Gift horses

My life is currently  a juggling trick extrordinaire, flaming clubs, swords, an axe. While riding a unicycle. On a bed of nails. Wearing a blindfold. And all the things i want to do are the very things that have to go at the bottom of the to do pile. But such is life and while it keeps me away from posting as much as I want to, I just need to keep trying, trying to find time for the things that make me happy, the things I want to do amidst the ever increasing things I need to do. And try to squeeze in time to fill you in with the goings-on!

The babies are thriving – their first trip to the vets was to be spayed which thankfully all went well, despite the hangdog expressions when they were first brought home…



They are a joy to come home to after a long day at work, and never fail to make me smile in the morning, which at 5.30am is no mean feat.



How could you not smile at that?

There’s been a couple of birthays…and couple of presents using my new favourite bracelet design





And Ive had  a package of my own….my dad, who  is now  retired, likes to attend the local auctions. So I’d asked him to keep an eye out for any job  lots of jewellery I could upcycle, but not to  really  spend any money..

 He phoned one night to say he”d picked up a box and it was on its way.  Less than 5  pound  but  he didn’t  know if it was what i needed.

And so i  waited impatiently for the postman….  

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Repair, recycle, rejoice

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that I’m not a fashionista. I’d never buy something just because it was a designer label, or because X-celebrity wore it to that thing. Equally, I’ve no problem if you do, it’s just not for me. I get as much pleasure from getting a bargain buy for a couple of quid at a charity shop as from spending ten times that on one item. Which doesn’t mean I’ll turn down a bargain when ones presented to me. Like a cashmere jumper for £10 just because it had two little holes in it.

before….

and after. Very much a bargain for a small repair.

Now, the recycling! 

I finally got round to reusing some of the stuff my friend at work had given me. Mother’s Day was coming up and my mum loves that I can give life to something old, and I have one vivid childhood memory of my mother, dressing for Sunday church, putting on a bracelet, that she only wore on Sundays. I wanted to give her an everyday wearing one!

From this



I deconstructed the beads into respective sizes



Used a nifty jump ring design from Dorothy Wood’s  The Beaders Bible





And ended up with this





I really love how a bead can look so different, just by altering the setting. And I love the design so much that I’ve already made a couple more. I’ll save them for another post, because….it’s rejoice time. A year after losing my sweet Toby, the house is once more filled with binkying and leaping and happiness. Meet Daisy

And Millie

it’s a wonderful thing to get home from work and have a happy reaction! It’s lovely watching their individuality develop – though they do share a love of Lakeland catalogues, just like me!



A matching set

It’s quite hard to type while lying down, but here I am, trying to bring a little sparkle into a day that’s had me laid up with backache. My day did brighten a little when my sister texted me to say thank you for her present – a necklace and bracelet matching set.

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The problem with doing these bracelets as a surprise present means you have no idea what size to make them, and as my sister is a tiny greenfinch to my golden eagle, I had to come up with a fastening that would allow for flexibility of length. It’s not the prettiest, but it works. Plus the tie is underneath, but you know what? I’m actually loving the soft suede texture against the hard wire…..

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And there’s the fact I actually had cord that matched the colour of the beads I’d used, which was unplanned but serendipity!

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The necklace was a cheat recycle; I’d originally designed it as a ring, but the gauge of the wire was too low and made it bulkier than I liked, but adding a drop bead made it more pendant-like and I strung it on the same suede cord I’d used for the bracelet.

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I even managed to get them to her 350 miles away on time for her birthday, which is pretty good for me! She loves them and really, that’s all that matters, because that’s why I make things.

Recycling, up-cycling just not bicycling

Firstly, for those who’ve been along for the rid on the nest front, we’ve had two mornings of pretty hard frost in the last few days – like ‘having to scrape the car before I can see out’ frost. I’ve been worried about the my little egg guys, but yesterday saw mum and dad partridge very close to the nest, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’re checking in and know what they’re doing. So there’s that. And while we’re on the subject, we have a new addition to the window feeder – a blackbird. No-one’s told him it’s not meant for birds his size or weight and after a few bad landings and watching the others, he’s now got it figured out and manages to land and squeeze himself under the roof and eat all in one relatively graceful movement. He has also learnt that his tail wont bend no matter how much he tries to squish it against the window so that he can turn round. Smart guy. There also appears to be some kind of queuing system in place along the drystone wall amongst the blue tits, wagtails and bullfinches. The robins don’t seem keen on it, they’re queue jumpers, flying in from the other angle. Sneaky.

So on my to do list over the next couple of days is something thanks to my friend Annabel at work, who kindly donated some unwanted jewellery to anyone who wanted it. I picked three pieces and have plans….sort of.

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I’m thinking this pretty stone is going to become the pendulum piece in a wind chime, if I can find some little tubes when I go to the hardware store tomorrow. I’m thinking crocheted metalwork frame, and suspending the tubes either with clear fishing line or actually making it a feature and using ribbon and then either ribbon or crochet chain and bead up to a hanging point. It’s one of those “I’m not going to know until I start” things, I think.

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This bracelet is going to have several new lives! I’m looking at the little charms for…well, I don’t know yet, something will need charms sometime, I guess! The silver spacers I’m looking at for a necklace in crocheted wire, so it passes through and then fans back out, and also as a base for some biggish carved wooden beads, wrapped in fine wire. And the stones themselves can be used as centre points to a bracelet or necklace, I think.

Playing with prototypes

I’ve spent the last few days playing with prototypes, trying to come up with new designs, new ways of doing old things and just generally trying to learn new things. It’s not often I have enough time to do something like that, which somehow always feels a little like a waste of precious time as it’s not producing something you can give or sell. But I’ve had some enforced vacation time so amidst lots of pottering around achieving not very much, I’ve been playing.
I tend to do this with wool, for a couple of reasons. One, you can unpick wool when you go wrong, and when I’m trying new patterns and stitches I go wrong a lot. A huge lot. The other reason is that I have any amount of wool and its cheaper than wire. But also, once I’ve prototyped it’s nice to keep it for reference, or just for inspiration further down the line.
This is, I think, going to be a cross between a dreamcatcher and a wind-chime. The idea of making wind-chimes has gripped me recently, but I’m struggling on the actually chimey bit right now, so I’m concentrating on the top bit for the moment,, just envisage it in wire, with some tiny iridescent beads..

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This next one is a form of Bruge lace – totally new to me, but I think I’ve got it worked out right. Again, some beading would go on, maybe alternating inside and outside the loops, or just inside, in alternate pairs. Or maybe a big bead every three repeats or so. That’s half the fun, isn’t it – adding your own twist to things.

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FInally, a different direction. This started life as a ring, but the wire was too thick and bulky, I think. So I debated turning it into a pendant of some sort, but it felt like something was missing, so I added a little tear drop bead. I wasn’t overly keen on it but taking it out to photograph it this morning I’m liking it a bit more.

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The fun part is what Im going to do tonight, where I take my notebook, look at the design and try to decide where the beads go and how do I get them there!
What’s everyone else up to?

The Vanishing Lady

Yikes.

It’s been an awfully long time since my last post.

But that’s what happens when you work 12 hour days, with an hour commute at either end. We’re almost out of production, and as I’m possibly thinking about doing NaNoWriMo I guess I’ll need something to procrastinate on, so I’m going to try and do several short round ups every couple of days…

So, first up….

A crocheted cuff. I have to say I was so pleased with how this came out, even though its by no means perfect. But for a first attempt at crocheting with wire and using beads, I was really pleased. This is definately something thats going to be repeated and with some tweaking, I hope to be making it a regular on my shops when they’re up and running.

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excuse the bad image, atop my mac, but better ones down the line!

I was worried how fragile it was, but wore it to work and it survived quite happily being leant on as I typed and squished by proofs, so I guess its tougher than I think!

Here it is at the start, to give you a better idea….

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And another shot of the finished article

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The pattern itself is pretty simply and it also looks really nice done in wool – I did a test run first, before I tried with the wire – so it may be that I knock up a couple of those too for little christmas gifts. Which is not happening for AGES. I dont care what the shops say.

More tomorrow – I promise!!