Saturday, December 24, 2011

Have a Safe & Merry Holiday

Christmas lights in the city

Every morning I have been greeted in the subway by a man playing Christmas tunes on a trumpet in order to raise funds for Salvation Army and when I emerge onto the streets I see these twinkling lights. I hope you have holiday filled with joy and peace.

A second view of city lights

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Next Button

Do you follow blogs via an RSS reader?  It is a great aggregator but it is not always the best way to view posts.  You miss the side lists: on this blog my flickr stream, on other blogs links to the most recent posts of blogs the writer is following, contact information, other links of interest such as etsy, and direct access to comments.  Of course, you also miss the ads, which I am really good at tuning out.

Instead of reading posts in my RSS feed, I make use of the Next button my tool bar.

When I click on the Next button my browser takes me to the next unread post on the blogger's web page.  Not only am I able to see all the additional goodies I also have easy access to comments.  Even better, my visit is counted in the blogger's statistics. 

To set up a next button from your Google Reader, choose the options gear in the upper right hand corner of your Google Reader and Select Reader Settings.

Once on the Options page, choose the Goodies Tab. 

In this tab you will find the Next Button that you can drag to the tool bar on your browser.

This is a great way to view your favorite blogs.

Have a wonderful holiday. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bead Storage

I have a lot of beads, and a lot of those are seed beads- Delicas, Charlottes, Czech and Japanese. 

My previous storage method- spice racks just wasn’t working anymore.  The spice racks were great for hanks of Czech beads.  They are, however, heavy and large when you have 150+ jars.

A spice rack full of Czech seed beads

I will always believe glass containers are the best as they are more transparent than plastic.  Plastic baggies were not an answer.  I really dislike the plastic tubes many of my beads are sold in so those were ruled out. 

I thought I found the answer in 4 dram glass vials.  These are a generous size for 10 grams of Delicas.  You can get these at bargain prices on e-bay if you wait for an auction.  The glass vials did not work out because the tops came loose when the plastic storage boxes they were stored in were moved.  Not every top came loose, it was always just 1 and not the same top every time nor every time I moved the storage box.  Nonetheless, it was clear this was not going to work out. 
Storage New and Newest
This left two choices: a more expensive glass jar or plastic.  Since money is almost always a consideration I chose plastic. 

More choices followed.  I considered those tic-tac style boxes because you can store them on their side and it makes viewing the colors easy.  However, I read that the tops are not always tight and that is why I gave up on the vials.  As I sometimes travel with my beads I did not want “stacking” jars.  Each container had to have a lid.  I opted for Darice Bead Storage Jars labeled as Clear “EZ” View with Screw Top Lids.  I bought sets of larger jars measuring 47 mm (2 inch) high for my Czech beads and 21 mm high jars for my Delicas.  The 21 mm jar holds about 10 grams of Delicas. 
Lots of Czech Beads
More Czech Beads
They are not as nice as my spice jars, but they are smaller and lighter.  The lids are not well finished.  Nonetheless, I expect the lids to stay on.  I am much happier with these than the tubes the beads came in. All of my seed beads will soon be stored in like containers allowing me to assess my options as I begin a project. 
This is one of the things that has been keeping me busy, moving beads from one jar to another like a mad scientist.

One final note, I create labels for inside each container with Bead Style (e.g. Delica) Color Name, Size, Source, Identifying Number (if applicable) and cost. 
Just another photo of the same Czech Beads

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How Do You Do It?

I have no idea of how all of those successful jewelry makers and bloggers manage to do it all.

I have a full time job, no children or significant other to take care of, and I just can't seem to find the time I need to organize which would free up time to create.

Week days are filled with the tasks of daily living and a full time job + commute time.  

Weekends are spent taking care of all the things I don't have time for during the week.

One of my weekend tasks is a visit to the delightful West Side Market. The market is a short train ride from my home and I try to visit every Saturday.  This indoor market features small vendors selling a plethora of good food. I buy my poultry from vendors who purchase from the local Amish population which makes me feel better about my main source of meat.  I buy all of my fresh produce at the same market. When I want bread, other than Einstein Brothers Bagels, I buy from one of the local bakers at the market.  What a great resource the market is.  This weekend, for $27.00 I got: a small Italian loaf of bread, 4 apples, 5 oranges, 2 types of onions, 3 red peppers, 1 banana pepper, 1 head of garlic, 3 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 4 links of sausage, ohhh, and from the spice vendor an ounce of fennel seed and an ounce of cayenne pepper for some Christmas baking.  I am well blessed to have such a resource, even if it means I have to make an additional trip to a regular super market for canned goods, milk, and some packaged food.

I am still getting organized.  For every step forward I take one step backwards. I did a little bit of beading and now there just isn't a clear space to work.

Actually, it only looks bad it would just be a matter of minutes to re-organize the mess to make work room.  The problem is I would just be moving the mess from one space to another to be cleaned up later.  Here is my bead storage- this includes display, packaging, photo storage as well as beads, findings, and a few other things bead related.

In addition to all of the above, I am trying to find time to scan boxes and boxes of documents so I can get rid of boxes and boxes of paper and cut down significantly on my storage needs.  I am also copying a box full of floppy discs to my computer.  Somehow I neglected to do that years ago and now I am have to make up for lost time.  

So how do you fit in work, commuting, exercise, cooking, laundry, cleaning, shopping, organizing, reading (a big downfall for me) and still find time to create, photograph, and blog?