Friday, June 29, 2012

Evening Elegance

Some time ago I came across a really interesting stringing material called tubular nylon mesh.

Ever since I first saw this product I just knew I would love working with it. I've made many unusual pieces with it and whenever I wear one of them it draws lots of admiring comments. But this is the first piece that has been published. It's called Evening Elegance and it appears in the August issue of Crafts magazine.

If you're in Brisbane, all the supplies for this project are available locally, but if you're not, the stockists are listed in the article and you can buy them all online.

Crafts is a great magazine which includes sections for stampers and papercrafters, jewellery makers, knitters and crocheters and also general crafters. You can order a digital or a hard copy of the magazine here. Or you can order just a single issue.

'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, June 28, 2012

Retrofabulous Rings

Shy and retiring types, this post is not for you.

I have new ring moulds and I got a chance to play with one of them on the weekend. Take a look at these fabulous retro rings.
Great Turquoise Retro Wedge
These knuckle dusters are perfect for extroverts and those wanting to make a statement. Wear one of these big, bold beauties and it will get noticed.

The great Turquoise Retro Wedge is a swirling ocean of blues, greens and turquoise.

The Superman angle!
Another colour, another angle.....
Charcoal Slate
The marbling is very fine in this one and it looks like slate.....

Lots of lovely swirly white marbling through this last one. It looks like it could have been carved from a chunk of marble rather than cast from liquid resin.
White Marble

This ring mould will be added to the selection of moulds available for use in the Resin Bangle and Ring workshop so lucky students can make one of their own. Or, if you prefer to have you own, the mould can be purchased at the workshop.

'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, June 27, 2012

Butterfly Bouquet Wall Art

I got carried away with drawing butterflies last week and made so many that I decided to use them for the final frame in my black and white butterfly series. You can see the other ones here, here and here.

Not being much of a sketcher, I found it challenging to create a pair of identical wings. But what I discovered is that the wings don't need to be identical. As long as the outline of the butterfly is symmetrical, then your eye doesn't notice the differences in the pattern from one half of the butterfly to the other. And the easy way to get a symmetrical butterfly is to use a die cut!

Anyway, here it is: the final black and white butterfly shadow box in the series.
Black and white Butterfly Bouquet framed wall art

For this project I die cut 7 Sizzix butterflies (retired design) and 1 Cuttlebug butterfly. Then I went to town sketching/colouring butterflies with a Pigma Micro Pen for the black-on-white butterflies and Inkssentials White Opaque Pen for the white-on-black butterflies. To help with the patterns, I did an image search for black and white butterflies and found so many different patterns for inspiration.

Each of the butterflies is attached to a length of white, plastic-coated wire with double sided tape. They vary in length from 10-15cm (4-6").

After arranging them in a bouquet, I taped them to the back of the matt board that comes in the Ribba shadow box frame.

And for the finishing touch I applied some self adhesive crystals to the matt board before assembling the shadow box. To accommodate the thickness of the bunch of wires, I used foam tape to raise the matt from the background.

Whilst it's satisfying to assemble the pieces and see it all come together, the most enjoyable part of this project is drawing the butterflies. It's a lot like doodling or Zentangle because you don't have to have perfect butterflies..... each one is a unique creation.

Bouquet of hand drawn butterflies

And finally, my four shadow boxes are ready for hanging. But that's a project for the handyman in my household!

See the others here:

'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, June 26, 2012

Bead Shopping in Canberra

I love visiting new places as I'm sure we all do, but one of the things I enjoy most is checking out the local craft shops. Whilst in Canberra, I stopped in at two bead shops to buy some goodies I haven't found locally.

At Bead Street, I found these gorgeous acrylic petals which I just couldn't resist.

They remind me of the sweet peas we planted in the garden a few weeks back. I can't wait until they flower, but in the meantime, I have this lovely selection of petals to include in my jewellery.

At the Bead Barn I found a good selection of cloisonné beads, some fancy magnetic closures and a variety of spacer beads and slides which I haven't seen before. I like to keep a variety of fancy closures on hand for projects that need the closure to be integrated into the design. These will be perfect as they look more like beads than clasps.

The Bead Barn is located in a tourist area outside of Canberra where there are a lot of other places that might interest crafty folks and it's well worth setting aside several hours to visit the area. We were there just before dusk and we spotted a herd of about 40 kangaroos just grazing on a vacant block of land across from the local Maccas - amazing what you find in suburbia in the ACT!

'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, June 25, 2012

Petal Napkin Ring

As a jewellery designer, it was only logical that beads would feature in the decorations for the celebration dinner. Here I've combined them with one of my favourite jewellery components, filigree stampings, to create a unique napkin ring that fits perfectly with the purple theme of the party. Making your own napkin rings is a great way to stamp your personal style on any celebration.
Size 11/0 Delica beads: Fuchsia Lined Aqua AB; Silver Lined Crystal
Preciosa 4mm bicones: 12 Amethyst; 12 Tanzanite
Preciosa 6mm bicones: 6 Amethyst
3 square Silver Filigree brass stamping
6 silver eye pins
3 silver jump rings
26g purple wire

Bead spinner
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Flush cutter
length of cardboard cut to 3.5cm (1.5") wide
cardboard tube from paper towel

To make the petals for the flower, I unwound about 1 metre (approximately 1 yard) of wire from a reel of 26g purple wire and made a hook on it. Don't cut the wire from the reel because the reel will act as your bead stopper as you thread on the seed beads.

If you have a bead spinner, this will make light work of threading on so many beads. Place the hook into the dish and gently spin the bead spinner, allowing the beads to climb up the length of wire. As the wire fills, carefully remove the hook from the dish trying not to lose too many beads and push them along the length of wire on the reel. Continue until you have threaded about 80cm (34") of beads.

Wrap the beads around a piece of cardboard measuring 3.5cm (1 3/8") wide (or as wide as you would like the loops of your petals). I've made 12 complete wraps but you can make as many as you like. Make sure you leave a long tail at each end of the beads for tying off. Cut a 15cm (6") length of wire and thread it underneath the beads on one side of the card. Pull it to the edge of the card and draw the four wire ends together. Twist it once or twice to prevent the beads from falling off.

Slide the loops of beads off the card

And twist the ends to secure and set this aside. You'll need to unwind this a bit later on.

 Use your finger to round out the points of the petals and arrange them in a petal-like fashion.

Place a filigree on a cardboard tube and gently bend it around the tube.

Repeat with the other two filigree squares.

Lay the filigree squares point to point and connect them together with two of the jump rings. Set this aside.

Thread four 4mm crystal bicone, a 6mm bicone with the Delicas in between, following the pattern below.

Turn a loop at the other end.

Connect the loops to the outermost holes in the filigree as shown.

You will need to connect three on each side.

Untwist the wire at the base of the base of the petals leaving just one or two twists to hold the petals in place. Thread the long wire tail down through the central hole. Divide the wires into two groups and push the wires back up through the holes in the next ring of holes. Pull them tightly so that the flower doesn't wobble around.

Note: If your filigree doesn't have a central hole, then separate the wires first and thread the two groups through two opposite holes in the first ring of holes, cross them over in the centre and twist them, pulling them tightly. Then thread them back up to the top through the opposite holes to anchor the flower securely.

Wrap the two tails firmly around the wire at the base of the flower several times.

Trim away the excess with wire cutters and tuck in the ends.

Use the remaining jump ring to connect the flat filigree into a ring. Use your fingers to gently curve the beaded lengths.

If you're planning to make a large number of napkin rings and your budget is tight, then substitute beads of your choice for the crystals and Delicas. Chinese crystals are a cheaper alternative but are not as precision cut as Preciosa and Swarovski crystals but the overall effect will still be good.

'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

After the Celebration is Over.....

What do you do with all the decorations after the party is over?

Well, you could store them away for another celebration, assuming that you want everything to be the same colour and theme. Or, you could give them away to the guests as mementos.

That's what I did!

The napkin rings were a no brainer. I'd made them specifically with that idea in mind..... each guest got to take their napkin ring home with them.

And of course, there were the bonbonnieres for the guests as well.

But here's a couple of other things that went home with guests too.

I roped my sister into making these. She's not a crafter, but I put her to work stringing all the crystals onto memory wire and then I turned the loops. These "bracelets" decorated the rims of the jars of glowing purple LEDs on the table.

She's a bit of a purple girl too, so they went home with her and as the first piece of jewellery she has ever made. She's very pleased with the result!

Remember the candelabra?

Well, the little chandelier dangles on each arm were perfect for turning into earrings and I had more takers than I had earrings for this one. I've since made up another couple of pairs to go around.

And that leaves me with just enough mementos to treasure.

'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, June 22, 2012

Doodling Butterflies

What do you do when you're staying in a motel room without access to your craft supplies?

Sitting around with idle hands drives me crazy (just ask my DH!). So on a recent visit to Canberra, the only crafting supplies I could take were pen and paper.

Keeping in mind the butterfly projects I've been creating lately, I die cut several butterflies and packed them into a ziplock bag with a fine black marker. Whenever I got a few spare minutes I whipped them out and started drawing.

Here's a peek at what I've been working on.

I haven't forgotten about the final shadow box in my black and white butterfly series - it's still on the drawing board. But perhaps some of these will make it into the last one.

'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