Saturday, October 22, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 12: Let's Celebrate!

Now that the rush of Christmas is behind us, it's time to reveal the twelfth and final pair of earrings in the Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Extravaganza for 2015. So this pair of earrings is not a Christmassey pair, but rather, a pair of earrings to wear for New Year's Eve celebrations and beyond.

With champagne coloured crystals, a bit of gold for warmth and haematite as the highlight colour, there is plenty of glam in these dangly earrings to make you sparkle throughout the night. What a way to welcome in the New Year!
Let's Celebrate Earrings - Finished Length: 7.7cm (3")

Here's what you'll need to make your own Let's Celebrate! earrings:

Tools: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, flush cutters

String a 4mm bicone and a star (from the bottom) onto a head pin.

Bend the head pin at a 90° angle.

Trim to 1cm (3/8"). Tip: If you cut the head pin too short, you won't be able to make a large enough loop.

Turn a simple loop. Make two more of these components: one with a 4mm bicone and one with a 6mm bicone.

Open the loop and hook the 6mm components onto one of the loops of the fancy connector.

Attach the 4mm components onto the loops on either side of the 6mm component.

Cut the cup chain into two equal lengths. Place the end link of one piece into a cup chain end.

Use the flat nose pliers to gently press the claws over the crystal to hold it securely in cup chain end. Repeat on the other end of the cup chain.

Connect the top loop of the fancy connector to the last cup chain link with a jump ring.

Hook the other end of the cup chain onto the earring wire and close the loop.

Make a matching earring with the remaining components.

All you need now is a little black dress, a pair of killer stilettos and a special party to wear these glitzy earrings to. So pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and enjoy a glass of bubbly for me..... Cheers and have fun celebrating!

That brings us to the end of the 2015 Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Extravaganza. I hope you've enjoyed (and been inspired by!) all the jewellery ideas I've brought to you throughout the month of December. May 2016 be full of wonderful jewellery-making and crafting opportunities for you.

Happy New Year everybody!

'Til next time......

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Words to Live By for Jewellery Makers

Whether a jewellery maker likes to dabble on the fringes of fashion, is right up there with the latest trend or has a style that is uniquely their own, there's one surefire thing that identifies us as a tribe: it's our love of colourful and sparkly things.

In honour of that, I've gathered together a few thoughts and quotes that have resonated with me lately and teamed them with some pretty jewellery - I hope you enjoy the quotes and eye candy too!

Be classy and be fabulous... Coco says so!

Cake is just not the same without the icing on top!

Need I say more!

Live life to the full!

Be your sparkliest self!

'Til next time......

Monday, October 10, 2016

Marble-ous Resin - How to Create a Faux Marble Finish

My niece recently celebrated her 30th birthday and as the family crafter I scored all of the wooden numbers that decorated the tables that night. What a treasure for a compulsive crafter! As a thank you I promised to make one specially decorated "30" for the birthday girl to keep as a memento of the occasion. She left it in my hands to decorate it in any style I wanted but she did stipulate one thing.... that it be in her favourite colour - PINK! I knew immediately what I wanted to do - give the numbers a faux marble finish using resin. Marble is all the rage at the moment and achieving this look with resin is much easier than you might think!

This faux marble technique was developed by the clever folks at ETI more than 20 years ago and I promise you that it is super easy and gives marble-ous results!

Here's what you'll need:
Cover your work space with the painter's drop sheet.

Apply a coat of paint to the numbers to seal the wood. Choose a colour that will work with the colours you've chosen for the marbling. This base colour will give the marbling colours a little more oomph! Let the numbers dry for several hours and then elevate them on the Painter's Pyramids.

From here on in, you'll need to wear gloves. Measure out the two parts of resin in equal quantities. You'll need approximately 90ml (3oz) of mixed resin for numbers of this size. It might seem like a lot of resin for a small project but to achieve the marble finish, you need twice as much resin as you'd normally use.

The mixing instructions in the kit are really good and for best results, you should follow them to the letter. But basically, mix the two parts together for two full minutes, scraping any unmixed resin off the sides of the cup a couple of times.

Transfer the resin to a second cup.

And then mix for a further minute. This double mixing method gives reliable results so it's worth the extra effort.

Pour 7.5mls (1/4 oz) of mixed resin into a small cup and 15mls (1/2 oz) into each of the other two small cups. Add a small squirt (just a few drops) of colour into each one. Only use as much paint as it takes to make the resin opaque. If you over-do the paint, the resin will not cure properly.

Mix the paint into each cup of resin thoroughly.

You can see that the colour in these four pots is only just opaque. You don't want to add any more paint than is necessary. But if you're colours aren't quite opaque enough, just add a little more, one drop at a time.

Pour the base colour across the numbers. You want the resin to flow over the sides.

Drizzle the main feature colour across the numbers at an angle.

Use a wooden stir stick to drizzle thin strands of the two highlight colours across the numbers diagonally.

Very lightly draw the brush across the surface of the resin randomly. This will open up and soften the marble patterns in the next step.

Now comes the best part - creating the marbling. It's messy.... but fun!

Pick up the numbers and tip them sideways so the colours begin to run into each other and drip off the edge. Tilt the number in a different direction to give the marbled pattern more movement. You can continue tilting the number in any number of directions until you are happy with the look. I only tilted the numbers in two directions. If you don't like the look you've achieved, you can start again by adding more of each of the colours.

Use the paint brush to wipe away the drips underneath. Use the excess to paint resin onto the sides and underneath.

Spritz the surface lightly with rubbing alcohol to pop any bubbles that have surfaced. If using a gas torch, pass the flame briefly across the surface of the resin until the bubbles pop.

You will need to keep wiping the drips away for a couple of hours. If your numbers will also be seen from the back, whilst still wearing gloves, pick the numbers up carefully by the edges and spread the resin across the back to smooth it out. Place them back onto the Painter's Pyramids. Dispose the brush.

Then set the numbers aside in a dust free area to cure for a several hours. The manufacturer's directions tell you how long it will take according to the temperature in your work space.

I'm sure you'll agree, this is absolutely marble-ous!

'Til next time.....

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Houndstooth, Chevron Stripes and Polka Dot Bracelet

If you want to make a statement with your jewellery, you can't go past this combination of bold graphic patterns in black and white. Houndstooth, chevron stripes, polka dots and a pop of red are eye-catching together in this chunky design. With it's simple design and easy to do up magnetic clasp, it will become one of your go-to bracelets when you need to dress up a casual outfit.

Here's what you'll need:

Black/white graphic puffy bead strand (Metal Gallery - Hobby Lobby)
Eight 6mm Light Siam Swarovski bicones
7-Strand Black Beading Wire (softer, more flexible beading wires will be difficult to thread through the hollow beads)
Silver Crimp Tubes
Silver Wire Guardians
Silver Magnetic Tube Clasp

Tools: Wire cutters, Euro Tool Crimping Pliers

Cut a 30-35cm (12-14") of beading wire and string on a crimp tube and one arm of the wire guardian.

Thread the beading wire through the other side of the wire guardian, leaving a tail of at least 2.5cm (1").

Thread the tail of the wire through the loop of the magnetic clasp. Pull it up onto the wire guardian.

Insert the tail back through the crimp.

Slide the crimp tube up to the wire guardian and make sure the beading wire is sitting snuggly inside the wire guardian.

Place the crimp tube into the middle hole of the crimping pliers, making sure that the two wires are not crossing over inside the tube. Crimp the tube so that you have a wing on either side of the channel with a wire in each side. Test that it's secure. If not, crimp again.

Place the crimp sideways into the top hole of the crimping pliers with the wings facing towards the handle.

String a bicone, a daisy spacer, a puffy bead and another daisy spacer. Slide these beads up over both of the wires and then trim away the short one close to the daisy spacer.

Continue stringing in this pattern until you reach the desired length for your bracelet. I've strung seven puffy beads and my bracelet fits an average wrist with a bit of play (with the clasp included). Adjust the number of beads to suit your wrist size.

String another bicone, a crimp tube and one side of a wire guardian.

String the other side of the wire guardian and slide on the other half of the magnetic clasp. Pull up the slack in the wire and crimp it as before.

Thread the beading wire back through the last bicone and then trim away the excess.

Now you're ready to show off your hip new bracelet. Team it with your favourite T-shirt and jeans and have fun!

'Til next time....


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