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!


That this is the White House in Washington DC tonight:


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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.

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.


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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Make A Sofia Amulet-Last Minute Gifts For Kids

My daughter told me that grand-daughter is obsessed with the whole Frozen franchise. Her newest favorite movie is Sofia The First, and she wanted an amulet just like Sofia's.

The first thing I had to do was look up a picture of the amulet online, having no idea what it was supposed to look like. I found one, and it didn't look too difficult.

Here is how the final result came out, and then I'll tell you how I made it.

Please excuse the window reflection.

This really was so simple to make! I don't have pictures of the process, because I didn't think of writing an amulet tutorial until after I had made it. I think you'll find the instructions easy enough to follow.

Clear glass cabochon with flat back
Glitter nail polish (with large glitters)
Purple nail polish
Wire for wrapping
Necklace to hang it on

1. Paint the flat back of the glass cabochon with the glitter polish until you are satisfied with the amount of glitter on the cabochon.  Let it dry thoroughly.  For my cab, I used one of a bag of glass gems for planters that I got at the dollar store. They are usually sold in a net bag, like this:

2. Paint over the glitter with the purple nail polish. This adds a background to the glitter. Again, let dry thoroughly.

3. Use your wire and do a simple cabochon wrap. (here is a free tutorial)  Don't forget to make a bail.  I did forget, and then I had to add one to the pendant. It looks okay, but I would rather have done it right to begin with.

That's it, you're done!  Just hang it on a necklace. I used a ribbon necklace, but made it longer with some chain and added a magnetic clasp, so she could put it on and take it off by herself.

If you make one, you can add a link to a picture of it in your comment.

And here is a picture of my pretty little princess wearing her amulet.

Love that pose, haha

Isn't she just the cutest little thing? 


P.S. - Remember, this is a Disney copyrighted item. It is fine to make one for yourself or to give as a gift. Please do not make them for sale, or you may find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit with "the happiest place on earth". And I know you don't want that!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Six Weeks Till What???

Can you believe that it's only six weeks until Christmas?  ACK!! It sneaked up on me again. I think it always seems to arrive so quickly because of living in Florida.

If you live someplace where it gets cold, then in September-October when the air turns crisp, you probably start thinking wintery thoughts and expecting the holiday season. But here in Florida, one day it's summer and you're hanging out at the pool or beach, and the next darn's Christmas! There's no warning, no leading up to it, all of a sudden it's just December.

I really think that's why I'm not prepared for it every year.

But this year, Danielle, who writes the blog My Crazy Family Circus, is making sure that we are all prepared for the holidays. She has put together a list of the most disgusting toys that you can buy as presents this year. Guess how many of them involve poo or pee?

I really can't believe that people actually buy these things! If your kid wants a pooping pet so badly, send him or her to my house. I'll let them pet my cat and clean up her litter box!

Yep...It's poop-scooping Barbie!


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Are We a Nation of Idiots?

We must really be a nation of idiots.

I'm sure that in many ways we are, but I'm talking about the silly warnings that manufacturers have to put on their products. Warnings to prevent us from doing stupid things like ironing our clothes while wearing them, putting children or pets in clothes dryers, or blow-drying our hair in the shower. I'm sure you've seen either the labels or one of the articles with lists of them that are published every so often.

This just takes all the fun out of owning a sling-shot!

My own silly warning story? I had a duplicate key made the other day, and when they handed me the new key there was a paper attached to it. It said:
WARNING: Keys contain lead. May be harmful if eaten.
I have to wonder what in the world must have happened to make someone think that warning was necessary. As I said, a nation of...     Well, anyway---

For your amusement, I found a website where you can make your own silly warning labels. It is not necessary to sign up or give out any personal information. Just go there and play. Click on the picture below, and you will be instantly transported there. Like magic!
Try it. It is easy, and it's fun too!

See? Easy-peasy! I made one!