Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some Beadwork For A Change Of Pace

A new bead project kept me happily busy this week.  I recently was introduced to the Auntie's Beads website, and it turned out to be a great source for beads and related supplies.  My first order arrived in my mailbox very quickly.  I placed the order on a Saturday, received notice that it was shipped on Sunday, and when I got back from a mini vacation, there it was. 

It's always an adventure to try out something new in the craft world, so my order consisted of everything I needed to make this bracelet.  OK, so I ordered the wrong Fireline thread, but another quick visit to Auntie's Beads and I had the correct color and weight of Fire Line in a few days. 

The new beads I used (well, new to me) are Miyuki Tila beads, little flat squares with two holes going through them.  I made my own color combination using the Tila beads in metallic silver gray, black seed beads, and 4mm Swarovski bicones in Indian Pink. The directions for this bracelet are right there on the same link -- a complete video showing how to craft this bracelet from start to finish.  And the result?  See for yourself:

The completed bracelet.
Close-up showing the clasp.
Super close-up showing the detail.
If any of you have used Fireline thread before, you know that it's a good strong thread that's perfect for most bead weaving or stringing projects.  I usually use Nymo thread for weaving projects, but am glad that I got to try out this product.  One unusual thing I noticed first off:  I had a lot of trouble cutting the Fireline!  I tried scissors, wire cutters, and clippers and nothing I had on hand would cleanly cut this thread.  Weird.  So I went online and found out that I was not the only one.  A few fellow crafters on a forum suggested plain old kids' Fiskers scissors.  Well, I was going to Wal-Mart anyway, so I picked up a pair for the grand total of $1.47.  And yes, they worked amazingly well, giving the thread a clean cut.  What?!  These little scissors did what several other implements could not.  So now these are my designated Fireline scissors. 

I will say that I would consider this to be an intermediate project, not super-easy or beginner, but also not difficult enough to be labeled "advanced".  This is one bracelet project that I would make again, using different color combinations.  I love beading projects like this and don't seem to do them often enough.  But I do look forward to visiting the Auntie's Beads website again to see what else I can create!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Summery Start

There's nothing like getting back to stitching after a stitching dry spell.  I hadn't worked on any of my cross stitch projects in a long time, so was happy to go to a stitch day with my fellow needleworkers. 

For my birthday, Sheila gave me the chart "Tulip's Praise" by Gracewood Stitches.  You can see the chart here.  When I gathered the DMC colors for the chart, I was instantly happy.  I decided to stitch it on 18 count evenweave over one, in a not-quite-white color.  I did make a little progress at stitch day.  Yes, just a little, owing to the fact that I am not the speediest stitcher on the planet, and hey, we had to eat the yummy dessert that Peggy brought and do our traditional gift exchange.
Just look at those colors -- all of the pinks, greens and turquoises -- just lovely.  Continuing this project will be a pleasure.  It's so summery.  Or it could be springy.  No matter what, like my other stitching projects it will take a while for me to do, and I'll be stitching it when the leaves and snow are falling.  No matter.  It's what we stitchers do.

I also am continuing on my little Just Nan project, "Jasmine Mix".  Lots of color changes, but when it starts coming together, it's an amazing result.
I want to thank everyone who made such kind comments on my post about our trip to California for my son's graduation.  And thank you to all of my followers.  When my follower count gets to 200, I will have a drawing for a giveaway.  So keep watching. 

I will also be participating in the "Where Bloggers Create" blog hop on July 12th, sponsored by My Desert Cottage.  You can find out more about this event by clicking on the button in my sidebar.  Even if you don't choose to take part in this, you can still visit the many blogs participating and check out their amazing work spaces.  You'll find so many ideas for setting up your creative space, organizing, and decorating your crafting area, and also see the the materials that other crafters use.  This, to me, is just fascinating.  So please take a look to see if you're interested. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

There Is A Point To This Post

Have you, as a stitcher, ever wanted to do "frame it yourself"?  Framing something is the finishing touch to a stitched project, and it allows us to display our work.  Professional framers do a wonderful job of fixing up our stitched pieces with coordinating frames and specially cut mats, but we all have to agree that it is expensive.  I've taken in my cross stitch to be professionally framed several times -- for gifts, or if the piece was large.  Over the past few years, however, I've been doing most of my own framing.

My favorite place to get a custom-cut frame, mat, mounting board, and plexi-glass is American Frame.  I've mentioned this company in previous posts and talked about how pleased I am with their selection and service.  A box from American Frame contains everything you need, including framing hardware, all well packed.  One thing that mystifies me to no end are the spring clips to secure the piece in the frame.  I know what you're supposed to do with them, but they need to be screwed into......something.  Okay, I just don't like them.  So Mark has been helping me with this step by installing those little glazier points into the frame with a screwdriver.  This isn't easy, especially with a hardwood frame.

To make this step easier, I'd been researching point drivers and finally purchased one.  The model I bought is the Logan Dual Drive Elite Point Driver.
I finally got a chance to try this thing out last weekend when I was framing a non-stitchy piece.  Whoever invented this point driver is a genius.  First of all, there was only one page of easy-to-follow instructions.  One page!  Next, loading the points was a breeze.  I had expected it to be like my ridiculous big stapler, which has a bizarre, counterintuitive staple loading system.  None of that here!  I loaded those points, adjusted the screw for a harder wood frame and was ready to go!  Then I held my breath as I positioned the point driver and pulled the trigger.  It couldn't have been easier.  And it works!!
The best part is being able to do this step myself.  And you don't have to have the strongest hands in the world to operate it. 
Professional quality, no?
It sure doesn't take much to delight me, does it?  I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby, and I've seen them all over the internet, at places like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and art supply stores.  The price on this point driver was $62.99, but we all know about the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon, don't we?  So this can be had for around $40.00. 

So there is my rave review of the Logan Dual Drive Elite Point Driver.  All in all, it's inexpensive, easy to use, and makes me feel like a pretty good (if amateur) framer.