Sunday, 19 September 2010

Small Steps

OK, so a friendship bracelet is not the height of creativity but it is ababy step towards creating again and something new for me. This doesn't have the silkiness of the ones we made as kids as the threads were a bit more bulky and did not hold together in a single thread. It makes the bracelet more bulky and the individual notes bigger but I like it. I just had them lying around...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Rags and Riches

Not a lot has been happening creatively here for most of the last year... The only thing I have done is paint a scarf a pale purple as it's lightest colour. I got ill and everything stopped, and I do mean everything. It all seemed too much. I needed to sleep and to recoup. I had other stuff going on to... redundancies and then a continuing set of work place issues...

But recently I have felt the creative juices starting to flow again. I do not intend too make much jewellery for presents this year, I am a little fed up with jewellery but I have started a piece of jewellery for my niece.

It will be a spiders web. Not a full 360 degrees. Somewhere between 200 and 270 degrees to give a nice v necked sort of a choker. It is slow going though. I finally figured out how to make the radial bits so that I can thread the cross parts so they hang consistently. They are being made using ladder stitch so they are growing pretty slowly. For several hours of work I have only two radials at maybe 5 inches of beading!

While on holiday I visited a number of crafty shops and gained some ideas of slightly easier things to make for different family members with one or two requests. My Mum saw a pretty cube necklace she liked and admired a herringbone bracelet I had. My sister wants more earrings in different colours. None of these things would really take too long. I also saw a beautiful crystal necklace I covet.

The most important thing though is rag rugs. Cumbria is full of them and I remember falling in love with one as a child. I always wanted one. My Mum started making one but fell out of love with it quickly as she started with little knowledge or support.

On the first day of the holiday we met a lady who made them. She told us to use any materials we liked, not just wool as advised by more traditional makers. She even said you could use plastic bags. She also told us what sort of materials to use as the medium and gave us ideas of tools. She showed us how to prod and hook.

Everywhere we went there was rag rugs that my Mother and I eagerly examined. Then at Dove Cottage we found a lady doing a drop in workshop to have a go. It seems they have decided to try and save money by making their own. We think a couple of things were a bit wrong in how they were doing it. The prodding tool was blunt rather than coned so as you pushed it through to make a hole it didn't ease the threads apart completely and actually snapped some. This would make the rug prone to falling apart I think. They also did not poke the next rag through the second hole of the previous rag. This, we were told, would help secure them all together.

So now I am itching to find some hessian and a nice conical bottle opener or some such to use as a prodder. I have lots of old clothes I can chop up...

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Green Vine Scarf

Today, apart from finishing the catches on a couple of necklaces, I decided to do some silk painting. I am hoping to do quite a few scarves as presents this year. My Greta Aunt and Grandma normally get jewellery but I thought a change might be nice so this year they will get scarves. I also want to do a scarf for each of my close family.

I recently bought a book on silk painting and this has really helped. I have discovered that the best way to get smooth blending is to paint on wet silk. I also bought a few more tools and dyes and things. I still really need a frame though. Having the silk on the wall means the dye and water can gloop behind the silk and stick it to the wall. This effects the eveness of colour.

My Great Aunt likes all things green. I began by watering down some turquoise and painting the entire scarf. I then found a vine pattern I liked and copied the core pattern and blew it up. I then copied it onto the scarf using clear gesso. I then painted over it all with two shades of green in both diluted and neat form. The pattern has been preserved in turquoise and is lovely and subtle. I think this scarf looks a lot better than my previous efforts, despite being so simple... Wet silk is definitely easier to paint!

Busy Bee-ding

I know I havn't posted here for a while but that doesn't mean I havn't been busy, it just means I havn't picked up the camera or connected the laptop to the scanner...

So here we are with a little update and some very bad photos (my camera is awful at closeups).

Most of the ladies in my family seem to have birthdays around Christmas so this time of year always sparks a huge making session. By the end of it I am sick of the sight of jewellery... I don't like everything I make. Some people I make for have very different taste to me but I try to make things that they will like.

My Sister
This year she asked for lots of earrings, preferably long and dangly. So I made lots and she will get some for Christmas and some for her birthday.

My Aunt

She likes bold and funky designs and purple is her favourite colour. I still have one more thing to make for her, for her birthday. This bracelet is very intricate and made from two colours of delicas (little tube beads). It is sort of like an eggbox in shape.

My Niece

She is currently debating turning goth and requested chokers. The first is black and is a beautiful design. some of the beads have an AB finish for an extra bit of shine. The second is in carnival blue which is dark blue with a glaze on top so the beads are almost black but have an irridescent effect which includes purple and green but is mostly blue.

Future Mother-in-Law

She likes long things in purple and pink. The first is much darker thn I would normally make her but I like this sort of colour much more. The big beads are clear triangles with a metallic amethyst lined hole and they are beautiful. The second is a work in progress in peach, for a bit of variety. It is being evry slow and irritating. Spiral stair case is normaly quite quick but the drop beads I have included in this one are harder to pick up and are really slowing me down. I am also going to need to buy a lot more of them in order to finish it.
Family Friend No. 1

Last year I made her a necklace in this design. She liked it so much that she asked for some earrings to match so she has them and a bracelet to.

Family Friend No. 2

Is a beautiful lady who has the stature and personality to carry off big and bold things. Her preference is for earthy colours. This necklace includes chips of glistening goldstone.

You may have noticed that a very important person is missing - my Mum. I posted about her silver bracelet previously and I am going to make a lariat to match. I have an extra month for that though so i need to finish f m-i-l's necklace and do my Aunty's necklace before I start that. It will be a loom based piece like the bracelet in the same beads.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


I have just finished the bracelet form my Aunt. It is made of size eleven delicas sewn into squares which end up with two corners 'higher' than the others. The squares are then sewn together to form a sort of zig zaggy strip a bit like an egg box.

I love geometric shaped pieces like this but I have to say, I was very bored by the time I finished this one! The little beads combined with the way it folds up a bit means I have done a lot of stitching for a bracelet. I am so glad my Aunt has tiny wrists!

I will post photos once I get F to use his fancy camera that can zoom in on things and take nice pictures close up, the one he won't let me near....

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Beautiful Blog Candy!

Get a pretty package where even your name and address have been turned into art.

Find a lovely, inspiring card inside with beautiful words.

And a luxurious looking package as well.

Open it up and find a book (the original bow was far nicer but I had to look at it as soon as I opened it...)

Open the book and it expands!

Read the beautiful words and admire the lines and the colours and the textures.....

I can't do this fantastic book justice with my camera and scanner. Believe me, as good as it looks here, it is even more lovely in the flesh. The pages glint with metallic swirls. The covers have a lovely handmade paper sort of texture to them. And of course, there was no way I was going to bend it to make it easier to scan....

The words in full are....

for Rose

each day in itself brings with it an eternity

everything on earth is being continuously transformed because the earth is alive and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognise that it is working for us.

remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

if what one finds is of pure matter it will never spoil and you can always come back. If what you found was only a moment of light like the explosion of a star you would find nothing on your return.

listen to your heart it knows all things because it came from the soul of the world and it will one day return there.

and the other side...

from the alchemist paulo coelho

the soul of the world is nourished by peoples happiness... to realise ones destiny is a persons only real obligation. when you want something all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

never stop dreaming follow the omens

intuition... a sudden immersion of the soul into yhe universal current of life where the histories of all people are connected and we are able to know everything because it is all written there

with love from Suzi XX

So Suzi, all I can say is wow! Thank you!

My Mum placed an order for Christmas. She wanted a silver bracelet. She like the lariat I was wearing that I made on the loom. She also would be happy with some subtle pattern. There also needed to be a secure but easy fastening.

This is what I made. A simple design using three colours of bead, two shades of silver grey and one metallic silver made on a loom. The catch is a very clever one I found in a book on spirals. Basically although each of the three big beads fits through the loop easily, they can't all go through at once.