is about 4.5" long, a little over half what I'd need for a bracelet.  It's still a little tight in spots, but it looks so much better than the other one.  I was afraid it would still be too rigid and wouldn't curve around a wrist, but it seems to bend just fine.

Here's a closer look at the middle part:

Even though opaque triangles would stand out more, I just love the color of these.

It's pretty slow-going - I essentially stitched what I have during two X-Men movies - so it'll be a while before I have a full bracelet to show you.  It may have to wait until after the Bead&Button Show.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Keys, keys, and more keys!

When I was deciding what kits to bring to the Meet the Teachers Reception at the Bead&Button Show, I knew I wanted to include the "Tubed Key" kits, which consist of one ~2" key and two ~0.75" keys.  I didn't have many silver keys left (I used an awful lot of them for the wire wrapped keys for the Art Glass and Bead Show Make & Take event), and I was on the fence about ordering more or even making more kits with the black and brass ones I had.

I finally got around to tallying up what sold at the Art Glass and Bead Show, and I had quite the change of heart.  I sold a lot of those, along with my "Tubed Key, or Not Tubed Key?" tutorials and holiday patterns.  I placed an order and was very glad that none of the keys were backordered.  That's been a problem in the past, but this time I was lucky!

Today was spent doing catch-up bookkeeping and adding things to my website, so I didn't get anything new done on kit-making or tutorial-writing.  Tonight while we watched X-Men (we're going to watch all of the ones we have before seeing Days of Future Past), I opened and sorted through keys from the order as well as the ones I still had in stock.

Here are some of the black ones:

some of the antique brass ones:

and some of the antique silver ones:

As you can see, there are three styles, so it can get a little complicated, especially since the shaft on each of the styles is just a little bit different.  The holiday keys are designed for a specific style of key, so I need to have a fair amount of each style in each color handy.

Now that they're all separated, my next task is to package them to look like this:

It's not hard, but it's a bit time-consuming.  Steve will cut the cardstock for the background, and I'll stuff and sticker.

The other thing I worked on today was my website's shop page for the keys.  I'm going to have to have separate buttons for each of the holiday pattern PDFs, so it will take me a little while.

I'm afraid that's all I have today.  If you've been working on a project and would like to share with the class, I'd be happy to post about it!  Send them (along with explanations of what it is, any challenges you've faced, or whatever you'd like to talk about) to  It would be nice to have something different for my readers while I'm mired in show prep.  :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hera's Seduction (formerly Iliad-inspired) Earrings - "official" sample

I first posted my "Iliad-inspired earrings" on April 1st.  They were gold with some clear crystals and some white opal crystals.  Those were what I had in my stash.  I thought the design had merit, so I made a silver/blue version, taking notes along the way, and I made a few changes to make the earring wire stay where it's supposed to.

I'm going to write up the instructions and make some kits, so I needed to make an "official" gold/white sample.  The original gold/white earrings are currently residing in Florida with my mother-in-law (she who issued the Iliad-inspired challenge in the first place).

While I was stitching the new sample, I took process shots for the instructions.  The difficult part of this was choosing a background color.  For a long time I used my purple bead mat, and while that worked fine, I was burning through cyan ink cartridges.  I'm trying to use white backgrounds instead, but white beads and white thread on a white background doesn't work all that well:

It looks okay, but after discussing it with Steve, I decided on a dark gray background instead:

There's a little bit of glare, but it's a better choice because you can see the thread instead of the shadow of the thread.  The white crystals also look better.

I finished taking all the process shots for one earring, then I made another so I'd have a pair:

That picture was taken on a black background.  It's good for one picture in a tutorial, but not for all the process shots.  I don't want to burn through a bunch of black ink cartridges.  :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Making kits with my cousin

Shortly after I wrote my Anatomy of a Kit post, my cousin Dawn offered to help me make kits.  She knew I was feeling overwhelmed, and we haven't spent any alone time together in ages.  I said, "Did you read that post I wrote?  There's an awful lot that goes into making kits!"  She insisted she'd "love" to help me, so I said yes.  Who am I to turn down free help?  :)

She came over this afternoon and left around 8.  I didn't take any pictures of her making kits, unfortunately.  We were much too busy!  We took over the kitchen and had boxes and bags and cutters and whatever all over everything.

We started with some of the simpler kits and banged out 9 Divine Vine kits, 2 Cobblestone Path kits, 2 It's Got Legs kits, and 7 Quadrille kits!

We also made a big dent in the Riding the Waves kits.  There are 24 different types of beads in that kit, and I only have 10 left to do.

This tray is holding five of the kits.  There are three more kits in their own containers.

At one point Dawn bemoaned that she was going too slowly.  I countered that everything she did was something I didn't have to do, and that if she wasn't there, I'd likely be napping, so we were getting a lot done.  :)

Thanks for helping me out, Dawn!  I won't feel quite so overwhelmed anymore, at least until I start the tutorials I need to write.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Very short mini shop announcement

The BeadStyle Magazine for July 2014 is starting to circulate.  A few days ago I wrote about the article I have in it.  Since then I've been working on an online shop.  Today I have a few things done and wanted to show you the page for the Simple Stitched Saucer kits and tutorials, which include necklace and earring instructions.

If you go here, there is a fully functional shopping page.  As far as I know, everything works!

The Tutorials and Kits page is also done, and the links go to pages for each of the designs.  Unfortunately, only two of them are finished.  I'm too sleepy to finish tonight, so I'll work on it later.  I was falling asleep watching TV after dinner.

I did stitch something today - a very small sample of the Hot pink/pink kit colorway for the Simple Stitched Saucer design.  Here are all six colorways:

I'm going to go to bed now.  Tomorrow my cousin is coming over, and we'll be making kits all day.

Let me know what you think of my shop!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pendant to match Dino-spine bracelet

I had a frustrating hiccup in creating my online shop today, so I needed to spend a little time beading.  Also, I was planning on wearing my Dino-spine bracelet to the Loose Bead Society meeting, and I wanted a necklace that would match.

Here's the bracelet:

When I was stitching it, I noticed that there were gaps at each point.  I wondered if I could get a string or thin necklace in there, and today I determined that I could (with a little help - read on).

I stitched one triangle:

In the second picture, you can kind of see the gap.

I took a crochet hook and put it through the gap and hooked the clasp:

I pulled it through, and it worked wonderfully!

The chain was a little shorter than I wanted tonight, so I restrung it on another necklace.  Here I am with it on so you can see the necklace in action and so you can see my new haircut:

I got a lot of compliments on the pendant and the bracelet tonight.  I need to get going and write up those instructions!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A great find in Cindy's studio

I thought ahead when I was at Cindy's on Saturday and took pictures for a few topics.  :)  I'm still working on my shop, so I'm grateful to not have to scramble to find something to write about.

Cindy uses a neat set of storage trays and boxes from Bead Storage Solutions, which she has been getting from Fire Mountain Gems.  You can see one example here or all of what they have to offer here.  They're really neat.  The boxes are all the same width, so they stack in the trays nicely, but there are different heights to choose from, so you're not stuck with enormous boxes for 10 grams of 15/0 (really small) seed beads or using a bunch of small boxes for one color and size of crystal.

The one difficulty with having a bunch of trays, though, is where do you store them?  You can organize the heck out of the insides, but if you have 10 trays stacked up, invariably the one that has what you want will be #10.

Cindy was going to have a cabinet built to just the right dimensions for these trays, but on a recent trip home to help with cleaning out her father's stuff (he passed away a while ago), they brought a letter sorter cabinet back that is just perfect for these trays:

The width is perfect, and each of the slots has room for two trays, so there's no more digging to find the right one.  She labels the outsides of the trays to make that process easier, too.  She has room to grow, which is ideal in any storage solution.

Here is one of her trays pulled out from the cabinet:

She labels each of the boxes, too.  Oh - you can see in that picture that there are little ridges between the columns of boxes.  That's really clever!  You might have a few boxes askew like in this tray, but as a whole they're going to stay where you put them.

That got me thinking of all the great pieces I have in my studio and show displays that were wonderful finds:

A few years ago I was looking to make a Cricut station where I could leave my cutter out all the time.  That was when I had the original Cricut, which is pretty small.  My stepfather said he had two mail sorter cubbies in the basement that might help.  They were perfect, so I put them on top of two plastic paper cabinets (the kind with boxes so dust doesn't get into the paper).  You can see it in the first organization of my studio back in 2010 as written in Speaking of color:

I had a hard time finding that picture!  It was in my third post.  I'm now on #312.

When I got my new Cricut expression, this setup didn't work anymore.  I stacked everything to make use of vertical space, and the tower has been moved around the room a few times.  Right now it's between the china cabinet and the wall, so I don't have to worry about it toppling over.  The cubbies are great for storing my Gypsy and Cricut supplies as well as a bunch of little things I don't really have a place for.  Here's how they look today:

To give you an idea of how tall this tower is, I can reach about halfway up the topmost set of cubbies.  :)

In Packing for the Retreat, I showed you this overnight case that I use for carrying projects to beading days and retreats as well as for putting my feet up while I bead:

We found that in our attic after we moved into this house in Milwaukee.

In Can't leave well enough alone, I wrote about my $25 garage sale china cabinet and how it's now in my studio.  Here's a picture of it from today:

In Hidden treasure, I showed you how I found an old wooden box with dividers in our garage:

I looked through my blog but couldn't find if I showed you the other two boxes like this one that I found in my mother's basement.  Here they are in use as kit displays:

They're slightly longer than the first one I found and are wonderfully beat up.  I've had about five offers to buy all three boxes and two hints that they'll be stolen if my back is turned.  These were great finds.

In A place for everything, part 2 I showed you a purple wall unit that was in my mother's garage.  They had used it in their sun porch but took it out a few years ago.  Part 2 shows it empty, and Part 4 shows it filled up.  It's changed a little since then but not too much.  Here it is today:

Those are just the "big" things.  I've found a bunch of boxes or other cool items in my mother's basement or attic.  It's more fun to find things for free, but I did see a lot of possibilities when we were antiquing.

Have you found something tucked away somewhere that you've cleaned up and are now using?  I'd love to see it, and I'm sure my readers would, too!  E-mail me at with your picture(s) and a description of where you found it and what you're doing with it now.