May 222015
 

Friday Findings-Bead Caps.JPG

Bead caps are wonderful little jewelry findings that can really dress up a bead and make a piece much more fancy. They come in just about every finish and style that you can imagine, but did you know that you can do a lot more with them than just caps beads?

In the video I give you several ideas for using bead caps in alternate ways in your jewelry. I hope this gets your imagination firing, you’ll likely think of many more!

You can watch the Friday Findings-New Uses For Bead Caps video over at YouTube.

May 212015
 

Hello and welcome to the 19th in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons!

dragon #19 Qinglong 1

Meet Qīnglóng (pronounced “chíng-long”) the second dragon encountered in Tiger’s Voyage.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #19 Qinglong 2

He is an ocean dragon and has a rather unpleasant attitude, which I hope I conveyed by his expression. He is described as being perched atop a castle ruin on a rocky island jutting out of the ocean, so I had some fun creating that.

dragon #19 Qinglong 3

To keep him from being top heavy I buried a lead fishing weight in the front narrow part of the island. Tricky, eh?

dragon #19 Qinglong 4

The book gives quite a detailed picture:

  •  bearded, with a long sinuous body
  • water dragon
  • scaly skin is brilliant blue
  • yellow eyes, purple tongue
  • head is longer, narrowing more at the nose
  • fleshy, fat & lazy
  • grouchy, irritable
  • cheeks and brow covered with feathers that sweep away from its face and shimmer like fish scales in brilliant blues and purples
  • similar feathers flow down the spine of its back and fan out at its tail and limbs like the hair around a Clydesdale horse’s hooves
  • sharp golden talons
  • when annoyed feathers along the back & top of the head stand up like crested cockatoo

dragon #19 Qinglong 5

I’m starting to understand what movie-makers are talking about when they adapt a book and say they feel they need to change things and not do them exactly as described on the pages.  There were details that seemed important for the character, and other details that just didn’t translate well from page to visual.

dragon #19 Qinglong 6

Anyhow, I kinda like Qīnglóng and his grouchy attitude. :-)

To learn why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015 check out this post on Errol, dragon #1.

May 192015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again.

2015 05 20 woyww kumihimo beading.JPG

Today I’m working on prep for an upcoming video tutorial on kumihimo braiding with beads. I first gave this technique a try over a year ago and decided it was time to add a couple tutorials to my YouTube channel.  Be watching for the series on kumihimo in a few weeks.

On my mp3 player this week are the podcasts by the producer of the Outlander series telling all the interesting behind-the-scenes bits about each episode. Fascinating! Are any of you watching? What did you think of the last episode?

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you wonder why I’m sharing a photo of my desk, it’s this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia’s called What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Join in, all are welcome!

May 182015
 

criss cross wire earrings

These earrings use wire wrapping in a rather different way, to create shapes surrounding our beads. You can use as many beads and wires as you like, perhaps even use larger beads and longer wires to make a pendant.

How about changing up the type of wire? Twisted wires, square wire or half-round would all give a different look to these frames. Experiment and see what you can come up with!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch Criss Cross Wire Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 8mm beads
  • 4 4-5mm beads
  • 2 head pins
  • 2 ear wires
  • 6 6-inch pieces 22-24 gauge wire

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • nylon jaw pliers

See video for complete instructions.

May 152015
 

friday findings-wire gauge.jpg

In today’s video I explain the basics of wire gauge. It’s fairly easy to understand once you get used to it. :-)

This Jewelers Wire Gauge is similar to the measuring tool I show in the video. It measures from 0 to 36 gauge.

Also, here are links to the wires I use most often:

I like to use the bare copper wire so it will get a dark patina. Then when you polish up the high points the details really show. If you prefer to keep a bright, shiny look, then be sure to get one of the tarnish resistant wires, like this one: Tarnish Resistant Copper Wire 24 Gauge

Here’s the chart I promised in the video. I keep mine with all my wires for easy reference.

wire gauge chart.jpg

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wire Gauge video over at YouTube.

May 142015
 

My dragon for this week is a character in a favorite book series of mine. Meet Lóngūn, the star dragon. (His name is pronounced “long-gín.”)

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #18 Longun 1.JPG

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

If you’ve read the third book in the Tiger’s Curse series, Tiger’s Voyage, you’ll remember he is the first one encountered on the voyage.

dragon #18 Longun 2.JPG

Here are the descriptions from the book:

  • looks more like a Chinese serpent with a long sinuous body
  • four short limbs with taloned feet
  • red, black underbelly, top is streaked with vermilion
  • seems to glow with red light
  • long black and red tendrils trailing from black bearded cheeks
  • shiny scales
  • long lashed eyes, red irises & black pupils
  • long red tongue
  • pointed black tufted ears
  • two reddish black spikes, more like horns protruding from back of the head
  • spikes are covered with black velvet like new antlers and are soft & rounded at the tips
  • coming through the sky like a sidewinder

dragon #18 Longun 3.JPG

It was kind of fun making a sculpture to match a particular description. I also tried to show some of Lóngūn’s personality, although he’s got the least strong personality of all five of the dragons. I’m looking forward to doing some of the others even more.

dragon #18 Longun 4.JPG

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

May 122015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 05 13 woyww  dragon #18.JPG

Today’s desk finds me working on dragon #18 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. This week I’m attempting to create a dragon who is a character in favorite book series of mine.

If any of you have read Tiger’s Voyage , you’ll know from the colors on the table which of the five dragons I’m working on. 😉

(And if you have read the books, feel free to check back tomorrow and let me know what you think of my representation of him.)

The book on the left is one I use for inspiration, DragonWorld. It’s full of dragon art by a slew of different artists. I don’t try to copy any of them, but look for interesting details, expressions, poses, etc. that I can draw from.

Also in the shot are more faux glass eyes that I needed to make. I LOVE how much more life they give to the dragons, like in Wen.

And there’s my trusty mp3 player, don’t know what I’d do without it. I wear this Sansa Clip all the time to make tedious work (you know, like dishes or cleaning or weeding the garden) go by faster. Just finished listening to the sixth Outlander book. Are any of you following the TV series? It’s wonderful!

If you’re wondering why I’m sharing photos of my desk, well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all get together at Julia’s and take a peek at each other’s creative goings on. It’s always fun and often inspiring. Join us if you have a the time.

May 112015
 

swoosh dangle earrings

These earrings get their unique shape from an unexpected jewelry supply: Memory Wire.

I think just a couple sparkly Swarovski bicones on each “swoosh” is quite elegant, but as I mention in the video, you could fill them up with beads if you like, or use any type of bead you want. Keep in mind that if the beads are heavy they may pull the wire out of shape.

Be sure to use special memory wire pliers, or use old junky pliers like I do. Don’t use  your nice wire cutters on memory wire or they won’t be nice any more.

Feel free to share photos of earrings you’ve made with this tutorial on Keepsake Crafts’ Facebook page in the “Your Creations” album.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Swoosh Dangle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools:

  • memory wire specific wire cutters
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers

Use round nose pliers to make a loop on one end of each memory wire piece. Slide a 4mm and a 6mm crystal onto each wire. Use round nose pliers to make a loop on remaining end of each memory wire piece.

Open a jump ring and slide on one loop of a 3-inch, a 2.5-inch and a 2-inch memory wire piece, making sure curves are all facing in the same direction. Also slide on the loop of an ear wire. Close jump ring securely to complete earring and repeat to make second earring.

May 082015
 

friday findings-wrapped loops.JPG

Wrapped loops are a staple of jewelry making. They are perfect to use when your wire is finer than 22 gauge as anything less than that will not make a strong simple loop.

I love wrapped loops not only for their strength but also for the aesthetics, especially messy wraps.

In the video I show you how to make a neatly wrapped loop and also one way to conserve wire while making messy wraps.

Happy creating and enjoy the video!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wrapped Loops video over at YouTube.

May 072015
 

Hi everyone! Sorry I missed last Thursday’s Dragon last week, but I was SO sick. I’m much better now, and trying to get caught up. One of these weeks we’ll have two dragons to make it up.

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #17 Tymon (1).JPG

Meet Tymon, dragon #17 in my year-long series. He is done with a faux raku pottery technique I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #17 Tymon (2).JPG

I saw Tim Holtz demonstrate the technique about 10 years ago, in his  DVD The Journey Continues. The raw clay is painted with Micaceous Iron Oxide and then baked. After it’s baked mica powders are applied and then rubbed in, which gives that glow of different colors.

dragon #17 Tymon (3).JPG

Tymon is a form of the name “Timothy,” which seemed to fit. :-)

The glass-like dots on his wings are done with UV resin, Magic Glos. After the holes were cut out and the wings baked, I applied packing tape to the backs of the wings and then added dots of the resin. Then it went into the sun to cure. The packing tape peeled right off, leaving the clear resin in the holes.

The resin can be baked, but it did turn a bit amber in the oven. That was fine for this project, but if I want it to stay clear I’ll have to remember to save the resin as a final step in future.

dragon #17 Tymon (4).JPG

The faux raku pottery is a fun and simple technique and I’m looking forward to using it on other projects.

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