Friday, August 27, 2010

cork noticeboard transformation

I had a guest join me in my studio yesterday - my lovely daughter! She was in a crafty sort of mood (a good mood to bring with you into my studio). She also brought with her a cork board for her room that needed some dressing up and some fabric and ribbon that she liked.

Covering a cork board is a simple project but to secure the fabric to the cork board it was going to take a staple gun and we were both a bit apprehensive about using one as neither of us had used one before. We broke out into a chorus of nervous laughter at the thought of Macauley Culkin and Home Alone!

Nervousness aside, we cleared away a table and spread everything out. The first task was to drill holes for the eye screws so that she could hang it when complete. This part was super easy - I certainly don't feel nervous using my trusty little battery-operated drill. I really loooove this tool and next to my jewellery pliers and Cuttlebug this would be the most used tool in my studio! I measured and marked out the holes so that we'd know exactly where to find them once the frame was covered with fabric.Next, she cut the batting a little larger than the corkboard and began to stretch it over the frame........ and then it was time to come to grips with the staple gun.

Well, loading the staple gun with staples was easy..... phew! Then, time for the first staple. After lining the gun up against the edge of the frame she squeezed the trigger and....... Kapow! the first staple went in.Wow, that was easy! Actually, that was fun! So, staple, staple, staple she went, all the way around the frame. By the time she had all the batting secure she was really getting the hang of it. OK, now it's time for the fabric. Staple, staple, staple. Hmmm, using a staple gun is a breeze..... what were we worried about?!!

Next, she trimmed away the excess fabric.........
...... and then, screwed the eye screws into the pre-drilled holes ready to attach the hanging wire.And finally, she secured the coordinating ribbons in a criss-cross fashion using thumbtacks. Voilà, all finished and ready to decorate! We were both very pleased with ourselves for having tackled the staple gun and triumphed. I can see that there will be plenty more projects to tackle using the staple gun in the future. Look out fellas, that's another tool from the tool shed that's gone forever!

Happy crafting!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kutalicious! Birdcage Terrarium Class

A while back I shared a preview of the Kutalicious projects I had been working on. Don't you love how the mirrored bird reflects extra detail from the other elements around it? Without a doubt, for that reason, the mirrored shapes are my absolute favourites but they are closely followed by the glossy black acrylic shapes.

I am thoroughly enjoying working with this range of products and I'm really happy to say that they are Australian made. Cheree and Denise are working very hard to bring this product to market and you will begin to see it appear in more and more shops in the coming months. And I've heard a whisper that they are about to release their Christmas range so keep an eye out for that!

But now, to the reason for this post - an upcoming class called Birdcage Terrarium. This elegant black and silver project features Kutalicious acrylic shapes, printed and plain acetate, sparkly black glitter and elegant chipboard scrolls.

If you'd like to create this wonderful project you can join me in class on Saturday, 28th August at Stamp Antics in Wynnum West. For further details about the class, check out the classes page at Stamp Antics or Mill Lane Studio.

Hope you can join me!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Katiedids Jewellery Components

Each CHA show sees new products being released to the craft market and one of my favourites this year has been Katie Hacker's Katiedids components by Beadalon. Katie gave us a teaser of them at the Winter show but at the summer show, she presented a class using these wonderful bezels and I was fortunate enough to take that class.

Here's what we made:
Matchstick Earrings

Violet Scalloped Pendant

Emeralds and Champagne

Notice the interchangeable bail?
I love the idea of swapping the focal pendant when you feel like a change!!

To get the channel-set look, use 4mm round beads. But if you choose to use bicones instead, then you'll get a different look.

Whilst we filled the channels with Swarovski crystals there are so many other possibilities: resin, Friendly Plastic, polymer clay, coiled wire - I just can't wait to start playing with these ideas! I'll post pics as soon as I have something to share.

I'll be back again soon!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beaded Bliss in the US

For an Aussie jewellery maker, a bead shopping trip in the US is like a visit to a great big candy store where each hook or tray of beads elicits more oohs and aahs than the last! Ah, such bliss!

"Can I please have one of these, and two of those?" I asked the assistant. "Oh, and one of those too".

It reminded me of how I used to spend my pocket money at the local deli when I was a child: the shopkeeper would fill the small paper bag with the lollies I picked out - one of these, and two of those and some of these as well. Ah..... such sweet memories!

I can tell you that there were times I was drooling over some of the spectacular beads I saw. Look at these from Beadnix who had a stand at the CHA Craft Supershow in Chicago.
Image courtesy of The Bead Goes On

They had bowl after bowl filled with the most wonderful array of beaded beads like the one above. They were a little pricey, but worth it as you only need a few to create a spectacular necklace or bracelet and I'm pleased to say a few small ones made it into my shopping bag.I also found some native style beads in a quaint little store called Bead Gallery in Juneau, Ak. I nearly missed this bead shop as it was tucked away in a side street. This was the kind of shop that you can fossick in and find all sorts of interesting beads. I found some painted clay beads.....
these whimsical painted parrots......
and I just couldn't resist these two stone polar bears. I could have spent hours in this shop but alas, I was given just 15 minutes.Not all the beads I bought were unusual. There were plenty of great beads to be found at the chain stores like Michaels and Joanns. There I found lots of pre strung strands of glass and metal beads. Needless to say, dozens of these strands came home with me.

Here's a small (and I mean very small) sampling of what I liked the look of. Passing through customs at the airport on my return to Brisbane brought a knowing smile from the female customs officer who watched as I waded through the bags of beads in my suitcase to retrieve a particular item which required inspection. Quite obviously she was a fellow jewellery maker and we shared a joke about how addictive jewellery making was. She completely understood that these were souvenirs from my travels!

So as you can see, a bead shopping expedition in the US really is like visiting a candy shop - you just can't go past without wandering in and taking home some of the delights!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Monday, August 9, 2010

Soft Flex Wire - Exposed!

Here's another great Make and Take I did at CHA. At the Soft Flex booth, they were using coloured beading wire to create earrings. Don't they look great?

I've only ever used Soft Flex as a stringing wire before but this make and take shows that Soft Flex beading wire can be so much more than just a stringing material and with colours such as Tanzanite, Lapis and Blue Topaz why would you want to cover the beading wire up with beads. This project uses 49 strand wire and as its name suggests it is both soft and flexible. It really is a lovely material to work with.

The colours I used are from the Trio set called Tranquility. I won't go into all the details of how to make these earrings because you can get the instructions on the project sheet from the Soft Flex website.

If you'd like to have some fun playing around with exposed wire (sounds a bit dangerous, doesn't it?) check out some of the other projects from their project library.

That's all from me today but I'll be back again soon,

Happy crafting!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs