Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wishing for warm weather.....

It is cold & snowy in Ohio. I saw someone over on Facebook say they wish people would stop complaining about being cold in the Winter. Blah! I can complain about anything I wish...and I WILL! I think the older I get the worse the weather affects me. Use to be that it was a small ache here or there, but now my poor feet that were broken multiple times when I was young feel the change & "complain" to me especially when I'm at work. Also, since I had the sinus surgery last year, my sinuses really "complain" when the weather is bad outside. Last night at work, my nose ached so bad that I thought I was going to pass out. Oh the joys of getting old! I use to laugh at my Dad & his sisters sitting around the dinner table shooting the fat talking about aches & pains. Cheryl & I said we would never do it....HAH! Now that she has had a broken ankle, I find much of our conversations deal with aching feet!

Chris & I are addicted to Netflix. We get one movie at a time, but are we ever enjoying going out to the mailbox once or twice a week to find a new movie or an old "jewel" out there. Remember if you haven't seen a movie...it is NEW! So this week, Chris got Woodstock. I was a freshman in high school at the time living in Portsmouth whose radio station had banned the Rolling Stones and other provocative music. I missed hearing great music from when we lived in LA. So I knew it was there. At night, I would lay in my bed with my 9 volt transistor radio under my pillow listening to a station coming out of Chicago. But back to Woodstock and creating. I had made this beaded bear with beads sent to me by Artbeads.com in their beading for bloggers program. I used their Toho Bead Mix called Neon Frost. As before, I had to add beads to the 5 bags because they were not enough to complete the project. I liked the challenge of trying to get all these different sizes incorporated into a pleasing pattern on a stuffed animal, but it was tough. So I do not recommend that someone without experience use these for a beaded doll project as there were lots of size 15s & if you are using a stuffed animal with some sort of textured "fur" those 15s get lost. I did use them as an over embellishment. Chris was looking at all those wild colors & told me it looked like something a person would see from an LSD trip. I wouldn't know! But after watching bits of Woodstock with Chris, I decided to call this bear after that movie.

I also completed my piece from AFIC last May. Her head had been sitting on my work station for that long starring at me wanting to get finished. So finally, I got out the body, the legs, the arms, the tail & put the body together. Then to cloth this adorable troll. In Ute's class we used clothing from a thrift store. I had about 4 different outfits that I bought from the baby section at our thrift store & decided this dress was cute. I had to really cut it up to make it fit this troll, but I did it! The shoes are ones that Cynthia gave me & yes, those are my own socks cut up & sewn to fit the troll. The hat was one that I probably spent the most time making. I used a piece of wool felt and rubber band it onto a light bulb. Then I Modge Podged it all over & let it dry 42 hours. After that, I cut out small silk flowers & sewed them all over the trolls hat & then on her shoes. She wasn't complete until I found this small pail I bought at the Dollar Store. I think it originally had been some wind chimes. So she was finished & once again was starring at me. I had to give her a name. Finally out of the blue, whispered to me that she was Doris. So world...met Doris!

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I receive the Toho Bead Mix above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I see that some people over on the 2010 BJP are asking questions about how to resize photos for their blogs. Now I confess that I'm no expert on this, but I thought I'd take a moment to talk about how I do photos. I use an old digital camera which still takes fabulous pictures. It is a Nikon CoolPix 950. I also use Photoshop & a MacIntosh computer so some of what I'm saying might now convert well to the PC world & I know many use PhotoElements, but Photoshop is the tops for photo manipulation. Chris is an expert on Photoshop so his work looks so much better than mine & he actually teaches Photoshop.

So working with Photoshop, you have to get your image into a decent shape before even thinking about posting it on the internet. When you download your photos from the camera it will be huge with pixels in the thousands & depending on the camera with a resolution of 300 dpi or more. So first after downloading your photos to a file on your computer (and remember to organize, organize, organize for success!), open your image in Photoshop. It will be a large image & here is where you want to manipulate it. DO NOT resize the image until you happy with how it looks. This is the time to do things like rotate the image as most of mine always need to be rotated, then I crop the image using the cropping tool. Next I always like to sharpen my image using the filter tools (unshapen mask is my favorite) & yes, it does make a different. Then I adjust the levels of contrast/brightness by using levels or curves, but sometimes just letting Photoshop do it automatically is acceptable.

Now you can resize the photo for internet/blog usage. When you go to image size first thing to look for is the resolution. Mine always comes up at 300 dpi, but you can adjust it here. I usually keep my resolution at 300, but you can change it to anything all the way down to 72 dpi which is a very low resolution that will look okay on the screen but will be very pixelated, but that might be okay if you keep your image size large. I don't. Like I said, I like a 300 resolution. I change the dimension size which is at the top & has a large pixel number (usually over 1000). It is also gives you numbers in width & height with pixel numbers, but you can change that to inches, but I don't. Here is where I change my pixel number usually from 600 or 800. Your average screen is 800 (width) by 600 (height). This where you adjust it so that when people click on your image on the blog it will open up into a bigger photo. So I like to keep it around 400 to 600 depending on the detail of the photo. Remember to save as a .jpg for the internet & do this AFTER you've done all your image resizing as this compresses the photo & once you've saved it as a .jpg you will not be able to see the detail in working with the image as with the original. Oh, did I mention to save that original photo in a file? I think so, and remember if you really want to be anal about this, save different versions of that same image multiple times so in case you do something & it screws it up, you have the worked on image to go back to. I usually save my images at least 2-3 times in a new folder!

Now we go to blogger in this case. You will download the image in blogger using the picture tool.
Above is my original image that I downloaded. I can move it by clicking on my image & moving it with the mouse. NOW you can also reduce the size of the image here. Click on the image & take your mouse/finger to the corner of the image. You'll see a line come up on the screen. While you are holding down the shift key & the mouse, going in a diagonal motion, you can reduce the photo. See how I've taken my original image from above & reduced it here on blogger?? Publish your post & then go to view your blog. It you do not like how the image has published, you can edit it until you are happy with the results. Sometimes I have to do this multiple times until it looks the way I like it. Remember to experiment!

Oh & yes...these are the jars I'm using for my 2010 BJP...and yes! I haven't started beading yet. I'm still trying to get my MUSE to tell me how to start. Meanwhile I'm working on other projects.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


OMG...want some FREE BEADS! Who doesn't??? Artbeads.com is having a $1000 shopping spree. Yes, I said free one thousand dollar shopping spree. Click the link to take you to the site to sign up. I know I did!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winning & UGLY!

I found out Saturday night very very late that Rachel's Dream took runner up in the Land of Odds Earthen Mother Beaded Doll challenge. I was so happy. Rachel's Dream took up almost a year off and on with creating, sewing, beading, and then doing publicity. Now it is all over...whew! I'm exhausted. But like with all big projects, I am feeling a little lost right now. I have projects to occupy my time, but not anything like working with a huge component intense piece like Rachel. I use to feel this same way after working on those huge cross stitch samplers spending months blending DMC colors, sewing, and then embellishing them. I still have all of them framed and on the walls in our house. Most of them would take me from 4 to 6 months to work on, then I'd be done and emptiness would fill my heart. I'm feeling that emptiness right now too. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to have won 2nd place. Really delighted is more like it. I just need to find myself another big gigantic project to occupy this next year.

Speaking of...I got the jars out for the BJP 2010 & cleaned them all. I'm going to measure the jars & get some sort of idea on what size the cover of the box will be. All the jars will have beaded lids with a "secret treasure" inside. The cover of the box will have 12 individual parts depicting what the month's treasure is about. The cover will be my challenge of doing more of a fiber rich/bead embellished flat work. Then the 12 parts will be joined together to make the box lid. Then the jars will have a "home" where they can remain. I think I'm going to have to get Chris to help me with the measuring and the idea of the construction of the box. The jar lids will be easy, but that fabric box will give me a few trials.

One more thing today. It is gray & gloomy in Ohio which is a typical Winter weather. So whenever we can find humor, it is much appreciated. Last week, I got a copy of the Spring issue of Bead Unique Issue #24. I was paging through it looking at different projects and thinking if I could use this or that technique in doll making. It was also fun to see names and faces of people who I had met in Tahoe at their Retreat. Then I flipped to the back page as I love to read Pam's musing & there was the most ugly piece of jewelry I purposely made! It was with Kate's & B.J.'s ugly necklace from the "Ugly design challenge". Now I can't remember if I won the "I don't think so Ugly" or the "OMG Ugly", but all the winners/losers were so darn ugly. So there is one of my resolutions for the new year, but UGLY??? Now let me tell you about this UGLY UGLY UGLY necklace

It is called "My Hidden Passion for Ronald" as I am fond of the double cheeseburger Kid's Meals there. I also love their coffee! But anyway back to the story. One of my sister guild members found a beanie baby of Ronald McDonald at Alum Creek State Park. I can't remember if Gigi told me it was floating in water or not, but it was in pretty poor shape despite the fact that she washed it. Everyone knows I make things with beanie babies so Gigi gave it to me & laughing gave me a "challenge" to make something with it. So I took a necklace that I made in a Jean Bernard class & it was turned out sort of ugly. It was a locket, so I thought "why not?". I cut the head off the beanie baby & glued it into the locket. Then I took some orange fiber that I got from the "Free" table at AFIC. That was glued on & some beads that were just sitting on the table got added to it. So...GIGI! Not only did I make something with that beanie baby, but the ugly thing got published! LOL!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Really weird stuff!

BAD which was the Yahoo Group for Beaded Art Dolls closed last month right before the stuffed animal challenge was to end. I never got a chance to post my monkey that I made for that. Oh & yes, it IS a beaded flying monkey. I guess I was watching Wizard of Oz while working on him. I think the rivoli in the center distracts from the whole piece. I should have used more crystals to give it more sparkle, but I can always do that later. That is the best part of doing beaded dolls...THERE is NEVER TOO MUCH SPARKLE!!!!!

I haven't even started my 2010 BJP. I have no idea why I'm procrastinating so much. I have the "treasures", I have the jars, I have the fabric for the lids, but just can't seem to make myself start. I keep finding more things that are catching my eye. Guess I'm just a big ole Raven! "Oooo, isn't that pretty? Aaaahhh, can I Modge Podge that it make it look nice? Ooooo, can I cut that up & make it into something else?" I think I need to just MAKE myself start on my hidden treasure project & if it doesn't work out, there is always the "rippit" stitch.

Chris is busy making more robots. Here is is latest called "VaVaVaVoom". She's a busty type of robot, don't you think???Here his blog if you'd like to see more: MacRadioBot

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seed bead Mixes

Well Happy New Year! I've already been in the mood to bead like made. This weekend was a Winter snowy mess, so instead of going out and battling the roadways, I stayed in and beaded! We also watched all three of the Lord of the Rings. I love that movie. Can't you tell as two of my dogs are named after the characters (Frodo & Arwen). We try to watch all three every other year & this year it was great as we have our surround sound which made all the scenes enhanced with sound. Saturday I did an indulgence & stopped at Krispy Kreme on my way home from work to buy a dozen of hot delicious donuts. No, I didn't eat the whole dozen, but I put a big dent into it. BTW, I love donuts! I'm giving them up for my resolution for 2010.

Now for some beading! Some of these were done last month/last year. But I hadn't had a chance to get them photographed for blogging. This first piece is made from the beads that I was given for free by Artbeads.com. I want to get more into making bead mixes this year & learning color so this was a good place for me to start. I asked for their Toho Bead Mixes to try. I got 5 bags of the Earth Tone. They came in 8 gram bags. When I opened one bag up, I didn't think this many beads to work with. I'm use to getting tubes of 25 grams at my LBS and wasn't sure if this would be a good deal as the bags sold for $1.50 each online. But I decided to give it a try. So I used the Scottie cab that I made from my vintage button that was crumbling & has now gone to the big Button Heaven in the sky. I wanted to try to do at least one bracelet. I opened another of the 8 gram bag & began to bead. I was surprised at how far those 8 grams went. I completed the whole bracelet with 3 bags, and use a little from the 4th bag. Then I decided to go ahead & make a pair of matching earrings with the rest of the 4th bag. I was able to complete that too with a little extra left. So basically, if I purchased these beads online from Artbeads.com I would have spent a total of $6.00 plus the cost of the ear wires, cab & wool for the bracelet. I realized it really wasn't a bad deal in buying the seed bead mixes. So I recommend that you investigate in their other seed bead mixes. They are a mix too with all sizes and bugle beads. It will also give you a good idea on how to combine different colors to get a pleasing look.

I also got Beverly Ash Gilbert's new book Beaded Colorways. AWESOME! Beverly sent a tube of her seed bead mix with the order, and I made a bracelet with all those beads. It was called Mossy Rock and boy isn't it lovely! If you want to learn to make seed bead mixes like Beverly does then indeed buy this book as she gives a wonderful tutorial on how to make your own mixes and then lots of projects on how to use them. Beverly also has a great blog to give you ideas on color and her photography is great. Am I giving you lots of links to visit Beverly...yes I did! You really should take a peak. I think you'll be obsessed like me.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at Artbeads.com, I receive the seed bead mixes above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by Artbeads.com for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.