Jan 012013
 

Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers, commenters (and purchasers from my Etsy shops.)  Your continued encouragement keeps me going!  Thank you all so much.

One wonderful thing about having a blog is being able to look back and do a year in review.

We all often feel like we don’t get enough done with the time we have, but an objective look may be surprising!

Posted on this blog in 2012:

  • a whopping 46 videos! – most of them on jewelry making, thanks for all your appreciative comments, here and on my YouTube channel
  • 24 cards
  • participation in all 12 of Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of 2012
  • 40 or so crafts
  • a measly 8 scrapbook pages (well, I guess there just isn’t enough time to do everything, ya know?)
  • 3 quilts completed
  • 17 sewing projects including

(Click on any of the photo thumbnails to go directly to the original post.)

2 dresses:

vogue-1087-donna-karan-wrap-dress-002  mccalls-6507-dress

4 jackets/coats

purple-coat-open  purple-sweater-mccalls-6408

red-wool-sweater  simplicity-2446-tailored-jacket-buttoned

2 skirts

ruffle-skirt  simplicity-2058-skirt

5 tops

2012-09-26-woyww-zebra-stripe-top  turquoise-peasant-blouse-mccalls-7100

draped-top-mccalls-6078-002  draped-top-mccalls-6078-003

draped-top-mccalls-6078-004

2 pair pants

perfect-fitting-pants-black  perfect-fitting-pants-brown-fleece-2

Some of my favorite crafts from the year include:

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-001

jasper the baby dragon

altered-thread-catcher-give

altered thread catcher

clay-fantasy-birds

Miss Fine Feathers

steampunk-flower-pendant

Steampunk Flower Pendant

canvas-wall-art-create

“Create”  wall art

Here’s hoping for a happy and creative 2013!

 

 

 

Dec 272012
 

Now that the Christmas gifts have been given out, I can post my review of this pattern.  I made one each for my sons, my husband and myself.  I was bummed that mine had to sit up in the closet until they opened theirs, lol.

Photo

Pattern Description: It’s a snuggie with the added bonus of a foot pocket.

Pattern Sizing: They give the sizes as small, medium and long lengths. I made the medium. You might go with small for children and long only for folks well over 6′ tall.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yup. A blanket with sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were silly. I mean, really, stay-stitching and mitered corners on a fleece blanket? Seriously?

If the selvedges of my fabric were nicer looking I might not have hemmed anything. However, hemming does make it look more finished.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s such a basic design, there isn’t much not to like.

The foot pocket is awesome, everyone loves it.

Fabric Used: Polar fleece from Joann’s. Make sure to get it on sale as you’ll need 3.5 yards for the medium.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t make this change, but I think I would definitely make the front pocket bigger. It’s a little too small to comfortably get your hands into. I’ve toyed with the idea of making the front pocket more like a muff, stitched on the top and bottom and leaving the sides open to slide your hands into.

My husband was trying to tuck it around the back of his neck and suggested making the part above the sleeves longer, with a hole to pop your head through. Then your shoulders and the back of your neck would be covered.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I’ve already made four, one for each family member, but I might make another if an occasion arises.

Conclusion: A quick and easy project that will be greatly appreciated on chilly winter evenings.

A few reviewers mentioned that the “1 hour” designation on the pattern was unrealistic. My first one, while looking at all the directions, took just over 1 1/2 hours. Once I knew what to do, the remaining three all took about an hour and 10 minutes.

Dec 242012
 

This necklace is a knock-off of one I bought at my local Fashion Bug.  (Which, sadly, is going out of business.  Why are all the good stores closing? Boo.  Hiss.)

multi-strand-chain-necklace-flat

Anyhow, I was happy to get a few bargains and some great jewelry ideas.  The layered chain look is very popular right now, and I love the addition of a single strand of beads.

multi-strand-chain-necklace-still

The original was in gunmetal silver with red rhinestone accents, so it seemed like antique gold with purple accents would be a perfect alternate.

multi-strand-chain-necklace-close

Click on any of the photos for a super-duper up close and personal peek.  (Yeah, sorry about the cat hair.  As much as I try to discourage it, my cat likes to sleep inside my little photo booth.  Silly boy, he is.)

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • 74-inch length chunky chain, cut into 45-, 15- and 14-inch pieces
  • 55-inch length fine chain, cut into 12.5-, 12-, 11-, 10- and 9.5-inch pieces
  • lobster clasp
  • 13 inches of beads and spacers, strung on 17 inches tiger tail or other beading wire
  • two crimp beads
  • two split rings
  • 5mm jump rings
  • two pair chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers, if desired
  • wire cutters
  • four pieces scrap wire or four twist ties

Instructions:

  1. Mark 45-inch length of chain at 9.5 inches and 13 inches from each end with scrap wire or twist ties.
  2. Attach each end of 15-inch length of chain to a link at the 13-inch marks on the 45-inch chain.
  3. Attach ends of 14-inch length of chain each one link above 15-inch length.
  4. Slide a crimp bead and a split ring onto one end of tiger tail with strung beads. Slide wire back through crimp bead. Flatten with chain nose pliers, or crimp with crimping pliers. String extra wire through ½ inches of beads; then trim excess.
  5. Repeat step 4 to attach split ring to other end of tiger tail.
  6. Attach strung beads to 45-inch length of chain by split rings in same manner as 14- and 15-inch lengths of chain.
  7. Use jump rings to attach lengths of fine chain to 45-inch length of chain in same manner, working up the links, starting with longest length and spacing evenly to place shortest length at mark at 9.5 inches.
  8. Use a jump ring to attach lobster clasp to one end of 45-inch chain.

 

Dec 222012
 

This little guy was just TOO much fun to make.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-001

Isn’t that the cutest widdle face?  ===gah===

The wings took several tries to get right, but I’m really thrilled with how they finally came out.

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-002

That piece of quartz has been hanging around for several years.  I think it’s absolutely perfect here.

I started the face and body using Christi Friesen’s book Dragons, but then went in my own direction.

Those are chip beads on the base, which gives you a little bit of an idea of his size. (About 2 1/2 inches from the base to the tip top of his wing, and the base is 3 inches across the widest point.)

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-003

I used just the teeniest bit of Christi Friesen’s new metallic paints and patinas for accents.  Kinda lovin’ those these days.

In fact, I just realized I forgot to give you guys the promised chart of those paints and what the patinas do to them.

metallics-and-patinas-on-clay-chart

 

I honestly see no difference between the Tiffany and the Verdigris patinas.

polymer-clay-dragon-with-crystal-004

The plan is to next make a purple dragon with red and gold accents.  She’ll be holding pretty clear crystals, and I’m thinking her name will be Amy.  (We’ll see who she turns out to be, though.)

Once the details are worked out, I hope to send a few of these little guys off to good homes through my Etsy shop.

In the meantime, Happy Creating!

Dec 202012
 

This necklace is a remake of a favorite I’ve had for years.  I think I love it so much because it’s simple, yet funky and it goes with everything.

funky-random-bead-necklace-006

Stringing bead dangles onto a ring is a great way to use up single, perhaps orphan beads. (You know, those beads that you love, but don’t know what to do with and can’t bear to part with?)

funky-random-bead-necklace-011

Just pull together an assortment of sizes, shapes and colors that you like and you’ve got something very cool. (In fact, the more assorted the beads, the better it looks.)

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • 36-inches rat tail cord
  • two “cord grabber” findings
  • lobster clasp
  • 1-inch metal ring
  • three jump rings
  • three head pins
  • four focal beads with 10-12 assorted accent beads
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Set aside one focal bead and two accent beads with large holes to decorate cord of necklace.
  2. Arrange remaining beads into three groups of bead dangles. Slide each set of bead dangles onto a head pin. To make each head pin into a dangle, grasp wire with chain nose pliers just where it exits last bead and bend wire end at 90-degree angle. Grasp bend with round nose pliers and begin to form a loop. Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop. Wrap remaining wire several times around wire exiting bead. Trim excess wire with wire cutters and tuck in cut end with chain nose pliers.
  3. Fold rat tail cord in half and slide remaining large hole accent bead, focal bead, and accent bead onto cord. Slide loop of cord into1-inch metal ring; then pull ends of cord through loop. Position beads over knot just made. Tie an overhand knot in cords above beads.
  4. Use jump rings to attach three bead dangles to metal ring.
  5. Attach “cord grabber” findings to ends of rat tail cord and flatten with pliers to secure. Attach lobster clasp to one end to complete necklace.

 

Dec 172012
 

Yup, I’ve been having fun again, smacking things around on a Mini Anvil with a Craft Hammer.

hammered-spiral-and-crystal-bead-earrings-006

Doncha just love the sparkly look of flattened, hammered wire?

hammered-spiral-and-crystal-bead-earrings-004

The first time you try it you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to do.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • two ear wires
  • two head pins
  • two crystal beads
  • two 7-inch pieces 22-gauge craft wire
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • bench block or jeweler’s anvil
  • hammer

Instructions:

  1. To make bead dangle, slide a crystal bead onto a head pin. Grasp wire with chain nose pliers where it exits bead; bend wire into 90-degree angle. Grasp angle with round nose pliers and start to form a loop. Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop.  Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire where wires cross. Repeat to make second bead dangle.
  2. Use round nose pliers to start a small loop in one piece of the wire. Continue coiling wire around loop to make a spiral. Stop when 1 ½ -inches of wire remain uncoiled.
  3. Use round nose pliers to make a small loop with remaining end of the wire, facing loop in opposite direction so you have an “S” shape.
  4. Use flat part of hammer to gently pound spiral on bench block or anvil until wire is flattened. If desired, pound on both sides with rounded part of hammer to give texture. Repeat with other 7-inch piece of wire.
  5. Attach a bead dangle to outer loop of each larger spiral. Attach ear wires to outer loop of each smaller spiral.

 

Dec 142012
 

Tim’s decision to set aside the 12 Tags of Christmas in favor of doing a tag every month was a good one.  I’ve really appreciated having a whole month to get to each project. Some months that was almost not enough time!

This month he gave us two tags cuz he owed us one from January.  (See?  Even famous crafters get behind.  haha)

Click on any of the photos for a larger version.

december-tags-cards-of-2012-003

Since I’m not making Christmas cards this year, I decided to make a couple thank you cards.

This blue background was made by swiping cardstock through Broken China Distress Stain and a few drops of silver Ranger Vintaj Patina. ( I used the patinas since I didn’t have the metallic Distress Stains that Tim used.)

december-tags-cards-of-2012-006

The snowmen were stamped with Jet Black Archival Ink onto watercolor paper and colored with markers.  As you can see, there was liberal application of Rock Candy Distress Stickles. 🙂

A little bit of Symphony Tissue Tape, some baker’s twine and a sentiment from Hero Arts’ Everyday Sayings set finished it off.

tattered-florals-thank-you-card

This background was made the same way as the blue one, but with gold Ranger Vintaj PatinaWild Honey Distress Stain and Fired Brick Distress Stain.

The sentiment background was cut from Tim’s Kraft Resist Paper Stash with the Spellbinders Nestabilities Mega Dies, Labels 8.  Of course it was inked with, what else but Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

tattered-florals-thank-you-card-close

Grunge paper was covered with dictionary paper, die cut with the Tattered Florals and Tattered Leaves dies and colored with Wild Honey Distress StainPeeled Paint Distress Stain andFired Brick Distress Stain.

I also cut a grunge paper flourish with the Elegant Flourishes Die and painted it with Tarnished Brass Distress Crackle Paint.

These were fairly simple projects, and you could use the techniques to make just about any style of project.

Happy creating!

Dec 112012
 

Way back in October Lesley Watt offered up the results of a lampworking friend’s destashing. Can you say super-duper generous?  Wow!

Hey, when someone offers free beads, who am I to turn them down?

bead-giveaway

Yup, the bead I got was in this pile.  I’ll let you play Eye-Spy.  😉

The only catch was that we had to promise to make something with our treasures and share them in a blog hop on 12/12/12.  Sounded good to me!

Here’s the necklace I made:

green-and-blue-lampwork-pendant-necklace-still

I don’t think I could have picked a bead I would have liked more from that pile.  Thanks, Lesley!

green-and-blue-lampwork-pendant-necklace-close-up

Here are the other lucky recipients of Lesley’s kindness.  Be sure to check out their creations.

Lesley Watt –thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.co.uk
Cory Tompkins –tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
Rebecca Anderson – songbeads.blogspot.com
Marie Cramp – skyejewels.blogspot.com
Claire Braunbarth – smittenbeads.blogspot.com
Heidi Post – expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com
Tiffany Smith – southerngalsdesign.blogspot.com
Sharyl Macmillan-Nelson – sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Ailsa Cordner – bramalfiebeadsetc.com
Linda Landig –  lindalandig.wordpress.com
Caroline Dewison – blueberribeads.com
Renetha – lamplightcrafts.blogspot.co.uk
Kari Asbury – hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Niky Sayers – silverniknats.blogspot.com
Purple Cobwebs – purplecobwebs.blogspot.co.uk
Cilla Watkins – tellyourgirlfriends.com
Therese Frank – theresestreasures59.blogspot.com
Claire Ennis – clairescrystalclassics.blogspot.com
Emma – apolymerpenchant.blogspot.com
Kathy Lindemer – bay-moon-design.blogspot.com
Alicia – allprettythings.ca
Sandy Huntress – keepsakecrafts.net < You are here. 🙂
Lori Bowring Michaud – artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Amy – copperdiem.blogspot.com
Katherine Gale – terrabeadworks.blogspot.com

Just for fun, here’s a video showing how to make this necklace and some of my thought process in the designing.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • lampwork focal bead
  • 1 decorative head pin
  • 1 crystal bead
  • 3 silver space beads
  • 6 beads of “tangled” wire
  • 2 cube beads
  • 2 eye pins
  • 3 1-inch lengths chain
  • 2 10-inch lengths chain
  • necklace clasp
  • 15 5mm jump rings
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Directions:

  1.  To make bead dangle, slide crystal bead onto decorative head pin. Follow with silver spacer, lampwork bead and 2 more silver spacer beads.  Grasp wire with chain nose pliers where it exits last spacer bead; bend wire into 90° angle.  Grasp angle with round nose pliers and start to form a loop.  Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop.  Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire where wires cross.
  2.  To make bead link, slide a cube bead onto an eye pin.  Grasp wire with chain nose pliers where it exits bead; bend wire into 90° angle.  Grasp angle with round nose pliers and start to form a loop.  Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop.  Use wire cutters to cut off excess wire where wires cross.  Repeat to make second bead link with second cube bead.
  3.  Use 5mm jump rings to connect the elements in the following order:                                                                                                                                                                  10-inch length chain > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > cube bead link > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > cube bead link > wire bead > 1-inch length chain > wire bead > 10-inch length chain > clasp
  4.  Attach a jump ring to end of chain opposite clasp.
  5.  Use a jump ring to attach lampwork dangle to center link of center 1-inch length of chain.

 

 

 

 

Dec 082012
 

Lately I’ve been eyeballin’ necklaces with lengths of chain for dangles. I love the dramatic look, but when I tried on this one last week I was surprised at just how goth it looked. I was glad I had used the purple beads, rather than the black I’d been originally considering. (These are the beads I dyed purple in this video, btw.)
chain-and-bead-dangle-choker-still

I am so totally NOT a Goth chick, lol.  But I kinda liked the edginess.

It just goes to show you that one design can be dramatically different depending on the components you chose.

Picture this one with delicate gold chain and pink & crystal beads.  Yeah, just pretty, not Goth at all.

Can’t you see it?

Play, experiment, have fun and Happy Creating!

Materials:

  • 10 beads
  • 10 decorative head pins
  • 10-20 spacer beads
  • 20 jump rings
  • 18-inch piece of chain for necklace
  • lobster clasp
  • 21 inches chain for dangles
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Cut 21-inch piece of chain into four 2-inch pieces, four 2 ½-inch pieces, and one 3-inch piece.
  2. Arrange beads and spacer beads on 10 decorative head pins in pattern of your choice.
  3. To make each head pin into a dangle, use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits last bead. Bend wire at 90-degree angle.
  4. 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.
  5. Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop.
  6. Arrange lengths of chain in this pattern: 2”-2”-2 ½”-2 ½”-3”-2 ½”- 2 ½”-2”-2”
  7. Arrange bead dangles between lengths of chain, beginning and ending with a bead dangle.
  8. Attach bead dangles and lengths of chain to necklace chain with jump rings.
  9. Attach a clasp with a jump ring to one end of chain.
Dec 052012
 

This is a technique I’ve been meaning to try for some time and I was amazed at how beautifully it worked up.

custom-dyed-pearls-necklace-still

I have several “pearl” necklaces that were my grandmother’s, but none were at all my personal style.  Muliple strands of white pearls is just so not me.

But I had read about dying pearls with Rit dye and wondered if it really worked.

custom-dyed-pearls-necklace-close-up-still

Turns out, it does.  🙂 Not only is it easy, it’s quick, which is quite the bonus.   All you need is ten minutes in the dye bath and you’re good to go.

Imagine making custom pearls to match any focal beads you have on hand.  Don’t forget that you can mix the Rit dye colors, as well as over-dye the pearls to get your own perfect custom colors.

Donja just love the infinite possibilities?

Happy creating!

Materials:

For dying pearls:

  • 21 pearls
  • Rit Dye in color of your choice
  • warm water (not boiling)
  • small glass container
  • small whisk
  • paper towels
  • sieve

For necklace:

  • 21 dyed pearls
  • 22 eye pins
  • focal bead
  • one decorative head pin
  • 23 5mm jump rings
  • two 4-inch pieces chain
  • necklace clasp
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

To dye pearls:

  1. Add 2-3 teaspoons of powdered dye to small glass container. Whisk in 1 tablespoon warm water.
  2. Add a small piece of paper towel to bottom of container; then add pearls on top of toweling. Add more warm water to cover pearls.
  3. Allow pearls to sit in solution for 10 minutes; then drain into a metal sieve. Rinse and allow to dry on toweling.

To make necklace:

  1. Slide a pearl onto an eye pin. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits pearl. Bend wire at 90-degree angle.
  2. 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.
  3. Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop.
  4. Repeat to make 20 pearls links.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 to add focal bead to an eye pin and to make one pearl dangle with decorative head pin.
  6. Connect all 20 pearl links with jump rings. Attach a 4-inch piece of chain to each end of chain of pearls. Add a jump ring to one remaining end of chain and a clasp with a jump ring to other end of chain.
  7. Attach pearl dangle to focal bead with jump ring.
  8. Use a jump ring to attach focal bead to center jump ring of necklace.