Friday, July 29, 2011

Monster and Lady Fingers on Etsy!

We relisted our Monster Fingers:
Monster Finger
our Lady Fingers:
Lady Finger
And Chris's OH so cute Turkey beads:
Cute Turkey Beads Pendant size or Earring Size
Stop over and check them out!  We will be at the Highland Park Farmers Market Tomorrow, you can see them in person if you prefer!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beading Basics

This is taken from today's Beading Daily Newsletter

Tips for Perfect Crimps

Jul 26, 2011
I've seen some pretty bad crimping jobs since I started making beaded jewelry. My own first crimps were pretty darn bad, too. I used the wrong kind of crimp, and I never used a crimping pliers. (I didn't even know what a pair of crimping pliers WAS!) My strung jewelry would fall apart after just a few wears, and I didn't know what to do about it. Enter the crimping pliers, one of my favorite jewelry making tools, and probably the most important jewelry making tool for making professional-looking beaded jewelry. Especially if you want to sell your beaded jewelry, learning how to properly use your crimping pliers is important for making beaded jewelry that will last.
First, let's review the basics of proper crimping:

First, we need to get to know your crimping pliers a little better. If you look inside, you'll see that there are two wells: one with a little notch in it, and other one that is perfectly smooth. For successful crimping, you'll use both of these wells to fasten and secure your crimp bead.

The first thing you want to do when you insert your beading wire into the crimp bead is to make sure that the strands of the beading wire do not cross. They should be lined up next to each other.
Place the crimp into the notched well of your crimping pliers and press down firmly. You should now have a little indent in the middle of your crimp bead.

Turn the crimp bead sideways and place it into the smooth well of your crimping pliers. Gently squeeze the sides of the crimp bead together, like closing the pages of a book. Sometimes I'll place the closed crimp in the very tips of my crimping pliers and give it one more gentle squeeze to make sure that it's securely closed.
Like any important skill for making beaded jewelry, learning how to close your crimp beads properly takes time and practice. Once you have the basics mastered, there are other ways that you can make your finished crimp beads look more professional:
  1. Use crimp covers. These tiny little round findings are designed to slip over your crimps and can be closed gently using a pair of flat nose pliers.
  2. Don't scrimp on your crimps. The price of sterling silver and other precious metals is going up, but you should still insist on buying precious metal crimps for your beaded jewelry. High-quality crimp beads will not only give your beaded jewelry a professional looking finish, but they will also make it less likely that your beaded jewelry will fall apart.
  3. Match your crimps and your beading wire. If you don't use french bullion to cover the ends of your beading wire, make sure that your crimps match your beading wire. Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but it makes me nuts to see a gold-filled crimp on a piece of silver beading wire.
  4. Make your loop large enough. Before you smash your crimp, insert a beading awl or another similar beading tool in the loop between the clasp and the crimp. You don't want to have your loop so tight that you can't move the clasp in order to open and close it.
  5. Reduce the stress on your beading wire. One way to prevent excess wear on your finished piece of beaded jewelry is to string an accent bead after your crimp and before your clasp. Adding a bead between the clasp and the crimp will keep the beading wire from rubbing up against the crimp bead.

Do you have a favorite style or brand of crimp bead? What are you favorite tips for making perfect crimps? Share them here on the Beading Daily blog!
If you can't get enough glass beads and want to try some new creative jewelry projects, then you have to take a look at Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads by Stephanie Sersich. You'll find twenty gorgeous and inventive glass bead jewelry projects designed by a master glass bead maker. You'll find stringing projects as well as beading projects that use fibers, glass and metal beads!
Bead Happy,

I tell beaders whom are just starting that nothing is as important as the basics.  Start with quality basics: good wire (I only use Soft-Flex), good crimps (2x2 sterling silver crimps or gold filled are the best, I also use copper and gunmetal as warranted), and take your time to make the crimps not only look good, but that they are secure.  No point in making jewelry if it doesn't hold together!  You also don't want to spend money on making a fabulous beaded piece only to have a ratty, smashed crimp at the clasp.  Sherry Serafini taught us that the back of a piece is just as important as the front in bead embroidery and I teach that with beading even the basics.  You don't want a piece you are proud of but embarrassed to show the clasp!  Another thing I teach beginners is "don't be afraid to start over".  Don't be wasteful, but know when to say when and cut off the offending piece and redo it!  What tips do you share with other beaders that are beginning?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Life is difficult, complicated, and tiresome.  Anyone that says differently, is not to be trusted. 

However, now that I have stated the ugly truth, life often provides us with tiny, tidbits of miracles.  It is our "job" to see them and treasure them.  Tonight I watched the movie "The Switch".  I was really surprised at how poignant and touching it was for me.  I am not a big fan of crying, but I will admit to feeling a bit weepy after watching it.  I also cried during the final Harry Potter.  Even for me, a person who would rather have a tooth pulled than have someone see me cry, movies often do that to me.  I literally SOBBED after seeing "Ghost" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.  That was embarrassing and EXHAUSTING!  Crying not only makes me blotchy and snuffly, but very sleepy.  I am sure there are lessons to be learned in those symptoms, but that is not what I want to focus on here.  As I sat thinking about the touching movies and them making me weepy, I searched Pinterest for some photos to share emotions with you dear readers.

That sums up the weepy pretty nicely.
This makes me wish it were in my back yard!  Bright and Beautiful.
This inspires me to want to bead!  So fun!
This makes me giggle, why are squirrels SO funny?!
With Mina turning 14 last week, this makes me want that tiny baby back in my arms!  Makes my heart hurt a little.
And this touches me.  I love the MAGIC Harry and his friends brought to our lives, and I do Thank J.K. Rowling for that!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beading Trends

Easy Wire 2011
Beads & Beyond Magazine
Hot Topic
So over the weekend, we made a quick stop through Barnes and Noble and Hot Topic.  I love to get beading magazines from Barnes and Noble.  I picked up the two shown here (looked at about 10).  I have become picky about the magazines I purchase, looking specifically for items I don't know how to make or need more practice on or just ones that catch my attention.  The Easy Wire has lots of projects from bead artists I know through the internet and Beads & Beyond is a British magazine and I love those!  The magazines I looked during our stop at B&N, were heavy with wire projects, so expect to see lots of those saturating the market soon!
I have never been hip, but I appear to have started a trend.  For the couple years, I have loved EVERYTHING, owls and bumblebees.  Now, OWLS and BUMBLEBEES are EVERYWHERE!  I saw them in Hot Topic, Icing by Claire's, and Wal-mart.  So be prepared to see lots of those too!  Hum, what trend can I start next? :0)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mina!

Mina turns 14 today!  Holy Cow!  How did that happen?  We love you and thank God for you every day!
Happy Birthday Twiddlebug!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Have you heard of Pinterest?  I hadn't until I started following Lori Anderson's "Pretty Things" blog.  I liked it so much I signed up for an account and now have a tiny group of friends (mostly from Facebook) that I follow on there. 
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes.

What I like about Pinterest is the pictures and inspirational quotes:

 There are also just pictures that catch the eye and the interest.
 And there is the odd.
 And the YUMMY.

 And finally, ME!
 Have you visited yet?  If you start an account, add me as a friend!  All images were taken from Pinterest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Etsy Artist Spotlight...MyElements By Yvonne

Years ago, I came across Yvonne Irvin's shop MyElements on Etsy.  She has fun and funky bead items and makes her own hand painted Plexiglas components.  Here are some of my favorites:
Red Hot Mama in the MyElements Etsy shop
These are SO me!  Love the bright pop of color and the fun shapes are easy and lightweight to incorporate into jewelry designs.
Raspberry Twist Bracelet in Yvonne's Droolworthy Jewelry shop on Etsy
Want to see more of Yvonne's fabulous work?
droolworthy Etsy Shop
MyElements Etsy Shop
Yvonne's website

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Know It Is Hot When....

After what seems like a MONTH of HOT, I decided to inject some humor into the weather situation.
You know it is hot when...
You've been getting hot flashes, and you're a man.
Your pool water starts to boil in the sun.
The swans in the park come in "original recipe" and "extra crispy."
The politicians take their hands out of your pockets to fan themselves.
You notice your car overheating before you drive it.
You discover that it only takes two fingers to drive your car.


  Ranchers in southern states hit be sweltering heat are selling 
fully cooked barbecue right from the livestock.
  "We let the customer choose the cattle and then we hose it down 
with sauce and send it out into the fields.  Within twenty minutes 
the barbecue is piping hot and ready to eat," said a Texas rancher.
  Barbecue restaurants are crying foul over the direct sales of the
product to the public.
  "This damn heat wave is killing the cattle and our business.  We 
can't compete with the lower overhead of the rancher when we provide 
our customers with a table, chairs and fan as well as swat flies," 
said waitress Flo Moore of the "Greasy Fat Dripping Spoon" restaurant
in Amarillo.
  The heat has also changed business for farmers who are using their 
former crop fields as giant baking pans for brownies. 
  "It's the only way I can put my land and this hellish heat to any
use so I'm baking white chocolate, espresso brownies with macadamia
nuts for those rip-off coffee houses, said a farmer in Oklahoma.

I realize that won't cool anyone off, but hope you got a chuckle from it!  

This is the story that made me want to share the weather laughs with you!  I saw it on the news last night.

OMAHA — An Omaha amusement park is using ice to cool its swimming pools as a heat wave grips the Midwest.
FunPlex owner Dwight Anderson said the water in the park's two pools felt like bathwater heading into the weekend. So, he said, two tons of ice cubes were dumped in Friday evening to cool things off.
Anderson said that brought the water temperature in the pools from 88 degrees down to 82. One of the pools is 300,000 gallons; the other is 250,000.
Heat advisories and warnings are in place in Nebraska and 16 other states. The weather is supposed to remain hot for the next several days.
Anderson said he plans to dump more ice into the pools Monday night or Tuesday morning, once he's restocked his supply.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meet Luna

This is Luna.  She is our new kitten.  Luna was the kitten Mina was holding in the video I posted last week from Start Over Rover.  She is a lovely baby, but very timid and shy.  THAT will take a bit of work.  She loves to play, preferring string and Chris's laser pointer.  However, if you move to fast around her she panics and flees.  SHE IS FAST!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Start Over Rover

This video features a terrific shot of our beautiful daughter, Mina, about halfway through.  This is a new organization in Hastings, NE and they were doing pet adoptions at the Farmers Market last week. 
Their Facebook Page
Their Website

More Titanic


Yesterday, I revealed my passion for all things Titanic.  I think my fascination with the details of the tragedy stem from time in High School Drama class and a play about a group of women on the Titanic.  It started out with the women happy, drinking (we used ice tea in tumblers to look like whiskey),  chatting and as time went, the reality of the iceberg and the inevitable sinking sat in and changed the tone of the play.  We dressed up in long dresses and shawls.  The play got to go to State Speech Contest, and we did well for what I remember.  Mostly, I remember the ice tea trick and changing into our costumes in a broom closet!  I also did an entertaining speech from an Erma Bombeck passage, I was so nervous!

Anyway, after showing the items from the hopemore shop, I searched for a few others.  Here are the ones I really liked:
How many of those days have we had?  LOTS!
This is very funny and I would have never thought of that!  I am very careful about Karma though...
I think these are very interesting.  I love the whimsical feel of the butterfly design combined with the pictures from the Titanic.
Aren't the details of this dress lovely?  So delicate and wispy!
This gal has some very interesting pieces.  She makes dollhouse furnishings and miniatures.  These are designed to lie on a table or desk in the dollhouse.   Miniature postcards, tickets, photos of before and after the sinking, and news clippings.  All VERY tiny and detailed.  AMAZING!  In her bio, she says that her grandparents were dollhouse builders and she does this in honor of them.  How Awesome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fabulous Find!!!!!

I LOVE the Titanic.  Not necessarily the James Cameron movie, though it is a terrific movie, but stories and information about the Titanic.  When I came across Angie's shop on Etsy, hopemore, I asked her if she had ever made any Titanic related items.  She hadn't, but loved the idea when I suggested it.  Here is my Titanic pendant!

I chose the one on the left, which is the one Angie liked too.  Here are some of her other items!
Golden Gate Bridge

Eiffel Tower
Bird in the Pines
Love Angie's designs as much as I do?  Just click the links to find her page!  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The End Is Near...

It all began with this-
Years and years ago, I read this book.  At first when I saw it at the top of the reading lists for weeks and months on end, I was skeptical.  However, when I finally gave in and read it, I was addicted.  I got Chris and Mina involved (I guess that makes me an enabler?), and we have spent many, many hours with Harry in his magical world.  We own all of the hardcover books, and all of the books in audio as well.  People have criticized the series for the darker side of that world, but here are my views:
  • A book that can get millions and millions of people, especially young people, to read that book is a marvelous, magical thing.
  • It is a STORY, not a gospel.  There are lots of STORIES out there that are FAR worse at spouting things I don't want my child or myself to read.
  • I love being swept away in the magic and the story of Harry and his friends, and was very, very sad when the last book came out.
Now for the last time:
The final movie comes out this week.  We are attending the Midnight Premier at our local movie theater on Thursday night/Friday morning.  Mina wanted (and her parents encouraged it) to do this for her birthday (the 22nd) which is next week.  We are bringing with us Mina's bff, Lexi, and we will revel in the crazy, silliness that is a "Midnight Premier".  In fact, I saw on the movie theater's website that the festivities begin at 12 noon on Thursday!  Here are some items I found on Etsy to celebrate all things Harry.
This is the "Deathly Hallows" symbol used in the stories/movie.
Hermoine, Harry's friend started a group to support the lesser magical beings from being exploited, and this is the name of that group.
The symbols know world wide for Harry, his glasses and the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

So we will be sad and happy at the same time this week.  And then we will be VERY tired!  So what magical power would you like to have?  I would choose flying or using magic to clean my house!  I want to hear from you on your choice!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Goodbye is Never Easy

Our cat Sassy, left us on Sunday.  She was 12, we got her when Mina was 2.  Sassy was a loyal cat, especially to Mina.  Sassy was a good snuggling cat, and an excellent hunter.  When we got her she was so tiny, she would crawl into Mina's Fisher Price barn and look out the hay loft window!  She also liked to crawl into the Kleenex box to hide, play, or sleep.  She was the softest cat I ever had, her fur was thick and wonderful to pet.  Sassy got her name because she had a grumpy disposition and wasn't afraid to share it with you.  We hope she is enjoying plenty of catnip (it made her very mellow), lots of mice to chase, rainbows thrown from crystal prisms to chase (making our Sabrina cat wonder what was wrong with her), and plenty of green grass to play in. We will miss you Sassy.

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