November 21, 2017

What I Did On My Summer-Not Summer Vacation

Okay, okay, I'll admit I haven't been the greatest about blogging lately.  Those of you who remember writing letters will remember the dilemma - I feel like I should write but I don't have anything really exciting to write about.  It's not that I'm not doing anything - I am!  I swear!  Proof:

Aren't those elephant buttons cool?  I'm on an elephant kick lately - even got one for my bedroom:

But I digress.  Besides the elephant bracelets (which are listed in my shop btw, if you're looking for a special gift for someone) and a stray dragon bracelet (also listed),  I've done several other "projects" like painting my not-niece's (not technically my niece, but she seems like one!) new (old) house.  Actually, my poor husband ended up doing most of the work since he runs the paint sprayer, but I was there every step of the way for emotional support and menial chores like keeping the paint bucket filled.  

 I also did random things like baking pine cones:

Which led to my oven conking out on me.  Well, it actually did the opposite of conking out (conking on?) because the bottom element came on full blast and would not shut off.  I had to kill the breaker to get it to stop.  It had nothing to do with the pine cones, really, other than they were what was in there (smoking!) at the time the thing went haywire.  For those of you just dying to know why I was baking pine cones, we wanted to put them on my daughter's Christmas tree and I'd read that you should soak them in a vinegar solution and then bake them on low for a bit to kill any critters that might have been living in them before you brought them indoors.  Anyway, I'm getting new appliances one at a time as the old ones die off, so I can't complain.

So, the tree!

Isn't it gorgeous!?!  We wanted a fuzzy, furry look and searched high and low for some sort of ribbon or garland and came up empty-handed.  After a lot of shopping, we found a table runner:

We pulled out the stitching and took the backing off, then measured off strips:

And cut it up to make the furry garland you see on the tree.  We're pretty proud of ourselves for that one.  It's exactly the soft look we were going for.  The pine cones got a coat of white paint and some "snow" on them to add to the white, lush look.  It's hard to see in the photo, but the "topper" is a mask that looks like it should be worn to the fanciest masquerade ball with glitter and crystal and feathers and draping ribbon.  Such a pretty tree.

So see, I have been busy!  And you know what else I did?  I got another class converted to a tutorial! 

The Drunkard's Path micro macrame bracelet tutorial has over 50 step by step photos and very clear instructions for all skill levels.  It helps if you have a knowledge of the basic macrame knots (like a double half hitch) but no worries if you don't.  There are videos here on my blog to show you how to do it!  

If this bracelet isn't the one that makes your heart beat a little quicker, you're still not out of luck.  There are fifteen other micro macrame tutorials to choose from!  Or heck, just go buy yourself something pretty that won't require any effort on your part.  You know you want to.  

October 23, 2017

Another Micro Macrame Tutorial & A Quick Update

Boy, oh boy, have I been lazy about blogging lately or what!?  I swear I have less time now than when I was working full time and I can't for the life of me figure out how that works!  I haven't been idle, though.  I did manage to get another of my designs previously only offered as an online class converted to a .pdf download.  It's the Woven Diamonds micro macrame bracelet and it's one of my favorites.  I love the contrast of the textured (knotted) diamond sections with the smooth arcs of beads.  

The bracelet can be made using a focal bead or without it - both versions are covered in the tutorial, which you can find here in my Etsy shop.  

Isn't this a fun piece?  I finally got around to making this skeleton bride pendant into a necklace.  I made the pendant last year using ShrinkyDinks plastic and colored pencils and I just love how she turned out.  To make a necklace, I added some knotted macrame straps with a cool spiral pattern, pulling out the green and blue colors with a hint of black.  Then I put just a pop of red where I connected the straps with the pendant.  A couple of jump rings and a clasp and voila!

If you aren't into skulls, I have been working on some other autumn themed pieces like these pretty leaf bracelets:

That's not all I've been doing, either!  I am working on a tutorial that The Beadsmith will be distributing, which should be out soon!  Now if I could just find time to get everything listed, I'd be on a roll! 

October 7, 2017

Music to My Eyes Blog Hop: My Playful Pachyderm

A few of my best beady buddies decided to do a blog hop with the theme of "your favorite song".  I love the inspiration of a hop so I signed up, but when I tried to decide what my favorite song is, I hit a wall.  Apparently, I don't really have a favorite song.  It's more like a favorite song of the moment, depending on my mood and the situation. Mostly I like songs that make me feel happy and the song I chose is a perfect example of that.  Baby Elephant Walk:

Okay, so I realize this is probably not a typical choice for a favorite song, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and never fails to bring a smile to my face (I mean, seriously, what kind of monster doesn't love baby elephants?) so that's my final answer.  For today, anyway.  

Baby Elephant Walk was written by Henry Mancini for the film Hatari.  I remember seeing the movie on television at my grandparents' house when I was a little kid and it takes me back to a kinder, gentler time.  I had such a good childhood.  My mom was always the best (she used to surprise me with little things like a new nightgown she made for me or a bag full of "groceries" for my play kitchen) and my grandparents were exactly what grandparents should be.  They also got cable television (hey, it's a big deal if you live outside of town and only get two channels, and that's if the weather is good and the rabbit ears are in the perfect position).  I remember watching Daktari at their house, too, probably around the same time.  Oh, and Born Free!  I'm not sure why these shows all appealed so much to my young self, but they sure did.  And The Baby Elephant Walk just seems to sum all that up perfectly.

One of my favorite lampwork artists, Mary Bush of Honey Bear Beads, recently made the perfect bead for a piece inspired by my chosen song - it's an elephant!  She added some floral accents to the bead so I pulled those colors in the micro macrame knotting.  I played around for a long time trying to frame out the bead without overpowering it.  I made three different versions of the petal pattern at the bottom before deciding on this overlapping one in raspberry with yellow gold accents.  I think it achieves a sort of exotic vibe.  Once I had that nailed down, I just repeated that motif at the top and added a coordinating knotwork strap with beads and Bob's your uncle! 

Since the elephant can turn within the circle, you can even catch a glimpse of his adorable little elephant tail.

This project was a lot of fun for me as I tried to step out of my comfort zone and I can't wait to see what the other participants made.  Here are their links - I hope you'll join me:

Sherri Hartman Stokey - that's me!

September 18, 2017

Don't You Love It When a Plan Comes Together?

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?  Even if there's a little detour along the way?  It all started when the folks over at The Beadsmith sent me some new GemDuo beads to try.  They're little diamond shapes with two holes and are "backlit".  The ones they sent me were in a color called "tequila" (how appropriate is that LOL).  I don't even have words to explain this backlit business to you, but the color on these beads is practically a living thing.  It changes a lot depending on the light and the angle and is nearly impossible to photograph.  And it is soooooooo pretty!

I was all excited to try them out so I strung together this little section of them with S-lon bead cord (.5mm) intending to make them the centerpiece of a necklace with straps playing off the diamond shape.  Unfortunately, I did this part in the evening.  The next morning when I picked it up to finish it, I decided it wasn't just the light playing tricks on me and one of my beads was the wrong color!  

I have no idea how this could have happened - I swear I only have one bag of these beads and that oddball blue one should not be there.  But there he is in all his beautiful blueness, just hangin' out and doin' his own thang.  While I admire his attitude, it just won't work for my purposes.  I decided to scrap the whole necklace design, but I really liked the way the beads fit together, so I went back to the drawing board but kept that part in mind.  Oh, and I made a new rule:  no beading with really shiny, color-changing beads at night.  Those little buggers demand full sunlight.

I ended up with a diamond shape in the center of my bracelet with a row of the beads running through the length of it.  I think it adds just the right amount of interest.

The beads are the same in both of those bracelets, and don't they look different?  

I had a lot of fun with these beads, I have to admit.  I tried to come up with a design that really lets them be front and center and show off.  

September 10, 2017

Leafy Cuff in Micro Macrame Tutorial

My Leafy Cuff in micro macrame design is now available as a downloadable .pdf tutorial in my Etsy shop.  This one is a little bit more advanced than some of my other designs, but is still achievable for knotters who are comfortable with a basic double half hitch knot.  It's not that this one is difficult, it just has a lot more cords to keep track of.

I've worked this one up in several different colors now and I don't think I've found one I didn't like!

It's just really pretty!  Even the closure is elegant:

This tutorial is 20 pages and includes over 65 photographs and detailed step-by-step instructions and you can find it here.  Not sure if you're ready for this one yet?  There are 13 other micro macrame tutorials available to choose from starting at the absolute beginner level and you'll find them all here.  What are you waiting for?

August 23, 2017

Another Micro Macrame Tutorial Available!

Yay!  I have a new tutorial available in my Etsy shop:  Falling Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet Tutorial.  This one looks like a chain of colorful leaves wrapping around your wrist and I've included instructions for the version in this photo as well as the solid color version and the two color (no stripes) one shown here:

This design had been previously available only as an online class but now you can get it in the instant download .pdf version.  I'm still working on converting the rest of my classes and trying to get them listed as I go, but let's face it:  I have the attention span of a toddler.  I get bored in a nanosecond.  I look for ways to get out of work (and I'm good at it!).  

I did have a good excuse this week, though.  Our house was in the path of totality for the eclipse!  How lucky is that!?  We could walk right out on our deck and watch the whole thing unfold with no crowds and no traffic.  Bliss. 

And there I go again... off track.  :)  

Anyway, the Falling Leaves tut is available now and I'm working on the Leafy Cuff tutorial which should be finished and listed in a day or two so stay tuned and Happy Knotting!

August 5, 2017


Change is inevitable, I guess, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  CraftArtEdu is closing.  As of this posting, they've already stopped selling classes.  Not to worry, though, the folks there aren't leaving you hanging if you have already purchased classes.  Your classes will still be available to you (all the details are here).  I have really enjoyed working with Donna and Vernon and the gang and I'm going to miss them all.  

Several of my favorite designs have been available only as online classes through CraftArtEdu.  I will be working on converting them to tutorials and listing them in my Etsy shop, but it's going to be a process.  The CraftArtEdu platform allowed me to use voice-over narration as well as video in my classes which I really liked.  With Etsy I will have to rely on only the still photos and written instructions.  Good thing I take lots and lots of photos!

The first class I tackled as the Micro Macrame Wrap Bracelet.  I love this one!  I designed it as a fun way to learn five different macrame knots and the bonus is that you end up with a bracelet!  The instructions are written for someone who hasn't ever done macrame before with over 70 pictures and 19 pages in the tutorial.  I also have videos on the blog (here) in case you need a little more help on any of the knots.  The new downloadable tutorial is available in my Etsy shop ( here:  Micro Macrame Wrap Bracelet.

To make it easier for beginners who don't want to have to shop around for the right materials or for people who just like to have coordinating beads and cord all picked out for them, I do offer materials kits to go along with the Micro Macrame Wrap Bracelet Tutorial.  There is a whole section of them here.  I have twenty different kits listed right now with a nice variety of colors.  There are even a couple of the peacock kits to make this bracelet:

I have a thing for handmade ceramic Kazuri beads, so you'll also find a lot of the kits that feature them:

And the only thing better than that (in my humble opinion) is a kit with Kazuri beads AND elephants:

Did you see that elephant clasp?  How cute is that!?  And just to prove to you that I can work with some warmer colors:

Working with CraftArtEdu was a very positive experience for me and I learned a lot working with the professionals there.  I will miss it greatly but if there's one thing I've figured out it's that you never know what life has in store for you around the next corner.  Whatever it is, I'll see you there!

July 25, 2017

Another Garage Sale Rooster

I honestly thought when I found Frooster the Fruit Rooster at a garage sale it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing.  It was such a standout experience, I even wrote a post about it:  Frooster the Fruit Rooster.  Frooster's one sexy chicken and he's not afraid to flaunt it:

There's a new sheriff in town now, though.  Meet Banty Beau:

If there are any chicken experts out there reading my posts, I'll apologize now if my use of "banty" is technically incorrect, but this little guy seems full of attitude.  He's sporting some pretty sweet boots:

And an awesome feather tail:

I saw him and had to have him.  You just don't find treasures like this all the time, you know.  You have to go to a lot of garage sales to find stuff this good.

I tried to get him to sit down and jaw a bit (old western roosters don't visit, they jaw if you can get them talking), but he wasn't in the mood.  I'm going to have to introduce him to Frooster.  Maybe that would loosen him up a bit.

Besides the fact that I bought another chicken at a garage sale (one that's wearing glittery cowboy boots), you know what's really funny?  When I wrote the Frooster post, I added a label for "garage sale chickens".  Seriously, in-the-past me?  We were anticipating a string of garage sale chicken purchases?  Sometimes I even worry myself.  

Carry on.

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