Monday, April 27, 2009

I heart Mondays

I don't have a jewelry box. I have jewelry boxes. In fact my dresser is covered with my box collection. I have a large box (an antique portable writing desk) that holds earrings, a rectangular wooden box for necklaces, a nifty square box for bracelets, a leather-covered box for "sparkly" jewelry, another wooden box for odds and ends, and then I have these little boxes. One, from my grandmother, houses a lapel pin from my grandfather. One is filled with safety pins. One has a few baby teeth that the tooth fairy left behind. One was given to me by my father when I was about 10 years old. The heart-shaped Christmas cat was a gift from my cousin, and the heart-shaped button box was a nursery-school masterpiece that I still use and love.

This eclectic system works for me. I can always find what I want, and pieces remain fairly tangle-free. How do you store your jewelry?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just say no to plastic

Happy earth day!
Do you use re-usable grocery bags? Do you always remember to bring them into the store with you? My 2009 earth day goal is to not only have them in the car with me at all times, but to actually bring them into the store each time I shop. I’m getting better, but I’m not there yet.

Here’s a project to jazz up your bags, so you’ll never forget them.

Printed fabric (choose from pre-cut fat quarters)
Fusible webbing material such as Steam-A-Seam
Fabric glue (optional)
Grocery tote
Iron and ironing board

Fuse the webbing to the back of the printed fabric.
Cut out pattern around the pattern, leaving a straight edge on the bottom and side.
If your bag is canvas or cloth: iron the cut fabric to the bag, matching the straight edges to the bottom and sides, or really however you’d like.
If your bag is made from recycled plastic, as mine is, the iron will melt the bag (trust me, even on low). Either use a pressing cloth and very carefully press the fabric to the bag, or use fabric glue.

Here’s a close up of my tote:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project & Book Give-away

Crafts 'n Things magazine published the chain lariat project from Mostly Metals in the June issue , and they are giving away some signed book copies -- check out their website or the issue for details.
You'll find my project among more than 200 others, including some fantastic projects from Melonie Bradley, Margot Potter, and Nickie Meiners. What distinguished company!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I heart Mondays

Here's the heart for today...

This bead is made by Unicorne Beads and is borosilicate glass with dichroic. I'll be using it in a project in my next book.

Hope you had a fun weekend. I had a great time in Naperville. It was wonderful to talk to so many enthusiastic beaders!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mostly Metals Book Signing and Demo

Just a reminder that I'll be at the Suburban Bead Encounter in Naperville, IL tomorrow, signing Mostly Metals and demonstrating a project from the book. Come by and say hi!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easy sewing project

Do you ever encounter climate-control disagreements with your traveling companion? My theory is that the driver (usually my husband) needs to be perfectly comfortable which leaves me about 10 degrees cooler than I'd like. The same goes for the hotel room -- the driver controls the AC to guarantee a good night's sleep, which means I'm a little chilly on my side. Here's my solution: An easy-to-make lightweight travel blanket that works in the car but is big enough to provide an extra layer overnight.

Start with three Pashmina-style scarves (check clearance racks for great bargains this time of year). All you need to do is to sew them together, and you'll have an easy-to-pack, warm blanket.
I found out the hard way that sewing these thin, long, scarves together is a little easier said than done, especially if you are just a craft sewer like I am. I had trouble keeping the edges lined up, even with a lot of pinning. And, much to my dismay, I found out that the scarves were not equal lengths to start with, so I got a ragged edge.
To help with the sewing, I used some fusible webbing material to fuse the scarves together before sewing:
This really helped with the alignment. Then I top stitched along the same path in a contrasting color just for fun. If I had really planned ahead, I would have staggered the scarves so the un-evenness would be equal on each end.
So, what do you think?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Break

It's time for Spring Break, and a whirlwind college tour for Meredith & me. I heart Mondays will return at its regularly scheduled time next Monday, after a brief break. I also have a new craft project for you, and a sneak peek at some work-in-progress for my next book. See you in about a week!


We went to the Titanic Artifacts Exhibition as part of our birthday celebration for Haley. It was a great day and a fun exhibition. However, at the end of the tour we lined up to get our favorite souvenir, and we realized that it now costs $1.01. Oh, well. Still worth it to add to our collection:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's all in how you read it...

I’ve been exploring blogs, and in the wonderful way of the web one thing leads to another. Rings & Things has a new (to me) blog, and I enjoyed Dave's post about team blogging. He introduced me to Collective Creatives and I’ll be a frequent visitor there (an aside – found out that one of the contributors is blogging from about 15 miles away from me – small, small world). Anyway, one of my longtime favorite reads is Art Bead Scene, another awesome creative collaboration. Somewhere along the way I tripped across artsandcraftslaw and I thought “what a great name. Arts & Craft Slaw. Like a jumbled and colorful salad of crafters – so much more clever than my own Artful Crafts. I jumped over immediately and scrolled through recent posts. Lots of info about the very important Orphan Works Legistlation, but not much about arts or crafts. Duh. The real bolg title is arts-and-crafts-law. Does this ever happen to you? What are some of your funnier mis-reads?

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Jewelry Making Book

One of the best things about my job is that I get to see book projects progress from the very beginning to the final, published book. Even before the proposal stage, we get hints of what's to come. There's a query, either formal, or usually informal ("I was thinking of ... what do you think?") Then we get the proposal, and a few project samples. Finally, the manuscript arrives with all the completed work. But that's not the end. We see the projects -- first on the editor's desk, then en route to art and photography, then back again -- over a six-month period.

When the rumors started that there might be a book in the works by Cathy Jakicic, BeadStyle editor, we were all curious. Imagine our delight when Hip, Handmade Memory Jewelry arrived! From a distance, the projects looked like beautiful -- but really fun -- jewelry. Close up, though, every piece revealed a story.

While jewelry making remains dear to my heart, I am a craft dabbler. There isn't a technique I don't want to try. This book combines the best of the best -- there are scrapbooking elements, decoupage, lots of things to do with photos, resin-set charms and pendants, and even simple laminating. We've all made paper beads before, but how great would it be to have a necklace made from the special wrapping paper from a bridal or baby shower? Cathy's "Gifts of Style" project combines these special beads with luminous coin pearls for an elegant keepsake necklace. Two of my personal favorite collectibles -- sea glass and smooshed pennies -- are both given their due. The "Sea-Glass Celebration" set is a beautiful presentation. But what I like the most is Cathy's idea to make your own "sea" glass with a rock tumbler and a broken bottle. I'll have to look at special occasions a little differently! "Cent-imental Style" looks like a lovely copper-toned necklace from a distance, but a closer look reveals links made from my favorite 51-cent souvenir.

Those of you who know me well know about my home-decorating adventures and particularly the faux painting exploits. There was the blood-red-and-metallic-gold extravaganza in the powder room, the Tuscan-like (well, in my mind) guest bedroom, and the glistening gold dining room, to name a few. How I wish now that I had photos of those walls, since I've moved more than I like to think. Cathy was smart enough to photograph her walls and decoupage the results into a beautiful textured bangle bracelet, called "Home Fires." It brings new meaning to the phrase "if these walls could talk..."

Hip Handmade Memory Jewelry should be in stores soon, but you can always order a copy from Kalmbach.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I heart Mondays

This is a simple necklace of pearls and silver. It features a beautiful Hill Tribes silver heart pendant. Hill Tribes silver is hand crafted in Thailand by the tribes that literally live in the hills, the most common being named Karen. That explains my preference for these beautiful components. They are made from fine silver, which is more pure than sterling. For more Hill Tribes silver components, click here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lucky Me!

Meredith is learning how to enamel in her metalwork class at school, and I get her cast-offs. Here's her pendant, with my beading. I'm so happy I have something to wear with my new green sweater, and I love how it matches my blog scheme so nicely! (This is why my house is never clean -- it's too easy to get distracted.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mostly Metals Book Signing and Demo

I'll be signing books and demonstrating a project at the Suburban Bead Encounter in Naperville, Il. on Sunday April 19 from 10 am to 2 pm. Come and say hi! It looks like a great show.