Jan 072014
 

Welcome to the first post of 2014!  I took last week off to do some major home organizing; didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, but made a good dent in it. (Life, as in two grown sons moving back home, kinda got in the way.)

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Anyhow, today’s desk shows one of the bestest gifts I got for Christmas, this amazing magnifying lamp. It’s already been used to remove splinters, read teeny-tiny labels, repair jewelry and to fix some tricky knitting stitches. I love the way I can turn and swivel it to any height and angle.  Awesomeness.

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Other than that there isn’t anything too exciting on the desk.  I teach classes at Joann’s and have a bunch of samples to make. Quilt blocks, baby bibs, bathrobes and the like. Once those are done I’m determined to get back into my claying and making of art jewelry for the Etsy shop.  All this with two more people (and two more cats) in the house. It should be exciting!

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I hope your 2014 started off well.  If you’re wondering why I’ve posted a pic of my desktop, it’s because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, a giant weekly blog hop where we check out the work spaces of creative people from all over.  Have a peek, it’s fun!

Happy creating 🙂

Dec 292013
 

I have a rather different kind of project for you today.  It’s a jewelry video tutorial, as it often is, but these earrings have no wire work involved.

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Instead, they are held together with waxed linen twine.

A dear friend frequents estate sales and often brings me boxes of jewelry supplies.  (Isn’t she sweet?  Thanks, Joann!)  These wonderful stone lentil beads and painted bone doughnuts were treasures from the last box.

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I thought the rustic look of the twine worked perfectly with those beads without detracting from their beauty. Much jewelry is all about the wire work, but these are definitely about those gorgeous beads.

 

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If you’re looking for a quick gift to make, you could put together a pair of these in less than 15 minutes!

Watch Simple Bead & Twine Earrings video over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 – 3/4-inch diameter stone lentil beads
  • 2 – 1 1/4-inch diameter doughnut shaped beads
  • 8 – 1/4-inch disc beads
  • 2 pair ear wires
  • 2 – 15-inch pieces waxed linen twine
  • scissors
  • awl
  • chain nose pliers

Directions:

  1. Fold a piece of waxed linen twine in half.  Make a knot in the twine 1/8-inch from the fold, using awl to help position knot.
  2. Slide stone lentil bead onto one piece of twine.  Bring both pieces of twine together below bead and make a knot right where twine exits bead.
  3. Slide one piece of twine through center hole of doughnut bead from the front and slide the other piece of twine through from the back.   Bring both pieces of twine together below doughnut and make a knot.  Don’t pull the twine too tightly or earrings won’t hang nicely.
  4. Slide two disc beads onto one piece of twine.  Leave about 1/8-inch loose twine above beads and tie a knot below beads.
  5. Slide two disc beads onto remaining piece of twine.  Leave about 1/2-inch loose twine above beads and tie a knot below bead.
  6. Trim both pieces of twine about 1/4-inch from bottom of knots.
  7. Use chain nose pliers to open loop in ear wire and insert twine loop made in step one. Close ear wire loop.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 to make second earring.  Remember to use the awl to help place each knot exactly where you want it.

Happy creating!

P.S.  To my regular readers:  I’ve cleared my schedule this week in order to make time for some deep organizing.  Fun stuff like sorting through my file cabinet, clearing out all the old magazines and getting into the backs of certain closets.  Sadly, this will probably not leave much time for blogging, but you can be sure I’ll try to get in some creative time.

I’ll see ya’ll next year. 🙂

Dec 222013
 

It never feels quite like Christmas until I’ve done a few last minute just-cuz-I-want-to crafts. This year Nan over at Froggy Designs has kindly shared with me her templates for Christmas Village Houses, which she’s allowed me to share with you.

(Click here to see Nan’s way cool steampunk version of these houses.)

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I decided to make my houses out of vellum which was first embossed with white embossing powder. (Click on any of the photos for a closer look.)

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Why embossed vellum, you ask?  So I could put battery operated votive candles inside. Aren’t they pretty?

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Cutting out all those little windows was a bit tedious (I used a craft knife) but I love the way they look.

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The stamps I used for embossing:

In order for the votive candles to fit I made the sides of the houses 1/4-inch longer than on the templates. Don’t forget to make the roofs 1/4-inch wider as well

Also, unless you cut out each roofline perfectly, I recommend you hold off on scoring all but the center line of your roof top.  Then hold it on your house and mark the next fold line.  This will make them fit better than on my houses, which are a bit wonky.

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This was a fun project to work on while listening to some Christmas music, and I love turning off the lights and admiring my glowing little village.

Merry Christmas and Happy Creating!

Dec 172013
 

So, Sunday night, I decided that just had to come up with a small handmade gift for each of the guys in my life.

Of course, the inner conversation went something like, “What!  Are you nuts?  It’s ten days until Christmas!”  Then, “Oh, I know, just something small… multiplied by at least seven, of course.”  And, “Argh. You do this every year.”

Sensible me had won out, and I’d dismissed the idea completely.  Until I came across the idea to make polymer clay covered pens.  Loves-to-make-last-minute-gifts me said, “Yay, whoop whoop!”

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And here are the results.  I made a mokume gane* loaf of polymer clay out of scrap blues, greens, silver and pearl white. I then put slices onto gray scrap clay and ran it through the pasta machine. This spread out the pattern a bit and is what I covered my pens with. (Click on the pics for a closer look.)

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The pens were surprisingly easy to cover, and each only needs a 1″ x 5.5″ piece of clay, so I had way more than enough to do my 10 pens.

I’m not so sure about the holders.  I may redo them in solid colors, or skip ’em altogether.

I seriously doubt that any of the guys in my life actually read this blog, but if you do, I’M SORRY.  Now you know what you’re getting.  😉

* Wondering what the heck is “mokume gane”?  It’s a  Japanese metalworking technique in which layers of metal are fused together and manipulated to create patterns that look like wood grain.  The phrase“mokume gane” means “wood-eye metal” in Japanese. Polymer clay artists mimic this process by layering sheets of polymer clay together, distorting them, and slicing sheets from the stack to reveal fascinating patterns.

If you’d like to see the process, here’s a YouTube video showing how to make gorgeous mokume gane pendants.

Happy creating!

P.S.  Wondering why I bothered to post a photo of my workdesk?  Cuz it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!  Check out this fun weekly blog hop and see what other creative folks are doing over at Julia’s.

P.P.S  All you U.K. deskers may be gratified to know that Chris Dann made good on her promise to send a Christmas pudding all the way across the pond to my house. Hubby & I loved it!  Thanks, Chris, for fostering cultural awareness. 🙂

Dec 152013
 

Hey, I actually finished December’s Tim tag by the midpoint of the month!

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Tim specified Clearly For Art plastic for this project.  I’ve never used it, but have found that reusing clear plastic packaging works fine.  You can heat it the way he describes with a heat tool and then shape it while it’s warm. Perhaps the Clearly For Art works better, but at least the plastic is free, and it’s recycling. 🙂

He also suggested using Frosted Film, but I just sanded my plastic to get a frosted look.

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I did, however, buy the Tattered Poinsettia die, as it can be used for many other projects.  The poinsettia was colored with Blazing Red StazOn and the leaves with  Olive Green StazOn. The branches were cut from the Bird Branch die and colored with Coffee Archival Ink.

The background was colored with Antique Linen Distress Stain, then the Harlequin Background Stamp was stamped with Bundled Sage Distress Ink (I LOVE this soft green for backgrounds.)

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The “Peace on Earth” and the star are from a Michael’s store brand set.  When all that was done, it just needed something more in the empty space in the top center/right.  I thought the angel from the Christmas Silhouettes Clear Stamps was perfect here, as it was the angels who announced

“Glory to God in the highest, and earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

The angel was stamped with Bronze Mica Magic. It has a slight shimmer irl.  The last step was to do a bit of splattering with white paint.  I may have gone a wee bit overboard on that. 😀

If you’re thinking of other projects that can be made with recycled plastic packaging, here’s a Tattered Floral Wreath I made last spring.

Happy creating!

Dec 102013
 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Here we are, only two weeks from Christmas, are you ready?

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Some things to note on my desk today:

  1. The readers in the upper left. They’re becoming more & more of a necessity. ===sigh===
  2. All the lovely little wrapped & labeled packages in the upper right.   I bought this Pillow Box die for packaging my jewelry and am very happy with it. All that’s left of presents buying is for hubby & sons now.
  3. The new Wooden Pliers Rack. It holds more tools and is much more stable than the little plastic one.
  4. In the bottom left is a new toy I’ve been playing with.  Well, it isn’t exactly new… I bought it last February, but I did just take it out of the package. It’s the Artistic Wire, Coiling Gizmo, Econo Winder. (If you’re thinking about getting one, the Deluxe version is actually $3 less on Amazon. Go figure.)

What this little gadget does is let you quickly make nice, even wire coils. Don’t know why I didn’t open it sooner!

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I wanted to do that because I was making this toggle clasp from a Craftsy class I’ve been taking.

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I’m loving this class as she is teaching us how to make all kinds of interesting jump rings, head pins, ear wires & clasps.  There’s something so empowering about making these findings yourself, instead of being limited by what you can find at the store.

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After I made the clasp, I decided to make these coiled coil beads to go with it.  Aren’t they fun?  Now I just have to make up my mind on how to patinate the copper.  What do you think, green verdigris or darkened?

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Wondering why I posted a pic of my messy workdesk?  It’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  On this day every week we explore the creative workspaces of other folks from all over the planet. Get the details and join us over at Julia’s, it’s fun!

Dec 082013
 

I’m sure most of my fellow crafters will agree with me when I say that hand made gifts are the best.  In fact, one of the gifts I treasure the most is a scarf knitted for me by a friend for Christmas  last year. It’s just so nice to have something made for me for a change.

But that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to stop making gifts for others. 🙂

In that spirit, with Christmas just over two weeks away, I’m sharing with you some gifts you can put together quickly for those on your list.

Happy creating!

1. Snuggies!

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2. Knitting needle or crochet hook organizer

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3. Infinity Scarf

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4. Quick Brag Book Photo Album

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5. Purple Crystal & Gemstone Bracelet

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6. Custom Swappable Earring Dangles

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7. Custom Eyeglass, Camera or Phone Cases

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8. Gift Box Earrings

 

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9. Sea Glass Stretch Bracelet

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10. Boho Bead and Leather Cord Necklace

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Dec 052013
 

I just have to take a minute to devote some space to praising a lovely company.

Some of you may remember that last February I won a bracelet from Art Beads. I wasn’t too sure about the style when I got it, but have since had the opportunity to add a few Pandora beads plus some others and now I love it.

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A few weeks ago I realized much of the silver was in need of polishing, so I pulled it apart and polished away. After putting it back together I noticed that my purple pave bead (which I like even better than my Pandora pave, btw) was missing a few of the crystals.

I sent Art Beads an email, asking if this was normal and they quickly wrote back, explaining that this type of bead shouldn’t be subjected to water, as it is clay based. Oooops, my bad. 🙁

But THEN they offered to replace it for me anyways. Keep in mind, the bracelet was a free gift and the mistake was mine.

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A week or so later I received my replacement bead; it was packaged beautifully, as always. It’s a slightly different color than the original, but is utterly yummy.

So, that’s all I wanted to say. It’s so easy to gripe and complain when a company doesn’t behave as we think they should, I think we should put just as much effort into pointing out those companies that go above and beyond.

Dec 032013
 

Happy Wednesday, all!

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Today’s workdesk finds me working on some more dragon wing earrings for my Etsy shop, this time in shades of blue, purple and silver.

Also on the desk is my much needed new Ott Lite. These days the eyes appreciate all the help they can get.  🙂

That colorful strip in the middle is me testing out all my different shades of mica powders.  My only problem is that once I put a finish on the clay the mica changes in appearance.  Any suggestions?

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These are the other dragon wings earrings from my Etsy shop.  Btw, I’m having a 50% off sale in my Etsy shop through this Saturday, the 7th, if you’re looking for unique jewelry for someone.

Wondering why I posted a photo of my messy workdesk?  It’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day we take the time to see what other creative folks from all over the world are working on.  Take a peek, you might  get hooked!

Happy creating 🙂

Nov 302013
 

Being a rebel by nature, I simply could not bring myself to add to the deluge of “Black Friday” sales events.  Don’t know about you, but my inbox was crammed full the things.

However, I have had in mind for a while to hold a sale to clear out my Etsy shop.  Although the title of the shop is Fancy That ART Jewelry, I realize many of the items are just jewelry, and not so much art.

I’ve been working on changing that, by going more in the art direction, like with the dragon pendants, dragon wing earrings and such.

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So, all that to say I am having a sale over at my Etsy shop.  Just to  keep it simple everything in the shop is 50% off from midnight December 1st through midnight December 7th.  

If there’s a piece you’ve been wanting, now is the time to pick it up.  The dragon stuff I may remake, but once the other items are gone, they’re gone.

Happy shopping and happy creating!