Saturday 26 November 2011

Did you say beads? Job Lot Jewellery stash

Earlier in the week I went to see a lady who was giving up jewellery making - inasmuch that she was not making any more to sell.  As she had some stash surplus to requirements I jumped at the chance to buy it!
Lots of little seed beads and some bigger ones

Another nice mix of different sizes

I love these golden hearts with different colours in the glass

Findings - there are enough gold earring blanks to make pairs for hundreds I think!

A 'string' of shades of blacks/greys to be used in alls sorts of things - but I don't yet know what!!

More findings - including pins and coulottes

A little tiny box of these lovely colours -perhaps enough for a bracelet

More seed beads

These are those little self sealing bags - and I have used quite a lot already sorting out the stash

 A rather cute silver metal necklace - reminds me a bit of an Egyptian style
 Several packets of 'chilli peppers' some already make up into earrings and others just the bunches

Some little pendant gems

Some pairs of earrings mixed up with the beads

My desk - when I was discovering what was in the pile, and trying to colour sort it
 I bought these chunky bracelets for £10 each.
Not only do I think they are gorgeous - I can study them in detail

And use them as examples to get an idea of composition too

I bought this earring and necklace set - the beads are lovely seaweed green/blue and this pattern was a copy of and Egyptian set.

Oh, and this bag of charms came in the stash pile.
I have sorted them out now - and the bulk of them are 'halloween' themed.
Wolves, bats, and scary mask/skeleton faces.  There are also little hearts as seen on a bracelet above 'Made with Love' on them, some pendant blanks, a few stars, and fairies.

These should keep me quiet for some time!

Monday 21 November 2011

Silver Clay Workshop

Another tick on the 'Things to Achieve' list.

Saturday I went on a day long Silver Clay Workshop with the famous Sue  Heaser

Was I nervous - you bet!   But she is a lovely lady and has such a wealth of talent - and her work is awesome.  As you will see if you look at the link above to her website.

 This was my first attempt at the silver clay jewellery piece.  I am so very disappointed with it, and if the silver wasn't so expensive I would have binned it!  Sue is a brilliant tutor - it's me the pupil that's not very good.  I guess that stress had a lot to do with it.  A long drive on narrow country lanes all the way from where I live. Mist, then piercing sunshine which was in my eyes all the way, so I had to screw my eyes up to see as I didn't know the area, and I arrived with a headache!
I started off making an oblong with an art nouveau style flower impression on it which I loved.  Unfortunately I had stamped the impression on the hough as we call it where I live - a bit wonky, not quite straight.   I didn't honestly mind that - as I liked the imprint on it and would have worn it 'wonky'.  But I needed to do it again, and there are only so many times you can fold and roll the clay and this was my last 'chance'!  In my bag, I had taken along leaf cutters, and leaf rubber impressions that I used years ago in sugar craft - and it would have made a beautiful leaf - but I kind of felt too shy to mention it to Sue in case I offended her as she had an amazing array of things to leave impressions with!   The impression on this is made with a skeleton leaf, and when burnishing it after firing, I rubbed a bit too long so the pattern one side is 'shallow'.  I thought the silver would be as tough as a spoon, but as this is pure silver it is softer.
I should be proud with my first effort as a complete novice - but it's the 'perfectionist' in me that's disappointed.  The veining is black and it looks more pronounced in real life than the photo shows - but my photography skills are lacking - the silver just gleams.

The afternoon session - after a lunch break and a couple of paracetamols proved a bit easier for me - not a lot!  There was a lot of information to take 'on board' to understand the nature of the material and the drying and firing of it etc.  
Can you guess what the above is?   It's the reverse side of a teeny, weeny, charm - not even as big as a 1p!  The pattern is made by pressing a scrap of lace into the clay before drying.
It's a tiny, but very ornate cup and saucer - vintage style.  I need to buy some really 'smelly stuff' can't remember the name off hand - liver of sulphur or something like that.  Then I have dunk it in and keep doing it until it all goes black, then polish it again to reveal the silver which leaves the impressions black!  It'll really make it look good.
This is a tiny initial - again smaller than a 1p - and definitely needs the dunking treatment so that the flat impressions are black and the raised parts will be silver and really 'pop' - and will, I think, give it a Victorian look.
Am I gradually improving?
A teensy weensy fish - made with a scrap of leftovers - just as long as my smallest finger nail.  Again needing the dunking treatment to reveal its lovely fishy scales etc. 
And this last piece I like the best - although it is small!
It is just big enough for a pendant - and I am very proud of the texture made with lace on the back!

I have to say that I made this as perfectly as is possible - at least for me.  I didn't have any cutting or filing to do - so was rather chuffed and relieved I have to admit.

This is just as perfect as a real sea shell, with so much texture I just love touching it.   When I buy this 'soaking stuff' to turn it black then polish it, you should be able to see every single rib and detail.
The drive home was in thick mist and darkness - very nerve wracking but 

I bought a few basics from Sue's little sales table to start me off - and I was also pleased to be able to buy her gorgeous book.

I have to admit to being a bit of a 'groupie' and asked Sue to sign it for me - it'll not only be my Silver Clay 'bible' but a lovely keepsake of a very memorable day!
Thank you Sue - if you ever get to read this!

I am going to save up and do another of Sue's courses next spring - when the weather is nicer and the nights are lighter!

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Charm bracelet

I have been working on this for a couple of days now.  
Firstly I made the charm bracelet with just silver charms, and a couple of transparent beads to mark the clasps - and it looked a  bit bare.
But after looking at it - I decided that it could do with a bit more of Kath's stash.
So I started it over again.
The little charms are mine - but I thought they needed a bit of company with Kath's tiny weeney square beads in metallic green and metallic blue.
The clasps came from Kath too.
I can see a mistake - which I will rectify tomorrow - I'm too tired tonight!

Can you see?  The square bead on the top left should be in the next link nearer to the clasp.

It's difficult to photograph silver charms and metallic beads - the light reflects off them!
The charms are miniatures and the beads are teeny weeny so quite a challenge for me.

My 'Lotions  &  Creams' one to one workshop was cancelled this morning, and the poor tutor was very poorly with a really bad cold - she sounded terrible poor thing - so we re-booked for next week.

Every negative has a positive - or so the saying goes - so I wrapped up warm and off I went for an hour and a half walk around the village.   Kicking up leaves like a five year old along the little footpaths and alleyways around the village and through the church yard.  I walked from one end to the other and most of the little cul de sacs in between.   I muddied my shoes walking up the allotment and past the three bungalows which are being built where the pig sheds were.

Right up to the top of the field - not a soul up the allotments - but I spotted some chickens right at the top - half a dozen free ranging - I hope the plot holder realizes that there used to be foxes up there.
I wish that I had worn my welly boots  - I might have ventured over the ploughed field!

Postman's been!

I just love unusual bags and when I saw this on Magpies Collectables I just had to have it!
This is one side - there are three pockets that blend in exactly with the patterns.
And there are pockets inside too!

This is the reverse side - another beautiful panel.  It's a really strong bag, and thick too, and the inside is lined fully with and oriental pattern and the strap is in keep with the Oriental style too.
I chose the surface mail postage route as it's come all the way from Canada!  I didn't expect it to arrive until Christmas or after - according to web - so I was thrilled when it turned up early.

All that way by boat - what a journey it has been on.

Maggie even made me a handbag tissue holder as a gift - perfect for me as I always have tissues just stuffed in my bags and they end up getting crushed.    My camera battery went flat, so I can't show you inside  - but its beautiful - and as soon as Christmas is over I have my eye on a couple more!

Sunday 13 November 2011

The Craft Barn Blog Candy

Have you seen this?  It's one heck of a prize to celebrate their 600th follower!

Just click the link in my sidebar - it will take  you right there!

Saturday 12 November 2011

What can you do on a cold, miserable, drizzley day?

Well I decided to finish off the bracelet I started yesterday so popped out to buy some clasps.
The bigger beads came from my old button tin which I rediscovered Thursday.
They didn't look much in amongst the buttons and junk - but I like how they look now!
 The colours change all around each bead and really catch the light.

I am trying to incorporate something of Kath's in everything I make.
There were some small head pins so I used those on the smaller of the beads to attach them to the chain.

I sorted everything out - and there are a collection of little beads.
 I have used some from the little packet right in the middle, a mixture of tiny blue beads.

There's one either side of the magnetic clip at the top of the necklace chain, and ones either end of each of the beads which have a lovely metallic sheen to the glass and really make the 'button tin'  beads shine out!  (Although you can't see their beauty in these photos - poor light)

The earring hooks have all come from Kath's stash. You can see the little glass beads top and bottom.  They are the same colour in real life - but depending on how the light shines on them - they change colour.

I am getting so much neater using the header pins, making a ring loop and attaching them to the chains and earrings.  And also at making double ended loops and rings to attach the beads and clasps to the bracelets and necklace.

When I scrutinised the ones I have made in my two lessons - they now look very amateur - ish, so I am debating whether to take them apart - or wear them with pride as my first efforts.  
(The bits that look like a beginners efforts, are the wire wound loops - which don't show when the jewellery is being worn, unless  you absolutely scrutinise it!  So I think I will keep them as a reminder of where I started!)

Have you made jewellery?  Do you still?  If you have any links to your blogs with you projects on I'd love to see them.

 I am finding it a really calming and relaxing process - do you?

Thursday 10 November 2011

Jewellery Lesson No.2.

Well it wasn't a one to one lesson this time - so I struggled somewhat, and the technique took longer, but I did make a necklace and a bracelet.

So this is the bracelet - the big bead is central - I've just photographed it wonky.
The beads have a metallic finish except for the crystal ones.
 I used three beads to make the third charm from each end.

This is the charm style pendant.  
The tutor chooses the style and we get to choose the beads.
This weeks lesson concentrated on wirework - making loops etc.
Which we really stuggled with - but practice makes perfect and all that!

I have put beads either side of the clasp fastening, as I always struggle trying to find it when I try to do it up at the back.  There are a couple of glass beads with oriental calligraphy on them which are sweet.

This afternoon, I whizzed up the shop to buy some beads to make some earrings to match my bracelet.
More fiddley wire work - but I am finding it easier now.
Here is the bead board that Kath was using, when I visited her, and her red tweezers.
I am glad that I really concentrated when she was explaining things.

Here is a bracelet I am working on - I bought the chain, but forgot to buy the clasps, so back I'll go tomorrow to get some.
If you do jewellery making and don't have one of these boards they are great.  They are moulded plastic, and the top is suede like, so that prevents things slipping.  When you cut the wire - which you have to do a lot, instead of the bits of wire flying off sliding across with table, it hits the board and stays there.
The moulded sections are used for your beads and findings etc, and the measurements make it so easy to centre what you are doing - my bracelet looks askew as I laid it down when I had added the beads, but when making it, I could lay the beads out evenly where the markers are, and jiggle them about to get the design I like best.

   I spent a few happy blissful hours this afternoon, using Kath's board and tweezers and the earring findings are hers too.

And guess what - I found it so easy and never messed up anything!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Craft Room Treasure Hunt

There is a treasure hunt over at the Craft Room and also fortnightly challenges.   It's a great place to shop too - go have a look

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Flower Arranging

Well I was in for a bit of a surprise at our monthly flower arranging workshop.  It was a nice distraction working there - you can just concentrate on what you are doing and your brain switches off to everything else.

I was given a large and a small foam ball and some foliage.
What would you do with those?
With some pins from my tool box, I used Laurel leaves back to front because I loved the underside best

And layered them around and around  overlapping them as they would in nature - I liked the effect.
My tutor said that it looks like an artichoke - that was a compliment by the way!
The smaller one - using the same laurel leaves but the right way around and randomly.

 With the addition of some flowering foliage
A bit of conifer from behind the hall

A couple of red baubles (not my idea)

Some wild ivy with berry heads

Popped in  here and there

Finished off with some sweet smelling pinks and 7 roses in bud

Sorry about the photos - it was too dark to that them indoors and so I had to try and take some in the garden room with a glass roof and the arrangement on a glass table - not a good idea!