Mar 142014
 

One fun thing about polymer clay is how it can mimic almost any material.

faux lapis lazuli beads (1)

My project today was to follow Desiree’s tutorial on making faux lapis lazuli beads. I used my Bead Roller to make oval beads and then flattened them.

faux lapis lazuli beads (2)

Many of the holes are wonky, but I do love how the colors and patterning came out.

If you could, what kinds of stones or materials would you imitate?

Check back on Monday for day 11 of my Make It In March challenge.

Have a great weekend and happy creating!

Mar 132014
 

Today’s project was a fun one, I made this little lizard guy. If you’d like to know how to  make your own, I found the guidelines (not a complete tutorial) at the Polymer Clay Workshop website.

canework lizard (1)

He’s covered with slices from a cane I made a while back from a kaleidoscope cane article in the Fall 2004 issue of Polymer Cafe. (That issue is sold out, but here’s a kaleidoscope cane tutorial on Polymer Clay Central.)

canework lizard (2)

It took just as much time to get the toes right as it did to do everything else. I can’t tell you how helpful it was to have my magnifying lamp to do those tiny details. (We’ve used that light SO much in our household: to remove splinters, to read teeny tiny writing on bottles, for itty bitty repairs, it’s awesome.)

canework lizard (4)

Here he is, slithering across my keyboard, just to give you an idea of the size. He’s about 3 1/2 inches long.  This is definitely a technique I want to revisit, but with a cane made for the project.

Check back tomorrow to see the end of week 2 of my Make It In March Challenge.

Happy creating!

 

Mar 122014
 

Have you ever bought a garment and loved it so much you wished you’d bought it in every color, and three of each?

batik-skirt-outfit

If so, then you know how I feel about this fuchsia knit top. The fit is perfect, I love the style, it’s utterly comfortable and I adore the color.

Sadly, though, it’s showing the love and getting a bit ragged around the edges. So today I’m making a pattern from it so I can make copies over and over.

This is a fairly simple garment to copy, there’s no fancy inner seaming, it’s just a front, back and sleeves.  The trick will be finding a knit with a similar amount of stretch so the fit will be the same.

fuschia top pattern (1)

To copy the front and back, first pin the side seams together. Also, turn one sleeve wrong side out and place it inside the other.  Use large sheets of paper (newsprint, tissue paper, tracing paper) on a padded surface, such as an ironing board.

Line up the front center fold on a straight line of the paper and pin in place along the fold, then use a serrated edge tracing wheel or a tracing wheel with needle points to trace over the side seam line. Leave pins in at the underarm and the neckline, then smooth out the armscye and trace that.

You can’t see the marks in the photos, but the teeth of the tracing wheel will leave lines that you can draw over to make your pattern.

fuschia top pattern (2)

Continue, leaving pins in at pivot points then smoothing out the fabric so you can trace each section.

If using a knit, be careful not to stretch it out of shape.

When doing the sleeves, fold one sleeve in half, mark a long straight line in the center of your pattern and line up the fold to that. Trace one half, mark whether it’s the front or back, then flip the sleeve to the other side of the line and trace the other half of the sleeve.

Add seam allowances, make notes to yourself about pertinent information and you have a pattern!

Now I’m off to buy some more fuchsia knit. 🙂

Do you have any garments you’d like to clone?

Mar 112014
 

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart

Hello and welcome to another What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday where you can plainly see that what’s on  my workdesk today is Mr. Cheech.

He was sprawled out on the white containers in the back, but then jumped up to steal my seat when I got up to take the photo. The cute little brat. 🙂

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart partial

Other things that aren’t so clear are bunches of tangled & twisted copper wire. Thankfully, these are purposefully twisted into a heart. This project isn’t my own design, just to let you know, but comes from the February 2011 issue of Bead and Button magazine.

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart 3

By the way, I did figure out how to remove the enamel coating from the copper wire my son recycled for me. (You can see it here, with enamel intact. It gives a more reddish look.)

That’s what the candle is for.  One pass through the flame and the coating burns off, then a few swipes with 400 grit sandpaper removes the firescale leaving shiny bare copper wire. Hopefully it will accept a nice patina, once the weather  gets warm enough to use liver of sulfur again.

2014 03 12 woyww wirework heart 2

Here’s my finished heart. Dunno what I’m going to do with it. Any suggestions?

Like to see the creative spaces of other crafty people? Then you’ll want to check out the weekly blog party we call What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy creating!

Mar 102014
 

My son saw me wire wrapping this bracelet with copper wire and decided to pull the wire out of a bunch of electronics he had saved for recycling. Now I’ve got piles of 28 gauge copper wire and figured I’d better do something with some of it.

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-2

Top drilled beads are wrapped with just wire, not head pins or eye pins, so I went digging around in my stash for some some drops that would work.

The only bummer is that this kind of wire has an enamel coating, so it won’t patina with liver of sulfur. Any suggestions for a quick and easy way to remove the coating?

messy-wrapped-drops-dangle-bracelet-1

I’m really liking the mix of earthy tones in this bracelet, but it feels like it still needs something.  Perhaps if I come across some drops in an amber color, those will be the perfect finishing touch.

You can watch the Messy Wrap Drop Dangle Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials: 

  • total of 7 inches chain for bracelet base (mine uses 6-inches of large link and 1-inch smaller links)
  • 12 – 8mm Swarovski crystal top-drilled bicone beads in color Mocha
  • 8 – 15mm red dyed stone top-drilled triangle shape beads
  • lobster clasp
  • approximately seven yards 28 gauge copper wire (reclaimed from the inside of discarded electronics)

 Tools: 

  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • wire cutters 
  1. Cut wire into 8 – 16-inch pieces and 12 – 10-inch pieces. To straighten wire, hold one end firmly with chain nose pliers and slide through nylon jaw pliers several times.
  2. Slide a 16-inch piece of wire into a 15mm bead, leaving an inch sticking out one end. Bend both wire ends up at 90-degree angle to hole of bead. Bend wires over top of bead, making a triangle shape. Bend remaining ends of wire up, perpendicular to bead hole.  Grasp both wires with chain nose pliers at top of triangle and bend at 90° angle.
  3. Treating both wires as one 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 slide over a link of your bracelet chain. Close loop and hold with chain nose pliers.
  4. Wrap remaining wire around bends and down to cover bead hole.  You will be building up a cone shape of wire from the bottom of the loop to just below the bead holes. Tuck in wire end with chain nose pliers.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 to wire wrap all 15mm beads with 16-inch pieces of wire and 8mm Swarovski crystal bicones with 10-inch pieces of wire and attach to bracelet.
  6. If necessary, attach all pieces of chain together to make length of bracelet. Use jump ring to attach lobster clasp.
Mar 072014
 

Today’s project is from a Craftsy class, Make Your Own Wirework Findings.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while, but didn’t have the heavy gauge wire necessary.

paddled copper headpin earrings

These headpins are 12 gauge copper wires with one end hammered into a paddle shape. You then slide on the beads (the green ones are lampwork beads I made a long time ago when I had a lampwork studio) and then roll over the loop.  Simple, but quite interesting.

make-your-own-wirework-findings

Watching Lisa demonstrate in the class I always had the feeling there was something tricky and mine would never come out shaped nicely, but her tips and tricks made them come out pretty good, imo. 🙂

The next step will be to make some matching ear wires, also taught in this class.

Check back on Monday for day 6 of Make It In March. In the meantime, happy creating!

Mar 062014
 

Today instead of playing with polymer clay, I decided to work with 14 gauge copper wire and try one of the projects from Cindy Wimmer’s The Missing Link: From Basic to Beautiful Wirework Jewelry.

little orbits metal links

Cindy’s book walks you through making several different shapes and styles of wire links for jewelry. I love that the book isn’t project based, but gives you a jumping off point for your own creativity.

The links I made are ones she calls “Little Orbits.” They involve making large rings from heavy gauge wire, flattening and texturing the wire and then wrapping it with finer gauge wires, either twisted or not, messy or neat, matching or contrasting.

I think I’m going to love using these in projects and they’ll look even better after a patina with liver of sulfur.

Happy Creating!

Mar 052014
 

Today’s project is one I’ve been thinking about for some time.

rustic dragon pendant (1)

It involves taking one of my dragon cameos and making a mold of it with Castin’ Craft EasyMold Silicone Putty. (This stuff from Amazon may seem expensive, but you get 16 oz. for $30, whereas at the craft store you get 3 oz. for $15. If you use a lot of molding putty it’s a deal.)

dragon-cameo-1

 

After unmolding the piece I beat it up a bit and added some texture with various tools.

I kinda wish I’d gotten a bit more aggressive with the toothbrush, as it still seems a bit too “smooth.”  After baking I antiqued it with a dark blue, then dry brushed with white and silver.

rustic dragon pendant (2)

I’m not 100% pleased, but think this is definitely an idea I want to pursue further.  Especially since I’ve done all the work of sculpting the dragon already, these could be made fairly easily.

Why am I sharing only partially completed projects with you? It’s all part of a challenge I’ve set myself to work on at least one creative project every weekday in March and document the results here. They may not all be pretty, most won’t be completely finished, but at least it’ll be something.  Check back tomorrow for the next creation.

Happy creating!

Mar 042014
 

Hello Wednesday All!  Today’s desk shows me working on Day 2 of my personal Make It In March challenge. (See the previous post for what I’m doing and why.)

2014-03-05-woyww-polymer-pies

There are several tutorials on YouTube for making a miniature pie using a bottle cap as the pie plate. They were so cute, I wanted to give it a try. Those teeny little blue dots were all rolled out individually, then pre-baked before being added to the pie.

polymer-clay-pies-1

One of the thing’s I’ve noticed about really well done miniature polymer clay food is that you have to look at the real thing (or a good photo) and not just rely on what you think it looks like.  Getting the colors and details right  is what makes these convincing.

Those cherry pie crust strips needed to be thinner, but I was running out of time and didn’t redo them. I also didn’t have time to add gloss glaze to the fillings before taking the photos. That will add a lot to the realism.

polymer-clay-pies-2

Dunno that I’ll make a career of food miniatures, but these sure will be adorable fridge magnets. 🙂  Check back tomorrow to see what I make next.

polymer-clay-pies-3

And, if  you have some time, check out the desks of other creative folks from all over. It’s a weekly blog hop we like to call What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and you can find all the details over at Julia’s.

Happy creating!

Mar 032014
 

Do any of you other creative types find yourselves frustrated with the number of ideas you have vs. the amount of creative work you actually get done? It seems to happen to me cyclically, perhaps three or four times a year. The inertia sets in and it’s just much easier to sit here and do “creative research” (read: check out other blogs & spend time on Pinterest) than to go and make things myself. I keep thinking I’ll do it later, then it gets late, the hubs wants to watch a couple episodes of Dr. Who, and that’s it, day over.

procrastionation-pinterest

In an attempt to conquer this problem  I have set myself a challenge for the month of March. I’m calling it “Make It In March,” and I’m committing to working on at least one creative idea every weekday for the month of March.

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me, as I promise to post one photo every weekday of what I’ve accomplished. It may not be pretty, but it’ll be something.

If you’d like to join me, let me know and I’ll link to your blog, flickr or what-have-you from here.

miim-1-gradation-beads-sketch

Today’s project was based on a sketch I did a few weeks ago. I won’t call it a total fail, cuz I did learn a few things:

  1. The concept of making my own bead roller looks good on paper, but requires far more time, precision and patience than I’ll ever want to invest. Hence, the scribbling out.
  2. In order to have applied decoration on a round bead, first the base bead has to be make and pre-baked, then sanded, then the vine applied & baked, then one side of flowers & leaves applied & baked, then the other side of flowers & leaves.  =====ugghhhh=====  I refer you back to #1, more time, precision & patience than I have.miim-1-gradation-beads-floralThis was as far as I got with this one and then decided to call it done.
  3. I DO often invest time, precision AND patience in many projects, but they first have to enchant and interest me. Like with any of my dragons  or the chocolate charms I made a couple weeks ago.
  4. No idea is so horrible it can’t be redeemed, which is why I saved the drawing in my sketchbook. Who knows, someday I may revisit it with better and different skills than I have now.
  5. Many ideas seem good on paper, but it takes time and experimentation to see how they work out for reals.

miim-1-gradation-beads-leaves

I love the color & look I got when partially mixing pearly clay with my green.  But these leaves from a borcer mold are way too bulky.

miim-1-gradation-beads-flower-leaves

These are fairly large beads, meant to be focals, and I sort of like the concept, but I think I’m going to go back to dragons… or chocolates. 🙂

Check back tomorrow to see what I make.

Happy creating!