Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - February Reveal, Part 3

...And, here it is! The last reveal of this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge--posted on the last day of February. Heh. That's cutting it a bit close to the end, isn't it? :)

As a recap, in the previous reveal entries, I've shown a few things that I've made with polymer clay (simple components and more elaborate pendants). The last thing I did for this challenge--and what I'm going to be showing in this entry--was make a polymer clay cane

Specifically, I made a Damascus Ladder Cane... and it actually turned out well!

Above, you can see the colors that I picked for my cane. (If you're wondering why that earring is there, it's because I had hoped to make something to match it. That didn't end up happening--but that didn't stop me from making many other things. *grin*) 

Now, before I go any further, I should ask advanced polymer clay artists to forgive my Glaring Beginner Offenses. I don't have any of the fancy tools--no extruder or pasta machine or things to help make canes square. I just had a rolling pin, a knife, and my hands. (Maybe, since this turned out well, I can convince my husband that better tools are a business expense?)

With that disclaimer out of the way, here are some process pictures. First, I conditioned the clay, rolled it out into sheets, and then stacked them together.

And then I twisted the stack. And twisted it some more. And then twisted it even more, eventually making it long and skinny and a bit like a sausage.

Once I was done, I cut the tip off, which revealed a fair amount of color-marbling...

...And then the moment of truth. I cut it lengthwise, and that revealed the Damascus Ladder pattern:

Woo-hoo! It worked!! Not perfect, perhaps, but it worked! 

...Not bad for a beginner.

I then used that cane to make three different necklaces. Brace yourself... many pictures incoming! :)

Necklace #1

The first necklace is the simplest. I took a slice of the cane, and made it into a pendant. I then picked out some matching beads, wire-wrapped them, and created this necklace:

One of my favorite things about this necklace is that it's actually reversible. Each side of the pendant has a neat pattern, so the wearer can decide which side best matches their mood for that day:

The materials for the necklace, in case you're interested, are shell, glass and crystal. Oh, and a polymer clay pendant, of course. :)

Necklace #2

In addition to making the pendant for necklace #1, I also cut portions of the cane and used it to coat some large wooden beads. I then finished them with varnish, and used one of them to make necklace #2.

I also used some waxed linen, glass, crystal, and magnesite (progress photo seen above).

...Oh! And a tassel:

I bet you saw that one coming, heh.

I love the movement of this necklace. I also like the fact that, due to the focal being polymer over wood, it's surprisingly light. 

And, of course, I like the colors... I already have at least two outfits in mind that would match this perfectly. (My original plan was to sell it, but I may I have a hard time parting with it! *grin*)

Necklace #3

The last necklace also used one of those large focal beads... again coated in varnish, and this time paired with magnesite, glass (Czech and otherwise), shell, and larvikite. 

Progress shot!
...You can see where this is going, I'm sure.

Here is the finished necklace:

Yep. It has a tassel. 

Something interesting--and this applies to the other necklaces as well--is how surprisingly difficult to find beads that matched the pendant exactly. I went through at least five different iterations of that tassel before I settled on the final design--putting beads in, swapping them out for different ones, and so forth.

Still, I'm definitely happy with how it turned out!

...And, yeah, I don't think I'm parting with this one. I actually have already worn it (this past weekend), and received compliments on it. I may have to use the rest of the cane to make more focal beads, so that I can make more necklaces. :)

...And there you go! That concludes the reveals for this month's challenge. Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I made--and for having patience with me as I spread this out over a couple of days. I'm sure you'll agree--there was definitely too much for one entry!

Have a lovely day, everyone! I'll see you in March, when I'll have a new challenge to share!


For Part 1 of this challenge, click here.
For Part 2 of this challenge, click here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List February Design Challenge!

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List challenge--where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge to use up some of her bead stash, as well as help her get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration picture is a lovely photograph of a leaf:

This is what Eric had to say about the picture:

I went minimalist on this month's photo which I took this last summer in the Japanese Gardens in Portland.  Walking up the trail to the garden proper, I spotted this single leaf sitting in a ray of sun filtered through tall trees and magnolias.  I'm dreaming of summer after too much winter here in Minnesota, so here you go!

I love the juxtaposition of green and magenta in this picture, and was thrilled to remember that I have wooden beads in both of those hues. A bit of rummaging around in my stash yielded some leaves (a clasp, a charm, and a pendant), and this necklace practically created itself:

The beads are wire-wrapped to make links, and the different sides are inverses of each other. I also used two different shades of metal (silver and gunmetal), to echo the play of light and shadow in the picture.

At some point, since I have more leaf charms, I plan on making matching earrings... We'll see when that happens, though. :)

So, there you go! That's what I made for this challenge... Be sure to swing by SJ Designs Jewelry to see what everyone else made!

As always, thank you so much, Sarajo and Eric, for continuing to let me play along. I always love seeing the inspiration pictures, and greatly enjoy digging around in my stash for the perfect beads. I'm excited to see the challenge for March. :)

Until then... Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - February Reveal, Part 2

All right! It's time for the 2nd part of this month's reveal... Woo-hoo!

Like I wrote yesterday, today's reveal is going to be focused around polymer clay pendants--and the necklaces that I made with them. There are four of them that I want to share.

Also, as a sidenote, these were all inspired by this tutorial over at Fire Mountain Gems. The tutorial itself is by Christi Friesen--and if I'm honest, it partially inspired this month's polymer clay challenge. It was featured on my Facebook near the beginning of the month, and I just had to try my hand at it.

So, without further ado... Here are the pendants (and necklaces) that I made!

Necklace #1

Look familiar? This was a possible inspiration that I posted in this challenge's introductory post. The diamond-shaped beads are marble (I think), and I picked out matching pearls and crystals to go with them. 

A bit of experimentation with these materials led to the creation of a pendant and some beads...

...which were then used to make this necklace:

It's messy. The color of the clay is ridiculously close to the color of the marble. I dropped it and had to glue one of the tendrils back in place.

...And I'm ridiculously proud of it.

This was, in fact, the first polymer clay piece I made for this challenge. (The leftover clay bits were used to make the feather necklace featured in my previous entry.) 

It's also the piece that gave me the courage--and desire--to keep going. After all, there really are some fantastically creative people who use polymer clay to make beautiful things... and, truth be told, it's rather intimidating.

But, for all its flaws, this necklace speaks of learning and potential.

...And so I kept going.

Necklace #2

After the success of the first pendant, I gathered up some additional stone focals. In particular, the mottled blue-and-white oval caught my attention. (I'm pretty sure it's sodalite, but don't quote me on that.) It has a slight yellow tint to it, which made me pull out some clay in the shade of antique gold/brass.

After some playing around, I once again made a pendant and some matching beads... Which I used to assemble this necklace:

The blue beads are Czech glass, and I paired it all with brass. The construction is pretty straightforward... chain attached to wire-wrapped links, attached to the pendant.

At some point, I may add a clasp... but, it's long enough that it honestly doesn't need it. In fact, it looks a little bit like some sort of medallion from a fantasy novel... I wonder what kind of story I'll come up with to go along with it.

All of the clay has been coated in varnish, for luster and protection. From here, my confidence continued to grow, and--you guessed it--I kept going.

Necklace #3 

Ah, yes, I've shared this picture before. As soon as I laid eyes on that large gear, I knew that I wanted to try making a pendant out of it. 

In fact, I had an entire necklace idea in mind... And, well, here it is--pretty much exactly as I pictured it:

I made the pendant and the matching beads, which I then paired with garnet, crystal, leather, and an array of different metals. The toggle clasp is on the side, mirroring the open gear on the other side.


Only the outside of the pendant has been coated with varnish... I left the rest of it unfinished, to make it feel like you were peering inside at its inner workings.


I am honestly very, very pleased with this necklace. There are still parts of the pendant that I wish I could tweak--and, trust me, I realize it's not perfect. But there is something very satisfying about bringing a vision into reality... And this piece is definitely no exception.

Necklace #4

This last pendant and necklace combination is perhaps my favorite--and not just because the main colors are purple and blue (two of my favorites!).

Indeed, I think it shows how much my skills improved, even over the course of a few weeks:

...And, what can I say--the necklace has a tassel!

And not just any tassel... one that I made using my new seed bead tassel-making skills. :)


About the pendant itself: the main foundation is a magnesite focal dyed the color of lapis. The clay is a mixture of purple and silver, and is augmented with Czech glass and crystal beads (which are also featured in the tassel and the chain, along with pearls and matching glass). 

The whole pendant has been coated with varnish, to add an extra sheen--and to match the general luster of the rest of the necklace. Some fingerprints are still visible, but hopefully they add to the texture of the piece. :)

...And I really am pleased with it. To go from being intimidated by polymer clay, to actually being able to make something like this... there's hope for me yet! :)

So, there you go! Those are the four pendants--and corresponding necklaces--that I made for this challenge.

And now, there is one more reveal to go! I'll try to get it posted tomorrow--but I'm not going to make any promises. I will make sure that it's posted before the end of the month, though. After all, I have some pretty neat things to show.

Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I made... Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

For Part 1 of this challenge, keep scrolling or click here.