Friday 31 August 2012

Gumdrops Galore!

Being a freelance designer sometimes means that I am asked to create designs using new types of beads or beading products that hit the market - and that is just what happened with the new Czech Gumdrop Beads designed by Perry Bookstein of York Beads.  These pressed glass beads have softly rounded tops and a flat base with a hole running from side to side near the base.  They come in a tempting array of approximately 15 colours with mouthwatering names like 'Magic Raspberry' and 'Peach Melba' - but of course, as I am currently immersed in moonlight I had to choose something that would fit into the Midnight Garden and so I chose 'Silver Bullet' and 'Orion'.  I thought it would be good to show that these new beads can be incorporated into designs as simple or as complicated as you want them to be and so first I made a straightforward pair of 'Galactic Gumdrops' earrings ...

For my next trick I wanted to create something a little more intricate and as the gumdrops vaguely reminded me of acorns (probably due to my recent trip to Sherwood Forest!) I thought I would try to make the kind of nuttily leafy bracelet that you would expect to find in my beaded garden.  So I bezelled the bottom of each gumdrop to make it look like the cup of an acorn and brick stitched some little oak leaves.  Next I wove everything together in a pleasing cluster and tied the bracelet with a soft grey ribbon to give me 'From Midnight Oaks Magic Acorns Grow' ...

 Bye for now!


Wednesday 15 August 2012

Deruta The Travelling Bracelet!

Have you read about The Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets project created by Sig Wynne-Evans?  While recovering from an operation, Sig had the idea of creating 10 bracelets and as she wove she thought only good positive thoughts before sending them out into the world.  Each gorgeous bracelet went to a different destination and the idea is that each recipient will spend a week with 'their' bracelet, absorbing some of the energy the bracelet has already picked up while adding some of their own.  They will then pass it on to a person of their choice who will also spend a week with the bracelet and so on.  Can you imagine the places these bracelets are going to go, the sights they will be shown and the adventures they will have?  Can't you already feel the special power that these bracelets will hold?  This project has apparently received a mixed response, but personally I think that this is a fantastic idea and so when my friend Maureen asked if she could pass bracelet number 7 (Deruta) on to me, I accepted enthusiastically and couldn't wait for the post to arrive.  Here is my report of my week with Deruta:

"When my lovely friend Maureen first contacted me to see if I would like to spend a week with Deruta, I jumped at the chance!  To be honest, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I had recently found out that Mum has cancer which has spread too far to be treated and when I read Sig’s blog and learned about her experiences and the philosophy behind the travelling bracelets, I really wanted to be a part of this and I also wanted to slide the bracelet onto Mum’s wrist so that she could feel the love that had gone into it.  I live 250 miles away from my parents and when Deruta arrived I had just returned home for a little break after spending 3 weeks with Mum at her home and in her local hospice and so I thought I would show Deruta some of our local sights before returning to help care for Mum.  I opened the box, marvelled at Deruta’s beauty, slipped her on and off we went!

This region has a rich history and although (even after 23 years of living here!) I am technically a foreigner in these parts, I feel a strong bond with this area - especially Sherwood Forest which, as legend has it, was the home of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  My husband Simon and I often go for long walks in these ancient woodlands and we are occasionally lucky enough to spot a deer or a hare or a buzzard and there is always a feeling of quiet magic about this area which seems to bring us both a sense of peace – and so of course I really wanted Deruta to soak up some of this atmosphere!

After our walk in the woods, we stopped off for a cup of tea and a piece of cake in the pretty little village of Edwinstowe.  Robin and Marian were supposedly married in the local church and there is a beautiful bronze sculpture of Robin proposing to Marian in the centre of the village and so I popped Deruta onto Marian’s slender wrist for a few minutes so that they could connect.

After that it was back to work and the next few days went in a whirl of writing instructions, drawing diagrams and taking photos as Deruta sat quietly by my side.  Mum’s faith is very important to her and when she found out about her illness she asked me to make her a little beaded cross to help her through the difficult times ahead.  After having spent some time in the hospice with Mum and beginning to understand the work that they do, I thought that I would write up the pattern for the cross and donate the proceeds to the hospice to help them with their important work.  Those few days may not have been very exciting for Deruta, but I am sure that she absorbed some of my positive energy as I focused on my goal.

Towards the end of the week it was time for the trip back to Mum’s house (she is now out of the hospice and being cared for at home) and as this is where I grew up, I took Deruta for a little walk along the country lanes to imbue her with the natural beauty and the timeless tranquillity of Romney Marsh.

On the last day of my special time with Deruta I slipped her onto Mum’s wrist.  Mum and I held hands, closed our eyes and concentrated on sending Deruta energy, experience, kindness and love.

Deruta is now preparing for the next leg of her journey and I look forward to reading about her travels around the world.  I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Maureen for filling Deruta with such positive and happy thoughts before passing her on to me and an extra special ‘thank you’ to Sig both for the beautiful beadwork and for turning her wonderful idea into a reality."

As you can see, I had a great time with Sig's travelling bracelet and I also enjoyed pondering about who she would like to visit next and where in the world she might like to go - keep a close eye on Sig's traveling bracelet blog to see what Deruta gets up to next ...


Wednesday 8 August 2012

Pilgrims Cross!

Following on from my previous post at the end of June, I can tell you that the reason I had to postpone or cancel so many beady engagements is that my lovely Mum has cancer and it has spread too far to be treated.  Mum would like to be able to end her days at home - in her garden, surrounded by flowers and holding my hand.  Friends and family are all doing their best to make it that way but at one point at the beginning of July the pain became intolerable and Mum had to go into the Pilgrims Hospice .  Up until then, I had no experience of hospices and I had no idea of the wonderful work they do - they worked hard to get Mum's pain under control and to make her comfortable while respecting her wishes and they continually supported the family, patiently explaining the situation to us and answering numerous questions.  Some nights I slept in a chair by Mum's side and the staff would tip-toe in and out to check on us, sometimes using a torch rather than switching on the electric light so that they didn't disturb us.  Often I couldn't sleep and I padded down the corridors in my slippers to make a cup of tea or to spend a few minutes watching the rabbits nibbling in the garden in the moonlight - those quiet times, seeing things, hearing things - that's when I understood the work of the hospice and the angels that work/volunteer there.  After a 2 week stay Mum went back to her beloved house and garden and the hospice arranged for a hospital bed to be delivered to the house together with all the medical paraphernalia she requires and she is still there now, with nurses and personal care staff popping in throughout the day to make sure that she is as comfortable as possible.  Mum's faith is important to her and when she first found out about her illness she asked me to make her a little beaded cross so that when times got tough, she could either look at it or hold it in her hand.  I did this gladly and as soon as I understood the work of the hospice I decided that I would make the pattern for the cross available and donate 100% of the proceeds to the hospice.

I am telling you my story, but I am very much aware that it is my story and that everyone has their own stories.  I have spent my time designing this cross and writing this pattern because I want to donate something to the hospice that has done so much to help us - but if you buy this pattern you are free to raise money for the charity of your choice.  Make as many of these simple little crosses as you wish - sell them, donate them, auction them and use the money you raise for whatever purpose you see fit.  All I ask is that you do not copy this pattern, do not share it and do not teach it because every penny I manage to raise from the sale of this pattern will be going to help the Pilgrims Hospice continue their amazing work.

The pattern for the Pilgrims Cross is available to purchase HERE

Thank you;

Kerrie ♥