Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm sure there aren't too many people reading blogs on Thanksgiving but just in case I want to wish you a very happy day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creating Art While Traveling

Today I created a travel bag of art supplies to take on trips that involve planes and cruise ships. It needed to be something small that would pack easily and yet contain all the necessary stuff I know I will need want. I found a 5 x 7 zippered bag from some other storage system I have and just started cramming stuff inside.

I really think that someone needs to create  a travel kit for people to take with them on trips so that they don't have to dig in their stash to try to put something together. I know that have small sets for painting but I haven't seen anything for paper crafts, collage or art journaling. Here is what I ended up with in my zippered bag.

Set of colored pens, scrapbook paper cut to size, mixed media white paper cut to size, several ATC size cards, a small journal type book, various brads, cut outs, ink pen, scissors, small zip baggies, glue stick and double stick tape.

It was really hard to not pack in some watercolors or acrylic paints, brushes and paper or some gem tree making supplies but I decided I probably had enough to keep me busy when bored. I'll be testing it out soon so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Today was create day #20. Are you still creating?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Art Charms All Finished

Finally finished up all my art charms for the swap I'm in this month. The theme was Blue, Silver, White/Clear. This wasn't too hard for me but I did sign up to do 2 sets like a dummy, so instead of only having to do 36 charms I did almost 80. That was quite an undertaking especially since I decided to use what I already had or could find around the house in found objects.

There are a couple that I really love, one is the crystal ladder charm and the other is the bullet charm. I had some steel bullet casings that I cleaned the primer out of and they worked perfectly. The crystal ladder charm is one of my own can find the tutorial HERE.

Today I created all the tags and tied them to each charm so that the person receiving them will know who made it.

Some of the other found objects I used were some old sales tax tokens from Washington State and some Transit token. I used what I had and I like them so well I ordered more from Ebay so that I would have more to use in a future swap. Other objects came out of my sewing box like safety pins, buttons and snaps. The snaps were fun to work with and they already have holes in them for the jump rings or to dangle other beads.
Another unusual piece I used was a glass fuse that I wrapped wire around (you can just see it in the basket). I played with wire creating my sun wrap, crystal ladder and butterfly as well as wire wrapping some beach glass.

This was a learning experience for me to not go out and just buy all the supplies I would need and instead reuse and re-purpose. That seems to be the new mantra these days. I know that my mother would probably say that is the way they used to make things and we are now just coming back around full circle.

Today was create day #18. Are you still creating?

BTW if you are interested in joining an Art Charm group to learn and swap charms here is the link to the one I belong to on Yahoo Groups.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Playing with Customer Special Orders

I've been playing with beads the past couple of days and have sent pictures of sample necklaces, earrings and pendants to customers for decisions. I have fun creating for others and I go through different design processes depending upon what the request is for. In this picture the customer asked for the Prehnite beads strung with a pendant in the was the pendant I was having trouble with, so I found a couple set in sterling silver and then I had some tumbled stones that I could wire wrap in gold.

In this case the customer chose one of the loose stones for me to wire wrap in gold. I also always provide an estimate of what the piece would cost.

Here is sample of earrings for another customer. She had already chosen the ear ring studs and had indicated she wanted grey or silvery pearls.

The choice now was what color of silver pearls and whether she wants them long or short. I'm sure she will get back to me tomorrow. I actually prefer the longer set with the two tones of grey.

This next set was an example of what type of necklaces and how many could be made with some left over beads. I'm sure that we will be lots of back and forth on this one still to come.

Sometimes I'll do a sketch but most of the time I like to actually make a sample of what the necklace or earrings would look like using dummy wire or extra stringing wire and then picture it and sent it to the customer for their opinion.

So, do you create special orders for customers? How do you communicate choices?

This was Create Every Day #16, are you still creating?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whew, Glad That is Over

Just finished up a 3 day show at the Puyallup Fair Grounds. My fingers are now tired of making gem trees but I did get a few done for a special order that needs to be mailed after the first of the year. This was a good time to get started on them with the holiday's fast approaching. I sold several books to folks wanting to make trees for holiday gifts which is a great idea. The picture above is just a portion of my table. By the time we started packing up we had a full forest of colorful trees. I should probably list some for sale on my Etsy or ArtFire studio in case someone wants one for a gift but does not want to make one.

Today was Create Day 14...I'm really not having any trouble creating every day especially when I do demonstrations or teach. This week we will be getting ready for an upcoming trip so not sure how much creating I'll be able to do....humm might be a good time to start writing again on the book, that qualifies.

I do have a question for all you crafty people out there. Do you craft or take your art with you when you travel? If you do, how and what do you take?

Don't forget to hop on over to visit the other bloggers who are participating in Create Every Day. Links are on the right.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

Create Day 10. This has been one heck of a busy week.  Here are a few items I've been working on. The purse I made for my mother for her birthday. Mom if you are reading this act surprised. The necklace pendant I found on-sale at Michaels and I added some art charms (some I made and some were from a charm swap). The tree is one of many that I have now glued on base rocks as I am getting ready for a show this coming weekend. The wrapped tumbled stones are some that I've been working on. These will go with me to the show this weekend and most likely I'll give them out to the kids or hang them from one of the trees. If you follow my blog you might remember the picture tutorial from Sunday on my wrapped beach glass. Well you can wrap tumbled stones the same way.

Are you being creative this week?

If you are in the Western Washington area this weekend, come visit the Sound Sound Gem, Opal and Mineral show at the Puyallup Fair Grounds. We will be there Friday through Sunday demonstrating gem trees and I'll also be signing copies of my book.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Picture Tutorial - Wrapped Beach Glass

If you were wondering how I made those beach glass pendant/charms, here is a picture tutorial. The wire I used was 24 gauge silver craft wire (copper core) or you could just use 24 gauge copper wire. It is best if you are using soft wire.

I used 2 pieces cut to 12" each and wrapped them side by side for a double wrap. Every piece of my beach glass turns out differently depending upon the glass. A simple wrapped loop at the top (short wires were cut off flush with the wraps and tucked in) longer wires were wrapped around to the back and secured.

My advise is don't make this harder than it is. You could probably wrap a piece of pottery shard or a tumbled stone the same way. Humm, maybe I'll try the stones as we have quite a few.

This was Create Day 7 and I did make more charms for my charm swap along with making this funky picture frame wire structure to hang charms from. I think I'll paint the back board cream or white or maybe glue paper to it.

Have a good evening.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Little Creating and Making New Friends

Today was my Demonstration and Book signing at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey. Usually these things can be pretty boring if you don't have a lot of people dropping by to check out what you are doing. I actually was able to make 3 gem trees and promote the classes that I'll be teaching there.

Other than making trees and talking to customers today was an exceptional day as I was scheduled at the same time as another author for her book signing. What fun! I was able to meet Christine Hansen, author of Mixed Media Art Charms & Jewelry. If you haven't checked out her book that she co-wrote with Peggy Krzyzewski then you need to, lots of fun charms to make.

Here is a picture of one of my trees...taken with my cell phone camera so it isn't very good.

Here is a picture of Christine making her first charm tree. If you like this tree, I have a tutorial so that you can make your own. Here is the link Jewelry/Earring Tree.

Speaking of trees, my brother made this tree with my Tree of Hope and Life instructions. He used more bead dangle charms vs. some of the ribbons I use but I love how he put it in a dish with sand and made a zen garden.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Tutorial - Crystal Ladder Charm or Pendant

Here is my tutorial for November. I made one of these in September while playing around and received several compliments that I decided to share the instructions with you. If you find any problems with the instructions or have questions, be sure to ask as I took the photos over a week ago and am just now getting to writing them down and I might have missed something. If you see in the instructions that I have indicated soft wire it was to make it easier on myself in making this charm. You could try aluminum wire as it is also easy to work with. I always use copper as my practice wire as it is so much cheaper than sterling.

Crystal Ladder Charm

Supplies Needed:
  • 24 gauge wire (soft such as copper or sterling or fine silver)
  • 18 gauge wire (soft such as copper or sterling or fine silver)
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jewelry hammer
  • Stainless steel block or another hard surface for hardening and flattening your wire
  • Ruler
  • 3mm beads
  • Metal file (not shown)

  1. Gather all your supplies prior to starting
  2. Cut 5 to 6” of your 18 gauge wire
  3. Fold your wire in half making your folded end pretty small but not flat against each other
  4. Curl the ends of your wire around and back through the folded end (Larks Head knot)
  5. Using your round nose pliers making your loop smaller by pulling the ends of your wire through the loop tighter
  6. Continue making the loop smaller
  7. Even smaller loop…note mangled wires…not to worry we will be flattening and straightening them
  8. Using the flat part of your hammer lightly pound the end wires to straighten them
  9. You may also use your flat nose pliers to straighten the wire even more

10. Cut a 12” length of 24 gauge wire. Start wrapping with one end of your small gauge wire around your wire form
11. Make about 4 to 5 wraps
12. Move the wraps up to the top of your wire piece, leave the tail as we will trim it later
13. Add one bead on the longest end of your 24 gauge wire and center in the middle of your charm
14. Wrap the loose end of your wire around the opposite charm leg
15. Continue wrapping about 4 or 5 times
16. Turn your wire charm over and add another bead holding the heavier wire together against the bead
17. Wrap your wire on the opposite charm leg as you did previously
18. Trim the extra wire from the top of the charm and tuck the end in tight to the middle

19. Continue turning the charm over and adding beads until you have your desired length
20. To finish off on your last bead wrap, loop the end wire back through the middle of the charm and to the top of the last beads wraps
21. Wrap two or three times to secure
22. One side of your wraps will be longer than the other side…this is okay
23. Trim close to your wraps on the longest side then match it with the other side
24. File your end wires so they are not sharp
25. All finished except for your jump ring
26. Side view reminds me of a ladder
27. These can be any length you choose. Try a longer one with 4 to 5mm beads for a pendant

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. These can be a little tedious to make but once you get your charm form completed adding the beads is a snap. You can also darken your copper by putting it in a solution of Liver of Sulfur and then using a polishing cloth or pad to take some of the dark off leaving it only in the crevasses.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Calmness Created

My goal today was to clean and organize my craft room. I was just feeling stifled in there with the mess. When I get into a project, everything comes out and ends up on the floor, on the table top and sometimes hanging from the cabinet handles. It didn't help that I had been working on several projects at once. Most of the table top was cleaned off, boxes on the floor are more organized even though they are still on the floor...must get those in the cabinet tomorrow, all the stray bits of fabric, paper and wire have been thrown away and most importantly the glue and paint have been scraped and cleaned off my table top (I even had to clean some paint off my sewing machine...don't know how that got there). I feel so much better that I actually was able to get some pictures taken of the art charms I received from the previous swap and make some bullet charms.

Here is my wire tree with all the art charms. Amazing when you see them all together.

Now....drum roll please.......the bullet charms. This was my first attempt and they are so addictive. I had made 10 in no time flat. Problem with these silver tone ones is they don't have the same chime as the brass.

I need to redo the one with the crystal on top as the plastic is too large and detracts from the piece, so I'll remove it and put it all back together. Maybe I'll continue going through the stash to find some that tinkle instead of going thud when the bead in the middle hits the casing.

To close out the day here is Buddy on his new Snuggie pillow with his toy.

Have a good night all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It's a Struggle

We all have our ups and downs and now more than ever with the holidays coming up we need to be focused....okay maybe not you but I do. This is day 3 of the Create Every Day and it seems all I did in my craft room was create a mess today. I don't think that qualifies, but I did fix 3 bracelets for a customer and make a necklace for me, so I guess I did get some creative time in there. I have all these ideas for things to make but just can't seem to get it out. I think I really need to clean up my craft room so that I can find those things I want to make. Maybe that will be my focus tomorrow is to create a cleaner craft room.

Here is my new necklace (the blue is AAA grade Kyanite that I had been saving that I purchased at the Tucson Gem Show...I don't know what I was saving it for and the other two briolettes are pink amethyst). 

This photo is of some more charms for a charm swap. I'm especially liking the mini tree of life charm and the long glass tube is a glass fuse. 

I seem to pull this piece out every once in a while. It is a concept piece that I call Imagination. I have created a button tree and mounted it on a base of collage. Truly mixed media. What I did yesterday was add the fabric around the outside edges.

Here are a couple of holiday themed Artist Trading Cards. I'll probably be posting these on my ATC group for a swap.

I did have time yesterday to go through one of my new books I had ordered. This one is called A Charming Exchange by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae. I was really looking forward to getting this book as I love my Mixed Media Art Charm book. If you need ideas then this book has it. There are several tutorials throughout the book which are very well written and appear to be easy to follow. I love how there are several artists featured in the book as it does give you a variety of styles and different points of view. If you are looking for a new book to give you inspiration or maybe to take your jewelry design in a new direction then the book is well worth checking out.

Well besides cleaning up my craft room tomorrow I should probably do some laundry, then we will see what I have time to create. If you haven't had a chance to visit the blogs of folks that are creating every day, take a moment and check them out. The links are on the right hand side of this blog.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Beach Glass Anyone?

It was a rainy cold day here in Western Washington and after going to my exercise class this morning I decided to spend a little time in my craft room. I had been wanting to use some of my stash of beach glass in pendants or charms so I grabbed my jar and dumped the contents on the table. I started out looking for blue and white pieces for a charm swap I'm in but unfortunately that wonderful shade of blue beach glass was elusive today and I only found one piece. I did find some white, green and brown. These were so much fun to make. Most are large enough for a pendant but the smaller ones I'll save for a charm bracelet or a different swap. My favorite is the light green with the silver wrap with the brown piece coming in a close second.

Since I have so many, maybe I'll list a few for sale or save them as Christmas gifts for family and friends.

Well today was my first day of Creating Every Day Challenge and I found it very easy. I still have yet to "create" a newsletter tonight for the gem and mineral club I belong to and tomorrow will be to write up the tutorial I promised. Hopefully the rest of the month will be as easy to "Create" as these first few days of the month.

If you are taking the challenge, let me know by leaving me a comment and I'll add your blog to the blog list located in the right hand column.

Now go Create!


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