Mar 252014

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

2014 03 26 woyww kumihimo flower bracelet

Today’s desk shows I’m still working on kumihimo braiding. Yesterday I finished a necklace which I’m quite happy with.

flowercup kumihimo

The next project is a bracelet based on directions  from the February 2014 issue of Bead and Button Magazine, the Flowercup Bracelet and Necklace set.

The flower shaped beads add a lot of interest…

floral kumihimo bracelet (1)

…but what a pain it was to keep the tension even.

And yes, I MADE those little beaded end caps. Ack. It makes me truly admire the folks who make massive sculpted pieces out of teeny-tiny beads.

beaded rose necklace by Anna Master

Like this amazing piece by Anna Master. No thank you. I did my time with itty-bitty units years ago during my cross stitching phase. 🙂

(If you like the above kind of work this link will take you to a page with loads of similar stunning seed bead pieces.)

floral kumihimo bracelet (2)

Tension problems aside, this is a rather pretty piece. It just needs another three inches in length to make it a bracelet… or maybe I’ll make it the center piece of a necklace. Haven’t decided yet.

So, why did I post a pic of my messy desk along with the jewelry pics?  It’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday, doncha know? Join us, if you like, in this weekly worldwide blog hop where we take a peek at the creative spaces of creative folks from all over.

Check back tomorrow for day 18 of my Make It In March challenge. I promise I will be doing something other than kumihimo or itty-bitty seed beading. 🙂

Mar 242014

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We had one springish day and one wintry day AND we’re supposed to be getting snow tomorrow night. Bleck.

kumihimo with beads and glass lamprwork heart (1)

But, I’m happy to be inside and creating. Today’s project is a continuation of what I started last week, kumihimo braiding, but now with beads.

(Click on any of the pics for a closer look.)

I was given this gorgeous lampwork heart ages ago, but never found just the right way to string it.

kumihimo with beads and glass lamprwork heart (2)

What do you think, does this combination of blue, green and gold work with the bead?

I made the bail by twisting two pieces of 20 gauge wire together and then wrapping them around a 10mm mandrel. Two wraps made the bail and one wrap made the large jump ring.

kumihimo with beads and glass lamprwork heart (3)

Kumihimo is definitely an interesting process, and while I think it’s just “meh” with cording alone, I love it with beads. However, it’s very time consuming. The 16-inches I made for this necklace took about three hours.  It’s a great project to work on while a TV show or movie is playing.

Have you tried kumihimo? Would you?  If you’re interested, here’s a YouTube video introduction to doing kumihimo and this video shows how to add beads to your braiding.

Check back tomorrow for day 17 of my Make It In March challenge.

Mar 222014

Hi all!  Sorry I didn’t get this post up yesterday, it was a busy one with errands and such. I did start a project yesterday, but just didn’t have time to take pics and blog about it.

In my shopping travels I picked up this crazy looking thing.

kumihimo braiding

It’s  a kumihimo braiding disk.

I’ve been aware of the kumihimo trend over the past few years, but was never impressed enough with the look to get on board.

(This link will bring you to a page with many photo examples of what kumihimo braiding looks like.)

To me it’s just ok, but… if you add beading to your strands, well, then you get quite a different thing.  I’ve been fascinated by the use of unusually shaped beads or an interesting variety of beads, and so got an IDEA.

If you’d like to see what I mean, this Etsy shop has some great examples of kumihimo with beading.

kumihimo braiding close up

Thus, the purchase of said braiding disk and my first attempt at braiding using yarns I had on hand pictured above. (I really, really wanted to jump right into using beads, but knew it would be wiser to start simple.) 🙂

I like the way the ripply white yarn kinda looks like beads as it stands proud of the rest of the cord.

flowercup kumihimo

Here’s an example  from the February 2014 issue of Bead and Button Magazine. Love the use of flower shaped beads!

By the way, this is a great bring-it-along-with-you kind of project, perfect for doing in the doctor’s office or while watching something you don’t need to pay strict attention to. It’s quite simple and nearly mindless.

kumihimo braiding with beads

My next attempt will be to make a cord for this pendant a friend bought for me years ago. I think these green, gold & blue beads will compliment it nicely.

If that works out, then I’ll move on to my IDEA.In the meantime, Happy Creating!

P. S. Here’s a YouTube video an introduction to doing kumihimo and this video shows how to add beads to your braiding.

Mar 202014

Today’s project is one I’ve been wanting to try since before Christmas when my December 2013 issue of Polymer Cafe arrived.

polymer cafe december 2013

Now, I don’t know about you, but that Santa is WAY too creepy for me.  But I always read through all the step-by-step tutorials anyways, even if I’m not interested in the project, because you can learn something from everything, right?

Wow, was I glad I did, because as I was wondering where Kellie got those great glass eyes, I realized she’d not only made them out of polymer clay , but she’d shared with us how to do it.


clay eye iris tools

The first step is to make a tool consisting of a 1/8-inch (that’s 3mm for you smart folks who use metric) doughnut shape on a stick. Sheesh, that’s one teeny-tiny doughnut.

This gets pressed into clay balls to make the shape of the iris and makes the pupil stand proud of the colored part of the eye.  Since I’ve been into dragons and reptiles & such, I made one with an elongated hole for cat and reptile eyes.  Once again I’m SO thankful for my magnifying lamp for doing such itty-bitty work.

I’d love to tell you more about the process, but it wouldn’t be right for me to share Kellie Mowat’s entire tutorial. You can pick up a back issue of the magazine if that’s something that interests you.

faux glass eyes out of polymer clay


Wow, I am thrilled with how these came out, especially the bright colors of the reptile eyes. I think it’s time to make a dragon to fit. Now, should it have green eyes or yellow eyes?

Btw, the tutorial calls for using Fimo Liquid Gel (I think she meant Fimo Deco Gel?) and I did that on half the eyes I made and baked them. I want to try using Lisa Pavelka’s Magic Glos on the rest, but since the sun has gone down here, that will have to wait until tomorrow. Check back then, I promise to update!

Meanwhile, happy creating!

****** Update 3/21/2014 ******

faux glass eyes

Here are the results after using the Magic Glos on three other pairs of eyes. The upper row was done with Deco Gel and the lower row I did this morning with Magic Glos resin. It’s cured in UV light, so I stuck the eyes  to a piece of cardstock, applied the resin and put them out in the sunshine for 20 minutes.

My findings comparing the two:

Magic Glos:

Pros –

  • no need for another oven baking step
  • resin is perfectly crystal clear

Cons –

  • you need a $30 UV light or a sunny day to cure it
  • you need to be especially careful of bubbles

Fimo Deco Gel:

Pros –

  • can be cured in any weather, without any additional equipment
  • is slightly less expensive than Magic Glos

Cons –

  • not crystal clear (it can be cleared up a bit with a heat gun after baking, but it will never be as clear as resin)
  • doesn’t dome as much as the resin

So I would use the Deco Gel in a pinch, if I absolutely had to get something done at night and crystal clarity wasn’t an issue. Otherwise I definitely prefer the Magic Glos.

Ok, I’m off today to buy some more black and white polymer clay (and probably some other colors, too.) 🙂

Mar 192014

Last week I showed you some faux lapis lazuli beads I made using Desiree’s tutorial.

faux lapis lazuli beads (2)

This week I thought I’d try a matching pendant with the rest of the color mix.

lapis lazuli dragon pendant (2)

The purple mold is one I made with Castin’ Craft EasyMold Silicone Putty, it’s of one of the dragon cameos I made a while back.

I use the ball tool to push hard and pack the clay into the mold so it will pick up all the detail.

lapis lazuli dragon pendant (1)


The variations in the clay mix don’t do much for the details of the pendant. Ah, well. You gotta try a lot of things that don’t work before you hit on the few that do. 🙂 Not sure whether I’m going to ball this up and start over, or bake it and try to make it work. Hmmmm……

Happy creating!

Mar 182014

Happy Wednesday again!  Spring’s official arrival  is in just a few days. Yaaaaay.  But here in New England it won’t appear in reality for another month or so. Booooo.

As a result, you can see the spring fever on my desk today, with all the bright and happy colors.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

2014 03 19 woyww colorful cane (1)

It’s day 12 of  my personal Make It In March challenge, where I’ve promised to not only make something creative every weekday in March, but to blog about it as well.

Last week I shared a kaleidoscope cane tutorial on Polymer Clay Central. Today I decided to try it for myself.

2014 03 19 woyww colorful cane (2)

The plan was to make another square kaleidoscope cane and cover another lizard, but this design absolutely insisted on being hexagonal.  I argued with it fiercely, reminding it how I dislike dealing with the 60° angles, but to no avail.

It’s pretty, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  Any suggestions?

Making canes is fun, it’s kinda magical to slice into one and see the results, but I think I prefer sculptural work. I’ll definitely never be one of those super-precise cane makers.

Wondering why I’ve shared a photo of my messy workdesk?  That’s because it’s What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday. Come and join us in our weekly snoop into the desks of creative people around the world.  It’s fun and often quite inspirational.

Happy creating!

Mar 172014

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

kaleidoscope cane lizard (1)

Ok, I am in love with this kaleidoscope cane and think I must do one in every possible color. (The sparkly specks are glitter, as I ran out of plain white and had to use some glitter white. Time to go buy more clay!)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (2)

I followed the visual tutorial on Almu Mendelbaum’s Flickr stream to make this glowing star-like cane. (Click to the left on her stream to get the rest of the steps.)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (5)

I decided to make another canework lizard, this time following the steps a bit more carefully, and with much better results. 🙂

kaleidoscope cane lizard (4)

I don’t think I’ll be giving Jon Anderson a run for his money any time soon! (I felt privileged to get to see and even handle some of his work at the El Paso airport last summer, and it’s even more amazing in real life than in the photos.)

kaleidoscope cane lizard (3)

Hubby thinks I should make all my dragons this way, covered in cane slices.  Which do you prefer, the visual texture of the canes, or actual texture?

Check back tomorrow for the next Make it in March project.

Happy creating!

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?


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?