Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All Free Jewelry Making Top 100

I am so excited..... All Free Jewelry Making has just announced it's top 100 most popular jewellery designs for 2012 and my Kumihimo bracelet tutorial was on that list!

You can see the project here with complete step-by-step photos and instructions.

Making Kumihimo braids is a really easy technique to learn and something that even children can master. There are a lot of different uses for the braids:  I made an extra long one and used it as my lanyard at CHA last week and it received so many admiring comments - it always surprises me when something so simple catches people's eye!

It makes great necklaces and with the addition of a wonderful focal bead it can easily be given the Wow factor. It also makes a great keyring chain. And you are not restricted to using rat-tail; you can use a variety of different cords and fibres to make the braid.

So pop on over to All Free Jewelry Making to see all 100 of the most popular designs here. They're split into categories to make it easy for you to find just the right tutorial or pattern you're interested in.

'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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Butterfly Light Garland

It's just 3 days before I jet out to LA for the CHA Winter Trade Show and Conference and I'm working on the finishing touches for my Designer Showcase at the moment.

Each Show I tease you with some sneak peeks of my showcase but you never get to actually see the final display and this year is no different. But instead of teasing you this time, I' sharing photos of one of the pieces on my Showcase as I make it.

You might recall the posts about the LED light strings that decorated my dining room last year for my birthday dinner bash. If not, you can check them out here.

I'm going to put those lights to use as a decorative feature on my showcase this year by dressing them up a little.

Originally, I thought I'd change the colour because they are quite a bright purple. It would have been easy enough to do - a swipe with methylated spirits would have removed the alcohol ink. But I've decided that the purple works quite well with my "all black and white" theme. So let's get into the how to.

The first thing I did was die cut some white card stock with the butterfly die from Eileen Hull's Birds and Butterflies set. I used a fine and a medium marker to draw 6 different wing patterns on the butterflies. This was a great project for in front of TV last night. In all, I'll need about 50 for this project so this morning I photocopied them onto paper.

Then it was back to the die cut machine to cut them out this afternoon, but not before I did a preliminary cut around the wing tips to help align them in the die. My trusty Sizzix Big Shot made short work of the cutting.

So now I have a bunch of pretty black and white butterflies ready to adorn the battery operated lights. But before attaching them, I've wrapped the light string with black ribbon so that it will blend into the display better.

Tonight I paired up all the butterflies and taped one of each pair.

Now, here's a tip to help you align the two butterflies together perfectly. Only remove the tape carrier from one wing. Then place the other two wings together, back to back, without letting the adhesive touch the wing. The carrier will allow you to swivel the two wings until they are aligned. Once they're straight, you can press the taped side together. Don't remove the carrier from the other wing until you're ready to place the butterfly on the light.

The final step is to place the body of the butterfly over the LED, remove the remaining carrier and tape the wings together. The butterflies looks really pretty both with the lights on and off.

I'll be draping the butterfly light garland around the edge of my display to give it a cohesive and handcrafted look - it is just the perfect finishing touch.

I'll be back later in the week with news from CHA.
'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

Crafts n' things Weekly - delicate blossoms bracelet

Hi everyone!

For those of you who have had difficulty accessing my free Delicate Blossoms Bracelet project over at Crafts 'n Things Weekly in the last few days, try this link:

Crafts n' things Weekly - delicate blossoms bracelet.

Remember, it's only available free for a few more days before going into the archives. If you subscribe to Crafts 'n Things magazine, you'll be able to access it there at any time.

'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, January 3, 2013

Crafts n' things Weekly - delicate blossoms bracelet

Happy New Year and welcome to 2013 at Mill Lane Studio.

How did you go with your resolutions last year?

Do you make resolutions?

Or are you sensible and realise that you have shortcomings and failings and that there's a good chance that you won't actually achieve them so you don't set them in the first place?

I'm not a big resolution maker either but I did give myself a challenge back in January 2012 to commit more of my ideas to paper BEFORE committing them to the materials I planned to use. I hoped to have a bunch of sketches to show to you comparing the original concept with the finished project but alas, I only sketched a couple of ideas for the whole year.

I don't feel bad about this at all... and I certainly don't think I failed. I will just shift the goal line a little and give myself more time. Actually, I'm going to do more than that.... I'm going to amend the original challenge. Sketching does not come naturally to me so I now realise that this was not a realistic goal.

What I really need to do is declutter my head. Crammed inside are all my to do lists and a lot of my ideas. It gets so crowded in there at times that I can hardly hear myself think. So this year, my challenge is to get all that stuff out of my head and onto lists so I can cross things off. But only SOMETIMES.

Is that whimping out, giving myself an out when I lose discipline?

I don't think so! It's realistic..... and it's honest. And it will certainly be an improvement on the current situation.

A couple of years back my challenge for the year was to procrastinate LESS. I completely aced this one so I know I can change my ways.

And now I'll leave you with a free project to start off your crafting New Year. You can make the pretty, delicate bracelet at the top of this post by clicking on the link below. But be quick, it's only availabe for a week before it goes into the Crafts n' Things archive.
Crafts n' things Weekly - delicate blossoms bracelet
'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