Apr 222014
 

Hello again, Wednesday! I hope you all had a blessed Resurrection Day and are enjoying some nice spring weather (or fall weather, for our friends down under.)

2014 04 23 woyww sewing spring clothes (1)

Today’s desk shows that I’ve been sewing like crazy the past few days.  Suddenly I decided I wanted a new spring/summer wardrobe.

In fact, since Saturday I have made:

  • crop pants in embroidered linen (photos & pattern review coming soon)
  • the above pictured top with fuchsia crinkle knit and striped band (it’s yet another copy of this top, which I love)
  • the same top in turquoise sparkle knit
  • I also repaired the bead embroidery on this top (the green & blue print above)
  • cut out the sarong part for another sarong skirt from the brown & black print above (there a link to the free pattern in the post, btw)
  • made a pattern from the black top in the pile (I know you can’t see it, but I promise to show it once I’ve made it up in a new fabric.)
  • AND I ordered 11 yards of fabric for another SIX pairs of pants – Ambitious much? :-D (I was very pleased with the fit of the crop pants, made from my custom drafted pattern and really could use more variety in my closet.)

2014 04 23 woyww sewing spring clothes (2)

This fuchsia crinkle knit is an interesting fabric. It’s a double layer fabric and the crinkles are made because the upper layer is larger than the lower layer. I’m not sure how they do it, but the upper layer is tacked at intervals to the lower and the spaces where it’s not tacked are crinkles.  It was actually much easier to work with than I expected it to be. There were two layers to handle when hemming, but since they were tacked together it wasn’t bad.

2014 04 23 woyww sewing spring clothes (3)

Here’s a closer look at the turquoise fabric. Those dang metallic sparkles kept throwing off my needle and made the top stitching not very straight, but I like it anyways.

To travel the desks of the world and see what other creative people are up to on this What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, go check out the fun over at  Julia’s

Happy creating!

Apr 212014
 

bead wrapped hammered wire earrings still

It is so utterly freeing to be able to make everything in your jewelry, rather than having to rely on components and findings you get in the stores.  It’s also great for those of us who are picky and want it to be just a little bigger/smaller/rounder/squarer or whatever-er.  :-)

bead wrapped hammered wire earrings pendant

Not only that, but hammering out wire is fun!  I love watching it transform from something boring that was inside electrical lines (hubby reclaimed this wire for me) into something interesting and beautiful.

Of course, these would be beautiful in silver or brass wire as well.  Whichever you choose, enjoy the video and happy creating!

Materials:

  • 10 – 12 inches 14 gauge copper wire
  • 25 – 30 inches 28 gauge copper wire
  • 20 – 30 3mm beads
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • chasing hammer
  • bench block
  • file
  • 7mm bail pliers or 7mm round object
  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • 26mm x 20mm oval mandrel (or similar shape object to wrap wire around)

Directions:

  1. Leaving wire on spool, wrap 14 gauge wire around 7mm mandrel or pliers to make a complete loop.  Place section of loop where wires cross each other at narrow end of oval mandrel and wrap wire around, making one complete wrap. Trim excess wires so you have a figure “8″ shape, with one smaller round loop and one larger oval loop. Repeat to make second matching shape.
  2. Use your fingers to gently shape wire frames to your liking.
  3. Use chasing hammer and bench block to gently hammer frames to an even thickness all around. (Frames will change shape slightly and loops may open. You can fix this after hammering.)
  4. If desired, use round end of hammer to create a dimpled texture on both sides of both frames.
  5. Use the file to smooth out wire ends. Use chain nose pliers to close any open loops.
  6. Wrap end of 28 gauge wire around oval section of frame starting just below the round loop.  Wrap tightly 3-4 times, then trim excess shorter end of wire. Use chain nose pliers to crimp wire tightly to frame.
  7. Slide a bead onto the wire and hold to the outside of the frame. Wrap wire around the frame desired amount of times. (In the photos above I went around 3 times between each red bead and 4 times between each of the pearls.)  Repeat adding beads and wrapping wire around frame until you’ve gone around the entire oval section. End by wrapping tightly 3-4 times, trimming off excess wire and using chain nose pliers to tightly crimp wires to frame.
  8. To complete earrings, open a loop of an ear wire, slide in small loop of earring frame then close loop of ear wire.
Apr 152014
 

Hello and happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  I’m getting to Tim’s April tag early this month because it’s a delaying technique to avoid crunching certain numbers that must be crunched this time of year.

2014 04 16 woyww april tim holtz tag

But I promised myself that after I finished the tag I would go fill out all those durned forms. And I did.  Phew.

Anyhow, as usual, it’s amazing to see just how many products are needed for one little tag.

I love the way the Symphony Tissue Tape and Sketchbook Tissue Tapes combined with Picked Raspberry Distress Paint to make a cool background.

april 2014 tim holtz tag (2)

Tim used this tag to introduce one of his new products, the Frameworks Trellis die, which I don’t have yet. I was intrigued by the idea of filling in the empty spaces in a die and thought my Weathered Clock die would work.

april 2014 tim holtz tag (4)

Rather than leaving it plain, I decided to color the mirror backed plastic with Stream and Bottle alcohol inks.

april 2014 tim holtz tag (3)

I just love the roses made with the Tattered Pine Cone die. And, yes, the bird is a rather obvious allusion to “time flies.” :-)

Happy creating!

Apr 102014
 

Who says jewelry has to be all one thing or another? This fun bracelet is half beaded and half dangly charm bracelet. It’s also a fun way to use your stash.

half n half bead & charm bracelet still

My furry little friend, Cheech, makes a cameo appearance helping me out with those cat & bird charms. :-)

You can watch the Half Bead-Half Charm Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • 3-4 inches chunky chain
  • 3-8 charms
  • head pins and/or jump rings as needed to attach charms
  • 5-10 approximately 10mm beads
  • 6-11 spacer beads
  • toggle clasp
  • 2 crimp beads
  • 2 crimp bead covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • bead stringing wire

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers
  • ruler

Instructions:

  1. Determine desired finished length of bracelet, subtract 1-inch for the clasp. Divide this number by two and string beads and spacers onto the beading wire to that length.
  2. On one end of the wire string a crimp bead and a wire protector. Slide an end link of chain into the wire protector and slide the wire back through the crimp bead. Use chain nose pliers to flatten the crimp and cover with a crimp bead cover. Use crimping pliers to gently close the crimp cover.
  3. Repeat step two on other end of beads, adding round end of toggle clasp instead of a link of chain.
  4. Check fit of bracelet on wrist and remove links of chain to make bracelet the  correct length. Use a jump ring to attach bar end of toggle clasp to last length of chain.
  5. Attach charms to chain with jump rings.
  6. If necessary, slide charms onto head pins. 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 link of chain that you want charm to dangle from. 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.
Apr 082014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday all!  This week I’m working on something different, it’s a memory quilt for a friend’s son who will be graduating this year.

2014 04 09 woyww making a memory quilt

It’s more than just a t-shirt quilt, although there are plenty of those included. His mom also wanted a number of photos, pieces of special blankets, baby outfits and even a bitty backpack! I’m not sure how I’ll include the super hero cape his grandma made him, but we’ll figure it out. :-)

On the workdesk you see some of the photos already printed onto fabric. Since the quilt squares will be 14 x 14 inches and I can only print the photos on 8.5 x 11 inch sheets, the blocks will have to be pieced together. I’ll also be hand appliqueing a few photos across the seams.  The photo blocks will end up looking like scrapbook pages.

That pile in the upper right is a bunch of scraps from t-shirts I’ve already cut up. Thankfully it’s all starting to come together.

Btw, if you’ve ever thought of putting together a t-shirt/memory quilt, I wrote a post a while back with several Tips For Making T-Shirt Quilts.

Happy creating!

Apr 012014
 

Happy Wednesday! Here’s what you came for,  my slightly messy desk today. (Click on the pics for a closer look.)

As usual, it amazes me how many products are needed to make one little tag. Also, I’m pretty sure a few things had been put away before I remembered to take this photo.

2014 04 02 woyww march tim tag (1)

I’d kinda put off working on Tim’s March tag because I really liked his stamp set with the bird’s nest & the feather and was hoping to find it locally.

2014 04 02 woyww march tim tag (2)

Instead I used Hero Arts’ & Sizzix’s Butterflies & Flowers Stamp & Die set. The flowers were stamped in Worn Lipstick distress ink.  I used  Broken China and Peeled Paint inks to stamp the butterflies. Tim’s idea for a technique was to smudge the ink right after stamping, but I didn’t think it made that much of a difference.

2014 04 02 woyww march tim tag (3)

What really DID make a difference, and is my favorite new (ish) technique, is going over the stamps with distress markers and then a waterbrush to blend. For the distress markers I used Spun Sugar, Crushed Olive and Mustard Seed for the flowers, and added a bit of Broken China to the butterfly.

It would have been fun to play with the Distress Marker Spritzer, but that’s another tool I haven’t been able to find locally. It’s on my Amazon wishlist, though! Have any of you had a chance to try it out?

Are you thinking that the pretty spring time flowers are all well and good, but wondering why I shared a photo of my piled up desk?  It’s because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. A bunch of us share, take a peek, have fun and are often quite inspired. Join us over at Julia’s if you want to see what the fuss is about.

Happy creating!

Mar 312014
 

Well, phew, I made it! And here it is, the final project of March.

braided wire bracelet (1)

It’s a cuff bracelet braided and woven of 20 gauge jeweler’s bronze wire.

(Click on any of the pics for a closer look.)

braided wire bracelet (2)

Woven in are a floral finding and a few 4mm Swarovski crystals.

braided wire bracelet (3)

Those wire coils on the end loops were first coiled on the Coiling Gizmo, then  slid onto the wires when needed. This is a much faster, easier and neater way of doing it rather then trying to wrap each individual coil onto the loops.

I  love the way a hard material like wire can have such an organic and flowing look.

My newer readers may not realize what I’ve been doing this past month. At the beginning of March I challenged myself to take the time to do something creative and blog about it every weekday in March.

So, what did I learn from this challenge?

  1. There IS time to do the things you set your mind to do. (Just gotta get off the stinkin’ computer more, lol.)
  2. Making a commitment to others is great incentive for FINDING that time.
  3. Blogging about it makes a project take many times longer than just the creating of it.
  4. You never know whether a project is going to be a success until you dive in and try.
  5. Often the failures are the roots of future successes.

None of this was stuff I didn’t know already, but what I’d hoped would happen did. I get into the habit of breaking free of the inertia that kept me reading about, watching about & planning about new projects and got to WORKING on them.

Was the challenge worthwhile? Absolutely. Am I going to continue it into April? Sorry, but no, it was too time consuming. Hopefully, though, as a result of getting my butt into gear, you’ll be seeing lots more productivity in the coming months. :-)

What challenges do you face in the work you do?  What have you found to be ways to overcome them?

Mar 292014
 

I promise I did do a creative project yesterday, there just wasn’t time to bake it and take photos. Sorry that the penultimate Make It In March post is a day late.

color gradation tool

First off, yesterday Robin asked what I do with the test clay color samples that I mix up.  As you can see above, each sample is made into a bead and baked. Them I string them onto some twine, write what colors were used on each end, write the proportions of color on each bead and save it to use as a reference tool.

This strand goes from Sunshine Yellow to Fluorescent Pink. The large middle bead is a 50/50 mix of each color. The bead next to the middle, going towards the pink, is 1/4 Sunshine Yellow, the next is 1/8 yellow, 1/16 yellow and so on. These are fantastic tools if you ever want to replicate a color, as not only do you know exactly what proportions to  use, but you know how the colors look once baked.

(You can learn how to make these color gradations in Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio’s book, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.)

Btw, those greasy looking splotches on the paper are the plasticizer that comes out of clay when it sits on paper for any amount of time. This helps stiffen up soft clays.

pink flower bead

I spent a LONG time yesterday working on a pink cane for a flower, and was rather disappointed in the results. It wasn’t entirely the fault of my white clay being too squishy, although that was part of it.

Although this pink flower isn’t horrible, it certainly isn’t what I pictured the end result to be.

kaleidoscope cane bead

Since I had to take frequent breaks to put the pink cane in the fridge to firm up, I decided to play with this kaleidoscope cane I made a while back.

I put two slices of the cane together around some scrap clay to make a bead, then changed the shape and added flowers to both sides.

flower and kaleidoscope cane

Here’s the other side of that bead and a ruler to give you some idea of size.

I’m not really thrilled with anything, it all felt sorta futile. But, some days are just like that. I’d rather a bad day creating than a good day working in a cubicle.   :-)

I’ll see you Monday for the last day of my personal challenge.

Happy creating!

Mar 272014
 

It’s hard to believe I’m nearly at the end of my month-long challenge to do something creative every weekday in March and blog about it. It’s been quite fruitful and productive. I’ll share some of what I’ve learned and my observations next week.

callie painted coral flowers

But on to today’s project. It had been my plan to make a flower cane, based on a this photo from a seed catalog.  It’s called calibrachoa, and I thought the shading and patterning would be a fun challenge to replicate.

The first step, though, was to find a way to mix that deep, saturated fuchsia.  So I pulled out my fluorescent colors and made a few mixes.  (Using fluorescents to get very saturated colors was recommended by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio in their excellent book, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations.)

color mixing fuchsia to fluorescent yellow

This row is fuchsia to fluorescent yellow.

color mixing sunshine yellow to fluorescent pink

Here we have sunshine yellow to fluorescent pink.

color mixing fuchsia to fluorescent pink

This  is fuchsia to fluorescent pink. I know it’s hard to capture with the camera, but that one on the right end is the most screamingest of pinks. Like eye watering.  Yikes.

But it’s actually quite lovely when mixed with equal parts fuchsia and then with white.

color mixing fuchsia plus fluorescent pink to white

I started my white/pink blend, but had to stop because the white was way too squidgy to deal with.  You can see the beginnings of the blend here, I think it’s going to be gorgeous.  The clay is sitting on white paper because the paper will leach out some of the excess plasticizer, making the clay more firm and easier to deal with.

So, the flower cane will be tomorrow’s project. :-)

Have you ever set yourself a creative challenge? What did you do and how did it go? I’m sure many of us creative types would be interested in hearing new ideas for motivation and creativity.

In the meantime, Happy Creating!

Mar 262014
 

chunky leaf bracelet (1)

Would you believe this bracelet design began with the chain?  It’s funny how I was sure that would be the star player (or at least a large supporting role) but then the design evolved.

While digging through my stash I found this leaf pendant I had made while working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

It’s made by shaping Sculpey Ultra Light Polymer Clay into a leaf shape, baking, and then carving off chips with a blade (a messy, messy process, with static-y bits of foam sticking everywhere.) It was then painted with Christi’s Swelligant copper paint and green patina.

I made three of these back several months ago, and just chucked ‘em into my experiments bin, not being really impressed. But now, I kinda love it. Funny how that goes. :-)

chunky leaf bracelet (2)

Anyhow, this is a fun sort of project for you to dig around in your stash, maybe rediscover some old treasures, and make something fun with them!

You can watch the Chunky Leaf Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy Creating!

Materials:

  • 1 large focal bead or connector piece
  • 6 inches (or so) chain
  • toggle clasp
  • approximately 1-inch diameter decorative ring
  • assorted beads to match/compliment focal, chain, ring and clasp
  • waxed linen twine

General Instructions (watch video for more details):

Arrange jewelry elements in pattern that is pleasing to you.

My order is: toggle bar of clasp, 6mm bicone bead, 8mm bicone bead, leaf focal piece, 8mm bicone bead, decorative ring, 12mm bead, double length of chain, ring section of clasp.

String a 10-12-inch lengths of waxed linen twine through one end of your focal and meet ends together. Tie an overhand knot next to your focal, treating both strands as one. Slide your next bead onto one strand of twine and tie another overhand knot. Repeat to add all beads you want, then slide toggle bar of clasp onto one strand, tie strands in a square knot (right over left, then left over right.) Trim off ends.

Repeat in a similar manner to add remaining beads, decorative ring, chain and ring of clasp, check fit after adding chain and trimming down chain as needed.