The Easy Friday List, July 20

This is my weekly list (posted every Friday) of items that have made my life easier in some measurable way these last seven days. Maybe they can make your life easier too. Friday should be easy.

HSN: Shyeah, the Home Shopping Network. They very nicely managed to get my new computer here within a record-setting three business days. I didn’t have to pay extra shipping, either. To top it off, I even get to pay for the thing in four monthly installments, interest free. How cool izzat?

The Computer: We all knew the new computer would make the list this week. I really hate being obvious, but I put it here anyway; sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. The new computer is truly wondrous. It’s an HP P7-1235, if you’re looking for a new computer. I highly recommend it.

Derwent Inktense Water Soluble Pencils: I found these at Micheal’s recently and, after reading about them on an art review blog, decided to snap them up with a 40% off coupon. Even so, they were quite expensive and I wondered if I made a huge mistake. So I tried them out on an idea I’ve been brewing for a bit.

Bird painting on muslin by Janet Millsapps at fig+fence.

This is the under-painting for the bird embroidery on unbleached muslin. The scenery will be left alone.

I am completely in love with these pencils.

Bird painting on muslin by Janet Millsapps at fig+fence.

A picture of my work area (a.k.a the plastic folding table in the living room) just before I cleaned the area up. The original picture is on the left.

I  printed the original picture from a photography site I pinned two weeks ago.(Here’s the original blog post by Christopher Campbell. He has some amazing shots on his site. This one called to me – it’s a gorgeous shot.)

I’ve already started embroidering the bird.

The bird embroidery project by Janet Millsapps at fig+fence.

Here’s a shot of the Inktense pencils on my current workstation, the footstool in the living room, with embroidery supplies. The bird is partially embroidered at this point.

I’m so in love with these colors. Also note: M&Ms are important when embroidering as shown in the picture above. There are 8 M&Ms in the mostly empty baggie. Alas.

M&Ms: I need more M&Ms. Candy-covered chocolate makes everything easier!

Green Support Gloves: You can see one of them in the picture above. I have tendonitis in my right wrist, and these gloves have saved me some pain. Well, the gloves help – I also take regular breaks, squeeze and roll a stress ball, and have a heating pad handy. I was skeptical at first, but I do think that these gloves let me work longer.

The Curse of the Crafty

Just because you could doesn’t mean you should.

I’m good with my hands. I’m creative. I like to make stuff. In short, I’m crafty.

I’m not bragging about it. To many people, it may appear that I am; to those people, these may seem like fine qualities to possess. Oh, being crafty does have benefits. But mostly, it’s a curse.

When you are crafty and see something you like in your particular area of craftiness expertise, it’s almost impossible to buy it outright. Oh no. You have to analyze it, dissect it, measure it, poke it, prod it, draw it, list it, expand upon it, and attempt to duplicate it (plus your expansions) yourself.

I’ll explain: let’s take dress shopping. For the past few years, it has been the the Year of the Dress. Dresses are everywhere. Dresses are cheap. Dresses are expensive. Dresses are at every price point in between. You can’t be fashionable unless you have a few dresses in your wardrobe. Half of the female clothing department is now devoted to dresses. I love dresses. When I enter a clothing store, I intend to buy a dress. Do I leave the store with a dress? No. I leave the store with plans to make a dress based on the dresses I’ve just seen in the store.

This is why I don’t own a dress.

Here I am dressless because I can’t just buy a freaking dress. I have to make it myself because I can do better. I can do it exactly the way I want. The problem: I can never find the right pattern. I can never find the right fabric in the store. I can never find time to do it. I could make the pattern myself. And I could design the fabric myself. But there’s the problem with time again. I am dressless because I am cursed with sewing craftiness.

I am also cursed with jewelry-making craftiness.

Last year, HSN had this wonderfully amazing necklace in the Rarities with Carol Brodie line. The day I saw it, I thought it was too expensive; I think it was around a hundred dollars. It was a delicate sterling rosary-style 40” faceted AAA-grade labradorite necklace. I thought, I can make that myself. (If you are crafty, you are laughing right now at that thought. I know.)

And I can make that necklace. I’m in the middle of doing so. Here it is.

Labradorite rosary-style necklace at fig+fence

Pretty. I love labradorite.

My labradorite is B-grade, non-faceted, because I couldn’t find better. My wire is base metal because the price of sterling is crazy right now. I don’t really have a problem with lesser materials. It’s the time that bugging me. I completed 18” in about 4 hours. I have about 22” – 27” to go before I’m finished. Roughly, I have 6 more hours of work to go before I finish the necklace.

When I invest 10+ hours in a project, I don’t want to cheap out on materials. From a practical standpoint, 10+ hours of my time is expensive. The materials should reflect that, because labor costs alone will drive the price up. I’m not selling this necklace on Etsy or anything – I never had any plans for that. Still. My time is precious.

A hundred bucks for the HSN necklace seems pretty cheap right now. On the bright side, I’m getting really good and fast at making rosary-style jewelry.

And, shyeah, I realize that I could have made a few dresses in the time it’s taking me to make this one necklace.

Cursed, I tell you.