Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Failure to Triumph - a Friendly Plastic Pen Success Story

Workshops don't always go to plan. Sometimes, things go wrong and you end up with a less than successful result. It's always a disappointment for the student but I'm equally disappointed when someone doesn't have success.

I had one of those workshops last week. We were making Friendly Plastic Pens. Here's some of the pens which turned out really well.

But here are some pen barrels which turned out less than perfect.

So what do you do when things don't turn out as planned?

Well, I gave it some thought and came up with a Plan B. I decided refoiling the Friendly Plastic would give us a better result.

But alas, Plan B was a big failure - the foil wouldn't stick to the tacky adhesive we'd applied to the Friendly Plastic no matter how much we burnished it.

So it was on to Plan C - applying an iridescent finish to mask all the previous layers. And the result is spectacular - the ugly duckling has turned into a beautiful swan!

Now I have a new technique to play around with and perfect (and perhaps a new workshop to teach!). It just goes to show that even experts have craft disasters. But it also shows you that with a bit of creative thinking, you can turn a failure into a triumph!

'Til next time.....

Monday, July 11, 2016

Gold Vermeil Earrings

These elegant dangling earrings will add a touch of golden glamour to your evening wear. The lentel-shaped beads dangle gracefully from delicate chains allowing them to move and catch the light, accentuating the lovely soft gold vermeil finish of the beads. Vermeil beads are a little more pricey than gold base metal beads but I'm sure you'll agree, they look fabulous!

Here's what you'll need to make these:
6 10x4mm gold vermeil lentil beads (mine are from Feeling Inspired)
6 gold head pins
11cm (4 3/8") fine gold chain
2 6mm gold jump rings
2 gold earring wires

String each of the beads onto a head pin and turn a 90° angle with flat nose pliers.

Use flush cutters to trim each head pin to 1cm (3/8").

Line the cut end of the head pin in the round nose pliers so that it is flush with the jaws and rotate your wrist inward as far as you can comfortably turn it. This forms the first part of a simple loop.

Reposition the head pin in the pliers so that you can rotate your wrist again to complete the loop.

Cut two pieces of chain, each of the following lengths: 13mm, 18mm and 23mm (1/2", 5/8" and 7/8")

Set one of each length of chain aside for the second earring. Open the loops you formed in the previous step sideways and slip on a length of chain.

Hook the other end of each of the three chains onto a jump ring with the longest chain in the middle and close it.

Open the loop of your earring wire and hook on the jump ring. Make the second earring to match.

Wow, that was quick! A gorgeous pair of earrings in no time at all!

'Til next time....

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stars and Stripes Sof-Suede Bracelet

Red, white and blue....Stars and Stripes. Today I'm putting my spin on Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July.

Silver Creek Leather recently added some new colours to their Sof-Suede colour range and two of them are just perfect for the nostalgic feel of this bracelet: Cadet Blue and Cranberry. Combined with Sandy Beach, and you have a soft vintage look.

To make this bracelet, you'll need:

Silver Creek Leather Sof-Suede Lace: Cadet Blue, Cranberry and Sandy Beach (Michael's is carrying these new colours)
Brass and Crystal Heart Slider (Hobby Lobby)
2 silver ribbon clasps
10 6mm silver star beads
28g silver wire
adhesive tape

Tools: flush cutters, chain nose pliers

Cut two 8" pieces of Sandy Beach and one piece each of Cranberry and Cadet Blue. Thread one of the Cadet Blue pieces through the heart slider diagonally from the top left hand hole, down to the second bottom hole on the right.

Insert the Sandy Beach lace from the middle hole on the left through the bottom hole on the right.

Now repeat on the other side using the second piece of Sandy Beach lace. It should pass under the Cadet Blue lace and over the first Sandy Beach lace.

Insert the Cranberry lace in through the middle hole on the right hand side of the slider, over the Cadet Blue lace and under the Sandy Beach lace, exiting from the bottom hole on the left.

Cut a 15cm piece of wire. Flip the heart slider over to the back. On the right hand side, wrap the wire around the Cranberry and Sandy Beach laces so they lie side by side.

Bring the wires to the front and insert the wires through a star bead. Wrap the wires around the back of the laces and bring them back to the front again. Insert them through the star bead and then repeat twice more so that the star bead is secure.

Trim each of the wires close to the bead. Repeat this process with the Cadet Blue and Sandy Beach laces.

Add additional stars evenly along the Sof-Suede so that it looks like this.

Align the laces so they are sitting flat and place them on a piece of adhesive tape.

Trim the ends evenly to the length you require for your bracelet. Remember to take into account the space the clasp will take up.

Place the ribbon crimp over the ends and press the teeth into the suede lace until the laces are secure. Repeat at the other end of the bracelet.

Attach one half of the clasp to each end of the bracelet with the jump rings.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

'Til next time.....

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ice Crystal Earrings

Tiered earrings made on a chandelier fitting add a touch of elegance to an otherwise casual outfit. Teamed with a T-shirt and jeans you can dress up your look quickly and easily with a pair of long, dangly chandelier earrings. And they don't need to be really elaborate to give you the look - you only need a few Swarovski crystals for a really sparkly effect! You can put this pair together in under half an hour.

Here's what you'll need:
Tools: round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, flush cutters.

Put half of all the supplies aside for the second earring. Thread the a 6mm bicone on the eye pin, one of the 4mm Denim Blue bicones on a fine nail head pin and all the remaining crystals on the ball head pins. Bend each pin just above the bead at a 90° angle and trim to 8mm (5/16").

Turn a simple loop on each one. Make sure that the loop on the nail head pin is not too large or the crystal will hang to low inside the chandelier and won't dangle.

Attach a Light Azore crystal to the 6mm Denim Blue bicone.

Connect two oval jump rings together and attach it to the second loop of the chandelier component. Open the loop of another Light Azore crystal and attach it to the bottom jump ring. Repeat this step on the 4th loop of the chandelier component.

Attach the loop of the 6mm Denim Blue crystal to the centre loop.

Attach a 4mm Denim Blue bicone (the ones on the ball head pins) to the two outer loops.

Open the loop of the crystal on the nail head pin and attach it to the inner loop of the chandelier component. It is fiddly so you might have to open the loop quite wide in order to hook the loop of the pin through the loop of the component.

Hook the chandelier component onto the earring wire and securely close it by pressing the ball hook against the earring wire.

Use the remaining components to make a matching earring and then admire your pretty, sparkly Ice Crystal Earrings.

'Til next time.....

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Resin Diamonds Bracelet Tutorial

For this week's tutorial over at Resin Obsession, I've designed a stylish bracelet using Super Clear Resin and both the Opaque and Translucent resin pigments.

I love the contrast created by the transparency of the blue and the opacity of the teal - visually, it adds texture to the bracelet, even though the pieces are smooth and glossy. Such a soothing combination of colours makes this bracelet the perfect accessory for a summer getaway to the seaside or perhaps an ocean cruise. 

After casting each of these diamonds, I drilled holes in them and strung all the pieces together with beading elastic and added some sliders embellished with Swarovski flat back crystals.

If you'd like to make the Resin Diamonds Bracelet, hop on over to Resin Obsession where you'll find the full tutorial.

'Til next time......

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Glowing Neon Ombré Resin Pyramid Cuff

This week, I'm sharing another tutorial over on the Resin Obsession blog.

Once again, I'm working with Resin Obsession's fabulous resin and pigment system and for this tutorial, I just couldn't resist using the Brights. These colours really pack a punch. They are so luminous in this neon resin pyramid cuff that it glows like an intense tropical sunset.

To learn how to make the Ombré Pyramid Cuff, hop on over to the Resin Obsession blog for the full tutorial. You'll be surprised by how easy it is to make!

'Til next time........

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Resin Trivet Tutorial on Resin Obsession

This month I'm working with Resin Obsession to bring you some fabulous resin tutorials using their Super Clear Resin and Resin Pigments.

Super Clear Resin not only lives up to its name, but it's almost bubble free too. And whilst the resin is ultra clear, it's just as wonderful when it's coloured with Resin Obsession's pigments.

If you haven't used these colourants before then here's the lowdown: the pigment is actually resin, so when you're measuring out the resin, you take into account the volume of the pigment as well. To that, you add the hardener and then mix. The range of colours is extensive and includes Bright (read glowing neons!), Opaque and Transparent colours and they are gorgeous!

My first project is a resin and bamboo trivet for the kitchen. This colourful kitchen accessory is sure to add some sunshine to your benchtop.

Hop on over to Resin Obsession for the full tutorial on how you can make your own resin and bamboo trivet.

'Til next time.......


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