Printing Tips

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Links and stuff

Rachel at One Pretty Thing keeps finding the best of the best links. Really truly. Like miniature caramel and chocolate apples. We got apples and caramels and we are using cut down skewers  instead of lollipop sticks. (My Homespun Threads- includes a printable bag topper)
Or Edible eyeball eggs which just thrill me on so many levels. (A Bit of This and A Bit of That blog)
And this free pattern for a bat is so cute it's just irresistible. (Whosies)

Speaking of bat patterns, I have one here for this crocheted bat. Works up super fast and also works well in thread. My son has a tiny thread bat on his keyring.

We are planning to make dry ice ice cream this weekend, and possibly frozen hot cocoa using the same method.

Still working on a collection of shortbread recipes that will be available as an e-book in the next couple of weeks. My family is starting to get sick of shortbread I think.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Candy Corn Striped Cupcake Box

Using the stripe from the candy corn treat box and the cupcake box template, I made this cupcake box for you.

Click on the images for the full size 100 ppi versions.

About glitter-
Not really related to the boxes, but does anyone else have glitter issues with their husbands? Glitter is a craft transmitted disease you know. No matter how careful you are, some wanders. I'm not always careful. Our home has an ambient glitter level, and all of us have a sparkle of glitter somewhere on ourselves. Last year I told my 18 yo son he had glitter on his face. He shrugged, indicated the living room with a wave of the hand. Like "I'm supposed to avoid sparkling in this house?". Some of my husband's co-workers assume he's going to a local strip club regularly since he's always got a sparkle somewhere on him. The stuff just endures. We vacuum, I try to get it all up. But there it is. The sparkle of glitter. We are the Glitterati. Marked by E's and my love for the stuff. We use it on fairy wands, I stencil with it, I use it in resin. I'm half magpie and can't resist the sparkle. So when Andrea of The Paper Purse suggested using glitter on  the paper snails I passed on the suggestion to my poor suffering but very sparkly husband. He says I don't need enabling in my glitter addiction, but did ask if we of the Glitterati had a secret handshake. I said "Yes. We wave hands with glitter dust on them so the glitter shimmers, and some always comes off to mark the spot we met in."

Practicing hand sewing

I haven't sewn anything but beaded things or joining things that are knitted or crocheted in a long time. So last night I decided to make up some things with a remnant of fabric I got while my daughter was picking up rems for her dolls.
There are a lot of great instructions for backstitching on the net. I like these because it's a quick guide to a lot of types of stitches.
I backed the motifs I cut out of the fabric with felt, and for the pin I reinforced the spot I put the pin on the back with buttons. Because sometimes a knot will just pull right through felt, instead of knotting it then pulling the needle and thread through the felt, I put the needle and thread through the button, felt, button, around the safety pin then back down through another hole in the button,felt, and the button that would wind up on the inside, then knotted the tail to the working thread with a tight surgeon's knot. Proceeded to sew the pin on securely using the holes in the buttons, and tied it with a couple of half hitches, then did a small running stitch up to the edge to sew the edges together. Sewed it about 3/4s of the way around, stuffed, finish stitching it.

I like how rough they look. I'm planning to make more pins this way. The hair slides I made for my daughter.They are just motifs stitched to felt, then stitched into place on bobby pins.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Duct Tape Shield

My son needed a shield to go with his Captain America teeshirt to turn a teeshirt and a pair of jeans into a very casual costume. We planned on getting him one from Hot Topic but they were sold out. So his sister and I talked and decided we could do something with duct tape.
We got rolls of duct tape and went through the boxes we've saved for such things to find ones big enough that we could make it. It turned out the largest base we could make using one box was about 27 inches in diameter using two half circles taped together.
We talked and decided that doing duct tape appliques was probably beyond both our skills. But we are both fair hands with covering things in duct tape, so we planned it out that way. This is what the shield is supposed to look like.
So after consideration, we decided the easiest way was in 4 shapes. The large round red base, a ring in white, a round piece covered with blue and the star.
So we started cutting up and assembling boxes into the necessary pieces. The ring because of box size limitations had to be done in 4 sections, so we used a pencil and a piece of yarn to mark the initial quarter ring and then used that very carefully to make the other 3. Butted the ends and taped it together.

The first part we covered the back first using a roll of black duct tape we had and going across the length, turning, and going across until we had the whole thing covered. Then we flipped it over and did the red the same way turning the ends of the tape over to the back side of the shield.
Then we taped up the ring using short strips and wrapping them around one at a time until the whole thing was covered. We covered the blue circle the same way we did the big red circle. Then taped up the star.
After we got all the pieces covered, we used double sided duct tape to put everything together, but foam tape would have worked as well. We burnished it down tightly.
The straps are strips of doubled duct tape taped securely in place.
The basic technique will work for any shield I think. You could also do cresty type cut outs or hot glue designs then cover the shield with used aluminum foil and burnish it down to make a fancy decorated metal shield.

William was very happy with his shield. I know my son, 18 or not, he will hang it in his room and display it with pride for years. My dad was absolutely impressed with it.

Paper Snails

I love my vintage craft books. These adorable snails came from a Sunset Kid's Crafts book from 1973. Aren't they cute?
I made some out of scrap paper. The edges from the bat labels I printed the other day on the pretty coffee paper, and one out of a bag from the bead show I was at last Saturday.

Curling paper is easy, it's similar to curling ribbons but going too fast can tear the paper. I'll usually use a table edge or my fingernail instead of scissors and hold it down and pull like you do for curling ribbon. I used a glue stick for these.
Cut the strip of paper for the snail. I made my strips between 6 and 8 inches long and about a half inch wide, curl the paper, then curve in the head and glue it, and glue the bottom of the "shell" spiral on top of the part of the head you glued down. Cut out a small antenna shape and fold the base of it up at a 90 degree angle and curl the antenna using your thumbnail and index finger. Glue in place on the head.
Great way to use security envelopes and other scrap paper. I think they are entirely too cute.
I posted an article on doing the loops on eye pins you can find here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Scrapbook Kit

This is my very first digital scrapbook kit. It has in it
5 12x12 papers in jpg format
In png format
3 5x7 polka dotted frames
1 4x6 spiderweb frame
1 12x12 spiderweb frame
3 12x12 scalloped dotted frames
5 journal circles
3 paper effect journal blocks
1 decorated journal block
3 small bat brads - gold, silver black
3 larger bat brads- same colors
3 grosgrain ribbons
1 striped ribbon
3 spiderweb embellishments
3 bat embellishments
All in 300 ppi.

To find out a lot more about digital scrapbooking, check out The Daily Digi

You can download the kit here. Right click and choose save target as. It's in zip format and it's a 28 mb download.

Doll coloring page and Spoonflower

Spoonflower is holding a doll panel contest. They got 77 entries including my design for 2 kokeshi style dolls. One is a blonde, the other is a brunette and a half yard makes up 2 10 inch dolls. A fat quarter makes the blonde doll. If you'd like to see my design and the other designs in the contest you can see them here.Whichever design wins will be put up for sale by Spoonflower.
Because I really love that doll... I did a coloring page that little girls can decorate.As usual, click on the design for the full sized version.

In other news, yesterday I had a plan to make shortbread and read Oscar Wilde. Instead I spent way too many hours working on a digital scrapbooking kit. I don't even do digital scrapbooking.It's Halloween themed, and as soon as I can stand looking at it again, I'll zip it up and upload it for you all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bat Embroidery Patterns

Because everyone seems to like my bats, I went ahead and put my drawings on a single sheet as embroidery patterns. I hope you enjoy them. Click on the image for the full sized version. I'd LOVE to see finished examples!

Please do not use them for graphics unless you get permission from me. They are for craft uses. Stenciling, embroidery, wood burning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Elegant Bat Design Labels and Tags

These are in PDF format at 300 dpi so they print out very nicely. I used a 2 inch circle punch to punch out the circle tags, and then a 1/8 inch hole punch to punch holes to slide a lollipop stick through. But you don't have to use them for lollipops. The lollipops are YummyEarth Organic Vitamin C pops which both my teens love.
My prints are done on TerraCycle's coffee paper which has a nice stained look to it naturally.
You can download the rectangle labels here and the circle tags here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Burnt Cream

When I was young, my favorite restaurant in town was the Renaissance themed Clinkerdaggers. To be completely honest, I wasn't really adventurous with food and would always have a bowl of the beef stew they called Steak Pottage and  always a Burnt Cream for dessert.
It was the theme, the large murals of Renaissance paintings, the fireplace, the pretty serving dishes that looked like pewter. (they weren't, pewter has a really low melt point, but the LOOKED like pewter)
My mom would take me for special lunches there just completely randomly. After a dance class, before art class. Despite being a strong women's libber and hippie, she had very old fashioned ideas about how a young lady should be raised. It was always so nice.
Burnt cream.. wow. Do you remember the first time you had creme brulee? I'm pretty sure no more perfect dessert exists. I'm biased I know, it's all memory for me, plus I love vanilla. The texture of the silky smooth with the crackle of sugar on the top, the richness of the eggs and cream, the unexpected complexity of good vanilla. I love creme brulee. Please don't mess mine up with a lot of things on top or under it, or by mixing pumpkin or chocolate into it. Just plain, if something that good can ever be plain, creme brulee.
Clink's has been closed a long time now. But the same company owns another restaurant locally, and when my husband wants to give me a special treat he takes me there. Where I still order the same thing. Not a beef stew but an artichoke/crab dip that is served with sourdough toast points, and always, the creme brulee. I have places I take the kids for it, and while my son is very adventurous in his food tastes, they always order creme brulee for dessert when go to those place. The picture above shows how much they enjoy it.
In my grandmother's recipe box, I found this treasure.

Burnt Cream
Recipe:from Clinkerdaggers Restaurant Serves: 6

1 Pint whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
granulated sugar for the topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat cream over low heat until bubbles form around edge of pan.
Beat egg yolks and sugar together until thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat cream into egg yolks. Stir in vanilla and pour into 6 (6 oz) custard cups. Place custard cups in baking pan that has about 1/2 inch water in the bottom. Bake until set, about 45 minutes. Remove custard cups from water and refridgerate until chilled. Sprinkle each custard with about 2 tsp. granulated sugar. Place on top rack under broiler and cook until topping is medium brown. Chill before serving.

Remember,this recipe is at LEAST 25 years old. Before you could buy handy torches for 15.00 at any good kitchen wares store. I really recommend using a torch to burn the sugar and form the crusty caramelized sugar top. Also like most recipes from chefs, remember, most good commercial kitchens do NOT use the kind of vanilla you can get at the supermarket. They use a double strength vanilla. So if you are using a regular vanilla, double it.
And if you've never had creme brulee before, you should. Really.

Chocolate Recipe Card Set

There is something about pink and brown together that just suggests chocolate and yumminess. A while back I did a box using the elements in this recipe card set. I saved the elements because I really liked the way they looked together and planned to do something else with them. You can find the box here.
Click on the image for the full sized versions. Print at 100 dpi. One of the cards is a folding card for extra room on a recipe.
I'm going to a bead show today, but when I get home I'm going to type out a very special recipe from my grandma's recipe box with the story behind it.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maple Sugar Shortbread

Fresh homemade shortbread is so easy and so much better than store bought there just is no comparison. Fresh homemade shortbread done with maple sugar instead of white or brown is just amazing. It is more expensive though than store bought or using brown sugar.
Maple sugar shortbread-
2 cups of flour (weighs about 9 ozs) at 1.00 a lb- 57¢
.5 cup maple sugar (weighs about 3 oz)- $3.38
1 cup of butter- assuming 4.00 a lb= $2.00

So an 8 inch round pan of shortbread with maple sugar costs about 5.95 to bake.
Brown sugar would be about 40¢ for a packed half cup, and white sugar would be even less. So it costs half as much to make a batch that way.

But the maple sugar tastes so good.

Maple Sugar Shortbread-
Preheat oven to 375° F
1 cup soft butter (butter, really. Don't use margarine for this)
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (well, I'm sure other types will do, but that's what I have on hand this week)
Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in 1 3/4 cup flour, stir in the last half cup a little at a time to make a soft dough. Pat dough into an ungreased 8 inch cake pan. Prick it with a fork, and score it into 8 pieces with a knife (like cutting up a pizza). Put it in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 and bake for another 20 minutes. Check to see if it's all browned and lovely. While it's still warm, cut along the scores to separate but *don't* take it out of the pan yet. It will crumble. Let it cool as long as anyone will put up with before serving.

It's pretty flexible though. My great grandfather used a similar recipe omitting the sugar, and adding in a cup of cheddar cheese, some red and black pepper and powdered onion and garlic to make savory crackers. You can use this recipe with any kind of wheat flour, or even a mix of wheat and oat flour, you can use brown, white or maple sugar. I don't recommend date. It gets weird in a lot of types of baking. You can make a snickerdoodle like shortbread by mixing in some vanilla or vanilla caviar (the seeds inside a pod, slice pod, scrape inside. Toss empty pod into a container of sugar for coffee and baking)and sprinkling the top lightly with cinnamon.

But I just made plain old shortbread. With maple sugar. Yum yum.

Tiger Print Box

I didn't print an example of this one. If someone does can they send me a picture? As usual, click on the image for the full sized version.

I'm thinking about a note card set or possibly stationary the components I used in this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ideas, links and thoughts

I finally made up an Listmania list of some of my favorite cooking and craft related free books for the Kindle, they are all in public domain and all available on Project Gutenbergas well. Here's my list.

I was reading this weekend, actually I was singing it to my family, looking up favorite songs. I realized, that would make the BEST party game. Go there, find songs, and make little slips of paper with the misheard lyric, the actual lyric, song and artist. Fold slips in half and put them into a bowl and let your guests take turns taking out slips and singing the misheard lyric. Prizes for the people who guess the most right songs and artists, and for the people who perform the best so the songs are recognized.
*singing to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody* Scare a Moose, Scare a Moose, Will you do the fan tango?
Dr. Kiki used to do a podcast called Food Science that was one of our favorites. We would hook up the iPod to the tv and watch it together. The episode with nitrogen frozen ice cream was one of E's favorites. We've made ice cream using the two canister method before, and I actually do have an ice cream maker. But I think next time we are going to try this dry ice method. It looks like a lot of fun. Dry ice can also be used to carbonate soft drinks using this method. We usually use yeast. It does create a slight alcohol  content in the beverage, but not enough to worry about.

Also Spoonflower is selling people's designs if they wish now, which means I can make some of my patterns there available for sale if there is any interest. You can see the designs here. I have them in vector format so I can resize and recolor fairly easily. What do you think?

Stir, Laugh, Repeat

I really think that comfort cooking is going to be the next big thing. People will still love their gourmet seasonings and all their foodie toys, but there will also be a resurgence in familiar favorites, the sort of foods that your grandmother or mother might have made for family and company.
That's what this cookbook is. Classic homestyle recipes that have stood the test of time. The author wants you to play with them, to find what works for you and your family. Some of the recipes in here I have my own versions of already, but a lot of them, I don't. The recipes are easy and there are a lot of tips for making your time in the kitchen quicker and easier.
Unlike a lot of my cookbooks, this one actually has lots of recipes I can see becoming a part of our regular menu. My husband is patient enough with my experiments in hummus, tofu and white bean chilis and that sort of thing but he really prefers American classic home cooking.
Monkey Bread was one of my mom's standbys, and it was nice to see it in here. My daughter will enjoy making that. My son will love the mushroom bread, and my husband is looking forward to me trying the chicken fried steak recipe because I've never made that for him before.
You can find recipes and more about the cookbook at the author's blog Stir, Laugh, Repeat

Monday, October 12, 2009

Eyeball Gift Box

This is one of those fussy to cut type boxes that it's really important to score all folds before cutting, and folding it  before gluing it. But if you do all that, it makes a fairly decent sized creepy trinket box.

I hope you like it! As usual, click on the image for the full sized version, print at 100 dpi on card stock.
Double sided tape or a tape runner sort of thing works well to put these together. I think a glossy clear spray would look nice on it as well to seal the ink and make it all a bit shiny.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hippie inspired embroidery patterns and book review

Thank you IzoraLee for the rec of The Illustrated Hassle-Free Make Your Own Clothes Book by Joan Wiener Bordow and Sharon Rosenberg. It's been re-released and was available in Kindle format, so I went ahead and got it that way because it sounded so good from your description.

Love it so much. I added it to my Amazon wishlist so I can have the dead tree version in my collection.
It's a sewing guide for creating your patterns for making clothes, it was first published back in 1971 and written very much from a hippie point of view. The clothes are mostly dart free, free fitting things. Comfortable clothes for people who want to express themselves and don't wear bras. The language is fantastic. I can't stop smiling because it's almost like talking to my mom and her friends to read it. The clothes are great, and the authors make it clear it can all be done by hand if you don't have a sewing machine. It almost inspires me to sew some skirts for myself by hand. Almost. Machines do make everything quicker.
Instructions for pants, dresses, skirts all illustrated by hand. If you like zine type illustrations, you'll love these. If you like sewing and you are more ThreadBanger than Vogue, you'll love this book.
One of my favorite things about this book is the emphasis on mending, repairing and modifying existing clothes. We do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, and I try to keep my clothes going as long as possible with patches and mending. They recommend doing bits of embroidery to patch large rips and tears, and that idea is just great.
I'm absolutely charmed and inspired, and it really is book I want to have a hard copy of to use a reference for myself and my daughter who is absolutely anti-pattern in her projects.
So.. I drew up some embroidery patterns for my readers. I hope you like them. Click on the image for the full page printable version.

The two rows of daisies at the bottom are spaced to be able to use as repeat borders, the top daisy is something that just amused me. Daisies are Fibonacci sequence flowers, which means the number of their petals is equal to a Fibonacci number. Shasta daisies which are the most common up here in Alaska have 21 petals. Regular field daisies have 34 (so try to find a Shasta to do He loves me, he loves me not!). So the daisy on top, I used a bunch of Fibonacci numbers on. Fibonacci sequences are adding the two previous numbers to make the next, so 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89. So the center French knots are Fibonacci sequence numbers. You don't have to the knots that way, you can scatter them. I just drew it that way because it amused me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vintage Craft Books

I have a weakness for vintage craft books. I can never resist them when I'm at thrift stores. I have a book on how to re-use L'eggs eggs, and they don't come in eggs anymore. Mostly I focus on needlework and jewelry making books, but if it looks likely enough I'm not at all choosy really. I also like magazines. I've been slowly archiving patterns from my 1940s-50s crochet/knitting magazines.
From my most recent thrift store finds:

Inventive Jewelry Making by Ramona Solberg , pub 1972. The description for this picture says Angel pendant of inedible baker's clay by Vernon Koenig, in collection of Mrs. Spencer Mosley.
Lucky Mrs. Mosley, because I love this angel so much. She just looks so happy doesn't she? I really want to do something like this, but maybe in soft sculpture and bright colors.
The whole book is wonderful, there are some great projects and I'll be adapting some of them for projects on the bead site.

Woman Alive- Crafts for Fun and Profit - pub 1973
You look at this picture and think Ren faire right? Well, I had to post it because the blurb made me smile.
having opted out of the "rat-race", many hippies manage to gain a small income by making and selling objects such as bead necklaces or the soft toys shown here.
Okay.. THAT'S what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a hippie making a small income by selling bead necklaces. Esp. if I can have that dress. Really truly.
Recently I found a whole bunch of Workbasket magazines from the 70s. A box of about 125 issues for 15.00 at our local ASPCA thrift store. The September 1977 issue had 3 great projects to reuse plastic and since crafting green and upcycling are just wonderful, here they are.
First is this ad for Pack-o-fun magazine which suggests using plastic bottles to make a tote bag. Easily enough done, but I'm thinking milk jug plastic and soda pop bottle plastic crocheted together like the beer can hats would be awesome. Pre-punching pieces of plastic for little kids to sew together using yarn with a tape needle would work well too.

 Idea #2- Using a piece of plastic from a bottle to shape a coiled snake with. The snake in the article was sewn from bias cut fabric, but the idea would also work for an amigurumi snake, or even if you cut a spiral from a 20 ounce soda bottle working around the whole bottle as the center of a fun bright springy bracelet.

Idea #3- This one uses yogurt containers to make an herb planter. Love the idea. I also love the idea next to it to make a carry tray using plywood, handles and holes drilled partway through the wood in a sunburst pattern that can be fitted with dowels to hold a cake or something securely in place. Very clever.
Happiness is stacks and stacks of books. And I'm absolutely blissful.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kindles marked down

Kindles marked down to 259.00, yes, it's an affiliate link, and you get one I'll make a little bit of extra cash, but I love my Kindle so much. There are a bunch of pretty good free books available that are pretty new, plus most classics are completely free. I have a bunch of WW1 cookbooks, great pieces of literature I love like Sherlock Holmes on mine. Pretty much if it's available in the public domain, it's available in Kindle format which is a lot easier than reading off a computer screen.
*hearts her Kindle*
Really. When my head hurts, I can switch the size of the font to read. I have a clip on book light to read it in bed. I can read trashy novels and nobody knows!
I use mine a lot. I probably read at least 2 hours a day. The battery time when it's charged and not online lasts a very long time. I've finished 2 or 3 books without needing to re-charge it. Even in Alaska without any kind of consistent 3g coverage, downloads take minutes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good Witch, Bad Witch - A Wicked little box

I'm thinking about making a door sign that can be turned out that says "The Witch Is" at the top with a wire hanger and the two witches on this box on either side of a card on a string that can be turned with "Wicked" under one, and "Nice" under the other.
Anyway, I couldn't resist recoloring the witch again and doing this pair of cuties. I hope you like the box! Print at 100 DPI. Click on the image for the full sized version.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Witch Coloring Page

It's the witch I used for the box in the last post. I decided to make it available as a coloring page. Usual terms apply. Which means you can use it for embroidery, wood burning, any craft application. You can even print it out and color it with crayons!
Click on the image for the full sized version.

More coloring pages I drew including a cute bat available here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Halloween Treat Boxes

Usually I try to put up sets that match if I'm putting up more than one. But I really like this little witch so I decided just to post all 3 of these boxes at one time.
I hope you like them! Finished size is 4 inches tall, 2.75 inches wide, and 1 inch deep.
Since the template resembles a popcorn box, I thought a candy corn box would be appropriate to the season, one says Candy Corn in one of the Komika family of fonts, and the other is left blank so you can fill it in.
Print at 100 dpi on cardstock, click the images for the full sized versions.

Here are the best flickr groups that cater vintage photography for your inspiration.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Origami! Pink and Blue

Last Sunday while I was out with my family we stopped at a cafe for some of their locally legendary vegan cupcakes. Unfortunately, they are too popular and there was only one left when we got there which we all agreed E should have since she is the one who truly loves cupcakes. The cafe is pretty close to our biggest locally owned bookstore, Title Wave which has both new and used books. I found an origami book, The World of Origami by Isao Honda. It's been out of print for a while, so I was thrilled to have it.
So, back to today's project. Two of my favorite origami models are also pretty traditional. Lucky stars and my absolute favorite, masu boxes.
You can find wonderful instructions for lucky stars here and instructions for folding masu boxes here. The first link also offers a nice selection of paper, including glow in the dark lucky star paper! No affliation, but I wanted to point that out. Because glow in the dark is just very cool.
I created matching paper for stars and masu boxes. The box paper is in two slightly different sizes, the larger makes the top.  Because the plain side of the paper doesn't show on the stars or the boxes, you can re-use paper for this project. Click on the images for the full sized versions, print at 100 dpi on plain paper.

When I fold masu boxes out of regular origami paper, I make nested sets out of the same size paper just changing where I put the second set of folds. It's sort of like doodling for me, when I want to make something but I'm not sure what to make, I fold nested sets of masu boxes. The simplicity of the design appeals to me. No cuts, no glue. Just a nice little square box folded out of a square of paper.
EDIT: I completely forgot to mention. I posted instructions for doing beaded daisy chains. You can find those here.