Mar 192014
 

Last week I showed you some faux lapis lazuli beads I made using Desiree’s tutorial.

faux lapis lazuli beads (2)

This week I thought I’d try a matching pendant with the rest of the color mix.

lapis lazuli dragon pendant (2)

The purple mold is one I made with Castin’ Craft EasyMold Silicone Putty, it’s of one of the dragon cameos I made a while back.

I use the ball tool to push hard and pack the clay into the mold so it will pick up all the detail.

lapis lazuli dragon pendant (1)

Meh.

The variations in the clay mix don’t do much for the details of the pendant. Ah, well. You gotta try a lot of things that don’t work before you hit on the few that do. :-) Not sure whether I’m going to ball this up and start over, or bake it and try to make it work. Hmmmm……

Happy creating!

Mar 182014
 

Happy Wednesday again!  Spring’s official arrival  is in just a few days. Yaaaaay.  But here in New England it won’t appear in reality for another month or so. Booooo.

As a result, you can see the spring fever on my desk today, with all the bright and happy colors.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

2014 03 19 woyww colorful cane (1)

It’s day 12 of  my personal Make It In March challenge, where I’ve promised to not only make something creative every weekday in March, but to blog about it as well.

Last week I shared a kaleidoscope cane tutorial on Polymer Clay Central. Today I decided to try it for myself.

2014 03 19 woyww colorful cane (2)

The plan was to make another square kaleidoscope cane and cover another lizard, but this design absolutely insisted on being hexagonal.  I argued with it fiercely, reminding it how I dislike dealing with the 60° angles, but to no avail.

It’s pretty, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  Any suggestions?

Making canes is fun, it’s kinda magical to slice into one and see the results, but I think I prefer sculptural work. I’ll definitely never be one of those super-precise cane makers.

Wondering why I’ve shared a photo of my messy workdesk?  That’s because it’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday. Come and join us in our weekly snoop into the desks of creative people around the world.  It’s fun and often quite inspirational.

Happy creating!

Mar 172014
 

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

kaleidoscope cane lizard (1)

Ok, I am in love with this kaleidoscope cane and think I must do one in every possible color. (The sparkly specks are glitter, as I ran out of plain white and had to use some glitter white. Time to go buy more clay!)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (2)

I followed the visual tutorial on Almu Mendelbaum’s Flickr stream to make this glowing star-like cane. (Click to the left on her stream to get the rest of the steps.)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (5)

I decided to make another canework lizard, this time following the steps a bit more carefully, and with much better results. :-)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (4)

I don’t think I’ll be giving Jon Anderson a run for his money any time soon! (I felt privileged to get to see and even handle some of his work at the El Paso airport last summer, and it’s even more amazing in real life than in the photos.)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (3)

Hubby thinks I should make all my dragons this way, covered in cane slices.  Which do you prefer, the visual texture of the canes, or actual texture?

Check back tomorrow for the next Make it in March project.

Happy creating!

Mar 142014
 

One fun thing about polymer clay is how it can mimic almost any material.

faux lapis lazuli beads (1)

My project today was to follow Desiree’s tutorial on making faux lapis lazuli beads. I used my Bead Roller to make oval beads and then flattened them.

faux lapis lazuli beads (2)

Many of the holes are wonky, but I do love how the colors and patterning came out.

If you could, what kinds of stones or materials would you imitate?

Check back on Monday for day 11 of my Make It In March challenge.

Have a great weekend and happy creating!

Mar 132014
 

Today’s project was a fun one, I made this little lizard guy. If you’d like to know how to  make your own, I found the guidelines (not a complete tutorial) at the Polymer Clay Workshop website.

canework lizard (1)

He’s covered with slices from a cane I made a while back from a kaleidoscope cane article in the Fall 2004 issue of Polymer Cafe. (That issue is sold out, but here’s a kaleidoscope cane tutorial on Polymer Clay Central.)

canework lizard (2)

It took just as much time to get the toes right as it did to do everything else. I can’t tell you how helpful it was to have my magnifying lamp to do those tiny details. (We’ve used that light SO much in our household: to remove splinters, to read teeny tiny writing on bottles, for itty bitty repairs, it’s awesome.)

canework lizard (4)

Here he is, slithering across my keyboard, just to give you an idea of the size. He’s about 3 1/2 inches long.  This is definitely a technique I want to revisit, but with a cane made for the project.

Check back tomorrow to see the end of week 2 of my Make It In March Challenge.

Happy creating!

 

Mar 122014
 

Have you ever bought a garment and loved it so much you wished you’d bought it in every color, and three of each?

batik-skirt-outfit

If so, then you know how I feel about this fuchsia knit top. The fit is perfect, I love the style, it’s utterly comfortable and I adore the color.

Sadly, though, it’s showing the love and getting a bit ragged around the edges. So today I’m making a pattern from it so I can make copies over and over.

This is a fairly simple garment to copy, there’s no fancy inner seaming, it’s just a front, back and sleeves.  The trick will be finding a knit with a similar amount of stretch so the fit will be the same.

fuschia top pattern (1)

To copy the front and back, first pin the side seams together. Also, turn one sleeve wrong side out and place it inside the other.  Use large sheets of paper (newsprint, tissue paper, tracing paper) on a padded surface, such as an ironing board.

Line up the front center fold on a straight line of the paper and pin in place along the fold, then use a serrated edge tracing wheel or a tracing wheel with needle points to trace over the side seam line. Leave pins in at the underarm and the neckline, then smooth out the armscye and trace that.

You can’t see the marks in the photos, but the teeth of the tracing wheel will leave lines that you can draw over to make your pattern.

fuschia top pattern (2)

Continue, leaving pins in at pivot points then smoothing out the fabric so you can trace each section.

If using a knit, be careful not to stretch it out of shape.

When doing the sleeves, fold one sleeve in half, mark a long straight line in the center of your pattern and line up the fold to that. Trace one half, mark whether it’s the front or back, then flip the sleeve to the other side of the line and trace the other half of the sleeve.

Add seam allowances, make notes to yourself about pertinent information and you have a pattern!

Now I’m off to buy some more fuchsia knit. :-)

Do you have any garments you’d like to clone?

Mar 112014
 

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart

Hello and welcome to another What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday where you can plainly see that what’s on  my workdesk today is Mr. Cheech.

He was sprawled out on the white containers in the back, but then jumped up to steal my seat when I got up to take the photo. The cute little brat. :-)

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart partial

Other things that aren’t so clear are bunches of tangled & twisted copper wire. Thankfully, these are purposefully twisted into a heart. This project isn’t my own design, just to let you know, but comes from the February 2011 issue of Bead and Button magazine.

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart 3

By the way, I did figure out how to remove the enamel coating from the copper wire my son recycled for me. (You can see it here, with enamel intact. It gives a more reddish look.)

That’s what the candle is for.  One pass through the flame and the coating burns off, then a few swipes with 400 grit sandpaper removes the firescale leaving shiny bare copper wire. Hopefully it will accept a nice patina, once the weather  gets warm enough to use liver of sulfur again.

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart 2

Here’s my finished heart. Dunno what I’m going to do with it. Any suggestions?

Like to see the creative spaces of other crafty people? Then you’ll want to check out the weekly blog party we call What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy creating!

Mar 102014
 

My son saw me wire wrapping this bracelet with copper wire and decided to pull the wire out of a bunch of electronics he had saved for recycling. Now I’ve got piles of 28 gauge copper wire and figured I’d better do something with some of it.

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-2

Top drilled beads are wrapped with just wire, not head pins or eye pins, so I went digging around in my stash for some some drops that would work.

The only bummer is that this kind of wire has an enamel coating, so it won’t patina with liver of sulfur. Any suggestions for a quick and easy way to remove the coating?

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-1

I’m really liking the mix of earthy tones in this bracelet, but it feels like it still needs something.  Perhaps if I come across some drops in an amber color, those will be the perfect finishing touch.

You can watch the Messy Wrap Drop Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials: 

  • total of 7 inches chain for bracelet base (mine uses 6-inches of large link and 1-inch smaller links)
  • 12 – 8mm Swarovski crystal top-drilled bicone beads in color Mocha
  • 8 – 15mm red dyed stone top-drilled triangle shape beads
  • lobster clasp
  • approximately seven yards 28 gauge copper wire (reclaimed from the inside of discarded electronics)

 Tools: 

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • wire cutters 
  1. Cut wire into 8 – 16-inch pieces and 12 – 10-inch pieces. To straighten wire, hold one end firmly with chain nose pliers and slide through nylon jaw pliers several times.
  2. Slide a 16-inch piece of wire into a 15mm bead, leaving an inch sticking out one end. Bend both wire ends up at 90-degree angle to hole of bead. Bend wires over top of bead, making a triangle shape. Bend remaining ends of wire up, perpendicular to bead hole.  Grasp both wires with chain nose pliers at top of triangle and bend at 90° angle.
  3. Treating both wires as one grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Slightly twist loop open and slide over a link of your bracelet chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers.
  4. Wrap remaining wire around bends and down to cover bead hole.  You will be building up a cone shape of wire from the bottom of the loop to just below the bead holes. Tuck in wire end with chain nose pliers.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 to wire wrap all 15mm beads with 16-inch pieces of wire and 8mm Swarovski crystal bicones with 10-inch pieces of wire and attach to bracelet.
  6. If necessary, attach all pieces of chain together to make length of bracelet. Use jump ring to attach lobster clasp.
Mar 072014
 

Today’s project is from a Craftsy class, Make Your Own Wirework Findings.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while, but didn’t have the heavy gauge wire necessary.

paddled copper headpin earrings

These headpins are 12 gauge copper wires with one end hammered into a paddle shape. You then slide on the beads (the green ones are lampwork beads I made a long time ago when I had a lampwork studio) and then roll over the loop.  Simple, but quite interesting.

make-your-own-wirework-findings

Watching Lisa demonstrate in the class I always had the feeling there was something tricky and mine would never come out shaped nicely, but her tips and tricks made them come out pretty good, imo. :-)

The next step will be to make some matching ear wires, also taught in this class.

Check back on Monday for day 6 of Make It In March. In the meantime, happy creating!

Mar 062014
 

Today instead of playing with polymer clay, I decided to work with 14 gauge copper wire and try one of the projects from Cindy Wimmer’s The Missing Link: From Basic to Beautiful Wirework Jewelry.

little orbits metal links

Cindy’s book walks you through making several different shapes and styles of wire links for jewelry. I love that the book isn’t project based, but gives you a jumping off point for your own creativity.

The links I made are ones she calls “Little Orbits.” They involve making large rings from heavy gauge wire, flattening and texturing the wire and then wrapping it with finer gauge wires, either twisted or not, messy or neat, matching or contrasting.

I think I’m going to love using these in projects and they’ll look even better after a patina with liver of sulfur.

Happy Creating!