Jewelry/Trinket Box | Inspiration Station

It might seem like my sister and I have forgotten about our Inspiration Station challenges, but that’s definitely not the case. It’s only that March got a bit lighter on the crafty side (because life!) and I just couldn’t work on any challenges. Not to fret, we’ve both managed to finish our respective artistic projects now. Here’s the inspiration that my sister chose –

Inspiration Station - Feb inspiration

Inspiration Station – Feb inspiration – Modern, eco-friendly greeting cards from Seedlings (with actual seeds embedded!), mentioned on Paper Crave

I’ve wanted to make a trinket box for my mom for a while, and I decided to do that for this Inspiration Station. My original idea was to use polymer clay and make a round, hinged box, the idea then turned into a square box, then became a gel-print based box, and finally, in its completed form, it’s a cardboard box with polymer clay embellishments. Talk about twists and turns! 🙂

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

This project was split over many, many days – even put back into a drawer since I wasn’t working on it – and I’m glad it came together well in the end. Due to so many changes to the project’s design, I eventually just used the colors from the inspiration, though I’d picked more elements earlier.

I started this project with thick cardboard from packaging material, making a box and a lid from it. On the inside of both, I glued some floral gel prints that I pulled using texture plates on a gel plate – I never thought texture plates would work so well with monoprinting! I had to dilute the paint a lot, though – it almost looks like a watercolor.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

From our acrylics stash, I picked blue, green and a bit of black, and painted the outside of the lid and the box.

For the embellishments, I picked various molds whose designs would work for the rococo / ornamental theme I had in mind, and used scrap polymer clay to make a number of pieces. I used 3D matte gel to stick these pieces on the walls of the box and of the lid, and to the top of the lid. For some added interest, I adhered sand over some of the still-blank areas using soft matte gel. I applied more blue / green / black paint over these for added depth.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

I brushed metallic coral acrylics and then applied brass / vintage gold wax onto the relief. I intended to finish the piece(s) by applying soft gloss gel, but the gel remained tacky upon drying. So I applied clear gesso over it – it seemed to fare better than soft matte gel – and though I gained a better surface to the touch, I lost all the sheen. 🙂 I brushed more wax on the pieces, but let’s face it, it’s never the same. However, I don’t have any regrets about any of the choices I made, and that’s saying something. 😉

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

My mom loves her new jewelry / trinket box, and so does my sister. Now that’s what I call a satisfying ending to a project!

Speaking of my sister, you’ll want to check out the oh-so-colorful underwater scene in her card. I just love, love, love the fishies, and the background is absolutely fantastic! She nailed the theme.

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Storage Bag Tags

Even the tiniest amount of crafty time can result in a positive feeling. Case in point – A trio of tags that I made for keeping track of storage bags in our attic. These storage bags contain similar items but are only used occasionally, and the tags would be handy to figure out which one to pick items from next.

Making the tags barely took a couple of hours, since I didn’t try anything too complicated – just made half-knot spiral sennits using macramé. Even so, the happiness of hand-crafting something functional still applies. 🙂

Storage Tags - Macramé

This is how I made each tag –

I started off with a 30-cm cord and a 50-cm one. I made half-hitch knots with the longer one over the central 10cm of the shorter cord, and was left with two almost equal sized arms, each containing two cords. I used these four cords as the holding cords, and used a 90-cm cord as the working cord for the spiral stitch, which I made by making non-alternating half knots. When done with the sennit, I used E6000 to hold the cord tassels together so they don’t unravel.

Making these was a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise not-so-great weekend. I’m hoping I find tiny crafty time pockets now and then to keep my spirits soaring! 🙂

How are your crafts brightening your day?

Spring’s Here Earrings

For this month’s We’re All Ears Challenge, Erin chose the theme Leaping Greenly, because, Spring! New beginnings, and hope, inspired me very much, but other things in life landed in a heap on me, and I just didn’t get the time to turn any of my ideas into reality. This month, life continues to be busy, and I didn’t have anything ready for the challenge.

And just this morning, I remembered these two polymer clay mokume gane pieces that I’d made a long, long time ago, when I used to try to get mokume gane working for me. Cranking some creativity gears and carving out less than an hour resulted in these –

Spring's Here Earrings - Polymer Clay with Wire | Anita

I love the elements in the mokume gane pieces – the greens, the silver and gold flecks! I don’t think I ever got mokume gane results similar to this one. I cut the shapes following a hand-cut template.

To turn these into earrings, I wrapped some green and gold wires around the top of the pieces. To the bottommost green wire, I also added a few white and gold loreal beads in between green seed beads. I like how this setup looks like a crown on Spring’s head. 🙂

A jump ring serves the dual purpose of keeping the wires in place and adding ear wires.

The earrings didn’t take much time at all. I think making sure that the wires don’t poke out at the back took the longest time. 🙂


This is a blog hop, so head on over to Earrings Everyday to check out more Spring-inspired jewelry!

Art Journal: Birds of Prey | AE Challenge

I’ll admit, when Cathy came up with Birds of Prey as the theme for this month’s Art Elements Challenge, all I could think of was making owl polymer clay beads and use them as earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with owls, but I’ve already made owl drawings, owl doodles and owls in macramé, and I just really wanted to give other raptors a try. So I gave my newfound interest in art journaling some nudges, and finally used some new Gelli plates that we’d bought. After what seemed like a long time, I ended up with this –

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page

The background

I started out with a background painted with light-blue acrylic colors, to whose borders I added brown and black. On this, I used a chevrons-patterned stencil for some gel prints. I think I’m learning to work with the unpredictability of my gel prints, because I wasn’t disgruntled from all the times they didn’t turn out right. 🙂 The Gelli plate that I used was a new one that is smaller than my A5 page, and I’m still figuring out whether to trim the page for my next session, or try to make the border work with it somehow.

The tags

I used waste paper from my gel printing sessions to die-cut some labels. I used another chevrons-patterned stencil to add subtle background patterns on the labels, and then a circular Gelli plate to add the sun/moon shapes. I also used a mandala stencil with the gel plate to add light (and some not-so-light) patterns over the suns/moons. I then trimmed the sides and bottom of each label to get my tags.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

The sketches

I read a lot of raptor material and looked at quite a few pictures, and then used a gel pen to messily draw a falcon, an owl and a vulture from memory. (I know, I succumbed to the owl’s magic and couldn’t resist adding it. But at least it’s amongst other raptors. 😛 ) I don’t think the falcon turned out quite right, but I’m not aiming for perfect! 🙂

The ’embellishments’

I stuck the tags to the background page, and then experimented with shading to form some shadows around the tags. It involved painting a short line outside the edge of the tag and smudging it before it dries. It took a while, but I like how it turned out, and I wouldn’t mind following the process again next time and improve on it. I used a white gel pen to write some words and draw some simple designs, and then drew some ‘jump rings’ at the edges of the tags, just because I felt like doodling a bit more.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

I had a lot of fun with this page, and even though it seemed to take forever (I worked on it in spurts across two days), I’m happy that I tried stuff that I hadn’t before. What a wonderful opportunity the challenge provided – thanks, Cathy!


This is a blog hop, so head on over to these blogs to check out more inspired raptor creations!

Guests: Tammy Beth Cat Anita (you’re here) Kathy Alysen Linda Rozantia Jennifer Hope Sarajo Melissa Sarah

Team Members: Caroline Cathy Claire Jen Jenny Karen Laney Lesley Lindsay Marsha Niky Sue

Icicle Earrings

This month, Erin thought of the theme Frozen (no, not the movie, though she says that works too) for the We’re All Ears Challenge. With the Polar Vortex wreaking havoc on temperatures, one needs to use the snow and frost for inspiration. I live in more temperate climates, so I used the beautiful winter pictures in Erin’s post as inspiration, and made icicle-like polymer clay earrings, with a beady twist added in.

Icicle Earrings | Anita

The icicle components were a lot of fun to make, and this is the most measuring I’ve done in a while. 🙂 All components steadily increase in dimension, and have a mixture of translucent clay and purplish blue clay in varying proportions. The smallest components are a 1:1 mix, whereas the largest are pure translucent clay.

The component colors looked fine by themselves, but brushing some Perfect Pearls over them took them a level higher. Even here, I used a progressive mixture of white and blue to mimic the component color gradations.

When the components were done baking, I strung them along with jump rings into two bunchy chains. One of the components chipped, and I swapped in a beaded component that I’d salvaged from an earlier project. When attached to ear wires, the icicle bunches became subtly gorgeous earrings! I loved wearing them to work earlier this week.


This is a blog hop, and I hope you’ll join me in checking out more inspired earrings at Earrings Everyday!

Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!

 

I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!

Sweet Dreams Earrings

Another month ends, and brings another Art Elements reveal with it. Lindsay Starr hosts this month’s theme – Moon.

At first, I thought this was perfect to try out gel prints with a recently accidentally bought gelli plate (we found we’d ordered a round one instead of a square one.) But I still have hit-or-miss results with gel printing (and you can guess which it was this time), so I came back to jewelry.

I tried out an idea that I had of connecting points around wire hoop earring bases with wire to form a crescent moon. The wire didn’t work out, but I felt good old thread would.

Sweet Dreams Earrings | Anita

As usual, this look wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started out, and as usual, I really like it. 🙂

I changed the wire idea a bit to suit the thread. I first crocheted along a portion of the hoop. Then came out a needle, and I wove the thread back and forth between the crochet stitches to form a crescent shape.

I wanted to add streamers to the moons, but crochet wouldn’t create them as thin as I liked, and macramé would have worked better if only the thread was a bit thicker. 🙂 So instead, I added some really tiny charms, and I think this turned out better than the streamer idea. I wondered whether to embellish the moons with seed beads or sequins, but sometimes, simple is best, and I left it as is.


It looks like quite a few artists have been inspired by Lindsay’s theme, and we’re in for a treat! Hope you’ll check out their interpretations in the blog hop.

Guests: Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita (you’re here) Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew: Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue  Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay