Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Creativity on hold ...

The last week as been hectic, my day job has been hectic and there has been little time left for crafting. Every evening has been spent at the computer and i've been leaving the house very early every morning. Thankfully everything is back to normal as from tomorrow, so i'm hoping to get some beading and sewing done over the next few days.

























This sketchbook page is the only creative thing i've managed to do in the past week, and I only completed it because I needed it for a teaching resource!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Cats

During the past week my garden has been home to some tiny kittens. Their mum decided to give birth in the 'wildlife' corner that is overgrown and quiet. This is a regular event in the summer for us, and I think I would miss them if mum chose another garden as her 'delivery ward'.
So this weeks mini-treasury just has to be cats!













Top Row:-
Hand block printed Maneki neko tea towel -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/PapaTotoro
Small Love Cat
http://www.folksy.com/shops/QuernusCrafts


Bottom Row:-
Henri the sock cat, these cats are taking over my house! -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/pussygalore
Furry Fat Cat Brooch -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/Hollowbourne

Monday, 28 June 2010

Sew a Metre

I am the queen of the one metre stash! I see a lovely fabric, feel the urge to buy a metre of it, but never actually decide what i'm going to make with it!
I spotted this book and decided that it would be a good incentive to use some of that stash during my summer break ...

The book's full title is '101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre', and it's by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. It's one of those spiral bound books that I like, and there is a little pocket in the front full of useful paper patterns.

There are household patterns, clothes and lots of things you can make for children. My first plan is to make a few more sun tops.

The original photographs were taken by John Gruen.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

I can knit a rainbow ...

It's not really my knitting season at the moment, but here was an offer I could refuse.
Nicsknots wasn't going to be able to go to Woofest this year (this weekend), but she had already created some limited edition sock project bags, covered in VW Beetles, and had teamed up with Babylonglegs yarns who have created an exclusive rainbow yarn (Called Rainbow Brite). I'd only just bought a sock knitting bag, but I know this one will be useful because i've always got lots of different little projects on the go.

Apologies for the creased background fabric on my photo, this lovely sunshine shows up everything!



Saturday, 26 June 2010

Altered Book Swap - Part 4

As promised a blog post about my latest book altering ...
This time it's Creativesque's altered book, the theme was inspirational quotes. She used lots of bright colours in her work, with lots of floral imagery and butterflies, so as well as using inspirational quotes as a theme I decided to use bright colours too.
I had great fun, though as the book was quite old, the pages were quite porous and took ages to dry. As a result I probably didn't get as many pages done as I has hoped to. I tried to use lots of buttons and some mini-embroideries and I hope i've done a good enough job.
















I had some 'stuck together' pages left over from my own altered book, so I have cut the piece up, and used it as a backing for some brooches I have made for each altered book swapper.
I'm starting to see all sorts of bits and pieces as useful things for altering books, which is a bit worrying, i'll never stop hoarding things I guess!
You can see more pictures from this book on the UK Handmade Round Robin Swap Flickr page ...
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1393325@N23/

Friday, 25 June 2010

June ATC Swap - Dreams

This morning I received my June ATC swap in the post from Indigo Blue Designs. This month's theme was dreams, and the card is very sparkly, with little beads and sequins that move about. It was quite difficult to photograph because it's such a sunny day.
This is the first ATC swap that Indigo Blue Designs has taken part in, and I hope she feels inspired to take part in next month's swap too.




















My card will be posted on Monday, and i'll blog about it next week ...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

And the winner is ...

A short blog post today to announce the winner of my birthday giveaway!
All the entrants were put into an actual hat (no fancy technology here!) and the winner is ...
Sarah from Noahs Ark Crafts
and their ring will be made using ...
Citrine
As the ring is being made to order it will be sent out as soon as it's finished, along with a couple of other goodies.
I've really enjoyed doing this giveaway and hope I can do another one soon. Thank you to everyone that took part.

Joy from JMS also wins a beachcomber bracelet!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

To Paris With Love


This afternoon I have been making some last minute pieces of jewellery for my daughter's school trip to France. The 'brief' was vintage and chic!
First I added a postcard charm and a lampwork heart to an antique brass chain to create a vintage style pendant. The 'chic' piece I made was a pearl bracelet using the colours of the French flag, with a huge cream rose charm as the centre of attention.
She's very happy with them, let's wait and see what the French make of them next week!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Strawberries

I picked the first few strawberries in our garden on Sunday, and Wimbledon is here, so this weeks mini treasury has to be strawberries ...


Top Row:-
Summer Strawberry badge -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/kittyeden
kawaii strawberry charm -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/treaclezoo

Bottom Row:-
Strawberry Picnic bangle, by Pennydog, look at the knitting needles while your there too -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/pennydog
Strawberry Purse -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/EmilyPickle

Monday, 21 June 2010

Altered Book Swap - Part 3


I'm still very involved in the UK Handmade Altered Book Round Robin Swap. I've jst completed my pages of one book belonging to Creativesque, and i'm about to start work on a book belonging to Tracey Chorley.
I will write a post about Creativesque's book when it has landed at it's next spot. And now to start work on Tracey's book ...



The original book is a poetry book, so we are using the poems as a starting point for out page altering. You can also see a tag made by Creative Wishes as a keepsake for Tracey, I have one of these to decorate too, and a 'library ticket', where I can write down the numbers of the pages I have altered.
So, i'm quite busy! Plus it's the last week of the June ATC swap, so i'll have lots of new pictures for you soon.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Upcycle!

Yesterday I took some outgrown clothes to the charity shop. However I kept a couple of items back because I liked thefabric they were made from. I was going to have a go at reclaiming these old clothes for my fabric and button stash.
Woven fabrics are easy, just unpick the seams, snip off the buttons and you have your fabric. As these were childrens clothes the fabric is great for patchwork and applique being as it is in small pieces.
I also kept back a jersey vest top ...

























I liked the buttons on this top, plus the bindings at the top were a bit stretched so it wasn't really suitable for putting in the charity bag. I unpicked the bottom section and cut it into I did the same thing with the main body of the vest, leaving me with the broderie anglaise panel and three buttons.


























I don't know what i'll knit with the yarn yet, but it was fun to do. I can use the broderie anglaise for my altered book project or some applique, and the buttons could be used in lots of ways, or just put in a jar to look pretty!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Poppies

Some more pictures from my garden today. The poppies are out at the moment. They spring up everywhere, stay a couple of days and then they're gone. The flowers are lovely, especially the big pink ones, but as soon as it rains they will disappear ...























Friday, 18 June 2010

Black Forest Cookies


I haven't done a recipe blog for ages, but last night I did a batch of chocolate cookies with a twist ...
Eat on their own or break them up and squish into good quality vanilla icecream.

You will need:-
225g butter (softened)
140g caster sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
100g milk chocolate broken into small chunks
75g dried sour cherries (a lot yummier than they sound!)
pinch of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 190c/Gas Mark 5. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat together.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then add the chocolate and the cherries. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Roll the mixture into 12 balls (about golf ball size), place them on the baking trays leaving spaces in between and flatten them slightly.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins, then leave to cool.
  • Eat.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Strata

I am working on lots of projects at the moment, and this multi-crafting is leading to one messy living room! It's been swept and polished and dusted, but there's no getting away from the fact that the beads, threads and copies of Country Living are taking over.


























This huge pile of things illustrates my point. It's like the strata that you see in cross-sections of earth! At the bottom are some older copies of SEWHip, then there are plastic wallets, a teatowel that was free with a magazine and some craft books.
Then we have a selection of Yarn Forward magazines, a couple of spiral bound notebooks I use for recipes and several copies of Country Living. Then to top it all off a leaflet about postal tariffs, some padded envelopes and my trusty A4 sketchbook.
I am worried that the magazines at the bottom will turn into fossils! Think this is job for the weekend ...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

June in the garden ...

There's still lots of work to do in the garden, and the constant switch between sun and downpour is not helping.
This weekend i'll be planting more herbs, more salad leaves and a few carrots. I want to extend the growing season for as long as I can.
The good thing about June is that things are starting to appear - roses in particular, to a point where I may have to do two lots of June photographs for my blog. Anyway in the meantime here are some photos of June so far - roses, broad beans, coriander and the start of my chilli plants.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Top to Toe

This week I am turning my attention to the fact that i'm in short-sleeved tops and flip flops. As a result i'm sloshing on the body lotion and coating my feet in foot scrub. My Tuesday Treasury is all about having a pamper and making yourself feel nice ...





Top Row:-
Lavender Lotion Bar, great for elbows and knees -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/saffronbarr
Blooming Blueberry Lip Balm (100% Natural & Organic) -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/sweettalkcosmetics

Bottom Row:-
Fresh & Natural Votives (Set of 4),  one each of Four Leaf Clover, Butterfly Meadows, Wishing Well and Japanese Cherry Blossom, pamper yourself in scented bathroom -http://www.folksy.com/shops/onestoppampershop

Milk, Oatmeal & Almond Face Mask, gently cleanse and moisturise -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/BitsNBobs

Monday, 14 June 2010

Birthstones

Leading on from last week's cluster ring giveaway post, i've assembled a table of traditional and semi-precious stones for each month ...

























I'm hoping this table will be useful, because you can use it to select colours for cards and packaging, or to select beads or buttons for decoration. I find it useful as someone who makes jewellery because if I forget a birthday, I can look at the month, and (bead stash permitting) create a bracelet or earrings to order!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bugs and Buttons

I have been Folksy shopping this week, for pleasure and for creative reasons! I am in love with stained glass at the moment, so I treated myself to this wonderful little ladybird from Diomo Glass. I will hang him in my kitchen window which overlooks my patio.


























You can find Diomo Glass at http://www.folksy.com/shops/DiomoGlass.

I have also bought some fantastic buttons from Chain of Button Daisies. I will be using some of them to make some beachcomber necklaces, and some are to use in my Altered Book project. I will probably end up using most of them just to 'look at'.
Chain of Button Daisies store is http://www.folksy.com/shops/chainofbuttondaisies.



Saturday, 12 June 2010

Creative Weekend

We're getting to the middle of the month, which means that i'm concentrating on my ATC Swap for June. This month's theme is 'Dreams', so i'm mind-mapping like crazy and thinking of new techniques I can use on my card. I'm also working on the Altered Book swap, this time it's the book belonging to Stacey Ann (Creativesque) ...


























Stacey Ann's book is bigger and thicker than the one that I have been working on, so far i've been painting pages and sticking pages together. This weekend i'll be working into this pages, adding bits, stitching bits and cutting bits away. All will be revealed very soon ...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Pearls for June

Pearls - very much in fashion at the moment, and also the birthstone of those of us with a June birthday. I've never really worn pearls, but have recently discovered freshwater pearls and really like them. As a consequence I have been trying to use them in some of my jewellery ideas - not straighforward strings of pearls, but pearls with a twist. This cluster ring is made using white nacre freshwater pearls, they are wonderful because there is no uniformity to their shape and size. Each pearl is topped with a small pearly seed bead.


























This necklace uses a combination of seed beads, glass beads and freshwater pearls spaced with white, pearly and clear buttons. The pattern and spacings are kept random. I created it with summer in mind, and so it's called the Button Beachcomber Necklace.













































Don't forget to check out Wednesday's blog post (9th June 2010) and leave a comment for a chance to own your own birthstone cluster ring ...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Altered Book Swap - Part 2

My altered book (well, my bit) has moved onto the next stage and so I am able to reveal what I have been doing ... My book is tiny, so I suppose as a consequence I have been able to do quite a few pages in detail. I've used a combination of line drawing, typography, textiles and even some wirework.





I think the wire blackbird is my favourite page. It's the last page I completed, and I think I was in the swing of things by then! But, it was time to post it on, i'm sure this idea is something I can pursue in my own sketchbook. After finding this challenge difficult at first, I really enjoyed it. I am now working on another altered book started by Stacey-Ann at Creativesque, so i'll be able to blog about that soon.
To see more picture from my altered book, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/giddystuff

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

My Birthday Giveaway

To celebrate my birthday i'm launching a special giveaway ... the chosen person will receive a cluster ring made from their birthstone, plus a couple more little goodies.


























Joining in is simple, just follow this blog and leave a comment below this post telling me the month or your birthday. In most cases this will be the semi-precious stone associated with your birthday. April birthdays, please do not expect diamonds!
Comments will be accepted until 23rd June 2010, the winner will be picked at random and then I will create their ring ...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Tuesday Treasury - Picnics

We've had some nice days (and some not so nice days), and the picnic season is upon us. We've managed two in the past fortnight. So, this week's mini-treasury is things to make your picnic look pretty ...






Top Row :-
Colourful Black Edged Crocheted Granny Blanket -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/Fuzzles
Handmade Teatime Bunting -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/ClaireHurdDesign

Bottom Row:-
Cute Birdy Bag -
http://www.folksy.com/shops/Snowdon
Two ceramic cup cake style dishes by Lauren Denney
http://www.folksy.com/shops/laurenceramics