Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Opportunities Knocking: Measuring Up

“When nobody around you seems to measure up, it's time to check your yardstick.”
~ Bill Lemley

I don't know about you, but I have a problem with measurements.

It is not even that I am stuck in ye olde British way of measuring with yardsticks and I am trying to convert myself to that newfangled metric system {I think I am too old of a dog to learn that 'new' trick}, I just have a problem with making my jewelry come out to the length that I think it should be. Long necklaces are too short. Short necklaces are too long.

Bracelets are the trickiest thing for me. I know they should be easy. They are far shorter than a necklace, but I just find them a challenge. I always tend to make them too long or too short. I want to be all Goldilocks with my bracelets. Just right. I try to make them adjustable and that can sometimes work. I guess bracelets are just not my thing. Doesn't mean I don't make them, just that I have to tell people you get what you get. And custom orders....fpppt...I have had to re-do more of them because everyone wears their bracelets at a different comfort level.

But I digress. {Or are you aware of that by now?}

I rely on my steel ruler. I use it to cut lenths of chain and beading wire...to deside how much wire to cut for doing a nice wire wrap on a bead {I find that at least 3x the size of the bead works best for me}...to slap someone touching my beads {No. Not really. But I've thought about it!}

Sometimes when I am at my work table, I lose my steel ruler. And then when I am at my computer writing up the instructions for a publication I am always looking for a ruler. If I decide to move my production to the family room to actually be with the family, I am at a loss without my ruler. When I am out on the road and I take a goodie box to create with, I wish I had my ruler.

One day when I was at Michael's I decided to go up and down all the aisles, not just the jewelry ones. And it was in the sewing aisle that I found just the thing: an adhesive ruler tape used by quilters and seamstresses.

Brilliant! Now I not only can have my ruler in all these places, but it will stay put, it is yellow so I won't 'lose' it, and if I need a new one I can just whip out the roll. I am sorry that I don't have the original packaging anymore, but I found a few like it on the internet by searching for "adhesive ruler".

So that got me thinking about other tools of measurement that might be just the thing for a jewelry designer like me {or you.} Here are a few others that might be worth checking out:

I am not sure how I would use this, but I think it might be fun to try. Maybe I can get the kids involved in the measuring for me! It only goes to one foot, but if you were a blind beader it might be just the thing! {Or maybe I would wish for the days when rulers only made a sound if you slapped your sister hard enough. Not that I ever did that. Not that you can prove.}

According to the product description: "Use these handy, repositionable adhesive measuring strips to perfectly align machine-quilting designs, hand quilting, or embroidery stitches, beadwork (!), papercrafting elements, stencils, faux painting patterns, and more. Removable adhesive is safe to use on fabric and most papers. Package contains (10) 8-1/2" x 11" sheets of 8 peel-off 1" x 11" paper rulers which are marked in 1/4" increments to make measuring easy." Which I guess is handy if you want to measure in 11" increments. But it would work in a pinch.

How cool is this? I stumbled upon this new {to me} tool. {Maybe to you, too?} It has foam around the sides of the tray so your beads don't roll away {which happens to me daily} and your hands are cushioned {which would be welcome relief}. It has measurements built right into the tray, including handy bead diameters. I want one of these. I could see all sorts of mobile applications, like Kiersten, the Cerebral Dilettante beading in her car. My birthday is next month and I wish my husband read any of the blogs I write for, because I am SO hinting at one of these! HINT! {But since he doesn't read my blog - that I know of - I guess I will just have to buy this myself. This and the entire Glee season on DVD and CD! Anyone else with me? Maybe I can use this to design a line of jewelry based on the characters of Glee. Hey...not a bad idea! I just might do that!}

But this? This takes the cake! This pop up EZ Bracelet sizer from Gossamer Wings designs is just what I am looking for.

According to the description on ArtBeads.com: "Have you ever made a bracelet only to find out when it is clasped it doesn't fit? That is because the diameter of the beads affects the final measurement, so it is impossible to measure a flat strand and gauge the final inner diameter. Put an end to the confusion with this bracelet sizer. Simply slide your bracelet over the cone to measure the inside diameter. "
Wait just a gosh darn minute...I have one of these! It is trapped in a box in my garage along with the EZ Necklace sizer since I moved back in December! {And it really does work, too.}

I guess I need to go 'shopping' in my garage more often before I buy another one!

And then I will have no excuse not to make bracelets. Because size really does matter ;-)

Enjoy the day!

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration is Everywhere . Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to enjoytheday@tesoritrovati.com. Check out a gallery of her work at http://www.tesoritrovati.com/ (but don't laugh too hard because she is working on a new website!).


Spirited Earth said...

thanks for these suggestions..i want that bead bed and the bracelet cone..
you've got it right,there are a couple things one cannot have too many of..rulers are certainly up there.

Jeannie said...

Great finds, Great post! Love the bead bed. Thanks Erin.

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

Yellow adhesive tape ruler - I love it!

I even carry a mini-tape measure in my purse. It's no bigger than a pill box. You never know when you'll need to measure up ;-)

Barbara Lewis said...

I love this post. So much good information. I have a suggestion. You might tell me to go jump in the lake, but I'm offering it anyway. I love visit this blog ... always good stuff here ... but I find myself immediately scrolling to the bottom of the post to see who has written it. Sometimes I can tell early on, but a lot of times I can't. Have you considered putting the author's name as a byline to the title of the blog post. You could still do the bio stuff at the bottom. Just a suggestion.

Brandi Hussey said...

Okay, I have to tell you, the EZ Bracelet Sizer is a god-send! I loooove it, and there's no way I can live without anymore. It's by far my favorite tool on this list!

pupton said...

Nice blog Lorelei! I am always losing my ruler too! It would be quite handy to have alternatives that stick too! I am going to have to look for some of these things!

2 Good Claymates said...

I could relate to so much here! Have the same problem with rulers (I find them later under the car seat) and I love the show Glee.

Thanks for the tip on the various rulers. Great ideas.

lunedreams said...

Thanks for the mention Erin! I feel exactly the same about bracelets! I hate to leave any beads out, and they end up being cankle bracelets instead, i.e., chokers. I think I need the cone. And there's just no wiggle room with the fit. That ruler tape is an excellent idea. I myself have been considering a ruler tattoo on the inside of my left arm. I always need a ruler when shopping for beads online ("So how big IS 35mm?").
I think this is the post you were looking for:
I NEED that Bead Bed for the Mobile Studio.

Jannie Funster said...

I've never watched (or heard of) Glee. Too much time on blogging.

That ruler tape is brilliant!

Fun and informative post, Erin!!


Designs by Jenean said...

I have just added the bead bed & ruler adhesive tape to my "must have" list. Thank you for providing this info.

mairedodd said...

i live by my EZ sizers for both necklace and bracelet - they are just too logical! great post...

Monica Pena said...

Saw the EZ bracelet sizer on a website just yesterday, but out of stock! I think it's just what I need and will look around.

Malin de Koning said...

(I thought I had left a comment on this post, but maybe it was one of those times when my iPhone just get slow due to bad connection, and it doesn't get sent. Happens to me every now and then.)

Anyway - what a great post this is! So full of useful information. And a joy to read aswell just generally, with all your thoughts and habits, and lack's of habits ...

Thank you so much Erin!

I want a bead bed. What a great name that is. You DO want your beads to be comfy and all, don't you. They are your little babies after all ...

And the bracelet mandrel I have seen before, and thought it would be a waste of money. "Why would I need that?" kind of. I have changed my mind now.

All my best!

Shai Williams said...

I have one of those Bead Beds and I find that I just don't use it that much. I tend to bead when I am sitting in my recliner and it just isn't stiff enough that it doesn't fit well on the beading lap desk that I purchased. Now if only it wasn't so flexible.