Clay

Drinks on me! Anything But a Card Challenge #36

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Good morning! Today’s project tutorial is thanks to a challenge! The talented Susan M. Brown of SBartist: Painting In The Dark Blog asked me if I would be willing to be a guest designer for the Anything But a Card Challenge blog and of course I had to say yes!

Anything But a Card Challenge Challenge #36 : Summer Lovin’ – A celebration of all things summer! Think summer weather, vacations, sunflowers, beach parties, cold drinks and barbecues… bright colors and wide open sky. Pool parties all day, then sitting in lawn chairs sipping drinks and watching the night sky. The warm summer months have me thinking of cold drinks, sunny days and BBQs with family and friends. My project for the Anything But a Card Challenge for this month played perfectly into that inspiration!

One of the aspects of having a party or BBQ is that someone is bound to spill a drink. While many find it an annoyance I decided to use it as a inspiration!

Starting with the idea of a  spilled Pomegranate Martini or Cosmo, I came up with a wearable art piece called “Drinks on me!”

Supplies: 
Amazing Mold Putty
Amazing Clear Cast Resin
Stampendous Multi Ultra Fine Crystal Glitter
Craft Knife
Polymer Clay
Stylus
Elastic jewelry cord
Small drill

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Using a stylus and a craft knife, I shaped and carved half a martini glass and ice cubes out of polymer clay. I then baked the clay pieces on the tile to manufacturer’s instructions.

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After I baked the polymer clay, I lightly sanded and trimmed the edges of the pieces with a craft knife and an emery board. Once the polymer pieces are cleaned of dust, I used Amazing Mold Putty to make molds of the pieces.

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Once the molds were cured I poured Amazing Clear Cast Resin into the molds and let it set for about five hours. The pieces came out frosted by using the Mold Putty and that was the perfect look for the glass and ice cubes.

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I then placed the glass upside down on *parchment paper and poured Amazing Clear Cast Resin tinted with Alumilite Red Dye in a controlled U shape. I coated the ice cube resin pieces with untinted Clear Cast and placed them gently into the tinted resin to give the illusion of melting ice. I added a few polymer clay lime cane slices, sprinkled a touch of Stampendous Multi Ultra Fine Crystal Glitter on the tinted resin to finish off the look and let it all cure.

*The resin has to be poured on parchment paper otherwise the resin will soak into any other paper.

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I drilled a hole on each side of the pendant and threaded clear elastic jewelry cord on for easy wear.

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One of the really fun aspects of this project is with a simple change of dye used with the resin you can create any spilled drink you would like!

What might YOU make for the Anything But a Card Challenge? CLICK HERE to link up your projects! 🙂

Until next time, safe travels!

Acrylic

Temple Rain, a Mixed Media Canvas

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In April I had the great opportunity to receive a Frog Dog Studio kit by being part of the Amazing Crafting Products Design Team. I was so excited when I received the kit; it had so many wonderful goodies, from ink pads, pigment ink, mica, chipboard pieces, tissue paper and more! There was enough supplies to make several projects and still have things left over.

April 14 MM Kit

Many of the supplies in the April kit seemed to have a East Asian flair to it. It got me thinking about my trip through Asia and I was inspired to create a Mixed Media hidden story book.

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The tutorial for this project can be found here: Mixed Media Book Box

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With more of the supplies left over, I created a Mixed Media Canvas piece with wild tropical colors. It was so much fun that I wanted to try making another canvas piece but with a completely different feel, and I still had supplies left over from the Frog Dog Studio kit. Sadly, I got busy with home improvement projects and had to wait until the end of May to start my new canvas.

ArtResurrected-Mixed-Media-Resin-Canvas-Tracy-Alden-3With a portion of the extras from the kit, miscellaneous supplies from my collection and canvas,  I started to lay out the project, figuring out which direction to go. I wanted to use the chipboard from the Stampendous Mini Clipboard Canvas pack, the Tim Holtz Clear Fragments and Pearlized Stampendous Mica Fragments. I placed them this way and that on the canvas and suddenly I got an idea. What if I were to try making a abstract ruins in the rain?

Just like with my previous canvas piece, I pulled out what I call my resin “save for later” bin. This bin is populated with all kinds of resin pieces, some finished, uneven pourings or even pieces I just didn’t know what to do with. I picked out resin cabs that had the look of abstract water droplets.

ArtResurrected-Mixed-Media-Resin-Canvas-Tracy-Alden-4I applied water and acrylic paint to the canvas and tilted it so all the paint and water ran down to the bottom. Once dry, I painted a base dark layer for my ruins. I glued the chipboard pieces to the canvas using Nine Lives Products Glu6 Paste and let dry.

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I applied a second layer of water and paint to give a look of rain falling. On went the crackle medium to the dark paint layer and once dry I added a gray-blue paint top layer that then crackled giving it the look of ancient stone. I wasn’t completely happy with the look so using a black permanent marker I drew in small bricks and shading to give detail to the ruins.

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Using Nine Lives Products Glu6 Nonporous glue I glued the mica flakes to the back of the resin cabs and while the glue was still wet pressed them onto the canvas. The glue has to dry overnight but it is well worth the wait for a great bond on the resin cabs. I applied little paper leaves to look like plant overgrowth and Liquitex Gloss Varnish to seal the paper leaves and paint in place. I added some acrylic paint in blue and purple as highlights on the ruins and brown on the paper plants to give an earthy hue. A second layer of varnish in drops and dribbles gave the illusion of water to the finished canvas.

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 I added some acrylic paint in blue and purple as highlights on the ruins and brown on the paper plants to give an earthy hue. A second layer of varnish in drops and dribbles gave the illusion of water to the finished canvas.

Frog Dog Studio’s available kits change every month but the great variety offered in each kit is a great inspiration. What might you make with their next kit?Until next time, safe travels!

Beads

Spring time beading

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These past months have been such a whirlwind. From seasonal colds, allergies, a drought in our area, remodeling of our house, to art orders and design team projects things have been madcap busy. Now that things are seeming to calm down somewhat I wanted to share with you a few of my most recent jewelry projects.

After ever project I like to resort supplies and see what items to incorporate into new projects. My beading and jewelry supplies are no exception. With so many projects and supplies I couldn’t pick just one idea. So I dumped out a collection of new jewelry supplies I had yet to sort. Inspiration hit me, thinking of the new and fresh colors of Spring, I picked only a few strands of Fiona Accessories beads to start me off.

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I sorted the bead strands by color and size and picked through the metal findings from a  Fire Mountain Gems Boss’ Bead Bag to see what would look best together placed on a beading mat.

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Using sterling silver findings and chain with the pastel pink rondel beads and the butterfly crystals from Fiona Accessories I was able to create a very light and feminine earring and necklace set.

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Next I tried an asymmetrical set with purple crystal rondels, crystal butterflies and a sterling silver butterfly.

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Using just the sterling silver findings and purple crystal rondels I created a simple Victorian inspired piece. I used a unique charm from Fiona Accessories that is a hollow metal heart with tiny faceted crystals encapsulated in the heart.

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With the leftover beads and findings I thought of instead of just sorting them away why not make something fun to add to my miniature collection. The idea of using beads for miniature projects is an old but wonderful way to make lovely additions for any miniature scene.

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Using bead caps and beads stacked on jewelry wires I was able to create Play Scale (or 1:6 scale modeling) miniature perfume bottles.

Sorting through your craft supplies what might you be inspired to create for Spring? 🙂

Until next time, safe travels!

Beads

Craft & Hobby Association Mega Show 2014

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It is that time of year again: my CHA Trade Show recap! CHA, otherwise know as the Craft and Hobby Association, decided to change it a bit this year by not having a Winter and Summer show but one big mega show! There were so many vendors, new products, demos, make n takes and networking opportunities at this show! I had a great time and met so many wonderful talented people but it was a very busy show! While this is not by far covering everything and everyone I saw at CHA, the following is some of the highlights I was able to take photos of.

This year I was asked to do demonstrations at the Amazing Crafting Products/Alumilite Booth, showing people how to make their own Art Themed Lapel Pins. I finally got to meet, in person, some of the other members of the Amazing Crafting Products design team.

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Here is President of Alumilite Mike Faupel, Design Team Leader Susan M. Brown {sbartist}, staff member Carolyn Daly, and I at the Amazing Crafting Products booth.

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Here I am demoing Amazing Mold Putty. It was wonderful to find so many people with interests in molding and casting their own artwork.

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Artwork from the talented design team was on display at the Amazing Crafting Products booth, showcasing the detail and beautiful pieces they were able to make with the products.

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Here is one of the demo tables at the Amazing Crafting Products booth, highlighting products and their many uses.

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I got to see again the talented and ever gracious Mark Montano. He was signing his book line at the Eclectic Products booth and doing demos of crackle art frames at the DecoArt booth. I now have all of his books!

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At the iLoveToCreate booth showcased several artists’ work in “Creativity Changes Everything” display. Mark Montano’s work was part of this display. He had created a lovely vignette, representing his creative career in home decor and fashion, along with a diary about his creative life printed directly on a dip-dyed dress.

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ILoveToCreate booth also had this lovely decopauge piece made from rolled magazines. The lantern was made using Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye, Aleene’s Tacky Glue, and tissue paper!

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I stumbled across the Nine Lives Products glue booth and was I glad I did! They make glue out of recycling styrofoam waste. They create three types of glue: Glu6 Nonporous, Glu6 Paste and Nine Live School Glue.

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The Glu6 Non-Porous Glue is made from all-natural ingredients that non-toxically dissolve styrofoam waste, shrinking it by more than 30x its original size. The goo left over from this process they turn into non-toxic glue! Styrofoam piece shown in the photo is what goes into one tiny bottle of their glue.

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The talented Suzann Sladcik Wilson, book author and CEO of Beadphoria, Inc. was at the Buttons Galore and More booth debuting her beautiful new button jewelry line. Her line of button jewelry kits come in all kinds of different themes, and include everything you need to make lovely rings and pendants.

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Suzann was doing some demos at the booth. Here is just a small sample of what she made with her wonderful kits.

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Buttons Galore and More also had a great line of miniature buttons for your mini crafting needs. I just had to buy some samples of to play with!

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Lion Brand Yarn had a stunning “7 Wonders of the Yarn World” installation created by fiber-artist Nathan Vincent. I only got photos of 6 of the 7 wonders because of the crowds. You can go to the Lion Brand Yarn Blog to see more photos!

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The installations that represent the “7 Wonders of the Yarn World” theme stand about 5 feet high or taller!

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While doing resin demos I met a very nice lady, Fiona Lin of Linpeng International Inc. Her family’s company Fiona Accessories (named after her) had a bead booth with a wide selection of both loose beads and finished beaded accessories. Their specialty line is a series of hand painted beads and bracelets. While they often sell to museums, gift shops and supply beads for craft stores Fiona was more than willing to sell beads to me for my artwork.

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I bought quite few strands of beads from Fiona to make new jewelry with. They had a wide variety of shapes, patterns and cuts of beads I had not seen elsewhere.

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While wandering around the CHA show floor I came across this darling polar bear sculpture at the Activa booth. While they had this sculpture displayed at past shows I never got a chance to stop and see the detail. I was glad I did and I found out about all the different clay and sculpting materials they carry. I even ended up realizing I had been using some of their products while in college and had no idea! When they heard I did sculpture and mold work they gave me samples of Hearty, a non toxic air dry modeling clay and CelluClay, a non-toxic papier mache recycled paper medium to try out.

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Seeing demos of making perfectly torn paper for paper crafting made me stop by the Perfect Paper Crafting booth. While marketed mostly towards paper crafting I see their tools having wonderful uses in mixed media art. My two favorite tools they carry is the Perfect Airbrush, that turns almost any marker into an airbrush and the Perfect Tears, that helps you make controlled, beautiful, soft, torn-paper-edges.

I saw so much more that I didn’t get to photograph but in the next few months I hope to test out and show you all the new products I found.

Until next time, safe travels!

Beads

Beadsmith 1 Step Looper Tool review

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Happy New Year Everyone! For a crafter like me what better way to start the new year than with some crafting fun? Over the Holidays my husband got me a new jewelry tool, a Beadsmith 1 Step Looper Tool.

When I went to the Winter Craft and Hobby Association Show of 2013 I got to see the staff at the Vintaj booth use this great tool. Since many of the products showcased at CHA are often not yet available for shipment until months down the line I had to wait to get this tool, which also meant my squirrely little mind forgot about it until I saw other people reviewing and posting photos months down the line. It had some mixed reviews but overall most jewelry makers liked it. I tried looking for the tool locally but no luck. Again it drifted from my crafter’s mind. Thankfully my husband remembered I was drooling over this tool and ordered one for me!

If you look at the above photo, you will see that the package says Vintaj on the front. No worries, it is still the Beadsmith 1 Step Looper; the Vintaj line tool is still made by Beadsmith, it just has turquoise handles while the one with the Beadsmith name on front has black handles. Even the info on the back of the package is the same. The tool trims wire 26-18 gauge, taking the place of needle nose pliers and wire cutters normally needed to make a looped end to jewelry wire. Here is the official video by Beadsmith about the tool. (YT: 1-Step Looper) (YT: 1-Step Looper) (YT: 1-Step Looper)

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Starting with several beads threaded on a 2 inch headpin I threaded the wire through the lower jaw and extending out through the hole in the top jaw of the tool.

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I squeezed the handles together and the wire gets cut by the tool. In fact it did it so quickly I was rather shocked at how easy it was and how little pressure I needed.

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I continued to squeeze the handles and it curled the wire into a very neat and even loop.

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Normally making a loop like that requires me eyeballing the length of wire to cut it in the right area, using a wire cutter, getting a pair of round nose pliers to curl a loop and sometimes squeezing it into place with a flat nose pliers. This can take a minute of so for me and a necklace requiring a lot of loops can take some time. This tool made the loop in seconds.

While I was very happy with the results I had heard some complaints that the tool sometimes didn’t always close the loop tight. I tried making several loops and all of them came out with neat closed loops. I started to try out all kinds of beads and wire, finally I was able to reproduce an open loop.

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Sure enough when you have a large or odd shaped bead the wire loop doesn’t always loop closed. After looking over what I was doing I realized the issue was the bead shape and/or how close the beads are pushed on the wire to lower jaw of the tool before the handles are squeezed.

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Here is the odd shaped rose bead next to a small crystal bead. An oddly shaped bead can prevent the wire from laying even against the tool, and there will be a slight gap in the final loop. This can even happen with more even-sized beads if you are not careful how plumb the piece is. However there is a very nice upside to it not being a tightly closed loop; If you are working with clay, glass or wood beads you can risk the chance of the wire loop digging into if not out right chipping the bead if the loop is made too tightly, but with the loop slightly open you can carefully close the loop with a pair of round nose pliers and have perfectly shaped loops every time. You can also use the slight opening to add more links or rings onto the piece before closing it with pliers. I plan on using the slightly open looping aspect to my advantage with future projects.

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I made this earring and necklace set in about 15 minutes using the Looper Tool. I honestly took me longer to pick the beads and thread them on the wire than to use the tool and assemble. It is so easy on the hands if you get muscle cramps in your hands (like I do) or even arthritis this will make jewelry making easier.

I would rate this tool as must have for any jewelry maker who makes lots of wire loops and wants awesome results every time.

Until next time, safe travels!