Monday, September 28, 2015

Shadows Earrings Kit Giveaway - And the Winner is........

Happy Monday readers!

I hope you've all downloaded the complimentary project from my latest book, Fabulous Jewelry from Findings. It's made entirely from the cute little daisy-shaped jewellery findings. If you haven't downloaded the printable pdf yet, it's still available from my website.

And now, it's time to announce the three lucky winners from last week's giveaway who will each receive a kit to make the Shadows Earrings.

Random.Org provided the random winners who are:

Jenny Caesar
Janet Green and
Lauren Michelle Taylor

Congratulations ladies! Please message me with your postal details via Facebook and I'll have a Shadows Earrings Kit on its way to you soon.

Keep an eye out for another giveaway in the coming weeks. And of course, keep up to date with the "Wedding Collection" projects from the Creative Bride as they go live each week.

'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, September 25, 2015

The Wedding Collection - DIY Table Seating Plan

Today we continue the Wedding Collection - a collection of crafts put together by the Creative Bride in our household.

For the table seating plan, the wedding stylist had offered us the use of a very sleek modern mirror on an ornate stand to post the table seating arrangements. It was very pretty but really not in keeping with the theme or style of the wedding at all. So Michaela set off to the thrift stores in search of something more vintage-looking. What she had in mind was a picture with an ornate frame.

Her search didn't yield the fancy frame she had hoped for but she did find a large, old print with a wooden frame that was in pretty good condition and at $5, it was a steal!

Armed with a can of metallic gold spray paint, she removed the print and the backing from the frame and spray painted it to tie it into the burgundy and gold theme.

All that was left to do was create a document with the seating arrangement on it, size it to fit the frame and have it printed at Officeworks.

Voilà! Finally, a project that came in under budget and that took under half an hour to complete! And although it was a lot less ornate than she had hoped for, it still worked perfectly well with the theme.

Watch out for another post in the Wedding Collection series next week.

'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, September 21, 2015

A Giveaway, a Free Project and a Book Trailer - Fabulous Jewelry from Findings

When my second book, Fabulous Jewelry from Findings was released, Amazon didn't offer the "Look Inside" feature for the book so I've created a short book trailer that takes a peek at some of the beautiful projects inside to give you an idea of what this book is all about. I'd love you to take a moment to watch it.

To mark the release of Fabulous Jewelry from Findings, I have a complimentary project from the book for you, called "Shadows Earrings". Made with daisy spacers of graduated sizes, the combination of antiqued silver and bright silver spacers makes the earrings both playful and sophisticated. Click here for the printable pdf instructions for the project.

But that's not all!

Three lucky readers will also win a kit with all the supplies you need to make up the design.

Here's how you can enter:
  1. Leave a comment on this post (along with your email address so I can contact you if you win), 
  2. Like the competition post on my Facebook Page
  3. Comment on the competition post on my Facebook Page

You'll earn an entry for each of the methods you use. I'll be collecting entries until 8.00pm (AEST) Sunday, 27th September and draw three random winners which I'll announce on Monday 28/9/15.

This competition is open to international readers too so don't be shy.... please enter!

'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, September 14, 2015

Wedding Reception Table Numbers with Pizazz

Today, we continue our creative bride's journey as she creates the handmade details that made her wedding a memorable affair.

Table numbers are essential to help guests locate their seat at the reception. Once again, Michaela wanted something more unique than what was being offered by the wedding stylist. With their  official engagement photos only recently taken, she and her fiancé decided to create memorable table number using these photos.

Her plan was to have the table number on the front and choose a selection of their engagement photos to go on the back. But she didn't want them just glued on; she wanted them to be transferred on. So here's how she went about it. We forgot to take photos of this process but there are many tutorials online which show you how to do it. Here's one from DIY Cozy Home that she liked.

Here's how Michaela described the process:

Preparing the Timber
I bought a long plank of pine and cut it to size. We ended up with around 12 pieces measuring 130mm wide x 185mm high x 20mm deep, with one extra wide one. I painted only the one side plus the edges white (then gold over the top of the edges), leaving the photo side unpainted. 

Applying the Image
I used ordinary craft glue and let it dry for 24hours. When we did the wet and peel stage, I realised that the ink wasn't meant to transfer to the wood itself but the layer of the paper that had the ink on it was meant to be glued to the wood and we were just meant to "peel" the other layers off, leaving that one layer of paper behind. I found the easiest and most successful (visually) way to peel was to wet the entire piece in one go (otherwise the ink ran) and to peel off in strips, not rubbing or going in circles. The photos were printed onto ordinary copy paper using an Epson printer.

The images are soft, and romantic looking, just the look Michaela was after.

Then she turned her attention to the front of the blocks. She'd found some brass house numbers at the variety store for just $1 a piece.

They came with tacks but she glued the numbers on to the painted surface and discarded the tacks. At this point, they were a bit front heavy so she added some screw-in brass hooks which helped the table numbers balance.

And this is how they turned out: on the left is the front and on the right is the back.

Each table number had different photos. In all, there were 10 photos for everyone to admire. It was a great talking point amongst guests and a wonderful way to have the two families intermingle and get to know each other a little better. It was another very special touch that she added which made her day such a memorable one.

I'll be back with more Wedding Collection projects in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for the updates.
'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, September 10, 2015

Straightening and Organising Head Pins and Eye Pins

There's nothing more annoying than running out of  head pins or eye pins in the middle of a project. Sometimes I buy them in bulk to avoid that happening and whilst it can save a bundle of money, it can bring with it the extra effort of having to straighten them if they are mangled inside the package. And you can't always tell that from the outside of the pack. It's not until you open it that you might find they look more like the photo below.
Bent head pins

So my job today is to straighten out the kinks on the mangled ones hidden amongst them.
Bulk packet of head pins

Sometimes you can just run the pin through nylon jaw pliers but for ones with kinks like these or if your pins are made of a heavier gauge, you need to get rid of the kinks first. My method is to place the bent part into the jaws of my flat nose pliers and press down firmly.
Gripping the bent head pin with the pliers

You can see how it has flattened that kink quite well.
Squeezing the kink flat with the flat nose pliers

Once you've removed the major kinks, then you can run the pin through the nylon jaw pliers to straighten it out completely.
Running the head pin through the nylon jaw pliers

You can see that there's still a slight bend in the pin but now it's useable.
A straightened head pin

Here's that same pile after straightening.
Straightened head pins

If you'd like to see this method in action, check out my YouTube video: Straightening Kinked Head Pins.

The second part of my job today is to tidy up my collection of head pins and eye pins. I store my gold and silver pins in ziplock bags in a portable chest with tilt out drawers. 
Tilt tray caddy filled with head pins

It's a handy storage container because I can just pick up the whole thing and take it to my work space but at the moment, those ziplock bags are becoming shabby and have begun to split from being opened and closed so many times. I've outgrown the ziplock bag system for storing them so I've decided to try seed bead tubes instead. I purchased 3" tubes which will fit pins up to 70mm in length - the perfect fit for the compartments of the chest.
 Clear seed bead tubes filled with straightened head pins

I still have a huge pile of those gold head pins to straighten so it will be a job for in front of TV for the next few nights. But here's the chest looking much more orderly with everything in neat tubes.
Head pin tubes stored in a portable caddy

As with my beads, I keep the labels with the pins for easy identification and also to make reordering easy.
Pin this Tip!
Straightening bent head pins inspiration 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, September 7, 2015

Geometric Wedding Reception Place Card Holders

 Today we continue the "Wedding Collection" - a series of posts about the handmade details that made my daughter's wedding a very personalised affair. In this post we look at place cards for the reception.
Triangular place card holder for the bridal table.

Our creative bride wanted something more than the standard tent-folded place cards being offered by the wedding stylist. She had a sophisticated, yet simple idea in mind - a triangular piece of wood which would emphasize the geometric chevron pattern on the table runners. A slit on top will hold the place cards.
Handmade geometric triangle wedding place card holder

The project seemed straightforward enough: cut timber into triangles, cut the slit, paint the outside white and the ends with gold paint. I mean, how hard could it be? Well, as it turns out it wasn't hard at all..... but in our haste, we did manage to make hard work of it!

It all started out well. Using this post from the Ruffled blog as a starting point, she found some timber moulding with a triangular profile at the hardware store - perfect! To save time on the fiddly process of painting individual place card holders, the bride gave the whole length of timber a coat of white paint before it was cut into 2.5cm lengths. Her original plan was to do this with a handsaw but luckily, one of the bridesmaid's volunteered her father to cut them with his drop saw - what a legend!  Here he is in action.
Using a drop saw to cut timber moulding to length

Next, she sanded the cut ends with coarse sandpaper to remove the splinters. At this point we had a decision to make: proceed with painting the ends or spend more time sanding and undercoating them. In the end, our crafty bride decided to push on in order to finish this project as quickly as possible (we still had several other projects to complete). The next step was to mask the white surfaces with tape and then spray paint the cut ends with 24K gold paint. And here's the result - a very textured surface which was rather dull looking, as if it hadn't been painted at all. It was not the bright shiny metallic finish she'd hoped for!
white and gold triangle wedding place card holder

There was only one thing for it, we had to go back a step and sand away all the gold paint until the surface was smooth. It took a lot of elbow grease but once again, we had more volunteers who stepped in to help..... thank goodness!

My wonderful DH took on the role of being the chief slit-cutter. It was a great excuse for him to play with my Dremel whilst trying out his new work bench. Sadly, I didn't take a photo of that step.

After the slits were cut, we had to repaint the triangles because the speed of the Dremel blade had caused the paint to singe - it wasn't a good look! But seeing as we had to repaint the outer surface, we decided to undercoat the triangular ends whilst we were at it!

Once dried, it was back to taping again. This time we enlisted the help of the relatives who had already begun to arrive for the wedding. Time was getting very short - this was just two days out from the wedding!
Taping the painted timber with painter's tape
A cousin stepped in to spray paint the edges. To speed the process up, she laid them out in rows inside a box.
Lining up the triangular place card holders, ready for spray painting

Spray painting was one of the fastest steps and it took just minutes. Once dried, she flipped them over and painted the other end.
Spray paint the cut ends of the triangles with metallic gold spray paint

The last step was to remove the tape and hand them over to the wedding stylist to be set up at the reception. How much better do they look now? It almost looks as though they're foiled in gold. This was definitely the look our crafty bride was after.
Detail view of gold and white triangular place card.

As with the other projects, there were many helpers who stepped in to lend a hand and we just couldn't have done it without their help. Thank you to you all.
Triangle place card holder on the bridal table

Place card holder on the bridal table.

'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