Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Better Picture

After reviewing yesterday's post I realized that the photo didn't show the bracelets very clearly, so I'm posting a new photo. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) The wooden block in the photo is an old wooden mold (for food) from Japan. The carvings in the mold are done by hand and I'm trying to think of a way to incorporate the designs in my jewelry. Oh, if you don't know how to do herringbone wire wrapping, you can Google up lots of instructions to learn the technique.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Colored Gemstone Bracelets

Even though Hawaii doesn't have a true fall season, I do like to dress in autumn colors from September through November. To match my outfits, I've made several necklaces over the years, but I realized that I own very few fall colored bracelets. To remedy this shortage, I started rumaging in my box of gemstone beads. In my stash I discovered a strand of rhyolite and one of prehenite (both from the Bead Shoppe in BFC), which seemed to go well together. I used only a few small faceted pieces of the prehenite even though initially I was going to use the large faceted ovals. I debated whether copper or gold-filled findings would look good with the rhyolite and opted for copper. There is a wire-wrapping technique called herringbone, which I used around the long, marquise-shaped rhyolite beads. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The bracelet with more beads was made by stringing beads on copper beading wire and using crimp beads to fasten off the wire ends. One trick I learned is to string the beads on the wire without cutting it off the spool. This allows you to put one end of the clasp on the wire after you are certain of the bracelet length; then you can cut the wire off the spool and attach the other clasp end. I think this method wastes the least amount of beading wire. Anyway, the beads used are amber (five different colors), sunstone (the small salmon-colored rondelles), peridot (green oval), tigereye (large square from a package of Dress It Up beads), and copper spacers (balls and daisies from Sierra Pacific, available at BFC). Both bracelets have Sierra Pacific clasps. My favorite beads are the amber and sunstone, because they have an inner warm glow that only natural gemstones can impart. If you cannot find amber or sunstone, you could easily substitute jasper or agate.

Splitting and swapping bead strands with fellow beaders is a good way to economize and yet have a variety of finished pieces. Sticking to one color palette (everyone get an autumn colored strand) but varying shapes and sizes of beads is one way your group can work together. A bead swap or jewelry swap could be just the thing to help you stay within a budget.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Halloween Cards

I'm still playing with the Studio G $1 Halloween rubber stamps as you can see from the photos. The cupcake rubber stamp image is the only non-Studio G one. It is from the Hero Arts cupcake border clear stamps. I applied glue (Martha Stewart glue pen) on the cat and dusted it with black flock (Stampendous). Martha Stewart glitter was glued on the cupcake. Using a paper towel, I smudged tea dye Distress ink around the cat and on the edges of the Boo banner. You still have a few days left to make scary or funny Halloween cards and it's not too late to get some of those Studio G bargain rubber stamps.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sending School Photos in Halloween Cards

Quite often school photos arrive just before Halloween. I think that it is cute to mail them out in Halloween cards that can also be photo holders/frames (later they can be included on a scrapbook page). I like the idea of being able to see part of the photo before the card is opened, so I designed my card to look like a window. Each window pane is a 1-3/4" square. The openings were cut with a craft knife and backed with acetate. The fake spider webbing ( a Halloween product sort of like polyester fiberfill) is my favorite part. The spider (the web was cut off the stamp design), words, and bat photo corners are the Studio G ($1 bargain) stamp designs. You can use glue ink (Tsukineko) and apply black flock (Stampendous) to the spider and bats or stamp the design and then fill it in with a glue pen (Martha Stewart) before dusting on the flock. The pumpkin was hand cut and the paper twist stem and leaf were glued on. I had an old envelope that was tired looking and spotted with foxing, which seemed to be perfect for a Halloween card. To make the envelope more decorative and ghoulish I stamped on the Hero Arts border stamp and sprayed and dripped Andirondac terra cotta dye over it. You can spray on any blood colored ink or thinned paint to get the same effect. Have a Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pumpkin Pincushion

When I learned that the caps of plastic bottles had to be removed and were not recycled, I was surprised and determined to find some crafty use for them. Of course you can always use little bottle caps to hold small amounts of glue or paint when working on a project. However, I wanted to use the caps for something that wouldn't be thrown away. I started with an orange cap from a Gatorade drink bottle. The color reminded me of a pumpkin. I wondered, "What tiny pumpkin project could I do?" Because I keep a small pincushion (vintage glass with a bird) on my craft table and find it to be useful to hold a few pins and needles, I started to envision the cap as the bottom of a small pumpkin pincushion. I think the project turned out very well and so I will post the instructions for this inexpensive recycling project on the bfcraftclub website. Pumpkin pincushions would be good party favors or teacher/coach gifts. Green or red caps could be fashioned into apples. The photo shows the pumpkin pincushion and a lovely real pumpkin from Laura-the-gardener. Don't you love the color of the real pumpkin? I think I'll make a bracelet with that dusty salmon hue and other autumnal colors. Isn't fall a great season of anticipation?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Coupon Day!

I hope that you remembered that today was the day to use your 40% off one item coupon (in our newspaper ad). If you forgot, you still have tomorrow to use it. I knew exactly what I wanted to buy with the coupon...the Crop-A-Dile with the 6" reach! Although I have several eyelet punchers and setters, I'm hoping that this one will allow me to go through chipboard even in the center of an album cover. I'll be testing it out soon.

I found more $1 bargains at Ben Franklin Crafts. From the Royal Brush Co. I bought two Clear Choice Stamp sets (Paris and Viva France). Maybe these will encourage me to do a scrapbook on our European trip, which we took years ago. I also scooped up some $1 ribbons. The velvet rickrack ones will add texture to my autumn cards and for Valentine cards I'm going to use the grosgrain printed with hearts.

Pictured here (Click to enlarge.) are two decorated pillow boxes (Sizzix die cuts). I ran blue paper through the die cutter and then stamped it with a snowflake backgrond stamp (Hero Arts) and embossed the silver (Martha Stewart) ink design with silver glitter embossing powder (Stampendous). You can just stamp with the ink but embossing powder makes it sparkle. The snowpeople holding hands are a Sizzix die cut decorated with watercolor pencils. The single snowman cupcake is a Hero Arts rubber stamp design, colored with watercolor pencils, and decorated with crystal glitter (Martha Stewart). The boxes were folded and then glued with Fabri-Tac glue (because it sets up quickly) and the snowpeople were attached with pop-up glue dots (to add more dimension). Make dozens of these boxes now and you'll be ready to wrap up those handmade jewelry gifts or enclose the always welcomed monetary gift.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bargain Shopping

With everyone worried about the downturn in the stock market, it was good to see our loyal customers were shopping as usual on Sunday. Remember I said that I would return to Ben Franklin Crafts to purchase another Hello Kitty die cutter. My choice was Hello Kitty's little rabbit friend. She is so sweet and I know I'll use her on Easter projects this spring. I also bought a pillow box die cutter, which I think will make it easy for me to make lots of boxes for gift cards and handmade jewelry. The pillow box shape is easy to decorate and assemble.

I was happy that I found several bargain items while shopping. In the Bead Shoppe I found stretch bracelets at two for $7 (going on sale soon for $10 for 4). There were lots of choices, mostly gemstone and shell bracelets. I plan to take them apart and restring them because the beads are very attractive but the stretch elastic construction looks cheap. I am really excited about the long shell slices with two holes. I am planning to use them in a wire wrap necklace project. The white and blue disc pearl bracelets were also a good buy because the pearls had two holes, which gives them an extra design element.

The other super bargains at Ben Franklin Crafts were one dollar (yes, $1!) wooden handle rubber stamps and clear stamp sets from Studio G. The holiday themed clear stamp sets contained mini designs and some had words. I thought the graphics of the wooden handled stamps were great and I purchased lots of Halloween designs. I was told that the stamps are selling quickly. I plan to use the Halloween stamps on treat bags. I think the Thanksgiving mini stamps would look good on a dinner invitation. The words and small Christmas designs are perfect for tags. I'm sure the inexpensive rubber stamps would make terrific party favors.
The photo I posted does not really go with this blog, but I wanted to show you what I did with the fairy and cupcake garland I purchase on a previous shopping trip. Although I plan to use the covered dome for holiday desserts in between sweet treats I thought that it would make a clever display piece for decorations. (Click on the photo to see a close up.)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Love Hello Kitty

I had a few minutes to spare so I decided to do a quick shopping trip at my favorite store, Ben Franklin Crafts, of course! Once in there I wished that I had more free time because I found two racks of new Sizzix die cutters. One display had Christmas die cutters and I chose a snowman border, which I think will make good paper ribbons for small gifts or could be used on an accordion card. I'll show you what I come up with later. The other rack had Hello Kitty die cutters, which instantly mesmerized me. After spending as much time as I could, I finally selected the ladybug Hello Kitty, but I actually wanted all of them. I couldn't wait to try out the new cutters. You can see the result of my first Hello Kitty project. (As with all of my blog photos, you can click on them to enlarge and see the details.)

The card blank used was from the Designer Notecard (box of 70 cards) by Nicole Crafts. I cut the flowers and dress from DCWV Glitter cardstock. Just put a small piece of glitter cardstock over the part of that you want the die to cut so you don't waste. I found the dots on the dress hard to cut so I glued on Martha Stewart brownstone glitter instead. I recommend glittering the dress separately before attaching it to the card because the glitter will go into the spaces between the pieces. The little purse is a Mrs. Grossman sticker with rub-on words from Deja Views. The rhinestones were from a multi-colored, multi-sized K. and Co. package. The larger die cut pieces were run through a Xyron machine to apply an adhesive and the smaller pieces were just glued on. The eyes and nose were filled in by gluing small pieces of paper on the back. Oh yes, I cut off the antennae and wings even though I like the ladybug. Many of the Hello Kitty die cutters can be altered in a similar fashion. I don't think I can resist getting more Hello Kitty themed die cutters. I'm going shopping for a longer time tomorrow.....see you there!