Friday, February 27, 2015

Five for Friday - What do you need to make a beaded medical bracelet attachment?

Welcome to my world!  I'm going to show you what I use to make beaded medical bracelet attachments. 

1.  Beads - You can't make anything beaded without beads! ;)  Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming.  I try to limit myself to one color scheme at a time.  Usually, I choose certain colors I want to work with for a few days.  I set those apart from all of my other beads.  Often I use no more than three colors in one piece, but not always.  I do find that when I limit myself in some way the creative juices flow more freely.

2.  Tools - Let's look at each one individually.

Crimp pliers have two little sections.  Squeeze the crimp bead one way, then squeeze it the other way.  Squeeze it so that the crimp bead is secure, but be careful.  If you squeeze too hard the crimp bead will break.  Ask me how I know. ;)

Flat-nose pliers are only necessary if you choose to use crimp covers to hide the crimp beads.

Cutters cut so that very little of the wire (if any) shows in the final product.

A bead reamer is a handy little tool!  Sometimes you will come across holes in beads that are not large enough for the bead wire or stretchy cord.  Sometimes you will find that the hole does not go all the way through the bead.  Bead reamer to the rescue!  Just (carefully) put the bead reamer through the hole that you want to enlarge and twist it a little.  It takes just a second or two to do this.  Brush off any debris that might be left behind and your bead is ready to be used!  The debris should be minimal.

3.  Findings -  These are the small pieces that make your medical bracelet attachment complete.  They tie everything together. 

Lobster claw clasps will make your medical bracelet attachment easily interchangeable.  They give you the freedom to wear the attachment of your choice on different occasions.  You'll need one for each end of your medical bracelet attachment.

Crimp beads secure the clasps and keeps the beads together.  Basically, they keep your medical bracelet attachment from falling apart!  You'll need one for each end of your attachment.

Crimp covers are optional.  It all depends on the look you're trying to achieve.  They cover the crimp beads and gives them a more rounded look.  You'll need one for each crimp bead.

Crimp bead (upper left), crimp cover (bottom), and lobster claw clasp (right)

A bead stopper comes in useful after you've secured one end of your medical bracelet attachment and cut the other end off the spool of stringing material.  If you secure one end of the attachment before securing that final clasp and use the bead stopper on the other end you can put it around your wrist or measure it to see if it's the length you want.  Then, you can easily remove the bead stopper and either adjust the number of beads or secure your bracelet attachment with the second clasp.

4.  Stringing material - There are two options I prefer.

Bead stringing wire - My preference is .012 inches (0.30 mm).  It's flexible and easy to work with, but strong. 

Stretchy cord - My preference is .5mm (019 mm).  Again, it's flexible and easy to work with, but strong.

5.  Bead Palette - This is a lot like a painter's palette.  It's a place for you to put your beads into different compartments so you can mix and match them before stringing them.  It's also a place where you can measure your medical bracelet attachment before putting it all together.  Just be sure you're using the outer part of the ruler, as it's usually more accurate than the inner part.

Have you made jewelry before?  Is there anything else you find useful that's not on this list?  If you haven't already, are you ready to get started?  What else would you like to know? :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday - My Home

Ten years ago this week I went to settlement on my condo and a few days later I moved in.  In fact, my move in date was today!  It was a snowy week, much like this past weekend. I remember being grateful for the snow days off from work because I needed the extra time to pack. It's not perfect, as nothing ever is, but I enjoy living here just as much as I did ten years ago. Nothing much has changed and that's the way I like it!

Here are some views from my home.  I am grateful for all of this!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - To Inspire Creativity, Set Limits

So often we're encouraged not to limit ourselves.  For a long time I was a firm believer in going beyond our perceived limits, and to some extent I still am.  I believe anything is possible if we allow it to be.  However, I  have come to realize that setting limits can inspire creativity.

I have lived with limits all my life.  We all do in one way or another.  I believe my limits have helped me grow.  I was born with spina bifida, and as a result I walk with crutches.  I have been doing yoga for three years.  My limits have helped me discover new ways of doing some of the traditional yoga poses and this is very rewarding to me.

Setting limits also inspires my creativity when it comes to beading.  When I start making new pieces I first decide which colors I want to use.  Usually it's based on the time of year.  I set out only those beads so I'm not overwhelmed by the others. 

I have a container where I put beads that only have a few of their kind left - not enough to make a complete piece.  I recently decided to work with only those beads for a few days.  Here are some of the medical bracelet attachments I made using only those beads:

How does setting limits inspire creativity for you?  Share your thoughts below!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday's Musings - Trust Yourself

"Trusting in yourself, not what you accomplish, is the key to success." -Deepak Chopra

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five for Friday - Five Alternatives to Soda

In August of 2013 I wrote a blog post about how and why I cut back on soda.  You can find that here.  I did have a few sodas after that, but it's now been almost one year since I've had any.  The strategies I used then are still relevant today.  Here my five favorite alternatives to soda in no specific order:

1.  Homemade Smoothies - While certainly not calorie-free, homemade smoothies are healthy and filling.  They also satisfy my sweet tooth.  Click here for one recipe.

2.  Homemade Lemonade - Add two teaspoons of sugar and fresh lemon juice to ice cold water and you have lemonade. 

3.  Homemade Unsweetened Iced Tea - Brew your own pitcher of tea.  I used to love sweet tea almost as much as soda.  I can no longer stand the taste of sweet tea!

4.  Filtered and Flavored Tap Water - Lemon and limes are my favorite!  For a refreshing taste I also enjoy cucumber slices in my water.

5.  Ice Cold Plain Filtered Tap Water - This is actually my favorite substitute for soda.

What are your strategies for cutting back on soda?  Do you have a favorite substitute?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Above and Beyond

Monday afternoon I made a sale and I wanted to get the package in the mail before the snow piled up. I always drop off my packages at a nearby store since it's closer than the post office.

I called the store to ask if someone could meet me out front just in case I couldn't find a close parking space. (Crowds flock to the store when snow is in the forecast...and the store where I was dropping off my package is in the same shopping center as the grocery store.) I paid for postage online, so all I had to do was drop it off.  Without hesitation they said, "Yes, of course!"

Well, it turns out I didn't need them to come out and meet me. I guess everyone had already stocked up on milk, bread, and toilet paper (bath tissue as the grocery store calls it) because I easily found a close parking space. I carefully walked into the store. It had already started to snow and it was sticking, but my crutches and I managed. Just to be safe, going back to my car I asked one of the employees if he would walk out with me and he did.

The employees at this store have always been good to me, but today they went above and beyond to assist me!  I am grateful for them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - How to Determine Your Medical Bracelet Attachment Size

When you purchase a medical bracelet online it can be difficult to know what is the best length for you.  Here is a guide that will help you determine which length you need.

Determining Your Total Bracelet Size
1.  Using a tape measure, measure your wrist where you would normally wear a bracelet.  If you don't have a tape measure that easily wraps around your wrist you could wrap a string around your wrist and measure the length of the string.  This is your wrist size.
2.  Depending on how snug or loose you would like your bracelet, add about ¼ to 1¼ inches to your wrist size.  This is your total bracelet size.

Determining Your Medical Bracelet Attachment Size:
1.  Measure the length of your medical id tag.
2.  Subtract the length of your medical id tag from your total bracelet size (directions above) .  This is the approximate size of the medical bracelet attachment you will need.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday's Musing - Conditioning Circumstances

“To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy... is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them.” - Ralph Waldo Trine

Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday - Five Ways to Gain Clarity

Mental Clutter hinders creativity, but it's only human for this to happen sometimes.  Here are some tried and true ways I manage to gain clarity and clear the clutter in my head.  There is no one formula for this and what works one day may not work the next day.  Also, what works for one person may not work for someone else.  It's important to have your own personal "bag of tricks" so that when your brain is on overload you can choose one that may help.  The last thing you want to do when your mind is cluttered is to stress yourself out trying to figure out how to clear that clutter!

1.  Meditate - There are so many ways to do this.  Find a method that works for you.  Even just five minutes a day has proven to help me, but if you can spend more time doing this that's even better.  Those who feel they don't have time to meditate can probably benefit from it the most.

2.  Listen to your body - If you're hungry, eat.  If you're tired, sleep.  Being hungry or tired makes everything seem worse.  If you work full time it may not be possible to take naps during the day, but even if you can just close your eyes and rest for a few minutes it might help.  A 20 minute nap usually helps me.  A nap longer than 20 minutes usually has the opposite effect on me.  I set my alarm, but I almost always wake up just before the alarm goes off.  When you wake up, get up.  It's tough for me at first, but once I'm up I feel so much better.

3.  Exercise - This is the opposite of resting, but I feel it's important to have a good balance between the two.  Exercise on a regular basis, but during those moments when your mind is especially cluttered exercise a little more.  Just keep moving for about 15 minutes.  Take a walk, play with your cat, ride a bike (stationary or otherwise), dance, do yoga...whatever keeps you moving.  You could even do something productive like clean or tidy up.

4.  Phone a friend - Sometimes talking about it helps.  It's a way to process everything that's going on in my head.  Sometimes I just need to vent and sometimes I'm looking for a different perspective on things.  Talk to someone who will simply listen to you or who will give you unbiased advice if that's what you're looking for.

5.  Write it down -   Writing for myself doesn't do much for me, but writing for an audience does.  When I write it's usually for the purpose of sharing my thoughts or getting a different perspective on things.  For many people, though, keeping a personal diary that no one else see helps.  Write the way that works for you!

Let's share some more ideas!  How to you declutter your mind?   

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Sharing my Experience

Thankful Thursday is all about focusing on what I already have rather than on what I want.  For just over a year I have been writing down daily gratitude statements.  Now, every Thursday I will share some of them here with you.

Truly, there isn't anything for which I'm not grateful.  Even seemingly bad moments shape who we are, so I try to have a grateful heart for those times as well.  However, choosing one to elaborate on is even more powerful.  It helps me dig deeper and understand why I'm grateful for it.  Understanding why I'm grateful for something helps me create more opportunities for feeling gratitude.  Just like we have the power to create happiness, I believe that with awareness we have the power to great our own opportunities for gratitude.

What are you grateful for?  As I share my weekly gratitude statements here, I invite you to share yours as well.

Today I'm grateful for being given the opportunity to share my yoga experience with other another state at that!  I often gain inspiration from learning about what others have experienced, so I was glad I had the chance to give back in this way.  I encourage all of you to tell your story.  You never know who you may be helping.   

Let's discuss this over a cup of tea!  This is my favorite mug from which I drink tea most nights in the fall and winter.