Sunday, November 11, 2012

What To Bead When There's No Time To Bead

I think many of us have non-beading day jobs that often limit our beading time. (darn!) Seems like my past couple months have been filled with non-beading events and with this nice long Veterans Day week-end, I carved out a couple hours of beady time. Did I work on the many UFO's sitting in my bead room? Of course not! I just had to try the Fun with Fringe Earrings posted by Chloe on the Beading Daily site. Lured by the words easy and quick, this seemed like the perfect solution to limited bead time. Probably because I am not super-adept at wire, this project took me a bit longer than I anticipated but it sure was fun. I used all existing materials including some shiny silver thread that made these perfect for a future dress-up event. The part that gave me fits was the coil wrapping at the fringe top but after several tries to find the right gauge (I used 24), I got a uniform coil.

Next up was a multi-strand necklace, inspired by a cool necklace I just had to buy during a visit to Steinmart's. If you have a Steinmart's in your area and haven't checked it out -- you definitely should. They have great bargains, trendy styles and I just love the jewelry. No, it's not hand-made but it always gives me ideas for something I can try at home. Below is the necklace I purchased for just $13.00. It has 21 strands and a really cool mix of crystal beads, seed beads and a bit of chain for funk factor.

Steinmart Multi-Strand Necklace
I was a bit daunted at the time required to string 21 strands so I settled for half that number and rummaged through my stash to find some interesting sizes and shapes. Below is my creation, finished in just a few hours and not bad for my first-ever multi-strand! I didn't have the chunky crystals but I used a variety of seeds: 11/0 and 8/0, bugle beads and hex beads. It was so much fun, I think I might have to make one in holiday colors.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Patriots In Petticoats on Veterans Day

Imagine my surprise to see the below article in the Altoona Mirror online! I have my Google search set up to find any recent articles about my hometown area and earlier this month I saw a picture of my cousin, Connie! I have always known about Connie's passion for quilting but our lives and geography rarely intersect these days. What I didn't know was her work with the Daughters of the American Revolution to create the quilt as a fundraiser for area veterans. I have recently become interested in beaded quilts and now I have another reason to visit my cousin for a quilting tutorial. Just click on the picture caption below if you want to read more about the Patriots in Petticoats quilt.

Patriots in Petticoats Article

Connie is a veteran herself having served as a nurse in Viet Nam. She followed in her father's footsteps and, after seeing the article about Connie, I thought it only fitting to mention her father, my Uncle Con, who served during World War II and was injured in March of 1945, after which he was honorably discharged. Here is a photo from what I think was early in his service while stationed in Georgia.

As I was looking for Uncle Con's picture, I remembered that my niece, Kendall, had interviewed  Uncle Con for a school assignment and sent me a copy of the interview. Uncle Con, like so many veterans, was never one to talk much about his service experiences but because of his soft spot for family and with the passage of time, he agreed to talk to Kendall. Thanks to Kendall, I had some sobering details about Uncle Con's service days. Here is an excerpt from Kendall's school report:

"His first active fighting was in Guadalcanal. They moved on to Bogainville where he fought for several months. They moved onto the Philippines where Con was in battles at Leyte and Cebu. Con reported that Cebu was a beach landing where several thousand men took on fire while they were on open beaches. Con was injured in March of 1945 in the Battle of Cebu. He was shot between the shoulder blades and in the head while wearing his helmut. He was transported to a field hospital for immediate care. After being stabilized, he was transferred to a permanent overseas hospital and was shipped home to a hospital in the United States where he spent six months recovering from his wounds."

Uncle Con earned many medals for his service including two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. I am so grateful to cousin Connie and Uncle Con for their service to our country!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beading Organization by Evernote

Beading is such a creative enterprise but I spend much time on organization - not just organizing my bead stash but organizing projects. This includes documentation for past projects so I remember the materials, patterns and inspiration and ideas for future projects. And after spending several years in this pursuit, I find myself frustrated with the existing methods. I don't save most old issues of BeadAndButton or Beadwork but I do pull out patterns and keep them in various files marked "have materials" and "need materials". I have a humungo binder of projects I have completed but it doesn't have any separators so every time I want to find an old pattern I end up paging through the entire binder and the pattern I am seeking is invariably in the back. But I hate the paper and can't imagine the size of the files as time progresses.

Thus enters the Evernote application. If you are not familiar with it, you should definitely check it out. (No, I am not receiving any remuneration for this recommendation.) It allows you to sync your computer with iPad and iPhone and makes capturing and categorizing ideas and paper super-easy and even fun. I first signed up for Evernote when I got my iPad two years ago. There is a free version and a premium version and, so far, I have used the free version and think it's great. I used it off and on but have really started to get obsessed with it when I discovered its power in helping me organize my beading life. The visual aspects make it a bit like a private Pinterest, which is good when you are working on top-secret things! The desk-top application allows you to easily clip a web page and populate it into a note which is then synced across all your devices. The cameras on the iPad and iPhone applications allow you to take a snapshot of a pattern or notes you may have scribbled by hand so you can organize them when you have time. You can even do voice notes!
Evernote Screenshot

Now, when I read a beading magazine (which I still prefer in paper form) and come across a pattern I want to make, I snap a picture of it or scan a copy to my computer. If I am reading an electronic magazine, I just snap a screen shot of the pattern pages I want.  Once scanned, I can save the patterns to my computer, Google docs or Goodreader and hyperlink in Evernoote so I can easily access it. Below is a sample screen shot of how a pattern snap appears in Evernote.

I have a notebook for Christmas ideas that I add to throughout the year so going Christmas shopping is as easy as opening the notebook, accessing the web sites I have saved and placing orders (assuming money is in the account for payment!)
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