Sunday, 30 December 2007

A Happy New Year to you all....

Firstly, I hope all of you out there in Blogland have a happy, healthy and productive New Year - may you get all that you are hoping for.

The above is a necklace that has been in my mind for weeks now, since first seeing these fabulous vintage zebra charms from My Vintage Charms and since being given the very special hand-made zebra patterned glass bead by Laura Sparling. Check out Laura's work, she is one very talented lady! It's a very simple piece as I feel the bead and charm should be left to speak for themselves, so I have hung them on gold-plated wire with black seed beads and the whole thing is just below choker length. If you feel you would like this for yourself, please contact me.

I was just playing with some of my new Greek beads after finishing the zebra necklace and came up with a little suede thong and ribbon necklace, using porcelain birds and soft blue wooden beads. These little birds are so cute and I can think of all sorts of ways to use them - earrings, I think next! This one is £12 + p&p

Have a good New Year's Eve - don't drink too, too much!

Friday, 28 December 2007

...He's not stopping....

Just a quick little felt cat (who just will not be photographed well because he's black) that I whizzed up last night as a last minute birthday gift for one of my son's friends. Don't you just love being given these things to do with less than 24 hours to spare? Hope she likes him!

Still not got to do any beading - aaargh! I'm very concious of having less than a week left of the school holiday until I go back to work and while I am achieving some things (the painting is flying along thank goodness!) the rest of it has had to take a back seat due to the season and unexpected events - who else has managed to break the oven two days after Christmas? We did find a local spares shop open - lucky,lucky - and my partner spent nearly an hour last night fitting the new element and then not understanding why it kept blowing the fuses again.....well, it helps if you re-wire the main cable wires in the correct order! Poor chap, it was late and he was tired - and it did give me a chance to be smug for a short while when I noticed the problem, which doesn't often happen with anything technical!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Little Felt Bugs!

The above are two little felt bugs made with patterns from my new Japanese Nuigurumi book. I started with the little winged ant/glow worm as it is one of my favourite of the designs, and followed with the simple little worm. Using my new daylight lamp, it makes sewing on the sofa so much easier - and quicker! I don't know which creature to make next, especially as there are also a lot of new beads to be played with.....choices, choices!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

It's Boxing Day - Hooray!

Thank goodness that's all over for another year! Am I the only person that prefers Boxing Day to Christmas Day? Although yesterday was actually very nice indeed, I like today when I don't have to cook, I don't have to worry about what's been forgotten and best of all, I can sit and play with my new presents!
I was given some excellent gifts, a selection of which is above (no, not the tatty-looking sleepy dog, he's been mine for a very long time...) and I can't wait to get cracking on 'making stuff'! Somehow, my family all got it right this year for which I'm really grateful - no soap or candles, hooray!! The beads and fabric flowers are from my sister in Athens; my son unwittingly bought me the very book I have been hankering after for months from Japan; and my eldest brother, bless him, bought me Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful - if he went in a shop and asked for that, I wish I'd been there! My super-wonderful partner gave me a clip on daylight lamp so I don't have to go blind while crafting in the evenings, and my other brother gave me a double Led Zep album - excellent!
After three hours in the kitchen and half an hour on the table, this is what's left - sorry to those of you suffering from weak stomachs today! Foolishly, I watched this year's Jamie Oliver Christmas special and felt really inspired to try a lot of his tips for the Christmas lunch. Well, one and a half hours in to the cooking, I was regretting this decision with a vengeance! The chestnuts I bought for the sprouts were mainly rotten and most were thrown away, I overboiled the damn potatoes and parsnips 'cos I got sidetracked , didn't have enough rings on which to cook the veg, cranberry sauce (yes, I make my own - what an idiot...), bread sauce (packet!), gravy; it took two of us to manhandle the turkey on to a platter to be carved - at one point my son was hanging on to it for dear life as it slipped floorwards....
But it was all ready at the same time, was delicious and we staggered round a token dog walk afterwards encased in a rosy glow from the beer, bottle of Merlot and over-brandied Christmas pudding - we like to see it flame, so my partner set fire to it twice!

Today it is Bubble and Squeak for lunch - for those of you uninitiated, that means mashing all the leftover vegetables and stuffing in a large bowl, adding some caramelised onions and frying the lot til it's crispy (and bubbling and squeaking) - yum!

And finally - I don't normally do this - here is the half-finished painting I have been working on over the past few weeks. As the prospective owners have had their preview, I feel I can give the rest of you a peek too. This is such FUN to paint and my only gripe is that with getting ready for Christmas I didn't get as much time to do it as I'd have liked. So I repeat, it's Boxing Day - hooray!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Here's a very little monkey who appeared yesterday - got a new Amigurumi booklet from E-Bay last week and this is the first chance I've had to try out one of the patterns. They are not authentic Japanese, but there are some cute ideas in there anyway.

So who is ready for Christmas? Well, me pretty much! All I have left to do is buy one more present, wrap everything and defrost the turkey. Before you jeer and throw sprouts at me, this is a first in our household - I'm usually panicking round about now and getting in a right old strop at everyone and everything. I'm not too sure how it happened this year, especially with working and various other art'n'craft commitments at the moment - maybe I'm just getting better organised in my old age! (Or my standards are slipping....)

This is probably the last post (sound of a bugle??) until after Christmas, so I'd like to wish all of you a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a bright and fulfilling New Year. Thank you to all of you who pop by here with your kind and encouraging comments, and a double thank you to those of you who buy what I make!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Giraffes & Zebras

At last, the giraffes and zebras I keep on about! After clearing up my huge pile of crafting supplies, which have been cluttering up the kitchen for months, in order for us to be able to sit down to eat our Christmas dinner next week, I then got half of it out again to get started on these. To start with, as the charms come in left and right sets, it seemed a good idea to make earrings. As the charms are quite large, a lot of the beads I had set aside to be used with them are too much, so these are quite small and simple. The giraffes have a little amber lampwork bead each and are on gold wire. The zebras have three faceted black glass beads, and are also on gold findings. Each pair is £10 + P&P

Anyone who loves these charms as much as I do should visit My Vintage Charms - Emma has a huge selection of vintage and kitsch charms.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Chunky Waistcoat

On my birthday we went to Eastleigh for shopping (got a great full length waterproof coat with hood for walking the hounds - thus guaranteeing that we won't have any more rain this winter...) and whilst there we popped into Lydll. Now you wouldn't think in a grocery-centred store you would find yarn, but I did - a pack of six balls of chunky navy wool and a No.8 circular needle for £6.99 - woohoo! Never one to pass up a bargain, bought it, knitted it and the above is the result.
It's an asymmetrical waistcoat with a large side trimmed with a tassel to be flung over one's shoulder in a rakish manner and thus covering your front; a patterned smaller side, and the back has an inverted v shape hemline and a chunky cable up the centre. I am so pleased with this - it was a pattern hidden away in an old magazine and didn't look like much in the yarn they used. The added bonus is that when I ironed and shaped it, I discovered (by the smell of old sheep!) that it was also pure wool - what a bonus!

So I'm off to swan around at work (last day of term - thank the Lord!) in my new knitting....

Monday, 17 December 2007

Sneaky Peek

The above is a set I was commissioned to make a couple of weeks ago, finally finished after I managed to locate the thong. Incredible how I had to travel about 50 miles to find any dark brown suede thong - I wonder who bought it all in our area!!

Very excited as I have ordered some brass giraffes and zebras from My Vintage Charms which should be arriving tomorrow if I am lucky. I have already got plans for the zebras, with special beads ready and waiting! I also somehow ordered some pink glum monkey charms, some brass dove & heart charms and a large cabochon with a picture of flamingoes on this space!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

....And the Winner is.......

Good morning campers! How many of you have already checked in to see if you are the winner? Well, after putting all the names in a mug and asking my daughter to pull one out...
...we had a look and the winner was......

Congratulations - as one of my best customers anyway, you'll soon have more of my jewellery than I do! I'll pop that in the post as soon as I have your full address.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Blue Bird of Happiness...

As well as working on a set of commissioned jewellery last night (can't show you as I haven't quite finished yet - need brown suede thong...) , I also made the above little necklace. This has as it's focal point a vintage brass flying swallow, and I have put him on a hand-made gold plated wire chain with some dark blue glass hearts and seed beads. It is choker length and I absolutely adore it! I will be selling this for £15 + P&P but feel it necessary to order another swallow and make one for myself! Better get in quick if you want it before I just keep it anyway..

One and a half more days left to put your names down for the Christmas Giveaway - it has been very exciting seeing from which corners of the world people are visiting my blog from.

Next post will be the announcement of the winner - not doing anything tomorrow as it is my birthday and I am being taken out shopping and hopefully being waited on hand and foot by my adoring family........well, I can dream can't I? For those of you who have the temerity to ask, I shall be forty-mutter-mumble-cough years old..........sigh!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Christmas Giveaway - 2 More Days

Just to let you know you have two more days to enter my Christmas giveaway (see below a couple of posts!). I shall be drawing the winning name out of my hat/bowl/paper bag on Sunday and posting the name shortly afterwards. So if you haven't entered a comment, now's your chance - I repeat, I'll post it to anywhere!

Carnival, Red Beads & Zebras...

I can't believe time is passing and I have so little to show for it! I've not been doing nothing the past week, honest! I have made a couple of necklaces using some new beads - the above is one I just can't help calling 'Carnival' - the beads just look like a celebration, and I have added a gorgeous vintage charm (Thanks,Emma) in the shape of a hot air balloon. The whole thing is nice and summery, an antidote to the rubbish wet and cold weather we have been suffering here in the UK! This one is £18 + P&P

The above is a chunky red and gold necklace, very festive for the time of year! These are some red glass beads with foil centres on a hand-made gold wire chain with red seed beads. This one is £15 + P&P

Finally, this is absolutely, positively the last ever zebra bracelet in this style! I took apart another bracelet I had made that hadn't been as successful and went back to the 'winning' formula of black and silver. There are only two zebra charms like this left, enough for a pair of earrings but no more bracelets, and Emma at 'My Vintage Charms' is unable to find any more. So if you buy this you will be one of four people in the whole world (one of whom is me!) that have one - can't get more exclusive than that really! As you can see from the picture, it is £10 + P&P

Other than the above, I have been painting like mad, getting as much done of my doggy commission as I can. It's looking good so far, but I'm not showing it's early stages. I have another commission to get on with straight afterwards, and possibly another one after that. It's all good!

I've also been knitting a scarf for a friend who gave me lots of lovely black mohair yarn, which was fun; and also trying to get some of the 'paid' knitting done (yawwwwn...) Add Christmas to the equation, it's been a busy week - roll on the holidays...

Friday, 7 December 2007

Bah Humbug!

Since posting about my giveaway, I have only received one person's comment entering the draw. Now I know that at least one other person has tried to reach me - Penny, you are now officially entered - and failed. If anyone else has tried to leave a comment and not seen it come up here, it's not because I am screening e-mails but because I just haven't received any! So please do try again, and if you fail, please e-mail me properly and let me know so that I can enter you. Hopefully this will be sorted soon!
Woohoo, I found all your comments! They were hidden away on the blog's inner workings and had never come through to my e-mail account. Sorry about the technical hitch, I'll check there again just in case over the next few days. Thank goodness that's sorted!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

'Tis the Season to be Jolly........

Well, I promised a Christmas giveaway, and here it is. The above necklace is what is on offer - it is made with a nice piece of sea glass wrapped in green wire on a hand made green chain with clear seed beads.

If you would like to have an extra Christmas present this year, put your name down on the comments list and I will hold the draw in about ten days. So, it is time for all you lurkers to come out of the woodwork, say hello and see if you can win a prize. I don't mind where in the world you are, I'll send it anywhere - just can't guarantee you'll get it by Christmas.

Good luck!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

A Big Thank You...

Thanks to everyone who visited my stall on Friday and Saturday at the Tavistock and All Saints Christmas fairs, especially those lovely people who bought my wares! It was interesting to see what went and I now realise that I have to make a lot more little felt/crochet animals in future!!!! Good! All the hard work and rushing around was worth the effort and we shall have a very nice Christmas in our house this year - thank you!

In amongst that, I have also been entertaining my sister and niece. We went to the Big Bead Fair Saturday - no pictures to show you because it was absolute chaos in there! So many people (mainly women) crowding round so many stalls, all eager to get their sticky mitts on the precious things...... We battled our way round, spent our money on various treasures, had a hot tea and a cold bacon butty outside on the steps in the cold and then decided we had had enough! So much for getting an 'early bird' ticket to beat the crowds - the crowds all had the same idea!

Some more good news for me - I got another commission, from Greece this time, for a painting of a young lady and her horse. Guess I know what I'll be doing over the next couple of months, together with the previous doggy commission!

More on the Christmas giveaway in the next post - just now deciding what will be the booty!