Craft Tools That Will Change Your Life: The Bead Reamer

Welcome to our first installment of “Craft Tools That Will Change Your Life.” Will there be a second installment? I can’t promise anything.

This stabby little marvel is called a bead reamer and, despite its giggle-inducing name, is one of the handiest pieces of equipment that you can add to your crafting arsenal. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT A BEADER.

Wait. What? It’s ok. I’ll get to that.

The sad fact of crafting is that into every crafter’s life, a few bad beads will fall. Sometimes it’s more than a few beads. Sometimes it’s the whole @*&$-ing package.

You know what I mean – the cheap wooden beads with too-small or weirdly shaped or non-existent holes. Try as you might, you just can’t. get. the. string. through.

So, after a bit of a struggle and some colourful language, the offending bead goes into the reject cup or, worse, gets tossed behind the couch or into a nearby houseplant. What’s a girl to do?

Say hello to the bead reamer (giggle), your affordable answer to wonky bead holes!

Just look at the difference it made in these (cheap) wooden beads! On the left are the beads straight out of the package; the same beads, freshly-reamed, are on the right.

Want beads like the ones on the right? It couldn’t be simpler.

  1. Stick the pointy end into the hole of the janky bead.
  2. Twist, gently working the bead up the shank (giggle), if necessary.
  3. Repeat on the other side of the hole.
  4. Enjoy your perfectly usable bead.

20190116_110358.jpgSee all those teeny scratches in the metal? They’re just abrasive enough to file rough edges, get rid of bead boogers and open the bead hole, without causing any damage.

Starting a project with wonky beads? Take a few minutes to mindlessly ream all your beads (sorry, not sorry) and your crafting will go a LOT faster, I promise.

I picked my bead reamer up at Michael’s for under $10. ($9.99 less 40% – remember to use those coupons, kids!) So far, it has saved me at least 10 times that in rejected/discarded beads and general frustration.

Also important to note: In my experience, this particular reamer works only on wood and clay beads; but, to be honest, I’ve only had trouble with those two materials. If you have metal or glass beads with too-small holes, buy finer string or wire.

I kid! There actually are reamers made for glass and gemstone beads. They’re a bit fancier, with much thinner shanks and (I kid you not) a diamond-dust coating that has to be used wet. I am nowhere near that hardcore.

Other uses for the bead reamer? I’m glad you asked.

It’s a sharp, pointy stick, so there’s that. You can use it for poking holes in things, obviously, but it’s also super-handy for positioning little bits of stuff, placing stickers and, of course, self-defense. I’ll update this list as I remember more…


Ready, Set, Boo!

Halloween is just around the corner and I have three new projects to help you get ready for spookin’ season. Each one is super-easy and super-affordable, thanks to some homemade craft products and dollar store supplies.

Click the links below for full instructions and remember to tag #smallcraftwarning in your crafty posts on social media!

Project: Halloween Votive Holders
Even the littlest ones can help with these easy, colourful votive holders, made with homemade Podge (recipe included.) Light ’em up with flameless tealight candles for a safe and happy halloween!

Project: Spooky Ghosts
Don’t worry – these are friendly ghosts! And, thanks to a little homemade fabric stiffener (recipe included), they don’t come with a scary price tag.

Project: Scary Soap
Make this and quietly leave it beside the sink…


As Seen on TV – Upcycled Jewelry Display

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk about upcycling on CTV Morning Live. I took a few projects with me, but this one has received the most attention. Made from a kitchen drawer and a handful of salvaged hardware, it’s an awesome project, perfect for beginners or anyone with a desire to turn trash into treasure!

Click here to learn how to make it: Upcycled Jewelry Display

Who said anything about a prince?

This year’s contribution to the MAWA “Over the Top” auction is quite possibly my favourite. Of course, I say that every year.

Some years I go with a political message, some years I am inspired by an inspirational quote – this year, I went with straight-up cheekiness. I think it suits me.

The original collage will be auctioned off at MAWA. If you want to get your hands on it, make plans to be at the auction on March 18. Full details are here.

After the auction, I will have limited-edition prints for sale, right here and via my Instagram page. How limited? There are only nine up for grabs! Message me for details.



Nevertheless, She Persisted


I’m beginning to lose track of how many of these gals I have made for the annual MAWA “Over the Top” cupcake party and art auction. 6? 8? 10?

This is my 2017 contribution – “Nevertheless, She Persisted”

To give you a little background on the quote – or a refresher if you’ve forgotten the story – it comes from a debate in the US Senate in February of 2017. Senator Elizabeth Warren was speaking against Jeff Sessions’ confirmation to Attorney General and, as part of her speech, read a letter written by Coretta Scott King in 1986 that denounced Sessions (who at the time was nominated to federal court judge.)

Senator Warren was interrupted several times and was told to take her seat, preventing her from finishing. Later, Senate Majority Leader (and all-around fun guy), Mitch McConnell said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Naturally, feminists and Warren’s supporters turned McConnell’s butthurt words into a rallying cry/hashtag and I just had to use them for this piece (which, incidentally, I created on International Women’s Day!) Suck it, McConnell.


The original sold at the MAWA auction, but I have a few limited-edition framed prints available for $35/each. Contact me to order!


Can I hold that photo for you?

Or business card or concert ticket or…?

photo holders cardFor as long as I have been crafty, I have been moderately obsessed with Mod Podge. I’ve used it for full sized pieces, like chairs and cabinets, all the way down to my signature Domino Pins. Be warned: if it stands still long enough, I will stick paper to it.

My latest project: fun wire photo holders with Mod Podge’d wooden bases. They’re easy, inexpensive and, most of all, cute AF.

Click here for full instructions, or contact me for a custom order.

Canola Harvest Camp Craft 

For the second year in a row, I had the amazingly awesome opportunity to design the craft for the Manitoba Canola Growers’ Harvest Camp.

Each year, 15 “campers” (bloggers, chefs, nutritionists and professional home economists) spend a weekend in September exploring rural Manitoba in search of a greater understanding of where our food comes from, and along the way, they get to meet the people who grow it, raise it and gather it. (I had the privilege of being a camper a few years ago and I can honestly say it was life-changing.)

Last year, the Canola gang contacted me about making a special craft for the campers to create as one of their souvenirs of the weekend. After a little brainstorming, we came up with the idea of a set of charms; each representing the different stops that make up Harvest Camp – everything from a bison farm to a grain elevator. The charms were a big hit last year, so we decided to do it again, with a few tweaks.

To read more about the charms, click here: Canola Harvest Camp Charms – 2017

~ R

Hold my beer!

Last year, I was tasked with designing two coasters for a brand-new brewery here in Winnipeg. We wanted to do something fun and different, with a vintage feel… and pretty much the opposite of the plain old logo on a plain old round coaster.

tbc_coaster1Once I had an idea for the coasters, it was time to dig into my stash and start pulling papers.

This is always a fun part of the design process for me. I pull way more than I need and let the patterns and colours tell me what to do next.

In this case, the yellow, “bubbly” paper really wanted to be beer. And, I couldn’t choose just one, so I ripped it up and layered it until I had a full mug!

To see the two finished coasters, click here: Torque Brewing Co. Coasters