Beadwork!

I finally sat down and finished the beaded jewelry set that I was working on! And I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

Beadwork Jewelry

Beadwork Jewelry

These are essentially beaded bezels around the polymer clay button beads that I made a while back. I used Peyote stitch for the bezel, of course. I started this at around the same time that I made the Peyote stitch tube, so the beads are still the non-uniform ones. I love how the pieces have turned out, though. Making the loops and connections was pretty fun too — especially when I got the ones on the central piece of the necklace correct with just a bit of planning ahead. πŸ™‚

Now that my stash has uniform beads, and more importantly, since I’m more confident in my beading skills, I can’t wait to make my next beading project. I’m afraid I’ll feel the need for size 15 beads soon, and they’re not available locally. (I used size 11 in the current pieces, and had to stitch differently in the innermost row because the beads were too big.)

Natasha beads

I know Natasha beads involve slicing, and Sculpey III is probably not the best clay to use when it comes to slicing. But I had this Sculpey III cane of green, brown and white that I’d made when I started claying, and I haven’t really been able to find a use for it, so I decided to just ‘destroy’ it. And what’s a more satisfactory way to destroy clay than to make Natasha beads from it! πŸ™‚ Even if the beads might not turn out fully symmetrical, because not only is Sculpey III so soft and pliable, but it’s already really, really hot here these days…

Natasha beadsI first thought of making keychain charms from the cuboidal Natasha beads, and they didn’t have to be super-perfect. In fact, I had to cool the clay multiple times in the refrigerator to be able to slice it without squishing it. (It’s still a bit squished, though :) but like I said, I didn’t need the pieces to be perfect.) I attached eye pins before baking, securing the pins by bending them slightly before inserting into the beads.

Natasha bead keychain charmsI sanded and buffed the beads so they’re smooth. (Sculpey III doesn’t ever end up with a shine.) When I showed them to my folks, they thought they’d make great earrings. So my sis picked two beads that are more similar than the others (at least in size — these beads never turn out the same!) and I ended up making an earring pair and two keychain charms!

Natasha bead earringsThey’re pretty easy to make, especially if you use clay harder than Sculpey III. Do you think you’ll make some? :)

Miniature Fairy Garden

Before I saw Lisa’s Fairy Garden Ring video on PCA, I’d not really given much thought to these whimsical creations. Lisa’s course resulted in a whirlwind Pinterest tour of fairy gardens, and it’s quite delightful to look at all those miniatures. πŸ™‚

Miniature Fairy Garden - PCA 2017

Miniature Fairy Garden

For my version of the project, I omitted the ‘ring’ and made only a fairy garden. After all, I don’t fancy wearing a ring that has protruding sections that are in danger of getting chipped or broken. πŸ™‚ This garden is about 2cm across and 2.5cm tall.

I have worked on a sugar skull keychain before, and that involved working with tiny parts, which turned out to be a lot of fun. It turned out that working on a fairy garden is also a lot of fun, and for the same reason. Sculpting tiny landscapes with tinier details is involving and relaxing.

I made the base in a plastic cap so it won’t get squished while I’m working on the surface details. But then, I wouldn’t want the cap to melt in the oven during the bake. (Duh!) So I had to remove the cap later and give some texture to the sides. Thinking back on it, I should just bake a textured base first, and then start work on the surface. That would involve some liquid clay for gluing, of course. Or maybe the plastic cap way isn’t too bad, since it wasn’t much effort to remove the piece and texture it.

I added some mod podge layers for the final gloss, and now the piece is on my desk, and I love looking at it! ❀

Peyote Stitch Tube

Before I get started my next PCA project, I thought I’d practice some peyote stitching with the beads currently in my stash. (Yeah, the not-so-uniform beads.) And I ended up making a small tube that I can thread a rope necklace or thick chain through.

Peyote necklace tube

This is not tubular peyote, it’s flat peyote whose top and bottom edges I joined when I decided that the sheet was large enough. I actually used three colors of beads here, though the difference in two of the colors is so small that they appear to be the same. Not that it takes away anything from the overall look at all. πŸ™‚ The sheet has one row of stitches per color, so it’s a 3-row repeat pattern.

As for beading progress — the tension in my stitching has improved as I’ve practiced, and I’ve gained more confidence in how much I can tug at the thread to make the beads settle well. I’ve even started working on some nice peyote bezels for the polymer clay button beads that I made earlier. But more on that in another post, since I haven’t gotten to work much on them, and I’m eager to meet my self-imposed quota of PCA projects for this month. πŸ™‚

Mosaic Notebook Cover

This little blue book cover is my next project in PCA 2017, inspired by Anke Humpert’s course on making mosaic notebook covers. I made one for my sister’s spiral paper pad.

Mosaic Notebook Cover - PCA 2017

Mosaic Notebook Cover

Designing the cover took longer than actually making it, I think! Or maybe I didn’t notice time pass by while playing with the clay because it was so much fun. πŸ™‚

I’m pretty happy with my Skinner blends now. It’s all thanks to my pasta machine that the amount of manual labor involved is reduced a hundredfold when compared to using a roller. Also, like I mentioned in an earlier post, I now prefer drilling holes post-bake, since it gives a neater finish. That’s exactly what I did for the nice little row of holes for the spiral.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however. I did have to fix stuff.

The other side of the cover ended up with some cracks, because I traced over some not-very-visible borders with a knife lightly (or so I thought) but at a few places, the blade did make it through to the other side. I didn’t notice it before baking since I placed my working surface directly in the oven. Later, when I did notice it, I just mixed solid clay with liquid Sculpey and smeared it over the cracks, and rebaked it, and that fixed the problem.

While antiquing, I wasn’t quick enough to wipe away the paint, and quite a bit remained on the raised surfaces too, making it look more green/brownish than blue/violet-ish. I found that wiping with rubbing alcohol (or equivalent) removes the unwanted paint well. So now my mosaic pieces are shades of blue again. (Yay!)

I’d love to keep making these covers — there are just so many possibilities here! I’ll need more variety of deeper stamps, though, if I’m to use antiquing. Right now, I have just too few stamps that I can use.

Button beads for… beading!

Yippee! The beading gods have finally heard my prayers. My local stores now sell Preciosa seed beads, so I don’t have to order uniformly sized beads from overseas. <Dances a little jig.> So I now have beading needles, beading thread, aaaand… beads! I’m all set to practice some beading. Peyote stitch, get ready to be conquered!

Antiqued polymer clay flower / button beads

I made these button beads from polymer clay, thinking I’ll work some beading around them whenever I’m done learning a few beading stitches. I used a mold for these beads, and used acrylic paints for antiquing. The mold impressions are deep at the edges, and there’s a whole lot of paint there that I just couldn’t get rid of, but I’m not bothered much. After all, they’ll all be obscured by the beading. πŸ™‚

Hope against hope that I get to working more on these soon. I’m chugging along on a knitting project right now, though. I’m on the edging for one sleeve, and then I’ll only have one sleeve left so I’m pretty eager to finish that too. Hmm, I think I can aim for beading practice only next week.

Am I too greedy to hope that Miyuki seed beads become available locally too? πŸ™‚

Carved beads jewelry

My next project in PCA 2017 is inspired by the Night Out Necklace from Shannon.

Carved beads jewelry - PCA 2017

Carved beads jewelry – PCA 2017. Perfect Pearls shine! ❀

Shannon’s necklace involves hand carving beads. I have great self-awareness when it comes to my knife skills — I know that I’m bad with knives and constantly afraid I’ll slice my thumb off πŸ˜› — so bead carving was going to be a challenge for me. (Gulp!) Not one that I’d shy away from, although I wouldn’t make as many beads as Shannon did. Partly because, you know, too much knife time, and partly because I’d like my jewelry better in a slightly different design.

Making the beads was fun, and even more fun was applying Perfect Pearls on them. Ooh, the shine! The combinations! I used Berry Twist with a hint of Perfect Bronze. (Or was it Perfect Copper? I knew I should’ve jotted down the colors right then.)

I’ll admit the carving was strangely therapeutic, and I’m relieved my thumb is still intact πŸ˜€ but I’ll need a lot (and I mean a whole lot) more practice to make those slices neater. More practice, and more experience to figure out the science behind when they slice off easily and when they don’t. The edges of the focal bead (the cuboidal one) were much easier for me to work on. Maybe it’s the angle of the surface? Was it just that I’d gotten more comfortable by the time I picked up this bead? I’ll need to know more, and boy am I gonna do more carving! πŸ™‚

Back to the jewelry. Another first for me was using a drill bit to make a hole at the bottom of the focal bead, where the tassel is attached. A bold move, considering that it’s the focal! πŸ˜‰ It went well though, and I love how neat the hole looks. I’m officially sold on post-bake holes.

I made tassels from leftover Nako Comfort Stretch yarn, and picked a variety of bead caps, and attached them to the main focal bead and the two spherical beads. Since there’s only one hole for the tassel on the focal bead, and that support is not sturdy enough, I used E6000 adhesive to make it stick and stay there better. Next time, I’ll bake the bead with the wire already in it.

Lastly, I attached the earwires to the earrings, and some bead caps and eye loops to the pendant. That’s it!