Tuesday, December 23, 2008

poor little peanut

Over the weekend Ginger's little chin swelled up something fierce and was covered with red welts. She scratched a few of them, and blood freaks me out, so she got to go to the Vet last night.

My poor little kitty has feline acne. Cat pimples are new to me, but apparently it's pretty common. The Vet needed to shave her chin to get a better look at things. Ginger tried to fight it, of course, and he slipped and cut off almost all the whiskers on one side of her face. Baby girl looks a little pathetic. She's still cute though.

The Vet said to put ointment on her chin every twelve hours. I have a nice deep two inch scratch on my wrist and lots of other little scrapes from my first attempt this morning, so it must sting pretty badly. Poor Ginger. All she wants to do is lounge in front of the fireplace and zits are messing up her big plans. We've all been there. Acne sucks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Make earrings until your fingers bleed!"

A long, long time ago--well about four years ago really--Jean, Dustin, and I began work on the first ever issue of Stringing magazine. We really didn't have a budget for the special issue, so the three of us made 90% of the projects. We made A LOT of jewelry. As press day inched closer, we realized we needed to make earrings for a two page spread of designs. So, Dustin gave me an assignment: make earrings until your fingers bleed!

Since then, I've made more pairs of earrings than I can count and luckily have kept my fingers from bleeding. Making earrings is one of my favorite things (photographing them, not so much). Dustin still likes to use that phrase from back in the day. In fact, he said it yesterday while hanging out in my studio, between bites of fig nut bars and chocolate crinkle cookies. The next few days will be spent making earrings day and night - daytime earring-making for work and evening earring-making for some of my loved ones. And eating more cookies too, of course!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Communique

The above mix of beads in amber, topaz, orange, yellow, and brown are to be used in a custom necklace for a client at my dad's jewelry store. The necklace will be strung randomly so I mixed all the different beads into one big pile. The bright colors make me think warm, tropical thoughts, which are a dreamy distraction on this foggy, cold day. The forecast calls for single digit weather again this weekend, so I'm prepared to spend the time in my cozy little place making presents. Lots and lots of presents!

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

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) is in the holiday spirit. She put up her Christmas tree this week and it is looking and smelling good!

Kristen Fagan doesn't have much new happening creatively so, she figured this was a good week to bust out an oldie but goodie jewelry design.

Have a lovely weekend and eat lots of cookies! xoxo

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Playing with Wire

Um, perhaps this post should be called "Shopping for Wire" instead? That's all I seem to have accomplished for this week. These beauties just arrived. Lots of pretty colors to help complete lots of new ideas. I love internet shopping.

So, yeah, I haven't made any new wire projects that I can share with you just yet, though I have been busy in my little workshop. You'll see some of them after Christmas--I can't have people seeing their gifts in advance now, can I?--and you'll see the others later on. For now, I must run a quick errand for more supplies and then it's back to crafting and creating, which are two of my favorite things.

Hope you're all staying warm!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Playing with Wire

Check out the colors of the new Econoflex craft and beading wire from Soft Flex - aren't they gorgeous?! The color names, from top to bottom, are: plum, cinnamon red, spring green, autumn brown, steel blue, midnight black, and snow white. Even the names are pretty.

These 30 foot spools arrived about the same time I brought my Christmas decorations home from my mom's basement. It's been two years since I've seen my holiday goodies and last night I was finally able to spend some time unpacking and displaying them. Imagine my delight when the wire colors perfectly matched several of my ornaments. And some of the ornaments still needed something from which to hang. I used 8 inch pieces of spring green and steel blue, secured with a crimp tube of course, to string up this sparkly Santa. He wouldn't stand up for a picture--too many cookies I guess--but he now hangs happily on my little tree. The wire really shines under the little lights and looks so much nicer than fishing line!

At the bottom of the tub of Christmas decor were three boxes of these jewel-toned ball ornaments. I'd forgotten all about them! From what I can remember, they were bought on clearance in 2006. When I found them at the bottom of the box, my tree was already pretty full. They're so small they would get lost among the really big ornaments anyway, so I mixed them all up and dropped handfuls of them into the glass vases on my fireplace mantel. The Econoflex colors go with the ornaments so well that I just had to add it to the display in some fashion, so I used 8 inch pieces of plum, cinnamon red, spring green, and steel blue to add a little something extra to them.

I tied a wire to each ball and used scissors to curl them like ribbon. It's difficult to tell from the picture, but the wire adds A LOT to the display. One vase down, seven to go! Plus, I'll be dreaming up lots of other ways to use this new product around the house...stay tuned!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Comminique

My wish for snow came true! Granted, the snow arrived just in time to totally mess up my plans for the weekend, but I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason and it is better for everyone to be safe - and not drive long distances through a snowstorm - than sorry.

The best thing about the snow, besides making everything sparkle, is finally getting to wear these boots. Yaay!

In blog-world news:

The wonderful Andrew Thornton is having a sale offering up many fabulous treasures. Check out his auctions - only two days left to bid!

Also Michele Goldstein, a fun beadmaker and all-around delightful person, started a new blog that you'll have to visit - you're sure to love her!

And while you're at it, please check out what some of my crew did this week:

Sara Hardin (AKA SoftFlexGirl) is in holiday mode! Here are her suggestions on how to give a non-stressful and meaningful holiday gift.

Kristen Fagan just got back from her family cruise vacation, what fun!

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

Thursday, December 4, 2008

i heart books

After spotting a pile of books in my bead room, Lorelei asked if I could "recommend any good beading books that might not be as well known as others but offer up some excellent inspiration." An excuse to spend time browsing through my library? Excellent.

The books in the bead room aren't just beading and jewelry books. There are sewing books, knitting books, crochet books, paper crafting books, art books, color books. And two really cool books about symbols borrowed from Bead Boy.

Walking around my bead room, I gathered the books I most enjoy flipping through. I'm not sure how well-known these titles are compared to others, but they're titles that inspire me, piled in the order they were pulled from the shelves:

Much of my beading library sits in cardboard boxes in my mom's basement - they trickle home a few at a time - so there are several other beading books I would add to this list. My friend Jean Campbell has written a ton of fabulous beading books and my friend Laura Levaas worked her little booty off for her book, Beader's Stash, about designs from America's favorite bead shops. There are so many more. Perhaps I'll have to start doing this semi-regularly...

What are some of your favorite beading books? Do you know of any brand new books that must be added to my collection?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Playing with Wire

The Twist 'n' Curl is officially one of my favorite tools. Using it is like meditation. These 3-step beads really are easy as one, two, three. Well, four really, if you count stringing the crystals. They need to be strung first.

One: wrap 22 gauge wire around the Twist 'n' Curl for about 1/2", keeping the coils close together.
Two: wrap the wire back in the other direction, leaving space between coils.
Three: wrap the wire in the original direction, moving the crystals up and spacing them apart while wrapping.

Remove the bead from the tool, tuck in the wire ends, and the bead is finished. My beads were made with Powder Blue Artistic Wire and 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones in white opal champagne, aqua brandy, and rose brandy.

The 3-step beads have a great weight to them. When strung up with Pacific opal crystal rondelles, vintage flower spacers, and natural brass spacers and findings on antique brass beading wire, it makes up a rather pretty bracelet, don't you think?

The color scheme makes me think of a winter wonderland. Perhaps I was inspired by the fact that we're finally getting snow?! Yaay!

Monday, December 1, 2008


It pains me to see my beading table this messy. It means I haven't been doing a lot of beading and that's not cool. I've been wanting to clean it off for a couple of weeks now and it just doesn't seem to happen. It's such a lovely table too. It's huge, it has pretty silver legs, and its lack of sharp corners means l don't hurt myself everyday due to my horrible clumsiness.

Part of the problem is my desk and my beading table are in different rooms, and I do the majority of my work at my desk in front of the computer. When a deadline approaches and a project needs to be made, I go in my bead room, fill a tray with the necessary tools and supplies, and bring it all out to my desk. When I finish the project, the tray goes back on the table and nothing is properly put away. Not good.

It's time to need to clean up my act. I'm going to start this weekend by moving my desk into my bead room. Hopefully working closer to the beads, will mean more time spent creating with them. After the furniture move, the organization will begin. It would be a bit ambitious to try to sort it all during part of one weekend, but I'll at least put a dent in it.

It will be like going on a treasure hunt, no doubt uncovering long-forgotten beads and findings acquired during trips to many bead shows this year. Seeing those goodies again will inspire all kinds of new jewelry designs. And a clean desk might actually mean more time to make jewelry. Oh, it'll be nice...