fredag 27 januari 2012

Craft Friday: When knotting necklaces


Craft Friday is a 2012 recurring blog post
 where I present either a hobby jewelry technique
or project I'm currently working on.

One of the oldest forms of making necklaces is to just string beads on a cord. I think the oldest necklace I've seen a picture of was from a book I borrowed from the Turku City Library, and that one was a simple leather cord with some hollow sandstone beads and a few seashells. It was Stone Age old, from Europe, so it was about 5 000 years old. And the same principles are still being used today by modern jewelry makers.

So, to make a "traditional necklace" all you'll need is just "cord" and "beads". I'm writing "traditional" here, because some think the most archetypal necklace is still the pearls-on-a-string. In many way it is, because that's what pops up in many people's heads when you say "necklace", but there are as many variations to be found on necklaces that there are designers.
That reminds me, if you like to see many interpretations on necklaces, I do recommend the book "500 necklaces" by the Lark Books publishing company. Their "500-series" are one of my favorite jewelry design books.

But, when knotting necklaces, trying out a design pattern on a bead board isn't everything. Before you start stringing anything, there's lots of small things that need to be thought of beforehand.
Natural fiber or synthetics for the cord? No cord at all? Should I use a lock or not, use knots between the beads or not, use pearl caps or hats or not...
This list can be quite long. Oh look, it's another list!

If you're more into fooling around with some design ideas and experimenting with the materials you have at hand, in lieu of browsing for inspiration in textbooks or on the web, then you might come up with ideas that can later be used for other projects. Or, you just really loose your patience and entertain feelings of throwing the whole thing as far as you possibly can...
But experimentation can be useful, e.g. I only learned how to knot different knots between the beads by trial and error. And cursing at the lousy photos in the book that was taking you through it step-by-step.

It's really hard to create evenly spaced knots that are of the same size.

But, a practical example of experimental stringing.
The necklace in the photo is a "sister project" to one necklae I made for Christmas 2011. The idea was to use seed beads as spacers between the beads themselves, but the problem there lies in the fact that without pearl caps/hats the small beads kept sliding into the holes of the larger beads.

The seeds beads used between the wooden beads had to be increase
from 3 to 4, and then back to 3, when the holes on the larger beads
were so large that the seed beads slipped into them. 

Yes, by increasing the number of seed beads by one helped, but I also needed to string together the seed beads themselves. Thus, the last seed bead got added alongside the third, and in such a way that's commonly used in peyote stitching. This, naturally, made it harder to correct the placement of the larger beads as a whole, but since the whole necklace was meant to be "static" (no beads should move from their original place) it didn't matter on the whole.

The thing that did present a problem was adding the lock, but after some experimentation on that part I came up with a solution that I was happy with on the whole.

That necklace in the photo took me about 4 hours to string, but if I remember correctly the "experimental" stage for it's sister took... I think it was 2 or 3 evenings. And it's a prime example of me loosing my patience and laying it aside for a while, even though I was actively chanting my mantra aloud in my head.

torsdag 26 januari 2012

The fourth thing you didn't know about me

I must admit that I've become increasingly bad at concentrating.

Talk about procrastination all you want, but in my case it's all because of my decreasing concentration. It's at the stage now when I find it more than just plain annoying. Somedays it's downright scary.

My Mom says that when young people start complaining about "bad memory" it's okay, because your somehow allowed to be forgetful when you're younger. And she also says that when you get your age, you start to get increasingly paranoid about your memory, to such an extent that you can never immediately admit that you've forgotten something due to your "bad memory". The ghost of Alzheimer's, anyone?

But about me. And concentration.

It's like your head just keeps on presenting you with other thoughts, while your desperately trying to solve the current task at hand. And no, it's not like

"hmm... while this task is currently doing this, I can go and do this". (hint: think laundry)

It's more like

"hmm, I suppose I could check if Wikipedia has a decent enough article about resurrection fern because it's such a cool organism while I'm writing this email to my dance instructor about times and checking my calender if I could visit my parents perhaps next week and order train tickets in advance and oh holy moley! my tea really steeped totally too long and now it's black and undrinkable and I'll have to put on more water for more and then phone Mom...."

That way, nothing really gets done. And it's exhausting, I tell you, trying to fight it. You look totally sane, but your mind is completely buzzing.

The only time I didn't have to fight it was that one time I took one extra tablet of the pills I used to take against an oncoming panic attack. My mind was... blissfully quiet. Of course, afterwards I couldn't admit that to Micke, because he thought I was behaving like something had gone bodysnatcher on me.


onsdag 25 januari 2012

Craft Project Wednesday: The jeans quilt

Craft Project Wednesday is a 2012 recurring blog post
 where I present a craft project I'm currently working on.

Blue jeans are actually not always blue.
Who could ever have guessed...

I've been working slowly, but at least semi-steadily, on this jeans quilt. The progress is more tied to the amount of donated old jeans I've managed to get people to kindly enough gift me with. All of the pairs have been so worn down, or have such huge holes in them, that you can't donate them to any second hand store.

So far, I've managed to scavenge together :

4 pairs from our own wardrobe (2 of mine, 2 of Micke's)
1 pair from my friend Elli (once again - thank you Elli!)
1 pair from my Mom (although she did have more pairs, but they weren't all blue)

This is a project that may take however long it wants itself to take, because I really refuse to go thrift shopping for "good" jeans only to cut them to 10x10 cm squares. I'd rather wait and kindly ask people now and again if they happen to have any blue jeans that have totally broken zippers/giant holes/been worn down.

Sewing them together is starting to
become quite a challenge, since I
don't have an extension board for
my sewing machine.

Dear reader, you wouldn't happen to have just such a pair lying around, would you?

If you do, I would ask you if you would reconsider donating them to me instead of just throwing them out with the rest of the trash? Clothing that isn't recycled actually have a huge environmental impact, if you're interested you can read about it e.g. here on Pub Med Central, or just google "textile recycling" and see if you find anything readable.

I do recommend the Pub Med article, although I realize it's a bit of a long read for some people.

fredag 20 januari 2012

Craft Friday: Yo-yo necklace

Craft Friday is a 2012 recurring blog post
 where I present either a hobby jewelry technique
or project I'm currently working on.

The finished yo-yo necklace.
Totally my own design, since I didn't
like any of the ideas I found online.

This one wasn't actually that hard to do, in the end, but it went through at least 3 change-in-design phases. It was more trial and error than anything else, but once I finally figured out how I could make it fall neatly around my neck and not have any itching parts, it was easy.

My reason for making this mixed media necklace:

First, if you google "yo-yo necklace", or search on Etsy, you'll mainly see the design that have the "flat" variant with the hole on the front. I -really- don't like that variant. Not at all. They look look like barnacles, and I don't want that.

Secondly, I wanted the yo-yos in the finished piece to be more like beads, which meant that they had to be very small. And fat. So they're not HUGE and look like something you'd want to use to hide you decolletage.

And thirdly, I didn't want to have them sewn together. Nope. Beads aren't sewn together: you string them and/or use findings in between. Basically, that meant I had to pierce them twice with eyelet pins and connect those to one another using small rings. I guess you could string them (using double strings; one up and one down through the beads), but I wanted to use metallic findings too.

So basically, I started with planning how many of the 3 different sizes of yo-yo(-beads) I would need, and then I had to come up with a good way to connect them and add a clasp. I do think it turned out really well. The lock is connected to the beads with 2 mm (diameter) satin cord, and the yo-yo's themselves have one seed bead on top of them.


Oh, incidentally, since I suddenly realized how weird it was not to I stumbled across any pages with different yo-yo necklace designs in google than those barnacle ones, I spent some time trying to search for just that.

I lucked out - just as I started to hope that oh my goddess my design is unique on the web - because I found the pages with Carmi's stuffed yo-yos, Victoria's post about something similar and these whimsy acorns by Catherine.
Even more funny, I remember searching via google for this and I found a young woman who had actually managed to get a whole pattern published with the -near- exact same design like mine! And now, damn it, I can't find it online! It was written in English, and the journal was either about sewing or beading, and it was published in 2010 and the pattern cost 11,95 money (can't remember if it was dollars or euros...). Some of it were drawn by hand.

And now I'm so frustrated that I can't link back to her design, even though I didn't use any of it. But she had way more examples that were for bracelets, using these exact same yo-yo's, and I would have wanted to look at them again myself and also show you.

If anyone finds the pattern, can you post about it here? Please?

later edit on 2013-09-17

I found it! Took a LOT of searching via google, but I did find it. The pattern can be bought at least at two different web pages, on McCall's sewing patterns page (where it costs 9,99 dollars) and on Indygo junction (also for 9,99 dollars). The name of the designer seems to be Amy Barickman.

torsdag 19 januari 2012

The third thing you didn't know about me

Normal tap water. You know, the thing you - at least in Finland an in Rome - can drink as normal table water. One of the life-important things (right up there with solar energy and air) that we who're living on this planet just have to have.

I hate drinking it.

No, seriously, I really do hate drinking it.

I suspect that it comes from growing up in Kirkkonummi, where the water we got in our tap have this slightly chalky taste. I hated drinking that, and I still do. I drank milk/juice/carbonated water, but not that. Not unless forced, and then very little.

I remember this one time, when me and a couple of neighborhood kids were playing water poker and other card games. You know, where the loser of the game must drink a glas of water. After a lot of games, where I like lost a lot of them, I had to run to the bathroom an simply puke up all that water.

Good memories? Not so much.

The water here in Turku sometimes tastes like mud in the spring, when the snows starts to melt and all that melt water drags the dirt/mud/old fertilizers into the Aura river that Turku takes its drinking water from. I don't like drinking it either, to tell the truth, but I try not to think about what I put in my tea. And I drink a lot of tea.

But that must be why I like the Sodastream machine Micke went and bought us after the whole crazy sale at Stockmann last summer. Somehow, carbonated water really makes a difference for me.

onsdag 18 januari 2012

Craft Project Wednesday: Sewing yo-yos

Craft Project Wednesday is a 2012 recurring blog post
 where I present a craft project I'm currently working on.

Yo, you yo-yo's!

I've been sewing these stuffed yo-yo's now for a while now already. What first started out as an idea "that I just wanted to see if would work" has now become a full scale jewelry project spanning different colors. I already have one finished "thing" that I made using these, but you'll see more of that one on Friday. You can hold on for two days, right? It's not like you HAVE to know immediately or anything.

It's relatively easy to sew these slightly more special yo-yos, as long as you have the materials and the patience. And the acceptance. Because unless you're in possession of a yo-yo maker they won't be exactly  the same size. Or the same weight, depending on how much you filling you stuff into them.

Like the crochet squares, yo-yos are small projects that you can carry the materials for (in e.g. a purse) and sew one when you happen to have 10-15 min of extra time. I've read, on other peoples blogs, that some prefer doing it while watching TV. Personally, I couldn't do that, because I want to be certain that the stitches are small enough and that the ends are all fastened off properly.

The fabrics I'm making these in are light-weight 100% cotton fabrics, normally used to make patchwork and the like. Some prints work better than others, but really it's all up to your own taste.

fredag 13 januari 2012

Craft Friday: Scrapbook your ideas


Craft Friday is a 2012 recurring blog post
 where I present either a hobby jewelry technique
or project I'm currently working on.

Okay, scrapbook-techniques can be used to create jewelry, but this post is not exactly about that.

I'd just want to point out something.

Since every piece of jewelry usually starts to be designed inside the designer's head, I will be bold and propose that every design is 50-50.
50% of the design is based on your inspiration, and the other 50% is based on your own skill and materials. Without inspiration there can be no design, and even though design can come from the materials one has at hand, mostly it's more about the idea.

My ideas, they pop up all the time.
This is somewhat exhausting. No really, it is. If you're not really truly careful, you'll be in a constant state of "being inspired" and you'll have a 100+ projects that will forever be UFO's and have the attention span of an ant.

Thus, I pretty quickly started to learn the Art of Doodling. And the Art of Ignoring the Damn Voices of Inspiration in My Head. The latter one is the one I'm still struggling with...

Thus I present to you: the Scrapbook.

My Scrapbook.

It actually started out as a lab journal during my first lab courses, but then I realized it was too bulky to fit into my lab coat's pockets. So I exchanged it for a smaller one.

Lots of Post-it things here too....

Current things usually get their own Post-it marker, so I'll know where to find it, since the notebook is a real "jumper". The only 'logical' place in it for something is at the back, and that's where I keep the glued-in business cards.

The glued-in business cards.
In the back.

The rest is a real jumble of things, and a project must be HUGE (like a blanket or the like) to warrant a whole page of its own.

For example, the blanket Eorme got a page of its own.

The rest is a real jumble of things - ranging from techniques to try out, ideas for things to sew/crochet/bead to lists (oh yes, the ubiquitous "lists").

This right page was for the modeling jewelry course...

...and this one is for patchwork patterns.

So, good people, keep yourself sane while crafting.

Keep a Scrapbook, or the like. Like Pinterest, or taking photos with your mobile phone, or just doodling on paper. Anyway you do it is fine, but do remember to throw out or glue over the ideas that you later notice are awful.

Some things are so not worth saving, I tell you.

torsdag 12 januari 2012

The second thing you didn't know about me

I usually dream very vividly. Lots of people do, and I'm one of those.

And most of the time, my mind thinks that these mini-movies can skip things like "plot line" and "things that normally occur". Most of the time though, I have no idea that I am actually dreaming. While I'm dreaming, that is. Which means that no matter what happens in the dream: it's perfectly right as rain to me. However crazy or fantastic it is. Flying, dragons, magic, space, mysteries, all right as rain.

My brother dubbed these type of dreams "seko-drömmar" (eng. crazy-dreams) when we were younger.  Why? Because they make you go totally "seko" when you wake up.

Last vivid dream had a basic plot of Earth is going to get destroyed, follow these brave men and women on their quest towards the space shuttle that will (?) get them to safety:

Buildings were falling down, fires were everywhere, and me and a bunch of others (Micke, and weirdly enough some folks I used to go to elementary school with) were supposed to search for survivors in our immediate vicinity and then get to the space shuttle. Which was at Turku airport (?).

Anyway, I was doing something when bits of a wall (?) fell on top of me, thus injuring me greatly. It broke at least some ribs on my right side because it hurt like heck, and made me unable to continue. Someone lift me up and tried to carry me to the truck we had, and I was screaming for that person to put me down, because of the pain.

Yes, I must have had a small cramp or something on my right side during the night, because why else would I have dreamt of such very specific pain?

Long pain-filled dream cut short, I made the rest of the people in the dream leave me behind while they got themselves to safety in the truck. It was all very logical (injured person on space shuttle, about to go into space, with low triage number takes up weight that can be used by healthy person...).

When I told Micke about this dream in the morning, all he said was how "you're not gonna be left behind". In the dream, it was he who tried to carry me while I screamed in pain.

Even in dreams, I can't seem to force myself to not be altruistic. *sigh*

onsdag 11 januari 2012

Themed blog posts during 2012

Like I mentioned in the previous post, I have thought about writing blog posts somewhat regularly during 2012. I've seen that lots of people do this, so maybe I'm just finally just giving in and joining the hipsters.

Or maybe I just want to force myself to write, hmm?

Anyway, the posts I thought about writing are going to be posted on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Wednesday post is going to be about some arts and craft project that I'm currently working on.
It doesn't have to be a finished projector anything, more of a short presentation of it. I was thinking it can be of a certain technique or material, or some notes I've jotted down about just that project.
It will also serve me as reference posts for the future.

The Thursday post is going to be about the truth. More specifically, the truth about me.
Why choose such a topic? Well... I've actually thought about this quite long and hard. About over-sharing, "netiquette" and how some people's selves differ between what they write online and how they are in real life. It can really make you go quite bonkers. So I thought, since my blog is about me, and I like the truth, why not write down some truths about me? 50 true things about me written down during one year shouldn't be that hard to to stomach? Or do you disagree? If you do, then just go ahead and skip reading my Thursday posts. It's not like I can see who reads them, anyway.
Otherwise it might go the way of newspaper slogan of the splendid Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld series: "The Truth Shall Make Ye Fret". Or was it "Frep"?. Definitely not "Free", in any case. 

The Friday post is going to be about a jewelry. With more emphasis on technique than anything else, but no tutorials. I've tried so many techniques, and there are even more I want to try out, so that should give me plenty of areas to write about. But about making tutorials, no. There's currently so many many many tutorials found online, about such a lot of things really, so I don't think I need to be adding any to the mix.
Unless anyone really asks. Then I might reconsider.

So, these are going to be it. We'll start tomorrow, and see how it goes.

About making hobby jewelry

I started making hobby jewelry back in the winter of 2008.
*calculating in head*
That'll be three years and some odd days ago.

In three years, you learn a lot. About what works, and what doesn't.
Where you can cut ends, and where you definitely can't.
That'll definitely be tools... not using proper tools is the dumbest dumb thing you can possibly do.

I originally took it up because it was one arts and crafts area I hadn't tried any technique in before, and since people have adorned themselves using everything from stones to plastic since the Stone Age... well, I just like using jewelry too. Then I got hooked on it, but I realized quite quickly that I just hadn't got the money/space/time to try out every little technique you can do within in.

There's such a lot of craft literature that has become available during the last 10 years, which means that the companies that started out originally with just making tools and materials for the proper gold- and silversmiths, now they also make cheaper things available for crafters in general. Just using Turku city library's collection gives you access to more than 200 books in jewelry crafting alone. Combining this with other craftbooks and magazines, thus giving us the opportunity to create mixed media jewelry, you have more than 6000 articles in the collection to choose from.

Needless to say, I like that.

But, I digress. I had planned to write how I had planned to try and write some fairly regular blog posts during 2012. These are to be posted every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and they're supposed to be themed. Perhaps I should write this down in a separate post, no?

måndag 9 januari 2012

New blog banner

For all of you reading this through an rss-reader, or the like, this post is slightly more for you. I just wanted you to notice that I changed the over-head banner of the blog.

Yes, I know, that wasn't any kind of huge news at all.

New year, new banner.

The one I had before was just the "Ea" in the middle, and a small rant underneath. I sort of chose to keep the "idea" behind the old banner (easy to make, simple layout, nothing photo that takes 10 sec to load...) but still making it look like a fresh coat of paint on the blog.

Yes, I know lots of people change their blog's layout after New Year. Yes, I joined the hype, stop giggling!

Just admire the patchwork of words, will you?

söndag 8 januari 2012

Empty(ish) desk


Sometimes a lot can be achieved just by doing a little.

I finally got inspired enough to re-position the posters (that we have in those huge IKEA-frames) that have been bugging me for so long. We have three of them in the living room; two on one wall and one above my desk.

It took some measuring, because I wanted them all to hang 123 cm up on the wall, and since I think that Ette still have our combination square tool. I'm not sure, but I couldn't find it among all the other tools, so I have to remember to ask her when she gets back.

It's much better now, in my opinion.
Add to the fact that the TV is gone, and
suddenly our living room feels huge.

Anyway, as soon as I was done with that, I cleaned up the mess that was my desk. I filled the small black boxes my Mom and Dad brought with them when they came over to help us with our (now ex!) car. It felt good to finally have some small drawers to put stuff away in.

Yes, yes, still lots of clutter, but I still
have more room now than before.

I wonder, when YOU look at the photo here above. What is the first thing that caught your eyes? I personally thought "oh did I just happen to have post-its lying around again!". The second after that I thought "And I took a photo of it too!".
I'm such a post-it woman. It's like... me and Tove, and all us women who somehow generate a lot of those small lists that just keep on coming.
These are the small black boxes.
All the small drawers are already filled.
Didn't take that long.
Queue nobody getting surprised,

I put small labels on all the drawers, just so I would know what I've put in them. Lets see how long THAT order will work. I'll give it about.... a month. Maybe slightly less. Micke says I "move things around too much", so it's an educated guess.

Know yourself.


Yes, I know.
Lots of stuff, and whoever heard of storing tools,
circular knitting needles and asorted bric-a-brac in white
IKEA flower pots. But it works, so why not?

Oh, and I also (finally!) glued the black paper back on the lamp. I think the glue doesn't hold that well because it constantly gets heated up/cooled down. But now at least it doesn't look like it'll come off if you blow hard enough on it.

The IKEA Grönö-lamp. With re-glued paper.
Oh, and the M. Oomen-inspired stones.

At least a few people have posted on Ikeahackers how they've decorated their Grönö-lamps, so I don't think anyone is awed by me gluing thick black paper on mine. It's really useful though, as the light doesn't shine straight into your eyes as you sit and work on something. But I have to get another light for my desk, because this one doesn't shine that bright, and I need more cold/LED-type light to be able to work on my hobby jewelry without getting achy eyes.

lördag 7 januari 2012

The first thing you didn't know about me

Two girls walk into a bar...

... and pretty soon they're playing Magic the Gathering.
Such nerds.
What. A. Waste. Of. Perfectly. Good. Estrogen.

On this normal Saturday (also the same day when I got stamps at 20:45 from the store around the corner, which apparently isn't that common, the way people looked at me in the que) Ida and I played MtG at one of Turku's busiest bars.

Funny thing is, there was only one guy who DARED to approach us and ask what we were doing. And he was a MtG-player himself. Only an "online" one, but still.

A glass of red, your handbag safely tucked
away towards the wall, and a bunch of cards.
But we had fun. Which is really all we wanted.

tisdag 3 januari 2012

The "first something" of the new year

We're currently on the 5 hour train ride from Bennäs to Turku. It's totally midnight black outside the train car's windows. The car we're sitting in is crowded to the max, lots of people seem to be heading home southwards.

It got me to consider "firsts" of the new year. First train ride, first grocery shopping, first load of clothes that needs to be washed.
Lots of firsts, and more of the like are sure to come up.

Today is also the first time well be home and get to sleep in our own bed. No sleeping in the guest room at Micke's mom anymore.

My back would be dancing with glee like a little loony toon, but as it is it just wants to go and have a lie down.

Have a lovely new year, everybody!


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