Sunday, July 27, 2008

SSI Retreat Workshops

I've been invited to guest tutor at the upcoming Southside Stampers Inc retreat so I've been a very busy girl over the past few weeks designing projects for the campers. I've been working on something a little different for the workshops as we have much more time to complete the projects than in a regular class. So if you're coming along to camp and DON'T want to see what we'll be working on, then look away now!

For those of you who couldn't resist, here's a sneak peek of the 2 projects we'll be working on. Of course, this is just a tease and the whole project will be unveiled on the weekend of the retreat!

This is the inside view of the first project. I found these great little vials that were just begging to be repurposed - they once contained coloured art sand but they were perfect for this project. No peeking at the outside though - it's under wraps but this is where we'll get creative with tyvek.

And this is just a little peek at the second project. Well, I can't show you the whole project or it would spoil the surprise! This project features a set of Crafty Secrets stamps and my favourite painting medium, Lumiere paint! What you can see here is just a segment of the booklet which nestles inside a cigarette tin.

If you're attending the retreat I hope you like what you see and that you're looking forward to it as much as I am! And I will be armed with ATCs - can't wait to swap with you all!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to make jump rings

Handmade jump rings and coil of wire ready for cutting.
After posting the step-by-steps for the bee garden bracelet, France asked for a bigger pic of the jump ring mandrel. So here it is:

different sized metal mandrels for the jump ring makerThis jump ring maker is from Beadalon. It makes (from left) 8mm, 7mm, 6mm and 4mm. It's also available in 16mm, 14mm, 12mm and 10mm and there is an oval jump ring maker available too.
I thought I'd add a tutorial on how to make your own jump rings too. It's not a difficult thing to do but sometimes it's helpful to have pictures. The advantage of making your own is being able to choose the gauge of the wire as well as the diameter of the rings and of course, you can choose a colour to match your project!
Materials for making jump rings: flush cutters, jump ring mandrel and 20 gauge wireFirst, gather what you need: wire, flush cutters and the jump ring maker. For making jump rings, you must use flush cutters rather than wire cutters so that you get a flat cut across the wire and not a pointed cut. Choose the mandrel according to the size jump ring you need for your project and screw it into the base.
Jump ring making tool set up with 4mm mandrel
Begin by inserting the end of the wire into the small holeInserting the wire into the slot of the jump ring mandrel
and then bend the tail over so that it's secure.Jump ring mandrel threaded with wire, ready to start the coilNext, place your finger into the larger hole. Hold the mandrel and the wire in the other hand and begin to wrap the wire around the rod beginning close to the clear base. As you wind, keep the coils close together so that your jump rings will be uniform in shape.
Winding the wire around the mandrel to create the jump ring coil
Once you've formed a coil, cut away the roll of wire. Cutting the wire spool away from the jump ring coil on the mandrel with flush cuttersStraighten the tail you placed through the hole in the beginning Removing the beginning wire from the jump ring mandreland slide the coil off the end of the mandrel. Sliding the jump ring coil off the mandrel.
OK, so now you've got a length of tightly coiled wire, how do you turn that into jump rings?

This is where the flush cutters come into their own. They will leave a nice flush cut on one side of every cut you make.

To begin with, trim away the tail from the coil.
Using flush cutters to trim away the excess wire from the end of the jump ring coilCut the rings from the coil one at a time.Cutting the jump rings from the coil using the flush cutters Some of the jump rings cut from the coil and the remaining coil ready for cutting into jump rings.
Notice that one side is flush but the other isn't. Single jump ring. One side is flush cut and the other is jagged.You'll need to trim the opposite side of the ring in the same way so that it too has a nice flush cut. Use a pair of flat pliers to hold the ring or if you prefer hold it between your thumb and index finger.

Holding the jump ring in the jaws of chain nose pliers with the opening of the jump ring to the sidePlace the flat side of the flush cutters against the jagged edge of the jump ring and cut.

Using flush cutters to trim the jagged end of the jump ring so that it is flatIf necessary, nip away any burrs that might be left.After trimming the jump ring with flush cutters, both ends are flat
Trimming both ends flush like this will give you very neat jump rings that butt together really well making the joins much less conspicuous.
I often make a coil much larger than what I need especially when I'm working with gold or silver and I cut off only what I need for the project. The rest I place in ziplock bags for the next time I need jump rings of that size and colour.
Mauve coil and rust coil of waiting to be cut into jump rings.
You can also use a jeweller's hack saw, but you will actually slice away a portion of the jump ring when you cut it and when it's formed into a ring its internal diameter will be slightly smaller than the mandrel you formed it on. So take this into consideration if you need your jump rings to be the exact size of the mandrel.

You might also enjoy this related post:
How to make triangle jump rings

Pin it for Later!
Pinterest Pin tutorial sheet - DIY Jump Rings in any size your want.

'Til next time...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bees in the Flower Garden bracelet

It's been a couple of months since I last posted any jewellery so today I want to share a bracelet I made on Sunday.

I came across Bead Worx at Harbour Town (on the Gold Coast) last week where I found these neat yellow, brown and white glass beads. Don't they remind you of bees?! So I scouted through all the hundreds of jars of beads lined up on the shelves until I found some flower beads that I thought would work with them. I also added a few cats eye beads in lemon yellow and some miracle beads in a rich shade of brown.

I liked this combination of colours and shapes but neither gold nor silver worked with it (except for those tiny little gold bead caps which add a nice flash of contrast!). Antique copper was a much better choice but as I didn't have any pre made chain in that colour, I made a simple chain from jump rings as the base to attach the flowers and beads to.

The second row of jump rings has made the bracelet really strong and it was quick to make because the pattern is so simple.

The bee beads needed to be reamed because the hole goes through quite a thick part of the bead and my 4mm copper jump rings just couldn't curve through that straight hole.

I ended up making some 4mm jump rings from 20g brown artistic wire and that did the trick!

I threaded all my beads on copper head pins and turned a loop in each one, then attached each one to the base chain distributing them evenly along the length. I finished it off with a simple toggle so that it could be undone easily with one hand.

The antique copper jewellery findings and metal beads are from Eureka beads - I always stock up when they visit Brisbane for the various craft shows throughout the year. But they also have an online shop for when I've run out of what I need.

I really like the way this piece has turned out - it reminds me of spring days where the garden is full of buzzing bees! I can just hear the hummm...........

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tape on a Chain

Here's a neat idea I saw in one of my classes today.

You've heard of "soap on a rope", well one of the ladies in my class came up with her own version: "tape on a chain". She'd been having trouble keeping track of all her rolls of tape so she bundled them all together on a length of ball chain and now finds it really easy to locate her tape.

I thought this was such a neat idea as you can open the connector and add another roll or remove a finished one and then close it back up to keep it all together.

I love this idea - finally, a solution for my own desk where rolls of tape just seem to disappear under the mounds of paper and ephemera.

Credit goes to Margaret Jobbings for sharing this great idea - thanks Margaret!

P.S. I found these at my local newsagency - Rexel 10 pack of Neck Chains!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Look what Kristine the Krafty Lady found on the Paperific website!

That's me demoing on her stand at the Trade Event at Paperific last year. I travelled down to Melbourne especially for the event (and it was a blast). Excuse the tired and weary face though - I caught the red-eye from Brisbane early that morning and only arrived in Melbourne in time to do the set up. I'd brought along many of the samples I'd made for Krafty Lady over the past year for display around the booth and my good buddy France in WA had sent across a lot of her samples too. I've admired her work from afar so it was great to see so many of her pieces in real life. Between us we had almost completely covered the walls of the booth (except for that one wall at the back of the photo!) and it looked pretty fab.

There were also many samples that were displayed on the table I was working on. See that tiny little patch of space in front of me - well, that's about all I have to work with in my studio at home too.... I really wasn't blessed with the tidy gene!

The Trade Event was only held on the Friday so that gave me a spare day in Melbourne to do as I pleased. How to spend it?!! Well, that was pretty easy..... Kristine had just released her new bangle and ring moulds and I had the opportunity to do her resin jewellery workshop to learn all about how to mould with resin and her new moulds to make fabulous bangles just like you see in boutiques. She holds these workshops regularly and it was great to learn how to make them first hand. I have some samples on my website that I've made since the workshop and you can see them here.

Well that was the morning taken care of but I still had a few hours before my flight back to Brisbane.... so what better way to fill the time than return to Paperific and browse amongst all the retail booths. Paperific really is a great show and for me as a Brissie girl it was great to see a whole host of different retailers to the ones I visit regularly in Brisbane and I was able to pick up a few things I've had on my wishlist for a while.

It was wonderful to see so much buzz and excitement around all the booths at the show. Stacey does a great job putting these shows together. So good in fact that she now puts on two Melbourne shows each year! But what I really wish is that she'd bring her Paperific events back to Brisbane!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bead storage idea

Organising my studio got off to a great start earlier this year when I put together some Ikea storage units which now house much of the clutter I had lying around on my studio floor. At the moment I'm working on some storage ideas to house all the bits and pieces that clutter my desk and this will be an on going challenge.

Given that I'm not a tidy person and the 30cm of clear space on my workspace seems to be shrinking as the clutter threatens to completely engulf it, I thought I'd start working on some of the things that need containment.

I have a growing collection of beads and jewellery findings in a variety of colours and metals and I keep these in round plastic containers which screw into each other to create stacks. I have rows of these cannisters (just plain and undecorated) and they fit nicely when laid side by side in my Effektiv drawer units and it's easy to identify the contents because they're clear. But they are rather boring to look at, so I decorated some of the larger ones to make them more interesting.

The acorn man on top is a Krafty Lady art mould painted with Lumiere paints to coordinate with the colour of the beads housed in the container.

Here's a detailed view from the top. It's a gorgeous mould with incredible detail and they painted up so beautifully. One of the things I love most about Lumiere paints is how well the colours blend together without visible lines where the different colours butt together.

These cannisters are one of my favourite pieces and they sit proudly on a CD rack which I've set up horizontally along the back of my work table which acts as both a shelf and cubby for the supplies I use often. They add a nice touch of colour to an otherwise very utilitarian area and I enjoy looking at the bright coloured beads - like candy in a candy shop except that they're not fattening!