Sunday, March 25, 2012

Recycled Shell Wearable Art Necklace

Wearable Art Necklace
I've got a collection of these shell piece in my stash. I just can't resist damaged or broken items when they come my direction. Obviously shops can't sell broken or damaged items as new so a lot of the time they are just thrown away. I like to think of them as nature pushing you towards a design plan.

The top of this shell was broken but the rest of it was fine so I used seed beads to make am asymmetric freeform peyote feature bail.

Next I had some sari silk from Stef Francis which was just crying out to be used. A little wire with seed beads threaded on to it held the silk tassel in place.

It took me a while to figure out what to hang the pendant on. I'd just been focussing on one step at a time. Letting my ideas flow organically from one step to the other.

With my pink and purple palette of beads still laid out in front of me I figured I'd make a piece of seed bead rope until an idea came to me. Duh!

I threaded the rope through the bail and it hung beautifully.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung

Like the strange weird recycling hippy person that I am, I took advantage of the lovely weather on the Equinox to survey the estate (ie the back garden) with G and see what the plans are for this year.

DSC00589We emptied a few over grown pots which we didn't managed to do before the bad weather came in and found a great surprise! Potatoes!

Looks like I didn't managed to harvest them all last year and they took matters into their own hands.

A few of them were happily sprouting away so I covered them over again and left them to their own devices and added a few new seed potatoes to the potatoes bins to help the crop along a bit too.

Throughout the growing season I like to earth them up so we get extra crops. Every time there is 6" of growth above the surface, I add any compostables I can find to cover them over. Usually it is paper shredding mixed with soils from old plant pots, but I add a few other bits and bobs in there. Scraps of cotton fabric and old shredded towels that are way past their best and not suitable for upcycling, egg shells, snippets of wool, vegetable peelings etc. As long as it covers them over and will compost down then it's ok by me.

Whilst we were outside a little robin came to watch us. The creatures around here seem to be very tame. They seem to come out to say hello whenever we are around especially Mr and Mrs Blackbird, Robin, and Squirrel. The least I say about the pair of pigeons the better as they never seem to stop "showing their affection" for each other.

DSC00601And as a little homage to Robin I finished making this little chappy who has been waiting for a ribbon hanger for months!

He's hanging on our wipeboards which as you can see from the splodges on them are quite well used.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quartz Necklaces

Blue Quartz Crystal Front Fastening Necklace
I'm finally getting round to listing the backlog of items I have made for sale on Etsy.

Whilst I'm on Etsy I've been hanging around the forums a little, in particular the British team Forum. They are so lovely and friendly on there. And helpful too.

I've been given a critique of my shop which has given me lots of extra work to do in my shop to get it up to scratch, and it's so good to see the work of so many talented designer makers based in the UK.  I recommend a wander over there if you have an Etsy shop.

Rose Quartz Freeform Peyote Necklace
These are a couple of quartz based necklaces I have made. The top one is simple but effective. Each of the leaf shapes are made from tiny glass seed beads threaded onto silver plated copper wire and bent into shape.With the toggle clasp being at the front of the necklace, it's so easy to put on and take off yourself. I frequently have to ask G to rescue me from a necklace at the end of a night out!

And the pink necklace is an experiment of freeform peyote stich using rose quartz chips as well as seed beads to create a slightly assymetric statement piece.

As you can see from the close us, the chips sit in nicely where I have stitched the seed beads around them.  I think freeform peyote has to be one of my favourite styles of work to do to just chill out and relax.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mexican Lace Agate Necklace

I seem to have been distracted from listing a necklace on Etsy. I got part way through listing it when I realised I couldn't remember what stone the focal bead was. I posted a photo and found out from some very talented friends, and was all ready to carry on with the listing.

Then I put it on and looked in the mirror. I couldn't list it! I kinda fell in love with it and now it is mine Mwahahaha!

It was my first piece of spiral rope I had made too. I was taught in my lunch hour by a friend at work and then just carried on going with it when I got home. Very relaxing to make! but then I realise that I had no bail the right size for it. Eventually I found one on Etsy on sale by an American seller who had imported them from Israel.

So I put the project to one side and waiting for the bail to arrive. It fitted the rope. Woohoo!

And then none of my findings matched the metal of the bail. Noooooo!!!!

So off to work I went in the morning and went through all the picking bins to see if I could match the colours. (A huge perk of working in a bead warehouse) And eventually I found something.

So I think I may have become a little attached to it and here it stays.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Craft Stall Set Up

I've been playing around with craft stall layouts for a while but we've finally got there! After a few test stalls we've got set up down to 10 minutes from start to finish. Woohoo!

I thought I'd mention it today as I've just booked another 2 stalls at craft fairs. That's 6 booked so far for this year. Luckily G seems to be tolerating them, if not enjoying coming with me. It's quite hard doing a Craft fair on your own as you are stuck if you need to get more than one load of items from the car, or is you need a wee!

I think everyone has their "must have" items for a craft fair, but in my box of essentials I have:-

Table Cloths
Boxes (So that my items for sale are on different levels)
Jewellery stands
Easel and picture frame for displaying earrings
Pen and notebook
Business cards
Sticky tape
Tape measure
Set of pliers and some basic findings and clasps
Organza bags and carrier bags
Insurance certificate

That's all i can think of right now. is there anything you think might be an essential item when going to a craft fair?

(Ooh! And my first craft fair of the year is on April 28th all being well in Southwell, Nottinghamshire if anyone fancies a nice day out. Don't forget to say hello if you come along!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Busy Etsy Listing Day

I seem to have bought a gold leaf gilding kit. Oops. Looks fun! Will bring an extra bit of bling to my jewellery and wearable art projects too.

My roots have been dyed too so I'm not looking as bedraggled.

Botswana Agate Zig Zag Bracelet
Peridot and Gold Candle Holder
Dyed Magnetite and Jasper Necklace

Recycled Burgundy Cuff

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Freeform Peyote around Sea Pottery

Like a lot of people, one of my favourite days out is to the beach. However, I prefer to go somewhere which is gravelly and generally out of season when it is blustery and cold. A tradition I have is to go on Boxing day every year when it is nice and blustery and cold.

And I look for sea glass and sea pottery.

I've been keeping it safe for when I had a project to use it in and I finally found a way to use it! I've been reading Beverly Ash Gilbert's blog fora  while and couldn't resist buying her book "Beaded Colourways"

I had a flick through to see what I fancied having a go at first, then a bit of a read, and saw the gorgeous pieces using sea glass and found pieces in jewellery making and decided that it was time to drag out some of my sea pottery.

I'm quite happy how it turned out.  To be honest I was going to list it for sale on Etsy but it's another one of those pieces that I'm not sure I can bear parting with. Oops!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Christmas Tree Take Two

Remember our baby Christmas tree? He's grown even more! (For some reason I've decided he's male)

And he's got a friend now too! Our over wintering chilli has decided that now is the time to fruit. I've never over wintered a chilli plant before. Is that normal?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Absolute Beads Challenge Pack - March! (Including Challenge Bracelets #13 and #14)

I do like a good challenge when it comes to jewellery making. I like commissions where I have to incorporate random items into a piece of jewellery, or are just given a bag of beads and asked to make a necklace from them.

So I bought another challenge pack of beads from Absolute Beads. In fact, I paid for a 3 month subscription so I don't even know what I'm going to get before it lands on my doorstep. Whats the point of a challenge if you know what you are getting beforehand? And this is what I got.

I have to admit I was absolutely stumped. I took it to work to see if anyone could give me inspiration. They were quite stuck too. The charms were a bit too big for a charm bracelet. There was quite a  a lot of acrylics. And the dyed jade was just too big!

But then there was a plan! If I had a solid enough structure, then the charms wouldn't be too big. and the berry beads could be made into a beaded bead so that they sat well with the larger beads. Hooray!

But it was not to be. I couldn't get my beaded bead to work with the berry beads. More practice needed for that one. I just wasn't having fun on my chill out night in on my own but then I had another plan!

I knew I had a choker wire with a removable end ball so I threaded a few of the larger heavier beads on to the wire so that they were stable, and started wiring the other beads on using silver plated wire.

(The colours aren't right on my photo. I'm not the worlds best photographer and my camera not liking this colour is really confusing me. I want to list them in my shop for sale but can't as the colour isn't a good representation of it in real life and it would be far too misleading as advert.)

After I'd made a base row of wired on beads I wire on seed beads with a thinner gauge wire along the row, and then added the silver charms on the top. Lovely!

Next I wanted to tackle a large piece of the dyed Jade. This was just a case of stringing the beads on a wire, then adding chains and dangles. Voila!

There was still some more beads left though so carried on until I'd made a nice selection of items.

A macrame inspired floating style necklace using hand dyed threads from The Rainbow Girl

And a wirewrapped bracelet which matches the choker I made first off. I used a recycled bangle as the base and wire wrapped with textured wire I received in a  swap on Swap-bot

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Won a Prize from The Laal Bear!

Pyramid Knitting Bag
I read quite a few blogs (I'm a bit behind this week. Still 190 blog entries to browse though!) and enjoy seeing what other people make. One of my main reasons to blog here was to try to give a few project ideas back to the internet ether.

Imagine my surprise when I had an email from to say I had won a prize! And then when it arrived it was this gorgeous project bag! I'm very impressed! beautiful material and a lovely thing to have. Thank-you

Etsy Voucher for Mothers Day!

Special offer for Mothers day! 20% Voucher to use in my etsy shop. Just use the code MUM2012 when paying for your order. Treat your Mum!

Hand Dyed Thread - Challenge Bracelets #7 8 9 10 11 12

I love Etsy and I love finding artist made materials to combine with my reclaimed materials so when I found The Rainbow Girl I just had to try out some of her lovely thread so I bought these!

I found a few second hand bangles prime for upcycled so got together with a few simple macrame knots and started working away and came up with these stacking bangles.

I've listed them individually on Etsy so that people can choose what charm they fancy or combine them with other bangles they own for their own personalized set of bangles. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

Coral Fossil and Swarovski - Challenge Bracelet #6!

I think I tempted fate when I said I thought I was getting ahead of myself with my bracelet challenge on January 19th as I haven't blogged a new bracelet since! I'm hoping to make a bracelet a week for the whole year.

And my latest one I've got round to taking a photograph of is here! A wire-wrapped coral fossil bead that was all lonely in the discard bin of a local warehouse. All of it's friends were scratched and broken, but I rescued him! Doesn't he look lovely. I wonder if other people given their beads a gender?

Coral Fossil and Swarovski Bracelet

I put him with some friends. Some burgundy Swarovski glass pearls, Preciosa glass pearls, and some new old plated findings.

I'm impressed by the result and think I'm going to make a few more composition pieces

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Happy Day!

I'm just off to eat some breakfast (muffins and a banana!) before starting on my outstanding commissions.

I've one bag of jewellery repairs to do which includes redesigning a broken necklace, an earrings and brooch set incorporating some spinning wheel charms that were given to my client as a gift, and some pieces to design for use as kits.

I'll keep loading and unloading the dishwasher whenever the need arises, and fold cleaned laundry too.

Looks like a busy day for me!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Half Century in my Etsy Shop

I've been plugging away at it and finally got up to 50 items in my Etsy shop. I read in an article that to get a decent amount of traffic through your shop you out to have at least 100 items so that's what I'm aiming for and I'm half way.

My 50th item listed was this Rose Quartz chunky bangle. I'm a sucker for semi precious gemstone ships. I love the irregular shape of them, showing off that they are a natural stone.

Rose quartz is also the stone of Unconditional love, so ideal for a Mothers Day Gift.

And of course, the Rose Quartz bangle joins the other bangles I have made in this design. Quartz Crystal and Red Coral

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Christmas Tree

We bought a little living Christmas tree in a pot in December and I decorated him with handmade jewellery. Since then he's been sitting on the window sill and seems to be rather happy!