Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Create shoes...recklessly!

As some of you know, one of the very first things I made with leather was a shoe. One silver high-heeled, wearable shoe with Swarovski crystal inlays. But, alas, I only made one.

But that's about to change! While I won't be making another one of these fancy ladies, I am set on making a pair of embellished tennis shoes. I recently stumbled upon this Kickstarter campaign and I couldn't resist. I exchanged emails with the founders of the ONEDAY Sneaker Kit and they made a new fan.

Why not join me? Consider backing their Kickstarter campaign and lets make some shoes together! Many of the techniques in Beautiful Leather Jewelry will work for the shoes and the Create Recklessly with leather toolkit and hardware would add beautiful embellishments.


Isn't it fun to live in a world where we can support and play with artists in the Netherlands with just a click of a button?

Have a great week!


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't discard those oyster forks yet!

Okay, so we had some fun this April Fools and if you are a blog subscriber you received our "ad" in your email. But now, in all seriousness on this not so serious day, we have lots of great news to share!

Today starts a new chapter of Create Recklessly. Our product line of leather tools by Beadsmith was previewed in January at the CHA show and has since been featured in Tucson, at the Craft, Stitch and Hobby Show in the UK, on JTV and is making its way into bead stores. 

Leather patchwork kits from JTV
In the coming months we will have sneak peaks at the new artists joining our team and the amazing products they are creating. Until then, we will bring you some new techniques for leatherwork and more, starting with new ways to inlay, my favorite way to create leather closures, an interview with the Director of the Leather Research Laboratory, and then we'll talk wood... because we're reckless that way.

You can also find more information about leather in the April/May issue of Step by Step Wire or just jump right ahead to Tammy Honaman's fabulous leather cuff featured project... I even saw that they have kits for her design! If you are looking to learn in person, join me at the Bead and Button Show this June or at the November Autumn Artist Retreat here in WA at the Suncadia Resort. Two of my favorite wire artists will be there...Tracy Stanley and Sarah Thompson (I will be sneaking into those classrooms)! And then, of course, you can learn in the comfort of your own home with the book Beautiful Leather Jewelry or by viewing a Craftcast class!

And on a final note, my heartfelt thanks. For joining us here. For stopping by to say hi at the shows (and for bringing me know who you are!!). For dropping me a message with a photo of what you are making. For leaving me comments just when I am sure no one wants to hear what I have to say. For sharing my excitement in the silliest of reckless things (remember the April Fools post a few years ago where I attempted to turn my flexshaft into a pottery wheel? Yep, still removing clay off the walls). For helping me realize this reckless dream! I know I'll have more to say on this later, but not on April Fools.

Create recklessly,


Monday, February 9, 2015

Snap Bezels

Polymer clay snap bezels by Melissa Cable

I am home from the Tucson launch of Create Recklessly leather tools and supplies and I couldn't be more inspired...and tired!

After a busy day unpacking and catching up with my family, I finally had some quiet time to myself. I kicked up my feet and grabbed the most recent issue of Step By Step Wire magazine, which contained a polymer clay article I contributed. Then, I drifted off to sleep for a long needed nap. I found myself dreaming of setting snaps! Afterall, I must have demonstrated how to set a snap over 100 times last week. So, it should be no surprise, that when I woke I was convinced that a snap receiver (the female part) would make a perfect bezel for polymer clay.

And sometimes inspiration happens just like that. But, could the leather survive the toaster oven? Hmmmmm... Nap done, reckless creation about to commence...

I always start with the "proof of concept" phase, where I throw something together just enough to test if it works. Luckily, it did not go up in flames (literally and figuratively), the leather did not get hard, did not curl and the color did not fade...all things I suspected might happen.

Then it was time for some real tests. I made an entire bracelet and placed 6 other leather samples in the toaster oven. I wanted to test different types of leather (chrome tanned vs. vegetable tanned) and different colors of leather in case the dyes affected the outcome. I also kept an identical piece of each leather outside the toaster oven as a control.

The results were consistent. Every piece of leather shrunk in both length and width by 5% exactly. I had hypothesized that the vegetable tanned leather would shrink more, but it too shrunk by 5%.

Of course the most important thing with this technique is to use caution. The leather can catch fire if it comes in contact with the heat coils or is baked at high temperatures. Some leathers may be treated with different coatings or dyes that could react with heat differently than the Create Recklessly leathers. Be sure to do your own testing with the leather you are using and always supervise your toaster oven.

Give it a try...and be sure to share pictures...I would love to see YOUR snap bezels...maybe with some resin, concrete or epoxy?!?!

1. Preheat the toaster oven.

2. Pierce a hole in the leather using the 3/16" hole piercer.

3. Place the eyelet through the hole from the back of the leather.

4. Place the receiver over the eyelet.

5. Use the medium eyelet setter to set the eyelet inside the snap.

6. Roll conditioned polymer clay in a pea-sized ball and press into the snap receiver, removing clay as needed.

7. Use stamps to decorate the clay. I also used a gold Sharpie for dots.

8. Bake as directed (I chose a clay that would bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes at the thickness I was using)

9. Apply any finishing techniques to the clay as desired (buffing, sealing, etc).

I better get to work developing a project with all these leftover snap pieces!

Create recklessly,


PS - Look for our new online store at the end of this month, complete with a new store manager... former beadclub customers might recognize her!  ; )

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cheers to School Teachers!

 Leather coffee sleeve using Tierracast Rivetables
Melissa Cable

School is getting ready to wrap up and the fifth grade moms asked me to come up with a little thank you gift for our elementary school's teachers and staff. I have lots of scrap leather that I was happy to donate, but a bracelet proved tricky due to varying tastes, sizes and genders. I took a sip of my Starbucks as I was contemplating other projects (a leather wrapped-pen, book marks...) and then I noticed the cardboard sleeve on the cup. Bingo! Leather coffee sleeves!

Tierracast's new rivetables were perfect for adorning the sleeves, both functionally and aesthetically. It was an easy project and the other moms and I had fun making 45 of them over morning coffee. While these were simple, I envisioned how I could make customized sleeves...with engraved drawings from my children, colorful stitches, tooled patterns, handmade hardware. I can't wait to have the time to try!

Make sure to use a leather that has a finish on it or apply a sealant (so it can be easily wiped in case of drips). For this same reason, you may also want to apply edge coat to the exposed edges of the sleeve.

Tools and supplies:
Beadsmith leather hole punch (LP200) set to 2mm hole
Tierracast rivet setter (79-0103-00) and small steel block
Scissors or leather shears
3 Tierracast rivetable charms (Item 94-5797, 98, 99)
3 Tierracast cap rivets (Item 01-0060)
Starbucks coffee sleeve
Leather 2.5" X 10"*

1. Use the 2mm leather hole punch to pierce 3 holes on the coffee sleeve (centered on the glued seam of the sleeve)

2. Careful peel the seam apart. Place the sleeve on the back of a piece of leather and trace it, being sure to mark the holes.

3. Cut out the leather and use the 2mm leather hole punch to pierce the holes in the leather.

4. Place the peg part of the cap rivet from the back of the leather on the end that is notched. Place the hole on the other end of the leather over the peg, put the charm on the peg, and then place the cap over the peg, pushing down firmly. Repeat until all 3 charms are applied.

5. Place the back of the pegs on a steel block (the block will be sitting inside of the sleeve). Place the rivet setter on the rivet cap and strike it firmly with a weighted rawhide or other hammer.

6. Might I suggest a triple tall americano with that?

Create recklessly!


*You can reduce size of sleeve to use just 2 charms with a 2" X 10" piece of leather.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back, but Never Gone

Creating recklessly at home...almost done!

I have been on hiatus...not just from this blog but from from my normal day-to-day joy of making. Due to water damage resulting from a leaking refrigerator and improperly installed decks, we began repairs and remodel on our home in January. This meant that the entire contents of our first floor was packed into the kids room and studio while my family and dog moved downstairs for the last 4 months. Except for a piece I made for the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad and an article I wrote for Step by Step Wire...I have created nothing.

Beadsmith Inspiration Squad Project Using "O" beads inlayed into leather.

It has really bothered me the last few months that I could so easily step away from making things and teaching. Normally if I go a week without making something I go stir crazy. I get restless. But this time was different. I didn't miss it. At all. Am I burned out? Should I switch directions and do something else? Do I really like what I do as much as I thought? Questions and doubts filled my mind. Well, now that the remodel is done I have figure out why I didn't miss it. It is simply because that over the last four months my artistic medium has been our home. I have created recklessly with my home, designing a space for our family that is comfortable and functional.

Now we all know how uber-talented the dear Tracy Stanley is. Turns out, her husband Warren is just as talented! He served as our general contractor, and lets be honest, he knew how to handle every crazy idea I had and made them all come to fruition. Afterall, he lives with someone like me...someone who I suspect has to create to thrive. When I told him I was going to take a class in working with stainless steel so that I could make my own brackets for this crazy installation I wanted, he didn't even blink. I'll post on that project when the installation is done so you can see the journey from start to finish.

But now the remodel is nearly done, a little paint and stain and the upstairs interior is finished. With that part of my creative life nearly over, I notice I've been getting restless again. Luckily, the Bead and Button Show is just around the corner. I can't wait to teach lots of leather and Faux Bone classes and get back to making and teaching.

So here I am, I'm back. But really...I never left.

Create recklessly,


PS - A quick shout out to another instructor stretching their creative wings! Linda Franzblau serves as the Marketing Manager for Kalmbach books and I have worked with her on my last two books: Metal Jewelry in Bloom and Beautiful Leather Jewelry. I was pleased to see she's stepping away from the desk and teaching some classes. Be sure to check them out!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Create Recklessly Challenge: Now That's A Jig!

Did you get a chance to see the waxed string template trick for "Now That's A Jig!" in the Spring 2014 issue of Wirework magazine? We'd like to see what YOU do with this trick!

Be one of the first 50 people to sign up and we'll send you a small pack of waxed string to create recklessly with! Create your own template on any jig and email us a photo of your finished jewelry piece and a photo of your waxed string template. We'll post them here on the Create Recklessly blog for our readers to vote on their favorite. Didn't make it in time to become one of the first 50? No problem. Track down some waxed string at your local craft or party supply store and join the challenge.

The winner will receive the amazing "Now That's A Jig!" courtesy of the wire maestro, Brenda Schweder herself!!

Challenge Details

Deadline extended! 

How to Enter: To enter, create a template on any jig using waxed string and make a piece of jewelry (bracelet, necklace, or earrings). Email a photo (JPG) of the finished piece of jewelry and a photo of the waxed string template by December 15, 2014

Voting: Voting will take place between January 1, 2015 and January 15, 2015. Voters can vote for as many entries as they like, but they can only vote for each entry once.

Winner Selection: The winning piece of jewelry will be the one that has the most votes. Other winners may be selected at the blog owner’s discretion. Winners will be notified via email on February 1, 2015

Mail JPG photos to:


  • One entry per person.
  • All submissions must be made from a template you made with waxed strings.
  • Winners will be chosen by the readers of Create Recklessly. All decisions of the blog owner shall be made at their sole and absolute discretion and will be final.
  • Create Recklessly readers can vote for as many entries as they like, but they can only vote for each entry once.
  • By entering, entrant is assuring beadclub LLC that their submission is an original design of the entrant and that the entrant has the right to submit it for use by Create Recklessly without the consent or approval of any third party. 
  • By entering, each entrant is granting beadclub LLC the perpetual and royalty-free right to use the photographs (without photo credits) and the name of the entrants and winners.
  • The contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Melissa's Coconut Butter Chocolate, Banana, Rum, Bacon Bark

 Melissa's Coconut Butter Chocolate,
Banana, Rum, Bacon Bark

I stumbled upon the recipe for Chocolate, Marshmallow, Whiskey, Caramel, Bacon Bark (pictured and linked below) and made it for my husband and his friends for their recent "guys night." I won't even begin to tell you how much sugar this recipe uses. But I will say, it was sticky, chocolaty heaven!

One of the guys, like me, had just finished his Whole 30 (no dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol, legumes for 30 days) and we joked about how we could make this Whole 30 compliant.

So of course, my mind mulled over this thought all day. And, although this is not compliant and I certainly wouldn't call it health food, it is dairy and processed-sugar free. But, there is rum hidden inside...and bacon...well, that's not so hidden. If you like frozen chocolate covered bananas, trust me, you'll love this!

8 oz. jar of coconut butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 medium overripe banana
3 Tbsp rum (Zaya is my favorite)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup crispy crumbled bacon
8X8 pan lined with parchment paper

1. Place the coconut butter into the microwave, lid off, for 1 minute. Stir the jar so that the butter has even consistency. You can heat it again 15 seconds at a time, but if you overheat it you can burn the unstirred butter at the bottom.

2. Spoon out half of the coconut butter into a small dish and mix with 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder. Reheat as needed to get a smooth consistency.

3. Spread half of the chocolate mixture into the 8X8 dish and place in the freezer until firm.

4. Mash up the peeled banana with the back of a fork until smooth. Place it in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it turn light golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 3 Tbsp of rum and the vanilla. Stir in 1 Tbsp of coconut butter and reheat the entire mixture if needed to get an even and spreadable consistency.

5. Remove the chocolate from the freezer and spread the banana rum mixture over the chocolate. Return to the freezer until cooled. The banana mixture will become firmer but will not solidify completely.

6. Reheat the remaining chocolate mixture. Remove the pan from the freezer and spread the remaining chocolate mixture across the banana. Top with crumbled bacon, pressing it in lightly. Return to the freezer until chocolate is firm.

7. Remove from the pan, break into pieces and store in an airtight container the refrigerator.

Creating recklessly in the kitchen this week,


PS - If you are in the Seattle area, join me up at the Ranch Center for Arts and Craft on December 14 at 10am for a class called "Get 'Er Done." Bring your unfinished projects or projects you've been meaning to start and I'll help you jump in, recklessly, and get 'er done! We'll cover lots of techniques and materials as we learn from the varying projects students bring. And...I'll bring some of the chocolate, banana, rum, bacon bark! Visit the Ranch's Facebook page for sign up information.