Jan 022017
 

Here’s a short little video I made for you looking back on all of the tutorials I’ve created in 2016. It’s kind of amazing to think that it’s been a year since I finished my dragon challenge, as the habits I developed over that year I have served me well this year. I learned to be more disciplined, to work at my art whether I feel like it or not, and to make it a priority.

Dragon Collage 1500x1500

I really love making polymer clay tutorial videos for you all! As I mentioned in the video, I added a third weekly video to my YouTube channel in February. What I didn’t mention was that in August I realized making three a week was just too much. So now I’m back down to two per week, alternating weeks (more or less) with polymer clay and jewelry videos, but always with a Friday Findings video every week.

One hundred thirty seven videos is a LOT and I hope you all have enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if there are any that stand out to you as particular favorites.

swirly lentil Collage

I also created one class for CraftArtEdu.com this year, my Gradient Swirly Lentils Necklace class. This is a fun polymer technique that can be quite addictive. I strongly suggest if you enjoy polymer clay tutorials that you get on  CraftArtEdu.com’s email newsletter list as they regularly send out coupon codes for 30, 40 and sometimes 50% off their classes.

Another thing I was really pleased to do this year was create tutorials for fairy garden accessories for Polymer Café magazine.

March April 2016 Polymer Cafe magazine

They kicked off my series with the March/April issue in which my fairy garden birdbath was featured on the cover! That was quite a thrill.

fairy garden Collage

I then went on to make five other fairy garden accessory tutorials, concluding with the fairy garden bridge in the January/February 2017 issue. If you’d like to learn how to make these but don’t have a subscription to Polymer Café or can’t get the back issues, keep an eye out because I will be releasing them as individual downloadable PDF tutorials, once the rights revert back to me (about 18 months after publication.)

fairy house pdf promo

I already have one out for sale, my Fairy Garden House.  The Vines and Flowers Pen PDF tutorial will be out sometime in March or April of 2017. (In the meantime you can watch the video tutorial for the matching pen stand.)

clay doll & cheech

Dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters, cat-because he’s a cat

One thing I put in my 2015 looking back and looking ahead article a year ago was that I wanted to do more figure sculpting. Sadly I have only managed to do a grand total of ONE figure this year, this little dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.

I really have a strong desire to do figures expressing relationships, emotion and interactions and have been studying the work of other artists to see what resonates with me.

My Pinterest board Doll & Figure Inspiration-Polymer Clay shows the direction my interests & tastes take.

pinterest dolls & figures

Speaking of which, if you follow my Pinterest boards I have recently separated out the dragons and figures from my Inspiration-Polymer Clay board, adding two more boards:

In fact, as I look back at my list of 2016 goals, I find that not as many of them as I would have hoped have been accomplished:

  • Work in precious metal clay – Nope, mostly due to lack of funds
  • Finish going through Christi Friesen’s Flourish– No, but nearly there!
  • Work through three books on figures – Not even close ===sigh===
  • Create polymer clay videos for YouTube-Yes! I recorded, edited and uploaded 50 polymer clay videos to my YouTube channel. 
  • Continue to write tutorials for Polymer Café magazine – Yup, did a year-long series. 🙂
  • Turn some of the dragon projects into tutorials – I’m working on it, I promise!

It may be time for a new 2017 challenge to get me moving on my goals.

Thinking about it….

Watch the 2016 Year in Review video at YouTube. 

What are your proudest accomplishments of 2016? Do you have any goals for 2017? 

Happy creating and happy new year!

Dec 302016
 

ff q&a supplies & stringing

It occurred to me the other day that I hadn’t done any question and answers videos in quite some time. Sorry about that!

Even though I try to answer most questions in the comments sections of the videos, it’s always nice to answer them in a video for everyone to see because if one person has a question it’s likely more people have the same one.

In today’s Q & A I answer questions about where to find the supplies that I show in videos, how to finish up crimped bead stringing and why sometimes jewelry designers weave the end of the wire back through a few of their final beads.

Here are links to some of the supplies I like to use in bead stringing:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Q&A-Where to Find Jewelry Supplies, How To Finish Bead Stringing-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Dec 272016
 

tube bead bracelet cover

I have been admiring these tube bead bracelets for quite some time, in fact I made a Pinterest board just for them. You’ll notice the Pinterest board has a few pieces that may be necklaces instead of bracelets, they’re really just the same thing, only longer. And there are a few variations like the long tube on the very long strands, making an interesting and unusual necklace.

I also love the tubes that are sculpted with flared ends, and the ones that have holes pierced through them.

All the different textures shapes and the variation of color make this bracelet very rich and lush in appearance, hence the name, “baroque.” Dictionary.com defines baroque this way:

1. of or relating to a style of architecture and art originating in Italy in the early 17th century and variously prevalent in Europe and the New World for a century and a half, characterized by free and sculptural use of the classical orders and ornament, by forms in elevation and plan suggesting movement, and by dramatic effect in which architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts often worked to combined effect.
2. of or relating to the musical period following the Renaissance, extending roughly from 1600 to 1750.
3. extravagantly ornate, florid, and convoluted in character or style: the baroque prose of the novel’s more lurid passages.
4. irregular in shape: baroque pearls.

tube bead bracelet atl beads

There are so many variations you can do with this. I had a few ideas that I didn’t have time to get to, like adding Swarovski crystals or hot fix crystals all over, perhaps surrounded with coils and dots of clay. Also, you could make a long tube, decorate the whole thing, and then cut it into individual beads.

Once again, don’t be intimidated by the long list of tools and materials. If you’ve been working in polymer clay or jewelry for a while, you likely have most of them. And the ones that you don’t have you’ll certainly use in future projects. 🙂

Tools & Materials:

The video I mention about color mixing is from Wishing Well Workshop, not Cindy Leitz at Polymer Clay Tutor. (I got confused because Jenny mentions Cindy in her video.) Both channels are awesome, btw!

I would love to see your suggestions for ways that you can think of to vary this technique.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Baroque Beads Bracelet-Polymer Clay Jewelry Video Tutorial at YouTube.

Dec 232016
 

ff end caps

There are many different findings out there with names that can be easily confused for one another. In today’s Friday Findings video I’ll explain and show you what end caps are and what they aren’t. I differentiate them from bead caps which are close, but not quite the same.

Yes, it can be confusing, but I look at it this way: If I end up ordering the wrong finding, now I’ve got a new jewelry supply to try out and and experiment with. 🙂

There are many different ways you can use these great little findings, from the most obvious as an end to finish a piece of cording, beading or something else, to not quite so traditional and possibly unexpected uses.

You’ll see several examples that will hopefully get your imagination fired for new and interesting ways to use end caps in your jewelry designs.

Here are links to some of the end caps I show in the video, as well as some others you might enjoy using:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Use End Caps in Your Jewelry-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Dec 202016
 

beaded fan earrings cover

Since Christmas is so close I figured we all could use a very simple, short and sweet project. These earrings may look complex but as I mention in the video I was able to put together one of them in 15 minutes. So a pair would only take you half an hour after assembling the materials.

Make sure to pick up some very fine bead weaving thread, like the Wildfire I show in the video, as each of the beads gets at least two passes and you need a fine thread to be able to do that through the small 15/0 beads.

In the interest of full disclosure I figured out how to make these earrings after first seeing this design from Linda’s Crafty inspirations on Pinterest. If you like bead weaving you’ll love her site! The original design is by Beth Clark and she has a free pdf of the design at her website. (Along with lots of other great designs!)

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video, happy creating and Merry Christmas!

Watch the Beaded Fan Earrings-Jewelry Beading With Superduos Tutorial at YouTube.

Dec 162016
 

ff superduos

Suerduos are just the most fascinating little beads. At least I’m amazed by the endless variety of ways you can fit them together in jewelry designs. I got so fascinated, in fact, that I made in entire Pinterest board just for superduo designs.

super ds

In today’s video I’ll show you examples of just a few patterns you can make with superduo seed beads, and give some tips for working with them. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss upcoming jewelry designs using these clever beads!

There are LOTS of patterns available for working with superduos, many are free and some are paid. Here are a few free ones you may like:

And, superduos are available in SO many colors! Here are just a few that I particularly like:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Superduo Seed Beads-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Dec 132016
 

gingerbread house ornaments cover

These little gingerbread houses are so much fun to make! Just like making a real gingerbread house the first thing you do is gather, or in our case make and pre-bake, all of your candy decorations.

We’ll also pre-bake liquid bakeable Sculpey in the color Pearl to resemble icicles dripping off the roof of our house.

gingerbread house ornaments lit up 2

Then it’s time to make our gingerbread “cookies” that will form the body of the house. Just a couple simple techniques will make these truly resemble baked gingerbread cookies. The fun part comes after that, the decorating!

gingerbread house ornaments lit up 1

One thing I neglected to mention in the video is that after I glued my prebaked “icicles” to my roof I went back in with some more of the liquid bakeable clay and filled in all the gaps around the edges before baking one more time. This gave a much more smooth and finished appearance.

gingerbread house ornaments back

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Gingerbread House Ornaments-Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments Series video at YouTube.

Dec 092016
 

art beads unboxing

I try to keep a month or so ahead in my plans for tutorial and Friday Findings videos. So sometimes that means taking advantage of sales on different supplies.

ArtBeads.com regularly has sales on various components (they also often throw in extra little goodies, but I haven’t gotten any of those in my past couple purchases. 🙁 )

Today’s video is part unboxing and part sneak peek as I show you what is in my latest Art Beads order. You’ll see supplies that will show up in upcoming tutorials as well as Friday findings videos.

Here are links to a few the things shown in the video:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Friday Findings-ArtBeads Unboxing/Sneak Peek video at YouTube.

Dec 072016
 

I first made this artsy jacket over 10 years ago, before I started blogging, which is why I don’t have a review of the pattern or any other pictures.

It was a really fun project using several different fabrics, lots of beading and embroidery techniques, shaped facings and hemlines and just general creativity all around. You can still find the pattern at Diane Ericson Design.

santa cruz jacket pattern

I’ve lost a bit of weight lately and rediscovered this jacket tucked way in the back of my closet and found that it was now too big! Not so big that I couldn’t wear it, but big enough that it was starting to look a little sloppy and I knew it would look terrible if I lost any more weight, which I definitely plan to do.

santa cruz jacket before

Since the jacket was so much work and so unique, I decided that it was worth it to take the time to take it apart, cut it down and then put it back together.

The fit is much more pleasing now as you can see, and I have incentive to not gain the weight back because if I do I won’t be able to wear it. 😀

santa cruz jacket remade

The cutting down process was fairly straightforward. I took the jacket apart by removing the sleeves, opening the under arm seams and taking apart the side seams. Then I laid on the pattern pieces, having marked the new size that I wanted, and cut the armscye, side seams and sleeve seams to the new size. This way all the details were left alone and preserved as I had originally done them.

This approach might have been tricky if I had lost a LOT of weight and the back and neck were too wide, but with this style and size difference it worked out well.

Not all garments are worth this much time and effort but this one certainly was!

Dec 062016
 

poinsettia ornament cover

It’s been so much fun making these polymer clay Christmas ornaments for you all! I especially love these pink poinsettias. I was inspired by a Fire Mountain Gems advertisement that came out a few years ago with red poinsettias on clear glass balls, but I wanted to make mine a bit different.

I decided to make shaded canes for the leaves and flowers (bracts I think they are technically) to add the detail that I wanted.

poinsettia ornament insta 2

Shaping the flowers is really just simple, basic sculpting. What’s fun about these is that once the polymer clay is baked it peels right off of the ornaments. You can then glue the pieces back on the ornaments in whatever configuration you want. This is much easier than having to place them precisely while trying to hold onto a round ornament.

Make sure that your balls are glass so that they can go in the oven and not melt. Also, if you’re not sure if the ring around the top of your ornament is metal or acrylic, remove that too, just in case.

poinsettia ornament insta 1

Another really pretty combination would be to make white poinsettias with a bit of green in the centers, and perhaps put them on red glass balls. I can see those with a little bit of gold mica powder dusted on the edges. As usual, so many ideas and not enough time to do them all. 🙂

Some curling, twisting ribbons add a graceful touch, be sure to watch the video for a cool trick for cutting perfectly straight strips of clay for the ribbons.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Poinsettia Ornaments-Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments Series-2016 at YouTube.