Monday, 28 January 2013

Nearly the end of January ....

This weeks activities have been more varied than last week ... I hesitate to say 'less focused',  just more of a variety.

I have made this weeks earrings for the 13 week challenge on AJE - the beads this time are from The Fyre Faerie, aka Nicky Townsend. The beads are so pretty - fine dots of silver over colour over a cream base, then etched. So they have a matt finish rather than glassy. I added a freshwater pearl drop to the bottom and some small crystals in a matching / co-ordinating  topaz colour.

You can find Nicky on Etsy here : You may recognise Nicky's name - she writes a regular column on self employment,  in My Creative Diva on-line magazine.

I attended a course on marketing - for my new business, in crafting activities. It was an good day, with some interesting people there and its fired me up somewhat to get on with some market research.

Otherwise this week I have been busy making for a monthly challenge for a bead e-retailer. I think the colour and the preponderance of heart beads is a give away about the theme -  for valentines day.  The deadline  is in three days time. I had hoped to make a couple more items, but am having to move onto other projects. I can't show the items I've made (next week hopefully) but I can show you the beads, on the left.

I've been doing some more sewing of samples, to have a folder of different ways to tackle techniques. This week I've been doing zips. Last week it was hems and seams. Next week I'll be doing piping and piped seams. As I was working through different zip insertions, I realised I needed a dedicated pressing cloth. I love old textiles, when they go soft through many launderings, starting  to go thin, then thread bare. I looked out an old dishtowel, probably rather tatty to most people  but I like the holes in it! Then to give it an identity I used freehand embroidery stitching to sew 'press cloth' into it. Of course its an educational exercise as well, machine control!

The weather has been pretty snowy here, but its fast disappearing and we are having the rain and wind we expect for January. As its my birthday this week, I have having a little treat and visiting Chester which I love. Watch out for some pictures next week.... I love the double row shops, the walls and the many little individual shops too. And of course its the gateway to North Wales, a part of the country that I would happily move too. Maybe one day?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I can't believe its a week since I posted. This week I have been busy with both sewing and jewellery making.

I have posted week two earrings on the AJE Challenge pinterest board here. This weeks make use a deliberately mismatched pair of beads from Dee Elgie - her facebook page is Here's a quick view of the earrings. I used commercially produced glass beads which came on the front of Making Jewellery magazine - just right for what I needed. Now ... what shall I do for next weeks make? I have some gorgeous lampworked beads from another two artisans, and some delightful ceramic hearts which were specially made for me! Watch this space ...

Last week issue five of my-creative diva magazine came online. If you haven't seen this yet, here it is. This issue is still free to view but from next month it will be subscribers only. My contribution was testing a jewellery kit from Beader's Companion. Its a fairly simple cord and bead necklace, but I enjoyed making it. Even better - the lovely people at Beader's Companion have given 10 sets of kits as giveaways! Log onto the mag for details ... you could be a winner.

I have just finished another trial from next issue of my-creative diva, but can't tell you what it is just yet! It will be out in another four weeks time.

This week has been about sewing as well. I did a trial sewing demo yesterday at a local fabric retailer, just to get some reaction and test it out. It was about fairly simple things - hems and seams and finishes. However, my teaching background kicked in so I made lots of samples beforehand so that I could discuss them with the ladies - and gentlemen! - who watched. There was lots of interest and several stitchers have gone away to try bound seams.

I also made a quick apron for myself to wear, rather than get covered in thread ends. I used some grey & cream fabric - mattress ticking, which I have had in my stash since I worked in a textile mill. Its a lovely quality, with a slight glazed finish. I used commercially made bias binding in red to finish the arm edge and the large pocket. I didn't have time to make a padded pin cushion to attach, but just made a little pad that I fixed on with a big safety pin! It has ties and neck-strap made form the same ticking.

I love it! So I may make another for my beading  activities. That large pocket was excellent.

Next week ..... I'll be looking at shamballas, macrame and kumihimo. I enjoy mixing textiles with jewellery, and hopefully I'll be doing a beaded bib necklace too! I'm carrying on with playing with the new range of buttons from Do-Crafts, they are such fun, and such great value! Big pack buttons will show you! Since I don't do papercraft (yet ...) I would use those in jewellery and other craft projects.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

New year, new opportunities - and my birth month too!

floating necklace in pink. 
I am starting my new business in general crafts although concentrating on jewellery and sewing. This month I have a number of varied and exciting projects on. A bead jewellery challenge for Valentines day. A bespoke necklace for a friend who is getting married. Another necklace, just finished for a friend of a friend - isn't it great how word gets around!

sea green marquise earrings
And, possible the most immediately -  I am making and posting  in the Art Jewellery Elements Earring Challenge! I've not take up this challenge before so I am a bit wibbly-wobbly about it. Its a pair of earrings every week for 13 weeks. Maybe even for longer - lets see how it goes. Have a look here:  AJE Earring Challenge. Part of the fun is using artisans hand made beads or components. So as well as being indicative of my ability, its a great showcase for lamp-workers  precious metal clay makers and anyone else who makes handmade beads. If you have something unusual, bead wise, which you have created , get in touch!

This is my first pair. The gorgeous beads were made by Helen at Alchemy Lampwork.

January brings the snow ...

I am waiting on the snow arriving but so far it is only a drizzly sleet. Suits me though! We have been lucky this winter, in the South Pennines, and not had the bad snows of a couple of years ago.