Thursday, November 25, 2010

No goats were harmed in the making of this bracelet

That's probably one of the odder disclaimers I've ever had to make; but I fear it is going to be necessary.

I'm getting close to finishing my original Ice Queen Challenge piece, and just this morning I got the brilliant idea to incorporate some angora goat hair into the clasp. It's gorgeous, but it looks rather like fur, and I fear that in order not to freak people out, I really must explain.

No goats were harmed in the making of this bracelet.

Many years ago my mom had a pet angora goat. Giselle was a beautiful animal, and lived a long, and very pampered life. Every year, her long hair was trimmed to keep her cool in summer, and one year, I took home a lovely bag full. No, I don't spin, but it's so pretty and soft, and I just knew that I would have some use for it, other than simply stroking it; which, come to think of it, is not a terribly bad use for it, in any case.

I did use some of it to make Santa's beard when I knit my daughter's Christmas stocking, but, other than that, it's just been for petting. Until this morning, that is, when I suddenly decided to sew some of it onto this bracelet. I had planned to do bead embroidery on that section, but it just seemed too cold. I wanted something furry and soft on this cuff. I thought about using rabbit fur, but I really didn't want to. It didn't feel right.

Giselle's hair, on the other hand, is perfect. It's soft, curly, and very touchable. And, best of all:

No goats were harmed in the making of this bracelet.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bookmark this

Here's a quick and easy gift to make for all those teachers, babysitters, and other people who are on your list. If you really like them, give them a book to use it with, too.

First, you'll need a nice big focal bead. I made this one from a pattern by Gwen Fisher of beAd Infinitum; it's called Time Machine.

I made a few mistakes while making it, but it's still a nice-looking bead. I didn't even realize the mistakes I'd made until I tried the pattern for the second time, so it's a very forgiving pattern. Let's just call it a variation, okay?

Anyway, you'll also need an elastic head band, some 20 gauge wire, some chain, head pins and crystals for embellishments, and a nice big, thick jump ring.

Use your 20 gauge wire to make a wrapped loop on each side of your focal bead. Before wrapping the bottom loop, slip a small length of chain into the loop.

Use the head pins and the crystals to make wrapped loops that attach to various links of the chain. Pearls or gemstones would make nice dangles, too. Or you can skip the chain and embellishments for a more tailored look.

Open the large jump ring, and slip it through the loop on the top of the bead and the elastic headband. Close the jump ring. Wrap the 20 gauge wire around the elastic headband a few times, just above the large jump ring, and hide the ends inside the elastic.

Put it on a book, or pop it in a bag, and you're done!

Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who me, naive?

Erm, yes. Apparently so.

I had no idea that there was a secret underground of people who exchanged scanned copies of patterns, magazines and books over the Internet until someone clued me in that my patterns, photos, and name were being used without my permission on one of these sites.

I'm not going to name names, or provide links; I don't want to give them any viewers or publicity. Contact me privately if you are concerned that your copyrighted material may have been stolen, and I'll give you a link to get you started looking.

I'm not really all that surprised that this is happening; there are lots of people who want to own things they haven't paid for. There are lots of people who think that just because they can scan a printed page, or email a PDF, they have the right to do so. I get that; or at least I thought I did.

Until I spent some time this afternoon, digging a little bit deeper, and I found the names of people I had considered my friends and acquaintances participating in this activity. They're not face-to-face friends, or close friends, but they are people whom I've been in contact with via email and on beading forums; some of them are people I have "known" for years.

That made me very sad. I'd expected better from them. If you are reading this, and you have been exchanging patterns, magazines and books over the Internet; please think about what you are doing to your friends. Even if you have never exchanged one of my patterns, it made me very sad to see your name linked with someone who has.

It's wrong, y'know.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weight problems

I went to a birthday party for my Grandmother yesterday, and saw members of my family that I haven't seen in 20 or even 30 years. It was so much fun catching up with everyone; for the most part, I enjoyed myself throughly.

With one, rather weighty, exception.

There are some members of my family who have a serious weight problem. By that, I mean, they have a serious problem with other people's weight. I hadn't really noticed it before, because when I was young, I was very thin. I was too thin; it wasn't something I tried to be, I just grew 9 inches in about a year, and it took the rest of me a decade or two to catch up.

To give you a little perspective, I was 5'7" and wore a size one in 1976; before women's sizes started to relax and stretch. I didn't break 100 pounds until I was in my 20s. I was very, very thin. Over the years, I celebrated when I gained weight; I was very happy to find myself fitting into bigger clothes. I'm now on the slightly higher side of normal weight; I could lose a few pounds and get back into the middle of the range, but I'm not stressing over it.

I like my curves, and so does my husband.

So, after being on the other side of the country for nearly 20 years, and not seeing my extended family during that time, it was a bit of a shock to me to see how interested several of them were in other people's weight. It wasn't just me whose weight was noticed; almost everyone came in for a choice remark or two.

At first I was a bit hurt and shocked. But then I thought about it, and I realized that I like myself just the way I am. I'm healthy and happy and I enjoy my life. I don't want to be like the people they pointed to as examples; they're too thin. They work too hard at it.

Weight just isn't a problem for me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beading Backwards

I've been having a dickens of a time working on my Ice Queen Challenge; I've been feeling very twitchy and haven't been able to sit and work comfortably on it. I start in on it, then suddenly find myself overwhelmed with the conviction that I must do something else, right now; and off I go to do whatever it is that has raised itself to the top of my priority list.

Well, I've finally figured out what's bugging me. When I bead, I always start with the focal and bead outwards. Always. But, for this piece, a key component of my focal is off riding the rails with other delinquent packages in transit with USPS; it's not here, and I can't make the focal without it.

However, since the challenge deadline is November 28th, I couldn't keep waiting for it; I freeze up when deadlines loom, and I need to be well on my way with it early, or I will panic and not be able to do anything. So, I decided, hang the focal, I'm going to start with the rest of it. Who knew that would make me so twitchy?

Paradoxically, now that I've finally realized what's bugging me, I can bead (and breathe!) easier. I've gotten more done this morning than I did all week. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to find that package in my mailbox today and get going on the focal this afternoon; I don't like beading backwards.

But at least now I know why I've been having trouble sitting still for it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gotta love the post office

Or not.

I'm waiting on a package containing a key element of my Ice Queen Challenge piece, and, according to the tracking, it's gone right past me, twice; from northern California, to southern California, and back up to northern California. I am, of course, in central California. California is a very long state; it's made quite a journey bypassing me twice! And to top it all off, the trail has grown cold. No scanning has been done since October 27.

My package has been in transit for 15 days now.

I'm starting to get worried. My piece has been built around the idea of this component; it won't work without it.

Please, Mr. Postman . . .