Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is For Zippity Doo Da!

I actually started something, a month long something, and finished it! Zippity doo da! The A-to-Z challenge was lots of fun. I'm now looking forward to next year's challenge.

Just because the month is over, though, doesn't mean that I won't continue to discover new blogs. There are still a lot of blogs on the list that I haven't gotten to yet. I intend to use the list as a sort of blog library. I'll pick one or two each week and check them out.

It could take me a good long while to make it through the list. I'm sure I'll find blogs that I'll regularly follow, and some that just aren't for me. But I can't imagine I'll run out of material!

I also hope that all of you who have visited me this month continue to come by. I normally post every one or two weeks, which will feel like a vacation after this month. :)

Thanks to everyone who visited me throughout the challenge, and thanks to everyone I visited who worked just as hard as I did to put up a post every day.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is For Yelp

We've had our cat since she was a kitten, about 10 years now. She's always been very gentle and affectionate. She even lets little kids pick her up non-too-gently or pull her tail.

That's why I let out a loud "Yelp!" last night. I guess I moved in my sleep, and laid my foot on top of her while she was sleeping at the foot of my bed. I must have really startled her, because she jumped up and bit me so hard that it made me scream.  I think I was more startled than hurt, though.

It scared both of us. While I was wondering what happened, she scampered off to another room. She has never done anything like this before.

I guess I can forgive her. I don't think I would like someone's foot coming down on top of me in my sleep either.

Here is a picture of my little sweetheart.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is For X-cited

Yes, I know I spelled it wrong. But I couldn't think of a real X word, plus I am very excited. It's less than a week until I go to visit my grand-daughter for 10 days!

I visit her every year at this time because her school has what they call an Elders Tea. The kids are supposed to invite someone special to them for an afternoon of musical entertainment and then tea and cookies.

We even get a formal invitation.

It's a really fun afternoon. We both get all dressed up for it. Plus I get to spend 10 whole days doing special activities with my grand-daughter.

I am very, very X-cited! I can't wait to go on this trip!


Friday, April 26, 2013

W is For Wirework

Along with my beadwork, I've been teaching myself to do wirework. I can do the basics pretty well right now, make a loop, a wrapped loop, and make a pair of earwires.

One wireworker who I really admire is Nicole Hanna. Just looking at her designs keeps me inspired to continue learning, so that one day my wire designs can be as nice as hers.

Here is a sample of one of her designs. This one is a pendant.

And this is one of her bracelets.

Doesn't she do absolutely beautiful work? You can visit her shop, linked above, if you want to see more of it.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is For Vintage

There is a vintage shop on Etsy that I just love to look through.  It's called Scrappy Puppy Vintage, and the reason I love it is that the owner makes up some really funny stories for the items he sells. Also, he uses his profits for medical research, so here's your chance to help out and get something for yourself at the same time.

He actually makes you believe that you  need these "poison" stickers, because he comes up with so many good uses for them.

He also finds some really unusual things. How cute are these kissing duck salt and pepper shakers?

I think I may be the other person he talks about in the description of this piece who still uses pencils. I like them better than pens because I make a lot of mistakes and I can erase. This is a very cute pencil sharpener, and I may claim it for myself.

Visit the Scrappy Puppy Vintage shop yourself, and often, as you never know what you will find there.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is For UFO

In the craft world, we use UFO to mean Unfinished Object.

UFO's are all those projects sitting around the house that you were soooo excited to start, and then pooped out on halfway through. But someday I will finish them! That's why they haven't been torn apart to salvage the materials.

I looked around, and just within easy reach of me I have five unfinished projects. One was a birthday gift for my daughter. TWO years ago. Maybe I'll finish it up and give it to her this year. Boy, will she be surprised if I do.

Do you have any half-finished projects sitting around your house? Do you think you'll ever finish them?


T is For Tardy

Sorry, I'm late with my T post.

I am very much a procrastinator, and I'm surprised that I've even made it this far into the alphabet. I am enjoying this, though, so even though I was tardy with one day I am going to continue and finish the challenge.


Monday, April 22, 2013

S is For Sad

Yes, I am sad today. My partner works a job which takes him out of town for six months each year. I am taking him to the airport in four hours, and then we will begin our six months apart.

With phones, Facebook, Skype, and all the other technological advances these days, we will still be able to keep in touch, but it isn't the same. There is no warm body to hold during a phone conversation, and a picture just isn't the same as a hug.

So, goodbye for now my best friend. I look forward to many cuddles six long months from now.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is For RebelMouse

One of my online friends showed me a new site called RebelMouse. I haven't really learned how to use it to it's best advantage yet, but I like it so far.

 When you sign up, you link it to one, or all, of your social networking sites. It takes your content from those sites, pulls it all together, and lets you add tags. Once your content is on RebelMouse, you can leave it as it is, edit the headlines and/or the notes, or remove content you don't want. You can also add new content manually. You can have as many separate RebelMouse pages as you want. This is my first RebelMouse page.

I like that since it's so new, the owners are very accessible, and respond quickly to every email I send them. I also like the look of the page. I think it draws viewers in. What I'm not so pleased with is that it's difficult to get a feel for how to navigate around at first, but once you do, it's a lot of fun to play with.
It can be used as a blog, a gallery for your designs, or anything else you can think of. There are upgraded features for a fee, but I don't think I need those for now. Paid services can wait until I figure out how I can use RebelMouse to drive business. For right now, I'm just fooling around with it and seeing what it can do.

Do you like the look of it and the way it's set up? Do you think you would use it?


Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is For Quilts

One of the new commenters on my blog this month, Nita, has a quilting blog, and that got me started thinking about buying quilts for my two new grandbabies coming.

I've always loved quilts. They are beautiful, and so much love and work goes in to them. Even if they are small baby quilts, they can be kept as wall-hangings after the baby has grown out of them.

Large quilts do a great job of keeping you warm on cold nights. They can be handed down as family keepsakes.

Quilts can be made out of quilt blocks, or they can be made of materials that have special meaning to you. Maybe your collection of T-shirts that you never wear any more, or a babies old clothing.

You should check out Nita's blog. It has a lot of information about making quilts that I never knew before.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Pointy Things

I am always losing things from my beading tray. It doesn't bother me too much if I lose a bead here or there, I usually find it later. But sometimes my needles go flying out of my hands and I can't locate them.

Needles are pointy things, and they aren't fun to find with your bare feet when you step on them in the carpet. The worst time, though, was when I dropped one in my bed one day while I was beading in bed.

I knew I had dropped it, and I looked and looked for it, but couldn't find it. Finally I gave up, thinking maybe it fell on the floor and I'd find it later. I actually did find it about four days later, sticking out of my comforter. Luckily it didn't stick into me, I just happened to brush over it with my hand.

The dangerous hobby of beadweaving, haha.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is For OTTBS

OTTBS is the name of an online bead group that I am in. It stands for Operation Tackle That Bead Stash.  The purpose of the group is to help us use up our bead stash.

Each month we have a color challenge. A picture is posted on the blog, and we make beaded items using the colors in the picture. We also have other challenges, book reviews, and bead swaps.

The only thing is that a lot of the time we end up encouraging each other to buy more beads instead of using them up! A member will go buy some pretty colored beads or a new shape of bead, and then everybody else oohs and aahs and runs off to the store to buy some too. We often joke that we should call the group Operation Tackle That Bead Store instead of it's real name.

It's a fun group, though. It's nice to have people to show off our creations to, who will understand all the time and work that goes into a finished project. We have started getting together sometimes using Google Hangout so that we can voice-chat with each other in real time. I have met people from all over the world, so no matter where I travel I will have someone to show me the local bead stores.

Do you belong to a group for your hobby? Is it a real-life group that meets or an online group like mine?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is For Never Again

Have you ever worked on a project and then after finishing, said to yourself "I'm never doing that again!"?

I made the cutest little seahorse from a pattern by Ruth Kiel, and I don't know why but it was just a real pain to put together. The stitch is right-angle weave, which I'm very familiar with and I enjoy working with it. The way it's done is that you make one side of the seahorse, then you work the second side off of the first side.

Seems simple enough, right? But I had the hardest time locating the connecting beads for the second side for some reason.

What made me think about this today is that I wanted a small one to go with the bigger one, so I started to make another using size 15 seed beads. Even though I remembered it being a pain, I made this when I first started beading so I thought it was my inexperience at that time that had put me off this design.

Nope. It really is a pain to make and I ended up tearing it apart. No baby seahorse for me. I just don't know why it's so difficult. Ruth Kiel is a fantastic designer who writes very clear instructions. I've worked many of her patterns with no problem. I've made this little dolphin of hers in several different colors.

Have you ever done a do-it-yourself project that made you want to tear your hair out? 

*Ruth doesn't have her own website, but she sells her patterns through Sova-Enterprises if you want to try one. She has a large variety of animals, dolls, and other geometric shapes. You will love them!


Monday, April 15, 2013

M is For Meme

Is a Blog Award, the kind where you have to answer questions and pass it on, a meme? I think so, and so I am using it for my "M" day post.

I was given a Liebster Award by Rowena, of Designs by Rowena. I have no idea what a Liebster award is (at first I thought it said Lobster Award, hehe) but here are the rules:

a) Nominate 11 other bloggers to receive the award (I'm sure they'll be thrilled)
b) Tell everyone 11 random facts about myself
c) Answer 11 questions that Rowena asked me

11 random facts about me:

1.   I was born in Frankfurt, Germany while my dad was stationed there in the army.
2.   I am a grammar and spelling perfectionist.
3.   I love, love, love chocolate.
4.   I make my bed every morning. (Provided I'm not still in it)
5.   I greatly admire people who do glass-blowing as an art.
6.   My toilet paper goes OVER the roll.
7.   I own over 500 tubes of seed beads. And I still never have the exact color I need at any specific moment.
8.   I am a procrastinator.
9.   I never answer my phone unless the caller is one of my daughters.
10. I like to watch Adult Swim.
11. I don't understand Twitter.

11 Questions I was asked by Rowena:

1. What is your favourite colour?
     I really don't have one. I like playing with all colors.
2. Which famous person would play you in a film about your life?
     After much thought, I cannot come up with an answer to this one.
3. Which celebrity do you like least, and why?
     I guess I would say Meryl Streep.  It's is nothing about her, per se, just that I have never enjoyed any movie that she's ever been in. She seems to make boring movies.
4. If you were an animal...what would you be?
     A cat. They have the life! Eat, sleep, play, repeat. And my cat is definitely the boss of my home.
5. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
     Haha, see above.
6. What is your lucky number?
7. If you were a super hero what powers would you have?
     The power to create peace in the world.
8. Worst present ever received?
     Does cat vomit on the carpet count?
9. What is your favourite board game?
     It's been so long since I've played one, but I did always enjoy Risk.
10. What is your favourite smell?
     Not really my favorite, but I've always liked the smell of hot tar. If we are talking about candles and stuff, I like lavender.
11. Can you play a musical instrument?
     I used to play piano when I was a kid, but I haven't touched one in many years.

My 11 Liebster nominees: (I asked for permission first and I got the OK from eight people)

1.  DigitalisDreaming
2.  SewLoud
3.  Tiki Hut Crafts (a brand new blog)
4.  GloriusFuqurie
5.  Noemi Betancourt
6.  Crooked Smile Creations
7.  CuriouslylyDean 
8.  Tonya Loves Life

My 11 questions for my Liebster nominees:

1.   Does your toilet paper go over or under?
2.   Where is the farthest place you've traveled to?
3.   Have you ever bought anything from Craigslist?
4.   What is your favorite candy?
5.    Do you use the Oxford comma?
6.    What is your favorite day of the week?
7.    What was the last book you read?
8.    What kind of car do you have?
9.    Name two TV shows that you like.
10.  What did you have for dinner last night?
11.  When was the last time you had a pillow fight?


Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is For Let It Go

I got this blog title from my daughter's boyfriend. We're having a yard sale today, and I was lamenting that I hadn't done my blog yet for the letter "L".  He said "Let it go!".

And so we are. As nice as it is to think about all the space we'll have after some of this stuff is gone, it's hard to sell of little bits and pieces of your life. Often for insanely small amounts of money.

Where a customer sees a 25 cent stuffed animal, I see sleepless nights, afternoons at the emergency room, and ice cream cones. Another customer sees a 1 dollar book of sheet music where I see a family singing along while my dad plays the piano.

Now I know why there are companies that do estate sales for people. It's very difficult to bargain for a reasonable price when one of us is using sentimental value as a bargaining chip.

Well, I'd better get back out there.  Lots of stuff left to sell.


Friday, April 12, 2013

K is For Kids

My daughters are in their early 30's. I have one grand-daughter who is 8 years old, and for years I thought she would be my only one.

Now, all of a sudden I'm having a kid explosion!

I finally had a second grand-daughter who is now 10 months old, and both of my daughters are currently pregnant. So in a short time span, I'm going from one grand-kid to four grand-kids.

I'm so happy that I'm going to have all these kidlets to play with and spoil and love, and return to their mothers when they cry. And they will all have each other. I remember how much I loved my cousins growing up, and still do, so I'm glad my grand-kids will have that same experience.

I can't wait for the rest of my kid-splosion!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is For Jump Rings

For those not familiar with jewelry terms, a jump ring is something used as a connecting link. They are most often metal, but can be made from anything. The ends of the ring can be open or closed.

Get a whole bunch of jump rings together, and suddenly you have chaine maille!

I've dabbled just a little in chain maille so far, and I am really loving it. Just by changing up the size of the rings I can take the same design from very masculine to oh, so feminine.

I started making these bracelets with rubber jump rings for a few friends, and now I can't make them fast enough to satisfy the demand. I may have to raise the price of them to give my hands a rest.

I can even mix jump rings with beads. I made this cute little charm and I have it hanging on my purse.

I can make 3D designs with jump rings too. This is another one I have hanging on my purse. A little cube.

It takes a lot of patience to do chain maille, because each ring has to be opened and then closed. I want the closures to be nice and smooth so they don't look funny or scratch the wearer, so that takes time. Since I'm still practicing, sometimes my pliers make scratch marks on the rings, and then I have to start that part of the design over again.

I am enjoying learning chain maille very much, and I can't wait until I know how to do some of the more complicated weaves and experiment with different designs. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is For Invisible

My bead group is having a Stashbuster Challenge. I put together a kit with some of my beads to use for the challenge, including a beautiful druzy stone for the focal piece.

I put it all into a baggie and set it aside for a few days because I had two special orders to work on. Well, I finished those, and today I went to begin working with my kit.

It's gone. Invisible. I can't find it.

I have looked high and low, with my glasses and without, tried all the silly suggestions my bead group has given me. I still cannot figure out where I put it...for safekeeping.

We've all done this, right? What was the last thing you hopelessly lost, and did you ever find it?


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

H is For Hours

How many hours a day do you commit to your craft? Do you set aside a special time each day, or work when you are in the mood?

I mostly just work on my beading when I'm in the mood. If I make myself do it for a set number of hours each day, then I don't enjoy it as much. Although there are days that I've spent with a needle and thread in my hands for as many as 10 to 12 hours. I just have to be in a beading frame of mind to want to do it. One of my more detailed projects can take 40 hours of work or more by the time it's finished.

If you sell your work, how do you feel about custom orders, or commissions? To me, they are a double-edged sword. I just finished one, and while I will enjoy the money that I'll be receiving for it, I prefer the freedom of just making whatever I want to. Accepting a custom order takes some of the enjoyment out of beading for me, for some reason. I think because it makes it feel like a job, and it's supposed to be my getaway.

Well, if it starts feeling too much like a job, I can always turn down commissions. That's why I like having my own business!


Monday, April 08, 2013

G is for Gyöngyei

What is a gyöngyei, you may ask.  It is the Hungarian word for bead. It always helps to know a few words in other languages. I find a lot of beautiful patterns on the internet, and because the internet is global many times they are not in English.

If I'm on a Hungarian site, I look for the words gyöngyei and minta, which means pattern. The Hungarian sites have absolutely beautiful and detailed designs. Here is one from one of my favorite Hungarian beaders, Eva Kovács.

 On a Spanish site, I look for the word cuentas for bead and esquema for pattern.

In German, the word for bead is perle sometimes, and other times each bead in the pattern seems to have it's own name. They seem to have a very descriptive language! I can usually find my way around a pattern, though. I found a pattern for a beaded bead with a really fun name - Fünfeckperle. And here are some German beaded beads. The funfeckperle is the bottom one, with the ridges.

 I think that whichever corner of the world we beaders are in, our beads bring us together and we find a way to communicate with each other.That is one of the coolest things about beading!

Does your work or hobby bring you in contact with people around the world?


Saturday, April 06, 2013

F is For Facebook

Ahhh, Facebook, such a fickle friend you are! One day you are so kind to me, allowing me to post my thoughts and pictures with nary a problem. Then I come back to visit on another day, and you don't show my comments or you won't upload my pictures. Is that a nice way to treat a friend?

And I wish you would warn me ahead of time, when I am about to open the page, just say "Cathi, don't look at me today. It's all nonsense." No, instead you suck me in, when I am supposed to be beading. Before I know it, I have spent hours with you, doing very much of nothing, and no beading has gotten done.

Also, why are you so mean to my business page? I spend a lot of time composing a post that I think might be interesting to my fans, but you only show it to about 10% of them. That isn't nice, especially when I am visiting you every day, giving you revenue with the ads you show on my page. I don't even hide the "sponsored" posts you put on my page. Show me a little love, please?

Anyway, Facebook, I think it's one of those 'can't live with you, can't live without you' relationships. You know what I mean. Every time I try to break it off, you entice me with an email. I have notifications!  Oooh, I wonder what they are. And I wander over again, drawn in, unable to resist seeing the latest pictures of my grand-daughter, what projects my bead buddies are working on, or what my far-away friends are eating for dinner.

So, Facebook, please try to be a less fickle friend and I'll try to visit more often. OK?


Friday, April 05, 2013

E is For Embroidery

One thing I really like about beading is that there are so many different techniques. I don't think anyone could ever "know it all". Nor would I want to...what is the fun if you stop learning?

One technique I have not tried yet, but would love to learn someday is bead embroidery. I see so many beautiful things made with this technique!

Here is a collar, that is going to be a necklace, done by a member of my bead group, Donna Louise Sanders. See how she made the twirly bead in the center? I would never be able to stop playing with it if I were wearing it.

This is another fantastic piece made by another member of my bead group, Dee Wingrove-Smith. It's so colorful! I'd probably wear this as a brooch if it were mine, or maybe hang it on a pretty chain.

Bead embroidery also looks great on cuff bracelets.  Here is one bracelet from a shop on ArtFire, Dancing Wind Designs. Just my colors, too.

I've added bead embroidery to my to-do list, which seems to grow longer every day, but I've promised myself I will learn this technique someday.


Thursday, April 04, 2013

D is For Dragon

I just finished this project. This dragon is a lot of work, but he sure is worth it. The pattern is from Fantasia Beads.

I used size 15 seed beads, size 8 seed beads, size 11 seed beads, Delicas, Miyuki triangles, and Preciosa crystals. It's hard to take a photo that shows the crystals, though.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

C is For Crystals

I love sparkly things! I think that's what draws me to beading. I'm like a magpie, always on the hunt for something shiny.

One of the sparkly elements I love to use for beading is crystals. And what's not to love? They bling up any design almost immediately. Here are a few samples of bicone crystals, ranging from 2mm to 6mm in size.

And here are a few other crystal shapes that I have in my stash right now. 


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

B is for Beads

Continuing the A-to-Z challenge...

Of course you knew that I would choose Beads for my B-word. I am in love with those small, and sometimes not so small, pieces of glass!

I love that I can take tiny pices of glass less than 2mm in size and make almost anything out of them. Of course there's the requisite jewelry, but I have also made boxes, butterflies, bookmarks, keychains, candle-holders, dragons, many species of fish, and much more. I have weaved small beads together so that they made a bigger bead, a "beaded bead".

Once, just to see if I could do it, I even beaded a push-pin!

Don't set anything down in front of an avid beader, for you may return to find it covered with beads!


Monday, April 01, 2013

April Showers

This is the first day of the A-to-Z blogging challenge! Luckily, April begins with A, so I am able to present your April pocket calendar. Free for you to download, print and use.

This month I also have an extra treat for you. Since I charted this peyote design myself, I am also giving you the chart. That way, if you feel like making one of your own, you can.Use it as peyote practice, a cover for a journal, the front of a small bag, a wall hanging, or whatever else you can think of. Mine is going to framed and mounted as part of a set of two. (You will see the second design on next month's calendar)

First, your calendar.
The design is charted for Delica beads, and when beaded as shown the final project will be 2 1/4 inches wide by 2 1/8 inches tall. Except for the background, the other elements in the picture use very little beads, so it's great for using up small amounts of leftover beads. Use any colors you wish.

Tomorrow, I will be blogging a subject beginning with the letter B.