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  (*See update below)  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.  Here I used the 2.5mm but the thicker cord works well too.

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.

* Update - Unfortunately, Shades of Clay no longer carries the hollow cord show here in the different colors but is available in black or frost.  You can use any cord, however that is hollow for these bracelets or make your own hollow tubing from polymer clay.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Faux Turquoise Earring Beads that are Reversible

Remember the earrings I showed in my last two posts?  They looked both the same but one was in the  Faux Red Turquoise and the other in the Faux Green Turquoise.  Here are the photos of them again:

The unique thing about these earrings is that they are actually the same pair.  They are reversible with the red on the one side and the green on the opposite.

These are the silver bead frames I used to make the earrings.

In my Fabulous Faux Turquoise tutorial I show how to fill various metal bead frames with a clay veneer.  I also have a free mini-tutorial on our blog for filling bead frames like these which you will find here.

For more of my free tips and tutorials, you can visit the page link at the top of this blog.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Faux Green Turquoise CaBezel Necklace and Earrings

I finally finished off the necklace with the Faux Green Turquoise CaBezel beads.  I shared the new green turquoise clay color recipe a while ago and you can find it here.

I used the "Lemon Egg" CaBezel mould to create the beads in this piece.  The ribbon is velvet and is not only extremely soft but completely washable and colorfast.  There is something unique about the earrings shown below.  I will share the surprise and how I made them with you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Faux Red Turquoise Collar Necklace and Earrings

Here is a collar necklace and earrings I created using my Faux Turquoise technique in the new shade of red.  I am really in love with this new color and the deep mica shift effect it has.  To create this color I used the Pantone Fall Fashion Color Aurora Red.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Brilliant Bloom Buttons Used

Our Brilliant Blooms buttons have really become a popular item and people are finding more uses for them which we love to see.  This hat was knit by Carla and she added a grouping of several Blooms buttons as an accent.  Carla works at Katja's Quilt Shoppe and is so talented.  She not only does some fabulous quilting, she is an avid knitter.  If you are into either of these, you might want to check out and follow her blog, Grace and Favour.

This baby snuggy vest was knit by Anne at Kelowna Yarn & Needlecrafts.  I love the color and how she used the Blooms buttons on it.  Anne's store specializes in yarn and patterns for children and babies and we have been working with her in creating some buttons for these items just for her shop.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The New Hexagon Book - Find the Treasures Hidden in Hexagons!

Yesterday we stopped in at Katja's Quilt Shoppe to see how things were going and pick up our copy of Katja's book, "The New Hexagon".

This is not your typical quilting book.  Katja has combined the Hexagon pattern with English paper piecing with a modern twist.  Her easy to use methods on a traditional idea makes Hexagon patterns fun to create.  She gives 52 hex block patterns that can be combined in many ways and used to not only create a quilt but projects like wall hangings, table runners or even a mug rug.

The hex patterns can even be combined to make more intricate patterns as in this "Millefiori" quilt.

Starting in January Katja will be heading up a free online Millefiori quilt-a-long using shapes from her book.  You can follow her facebook page here for more info.

As an artist in polymer clay, I am always looking for inspiration and quilt block patterns are a great source to draw from.  The New Hexagon book has some really great inspiring ideas and patterns that  really gets my create juices flowing and can hardly wait to translate some of these ideas into my clay to create some new unique designs.