Apr 172015
 

friday findings-hammering wire.JPG

Since I do so much wire wrapping and hammering in my jewelry, I thought I’d give you some of the basics of working with wire.

There are two reasons to hammer wire: to harden it and/or to reshape its cross section.

In the video I show you how to hammer to harden but not reshape and how to harden and reshape. I’ll also give you a tips on areas where you need to be careful.

If you or you family objects to all the noise from hammering one of these Leather Sandbags will dampen the sound quite a bit.  The other tools you will need are a Mini Anvil, a chasing hammer and a nylon hammer.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Hammering Wire video over at YouTube.

Apr 162015
 

You can tell by this week’s dragon that I’ve been thinking about warmer weather. Meet Ciro, whose name means “sun.” I think it works perfectly with his ocean blue colors, seashell charms and bright golden sparkles. Just like a day at the beach. :-)

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #15-Ciro 1.JPG

To get all those lovely crackles the gold leaf is applied to a sheet of polymer clay. The thickness setting on the pasta machine is turned down by one notch and the sheet with the gold is run through, producing crackles that go in one direction.

Then the thickness is turned down another notch and the sheet is run through again, turned 90 degrees. This gives the even, all over crackles.

dragon #15-Ciro 2.JPG

The dragon is from a mold I made of a dragon cameo I sculpted last year. This time I only molded the body and wings. It was so delicate, though, that I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes before trying to unmold it.

dragon #15-Ciro 3.JPG

After crackling the gold leaf on the clay I pressed into it with a rubber stamp to add some detail. It was hard to see the impression until after adding the brown paint, and it’s not as deep or consistent as I’d like.

But I do like those little gems dangling from the corners!

dragon #15-Ciro 4.JPG

What treasures will he be guarding in that little box? I wonder…

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.

Apr 142015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday all!

2015 04 15 woyww crackled gold leaf.JPG

This week’s desk shows  a project I’ve nearly completed, which is the next class for CraftArtEdu. (For a sneak peek, check out the upper left.) Also on the desk I’m once again working on the next dragon for my challenge. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m participating in the Polymer Clay Adventure, which has a new polymer clay class twice a month. Last week’s class was by Laurie Mika teaching how to make gothic mini shrines.

I have absolutely no interest in making any sort of shrine, but did like how she used gold leaf and rubber stamping on clay, plus how she embedded all sorts of doo-dads into her piece. Crackling the leaf on clay is super easy and I love the look.

Check back tomorrow to see my completed dragon #15!

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you wonder why I’m sharing a photo of my desk, it’s this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia’s called What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Apr 132015
 

With wedding season coming up, I thought these pearls and crystals were the perfect thing for some dangly, sparkly special earrings.

bridal-pearl-earrings-still-1

No wedding in your future?  Make them in any colors you like, how about all the colors of the rainbow? Or try a collection of various shades of a single color.

bridal-pearl-earrings-still-2

As I mention in the video, this design is quite simple to customize to any taste. Just add more or less chain dangles and make them longer or shorter to suit.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Bridal Pearls & Crystals Earrings video over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 1 package Swarovski Crystal Bicone Pearl Combo – white
  • 6-10 3mm silver plated round beads
  • 2 silver plated ear wires
  • 2 4mm silver plated jump rings
  • 10 silver plated head pins
  • 11-link-per-inch silver plated chain, approx 7 inches (18 cm)

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Arrange the 3mm silver beads, pearls and crystals into five pairs of groupings of 2-3 beads each. Each grouping will be one bead dangle.
  2. Slide a grouping of beads onto a head pin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert end link of the chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Trim chain to length desired for longest dangle. Count the chain links and make a matching dangle for the second earring.
  4. Repeats steps 2-3 to make five pairs of chain dangles.
  5. Open a 4mm jump ring and slide on end links of one set of five chain dangles and the loop of an ear wire. Close jump ring securely. Repeat to finish second earring.
Apr 102015
 

friday findings Q&A #1

Happy Friday, all! Today I have for you the second of our question and answer videos.

I’m so glad that you all aren’t shy about asking specific questions in the comments on my videos, and I try to address them all.

The questions in this video are about how to choose various findings.

  • which necklace stringing material is best to use
  • how to use flat back beads (cabochons) or broken half beads
  • how to choose headpins that work best and aren’t difficult to use
  • which crimps to use
  • which jump rings are best

I hope you find the answers helpful!

Enjoy the video and happy creating. :-)

You can watch the Friday Findings-Questions & Answers #2 over at YouTube.

Apr 092015
 

This week’s dragon has an oriental flavor. Meet Wen, who is faithfully guarding this little pagoda.

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

dragon #14-Wen 1.JPG

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

No, I didn’t make the pagoda, but got it in the aquarium section  of the pet store!

dragon #14-Wen 2.JPG

I just love his silvery flowing mane, beard & mustache.

I made his eyes over a year ago (and shared a bit of the process here) and am thrilled with how they look. Don’t think I’m going to go back to plain black beads anytime soon.

dragon #14-Wen 3.JPG

He’s got Swarovski crystals along his back. These are flat back hot fix so they get glued on with the heat of the oven. (A nifty trick I learned from Christi Friesen.)

dragon #14-Wen 4.JPG

The Chinese name Wen means “cultured” or “ornamental” which totally suits him, but I mostly chose the name of a character in Tiger’s Quest.

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.

Apr 072015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 04 08 woyww fern frond wire & pearl necklace (1).JPG

On today’s desk is another wire work project from Abby Hook’s wonderful book, Wire Jewelry Masterclass.

You can also see in the upper left the clay colors I’ve chosen for this week’s dragon. I’m usually further along by this time in the week, starting on the newest dragon over the weekend, but there’s been too much going on. Hopefully I get this one done in time! (Check back on Thursday to see.)

2015 04 08 woyww fern frond wire & pearl necklace (2).JPG

Here’s a close up of the wire work piece. Right now it looks like a tangled mess of wires and beads, but the plan is for it to be an necklace pendant when done. We’ll see!

If you’re wondering why I’m sharing photos of my desk, well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all get together at Julia’s and take a peek at each other’s creative goings on. It’s always fun and often inspiring. Join us if you have a few minutes!

Apr 062015
 

rings & crystals dangle earrings still (2)

These sweet earrings are SO easy to make. All you need to make are 12 wrapped loops and two ear wire inserts. Boom, done!

rings & crystals dangle earrings still (1)

It’s the size and type of rings you choose, plus the colors and finishes of the beads that will make your earrings your unique creation. Picture huge hoops with chunky bead dangles, and you have a completely different look than these dainty twisted wire hoops with delicate faceted crystals.

These would be a lovely gift for a special someone, Mother’s Day perhaps?

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Rings & Crystals Dangle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 10mm metal rings, soldered closed
  • 2 8mm x 6mm facted crystals
  • 10 3mm frosted glass beads
  • 10 head pins
  • 2 decorative head pins
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slide an 8mm x 6mm faceted crystal bead onto a decorative head pin.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and insert a 10mm metal ring. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers or crimping pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Slide a 3mm frosted glass bead onto a headpin. Repeat step 2 to wire wrap this unit onto same 10mm metal ring as 8mm x 6mm faceted crystal. Repeat to add a total of 5 3mm frosted glass beads to metal ring.
  4. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of an ear wire. Slide metal ring into ear wire, having 3 frosted glass beads on one side and two on the other side of faceted crystal.
  5. Close ear wire loop securely. Repeat all steps to make second earring.
Apr 032015
 

friday findings-polymer clay inspiration.JPG

In today’s video I share several of my favorite resources for learning polymer clay techniques. Whether you’d like to sculpt or cane, make jewelry or mixed media pieces, there’s something for you.

Here are links to the books I mention in the video, in no particular order:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Polymer Clay Inspiration video over at YouTube.

Apr 022015
 

It’s hard to believe it, but we are now one quarter of the way through 2015, and I am one quarter of the way through my 2015 weekly dragon challenge with 13 completed polymer clay dragons.

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

dragon #13 Lila 1.JPG

This week we meet Lila. She’s another bracelet dragon, but a rather unusual one this time.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #13 Lila 2.JPG

The bracelet base consists of teardrop shaped tiles. First the tiles were baked, then Lila then formed across them.

dragon #13 Lila 3.JPG

Then each tile had to be cut apart. Yes, this looks like major surgery, but I assure you Lila felt no pain. ;-)

dragon #13 Lila 4.JPG

Here’s a look at the back so you can see how the tiles look all by themselves.  I think this type of bracelet would look great with some faux stone tiles or perhaps with some vines and flowers running across them. In fact, I’m thinking of making this a class some time in the future.

dragon #13 Lila 5.JPG

And here is how it looks being worn. It’s a bit bulky, but actually quite comfortable.

dragon #13 Lila 6.JPG

I love making my dragons with a mischievous gleam in their eyes. You have to wonder just what they’re up to. :-D

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.