Beaded Baubles!

Happy Sunday Friends! Just a gentle reminder to those who live in the US that we have returned to standard time and you should have moved your clocks ahead last night. I like the longer days, I have been waking up early lately on my own so I hope it makes the transition easier. That said I was at a crop last night until 11:30 so I am feeling a bit groggy today. I was supposed to scrapbook but I didn’t feel like it so I grabbed some beads instead.

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I had made the above necklace last weekend from a kit by The Beadery that I found at Mardens for $3. I was not in love with the colors but I had always wanted to learn how to bead around a stone and I have to say the instructions were fantastic! I did not follow the pattern to the letter because I did not want the necklace to have a clasp and I did not like some embellishing on it but that is why it is great to make your own, you can have it your way! The kit has a date of 2007 and the item # is 5768 if anyone wants to try and find it. I got the hang of it very quickly and decided to try the technique with some flat backed glass marbles and small beads from my stash:

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Once I had the basic idea I found I could substitute beads and change the pattern and basically make it up as I went along.

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On the green bead I started with fewer beads so I could cover more of the back. Since I had a pattern that repeated 5 times I got a star look to it.

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This was just the type of project I needed last night. Fun, relaxing and easy. Plus I know if there were other beaders there I could ask advice since I have little experience with seed beads other than collecting them and occasionally sprinkling them in wet glue on an art project. :D Getting out to create with the gals was what I needed but ironically I almost didn’t go, I was looking for an excuse to veg out at home but I had told my friend Kathy I would go so I did and I even accomplished something, made some new friends ad ended the night feeling tired but inspired. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Make TARDIS Earrings! Allons-y!

Howdy friends! I finally get to see season 7 of Doctor Who, I am on the 2nd episode watching it on Hulu plus, that in and of it self was worth the $8 a month LOL! So I am not caught up with the episodes so please no spoilers in the comments OK? With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up I thought I’d share this craft perfect for any Whovian out there, TARDIS earrings! You can also use the charm for key chains and zipper pulls. Watch the video to see how to make them:

I found the clip art of the TARDIS here free to download. I used Matte Shrink plastic by Graffix, a Copenhagen blue Prismacolor marker, 2 jump rings and 2 ear wires. If you have any questions let me know and I will get back to you! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

 

A fun earring bail idea!

Hello friends! I love Sunday nights, the house is clean, backpacks are ready for school in the morning and so are the brand new band instruments my twins will be playing. There is nothing like the sweet sounds  of musicality coming from two enthusiastic children who have never had one lesson. Did you know how loud a saxophone is? Really, do you? In all honestly I cam very excited for them, my other daughter is playing flute and the teacher told her that her job over the weekend was to get it to make sound…well she scored an A+ on that task!  I played flute in 5th grade and I can see my mother’s curse came true, I have daughters who act just like me, twins even.

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Tonight I wanted to share a simple way to make bails for your jewelry that are both decorative and inexpensive. For these sea glass embedded resin earrings I needed a way to attach them to ear wires without being gaudy. The glue on bails I like for opaque pendants showed through the resin in a bad way so I needed to make something that is pretty if it is seen.  I took a 10″ piece of 20 gauge wire and made a spiral on one end to glue it to the bail and a simple loop on the other end to attach to an ear-wire.  The earrings below also had beads in the resin and I used a wrapped loop…a poorly done wrapped loop…I’m showing you this because I really think a simple loop is the way to go LOL!

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To help me make a decent spiral I inserted the end of the wire into the hole in one of my large wire jig pegs and pressed the peg to the jig white I wound the wire around. I saw this tutorial from beadaholique that explains it perfectly. I hope you have a lovely evening and til next time happy crafting!

My neck hurts…

…and it’s probably because I wore this heavy necklace the last two days:

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Usually when I make a chunky necklace I mix in some acrylic beads to cut down on the weight but I had these gorgeous foil glass beads that I wanted to use and I like the repetition of them all together so I threw caution to the wind. The flower focal drop I made from resin, it was an ugly speckled white because my white paint I colored the resin with did not mix well so I painted it green. I enjoy olive green because it seems to flatter so many skin tones.

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I call it elegant steampunk…and heavy…really freaking heavy…

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It’s still pretty though, but I think I will only wear it for short amounts of time and not all day again.  That’s all for today! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Rice Paper Earrings!

Hello Friends! We made it to the fair, in the rain, yesterday but you know, it was OK, I’d take rain over crowds any day! I guess it was just going to be a soggy day, I went down to my studio yesterday morning to find half of the basement flooded and I freaked because my husband was at work and it was pouring buckets outside, what a time for my sump pump to poop out. I grabbed my bilge pump (actually I have been dying to try it out, we bought it over a year ago and had yet to have a flood) and I ran hose and pumped out that water, go me! It was like I was in a pirate ship! Outta my way you scurvy kids, me gots to dry out this vessel before ye gets to go to the fair arrrrrgh! Now that sounds way cooler with a pirate accent. Jason fixed the problem when he got home from work (a clogged pipe) and met us at the fair. I looked at a radar map that assured me it was going to rain until we got there then dry up for the rest of the day but apparently radar maps are not that accurate, I suggested the kids wear pants and raincoats but they chose shorts and sweatshirts. Since I have a “no whining” policy when I take them out they were happy as clams, clams ha,  they were as wet as clams too LOL! Speaking of clams today’s project reminds me of the delicate mother of pearl finish on seashells:

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I found a wonderful tutorial by Ross Barbera on making rice paper earrings, I saw it a few weeks ago and filed in in my brain under “something to try when I was feeling puttery” and a long weekend was just the time. I knew I’d have little snippets of time here and there to work and this was perfect due to all of the steps involved.

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Ross has a video of this process and wow, it was like taking a class. He goes over making the wire hoop, gluing the paper on, coloring it and varnishing it. Everything you need to know. He is fun to listen to as well because he sounds like Dustin Hoffman :)

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These are my first attempts, they lack the elegance and finesse of Ross’s work but I’m pleased with them for now. Looking at the close up photos I see that I need to do some additional filing on some.

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I was wondering how to display these pieces and I remembered a sheet of very fancy overpriced metal mesh I bought at a scrapbook store for $6 many years ago…

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…I do believe it the the same material we constructed out chicken pen out of…yep, about 2 cents worth of hardware cloth, oh well, at least it is getting used LOL!

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I recommend you make these earrings in batches because when you get to the part when you add watercolor you will want to experiment and you will wish you had more papered frames to play with, plus I have a hard time leaving something alone so I need another project to work on or I will frig with it until I ruin it, rice paper is quite delicate…

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I did experiment with some of the scraps tho and I will share that with you later. If you want to make some of these you can find Ross Barbera’s tutorial here, he has a wealth of info on his blog too so spend some time there! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Green with Envy! Faux Jade with Resin!

Howdy friends! I hope everyone in the states is enjoying a nice Labor Day, I am hoping the weather clears up so we can take the kids to the fair, I think it will, positive thinking right? The other day I was playing with a bunch of the resin pieces I had previously cast. I really liked the green frame I made in the Martha Stewart Mold and wanted to make a pendant with it. I did not want to drill holes so I tried some wire wrapping:

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I have to say that wire wrapping resin is much easier than wrapping glass or stone, it has a bit more grab to it. I also wrapped the earrings:

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I used 20 gauge copper wire for the weight bearing wraps and accented it with a lighter 24 gauge wire for interest. I made the top loop of the pendant 2 wraps thick for added strength.

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To get the jade appearance I added a pea sized dab of light green Liquitex heavy body paint to 1 oz of resin and a small scoop of gold pearl ex. Add this to the resin before the catalyst so you have time to mix before it hardens. If using polyester resin as I did add an extra drop or 2 of catalyst to compensate for the moisture in the paint.  After you unmold it file off any rough spots or overfill with a nail file. Dust with peal ex if desired. Follow up with a coat of water-based clear sealer like Future Floor Wax or Mod Podge and let dry before making the jewelry.  The sealer will bring back the shine lost when you sanded the edges and lock in the extra peal-ex.  Also, sometime polyester resin remains tacky on the side exposed to the air so the sealer will remedy that as well. The three dark green beads directly under the frame were made by recycling stained glass remnants and working them with the torch! I love recycling! Just a note, if you are lamp-working with stained glass remnants do not mix them with the Italian rods because they have a different EOE.

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I really like the effect of the colored resin to mimic stone. It is really fun to work with and it gives you new options for the clay molds you have hanging around. If you have any questions please leave a comment and til next time happy crafting!

DIY Paint Drying Rack! {and more resin adventures!}

Happy Monday folks! It looks like today is going to be sunny and hot, a perfect day for the beach…or to play with resin some more…or better yet both! I can make some resin stuff and escape the fumes and the temptation to bother it as it cures LOL! this weekend I used up the last of the big pint can of resin i bought and you know what? I really enjoyed the process of learning about it, so much so in fact I took my 50% off coupon to ACmoore yesterday and bought the even bigger quart can of it LOL! I was going to try the epoxy kind but they were sold out at both craft stores and I was not letting the 50% off coupon go to waste:) I learned something new this weekend about polyester resin, well several things actually but before we get into that I wanted to show you the drying rack I built for holding glazed or painted objects:

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The photo is self explanatory but basically I took 2 scraps of foam-core and glued them together then inserted sewing pins every 3/4″ or so. I think I might make one with the pins closer together to hold jewelry parts too! Maybe I’ll make a video but you’re pretty bright so I’m sure you get the gist. :D

EDIT: I decided I wanted a board with the pins closer together for glazing jewelry components so I made a video, enjoy!

Resin Tip #25 Always use Mold Release!

While making my sea glass paper weights above I was impatient and did not prep the soap molds I used with mold release. Now there is a chance that the molds were the wrong kind of plastic but every kind of plastic I have used before have worked (even candy molds!) with mold release. The downside is that you have to plan ahead of time and spray the molds and let them dry, I’m not big on planning  so since I had 2 of that particular soap mold I through caution to the wind…

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Yep, bad idea.

Resin Tip #26: Use a heat gun to remove the stuck on plastic mold from your resin.

I was not about to let my resin paper weights go in the trash just yet so I cut apart the plastic mold and tried to bread the plastic off, not happening. So I grabbed my heat gun and heated the plastic and peeled it off. By the way I had the door open and 3 fans on during this unwise fume fest. I was able to pull most of the plastic off BUT the was still some bits of plastic stuck to the edges so I began sanding, first with a rough paper to remove the plastic then with a finer sponge to polish it. Please use a dust mask or respirator if you do this. That removed the plastic but let my paperweights dull and lifeless. We can’t have that now can we? so I grabbed my trusty Future Floor Wax with Pledge Shine (which has never seen a floor BTW) and gave them a shiny new glaze. It worked, dried rock hard and quickly! Yay! I needed to glaze all sides so did the bottom first, placed it on my drying rack and glazed the top and sides. After seeing how well that worked I glazed my green jewelry pieces from the other day. It got rid of the slightly tackiness of the ones done in silicone and it made the bits I had to file and smooth on the circle pendants disappear. It made my grimy fingerprints go away too and left shiny goodness in their place! Huh, I wonder how that stuff works on floors?

I also learned that larger pieces cast quicker with polyester resin. It was a dry 75 degree day when I made the paper weights and other items (I made sea glass embedded pendants and charms for earrings) and after pouring I took the molds outside and put them in the sun and covered them with a clear plastic tote. The paperweights were hot in the molds before I even went out and they were cured in a few hours while the pendants were still a bit tacky. The heat is key I think because you have to use 3 times the amount of hardener in the 1/8″ thick items as the 3/4″ items and each layer if resin requires less hardener if you are layering stuff. I also learned that you can color resin with dye reinkers for transparent items or acrylic paint for an opaque look. I have lots of both so that saves me money on specialty colorants!

I hope you found today’s post useful. Even if you never want to try resin after reading my adventure at least you can make a nifty paint drying rack for other projects like Christmas ornaments or tole painting projects.  Well, I am off to the beach today, maybe I can find some more sea glass or other treasures to bring back. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s get to know your wire $ beads!

…Getting to know you, getting to know all about you….was I singing again? Oh well, sorry, today I have a fun and easy project that any beginner jewelry maker can do. I know working with wire can be a bit intimidating, sometimes it looks great, sometimes it looks sloppy and it is hard for a beginner to get a uniform look…until today. The only technique you need to know is making a wrapped loop and I will teach you that so you can make this lovely bracelet.

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I used my new beads from Oriental Trading Company and 20 gauge copper wire. For tools you will need a pair of round nose pliers and side cutters or a 3 in 1 tool. I recommend when you begin jewelry making to invest in a nice spring loaded 3 in 1 tool, it has round nose plies, a side cutter and a flat smooshy part (that’s technical terminology), these do not need to be expensive but try them out if you can because you will use them in almost every project! Ready? Let’s get started! Feel free to pause the video or replay anytime you need to. I zoomed in pretty close while I was working but you can always watch the video in full screen mode for greater detail.

I hope you are no longer scared of wire. If you want some cheap wire to practice with you can get thin galvanized steel wire from the hardware store for a couple of bucks. Copper will bend like a dream one you are used to steel. :D

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Another fun surprise was that after I made the bracelet in the video I connected it to the sushi bracelet I made earlier and viola! a reversible necklace! (a nice option for up-selling at craft fairs too!)

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I hope you give this technique a try, you can practice with whatever beads you have on hand. If you have any questions let me know and as always happy crafting!

Paracord Possibilities!

Did you miss me yesterday? Well, I’m telling you the lazy days of summer are not LOL! OK, I have to be honest, they are a bit lazy because I have had time to whip up these beauties using my hubby’s stash of parachute cord:

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The best thing is that my kids love making these too! I’ll be showing you a paracord bracelet with a feminine twist later this week, maybe even tomorrow if I have my act together;) Paracord is very easy to work with, it is strong which means our paracord creations can be undone in a survival situation and you have several feet of rope at your disposal and the cord is durable, it won’t fray if you burn the ends and it has a bit of “slip” to it so it is great to learn knot tying and macrame techniques. It is also easier to handle then braiding cord for young jewelry makers. Also, it is rugged and manly, boys won’t mind a “survival” bracelet, key-chain or zipper pull! Now that I have sold you on the power or paracord here is a quick tutorial to show you how to make a paracord ball key-chain:

When you are buying paracord don’t go to the craft store unless you want to get ripped off.  Go to a military supply store where it is much cheaper (100 feet for about $7 vs. Joann 16 feet for $2.49) Joann also sells the little balls we just made for $3 each. Aren’t you glad you saw this before you bought one;)

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So if you want to make a necklace leave an 8″ tail when you make your ball. After the ball is made hold the cord around your neck to determine the length you want and cut both ends to length.  Burn one end (remember this is a adult only job and use the blue part of the lighter flame so you don’t discolor the cord) and quickly attach a small ribbon end. I am really excited because I have a use for all of the small ribbon ends I have leftover from the Blue Moon multipacks I buy, I always use up the larger ones but not the little ones, yay!

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Attaching the clasp is another adult job, not that is is dangerous but if you are anything like me you will be using language you do not want your children to hear when attaching the small barrel clasps and split rings. Why barrel clasps and split rings then, you ask? Here’s why, A split ring is like a jump ring on steroids, it has two wraps of wire (like a teeny key ring) so there is no open area or weak spot. If I used a jump ring on the ribbon end chances are the thin metal loop would wiggle it’s way through the split in the ring. Also where the split ring attaches to the swivel loop on the barrel clasp you want the thickness of the 2 wraps to keep that from slipping off as well. Why a barrel clasp? Well, honestly I don’t care for them very much but I always seem to have a ton of them, they come in jewelry grab bags and finding kits and I am pretty sure they breed and multiply in my storage box when I am not looking. Also the barrel clasp is very small, easy to close and plain so good for these unisex necklaces. I highly recommend investing in a pair of split ring pliers if you plan on using split rings very often, or if you need to open key rings a lot to save wear and tear on your fingernails. I bought mine at Joann with a coupon, it was the bead buddy brand and it was only $10 regular price. No need to spend a ton. They are worth their weight in rescued fingernails! :D

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So here is the way I attached the clap to the necklace, sorry about the above tangent…

  1. Burn ends of cord and attach ribbon ends with nylon jaw pliers.
  2. Attach split rings to each ribbon end.
  3. Open loops on barrel clasp by twisting with small pliers (the same way you open a jumpring) and attach to the split ring, close the loops and make sure they are secure.

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I explain how to attach the ball to a key ring in the video. To finish the key ring trim the cord 1/4″ from knot, burn ends and press into knot to secure by melting. If you notice some of the white core of the cord showing you can touch it up with a permanent marker. Classy.

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I think I will get some white and dark green cord and make 2 toned necklaces in girl scout colors and school colors too. I love the look of the neon cord too, a very “in” trend in jewelry and fashion this year not to mention that nautical inspired jewelry is very hot right now, I think I need to find some anchor clasps and charms! Oh the possibilities of paracord!

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Let me know if you have any questions and til next time happy crafting!

Summer Flip-Flop Earrings!

Ahhh, summer, the lazy days…I wish! I have been running non stop all summer. Last night I told my kids “that’s it, we are not going anywhere tomorrow, we are going to chill out at home!” then I remembered that I have a kids knitting class to teach that the library this afternoon, well, at least we can ride our bikes, mostly I’m sick of being a taxi service ;) I couldn’t wait to make some jewelry with the new lampwork beads I got  from Oriental Trading Company this week. They have given me some products to try so if you check them out please tell ‘um Lindsay sent ya! I made a couple pairs of earrings and an adjustable anklet:

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The earrings are super easy, all you need are round nose pliers, a wire cutter, 20 gauge wire, 2 beads and ear-hooks. All of these supplies can be found cheaply at Oriental Trading if you do not have them already. This is a really basic project and if you are new to beading and wire work this video will show you how to properly manipulate the wire for strong, attractive and durable jewelry:

Pretty easy huh? The anklet is done much the same. When you put the flip-flop bead on the wire you can add larger beads of your choosing and when you make the top wrapped loop make it large enough for rat-tail cord to pass through and to attach 2 more dangles. To make the dangles take a lampworked headpin and slide on 2 beads. Make a right angle bend and the first part of your loop but don’t wrap it yet. Slide the wire through the loop on the first dangle then complete the loop and wrapping on the lampwork headpin. This will make strong connection because the loop is wrapped, not just closed. Repeat for the other headpin. Slide the completed bead cluster (use the large loop on the flip-flop dangle) on a piece of cord and make adjustable sliding knots on each end.  If you prefer a necklace use a longer cord!

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So back top my busy week, my daughters carpooled to horse camp with another mom each day saving me a lot of additional driving so as a thank you I gave her the earrings I made in the video;)

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That wraps it up for me today. I am going to enjoy this quiet morning before class and maybe help my kids with the Lincoln Log village they have set up in the living room. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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