Sep 032015
 

This week’s dragon began with a faux abalone tutorial I found online. I had decided this week to try covering a dragon with slices of the faux abalone. The tutorial involved using oil paint, and I felt it needed to dry for a little while, so while I let it dry I watched the latest class from Polymer Clay Adventure.

It was a class by Linda Hess on making an Under-the-Sea candle holder. It seemed to me that a faux abalone dragon would make the perfect sea dragon.

And so this week’s project began.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 1

This candle holder is built on a 5-inch round glass fish bowl that you can find at most craft stores.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 2

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 4

Many of the details are the same as Linda taught in the class, especially using the sheet of clay to cover the candle holder and cutting all the circle bubbles in it. I also adored her jellyfish and pretty much did mine the exact same way.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 3

I also loved her idea of using polymer clay molds but changing them and customizing them. I’ve avoided using clay molds because I wanted my sculptures to be my own design, but I really loved how she cut off tails and fins and replaced them with bits of cane which made them truly special. So it was a lot of fun to go through my drawer full of leftover canes and finding ones that would work.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 5

I changed her seaweed, making it thinner and giving a twist which I really like the look of; it’s so graceful.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 6

You may notice that there are two sea dragons on the sculpture. That’s because as we entered September I was reminded that this year Christmas is on a Thursday, as is New Year’s Eve, and I suspect in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s I may be short on time to make dragons. So I’m going to try to get ahead and avoid any last minute crunch. But I do still want to complete the challenge of 52 dragons in the year!

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 7

In order for the dragons to fit nicely on the bowl, I needed to do a bit of dragon surgery: slicing off a about a third of their sides. I wasn’t sure how much of their faces I’d be using, so I sculpted both sides, just in case.

When it turned out I didn’t need to remove any of the head, I decided to have them peeking through the bubbles into the inside. Kinda fun! :-)

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

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 8

If you’ve been following my polymer clay dragons this year you may recognize many of the bits and pieces on this candle holder. For example, on the turtle are slices of the cane that I used in Ferdinand the Bull’s-Eye, the fins on the orange fish are from Marsali that I did a couple weeks ago. And the gold crackled turquoise clay is left over from the gold box that I made for Ciro in week 15.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 9

The mold I used for the fish, turtle, sea horse, sea scallops and starfish is the Sculpey Flexible Push Clay Mold, Sea Life, so cute.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 10

This is truly the kind of project I love, I could have gone on adding details for far longer, but it seems quite complete now. Another change I made was that Linda brought her clay all the way up to the top of the container and then made a border on the edge. The only problem with that is polymer clay lets off nasty smells when it burns so you have to use a teeny tiny candle in the holder. I chose to cut mine off further down on the container so I could use a larger candle.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 11

The faux abalone came out very realistic, it’s a great tutorial!

I know I’m going to enjoy having this sitting out and studying all the details. :-)

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

Aug 312015
 

clasp focal dangles necklace

Many times we add a bead dangle to a clasp just for a bit of decoration. But in this week’s necklace we’re adding a bunch of dangles to the clasp and making it the focal point.

This is a fun project to go through your beads and pull out a variety of bits and pieces that you previously didn’t know what to do with.

Included in this necklace is one of my first lampwork beads, a bead given to me by a friend who has moved on, a broken pair of earrings, and a crystal given by special friend.

Using a variety of shades of one color, such as all the different golds and the reds and oranges really gives the piece a richness that you wouldn’t get using just one color.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Clasp Focal Dangles Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials

Tools

See video for complete assembly directions.

Aug 292015
 

It’s the end of the month, so time for another giveaway!

Every month TWO lucky winners will receive packages of handcrafted jewelry worth at least $100 each!

This month both winners will also receive a copy of the September/October 2015 issue of Polymer Café magazine in which yours truly has an article. :-)

Watch the video below for details. Or watch the video on YouTube.


Please fill out the Rafflecopter area below for your chance to win.

Rafflecopter doesn’t show up on some mobile devices, btw. If you don’t see it below, try refreshing, check back later or visit on a different device.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m doing the giveaway at my blog rather than at YouTube to protect YOU from scammers. Your info is protected here. :-)

Aug 282015
 

ff lampwork

If any of you have been beading for any time at all I’m sure you’ve encountered lampwork glass beads. Today I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how they are made.

Several years ago a friend showed me how to lampwork, and I took right to it. I loved doing it and really had hoped to continue to build my skills and get good at it. The part I enjoyed most was the sculptural work.

lampworking

(Above photo from Beadworx. Click on it for a photo tutorial on how a lampwork bead is made.)

Sadly, circumstances intervened so that my space for  lampworking was no longer available. So instead I turned to polymer clay for sculpting, which probably worked out for the best, although I do still miss playing with fire and making glass beads. :-)

(This explain why the beads I show you aren’t that great, I really needed more time to get better. Still, I was rather pleased with what I was able to do, and still wear that cat pendant every year around Halloween.)

By the way, I misspoke in the video, the bead that is in the upper right, the black and purple swirly one, was made by my friend. It was one of her rejects but I absolutely love it and wear it often.

The above video is NOT mine, it is by Jersey Girl Beads. She seems to have closed her website, and her Etsy shop is not stocked at the moment. :-( I include it here because she shows several things I talk about in the video: drawing with stringers, making dots, covering with clear glass and melting in dots.

Should you like to learn more about lampworking there are many, many other videos on YouTube that will show you a bit of the process.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Lampwork Beads video over at YouTube.

Aug 272015
 

dragon #34 Estella 1

Meet Estella, isn’t she beautiful?

Since I’ve challenged myself to make 52 dragons this year, I’ve also taken up the challenge of making many of them in color combinations I wouldn’t otherwise consider. However, this week I am using my absolute favorite combination of colors.

To learn why I’m making a dragon every week check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details.

color blend for Estella dragon 34

Estella’s scales started out as a color blend of purple, blue and green. Specifically, Primo Purple Pearl, Sculpey Soufflé in Lagoon and Kato Polyclay in green. I just adore these colors and it made me happy to work with them.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #34 Estella 2

The green and purple obelisk is fluorite, the two clear crystals are just ones I picked up at a craft store and the large quartz chunk is one I found in New Mexico a while back.

dragon #34 Estella 3

Set on a white base with lots of white glass glitter I think they give this world an interesting surreal icy look.

dragon #34 Estella 4

Here’s a close-up of the scales I thought you would like to see. I love how using a little bit of Golden’s Iridescent Pearl paint really brought the whole sculpture together.

dragon #34 Estella 5

Instead of my usual spikes I pictured her as having a crest like a cockatoo. This was done by folding some leftover scales around 22 gauge wire. I think it’s a fun and different look (although my son says she has a mohawk, lol.)

If you’d like to keep up with my dragon creations this year, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Aug 242015
 

tweet pink earrings

When you start with earring findings as cute as these it doesn’t take much to make a really nice pair of earrings. Just add a few bead dangles and ear wires.

I can’t seem to find where I purchased these findings but here are some really cute chandelier findings at ArtBeads.com.

An ombré blend of crystals makes them especially interesting. Because most of the work is already done for you with the findings it’s just simply stringing beads on the head pins and making loops, so these earrings go together very quickly.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Tweet Pinks Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 chandelier style earring findings with five loops each
  • 2 ear wires
  • 8 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Fuchsia
  • 12 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Rose
  • 12 4 mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Crystal Clear
  • 10 head pins
  • 22 3mm beads

Tools:

Directions:

  1. Onto a headpin slide four 4mm Fuchsia crystals alternating with three 3mm spacer beads. Repeat once.
  2. Onto a headpin slide three Rose crystals alternating with two 3mm spacer beads. Repeat three more times.
  3. Onto  a headpin slide three Crystal Clear crystals alternating with two 3mm spacer beads. Repeat three more times.
  4. Use One Step Looper to make loops at the top of all headpins. Use chain nose pliers to open loops and add to chandelier findings, with Fuchsia dangles in the center and Crystal Clear dangles on the ends.
  5. Use chain nose pliers to open loops of head pins and add to complete earrings.
Aug 212015
 

ff-rawhide mallet

Continuing in our series on jewelry tools today I’m going to tell you about rawhide mallets. Although not the most glamorous of tools, a rawhide mallet is useful when you need to harden or change the shape of a piece without creating hammer marks.

The rawhide mallet I use is quite small, it’s all I need for jewelry making, but the links below show you several different sizes available.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings – Rawhide Mallets video over at YouTube.

Aug 202015
 

dragon #33 Marsali 1

This week’s dragon is a wall piece, like Fergus, who I made back in week 28.

If you’d like to keep up with my dragon creations this year, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

fergus & marsali dragons

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

In fact, Marsali is a companion piece to Fergus. I thought he looked a little lonely up there on my wall and so made him a friend.

dragon #33 Marsali 2

Like on Fergus the leaves are bits and pieces of canes I’d made while working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

dragon #33 Marsali 3

For Marsali I also used several different flowers that Christi teaches in her book.

dragon #33 Marsali 4

I had fun addding lots of mixed media to this piece, including pearls, seed beads, crystals, wire, broken bits of jewelry and even an amazonite stone. Touches of mica powders and Gilder’s pastes add some final sparkle and shine.

dragon #33 Marsali 5

I just love working on pieces like this with lots of texture, colors and so much to look at. There’s something about them that’s very satisfying.

To learn why I’m making a dragon every week check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details.

Aug 172015
 

rainbow hearts bracelet

Today’s bracelet goes together very quickly. The pearls are wire wrapped on, but the crystals are attached with jump rings. I got the idea when looking through my stash of Swarovski crystal hearts and realizing I had all the colors of the rainbow, and them some, so I made one!

I didn’t expect to love this bracelet as much as I do. Rainbows aren’t usually my thing but something about all those colors of crystal hearts just makes me happy. :-)

And there’s the fact that it goes with anything you’re wearing.

The colors the Swarovski colors that I used from the lightest blue around counterclockwise are:

Aquamarine > Sapphire > Emerald > Fern Green > Topaz > Astral Pink > Rose > Siam > Amethyst > Cyclamen Opal

Of course, you can make this bracelet using any colors you like.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Rainbow Hearts Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 6-7 inch length chain
  • toggle clasp
  • 10 10mm Swarovski Crystal Hearts in colors of your choice
  • 11 6mm pearls
  • 11 head pins
  • 11 bead caps
  • 10 8mm jump rings

Tools:

Directions:

  1. First, count the links on your chain and determine the spacing of your beads. (See the video for how I figured out the spacing on my bracelet.)
  2. Onto each headpin slide a pearl and a bead cap. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap.  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 your 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.
  3. Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open each jump ring wide enough to slide on a 10mm Swarovski crystal heart. Slide jump ring onto a link of your bracelet chain and close securely.
  4. Add clasp to end links of your bracelet chain.
Aug 142015
 

ff-chasing hammer

You can make a lot of jewelry without any hammers at all, but if you’ve decided you’d like to get into wire working then you’ll definitely want to get yourself a chasing hammer.

In upcoming videos I’ll talk about other hammers that you may want to try, but a chasing hammer is the first you should add your tool kit.

I just love the effects that you can get hammering out wire, changing the shape of the cross-section of the wire, and especially the look of texturing with the rounded end.

In the video I’ll show you the basics. The chasing hammer I use is by Beady Buddy and I got it at my local craft store. Amazon has this chasing hammer, which appears to be the same thing. My next one will be a Fretz Chasing Hammer which is also on Amazon, but currently out of stock.

You can read all about Fretz tools on RioGrande.com. They are wonderful quality, but you’ve gotta save those pennies! :-)

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch the Friday Findings-Chasing Hammers video over at YouTube.