Mar 042013
 

Meet the newest addition to my polymer clay family, Amethyst or Amelia for short.  She’s Jasper’s big sister.

(Click on any photo to see her larger than life.)

purple-dragon-sculpture-1

It’s funny, but Jasper was fairly easy and fun to make.  Amelia was only completed after much weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Remember last Wednesday when I showed her wings ripped off?  Yeah, I was frustrated.)

purple-dragon-sculpture-4

You see, I was all done and really happy with her when I carelessly picked up the bottle of gloss finish instead of the satin to give her the final coat.  Gloss just makes these things look like plastic toys.

===sigh===

purple-dragon-sculpture-6

I went over that gloss with satin finish – still glossy.  I went over it with Matte Multi Medium and it was matte – but I wanted a slight sheen, so I went over the matte with satin.  Guess what?  It was glossy!  (Yes, I had the right bottle.  Those bottles are very clearly labeled as of now.)  I repeated the matte medium and again, it was matte.  Did the satin and again, it was glossy. Argh.

Weird, eh?  I asked hubby, who knows a lot about finishes and he was stumped as to why the glossy kept coming back to the surface.

Any ideas?

purple-dragon-sculpture-9

At this point she had so many coats of finish on her that all detail was lost. Sadly, the original Amelia (who had a much cuter face) ended up being trashed, wings and all.  I did manage to rescue the rock she’s holding.

Like I said on Wednesday, I’ll chalk it up to practice and experience.  Plus, it’s a mistake I’m not likely to ever make again.  🙂

Anyhow, I’m somewhat pleased with her second incarnation and am now ready to move on to a blue dragon.  Wonder who he’ll turn out to be?

If you want to see something amazing, I came across this fantastic group of videos of a guy making a much larger dragon out of polymer clay.  Enjoy and happy creating!

Mar 022013
 

Have any of you checked out Craftsy yet?  I’ve been meaning to do so for a while and finally took a few of their free classes last month.  I have to say I was quite impressed with the quality.

micro-torch-basics

The first class I took was Micro Torch Basics. The teacher, Kate Richbourg, was excellent and went into far more detail than I expected in a free class.  Of course, the class accomplished its purpose.  It made me want to (a) run out and buy a torch, and (b) sign up for more of her classes!

Only a stern reminder that I have absolutely no lack of projects to work on kept me from doing either….  for now.  😀

pizza

Next, just for fun I tried Peter Reinhart’s Perfect Pizza at Home class.  Although this isn’t a new subject for me, I learned a few things AND discovered a new must-have cookbook.  His Joy of Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Baking is the only one I’ve seen that focuses less on the starchy gluten-free flours (most of which I can’t have) and combines that with no refined sugars.  Awesomeness.

perfect-fit

Finally, I tried one of their paid classes, Sew the Perfect Fit.  The importance of good fit was not something I understood when I first started sewing years ago, but now I think it’s the most important thing.  Why sew if it doesn’t fit well?

Lynda Maynard’s teaching is amazing.  She explains all the steps carefully and clearly, and, most important to me, gives you the logic behind each procedure.  (If I don’t know why I should do a thing, I often don’t bother.)

vogue-8766

The class even comes with a Vogue pattern, 8766.  Lynda shows you how to fit it on three very different body types.  One of my favorite quotes of hers, “The problem is never the body.  It’s always the garment that doesn’t fit the body.”  Isn’t that a great way of thinking?

So far I’ve only watched the class once.  The great thing about Craftsy is that once you have taken a class, you can go back and re-watch it as often as you need.  This one requires at least a few go-throughs.  I hope to find a sewing buddy before I get started on the actual fitting process.

I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Oh, and while looking up the links for you, I was reminded that I’d signed up for all these free classes but haven’t watched them yet.

Sewing Machine Feet from A to Z

Creative Cabled Necklines

The Hand-Painted Cake

Know Your Wool

Sewing Machine 911

So, if you have a little time this weekend, try a crafting class.  I think you’ll like it!

Btw, in the interest of full disclosure, I have become an affiliate of theirs, but only because I think they’re awesome!

Happy creating, ya’ll.  🙂

Mar 012013
 

Good morning, all!  Just popping in to mention a new feature of the blog.  I think I put this out on the Facebook page a while back, but never here on the blog.

kindle

Anyhow, for those of you who like to read on your Kindle, Keepsake Crafts blog is now available as a subscription on the Kindle over at Amazon.  It’s only 99 cents a month,  and the first 14 days are a free trial, so if that sort of thing floats your boat, then enjoy!

Feb 272013
 

Hey all!  Wow, it’s been a long time since I did a What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  The last one was mid November, sheesh.  You know how it is around the holidays, for weeks at a time I wasn’t able to get to my crafting desk, so it didn’t change at all. Dunno what I’ve been doing since January, though.  Huh.

Anyhow, here’s today’s pic. Click on it to see it bigger.

What's on your workdesk Wednesday?  Lots of polymer clay ufos.

Represented in the photo are at least half a dozen different polymer clay projects. Most of them I just can’t seem to complete, for one reason or another. 

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-001

You’ve seen Jasper the baby green dragon before.  He’s keeping me company here, and he’s all done, so that’s good.

wings

Then there’s Amelia the pretty purple dragon.  Sadly her finish has become, as Simon Cowell would say, “A complete and uttah mess.”  Yes, those are her wings there beside Jasper.  I ripped them off last night in disgust.  Her purple stone is coming out of the clay base next and she’ll be getting completely remade. No close ups until she’s done right.

As I was telling hubby last night, I’ll consider it practice, chalk it up to experience and know that it’s a mistake I’m not likely to ever make again. Grrrr…..

On the large square tile, top right & bottom left are a couple kaleidoscope pendants.  I won’t be able to do the UV resin on them until the sun comes back out, perhaps by the weekend.

doll-head

The sorta creepy doll head on a wire is a project from FaeMaker.  I love this book, love her projects and it’s a different way of sculpting for me, which I’m enjoying.  He’s going to be a steampunk guy, but I can’t move ahead on him because I have to run out and get some Burnt Umber paint to do the antiquing.  NOT Burnt Sienna, which I just bought.  Not Raw Umber, which I also just bought.  Burnt Umber.  Remember that.  ===sigh===

Well, I’ve gotta go.  I’ve got a purple dragon to remake.

Hope whatever you do today, you find some time to be creative!

 

 

 

 

Feb 202013
 

bow-earrings-purple-2

Aren’t these earrings adorable?  I’ve been wanting to get these bow charms for quite some time, and finally placed a Fire Mountain Gems order not too long ago.  Wow, was that a fun box to open!  (What’s amazing is how much you spend and how small a package it can all fit into.)

bow-earrings-blue-2

In the video I’ll show you how to make two different versions, and give you other options as well.

bow-earrings-purple-1

I highly recommend you go to Fire Mountain Gems and request their free catalog.  No, I’m not affiliated with them, I just think it’s too much fun to peruse.  Keep a cloth handy to wipe off the drool.  😉

Once you’ve spent $100 in a year, they’ll send you their super humongous,  gigunda, enormous 1324 page catalog.  A. Maze. Ing.

So many ideas, so little time…. ===sigh===

bow-earrings-blue-1

Since I haven’t seen these products at any of my local stores, for your convenience I’ve put links to them in the materials lists.  But I must warn you, once you start browsing Fire Mountain Gems website, you may never leave. You’ve been warned, bwah-ha-ha.

WordPress STILL hasn’t fixed the video embedding issue, bleah.  So, once again, here’s the link for you to go watch the video over at YouTube.

Gift Box Earrings Video Tutorial

Happy creating!

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Gift Box Earrings

Materials for earrings with larger bows:

  1. Slide beads onto a head pin in the following order: accent bead> Swaroski crystal cube bead > crimp bead> bow charm> crimp bead> accent bead.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  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.  Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of ear wire. Add wrapped loop with beads to ear wire and close loop securely.
  4. Repeat to make second earring.

Materials for earrings with smaller bows:

  1. Onto a headpin slide a crimp bead and an 8mm Swarovski crystal cube bead.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits crystal bead.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  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.  Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Onto an eye pin slide bow charm and a crimp bead.
  4. Repeat step 2 to make a wrapped loop above crimp bead.
  5. Use chain nose pliers to open eye pin loop below bow. Add wrapped loop with crystal cube and close loop securely.
  6. Use chain nose pliers to open loop of ear wire. Add wrapped loop with bow to ear wire and close loop securely.
  7. Repeat to make second earring.

 

 

 

Feb 172013
 

Hey all!  I hope you’re having a great weekend.  We got yet more snow today, but at least a lot of the white stuff from last weekend’s blizzard had already melted.

I spent the afternoon working on a little project for you guys.

Do you remember this project?

topsy turvy doll awake

Here’s the topsy turvy doll I wrote about in a four-part blog series back in 2010.

This has been a very popular project.  I’ve gotten pictures from several folks who have completed it.

mary-joseph-angel-doll

Like these cuties, made by for Christmas last year by a very creative reader.  (I’m so sorry, but all my old emails are temporarily missing and I don’t have her name to give credit.)

mary-joseph-angel-doll-1

She managed to get Mary, Joseph AND the angel all in one doll.  Move Joseph’s kerchief and you find Mary hiding back there.

mary-joseph-angel-doll-2

Flip the whole doll over and you find the angel.

mary-joseph-angel-doll-3

The little animals are held on with velcro so they can be taken off and played with.  So utterly adorable and cute!

Anyhow, back to my project for the day.  After fielding several questions about printing out the directions from the blog posts, it occurred to me that it’s likely a pain for anyone to have to print them out from the four different posts.  

So today I made them all into a single pdf, including the patterns.  I also took the opportunity to rewrite some of the directions, hopefully making them more clear.  🙂

Here’s where you can download the Topsy Turvy Doll Pattern and Directions.

I hope it makes life a little easier for you.  It’s a fun, though involved project.  I you do try it, please be sure to send me photos of your results!

Happy creating!

Feb 162013
 

Once again, I’m struck by the beauty of the humble seed bead. It’s amazing how elegant these simple components look when strung together in multiples.

brown-twisted-strand-necklace-still

This necklace began its life as necklace from a store.  I always liked the colors and the interesting beaded bail, however, it had a cheap plastic pendant that didn’t do much for the whole look.  Cuz, well…. it looked cheap…. and plastic.

Jewelry doesn’t have to be made of expensive materials to make me happy, but it has to look nice.  Ya know?

brown-twisted-strand-necklace-still-close-up

Take another look at the jewelry pieces in your collection that don’t quite do it for you.  A little tweaking might be all they need.  🙂

Happy creating!

I’m sorry that video embedding is still not working in WordPress.  This link will bring you to the Twisted Multi Strand Bead Necklace video over on YouTube.  While you’re there be sure to check out all my other videos and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss anything.

Materials:

    • 15-inches each of 6 different seed and small beads each strung onto 22-inches of beading thread
    • 4-inches of one type of beads strung onto 15-inches of beading thread (for bail)
    • 2 – 2-inch pieces wire (headpins with the heads cut off work great)
    • 2 bead caps
    • 3 or 4 jump rings
    • 2 – 4” pieces chain
    • lobster clasp
    • pendant
    • 2 pair chain nose pliers
    • round nose pliers
    • wire cutters
    • awl
    • hemostats, beads bugs or other clamping tool for holding thread ends
    • Fray Check 

To make necklace:

  1. Grasp one end of each of six 15-inch strands of beads with hemostats or bead clamping tool. Gather together opposite ends and tie in a knot. Apply a drop of fray check and allow to dry. Trim thread ends close to knot. 
  2. Gather remaining thread ends all together. Holding the threads close to last bead on each strand, give each strand a tug. This will make all strands even. Tie thread ends in a knot, using awl to place knot close to beads. Apply a drop of fray check and allow to dry. Trim thread ends close to knot. 
  3. Use pliers to make a 90° bend 3/8-inch from end of 2-inch piece of wire. Grasp 3/8-inch section with round nose pliers and twist to make a U-shaped hook. Leave the hook open slightly for now. Repeat with second piece of wire. 
  4. Slide hook of one wire through bead strands at knot with three strands on either side of hook. Use chain nose pliers to close hook into a loop. Slide on bead cap onto wire. 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 and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop. 
  5. Repeat to add wire hook and bead cap to other end of bead strands. 
  6. Add 4-inch piece of chain to each end of necklace with a jump ring. Add clasp to one end of chain with a jump ring. Add a jump ring to remaining end of chain if necessary. 

To make bail:

  1. Make a single tie (not a knot) in 4-inch strand of beads. Pull on tie to bring beads into a loop. Fold loop in half to find center opposite tie. Bring one thread end under the center and tie threads again. As you pull up the thread the beads will form two loops, a figure eight shape. 
  2. Fold these loops so they lie side by side. These two loops are your bail. 
  3. Knot the threads, apply a drop of fray check and allow to dry. Once dry, trim thread ends. 
  4. Attach the pendant to the bail with a large jump ring, then slide the necklace through the bail to complete the necklace.
Feb 052013
 

“Bead Soup,” simply put, is a collection of beads.  It can be completely random, like saving all your extra beads in a bowl, then seeing what you can do with them.  Or they can be planned assortments with contrasting or complementary colors.  Usually there’s a interesting mix of shapes, sizes and textures of beads.

bead-soup-beaded-necklace-still

Often you’ll find these assortments calling your name at bead shows or in craft stores.  (What?  Beads don’t call to You?)

This  necklace was made from a purple and yellow packet that leaped into my cart, erm, that is – I just couldn’t resist it.

bead-soup-beaded-necklace-still-hanging

I decided to keep the project simple by just stringing 4 strands of beads onto beading wire, adding bead caps, a pendant and some chain around back to finish.

You know me, it’s got to be adjustable.  🙂

bead-soup-beaded-necklace-still-close-up

As you’ll see in the video, I had a hard time deciding on a pendant until the beads were strung.  Then the choice was obvious.  This is a case of following the excellent advice I once heard to “Make visual decision visually.”  It seems “duh” but often we try to guess without actually seeing.

Anyhow, enjoy the video, and give it a try for yourself.

WordPress has been having issues lately with embedding videos.  So instead of having it here on the blog, today you’ll have to go watch it on my YouTube channel.  Sorry for any inconvenience!

Happy creating.  🙂

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Bead Soup Beaded Necklace

Materials:

  • a “bead soup” assortment of small beads (usually in 50-60 gram containers)
  • 4 20-inch pieces beading wire
  • 2 – 2 inch pieces wire (headpins with the heads cut off work great)
  • 8 crimp beads
  • 2 bead caps
  • 3 or 4 jump rings
  • 2 – 3” pieces chain
  • lobster clasp
  • pendant and jump ring or bail to attach to necklace
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping tool, if desired
  • hemostats, beads bugs or other clamping tool for holding beading wire ends

To make necklace:

  1. Randomly string 16-inches of beads from assortment onto each 20-inch piece of beading wire.
  2. Use round or chain nose pliers to make a U-shaped hook in one end of each 2-inch piece of wire.
  3. Slide a crimp bead onto a wire, then slide the wire back through the crimp, leaving a 1/8-1/4 inch loop of wire.  Flatten crimp bead with chain nose pliers or crimp with crimping tool.  Repeat with one end of each of remaining three strands of beads. Trim excess wire 1/8-inch from crimp.
  4. Slide all four loops onto a U-shaped hook, then use chain nose pliers to close U into a loop.  Slide end of wire through a bead cap.
  5. 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 and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 to add crimp beads, wire hook and bead cap to other ends of bead strands, leaving about 1/8-inch slack in each wire.
  7. Add 3-inch piece of chain to each end of necklace with a jump ring.  Add clasp to one end of chain with a jump ring.  Add a jump ring to remaining end of chain if necessary.
  8. Attach the pendant to one strand of necklace with a large jump ring.  (Or use whatever means is appropriate for your pendant.  If your bail is closed, you’ll need to slide it onto one of the strands of beads before completing step 6.)
Feb 042013
 

Dunno what the weather is where you are, but here in New England I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has had enough of winter.  I’m so tired of being cold, bleah.

Sadly, we probably have another couple months before it turns warm.

So, in the meantime, I decided to make my own little bit of spring.

Click on any of the pics to see them bigger than life.

clay-flower-wreath

Christi Friesen, in addition to having many wonderful books, also has downloadable projects on her website.

clay-flower-wreath-branch

Instead of the glass flower beads Christi used, but I tried using metal bead caps shaped just like flowers.  I first colored them with Snow Cap mixative, an alcohol ink.  Then I added other alcohol ink colors over the white to make pastels.

clay-flower-wreath-in-hand

I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but the pretty spring colors make me happy.  🙂

Also, I promised you an update on the beaded ring redo.  Here it is:

beaded-ring-on-hand

It doesn’t look much smaller, because it isn’t.  I think I only eliminated 3 or 4 beads.  A few of the clusters are shorter and they’re all tighter together now.

chunky-beaded-ring-back

The main redo was for the band.  I thought I was being smart using elastic thread, but mine didn’t have enough recovery and it just made the ring too loose.

chunky-beaded-ring

Turns out, the original designer’s instructions were just right.  🙂

Oh, and one more fun little thing.  The Blog for Beaders over at ArtBeads.com had a giveaway, and I won this pretty sparkly thing.

See?  Real people do actually win those things. 🙂

bracelet-from-art-jewelry

I’m looking forward to adding to it.  Like I NEED more jewelry.   Ha!

Happy creating, ya’ll.