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!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Taking Care of Handcrafted Jewelry

You have purchased a special piece of one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry and you are madly in love with it! How do you keep it looking just as shiny and new as it was on the first day that you received it?

Follow these few simple steps when caring for your handcrafted jewelry from DCIdesigns and it can last you a lifetime.

-Avoid spraying perfume on your jewelry. The chemicals in the perfume react with the metal which will cause it to tarnish. Strong body lotions can have the same effect. To avoid the tarnishing of your piece, put your jewelry on as a final touch after applying body lotion, perfume, or make-up.

- Please do not shower, sleep or swim in your jewelry.

- Avoid using household chemicals while wearing bracelets or rings. 

-After each wearing, wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth before putting it away.  Beadwoven jewelry should not need any more cleaning than this.  What could be easier?  However, if you feel that it does need further cleaning, give it a quick swish in a mild soap and water mixture, rinse, then let it air dry thoroughly. Do not store your jewelry while it is still damp.

-Metal jewelry may be wiped with a Sunshine jewelry cloth to bring back its shine. I send a Sunshine cloth with every purchase, or you can buy one at most bead and jewelry stores. Important note: Do not use this cloth on plated metals as it may remove the finish, and do not use it on the beadwoven parts of your jewelry.

- When storing your jewelry it is best to keep it either in a zip-lock bag or in a drawer/jewelry box. If it has metal parts, store it with an anti-tarnish strip. This will lessen the chance of your piece oxidizing. I also send these with each order. (Replacement strips, if needed, may be purchased at any bead shop or at

-Special cautions for beaded jewelry:
-Always keep beaded jewelry, or any items with small parts, away from pets and children.  Beads and other small components may cause a choking hazard.

-Jewelry should never be worn when working near machines or equipment with moving parts.

**If you should somehow damage or break your jewelry, I will be glad to repair it for a small fee. I can be contacted through my Etsy shop, DCIdesigns.  Unfortunately, I am unable to repair jewelry made by other artisans.  Thank you for your understanding.    


Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Know, I Know...

I know, I know...I promised a post as soon as I came home from Seattle. I have been meaning to write one, but my beading mojo has returned, with a passion.  I've been beading every spare minute of every day, and my online time has suffered. Not that I really mind - I'd much rather be beading than wasting, erm, spending time on the computer anyway.

The only thing is, now that I've made all this jewelry I have to photograph it and list it on Etsy. Have I told you how much I dislike those two tasks? I think if I could take a half decent picture I wouldn't mind doing it so much. But I've been studying my camera manual and reading everything I can get my hands on about how to take pictures, and I still have to have to take about 25 photos before I get one that I'm satisfied with. And I need five pictures for each listing! You'd think with all the practice I'm getting that I'd improve a little, right?

Here are some of the projects I've been working on since I got back.

I had a really great time in Seattle!  The plane flight getting there wasn't so much fun; long delays and a cancellation. Delta gave me a $100 flight credit for my inconvenience though, so that made up for it.

Staying for two weeks instead of one makes such a big difference. Even though any amount of time is never enough, I felt like Ava and I got to spend a lot of time together. And John said that if I want to, I can visit again in October. If I want to??? Of course I want to!

We did lots of fun things. We went to the zoo and to Shipwreck Beads, I watched Ava's gymnastics meet and two of her soccer games, we had "high tea" at her school, we scouted for baby crabs and other marine life at low tide in Puget Sound, did some beading and some chainmaille, and just spent lots of quality time together.

Leaving was sad, as always, but this time I know I'll be returning in six months instead of twelve. I can't wait! I'm already counting down the days. Yes, I know I'm ridiculous, but I love my little nieta sooooo much!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vacation Time!

YAY! I'm going out to Seattle to see my grand-daughter again! I can't wait to spend time with her.

I'll be leaving this Friday, May 2; and returning on Monday May 19. I doubt that I'll be blogging while I'm gone, but you never know, I might have a story or two to tell.

I've been really prolific with my beading lately, so when I get back I'll show you all my new projects and also my new studio!  I suspect having the studio is what has lit the creative bug in me. I love being able to organize all my supplies and find whatever I need easily.

See you when I return!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Have Nails!

I have been a terrible nail-biter all of my life. There have been short periods where I was able to grow a small nail, but I always go back to biting and the ends of my fingers look like stubs then.

I know it's a bad habit. It looks terrible, leaves me no nails to use for scratching (or anything else!), and nails are just dirty and shouldn't be put into your mouth. It is such a hard habit to break, though. Well, last time I visited my grand-daughter she was nibbling her nails, so we made a pact that we would quit together.

She is all the way in Seattle and I'm in Florida. When I'm there, we remind each other if we see biting, but once I go home, we can't really keep tabs on each other. To tell the truth, I didn't worry about it after I came home, and I would suspect that she did the same. Now I'm going out there for a visit on May 2nd, so I knew I had to really get my butt in gear if I want to be able to flaunt nails when I get there!

So, here is my "quickie" plan for growing nails in a hurry...

I bought a gel to moisturize my cuticles so that they would not be ragged, and used it faithfully every day. I also bought Sally Hansen Hard as Wraps nail hardener. It brushes on like clear nail polish, and it really makes a protective covering for your nails so that they don't break easily. (my nails grow in very brittle from biting them)  At the beginning, these were the only products I could use because my nails were too short for anything else.

I removed and re-did the nail hardener every couple of days.  That satisfied my need to play around with my nails, and reinforced in my mind that I should not be biting them. Also, just having nail polish on, even if it's only clear, acts as a deterrent. At least they started growing a little bit right away, so that I was also getting positive reinforcement from being able to see white on the tips of my nails.

After a few weeks, they were finally long enough that I could put colored nail polish on without it looking ridiculous. I was so excited to reward myself with some pretty polishes! I did buy some very nice ones, and this is what I chose for my first manicure: Sally Hansen Extreme Wear, Fuschia Power and Milani, Sugar Rush for the glitter. You can't see the sparkles in this picture, but look --- I have nails!!! Now I just have to keep myself from wanting to change my polish every day, hehe.

The dots look like they're having a party on my nails.
I'll find out in a couple of weeks whether my grand-daughter has resisted the urge to bite. Either way, I'm bringing her some of the nail hardener polish and giving her these tips so that she can conquer this bad habit, just as I have. (I hope permanently this time!)


Friday, March 21, 2014

Need an Easter, or Anytime, Gift?

I love buying handmade! I don't know if I'm just lucky or if I pick good sellers, but everything I have bought on Etsy or Artfire has more than pleased me when it arrived.

And the same goes for my latest purchase - a little crocheted and stuffed chick for my grand-daughter's Easter basket.
Crochet chickies from Science in Stitches on Etsy
Are these guys not just the cutest things you have ever seen? SQUEEEE!

I bought it from a shop on Etsy named Science in Stitches. (I picked a yellow chick) True to their name, they sent a card with some information about chicks and how they are hatched along with my stuffed animal. And the owner was really nice. She responded quickly to all of my questions, and made me feel like I was her most important customer.

Science in Stitches has lots of other crocheted animals, and every one is cuter than the next. Take a look in the shop. You should see the Tree Frog! And the Sloth, and the Snail, and the pink Triceratops...heck, just look at all of them. I'm sure you'll find one to fall in love with.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Making Graphics - Made Easy!

I was just about to pay someone to make me an Etsy banner, because I couldn't figure out how to do it in Photoshop, even though I bought a book with instructions. I'll still use the book to teach me how to edit my photos, but I found a much better way to make a banner!

I can't remember how I found this website,, but it makes it easy-peasy to make banners, advertisements, business cards, etc.  One thing that I really like is that everything is done online, there is nothing to download! Except your finished graphic, of course. In the graphics that you make, you can use your own pictures that you upload from your computer, or you can use pictures from Canva's library. They have some pictures that are free to use, and some that cost one dollar.

I've really been having a lot of fun playing on their website over the past few days. They have lots of layouts for you to get started with. You can choose a preset size for your graphic, or you can use your own custom dimensions. Just as a practice, I made this little "postcard" to show off my new bead room:

For this graphic, I used a preset layout from Canva and added my own photos and captions to it.All of the tools are very intuitive, I figured them out in no time. And moving pictures around is as easy as drag and drop.

Oh, yeah, by the my new bead room? I'll do more bragging about that another day. (no, those are not monsters on my wall. That is our family as drawn by my grand-daughter when she was 4 years old.)

You should check out Canva and see what it can do for you. Also, read their blog to find out the many different things that you can do with their interface and for tutorials on how to use the site.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Shout-Out

I know it's been forever since I updated, though I've been thinking about it a lot. I have no excuses, but I thought a good place to get started again was with a well deserved shout-out to a blog called Malware Tips.

I have no idea how, because I never click on anything the least bit suspicious, but my computer had become infected with something. Every few minutes it was opening a new tab in my browser, and the site on the new tab would offer some sort of "computer cleaning service".  Well, I obviously needed my computer cleaned up, but NOT by whatever entity was popping open these web pages!

I ran my anti-virus program and two well-known spyware/malware removers, but to no avail. I was getting very frustrated by the time I googled for help. Most of the pages that came up just told me to do all of the things I'd already done. ARGH! Then I found Stelian Pilici and his blog, Malware Tips. It had a whole page about exactly the problem I was having, which included a six-step action plan -- with screenshots for each step so that non-techies like me could understand it!

In less than 30 minutes, my problem was gone. The issue was fixed! So I shared Stelian's magic on my Google+, and also here on my blog. I will be a devoted follower of his blog and his G+ page going forward.

Thank you Stelian for your wonderful instructions!  Without them, I'd probably still be pulling my hair out.