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Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas Prep. Round Up 2

Hi Everyone
It's my second round up of the Christmas a Prep series today. As per yesterday, it's been a balance between getting something finished quickly and making sure the quality is good. The second half of the prep jobs were mainly to do with Christmas decorating jobs.
Here they are with a little update on how the projects turned out.

This large bauble was a bit of an indulgence - Ive wanted to try this a few times and Christmas presented itself as an opportunity. I've added a bow and some clay holly leaves. Will get more photos on the tree.

The gift pockets have developed in both a triangle shape and the flat 'envelope style' - depending on the needs of any particular gift. I will post a new photo when the pockets are completely wrapped and ready for sending. I've done some of the flat pockets and sent them.

The star garlands are hanging and awaiting the final location. I've mixed and matched gold,white and corrugated card.

The snowman is probably my best, new project this year. He is ready and waiting for his final spot on the iced Christmas cake.

The vouchers have been printed but are still waiting for their envelopes. I have 6 vouchers and will write up as I wrap the gifts - some vouchers will be a temporary thing ( I know one item will not arrive) and will be a formal thing to open rather than just the gift 'in waiting'.

I have personalised a few more cards for family members but am keeping them under wraps for obvious reasons (some of my family read my blog !!) I will get a few photos after Christmas.

I've still lots of little things to do but I feel slightly 'under control'. Later today will see our house finally 'fully' decorated and all the Christmas shopping done. Most of the gifts will be wrapped and cards sent. It's been, as usual, a frantic couple of weeks but I would say - I think, Im more organised than I've been for many years ! Let's hope I'm not deluding myself !!!

This will be my final regular post although I will post the occasional photo story over the Christmas break and share my Christmas Prep projects 'in action'. Hope you all have a great Christmas.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Prep. Round Up 1

Hi Everyone
I wanted to round up the Christmas Prep ideas before the official end of working time and start of the holidays. I have decided to round up my little projects in two parts, mainly as there are lots of photos to share.

It's been a very 'real' Christmas Prep. exercise for me and focussed my mind on the job. I usually have a prepared range of Christmas project samples which I then develop (for myself) but this year I was actually prepping as I was blogging each day. Every day the item I created my item and used it.
I chose to create each item based on my needs at that stage in my own preparations. Some ideas didn't happen as I planned and I compromised, usually due to voluntary work. Life and everything else was a bit frantic at times. I do know that where I made an item, each item was a possible 'quick make'- as I did it that way.

Here are the first six projects in pictures with a comment on how the project turned out.

The list board stayed as it was and I've used the lists every day.

The card tree is filling up. Will get another photo in a few days.

I've made 12 cards using the new designs and sent them ( without a photo being taken) - I need more so will keep going and get photos (before sending).

Tags have changed a little - I changed the white back for gold corrugated card. Will share the photos in a few days when the tags are used to wrap.

Baubles are ready to go on the tree with hanging thread. No baubles on the tree yet - only lights. I like the minimum simplicity but it won't last !

All labels are attached and ready for use. One of my jars was too small, so I needed to adapt. Again will get photos of adapted version.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Day 12 of Christmas Prep.@thepapersac

Hi Everyone
It's the last day of my Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac . We have had 12 days - not sure I remember all 12 ? where did that time go ?

Today, I've designed and made a cake topper for this years Christmas cake. I made my cake a few weeks ago and every year (when taking the cake out of the oven) I declare my intention to make a new topper. This year, I've finally done it. My new topper is a snowman. I've made the little guy as you would make a real snowman, very simple but with rolled white snowballs made from polymer clay. I've given him a hat, scarf, nose and some eyes as well as arms and a few buttons. I used another cake topper for scale so the snowman should be good for size. I've yet to cook him but here he is just before going into the oven.

When cooked and solid, I will add him to the round up - on Friday. The snowman has turned out OK - fingers crossed he will bake without any incidents. I think this must be the easiest Christmas character to make into a topper with polymer. It took me about 20 mins (including tidy up time) and I loved messing around with ideas for the hat and scarf. I hope he will help make the decorated cake look good in a few days.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Day 11 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Christmas preparations are near completion or are they ? - in my dreams !!!!
I've definitely been on the edge this year ! I think, I may have almost shopped - maybe one or two items could find their way into my stash but I could probably finish where I am. There are many bags of presents to wrap and cards to send and things to decorate but I'm determined to embrace the job this year. I need a couple of days to enjoy the process rather be stressed out by it !!! I've got until Friday before the kids are off school for the Christmas break. I need most things complete by Friday. Fingers crossed.

Moving on ....... my prep for today is a Christmas Voucher. I do tend to use this idea for a few celebration events both for work and family. As such, I have a basic template on my PC for adapting to whichever event I need. The template started life as a very basic Microsoft Publisher template, however, it's been changed and added to many times, unrecognisable as a template. I would say a template is not necessary. Just a series of boxes. I change the colours and images each time but essentially it's a very quick and easy way of giving a personal gift at Christmas.
Here is a look at the voucher. I try and make the voucher look a bit like a cheque. The image is changed to suit events and I do add a date.

I need 4 vouchers and have printed my vouchers on two pieces of A4. I will trim each voucher and make an envelope using gift wrap paper and make a label for each. I may add a few embellishments to the envelopes - not sure at this stage. I will share the end product in my final round up (in a few days). I like to add the envelopes to the tree so may add a little hanging hook.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Day 10 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
We are on the final countdown (Day 10) re Christmas prep. - it's the last week of school before Christmas holidays and ........ at last we have a tree ! It's not looking as good as it will but it's there along with lots of boxes of decorations. I've got a few days to 'pretty' the house ! - I hope.

Today, I'm making some Star Bunting. These 'shortish' lengths of bunting are designed to adorn wall art (pictures) - just to give a little 'bling' to the walls. I'm not a great fan of too much in the way of streamers but I like some more subtle 'lift' for the walls. I did this last year with a silver paper version, this year Im going for gold. I've got some corrugated gold card and some gift wrap paper which Im hoping will do the job. I will use a white paper cord to link the stars. I like my mini sample and am confident the bunting will look good.

I'm hoping to give this project an hour or so later today. I will cut out all the stuff this morning but am involved in some volunteer work mid afternoon, so the construction will happen later. I plan to make the bunting fit the actual pictures so will vary the lengths. The final version will appear in the round up after day 12. I think I need 4 lengths in total ? I usually get carried away with these projects when I get going - so who knows how many lengths will emerge, will report later.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Day 9 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
I'm still trying to catch up with Christmas - almost there ! Today, I need some Gift Pockets. I tend to fall back on this little gift wrap design all year round but at Christmas I tend to dress up the pockets a little more. Here is a basic photo look at the techniques (showing how easy it is to make these pockets). The top half of the photo shows a flat seal technique and the bottom half shows how you can fold the ends in opposite directions to form a little triangle shaped pocket. For both pocket examples I've used A5 size paper. It's possible to make larger and smaller to fit your gift. If the gift requires a flat pocket I will go with it but mostly I like the triangle shape. The paper needs to be quite thick if you make a larger pocket. Often, my best pockets are made from everyday printer paper (with a design print). I also like to wrap my gift in tissue paper before placing in the pocket - this adds a little bit of luxury.

For my Christmas prep. today, I'm using some bought gold gift wrap paper. It's pretty thick, sturdy wrap but it makes great pockets. I will share the actual pockets in my round up (in a few days). I need to make about 12 pockets. Best get going.

Bye for today.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Day 8 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
I'm racing to keep up again !! One day, life will be relaxed and 'event less' or will it ? However, moving on ..... Day 8 of my prep. is a Christmas Bauble for the Christmas Tree (yet to be ie the tree).
Every year we make (or buy) a bauble and I usually force the kids to make (or shop) something. This year it's my effort (alone) and the kids have agreed to allow me to make the bauble of 2014. It was an easy decision on their part.

Ive had my plan for some time and wanted to cover a card blank with polymer, in the style of a carpet boule. I've seen many of these boules in large Scottish Country houses and often admired them. They are usually very glossy and tartan. I haven't gone for Tartan, more of an abstract stripe/colour thing.

Here is how I made the bauble. I bought a paper blank with a string already attached. I made a few very small polymer canes with left over clay, purple, orange and a shade of gold. I ran the canes through my pasta machine and made very thin layers. I covered the bauble with a thin layer of liquid polymer and placed the thin slices all over the bauble, covering the blank. I needed to do lots of hand rolling to get an integrated surface but the final effect is pretty. I like the glossy surface idea and have decided to make the bauble glossy. Im in the process of allowing the varnish to dry. After much deliberation, I've decided on the purple velvet bow for the top. I think I need more baubles but only have one more blank so will make another with a red bow.

I will post the shiny finished version with my bow in the round up and the second bauble when it's finished. I came across an interesting find this week while browsing on Pinterest - a simple way to tie really good bows. Here is a link bow tie technique. It's worth giving the technique a go for small bows.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Day 7 of Christmas Prep.@ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Day 7 and I'm struggling to keep my Christmas prep going, not the blog ideas - the 'real thing' !!! I'm hanging in the balance today !!!

My offer today is to take a bought Christmas card and personalise it. I'm using my Dad as a focus for my example. The card I've gone for is quite a traditional scene in a 3d design. I do like it as it is but I want to make it a little special by adding 'Dad' somewhere. It's such an easy thing to do but I like the personalising thing. At one time, I would always make all my cards but time is so limited for me it's too much pressure. This is as close as I get at Christmas, these days. Here are my plans in photo form :

I will add some die cut letters in a co ordinating colour and embellish the envelope. I'm planning to personalise about 10-12 cards in a similar way. I will share the final card just before sending.

Other news - Yesterday, I spent an afternoon working with some 10 year olds producing polymer clay jewellery for presents. The class was quite large (30+) and I did wonder how they would cope ? We only had a couple of hours !
They were great and produced some brilliant stuff. We used Christmas colours, mainly Gold - the whole collection looked very Christmas 'bling-like'. Here is a selection of their work.

These beads are about to be cured. I will share the final products, all polished and packaged before the end of the week.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Day 6 of Christmas Prep. @thepapersac

Hi Everyone
We are half way through prep. for Christmas ! - not sure I feel organised in any way. However, I've been running through each day and I should be there with the basics.
Today, I've got some labels for gift jars. Some of my jars will be donation gifts (charity fund raising events) and filled with sweet mincemeat. I made the mincemeat a week ago and Im dressing up the jars. The basic label could be used for lots of decorating ideas, not necessarily jars. I plan to be using similar labels to stick on plain boxes full of small chocolate bars and stocking fillers. Adding labels in this way, will immediately enhance a plain box or recycled container.
I will print out all my labels today and cut out ready for sticking. I will decide on the range of labels I need when I check the Christmas Lists (from Day 1).Here are some of the Sweet Mince version ready for use.

Here are a few of the jars with labels. The jars will get a little more treatment but the recylced jam jars are looking more like gifts. I'm going to add some bows and possibly a cotton top for the collection. I will share how things turn out in the round up.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Day 5 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
my weekend didn't turn out as expected ! - as usual the original plans were taken over by events ! (mainly kids ) However, we had a lovely time preparing for Christmas. Having ordered Christmas online (almost) I do feel slightly better. Part of my plans had been to continue with Christmas preparations - time for posting disappeared ! So, it's 'Day 5' today.

Day 5 is all about some Christmas Tree decorations. I've created these snowflake decorations from polymer clay. The clay is translucent and painted with silver and gold.

The clay was put through my pasta machine on number 4 - I did think it may curl during curing. I pressed the shape onto a tile and cut out a snowflake shape using a metal shape cutter. I made 6 snowflakes and painted 3 in gold and 3 in silver Inka paint. I love this stuff, it's a bit like shoe polish and I used my finger to polish into the surface of the snowflake. I also made some little holes for hanging.

My Christmas tree isn't up yet but when I've got it up I will add the decorations and take some more photos to share. The translucent clay gives the snowflakes a lovely characteristic, almost a 'glass-like'. These are very quick makes and would be great in large numbers. Polymer clay is very reasonable to buy, so you could make lots - quite cheaply. The 6 snowflakes took approximately 15gms of clay.

Hope you feel inspired to make your own polymer clay decorations.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Day 4 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Day 4 of our preparations and I'm in full panic mode ! Lots of little things have interfered with my plans for the week so I've still to make an impact into Christmas shopping. I need to put that right today. I've got more volunteer work later this morning and various orders to send/pickup (not for me !!!) After about 2pm I've high hopes of Christmas being ordered.
However, in preparation Im onto to the tags. I usually end up making loads of tags when I've discovered I don't have any - after wrapping a gift and usually very late. I'm going to make all the required tags over the next few days but I've designed and have all the bits and am printing more colours today. I need to do a few every now and again, multi tasking is the order of the day. Here is my design for this year.

The photos are a bit 'grainy' (late night photography !) but you get the idea.

I've got a few different proportions to the basic design and I will make each one unique by adding a little embellishment. I'm also planning on a range of colours - to coordinate with my wrap papers. The basic take is a thick cardboard tag shape made from a sizzix die (Tim Holtz Alterations - Tiny Tabs & Tags). The back of the tag will be a little stick on label for my message.

I like the thickness of the card and gives the whole tag a quality feel. I don't have too many to make so I should be on schedule by Sunday. I will get them together for a group photo when complete.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Day 3 of Christmas Prep.@ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Day 3 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac will be a card idea. I'm using a tried and tested folded system for constructing the cards. Here is a photo collage of the idea.

I made this one for a family friend card last year.
This year Ive produced a few modern card designs - I will develop the cards in a few colours. Here are a few samples :

I have some little trees, stars, ribbons etc to apply and will play around with ideas to make each one a little different from the next. I also want to personalise some of the cards and will work on that too.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Day 2 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
It's Day 2 of Christmas Prep. and my prep of the day is a CARD TREE. Today, I am working on my first card (to send) alongside the List Board ( not quite there from Day 1). We have, in fact, received our first family card which is on the card tree. The Card Tree looks a bit bare at the moment but when it's full of cards I like the look and more important - all the cards are fixed and do not end up flying all over when doors are opened ! I think, I will add a bit of temporary bling until cards come in.

The Card Tree is simply made from old floorboards screwed together and roughly painted with white. I have the cross branches at an angle, I like the look of this slight 'lean'?
I like to lean the tree against a wall but it could be planted in a pot or placed in a stand. I used this tree as a jewellery display last week (when some Christmas jewellery went on tour) hence the added nails with little red bows. I'm not sure if these nails/hooks will stay but I think they could add to the overall look when I can hang cards on them.
This tree is quite large but the idea could be adapted to a smaller tree in the same way. It certainly adds an immediate Christmas feel to the room, with or without cards. As I've mentioned we have had our first card, it arrived on 1/12/14 !! I'm never that prepared.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Day 1 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Christmas is now underway in my World. I have the Christmas planning lists - they are up and running. Each big task eg menu/food, family presents, cards/tags and wrap etc. all have a list and a sheet on The Board. I did find a few of the boards from previous years and I've chosen one to re do. I have some lovely tissue wrap which Im going to decoupage the board. I will also add some white deer roaming throughout. I hope to use this image for other Christmas things around the house. All ideas are still under construction so I will reveal all when I have something to share.
I've put a little collage together showing my lists.

I know it's not much but it's progress. When I have a moment to sit with my lists I will fill them and then shop or make. I did manage to make my sweet mince for the mince pies and the cake and pudding are cooking. I'm quite please with progress today.
So, Day 1 is my Christmas List Board ( I know it's technically not quite there but I can picture it). I will hopefully get it going today, although I do have a jewellery workshop in the morning. Perhaps - we are talking Wednesday !

Thanks for reading.

12 Days of Christmas Prep @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
It's now December - Im way behind with any planning for Christmas ie none done. Almost 'a panic' developing !! However, today is the day to get going !
I'm planning a similar 12 Days series to that of the recent jewellery project (read back for details over last few weeks).
This time my '12 Days' will be around Christmas planning. Over the next 12 days, I will be introducing little projects to get Christmas underway. No stopping at weekends either ! (not enough days left !)

In the past I've made all my Christmas cards for lots of friends and family but this year I'm planning on adapting and customising rather than making from scratch. I will apply this idea to much of my Christmas preparations.

I want my house to be festive but I'm not sure exactly what to do ? Last year, I bought a few new hanging decorations which I like and I think I may plan around these items. I need to find them and check them out. My job today will be to get some lists going. I have a few little boards which I've used in the past for this job and will seek them out too. Here are some examples of boards I've used over a few years.

These examples all worked well but I do like the idea of a new design each year. I will spend a short time thinking and coming up with a theme and turn it into some artwork. Hopefully, by the end of the day my plans will be in place. The pressure of the 'real time' process often helps to make a practical job happen quickly for me ! Fingers crossed.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Christmas Collection @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
It's the roundup of my 12 Days of Christmas Jewels @ thepapersac. I've been involved with this project for the last 3 weeks designing and making lots of the items. I've really enjoyed the making part - I usually like the design bit and not the making up so much.

Here are a few photos of the whole collection.

Week 1- Star Bead Collection

Week 2 - Bicone Bead Collection

Week 3 - Rounds Bead Collection

Most of the items have been sold but I will put the remaining stock in my shops over the next few days. Thank you to everyone who has bought the items.

Last night, the Collection went on tour to a local charity event and formed part of a big raffle prize. Three winners will attend some of the craft workshops Im doing and four more could choose their prize from jewels on the tree. I didn't get very good photos of the tree but this gives a bit of an idea of how it looked.
This is pre tinsel and baubles but you get the idea.

I added more than the 12 Days stuff and eventually had 21 items to fill the tree. A few bits of bling from some tinsel and the tree looked great. Prizes chosen were these 4 pieces. I asked each person why they chose a particular item and everyone said they just liked it - no other reason !

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed the Series.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rounds Necklace.

Hi Everyone
I can't believe it's the last of 12 Days of Jewellery @ thepapersac. The idea behind these little projects was to give ideas to make jewellery Christmas gifts. The mini projects needed to be quick and easy to make (in possibly batches) I've done this myself - so I know it works and am confident about the process.

My personal gifts are almost complete (amazing for me at this stage) and the best tip I have is to plan upfront - decide exactly what you want to make at the beginning. My life doesn't usually work like this. I will have an idea and then another and another etc. - mine is a creative thing but a time consuming business. Often, I end up frustrated and stressed out due to lack of time. Not this year !!!

Back to the final piece. It's a necklace based on the Rounds Beads, I'm simply calling my necklace a Rounds Necklace. The Rounds Beads are explained in Monday's blog (24/11/14)
Here is my necklace :

I've used a random collection of Christmas colours (you can use any colours) and threaded them onto red wax cotton. Measure the final length of the necklace you want to make and add an overlap for adjusting. There are 5 red Rounds at the back, acting as a 'stopper' for the adjustable length. I made the 5 individual beads and pressed them together with a hole through the whole thing prior to baking. I've finished the ends of the cord (after toeing a slide knot on each side) with 2 small Rounds.
The necklace is really attractive and so simple to make. I've got about 80 beads in the necklace but as they are punched out they are quick to make. Some beads are cut from thin raw clay (number 4 on the pasta machine) and others from thicker (number 1 on the pasta machine) - you can use any thickness and I feel the variety gives the piece a more attractive look. It doesn't matter if you don't have a pasta machine - just roll out the clay.
The whole collection of beads took about 20gm clay - tiny amount for such a large piece.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the whole Christmas Collection coming together. Tomorrow I will post all 12 - plenty time to get making.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rounds Stretch Bracelet - 12 jewellery days @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
Today, it's day 11of the '12 days of jewellery @ thepapersac', I couldn't work out which day it was yesterday ! That means it's almost at the end - only 1 more jewellery item to go.

I've enjoyed making these items and have developed a few of the pieces into kits. These kits will be an ongoing thing and I'm hoping to develop different colours and finishes for the beads.

This week it's the Rounds Bead Series. The Rounds beads are explained in Monday's post (24/11/14). My jewellery item for today using the Rounds beads is something I'm calling a 'Rounds Stretch Bracelet.

Ive used a mix of Old Gold and Silver clay for the beads. These beads are made with the smallest round punch I have. Each beads measures 0.7 cm across. Because the individual beads are quite small this bracelet needs lots of them (50 gold and 30 silver). Collectively the beads give a solid type structure to the bracelet. I've tied a length of stretch string with a surgeons knot and hidden the knot inside 3 'rounds' ( see above left photo), this gives the bracelet a neat finish. That's about it for the design. It's a very simple piece to make and I like the colour mix, hope you are inspired to make one of your own.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

12 Days of Jewellery for Christmas - bit of 'bling'

Hi Everyone
Today, it's day ? of the '12 days of jewellery @ thepapersac'. This week it's the Rounds Bead series. My jewellery item for today is a pair of Dangle Rounds.

The beads are very simple thin (clay rolled to number 4 in the pasta machine). I've used 3 discs per earring but you could use more and with different colours/textures etc. I've punched round shapes in the clay and simply made a large hole in the centre. The holes do need to be quite large to allow them to move around the wires. The movement is a key element of the design. I'm going to try out some gold leaf to clay and use a similar design for a change.The discs are easily removed so you could add a few different disc beads to allow for a different look.
A good point to note - I've used a gold plated wire but any wire could be used. I don't usually use plated wires but I've tested this one and I do like it (I've had very sensitive ears in the past and avoided plated wires). Certainly for Christmas, these earrings provide a bit of 'bling'.

I hope you feel inspired to have a go at this design. It's quick and easy as a 'gift make'.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 24 November 2014

12 Days of Christmas Jewellery

Hi Everyone
We are in week 3 (the final week) of the '12 days of jewellery @ thepapersac'. This week it's the Rounds Bead series. My jewellery item of the day is a pair of Stud earrings using a basic round punched shape. I've embellished the shape with a star - this star is a very thin version of the stars used in week 1 (10/11/12 post).
To make the Rounds range of beads, I used my pasta machine (number 2 setting) to prepare the clay for punching out (same process again as week 1). I used the middle size of round punch for my Round Star Studs (1cm across). A very small quantity of clay is required for a single pair of earrings. I planned to produce my whole Rounds series ie 4 jewellery pieces and prepared the basic beads as a batch. This planning does help make production times efficient. For each single round red shape, I made a thin star shape in Old Gold and baked the beads. I've placed the stars just off centre, I like the look this gives the piece.

The posts are glued onto the round shape after the first bake (to secure while I move to the next process). I embed the posts with a tiny piece of clay and mold into the round shape. I bake the bead again, this gives the earrings a smooth and clean, secure post for the back of the earring. The earrings are sealed and polished before packaging.
I'm making a few of these designs for little presents, they are ideal for placing in a cracker and quick to make. The gold stars give the earrings a festive theme and look pretty. As usual I've made myself a pair !

Hope you are inspired.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 21 November 2014

12 Days of Christmas Jewellery

Hi Everyone
Today, it's the round up of all the Bicone bead pieces of jewellery featured this week. Go back to 17/11/14 for the initial technique used in this section of the 12 Days of Christmas Jewels @ thepapersac.

In my design suggestions this week, I gave an Old Gold pair of stud earrings, a Bicone drop earring on silver or gold wires, a stretch Old Gold bracelet (with a single red bead) and finally a stretch necklace on a chain.

My favourite this week has to be the Bicone Bead Necklace. I will be using this design again and am already planning some beads for the job.

Each piece has a place in own my planned Christmas outfits (sounds organised ? ) but Ive been trying out samples and can't quite wait for Christmas !

Hope you enjoyed the Bicone section. Next week we will have the last bead shape with 4 more items. I can't quite decide which pieces I will make for my presents. I think, I need to wait until next week.

Have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Stretch Bicone Chain Necklace

Hi Everyone
Today, it's day 8 of 12 Days of Jewellery @ thepapersac and the item of the day is a Bicone Stretch Necklace - yes, 'stretch' ! As usual, the technique for making the beads can be found at the beginning of the week (17/11/14) post.

Todays design has come from my attempts at finding a neat and easy clasp idea. My solution this time is to avoid the clasp altogether ! I'm not sure why this causes me so much grief but I do spend lots of time thinking about clasps. I wanted to use the stretch thread idea to allow for a shorter necklace which will go over the head (without the need for a clasp).The stretch characteristic is a great option for this particular design. My design is very easy and will adapt to lots of different beads. Here it is :

The coloured Bicone beads are slightly different shapes and sizes and I've made a simple Sterling Silver chain (will be available in my shop or email me if would like to buy). The stretch thread Ive used is a green colour (0.8) and attached via the chain links. I've used the same knot as I use for stretch bracelets ie surgeons knot. Although the thread is not particularly visible - I like the glimpse of green at the link connection. I've hidden the knot inside the first bead and added a tiny spot of glue to keep in place.

I like the final item and will wear it all day to check how it works for me. I hope you are inspired to make one for yourself or as a gift.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

12 Days of Christmas Jewels - Day 7

Hi Everyone
Today, it's day 7 of 12 Days of Jewellery @ thepapersac and the item of the day is a Bicone Stretch Bracelet.

You can find the technique for making these beads in the 17/11/14 post.

I have used 20 individual beads for my bracelet. I've added a single red/gold mix bead in there - to add interest. The red bead is a different shape so acts as a bit of a focal bead. Even though this 'focal' bead is relatively small - I like the focus it gives.

I've also decided to use different sizes and shapes of Bicone beads, some have points and some are quite flat lentil shaped beads. I used the same technique for making all the beads but I like the variety that can be achieved with this simple technique. I've also made the threading holes in different place - this gives another option for changing the look of the final bracelet.

If you choose to use larger size beads, less beads will be required. To decide on how many beads you need, simply measure your wrist and keep trying on the item for size. Sometimes, the way in which beads are arranged make a difference to how the bracelet 'sits' on the wrist and how it moves. Keep trying on - to check you are happy with the bead sequence.The bracelet is very simple in terms of design and construction - it's predominantly made from Old Gold coloured Sculpey clay. I do think the colour gives a 'richness' to the piece but you could,of course,use any colour.

This would be a very easy gift item to make for Christmas. Hope you are inspired.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

12 Days of Christmas Jewellery - Day 6

Hi Everyone
Today, it's day 6 of 12 Days of Jewellery @ thepapersac and the item of the day is a Bicone Drop Earring. Half way through the 12 days already !

I detailed the Bicone method yesterday, so look back for details of producing the Bicone bead if you want to make from scratch.

Day 6 is all about adapting the bead to a slightly different design (from yesterday). I've added a bit of bling via the gold and silver wires but also with an applied metal leaf and glitter clay. I added the metal leaf (gold) at the pre shaping stage and then made the beads as per the technique. The glitter clay (silver) was mixed as a Silver and Spanish Green and then shaped into the Bicones.

You could use any ear wires but I made these for the job. I will have some in my shop soon. Both wires are very similar in design and shape although the sterling silver version have a hammered 'stopper' and the gold version have a small loop. The loop allows extra Bicones to be added for extra glamour.

Hope you are inspired to make some of these earrings as gifts - so easy to make and they are lovely to wear. I'm looking for a green Christmas outfit to match !

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bicone Stud Earrings

Hi Everyone
We are in week 2 (already) of the '12 days of jewellery @ thepapersac'. This week it's the Bicone Bead series. My jewellery item of the day is a pair of Stud Bicone Earrings.

Making a bicone bead is a very simple and but surprisingly 'pleasing' technique. The first stage is to condition a small ball of clay and place it on a tile or hard surface. To form the shape, I use a small, clear acrylic plate, you could use a glass with a flat bottom. There is an advantage to seeing how the process is developing through the glass or plate.

The plate needs to move over the clay in a small circular motion. I find it best to go slowly and experiment with how much pressure is placed on the clay. As you make circular movements with the plate or glass, the clay begins to take on a Bicone or 'triangle' shape. If the shape does not happen immediately keep practicing with different size circular movements. You can make very small bicone beads or larger ones, the very small beads can be tricky to get a threading hole through the centre either from end to end or through the centre. Often, the shape is slightly compromised when you pass the hole tool through. I find it best to leave the shaped bicone bead clay to rest before making a hole. Also, it can be a good idea to use a couple of piercing tools to make the holes.

When the shape comes together, it's a very satisfying experience.

My first piece of jewellery in the Bicone Collection is a simple pair of stud earrings. I've used an Old Gold coloured clay but you could use any colour. I've shaped the bead using the technique described and then cut the bead down the centre. I've made the bead a little larger than my usual stud earrings, I think this makes the item a little more 'glamorous' - just right for a gift.

I've added a sterling silver post and produced a simple stud earring.

I hope you are inspired to make these earrings for yourself.

Thanks for reading.