Friday, March 25, 2016

Love my Passion Planner

I know what you might be thinking and it is probably similar to my hubby's reaction when he saw my credit card charge for "Passion Planner." At first he thought our credit card had been hacked. I reassured him that no, that was my charge and no, I did not have a boyfriend (other than him). And, no, Passion Planner is not something that needs to be shipped in a brown paper envelope. Passion Planner is the brainchild of Angelia Trinidad. It is a real, physical calendar that creates fans out of organization junkies like me and just about anyone who is following a dream. I read about it on the Beaducation web site and was intrigued. So, even though it was February and we were already six weeks into 2016, I decided to buy one.

From the outside, it looks like any old normal bound calendar:

But when you look inside, you realize the time and care Angelia put into creating such a wonderful tool, starting with an introduction where she shares the Passion Planner story.

I love the inspirational quotes included in each's week's layout.

One of the first exercises is building your Passion Roadmap. I have done exercises like this in my corporate life but tend to only plan out a year or so at a time in my personal life. Passion Planner has you think out a bit further than that: 3 years and Lifetime!

I have always recorded my completed beading projects but use the Monthly Section to do that now. Each day, I make a quick notation of what I worked on and when I finish something, I highlight it in yellow so I can track how much time something takes to complete. In the lower right section, I keep track of my blog topics.

I use the Weekly Section to track my to-do's for the week along with activities and accomplishments, making the planner a cross between a calendar and a journal. I love how there are separate sections for personal and work to-do's.

So just when you think electronics have put a stake in the physical planner industry, someone like Angelia comes along and reminds us why the physical act of writing is so therapeutic and productive.

I selected the basic black version but there are some fun color options (like turquoise - yummy) and options that don't have dates. I just bought one for a friend who is retiring and think she will have a great time planning her great expanse of free time.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Art Jewelry Adventure Class #2: Erika Sandor

I've been writing about my year-long Art Jewelry Adventure classes which started in late January.  The second class, available on February 18, was bead weaving by Erika Sandor.

Now bead weaving is right up my wheel house and, with all the beads, threads, findings and other sundries accumulated over the last 10 years, I thought I should easily be able to come up with the materials for the Antoinette earrings. Hah! Wrong! These lovely earrings featured rocket beads. No problem, I thought. I'll just go online to find them. But my searches didn't cough up the elusive beads. So I wrote to Erika to inquire about suppliers and she sent me some information as well as a note that she did have a few kits from another class she taught for this design. Yay! I thought the kit would make my life so much easier. The catch? She was shipping from The Netherlands as you can see in my kit shot below.

It took a little over a week for the kit to make its way across the Atlantic but I was delighted to see the elusive rocket beads, shown in the center of the above photo, as well as an elephant trinket. How nice of Erika to add an extra treat to her package.

Smooth sailing from on out, I thought. I easily made up the earrings following the excellent online and written tutorial. But when it came time for me to add the beaded bead to the 3" head pin, my brute strength got the better of me and I snapped the head pins that came in the kit. "Oh, shucks," was not the expletive I blurted at that point. So I dug in my stash to find a suitable replacement but nothing matched the metals in Erika's kit. Plus, in my frenzy to find new head pins, I scattered the daisy spacers all over the floor and lost the ones that came with the kit. I think we have all had beading moments like this. Moments when we are better off to close the door to our creative space and just take a breather.

So I did the best I could with supplies on hand and came up with these:

Notice the daisy spacers are too large and I used a decorative bead in place of the fancy head pin. But I decided to stop obsessing and post my pics to the Art Jewelry Adventure web site, along with my tale of woe. Erika jumped right on the thread and said she was sending something to me and it arrived yesterday! Another package from The Netherlands with extra head pins and daisy spacers.

So after all the ruckus I raised, I figured I better change up those head pins PDQ. And here's the re-do of the Anoinette earrings, using the proper head pins and spacers. You'll notice that there are a couple lengths of ball chain between the earring finding and the earring. Erika's clever design used ball chain terminators to connect the ball chain to the earring and to the earring finding. What a fun new technique!  Her design also adds a cup chain embellishment and I really like the extra texture this adds.

Thanks to Erika's wonderful customer service and tutorial, it was another great Art Jewelry Adventure experience. Now stay tuned for my third class which was a whole other story.

Friday, March 11, 2016

More fun with supremos

Spellcheck is usually wonderful except when it keeps correcting "superduos" to "supremos". Well I have been on a run with superduos aka supremos for a couple weeks.

I really fell in love with the superduo heart I wrote about in January and decided to make up one as a pendant, accented with a sweet metal heart. To stiffen up the peyote heart, I dipped it in a little Future floor wax (a technique I learned for beaded snowflakes) and let it dry on wax paper.

Here's another look:

I thought I would play around a bit more with the heart design to see if it would work as a bail. It was easy to do - instead of making the two top arches for the heart, I just finished the top as a mirror of the bottom and then folded it over, securing a jump ring inside.

I then went on a search for a toggle set using superduos and found one on YouTube by Honeybeads. The circular part of the toggle worked out well but I didn't care for the toggle itself and just happened to glance over at a pattern I had saved for a bangle, necklace and earring set by Michelle McEnroe from the February 2014 BeadAndButton. Eureka! The superduo segments made perfect toggles.

For the necklace rope, I used one of my favorite go-to rope designs by Kristen Stevens. And here's how it all came together.

I sure love those supremo beads!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Superduo bracelet mash-up

I've been grooving on superduo beads this Spring and came across a tutorial by Jill Wiseman that used leather to embellish an even-count peyote strip. I liked the fresh, clean look of the leather but didn't care for the clasp closure. There was just too much space between the end of the peyote and the start of the clasp shown in the screen shot below. I have also linked over to the tutorial in the caption of the photo if you'd like to give it a try. Jill's tutorials are always so clear and professional.

Jill Wiseman's Hippy Chick Bracelet

So I decided to come up with my own variation. I created the superduo strip but then added brick-stitched triangle ends on each side to allow the bracelet to narrow at the closure. I folded the leather in half to create a loop and secured the loop with the bracelet's working thread. The Fireline working thread really helped to hold it securely.

Then, I referred to Jill's video for instructions on attaching the leather to the peyote strip. It's pretty simple - you come up out of an end superduo bead, take your working thread around the leather and go down through the second hole in the same superduo. Then you weave through the beads to get to the next superduo and repeat down the side. Affix both sides of the leather piece so that when you arrive at the other triangle tip, you have both end pieces of the leather strip to secure the button closure with a single overhead knot to which I added a dab or two of Super New Glue. And here's how it turned out:

© Cave Creek Beads