Sep 262013
 

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Tim Holtz’s September tag is all about using layers of stencils with a variety of media.  I don’t have any of his new stencils, but I’ve got plenty of the metal ones used for embossing.

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This worked out well, as the first layer is done with embossing paste.  I repeated the trees a few times at different heights to get the start of a forest.

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The next step was to pounce a stencil layer with Picket Fence Distress Stain.  I did the moon (and some stars which you don’t really see) and this ended up being my favorite part of the card.  I LOVE the way it peeks through the trees.

The ribbon is some white silk ribbon colored with Wild Honey Distress Stain and then aged with a bit of Vintage Photo Distress ink.

The charms were antiqued by squirting on a bit of black enamel accents, rubbing it into the crevices with my finger then rubbing off the excess.

Another layer was done with this Dreamweaver stencil, Bare Trees.  I didn’t really intend to make a Halloween card, but with the moon peeping out from behind those spooky trees, how could it be anything else?

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Interestingly, these trees don’t have to be spooky.  Here’s a card I made a while back with the same stencil.  White embossing paste on blue cardstock sprinkled with glitter while the paste was still wet = winter wonderland, not spooky at all.

I love it when supplies are versatile!

Happy creating, all.  :-)

Sep 102013
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!  Since today’s desk is not very changed from last week, I thought I’d turn around and show the view behind me.

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Technically this is not a workdesk, but my ironing board.  However, being the second largest flat space in the room (besides the floor!) it does tend to get piled with stuff.

On the left is a quilt to be repaired.  It’s all handwork, so it’s a nice job to do as cooler fall days approach.

In the center is fabric and piping for a couple upholstered cushions for a friend.

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On the right is another top I made from a pattern I copied from a purchased garment.  This is version number five of this top, so you know I love it.  The yoke is made from linen, but seemed kinda plain, so I’m going to do some beading on it.

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You saw these polymer clay beads in last week’s post.  I did decide to string them, and like how it came out, but don’t know when or where I’d ever wear it. The water lily beads are a project from Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

So that’s what’s on one of my workdesks today. If you’d like to see what other creative people are up to this week, go check out the party over at Julia’s.

Happy Woyww and happy creating!

Sep 032013
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, all!  For your perusal I present today’s desk, full up with polymer clay.  Yeah, it’s kinda crowded. I seriously need a bigger desk.

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This past week I’ve been working on my piece from the Voila polymer clay art class, Ways to Wow.

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You can see here that I decided to go with a dragon, rather than a mermaid.  There are still many details to finish, but so far I think it’s really cute and happy.

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The book in the upper right of my desk is Christi Friesen’s Flourish.  It was months ago that I bought it, but I’m finally working through all the different ideas she has in there.

The beads in the above photo are for a water lily necklace.  Dunno that I’ll ever make it, much less wear it, but going through Christi’s step-by-steps is always instructive. :-)

So, that’s what’s in my workdesk this Wednesday.  If you have a little time and are in need of creative inspiration, be sure to check out lots of other desks over at Julia’s.

Happy creating!

Aug 272013
 

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Since early May I’ve been participating in Ways to Wow, a polymer clay art class over at Voila.  This past week I’ve been working hard on prototyping my piece. In the upper middle left you see one of the color tools I was working on last week.

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This little fish pond on the bottom right is my first prototype.

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I experimented with a few different colors for the fish, trying to figure out which is most effective.

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This was the second fairy I made and am not thrilled with the results.  The first fairy was so bad she ended up as a squished pile of scrap clay.  :(  Next I’m gonna try a little dragon instead. I can picture him peering into the pond, might be kinda cute.

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This is my second “pond” filled with resin – way too much resin I’m thinking.  It probably won’t cure until next week, lol. But that’s what prototyping is all about, eh?  Making mistakes and learning new things.  Hopefully in the end it will all come together well. :-)

Whatever you are creating, may you enjoy the process.

Happy creating and Happy Woyww!

Aug 212013
 

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Tim’s technique for this month was an interesting one. Rather than his usual style of lots & lots of layers of stuff, this involved using masks to make layers of stamping. It results in a nice flat card that has the look of dimension, but is easily mailed.

Naturally, I had to pick a stamp that was kinda tricky to make a mask from, Hero Art’s Silhouette Grass stamp. I only masked the solid parts of the grass, so the letters from my Old Letter Writing Stamp would show behind the thinner bits of the grass.

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My stamped butterflies were kind of lost, so I outlined them with a Picket Fence Distress Marker. The trick with this white marker is patience.  When you first put marker to paper, it looks like you’ve accomplished nothing, but if you wait just a few seconds, the white will appear.

A little bit of Vintage Photo Distress Ink around the edges and some Baker’s Twine finished it up.

It’s not the fanciest card I’ve ever made, but it was quick, and it’ll do. :-)

Happy creating!

Aug 202013
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, all! Today’s the day we take time to check out the desks of creative people from all over. Some are messy, some are neat, but all are interesting and creative. You can get all the details over at Julia’s.

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My desk today is actually fairly clean, but it does show a few things I’ve been working on.

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I saw this earring holder in an ad on the back of a magazine.  Crafter that I am, I said, “Hey, I can make that!”

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And, so I did.  It’s in the oven baking right now and will be perfect for taking photos of earrings.

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These bargello beads/pendants are a project from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations which I’ve been working through.  This  book is fantastic for learning about how to effectively use color in your work.

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And finally, I needed some way to keep all my polymer clay tools organized.  Having them all in a container just wasn’t working.  They all would just fall against each other, lean on each other and hide the smaller tools.  So I constructed these dividers out of foam core and glued them into a photo box.  So far it’s working perfectly. :-)

Hope you are having a happy and creative day!

Aug 182013
 

Have I mentioned how much I love Craftsy classes?

I have?

Oh, well, I have to  mention it again, they are awesome.

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Anyhow, after making these earrings last week I couldn’t stop making those wire wrapped round components. So, I made this necklace.

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It was also an opportunity to use these polymer clay beads that I got on Etsy a while back.

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if you want to try to make those round components yourself (plus many, many other great lessons) check out Craftsy’s Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals and Clusters.

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I’ve made a video for you explaining how to put together the necklace. Happy Creating!

Wire Wrapped Decorative Ring Triple Strand Necklace

Materials:

  • assorted beads of your choice
  • bead stringing wire, 2 yards
  • 6 crimp beads
  • 6 crimp covers
  • 6 wire protectors
  • 2 – 1 inch to 1.5 inch decorative rings for hanging bead strands (see this class for how to make the ones I used)
  • 2 – 8 inch pieces necklace chain
  • 26 gauge wire
  • 4 jump rings
  • clasp

Tools:

  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping tool, if desired
  • bead design board
  • flexible tape measure

Directions:

  1. Arrange beads in your desired design on a bead design board. Working from spool, string center strand of beads onto bead stringing wire.
  2. Slide end of wire through a crimp cover, (if necessary) a crimp bead and through both holes of a wire protector. Slide wire protector over a decorative ring. Slide end of wire back through crimp bead and use chain nose or crimping pliers to flatten crimp bead. Close crimp cover over flattened crimp.
  3. Trim wire off spool, leaving 4 inches extra after last strung bead and repeat step two to attach to other decorative ring. Make sure to leave 1/8 inch slack in wire so beads hang gracefully.
  4. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of upper strand. Working from spool, string upper strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  5. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of lower strand. Working from spool, string lower strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  6. To make a wire wrapped component:
    1. Working from spool of 26 gauge wire use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 inch from end.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  
    2. 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. 
    3. Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
    4. Cut wire off spool, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches.
    5. Thread on a seed bead, an accent bead and another seed bead. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead and bend wire at 90° angle. Repeat step 6.b to make loop. Slide loop onto decorative ring. Repeat step 6.c to finish wire wrapping component.
    6. Repeat to make second wire wrapped component.
  1. Use jump rings to attach open loop of each wire wrapped components to end of an 8 inch length of chain.
  2. To remaining ends of chain, attach a jump ring to one and a clasp to the other.
Aug 132013
 

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Today’s workdesk show me busy working on color mixing exercises from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. The above photo was taken Tuesday afternoon.  I was just getting started.

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And here they all are, nearly done.  Phew!  That little pink thing is my fancy-schmancy 1/4″ cutter.  In its former life it was a marker cap. :-)

This latest exercise is rather fascinating as all the colors you see are mixed from just three primaries.  (Plus white for the pastels.)

I’m so glad I had the pasta machine for mixing, or my fingers would be quite sore by now!

If you have a little time, be sure to head over to Julia’s and check out what’s going on at the workdesks of creative folks from all over the world.

Happy What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday!

Aug 112013
 

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A few weeks ago I signed up for Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals and Clusters, a class over at Craftsy. These earring are the first project in the class.

The teacher, Aga Kruk, explains everything clearly and makes all the projects quite doable.  There’s a section on Basics at the beginning of the course and she really guides you through everything, step-by-step. It’s nice to be able to re-watch something you didn’t quite get the first time, too.

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This wire wrapped circle is such an interesting component, and Aga shows you many different ways to use it.  I’m going to try using a larger one as a necklace component soon.

Although I’ve been making jewelry and wire-wrapping for quite some time now, Aga introduced me to several tools I’d never considered and showed some techniques I hadn’t thought of, so the course was well worth the time and money.

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The awesome thing about Craftsy classes is that you can watch them whenever you want, as many times as you want… forever.  Once you’ve purchased a class, it doesn’t expire.  Also, you get printable course materials, you can ask the teacher questions, make your own notes on the videos and see projects made by other students. I love being able to sit at my computer and learn new stuff!

K, I’m off to do the next project, a pair of chandelier earrings, this time making the frames out of wire.  Should be fun. :-)

Happy creating!

Aug 062013
 

So I needed to clear off a space on my quilt design wall this week.  Not that I do much quilting anymore, I mostly just hang stuff on it.  Some of the items that needed clearing were a bunch of technique tags from Tim Holtz’s monthly tags series.

I like to make more useful stuff like cards or scrapbook layouts, but sometimes it’s easier and quicker to just make a tag.

Click on any of the pics for a closer view.

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Of the seven tags on the wall I decided to hang these two in my sewing room.  They’re special enough on their own.

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This one I’m going to make into a Halloween canvas.  Hopefully some time before Halloween. ;-)

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The remaining four I decided to make into greeting cards.

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Due to the size of the tags, these cards will be 5″x7″.

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Due to the lumpiness of the tags, these will be super-special, probably hand-delivered type cards.  For example, I would not give one of these to someone who wonders aloud why I don’t just go the store and buy a card.  YOU know who I mean, lol.

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So the basic steps to turn a 3″x6.25″ tag into a greeting card:

  • Choose a color of cardstock that goes well with your tag.
  • Cut the cardstock to 10″x7″.
  • Score and fold the card at 5″ to make a 5″x7″ folded card.
  • Choose a background stamp that works well with your tag.  (Two of my favorites that I used on these cards are Hero Arts Silhouette Grass and Designblock Tree by Hero Arts. Script stamps like Old Letter Writing Stamp also make great backgrounds.
  • Choose a color of ink to stamp your background onto the 5″x7″ card.  I like to go for a tone-on-tone effect.  If you’re not sure how the colors will look together, use a scrap from cutting down the cardstock to test. (You can see that on the pink strip in the photo below.)
  • Stamp your background stamp.  If you need to repeated stampings for coverage keep in mind that the middle of the card will be covered by the tag, so that’s a good spot for messy overlaps.
  • If you like, add some washi tape, Symphony Tissue Tape or Sketchbook Tissue Tape to the bottom left and top right edges.  Trim the excess off the edges with scissors.
  • Ink around the edges of the card with Distress Ink.  I used Vintage Photo on most of mine.  The pink one needed something a little lighter so I went with Antique Linen. If you need to go darker try Walnut Stain. (If you don’t want your background stamping to smudge, make sure to dry it with a heat tool before inking the edges.)
  • Mount your tag on Foam Adhesive Squares (pop dots) to give dimension and adhere to the card at whatever angle looks best to you.  

And there you have it!  You’ve turned your tags that you worked so hard on into very special greetings for those you care about.

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Oh, and I nearly forgot, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, so here’s a pic of my desk while I was working on these cards.  Isn’t this kind of mess so much fun?

Happy creating!