Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Need a laugh Wednesday: cat humor

At some point I'll run out of humor topics relating directly to me, but this week's theme fits that bill. Although I love dogs and had one growing up, at some point our family made the decision that we were Cat People.

So here's some feline hijinks that I hope will make you smile. (Because, you know, there isn't enough cat humor on the Internet already.)

Source: via Marissa on Pinterest

Source: via Geneva on Pinterest

There's lots of cat jewelry out there, but here's one I especially fancy:
Source: via Geneva on Pinterest

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fleur-de-Lis knotwork for I Might Make That! Monday

Fleur-de-lis knot by Tying It All Together

Many people think of the fleur-de-lis as a symbol for New Orleans, but it is also a symbol associated with Louisville, my home town, which is named for the Louis XVI. (It's been many years since I've been back, but at one time there was a fountain downtown near the waterfront designed to spout water in a fleur-de-lis shape.)

I'm a real francophile, so I've always loved these symbols. (Did you know that the fleur-de-lis is supposed to represent an iris?)

I recently learned about a great video tutorial series on knotwork from reading Stormdrane's Blog, called Tying It All Together (by J.D. Lenzen), and when I subscribed to the channel, this stunning fleur-de-lis knot was the first to arrive in my mailbox:

No set of diagrams can duplicate actually watching someone do this--Lenzen's tutes are pure gold!

I can just picture this embellished with beads in the loops to accentuate them. (I wonder if you could make a beaded rope flexible enough to be tied like this?)

(New to my blog? An archive of previous I Might Make That! Monday tutorials can be found via the widget in the top right corner of my blog.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bead Soup Reveal: Daphne of the Woods

The third and final reveal of the sixth Bead Soup Blog Party is upon us, and I have been stitching for three weeks on this one! I wanted to do justice to the lovely soup that Dot of Speedie Beadie sent me, and since she emailed me a sneak-peak of what she had made from the beads I sent her, I wanted to put as much effort into my creation and she did into hers.

I will also make you, dear reader, do a little work by posting step-by-step pics before revealing the completed necklace.

First off, here's the soup Dot sent me back in early July:

Crappy photo, I know, but there were tons of seed beads and bugles in shades of gold, brown and green, as well as some larger beads, coins and rings plus a raku face.

The point of the bead swap is to challenge yourself, and this was indeed a challenge, because the raku focal had no holes, and I had to figure out a way to make it the centerpiece of a necklace! My first thought was to bezel it, although I had never actually bezeled before.

My regular readers may recall that I blogged about my first bezel attempt a few weeks ago. (Dot, if you saw it, you were probably the only one to recognize your cabochons in the photo!) I started out doing the round cabs to get the hang of a peyote bezel, then I planned on tackling the diamond-shaped raku face. However,  after completing the cabs, I realized that in order to secure the face in a bezel setting, I would have to stitch up over the edges and thus partially obscure the eyes.

Gulp. Plan B: bead embroidery. I had gotten a copy of the Heidi Kummli/Sherri Serafini book The Art of Bead Embroidery several months ago and had vague ambitions to give it a try, but hadn't actually gotten around to it. A trip to a sewing goods store for Lacy's Stiff Stuff and ultrasuede backing were in order.

I thought the gunmetal green (I just made that color name up!) seed beads Dot sent beautifully matched the patina on the raku face, so I started with that. (Note that the Lacy's Stiff Stuff has been colored with a marker in a color I will call The Only Sharpie I Had on Hand Green. Yes, brown would have been a better choice, but I didn't have brown. I figured glimpses of green peeking through would be better than white.)

I had decided I wanted to make a freeform netting necklace like I did for a fairy tale-themed bead swap organized by Lori last year, which was inspired by the Wander With Color necklace design of Beverly Ash Gilbert. (It's on the cover of her book Beaded Colorways.) So I started pulling out all the seed beads in my stash in hues of brown, bronze, gold and green and stirred them up in a bowl to supplement what Dot had sent.

Beading round and round that raku face, I got to know that gal pretty well. In fact, she told me she was a wood nymph named Daphne, and that she liked to hide amid the tangled vines and leaves of the forest floor, so could I please whip up something like that to adorn her in.

Here's a completed Daphne gazing down on the bead soup, which she told me met her approval.

So OK, I had done bezeling and bead embroidery, two new things I had never done before, and I hadn't even started the main body of the necklace! I knew I could do the freeform netting, but I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to attach Daphne. I was just hoping that I could weave beads over and around and through her beaded edging, and that it would hold and look nice.

Here's how the "base layer" of netting looked just before I stitched Daphne onto it.

You'll see that I was working on a bead board. I was trying to learn from a mistake I made when I created my freeform necklace last year. I had stitched that flat on a bead mat, and it looked gorgeous, but when I put it around my neck, it didn't lay right, because I hadn't contoured it. I wound up stitching on several more rows while having it hang from a neckform in order to correct that.

So this time I used the bead board's furrows to create a U shape. This worked brilliantly until the necklace got too bulky, and it was a pain to rotate the board every time I got to an end and was ready to switch directions. I took it off the board and laid it on a mat.

This was my one mistake of the creation, because once it came off the board, it was hard to keep it balanced. One side would get a little wonky during the stitching, so I'd add a row of beads to smooth it out. Then I had to do the other side for balance. But wait, now this side is an inch longer. Let me add some to the top of the other side.... This went on and on, hour after hour over these past several days.

But here it is finished, your reward for reading this far!

A closeup:

I am absolutely thrilled with how Daphne came out--the swirl of beads does look like she is peeking out from a tangle of vines, as I envisioned. (You can't see it in the photos, but there is a little turtle bead at the top of the left shoulder that adds to the woodsiness--that was one of the special beads Dot sent.)

The piece is so dense with beads it feels more like beaded fabric draped around my neck than a necklace.This is one I'm definitely keeping for myself (A: I love it. B: I could never sell it for a price that represented the hours I put into it!)

Oh yes, about those bezeled cabs. You may have noticed they aren't part of it. I tried placing them in the design, but they stood up too high and took  attention away from Daphne, so they will shortly become a pair of beautiful post earrings for moi. 

I didn't use quite all of Dot's beads. I set aside two raku cubes to make coordinating earrings for the Daphne necklace, but I ran out of time before I could make them. They are next on my to-do list, because I'll want to wear them together with the necklace.

I also didn't get a chance to use the four green bead-frame circles or the gold Chinese coins, and I hope to make a bracelet out of those items. I still have a few of her opaque gold faceted rounds left too, although lots and lots of them were woven into the necklace. Lastly, there was a packet of wing-shaped French sequins. I have no idea what I will do with them, but they are so cool and unusual that I love having them in my stash until inspiration strikes.

Thank you for reading to the end of this long-winded post--please be sure to check out what my partner Dot made from the beads I sent her. And here is a list of the other participants in the 3rd reveal. So start hopping!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads 
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle,  Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth's Blog
Dana Fowler, Trunk Full of Treasure
Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous

Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Eileen Snyder, Dorset Hill Beads
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs, Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Fen Li, Bead Flora Jewels
Gail Zwang, Angel Moose Enterprises
Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation,  Art Food Lodging

Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Hajer Waheed, My Beaded World
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier
Jane Haag, Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs

Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads
Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel, Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home

Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Kelley Fogle, My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show

Klaudette Koon, Only Road
Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities

Laurie Lalonde, Simply Mod Jewelry
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures
Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington, Lori's Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN

Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio

Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope,  LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts
Natalie McKenna, grubbi

Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears, Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville, Copper Penny
Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson, Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry

Rose Binoya, Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog
Sally Anderson, Wild Sally Road
Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Goode, Pookledo

Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Shawn Mills, Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis, Stone Designs by Sheila

Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin,  Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tania Hagen, Pelima Jewellery Design

Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Coffee Humor

This installment of Need a Laugh Wednesday is as revealing about me as my grammar humor one was--people who know me well know that I am a coffee fiend.

Hey, I had a French press coffee maker way back in 1982 and was drinking cappuccino in the days where the only places you could buy the stuff outside Europe were a handful of coffeehouses in Greenwich Village. A pinboard devoted to coffee was one of my earliest Pinterest projects.

I have to confess that I used to drink quadruple shots of espresso.

Source: via Geneva on Pinterest

The one below is not humor, but it's so magnificent I have to share--it's a portrait made of coffee rings.

And look--since this is a jewelry blog, I'll finish up with a different kind of coffee ring. How cool is this?

P.S. some of you may have missed my last Need a Laugh installment, featuring Tina Fey--I published it last Wednesday but with the wrong date, so it showed up among the July posts. I've corrected it. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Slipping under the wire with fun wire projects for I Might Make That! Monday

Pinwheel ring by Dale Cougar Armstrong,
pattern courtesy of
The best-laid plans of mice and bloggers... I had planned to write my Monday blog post last night but fell asleep watching TV about two hours earlier than I normally go to bed, which I guess was my body's way of telling me I seriously needed some shut-eye.

But hey, there's still a few hours left in Monday, so I'll sneak in under the wire. I recently discovered the site, which  sells jewelry-making supplies but also offers lots of wire and jewelry-making tips and videos (some are free, some are not.)

If you sign up for the free e-newsletter (scroll down to the bottom of the home page), you'll get access to exclusive patterns that are not among the free offerings. This lovely swirly ring above, by Dale Cougar Armstrong, was the pattern I got. I just love her pieces--I have her book Wirework--which is way above my ability, but this ring is described as beginner-level.

Do check out It's nice to support sites that make the effort to include educational content along with the merchandise.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Tina Fey

Tina Fey, the world's smart-funniest woman

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Because some of us beaders are just too slovenly to participate in Bead Table Wednesday.

My dear friend Patti recently sent me a link to this essay by Tina Fey. It originally appeared in Bossypants, and I cut and pasted it from (Put your coffee mug down now; otherwise, you'll snort it out your nose while reading.)


First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, 
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop," "Tower of Torture," or "The Death Spiral Rock N' Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes
And not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I'm asking You because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, 
For Childhood is short -- a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day -- 
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, 
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, 
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, 
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, 
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

"My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck.
"My mother did this for me." And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gold Burst for I Might Make That! Monday

Margie Deeb's Gold Burst
in several colorways
I know I have gained several new followers in the past week or so since my book giveaway (congrats, again A Polymer Penchant!), so I want to welcome all newcomers and re-introduce this feature.

Each week I highlight a new tutorial or technique for I Might Make That! Monday. The only criterion for selection is that it must be something I haven't tried and would want to learn or aspire to.

I recently stumbled on Margie Deeb's website, thanks to a mention in one of the Beading Daily blogs. That feature talked about her color work and her color wheel--topics I'm very much interested in, so I went to her site to learn more.

I discovered a wealth of beadwork patterns--many of them free--using peyote, brick, square stitch or a loom. Gold Burst, shown above, is my favorite of the freebies. It can be done on a loom or in square stitch. Hmm. Maybe this will be my introduction to square stitch.

If you're new to Margie Deeb, or to her site, I urge you to click around and explore. There are preview PDFs from her book The Beader's Color Palette, a gallery of her lovely work, and so much more. I signed up for her e-newsletter.

[An archive of past I Might Make That! Monday selections can be accessed by the widget in the top right corner of this blog.] 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We have a winner.....

Thank you, thank you, to everyone who entered my giveaway! I got at least a dozen new followers and lots of congratulatory comments. More important, it was an opportunity for me to discover YOUR great blogs!

All told, I had 155 entries, because followers got two votes, and people could get extra chances by sharing on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, in addition to commenting.

So I fired up the random number generator, plugged in "155" and out spat 12.

Because I had started my numbering system with followers first, 12 had been assigned to:

A Polymer Penchant

So congrats, Emma, you are the lucky winner of  Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party book!


Contact me via email at torquestory (at) with your snail-mail address. (Note that the book won't ship until September or October, so be patient.)

As I noted in the giveaway announcement, my celebration of my 100th post happened to coincide with the first reveal of the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party, which seemed like karma to me. And now my announcement of the winner coincides with the second reveal date, which I totally did not plan, either.

In even more karmic convergence, it just so happens that Polymer Penchant is participating in today's reveal, so you can get hopping by visiting her blog, and from there you will find links to the rest of the participants.

Meanwhile, I need to get cracking on some beading myself--I'm participating in reveal #3 on Aug. 25!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Grammar humor

Last week I debuted a new feature, Need a Laugh Wednesday. This week's theme: Grammar humor. (OK, the former copy editor in me feels compelled to state that it's really grammar, punctuation and spelling humor.)

It cracks me up that someone has taken the time to graffitically correct a graffito. (And check out Americans for Grammar for more misspelled graffiti.)

Source: via Geneva on Pinterest

Some wisdom from 30 Rock.

The unnecessary comma doesn't help matters, either.


I could add to this: An em dash saying "Wait--sorry--in a hurry."

No visuals for this last one, but I will now share with you my favorite copy editor joke. (OK, it's my only copy editor joke.)

Q: How many copy editors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Uh, are you sure "change" is the right word here? Because you're not really changing the light bulb, are you? You're replacing it. 

(If you have a favorite visual joke involving grammar, share it in the comments and I'll post it to the Pinterest Board I've created for Need a Laugh Wednesday.)

And don't forget to enter my contest to win Lori Anderson's Bead Soup book. The deadline is midnight Friday. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dark Lady for I Might Make That! Monday

Dark Lady by Cyndi Lavin/Beading Arts
I spent the weekend working on my team final project for my summer class in my master's program, plus playing around with my big reveal project later this month for the Bead Soup Blog Party, so I confess that Sunday evening--when I usually write these posts--snuck up on me.

I'll keep this short, since it's late. Behold the beautiful bead embroidery project by Cyndi Lavin of Beading Arts. This link will take you to the last of the three-part series documenting her creation of this masterpiece. Scroll down to the bottom and you can find the links to Parts 1 and 2.  (Note: Although it's simply called "steel-cut button necklace" on the tutorial, it's called Dark Lady when you search for bead embroidery on the site, so that's the name I used.)

It's got tons of step-by-step photos, and you can find a download to a free e-book on bead embroidery at the same site.

My interest in bead embroidery will become apparent in a few weeks--stay tuned!

Don't forget to enter my book giveaway for Lori Anderson's soon-to-be-published Bead Soup book--enter here!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bezels ... check!

Check mark book shelf by Jongho Park

[Looking for my Bead Soup book giveaway? Click here to enter!]

One of the earliest projects to be featured in I Might Make That! Monday was peyote stitch bezeling.

It's such a staple, and didn't look hard, but I had just simply never tried it. I'm happy to say that now I have, and this marks the first time I've actually completed a project from the IMMT!M list!

The project I featured, Mortira of Inspirational Beading's beaded rivoli, helped me tackle a round cabochon. I didn't even bother measuring the diameter of the cab, I just kept stringing some size 11/o's on the needle until they made a circle slightly smaller than the cab. I did make one false start before trying again with more beads. I made three rounds of 11/o's in matte root beer, one round of slightly smaller Delica 11/o's in mustard, then three rounds of 15/o's in gold. (Note that this doesn't actually mirror the progression Mortira used, but I view most directions as general guidelines, not biblical scripture. )

Parden the crappy photo; you'll see the project is still on the needle.

(Can't tell you yet what I'm going to do with this--you'll have to stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Introducing Need a Laugh Wednesday

For many in the Beading Blogosphere, midweek humpday means Bead Table Wednesday, a charming custom that I believe was introduced by Humblebeads' Heather Powers about 18 months ago. Although pics of messy spaces are welcome, I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that broadcasting to the world the junkheap that is currently my desk would be singularly dispiriting.

So I'm introducing a new way to celebrate midweek--Need a Laugh Wednesday.

Each Wednesday I'll post some humor related to a particular theme. To kick it off, I thought it only appropriate to take on beading and jewelry-making. (And my witty husband said I should title this entry "Needle Laugh Wednesday.")

Spotted on Pinterest:


This one has been making the rounds. I think I first spotted it on Pearl's the Beading Gem's Journal over the winter:

I've shared this before, but it's worth repeating--I spotted in on Jean Campbell's site:

And now, ta-DAH, the debut of the very first meme ever created by ME.

(That's Bryce Harper of my hometown Nationals, for you non-baseball fans out there.) Go ahead--share if you like it!

Have an urge to create your own meme? Here's a template for the UthinkIdo meme. And others can be found at the Meme Generator

If you have your own favorite meme, cartoon, wry remark, whatever--related to the week's theme, please share it in the comments. I will be creating a Pinterest Board for Need a Laugh Wednesday and can post others' contributions there!

And don't forget to sign up for a chance to win a Bead Soup book! Click here for the contest!