Jewelry_binThe weekend was spent in assembly.  Assembling shelves to be precise.  I finally found some that were sized appropriately, but not too industrial looking.  I was rather surprised at how small so many of the cubed bookcases on the market are.  I needed something that the bead bins would fit in.  Fit without tipping or hanging over the edge or otherwise upending to spill all over the floor.  Spilled beads are not fun.

Anyway, the shelves went together very easily, instructions that made sense and no tools required.   I put the casters on just in case I want to rearrange things, though I think these shelves will mostly stay where they are.  Still, it’s good to have options.

Similar to the fabric stash (coming to a future post near you!) I can now see everything, which makes using it so much easier.  All the choices are in plain view; easy to get to.  After such a long hiatus, the creative mojo is stirring.  I am sure this will be the place for lovely things to happen.Bead_Table


Sew-In 2012

Sew-In 2012 starts today!  Yippee!  Yahoo!  This is our annual guild retreat.  Three days of sewing nirvana, where we take over the local hotel and sew, sew, sew.  Whatever we like.  As much as we like.  Someone else does the cooking!

This is also likely to be my last Cactusville Sew-In.  While hopefully not forever, at least for the forseeable future.

So, what’s that in the photo?  Obviously not fabric, but something sewing related.  They are scissor fobs.  You hook the clasp over the handle of your scissors, so you can identify yours when you go to various events.  There’s even an antique sewing machine charm on the bottom.  I suppose they could have other uses too, but I like scissor fobs, so scissor fobs they are.

I’ve wanted to make some sort of favor for the Sew-In attendees for quite some time.  Finding the little sewing machine charms when I was at the Tucson Gem & Mineral show cinched it, as did this being my last visit.

I used a lot of the whimsical beads I’ve picked up over the years.  Ones acquired when I first started beading, and wasn’t sure what direction my personal beadventure would take.  There are cats, angel fish, pollywog fish and a few dogs too.  A little something for everyone.

They were a joy to make.  I hope they bring joy to their recipients.

Brooches with Bling

I finished these just before we went out of town for Mother’s Day.  Sparkly pins to wear with, well, anything that takes your fancy.

It was fun to go through the stash of crystals and size 13/15 seed beads and come up with the various color variations.  These pins are made on a perforated form, so basically it’s just stitching in one hole and out another, remembering to attach some beads when on the outer side of the form.  It’s the remembering part that can be difficult!

The only other “gotcha”, if you will, was to be sure to omit stitching crystals where the prongs attach the pin back to the form.  With this project, omission was just as important as inclusion.

Other minutia?  Fireline #6 cable as the beading thread, as crystals and the metal forms have rough edges that would likely cut through regular thread.  I had fun making these, noodling around with different shapes and contrasting colors.  Sometimes, you just need to play!


What goes bump in the bright?

Why a group of bumpy beaded-bead necklaces, of course!

These four necklaces were a lot of fun to put together.  Some work, too, as the beaded beads took a fair amount of time to assemble.  Lots of tiny stitches.

I like these necklaces a lot.  They’re fun.  Colorful.  Can’t you just imagine the conversation they’re having?  All giggles and silliness.

They’re a great antidote to the winter blahs.  I even got to use some of the new powder coated chain I picked up in Tucson.  Nice stuff.

Why four colorways?  I have no idea, other than once I got started pulling things together, that’s just how many there were.  Each one is a little different.

De-Tails:  The bumpy / polka dotted beads were some of the first ones I ever purchased, back when I shopped for quantity over quality.  Which is not to say they aren’t pleasant, but you do have to check for consistancy.  The beaded beads are delicas and size 15° seeds, with crystal accents.

These pieces are a combination of stringing and stitching.  I added  some large Czech crystals to  space the design out, and give a little more sparkle.

Some of the designs are asymmetrical, with chain on one side, while others are balanced.  You can see how small some of the beads are in these photos.

I think these will be just the thing to brighten up a dreary day, or dress up simple jeans and t-shirts.

Beadaholic Retreat

Saturday I headed East to my friend Jessica’s house, and we totally transformed her kitchen into a Bead-a-holic Beadfest.  It was beadtastic! Do you think we need to join Beader’s Anonymous?  Is there a 12-step program for this addiction?

We beaded and nattered, and strung and talked and stitched and babbled.  There’s nothing quite like catching up with an old friend and being productive at the same time.  Jessica does beautiful work, very different from the pieces I do, so we had lots of “I-don’t-see-how-you-do-that” conversations.  It was fun.  A delight.

While there I got to meet the two newest additions to her family, Tumbleweed kitty and  Lucky cat.  They join Ollie and Cheetoe as her four-pawed fur babies.  All those beads on the table, you’d think it would have been a disaster with so many felines, but everyone was exceptionally well behaved.  Ollie, the patriarch of the bunch, just rested his head on the table, watching our every move, until he realized there was no food, and moseyed on.  If only this could happen at my house! (Max!  Puck!  Take note!)

Before we knew it, it was dark, and time for me to head home.  Jessica finished this beautiful crystal creation during our time together.  I think it’s quite stunning.  It looks great on her too.

Meanwhile I worked on the bracelet at right.  It’s something I plan to wear to the Sew-In at the end of June.  Another button bracelet.  If you look closely, you can see that the buttons have a sewing theme: irons, scissors, a sewing machine, tape measure and a pin cushion.  It’s bright, fun, and sparkly!

Snoop Shopping Saturday

The housework was finished, the cats were napping, so last Saturday I went snoop shopping.  Not so much to find inspiration for sewing, really, but to actually locate and visit some shops that had been written up in the local paper.  You know, the sorts of independent places that just sound so interesting, but are tucked away where the rent is cheap?  Them’s the ones!

I first paid a visit to Smeeks which is a little candy store, selling the kinds of things I grew up with. Think extra large flavored gum balls, wax lips and silly toys in brightly colored tins.  Necco wafers, anyone?

Next door was a lovely little vintage clothing and trinket shop, Frances. That’s where I found the necklace above.  It’s an enamel piece attached to an old scrabble tile.  It called my name, so much so, that I had to bring it home.  Skull & Scissors! Bwaaahaaahaaa!

Then it was on to H&M, which recently opened in the valley.   This is (I think) a British clothing store which is migrating to the States.  Mostly geared to the young crowd, as was evidenced by both the sizes available (nothing over a 12 that I could find) and the clientele.  I haven’t seen that many teens and tweens in one place in…well, a long time.  The store’s trademark seems to be trendy clothing that is quickly manufactured, and expected to be as quickly replaced.

I did find some inspiration for upcoming projects though.  Mostly tank tops and t-shirts with ruffles and other floral-esque ribbon swirls done in soft sort of shredded cloth.  Think chiffon bias strips sewn onto a t-shirt to look like rosettes.  A style that will pass quickly, but could be fun for the summer.

So, that was last weekend.  This weekend Prince Charming returns, exhausted and happy to be home.  I am happy to have him back safely.

Maximus Cat says “I’m fluffy, not stuffy!”

Tucson Gem Show

Every year, during the last week of January and the first week of February downtown Tucson is turned into the Land of Bling.  The Tucson Gem Show comes to town, with merchants from around the world.  They take over every empty lot, motel, hotel and parking lot.  This is not an exaggeration!

There are tents set up, motel rooms have the furniture stuffed into closets, to be replaced with display tables.  If there is anything in the gem or jewelry world you want, it can be found here.  Everything from gem stones and pearls to rock tumblers.

I stock up for future projects.  Before you faint, no, I will not go through all this in 2010.  I may not even go through it in my lifetime, but, like sewing supplies, it’s there when lightening strikes!

There’s also economy of scale.  A local bead shop will charge $4 for a strand of 25 beads.  I can spend $10, and get 12 strands.  Those white beads in the center are vintage Czech.  I have no idea what I will do with them, but they called my name.  Aren’t the tortoise colored daggers pretty?  I already have something in mind for them.

Chinese manufacturers are taking on Swarovski.  These are all Chinese crystals.  Much better quality than in the past.  For my purposes they work just as well!  I can’t tell the difference, though I’m sure a true crystal aficianado could.

I was also shopping for my Aunt.  She is a real artist, with her work in galleries and private collections.  I am very proud of her.  These may make their appearance on some of her pieces.  I hope I got the right colors.