Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Playing with Wire

As promised, here is the finished "wonky spiral" project. When I started wrapping the spirals, I expected to make a bracelet, but that's just not how it worked out. I'm pleased with the necklace and now have a new piece to wear for Thanksgiving - yet another reason to be thankful this year.

Thanksgiving is a day full of homemade deliciousness, so how can I not love it?! More than the food though, I enjoy spending the day cooking with my mom, brother, and grandma and seeing my family. It will be a small crowd this year, as most of the family went to Arizona. I'll miss seeing my aunts, uncles, and cousins, but will enjoy securing my spot as the favorite grandchild. Take that cousins - ha!

Have a lovely Thanksgiving! xoxo

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Support your Local Bead Store

Do you have a local bead store, a.k.a. LBS? I've only been to my LBS, Bead Cache, a couple of times in the last few months. I haven't been buying elsewhere, I just haven't needed any supplies. Still, I feel guilty. I've been shopping at Bead Cache for about twelve years now and they've always been there when I needed them with exactly what I need to finish a project. Plus, it is always a treat to talk with Keriann and Heidi!

Luckily, it is time to start making presents. Surely I'll need a clasp or some jump rings or just the right color of seed bead to finish a project or two. When I do, I'll head over to Bead Cache for some instant gratification. In addition to the things on my list, I'll no doubt find a few new beads that I don't need, but won't be able to resist.

If you have a LBS, please be sure to support them this holiday season. Happy bead shopping!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, Edward Cullen...

I won't deny it. I stood in line with all the fifteen-year-old girls Friday night in order to get a good seat for Twilight. Seven of us met up to see the movie and since I live close to the theater I got there first to score our spot in line. I felt really old standing with all the teens and tweens, but they liked my newly re-inked hair!

The movie was fun. It made me want to read the book again. Robert Pattinson is dreamy as Edward, greasy hair and all, and I look forward to seeing more of Taylor Lautner as Jacob in future movies! One of the most entertaining parts of the movie was listening to the audience. They all screamed when characters appeared on screen for the first time. It was silly.

Seeing the movie was a great start to the weekend. And, for the first time in several weeks, I was able to have a real weekend. I went to a book signing, picked up Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark (as recommended by Cynthia Thornton), saw lots of friends, baked, cleaned, and lounged on the couch watching a movie that I've had from Netflix for about three months now. I made a small dent in the ongoing organization of my studio by sorting all of my crystals. And I even worked a little, but the rest of the weekend was so relaxing, that I didn't mind at all!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Communique

I was doing so well. I went to the Sonoma Bead Festival and didn't buy a thing. I went to the New York Bead Festival and only bought a pair of pliers. But it's been a few months now and I find that I get a bit depressed when I don't buy beads on a semi-regular basis. So ... I bought some beads.

I blame Sonoma. I got home from my trip to that charming locale and read an email from Sarah Moran of When Sarah sends an email, it means she has new beads available for purchase. Usually they're sold out by the time I get around to looking at her website. Luck was on my side that night though, as this set, conveniently named Napa Valley Merlot, was still available:

Aren't they gorgeous?! They arrived yesterday. It was an excellent mail day! I haven't decided what to do with them just yet. I'll work on that this weekend and I'll drink some Merlot as inspiration.

I'll also drink to toast Bead Boy's new title as President of the Rocky Mountain Bead Society. I went with him to Denver last night for the "coronation." The members of the RMBS are great fun and they put on an amazing bead bazaar every spring. They all seemed pretty excited about their new president and I know Dustin is happy about it too. Congratulations Mr. President!!

Check out what some of my crew were up to this week:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) is walking in the Breast Cancer 3day this weekend.
There is still time to donate!

Kristen Fagan and the family went to the fountain hills festival of arts & crafts last weekend.

Good luck Sara - hope the new shoes are good to your feet!

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Playing with Wire

Today I played with the Spiral Maker, a fun companion tool for the WigJig. The Spiral Maker is supposed to make flat spirals (as seen here), not these layered spirals that I made. I followed the instructions and tried many times, but I just can't seem to make a nice, flat spiral. Oh well, I like the messy look. It feels more organic to me. I also accidentally made a long coiled tube. I like the look of the tube and might try to make some more...

After I mastered how to make the "wrong" thing on the Spiral Maker, I took it to the next level. For the silver and amethyst spirals, I used the Twist N Curl to make a tiny coil of 28-gauge wire. I made two lengths of coil, cut the first length in half, and cut the second length into ten 1/2" pieces. I strung the 1/2" pieces, separated with 4mm round crystals, onto dark blue 22-gauge Artistic Wire before using the spiral maker. I used the longer pieces of coil to make two smaller spirals. And I did something similar with the green and dark blue wires.

Now, what to do with all of these funky spirals? I've got a few ideas. Check back next Wednesday and I'll show you what I make!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lunch Date

My brother Dean came over for lunch today and brought Remi with him. Isn't she cute? She is the sweetest dog, relaxed and super cuddly. When she was only a few months old, Remi stayed with me for a weekend and, thanks to Ginger, nearly lost an eye. Now that she's all grown up, Remi and Ginger have a healthy respect for each other, meaning Remi stays as far from Ginger as possible. She's smart too!

It was great having guests over. I've been working so hard the last few weeks that I feel like I haven't seen many of my friends and family. That's about to change though. I turned in a huge freelance project yesterday, so I actually had time to cook last night. I've been saving recipes that get emailed to me courtesy of Real Simple magazine. Last night I tried their chili recipe. Typically I wouldn't use a recipe when making chili, but this one had a special ingredient that grabbed my attention: dark chocolate. You add the chocolate right before serving and it's amazing what it does for the flavor. The chili was good up to that point and the chocolate made it about a billion times better. Dean even liked it, which means it must be quite excellent.

With one big freelance project turned in, one to finish up tonight, and a few weeks before the next one is due, I might actually get to spend some time making jewelry in my studio. I still have beads that I purchased at Bead and Button in 2007 that are waiting to be used in projects. Plus, the new beads that I just couldn't resist last week will hopefully arrive in my mailbox in the next few days, so I'll be able to play with those as well. I'll show you a picture when they get here. You're going to love them. I know I will!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Communique

I wish it would hurry up and snow already. There was a light dusting on my deck this morning. It wasn't much - it melted before I could even take a picture - but at least it was something. We usually get snow beginning in September and it's making me crazy that we haven't had any yet. I know many would argue that the fact that I'm wishing for snow is proof enough of my insanity, but I can't help it. I want a snowstorm!

While I hope for some big flakes to fall, check out what my crew (who live in a considerably warmer climate) are up to:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) was in California this week.

Kristen Fagan finished her autumn leaves painting. She started it back in May and finally finished it this week!

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall in Wine Country

One of my favorite things (there are many!) about traveling to Sonoma for work is the drive to and from the office. The vineyards and rolling hills are gorgeous, and the scenery fills my head with all sorts of romantic thoughts. The most noticeable difference between the landscapes of Northern Colorado and Napa Valley, besides the elevation, is just how green everything is in Northern California. Even as winter approaches, the fields and hillsides remain all sorts of bright, vibrant shades of green and it is just lovely. 

About five minutes from the office there is a stretch of road lined with huge trees and their leaves blanket the pavement with a beautiful canopy. The way the light filters through is simply magical. I was hoping that traffic would be slow this morning so that I could stop and snap a picture, but the semi-truck driving very close behind me wasn't going to allow for that. 

In just a few short hours, I'll make one last stop at Broadway Market and then Sara and I will leave the charm of Wine Country behind as we travel home to different kinds of beauty, the desert for Sara and the mountains for me.

Keep your fingers crossed that we don't get lost as we drive to the Oakland airport! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Playing with Wire

Have you tried the Twist N Curl tool yet? If not, I highly recommend it. It's fast, fun, and meditative and there are so many fun things to make with it. I have the Twist N Curl mini-set, which includes two tools that make tiny little wire coils. Coiling wire with this tool is quite simple and Sara just offered up a great tutorial on her blog. Click here to see it.

I used 28-gauge Artistic Wire to make what I'm calling "triple beads" with the smaller of the two Twist N Curl tools in the set. I made the initial coil, strung it on wire, and coiled it again. Then I strung that coil on wire and coiled it again. Voila - triple beads! 

The wire colors black, dark blue, gun metal, and peacock blue happen to go really well with a bead from my friend Rashan of Jones Art Glass, so I strung them all up with some brass and black Czech glass rondelles, and now I have a funky new necklace - yaay!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm in beautiful Sonoma, California this week, making jewelry at Soft Flex Company headquarters. I get to work in the Gallery with all of the pretty stones and pearls! Being surrounded by beads is always a good thing, but the added bonus is getting to spend my days with Rosa and Katrina. Thanks for making it such a fun day girls!

We talked about lots of things, including the Twilight Series. Katrina said she was going to read the first book again before the movie comes out next week - a brilliant idea that I'm going to copy - and I'm pretty sure we convinced Rosa to see the movie! They're both just as sweet as can be, even if they were teasing me about my obsession with sandwiches from Broadway Market.

The sandwiches at the market really are the best. They're made to order, you get to choose from a vast assortment of meat and cheese, and you get a huge sandwich for about six bucks. Nothing wrong with that!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Communique

Hooray for Friday! I don't know about you, but I worked my booty off this week. So I picked up some special chocolates as a little treat to myself. Aren't they pretty? I picked them up at a cute little place just down the street called Simply Chocolate. The chocolates were much more expensive than the half-price Halloween candy I was planning to buy, but I figure I'm saving all sorts of money now that gas prices are lower, so it all works out, right?!

While I do my best to not eat all these tasty tidbits in one sitting, please check out what some of my crew did this week:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) is knitting on a spool using Soft Flex Wire.

Kristen Fagan voted! Everyday is voting day. We get to cast votes for many important issues on a daily basis.

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My First Attempt with the Kumihimo Disk

The universe decided today was my day to learn Kumihimo. Works for me.

I started by using the group of yarn that came packaged with the Kumihimo disk. I highly recommend that first-timers begin this way. The yarn is a good fiber to practice with and now Ginger has a colorful new toy.

Then I felt a little bit creative and decided to make a bracelet with beading wire and seed beads. I used 24 inches each of four different wires: Soft Flex Beading Wire in Dark Blue, Extreme 925 wire, Metallics wire in Antique Brass, and Soft Touch wire strung with size 8/o seed beads. The top of the Kumihimo board has numbers and little dots that help you keep track of where to place the wires. It's actually quite easy and even meditative once you get the hang of it.

Here's a shot of my braid in progress (the braid comes out the bottom of the disk and rests inside the glass vase) with the bright blue Colorado sky as its backdrop. It must be said that Colorado has over 300 days of sunshine a year. Sure, it is only about 40 degrees outside, but it is still bright and sunny! Anyway, I placed a binder clip at the end of the braid and attached a Bead Stopper to the end of every wire in order the keep a good amount of tension.

And here is the finished bracelet. I used a 3mm crimp tube to connect all eight wires to an eye pin, then strung a cone onto the eye pin and formed a wire wrapped loop to attach each end of the braid to one half of the clasp. If you look closely, you can see where I messed up a couple of times (I probably turned the disk the wrong way or something), but all in all, a pretty successful first encounter with the Kumihimo board. I'll definitely be trying this project again!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Playing with Wire

Remember the CZ pendant I made in New York City? Well, I made two more and I happen to think all three color combinations are really pretty. Thank you for helping pick the colors, Sara!

I'll be making ornaments for several people on my holiday list. I usually don't start shopping for the holidays until the last minute (surprise, surprise), so it feels refreshing to begin the process early.

Want to make your own ornaments? Now you can. Step-by-step instructions are available here, on the Soft Flex Company website. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Have you voted yet?

(Oh Wigjig, is there anything you can't do??)

Did you vote? I turned my ballot in today and am proudly wearing my "I Voted!!!" sticker. If you haven't already voted, please do. Your vote matters!

After you vote, please visit my friend Sara's blog and enter her November giveaway. I know you love giveaways and Sara's is really good.