Mar 272013
 

Those of you who follow my Facebook page may remember a post from last week where I shared a fun use of shrink plastic: Victorian Farmhouse Inspired Shrink Plastic Necklace. Utterly adorable!

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With that wonderful inspiration, and these great instructions for sanding shrink plastic I set about making my own version.  (What ever did we do before we the internet? Oh yeah, we had less information, but a lot more time, lol.)

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Finding just the right type of image for the shrink charms was key, I discovered.  As I mention in the video, if you want to be able to tell what it is, you need to have an image with a clear silhouette and lots of white space in the background.

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If you want images with other stuff in the background, perhaps the white shrink plastic would work better.  If you try it, let me know, I’m curious.

Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

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This is going to be a fun one to wear!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.  🙂

Go here to watch it on YouTube: Steampunk Dragon Charm Necklace Video Tutorial

Materials for charms:

To make your shrink plastic charms:

  1. Print your images onto plain white paper, checking that images are complete, the size is about 2 ½ times larger than you want the finished charms to be and there is enough space around each image for cutting out.
  2. Use the 400 grit sandpaper to sand one side of a sheet of shrink plastic, first from top to bottom, then from side to side, creating a cross hatch pattern. Thoroughly wipe off all sanding dust. (If your shrink plastic specifies that it’s for ink jet printing, then you do not need to do the sanding step.)
  3. Print your images on the shrink plastic, making sure to print on the sanded side. Use die cutters or scissors to cut out each image. Use the ¼-inch hole punch to punch a hole for hanging your charms.
  4. To shrink your charms you can, a) use the shrink plastic manufacturer’s instructions to shrink them in your home oven, b) use a heat embossing gun, or c) follow the below instructions for coating with UTEE and shrinking in a melt pot.

To shrink your charms in a melt pot:

  1. Place your melt pot on a non-stick craft sheet and pour in Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel powder. Move the switch to UTEE setting and put on the lid. Once Ultra Thick is melted you can place your shrink plastic into it, pushing to the back of the pot with the cool tool.
  2. Your charms will quickly shrink, first curling up and then flattening out. Use the cool tool to nudge the charm to the front of the pot where you can pick it up with metal tweezers and place it on the craft sheet to cool. Pull the charm slightly along the craft sheet to wipe off excess UTEE. Use an awl to open hole for hanging.
  3. Once all charms are shrunk and coated, peel up cooled bits of UTEE and remelt in the pot. Clean excess UTEE off edges of charms with scissors, being careful not to cut into shrink plastic.

Materials for necklace:

  • 26 inches chain
  • lobster clasp
  • jump rings
  • head pins
  • decorative charms to match your theme
  • beads to match your colors
  • small accent beads
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • crimping pliers (helpful, but optional)

To make necklace:

  1. Arrange your charms in the order you’d like them to be on your necklace. Find the center of the chain and use a jump ring to attach a charm that you’d like on the end 3 inches from the center of the chain. Attach your other end charm 3 inches to the other side of center. Attach your remaining charms evenly spaced between these two.
  2. To make a wire wrapped bead dangle arrange beads in order of your choosing on a headpin. 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 or crimping pliers to tuck in end.
  3. Make as many bead dangles as you like. I used about ten in my necklace.
  4. Use jump rings to fill in the remaining spaces between your charms with decorative charms and bead dangles.
  5. Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one end of the chain.

Enjoy wearing your totally unique new necklace!

Mar 212013
 

Just finished these three little guys.

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I’ll be adding them to my Etsy shop soon, but in the  meantime I have a question for you.

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Which wings/feathers do you like better?

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After doing the red/gold and the blue/green dragons, I was thinking that the feathers were too chunky, so decided make thinner feathers and use more.  After doing that on the purple dragon I’m not sure but that I like the first version best?

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Thoughts?  Opinions?  Critiques?

For more photos you can check out the listings, blue/green dragon, red/gold dragon, purple/silver dragon.

Now I’m off to make an emerald green dragon.

Happy creating!

Mar 192013
 

I love it when Joann’s (or any other craft store) sends out coupons that are good on regular AND sale priced items.  That’s when I pick up lots of the little things that it seems silly to bother with a 40 or 50% coupon.

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Joann’s always has their magazines for 10% off, so those special coupons are the only way I can get this magazine for less than $10.

For some reason, I like the UK cardmaking publications better than the US ones.

Of course, the reason could be the free stamps.

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I saw this set and was SOLD.  Oh, yes. 🙂

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So I started working on the projects in the magazine, which also came with papers to go with the stamps.

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I made one project, the little box.  It’s cute, but meh.  Then I ran out of ambition to do any more. Probably because the sweet little pastel calicoes are so just not my speed.

Now that I think about it, how fun would these stamps be with some grunged up papers and steampunk accents?   That’s more like it….

Are you wondering why I’m posting a pic of my desktop? Well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, the day to see what other creative folks from all over the world have on their desks. Join in, it’s fun!

Some desks are neat, some desks are messy, but all are interesting. 🙂

Have a good one and happy creating!

Mar 132013
 

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You might remember these fancy jasper beads I picked up at a bead show last fall.  (Of course unless if you’re like me… I can barely recall what I did yesterday, ha.)

Gotta love these little brass beads, I think they work perfectly.  The stone dagger beads had so much presence that it seemed like they needed to not stand alone, but be accented by multiple strands.

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This technique of going from several strands into a bead cap and down to just a single chain not only makes the necklace lighter and more comfortable to wear, but it helps conserve your precious beads.

Click on any of the pics to see them bigger.

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Hope you find some pretty beads you love and give this a try yourself. Send me pics of what you’ve done, if you have a sec.  🙂

Still no joy with WordPress letting us embed videos, so here’s the link to the Jasper & Brass Bead Triple Strand Necklace Video Tutorial on my YouTube channel.

Happy creating!

  • 1 strand each:
    • fancy jasper dagger beads
    • 4mm round brass beads
    • 2mm faceted brass beads
    • 6mm wooden disk beads
  • black seed beads
  • 3 – 20 inch pieces beading wire
  • crimp beads
  • 2 eye pins
  • 2 3-hole spacer bars
  • 2 bead caps
  • 2 6-inch pieces chain
  • jump rings

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers, if desired
  • wire cutters
  • bead bugs or other tool for gripping wire

Instructions:

  1. String 16 inches of beads onto each 20 inch piece of beading wire, securing ends with bead bugs.
  2. Arrange strands in desired order and slip one wire end of each strand through a spacer bar, keeping strands in order.
  3. Add ½ inch of seed beads or small beads to each strand coming out of spacer bar.
  4. Slide each wire end through a crimp bead, then feed wire back through the crimp bead, leaving a small loop of wire. Crimp with crimping pliers or flatten with chain nose pliers, testing to be sure crimp is secure. Trim off excess wire.
  5. Open loop of an eye pin. Place each wire loop onto eye of eye pin. Close eye pin securely and feed through a bead cap.
  6. 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.  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.
  7. Arrange other ends of bead strands in necklace shape. Determine desired spacing of strands, then remove excess beads as needed and repeat steps 2-6 to finish.
  8. Attach a piece of 6 inch chain to each wrapped loop, using jump rings, if necessary.
  9. Attach lobster clasp to end of one chain with a jump ring.
  10. If needed, attach a jump ring to remaining end of chain.
Mar 112013
 

Ah, spring… in New England, spring doesn’t really come until mid-April.

Proof of that would be the 20 inches of snow we got this past week.  Bleck.

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In defiance of the storm, I spent it in my craft room, working on this wreath for Tim Holtz’s Tattered Floral Challenge.

Click on any of the photos to zoom in.

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Here’s a close up of the flowers, can you guess what they’re made of?

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All these flowers and leaves started their lives as plastic packaging.  First I die cut all the packages I’ve been saving with the Tattered Florals and Tattered Leaves dies.

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Then they were colored with various alcohol inks.

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To make the colors more pastel and more opaque, I went over them with a clean felt pad that had two drops of Snow Cap mixative and two drops of Alcohol Blending Solution.

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To give them their curled shape I hit each with my heat tool.  After you heat all the petals give the center a final blast, then you can quickly shape it over a bottle cap or rounded tool.

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Here are all my flowers and leaves, ready to go. To get rid of the plastic shine, each flower and petal was painted with a mixture of Matte Multi Medium and Perfect Pearl powder, thinned with quite a bit of water.

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I glued pearls into each center with the Matte Multi Medium, dyed the wide silk ribbon with Distress Stains and added some butterflies.

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Welcome spring!

Mar 092013
 

When I saw Tim’s tag for March 2013, I immediately knew what I wanted to do and which products from my stash I could use.

How lovely to have enough stash that the only thing I had to buy was the 5″x7″ canvas.  🙂

Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

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Although I think bunnies and chicks are utterly cute, I decided to focus on the true meaning of Easter Sunday.

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The purple shape was cut with the Baroque die.  I cut out the cross with a craft knife.  The sparkly stuff inside the cross is A. Grummer’s Iridescent Flakes.

The banner is from the Tattered Banners Die Strip. The background paper is from Tim’s Seasonal Paper Stash Pad.

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The Foliage pieces were first colored with Snow Cap mixative alcohol ink, then colored with CranberryButterscotchWild PlumEggplantDenimStreamSailboat BlueWatermelonSunset OrangePestoMeadowRed Pepper and Purple Twilight alcohol inks.  The white underneath makes the colors not only more pastel, but also more opaque.

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Tim suggested we use Memo Pins to make little stick pins of the flowers. Since I didn’t have any, I found simple eye pins for jewelry making to work out perfectly.

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The grass strip die is one I’m sure is no longer being made, but you can use the new Tapered Fringe die. (Unless you’re in the mood for a lot of hand cutting!)

Don’t you love the color of the ribbon?  It’s May Arts’ wide silk ribbon in white, colored with Broken China Distress Stain.

I never did get to Tim’s February tag last month.  Mostly I think it was because I was quite uninspired by the image he used. However, during my travels I found a stamp set I thought would be good for giving his layering technique a try.

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The images were stamped onto watercolor paper with Jet Black Archival Ink. Then the coloring was done with various distress inks and a Dove Blender Pen.

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So now I’m caught up with the tags. Phew!

Next, on to the Tattered floral challenge.

Happy Creating!

Mar 082013
 

Last week I wrote a review of several Craftsy classes I’ve taken.  Bottom line?  I think they’re wonderful!

So I wanted to be sure to let you know that Craftsy is having a 24-hour flash sale on a select few of their classes.

Until midnight tonight (Friday, March 8) you can take any of the following for $14.99.

Sale Classes:

Decadent Chocolate Cakes by Alice Medrich

Decadent Chocolate Cakes:
Alice Medrich brings her chocolate expertise to Craftsy in this class. You’ll learn essential techniques and bake three showstopping cakes.

Knit Sock Workshop by Donna Druchunas

Knit Sock Workshop:
Donna Druchunas teaches basic sock knitting, but even experienced sock knitters will pick up new tricks, from cast-ons to lace and stranded colorwork.

Amigurumi: Woodland Animals by Stacey Trock

Amigurumi: Woodland Animals:
Brand-new crocheters will learn the basics, while crochet vets will enjoy making these whimsical toys: bear, deer, raccoon and bluebird stuffed animals.

Sewing Texture by Vanessa Christenson

Sewing with Texture:
Whether you’re making something new, or livening up something you love, creating ruffles, pleats, gathers and shirring are easy ways to add style and depth.

The Art of Cloth Dyeing by Jane Dunnewold

The Art of Cloth Dyeing:
Whether you seek to create your own fabric, give new life to old items or just play with colors, The Art of Cloth Dyeing is the class for you.

Epoxy Clay Artistry by Debbi Simon

Epoxy Clay Artistry (Jewelry Making):
Epoxy clay is the hottest thing going, and mixed-media artist Debbi Simon shows you how to use it to create jewelry looks from faded to flashy.

They ALL sound like fun to me.  🙂  Don’t forget that with Craftsy once you have taken a class, you can go back and re-watch it as often as you need.

This link will bring you to a page where you can choose to sign up for any or all of the sale classes.

Happy learning!

Mar 072013
 

Meet Bertram, the newest member of my family of polymer clay creations.

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He began as a trial project from Dawn Schiller’s new book FaeMaker. I made the head pretty much like her instructions, but then went off in my own direction, deciding to do a steampunk kind of guy.

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First I made him some cool, steampunk-type boots.  

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Then I made him a top hat and added all kinds of fun bits and pieces from my collection.

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The birdies, who obviously love Bertie, needed a place to live, so the birdhouse came next. They are patiently waiting to move in.

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The purple brocade for his vest was a leftover from Christmas stockings I made a few years back. His pants are from a very nice wool pinstripe that I picked up as a remnant ages ago but never had enough to make anything from it.  There was plenty for Bertram’s pants, though!

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Oh, and lest I forget to give credit where credit is due, I got the idea for the pipes on the birdhouse from Christi Friesen’s Steampunkery.

You may have noticed that I’ve been having a blast with polymer clay lately.  It almost makes me thankful that my lampwork studio was rendered unusable by a yet-to-be-completed renovation.  Almost.  🙂

Next up? A few papercrafting projects, another jewelry making video and a blue polymer clay dragon.

Happy creating!

Mar 052013
 

Been working on lots of polymer clay this past week. Amelia the purple dragon was finished over the weekend.

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This guy, who hasn’t yet told me his name, is nearly done.  Check back in the next day or so for more details and photos of him all complete.  

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This is what you get when you have friends who repair clocks for a living and you ask them for some of their spare parts.  Dunno what most of this stuff is, but it’s quite fun to dig through when working on steampunk projects.

Why am I posting a photo of my messy desktop?  Cuz it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!  Check out the link to see what lots of creative people from all over the world are up to.

Happy creating!

 

 

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.)

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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.)

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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===

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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?

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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!