May 282015

Hello and welcome to the 20th in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #20 Gwenda 4

This week’s dragon is Gwenda, which means “white wave.” She’s a pretty girl, with her pink, green & silver swirls, and she likes pretty things. As you can see she’s found this pink heart shaped stone.

dragon #20 Gwenda 2

If I were you, I would not try to take it from her. In fact, I’d suggest you not even look at it. Just in case. You wouldn’t want to lose a finger.

faux leopardskin jasper beads

Gwenda was made using the faux leopardskin jasper technique from Kim Schlinke and Ranee Ketzel’s book Polymer Clay Gemstones: The Art of Deception. These are some beads I made in the same way.

dragon #20 Gwenda 3

I think I like the swirly pattern better than the spotted. Also, I’d like this better in different colors. It was a fun technique to play with and I’m looking forward to experimenting with bolder shades and different shapes.

dragon #20 Gwenda 1

“Mine. All mine.”

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

May 262015

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 05 27 woyww making cards

On this week’s desk are some supplies of mine you haven’t seen in a while: card making stuff! I’ve been so busy with other things that it’s fallen by the wayside. Only so many hours in a day and all that.

In fact, a few months back I decided to give up trying to keep up with the Tim Holtz monthly tags. I felt a little sad, but it has been one less stress every month.

But, just for today I’m going to play with technique ideas I’ve been storing up and make a dozen or so cards.

Whatever you’re doing, may you have happy creating!

To see what’s happening on the desks of many other crafty and creative people, go to What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Cuz it’s Wednesday and that’s what we do.

May 252015

summer sparkles bracelet.JPG

This bracelet started, as many of them do, with the focal beads. I just love the colors and the summery images. This set was purchased at a bead show, sorry I can’t remember the name of the vendor. However, you will be able to find many beads like them for sale on Etsy and Ebay. Try searching for “summer beach lampwork beads.”

This is a fairly simple stringing project. The tedious bit was making 64 little bead dangles. The 1-Step Looper helped that process go more quickly, but it still took a while.

I’d love it if you shared 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 Summer Sparkles Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.


  • 3 lampwork focal beads, 20-30mm
  • 6-8 blister pearl beads
  • 64 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • 64 silver plated ball end headpins
  • additional silver spacer beads as needed
  • silver plated toggle clasp
  • 2 silver plated crimps
  • 2 silver plated wire protectors
  • 2 silver plated crimp covers
  • 12-inches .48mm bead stringing wire


  1. Slide each 4mm crystal bead onto a head pin. Use round nose pliers or the 1-Step Looper to make simple loops in each headpin, making 64 bead dangles.
  2. Separate dangles into eight piles of eight each.
  3. Add a Bead Stopper to one end of bead stringing wire. Onto wire string: two pearl beads > loops of eight bead dangles > lampwork focal bead > loops of eight bead dangles > pearl bead > loops of eight bead dangles > pearl bead > loops of eight bead dangles > lampwork focal bead > loops of eight bead dangles > pearl bead > loops of eight bead dangles > pearl bead > loops of eight bead dangles > lampwork focal bead > loops of eight bead dangles > two pearl beads.
  4. Add a Bead Stopper to other end of wire and check fit of bracelet. If needed string additional silver bead spacers between and/or after beginning and ending pairs of pearl beads.
  5. To finish ends remove one bead stopper and onto bead stringing wire slide a crimp, then slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other. Add one end of your clasp to the wire protector. Slide the wire end back through the crimp and bring crimp to within 1/8-inch of wire protector. Flatten crimp or use One Step Crimper, then squeeze ends of wire protector together. Trim shorter piece of wire close to crimp. Cover crimp with a crimp cover by picking up with crimping pliers, sliding over flattened crimp and gently squeezing pliers. Use crimping pliers to shape cover into a round bead shape if necessary.
  6. Repeat step 5 to add other half of toggle clasp to other end of bracelet.
May 222015

Friday Findings-Bead Caps.JPG

Bead caps are wonderful little jewelry findings that can really dress up a bead and make a piece much more fancy. They come in just about every finish and style that you can imagine, but did you know that you can do a lot more with them than just caps beads?

In the video I give you several ideas for using bead caps in alternate ways in your jewelry. I hope this gets your imagination firing, you’ll likely think of many more!

You can watch the Friday Findings-New Uses For Bead Caps video over at YouTube.

May 212015

Hello and welcome to the 19th in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons!

dragon #19 Qinglong 1

Meet Qīnglóng (pronounced “chíng-long”) the second dragon encountered in Tiger’s Voyage.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #19 Qinglong 2

He is an ocean dragon and has a rather unpleasant attitude, which I hope I conveyed by his expression. He is described as being perched atop a castle ruin on a rocky island jutting out of the ocean, so I had some fun creating that.

dragon #19 Qinglong 3

To keep him from being top heavy I buried a lead fishing weight in the front narrow part of the island. Tricky, eh?

dragon #19 Qinglong 4

The book gives quite a detailed picture:

  •  bearded, with a long sinuous body
  • water dragon
  • scaly skin is brilliant blue
  • yellow eyes, purple tongue
  • head is longer, narrowing more at the nose
  • fleshy, fat & lazy
  • grouchy, irritable
  • cheeks and brow covered with feathers that sweep away from its face and shimmer like fish scales in brilliant blues and purples
  • similar feathers flow down the spine of its back and fan out at its tail and limbs like the hair around a Clydesdale horse’s hooves
  • sharp golden talons
  • when annoyed feathers along the back & top of the head stand up like crested cockatoo

dragon #19 Qinglong 5

I’m starting to understand what movie-makers are talking about when they adapt a book and say they feel they need to change things and not do them exactly as described on the pages.  There were details that seemed important for the character, and other details that just didn’t translate well from page to visual.

dragon #19 Qinglong 6

Anyhow, I kinda like Qīnglóng and his grouchy attitude. 🙂

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

May 192015

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again.

2015 05 20 woyww kumihimo beading.JPG

Today I’m working on prep for an upcoming video tutorial on kumihimo braiding with beads. I first gave this technique a try over a year ago and decided it was time to add a couple tutorials to my YouTube channel.  Be watching for the series on kumihimo in a few weeks.

On my mp3 player this week are the podcasts by the producer of the Outlander series telling all the interesting behind-the-scenes bits about each episode. Fascinating! Are any of you watching? What did you think of the last episode?

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you wonder why I’m sharing a photo of my desk, it’s this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia’s called What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Join in, all are welcome!

May 182015

criss cross wire earrings

These earrings use wire wrapping in a rather different way, to create shapes surrounding our beads. You can use as many beads and wires as you like, perhaps even use larger beads and longer wires to make a pendant.

How about changing up the type of wire? Twisted wires, square wire or half-round would all give a different look to these frames. Experiment and see what you can come up with!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

You can watch Criss Cross Wire Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.


  • 2 8mm beads
  • 4 4-5mm beads
  • 2 head pins
  • 2 ear wires
  • 6 6-inch pieces 22-24 gauge wire


  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • nylon jaw pliers

See video for complete instructions.

May 152015

friday findings-wire gauge.jpg

In today’s video I explain the basics of wire gauge. It’s fairly easy to understand once you get used to it. 🙂

This Jewelers Wire Gauge is similar to the measuring tool I show in the video. It measures from 0 to 36 gauge.

Also, here are links to the wires I use most often:

I like to use the bare copper wire so it will get a dark patina. Then when you polish up the high points the details really show. If you prefer to keep a bright, shiny look, then be sure to get one of the tarnish resistant wires, like this one: Tarnish Resistant Copper Wire 24 Gauge

Here’s the chart I promised in the video. I keep mine with all my wires for easy reference.

wire gauge chart.jpg

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wire Gauge video over at YouTube.

May 142015

My dragon for this week is a character in a favorite book series of mine. Meet Lóngūn, the star dragon. (His name is pronounced “long-gín.”)

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I’ve challenged myself to make a dragon every week in 2015.

dragon #18 Longun 1.JPG

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

If you’ve read the third book in the Tiger’s Curse series, Tiger’s Voyage, you’ll remember he is the first one encountered on the voyage.

dragon #18 Longun 2.JPG

Here are the descriptions from the book:

  • looks more like a Chinese serpent with a long sinuous body
  • four short limbs with taloned feet
  • red, black underbelly, top is streaked with vermilion
  • seems to glow with red light
  • long black and red tendrils trailing from black bearded cheeks
  • shiny scales
  • long lashed eyes, red irises & black pupils
  • long red tongue
  • pointed black tufted ears
  • two reddish black spikes, more like horns protruding from back of the head
  • spikes are covered with black velvet like new antlers and are soft & rounded at the tips
  • coming through the sky like a sidewinder

dragon #18 Longun 3.JPG

It was kind of fun making a sculpture to match a particular description. I also tried to show some of Lóngūn’s personality, although he’s got the least strong personality of all five of the dragons. I’m looking forward to doing some of the others even more.

dragon #18 Longun 4.JPG

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

May 122015

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday everyone!

2015 05 13 woyww  dragon #18.JPG

Today’s desk finds me working on dragon #18 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. This week I’m attempting to create a dragon who is a character in favorite book series of mine.

If any of you have read Tiger’s Voyage , you’ll know from the colors on the table which of the five dragons I’m working on. 😉

(And if you have read the books, feel free to check back tomorrow and let me know what you think of my representation of him.)

The book on the left is one I use for inspiration, DragonWorld. It’s full of dragon art by a slew of different artists. I don’t try to copy any of them, but look for interesting details, expressions, poses, etc. that I can draw from.

Also in the shot are more faux glass eyes that I needed to make. I LOVE how much more life they give to the dragons, like in Wen.

And there’s my trusty mp3 player, don’t know what I’d do without it. I wear this Sansa Clip all the time to make tedious work (you know, like dishes or cleaning or weeding the garden) go by faster. Just finished listening to the sixth Outlander book. Are any of you following the TV series? It’s wonderful!

If you’re wondering why I’m sharing photos of my desk, well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all get together at Julia’s and take a peek at each other’s creative goings on. It’s always fun and often inspiring. Join us if you have a the time.