Monday, January 30, 2012



little box progress 5I finally finished my little box!  I’m quite happy with it too.  It’s from Julia Pretl’s book, Little Bead Boxes. This link is to a newer edition than mine.  The book I used had 4 boxes in it, this one has 12. It looks like she also added more shape variations and more pattern designs. There are also additional patterns on her website.

It took a long time.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d say there’s at least 20 hours of work in it.  And I’m not a slow beader.

I used doubled Nymo, so the sides are quite stiff and don’t need any extra reinforcement.  But I normally bead with very tight tension.  If you tend to bead with looser tension, use something like Fireline. And I’d still double it.

The diamonds pattern wasn’t hard to follow, but for the lid I got to a point where the pattern wasn’t working as written, so I just had to wing it.  I’d done enough of it by then to know how to make it work though. 

It was also difficult getting the handle bead on the lid.  My needle broke in half, and I just kept using it that way because it was actually easier with a shorter needle, but I was terrified of breaking another bead while weaving in.  I might even wire on the top handle bead next time. There is a small open circle at the point where you begin the lid, so wiring the handle on wouldn’t be difficult. (haha, now that I’ve discovered wire, I want to add it to everything! Maybe I can wire the feet on too.)

As I said before, add the feet before you start the sides.  It would just make it easier to weave them in without hitting the sides or trying to get your fingers inside the box.

I broke about 8 beads during the process. Every bead that broke was a matte bead. They seem to be thinner. I’d skip using matte beads and stick with the opaques. Julia even tries to tell you this, but of course I didn’t listen.

I only charged $60 for it.  If I’d known how long it was going to take, I’d have charged more. Ah, well, live and learn.

Also, buy extra beads of the main color, in my case black.  Since the entire bottom is black, I went through one and a half 10 gram tubes of black delicas.  The pattern only called for 7 grams.

I only spilled my beads once during the entire time I was working on it.  Thumbs up

Could a beginner make this project?  Maybe a very determined one, but I’d say no.  You need a good understanding of peyote and structural beading.

Would I make another one?  I sure will! Julia provides blank graphs, so I look forward to making my own designs.  I also want to try some of the shapes in the newer book.

I can’t think of anything I left out.  Leave a comment if you have a question, and I’ll answer it.  The answer will also be in the comments, so you’ll have to check back for it.

Now on to my next project.  I’m making a wired amethyst pendant for a friend’s birthday.  It’s coming along smoothly, but I hit a brick wall with three wires left to play with. I’m tired of spiral embellishments, need to try something else.  I don’t want to just cut them off, because there is a small flaw in the stone that I want to cover up. So I set it aside for the night, maybe I’ll get a grand idea in one of my dreams.

Cat  Cat face

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Almost There!


I am almost done with my little box.  I only have to add some finishing touches little box progress 4bto the lid and the rim of the box, then add a handle to the lid and I’m done!  The lid even fits properly on the inside rim that I made for it. The entire box is very firm and sturdy.

I already have the beads that I’m using for the handle, so tomorrow is the day.  I’ll finish it up and then have a photo of the completed project to show you.  I’ll also share my feelings about the whole process, and whether or not I’ll ever make one again.

I can’t wait!  I’d finish it now but I’m too tired at the moment.

Cat  Cat face

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It Has Feet


little box progress 3Slowly but surely, my little box is getting done.  It has feet!  And that was no small task, let me tell you.  If I ever make another one, I am putting the feet on before I even begin the sides.  It would be so much easier that way.

I’ve also begun working on the lid.  You can see the little piece of it there in front of the box.  I can’t wait to finish it!  I just hope I do the lid and the rest of the base correctly so that it all fits together.  Crystal Earrings 8


I also made a pair of earrings.  I love these earrings!  They are so flashy, and I just adore bling.  They are made totally of Swarovski crystals, so I had a hard time trying to get a clear picture of them.  But I got one, so here they are.

I think I’m going to make another pair using green crystals.  They’ll be great for St. Patrick’s Day.


Cat  Cat face

Monday, January 23, 2012

Random Questions!


I feel like blogging, but I have no idea what to blog about today.  So I went to the Googles, typed in ‘random questions’, and actually found a blog by that name!  It is, if you haven’t guessed already, filled with questions just waiting for answers.  So I thought I would answer a few and see what happens.  I picked her question list from March 28, 2007.  So here goes:

Have you ever met an internet friend in real life?  Yes, but I’m not allowed to say who it was, by their request. Suffice to say it was a very pleasant meeting.

Have you ever been in the newspaper: your photo or something you’ve written?  Yes, I was in a Cotillion (kind of like a coming-out party/dance) when I was a teenager.  The whole group of us had our photo in the paper.

Would you rather dress up or dress casually when going out with friends or your husband?  Casually, always.

What are three things you’ve got planned for today?  Work on my little beaded box, teach my daughter some basics of wirework, take a nap

Have you ever won a trophy? What for?  No

What kind of music do you dislike most?  Has to be a tie between rap and hip-hop

Are you registered to vote?  No, I’m not able to register, due to our laws.  I wish I could vote.  Everybody who can should take full advantage of the privilege.

What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, get up and do something else, or toss and turn?   I usually read on the internet until I fall asleep, or if I really can’t sleep I get up and bead.

What is your favorite pizza?  Hawaiian

What kind of water do you drink? (tap, flavored, bottled, etc.)  Tap

What shoes do you regularly wear?  sneakers

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?  make jewelry

When was the last time you were sick?  with a cold? I can’t remember, it’s been very long.  With a chronic illness? always (i.e. chronic).

Does your DH / SO workout? Regularly? Not so regularly? What does he do for exercise?  Yes, he works out three times a week

If you had a choice of birthday cakes, what kind would you want someone to make for you?  Fudge lava cake.  I love chocolate.

When hanging around the house, do you wear shoes, go barefoot, wear socks, or wear slippers? socks, fuzzy ones with rubber treads 

What one thing would you really like to own? Why?  My house.  I would like it to be paid off so that I wouldn’t have a mortgage payment every month.  The good news: It’ll be paid off when I’m 60 years old.  The bad news: That’s not all that far away.  Only seven years to go!

Okay, the list got too long so I skipped a few questions.  I should have picked a shorter list.  And now you know a whole lot of useless stuff about me.  Except what to buy me for my birthday.  Fuzzy socks or chocolate.  Party smile

Cat Cat face

Late Night Bacon Recipe : Rachael Ray : Food Network


I was reading Regretsy (yes, I do Smile with tongue out it’s entertaining), and one of her readers linked to this recipe for what is named Late Night Bacon Sleeping half-moon by Rachael Ray.

Now, anyone can make microwaved bacon, but the best part about this recipe is the 152 comments following it.  Comedy gold, Jerry, I tell ya’, comedy gold!

You have to go read those bacon recipe reviews.  Right now!  Some of them had me howling with laughter. It even has it’s own Facebook page with over 1800 fans. Secret telling smile 



Also the day I realized xkcd really does have a comic for everything.

Cat Cat face

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little Box Progress Update


This box is coming along much slower than I thought it would.  Part of that is my fault for using matte beads.  They are much thinner than opaque beads and have a tendency to break at stress points, namely the corners in this piece.  I can’t say I wasn’t warned.  Julia Pretl did say in the introduction that some of the beads would break, and I should be prepared to replace them.  Also, part of the slowness is that I am using Nymo, and must use shorter lengths, therefore tying off more often, due to Nymo’s tendency to fray.

So far, I’ve had about 5 beads break, all in the corners.  I suppose that’s because I keep folding the corners tightly so that it doesn’t turn into a round box.  I have a feeling that when I get to the decrease rounds that problem is going to take care of itself, so I have resolved to stop squeezing it, because it is really a pain to replace broken beads!

little box progress 2aHere is where I have gotten to so far, and it is really satisfying to see the pattern coming together and begin to look like something.  You can see the gold bead on the bottom of the middle corner that I had to replace.  It sticks out a little more than the rest.  Not that anyone else but me would notice it, mind you.  Especially the person I am giving it to, as she is not a beader.  Just four more rows, and then I can begin the decrease which will create the lip that the box top will fit over.  I am really getting excited to finish it.

Not the least of reasons that I want to finish is that I want to start playing around with my “not-Tila” beads and see what kind of designs I can come up with for them.  Working from a pattern is relaxing, but there is nothing like spreading some beads on your table and letting them take you wherever your mind can wander!

All-in-all though, I am pleased so far with how it is coming out.  Julia offers blank graphs at the end of the book and on her website, so I’m sure I will be tempted to design and make another little box.  Just not immediately after this one.  I need some pure play time in between boxes. Rolling on the floor laughing  One can only follow a pattern for so long.

Next box update after I start the decreases.

Cat Cat face

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Czech Two-Hole Beads


My local bead store finally ordered some of the new (non-Tila) two-hole Czech tile beads that I've been asking for!  They have about ten colors in right now, I only bought three, but I think I may go back and buy the rest.  They don't seem to be much cheaper than the Tilas, a 50-bead strand was $6.99, but they sure do look a lot sturdier!  You may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere, my bead store tends to be higher-priced than most, but it’s close to my house and great for instant gratification.

My biggest complaint about the Tila beads is how easily they chip.  These beads have thicker walls around the holes, and do not look as if they will chip like that.  I also like the rounded corners on them.

I haven't tried using them in a project yet as I have to finish my little box before I can start something else, but I can't wait to use them!  Here are a few pictures.

2-hole tile beads2-hole tile beads_2

Here is how they compare in thickness to a Tila bead.

next to Tilas

I must finish my little box as soon as possible so that I can start playing with these beads!

Cat Cat face

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Little Box Beginning


As promised, here is the beginning of the little box I’m making.  I really need to put more hours into it if I want to get it finished on time.  Yes, I have a deadline.  It’s just that once I get on the darn computer I go from here to there to somewhere else, and before I know it hours have passed.  Need to stay off computer!  Maybe the SOPA protest/blackout tomorrow will help.  Many websites will be blacked out for the day.

Anyway, I digress.  Here is what I have so far.  As you can see, I’ve completely changed my colorway.  No surprise, for me.  I can’t get the bead colors to come out right in the picture because I’m too lazy to walk downstairs to my photo cube, so I included pictures of the beads from Red Panda Beads that show the colors more accurately.  I like these colors.  They have a little of an antique feel, without being over the top.  They are all Delicas.  Black DB10, Matte Op. Golden Olive Luster DB371, and Matte Dk. Capri Blue DB798.  The blue is dyed, and I don’t really like to use dyed beads, but since it isn’t jewelry I think it will be okay.  Plus I fell in love with the color.

little box progress 1DB798DB371DB10


I’m using Nymo thread off the large spool, doubled.  I don’t like the way Nymo frays so quickly, but this box is thread intensive and Fireline is too expensive.  It’s working out well, as long as I use short lengths of thread.  Lots of threading in ends though, ugh.

I still want to get a lampwork bead for the top “handle” if I can find one at the store that matches the box.  If not, I’m going to use a black pearl, which is what I’m using for the feet.  If I have time, I’m going to also make a pair of earrings and put them inside the box when I gift it.

I’ll do another update when I’ve made some progress.

Cat Cat face

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Little Bead Boxes


bead boxes book

I’m going to attempt making one of the boxes from Julia Pretl’s little boxes book.  The 5-sided one, on the upper right on the book cover.  I’ve had this book forever, and haven’t used it yet, so now is the time.

I’m not worried about being able to make the basic box structure, that looks pretty straightforward.  I’m just wondering if I’m going to get confused at the top.  It looks like I have an older edition of the book.  I can see some errors in it, and the errata sheet on Julia’s website is for the new edition only. The instructions in this book leave a little to be desired, she must have written this edition before she really got a handle on writing tutorials.  Although sometimes when you’re just reading the pattern it looks confusing, but once you have needle and thread in hand it all comes together.  I hope that’s the case here.

I already overcame what is always my biggest hurdle - choosing colors.  I have the hardest time with that.  You’d think with all the beads I have that I could find three colors that I’d be happy with, but I had every bead tube from my stash out on the bed matching colors.  I finally came up with these:beads for box

But now I’m thinking there isn’t enough contrast between the two blues that I picked.  Ah, well, I have to make a trip to the bead store because I need to buy another tube of each of these anyway in order to have enough beads, so I’ll check out the other colors while I’m there.  I also want to buy a pretty lampwork bead for the top of the box.

Well, wish me luck.  I’ll post regular updates on my progress, unless it mysteriously turns into a UFO.  Alien

Cat Cat face

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Secret Discount Code


If anybody likes folded fabric origami flowers or knitted bunnies, I know of a discount code for Folded Frippery’s Etsy shop.  Even though it’s a “secret” code, I have her permission to pass the code and the savings along to you.  Just use the code MOVINGSALE at checkout for 50% off.  She didn’t say when it expires, so I’d move quick if you want something!  Her prices are pretty good to begin with, so you’ll be able to pick up some real bargains on her cute handmade goodies.

Small Green Mushroom Fabric Origami HairslidesSky Blue Knitted Bunny Rabbit Toy

Cat Cat face

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My First Wire-wrap Cabochon


Remember when I won the free class at my local bead store?  After delaying it due to all the madness of the holidays, I finally took the class today.  It was great!

I finally had someone to show me how to hold the pliers properly, and how to coax the wire to do what you want it to do.  I wire-wrapped an oval cabochon, unfortunately I’ve already forgotten the name of the stone.  Ugh!  I’ll check what it was next time I go in there.

We used Beadsmith craft wire, Antique Bronze, 21 gauge, square and half-round.  This was my first time using anything but round wire, so it was a good learning experience for that.  One thing I learned is that it isn’t easy to find the half-round side on half-round wire!  Maybe it’s easier with larger gauges than 21.

Even though I learned a lot, I don’t feel like my cabochon turned out so great.  The class teacher said it was very good for my first time, but I’m a perfectionist, and I can see every mistake I made.  Still, I learned a lot of technique to build on.  I want to keep practicing so that I can have perfect wire-wraps in the future. 

My daughter took the class also to see if it was something she would like, and boy did she like it!  She wants to run out and buy all kinds of wire and tools immediately, if not sooner, lol.  I told her just to wait until she knows what she really needs and wants so that she doesn’t end up with a lot of unused stash sitting in her house.  She can come over and share my tools and wire, so now I have a beading buddy too! (well, a wire buddy)

Here is a picture of my not-so-great wire-wrap.  There is a bail on the back, but you can’t see it in the picture.  I didn’t like the spirals the way I had them, so I moved the ones on the right more to the left.  Did I make it worse or better?  Remember, it’s my first time…so be gentle…

wire-wrapped cabachonwire wrap 2

Take care,

Cat Cat face

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Sickness and In Health


I found this picture on a Facebook page called Politics Nerd.  It makes me feel so sad. I don’t usually like to write anything about politics because it makes people act so divisive. (just click on the picture below and read some of the 1000+ comments on FB to see what I mean)  But it sums up why we need to find some way for Americans to have affordable health insurance that is not tied to what type of job they have or which company they work for.  And this hits close to home for me, though I don’t have cancer like this person, because I’m paying off some pretty large medical bills myself right now.  I have been unable to buy insurance due to the exorbitant cost and to pre-existing conditions, nor do I work for a large corporation where I would receive insurance as a benefit.  And I have also been told by a hospital that I could be stabilized and sent home, but not treated unless I paid up front.  So I understand completely what he is saying.

Cat Cat face

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Earring Challenge 2012 - Week One


Over at the Beading Daily message board we’re having a challenge to make a pair of earrings per day for the month of January.  Well, one week in and I’m woefully behind.  I only got four pairs made.

In my defense, I will say that I’ve been working on making a birthday present for my daughter, so that’s been taking up some time (and has had some problems of it’s own).  But that’s not really much of an excuse.  I probably could have squeezed in the time to make three more pairs of earrings somewhere!

Anyway, here are the earrings I’ve made so far.

earrings_week one

If you are participating in the challenge, have you been able to make all the earrings you planned to?

Cat Cat face

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

What A Deal!

gas receipt


Our grocery store has a FuelPerks program, where for every $50 of groceries you buy, you get 5 cents off a gallon of gas.  Plus, they often have specials on certain items when if you buy that item, you can get an extra 5 to 50 cents off per gallon.

So, after a couple of months of shopping, we managed to earn so many FuelPerks that we bought gas the other day for 79 cents per gallon!  We filled up both mine and my daughter’s car for under $16! 

What a great way to start the new year.  Hope you are getting  off to a good start as well.

Cat Cat face