Friday, April 17, 2015

Shagging Flies

It is Fly on the Wall day!  Come on in, wipe your feet, and make yourself comfortable.  I'm here to dish out the dirt, along with 14 other bloggers.  At the end of the post, you will find links to them, so make sure to visit.  You won't be disappointed!

I am woefully unprepared for the first time since I joined this challenge.  I didn't write down a single thing that went on in the last month.  And its been a looooooong month.  I'll be sharing the reason before the end of April.

Unfortunately my parents are visiting during the posting of this month's Fly, so no funny fodder from them.  My mom reads these and decided to give me a ribbing for my facetious use of their visits as fodder for the flies.  I say you attract more flies with honey, though Sheldon Cooper would say you'd attract them with shit... (Look away, Mom!)

I found a new craft shop in my area.  It's this little hole in the wall place, super tiny, but packed wall to wall with beads and bobbles and all things jewelry.  I went to find inspiration for an post next month - I wanted to get ahead so I wasn't stressed like I was when I made the Nature Bracelet.  The shopkeeper was so nice, but she warned The Big Guy it may take about an hour and a half to see everything in the shop.  She wasn't lying.  There was so much stuff I left brain-full and empty-handed.  Best thing was finding my inspiration after letting it all sink in!

Here's another "Welcome to My Brain" moment, brought to you by a trip to the bathroom:

A couple weeks back The Big Guy and I were watching television and an orange juice commercial came on, claiming a certain number of oranges were juiced, leaving no room for extra stuff.  I was like, false advertising!  There's no way they got enough juice out of that many orange to fill that size container.

A couple days ago, my mind wandered, as it does when... well, you know.  And I thought, hey.  Maybe they employed the same technique as juicing grapes!  Then the number of oranges would be more plausible.  I mean, seriously: when is the last time you juiced an orange the "old-fashioned" way and got a decent amount of juice?

Baseball season has started again.  Both boys drafted this past week.  There's this one coach for the Minors... he coached an opposing basketball team in Little Sasquatch's league this winter and now he's LS's coach for baseball.  He's loud, opinionated, and it's hilarious - but I'm terrified to call the man, if that says anything.  He's going to be a great coach - as long as I don't have to talk one on one with him... ever.

Bigfoot's coach doesn't seem to want to talk to the parents at all, opting to ask for the boys instead.  It's going to be an interesting season for him, since this is the transition league before hitting high school.  Wish us luck!  I've already spent three hours at the field... and they weren't even on teams yet!

Guess that's it.  I'm sure other stuff happened, but I was focused on other pressing matters.  Go see my friends!  They want flies, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrating Nature: Beaded Bracelet {tutorial}

Welcome, precioussssses, to another feature by Blog with Friends!  This month we are celebrating Earth Day.  Go green with us and enjoy the projects!

There was absolutely nothing about this project that went as planned.  Nothing.  

I want to thank a very understanding hubby, who helped me cling to my sanity as each attempt failed and ultimately fixed the final design flaw.  He (and it) are amazing!

Let's start off with knowing what you need at the store, because life is so much easier when you don't have to make multiple trips.  At least this time I didn't have to walk back and back again.  Keep in mind the general beading technique, since it's unlikely you will find the exact beads and findings I used.

Just FYI, when I say "finding", it refers to any element of the piece that isn't a bead, pretty much.  Most of the time I will try and specify the technical term of the finding, unless I don't know it.

For this project I used:
  • Stretch Magic® Bead and Jewelry Cord, 0.7 mm
  • 6 crimp tubes, 2 mm
  • 20 beads, small
  • 3 beads, 1.5 inch length
  • jewelry finding (this is the branch and bird piece - I think it's called a link)

Here's a little tip: when choosing cord and crimp tubes, do some math.  Originally I picked up 1.3 mm crimp tubes to use with my 0.7 mm cord.  I didn't think about the fact I would be doubling the cord through the tube.  Simple math dictates 0.7 mm doubled is 1.4 mm - a smidgen bigger than the diameter of my tubes.  So it was back to the store for the 2 mm.  

Doubled up, the cord fit, but it was by no means a cake walk.  It will test your patience... and the strength of your headache medicine.  Oh - and your dexterity, but that comes later.  Thank the Universe for little helping hands!

Actually, the starters weren't too bad.  Just an eyelet hole, crimp tube, crimping pliers, and a little snip off the extra cord and you're done.  Remember the picture explaining the crimping?  See it here.

You'll notice I made two per side of my finding.

Using two cords wasn't Plan A... or B... or even C.  I tried loops with spacer beads, a large loop with a single crimp bead, and even thought to scrap the whole thing.  This is where my brilliant husband intervened.  I don't know what I would do without him!

Once he suggested having two single cords, it made perfect sense, since my larger beads had two threading holes.  Finally the beads laid out the way I expected!  Crisis averted.

These holes were large enough there was no problem threading the cord through.  Keep in mind the Stretch Magic® is stretchy and you'll probably want to pull it tight through the whole process, but it's not necessary.  Just make sure you have enough length to complete your pattern - you will pull it in at the end.

The beads I used are adorably small, with just enough inner diameter to thread my cord.  This is almost literally a thread and needle situation..

I didn't get a picture of the bracelet before I linked the two sides, so I'll try and explain: one side of the link had one large bead, ten small bead pattern; the other side had one large bead, ten small bead, one large bead pattern.

This is one side:

Remember the dexterity issues I mentioned earlier?  Here's where it gets fun... (she says, her voice dripping with sarcasm).

To complete the circle (aka: the bracelet), I decided to hide the final crimp tubes behind a large bead.  Taking the side ending with the large bead, you'll un-thread the cords to add a crimp tube, then re-thread.  Take the other side (ending in the smaller bead, pictured above), thread that cord through the parallel hole in the large bead, finishing with the cord threaded through the crimp tube.  Repeat on the other cord.

Best placement is centered on the back of the large bead.  Here is where you tighten until the circle of the bracelet is complete.  When satisfied, use crimping pliers to finish off the tubes at the end.  This was a little tricky, as you're trying to keep the beads tight while stretching the cord just enough to get the pliers in there.  Dexterity.

In my pattern, I used five small on each single cord with twenty total for the whole bracelet; large beads totaled three.  Add the length of the link and, laid out, the bracelet was just over 7 inches in length.  This may seem small (or not), but it's within the normal range for the industry.  Plus, I used stretchy cord.

At first I wasn't sure the final product would fit my wrist, but as you can see in the above picture, it stretched just enough to allow my fat hand through.

Below you'll see the link finding on Quesadilla's wrist - the bracelet was a bit too big for her... for now.

Get inspired, try something new, and don't be afraid to fail.  It's all about having fun and creating something wonderful!

See how my friends are celebrating Earth Day!

Melissa has 10 Best Uses for Technology on Earth Day:

A yummy Celebration Dessert Pizza from Karen:

Keep it green like Lydia with a DIY No-Sew Shopping Bag:

Need to stretch a buck?  Jennifer is Stretching Your Cluck with some delicious recipes:

Upcycle with these Recycled Decorated Containers from Eileen:

Celebrate Earth every day!  Don't forget to join your Earth Day projects in our link up!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Clap if You Believe

It's Friday, so ...  Blogging Challenge!  This week is Use Your Words, where participating bloggers pick 4 - 6 words or short phrases for someone else to use in a post.  The blogger must use each word/phrase at least once and each post will be unique, as each blogger gets their own set of words.  

Here's the twist: no one knows who got their words, until now.  Make sure you stop over and visit the other blogs featuring this challenge!

My words are: crackle, twig, sparkle, token

I once met a faerie hiding among the honeysuckle, cooing over the hummingbirds and enjoying Spring.  She slept in a hollow of leaves between the eave and fence, safe from harm.

Her name was Willow.  The only thing that frightened her was the fat cat known as Satan.  He prowled the rooftop from which the sweet vines grew and the twitter birds frolicked.  He was a mean old thing and didn't like the fact Willow had taken up residence in his domain.

You may not know this, but due to my namesake, I am able to commune with our fine, feathered friends.  This ability came in handy one day when Satan decided enough was enough and he was going to evict the tiny lodger from his roof.  He was poised to destroy her delicate home, Willow cowering in the base of a recent flower bloom, leaves shaking.

Things looked dire, so I called out to my brethren: the dreaded magpie.  They came in force - five monstrous loud-mouths - cutting off Satan's access to the house and the faerie's safe haven.  The magpies surrounded Satan, screaming and squawking, forcing him into a hasty retreat, never to bother Willow again.

As a token of appreciation, she took her twig of a wand and, with a tiny crackle and a hint of sparkle, she transformed the house into picture perfect cleanliness.

And then I woke up, dammit.

Sparkle on, precioussssses!

Baking In A Tornado

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Laughing Matter

It's Friday and you know what that means!  Time for a blogging challenge: Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 bloggers braved the unknown by coming up with a secret subject for another blogger, while getting one in return.  No one knows who got what... until now!

At the end of this post, you will find links to the other participating bloggers.  Don't miss out on the fun. Visit them all and see what the fuss is about.  And you bloggers can always join us - just ask!

My Subject is: April Fools Day was just a few days ago. If you could pull off an April Fools joke on any person at all, who would you choose and what would you do?
Submitted by: Baking in a Tornado - thanks Karen!

Can you believe I've been doing this for over a year!?  It's pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself.  So I shall continue!

Hmmmm.  April Fools.  Personally I find this holiday pointless and can't wait for it to be over.  I'm by no means a gullible person, but sometimes... well, you just don't know.  I fear for the days when my children are old enough to truly appreciate and participate in the tomfoolery.  That's when the real nightmare will begin.

I will say this, though: I have pulled a prank on April Fools Day.  Just once.  And it was awesome!

See, The Big Guy is pretty laid back, especially compared to me, so I am constantly trying to rattle his cage.  He pretends horror movies don't bother him, but every so often I'll do my best to scare him.  I take my cues from the tenor of the music and grab his arm or leg at just the right moment, just to see him jump.  It's hilarious!  So when I had the chance to pull a prank on him for April Fools, you can be damn sure I took advantage.

I was eight months pregnant with Little Sasquatch, his due date being in May.  Both our other children had arrived early and I was hoping LS would be no exception.  April First rolls around and I'm miserable, but that doesn't stop me from... well, being me.

The Big Guy left for work - he was working swing shift.  Partway through his shift, I called him in a panic.  My water broke and I was in labor; I needed to get to the hospital ASAP.  He flips out, but I think, in the back of his mind, he wasn't completely sure.  He asked me if I could call his parents; I said I had but no one was answering!  I needed him home now!  I even threw in some painful contraction noises.  He was like, are you serious??  His friends were there and asking what was wrong and he was relaying everything.  He told me to hold on, he'd go talk to his boss.

At that point I couldn't keep it in any longer; I started laughing.  He was so confused!  I was laughing so hard, but I took a breath and said "April Fools!"  I think I gave him a mini heart attack.  He vowed to get me back.  Mission accomplished!

To this day, I still think it's funny and he has yet to make good on his threat.

I hope your April First was humor-filled but uneventful!  Now go, visit my friends:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Did You Pack Enough?

March Funny Friday

Today’s post is this month's Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers' posts are below, click on them and see what they've come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday  150 X 150.jpg

Here's today's picture. It was submitted by Confessions of a part-time working mom.     

14 - Confessions of a part-time working mom.jpg

1. I was going to say we packed everything but the kitchen sink... but then I saw the kitchen sink.

2. My car's bigger.

3. Exactly how long do you expect to be gone?

4. I got it all on there. You get to unpack.

5. This is camping with the Jolly Green Giant!

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile: