Monday, May 23, 2011

Expanding the Brief

I've been working on some magazine projects this past couple of weeks. My brief was very broad: anything that is inspired by autumn. No restrictions as to what stringing material to use, or type of beads or even whether I chose to make a necklace, bracelet or earrings. It was all up to me.

So without guidelines to work to, how do you go about fulfilling a brief like this? You only know where you have to end up but you don't have a starting point as you haven't been told what materials to use or what style is required. Your brief is very........ well, brief!

Well, this is how I go about it. I like to go through a warm-up period whilst I get a handle on the theme. This usually means starting with something simple like a pair of earrings and then perhaps I'll progress to a strung piece or two, maybe a necklace, maybe a bracelet. By about this time, I'm starting to get a feel for the theme and some ideas begin to formulate in my head. Along the way I will have tried all sorts of beads and combinations until something strikes a chord. And when that happens, I'm ready to create the final piece.

Here's one of those earlier pieces:...... a playful necklace featuring a charming owl bell pendant that jingles as you move. How fun is that?!! He's surrounded by a bunch of pressed glass leaf beads (because what would an owl be without a tree?), dual-toned brown beads in a cool oval shape (that remind me of nuts) and some short lengths of copper chain to connect all the elements together.

Isn't he just so cute!!

I can't share the final piece I came up with just yet; that will have to wait until after it's published, but I can tell you it's romantic, floral and vintage, and it couldn't be more different from this one if it tried. Pics to come in the northern hemisphere fall. But right now, we're already enjoying the splendour of the autumn months down under.

'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, May 11, 2011

Whilst I'm in the Mood

Do crafters ever stop looking for the perfect storage solution? It seems to be an ongoing process, one that we are constantly fine tuning. I'm finding that what worked for me when I first set up my studio 18 months ago, is in need of a little updating right now. And that's what today's post is about.... I'm in the mood for a little bit of organising!

One of the things that irks me most about my studio is my paper/cardstock storage system - in particular, my offcuts. They are encroaching on my floor space and the pile is threatening to topple over - it's not an attractive sight!

Here's what I'm talking about - I have 2 of these tubs overflowing with cardstock scraps, as well as various other cartons and containers stacked in the corner taking up way too much space. It's time for an overhaul of this system! This is how I've been storing my offcuts - in ziplock bags, sorted by colour. Not a bad solution but it's become untidy as the collection of offcuts has increased.
So I toddled off to the shops yesterday to find a solution that would work for me and I found some good ones: Howards Storage has great mobile carts with drawers but they are well over the $100 mark; K-Mart had some sturdy file boxes which looked promising and were within budget, but they are made of chip board and you can't see the contents at a glance; Officeworks has a plastic version of these file boxes which I liked, but the draw back with these is that they only had coloured ones in stock and no clear ones - I want to see the contents without having to label them.

But they also had some desktop drawers with clear drawer fronts. Ah, just the thing! So I came home with a couple of sets of these and at $17 each I think this is a good value solution to my untidy collection of offcuts.
I pruned the collection quite a bit, much to the delight of the local primary school. I'm glad that they will be able to use those scraps. And my useable offcuts are much tidier now although I can't imagine that the contents of the drawers will stay this neat for too long!

I've got the units side by side here, but they are stackable so they'll take up less bench space.
Oh, and just one more thing. There's a little stopper on each drawer to stop it from pulling out. Hmmm..... that's no good..... it has to come out so I can take it to my work table.So here's what you do. Press the stopper and the drawer will flex enough for you to slide the drawer right out.......
so you can take it to your work station. Perfect!

Well that has certainly tidied up my offcuts. One day I'll tackle the full sheets of cardstock and patterned paper collection but for the moment, I'm feeling good about having sorted the offcuts.

'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, May 9, 2011

A Gift of Organisation

I am such a lucky Mum.... look what my husband and children gave me for Mother's Day!
Of course, it didn't come assembled like this..... but it did come with instructions!

I love putting together flat pack furniture, especially when it goes together this easily. So this is how I spent my Mother's Day......

Step 1. Unpack all the bits and check that they're all there.Step 2. Insert the screws into the pre drilled holes.......
and then tighten with a screw driver.
Step 3. Assemble the frame. By this stage, I was having so much fun that I forgot to photograph this step, but it's very easy as there are only five pieces; top, bottom, 2 sides and the back. Tighten the locking nuts that slot into the screws previously inserted. If you've ever assembled Ikea furniture then you'll know the process. Although this piece is from the Mini Stackables range by Best Craft Organizer, it's a very similar construction.

Step 4. Screw in the castors and the unit is complete. Step 5. But it still need drawers and that means runners. Simply press the lugs of the runners into the pre drilled holes.....
and slide in the drawers and tray inserts.
Step 6 - Fill it up! And have fun doing it!!!!
From order!Ah, that's better!
Mmmm.... love that bling!

The plan for this unit was to slide it under my fixed height workbench. But I forgot to take into account the thickness of the floor tiles......Just 4mm too high. Hmmmph! If I didn't need this to be mobile, I would take the castors off but instead I will do a little rearranging and make it fit in the corner of the room next to a cupboard I don't need to access too often. After all, it's on wheels, so it's mobile!

I am seriously in love with this storage system and it works really well for me..... I can see what I have and I USE it.

But I'll be needing more as my beading stash grows, so these mini units will be on my birthday and Christmas wish lists for a while to come. In the meantime, I'll be on the look out for casters with a lower profile!

'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