Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oh yes and I bead, too

Its been months since I posted pics of anything I created. Truth is, with work and school demands and my beading space still in "mid-transformation" (that's my euphemism for the chaos), I haven't had much time to make jewelry.

I may get started on my Artfire bead swap project this evening--maybe while watching the NCAA finals. (That probably makes me sound like more of a hoops fan than I really am, but my bracket is still in the running in my office's pool. I won last year and bought my crafts show tent with the winnings!)

Anyway, I did make this necklace and earring set and donated it to the silent auction at the Interfaith Family Project's Purim festival in early March.

Last year, in addition to donating something to the auction, I also had a little table set up to sell things and did quite well. But I wasn't up to it this year--I haven't had the chance to beef up my inventory since I sold almost every major piece I had at my office's Christmas crafts show (nice problem to have, right?)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bead room makeover, part 2: the purge

OK, way back in February I told everyone in this space that I was reorganizing my office/bead studio. I was certain that committing to blogging about it would keep me on track and finish the task in a couple of weeks. But never underestimate the tenacity of a procrastinator! (See: illustration.)

Last month, if you recall, I blogged about the planning stage. After lots of measuring and sketching out plans on paper, I ordered some Elfa components from the Container Store's annual sale. But before they came, I had to make room for them.

This is the part that took the longest, and I think it's the step that kept me putting off the room overhaul for so long. (See: illustration.) You see, before I could put in the new Elfa drawer unit, I had to get rid of one floor-to-ceiling bookcase and move the second one to another corner of the room.

Before I could move the bookcase that was staying to its new location, I had to get rid of the four-drawer file cabinet that was in the corner.

Before I could get rid of the file cabinet, I had to clear out all of its contents. Do you see the pattern emerging?

Step No. 1: Clearing off the bookcases. Purging the books was easy--I have been destashing them and sending them off to the local library's used book store for months. A free-for-the-taking notice on the neighborhood listserve found a new home for the bookcase I didn't want anymore. The beading supplies that had been haphazardly heaped on bookshelves got haphazardly heaped somewhere else for a while.

But oh, that filing cabinet. Step No. 2: Confronting two decades' worth of "I'll deal with that later."

During my long freelancing career, I had been very conscientious about about keeping my story files organized--and most of those had been moved to overflow storage in the attic--but everything else was a mess. There were bank statements and pay stubs older than my college daughter. Warranties for products that had been junked years ago. Recipes and household hints and all kinds of stuff clipped before the age of the Internet.

Source: via Vanessa on Pinterest

In all, I threw six or seven grocery bags of paper into the recycling bin and filled a couple of other large plastic bags with other trash. I certainly felt lighter throwing it all away. Thanks to Mandy of Beads for Brains, I have begun following the blog Clutter Busting and drawing inspiration from it. (More inspiration that action, however. See: illustration.)

I don't consider myself a packrat, because to me, a packrat is someone who hangs on to stuff because "I might need this later." I knew this stuff had to go--it's just that over the years I'd never taken time to go through it all and jettison it. (Please tell me I am not alone. See: illustration.)

What I thought would be a one- or two-day task sucked up all of two weekends. But finally I had some empty floor space in my room to assemble the first of the two Elfa units I had "designed" for myself. I'll blog about those in part 3, but meanwhile, here are some more design inspirations.

I discovered that my first bead room makeover post got a huge number of page views--in part, I'm sure, because I included design ideas like this one--a dresser with its drawers removed for crafts storage:

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

The pic below links to a studio conversion that Latrice Murphy of Any Occasion blogged about. She has a video tour too of how she and her husband transformed their garage into a two-person crafts space.

And in a recent Jewelry Making Daily post, Tammy Jones interviews several mixed-media artists about their crafts space and shows off some pics. You can tell that they're real-world spaces, not designed for a home-decor catalog. Here's Kristal Wick's studio:

Don't you just love the vibrant wall color?

Sister's Choice Quilts' crafts studio

Wait, there's more! Craft Gossip's daily e-newsletter recently featured a woodworking shop-to-crafter's paradise transformation that Sister's Choice Quilts underwent. I would kill for this amount of cabinet space.

BTW, I'm noticing a lot of gate-leg tables in my craft room surfing. I'd love to have room for a rocker like she has.

Sister's Choice Quilts' storage wall

And below is, obviously, an add from Michael's that I call this "craft room fiction." This is a staged prop, not a working artist's room.

Still, I'm including it because I briefly thought of using these storage units. My plan was to save up those weekly 40% off one item coupons and amass a storage system piece by piece.

But ultimately I decided that stacking the small units together wouldn't be stable and I didn't want to invest in bolting them to the wall or to one another for security.

And who know that there was a blog devoted to crafty storage?

And yes, I promise that in part 3, I'll post pics of my space.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Beaded beads galore for I Might Make That! Monday

The Boulevard by Julie Bean, featured on Beadaholique

I can't believe I haven't done this already, because I love beaded beads, but today I'm featuring a roundup of tutes showing how to make many different kinds. Above is a closeup of a gorgeous beaded bead necklace using two-needle right-angle weave. It was designed by Julie Bean and is on Beadaholique. She has christened it The Boulevard. If you click on the link, you'll see it includes a well-done video showing you how to do two-needle right-angle weave.

Filled net pendant from Beadiferous
Here's a beaded bead from Beadiferous, a site I first learned about from Mandy's Beads for Brains.

Beadiferous has free tutorials for several beaded beads. I've already made a necklace in what looks like a variation of this stitch, so I think I could whip this out pretty quickly.
Cyndi Lavin's beaded bauble--made with free-form peyote
At Beading Arts, Cyndi Lavin prepared two great step-by-step photo essays way back in 2009. One is for a beautiful freeform peyote bead, pictured at left, and the other is for a beaded flower (which is really more of a beaded focal than a beaded bead, I guess. Still, I think they'd look great strung together for a statement necklace.)

I've seen lots of tutes showing how to cover wooden beads uniformly with peyote or brick stitch, but I've never seen Cyndi's crazy-quilt look before. I love it!

Next are Diane Fitzgerald's lovely Fortune Teller beads. The link takes you to a downloadable PDF from Lark Crafts. These beads are from her book Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects. I know it's partly a trick of using a light table, but I love how the glass beads shine through the netting.

I have a few more beaded beads on my Pinterest board Beading Inspirations (but note that not everything pinned there links to a tute.)

One of four beaded bead projects
 from Jewelry Making Daily
Last, Jewelry Making Daily has a free eBook devoted to beaded beads.  (You'll need to create an account--it's free--to download it.) I've actually made the beads pictured at right, which kinda violates the spirit of I Might Make That! Monday, but I'm including it here because I want to make other beads in the eBook. This pic just happened to be the easiest one to grab.

And I'm including the book below because it's on my wish list.

New to my blog? Check out the IMMT!M link in the top right corner for previous I Might Make That! Monday entries.

And stayed tuned for another post tomorrow--the second installment of my bead room makeover series!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bead swap bounty!

I'm participating in a bead swap organized by the Artfire Beadweavers Guild. (Be sure to check out the amazing work of these talented artisans. And thanks, Krafty Max, for organizing!)

This swap works a lot like the ones organized by Lori Anderson: First, people sign up to participate. The organizer randomly pairs artists, who mail each other a packet of beads. The packet must contain a focal and clasp, which must be used in the finished design. How many of the other beads to use is up to the artist, who can supplement the gift beads with goodies from her own stash.

I have been paired with Barbara Judy of Beads of Spirit. Please, check out her Artfire store. Her jewelry is lovely, but I am especially fascinated by her guardian spirit gourd dolls. They are intricate and soulful; I've never seen anything like them.

She sent me the above beads more than two weeks ago, but I couldn't get a picture taken until this morning. I love black and gold and silver, so I know I'll have fun with this. I'm especially crazy about the clasp she enclosed. Barbara says the focal is from Unicorn beads and that she has one just like it. (She bought two to make earrings but they are too heavy--who among us has not done that?)

In Lori's Bead Soup Blog Hop, artists are paired with people who often work in different media--a polymer clay beadmaker might get paired with a wirework whiz, for example. Because everyone in this swap is in the Artfire Beadweavers Guild, this is mostly the Great Seed Bead Exchange. But that's okay. You can never have too many seed beads!

The reveal is May 15. Luckily, may class will be over before then, and the summer session doesn't start for a few more weeks, so I'll actually have some free time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama style, Dynasty Electric and Portlandia whimsy

I'm a week late in blogging about this, but it doesn't look like any of the many, many jewelry/craftsy blogs that I read regularly posted any pics, so I'll forge ahead:

I love, love, love the chunky blue pearl necklace that Michelle Obama wore for the state dinner with the Camerons last week. I even thought of making it my I Might Make That! Monday entry, although of course there is no tute for it. According to the blogosphere, it is by Tom Binns. 

When I googled Obama's and Binns' names together, I found that she has showcased several of his bold pieces in the past few years. Here's one she wore in 2009:

And here's a link to a 2009 article on her love for statement necklaces. 

Oh, and speaking of rock star style, Darling Daughter, who has it in spades, was volunteering at SXSW all last week. She texted me on Friday that she was wearing one of my necklaces and a member of the band Dynasty Electric asked her to write down the name of my Artfire store!

Dynasty Electric
Of course I did not know Dynasty Electric was, so I Googled and learned they're a Brooklyn band. (Geez, I hope it was the girl who asked about the necklace and not the guy.)

I'll wind up with a Portlandia clip that said daughter emailed me last week:

She knows her mom!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Novel nail polish for I Might Make That! Monday

Hi everyone, my ergonomic mouse appears to have blown a gasket today and I can't type much using the laptop one, so this will be a short post.

Here's something I pinned recently on Pinterest. It's  more a tip than a tute, but Tamara Summers shares how she uses nail polish to add a patina to metal beads. Now I've seen plenty of hints about using nail polish to give metalwork an enameled-looking finish, but hers is the first I've seen to demonstrate the effect of applying the nail polish, then wiping it off, to give a soft, translucent, watery effect. This tip is featured in Rena Klingenberg's latest newsletter, which I have praised before.

And a shout-out to Kathy of KJ's Beadacious Beads for mentioning this Monday feature on her blog recently. Thanks so much, Kathy, and I do so appreciate your regular comments here!

I know I am woefully behind in posting pics of my progress on my bead room makeover--I have made progress--in fact, I've made so much progress that I cleaned up the room then trashed it again!--but that will take some time to write the post, and my weekends have been eaten up with grad school work and other non-beading tasks.

I'm also participating in an Artfire Beadweavers Guild bead swap, and I need to post pictures of the lovely beads I got more than a week ago from Barbara Judy. Please check out her amazing beadwork at her blog and Artfire store, Beads of Spirit. And thanks, KraftyMax, for organizing this fun swap.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Knotwork for I Might Make That! Monday

Celtic heart by J.D. Lenzen
This one is going to be quick, because as I type this, Sunday is about to turn into Monday and I'm really missing that hour that Daylight Saving Time took from me this morning.

Anyway, I love knotwork. I have a book of Chinese knotting techniques that I got at a funky used book store in Berkeley a few years back, but the only one I've tried from it is the double coin knot.  I'm really interested in marrying some Chinese knots with Japanese kumihimo braids  in an Asian fusion experiment at some point.

Eternity knot by J.D. Lenzen
I recently stumbled across this interesting website, Fusion Knots by J.D. Lenzen, which has dozens and dozens of free video tutorials. (Note, however, the "tip jar" on his home page. He asks for appreciative students to make a voluntary contribution via PayPal to help support the site.)

I never did macrame back when it was all the rage in the '70s, but I'm starting to appreciate it now. Forwardknot is a good site for some basic macrame knot tutorials.

Reverse half-hitch
from ForwardKnot
This next site doesn't have tutes, but to see what a talented artist can do with beads and macrame, check out the Etsy store Knot Just Macrame by Sherri Stokey. I first learned about her from a post in The Beading Gem Journal back in January. Thanks, Pearl!

Dragon bracelet by Sherri Stokey
Lastly, I have a board on Pinterest devoted to knotwork, if you're interested in following me there--a mix of tutes and inspiration.

(Dang, it's already Monday. Guess now I don't have to schedule this to delay-post.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Put a mustache on it

This 2011 crafting parody video, courtesy of Regretsy, was featured on the Beading Gem's Journal blog recently. You don't have to know the original movie, or be on Etsy, to find it pee-your-pants funny.

...And in case you didn't get what my blogpost title was referencing, it was this viral vid from a few months back...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Drilled beach stones for I Might Make That! Monday

Rock Collection Necklace Bittersweet Greys
by Jenny Hoople of Authentic Arts
One of the reasons I got into beading and jewelry making is that I thought you didn't need a lot of fancy equipment. Some chain-nose and round-nose pliers, some wire cutters, lots of small-eyed needles and endless yards of Fireline and you're set, right?


Rotary tool image from Jenny Hoople
of Authentic Arts
Now I find myself coveting power tools.

I can't remember where I found these lovely drilled stones--Pinterest most likely--but Jenny Hoople of Authentic Arts has a how-to on using a Dremel tool to drill holes in stones. I know these gizmos are handy for all kinds of tasks--not just drilling holes in metal and stones but for filing and polishing too.

It'll be a while before I get one, but I'm happy to pass along the tute.

(And yes, I'm a little behind in updating my IMMT! Archives page with the past couple of weeks' entries, but the link to it is in the top right corner of the blog.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hop along

It's Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party reveal day!

I wasn't one of the lucky ones to be picked to participate this year, but I'll be blog-hopping all weekend to see the magic others have wrought.

Thank you, Lori, for dreaming up this fun event that unleashes creativity and makes the blogosphere a tad more cozy. Can't wait to get your book this fall!