Craft Organization: Planner & Swatches 

In the spirit of beginning-of-the-year organizing, I’d like to share a bit about my first planner since high school. I should probably start by saying I’m not naturally the most organized person, depending on what we’re talking about and the mood I’m in. But running a creating business requires keeping track of a lot of things, so I usually have a series of lists on my iPhone – to dos, ongoing projects, etc.

But when I saw Cindy Lietz/PolymerClayTutor’s Planner Ideas Video I was inspired to try it, especially because of the Swatch Section she has for craft shopping, which I will get to in a moment. I didn’t pay attention to what brand she bought and probably wouldn’t have wanted to spend that much due to my never-ending supply list, though it might be worth it if you use a planner regularly.

What I did was pick my own planner on Amazon – a coloring planner that I hoped would add enough fun to keep me using it – and then a half size binder and some tabs and sleeves from Walmart. I had to trim the pages and punch my own holes, but I was able to squeeze it in. You can also buy basic planner pages or even make your own.

I added some pages of my own in between, since I still work better with weekly more monthly to-do lists than daily planning, and some more in the back for things like project ideas, business and marketing ideas, shopping lists, etc.

Then, with some more guidance from various online crafters, I used some half sheets of cardstock and some free printable templates to make swatches of paints, inks, powders, glitters, stamps – even chips of polymer clay!

 

A few snapshots of some of my planner pages, lists, swatches, and handmade paperclips!

It’s hard to say how useful the actual planner is for me compared to my phone. I’m still getting used to checking the binder, but I feel like I have more room for detail and I don’t have to worry about deleting anything. And of course, the coloring is a nice way to relax and practice with different mediums.

I’m still thinking about how to take inventory of more dimensional objects like tools and jewelry findings, but I think it’s helpful to be able to look at some of what I have when I’m at the craft store. Even if I don’t necessarily keep up with specific quantities, I can remember what I bought in the first place and see what other colors would complement it.

So I hope this gives you some ideas for a fun, useful, and/or budget-friendly planner system (you can find a lot more ideas on YouTube, I just don’t remember which other videos were the most helpful!). Let me know in the comments what kind of craft planning and organizing works for you!

Polymer Clay Cane-Making: Mountain Landscape

It’s been a super busy week with making a bunch more jewelry sets for the aSHEville Museum (where I will be attending a meet the artist event early next month), holiday orders starting to come in, and my first sale on Amazon Handmade! 

I’m working on those Halloween posts I promised, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little of the making of one of my current projects. I finally started taking in-progress pictures of my canes and some of my friends and fans seemed pretty interested. 

Caning allows you to make anything from an abstract pattern to a flower to a complex scene. It’s one of my favorite techniques because it gives you a set of perfectly matching pieces, but because the result is hard to predict, each one is unique, even if you make the same thing twice. 

This set of photos is of an Asheville-inspired mountain scene cane, which I recently remade for the jewelry sets after the first batch started to sell out. The process is relatively simple in this case, mostly just blending and layering colors, but hopefully these photos give you an idea of how it’s put together.

  

If you’re interested in learning more about cane making, there are a lot of resources online but I would especially recommend Mo Clay on YouTube, who I also mentioned in my Seascape Cane Post. Her videos on landscape canes taught me things I hardly thought possible a couple of years ago, and I’ve been able to use those techniques to come up with my own designs. 

You can now see my video version Here, and you can also purchase my finished cane jewelry on Etsy or My website

Let me know if you have any questions about my canes – or any suggestions on how to make one with trees in it! 

My Brother’s Cake Toppers & Our Trip to CA

Joe and I finally took another trip to California since we hadn’t seen our families in almost three years and my big brother was getting married.

It’s a little weird visiting home when your life has changed so much in a few years that you don’t know whether to feel more out of place where you live or where you’re from.

But this trip wasn’t quite as exhausting as usual because we didn’t try to do everything and see everyone, which allowed us to enjoy the time with our families and relax a little in between. I even brought drawing supplies and actually used them – only on the plane, but still. 

We didn’t really have time for sightseeing either but enjoyed some window shopping, hiking, and of course delicious food. 

I made these cake toppers for the wedding, inspired by some other ones my now sister-in-law liked, featuring the bride and groom and their two cats under a flower arch. They are wooden pegs decorated with paint and polymer clay.

  
I am now getting back to work and preparing for the holiday season so watch out for new items! 

Travel Themed Baby Hat and Card

Another friend of mine recently had a baby girl and I wanted to give a handmade gift as usual. 

I like to have an idea to work from, to make each one personal, so I asked about her nursery theme – travel – and searched Pinterest for ideas.

My husband agreed that This Little Pink Aviator Hat would be perfect! It’s actually for sale on Etsy, but I found This Pattern and made my own with a few modifications.

  
To go with it, I made this hot air balloon card – a simple drawing, colored, cut out, and layered. 

  
I added some bath stuff and a bag and it was ready to go (sometimes I do matching booties but my other projects were piling up)! 

I’m thinking about doing some more cards like this for my shop, since they might be a little more fun and personal than my art print cards. I would appreciate any suggestions! 

Sculpey Bead Baking Rack Review/Tips

  

So I bought some extra supplies a few months back and did a couple craft haul posts – Part 1 and Part 2. Now I want to talk about one of those items specifically, the Bead Baking Rack. I opted for the cheaper Sculpey one rather than the Amaco brand, because I wanted to fit several other tools into my budget, and I have to say I am very pleased with this item for the price.

It comes in a deceptively small package with the pins nested inside the rack part. The nesting feature is very convenient for storage (I have mine standing up in a jar with my blades, ball tools, etc). The pins are pretty sharp and seem like a perfect thickness to me. They’re easy to use – I twist the pin as I’m piercing the bead to keep from distorting it. And with 12 pins, you can bake plenty of beads at once using both sides of the rack, and maybe even have some flat items underneath. 

I would say the only downside is having to place the rack on a separate tray to bake (or in my case a tile) which means you run the risk of the whole thing sliding off on its way in or out of the oven. This would be the advantage of the Amaco version, which is a rack and tray in one. But you could use a tray with sides to avoid the problem, and maybe start your project with the tray already in place so you don’t have to move everything.

This tool has definitely made my claying life easier. I barely made beads before, due to the difficulty in making nice uniform holes and baking without flat spots. Also I guess most of my ideas didn’t involve clay beads, but I’m pretty happy with the tulip-inspired ones shown above, in progress, and below, finished as convertible bracelet/necklaces. They are available in my Etsy Shop or on my Website

What do you use to make your beads turn out just right? Have you discovered any great clay tools to share? 

   
 

Easy Earring Display Idea

I’ve just finished all my custom orders for the moment, so I thought I’d write a quick post to share a super easy DIY idea – an earring holder made from a window screen.

  

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of earrings. I used to have to dig for the pair I wanted when deciding what to wear.

So when I saw a tutorial or two for using screening to turn a picture frame into an earring rack, I decided to make an even simpler one with some window screens I had lying around from another project.

I can’t remember how much they cost but probably not much. And all I did was put the little bracket things on the corners, tie some cord around them, and cover up the ugly label. 

You could certainly make the edges prettier with some fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, paint, etc. But I’m lazy and I think the earrings add plenty of color.

  

Hang this in your bedroom or bathroom and you can see all your favorite pairs of earrings when you’re getting ready. I actually have a second one in my studio that I use for stuff I’ve made.

Well I hope you like this idea! How do you keep your jewelry organized?

Current Orders

I’m super busy with orders at the moment, which is a little stressful but great for business. So I thought I’d share some of what I’m working on.

This necklace, sold to a friend, is one of my first experiments with resin. I’ve had quite a challenge getting rid of the little tiny bubbles, but I’m pretty happy with the design.

  

These kettlebell earrings were for sale at the grand opening of my husband’s gym, Crossfit Metanoia of Fayetteville NC. Stay tuned for a possible full post about the gym itself!

  

I’m doing variations of these cat cake toppers for three weddings coming up! One of them will include a miniature of the Philadelphia “LOVE” statue.

  

And lastly, I’ve just sold 4 of my statement necklaces to one customer, which is really exciting because movie-themed stuff is popular (the HTTYD earrings are my best sellers) but I would also like to sell some of my more original designs like these. 

 
I’ve also had a couple smaller orders in between, and I have new items in the works that I hope to finish eventually!