Monday, January 31, 2011

CHA - Day 2

This morning started bright and early with a 7.00am class. Yes, you read that right, 7.00am! In this class I learned some basics about wool felting. I've wanted to learn how to felt for a long time so I was excited that CHA had scheduled a workshop. In this class, I learned that felting is not a quick process and that you need to have patience, persistence and hot soapy water to make a good felt. This was not as easy I thought it would be and I have a new found respect for anyone who has mastered the process of felting. My very simple heart shaped design has become a little misshapen during the process but overall, it's not too bad for a first effort. I didn't complete the needle felted scrolls I was working on but I found this part of the process much easier and more enjoyable. After the workshop, it was time to set up my Designer Showcase and then I was on the go for the rest of the day meeting with people and I only had time to do one make and take for the aftern...
Sunday, January 30, 2011

CHA - Day 1

It's Saturday and the first day of CHA. It's always so exciting to walk through the doors not knowing what you're going to find on the show floor. My first stop for the day was at Viva Decor's booth where Michael Strong had designed a very pretty and softly coloured valentine's card using Paper Soft Color . Whilst this is not a new product, it is the first opportunity I've had to use it and I was really impressed by how easily it blended on the paper. The colour is very soft just as its name implies. To add some elegant pearls to the flourishes we used a Pearl Pen which was also a dream to use. The stamped images are from Michael's own stamp line, Strong Stamps. Beautiful card, isn't it Sorry about the poor photography - there is very limited lighting in the hotel room so I won't mention where this photo was taken, although the towel background might give you some idea! Viva Decor has a theme for their booth this year: A White Wedding and this ca...
Saturday, January 29, 2011

CHA - getting an education

Today I'm blogging from CHA in Los Angeles so it's greetings from sunny California! LA has turned on the weather for CHA and it is warm and sunny and the sky is blue. Temps are in the mid 20s and there is a gentle breeze blowing.... you really couldn't get a more perfect day! I've spent most of the day in business seminars learning so much that I didn't know about the craft industry. It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to learn. And there are some very experienced folks who lead these seminars so they are invaluable. I know seminars sound a bit boring but I managed to squeeze in some fun stuff too. I did a great workshop featuring Kandicorp's deColourant paints. All I can say is WOW..... what an amazing product! Not only does it take the colour out of natural fabrics (and handmade papers) but it also puts colour back into the fabric, all in the one step. It's non toxic and easy to apply, with no mess and a pleasant fragrance. And b...
Friday, January 28, 2011

CHA -

Life here in the Hillam household has been a little bit topsy turvy these past couple of weeks and blogging has had to take a back seat. Our eldest son left for Duntroon (Royal Military College) last week. It was one of life's special moments - you know the ones I mean; when you're happy, sad, proud and anxious all at once. Who knew that a child leaving the nest would be so hard on the parents? And as if it wasn't hard enough to have one child leave the nest, the youngest child also left home this week to begin university studies interstate. There has been so much organising to do to get her new home set up with the basic necessities that a household requires. And then finally, the moment came when it was time to leave. Another one of those special moments - lots of tears and a moment of anxiousness as you wonder if you have equipped them to cope with what life throws at them. There are still two children at home but all of a sudden, our household is mighty quiet. I&#...
Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kumihimo - a fun way to braid

I'm in the midst of preparations for CHA at the moment and have lots of different projects on the go and one of those is a lanyard for my name badge. The ones given to attendees are purely functional, and frustratingly, I always find mine turns itself back to front so that when you meet someone and they look down at your name badge all they see is the back of it. It doesn't seem to matter which way you wear it, it always flips itself over again. Not surprising really, as they are secured by just one point at the top of the badge so no amount of fiddling with it will prevent this phenomenon from happening. But this show, I'll be wearing one that is a lot less likely to flip over; it will be attached by the two top corners and it's made from a sturdy Kumihimo braid. And whilst you might not have the need of a lanyard, this particular braid is also really suitable for jewellery making so let's get to and make a Kumihimo bracelet. You'll need four 1 metre...

Amethyst Spiral

At last, here it is... my final Christmas holiday project..... a twisted spiral rope bracelet kit. I thought this would be the most difficult of the kits I'd bought because it looks so complicated but I think it was actually the easiest! There are really only two simple steps in the pattern; string on the beads, count back 4 beads, and stitch back up through those four beads. That's it... there isn't any more to it and once you start, it comes together really quickly. I think it took all of one hour from start to finish, including adding the closure. I really enjoyed this project and of all the kits I've done, this one has definitely been my favourite - I can see myself incorporating this into a future jewellery project. Working on these simple bead weaving kits over the last few weeks has not only been enjoyable but it has also given me a few new techniques to draw on in the future. You've gotta love it when learning = FUN! 'Til next time..... ...
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beadweaving in the RAW

This beadweaving thing is becoming addictive! After finishing the first two RAW kits I couldn't help experimenting with it some more. I've started working on variations in colour, bead placement, even bead shape and each piece has turned out quite differently. I can't help but think about the endless variations that can be created with this weave. I have got to stop! This was supposed to be a relaxing holiday activity but it's beginning to take a strangle hold over me! So this is the last RAW piece I'm going to work on for a while. The holidays have now come to an end and I've learned a new jewellery making skill. Gosh, I've even done some experimenting with it so, goal achieved! What a good start to the New Year. I'm about to begin working on a spiral rope bracelet kit and I imagine that this will be just as addictive once I realise the endless possibilities with this weave too. This will take me longer to complete though because it's back to ...
Monday, January 3, 2011

Privacy Please!!

I got a new photographic light tent for Christmas..... I was thrilled when I unwrapped it! It's not the first one I've had though. My first one was so well used, that it had begun to fall apart at the joins. And that's because I fold it up and put it away after every photographic session. You see, I have to, or this is what happens......... Miss kitty kat finds it very comfy and private in there...... even in the glare of my daylight lamps which are set up to illuminate the jewellery! What an interesting prop she would have made for the bracelet I photographed for yesterday's post. You can just see it in the bottom of the opening. She would have made a lovely model; perhaps sporting the bracelet as a collar 'round her neck! So the moral of this story is.... don't leave the light tent out even for 5 minutes or it will become snooze central. 2011 is turning out to be the year of the lesson learned!!!! 'Til next time..... If you can'...
Sunday, January 2, 2011

RAW Exploration - Learning valuable lessons

Here's the next bead weaving kit I've made up during my holidays. This one is a variation of the first one I did where the basic pattern has been built on by adding an additional RAW stitch on each side of the main beads, as well as a contrasting bead in the centre. This one is worked with just one needle and whilst I found it easier to manage than the two needles in the first kit, it was harder because you have to work with a longer thread which sometimes gets tangled. But all in all, it was easy....... except for a tiny little mistake I discovered just before adding the last two RAW stitches on the circle at the end. You can't see anything wrong with the pattern, can you? Well, neither could I..... until I got all the way back to the beginning and noticed that..... after the first round I had forgotten to add the connecting seed beads between each circle. Grrr! I hadn't bothered to read the pattern after the first couple of circles because I thought I had the patte...