Thursday, December 30, 2010

More stitch markers and some gemstone necklaces

I have been making a lot of jewelry and stitch markers lately. Not so much crochet...I do need to finish my friend's scarf for next week, though! Yikes! Well, OK, I don't have to, I just would like to have it finished by the next time I see her. Better get crackin'.

I made a whole bunch of stitch markers last night, including a special order for a set of 6 coffee bean stitch markers and a new set of hummingbirds and flowers stitch markers. I also made some with larger Czech glass purple flower beads, but I haven't listed them yet. And I listed the little flower stitch markers I'd mentioned in my last post. The picture came out looking like it was on a blue background, which is weird since it was on white; the colors of the markers look pretty true, but I will probably try soon to get pics that are not so blue-looking.

I made some labradorite goodies recently. I love labradorite; it's one of my favorite stones. It's generally gray, with a blue or green "flash" to it. This is a necklace I made for myself:
Labradorite necklace

And with the leftover beads and some beading chain, I made this one to sell:
Labradorite and sterling silver beading chain necklaceLabradorite and sterling silver beading chain necklace

(The picture above is the same necklace as the one below, just wrapped around 3 times so you can see the beads a little better.) I wouldn't mind keeping this necklace for myself, either; but I'm going to try not to be greedy with the labradorite! The necklace is a little more than 20" long. I've been into long-ish necklaces lately (I probably would've made it even longer if I'd had more beads to use).

After finishing that one, I made a necklace with some lovely unakite beads. Here's a picture of that necklace in progress, in my "studio" (ha ha):


I had just started stringing it when I took the picture. As you can (maybe sort of) see, it's got unakite cube beads and oval beads, separated by little sterling silver spacer beads. It came out to be about 20" long. I took a chance and used a clasp that isn't silver, but that I thought went with the feeling of the piece. The only sterling silver toggle clasps I have are very small and plain, and this is not really a small and plain necklace, in my opinion.

I have the day off tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to working on that scarf some more and maybe making some more jewelry (I'd love to make a unakite bracelet to go with the necklace! And maybe some earrings?!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I've been making lately

Time for some blurry cell phone photos! Sorry about the poor quality.
scarf for j
Here's a scarf (yet another Snuggly Scarf) I'm making for a friend. Needed something easy to work on at Stitch & Bitch. This picture is terrible. The yarn is really a little darker and more of a gray-blue color.

I still really, really, really want to start making some sort of a sweater/top for myself. My husband is still working on untangling the fabulous yarn my in-laws got me, but it seems like it may be a lost cause. (I don't know...he is stubborn. He just hasn't had much time to work on it.)

Instead of starting the Sera, maybe I will start the Jewel top from "Everyday Crochet" by Doris Chan. I have some yarn I've been meaning to make that with for quite some time. Trouble is, it also needs to be wound, and I've lost much of my confidence in my winding ability. I'm hoping that if I put it around 2 chairs and try really hard not to let it get twisted, it'll work. However, I don't seem to be very good at that whole keeping it from getting twisted thing. *gulp*

On a different note, since this post is about making things, I made cookies!
GF chocolate chip cookies
They are gluten free chocolate chip cookies. I used a mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen. They are so good! I'd never used the mix before, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I made these for my office's holiday party and for my S&B ladies.

The holiday party was today, and it was great. My coworker and his wife made latkes. *drool* They made them without flour just because I'd told him I couldn't have regular flour! I appreciated that so much. I think I ate about half the latkes, and there were a lot. There was a lot of other food, too, but since I can't have wheat or soy, I have to be pretty careful. I mostly ate latkes and the cookies I'd made, and a little fruit. Tomorrow, I am going to start paying attention to my Weight Watchers online tracking tool again! Really I am!

I made some new stitch markers the other day. They are little tulips made with Czech flower beads. One of my S&B friends thought they were martini glasses! Heehee...That'd be cute, too! I'll post a picture (and list them in my Etsy store) as soon as I can.

A good friend went to IKEA recently and picked up a lamp for me that I can use to light up the top of my light box (so far, I've only been working with 2 desk lamps, one on either side of the box). I needed one that was tall enough to curve above the top of the box and light it up without burning the tissue paper! Mission accomplished--hooray! With any luck, I will soon have brighter pictures. (Except for my cell phone pics, which will still be kind of bad. Sorry.) ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chanukah/Grams' 95th birthday gifts!

Oh, there are soooo many pics I want to post right now. We had our family Chanukah party/Grams' 95th birthday party on Saturday night, and it was a blast. Now I can finally post photos of my nephew's surprise gift, and of the gifts with their recipients! Hooray!

First, a picture of my gift to my nephew:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hat for my nephew
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle beanie! I had kind of an awful time making it, but isn't it awesome?! I am so proud of it. Here's my nephew wearing it and rocking out:
Billy rockin' out in his hat
Now I must gripe about the hat. (Skip ahead for more pictures if you don't want to read my complaints!) ;) It should've been simple to make, but the pattern didn't give a gauge (and when I contacted the author, she wouldn't give me one), so I started it out with one size bigger than the recommended hook (G hook was recommended; I was using an H) and it still came out way too small. I frogged it and re-made it with a J hook, and it turned out OK. Also, the hat length measurements from the pattern were all out of whack; the length given for the child's hat was longer than that of my own hat, which just didn't make any sense. So I made it the same length as mine, and that worked out fine.

When it came to the band, I started with the number of chain stitches recommended for the child version (still with the J hook), and it came out barely long enough to go around the hat, much less tie in the back. I wound up using the number of chain stitches for the adult version, which made it long enough to tie and untie in the back. I did the width of the child's version, though, and that looked about right.

Other issues: instructions that just said to sew the band to the hat, without saying how or whether to sew it with thread or yarn or if it mattered; instructions to sew or glue the eyes on, without saying how far apart to make the eyes (mine wound up being too far apart when the hat's being worn) or how/with what to sew them; and instructions to crochet all the way around the band, without instructions on how to do that (I'd never crocheted all the way around anything that wasn't, well, round--I did my best, but I still don't know if I did it right).

This pattern was a pain in the you-know-what. My nephew is so worth it, though!

And now, my beautiful nieces in their ponchos, from oldest to youngest:
Kori in her poncho

Kristy in her poncho

Katie in her poncho

And here's my niece wearing her poncho with Grams, who is wearing her Seraphina's Shawl:
Kristy and Grams

We gave Grams the shawl pin, too. It was purchased from a fellow Etsy seller, South4th, and it is really lovely.

The gifts all went over really well! My whole family gave me compliments. My oldest (little) niece (the "real" oldest is the 19-year-old, who wasn't with us that night) wore her poncho to school yesterday. Awww!

So, what am I crocheting now that I'm done with all the gifts? Ummm...nothing. I want to make a Sera Lace Top (pattern by Doris Chan, of course) with the yarn that my in-laws gave me for Chanukah, but I tried to wind some of it the other night, and wound up with a tangled mess after only winding about half a hank into a cake. I need a swift, but we don't have the space for it. My hubby is being very sweet and working on untangling the rest of the hank...We'll see how that goes.

Still trying to figure out what to bring with me to S&B tomorrow!

Now for what I've been up to with beads lately...I made these coffee bean stitch markers the other day:
12-4 016a

(This picture makes them look scratched--those aren't scratches on the beads, it's just reflected light.) I haven't listed them yet only because I haven't decided on a price. The beads were expensive, but I don't want to charge more than a customer would be willing to pay for them. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I'll figure it out eventually. (I will list them soon, I promise!)

I sold more Autumn Leaves stitch markers, and finally made more last night and re-listed them. They're popular enough that I decided to make--and list--2 sets.

A close friend of mine gave me a gift certificate to Fire Mountain Gems & Beads for the holidays! I'm so excited about it. I'm going to take my time in deciding what to get, since there are many tempting things on the site. Nothing fair trade that I know of, though I think Karen Hill Tribe silver is a safe bet (I don't think it's technically fair trade unless sold by a certified company, but I am pretty sure all their workers are treated fairly and paid pretty well...I really should look into it more, though). Also, plenty of Swarovski, which is definitely a safe bet, as are Czech beads. And lots of books! And tools and things! Woohoooo!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Secret-ish projects, dieting, and more gifts

Sorry I haven't been around much lately. I am still working on a secret crochet project for my nephew, so I can't post much about that...other than the fact that I am now going to have to frog it for the second time! At least I won't have to frog the whole thing this time.

Had fun at Stitch & Bitch today. It was just me and D. Good thing we enjoy each other's company! ;) It's always nice to have someone (or a group of people) to hang out with during my lunch break, and it's especially nice to have someone (or a group of people) to crochet with!

I'm also working on a beaded bracelet for my cousin's daughter. She's either a tween or a teen, I'm not completely sure of her age but I think she's around 12ish. I tried to make it like another bracelet that I'd just sold, only shorter with an extendable chain closure; but I didn't quite have the right beads, so I'm making it a little different. It's pretty. Rose quartz, amethyst, lepidolite and silver beads. I will take a pic when I'm done and post it here once I'm sure it's been given to her (she won't be there for our Chanukah party/my grandma's 95th birthday party, so I'm sending it back to her with my cousin). I hope she will like it!

As I mentioned, I recently sold a bracelet from The Smiling Turtle Etsy store. It was the only bracelet I'd listed. Amethyst, rose quartz, and silver. I am very happy that someone bought it, and I am also very aware that I need to post more bracelets! (Including the one from my last post!) I've decided to include a little insert with it about who made it and where it was made, the metaphysical properties of the gemstones, etc. I will probably start doing that with all of my handmade jewelry, or at least the gemstone jewelry. It's work, but it's fun work, and it's something I think people will appreciate because I know that I appreciate something like that when I buy a handmade item or receive one as a gift.

Meanwhile, I have put myself on a "bead diet" (I bought waaay too many beads last month). We'll see how long I can keep this up. I am determined not to drive us into debt with my addiction...but...the shinies...they are so tempting!

I'll still be getting little presents in the mail for a bit, because the beads I ordered from Israel haven't arrived yet, and neither have some Swarovski crystal cubes and assorted other ebay purchases.

Ohhh, also, we had a little Chanukah celebration at my in-laws' house last weekend. Guess what they gave me? YARN! And sterling silver beading chain! And they stuffed us full of pot roast and latkes and gluten-free brownies! How awesome are they?!

I am having such a crafty Birthukkah season. I love it.

That's pretty much it for now. And I thought I wouldn't have much to write! HA!!! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jewelry preview - not yet listed

Here are a few things that haven't made it into The Smiling Turtle Etsy store yet, that I just wanted to show off.

Pink and purple Czech bead and Bali silver choker
This is a choker made from pink Czech glass coin beads and purple Czech glass fire polish teardrop beads, with some fair trade Bali silver beads. It has a teardrop and Bali bead dangle on silver chain, as well as a silver chain extender on the end of the choker.

Jade and Bali silver earringsJade and Bali silver necklace with Thai silver rose
Jade and fair trade Bali sterling silver necklace and earrings. The necklace has a fair trade Thai silver rose pendant in the middle.

Light jade and Chinese crystal earringsLight jade and Chinese crystal bracelet
Light jade and Chinese crystal earrings and bracelet. (There was a necklace, too, but it was sold before I got a picture of it!)

Click on any of these pictures to see larger versions.