Sunday, 31 May 2009

A creative space

That's definitely what my desk is, a creative space, not a mess, honest!

I've been working in the shed for a couple of relaxing hours this evening, working on a couple of new designs and a magazine article. I've been working on about 6 designs at the same time as they all need hammering at some stage during their creation and I don't like to hammer after about 8pm unless there's something like heavy rain, a thunderstorm or fireworks to hide the noise. We get on well with our neighbours, and I'd like to keep it that way! So, amid what looks like chaos there are starts of designs laid out on my desk ready for me tomorrow. B's childminder is on holiday this week so I've only got a couple of evenings, B's two preschool sessions and any couple of minutes I can steal during the day to craft in this week. I've done all the soldering and non-B friendly work needed for all the projects on my desk, so I'm hoping that I can do a little work here and there tomorrow while B is playing in the garden. I'll let you know how I get on!

I hope you've been enjoying the sunshine today - assuming that you're in the UK that is, although I do hope that the sun has been shining where you international readers are too! I've been trying not to say this as it seems such a stereotypically British thing to say, but I can't believe how amazing the weather has been this spring. Yes, I know that we've had some very rainy days, but on the whole we have had so much gorgeous sunshine! Again, international readers (and google analytics tell me that you are out there!), you have to understand that usually this time of year is mainly rainy or grey (or both) and certainly not as consistently hot as it has been this past month or so. Usually our summer lasts about, oh, 5 minutes, so this truly is amazing! Mind you, the last time I wrote as much as this about the weather it was snowing, pipes were bursting and my pickle pot was freezing - have a look at the proof from earlier this year! The environmental science graduate in me is worried about the extremes in weather that usually temperate country is having, but the rest of me is reminding myself that this is more like the weather we had when I was a child in the 1970s/early 1980s, and that we should enjoy it. I guess I should hedge my bets, do what I can for the environment and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.

Anyway, getting back on topic because I hadn't planned on writing all that when I decided to write this post! We went to a BBQ today that was part reunion for T's work colleagues as they have been split up into different teams across the city and part fundraiser in memory of a colleague of his who died horribly young earlier this year. It was a fun, relaxing day out and B had a great time playing with the other preschoolers there. We left about 4pm and 5 minutes into the journey home B fell asleep mid-sentence! He hardly ever naps nowadays and has never fallen asleep in the car at that time of day before, but he was so deeply asleep that I carried him upstairs to bed without him ever waking up. We decided to go with the flow and see what happened and he eventually woke about 7pm, had a bit of tea, a little bit of play and then went back to bed! He usually sleeps really well (usually 7pm til nearly 8am - yes, I know how lucky we are!), so fingers crossed that his topsy turvey day hasn't spoilt that. If I blog a bit of a grumpy post tomorrow you'll know why!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Definitely readdicted to knitting!

When Helen was visiting in March we went to Winchester for the day and had a browse that turned into a bit of a spree in C&H Fabrics. I'd been knitted quite a few fairly quick projects (including 4 pairs of Fetching gloves!) so far since Christmas, and thought it was about time I got my teeth into a bigger project. I'd been avoiding them as I tend to get bored it things don't knit up quickly or hold my attention by having an interesting pattern or colour change! This pattern book caught my eye and I ended up buying the yarn to knit the waistcoat on the front cover. The back was really quick to knit, but I've lost count of the number of times I had to unpick the first section of pattern on the first front panel, and I'm certainly not going to tell you how much swearing there was when I had to unpick it because I'd picked up an extra stitch yet again!! The pattern may look fairly simple and straight forward, but that is only to give you false hope - I mean, does P1, P2tog, yon, Cr2R, P1, K2tog, yfrn, P1, K1, P1, yon, sl 1, K1, psso, P1, Cr2L, yfrn, P2tog tbl, P1 look like a straight forward pattern to you?! Actually, it wasn't too bad after the first pattern repeat, and I'm quite proud of myself for having got this far!

I've finally finished the left front and started the first few rows of the right hand side, so hopefully I'll be able to wear it in the next few weeks - that's assuming that I make myself sew it up before moving on to the next project. Sewing projects up is not my favourite part, which is why the maternity cardigan that I knitted while pregnant with B has never been worn! Next up - I've got my eye on this pattern in the same book, and I've also been eyeing up the wrap on the front of this crochet book that I bought myself for my birthday. My cousin's getting married in September, and I'd love to get it finished to wear to the wedding. I might need you to nag me to get it finished though!

By the way, I do like this site - - I found it this evening while looking for a picture of the waistcoat to show you. I like the way that they list everything that you need to complete a project. There's nothing worse than buying a pattern book and then realising that you haven't got all the needles, stitch holders etc that you need to get started!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Tagged again!

Nicky tagged me a week or so ago, and I thought that I'd better get my finger out and take my turn before everyone I know has been tagged and there's no one left for me to tag!

The rules are:
1. Mention the name of the person who tagged you.
2. Do the lists of 8.
3. Tag 8 bloggers of your choice.
4. Let them know that they have been tagged!

So, off we go......

8 Things I am looking Forward too.....

1. The Winchester Handm@de Show - I will blog more about this next week!
2. Having my hair cut (haven't had a chance since Christmas - didn't realise that it was that long until I had to type it!)
3. Going on a trip to London with my college class in the autumn.
4. Doing more work on a collection of resin and silver jewellery.
5. Seeing my friend Helen in Texas in September if I can find a cheap enough flight!
6. Going on my first ever spa day. My friend Katie suggested it as she thought I needed spoiling after being ill. Lovely idea.
7. Finishing and wearing my latest knitting project (more about that next week too!)
8. B's childminder coming back from holiday in a couple of weeks time - she hasn't gone yet and I'm already looking forward to her coming back. Does that make me a bad mother?!

8 Things I Did Yesterday...

1. Bought B two pairs of new shoes - ouch!
2. Did some knitting
3. Had a picnic in the park with B after shopping
4. Posted latest magazine project pieces.
5. Fed my friend's guinea pigs (they're on holiday)
6. Did a bit of weeding, but there's still a lot more to do :(
7. Cleaned the bathroom
8. Chatted to an old friend on the phone.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do....

1. Sew my own clothes without turning the air blue
2. Have a whole week, no, make that a month, to spend in the shed working on new designs.
3. Play the guitar, but I have no patience to learn as it would take so much time away from silversmithing. Now if I could learn in my sleep....
4. Sing with more confidence.
5. Go to the cinema more often
6. Write a whole book of jewellery projects - I've got one planned out - any publishers out there?!
7. Speak Spanish
8. Have a "fill your trolley for free" race around a yarn store - no, not a bead one. I wouldn't get past the first shelf before time ran out as I wouldn't be able to choose, but at a yarn store I'd just scoop armfuls off the shelves!

8 Shows I Watch....

2. Chuggington (cbeebies)
4. Numbers
5. Doctor Who
6. CSI (any of them!)
7. Heroes
8. Jakers (cbeebies again!)

Right then, this is the hardest bit as so many people have already been tagged! I don't think the following have been tagged:

Helen at Blue Fairy
Pips at Pips Jewellery
Magriet at Babuska
Lupin at Bugs and Fishes

No, that's it! I'm too tired at the moment and everyone else I've looked at has been tagged already, so please feel free to take one of the 3 places I haven't filled!

I'm off to bed now, but I hope you have a lovely, sunny Bank Holiday weekend wherever you are.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Bead magazine this time!

I managed to get into town with B this morning for the first time in ages. He is now the proud (but tired) owner of a new pair of shoes and a new pair of sandels, and I got my mitts on the new issue of Bead magazine - I had actually forgotten that it was out today until I saw it on the shelf!

This is the first of three issues of Bead this summer that I've got a project in. This time it's a necklace (Victoriana on page 58 if you fancy a look!) that combines stringing with a bit of wirework, a perfect beginner's project. My camera battery died this morning and I forgot to plug it in to recharge (I was helping B to look for his favourite car instead) so I can't take a photo for you, but I'm sure that the editor, Jean, won't mind me borrowing the one above from her blog. If you want to know more about the work that Jean does behind the scenes you can find her blog here.

By the way, if you ever do any of the projects I have in magazines I'd love to see them! It would be lovely to see how you adapt the designs and what beads you choose. My email address is .

Beads and Beyond

As I said on Wednesday, I've been busy writing magazine projects lately, and I've got more in the pipeline. It's a sideline to my business that I really enjoy as it combined my love of coming up with new ideas with my teaching skills. It's nice to know that these projects, my private tuition and workshops at home and my college class are putting the 5 years at university to good use, even if I'm not teaching anything to do with environmental science or geography!

I've been writing up projects up for Bead magazine and Beads and Beyond. I obviously can't show you what hasn't been published yet, but I can show you this. It's an online project that goes with the pieces I designed for the May issue of Bead and Beyond's Designer Challenge.
A couple of the other pieces I made for the challenge are in the photos here, and you can find the instructions for them in the May issue - you can still get back issues if you're quick. It definitely was a challenge as they weren't beads I would have chosen myself, but that's the point, isn't it? I did enjoy it, and I get lots of compliments about the necklace above every time I wear it, which is an added bonus! The May issue of the magazine was the first with a new look, and the first with Michelle Powell and Rebecca Hughes in charge, and I'm probably biased as I worked on Practical Crafts, one of Michelle's previous magazines, but I love the new look. The projects are beautifully presented.

I'll try and remember to show you the other projects when they come out, but look out for the next few issues of Bead magazine, and the summer issues of Beads and Beyond.

P.S. B wanted to join in the early morning photo shoot, so here he is still in his PJs and dressing gown! "I'll play with the trucks Mummy and you take a photo"!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

We apologise for the interuption in your blog reading...

...normal service has been resumed. Whatever normal is!
I can't believe that it's been a whole month since I last blogged.
It's been so long that my friend Helen phoned to see if there was something wrong! I think there must be some rule that states that the longer you leave it between blog posts the harder it is to post as so much has happened that you just don't know where to start.

That's certainly partly been the case with me. I've been really busy with lots of orders, mostly through not on the high street, some commissions that came through my website, building up stock for a new outlet, teaching my City and Guilds class, crocheting another scarf like the one I made for Laura but this time for Mel, writing magazine projects, knitting a new project and, of course, the usual family organised chaos.

It's also taken me a while to post again as although when Helen phoned a fortnight ago everything was fine and it was just everything above that was keeping me away from here, it hasn't been fine since. I've been rather unwell, which is unusual for me. I entertained the neighbours, and scared my family, by being carted off to hospital in an ambulance and staying in hospital overnight. Not an experience I care to repeat. I'm deliberately not going to go into details of what happened as this blog is supposed to be a happy place full of funny tales and beautiful jewellery, but I needed to write some explanation of where I've been! It didn't really threaten my life, I'm on the mend, and thanking God for my wonderfully loving and supportive family and friends. I'm also thankful that I do a job/run a business that I absolutely love and find relaxing and invigorating. I've been able to meet all but one of my deadlines as I've still been able to work, all be it at a slower pace. I'm sure my recovery would have been much slower without my work as you (and my family!) know how cranky I get if I don't get regular shed time!

So, normal service is now resumed! I've got lots of things to show you over the next few days, including a knitting project which had me swearing a lot at one point!


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