Friday, May 22, 2015

You can always tell when I don't choose the colors

The Bead&Button Show is just about to start, so that means I'm busy making kits for the Meet the Teachers reception and my classes!  I don't have as many to make as I did for the Art Glass and Bead Show, but there is still some work to be done.

For a few years I've had kits for my Double Decker Daisy (DDD) bracelet design.  When I first started kitting it, I kinda went crazy.  I started with six different colorways and added three more later.  I don't ever have very many of one colorway.  I've ranted many times about how difficult it is to find kit materials in bulk, so I won't subject you to that again.  Suffice it to say, I usually only have a few kits of each colorway.

I designed DDD to use daggers to mimic the petals of a daisy.  When Pips came on the scene, I knew they'd work perfectly without changing the design at all.  You may have seen this picture before, so please bear with me:

Daggers are on the top, and Pips are on the bottom.  I think they're both so cute.

I've been meaning to make a few kits using Pips but have been putting it off.  I had so many kits to make for the Art Glass and Bead Show for newer designs that I didn't want to spend any more money for an older design.

However, because I put a sample out of the bracelet using Pips, we've been asked if we have kits with Pips, so I can't put it off any longer.  (The "we" here includes my husband, Steve.  He's invaluable at these shows!)

I went to Knot Just Beads, my favorite local bead store to get some Pips and ended up coming home with a lot more!  The lovely color above wasn't available, but there were some pretty purple Pips.  (Say that ten times fast!)  That's a no-brainer, of course.  I mean, look at this blog.  If I don't come home with some purple, something's wrong.

But I saw the brightest orange I've ever seen and asked Kim (the owner of KJB) what she thought.  I've talked about color before and how hard it is for me to work outside my comfort zone.  (See this post for a fire-inspired version of "It's Got Legs").  I'm happiest with purples, blues, greens, grays, black, and white.  I can work with pink and red, but I seem to lean towards cool, muted colors.

Yellow, orange, and brown are challenging, to put it mildly.  Steve likes those colors, and he usually helps out.  But Steve wasn't with me when Kim said the orange would be a good idea, so I was completely at a loss as to what to put with it.  It took quite a while, with me wandering around the store an awful lot saying, "I am physically incapable of choosing oranges and browns", but we (Kim, really) came up with something nice (as nice as orange and brown can be, that is).

I stitched up the new samples (including some samples I hadn't stitched yet) yesterday, and it was extremely obvious which colorway I did not choose:

Yes, there are some yellows in there (I wanted to have colors close to actual daisies), but that orange just jumps out at me.  This picture really doesn't do the brightness justice.  Let's try a close-up version:

Oh, yeah.  That's the stuff.

In this picture you can see the 15/0 seed beads a bit better.  They're the little ones next to the brown center beads.  I've used this color before (borrowed from a friend at the suggestion of another friend), and I was really impressed by them.  They're Permanent Finish Galvanized (PF562F - Matte Saffron).  If you get a chance, pick up this color or another PF.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Are there any colors you have difficulties working with?  Comment and let me know!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Faster review searching!

I have recently made some changes to my Creative Pursuits website and wanted to share them with you!

In my last post, the one with the free instructions for a two-strand strung bracelet, I briefly mentioned that I have a shop page for Xuron tools.  That's available here or from the "Shop Creative Pursuits" menu on my website.  On that page I've included links to the products' reviews (and one for the bracelet instructions).

While I was searching for the reviews to put on that page, I thought, "I really wish there was an easier way to find all of the different reviews I've written.  I seem to constantly be searching for them!"  Well, I don't know if it was really that coherent or if was more like, "AARRGGH!  NEED BETTER SYSTEM!"

So today I added some options to my "Blog" menu on my website:

The top option and first sub-menu option - "Blog" and "Mix Me Up! blog" - will bring you to the main blog page, and you'll see my newest post.

Below that are two specific product reviews for the IPOW rechargeable LED lights and the "New" Fireline.  Those will eventually be moved in with other product reviews as I get to them, but for now I wanted them right on the menu.

The final two options are for my tool reviews.  I split Xuron tools off from the other tools.

Here's a screenshot of the Xuron tool review page:

And here's a screenshot of the other tool review page:

Over time I'll be adding other pages, including knit/crochet (books, yarn, tools, etc.), books (jewelry, craft, knit, other), products (non-tool), and fun (my favorite Japanese restaurant, my husband, etc.).

Please let me know what you think of the pages and if it helps you find what you need to find faster.  I know it'll help me out a lot!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free instructions! Two-strand bracelet with Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper

Want to learn how to make this bracelet

using the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper and CzechMates two-holed bricks?  Read on for a free PDF with all of the instructions!
This is a project I taught at the Make -n- Take event at the Art Glass and Bead Show in Madison, Wisconsin on March 27, 2015.  It's a fun show, and the Make -n- Take event is a blast!  It's a flurry of activity - six groups of up to 10 people rotating around the room, making a bunch of different projects.

Everyone loved this bracelet and the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper.  Here's the crimper in action:

If you haven't read my review of the 4 in 1 Crimper yet, click here for all the details.

I talked with Abby from Xuron about the project a number of times, and we decided to make the instructions available to everyone.

The instructions include a full tutorial about how to use the tool as well as how to make the bracelet.  Here are a few of the other colors we made during the Make -n- Take:

The beads used are 4mm fire polish or bicones, 6mm fire polish or bicones, and CzechMates two-holed bricks.  You could use a toggle clasp with two loops, but it works just fine with a regular toggle clasp.

So, without further ado, here is the link to the instructions:  Two-strand bracelet PDF

If you're interested in purchasing the Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper or any of the other Xuron tools I carry, please visit my tools shop page.

I only have a few colors left of the kits:

They are available for purchase in my shop here.

For next year's Make -n- Take event, I'm planning on showcasing the Xuron Split Ring Pliers for a fun pendant using guitar picks.  Stay tuned!