Jan 182016
 

desert mesa bracelet

There are lots of different sources I use for my beads and jewelry findings, but the most convenient is my least favorite. The local craft stores such as Joann’s, Michael’s and A.C. Moore have plenty to choose from, but the quality isn’t always the best.

That’s why I was so happy to find the¬†string of oval beads I used in this Desert Mesa bracelet. One of the beads was chipped and some on the string have funky inclusions, but I rather like them anyhow.

They were labeled “Assorted Stone Beads,” so I can’t tell you exactly what they are except that they are quite interesting and look great combined with warm colored agates and antique gold findings. ūüôā

The best way to shop for jewelry making is to support your local bead store. Sadly, the only ones near me are too far to stop by regularly.

Instead I do I lot of my shopping for jewelry supplies online, here are a few of my favorites:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Desert Mesa Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 3 20x15mm oval stone beads
  • 6 14mm links of chain
  • 24 assorted 6mm beads
  • 24 head pins
  • 3 4.5-inch pieces 24 gauge wire
  • 1-inch length of chain
  • clasp
  • jump rings

Tools:

Directions:

Note: Be sure your loops are large enough to fit around the 14mm links of chain you have chosen. This is why I recommend the One Step BIG Looper, as it makes 3mm loops.

  1. Use chain nose pliers to grasp a 4.5-inch piece of wire 1.5-inches from one end. ¬†Bend wire at 90¬į 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. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90¬į bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  2. Slide a 20x15mm oval bead onto wire and repeat step 1 to make another wrapped loop, this time grasping wire just above bead before bending with chain nose pliers.
  3. To make bead dangles slide each of your 6mm beads onto a head pin and make a loop with either round nose pliers or the One Step Big Looper.
  4. Use chain nose pliers to open a 14mm link of chain and attach 3 bead dangles, your clasp, 3 bead dangles and the loop of one of your stone oval beads.
  5. Open another chain link and slide onto loop on other end of your stone oval. Add three bead dangles to each side, then add another chain link.
  6. Open the chain link just added and add 3 bead dangles to each side, plus the loop of another oval dangle.
  7. Repeat the pattern of two chain links between each of the three stone ovals. Each chain link should have 3 beads dangles on each side.
  8. Finish by adding the final chain link to the loop of the third oval bead, 3 dangles, your 1-inch length of chain and 3 dangles.

 

 

 

 

Jan 162016
 

sweet treats jar

This cute candy jar is the perfect thing for any time you need a little something special for a gift. It goes together quickly with just a few supplies you’ll find in the scrapbook section of your local craft store.¬†If you’re a card maker or scrapbooker, you probably already have everything you need!

I added some special treats to this jar: Frosted Chocolate-Toffee Macadamia Nuts that¬†the Halńď Kai Lana company¬†sent me to try out. These nuts are absolutely delicious!

When you pop one into your mouth first there’s the hit of sweet from the coating, next¬†a wonderful deep, rich chocolate taste, then the crunchy toffee bits and¬†finally you get to the macadamia nut goodness in the center. So yummy. ūüôā

If you watch the video you’ll learn the story of their name, which means “Floating House in the Sea” in Hawaiian. I love how they’ve taken a tragedy and persevered to build their family business. They also have 100% Kona coffee, so be sure to check them out.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Sweet Treats Candy Jar video over at YouTube.

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Use a pencil to trace jar lid on back of patterned paper. Cut out with scissors and insert into jar ring.
  2. Fill jar with candy of choice and screw on lid with ring and paper center.
  3. Apply adhesive backed pearls or other trim to edge of jar.
  4. Thread tag onto twine or ribbon and tie in a bow around rim of jar.
  5. If you like, you can use inks (or even colored Sharpies!) to color paper flowers. Use glue dots to adhere layers of flowers, then adhere a pearl or rhinestone to each center. Adhere flowers to jar next to bow and tag.
Jan 152016
 

ff e6000

Most of the time when we make jewelry we use mechanical connections to hold things together. You know, things like jump rings, wire loops and such.

However, there are occasion where it’s not only perfectly acceptable, but desirable to use a bit of glue.

In this video I’ll tell you about one of the glues I use the most in my crafting and give you some tips for using it.

You can find E6000 in several forms:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!


You can watch the Friday Findings-E6000 Glue video over at YouTube.

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‚Äôs¬†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 Caf√© 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. ūüėÄ

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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!” ūüôā

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‚Äôve made a Thursday‚Äôs 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!