Mar 032014
 

Do any of you other creative types find yourselves frustrated with the number of ideas you have vs. the amount of creative work you actually get done? It seems to happen to me cyclically, perhaps three or four times a year. The inertia sets in and it’s just much easier to sit here and do “creative research” (read: check out other blogs & spend time on Pinterest) than to go and make things myself. I keep thinking I’ll do it later, then it gets late, the hubs wants to watch a couple episodes of Dr. Who, and that’s it, day over.

procrastionation-pinterest

In an attempt to conquer this problem  I have set myself a challenge for the month of March. I’m calling it “Make It In March,” and I’m committing to working on at least one creative idea every weekday for the month of March.

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me, as I promise to post one photo every weekday of what I’ve accomplished. It may not be pretty, but it’ll be something.

If you’d like to join me, let me know and I’ll link to your blog, flickr or what-have-you from here.

miim-1-gradation-beads-sketch

Today’s project was based on a sketch I did a few weeks ago. I won’t call it a total fail, cuz I did learn a few things:

  1. The concept of making my own bead roller looks good on paper, but requires far more time, precision and patience than I’ll ever want to invest. Hence, the scribbling out.
  2. In order to have applied decoration on a round bead, first the base bead has to be make and pre-baked, then sanded, then the vine applied & baked, then one side of flowers & leaves applied & baked, then the other side of flowers & leaves.  =====ugghhhh=====  I refer you back to #1, more time, precision & patience than I have.miim-1-gradation-beads-floralThis was as far as I got with this one and then decided to call it done.
  3. I DO often invest time, precision AND patience in many projects, but they first have to enchant and interest me. Like with any of my dragons  or the chocolate charms I made a couple weeks ago.
  4. No idea is so horrible it can’t be redeemed, which is why I saved the drawing in my sketchbook. Who knows, someday I may revisit it with better and different skills than I have now.
  5. Many ideas seem good on paper, but it takes time and experimentation to see how they work out for reals.

miim-1-gradation-beads-leaves

I love the color & look I got when partially mixing pearly clay with my green.  But these leaves from a borcer mold are way too bulky.

miim-1-gradation-beads-flower-leaves

These are fairly large beads, meant to be focals, and I sort of like the concept, but I think I’m going to go back to dragons… or chocolates. :-)

Check back tomorrow to see what I make.

Happy creating!

Feb 252014
 

Happy Wednesday, all!  Would you believe 99% of the products on this desk are for making one little card?

2014-02-26-woyww-february-tim-tag

It can be a bit much for us crafters, but if you’re Tim Holtz and Ranger, it’s nothing less than brilliant marketing. :-)

february-tim-tag-beautiful-butterfly-1

The result of this messy desk is my card based on Tim’s February 2014 tag.

I was determined not to spend more than an hour, but it probably took closer to an hour 20 mins.  It came together this quickly because I just grabbed the closest thing that would kinda work for the technique and refused to agonize over any one step.

Yes, his layering stencils are cool, but I don’t have any so I used a brass stencil.  I needed sponge daubers to get into some of the small areas rather than shred my ink applicators, and it worked out well.   The clear embossing over the distress inking makes the colors much more vivid.

I’d tried his chalking technique before, but didn’t care for it, so I just silver embossed the sentiment.

A clear embossed background stamp on the kraft card base gives some interest.

february-tim-tag-beautiful-butterfly-close-up

I only own one Distress Glitter, Pumice Stone, and I bought only that neutral color for a reason, so I could color it with any color alcohol inks I need.  In this case the glitters for the flowers were colored with Purple Twilight and Wild Plum alcohol inks.  Just two drops in about a teaspoon of the glitter made these soft colors.  Need more brilliant colors?  Add more ink! (If you try this don’t get worried if when you first stir it looks like a clumpy mess. Keep on stirring and it will smooth out perfectly.)

2014-02-19-chong-cheech

And, on my other workdesk, here are the brothers napping together.  Actually, Cheech was on my other workdesk last week, hanging out with me while I did the hand stitching on the velvet jacket.  What are a few light cat hairs on a black jacket compared to such good company?

So, that’s what’s on my desk this week. Want to see what other creative people are up to? Check out the blog link party over at Julia’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Feb 202014
 

A couple weeks ago I mentioned I was working on this jacket. Welp, now it’s done. :-)

black-ribbon-flowers-jacket-simplicity-2148

This pattern has been hanging around for a while, and when I saw the ribbon flowers fabric I knew just what to do with it.

simplicity-2148-flounce-jacket

I don’t know that I’ll ever make any of the other pieces in this pattern.  The other jacket (the purple one) is cute, but whenever I look at those slouchy pockets all I can think is that I don’t need anything adding weight around my hips.  (The model’s got no hips to speak of, so it works just fine on her.)

black-ribbon-flowers-jacket-simplicity-2148-close

Here’s a closer look, I’ve overly lightened the photo so you can see some of the detail in the fabric. Also, Robin insisted I model these earrings, so here you are, Robin!

As I mention in the pattern review, this jacket works up quickly, mine would have been even quicker if I hadn’t lined it.

Happy creating!

Simplicity 2148 Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: This pattern has a variety of coordinates including two jackets, pants, a long skirt and a top. I made jacket B, which has flounces along the bottom of the jacket and the sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: I used a 16, with some adjustments.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, I really like this style.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, this was a fairly easy project to put together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  The only thing I didn’t like was how the inside facing was supposed to be stitched in the ditch from the outside, leaving a raw edge on the inside.

Fabric Used: I used a stretch velvet with stitched on ribbon flowers from Joann’s. I was afraid this fabric would be difficult to work with, but a walking foot was all that was needed to make it a cinch.

I was also concerned that the decorative stitching thread left on the inside would be scratchy and would catch on things, so I lined the bodice and sleeves with a lightweight black knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Before I started to sew, I did a little planning to decide which sections of the pattern would have the fancy fabric and which would have just a plain black stretch velvet. Click here to see my blog post on how I did this.

Since the pattern only went up to a size 16, I did some altering to bring it up a little larger so there would be plenty of room for layering.

Instead of machine top stitching the hems I hand stitched them, thinking that machine stitching on stretchy velvet is not only difficult to get neat and even, it crushes the pile and doesn’t look as nice. Of course, it wasn’t until I was done with all that it occurred to me that I should have simply lined the flounce sections as well. It would have given them a bit more weight and saved me all the hand sewing.

I turned under the raw edge and hand sewed the facing on the inside. I did try machine stitching in the ditch from the right side per the instructions, but between all the layers and the general squidginess and stretchiness of the velvets, it couldn’t be done neatly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I definitely want to make this jacket again in a lightweight knit, maybe in a bright color like pictured on the pattern envelope. This is a flattering style for me and I enjoy wearing it.

Conclusion: A nice addition to your wardrobe that goes together easily. My only gripe is the raw edge left on the inside of the facing.

Feb 182014
 

Happy Wednesday, all!  Sorry I didn’t participate last week, but  I’ve been spending way too much time watching the Olympics so there was nothing at all interesting on my desk.

2014-02-19-woyww-chocolate-charms

(Click on any of the photos for a closer look.)

This week, however, I’ve been working on something I’ve wanted to try for a long time: polymer clay chocolate charms. Naturally, I first had to get samples for research, but for some strange reason my research materials were nearly gone by the time I got to working on the project.  I wonder where they went? :-D

2014-02-19-woyww-chocolate-charms-close-up

It’s rare that a  project comes out looking as good as you pictured it in your head, but I’m quite please with these. (Just wish I could eat them!)

The chocolate covered cherry needs something shiny inside, but I seem to be out of gloss finish.  Guess I’ll just have to go shopping.  After that these will all be put together and then I’m gonna have the yummiest (looking) bracelet around. :-)

2014-02-19-woyww-chocolate-charms-close-dime

Here’s a shot with a dime to give you some idea of the size. The largest is about 3/4-inch (2cm) square and the smallest is about 1/2-inch (1.5cm) square.

These were so much fun to make, I may do more and add them to my Etsy shop. But I’ll probably have to do more research first.  ***grin***

If you’re wondering why I’ve posted a photo of my totally messy desk, you mustn’t be acquainted with the phenomenon that is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Check it out! It’s fun and you’ll find you’re getting to know folks from all over the world.

Feb 102014
 

Just in time for Valentine’s day here’s a great sparkly, dangly pair of earrings. With hearts! ….and crystals… and gold. How much better can it get?  

gold-crystal-sparkle-still

Now that I’ve gotten used to Swarovski crystals, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to anything else.  You just can’t beat their quality, sparkle and shine.

gold-crystal-sparkle-still-close-up

These earring aren’t for those of you who like them small and simple.  These are long, with lotsa swingy dangles & jangles. I love ‘em. :-)

If you want a less complicated version, feel free to leave off any of the elements and simplify.

Whatever you create, make sure it’s something you love. Happy Creating!

You can watch Sparkle & Gold Crystal Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 10mm Swarovski crystal hearts, amethyst
  • 2 11mm x 7mm Swarovski crystal teardrops, amethyst
  • 2 6mm Swarovski crystal bicones, crystal clear
  • 2 4mm Swarovski crystal bicones, crystal clear
  • 2 20mm square fused links, gold plated
  • 2 10mm round fused rings, gold plated
  • 2 2-inch pieces 26 gauge gold filled wire
  • 2 7mm jump rings
  • 2 decorative head pins
  • 2 plain head pins
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  1. Slide an amethyst teardrop and a 6mm crystal onto a decorative headpin.
  2. Make a wrapped loop by using chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  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. Twist slightly to the side to open loop and insert square link. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers.
  4.  Use second pair of chain nose pliers to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  5. Wire wrap heart crystal by sliding piece of 26 gauge gold filled wire into hole of bead, leaving 1/4 inch sticking out on one side. Bend both wire ends up at 90-degree angle to hole of bead. Bend wires over top of bead, making a triangle shape. Where wires cross bend remaining ends of wire up, perpendicular to bead hole.
  6. Grasp both wires with chain nose pliers and bend longer remaining wire at 90° angle. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with longer wire. Hold loop with chain nose pliers and use second pair of chain nose pliers to wrap remaining wire around wires below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  7. Open a jump ring and slide on: loop of wire wrapped crystal heart, square link and 10mm round ring. Close jump ring securely.
  8. Slide a 4mm crystal bicone onto a plain head pin and repeat steps 2 and 4 to make a wrapped loop dangle.
  9. Open the loop and an ear wire and insert 10mm ring and loop of 4mm bicone unit.
  10. Repeat to make second earring.
Feb 042014
 

Hi all!  Happy Wednesday again.  As I write this Tuesday night, we’re expecting yet another snowstorm here on the east coast.  Guess I’ll spend my Wednesday snowed in and doing crafts. :-)

2014-02-05-woyww-making-jewelry

On my desk (click for a larger look) you can see I’ve been making samples for jewelry classes at Joann’s.  The one on the upper right is interesting.  It’s just seeds beads strung onto 28 gauge wire in such a way to make lots of little branches.  Joann’s design in the red is called “Coral Reef,” but I think mine in the green kinda looks like seaweed.

The one in the upper left and on the mat is called the “Brassy Beaded Bib Necklace.” It’s rather fussy and complicated for my taste, but hey.

In the bottom right are three pieces I’ve made for upcoming videos, so stay tuned!

I you’re wondering why I’m posting a photo of my work table, it’s because it’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Check it out and join in the fun!

Happy Creating :-)

Feb 032014
 

Here are the earrings to match the necklace I posted last week.

wire-wrap-class-earrings

This is a super quick project.  What makes it special is you can use any beads that catch your fancy.  If you find a pair of larger ones that you love, use only two.  Got some smaller beads?  Use three.  Use spacers of any type: crystal, seed beads or metal.

wire-wrap-class-necklace-earrings

You’re only limited by your imagination. Oh, the possibilities…

Watch Wire Wrapping 101 – Simple Bead Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating! :-)

Materials:

  • 2 matching pairs 10-15mm beads
  • 6 large glass seed beads, or other spacers of your choice
  • 2 fish hook ear wires
  • 2 – 2-inch head pins

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

To make earrings:

  1. On a head pin arrange two of the 10-15mm beads alternating with 3 large seed beads.
  2. Make a wire wrapped loop to make a bead dangle:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.
    • Bend wire at 90° angle.
    • 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.
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim excess wire.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end of wire.
  1. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of an ear wire and insert wrapped loop just made.
  2. Repeat to make matching earring.
Jan 282014
 

How many different ways are there to say, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s Wednesday again already”?  (And how does one properly punctuate the end of that sentence? Hmmm….)

Why should it matter?  Well, that’s because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  You can get all the details over at Julia’s, but basically a bunch of us “deskers” travel the world via computer every Wednesday to check out each other’s creative spaces. It’s kinda fun, and often inspiring. Join us if you have a few moments.

2014-01-29-woyww-floral-flounce-jacket-1

My desk today shows I’ve gotten back to sewing after not doing any for quite some time.  I bought this absolutely yummy velvet with stitched ribbon flowers months ago.

The sleeve pattern piece above looks all patched and mangled because I want the sleeve to be large enough to wear over layers.  I figured out the size by measuring the sleeve of my current favorite layering jacket.

That’s really the best way to tell if you’ll like the fit of something.  Don’t measure the body, measure what fits. 

simplicity-2148-flounce-jacket

The plan is to make the view B jacket, the pink one with all the flounces. I’m glad this fabric sat in my sewing room for a while before I cut into it, because it occurred to me that it might be a bit much to use this fancy fabric for every part of the jacket.

2014-01-29-woyww-floral-flounce-jacket-2

I’m afraid of looking like a walking, rather overly-decorated wedding cake. Know what I mean? lol

But which sections to use the fancy stuff in?  How much is too much?

floral-jacket-plan

Being a visual person, I came up with a visual solution.  I scanned the pattern sketch into my computer, put it in Photoshop, copied it multiple times and then painstakingly pasted floral squiggles into various sections. The solid sections will be just a plain black knit.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with the one on the top right.  I kinda like the one on the bottom right, but I spent too much on all that fancy fabric to only use it on the bodice. :-)

Which one would you use?

Whatever you’re doing this day, I hope you find some time to be creative!

Jan 272014
 

I’ve been asked to teach jewelry making classes at my local Joanne’s and decided to start with the basics.

wire-wrap-class-necklace

Our first project is all about wire wrapping.  With 13 links (that’s 26 wraps) you’ll be a wrapped loop expert by the time you’re done. :-)

wire-wrap-class-necklace-close-up

A well-formed wrapped loop is actually a nice design element. One thing I love about this style is that you can add any amount of chain around the back & make it exactly the length you want.

I’ll have a video for the matching earrings up in a few days.

Watch Wire Wrapping 101 – Bead Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!

Materials:

For necklace:

  • 7” strand 10mm-15mm assorted beads of your choice (16-18 beads)
  • an assortment of large seed beads to coordinate with 7” strand
  • 20 or 22 gauge craft wire in color of your choice
  • chain to match craft wire
  • lobster clasp to match craft wire
  • 6mm or 7mm jump rings to match craft wire

 Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters (flush cut are best)
  • bead design board
  • tape measure 

To make necklace:

  1. Open assorted bead strand onto bead design board. If desired, choose 2 matching pairs of beads to use in earrings. Set aside. (Earring video to come later.)
  2. Open one strand of large seed bead into a compartment in bead design board.
  3. Use wire cutters to cut an approximately 8-inch piece of craft wire.
  4. Make a wrapped loop:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 1/2 inches from one end.  
    • Bend wire at 90° angle.  
    • 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. 
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end. 
  1. Slide on an arrangement of one of your focal beads with one or two large seed beads on either side.
  2. Begin (but don’t complete) second wrapped loop to make a bead link:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  
    • Bend wire at 90° angle.  
    • 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.  
  1. Repeat to make bead links with all remaining focal beads.
  2. Arrange bead links in an order you find pleasing.
  3. Connect all bead links together by:
    • Slightly open unwrapped loop and slip on wrapped loop of link next to it.
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim excess wire.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end of wire.
  1. Use a tape measure to measure your neckline and determine desired length of necklace.
  2. Measure length of completed bead links and subtract from desired necklace length.
  3. Cut a piece of chain this length and cut into two equal pieces.
  4. Use jump rings to attach a length of chain to each end of bead links.
  5. Attach a jump ring to one end of chain, and use a jump ring to attach a lobster clasp to other end of chain.
Jan 252014
 

I just finished up my project based on the January 2014 Tim Holtz tag. Honesty, I was so uninspired by his tag this month that I considered not bothering.  But, it’s always an interesting challenge, so I went for it.

january-2014-tim-holtz-tag-cuckoo-clock

The Spellbinders Cuckoo Clock Die is so cute, with all the little parts and pieces.  I put the extra birds and flower on the inside of the card.  To make them metallic I just covered cardstock with Nashua Foil Tape, the cut out and embossed. I embossed just the body of the clock with the Steampunk embossing folder, making sure to leave the chain and pine cone weights out of the folder so they’d keep their texture.

january-2014-tim-holtz-tag-cuckoo-clock-close-up

The roof trim and other bits were colored with StreamMeadowSailboat Blue and Lettuce alcohol inks. If I had to do it over I’d use a much more subtle background texture, like with a stencil.

A Game Spinner and a Dymo label add some interesting detail.

Hope you’re finding a little bit of time this weekend to be creative. :-)