Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cross-Stitching & Blacksmithing

When it came time to go to the forging class today I found out the teacher can only do one on one, so my boyfriend took the class and I didn't get to do it. Luckily I took my cross-stitch box, 2 books on cross-stitch from the library and a murder mystery that revolves around knitting.

The class took all day, so I did a cross-stitch marathon. I've never done cross-stitching that much in one day. It always pays to take a craft with you. I started a new sampler with the alphabet and farm animals and flowers. It didn't include a piggy so I made one up as I went along.

You can read about the day from my boyfriend's point of view here: Tool Time and I'll be downloading photos of the day's events tomorrow or Monday.

My boyfriend is new to blogging and will be really tickled if you follow his archery blog.

Beading an Art Doll

I'd like to say I did a lot of useful things today but I didn't. I did some beading on a fabric art doll I'm making. I'm sewing green seed beads around the doll's clay face so I can do Peyote stitch. I'm not convinced the glue will hold it tight, but the beadwork will once I get a few rows around the face.
I did a lot of social networking on line though. Added a bunch of new people to Twitter, updated my profile on, and blogged.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Forging Demo by David Brunetta

I stayed up too late last night and I'm paying for it now. Why or why can't I leave the Etsy chatroom?

This Sat. I 'm going to the David Brunetta Studio to watch some forging. You can watch a video of David in action here: SculpturesbyDavid on his brand new website.

I hope it's a cool day. Working with a forge warms things up quick. David has many pieces on display in Laguna Beach. He used to be in a lot of galleries but now he is swamped with custom orders. He does all kinds of gates, benches, and abstract and realistic sculptures. But he also makes wooden bows that are fully functional and has made a fair number of knives in his day. It's always a pleasure to pick his brain.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crafts That Make Themselves

Warning: Following video is terribly cute.

I saw this on Youtube and got my laugh for the day.

Folk Art Chicken

I haven't listed anything on Ebay in a very long time (maybe 2 years) but decided it would be good to keep my Ebay account up to date. So here is one of my folk art chickens that I listed yesterday. I kept the price low so everyone has a crack at it. Thanks for looking. It's acrylic on repurposed wood. Bock.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Welcome Entrecard Users

I'd like to welcome Entrecard users to my blog. I just signed up. I heard about it from an artist in the Etsy chatroom. It's a way to increase traffic to your blog for free, and we all want more traffic, right? My Edrop box is over to the right>>>.
Here's a little presentation about it.

Crocheting Silliness

Today I was looking for yarn and found a crocheted squid that I still hadn't finished. I'm looking forward to finishing that. But I shouldn't crochet anymore today as my hands are already fatigued. I've been crocheting another square to go with the one I made yesterday. I also know I have a faux rubber chicken that I need to finish crocheting. Making goofy things makes me happy. Life is too serious with so much doom and gloom on the news. So it's like therapy to make juggling balls or funny hats or silly clothing. It's good for me to laugh at myself because I'm way too serious most of the time.

I also want to make more puppets. They can be like little alter egos. Plus my puppet blog has been looking rather empty of late. I should make some puppets for my grandson. He's coming over next week.

Freestyle crochet

I spent a few hours today crocheting a multicolored square. I didn't know what I would use my square for; I just wanted to see how the colors looked together. But now I think I will use it on the back of a freeform vest I have been working on for awhile. It's one of those 'dead' projects that's been hanging on my bathroom door for a year and I'd really like to finish it. I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. I think I need to start sewing the motifs to each other and see just how many square inches I've already covered. And I need to get some sense of where I need to make more shapes and what basic shape those need to be. Right now the only thing holding the parts together is safety pins.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Beaded Spider Treasury

Last night I stayed up till 1 AM in the Etsy chatroom waiting for enough treasuries to expire so I could make one. Then the room crashed and when the screen refreshed it said Etsy was down for maintenance for the next 3 or 4 hours. So whenever the treasury did reopen, I was sound asleep.
So it was a nice surprise to wake up this morning to find I was in this treasury.

I woke up to find myself in a spider treasury. Thanks Julie. Julie's shop:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Make a Light Tent/box

Someone in Etsy chat just shared this link with me on making a light box. This might come in handy for jewelry photos.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Busy Saturday

It was a busy Sat. I started out with my daily walk, this time on the Santa Ana River bike path. I've never been down there before and it was fascinating. There is a firefighter's training facility in the area and they were doing a training session of climbing up a tower with ropes and then lowering down ladders.

Then on the river side there were 3 bulldozers rebuilding sand berms after the recent rains. And tons of seagulls or to quote my science teacher, grey's gulls. And of course I saw cyclists on all styles of bicycles, some with helmets, some without. And a group of young men jogging. Nothing like watching young men run by as I walk at a snail's pace to make me feel old and shapeless.

I came home and started working on some new fetish dolls. They will have beaded hair.
I also put a finishing spray on the black gourd I painted a few days ago to use as a necklace holder.

Then tonight I was in the Etsy chatroom and was crocheting a pale green twirly scarf. After a point the multitasking was making me crazy. I was participating in the chatroom, watching steampunk videos on youtube and trying to crochet all at the same time.

Time to wind down so I can go to sleep tonight.

Tea Dye

Tonight I tea dyed some fabric for doll making. I boiled 6 teabags in a big pot, along with a tablespoon of salt, then added about 1/2 yard of tan muslin and simmered it for about 15 minutes. Then I rinsed it thoroughly in cold water. It's about dry now and it's a lovely shade of deep brown.

You can also use yellow or brown onion skins to get a brown dye. I've used that on raffia before. Raffia takes dye beautifully. If you ever have a weak dye bath left over from other projects, toss some raffia in there afterwards.

Raffia can be used for weaving things like baskets and hats, or use it to make bows for wreaths or to adorn gift wrapping. It is easily split into different widths. You can even make cordage from it.

Update: The photo of the fabric is before and after the tea dyeing.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where to get Ideas

Our library has a used bookstore inside it and I found some craft pamplets there today for vintage crafts. It's a great way to get some inspiration without spending much money. I got five booklets for .25 or .50 each. One is on southwestern crafts, which I've been studying lately. It has the classsic designs for saguaro, lizard, coyote and so one.

One is on unique holiday wreaths. It has a witch on a wreath that I rather like and also some snowmen and snow women. Fun.

While I was at the library I worked on my cross-stitch. It's been rather neglected lately. And I checked out some cross-stitch and knitting books at the library while I was there. The only thing that would have made my day better is if I'd had a friend along.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The green beads I bought work perfectly for the Greenman project. Only now I remember I needed brown for the branches too. In fact I needed the brown more than I needed the green. Wish that hadn't slipped my mind last night.

For a while my Greenman was looking pretty effeminate. But now that I've added the beard it's starting to look like a man. I was a little worried there.

I'm supposed to be making spaghetti with Italian sausage so I better get going.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Craft Diet

I just did something that wasn't too bright. I was having a bad day so I went to do my daily walk at the mall, and ended up spending $60 on you guessed it, craft supplies. Never go shopping when you are depressed.

At any rate, call it buyers remorse, even if I did get things I needed for ongoing projects. I'm just not making enough sales on Etsy and elsewhere to justify the amount of money I'm pouring into this venture. So much for saving money for bills.

So I've decided not to buy any more craft supplies for six months. That's August 18, 2009. I'll make an exception if I get a custom order that prepays me for supplies. Otherwise I'll focus on using the supplies I have already. I just need to focus and get organized and stop buying duplicate scissors and needles and other things I already have around here somewhere. The reason I went to the store in the first place was to get more beading needles. And I know I just bought some not 2 months ago, but where oh where did I put them? What I need are real life friends to talk to, and not more craft supplies.

Etsy Treasury

I signed into Etsy and clicked on treasury and found my item in the treasury. How nice. It's the copper pendant in the top row center. (Unless the curator moves it).
A few moments of fame. If your item is in a treasury, there will be a gold star next to it. Otherwise, unless someone tells you, you won't know someone else featured your item. I got so excited I forgot to check and see when treasuries might be available again. They expire all the time but the system won't let you make a new one until the total number of treasuries drops down to 332.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two New Necklaces

It stopped raining long enough for me to take photos of my 2 new beaded necklaces and list them on Etsy. I still need to put a clear spray coating on the black gourd to keep if from getting scratched but I want to let it dry overnight first, unless it gets really warm out today, and for all I know it may be raining again in 20 minutes.

When I took a wardrobe class they talked about putting together different looks and one of them was called 'Sophisticated Gypsy'. To get the look you wear a solid colored dress in a simple design and then accessorize it with a necklace like these to draw the eyes of onlookers upwards to your face. Thus it's a look any woman can wear. It's most effective if your stockings and shoes match your dress, giving you a longer line, or wear tan stockings and shoes with a colored dress.

So I thought it would be appropriate to name my listing Sophisticated Gypsy.

If you've had your colors done you'll know whether you look best in cool colors (Winter and Summer) or warm colors (Spring and Autumn). So I made one necklace in each.

Gaia Conceptions

Like many Etsy sellers I wander through a lot of Etsy shops. Today I found on the front page of Etsy. It's a wondrous clothing shop. I love the photos. I don't know her, but I hope you go take a look to see what she has to offer.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two Beaded Necklaces

I rolled out of bed this morning and beaded two necklaces with bigger chunkier beads to offset all the projects I have going with tiny seed beads. I just needed something that would give me some instant gratification. One necklace is in warm shades and would look great over a black turtleneck and the other is shades of blue and pink with swirls of silvery color. Even though I didn't try to make them the same length they came out exactly the same length. They would be great for a sophisticated gypsy look or to wear with an African print. A perfect activity for a rainy day.

I used glass and plastic beads as well as chips of red jasper. And though I put clasps on both of them, they do fit over my head unless I'm wearing a hat or have big hair.

Now I'm painting a big gourd black to use as a necklace stand.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snake Gourd Quiver

Today was archery range day and I wanted to work on something related to that so I took the snake gourd quiver I am working on and designed a leather kokopelli patch for it and started doing the beadwork around it. I was going to make a peyote stitch band to go around it but the beads just wouldn't cooperate. I started 4 times and ended up just cutting it apart and working on the kokopelli instead. I got pretty far on it until it got too cold out to work on it. The sun never really did come out today.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day 2009

Actually the day is almost over. I would tell you what I got for Valentine's Day but the censors would bleep me....soooo.
I did more beadwork today. I finally got to do peyote (gourd) stitch around a cabachon. I can't tell you how many years I've been intimidated by doing that, and it's really not a huge deal. I glued the stones down first with fabric glue designed for gemstones and let them dry a few days. I guess that was the missing step. I never knew that it was okay to glue them down. There is something sacred about stones and it didn't seem right to put glue on them. But all the books said glue, so glue it is. And it keeps the stone securely in place while I put the beads around it. I can't believe I let such silly things intimidate me. If it doesn't look right I can easily pick it out and start again. No one is going to get shot or anything. So here it is Valentine's Day and I putting beads around hearts. I also used some freshwater dyed pearls. I've been wondering what I did with those pearls for years and then I found them a few days ago, just in time for this project. They were actually on the floor underneath my necklace rack. I don't know if the string broke or the cats knocked them down or what. But before I lose them again, I sewed them down. They won't get away this time. They are a very pale blue.

Remember when I mentioned I'd made woven earrings before sometime in the 80's? Well in one of my bead boxes I found some of those missing earrings. And they look brand new since they were tucked safely in a bead box. I got to thinking I made those when the first Long Beach Renaissance Faire started, so that was back in the 80's. Maybe 85 because I lived in Carson then. I got married in 1981. Anyway, I wonder if the thread would stay strong for 25 years. I'll probably just wear them myself. I wouldn't want to risk them breaking if a customer bought them. But it made me wonder just how much stuff we learn to do, and then forget we know it, and then we have to learn it all over again. Feels like I've been in a time warp for 25 years. Shouldn't I be doing new things instead of walking the same path over and over again? Come to think of it they are now vintage earrings. HA HA HA. Shows you how old I am.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Greenman Bead Embroidery

I've been digging apart every box and bin in every room of the house looking for more green beads for my greenman bead project. And I know I have more squirreled away somewhere. I know I have a tan fishing tackle box of beads that I tripped over in the hallway for months and now I can't find it to save my life. The good news is I can start consolidating my old beads and new beads into some semblance of order. This is the first monochromatic piece I've worked on and it's a challenge to focus on tones instead of color. But it's coming along nicely.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Beaded Earrings

I've been sitting on the porch watching the rain and making beaded earrings. Beads are like adult candy to me. It's a pleasure to find any excuse to use them and try out new patterns and color combinations. Right now I'm working with seed beads and bugle beads and using the brick stitch. The magnets I got in Quartzsite are coming in handy. I now have a parking space for my needle and if it slips away from me I can use the magnet to pick it up again.

Today I dug out my beading mat and what a world of difference having it makes. Now I'm not losing nearly as many beads and it's easier to keep track of what I'm supposed to do next. Everything stays right where I laid it until I need it again.

The problem with doing multiple crafts is that by the time you figure out the perfect work station for one craft, you have to put it all away and start over for the next craft. What works for beading doesn't work for quilting or embroidery or painting. It's like constantly reinventing the wheel. Unless you are lucky enough to have a whole lot of space or a nice big studio. How many of you can't even use your dining room table because its covered with projects all the time? The reason I'm out on the porch on a chilly day is because my boyfriend is already using the living room to make arrows. We definitely need more space.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Pink and Aqua Earrings

First thing this morning I worked on some more beaded earrings in aqua and pink. I have noticed that if I reach a certain frustration point with beadwork, I need to go do something else. So even though I meant to get around to the 2nd earring I never did. I have a tooth that's bugging me and it's hard to concentrate.
At least I finished reading the book Druids by Llewellyn tonight.

It rained most of today. I got a short daily walk in between raindrops. It's raining right now. It's almost midnight. My neighbors are still talking loudly or I'd be in bed already.

Today I joined some more Earring and Beading groups on Flickr. There sure are a lot of them. I tend to avoid groups with too many rules. I can't keep all the rules straight. I also avoid the invitation only ones where you have to apply to be a member. There are plenty of groups open to all.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Beaded Earrings

I finished two pairs of brick stitch beaded earrings yesterday. The thing that took the longest was finding a beading needle. I buy some everytime I go to a craft store it seems, and then they disappear into the woodwork. One pair is blue and white and the other is midnight blue and orange. It was a joy going through all my bead boxes and putting together new beads with beads I bought in the past. I think I have every color under the sun. Beading makes me feel guilty because I know I'll never get paid what my time is worth. But they are so beautiful and they feed my soul so that's worth something.
It is still raining today so if I get my book finished I'll start on another pair. Then I'll leave them in my Etsy shop for 4 months, and if they don't sell I'll start wearing them. So I'm using sterling silver ear wires because my ears are unhappy with cheapo ear wires.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Make a Gift

Just finished a new craft article here: If you are stuck for crafting ideas have a look. It has a bit of something for everyone whether you are making gifts for Valentine's Day or getting ready for next Christmas. So many crafts, so little time. It has some interesting bead work tutorials I found on Youtube as well as duct tape wallets. What is it about duct tape that I just want to rub it? After making the dress forms I think I'm turning into a duct tape fiend. And I still have plenty left over so watch out.
Right now I want to go work on brick stitch earrings. I can't believe it's already getting dark. Where did the day go?

Meeting up to Make Crafts

I've spent most of today worrying about money so I'm going to give it a rest and think about beauty and love and crafts instead. I'm working on some beautiful beaded earrings. If anyone wants to get together in Anaheim or Buena Park, CA and work on crafts let me know. I get tired of being alone so much and there are all kinds of places here we could meet, especially with spring approaching. It's gorgeous outside. The Haskett library has a great patio perfect for knitting, journaling or drawing and it's mostly empty. Libraries have changed a lot. This one even has a snack area with vending machines. So we could bring a lunch, sit out on the patio and knit or do beadwork or whatever.

Plus if you need to get your daily walk in, or your 10,000 steps, there's a park that adjoins the library. It has a playground if you have smalls.

How many of you are working on costuming? The need for costumes is neverending whether they are for belly dancing, steampunk, a themed party, or good ole Halloween.

I was so tired last night I found myself falling asleep in the Etsy chatroom and I totally missed the treasury windows opening. I watched it all day and then at the critical hour, I missed it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I 'unfollowed' someone, then lost a follower. So I wonder if it's the same person. I'm so excited to even have followers. Hopefully I'll get another one to fill the gap.

This morning I got a little knitting done. I meant to get back to it but it's been a busy day and then I decided to finish the pair of beaded earrings I started late last night. I still have to figure out how to add the ear wires without breaking the beading thread. They are orange bugle beads and peacock colored shiny seed beads. They really do look lovely. Someone please invite me out dancing so I can wear them.
Maybe I'll make some pink and black ones next.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Beaded Earrings

All day I've been doing beading so right now I'm taking a break from making beadwoven earrings. I was hoping to sell some on Etsy but one woman has flooded the market and is charging a mere $8.00 a pair. I think a more fair price would be $20-$25. Otherwise it's just like giving them away. Have you seen the price of beads lately? She says she's been making them for ten years so it must be working for her. I'm just not sure I can price my earrings any lower than $10. a pair, and that's making virtually no profit.

Yay 10,000

While I was out of town my blog passed the 10,000 hits mark. Yay!!! Of all my blogs this one has had he most hits I think. It took me years to get it off the ground. If you have a blog, don't give up on it. Don't delete it if you get writer's block. Just put it on the back burner until you feel like writing again. In time it will grow.

Thanks to all my visitors and friends. You guys rock.

Quartzsite AZ

I spent the weekend in Quartzsite AZ enjoying perfect weather and classic Saguaro cacti.
We went rock shopping. For knapping we got chert, bloodstone jasper, and obsidian. I also got more beads for jewelry making and lots of postcards for my life journal. This is a new month so I just started my February journal in a Moleskine sketchbook. So the last day of my Jan. journal will be about AZ and the first day of my Feb. journal will be about AZ as soon as I have time to sit down and do it. I took tons of photos but they are still in my camera. It's only 6:26 AM but I was so tired I went to bed about 10 PM so by 6 I was ready to get up.