Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crafty sprinkling

I have to say that in the time since I last wrote I've been finding it hard to get the creative juices flowing. I've tried everything from perusing online shops to visiting junk shops but nothing has worked. That is until last weekend when I met up with my sister at my mother-in-law's where I suddenly knew what I had to do. Rings, sparkly rings and lots of them. They should be dripping with sparkles and ready for adornings Easter bunnies' fingers. So here are a few I've put together.
Vintage inspired bead ring £5
1930's inspired rings £5
1930's inspired ring £5
Vintage inspired ring £5
Golden spring £5
Gothic vintage inspired rings £5
Crystal rings £5

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weekend is here!

I am curious to see what you crafty lot will be up to this weekend. Please link me in to your latest project, show me how the lot of you are going to fill you weekend hours.

Other than dreaming of lace and satin and making yoyo earrings I'll be trying Fimo jewellery techniques, making choc choc chip muffins and trying to figure out how to make monofilament produce a teardrop end. I shall drop some photo's here tout de suite.

Twiddling thumbs?

I know it's been a few days since I've put anything crafty down but I have been spending my time constructively, preparing for the Venus in Furs Vintage and Craft event at Settle Down Cafe on Sunday. However I have not been totally craftless. I'm making prototype yoyo jewellery (photo's to follow) and looking at vintage dresses to inspire me. One day I hope to use these images to recreate some of the roaring twenties lovelies.

See you Sunday 12-4?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

All in the name of charity!

Today was a lovely early spring day in Newcastle. It was gloves weather with light spots of rain but it was the kind of day to take a walk. I was off to deliver cup cakes and I decided that while i was there I could have a look in the junk shops on Benwell Road. I had been recommended them by two of my friends and thought that the chance of a bargain couldn't be passed up.
I walked through Fenham and down to Benwell library, where I popped in for a quick look at the craft books. It's a really nice library but it stank! Some guy was sitting using the computers and farting loudly! I hot footed it out of there and headed along the Benwell shops. I've driven past here lots of times but I've never walked past. There are lots of interesting cheap shops and penny bizzare's, I plan to have another little foray to these places.
I headed for the first junk shop and straight away found it impossible to manoeuvre round it with the buggy. I did manage to get inside but was right in the way of everyone. I had a look at the plate for future cake stands and asked if they had any buttons. I came away from there empty handed but decided that since I was down that way I'd pop into the one across the road.
This one has a huge range of goods outside under tarps and the inside was a bit more clutter free. It was still full of second hand furniture like the other one but I could swing the buggy. Straight away I found a box full of costume jewellery including a load of clip on earrings. I got the box and everything for £4. Pretty stoked I asked for buttons and the lady was really nice and said that she had some squirrelled away somewhere and that she'd keep them to the side for me. She also said that her granddaughter had loads of Tinkerbell stuff that she's gather up for my little one. I definitely walked away from there feeling happy which is probably what decided me on walking into Newcastle. It's a bit of a slog but I was buoyed up by my purchase and wanted to sit somewhere and look at my new treasures.
I walked over to the Settle Down Cafe and had a rocket coffee and a snoop. everything in the box was lovely. I was so made up by the whole experience that when I walked into Newcastle for my bus home I popped into all the charity shops on the way. In the mind shop I bought a wool wrap over cardy and in the British Heart Foundation I bought an intarsia tunic. All in all it has been a really good day for cheap diversions.
On a crafty note I've been given some lovely beading books. A few of the projects have caught my eye so I'll let you know how they get on.
I've also joined Pinterest! I'm just in the process of seeing how the whole thing works but I'll let you know how it goes. Also, If you'd like to be invited to Pinterest drop me a message.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Venus in Furs

Next week I'll be doing a stall at the Venus in Furs event at Settle Down Cafe, Sunday the 13th of March from 12-4. I'm really looking forward to it as it has a really lovely atmosphere. All of the stall holders are so creative and the whole feel is of a family event, and it seems like everyone is just a friend in waiting! I shall have a stall of my mish mash crafty foray's such as knitted stripey hats, merino wool purses, earrings and plush badges. It would be great to see you there.
Also in attendance will be A Fairy Goldsmith, Coco Joy Boutique, Owlie, Angus with his handmade bags and Sian with her vintage beauties. There'll probably be a lot more lovely stalls going on as well as delectable Sarah serving up killer coffee and cake (that's good killer btw!). I shall keep you posted as it all develops.

A weekend in the Lakes

On Friday I popped into the Central Library to see if they had any books to inspire me and found three! Spellbinding Jewellery, Complete Jewellery, and How to Make Polymer Clay Beads. They're all fantastic and I've already taken some inspiration from each of them.
Spellbinding Jewellery has a few lovely designs and my favourites have been the wire net flowers and the knitted necklaces. It seems like all the designs in this book use a lot of expensive beads so I'll have to keep them on hold for birthdays and special occasions. The ladies who wrote this have been running there own beads shop and jewellery workshops for over twenty five years. These ladies have it as bad as me!
Complete Jewellery touches on a few of the techniques that can be used to create lovely pieces. I particularly like the simple but effective polymer clay pendant and hair clips. I will definitely be trying these out.
How to Make Polymer Clay Beads has really whetted my appetite and I'll definitely have to try it. It seems a shame that a lot of kit is needed (including a pasta machine) to try the items in the book but they're so stunning it'll be worth it. Some of the marbling and precious stone effects are amazing! And whilst searching for the last link I came across Craft Stew for amazing links to polymer clay techniques. That site has gone straight into my bookmarks!

I used some of my new found inspiration to while away an evening in the Lakes whilst staying at The Troutbeck Inn, a lovely little place that does amazing food in on the A66 between Penrith and Keswick. I stayed in our room with my daughter when she went to sleep and made some 1920 inspired dangle earrings. Today was beautiful with blue skies so I didn't have the heart to go back inside and do anymore crafting. Instead we all trekked over to Keswick to have a browse in the shops charity shops, an ice cream and a wander down to the lake. I heartily recommend the Troutbeck for a stay or just one of their amazing meals.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inspired by Owlie

I did a stall at Venus in Furs on Saturday and my daughter and mother-in-law came down to lend some support. They both thought that items on Owlie's stall were nice, Toni liked the anchors and Kath liked the tree of life. I have both of those in the house so channeling Emma, I have made them bracelets with them on.

Earrings and necklaces.

My sister got me a lovely book for Christmas called Modern Top Down Knitting by Kristina McGowan which has some fabulous patterns in it. Today I attempted the knitted balls for the bracelet but using gold coloured beading wire instead of coated 24k gold. I gave up after just four balls and have made a pair of earrings. They look beautiful and it would be awesome to be able to make them in the precious metals.
Doing the wire knitting today got my creative juices flowing and I've made some wire components for brooches. I haven't compiled the brooches yet and would like to find a beautiful way of applying fastenings to finish them. Once they're done I'll post the pics. I've also started to make an ethnic inspired necklace out of an old t-shirt, embroidery thread and beading wire. SO far it looks stunning but I'm also going to add some shiny dangles to make it pop a bit.

Newcastle Fashion week will be upon us in May and I'm hopefully getting a couple of arty events together to showcase how fun and crafty the great people of Newcastle are. If you have any bits of knitting that haven't become anything or if you're up for a bit letter knitting then drop me a line. I shall be putting them together to do a guerrilla knitting piece outside of Settle Down Cafe during the Fashion week. I will also try making a giant papier mache necklace to leave lying around the place during these events. If you have any ideas or would like to lend some hands then I'd be very grateful!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back so soon?

Christmas saw me getting lots of lovely John Lewis vouchers off friends and family so I could indulge in my wool frenzy come the sales. I bought some gorgeous wool called freedom spirit by Twilley's of Stamford. This was a total bargain at £1.50 a 50g ball and I've already used most of it up making socks. I made myself a pair in the "desire" colourway and they are divine. I've never had a real wool pair of socks before and I'm a complete convert. I adore the way they go a little felted on the bottoms from being walked on and the way they settle to the shape of your foot.
I also got some Rowan Wool DK in a beautiful mauve colour that I decided to make into a hat and a tunic for my toddler (as if she needs any more clothes!) I thought I'd try my hand at lacework whilst I was at it and the results were quite nice. The hat was copied off a pattern for a Barbie dolls hat on Ravelry , I just upsized it a lot and added pom-poms. A success all round really until it came to the wearing of them. Within one wear the tunic had gone REALLY bobbly and the hats pom-pom came off leaving it in a bit of a sorry state since. The tunic came through the wash and looks so much better, the bobbles have gone! I suppose all that is needed now to make it better is for me to pull my finger out and re-attach the pom-pom.

Spring in the air.

I couldn't help myself! After yesterdays post and copying the links I had to go out and buy some crafting supplies today. I invested in an eight peg french knitting doll and some enamel paint. However, I haven't a clue as to how to even start with the enamel and I still haven't the patience to do anything large on the french knitter. I have had a little go of it with 34 gauge beading wire and got quite a nice flower effect that I'm going to transform into a brooch. Stay tuned and I'll post photo's as this knitting jewellery thing develops.
This morning I was able to use the gorgeous early spring sunshine to take a few photo's of the earrings I made at the weekend. They're grey seed pearls and AB crystalSwarovski crystals. I really loved the way they sparkled whilst they were hanging in the sun. I have been having a bit of a time with them as the ends are to be coated with a droplet of something to stop the beads slipping off, so far I have used UHU adjustable stuff which was a bit of a pain but now I have purchased some enamel paint which will be an even bigger pain but well worth the effort!
I thought it would be nice to revisit some of my old favourite blogs to have a look at what they've been up to recently, little did I imagine that I'd find this gem. Two girls getting crafty is right up my street. I shall be popping in here from time to time to see what they have to keep me out of trouble. I'm really loving the toothbrush bracelet and the paper wreath and they were only the first two things I looked at!

Now spring is definitely in the post I'm looking forward to: bare legs, having a tan, not wearing a coat and going to the park every day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A first for everything!

About a year and a half ago my friends started a knitting group and I went along for the chatter, only having a little knitting experience, and that was from when I was in school. However I got the bug and have been knitting since then tackling projects such as socks (everyone got them for Christmas) and hats, I even made myself a vest from Rowan studio 20. It turned out alright but I think it could do with being felted a bit more, either that or I could put on two stone and still fit into it.
At the minute I'm really enjoying Sarah Keay's work and I'm soaking up inspiration from her book Design & Make Jewellery Using Textile Techniques. I've attempted the monofilament attachments and the french knitted wire and have a long way to go to perfect both, however I'd also really like to try the nuno felt techniques.
Juju Vail is another crafty lady I'm enjoying following at the moment. I lent her book, "Creative Beading" from the Settle Down Cafe when I was there one day. I was instantly hooked by all the crystal bicones and vintage buttons. Since then I've gone a bit crazy making necklaces and earrings, which is a bit weird as I don't have my ears pierced and a lot of these only work on ear wires!
Now that the weather is turning I'm losing my need to knit and now have a need to make beautiful summery dresses. I found this version of Burda's Anda dress and by chance I have a very similar batik stashed away from my visit to Malaysia and this is going to be my next creation. I thought that since I'll be downloading one pattern I may as well get two and I'll be having a go at Burda Style Magazines cape. It recommends that this is made in wool jersey which mean that I may have to re-mortgage my house to complete it!