Aug 202015
 

dragon #33 Marsali 1

This week’s dragon is a wall piece, like Fergus, who I made back in week 28.

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.

fergus & marsali dragons

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

In fact, Marsali is a companion piece to Fergus. I thought he looked a little lonely up there on my wall and so made him a friend.

dragon #33 Marsali 2

Like on Fergus the leaves are bits and pieces of canes I’d made while working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

dragon #33 Marsali 3

For Marsali I also used several different flowers that Christi teaches in her book.

dragon #33 Marsali 4

I had fun addding lots of mixed media to this piece, including pearls, seed beads, crystals, wire, broken bits of jewelry and even an amazonite stone. Touches of mica powders and Gilder’s pastes add some final sparkle and shine.

dragon #33 Marsali 5

I just love working on pieces like this with lots of texture, colors and so much to look at. There’s something about them that’s very satisfying.

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

Aug 172015
 

rainbow hearts bracelet

Today’s bracelet goes together very quickly. The pearls are wire wrapped on, but the crystals are attached with jump rings. I got the idea when looking through my stash of Swarovski crystal hearts and realizing I had all the colors of the rainbow, and them some, so I made one!

I didn’t expect to love this bracelet as much as I do. Rainbows aren’t usually my thing but something about all those colors of crystal hearts just makes me happy. 🙂

And there’s the fact that it goes with anything you’re wearing.

The colors the Swarovski colors that I used from the lightest blue around counterclockwise are:

Aquamarine > Sapphire > Emerald > Fern Green > Topaz > Astral Pink > Rose > Siam > Amethyst > Cyclamen Opal

Of course, you can make this bracelet using any colors you like.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Rainbow Hearts Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 6-7 inch length chain
  • toggle clasp
  • 10 10mm Swarovski Crystal Hearts in colors of your choice
  • 11 6mm pearls
  • 11 head pins
  • 11 bead caps
  • 10 8mm jump rings

Tools:

Directions:

  1. First, count the links on your chain and determine the spacing of your beads. (See the video for how I figured out the spacing on my bracelet.)
  2. Onto each headpin slide a pearl and a bead cap. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap.  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.  Slightly twist loop open and insert a link of your bracelet chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open each jump ring wide enough to slide on a 10mm Swarovski crystal heart. Slide jump ring onto a link of your bracelet chain and close securely.
  4. Add clasp to end links of your bracelet chain.
Aug 142015
 

ff-chasing hammer

You can make a lot of jewelry without any hammers at all, but if you’ve decided you’d like to get into wire working then you’ll definitely want to get yourself a chasing hammer.

In upcoming videos I’ll talk about other hammers that you may want to try, but a chasing hammer is the first you should add your tool kit.

I just love the effects that you can get hammering out wire, changing the shape of the cross-section of the wire, and especially the look of texturing with the rounded end.

In the video I’ll show you the basics. The chasing hammer I use is by Beady Buddy and I got it at my local craft store. Amazon has this chasing hammer, which appears to be the same thing. My next one will be a Fretz Chasing Hammer which is also on Amazon, but currently out of stock.

You can read all about Fretz tools on RioGrande.com. They are wonderful quality, but you’ve gotta save those pennies! 🙂

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch the Friday Findings-Chasing Hammers video over at YouTube.

Aug 132015
 
dragon #32 Jinselong 1

This week you get to meet Jinsèlóng (pronounced gin-seh-long.)

He’s another one from the Tigers Voyage book, and the fourth dragon they encounter on their trip.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #32 Jinselong 2

As you may have guessed from his appearance, he is a treasure dragon. As the story goes he’s responsible for the Bermuda triangle and often wrecks ships so he can take for himself the treasure they carry.

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 #32 Jinselong 3
Here’s how he’s described in the book:
  • treasure
  • gold
  • ginger eye
  • horned head
  • triangular mouth
  • sharp white teeth overlap bottom lip
  • scales of hard golden disks
  • variegated in color from bright bullion, Buddha gold, pirate doubloon to copper penny
  • light colors along belly & darker on its back
  • four long spikes protruding from back of head
  • smaller spikes starting at its nose & traveling along spine
  • long tail ends in a fin
  • webbing between claws
  • saffron glow

dragon #32 Jinselong 4

Whenever I read books I always picture his scales as having the appearance of coins so I tried to get that across.

dragon #32 Jinselong 5

This was another complex project involving multiple bakings and over 250 individually applied scales. For the scales I used an extruder to make discs that had a variety of metallic clays, including bronze, copper, 18kt gold and antique gold. Then I used a leather stamp on each one to make the impression that makes them look like coins.

dragon #32 Jinselong 6

It was fun picking out all of the items for his treasure mound. The little pagoda is a piece for fish tank and the mermaid was a figurine that came in a box of tea. She made me think of a statue Jinsèlóng was particularly fond of in the book so I included her.

A couple of quartz crystals and lots of glass glitter give his pile of goodies a decadent look. The final touches of gold on the dragon were done with Golden’s Interference Gold acrylic paint. I just became acquainted with the stuff and LOVE it.

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

Aug 102015
 

blended colors  bead necklace

For this week’s jewelry project I show you how to take any two colors of seed beads and blend them together into a beautiful necklace. I’ve been on a turquoise and copper kick lately and I absolutely LOVE how this came out.

If you were to use two colors next to each other on the color wheel (such as blue and green) the effect would be subtle and lovely. Use colors opposite each other (such as purple and yellow) for a dramatic look.

The bead stringing takes a little bit of time, but if you watched my Bead Spinner video last week you’ll know how you can do this much faster.

blended beads necklace chart

Here’s the chart that I showed in the video, just help clarify the order of things.

You could do this on a smaller scale for a bracelet, or change any of the section lengths to suit your needs.

blended necklace knotted

And here’s a bonus tip that I discovered. The beaded portion of this necklace is quite long, about 27 inches. If you want to shorten it a bit, a fun way to do that is to tie a loose knot with all the strands. I put mine slightly off center and think I’m going to love wearing it this way.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Blended Colors Bead Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials

  • 3 24 gram tubes of 6/0 seed beads of one color
  • 3 24 gram tubes 6/0 seed beads of a second color
  • 6 36-inch pieces of bead thread, such as Nymo Nylon Beading thread
  • 2 bead cones
  • 2 4 mm beads
  • 2 eye pins
  • clasp
  • jump ring
  • 6 inch length of chain

Tools

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • super glue
  • needle threader
  • funnel
  • small dish
  • Bead Spinner
  • optional: extra curved needles for bead spinner, six would be ideal

Directions

  1. Tie all six lengths of beading thread together at one end with an overhand knot.
  2. String 5 inches of color A onto each of the six strands.
  3. Mix together one tube of each color and string 5 inches of these mixed colors onto each of the six strands. Set mixed colors aside.
  4. String 6 inches of color B onto each of the six strands.
  5. String 5 inches of mixed colors onto each of six strands.
  6. Finish by stringing 5 inches of color A onto each of the six strands.
  7. Open an eye pin and tie ends of six strands around eye pin. Close eye pin and tie strands again to knot. Dab with super glue and allow to dry.
  8. Repeat on the other end of necklace, making sure beads are all snug against the first end.
  9. Onto each eye pin slide a bead cone and a 4mm bead. Use round nose pliers to make a loop, trimming excess wire with wire cutters.
  10. To one loop attach one end of the chain. To the other loop attach your clasp with a jump ring.
Aug 072015
 

ff-bead spinners

If you enjoy using small beads in your projects but don’t enjoy all the time it takes to string them, you might want to check out a bead spinner. It’s a rather clever tool based on an old technology and it makes quick work of stringing beads.

In the video I review two different types of bead spinners, a battery operated one and a hand operated one.

Also, the shape of the needle is much more important than you might think!  I explain all of that in the video.

Here are links to the two products I reviewed:

Here’s to faster and happier creating. 🙂

You can watch the Friday Findings-Bead Spinners Product Review video over at YouTube.

Aug 062015
 

This week’s dragon is part of a scene I’ve had in mind for a long time. Actually this project is one of the reasons I started my weekly dragon challenge.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #31 Glynis 1

There were always so many ideas in my head but I never seemed to be able to find the time do them. This challenge has certainly taught me a lot about using my time well and just how much there IS time for.

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

dragon #31 Glynis 3

The lady is based on one of the projects in Dawn Schiller’s FaeMaker. I love that all of her clothes are the leftover pieces of fabric from clothing I have made for myself. Perhaps sort of a self-portrait? (Minus the pointy ears, haha.)

The heart brooch is actually an earring that was my grandmother’s. I used to wear them all the time until one got lost. This is a nice use for it. 🙂

dragon #31 Glynis 2

The trunk is an inexpensive one I got a craft store and then painted with Swelligant paints and patinas. I love how it came out so old and crusty looking.

I also love how this piece tells a story. Or if not tells the story, at least makes you wonder.

dragon #31 Glynis 4

Who are these characters? Just what is in that bottle of glittery stuff? Is she going to heal the dragon’s tattered wing with it? What is their relationship?

I’ll leave it up to your imagination to fill in the details. Feel free to tell me in the comments what you think the story is.

Oh and here’s a little video I did, just showing it from a few angles.

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.

Aug 032015
 

donut & dangles necklace

Although this mosaic turquoise donut looks great all by itself it’s accented by all the dangles on top. The rustic cord just adds to the Southwestern vibe.

Even though you have to wire wrap 2 dozen dangles, this project goes fairly quickly because you can wrap them all independently and not have to hold them on to something.

I think this necklace is great for wearing in the summertime, something about turquoise and summer go together in my opinion.

You can find Mosaic Turquoise in different colors and sizes over at Fire Mountain Gems.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Donut and Dangles Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Hold both pieces of cord together treating as one. Fold in half and poke loop at center through hole in donut. Bring all four cords back through the loop and pull to tighten.
  2. Make wire wrapped loops with head pins and beads, making sure loops are large enough to fit over four strands of cord.
  3. Slide all wire wrapped dangles over all four strands of cord, shaking down to make them all nest together above the donut. Tie four cords in an overhand knot above dangles to hold in place.
  4. Add knots and and accent beads to cord as desired. Add jump ring to clasp and tie on one end of cords. Tie short length of chain to other end of cords,  knotting and trimming cord ends to finish.
Jul 312015
 

ff-calipers

In today’s video I tell you all about a wonderful little tool, my Brass Caliper Gauge. When working in jewelry and the small sizes we use, you need a tool like this.  It’s not very expensive and does the job well. Just be sure to watch the video so you’ll know how to use it properly.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings – Calipers video over at YouTube.

Jul 302015
 

Welcome to week #3o of my year-long polymer clay dragon challenge. This week you get to meet Darnell.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #30 Darnell (1)

This week’s dragon is more about his accessories than the dragon himself.

While looking online for inspiration I came across these dragon bracelets by Night Sky Jewelry. You can see the influence on mine but I think mine has a very different feel.

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 #30 Darnell (2)

Her technique reminded me of a faux druzy tutorial I saw some time ago. After watching it again,  I immediately went out to Michael’s and bought all the supplies, including a dozen colors of glass glitter.

faux druzy

Here I am in the midst of experimenting with all the different combinations.

These were a lot of fun to make, but WHAT a mess. As I was cleaning up all I could think of was what the man said:

one does not simply wash off glitter

Haha, so true.

dragon #30 Darnell (3)

I really love the look of the little rice shaped bits along the spine instead of the spikes I usually add.

dragon #30 Darnell (4)

A tip for you, if you’re going to build a bracelet like this over a filigree blank, make sure you get the blank fitting you comfortably first because you don’t want to be changing the shape afterwards or pieces might pop off.

dragon #30 Darnell (5)

This bracelet is surprisingly comfortable to wear. Don’t know for what occasions, but wear it I will!

I chose his name because Darnell means hidden place, and it looks to me like he’s hiding in a cave somewhere with all his sparkly treasures.

Even if you never make a dragon you can have a lot of fun making your own sparkly treasures.  These faux druzies would be fun to make with the kids, as well. 🙂 I made my own bezels out of clay, but you can keep it simple and use purchased ones.

Happy creating!

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