Wednesday, November 14, 2012


As a designer, I'm challenged to make beautiful things almost every day. Most of the time, it works out, and I'm happy with what I make. Sometimes, a design is successful, but it's just not my style. Occasionally, it just doesn't work, and I have to leave the bead board and come back after a quick walk outside or a good night's sleep.

But every so often I make something that I love and wish I could keep. I'm sure you all know what I mean. I know Erin understands, as she wrote about feeling just that after designing her Toast of the Town Necklace which started the Quick Fire blog hop.

Well, The Collector's Necklace is one of my favorites. I designed it over a year ago for an episode of Beads, Baubles and Jewels, which you can usually find on your local PBS station. As it turned out, I wasn't able to present this project because I was late into my pregnancy, but Katie kindly picked up and did a glorious job presenting this project. Thanks so much, Katie! Just click here to see Katie present a how-to video, or click here for written instructions.

Everywhere I wear it, I get compliments, and it's such a versatile design! I made three different versions of it for the show, and there are so many more variations that I'd love to make, using a cute "you are my home" charm from swoondimples or maybe an aquatic themed necklace with this toggle from green girl studios. The best part of the design is that it makes it easy to use up those favorite beads of which you have only one or two left.

Even more exciting is you can win this version of the design by clicking it in Halcraft's Holiday Glam Giveaway!

Here's my first Collector's Necklace along with a two other versions I made for the show. Have fun making your own Collector's Necklaces. They're great gifts that also use up the favorite beads of which you have only one or two left!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Calorie-Free Candy Canes, Anyone?

Here's my take on Christmas Cane mittens. These tiny pearls were just the boost this pair of mittens needed to make them Christmas gift-worthy. I used the Wild Fire cord and a wide-eye needle, following the criss-cross pattern of the basket weave mittens.
I saw a few Christmas trees up in our neighbor's windows today. I wonder if it's too early to get out our tree as well. When do you decorate for the holidays?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Embellishment and the Bead

My most recent Halcraft Design Team challenge was organized around the theme of Holiday Gifts that are one-size-fits-all. I saw these beautiful gloves at my local Target store, and I thought that they could use a bit of beady embellishment! I used the glamorous Inspired by Vintage comonents from the Bead Gallery encap at Michaels to dress them up for a night out!

All I used was some Beadalon WildFire in white to stitch the sliders securely onto the gloves. I debated for a while about the "ring," but I thought that it looked like a little snowflake, so I went for it. What do you think?

I had so much fun that I made these two pairs as well!
I love the simple sophistication of the pendant on the blue gloves and I think the squared crystals on the tan gloves will peek out from the sleeves of a favorite wool coat perfectly.

The holiday crafting season is about to begin! Hooray!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Makes Me Giddy

It's true. My stomach flip flops as I walk past all of the signs lining the sidewalk on the way to my polling place. My palms are practically sweaty when I hand over my driver's license.

What's more, the people running the polls are always so lovely. There were even chairs lined up for voters to sit in--in line--as we waited to cast our ballots. At first I felt silly getting up and shifting one seat to the right as we moved closer to the booths. But all of the volunteers insisted we sat, and as time went on, I realized that it felt so right. I felt the privilege that has been bestowed on all Americans as I sat in that chair, politely and respectfully shifting one seat to the right as another booth opened .

Quietly making conversation about shoes (my Danskos attracted a little attention), appreciating the aroma of coffee being perked in the kitchenette behind me, I gave thanks for the opportunity to "place my ballot in the box" today.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Keeping Ears Warm

The small one had been in need of a hat with the wind whipping around recently, so last night I sat down in front of the computer to find a good pattern. (My earlier attempt at a hat had no ear flaps or chin strap to secure it to W's head, so it was quickly ripped off at the first opportunity.)

My first stop is always Ravelry, a wonderful site with searching potential that makes it easy to use up my stash. After popping in the following criteria--baby, hat, bulky, knitting, free--I found this great pattern. I knit a bit while we watched a movie, and then picked up the project again this morning,  and before lunch we had our own Teo Hat!

The profile is even cuter.
Nothing better than walking with a little boy in a sweet hat. Next will be to give those sweet little fingers a warm home!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quick Fire Blog Hop Links

I'm not alone in my love of Erin Prais-Hintz's beautiful and clever necklace design, Toast of the Town Necklace. When she let me know she was hosting a blog hop, I was excited to play along!

I started out by choosing the toggle. I had this one at home already, and its hole was large enough to accomodate the two strands of beads that needed to go through it. Another fun idea would be to find a donut or other ring for the loop here. I think a great art bead would be wonderful! This one from Green Girl Studios is gorgeous! I can't wait to unpack my favorite art beads when my new studio is habitable!

Then I chose a mix of small multi-metal rounds to use as a base. When I looked through my stash the blues of the turquoise dyed howlite beads realled called to me. Who am I kidding, those ALWAYS call to me! I think I'd use turquoise or some form of the color in every design if I could have my way.

Then I just looked for more beads that followed these two themes: mixed metal with a focus on brass, and turquoise to darker green turquoise. The coin shaped beads are actually plastic, but you'd never know just by looking at them. All of the beads as well as the are from Halcraft's Bead Gallery line that you can find at Michaels Stores all over North America, although sadly the closest one to me is about an hour away.

Stringing didn't take very long, and I just went with repetitive patterns. Here is a list of links to all of those who played along! Thanks, Erin for hosting!

Michaels Toast of the Town Variations Blog Hop

Elisabeth - Beads for Busy Gals

Molly - Crafting A Life in Indiana * You are here!

Pam - Re-Maker

Kay - Kayz Kreationz (Note: Kay had to go out of town. Do check back for her reveal!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Quick Fire Blog Hop!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog! I've been meaning to do this for so long! All I needed was a reason, and the Quick Fire Blog Hop was just the push I'd needed to get things rolling. Thanks, Erin, for a push in the right direction!

My entry, Turquoise Tumble, uses materials from Michaels Stores just like Erin's. I love the jumbled feeling of the strands even though they're patterned. Here's a link to the instructions for the original Toast of the Town necklace designed for Halcraft USA by Erin Prais-Hintz. It's a design that is so easy to make your own, and there are multiple ways to wear it, as well.

Even though I'm an experienced beader, I find it so relaxing to just sit back and make a project that someone else designed, especially one that is just stringing, as this one is. It's a great beginners' project as well, so if you want something that will use up a few strands of your favorite beads and you can easily make while watching a movie, this is the one for you!

I'm looking forward to writing more posts about beads and crafting in general, as well as becoming a part of the blogging community!