May 172012

Many thanks to all for your kind words yesterday.  The skirt definitely won the popular vote, so I started cutting it out last night.  Think I can have it done in time to wear to church on Sunday?  🙂

Yesterday afternoon, however, I put together a video for you all to make this necklace.


That chain of purple chips has been hanging around for quite some time.  I loved it, but it was only 18″ long and I didn’t know what to do with it.  The brain wave came over the weekend while repairing several pieces of jewelry.

You’re going to love how simple this project is!

Happy creating.  🙂

May 152012

Hey all!  I can hardly believe another Wednesday has rolled around already.  (If you don’t know why that’s significant, then you obviously have not yet been acquainted with the phenomenon that is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Check it out.  Then we won’t be the only ones frittering away our mid week days surfing the crafting desks of the world.)

If my desk today appears rather schizophrenic, well, that’s probably cuz that’s how my brain has been operating lately.


All of my polymer clay tools and supplies have been shoved to the top of the table.  This was to make way for some work on jewelry, including this video tutorial I made last week.

The jewelry supplies you see out now are for my next project, which will also be a video.  To the right are the remnants a a small project I sent off to a special someone today. ‘Nuff said about that.

The shallow boxes were used to hold my jewelry in need of repair, all of which I took care of this weekend, with the exception of the one bracelet.  That repair will be a bit of a challenge.  The latest tiger and cat sculptures now occupy the larger box.

The new package of Perfect Pearls, Jewel Tones was only purchased becauseI simply had to use up a 50% off coupon at A.C. Moore.  🙂  I plan to use them mostly on polymer clay sculpture, but am open to any options.

What you don’t see in the photo are these two loverly pieces of fabric.


One is a leopard print, which I’m dying to make this  swishy skirt out of.


It’s more like I’m dying to wear it.  I picture it with my black leather buckled boots.  Oh yeah.


This other is a print for this dress, which I’m also eager to wear.  mccalls-6507-dress-pattern

Of course, if I opt to make either of the garments everything has to be moved off the table.  (I picture an arm, swiping it all into a box.  Or the floor. Whatever.)

This is why my brain is in a frenzy, I just don’t know where to start.  Augh.

So, I’m going to let you all vote.  Should I:

  • make a jewelry video?
  • play with polymer clay? (I’m thinking a project from Fairies, Gnomes & Trolls)
  • work on developing a cool idea I have for my Etsy shop?
  • sweep it all aside and make a dress?
  • sweep it all aside and make a skirt?

I’ll count your votes in the morning. 😉

Right now, my brain hurts and it’s bedtime.  So I’m going to go read Tiger’s Voyage.  Again.

Happy Trails and Happy Creating!

May 142012

A while back I showed you this organizer I made for myself.


This notepad is a hybrid of two projects from Club Scrap: the  On-the-Go Organizer and the Assignment Notebook.  (I love watching Tricia Morris, she is a fantastic teacher.  Make sure you watch the corner wrapping video as well, it makes a big difference.)


What I didn’t show you at the time was this On the Go Organizer.


That’s cuz it was a Mother’s Day gift for my mom, and she has been known to read my blog. 🙂

The papers are from K and Company’s Que Sera Sera Collection.


Hi Mom!


Since the accordion file is inside the front cover, I made two holes for eyelets in the back cover.  The elastic was dyed with Red Pepper alcohol ink.  To dye little things (beads, pearls, ribbons, buttons) just drop them into a baggie with some Alcohol Blending Solution.

For cardboard I use mat board left over from my husband’s mat cutting. It’s nice and sturdy and doesn’t warp easily.  However, I have used thick leftover cardboard packaging.

Here are the dimensions I used:

front paper (the yellow print in mine) – 4.5″ x 10.5″
back, spine and left front paper (pink in mine) – 10″ x 10.5″
inside paper (will not cover entire left side) – 8.25″ x 10″
cardboard for front and back covers (cut 2) – 5.5″ x 8.5″
cardboard for spine 0.75″ x 8.5″
notebook pocket – 8″ h x 7.375″ (3/8″) w
pencil holder – 4″ h x 2.5″ w
accordion wrap – 10.75″ x 8.25″
accordion pockets – 3 @ 5″ x 8.25″
expanders for sides – 2 @ 4″ x 5″ (follow Tricia’s directions to fold into eighths, it will be 5″ tall)

May 112012

I just put together a video tutorial for you. It shows how quick and easy it is to make these beaded dangle earrings.  Seriously, if you had all the supplies, you could make a pair in 15-20 minutes.


Aren’t they pretty? In fact, I like them so much, I’m wearing them right now.  Ha!

As I mention in the video, there are many variations you could do on this theme.  Here’s a different kind of hoop for the earrings.


I really want to try this with oval loops, they would be quite elegant.  Or for a funky look, how about rubber “O” rings?  If you don’t mind heavy earrings, how about glass or stone rings?  I’ll bet you could find something made of wood that would be lighter and look cool, too.

As usual, it’s the possibilities that make it exciting!

Happy Creating!

May 102012

*****Updated 5/10/12********

I’ve made two more of these sketchbooks since the original post.


This blue one was for my husband’s birthday.  He’s recently gotten back into his artwork and I’m trying to encourage him to sketch out/write down his ideas.


After making his according to my own directions from a year ago, I was reminded that I hadn’t been thrilled with some of the proportions in the original.


You can see in this one, which is for me, that I’ve shortened the length of the right flap.  I also shortened the length of the left cover, as it seemed to stick out too much.


I’m really looking forward to using this, rather than having bits of paper all over the place.  🙂


I often get ideas and inspiration from magazines and catalogs, so I made a space for a glue stick as well as pencils.  That far left “pencil” is actually an eraser, too cool.

The dimensions have been updated in the below directions.  Hope you give this project a try!

************* Original Post – Feb 19, 2011 ***************************

My son’s 21st birthday is coming up, and I wanted to make him something kind of cool and interesting and special.  He likes to draw, so when I saw Sue Bleiweiss‘ faux leather journal in the December 2010 issue of Cloth, Paper Scissors, I knew I had a great place to start.  (Many thanks to Sue and CPS for the inspiration and their kind permission to give my take on the project. If you would like to learn Sue’s original technique, make sure to refer to the original article.)

faux leather sketchbook

Would you believe this is made out of a paper bag?


Although the project looks complicated, each of the steps is quite simple.  Make sure to first read through all the instructions to familiarize yourself with the process.


  • paper grocery bag
  • heavyweight interfacing like Pellon Peltex, 9″x15″
  • fusible web, like Wonder Under, three 9″x15″ pieces
  • Parchment Paper
  • iron or press
  • acrylic paint in 2 shades of your choice, one darker than the other
  • grungeboard shapes (I used shapes and negatives from this set: Tim Holtz Idea-ology Plain Elements set)
  • sewing machine
  • soft rag
  • Perfect Pearls in color of your choice (this is a set I LOVE to use: Perfect Pearls Aged Patina Set)
  • lining fabric, 9″x15″
  • 3″ piece 1.5″ wide elastic
  • metal snaps or brads, such as these: Aluminum Snaps (optional)
  • small metal hammer or Texture Hammer
  • one 9″x12″ pad of sketchbook paper, such as this: Canson Universal Sketch Pad, 9″ x 12″ (or approximately 45 8.5″x11″ papers for the inside of your book)
  • awl (straight, not tapered)
  • tapestry needle
  • waxed linen twine, 60″
  • large decorative shank style button
  • leather cord, 60″
  • decorative beads for ends of cord

1. Cut open the paper bag along the glue seam, discarding the bottom section.  You should have a large, flat piece of brown paper.  Trim this to roughly 10″x18″.

2. Crumple up the bag, uncrumple and re-crumple several times.  This will soften the bag and give you a nice, even allover texture.


3. Using plenty of steam and pressure, use one piece of fusible web to fuse the paper bag to the heavyweight interfacing.  Trim the paper to the same size as the interfacing. This will be your sketchbook cover.

4. Paint the paper bag with acrylic paint.  Use any color you like for your faux leather.  (I used Folk Art 426, Dark Gray.)  Keep in mind that we’ll be going over this later with a slightly darker shade.


5. Using parchment paper as a press cloth, fuse one of the pieces of fusible web to the painted side of your cover.

6. Arrange grungeboard pieces over the entire surface.  I used some shapes from the Elements set and filled in with the pieces left over from other shapes.  I especially liked the negatives from the flourishes.  Fit all these together like a puzzle, filling the whole surface loosely.

7. When you’re happy with the arrangement, use the parchment paper press cloth along with plenty of steam and pressure to fuse the grungeboard to your painted surface.


8. Use a sewing machine to stitch the Grungeboard to the cover.  You can do either free motion stitching or simply stitch straight lines over the entire surface.  I used a size 80 needle and regular polyester sewing thread.  The key is to go slowly.  I did have to stop and re-thread the needle several times because the thread had shredded.  (Probably because I was trying to go too fast. ) Just be patient, you’ll get through it. 🙂


9. Paint this entire surface with same acrylic paint you started with.  Allow to dry completely (like overnight) before going on to the next step.


**Hint** You might notice the extra piece of faux leather in the photo.  This was a scrap of paper bag that I treated in the exact same way as my main piece.  This was used to test out colors and techniques, to make sure I was happy with the results before applying them to my sketchbook cover.  If you’re going to try out different color combinations , I strongly recommend you do this.

10. Thin a darker shade of paint with a little water and brush this over the entire surface of your cover.  ( I used Folk Art Acrylic Paint – Licorice.)  Use a soft rag to wipe off the paint from the surface, leaving it in the edges and deeper areas.  If you find the paint has dried too much to wipe off, spritz it with a little water and then wipe.  (This is why we needed to allow the first coat of paint to dry completely, otherwise we’d be wiping it off, too.)


11. Now we’ll add the look of metal.  Take about 1/2 teaspoon of Perfect Pearls (I used Perfect Pearls – Pewter) and mix in a couple drops of water to make a thick paste.  You don’t want it to be too thin for this technique, it needs to be fairly thick to work.  (If you’re happy with your cover as it is, this step is optional, but I was going for a goth/grunge/industrial look and wanted the metallic in there.)

12. Next, dab your index finger into the paste and begin the rub lightly on the edges of the grungeboard pieces.  You’re not trying to cover the entire surface, but just highlight the edges.  Once most of the paste on your finger is used, you can rub lightly on the background as well.  Repeat until the entire cover is highlighted with metallic.  (It’s a good idea to experiment on your test piece first so you get the results you want.) 



13. Fuse the third piece of fusible web to the wrong side of your lining fabric.

14. To make a pen/pencil holder in your lining, stitch the 3″ piece of elastic 1.5″ in from one short edge of the lining, centered top to bottom.  (I zigzag stitched the two raw edges, and then straight stitched to divide it into four sections.)



15. If you want to apply metal brads or snaps, now is the time to do it (before you apply the lining.)  Use a hole punch or a tool such as the Crop-A-Dile Eyelet and Snap Punch to punch holes where you want your snaps or brads to go.  Insert and open prongs of brads or use your tool of choice to set the snaps (the Crop-A-Dile works for setting snaps and eyelets, too.)  To give them an aged look hammer gently with a small metal hammer or the Texture Hammer.


16. Fuse the lining fabric to the wrong side (unpainted side) of your sketchbook cover.  (Make sure to use the parchment paper as a press cloth.)

Now your cover is done!

That’s enough for one day, next time I’ll show you how to add pages to your book. (Click here to go directly to Part 2, Adding the Pages or Part 3, Finishing Touches.)

May 022012

Happy Wednesday!  Today’s desk shows how very messy productive I’ve been lately.  🙂


I’ve been playing around with polymer clay.  At the moment I don’t have any specific focus, but have been just messing about with whatever comes to mind.

Lately, white tigers with blue eyes have been on my brain.  Am I the only 40-something woman who is enchanted by Dhiren from Tiger’s Curse?  I’ve heard it described as Indian Jones meets Twilight.  While I don’t intend to read Twilight, ever, I do kinda like Indiana Jones.  😉

Well, anyhow, here is a second attempt. (The 1st is hardly worth showing.)


He’s not quite what I want, but he is kinda cute.  I’m going more for noble and handsome, rather than cute, though.


Then there are all these shaped beads.  I’ve had the Tri-Bead Roller for several weeks now, but just pulled it out to play with.  Talk about a fun tool for making perfect polymer clay beads. It’s awesome.

This particular tool makes three shapes of beads: round, oval and bicone.  It comes with a little measuring tool so you always use the exact right amount of clay.

The pendant at the bottom was made using a push mold.  Many of the pieces have been dusted with either Perfect Pearls Heirloom GoldPerfect Pearls – Pewter or plain old Perfect Pearl powders.

I’m especially liking the larger silver bead (near the middle of the photo) covered with extruded snakes of clay.  Gotta play with that technique some more.

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you have time for something fun and creative. Don’t forget to take a little time to virtually travel the desks of the world thanks to Julia over at What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy Creating!


Apr 272012

Just yesterday I realized I hadn’t done Tim’s April tag of 2012.  I usually don’t make tags, but use the techniques as a jumping off place for my own card or scrapbook page.  Being limited on time and focusing my crafty energy on other things, I just went ahead and did the tag.


I used the bird from the Caged Bird die.  The branches are from an old Sizzix die called Ivy Border. Love my Sizzix Big Shot.  🙂

The bird, branches and leaves are colored with Broken ChinaFaded JeansWalnut StainPeeled PaintVintage Photo and Wild Honey Distress Inks.


The oval frame is from the Tim Holtz Urban Grunge stamp set.  He used an embossing folder of the same design, but I just clear embossed it for a similar look.


The sentiment is a rub-on I’ve had for a while.  It probably would have been a good idea to let the distress inks dry more thoroughly before trying to apply it.

This tag was quite simple to do and came out rather pretty.  It will likely get made into a card front at some point.

Hope you all have a crafty and creative weekend!

Apr 262012

I’ve been having fun lately, making various kinds of art jewelry for my new Etsy shop, Fancy That Art Jewelry.


These Faux Dichroic Glass necklaces are loosely based on a faux dichro technique Tim Holtz taught in one of his videos.


It’s tough to capture their depth and sparkle on camera.  They’re really quite cool and interesting in real life.


The wire wrapping is simple, but I think it serves to set off the glass pendants nicely.


I’ve also been playing with faux opals.


These are done with polymer clay, perfect pearls and iridescent glittery inclusions.


The dark opals are cool, but I especially love the white ones.


There are also several polymer clay flowers, as well as beaded bracelets in the shop.


As a special thank you to my blog readers here is a coupon code for free shipping on any purchase in the Fancy That Art Jewelry Etsy shop between now and Mother’s day. When you are ready to check out, just click on “apply shop coupon code,” and type ART4U.

Happy shopping and happy creating!


Apr 252012

All the projects currently on my desk are gifts for folks who likely read this blog, so instead of showing my workdesk today, I’m showing you a few quilts I’ve recently completed.


My oldest son’s birthday was last weekend and I made him this quilt.  It was supposed to be sent to him while he was overseas in the Marines, but that just never happened.


Now that he’s out of the Marines, it’s awfully nice having him back in the area. 🙂


When I finished piecing this quilt top, I measured it to see what size batting & backing I’d need to get.  Imagine my shock when the measurements turned out to be exactly what the pattern said they should be.  That never happens, I’m always fighting the “fudge factor.”

I attribute the newfound accuracy to the fact that after my sewing machine’s recent tune-up, I notice that I’m no longer wrestling with it wanting to wander off to the left.

Moral of the story: Those regular sewing machine tune-ups are worth every penny.  Don’t put them off.


I also finished these two small quilts.  They’re for missions that my quilting group has been working with.  The pattern is great and goes together very quickly. (You can find it here.)


Aren’t those baby animal the cutest things?




To see what other creative people from all over the world are up to, make sure to check out What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy creating!