Saturday, April 30, 2011

I was web surfing and found this simple tutorial with a rather cool outcome. I rarely do any tutorials or get a chance to really play, but today was a perfect day for this.

Spliced Cane

This is a single skinner blend in pearl blue/white cut in half. One roll light to dark, the other dark to light. I used the scrap to outline the jellyroll - light on the dark outside and dark on the light outside.

Stuck the remaining scraps in snakes between the pieces.

I think I will make some more and create some beads :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photos of canes

Backgroundless Canes

I am trying my hand at the backgroundless canes using the play-doh as seen on
Backgroundless Canes by Idit Zoota.

I needed a boatload of little 10mm flowers that I could cut for small beads and this is perfect for that.

I had to go out and buy play-doh and should have shopped price before I picked it up at Jo-Anns when I got my micro crimper today. I paid too much for it and used my 40% off coupon and still paid too much. It's less than 2 bucks at Walmart and I paid 3 bucks WITH the discount.

But I digress.

The smell of play-doh will take you back to your childhood, but the real shock is the difference in consistency when you switch from building the flower cane to actually wrapping the flower in a sheet of play-doh. My first instinct was to condition it! It is so smooshy and soft that I thought maybe it needed to be leached!

Anyway, the little flowers are in the oven now and when I get the rods out, I will shoot a photo of them and see how that turned out!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Polymer Clay Pillow Beads with Floral Canes, Butterflies and Transclucent Canes

April 17, 2011

Polymer Clay Pillow Beads with Floral Canes, Butterflies and Transclucent Canes

Flower Floral Polymer Clay Pillow Beads LB-2011-0032
Polymer Clay Beads Filled with Flowers and Butterflies!

My all time favourite beads to create are pillow beads. I don't know what it is about them, but I can't resist creating them. I like the way they feel, I love the size of them - most 20mm - although I do have some 15mm sized beads as well.

To me, it is hard to resist what I consider a blank canvas.

I start with a blank sheet of clay; either in a tinted colour - I rarely use a colour out of the package, or a neutral.

If I am using a neutral, I will take one of my kaleidoscope canes and cover the sheet of clay before I cut them to the size of bead that I am creating. The base on the kaleidoscope cane beads will not be a part of the design so it isn't that important to me what colour it is. I will tuck it under when I assemble my bead.

When I am creating a garden of beads, I use my tinted clay as the background and generously slice thin pieces of my leaves, flowers and butterfly canes onto the background. It doesn't matter where they go, I will be cutting them all up anyway.

Before I cut my beads up for assembly, I make sure that they are smoothed out. This helps me not to have to do as much sanding as I would if there were hills and gouges. I have carpal tunnel and hand sanding is a bit hard on my hand, so I do the best to keep it at a minimum.

Once I have cut my beads and assembled them with their pillow stuffing, I smooth my edges, doing the best that I can to make them seem seamless. I usually add a 1mm hole to them before baking, but lately, I have been uping the hole to 3mm. I have been reading beaders that are requesting a slightly larger hole, so I have been doing that for them.

Polymer clay is soft enough after it is finished to allow for hole enlargement if needed.

Once my beads are baked, I drop the flower ones into a bath of ice water immediately, it clears the translucent clay right up and makes it clear.

I handsand the beads through three grits and then add a nice little shine of varathene on them before putting them up to dry.

Once they are dry, I do my photos and the next thing you know, they are here as a new item in my store.

I hope you enjoy the beads and the work that goes into them.

Must go bead,

Julie and Blu

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Purple Blue Disk Beaded Necklace Pearl Polymer Clay

Purple Blue Disk Beaded Necklace Pearl

Hoppy Taw

Yeah, that's what I named this polymer clay piece featuring my kaleidoscope canes on large cookie shaped disk beads.

The Hoppy Taw was a staple of my childhood. No self respecting 3rd grader ever played hopscotch at school without a Hoppy Taw of one's own. They seemed to be magical and could make you stand on one leg a lot longer. This silly thick rubber disk was some marketing genius's bread and butter. In fact, it wasn't until a couple years ago that I even checked to see if it was really called a Hoppy Taw or if that was some misheard lyric type situation of childhood. It was in fact called just that.

When I created these disks, that was the first thing that came to mind. They are large, colorful and can probably make you stand on one leg longer than anyone else.

Each disk has been double drilled and hand sanded smooth and had a light coat of varnish added for some shine.

The potato pearls both between the beads and hand wrapped on the chain have been dyed to an iridescent blue and purple which is one of my favourite colour combination.

I merged the sets of cable into a single strand and loaded it up with delicas, plated chain and wire wrapped additional potato pearls and Czech glass beads.

The clasp is a pewter rose and the ends have been double crimped and double crimp covered. I used E6000 cement on the crimps and covers to secure the ends.

This has been designed to curve and will automatically do that when you wear it. The length is a comfortable 24 inches.

It is a lightweight piece but it does have a bit of bulk to it due to the size of the disks.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Playing Through

Handcrafted Polymer Clay Golf Ball Pot Holder Magnets
When you live in Florida, you are surrounded by both the beautiful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and miles and miles of golf courses.

Like a lot of my goodies, these started by those wonderful three words that we all love to hear, "Do You Have ....." which is a variation on the theme of "Can You Make..."

A friend of mine needed a gift for a lovely lady golfer and she saw some ladybug pot holder magnets that I had done and asked how hard it would be to create golf balls for her friend's kitchen. I thought about it a minute and said, "well, I could do a set of two for your friend, if you give me a couple of days to get them done".

It was a mutually beneficial exchange, she had a set of magnets that couldn't be found anywhere else and I had a new product line that given my locale, made for a popular gift.

I used Fimo Soft to form my golf balls, I added my hook and glued it in before baking. I attached a heavy duty thick magnet on the back, and now these are ready for a place of honor on any golfer's refrigerator. Priced right and fun, those are two things that I strive for in my creations.

Most of all, fun.

See you on the 19th hole.

Julie and Blu

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Polymer clay heart lentil bead dangle earrings

Polymer clay heart lentil bead dangle earrings

Heart Polymer Clay Swarovski Crystal Dangle Earrings
Heart Lentil Beads - I created a set of these on a whim for the Peas and Carrots bracelet that I did and was so pleased with the results that I decided that I would create a couple dozen little earring sets.

My idea to create earring sets has been spurred by my adoration of the lampwork artists and their earring pairs. They are just affordable enough for me to buy a set of beads and create my own crystal and glass earrings. I wanted to do the same thing with polymer clay for folks that didn't want to get a whole set of eight beads. These earring pairs work up quickly and nicely - just in time for an evening out with friends.

I seem to be drawn to anything shiny, so I have a natural affection for Swarovski crystals and try to use them in all possible ways. These earring beads just begged to be dressed up a bit with dangling and shiny crystals.

I wrapped each crystal with wire so that I could attach them to jump rings and waterfall them down from the bottom of the heart. I used a lot of 4mm crystals in these earrings - they seemed to be the best size for the 10mm hearts.

Because I love black as a design option, I chose the black, yellow and red clay to use as my base bead. I knew that the yellow would contrast nice in the bead and give me the possibility of an orange combination. That also gave me an excuse to use my all time favorite Swarovski color - Fire Opal.

These earrings are fun and affordable and I know that I will be making a lot more of them, they just will all look different due to the combination of the clay used. I have a huge box of crystals in dozens of different colors, so I am not worried about any of these earrings looking the same.

See a pair of beads that you would like created into a similar set of earrings? Just let me know and I will create the earrings for you.

Enjoy shiny things,
Julie and Blu

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happiness is a box of flowers!

Polymer clay canes have a way of both multiplying and scampering off to far away corners of a drawer somewhere. There they get forgotten, overlooked, a bit mangled or abandoned. For awhile now, my boxes of flowers have been conveniently sitting under my desk, where I prop my feet up on them, drop my blade on them, drop my clay on them, and many times, drop all my beads on them. But, I knew where they were if I got the time to create more beads.

In perusing ebay and etsy, I see people selling beautiful floral canes and I admire them and favorite them, and ooo and ah over them. Occasionally, I will buy some canes from a few of my favorite cane artists. I see the destashers and the other day I saw someone selling off this huge pile of flowers, butterflies and odds and ends. I recognized some of my favorite artists in the mix and decided to bid on the lot. I drove the bid up and set my timer to go into a bidding war over my favorite flowers and butterflies. Well, I promptly forgot about it and when I saw it again, there was no more bidding on them and I would have gone a lot more than what I did.

The whole idea of destashing canes made me think of my boxes under my desk. She had admitted to not taking very good care of her canes and that they might have some bits and pieces of other clay on them and that she was sorry. I thought about my canes and how they were tossed in the boxes, totally uncared for and unwrapped. How they were unfinished – the ends were still on them and they were still in the “creation” stage. I would just slice off a couple pieces and toss the rest in the box.  I was bad.

So, in shame, I decided that I should not spend hundreds of dollars on new canes, no matter how much I coveted them, but I should take care of the ones that I had. I dumped both boxes out and began the long daunting task of trimming, rolling and wrapping all my flower canes. I spent over 12 hours cleaning them up. And the funny thing was, once I finished that, I only had ONE box of flowers!

Other than a Tami Shavat cane, all the canes are mine. I left the photo large so you could see everything up close.


Once I did all this, I realized that I was in need of a lot more flowers!

Time to get busy.

For the last three days, I have worked on florals canes and kaleidoscope canes. I learned my lesson about taking care of these right away and created another box full of flowers.  Again, I left the photo large so you could see the details.


The large round thing in the corner is one of the largest kaleidoscope canes I have ever done. It got a little out of hand!  Literally!


I don’t know what I am going to do with all these canes but apparently I have no self control and clay needs to be rolled, slapped and banged on the table, which was exactly how I managed to get this large cane together.

Enjoy the canes.

Julie and Blu