Half Term is approaching, some schools have already broken up, Crafty Betty in Newark are running some craft clubs in the mornings and only a couple of spaces remain so do contact Michelle if you want to hop along!
I have also stocked the shop with a couple of beginner bead work kits, more coming soon …. but the hair braids are available now
Halloween is fast approaching, or All Hallows evening to take its full name. Traditionally the night of trick or treat, scary costumes, carved pumpkins, haunted houses and exciting scary stories are told. The origin is equally as exciting, given that the ancient pagans saw it as the end of the harvest, time to account for the stocks of supplies and prepare for the long winter ahead. The ancient Gaels believed the 31st Oct is the night where the boundaries between the world of the living, and the world of the dead blurred, and overlapped. Meaning that the dead could come back, and perform “tricks” on the living, such as damaging crops, and spreading sickness.
With this in mind, costumes and masks began to get worn to appease these playful spirits! Although I think these days there is less of the pagan ritualism and more of the supermarket commercial hype as the shelves are full of tubs of chocolates, haribos, ghoulish outfits, fake dismembered body parts dripping in blood and pumpkins!
The season vaguely reminds me of my Grandad, not for any reason other than the fact that I have snapshot in my mind of marrows, and there is a vague (ok very loose connection between the marrow and the pumpkin!) he would grow them in the garden, and Grandma would complain about them, am not entirely sure why, maybe he just grew them because he could but didn’t like them, or maybe he loved a marrow but she didn’t like preparing and cooking them for him. Sadly my memory escapes me on that point but its still its happy memory to keep. What I have just realised rather sadly is that I don’t have a picture of my grandad on my macbook, but can rectify this …….watch this space 🙂
Am still in love with the halloween inspired fascinator! Amethyst, smoky quartz wire wrapped spiders creeping around the web of wire 🙂
And I absolutely detest them, I apologise to any spider lovers out there, but seriously some of those monsters are just ugly and HUGE, I swear they get bigger every year but still I have my trusty Henry to hand, always plugged in and ready for action – of course I leave the hose pointed upwards at all times:) (sometimes I have been know to cling film the end too just incase the huge ones climb out ……I am just terrified of the eight legged hairy freaks
My friend has been invited to a Gothic themed halloween style wedding reception, its not really her thing..so I have created her a spider infused hair piece, which she can flatten the wire woven the web over her hair if she wishes, or leave it up ……Just hope she likes it she is more at home in a pair of lycra running shorts and tee shirts than a little black dress!!
To create the comb, I took a pile of assorted wire, Silver in 1.00mm, 0.40mm and Blue coated 0.25mm, a comb, and a couple of bags of JM bead scoops, some bugle beads and a few seed beads. All of these products came from JM, with the exception of the bugle & seed beads, but are of course available in many other outlets. If you only wanted to get equipment from JM, the gemstone strands mostly have bugle beads separating the gems so you can utilise those and they sell the most wonderful 2mm gems strands which will work well too as legs.
I will say, the JM bead scoops are simply one of my most favourite things, I own a few, and usually can’t resist when I spot them on TV. They consist of a small bag of assorted gemstones in a colour theme, I used a purple pinks selection, and a black white selection to create the spiders. I picked out some larger shapes for the body of the arachnid and smaller ones for the heads.
To create a spider, I simply took a head pin, dropped on a large “body” gemstone, a small “head” gemstone and made a loop to secure, then I took 4 strands of wire whether it be the twisted wire, or the 0.25mm blue coloured wire and wrapped each strand in the centre of the beads to create the legs. I left some spiders with just wire legs, and added loops for the feet (do spiders have feet??) I was going for the daddy long legs version of the creepy crawlies. The couple created with hearts as the body I added bugle beads and seed beads to add some chunky funky legs to resemble those freaky small fat spiders you see climbing up the walls of your living room.
Each spider was attached to the web, which was just wire wrapped 1.00mm & 0.40mm wires, then attached to the comb. I couldn’t not add a few pearls, after all its for a wedding reception, but to blend the pearls I also added some black agate rounds, some smoky quartz ovals, and several other darker beads for that halloween twist.
I quite like the effect, when placed in the bubble wrap bag the spiders actually gave my mum a fright because they looked real! So I might make a couple more, but as tiaras this time with more a wedding theme, its definitely different to the traditional pearl tiara most brides wear.
Last weekend I had the most fun I have had in such a long time, on the Saturday I took my monkeys out for a run around Conkers, a outdoor park in Derbyshire (I think), they enjoyed running around in relative freedom, riding the train, playing on the climbing frame and outdoor play equipment – I think it did us all good to get out in the fresh air for a change! But the real fun came on Sunday (although at the time am not so sure I was truly having fun!)
I was honoured to be selected for the Sunday Experience, in Redditch at Jewellery Maker. It meant an early start as you need to be at the studios for 8.30am, on a Sunday (yes a Sunday) so I didn’t sleep too well the night before, a mixture of strange bed, pure adrenaline & complete excitement kept me awake most of the night but I was up, had (forced) breakfast and located the studios (thanks to WAZE) in time for 8.30am. Lovely friendly welcoming warm atmosphere greeted me, as I walked in the workshop located immediately next door to the studio. The kettle was on, Elena the presenter for the morning was buzzing around making the 5 of us tea & coffee, Sheila introduced herself, as did Linda both amazing guest designers, and genuinely lovely people.
The concept is great, the floor manager selects some of the strands to the aired on the channel that morning, for the Sunday Experience participants to use, you only use the strands aired, and the findings provided – believe me thats hard! It really makes you think out of the box, but not only that, you are under pressure to make something good enough to be featured on air – SCARY So, in came some Carnelian Strands, Tigers eye, Wooden Faceted beads, a kit of some beautiful Purple Quartz (I think) some other pretty pink veined gems & two strands of quartz one clear the other smoky. The purple gems bagged quickly, as were the carnelian strands, I got the Quartz bundle and some silver plated findings. I also grabbed half of the wooden faceted bead bundle as they went beautifully with the smoky quartz, but immediately decided to macrame a quick bracelet, a chunky one.
The reasoning behind this decision was that a macramé bracelet would be a quick make. I used some brown satin cord which was on the table but I was comfortable that I had a project on the go, it could be finished in less than 30mins which meant that some of the immediate pressure to make something was off …. (well not quite as one piece wasn’t going to be enough), the TV was on, an air of shhh fell across the room Sheila said Ready Steady Goooooooo WAVE TO THE CAMERA I glanced up at the TV in the room and to my absolute horror (but I was I was part way through the bracelet) ….my dress was cut too low so I was in serious danger of flashing the world my boobs eeeekkkk
Making the macrame bracelet was so much easier using the proper equipment too, I can’t rave about the Macrame board by Beadsmith highly enough, I was making bracelets in this style using a piece of flat metal plastic coated sheet, with a huge metal clip it worked, but its not a patch on the foam board from bead smith. The edges have slots all around to securely hold the threads in place, its pure luxury at an affordable price, a staggering £6.95 currently! Needless to say, I now own one, and the metal homemade board has been resigned back to the scrap pile at work.
Next project was inspired by Sheila, she was teaching each of us the correct way to build a strand of gems on wire, in order to create a hair piece / tiara, as she was also using the time to prepare for a Bridal workshop that she was hosting later in the week. Jewellery maker do run regular workshops, I have yet to try one, I would love to go on the wirework on, I have a particular interest in the wirework rings which Sara Elvin & Deb Rudge frequently create and have monumentally failed at replicating so far.
The wire wrapping with the smoky quartz ended up not being a hair piece but a pendant, I added the rose gold findings from my own stash (please don’t tell Sheila!!!!)
So with 2 pieces under my belt, confidence was blooming, WAVE to the camera frequently came across the room, time ticked on, I whipped up a hair piece using the same technique as the pendant had wire wrapping the Quartz, clear this time instead of smoky, we were also allowed to add a few extra beads from a bead scoop in the room hence the addition of the black beads to make this monochrome hair piece.
A quick beady bead, using up the faceted wooden beads, imagine my surprise, and sheer delight when I suddenly spotted my beady bead (cubic right angle weave to the beaders amongst you) being shown live on air whilst Elena was presenting the wooden faceted beads – I was bursting with pride, (and was literately bursting out of my dress each time I bent forward!!)
Moving on, I wire wrapped a ring, with some simple three wrap weave, but am not happy with it, I don’t think its very neat, and most definitely required more practise ….time was ticking, WAVE to the camera as we appeared on tv again, but am not happy with the ring so dismantled it, and may remake …..give me time for that.
Suddenly I realised that I was out of beads, job done but Sheila handed me another strand, this time the tigers eye. Now these beads, high polished slabs they should really be described as, which each stone had a huge depth of colour, hadn’t been used.
Confession point, In all honestly nothing I had used so far really grabbed me, as none of the strands we had been provided with were colours I wouldn’t normally ever select for myself, beige, browns, clear. Couple that with the fact that they aren’t really the shape or size of beads I would select either, I found it quite hard to get excited or interested in these beautiful gems but it is really interesting to be in a position to make something that you wouldn’t normally select for yourself, its interesting and really challenging to see what the end result is. It is also really worth remembering that my taste is different to the next persons, so what grabs me might not grab your customer so this experience really taught me to make beautiful jewellery, not necessarily for me but to accommodate other peoples tastes in my designs. All that aside what really did grab me was the wire coiling gizmo. (More on that another day when I have bought one!!!!!)
With time ticking each of the pieces created where being moved in to the studio ready for our big starring role, which hadn’t really been mentioned much, by 11.45 I was starting to get a touch nervous ….
Sheila (JM Resident Designer) had this amazing idea to get the Gizmo out (not the Gremlin version either) but the wire coiling one, and table clamp. She hooked up some gold wire, 0.6mm (I think) and then coiled some coils, it was amazing, so simple, so easy yet so incredibly effective. We created spacers with coiled wire to put in between the tigers eye gems, then another strip of gizmo coiled wire, re-gizmoed (if thats a valid term) to make it uber coiled as a dramatic centre piece.
Each of these bits of coiled wire were placed on a 1mm piece of wire, with the ends wire looped, a couple of findings added and hey presto a wire collar was finished. To further add to my buzz of the morning one of the studio girls (sorry really not sure of her name) came back in to the workshop room with my collar piece in hand raving about it, desperate to know if she could have it, I was more than willing to let her, but wasn’t sure whether it was mine to give away! Anyway, aren’t those gems simply stunning, the veining, the colour tones, saturation and graduation through each piece. It really is surreal to imagine that these are completely natural, completely unique and staggering to think that each stone took years to be created in the natural world, these aren’t pieces of plastic being knocked of a production line somewhere in the East of the planet, In actual fact I believe its a real privilege and honour to own these gems, they will of course be around much longer than I will be!
Just to make a set, I whipped up a pair of earrings to go with the choker, again using the wire gizmo.
Tension was mounting, 12.45 was almost upon us, we were walked in to the studio, with Sara Elvin walking us in, tidying my straps up on my dress, whilst I tried to be remember to keep my shoulders back so I didn’t flash too much boobage…… a deathly silence fell amongst us. Each of us stood behind our creations which had been neatly laid out on the Guest Designer table. Mine was last in the line thankfully. Nerves mounted, the camera was on, Elena was selling then advert break, she walked over Good Morning Sunday Experience Ladies …. all I can say is, I enjoyed every second of it, I would happily do it all again, I really can’t wait to get my application in for another Sunday Experience session – it was AWESOME
Here is the link to the video, after 3hours, 52mins ish the Sunday Experience ladies are LIVE on tv, but obviously we appear randomly throughout the morning, and my beady bead & bracelet do star independently too!
I rarely do craft fairs, not because I don’t love them (because I do, there is a huge amount of talent out there) but I don’t do them because I find it difficult to part with my creations. Anyway over Christmas I decided to book this one event, after having a reasonable amount of success at the Christmas event I did in the local shopping centre. Learning from other stall holders, remembering the excitement of people genuinely loving your work and getting money I decided another event could be fun.
Obviously I had grand plans but as usual for me they never really got any further than the planning stage ….bunting, bracelets, tiaras, hair combs, necklaces and much more anyway I have more than enough stock and my aim with the stall is to share the love of creating a piece of jewellery so I have a number of beady kits which hopefully some little monkeys and families might like to try. Its billed as a family fun day, so I have focused on a number of children friendly bracelet style kits, loom bands and some real treats for the Mummy’s and Gran’s should they fancy something special.
My day job which I rarely mention apart from being a Chartered Accountant is running a roofing supply business, (Fab-Linc) we (I) manufacture flashings, gutters, sell tile effect metal roofing sheets, fixings and much more (yawn) but my point of mentioning this is that I am hand folding all my metal display stands to give my stall some height, here is an example of my creation.
I was also hoping that by manufacturing it in galvanised metal it reflects some of the natural light (on the day) back on to the the sparkly creations and really show the natural beauty of the gem stones. The picture isn’t the best in the world, its indoor, its a dark overcast day, but aren’t the Amethyst Square cut gems beautiful (no prizes for guessing where these came from!) all 55cts of them! I am two minds about those, I want to sell them at the weekend so I can invest in more stunning gemstones, buuuttttt I don’t want to sell them because I love love love them, the simplicity of the necklace, the way it drapes, the geometric cut of the Gems its summery, its pretty, its easy to wear, there is little it wouldn’t go with clothes wise, and don’t you think the clasp is amazing (again JM findings pack! a treat from my mum this is a similar pack available on the site – silver plated copper findings pack)
You may also notice the wire wrapped pearls on the tiara on the bottom stand, and the hair comb, these are unfortunately “fake” pearls but still pretty effective, they don’t have the natural lustre of genuine pearl, nor do they have the touch they are synthetic, they didn’t cost a million dollars but when my little girl spotted it, her eyes grew large, her jaw dropped, she was hyper-ventilating and bouncing across my solid wood 1930’s flooring in sheer joy and excitement as she burst out with I ♥LOVE♠ my new princess crown mummy ….. I NEED NEED NEED one for all my friends at nursery
Just one other quick note, I know many craft sellers sell as their main business, this isn’t my main business its a hobby, its a form of escapism, I love crafting, experiencing different mediums to work with, and sharing my experiences I also know full well that I don’t charge enough for my work but I just hope to sell enough for me to justify buying new gems, new kits, and that the customer feels they have paid a fair price for an item they love too.
So if you are in the area at the weekend, do pop over support the Air Ambulance Charity and say hello as I would love to meet you!