Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Resin Cuff Links - Jewellery for Men

I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas Season filled with fun and laughter and getting to enjoy a bit of down time between Christmas and New Year. I'm taking a bit of a break from the studio for a couple of days to spend with my family who are all home this Christmas. But I promised you pics of the resin cuff links I made for the men in my household, so here they are.

These are for our cycling enthusiast. He's always been interested in what makes things work so a steampunk theme with cogs and gears was perfect for him.
Cufflinks made with watch parts
For the well dressed and more formal man in our household, this variation on a monogram theme was the perfect choice - the lower case letters are a fun twist!
Round cufflinks with monograms

And for the sophisticated man who likes the look of mixed metals: silver, pewter and gold Friendly Plastic cuff links.
Square cufflinks filled with strips of Friendly Plastic

I can't tell you how impressed each of the men were with their new cuff links - so much so that at first they didn't realise they were hand made! Each pair was presented in a cuff link box before being wrapped because presentation is everything in a handmade gift!

See how to make them in this post.

I hope you enjoy the quieter time between Christmas and New Year and find lots of time to spend crafting!

'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, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread House - Chez Hillam Style

December has been frantically busy in our household. Between Christmas Parties, 90th Birthday celebrations, University Graduation Ceremonies, a trip to Adelaide and two trips to Lismore we also managed to slot in some time in the kitchen preparing our favourite Christmas treats. You saw some of them here in this post.

Because of our busy schedule we decided to use a kit for our Gingerbread House this year. It came with everything you need including the pre cooked gingerbread, presentation board, icing and sweets to decorate it - what a time saver! This kit is from Create a Treat and it even gives you a web address to view a video on how to construct the house - so easy that even a child can do it! 

The board comes with channels that you slot the walls into. Just fill with the icing mixture and insert the wall. I loved this idea - it made construction really easy. So does the pre-mixed icing which is the perfect consistency.

My younger son loves working on this project each year and he did most of the construction work......, it was only fair to allow him to fill the house with goodies. We added a few of our own treats to the ones that come in the kit!

Two pairs of hands made attaching the roof a breeze.

I got to be the decorator and gardener.

And here's our gingerbread masterpiece - simple and totally SWEET!

We'll admire our Gingerbread House masterpiece for another couple of days and then begin the fun task of demolishing it!

'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, December 24, 2011

O Christmas Tree - Twelve Days and Counting - Day 12

Welcome to day 12 - the final day of the Twelve Days and Counting Earrings Spectacular.

When I started out on this journey, 12 pairs of earrings didn't seem such a daunting task, but when it came to the crunch, creating 12 unique pairs of earrings, all Christmas themed, was more of a challenge than I'd anticipated. But a challenge like this always pushes your boundaries and I think you get more creative the more you are pushed. So without further ado, let me show you the final pair of earrings in the Earrings Spectacular.
O Christmas Tree

To make the O Christmas Tree earrings, you'll need:
2 x 14mm red miracle beads
2 x centre drilled opaque red teardrop crystals
2 x two-into-one silver end connectors (if you can't find 2-1 then try these 3-1 and cut off the middle loop)
4 x silver bead caps
21cm 4mm anodised green aluminium curb chain
6 x 4mm green jump rings
2 x silver ball head pins
2 x silver regular head pins
2 x ball end silver earring wires.

Thread a tear drop crystal onto a head pin and create a wire wrapped loop, attaching it to the bottom of the end connector before wrapping the loop.

Cut two 4cm lengths of chain and attach them with jump rings to the top of the connector.

Cut one 2.5cm length of chain. Open a jump ring and attach the three lengths of chain making sure the short chain is in the middle.

Thread the jump ring onto the interchangeable earring wire and gently close it.

Thread the miracle bead on an eye pin with a bead cap on either side of it.

Trim the end of the head pin and turn a loop.

Open the loop and attach it to the bottom of the short length of chain. Close it securely and you have a very chic and stylish Christmas tree earring. Make another one to match.

I hope you've enjoyed the 12 different pairs of earrings I've shared with you this month. I've enjoyed the challenge so much that this just might become a regular Christmas feature!

It's just a few short hours now until Christmas Day and I'm still working on some gifts for the men in my household. I'll post pics (and maybe a short tutorial) next week.

Have a great Christmas; stay safe and be happy.

'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

Friday, December 23, 2011

Elegant Ornament Earrings - Twelve Days and Counting - Day 11

If you've been following along with the Twelve Days and Counting Earrings Spectacular you'll know that there are just two more pairs of earrings to go. Can you believe how fast this Earrings Challenge has gone?

Today's earrings are long, detailed and ornate - very appropriate for ornaments, don't you think? They have a certain style and elegance about them. I love the luminescence of the red miracle beds - it's almost as if they are glowing!
Christmas Ornament earrings

If you want to create a pair of Elegant Ornament earrings, this is what you'll need:
2 x 14mm red miracle beads
2 x 4mm Siam Crystazzi crystals
2 x double ended crystal rondelle beadcaps
2 x 6mm crystal rondelles
2 x silver four-sided lantern shaped beads
2 x 16mm Silver Filigree Leaf Bead Caps
2 x 14mm Silver Filigree Open Leaf Bead Caps
2 x miniature petal shaped bead caps
2 x silver 3mm beads
2 ball end silver earring wires
2 head pins

On one end of the double ended crystal rondelle, gently push the prongs in........

Folding the points on one end of the double ended rondelle into the centre.

....until they meet in the centre to create a point.
One end of the double ended rondelle is open and one end has had all the points folded in to meet at the centre.

Thread all the beads and findings onto the head pin using the photo as a guide.
The stringing order for all the beads and components.

Push all the components down and then, using chain nose pliers grip the head pin above the crystal.
Gripping the head pin ready to bend it above the crystal.

Turn a 90° angle.
The head pin is bent at a right angle above the crystal.

Using round nose pliers, hold the head pin above the bend and create a wrapped loop.
Forming a loop with the round nose pliers.

Trim away the excess wire of the head pin with flush cutters.
Trimming the tail of the head pin close to the neck.

Place the end of the earring wire through the loop and pass it along the wire until it sits in the hook. Gently close it so that the earring is secure.
Connecting the earring to the earring wire.

Wasn't that easy? Don't you love it when something that looks complicated turns out to be really easy. Make the second earring to match and then adorn yourself with your new Christmas Ornament earrings.

Pin this Project!
Christmas Ornament Earrings inspiration sheet

I'll be back tomorrow with the final pair of earrings in this project. Can you guess what they might be? All I'll say is that they're a twist on a traditional Christmas icon.

Do stop by tomorrow to see what it is.

'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, December 21, 2011

Bejewelled Christmas Wreath Earrings - Twelve Days and Counting - Day 10


Day 10 of the Earrings Spectacular is here and there are just 4 more sleeps until Christmas. I hope you've been enjoying this challenge as much as I am.

I had a little technical hitch with today's earrings - I gave myself a nasty burn with a Bejeweller Wand but learned a very valuable lesson along the way: don't touch the shaft of the wand when it's turned on!

OK, so that would seem to be obvious but when you're looking at your work through a magnifying lens you can only see what's right in front of you. You actually lose your peripheral vision so you are really working with blinkers on. So without being able to see what I was doing, I placed my thumb and forefinger on the shaft instead of on the safety handle. Yowee!!!!! It would seem that a visit to the optometrist is long overdue!

To add insult to injury, my plan to use the Bejeweller Wand to adhere crystals to a metal ring did not work and the crystals either fell off or could be easily pulled off. But in the end, I got the result I was after: a pair of Bejewelled Christmas Wreath earrings. Read on to find out how to make them.

You'll need the following materials:
2 x silver rings
4 x silver metal bow connectors
2 x clear acrylic "Celebrate" tiles
2 x silver gift box charms
16 x assorted 4mm flat back crystals (SiamTopaz and Preciosa Aurum)
14 x Peridot 3mm flat back crystals
4 x silver oval jump rings (6mm x 4mm)
2 x silver 4mm jump rings
2 x silver earring wires

Using GS Hypo Cement apply 3 dots of adhesive to each side of the acrylic tile making sure that it will be hidden behind a crystal. Attach the tile across the centre of the silver ring. Attach the crystals to the ring and the acrylic tile using the photo as a guide. Make sure you use a generous amount inside the holes of the tile and to ensure the crystals are secure.

Leave a space at the top so the bow will sit flat.

Place a bow connector on an oval jump ring.....

.....and then a gift box charm.

Add another bow connector to the jump ring and then sandwich the silver ring between the two bows by passing one of the bows between the gap of the tile and the silver ring. (Gift box charm is not illustrated in this photo but it should be between the two bows).

Close the jump ring. Connect the earring wire to the bow connectors using a 4mm jump ring and you're finished. Make a matching earring and you're ready to "Celebrate" the Season!

There are just 2 more pairs of earrings to be made for the Twelve Days and Counting Earrings Spectacular. I hope you'll join me again tomorrow to see what else I can come up with.

'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