Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bead Journal Project for June 2011

It's that time again...I've completed another month for The Bead Journal Project 2011.  As you know I am not doing bead embroidery, which is the norm, because it hurts my hands to do that type of beading anymore.  I am learning at least one new beadweaving stitch a month and creating jewelry pieces.  This month I tackled tubular netting.

I really had a lot of fun with this stitch.  I have admired it for so long in other people's work, but had no clue on how to do it.  I finally found a link on how to do it, and I am ashamed to say that I can't remember where I found it. :(  I did one monochromatic necklace and bracelet in pinks first.  I was happy with the way it turned out, but it just wasn't, oh I don't know...enough of something.  I wanted something that stands out a little more.  Maybe a little more "fancy".  I'll show you the pink one last because I really want to talk about the 2nd set I made first.

I chose 3 different colors of 4mm Druks for the core.  I had a little bit of a problem ordering these at first.  For the pink set the packaging for the core beads said 3mm (bought from a local store).  Therefore, for the 2nd one I also ordered 3mm.  Then they came in the mail...They were NOT the same size.  I measured them both on the ruler and they both look like 3mm when measured, but the pink must have been a large 3mm and the browns a small 3mm or something because the 3mm Druks I ordered were so small that I could only do a 3 bead net instead of a 5 bead net.  That just wouldn't do.  How can 2 different 3mm beads be so different in size???  Crazy.  BUT, since I ordered the Druks from Artbeads.com, they have a very simple return/exchange policy.  It was pretty painless, and the replacement order was processed and shipped pretty quickly after they received the old beads in.

Back to the tubular netting set.  I chose 3 different colors of core beads.  One is a gorgeous tortoise shell looking bead, one is a brown sparkly luster bead and the 3rd is a brown matte.  Then I used 3 different colors of accent beads for the intersections of the net.  I used a bronze seed bead, a Miyuki rainbow matte rose/green metallic cube and a Toho orange/rust hex.  The cube says rose/green, but it is really just a light colored metallic that is very pretty.  The seed bead for the net is an 11/0 in medium brown lined amber Toho.  I started and ripped apart the necklace 3 or 4 times before I decided on a pattern I liked.  I took each of the core beads and matched them up with one of the accent beads and used the same throughout.  The beads make a wrap-around diamond pattern that is really hard to see in the photos.  Just know there is a pattern with rhyme and reason to it! lol

I really struggled with what to call it, too.  (again)  You know how I am about naming my pieces.  I'm a little weird that way.  I think I like "Noble Luster".  It is very sparkly, and the colors just appear to be stately to me.  Sara says it reminds her of Fall, but to me it was a little more than that.  For this set I created a necklace, 18" long, a bracelet 9" long (but it's not truly 9" around.  Since it's a fat bracelet, the inside circumference is actually smaller than 9" and fits an average wrist very well). And a set of little dangly earrings with 14k gold plated ear wires.

Here is the necklace...
And the bracelet...
And the earrings...
And the whole set together...
You can click on the images to get a larger view.  The camera never picks up the sparkliness of the beads, you know?  I find that frustrating.

Here are photos of the original tubular netting project I did that I embellished with a dragonfly pendant.  It's pretty, but it lacked some "oomph".  That's why I wanted to do another set that was a little more dynamic.  But it's still pretty if you ask me.  Here's the bracelet...
And here's the necklace...
By the way.  This little necklace form that I got from JoAnn's to display my jewelry was one of my best purchases.  I highly recommend getting one.  It was less than $8.

Bead Journal Project for June, 2011...done!  I can't wait to see what I do for next month!

Oh, and one more thing.  In my post with the little flower chain stitch, I forgot to give credit to the writer of the tutorial.  If you would like to do that stitch, visit Inspirational Beading.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Peach Blue Green

I've gotten into this habit of finding clip art to go with the theme of the post I am doing.  Sometimes it's really challenging to find anything at all, and sometimes there's so much to choose from I can't decide.  Today I really have no theme, so I entered "peach blue green", the colors of my project.  And look at this pretty little picture of trees that popped up in just those colors.  Cute, huh?  Very simple and understated, just like the necklace I am going to show you today!

I've been working on another project that has been taking what seems like forever because it hurts my hands and I have to stop and switch gears a lot.  In between sessions with the project I chose 3 tubes of beads that I showed you pictures of the other day that I wanted to work with.  I made a simple little choker (14 1/2") of a pretty little flower chain with blue and peach flowers and green stems.  I think it turned out super cute.  My daughter was wearing her P.E. t-shirt, which just wouldn't do for photos, so I recruited her friend, Taylor, to be my model.  Sami laughed at her. lol.  I'm not showing her face, though, because she's not my kid and I wouldn't feel right about posting her.  Pretty as she is and as good a model as she was, I'm going to err on the side of caution.

I've had a very horrible couple of days and it feels like the weight of the world crushing down on me.  I am not it well at all.  My therapist has been out on medical leave since December, and my only therapeutic outlet has been my beading.  This simple little flower chain I worked on helped to lighten my thoughts.  Maybe I should do 3 or 4! lol  Actually, maybe I should.  It would look great in so many color variations, from dark with sparkles to bright and happy or delicate and sweet, it does have a lot of possibilities within its simplicity.  Ok, here it is...

Do you like my little chain?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beady Gift for my Mother in Law

My mil has always been a really big supporter and encourager of my bead work.  I've been beading for quite a few years now, and I never made her anything.  The other day I showed her the black and silver Oglala necklace and she completely looooooooooooved it (click here if you want to go back and check it out).  I should have known she would...she adores ruffles!  If it's got ruffles, she's a-likin' it.  Now, she has really liked a lot of my other work in the past, but none of them totally clicked in my head as thinking she would wear it.  But as soon as she saw the Oglala, it just hit me that this is what I needed to make for her...I wanted to make for her.

I told her I wanted to make her one, and we discussed color and length.  She likes bright colors, with teal being her favorite, and she likes her necklaces to hang longer.  We decided it needed to be at least 30 inches.  I went bead shopping yesterday at a little shop not too far from my house.  For the core I chose a 6/0 in a metallic iris finish.  Depending on the light they change from purple to green to gold.  I chose in 11/0 a transparent lined teal, a matte purple (really pretty shade...it's hard to find gorgeous purples), a cranberry tinted goldish metallic and I had on hand some cranberry colored beads.

The color that is used the most and goes throughout the necklace is the teal.  I used almost the whole tube of those.  The next color was cranberry/rose-ish gold to give it some sparkle (my new favorite word this week) and kick.  The large ruffle down the middle/front is the purple and there is just a wee hint of the cranberries.  I so wish the camera picked up the colors better.  They are really really pretty. 

I originally told her it would take a while to finish, being that it is so long and that I was in the middle of another project.  But I was a little bored of the project on my table, so I switched over to hers.  I started yesterday afternoon, worked for quite a few hours, went to bed, woke up at 4:30 a.m. and worked quite a few more hours.  I went back to bed and worked on it throughout the rest of the day.  Between yesterday afternoon and this evening when I finished it I guess I have about 11 hours into it.  Not bad...I've been told I'm a fast beader.

So I called her up and told her I finished it and I wanted to bring it over to give to her.  I had such butterflies and knots in my stomach.  I soooo wanted her to like it.  I told her she had to be honest with me about it.  I showed it to her and she said she did like it a lot. (whew!)  She said it was a good choice I made to put that rosy metallic in there, otherwise the colors might have been too flat.  (whew, again!)  She went to her room and pulled out a top that she's going to wear with it.  It is almost the exact same shade of purple as the beads in the necklace!  It looks like it was meant to be together from the very beginning.  If I had actually planned it to go with that top I don't know that I could have done as well.  (whew, again!!!)

Here are some pics.  Maybe I'll get a pic or two of her wearing it sometime to put up to show.  It kind of looks like a little knot or tie in the back.  Since it's large enough to slip over the head and didn't need a clasp, I wanted to make it a little more interesting than just a circle.  The two ends curled in a bit, so with the string at each end I backed up about an inch, tied the string in four knots, glued the knot, weaved the threads back through the beads and back out again, tied it in four knots and glued it again, then tucked in the threads and snipped them.  Hoping it will hold well enough!  But I thought that little tie thing in the back would add a little more interest than just tying the very ends together.  What do you think?

You can always click on the pics for a larger view.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Etsy Sale!

Today until tomorrow morning, Sunday 5/22, I am offering a 15% Discount on all items in my shop!  Have you seen my shop lately?  Why don't you go ahead and take a peek?  Is there something you've been wanting?  Today is a great time to take advantage of a great sale!  Use coupon code SNS05212011.  Thank you for visiting!

Friday, May 20, 2011

On My Table

I don't have any finished pieces to show you today, but I can give you a hint as to what I'm working on.  No, lol, I'm not working on all of this!  I'd lose my mind if I had that much on my table.  Would be fun to sit and go through to get some wheels spinning though.  I've definitely got some much simpler things going on.

First, I'm working on a necklace?  bracelet?  Oh, I don't know, in these colors...
They do look kind of boring sit side by each like this, but hopefully they will look pretty once they are all finished getting beaded up.

Then, I've also got something started (I also don't know what the finished piece will be for this one yet) in some colors I found in a bag I haven't used in a while.  They're not my typical colors, but I found them so I decided to see what I could do with them...
I hope it looks ok when I'm all done with it.  The first thing I tried with these colors was the horrible mess of ugliness I mentioned the other day that I ripped out.  The second project is going better.

Finally, I also found these tubes of beads that I haven't started working with yet, but I really like them and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them.  I probably won't put all of these in one project...that may be too much.  But I'm really liking the colors.  Something different for me, but I'm really loving that blue and that green.

I have started to become very good friends with someone I inherited from my mil, Beth A.  She's very creative herself and does work with scrapbooking and card making.  I'm going to take some of her classes.  Next to my son Matthew, Beth says she's my biggest fan.  :)  She's been a great promoter for me, and I am really happy to have her as a friend.  I told her about my new bead classes here in Scottsdale / Phoenix that will be coming up, and she has been helping me spread the word.  Turns out that I may have 3 or 4 students already!  So my first class will be scheduled for June 11.  I'm really looking forward to it!  Thank you Beth!

And, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't show off my kids?  Here is a very short video (just over a minute) of highlights from the game on Monday.  Come on, you can spare a minute to watch some great kids play ball, can't you?
Hope your day is a happy one!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All in the Family (and some beady things too!)

What is more wholesome and family-oriented than little league baseball on a spring evening with families all around rooting on the kids playing the all American game?  Nothing in my book.  It's about as good as it gets.  Just some highlights from Monday's game.  Matthew pitched a great game, as usual.  He doesn't have the strongest arm and fastest pitch yet, but he is very accurate and gets them swinging and missing.  Sara plays 2nd base and when Matthew isn't pitching he plays Short Stop.  So the batter hits the ball - a pop fly - and Sara catches it for an out!  Then she is quick enough to realize the kid on 2nd ran on the pop fly so she turned and threw it to Matthew who ran over to cover the bag.  He caught it and made the out at 2nd for a double play by the Criswell kids!  woohoo!

As the game was winding down, the other team had the last at bat.  We were already ahead by 6 or 7 runs, so there was no way we could lose the game.  In our league at this level you can't score more than 5 runs in an inning to prevent anyone from getting completely crushed and dominated.  So even if the other team scored all 5 of their runs, we'd still win.  So Jeff, my DH and the kids' coach, decided to have some fun out there.  He switched everyone's positions and told them where they were going to play.  All but Sara.  She asked where she was going.  He said, "You're pitching!"  She had a serious heart attack and you could hear her panicked scream, "Noooooo!" in the bleachers.  He whispered to her, put one hand on her shoulders and one hand on her chest (which he said later her heart was racing like crazy) and gave her his vote of confidence in his calming daddy way.  So she went up to the mound and gave her first warm up pitch. (Mind you, she's never ever pitched before.)  It went straight down the pike!!!!  Let me tell you, once those kids got up there to bat she really held her own.  I think we have another pitcher in the family.  With some practice I think next year she's going to be pitching and striking a whole lot of boys out.  We were so proud!  So much fun, let me tell you.

We also got their baseball photos on Monday.  Here is Sara (9) and Matthew (11)...
And this next photo is pretty special.  It has 3 generations of Criswell's participating in Little League.  Jeff is the head coach, my fil is an assistant coach, and our two kids...grandpa, daddy and little ones.  How neat is that?!?
I'm so proud of my family, and I love them all so very much!

On to beady things to give you an update.  I worked on a new necklace for two days, thought it was a horribly ugly monstrosity and ripped it apart and resorted the beads today.  Started working on another new stitch, once again inspired by Mandy over at Beads for Brains: 365.  Maybe will have something new to show in a few days.

Also, I am going to formally start promoting myself as a teacher and work on getting together some small groups to teach stitches and techniques to in my home maybe once a month.  Won't that be fun?!  If you live in the Phoenix Metro area and want to take some very affordable classes and make your own beautiful custom jewelry, please contact me.  If you haven't beaded before, don't be afraid...I'll make it very understandable and enjoyable!  For those of you who have done some beading, maybe you'll learn a new thing or two and have some good company for a girl's afternoon.  If you know people who live in my area, please pass along the word.  I will provide a kit in their color choice to include beads, clasp, etc., a set of written instructions to take home and a link to a private youtube video showing how to finish off the clasp if they don't get to that point by the end of class.  All that for a mere $25!!!!  A screaming deal!!!!!  So please help me out and spread the word.  I would really appreciate some help in the blog world network...remember...sunny Phoenix!  (Actually I'm in Scottsdale, but easy access from anywhere in the Valley.)

I hope everyone is having a very happy week!  Getting kind of bored and lonely all day here by myself...drop me a line!

Monday, May 16, 2011


I like to put a little clip art picture to start off my blog that is related to my post.  I Google the topic I'm looking for then click on "images".  Sometimes the pics are right on and I have a hard time choosing.  But if you Google "inspiration" and click "images", you get some pretty weird things.  So I finally found this artist sitting with what looks to me like muses watching over, and I thought it was perfect.  This week my muse is named Mandy.  Do you all know Mandy from over at Beads for Brains: 365?  She is very committed to her goal, let me tell you.  You'll have to go to her blog and check her out.  She's learning and practicing a new stitch every day for a year!  And I thought my goal of one stitch per month for the year was pretty good.  She does some pretty interesting things.  One day last week (can't remember which) she did the Oglala stitch.  I really loved the look of it so I created a necklace using the tutorial she gave a link for then making my own variation and pattern based on that.

My mil thinks it's my best one yet.  I think she's a little biased because she likes ruffles sooooo much!  I'm going to make her one too, but that will come sometime later...have to go buy more beads.  Darn.  I don't have a name for it.  Some people don't care to name their things, and that's ok too, but I feel like my creations should be named just like other things you love...kids, fur babies, dollies, whatever.  So help me come up with a name for this.  I used 6/0 black seed beads for the core then 11/0's in silver, black and some kind of maybe antique silver?  Don't know what it's called because the store where I buy them just puts numbers on the labels.  No color names...see?  Things should have names.  Makes it easier to identify.  That's the way I roll anyways.  Ok, here it is.
What do you think?

Remember on Saturday when I posted what a great day I had?  Well, I did have a perfect day except I have to tell you about Matthew.  He was not feeling well all day.  He has asthma (which is hard for a kid who loves to play sports) and he was really struggling to breathe all day long.  During the day I gave him a breathing treatment.  Didn't get any better.  Then I had him use his rescue inhaler several times...Didn't get any better.  (He has two inhalers.  One is a rescue inhaler when you're having a bad attack and need quick relief.  Then there's the regular inhaler that is a slower acting and not as strong I guess.)  I had him using the rescue inhaler over the regular inhaler.  But throughout the day I was really worried about him.  Being a weekend, and by this time it was night time, the pediatrician isn't in and the urgent care clinics are closed.  Jeff doesn't like anyone going to the doctor unless there is a limb missing.  I told him enough times how worried I was and I guess he got worried too because he ended up taking Matthew to the emergency room Saturday night.

His breathing was so poor that he didn't have to wait for anyone in the E.R.  They rushed him right in to see a doctor.  That's how you know it was bad.  When they rush you through instead of making you wait for 2 1/2 hours just to get into a little curtained room.  They gave him 2 breathing treatments.  The doctor said that the breathing treatment medicine vials we were using were past their shelf life and ineffective.  I didn't know they had a shelf life!  No wonder it didn't help him.  Then on top of that he said the rescue inhaler was empty!!!  (it made the little swoosh sound and stuff so I thought it was fine.)  omg, I felt so bad.  It was all my fault.  But I had no idea the rescue inhaler I had been giving him was out!  Good news is about an hour and a half later he came home, breathing much better and feeling hungry.

The other scary part is that we took him to the emergency room without any insurance.  Since Jeff had been off work for 5 months, our insurance ran out.  The bill is going to be terrible, I know.  But I think I'm going to try to get Jeff to call the billing department and ask them if they can cut any slack on any of the fees.  I've heard of people doing that and that it can work.  Keeping fingers crossed.  Our insurance will kick back in next month, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that no one else gets sick or hurt.

Ok, gang.  That's all the news I have for today.  I'm working on another necklace like this one in some different colors, then I'm going to make one for my mil in some bright colors and a little longer.  That's what's on my plate.  Oh!  and my 3 orders from Artbeads.com finally shipped on Friday (after FIVE days of waiting to be picked in the warehouse).  Maybe that will come tomorrow too.  I love getting packages in the mail!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beading Day With The Girls

Today was a very fun day!  I had two ladies come over, Beth and Eve, to learn how to do some beading.  We started with this pattern of mine in square stitch.  Neither were used to working with such tiny beads as delicas, so it was a challenge to pick up and work with those little buggers. 

We were going right along learning how to do this, and Eve made a mistake.  The pattern is set up for loom, so it reads left to right on all the rows.  Well, for square stitch you have to go left to right, flip over the work for the next row and then go right to left.  She forgot to read the 2nd row backwards, so we were going to have to take out the work.  The beads weren't agreeing with us and they weren't coming out, the thread was fraying, etc.  So we ended up just starting over.  I said, ok I'll get you back to where you were quickly.  I started beading away, got to the 2nd row to about where she was and gave it back to her.  She then gets to only room for 2 beads left, but the chart says there should be 6 more beads.  WHAT???!!!  uh oh.  What went wrong?  I checked all the beads in the 2nd row and they were all correct.  Guess what!  I messed up from trying to go too quickly and skipped 4 beads in the first row!  I was so upset that I messed her up!  I felt so bad.  I said, "ok, what I just did....don't do that!"  Started it over again.  In the entire time the girls were here poor Eve only got through the 2nd row, and there's only 17 beads in one row.  I felt terrible having messed her up. 

We had a very fun time together, though, and I'm so glad they came over and had a bead day with me.  We're going to get together again when it's time to learn how to do the clasps.  The first two rows are the hardest because there's not much to hold on to.  Once Beth got to her 3rd row she agreed at how much easier it was.

Here are some pics of Beth and Eve.  (Oh, btw.  You've all heard me rave about Beth and her cabs.  Don't be confused.  That's Beth E.  This is Beth A.)  And...Beth was such a sweetheart.  She brought me a little goody gift...a Symphony chocolate  bar with almonds and toffee bits!  OOOOOOH YUM!!!!!   Guess what I'll be snacking on tonight!!!
Beth holding up her first two little rows. lol
Eve's first couple rows...I don't know if this was the 1st, 2nd or 3rd time we did it. lol
I don't have many friends...I'm pretty anti-social.  So it was fun to interact with live humans for a change (not that I don't love and appreciate all of you...it's just different).  And my hubby was so cute.  I laid down for a nap before they came and when I got up he had gone shopping for our little get-together.  He got several kinds of soda and some Chex Mix to munch on.  Wasn't that thoughtful of him?  He's so cute.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Ok, maybe not these kinds of rings, but as I was looking for ring clip art all I saw was engagement and wedding rings.  Then I saw this pic and thought I'd try to grab your attention with something a little more colorful and fun.  Do you remember these rings?  I had them when I was a baby, and all my kids had them too.  They've been around forever.  Anyhoo!  No, this post isn't about baby toys.

I've been working on a necklace/bracelet set in a new stitch I learned (not the one in this post though).  Last night I was up late...again...and wanted to get a little bead diversion.  I didn't want to get everything out for the necklace, and honestly I needed a little break from it.  So I hopped on over to Auntie's Beads and started looking through their videos.  They've got the best videos out there!  I have spent many hours watching Karla demonstrate new techniques for me.  I found a video for a little ring using the ladder stitch.

I know most of you out there probably already know the ladder stitch, but for me it was something new.  Karla's instructions were so easy and clear that I decided to give it a try.  I actually found some 4mm faceted beads in my stash that I had enough of, AND they're black, which my daughter loves.  Decided I'd make a ring for her.  I edged it in sparkly crystal seed beads.  I didn't know her ring size so I guesstimated.  Wouldn't you know it?  I decided to take out a row of beads, and when I gave it to her it was too small!  I'll bet if I had left that last rung on the ladder it would have fit.  Damn.  Oh, well.  I still learned something new, had a nice little diversion and it will find the perfect home someday.

But I still wanted to bead a little more, so I decided to try to make a ring for Sara too.  I didn't have anymore 4mm beads, but I thought what about bugles?  I found the perfect 3mm bugles in cobalt blue.  Sara will be making something new this weekend and she picked blue, so this ring might just look perfect with it.  In the pic it looks pretty lumpy bumpy, but once you have it on it all straightens out.
Hope everyone has a mahvelous day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

May Bead Journal Project

For those of you who have been watching my BJP entries for 2011, you know that I am learning 1 new stitch a month and making a necklace/bracelet set to learn and master some new skills.  The stitch I learned this past month is the spiral rope stitch.  I used 2 different colors of size 8's (green and blue) and alternated them in the core.  To spiral around I used 6 different colors of 11's and 2 colors of 10's (purples, blues, a green and a pink).  I picked them up randomly.  That's to reflect how I've been feeling lately.  Things are randomly organized if that makes sense to you.  I also used little bits of things I had only a few of to swirl around the spiral.  That's the little bit of chaos thrown into my life. lol. 

This rope took a lot of time and dedication.  The bracelet is 7.5" and the rope is 35".  I was soooo over the spiral stitch by the time I was half way through it, lol and I had to really make myself continue.  But I do like the look of the spiral stitch, and I'm positive I will use it again in the future.  Maybe not on such a long rope, though.  It is long enough to wear both as a long necklace or doubled as a short necklace.  This piece to me has a little bit of quirky charm.  There are different sizes, shapes and colors of flowers, discs, iris beads, glass rounds, some puffy pillow types, a cube, some pretty magatamas and all the while consistently placed gold metal discs in between.  So on every angle of the rope there is something colorful and fun to look at.  And with all these colors, it will go with anything!  :)

Here is the set I call "Baubles & Bits".
As usual, if you want a closer look just click on the pics.  I've got ideas floating around in my head for June's BJP, and I'm thinking I would really like to incorporate some of the cabs and beads I have been making with the polymer clay.  Lots of fun!

To all my mommy readers, whether to people babies or fur babies...Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What a Fantabulous Day!!!

I had a really great day today.  Jeff got up early this morning to go down to the union hall to try to get one of the seven jobs going out today.  He was #106 on the list.  The way it works is that you have to show up to get one of the jobs.  So he needed 99 people in front of him to not show up.  Miracle of miracles...HE GOT ONE OF THE JOBS!!!!!  He starts on Monday.  We'll find out then what type of project it is and how long the job will last, but I am ever so grateful for each and every day he is employed.  This is also his first job in his new role as a Journeyman Electrician.  He had been going to school and getting training for 4 or so years and was an apprentice.  This past winter he passed his final exam and collected all his required hours, so now he's a Journeyman.  This is a very good thing.  Now he'll be supervising and training apprentices himself and could get on as a foreman or something if they like his work.  And Jeff always impresses his bosses...he does impeccable work, he shows up on time, he's never drunk or on drugs (a big problem in the construction world), etc. etc.  He's VERY good at what he does.  I'm so proud of him.  *beaming smile :D*

Next, today is my 17th wedding anniversary!  Jeff and I went through two years of total, complete and pure hell and were one month away from our divorce date when we got back together again.  Ever since getting back together, we have been happier than ever and stronger than ever.  During our time apart we both learned and grew a lot, and now we are better for each other than we ever were before.  I love my husband.  He is the most perfect man in the world to me, and I am one lucky lady to have him as my husband and father of my children.

Then, I got a package in the mail today.  Do you know Mandy over at Beads for Brains: 365?  You should go check her out.  She is determined to learn, practice and blog about a new stitch every day for a year.  Pretty amazing.  She had a giveaway, and I was the winner!  This was a fun project because it was a trash to treasure piece.  The bright blue you see being woven throughout the bracelet is plastic bags.  Here are a couple pics...
Thank you Mandy!

AND on top of all that...I sold TWO items in the last day!  I sold a Swarovski square button wire wrapped ring...
and my Greenman in Springtime necklace!
Do you know what that means?  BEAD SHOPPING!!!!!  woohoo!!!  Thank you so much, Beth A.  I've got a deal with Beth that she will wear my pieces when she goes out and about, because she is out A LOT and knows so many more people than I do, so hopefully she'll enjoy wearing some of my work and I might get a customer or two in the process.  But she decided she wanted the Greenman for keeps.  So now it has a happy new home.  Matthew is sad.  That was his favorite. 

Also had fun at the baseball game tonight.  The kids played the Yankees, which is the team that is stacked with all the really good players.  Our team put up quite a fight and made a great ball game.  When it was all said and done we were only down by 1 run.  Way to go Bulls!  We play the Yankees 2 more times this year...they better watch out next time!!!

Yes, it was a very good day.  I can go to sleep with a happy smile on my face.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I have 4" of rope left to go, so I have nothing beady to show you today.  But I wanted to show off my kids at their baseball game this past Monday night.  Sara came up to the plate, and got straight down to business...she doesn't mess around!  Jeff has her first in the lineup because over all the boys on the team she's the most consistent hitter.  So, here's Sara!
And Matthew pitched a fabulous game!!!  He pitched 4 innings, 8 strike outs and only allowed 1 run.  Way to go Matthew!  I just put a sampling of his pitching and strikes on this video...but in the first few seconds you'll see Sara playing 2nd base backing up her big brother. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New Beads

I kept my word to myself this time.  I didn't start playing with clay until I finished nearly 4" on my rope.  I've only got about 12 or so more inches to go!  Yea!  But as soon as I put the rope away, out came the clay.  My daughter Sara spent the night at my mil's house last night so it was just me and Matthew hanging out in the kitchen.  He was playing X-Box (as usual) and I was getting ready to play with clay.  I asked him if he wanted to help me, and he jumped right up ready to go.  He's always game!

I got this idea from Marie over at Art From My Heart.  Man, is she awesome!  She sent me a link to a cane that was made by stacking extruded squares on top of each other to form a pattern.  I pulled up my Bead Creator Pro program and decided to play around with making patterns.  Here are the steps Matthew and I took to make some new beads...

First, we decided on three colors:  white, red and light blue.  I wanted to bring light, medium and dark tones to hopefully give some contrast in the finished cane.  I think it's really hard to extrude clay.  We worked and worked and worked the clay both with the noodle bender (that's what my dh calls the pasta machine) and with our hands.  The blue was exceptionally hard to work with.  Maybe it was a stale block or something.  We put that clay through the bender at least 20 times, snaked it, mashed it.  We put it in the Stim Pak (that's what Matthew calls the extruder.  A Stim Pak is a thing that you use to heal yourself in the X-Box game Fallout...lol...always about the video games with him.)  Anyways we put the blue in the Stim Pak at least 3 times, couldn't get it to budge and started the conditioning process again and again.  And that was with us putting it with the plunger side on the table, my hands around the barrel pushing down and Matthew's hands on top of mine pushing down.  It would. not. go.  My hands were hurting!  I had him laughing so hard because I put the clay in his armpit to try to get it warm.  It was kinda funny.  I did finally manage to get it through, but I actually worked up a sweat working that Stim Pak!!!

Once we got all the clay extruded and cut to (sort of) even lengths, we started stacking.  Here's what it looked like to start off with:
I put it in the fridge for a while and then took it out to stretch and pull.  I took it in my bedroom, layed in bed, watched t.v. and stretched the cane in the dark.  It was easy to do with it being square.  After I stretched it, I cut it into 4 even pieces and stacked it again...
Ok, so maybe my squares didn't stay exactly square, but I thought it would add "character" to the cane. lol  Do you buy that?  I let it rest for a few minutes and stretched it out again.  Then I cut 4 more pieces and stacked again...
If you look at the stripes on the outside I do think I did a pretty good job keeping it straight.  And you can see how intricate the inside is getting.  One more time of stretching and pulling and this is what I got...
As interesting as the inside is, I liked the outside even more.  I let it rest for the night, but as I was laying in bed I had images swirling through my head on just how I was going to use this cane.  I really like it.  I think Matthew and I did a good job!  This morning I cut the cane into beads.  I poked holes in them, some of them length-wise and some of them sideways.  I'm going to alternate the beads going across and then up/down for a necklace with some rounds in matching colors in between.  Here are the final beads...
I made 18 of them...10 going long ways and 8 going up/down.  I goofed on one and made it a little shorter than the others, and one I started to drop and as I caught it I mushed the end a little.  I'll just put those in the back. :)  Do you like our striped beads? 

Also, I posted this pretty quick after my last post, so if you didn't see my leaf headpins I made scroll down to see those.