Well, finally the last piece of bling-ed out jewellery that I made that I’ll share here is this clear white crystal necklace. This includes beads from Michaels and Beads & Plenty more, along with a toggle clasp from Michaels, and silver leather cord from Suzie Q beads.
You might have noticed I’ve done a lot of bling-y projects in the last while. Part of this is my inner magpie shouting out for shiny things, and part of it is just out of availability. Having a nice stash of bright, sparkly beads, means it’s easier to put things together in that theme.. though I have yet to WEAR all of the new pieces I’ve added to my collection!
This necklace was put together partially out of leftovers from other projects…Continue reading
I am not normally a super bling-y person… but in the past while I’ve been all over super-bling-y, rhinestone-encrusted, crystal-covered necklaces. (I’ve also been looking for an awesome clear crystal statement ring, with no luck. Size 9 if you’re curious… tee hee)
While in Toronto, I picked up these enormous, super-bling’d out beads. They’re HUGE (well, there are three sizes, and the largest is huge) and totally covered in rhinestones. You can barely make out any of the metal for all of the shine on these babies…
Of course, rather than just looping one on a discreet silver chain and calling it a day, I had to use them all. All together. At once. SUPER BLING OVERLOAD!
I actually toyed with these for a while, trying to figure out what to do with them. Did I want something long and dangly, with lots of mellow black cut glass beads between them? Did I want to go really high-contrast and toss them on some thick black leather cord, with chunky knots to divide them and hold them in place? Did I want a shorter necklace that was just non-stop bling?Continue reading
Kumihimo project #3
After looking at the pattern for the inspiration black and red piece (as mentioned in my previous Kumihimo post), I wanted to do a black and red one too – I love black and red together, and it reminds me of the logo colours (and song lyrics) for one of my favorite Finnish metal bands, Turisas.
The disc set up is a 12-strand (different than the 8-strand I did for the beaded bracelets) with 8 strands of red and 4 of black. The resulting braided cord is a red cord with a winding black thread. I love it! I’ve ordered a silver Mjölnir from a seller on Etsy which I’ll use with this cord. I’ll have to wait until I can get the pendant before finishing the cord – just in case the hole is only sufficient to accommodate the cord, and not also the end caps. I want to go with a Viking-esque feel because the resulting cord reminds me a bit of Viking knit (which I also want to learn!) and I think the whole effect will be great – plus a substantial pendant deserves a substantial and interesting cord! I might do the reverse (a black cord with a winding red thread) for another, similar project.
I picked up some beautiful horse-head end caps at Beads & Plenty more (the same place I got the disc and cord) for $.75 each which echo the feeling of a lot of Viking jewellery (torcs) and I think will work great. Hopefully I’ll have a finished project to share soon!
(A while back I was in Suzie Q beads and really liked one of the examples in their showcase; kumihimo braiding. Traditionally this is done with silk or cord, but they had done it with vibrant leather cord, and added in lovely bits of sparkle with beads.
I made a mental note to look into Kumihimo braiding (and maybe take a class) but didn’t get much chance, until I saw a class being offered through a Continuing Education catalogue in their craft section. The price was a bit steep (though it did include most of the materials, although not all) but the date was the big problem – the class was set to take place at the same time as a birthday celebration I had committed to attending. I did a quick look online and found out that Beads & Plenty More http://www.beadsandplentymore.ca/classes.html also offered a similar class, so I signed up for it!
A few months ago, while browsing Etsy, I really liked some of the spike bead/charms ( I was looking for something similar…) and thought about ordering some, but ended up passing it by for the time being. Shortly after that I was in Michael’s Craft store and found the new (and apparently short-lived, since I haven’t seen much of it since) Legends line from Bead Landing.
“The Bead Landing™ Legends™ collection is all about rock glam. Come on all you cherry bombs, schools out for summer and it’s time to rock. You’ll find so many great chains, pendants, charms, and embellishments to create the most epic creations ever.” – Michael’s
There were a few interesting pieces in the collection, but the only thing I picked up was the chain with those spike bead/charms on it. I bought three cards, and deconstructed one of them to extend the length and add spikes to the other two chains. I shortened one of the spike-decorated chains, and then attached the two together, then adding some of the leftover chain to the ends, and finishing them with a toggle clasp. (Which isn’t a perfect match, but works at least for the time being.) I might wear it for a while, and embellish it a little more later if I think it still needs something….
In the meantime, let me know what you think in the comments below!
This is a super-quick post, mostly because I have a cute picture and thought I’d share. I finished this cowl off in November (just in time for the cold weather). It’s doubled-up Kaleidoscope by Loops & Threads Fashion in a variegated grey/black/white. The result is really thick and cushy, and also really warm because the yarn is 100% wool. (I LOVE WOOL!)
Back in October I posted about needing ideas for some holiday gift crafting. I thought I would make up a quick post (now that the holiday gifts have been given…) about what we did!
Originally one individual (I won’t name names, since I don’t know if they would want to be mentioned in the blog or not…) came up with the idea of making cute little decorated candles. I thought that might not really take much time, so I also suggested we make gift tags or holiday cards as well…. Plus I have loads of stamps and punches and other things that are otherwise pretty unused these days…
Well – no one decided to make the candles, (finding the right candles to start out with was probably the biggest hang up to that idea.. but also the person I had thought of giving them to – had decided not to exchange gifts this year…) but we had a great time sharing resources, stickers, papers, stamps, punches and other things to create lots of pretty gift tags.
This wasn’t nearly as ambitious as our cute little meal-in-a-jar gifts we made last year or the bath products we made the year before, but it was fun to get together and be crafty all the same! One of my friends also started brainstorming ideas for NEXT year too.
As a re-cap, the ideal project(s) would be:
- A final projects to give away as nice gifts – or the kind of thing that would be awesome to bring to a holiday party (decoration or consumable, with a preference for consumable)
- More economical to do as a group than solo – with everyone sharing the cost
- Not exceptionally messy (that criteria is for me, who will have to clean up our workspace!)
- Not require any additional tools or skills beyond what we might already have. (That’s the tricky part, since we don’t really know what everyone already has…)
Ideas for next year to consider/brainstorm around
- Decorated gift bags (maybe along with matching tags?)
- Decorated note books
- Microwaveable heat packs (like the magic bags) and hand-warmers
I made a few duplicates of different tags that I liked – but as a bit of a description of the ones that I made (Clockwise from top left):
- A snowflake printed paper with multiple foam (layered) snowflakes in blue and glittery white
- A small tag with red, gold, and green striped paper and a red with gold poinsetta on it
- A larger tag/card with the same green, red, and gold striped paper, a line of holly-berry printed paper, and three flowers – two poinsettas and one gold flower. The reverse (inside) of the striped paper is the holly-berry print
- Another snowflake paper card/tag with a white and blue glittery foam snowflakes.
- Two round cards with a large foam snowflake on one side and glittery blue paper on the other side with a cut out snowflake
- An oval card with a tree “cameo” on it, with blue glitter. I really like the cameos, but I don’t really like the way these ones turned out – I just couldn’t come up with a great way to use the cameos…
If you got something really cute for the holidays that would make a great group-crafting project or if you can think of anything else we could do next year, leave a comment below! (And then we’ll just have to try to remember to look back here next year when we’re planning again!)
I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do the collar for the Anubis costume. Really, I started working on the scarabs before I actually knew how I was going to do the collar, not really knowing how I was going to use them….
I thought of a few ways to do the collar/necklace, such as:
- Interfaced fabric (like the instructions here)
- Fully beaded
- Beaded fabric
I didn’t want to go with the cardboard/craft foam option that was the method of choice on some of the costume/craft sites… when I was looking at real collars/necklaces, they were fully beaded, which was the option I was leaning towards if I could find a huge amount of beads for cheap…
I knew that regardless of how I did the collar, I wanted to use some ‘focal’ beads or cabochons for the collar. I really wanted gold or turqoise scarabs for these focal beads. I have a brass stamping that I thought I would incorporate as well.
To start off, I started making some scarabs – but while I was waiting for the resin to set up, I made the necklace base. I used pictures from Zarifas site to get an idea of what it looks like – but wasn’t making mine with wire and tiny beads like they do.
I knew I was going to need a LOT of beads, so I picked up 5 packages of gold beads from Michaels. These are three different golden beads in one package – but the numbers aren’t even, so it’s hard to say how much of each style you’ll get. Since I had the curve to deal with, different sizes actually worked really well. I ended up only using one and a half packages of the beads actually, and was able to take the remaining three packages back. (I have no idea when I’ll need cheap, plastic, gold beads again…) I also picked up one LARGE package of black plastic faceted beads. Like the gold beads, I ended up using a LOT less than I thought I would – and could have bought a much smaller package if I had known. Finally I picked up some turqoise beads with two-holes. I had been looking for spacer bars all over the place with no luck, so these would have to do in their place, plus they added back the turqoise colour I was looking for.
Additional supplies: thread (to test the design) and a needle, a clasp, beading wire, crimps, and pliers.
I used my bust form to start the necklace (to shape the curve) and then cut it apart and re-did it again, before putting it together in wire. The photos probably show more than I can with just text… Basically it is one inner necklace bound to the next layer with the bar-beads, then another layer, another, and finally the fifth layer. It looks quite big on my bust form, but isn’t nearly so big on me (since I’m a lot larger than my form!)
To make the scarabs, I started with some “Pluffy” - a foam-like modeling clay by Sculpey. I just rolled out ovals, and then with two of them I pressed the details in with the broken off tine of a plastic fork, and with another I added details on with extra clay. I was surprised how easy the clay was to condition and shape – although it was harder to get firm exact edges as with regular Sculpey clay. It reminded me a LOT of Model Magic – though apparently if you don’t bake it it will stay soft and shapeable. Neat! The shaped item was pretty soft – but upon baking it firmed up not terribly unlike regular oven-baked clay. I also love how LIGHT the final piece is.
Note: I don’t know how this clay lasts (in terms of how fragile it might be long-term), but it was so much easier to work with than regular Fimo/Sculpey, that I think I’d prefer to use it in future. It doesn’t come in nearly as many colours, but since they’re blendable and paintable, it should be ok…
I just looked at online photos of scarab cabochons for the idea of what they should look like. I had looked in a number of bead and Egyptian shops for beads -but found nothing.
Next I grabbed some two-part molding putty and molded the three scarabs. This is so fast and easy – though once you mix up the putty, it sets up in about 10 minutes, so the working time is pretty short. Because of this, I had a few other shapes to mold at the same time – whatever else I want to mold at some point, if I have some spare putty. In this case I molded the ankh for the pendant for this costume, and a cog button I got in Vancouver a year or two ago.
Doh – this was NOT a successful attempt – I went to my resin, and the catalyst had glued itself shut.. so I used a different catalyst, and it never did seize up.
So… I had to wait, and headed back to the hobby shop to get more resin casting chemicals. The hobby shop I went to before – didn’t have any of what I had used before. *headdesk*
So, I went off to WalMart and found a clear-drying acrylic resin… I prepared the mold by brushing in copper powder for cast pieces to start, then mixed up the resin along with a small amount of black resin dye.
The previous resin set up quickly – within 10 minutes. This stuff said on the package that it would take 24-48 hours. Doh! I just couldn’t win! I waited more than 24 hours and it STILL hadn’t hardened.
I actually ended up waiting WAY longer than 48 hours – I waited about 6 days, and the resin never did cure. I finally got so frustrated that I pulled the pieces out of their molds to see what happened. I talked a little about this in the Acrylic Water Kit post back in November, and could only think at that point that the dye had been the problem. (I later realized that this stuff just wasn’t what I needed it to be through additional trial-and-error.)
Above is one of the pieces – you can see that parts of the cog are still wet, and significant residue is left behind in the mold.
I was super bummed, and went out hunting for the resin that I had (very successfully) used before – Amazing Casting Resin. Unfortunately I never did find it. (Though as an aside, after the project I found another shop where I might be able to get some, and if worse comes to worst, I could always order some in too. However I did find another product – but it would also take 72 hours to cure… which makes making multiple items really annoying… At this point I was so frustrated, that I decided just to forgo casting my pieces in resin, and switched back to clay.
I ended up re-molding the two essential items (the ankh for the pendant and one of the three original scarabs) using a different mold material (I had used up all of my original mold material). Once again the molding part of this worked nearly perfectly, which is good – because there was only just enough molding material to do the items I absolutely needed!
From there I just went back to the “Pluffy” modeling clay, and cast the ankh (I actually made two, just in case..) as well as four of the one scarab that I made a mold from. One challenge is removing the sof, molded clay from the old. With resin, the items harden in the mold, and can be easily removed. Since this isn’t air-dry clay (and frankly I didn’t want to wait that long either) I needed to pull the items very carefully from the mold, and then set them aside to bake. For the scarabs I also ran a toothpick through them to make a hole so they could be easily strung. These were baked as normal, and then painted.
To paint the scarabs, I started off with a layer of navy blue mixed with metallic turquoise acrylic paint, then dry brushed them with gold mixed with copper. Then they all got a coat of clear, glossy varnish. My original intention had been to try to paint them to look like turqoise, but I actually really like the final result.
Adding the scarabs to the necklace
… well… I didn’t.
Yep. After all of that work, I decided I liked the collar the way it was, and the scarabs didn’t really match the blue beads well enough anyways, so I totally didn’t use them. BOO. I hung on to them though for something else….