Sep 102015

This weeks dragon was started when I watched Sandrartes’ wonderful polymer clay video on making a cat that is a cell phone holder. I thought it was utterly adorable and amazingly clever and immediately decided to make my own version: a dragon, of course. 🙂

dragon #37 Sadie (1)

Meet Sadie, who along with Siri, helps me out with my iPhone.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #37 Sadie (2)

The trick in this design is getting the form to follow the function. The tail actually plays a big part in keeping everything balanced.

dragon #37 Sadie (3)

While putting away my groceries this week I discovered my newest favorite texturing tools: the mesh bags used for produce. The fine mesh used on the spines was a sleeve holding my heads of garlic. The medium mesh held onions and the largest mesh held avocados.

I just loved being able to wrap this texture around the clay and hold onto it while adding details but not smearing my pattern.

dragon #37 Sadie (4)

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Be sure to visit Sandrartes’ YouTube channel, she has lots of wonderful, creative designs.

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.

Sep 072015

wild hearts crystal earrings

Top drilled beads often present a problem as to how to hang them. We can wire wrap which takes a bit of time and the skill and know-how. You could just simply use a jump ring which isn’t a particularly elegant or secure method.

Today I thought I would try something different and use bead stringing wire and seed beads. I like the way the little pearly white beads accent the crystal heart. Just a few other beads that play off the crystals, some crimping, ear wires and you’re done.

This design is so open to interpretation, any kind of top drilled beads will work and any kind of smaller beads that accent it would work, so have fun playing with your designs.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

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


  • 2 12mm Swarovski Crystal Wild Heart pendants
  • 32 11/0 seed beads
  • 2 8mm beads
  • 4 4mm spacer beads
  • 2 6mm beads
  • 2 crimps
  • 2 crimp covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 4 1/2 inch pieces bead stringing wire


  1. Onto the bead stringing wire string eight seed beads, a crystal heart and another eight seed beads.
  2. Bring the ends of the wire together and string onto both wires an 8 mm bead, a 4 mm spacer, a 6 mm bead, a 4 mm spacer and a crimp.
  3. Onto one wire slide the wire guardian then slide this end of wire back through the crimp.
  4. Pull up both wires tight leaving space for a crimp cover. Use crimping pliers to flatten crimp then cover with the crimp cover.
  5. Open loop of an ear wire and attach wire guardian to complete the earring.
Sep 042015

ff round nose cover

One of the first tools you need to get for jewelry making is a pair of round nose pliers. Chain nose are great for holding things, as well as opening and closing, but you must have round nose to make loops and connectors.

In the video I’ll give you the basics of how to use this helpful tool in your jewelry making.

This pair is nearly identical to the ones I use: 4 in 1 Round Nose Pliers

These have slightly longer tips, a little over 3/4-inch according to one answered question: Beadsmith Round Nose Micro Pliers

Enjoy the video and happy creating!


Sep 032015

This week’s dragon began with a faux abalone tutorial I found online. I had decided this week to try covering a dragon with slices of the faux abalone. The tutorial involved using oil paint, and I felt it needed to dry for a little while, so while I let it dry I watched the latest class from Polymer Clay Adventure.

It was a class by Linda Hess on making an Under-the-Sea candle holder. It seemed to me that a faux abalone dragon would make the perfect sea dragon.

And so this week’s project began.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 1

This candle holder is built on a 5-inch round glass fish bowl that you can find at most craft stores.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 2

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 4

Many of the details are the same as Linda taught in the class, especially using the sheet of clay to cover the candle holder and cutting all the circle bubbles in it. I also adored her jellyfish and pretty much did mine the exact same way.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 3

I also loved her idea of using polymer clay molds but changing them and customizing them. I’ve avoided using clay molds because I wanted my sculptures to be my own design, but I really loved how she cut off tails and fins and replaced them with bits of cane which made them truly special. So it was a lot of fun to go through my drawer full of leftover canes and finding ones that would work.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 5

I changed her seaweed, making it thinner and giving a twist which I really like the look of; it’s so graceful.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 6

You may notice that there are two sea dragons on the sculpture. That’s because as we entered September I was reminded that this year Christmas is on a Thursday, as is New Year’s Eve, and I suspect in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s I may be short on time to make dragons. So I’m going to try to get ahead and avoid any last minute crunch. But I do still want to complete the challenge of 52 dragons in the year!

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 7

In order for the dragons to fit nicely on the bowl, I needed to do a bit of dragon surgery: slicing off a about a third of their sides. I wasn’t sure how much of their faces I’d be using, so I sculpted both sides, just in case.

When it turned out I didn’t need to remove any of the head, I decided to have them peeking through the bubbles into the inside. Kinda fun! 🙂

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 8

If you’ve been following my polymer clay dragons this year you may recognize many of the bits and pieces on this candle holder. For example, on the turtle are slices of the cane that I used in Ferdinand the Bull’s-Eye, the fins on the orange fish are from Marsali that I did a couple weeks ago. And the gold crackled turquoise clay is left over from the gold box that I made for Ciro in week 15.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 9

The mold I used for the fish, turtle, sea horse, sea scallops and starfish is the Sculpey Flexible Push Clay Mold, Sea Life, so cute.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 10

This is truly the kind of project I love, I could have gone on adding details for far longer, but it seems quite complete now. Another change I made was that Linda brought her clay all the way up to the top of the container and then made a border on the edge. The only problem with that is polymer clay lets off nasty smells when it burns so you have to use a teeny tiny candle in the holder. I chose to cut mine off further down on the container so I could use a larger candle.

dragon #35 & 36 Boann & Belisama 11

The faux abalone came out very realistic, it’s a great tutorial!

I know I’m going to enjoy having this sitting out and studying all the details. 🙂

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

Aug 312015

clasp focal dangles necklace

Many times we add a bead dangle to a clasp just for a bit of decoration. But in this week’s necklace we’re adding a bunch of dangles to the clasp and making it the focal point.

This is a fun project to go through your beads and pull out a variety of bits and pieces that you previously didn’t know what to do with.

Included in this necklace is one of my first lampwork beads, a bead given to me by a friend who has moved on, a broken pair of earrings, and a crystal given by special friend.

Using a variety of shades of one color, such as all the different golds and the reds and oranges really gives the piece a richness that you wouldn’t get using just one color.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Clasp Focal Dangles Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.


  • large focal lobster clasp, such as:
  • necklace chain in length of your choice with jump rings on the ends
  • a dozen or so assorted beads and charms
  • a few pieces of chain for dangling your charms from (15 inches or so)
  • head pins and jump rings to attach your dangles


See video for complete assembly directions.

Aug 292015

It’s the end of the month, so time for another giveaway!

Every month TWO lucky winners will receive packages of handcrafted jewelry worth at least $100 each!

This month both winners will also receive a copy of the September/October 2015 issue of Polymer Café magazine in which yours truly has an article. 🙂

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. 🙂

Aug 282015

ff lampwork

If any of you have been beading for any time at all I’m sure you’ve encountered lampwork glass beads. Today I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how they are made.

Several years ago a friend showed me how to lampwork, and I took right to it. I loved doing it and really had hoped to continue to build my skills and get good at it. The part I enjoyed most was the sculptural work.


(Above photo from Beadworx. Click on it for a photo tutorial on how a lampwork bead is made.)

Sadly, circumstances intervened so that my space for  lampworking was no longer available. So instead I turned to polymer clay for sculpting, which probably worked out for the best, although I do still miss playing with fire and making glass beads. 🙂

(This explain why the beads I show you aren’t that great, I really needed more time to get better. Still, I was rather pleased with what I was able to do, and still wear that cat pendant every year around Halloween.)

By the way, I misspoke in the video, the bead that is in the upper right, the black and purple swirly one, was made by my friend. It was one of her rejects but I absolutely love it and wear it often.

The above video is NOT mine, it is by Jersey Girl Beads. She seems to have closed her website, and her Etsy shop is not stocked at the moment. 🙁 I include it here because she shows several things I talk about in the video: drawing with stringers, making dots, covering with clear glass and melting in dots.

Should you like to learn more about lampworking there are many, many other videos on YouTube that will show you a bit of the process.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

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

Aug 272015

dragon #34 Estella 1

Meet Estella, isn’t she beautiful?

Since I’ve challenged myself to make 52 dragons this year, I’ve also taken up the challenge of making many of them in color combinations I wouldn’t otherwise consider. However, this week I am using my absolute favorite combination of colors.

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

color blend for Estella dragon 34

Estella’s scales started out as a color blend of purple, blue and green. Specifically, Primo Purple Pearl, Sculpey Soufflé in Lagoon and Kato Polyclay in green. I just adore these colors and it made me happy to work with them.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #34 Estella 2

The green and purple obelisk is fluorite, the two clear crystals are just ones I picked up at a craft store and the large quartz chunk is one I found in New Mexico a while back.

dragon #34 Estella 3

Set on a white base with lots of white glass glitter I think they give this world an interesting surreal icy look.

dragon #34 Estella 4

Here’s a close-up of the scales I thought you would like to see. I love how using a little bit of Golden’s Iridescent Pearl paint really brought the whole sculpture together.

dragon #34 Estella 5

Instead of my usual spikes I pictured her as having a crest like a cockatoo. This was done by folding some leftover scales around 22 gauge wire. I think it’s a fun and different look (although my son says she has a mohawk, lol.)

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 242015

tweet pink earrings

When you start with earring findings as cute as these it doesn’t take much to make a really nice pair of earrings. Just add a few bead dangles and ear wires.

I can’t seem to find where I purchased these findings but here are some really cute chandelier findings at

An ombré blend of crystals makes them especially interesting. Because most of the work is already done for you with the findings it’s just simply stringing beads on the head pins and making loops, so these earrings go together very quickly.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Tweet Pinks Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.


  • 2 chandelier style earring findings with five loops each
  • 2 ear wires
  • 8 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Fuchsia
  • 12 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Rose
  • 12 4 mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads in Crystal Clear
  • 10 head pins
  • 22 3mm beads



  1. Onto a headpin slide four 4mm Fuchsia crystals alternating with three 3mm spacer beads. Repeat once.
  2. Onto a headpin slide three Rose crystals alternating with two 3mm spacer beads. Repeat three more times.
  3. Onto  a headpin slide three Crystal Clear crystals alternating with two 3mm spacer beads. Repeat three more times.
  4. Use One Step Looper to make loops at the top of all headpins. Use chain nose pliers to open loops and add to chandelier findings, with Fuchsia dangles in the center and Crystal Clear dangles on the ends.
  5. Use chain nose pliers to open loops of head pins and add to complete earrings.
Aug 212015

ff-rawhide mallet

Continuing in our series on jewelry tools today I’m going to tell you about rawhide mallets. Although not the most glamorous of tools, a rawhide mallet is useful when you need to harden or change the shape of a piece without creating hammer marks.

The rawhide mallet I use is quite small, it’s all I need for jewelry making, but the links below show you several different sizes available.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

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