New Dragon Necklace Design

I came up with a new necklace design, hope you all like it. I do, because it’s versatile. I love jewelry you can wear more than one way. Not quite finished with it, but here it is almost done. When it’s finished, you will be able to completely disconnect the dragon. If you are curious, read on.

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The Renn Faire this spring was a mixed bag of weather, blustery cold winds mixed with spattering of equally chilling rain. I was glad I wore my cloak. It wasn’t until a lady said something to me about the dragon I pinned to the cloak I realized, I’d been walking around for a couple of hours without choking at all. I usually adjust my cloak multiple times when I wear it, what was different? Surely it was the weight of the Dragon!

I had a dragon that was destined to become a necklace, and as an after thought I attached the lovely dragon pictured. On my navy blue cloak, it popped and people noticed it. Which was what I was after, and the lovely lady who mentioned it asked for details. It made me happy to make a connection with someone like that, but it wasn’t until I got home the brain kicked in…. Actually, the dragon whispered, you’ve been making the necklaces all wrong….And of course the dragon is always right… and I took that thought and ran with it.

This dragon has sat for a couple of months waiting for a necklace and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a chain, or a beaded rope of some sort. I could make the dragons just for cloaks, neat idea, but what if I wanted to wear it when I wasn’t cloaked? The answer was simple, I needed to make the rope removable. A clasp on the top bend of the wings would create a completely transformable dragon. I’ll post the finished item in a future post.

 

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Dragon Eggs…..

I finally got bit by the Dragon Egg bug. Not sure that this is going to be a constant thing, but I’ve spend the spring energyIMG_2481 focusing on Dragon Eggs. In February, I bought half a dozen eggs in various materials, including a couple of Glass eggs. Those I’m planning on beading around. I still have a LARGE egg to cover with scales not sure about the method, but it will have to be metallic and another about the size of the large black egg in the pictures.

The picture of the black egg is the only large one I have finished. It was a paper mache egg and honestly, it was really a chore to poke holes in the surface, but the work was worth it.  A lot of the dragon eggs I have seen are so precise, they don’t look organic. The dragon eggs I have seen, that I liked were not so perfect.  Honestly the thumbtacks helped. I bought them at the Dollar Tree and they were not exactly uniform. When arranging the scales, they looked more like dragon skin, this is what I was aiming at. I was so pleased with the effect, I wanted to try more colors….so I found smaller eggs and created the Faerie Dragon size. This large one took me about a week to finish. I could do a  smaller chicken sized egg in an evening while watching TV.

I made smaller ones in black, gold, green, blue, copper and (oops!)  how did the Phoenix egg get in therIMG_2652e?  All these eggs are made on an egg form and I base coat the egg with nail polish and then add thumbtacks that are painted to match the egg color. I don’t have a pattern, in fact, I try to avoid a set pattern and leave a bit of space between some of the scales and some I overlap. Check out Wal-Mart especially now after Easter, they have dye-able eggs and chalkboard eggs (yes, they are black) at reduced prices!

My thought process when making these dragon eggs….these eggs are probably easier for the Dragon to lay and I can even imagine that they are somewhat soft, and as they dry, they harden. The more regimented version might as well, but just a bit of chaos makes it look more flexible to me, like dragon skin….and yes I know that is totally subjective. Maybe the dragons are whispering into my head, they often do.

I still need to spray all of them with sealer, but this is an outside activity and it’s wind season here. Hopefully April will calm down, so I can get them finished. Hopefully in the coming week.

 

 

What I got Myself into….

About half a year ago I joined a local meetup that holds workshops on teaching you how to run and promote your shop. As I was thinking about starting a newsletter and signed up for Mailchimp, but couldn’t get a handle on how to start, I suggested this past month’s workshop. So, now I’m doing my homework…..Please help me! I haven’t done homework in forever! IMG_2405

The homework is to get some of you to sign up to Out of Chaos….

I belong to an Etsy group which focuses on teaching you how to run and promote your shop and this is homework. Please help me get a list of friends and family and just the curious, who will put up with one e-mailed newsletter in their in box per month. I promise you plenty of dragon items as I am looking forward to Bubonicon again this year. I applied, haven’t heard back yet….but I’m hopeful! I did really well there last year and people really seemed to appreciate my dragons! But I digress…..

Starting in April, I am planning on creating a BellBooknDragon Newsletter – Out of Chaos… An apt name, as it describes my creative process.

It will contain information about upcoming events, new items, and items in process that haven’t made it to the shops yet. This Newsletter will be sent out the 2nd Week of the month. Date to be determined by the amount of chaos I have gotten myself into!

You have probably already seen the sign up pop up. When you navigated to this page and got it out of the way to read the blog – don’t worry, I do it too!  Just please comeback here in a bit and sign up for the newsletter when the pop up appears. You will find out more about the two dragons pictured in this entry. And more to come….

 

 

Coming Soon to BellBooknDragon on Etsy

IMG_2277 Here are a few of my Hanging Dragons. So what do you do with a hanging dragon? Well, you hang it. Some of my favorite ideas have been:

  • Hang one from every ceiling fan in the house.
  • Hang one from a suction cup on the window next to the bird feeder – to see how the birds react. Nice house guardian, don’t you think?
  • Wear one as a necklace – I tried that. They make a nice conversation piece.
  • Of course, I will have to have one dangling from each rear view mirror of the cars.

The point is, these are cool, functional and not limited to being jewelry. And I’ve probably missed a few ideas. So let me know what you would do with one in the comments below, ideas are always welcome!

Thought I’d show you the detail in the larger dragons – Excuse the tags they are necessary for inventory. This lovely  twisted dragon has been crocheted with beads around a wire, it’s head and tail are mainly herringbone.IMG_2282

This black and gold beauty may be one of my favorite color combinations, not due to color, although I am partial to black dragons, but because they are very photogenic.

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Did You Ever Want to be a Dragon?

I can’t say that I did, however, to see one, to touch one, to know that those splendid beings did exist outside of books, movies and RPG’s. Yes, I think I’ve always longed for that, but believing it was another story. I saw dragons everywhere, in the clouds, in rocks, even in the leaves on the trees and the mountains, but it took a whole lot longer to realize that in my soul there was a dragon, sitting quietly, patiently for me to realize it and accept the gift of the dragon energy.

IMG_2028And now they are everywhere. I saw this beauty the other day when I was out running around. It lifted my spirits and made me smile. Spirituality is what speaks to your soul and I’m always open to the dragon energies.

I think that’s why I make the beaded dragons, to express the joy they give me  in the brief glimpses I have of them. Believe me, it is a labor of love.

Comicon 2016

Today is the first day of Comicon. I’m excited! Bubonicon was a wonderful venue and I’m looking forward to this event. Also excited about the new Star Wars movie! I have loved Star Wars since the first movie, so this movie, continuing the movie that started it all got me beading my own Light Saber Earrings. IMG_1994

To celebrate, I’m posting a tutorial. Actually, I thought I would print out copies of the tutorial to hand out at Comicon Albuquerque, however, my printer had other ideas….so I’m posting the tutorial here. I figure, it’s a good way to build my blog…..

Light Saber Earrings

So, what am I wearing? Well, not the Light Saber Earrings…..While shopping for holiday presents, I ran across a set of  space craft that included the Millennium Falcon, so here is what I’m wearing at least today…..IMG_2019Yeah, I’m wearing a dog fight….I believe the Millennium Falcon is winning, but I’m definitely prejudiced in that area. That one Tie Fighter is toast!

 

Making a Dragon Eye Cabochon

Dragon Eye Tut - 1Over the summer this year, I have been asked to write tutorials on how to make the dragon’s eyes I have posted. So here is my first tutorial.  I started with a dragon eye cabochon, because  that’s how it all starts. There are a few tutorials out there and they are free, so I am following suit. I hope it’s helps those of you who want to make your dragon’s eyes.

I am including a PDF of the following tutorial for download. I suggest it over copying and pasting, because, well, it looks better and is easier to read. This program keeps taking the spacing out of the saved draft.Here is the PDF: Making a Dragon Eye Pupil
Dragon’s eyes, especially beaded ones that take many hours to create deserve a great foundation. A good cabochon makes or breaks a design. I have made eyes from Dollar Store glass cabs, I have made them from acrylic resin, and glass cabochons. However, my favorite way to make a dragon’s eye is to use a graphic on a glass cabochon. I have found it to be the easiest way to get a realistic looking dragon eye.

I plan on more tutorials, the first, coming soon, is one for beading a basic dragon’s eye.

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Materials needed –
1 inch glass cabochons, 4×6 inch photo paper(or what you have on hand), clear nail polish, patience
Tools –
1 inch punch or sharp scissors, if you don’t have a 1 inch punch don’t worry, the scissors can be used instead.
No, I do not make the graphics for the eyes. I have bought from vendors on Etsy:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/MegansCreativeDesign
https://www.etsy.com/shop/LisaChristines
Or, if you want to make your own graphic on the computer, here is a good tutorial:
http://zlibbenga13.deviantart.com/art/Dragon-Eye-Tutorial-215949919
And there’s this one for making a glass cabochon:

– What I do to get the size circle….
The graphics I use come as a sheet of different eye patterns. I save the graphic sheets as many times as there are different eyes on the sheet, plus one, so I have a master on my computer. However, I still have to resize the graphics to fit my glass cabochons.
I am computer impatient – that means. Instead of learning what to do with the graphics program to size the eyes to your cabochon, I use the hunt and peck method. Those of you who understand how to resize to just the right size, skip this part, I’ll likely confuse you. I am sure there is an easier way to do this. My way uses the photo gallery that is on my computer, and a PowerPoint presentation.
I crop one eye for each color and style and save the image in a folder in on the computer. It helps if you are consistent with the size you crop your graphic, but I’m a messy crafter. I usually eyeball it and then crop it. I put a few designs in a PowerPoint presentation all close to the size I want, print out the page and choose the one which matches the hole in my punch. Then I save it on another page labeled with the size of the eye. I do this for all designs purchased that I am likely to use. Then I will print the graphic out and measure using the cabochon I intend to use.Example PP Slide

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I like to use My Jewelry Shop Glass Cabochons I buy them at Hobby Lobby. These cabochons are 1 inch in diameter. When I get the graphics printed, I use my one inch hole punch. This one is an EK Success, it’s my favorite and I have made many eyes with it.1007151144
Once you have your graphics, print to size, and cut or punch them out.
Assembly
I have tried glue, I have tried modge podge, but I have found that clear nail polish works well for making good cabs. Glue & Modge Podge tend to dry cloudy for me, or maybe I’m just too impatient. Clear nail polish dries clear even though it takes 24 hours to completely set and while the initial setting is going on you need to keep an eye on your cabs, the glass will kind of slide around on the graphic.
Materials: (again so you don’t have to look back)
1 inch glass cabochons, 4×6 inch photo paper, clear nail polish, patience
Tools:
1 inch punch or sharp scissors, if you don’t have a 1 inch punch don’t worry, the scissors can be used instead.
Once you have drawn or obtained your graphic, here is the process:
1. Size your eye graphic and print out your graphics on photo paper. This is sturdy paper with a slick finish that improves the overall appearance of the finished graphic. I use 4×6 sheets of photo paper. I make sure to get the most out of my sheet of photo paper and fill it with eye graphics. Even if I only plan on making one eye, this way I have more next time.

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2. Cut your graphics out. If you have a one inch punch use that, otherwise, carefully cut out your graphic with a sharp pair of scissors. You may need to trim the borders on your graphic sheet if you are using a punch. Take your time, even with the punch and line up your graphic carefully before cutting. Turn the punch over so you can see the cut.

3. From here on out, work on a firm flat surface. I use an old desk in my office area. This also doubles as my photo shop because the light is good here. If you are working on a nice piece of furniture, always protect the surface. I don’t on my $20.00 garage sale find, it was already weathered and worn as you can see in the pictures.

4. Coat the cropped graphics with nail polish and set aside to dry. This coats and protects your printed graphic. It will take around 5 minutes to set hard enough for you to continue. Note: the older the clear nail polish is, the more likely you will have air bubbles, because it is thick.

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5. Coat the graphic with another layer of nail polish and place the clean glass cabochon over the graphic. Make sure to wipe off any finger prints that occur on the flat side of the cabochon before you lay it on the graphic.

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6. Inspect your dragon eye cab. If it looks back at you, you did it. If you can see obvious spots that aren’t adhered to the glass, you have some air bubbles. At first just swish the cab around on the graphic, if that doesn’t get it, I will push down on the cab. If that doesn’t work, I simply pick up the cabochon and press from the graphic side until those spots go away. Then carefully lay the eye back down.
The picture to the right was made using a fresh bottle of nail polish. I got NO air bubbles what so ever.

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The picture on the right, you can see one large air bubble and some tiny ones on the iris. This one was done with a clear nail polish that had thickened. Both nail polishes used were cheap $1.00-2.00 per bottle. No need to get something expensive.

7. Keep an eye on the curing dragon’s eye. In the next 45 minutes or so, check about every 15 minutes to make sure the cabochon hasn’t slid off slightly. To fix you simply re-position the cabochon. After 30-45 minutes the cabochon won’t slide.IMG_1905

8. Leave the dragon eye to cure, trust me, it takes at least 24 hours. I live in New Mexiico and it’s dry out here, things dry fast. So when I tell you it takes 24 hours, trust me. If you live a damp climate, it will probably take longer. The wait is worth it!

9. Check each cabochon. When the cabochons are set, check each one. Unfortunately, not every one will be perfect, no matter how carefully you have crafted them. (Pics of Good, Not perfect and Air Bubbled cabochons.)Three of these have air bubbles, one is perfect, if not a bit off center.IMG_1908

And it’s almost done –

Dragon Torc Black & Silver
Dragon Torc Black & Silver

Remember the last post – of the dragon necklace in process? I should have taken more pictures during the process, but well, when I fall into the beading, I’m focused. This is the first time I’ve come up for a bit of air and it’s almost done.
The body of this Dragon Torc is finished. The head is finished – although it gave me a few moments pause. I used Rrkra’s head pattern from memory, so it’s a loose interpretation, and at first it looked more like a snake than a dragon, but I kept at it and now it’s more like a dragon than a snake, it does however have a nice square lower jaw that reminds me of Sigourney Weaver’s jaw – it’s a handsome dragon. It does have elements of Snake mixed with Dragon, but I’m liking the result.
No wings on this one. All my mind can come up with was  terribly under developed wings, or massive ones that could turn out to look like a vampire collar .or worse, a bat trying to attack your head. Need to work on a folded wing using ribbon that will collapse between the wing supports.

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Should have this done tomorrow sometime, if not today.
If you are interested in learning to bead these dragons,

Rrkra’s tutorials have been a wealth of information and inspiration. Here’s a link to her Deviant Art page: http://rrkra.deviantart.com/

Work in Process – Black Dragon Wrap Necklace

Black & Silver Wrapped Dragon Necklace in Process
Black & Silver Wrapped Dragon Necklace in Process

This is a work in progress, obviously. It’s taken me a while to finally find a center wire that is strong enough to stand up to gentle bending and hold it’s shape. I found it, at the hardware store-Galvanized Steel wire 16-18 gauge. It could be reshaped a bit as well, to the preference or neck size of the new owner.

I’ve got a few more hours work until I’ll need some direction from the dragon. However, I’m getting some images of wings on this one. I know how to get the wires in place at least, ‘fleshing’ them out might be another matter entirely….

Dragons in the Sky….

I found another one today, lazingIMG_1654  around (just like a dragon), enjoying the sunshine. I didn’t think I could get good pics of the head as close as it was to the sun, but I took the pictures anyway. I had to edit out some sun reflection, but the overall capture was good.

The only regret I have is that I didn’t catch the entire dragon. This one manifested completely. It’s rare to get a full body manifestation out here where the clouds are notoriously sparse.

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