Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My new kitty!

I can usually play with kittens and resist bringing one home. Booger has been enough cat for me. But my neighbor had a small litter of feral kittens, and one of them just broke my heart. This little tortoise-shell is the one who broke and then captured it.
The first day she was so scared! But she was also very hungry, so I hand-fed her little bits of cat food at a time. It was only a couple of days before she would happily run to me whenever I called her.

I named her Pippa. I had been calling her pipsqueak, so I just shortened it.

She was about 10 weeks old when I got her. Now she is about 14 weeks old. She loves to play and she follows me everywhere I go in the house. No animals allowed in the bead studio though (for their safety and my sanity), so she sits outside the door when I'm in there. I've been leash-training her, and it's actually going pretty well. She's been getting her shots, and she has an appointment to be spayed on Dec. 20. The animal league here, Peggy Adams, does the spay, microchip, and rabies shot for $75. Oh, yeah, we're going high tech, she's getting a microchip!

And now both Pippa and I say goodnight and sleep tight.
Cat

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The BEST Fireline Cutting Tool!

One question that is always being asked on beading forums and chat groups, by new and old beaders alike,  is "What do you use to cut your Fireline thread?". And up until now, the consensus was to use a pair of children's Fiskar-type scissors. They do work well. At first. But if you bead with any regularity then you know that they get dull almost immediately.

So, I had way too many pairs of those scissors laying around, then I spent way too much on a super-duper scissor sharpener, and then I ruined a wire cutter thinking I'd had a great idea. But I still couldn't get a clean cut on a piece of Fireline thread. And it was really making me mad.

I saw a review in one of the bead magazines of a new fishing line cutter sold by the Boomerang Tool Company. So, of course I ordered one. They had a choice of small blades, small blades with a light, or long blades. Not knowing if this thing was even going to work, I chose the long blades, for $15.99 plus $5.00 shipping.

Can I just say...WOW!!! These really are the best thing since sliced bread! They cut Fireline effortlessly. I'd bet that I could throw a piece of Fireline in the air, snip it with these things as it floats down, and still get a clean enough cut to thread a needle!

Everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to buy themselves one of these things immediately. It is always at my side. I can tell it will not go dull because it has serrated blades, not smooth ones. So no sharpening them either. You can thank me later, just go buy yourself one of these things NOW. Here is a link to their search page with the different cutter styles. All you have to do is pick one.

Cat



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why, hello there!

Hi everybody. *Yawn* I feel like I've just woken up from a long hibernation. What's the date of that last post? June 2015? ?!?  Well I'm awake now, and I'm posting. I just will not give myself impossibly lofty goals for myself and the blog this time. I'm going to post at least once every other week, and in between if I think of anything else interesting. I should be able to handle that much without going off schedule.

Along with coming out of blog hibernation, I'm giving my Etsy shop a new push. I renamed it - Bead Street Studio - and I've been photographing and adding a new product every day or two. If I spread them out like that, then later I'll be renewing every day or two also, so constantly having new activity in the shop. I don't really need the income, but I bead all the time anyway. There is only so much that I can wear, or even give away, so I'm hoping to make some scratch for more new beads by selling some of my projects. We'll see how it goes.

I made a new shop logo. I gave up on trying to think of cat names for the store, so named it for what it is, and just added a cat byline underneath. I like it now.


And I renamed my Facebook page to match the Etsy shop, so pop on by and say hello to me over there.


And...that's it for now! See you in a week or two!

Cat

oh, yeah, P.S. - how could I forget? I got a new little kitten too!  Her name is Pippa. Pics and story coming in a future blog post.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Equality Day!

I don't know which is more cool...

That our Supreme Court today affirmed the right of all our citizens to marry whomever they want, whether a member of the same or the opposite sex, in all fifty states, beginning immediately!

Or

That this is the White House in Washington DC tonight:

http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/lt/lt_cache/thumbnail/610/img/photos/2015/06/26/86/57/WhiteHouse.jpg

YAY!!!!!!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Gourd Stitch - Discovered!

I always knew that gourd stitch and peyote stitch are two very different stitches, I just didn't know what the difference was. But every time I googled gourd stitch, all that I came up with were peyote stitch tutorials.

But not this time! I finally found a tutorial that shows the difference, at a website called Native American Beadwork. They describe peyote as being a "unit of two" stitch and gourd as being a "unit of three" stitch. You can see the difference in these two pictures from the website.

Gourd stitch on the left, Peyote stitch on the right
Gourd stitch gives a much sharper diagonal line than peyote stitch does. This allows for a wider range of designs in your stitched creations.

The Native American Beadwork website also offers some blank graph paper so that you can design your own patterns. There are two types - one with spirals descending to the right and one with spirals descending to the left. To get you started, here is a page at another website, Pow-Wows, that offers graphed patterns for some traditional designs. 

I haven't used the stitch yet, but I have the tutorial on my "to-do" list, because I really want to give it a try.

Cat

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Trying Something Different

Bead-weaving is definitely my first love, but as a money-making venture, it is very labor intensive. I am using very tiny beads and weaving them into a design one bead at a time. I enjoy doing it, and it's relaxing for me. I just put so many hours into making a beautiful piece of jewelry and I know I can't charge enough for that piece to pay myself more than a few cents per hour for my labor. That's quite alright, I'm not selling them to become a gazillionaire, I'd just like some money to replenish my bead stash.

However...I was thinking that if I could make a few things to sell that weren't so labor intensive, maybe I could buy even more beads!

I bought some glass cabochon and bezel sets from Annie Howes on Etsy. They came with instructions telling how to make the pendants, and when I received the kits I was very pleased with the quality. Here is a picture of the glass cabochons, the bezels, and some photo paper that I painted with nail polish and then punched out into one-inch circles.
Couldn't resist resting the glass on top of some of them





At first I tried painting the nail polish directly on the back of the glass, but then if I didn't like the way it looked, it was a pain to take it off the glass. I finally settled for painting it on some photo paper that I had because then if I didn't like it I could just throw it away. Easy peasy.

Then I used the glue supplied by Annie Howes to glue the round paper circles to the back of the glass Cabochons. Here they are, resting while the glue dries.
The one in the back is just a piece of paper, no polish
Now, all I have to do is glue them into the metal bezels and hang each one on a chain, all conveniently supplied by Annie. This was a really fun project and it didn't take me much time. The longest part was waiting for the glue to dry.

And here are two of them sitting in their bezels.
So pretty!
I think they're really cute and I hope other people think the same. I'm going to have to make more variety, though. Not everyone likes glitter and sparkles as much as I do. I've been experimenting with cutting circles from all the junk mail I get at my house. You'd be amazed at how pretty junk mail can look when it's reduced to a one-inch circle!

So now you know how they're made. If you feel crafty, you can hop on over to Annie Howes, get your own kit, and make necklaces for all of your friends and family. Or if you don't feel like starting yet another craft (and don't I know that feeling!), I'll be putting them up for sale in my Etsy store as soon as I settle on a fair price to charge.

I am also trying another necklace idea that is different from my usual. If that one doesn't flop, or maybe even if it does, I'll blog about that one soon. Have you tried making something totally different from your "usual"? Was it fun for you? Let me know in the comments.

Cat




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where Do They Find The Time?

I don't even have an outside-the-home job, and it seems I'm always playing catch-up. I do babysit for one of my grandsons, so I don't get a whole lot of work done when he's here. I also have an elderly stepdad that I take out to do his errands once or twice a week because he can't drive. Between those things and all the normal household stuff, I can barely find time to get as much beading done as I want to.

So how do other people do all of that, spend (seemingly) more time on their crafts and listing items for sale than I do, and still have time for Facebook and/or forums? You know the people I'm talking about. No matter what time it is, they are answering a question or replying to a comment on Facebook. Or they are over in the Etsy forums answering question after question there from new or distraught buyers and sellers, all day long. And some people are in both places!

I only visit Facebook once a week, at most, because once I open it up I may as well just throw the whole day away. By the time I skim through my news feed and all of my groups, hours have passed.

I try to visit the Etsy forums once a day, just so that I feel like I'm up to date on anything that's happening over there, because Etsy sure doesn't announce everything they're doing. I think that might be the place where I am most puzzled. Take a look, and you'll see that the same people are there posting all day, and sometimes all night, long. When do they find the time to make their crafts, photograph them (another all-day task for me), list their products, and ship their sold items? Not to mention taking care of their family and their house.

I just don't get it. I must either work very slowly or have terrible time management skills. I cannot spend as much time online as everyone else seems to and still hope to have any time for beading. But then I don't have a smart-phone, either, I have to do everything on my computer. Maybe these people who appear to be online 24 hours a day are the ones who I see out and about multi-tasking on their smart-phones while shopping, eating, driving, etc. Maybe that's how they do it!

How do you find time to spend online?

Cat

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Time for the "GROW YOUR BLOG" Party!!!

This is my first year joining the "Grow Your Blog" party hosted by 2 Bags Full, and I can't wait to discover some new favorite blogs!
The Invitation!
If you are here for the party and this is your first time visiting, I'll tell you a little bit about my blog.  I think I've been with Blogger since 2005 (!)  There have been quite a few different iterations of this blog.  It was kind of a diary at first, then it was about my job, then it was a travel blog, and finally I settled on the Meowtalk name that it has now (and which I like a lot).  I figured I could talk about anything under that name...and I have.

I work out of my home studio making beaded jewelry, so I post pictures of the pieces I finish and sometimes in-progress pics or different variations/experiments with a piece.  I also post little stories about my daily life, my 4 grand-kids, my cats, or anything else I think might make a good blog post. I do not post about politics - that subject has a way of becoming immediately divisive in any group.

I don't always post consistently, but I keep promising myself that I'm going to get better about that. We'll see as 2015 evolves.  I am really hoping to post at least once a week.

I'll keep it short because I know you have a lot of blogs to visit.  And so do I!

Cat




Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

Do you ever have days when you can stare at two or three different beads for hours, and still be wavering on which one is the right color choice to use in your project?

I started making a bracelet from Nancy Dale's pattern "Carol's Bracelet". It's a beautiful bracelet, and it looks very vintage in the bronze and pink colorway that I chose to use. Just one thing bothered me. As I reached the end of the bracelet, I realized that the 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones were able to spin on the thread that was holding them inside the diamond shapes. Even though I'm using 8lb. Fireline and had gone through each crystal at least four times (more than the pattern called for), I was afraid that the bicones would wear away at the thread. This would cause the bracelet to eventually break at those points, especially if it was worn often. I also worried that whoever wore the bracelet might have a tendency to fiddle with and spin the bicones, causing more movement than would occur naturally. I know I can't stop playing with any moving parts in my jewelry.

I decided to take the bracelet apart and start over, adding size 15 seed beads at the ends of each bicone to reduce the wear on the thread. And that is where I got stuck.

I pulled out some gold 15's and two different colors of pink. I decided quickly that I don't like how the gold beads look against the crystals, so now I only have to decide between two colors. One of the pinks is almost exactly the same color as the crystal bicones. The other is just a little bit lighter, but has an AB (Aurora Borealis) coating just like the crystals do.

I took some pictures, thinking it would be easier to decide which I like better if I looked at some close-ups. No such luck. One minute I lean toward the dark pink, the next minute I lean toward the lighter one. Here are some of the pictures I took. Which color would you choose?

size 15 beads are labeled
top row, lt. pink at left, then dk. pink


lt. pink at bottom, gold at top
 




gold at left, lt pink on far right



Maybe it really doesn't matter which color I use and I'm agonizing over nothing. I just like my beadwork to be perfect - both aesthetically pleasing and woven sturdily. Since I'm taking it apart anyway, I'm also going to smooth the ends of the crystals a bit with my bead reamer tool.

Whenever I finally make up my mind, I'll post a picture of the finished bracelet here on the blog.

Cat

Monday, January 05, 2015

I'm So Behind Technologically, But...

I think this is something that has been around since the beginning of the internet, but I have just discovered it today. Of course. I'm always years behind everyone else when it comes to technology. Remember? I'm the one who still uses a flip cellphone.

Anyway, the big new thing I've discovered is RSS feeds! Namely, the one I found is called Feedly.  I cannot believe how much easier using Feedly makes it to follow my favorite blogs. Where have I been all this time?

The blogs I read are now all in one place. I can see if they've been updated recently, so no wasted trips to web pages from my bookmarks/favorites list. I can organize blogs into categories, based on topic or any other criteria that I choose.  You can choose to display your blog list with post titles only, a summary of the posts, or the full posts. (I chose summaries)  Feedly tells you which posts you've already read and how many new posts are waiting on each blog.
WOW! I'M AMAZED!

You can also pay to upgrade to a pro account with more settings and features, but I'm so fascinated by what I already have that I can't imagine what else I'd need. Maybe some of you who have known about RSS feeds forever would want more "stuff".  I don't know. But, guess what? I also have a tip for you technological pros who stuck around to read all of this! Something you might not know yet.

You can hack Feedly to follow your favorite Pinterest boards and let you know when each board is updated.  Julie Deneen at Fabulous Blogging walks you right through how to set it up, step-by-easy-step. Also, once it's set up you can repin or visit a pinned website right from your Feedly page. Isn't that pretty darned awesome?

There are other websites that will compile your RSS feeds, use Google to find them. Feedly is just the one that I found, and it is very intuitive and easy to use, even for me. Use Feedly or find another site, but using RSS feeds will definitely save you lots of time. And that's something we can all use.

Cat

Since this is my first post of the new year...
Happy 2015! I wish you much health and happiness in the coming year!