Thursday, February 25, 2010


Back in December, I had this great idea to make ornaments and use them as present toppers. I had so much fun with my felted Snowpeople, that I wanted to keep going. Well ... the one thing I did not have in December was a lot of time to sit around and do lapwork! My felted balls were put aside for another time.

Now that the Olympics are on, it's the perfect job. It doesn't require a lot of light or concentration, and it keeps me busy during all those heats!

Start with some wool roving and a felted bead. You can make your own felted beads (there are directions in Altered You!) but I've been buying mine from Art Girlz. Use a needle felting needle to work the roving into the surface of the bead. There is no right or wrong way to do this, and you can make up your pattern as you go -- my kind of craft!

I used the felted beads to make these ornaments. I strung them on craft wire, made swirls and loops, and layered them with sequins and some gaudy Czech glass beads leftover from an assortment I bought:

Here's a close up of the bead:

So if you know me, don't be surprised if you see one of these next December (if I remember I made them, that is!).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Project Update

A few posts ago, I laid out all the projects I wanted to complete during my winter couch-potato TV watching time. I've made some progress. I started out during the superbowl with these darling boxes.

They were easy to cut and fold (especially because my basket of Christmas Cards was still on the coffee table!). It was fun to re-read all the Christmas messages in a less-hurried time, and then I had no regrets when I upcycled the beautiful cards. I only completed one into the box, and the rest will store flat until next year. I stashed them in my box of Christmas wrapping paper (along with the folding directions) so I won't forget about them. You can find directions to make your own, here. Come to think of it, I've got some Valentine's Day cards out now...

I showed you my foray into bead stitching, with Amy's darling ring. I'm working on some earrings now, but I need a little more concentration (and light) than I get in front of the TV. Hopefully I'll have something to show on Monday.

I've also started the jewelry reconstruction. Sometimes when I'm wearing a piece, I realize it's a little "off," so I've been tweaking here and there and feel like I've got some brand new pieces for very little effort.

So, what have you been making?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Super Easy Hostess Gift

We were invited to our friends' house for a casual and impromptu dinner last night, and we were just bringing wine. Being Valentine's Day and all, a bottle of wine didn't seem like enough, though, so I decided to dress it up a bit. My first try was wire -- nice, but not polished enough. And then I landed on this great wine-bottle lariat idea. Love it. How cute would it be to customize this idea for a shower, or for party favors?
5" chain
loop end of toggle clasp or large jump ring
3-4 charms
2 4-6 mm crystal beads
2 headpins
jump rings as needed
1. Attach the toggle loop or large jump ring to one end of the chain.
2. Attach a charm to the other end.
3. Attach the remaining charms on each side of the chain near the end with the charm.
4. String a crystal on a headpin and make the first half of a wrapped loop. Connect to the chain and finish the wraps. Repeat with the remaining crystal and headpin.
5. Wrap the chain around the neck of the wine bottle and drop the end through the loop.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Book, bead spinning and bead soup

I got to review a galley copy of my book last week. The name has changed to The Absolute Beginners Guide to Stringing Beads, and the cover is a little different than the one you see on the right. Galley is kind of an old fashioned term, but what it means is the book is about 75% finished and this was my chance to "speak now or forever hold my peace." Can I say that I just love this book? I've had a nice vacation from the projects, and seeing everything laid out and beautifully photographed was a real treat. There were lots of little post-it-note questions from my editor, about bead counts, or materials, or specific directions. There was also a request for "just one more" piece of jewelry ... a seed bead project to demonstrate a beaded bail. I knew just what I wanted to make, but to save time, I bought a bead spinner.

Have you ever used one of these? I've seen them demonstrated many times. I made up my bead soup and started to spin, but I just couldn't get the hang of it. After I few tries, I dumped out the beads and strung them one by one. It felt a little more real, and here's the result (shh, don't tell my editor).

Monday, February 8, 2010


This month, the Artbeads blogging project was hearts. Imagine my delight! I had a really hard time selecting, because there were so many amazing choices. I finally honed in on these unusual copper heart pendants and beads. I also chose a few heart-themed charms. See more copper choices here. I had a great time working with the copper hearts. They are so warm and inviting.

Here are the hearts, charms, and clasp I started with:
I raided my stash of 3 mm and 4 mm gemstones and pearls for this necklace, and added a second strand of tiny size 15 copper charlottes:

This piece is what I had in mind when I placed my order. I dipped into my collection of Czech crystals, leftover copper beadcaps, and chain for this unusual assortment. I love how the entire piece came together:

Finally, the largest pendant needed just a simple backdrop. I had a too-short chain piece, but by combining it with the silk ribbon and just two bead links, the necklace is the perfect length. That's why you should save your scraps! You never know:

So what are your plans for Valentine's Day? You still have time to make yourself a special accessory. I'll be wearing these necklaces all month!

Disclaimer: I have received these beads free of charge from Artbeads. My review is my own opinion and I have not been paid for my endorsement.