Jul 102015
 

friday findings-flush cutters

Today’s video is another Friday Findings video in my series on jewelry making tools. This week I’m talking about flush cutters. When you’re first starting jewelry making you can get away with using regular old wire cutters, and then just use a file to smooth your wire edges. But you’ll find soon that you really want to get a pair of flush cutters.

Here are the ones I own:

It’s good to have a larger pair for cutting heavier wire and a smaller pair for getting into tight places.

In today’s video I explain how flush cutters work, and give you some tips for how to use them.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Flush Cutters video over at YouTube.

Jul 092015
 

This week you get to meet a pair of dragon twins, Castor & Pollux.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 1

Interestingly, when my husband looked at them he thought they were underwater dragons. What do you think?

To learn why I’m making a dragon every week check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details.

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 2

I decided to make two dragons because my plan for catching up on the one I was behind on from when I was sick wasn’t working. I had thought to make one quick dragon and then if I had time to make another one that same week, but that simply never happened.

So it seemed smarter to make two at the same time. Also, that worked out with this large column piece that I had in my stash. I’ve pulled it out to use several times, but it always seemed too big for any one dragon. It’s perfect for two dragons, though. :-)

By the way do you recognize where the that column is from? I found it at PetSmart in the fish aisle. It’s a piece of aquarium decoration!

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 3

The clay mix that I used to cover the dragons is based on Suzanne Ivester’s Polymer Chef column in the July 2015 issue of Polymer Café magazine. She calls it “Harmony Grits.” Her idea was to mix colored grits in with translucent clay to make an interesting texture.

I decided I didn’t feel like buying an entire box of grits, which my family will never eat, just to use 2 teaspoons. So instead I ground up some rice in a spice grinder.

It’s an interesting effect but I think the starch in the rice dried out my clay as it made it quite stiff and crumbly. I did have fun adding the foils to the wings, which I think in part gives them sort of that underwatery look.

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 4

If you’d like to keep up with my dragon creations this year, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Jul 072015
 

Welcome to another What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

woyww 07 08 spinning beads

On my workdesk today are two major projects. The first one, as is common on these What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesdays, is that I am working on Thursday’s dragon. There are bits and pieces of that project on the white tile, but the dragons are not in evidence because I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Check back on Thursday for the results. :-)

The other project you can see is a new bead spinner and some seed beads. This is a hint as to an upcoming jewelry making video. I haven’t tried one of these before. They do get mixed reviews but I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to play with it.

So that’s all I’ve got going on this Wednesday. Join us over at Julia’s for a fun desk hop all around the world.

Jul 062015
 

Sparkleberries Cuff Bracelet.JPG

Today’s bracelet in juicy, summer colors is quick & easy and uses only minimal supplies: beads, spacer bars, memory wire, wire cutters & round nose pliers.

I love the rather unexpected combination of sparkling crystals with these bright beads, but I can also see this looking great in several shades of turquoise. Really, any of your favorite colors would work great!

Btw, after wearing this bracelet  made the way I show in the video, I decided I didn’t like those beads dangling off the ends. Instead I remade it, beginning and ending with a spacer bar and having 6 beads between each spacer bar.

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch the Sparkleberries Cuff Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

These directions reflect how I made the first version, the one I show in the video.

Materials:

  • 3 8.5-inches pieces bracelet memory wire
  • 78 6mm beads
  • 6 3 hole spacer bars

Tools:

  • memory wire cutters
  • round nose pliers
  1. Use round nose pliers to make a loop on one end of each piece of memory wire.
  2. Onto a piece of memory wire slide 3 beads, one hole of a spacer bar, 4 beads and another spacer bar. If spacer bars have 2 different sides, make sure all are facing in the same direction.
  3. Repeat stringing on 4 beads and a spacer bar until all spacer bars are used. String on 3 beads, trim memory wire to 1/2-inch from last bead. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with remaining wire.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 using remaining memory wire and going through remaining holes of spacer bars.
  5. If you like you can add charm or bead dangles to the loops of memory wire.

Alternatively, you can add a spacer bar at the beginning, then have 6 beads between each spacer and end with a spacer bar. This will use 90 beads.

 

 

Jul 032015
 

friday findings nylon jaw pliers

This week’s tool is one that once I got them I didn’t know how I ever lived without them. The nylon jaw pliers are indispensable for straightening out wire. They’re also great for holding onto things that you don’t want to mark up with your tool.

This link brings you to a quality pair which has the replaceable jaws. I also bought a half-dozen of the jaws just so I have them on hand whenever I need to replace them.

Nylon Jaw Plier – PLR-830

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Nylon Jaw Pliers video over at YouTube.

Jul 022015
 

This week’s dragon is Florence. She was supposed to be a quick and easy dragon this week. In fact, I was thinking that perhaps I could use this “quick and easy” dragon to get caught up on the one dragon that I’m behind because of the week I was sick.

To learn why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015 check out this post on Errol, dragon #1.

dragon #25 Florence (1)

Making the armature and building up the base body went quickly, but adding all those little swirls and dots took forEVAH.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #25 Florence (2)

Both the people that have seen her in progress have described her as “psychedelic.” I guess so, I think of her more as a tie-dyed look. Whatever you call it, she certainly is colorful!

dragon #25 Florence (3)

All of the spirals and swirls on her body were made by chopping up a mixture of my scrap blue and green clays, rolling them into a log, and then putting that log into my extruder with the very thin spaghetti disk. The resulting strings are all the different shades of blues and greens that you see here.

dragon #25 Florence (4)

The wings were fun to do, I traced the shapes onto an index card and then used leftover extruded bits of clay to shape them.

dragon #25 Florence (5)

 A fun project and an interesting one, but definitely not quick. :-)

If you’d like to keep up with my dragon creations this year, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Jun 302015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 07 01 woyww extruder dragon

On this week’s work desk, you might not be able to tell, but I am working on dragon number 25. Those blue stripy things you see on the center tile are actually polymer clay. They are strings of clay that have been extruded with the tool that’s to the right of the tile, the black one with the handle.

To the right of that on top of the white case you’ll see a log of various blues and greens. That is clay of the same type that went into the extruder and then it comes out with all these shades and variations in color. Those are going to go onto this week’s dragon.  Check back on Thursday to see the final results!

Also on the lower right corner of the table you can see five copper stacking rings that I made with my soldering set up. It was great playing with fire again, as I’ve missed it since my lampworking days.

This project was quite easy to do, basically you make big jump rings and then solder the seams closed. And then you use texturing hammers to shape them and give them different textures.

copper stack rings

If you’d like to learn how to make some for yourself, the class is free over at Craftsy. It’s Micro Torch Basics. The teacher, Kate Richbourg, is excellent and goes into far more detail than I’d expect in a free class.  Of course, the class accomplished its purpose.  It made me want to (a) run out and buy a torch, and (b) sign up for more of her classes! I’m already planning my next soldering project. :-)

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

Jun 292015
 

magma sparkle earrings (2)

In today’s earrings I show you how easy it is to not only make your own wire frames, but how you can construct your own chain. It’s so simple you’ll be amazed you didn’t think it of before!

These dangly earrings combine black wire with red and earthy colored Swarovski crystal beads for a look that makes me think of a volcano sending forth lava.  Of course, you make yours in whatever colors work perfectly for you. :-)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Magma Sparkle Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 3-inch pieces 20 gauge wire
  • 2 ear wires
  • 20 head pins
  • 20 6mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads (I used the Swarovski mix called “Earth.”)
  • 14 4mm jump rings

Tools:

  • 2 pairs chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
Jun 262015
 

friday findings-flat nose pliers

In this week’s Friday Findings video I tell you all about one of my favorite tools, flat nose pliers. Flat nose pliers aren’t strictly necessary in jewelry making but I’ve found them to be really useful. In the video I show you a couple of my favorite uses for this simple tool.

Here are a few links for different styles of flat nose pliers:

You’ll find the main variations in flat nose pliers are the length of the jaws and the width of the jaws.

If you’re just starting out in jewelry making I recommend instead of flat nose pliers that to start you get yourself a couple pairs of chain nose pliers.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Flat Nose Pliers video over YouTube.

Jun 252015
 

This week’s dragon is Lüsèlóng (pronounced loose-a-long.) He’s another one from the Tigers Voyage book, and the third dragon they encounter on their trip.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #24 Luselong 1

I think I have I’ve had the most fun with this dragon so far adding all of the details that the author describes in the book.

If you’d like to keep up with my dragon creations this year, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

dragon #24 Luselong 2

Here are some of the descriptions from the novel.

  • long sinuous body
  • bearded
  • long tongue
  • four short limbs with taloned feet
  • earth dragon
  • green
  • golden eye
  • camoflagued in trees
  • head is brown and knobby like old driftwood
  • snout is long like a crocodile with pointed teeth
  • large antlers on back of the head
  • moss hanging off the horns in sections
  • golden taloned feet
  • scales resemble green leaves layered over each other
  • brown beard & mane look like rich cocoa waves of corn silk
  • silky hair in a thin patch down its back like a horse’s mane endings in a long bushy tail

The branch that he’s sitting on is a bit of an oak tree that was taken down in our yard a few weeks ago. I think it suits him perfectly.

dragon #24 Luselong 3

He’s described as being a hunter and when the characters in the book first see him they actually can’t find him because he’s camouflaged in the trees. So I tried to make him look like he’s sitting there waiting to pounce on them.

This was a fun project, but all all those scales took a while to do. I do love how they came out though.

dragon #24 Luselong 4

I had to pre-bake him several times. First I baked the body without scales so that the shape would be set, then I added about half the scales and baked it again. That way I could hold onto the set scaled section while I added the remaining scales. All in all rather complex but I’m quite pleased with how he came out.

To learn why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015 check out this post on Errol, dragon #1.