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How to make beaded stitch markers February 25, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, jewelry, Knitting, Life, Tutorial.
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Here is a nice little tutorial on how to make a simple beaded stitch marker.  This is a great project to use up some of those left over beads.


  • A jump ring – in a size that will fit your knitting needle
  • A head pin
  • A seed bead – with a large enough hole to fit the head pin
  • A larger bead – for this project I used 6mm Red Howlite round beads
  • Round nosed pliers
  • Needle nosed or chain nosed pliers

The How-To

  1. Place the large bead on the head pin.
  2. SDC10166

  3. Place the seed bead on top of the large bead on the head pin.
  4. SDC10167

  5. With the round nosed plies made a loop at the top of the head pin.
  6. SDC10169

  7. Using the needle nosed pliers snug the end of the head pin down into the seed bead.
  8. SDC10173

  9. Open the jump ring.
  10. SDC10175

  11. Place the bead onto the jump ring.
  12. SDC10176

  13. Close jump ring.
  14. SDC10177

That is all there is to it.

Make one, make fifty.

Keep them all for your own knitty project or give them as gifts to all your fiber friends


The Art and Soul of Glass Beads review February 22, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in book review, Craft, gold metal books.
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This is my very favorite kind of book.  The kind that shares in the lives of artists and has inspiring pictures of the art.

The subtitle to The Art & Soul of Glass Beads by Susan Ray and Richard Pearce is “14 bead artists share their inspiration and methods.”  This book shares a little bit of each beadmaker’s life and journey.  The beginning of the book gives some glass bead theory.  What is the perfect bead – is there a perfect bead? There is two pages chronicling the how-to of making a bead, giving some great starting-out advice and fabulous resources.  Then the author jumps into the meat of this book, the artists and their art.  Each artist shares his/her story how they got into making glass beads and how that process and product has impacted their life.  With each artist is beautiful pictures of their beads alone and a piece of jewelry that utilizes their beads.  Each artist’s contact information is provided along with a bit of advice, a favorite, book, source of supplies or bead store.  The last few pages provide simple jewelry making techniques used to make some of the pieces.

This book is personable with so much information.  It is definitely a gold metal book.

Snow Day Craftiness February 10, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, holiday.
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When the kiddos are home because it looks like this outside:
It is definitely time for some craftiness.  The fact that the daughter said “Mom, you know we need valentines for tomorrow because Valentine’s Day is Sunday” had nothing to do with it, really.

Here is a small disclaimer, this is not my original idea.  It came from the long thread with some help from make and take.  Check over there for the how-tos and whatnot.


We used all kinds of valentinesy colors.

Broken Crayons

I used a silicone ice cube tray from Ikea.  I tested it in the oven first before we melted the crayons.  It worked ok, but it left a little residue in the container and the bottom of the hearts look matte (which is actually pretty).

Molten crayons.

The finished product.

The daughter expertly used my paper cutter to cut apart the fabulous valentines from the longest thread

Motivation Creation February 1, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, Life, Paper.

I heard somewhere that it takes 30 days to form a habit.

Lately getting up and getting going in the morning has been difficult (to say the least).  So I have come up with 4 things that the daughter can do the night before to make mornings easier.  I made a list, but not just a list, a list with a countdown calendar on it. When the daughter completes her tasks she will get to put a star sticker over the number.  Since we are starting on Feb 1 the numbers correspond with the date (well until the end).  If she successfully completes all 30 days she gets a DVD or video game of her choice (within a certain price range).

While I was thinking about this little project I happened upon Gingersnap Creations a fabulous little blog about stamping and papercraft.  She has regular challenges with prizes no less.  This project is for challenge GC40, Random Redhead Challenge #40 NUMBERS. So without further ado here is my incentive chart/list/calendar.

The nitty gritty:

I used a 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper over a heavy duty piece of cardboard (recycled packing material).

The ribbon is stapled to the cardboard.

The list numbers 1 – 4 are from recycled flashcards.
I used the computer to print the words.

The stars are hand drawn with gold and silver pens.

The numbers are stamped with gold pigment.

Silver Wire Fusing January 28, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in book review, Craft.
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Here is the second of the birthday books.  I am super excited about this one.  I have been contemplating jewelry making for some time now.  The idea of making jewelry springs from a place of thrift – it is cheaper to make it yourself.  There is also the idea that if I make it myself, it will be one of a kind and it will be perfect for me, because, hey, I made it.  Now there is all different techniques to make jewelry: stringing, cold connections, soldering and fusing to name a few.  This was the first instructional book that I have seen on fusing and I was curious to see what it was all about.

Silver Wire Fusing by Liz Jones is wonderful.  I love, love, love the projects.  I want to make them all, but it is the technique and the simple, easy way that it is explained that I am really fired up about (pun intended).   It looks like magic.  Fire, silver and a little imagination and viola beautiful jewelry.  The way the author describes the process in the beginning of this book is perfect “It’s a no-mess, no-fuss version of silversmithing that anyone can learn and enjoy.”  I am taking Ms. Jones words to heart.  The book is laid out in the usual fashion of instruction books.  It begins with laying out the basics tools and workspace, then a basic tutorial in fusing with some practice exercises.   The bulk of the book is a  cornucopia of beautiful projects.  It appears that the later projects build on the skills learned earlier in the book.  Each project clearly lists the necessary tools, materials and skills (along with the pages that explain that skill in detail).  Clear step-by-step instructions along with illustrative photos and hints provide a clear picture how to construct each project. The last few pages include an inspirational gallery, basic jewelry making techniques, a resource page and index.

I would definitely recommend the purchase of this book.

Tutorial – How to make a silhouette using GIMP January 20, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, Tutorial.

How to make Silhouettes using a digital photo and Gimp 2.6. – my favorite free photo manipulation program.

1. Find a photo – If you don’t have a photo handy Flickr has a ton of great photos that have creative commons license that you can use. For this exercise I am using a photo of a shoe from the Northhampton Museum collection over on Flickr

2. In Gimp open your photo – this is your background layer.

3. Under windows, dockable dialogs, open layers (or hit ctrl + L) this will open a small window with all of your layers in it.

4. By clicking the icon at the bottom left of the layers window, add a layer, name it fill.  Add another layer, name it shadow.  You now have 3 layers (background, fill, shadow)

5. Increase your zoom to 200%.  This make small details easier to outline.

6. Open the path tool.  This can be found in the toolbox or under tools.  Make sure your path tool has the design button selected.

7. Using the path tool outline your object.

8. When your object is completely outline, hit enter. The line will blink.

9. In the path tool click “selection from path”

10. Choose the bucket fill.  Make sure that “fg color fill” is selected.   Your foreground color should be black, your background color should be white.  Affected area should be “fill whole section”

11. With the bucket click on your object filling it with black.

12.Click on the fill layer.

13. In the select menu click “none”

14. Change your bucket tool selection from “FG color fill” to “BG color fill”.

15. Click over the background with your bucket filling it with white.

16. If you wish to have a silhouette of more than one object in the same picture, put each object in its own layer.

17. There is a sillouette.  You can flatten the image to save as a jpg file in the image menu.

Shadowplay January 18, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft.
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I have been playing around with the idea of silhouettes lately.  I turned to my favorite free image manipulation program GIMP and figured out how to take a normal picture and turn it into a silhouette.  I am totally obsessed.  Here is some of what I have been doing:

Orange and Cloves January 4, 2010

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft, holiday.
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I have wanted to make a pomander made from orange and cloves for a very long time, so in the midst of Christmas cleaning I pulled out an orange and some cloves, found a fabulous tutorial at organic.org then proceeded to stick cloves into this orange producing a wonderful smelling, super fun project.

Here is the results:

I did half and the daughter did half.

Carols December 22, 2009

Posted by hollyspinner in Advent Calendar 2009, Craft, holiday.
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Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever -Bess Streeter Aldrich

I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale

Five Fabulous Things about Christmas Carols

1. Singing with friends is so much fun.

2. Christmas carols are great any time of year.

3. There is frequent mention of holly.

4. Singing of our Savior’s birth is always a picker-uper.

5. I love singing with my husband – especially when he sings harmony.


Sheet music ornaments

Music wreath


  • Sing from your heart
  • Appreciate holiday sounds


Yule Log

Photos by Marcel and Moe

Accumulation August 13, 2009

Posted by hollyspinner in Craft.
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I thought it might be fun to do some beadwork and wirework, so I got out the ole box of beads.  I am surprised at how much I have accumulated, a little something bought her, a little something bought there and lo and behold a whole box of beads and stuff.


A note: all those bottles are the legacy of a difficult pregnancy, when I had to take entirely too many pills. The empty bottles are really great for storing beads in a secure way.