Aug 152017
 

Have you ever purchased beads or charms just because you liked them, but without any idea what you were going to use them for?

starfish charms earrings cover

Since I don’t have unlimited funds I try not to purchase things without at least an idea of what I’m going to do with them, but sometimes you just have to go for it and trust that the ideas will come later!

That’s what I did with these starfish beads. I purchase them at Michael’s, they come on a strand of 12 beads, four each in antique copper, antique gold and antique silver finish.

They would make a really cute dangly charm bracelet just by stringing them onto head pins with some other beads and hanging them all from a bracelet chain, but that seemed kind of obvious and I’ve made lots and lots of charm bracelets.

Sooooooo….

In today’s video I give you ideas for using many of your beads and charms in unique ways and I’ll also give you tips for making your earrings hang nicely and keep your charms facing the way you want them to.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Starfish Charm Earrings-Jewelry Design Tutorial video at YouTube.

Aug 112017
 

In response to your viewer questions on several different polymer clay videos I’ve made today’s video. Hope you find it helpful!

ff polymer on glass

There seems to be some confusion about dealing with polymer clay:

  • when placed on non-porous surfaces like glass
  • and how to manage it after baking.

I hope that today’s video clears it all up for you, but please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.

Here are links to the videos I mention and also some of the supplies I like to use.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Keep Polymer Clay Stuck on Glass/Non-Porous Objects-Friday Findings Tutorial video at YouTube.

Aug 082017
 

All the lovely strands of Czech fire polish beads that I’ve received in recent months from my Dollar Bead Bag subscription are what got me started on today’s bracelet.

I knew they would look really pretty together as a multi-strand bracelet.

summer gypsy bracelet cover

Using a slide/tube clasp keeps the design simple and the focus on the beads. I added in just a few copper spacer beads to fill out the strands and tie all five of them together. The colors were inspired by summer and by the Summer Gypsy Earrings I made recently.

This bracelet has five strands, but add more if you like!

I ended up using three of my strands of Czech fire polish beads: Opaque Red Vintage Bronze Luster, Light Erinite and Crystal Light Beige Luster. These were filled in with some small turquoise nuggets and a strand of frosted orange glass seed beads.

You may have noticed some larger beads on my work table that I didn’t end up using in the finished bracelet. I had thought when I began to throw a few cute beads onto headpins and make a couple dangles near the clasp, but ended up changing my mind on that.

Picture how elegant this bracelet would look with all the strands the exact same beads. Simple and sophisticated. It would also be pretty done in ombré shades.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Summer Gypsy Bracelet-Beaded Jewelry Tutorial at YouTube.

Aug 042017
 

Have you heard of howlite? If you work at all with beads and jewelry you likely have seen a lot more of this gemstone than you realize.

ff howlite cover

If you’ve seen beads that are carved, shaped and then dyed bright colors, you’ve probably seen howlite!

howlite etsy

Howlite’s main claim to fame is that it is very soft and that means that it takes dye very well. In turn that means it is often used to imitate other stones such as turquoise, coral or even lapis lazuli.

howlite amazon

Although there are dishonest sellers will try to pass off dyed howlite as more expensive stones, you can tell an honest seller by the fact that their colorful stones are clearly labeled as dyed howlite.

howlite artbeads

If you think you might have some imitation gemstones you can check out the video by Gem Rock Auctions entitled “How to Tell the Difference Between Turquoise and Dyed Howlite.”

Although howlite is a fairly plain stone on its own, it definitely has its uses, whether to be dyed bright colors that cannot be found anywhere in nature or to be used as its own clean and simple white self.

You can find howlite:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Howlite, The Master of Disguise Gemstone-Friday Findings at YouTube.

Aug 012017
 

This lovely plover bead has been sitting on my studio table for way too long now. I’ve enjoyed looking at it but it was high time it got made into something wearable!

beach scene necklace cover

This bead was made by Shannon Vickers of Blue Blazes Lampwork.  You can also see what she’s up to on her Facebook page.

Many of you have told me that you enjoy the tutorials where I explain the design process. That’s why today’s video is longer than usual.

Let me know which you prefer:

  • shorter videos
  • or more of my rambling about design.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Beach Scene Necklace-Lampwork Focal Bead Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jul 312017
 

Yay, I finally got back to my figure challenge!

2017 pcfc #7 Everett cover

This fellas name is Everett and I titled him “Just Imagine.” Everett is kind of a geeky guy who loves all things adventure, fantasy and make believe.

Is he pretending to be Indiana Jones? A wizard? And what’s in that letter? Is it a call to come participate in some grand quest? Rescue a princess?

I’ll leave it to your imagination.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (1)

I have absolutely no idea why, but I totally love sculpting shoes, boots and hats! It was really no hardship to spend the afternoon staring at a young Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones while sculpting the Indiana Jones hat. 😎 I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (2)

My patrons were the first to get to see this, my latest figure sculpture. They got an advance viewing on Friday.  Just one of the little perks I like to send my patrons’ way.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (3)

Everett is number seven of the polymer clay figures I’ve made this year. This works out perfectly as July is the 7th month and I am now officially redefining my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge to be only one figure per month.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (4)

If I didn’t have other things to do, like things that bring in money to pay the bills, I would definitely want to keep working on two figures a month to continue growing my skills. But, you know, it’s ok because it’s good to be working on a variety of things at the same time.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (5)

I’ve also realized at this point that I am totally done with making figures that have any size to them without full wire armatures on the inside. It may be easier to sculpt without them, but I am so tired of their arms falling off! Argh.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (6)

Another thing I think I want to do more of is making soft bodies on a wire armature and clothing them with real fabrics. Since my first love is sewing I have quite a collection of fabrics, and I’ve been saving many special ones for dolls.

So perhaps I’ll make one or two more from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters because she has some interesting ideas for using millefiori techniques to make patterned fabric clothing out of clay. But then I think I’m going to go more to using actual fabrics.

Although I still want to sculpt the hats and the shoes!

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (7)

Watch a short video of Everett the Adventurer Wizard Wanna-Be at YouTube.

Jul 282017
 

Today I have for you a look at all the goodies in the July 2017 Dollar Bead Box and Bag. This is a monthly subscription service which brings Czech fire polish beads and/or an assortment of other beads and jewelry findings to your door. 

ff july 2017 bead box

It’s so much fun to get a box of beads in my mailbox every month!

Even if I usually have NO idea what I’m going to do with most of them, I love this kind of assortment because it challenges me. These boxes are great because they make you think creatively and open your mind to using new patterns, colors and materials.

What possibilities come to your mind when you see these beads? 

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Bead & Jewelry Supply Unboxing-July 2017 Dollar Bead Box Subscription-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jul 252017
 

I had prepared a completely different project for you this week: something involving handmade lampwork beads, lots of dangling wire wrapped components and a variety of interesting features to accent a large glass focal.

However, when it came time to sit down and record the video I just didn’t feel like it!

rose blush necklace cover

Instead my mind turned to a photo I had just come across on Pinterest of a very simple, yet elegant necklace. I then went digging through my stash to see if I could find two connector pieces to hold the multiple strands together. The ones I had in mind ended up not working, but I came across these pieces left over from another project.

As I mentioned in the video I recently re-organized all of my beads and findings, sorting them not only by color as they have always been, but also by type.

It’s only been a week or so since I’ve finished and I’ve already found the system to be much more useful in finding what I need and also seeing all the different sizes and variations I have of any one type of bead, such as these rose quartz beads, I found to my surprise I had them in 8 mm, 6 mm and 4 mm faceted (which I ended up not using in this project.)

You can add as many strands as you like to this design, just be sure to test out the lengths before you finish up your connections so that everything drapes nicely inside each other.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Rose Blush Necklace-Rose Quartz Statement Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube,

Jul 212017
 

Songmics asked if I would like to review another of their products, and since the jewelry box I previously reviewed for you wasn’t quite your traditional one, I chose this box, which looks a bit more like what you’d expect from a jewelry box.

ff jewelry box review

I also chose it because of the intriguing configuration. I really like the way so much storage is tucked into this fairly small space. The miniature travel size jewelry box is really cute, too!

This is their Amazon description: Songmics Jewelry Box Girls Jewelry Organizer Mirrored Mini Travel Case Lockable Black. I guess that says it all!

Although I’m not quite sure why they stopped at “Girls,” as it could work very nicely for women or men as well.

This case is off to some special who is having a birthday soon. I hope she likes it!

Enjoy the video review and happy creating!

Watch the Jewelry Box-Organizer-Travel Case-Lockable-Friday Findings Product Review video at YouTube.

Jul 182017
 

I love how creative ideas multiply! It’s really true what somebody once said that as long as you are working with your creativity you can never run out of ideas. The more you work in the creative arts trying to express what it is you want to convey the more ideas will come to you.

altered feathered fringe cover

As I’ve mentioned before, this has helped me to recently understand why artists work in series. It’s because one idea truly does beget another. As creative people we are always asking, “What if?”

A  couple weeks ago I shared with you my Feathered Fringe  Earrings. I wasn’t totally in love with them when I finish making them, but I have found since that I do really enjoy wearing them, mostly because of the dangle factor. But as I mentioned in the video, I found myself questioning when I started writing the descriptions about boho and gypsy. With all that bright silver were they really?

Then I remembered a technique I learned some time ago from a card and paper crafts artist, Jennifer McGuire. She showed how to use embossing powders to alter metal charms which she mostly used for decorating cards and scrapbooks.

The key to using these embossing powders successfully in jewelry is to make sure that they are fully melted.

If you are using an embossing powder that doesn’t melt to a smooth shiny finish it can be tricky, so always test them by rubbing firmly with your fingers. If the embossing powders come off then you need to recoat with sticky ink and try embossing again, perhaps for a slightly longer time, but being careful not to scorch.

To continue the boho and gypsy style my funky altered feathered fringe pendant was hung with just a simple lark’s head knot on 1/8 inch suede strips . I suspect this one is going to get a lot of wear this summer!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Alter & Customize Jewelry Findings-Altered Feathered Fringe-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.