Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Make an Adjustable Slider Bead for a Necklace Cord - Tutorial

Our sockeye salmon pieces are packed and ready to be delivered to the artisan market at the Salmon Festival tomorrow which starts this Friday.  One of the salmon themed items we have created to sell there is a pendant strung on the softglass cord.  We wanted the necklace to be suitable for both men and women as well as adjustable so we created a slider type bead that also has our signature logo stamp on it.

This is how to make an adjustable clay slider bead for softglass or buna cord:

Step 1:
To find the correct hole size, we matched the cord up with a pair of knitting needles that were the same thickness.  For example, the photo below shows the olive green softglass cord as the same  thickness as size 12 knitting needles where the copper buna cord is thinner so the same thickness as size 14.

Step 2:
Make a clay bead by rolling a medium thick sheet of clay and then doubling it.  Cut a 1/2" circle from the clay sheet and then roll into an oblong "ball".

Step 3:
Holding the pair of knitting needles together, poke a "double" hole into your clay bead by going straight down into your clay ball.

Step 4:
Carefully remove the knitting needles and flip your clay ball over.  You should see two indent marks that were made from the knitting needles.

Step 5:
Holding the knitting needles together and lining them up with the marks, insert them straight down into the clay piece the same way as in step 3.  You can go all the way through the clay bead to make a double hole by twisting one knitting needle at a time being careful to not distort or stretch the hole any larger. 

Step 6:
Leave the clay bead on the knitting needles as shown below for the next step.

Step 7:
You can stamp a pattern onto your bead at this point.  We like to texture one side and add our signature logo stamp on the other.  This is done by placing the clay bead onto a texture plate or stamp and pressing down slightly.  Another texture or logo stamp (shown here) can be pressed down on top.

Step 8:
Carefully remove the knitting needles from the clay bead one at a time by gently twisting them.  Bake the bead for at least 40 minutes.  After baking the cord should slide in through the holes but not be too lose.  If you find that your holes are too large, then you may need to go with a size smaller pair of knitting needles.

Step 9:
To prevent the bead from coming off the cord, a crimping bead can be added to the ends.  Here we used some fold over cord crimps and cut the loop off the end.  You could always leave the loops on and add a decorative bead dangle to each end if you prefer.

Step 10:
Cut your cord so that it is long enough to fit over your head with the slider bead extended to the end.  The cord on the necklace shown here is 26 inches long.  Slide the cord through the pendant and then through the slider bead.  Attach the fold over cord crimps to each cord end the same way as in our other softglass tutorial here.

One last tip:
If you do not want your cord ends to be a shiny metal, that can easily be changed by adding a bit of Gilders Paste.  Here we added some black to the silver ends which gave them more of a gunmetal look and blended in with the black cord so they weren't so noticeable.  I like Wendy Orlowski's tip she shared (click here) on marking the outside of her tins with the color so they are quick and easy to identify without having to open the lid each time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It's All in the Package

Now that our sockeye salmon pieces are done, we have been busy packaging them all.  Sometimes it seems as much time and work go into this part as making the items themselves.  We design and print all our own labels to accommodate each item.  It takes a bit of work setting up the original templates and then afterwards they are ready to print anytime we need more.

The switch plate cover was a little tricky to figure out how to make and took a little bit of engineering on our part.  We wanted to hang them on our pegboard display but also show them off nicely.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sockeye Salmon are Coming!

It has been an unusually busy summer for us as we have the Salmon Festival coming up in October which happens only every 4th year.  The salmon are already arriving but the great event starts October 3rd and will run for 3 weeks.  This means we have had to work on creating our salmon pieces in between our regular shows and filling store orders.

In order to do this, we had set aside several hours each day to work on our salmon fish pieces.  So far we have made more than 1000 clay "fish" which are then attached to various findings and made into items such as key chains, zipper pulls, cell phone charms, necklaces, earrings, tie bars, fridge magnets and even switch plate covers.

Salmon earring beads ready to bake
Finished salmon pieces

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thread & Paper Store Opening Demo

There was an excellent turn out at the grand opening of the new Thread & Paper store in Salmon Arm  today.  Dave and I were set up in the classroom area to demo our clay which went really well.  We were mainly focusing on how our handcrafted buttons are made.  The lady bugs and "Natasha" beads (or inside out beads) were a big hit.  Here is some of the scrap clay we used and a few beads we made from it.

We will be teaching a Beginner workshop (Introduction to Polymer Clay) at the Thread & Paper store in November which is now full.  There was a fair bit of interest so we may be teaching another one in the new year.

samples for the beginner clay workshop
The new store is really spacious and packed with a lot of really cool supplies for the knitter, quilter and also now the scrapbooker.  I managed to explore the scrapbooking section and found lots of fun things that I could use with the clay.

Some of the scrapbooking section at Thread & Paper
centre area of the store with scrapbooking section in the foreground
And finally, here is where most of our handcrafted buttons and wearable art pieces are displayed in the store.

It was a great day but we were pretty exhausted afterwards so this is me relaxing at home on the patio afterwards....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thread & Paper Grand Opening

There is a new store in Salmon Arm, BC called Thread & Paper.  It was formerly known as The Sewing Basket but is now under new ownership and has relocated to a larger building (the old Honda building on the Trans Canada Hwy).  They will still be selling the usual quilt and yarn supplies but have also added a large scrap booking section.

We will be at the store for their grand opening day this Saturday and will be set up in the new classroom area where we will be demonstrating our clay and promoting our "Introduction to Polymer Clay" Beginner workshop coming up in November.  We will also be promoting our buttons and wearable art pieces that are for sale in the store.

If you are in the area, pop in and say hi.  We would love to see you.  For more information you can check their facebook page here.

Here are a few pictures I took when we were there the other day:

Carol, new owner/manager of Thread & Paper
Thread & Paper Store almost ready for their grand opening!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Small Buttons

Anne from Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft sent us a picture of an adorable kids cardigan sweater she made with our handcrafted buttons.  This sweater is her class project this fall.  She wanted to use the lady bug buttons but they were a little too large so she attached one to the collar as an accent.  The main buttons she used are our sorbet treats in lime green.

Most of our children's types buttons are now sold individually in the stores rather than in a package.  We have found that this works great for certain styles as some of the colors can mix and match like the toglets used in the sweater shown below created by one of Kelowna Yarn's customers (see the previous blog post here).

Since some of the yarn shops we sell to specialize in baby and children's items, our smaller buttons have become more in demand.  We had requests for even smaller ones such as the Brilliant Blooms and so we came up with the Mini version.

To see what shops sell our buttons and other handcrafted items, you can visit our website page here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Faux Turquoise in New Colors

I've been experimenting with my Faux Turquoise technique and finally made it in some new colors.  The photo below shows the faux turquoise in the usual blue shade on the left and the new greenish turquoise on the right.

Here are some faux turquoise beads in the new greener shade in the CaBezel molds ready to finish off in a necklace.  We have also been experimenting with sanding some of our pieces with the micro mesh and really love the finish they gave on these.  We will share more on that with you later.

And now here are some more buttons in a new red colored stone using my same faux turquoise technique.  I really love how this color turned out and coming up with all sorts of ideas on how to use it.

And last are some buttons done up in an ivory white blend.

So here are the clay recipes I used
to create the new faux Turquoise colors:

Follow the same steps in my Fabulous Faux Turquoise tutorial but use the following clay mixes.  (Sorry my clay recipes are only available using Kato clay -- see my Clay Color System tutorial for any of the color recipe mixes below.)

Green Turquoise:

Recipe Mix # 1
Follow the recipe for "Lagoon" (recipe #8-3)
but replace the pearl with only 1 part white mix #1-2

Recipe Mix # 2
Follow the recipe for "Lagoon" (recipe #8-3)
but replace the pearl with 4 parts white mix #1-2

Using 2 parts of the Mix #1 to 1 part of Mix # 2,
mix by rolling into two logs enough
to create a "marbling" effect.

Red Turquoise:

This was created with the Pantone Fall 2014 color
Aurora Red

White Stone Effect:

Combine 2 parts of White Mix #1-2 and 1 part Transluscent
Roll into two logs and mix enough
to create a "marbling" effect.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lake Country Art Walk Come and Gone

I hadn't blogged in a while as the last few weeks had been so busy with hardly any extra time to spare.  Dave and I had both been putting in long hours working on fall orders for the local stores that sell our work as well as preparing for the Lake Country Art Walk.

The Art Walk was last weekend and is hard to believe it has now come and gone.  We weren't as exhausted afterwards this year thanks to the extra help we had this time.  The show was so busy I didn't get a chance to take any pictures during, but did manage to get a few pics of our set-up the Friday evening before.

This is Dave and our sister-in-law Pat resting after doing our set-up the Friday evening before the show.  Pat and her friend Brenda were a great help all weekend.  We also hired an art student to help as well so there was as many as 5 of us to help take care of customers.

This was our earring display along with our flip flop pieces.  The theme this year was "Shoes, A step forward" so we had to have our flip flop jewelry to go along.

This was one of our jewelry displays.  Also included were some special scarf jewelry pieces on some gorgeous silk scarves.

This was our new sweater guard clip display.  The sweater guards were a really big hit and we had nearly sold out of them.

Some of the sweater guards here were in our new faux turquoise colors (the green and red) using the Cabezel moulds.  I will share the new color recipes I used to make these with you in my next post.

Sweater guard in new faux green turquoise
Sweater guard in new faux red turquoise