Sunday, December 7, 2014

Special Made Crochet Hooks

We have been extra busy this year as we have added lots of new items to sell in the yarn shops.  Some of these are specialty type items for knitting and crocheting.  Our crochet hooks were a bigger hit than we expected them to be so are selling fast.  Each handle is covered in clay in our own decorative patterns, with extra care taken on the "grip" part so it is comfortable while holding.


The hook size is embedded into the end for identification.


They are sold individually in sizes 2.0 through 10.0 and also in a 6 piece "made to order" set that includes a soft faux leather case.



We have also come out with an interchangeable crochet hook set.  The heads easily interchange in the handle that is covered with our own decorative floral patterns.



All our crochet hooks are available at:

(Northshore, Kamloops)

and

(Downtown, Salmon Arm) 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Earrings & Chase Country Christmas

Our Chase Country Christmas is this weekend and we are preparing for our local craft fair on Saturday at the community hall.  It is a fun time and starts with a parade Friday evening with other events throughout the weekend.

These are some Christmas earring beads we made this year and will have for sale at the craft show.  All our earring beads and ear wires are sold separately to mix and match in our interchangeable system.

We will have lots of candy cane earrings on hand.  These are a real popular item this time of year.  We made some longer styles with chain tassels and Czech crystals in red or green.  You can click here to see my free tutorial I shared on this blog 3 years ago.  I added a slight variation on this last year which you will find here.



The red rondelle beads in these earrings are made from polymer clay and look like real glass pearls.  I have a published tutorial to make these type of beads.



These earring beads have Swarovski crystals embedded.  These beads are also reversible making them more versatile to wear year round.  To create the snowflake pattern, we used some metal snowflake findings to make our own "texture plates".  I share how to make your own texture plates and these type of beads in my "Constructing Accent Pieces for your Scarves, Sweaters & Shawls" tutorial.




Snowflakes are the theme for this year's Country Christmas celebration so we made some in different colors.



We love this time of year when we can get together with our friends and neighbors and really look forward to this weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sweater and Shawl Accent Pieces at Kelowna Yarn & Needlecrafts

We have been busy making more shawl and sweater accent pieces for the yarn shops that sell our work.  Our Sweater Guards have been a real hit and we came up with this display for the stores to show them off.  These pieces shown here are now available at Kelowna Yarn & Needlecrafts.


This is Rebecca modelling what she calls a "Shawlette".  It is really pretty isn't it?  It is kind of like a shawl and scarf combined and I love the beadwork on the trim.  This is a class project that Rebecca will be teaching in March at Kelowna Yarn & Needlecrafts.  She is also wearing one of our shawl sticks which makes a nice accent piece as well as a fastener.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New Idea for Clay Color System Card File Organizer

After rearranging the clay work area in our studio, I was wondering where I could put our Color System Album so it would still be handy but not take up so much counter space.  When Dave and I are working on the same projects together I would have to place the album in another spot to create a larger work area.  I suddenly came up with a whole different concept that I could hardly wait to share with you.


I was thinking of using a recipe box and had looked everywhere but could not find one (at a reasonable price) for the 4x6 size index or recipe cards.  Then there was the question of if I did find a box, where would I put it?  Then I realized the solution was right in front of me the whole time.  See the black boxes at the bottom on the counter?


They are wood boxes with drawers that we purchased from IKEA years ago.  They fit on the counter and I discovered that our Color System cards fit inside perfectly!  I discovered that I really like them this way and is even easier to add more cards to each category than into the album.


And here in another drawer are some of our texture sheets and CaBezel moulds -- at least the ones we use the most.


So if you are wondering about my Clay Color System, color recipes are just a small part of it.  It also involves a whole clay and recipe organizing system as well as creating and recording color blends.  I hope this new way of organizing your cards is helpful.  There are other types of boxes with drawers similar to these available but you may come up with something similar that will work for you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let There Be Light

I am really happy with our latest studio redo and corner table set-up we did last spring but lately I had been expressing to Dave how I wish we had more light for our work table.  So Dave surprised me with a new lamp the other day - a large floor style Ott-Lite.   I got to thinking of where this light would work the best and it involved a little reorganizing of our work space but the new light is wonderful!  Here is our main corner clay table now all nicely arranged.  It feels so good to see it all neat and tidy like this.  The Ott-lite fit perfectly in the corner and because it extends out a fair bit the light makes the whole corner much brighter.  The Ott-Lite is also best when working with color and since we work with so much color, it is a necessity.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Beginner Polymer Workshop and Some New Jewelry

Dave and I taught a beginner polymer clay workshop at Thread & Paper all day yesterday.  I am kicking myself for forgetting to take some photographs.  We did meet some really great ladies who were all very enthusiastic to learn.  I wore my "Natasha Bead" necklace and matching bracelet and after explaining what a Natasha bead is to the group, I remembered I still hadn't shown it on our blog yet.







The bracelet is another design using memory wire but in a cuff style.  The clay pattern on the links was a happy accident when I was playing around making the Natasha beads for the necklace.  I had an idea to try something different and this was the result.  Each square is a mirror image with no two patterns alike.  


I am experimenting with this new technique a little more and will keep you posted.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Memory Wire Bracelet Tutorial

It is that time of year again to pull out our supply of candy cane beads and make some more jewelry.  We made a huge supply of beads last year so still have a bunch on hand to play with.  If you play with polymer clay you will find my free tutorial here to make your own.

We like to use the shorter beads in bracelets and so we made some up in the spiral memory wire style.  The nice thing about this type of bracelet is that they are easy to put on and take off and they fit any wrist size.




Working with memory wire can be a little tricky at first, but once you know what you are doing, it can be a lot of fun.  When you first unpack the wire you will notice it is a lot like a "Slinky" toy.  When you stretch it out a bit and then let go, it will spring back into the same shape.



With this type of bracelet you want to have 4 to 5 "rounds" or rings so it will wrap around the wrist several times making it more secure and giving it that stacked bracelet look.  It is best to cut a bit more to allow for finishing at each end.  Do not use your good jewelry cutters for this type of wire as it will ruin them.  There are special "memory wire shears" you can buy for this.  These are very strong cutters and are like a mini "bolt cutter" so are also handy for cutting other things like soldered chain or other steel or brass wire.


Make an eye loop at the one end of your wire with your round nose pliers.  The loop acts as a stopper for your beads when stringing and you can also add some pretty dangles and charms on it after.



This type of bracelet can take quite a few beads which can make the bracelet rather heavy if you are using a lot of glass or metal types.  Because Polymer clay beads are light, they work really well.  Long tubes also look really stunning on these bracelets and the typical ones are made from metal.  Not only are these tubes rather expensive, they are also heavy and can tarnish quite easily.

I discovered a great substitute for the metal tubing which is called Softglass cord and is available at Shades of Clay (scroll down after the buna cord).  The Softglass cord is like Buna except it is hollow inside so you can thread wire through it.  It also has a beautiful satin glass-like finish and comes in a wide range of gorgeous colors.  The other cool thing about using this type of tubing is that you can cut it to any length.  You can use scissors or I find using a heavy tissue blade makes really clean and straight edges.


Now the fun begins.  You can play around with different patterns to see what works for you.  The main idea is to have your beads somewhat evenly spaced or "weighted" all the way around.  You will notice that the bead placement can change drastically with different tube lengths.  If you find it isn't working, then try cutting the Softglass cord longer or shorter and see what works best.  For the bracelet shown here (below) I am using the Emerald Green Softglass cut into 1-1/2" lengths.

Start threading your beads and cord tubing on the wire.  When you are happy with your pattern, slide the beads down to the end of the wire.  Keep adding your beads until your wire is full.




When you are happy with your bracelet, finish off the other end with another eye loop.  Add some pretty bead dangles and charms at each end and you are done.