Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tis the season to be...

...Crafty of course!

As well as all the present buying, wrapping, christmas cake baking and general festive preparations, I've been working on a number of very time consuming projects, not least of which is this peacock picture in cross stitch - below is a picture of what will be the finished image, although I have to say, I'm not even half way there yet!

I'm also pleased to announce that I am now on the design team with the lovely ladies at Crafting Time - look out for my jewellery items appearing from the 9th of January. I've been working on the first piece this week, and I'm delighted with the results - I can't wait to share them with you!

Happy Christmas everyone xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bead Crazy!

Another busy few weeks for me! I've just started my new job in IT, and you'll see from what's below how hard I've been working on my crafting!

I've been taking lots of classes over the past couple of weeks, learning more scrapping and jewellery techniques to share - not least yesterday, at a class with Helen over at Crafting Time learning about creating pages starting with a blank piece of paper and creating the background using Distress Inks - pictures of this to follow!

I'll be off to another class next weekend, this time learning to make floating necklaces - wire work is something I'm only just starting to embrace, but Julie's class last month was such an eye-opener I'm definitely becoming addicted to producing earrings in addition to my seed bead work. Here's a pair of earrings I made in Julie's class last month:

Here I used a silver finish ball head pin, with a silver lined blue seed bead to sit underneath the glass bead. I then twisted the wire at the top to make an eye. For the second glass bead, I made an eye on a piece of 0.6 wire, sat the bead on top and then made another eye. This meant I could attache the ear wire, and then affix the two beads together.

Last week's bead fair at Newmarket racecourse offered up a treasure trove of beads, and armed with a very long shopping list, it was easy to get carried away with all the sparkly items! I mostly bought beads for projects, some of which I have been working on over the last week or so - the earrings and necklace below form a set:

These are made using flat peyote stitch to join together hex-cut seed beads. This is a simple stitch, although the end result is quite striking. I've then used bicone crystals and size 15 beads as small accents throughout, with the centre of the necklace using some drop crystals to create the focal point. I have finished this one with a loop clasp, using one of the drop crystals to secure the necklace when worn. I've used a similar structure with the earrings, creating a bit of movement by using interconnecting eye pins with two different patterns so that they match the necklace. I'm hoping to sell this one at the Budding Beaders Macmillan charity event on the 3rd December - details on that to follow later next week.
The last piece of jewellery I want to share with you is actually a piece I made a while ago - it is made entirely of seed beads woven into a "hazelnut shell spiral". This is actually quite easy to do, but quite fiddly until it begins to grow. The beads are strung in pairs of 8 to make semi circles around a central column of four beads, and then each shell is made up of four of these pairs. It takes a while to build, but I think the photo below shows how sparkly it looks once finished:

Time for me to make some more jewellery now, I must start thinking about what I can make for people's Christmas presents!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Mad for Meerkats!

Its been a busy week or two here in Dixieland - holidays with the family with a bit of crafting thrown in for good measure! The holiday pictures are going to be fabulous especially the ones of monkeys stealing items off the car as we travelled through their enclosure at Longleat Safari Park!
Perhaps my most favourite of the animals there though were the meerkats - I just love the way they stand on their back legs as if to say "look at me"! To be truthful, I've been bonkers about meerkats since the adverts started, to the point where I got given the autobiography of Alexsander the meerkat for Christmas last year.
So it was no surprise that when I arrived home to find a letter from Tesco telling me my cat insurance was due for renewal that I went straight to claim my free meerkat! I just had to share with you what happened once I confirmed my purchase...enjoy!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Resolutions In September?

Welcome to my new blog! It's been a long time since I've had the time to breathe, let alone organise myself to get some of my recent projects finished, photographed and uploaded so that I can share my work! When I finished teaching, I did so I could have more time to have a life outside of work, funny then that I seem to be busier than ever!

Anyways, as I have resolved to start this blog, I'll share my most recent work, which was the printers tray workshop at It's Crafting Time. This was a fantastic workshop, a really packed day filled with UTEE, Alcohol Inks and so many amazing techniques it's hard to list them all - you'll see some of them in the photo's in a minute. Jennie from The Artistic Stamper took us through the workshop, and after 8 and a half hours (plus a bit of homework), here's the finished article:

This piece is probably one of the simplest, yet my favourite piece in the whole tray. We poured UTEE into the mould with the frame resting on top, then once cooled I dusted some "Interference" perfect pearls on the top.

In the top right, you can see my masterpiece (Turner Prize winner?), which was a mini canvas rubbed with Terracotta dabber, and then covered in tissue paper which I had stamped with the word "Imagine". I had an old fountain pen nib which Helen had given me to use, and in a moment of inspiration stuck it over the "I"...Genius worthy of the light bulb next door!
This is Glassene paper which has been crumpled, brushed with perfect pearls and then heated to seal the powder on, with a button to embellish.
The bird is painted with copper Gleam, (which smells amazing!) and then once dry stamped with a sheet music image using "pearl" dabber instead of ink. I added a pearl as an embellishment at the bottom. The mini porcelain figure is set on a background of embossed glassene, which has ink rubbed over the raised sections. I've highlighted the raised areas on the statue with gold dabber.
The outside of the tray was the first thing we worked on, and although mine didn't turn out quite as well as it should, I really like the shabby chic look. This was done by painting the whole area in black first. Once this was dry, I stamped an image with embossing ink and then covered this with fine embossing powder. After heating with a heat gun so it melted, and then leaving it to cool, I dabbed over the top with three colours of dabber - copper, pearl and butterscotch. Once this had dried, I wet a cloth and rubbed at the surface - where the embossing was, the paint came away and let the black underneath show through.

I think you can see why this was such a packed class!