Nov 262013
 

Happy Wednesday!  My workdesk today is my kitchen table. For some reason, it seems to be loaded with candy.

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Since I don’t have to put on a big Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to spend a little time doing this fun candy turkey project.

Cute Turkeys. Candy Corn, Oreos, Whoppers, Mini peanut butter cups, red licorice and a bit of yellow and black icing.

Here’s the pic from Pinterest.

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The first step was to make the candy corn “feathers.”  I used melted chocolate chips for glue, first opening each cookie to position the candies.  I put a blob of melted chocolate in the center and then replaced the other half of the cookie.

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While those cooled and hardened I performed Reese cup surgery.  Some of the Reese cups got squished while being cut, and those, of course, had to be eaten.  Quality control, right?

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All the other pieces were glued together with melted chocolate, some bits you’ll have to hold for a few seconds to let them cool and set up.

And here they are, my flock of candy turkeys. I think they’ll be a hit at the Thanksgiving dinner I’m bringing them to.  🙂

woyww-11-27-13-candy-thanksgiving-turkeys-close-up

This was  a fun project, but fiddly.  I don’t know that I’d recommend it for doing with kids, unless you have very patient kids who enjoy this kind of thing.

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, all!

 

Nov 252013
 

Presenting the newest item in my Etsy shop:  a Dragon Cameo.

dragon-cameo-1 

I got the idea when wearing a necklace based on Jill Kollman’s Micro Sculpt Applique project in the June 2013 issue of Polymer Cafe.

floral-clay-pendant

I’d been trying to make a smallish dragon pendant, but those sticky-outy wings and tails were just too breakable.

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So, while wearing the floral pendant, I got the idea to put the dragon on an oval base so all those delicate parts would be supported.

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The mica shift background makes me think of stones, which makes me think of a castle, which, of course, is perfectly appropriate for a dragon. 🙂

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While cutting out the oval bases I made a few smaller ones, but then realized they were so tiny (about 1 inch at the longest) if I tried to build a dragon on one of them I would lose my mind and possibly go blind.  (The eyes are getting old. Boo. Hiss.) So instead, I pretty much copied Jill’s design again, just in the traditional blue and white cameo colors.

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My first plan was to list this floral pendant on Etsy too, but it so much resembles Jill’s design that I don’t feel right doing that.

etsy-packaging

Speaking of my Etsy shop, I’ve updated my packaging.  From now on, all items small enough to fit will come on one of these pretty pillow boxes wrapped in twine or ribbon.  Designs on the boxes will vary, but you can always request something in particular.

Keep an eye on this space for an upcoming sale in my Etsy shop. I haven’t had time to organize it yet, but I really need to clear it out and update the look.

Happy creating!

Nov 212013
 

Wow, color me impressed.  I just finished taking a free family portrait photography class over at Craftsy. I wasn’t really looking to do any family portraits (my kids are grown & gone), but figured any tips I could pick up would be a help as I try to improve my photographing skills.

Craftsy Logo

I was really impressed with Kirk Tuck’s teaching.  He explains things clearly and tells you WHY something should be done one way or another.  (Don’t know about you, but if you don’t tell me why I should do a thing I’m not apt to bother.)

He shows some great techniques for getting excellent shots of little ones, couples and family groups in many different settings. (I do disagree with his use of matches to get kids’ attention, though, and think a bright, sparkly toy would be better & safer.)

So, all that to say, if you’ve ever thought about taking your own family photos, check out this class.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

family-portraits-class

Some things you might not have known about Craftsy:

  • It’s worldwide craft community offering online classes. (Over two million members and counting.)
  • It also has a patterns marketplace where independent designers can sell their patterns
  • It has a supplies shop with great deals on yarn, fabric, and class kits.
  • And it has a projects section where members share pictures of their latest craft successes.
  • The categories of classes range from quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, photography, cooking, and more.

Don’t forget that there are lots of free classes you can take, just to get a taste of the quality.  That’s how I got hooked.  😀

Happy creating!

Nov 192013
 

Hello Wednesday! Today’s workdesk finds me working on this month’s Tim Holtz tag.

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This time around he had a faux chalk drawing technique. It involves embossing a stamped image and then rubbing over the embossing with chalk.

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I couldn’t find the brand he called for, but I figured Ranger Sticky Embossing Powder would do the trick.

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As you can see, the more detailed the image, the more muddy the design. The good news is that I finally got around to using this stamp and die set. 🙂

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If your stamped image is more of an outline, that works much better. If it looks like it could have been drawn with chalk, then great!

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I’m not super thrilled with the look, and I hate having chalk dust all over my desk. Grit, ugh. 

However, I thought I’d make the best of these cute snowmen and gave them some color with red & green stickles and Picket Fence Distress Stickles.

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So that’s what’s on my workdesk today.  It’s all part of a massive weekly blog hop where we take a look at the work spaces of other creative folks from all over the world.  Sometimes neat, sometimes messy, often inspiring and always fun.  Join us if you have a little time for What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy Creating!

Nov 182013
 

I just finished up my entry in Polymer Clay Collective’s Faux Challenge.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

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I decided to try faux ivory this time around.  The technique is fairly simple, it’s just layers of translucent, white and ecru clay.

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I covered a small cardboard box with clay and textured it with a rubber stamp.  Then came the fun part, sculpting a dragon for the top.  She’s not perfect, but I kinda like her.  🙂

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She has a slightly manic look from this angle.  Huh.  Not what I had planned.

After baking, antiquing with some burnt umber acrylic paint brought out the texture .

Go on over to the Polymer Clay Collective to see all the challenge entries.

Happy creating!

Nov 142013
 

More often than not we are inspired by materials.  Catalogs and conventions tend to overwhelm with the sheer volume of ideas.  But can’t you usually pick up just a simple component, like a length of chain or some beads and have the beginning of an idea?

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That’s how this bracelet started, with just the chain.

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Sometimes designing is about asking what if.  What if this edgy, industrial chain had girly pink beads on it?  What if we added LOTS of bead dangles?  What if we had a huge, funky clasp?

urban-girly-bracelet-close-up

Sometimes the answer is, “Nah, don’t bother. Yuck.” And sometimes it comes out pretty cool. 🙂

How about you?  What inspires you and what is your design process?

Watch Urban Girly Bead Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 6.5 inch length of chunky chain for bracelet base, the one I used has 8 large links
  • large lobster claw clasp
  • 40 assorted beads of your choice, I used a combination of pressed glass bicones, lampwork glass, faceted metallics, frosted round glass beads, glass cube beads and white ivory look beads
  • 40 assorted bead caps to fit your beads
  • 40 headpins
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers, optional (for rounding over wire wrapping)

Directions:

1.  Note the thickness of the large links in your bracelet chain.  Find the point on your round nose pliers that will make a loop large enough to fit over the large links. Use a sharpie, if you like, to mark that point on your round nose pliers.

2  Slide a bead and a bead cap onto a headpin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers at marked point and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose or crimping pliers to tuck in end.

3. Test to make sure your loop will fit over the chain link, then repeat step 2 for all 40 beads, bead caps and headpins.

4. If some of your beads (like my blue ones) are too big for the head pins, feel free to add a seed bead and/or a spacer bead to hold it in place.

5. Use two pairs of chain nose pliers to open a large link of your bracelet chain.  Add five bead dangles to each link, three on one side and two on the other. Repeat to add dangles evenly along entire length of chain.

6.  Attach lobster clasp on one end of bracelet chain.

Nov 122013
 

Happy Wednesday, all! Once again my workdesk shows I’m working on a project from Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, a Craftsy class I bought a while back.

Those blue ovals on the right are dragon cameos I hope to be listing in my Etsy shop soon.  And, yes, that blasted die & stamp set is still unopened.

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This is the last project I’ll be making from this class.  There are several others, but they’re all multi-strand necklaces, of which I’ve already made plenty. Other projects I’ve made from this class are Bead Cluster EarringsChandelier Earringsa necklace with handmade wire rings and wire wrapped crystal earrings.

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The project she taught was this pair of hoop earrings.  They’re very pretty, but not my style.  She gave many ideas for variations at the end, so I decided to do a bracelet.

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This time I made a cuff style bracelet.  Aga teaches you how to twist wire with a power drill (it was easier and more fun than I thought it would be!) and then how to make beading frames with the result.

The hardest part of this whole project is getting the first few beads started.  Then it’s fairly simple.

Also, beware of using dead soft wire on a project like this.  Even after all the forming and pounding the metal is still quite malleable.

I’ve really become quite addicted to these Craftsy classes! In fact, I bought another one over the weekend, so I’ll be starting with project from that soon. Btw, if you’d like to see what the quality is like before you commit to buying a class, Craftsy has many free classes, including two new ones this week.

Learn How To Piece, Patch, Quilt with Craftsy for FREE – This class is perfect for the ultimate beginner to learn the basics of quilting.

Learn How To Take Professional Family Portraits with Craftsy for FREE – How perfect a class is this for the holiday season? Everyone is getting ready to take their family portraits for Christmas cards or just to have in their picture frames at home! Now they can wow everyone with professional quality pictures.

I love the idea of the above class.  If my kids were still at home I’d definitely take it. 🙂

Hope you all have a very happy and creative What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

P.S.  Several of you wanted to see my finished color blocked tunic from last week’s WOYWW post.

Nov 112013
 

If any of you are looking for Christmas crafts to do with little ones, I’ve got an adorable project for you.

cozy-hat-ornament-for-kids-to-make

These little hats are so sweet, and the supplies are minimal, just yarn and paper tubes.

You’ll find the full Cozy Hat Ornaments tutorial over at Jeannie K. Dukic’s website, Whee! The People.  That name just makes me smile. 🙂 She has many other great tutorials and ideas, so be sure to check them out.

Happy creating!

Nov 092013
 

Hey there, hope you all are having a nice weekend so far.  I’m just popping in real quick to let you know Craftsy is having a flash sale on several classes today & tomorrow only (Nov. 9th & 10th.) So if there was a class you were thinking of taking this is a good time.

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I’ve been debating about taking Make Your Own Wirework Findings and may sign up today since it’s 50% off.

craftsy-class-wirework-findings

If that seems a little too much, there’s also a Jewelry Workshop Class for beginners on sale.

craftsy-class-jewelry-workshop

There are also sewing, cake decorating, knitting  and other classes on sale.  (Click “Online Classes” when you get to Craftsy and you’ll be able to see them all.)

I hope whatever you do this weekend you find some time to be creative!

Nov 072013
 

I bought this pattern & fabric a few weeks ago for the cooler but not cold weather we get between summer and winter here in New England. 

vogue-8817-color-blocked-tunic

I’m wearing this as I type, and the fact that the back of my neck is freezing is an indicator that that in between season is just about over.  🙁

I’m thinking I could extend the winter wearability of this by knitting up a nice cozy cowl like this one. http://erica-knits.blogspot.com/2008/01/chunky-knit-cowl-pattern.html

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This pattern sewed up quickly and easily.  The trickiest part was cutting the border print so it lines up nicely.

vogue-8817-color-blocked-tunic-close-up

There are a few more details about the sewing in my review of the pattern.

Vogue 8817 Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: Color blocked tunic top with shaped hem.

Pattern Sizing: This ran true to size according to my measurements. I made an 18.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except I like my fabrics better. 🙂

Hey!  Do you think I should have posed like this instead?

vogue-8817-model-pose

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, it’s a fairly simple pattern to put together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked how quickly everything went together. I really like the flair and shape of the hem.

Fabric Used: The top portion is a sweater knit, the center is a stretch lace over the sweater knit and the bottom is a sold black cotton jersey. All fabrics are from Joann’s

If you plan to use a border print you may want to purchase a little extra fabric so you can align and match things properly.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I did my usual lengthening of the sleeves by an inch or so. I can see lengthening it and making a dress.

I removed the top stitching on the top panel as it didn’t look right over my border print.

Also, I was fairly aggravated after a couple of tries at top stitching down the neck binding.  I finally got out a needle and some black silk thread and did it by hand.  It took 10 minutes and looks better than any machine stitching would have.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone, even beginners. The only things keeping it from being a basic t-shirt are the color blocking and the shaped hem.

I may make it again. It’s fun choosing different fabric combinations. 🙂

Conclusion: A quick (about 2 1/2 hours sewing time) and easy tunic. A great wardrobe staple.