Friday, May 20, 2016

Everybody Loves Quilts - 2016 Quilt Show

We are excited to be in the quilt show put on by the Shuswap Quilters' Guild coming up already on June 3 and 4 in Salmon Arm.  This large show only happens every 3 years and we had a really great time during the last one

Instead of doing a live demo, we will be involving the attendees with a "Make & Take" project.  The ladies will have the opportunity to make their own 4 patch quilt block design from clay!

There is a lot of prep work involved such as making the sample templates for them to follow and mixing up all the clay colors so they are ready to cut into triangle and square shapes.

We also made clay bases to mount the quilt block designs on creating a natural frame background.  Each base has a large snap on the back so they can be added to a variety of snap base findings and used as an interchangeable button or worn as a necklace, bracelet or ring.      

They are also a perfect match for our "2 or 3 Way Magnetic Brooches" so they can be interchanged and worn several ways:

A - As a magnetic brooch (with charm),  B - As an eyeglass or badge holder (by changing the charm for the fancy metal ring) or C - As a necklace (by flipping it around and attaching to a neck chain).

We have a limited space and time for this "Make & Take" project so will set up a schedule at the show and encourage those who would like to take part to sign up for their preferred time slot and select the pattern and colors of their choice.

For more information on the show, you can follow their facebook page here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Q-Tip of the Day

We love adding crystal rhinestones to some of our work to give it some sparkle or bling.  We only use the genuine Swarovski crystals from Austria as they are the best quality with perfect cuts and sparkle.  

I recently came across a simple tool for picking up and positioning these crystals that works like a charm and is in the form of a pencil.

Use a regular pencil sharpener to give it a point.

Then pick the rhinestone crystal up by applying just a little bit of pressure to the center.

It will stay on the tool while you position it on the clay design.  

If your clay is really soft, you can even use the pencil to gently push the rhinestone in to set it.  We use Kato clay, however, which is much firmer so we use an empty tip from a pen as a tool to set them in.

I was working with some smaller 4mm size rhinestones the other day and the pen blank was just a little too large so I was looking around the studio for something that was smaller and a better fit.   I then noticed our little jar of Q-tips on the table and there it was!

The Q-tips are handy for so many things and I like to cut them in half and store them this way.

I remembered that some of the plastic type Q-tips are hollow inside and the ones we had were that type.  When I tested one out on the smaller rhinestones, I discovered they were a perfect fit!

If you are looking for some genuine Swarovski crystals to use with your clay, we purchase large amounts in bulk and have them for sale in our online store.  We even found these cute little containers for storing and keeping them handy and with the purchase of a variety mix or minimum 5 packages in colors of your choice, you will receive a Rhinestone Pick-up Pencil as a bonus gift.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Rainbow Jelly Roll Cane and Recreating With the Left-Overs

We had to make up more of our Rainbow Jelly Roll "cane" last week to fill some orders for crochet hooks and stitch markers.  This cane takes quite a bit of work to make as there are six colors needed to create the gradual blend.

We made some "snap art beads" from this cane as well.

To make the snaps using a cane such as one like this, I simply reduce my cane to the same size as my round cutter used to fill the snap bezels.  I like to stretch my cane out so it lasts as long as possible so rather than using thick slices, I slice it a little thinner and back it with a clay circle.  You can then make it into a cabochon to fill the snap bezel following instructions on page 6 of my tutorial (part 1)

When making canes, we always end up with left-overs (as shown above) so we like to use those "scraps" in other ways.  One of the most popular techniques is creating "Natasha" beads.  The Natasha beads are fun to make.  We call these "inside out beads" as the clay is literally cut and turned inside out to reveal the cool pattern.

One can use so many Natasha beads, however, and while making them one day, I was inspired with an idea to create a new technique that I call Art Deco.  Instead of a square bead, we end up with flat mirror images.  They can then be used to create other shaped beads, buttons, snaps and whatever else you can think of.

These are such happy colors so I named them "Fiesta" and are now available in our online store.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Faux Stone in Amethyst Color

A few of our Okanagan Polymer Clay Guild members got together last week for some clay play time.  We all mixed up batches of faux turquoise and some of us experimented with new colors.  I had been wanting to try creating a faux amethyst so was a perfect time to give it a whirl.  I really love the results and is now my new favorite faux stone color. 

We also played with Donna Kato's faux opal technique and I combined it with the amethyst to create a pendant.

Later we made the faux Amethyst into "snap" art beads which are now for sale in our online store

Faux Amethyst "Snaps"

Faux Amethyst Stone Snap Necklace

Faux Amethyst Stone Snap Bracelet

The faux Amethyst stone was created using my Faux Turquoise technique.

While I share my clay color recipe to create the traditional Arizona turquoise color in my lesson, it can be adapted to any other clay color of your choice.

Here are a few other colors we have created:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Changing Up Our Snap Base Jewelry Pieces

With the interchangeable snap jewelry, there are so many options to create your own styles.  We like to sell a variety of the commercial snap base items but most of them we have reworked or changed to fit even more into our Interchangeable Collection.  For instance, we have added our clip clasp to various items so they can be easily interchanged and worn in different ways (see photo below).

A - Attaching pendants to scarf bails
B - Attaching pendants to necklace cords
C - Attaching and interchanging necklace ribbons
D - Attaching charms or eyeglass holder rings

This little flower snap base finding is a fun piece that can be used in so many ways just by adding various components. 

 As a pendant (with the added clip clasp shown below):

As a clip on charm for keychain, jeans or handbag:

Turn it into a longer style necklace:

Join several to create a multi-snap necklace:

These are some new rainbow jellyroll snaps we created.  I love the bright colors!  The necklace below has our velvet necklace straps added.   The velvet ribbon is colorfast (will never bleed) and is hand washable.  Pat dry with a towel and is nice and soft to wear again!

Or even make it into a necklace eyeglass holder:

And of course, you can also add polymer clay as shown in part 2 of my Snap Jewelry tutorial:

** If you are looking for some of the components or findings that we used here and in our tutorial lessons, most of them are sold in the jewelry supply section of our online store.  And don't forget our 10% off coupon is good until tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Creating Items with the Art Deco Art Nouveau Patterns

Here is another design I created using my technique "From Scrap Clay to Art Deco" that is one of my favorites.  I made some into buttons (for sewing) as well as snaps (for the interchangeable jewelry).  I added Swarovski crystals to several that I just love. 

Art Deco / Nouveau "Snaps" for Interchangeable Jewelry

Art Nouveau "Snap" with embedded Swarovski Crystals
And I also made some Natasha beads from the same scrap clay.  As a matter of fact that is how I first discovered this new technique.  I was making "Natasha" beads and was experimenting to see if I could create the fabulous patterns in other forms such as a veneer or cane.

My tutorial, From Scrap Clay to Art Deco, takes you step by step into creating or manipulating your scrap pile to achieve the best results.  These tips can also be applied to making better "Natasha" style beads.  It is so much fun and watch out as it is almost addicting!

And there are only a few days left for my Snap Tutorial Promotion.  Purchase our combined Part 1 and 2 of our Snap Decisions tutorial for only $10 US ($13 Cdn.).  That is like buying Part 1 and receiving Part 2 for free.  This special offer ends midnight (EST), Saturday, April 30.

It is available from our Etsy Shop (as an instant download) and on Artfire where both tutorials will be sent out by e-mail.

And to get you started with your own snap supplies, receive 10% off your entire order from our online store by using the coupon code:  Aprilsave10  

And if you order a minimum of $75 (Cdn.) or $100 (to U.S.) shipping is free!