Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Another Handmade Gift

I have been wanting to make this little coin purse for a while now having stumbled across this blog.  I have had mum's sewing machine gathering dust and the other night I decided it was time to give it a go.  I managed to thread the machine and started to mess about with the settings.  Not sure what I did but there is something wrong with the tension which was pulling the fabric tight.  I sewed up my 'sandwich' of fabric and batting and decided to call it a day.

Not one to be defeated I decided to pull out the coin purse last night and to have a go at hand sewing it together.  Ta da,

Its not as square as it might have been had I used a machine but I am proud of it nonetheless.

I had to add a little Blue Kiln Beads flourish and added one of my handmade glass buttons to the zip.

Just got to get the ingredients for my Biscotti today and I'll be baking up a storm tonight/tommorrow.

Monday, 12 December 2011

A Festive First

We have started to get abit more into the festive spirit now in our house.  The tree went up yesterday along with some decs and today I made a wreath for the door, something I have never attempted before.  I would never claim to know anything about floristry so this was a complete shot in the dark and I made it up as I went along.

Ian and the children went foraging yesterday for holly and ivy.  We are very lucky to have a lovely wood across from our house
They returned with a bounty of greenery with lovely berries and some 'Old Man's Beard'.  I had a wreath tray thing left over from last year with the oasis still in it.  I soaked the oasis and hoped for the best.  It is hanging on the door as I type this but not sure it will stay when the wind picks up.  But it hasn't cost me anything so if it all falls apart I will chalk it up to experience.

Next on the list of  festive jobs is some homemade teacher gifts and this year we are going to make some Biscotti.  I have a tried and tested recipe!  I figure some home baking wrapped in a cellophane bag with some pretty ribbon will go down well.  I'll let you know how we get on.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Its all about me.....

I know, I sound rather like a spoilt child but its true.  I have been interviewed on the Frithappens Blog go take a look, go on you know you want to.....

Friday, 25 November 2011

Something for me

I made this necklace the other day and decided to keep it for myself!  Its a nice long necklace with sterling silver wire and Karen Hill Tribe silver beads all threaded onto some really soft leather thong.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Fab day with 49Arts Playing with Paper

At the craft shop where I teach my jewellery making workshops we had an 'In the Pink Night' and I won a fantastic raffle prize which was to spend a day with Diana of 49 Arts.  We spent a whole day making two books

The main project was the large purple hard-backed book.  There is so much involved in the process, from finding the grain of the paper and making sure it runs the right way through the book, to deciding on the cover and inside sheets.  I made my book with the intention of it being a sketch book for my bead and jewellery designs but I can't bring myself to make a mark in it at the moment! 

While we were waiting for the glue to dry on the hard-backed book Diana showed me how to make the smaller notebook.

 Although I am proud of my sketch book this little notebook was almost more satisfying I think because we used materials and techniques that I can easily transfer to doing at home.  The cover is made of a scrap of leather that Diana had leftover from a pair of leather trousers that she was given. 

This little book would make a great teacher gift and the design possibilities are limitless, using all manner of recycled paper and fabric.

If you live in Wiltshire and are looking for a gift for a craft lover I would definitely recommend a day with Diana at 49 Arts

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Some Bits and Bobs

Thought I would pop by and put up some pics of bits and bobs I've been working on.  I treated myself to one of Jolene's mini-mo club assortments.  I haven't used all of it yet but this bead is sporting the murrini, 

This bead has a core of light purple with some of the shards melted in which is then encased in clear and the design applied to the top

I bought this top the other day and decided to make a necklace to match 
The next few pictures show beads using a design I am working on whereby dots are applied on top of each other then raked to make a teardrop shape.

These have now been turned into necklaces and will be putting in an appearance in my Etsy shop very soon.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Oh What a Night

We went to the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday night and what an amazing night it was.  All Cannings School took part in the Schools Prom!!!  You can imagine how excited the girls were.  It was an amazing night of fantastic youth talent with acts across a whole spectrum of genre.  There is  a photo on the Classic FM website Fay and Erica are on the picture but you would have a hard time to spot them.  The photos only give a tiny insight into the scale of the event. 

Thankyou to all the staff at the school for organising and preparing the children so well and thankyou to the children for being impeccably behaved.

On a glassy note I received a very fabulous mini-mo set from Jolene and managed to fit in a session at the torch today!!  I'll be back with some photos soon.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fright Night

We don't normally go in for Haloween but as the children have got older they have got more excited about the whoe trick or treat thing.  This year the girls had a couple of fancy dress parties and ofcourse the youngest had to get involved too.

We ended up with a homemade zombie look.  I went into town and bought some witchy outfilts but they didn't fit the bill, they were too 'babyish' apparently.  So, we ripped up some old clothes, scruffed up the hair and applied some facepaints.  I have to say I was pleased with the results especially as there were duplicate cats and witches at the parties afterall anyone can buy an outfit right?.

For the first time for as long as I can remember I joined in the fun too, I was invited to a grown up haloween disco so I decided to go for the witchy look - be prepared to be scared....

A touch of the Wicked Witch of the West I feel.  Anywho, down to the business of beads and buttons.  Although October was a quiet month on the blog, sorry about that, I have been busy at the torch I just haven't managed to take any pics.  Hope to remedy that soon and return with some glassy pics.  Until then, take care xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Buttons Etc...

I have had a couple of sessions at the torch since my last post and some of the resulting beads have even become a necklace!

I've attached the beads to a hand-dyed silk ribbon from Di using some cotton cord.  I'm really pleased with the combination of beads with shank style buttons.  I am also particluarly hooked on the green and purple theme, perhaps it's because Halloween is looming?

I've been practising some more with my marble press
And with my two-holed button mandrels

You know what they say about practice, practice, practice.  Who knows I might even get a chance to have another session tonight.  Having said that I have started to go to Knit and Natter at Jumble Jelly and I have embarked on a shawl project, I'll post some pics at some point.  I might just curl up on the sofa with my knitting.....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Into Autumn

My my didn't time fly!?!  Summer has been and gone and now we are back into the frantic daily routines of getting to school with all the equipment required for lessons and clubs.  Added to the chaos was a 4th birthday of a certain little boy.  A UFO cake was requested and I have to say that I was quietly pleased with the results.

It was in danger of looking abit helmet-like so I popped the spacemen on the cake board for good measure.  One of my 7 year old daughters was allowed a sneak preview before the big day, after the grand unveiling she looked at it and said 'it looks quite good but I think you should use the left over icing to make craters so it looks like its on the moon...........'  If she had seen the trouble I had with icing the cake she would have known better than to make such a suggestion.  The birthday boy was pleased with it so mission accomplished.

For those interested I made a Victoria sponge cake in a 9" tin and used the same mixture in a pudding basin to put on the top.  I sliced the pudding basin section in half and added a layer of jam and then used jam to stick it onto the base cake.  I covered the whole lot in butter icing and then in regal icing.  The decoration is fruit shoelaces and milkybar buttons, large for the bottom section and small on the top section.

The other project I have been working is a range of buttons that I can offer wholesale.

I also have blue to add to the range but I need to photograph some.  The idea is that this gives customers something to order from but I do have a section on my order form called 'Free Choice Wild Card'.  I added the wild card section so that I get to make any colour combos that I like, the customer just has to tell me how many they want and if any of them need to be sets.  I have buttons for sale in Etsy shop or if you are interested in wholesale drop me a line.

I popped into my friend's shop Eggcup Clothing today to show her some sample buttons and I am very excited that she is going to use my buttons in her designs - even her bridesmaid collection!!!!  We threaded one of the buttons through a button loop of a bridesmaid dress to get a rough idea of what it would look like - it looked stunning, if I do say so myself.

Anywho, I'm off to bed to get some shut-eye ready for the school dash in the morning.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

How does your Garden Grow..?

I have always enjoyed looking at a nice gardens but it is only recently that I have started to take an interest in our own garden.  Up until now my OH has taken care of all things garden.  Earlier in the year we were given a huge batch of purple sprouting brocolli.  We put some in the allotment, they have failed due to neglect.  We went on holiday and the weeds took over and swamped the little plants.  We put most of the plants in the garden, we have recently moved to our new build and the garden has lots of blank spaces.

We have seen the Cabbage Whites on the plants for a while and thought nothing of it 'oh how lovely to have some wildlife in the garden at last'.  Ofcourse Cabbage Whites love cabbages and they also love purple sprouting brocolli!  This is what we returned to after our 1 week holiday

The plants have been stripped of pretty much all their leaf....  However, its not all bad news.  I really love to have flowers in the house but they are expensive to buy on a regular basis.  We have had Sarah Raven's book called something like 'The Cut Flower Garden' on the shelf for a while and I have flicked through it several times.  This year I decided I would take action and have a go so I headed out to the local garden centre and bought some packets of seed thinking that I would get them started to have a crop of flowers next year.  However, when we got from out hols this is what we found

You should be looking at the white flowers as they are the flowers I grew from seed I can't believe it.  Seasoned gardeners out there will be rolling their eyes now but I am really proud.  There wasn't much to it to be fair, just scattered some compost then planted the seed and let nature do her magic.  The flowers in question are Gypsophilia by the way and they are great for filling out an arrangement and adding some elegance.

I have picked quite a lot already and arranged a few vases with dahlia, roebeckia (spelling?) Michelmas Daisies and some other very pretty yellow daisies.  I haven't taken pictures as it is too dark in the house now to get a decent shot.

Feeling very pleased with myself!  Now to go sort the beads from last night's session at the torch, here is a sneaky peek

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Behind the Scenes

I know things have been quiet on here for a while but there has been alot of work going on behind the scenes.  Not least working on some buttons for Jumble Jelly here is a sneak preview of some of what I have been working on
An assortment of shank style buttons that can be used in all manner of ways.  They can be added to a hand sewn purse or bag, they could become a clasp on a necklace or bracelet, the centre for a crochet flower... the list goes on.  Indeed they would also make a beautiful addition to any craft stash to await that 'perfect project'.   I am working on some larger shank style buttons and two holed buttons.

I have also been working on different ways in which I can use my beads to make accessories and came up with these lovely bag charms

They are the perfect way to bring colour to a bag that needs a spruce up.  These are a great way to use odd beads that don't necessarily want to become a necklace or bracelet.  While thinking along the lines of using up odd beads I came with lapel pins

These are my first attempts but I have plenty more pins to use.  I have been looking around for something to dress up a red jacket I have got so I think I'll put red and white glass out next to my torch to work on during my next session.

So, better get posting some bag charms on my Etsy shop which is also looking very neglected.  Then its a quick freshen up and off to our friends' BBQ to celebrate their 40th birthdays!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A Quick Note

Just a quick note to say 'hi', I'm still here.  I have made some beads but my poor oxycon is still not 100%.  In case you're wondering the oxycon is a reconditioned NHS oxygen concentrator which is rigged up to my torch with propane to give a nice hot flame.  It is essential to the bead-making process.  I am going to poke around inside it tommorrow, and if I have no joy I think I'll have to invest in a new one - Yikes!  And yes, I would love to include a photo of said beads but we seem to be encountering technical difficulties with the camera!!!!

I went on a jaunt around the countryside on Tuesday with my OH, we finished up in Bradford on Avon which is a very pretty town on the edge of Bath.  We visit BoA periodically, but haven't done so in a while.  We went on wander up Silver Street and stumbled upon Jumble Jelly Oh my goodness!  What a fantastic shop, it is eye-candy to any yarn and fabric addict, even the OH was impressed.  Beautiful products, beautifully displayed, it was so hard to walk away without making a purchase.  I am currently working on a blanket which I am determined to finish before I move on to the next project.  They do hold a 'Knit and Natter' session, which I am definitely going to attend, along with some very tempting workshops.

If you are ever passing Bradford on Avon it is well worth a detour to visit, there is also a fab-looking ice cream parlour which I will definitely taking the children to.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Hang out the bunting

Its back!!!!!!!!  Finally my oxycon has returned.  I did have it back before but it stopped working during the first session.  This may be a premature celebration but I have every faith that all will be well and I can get melting some glass again.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Meet Wonka

We haven't ventured into the world of pets until now.  There has been much talk in the past about getting guinea pigs, but we totted up the cost of hutch etc... then we decided we would move house so it wasn't a good time.  Anywho, a friend of mine takes in tortoises that people can no longer look after and then finds new homes for them as part of the work the British Chelonia Group do.  We joined the Group and then I took Reuben to pick a tortoise for re-homing. 

Wonka, which is the name he came with, seems to be settling in nicely.  I'm sure he must think the garden is 10 times bigger than it is due to the fact that he wanders so far then Reuben picks him up and turns him around to go back the way he came. 

Its a great feeling to have a pet, I didn't have any growing up because we moved around alot.  I will confess though it is similar to bringing home a new baby, especially the first night, we were fretting about he was ok, was he going to be warm enough?  But all seems to be fine so far.

Wonka is rather partial to lettuce, freshly picked from the allotment ofcourse! 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Something for Girls

I still don't have my oxycon so no new beads to share.  Instead I have been focussing my energy on using the beads I have in my stash.  Just thought I would share these really cute girls' bracelets with you.  The bangles are made of nickel free metal, incorporating my own lampwork beads and buttons.  They are fastened a bit like a safety pin with a hook on one end and a ball on the other.  I will be getting around to listing them in my Etsy shop over the next couple of days.  I hope you like them!

I also had some bits and bobs to use up from a previous workshop.  These are lovely little bracelets made with cotton cord.  Again all the metal components are 100% nickel free.  Here is a sample, I have a few more in different colourways.  These will also make their way into my Etsy shop, unless they are sold in the meantime!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Learning New Skills

I have had a fantastic couple of days annealing, bending and soldering silver.  My hubby bought me some vouchers for birthday and christmas to use at Urchfont Manor.  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful facility on the doorstep.

I signed up for the silver jewellery making course with the brilliant Pauline Payne.  We started by learning how to make a ring.  How to anneal the silver, add texture to the silver, bend it into shape, get a good join and solder. 

Next lesson was how to cut a shape from sheet silver.  I cut the flower shape to mount on my ring.  I also mounted the turquoise in the centre, so I made a bezel etc.. I have always wanted a couple of silver bangles so they were my next project.

I still had a morning to fill so I decided to make something for my little ones and came up with an initial pendant each.  (I did one for Fay too but she was out wearing hers when I took this photo).

I learned so much I can't get it all down in words.  Pauline was a fantastic tutor, so patient with us, and has a style of teaching that made us all feel at ease.  The company also made for a very enjoyable couple of days, with 9 other ladies to chat to and compare notes with.

I'm going to start saving for another course next year!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Have I Been Cursed?

I only ask because nothing seems to be going right at the moment.  This isn't going to be a 'woe is me' blog entry but my oxycon still isn't fixed, which is so frustrating.  So, I decided that I could use up beads I have already made and get busy with some more work on Etsy BUT the camera decided to break - some problem with the memory card.  We have ordered a new memory card, which was despatched over a week ago and we still haven't received it.  I know we have had a bank holiday but there are other letters we should have received by now but they haven't turned up either!

We had a lovely Easter break but that wasn't without drama.  My 3 year old son Reuben fell over during a walk in the woods. He was clutching a handful of leaves in one hand and so fell right over onto the other hand.  It turns out he has a green-stick(?) fracture on his right wrist! 

I'm not even going to go into the trauma with the two cars - brakes, tyres, exhausts and the MOT's are due soon...... did I mention redundancy?

Anyway, that's it, rant over now.  It's not all bad.  It's great to have hubby home to take over with the school run.  And I'm off to have coffee with friends later this morning, the sun is shining STILL so life aint that bad...

I hope to able to post some good news soon, with photos!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Target Update

Things went a little quiet last week....  But, I have added two new Beau Bangles to the shop today.  I am also encountering a slight techincal hitch - my oxycon (very important piece of kit in bead making for all the non-lampers out there) is broken.  Hopefully not beyond repair *puts hands together for a little prayer*.  I have opened it up to see if I can see anything untoward... who am I kidding?  As if I can work out what does what.  I am really hoping this doesn't hamper progress towards the target as I do have a stock of beads I could be using.  Its typical of me though, when I can't do something I want to do it all the more.....

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Something for the Men

I was recently at a pamper evening being held for a local hospice when a chap came over to the table looking for something for himself.  This has never happened to me before.  He asked if I have anything for men, which I didn't, so I duly scurried into my workshop (read work area, workshop sounds grand) and came up with this

It is one of my 'Beau Bangle' designs using a pvc bracelet which slips over the hand.  Alternatively it can be trimmed for a more snug fit.  The clasp is a pull apart connector which is surprisingly difficult to pull apart.  The beads are made on 5mm mandrels.  The larger beads on this one have a  clear base with some murrini, or twistie for decoration with some plain black spacer beads.  I haven't added any of the charms or ring clusters to this one for fear of making it too feminie. 

I would appreciate any feedback from any blokes out there as to whether it is something they would wear.  My husband thinks its great but he isn't jewellery wearer.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mine, All Mine....

I don't know if you remember but a little while ago I posted a little blog about these beads 
Which I made to go with this fabric
Well now I have a set of jewellery, I don't think I have ever had a necklace, earrings AND matching bracelet.

The necklace is made with a combination of medium lentils and spacer beads connected with sterling silver wire wrapped links.
One of my favorite 'Beau Bangle' style bracelets with a good and chunky big hole bead.

To finish the ensemble a pair of earrings with ear wires I made myself!  I was so pleased with how these turned out.  I followed a tutorial in Kerry's book Totally Twisted
A quick update on my Etsy is that I reached my target of 14 items by Sunday! But I sold a pair of earrings so I am down to 13 but that's ok because I have few things lined up to go on at some point today/tonight. 

Hope you had a good weekend x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A Mini Celebration

Hooray I am 1/5th of the way to meeting my Etsy target!!!!  Ok so this week was easy because I already had some items in my shop but nevertheless it is great to see the number of items reach the double figures.  Here are the items going online for today.

Commission for my lovely friend Michelle

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A Target

It's been while since I posted.  We've had a few things going on and then Reuben had a really nasty tummy bug for all of last week!

I thought I would share with you all that I have decided to set myself a target.  For quite a while now I have had the intention of listing items in my Etsy shop on a regular basis.  I have been reading around the different blog entries on Etsy and I'm sure I read somewhere that the magic number of items to have listed in the shop is 50 or over.  So, I decided to make it my mission to list 2 items a day!!!!! or if life gets in the way to have 14 items listed by each Sunday evening.  There, I've said it and it feels good to share it because I will stick to it.

So the first item to today is the daisy necklace and earrings that featured in my previous post.

I have got lots of other goodies lined up to come on stream so keep looking!

Here's is a little taster of the next item

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sunny Flower Set

Sunny Flower Set
Originally uploaded by Blue Kiln Beads
A lovely set to add to the summer wardrobe......

Available tommorrow on Etsy.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A present to me

I finally spent my birthday vouchers that my lovely friends gave me back in September.  I got a dress and top to go underneath.  So, now I need some matching jewellery:


I just need a few more beads.  I'll post some pictures in due course.....