Sunday, May 26, 2013

Links Update and RSS Reader Reviews


As it is a long weekend, and I have just started a new project and do not have any photos, I thought it would be a good time to update my second page, which is all of my links.  The second page is available via the tab right under the Blog Title, named:  All My Blog Links.  New links are under a heading called New Links – amazing how organized I am.  In case you did not notice, I follow a lot of blogs.  Today I am adding another 36 to the list. 

This blog post is has two subheadings, both are worth reading.

RSS Reader Reviews 

First, if you are not interested in RSS Readers, skip to Links Update for a few call outs on the new links.

I am able to follow a lot of blogs because I make use of an RSS Reader.  I have used Google Reader, but when it was announced Google Reader was being discontinued, I scrambled for a new reader. 

I tried Blog Lovin' and I did not love it.  It is not awful, but it just did not work for me.  I also did not like that I ended up getting e-mail from them.

I next tried NewsBlur.   I gave up on that fast because they wanted money from me without even giving me a free trial. That may have changed given the passage of time since Google announced the end of Google Reader.  However, even if they had given me a free trial I would have had to pay since at that time I had 331 feeds and their basic policy is to charge for more than 64 feeds.  

I signed up for The Old Reader, which is like Google Reader. The one thing I did not like about it is that it has no android app. This is really not a problem for the jewelry and design blogs I follow because I do not even try to read those on my android, but you might.  I stuck with The Old Reader for a few weeks, but every time I scrolled down to see what was in the queue it marked all my items as read; that was unhelpful.  It also seemed out of date and difficult to edit my feeds.

I tried Feedly, and the load from Google reader was easy, but... I did not like the way the list (title) function worked. More importantly it did not pick up all of my unread posts, not when I filtered under "today" because I had unread blog posts which were older than today; neither did it pick up all my unread posts when I set the filter to "latest."  I think the problem is how far back Feedly looks or perhaps it could be with the number of blogs in my feed. Feedly just seemed to miss too many posts.  Your mileage may vary.

I have opted for NetVibes. It is pretty.  I am able to view the entire post in the reader itself.   It handles the list well.  One of my pet peeves is that there is no alphabetize function.  I also really dislike the edit function for my feeds.  On the other hand, it picks up unread more than a day old.  It is free.  Importing from Google Reader was easy.  I may make my reader a public page; it might be interesting.

I generally embrace change, but the loss of Google Reader has presented challenges.

Links of Special Merit

I follow each and every blog on the list.  I look at, even if I do not read, every post.  They are all unique, beautiful, and return value to me in exchange for my time.  Thus, I feel bad not calling out each and every one of them.  However, not everyone can page though as many blogs as I can so I am going to point out a few that you might want to take a peek at.

First is a Polish blog named Izziland.  Beautiful woven seed bead jewelry.  This blog won my heart right away.

Next up, is Artefactum.  This is a Russian blog.  If you need inspiration this is the place to go.  I do not embroider, or at least I have not embroidered with beads for many years.  Nonetheless, the colors and composition are stunning. 

Bead Lady: The Impossible is Often the Untried is another Russian blog and if you are not following her work you are missing some spectacular bead work. 

Since I am on a Russian kick, I might as well include Chikineva, and GB Dreams – absolutely stunning.  The Russian beaders do such complex work. 

Cherish Designs is not a seed beader.  Which only goes to prove I am an all inclusive gawker.  Cherish Designs was also the grand prize winner of Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party.  If you follow her you will see why.  Her work is quite original.

My Life In Knots – you have to follow this blog if for no other reason than it is such a great name.  If you like micro macramé then add this to you list.  Unfortunately, it has not been updated since February.  Maybe she will be back.

Laura Bracken is just an overall great blog.  She recently published a post about how to get published as well as a post about photographing earrings.  How could you leave this off of your list.

Because I cannot resist I have three new wire weaving blogs,:  Shakitpaj Designs and Blue Almonds.  See also Wired Elements which is really just a link page and not a blog.

Nancy L. Hamilton falls outside of the normal blog fare in that she mostly offers video tutorials on metal work.  

Final Word

These posts always take hours- they require a lot of editing.  I maintain the second page of this blog so I have a record but also because I think each and every one of them deserves at least a look.  If you like to see what everyone else is up to and need a quick way to page through a lot of blogs I highly recommend you adopt an RSS News Reader. 

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain

I finished my necklace and wanted to take a picture before I left town... of course it was raining, and my light is through north facing windows.

Here is the finished piece on a pillow:
Blue Eyes on my pillow... yes it sounds like a country ballad
And here is a different, but similar view:
Blue Eyes again
 Blue Eyes has 54 beads and is 96 inches long!

That being said, it turns out I am just not very productive after I get home during the week.

I only added one more beaded bead, an Empress Bead- I still love this pattern:
Blue and White Empress Bead
The caps that I picked up in Philadelphia were the perfect fit for the Empress Bead.

And I had additional Blue Eye Beads, which I wired together with other beads to make compound links:
Compound beaded links from wired components

What the heck do you call these?  Beads? Links? Compound Beads?  Any suggestions?

When I put this necklace together, I created 4 piles:
1) Beaded Beads
2) Simple Compound Beads
3) Blue Eye Compound Beads
4) Blue Eye Capped Beads (from last week)
I then created a randomly generated list using those numbers and that is how I put together the necklace.

I will be home this week, after 8 weeks away for training.  I have 5 tutorials!  I was a very lucky winner of a contest by Callie of The Peregrine Beader and won three, yes 3, tutorials.  I can't wait to start a new project.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blue Eyes

The name of the necklace I am working on is: Blue Eyes.  The name is based on these inspirational beads:

Inspiration: A gift from my mom from her trip to Greece
I almost named the necklace Athena because the beads originated in Greece.  Even though Athena is prettier, blue eyes just seemed to fit better.

The beads my mother brought me back from Greece had some silver colored spacers between them.  I used those, plus some spacers and put them together with wire wrapped loops to make larger beads.

Inspiration beads with caps

This is going to be a LONG necklace to wrap around my neck multiple times.  I have created these simple link beads from my stash:

Simple compound beads with wire wrapped loops

As you must have realized by now, I am passionate about bead weaving.  I created these not so simple compound beads from beaded beads, caps, and wire wrapped loops:

Not so simple compound beads with wire wrapped loops
Here are all of the components so far:

Blue eyes components so far.
I have that handful of uncapped blue eye beads in the first picture to do something with.  I will likely make a few more beaded beads.  Then, I will likely curse a blue streak as I try to figure out once again how to photograph a long necklace.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Learning Curve

Some things take practice.

3 Strand Weave
The above was my attempt to make something for Nicole Hanna's Finish It contest which I blogged about last week.

I was successful in a 2 strand weave:
2 strand weave

I love wire weaving, but the three strand weave was beyond my current abilities.  I think part of the problem was the length.  I need to start smaller.  In addition, when I did the two strand weave I did not have 28 gauge wire so I used 26 which is just a bit bigger and stiffer and maybe just a bit more stable in my unpracticed hands.

Nonetheless, it was fun.  Now I need to find something that is more achievable.  I will keep trying. 

What are you working on that is testing your abilities?