Jul 042017

Today we have the second video in a two part series, if you missed it here’s How to Make the Heart Toggle Pendants in Part 1.

heart toggle pt 2 cover

This kind of a project is a fun challenge. I knew going in that I wanted to use a heart shape with a hole in it as a toggle. I also knew that I wanted to have some kind of dangles. My initial thought was to have the dangles coming down from holes near the tip of the heart.

It took a little bit of engineering and figuring to make it all come together, this is why I didn’t make any holes in the piece (except for the one for the toggle bar, of course!) until after I had it figured out. In the end I’m really pleased with both necklaces.

My favorite part are those chain dangles that flow down from the center of the toggle bars. 

Btw, don’t forget that if you are one of my patrons I have template of these heart shapes for you available on my Patreon posts page.

heart toggle pendants cover

If you missed how to make the polymer clay hearts and toggles check out the part one video.

Tools and Materials:

  • polymer clay heart toggle pendant
  • french wire
  • crimps
  • crimp covers
  • bead stringing wire
  • beads for necklace
  • bead stoppers
  • flat nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers
  • One Step Looper
  • One Step Crimper
  • awl
  • 1/16 drill bit
  • chain & clasp for necklace
  • chain for dangles
  • head pins

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Heart Toggle Pendants-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial Part 2 video at YouTube.

Jun 302017

ff sodalite cover

Recently I sorted through ALL of my beads and jewelry findings. Phew, that was a big project! I had them in 12 14″x15″x 2″ Super Satchel Slim containers, as well as 4 smaller containers, not to mention bunches hanging on hooks on the wall AND some tucked away into a drawer.  

They were organized by color, but they weren’t sorted very well in the storage bins, so I took the advice of Marie Kondo in her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and also sorted them by type within the bins.

I’m a naturally organized person, and have written quite a lot on organizing myself, so I found her book to be neither life-changing nor magic, but I did pick up a couple helpful ideas:

  1. To gather together all of the things of one type in order to sort them
  2. Decide what you are going to KEEP, rather than choosing things to throw out, by discerning whether or not the object “sparks joy.” 

Lots of cheap acrylic beads were discarded because, nope, no joy there. They just made me say, “Ick,” every time I looked at them.

So, back to my box of blue beads.

All of this is a long-winded way of letting you know that when I sorted the blue beads by type, I realized that I had quite a few examples of sodalite beads, hence, today’s video all about this pretty, bright blue semi-precious gemstone.

It has some interesting characteristics!

Such as “tenebrescence.” Huh?!

Click on the link to see examples of sodalite stones changing color in the sun! (And read the interesting article, if you like.)

Want to use sodalite beads in your jewelry? They come in lots of shapes and sizes. At Amazon you can find:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the What is Sodalite? Learn More About Semi-Precious Gemstones-Friday Findings Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jun 272017

It’s always fun to break the rules, or at least stretch them or bend them a little! One of my favorite ways of doing that is to find new and unusual uses for jewelry findings.

heart toggle pendants cover

In a recent video I showed how you could make your own polymer clay toggle clasp findings. I decided to bend and stretch, quite literally, that concept to make these heart toggle clasps that function not only as the closure for the necklace, but as a focal pendant.

Although I used a heart shape, you can make your pendants any shape you want. Use any kind of clay sheet you want to create them, decorate them with anything you like. In short, use this idea as a jumping off place for your own creativity!

The flower and leaf canes that are used are very simple and basic.

Here are links to tutorials you may find useful if you are new to polymer clay caning. If you’d like me to make a video showing how I made my leaves & flowers, leave a comment & let me know.

In next week’s video I will show you how to add beads and dangles to turn this clasp into a necklace.

Tools & Materials:

Learn how to turn your toggle pendants into necklace in Part 2.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Heart Toggle Pendants Pt.1-Polymer Clay Jewelry Findings Tutorial video at YouTube.

Watch the Heart Toggle Pendants Pt.2-Polymer Clay Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jun 232017

ff stackable jewelry box cover

Where there’s jewelry there needs to be some way to store it! 

In today’s video I show you a rather interesting style of jewelry box. It consists of a set of trays that stack neatly one on top of the other. I really like this style as often I will pull out entire drawers just so I can dig through them to find what I need.

The folks at SongMics (pronounced ‘sɒŋmiks) sent me their Stackable Jewelry Box to review, but I can assure you that all of the opinions are my own honest thoughts on the product.

When I first chose this set of stacked boxes to look at I was thinking of storing things other than jewelry in them, like my polymer clay bits and pieces. I have those sorted into trays from the craft store, but the collection is fast outgrowing its storage!

Now that I have more carefully looked over this stackable jewelry box, I think I may make room for it on my vanity table. We’ll see. Lots of rethinking and reorganizing coming up!

Speaking of organizing, here are a few videos on how I currently organize my jewelry and studio:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Stackable Jewelry Box-Organizing & Storage Product Review-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jun 202017

Today’s video is all about the best part of making creative things: experimentation and play.

Sometimes we get so caught up in following tutorials, or making things look like something else we’ve seen, that we don’t take the time to just be creative, explore new possibilities, and find our own voice.

textured beads cover

When you do sit down to this kind of creative play it’s good to just have your focus on a few simple things. This is what I show you in today’s video. I’m just making simple textured beads, but I’m playing with relatively new texture sheets. The only other thing I’m focusing on are surface effects. 

As you’ll see when you watch the video, the discoveries and revelations come from experimenting and having fun with the process.

For me, and I suspect for a lot of other artists, this is the best way to come up with techniques and processes that are uniquely my own, (or at least ones that I didn’t copy from someone else.)

By using just a quarter block, or 1/2 ounce of clay you be able to make 10 to 11 beads. Even though I made around 30 beads I found it still wasn’t enough to fully explore all the possibilities. So be sure to make plenty.

Don’t focus on making a finished product. But when you’re all done I’m sure you will be able to pull out enough pieces to make a bracelet or necklace. Don’t be surprised if they aren’t the ones you originally expected to use!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Textured Bead Tutorial and Surface Effect Experiments-Polymer Clay at video YouTube.

Jun 162017

ff polymer toggles

As much fun as it is to buy unique and interesting products to use for our creativity, I think it’s even more fun to make them myself. I love knowing that not only are my pieces totally unique, there simply isn’t another one like it anywhere in the world, but that they perfectly match the rest of my project.

It’s just very satisfying, doncha think?

In today’s video I will show you how you can easily make toggle clasps for your bracelets or necklaces using just leftover bits and pieces of polymer clay. In the examples shown in the photo you might recognize the silk-screened piece from the Arabesque Bracelet made in a previous video. The peacock cane was left over from one of my 2015 dragons. The copper foiled toggle uses leftover clay sheets from the autumn version of the Fantasy Tree Pendant class I just released on CraftArtEdu.com.

fantasy trees beauty autumn

As always, I give you this idea as a jumping off place for your own creativity. Feel free to add slices of cane, texture, or even sculptural elements to make your toggles not only totally unique, but perhaps use as focal points rather than just the clasp on the back.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Make Toggle Clasps With Polymer Clay-Friday Findings Tutorial at YouTube.

Jun 132017

feathered fringe earrings cover

Although I have an Evernote folder called “Jewelry Video Inspiration” full of nearly 300 ideas,  sometimes it’s just more fun to pull out my supplies and see what happens.

Today’s earrings are actually a combination of an inspiration photo and searching through my stash for interesting things.

The feather charms on these earrings come attached to chain from the craft store, complete with jump rings, yay. Today I use them as is, but it would also be fun to color them with alcohol inks, embossing powders, Gilders pastes or the like. The same holds true for my hammered oval rings, although I used them just the way they came they could be also colored in a multitude of ways.

I really like the little hints of color that the mini dagger beads add. If you want to add more of these types of beads to your earrings one way to do it would be to add several more jump rings with the beads to the links of chain.

As I mentioned in the video, if this type of earring is not your style, a single unit of this design would make a great necklace pendant.

I hope you have fun adapting this design to your own supplies and taste.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Feathered Fringe Boho Gypsy Earrings Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Jun 102017

I’m excited to announce another of my classes at CraftArtEdu was just released! This is my Fantasy Tree Pendants for All Seasons class.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

fantasy trees beauty spirng

You can see a free preview of the class over at CraftArtEdu.com.

In the class you’ll learn how to:

  • Make your own custom cabochons – in any size you need – using paints with unique self-manipulating properties.
  • Add your choice of sparkly inclusions – like metal leaf, iridescent flakes and more – for a truly customized look.
  • Incorporate your cabochons into a lovely sculpted statement necklace!

fantasy trees beauty summer

In this class, I show you how to make a summer pendant (above) full of sparkling splendor. With the techniques you’ll learn along with the templates included, you can go on to make a pendant for fall, winter and spring, too!
fantasy trees beauty autumn

I also show you several additional techniques to enhance the fantasy of your piece including how to:

  • Create a pendant background that sparkles like dappled sunshine.
  • Sculpt a complex-looking tree (using a very easy method!) and add beaded foliage for extra sparkle.
  • Accent your pendant with a twisted rope border for added texture.
  • Embellish your cabochon with beads.
  • Add and decorate a matching bail and finish your necklace with ribbons, chain and beads.

fantasy trees beauty winter

Every technique in this class can be used in so many ways, and your seasonal themed necklaces are just the beginning!

fantasy trees beauty

This class is on sale for $19 instead of $28 through Tuesday, June 13.

Or perhaps fantasy pendants aren’t your thing, but you’d like to learn just the cabochon technique?

We’ve got you covered!

In the Fantasy Cabochons class you’ll learn to use fantasy paint effects and mixed media to make gorgeous cabochons that can be used in a wide variety of projects. No need to search for the perfect cabochon when you can make your own!
ftree (26)

  • Create intriguing cabochons – in any size you need – using paints with unique self-manipulating properties.
  • Add your choice of sparkly inclusions – like metal leaf, iridescent flakes and more – for a truly customized look.
  • Mimic the look of opals, and customize colors to enhance your projects!

ftree (18)

I include lots of tips, hints and tricks to ensure your cabochons look amazing! This technique is quite addictive, so be sure to experiment with colors, sizes, shapes and inclusions.

This class is on sale for $12 instead of $18 through Tuesday, June 13.

Please note: This class is included in the Fantasy Tree Pendants for All Seasons class above. If you want to take this fantasy technique a step further, consider purchasing that class instead!

In case some were on your wish list, my other classes are on sale through Tuesday as well.

Happy creating!

Jun 092017

diy steampunk texture sheet

Last December I made a video for you all showing how to make polymer clay cell phone holders. If you haven’t made them yet you should know that they were and are a big hit. My husband, sons and I all still use ours. They’re just a really great design with a small footprint and easy to use.

At the time I made a steampunk texture sheet to texture my husband’s. Several of you have asked me to show you how I made the texture sheet, and that’s what this video is all about.

You may need to experiment with the thickness of clay that you use in your pasta machine to get the best impression. One thing I’ve found that I can’t quite figure out is that the shapes tend to elongate and stretch as they run through the pasta machine, even if I keep the two pieces separate right before they hit the rollers I still end up with oval-shaped gears. Just gently stretching the clay in the opposite direction will round them back out again.

I love making my own texture sheets because I know that this makes my projects completely unique. Of course, you don’t have to just use gears and make steampunk texture. Try using all manner of household objects. How about paperclips? Or nuts and bolts? Impressions from cutlery such as forks, knives and spoons? I’ve even seen some really cool texture sheets made using pasta!

So I hope you have fun, take this idea and run with it and make it your own.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the DIY Steampunk Texture Sheet for Polymer Clay Tutorial-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Jun 062017

china girl bracelet cover

Today’s project is simple one that would be great to do with a child, such as a daughter or granddaughter. It consists of a length of hand dyed silk ribbon, a few silver plated bead caps and some 1.5 mm hole Chinese porcelain beads. It’s the large hole that allows the ribbon to go through the beads easily. The holes on the bead caps are a little smaller, so don’t use too many as they are rather rough on the ribbon.

I used ribbon ends, jump rings, chain and a clasp to finish my bracelet. But if you were doing it with a child you could keep it much simpler by leaving longer ends of the ribbon and just tying them in a bow around the wrist.

As I mentioned in the video you could also just as easily make this project into a necklace. You follow the exact same steps except leave it longer.

Tools and Materials:

  • Silk ribbon
  • Porcelain beads (be sure the hole is at least 1.5 mm)
  • Silver plated bead caps (check the hole size in these as well)
  • Ribbon ends to suit the width of your ribbon
  • Jump rings
  • 1 inch of chain
  • Clasp
  • E6000 glue
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the China Girl Bracelet – Bead Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.