Jan 272014

I’ve been asked to teach jewelry making classes at my local Joanne’s and decided to start with the basics.


Our first project is all about wire wrapping.  With 13 links (that’s 26 wraps) you’ll be a wrapped loop expert by the time you’re done. 🙂


A well-formed wrapped loop is actually a nice design element. One thing I love about this style is that you can add any amount of chain around the back & make it exactly the length you want.

I’ll have a video for the matching earrings up in a few days.

Watch Wire Wrapping 101 – Bead Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Happy creating!


For necklace:

  • 7” strand 10mm-15mm assorted beads of your choice (16-18 beads)
  • an assortment of large seed beads to coordinate with 7” strand
  • 20 or 22 gauge craft wire in color of your choice
  • chain to match craft wire
  • lobster clasp to match craft wire
  • 6mm or 7mm jump rings to match craft wire


  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters (flush cut are best)
  • bead design board
  • tape measure 

To make necklace:

  1. Open assorted bead strand onto bead design board. If desired, choose 2 matching pairs of beads to use in earrings. Set aside. (Earring video to come later.)
  2. Open one strand of large seed bead into a compartment in bead design board.
  3. Use wire cutters to cut an approximately 8-inch piece of craft wire.
  4. Make a wrapped loop:
    • Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 1/2 inches from one end.  
    • 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. 
  1. Slide on an arrangement of one of your focal beads with one or two large seed beads on either side.
  2. Begin (but don’t complete) second wrapped loop to make a bead link:
    • 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.  
  1. Repeat to make bead links with all remaining focal beads.
  2. Arrange bead links in an order you find pleasing.
  3. Connect all bead links together by:
    • Slightly open unwrapped loop and slip on wrapped loop of link next to it.
    • Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend.
    • Use wire cutters to trim excess wire.
    • Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end of wire.
  1. Use a tape measure to measure your neckline and determine desired length of necklace.
  2. Measure length of completed bead links and subtract from desired necklace length.
  3. Cut a piece of chain this length and cut into two equal pieces.
  4. Use jump rings to attach a length of chain to each end of bead links.
  5. Attach a jump ring to one end of chain, and use a jump ring to attach a lobster clasp to other end of chain.
Jan 252014

I just finished up my project based on the January 2014 Tim Holtz tag. Honesty, I was so uninspired by his tag this month that I considered not bothering.  But, it’s always an interesting challenge, so I went for it.


The Spellbinders Cuckoo Clock Die is so cute, with all the little parts and pieces.  I put the extra birds and flower on the inside of the card.  To make them metallic I just covered cardstock with Nashua Foil Tape, the cut out and embossed. I embossed just the body of the clock with the Steampunk embossing folder, making sure to leave the chain and pine cone weights out of the folder so they’d keep their texture.


The roof trim and other bits were colored with StreamMeadowSailboat Blue and Lettuce alcohol inks. If I had to do it over I’d use a much more subtle background texture, like with a stencil.

A Game Spinner and a Dymo label add some interesting detail.

Hope you’re finding a little bit of time this weekend to be creative. 🙂

Jan 212014

Happy Wednesday all!  Today finds us snowed in.  The forecast is for 10″-15″ of the light and fluffy stuff.  If you don’t live in a climate that gets snow, you might not appreciate the difference, but believe me, one would much rather shovel a foot and a half of this stuff over 6 inches of the wet and heavy.  (Of course, some of us would rather simply move somewhere it doesn’t snow.) 🙂


On my desk are the preparations for working on Tim’s January 2014 tag. I’m not particularly inspired by his tag this month, perhaps adding some jewel tone colors to the metallics will make it more to my liking. Anyhow, I hope to spend the snow day playing with Tim tools, paper & ink.


In case you were wondering, my sons’ kitties are settling in nicely. Above is Cheech sitting under my sewing room table, he’s a sweetheart and has become my buddy.


Here’s his brother, Chong, also hanging out in the sewing room.  He’s a bit more wary, but is getting a little more comfortable with us every day. (Yes, those really are their names.    ===sigh===    A 21-year-old named them, what can I say?)


Here are Cheech and Oliver hanging out together, looking out the window.  You might notice that there are no pics of Molly.  That’s because she’s been too busy being a mean, nasty little tyrant and ruling all the boys with an iron paw.  (We keep trying to tell the guys to gang up on her, but they’re too intimidated, lol.)

So, why in the world did I post a photo of my messy desk?  Well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  If you don’t know what that is you really should proceed immediately to Julia’s and check it out.  It’s a lot of fun and a fascinating concept to boot.

Happy creating!

Jan 182014

Hi all!  I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  I’ve been having fun trying out a technique I learned in a Craftsy class I bought a while back, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters.

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


I just finished this pendant. It’s not exactly anything that was taught in the class, but she showed us the concept of twisting two wires together with a power drill, hammering the twisted wires flat until spaces open and then using the resulting piece as a frame for other wire work.

It was my idea to wire wrap the scrolls, pearls and crystals inside the frame.  I used 20 gauge silver filled wire for the frame and 26 gauge silver filled for the wrapping.


The class  instructor made two pairs of frames and wrapped beads in between to make a pair of earrings.


This style of earring isn’t exactly “me,” but I went ahead and made one, just to try the technique. Don’t know what I’m going to do with this, it’s too small to be a ring for the finger. Maybe someday I’ll make it part of something else.


You might remember that I made this bracelet a couple months ago. If you’re going to use copper wire for a bracelet I’d suggest a heavier gauge than the 20 that I used. Probably 16 gauge would be best, so it’s nice and firm. Mine’s kind of squishy and flops about.


Just before Christmas I picked up some liver of sulfur to add patinas to my wire work.  I finally got to play with it this week. (I had to wait for the weather to warm up so I could do it outside as the family strongly objected to the stench of rotten eggs in the house. Huh.)

Here’s the first pendant I showed you after 20 minutes in the Liver of Sulfur and then polished a bit with a Pro-Polish Pad. I need to shine it up a bit more so the darkened areas in the crevices will really contrast.  Kinda looks like an antique piece of jewelry, eh?

Btw, Craftsy is having a flash sale this weekend. Craftsy Flash Sale 1/18-1/19 For the next 48 hours, choose from over 50 classes in 14 categories that are up to 50% off.

So, if you want to learn this twisted wire frame technique, and many others check out the class, Wire-Wrapped Stones Crystals and Clusters, it’s one of the ones on sale this weekend.


Of course, if you want to learn something else, they’ve got classes in cooking, photography, sewing, quilting, fine art, knitting and more.

Have fun and Happy creating!

Jan 142014

Hello Wednesday, again!  Sorry it’s been a week since I’ve posted.  Things are settling down and I’m trying to get back into the normal swing of things after the holidays and then moving my son twice in one week.

My son, Dan, moved twice, but his cats moved only once, and are here with us for the foreseeable future. His two kitties are finally starting to get comfortable in our house. So comfortable that overnight somebody knocked all the stuff off my ironing board, including a magnetic pincushion full of pins.  Good thing we wear slippers around here! Our two cats are 9 & 10, middle-aged and mellow; Dan’s are not quite two, and I’d forgotten how much energy young cats have. They are a lot of fun, and sweethearts to boot.

woyww jewelry design and dragon collections

Anyhow, my desk today shows I’m working on a couple jewelry pieces.  (I’m waiting for the cats to discover this table with the beads. Oh boy!)  I’ll be teaching basic stringing and basic wire wrapping in upcoming videos and also will be teaching these as classes at Joann’s.

In the upper left is a beret I just finished knitting.  It was  a free pattern from Ravelry and quite simple & quick to make.


This one in the lighter colors shows the pattern better than mine.  I LOVE how the yarn makes stripes.

Btw, have you ever heard of the Collectionary?  It was just brought to my attention and it’s an amazing site.  If there’s anything, I mean anything you collect, you can find it here.  Trains? Yes.  Sewing machines? Yup. Star Wars? Naturally.  Cats? Which one do you want, Garfield, Cheshire, Grumpy Cat or the Cat in the Hat?  I’ve yet to think of something to search for that they didn’t have a collection of.


If you like dragons (and you know I do!) you’ll love their Dragons Collectionary.  I’ve even added several of my own dragon creations to their collection. 

Are you in the January slump? Feeling in need of creative inspiration?  Check out the work spaces of lots of creative people from all over the world at Julia’s giant weekly blog hop. We like to call it What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Be warned, you might just get addicted.  🙂

Happy Creating!

Jan 072014

Welcome to the first post of 2014!  I took last week off to do some major home organizing; didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, but made a good dent in it. (Life, as in two grown sons moving back home, kinda got in the way.)


Anyhow, today’s desk shows one of the bestest gifts I got for Christmas, this amazing magnifying lamp. It’s already been used to remove splinters, read teeny-tiny labels, repair jewelry and to fix some tricky knitting stitches. I love the way I can turn and swivel it to any height and angle.  Awesomeness.


Other than that there isn’t anything too exciting on the desk.  I teach classes at Joann’s and have a bunch of samples to make. Quilt blocks, baby bibs, bathrobes and the like. Once those are done I’m determined to get back into my claying and making of art jewelry for the Etsy shop.  All this with two more people (and two more cats) in the house. It should be exciting!


I hope your 2014 started off well.  If you’re wondering why I’ve posted a pic of my desktop, it’s because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, a giant weekly blog hop where we check out the work spaces of creative people from all over.  Have a peek, it’s fun!

Happy creating 🙂

Dec 292013

I have a rather different kind of project for you today.  It’s a jewelry video tutorial, as it often is, but these earrings have no wire work involved.


Instead, they are held together with waxed linen twine.

A dear friend frequents estate sales and often brings me boxes of jewelry supplies.  (Isn’t she sweet?  Thanks, Joann!)  These wonderful stone lentil beads and painted bone doughnuts were treasures from the last box.


I thought the rustic look of the twine worked perfectly with those beads without detracting from their beauty. Much jewelry is all about the wire work, but these are definitely about those gorgeous beads.



If you’re looking for a quick gift to make, you could put together a pair of these in less than 15 minutes!

Watch Simple Bead & Twine Earrings video over at YouTube.


  • 2 – 3/4-inch diameter stone lentil beads
  • 2 – 1 1/4-inch diameter doughnut shaped beads
  • 8 – 1/4-inch disc beads
  • 2 pair ear wires
  • 2 – 15-inch pieces waxed linen twine
  • scissors
  • awl
  • chain nose pliers


  1. Fold a piece of waxed linen twine in half.  Make a knot in the twine 1/8-inch from the fold, using awl to help position knot.
  2. Slide stone lentil bead onto one piece of twine.  Bring both pieces of twine together below bead and make a knot right where twine exits bead.
  3. Slide one piece of twine through center hole of doughnut bead from the front and slide the other piece of twine through from the back.   Bring both pieces of twine together below doughnut and make a knot.  Don’t pull the twine too tightly or earrings won’t hang nicely.
  4. Slide two disc beads onto one piece of twine.  Leave about 1/8-inch loose twine above beads and tie a knot below beads.
  5. Slide two disc beads onto remaining piece of twine.  Leave about 1/2-inch loose twine above beads and tie a knot below bead.
  6. Trim both pieces of twine about 1/4-inch from bottom of knots.
  7. Use chain nose pliers to open loop in ear wire and insert twine loop made in step one. Close ear wire loop.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 to make second earring.  Remember to use the awl to help place each knot exactly where you want it.

Happy creating!

P.S.  To my regular readers:  I’ve cleared my schedule this week in order to make time for some deep organizing.  Fun stuff like sorting through my file cabinet, clearing out all the old magazines and getting into the backs of certain closets.  Sadly, this will probably not leave much time for blogging, but you can be sure I’ll try to get in some creative time.

I’ll see ya’ll next year. 🙂

Dec 222013

It never feels quite like Christmas until I’ve done a few last minute just-cuz-I-want-to crafts. This year Nan over at Froggy Designs has kindly shared with me her templates for Christmas Village Houses, which she’s allowed me to share with you.

(Click here to see Nan’s way cool steampunk version of these houses.)


I decided to make my houses out of vellum which was first embossed with white embossing powder. (Click on any of the photos for a closer look.)


Why embossed vellum, you ask?  So I could put battery operated votive candles inside. Aren’t they pretty?


Cutting out all those little windows was a bit tedious (I used a craft knife) but I love the way they look.


The stamps I used for embossing:

In order for the votive candles to fit I made the sides of the houses 1/4-inch longer than on the templates. Don’t forget to make the roofs 1/4-inch wider as well

Also, unless you cut out each roofline perfectly, I recommend you hold off on scoring all but the center line of your roof top.  Then hold it on your house and mark the next fold line.  This will make them fit better than on my houses, which are a bit wonky.


This was a fun project to work on while listening to some Christmas music, and I love turning off the lights and admiring my glowing little village.

Merry Christmas and Happy Creating!

Dec 172013

So, Sunday night, I decided that just had to come up with a small handmade gift for each of the guys in my life.

Of course, the inner conversation went something like, “What!  Are you nuts?  It’s ten days until Christmas!”  Then, “Oh, I know, just something small… multiplied by at least seven, of course.”  And, “Argh. You do this every year.”

Sensible me had won out, and I’d dismissed the idea completely.  Until I came across the idea to make polymer clay covered pens.  Loves-to-make-last-minute-gifts me said, “Yay, whoop whoop!”


And here are the results.  I made a mokume gane* loaf of polymer clay out of scrap blues, greens, silver and pearl white. I then put slices onto gray scrap clay and ran it through the pasta machine. This spread out the pattern a bit and is what I covered my pens with. (Click on the pics for a closer look.)


The pens were surprisingly easy to cover, and each only needs a 1″ x 5.5″ piece of clay, so I had way more than enough to do my 10 pens.

I’m not so sure about the holders.  I may redo them in solid colors, or skip ’em altogether.

I seriously doubt that any of the guys in my life actually read this blog, but if you do, I’M SORRY.  Now you know what you’re getting.  😉

* Wondering what the heck is “mokume gane”?  It’s a  Japanese metalworking technique in which layers of metal are fused together and manipulated to create patterns that look like wood grain.  The phrase“mokume gane” means “wood-eye metal” in Japanese. Polymer clay artists mimic this process by layering sheets of polymer clay together, distorting them, and slicing sheets from the stack to reveal fascinating patterns.

If you’d like to see the process, here’s a YouTube video showing how to make gorgeous mokume gane pendants.

Happy creating!

P.S.  Wondering why I bothered to post a photo of my workdesk?  Cuz it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!  Check out this fun weekly blog hop and see what other creative folks are doing over at Julia’s.

P.P.S  All you U.K. deskers may be gratified to know that Chris Dann made good on her promise to send a Christmas pudding all the way across the pond to my house. Hubby & I loved it!  Thanks, Chris, for fostering cultural awareness. 🙂

Dec 152013

Hey, I actually finished December’s Tim tag by the midpoint of the month!


Tim specified Clearly For Art plastic for this project.  I’ve never used it, but have found that reusing clear plastic packaging works fine.  You can heat it the way he describes with a heat tool and then shape it while it’s warm. Perhaps the Clearly For Art works better, but at least the plastic is free, and it’s recycling. 🙂

He also suggested using Frosted Film, but I just sanded my plastic to get a frosted look.


I did, however, buy the Tattered Poinsettia die, as it can be used for many other projects.  The poinsettia was colored with Blazing Red StazOn and the leaves with  Olive Green StazOn. The branches were cut from the Bird Branch die and colored with Coffee Archival Ink.

The background was colored with Antique Linen Distress Stain, then the Harlequin Background Stamp was stamped with Bundled Sage Distress Ink (I LOVE this soft green for backgrounds.)


The “Peace on Earth” and the star are from a Michael’s store brand set.  When all that was done, it just needed something more in the empty space in the top center/right.  I thought the angel from the Christmas Silhouettes Clear Stamps was perfect here, as it was the angels who announced

“Glory to God in the highest, and earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

The angel was stamped with Bronze Mica Magic. It has a slight shimmer irl.  The last step was to do a bit of splattering with white paint.  I may have gone a wee bit overboard on that. 😀

If you’re thinking of other projects that can be made with recycled plastic packaging, here’s a Tattered Floral Wreath I made last spring.

Happy creating!