Aug 042017
 

Have you heard of howlite? If you work at all with beads and jewelry you likely have seen a lot more of this gemstone than you realize.

ff howlite cover

If you’ve seen beads that are carved, shaped and then dyed bright colors, you’ve probably seen howlite!

howlite etsy

Howlite’s main claim to fame is that it is very soft and that means that it takes dye very well. In turn that means it is often used to imitate other stones such as turquoise, coral or even lapis lazuli.

howlite amazon

Although there are dishonest sellers will try to pass off dyed howlite as more expensive stones, you can tell an honest seller by the fact that their colorful stones are clearly labeled as dyed howlite.

howlite artbeads

If you think you might have some imitation gemstones you can check out the video by Gem Rock Auctions entitled “How to Tell the Difference Between Turquoise and Dyed Howlite.”

Although howlite is a fairly plain stone on its own, it definitely has its uses, whether to be dyed bright colors that cannot be found anywhere in nature or to be used as its own clean and simple white self.

You can find howlite:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Howlite, The Master of Disguise Gemstone-Friday Findings at YouTube.

Aug 012017
 

This lovely plover bead has been sitting on my studio table for way too long now. I’ve enjoyed looking at it but it was high time it got made into something wearable!

beach scene necklace cover

This bead was made by Shannon Vickers of Blue Blazes Lampwork.  You can also see what she’s up to on her Facebook page.

Many of you have told me that you enjoy the tutorials where I explain the design process. That’s why today’s video is longer than usual.

Let me know which you prefer:

  • shorter videos
  • or more of my rambling about design.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Beach Scene Necklace-Lampwork Focal Bead Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jul 312017
 

Yay, I finally got back to my figure challenge!

2017 pcfc #7 Everett cover

This fellas name is Everett and I titled him “Just Imagine.” Everett is kind of a geeky guy who loves all things adventure, fantasy and make believe.

Is he pretending to be Indiana Jones? A wizard? And what’s in that letter? Is it a call to come participate in some grand quest? Rescue a princess?

I’ll leave it to your imagination.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (1)

I have absolutely no idea why, but I totally love sculpting shoes, boots and hats! It was really no hardship to spend the afternoon staring at a young Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones while sculpting the Indiana Jones hat. 😎 I’m pretty pleased with how it came out.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (2)

My patrons were the first to get to see this, my latest figure sculpture. They got an advance viewing on Friday.  Just one of the little perks I like to send my patrons’ way.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (3)

Everett is number seven of the polymer clay figures I’ve made this year. This works out perfectly as July is the 7th month and I am now officially redefining my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge to be only one figure per month.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (4)

If I didn’t have other things to do, like things that bring in money to pay the bills, I would definitely want to keep working on two figures a month to continue growing my skills. But, you know, it’s ok because it’s good to be working on a variety of things at the same time.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (5)

I’ve also realized at this point that I am totally done with making figures that have any size to them without full wire armatures on the inside. It may be easier to sculpt without them, but I am so tired of their arms falling off! Argh.

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (6)

Another thing I think I want to do more of is making soft bodies on a wire armature and clothing them with real fabrics. Since my first love is sewing I have quite a collection of fabrics, and I’ve been saving many special ones for dolls.

So perhaps I’ll make one or two more from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters because she has some interesting ideas for using millefiori techniques to make patterned fabric clothing out of clay. But then I think I’m going to go more to using actual fabrics.

Although I still want to sculpt the hats and the shoes!

2017 pcfc #7 Everett (7)

Watch a short video of Everett the Adventurer Wizard Wanna-Be at YouTube.

Jul 282017
 

Today I have for you a look at all the goodies in the July 2017 Dollar Bead Box and Bag. This is a monthly subscription service which brings Czech fire polish beads and/or an assortment of other beads and jewelry findings to your door. 

ff july 2017 bead box

It’s so much fun to get a box of beads in my mailbox every month!

Even if I usually have NO idea what I’m going to do with most of them, I love this kind of assortment because it challenges me. These boxes are great because they make you think creatively and open your mind to using new patterns, colors and materials.

What possibilities come to your mind when you see these beads? 

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Bead & Jewelry Supply Unboxing-July 2017 Dollar Bead Box Subscription-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jul 252017
 

I had prepared a completely different project for you this week: something involving handmade lampwork beads, lots of dangling wire wrapped components and a variety of interesting features to accent a large glass focal.

However, when it came time to sit down and record the video I just didn’t feel like it!

rose blush necklace cover

Instead my mind turned to a photo I had just come across on Pinterest of a very simple, yet elegant necklace. I then went digging through my stash to see if I could find two connector pieces to hold the multiple strands together. The ones I had in mind ended up not working, but I came across these pieces left over from another project.

As I mentioned in the video I recently re-organized all of my beads and findings, sorting them not only by color as they have always been, but also by type.

It’s only been a week or so since I’ve finished and I’ve already found the system to be much more useful in finding what I need and also seeing all the different sizes and variations I have of any one type of bead, such as these rose quartz beads, I found to my surprise I had them in 8 mm, 6 mm and 4 mm faceted (which I ended up not using in this project.)

You can add as many strands as you like to this design, just be sure to test out the lengths before you finish up your connections so that everything drapes nicely inside each other.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Rose Blush Necklace-Rose Quartz Statement Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube,

Jul 212017
 

Songmics asked if I would like to review another of their products, and since the jewelry box I previously reviewed for you wasn’t quite your traditional one, I chose this box, which looks a bit more like what you’d expect from a jewelry box.

ff jewelry box review

I also chose it because of the intriguing configuration. I really like the way so much storage is tucked into this fairly small space. The miniature travel size jewelry box is really cute, too!

This is their Amazon description: Songmics Jewelry Box Girls Jewelry Organizer Mirrored Mini Travel Case Lockable Black. I guess that says it all!

Although I’m not quite sure why they stopped at “Girls,” as it could work very nicely for women or men as well.

This case is off to some special who is having a birthday soon. I hope she likes it!

Enjoy the video review and happy creating!

Watch the Jewelry Box-Organizer-Travel Case-Lockable-Friday Findings Product Review video at YouTube.

Jul 182017
 

I love how creative ideas multiply! It’s really true what somebody once said that as long as you are working with your creativity you can never run out of ideas. The more you work in the creative arts trying to express what it is you want to convey the more ideas will come to you.

altered feathered fringe cover

As I’ve mentioned before, this has helped me to recently understand why artists work in series. It’s because one idea truly does beget another. As creative people we are always asking, “What if?”

A  couple weeks ago I shared with you my Feathered Fringe  Earrings. I wasn’t totally in love with them when I finish making them, but I have found since that I do really enjoy wearing them, mostly because of the dangle factor. But as I mentioned in the video, I found myself questioning when I started writing the descriptions about boho and gypsy. With all that bright silver were they really?

Then I remembered a technique I learned some time ago from a card and paper crafts artist, Jennifer McGuire. She showed how to use embossing powders to alter metal charms which she mostly used for decorating cards and scrapbooks.

The key to using these embossing powders successfully in jewelry is to make sure that they are fully melted.

If you are using an embossing powder that doesn’t melt to a smooth shiny finish it can be tricky, so always test them by rubbing firmly with your fingers. If the embossing powders come off then you need to recoat with sticky ink and try embossing again, perhaps for a slightly longer time, but being careful not to scorch.

To continue the boho and gypsy style my funky altered feathered fringe pendant was hung with just a simple lark’s head knot on 1/8 inch suede strips . I suspect this one is going to get a lot of wear this summer!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Alter & Customize Jewelry Findings-Altered Feathered Fringe-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jul 142017
 

I hope you all are enjoying the jewelry box reviews that I have been doing lately. Since my channel focuses on making jewelry, I figured that we all need places to store our precious things.

ff girl's jewelry box review

 

Today’s video is for a jewelry box in sweet shades of lavender and aqua.

Honestly, I love it enough to use it myself! However it’s going to be a birthday gift for my granddaughter. Of course I will tuck in a few pieces of jewelry for her as well. Couldn’t give a jewelry box to somebody without adding a bracelet or a necklace, could I?

purple box c

One thing I noticed that was different about this jewelry box compared to the other two that I reviewed is that the drawers seem much sturdier. As I mentioned in the video the dividers don’t come out like they do in the other two boxes I reviewed. Instead the purple divided sections are each filled with an interior box that is wrapped in the aqua fabric. This reinforces the dividers and I think is an excellent idea for a piece intended for a child.

Note that the Amazon listing says that this jewelry box is lockable, but it is not. There were no keys included and there is no place on the latch to insert a key.

Here are links to the jewelry boxes I have reviewed so far.

Songmics has generously agreed to give away one of each of these two jewelry boxes!

One person will win this lavender and aqua one and one person will win the Stackable Jewelry Boxes. 

jewelry box giveaway

To enter to win, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends at midnight, July 20, 2017 and is only available to those in the continental United States.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Girl’s Purple & Aqua Jewelry Box Review-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jul 112017
 

summer gypsy earrings cover

The bright, cheerful colors of these earrings put me in mind of steamy summer days playing in the dazzling sunshine. And those endless swingy dangles seem like they need to be paired with a long, swishy broomstick skirt in bright clashing shades.

Can you tell that summer is my favorite season?

As I mention in the video these earrings are were inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest. It was of a pair of earrings that are no longer in the Boho Style Me Etsy shop. You should check out her shop! I absolutely Love everything in it. There’s not a thing I saw that I would not personally wear.

In the video I show you some ways of looking at your supplies with new eyes so that you can use things in interesting and unusual ways, rather than always having to run out and purchase a specific thing you think you need. I found it very satisfying to find a way to use bead cones as chandelier earring findings!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Summer Gyspy Earrings-Dangle Boho Jewelry Tutorial at YouTube.

Jul 072017
 

ff june 2017 bead box

In today’s video I go through all of the goodies in the June 2017 Dollar Bead Box and Bag. In case you missed it, last month I reviewed this monthly subscription service which brings Czech fire polish beads, an assortment of other beads and jewelry findings to your door.

I love this kind of service because it challenges me. I find when I go to buy beads I often will skip over things that I’m not sure what I would do with or things that at first glance I just don’t care for. These assortments are great because they make you think in different ways, challenge you to get creative with the supplies you have and therefore make new discoveries.

By the way, last month Dollar Bead Box was kind enough to send 3 bead boxes to winners of a drawing on my YouTube channel! If you were one of the winners we would all love to hear what you think of your boxes, and would love to see what projects you’ve made with the supplies.

The bracelet I mentioned in the video that I was thinking of when looking at the dagger beads is the Damselfly Bracelet designed by Cynthia Kimura at Artbeads.com. After looking it up I found that what I thought were daggers on the edges are actually Rizo beads, but I think the daggers would work just as well

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Unboxing Beads & Jewelry Supplies-Friday Findings June 2017 Bead Box at YouTube.