Now available! - Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Volume 5 with 12 all-new designs.

Now available! - Twelve Days of Christmas Earrings Volume 5 with 12 all-new designs.
Get ready for the Christmas Party season and make yourself some sparkly festive earrings. Christmas Trees, snowflakes, ornaments and stars - these are just a few of the fabulous earrings in this Volume

Friday, July 31, 2015

Art Deco Inspired Wedding Jewellery Featuring Long Bugle Beads

If you follow me on Facebook, you will have had a little sneek peek of the jewellery components I'm using for my daughter's upcoming wedding.
Wedding jewellery components in Siam and Golden Shadow

I'll be sharing these pieces with you after the wedding but in the meantime, here are some pieces I designed for another very special bride, a friend who lives half way across the world in Chicago.

She has chosen emerald for her bridesmaid's dresses. The Maid of Honour's dress is strapless and features a pleated panel that fans out like a sunray at the waist whilst the sunray is featured at the neckline of the Bridesmaid's dresses. Her brief was to incorporate the sunray into the jewellery. Here's how I interpreted her vision.

Firstly, for the Maid of Honour, I created a multi layered pendant featuring extra long gold bugle beads arranged in a semi circle, edged with Swarovksi bicones in Aurum and Emerald. The central focal consists of two layers of gold german filigrees which are encrusted with Swarovski crystals and atop this is an emerald rivoli set in a half rondelle.

emerald and gold swarovski pendant


With such an elaborate focal pendant, simple drop earrings are all that are needed to complete her look.
Swarovski emerald and gold drop earrings

The necklines of the the Bridesmaid's dresses is quite high so a necklace isn't suitable. Instead, the bride has opted for a bracelet and earrings. Once again, the design incorporates the long gold bugle beads with Aurum and Emerald Swarovski bicones arranged around a cluster of Clear navettes. This design has such an art deco feel about it and because it's stitched together with Fireline, it drapes softly and elegantly around the wrist.
Emerald and Aurum Swarovski bracelet featuring long bugle beads

The sunray design is repeated in the fan-shaped earrings which completes the Bridesmaids' outfits.
Emerald and gold earrings featuring long gold bugle beads

The bride was delighted with the bespoke designs created especially for her big day. When designing jewellery for a bride, I like to create a design that is distinctively different because, afterall, every bride is different!

I hope you've enjoyed the eyecandy today. I'll have another wedding-related post next time.

'Til then.......


Monday, July 27, 2015

Mould Making Do's and Don'ts

Putting your craft skills to work is a great way to add one-of-a-kind personal touches to any special occasion. In our household, we're busy preparing for a wedding and being a crafty pair, my daughter and I decided to incorporate some handmade details to add that extra pizazz to her special day.

One of the projects we're tackling is the bonbonnieres. Hers will feature a handmade polymer clay tag with a sentiment on it. It's a big undertaking to make 100 so to speed things up, we made a mould from silicone rubber.

But before we get into making the mould, we created a master tag by following Marie Segal's tutorial from Art from my Heart. Marie suggests looking in the Mexican aisle for the alphabet noodles she uses to create her sentiments. In Australia, I found them in the Italian aisle. But no matter where you are in the world, look for something like San Remo's Soup Pasta.

Begin by conditioning the clay and then place it between the wooden stir sticks and roll it out.
use paddle pop sticks to roll out the clay
Use two sets of two wooden stir sticks taped together as a thickness guide for rolling the clay.


To create the tag, we used an oval cookie cutter to cut out the clay.
Use a cookie cutter to cut the shape
Press the cookie cutter into the clay

The sentiment is created by pressing the alphabet pasta onto the clay oval. Whilst we wanted the sentiment to be raised, the letters still needed to be evenly pressed into the surface of the clay so for a depth guide, we replaced the stack of stir sticks with a single stir stick plus a bamboo skewer on each side of the oval. Once the letters are in position it's time for baking. Just follow your clay manufacturer's instructions.
evenly press alphabet noodles into clay
Place the alphabet noodles into position and press them into the

Once cooled, it was over to me to make the mould. You can use silicone putty to make the mould as Marie did, but for this project, a mould made from silicone rubber will make a better, more flexible mould. I've used a shallow plastic lid that is a little larger all around than the master tag. It needs to be at least 6mm (1/4") deeper than the master too. I didn't use any adhesive to hold the tag in place but you could use some double sided tape on the bottom edges if your were concerned about the silicone seeping underneath - but don't tape it into position yet.
create a mould from a plastic lid

Now you're ready to prepare the silicone. To work out how much you need, fill the lid with water and pour it into a measuring cup/jug. Make sure to thorougly dry the lid again and then position the tag in the centre of the lid. Measure and mix the silicone according to the package directions.

Pour the silicone into the lid in one spot, allowing it to spill over the oval tag until there is at least a 6mm (1/4") thickness of silicone over the top of the tag. Pouring in one spot helps eliminate air pockets from forming. Set the mould aside to cure.
create mould by pouring silicone over item

Once cured, ease the mould out of the lid.......
pull silicone mould from the lid

.....and then remove the master from the mould.
master tag alongside silicone mould

Voilà! Now we have a mould ready to create the 100 tags needed for the bonbonnieres.

You can see it's a pretty straight forward process to make your own simple mould but it didn't go completely to plan for us. You'll notice the title of this post is "Mould Making Do's and Don'ts". So now it's time to show you what not to do.

The photo below shows the first master tag we made. We made sure to spell the words backwards like you would on a stamp.
text reading backwards

And then we proceeded to make the mould and remove it from the lid. Can you see the problem yet?
backwards tag and mould

Here's what happens when you cast from this mould.
tag with reverse writing
Everything is backwards!

So you can see that even experts make mistakes!

Don't forget to stop by again later in the week to see how we fared with the casting of the tags.

'Til next time.....

Friday, July 24, 2015

Take a Virtual Tour Through Mill Lane Studio


Are you like me, always looking for new or better ways to store your craft supplies? Isn't it  interesting to peek into the studios of other creatives to see how they organise their supplies? It's fun to see how they decorate their space and see what storage systems work for them - after all, organising is a neverending task. Don't you love it when you glean a little storage or organisation tip that might help in your own crafting area?
The BEST Craft Organizer system is excellent for storing beads

Today, I invite you into my studio so you can learn some of the little tips that keep all my supplies organised. Cut Out + Keep take you on a virtual tour of my workspace whilst I talk about the trick that makes my studio look clutter free and how I store my supplies to keep them under control. I can tell you it doesn't always look so tidy but it does function well as both a studio and a classroom. I hope you'll find some helpful tips for keeping things in order in your craft space. But if nothing else, enjoy the pretty eye candy in my studio. I hope you find it inspiring!

I would love to hear about your storage and organisation ideas too. Please leave your comments below or better still, show us a picture of your work space.

Til next time....


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