The project I take on my next vacation will consist of Delica, seed, and Charlotte beads and a collection of beautiful Swarovski crystal cabochons. These beauties just arrived and they are absolutely breathtaking! I’m ordering more in other colors, shapes, and sizes…12x12mm square cushion-shaped, 18x13mm oblong and several rectangular crystal cabochons as well. Beading bezels around these beauties will be great fun and the project will be so portable! Everything will fit neatly into one of my little travel tins that I can toss in my bag and take on a plane. I think I’ll make a cuff, but these would also make a gorgeous collar! And several of the smaller cabochons would be lovely as earrings hooked together on hammer-textured sterling silver “S” clasps or as drops from long coils of silver wire. Hmmm…decisions, decisions, so many ideas and never enough time!
It was on my birthday list and my wonderful husband gifted me with this nifty piece of equipment! This manually operated machine is called the “NEVERknead™” and it is extremely efficient! Anyone who has ever worked with polymer clay knows how important it is to condition the clay before it can be used. It’s a task that requires strong hands and a lot of kneading! Depending on the stiffness of the clay, it can be excruciating to one’s hands, wrists, and forearms. Polymer clay has an incredibly long shelf life (I confess that I have some blocks of clay that have been around since the early 90’s!) and it becomes extremely hard and crumbly with age as the plasticizer dries out. Fortunately, with a bit of liquid clay softer and a lot of “elbow grease” polymer clay can be reconstituted to a smooth and pliable consistency. This is when the “NEVERknead™” comes into play. With the turn of a lever, the “NEVERknead™” exerts 1/2 ton of pressure compressing the clay. Then one simply rotates the clay after each turn of the lever until the clay is in working condition. It’s also a great tool for blending clay colors! Until now, I had been slicing small sections off a block of clay and passing it through the rollers of my “D.R.E.A.M. Machine“, which I don’t think is a particularly good idea. I had tried using a food processor to condition my clay, but that was a messy proposition and the results produced hundreds of little crumbles. I feel like GoldiLocks having tried other methods and now I have found one that is “just right”!
Do these speak to you? I look at them and want to start another bead embroidery project immediately! After honing edges and refining the backs of these beauties, my latest collection of resin cabochons is finally ready and listed in my Etsy shop. Cabochons numbered 1 -5 are faux fire opal in a brilliant array of colors. Cabochons numbered 6-15 are sea-themed…back by popular demand! I’ve reserved several other uniquely shaped and finished cabochons that I’ll be assembling into one-of-a-kind beading kits along with color-coordinated Delicas, seed and dagger beads, pearls, crystals, and other embellishments in the coming days…stay tuned!
The photo says it all…I’m creating more resin cabochons. Some are sea-themed and embedded with tiny seashells for my “Marine Life” and “Marine Life Anemone” beading kits, but I’ve also created some that are just filled with a myriad of colorful, sparkling particles that give the cabochons an appearance of gorgeous fire opals! I’ll use them in other bead embroidered and mixed-media projects. And I may set some in fine silver bezels when inevitably, I return to my workbench and am in a metalsmithing mode! Of course, some will be available in my my Etsy shop too. The unveiling will be in a few days after these have throughly cured, been sanded and polished, and photographed. Stay tuned!
I’ve also put several limited-edition beading kits for this design. Each contains a one-of-a-kind sea-themed resin cabochon, Delicas, Dragon Scale, Dagger, and seed beads plus Czech fire-polished crystals.
I have three available in the Blue/Orange/Jade colourway of the finished brooch and one kit available in a Red/Orange/Lime colourway in my Etsy shop.
It’s been a good week with absolutely gorgeous fall-like weather. Comfortably warm days and cool nights have been a welcome relief from the oppressive heat that visited our portion of the Midwest daily over the past few months! Finally, having had the energy to clean and put my studios in some semblance of order, I’ve been able to resume work on the fourth bead-embroidered brooch in the “Marine Life” series. This brooch design has been modified and differs from the previous three…smaller matte Daggers as well as Dragon Scale beads are used giving it more of an anemone-like appearance. Since starting this brooch, I’ve been taking process photos and recording the steps for a tutorial that will accompany the design. It’s very close to being finished and as I’m working on the last steps now, I wonder how other beading enthusiasts finish the backs of their work. With bead embroidery, there are visible stitches that attach a backing to the beaded piece of which I’m not particularly fond. I like to hide the stitches that line the back edge of my bead-embroidered work…notice the exposed stitches on the left half of the brooch back compared to the bead-camouflaged right half.
These photos are the final steps in the tutorial…I’ll show you the front of the piece as soon as the tutorial is finished and beading kits for this limited edition design are ready to list! Stay tuned!
I didn’t have a spare moment to bead, do metalwork, or anything else remotely creative. We have company coming for the weekend so there was menu planning, grocery shopping, and getting the guest room ready. At the same time, a slew of orders came in for beading kits that had to be assembled, including two “Fantasy Flora” Cuff kits, each of which contain 29 packets of beads (Delicas, seed, Magatama, bicone crystals) of 39 colors! Thankfully, that task is finished!
Looking around, I realized one of my studios was such a disaster area that I would be embarrassed to show it to anyone! My work table was piled high with polymer clay and resin projects and other jewelry-making paraphernalia. Even worse, the corner of the room dedicated to my knitting machines (which haven’t been used in quite some time!) was in complete disarray…balls of yarn assembled in helter-skelter fashion were collecting dust and cobwebs. Vacuuming yarn is not an activity I relish, but it was required before sorting and storing them in bins in the closet, awaiting a day in the future when I once again use the knitting machines.
Sorting through it all was a lot of work…the photo below shows just “the tip of the iceberg”! Of course, I had the cats “helping” me!
Thankfully, after two days of vacuuming, moving furniture, cleaning surfaces, etc., my studio no longer resembles the aftermath of a tornado! If one needs impetus to clean house, there’s nothing like having company coming to speed things along!