Wednesday, 31 March 2010

ATC Swap - March 2010

I can finally reveal the Artist Trading card I designed for the UK Handmade ATC March Swap, the theme was Trees and Plants.
I had looked at lots of ATCs previously and had decided that although many of them layer up different materials I would stick to my illustration style, and explore it using different techniques. I used felt as a base, adding an illustration, simple embroidery and beads. I then added a back to the 'card' using the sewing machine, which listed the theme of the swap and the date.

The illustration took a long time to create, but I do like doing them, and because it was time-consuming I decided to add a little gift for the recipient of my ATC in the form of some laser-cut wooden earrings.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Easter Chicks x

This week's treasury can only have an Easter theme, so I have decided to look for Easter chicks on Folksy. Here is my selection, hope you like it ...

Top Row:-
Cheeky Daisy Chick
Little Chick Sterling Silver Ring

Bottom Row:-
Fabric Buttons - Sing for your supper! by Mollimoo
Spring chicken bowl

Monday, 29 March 2010

NEC - Part 2

More blogging from my visit to the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC yesterday ...
Today I thought i'd show off a book and a magazine that I bought from ArtVanGo. I love ArtVanGo, they sell fantastic art supplies, sketchbooks and stock lots of import craft magazines.
My first purchase was a really inspiring book called 'Page After Page' by Frances Pickering. Looking through the book is like looking through a sketchbook/artist's journal. Lots of lovely stuff like stitching into pages, colouring the pages so that you are not working on a 'blank' canvas, and little collections of fastenings and buttons.

I always buy a copy of ClothPaperScissors when I see ArtVanGo at a craft show, so I was really pleased that the latest issue was already out! And it's got birds on the front, and I love the article on Cloth Creatures made by Heike Gerbig. I really must sort out a subscription!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

NEC - Part 1

Today I have been to the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC in Birmingham. It's been a terrific day, lots of really inspiring stands, tonnes of things I would love to buy. So I arrived home with two bags of beads, yarn, fabric and books ... and a lighter purse!
I'm not going to show off all my goodies, because some of them I want to save and reveal them when I have used them in my work, today i'm going to show you some of the goodies and tomorrow I will show you a couple of the books I have bought.

These are some of the beads I bought today, lots of glass pearls. The large grey/blue beads have a sort of crackle effect running through them. I love the orange/red pearls.

And these are some of the fabric things that I bought. The brown and black fabric is a Japanese one, quite a coarse weave. I bought half a metre of the pink and yellow, but not sure what to do with it yet - very folklore! And I just had to buy some of the giant ric-rac - it's nearly 2cm wide!
I would have loved to have treated myself to something from ClothKits, but decided that I had probably bought myself enough! So perhaps I can order something mail order from them after Easter.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Have spent the morning playing about with repeat patterns using the motif I created for the ATC swap and my 'giddything' (the strange bird on my banner). The results don't look too bad, but I only have transfer paper as a fabric printing medium at the moment, and don't really want to produce lots of stiff, shiny fabric!
As a result I am seriously contemplating having some of my designs printed by Spoonflower, a US company dealing with digital fabric design. Their website is fab! You can look at the designs of other people (and order them if you like them), vote for your favourite fabrics and work out different scales/repeat patterns for your own designs. The prices are in $ and you may need to be patient until your fabric arrives, but I know people who have got their designs printed and are very happy. So, do I take the plunge ...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Bloggers Block

Not much to blog about today, a busy time at work means I am getting home, eating and then sleeping, and when I have crafted, it has been things to do with my top secret ATC swap. I did a bit extra for it today, I had a brilliant idea for making a little extra using the illustrations i'd created for the project. It means that I am posting it a day later than intended, but hopefully the extra 'bit' will make the recipient smile.
Hopefully I will have some 'creative time' tomorrow, and then on Sunday I plan to go to the craft show at the NEC.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Little to reveal ...

Been a few days since i've mentioned my crafting on here. My ATC swap project has been at the centre of things this week, but as I haven't posted off my card yet, I can't show the photos of what i've been doing yet! Let's just say it involves some beads and felt! I have used the project to combine the different things I enjoy doing, but also as an oportunity to try new things - the scale is small so if materials get wasted in try outs, you aren't wasting lots and lots. I actually feel inspired to make some more ATCs as a way of exploring techniques - 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches in a small format, perhaps I should make a very small sketchbook for when I am on my travels ...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Save Trees to Save Us

The ATC swap I am involved with through UK Handmade is starting to gather momentum ... My swap card is almost ready for the post (final finishing touches which I cannot disclose!) and pictures will start appearing on the group's flickr page.
Today I received my card from KellasCreativeWishes, she is a jewellery designer and has incorporated wire and pearls into her design. I love the printed lettering too.

Looking forward to being able to show my own design for this swap at the end of March.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Daffodils

It's light when I get in from work and there's that wonderful soil smell when it rains ... it must be spring, about time! Daffodils may be in short supply so I have hunted down daffodils of the handmade variety for this week's mini-treasury ...

Top Row:-
Spring Daffodil Necklace -
Daffodil Soap -

Bottom Row:-
Yellow Roses, an original watercolour painting -
Flower Garden Locket Necklace in vintage style brass -

Monday, 22 March 2010

Out of darkness cometh light

... the motto of my home city, but quite fitting for the late start we are having to spring. This afternoon was probably the first afternoon that I have got in from work and been able to stroll down the garden with a cup of coffee in hand (definately not good enough for sitting out yet!)
There are still lots of gaps where there should be spring flowers, but I know that the grape hyacinths, lily of the valley and bluebells are starting to poke their green shoots through the soil. At the end of the path is the 'nature garden' - in other words a wild bit we don't tend, in amongst the brambles, ivy and general mess I spotted these little rays of sunshine, the only flowers that seem to have appeared in my garden so far.

So pretty, hidden amongst all the harsh brambles. I bought some yellow beads at the weekend, perhaps I should make some little flowers with them.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Shall I just make two in the future?

Making jewellery and having a teenage daughter don't mix. No sooner have I created something, she is trying it on or seeing if the colours go with what she it wearing. I think she owns duplicate copies of at least half the things that I have for sale at the moment.
Yesterday I made a few variations on my Ice Princess ring, using brighter colours now the sun is out! Sure enough, when she woke up this morning, my daughter was actually 'deciding' which colour she liked best! So that's one Dorothy ring claimed, and she's put in a order for a purple version (don't think she's willing to pay though!) If I can keep the other rings away from her, I will list them on Folksy sometime this week.

The ring on the left is Disco and the one on the right is Dorothy (could it be called anything else?)

Saturday, 20 March 2010


No, I haven't spotted some bluebells out there, wish I had, but it's far too early! Most of my blogging this week has been concerned with earrings and bead weaving, so it seems quite apt that my blog today is about some earrings i've created ...

These earrings are made from tiny blue cylinder beads and I have used antique gold coloured findings for that vintage feel. Shame the weather has been too awful to take brighter pictures, oh well, will see what tomorrow brings.  And yes, the Henney's cider is very nice!

Friday, 19 March 2010

A quick peek ...

Bead weaving is consuming all my time at the moment. I am slowly learning new techniques and starting to think of adapting them to my design style. It's a time consuming craft and things grow very slowly, but I feel like i'm 'getting there' with it and it is something I want to explore further.
This morning I knocked over a whole cannister of cylinder beads, thankfully two other people helped me to pick them up! But, on the whole, it is quite a portable and relaxing thing to do.

A tiny glimpse of what i've been up to ... this is only the start of a project!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Look what landed on the mat!

By the end of the week I am flagging both physically and mentally. Today was a particular tiring day so it was very nice to arrive home and find not one, but three lovely items of post on the mat - SEW magazine, Selvedge magazine and a wondeful pair of earrings by CraftyLittleMia. Cheered me up - everyone loves nice post!

'I heart the sea' earrings by CraftyLittleMia, pretty little blue buttons. They arrived in their own little calico pouch, hand decorated with button drawings.
(Photography by CraftyLittleMia)

A photograph of a page from the latest Selvedge magazine showing the work of Ellie Evans.
Love the way she combines cross-stitch with fabrics that have been printed with photographic images.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

You've heard of the slow food movement ...

.... well i'm definately at the forefront of the slow craft movement! Projects seem to take me forever, listing things on Folksy and Misi happens during holidays from work. I have so many half-finished projects and completed projects that need to be photographed. After a busy day at work, I often want to slump in front of the t.v with a small 'hand-held' task (or my net book!)
My latest thing is bead-weaving, so i'm really slowing up with projects. I love doing it, but it is so small scale. Have made some little bits which I am hoping to turn into jewellery. My friends can't understand why I would want to do something so fiddly and time consuming, but hey, if i'm happy ....

A very small selection of the seed beads and cylinder beads that I have acquired since I started bead weaving!
Photos of my creations should follow soon, but don't hold your breath!!!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Earrings

I keep seeing lovely earrings on Folksy, but don't really where them. I may wear small studs occasionally, but I haven't worn hoops or ear-wire for years - I had some HUGE earrings in the 80's and 90's. so perhaps that is the problem ...
Well, it's decided, for this week's mini-treasury I have sort out some fabulous Folksy earrings.

Top Row:-
'My Cute Little Button Earrings' made from Art Clay
My Vintage Glass Collection......... vintage blue earrings

Bottom Row:-
Happiness Earrings in teal blue
Cherry Blossom Silver Earrings

Monday, 15 March 2010


Exciting post this morning as my subscription to Cloth magazine arrived! I'd read about this magazine on the UK Handmade site so decided to give it a go. It only started last Autumn, so I ordered the latest issue and the two back issues. It's a dinky little thing, the only craft mag i've ever seen in 'handbag' size, and it has that nice linseed smell (I know, weird that I notice stuff like that!) The emphasis is on the fashion side of creating, although the parent company is bringing out a home sewing magazine very soon.

The Spring Issue includes customising shoes, stencilling, digital printing and also a guide to Tokyo style. There is also a guide to sewing clubs aound the country, and basic sewing skills directory. I may not follow the projects to the letter, but they have given me some ideas for customising clothes for the summer.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bean Bag Buddies

I am not a toy maker and I know lots of crafters from whom I can buy wonderful fabric toys, but I have been writing a bean bag toy project for 11 year olds during the past three weeks. The project is being delivered by a teacher who is not a textile specialist, so I needed to write something that was simple to organise, but with an effective outcome.
The students have designed their own fun beanbag, adapted a pattern, dyed their own fabric and now they are assembling their toys. Tonight I have been making Blue Peter style demonstration models, one showing how to embroider, one to show how to tack on arms, feet etc, and the 'finished' one shown below. It's not perfect, but hopefully it will give the teacher and her students an idea of what they are working towards.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Last minute gift ...

My mum has been hinting about needing some new make-up, so I have bought her a range of goodies she can open tomorrow (hope she isn't a secret blogger or she knows already). My daughter has bought her a pot plant, and she isn't doing chocolate at the moment.
Whilst out today I saw these amazing goldstone chips (semi-precious stones) that are so 'my mum' so I snapped them up and have teamed them with some black glass lustre beads and a heart-shaped clasp to make a bracelet - a little extra for Mothers' Day. Hope she likes it!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Ticking off the to-do list

My main creative focus this week has been the ATC swap I am involved with, it's such a good idea, and my sketchbook is full of notes and sketches - not just for the actual Artist Trading Card, but for jewellery and embroidery too. I have been making some Fimo jewellery today using some of these ideas, but will keep it under wraps for the moment as I may transfer some of the ideas into the actual construction of my cards, plus they are trial pieces and I want to perfect my technique!

My activities today mean I can also start to cross off some of the things on my latest to-do list. I have also ordered some new beads in spring colours. Let's hope that the weekend is pleasant so that I can photograph some rings for listing on my Folksy site, and I am part way through a beadwork project. Don't think i'm doing too badly, let's see how much I can get done this weekend.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Spring Corsage

It was only Tuesday (in my weekly treasury) that I was singing the praises of SeventySeventyOne Design. Since then my lovely pastel green corsage has arrived. Seller tip - if you want me to buy, make it green!

It's such a lovely colour, and came in it's own little pink box (where I will store it to keep it safe).

Here is my corsage on my much loved, and slightly 'curled at the edges' PunkyFish suede jacket. Waiting for next pay day so I can treat myself to one of her 'loopy' corsages!

Creative stuff going on today is the ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap, lots of mind-mapping and sketches yesterday, think I have decidedon my final design, but can say no more ...

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Artist Trading Cards

I have joined a group on UK Handmade where different artists/crafters/makers get to swap ATCs or Artist Trading Cards. You have to sign up to the group and the swaps tke place once a month.
Each month will have a theme, this month the theme is Trees and Plants.
An Artist Trading Card has a standard size of 2 ½" by 3 ½", and it should be an individually created card as opposed to a business card. They are swapped amongst artists and makers to encourage creativity.
I have to send my completed card off by 30th March, and I can't reveal what it looks like until the recipient has theirs, so no spoilers on my blog i'm afraid!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Mothering Sunday

As if this week's treasury could be about anything else! If you haven't sorted Mum out with a pressie yet, then it's probably your last day for a Folksy order! Personally I like to get something that's just for me like a piece of jewellery! Here is a mini-treasury of mum-friendly Folksy gifts ...

Top Row:-
This fabulous brooch, I already own two by pants and paper!
Cherry Red Button Charm Bracelet

Bottom Row:-
Vintage West German Lip Stick Red Glass Jewel Earrings
Red loopy corsage, and there a loads of other colours if you don't do red!

Have a lovely Mothers' Day, and they'll be another treasury next Tuesday.

Monday, 8 March 2010

More sketchbook stuff ... rings!

It's been many years since i've worked with metal, I can remember making a bracket to hold a plant pot at school, but never anything pretty! So, my first task (amongst all the others on my to-do list) is to make a ring, only nickel silver mind you! Don't want to have an expensive mistake on my hands.

My first task was to measure my finger, with a strip of paper and then cut the metal to size. Once this was done, I had some idea of the proportions I was working with, got out my sketchbook and started designing. Here are a few of my ideas ...

The bottom design is the one that i'm going to attempt. I have started to file the metal using needle files to get the edge pattern that I want. I can't put the holes in yet because they will warp when I bend the ring into shape.

When i've finished my filing I will need to anneal (heat up) the metal and then I will be able to bend it to shape and braze the join.
Lots to do - hope I can give an update very soon!

Sunday, 7 March 2010


I strayed into the local department store yesterday, I normally spend about half an hour looking at the Rowan yarn, then buy one ball (attracting strange looks from the sales assistants)! Yesterday, there were lots of buttons on sale, little bags full of random buttons. I think they must be restocking for the new season and getting rid of last seasons' buttons. As you can see I did quite well!

My favourite ones are those giant pink and green floral buttons, and the shiny square one just at the bottom of the photograph. Not which buttons will be use for what yet, but that's part of the fun! They are so random.

And yes I did buy some yarn ...

The Rowan Handknit cotton was also in the sell-off bin, think it will be great for experimenting with some crochet ideas that I have. I bought the Linen Shadow purely because the colour is so wonderful - might try some knitted flowers with that one.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Chester is in Wolverhampton!

I have blogged several times about a Folksy shop called PussyGalore, my daughter loves these gorgeous sock cats, and today saw the arrival of our fourth 'Chester'. Chester is different from previous cats that i've blogged about - he is a mini-kitty, and only stands about 12cm high!

My photo-montage is a bit 'rushed' but I hope you can see just how wonderful this little chap is, so well made, I always love the facial expressions. PussyGalore has recently re-designed her packaging, and another little extra is the personalised patch on his bottom! I love the big bold button on his spotty collar. My daughter has quickly snatched Chester back, and he is sitting on his dressing table with previous purchases Henrietta and Winston.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Time for a to do list ...

Every so often I post a 'to-do' list on my blog, making it public means that I am more likely to act on it. I try not to make my lists to nagging, rather that they are lists of ideas I want to try, variations on old ideas that I want to revive or techniques I want to learn.

Nagging lists are kept to my diary (Moleskine, of course!) where I can write in deadlines and 'just before deadline' reminders.

I sometimes write them in my sketchbook, but usually the to-do lists in my sketchbooks are usually lists where I jot down possible variations for the work I have been doing.

My day-to-day workload has been quite heavy in recent weeks, so I have lots of half-finished projects on the go which need to be completed and listed in one of my shops.

  1. Sketchbook ideas for Easter.
  2. Try a small-scale project from 'The Beaded Garden'.
  3. Order some glass beads and seed beads in Spring colours.
  4. Photograph and list Ice Princess rings.
  5. Experiment with translucent Fimo.
That should do for now! A to-do list usually lasts me a couple of weeks, so lets see how I get on...

    Thursday, 4 March 2010

    The Beaded Garden

    My new book has arrived! 'The Beaded Garden' explains how to make a variety of wonderful flowers (and garden creepy-crawlies) from seed beads. There are a couple of good books around that show you how to knit and crochet flowers, so this book is a welcome edition to that theme for us beaders.

    The book goes through the basics of beadwork techniques and constructing simple beadwork flowers, moving onto beaded corsages and bib necklaces. The equipment you will need is quite basic - beading needles, Nymo (nylon thread) and seed beads. At the back of the book is an inspiration gallery. The beauty of the book is that you can follow the projects directly, or pick out bits and make them your own, combining them with other beadwork techniques or other media.

    Pink beaded flower, made from a
    rolled-up strip of bead work.

    I hope I will be able to try out some of the simpler ideas tomorrow and over the weekend ...

    Wednesday, 3 March 2010

    It's the little things .....

    After trawling the shops this weekend for new clothes and finding nothing of interest, I decided to do some Folksy shopping. I am becoming quite a regular customer of pantsandpaper, and who could blame me - everything is so unusual, the design so well thought out and the attention to detail superb. This weekend I treated myself to a little aubergine coloured needle book, I have already organised my pins (with my CheekyChicken pincushion), so it made sense to get a needle book too. My pantsandpaper collection now includes my needle book, two brooches, a fabulous bag and a beach hut lavender bag, and I want more!

    I love the way the materials have been chosen and assembled, and the handmade felt is so soft and chunky, no chance of the needles prodding through and stabbing your fingers.

    Photograph by pantsandpaper

    So, what am I buying next ...

    Tuesday, 2 March 2010

    Tuesday Treasury - Yellow

    Spring is definately on the way, people seem happier, it feels a bit warmer, and the sunshine we have had for the last two days has been great! I feel like buying some yellow beads! And so yellow in all it's 'springness' is the theme for my mini treasury this week.



    Top Row:-
    Yellow felt rabbit by minifelts, and check out the new iPod covers whilst you are there!
    Little Yellow Ninja Earrings, and lots more mini Ninjas.

    Bottom Row:-
    Canary studs, I sooo love these, and I don't really 'do' earrings.
    Lemon Yellow Checked Prom Dress, for those Doris Day moments!

    More treasury items next Tuesday.