Saturday, 30 April 2011

Awww, how lovely!

The lovely Jasmin at Jasmin Studio Crafts has featured me on her latest blog post!  Take a look:

How nice!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Progress Part II... nearly there!

So I'm nearly there, almost.  Had a really productive week, filling in a few gaps I spotted and coming up with a few new ideas.  One I was particularly pleased with was a pendant version of the 'tangle' earrings I made.  I especially love how the freshwater pearl turned out (I have put pictures of all my makes on My Flickr Photostream).

Love this!!!

I now need to STOP MAKING STUFF!  Otherwise I know exactly what will happen - I'll be sat on the sofa, jump rings and pliers in hand, a total nervous wreck at midnight, hours before I have to be up in time for the show (1st May, people, Victoria Hall, Saltaire, put it in your diaries!!!), and that just won't help anyone at all will it?!

But what I really wanted to tell you all about, what is now my total favourite thing to make, is my picture box collection.  Pendants, earrings, both studs and little dangly ones, and hairgrips.  Possibly bracelets coming soon as well.  I couldn't do any of this without the amazing service of Jasmin Studio Crafts, so I would like to do a bit shouty THANK YOU to Jasmin.  I don't think I've yet found a supplier to better her.  Purchases dispatched within hours of ordering them?  Arriving next day?  Yes please!!!

But the best part of it is searching for images to use.  There is something that draws me to vintage images, often flowers or birds.  Perhaps it's because I'm a bit of  a romantic at heart, or perhaps just because they're just soooo pretty.  But making these also sparks the quirky and kitsch side of me, which is drawn to goldfish, little Russian dolls, geckos and teapots.  The Graphics Fairy blog has been a huge source of inspiration for me, as has good old Google image search.  As long as the images are copyright free, they are fair game!  It's taken a fair bit of trial and error, especially for the hairgrips and earrings.  An image may take my fancy, but if it's too dark or fiddly, once it's shrunk down to 6mm, it more often than not ends up an indistinguishable messy blob.  But the images I have found I completely love, and have even taken the oh-so techy step of getting to grips with my imaging software and playing around with them.

The pendant on the left is one I played with myself.  It is a vintage mirror frame, and a bird (called a tufted titmouse, isn't that a great name?!), which I 'cut out' using the super-clever software and popped him on the edge of the frame.  The pendant on the right uses an old perfume label.  So pretty.

As you can imagine, the possibilities are practically endless.  So I have my thinking hat on to find something to use the lovely big glass tile that Jasmin sent me as a free gift, to make something just for me.  I've been messing around a bit and come up with this...

It still needs a bit more work, but I love the bird, it's called a lazuli bunting, which I thought particularly appropriate as I use lapis lazuli in so many of my designs.  The sheet music is handwritten, from the 1860's and French.  Not sure what the tune is but it looks so lovely!

Earrings, with goldfish, geckos, pastel coloured union flags and Russian babushka dolls

Earrings, with gingerbread men, Japanese lucky cats, crowns and pink patchwork hearts

Hairgrips, with purple coloured union flags, paw prints, pineapples and love hearts

Hairgrips, with little vintage birds, green union flags, purple coloured leopard print and blue and pink coloured union flags

As you can see, I've been busy!!!  But I am now confident that I have enough stock to fill the rather large table I have been given, so it's now the organising side of it I need to get to grips with - deciding what items will go where, making sure I can remember what pricing I've decided on, that kind of thing.  Not long to go now folks!!!

Right, it's Easter Sunday, so it's only correct that I have chocolate and hot cross buns for lunch.  The raisins in the buns count as one of your five a day, right???  Laters alligators!!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


After much um-ing and ah-ing I have finally sorted out the layout for my tables at these forthcoming shows.  The display stands I had made, although in principle were a good idea, turned out RUBBISH!!!  I have been collecting the lids from the paper ream boxes at work, as I have been after A4-sized strong cardboard, and as it would otherwise go in the bin, I thought no harm in snaffling them!!!  So I trimmed them down to size, and covered them in fabric (and old bed sheet!).  To neaten them up, I glued a sheet of lightweight card to the back, to cover up the rough fabric edges - BIG MISTAKE!!!  A week or so later, I think the glue must have shrunk or something as they are wonky and while they are undoubtedly handmade (!), they don't really present a professional image.  So... back to the drawing board!!

I've spent several hours trawling the internet for stands I could use instead.  Ideally I wanted something a similar size to the A4 I had incorporated into my plan, but most of what I could find was either teeny tiny or ghastly and cheap looking.  Not what I wanted at all!  Until eBay!!  Why didn't I think of that before???  What a numpty.  So on its way to me now (dispatched within 2 hours of ordering, not too shabby eh??) is this:

Cue host of singing angels!!!  Can't wait for it to arrive so I can have a practise!!

I have also made a full list of everything I've made so far.  Way more than I had thought!  However, I have noticed a few 'gaps' which I will need to fill in.  Those spiral flower earrings  for starters
(these ones!)
 - I've only done 3 colour ways, so a hunt through my bead stash, and Bob's your uncle.  Well, he will be soon anyways!

And I'm also hunting for a bit of inspiration for using up some lovely lucite flower beads which were sent to me as a free gift.  
Aren't they lovely?!

I have been trying to source some bead caps to fit them but :o( fail...  So I'm setting myself the challenge of making some.  Hmmmm this will either work amazingly or, er, not.  So that's my task this week!  I'll keep you posted of how they turn out!!!

And finally RIP my favourite bag.  Sob... but yippee!!! Its replacement has been ordered from Little Blue Elephant Can't wait!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Scene one, Act one...

For the first post, I thought I'd set the scene.  Just how on earth did this all happen?  Well... I started 30-"ish" years ago in Gloucestershire.  And a lot of stuff happened and now I'm a grown up (on paper at least) in Yorkshire.  I've always been a bit crafty, my mum taught me to knit when I was little, and I've taught myself to crochet wonky squares and wiggly worms.  And then for a wedding last year, I decided to make a fascinator, and jewellery for my bezzie mate Katherine and myself.  And since then I've never been far away from beads, my jewellery making pliers, jump rings and silver wire!!

2010 had been a bit so-so, I'd moved house early in the year and then spent the rest of the year sort of drifting along, not really doing much.  So at new year Katherine suggested taking my jewellery making up a notch... so basically this is all her fault!!!  I opened my folksy shop in February, and I've got myself booked in to loads of craft and art shows.

I've fallen in love with semi precious gemstones.  I love the way that as they are naturally occurring, no two are ever identical, you can never really predict what they will ever look like.  I like trying to work these delicate variances into my designs.

So, that's you lot up to speed.  Keep posted for more updates!!!  More coming soon!