Friday, June 23, 2017

More Designs in a Snap! and Bonus Offer

My friend Joanne came over to clay with me the other day and brought some templates and textures by Melanie Muir she had recently purchased to play with.  I was immediately drawn to one of the textures and was planning on creating some jewelry pieces in dark blue to go with my summer wardrobe.  I tried one of the templates as well to create a pendant and matching earrings.

The colors I used to create the mokume gane were the Pantone Spring color Lapis Blue, White Mix (recipe # 1-2 in my Clay Color System) and Kato silver.

Naturally my pendant piece is actually a snap, making it interchangeable.

I like to wear it on a stainless steel necklace chain but I also love to wear it on the frost white softglass cord for a totally different look! 

You will find a mini tutorial I did some time ago on how to add a snap base to the softglass or other cording here.

And of course all the little left-over pieces made great smaller size snaps that I can wear in my other snap base accessories such as a bracelet, hair barrettes, and handbag.

I love my handbags with the snaps and have several in different colors.  These bags are excellent quality (imitation leather) and after using them on a daily basis for a while now they still look like new and are a fun accessory!  They come with 2 interchangeable straps:  One adjustable shoulder and wrist and have 3 zipper pockets.

If you would like one of these bags, we have a special bonus offer!  With a $100 minimum purchase (after any discounts or coupons applied) from our Snap Decisions Collection and/or DIY Snap Supplies, receive a clutch purse ($29.95 value) of your choice at no charge!  No coupon code is required.  Just leave a comment at the checkout which color you would like.  This offer is for 2 days only and ends Sunday midnight (June 25) or while quantities last.  We also have a limited quantity of colors so first come, first served.

By the way, my favorite bag color is the Cedar which is very similar to the Pantone fall color Dusty Cedar.  I find it is more like a dusty rose or burgundy and any clay pieces made with the Pearl Ex mica powder color, Red Russet is a close match.

Monday, June 19, 2017

CaBezel Designs in a Snap - A Learning Curve

I've been experimenting with a new concept using the CaBezel Molds with a snap.  I wanted to see how they would come out if baked on a form to give them a curved shape.  I quite like the end results as it seemed to give them a little more depth.  It is not that the flat designs aren't good -- I just thought it would add more interest to some of the designs.

In my tutorial, "Interchangeable Jewelry in a Snap!", I share my special method for baking the clay snaps so they hold their shape or don't roll around.  Baking pieces with a snap that are curved is a different scenario.  I generally bake these items on a cardboard tube cut in half and then wrapped in parchment paper to prevent the clay from sticking.  So how to balance them on the cardboard tube with a snap on the back?  I found a simple solution:  Punch a hole in the cardboard form for the snap to fit in!

I am quite pleased with my little discovery and now I can bake any curved bead in a snap!

Friday, June 16, 2017

New Dishes Created

I love creating larger items that are functional but finding the time is always an issue.  I finally found some creative play time and decided to make some new dishes.  I discovered that once I started, it got my creative juices flowing and now I have more ideas.

Making items like these require more patience and take a little more time as they generally go through at least 2 bakings but the end product is so worth it!  All of these pieces went to the Shuswap Artisan Market in Sorrento and are already sold so we dropped off a few more pieces today.

Brilliant Rainbow Swirl Dish

Brilliant Rainbow Swirl Dish - Side view

Green Leaves with Lady Bugs Soap or Trinket Dish

Green Leaves with Lady Bugs Soap or Trinket Dish - Side view

Gigantic Bloom Dish in Pink and Lime

Flower Dish in Teal and Lime

Friday, June 9, 2017

New CaBezel Designs in a Snap! - mini tutorial

I love working with the CaBezel Molds that are created by Wendy Orlowski.  It is such a unique concept where you can create a bezel frame from clay and then a clay pattern cabochon to fit inside -- thus the name Cab -- (Cabochon) -- Bezel.

These molds are sold through Shades of Clay and there is a wide selection of shapes and sizes.  I have just about all of them and now, Wendy has created some new designs -- CaBezels with holes which will be available at Shades of Clay very soon!  Wendy sent me some to test out and play with and I had fun creating some new stuff.  Apparently she is working on some smaller shapes that coordinate with these and I can hardly wait until they are out!

I have been wanting to incorporate the CaBezels into our Snap Decisions Collection and finally worked it out.  I don't know what took me so long as frankly, it was a lot easier than I expected and so want to share it with you as an addition to my published tutorial.  And in case you missed it, my tutorial is on sale for this month which you can read more about here.

One note is that it works best with Kato clay as I have tried this with both Premo and Fimo clay and found they were too soft.  So here is how you can add a snap to the back of your CaBezel design to create a piece that is interchangeable:

Step 1 - Place your clay onto a ceramic tile and stick it down really well so it will not move.  Spray your clay with water (for a mold release) and burnish the CaBezel (Bezel part) until you get a nice deep impression.

Step 2 - Trim around the outside of the Bezel with a scalpel or sharp blade.  This is where the ceramic tile comes in handy as you can turn it as you trim.

Step 3 - If you want the hole in your design, trim out the center portion as well.  I will be showing here 2 methods - with the hole and filling in the hole.

Step 4 - Smooth all the outside edges of your shape, if necessary.

Step 5 - Now slide your tissue blade under your bezel to remove it from your tile.  Pick it up and place it back into the CaBezel mold, placing it face down.  Here it is shown face up so you can see.

Step 6 - To add your snap, make sure it has been prepped first using method A (page 4) in my Snap Decisions tutorial and then add some liquid clay to the inside.  Push the snap firmly into the back of the clay bezel.

Picture A shows the bezel without the hole and I am inserting a snap with a bezel and picture B is with the hole and I am inserting a flat snap.

Step 7 - If you need help pushing in the snap, you can use a small shape cutter that fits just inside to give you more leverage.

Step 8 - The snap should be well embedded into the clay and flush with the back of the bezel as shown in the photo below.

Step 9 - While the clay is still in the mold, you can texture the back with a sponge, sandpaper or whatever you prefer.

Step 10 - I also like to add our signature stamp at this point as well and then you can clean up the edges by pushing against the side with your tissue blade.

Step 11 - Carefully take your piece out of the mold and poke a few holes with a needle tool into the clay above where the snap is to release any trapped air when baking.  Bake the piece flat using the snap support boards shown on page 21 of my tutorial.

Step 12 - Make your cabochon part of the CaBezel with your clay pattern by following the same method as in steps 1 - 4.  If you are filling in the center, you can use a solid color of clay or here I am saving the piece that I cut out and using that.

Place your clay design into the Cabezel (add liquid clay first) by following the CaBezel instructions.

Step 13 - To fill the hole and (A) to measure the size for the center, place the Bezel portion over the clay and lightly burnish to mark it.  Cut it by using the inside lines as a guide.  (B) Turn it over (right side facing down) and cut a shape out of scrap clay slightly smaller and place it in the center.  (C) Turn it over and with your finger, bevel the edges all the way around.  You can round the corners by pushing a blade up against them.  (D) Add some liquid clay to the Bezel center.  (E) Place your piece into the center and smooth the inside edges.

I decided I wanted the center to pop a bit more so added a Swarovski crystal before baking.  Bake again using the  snap support board to keep it flat.

And here are my finished pieces, added to a snap base on a cord.

The beauty of creating your pieces on a snap is that they can be worn so many different ways making your design very versatile!  Imagine wearing them in other ways such as a brooch, on a shawl stick or even in your hair!

And here are a few more pieces that we created using the CaBezel molds with a snap:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Snap Variation for Magnetic Pendants

I purchased Helen Breil's latest tutorial, "Magnetic Pendants" as I was looking for inspiration on pendant shapes and texture ideas.  I had an idea in mind of doing a snap variation in place of the magnets and this is one of the first pieces I created.

After making the focal snap pendant I put together several snap base chain necklaces for interchanging.  One has a long chain tassel shown here:

And here is the simpler pendant necklace style:

The snap necklace bases shown here are available in our online store.  We have also created a special category of snap base necklace styles that interchange with our larger decorative snaps.

You can also create your own interchangeable necklace with the snap base components in our DIY snap supply section.  All the findings and chain used are stainless steel but you can use other preferred metal types or colors.  Click on the photos below to see the items in our online store for more information.

Start with a snap base connector which is available with a single or double loop.

Add a bail or one of our clip on clasps to the top with several jump rings:

Tip:  If the necklace chain is too thick to fit into the clip, you can insert a jump ring in the center for attaching the pendant.  This also keeps the pendant in place while wearing and the clasp stays at the back of your neck where it belongs. 

Add a chain tassel to the bottom of a double loop connector with jump rings.

You can make yourself several snap necklace base styles for interchanging your decorative snap pendants.

Almost any clay design you make can be mounted on a snap to create a wide range of necklaces.  Here are a few more samples using the CaBezel Molds available at Shades of Clay.  I will be sharing a free tutorial here with you next on how to add a snap to your CaBezel shapes for interchanging.