Friday 30 July 2010

It's been a bit crazy here!

I'm here, I'm here - I've finally found time between rushing around like crazy and collapsing on the sofa or in bed to write a post! Life has been a bit hectic here over the last few weeks - birthday parties, end of school year activities, a weekend camping, lots of orders and magazine work are in the plus column. Being sick with a tummy bug and then a chesty cough are most definitely in the minus! Somehow, I managed to get the bugs going round preschool and they passed B by - not that I'm complaining about him not getting them you understand, but I wish they'd passed me by too! Anyway, I thought that rather than write a long post about what we've been doing I'd show you some pictures!

Larmer Tree Festival
Apart from summer Christian camps as a teenager the Larmer Tree was the first festival I'd been too -
and it was fantastic!
It's a folk/arts/crafts festival and there was always something going on - bands on one of the stages, comedy acts in the Lounge tent, street artists, buskers, crafts to try for both adults and children -
and everywhere we turned there was something else to see - 
for example giant wooden dragonflies and birds made from recycled bottles! 
It was really family orientated too.
The weather was fantastic too, perfect for camping. B's favourite part was sleeping in the tent!
It was the Larmer Tree's 20th year, and you can find more information about it here

Leaving preschool
B finished preschool last week - a day of very mixed emotions!
He has really loved preschool this year, and has learnt so much and grown so much more confident. 
He's only moving next door to the infant school, but it's going to feel like a big change. 
He's already done some settling in as they've spent time with their new classes.
Don't you love the 'graduation' hat he made on their last day? 

Preschool Trip
The day after the last day of preschool was the end of year trip to Adventure Wonderland near Bournemouth. Definitely a place to visit again! We also managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the airplane museum next door as well.

Tank Museum
This was our first trip out of the summer holidays - B loved the tank display but definintely wasn't as keen on the displays inside! The first part of the display, that you had to walk through to get to the other sections, was a life-size model of WWI trenches, complete with noises playing to you from the walls - a bit too much for my four and a half year old! Oh well, maybe when he's older!

Right then, off to do a bit more work before collapsing into bed - it's the Arundel Bath Race tomorrow and I've got a stall there again. The weather's supposed to be good so we're looking forward to a family day out watching strange bath tub boats trying to stay afloat on the River Arun - hopefully while selling my jewellery too!

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Tutorial Tuesday - Fibre Jewellery

Just a quick post to give you this week's Tutorial Tuesday - I'll be back later with news of where I've been and what we've been doing! As I may have mentioned just a few times, I have definitely renewed my addiction to knitting and crochet over the last couple of years or so, and there are two websites that have helped that addiction - and Today's tutorials combine my two addictions to bring you crocheted and knitted jewellery!

First up, Sun Necklace by Olivia Munroe of Un Jardin de Hilo. 
A beautiful mix of crochet and beads!

 And Olivia's flower earrings - she has more patterns on her blog, so do take a look!

Some knitted earrings this time.
Coralie is by Sarah Punderson, and the pattern is in the latest issue of Knitty


Sunday 11 July 2010

Today I have been mostly.....

New lavender planted in pots - isn't that a gorgeous purple?
New lettuces planted in the raised bed as I had a space and they were only 44p at the garden centre!
Weeding - not my favourite job, but it had to be done!
I moved from shady spot to shady spot in the garden as the sun moved and took it slowly as this heat, wonderful as it is in a country that has had rainy summers for the last few years, has proved too much for me this week. Thank God there was a breeze today!


I'm in this month's Beads and Beyond magazine three times, 
four if you count the Spotlight review pages I write - that's a lot of writing!
I've written the second of four articles on the legal issues of running a jewellery 
or indeed any small crafty business - this time on insurance.
Then there's my stone setting masterclass, showing you how to get started in using set stones in your designs
(if you haven't done so already) by using premade components.
And then there's my Loveheart necklace project as well!
Don't worry, I'm not the only one in the magazine - Eve has a lovely bracelet, and there are stringing, wirework, metal clay, and lampwork projects.


Yes, I know I said that I would finish at least one project before I started a new one, 
but I haven't felt inclined to do any knitting or sewing recently and there's no point pushing myself to do it as that's when I make mistakes. I've got three friends expecting babies in the next month or so though, 
so that's given me the incentive to make some baby blankets. 
I don't know the sex of any of the babies, so I'm going for bright colours rather than pinks or blues! 
Ummm...think that old table needs a lick of paint.

taking photos

This one is one of about 60 I've taken so far for a new Beads and Beyond project.
There are 12 steps to the project, each requiring its own photo, and I take about a dozen photos of each step before then choosing the best one. That's a lot of photos!
This project is a stone setting one to follow on from this month's stone setting masterclass, 
but that's all I'm saying! You'll have to wait to find out more!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Tutorial Tuesday - U-Handbag bags!

Despite having had my Grandma's old Singer sewing machine serviced over a month ago I still haven't had the time (or made the time I suppose) to do more than use it to alter a few hems. I have, however, got a long list of sewing projects waiting for me! Some of them have been written by Lisa Lam, who writes the U-Handbag blog and is due to have her first book, The Bag Making Bible, published in September. She's got so many lovely patterns for bags and purses of all kinds of different shapes and sizes, including these free ones. I've decided, though, that the bag above will be the first one I'll make. I love tote bags! I use them for shopping, for carrying picnics, for knitting and crochet project bags, and I never seem to have enough! Lisa posted the picture above last week saying that if enough people liked it she'd write up a free tutorial for it - and enough people commented to say they love it! It's definintely worth following Lisa's blog, if you don't already, as she's really generous in sharing her tips for sewing.

Monday 5 July 2010

Until next time!

The Winchester Handm@de show yesterday was great fun and a great success! I even met a few more people who read my blog, which is always a strange feeling - like, you mean people actually read this?!? So, hello to those of you I met, and thank you for taking the time to stop and say hello! Sales were good, I had lots of enquiries about tuition, spoke to people about my evening classes at Eastleigh College and managed to fit in chats with crafty friends I hadn't chatted to in real life since the last Winchester show - so, all in all, a great day! Thank you, Alice, for organising it all, and I'm looking forward to the show in November!

Although sales were good there are still a few new pieces to show you, so I'm be back with some photos later in the week.

P.S. If you want to see what my stall looked like, have a look at Alice's husband flickr stream here - I forgot to charge up my camera battery after B's preschool end of year show. He played a train, by the way, and was very excited about it all!

Thursday 1 July 2010

Turquoise Trees

More stone set pendants to show you today! These are, I think, very different from my usual work, and I am very pleased with them. I mentioned a while back that Brenda, a friend of mine who I first met when she started coming to my workshops, has become addicted to buying beautiful cut stones. So addicted that she's started selling them to fund her habit and also to fund more private tuition with me! I think it's a great addiction to have as she keeps bringing round absolutely beautiful stones for me to see - I get to see most of them first! How cool is that?! I have taken them into college for my advanced class to admire though, so I'm not completely greedy.

The stone in the pendant above was one of the first stones I bought from Brenda. I knew straight away that it had to be made into a tree. The trunk has been hand cut from silver sheet and decorated with silver balls to represent the fruit from the tree. The whole tree has been backed with silver to add extra strength to the piece, and I lightly oxidised the piece before setting the stone to highlight the different levels of silver.

And then Brenda brought this second Iranian turquoise round (amongst many others!) - so I just had to make another tree! The chains on both are handmade, and I'm particularly pleased with the clasps. I knew that I had to think carefully about where to ask for the hallmark to be stamped. If it was placed on the back of the trees themselves the whole setting could be damaged. I designed the clasps in the shape of leaves to hook over the links in the chain and asked for the hallmark to be put on the backs of them. As an added bonus the clasps can be hooked onto any of the links, allowing the chain length to be altered according to what you are wearing. The chain is fairly wide (but still open and light) which helps to comfortably support the pendant around your neck.By the way, I have imaginatively called them "Turquoise Tree" and "Turquoise Tree Too"!

P.S. If you buy Beads and Beyond regularly you may recognise the first pendant from the hallmarking article I wrote as I used it to illustrate planning your designs for hallmarking.

P.P.S. Brenda is in the process of setting up an etsy shop to sell her stones - if you're very nice to me I might tell you when it's open!


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