Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I bought some little spacer beads from Amy Houston recently, and I really love these beads. They're about 6mm wide, so they're not super tiny. (I'm guessing it's not easy to make lampwork beads much smaller than this, though!)

This is one of the sets I got. I love these colors.

(I also wish I could take pictures as good as hers!)

Anyway, I decided I like these so much that I did my first-ever Alchemy request on Etsy, so I can get more of these and pick my own colors. Even with a bigger quantity, it's hard to narrow it down, but I'm working on it. I want every color, darnit!


Not to keep harping on things Amazon, but I am really eyeing the new lower-cost Kindle. $139? That's a lot more tempting than the old version was. (It's not currently in stock, but they say it will be in a few weeks. Which is probably faster than you could get an iPad right now!) The $189 version with bigger screen and free 3G also sounds pretty tasty. (That's this: Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally - Latest Generation)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Amazon bargains

You never know what you're going to find on Amazon, and how much they're going to feel like charging that day. For example, I found a blog post (unfortunately I no longer remember where it was!) that featured a couple of pages from Print & Stamp Lab: 52 Ideas for Handmade, Upcycled Print Tools. So I looked it up on Amazon, and lo and behold, they happened to have it on sale for $5 and change. So I am now the proud owner of that book. It's got some pretty great ideas in it, so it's definitely worth the five bucks. I wish the other two books in the series (Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun and Collage Lab: Experiments, Investigations, and Exploratory Projects) were also on sale, but apparently not. The ways of Amazon are mysterious, as I said.

Aside: aha! here is the excerpt - on Craftside.

I found another thing unexpectedly on sale the other day, and that was the Cuttlebug Machine for Die-Cutting and Embossing with Bonus Tool Kit for $39.99. That's a good price, so if anybody's been waffling, I would recommend grabbing that one because you never know how long that price will last. (Full disclosure: I do theoretically get a small cut of the dough if you buy one though my link, as you probably already know. Since I have yet to actually ever even make the threshhold to get a $10 gift certificate, however, you'll have to forgive me for not taking that part of it very seriously!) Watch what price it gives you, though, because, for example, if you click on this link instead: Cuttlebug Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine - the price jumps over $20. Go figure.

(Added: aaaand as predicted, the price has changed. See below for the latest.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


This is really brilliant. (I suspect you need to have seen both movies - "Inception" and "Up", that is - to really appreciate it, though.)

What's amazing is how well it all fits. Who thinks of this stuff?

(I've seen "Inception" twice, by the way, I loved it. And I love "Up" so much I've watched it repeatedly on video, which is something I don't do a lot.)

Hmm, I think my super-narrow format is going to cut off a good bit of the video. You may want to click over to the original source.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A dose of nostalgia

I was watching this video earlier on itunes:

It's still a pretty amazing thing technically, and an amazing piece of craftiness on somebody's part. (Also, my god, Peter Gabriel looks so young!)

Added: if you enjoyed that one, be sure to also check out Sledgehammer, which according to Wikipedia was made before the "Big Time" video. It's probably even more impressive technically (and a better song, in my opinion) but I'm still fond of "Big Time" also.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Paints and color schemes

When I posted about the circles and rub-ons thing I made, I meant to write down exactly how I mixed these colors, because I knew I would forget, and I wanted to write it down for my own reference. And of course I did not actually do that, and now I want to know.

We are now on week 8 of 12 in Claudine's class, which is starting to sound like we're getting toward the end, although really there's quite a lot to go, still. This week's assignment is another thing on an 8x8" canvas, and I'm wavering between doing an entirely different color scheme, or making it match the first one. Or I guess since I want it to go in my living room, which is basically dark green, I could come up with a somewhat different color scheme that also matches the green. So similar without being all matchy with the first one.

(If you listen to me when I'm making quilts, in particular, you will find that "matchy" is my idea of a bad word. I'm a scrap quilter to the core, I am bored when people just take fabrics from one line of quilt fabrics and make a quilt out of them. Or when they are too too careful about matching things exactly. I find that things tend to look better when they don't quite match perfectly. I'll put the picture of my "monochromatic" all-green quilt at the bottom so you can see what I mean about not matching too carefully.)

Now one thing I was intending to say was that I just love Claudine's paints. If they have a bad side, it's that they're a little on the expensive side compared to craft paints. And as I understand it, the reason for that is that they're not really craft paint, they're art paints (acrylics) adapted a little for a craft market. They're very high-quality paints, in other words, which is why they're more expensive. And I've been using craft paints a good bit this year so I can see the difference immediately. Claudine's paints have a much nicer texture to them - they seem smoother, and boy oh boy can you tell the difference when you try to mix them. The page I linked above (this one) has a little video about mixing paints, and also a link to a pdf with simple color-mixing recipes. I find this pdf tremendously helpful.

I'm looking at the colors on the circles of the other thing I made. One is sort of a teal, and I think it is just Claudine's Classic Teal lightened up a little bit with Blank Canvas, which is the white(ish) color (it may be slightly off-white, is why I'm hedging there). That's this row:
(Ignore the big swirly parts, that's the rub-ons. It's the paint in the circles that I'm concerned with here.) -- Then there's another green that I think I made by mixing Yellow Pastel and Sky Blue. It just looks like a fairly normal pale green.
And there are two purplish rows that I'm fairly sure are variations on the same mixture - Purple Palette plus Painterly Pink. One row leans more toward purple and the other one toward pink.
I'm pretty sure I just remixed those two using the same two colors, it's just the proportions.

So now I'm off to look at Claudine's mixing pdf for ideas!


Here's my "monochromatic" quilt that I mentioned above:
Basically I used anything I had that could remotely count as green, and just mixed it all together. So there's blue-greens and yellow-greens, and pale greens printed on white and tan and maybe even yellow - as long as it "read" as green I used it. (I did end up throwing out some prints that too obviously had a lot of other colors in them; they were distracting, it turned out.)

I really have to finish this quilt someday. I finished the top, as you can see, and I even got the fabrics together to do the back of it, but I never quilted it. I even have the thread!

Back on the other topic... hmm, I could do an all-green version of the 8x8" grid thing.... this has possibilities.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...who is the fairest CB folder of them all??

This is really a cute Cuttlebug-inspired idea - not at all what you'd expect.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Watches, part 2

Here's the Swarovski-bead watch I talked about in the last entry, and then I also I finished the watch that was unfinished at the time:

The little cube beads are some that I bought from Sonoran Beads last fall at the quilt show (they're in this post - and they're on sale on their website at the moment, too, I notice!) The spacers in with the cube beads are some I had on hand - they work really well, but I think they're really, really cheap - they may even be that metallicized plastic stuff. But oh well, they look fine, and nobody but me will probably ever notice! It's this last one and the coppery one from the last entry that I've been wearing like crazy all week - the Swarovski one just seems too elegant from every day, and the blue stretch one is just the tiniest bit snug - I may have to either remake it for myself or give it to somebody else. It's already occurred to me that these would make really terrific Christmas gifts, anyway!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Look, I made some jewelry!

I know it's been true lately that the only way a new reader would really know this is supposed to be a jewelry blog is from the name. Well, I guess there's some jewelry-related stuff in the sidebar, too. There just hasn't been much jewelry-related content. So that's why I'm excited to finally have some.

First of all, we have some earrings:
This is not a great picture, particularly because the two cat's-eye beads don't pick up the light equally. They look much better on my ears, or alternatively, on the 123Bead website, where I got the stuff to make them, so you might want to look at their picture instead. (They sell a kit to make one pair for $3.95, which is pretty reasonable, I thought, and is how I bought mine, or they sell the beads and findings separately.) These are just about the world's easiest earrings to make - they come with a really long headpin, and you just put the bead and the cone on the headpin, make a loop, add the earwires, and you're done.

Then today I took a class at Antiques Beads where we made watches. I got two and a half watches done in class so I thought that was pretty good. (Although actually the class was supposed to be over at 3:30 and most of us were still there at 5:00, so I guess it's not quite as amazing as it might have been!)

The two finished watches both used watch faces I already had, both of which came from Fire Mountain, I think. The blue ceramic beads came from Michael's - I had it in my head that I needed a blue watch. The great coppery beads were ones I had bought at Antiques Beads the day I signed up for the class, and they were gone today so it's good that I didn't wait! The other watch face I bought today - the store had a whole lot of watch faces that were $7.95, which seems like a good price to me. I know I've paid more than that for most of the ones I've bought in the past, anyway. (Plus you get 20% off on things you buy the day of a class, so it was actually, what, 6-something.) I also bought a bunch of round Swarovskis and some bead caps to make one more watch, because Donie, who taught the class, had brought a sample that was made like that and it was really pretty. About half the class ended up making one like it. I had another rectangular face like the one above so I used that and made it earlier tonight. I'll post a picture of that one later. It's terribly elegant. I had made watches in the past but I learned a lot of new techniques so I'm glad I took the class.

Circles & rub-ons project

I'm a couple of weeks behind with the weekly projects for Claudine's class, so I just did the week three project in the middle of week 5. (Actually, being rather famously a procrastinator, I consider this to be pretty good. But I've kept up with the classwork in general much better than I really thought I would.)

There's nothing terribly complicated about how this is put together. It has several layers:
  • an 8x8" canvas
  • a piece of scrapbook paper for background
  • 2" circles pasted down in a grid
  • rub-ons
Claudine's version looked quite different from mine - it had entirely different colors, and one big rub-on of a chandelier. I couldn't find the chandelier locally and I didn't love it enough to order it specially online, so I went looking for something else. I never did find one big one that I liked all that well, but I found these Heidi Grace ones in sort of a metallic turquoise color that I thought would do. So then that also gave me my color scheme - I was thinking of cool colors generally, sort of blue/green/purple. I found a stack of 8x8" DCWV papers that I think were called "Old World" that had a pale moss-green patterned sheet in it

I'm really pleased with how this came out - this is a fairly small piece, and I'm already thinking about doing a bigger version. I have all kinds of space on my walls. (Or I could also do a series. Hmm.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Early Halloween mania

I really have a thing about Halloween. I have tons of Halloween junk already - far more than one household of two people has any use for - and I am having to restrain myself from going out and buying all the new crafty stuff that's coming out for this year - for example, the stuff shown in these two YouTube videos from Two Peas. It's all just so cute! Meanwhile, what I ought to be doing, assuming I want to get in a Halloween state of mind, is making jewelry with all the skull beads I bought last year, but have I been doing that? Of course not. (Here's the Anna Griffin paper from the first video, in case you don't want to sit through it. This stuff from My Mind's Eye is also terrific.)

I did buy a Halloween punch on clearance a few weeks ago - a Martha Stewart haunted house:
(I don't know why Blogger is insisting on showing this sideways, but I can't seem to fix it!)

I think it was called a double punch, because it punches inside the punched-out area. It's cute but it's also terribly bulky - I don't really think I'll be buying too many of these! (Clearance items are my big weakness - as I imagine they are for many people. You can buy stuff and still feel virtuous. I'm always telling my husband, "But it was on sale!" and he just sort of rolls his eyes. I do try to at least restrain myself even there, and not end up with junk I don't even care about.)


Completely unrelated to Halloween - but part of all the mass of coverage of CHA which has been coming out for the past two weeks or so - is new stuff from Nunn Designs. (look! actual jewelry! Lately you'd never know that this was supposed to be a jewelry blog!)

If I get around to doing another post, I do actually have some jewelry to show. Nothing fancy, but cute.