Friday, July 31, 2009

The final stretch

Well, it's a short to-do list, but the tasks seem large ... by this time on Tuesday everything will be safely delivered to my editor (hard to imagine right now!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Whoops, he did it again

Just because I started something the first time he retired, I feel I need to keep you informed (you've been on the edges of your seats like the rest of Wisconsin, haven't you?). Brett Favre has retired, again. Here's the post I wrote in honor of the first retirement. No, wait, it was when he went to play for the Jets instead of staying retired...or was it the second retirement, gosh, I've really lost track. Now, what I'm really hoping is that we can all -- Brett included -- move on.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I heart Mondays

When I was purchasing some last-minute must-have supplies at my local bead store, the salesperson stopped in the middle of ringing up my transaction and went to assist the UPS guy. Normally, this would be poor customer service, but it allowed me a few minutes to search through the bargain bin they keep near the register. I couldn't resist this purchase. I guess poor customer service really is more like a good sales technique!

I think this would look pretty on leather cord with maybe a double jump ring connection. But instead, I'm going to try my hand at bead stitching. I'm going to make one of Beth Stone's skinny ropes (as soon as I turn in my book), and see if I can stitch a bail as well. I'll post again when the project is finished.

And speaking of the book, my deadline is a week away. I finished my last round of step-by-step photography today. The workspace is getting worse, but I'm really happy with the projects. I can't wait to share more with you.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Survey says...

It's gratifying to see that 70% of you love to learn from books...especially now that I'm against my deadline and I have fleeting moments of thinking, "is it all worth it?" But with only 20% of choosing the internet, do you think I should keep blogging? There are 8 days left to vote, so to quote my father, "vote early & vote often."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jewelry that works for you

Have you heard of the jeweler's handshake? That's when someone reaches out to touch your necklace as part of saying hello. Where I work, it's an everyday occurrence. Not only is the building filled with the editorial teams for the three leading jewelry magazines, almost everyone from reception to accounting to shipping is hooked on the hobby in one way or another. Needless to say, I only wear jewelry to work that I've made myself, and I usually wear more jewelry to work than I do in other aspects of my life.
That is, until I get to my desk and start to work. Within minutes, I'm stripping off rings and bracelets so I can get comfortable at my keyboard. Because, although everything I do is about jewelry, knitting, or some other craft, it's all done electronically. I usually have a tidy, but sparkly, pile next to my computer.
Lately, I've been thinking about jewelry designs with the keyboard in mind. Here are a few of my favorites. They wear well, drape nicely, and most of all, they are unobtrusive when my wrists rest on the desk:
These traditional Byzantine chain mail bracelets are wardrobe essentials:

Find directions on how to make this one in Mostly Metals.

Directions for this one will be in the new book.
How about you? Do you accessorize for work, or do you find your accessories just get in the way?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Take My Poll

So, now that I'm finishing up my third book, I'm just curious. What do you do when you want to learn something new? Do you buy a book and teach yourself? Or are you more likely to sign up for a class, craving the interaction and the social element? Do you surf the web for ideas, or would you rather consult with your favorite magazine's editorial staff? Or are you like me--yes to all of the above? Please take my survey and let me know how you like to learn...

Monday, July 13, 2009

I heart Mondays

I had a little extra time to do some web surfing this weekend and it was fun to peek in on blogs I don't follow regularly to "catch up." Here's a darling heart cham made by Tammy Powley:
You can buy the charm at her Etsy Shop, and don't forget to check out her blog, either.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Report

Have I mentioned that I'm working on my third book (if you're my kids, insert eye roll here). Here's a peek at my workspace:

Nothing spectacular: magnifying glasses so I don't snip the wrong part of the wire, cell phone because I'm itching to hear from Meredith and I never know when she might call, coffee -- no explanation necessary, work in progress that regretfully needs to be done over...The most exciting part for me are the 17 bags in the tray on the left. They're completed projects, ready for my editor to look over and present at the cover meeting. Yup -- the manuscript isn't due for a month, the book won't be released until next May, but the cover planning and book design are well under way. I feel pretty great about the 17 finished projects until I remind myself that there are at least 12 more to do, and then the little extras I like to have, and then the bonus chapter that's still floating around in my head as a little more than a concept and then, well, I better get to work!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I heart Mondays

For today's post, I'm going to revisit this cute bracelet I made following directions from Australian Beading magazine:
The heart was a lot harder to make than I thought it would be. In fact, I made about five before I was happy enough with one for the bracelet. I couldn't part with the rejects, though -- they weren't good enough for the bracelet, but they were still appealing in a rustic sort of way.

I wasn't sure how this project would go, so I used German jewelry wire (silver-plated copper) instead of sterling silver to practice. I loved making the "garage-door" links. I was lazy with the jump rings, because I was eager to get the project done.

When I was finished, I loved the project, and wished I had made it in sterling. After a few days of wearing it, one of the connectors snapped. I am sure this is because the metal hardened too much as I was working with it and became brittle. (I have a tendency to get carried away with the hammering and texturing stage, plus the wire wrapping with a gauge this large -- 16? -- requires some wrasseling.) Then, it couldn't stand up to the action a bracelet gets during the course of a few days. So now, this sad little bracelet is in a pile on my work table. I can't bring myself to get rid of it until I recreate it in sterling.
Lessons learned? I'm really not a prototype person. If I'm going to make something, I should just go ahead and make it the right way, the first time. Pay more attention to the little details (jump rings) and have a lighter hand with the texturing.
Hmm. I have the urge to find some wire...