Don't miss a post! Follow me by Email!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Craft Challenge to put some sparkle in your June

Sometimes I feel like playing hooky.  I am usually able to push through it, but this week it got the best of me.  You know what I mean.....the work is piling up, a deadline is approaching, the pressure is on....but you are not gonna do it.  At least not today.  The weather is glorious, the garden is calling, that project you have been ruminating over is suddenly ready demanding to be created....
Man...I have had Spring Fever for a week! 

It started with a textile emergency.  My kitchen table is an old red metal industrial work table.   It is very cool and I love it, but the look needs to be softened a bit.  A table runner does the trick but I had given away the one I had and the broad expanse of metal was driving me crazy.  I have had a hankering to Felt a table runner and  the project would not be put off any longer.  I made a promise to be thrifty.  I a tendency to commit the Cardinal Sin of crafty biz owners:  I use my inventory as my personal stash.  It drives my husband crazy.  I totally get why it drives him wreaks havoc with inventory numbers unless one is diligent about writing down what is taken.  When I am in the creative zone I get "project drunk"  and lose my focus.    It is all to easy to walk to the stockroom to get what I need want.    I promise myself that I will remember to enter it into Quickbooks later, but I don't.  This is a bad system.  I started keeping a small notebook on my worktable so that I could keep notes on what I was using, but usually forget to do it  am not as diligent as I should be.  I vowed to complete this project without shopping in my was going to be a "stash-buster" project...and I did it!

In any event....I have been happily playing in the studio as much as I could over the last week and finally finished the table runner.  It is a folk arty piece that does just what I want it to do:  it plays up the fruit theme of my kitchen, softens the look of the metal without hiding it, and provides a comfy place for my cat to sleep.  I was pleased.    The photo at right shows the completed project, the picture below is after the piece was needle felted, but not wet felted.  There was about 1/3 shrinkage after the wet felting process.  I am working on the tutorial was a fun and super easy project.

I am so inspired by the entire felting process.  The possibilities for home decor are limitless!  I am currently noodling around an idea for a chandelier, as well as a flag wall hanging (inspired by those of artist  Morna Crites-Moore).  Happy, happy, joy, much to think about!

Textile Love has not been the only thing competing for my attention this week.  There has been a great deal of chicken drama going on.  Last week I was super psyched about my chickens....I had 13 eggs in the incubator and my first baby was hatching.  All I did was run back and forth between the computer and the incubator.  I was obsessed didn't want to miss a thing.  I even videotaped one of the babies hatching and Facebooked about it.  It was ridiculous---but I couldn't stop myself.

I thought I had been a good Steward Of The Eggs, so I was devastated perplexed when chick number two was born with funky feet. I only hatched 3 of 13 eggs and one was deformed.  YIKES!   I spent an entire day scouring the internet and perusing the Chicken Forums (yup, they are out there!) to figure out what went wrong.  I learned that the chick was suffering from "Twisted Feet" which results from the humidity in the incubator being too low.   Low humidity will also result in a poor hatch rate.  ARGHH!  It was my fault!!!  I followed the directions on the incubator, dammit!  Unfortunately, ignorance of Chicken Husbandry is no I spent another few hours researching treatment of this dreaded condition.

Splints seem to be the best hope for straightening her feet, but it is not an easy thing to keep the twisted feet of a baby chicken properly splinted.   The other chicks pick on her, so I was forced to separate them.  She is eating, but not growing. I am  not real hopeful.

Yeah...I know I am weird... but what can I say?  I am passionate about like my chickens....even the gimpy, high maintenance, slightly  imperfect ones.  One of my broody hens just abandoned her eggs, so I now have 11 more in the incubator.  I am watching the humidity very closely this time around.

...But there has been even more than Textile Love and Birthin' Chickens to keep me away from my business responsibilities..... 10 year old nephew spent the day with me yesterday.  My sister had a kidney transplant a few years ago and the darn thing is acting up, which means lots of time in the hospital.  It has been a long time since I had 10 year old around and it was great fun.  We cracked open the eggs that didn't hatch and found it to be squeamishly compelling for both of us.  We puttered in the garden and we made salsa from scratch.  He particularly enjoyed helping me re-splint chicken feet all day long.  It was a delight  but not a bit of business work got done!

It is no fun to play alone.  So...I figure...maybe it is time for YOU to play hooky too!
We have a new challenge for June....give yourself the gift of some creative time!  We have 12 packages ready to be sent out ---FREE--- to a Crafty Retailer in need of some creative fun!

                    JUNE CHALLENGE KIT
The kit includes 15 yards of Swarovski yarn in Pacific Opal, some Crystal Copper Two Hole beads, Swarovski Pearls, a 30mm Crystal Copper Button, a plethora of Blue Zircon crystal baubles, craft sequins, copper filigree pieces, seed beads and more!

Make whatever you want, however you want.  The only requirement is that you send me pictures of the finished piece, as well as the work in progress, and a description of the creative process.

Photos are due by July 1, 2010.

Want to play?  Let me know!

The April "Crystal Rocks" Challenge was an unqualified success.  
The scope and breadth of the entries were incredible!  The star of the kit was the Crystal Rock Iron On round pieces that Swarovski recently introduced.  I have to confess...I LOVE 'EM!   They are wonderful to look at and easy to use...a hot iron is all you need!

Here is what our intrepid participants created:
Hannah Rosner:
Hannah is half of the Good River Gallery team.  Her work gives me an inferiority complex. She works magic with a needle and thread...take a sneak peak at what she put together for the Etsy Designer challenge.  YOWZA!

Ashley Menza

 Ashley Menza of Menza Designs crafted a classic and elegant bracelet and earring set showcasing the 22mm channel settings.   Sweet AND sophisticated!  The design would be a perfect addition to a store class line up....are you teaching these days, Ashley?  I think it would be a sell out.

Michelle Heim:

 I knew that Michelle Heim, the owner of Beadalotta, was a talented beadweaver, but I was not familiar with  her wild side.  I think that you will agree that the piece to my left is killer!  Contemporary and relevant.  Kick Ass, Michelle.

She channeled a more demure muse with this lovely woven pendant, which is now hanging on my own jewelry wall!  Lucky me!  Thanks, Michelle!  

Barbara Howard:
Barbara Howard, owner of Hop on Over Bead Shop did a meaningful pictorial that we can all relate to, I think.  She used the kit components and seed beads to embroider the "Footprints in the Sand" prayer imagery on a leather shirt:

... I decided my theme would be how God is carrying me. My theme is the famous Foot Prints in the Sand. I used taupe pearls as the foot prints, the Swarovski squares for my camp fire on the beach, The Iron on Swarovski’s as the rock in the water, The Swarovski rings and gold pearls and seed beads for the sun and its rays. This piece has taught me the technique of embroidering on leather and not to give up. I hope you enjoy viewing my piece as much as I did creating it. Thank you for this opportunity to participate in this contest and hope to be included in future events.
 Christine Jensen: 
Christine works for a crafty Retail Superstar, Rosie Long, owner of Kiowa Rose.    I am not surprised to see the quality of talent employed at Kiowa Rose.  Speed of the Leader, Speed of the Pack!  

The piece is well balanced and Christine managed to use at least one piece of every item in the piece.  The focal pendant is spectacular!

Marlene Gruetter:
Marlene is the owner of Marlene's Felting Madness.  She is a felt maker extraordinaire, outstanding teacher, and a fine human being.  She is new to bead embellishment but was ready to give it a try...and I am so glad that she did!  The "Rocker Chick" choker goes beautifully with her red leather jacket.   She won't part with the jacket...I already asked!

Maggie McCloud:
 Maggie is part of the  Crystal Bead Beauties team.  She made an incredible handbag "from scratch"

Kelli Burns:
Kelli Burns of The Hole Bead Shoppe  always comes up with utterly wearable designs, and this was no exception.  I love the addition of Turquoise to the colorway!

Linda Ratka:
Linda continues to amaze me.  She is a new felter although her work does not show it!   The fun and funky felted hat is wonderful!

Pam Maxfield:
 ....and last but definitely not least, we have this asymetrical fantasy piece by Pamela Maxfield of Bello Modo.  What a sweet taste of spring!

What a delight to see how many of our participants chose to include fiber in their work.  Textiles are where it is at!


I just got my copy of the just released 1000 Artisan Textiles, by Sandra Salamony and Gina Brown.  OMG!  I think this book and I are going to be spending some quality time together.  The pictures are amazing.  I will try not to drool on the pages.  If you are a textile person, it is a must have! YUM!


  1. Everyone's challenge pieces are really great! I know what you mean about the outside calling...although I'm dedicating at least a day and a half this weekend to creating some new projects for the shop!
    Good luck with the baby chicks!

  2. Thanks, Michelle! I have been getting a lot of compliments on your great necklace...I have been wearing it daily!

  3. Pat, LOVE the NEW blog, love the baby chick, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU!
    Non-bead related subject not appropriate for posting on your blog page but I am going to do it anyway.
    Just showed HUBBY your picture and we both agree, you've got the HOT-for-TEACHER look going on...You're one HOT mama! Thanks for ALL you do for all of us BEAD shop owners. Never has one of our suppliers been so special to us.

  4. Okay, I want to know why you would wet felt a needle felted project and how you go about doing it. I'm new to felting and am curious as to the why and how. Do you roll it up like the nuno felting and roll it? Do you scrub it by hand? Please relieve me of this intense "I must know now"!

  5. Wow!
    I don't know how you managed to get all that done! Beautiful table cover! Beautiful jewelry! Can't type much since I broke my wrist, but I enjoy your blog.

  6. Was just wondering what the results for the april bead challenge was. I see all the pictures, but not winner.

  7. Our first competitive challenge was the Etsy/Jewelry Designer challenge. We are still taking votes on that one, but a winner will be announced on July 6. The other challenges have been "for fun and giggles" only.