Tuesday 19 July 2011

Summer Giveaway

I have two sets of jewellery to giveaway this time, not just two pairs of earrings!

These pieces of jewellery were the "Winter Sparkles" project that I had published in Beads and Beyond at the beginning of the year. They were sent back to me, along with some of the other pieces I've had published in B&B issues, a couple of months ago and since then have been sitting in a basket in my workshed which seems like a shame -so they are now looking for lovely owners to care for them and to show them off!

This is a combination of July and August's giveaway as it's a larger giveaway than normal and because I'm planning to be busy with lots of family days out and lots of tuition during August.  There are a pair of earrings, a bracelet and a necklace in each set  - I think my favourites are the long necklace (long enough to go twice round your neck if you wish) in the first set and the long earrings in the second. So, what do you need to know to enter?

  1. There are two jewellery sets available - one pair to one lucky person on my newsletter mailing list and one pair to someone leaving a comment on this post.
  2. You can enter both draws by adding your details to the mailing list if you haven't already done so and leaving a comment.
  3. You can get an extra entry into the blog comment draw by blogging/tweeting/facebooking about the giveaway, linking to this post, and leaving another comment telling me that you've done so with a link to what you've written.
  4. Please please leave me a way of contacting you! If you have enabled emails to be sent to you through your blogger profile that's great, otherwise add your email or blog address to your comment.
  5. The draws are open to international and UK readers.
  6. The draw closes at midnight on Friday 22nd July, so you haven't got long!
I think that's all for now! Good luck!

Tutorial Tuesday - stud earrings

Another tutorial that I'd bookmarked to show you a few months ago. I thought I'd show you this one today as Jamie and I are off out for the day with Katie and I haven't quite finished editing the photos of the tutorial I've been working on!

These tutorials are such a lovely but simple idea, and need only a couple of short lengths of wire, a couple of headpins and stud butterfly fittings. You can find it on the Beading Daily website here. You will need to sign up for their newsletter to access it, but it's free and the newsletter is always a great read. Enjoy!

Monday 18 July 2011

Festival Time!

I've had so many visitors here over the last few days! So many people have joined in the Where Bloggers Create party and come to see my (usually much untidier than the photos showed) workshed, and left some lovely comments - thank you! I've really enjoyed touring round the different blogs and seeing such a variety of creative spaces, from huge basements with rows upon rows of shelves and cupboards to hold ever type of craft material that you can imagine, to corners of rooms and even a beautifully arranged alcove at the top of the stairs. It was actually the smaller ones that were my favourite - it was amazing to see how people organised whatever space they could find. I haven't quite worked through all the blogs yet. I started at the end of the alphabet, thinking that most people would go from the top down and those people at the end of the list would have a long wait for visitors. It's taken me quite a while, leaving lots of comments, but I'm up to the Cs - nearly there!

So, touring was one reason for not posting over the weekend - the Larmer Tree Festival was the other! Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember me posting about this fab weekend last year - and last year we had glorious sunshine. Ummmmm. The sun did come out to play this year, but lets just say that Ben's wellies and Jamie's buggy have now been christening with Festival mud! We had an amazing time. We only had tickets for Saturday this year rather than a long weekend, but we made the most of it. Ben and T camped on Saturday night, but I brought Jamie home as we thought that camping in the pouring rain wouldn't exactly make his first night in a tent an easy one! Ben loved every part of it - not even pouring rain got him down. He can't quite decide whether his favourite part was camping or watching "Junk", the band pictured below - his answer changes each time you ask him!

It's late, so I'm not going to write much more and I'm going to leave you with some of my favourite photos from the weekend. I'll just say that rain definitely didn't stop play, that there was almost every type of music that you could think of, crafts to take part in, sculptures made from all manner of found objects and street performers around every corner - and we will be going again next year!

I'll be back again tomorrow with a tutorial and a giveaway - and there are two sets of jewellery in the giveaway this time!

Thursday 14 July 2011

My Creative Space

Apart this time last year I enjoyed touring round some glorious creative spaces all around the world - some kitchen or dining room tables, some large basements with amazing storage - all of them belonging to bloggers taking part in Karen Valentine's Where Bloggers Create blog party. I signed up to take part in this year's party about a month ago - and realised this morning that the last month had flown by and the party is tomorrow! Cue tidying, sorting and cleaning of the workshop! So, to those of you who are regular visitors, do come and have a look at my workshop nearly a year after I moved into it, and to those who are visiting for the first time, welcome!

I am really lucky to have a whole workshed to myself. This time last year my original 6' by 8' workshed had been dismantled to make way for a new and improved version and I was working from the kitchen table. Last September I moved into my wonderful new 8' by 12' workshed - and I love it! Down one side I have three workstations, one for me and two for students - although usually I end up spreading across all three desks! The other side has the desk with my photo studio set up and the soldering table.

A few close-ups for you...

I use a magnetic notice board to hold notes about orders that have come in and magazine projects that I've got planned - it's right beside my desk so that I can't miss anything! My desk is definitely not usually this tidy, but I borrowed Hazel Powers' idea of grouping projects in a cupcake tin - a simple but effective idea. I always know where things are, but I must admit that it was really lovely working out there this evening with everything put back in it's place - let's see how long it lasts, shall we?! Most of my hand tools are easily accessible on this shelf, including my growing collection of hammers. I've been lucky enough to have inherited quite a few tools from a friend's parents who used to be goldsmiths. Hidden in the photos you should be able to see a ceramic owl that was one of my favourite Christmas presents (thank you Helen!) and a little luxury - my Molton Brown hand lotion!

And the soldering station is definitely not this tidy usually! I do clean it every now and then when I'm taking photos for magazine projects, but soldering is not exactly a clean process! The last close-ups are of back issues of Beads and Beyond, the magazine I write for, a woven bead heart that I made about 10 years ago and just a few of my jewellery books. My excuse for buying them is that I take them into college for my students to read!

And I'll leave you with this view of my creative space......
My sister-in-law bought this for me for Christmas years ago - and then worried while I was opening the parcel that I'd be offended by it. I love it! It's not so much that I've forgotten how to cook, more that if I didn't have three hungry boys to feed I'd often be so engrossed in crafting that I'd forget to stop and cook!

Thank you for visiting my creative space! To see a list of everyone taking part in the party visit Karen's blog.

Wednesday 13 July 2011


Sorry for the silence apart from the tutorial link yesterday - it's taken me a couple of days to a) recover from doing a workshop and a craft show on the same weekend and b) catch up with all the washing that I didn't do at the weekend. It's amazing how many clothes Jamie gets through now he's eating solids!

Both the workshop and Handmade Winchester went really well. All five lovely ladies on the workshop left with smiles on their faces and shiny bangles on their wrists. I love how different each bangle was despite the fact that they started off with the same choice of two thicknesses of oval wire! Handmade Winchester had a slow start but then really picked up in the afternoon. Maybe people came to us once the Farmer's Market closed? Either way, it was again a very successful day - good sales and lots of great compliments from visitors about the high standard of work everyone had on display, lots of people saying that they'd be back for the Christmas fair (Saturday 26th November - put it in your diaries!), and of course it was lovely to catch up with Helen (Blue Fairy Designs), Su (Quercus Silver) and Alice, our lovely organiser (Raspberry). Hopefully next time I'll have a helper with me and be able to catch up with more people - and do some Christmas shopping myself too of course! Typically for me I forgot to take photos of both the workshop bangles and the craft show, but if you visit the Handmade Winchester Facebook page you'll be able to see photos there! Visit http://www.facebook.com/handmadewinchester

Anyway, Bead Table Wednesday - I'm hoping to make some pendants with these lovelies today, either while Jamie's napping this afternoon (he's tired due to his first swim this morning! Or should that be first splash in a swimming pool rather than a bath?!), or this evening after the boys are in bed. They are hollow lampwork beads from Outwest on etsy. Aren't they gorgeous? And big too - look!

I've made some interlinking oval rings for them to hang from, and I'm thinking leather rather than chain would suit them better. What do you think?

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Jewellery Roll

I was doing a bit of a spring clean of my draft posts last night. I'll sometimes go through a phase of starting to write a post and just starting to waffle and end up with nonsense that I never publish, or I'll save drafts with links to tutorials that I've found. Anyway, this is one of those tutorials that I meant to share with you many months ago - better late than never!

Angharad Handmade is a UK blog written by Helen, who describes herself on her profile as "a mother of three, supposedly a housewife, though chores don't fill me with enthusiasm. I love to spend my evenings knitting and sewing while the children sleep (in theory!)" - I can definitely relate to that! Well, not the mother of three bit, although it does seem like that with T on occasion! Helen makes lovely bags and purses and sells them in her etsy shop.

Anyway - the tutorial! Well, after making lots of jewellery from my tutorials and buying a few special pieces from my website, you need somewhere to keep them safe, don't you? Helen's jewellery roll is the perfect solution, and her tutorial comes with step by step photos that even I could follow easily - and remember that I am more of a "collect lovely fabric and great tutorials but rarely actually make them" kind of girl.

photo copyright Angharad Handmade

You can find Helen's jewellery roll tutorial here.

Friday 8 July 2011

A quick peek

Just a couple of photos to show you. I've been finishing off quite a few pieces of jewellery this week, some of which I half made as examples for my college classes last year. I thought it was about time I set the stones, finished the filing, soldered on bails etc so that I could put them on my stall at Winchester on Sunday. I haven't had time to take photos of those, but I did photography two new bracelets I've made, both made to the same design as the poppy bracelet I made last week. That first one is definitely mine!

The first uses another of Mindy's gorgeous poppy beads - just look at the colours and detail on that! The second uses a beautiful soft pink bead with silver and black highlights, and I'm sorry to say that I cannot for the life of me remember who made it. I know it was a UK designer, but I bought it (and another very similar long bicone) a few years ago and never kept a note of who made it. I can remember that I made a necklace that sold very quickly with the first bead, but that's all! If anyone knows who might have made it, please do let me know! Both bracelets fasten with one of my handmade clasps, and all the chain and rings are hand made too. The clasp fastens on any of the links so that you can wear the bracelet as loose or as tight as you please. The cupped shape of the clasp and the fact that it's made of a couple of layers of silver causes it to make a gentle tinkling sound as you wear the bracelet - I love that!

Both bracelets will be on my stall at Winchester Guildhall on Sunday so I haven't put them on the website yet, but if you'd like one and you can't make it to Winchester then email me!

Handmade Winchester

It's the third annual summer Handmade Wincester Fair on Sunday! There will be over 50 stalls selling gorgeous goodies, and every single one of those goodies will have been made by the person standing behind the stall selling them. I love the atmosphere of this show. It's definitely the friendliest and most supportive one I do, partly because many of us who show and sell our work there knew each other through blogs and forums before we met in real life at the first show - it felt like a reunion, and the fairs last summer and Christmas were even better!

And if the Fair and the delights of Winchester aren't enough, Sunday is also the Winchester Farmer's Market, the largest Farmer's Market in the UK and, according to the Guardian newspaper, the best in the UK as well. All in all, a fantastic day out!

Thursday 7 July 2011

Think I need to tidy up....

This is what happens when I have lots of things to finish off, lots of projects to work on, filing some while others are in the pickle after soldering, preparing several piece so I can solder or drill or polish them all together. Please please tell me that I'm not the only one who works like this!!

The mess been made slightly worse by the fact that until this afternoon I was only in the workshop for maybe 45 minutes at a time during Jamie's naps or after cooking (and eating!) tea etc. This afternoon, however, was Jamie's first afternoon with the childminder who has looked after Ben a couple of days a week for the past few years. I felt horrible driving away, but I know he'll love it there as his brother does and now I've spent some time hammering and soldering I FEEL SOOO GOOD!! Better mentally than I have in months, and I just know I'll sleep well tonight. And before my Mum panics about the last sentence (hello Mum!), it's not that I've been feeling horribly down about what's gone on with my health so far this year, it's that with all the hospital appointments coupled with the normal school stuff with Ben and looking after two young children I've been feeling a bit harassed, as if I've been rushing around constantly and haven't had time to stand still and take stock of things. Now I feel human again.

Amongst the tools, scrap silver and coils of wire are two new bracelets waiting for their clasps, handcrafted chains and some new earrings. I'm still using the cupcake tin to keep beads etc for projects tidy - such a simple yet effective idea! And talking about those new bracelets and chains, my first job while Jamie is napping tomorrow morning is to take some photos so I can show you my new pieces for the show on Sunday. And talking about the show, Handmade Winchester now has it's own facebook page where you can see details of the shows and information about the crafters show their wares - you can find it here - www.facebook.com/handmadewinchester

Monday 4 July 2011

Giveaway winner!

So much for getting Ben to pick the winners out of a hat on Saturday and taking pictures to show you! I tried explaining to him that pictures of him where far more interesting to look at than screen shots of the random number generator, but he was having none of it - lego models were, apparently, far more important. I have to admit that I then got seduced into helping him build a fleet of spaceships and airplanes that can also swim under water, and then took the boys out to play with friends and then did some gardening, which is why I'm only just now getting round to telling you who won - very sorry! I will do better with this month's draw, promise.

Anyway, here are, finally, those lovely screen shots....

The winner in the blog comments draw is Helen Bracey - I discounted the comment I made and a duplicate comment that snuck in there.

The winner in the newsletter mailing list draw is Sarah Rees

Congratulations ladies! Helen, I don't have your email address or any other way of contacting you, so please email me or use the "contact me" page on the website! You can choose either a shiny or oxidised finish to your earrings.

I'm afraid that I'm going to be a bit quieter than usual this week as I'm getting myself organised for a busy weekend. On Saturday it's the Bangles workshop, which I'm really looking forward to as it's my first workshop since November - and I love making bangles! On Sunday it's the Handmade Winchester show, our third summer show. Each year the show has got bigger and better. So, there won't be much chat from me this week, but I'm going to try to take some photos to show you as I finish off some pieces that have almost taken root on my workdesk. I've also got a couple of commissions to work on and a magazine article that I'd like to finish this week. Subject to Jamie's naps, of course!

Friday 1 July 2011

What will they think of next!

The draw for June's giveaway earrings will be tomorrow morning, but in the meantime have a look at this gold machine - what do you think?!


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