Dec 21, 2012

Jewelry Class in a Box Review

Mid October a surprise arrived in the mail, a bead kit from PRIMA Beads. I was asked to give my opinion of this product and finally here it is, “Jewelry Class in a Box!” Pearl Collection.
Prima bead kit
Although I don’t usually assemble jewelry from kits, perhaps that is why I was a bit hesitant (I design my own jewelry), there are times when I either lack motivation, can’t decide ‘what’ to create, what colors to choose or just don’t feel creative, so a kit is a welcome change of pace. And those bauble earrings for the holiday were calling, lol. If you are new to jewelry or have been wanting to create something fashionable, or live in a remote area or can’t visit the nearest bead shop for a class or the class is too pricey, then a kit like this is perfect to learn at your own leisure. PRIMA Beads offers a variety of classes in a box. Their chain class looks alluring…
“Jewelry Class in a Box!” includes everything a beginner would need to create several follow along projects, even good quality multi functional round-nose pliers with cutters. Taking things out of the box there is even a plush reusable bead mat which provides the ideal work surface as it prevents round beads from rolling off your table. Of course it didn’t save my fumble fingers from promptly dropping a crimp bead on the carpet, nowhere to be found, but fortunate for me, for the extras included so save me from having to look with a magnifying glass on my hands and knees, lol. Saved my back too.
  There are beginners kits out there, but I haven’t come across many that are geared toward adults. There is nothing childish about this kit, and a student learns a variety of things, including stringing, crimping, and wirework. The 6 projects consist of 2 Necklaces, 2 Bracelets and 2 Earring Sets. The instructions are concise and even in 3 major languages: English, Spanish and French.
There are Pros and Cons to everything. Like I said, I was pleased that there were extra pins and beads. A few of the beads were stuck together or needed cleaning with a pin to unplug the holes for stringing, especially when using the elastic. I ended up with a few beads left over and breathed a sigh of relief. The tigertail while tightly coiled (3 inches or so of the ends are wrapped around the coil and needed to be snipped off), the rest of the coil straightens with the weight of the beads. The photographic and pictoral instructions along with text are easy to follow and understand.
The biggest downside is perhaps that this kit lacks consideration for those with nickel allergies. So many are severely affected by this metal, not being able to wear certain fashion earrings because of major skin reactions and yes, the earring hooks, jump rings and pins contain nickel (you can test with a magnet…magnetic = nickel) and you may want to use alternative nickel free supplies. The clasps, chain and charms are non-magnetic and are nickel-free. One needs to remember this is a ‘class’, to learn various techniques, so the quality is not High-High grade. Just like any beginner class, one wouldn’t use sterling silver when first learning to crochet wire, copper would be a better alternative. Still, the overall supplies make for some pretty jewelry.

After using this kit, one could use the pattern again, perhaps with some lovely quality beads and supplies from PRIMA Bead. Their catalog is beautifully laid out. Over 3,500 products and even includes PROJECTS! a bead size and wire size chart, approximate bead counts in both metric and inch and other helpful charts. Their website also has techniques and tips. The supplies they carry are quite unique and they have things I haven’t seen elsewhere. PRIMA is located in Florida and they offer volume discounts as well as FREE shipping in the USA.

I especially like this set, with cute Key and Lock charms, but wouldn’t you agree the earring baubles are just perfect for the Holidays? Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all you you!!

Dec 1, 2012

Angel Collar

Last night I finished my newest bead embroidered collar. It’s encrusted with a Polymer clay Angel focal, several clay cabochons, Swarovski Rivoli, Turquoise and Pearls. It was a process that took me several weeks. I’m happy to present:



Nov 27, 2012

‘Tis the Season…

…and I’m having a jolly time creating for this weekend’s Community Christmas Craft Fair. This weeks creative process includes some Ornaments and these fit right in with my usual ocean theme.
Polymer clay Christmas Ornament
I especially like the Starfish…the background is sand and the photo doesn’t do it justice because it actually sparkles. Too bad I only had 3 balls left. Perhaps I should recycle some light bulbs…
Starfish Ornament
I also made a few compact mirrors and business card holders…
Compact Mirrors and business card holder
And I might as well show you some of the Owl pins I’m working on. I’m using various techniques on these and will make a range of colors. I still need to inlay sparkly stones into their chests. Perhaps you have noticed…Owls are so popular this season.
Polymer clay Owl pins

Nov 26, 2012

Jewelry Display idea…

Not sure why those jewelry necklace displays are called busts when they are nothing but flat chested, lol. They are simple easel type of stands, but anyway, I wanted to show you what I did with a few of them. They used to be white…well, not so white as they looked scuffed up and had been well-used.
One of the galleries returned some to me when they closed shop, so I tried cleaning them for use elsewhere, but this made the white vinyl thin out and enhanced the damaged areas even more. I stopped short of tossing them to ponder what to do with them. I’m not a hoarder, but I require quite a few of these busts and since they are a small investment repair is the conservative way to go. Today while antiquing some Polymer clay Pins and Ornaments (I’ll show you tomorrow), I had an AHA! moment.
Gilders Paste!! I used Iris Blue for the busts. A couple of layers gives them a sort of jean blue effect. I think the leatherette of the small and larger bust must be a different type of vinyl…not sure, but the resulting color is just a little different. I now like these! Besides, I am bored with all the black and white which may look fine with gold or silver jewelry! About metallics, I might try a few in silver, gold or copper…they might make colourful polymer clay POP!

Oct 29, 2012

How to make buttons and shanks

While I’m not new at creating tutorials, creating video tutorials is something new for me. I just published 2 videos on how to create buttons or cabochons. The button tutorial is in 2 parts. Part 1 shows you how to use the flex mold, how to imbed a shank with a seamless back, color and finish your button. Part 2 continues by showing you how I  create and imbed a wire shank. I posted the videos below.

If you are interested in some molds, I’ve begun to list a bunch on both my Etsy and ArtFire.


Here are the Video Tutorials. Hope they work well for you…if they do, like or comment on YouTube…

Making buttons with Tina

and here is Part 2

Making buttons with Tina

Now I need to list more molds  among other things, as well as finish some bigger tutorials. They’ll be pdf file format, but in future I have some interesting things in mind…how about live shows?

Oct 14, 2012

Colourful faces

Ok…here in Canada we spell Colour with a ‘u’ added, but spell check is driving me a little bonkers. Am using Windows Live Writer and it wants me to add the ‘u’, but then when I need to edit something in Blogger it underlines it and insists it’s without the ‘u’, argh…
Anyway, with the suddenly dreary, gray, wet and colder October weather I need to add some colour to my online shops (most are in Etsy right now, but will add more to ArtFire) by adding more of my Art doll face cabochons. While they are moulded, the moulds have flaws which transfer to the faces, so I  redefine them by tooling each cabochon, plus I add details such as the spiral symbol, nostrils, eyelashes/eyebrows, change the lips and of course color them with my unique mixed media that exhibit a sort of ceramic property.
art doll faces
The exception are the recently addition of faux or imitative stone cabochons. Right now I just have the Rhyolite or Sandstone but will be adding other type.
faux stone moon
I make them both masculine or feminine, glossy or matte. Of course, I prefer the faux stone in matte as opaque stone is rarely glossy and for the colours I prefer the glossy as it also makes the colour more permanent, although I put some matte ones in the wash and they came out looking the same. I just trust the gloss more, but for art dolls either should be fine. Wouldn’t a matching pair of dolls be fun?
glossy or matte
masculine feminine

I have some creepy Alien faces for Halloween as well…creeeeeepy!! not sure if I should list those…
creepy alien

Oct 9, 2012

Polymer Clay Logo or Initial Canes

In my earlier days with polymer clay I enjoyed creating canes and making beads, but quickly moved on to other things. Now it was time for another signature cane, something with my initials or a logo that I could attach to some of my creations. It’s been a while since doing this and I don’t mind that a lot of things left here without my ‘stamp’ on it, but for some one of a kind things, maybe a piece of cane added means a little more than just a rubberstamped signature pressed into the clay? What do you think? Maybe on some pieces it’s too obvious or out of place? I dunno! I guess I ‘want’ to add a little bit of a different signature. Instead of my old TH cane with the letters side by side, I sketched out a few designs. The one I like best would be a maple leaf added to my initials but for this batch just the letters because they are too skinny and will virtually disappear when the cane is reduced.


For this overview I used two Makins Extruders, one for white and one for black, a grid, tissue blade, pasta machine. I sketched out a design, conditioned and rolled some clay, used the grid to cut and fit pieces, then placed or stacked them onto my sketched design. Well, here is a quick pictorial.

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That’s it. I will make a maple leaf cane, but will thicken the initials and leave off the black circled rim around them, something like that. Do you create a signature for your pieces? Do you prefer a caned design or using a stamp?

Oct 7, 2012

Thanksgiving and my Home Studio Tour

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks! Tomorrow, Monday, will be a busy day making Turkey and spending time with family, although it seems a few don’t keep the traditional holiday and celebrate the day before. I’m so fortunate that my husband is a great cook and always makes the big dinners including PIE! Although my cooking isn’t shabby, I prefer doing the dishes, lol.
Welcome to my Studio!
If you ever wondered what it looks like from the outside, here it is, complete with homesteaders rusting stove and tools hanging on the outside. This really is a converted Garden Shed that once held all of my husbands sport fishing gear. Then he fixed it up for me because he couldn’t ‘stand‘ looking at my corner in the dining room anymore. I admit I don’t like a mess either, but it was impossible to keep it tidy during busy times and when in ‘creative mode’. I was so glad to have our dining area back again too.
Instead of Spring cleaning I tend to do this in Fall since I’m already too busy in Spring to supply Shops, Galleries and Boutiques, so I finally gave my Studio a much needed tune-up. It’s just amazing how many bits, scraps, failed experiments, papers and odds ‘n ends can accumulate over a couple of seasons. I spent a week doing this, but had other personal things to deal with, so it took a bit longer than I anticipated.
Wanna see the before and after? You might want to close your eyes for the first photo…OMG!
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This is the view just inside the door. Quite small, but I can make it work with plenty of drawers and even a little loft (where we store Christmas things, extra blankets, some of our girls toys as well as displays, my canvases). I love my view out the window…Forest of Cedar, Pine, Spruce, Yew, and Alder as well as Blackberry, Huckleberry, Salalberry, and tall ferns. We picked all the berries we could and they were ample this year! I digress…don’t you love my zebra blanket?
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This is the view looking the other way, out that little door which doesn’t hang so straight anymore. In a few years this needs to be all torn down and rebuilt, ack. Anyway, to the right is my mannequin, photo station and printer. To the left my photo developing and some beading supplies.
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There is a comfy place on a soft plush zebra blanket should I have some company dropping by for a real-time visit. Above are my journals and some novels in case I want to scribble, listen to music, or read about something other than creating (If you squint you can see Star Trek, lol). No, the pillow doesn’t hold up the shelf, ha, but is out of the way until it’s needed.
Across from the couch is my Polymer Clay work desk. Above that is a shelf that has built-in long daylight bulbs underneath. The shelf holds some of my PC art as well as that of others, an acrylic tower holding stone cabochons and the right little wood cupboard holds all my mica powders and such. On my desk a tray converted into shelves to hold inks. I like having some, most often used things on hand and easy view. To the left of this desk is another just like it, for my bead and assembly, computer work, to watch movies/listen to music/skype chat while I create(sometimes all at once!). All my drawers are now organized. One holds textures, a second has things to cover, yet another holds cutters and moulds, one for wire work, one with findings, one with gemstones and beads etc.
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My Pasta Machine needed a feeding tray, for those nice long sheets of clay that require 4 hands, so I made one out of matte board. Works great! Beside the machine you can also see some of my cups holding needle tools, brushes and such.
Between the couch and window I converted an old file cabinet to hold my motorized pasta machine. I didn’t have a place for it before and would have to haul it out every time and find a plug in on the other wall that is already maxed out. So this side was the right solution and it’s right behind me. All I need to do is swivel my chair around, no need to get up, lol. Converted cassette tape boxes hold my clay, the nice tin holds open packages of clay. Above it is my UV oven for photopolymers as well as resin. I also place regular resin pieces in there as they are protected from dust accumulating on them while curing. My ovens are right outside the window…nice ventilation (grin).
That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my place. I’ll endeavour to keep it tidy-er over Winter. I even have a little heater to keep myself warm…but until then…the inside of the house is next!! ack…not looking forward looking into my closet!

Sep 24, 2012

Paintings in Miniature for Jewelry

My humble beginnings selling Jewelry, I would mount some of my beadwork earrings onto miniature watercolour paintings. This didn’t last, especially when these sold as soon as I put them on the shelf.

Beaded Earrings

A couple of days ago I took some of my small originals to the market and someone wanted to purchase them (shown below with jewelry), a moon and mussel shell watercolour as well as a stream in forest. I declined. I guess some things are hard to part with, especially since I’ve only done 3 watercolour stills (not counting those teeny ones), the largest “Driftwood and Rocks” is  20” x 26”. The ‘stream in forest’ is a small  9” x 12”. I’ve done 2 acrylics one of which is “Hot Springs Cove Park”. This is in my eldest daughters possession (without the watermark which is for Internet purposes only). I’ve done a few pen and ink drawings as well, one of which is in my Fathers possession (along with my first ivory carving of a 3 D octopus holding a rum bottle, complete with cork! lol. I’d love to see this one again and should ask if he can send me a photo)

Tina acrylic painting

I don’t consider myself a painter as I’m not trained enough. Maybe someday when beads are becoming too hard to see…but then perhaps I’ll use polymer clay as my medium on canvas.

Anyway…here are some of my paintings turned into resin jewelry…am thinking these might also look nice as Aquarium Pendants which I promised a few of you I’d  turn into a tutorial at some point. Fall is here and soon I’ll have more time for that as well. Pretty neat how a computer and printer can be so handy, eh? (Note the triplicate whale tail…Google Picasa magic)



A model for my jewelry

I’ve been wanting a more realistic display on which to model and photograph my jewelry, specifically for earrings and necklaces that I intend to sell online. I was looking at photos on Etsy or ArtFire . While the photos with models visually show better how items might look on oneself I’m a little turned off by the fact that I would essentially be getting a second-hand pair of earrings that someone had placed in their piercings. I know they can be cleaned with alcohol, but for the same reason I wouldn’t buy second hand undergarments, or bathing suits, hats or shoes, I just don’t know where they have been or what they were exposed to, sweat, head lice, bacteria, viruses, STD’s, ugh. The same can be said about telephone booths, restroom toilet flush handles and money. Small example and I digress, but… at least I have some control over what I will offer my customer which will be brand new jewelry previously modeled by a plastic model.
I searched online, but none of the ‘reasonably priced’ mannequin heads held great appeal to me. One may have a nice face, but the shoulder looks like a Thalidomide victim and others while a part bust and shoulder would be nicer for a necklace, the face and make up are just not very appealing, nor could a longer necklace like a lariat be modelled on such. And then there are the many headless half torsos. I suppose I could have gotten a head for earrings and a torso for necklaces and I do have a hanger type, but it just doesn’t look right to put a necklace on a headless body. The only head on a torso I could find was one with sculpted hair and that was a ‘no go’ for me as I wanted to give my model real hair.
female-mannequin-head-fleshtonebusttorsowhite mannequin
I had my eye on my mothers full size mannequin which she used for her sewing career but that had been retired to storage, but she wasn’t ready to let her go and she would have taken up too much space in my little studio anyway.
So I was pleased when something came available to me right here in town. I can’t say that I’m pleased that one of our local shops is closing (actually there are 3!!) but when I saw ‘her’ and asked if she would be for sale and the answer was yes $10… I kind of hesitated. No, not at the low low price, but her earlobes had no holes and I wasn’t sure if I could drill them. She’s pretty heavy duty, not lightweight plastic. Being completely white, not a smidge of make up, bald and nekid! Um, would I be able to turn her into a model? I dunno, lol, but something in me kept saying ‘you’ve been wanting one…so I said ‘YES, deal!’. I’m glad I did because the shop owner could have sold her many times over when I came to pick her up two weeks later.
I kind of wish I had taken ‘before’ photos as I can’t find anything remotely like her in Google search for Images, but basically put the last too photos above together. She has nice shoulder caps like that and just a bit more of the torso. I kind of like the fact that her nose isn’t perfectly straight, lol. I used make up with a paint roller applicator no less. No, I’m not using it on me, I’m not a wall, lol. After that dried a bit I did a second coat. I should have chosen a darker shade, but oh well, she has alabaster skin. I then used PMYII as a fixative. I painted her eyes brown, gave her eyeliner, eyelashes from the Dollar store, bronzer, and lip paint (pan pastel along with acrylics) and another once over with PMYII (preserve your memories II).  I notice I have to paint the nostrils still. I had a wig in my collection of Halloween stuff, a hairband to tie it back so her ears can show, a scarf to wrap her modesty and voila…my model. My autistic daughter named her Thea! I was tempted to give her freckles or a mole…the doll, not my daughter…
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