Monday, June 30, 2014

HAPPY Afghan

OK this is my first attempt at a corner to corner (c2c) afghan. I'm loving these colors and it's making me sing that Happy song in my head as I stitch. I know I'm going to have to get more pink and red yarn for this, but that's ok. It's part of my effort to burn up stash and only buy yarns for projects I've already started, rather than buying random yarn and not knowing what to do with it when I get it home because I had no project in mind for it when I bought it. LOL! I do that entirely too often.

So it's my HAPPY afghan!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paper Bead Madness, Part Deux

OK I've gone completely paper bead happy.

First, I think I got a better photo of this bracelet here:

Here's some unglazed paper beads I made yesterday, hand-painted in watercolors.

This first batch seems very Arizona or desert to me so I think of them as Arizona Heat:

These look very aquatic to me so I think of them as Mermaid Garden:

These colors remind me of the bright, festive colors of Miami, so I call them Miami Fiesta:

All 3 groups of unglazed beads:

Now, I think I've learned something. It's all well and good to hand paint the paper before cutting and rolling it into beads, but (at least with the watercolors I'm using) the dry paint rubs off onto my fingers. This creates a slight smear when I apply the white glue to fix the wrapped bead in place. 

So I have some plans to avoid this problem. :)

I did make some other aquatic-looking beads and I glazed them last night. I don't have a photo of them yet but I must say this: I was pleasantly surprised to see that when the Mod Podge was applied, the paint didn't blend. The colors remained crisp, exactly as they appeared when I had completed painting the paper and it had dried. I just have to remember not to cut and roll the painted paper. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Have... Etsy page!

It's Gingercrafts407. I'm putting some scarves and jewelry and a few other things up there to sell.

I'm a bit nervous about this but I hope this works out. I've run into some real-life situations that are going to cost money, and I need to start selling things I make to get ahead with these things. For example - flat tire on my car this morning! Joe is going to help me with getting the new tire and possibly an alignment, etc, so that's good, but I'll need to pay him back. Plus - my computer is about 10 or 12 years old, can't quite remember, and it's running on a very old OS and upgrades on this computer are just not going to work. So, it's new computer time for me.

So fingers crossed. I hope this works out. I know a lot of my crafts are very simple but maybe someone will like it and want to buy it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Still doing jewelry for are two pairs of earrings I made today.

These used an Arizona Iced Tea can:

These used a Pepsi bottle and some scrap fabric:

Believe me, there's more where this came from.... :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Lesson.... chemistry. I have discovered how various inks hold up in the face of Mod Podge.

In the center of this picture is a blue and white striped bead:

When I took this picture, the bead was simply rolled and ready for glazing. I used a blue magic marker to add color to the paper before rolling it up. Note how crisp the blue and the white is on the bead.

Last night I added some Mod Podge to this bead. Given that magic marker is water soluble, it ended up with a rather watercolor looking wash to the bead, like so:

Which does look nice, so I might very well continue to use this technique, it's just that I'll have to be aware of how this ink responds under Mod Podge.

I also noticed that highlighter ink doesn't seem to do this. I wonder if using Sharpies, which are not water-soluble, will also remain colorfast when Podge'd. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Paper Bead Template

A-HA! Now I can make all kinds of interesting shapes of beads.

Paper Bead Madness!

I have gone ga-ga over rolling paper beads. I just did a whole batch, over the weekend and last night.

Here are some pink ones I did and coated in hot pink nail polish. The one on the far right was embossed.

I may forego embossing these beads for the most part, because the shape gets weird. Maybe just color and clear nail polish for a bit of shine, and that will do just fine.

I have to admit that it did take the nail polish a little longer to dry, but it did give it a nice finish without eliminating the decorative lines in the bead. I wasn't sure, at first, if I liked having those lines there; I sort of preferred a Pandora look to my beads. But I've looked at a number of other paper bead projects and eventually the lines grew on me.

Here are some .5" paper beads that I painted with black acrylic paint.

The ones on the top row were embossed. The three on the bottom row left were just coated with clear nail polish. The one on the bottom right was coated in Mod Podge shimmer. I accidentally got the wrong bottle of Mod Podge, but I can still use it for other things.

Again, I think I like the way the shape of the bead is maintained with paint or nail polish and then clear nail polish or some other varnish used, as opposed to embossing. Maybe I'm just not very good at embossing, and that's why the interesting shape of the bead gets lost when I do it. Maybe I just need more practice at embossing.

Here's a sort of "outline" or "rough draft" of what I had in mind to do with these pink and black beads:

I was going to make a very long, drapey necklace with them, with silver chain connecting them. I might add white beads too. Not sure yet.

These beads were hand decorated and finished with clear nail polish:

The top row beads were done with watercolor paints or watercolor pencils (which you then paint over with a wet paint brush and it turns to watercolor on the paper). I kinda like the soft colors of the watercolors, and may use this more often to add color to my paper before I even cut it on my paper cutter.

Here's some random .5" paper beads:

The top two were embossed, and the bottom two were finished with clear nail polish. Believe me, the inside of the bottle I keep them in smells like nail polish! With the top 2 beads, I rolled them on colored paper (red and yellow) that I had made random black marks on with a Sharpie to form the pattern. The "America!" bead (I'll give you three guesses as to which one that is, and the first two don't count) shows ordinary Crayola magic marker color, applied to the paper before rolling. I find that the Crayola magic marker seems to respond well to clear nail polish; unlike watercolors, it doesn't run and blend when it becomes wet. This is something I'll have to keep in mind when using watercolor paint or pencil on my beads. I find myself wondering what will happen if I emboss a bead done with watercolors; will the ink make the paint blend? Will the colors come off on my ink pad? We shall see; I will have to do an experiment and emboss a watercolor bead and see how it goes.

And of course, the little red bead on the bottom of that picture is just red paper, wrapped, glued and coated in clear nail polish.

Here are some wrapped beads ready to be finished:

So far, so interesting. It's like an experiment in chemistry, some of it - figuring out how different finishes and color media interact with each other, and the glue, and the paper.

And I haven't even begun to add things like raffia or lace or ribbon to my beads. That will come later. I did get some adhesive ribbon but that didn't work on an embossed bead. Maybe what I need to do is make the bead (and if I want color, use nail polish at the most) and then apply the adhesive to the paper bead, THEN finish it with emboss or whatever I want to use. I can but give it a try and see what works.

But I'm having WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much fun with this.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fun With Jewelry!

OK check these out.

First, a pair of paper bead earrings painted with blue nail polish, and wrapped with silver wire.

I'm wearing them today; they match the blue shirt I have on. They are so nice and lightweight. I think I can do better with the color on these - first of all, I didn't let them dry 100% before wrapping the wire, and that caused the somewhat gooey nail polish I used on them to get blemished. So, next time, wait until they are TOTALLY DRY. Second, they should be embossed with clear ink and powder. That will give them a properly glass-like look. I did two purple ones today, but the second purple one didn't come out quite right. Still, the first one looks exactly like a glass bead. Will get some pictures of the purple later. 

Now then...a pair of faux pewter earrings wrapped in silver wire. 

These earrings were, believe it or not - a WalMart bag! I wrapped a couple of strips of bag around wire, held it over a candle flame for a few seconds to let the plastic melt, then I dipped it into cold water and shaped the earrings with my fingers. Melting the fibers in the plastic and then cooling it in water made it rock-hard. I then painted them black, dry-brushed grey paint over that, and then added silver glitter nail polish and wrapped silver wire around them.

Then I have this...curly faux pewter earrings.

These were cardboard tubes cut down  to size, then I drizzled hot glue on one side and let it dry. I then painted the whole thing black, then grey, then silver nail polish. I left one side black, so the black would show through the lighter silver and grey in the front.

I also made these.

This is fabric glued to the back of clear plastic circles cut from a 2 liter Coke bottle. I added the black and clear beads and ear wires. I also sealed the back of the fabric with clear nail polish, in the hopes that this would stop any fabric coming unraveled. I think I'm most pleased with these, and I have lots of scrap fabric to make more.

I put this together today also.

Fun with paper beads again! These were made with scrapbook paper, so I didn't have to paint them. I simply embossed them. 

Here's another paper bead bracelet I made. 

With these, I simply took red craft paper and added black highlights randomly (sort of) and then wrapped the bead - and this is what I got.

I also had some fun with a pretty soda can!

I was able to get two pairs of earrings from one soda can (that would be the pink & blue disk at the bottom of the earrings). On the ones seen on the left, I added random dashes of silver glitter nail polish. 

Then there's this.

I swear I didn't dig it out of the cat box, paint it and wrap it in wire! It's a plastic bag made into a pendant, similar to the earrings above. A friend of mine said it looked like a cocoon, so I'll go with that. This one somehow didn't get as rock hard as the earrings did, but it'll do. I'll keep trying with this, as plastic bags are very easy to come by.

And there we have it. FUN with jewelry!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Water Bottle Bracelet

HERE is something I can incorporate crochet into! I can crochet a bunch of chain in interesting colors - say, black and yellow - and then wrap it around the plastic and decorate it up! WOOO!

Oh man, so many crafts and so little time....

Skinny Scarf

OK over on FiberFlux I found THIS pattern for a skinny scarf. I really liked it, thought "oh that looks easy so I'll make it," and I grabbed some yarn and began stitching.

Here's what I have so far:

The problem I seem to have with my scarf is how it tilts uphill to the right. I'm not sure why it's doing that. Her scarf stitches look perfectly straight and I'm not sure what I've done to make mine tilted.

Got any ideas? Or should I just go with it and incorporate that into my scarf?

That said, if I can get this figured out, I had a GREAT idea with this. Stitch up a whole boatload of these in various colors - say I do some in this sangria color, and some in red, and some in violet, etc - and then find a way to sew them or crochet them together to make an afghan! Sort of like a granny square afghan or mile-a-minute afghans. I may try that with some scrap yarn and do a couple of sample or test strips. I think I'll do that this weekend...

How to Do Decoupage

I really need to learn how to do this! It can't be that hard, can it? 

Ah, but I'll need a few materials, I see....

I really need to open my own studio, but part of my problem is my confidence. I feel like anything I would do is not quite as good as someone else's work who had been doing this for several years. I need to get over that.