Thursday, March 29, 2007


I really like this ring because it's a rather clever use for a very pretty button. It would have been cooler if the green swirly etched button had been made of glass, but when is the last time you saw a button made of glass? I got the button at JoAnn's and I used inexpensive copper craft wire for the rest.

I was inspired to make this after seeing some stacked button rings online. Of course the way they take the pictures makes it impossible for you to see how they made it, but I figured it out and was sort of surprised how easy it is. I showed it to the ladies at work and was asked if I wanted to teach customers how to make it. I'm not sure how well a wire wrapping novice would do, so I said I'd have to think about it to get the logistics down. When I make stuff, it's all, "oh use a some of this and tweak it a little that way so it looks okay". I may tend to waste material (which is why I used the craft wire and not sterling silver) but it is SOOO satisfying to figure it out on my own. But I suppose if you're paying me to teach you something, you'd want a little more structure.

Since the last time I posted a ring I made back in May, I bought a ring mandrel. It's a long tapered wand marked with ring sizes. It made keeping the ring the right size a lot easier. But if you have a dowel or something the same size as your finger, you can use that too.

The button I used is about 3/4" so the ring is rather large and frankly, verging on the edge of crazy bead lady. But you can always use smaller buttons or beads or if you want to be crazy bead lady you can stack a few buttons to make it even bigger.

I'm working out how to make a ring from a pin back button and I'll post that when I have it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Winter crafts turn to Spring crafts

This is the scarf I finished the first day it turned warm. Then it got cold again. But now it's pretty hot. So I guess regardless, I'm a little late in posting this picture. On the left is the reverse side and on the right is the right side. The scarf measures about 60"x7" . It has a tendency to fold down the middle and I'm wondering if I had used wool, instead of acrylic and had been able to block* it, this wouldn't have happened. Also with wool blocking it would have let you really see the lacy pattern. Oh well, next time. At least I can put it in the washing machine. *block = shaping or stretching out woolen garments by wetting or steaming them and drying them pinned to a mat or bed. Does not really work with synthetics.

Now that the weather is warmer I don't feel the urge to knit as much. So I turn back to my first craft hobby: jewelry making. This is a set for Marivonne (who is doing FABULOUSLY on her weight loss "journey". Do check out her blog to see how she's shrinking!)
Please ignore the wrinkly bed sheet, lol.

Months ago Marivonne had purchased some Swarovski crystals from Antiques, Beads, and Crafty People (crazy name!) in Pearland, TX for me to make something for her. And for most of those months I didn't have all the materials to make something and I didn't have any clue as to what to do with the beads. But since I now work at a bead shop, I used my employee discount to get a few findings and the perfect cloisonne beads to complete the set. I couldn't find a clasp that I liked so I made an S-hook and loop with some wire, hammered them, and filed down any pointy bits. I heard that it would make it stronger. Plus I like how it looks. I should get a little anvil and a hammer though. For this I just used the flat tip of my crimping pliers, which would take WAY too long if I were hammering a lot. Also, since I didn't have any gold filled headpins for the earrings, I made those also. I flattening down the tip of a piece of wire and bent it 90deg. This is probably the most expensive thing I have made due to materials- gold filled* findings** and Swarovski crystals*** are pretty pricey. In materials ONLY, the necklace is $25 and the earrings are $10.

*gold filled means that the outside of the material is gold and filled with some other metal. It is NOT gold plated, and will not wear off.

**findings are all the jewelry making materials (wire, hooks, clasps, etc) that are not beads

***Swarovski crystals are glass with lead (32%) making them sparklier. So do not put them in your mouth!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pretty bird

These would have been good to have for my birthday pie.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The past few days have been irritating.

For one, my computer had a nasty virus. The virus blocked me from buying antivirus software online as well as accessing any sort of webmail. Just kept getting that "cannot find page" page. I felt guilty for not updating my subscription to Norton, but even when I installed a new version that I had to actually buy in a store, not all of the problems had gone away. I installed a free trial version of Spy Sweeper and that seems to have done the trick. God help me I hope that doesn't happen again. I think it screwed with Excel (but not any other MS Office software) and I'm hoping a reinstall will fix it.

Secondly, I've had a stomachache off and on for three days. It's either a bug or I'm stressed out. Not much is really going right these days so it wouldn't surprise me if it's the latter to blame. I took a really long nap today hoping that I'd feel better afterwards, and I did, but it resulted in the fact that I'm wide awake at 3:40am.

Another irritation: bad websites. For example, I want to apply for a teaching fellowship for the public school system. But their application page doesn't work. Tsk tsk tsk shoddy workmanship. That's public school for ya, I suppose. I'd laugh but it's actually pretty sad.

The dog is being very irritating. He keeps whining. And barking short little barks for no apparent reason. And he stares at me while I eat. It does not make for a very relaxing dining experience.

The cat is getting fat. That's not so much irritating as it is something else I have to be concerned about. She was thin for a while but we realized it was because the dog kept eating her food. Now the cat food and litter box are behind a dog proof barrier made from an headboard from Goo's old twin bed. The dog has short little legs so he can't get over it. But anyways, now the cat is eating all of her food and getting pillow-like. Plus I don't think she schedules in any exercise during the two or three hours in the day that she is not sleeping.

Speaking of sleeping, I'm going to try.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birthday wrap up

Thank you all for wishing me a happy birthday :)

I wasn't all too excited about this birthday. This may be the first birthday that I feel old. I can't remember if I felt that last year. LOL I guess I'm getting old and forgetful. But, hey, what the hell? I'm how old now? And it doesn't help that I'm in this horrible sort of limbo right now. When my mom was 27 she had her first kid. And the nurses told her that she was OLD to be having her first!

But your calls and text messages and blog comments and IMs and ecards really cheered me up. Especially the ones sent at 1:59 or 3:14. Nerds rock. Thanks again.
Earlier the plan was to have two pies. But I only had 1 pie, blueberry, because there wasn't enough time to make the key lime. Oh well, once we're finished with this blueberry one, we'll make the key lime. While I might not like getting older, I don't mind extending the celebration.

I don't think my mom or I have ever made a berry pie before. So I didn't know how long you had to cool it so that it would set up. FYI for all you out there, make sure your pie is completely chilled before sticking in candles. Hot filling + wax candles = molten wax in your filling. Oh well, still tasted good!

Are there 27 candles there? They only stayed in the pie for a very very very short time because they were melting fast. Three candles in the middle. Three is the magic number.

So the reason why there wasn't time to make another pie was that I went to a salon today. I got my hair cut. No appreciable change in length, just long layers cut in so that my head would stop being so triangular like that character in Dilbert. And I also had a facial. I have never had a facial before and it was more involved that I thought it would be. There was soothing music in a little room and blankets to lie under like when you get a massage. There was a lot of steam and a little tingling and the biting my tongue so I wouldn't laugh from feeling ticklish, but all in all it was really nice and left my face feeling clean all day long.

Also this evening my parents and I went to a Mexican restaurant and I had a platter with a cheese chile relleno, fish taco, pork tamale, and beef enchilada. I also had a frozen margarita with a sangria swirl. Didn't finish. Too full. Bleh. The food was good, I suppose, for what it was, but you know...I'm much too far north and east.

And that was my 27th birthday. Hope y'all had a nice day too :)

Happy Pi(e) Day!!!

On the menu tonight, key lime pie and blueberry pie.

I'll need two pies to place 27 candles.

No, not really. The blueberry one is gonna be made with splenda so that certain diabetics can eat dessert, too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

For those about to knit

Ok, this is boring unless you knit.

Remember when I was having an issue with finding circular needles that weren't short enough? Well, on (which I referred you to before) there is an instructional video on Magic Loop knitting. It's on the advanced page which is why I hadn't read it. You CAN knit narrow diameter things on long circs.

Yay for magic!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Words fail me

I work in a strip mall and today I was sitting at the teaching table at the front of the store near the big window. A red Ford truck pulls up into a nearby parking space outside the store (obviously there is no parking IN the store). This was no ordinary big red Ford pickup that litters the highways and dirt roads of backwoods Maryland and downtown Houston. No, this one was special.

I regret not having my camera phone out before the guy left.

Strapped to the grill of his car was a mounted deer head.

That moved.

And sang.

I couldn't quite hear what this poor deer was singing but it was motion activated and startled a few passing shoppers. The head bobbed up and down and shook side to side as its mouth open and closed along to the song. The hide didn't look terribly fake and the construction looked a bit homemade, so I am afraid that this man shot a deer and made himself an animatronic hood ornament.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hey, what's up?

So I've been at my job at the bead store for almost a week now and it's going fine. Lots of inventory type stuff and of course working the register. It's a nice job for someone who puts their M&Ms in color order before she eats them. Not that I do that. That would be cuh-razy.

But that's probably all I'll say about work because I don't want to get dooced .

In my last post it was snowing. That was Monday. Yesterday, Friday, the high temp was 63F and I saw daffodils blooming on the side of a sunny hill.

I've still been knitting, though by the time I finish my current project it will probably be hot. Right now I'm working on a lace pattern scarf from Knitty . I'm using "harvest red" Caron brand acrylic yarn because it's cheap but still feels nice. I've knit and tinked (reverse knit - undoing the stitches one at a time) and frogged (rip it! - completely unraveling) it so many times I finally understand what is actually going on in the pattern. And I am getting more and more comfortable with maintaining tension in the yarn. I'm a continental style knitter, FYI. That basicaly means I hold the working yarn in my left hand and never let go of the needles. The other style of knitting is english a.k.a. throwing where you hold the yarn in your right hand and let go of the right needle briefly to wrap the yarn around the needle. I think english is easier to teach to kids and it is actually the more popular style of knitting in the US, but continental is faster and more efficient. Nevertheless, it is recommended that a knitter should practice both styles to avoid repetitive stress injuries. Check out for basics. But on how to properly hold yarn for continental knitting, check out this youtube video

I have been wanting to learn to knit circles for hats and bags and socks that don't require putting pieces together and seaming. But knitting circles require circular needles (two needles joined with a cable at the bases) or double pointed needles, but have been unable to find appropriately sized ones at the craft stores. I have to find a local yarn shop. But in the meantime I got a crochet hook to make circles. Which technically means I have taken up another craft. However, I am having trouble finding good, clear online teaching resources and feel a little overwhelmed with the patterns that I don't understand. So we'll see how that goes.

On an uncrafty note, I just bought a new paperback nonfiction book called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've only read a few pages of it but I already want to recommend it to everyone. I think in a very teeny nutshell it's about a woman trying to find what really makes her happy, not what everyone says should make her happy. In other words she's looking for Truth and she went to Italy, India, and Indonesia to do it. It sounds totally flaky but it's not! The book is really funny and witty. I'll let you know how the rest of it goes. But you all should read it!