Category Archives: Crafting

Trying To Get Organized?

by Kimberly A. Cook

At the end of each year my friend Carol and I say, “Next year we’re getting organized.” We’ve been saying that for more than thirty years now. I don’t think it’s taken. Not for lack of trying mind you. It comes down to stuff and paper. No matter how I try, eventually one day I’m overwhelmed. Today could be that day.


Spec Ops Cat got a new kitty cave bed last weekend. He loves it. Temporarily put it on the chair. Now it’s permanent. I could use a Kim cave myself.


It’s a constant battle. Stuff I can rotate and control to some degree; I purge clothes and books on a regular basis. Kitchen items and towels are a little harder. But paper really takes the cake.

One of the hazards of being a writer is clipping newspaper articles, hoarding books, keeping travel handouts and collecting office supplies. When you have a Scrat brain, every handout, business card and coupon can spark an idea.

Going digital hasn’t helped. The number of bookmark folders on my Samsung tablet alone are mind boggling. So I keep trying.

Add to the mix my Mom’s recent move and all kinds of interesting stuff ended up in my house to process. Of course, that has forced me to get rid of the leftover garage sale items to Goodwill so Subie can actually open her doors inside the garage.

Now, truth be told, if I hadn’t dragged home the wooden park bench from my Mom’s backyard that needs refinishing, the garage would have been okay. Kinda. But once I sand it, scrub it and paint it pink, it will make a fabulous addition to the fairy rock garden this summer. My name is Kim and I’m a project-aholic.

But paper. Yuck. Almost finished sorting the receipts for taxes. Now that is a land speed record for me to have that done in January. Go me.

But, it’s raining and dark outside. A new box of jewelry goodies I ordered has been open for two weeks and I haven’t been able to play with it yet. Its siren song is calling me across the office. Then I have a bunch of Hallmark holiday movies still clogging my DVR.

Plus those Christmas cookies never got baked and the ingredients are still waiting on the kitchen counter. Playing with jewelry parts, watching a movie and eating fresh baked cookies. Forget the paperwork for today.

I’m sure I’ll need to follow Spec Ops Cat’s lead and take a nap too.

Tomorrow I’m going to get organized! How about you?



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Baubles And Bangles And Hope

by Kimberly A. Cook                   (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last Friday I set off on an adventure to my favorite Bead Show in Portland. Given all that had happened in the nation, I felt odd to be trekking off for a fun afternoon. Rode the MAX light rail line down to the Convention Center; not only is it fast, but the people watching is fabulous. The slogan “Keep Portland Weird” really does apply here.


You can totally see why I pounced on these beads. Magnifique!


Since I was born in Portland, that explains a lot about me too. A quick trip and suddenly I’m in gem heaven. The show comes twice a year and the last time I had sixty minutes tops to shop.

Friday I had time to wander at will. On my fourth booth, jackpot! Found beads I could not live without and snapped them up. The scavengers who had been there at the opening two hours earlier had depleted the pink bead stock, but I still scooped up my pretties.


Only the corner of one booth. Next time I need to take a Sherpa with me.


The show has increased to almost fifty percent rocks and minerals in addition to jewelry. Found some fabulous geode and amethyst specimens to drag home except for the prices, but I could take pictures. Purple really is my color.


Geodes for sale. Just like mine, except for the ones I broke and need to glue back together. 


So with my bag of bead booty, continued on my route to check out every single booth. Collected more must haves along the way to add to my collection. My name is Kim and I’m a bead hoarder. Figure it’s still cheaper than a bass boat!


This REALLY wanted to come home with me, but my bank account said no. Spoil sport.


After three hours of pure joy, it was time to jump back on MAX with the evening commuters and head back to my car. It’s so much fun whizzing by the stuck freeway traffic on MAX and not being the one stuck for a change.


Necklace pendants from Nepal. Maybe next time I need two Sherpas and an 18-wheeler to take home my treasures.


When I got home I checked out my take. Seed bead necklaces from Guatemala, necklace pendants from Nepal, beads from China, silver from Italy, almost amethyst from the fairy caves. I’d seen gemstones from Afghanistan, beads from South Africa, nesting dolls from Russia and the Larimar stones I love from the Caribbean.

It all made me smile. The vendors who attended from up and down the West Coast with their wares all came together to help people like me make pretty things. That once again proves we can do things together for a greater good. Even if we start with one bead.

Sitting on my computer is a business card I was given at Kohls in December 2013. It was part of an ad campaign by the store, but the clerk couldn’t know when she handed it to me how much it would mean. My father had passed away during the night. We were headed home after seeing him for the last time and I stopped to pay my bill. I was exhausted, grief stricken, numb and not too happy to wait in line.

That little card made me remember all the people who had been so kind to us throughout the ordeal. At one of the worst moments in my life I got a business card that said #SHOWKINDNESS.

Seems like a really good place to start to move forward in this country. So simple we can all do it. Some pretty beads might help too. The power of the good Force is strong. Hope lives.

Who’s been kind to you lately? Pass on kindness. You never know what a difference it might make in someone’s day.

P.S. Thank you to all my readers. You make my day.

P.P.S.S. For my fellow beadaholics, the might come to your town. Don’t miss it!

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Can You Say Bead Bonanza?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Returned from a girl’s four day road trip to Las Vegas last Saturday. While my poor little creative brain is still on total sensory overload trying to process everything I saw and experienced, I wanted to share a few pictures of my view of Las Vegas.


Most folks go to Las Vegas to gamble and see shows, but I prefer seeing exhibits, lights and animals. We took in the Elvis Exhibit from Graceland, the M&M’s Store, and the white tigers at The Mirage.


One amazing thing which caught my eye was above my head in the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Having a bead addiction, I about lost it when I spotted this chandelier. These three pictures don’t do it justice, but I had a wonderful time getting closer to try and determine the crystal and bead patterns with my zoom lens.


With so many things to see, hear and experience in “Sin City,” you know I found the biggest piece of bling I could find on a ceiling. Now if I can just figure out how to make one of my own. I’m sure Spec Ops Cat would love to play with these beads!

I will share more of my fun Vegas finds with you next week, so stay tuned. Or in my case, what happens in Vegas ends up on WordPress!


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Sorting, Winter Projects And Too Many T-Shirts?

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Spent part of Halloween weekend sorting my clothes closet for trash and treasure. Found some of both. What started this adventure was tight jeans. Some fit, some don’t, so I did the grand jean try-on rodeo. Once that was done, then I sorted shoes, sweaters, workout pants and things snowballed.

Bead treasures to sort. Bring on the rains. Okay, not all the rain in one day.

Bead treasures to sort. Bring on the rains. Okay, not all the rain in one day.

One of the excesses I came across were t-shirts. How many does one person need? Add the fact I only wear them for yard work or gardening and I have way too many. Some oldies but goodies I’ve worn so much they’re rags, so those might become a pillow. Or not.

It was a trip down memory lane looking at the different sayings, symbols and jokes on the shirts. Not parting with the Harley t-shirts. Not yet. I used to buy these shirts travelling, but I’ve moved on to refrigerator magnets and now even those are out of hand. I have to rotate the stock on the frig.

My reward for all of this sorting and cleaning was to escape into my office/craft room and play with my latest bead and yarn purchases. Turns out I hadn’t sorted the last batch of goodies from the July bead show. Finished that since the bead show is here again this month. Bead therapy, that‘s what I call it.

Geode tragedy. Special glue and determination will get me through. And leftover Halloween candy.

Geode tragedy. Special glue and determination will get me through. And leftover Halloween candy.

I also girded myself to assess the casualty from my thunderegg trip. I’d bought my largest geode pair yet at the Richardson Rock Ranch. I fell in love with it.

Unfortunately, I was carrying several bags when unpacking and of the two small bags slipped and hit the floor. The geode missed the carpet and landed on the kitchen floor. Argh! One half broke apart, a tiny ding in the other.

The special rock glue is here now and it’s time to try and figure out this puzzle project. Not today, but this winter. Plenty of time for indoor craft projects now that the dark and stormy nights have arrived.

Got winter projects? Too many t-shirts? Sort away all!

Spec Ops Cat kept trying to find a quiet spot to sleep while IO was sorting, cleaning and vacuuming. The indignity of it all.

Spec Ops Cat kept trying to find a quiet spot to sleep while I was sorting, cleaning and vacuuming. You can tell from his expression he’s not happy about the indignity of it all.


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What’s Sugar Free, Fabulous And Holds Bling?

by Kimberly A. Cook            (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Couple years ago I got serious about losing weight because my fat jeans were strangling me. One of the things I did on “The Belly Fat Cure” by Jorge Cruise was to substitute Truvia natural sweetener for Splenda. Cruise advocates cutting excessive sugar grams and processed carbs in your diet and staying off chemical-based sweeteners.

Truvia container with label. Then naked containers with baubles inside. Like my jewelry tools mug holders?

Truvia container with label. Then naked containers with baubles inside. Like my jewelry tools mug holders? Who remembers the tv show “Northern Exposure?” My kind of crazy!

So 18-months later and 33 pounds lighter, I was accumulating a stockpile of said clear plastic Truvia containers. Since we have to up cycle everything around here, just like in “Portlandia” on tv, I thought they would make great storage holders for the odd-sized beads and things I use to make jewelry.

They work so well! First, I’m buying Truvia all the time anyway which makes the storage containers free to me. Score! They’re wide-mouthed and have a nice snapping lid, but I can also unscrew the top to wash it out and easily clean inside. They are fun to arrange, they stack well and are see-through!

Even spent bullet casings leftover from my Dad’s weapons collection fit inside one; I know I can turn those into jewelry some day. They’re great to take in the car for shell collecting on the beach and also putting screws and nails in for safe-keeping. In life as in recycling, it only takes a different perspective to change ourselves, our career or our sweetener containers into something different, fun and useful.

Perhaps that’s one reason I enjoy watching Flea Market Flip on HGTV so much. I like to see other folk’s visions about re-purposing items and know right away what works for me or not. Sometimes I cringe when I see a piece of furniture I think is perfect the way it is get all gussied up or turned wacko, but everybody’s got their own design style – mine is French country Victorian with lots of books. And beads. And teapots. And shoes.

What’s your design style? Got fun up cycled storage container ideas?

P.S. For those of you keeping track, I am back down under my 5-pound big no no limit after the Easter candy/ham/potatoes/gravy and leftovers week food fest. Lettuce is my friend. One must be ever vigilant!


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