Jul 312015
 

ff-calipers

In today’s video I tell you all about a wonderful little tool, my Brass Caliper Gauge. When working in jewelry and the small sizes we use, you need a tool like this.  It’s not very expensive and does the job well. Just be sure to watch the video so you’ll know how to use it properly.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

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

Jul 302015
 

Welcome to week #3o of my year-long polymer clay dragon challenge. This week you get to meet Darnell.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #30 Darnell (1)

This week’s dragon is more about his accessories than the dragon himself.

While looking online for inspiration I came across these dragon bracelets by Night Sky Jewelry. You can see the influence on mine but I think mine has a very different feel.

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.

dragon #30 Darnell (2)

Her technique reminded me of a faux druzy tutorial I saw some time ago. After watching it again,  I immediately went out to Michael’s and bought all the supplies, including a dozen colors of glass glitter.

faux druzy

Here I am in the midst of experimenting with all the different combinations.

These were a lot of fun to make, but WHAT a mess. As I was cleaning up all I could think of was what the man said:

Haha, so true.

dragon #30 Darnell (3)

I really love the look of the little rice shaped bits along the spine instead of the spikes I usually add.

dragon #30 Darnell (4)

A tip for you, if you’re going to build a bracelet like this over a filigree blank, make sure you get the blank fitting you comfortably first because you don’t want to be changing the shape afterwards or pieces might pop off.

dragon #30 Darnell (5)

This bracelet is surprisingly comfortable to wear. Don’t know for what occasions, but wear it I will!

I chose his name because Darnell means hidden place, and it looks to me like he’s hiding in a cave somewhere with all his sparkly treasures.

Even if you never make a dragon you can have a lot of fun making your own sparkly treasures.  These faux druzies would be fun to make with the kids, as well. :-) I made my own bezels out of clay, but you can keep it simple and use purchased ones.

Happy creating!

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

Jul 292015
 

Wow! I can’t believe my YouTube channel just reached 10,000 subscribers! That’s amazing!
So now, it’s time for a giveaway.

TWO lucky winners will receive packages of handcrafted jewelry worth at least $100 each! And I’m going to do this every month.

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. :-)

Jul 272015
 

Ombré Clay Earrings

I have shown you guys how to make a lot of different kinds of jewelry (there are over 200 videos on my YouTube channel!) and I’ve even shown you how to make your own beads such as in the Faux Sea Glass Bead Tutorial and in the Tribal Swirl Bead Tutorial.

Today I’m going to show you how you can make your own chandelier earring findings using polymer clay. As I mention in the video, it’s wonderfully fun to consider all the different possibilities: you can make these any size, shape, texture and colors that you want.

Polymer clay, like any craft medium, has with it it all its attendant specialty tools. I’ll give you some tips in the video on how you can make do with just items from around the house.

I hope that you give this technique to try and have fun making your own very customized jewelry pieces.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Ombré Clay Chandelier Earrings Tutorial over at YouTube.

Tools & Materials:

  • pasta machine or acrylic roller or something to roll your clay with
  • clay blade or single edge razor blade
  • awl or needle tool
  • shape cutters
  • plastic wrap
  • 1/16 inch drill bit
  • mica powder
  • beads and head pins for beaded dangles
  • 2 8mm jump rings
  • two ear wires
  • two packages of two different colors of clay (you need half a package of each)
  • rubber stamp or texture plate for adding texture

See video for complete project instructions.

 

Jul 242015
 

ff-skinner blend

In today’s video I show you a basic and very helpful polymer clay technique. It’s called the Skinner blend and it’s a wonderful way to get shadings of different colors. In the video I go from blue to yellow and my cane turns out to go from dark green to light green.

skinner blends

In this photo you can see some beautiful canes going from a rainbow of colors each to white. Using white and putting it in the center gives that lovely look of glowing light.

(My apologies that I cannot properly attribute this photo. It’s from an empty Etsy store, BySusi. I tried contacting the owner but had no reply. If you know her please let me know so that I can properly credit this photo. it’s a wonderful example of Skinner blends.)

kaleidoscope cane tutorial

(This photo is also one where I could not contact the author. It’s by Almu on Flickr. Again, if you know her or are her please contact me so I can give proper credit for this wonderful tutorial.)

As you can see by the photo in the upper left this very complex looking cane starts with just a Skinner block, like I will teach you to make, and two bull’s-eye canes, one going from light to dark and the other going from dark to light.

Each is wrapped in black and then reshaped into different shapes and sizes and when you get done at the end you have a gorgeous kaleidoscope of color.

By the way, here are links to the free online classes I mention in the video:

I hope you enjoy this technique and have fun applying it to your polymer clay projects. Be watching on Monday for a jewelry project using a polymer clay Skinner blend.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Polymer Clay Skinner Blend Tutorial over at YouTube.

Jul 232015
 

dragon #29-Solana  1

Meet Solana, #29 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragon sculptures. This week’s dragon was really fun to do, I used several different techniques I’ve been playing with lately: wire wrapping for the wings, shaping wire coils for the spines and metal forming.

A couple weekends ago I was playing with soldering and forming sheets of copper, and I found a little leftover bit that got trimmed and textured into a shape to be the tip of his tail. Rather different and cool, I thought. :-)

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

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.

inspiration earrings turquoise with stamped spirals

There were two photos on the internet that inspired this dragon. The first inspiration was this pair of earrings by Rebekah Payne at Tree Wings Studio. I love the the spiral stamped texture and the dots.

wire wings phtoos

The second inspiration was these wire wings by Natural Jewels. (Click on either of the photos to go to the creators’ sites.)

It’s never my plan to exactly copy an idea, instead I always want to take it and make it my own.

dragon #29-Solana  2

For the wings I sketched out my own design, then added in the beads and crystals. I love the interest those details bring.

Solana even has wire talons!

dragon #29-Solana 3

The box is just a simple little cardboard box covered with clay and textured with leather-working stamps. The addition of the Swarovski crystals ties it all together.

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

Jul 202015
 

pink sparkles earrings

We often use these large hole beads in bracelets and sometimes in necklaces but not very often in earrings. This is a fun way to display just a couple of pretty sparkly large hole beads.

Choosing large enough spacers to snugly fit into those large holes and then careful wire wrapping holds everything in place. Little bits of  chain makes them dangle nicely.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Pink Sparkles Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 4-inch pieces 20 gauge wire
  • 2 3-inch pieces fine chain
  • 4 6mm spacer beads
  • 2 13mm large hole beads
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • two pairs chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Directions:

  1. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 1/2 inches from one end.  Bend wire at 90° angle.
  2. 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 one of the pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to make 2-3 wraps with wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Slide onto wire a spacer bead, large hole bead and a spacer bead. Grasp wire with chain nose pliers and make a 90° bend 1/8-inch from spacer bead.
  4. Repeat step 2 to make another wrapped loop, inserting other end link of chain into loop before wrapping. Final wraps should sit snugly against spacer bead, holding spacers in place in holes of large hole bead.
  5. If you like, gently curve up ends of wrapped loops.
  6. Find center link of fine chain and insert loop of ear wire. If needed use chain nose pliers to twist loop of ear wire so earring faces front.
  7. Repeat to make second earring.
Jul 172015
 

ff split ring pliers

The tool that I tell you about today is called split ring pliers. If you must use split rings in your jewelry making, then you really need this tool to help you manage them.

In fact, as I show in the video I also found the tool useful for opening another type of split ring: a key-chain ring. You can use split ring pliers to put keys or other things on your key-chain and not break fingernails in the process. :-)

I mentioned in the video that I have a love/hate relationship with split rings. It’s only because they’re just such a pain to put on, but I do really like the security that they give.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Split Ring Pliers video over at YouTube.

Jul 162015
 

dragon #28 Fergus 1

This week’s dragon is a little different than other dragons I’ve been making. He is a wall piece. I got the idea for making him in a more two-dimensional way from a class I took by Tammy Durham. She showed us how to make one of her polymer clay cards, and I thought it would be fun to try a dragon in a similar way.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #28 Fergus 2

I started out by finding several greens that were in my scrap pile that were blended together and made a sheet for the background. Then I got out my rubber stamps and began stamping away.

The jungly bits were fun as I already had most of the leaves and canes, including the little rolled up fern on the right, from when I had been working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

dragon #28 Fergus 3

I can hardly believe this is dragon #28, more than half-way through this year-long challenge! 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.

I wanted to make the flowers the complementary colors of the dragon and the background. So, to figure out what exactly the compliments were I snapped a picture on my iPhone and then switched it to the negative.

It was kind of fun to see everything on my iPhone in inverted colors. :-) That’s where that red orange and dark purple come from.

Now to find a space on the wall to hang him. :-)

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

Jul 142015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 07 15 woyww soldering samples

On my work desk today you will see I have been having a lot of fun playing with soldering. As I’ve mentioned before, Kate Richbourg is an excellent teacher of metalsmithing. In her book, Simple Soldering, she has you make 1-inch square tiles of copper sheet on which you try different techniques. This is your metal “sampler,” so to speak.

2015 07 15 woyww copper samples

So I spent quite a bit of time learning soldering techniques as I worked through these tiles. You might recognize the flower as one from Tim Holtz’s Tattered Florals Die.

I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I softened the metal by heating it in the flame, cooled it and then ran it through my Big Shot die cutting machine. Surprisingly, the Big Shot was able to cut through the 24 gauge sheet. (I was really hoping it would not break my machine!)

2015 07 15 woyww balled headpins

It was also fun learning how easy it is to ball up fine silver wire and make my own head pins.

And now, in other news:

Just to let you know, this week is going to be the last time I participate in What’s on Your Work Desk Wednesday.

I’ve been working very hard the past few years to build my little crafting business and, praise the Lord,  I’ve finally found a measure of success.

However, with this success also comes a need to rearrange my priorities, and I found I needed to eliminate some things. Things that, although I enjoyed them, weren’t really adding to building my business.

I mentioned a while back that I stopped doing the Tim Holtz tag challenge. And sadly, now I really do need to stop the weekly WOYWW posts.

I will continue to follow many of your blogs and I hope to find time to check in occasionally.

If you’d like to keep up with my crafting crafty doings you can on:

I wish you all the best in your crafty endeavors, it’s been fun. Thanks so much to Julia for her wonderful shepherding of this fascinating endeavor.

P.S. Several of you expressed interest in my review of the bead spinner. Well, I now have two to review, and that will likely end up on my YouTube channel. Just so you know. :-)