Friday, December 28, 2012

From Construction to Demolition in just 3 days

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas behind us I can now share the Hillam Gingerbread House with you.

2010 was the first year we made our own gingerbread house and we were pretty pleased with our efforts. But we learned a valuable lesson that first year: gingerbread and humidity don't go well together and if you construct your house too early, it WILL sag!

So with that lesson learned, our Gingerbread house is now a last minute Christmas Crafting project which we start just a day or two before Christmas.

This year our kit came from Woolworths. We didn't use the decorations or icing that came in the kit, preferring to visit Tom's Confectionery Warehouse for all the lollies we needed to make it a sweet treat that no bought gingerbread house can compare to.

It was a rather small house, more like a cottage than a house so the decorating was a little less extravagant than our last couple of efforts but we still managed to pack a lot onto that little frame.

So here it is - from construction to demolition..... in just 3 days!

The walls went up in record time. Whilst they were drying, we attached freckle shingles to the roof panels using royal icing. It dries like concrete so the shingles were set solid by the morning.

In the meantime, my big kids filled the inside with their favourite sweets (and some of mine too!)

The roof panels were really heavy with the shingles so after attaching one side of the roof we propped it up with a box of Rice Bubbles and a few drink coasters until it was solid. We did the same thing for the other side.

A few bushes at the front door, a path and a picket fence were all that would fit in the front yard. But the pretty heart wreath over the door and the twisted pillars which support the roof add some colourful detail. And the finishing touch was to add the icicles to the roof.

With much less garden to landscape we placed it amongst a forest of fibre optic trees. The whole scene was very pretty with the lights turned out.

We placed it on the table and admired it all through Christmas lunch but we left it until Boxing Day to smash it open.

People often ask me how I can bear to smash it after all the effort that goes into it but it really is as easy as whacking it with a rolling pin.... one.... two.... three!

and the roof comes crashing down......

.... to reveal the wonderful assortment of hidden sweets!

It is such a joy to see everyone sitting around the table waiting for the moment that the house is broken up to reveal the sweet cache inside.... the stuff Christmas memories are made of!

And so now we look forward to the New Year..... a new year and new craft beginnings. I have plans.... big, big plans for 2013. Just thinking about them scares me and they will take me way out of my comfort zone at times. But that is what new beginnings are all about.

'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 21, 2012

Angels Earrings - Twelve Days of Christmas

December is a fun and joyous month especially as we gear towards Christmas Day. We might spend our time shopping for the perfect gift, enjoying celebrations with family and friends or even spend an evening singing Christmas carols and melodies. But it's important that we remember the real reason for the season: the birth of Jesus, our Saviour. To celebrate that joyous and holy occasion, I've put together a tutorial for a pair of Angel-inspired earrings.

Angel earrings made with gold glow mesh and a smokey crystal star.

Here's what you'll need to make your own pair of Heavenly Host earrings:
Wire, beads, angel charm and gold glow mesh for the angel earrings.
Cut a piece of mesh 11 links x 11 links and then cut a length of gold wire approximately 25cm (10") long. Turn the mesh over to the back and thread the wire through the claws along the first side. Thread it along the second edge, pushing it through from the corner rather than pulling it from the end. This will help eliminate a nasty kink at the corner.
Threading the wire in and out through the edges of the glow mesh

Repeat on all sides so that the wire exits from the top.
The wire exiting from the same hole it started in.

Twist the wires together neathly.
The wires have been twisted together to secure them.

Form a loop and then thread on the earring wire making sure it is facing the right way. Finish the loop by wrapping it around the neck. Trim away the excess.
The excess wire has been formed into a wire wrapped loop above the glow mesh square.

Cut a piece of chain 15mm (5/8") long and use jump rings to connect one end to the angel charm and the other end to the earring wire.
The angle charm has been attached to a length of chain and then to the earring wire.

Create a triangle jump ring from the Hematite Wire for the star crystal. See this tutorial for instructions if you're not sure how to do that.
The star crystal has been attached to a triangle jump ring.

Connect the triangle jump ring to the earring wire with the remaining silver jump ring and you're done! Make another earring to match and you're ready to wear your angel earrings.
The star crystal has been attached to the earring with a jump ring.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you'r looking for even more Christmas inspiration for your holiday jewellery-making, purchase one of my Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebooks. There are fun and whimsical earrings, religious-inspired designs, winter earrings and even Aussie Bush earrings included in the wide variety of designs you can choose from. You can download the books immediately and get started straight away.

My Christmas crafting is moving out of the studio and into the kitchen for the next few days as we create a Gingerbread House. I'll have a pic to share as soon as it's finished so please join me again soon.

Pin this Project!
DIY Angels Earrings project sheet

'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 19, 2012

Jingle Bell Wreath Earrings

Jingle Bell Wreath earrings Pinterest Inspiration Pin

We traditionally associate red, green, silver and gold with Christmas. But to add a bit of drama, why not consider adding a touch of black to the mix. It works really well with antiqued silver elements like the silver bell charms in today's project.
Wreath earrings made of red satin ribbon woven with silver glass pearls.
Here's what you'll need:
Beads, charms and findings needed for the Jingle Bell wreath earrings.
Measure 5cm (2") from the end of the ribbon and place a mark. Measure along 13mm (1/2") and mark, then 5.5mm (1/4") and mark. Continue marking at 13mm and 5.5mm intervals eight times in total.
Mark the hole positions to string the beads through

Cut a 25cm (10") length of wire and poke it through the first mark.
Inserting the wire through the ribbon ready for stringing the first bead

Use round nose pliers to turn a couple of loops in the wire so it won't pull through.
The end of the wire has been coiled so it doesn't pull back through the ribbon.

String on a bead and thread the wire through the ribbon at the first two marks. Continue threading beads in this fashion.
A glass bead captured between the ribbon.

Whenever the wire becomes bent, used nylon jaw pliers to straighten it again.
Straightening the kinks in the wire with nylon jaw pliers

Centre the beads on the wire and cut away the loops which stopped the wire from pulling through the ribbon. Form the beaded ribbon into a wreath shape.
The wire strung with all the beads and ribbon.

Add a jump ring to the bell charm and thread both the wires through it, one from each side. Twist the wires twice tightly so that the bell is secure.
Inserting the wire from each side of the wreath through the bell loop.

Thread the ribbon through the bow charm, one from each side. Make sure the bow is sitting correctly and then tie it in a knot.
The beaded ribbon wreath with the  bow charm attached.

Trim away one of the wires above the twist. Grip the remaining wire above the twist with chain nose pliers and bend it at a 45° angle. Form a loop with round nose pliers and hook it onto the earring wire. Wrap the tail neatly around the neck and then trim away the excess.
 The wire is looped through the loop of the earring wire and formed into a wire wrapped loop.

Tie the bow into another knot and then trim the ends at an angle.
A finished Jingle Bell wreath earring

Make the second earring in the same way.

I like the star burst pattern the ribbon creates inside the wreath but you can also form the wreath with the ribbon on the outside of the beads for a different effect.

Need more inspiration for your holiday and Christmas earrings? Purchase one of my Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebooks. You'll find so many creative and original holiday designs that you'll love wearing to all your festive celebrations.

Pin this for later!
Wreath earrings inspiration sheet

DIY Holiday Wreath Earrings pinterest pin

Jingle Bell Wreath Earrings Project Sheet

'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 17, 2012

Wrapped and Bejewelled Earrings - Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 10

Today's earrings are called "Wrapped and Bejewelled" and use Beadalon Wrappers as the base component. The grooves around the outside of these components makes it really easy to wrap them with wire.

Wrapped and Bejewelled earrings.

For today's earrings you'll need:

Cut a length of wire, approximately 30cm (12") long and wrap it several times around one of the notches close to the bail.

Wrap it around the notch diagonally across from the first notch and add a red crystal.

Continue wrapping around the notches adding silver and red beads on 6 of the wires. Make sure you add them on both the front and the back.

Once you get back to the notch on the other side of the bail, wrap it around the notch two or three times and then thread it back through the nearest bead.

Pull the wire through with the chain nose pliers taking up all the slack. Trim the wire with flush cutters taking care not to cut the wire the bead is threaded on.

Squeeze the bail together so that the prongs are closer together.

Place it opposite the bail on the Wrapper and squeeze it closed. You will need to do this with pliers. This is the top of the earring.

Cut two different lengths of chain, attach the longer one to the star and shorter one to the candy cane. Add a jump ring to the other end of each chain. Before closing the jump ring on the star component, add the holly charm and then hook it onto the bottom bail. Attach the candy component to the bottom bail also.

Hook the earring wire through the top bail and press the ball and wire together firmly. Use the remaining components to make a matching earring.

Just two more pairs to go -  make sure you check back to see what I've 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