Monday, February 25, 2008

Words from Maya Angelou

enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...
something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...
a youth she's content to leave behind....
a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....
a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...
one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...
a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...
eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...
a feeling of control over her destiny...
how to fall in love without losing herself..
how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship...
when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...
that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..
that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...
what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...
how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...
whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...
where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table..
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...
What she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a a lifetime

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kumibeado- the journey continues

Another look I have coveted, in the bead crochet world, was where they added larger components between the rope pieces. However, the words 'weave in the ends on your rope pieces, then sew from the end of the ropes, through the components, and to the other rope end, back and forth, then pull tight' not only gave me the heebie-jeebies ( I HATE weaving in, which is why I rarely do loomwork) but seemed a disaster in the making, where that sewing would either pull the crochet apart eventually, or I wouldn't get it tight enough, and threads would show. Not professional looking at all, or falling apart; neither of these are where I want to go with my jewelry. I am tough on my bracelets, and expect them to hold up with wear.
So, I wondered how it would do with my Kumibeado?? Could I add one of the nice large pink shell beads between braided sections, without cutting or changing threads?
It seems I can! And while I did it the hard way, at first ( of course, that is my way!), by individually taking the beads off each hanging thread, pulling that thread, now on a needle, back through the hole in the form, through the bead, up through the hole in the form, beads back on, and do that 7 more times, I discovered it needn't be that hard at all. As it didn't matter where the threads were in the braiding process when they came back out the shell, I could just take all the threads loose, take off all the beads, pull the threads through the shell, then pull the theads back out the form to the top, put beads back on, and line up to start braiding again.
This is how it looked, after adding the second line of braiding, then a bit of braiding without beads, then cut loose and tie a knot. Remember to click on the pic to see it big.
See how nice and tight the beads are against the shell? No threads showing! YAY!

It sure has a nice drape to it, doesn't it?

You can see how I looped in the headpins, through the threads.

I added cone ends this time, and bent both headpins to hold in place, then made loops at each one, one large, and one small.

Click on each pic to make it larger.

Here they are, with one loop larger than the other.

It is starting to look more and more like a bracelet!

Here is the finished product- with a shell and Swar counterweight,
so the clasp will stay at the bottom of my wrist when worn...

Friday, February 22, 2008

KUMIBEADO beginings

I did it! I did it! I did it! Whoo-hoooooooo!I used the 10# Stealth Spiderwire, with 8o beads from Alice's, and after acouple of false starts, have 1" of nicely beaded rope.Here is what I learned, thanks to my wonderful teacher, Kimber, who managed toput enough clues in my path, during our short tutorial, to make it happen!I could cut 4 pieces, rather than 8, and have a loop at the end that goesthrough the hole. As I used the next-mentioned tip, I could make a small loop-just long enough to go through those cones, and get caught by a headpin, forattaching the clasp.I would rather have a weight pulling on the center, from below, than pull withmy fingers. I tended to pull too hard, and unevenly, pulling the knot andbraided section below the circle, rather than letting it stay even with the top.It will not work if you don't have it laying flat on top, with the braidedsection just below the hole.Luckily, the first thing I grabbed worked great- a 4" tube of bugles. I tiedit to the loop with a short piece of thread, and let it dangle below.IF you screw up the first time(s), like I did, and have to take your work out,do NOT take it off the circle and try to unwind it, unless you have more timeand patience than I did last night! Instead, just work backwords on the foamboard, taking the threads back in opposite of how you put them on.When Kimber said to lock the bead in the threads that were on the left of theones you were moving, I thought she had showed me to put the bead between thetwo. NOT. I almost cried, because I thought it was my beloved Spiderwire beingthe problem.BUT what she meant was to put it under the FIRST thread you come to.I will try to make a clear pic.You have four sets of threads- 2 at 12 o'clock, 2 at 3 o'clock, 2 at 6o'clock, and 2 at 9 o'clock. You ALWAYS begin with the set at 6 o'clock, withthe thread on the left. That one is taken straight up, to the 12 o'clockposition, and put through the slot to the left of both 12 o'clock threads.BEFORE you put it into the slot, you slide up one bead, to the side closest toyou of both 9 o'clock threads, and push it under slightly the first of the 9o'clock threads you come to( the thread closest to the 6 o'clock position). Whenyou lock that same 6 o'clock thread into the 12 o'clock position, it will holdthat bead in place.Now, you take the thread on the right of the 12 o'clock position, and move itstraight down to the 6 o'clock area, but into the slot on the right of thesingle thread there, locking your single bead into the TOP area of the 3 o'clockthreads.Now- move the entire disk in your hands counterclockwise. What was in the 6and 12 o'clock are now the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, and the 3 and 9 o'clockpositions are now the 6 and 12 o'clock positions.Repeat the above steps.If you have to stop, do what Sue in Portland ( I have that right, don't I?)suggested- use a sticky note to mark the spot that is your 6 o'clock place, soyou know where to begin next time. Or stick a pin in it. Or slide a piece ofcolored yarn inside the slot. Just something to mark it.I believe you can make these disks, if you cannot find them, or if you justwant to try without alot of expense. If you are like me and have foam boardleftover from crafts, or you can beg a small piece ( about 5 inches across) fromany framing shop, you can cut your own circle, and slots with center hole, andtry it out. I will give dimensions in a bit, with the pics.It is the foam board about 1/4 inch across, covered with paper on both sides.They sell whole sheets of it in Walmart, for about $1 each.OK, let me get the pics up, and see if you think you like this.Oh, and another thing - use beads that are as close to the same size aspossible. If you have to cull as you string ( which only took me 20 minutes forall 8 ends), do so.

KUMIBEADO- remember, you heard it here, first!

I picked up kumihimo, thanks to a friend, Kimber. She took a few seconds, literally, to show me how on the whirlwind bead trip last weekend, while at Honor Band with Kurt's students. After a few false starts, it went along swimmingly without a hitch, taking only about an hour and a half from beginning to end of this bracelet.

Had I even attempted it with bead crochet, that would have been an hour and a half of cursing, just to try to get the first section of beads on.

I name this kumibeado, as writing kumihimo with beads is just too long! Maybe it will stick!

Anyhow, this is the finished product, showing the ends with just the thread braided ( my all-time beloved thread- Stealth Spiderwire 10#), then closeup of the knots (which I then re-knotted closer to the beads, as I realized that was needed to attach the clasp) and finally, the end result.

I think my friend, Patty B, will be most happy with this birthday gift!

I will add another post later, giving the details of doing this with the little cheap disk you can purchase in a 4 pack, through AC Moore, online.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fun new mold stuff

It is fairly cheap at JoAnne's, especially with the half off coupon, which made it 4.50 plus tax! I saw it full priced at AC Moore for $11.95, so they are quite a bit more expensive.

I like that I didn't have to mix two parts to make it work, and that it does what it says it will do. I made all the molds shown with about 1/3 of what they gave me, and they really are flexible! If you are like me, and have a hard time figuring out if your thickness is 1/4" when making the molds, the clay turns slightly brown when done.

The directions specify to use a bit of talcum powder or cornstarch on the object to be molded- please don't skip this step! It makes getting the object out of the mold easy, instead of frustrating. This is very soft clay, and gets softer with handling.

I did leave one of my bone faces in while baking, as it is very thin and I wanted to see how the compound worked that way. I did not use cornstarch on that one, and clay stuck to the face. As it was shiney bone, it rubbed off easily. If it had been a polyclay face, it could have left residue that didn't come off.

The face is shown in the pic, next to the mold it made.

I made one mold from a wooden bear- it came off smoothly when I gently loosened all the sides by pulling at them all the way around, then grasped the back and tugged.

I even did one from 'The Love of Winter Moonshine' - a fully beaded doll, and got a nice arrangement of beads that will show up when I use this to make a new face.

It is a bit smellier than the usual clays, so use it outdoors, or in a room with good ventilation, like a fan pulling straight out the open window.

They say it can be used to soften clay that has hardened, and this is my next test. You only need 1% of the new to soften the old, so it should do the trick for all my slightly hardened clay!

All in all, I would highly recommend this product.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Day, another wonderful beaded project

It isn't often that I actually finish a project in one day. This is an exception.

I received the face as a gift, from Lynn M in Australia. I believe she said that Diane in Brisbane made and painted it.

The face would have made a lovely Santa, but then the wearing of it would have been limited to the holiday season just past.

So, it became Master Enchanter Rothson, from my DH's soundplays, A Bridge of Doom.

He has a nice blue hood to his cloak surrounding his face, with purple highlights and gold trim. His tunic extends under his beard, keeping it forward.

I really enjoyed doing this. Surprised myself, I did!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Guardian, Shelley, from Noel

She liked the name I picked for her, so Noel chose me to be the keeper of the Guardian her DH made! It is wonderfully smooth driftwood, and all sorts of shells, and now sits at my beading area, intimidating the cats.

Thank-you Noel, for this unique and beautiful gift!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Birthday Bracelet for a friend..

I am wire-challenged. Even doing simple loops can be a study in how many sizes/shapes can be produced by one person in a short time.

Still, I wanted to do something for my friend, Julie, at work. Her birthday is coming up, and I know she loves bracelets, and silver. I had this silver wire sitting around for years.

So, many, many looped headpins later, I added some bronze matte AB niblets,mahogany clear AB niblets, and some Swars I don't know the color of, separated by black matte 9s.

They all went onto the pins in alternating pattern, like a checkerboard ( Julie collects checkerboards), then loops on the other side of the pin, to hold them on.

What to do now, I asked myself?

Inside the loops went Beadalon 19 strand beading wire, with violet-purple transparent SL 5s separating the wires. Not bad.

Hmmm, don't have any two-hole connectors, only a three hole. So what! I attached each end to the outsides of the silver lead-free pewter connectors, then did a drop with a larger version of the smaller Swars that run down the middle. Put that into the center slot of each connector. Better and better.

A SS simple circle clasp, and voila! Even Yoda Fuzzcat wears it with pride, or something. LOL!

I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's done! The Cuff is done!

I am very happy with it, and wore it all day at work. Comfy, and lighter than it looks, I am so happy to see my chameleon having a place to live.

A Birthday Surprise

From my friend in the UK, Christina...a Beauty of a cuff!

Who's the Lucky Girl? I am!!

My Fairy Name..what's yours?

Thanks to Anna of here is my Fairy name....why not see what yours is?
Thanks to GroggyFroggy for the direction there, via her blog. Check out her newest dolls- that Spirit Stick doll really hits me. No pun intended.

Your fairy is called Gossamer Reedfrost

She is a panpipe player and enchantment singer.

She lives in spiderwebbed wonderlands and insect grottos.

She is only seen during the first snow of winter.

She wears tiny black spiders on her dresses. She has gentle green butterfly wings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cuff progress

Almost done. Changed a small bit of the dark edge that had been bothering me, by adding carnelian flat chips, held in place with 11o pond green lustre beads. Then put in a bit of Res-Q tape, from the sewing department at WallyWorld (no TTT for me there, sadly), put in the blank and adjusted it (the tape worked nicely for that), then the plastic blank with tape holding it, and finally, the ultrasuede, again, with the tape holding that in place til I could sew the edges to hold it firmly. I did sew over the metal blank, but not the plastic one. I didn't want the metal one to ever shift. I used Spiderwire Stealth braided fishing line- size 6#, as I know it will stand up to that blank. I used the same thread throughout the entire cuff process, and it went inside the curved needle, plus the 15s at least twice.

Now, to finish the edge, and wear it to a party!

Monday, February 4, 2008

She's done!

This doll fairly flew, and I felt my Granma Agnes watching, and smiling over my shoulder, as I worked on her.

I had to take off the gold lace at the top, but put blonde curls in their stead. She always wore her hair pulled straight back into a bun, or in braids, to sleep. She didn't allow the curls to roam freely over her head, so I did it for her.

She is also wearing a colorful shrug over her blue dress, and has lots of lace on her dress, beneath her lace apron. Those aprons were usually done in cross stitch embroidery, but I used bugles, to give it a bit of Gypsy bling!

I hope you enjoy these pics- remember you can doubleclick on them to make them full-size.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

memories of my gran

I had been having trouble deciding on a theme for the Arsenic and Old Lace doll on BAD ( ). I have collected lace over the years, unable to resist the yard sales with old bits hidden amongst yarnball ends and scraps of fabric. Much of it is from my youth in the 70's, when I used to sew it to my jeans, to lengthen them (before they actually had jeans with 36 inch inseams!).

Then, there is the special lace, that I received after my GreatGrandma Agnes' passing. She was a truly wonderous chrocheter and tatter, and I have all sorts of pieces, from lengths of cotton lace to sofa doilys, to needle- and bobbin-tatted what-nots! In her original Poland, if you wanted something beautiful, and were not of the richer classes, you made it yourself or traded for it. I suspect my Gran was one of the creators, and that the wooden chest of silver dollars we played in as children was filled by trading for, or selling the laces she made!

She was small in stature, being just under 5', but tough. After all, she had outlived 5 husbands, then moved herself and her daughter to the United States in the early 1900's, to live in the mostly Polish suburb of Hamtramck, in Detroit. I remember visiting an apartment she had, with the famed silver dollar chest being the center of a hall coattree, with mirror above. You could look out her window, and there were all these lovely (to me!) steam engines, pushing and pulling railroad cars in a switchyard. It must have been the devil's own work to keep her place as spotless as she did, with all the soot and cinders from below, but I remember that window being shining and clean, every time we came to visit.

After awhile, she bought a small house in the 'burbs, near my Aunt Mimi, in Roseville. A small two bedroom, with sunny yellow kitchen and a black cat clock, whose tail wagged back and forth in time with the ticking, became her true home, and fortress! She kept her sidewalks AND the section of street in front of her home swept and clean, with flowers growing in the yard.
From time to time, we smaller girls would be allowed to spend the night, when the homes of the Aunts and Uncles filled with family for Christmas. One time, an older cousin, the type with the leather jacket, greasy ducktail and cigarette pack rolled into his shirt sleeve came in very late. We were sleeping in his room. I suspect he was living with Gran because his parents didn't know what to do with him. While she had a soft spot for her grandkids, and would do what she could to help them, she didn't tolerate what she called 'nonsense' from any of us, no matter how old or 'scarey-looking' they got.

So, when he came home, a bit drunk, and tried to go into the bedroom where he usually slept, where we were sleeping now, and turned on the light, loudly delighted to see us, she grabbed him by the ear and took him into the hallway. He protested, but not too loudly. We woke up, hearing their voices, hers soft and insistent, his trying to be quieter, but wanting to see his little cousins. I remember her telling him "You should have come home sooner, and now you have to sleep on the sofa til morning. Let them sleep. They are tired after all the late time."

In the morning, we all met for pancakes in the sunny, Winter kitchen, with my cousin freshly shaved, hair slicked back, and no leather jacket in sight. He was quietly eating, ready for Mass with my Gran, and she was at the stove, cooking more for us. A bright, white smile from him, almost shy, and we sat to eat, then got dressed to join them.

I am sure my Aunt and Uncle were weekly amazed to see their son, clean-shaven and dressed in his suit, sitting by my Gran in the pew.
My Gran knew where and when to rein him in, and he responded by knowing when he could run free, and when he had to walk.
As a Polish Gypsy, she was born knowing how to handle high-strung horses, such as he. She would have made a helluva of an equine horsewoman!

So, here is the beginning. The form and face came from Maggie ( ) as a thank-you for some cuff blanks. The lace with the bobbles on top right was done as needle tatting. The lace on the card, far left, was done as thread crochet. The rest are collected laces.
I added a flower to her back, for the love of the flowers she grew in the yard of her home, and in her windowboxes in her apartment. The gold fan behind her head signifies her love of the Madonna, as do the pearls. My Gran adored pearls, and diamonds, though hers were of the paste variety. I still have a hair comb with paste diamonds that she wore, and got my fondness for wearing my hair up, with combs, from her. The lace shawl is just like what she wore, preferring to keep her home on the cool side (yep, got that from her, as well). The button at the front of the shawl is a technique she taught me for decorating an outfit - place a decorative, clear button on top of a plainer, color button.

I will be adding lots of lace to her 'dress', although the dresses she wore were more utilitarian. I believe there was a Gypsy Spirit inside her, that she held in firm check, but would have come out if she didn't have so much to care for, to worry over. She was a true worrier, from wanting to see her granchildren get all that was good from this new country. My Mom and her sisters, my Aunts, had it hard with their mom, her daughter, dying while they were very young. My Gran did a fair amount of their raising.
I get that trait from her too, worrying, though work hard at letting my Gypsy Spirit balance that factor. She did handwork for her relaxation, and yes, me, too.

When I grow up, I want to be more and more like her; strong, happy, moving through and owning all my days with quiet pleasure.