Friday, February 8, 2013

More Beads - aka Gasparilla Again

Tampa has a huge celebration every year called Gasparilla.  It's a Pirate Invasion of grand proportion.  It's been an annual event since 1904.  Part of the joy of Gasparilla is attending the parades, and in all my parades I have yet to leave with less than 100-200 bead necklaces.

Being in Miami now, I didn't expect to be going back to Gasparilla any time soon.  But we had an offer we couldn't refuse.  We were to attend the main parade (over 100 floats) on the Bayshore as the guest of a major corporate sponsor, after which we were invited to their home for a post parade party.  I thought, this was pretty awesome, but I promised myself I wouldn't bring home any more beads.  After all, I had just finished two chandeliers and a mosaic, and my supply was nicely cleaned out, and I really don't have room for more in my much smaller craft closet.

We arrived at the corporate tent, and were promptly given a few necklaces, such a pretty one with the Jose Gaspar ship on it, I can't say no.  Every table was covered in beads, and there were even a few large cooler size treasure chests filled.  No - keep walking, I don't need any.  But they were pink, and the necklaces are long, and the big beads, I don't have any of those.

Before you know it, the parade was starting.  I had front row, up close and personal with the Pirates.  It was awesome.  Honest, I wasn't trying.  I wasn't shouting or waving or fighting for them, well, as much as the people beside me.  But then the age old frenzy started, and cries of BEADS, BEADS, BEADS could be heard throughout the land. 

An amazing thing happened, magically one landed around my neck - that pirate had good aim as it was thrown from on top of a passing float.  Then more landed at my feet, and some  without effort were caught in my hand.  Then there were the strolling pirates, who couldn't pass by without handing out a trinket or two.

In all, I ended up with about 75 necklaces, 10 "gold" doubloons  a stuffed manatee, and a squishy light bulb   And I brought them home.

A neat thing about the necklaces, yes I am now rationalizing my hoard, is that this year's were more fabulous than the plain beads from yesteryear.  This year I got Pirate skulls and cross bones, butterflies, footballs, iridescent  hearts, and Budweiser beer caps. And crawfish, and shrimp, and footprints, and faces, and palm trees, and pyramids...  

When I got home, my daughter and her college roomie got busy decorating my lampposts in the backyard.   Mardi Gras is coming up soon.  With the remaining beads, including probably a good bit of the older stash, we had plans for a fabulous glittery tray for the party hosts (and former neighbors of my inlaws).  

It ended up being a group effort.  My mom-in-law had purchased the tray 15x23, and a wooden letter "B".  We picked up some glue and some frame molding on clearance, so that we could rest some glass above the beads.  My father-in-law got busy with an old saw and miter to cut them down to size.  Then the fun began with my mom-in-law, daughter & I cutting up about 70 necklaces bead by bead.  Then we got out the serious glue.  Fortunately it was about 80 degrees today and perfect weather to work outside.  Yes I am rubbing it in, it's the begining of February.  I love living in Florida.

A few hours later and we had the finished product, and the beginning of a business plan to make many more of these.  Maybe it's time to start selling some crafts.  Hmm.

suzilfb's Beads album on Photobucket

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Move

Getting ready for the move –

In the weeks leading up to the move I traveled most of the time. It’s not easy going through everything you owned to figure out what would we keep, but to do it while travelling yourself and working full time, it was pretty near impossible.  Imagine my relief when hubby found a large home, with garage and a room to use as an office, instead of the 3 bedroom tiny condos we had been looking at.  I knew then that everything would be OK.  I didn't have to get rid of anything – ya right.  But at least the pressure was off.

I started a new craft to keep me occupied at night while hubby was gone as well.  I had always wanted to do something with the kids event t-shirts, but I knew a quilt wasn't my style or forte, and frankly we had gotten rid of the t-shirts as they became worn or outgrown.  But I had a supply of about 30 Girl Scout and race shirts of my own that I would not likely wear again.  I decided on a multicolored latch hook rug that I had seen so many posts for.  I had all the supplies.  I spent a couple evenings cutting 1 x 4 inch strips.  Each shirt made about 220 pieces.  With the size rug I was making I figured I needed to cut 25 shirts.  Not wanting to end up short and having a block of one color, I went ahead and cut up all 30 shirts.  I tumbled the pieces in the dryer to remove the fluff and mix them up.  If you plan on doing this, clean the lint trap every 5 minutes. Then I dumped everything into a bag.  Got my supplies, looked at a couple of sites that had tutorials, and started.  I discovered this to actually be a good travel craft.  I filled a gallon size Ziploc bag with pieces, and packed the rug, hook and pieces in my suitcase.  Not so good if you are tight on a plane, but I usually check my bag, so it worked out great.  I have about 1/9th complete, and now it sits by my couch waiting to be worked on.  I haven’t touched it since the move.  I think tonight’s the night.

The Move, and the mess

We put our house on the market October 16th.  We thought it would take 6 months to sell.  I spent the first weekend packing up lots of little things, and most of my kid’s stuff, to get the house ready to show.  This also meant cleaning the craft room for real.  I thought I had everything all nicely organized and ready for the move.  We had a pending contract by November 13th.  We still hadn't found a new home and we were supposed to close the first week of December.  Fortunately for me, the bank is slow. 

We moved the week before Christmas.  I had separated out a few crafts that I thought I would work on before Christmas.  I did manage to make a mini scrapbook of all the castles my daughter had visited in 2012.  I haven’t touched anything else. 

After the move, my son came home for Christmas, he declared that he would unpack all the boxes in the office and get it set up.  I was rather skeptic, most of the boxes were craft stuff.  Amazingly, not only did he get all the boxes but 2 unpacked, he put away all my scrapbook/paper supplies and did and pretty good job of it.  After he left I had to reorganize a little, to make it my own.  That left 2 boxes in the office, and 2 more in the garage.  Hubby helped me unpack the 2 boxes.  We discovered the file cabinet drawers wouldn't open or close.  After a lot of effort we got them open and emptied.  The office is a mess, and I still have 2 more boxes to go.  My goal today, get the current stuff put away, and figure out the file cabinet.  Tomorrow will be the last two boxes, and then I craft.  

Sooner Rather Than Later & the Party

Sooner Rather Than Later
When I started the blog on my birthday, my husband was looking for a new position.  There was the thought that we might have to move.  Well the move happened, and we have made the relocation to Miami Florida.

After the initial shock I was determined to not let go of everything in the craft room that meant first finding a place big enough to support my stuff, and second, realign my priorities in my craft room cleanup.  I put my husband in charge of looking for a home.  I must say he did a fantastic job.  Although smaller, I still have a shared office/craft room.  I now have to share a desk, but with the addition of IPads for both of us, my husband is rarely at the desk. 

The Party –
In October, when it was decided we would make the move, I reviewed my inventory.  There is a lot of stuff that I probably will never get around to using.  Every year I get together with my Girl Scout leader friends for a crafting camping trip.  What better way to use up supplies, and ensure that so much goes to a home that will use it up.

I set up our annual trip this year to camp (sleepover) at my house.  What an awesome weekend that was, me and 6 of my best friends, my daughter fresh home from 3 months in Germany (we actually picked her up half way through the party) and 2 of her friends.  It was so much fun.  A few ladies brought some supplies, but the general idea was, we had to use my supplies.  I went through the closet and room – brought so much downstairs.  I had several chipboard album pages, so I asked each person to decorate a page, took pictures of us, and now I have a keepsake of my friends and the good times we had.  We decorated frames with paint and Girl Scout swaps and added more pictures.  We decorated tiles.  I made a magical crown for my daughter, and we decorated welcome home signs. There were lots more things that I put out to use, and after my first couple glasses of sangria, I’m not sure what everyone made. 

My friends know I always had a rule, that if there was left over food after a camping trip, I never brought it home, it was split among them.  I applied the same rule to the supplies at this event.  So by the end of the weekend I no longer had my flowers, polymer clay, clay machine, a whole bunch of paper, and so much other stuff that I had cleaned out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Dollhouse

I had a good friend 7th-9th grade when I lived in Hamilton Ontario. Her name was Stephanie W.  She is probably my earliest crafting friend.  It started with joining the model train club in 8th grade.  OK, she & I joined and were the only 2 girls in the club.  We weren’t stupid.  All the cute guys were in the club.  I had so much fun climbing over the structure, learning how to solder, and making things in miniature, flirting with the cute guys and going on field trips to visit really big model train tracks. One day while we were at Stephanie’s house she showed me her notepaper collection.  Maybe that where I got hooked on paper too.  I know it wasn’t long before I had my own collection.  But the real draw was her dollhouse that she and her dad had built.  I don’t remember what it looks like, but I remember after seeing it I knew that I wanted my own.

It wasn’t long after that we moved to Ft Lauderdale.  There was a store near my house that had dollhouse kits.  I always had to check them out. Finally in the summer before my junior year of high school Country House Model #1002 was mine.  It took 2 ½ years to finally put it all together.  At one point, I had to painstakingly wet it down, dissolve the glue, and rebuild the walls because everything had warped in the summer humidity.  After the build came the electricity.  I was so proud of myself, 18 years old and wiring a dollhouse for electricity, and it worked!  That is until that same humidity shorted everything out a few years later.  I built a few walls to add a bathroom, after all what home doesn’t have a bathroom.  I wallpapered with fabric, reupholstered a chair, stitched a rug and made Christmas decorations.

My kitty loved to sleep in the house, and the second floor is forever warped because of that. The house moved when I moved.  It almost didn’t make the last move.  But after my Father-in-law gave me a stern talking to about how this house was such a part of me, and therefore it was important to him, I found it a place in our new home.  After all, it’s not often my Father-in-law comments on decorating or stuff, so when he has an opinion, I usually act on it.  The house has collected dust over the years, I’ve added some lighted Christmas & Halloween decorations (battery powered, as I never put the electricity back in).  It was never a play toy. 

A few years ago my daughter & I decided it was time to redecorate.  Out came all the wallpaper and flooring.  And was replaced with fresh wallpaper& parquet flooring in some rooms.   I added a pretty lattice to the bottom.  We decided the bathroom would be moved to the other side of the house (as in the rooms that are on the other side of the hall, so it’s invisible now.  Harry Potter movie posters were hung in the boy’s room, and Monet water lilies in the girl’s room. 

It’s been gathering dust again.  Which brings me to the craft closet.  Up on the shelf in the closet is a green plastic bin.  Today’s craft project was to check out the green bin.  I tossed the old electric stuff. The quilling paper and instructions to make flowers, they are going in the give-away bag.  The hooked rug kit, not started, and the ¾ finished cross stitch rug, I will keep for awhile and maybe one day finish them. The photo album was falling apart so I took out the photos and kit instructions and scanned them.  That left three items.  My official project for the weekend has been determined.

I had two kits for furniture Chippendale style, a desk and a chest of drawers, and a kit for a staircase.  I pulled out the furniture kits.  Amazingly I had all the pieces.  After reading the instructions I discovered I was missing 8 itty bitty screws.  I was also supposed to use tinted glue and stain the furniture when I was done.  Quick decision was made, I didn’t want the fold down writing surface, and mahogany stain was boring anyway.  Problems solved. I have everything I need to complete the furniture.

I’ve spent a few hours gluing and assembling and painting.  And to top it off.  Glittering.  I had some glitter left over from a prior project that was shades of green, copper & brown.  Much more sparkly than boring stain. 

It’s always bothered me that the dollhouse didn’t have any way to get to the third floor.  It’s something little kids pick up on instantly.  I had bought a staircase kit when I started with the earlier renovations.  I’m pretty sure it will fit.  Gluing the spindles is crazy hard – the instructions say to be sure they are 1/8 inch from the edge, centered on the step, and dry straight.  Really?  Do they know how skinny these spindles are?  And I don’t want big globs of glue on the bottom.  Every time they fall over, there’s another glob at the base.  I’ve scraped away so much, it’s a wonder there is any glue holding it up.   I managed to got it done and painted. Now staircase fits in the dollhouse and the doll family can make it up to the third floor. 

All that’s left for this weekend to is to dust and straighten out the rooms.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

 Inspiration came when I saw a pin of a mosaic made with Mardi Gras Beads (you can see it on my Pinterest boards) It was a simple design.  I can do that.  I have all the supplies, so it follows my rules.  I started with a blank canvas, and decided on a design.  The beads were natural for our NOLA patio, and a castle for my love of Disney.  I drew the design and then colored it in with permanent markers that way the space between the beads isn’t all white when the glue drys.  I picked my colors, and started cutting the beads off of the necklace.  The pain with Mardi Gras beads is that they aren’t strung, the string is fused into the beads.  Each one had to be cut off.  I tried a small area to see if I liked it.  Lots of my favorite tacky glue applied very thickly, and lots of beads later I have an awesome piece of art work.  It took about 8 hours to cut the beads and glue them on.  I figure it will take a few days for the glue to fully dry, and then I will spray it with a sealant, especially because I think I will hang it on my patio. I can't believe I still have a box full of beads. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Earlier Crafting

I was probably about 8 or 9, it was summer, and my two cousins Maureen & Charlene were spending their summer days at my house.  It had been raining, and I’m sure we were driving my mom crazy.  From somewhere out came a preprinted cross stitch baby sheet with 12 panels of bunnies.  She cut it out so we each got 4 panels, 2 boys and 2 girls.  That summer she taught us how to pick out colors, and do some basic embroidery stitches.  My Grandma told me when I finished it she would quilt it for me.  I don’t know about my cousins, but I didn’t do a whole lot of it during the summer, and the pieces were stacked away in the one day I will do this pile.  I started my stash early.  Perhaps this was my first long term craft project.  I remember carting it around with me when I moved first to Hamilton then to Ft Lauderdale, and ultimately to college.  In college the craze was counted cross stitch.  My friend Donna & I made all kinds of projects our freshman year, pictures for the wall, pillows and sachets.  One day I finished the bunnies.  It probably only took a few hours.  My grandma quilted them as promised 10 years ealier, and my children used the little blanket when they were babies. Kimi later used it for her dolls.  It now has a place of honor hanging on my wall.

My mom owned an art gallery in St Catharines Ontario - Folkersen Art Galleries at the Penn Center when I was little.  I loved to see the artists when they visited.  I had a huge crush on John Par who did portraits.  I one year he went to Morocco and brought me back a few glass beads.  I wonder what ever happened to them?  The gallery was cool, but for me what was better – Mr. Galloway’s store at the other end of the mall.  The Galloways played cards with my parents, so I think my mom was ok that I would hightail it over there every chance I got.  Mr Galloway was always quick to give me a package of beads that had a tear in them.  I think sometimes he tore them just for me.  The big craze then was tri-beads.  I made necklaces for everyone.  But my favorite beads were glow-in-the-dark.  The beads didn’t make it to Florida.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where to Start

Do I clean the whole closet and room right now, or just one type of craft at a time?
I should start with a general clean up so I can start with everything put away in its place – however this isn’t what I’d call a deep clean, it’s more a stuff the shelves so my work table and floor is as uncluttered as possible.

This is why it’s hard for me to craft.  I have the closet, and the vanity, and the wall with the paper crafting, and even a bunch of file drawers.  But I hate to put away stuff that I am working on.  I’m afraid of the out of sight out of mind.  But it’s also depressing have to step over it all.  It would be so much more fun if I just clean up a little, then do something fun, then I will clean up some more.

Started with the beads, because I couldn’t get the box lid to close, which meant they wouldn’t fit back on the shelf.  My objective – get all beads into one box, and all bead making supplies into another.  Started by dumping everything on the floor.  Transferred the beads (many of them vintage from my mom) into small Ziplocs or into the bead containers that I bought many years ago.  Sorted them.  Look – there’s the broken coral necklace that Mario brought back from Italy – when I was in 9th grade.  I wore it death, and when it finally broke I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the beads.  I swear, that’s the only one I’ve kept.  Then not too long ago I was looking in a jewelry magazine and saw a very pretty necklace with a piece of white coral hanging from it.  I have the picture, the white coral, the pink coral and all the tools.  I’m going to do this tonight.  By the time I had all my beads and supplies put away nicely, I had pulled out four projects that I want to do right away.  The coral necklace, and a second one, a rose quartz kit, and a fabric covered button necklace.  I spent the rest of the weekend making the necklaces.  I finished them, posted them to facebook.  That was last weekend.  It feels good, friends like the necklaces, some more than others.  Everyone likes the pink coral – it’s the only one I have no intention to give away.

Next project – sitting on the floor under my window – two large bags of mardi gras beads, the hanging plant hanger, and the needed wire.  I had already made one hanging beaded chandelier (lights with an LED tap light) and I wanted a second one.  Both of them are for my NOLA lanai.  Kimi was busy finishing packing to head to Germany for three months, and had a friend coming over.  Blake was already away at school. And hubby Chris, was doing his favorite thing – reading the Sunday newspaper, made better because it’s the day before the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and so the newspapers, yes we get two, are huge.  I started to clean the next area of the home office/craft room.  You know, if I make the chandelier, it sure would clean up a big space.  Having already made one, I brought out my notes on the supplies that I needed, cut up the necklaces, precut the wire, and I was off.  The best place to hang it from while in process is on the knob for the cabinet right in front of my computer.  That’s when I got the inspiration to start the blog.  Oh I’ve thought about it before, but never had a focus.  So here it is 4 hours later.  Kimi has gone to the movie, will be back soon.  Chris is at the grocery store picking up dinner.  My parents will be here soon.  The chandelier is complete, and hanging in the lanai.  I started my blog in Word, until I can figure out how to actually write a blog on the internet. I got this inspiration from 

It feels good.  I feel like I’ve accomplished something.  Not just by starting and completing a project for which I had everything.  I’ve also started a focus to craft intentionally.  Now I need to follow the rule above, and put everything away.  I took the left over beads out of the bags, and put them in a box so they sit on the shelf.  Tools need to go away, and I need to put away the next craft that I started to pull out.


I figure I have enough basic supplies to keep me crafting for 3-5 years without buying anything other than small bits and pieces needed to complete a project.  To be added to as I clean out the crafts and figure out what I have.

Mardi Gras/Gaspirilla Beads                Fat Quarters                                Vintage Zippers
Buttons                                             Thread                                         Floss
Felt                                                   Fabric Paint                                 Acrylic Paint
Paint Canvas                                     Cross Stitch Fabric                       Sand
Shells                                              Driftwood                                     Coral
Sea Glass                                         Mosaic glass/tile                          Paper – all kinds
Chinese paper                                   Card stock, plain and patterned      Origami
Dollhouse stuff                                   Ribbon                                         Beads           
Wire                                                 Fimo                                             Charms 
Glass sun catcher pendants                Stamps                                        Stickers
Ink                                                   Magazines                                   Silk flowers
T-Shirts                                            Corks                                           Wooden plaques
Yarn                                                 Soap making                                Lots of kits


Sewing Machine
Paint Brushes
Basic tools – pliers, small drill, hammer, screw drivers
Knifty Knitter looms
Knitting needles, Crochet hooks
Bead loom
Lots of books
2 Ott lights
Ziplocks all sizes, lots of boxes, all sizes
Clay roller (pasta machine)

Projects in the works

  • Scrapbooks – I really would like to organize all photos, including digital, and start scrapbooking again.  Maybe make photo books.  
  • Greeting cards 
  • Annual Christmas book – is it a craft or a writing project – all I know is that I am on the 2nd 25 years of family Christmas book, and I am several years behind.  I want to bring it up to date and give to hubby as Christmas present
  • Various cross stitch projects
  • Magazine purse –I have all the chains made, I just need to try my hand at sewing them together.  Make a commitment for 4 rows.  If I like it, wont be hard to finish.  If I don’t ditch it.
  • Shell garland – for the bathroom
  • Christmas Ornaments - all kinds, beaded, cross stitch, digital photo, frames

The Plan

I am fortunate to have a very large room including walk in closet and vanity to house and work on all my craft supplies.  My craft room also doubles as my home office, so the desk can get extremely cluttered.  I also have a very bad habit of not finishing what I start, and combine that with being a visual person, my room is a mess.  

I am interested in so many different crafting mediums, and I have to have all the tools.    The kids are in college, and we are thinking that we may downsize our home in the not to distant future.  I don't want to give up my craft stuff without a fight.  So I need to have a plan.

It's the day before my 49th birthday.  And I've decided to write about my journey to clean out my craft room.  Not by just putting it away, or getting rid of stuff, but by using my stash.

The starting point - incriminating photos.  This represents most of the supplies - I'll save you from the under and on top of the desk and the floor stash.

The Plan
  •  Figure out if there is a craft style that I truly love and would be able to take with me to a smaller home
  •  Complete craft projects – or dispose
  • Use up my stash
  • Make stuff for me & our house. I have so many artsy craftsy things that others have made for me, but very little that I have done.
  • Make stuff for family and friends
  •  Make stuff just to use up the product and then try to sell it
  • Give away supplies for things I don’t like doing
  • Rule #1 Put away everything at the end of the day – that means I probably need to clear off a shelf right away so I have some place to put unfinished project
  • Rule #2 Purchase only what is needed to complete a project like adhesive – OK I have an exception.  If while on my travels, I find something that I gotta have
    • The craft has to either be a complete kit
    • Must be something for me
    • Must fit in with my themes for my house
  • Rule #3  Always bring a project when I travel, these are where all my kits come in handy