Saturday, April 28, 2012

International Charm Day - Feeling Just a Little Bit Fruity!

Most creative types will tell you that you can find inspiration everywhere, even when you're doing regular, everyday things and all it takes is for you to take the time to really see. Today, I found myself in that place whilst I was making lunch; there on the kitchen bench was the fruit bowl - gorgeous fresh, plump fruit - the inspiration for some fun charms for International Charm Day.

With just a bit of wire, a few seed beads and a wire jig, I'll show you how to make your own delicious fruity earrings. Make one of each as I did, or make a matching set of your favourite fruit.

You'll need some fruit shaped outlines to use as a template for your fruity earrings. Images from kids colouring in books are a good place to look but otherwise search the internet for simple outline shapes. Reduce them to about 2.5cm (1") and then place them under a wire jig. You can see that I couldn't line the pegs up exactly over the lines of the image but that's OK because you'll adjust the shapes later.

Cut off a length of wire about 30cm (12") long and wind it around the pegs making sure that you have the same amount of wire left on each side. I'm working with 26g wire.

Remove the wire shape from the jig and thread on an assortment of seed beads. I've used cherry red, chocolate brown and lime.

Twist the ends together at the neck to keep the beads in place.

Create two leaves and then wrap the wires neatly around the stem. Pinch the ends of the leaves between your thumb and forefinger to create a point and then shape the leaves. Trim away the tails.

If your pear has become a little out of shape, use your fingers to reshape it.

To create the apple, set the jig up something like this. I made this one without a pattern.

Follow the same steps to create the apple and then attach each shape to an earring wire to create some fun, fruity earrings!

'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, April 27, 2012

What's in the Box?

Exciting day, today! I took delivery of two new chairs for the studio. Well, at least, I got two boxes with chairs in them.

Empire Furniture are having a sale on these chairs at the moment and they match the chairs I already have in my studio..... YAAAAY! On top of that they are taking an extra $50 off each chair for their existing customers..... Woohoo! What more could I ask for?!!

When I picked them up, the kind gentleman asked me if I'd like them put together for $30 each. When I asked him how long it takes, he said about 2 minutes.

Umm, I'm no maths genius, but that works out to $15/minute. I don't think so. I'm a dab hand when it comes to assembling Ikea furniture so I'm sure I can tackle these and I'll keep the $60 thanks!

So tackle them I did!

The first one took about 10 minutes because I got to this point and didn't understand the next instruction.

But the second one took only a couple of minutes as promised!

And I'm christening one of them as I write this! It feels SOOOOO good.....

Come Saturday morning, I won't be scavenging every spare chair in the house for my resin workshop. Lucky students.... brand new, ergonomic chairs.

Next chair I want is a stool on wheels to scoot around the studio. I'm eyeing off the one my hairdresser uses in her home salon - I think she'll have to keep a close eye on 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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

When a Ring Needs Some Bling

Sometimes things don't turn out quite the way I envisioned them when I'm working in the studio.

Take this flat resin ring. I cast it during a workshop on the weekend and was really pleased that the outer surfaces were bubble free. The mould has a matt finish but I really wanted a shiny ring so after trimming and sanding it, I moved on to buffing it to a high gloss. And that's where it went wrong. It turns out that the fine sanding I had done removed a very thin outer layer of resin and exposed  numerous minute bubbles on the surface that I didn't see until the polish got into them. Grrr!

Polishing the resin to a high gloss is the last step in the process of making the ring and it takes a fair bit of time and elbow grease to get it to that point. So having come this far, I decided to disguise the worst of the bubbles by strategically placing some Swarovski chatons over the worst of them. So follow my progress below to see how it turned out.

Drilling holes to the right depth was a bit tricky without the right shaped bit, but by drilling and checking and then drilling and checking again, it worked.

Araldite (5 minute epoxy) is a really good choice because its quick to set up - perfect for a curved surface.

You definitely need tweezers to place the crystals right side up. You don't want them falling face down into the epoxy. 

And here's the finished result - a great improvement on the pock marked surface that I started with. It's not perfect but now it's wearable.

I have some other resin pieces that could benefit from a cover up job. I think I'll tackle one over the next few days and share the results with you later.

'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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Butterfly Blue

Welcome to the third project in my unofficial Cousin Corp Week. Today I'm using Trinkettes, Small Silver Curb Chain and 6mm round silver mirror beads. 

All the findings I've used in this project come from the 59 piece Starter Pack in bright silver. The only exceptions are the bail, and the memory wire.

I wanted to do something a little different with the Trinkettes that Cousin provided me with. Trinkettes are large holed beads so they're best suited to bulky stringing materials. But rather than thread them on standard Trinkette chain, I've opted to do something a little different and use the small curb chain to drape around and frame my butterfly focal. I've used a length of turquoise velour tubing from my collection to add colour and also to keep the chain in place.

To start with, cut a length of chain 31.5 inches (81cm) long and fold it into 6 equal lengths.

Open the end link with pliers....

..... and join it to the other end so you have one continuous length of chain.
Thread two thirds of the hank of chain through a daisy Trinkette and then push the velour tubing through. Repeat on the other end so that one third of the hank of chain is dangling, but do not thread the chain through the bail.

The bail sits only on the tubing in between two daisy Trinkettes. The dangling ends will frame the butterfly whilst the centre section will drape across the top.

Cut a length of memory wire to thread through the tubing and turn a loop on each end.

Using eye pins, thread on a silver mirror bead, a daisy Trinkette and another silver mirror bead. Using the round beads will centre the Trinkette and stablise it on the eye pin so it doesn't wobble around. Turn a loop and then make a second matching component.

Connect to the loops of the memory wire.

Cut four 3 inch (7.5cm) lengths of chain. Open a 4mm jump ring and hook on the end link of one chain, measure along 2 inches (5cm) and hook that link on to the jump ring. Close the jump ring. Add a 4mm jump ring to the other loose end and the middle of the remaining chain so that you have 3 equal lengths of chain suspended between 2 jump rings. Create 3 more chain components from the remaining chain.
Connect one to each end of the daisy Trinkette component.

Thread a silver mirror bead on an eye pin and turn a loop. Make 2 more and then connect the three beads together. Create a second set of 3 beads and attach them to the chain on the necklace. Connect the two remaining chains to the beads.

Make 2 more single bead components and attach them to the chain.

Decide how long you would like your necklace to be and then create two more lengths of 3 chains and attach these to the ends of the necklace. Finish with a lobster clasp and ring.

It is always a challenge to use large holed beads differently to how they were intended but both these ideas work really well and they give your large holed beads a totally different look. You can see more ideas on how to stabilise large holed beads here.

I'll be back with another Cousin Corp project soon.

'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, April 18, 2012

Butterflies in the Meadow

For the second post in my Cousin Corp Week, I've created a multi-strand bracelet using a resin butterfly charm as the focal. You can see how I made the charm here.

For this project, I've used the Pearl and Crystal mix in green and tied it all together with silver spacers.

The first thing that needed to be done for this project was to work out how to incorporate the flat bottle cap charm into a multi strand bracelet. I could have glued one of the silver spacers to the back but they have a high point in the middle and they don't sit flush against the bottle cap back. So instead, I decided to wrap it with a square silver filigree from my collection so that I could weave the tiger tail through the back of the filigree to hold the strands in place.

I went for a simple arrangement with the beads and threaded on the pearls interspersed with crystals. The silver spacers keep the strands firmly in place so they don't twist but they also tie in the silver filigree wrapped focal. It looks quite nice at this point, but it just seems to be missing something.
The spacers have three holes and there is plenty of room to add another row of beads in between the pearls and crystals. The 4mm Waterfall Crystazzi crystals which came in my Cousin package suit this piece perfectly. (Hint: If you can't find the Waterfall mix, buy Crystazzi in individual colours such as light topaz, indicolite, erinite and emerald.)

Yes, that looks much better.

To finish the bracelet I've used a hook clasp from my collection - it makes it really easy to put the bracelet on yourself but you could just as easily use a toggle.

I'll be back later with more of Cousin Corp Week. Check back in later to see how else I combine my butterfly charms with the Cousin Corp goodies.

'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, April 17, 2012

A Butterfly as Fresh as Spring

Most of the mail in my letterbox these days seems to come in those dreaded window faced envelopes. So I love it when postie delivers me a package instead. And oh how lucky I am - I've received a package of goodies from Cousin Corp to play with!

It's full of Crystazzi crystals (sparkle, sparkle), Trinkettes (yum, yum) and beads from the Jewelry Basics range. I've talked about Jewelry Basics before - it's the range of beads you go to for all the jewellery making staples you need, the types of beads and findings you always reach for when you're making jewellery. So with such a bounty of goodies to play with, I am designating this week: Cousin Corp Week.

Remember those gorgeous resin butterfly charms I made earlier for International Charm Day? Well, as luck would have it, they will work beautifully with the selection of blue and green beads in my Cousin package.

Today I've selected the dangling charms from the Glass Metal Bead Cluster set. This is a selection of crystals, metals and glass pearls, already threaded onto headpins and jump rings so that all you have to do is add them to your project - pretty neat, huh!

For this piece, I've glued a large-holed bail to the back of the butterfly bottle cap and threaded it onto a length of Jewelry Basics Medium Flat Chain. This short length of chain was left over from another project and I didn't have enough for the whole necklace but I'll tell you how I got around that shortly. To add interest to the focal, I've clustered a few of the crystal and metal charms on the bail. I also added the crystal-set leaf from the Mixed Leaf Charm set.

As I mentioned, I only had a short length of the Medium Flat Chain for this necklace but I still had a few of the charms from the Cluster set left so I decided to add a two-into-one connector to each end of the chain and use two lengths of Small Flat Chain for the back part of the necklace. At the connectors, I used the remaining charms from the Cluster set - it adds a nice bit of detail and ties the necklace together without making it look like I ran out of chain.

I added the last Cluster charm to the extension chain on the clasp.

And here's how the necklace came together - very fresh, and very spring!

Join me again later in the week to see some of the other ways I use this wonderful selection of Cousin beads.

'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