Friday, December 30, 2016

5 Sparkly Thoughts to Kick Off the New Year

This year, just like every other year in recent memory, has flown past. There's not too much time to look back and reflect on the year gone by or to look ahead to what the New Year might bring, so no New Year's resolutions for me. But I have put together some words to live by to help get the New Year off to a sparkly start.

Sparkle is the new black!

Never let your tiara slip.

Because it's what's on the inside that matters.

Bloom and be the very best you, you can be.

And remember, you can never have enough jewellery..... especially when it's handmade!

May your New Year be shiny and bright! See you in 2017.

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, December 20, 2016

Cascading Star Loop Earrings - Mixed Metal add an unexpected twist

If you're looking for some festive earrings that are a little out of the ordinary, then these Cascading Star Loop earrings might be just what you're looking for. Instead of adding red to gold and silver, add a sprinkling of copper beads for a less traditional look. It will add warmth and contrast to the design whilst retaining the glitz of gold and silver. The clusters of stars will add the Christmassey feel to the earrings.

Tip: This project uses memory wire to form the circular sections giving uniformity and stability to the design but if you find it difficult to turn small loops on pieces of memory wire, you can use wire instead. Choose the heaviest gauge wire that will fit through the Delicas.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Memory wire, seed beads and findings for Cascading Star Loop earrings
·           Two 11mm silver embossed stars
·           Four 6mm engraved gold stars
·           Six 5mm gold stars
·           Two silver 3 to 1 end connectors
·           Thirty-six #10Galvanized Pink Blush Delica beads
·           Sixty-four #11Galvanized Silver Delica beads
·           Silver ring size memory wire
·           Two ballend earring wires
·           Two silver ball end head pins
·           Twelve 4mm jump rings

Tools: memory wire shears, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, flush cutters

Tip: Always use memory wire shears to cut the steel memory wire. Using your regular wire cutters will permanently damage them.

Cut three rings from the memory wire.
Use memory wire shears to cut off a ring
Three memory wire rings

Using the very tip of the round nose pliers, make a small inward facing loop on one end of each of the three coils of memory wire. The easiest way to do this is to rotate your wrist whilst using your thumb and forefinger to push the wire against the jaws of the pliers. You will need to repeat this two or three times to complete the loop. This will help you form a fully closed loop.
Turn a loop on the end of the wire ring with round nose pliers

Repeat on each of the three coils.
Three memory wire coils with loops on one end

String the Delicas and star beads onto the three coils using the photo as a guide for the stringing order.
Memory wire coils strung with copper and silver delica beads and a gold star bead

Trim each coil leaving just enough wire beyond the beads to form a small loop. To work out where to cut the wire, measure the distance between the loop you formed and the cut end. This is how much wire you need to form a matching loop. 
Trimmed coil

The three coils should now look like this.
Three different sized memory wire coils strung with gold stars and silver and copper seed beadsbeads

String a silver star onto a head pin. Bend the wire at a 90° angle and trim it to 10mm (3/8”).
Head pin strung with star bead bent at an angle and trimmed 10mm from the star

Turn a simple loop.
Turn a simple loop above the star bead

Open the loop and hook it onto the middle of the three loops on the connector.
Attach the star bead to the end connector

Connect the smallest and medium coils by hooking a jump ring to one end of the small coil and the beaded section of the medium coil. Connect on the other side in the same way.
Attach each coil together in a cascading fashion

Connect the medium coil to the largest coil in the same manner.
Three beaded coils looped together

Connect the large coil to the end connector with jump rings.
Attach top coil to end connector with a jump ring

Open the loop of the ball end earring wire and slip then top loop of the end connector onto the earring wire. Make sure that it is facing the front.
Slip the end connector onto the earring wire

Make a second earring with the remaining components.

It's not too late to start making Christmas earrings and if you need more inspiration, check out my Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebook series. You are sure to find something perfect to get you in the festive mood. 

'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, December 8, 2016

White as Snow Christmas Earrings - With Video Tutorial

Snow white Christmas earrings with a faceted tear drop crystal dangling below and large white glass pearl in a wire cage, attached to a frosted white star.

December is racing along but it's not too late to make some fabulous Christmas earrings to dress up your festive outfits. Today I have another bonus Christmas Earrings project for you that is NOT in the Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Vol 5. Watch me as I make these gorgeous White as Snow earrings and then follow the step-by-steps below.

Finished length: 5.6cm (2 ¼”)
Time to complete: 30 minutes
Degree of Difficulty: easy

Here's what you'll need:
·           Two 14mmfrosted white acrylic star beads
·           Two 14mm off white glass pearls
·           Two 15mm silver bead cages
·           Two 9x6mm AB or clear Swarovski tear drops
·           Two silver head pins
·           Two silver eye pins
White beads and silver findings for White as Snow earrings

String the tear drop onto the head pin. Grip the head pin with the chain nose pliers and bend it above the pliers at a 90° angle.
Bending the head pin above a clear crystal with the chain nose pliers

Position the round nose pliers in the neck of the wire and form a loop. Make sure that the wire crosses over the front of the loop.
Creating a simple loop with round nose pliers above the teardrop crystal

Wrap the tail of the head pin around the neck two or three times and then trim away the excess.
Creating a wire wrap around the neck of the loop

Open the coils of the bead cage using both hands.
Pulling the bead cage apart

Insert the bead into the cage. 
Slipping the glass pearl into the wire bead cage

If the bead holes don’t line up with the cage ends, work them around by inserting the tip of the eye pin in one end and manoeuvring it into position. String the caged bead and the star (from the bottom).
Insert the eye pin into the glass pearl inside the wire bead cage

Bend the wire above the point of the star at a 90° angle. 
Bending the eye pin at a right angle above the star bead

Turn a simple loop.
Form a simple loop above the star bead with the round nose pliers.

Open the bottom loop of the eye pin and hook it through the wrapped loop.

Attach the earring to the earring wire and close the loop. Make a second earring to match and you're done. Wow....Christmas earrings in under 10 minutes!

You'll find more great earring designs like these in the Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebook series. Vol 5 is available for purchase now and can be downloaded immediately after your purchase is complete.

'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, November 29, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Volume 5..... PLUS - Modern Splendour - a Free Project!

By the time the end of November rolls around, you can feel the excitement and anticipation of Christmas building. With the countdown on 'til Christmas, there's no time to waste in getting your Christmas outfits organised. And that means planning your jewellery as well.

And that's where my latest collection of Christmas earrings can help - 12 fabulously festive earring designs presented in a downloadable ebook - Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Volume 5.
Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebook - Vol 5 front cover
As with past collections, these designs are truly unique and absolutely charming - the perfect way to dress up a holiday outfit or to put some Christmas spirit into your everyday clothes. This year's designs use filigrees, wire wrapping and even leather, along with a variety of construction methods to satisfy both the beginner and more advanced jewellery maker. There are Christmas trees, snow flakes, ornaments and stars. There is even a snowglobe-style design in this year's collection - something for every celebration that you're likely to attend. The ebook is available for $6.

Free Christmas Earrings Project

As a bonus for my readers, I have an extra design to kick off your Christmas crafting. It's a quick and simple project you can be wearing in around 20 minutes.
Tall slender Christmas tree earrings

Here's what you'll need to make the Modern Splendour Christmas Tree Earrings:

String the beads on the head pin in the order shown.

Grip the head pin as close to the star bead as you can and turn a 90° angle above the pliers.

Wrap the wire around the top jaw of the round nose pliers as far as you can and then remove it and place it on the bottom jaw as show in the photo.

Continue bending the wire around the jaw until you have formed a complete loop. The tail end should cross over the front of the neck.

Grip the tail end with the chain nose pliers and wrap it neatly around the neck until all the slack has been taken up on the head pin.

Trim the wire as close to the neck as you can.

Slip the loop onto the earring wire.

To close it, press the ball against the earring wire, letting it go slightly off centre and past the wire.

Use pliers to pull it back into alignment with the earring wire and the gap will be fully closed.

Make a matching earring with the remaining components.

If you liked this charming design, then you'll love the 2016 Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings collection.
Edition 5 Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings ebook
Take a look at the 12 designs included in the book here. For just $6AUD (that's around $4-50USD at the current exchange rate) you'll get a pdf with clear photos and instructions for the 12 new designs. It can be downloaded and saved to your device or printed as a hard copy. Get your copy now!

Pin this Project!
Slender Christmas Tree earrings inspiration sheet

Slender Christmas Tree 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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How to Make Elfin Earring Wires Like a PRO

There are times when you want your handmade earrings to have a more sleek and modern look and using elfin earring wires (aka elven or almond earring wires) can do just that. It's easy to source shepherd hooks or french earring wires but finding elfin earring wires is a little more difficult so this tutorial will show you how to quickly and easily make your own. And the beauty is, you can make them in any colour or size to suit your design.

So, grab your jewellery making pliers and let's get started. Here's what you'll need:
  • Two 41mm eye pins
  • Flat nose pliers
  • A ring mandrel (or other round form to shape the earrings - a 3/4" diameter bottle works well)
  • Cup burr tool or a metal file
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Baby wipe or methylated spirits (denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol or similar)
Place the eye pin around the outside of the ring mandrel with the loop sitting perpendicular to the mandrel. You will need to press it firmly around the form so that it is evenly curved. Repeat with the second eye pin.
Jewellery wire being formed around a ring mandrel

Making both ear wires at the same time will help you make them the same shape.
Two cureved eye pins

Once you've curved both the eye pins, place them on the ruler and find the centre. Place a mark at this point.
Marking the bend line on the curved eye pin with a permanent marker

Grip the eye pin on the tail side of the mark....
Bending the curved eye pin at the marked position

.....and use your thumb to bend the loop side of the eye pin downwards to form the hook of the earring wire. Repeat this step with the second eye pin.
Curved eye pin after bending at the marked position

If the tail end of the earring wire is rough, file it smooth with the cup burr tool or file. You don't want the end to be sharp.

Wipe away the marker with the baby wipe and you're done!
Pair of handmade elfin earring wires

Experiment with longer and shorter eye pins and bend them at different points to make either a longer tail (photo 1) or a longer loop (photo 2). It totally changes the look of your earrings! 
Gold filigree and crystal rondelle elfin earrings
Teal-coloured enamel earrings on a handmade elfin shaped earring wire.

For yet another look, use a head pin instead of an eye pin and thread the beads on before you bend the wire around the mandrel. This is a really clean and classy look.
Cream pearl drops on an elfin earring wire.
Or try a combination of the two: thread a bead on an eye pin, curve it into an ear wire shape and then add a dangle to the bottom loop. 
Amber glass bead drop earrings on elfin earring wire.

You can even make them with 20 gauge wire instead of eye pins.  Just create your own eye pin by forming the loop at the end of the wire. Cut it to the desired length and create the almond earring wire in the same way as above. 
Gold and emerald earrings with green briolette drop.

And for a really eye-catching look, try using fun, bright coloured wire – it’s guaranteed to get your earrings noticed!

So, for a really up-to-the-minute look for your earrings, why not have a go at making your own elfin or almond-shaped earring wires - they'll add an architectural look to your designs whilst eliminating that pesky earring wire from poking into your neck.

See another project featuring elfin earring wires:
Ombré Blossom Cluster Earrings

Pin this Technique!
How to make elfin earring wires tutorial 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