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The Cat's Meow



My sometimes inane thoughts about life and living it



Last Build Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 10:08:17 +0000

 



A Totally Beady Christmas

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:37:00 +0000

I know it's a bit early for thinking about Christmas, but those of us who handcraft our gifts have to think about it early. Lots of gifts to make and not much time if I wait until too late.

Someone I know is having a totally beady Christmas this year. I make her an Advent calendar every year, and this year I'm filling lots of the slots with jewelry. Here is what I've made so far for her.


I just love the little wreath earrings! They are from a bracelet pattern by Beads Gone Wild, I used just one of the motifs.

Are you handcrafting gifts for the holidays? Have you started on them yet?

Cat




Beaded Badge Reels

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:30:00 +0000

I recently learned how to make beaded badge reels, and I've been having so much fun with them! They are quick and fun to make. I love playing around with all the different colors. And they are full of bling!


I gave one to my daughter hoping people would see it and want one. The first day she wore it to work, her boss ordered six of them to give all the employees in her department for Christmas. Yay!

I have three of them listed in my Etsy store. They've gotten some views, but no sales there yet. I seem to sell much better in person. If only there were an easy way (not a craft show) to get my jewelry viewed in person. Oh, well, I just enjoy making it. If it doesn't sell, I end up giving a lot of it away. It's fun to make people happy with my beading.

Cat



Still Raining

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 11:24:00 +0000

I just woke up, and it's STILL raining out! It has been raining since last Tuesday, and yesterday alone we got 6 inches of rain. I just want it to stop already. I have things to do, and driving in this is a bear!



Journey To Design

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:24:00 +0000

I love beading, and I also love making someone else's design my own by putting different finishing touches on a pattern. One thing I have always wanted to do, though, is to design my own beadwork. I am so in awe of those who can just sit down with a pile of beads and emerge with a beautiful structure.

I think that's why I enjoy beading Nancy Dale's Summertime Wrap Bracelet so much. Even though I'm following a pattern, I feel free to go my own way with it and change things up so that each one I make looks very different from the others.

The question is, how do I start learning something like designing? Can it even be learned, or is it something you have to have inside you from the start? I don't know, but I intend to find out. I have a craving inside to design beading projects. This leads to a lot more questions.

Do I just sit down with a pile of beads and start beading? How will I know what to do? Should I buy Karen Williams books on freeform peyote to get myself started? Will freeform eventually lead to design? If nothing else, it will make me more conscious of what the beads can do.

Do I start by designing something on paper first, then trying to bead it? Even though I know I want to design, I don't have jewelry ideas floating around in my head. Maybe I should look at pictures of vintage or antique jewelry, then try to design some of the same styles.

The one thing I have designed is my Superduo ring. The way I came up with that idea is I wanted a beaded ring, but Delica peyote rings were too flimsy, so I decided to try peyote with Superduos. It made a nice sturdy ring, and I made a tutorial out of it. I've even sold a couple of them.

So, I need to choose a first step. As stated above, I'll look for pictures of old jewelry to get a taste of which styles I like. We'll see where it goes from there.

If you have any ideas that will help me get started, please let me know in the comments. I could use all the help I can get with this project.

Cat




The Big UFO Reveal

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 05:30:00 +0000

So, today is the day. We have to show the world how many UFO's (UnFinished Objects) we have, projects waiting to be finished. I think I have way too many. So many that I had to buy a drawer system for them. A small drawer system, but still...I have no idea why I haven't finished this one. It's going to be very pretty, and it's from one of my favorite books. The Beaded Sphere, by Judy Walker. I even have an autographed copy of it. But I put this project down about a year ago, and haven't picked it up since. It will only take a day or two, then I'll have a beautiful pendant.This one is a great bracelet. I tried to pick it up the other day, but it's been so long that I can't remember where I am or what comes next. It's a shame, because it's a beautiful design by Beads Gone Wild. I really need to take the time to go over the pattern and figure out where I am so that I can finish it.Now, this one, I know why I haven't finished. Because it's a PITA. Even though I know I will love it when it's done. It's a little "pod purse" by Idele Gilbert. First when I ordered it, for some reason I thought it was peyote stitch. Then I got it and it is square stitch, ugh. With 30 colors. In size 15 beads. I've been trying to make myself do a row a day, but I'm actually doing about a row a week. I may have it finished sometime in 2025. And then there are a few more: a pair of earrings for a friend, another bracelet, and a few "beginnings" of 'I don't know' what. And I keep starting new projects, instead of finishing these. I need help. And that's why I'm glad that Karen Williams, of Skunk Hill Studio, has started a support group for us on Facebook. Maybe I'll finish one or more of these projects with support from the group. Maybe.To see all the blogs and unfinished projects of other members of our group, or to ask for an invite to join us, hop over to Karen's blog at http://blog.baublicious.meCat[...]



Cute Little Bunny

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 01:08:00 +0000

Thread-a-Bead is a website from the UK that has really cute beading patterns for peyote and brick stitch.

I bought this little Easter Bunny pattern last week and beaded it up the other day. The instructions said it would take 3-4 hours to bead. It took more like 6-7 hours, but it was fun. It turned out so darling!

I'm going to send it to my grand-daughter for Easter. She always appreciates any beaded items that I make for her, and I know she'll just love this little bunny!





Cat



Making Wrap Bracelets

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:15:00 +0000

I have been having fun making these wrap bracelets from a tutorial by one of my favorite bead artists, Nancy Dale. They are so much fun that I've been making at least one of them every week. I love seeing how they look in different colors.Even though I use the same basic stitch on every bracelet, each one is a one-of-a-kind project. That is because using different beads for the accents makes each bracelet unique.This pink bracelet, for instance. I knew that I wanted to use the rectangle pink beads with the gold design for my main focal beads. Then I rummaged around through my bead storage and pulled out all the beads I have that are 3 to 6 millimeters in size and that are in the pink color range. I have pearls, Austrian crystals, rondelles, druks, Superduos, fire-polished crystals, wooden beads, and more. As I was making the bracelet, I decided which of these beads I wanted to use for each section. Making these is a great way to use up small amounts of beads left over from other projects!The seed beads in this bracelet are Miyuki Permanent Gold,  #P0471, size 11/0. I am using Fireline thread, 6 lb. The stitches are a combination of RAW, herringbone, a modified daisy stitch, and picots. There are six sections, broken up by the five main focal beads, and each section has its accent beads added with a different stitch.I've been using magnetic clasps on them, which has been working out beautifully. They are just as much fun to wear as they are to make! I've been wearing the bracelet that I made for myself for about a month now, almost 24 hours a day, and it is holding up well. I always get compliments on it. I feel confident with the quality of these bracelets and am going to go ahead and list them in the Bead Street Studio Etsy shop for sale. Give me a few days to write up the listing and take more photos and then they will be in the shop for you to get a closer look at them.CatThe blue dragonfly is the one I've been wearing. It's not for sale.[...]



Review: Spiral Earrings Tutorial by Sasha Si

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 23:03:00 +0000

If you do not already own Sasha Si's Spiral Earrings Tutorial, run over to her Etsy shop and buy it now. The basic earring is a quick and easy make, not to mention that it produces a beautiful pair of earrings, but this tutorial lends itself to tons of ways to vary the earrings and put your own spin on them. You don't need any prior beadweaving experience for this tutorial. Sasha explains every step thoroughly. If you can thread a needle, you can make these, yet because of the endless variations, they are great fun for advanced bead lovers as well.I am having so much fun playing with this tutorial and trying different things! I'm going to show you a few of the variations that I played around with, and I'm sure there are tons more that I haven't tried yet. But I will!(all bead-weaving in photos is complete, though in some I haven't put the ear wire on the earring yet)Using different sized beadsIncreasing starting bead countThe basic tutorial uses only two sizes of beads, 8's and 11's, (middle earring). I made a larger version using 6's and 8's (right) and a smaller version using 15's and 11's (left). I also made an extra long version of the earring by increasing the bead count at the beginning of the tutorial.Then I wanted to see what I could do with color. Here is the red, white, and blue striped result of that experiment. I think it looks pretty cool. I'd like to see what else I can do with just color to make them look different.I've also been substituting other beads for the 8's, and getting great-looking results! Here are the photos, captioned with the type of bead I substituted.3mm crystals3mm pearlsSuper-Uno BeadsMiyuki Tiny Drop Beads I'd love to hear what variations you tried with this tutorial and how they worked out. Now, I think I see some daggers on my shelf that I want to try out with these earrings...Cat[...]



10 Easy Jewelry Care Tips

Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:46:00 +0000


After spending some of your hard-earned money on a special piece of handmade jewelry for yourself, don't you want to keep it looking beautiful as long as possible?  It's easy to keep your jewelry looking good for a lifetime if you follow some easy practices when caring for it.

Most of these jewelry care tips, such as removing your jewelry at night or putting jewelry on after applying makeup, will become habit after a while and you will do them without even thinking.


  • Remove jewelry before showering, bathing, or swimming. Any prolonged exposure to water can weaken your jewelry, and swimming also exposes it to chemicals in the water.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry. All you really need is some warm water and a drop or two of mild dish detergent. Rub gently with your fingers or a soft cloth, pat dry, and lay flat on a towel to dry completely.
  • Use a polishing cloth to shine metal jewelry. A polishing cloth, such as the Sunshine Cloth, is good for shining and removing tarnish from metal jewelry. It does a great job while still being gentle.
  • Store metal jewelry with a tarnish strip. Keep your jewelry from tarnishing in the first place! A tarnish strip absorbs moisture from the air that causes metals to tarnish. Store your jewelry in a small plastic baggie with a tarnish strip. If you are out of tarnish strips, a piece of white chalk will work in a pinch until you get more.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleansers while wearing your jewelry. Remove jewelry before doing household chores.
  • Remove jewelry when doing heavy work. When cleaning the yard, gardening, or even doing some types of crafts, remove your jewelry so that it doesn't get caught on something and break.
  • Don't sleep in your jewelry. I have to admit, this is tempting and I have done it, but then I have the tools here to fix my jewelry when it gets weak and breaks from sleeping with it on. Best to take it off before bed.
  • Apply makeup, perfume, and hair spray before putting on your jewelry. This keeps powders and sprays from coating your jewelry.
  • Inspect your jewelry regularly for breaks or weak spots. If you see a spot that needs attention, ask the maker to repair it before it gets worse. There may be a small charge for this, but that's better than losing a piece of jewelry if it breaks and falls off.
  • Wear your jewelry often! Don't save it for special occasions. Even a pair of earrings will make you feel special every day!

Do you have any favorite jewelry care tips that I haven't mentioned here? Please share them with us in the comments.

Cat







Merry Christmas!

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 05:31:00 +0000

Just a short post today to say merry Christmas and happy whichever holiday you celebrate. I'll be back with more posts after the new year.

(image)
You can purchase a tutorial to make these cute trees here

Cat





A Book of Beaded Fairies

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:00:00 +0000

I'm always looking for something different to make with beads.  So, when I saw a book called Mini People available from The Beadworkers Guild in England, I knew I had to buy it. And I have certainly not been disappointed with my purchase. I am having so much fun with it!The instructions in the book are fairly easy to follow, but you should have some beadweaving experience if you buy it. That is because there aren't any line-by-line tutorials. The author, Ann Mockford, calls her instructions "recipes", which feels accurate. There are brick-stitch graphs for the clothing, and the individual doll recipes say to use this or that skirt, jacket, arms, etc. for a particular character, so you are thumbing back and forth through the book. They aren't difficult to make or put together, so if you are adventurous, give it a try!There are eight different characters in the book, plus a baby doll sized fairy.  They are all put together in basically the same way, but there are different ways to make their clothes which turns them into different characters. Once you've made a couple of these, you can expand on the ideas in this book, and make hundreds of different styles of fairies, elves, and more.I have made two figures so far. I really enjoyed making both of them.The first one I made was this little fairy. She is based on the fairy that you an see on the cover of the book, above. She even has a petticoat under her skirt, but you can't see it in this picture.The next one I made was this elf in Christmas colors. He is very loosely based on one of the elves in the book, the one that you can see on the cover, above, holding the umbrella.I made both of their faces myself by using Sharpie pens to draw on a wooden bead.I hope you enjoyed my book review. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments.Cat[...]



My new kitty!

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000

I can usually play with kittens and resist bringing one home. Booger has been enough cat for me. But my neighbor had a small litter of feral kittens, and one of them just broke my heart. This little tortoise-shell is the one who broke and then captured it.
The first day she was so scared! But she was also very hungry, so I hand-fed her little bits of cat food at a time. It was only a couple of days before she would happily run to me whenever I called her.

I named her Pippa. I had been calling her pipsqueak, so I just shortened it.

She was about 10 weeks old when I got her. Now she is about 14 weeks old. She loves to play and she follows me everywhere I go in the house. No animals allowed in the bead studio though (for their safety and my sanity), so she sits outside the door when I'm in there. I've been leash-training her, and it's actually going pretty well. She's been getting her shots, and she has an appointment to be spayed on Dec. 20. The animal league here, Peggy Adams, does the spay, microchip, and rabies shot for $75. Oh, yeah, we're going high tech, she's getting a microchip!

And now both Pippa and I say goodnight and sleep tight.
Cat



The BEST Fireline Cutting Tool!

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 20:00:00 +0000

One question that is always being asked on beading forums and chat groups, by new and old beaders alike,  is "What do you use to cut your Fireline thread?". And up until now, the consensus was to use a pair of children's Fiskar-type scissors. They do work well. At first. But if you bead with any regularity then you know that they get dull almost immediately.

So, I had way too many pairs of those scissors laying around, then I spent way too much on a super-duper scissor sharpener, and then I ruined a wire cutter thinking I'd had a great idea. But I still couldn't get a clean cut on a piece of Fireline thread. And it was really making me mad.

I saw a review in one of the bead magazines of a new fishing line cutter sold by the Boomerang Tool Company. So, of course I ordered one. They had a choice of small blades, small blades with a light, or long blades. Not knowing if this thing was even going to work, I chose the long blades, for $15.99 plus $5.00 shipping.

Can I just say...WOW!!! These really are the best thing since sliced bread! They cut Fireline effortlessly. I'd bet that I could throw a piece of Fireline in the air, snip it with these things as it floats down, and still get a clean enough cut to thread a needle!

Everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to buy themselves one of these things immediately. It is always at my side. I can tell it will not go dull because it has serrated blades, not smooth ones. So no sharpening them either. You can thank me later, just go buy yourself one of these things NOW. Here is a link to their search page with the different cutter styles. All you have to do is pick one.

Cat






Why, hello there!

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 23:21:00 +0000

Hi everybody. *Yawn* I feel like I've just woken up from a long hibernation. What's the date of that last post? June 2015? ?!?  Well I'm awake now, and I'm posting. I just will not give myself impossibly lofty goals for myself and the blog this time. I'm going to post at least once every other week, and in between if I think of anything else interesting. I should be able to handle that much without going off schedule.

Along with coming out of blog hibernation, I'm giving my Etsy shop a new push. I renamed it - Bead Street Studio - and I've been photographing and adding a new product every day or two. If I spread them out like that, then later I'll be renewing every day or two also, so constantly having new activity in the shop. I don't really need the income, but I bead all the time anyway. There is only so much that I can wear, or even give away, so I'm hoping to make some scratch for more new beads by selling some of my projects. We'll see how it goes.

I made a new shop logo. I gave up on trying to think of cat names for the store, so named it for what it is, and just added a cat byline underneath. I like it now.


And I renamed my Facebook page to match the Etsy shop, so pop on by and say hello to me over there.


And...that's it for now! See you in a week or two!

Cat

oh, yeah, P.S. - how could I forget? I got a new little kitten too!  Her name is Pippa. Pics and story coming in a future blog post.




Happy Equality Day!

Sat, 27 Jun 2015 00:30:00 +0000

I don't know which is more cool...

That our Supreme Court today affirmed the right of all our citizens to marry whomever they want, whether a member of the same or the opposite sex, in all fifty states, beginning immediately!

Or

That this is the White House in Washington DC tonight:

(image)

YAY!!!!!!



Gourd Stitch - Discovered!

Sat, 07 Mar 2015 18:26:00 +0000

I always knew that gourd stitch and peyote stitch are two very different stitches, I just didn't know what the difference was. But every time I googled gourd stitch, all that I came up with were peyote stitch tutorials.

But not this time! I finally found a tutorial that shows the difference, at a website called Native American Beadwork. They describe peyote as being a "unit of two" stitch and gourd as being a "unit of three" stitch. You can see the difference in these two pictures from the website.

(image)
Gourd stitch on the left, Peyote stitch on the right
Gourd stitch gives a much sharper diagonal line than peyote stitch does. This allows for a wider range of designs in your stitched creations.

The Native American Beadwork website also offers some blank graph paper so that you can design your own patterns. There are two types - one with spirals descending to the right and one with spirals descending to the left. To get you started, here is a page at another website, Pow-Wows, that offers graphed patterns for some traditional designs. 

I haven't used the stitch yet, but I have the tutorial on my "to-do" list, because I really want to give it a try.

Cat



Trying Something Different

Thu, 05 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000

Bead-weaving is definitely my first love, but as a money-making venture, it is very labor intensive. I am using very tiny beads and weaving them into a design one bead at a time. I enjoy doing it, and it's relaxing for me. I just put so many hours into making a beautiful piece of jewelry and I know I can't charge enough for that piece to pay myself more than a few cents per hour for my labor. That's quite alright, I'm not selling them to become a gazillionaire, I'd just like some money to replenish my bead stash.However...I was thinking that if I could make a few things to sell that weren't so labor intensive, maybe I could buy even more beads!I bought some glass cabochon and bezel sets from Annie Howes on Etsy. They came with instructions telling how to make the pendants, and when I received the kits I was very pleased with the quality. Here is a picture of the glass cabochons, the bezels, and some photo paper that I painted with nail polish and then punched out into one-inch circles.Couldn't resist resting the glass on top of some of themAt first I tried painting the nail polish directly on the back of the glass, but then if I didn't like the way it looked, it was a pain to take it off the glass. I finally settled for painting it on some photo paper that I had because then if I didn't like it I could just throw it away. Easy peasy.Then I used the glue supplied by Annie Howes to glue the round paper circles to the back of the glass Cabochons. Here they are, resting while the glue dries.The one in the back is just a piece of paper, no polishNow, all I have to do is glue them into the metal bezels and hang each one on a chain, all conveniently supplied by Annie. This was a really fun project and it didn't take me much time. The longest part was waiting for the glue to dry.And here are two of them sitting in their bezels.So pretty!I think they're really cute and I hope other people think the same. I'm going to have to make more variety, though. Not everyone likes glitter and sparkles as much as I do. I've been experimenting with cutting circles from all the junk mail I get at my house. You'd be amazed at how pretty junk mail can look when it's reduced to a one-inch circle!So now you know how they're made. If you feel crafty, you can hop on over to Annie Howes, get your own kit, and make necklaces for all of your friends and family. Or if you don't feel like starting yet another craft (and don't I know that feeling!), I'll be putting them up for sale in my Etsy store as soon as I settle on a fair price to charge.I am also trying another necklace idea that is different from my usual. If that one doesn't flop, or maybe even if it does, I'll blog about that one soon. Have you tried making something totally different from your "usual"? Was it fun for you? Let me know in the comments.Cat[...]



Where Do They Find The Time?

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:35:00 +0000

I don't even have an outside-the-home job, and it seems I'm always playing catch-up. I do babysit for one of my grandsons, so I don't get a whole lot of work done when he's here. I also have an elderly stepdad that I take out to do his errands once or twice a week because he can't drive. Between those things and all the normal household stuff, I can barely find time to get as much beading done as I want to.

So how do other people do all of that, spend (seemingly) more time on their crafts and listing items for sale than I do, and still have time for Facebook and/or forums? You know the people I'm talking about. No matter what time it is, they are answering a question or replying to a comment on Facebook. Or they are over in the Etsy forums answering question after question there from new or distraught buyers and sellers, all day long. And some people are in both places!

I only visit Facebook once a week, at most, because once I open it up I may as well just throw the whole day away. By the time I skim through my news feed and all of my groups, hours have passed.

I try to visit the Etsy forums once a day, just so that I feel like I'm up to date on anything that's happening over there, because Etsy sure doesn't announce everything they're doing. I think that might be the place where I am most puzzled. Take a look, and you'll see that the same people are there posting all day, and sometimes all night, long. When do they find the time to make their crafts, photograph them (another all-day task for me), list their products, and ship their sold items? Not to mention taking care of their family and their house.

I just don't get it. I must either work very slowly or have terrible time management skills. I cannot spend as much time online as everyone else seems to and still hope to have any time for beading. But then I don't have a smart-phone, either, I have to do everything on my computer. Maybe these people who appear to be online 24 hours a day are the ones who I see out and about multi-tasking on their smart-phones while shopping, eating, driving, etc. Maybe that's how they do it!

How do you find time to spend online?

Cat



Time for the "GROW YOUR BLOG" Party!!!

Sun, 25 Jan 2015 04:45:00 +0000

This is my first year joining the "Grow Your Blog" party hosted by 2 Bags Full, and I can't wait to discover some new favorite blogs!
(image)
The Invitation!
If you are here for the party and this is your first time visiting, I'll tell you a little bit about my blog.  I think I've been with Blogger since 2005 (!)  There have been quite a few different iterations of this blog.  It was kind of a diary at first, then it was about my job, then it was a travel blog, and finally I settled on the Meowtalk name that it has now (and which I like a lot).  I figured I could talk about anything under that name...and I have.

I work out of my home studio making beaded jewelry, so I post pictures of the pieces I finish and sometimes in-progress pics or different variations/experiments with a piece.  I also post little stories about my daily life, my 4 grand-kids, my cats, or anything else I think might make a good blog post. I do not post about politics - that subject has a way of becoming immediately divisive in any group.

I don't always post consistently, but I keep promising myself that I'm going to get better about that. We'll see as 2015 evolves.  I am really hoping to post at least once a week.

I'll keep it short because I know you have a lot of blogs to visit.  And so do I!

Cat







Decisions, Decisions

Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:30:00 +0000

Do you ever have days when you can stare at two or three different beads for hours, and still be wavering on which one is the right color choice to use in your project? I started making a bracelet from Nancy Dale's pattern "Carol's Bracelet". It's a beautiful bracelet, and it looks very vintage in the bronze and pink colorway that I chose to use. Just one thing bothered me. As I reached the end of the bracelet, I realized that the 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones were able to spin on the thread that was holding them inside the diamond shapes. Even though I'm using 8lb. Fireline and had gone through each crystal at least four times (more than the pattern called for), I was afraid that the bicones would wear away at the thread. This would cause the bracelet to eventually break at those points, especially if it was worn often. I also worried that whoever wore the bracelet might have a tendency to fiddle with and spin the bicones, causing more movement than would occur naturally. I know I can't stop playing with any moving parts in my jewelry.I decided to take the bracelet apart and start over, adding size 15 seed beads at the ends of each bicone to reduce the wear on the thread. And that is where I got stuck.I pulled out some gold 15's and two different colors of pink. I decided quickly that I don't like how the gold beads look against the crystals, so now I only have to decide between two colors. One of the pinks is almost exactly the same color as the crystal bicones. The other is just a little bit lighter, but has an AB (Aurora Borealis) coating just like the crystals do.I took some pictures, thinking it would be easier to decide which I like better if I looked at some close-ups. No such luck. One minute I lean toward the dark pink, the next minute I lean toward the lighter one. Here are some of the pictures I took. Which color would you choose?size 15 beads are labeledtop row, lt. pink at left, then dk. pinklt. pink at bottom, gold at top gold at left, lt pink on far rightMaybe it really doesn't matter which color I use and I'm agonizing over nothing. I just like my beadwork to be perfect - both aesthetically pleasing and woven sturdily. Since I'm taking it apart anyway, I'm also going to smooth the ends of the crystals a bit with my bead reamer tool. Whenever I finally make up my mind, I'll post a picture of the finished bracelet here on the blog.Cat[...]



I'm So Behind Technologically, But...

Mon, 05 Jan 2015 16:06:00 +0000

I think this is something that has been around since the beginning of the internet, but I have just discovered it today. Of course. I'm always years behind everyone else when it comes to technology. Remember? I'm the one who still uses a flip cellphone.

Anyway, the big new thing I've discovered is RSS feeds! Namely, the one I found is called Feedly.  I cannot believe how much easier using Feedly makes it to follow my favorite blogs. Where have I been all this time?

The blogs I read are now all in one place. I can see if they've been updated recently, so no wasted trips to web pages from my bookmarks/favorites list. I can organize blogs into categories, based on topic or any other criteria that I choose.  You can choose to display your blog list with post titles only, a summary of the posts, or the full posts. (I chose summaries)  Feedly tells you which posts you've already read and how many new posts are waiting on each blog.
WOW! I'M AMAZED!

You can also pay to upgrade to a pro account with more settings and features, but I'm so fascinated by what I already have that I can't imagine what else I'd need. Maybe some of you who have known about RSS feeds forever would want more "stuff".  I don't know. But, guess what? I also have a tip for you technological pros who stuck around to read all of this! Something you might not know yet.

You can hack Feedly to follow your favorite Pinterest boards and let you know when each board is updated.  Julie Deneen at Fabulous Blogging walks you right through how to set it up, step-by-easy-step. Also, once it's set up you can repin or visit a pinned website right from your Feedly page. Isn't that pretty darned awesome?

There are other websites that will compile your RSS feeds, use Google to find them. Feedly is just the one that I found, and it is very intuitive and easy to use, even for me. Use Feedly or find another site, but using RSS feeds will definitely save you lots of time. And that's something we can all use.

Cat

Since this is my first post of the new year...
Happy 2015! I wish you much health and happiness in the coming year!



Make A Sofia Amulet-Last Minute Gifts For Kids

Sun, 21 Dec 2014 15:57:00 +0000

My daughter told me that grand-daughter is obsessed with the whole Frozen franchise. Her newest favorite movie is Sofia The First, and she wanted an amulet just like Sofia's.The first thing I had to do was look up a picture of the amulet online, having no idea what it was supposed to look like. I found one, and it didn't look too difficult.Here is how the final result came out, and then I'll tell you how I made it.Please excuse the window reflection.This really was so simple to make! I don't have pictures of the process, because I didn't think of writing an amulet tutorial until after I had made it. I think you'll find the instructions easy enough to follow.MaterialsClear glass cabochon with flat backGlitter nail polish (with large glitters)Purple nail polishWire for wrappingNecklace to hang it on Pliers1. Paint the flat back of the glass cabochon with the glitter polish until you are satisfied with the amount of glitter on the cabochon.  Let it dry thoroughly.  For my cab, I used one of a bag of glass gems for planters that I got at the dollar store. They are usually sold in a net bag, like this:2. Paint over the glitter with the purple nail polish. This adds a background to the glitter. Again, let dry thoroughly.3. Use your wire and do a simple cabochon wrap. (here is a free tutorial)  Don't forget to make a bail.  I did forget, and then I had to add one to the pendant. It looks okay, but I would rather have done it right to begin with.That's it, you're done!  Just hang it on a necklace. I used a ribbon necklace, but made it longer with some chain and added a magnetic clasp, so she could put it on and take it off by herself.If you make one, you can add a link to a picture of it in your comment. And here is a picture of my pretty little princess wearing her amulet.Love that pose, hahaIsn't she just the cutest little thing?  CatP.S. - Remember, this is a Disney copyrighted item. It is fine to make one for yourself or to give as a gift. Please do not make them for sale, or you may find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit with "the happiest place on earth". And I know you don't want that![...]



Six Weeks Till What???

Sun, 16 Nov 2014 07:37:00 +0000

Can you believe that it's only six weeks until Christmas?  ACK!! It sneaked up on me again. I think it always seems to arrive so quickly because of living in Florida.

If you live someplace where it gets cold, then in September-October when the air turns crisp, you probably start thinking wintery thoughts and expecting the holiday season. But here in Florida, one day it's summer and you're hanging out at the pool or beach, and the next darn day...it's Christmas! There's no warning, no leading up to it, all of a sudden it's just December.

I really think that's why I'm not prepared for it every year.

But this year, Danielle, who writes the blog My Crazy Family Circus, is making sure that we are all prepared for the holidays. She has put together a list of the most disgusting toys that you can buy as presents this year. Guess how many of them involve poo or pee?

I really can't believe that people actually buy these things! If your kid wants a pooping pet so badly, send him or her to my house. I'll let them pet my cat and clean up her litter box!

(image)
Yep...It's poop-scooping Barbie!


Cat



Are We a Nation of Idiots?

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 22:55:00 +0000

We must really be a nation of idiots.I'm sure that in many ways we are, but I'm talking about the silly warnings that manufacturers have to put on their products. Warnings to prevent us from doing stupid things like ironing our clothes while wearing them, putting children or pets in clothes dryers, or blow-drying our hair in the shower. I'm sure you've seen either the labels or one of the articles with lists of them that are published every so often.This just takes all the fun out of owning a sling-shot!My own silly warning story? I had a duplicate key made the other day, and when they handed me the new key there was a paper attached to it. It said:WARNING: Keys contain lead. May be harmful if eaten.I have to wonder what in the world must have happened to make someone think that warning was necessary. As I said, a nation of...     Well, anyway---For your amusement, I found a website where you can make your own silly warning labels. It is not necessary to sign up or give out any personal information. Just go there and play. Click on the picture below, and you will be instantly transported there. Like magic!Try it. It is easy, and it's fun too!CatSee? Easy-peasy! I made one![...]



Taking Care of Handcrafted Jewelry

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:46:00 +0000

You have purchased a special piece of one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry and you are madly in love with it! How do you keep it looking just as shiny and new as it was on the first day that you received it?Follow these few simple steps when caring for your handcrafted jewelry from DCIdesigns and it can last you a lifetime. -Avoid spraying perfume on your jewelry. The chemicals in the perfume react with the metal which will cause it to tarnish. Strong body lotions can have the same effect. To avoid the tarnishing of your piece, put your jewelry on as a final touch after applying body lotion, perfume, or make-up.- Please do not shower, sleep or swim in your jewelry.- Avoid using household chemicals while wearing bracelets or rings. -After each wearing, wipe your jewelry with a soft cloth before putting it away.  Beadwoven jewelry should not need any more cleaning than this.  What could be easier?  However, if you feel that it does need further cleaning, give it a quick swish in a mild soap and water mixture, rinse, then let it air dry thoroughly. Do not store your jewelry while it is still damp.-Metal jewelry may be wiped with a Sunshine jewelry cloth to bring back its shine. I send a Sunshine cloth with every purchase, or you can buy one at most bead and jewelry stores. Important note: Do not use this cloth on plated metals as it may remove the finish, and do not use it on the beadwoven parts of your jewelry.- When storing your jewelry it is best to keep it either in a zip-lock bag or in a drawer/jewelry box. If it has metal parts, store it with an anti-tarnish strip. This will lessen the chance of your piece oxidizing. I also send these with each order. (Replacement strips, if needed, may be purchased at any bead shop or at Amazon.com)-Special cautions for beaded jewelry:-Always keep beaded jewelry, or any items with small parts, away from pets and children.  Beads and other small components may cause a choking hazard.-Jewelry should never be worn when working near machines or equipment with moving parts.**If you should somehow damage or break your jewelry, I will be glad to repair it for a small fee. I can be contacted through my Etsy shop, DCIdesigns.  Unfortunately, I am unable to repair jewelry made by other artisans.  Thank you for your understanding.    Cat    [...]