Sunday, 31 August 2014

Simple silk bracelet tutorial

I am not a big jewellery wearer. I find I feel restricted and almost claustrophobic wearing jewellery of any kind. However, I have recently been making very simple silk bracelets that I love. They are made from my fine silk cords and really simple to make. Here's how.

What you will need:
Silk cord (Mine is 1mm thick)
Crimps (I used 2mm)
Jump rings (small)
Clasp (I used a lobster clasp)
Sewing thread
Measuring tape or ruler
Crimper pliers
Two pairs ordinary pliers (for opening jump rings)

1. Measure your wrist to find out how long you want the bracelet to be. My wrist is 6.5 inches (16cm) around at the narrowest point but I want the bracelet to be a bit looser so I will make the bracelet roughly 7.5 inches (19cm) in length.

2. Take a length of sewing thread and fold it in half. Put the end of the silk cord in the loop of the thread pulling it through about half an inch (1cm). In a moment this will form the bracelet's first looped end.

3. Pull the two ends of the sewing thread through a crimp and pull the crimp down so that it goes over the silk cord to form a small loop (as in the photo above). Use your crimper piers to squeeze the crimp closed and catch both sides of the silk cord securely. Remove the sewing thread and trim the knot off of short end of the silk cord to neaten it.

4. Measure the silk cord from the end of the loop you just made to the measurement you decided on in step 1. In my case this was 7.5 inches. Using the length of thread, lay it under the silk cord at the 7.5 inch point and double it over, trapping the silk cord in the loop as in step 2.

5. Put a crimp over the two ends of thread (just like you did in step 3) and pull the crimp over the loop of silk cord. Check your measurement again - just to make sure your bracelet is the right length - then use your crimper pliers to squeeze the crimp closed, just like before.

6. Now you have a length of silk cord with two loops. Take a jump ring, open it and slip it onto one loop. Repeat with the other loop but add the clasp to the second jump ring too.

7. Fasten it on and wear a simple and original piece of jewellery that is ideal for the summer - or autumn, winter or spring. Make lots more and layer them up.

You can also add little charms to the jump rings, add a short length of chain to a shorter piece of silk cord or make an extra long one and wrap it your wrist around twice for variation.

Saturday, 16 August 2014


I had my best day's painting in almost two years yesterday. Five sketches in one afternoon. Hooray! I am hoping this is me getting back to regular painting but I guess only time will tell.

Needless to say they are now up on Etsy.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Silk cords - part 2

A quick update on the silk cords I have on Etsy. I now have more handmade silk cords in my store. I love making them. I just can't stop. There are three new colour combinations and seven self coloured ones in apple green, aqua, cream, pink, purple, teal and wine. Once my new order of black silk arrives I will be adding good old classic black cords too.

I have a little blog tutorial coming up soon on how to make simple silk bracelets using these cords too.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Silk cord

I have recently been adding silk cords to my Etsy store. I got into cord making having watched Gina B-Silkworks' Making Braids and Cords DVD. Cords are simple to make and so useful. You can make everything from jewellery, decorate packaging with it, even make dog leads using the same techniques. Anyway, I thought silk cords were a great accessory to go with paper beads – fine, soft, silky, thin enough to go through a 2mm hole and a little classier than an acrylic, mass produced cord or tiger tail. So far the cords I have listed come in colours that complement one another. All have names that sound delicious too – Blackcurrant Jelly (purples), Gooseberry Pie (greens) and Banana Split (yellows) to name but three. Mmmm, yummy!

To make a simple necklace using some of this cord (like the Eiffel Tower necklace in the photo below) just use a length of silk cord and a paper bead. Make sure the cord is long enough to go over your head with plenty of room to allow for tying a couple of knots. Fold the cord in half and tie a knot to join the two loose ends, thread a paper bead on the other end and tie another knot above the bead. Hey presto! A simple necklace.

Friday, 1 August 2014


A couple of weeks back I made some tiny charms that match some of my paper beads. Some of the patterns on my beads are so pretty (courtesy of some fabulous Etsy sellers) that it seems a shame not to make additional items that will add a little extra to creative projects. They are great for making jewellery, either with extra beads or on their own. Earrings, pendants, charms, the list is endless.Or even adding to cards or fibre arts for a little dangling detail.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Moroccan and Indian boxes

I love all things Moroccan and Indian. Their arts and crafts are just stunning. Wonderful colours and patterns combine with traditional techniques to make items that are as beautiful today as they were in the past. Of course it was only a matter of time until I was inspired to make something with the patterns and colours I have seen in photos. I can't compete with those traditional craftsmen and women but my results are below.

This is an ATC box painted, distressed (i.e. vigorously sanded with sandpaper to get rid of a bad paint job) and printed with paisley patterns. The pink areas are printed with gold ink but sadly it does not show up in the photos. I also used Tim Holtz Trellis die and embroidered a small Taj Mahal on hand painted fabric that was stitched to a Creatiframe.

This is a little wooden box that I picked up at my local craft shop. A dash of paint, some Moroccan stencils (by The Crafter's Workshop), silver paint and purple gems turns it into a Moroccan inspired box that will hold an ankle bracelet that I made for my sister.

My final piece is a Creatiframe box that I added a bargello embroidery panel to. I could have done with using some thicker threads to embroider it but I added some tiny seed beads to add a bit of bling. The printed paper is from images by Artcult on Etsy - my favourite digital collage sheet supplier.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Bundle o' Bunnies

I've been painting rabbit sketches this week or two. Hares were also on the list so there must be something in the air making me want to paint lagomorphs. Maybe I should try painting a pika next because they are the ultimate in cuteness. Anyway, pictures:

As usual, they are currently available on Etsy.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Literaly literary beads

These are some of the new beads I recently added to my Etsy store. I'm in the mood for all things Indian at the moment and was inspired by paisley patterns to make a few in pastel colours. The others revolve around literature - Edgar Allen Poe beads and Charles Dickens beads. Along with my Shakespeare beads anyone wanting literary themed craft items have some new beads to work with.

Monday, 16 June 2014


Just a quick note. A couple of sketches that I painted recently - a fallow deer, a fox and an oystercatcher. I'm working on some little detailed drawings for the local summer exhibition at the moment so no doubt they will pop up on here soon too. The deer and the oystercatcher are on Etsy, the fox has been sold and has gone to a new home.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Creatiframe samples

The beauty of working for Gina B Silkworks as part of the design team is that I get to work with quality products that make my imagination run riot. Gina has recently released some great new products that mean I can try out different techniques - from weaving to embroidery, from rug making to needle lace, from macramé to... OK, OK, you get the idea. Lots of different crafts. Yay!

The basis of these new craft kits is a product called Creatiframe, a wooden frame with slots or holes to allow you to try new techniques and then display your hard work. There is also a range of accessories which allows you to display your work in a functional way. Brilliant! I don't want to come off like this is a sales pitch. The purpose of this post is to show you photos of what I've been up to. However it is a really ingenious idea. How many times do you try a new craft and then it just sits around in a box or gathering dust on a shelf?

Anyway, on to my creative efforts:

The first photo is of the mobile phone/tablet/e-reader holder - which works great with my Kindle.

Next is a steampunk ATC box for storing your ATCs. Gina also sells ATC size Creatiframes which you can work up and then trade - or just hoard in the box.

The following photos are of various sizes of the frames (they also come in rectangular shape). The bright yellow one uses a mish-mash of techniques from Teneriffe lace techniques, beading, wire wrapping and a hand made button.

The pink weaving is done using flat bamboo yarn that really catches the light - although not very well in this photo. Of course, I had to add more buttons.

Finally, some embroidered pieces (the two on the left) and one wrapped with silk thread and an acrylic square suspended from it

These are just a tiny proportion of the samples i have made. I just can't help myself. There are so many different styles that they can be used with all kinds of crafts. I've even used one to frame a little painting. To see more of my samples check out my very own design team member gallery page.