Saturday, April 25, 2015

Etsy Finds for the Jewelry Designer --Cabochons

Today's Etsy bead focus is cabochons. (The second focus is remembering how to spell it. Middle "O", not "A", Lori!)


I am not a seed beader, so I don't know how to make beaded bezels. I'm a very limited silversmith, meaning I know HOW to make solder a bezel, but I've only done it a few times and don't have the acetylene torch. I don't know anything about prong setting. All I can basically do with a cabochon is glue a bail on it or hope I can find a bezel meant for resin that fits it properly.

My various attempts over the years.


However, I still buy cabochons I find that just draw me in. Lately I've found some super gemstones, because Zack is becoming a rock hound. I have several ceramic ones that sit on a shelf as small, beautiful paper weights. Ditto lampwork glass. Sometimes a bead needs a home even if you can't work with it in the traditional way (yet).


If you've never considered buying a cabochon for any of the reasons above, I urge you to get one and set it on your work table. Let it inspire you to try new things, like wire wrapping it, finding the perfect bail, sewing across it to a leather backing -- the sky really is the limit!


First up is 



Lisa is a ceramics artist who makes unique pieces that remind me of gemstones. She also makes buttons, pendants, and beads, and you can often find her at the Bead and Button show, where her booth was mobbed every time I visited it! 

You can buy her work at



Next is amazing lampwork artist




I've had the good fortune to see Dora's work in person and her beads are what first drew me to her booth. They're amazingly intricate, and her stringer control is wonderful. I would LOVE the bottom left cabochon just to have on my desk to look at!


You can buy her work at 




Finally we have borosilicate glass artist
Wendy Williams of Morning Light Glass



I love the difference between soda lime glass and borosilicate glass. Boro reminds me of galaxies, with layers of depth that can make it both a challenge and a joy to choose which colors to accentuate in the jewelry you make.


You can buy her work at 



I hope you enjoyed the virtual shopping trip! I'd love to see links to your favorite cabochon artists or your own beads and jewelry with cabs in the comments below!


Happy shopping!


Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

And then this happened.

I posted on Facebook the other day about hating when my negativity takes over. I haven't written much or posted much of substance because I got tired of constantly hearing "you can't really be as sick as you say you are" or "you just want attention" or "I just unfriended you because of this". I thought about never writing another word about living with Lyme disease, depression, anxiety. I realized, though, that I have to be going through this for a reason, and if I quit writing, if I quit everything, I'm short-changing myself and possibly the few people out there who read my words and get it.




I purchased new blog templates last week so I can start a separate blog that talks only about the nitty-gritty, not-always-pretty stuff. I don't plan on it being a negative space, although I'll guarantee there will be some unhappiness there. It's life. It's not always fair. No one said it would be.


I haven't had the energy to work with the designer this week, so you'll hopefully bear with me writing yet another post like this. But guess what? It doesn't end negatively.



So I post my thoughts on Facebook. I'm in a ton of pain, but I'm determined to pick up my son from school and give Rick a much-deserved break, although he swears he doesn't need it. I'm in agony, but I'm also exhausted and I'm trying to stay awake a few more hours. I scan the Facebook feed with half an eye.... and then this happened.



 It stopped me in my tracks.


Dove has had several campaigns meant to empower women and make them understand they are indeed worthy of being called beautiful, that society puts an unfair spin on what beauty is, and shames what it feels is not.


After I watched the video, I thought how I could view "beautiful" as "it's OK to be yourself, even if being yourself means a good cry, days in bed, and feeling stuck, and then writing about it when you want to".


There should be no shame in that.


I viewed "average" as "you can be safe and never write another sad word again, only post silliness and happiness, and no one will ever know how you really feel, but you at least didn't make them roll their eyes".


Average isn't bad. But I don't want to be average.


I have great hope that the upcoming new blog will be a place of reflection, healing, occasional screaming when necessary, and safety. I will be happy to bring THIS blog back to Pretty Things -- jewelry, beads, stories about Zack, books, and all things that make me smile.


Everyone has a story.


This is mine.




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Winner of the "Pretty Birds" Book is....TWO people. Yep. Two.


is reader Pupton!

I'll be emailing you today.

But
I couldn't stop at just one.

Zack wants to pick out his bundle of fabric to send with the book
and *I* want to pick out MY bundle of fabric, so I decided
to buy another book and mail it to.....



YOU'LL KNOW WHEN YOU GET IT!

Thank you!

More book and magazine reviews are coming. 
Stay tuned, and please click follow on the right column --->
so you don't miss anything,
or sign up to receive email notifications of blog posts!





Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Book Giveaway -- Pretty Birds by Virginia Lindsay

Attention crafters!  Even if you aren't a sewer by nature, you can make these adorable birds in the new craft book "Pretty Birds" by Virginia Lindsay, published by Running Press.


You all know I have a thing about paper. I am a book lover, and a book can draw me in just by the quality of the paper or even the size of the book. I like odd sizes and special touches, and this book is not your standard size, and it has rounded corners.  I LOVE that!

Not shown in this stock photo -- the rounded corners. But they're there.


This book is clever in so many ways. For one, you don't have to rip up your book to get to the patterns. All you need is a SmartPhone or other device that can scan the QR code, download what you need, and you're off!




HOOOO doesn't like owls?  (See what I did there?)




The birds you can make are an owl, a canary, a penguin, a dove, an eagle, a kookaburra (sans the old gum tree), a bluebird, a cardinal, a woodpecker, a seagull, a chick, a robin, a fairy wren (someone make me one?), a swan, a parrot (pirate not included), a peacock (yes, please), a hummingbird (more yes, more please), and a flamingo. 




You can do a lot with these birds -- turn them into ornaments, put them on a stick and display them in a vase, add a pocket on the back (the owl is a good candidate) for your phone, etc. There are lots of ideas and really pretty photos in the book to give you great ideas to branch out even further.


I know how to sew, but haven't for a long time. But having known how to sew, from hemming pants to sewing a dress to making curtains, I can tell you that this book can be utilized by anyone with a willingness to learn. Stitches are simple, and the most fun is picking out the fabric!





I will be giving away my copy of this awesome 126 page book AND some fun fabric if you leave a comment below (be sure your name is connected to an email on your blog or give me a way to get in touch with you). PLEASE pass this giveaway around to your crafting communities of Facebook and share the love and help Virginia Lindsay feel awesome!


Zack will draw a name on April 9th.


Ready, set, bird time!



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eat a Little Dirt

This song speaks to me in a million ways. I hope you like it, too.




Thanks for watching! What song or video speaks to you??? I would love to watch!




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Winner of my personal copy of "Cats in Hats"

The publisher will be contacting all winners of the kits from the entire book blog hop (be sure to check your email!) but today Zack is going to pull a name out of the bowl.




Since there weren't as many entrants, Zack chose to use a smaller bowl, and this one he actually made in 2009. He put all the glass where he wanted it, and then the store slumped it for him. I'm tickled pink at his talents.


So without further delay, the name drawn for 
my personal copy of the book and some yarn is:



Congratulations!

I will be giving away another book by the same publisher -- I missed the book tour because either I was sick or Zack was and it just didn't work out. So be on the lookout for a book about birds, and if you like to SEW, it's for you.  



And even if you've never sewn, you will love it -- clever ways to get patterns, and very easy instructions. I sew, both by hand and machine, but I don't love it. I think that's because when I was in Basic Training, the Air Force hadn't transitioned to BDU's (camo - that happened in 1988, and I joined in 1987) and we still wore what we called the "gas station attendant greens". Apparently, not only was I one of the only people who had been brought up knowing how to make hospital corners on beds, but I was the only one who knew how to sew (shout out to mom, there -- she sews, and my grandmother was a tailor). After hemming a million pairs of green pants and sewing on countless stripes, I kind of got out of the habit, other than sewing the odd curtain or two. 

This isn't my flight, for some reason the photo isn't on the AF web site, but this was my sister unit, and I have a lot of friends from here. I MUCH prefer the BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform)!


But in a day or two, you'll get to see the inside of this book and win my copy PLUS fabric. So please go to the right and follow my blog, or get email updates, so you don't miss a thing!


Also, as soon as I have the energy, I will be creating a separate blog to chronicle my Lyme journey, among other "not Pretty Things things". I'll post on both sites when I post on the other so you don't miss a thing (did that make sense?)


See you soon! And thank you ever so much for all your love and kindness. It's not forgotten or ignored.



Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Book Review -- Cats in Hats by Sara Thomas (for knitters and crocheters!)

You've heard of the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. But have you ever wanted to knit or crochet your darling fur-baby their very own hat?


Why of course you have. And now you can!


I have two cats. One is geriatric and a cuddler and MIGHT let me put a hat on him. But he would look peeved about it. He's between 6-8 pounds, depending on the day.  Max is a fluffy rescue kitty who is about 17 years old.


The other cat is a Maine Coon. Vernon is six and he is enormous. It's not fat but ... CAT. He weighs between 25-27 pounds. This is a cat who, should I try to put a hat on him, would claw me senseless, and he's not a mean cat. He does, however, act like a dog, including raking his nails down the wall in the bathroom and gouging out a two foot stripe into the dry wall.


I shall not put a hat on Vernon. Otherwise knows as Big Kitty. Also know as Good Dog. I value my life and there are not enough bandages in the world.



Max and Vernon


Sara Thomas wrote a book for Running Press. I'm a knitter and a crocheter and the idea of cats and hats made me happy, regardless of whether my cat needed a hat or not. There are some strays that run around the neighborhood and I might try and coax one into wearing one.  And then sit back and watch our neighborhood message board go all kinds of nuts.





The book by Sara Thomas is adorable. Running 112 pages with the kind of paper I just LOVE (I just have a thing about good quality paper, I can't help it), there are 30 knit and crochet patterns for your kitty. The photos are both awe-inducing and awwww-inducing -- unbearably cute kitties on the pages! Patterns are clearly marked, and there are various levels so you can start with one and work your way through to your comfort level. Leave this on your coffee table and your friends are bound to love it (and your cats parading through in their kitty finery).




According to the press release, "This book is the perfect knit and crochet guide for creating quirky and unique hats for all of your kitty companions. The Punk Mohawk suits edgier cats while The Cat in the Hat is great for felines that love great literature. Complete with a breakdown of skill level and method (knit or crochet), suggestions for yarns, and written patterns and charts, even the most amateur crafter can create adorable headgear for their favorite kitties."  And I agree! They're cute, and if you're a skilled knitter, I'll bet you can convert these hats to fit your kidlet (or yourself!) as well!


The other participants of this blog hop:


AUTHOR KICKOFF: 3/16 Scooter Knits 



3/19 In Stitches 









3/28 Pretty Things Blog (you're here!)




This contest will run from 3/16 to 3/30 @ 12 AM EST. 

The publishers are giving away generous prizes, and I'm giving away one.




:: ONE person will receive a copy of the book, an EXCLUSIVE hat pattern from author Sara Thomas, and enough Lion Brand yarn necessary to complete the pattern.


::  FIVE runners up will receive a copy of the book. Winners will be contacted by email and
must notify the publisher within 48 hours of the notification email with address and acceptance. Please note that winners can be from the US only.  (Sorry -- the cost of sending just 5 oz many places is up to $12 now, eek).


To enter for the first two prizes, the publisher is using a Rafflecopter giveaway system. If you have trouble with that link, then try at https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1017537212/



:: In addition, I will pull a name from my list of comments and mail you a copy of the book along with some yarn to start making all the cats in your neighborhood the most stylish around. If you don't have a blog that has you email in it, or some way to contact you, please take notice and either get that tweaked or leave your email in the comment.  Again, only US unless you want to pay the shipping, which can be found at www.usps.com


Contest ends 3/30

The fine print:  I was given a book for free to give my honest opinion. I was not paid for my blog post. These are my own thoughts.


CATS IN HATS: 30 Knit and Crochet Patterns for Your Kitty
by Sarah Thomas
Running Press • Paperback w/flaps • $16.95 US/ $19.95 CAN
112 pages • 7 x 9
ISBN: 9780762456635 • eBook ISBN: 9780762456703
Publication Month: April 2015



Enjoy, and look for the Pretty Birds review (with giveaway) and a Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine review (with giveaway) soon. I'm running on half steam so things are slow but I do follow through.




Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack. Visit her shops by clicking on the right side bar of this blog (please and thank you!). She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party® and author of the book "Bead Soup" via Kalmbach Publishing.