Sunday, 28 October 2012

Handmade Monday: Jigging about a bit!

I've been very lucky as it's been really busy in my Folksy shop this week.  Packing all the orders doesn't leave a lot of time for making, though, so this week has been time to list some simple makes.  Inspired by some of the guest designers on JewelleryMaker TV, I got my jig out of the drawer, dusted it off and had a play.  For the non-jewellery makers, a jig is simply a plastic grid that you can put peg in to wind wire around.  It's great fun, plus there are endless puns to be made on the subject of jigging about!

 Jig patterns can get complicated, but I tried to keep it simple.

The pearls were shining a little and refusing to cooperate with the photographing, but you've got to love them all the same!

These are with peachy bamboo agate beads. 

A delivery of new charms is always a cause for excitement in the house - not least for Lucca the labrador who likes nothing better than an empty used padded envelope to rip apart!  When these connectors came, I had to make a bracelet for myself first, then get them in the shops where one sold within a day - well, they are cute.

At the moment, I'm in a huge dilemma as to whether to have a go at Kumihimo braiding.  I've ummed and ahhed about it so long, it's ridiculous.  So next week will either see a blog about braided necklaces and bracelets or something else, and you'll know I've finally made a decision!

Here's the link to see what other crafty folk have been making this week.  As ever, there are already some beautiful makes.

Alison x

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Handmade Monday: Rustic rings tutorial

Why don't I make many rings?  Well, number one, I'm no good at them.  Number two, they always come out a funny size (perhaps because I don't measure properly!).  Number three, I'm no good at them.  Number four, the shanks look like the back leg of a pony.  Number five, I'm no good at them.... You get the picture?

This is as far as I've got in the past - these little howlite or pearl ring which are elasticated (apart from my wire rose rings).  I sold one from my Folksy shop yesterday and as I was parcelling it up had an idea that I thought might make life easier...

The idea was to make a ring like a wire wrapped bangle.  The shank could be any 4mm bead or pearl and as in a bangle, the wire wrapping would strengthen the shank and could be used to prettify the central bead too if desired.
 It could work with even the smallest pearls.  So I set out to have a go and these are some of the results.
They are by no means perfect, but they are streets ahead of my attempts at conventional wire shank rings.  One big advantage for me is that I can count the beads and work out the ring size from that rather than having to fiddle about with a ring mandrel.  And instead of having lots of thick wire left around the shoulders which has to be cut and then left exposed, there are plenty of places to tuck the ends of the wire neatly.

Here's a quick tutorial if you want to have a go.
I used 0.8mm wire for my rings, after experimenting with 1mm (too tough for me to manipulate) and 0.6mm (easy to work, but a little more fragile).  As usual, I didn't measure the amount of wire needed, just a good workable length.
Thread the beads on and ensure they all fall right in the middle of the wire. Each bead only has one strand of the wire through it, so it's easy to use very small beads and tiny pearls.  Here I've got some blue and pink quartzite and picture jasper beads for the shank.
You can use the mandrel or any other cylindrical object to form a nice circle, but if you've practised and know the right number of beads for your size, you don't need a mandrel to measure with.
Make sure the beads are sitting tightly together and do one twist of the two ends of the wire together.  Make this as small as possible as it's going to be sitting between the beads at the back.  Don't worry too much that the shape of the ring gets compromised at this point.  Adjust the wires so that they remain twisted and face in the right direction to be wrapped around the beads...
...And wrap each little bead, using the crevice between the beads to anchor the wire before wrapping the next bead.  The wire will have a natural curve, so follow that and the wraps will form easily.  Go right up to the central bead(s) and decide if you want to wrap across it with one of the wires or not.
On this one I left the centre bead plain, so all that remains to do is finish off.  I wrapped several times on the shoulders and then cut and tucked the wire ends on the back side of the beads. 

I need more practice to get it perfect!  You can work it so that each of the wraps on the beads are going in the same direction and sit at the same place on the bead.  I've left mine organic (that's slang for 'lazy' in my house!)

I used the mandrel now to ensure that ring is (nearly) perfectly round.  Now is also the time to give it a little twist on the mandrel if it's coming up a little small in size - it will stretch a little.

Done!  They look quite rustic, I think, but I like that.
This one is plum quartzite and a first go with a little coin bead.

Here's the link to see what other crafty folk have been making this week.

Finally, apologies that if you comment, there will be a delay for 'approval'.  I really love your comments, but have had some really persistent spammers in the last two weeks and it takes a really long time to clean the blog up afterwards.  Please do comment though, I love to hear your views.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Handmade Monday: Chocolate and caramel

It's a well known fact that I have a relationship with chocolate.  Not always an entirely healthy one.  We got a chocolate labrador because he reminds me of one of my favourite things!  Truth is, I'm a bit of a brown person altogether.

I was reminded of this when I sold this bracelet in one of my favourite stones - bronzite - this week.

Bronzite is a deep chocolate brown, with amazing natural flecks of lighter browns and golds.  It's difficult for the camera to pick them up, but they are beautiful and especially in low light, give the stone a little glow.

So off to my bead stash to see what I could make.

Simple coin earrings with a little bronze wire work.  This time the camera did pick up some of the light play as it was a crisp sunny day.

Then I came across these beautiful glass beads with patterns like caramel and chocolate ice cream.  Food again! They look so delicious with a bit of wire work and some smaller bronzites.

Liked them so much, I had to do a necklace too.

There are still beads left, and I resisted the temptation to try and eat them!  But let's hope I've got it out of my system for a while ;-)

Have a great week and don't forget to visit other crafty folk's blogs to see what they've been making.

Alison x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Handmade Monday: lots of creations

Hi everyone,
I've been away for a week in S Pembrokeshire, visiting the family.  Have to admit, we had some traditional seaside weather - torrential rain, thunderstorms, hail - but luckily most of it was in the night or at times when we weren't walking on the beach!  And the rest of the time, the sky was pretty blue and there was some extraordinarily warm sunshine.  Lucca the dog found time for some digging, as usual!...

 ...chilling out in the sun room...

 ...and a little ice cream - well, he has lost over 5 kilos, so he's allowed one!
Anyway, what about making things?  I made 12 items, so quite a productive week.  A bit of intricate wire work on this cherry quartz pendant

Something festive and something autumnal

And some new style multi charm necklaces and bracelets on faux leather cord show but a few.  Now there's the marathon of listing them all in the shops!

Here's the link to visit other crafty folks' blogs
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