Sep 302014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again, and Happy October, too. :-)

2014 10 01 woyww  joann's samples

My desk today doesn’t show much more than the beginnings of several samples I’m working on for classes I’ll be teaching at Joann’s.

So, I thought I’d show you the promised pics of a couple finished projects.

2014 09 17 woyww  polymer clay flowers berries

First up are the Faux Sea Glass polymer clay beads that I burned a while back. Those black, blobby looking things are them.

patined beads

Here they are, painted with Swelligant metal paints, then patinated with the Tiffany green solution. After the patina was done, I lightly brushed on some of the metal paint, so the patinas are mostly in the recesses. Cool, eh?

purple flower necklace (1)

And here’s the polymer clay necklace I was working on two weeks ago.

purple flower necklace (2)

I like the way the Swarovski crystals and the pearls work with the polymer clay flowers.

purple flower necklace (3)

And, surprise, surprise, it hangs just the way I wanted it to.

It doesn’t always work that way on the first try, you know. :-D

So, that’s what I’ve got for ya this week.  If you’d like to see what other creative folks are up to this week, join our What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday blog link party over at Julia’s.

Happy creating!

Sep 292014
 

Aren’t macrame bracelets the quintessential summer jewelry?

square knot macrame bead bracelet

Not only are they lightweight and comfortable to wear in the heat, but they’re fun & easy to make. The materials are fairly basic and they work up quickly once you get the hang of the pattern.

If you’d like your own copy of the cheat sheet I mention in the video, here it is in pdf.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Square Knot Macrame Bead Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 4 yards cotton braiding cord
  • 14 assorted 4mm-8mm beads with holes large enough for braiding cord to pass through
  • 1 8mm-12mm bead for clasp, with hole large enough for braiding cord to pass through

Tools:

  • scissors
  • tape (I found packing tape holds well)
  • third hand tool or place in your workspace to hook loop end of bracelet while knotting

See video for detailed directions.

 

Sep 262014
 

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope all is well with you and today finds you with some time to do even just a little something creative.

Speaking of a little something creative, today I’m starting a new video series. The videos will be short, like under 3 or 4 minutes and will focus on teaching one small concept.

friday findings necklace extenders

The plan is to have a new one every Friday. I thought the name “Friday Findings” was a fun play on words, because findings are all those necessary little bits and pieces we use to put our jewelry together.

Hope you find them useful. :-)

Today’s video shows how to use and make jewelry extenders so your necklaces hang at the perfect length. It’s a simple trick that I’ve been using for years. It makes all your jewelry more versatile and wearable.

Happy creating!

You can watch Friday Findings – Necklace Extenders over at YouTube.

P.S. Let me know what you think of the new video intro.

Sep 232014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and the first full day of autumn! (Or happy spring to  my friends in the southern hemisphere.) :-)

2014 09 24 woyww  september tim tag

Today’s workdesk shows quite the array of supplies needed for Tim Holtz’s September  tag.

I was happy to try my new Bird Feather  stamp set, as I didn’t have it when he used it on his tag back in March.

september tim tag

Not sure that I’m thrilled with that egg floating in mid air, although I do like the effect of the solid stamp plus the speckles stamp.

The technique of using Alcohol Blending Solution with the Burlap Stencil to create a ghosted image is cool, although mine didn’t work out the way he said. I had to go back in with the blending solution over the stencil after adding Butterscotch alcohol ink to the card.

The leaves were colored with all different alcohol inks, including a bit of Gold Mixative, and then cut from the Autumn Gatherings Sizzix Sizzlits Die.

The colors in this card are kind of schizophrenic, as it doesn’t know whether it wants to be spring or fall. Which is, I suppose, true to how I was feeling while I worked on it. :-)

So now I’ve shown you mine, show us yours. We have lots of fun peeking at creative desks from all over the world at the blog link party at Julia’s

Happy creating!

Sep 222014
 

When I saw these heart shaped jump rings, I knew they had the potential to become adorable earrings.

heart dangle earrings still

I love the way the hearts move around, changing angles as you move. The Swarovski crystals are a nice touch of bling, but you can use any beads that suit your fancy.

You can watch Heart Dangle & Crystal Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • six 9mmx11mm heart shaped jump rings
  • six 6mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • six head pins (or two head pins and four eye pins)
  • two ear wires
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. If using beads in different colors, arrange them in the order you would like, from top to bottom.
  2. Slide a bottom bead onto a head pin.
  3. Trim wire coming out of bead to 1/4-inch.
  4. Grasp end of wire with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop so it just crosses over itself.  Grasp loop with pliers to center over bead, making sure loop is closed securely. (It shouldn’t be crossing itself now.)
  5. Use wire cutters to trim head off a head pin and repeat step 4 to make a loop (or use an eye pin.)  Slide a middle bead onto the wire and repeat steps 3 and 4 to make another loop on opposite side of bead.
  6. Repeat step 5 using a top bead.
  7. Open a heart shaped jump ring and slide on loop of bottom bead and one loop of middle bead. Close jump ring securely.
  8. Open a heart shaped jump ring and slide on remaining loop of middle bead and a loop of top bead. Close jump ring securely.
  9. Open a heart shaped jump ring and slide on remaining loop of top bead and loop of ear wire. Close jump ring securely to complete one earring. Repeat to make second earring.
Sep 162014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again, everyone! 

The weather is already quite fall-like here in southern Massachusetts. Much too early!

As they say, “Winter is coming.”

2014 09 17 woyww  polymer clay flowers

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

Anyhow, my workdesk this week is happy busy. I’ve gotten back to working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish. She got loads of ideas for using polymer clay to create flowers, buds, branches and all kinds of things that look like they might grow in nature.

2014 09 17 woyww  polymer clay flowers pink

The pink flowers make me think of ranunculous blossoms. That one will be a pendant, as there’s a stringing channel on the back.

The branch is, well, just a branch. No stringing hole, no idea what I’ll do with it. But I love how the unmixed bits of clay add to the look.

Above the tile are some pods, they’re interesting, but not really my thing, I’ve decided.

2014 09 17 woyww  polymer clay flowers berries

These berries were made with translucent polymer clay, embossing powders and some pastel dust. They’re waiting to be wired up into bunches (like in the top photo.) They might make a nice fall brooch.

Above the berries & leaves are my burnt polymer clay beads that I told you about last week. I’m still planning to paint them with Swelligant paints & patinas. For now they’re just weird looking pruney things.

faux sea glass polymer clay

Oh, and the video tutorial for how to make these faux sea glass beads (and a bracelet with the beads) went up on Monday if you’re interested in giving it a try.

2014 09 17 woyww  polymer clay flowers purple

This photo shows that my artistic abilities clearly do NOT lie in the area of drawing. :-D

But, a rough sketch gets the job done. I was just trying to figure out how I’d like to string up these three purple flower clay pieces with beads into a necklace. As you can see, there are several different Swarovski crystal beads auditioning for supporting roles. The pearls will definitely go in, and perhaps some little brass beads.

I promise better pics once the piece is done.

2014 09 17 woyww  fall fabrics

Finally, did I mention that the weather has cooled off significantly here? That got me shopping for some nice wool knits for sweaters.  I splurged at Mood Fabrics and Vogue Fabrics for this stack of goodies.

Actually, it’s not such a splurge if you figure that $101.01 got me enough for four quality wool sweaters. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. :-)

That’s it for today. Wondering why I shared a photo of my desk? Well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all go play over at Julia’s and take a peek at what other creative folks have on their desks. Join us, if you dare. muwahahaha

Happy creating!

Sep 152014
 

When I saw this set of ocean creature charms, sea glass seemed the natural choice to go with them.

Sea Glass Charm Bracelet

But I didn’t have any sea glass beads, and didn’t feel like going shopping for some. Instead, I made my own.

Sea Glass Charm Bracelet 2

So today I have two videos for you, one showing how to make the faux sea glass beads and the other showing how to make the bracelet.

faux sea glass polymer clay

The above photo of the far more realistic looking sea glass is what I show how to make in the first video. It has a higher proportion of clay to ink and therefore lets more light shine through, giving a more real sea glass appearance.

If you create something based on these tutorials, please share photos with us on Keepsake Crafts’ Facebook page. You’ll find a special folder, entitled “Your Creations” under “Photos” > “Albums.”

Enjoy the videos and happy creating!

To Make Faux Sea Glass Beads:

    • translucent polymer clay
    • alcohol inks in colors of your choice (I used Ranger’s Stream and Bottle)
    • needle for piercing beads
  1. Condition until soft, then roll out 1/8 package (1/4 ounce) translucent clay into a flat sheet. Rub the edge of alcohol ink dropper on the clay, spreading a thin smear of ink an inch or so long.  Allow ink to dry until there are no shiny spots.
  2. Repeat for as many colors as you’d like. Each 1/4 ounce will make six or seven beads. (Rubbing alcohol or  Alcohol Blending Solution will remove the color from your hands.)
  3. Roll each color of clay into a log and break into pieces the size of the beads you want. Roll each piece into a ball. Use a smooth tool like an acrylic block to slightly flatten each ball from three different directions. This will give each piece a random shape.
  4. Pierce each bead with a needle to create the stringing hole.  Accordion fold a piece of cardstock for a baking rack and bake at manufacturer’s recommended temperature for recommended time.

To make bracelet:

Materials:

  • 8-10 sea glass (or faux sea glass) beads
  • 8-10 ocean theme metal charms
  • bracelet with clasp and chunky chain (my bracelet chain has 16 links)
  • head pins
  • 3mm spacer beads
  • jump rings

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Onto a head pin string a spacer bead, a sea glass bead and another spacer bead. 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 a link of bracelet 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.
  2. Repeat to add a sea glass bead dangle to every other link of bracelet chain.
  3. Arrange ocean creature charms between sea glass on bracelet in the order you’d like. Attach each to a link of chain with jump rings.
Sep 122014
 

My local Joann’s recently asked me to teach a class showing how to make this pattern.

simplicity 2274 overnight bag

Since I never made it before, I did a sample to familiarize myself with the steps.

overnight bag simplicity 2274

Here’s my review of the pattern, Simplicity 2274:

Pattern Description: Large overnight bag with zipper top, one zippered end pocket and front pocket.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were well written

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the way the pockets were added. I didn’t care for the recommended strap material.

Fabric Used: Quilting cotton from Joann’s. I choose to make the strap decoration and all the pockets out of a contrasting fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Instead of 3.5-inch jute webbing for the straps, I used a 1.5-inch braided twine strap. It’s much softer and nicer. I used the same pattern pieces for the strap decoration, (you only need three of the four they tell you to cut, btw) but first sewed the short ends together, then seamed this length into a long tube, right sides together. You then press the long seam open, turn right side out and press flat, with the seam centered on the back. This is the perfect width to top stitch onto the 1.5-inch straps.

Also, step 6 tells you to cut your handles into two 62-inch pieces, which is silly because they are all one long piece. So instead, cut a 125-inch piece, seam the ends together and press seam open. Now you only have to top stitch over two layers at the seam. rather than three.

And, it’s just as easy to cut two #2 pieces, bag front pocket, as it is to cut one. So I cut two and added one to each side. You can’t have too many pockets, right?

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t think I need more than one of these, but I might make it again as a gift.

Conclusion: A nice bag that goes together easily. Consider using a prequilted fabric to save time. Also, finishing the edges of the quilted sections with a serger makes a much nicer inside finish.

Sep 092014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again! I trust all of you with kiddos are back into the school time swing of things. For the past several years when this time rolls around I just smile a little smile to myself and thank the Lord I’m done with all that.  :-)

I homeschooled my boys from Kindergarten on up and don’t regret it one bit. It’s one of the most worthwhile things I’ve done with my life.

But, it’s so nice to have more time now for creative pursuits.

Speaking of which….

2014 09 10 woyww polymer clay sea glass, pods, mistakes

…. my desk today shows several polymer clay projects. (Click on the photos for a closer look.)

In the upper left is a page from Christi Friesen’s book FlourishIt’s the section on pods, there’s one I’ve started on the white tile in the middle. More to come.

In the center right, behind the pasta machine is a cautionary tale: DON’T BURN POLYMER CLAY. Yup, I zoned out and set my oven at 375° rather than 275°. It’s rather fascinating how they all puffed out and grew into something resembling prunes (they were the same size as the beads on the white paper on the left when they went into the oven.) But we definitely could have done without the toxic fumes, which is what happens when you burn polymer.

So, don’t do it. K?

faux sea glass polymer clay

Here’s what my properly cured faux sea glass beads look like. I’ll have a video up on Monday showing how to make them and how to make a bracelet from them.

In the meantime, be sure to check out what other creative people are up to this Wednesday by joining in the blog party over at Julia’s. You will certainly be inspired and may even learn something new. :-)

Happy creating!

Sep 082014
 

Here’s another necklace I’ll be teaching soon at my local Joann’s.  We’ll be focusing on the basics of bead stringing.  

bead-stringing-necklace

As I mention in the video, the stringing of beads is the easy part.  Just use the wire like a needle & thread and slide on your beads.  The real work is in the arranging, designing and of course, making sure you have secure closures.

bead-stringing-close-up

We start out by using quite inexpensive beads (would you believe most of those purple ones are plastic?) but you can still get a pretty piece of jewelry.  Plus it’s good to learn on something that won’t break your heart if the closures let go.  :-)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

YOu can watch Bead Stringing 101- Beaded Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 7” strand assorted 10mm-15mm beads in colors of your choice
  • 1 strand 4mm crystal beads to coordinate with 7” strand
  • 1 strand 6mm crystal beads to coordinate with 7” strand
  • 1 hank clear large glass seed beads
  • 1 spool bead stringing wire (.018, 49 strand)
  • silver plated lobster clasp
  • 3 – 6mm silver plated jump rings
  • 4- 2x3mm silver plated crimp beads
  • 4mm silver plated round spacer beads (the package I got had 16)
  • optional (4-6 inch piece of chunky chain)

Tools:

  • crimping pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • bead design board
  • Bead Bugs Bead Stoppers
  • tape measure 

To make necklace:

  1. Open assorted bead strand onto longest channel in bead design board.
  2. Open each strand of crystal beads, silver plated beads and large seed beads into a separate compartment in bead design board.
  3. Remove 3-5 beads from Jesse James assortment to use in second strand. Arrange these in another channel in board.
  4. Arrange crystal beads and silver plated beads around focal beads in a pleasing design.
  5. Use large glass seed beads to fill in length of necklace, especially going around the back.
  6. Leaving bead stringing wire on the spool, string beads onto wire. When length and arrangement are to your satisfaction, cut off the wire, leaving 3 inches extra wire on each end.
  7. Make sure to secure each end with a Bead Bug.
  8. Repeat stringing, cutting and clamping for second strand of beads. It should be slightly shorter than the first strand.
  9. Remove bead stopper from one end of longer bead strand. Slide on a crimp tube and a soldered jump ring.
  10. Slide wire back through crimp tube, pull snug to jump ring. Use crimping pliers to squeeze crimp, first using round portion then “U” shaped portion of pliers.
  11. Test hold of crimp by pulling on jump ring. Once it is secure trim excess wire.
  12. Repeat steps 9-11 to add one end of shorter strand to same jump ring.
  13. Repeat steps 9-12 to add two remaining wire ends to another jump ring.
  14. Use wire cutters to make a split in a jump ring. Use this jump ring to attach lobster clasp to one of the soldered jump rings.
  15. Optional:  To add length to your necklace and make it adjustable, use a split jump ring to attach a piece of chain to the other soldered jump ring.