Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vintage Buttons?!!

After the wonderful transformation of the rather ordinary-looking cameo that I found in my box of resin casts on Sunday, I decided that I should see what else is hiding in that container. I'm sure there are some other treasures to be found in there if I dig deep enough. I have so many to select from - literally hundreds - and the box weighs over a kilo. That's a lot of potential!

So dig I did!

And what I noticed was all the button shapes I've cast over the years. They had never caught my attention before. I certainly hadn't realised that I'd cast SO many of them - there were blues, greens, pinks, corals, fluoro pink, creams, bright yellows, and glittery ones too. But this pile here caught my eye - colours which had a bit of a vintage look about them. I remembered having some lovely lucite flower beads in a similar tone in my stash. So that was my starting point. I picked out a nice mix of buttons in different colours and shapes and glued them onto the pads of a bracelet blank and then I went about creating the dangles which are attached to each link of the bracelet.Amongst the lucite flower beads you can see a sprinkling of cream potato pearls, cherry quartz, aventurine and olive AB crystals - such soft, feminine colours with a decidedly vintage feel.

I had no idea this piece was lying waiting for me to find in my box of resin casts. I think I should keep digging to see what else I find!

Oh, and if you're wondering what mould I've used, it's called 8 Up from Krafty Lady.

So perhaps I'd better get back to the digging!

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Precious Metal?!!,

Can anyone guess what metal this is?
Is it:
A - Brass
B - Copper
C - Bronze?

The answer is at the bottom of the post. But I hope you'll read on to learn the story behind this cameo.

I found this beautiful piece whilst digging around in my studio this afternoon. Only, when I found it, it didn't look anything like this. You see, it started out life looking much more like resin.... clear resin which I'd marbled with red pigment. It was actually quite hideous. I'd already attempted to alter it's appearance once before by coating it with black alcohol ink and Krylon Gold Leafing Pen. It was a huge improvement but something had reactivated the alcohol ink and it was bleeding everywhere. So I gave it a good clean up with methylated spirits to return it to it's original colour.

With a clean slate I started again. This time I brushed on a coat of antiquing solution to give it a bit of definition. And then, out came the Rub 'n Buff. Firstly Amethyst, followed by Patina and finally Gold Leaf. I buffed after each colour, building up layers of colour and then I buffed it some more. There are patches of the original resin colour showing through too, which has added to it's very aged appearance.

And now, it's completely transformed.

I didn't take a before shot but here's a similar looking piece so you can see where this piece started out. Rub 'n Buff has turned this piece, which almost went into the trash, into a treasure. And with the addition of a brass stamping and chain, it looks more like an antique.

So perhaps, my question was a little bit misleading. I guess the correct answer is:
D - None of the above!

I think I might do a little more digging in my studio to see what other treasures I might find buried.

'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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Merry and Bright!

With Christmas now less that one month away, it's time to turn our attention to Christmas crafting. I'm starting off my Christmas crafting with a resin pendant filled with a festive image from a bygone era.

The vintage look is so popular at the moment and it is often teamed with soft, aged looking brass, and whilst I love that look, I have a real problem working with the muted tones associated with vintage. You see, I like colour way too much and my version of vintage is usually much brighter than vintage is supposed to be.

But there is no reason why these lovely nostalgic images can't be teamed with bright and shiny things too. Here, I've used a silver word tag from Plaid's Fresh range and bright red Czech glass beads. To tie in the "bright and shiny" with the "old and vintage", I've used red velour tubing for the necklace - it has that lovely soft velvety look and feel to it - and to complete the look it just needed a vintage looking bow.

So vintage doesn't always have to be soft brass and muted colours...... bright and shiny can work too - especially at Christmas!

Happy Christmas crafting everyone........

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Emergency Jewellery

We had a bit of a medical scare in our household recently. Our eldest son suffered an allergic reaction to something he'd come into contact with and his face and neck were swollen and itchy. It was enough of an emergency to warrant calling an ambulance.

The paramedics arrived and checked all his vital signs. They attached electrodes from the heart rate monitor to his chest and monitored his heart rate. They also checked his blood pressure and breathing. They declared his condition was not life-threatening but decided he should enjoy a ride in the ambulance and receive further treatment in hospital. And I'm happy to report that he was released from hospital in the wee small hours of the morning.

The paramedics left behind the coolest little plastic patches which they'd peeled off the electrodes when they were monitoring his heart. The patches contain conductive gel and attach the electrodes from the heart rate monitor to the skin. But I like to think of them more in crafting terms: they are bezels to be used in resin jewellery making! Let me show you what I mean.

Here's the little patches that contained the conductive gel. They have two channels on one side and one on the other - just deep enough for filling with resin.
I traced several circles onto an Alice in Wonderland photo sheet. These circles are the same size as a 5c coin and I had to cut them out with scissors but my recommendation is find a circle punch the right size! It took 45 minutes to get them the right size and round.
Because the patches are clear and I didn't want the printing on the back of the photo paper to show, I've cut out two pieces for each patch making them double-sided: image on the front, text on the back. But the text pieces were so white and they needed a little aging to tone the background down. I swiped them with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo Adirondack ink.
That's much better!
The Krylon Gold Leafing Pen fitted into the channel on the underside of the patch perfectly. What an easy way to create a frame!
At this point you want to mix the resin. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Use a wooden stirrer to drip a few drops in the centre......
and then place the text image face down into the resin. Make sure the text isn't at an angle.
Put another 2 or 3 drops of resin on top of the text image and then place the picture image on the resin right side up. Place another 2 or 3 drops of resin over the image and spread it out to the edges using a toothpick. Leave them to cure for 24 hours and you're ready to be used in a project.
Don't they look cool?!! I think they make wonderful little bezels!I haven't finished with these just yet but once I have I'll post the finished project. But at the moment I'm just enjoying looking at how vivid these images are.

My thanks go to Beads Online for providing the Alice in Wonderland photo sheet and of course to the wonderful Queensland Ambulance Service for supplying the bezels that inspired the project! I hope you'll stop by Beads Online and check out their fantastic range of jewellery making supplies - you won't be disappointed.

'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, November 15, 2010

FaveCrafts Blog Hop

Each month, FaveCrafts hold a blog hop featuring the blogs of some of their regular contributors and what they've been up to in their studios during the past month.

Well, here in Australia, November means Melbourne Cup time, so my crafting has centred around "Fashions on the Field" this month.

The Spring Racing Carnival is the one time of the year when ladies can wear the most outrageous hats and fascinators they can lay their hands on and no one bats an eyelid. And whilst there are plenty of exquisite pieces of millinery to choose from in the boutiques, there's nothing quite like making one that suits your outfit to a T yet doesn't break the bank. Here's my tutorial on how I put together my fascinator the easy way.But what would a hat be without accessories? A girl simply must have jewellery to match!
And mine came in the form of a gemstone donut which I teamed up with black glass pearls and Swarovski crystals with earrings to match! There are more details about these jewellery pieces here.

Now I don't imagine that hats and fascinators will come back into vogue anytime soon so I'll be carefully packing away my fascinator until Melbourne Cup comes around next November. Sad really, but I can promise that I will be sporting my new jewellery ensemble every opportunity I get!

'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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beauty from the Earth's Core - Winner

I don't know where today has gone! Or perhaps I should say yesterday because it's now after midnight and I have blog candy to give away. But before announcing the winners of the two gemstone donuts I would like to thank all of you, my listeners, who stay awhile and take the time to read about what goes on in my studio - I really appreciate that you stop by and leave comments.

My thanks also go to Rings & Things for sending me the donuts to play with. I really did enjoy using them once I got past my initial fear of working with gemstones. I have a much better appreciation of gemstones now that I can see how easy they are to work with and I hope that the winners will enjoy them too.

So without any further ado, let's get on with drawing some winners.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
1 8 
Timestamp: 2010-11-09 14:16:30 UTC
Congratulations to Silky Chick (Sara) and Sue G.

You have each won a Rings & Things Gemstone Donut. Send me an email (enquiries@milllanestudio.com) with your contact details and I'll get them into the post to you.

Well, that's it for now folks! See you 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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beauty from the Earth's Core - Reminder

Just a quick note this morning to remind you that I will be drawing the winners of the gemstone donuts tonight. With two pieces being given away your chances of winning are really good. Just leave a short comment on the bottom of this post to be in the draw.

Good luck to you all!

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

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sydney Paper Crafts Festival - demos and workshops

The countdown to Sydney Papercrafts Festival is well continuing with just two days to go and I am so excited to be going.

I'll be doing daily Friendly Plastic demos at both the Stamp Antics stand as well as on the Live Stage. If you haven't seen Friendly Plastic before then why not stop by the stand to see what all the fuss is about. You'll be amazed at the wonderful things you can do with Friendly Plastic, plus you can pick up some great tips and ideas. I'll have lots of eye candy for you feast your eyes on at the Live Stage. But if you'd really like to get hands on, then why not join me in one of my afternoon classes.

There are still some spaces left in the Christmas Card classes so if you'd like to get a start on your Christmas cards then this just might be the thing for you. Each of the three classes I'm teaching is different.

On Friday it's "Christmas, Kutalicious Style". You'll make a card where the embellishments on the card front are actually a pair of earrings that the recipient can remove and wear - a card and a gift in one!On Saturday it's time to get hands on with Friendly Plastic in the "Bauble Trio" cardmaking class. You'll learn 3 basic techniques and use two heating methods in this class so if you've never used Friendly Plastic before, then this is a great class to take.
On Sunday, you'll create an "Elegant Bauble" card using the fantastic Krafty Lady art moulds with Delight Paper Clay and Lumiere paints to create a gorgeous card embellishment. You'll learn how to gradually blend one colour into the next so that there are no edges, just a smooth transition from one colour to the next. This is a really elegant card but to see it, you'll need to go to the Sydney Papercrafts website.

If you're interested in booking into a class, then call Stamp Antics on (07) 3393 3022 and the girls will add your name to the class list. Or if you'd prefer, you can make your booking at the show. All classes are just $15 which is great value.

And if you can't make it to a class, then stop by the Stamp Antics stand (stand No. 1) and say hello. I'd love to meet you.

Oh, and don't forget to visit yesterday's post and leave a comment for your chance to win some blog candy.

Next post will probably be a report after Sydney Papercrafts Festival so in the meantime I hope you have a great and crafty weekend!
'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

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beauty from the Earth's Core

A couple of weeks back I was pleasantly surprised to have a comment left by Dave of Rings & Things telling me that I was one of the winners in their Blog Partner program for September. Yippee!

That meant goodies from their current catalogue release were on their way to me. And just a week or so later here's what arrived on my doorstep all the way from the US: some really pretty gemstone donuts.
Before showing you what I did with them, I've got to say that I was quite apprehensive when I saw that the package contained gemstone donuts. If you scroll through the jewellery on my blog and website you'll see a complete absence of gemstones and there's a good reason for that: as much as I am fascinated by the earth's ability to produce these wonderful stones, I am completely intimidated by them and have to admit that I know very little about them. Not only that, but I have absolutely nothing in my stash that would work with them.

Or so I thought!

Once I started playing with them, I discovered that I do have things in my stash that work with them.

I remembered I had some donut bails that I bought a couple of years ago that were a good fit with this Black Stone square donut. It's a simple design teaming black glass pearls and crystal rondelles with chain (not pictured). The glass pearls worked really well with the smooth, slick surface of the Black Stone. I made earrings to coordinate and they became the jewellery I wore for Melbourne Cup today. (They were the perfect accessory to the fascinator in my last post.)Next I used the Dumortierite stone. This stone is midnight blue and quite beautiful on its own but I added a chandelier earring component which had the same diameter hole as the donut and then dangled crystals and chain from the loops. I love how well this component sits against the donut now that it's strung on the leather cord. There is no adhesive holding it in place - it just sits there! And the final piece I worked with is Picture Jasper.Now this is one very busy stone, but teaming it with cola and turquoise coloured glass beads has balanced the piece really well. I've created a beaded bail to secure the donut and then used the donut as the clasp to hook a toggle bar through. I love how this turned out!

My thanks go to Rings & Things for providing the donuts for me to play with. It was a challenge, but I loved having to move out of my comfort zone and I now have a new appreciation for these beauties that were formed by the fiery core of our planet.

And now, I'd like to give you the opportunity to have a play with a gemstone donut too! I have two to give away so there will be two winners this week: a Silver Mist Jasper Trillion and a Dumortierite Faceted Trapezoid. For your chance to win, just leave a comment on this post. This is open to readers all around the world and will be running for a week. I'll draw a random winner on Tuesday 9th November. Don't forget to check back to see if you've won.

Good luck!

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