Monday, December 28, 2009

Rings on her Fingers

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that I recently moved into a brand new house. It's all shiny and new and still has that new house smell. But it didn't come with a driveway or paths around the house so all I want for Christmas..... is concrete! Yes, concrete. You see, we have red soil on our property and by red, I mean sticky, heavy, muddy red clay. The kind you sink into when it gets wet.... And it's summer in Queensland (aka the wet season) and this past week has brought a LOT of rain. So concrete would be a great gift.

We've been waiting for the concretor since early November. He's a busy man and that is a good thing but oh my, I'm so sick of the mud and the shoe store that has developed at the front door. But thankfully, in between the passing storms, the concretors have been able to set up their form work and pour firstly the paths around the house and then the driveway. Yaaay! I got exactly what was on my wish list.

But whilst all this was going on I've been working away creating lots of new bangles for the Little Lovelies range which I've uploaded to the gallery at Mill Lane Studio plus some new additions - even smaller little lovelies - a couple of resin rings.
Citrus Splash is a narrow dome shaped ring. For those of you with slender fingers, you might even be able to wear it on your other fingers but for most of us, it only fits on your little pinkie.
Emerald Burst is a wide domed ring. The internal diameter of this ring is larger than the narrow domed ring and it's sized for the ring or middle finger.

Both the rings are available on my website now along with six new bangle designs too. Check them out in the gallery at Mill Lane Studio.

Well it's off to the shops for me - I'm going to brave the crowds at the post Christmas sales and hopefully pick up a bargain.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Lovelies for Last Minute Gifts

It's been a busy time at my place this week. There have been electricians and cabling contractors coming and going all week long. It's dusty work that they do, crawling in those tight ceiling cavities and cutting holes in my brand new walls. All this work was supposed to be carried out before the walls were installed but miscommunication between me and them (a long story) had left us without internet connection for 9 weeks! Anyway, I've been working around them but with dust flying everywhere from the holes they needed to cut in my walls there was absolutely no hope of casting any resin pieces. So instead, I've been working on some surface finishes on my resin bangles. And here are the results:What lovely little gems they are!

I've just uploaded them to my website in time for last minute Christmas shopping. So take a closer look at these little lovelies..... perhaps you'll find just the thing for that special person on your Christmas list.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple is often best!

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!

Take these striking pendants - Friendly Plastic strips marbled together and cut with cookie cutters. A very simple idea and lovely all on it's own. But when it's placed on a black resin base and topped up with clear resin, it just pops off the background.
They don't need much else to finish them off..... just a few flat backed crystals and a silver bail and they're ready to thread on a silver chain and wear.I've used a Krafty Lady art mould (AM245 X4Lge 5 Dominoes) as the base for these pieces. They're nicely proportioned for my rectangular cutter set (Makins).

When making these, begin at the bottom with the black and work your way up so that you can see what you're doing. Allow the black resin to cure before placing the Friendly Plastic onto it so that it doesn't sink into the resin and disappear!

If you start with the clear resin in the base of the mould and work your way down to the black then you risk the possibility of the black resin working it's way underneath the front of the Friendly Plastic, as resin will always find the lowest point. Just take care not to overfill the mould when you top up with clear resin so that you don't have any major trimming to do. Once your pendant is cured, attach a fused glass bail with a little bit of Epoxy adhesive (Araldite) or resin, and once dry thread on a chain and wear your beautiful pendant.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Write with Flair!

Since I first started making these delectable Friendly Plastic pens, I'd been promising myself I'd find some nicer pens for the base.

There was nothing wrong with the pens I was using. In fact they are great for the budget end of my line of pens. But I really wanted to also have a more upmarket end to the range and so I'm now introducing pens made with beautiful metallic nibs and ends. The ones below are all slimline pens but there will also be some wider barrelled pens too. These new additions will be available for purchase from my website in the next few days, just in time for a last minute Christmas gift purchase for that special person on your Christmas list.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pearly Delights

Have I ever mentioned how addictive resin is?

When I first started casting resin a few years back, I thought it would be just another craft I tried my hand at so that I had some basic knowledge about working with resin. What I didn't know at the time was how seductive it would become.

Back in my school days (yes, it was quite a while ago, but I still remember them), I always enjoyed spending time in the manual arts block but in particular I was fascinated by the Plastics Centre. It seemed that such mysterious processes went on in that place and they were difficult to master. I clearly remember trying to contol the hot wire to cut through styrofoam and I also remember cutting out and shaping perspex. We worked with thermosets and thermoplastics and it was a lot of fun even though my success with these materials in Year 10 was rather limited. Quite obviously a seed had been planted in my subconscious which was reignited when I poured my first bangle. But enough of the reminiscing. Let's move on to today's post.

Inspired by a beautiful vintage cuff bangle that that one of my students brought to a recent workshop, over the weekend I began experimenting with some pearlescent effects. Here's the results:
Heavenly Clouds

Blue Skies

Pearlescent Beige
Whilst I like the two blue ones my favourite is definitely the Pearlescent Beige. It has some lovely swirling going on and the light is capturing the pearlescence beautifully.
I'll play with pearly effects again soon but if you check in tomorrow you'll see some more Friendly Plastic treats. Until then......

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dramatic Black

Well, if ever two things were made for each other, then it would have to be Friendly Plastic and resin.

Over the weekend I had a bumper Friendly Plastic session and knocked out 8 of my specialty pens, 9 Friendly Plastic tile components for 2 bracelets and a variety of smaller marbled pieces all combining Friendly Plastic and resin. I also cast 4 bangles. I have never been so productive! So expect to see a few of these items over the coming days as I have time to assemble and finish them all. In the meantime, here's a teaser:
The butterfly pieces were cast in the Krafty Lady domino mould using black as the base and clear resin to embed the butterflies. The butterflies are made from Friendly Plastic using a variation on Liz Welch's flower technique. So dramatic yet so delicate! These will most likely become pendants on elegant but simple gold chains.

The middle piece shows how you can combine "fracture and fusion" strips with other materials to create unique pieces of jewellery. This one uses a transparency overlay cut to exactly the same size as the heart bezel it sits in to add instant pizzazz to the Friendly Plastic strips.

This idea has lots of potential and I'll definitely be exploring it further but you know, I was educated in the school that said you never wear silver and gold together and yet combining metallic colours, in this case gold and silver, can produce some really stunning results. And I like this piece so much that I think it will remain in my own collection.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Add a bit of Sparkle!

At this time of year we are awash with festive glitter so I've decided that I too would get in on the act and combine resin and glitter. No, they're not Christmassy but they sparkle all the same and a girl can never have too many sparkles. So here's a little bit of resin eye candy to enjoy.

The first bangle is a very delicate shade of lemon. There's actually no colour in this bangle at all, just a good dose of yellow glitter to give it lots of sparkle.

And this one is filled with iridescent Mylar flakes and the tiniest bit of dye. It's such a frosty effect that I called it Ice Queen.
And lastly, a green and blue bangle..... almost turquoise, but not quite. Lots of my resin workshop students really want to produce turquoise bangles and these are the two colours to use if you don't have turquoise dye on hand - just adjust the quantity of blue and green until you get the depth of colour you want. I also added a dash of yellow glitter to keep with the sparkly theme of today.

I've also been playing with pearlescent colours which has been a lot of fun so I'll share those bangles with you another day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rainbow Heart

Whilst sorting through more boxes in the studio this week (I don't think I will ever get to the end of them!), I found some small Friendly Plastic hearts which match the larger heart in the Egyptian Lily necklace I posted last week.

At first I was thinking along the lines of making them into a matching bracelet or earrings but I decided to use a different colour scheme and go in a totally different direction. I teamed them with some gorgeous multi-coloured beads which have been sitting in my stash just waiting for the right project to come along. These beads seem to have every colour of the rainbow in them and a lovely metallic sheen too.
To attach the hearts to the chain I laid them face down on a heatproof surface and used a heat gun to soften the back. I placed an eye pin in the softened plastic and then tried as best I could to line up the second heart on top. Once they cooled, I turned a matching loop on the other side of the heart and then just connected them to small lengths of chain. Then I threaded the beads on headpins and looped these onto the chain also. A toggle clasp makes it easy to put on and take off.

I love the way this little bracelets swings and jingles against the wrist.....the beads give it lots of movement and it makes such a lovely little swishing sound as they move.