Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bead workshop

Here's a picture of the pink bracelet I made at the first beading workshop I held at home as a trial with one other person, two were supposed to be coming but one was sick and couldn't make it at the last minute, which was a little disappointing as I wanted to study the dynamics of teaching a couple of people at the same time.

Anyway, she seemed to really enjoy herself and as a raw beginner did really well - this is a great style of bracelet to be shown how to make as it looks so lavish and complex yet is really quite easy.

I made this one in pink which is nice and girly and frothy, I used vintage buttons as the clasps.


This picture shows the same style of bracelet in 3 different colourways, I can't really decide which ones my favourite - what's yours?



Saturday, January 11, 2014

My favourite necklace

Although one thing which I would say most defines my jewellery is colour, probably my favourite ever necklace I made is this monochromatic beadwovenfreeformbrickstitch creation, which is the one which received the most compliments and comments. It was a bit of a challenge for me to work mainly in neutrals rather than the bright shades I'm used to but I managed to cram in as many shades and textures of black, white, grey, ivory, pearl, gold and bronze that I could find.



It has now gone to a loving new home to an owner who loved it so much she nearly made me cry with her generous praise and I must admit it looked sensational around her neck! It took me ages (and a few pricked fingers) to complete, but I think the end result justified the effort.


To make it, I began by making the first 5 (top row) full circle medallions, by brick stitching around a bead, then I stitched the 5 together, then began to work freeform brick stitch around them until it was the right size and made smaller brick stitch circles each one formed off the one before as the neck chain part. Its a really big bib style collar and a complete conversation piece - a real statement necklace. I am going to make another soon - just trying to decide what colours to use this time - any suggestions welcome.


Monday, January 06, 2014

Teal temptation freeform circular brick stitch bracelet

As I haven't been keeping up to date with my blog much lately I intend to blog about items I've made over the past year or so which got missed out, most of the ones I'll be featuring are still available for purchase if you like anything and want to buy it and its not currently in my Folksy shop leave a comment or email me.

First to be featured is this lovely freeform bracelet in shades of teal, turquoise, aqua, bronze and gold, stitched in circular brickstitch around larger beads it is perfect for anyone who doesn't like to wear any metal next to their delicate skin as it is created entirely from glass and acrylic beads and even the easy to fasten clasp is handwoven from beads.











Please leave me some feedback by adding a comment - I love to feel I'm not talking to myself!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

New Year New start

I haven't posted on this, my craft blog for absolutely ages - 2013 wasn't a wonderful year for me I spent most of the year looking very hard for a part time job which would help to pay the mounting bills, not affect my existing health condition and allow me enough time to continue with my voluntary work and beading.

All I managed to get were several short term temp jobs, a couple of Receptionist jobs which I really enjoyed and felt confident and capable at but which were only for a week or two holiday cover, some exam invigilation but that was a day here and 2 days there, 2 temp office jobs which I was relieved when they ended as they seemed to expect far too much for what they were offering and the conditions were pretty awful. I ended the year on a real low, against my own better judgement I took on a temp Christmas job in a busy high street shop - I knew I'd struggle physically but didn't realise quite HOW much and after 3 weeks I had to admit defeat as I was unable to cope with the long hours on my feet, lots of bending and lifting, trying to climb ladders to reach stock on high shelves and 5 hours stints of continuous work without refreshment had me in a state of near collapse and complete exhaustion and pain.

However it did make me feel a bit of a failure. But it's a New Year now and I'm drawing a line under it and starting 2014 with some new plans. I'm going to be holding some beading workshops at home to begin with.

The first one will be held at my home, heres a copy of the details. You can contact me by email or by leaving a comment if you or anyone you know is interested. Please pass this on especially to anyone in the North East UK.




Monday, April 01, 2013

White Easter

We planned to spend a long weekend at our caravan near Mickleton in the Dales this Easter - we were especially looking forward to it as I am feeling ready for a break now I've been back at work for a month, temping.

When we got there even though all the unseasonably late snow here in Darlington's gone - just half an hour up the road in Teesdale the road up to our caravan park had only just been cleared by snowplough and there was still snow flurries falling. Her I am wrapped up like an Eskimo, wearing my warmest coat now 3 sizes too large standing by the roadside and the 5 foot high snow drifts!

We shivered our way through one night with no running water but came home as it was just horrible. We did a lovely long walk around Sadberge and Barmpton on Easter Sunday and it was dry and fairly bright here despite being far too cold for Easter weekend. 1st of April as I write this and no its not an April fool!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tenerife 2013

We've just returned from Tenerife tanned and relaxed, to the last of the snow, if we'd stayed away 2 more days we'd have successfully missed all of it - as it was our landing was scary as we had to circle for an hour while they ploughed us a runway and our drive home took 2 hours rather than the normal one as it was midnight and thick blizzard - no ploughs or gritters in sight very scary and hard to suddenly adapt to after 2 weeks in shorts.
We had a lovely holiday in Tenerife although the economic downturn was evident in lots of boarded up shops and closed down restaurants which looked just like here at home - a bit of a shock. We stayed in a nice apartment in a small very quiet residential area and without a car and very little spending money we amused ourselves by walking every inch of the 2 nice coastal nature reserves, between banana plantations and rocky coast, climbed a couple of dormant volcanoes and even scaled a sheer cliff path which everyone kept telling us was really difficult so we felt a huge sense of achievement. We were rather disappointed that the local bus service we had been told about wasn't very accessible as it was a workers' bus at 6 am ( a bit too early)  or 2pm a bit too late for a day out and if you missed it there was a 1 hour walk to and from the main road to the bus stop at the beginning and end of your day out if we hadn't loved hiking so much we'd have been stranded.
It was around a 3 hour walk across hills and up and down cliffs to the nearest bigger resorts of Los Cristianos and Las Galletas but we did walk to and back from both a couple of times.
We managed one coach trip we went on what they call a blanket tour where you get a coach trip that you'd normally pay around £35 to 50 Euros each for for just 10 Euros and they throw in a free lunch too! In return for this at the beginning of your tour you have to sit through an hour long demonstration of bedding products which they hope you'll buy but there's no hard sell or pressure and we had a fabulous day touring the pine forests, up past mount Teide and lots of different scenery which ended up with a trip on a Pirate boat with Sangria and the most amazing display from a pod of spotted dolphins. What a brilliant day out and all for just 10 Euros amazing value I'd highly recommend Miller travel tours to anyone going to the Canaries don't be put off by the demo its worth sitting through they looked after us every step of the way.
We also had a day out at the nearby Monkey Sanctuary which was a lovely day out too, we had heard a few mixed reports but as an ex RSPCA worker I was very impressed with the facilities and the animals all looked very happy, healthy and cared for and it was great to be able to handle the small monkeys and lemurs - although I did manage to get bitten by a ring tailed lemur - there's not many holidays where you can say that!
I'll update this with some photos very soon.
We didn't eat out often mainly self catered from the local supermarket enjoying eating simple meals on our sunny verandah but there was a great Chinese restaurant nearby where we had a couple of lovely meals and a Pastelaria/ cafe where we went most days for a coffee or ice cream and to use the free wifi as the wifi we were promised in our apartment didn't exist (neither did the dvd player/ Ipod dock and air conditioning !!)



Here are the parrots at the Monkey Park in Guaza

This is the naughty little Ring tailed lemur who bit my hand!

Brian feeding a little Monkey

And feeding a lemur

Me on one of our many walks in the nearby nature reserves

Up in the Mountains on our coach trip

Volcanic rock formations with Mount Teide (volcano) in background

Me on the boat trip just after we saw dolphins which were so swift and playful I didn't get any photos of them I was too entranced enjoying watching them.

The harbour at Los Cristianos

Brian after we climbed up from Los Cristanos to walk back to our resort

The view from the top of the cliff we climbed and our resort Palm Mar below

Me looking relieved we'd made it after our climb

Another path we liked to walk, the Guaza plateau with Teide in the distance

The cliff path from the pebble beach at Palm Mar


Monday, January 07, 2013

Granny Square fingerless mitts

I wanted to make something I could wear that was crocheted and as I can't yet follow a pattern I looked on the web for ideas for items to make from granny squares and came up with these pretty fingerless mitts/ wrist warmers - I'm very pleased with them. Of course I had a job photographing my own hands wearing them so here's a photo of me wearing one of them!


Thursday, January 03, 2013

One of my new years resolutions is to learn to crochet. Its eluded me for 56 years and with the help of a couple of tutorial videos on youtube I've cracked how to make a granny square already.
Trouble is I'm "hooked" and can't stop. I'm trying to scrounge odd leftover half balls of yarn off everyone I meet and have begun making a blanket for the back seat of my car already. Its not quite big enough yet but its rather pretty if I do say so myself.

This is the video that helped me learn click here to see it.



Friday, November 30, 2012

Craft fairs - so hit and miss

A few years ago I stopped doing craft fairs - mainly due to health issues but also as I'd found they'd become too much effort for too little return.

But being unwaged, skint and quite frankly desperate to earn a few quid. I've spent the last few months making some fresh items, Repackaging the old ones as we moved house last year and all the labels had my old details on. By the time it came round to booking some Christmas events in my new home town I found I'd missed the boat with quite a few, apparently they get booked up in June or July!

Anyway I managed to book 3 and the first one was yesterday. I WISH I could tell you it was a success but it was a real damp squib. Lovely venue, a five star hotel in the centre of town which has recently been refurbished beautifully, but the event had been poorly promoted and there was no parking nearby. I paid more for the stall than I sold, ended up £12 out of pocket and that's before petrol (and time and effort). I wasn't the only one everyone was complaining bitterly which didn't make for a nice atmosphere, some had travelled 50 miles or more at least I was only 3 miles up the road. All I sold was 2 bookmarks, one pair of earrings and a cheap wool brooch all priced at under £5 each.


I'm very exhausted - after I do these events it takes me 2 or 3 days to recover - and I have another this Sunday, I'm praying its better atttended and the poeple who come are in a buying frame of mind. 

I thought my stall looked lovely and was very excited before it began then when we had all sat there from 12 noon until 5 pm with hardly a sale between us, I'd lost the will to live. When there was a brief flurry around 6 pm it was crowded for half an hour but people weren't in a spending mood at all, they'd come down to see the Christmas lights turned on, watch the firework display and have a free glass of mulled wine and not to buy handmade items its such a niche market, you really need to target people who are specifically looking to buy handmade, not people who are looking for a cheap bargain. Its so hurtful when the few people who do look turn stuff over and say things like "£30 for a necklace you can get one for £5 in Primark". My skins just not thick enough.

Coupled with the fact that my mobile phone went on the blink so I couldn't contact anyone, and when I finally managed to borrow someones mobile I found out Brian had been rushed into hospital in an ambulance with a suspected heart attack (it wasn't - it was indigestion) it was overall a flipping nightmare. 

Here is my display (done on a tight budget) but I think it looks pretty good - though I may as well have just thrown everything in a heap on the floor for all the good it did.





Friday, November 09, 2012

Beaded bookmarks

Christmas is coming so I decided to make a few more beaded bookmarks, they always sell very well. I don't  like to have things just sitting around so I listed a few in my Folksy shop. But Before I could get any more lined up and ready to list they'd sold!

So I'm going to be making lots this weekend. I want to have a pile ready for a craft fair I have coming up and need to make a few to give as gifts they're great if you're giving someone a book add a Beaded bookmark t it and make it something pretty and special.



Find them or some like them in my Folksy shop. 
I'm offering FREE postage