Jul 202015
 

pink sparkles earrings

We often use these large hole beads in bracelets and sometimes in necklaces but not very often in earrings. This is a fun way to display just a couple of pretty sparkly large hole beads.

Choosing large enough spacers to snugly fit into those large holes and then careful wire wrapping holds everything in place. Little bits of  chain makes them dangle nicely.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Pink Sparkles Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 4-inch pieces 20 gauge wire
  • 2 3-inch pieces fine chain
  • 4 6mm spacer beads
  • 2 13mm large hole beads
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • two pairs chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Directions:

  1. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 1/2 inches from one end.  Bend wire at 90° angle.
  2. 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 end link of one of the pieces of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to make 2-3 wraps with wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Slide onto wire a spacer bead, large hole bead and a spacer bead. Grasp wire with chain nose pliers and make a 90° bend 1/8-inch from spacer bead.
  4. Repeat step 2 to make another wrapped loop, inserting other end link of chain into loop before wrapping. Final wraps should sit snugly against spacer bead, holding spacers in place in holes of large hole bead.
  5. If you like, gently curve up ends of wrapped loops.
  6. Find center link of fine chain and insert loop of ear wire. If needed use chain nose pliers to twist loop of ear wire so earring faces front.
  7. Repeat to make second earring.
Jul 172015
 

ff split ring pliers

The tool that I tell you about today is called split ring pliers. If you must use split rings in your jewelry making, then you really need this tool to help you manage them.

In fact, as I show in the video I also found the tool useful for opening another type of split ring: a key-chain ring. You can use split ring pliers to put keys or other things on your key-chain and not break fingernails in the process. 🙂

I mentioned in the video that I have a love/hate relationship with split rings. It’s only because they’re just such a pain to put on, but I do really like the security that they give.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Split Ring Pliers video over at YouTube.

Jul 162015
 

dragon #28 Fergus 1

This week’s dragon is a little different than other dragons I’ve been making. He is a wall piece. I got the idea for making him in a more two-dimensional way from a class I took by Tammy Durham. She showed us how to make one of her polymer clay cards, and I thought it would be fun to try a dragon in a similar way.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #28 Fergus 2

I started out by finding several greens that were in my scrap pile that were blended together and made a sheet for the background. Then I got out my rubber stamps and began stamping away.

The jungly bits were fun as I already had most of the leaves and canes, including the little rolled up fern on the right, from when I had been working through Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.

dragon #28 Fergus 3

I can hardly believe this is dragon #28, more than half-way through this year-long challenge! 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.

I wanted to make the flowers the complementary colors of the dragon and the background. So, to figure out what exactly the compliments were I snapped a picture on my iPhone and then switched it to the negative.

It was kind of fun to see everything on my iPhone in inverted colors. 🙂 That’s where that red orange and dark purple come from.

Now to find a space on the wall to hang him. 🙂

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

Jul 142015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 07 15 woyww soldering samples

On my work desk today you will see I have been having a lot of fun playing with soldering. As I’ve mentioned before, Kate Richbourg is an excellent teacher of metalsmithing. In her book, Simple Soldering, she has you make 1-inch square tiles of copper sheet on which you try different techniques. This is your metal “sampler,” so to speak.

2015 07 15 woyww copper samples

So I spent quite a bit of time learning soldering techniques as I worked through these tiles. You might recognize the flower as one from Tim Holtz’s Tattered Florals Die.

I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I softened the metal by heating it in the flame, cooled it and then ran it through my Big Shot die cutting machine. Surprisingly, the Big Shot was able to cut through the 24 gauge sheet. (I was really hoping it would not break my machine!)

2015 07 15 woyww balled headpins

It was also fun learning how easy it is to ball up fine silver wire and make my own head pins.

And now, in other news:

Just to let you know, this week is going to be the last time I participate in What’s on Your Work Desk Wednesday.

I’ve been working very hard the past few years to build my little crafting business and, praise the Lord,  I’ve finally found a measure of success.

However, with this success also comes a need to rearrange my priorities, and I found I needed to eliminate some things. Things that, although I enjoyed them, weren’t really adding to building my business.

I mentioned a while back that I stopped doing the Tim Holtz tag challenge. And sadly, now I really do need to stop the weekly WOYWW posts.

I will continue to follow many of your blogs and I hope to find time to check in occasionally.

If you’d like to keep up with my crafting crafty doings you can on:

I wish you all the best in your crafty endeavors, it’s been fun. Thanks so much to Julia for her wonderful shepherding of this fascinating endeavor.

P.S. Several of you expressed interest in my review of the bead spinner. Well, I now have two to review, and that will likely end up on my YouTube channel. Just so you know. 🙂

Jul 132015
 

viking iolite earrings

These earrings use just a few beads and spacers. Rather than wire work, which is how I make most earrings, these beads are strung onto bead stringing wire and finished with crimps and wire protectors.

Iolite is a pretty stone, and was know as the gem of the Vikings. You can read the fascinating story here.

As I mention in the video, the possibilities for these earrings are endless. Any beads you can string, you can make into this style of earring. Crystals, pearls, gemstones, metal beads, you name it. How about multiple loops of seed beads in different sizes?

Share photos of your projects based on this tutorial at my Facebook page in the “Your Creations” album.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Viking Iolite Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 14 iolite beads
  • 16 black glass seed beads
  • 2 6-inch pieces bead stringing wire
  • 4 wire protectors
  • 4 crimps
  • 2 4mm jump rings
  • 2 ear wires

Tools:

Directions for each earring:

  1. Onto one piece of bead stringing wire slide a crimp, then slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other. Slide the wire end back through the crimp and bring crimp to within 1/8-inch of wire protector.
  2. Use crimping pliers or the One Step Crimper to finish crimp or flatten crimp with chain nose pliers. Squeeze ends of wire protector together. Trim shorter piece of wire close to crimp.
  3. Onto wire slide an alternating pattern of iolite beads and seed beads, beginning and ending with seed beads.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to finish wire end.
  5. Open a jump ring and slide on loops of both wire protectors and loop of an ear wire. Close jump ring securely.
Jul 102015
 

friday findings-flush cutters

Today’s video is another Friday Findings video in my series on jewelry making tools. This week I’m talking about flush cutters. When you’re first starting jewelry making you can get away with using regular old wire cutters, and then just use a file to smooth your wire edges. But you’ll find soon that you really want to get a pair of flush cutters.

Here are the ones I own:

It’s good to have a larger pair for cutting heavier wire and a smaller pair for getting into tight places.

In today’s video I explain how flush cutters work, and give you some tips for how to use them.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Flush Cutters video over at YouTube.

Jul 092015
 

This week you get to meet a pair of dragon twins, Castor & Pollux.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 1

Interestingly, when my husband looked at them he thought they were underwater dragons. What do you think?

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

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 2

I decided to make two dragons because my plan for catching up on the one I was behind on from when I was sick wasn’t working. I had thought to make one quick dragon and then if I had time to make another one that same week, but that simply never happened.

So it seemed smarter to make two at the same time. Also, that worked out with this large column piece that I had in my stash. I’ve pulled it out to use several times, but it always seemed too big for any one dragon. It’s perfect for two dragons, though. 🙂

By the way do you recognize where the that column is from? I found it at PetSmart in the fish aisle. It’s a piece of aquarium decoration!

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 3

The clay mix that I used to cover the dragons is based on Suzanne Ivester’s Polymer Chef column in the July 2015 issue of Polymer Café magazine. She calls it “Harmony Grits.” Her idea was to mix colored grits in with translucent clay to make an interesting texture.

I decided I didn’t feel like buying an entire box of grits, which my family will never eat, just to use 2 teaspoons. So instead I ground up some rice in a spice grinder.

It’s an interesting effect but I think the starch in the rice dried out my clay as it made it quite stiff and crumbly. I did have fun adding the foils to the wings, which I think in part gives them sort of that underwatery look.

dragon #26 & #27 Castor & Pollux 4

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.

Jul 072015
 

Welcome to another What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

woyww 07 08 spinning beads

On my workdesk today are two major projects. The first one, as is common on these What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesdays, is that I am working on Thursday’s dragon. There are bits and pieces of that project on the white tile, but the dragons are not in evidence because I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise. Check back on Thursday for the results. 🙂

The other project you can see is a new bead spinner and some seed beads. This is a hint as to an upcoming jewelry making video. I haven’t tried one of these before. They do get mixed reviews but I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to play with it.

So that’s all I’ve got going on this Wednesday. Join us over at Julia’s for a fun desk hop all around the world.

Jul 062015
 

Sparkleberries Cuff Bracelet.JPG

Today’s bracelet in juicy, summer colors is quick & easy and uses only minimal supplies: beads, spacer bars, memory wire, wire cutters & round nose pliers.

I love the rather unexpected combination of sparkling crystals with these bright beads, but I can also see this looking great in several shades of turquoise. Really, any of your favorite colors would work great!

Btw, after wearing this bracelet  made the way I show in the video, I decided I didn’t like those beads dangling off the ends. Instead I remade it, beginning and ending with a spacer bar and having 6 beads between each spacer bar.

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch the Sparkleberries Cuff Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

These directions reflect how I made the first version, the one I show in the video.

Materials:

  • 3 8.5-inches pieces bracelet memory wire
  • 78 6mm beads
  • 6 3 hole spacer bars

Tools:

  • memory wire cutters
  • round nose pliers
  1. Use round nose pliers to make a loop on one end of each piece of memory wire.
  2. Onto a piece of memory wire slide 3 beads, one hole of a spacer bar, 4 beads and another spacer bar. If spacer bars have 2 different sides, make sure all are facing in the same direction.
  3. Repeat stringing on 4 beads and a spacer bar until all spacer bars are used. String on 3 beads, trim memory wire to 1/2-inch from last bead. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with remaining wire.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 using remaining memory wire and going through remaining holes of spacer bars.
  5. If you like you can add charm or bead dangles to the loops of memory wire.

Alternatively, you can add a spacer bar at the beginning, then have 6 beads between each spacer and end with a spacer bar. This will use 90 beads.

 

 

Jul 032015
 

friday findings nylon jaw pliers

This week’s tool is one that once I got them I didn’t know how I ever lived without them. The nylon jaw pliers are indispensable for straightening out wire. They’re also great for holding onto things that you don’t want to mark up with your tool.

This link brings you to a quality pair which has the replaceable jaws. I also bought a half-dozen of the jaws just so I have them on hand whenever I need to replace them.

Nylon Jaw Plier – PLR-830

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Nylon Jaw Pliers video over at YouTube.