Monday, 29 October 2007

Who wants to be back? Not me!

This is what I was doing on Saturday 27th October ........sigh! We had a day trip to an island called Aegina and spent the day pottering about,

eating squid and fish at a taverna on the beach, visiting a local archeological site

and picking up shells.....jealous yet?

We stayed in Athens with my sister and had several days in the city - we visited the El Greco exhibition, which was amazing. The paintings looked so fresh and new especially considering they were painted over 500 years ago. His style of painting also seemed very modern compared to other artists of that time.

We had a day looking at the bead shops, and I came home having spent far too much money on a sack of beads and findings. I didn't take any photos of the big shops as I was too busy rummaging through their stocks in a bead frenzy, but down in the flea market, Monastiriki, they also have several bead shops....

...although by this time I'd had enough and didn't buy anything from here. We went and had some souvlaki on a street corner, looked at all the stalls and then wended our weary way back home.

I even had some time to do a bit of crafting - thank you to Tracy J who gave me a link to a Amigurumi bear pattern just before I left - and made these little chaps:

I also fell in love with a little bag my sister made - the photo doesn't really show the workmanship - all fully lined and beautifully sewn. She was wondering how these bags would sell over here - perhaps you can give me your thoughts!
And so today it is back to work, and I have already done three washing machines full - ho hum!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Ai Chihuahua!!!

I know, I know, I should be finding better things to do, what with going on holiday very very shortly, but I just couldn't resist sitting in front of the 'The Green Mile' on tv last night (possibly one of my favourite films ever) and working on this little chihuahua. I found the pattern on the net and it just begged to be made. SOLD!
I really am going now - see you all in a week or so and yes I will have pictures. I'm just wondering how much wool, felt and stuffing I can fit into my suitcase........

Amigurumi Monkey Madness!

Since buying the Japanese Felt Mascot book, I have been enthralled with the style of these toys and keep looking on the net at all the books that are available - I know what I'll be asking for for Christmas this year! There is also a type of toy called Amigurumi (literally crochet doll) which I feel I could get addicted to as well - I found a picture of a little monkey with his banana shoulder bag and just had to try and make my own. Not so easy when all you have is a fuzzy print from a small illustration on the computer. My first attempt is the larger one - I think he is very cute but he wasn't small enough. Yesterday while having another search, I came across some basic instructions for these Amigurumi toys and realised where I had gone wrong, so had another go using their technique and thus came about the smaller monkey. I'd still like him to be even smaller, but now I have got the idea maybe I can experiment further. More to come I feel!

I shan't be posting for a while - I'm off to see my sister in Athens. I am definitely planning an excursion to the big bead shops and will hopefully be coming home with another big bag of booty! This time, after a year of making and selling jewellery, I have a better idea of what to look for and what to avoid, although I bet I still come back with some beads just because they are pretty....

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

A Surprise Parcel & Rather Wonky Dog

After a hard day at work today (teaching art to 6/7 years olds....) it was lovely to come home and find a parcel waiting for me from my friend Eleni in Boston. She had said she was going to send me some turquoisonite beads but when I opened the envelope, all the above came out! So I have lots of goodies to play with as well as a picture of her artists' loft apartment(wish they had things like that here!) and a Greek recipe for dandelions complete with photo. I must be rather odd because although I love everything, my favourite little bit is the piece of material with a grasshopper and a butterfly among the flowers - I am wondering what I can make to show the insects off to their best advantage. Thank you Eleni - that really brightened my day!
Sometimes you make something and it just doesn't turn out how you expect. The above little dog was made in brown chenille yarn which just would not knit up properly, no matter how small the needles or tight I kept it. As a result, the poor little chap looks a tad moth-eaten, with his stuffing showing and one ear definitely drooping (not unlike my own dog really - check back in the blog to see the resemblance!) So I decided to make him a little coat to cover up his leaky belly and used blue cotton yarn, which also decided to turn out rather lumpy and misshapen. So I am not sure what to do with him - should I put him up for sale at a lower price than all his buddies? Should I keep him out of sympathy? Should I offer him up for adoption on here? Please help me decide his fate! Scruff has been sold and has a lovely home with a small boy who says Scruff will be his best toy.......aaaaah!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Shells & Spirals

Been back at the jewellery, giving my eyes a rest after the felt cat! The above is a little necklace made with a gold seagull charm, tiny white cockle shells and blue glass beads, all hung on gold coloured wire. £15 + P&P
I got Bead Style magazine this week and saw a necklace made with thick wire spirals bound together with thinner wire and decided to have a go - so I shut the magazine thinking I had memorized the design and ploughed ahead with the old florists wire and thin silver wire, hung some blue glass leaves off it, made a silver chain and clasp, then opened the magazine and discovered my necklace bore very little resemblance to theirs! I think I went a bit OTT with the spirals and it's a bit like a very fancy piece of armour...but I do like it! I decided to quit while I was ahead and not hammer the wire flat as in the magazine - knowing my luck, I'd ruin two hours work! (I had already managed to kick over my large tray full of beads/findings/wire/shells - great......) £15 + P&P
This is a simple chain in dark blue wire with bright pink glass beads (the photo doesn't show just how bright they are) and five dark blue faceted glass beads as focals at the bottom. The chain is quite long, it goes over the head with no clasp. £15 + P&P

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Little Grey Felt Cat

Finished the above last night - it is definitely quicker now I know what I am doing! This little chap is in grey felt, and this time has tiny buttons on the leg joints as specified in the pattern, as well as a leather collar with a tiny silver bell - my touch! He has a cosy purple felt bed, a stripy ball to play with and a can of food + bowl. He is 3 inches from nose to tip of the tail and stands 2 inches high. Set is £10 + P&P SOLD!

Just discovered a terrible clash of dates - I've been doing all this work for various Christmas fairs coming up and today found out that the main one, All Saints School, is on 1st December which is the date I have already arranged to go to the massive bead fair at Sandown Park - can't back out of the latter as my sister and niece are coming all the way from Athens especially for it! So I will have to look out for someone who can stand in for me on that day - any of you reading this who were planning to buy Christmas presents from me (I know there are a few of you who visit this blog) I WILL have a stall, just not too sure who will be in charge of it on the day!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Mozzy - a rather fine cat!

Having delivered this portrait of Mozzy to it's proud owner today, I can now release it on here! This portrait was 'painted' using Derwent Drawing pencils again, with acrylic to bring out the whiteness of the bib and paws. Sometimes pet portraits can be a chore, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was a bit of a challenge as I had to combine several photographs to get the pose and colouration correct, but it just seemed to go well right from the start and I was quite sorry to finish it! I actually got to meet Mozzy when I took the painting round today and was very happy to see he matched his portrait - phew!

Talking of cats, another felt cat on the way - he needs a face before I can show him though!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Frog & Opal

Frog and Opal - sounds like the name of an upmarket pub! Anyway, here are a couple of necklaces I made last night. The first one is using the beautiful tree frog bead from Clearly Glass (check out their website on the link to your left) and it caused me a lot of grief! I had thought to do one of my vine/leaf creations, but after trashing my bead stash looking for suitable beads, shattering endless green glass leaf beads (I am not the most disciplined of workers to say the least...), throwing away mangled pieces of wire, I decided that simplicity would be the best way to go for this as the bead is so special it barely needs any embellishment. So it is on gold-plated wire, with a few little coils, and some vintage AB faceted beads that pick up the light.
Even that was a struggle, working out which way to attach each link so that the necklace would lie flat when worn - so it may look simple, but a great deal of thought and effort went into it!
£25 + p&p

At the weekend we went to a local craft fair, and on one stall with jewellery made from semi-precious stones, the lady had a little chest of loose stones for sale. In amongst them were three gorgeous milky opalescent stones - I don't think they actually are opals or they wouldn't have been 50p each! So I quickly nabbed all three and spent the rest of the day holding them up to the light going 'oooh...aaahhh..pretty......' The above is the first necklace with a cube shaped stone wrapped in silver wire with a spiral. It is then hung on a longer link with a clear glass bead and attached to a silver link chain with clear seed beads. This is slightly longer than I normally make these chains, so the pendant hangs just above your cleavage if you have one! It is for sale at £15 + P&P but if it's not snapped up soon, it might just find it's way into my personal collection!

Thank you everyone who posted kind comments about the black fluffy dog (Casper is his name according to my daughter...) - that doesn't mean I am making another one any time soon!

Sunday, 7 October 2007

A Shaggy Dog Story....

While browsing the fancy wool aisle at Hobbycraft last week, my partner said 'Wouldn't it be good if you were to knit one of your little dogs in this?' and handed me the softest, fluffiest eyelash yarn. I hmmed for a bit , then thought what the hell and put a few balls in the basket. One week later although I am very pleased with the result, I vow not to do that again!
The yarn was thick, too thick for the needles stated in the pattern, which made it very hard on the hands holding it all together; it was VERY hairy, so if a mistake was made I couldn't see how to fix it and if a stitch was dropped, I had to unravel it and start again; and it was very black, so I couldn't see if what I had knitted was ok or not.
However, I struggled on - I'm not one to give up on a project - amd this is the result. He is twice the size of previous knitted dogs and quite a chunky little chap. He still has the moveable legs, a cheeky expression and a special knitted red coat (twice the size too...grr!).
He is already very popular in our house - I've had to save him from the real dog's mouth a couple of times. For some reason our saluki thinks I knit for his benefit and I have to hide all works in progress or he decides to add his own touches - usually unravelling the most expensive and delicate ball of yarn I have at the time - and he loooved this one. Luckily he doesn't destroy toys, just carries them from one room to another in a purposeful manner....
And my daughter was seen to be cuddling him and chuntering on how nice he would be to cuddle in bed. If she had her way, everything I make would be in her bedroom and I'd never sell anything!
I've not decided on a price yet - still to decide whether I can face makinig double sized accessories!
The above is a scarf made in a tape yarn in the colours of the sea. I had originally thought the pattern of it would echo wave shapes, but the way the yarn has formed itself into a scales, I think it looks more like a snake! £10 + P&P

I have finished my commission of a portrait of a cat, but will not be posting it here until the lady who commissioned it has seen it - she should be the first I think! Watch this space!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

More Sea-Glass, Fish and a Frog.....

After our visit to the beach the other day, I now have a few bits of sea-glass to work with. I made the above pendant with a large piece which must have been the top of a bottle at some time. I didn't think it needed any more embellishment, so have strung it on a simple leather thong. £10 + P&P
The middle necklace is a piece of brown glass with gold-plated wire; one side of the chain is wire spirals, the other is wire and coppery glass seed beads. This is a very 'warm' looking necklace, as the gold-plated wire has an antique look to it. £15 + P&P SOLD
The end pendant is not made of sea-glass but with a couple of deep turquoise frosted beads bought at the last bead fair I went to. They are mounted on silver wire and hung on a simple leather thong. £10 + P&P SOLD
I also made the above bracelets last night (talk about being on a roll!) The first one is made with AB coated pale blue glass fish alternating with clear glass cube beads, all on silver wire. Looks really good on as the beads shine and shimmer. £7 + P&P SOLD
The second bracelet is for a child and made with a selection of soft pink beads and silver wire. This one was for a commission and is already SOLD

The above is one of the fabulous hand made glass beads that I bought from Clearly Glass. I had trouble getting the beads to stand up and stay in focus, so this is the best picture I can get for now - he is a cute little green tree frog with pale spots on his back, sitting on a big blue/black glass bead. The other one I have is slightly smaller, with a bright red frog on a mottled red bead. I am still working out how to use these to their best advantage as they really need to be seen upright to be appreciated. If you would like similar beads, check out Clearly Glass on the links to your left - they are very helpful and extremely reasonably priced.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Bunny Purse

I've been back at the felt animals - this is a little bag/purse, about 10 inches from top to toe. She is wearing a little flowery felt dress with a pink corsage, and buttons on the back. There is a wooden bead handle that looks like a necklace, and the back has a zipper. This was a lot of fun to make - not as fiddly as the previous ones, thank goodness! £15 + P&P SOLD!
Lots of other projects in the pipeline - wait until you see the fantastic tree-frog beads hand made by Clearly Glass....