Thursday, March 29, 2007

The CraftyPod: The Podcast All About Making Stuff

What? You haven't discovered the wonders and joy of CraftyPod yet? For shame!

Well, you're just lucky you stumbled upon my blog this week then, so that you can learn about this wonderful site. The CraftyPod is a "blog and podcast all about making stuff", and its hosted by the wonderful Sister Diane. She posts to the blog a couple times a week and does a podcast about every other week. You can either listen to them right there on the site or download them onto your computer. You can also subscribe to her podcasts so that when a new one is published, its sent right to your computer. How convenient!

I lurked on her blog for a few months but never listened to her podcasts, because I couldn't figure out how. But I finally figured it out and I recently downloaded all 47 of her podcasts and have put them on my mp3 player. I have a long daily commute (3 hours per day, 1.5 hours each way) and boy do those podcasts make that commute that much more tolerable. I've listened to about 10 of them so far, and they certainly help to invoke the ol' crafty muse.

She covers all aspects of crafting, from beading to crochet, to papercrafts and ethnic arts. She usually starts out with a history of the technique, then a project or two and follows up with some great related resources. Some of her podcasts are interviews with great crafters from around the country. You're sure to find something to piques your crafty interests. She even did a podcast all about pipe cleaners. Talk about covering all your bases! And her regular blog posts also cover a wide range of crafty topics, including local gatherings and events she attends (such as Portland SuperCrafty and Church of Craft). Its entertaining and inspiring to read. And her enthusiasm for crafting really shines through in her podcasts. She has a wonderful broadcasting voice, clear and spunky sounding. She's fun to listen to. So scoot over there after you read this, or heck, just go there now, you can always come back here later!!!

Through her site I have found links to some great podcasts and other blogs. See her site links list for a complete listing of links. I'm in the process of downloading all of the CraftyChica's Podcast and also those from CraftSanity. Can't wait to finish downloading those and getting them onto my mp3 player as well. Sister Diane, if I could hug you, I would, for introducing me to wonderful world of crafty podcasts! I may have just found a new addiction....

Oh, and I can't forget to mention her musical choices. Love them, love them, love them. I walk around with her theme song in my head all the time now. "Zu-zu-zu zoom zoom zoom". Listen to a few podcasts and you'll hear just what I mean. ;D

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Monday, March 26, 2007

What a Way to Start the Week! (I've had a busy weekend...) - Week of March 25 - 31

Saturday we had Chinese food for lunch. I had two fortune cookies (I love fortune cookies, they are beyond yummy). I got the following two fortunes:

"Sunday is a good day for relaxing."
"Nothing can keep you from reaching your goals."

These inspired me I guess, or at the very least, they helped to invoke my muse. This weekend I did more crafty things than I've had a chance to do in a while, and I managed to get quite a lot accomplished.

Saturday morning I decided that this weekend I would finish up the belt my MIL asked me to make for her. We had bought the beads back in October, and in January, I picked up some additional coordinating pearl beads to go with the ones we had bought. But until this weekend, I hadn't really done much with the project. I spent a few hours one weekend sketching pattern ideas, but then set them aside, totally uninspired. But this weekend, that all changed. On Saturday, I strung the beads for the main part of the belt. Saturday night, I had my MIL "try it on" to make sure I had the length right. Then Sunday, I created the clasp and the dangle of beads. This is the finished belt:

And here are some close up shots of the pattern of the beads and of the wire clasp that I made for it using 16ga and 26ga(I think) wire and a potato pearl:

But I didn't stop there on Sunday. I had a "Wrist of Flurries" bracelet that I had assembled back in December, but just hadn't finished it off with a clasp yet. So Sunday, I experimented with one of my clasp ideas, using elastic and a button. It looks a little cheap frankly, not real polished or professional. It works, but I won't sell that version or anything. Originally, I had used a toggle clasp (see the first set of photos) and it worked okay, but I didn't really like the way it "wore". It just didn't look a great when being worn. The bracelet is quite wide, and the little toggle didn't hold it together neatly. I'll have to play with some other ideas. But here's a picture of both the original piece (where I used a toggle clasp) and the new version (where I used a beaded loop of white elastic).
The first is of the original one with the toggle clasp (I love the snowflake buttons, they worked perfectly with 6/0 beads):

And here's some shots of the elastic band clasp version (I adore the white round clasp button, so I'll probably remove the band and try something different with this one):

I had assembled another wide peyote band bracelet in shades of blue-green. Again, I just had the clasp part to work out. So Sunday, I finished that up and used the toggle clasp. It works fine on this bracelet, since it's not quite as wide of the "Flurries" one.

You can see a few imperfections due to not all the beads being the exact same size and shape, but I like it that way. As one author put it, things like that are okay, think of them as your own little spirit beads (check out the great book I linked to above is you want to understand that more).

After all of that, I took all those pictures I'd been meaning to take. I needed new pictures of my Very Cherry Earrings for my Etsy shop, since I made some new pairs (with fixed crimps). I also took some pics of my Rawhide earrings to replace the ones I currently have up on Etsy, since I realized that I took most of those with the Sepia setting on. Doh. If you want to see those, you'll have to visit my Etsy shop. And of course, I took all the pics you see above. Plus, a few weeks back I was inspired by all the polymer clay artists I was seeing on Etsy. Many make mini foods, mini food charms, and mini food beads. I also found some great polymer clay artist sites who are doing the mini foods thing too. These look so fun to make and are always just too cute. So I tried my hand at it and made a slice of Key Lime Pie.

This is what I came up with:

Not too bad if I do say so myself. By no means perfect or sell-able, but it was a fun little experiment.

And here are some pictures of my experiment with making a clasp out of clay:

And in addition to all that, I folded and put away all the laundry, cleaned up around the house, copied some new music onto my MP3 player, cleaned the cat litter, did dishes, downloaded every single podcast from CraftyPod (if you've never seen her site, you must check it out today, look for a post about it later this week) and much more. I got a lot done in just two days. I feel so much better for it too. Its amazing how those little things that you just can't seem to find time to do, can really weigh heavy on your mind, and bog you down. I feel really, well, not to be too cliche, but, free. Just getting something done, accomplishing something, can do wonders for one's mood and outlook. And then the fact that I finally completed a few old In Progress projects, really was just the icing on the cake (or would that be on the key lime pie?).

Add to all of this the fact that our foster dog Dorothy was adopted on Saturday, and it was a great weekend!

Monday and Tuesday I finished up a pair of rainbow earrings (pics hopefully next week), and started a new spiral rope necklace, also in rainbow. The craftiness continues. And on the drive home yesterday, I recorded two more blog posts that I hope to get typed up and posted this week. Wow me.

Oh, and we got a new foster dog on Monday. His name is Aidan and he's a 7.7lb Chihuahua (he's smaller than our cats or out Min Pin). Check him out if you need an "Awwww" moment. :D

Here's hoping I continue to have a productive and crafty week, and that you do too!

Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Week of March 18 - 24, 2007

I decided today that I am in desperate need of a full week's vacation, where I don't have to run any errands or do any housework, no one calls from work, and I'm home alone all day. Why? So I can get some crafting done and finally have some decent pieces to post up on my Etsy shop. Its frustrating to not have any time in the evenings, look forward to the weekend, only to end up having a million other things that must be done instead over the weekend. Its a little depressing actually, since crafting is my sanity, my zen, my meditation. I have so many ideas, so many new techniques and projects I'm just itching to try, but I just can't seem to find the time. I have the supplies and equipment for three different projects piled up on the living coffee table now (my workplace of choice if there's something good on TV). I put everything out on Saturday. Did I get to touch them yet? Nope. Here's hoping I get to do some more beading this coming Sunday eh?


Bead-wise, I was on a mission the other day to find silver-lined orange 10/0 seed beads. I had trouble finding them. I had every other color of the rainbow in that style except orange (I'm working on a rainbow colored piece, could you tell?). I went to the shop where I had bought all the other colors. They had silver-lined 6/0 orange seed beads, and every other color in the 10/0. Grrrr. Went home. Next day, I went to another shop. No such luck at first. But then I found them. *Heavenly music and spotlight appeared at the end the bead aisle* So that's on the agenda for this coming week/weekend, get the rainbow colored earrings started. I also picked up some neat "fruit-shaped" beads, so look for another pair of fruity earrings being added to the collection in the near future. ;D

I did finish the clasp that was giving me fits a post ago. I scrapped the idea of making something with clay. But I may dig that out in the future and see what I come up with. It has possibilities for future projects, just not this one. Instead, I ended up using to hook-and-eye style clasps. Seemed to work well. I need to get pictures. That's my motto for the year, I need to get pictures. I say it just about every post.

Today I set up a Flickr account and a My Space page. I uploaded a couple of pics to the Flickr account, but haven't added tags or any of that. Not sure what I'll do with it, Photobucket has served me well thus far, but Flickr has networking potential, and everyone seems to use it and love it, so I jumped on the bandwagon. We'll just have to see. You can feel free to visit my Flickr page, but its not much yet: Beaded Desert Does Flickr

Same goes for MySpace. Frankly, I never thought I'd bother to join. The place kind of scares me. A lot of strange people crawl around there..... But then again, it has networking potential, a lot of people use it for that, and with successful results (based on what I've read in the Etsy forums), so I'm giving it a try. I haven't really set up much there yet, created the account and filled out a few profile details (though I kept it vague): Beaded Desert's MySpace Page . I have thought about setting up a page there for our foster dogs, but I have no idea if that would help to give them more exposure or not. Be interesting to see how many friends they'd get though, wouldn't it?


Final sewing class tonight. Last week, I cut out the patterns and the fabric, then stitched up each leg. Tonight, I get to attach the legs together, put in the elastic waistband, and sew up the hem of the pant legs. And viola! New sleep pants for me. I'm looking forward to trying more sewing. I don't always sew a perfectly straight seam, but that will come with practice. I've been looking at patterns online, mostly for tops. But I think making some simple pillow would be good practice for me too (and if I screw up, the dog will still enjoy sleeping on them). So next time you're looking for me, if I'm not in the bead aisles, I might just be hiding in the pattern books or behind the mounds of fabric at the local craft supply store. (Just one more reason for my husband to dread my going to the local craft shops.)

Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Here's hoping I'll do a photo update in the next week or so. Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Week of March 11-17, 2007

Ackkkkk! I just realized I didn't post to my blog last week! Bad blogger, bad bad bad.

Okay, I'm done beating myself up. I had a busy week, what can I say. Tuesday of last week I started my sewing class. We're a small class of 3, which is nice. We chose our patterns and our fabrics Tuesday night. I went with some simple elastic waist sleep pants. I chose a light spring green fabric with little daisies all over it. I needed a pattern that wasn't "one way", like a stripe or plaid, so I chose daisies-all-over. Tonight is class two. We'll be laying out and cutting out our patterns/fabric and hopefully be able to start sewing. We'll have the week to sew and I assume class three will cover putting in the elastic waistband (elastic waistband is required) and finishing up the pieces. I'm enjoying it so far. My sewing machine isn't quite so complicated and scary now. I still tend to push down all the way on the pedal and sew faster than the Tasmanian Devil, but I'll get used to the pressure eventually.

I got no bead work done last week. Honestly, beyond sewing class and my database class, I don't recall much of what I did work on last week. But over the weekend, I redid the Very Cherry Earrings I have for sale on Etsy. When I made them, I was not an expert with crimps. So I just put some crimp beads on, flattened them with a needle-nose pliers, and called it good. Since learning more, and since buying a crimp tool, every time I look at the picture of them, it drives me nuts to see that poor crimp job. So I practiced over the weekend, made a number of new pairs, with nice crimps. I'll need to take new pics and replace the old with the new.

I also attempted to make a clasp using head pins and polymer clay. I have a specific piece that needs the right type of clasp, and so far, I haven't found something like it for sale. So I decided to try to make one. Turned out okay, but looked messy and unprofessional. Going to try something similar, only it will be entirely wire. I have some other ideas too, involving space bars. If any of them works, I'll take pics of the various attempts and post them later this month.

Beyond that, not much beading last week. I should have a little more time this week to do some, but we'll see. My goal for the week is to finish up a beaded belt for my MIL. I've been toying with various layouts and trying to figure out how I would finish it off. So tomorrow and Thursday I will string a couple of different layouts and see how they look (and if I have enough beads for them).

We got a new foster dog yesterday. Her name is Dorothy . RESCUE lists her as a 5 year old Corgi mix. I agree on the 5 year old part (she has some gray on her chin like my 6 year old min pin does), but I don't really see corgi. Actually, I kind of see Doxie. Doxie and something taller of course. She did great her first night with us. Didn't really interact with the min pin, avoided the cats (they seem to intimidate and scare her a bit). Enjoys snuggling close and just chillin'. She's very cute and well behaved. I don't see her staying with RESCUE long before she's adopted. You have to look at her photo gallery and check out those ears! Yes, one always flops down and the other is always sticking up or out straight. They are too cute. I love dogs with funny ears. :D

Well that about wraps it up for now. Thanks for reading and happy beading!