Now available! - Christmas Tree Earrings Collection

Now available! - Christmas Tree Earrings Collection
Add a touch of magic to your holiday outfits with festive Christmas earrings. I’ve gathered together 12 of my all-time best Christmas Tree earring designs from previous years in this one special ebook. From traditional to modern, you’ll find a variety of styles, techniques and materials and something for every level of jewellery-maker.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rings on her Fingers

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that I recently moved into a brand new house. It's all shiny and new and still has that new house smell. But it didn't come with a driveway or paths around the house so all I want for Christmas..... is concrete! Yes, concrete. You see, we have red soil on our property and by red, I mean sticky, heavy, muddy red clay. The kind you sink into when it gets wet.... And it's summer in Queensland (aka the wet season) and this past week has brought a LOT of rain. So concrete would be a great gift.

We've been waiting for the concretor since early November. He's a busy man and that is a good thing but oh my, I'm so sick of the mud and the shoe store that has developed at the front door. But thankfully, in between the passing storms, the concretors have been able to set up their form work and pour firstly the paths around the house and then the driveway. Yaaay! I got exactly what was on my wish list.

But whilst all this was going on I've been working away creating lots of new bangles for the Little Lovelies range which I've uploaded to the gallery at Mill Lane Studio plus some new additions - even smaller little lovelies - a couple of resin rings.
Citrus Splash is a narrow dome shaped ring. For those of you with slender fingers, you might even be able to wear it on your other fingers but for most of us, it only fits on your little pinkie.
Emerald Burst is a wide domed ring. The internal diameter of this ring is larger than the narrow domed ring and it's sized for the ring or middle finger.

Both the rings are available on my website now along with six new bangle designs too. Check them out in the gallery at Mill Lane Studio.

Well it's off to the shops for me - I'm going to brave the crowds at the post Christmas sales and hopefully pick up a bargain.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Lovelies for Last Minute Gifts

It's been a busy time at my place this week. There have been electricians and cabling contractors coming and going all week long. It's dusty work that they do, crawling in those tight ceiling cavities and cutting holes in my brand new walls. All this work was supposed to be carried out before the walls were installed but miscommunication between me and them (a long story) had left us without internet connection for 9 weeks! Anyway, I've been working around them but with dust flying everywhere from the holes they needed to cut in my walls there was absolutely no hope of casting any resin pieces. So instead, I've been working on some surface finishes on my resin bangles. And here are the results:What lovely little gems they are!

I've just uploaded them to my website in time for last minute Christmas shopping. So take a closer look at these little lovelies..... perhaps you'll find just the thing for that special person on your Christmas list.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Simple is often best!

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best!

Take these striking pendants - Friendly Plastic strips marbled together and cut with cookie cutters. A very simple idea and lovely all on it's own. But when it's placed on a black resin base and topped up with clear resin, it just pops off the background.
They don't need much else to finish them off..... just a few flat backed crystals and a silver bail and they're ready to thread on a silver chain and wear.I've used a Krafty Lady art mould (AM245 X4Lge 5 Dominoes) as the base for these pieces. They're nicely proportioned for my rectangular cutter set (Makins).

When making these, begin at the bottom with the black and work your way up so that you can see what you're doing. Allow the black resin to cure before placing the Friendly Plastic onto it so that it doesn't sink into the resin and disappear!

If you start with the clear resin in the base of the mould and work your way down to the black then you risk the possibility of the black resin working it's way underneath the front of the Friendly Plastic, as resin will always find the lowest point. Just take care not to overfill the mould when you top up with clear resin so that you don't have any major trimming to do. Once your pendant is cured, attach a fused glass bail with a little bit of Epoxy adhesive (Araldite) or resin, and once dry thread on a chain and wear your beautiful pendant.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Write with Flair!

Since I first started making these delectable Friendly Plastic pens, I'd been promising myself I'd find some nicer pens for the base.

There was nothing wrong with the pens I was using. In fact they are great for the budget end of my line of pens. But I really wanted to also have a more upmarket end to the range and so I'm now introducing pens made with beautiful metallic nibs and ends. The ones below are all slimline pens but there will also be some wider barrelled pens too. These new additions will be available for purchase from my website in the next few days, just in time for a last minute Christmas gift purchase for that special person on your Christmas list.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pearly Delights

Have I ever mentioned how addictive resin is?

When I first started casting resin a few years back, I thought it would be just another craft I tried my hand at so that I had some basic knowledge about working with resin. What I didn't know at the time was how seductive it would become.

Back in my school days (yes, it was quite a while ago, but I still remember them), I always enjoyed spending time in the manual arts block but in particular I was fascinated by the Plastics Centre. It seemed that such mysterious processes went on in that place and they were difficult to master. I clearly remember trying to contol the hot wire to cut through styrofoam and I also remember cutting out and shaping perspex. We worked with thermosets and thermoplastics and it was a lot of fun even though my success with these materials in Year 10 was rather limited. Quite obviously a seed had been planted in my subconscious which was reignited when I poured my first bangle. But enough of the reminiscing. Let's move on to today's post.

Inspired by a beautiful vintage cuff bangle that that one of my students brought to a recent workshop, over the weekend I began experimenting with some pearlescent effects. Here's the results:
Heavenly Clouds

Blue Skies

Pearlescent Beige
Whilst I like the two blue ones my favourite is definitely the Pearlescent Beige. It has some lovely swirling going on and the light is capturing the pearlescence beautifully.
I'll play with pearly effects again soon but if you check in tomorrow you'll see some more Friendly Plastic treats. Until then......

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dramatic Black

Well, if ever two things were made for each other, then it would have to be Friendly Plastic and resin.

Over the weekend I had a bumper Friendly Plastic session and knocked out 8 of my specialty pens, 9 Friendly Plastic tile components for 2 bracelets and a variety of smaller marbled pieces all combining Friendly Plastic and resin. I also cast 4 bangles. I have never been so productive! So expect to see a few of these items over the coming days as I have time to assemble and finish them all. In the meantime, here's a teaser:
The butterfly pieces were cast in the Krafty Lady domino mould using black as the base and clear resin to embed the butterflies. The butterflies are made from Friendly Plastic using a variation on Liz Welch's flower technique. So dramatic yet so delicate! These will most likely become pendants on elegant but simple gold chains.

The middle piece shows how you can combine "fracture and fusion" strips with other materials to create unique pieces of jewellery. This one uses a transparency overlay cut to exactly the same size as the heart bezel it sits in to add instant pizzazz to the Friendly Plastic strips.

This idea has lots of potential and I'll definitely be exploring it further but you know, I was educated in the school that said you never wear silver and gold together and yet combining metallic colours, in this case gold and silver, can produce some really stunning results. And I like this piece so much that I think it will remain in my own collection.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Add a bit of Sparkle!

At this time of year we are awash with festive glitter so I've decided that I too would get in on the act and combine resin and glitter. No, they're not Christmassy but they sparkle all the same and a girl can never have too many sparkles. So here's a little bit of resin eye candy to enjoy.

The first bangle is a very delicate shade of lemon. There's actually no colour in this bangle at all, just a good dose of yellow glitter to give it lots of sparkle.

And this one is filled with iridescent Mylar flakes and the tiniest bit of dye. It's such a frosty effect that I called it Ice Queen.
And lastly, a green and blue bangle..... almost turquoise, but not quite. Lots of my resin workshop students really want to produce turquoise bangles and these are the two colours to use if you don't have turquoise dye on hand - just adjust the quantity of blue and green until you get the depth of colour you want. I also added a dash of yellow glitter to keep with the sparkly theme of today.

I've also been playing with pearlescent colours which has been a lot of fun so I'll share those bangles with you another day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rainbow Heart

Whilst sorting through more boxes in the studio this week (I don't think I will ever get to the end of them!), I found some small Friendly Plastic hearts which match the larger heart in the Egyptian Lily necklace I posted last week.

At first I was thinking along the lines of making them into a matching bracelet or earrings but I decided to use a different colour scheme and go in a totally different direction. I teamed them with some gorgeous multi-coloured beads which have been sitting in my stash just waiting for the right project to come along. These beads seem to have every colour of the rainbow in them and a lovely metallic sheen too.
To attach the hearts to the chain I laid them face down on a heatproof surface and used a heat gun to soften the back. I placed an eye pin in the softened plastic and then tried as best I could to line up the second heart on top. Once they cooled, I turned a matching loop on the other side of the heart and then just connected them to small lengths of chain. Then I threaded the beads on headpins and looped these onto the chain also. A toggle clasp makes it easy to put on and take off.

I love the way this little bracelets swings and jingles against the wrist.....the beads give it lots of movement and it makes such a lovely little swishing sound as they move.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Update Your Decor for Free Winner

From Mill Lane Studio
We have a winner for the Buyster.com rug giveaway featured on my blog a few weeks back who left this comment about her favourite rug:

The colours are classic
But the design screams SPLAT!
Evoking images of pressed flowers or an artful paint incident
Or maybe exploding stars lightyears away!

Congratulations Marie - your thoughtful description has won you a $100 gift voucher to spend on the rug of your choice from Buyster.com.au rugs.

Now, after such a creative description I just have to ask, which one IS your favourite? I'll be in touch by email shortly so that you can claim your prize.

Thanks to wonderful folks at buyster.com.au for making this giveaway possible. Please stop by their website and check out all the other wonderful home decor and furniture items they have.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Complementary Colours

Whilst finding new places for things in the studio (yes, I'm still unpacking..... and reorganising), I came across a few pieces of marbled Friendly Plastic which I hadn’t coated in resin yet. And as I’ve been casting with resin a lot lately I thought it was high time they got coated. So today I’m sharing a Friendly Plastic necklace with you.
The colour combination in this piece is a little bit unexpected – blue with shades of orange – opposites on the colour wheel.

Complimentary colours are always striking when used together but when you use variations of those colours (like peach and apricot with blue) they will play off against each other without competing. And so it is with this piece…. together the colours give off a lovely warm glow.

I’ve teamed the Friendly Plastic heart with glass beads and vintage lucite flower in similar colours to the oranges and pinks and finished the necklace off with rose-gold findings. I really like the softness of these colours.But when it came time to name this piece I was completely stumped. So I enlisted the help of my daughter who pointed out that the colours were very Egyptian – blue, terracotta, gold and turquoise – and the marbled pattern looked like a chevron. Hmmm, yes they are indeed, but I hadn’t seen that at first glance. She started playing around with words and came up with the name “Egyptian Lily”. Yes, I like it…… so, Egyptian Lily it is!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Butterfly Design Challenge

At about this time last year I was feverishly creating entries for the Annual AMACO Friendly Plastic Challenge. One of the categories was to create a butterfly from Friendly Plastic which would be displayed in the Holocaust Museum in Houston, Tx as part of a permanent installation. They are looking for 1.5 million handmade butterflies, one to represent each of the children who perished in the Holocaust. When I posted off my entries last year, I had no idea that my butterfly would win the category!

And so I want to encourage you to enter this year's challenge too! You never know, your butterfly might be judged the winning entry.

Entries close soon but it's not too late to enter. Entries must be postmarked by 18th November 2009 to be elligible so if you're in Australia or New Zealand it doesn't matter that it might take a week to get to AMACO, as long as it's postmarked no later than 18th November.

For some inspiration why not visit the The Art of Friendly Plastic blog where there is lots of eye candyto get you started or visit AMACO's website where there are even instructions to help you.

You can find the entry form here and more information about the other categories in the Challenge on the AMACO website. And if you're in Australia, you can get your supply of Friendly Plastic from Stamp Antics at Wynnum West in Qld (07 3393 3022).

Create away and good luck to you all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fantasy Christmas Tree

Well, we're in November and the countdown to Christmas has begun. In my local area, Christmas decorations have hit the shelves and the malls are being draped in Christmas attire.

But you don't have to decorate with generic, store bought decorations or stick to traditional colours when you can fashion your own unique Christmas decorations from some simple paper craft supplies you might already have on hand.

So with that in mind, I've designed this Fantasy Christmas Tree table decoration using Fantasy Film and Fantasy Fibre. This class is inspired by Laura Bray's hard rock candies.

It is such a pretty piece, perfect for gracing your Christmas Dinner Table and it's sure to spark plenty of compliments. Imagine a small group of these little lovelies adorning your sideboard or mantlepiece. This class is already filling and numbers are limited. If you're interested in the class, then give Jenny a ring (3393 3022) at Stamp Antics and she'll happily reserve a place for you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Kimono Fold Pocket

Are you looking for a quick but personalised and inexpensive gift for someone special? Perhaps this tutorial will give you some ideas.

I'd like to show you how I make a Kimono pocket from an A4 sheet of paper.

Place the paper in portrait position, pattern facing up.
Fold in half taking, the top to the bottom.
Find the centre point along the fold and then fold the right and left hand sides into the middle to form a roof shape.
Open the page up again and turn it over. Re crease the diagonal folds so that they are mountain folds. Push the first fold (which is a valley fold) inwards so that the diagonal folds form a roof shape. Fold the right hand side (front only) across and crease. The distance away from the point will be decided by the item that will be placed in the finished pocket. Fold the left hand side across to the right and crease. You need the two folds to be equidistant from the point. If the left hand flap overhangs the right hand fold, then fold the excess behind it.
Fold the bottom up approximately 1cm (front flap only). Fold the back right flap (bottom layer) across to the left. The crease should be approximately 5mm to the right of the first one so that you create the kimono crossover. Before repeating with the left hand side, fold up the bottom flap as you did earlier.Fold the left hand flap across to the right. The crease should be approximately 5mm to the right of the first one so that you create the second side of the kimono crossover.If there is any overhang tuck it behind the bottom flap on the right hand side.
And there you have it, the basic Kimono Fold Pocket.
I completed mine with a bookmark but you could also slip in a gift card or even some money for a neat little gift.
And here's another sample.

This one was folded from plain copier paper which I've inked and stamped.
This full version of this tutorial will be available for download from the Tutorials page on my website in a couple of weeks time. In the meantime, check out some of my other pdf tutorials.
And don't forget to enter my blog giveaway. Check out this post "Update your Decor for Free!". Hurry, there's only a couple of days left.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Treats for your Neck

Halloween is not such a big thing in Australia (yet!) but given that many of you who stop by my blog are international visitors I thought I'd share with you my take on Halloween jewellery.This jewellery set began with a faceted black resin piece cast from Krafty Lady mould AM353 . From the moment I cast it, I knew it was destined to be used in a Halloween project. And when I added the Swarovski flat-back crystals I knew it was going to turn out just the way I had envisioned. It's not often that something turns out the way I've planned it from the start. Most of my pieces evolve as I go along but this was one of those times when vision actually met reality.
I've added chains, findings and components from Blue Moon Bead's Noir collection which set just the right mood for this necklace. Deliciously dark, yet lots of bling!
For a different way to suspend the faceted resin piece, I've used the straight bar from a toggle set. It also gave me a unique and secure way to attach the chain!
There were 3 tassels left in the packet I bought so I put 2 of them to good use by making a coordinating pair of earrings. Some dangling Sawrovski crystals complete these neck ticklers.
I suppose I could have made my own earring wires out of black wire but I coloured a pair of silver ones with black alcohol ink so that this set is suitably noir. But if anyone has come across black earring wires in their travels, please let me know!
Happy Halloween to all those of you who celebrate it!
And for Aussie readers, don't forget to enter my decorator rug giveaway.
Footnote: The black earring wires are for display purposes only!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update Your Decor for Free!

I've been promising you this for days now and finally the time has come to announce the details of my big giveaway.

In some of my recent posts, I've blogged about my kitchen splashback AND my new studio, but now let's move on to the living room.... not mine dear reader, but yours! How would you like to improve your home decor with a brand new rug? Just feast your eyes on these little beauties.



This is just a small sampling of the huge range of rugs available at Buyster. I really wish I was elligible to enter this as my living room floor is still bare and they have so many rugs that I'd love to have in my own home.

But anyway, the wonderful folks at Buyster are kindly making available a $100 gift voucher for one of my readers to purchase the rug of their choice. And all you have to do to be in the running is have a look at their rugs and tell me, in 25 words or less, what it is that appeals to you most about the rug you'd like to win. This offer is only available to Australian residents, sorry. Entries close on Friday 6th November and I'll announce the winner soon after. Don't forget to leave me your email address so that I can contact you if you're the winner.
Good luck!

Extra! Extra! Extra!
The closing date to leave your comments has now been extended to 20th November 2009.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RESIN-ate..... More resin treats

It's eye candy day again today. Resin is such an addictive medium... I tell you, once you start playing with it, you just don't want to stop. And as I promised yesterday, here are a couple of resin necklaces strung with a mixture of glass and lucite beads.

I love this seahorse - I've used it in many projects before but never as a piece of jewellery. I cast it some time ago but somehow I never found the time to make it up. It's a fairly large piece (about 7cm) and it's actually black resin coloured with Duo Blue Green Pearl Ex and it has a very subtle sparkliness (is that a word?) about it. I've teamed it up with these gorgeous lucite leaves which remind me of seaweed! This one is an interesting piece! It started out as a heart with rococco texture impressed into it..... very nice, but hard to see in the photo. With a little bit of creative trimming I was able to carve out a niche to sit the glass flower bead into. It's finished off with a Swarovski crystal as an added accent. That's it for today. But for all you Aussies out there don't forget I have a surprise for you which is coming up in just a few days time. Shhhh, can you keep a secret - I'll give you a hint.... it's a giveaway. But you'll have to keep tuning in to find out what it is. I promise, you'll love it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Resin Eye Candy

Two weeks have passed since the big move and I still have no internet connection. It's hard to blog and keep in touch with the virtual world without it, so forgive me dear reader that my blog posts have been few and far between of late. But, life without the internet goes on, and that means that between unpacking my new studio and cleaning the old one that there has been time for some creating.
I always enjoy playing with resin so today's offerings are bangles.
The first one is a marbled bangle, very loosely described as Tortoiseshell. It is quite transparent which the photo doesn't show and it's actually a light shade of orange but the black swirl is giving it more of an amber cast. It's buffed to a very nice shine!
The next one is turquoise - one of my favourite bangle colours. Don't the white tendrils look so crisp against the translucency of the turquoise? This one is called Turquoise Tendrils.
And the last one for today is fun and funky! A two-toned bangle where one half is sparkly lemon and the other is a lovely shade of apricot. It's called Bubbles.These will all be available for sale from the resin gallery on my website Mill Lane Studio as soon as I have internet connection again.

But in the meantime, I will have more resin eye candy to share later in the week - the next instalment will be necklaces.
Oh, and I have a wonderful surprise for all my Australian readers later in the week. So keep checking back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mill Lane Studio...... unpacked!

Following on from the photo of my new kitchen splashback, I thought I'd also invite you into my new studio.

It's just bare bones at the moment....... a nice big, open space with a bank of overhead cupboards, a bunch of underbench cupboards and a bench that is some 6 metres long which includes a computer work station. I'm one very lucky girl!
As you can see, I have an abundance of light - the lovely big picture window is more than 3 metres wide. The drawback is that it's on the western side of the studio, so come summer, OUCH! it will be hot, but that's a small price to pay for the daylight I'll have to work in.

You can now see I've begun to move into the studio and this is the first lot of some 30 cartons which are now piled into the centre of the room. The furniture is still to come but now that I've begun to unpack there is no bench space left to work on. Where did that 6 metres of bench space disappear to?

It's a slow process but stack by stack, the boxes are dwindling and items are finding their way to the general area they'll live in. And then, as I have time, I will organise each area so that I can find things which at the moment is not so easy to do. I don't even remember unpacking some things. Maybe the unpacking fairies go to work at night when the lights go out! OK, I know that's wishful thinking but it would be wonderful to have such helpers on hand!

Given time I will find places for everything (and hopefully I will find everything I packed!!), and that wonderful benchtop will be clear enough to become a work space again. But in the meantime, I'm weeding and sorting as I open the packing cartons. The "Must find new, loving home" pile is growing. I think I see a garage sale in the future!.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to use up all your cardstock - Part 2

Remember that photo of me holding up the different coloured sheets of 12 x 12 cardstock against my new kitchen wall a few weeks back? Well I thought you might like to see how that translated into a glass splashback.

After selecting the perfect colour from the cardstock (Bazzill Purple), we then had to colour match it to a regular paint colour and provide the glass manufacturer with the brand, name and code of the colour. Now this is where it got tricky because there are paint colours..... and then there are Bazzill colours. We had narrowed the choice down to about 5 shades and all of them were close...... very close. But none of them was quite right. It took more than a week of checking the paint chips in various lights until we eliminated them, one by one. And finally, we were left with just one - Dulux Jewel.

And here it is - the finished glass splashback. Now that's purple! .....and I love it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fave Crafts Friendly Plastic projects

For all you Friendly Plastic fans out there here's a couple of techniques you might like to try. FaveCrafts.com has just uploaded these projects to their extensive craft library along with full instructions.

The first card, called Three Kings, involves casting Friendly Plastic into Krafty Lady Art Moulds. Friendly Plastic and Krafty Lady Art Moulds are a match made in heaven. The flexible silicone makes demoulding a breeze. Look at the fantastic detail the Friendly Plastic has picked up. The second card, Unique Florals, combines the marbling technique with cookie cutters to create the interesting floral embellishments. This card uses both the marbling comb and a needle tool to blend and marble.Click on the card names to take you directly to Fave Crafts website where you can print out the images and instructions.

I'll also be a guest blogger on the Fave Crafts blog in the coming weeks sharing a little about my work with Friendly Plastic so stay tuned for an update.

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