Monday, August 25, 2008

Polished Pigments revisited

You might recall I was experimenting with polished pigment backgrounds earlier this year. Here's an image to refresh your memory.At the time I remember saying that they were really rather hideous but I promised I would eventually use these backgrounds and here's what I did with them.

Wow! ..... orchid and lime green!
The image is from Rachel Greig's Darkroom Door collection and the word "tulip" is stamped with metal alphabet stamps on metal shim. I added a layer of black gloss card sprayed with gold webbing spray to make it more substantial and added a lime green layer for the card base.

The next piece had really great texture and I wanted to show it off instead of covering it up with an image..... the solution, a transparency! This one is from Stylish Images. I layered it on card stock which matched the gold polished pigments so that the gold blended off the background and onto the card. The flourish at the top is a rub on and it finishes off the card nicely.The third piece I made up into an ATC. I cut the heart from angel wire with my Cuttlebug and added some rub on flourishes to it. The letter Q is painted with polished pigments and frames an image and then I added a couple of ribbons and paper flowers. The touch of cream balances out the rust and blue really nicely.

So there you have it. Even ugly backgrounds aren't necessarily ugly - it's all just a matter of finding the right images and embellishments to work with it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dazzling (Faux) Opals!

I've been playing with the small donut mould from Krafty Lady (AM183) this past week. Look how versatile it is: one donut, three different pieces of jewellery.

This is a gorgeous piece to wear - a mixture of glass beads in turquoise and black and a few silver Bali beads - a great colour combination! The long length of beads is threaded through the donut and then I added a beaded tassel to each end - lots of movement when you wear it!

The next piece I worked on is a bracelet using three donut pieces.
I found this great twisted silver chain at Michaels and the rings were the perfect size for connecting the donuts. It didn't need anything else - the bright silver chain is the perfect counterbalance for the dazzling donuts. This piece is much nicer in real life. Here's a closeup which shows the dazzle a whole lot better:
And the third piece I created is a simple beaded necklace.
This time I chose some black AB bicone beads which I've threaded on Beadalon Elasticity. I didn't want to use a bail for this piece so I attached the Elasticity using a larks knot and then threaded on the beads. You can see the Elasticity quite clearly in the photo but it's not even noticeable when it's worn. It's almost like the donut is just suspended at the bottom of the beads - very cool!This is such a versatile mould and these pieces could just as easily be made from polymer clay for a totally different look. I just love this mould!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A clever bail idea!

I wanted to share this idea because I just thought it was so clever. See the bail on the pendant? It's a bit different to your standard bail and that's because it isn't a bail at all! It's a beautiful crystal-set headpin.

I have Sabrina from Bead with Me at Springwood to thank for this brilliant idea! I was having difficulty finding a bail suitable for this pendant which I'd made out of polymer clay. It's cast from a Krafty Lady art mould (AM 353) and it already has a depression in it ready for a jump ring but a jump ring wasn't elegant enough for this piece. My pronged bails didn't cover enough of the depression either. So Sabrina suggested the crystal head pin and it is just the perfect finishing touch!

So how do you turn a head pin into a bail? Well just follow the pics below....

Insert the headpin through the hole. Using flat nosed pliers, bend the headpin at a 90° angle directly behind the bead so that it's flush and there's not too much movement.Bend the tail of the headpin at a right angle, either to the front or the side depending on how you want the loop to sit, leaving about 3 or 4 mm above the top of the cabochon straight. Here, I've bent it to the side as this piece will hang from a jump ring, but if you want it to hang directly from your stringing material as in the completed piece at the top of this post, then bend it to the front.
Switch to round nosed pliers and turn a loop at that point.
Wrap the tail of the headpin around the straight length you just created.
Use pliers to help you wrap it firmly..... two or three wraps will be nice and sturdy.
Trim away the excess headpin with flush cutters and use pliers to tuck in the cut end so that there are no jagged edges exposed.

And that's it... so simple, yet so elegant.

If you'd like to download a printable tutorial with lots of pics and step by step instructions just click here.

Of course if you don't have a crystal set head pin, you could always add a small bead to a regular head pin to add interest.