Nov 122013
 

Happy Wednesday, all! Once again my workdesk shows I’m working on a project from Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, a Craftsy class I bought a while back.

Those blue ovals on the right are dragon cameos I hope to be listing in my Etsy shop soon.  And, yes, that blasted die & stamp set is still unopened.

2013-11-13-woyww-wrapped-wire-bracelet-craftsy

This is the last project I’ll be making from this class.  There are several others, but they’re all multi-strand necklaces, of which I’ve already made plenty. Other projects I’ve made from this class are Bead Cluster EarringsChandelier Earringsa necklace with handmade wire rings and wire wrapped crystal earrings.

earrings-from-etsy-class

The project she taught was this pair of hoop earrings.  They’re very pretty, but not my style.  She gave many ideas for variations at the end, so I decided to do a bracelet.

wire-wrapped-bangle-from-craftsy-class

This time I made a cuff style bracelet.  Aga teaches you how to twist wire with a power drill (it was easier and more fun than I thought it would be!) and then how to make beading frames with the result.

The hardest part of this whole project is getting the first few beads started.  Then it’s fairly simple.

Also, beware of using dead soft wire on a project like this.  Even after all the forming and pounding the metal is still quite malleable.

I’ve really become quite addicted to these Craftsy classes! In fact, I bought another one over the weekend, so I’ll be starting with project from that soon. Btw, if you’d like to see what the quality is like before you commit to buying a class, Craftsy has many free classes, including two new ones this week.

Learn How To Piece, Patch, Quilt with Craftsy for FREE – This class is perfect for the ultimate beginner to learn the basics of quilting.

Learn How To Take Professional Family Portraits with Craftsy for FREE – How perfect a class is this for the holiday season? Everyone is getting ready to take their family portraits for Christmas cards or just to have in their picture frames at home! Now they can wow everyone with professional quality pictures.

I love the idea of the above class.  If my kids were still at home I’d definitely take it. :-)

Hope you all have a very happy and creative What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

P.S.  Several of you wanted to see my finished color blocked tunic from last week’s WOYWW post.

Nov 112013
 

If any of you are looking for Christmas crafts to do with little ones, I’ve got an adorable project for you.

cozy-hat-ornament-for-kids-to-make

These little hats are so sweet, and the supplies are minimal, just yarn and paper tubes.

You’ll find the full Cozy Hat Ornaments tutorial over at Jeannie K. Dukic’s website, Whee! The People.  That name just makes me smile. :-) She has many other great tutorials and ideas, so be sure to check them out.

Happy creating!

Nov 092013
 

Hey there, hope you all are having a nice weekend so far.  I’m just popping in real quick to let you know Craftsy is having a flash sale on several classes today & tomorrow only (Nov. 9th & 10th.) So if there was a class you were thinking of taking this is a good time.

craftsy-flash-sale-nov-9-10

I’ve been debating about taking Make Your Own Wirework Findings and may sign up today since it’s 50% off.

craftsy-class-wirework-findings

If that seems a little too much, there’s also a Jewelry Workshop Class for beginners on sale.

craftsy-class-jewelry-workshop

There are also sewing, cake decorating, knitting  and other classes on sale.  (Click “Online Classes” when you get to Craftsy and you’ll be able to see them all.)

I hope whatever you do this weekend you find some time to be creative!

Nov 072013
 

I bought this pattern & fabric a few weeks ago for the cooler but not cold weather we get between summer and winter here in New England. 

vogue-8817-color-blocked-tunic

I’m wearing this as I type, and the fact that the back of my neck is freezing is an indicator that that in between season is just about over.  :(

I’m thinking I could extend the winter wearability of this by knitting up a nice cozy cowl like this one. http://erica-knits.blogspot.com/2008/01/chunky-knit-cowl-pattern.html

vogue-8817-color-blocked-top

This pattern sewed up quickly and easily.  The trickiest part was cutting the border print so it lines up nicely.

vogue-8817-color-blocked-tunic-close-up

There are a few more details about the sewing in my review of the pattern.

Vogue 8817 Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: Color blocked tunic top with shaped hem.

Pattern Sizing: This ran true to size according to my measurements. I made an 18.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I like my fabrics better. :-)

Hey!  Do you think I should have posed like this instead?

vogue-8817-model-pose

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, it’s a fairly simple pattern to put together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked how quickly everything went together. I really like the flair and shape of the hem.

Fabric Used: The top portion is a sweater knit, the center is a stretch lace over the sweater knit and the bottom is a sold black cotton jersey. All fabrics are from Joann’s

If you plan to use a border print you may want to purchase a little extra fabric so you can align and match things properly.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did my usual lengthening of the sleeves by an inch or so. I can see lengthening it and making a dress.

I removed the top stitching on the top panel as it didn’t look right over my border print.

Also, I was fairly aggravated after a couple of tries at top stitching down the neck binding.  I finally got out a needle and some black silk thread and did it by hand.  It took 10 minutes and looks better than any machine stitching would have.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone, even beginners. The only things keeping it from being a basic t-shirt are the color blocking and the shaped hem.

I may make it again. It’s fun choosing different fabric combinations. :-)

Conclusion: A quick (about 2 1/2 hours sewing time) and easy tunic. A great wardrobe staple.

Nov 052013
 

Hello Wednesday deskers!  Today’s post is a quick one. The list is long and time is short. :-)

2013-11-06-woyww-vogue-8817

As my desk shows, I’m all set to start sewing Vogue 8817.  It’s a color blocked knit tunic.  I’m planning to us a striped print sweater knit for the top portion, a black lace (with the print behind it) for the middle and solid black for the bottom.

vogue-8817-color-blocked-top

I’m making view C, in the upper right.  Love the shaped hem.

Btw, that flower die and the stamp set in the upper middle have been on my woyww desk for the past six weeks.  Maybe I’ll make them work for Tim’s November tag challenge, which is an interesting chalkboard technique.

If you’re wondering why I’m posting a pic of my desk (and a blurry one at that, sorry!) you must not be acquainted with the phenomenon that is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  You can learn all about sneaking peeks at the work spaces of other creative people over at Julia’s.

Have fun and happy creating!

Oct 312013
 

Happy Halloween all!  I’ve got a HUGE bowl of candy on my kitchen table, wish I could share it with you. :-)

Instead, here’s some eye candy for your enjoyment.  Plus a video.

These natural amethyst gemstones and the bead caps came in a mystery bag from Fire Mountain Gems several months ago.  I just had to add a few crystals and spacers, plus the finishing findings for a nice bracelet.

(BTW, if you like rooting around in a pile of beads for buried treasure, you might enjoy the Boss’ Bead Bag Bead Mix from FMG.  I paid $7 for mine and had a blast digging & sorting. Nope, they’re not paying me to tell you this, I just think it’s great fun.)

purple-gemstone-crystal-bracelet-1

As I mention in the video, in a design like this most of the work is about arranging your beads in a way you like and getting the correct length.  Putting it together is just a matter of stringing on the beads and finishing the ends.

purple-gemstone-crystal-bracelet-2

The fun thing about making your own jewelry is that you can use special items like crystals and gemstones, but pay far less than you would retail.

Watch Purple Crystal & Gemstone Bracelet Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Happy Creating!

Materials:

  • 15 inches bead stringing wire
  • 3 15mm x 20mm natural amethyst gemstone beads
  • 6 bead caps for gemstone beads
  • 6 6mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads (I used 4 in crystal clear and 2 in violet)
  • 4 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads (2 in violet and 2 in violet opal)
  • 8 4mm round silver spacer beads (2 of mine are in a star dust finish, the rest are silver plated)
  • 4 2mm round silver spacer beads
  • lobster clasp
  • jump ring
  • 2 crimp beads
  • 2 crimp covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers
  • wire cutters
  • Bead Stoppers

Instructions:

1.  Attach a bead stopper to one end of bead stringing wire.  On other end string beads in the following order:

a.  4mm violet opal bicone – 4mm round silver spacer – 4 mm violet bicone –  4mm round silver spacer

b.  bead cap facing away from bead just strung – 15mm x 20 mm natural amethyst bead – bead cap facing toward bead just strung

c.  2 mm round silver spacer – 6mm crystal clear bicone –  4mm round silver spacer – 6mm violet bicone –  4mm round silver spacer – 6mm crystal clear bicone  – 2mm round silver spacer

Repeat b and c, then repeat b once more.

d. 4mm round silver spacer – 4mm violet bicone – 4mm round silver spacer – 4mm violet opal bicone

This will give you 6.5 inches of strung beads and a 7.5 inch finished bracelet.

2. Onto one end of wire slide a crimp bead.  Slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other end.  Slide lobster clasp onto wire protector.

3. Slide end of wire back through crimp bead and flatten crimp using crimping pliers and/or chain nose pliers.  If your crimp cover is small, fold flattened crimp in half.  (See video for details on crimping and folding.)

4.  Holding crimp cover with chain nose pliers, slide cover over flattened crimp and squeeze gently to close cover.

5.  Use chain nose pliers to gently squeeze ends of wire protector together.  It should now be a teardrop shape rather than a horseshoe shape.

6. Repeat steps 2-5 on other end of wire, substituting a jump ring for the lobster clasp. When finishing this second end, make sure to allow for a little slack in the wire (1/8 inch is fine) to allow the bracelet to bend and drape gracefully.

Wear and enjoy!

Oct 292013
 

Once again I’m doing the monthly Tim tag at nearly the last minute.  Once reason I’ve put it off was that I really wanted to try the new Distress Glitter, but haven’t been able to find any locally.  I finally ordered some online, but it isn’t scheduled to arrive until this coming weekend.

So, I made do with Tim’s technique from October 2012, and colored plain glitter with Red Pepper alcohol ink.  I’m not big into Halloween cards and so decided to do a Christmas card.

2013-10-30-woyww -christmas-card

Here’s my desk while working on this project.  It always amazes me how many products are needed for one little card. Stamps, inks, glitter & glue, oh my!

This was my first time playing with Distress Paints, and I really love the way they mix and marble.

peace-on-earth-christmas-card-1

I cut the bird branch die out of grunge paper and colored the bird with Barn Door Distress Ink and the branch with Frayed Burlap.  For the snow on the branch I dabbed on white enamel accents and then sprinkled on white flower soft.

peace-on-earth-christmas-card-2

The background was stamped with the Hero Arts Music Background in Coffee Archival Ink. That stamp is great for so many different projects, birthday, Christmas, any kind of celebration really.

So that’s what I’ve been up to.  What have you been making lately?

If you’re wondering why I posted a pic of my messy work table, well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Woyww is this fun little blog hop we have every week over at Julia’s.  We take a peek at the creative spaces of people from all over the globe.  Join us if you have a few minutes, it’s always a good time. :-)

Happy creating!

Oct 282013
 

So, a few weeks ago as the days were cooling off I got to thinking that I don’t have many clothes for the transition time between the hot and cold weather here in New England.

In the summer I wear tank tops, shorts or skorts.  In the winter I wear those same tank tops layered under jackets, open tops or sweaters with jeans.

So I went looking at Joann’s for a pattern for a long sleeved, but not too heavy top that would be good for spring or fall. It also had to have some interesting details and not be boring.

vogue 8691-knit-top-w-ruffles

This Vogue top fit the bill.  Actually, Vogue was the only pattern company with tops that weren’t boring, imo.

vogue-8691-knit-top-ruffles

I made it up with fabrics from my stash.  The body is the last of the navy blue knit that I used for this Donna Karan Vogue dress.

The sleeves, neck trim and ruffles use a grey sweater knit that I have no idea why I bought, promised a while back I’d never, ever wear, but went into a panic about when I thought perhaps I’d gotten rid of it.

This one’s rather somber and plain for me, I tend to prefer more color, but it’s a great excuse to layer up the long sparkly necklaces. :-)

Oh, and I just realized WHY I don’t have many transition clothes, the in between period around here is too stinkin’ short.  This top was finished a couple weeks ago and it’s already time to bring on the layers.  Ah, well.

Review of Vogue 8691 view D:

Pattern Description: Long sleeve semi-fitted top with neckband, princess seams, shaped hemline flounce, topstitching and raw-edge hem finish.

Pattern Sizing: I’ve learned to chose a pattern size based on finished garment measurements rather than the measurements given on the pattern. (See my article All About Ease – Getting A Perfect Fit for more info.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the measurements on the flap of Vogue 8691 were correct, at least for my size. Three inches of ease around the bust was just right for this style.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t have any problems with the directions. I know a few other reviewers mentioned some confusion with sewing on the bottom flounce. Reading through the pattern before starting and visualizing all the steps is very helpful here.

Be sure the follow the directions to mark the bottom of the shirt and the top of the flounce. They suggest machine basting, but I just used a chalk wheel to mark the seamline on the wrong side of the shirt and the right side of the flounce. They you can easily match those lines together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the flattering lines of the princess seams and the interest created by the contrast fabrics and the ruffle at the bottom.

I also like the interest of the raw edge finish on the flounce. Be sure to choose your fabric with that in mind.

Fabric Used: I used a cotton/lycra knit for the body and a lightweight sweater knit for the sleeves, neckband and flounce.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Several other reviewers mentioned that the neckband as designed would not lie flat. One reviewer suggested cutting the neckband on the bias. This doesn’t make much difference in the amount of stretch in a knit, but I decided to do that to take advantage of the subtle plaid design in my grey sweater knit.

I cut the front and back bands as one piece, folded it in half lengthwise right sides out and stitched the raw edges to the wrong side of the neckline with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stretching slightly as I went. I then pressed the seamline to the neckline edge and top-stitched down the fold. This gave a nice smooth neckline finish.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I definitely plan to make this again. These were fabrics from my stash and a test to see how I liked it. I’d also like to try view A or B, the shorter length with a zipper front.

Conclusion: A fun, flattering and comfortable top to wear over jeans or leggings. The raw edge application is interesting and saves time. This top only took me about four hours from start to finish.

Oct 222013
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!

2013-10-23-woyww-bead-cluster-earring

Today’s desk shows me working on another project from  Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, a Craftsy class I bought a while back.

There’s the latest issue of Polymer Cafe.  I’m not really into Santa, and I think this one is especially creepy, but she does show a fantastic method for making polymer clay eyes that look like glass.  It’s on my list of things to try.

Those flower dies having been hanging around for a while, I’m sure I’ll get to using them at some point.

bead cluster earrings

These are the earrings, all done.

If you decide to take this class and make these earrings, here’s  a tip for you.  Each earring contains 63 small stones that are strung onto a wire before being wrapped on the hoop.  Aga (the instructor) suggests you lay out your two rows of stones on a bead mat so the pattern will be the same on both earrings.

This is an excellent suggestion if you are NOT an uncoordinated person.  If you can be certain your fingers will NOT catch the bead mat (TWICE!) and send all your neatly arranged beads flying, then, by all means, do it this way.

If, however, you’d like to avoid that sort of pain, aggravation (and near cussing) I’d suggest you do it a different way.  Instead, just string both your wires at the same time.  Have all your beads in a pile, pull out a few matching pairs at a time and string them so each wire has the same pattern.

After finishing these though, I had to wonder, does it really matter if they match?  Maybe if you were doing fewer, larger beads, yes, but not with these teeny tiny ones.

bead cluster earrings

Anyhow,  they’re done and I LOVE the colors.  There’s only one more project in this class I need to do.  Then I guess I’ll just have to take another one.  :-)

Btw, Craftsy just let me know they are having a flash sale this Friday, October 25th, so if there was a class you were thinking about taking, that would be a good time to sign up.

craftsy-free-classes-wigets

Don’t forget that they always have lots of free classes as well.  I’ve taken several and enjoyed them all.

So, that’s what’s on my desk this Wednesday.  Interested in what other creative people are up to?  Check out the link party over at Julia’s. It’s always fun and inspiring.

Happy creating!

Oct 172013
 

With Christmas coming and folks looking for gifts ideas (or just us crafters, looking for something new for US, hehe) here is a list of my favorite quilting books for your consideration.

Put them on your own wish list or pick up a couple for a fellow crafter.

1. Favorite quilting book for learning about color:

Color from the Heart: Seven Great Ways to Make Quilts with Colors You Love

Difficulty level: beginner on up

I learned some of the most important lessons about color (in quilts and in any art form) from Gai Perry’s Color From the Heart.  The book consists of seven small quilting projects.  As you work through each one you apply the principles she is explaining.

It’s great fun and the best way to learn, in my opinion.

Two of my favorite little quilt projects ever were from this book (because of the colors, naturally.) :-)

2. Favorite quilting book for learning about machine quilting


Guide To Machine Quilting

Difficulty level: Intermediate to Advanced

Diane Gaudynski’s Guide To Machine Quilting is incredibly helpful.  She has a whole system worked out which includes needle and thread sizes, how to bundle the quilt, starching the backing to make it slide easier, even propping up your left foot to the same height as the right!  Each of these steps makes the process just a bit easier, so if you implement all her suggestions you’ll have an excellent chance of success.

If you like you can check out the queen size quilt I machine quilted using this information. If you want to learn how to or just improve your machine quilting I highly recommend this book.

3. Favorite quilting book for memory projects

Hanky-Panky Crazy Quilts

Difficulty level: advanced beginner on up

This book walks you through the steps of making a wonderful little keepsake quilt using handkerchiefs.  I made one from my grandma’s hankies and while back and love it.  It was a fun way to use some special items and preserve memories.

4. Favorite quilting book for baby quilts & quick gifts


Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts

Difficulty Level: Beginner on up

This book delivers what it promises in the title, every quilt in there is both sweet and simple.  It is my go to book for any special occasion quilt (usually for babies.)

This Beatrix Potter baby quilt was from SASBQ, as is this Topsy Turvy Sailboats quilt. (These patterns are probably the most complicated in the book.) This Pink Lemonade quilt is one of the simpler, and yet still utterly adorable.

If you are regularly looking for interesting, but quick quilting projects to make, I think you’ll enjoy Sweet and Simple Baby Quilts.

These next three books are for those quilters in need of a challenge.  They are definitely NOT simple, but they are lots of fun!

5. Favorite quilting book for a challenge


Optical Illusions for Quilters

I took a workshop with Karen Coombs a while back and loved it.  It felt like I was back in art school, which, yes, was a wonderful feeling. :-)

The experience was so inspiring that I bought her book and her diamond templates, plus stopped at the fabric store on my way home for a pile of batiks.  Then I proceeded to make this:

quilting-arts-ufo-challenge-submitted

Never did finish it, but ain’t it cool?

Looking to stretch your skills, or for something new, different and interesting?  Try making an optical illusion quilt.

6. Favorite quilting book for making miniature quilts


Easy Paper-Pieced Miniatures

Ok, I have to warn you that paper piecing is not for everybody.  I have very experienced quilty friends who cheerfully hate it with a passion, lol. However, if you like working with small, complex designs, want utter precision and have a fair amount of patience, you may enjoy the process.

I made the cover quilt with the houses… twice.  Thought I’d lose my mind, but it was a great accomplishment. :-)

That being said, I consider this method the only way sane people make miniature quilts.  Just sayin’.

7. Favorite quilting book for a cool technique


Magic Stack-n-Whack Quilts

It’s been mentioned before, but I’m a sucker for a cool technique.  The general idea of this book is that you layer identical repeats of a fabric, then rotary cut them into stacks of identical diamonds.  When you put each stack of diamonds together, you get kaleidoscope stars, like this.

matt-sarahs-stack-n-whack-quilt-3

and this….

matt-sarahs-stack-n-whack-quilt-6

And here’s the whole quilt:

matt-sarahs-stack-n-whack-quilt-2

All those stars were made from eight repeats of the four corner blocks.  Cool, eh?

It’ll definitely make you look at your larger scale fabrics in a whole new way.

So, there you have it, my top favorite quilting books.  Some are simpler, some more challenging, but all are worth a try.

Happy creating!