Sep 272016
 

copper dome earrings

It is so satisfying to take a simple blank piece of metal and with the application of a few tools turn it into something quite unique and beautiful. I suppose it  would’ve been more satisfying only if I had mined the ore and rolled the sheet metal myself. 🙂

Perhaps at first glance you might think that today’s earring design is far beyond your available skills or tools, but in the video I show you how you can make them with simple supplies that you can get at your local craft store. Of course, below I will provide online links to the things you need as well.

Also in the video you’ll see what I mean when I say, “make visual decisions visually.” I started out with an initial idea on how I wanted to use my glass beads, but after laying them out realized I needed to change things a bit to achieve a nice design.

Tools & Materials:

In the video I reference a few other videos I’ve made showing helpful techniques:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Copper Dome Earrings-Metal Jewelry Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Sep 232016
 

ff conditioning clay

Conditioning polymer clay is one of those things you read about in any polymer clay basics section of a book or article. But what exactly is it, why exactly do we need to do it and, more importantly, how do we know we’ve done it right?

In today’s video I’ll answer all of those questions plus show you a few different ways you can condition your clay.

Sometimes you will come across a block of clay that is very hard and crumbly and just Won’t be conditioned no matter what you do. Personally, I am of the “life is too short” school of thought and don’t spend too much time trying to bring back difficult clay.

I figure that if I spend an hour attempting to revive a $3 block of clay, then I’ve made $3 an hour, which is definitely not worth my time. But, if you’d like more information on just how you can condition hard clay, Ginger Davis Allman over at the BlueBottleTree.com has a great blog post on the subject.

Tools used for conditioning:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-All About Condition Polymer Clay video at YouTube.

Sep 202016
 

jeweled bezels

When I first saw these bezels at my local craft store I knew immediately what I wanted to do with them. The first thing was to pop out the acrylic rhinestones. Then I stuck one bezel in the oven with a load of polymer clay to make sure that they truly were metal and not acrylic, as sometimes is the case.

It took a bit of experimenting to get the look I wanted, but I’m quite pleased with how these came out. If I had to do it over the only thing I would change would be to use less green and more blue.

Have you noticed that I’ve been on a blue/turquoise kick lately? I can’t seem to stop using it. Don’t worry, that will probably pass and then I’ll be on to a different color obsession. 🙂

Of course, this technique can be used to make any sort of jewelry or even home dec. As you saw in the video, I was able to pop my newly created cabochons out of the bezels after adding the resin-those that were not super glued in first.

So you could make cabochons to use to decorate other objects, but I wouldn’t recommend putting the resin back in the oven. Sometimes it turns amber even at low polymer clay temperatures.

Tools and Materials

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Jeweled Bezels-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Sep 162016
 

ff baking pc (1)

For a while I’ve been noticing a lot of poor information out there on how to bake your polymer clay. Now there are lots of different ways of doing it, some people bake in a bed of baking soda or cornstarch, some people use a dedicated toaster oven, some even line dedicated ovens with baking stones so that they have even heat.

Controlling the temperature that you bake your clay at is very, very important, but there’s another aspect to this that is just as important. And that’s the issue of how much time you bake your clay.

Now it is true that if you put a piece of clay in the oven for 10 minutes it will be hard to the touch after that time. But I’m going to show you today why that is absolutely not long enough.

Actually, as long as the temperature does not go higher than the manufacturer recommends you can bake your clay for as long as you want and it won’t harm it. Some lighter colors may darken over time, so you’ll need to watch that.

fairy garden swing

Fairy Garden Swing by Sandy Huntress, full tutorial can be found in September/October 2016 issue of Polymer Café magazine.

I put one of my recent projects, the fairy swing that was published in the latest Polymer Café magazine, in the oven late at night and went to bed forgetting all about it. At 2:30 in the morning, five hours after putting it in, I woke up and remembered to take it out.

It was perfectly fine, it’s likely the strongest piece I’ve ever made!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-Baking Polymer Clay video at YouTube.

Sep 132016
 

autumn jewels

This necklace project was the result of a lot of playing around and experimenting, much of which I show in the video. I started out with just the general idea of making some similar elements on a wire jig and then connecting them together with beads to make a necklace.

It certainly wasn’t my intent to make something autumn themed, but the timing couldn’t have been better!

In the video I mention two Friday Findings videos I’ve done previously, one on wire jigs and the other is on pinch bails. Click on the links to check them out if you haven’t seen those videos already.

I hope that this video will not only give you the directions for making a project, but will also give helpful tips for creating your own designs.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Autumn Jewels Necklace-Jewelry Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Sep 092016
 

ff bezels

I’ve had a bit of a fascination with bezels of all types lately, I think it’s because I’ve been collecting ideas for ways to fill them. More specifically, ways to fill them with polymer clay techniques, surface effects and especially little sculpted clay scenes.

In today’s video I just talk about the bezels, but be watching in the future for different ways to fill them.

Also be watching for future videos on how to make polymer clay bezels yourself. If you want to learn how to make a very organic polymer clay bezel check out my Fantasy Bezels series.

Here are a few of the bezels I show in the video, and also a few others to choose from.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-All About Bezels video at YouTube.

Sep 072016
 

I’ve done a review of the Vogue 8817 tunic pattern before, only last time I made view C. This time I made view B and it’s become one of my favorite tops.

vogue-8817-color-blocked-top

I really love the princess seams and the color blocked style lines.

One of the great things about this pattern is that you can use up leftover bits and pieces of fabrics. I used a black sweater knit on the sides for their slimming effect and opted to use the same purple bamboo fabric down the two center front pieces, leaving in the seam just for interest.

purple, grey & black top

I like the details of the raw edge strip on the ends of the sleeves, it’s just something different and a little unexpected.

The trickiest part of making this top is getting the binding around the neckline to lie smoothly. My best tip for that is to use perhaps a little less binding than the pattern calls for. Cut it the pattern length, but then ever so gently tug on it as you stitch around the neckline curve. This will help prevent that dreaded rippling and allow it to lie flat. Also, taking a few minutes to hand sew down the folded edge is truly worth it.

purple, grey & black top w scarf

This top fit well out of the package, the only thing I would change is that the neckline was a little bit low for my taste. That’s why you see the photo with the scarf.  It helps fill in what felt like a rather vast expanse of exposed bosom, and also adds some warmth on a coolish fall day.

I highly recommend this pattern and all of its versions. They have interesting lines, are on trend but still classic in feel, easy to sew and comfortable to wear.

Sep 062016
 

beachcomber's bracelet

This bracelet combines several of my favorite things about polymer clay jewelry: texture, surface effects and a multitude of dangles.

The texture comes from creation; I made two-part molds of three collected seashells. I also used a Sculpey mold to make small scallop shells and starfish.

The surface effects are from Perfect Pearls and iridescent paints. I love how these bring the whole piece together.

I’ve been wearing this piece today and think a few Swarovski crystal dangles would not go amiss, either. More glitter and sparkle? Why not?! 😀

There are so many directions you can go with this idea. How about making molds of favorite kids toys, charms, keys or other special objects?

If you don’t know how to make two-part molds, check out my Friday Findings-Making Two-Part Molds video to learn the process. It’s easier than you might think.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Beachcomber Bracelet-Polymer Clay Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Sep 022016
 

Although I’ve been making molds with silicone putty for quite some time I always thought that making two-part molds was difficult and scary. However, I learned there really are just two simple things that you need to do differently than one-part molds to get beautiful two-part molds.

ff 2 part molds

First of all, you need to insert something in the first part in order to make registration marks in the second part. This is most important, otherwise you will not be able to get your molds to line up properly.

Second, you just need to find some way to keep the two halves of the mold from sticking to each other. With molds made of other materials it may be trickier but the silicone molds just need a simple coat of Vaseline. I’ve also seen people dust them with cornstarch or talcum powder.

I was really impressed with how well these seashell molds came out and how realistic they look when you use the correct color of clay and appropriate surface effects.

Don’t forget that you can always manipulate a a piece after molding to change the shape. For example, you could curl up the clam shell and make a different shape shell, or you could flare out the openings of the shells to make them wider or smaller. I’ve often seen face molds manipulated this same  way, where folks use the mold to get a start and then compress and elongate different parts of the face or build up & take down different areas and get something that looks quite unique.

So I hope learning how to make two-part molds will be just the beginning of your creativity.

Personally, I think it’s a wonderful way to take objects that you may only have a limited number of and re-create them as many times as you want!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-How to Make Two-Part Molds video at YouTube.

Sep 012016
 

kris kinderfather dolls (1) kris kinderfather dolls (2)

Wow, this post is WAY overdue. My sincere apologies for taking so long to get this out. Late last year Kris K. shared with me the profusion of dolls that she made with my Topsy-Turvy doll pattern.

kris kinderfather dolls (3)

As you can see she got quite busy and made a whole bunch of them. Anyone who can make TWENTY of these dolls has my respect and admiration.

I love all the different colors, they are all so adorable and she did a wonderful job.

kris kinderfather dolls (4) kris kinderfather dolls (5)

If you’re looking for a nice gift to make for someone special, perhaps for the upcoming holidays, you can check out my free Topsy Turvy doll pattern  Kris says that my “directions were perfect!” So that’s nice to know. 🙂

By the way, someone pointed out that on the pattern the waking doll’s eyelashes are on her eyebrows! Silly me, how did  I never notice that? Anyhow, I know YOU know where they go. 😀

Happy creating, all!