Jan 162016
 

sweet treats jar

This cute candy jar is the perfect thing for any time you need a little something special for a gift. It goes together quickly with just a few supplies you’ll find in the scrapbook section of your local craft store. If you’re a card maker or scrapbooker, you probably already have everything you need!

I added some special treats to this jar: Frosted Chocolate-Toffee Macadamia Nuts that the Halē Kai Lana company sent me to try out. These nuts are absolutely delicious!

When you pop one into your mouth first there’s the hit of sweet from the coating, next a wonderful deep, rich chocolate taste, then the crunchy toffee bits and finally you get to the macadamia nut goodness in the center. So yummy. :-)

If you watch the video you’ll learn the story of their name, which means “Floating House in the Sea” in Hawaiian. I love how they’ve taken a tragedy and persevered to build their family business. They also have 100% Kona coffee, so be sure to check them out.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Sweet Treats Candy Jar video over at YouTube.

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Use a pencil to trace jar lid on back of patterned paper. Cut out with scissors and insert into jar ring.
  2. Fill jar with candy of choice and screw on lid with ring and paper center.
  3. Apply adhesive backed pearls or other trim to edge of jar.
  4. Thread tag onto twine or ribbon and tie in a bow around rim of jar.
  5. If you like, you can use inks (or even colored Sharpies!) to color paper flowers. Use glue dots to adhere layers of flowers, then adhere a pearl or rhinestone to each center. Adhere flowers to jar next to bow and tag.
Jan 152016
 

ff e6000

Most of the time when we make jewelry we use mechanical connections to hold things together. You know, things like jump rings, wire loops and such.

However, there are occasion where it’s not only perfectly acceptable, but desirable to use a bit of glue.

In this video I’ll tell you about one of the glues I use the most in my crafting and give you some tips for using it.

You can find E6000 in several forms:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!


You can watch the Friday Findings-E6000 Glue video over at YouTube.

Jan 122016
 

If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all you know that I just spent entirety of 2015 doing a creative challenge. Specifically, I challenged myself to make a polymer clay dragon every week of the year!

Here are a few of them:

Dragon Collage 1500x1500

Click on the photos for a closer look.

You can read about WHY I did the challenge here, in my post on Errol, dragon #1 and you can review all 52 dragons on my Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board.

tiger's voyage dragons

These are some of my favorites, dragons based on the book, Tiger’s Voyage.

Completing the challenge accomplished what I hoped it would, as I’m now much more disciplined about working on my art, rather than just looking at what other people have done and collecting ideas.

Oh, but I do have ideas! And now that I have time to work on my 2016 plans here are some of them:

  • Use what I learned in the Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay Class I took on Craftsy. Jenny Vestal does a great job breaking it all down for beginners. Now I just need to buy some PMC and get started. I definitely want to make dragons out of silver clay!
  • Continue working on polymer clay sculpture with a focus on figures. I especially want to develop expression and personality in my pieces. Some of the books I  plan to work through:
    • Christi Friesen’s Flourish – Nearly done with this one.
    • Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay
    • How to Make Clay Characters – I made several pieces from this book years ago, when I didn’t know much about polymer clay. I didn’t get the concept of conditioning the clay properly and they’ve all since crumbled. Let that be a lesson to ya!
    • Family and Friends in Polymer Clay – This one is exciting to think about as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve studied someone’s face and thought, “I want to sculpt them.” Now to get some willing subjects…
  • Create weekly polymer clay tutorials for my YouTube channel. I’ve already started and these will be uploaded every Wednesday, beginning in February.
  • Continue to write tutorials for Polymer Café magazine. I have some exciting news regarding that publication, but it will have to wait until later, when I can share.
  • Perhaps turn some of the dragon projects into tutorials? I’m still considering how best to accomplish that.

So those of some of my plans for 2016. Have you made plans or set goals? I’d love to hear about them, feel free to share in the comments. Then we can all hold one another accountable. 😀

Happy creating!

 

**The links  provided are for products I own, have used and would recommend to a friend.  I do participate in affiliate programs with Amazon, Craftsy and a couple others, but I will never link to anything I cannot personally endorse.

Yes, Keepsake Crafts will make money if you choose to make a purchase through these links.  However, I can almost guarantee it will go right back into buying more crafty goodies!  😉

Dec 312015
 

Well, I did it!

I proudly present to you the 52nd and FINAL polymer clay dragon in my personal challenge to make a dragon sculpture for every week in 2015. Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I started.

I’ve made huge dragons on towers, teeny tiny dragon on cabochons, 2-dimensional dragons (so NOT my thing), necklaces, bracelets, treasure dragons, ocean dragons, forest dragons, steampunk dragons and even a cell phone holder dragon!

It’s been fun and I learned a lot, but phew! It’ll be nice to not have to pump one out every week. :-)

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #52 Opal 1

Opal was inspired by Donna Greenberg’s Rhythm Ruffle technique which was published in The Polymer Arts magazine in Fall of 2012. As soon as I saw it I thought, “Dragon spines!” :-)

dragon #52 Opal 2

For the base color I used Premo’s new Opal clay. The accent colors are Sculpey Souffle Lagoon, Peacock Pearl and Pearl Purple.

Opal’s body is Premo Opal mixed with just a tiny pinch of Peacock Pearl.

dragon #52 Opal 3

I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board so you can see them all in one place. Some time soon I’ll put together a collage of the favorites.

As for New Year’s resolutions? I don’t make ’em. I make goals and plans to reach those goals, and those can start any time of the year. After all what are resolutions for without a plan?

cats on treadmill

So what’s up for 2016? Oh I have plans, lots of plans, but I won’t hold myself to quite the same strict scheduling as last year. It’s my hope to spend some time working on figure sculpting and especially developing expression, personality and story telling in my work.

I also hope to get into metal clay sculpting. It’s similar work as polymer, but you end up with fine silver pieces in the end!

It’s also in the plans to start a weekly polymer clay tutorial on my YouTube channel. So be watching for announcements on that.

Many thanks to you, my readers and viewers for all your support and kind comments. It truly is what keeps me inspired to keeping working, creating and teaching.

May you all have a blessed New Year and happy creating!

Dec 172015
 

This week I have for you the penultimate sculpture in my year-long weekly polymer clay dragon challenge. Since Joy was made in the midst of Christmas preparations, I decided it would be appropriate to put her on top of a Christmas ornament,  from whence she can watch all of the festivities. :-)

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #51 Joy 1

Joy’s body is made from two different brands of translucent clay mixed with gold leaf.

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

dragon #51 Joy 2

I really love the beaded accents for her spines, as well as the webbing bits in between which is more like what you often see on many dragon representations.

dragon #51 Joy 3

The bauble is a ceramic Christmas ornament that I found at the craft store. They only had them in white, so I colored mine with a variety of alcohol inks. I really think the mottled look of the ball very much accents the dragon.

dragon #51 Joy 4

Only one more to go, and I have lots of plans for projects to work on in the new year. But I’ll tell you more about that once Christmas is past.

dragon #51 Joy 5

Don’t forget that next Thursday is Christmas eve and I won’t be putting up a dragon. Instead #52, the final one in this year-long challenge, will go up on New Year’s eve. Be watching for that in two weeks!

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

Dec 102015
 

dragon #50 Brandt (1)

Meet Brandt, dragon #50 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. I can hardly believe there are only two left to complete this challenge!

Brandt’s name means “proud,” which seems appropriate as he is inspired by the beauty of peacocks.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

working on peacock dragon

Earlier this week I shared this in progress photo. You can see that I made a clay cane based on the designs and colors in a real peacock feather.

dragon #50 Brandt (2)

The original plan was to cover his body with the cane, but that seemed too busy. I much prefer the blue to green gradient with just touches of the peacock eye shapes.

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

dragon #50 Brandt (3)

His tail really gives the impression of a peacock’s tail, without making him look like a peacock.

dragon #50 Brandt (4)

I love the little smirk on his face, a proud fellow indeed!

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

Dec 032015
 

dragon #49 Andrea (1)

This week’s dragon was inspired by the work of Melody Tallon over on Flickr. She has made a wonderful series of goblets, among other things, that just make me smile.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Melody Tallon's "Watch What You Drink"

Melody Tallon’s “Watch What You Drink”

Her surface techniques include having a textured base layer of clay covered with mica powders. Over that are beautiful squiggles, scrolls and dots of the main color. I found it utterly enchanting and wanted to make something similar in a dragon.

dragon #49 Andrea (2)

In order to do so Andrea had to be baked quite a few times. First after the initial shaping, texturing & mica powdering. Then I’d add dots & scrolls until I was pretty sure I’d squish something… another baking. More scrolls & dots… another baking, and so on until I felt like she was done.

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

dragon #49 Andrea (3)

For the wings I sketched out my design, scanned it into the computer and made a horizontally flipped copy. Both copies were placed under glass and I added the thin scrolled snakes over the drawn lines onto the glass.

Then I mixed mica powders with Translucent Liquid Sculpey and filled in various areas of the wings. These were baked right on the glass. While they were still warm out of the oven I used a blade to remove them from the glass and placed them over a bit of rolled up tissue so they’d cool into a slightly curved shape.

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

Nov 182015
 

snowman charms

Welcome to week three of our Christmas Charms series. I hope you are enjoying getting to know these polymer clay techniques. This week we’re making a cute little snowman.

In the video I show you how to make life easier by building your charm in sections and prebaking the pieces. I also show a neat trick for making the hat band easily, rather than fiddling with tiny strips of clay. (I tried that, not fun!)

Each week I’ve been trying to show you different ways to add interest and texture to your projects. Feel free to switch them up: you could apply the flocking to a mitten, or add the knitted texture to the Christmas stocking. Of course, you can flock just about anything. 😀

If you’re thinking about doing more flocking, this might be a fun set, Martha Stewart Crafts Glitter Flocking Powder, 12-Pack. There are also small packages such as Nail Art Velvet Flocking Powder on Amazon for nail art. (Are people flocking their nails these days? Apparently so.)

If you can’t find flocking, you could add Perfect Pearls or even try embossing powders.  (If you decide to add Perfect Pearls, you don’t need to add the TLS first, btw. Mica powders stick just fine to unbaked clay and then stay on after baking. )

Experiment and see what works. :-)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Flocked Snowman-Christmas Charms Week 3-Polymer Clay Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Here are links to the previous videos in the series:

Nov 122015
 

This week’s dragon is another that’s been on my inspiration list for quite some time. A couple years ago I made this kaleidoscope cane lizard, and hoped to make a dragon the same way, someday.

dragon #47 Felicity 1

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

I used the same general guidelines from Almu Mendelbaum’s Flickr stream for a kaleidoscope cane, but added a few more pieces and put them together my own way.

purple kaleidoscope cane

I posted the finished cane on Instagram on Monday. There’s still half of it left and I’m so glad, because it came out really nice!

This post at Creator’s Joy gives you the steps for turning a cane into a veneer to cover a lizard (or seahorse) shape.

dragon #47 Felicity 2

For the wings I wanted something similar, but not exactly the same, so I made a Stroppel cane. You can see how it’s done by the designer herself, Alice Stroppel, who figured out this clever way to use up old cane bits and pieces.

People have taken this idea and RUN with it! Check out this Pinterest search for Stroppel cane.

dragon #47 Felicity 3

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

dragon #47 Felicity 4

Felicity’s castle was base coated with a deep purple and then covered with a crackled white. The gold accents were done with Inca Gold Gilder’s paste.

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015. Only five more to go!

Nov 052015
 

dragon #46 Doyle 1

A steampunk dragon has been on my to-do list from the very beginning of this weekly polymer clay challenge. I don’t know why it took me until week 46 to do it. He was so much fun!

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

dragon #46 Doyle 2

Doyle started out as an aluminum foil body and neck. That not only saves on clay but makes the baking time for a larger sculpture more reasonable.  The thickest part of his body is 2 inches thick, and baking at 30 minutes for every 1/4-inch would mean four hours of baking!

He still needed 90 minutes because of the 3/4-inch thickness of his tail.

Doyle is about 6 inches from his nose to the bend in his tail, and 5 inches tall from the table to the tips of his horns.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

steampunk gears

I shared this image on Instagram on Monday, giving a sneak peek of his tail at the top. :-)

My friends who repair clocks for a living were kind enough to give me a box full of old parts and pieces. I sorted them all into this box.

It’s kind of a fun challenge to dig through and decide what can be used where.

dragon #46 Doyle 3

For the metallic colors I used Perfect Pearls and Gilder’s Pastes.

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

dragon #46 Doyle 4

The wings came out amazing, imho. 😀  The clock hands bent slightly, so I could give each wing a bit of a curve.

That cool square texture on the wings is from a sanding mesh, found in the paint section. It’s fun to poke around in the hardware store and then bring this weird assortment of things to the checkout. The guys just look at me, certain I have no idea what I’m doing. haha

dragon #46 Doyle 5

Isn’t he the cutest thing with his funny goggles and windup tail?