Jan 122016
 

If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all you know that I just spent entirety of 2015 doing a creative challenge. Specifically, I challenged myself to make a polymer clay dragon every week of the year!

Here are a few of them:

Dragon Collage 1500x1500

Click on the photos for a closer look.

You can read about WHY I did the challenge here, in my post on Errol, dragon #1 and you can review all 52 dragons on my Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board.

tiger's voyage dragons

These are some of my favorites, dragons based on the book, Tiger’s Voyage.

Completing the challenge accomplished what I hoped it would, as I’m now much more disciplined about working on my art, rather than just looking at what other people have done and collecting ideas.

Oh, but I do have ideas! And now that I have time to work on my 2016 plans here are some of them:

  • Use what I learned in the Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay Class I took on Craftsy. Jenny Vestal does a great job breaking it all down for beginners. Now I just need to buy some PMC and get started. I definitely want to make dragons out of silver clay!
  • Continue working on polymer clay sculpture with a focus on figures. I especially want to develop expression and personality in my pieces. Some of the books I  plan to work through:
    • Christi Friesen’s Flourish – Nearly done with this one.
    • Creating Lifelike Figures in Polymer Clay
    • How to Make Clay Characters – I made several pieces from this book years ago, when I didn’t know much about polymer clay. I didn’t get the concept of conditioning the clay properly and they’ve all since crumbled. Let that be a lesson to ya!
    • Family and Friends in Polymer Clay – This one is exciting to think about as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve studied someone’s face and thought, “I want to sculpt them.” Now to get some willing subjects…
  • Create weekly polymer clay tutorials for my YouTube channel. I’ve already started and these will be uploaded every Wednesday, beginning in February.
  • Continue to write tutorials for Polymer Café magazine. I have some exciting news regarding that publication, but it will have to wait until later, when I can share.
  • Perhaps turn some of the dragon projects into tutorials? I’m still considering how best to accomplish that.

So those of some of my plans for 2016. Have you made plans or set goals? I’d love to hear about them, feel free to share in the comments. Then we can all hold one another accountable. 😀

Happy creating!

 

**The links  provided are for products I own, have used and would recommend to a friend.  I do participate in affiliate programs with Amazon, Craftsy and a couple others, but I will never link to anything I cannot personally endorse.

Yes, Keepsake Crafts will make money if you choose to make a purchase through these links.  However, I can almost guarantee it will go right back into buying more crafty goodies!  ?

Jan 112016
 

tapered crystals bracelet

Today’s bracelet has LOTS of sparkle. I just love the rhinestone spacer bars and all of the Swarovski crystals. You could certainly make your bracelet have an entirely different feel by choosing different beads instead of all the bling if that’s not what you’re in the mood for.

Links to many of the supplies I used are in the supply list below the video.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Tapered Crystals Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools

Directions:

  1. At the end of a six-inch piece of bead stringing wire slide a crimp. Flatten and cover with a crimp cover. Trim any excess wire. Slide the wire into the center hole of an 18 x 3 mm three hole spacer bar.
  2. Slide on a 4mm crystal, 3 6mm crystals, another 4mm crystal and the center hole of a 20 x 3 mm spacer bar.
  3. Add a 4mm crystal, 6 6mm crystals, a 4mm crystal and the center hole of a 20 x 3 mm spacer bar.
  4. And a 4mm crystal, 3 6mm crystals, another 4mm crystal and the center hole of a 18 x 3 mm spacer bar.
  5. Add a crimp and flatten, cover with a crimp cover cover and trim excess wire.
  6. On a 10 inch piece of bead stringing wire slide 3 4mm crystals the hole of a 12mm two hole spacer bar, 3 4mm crystals and an outside hole of one of the 18mm spacer bars.
  7. Repeat steps 2-4, then add 3 4mm crystals, a 12mm two hole spacer bar and 3 4mm crystals.
  8. Repeat steps 6 -7 to string another 10 inch piece of bead stringing wire through the remaining holes of the spacer bars. To finish the ends slide both wires through a crimp. Flatten, trim one wire and cover with a crimp cover.
  9. Slide the wire through a crimp wire protector and add your clasp. Slide the wire back through the crimp, flatten, trim the excess wire and cover with a crimp cover. Repeat to finish other end, adding a piece of chain.
Jan 102016
 

This idea has been one I have wanted to try for a long time. I’m always a sucker for simple and elegant design, and when I saw this pin on Pinterest I thought it was brilliant. The pin actually leads back to ElsaKStudios Etsy shop where she makes several items out of ceramics. I suspect that the weight of a ceramic piece would help with the stability of these holders, as I did have a bit of trouble getting my cell phone holders to be the right size and shape so they wouldn’t tip over.

scrolled phone holders cover

In the video I show to make your phone holder’s clay strip 3 inches wide and 8 inches long. You might find it helpful to make your strip a bit longer if your phone is especially tall, perhaps make it nine or 10 inches long. This will give you the extra length and weight it needs in the back.

If all else fails you can do what this gal does and put a wedge in the back, which sorta seems like cheating to me, but it gets the job done. 🙂

scrolled phone holders insta

By the way, I prepare my videos and blog posts 3 to 4 weeks in advance of them being published, so this project was actually done during the week before Christmas. Which is why I mention things being gifts. I ended up making four of these; one each for my husband, my two sons and myself.

So here’s a funny story: I finally finished three of the scroll phone holders and was ready to take them downstairs to my studio to take the beauty shots for the video. The plan was to put my cell phone in the holder and then take the photos. Silly me though, forgot to consider that I take my photos with my cell phone!

That wasn’t gonna work. Duh.

So I came upstairs and asked my husband and son if I could borrow their phones for five minutes. Being the week before Christmas they knew better than to ask questions.

When I gave their phones back I asked if those few minutes had felt like being without their right arms. My husband looked perplexed at the question, but my son mumbled, “Kinda.” lol

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Scrolled Cell Phone Holder-Polymer Clay Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jan 082016
 

ff cord ends

Lots of perfectly lovely jewelry is made using chain, bead links with wire or beads on stringing wire. However, there are so many other possibilities!

Silk ribbon and cording is popular in jewelry making today, as are leather cords, suede strips, cotton cord and even waxed linen twine.

Most of those alternate items can just be knotted in the back, but what if you want a bracelet or a necklace that doesn’t fit over the head or just need a nicer finish?

That’s where cord ends come in. In today’s video I’ll show you a variety of cord ends and give tips for how to use them.

Here are just a few cord ends to get you started. Be sure to check the size against the cording you want to finish.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-Cord Ends video over at YouTube and be sure to leave a thumbs up!

Jan 042016
 

crystal tassel earrings

Tassels are very popular now and they are being made out of everything: chain, leather, silk, cotton & other cords, so why not make them out of strands of crystal beads?

The colors of the beads and the style of the bead cones I used give these earrings an exotic feel, but your choices will make your earrings your own unique creation.

I used 4mm Blue Zircon Bicone Swarovski Crystal Beads for the stripe along the bottoms. For the rest of the beads I used a mix called Sonoran which includes the colors:

You could use all metal beads, gemstones or seed beads. You could make the tassels all one or just two colors, or make the strands longer or shorter.

Have fun coming up with your own designs!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.


You can watch the Crystal Tassel Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 122 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • 2 bead cones
  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 eye pins
  • 2 4mm round beads
  • 2 3mm round beads
  • 24 crimps
  • bead stringing wire

Tools:

  1. Slide a crimp onto bead stringing wire and crimp near the end of the wire with the One Step Crimper. Trim any excess wire. Slide on 10 beads and another crimp. Slide the wire back through the crimp to make a 1/8-inch loop. Flatten the crimp with the One Step Crimper and trim excess wire.
  2. Repeat step 1 to make 12 beaded units.
  3. Slide the top loops of 6 beaded units onto an eye pin and close securely. Use chain nose pliers to bend eye of the eye pin at a 90 degree angle to the wire. Slide eye pin into a bead cone and adde a 4mm round bead, a 4mm bicone crystal and a 3mm round bead. Use round nose pliers and wire cutters to make a loop with remaining eye pin wire.
  4. Open loop of ear wire and attach to this loop.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 to make second earring.

 

 

Jan 012016
 

ff briolettes

Even those of us who have been working with jewelry for quite some time can be confused by the various terms out there.

I have been working for some time through the book Wire Jewelry Masterclass and found several designs where she called for briolettes. Looking at the designs I had a pretty good idea of what she meant but wanted to know exactly what was called for, so I did a little research.

The result of that research is today’s video. I will explain to you exactly what a briolette bead is, and also show you what it isn’t.

If you’d like to try working with these elegant beads, here are a few to choose from:

ff briolettes

You can see an example of briolettes in the earrings on the right pictured above. The ones on the left called for briolettes, but I ended up using just teardrop beads.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Briolette Beads video over at YouTube.

 

Dec 312015
 

Well, I did it!

I proudly present to you the 52nd and FINAL polymer clay dragon in my personal challenge to make a dragon sculpture for every week in 2015. Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I started.

I’ve made huge dragons on towers, teeny tiny dragon on cabochons, 2-dimensional dragons (so NOT my thing), necklaces, bracelets, treasure dragons, ocean dragons, forest dragons, steampunk dragons and even a cell phone holder dragon!

It’s been fun and I learned a lot, but phew! It’ll be nice to not have to pump one out every week. 🙂

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #52 Opal 1

Opal was inspired by Donna Greenberg’s Rhythm Ruffle technique which was published in The Polymer Arts magazine in Fall of 2012. As soon as I saw it I thought, “Dragon spines!” 🙂

dragon #52 Opal 2

For the base color I used Premo’s new Opal clay. The accent colors are Sculpey Souffle Lagoon, Peacock Pearl and Pearl Purple.

Opal’s body is Premo Opal mixed with just a tiny pinch of Peacock Pearl.

dragon #52 Opal 3

I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board so you can see them all in one place. Some time soon I’ll put together a collage of the favorites.

As for New Year’s resolutions? I don’t make ’em. I make goals and plans to reach those goals, and those can start any time of the year. After all what are resolutions for without a plan?

cats on treadmill

So what’s up for 2016? Oh I have plans, lots of plans, but I won’t hold myself to quite the same strict scheduling as last year. It’s my hope to spend some time working on figure sculpting and especially developing expression, personality and story telling in my work.

I also hope to get into metal clay sculpting. It’s similar work as polymer, but you end up with fine silver pieces in the end!

It’s also in the plans to start a weekly polymer clay tutorial on my YouTube channel. So be watching for announcements on that.

Many thanks to you, my readers and viewers for all your support and kind comments. It truly is what keeps me inspired to keeping working, creating and teaching.

May you all have a blessed New Year and happy creating!

Dec 292015
 

For the past six months I have been giving away packages of handcrafted jewelry worth over $100 each! I hope the 10 winners so far have enjoyed their jewelry prizes. 🙂

In 2016 I plan to donate my extra jewelry to a women’s ministry. Many of you suggested that when I started the giveaways over the summer and I think it’s a good idea.

It’s been my pleasure to share with all of you, I wish I could have sent everyone a piece of jewelry, but it’s not possible. Instead, I feel like I’m doing something even better: teaching you how to make your own custom jewelry pieces in exactly the colors & styles you like.

Watch the video below for details. Or watch the video on YouTube.

Please fill out the Rafflecopter area below for your chance to win.

Rafflecopter doesn’t show up on some mobile devices, btw. If you don’t see it below, try refreshing, check back later or visit on a different device.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m doing the giveaway at my blog rather than at YouTube to protect YOU from scammers. Your info is protected here.

Dec 282015
 

beads on a wire earrings

Finding new and different ways to use supplies is what keeps jewelry making interesting for me. I love how just some simple bead stringing wire gives these earrings their dangle. Crimps hold everything in place and crimp covers keep it all looking pretty.

It would be fun to make a whole bunch of these wire components and put them together into a very fluffy necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings.

Just make sure you pick up some pretty colored wire to use as it will be exposed in the design.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Bead on a Wire Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers
  • wire cutters
  • One Step Crimper (optional, but useful!)

Directions:

  1. Slide a crimp onto a piece of bead stringing wire. Use crimping pliers or One Step Crimper to flatten one-half inch from one end of wire. Use crimping pliers to cover flattened crimp with a crimp cover.
  2. Slide on 6mm bead, 2mm x 4mm saucer spacer, 12mm pearl bead, 2mm x 4mm saucer spacer, 6mm bead and a crimp.
  3. Use crimping pliers or One Step Crimper to flatten crimp. Use crimping pliers to cover flattened crimp with a crimp cover.
  4. Make a bend in the wire one inch from crimp cover just added. Slide a crimp onto the wire and slide past the bend. Then slide the wire back through the crimp and slide crimp up so a 1/4-inch loop of wire remains. Repeat step 3.
  5. Slide another crimp on wire and position where you’d like the top of your second section of beads to be. Repeat step 3.
  6. Add a 6mm bead, 8mm bicone, 6mm bead and a crimp. Repeat step 3.
  7. Use wire cutters to either trim the wire to one-half inch below crimp cover or trim off both wires completely.
  8. Repeat to make second earring.
Dec 252015
 

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I’m taking the day off today to enjoy my family, but I know for some of you it’s just another day, so here’s a little video for you to enjoy.

ff crystal beads

Who doesn’t love crystals? They can add sparkle, color and just a touch of class to any piece of jewelry that you are making.

They come in all sizes, shapes, colors and styles that you can think of, but there is often some confusion. What is the difference between glass and crystal?

In this video I explain a bit about the differences between glass and crystal and give you some tips for figuring out if pieces you own are one or the other.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Crystal Beads video over at YouTube.