Monday, May 30, 2011

Polymer Clay - A versatile jewelry medium

I can't believe I haven't posted about polymer clay jewelry yet!  I've seen marvelous artworks created in this medium - and I have to admire the detail and work that goes into these pieces.  I've tried working with polymer clay, modeling clay, firing clay - they are all similar and yet so different!  What's common for me, however, is that I can't create marvelous works in these mediums.....not like the following jewelry artists, anyway.  Clay is simply not my medium - I prefer hard materials such as wood and metal, or pencil drawings and beaded jewelry.  I like control, which I simply do not have with clay.

These 6 artists clearly know how to manipulate polymer clay into beautiful and wondrous designs!  Control over this medium isn't a problem, then, but maybe it's still a challenge?!

Without further ado, here's some amazing polymer clay jewelry:

This is only a small sampling, both from these artists and in polymer clay jewelry and art.  These pieces were selected from DeviantArt (DA) and you can follow the links above to the artists' pages there.  There are many other artists on DA that work with polymer clay, and many of them also have Etsy or other online shops and websites.  Peruse the art - enjoy the view!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

DIY Organization - Jewelry Holder for Necklaces or Bracelets

I have a lot of necklaces, and only one jewelry box, so what I actually have is one big knot!  It takes 5-10 minutes every morning just to disentangle part of the mess.  I tend to wear the same two necklaces all week so I don't have to deal with it.  That means another 20 or so necklaces just lie about......

Sound familiar?  Tired of it?  I was - and I finally decided to do something about it!  I searched the web for some DIY jewelry organizers or holders.  I found several that were quite well done or unique - including one where a rake head was used to hang necklaces on the back of a door!  Fun, fun.....  But I didn't want to buy a rake head, or anything if I could help it.....

So I looked around the house to see what I had.  I had a weathered but solid wood board that needed a little sanding.  I had ribbon.  I had cloth with a pretty pattern.  I had tacks.  I even had sandpaper and a saw to even the board edges.  The only thing I was missing?  Hooks!  There are some really cool hooks out there, but I was going for volume instead of decor.  Meaning what?  I wanted BIG hooks instead of small fancy ones.  But if you don't need volume but want more class, be sure to check out the hook section of home improvement stores.  There are some lovelies - including fleur-di-lis!

This project took me less than an hour after I had all the materials together.  It's quick, simple, and (I think) elegant.  At least more elegant than a knot in my jewelry my jewelry box houses my less tangled bracelets instead!  Though a second hook board would certainly work for bracelets too....hmmmm....I even have left over fabric!


Wood - cut to length, sanded smooth
Fabric - doubled and cut so it overlaps 1-2 inches onto the back of the board
Hooks - style and number up to you!
Tacks/small nails - shorter than the board is thick (don't want them going through!)
Hanging fixtures - framing wire & eye hooks work well, plus wall hook

Ribbon - optional decoration
Sandpaper - optional for smooth wood, fine grit (220-400)
Saw - optional if wood needs to be cut
Stapler - optional, or an alternative to using tacks


1) Cut the board to length.  Sand smooth - edges most important to avoid splinters and cutting fabric on edges.

2) Layout fabric and place board on top.  I chose to double the thickness of fabric.  Cut the fabric so it folds onto the back of the board by 1/2 - 2 inches.

3) Fold edges of fabric under.  Iron if you wish, but I just held it folded over.  I like it quick and easy!  Besides, it's the back of my personally jewelry holder.....

4) Tack down fabric to wood.  I started on the short edges and moved to the longer edges.  Either way, pull the fabric tight evenly so you don't skew the pattern.  Instead of tacking down an entire side, move from side to side, edge to edge until you tack all the way around.  Look up how to tack down canvas on a handmade frame if you are totally lost!

5) Admit that using a stapler would be easier.  I chose tacks because my stapler was broken and I had pretty gold tacks lying about.....

6) Admire your work so far!  Then chose if you want to add ribbon to it or not.  I liked the look.  Wrap with ribbon.  Tape or more tacks may be necessary if you want your ribbon rigidly in place.

7) Add your chosen hanging fixtures to the back.

8) Go back to the front of your necklace holder and mark where you want your hooks.  Or, randomly place them!  Tack or screw your hooks down.  The fabric may twist initially, but it usually lays flat after a couple turns.  You could cut small holes if this is a problem.....

9) Hang up your new necklace/jewelry holder and start sorting out that knot for the last time!

10) Wear any necklace you want any day you want without fuss and frustration!  Yay!

If you have a similar jewelry organizer or holder, please share!

Happy Creating,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Looking at the Blog Layout & Design

I decided it was time for a new look for my blog.  There have been a lot of changes going on at home, and  just couldn't make the changes I wanted to with my old blog layout.  I miss it, sure, but this one is more versatile, colorful, and in tune with the current me.

After changing the look of my blog, I decided to peruse other people's blogs.  I have a lot favorited and some I follow.  I started to really look at these blogs - was the blog somewhere to put pictures and connect with other people?  Undoubtedly.  Was it a work of art?  Usually, no.  Why is that?  Why not make the blog beautiful too?

Well, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no?  Of course other people will think my blog ugly, no doubt, and that their blog is so cool, or lovely, or fun.  I concede, this is the case.  So what makes a blog a good one?  It has to be more than just looks, I admit.  But can't the goodness include the layout and colors and background as well?

I chose a couple blogspot blogs that I thought stood out.  They are more than the basic layout.  They have changed colors, added photos, changed backgrounds, and changed fonts.  I think changing fonts is a biggy - at least in the title and the headers!  It adds interest, grabs the attention of the viewer, and makes the blog stand out a bit.  If you have something important to say, why not say it with a little style?!

Sophia's World Blog 

GladRaggz Blog 

Crow's Creek Blog 
These blogs have more than just nice layouts, mind you.  I'm showing them because of the look of the blog, but they have some nice crafty items to show you and some are even for sale!  So check out more than just the pretty pictures, enjoy, and think about your favorite blogs.  Click on the image to be taken to the blog!

Is there more to them than their stories?  The posts are the meat of the blog, but I like the trimmings, too.  I've shown you a nice bright one, a colorful one, and a moody dark one.  Three themes, three moods! 

I had a hard time finding unique blogs to show you - so please share any fabulous ones that you have found or created!  One thing I did notice was that scrapbookers have more artsy blog backgrounds than the average crafter - I dare you to show me otherwise!

Soon to come - a photo tutorial on wire flowers, or on how to cheaply refinish a dying dining table top.....

Thanks for reading and happy creating!