Dec 092014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once again! I hope today doesn’t find you too frantic as you prepare for Christmas. It should be a time of joy, not stress, right? 🙂

2014 12 09 woyww polymer clay food charms

Today’s work desk shows me working on some fun miniature clay food charms. They are actually going to be used to demonstrate a few techniques in my upcoming CraftArtEdu.com class.

I’ve been wanting to make polymer clay pizza & chocolate chip cookies for some time, and this was a good excuse.  I suppose I could have used plain balls of clay, but what’s the fun in that?

No, I won’t be teaching how to make the pizza or cookies, but here are three great how to videos:

That bowl of stuff in the bottom left, the one that looks like chocolate, is actually Translucent Liquid Sculpey mixed with some solid Burnt Umber Premo clay (which is the perfect chocolate brown color.)

Not the least bit edible, but it sure looks yummy. 🙂

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you find some time to be creative.

Wondering why I’m posting photos of my desk? Well it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all go visiting the creative spaces of creative people all over the world. The blog link party starts at Julia’s.

Happy creating, all!

 

Dec 082014
 

Truly, nothing sparkles like a Swarovski, and I fell in love with these crystal snowflakes at a bead show I attended recently.

crystal snowflake earrings cover

Since they are clear, you could match them with just about any color beads you like. However, these light blue glass bicones in my stash immediately made me think, “Frozen!”

If they’re a little much for earrings for you, how about using them as ornaments or sun catchers? I had to take these outdoors to photograph and the glittering in the sunshine was just amazing.

In the video I give  you lots of ideas and options for how to hang and string these. I hope you’ll find some creative inspiration!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.

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

Materials:

  • 2 21mm x 17mm Swarovski crystal snowflake pendants
  • 2 pinch bails or jump rings
  • 6 4mm blue glass bicone beads
  • 8 4mm Swarovski crystal clear bicone beads
  • 2 6mm Swarovski crystal clear bicone beads
  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 crimps
  • 2 crimp covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • 2 8-inch pieces nylon monofilament, 8 lb. test

Tools:

  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers
  • sharpie
  1. For ease of stringing, lay ends of monofilament on a scrap piece of paper and color the last inch or so of each end with a Sharpie.
  2. Attach a pinch bail to holes of a snowflake. Slide a piece of monofilament through bail.
  3. On each side of snowflake string a clear 4mm bicone, a blue 4mm bicone and a clear 4mm bicone.
  4. Slide both monofilament ends through a 6mm bicone, a 4mm blue bicone, a crimp, a wire protector and back through the crimp.
  5. Pull up monofilament snugly, then back off a little to leave room for crimp cover. Use chain nose pliers to flatten crimp. Trim monofilament ends.
  6. Use crimping pliers to pick up crimp cover and place over flattened crimp. Squeeze gently to close cover and shape into a round bead shape.
  7. Open the loop of an ear wire and attach to wire protector. If necessary, use chain nose pliers to twist loop of ear wire so snowflake pendant is facing front.
  8. Repeat to make second earring.
Dec 052014
 

This beaded snowflake is a fun project to make for ornaments, sun catchers, gift toppers or even the gift itself. It’s a great way to use up beads and practice your wire work skills.

friday findings beaded snowflakes

If you want to make a bunch of these, you can save a little time by leaving only  3/8 of an inch of wire after the last bead on each spoke and making simple loops, rather than the spirals.

Like I mention in the video, don’t be worried if they look like an utter mess until just about the very end, when it all suddenly comes together. 🙂

I have these in several colors hanging in a sunny window and they’re so pretty and sparkly.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Beaded Snowflakes Tutorial over at YouTube.

Dec 022014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk WednesdayI hope those of you who celebrated it had a lovely Thanksgiving. (And for the rest of you, I hope you had a lovely just-another-Thursday.) 🙂

We went to a friend’s house and the cake I brought was a huge hit. It’s the darkest, richest, chocolatiest cake I’ve ever made. In case you need a cake like that here’s the recipe for ya:  Cooks Country Chocolate Layer Cake

2014 12 03 woyww  tribal pendants

My work desk this week shows me making a couple more of Sylvie Peraud’s Tribal Pendants from CraftArtEdu.com.

You can see the one I finished next to the pasta machine, I wasn’t very happy with it. I spent too much time messing around with the colors and obliterated much of the texture.

So, I made two more and baked them before coloring. I did it her way first, but now I’m going to do the alcohol ink coloring quite differently than the way she said in the class. We’ll see how they come out.

In other news, I’ll be starting work on my own classes at CraftArtEdu.com very soon. I’m excited about that!

Some of you were waiting to see the completed sweaters I started in September. Here’s my blog post on two of them, plus a pattern review.

Wondering why I’m posting photos of my desk? Well it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we all go visiting the creative spaces of creative people all over the world. The blog link party starts at Julia’s.

Happy creating, all!

Dec 012014
 

It was quite some time ago that I promised you photos of several sweaters I was making for the winter. They (mostly) came out great, I just haven’t gotten around to taking pics for you yet.

mccalls 6796 sweater

This one I managed to snap one Sunday before church. I really wasn’t grouchy, just rushing!

mccalls 6796 turtleneck

As you can see it’s view D from McCall’s 6796.

charcoal wool from mood fabrics

The fabric is a charcoal wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics. It has bits of silver fiber throughout, which are nice and not too sparkly. The wool is cozy and warm, and not nearly as scratchy as I expected.

mccalls 6796 sweater close up

Here’s a close up of the collar, which I overly lightened so you can see the details.

It’s such a simple sweater but I got lots of compliments at church the day I wore it.

I also made view B, the plain turtleneck out of some purple bamboo/cotton fabric, but it came out HUGE and looks terrible, so no pics of that one. 🙁

Here’s my review of the pattern, McCalls 6796:

Pattern Description: This pattern is for variations on a basic sweater, with a choice of turtleneck or asymmetrical collar with buttons.

Pattern Sizing: I chose the size based on my measurements. When I used a bulky sweater knit for view D it was perfect. However, when I used a thinner, bamboo/cotton knit for view B, it was HUGE.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? What I saw seemed simple enough, but as this was a very easy pattern, I serged it up quickly and only checked the directions for adding the collar.

After reading them I changed how the collar went on, sewing it to the wrong side of the sweater so the seam would be hidden when the collar is folded down. I had to tack 1/2 inch of the collar sides together at one shoulder so the serged seam wouldn’t show.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the asymmetrical collar, that’s what made my buy it in the first place. The three buttons are a great touch.

Fabric Used: A charcoal wool sweater knit from Mood Fabrics. It has bits of silver Lurex fibers throughout.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t like the 3/4 sleeves, so made my sleeves plenty long.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I did sew it again, in a thinner fabric and it came out much too big, but once I get the sizing issue settled, I’m sure I’ll make it again.

Conclusion: This sweater is a great, basic winter wardrobe staple. Just be sure to check the fit with the particular fabric you are using.

Dec 012014
 

There’s an interesting story behind how this necklace got started.  I have mentioned that I teach jewelry making at my local Joann’s store. We were having a demo day where we show samples of our work and the teachers are available to talk to prospective students.

It was a two hour event and it seemed like a good idea to be working on something jewelry-like while sitting there, so I threw together a kit of a a few tools plus these pink shell beads, some crystals and some head pins.

fuchsia finery statement necklace

When I came home from the event, I looked at my 12 hot pink & crystal bead dangles and said, “Huh.” So hence, the trip to the craft store that I mention in the video.

The rest of it came together pretty much the way I explain in the video: add some clear crystals to bring out the crystals in the nest, add mixed metals to compliment the nest, the bird, etc.

I think my favorite part of this necklace is the addition of the little pink Swarovskis to the nest. Dunno why, but they make me happy. 🙂

fuchsia finery statement necklace close up

This is my usual design process, btw, I rarely have a specific thing in mind when I begin but just pick a starting point and go from there.

How about you? Do you work from sketches or some kind of plan? Or do you use a different type of process?

However you work, happy creating!

Enjoy the video! And if you make a project based on this tutorial, please feel free to share photos in the “Your Creations” folder at my Facebook page.

You can watch the Fuchsia Finery Statement Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

This list is what I used, but I hope you’ll search your stash and your local stores and find items that perfectly suit YOU. 🙂

  • 13 dyed pearl beads, 10mm- 16mm
  • 4 6mm opal Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • 5 4mm clear Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • 13 head pins
  • 1 bird’s nest & bird mixed media pendant
  • 28 6mm faceted Czech clear crystal beads
  • 28 6mm antique gold bead caps
  • 14 6mm antique gold plated fluted beads
  • 4 15mm copper gears
  • 4 8mm oval jump rings
  • 4 crimps
  • 4 crimp covers
  • 2 wire protectors
  • bead stringing wire
  • 2 12mm copper plated cage bead
  • 2 7-inch lengths copper chain
  • lobster clasp
  • 4 jump rings
  • 3 4mm pink Swarovski crystal bicone beads

Tools:

See the video for complete directions.

Nov 282014
 

friday findings-beaded ear wires

It was quite a revelation to me when I learned that I could make my own ear wires, especially when I realized it takes under five minutes to make a pair. And that includes gathering all the materials.

I will admit these 6mm pearls look  a little big for these ear wires, guess I’ll have to put some BIG earrings on them. 🙂 Probably 1 mm-4 mm beads would work best.

Keep in mind you could even make tiny coils (see my wire coiling video) and add those to make ear wires just like ones you purchase, only better cuz you made them yourself. 😀

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-How To Make Beaded Ear Wires over at YouTube.

Nov 252014
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, everyone. And Happy Thanksgiving to you all, as well!

2014 11 25 woyww beaded snowflakes

Today’s workdesk shows me trying to cram the usual five day week into three because of the holiday.  I’m working on a project for an upcoming Friday Findings video on how to make bead and wire snowflakes. It turned out to be more of a project than a tip video, but that’s ok.

You can get a sneak peek at them on the desk top, but you’ll have to wait until a week from Friday for a closer look. 😀

I’m keeping this short this week because it’s now time to get busy in the kitchen, baking up a storm.

I hope that wherever you are today and in whatever circumstances you find yourself, that you remember there is always SO much to be thankful for. Blessings!

If you want to see the creative spaces of other folks today, check out our weekly blog link party over at Julia’s.

Happy creating!

 

Nov 242014
 

blushing pinks necklace

Today’s project is a study in simplifying.  Rather then seeing how many elements you can add to a piece, how about figuring out how many you can eliminate?

I used rose quartz round beads, but you could just as easily use pearls. Instead of the ceramic beads, why not try some large, funky nuggets? While designing this I tried out a huge black lampworked bead that would have been interesting, if only I’d had other beads to go with it.

So, use this design as a jumping off point for your own jewelry, whether it be quiet & elegant, bright & crazy, or something else completely. 🙂

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Blushing Pinks Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 3 31mm x 14mm ceramic beads
  • several inches of clear seed beads (if needed)
  • 4 copper spacer beads
  • 18 10mm rose quartz  beads
  • 21 8mm rose quartz beads
  • 25 inches bead stringing wire
  • 2 wire protectors
  • 4 crimps
  • 4 crimp covers
  • 2-3 inch piece of chunky chain
  • clasp
  • head pin

Tools:

Directions:

  1. Add a Bead Stopper near the center of bead stringing wire. String on one copper spacer and seed beads, if needed (see video for details.) Add ceramic bead and another spacer.
  2. Repeat to add 4 spacers and 3 ceramic beads to wire.
  3. On one side of ceramic beads string 9 10 mm rose quartz beads, then 10 8 mm rose quartz beads.
  4. Onto bead stringing wire slide 2 crimps, then slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other. Add loop of your clasp to the wire protector. Slide the wire end back through the crimps and bring crimps to within 1/8-inch of wire protector. Flatten crimps and squeeze ends of wire protector together. Cover crimps with  crimp covers by picking up with crimping pliers, sliding over flattened crimp and gently squeezing pliers. Use crimping pliers to shape covers into round bead shapes if necessary.
  5. Remove bead stopper and repeat steps 3 & 4 to finish other end of necklace, adding piece of chain instead of clasp in step 4.
  6. Slide remaining 8mm rose quartz bead into headpin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  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 piece of chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers. Use another pair of chain nose to wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.

 

Nov 212014
 

Many times on this blog and in my jewelry videos I have mentioned using Liver of Sulfur patinas, so today I thought I would show you how it’s done.

friday findings-liver of sulfur

When I first heard the phrase “Liver of Sulfur” it sounded scary and the process sounded intimidating, but it really is neither.

moonglow earrings side by side

These earring show the difference a patina & polish can make. Some folks prefer a bright shiny look, it’s a matter of preference

Whatever  you do, don’t ignore my warning in the video to pretest your beads to see how they’ll react the with patina solution. If you look carefully at the pink & silver earrings above, you’ll notice that the LOS actually removed some of the coating off my pearls. Boo, hiss.

That being said, those were rather cheap beads and it’s the first time I’ve ever had any beads react badly to liver of sulfur.

You can use your choice of metal polish to shine up the high points, but I think Pro-Polish Pads are especially easy and convenient, as they have the polishing compound built right into the pads.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Liver of Sulfur Patinas video over at YouTube.