Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Tutorials!

I have started selling downloadable tutorials on Etsy! Yes, I have caught my fear by the tail, given it a shake and told it I was going to give this a go. Having been asked a couple of times in recent months to write tutorials for publications. So I thought I had nothing to loose in selling digital downloads of some of my paper jewellery ideas. I really hope people enjoy them. Personally, I have spent a small fortune on digital downloads for a variety of crafts and always enjoy learning new things from them. I would love to think that people are inspired by what I show them - and that I show them in a clear manner that makes it easy for them to learn.

The first digital download is for a Paper Bracelet Cuff. It is simple and uses watercolour paper, glue and some pretty papers to make a lightweight but sturdy and interesting item of jewellery.


My next download, which I hope will be up very soon (but I will keep you up to date here about that), is for paper jewellery components I call Paper Pebbles. After that I have another tutorial in my head. I just have to sit down and write it out. Who knows where this will go but I have enjoyed producing them. I hope people will enjoy playing with them just as much.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Buttons and beads

I've been re-inspired by buttons this week. Back in 2011 I first got into making thread wrapped buttons and use them often in many of my crafts. This week I bought a bunch of perle cotton thread in size 8. They are fabulous for wrapping buttons - fine and silky, they give a lovely finish. I even made some Scottish saltire buttons.



I also bought a lovely little downloadable tutorial for quilted beads from Victoria Gertenbach earlier this year and have been making up a few beads. Although she uses quilting fabric and batting to make her beads I have made most of mine using wool felt. They are so simple to make using offcuts of fabric, you can decorate them in numerous ways and use them in all kinds of craft. You can never have too many beads. But then I'm a beadaholic and I would say that.


Friday, 12 September 2014

A load of tat

I started tatting a couple of years ago but I have to admit I've given up on it a bit. Well, maybe not 'given up'. It just got pushed into the background by the ever growing list of new creative ideas.

However, before tatting disappeared into the abyss of unfinished crafts I did try making some of my own tatting shuttles. If you do a search for tatting shuttles you will find a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Each tatter has his or her preferred brand or style. My first shuttle was a Pony brand tatting shuttle with a little hook on the end to help you unpick stitches. I used it to start with and it was great. No complaints from me. It did the job. THEN – I needed an extra shuttle to progress.

 
Tatting shuttles are pretty cheap but I bought mine online, had no local supplier and only had one proper shuttle. I wanted one as soon as I found out about two shuttle tatting. So I had a think, did an online search, saw some pictures and tried making a few of my own. They are made from paper and decorated using paper painted in acrylics. Some of the papers were made using the Gelli Plate (Yay, Gelli Plate to the rescue again!). I added some acrylic around the edges then coated them with a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish. 



I can't say I have a preference over the styles. They all did their job. I tweaked a few of the designs I'd seen online to keep the thread more secure but other than that they work fine. Not to mention they are pretty and unusual – and pretty unusual. Now I just have to get back into tatting. I've certainly got plenty of shuttles to play with these days.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Westie

I was recently asked to draw a gorgeous little west highland white terrier in graphite. It was quite a challenge as I have mainly drawn short haired dogs before. This was just what I needed to stretch my growing pencil skills.


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
Scissors
Measuring tape or ruler
Crimper pliers
Two pairs ordinary pliers (for opening jump rings)

Method:
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

Celebrate!

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

Charming

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.