Friday, 27 June 2008

Beady Butterflies!

It's blog time again and unfortunately I haven't really got anything new to show you. I've been busy working on orders for my poppy cufflinks and poppy pins and also working on some interesting projects that I can't really share with you at the moment - but all in good time! I spent a very fitful night last night, half awake and half asleep with lots of weird and wonderful dreams but also with lots of new beady ideas flitting into my mind. Anyway, the result this morning, rather than being tired, is that I feel filled with enthusiasm and can't wait to get cracking with some of these ideas - trouble is, I might need to give up sleep permanently to be able to fit them all in!

One of the 'under wraps' projects I mentioned above needed me to take a photo of one of the butterflies I used to make. So as I feel a blog isn't a blog without some pretty pictures and I have nothing new to show you, I thought I would dig some of them out. I started out by using a mixture of cross-stitch cottons, silks and a few beads and stitching them onto plastic canvas before carefully cutting them out. Gradually as I got more and more addicted to beads, I made them using all beads and both Mum and I have a collection of them 'flying' on various walls in our houses. In my lounge, I have a beautiful hand embroidered wall hanging from Nepal that depicts the Tree of Life, it has a selection of my beaded butterflies and moths 'flying' around it - I find the whole scene very magical and soothing. I know these butterflies are quite different from my work today, but I still love them and it would be great to hear what you think!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Dragonfly Dreams

I'm still busy making a variety of small flowers for earrings rather than concentrating on any large projects at the moment. Life seems to be quite hectic just lately, and so these little projects are still satisfyingly beady but quick enough to fit in around other commitments. I have been branching out with my colour schemes a little too - I'm still using a limited range of colours in each piece (well it just wouldn't be me otherwise would it!) but the colours I have been putting together are a little bit more experimental. I have just finished a pair of earrings I made for myself, I don't often wear my own jewellery despite my friends nagging me to do so, and the inspiration for the colours in these is a pretty top I have - it's a busy mix of teal, turquoise, coral, bright red and yellow green and I absolutely love it.

We are going to a live music concert tomorrow night at the Lowdham book festival to see Show of Hands and so I thought I would wear my favourite top and make myself some coral and teal earrings to go with it. The only beads I had that were a good match to the top were some tiny size 15 seed beads that I once ordered by mistake (I normally work with the slightly larger size 11 seed beads) and so I have been experimenting with petal shapes using the smaller size - a success I think, but my eyes definitely need a break now and my purse is quivering at the thought of me possibly wanting to build up a collection of size 15's! The photo above shows the raw materials and the photo below is of the finished pair of earrings.

It's been a busy week on Etsy this past week too. I was thrilled to find my work in five beautiful treasuries and I created my first treasury too - Dragonfly Dreams. As I understand it, you are not supposed to feature your own work in a treasury that you curate, it is more to acknowledge and promote other Etsy members, so I created my treasury around a dragonfly theme with a mixture of beadwoven pieces from the Etsy Beadweavers team (of which I am a member) and other delightful handmade items I found - a couple of which also use my new favourite coral and teal colour combination! I enjoyed searching through Etsy to find items to fit my theme and discovered lots of wonderful talent in the process and I'm looking forward to 'snagging' a spot for my next treasury which also has a fun theme!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Lucky me!

Well I have been very lucky this past week; firstly I discovered that Helen of the beautiful blog MilesToSew has kindly passed on an award to me - this is my first blog award and I am both flattered and excited by that ... thank you Helen!

It is the Sweet home blogger Award for sharing beauty, love and joy - how nice, couldn't we all do with more of those things in our everyday lives? So, in keeping with tradition, I am passing this award on to five other 'bloggers' - believe me this was a tough choice as there are so many beautiful blogs I have come across and I am sure, many I haven't yet discovered.

So, in no particular order, the five blogs I have chosen are;
  • Alison of BeaDangles Jewellery a good friend and an infrequent blogger - but when she does, it's worth waiting for, jewellery, photography and yummy recipes!
  • Michele of Hedgelands Glass another beautiful blog full of interesting and varied crafty skills - follow the link to Michele's website and take a look at her stained glass!
  • Chris of Kiamyka Gemstone Creations another multi-talented woman who also has a great way with words - her blog posts nearly always bring a tear to my eye!
  • Valerie of Luz Bijoux who creates the most beautiful beadwork and has a real eye for colour - I also absolutely love the fact that she calls me 'a fairy beader'.
  • Zoya of Gem and Beaded Jewelery a relatively new blogger, but a well known and talented artist who I am proud to call a friend.
I am sorry if I missed you out, as I say it was a difficult choice. These things can feel a bit like being the last to be picked for a school sports team (and I know all about that) but hopefully the above selection will provide my readers with some interesting links and will spread the word, the beauty, love and joy!
My next stroke of luck this week was split second timing when I was taking a photo of a foxglove in my garden. Well to be honest, I regard even having the foxglove as lucky, I didn't plant it, it just appeared in a prime space in the garden and has NINE very tall flower spikes on it. It's a real beauty and I count it as a gift from nature in return for creating my foxglove trio necklace. So, I thought I would take a picture of it in all its glory, spotted a bee hovering around one of the flowers and wondered if I could get it in the shot - as it turns out, I caught two (see bottom right of the photo) I'm sure I couldn't do that again if I tried!

My third piece of luck this week? My Poppy Cufflinks are currently appearing in another treasury - this time a wonderfully rich Treasury West entitled Le Rouge et le Noir created by Ileana of Enchanted Beads. Thank you Ileana!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

From hot to icy and back to warm!

It looks like it's 'blog day' again today - the sun is shining, the garden is full of flowers and I have some more flowery pictures to show you ... some natural and some beaded!

First of all; we went to Lea Gardens in Derbyshire at the weekend which is renowned for it's rhododendrons and azaleas. Some of them were past their best and others had been damaged by all the rain we've had recently, but there were still lots of bright and brilliant blooms everywhere and the woodland walk area was filled with the scent of the lily of the valley. It was a lovely day out, the weather was perfect and we spent quite some time sat in the sun at the seating area at the tea rooms which overlooks the whole valley, drinking coffee and eating yummy chocolate cake too. If you look closely at their website you may spot a picture of me at the tea rooms taken some years ago!

On the beading front, I have finished the blue flowers that were shown as a 'work in progress' on my last blog post and created my Frosted Flower Fall necklace. In contrast to the hot summery picture above, this is a winter themed necklace with three icy blue flowers worked in various sizes. They each have a frosted sterling silver bead centre and I have just hung them simply from a sterling chain and clasp. It is hanging from a bust beside me as I type and I must admit I am pleased with it - very simple but also quite elegant I think ... I'd love to know what you think, so please feel free to leave a comment!

Finally for today, I have discovered that my Copper Hibiscus lariat is in an Etsy treasury with the fun title of - Cockney Grasshopper - can you guess???? It's COPPER! It's a beautiful warm collection of wonderful coppery tones and blacks and mine is the only beadwoven piece ... and (oh dear) the most expensive!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Sun, sea and .... flowers!

Well I had another lovely Bank Holiday weekend and this time I spent it down on Romney Marsh which is where I grew up and where my parents still live. The weather was perfect and as you can see from the photo below, the sea was a gorgeous turquoise colour instead of the usual shade of murky brown! We had a lovely walk along the coast and spend most of the weekend outdoors, just as well we made the most of it as it's hardly stopped raining since we got home!

For the last couple of days I have been experimenting with beading lots of tiny flowers - most of them are less than 2cm(3/4 of an inch) across and are quite fiddly to make. I've used seed beads for some, cylinder beads for others and varied the shapes, sizes and colours. A few have crystal middles, some have silver bead middles, others have tiny rice pearl centres and some are still a 'work in progress' as you can see from the photo. They are very simple flowers but I have several projects in mind for these so I am spending time on them now to get the 'look' right for what I have planned.

I've also turned two silver flowers into a pair of earrings today for a birthday present. These are made with silver-lined Delicas and have a sterling silver frosted bead centre which I have had for ages and have only just got round to using. I've made the earwires too, although I'm not great at wirework (more practice needed I think!) I think the simplicity of these long sterling wires adds to the whole overall effect of 'purity' that I was trying to achieve - I like them ... I think I might even make a pair for myself!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go!

Yes the latest issue of the UK magazine Bead is out and the second of my series of pendants, Frog Pendant, is one of the projects in there. This one is worked in Peyote stitch using a beautiful shade of green cylinder beads with an AB (Aurora Borealis) finish which gives them that 'glittering lake' look - well to me anyway! This little pendant, complete with pink lily and golden frog is actually part of a set I made called 'Lilies on the lake' - some magical moments spent in King Gardens in Phuket (during what I can only now describe as 'a former life') inspired me to create this.

Don't forget everyone - if you follow this pattern you are welcome to send me a picture of your work and I will gladly add it to my 'Readers gallery of work' The final pendant in the series, Dragonfly Pendant will be in Bead issue 11.

What else has happened during this past week? Oh yes, I received my lovely new SRAJD logo (Self-Representing Artist Jewelery Designer) which I am proudly displaying here on my blog and also on my website. See here for an explanation of the scheme.

I have also become a member of the Etsy Beadweavers Team recently and I am very pleased to be a part of this team as it is proving to be a fantastically talented and supportive group of people. I was fortunate to have my Foxglove Trio necklace included in another Etsy treasury a few days ago, which solely featured some of the members work. Although it has expired now, I have included a picture below as I think it is one of the prettiest treasuries I have seen so far - although obviously I am slightly biased ;-)

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Readers gallery of work.

Ever since January of this year, when my first design was published in Bead magazine, I have been receiving e-mails from readers regarding my designs. Some people have even kindly sent me pictures of their completed work using my patterns. I really love to receive comments and feedback and I especially enjoy seeing other peoples versions of my designs. So I thought rather than leave these wonderful pictures hidden amongst my computer files, it might be nice to create a gallery of readers work - and that is exactly what I have done!
I have created a sub-page on my website that is annexed to my 'Published work' page and is called 'Readers gallery of work' - there is also a link to it on my blog at the top of the side bar.

The beautiful set pictured above was beaded by June Josten who cleverly adapted the Floral Fantasy pattern in Bead & Button and created a matching bracelet and earrings!
So, I would like to invite anyone who has created a piece of beadwork based on one of my published patterns to submit a picture of it (together with your name and blog/website address if applicable) and I will gladly include it in my new gallery. It doesn't matter if your version follows the pattern exactly or if you have adapted the pattern or the colour, whether you are an experienced beader or a beginner. There is no contest here, I just thought it might be a fun thing to do and also a way to get your work seen if you do not already have a website or blog.
The designs that have been published so far are Cufflinks - Floral Fantasy - Supernova Choker and Butterfly Pendant with lots more to come!

Cufflinks by Alison Inglis of BeaDangles Jewellery.
This might be a good place to add a note on copyright too! These patterns have been published in magazines, so obviously I am happy to share my knowledge and designs with you - but please note that these designs are for your personal use only and should not be sold or taught without my prior permission ... thank you for your understanding.