Aug 182013

Have I mentioned how much I love Craftsy classes?

I have?

Oh, well, I have to  mention it again, they are awesome.


Anyhow, after making these earrings last week I couldn’t stop making those wire wrapped round components. So, I made this necklace.


It was also an opportunity to use these polymer clay beads that I got on Etsy a while back.


if you want to try to make those round components yourself (plus many, many other great lessons) check out Craftsy’s Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals and Clusters.


I’ve made a video for you explaining how to put together the necklace. Happy Creating!

Wire Wrapped Decorative Ring Triple Strand Necklace


  • assorted beads of your choice
  • bead stringing wire, 2 yards
  • 6 crimp beads
  • 6 crimp covers
  • 6 wire protectors
  • 2 – 1 inch to 1.5 inch decorative rings for hanging bead strands (see this class for how to make the ones I used)
  • 2 – 8 inch pieces necklace chain
  • 26 gauge wire
  • 4 jump rings
  • clasp


  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping tool, if desired
  • bead design board
  • flexible tape measure


  1. Arrange beads in your desired design on a bead design board. Working from spool, string center strand of beads onto bead stringing wire.
  2. Slide end of wire through a crimp cover, (if necessary) a crimp bead and through both holes of a wire protector. Slide wire protector over a decorative ring. Slide end of wire back through crimp bead and use chain nose or crimping pliers to flatten crimp bead. Close crimp cover over flattened crimp.
  3. Trim wire off spool, leaving 4 inches extra after last strung bead and repeat step two to attach to other decorative ring. Make sure to leave 1/8 inch slack in wire so beads hang gracefully.
  4. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of upper strand. Working from spool, string upper strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  5. Use flexible tape measure to determine desired length of lower strand. Working from spool, string lower strand of beads onto bead stringing wire. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to attach each end to a decorative ring, making sure to keep strands in correct order.
  6. To make a wire wrapped component:
    1. Working from spool of 26 gauge wire use chain nose pliers to grasp wire 1 inch from end.  Bend wire at 90° 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. Wrap remaining wire around wire below 90° bend. Use wire cutters to trim, if necessary. Use chain nose pliers to tuck in end.
    4. Cut wire off spool, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches.
    5. Thread on a seed bead, an accent bead and another seed bead. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead and bend wire at 90° angle. Repeat step 6.b to make loop. Slide loop onto decorative ring. Repeat step 6.c to finish wire wrapping component.
    6. Repeat to make second wire wrapped component.
  1. Use jump rings to attach open loop of each wire wrapped components to end of an 8 inch length of chain.
  2. To remaining ends of chain, attach a jump ring to one and a clasp to the other.
Aug 132013


Today’s workdesk show me busy working on color mixing exercises from Polymer Clay Color Inspirations. The above photo was taken Tuesday afternoon.  I was just getting started.


And here they all are, nearly done.  Phew!  That little pink thing is my fancy-schmancy 1/4″ cutter.  In its former life it was a marker cap. 🙂

This latest exercise is rather fascinating as all the colors you see are mixed from just three primaries.  (Plus white for the pastels.)

I’m so glad I had the pasta machine for mixing, or my fingers would be quite sore by now!

If you have a little time, be sure to head over to Julia’s and check out what’s going on at the workdesks of creative folks from all over the world.

Happy What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday!

Aug 112013


A few weeks ago I signed up for Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals and Clusters, a class over at Craftsy. These earring are the first project in the class.

The teacher, Aga Kruk, explains everything clearly and makes all the projects quite doable.  There’s a section on Basics at the beginning of the course and she really guides you through everything, step-by-step. It’s nice to be able to re-watch something you didn’t quite get the first time, too.


This wire wrapped circle is such an interesting component, and Aga shows you many different ways to use it.  I’m going to try using a larger one as a necklace component soon.

Although I’ve been making jewelry and wire-wrapping for quite some time now, Aga introduced me to several tools I’d never considered and showed some techniques I hadn’t thought of, so the course was well worth the time and money.


The awesome thing about Craftsy classes is that you can watch them whenever you want, as many times as you want… forever.  Once you’ve purchased a class, it doesn’t expire.  Also, you get printable course materials, you can ask the teacher questions, make your own notes on the videos and see projects made by other students. I love being able to sit at my computer and learn new stuff!

K, I’m off to do the next project, a pair of chandelier earrings, this time making the frames out of wire.  Should be fun. 🙂

Happy creating!

Aug 062013

So I needed to clear off a space on my quilt design wall this week.  Not that I do much quilting anymore, I mostly just hang stuff on it.  Some of the items that needed clearing were a bunch of technique tags from Tim Holtz’s monthly tags series.

I like to make more useful stuff like cards or scrapbook layouts, but sometimes it’s easier and quicker to just make a tag.

Click on any of the pics for a closer view.

2012-06-27-woyww-photo-tinting-june-tag-of-2012 may-tag-of-2012

Of the seven tags on the wall I decided to hang these two in my sewing room.  They’re special enough on their own.


This one I’m going to make into a Halloween canvas.  Hopefully some time before Halloween. 😉


The remaining four I decided to make into greeting cards.


Due to the size of the tags, these cards will be 5″x7″.


Due to the lumpiness of the tags, these will be super-special, probably hand-delivered type cards.  For example, I would not give one of these to someone who wonders aloud why I don’t just go the store and buy a card.  YOU know who I mean, lol.


So the basic steps to turn a 3″x6.25″ tag into a greeting card:

  • Choose a color of cardstock that goes well with your tag.
  • Cut the cardstock to 10″x7″.
  • Score and fold the card at 5″ to make a 5″x7″ folded card.
  • Choose a background stamp that works well with your tag.  (Two of my favorites that I used on these cards are Hero Arts Silhouette Grass and Designblock Tree by Hero Arts. Script stamps like Old Letter Writing Stamp also make great backgrounds.
  • Choose a color of ink to stamp your background onto the 5″x7″ card.  I like to go for a tone-on-tone effect.  If you’re not sure how the colors will look together, use a scrap from cutting down the cardstock to test. (You can see that on the pink strip in the photo below.)
  • Stamp your background stamp.  If you need to repeated stampings for coverage keep in mind that the middle of the card will be covered by the tag, so that’s a good spot for messy overlaps.
  • If you like, add some washi tape, Symphony Tissue Tape or Sketchbook Tissue Tape to the bottom left and top right edges.  Trim the excess off the edges with scissors.
  • Ink around the edges of the card with Distress Ink.  I used Vintage Photo on most of mine.  The pink one needed something a little lighter so I went with Antique Linen. If you need to go darker try Walnut Stain. (If you don’t want your background stamping to smudge, make sure to dry it with a heat tool before inking the edges.)
  • Mount your tag on Foam Adhesive Squares (pop dots) to give dimension and adhere to the card at whatever angle looks best to you.  

And there you have it!  You’ve turned your tags that you worked so hard on into very special greetings for those you care about.


Oh, and I nearly forgot, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, so here’s a pic of my desk while I was working on these cards.  Isn’t this kind of mess so much fun?

Happy creating!

Jul 302013

Yet another monthly Tim Holtz tag done in the nick of time.  Actually, I made a card, not a tag.


I loved the patriotic theme of Tim’s July 2013 tag, but since I’m doing it at the end of July and don’t have the Old Glory die, I decided to use one of my favorites, the Caged Bird.


I felt bad sticking the little birdie behind bars, though, so I let him peek out. 🙂

Tim’s technique of coloring over Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint with Distress Stains gives such a cool effect. I used Broken China Distress Stain for the bird, Vintage Photo Distress Stain for the branch, and Spiced Marmalade Distress Stain for the birdcage.


Some of the other embellishments:


I also really liked Tim’s idea of stamping ribbon with Jet Black Archival Ink and then coloring patches with Distress Stains. I used Broken China and Wild Honey which make a pretty emerald green when mixed.


Oh, and lest I forget, today is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday, so here’s a pic of my desk when I was done making this card.  Just about as messy as you’d expect. 🙂

Happy Woyww and Happy creating!

Jul 252013

This is one of those beading patterns I’ve seen done in myriad ways,  yet it’s always interesting.


My challenge to you is to use whatever beads you have on hand and give it a try.

ladder beaded bracelet video tutorial

The video show you just hows to do it.  Believe me, it’s way easier than it looks.

Watch on YouTube: Ladder Weave Beaded Bracelet Video Tutorial

I don’t have a detailed materials list, because it really depends on what beads you use, but in general you’ll need:

  • beads of your choice (bugle beads, seed beads, long tube beads, round beads all will work)
  • bead stringing wire
  • toggle clasp
  • crimps
  • 1 small metal spacer bead
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers or chain nose pliers
Jul 222013

Because I had to go out of town the end of June/first two weeks of July, I never did get to finish my project based on Tim Holtz’s June 2013 monthly tag.

Finally today I completed a bunch of cards. (Click on the pics for a closer look.)


Most of the stamped images are from a freebie set I got in a Cardmaking and Papercrafts magazine.  Aren’t they sweet?

I used Tim’s tips to do the coloring with Distress Markers. They’re nice and blend-able and easy to use, especially with a water brush.


I don’t have any of his Distress paints yet, so just used Distress Inks, Distress Stains and  little bit of Distress Crackle paint for the backgrounds.


Instead of stamping the backgrounds with black ink, I used a variety of Distress inks (Broken ChinaWild HoneyVintage PhotoBundled SageWorn LipstickTumbled Glass) for a softer look.  Some Baker’s Twine finished the look and that was that.

Since I was away from home for so long my to do list is enormous.  Here’s one item checked off!

Happy creating, ya’ll. 🙂

Jul 162013

Hey all!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  My dad passed away last month and after a difficult two weeks I just arrived back home to Mass from New Mexico last Friday night.  After decompressing a bit over the weekend, I finally got in some crafting.


The free tutorial for this bracelet was posted over the Art Jewelry Elements blog a while back.


Here’s my desk after working on it.  Not too much of a mess.  Just wait until I get back into polymer clay. haha

Why am I posting a photo of my worktable?  Well, it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. You can read all about it over at Julia’s.


This was  fun, self-indulgent kind of project.  I made it just cuz I liked it and I wanted to, so there.  ===grin=== The focal bead is way too big for practical wear, but I am kind of happy with how it looks.

So, here’s to craft therapy, guaranteed to always make one feel better.

Happy creating!

Jul 032013

Finally, after many, many years of sewing, I’ve managed to figure out a most important thing that helps me get a good fit (most of the time) in my garments.

That thing is ease: the difference between your actual body  measurements and the finished measurement of the garment.


So, for example, this tunic has a LOT of ease around the bust and waist.  Those garment measurements are quite a bit more than the model’s.


This top has very little ease, it measures just a little bit more than the model.

My very first lesson in ease came when I was 17 and decided to make an outfit for my mom’s second wedding.  I had picked out a very pretty burgundy jacquard for a skirt and some white silky stuff for a top.  After carefully taking my measurements I designed and drafted my own patterns for both pieces.  I was so proud of myself that I’d even remembered to include seam allowances on the patterns.  🙂

So you can imagine my surprise when I tried to try on these two articles of clothing only to find that they were skin tight!  It wasn’t until much later that I figured out what the problem was… no wearing ease.

(Sadly, I was accused of trying to look like a hussy at my mom’s wedding and was promptly sent to the local mall to buy a more appropriate garment.  I didn’t sew for years after that.)

Anyhow, you need to know about two types of ease, wearing ease and design ease.  Wearing ease is what makes it possible for us to wear non-stretch woven fabrics and be able to move & breath in them.  You have to have a little room to breathe, twist and bend in order to be comfortable in your garments.

Here are some general guidelines for wearing ease:

Misses’ Ease Allowances
  Bust Area Hip Area
Silhouette Dresses, Blouses, Skirts, Tops, Vests Jackets Coats Shirts, Pants, Shorts
Lined or Unlined
Close Fitting 0 -2 7/8″ not applicable 0 – 1 7/8″
Fitted 3 – 4″ 3 3/4 – 4 1/4″ 5 1/4 – 6 3/4″ 2 – 3″
Semi-Fitted 4 1/8 – 5″ 4 3/8 – 5 3/4″ 6 7/8 – 8″ 3 1/8 – 4″
Loose Fitting 5 1/8 – 8″ 5 7/8 – 10″ 8 1/8 – 12″ 4 1/8 – 6″
Very Loose Fitting over 8″ over 10″ over 12″ over 6″

Everybody has different preferences, so to best determine how much wearing ease suits you, find a close-fitting garment that you like the fit of.  Measure yourself and the garment both at the key fitting areas (bust, waist, hips.)  The difference between the two measurements in each area is the amount of wearing ease you prefer.  It’s not a bad idea to write down this info, by the way.

If your garment has sleeves you may also want to measure around the widest part of the bicep to determine the wearing ease needed there.

The other kind of ease is design ease.  The above tunic’s style is largely due to how much bigger it is than the model.


The skirt of this dress is a lot bigger around than the model , but that’s what gives it its style.  She obviously doesn’t need all that extra room to move.  🙂


This skirt’s style is very interesting, but it doesn’t involve adding extra width around the body. So it only has wearing ease, not design ease.

So, here’s how you figure it:

body measurement + wearing ease + design ease = finished garment measurement

Now, the next time you look at a pattern envelope, just ignore the size chart.  Instead look for a chart of finished garment sizes.


On this pattern back you find the finished garment measurements at the bottom, below the yardage charts.  This pattern even kindly tells you that they include design and wearing ease.

Sometimes you’ll find finished garment measurements on the pattern envelope flap or printed on the tissue pattern.  Occasionally I’ve found them on the pattern maker’s web site.   And, sometimes, you’ll just have to measure the flat pattern (don’t forget to subtract the seam allowances.)

So now, instead of being frustrated, not knowing which is the right size to sew, just pick the size with measurements that match your body measurements plus preferred wearing and design ease.  Simple, eh?

Here’s to happy sewing AND getting a good fit!

P.S.  To my regular readers, sorry for having been so long between posts.  My father passed away and life has gotten quite complicated.  Like, as in, I might have to write a book about it someday complicated.  Seriously, it’s quite a mess. So, please pardon me if posts are a bit sporadic for a while.

Jun 252013

You all have heard me brag on Craftsy quite a bit lately, but it’s only because I think they’re wonderful.  I love their system of classes that you can take any time at your convenience.

What really sells me, though, is that you can take your classes over and over again… forever.  No worries about time frames or things expiring. That’s kinda awesome.

Craftsy Fine Art

Anyhow, I thought you might like to know that Craftsy now has a new category of classes: Fine Art.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint in watercolor or acrylics, or learn to draw, they have classes for you.  Here’s what they have to say:

 With the launch of six art classes, Craftsy is proud to announce a new category – Fine Art! Let our world-class art instructors teach you professional techniques to elevate your art, regardless of your skill level or preferred media. From landscape drawing to portraiture, watercolors to acrylics, these classes allow you to learn on your own time, at your convenience from talented instructors. Check out the new art classes from Craftsy:

So, whatever your medium, fabric, clay, ink or paint, Happy creating!