Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tutorial: Gingerbread Cookies

As usual, I'm running late, but there's a new holiday-themed tutorial available on Polymer Clay Web. It's our version of gingerbread:

Ever since I made "gingerbread cookie" ornaments and pins for some family members, last Christmas, I've been meaning to fix up a tutorial for this holiday season. Well, I guess that I did. Technically. (g) At least it's there for next year, right? And who says you can only make gingerbread in December? Seriously, these go together pretty fast, and I bet they'd be lots of fun to make with the kids or grandkids.

Now, back to the clay room. I have some gifts to finish by Wednesday! (Can she do it? Will she have to stay up until the wee hours to accomplish her gift-giving goals? Stay tuned to find out! ;o)) I hope you're all enjoying the holidays and not stressing out too much!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Use Up Those Spare Beads!

Note: Yes, I'm finally back on my polymer clay blog again (!), and I hope to manage to pop in at least once a week for a while before my next unannounced months-long disappearance. ;o) Sorry to have been gone so long, but you know how it is. After you've been quiet a few weeks, it's hard to get back in the habit of blogging. Anyway, on with the clay talk!

If you're anything like me, you've probably amassed quite a collection of polymer clay beads over the years. Many of these are leftovers from old projects and early clay obsessions. (For me, it was crackled paint.) What can you do with all those beads when you have just one like this and only three like that? Plenty! Here are a few ideas to get you started!
  • Make earrings. If you have matching pairs of beads, this is an obvious solution to using up extra beads.
  • Set them off with metal and glass (or plastic). Mixing beads made of other materials in with your polymer clay beads stretches them. Also, this helps use up some of your store-bought stash!
  • Make crazy, wild jewelry. (The craziness and/or wildness of your jewelry will depend on the craziness and/or wildness of your beads.) Mix and match beads for an eye-catching necklace. Combine beads with a similar trait (all faux naturals/organics, all from the same color family, all the same shape, etc.)-- choose a focal and pick beads that coordinate with it-- or go truly wild and put a little of everything together into one zany piece. (Maybe make a game of it. Pour all the beads into a bowl and pick them at random. Do you dare?)
  • Turn the spotlight on them. Give them another look. Are any of them especially nice on their own? Even one solitary bead can make a striking accessory. One beautiful bead as a pendant or strung directly onto a leather thong makes a simple but powerful fashion statement.
  • Turn a single bead into a ring with wire-wrapping. (Be warned: This can lead you into a whole new artistic obsession!)
  • Make beaded bookmarks (a.k.a. book thongs). All you need to make several unique book marks is a selection of (preferably large-holed) beads and some thin ribbon. Cut the ribbon to the desired length. (One and a half to two feet is a common length. Adjust to suit the size of books you wish to use the book mark in.) Apply Fray Check (or plain old white glue, in a pinch) to the cut ends and let dry. Knot one end of the ribbon (double knot, if needed) and string on your chosen beads. (Usually two or three per end will do, but it's a matter of personal preference.) Knot the other end. If desired, knot the ribbon again just inside the strung beads, to prevent them from all sliding to one end of the ribbon.

If all else fails you can always make more beads to match or coordinate with the ones you have left. Sure, you may end up with even more beads rolling around your house, but you're sure to have fun in the process!