May 23, 2015

My Dirty Little Secret

My family room a.k.a. my craft space.

At first glance, our "family room" looks like any other family room.  Not perfect, but not a huge mess.  I could have straightened out the pillows and folded up my blanket before I snapped the photo and it would be fine.  But underneath this calm exterior... I'm hiding a dirty little secret.  I have beading supplies stashed everywhere!  They're here under the TV:

Bead storage.

And here:

My end table.

And here:

My storage space a.k.a. furnace closet.

This is my craft storage.  It's really the furnace closet, but I needed somewhere to stash my stuff and the space wasn't being used for anything else.  It started off with just a big tub in there with my bags of beads all in together.  As my stash grew, it became a couple containers with little bags of beads sorted into bigger bags by color.  After I outgrew that system, my darling husband (who is a clean freak who probably wishes I shared even a little of that philosophy) built some shelves there on the left hand wall for me.

Beads and cord on shelves.

I sorted all the beads by color and I keep them in containers on my shelves.  As you can see, I've been switching over from the cheap and abundant ice cream buckets (dear husband is also an ice cream lover) to a slightly more sophisticated system of clear boxes.  My cord is on the sop there, also sorted by color and size.  Sort of.  And this is all fine and dandy until I drag some things out for a challenge and a few more things for a custom order and then a few more things for another project.  Pretty soon, every horizontal surface is covered with beads and cord and partially finished projects.

Every once in a while we are expecting company (or dear husband just can't handle the mess any more) and I have to clean off the surfaces.  That mostly means sweeping everything off into the nearest box - usually the one in which my newest acquisitions arrived.  Then the box gets shoved into the closet on the floor.  Eventually there are several layers of boxes.  Interspersed with photography props, macrame boards and random lengths of cord I've saved from other projects (I'm going to use those up for earrings.  Probably.  Some day.).

A mess.  A big, fat mess.

Before I know it, I have a great big mess.  I was looking back through some photos the other day and came across this one from three years ago.

Back in the day.

Just look how much neater everything was!  (We won't mention how much less stuff I had.)  I always have good intentions.  Really, I do.  Every once in a while I get really motivated and sort through all the boxes (usually when I can't find something I want) and put everything back in its place.  And I start all over.  Until then... it's a closet and I can shut the door and pretend it's not a pile just waiting to come tumbling out in a gloriously shiny, stringy mess.

A closed door. Nothing to see here.

So there you have it.  My dirty little secret:  I am a closet slob.  Literally.



May 19, 2015

A New Dragon

Dragon bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

A customer asked me if I could make a dragon bracelet in the colors of sand and beach and surf and this is what I concocted.  I mixed a sandy tan in with some turquoise and deep marine blue (the sparkling crests of waves and the deep troughs of color), added some sky blue and a little touch of the white of a couple fluffy clouds.  Stirred them all together into a kaleidoscope of color and pattern, and came up with this:

Dragon bracelet in teal, turquise, blue and khaki by Knot Just Macrame

I am so drawn to these colors, I think I will take it a bit further and see what else pops.  Speaking of popping, which do you think works better in the photo:  a patterned background like the photo above or a plain one like below?

Dragon bracelet in teal, turquoise, blue and khaki by Sherri Stokey

The general consensus in some of the groups I belong to has been a plain, neutral background.  My eye is more drawn to the patterned photo, though.  Opinions?


May 12, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

Micro macrame bracelet with dragon focal by Sherri Stokey.

So many ideas and so little time!  I swear the busier I am and the less time I have to knot, the more ideas I have.  I keep telling myself I need to write them down or sketch them out, because they will surely evaporate when I do find myself at loose ends.  

It's been busy times at my house lately with my son graduating from college (yeah, Nick!!!). 

Graduation

I even managed to snap a photo of my children getting along with one another.  Or appearing to in order to make their mother feel all warm and fuzzy.  Either way, I'll take it.
 
My kids!

We've been helping Nick get furniture and get settled into a little rental house in town and I'm SO excited to have him closer.  I will have to take some pictures and show you the crafty projects we've been working on like painting and distressing a coffee table, overhauling some old lamps and making wall art with scrapbook paper.

I have finished up a couple of macrame projects that were in the works, including these dragon bracelets in raku colors.

Beaded micro macrame bracelets in raku colors by Knot Just Macrame.

Then I made a matte metallic khaki iris version that's like my reset button.  The perfect combination of color and neutral.  My little spot of calm.  Ahhhhh.....

Close up of beaded macrame knotting.


May 1, 2015

Beading Back in Time Reveal: Early Human Edition

Micro macrame necklace with raku pendant

It's that time, folks!  Today's the day we get to show you the pieces we've been working on for the second installment of the Beading Back in Time Blog Hop Challenge - the Early Human Edition.  I went into this planning to do something with a rustic, primitive feel to it.  I really wanted to make something inspired by the hand print paintings found in caves, like this:

Hand print cave paintings.

Something about them really speaks to me.  I think it's the connection with a real live, breathing human who placed his or her hand against the cool stone and blew pigment over it to leave these stencil prints so very long ago.

I wanted to knot hand outlines and then surround them with random free form macrame in a wide cuff, but when my first experiment with knotting a hand print turned out looking like an alien hand, I decided to rethink that strategy.

Macrame hand print.

I still think there's potential for this concept, but it is going to take a lot more tweaking and I ran out of time.  (Making a mental note to come back to this at a later date.)  Then I thought I could adapt the idea a bit and make a sort of freeform necklace with handprint charms. I spent days researching until I found the perfect charms.  I liked these because they would hang right-side-up in my design and I thought the spiral had a sort of cave painting vibe.

Hand print charms.

And then that project didn't happen, either.  By this time I'm a week away from the reveal and I have nothing to show.  Luckily I had done some other shopping.  I had some components on the back burner and this piece from Star Spirit Studio really appealed to me.  It has the handprint and a horse drawing that would look good on any cave wall, and absolutely gorgeous colors, too.

Raku pendant by Star Spirit Studios.

So my piece is not really primitive and rustic.  It's for the refined cave woman with more discriminating tastes.  This cave woman isn't living in some nasty dark and dirty cave. Her cave is located on some nice lakefront property with a sweet view (and a cleaning lady who comes in twice a week).  While the others are out hunting and gathering, she's having a nice soak at the natural hot springs.  She might even find time between the hot stone massage and picking up her fur dresses at the cleaners for a mud facial.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:  Caveman Chic

Micro macrame necklace knotted by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

That's it for me!  I hope you will take a minute and see what everyone else dreamed up:

Lindsay Starr, Phantasm Creations
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame <--You are here
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jean A. Wells
 Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Michelle McCarthy, Firefly Design Studio


April 27, 2015

Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar: My Loot


The Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar held this past weekend in Denver was fantastic!  Rack after rack of every size, color and shape of seed bead imaginable, followed by table after table of gemstones and glass, on top of booth after booth of artist pieces.  What's not to love?  Here are some of my favorite buys:


The brass pieces of Judie Mountain and her partner Wayne Robbins' glass make Mountain Robbins a must see.  I couldn't resist these pieces with a primitive cave art vibe.


 Sue Laupp of Star Spirit Studio has long been a favorite of mine.  She had some new pieces - little hand carved birds and a house that I could not pass up.  And the new teal-ish color she's working with (like the leaf at the top) had me at "teal" :)

I found a few seed beads I thought would go with the raku I favor and some metal end pieces (for earrings, I think?) that I want to use for bracelet ends.  Oh, and some snapping jump rings I want to try in place of jump rings in my micro macrame:




I found some other great raku pieces including these from Urban Raku I think will be perfect - the bars on the sides should be just right for anchoring macrame cords.


These larger necklace focal pieces are from Beady Eyed Women.  She had some great beading kits, too, but these jumped into my "cart":


Last but certainly not least, I picked up a couple of finished bracelets from The Bead Parlor because even if I thought I had the patience to do something like this, I don't think that I would ever get around to it.  So much better to let a professional do it for me!


They also had some classes I thought looked like fun.  Next year, I'm going to have to sign up for one!  Who's going to meet me there?



April 22, 2015

Another Knotting Hint

My students weren't the only ones learning something during my micro macrame classes last weekend; I got some insight on the problems new knotters experience.  We worked almost exclusively on the  double half hitch (DHH) knot, and one of the most common issues was the knot ending up on the wrong cord - on the knotting cord instead of the holding cord.  It's not always easy to tell that's happening unless you know what you're looking for, but it is easy to prevent.

Here's the trick:


Hope this is of some help to someone out there!

April 20, 2015

A Learning Experience: Teaching Micro Macrame

Micro macrame Leave bracelets by Sherri Stokey.

Well, I did it, folks!  I finally jumped into the pool (or maybe I was pushed in, I'm not really sure).  I taught my first in-person micro macrame classes this past weekend at a lovely bead store in Hastings, Nebraska - Julie's Xpressions.  To say it's a bead shop is sort of misleading, though.  It's so much more than that!  Co-located in the same building as Julie's bead store is the Calico Cottage (a quilt store), The Plum Nelly (fiber) and Blu J (scrapbooking).  If any of you are passing through Nebraska on I-80 (and a lot of people do!), it's well worth your time to take a little detour south to Hastings (exit 312 - you're welcome!).  If you can't find something in their three floors (yes, three floors!) to inspire your creativity, I'm not sure there's any hope for you.  I could spend a week in there.

Micro macrame bracelet class being taught by Sherri Stokey.

We worked on from my Leaves micro macrame bracelet tutorial (the first photo shows the class samples I sent ahead of time) and I think it went well.  I had a great time and I couldn't have asked for a better group of folks.  They were all very eager to learn to knot.  Just look at the concentration going on here:

Students learning micro macrame.

I should have taken more photos of the shop - notice the spinning wheel and the looms?  I was seriously in love with that place.  As if that wasn't enough, Stephanie and Chris Haussler (Pixybug Designs) took me over to see the 2nd Floor Studio, too.  They have an awesome studio space there with Deborah and Frank Brooks in what used to be the old middle school.  They make some absolutely beautiful pieces in glass (lampwork), precious metal clay and metals.  They also display and sell pieces from some other local artists including batik, mosaic and pottery.  It was a truly inspiring place.

I hope to be teaching more classes in the future (provided I can find places where they'll have me!) so stay tuned for that.  If you can't make it to a class, don't despair!  You can learn how to make micro macrame jewelry by taking my online classes at CraftArtEdu.com.  Or, if you prefer, I also have several tutorials in my Etsy shop and some videos here on my blog.

Leaves bracelet in sage green by Knot Just Macrame.

So, now you have a couple things to add to your to do list: visit the fabulous store in Hastings and learn micro macrame!!