Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tutorial - How to make a Wire Headpin - by Jo Walker

With thanks to Jo Walker for this fabulous tutorial on making headpins!
Such a great tecnique and would look great on many jewellery projects.

Thanks Jo!

Click on the picture to make it bigger!
If you have any questions - please feel free to come on over to CraftPimp!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meet the team - Sue, Ness and Jo

The first in a new series of posts to introduce you to the members of CPteam. I'm starting with three of our newest lampworking members, Sue, Ness and Jo.

First up is our Sue of FlamingEck

Mint humbug - handmade lampwork bead set

FlamingEck  is packed with sets and mini-sets of handmade glass beads just perfect for jewellery design. You will find a broad variety of styles and techniques in Sue's shop, from hand formed floral bicones, pressed focals decorated with her Sue's own handpulled murrini, silverglass delights and beautiful sets like the one pictured above.

Next up is Vanessa, or lovli-Ness (which is how I think of her in my head) of beadupastorm.

Miranda lampwork BIG hole bead

Ness is a wizard with silverglass. Her work tends to be organic in style and the colours and patterns that she teases our of this special kind of glass are breathtaking. It's a dark art I tell you! Not only that but Ness also makes the most beautiful sculpted art buttons - divine!

Next up is Jo of lampworkbeadsbyJo

handmade lampwork glass bead, skull snail

Jo makes beautiful sets of etched, pressed and sculpted beads and elegant larger focal beads too. She also creates these delightful little snails which have quickly become her signature critter. The fellow above is my current favourite, such personality, I can just imagine him slinking along at a snails pace saying "Aw Mum, do I have to?".

I hope you enjoyed this quick introduction, click the pics to go to Etsy and see more form each of our teamies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twas the night before Flame Off...

...and I was bricking it!! 

What a good weekend, if not very hectic and exhausting, but good.  After my initial reserves about going to the Flame Off as a trader for the first time, the only other time being four or five years ago, before I had even turned on a torch, I tagged along with the ex sister in law for a day out.  I enjoyed it then but it did somewhat pass over the top of my head.  So, knowing that lots of incredibly talented people were going to be there, demo'ing, trading and generally sharing knowledge and swopping beads, I was blummin' nervous and more than once told the hubby to turn the car round and head home!  But, he wouldn't, so we arrived early Friday morning, Friday the 13th to boot, and what luck, I was right next door to Sam, Jolene and Kerensa, the latter keeping us all in tena lady moments...ask me about the minge bead, I just dare ya!

Opposite me was Ruth and Andy from A&R Beads, and their four pawed companion really made my weekend.

Playing with Kerensa

Can you see his special lead?

The portrait shot.
That very special four pawed companion, is Bentley, a 5 and half month old trainee guide dog for the blind.  He made several guest appearances throughout the show and practised using the lift and stairs and meeting all the very hyper and loud beady people.  He took the sting out of being away from my two golden retrievers for the weekend, I got my cuddle fix!

Unfortunately, due to being completely rubbish, Bentley was the only pictures I took!  I am itching to make a range of Bentley beads.  But the Flame Off was very good fun.  I won Intermediate Runner Up in the GBUK Competition and had a voucher for glass and a fabulous bead roller from Pegasus.  Lynn Davy won the Bead Stringing  Jewellery Challenge, us Craft Pimpers Rock.  Unfortunately, again, I got so excited about spending my voucher that I have forgotten the name of the lady who won the Intermediate Prize, but her exhibit was beautiful, as were all the exhibits in both bead and jewellery.

I was so lucky to be next to Sam, who discussed at length with me cold working fused glass, thank you Sam x  and Jolene who flitted about like a beady butterfly, nearly as much as Kerensa!  Not having seen so much murrini up that close I was rather amazed at the skill needed for such delicate slices of glass beauty. 

I just loved the marbles and faceted beads from the ladies, then there was the glass suppliers, lots of Tuffnells carrier bags laden with glass left the building, so much so that white ran out by lunchtime Saturday...and of course I needed white!

It was very nice to discuss glass colours, COE's, pro's and con's without someone telling me to shut up, or worse yawn!  So much glass talk and I now have a day trip to Stourbridge and Plowden and Thompson to look forward too, not to mention the Stourbridge Glass Event in August this year.  Hopefully I won't be as nervous meeting everyone again.

Perhaps next year I will take pictures of glass!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Window Shopping with the CP team

I hope you are having a marvellous springtime despite the Brit weather and all of it's surprises. This is our second instalment for April of window shopping with CPteam.I hope you see something that makes you smile.

If you want to see a bigger picture of anything ... just click on the picture and it'll fly you away to Etsy!

What fabulous goodies have recently caught your eye?

Marvellous monochrome.....

Ocean green and blue

Oh so cute!

Blue and gold

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tutorial - How to make a toggle clasp by Jo Walker

Many thanks to  Studio Jewellery by Jo for this great tutorial on how to make this superb toggle clasp.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lynn Davy - "It's all about the beads!"

It’s all about the beads!

Part 2 of my quick guide to basic materials for seed beading. There is a lot more I could say on this subject (so help me, I’ve been a seedy beader for well over thirty years now) but I’ll try to keep it simple!

‘Seed beads’ covers those little glass beads in sizes from a couple of millimetres down to well-nigh invisible.

As with beading needles, the sizes are indicated by numbers. The bigger the number, the smaller the beads.

These are the three ‘standard’ sizes: size 8, size 11, and size 15. Most seed beadwork is done with size 11’s.

Size 8’s are a bit bigger and good for beginners or learning a new stitch as it’s easier to see what’s happening. (You can also use plastic ‘pony beads’ to learn or demonstrate seed bead stitches. They are huge, but they’re the right shape!)

It’s helpful to know that the relationship between the sizes is the same – in other words, a construction that works with a mixture of size 11 and size 8 will also work (but be smaller) if you make it with sizes 11 and 15.

For example, these bronze starfish are made with sizes 11 and 15, and the blue ones are sizes 8 and 11.

Seed beads are made by lots of different manufacturers in many different countries and there are subtle differences. Basically, when starting out it helps to pick one type and stick to it. You generally gets what you pays for: more expensive seed beads from Japan or the Czech Republic will be more evenly sized and shaped than cheapo ones from India or China.

There is a rainbow of colours to choose from and a confusing choice of surface finishes which I’m going to try to de-confuse a bit for you now…

Opaque. What it says on the tin. Bright, solid colour with either a shiny or a matte (sometimes called ‘etched’) surface.

In addition the surface may be given an iridescent coating often described as ‘rainbow’ or ‘AB’ (this stands for Aurora Borealis) or sometimes ‘iris’, ‘peacock’ or ‘oilslick’. This bracelet is made with opaque black (both shiny and matte) and blue iris seed beads.

Transparent. Also fairly self-explanatory. Light shines through and it’s worth remembering that the thread inside the beads will also show, so pick your thread colour carefully. White will brighten the colours; black will dull them.
Transparent beads may be shiny or matte and may also have an AB coating.

There are also ‘lustre’ coatings that give an extra-slick shiny look to the bead surface. The blue ones in the photo also have a coloured lining. (Watch out for catalogue descriptions where there isn’t an accompanying picture, as ‘pink lined blue’ may mean either a transparent blue bead with a pink lining OR a transparent pink bead with a blue lining!)

For extra sparkle, there are ‘silver lined’ beads (or sometimes ‘gold lined’ too) which have a metallic foil coating on the inside of the bead. A matte or semi-matte finish gives a softer glow.

When using lined beads, whether colour- or silver-lined, be careful not to scratch the lining with your needle when stitching, because this will show on the outside.

‘Opal’ beads have a milky, semi-transparent effect that is very delicate and pretty, often set off by a foil lining. ‘Pearl’ or ‘ceylon’ seed beads have a pearly finish, and may also be AB coated. This pink bracelet is a mixture of gilt-lined pink opal, cream ceylon and matte transparent pink AB beads… see how quickly you’re learning the language?

There are also lots of metallic coated beads, including 24 carat gold plated, gorgeous but expensive! I’ve used them for the leaves on these earrings, which won’t get much wear as they hang free.

The best ones to use are described as ‘duracoat’, which resist scratching. Otherwise the metal can wear off over time and spoil the effect. These snowflake earrings are made with silver-plated seed beads.

All beads with a surface finish should be handled with care – some finishes are more robust than others, so bear this in mind when making jewellery, particularly bracelets that will be worn a lot. Plain opaque or transparent beads are best for everyday items.

Pearly finishes and some metallics are sensitive to chemicals such as perfumes or even sweat from your fingers; many of those pretty coloured linings will fade badly when exposed to light. And I try to avoid beads described as ‘dyed’ or ‘surface dyed’ as these are rarely entirely colour-fast. Unfortunately it’s hard to make a true, sweet pink colour in glass, so most pinks are dyed. Experiment, make a sample and wear it, some are better than others… or you may find you like the effect you get as the beads ‘age’. Not all changes are necessarily bad!

The pink-lined beads in this pendant bail will eventually fade, but since the pendant has a ‘distressed’ effect, this probably won’t matter. The topaz brown transparent beads will stay the same.

And finally… there are lots of other shapes you can mix with your seed beads, such as bugles, teardrops (or ‘fringe drops’), triangles and cubes. Maybe a subject for a future post…

Happy beading!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Submitting Projects to Magazines

by Kerry at trufflepiglet and PennyDog

Since I began seriously crafting in 2007, I have been published in Bead, Beads and Beyond, Make Jewellery, Crafts Beautiful and I have some projects in the pipeline for Popular Patchwork. I have also been the editor of Popular Crafts Magazine for 15 months so I've been on both the sending and receiving end when it comes to craft tutorials.

Firstly, if you want to get your tutorial published, find out who the editor is for your first choice title and e-mail them directly. Include:
1) A little bit of background about yourself
2) A clear photo (or sketch if you've not made it yet!) of the finished article
3) Briefly surmise the materials needed, skill level and time it takes to make.
4) If it's a jewellery or papercraft item, offer several mini projects using the same style that can be used together as magazines tend to prefer this, so for example three different cards with different messages using the same series of rubber stamps, or a bracelet, pendant and a ring that match.

Keep it short as editors don't have a lot of free time to read through things, they want to know information to the point, and pictures help do that very quickly. Be polite though, it's great if you can use their name in the e-mail.

If you don't get a response within three weeks or you are told that they're not interested at this time, move on and send your project proposal to your second choice publication.

Writing tutorials is a great source of extra income and it can work to promote you as a craftsperson also. There are two kinds of article published in craft titles:
1) Articles submitted by enthusiasts for a fee
2) Articles submitted by shops or book extracts given to the magazine for free in exchange for plugging their newest beading tool, sock yarn or scrapbook paper range.

Unless you own a craft shop or a publishing company, never give away your work for free! There should always be a payment for your work if you are an individual, having your name in print is not payment enough. Depending on the size of magazine you should expect between £40 and £100 for a project that uses 2 pages. Always negotiate this before sending in the bulk work. You should also find out WHEN you get paid, is it the month you send in your work, the month the issue goes on sale or a month after it has come off sale? Be prepared to raise an invoice and also sign a document declaring you own the copyright of the article in some cases.

Different magazines will have different submission guidelines, so please ask if you're not sure or you haven't been told. Most magazines don't really worry about word count as all projects vary widely between one another, but you may be asked to limit each step to 100 words for example. Some may require you give a writer's tip, or an idea to expand on the tutorial. Make sure you do this if asked!

You will have to post your finished item for photography so please expect than and respect the deadline given as magazines have to go to print at a certain scheduled time on a certain date set months in advance otherwise they get fined! If you keep things nice and early you may find yourself on the cover which is a nice added bonus! Ask in advance what the procedure is for returning your item(s) and enclose your address with them for ease.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Window Shopping with the CPteam

Happy Easter everybody. It's amazing just how quickly this year is flying by, half way through April already! Time take a break, pop your feet up with a cuppa and do some window shopping with CPteam.

If you want to see a bigger picture of anything ... just click on the picture and it'll fly you away to Etsy!

What fabulous goodies have recently caught your eye?

Glorious color from CPteam and TT team

Golden brown, texture like sun

Scrumptious blues...

Beautiful browns....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tutorial - Polymer clay planet beads by Nan Fry

With thanks to Nan Fry of Polynana for this fun tutorial on making planet beads from polymer clay.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jill Egan on the Etsy Homepage

Congratulations to CPteam member Jill Egan of Kiln Fired Art for her front page feature on Etsy in America today.

Because the UK has it's own dedicated front page I didn't have the thrill of seeing it live in the flesh but a quick nosey around on turned up a clever little widget showing Jill's stunning hand painted fern bowl.

We're all very proud of you Jill xx