Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur

Good yom tov to all observing Yom Kippur. It doesn't seem appropriate to post a Need a Laugh Wednesday on a day of atonement, so I'll do one later in the week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Post earring roundup for I Might Make That! Monday

"Easy Peasy" post earrings from For the Love of Beads
Yikes, I'm discovering that this Monday feature is now competing with my Monday-night class for my precious Sunday hours. (Because, of course, I could do my reading and other homework over the course of the week, but inevitably put it off until Sunday night. Ditto this blogpost.)

Anyway, enough whining. I have been on the search recently for some earring tutorials. Tutes for ear wires, whether you mean French hooks, old-fashioned kidneys, or something more arty, are fairly easy to find. But frankly, I prefer to wear post earrings (either simple studs or something with a smallish dangle.)

Tutes for post earrings are much rarer. Most of what I found in my Internet quest involved buying posts with flat pads like this and then gluing a cabachon, half-drilled pearl or even a cute button onto. I have some of those findings, and yes, they're fine, but not terribly original.

Here's a roundup of some different looks.

The pic at the top shows some square spiral post earrings from the blog For the Love of Beads. I wasn't familiar with this blog, but the author is a glass artist. She has some other tutes, many of them lampwork-oriented, at this link.  (She throws in some hot dish recipes, too!)

Spiral Wave earrings by artless
In a similar squiggly mode are these earrings at left. They are called "Spiral Wave." Here's a link to the tute, which isn't free, but the price is only $3. The designer's name is listed as "artless."

And continuing on the spiral theme (I'm not going to post a pic for the next one, because I've mentioned the site before), WigJig has a tute for simple spiral posts here.

The next tute isn't a free either, but it's absolutely lovely. A steal at $6. The artist is the very talented Nicole Hanna.

Nicole Hanna's stunning geometric post earrings
If you're not familiar with Nicole Hanna's blog, she's very funny. This link will take you to the site for purchasing instructions to make what she calls "Geometric Post Earrings."

Below is a free pattern I found on Craftsy. I love this one.

Gailavira's Beaded Spiral Post Earrings

The designer is Gailavira. The link shows it in several variations.

And I'll finish up with this one. It does start with one of those flat-pad post findings, but it's unusual enough to include here. The designer uses poymer clay and nail polish to create an unusal finish for these studs.

Chic Metal Earrings from Quiet Lion

And if I do wind up making my own ear posts, I now know how to use a cup bur to file the ends, thanks to a great post by Pearl of Beading Gem's Journal on sanding and filing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Gone to the dogs

As I shared in my recent tribute to cats, I haven't had a dog since childhood. But I certainly like dogs, and I understand the appeal of their unabashed loyalty.

So here's equal time for the canines.

(If you're not familiar with the Tumblr blog Texts from Dog, check it out!)

Source: google.com via Geneva on Pinterest

Source: epicfail.com via Geneva on Pinterest

Source: memebase.com via Geneva on Pinterest

Ok, now the image I'm about to share is, hands down, the funniest thing I've ever seen on Pinterest.

Not the funniest dog pin, the funniest pin, period.

So put down your coffee mug so you don't snort coffee out your nose.

If you're at work, be prepared to stifle your giggles.

It still makes me laugh every time I see it.

Readers, I present to you:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An honor to be nominated, and a tribute to my nominator

(Mandy of Beads for Brains' Blogger
profile image)

Recently, Mandy of Beads for Brains nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award!

I was both honored and flattered to be recognized by her, and to be included among the creative and talented bloggers she gave a shout-out to.

Because this award is similar to the Kreativ Blogger Award in which I already shared seven random facts about myself, I'm going to hijack the award rules and instead list seven awesome things about Mandy:

1. She and I have never met in person, but she exudes such warmth and humor through her blog that I feel I know her.

2.  I learned about her 365-day project (in which she took on the challenge of trying a new bead project every day) from some other beading site, when she was at about day 60, and I was so intrigued by it that over the course of a couple weeks, I back-read her posts all the way to the blog's inception.

3. What I liked about her blog was that at first she was a newbie like me, so I could relate to her experimentation. But within weeks she far, far surpassed my ability. She is a poster child for how accomplished a person can become through sheer practice and diligence!

4. Her relentless online search for beading patterns has taken all over the world, where she has promoted the work of bead artists from Russia, Hungary, France, Italy and elsewhere. Thanks to her, I installed Google Chrome on my computer so that I could read the (amusingly wonky) translations of these patterns. And she taught me that with a good schematic, words aren't that important.

5. Through her, I discovered a number of great beader-bloggers, such as Sally of Wild Sally Road, as well as some non-beading blogs, like Clutter-Busting. (Unfortunately, just reading a blog does not put stuff away. Still working on that one. But this post is about her, not me.)

6. A few months ago, she published her first pattern--in Bead & Button, no less!

7. A rough patch about a year ago has prevented Mandy from finishing her project in 365 consecutive days, but she is continuing her beading journey on her own schedule, and I continue to look forward to every installment. I hope she knows that there is an army of beader-bloggers out there cheering her on to the finish line.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Seeing double for I Might Make That! Monday

I promised a double feature last week, so here are two patterns for two-hole Twin beads.

Although these have been on the market for awhile, I have not purchased any yet. But I already know I prefer their rounded, more organic shape to the square Tilas. (I did get a small packet to play with when Preciosa Ornela staged a giveaway, but haven't had a chance to experiment. There were enough beads to make a focal, but not a full bracelet.)

But I have been collecting Twin patterns. To the left is one for a bracelet featured on the Preciosa Ornela website.

Click this link for a downloadable PDF of it.

During the Olympics, the company also published the pattern at right. I'm not sure what the "support the athletes" headline  is about. Apparently the Czech and U.S. flags have the same red, white and blue color scheme and it just refers to showing team spirit; I don't see anything about actual money going to the Olympics.

Besides promoting the Olympics, Preciosa was also using the pattern to introduce its new pressed-glass Twins, which allows the company to manufacture them in many more colors.

I think this pattern has the worst name in the world--"bracelet with small bells"--because the junky jingle bells are the most forgettable thing about it. What's really cool is the illustration that shows the beaded beads done up with spirals, stars, zigzags and diamonds. (The pattern schematic shows only the spiral, but once you made that, maybe you could decipher the patterns for the other designs shown.)

I'm highlighting only two patterns here, but there are many more on the Preciosa Ornela Twins website, plus an inspiration album.

[Previous I Might Make That! Monday entries can be found by clicking the widget at the top-right corner.]

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Non-Profit Humour for Need a Laugh Wednesday

Non-Profit Humour
After a long career spent mostly in hard-nosed daily journalism (no, I did not keep bourbon in my desk drawer, but at both the AP and Washington Post I knew people who really, truly did), I entered the nonprofit sector in 2008.

(Insert joke here about newspapers having become nonprofit organizations too.)

Nonprofits, I soon learned, have their own lingua franca. "Donor engagement." "Impactful." (I refuse to acknowledge that one.)"Aspirational peers." "Planned giving."

If you have also ever worked for a nonprofit, you will appreciate the humor of the excellent blog Non-Profit Humour. (It's Canadian, hence the "u" in "humour.")

Here are some recent headlines that I found amusing:

Hospitals fight over last remaining volunteer under 60

Street fundraising gets results with leghold traps

Charity's YouTube video just makes them look even more lame

Some other observations about the difference between nonprofit work and journalism:

1. Once, after I'd stayed way late and knocked myself out to meet a deadline but discovered that no one else had met theirs, a colleague said, "We view deadlines as, well, aspirational goals."

2. People who work for nonprofits generally do not swear like sailors.

Monday, September 10, 2012

No I Might Make That! Monday! today

I was traveling all last week on a last-minute trip. I was organized enough before I left to write and schedule last week's posts in advance, but not prescient enough to plan something for today as well. I promise to post a double installment next week!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Need a Laugh Wednesday: Pinstrosity

Is uber-snarky Regretsy one of your guilty pleasures? Are you addicted to Pinterest?

Then let me introduce you to the metaphorical offspring of their unholy union: Pinstrosity.

I stumbled on this site a month or so ago, and it cracks me up on a regular basis.

I guess it's not really fair to compare it to Regretsy, because that's a site in which the editor(s) make fun of godawful stuff they discover on Etsy, and the people submitting to Pinstrosity are sending in their own failed attempts to recreate a Pin on Pinterest. There is usually good-humored discussion about what went wrong (and it usually involves a confession of not quite following directions or a creative approach to substituting ingredients.) Occasionally the authors report "Pin Wins"--successfully duplicating a Pinterest project.

I haven't seen too many jewelry experiments yet--mostly food flops and craft fails. Have you seen that Pin that shows you how to create a flower by gently melting plastic spoons into petal shapes? The picture sequence is too long to republish on this blog, but here's a link to the Pin and the Pinstrosity.

It's nice to recognize that most DIY projects don't come out looking like a Martha Stewart staged shoot.

Here's one of my favorites from recent weeks:

You can read the full post here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Soldered pendant for I Might Make That! Monday

Soldered pendants from Stampington & Co.

Does a soldering tool count as a power tool? A while back I wrote in one of my IMMT!M features that I got into beading because it didn't require special tools, then I found myself coveting a Dremel drill when I saw what other crafters were doing with them.

Although I grew up in a household of three brothers and a sister who was handier than all of them combined, this was still the eras of Girls Take Home Ec Boys Take Shop Class and I never learned how to use the simplest tools, like a soldering iron. (Is it called an "iron" or a "gun"? See how clueless I am?) There's been nothing stopping me learning how as an adult save for lack of motivation, and I happened to marry a man whose lack of skills matched mine. We do our best to support the local handyman industry.

I knew lots of jewelry makers used this technique, but I always assumed soldering to be part of advanced metalsmithing that I would need to take classes in. (I have to confess, I was much more interested in learning why it is pronounced "sah-der" instead of "sole-der" than how it was done.)

But whoa, Eva Maria Keiser just posted this video on soldering on her blog a few weeks ago.

I'm sure soldering is more complicated than this demo makes it look, but the fact is, I had never even seen soldering done. This looks easy! And look how girly this soldering kit looks!

So maybe I'll give it a go. Please share your soldering experiences too!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New/old work ... and some more cats

Here's a piece that I actually began working on in early July, when we went to Chautauqua, New York, for a week. On the long car ride there, I attempted two or three bead combos but didn't get anything I liked, and kept frogging. (Do beadweavers say "frogging," or is that strictly a knitting term?)

Once we were at our destination, I played around a little more and got this Cellini spiral started, and worked on it on the drive back. Once I got back home, I found my bead swap beads from Dot waiting for me, and knew I shouldn't distract myself from creating my bead soup necklace, so this has set on a corner of the bead table. But I can pick it up again now.

Interestingly, the beads Dot sent me were in mostly browns and greens, and I already had pulled out all of my beads in those colors for this experiment, so they were easily accessible for adding to the bead soup I made for Daphne of the Woods.

And I do have one quick update to the cat humor I featured last week. I learned from the FB post of a friend who lives in St. Paul about the Internet Cat Video Filmfest at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. (I thought it was a spoof, but no!) Here's a link to New York Times coverage of the event.

And below is the winner of the Golden Kitty award!