Feb 072017
 

sweet spring tulip bracelet cover

This project is yet another one that was inspired by the materials. The soft pink and green pressed glass beads along with the frosted white crackle beads make for a delicate and feminine bracelet. 

Although stringing beads is fairly simple, it can take some time to plan the arrangement so it suits your particular aesthetic.

In the video there are several screen shots taken with my phone showing the stages of planning this design. I share with you my thinking on each one and why I did it the way I did.

If you have a smart phone it really is a great tool for helping you figure layouts, remember what you decided and then reference the photos when it’s time to put it together.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Sweet Spring Tulip Bracelet-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Feb 042017
 

ff french wire cover

French wire is one of those jewelry findings I had seen mentioned on occasion, but never had the opportunity to try. It’s not something your local craft store usually carries in their jewelry making section, but eventually I was intrigued enough to order some online.

After having a chance to play and experiment a little bit I have to say that French wire is my kind of product: one with a terrific intended use, but unlimited potential for other possibilities. Oh yes, I do love possibilities. 🙂

In today’s video I’ll show you how to use French wire with bead weaving wire and with beading thread, plus give you lots of ideas and suggestions for different ways you can use French wire in your jewelry and other creations.

French wire comes in a few basic finishes. Be sure to double check the diameter size your are getting based on what you plan to use it for.

If you’d like a wider selection, Fire Mountain Gems has French wire in copper, black and even with fancy twists.

Btw, I mention at 1:30 in the video that I have a Friday Findings video on wire protectors, but it appears that I never made one, except perhaps in my mind! I was certain that I had. Weird. 

Guess I know what I’ll be recording next week. 😀

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Use French Wire In Your Jewelry-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Feb 012017
 

Today I am pleased to introduce you to Patricia. She is the second in my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge. She is the third of the neighborhood kids projects in Maureen Carlson’s book, How to Make Clay Characters.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl

I had it in my mind to give Patricia something other than a football to hold as I had given the other two projects pets/animals. The little girl had a kitty cat on her lap and Philip, the first of my challenge figures for this year, had birds singing along with him.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 2

But then I realized that the Patriots would be playing in the AFC championship game and if they won that they’d be going on to the Super Bowl, which as you know, indeed they are! So I decided to keep the football and turned my attention to making a Patriots logo on Patricia’s shirt.

patriots logo stencils

This involved finding the logo online, printing it out at 1 inch wide and then cutting the tiniest five-part stencil I have ever seen! I’m quite pleased with how it came out. For a while there I was afraid it would be a total mess. But it’s just a matter of practicing controlling the consistency & amount of paint.

2017 #2 Patricia -Super Bowl 3

As with Philip, there are a million and one things wrong with this figure. But I am happy that her hands are marginally better than his, even though very far from perfect, and her face is marginally better, although there are many improvements that could be made. I really enjoyed doing details like her shoe laces and the curly hair.

And if the patriots do win the Super Bowl this Sunday I will definitely be making a championship banner for Patricia to hold!

For a 360° view of Patricia, check out her video on YouTube.

Jan 312017
 

If you’ve been watching my Friday findings videos for any time at all you’ve probably realized that I love not only discovering new jewelry findings that I haven’t used before, but also figuring out unique and different ways of using them.

storms & sunshine bracelet cover

I love the sleek look of these magnetic clasps, and I also love the fact that they are easy to fasten because of the magnetic closure,  but secure because of the design. These findings were designed to accept the cut ends of leather cording, making what could be rather masculine bracelets, certainly on trend with all of the dyed and interesting different types of leather cord available now.

I decided to try something different with these and used multiple lengths of hemp cord. Stringing a few small beads onto several of the cords adds a decorative touch without being overwhelming.

Probably the trickiest part of this project is getting the cords glued neatly into the findings. I tried a couple different ways and in the video I show you what worked best for me.

This is a fun project because it only uses three jewelry components: the clasp, the cord and the beads. For tools all you need are glue, a toothpick and some scissors.

I call the bracelet “Storms and Sunshine” because the gray & blue cords make me think of stormy skies, but the brass beads are bright and sunny. Perhaps a bit too poetic? But better than “Magnetic Clasp Bracelet With Multiple Strands of Hemp Cord and Brass Beads,” methinks. 🙂

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Storms & Sunshine Bracelet Jewelry Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Jan 272017
 

One of my viewers commented on another YouTube video with a question about how to get bracelets to fit correctly. Since this is an issue I often encounter: sometimes they’re too small, sometimes they’re too big, and sometimes, only sometimes, they are just right, I thought we probably aren’t the only ones with this difficulty.

ff bracelet fitting

In today’s video I’ll give you some tips for things to watch out for in sizing bracelets, explain a few steps to take when making bracelets for customers or commissions and show why every well-fitting bracelet is not exactly the same length!

Several of the bracelets I show in the video are from previous tutorials. Here are links to them in case you missed them or would like to watch again.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Bracelets: How to Get the Perfect Fit-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jan 242017
 

In last week’s video I showed you how to make two of the focal beads for this half-and-half bracelet. The other half consists of strung beads, which, as I mentioned in the video, it’s a good idea to choose first. It’s easier to choose your purchased beads or from among your stash and then match the polymer clay beads to those rather than the other way around.

faux ceramic bracelet cover pt 2

In this week’s video I will show you how to make a really pretty decorative copper hook clasp and then how to use waxed linen twine to string your whole bracelet together.

This is a nice project for using up small amounts of special beads, as each of our four strands is only about 3 to 3 1/2 inches long. You do have to make sure, though, that the beads you choose will allow a strand of waxed linen to go through them.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Faux Ceramic Bead Bracelet Part 2-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

If you missed it, watch  the Faux Ceramic Bead Bracelet Part 1-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial.

Jan 202017
 

The more art I make the more I understand why artists often work in series. Although I’m a “dabbler” at heart, I love to try All. The. Things, there are some times when I just want to stay put on an idea and really explore it.

Bead weaving is not my main thing and I don’t expect that it will ever be, but it’s one of those crafts that I like to return to every so often. As I explain in the video, buying the wrong beads to create a necklace chain set me off this time. I don’t know what it was, but I found myself driven to try many different patterns, especially using the super duos that I’ve been talking about so much lately.

ff beadweaving inspiration

And then suddenly one day, as I knew would happen, I suddenly was over it. Done for now. But I thought you would like to see some of the jewelry that I completed as I shared some of the process on my Instagram feed.

elinor bracelet

Here is another one I made, it was a gift for a friend so I didn’t have it when I made the video, but took the opportunity to snap a photo when she gave it back to me to add the safety chain. The pattern is the Elinor bracelet from Linda’s Crafty Inspirations, this link will bring you to where you can see other color combinations and download the free pattern.

Below are links to patterns, designs or tutorials for each of the projects shown in the video. Some of the designs are free online and some of the designers are charging a few dollars for their patterns. I can assure you the paid patterns are well worth it, as these designers put a lot of time, expertise and trial and error into working out these projects for you.

If you plan to make these projects to sell be sure to check each designer’s policies regarding that (most don’t allow you to teach them, btw.) Also, give them credit for their designs when sharing them online.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Beadweaving Inspiration-Where to Find Patterns & Tutorials-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jan 192017
 

In my year-in-review post a couple weeks ago I alluded to the possibility of doing another personal polymer clay challenge for 2017. As I was disappointed in several of the things I didn’t get done in 2016 I’ve decided that this needs to happen.

My dragon challenge of 2015 was a success, but oh-so-much work! And it took oh-so-much time. Since I’ve got more going on these days this year’s challenge will be a little less demanding. 🙂

My goal this year is to make two polymer clay figures each month. I’ll share the results on or around the 15th and 30th of every month. As you can see from the photo and video, I’ve already completed the first of 24 sculptures. 

philip make a joyful noise

I was really pleased with the more relaxed pace of working on this piece over the course of two weeks. I could do a little bit here, a little bit there and was able to take the time to add things or make changes as I liked, rather than being constrained by a strict deadline.

I named this sculpture “Make a Joyful Noise,” and the boy’s name is Phillip. I know there are many, many things that could be improved, but I’m still happy with him and his flock of singing friends. Phillip is based on Studious Stan from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.

For me the trickiest part of making this was the hands, they just gave me a terrible time. But I’ve found a really nice YouTube channel with lots of sculpting help and this video: Tips on Sculpting Tiny Fairy Hands. I’m excited to try her tips on my next sculpture!

For a 360° view watch the Polymer Clay 2017 Figure Challenge-#1 Make A Joyful Noise video on YouTube.

Have you set yourself any goals or challenges for the upcoming year? It’s never too late to start a personal challenge!

Happy creating!

Jan 172017
 

I’ve always been a fan of these half and half style bracelets. Perhaps it’s because you can cram so much into one small piece of jewelry: multiple strands of beads, interesting and artistic focals, and even a fancy hand forged clasp.

faux ceramic bracelet cover pt 1

In today’s video I will show you how to make the faux ceramic bead and the textured round bead. If you are intrigued by the faux ceramic look it may be worth your while to do some experimenting with other liquid polymers and other coloring media such as oil paints.

In this video I don’t show you how to make the swirly lentil bead, because that’s truly a project in and of itself. But here are a few tutorials, some basic and some quite detailed, that show you how you can make your own. If you don’t want to bother just find a lovely purchased bead or one from your stash.

In next week’s video I will show you how to make the decorative copper hook clasp and how to string it all together.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Faux Ceramic Bead Bracelet Part 1-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jan 132017
 

Over the years I have lost a lot of jewelry, sometimes it was due to faulty catches, but more often to my own carelessness. So it is an understatement to say that I am deeply suspicious of magnetic catches that pull apart too easily.

ff magnetic clasps (1)

However, recently I took another look at magnetic clasps and realized that they have a lot of redeeming features, such as being easier for those with hand difficulties to use, and that there are magnetic clasp designs that are more secure than others.

In today’s video I will show you several different styles of catches, explain a few things to look for in a magnetic catch and also show you a way to make the worst of the lot far more secure.

Be sure to watch to the end of the video to learn about a time my mom lost a very nice piece of jewelry, although it was certainly not her fault nor that of the catch!

Here are links to a few of the clasps (and others like them) that I show in the video:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Using Magnetic Clasps in Your Jewelry-Friday Findings video at YouTube.