Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Withdrawal Symptoms

I am starting to get withdrawal symptoms from not crafting.

I was itching to get started on something and as I have been promising myself the Dragonfly Faeries and the Gossamer Wings themeplates from when they were first released, I thought how well they would go with encaustic. So finally I got around to laying out my wax and iron.

This is the result.

The stamps lend themselves beautifully with the fantasy quality of encaustic art. So I am raring to go using the other stamps from the themeplates.

If you are into this form of art the Arboretum themeplate would also work well.

Mind you, I had to stand in the kitchen to achieve this, Bertie tries to pull the iron and everything else off the table.

This was done a few years ago when I first got into encaustic.

As I have not been able to put up my Christmas Tree this year, due to an enthusiastic black bundle of fun and mischief, I purchased the K & C0 Swell Noel Advent Calendar Kit, it was a last minute thing and thought it would look nice on the table as a centre piece. I have not been disappointed with it.

It really does look very nice sitting there on my window sill surrounded by cards.

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and I would like to wish you all a Happy Crafty 2009.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bertie Stops Play!

Things have come to an abrupt halt in our house, the new arrival has stopped all crafting. I have tried several times to complete a bracelet, but my tools keep wandering off!

We are sharing our lives and home with Bertie an 11 week old Newfoundland pup. He is adorable.

When he is good he is very good but when he is bad, he is horrific. The energy he has is tremendous for one so small and when he does have his nap you find yourself tiptoeing around in case you wake him, cos five minutes more peace and quiet would be wonderful.

He has us up at 6 am to pander to his whims and we are constantly backwards and forwards to the garden, not that we mind as he has now got the hang of going outside to relieve himself. So if he walks to the door we are quickly on his heels.

He had his first little saunter of a walk today, just to the top of the street and back. A neighbour stopped him for 15 minutes for a little talk and a stroke. Everything is so new to him, cars people, other dogs but he walks confidently on his leader, just occasionally getting ahead of you.

He thoroughly enjoyed playing in the snow, rushing around and picking it up. I think he ate a great deal of it. He has found his bark but does not use it to excess (at the moment!).

So far, and I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one, he is not chewing. He will pick things up when you are with him and have a go, Steve's slippers are his favourite. He will sneak up and pinch one then dash off, of course you have to chase him to get it back. It's all a big game to him, and he is just like a naughty child, anything to provoke a reaction from you.

Bertie has his own blog 'Bertie's Diary Blog', thanks to Lynn who gave me the idea. It will be a good record of how he is growing and developing over the coming months. No doubt, I will be heard to say at some point, "Was he ever that little!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Twisting the Day Away!

We held a Wire Jewellery Workshop at Graphicus on the 11th October, if you have looked at the Graphicus blog you will have seen all the marvellous jewellery that was crafted during the day. If not then I have posted some of the photographs here.

We had a wonderful day twisting and turning, adding beads and glitz. Everyone enjoyed producing their pieces of jewellery. You would be staggered at the amount of variations you can achieve with a wire jig and a few beads.

There was a lot of concentration going on and a few finger nails were chipped but I think they thought it all worthwhile. I think we may have a few budding wire twisters here.

They inspired me to come home and try something new in the way of twisting wire.

My daughter is getting married next year and she is on the lookout for jewellery to compliment her dress. This is my first attempt. It does look quite delicate. It is 18gauge wire twisted free hand. A wire wrap is made at the top for the chain and then the beads are added to the wire. Next you twist and bend the wire to the shape that pleases you. Remember to place the beads where you want them as you bend otherwise you may not be able to move them when you have finished. Wire is twisted around the pearls for the earrings and finished with a wire wrap for the hook. The pearls are the same colour but they look darker in this photograph.

This bracelet is done with an 18 gauge antique gold wire, it really does look very effective. I have joined the links with a single matching bead and wire wrapped it to each link.

Emma's birthday bracelet was done by twisting a frame for the main part of the bracelet and then beads were strung between the loops. A bead is wire wrapped, and this forms the link to fasten it all together. It is a bit fiddly to wire wrap the bead to the link but it is an effective way to join the bracelet together.

Now what colour will Denise want for her birthday!

I may be inspired to try a tiara next!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Holidays and Sunshine

Steve and I had a two week holiday in Gran Canaria, staying in Puerto Mogan in September. It was once a little fishing village but of course with tourists descending on it, it has grown and become a small resort but it is still unspoilt, quiet and restful.

It has a quaint little harbour surrounded by houses that put me in mind of old Colonial architecture. They all looked to have little cannons coming out of the walls, and they were painted in bright colours.

The houses lined the harbour down two sides, the other side little shops and restaurants. There was only one craft shop and they were making candles. You could watch as they dipped the candles in different coloured waxes and while still warm a girl carved, cut and twisted the wax into various shapes around the candle. They looked very nice and were done in various themes, Christmas, Weddings, Nursery Rhymes etc. I was a little surprised in the heat they did not just wilt and merge into a puddle!

We had a day in Las Palmas, shopping and sightseeing. An early start was required and as you leave Mogan on the bus you closed your eyes. The road out is up a very steep hill with sheer drops as you look over the side, as the bus swings out to go around the corner you tend to hold your breath, and the bus drivers don't hang about. Once at the top, if you dared to look, the view was breathtaking.

The old town in Palmas is charming and you would think you had stepped back in history with it's cobbled streets and old buildings. While just over the other side of the road you have a modern shopping plaza. Quite a contrast.

We visited The Casa Museo de Colón which is a very attractive building with ornate doorways, beautiful latticed balconies, large courtyards and carved wooden ceilings, representing numerous aspects of the island’s architecture. This palace was the residence of the first governors of the island and it is claimed that Columbus stayed there in 1492 while one of his ships was repaired, hence the name Casa de Colón (Columbus House).

The courtyard of the house had a paved area with fountain and carved seats for the weary occupants, but upstairs two parrots sat on the gallery rail. They were not too bothered if you walked past them but if you tried to approach them as one man did, they hurled themselves off the rail, screeching as they ran towards you. The gentleman bolted over to the other side of the gallery. After they had had their fun with him, an attendant chased them downstairs to their perches.

The top photograph is of a half eaten Seafood Paella, we stopped for lunch before returning back to Mogan at a little cafe, the Chef came out with a huge pan of it and we could not resist. I should have taken the photograph before we started but ............... it was delicious. I don't think this is one of Christopher's ships but it looked good as we passed on the ferry going into Puerto Rico.

View from the apartment balcony.

After partaking of a very cold beer, we posed beside the Gorilla that guarded the entrance to one of the bars down in the harbour. It must have been one of the most photographed things in the resort. People would walk past and whip out the camera or if they had children with them perch them on his back while they snapped away.

It was a holiday to recharge the batteries, no racing here and there to pack everything in before you go home. We wandered, then stopped, then wandered again. If it is a quiet holiday you need then Mogan is very nice and fits the bill, but then again with all that sunshine day after day, and the constant heat, you begin to look forward to the wind and the lashing torrential rain, er............... did I say that, no you don't, you wish you were back on holiday!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Collection is Growing!

I really thought when I received these watch faces they would be too big and look ungainly but when the bracelet was added it looks stunning. There is a lot of detail in the watch.

The clasps really do finish them off. I have posted them larger than I would normally, just to show the detail on the face. The beads are a pinky colour and silver spacers have been used between.

This is the same style of face but in an antique gold. There are two kinds of beads used, wooden and hematite. The thread was knotted to form a circle in the bracelet, this gives it a nice detail rather than straight.

And, I have made some little BIA books to take with me to Wolsingham Show, thought the children might like them. I have made quite a few more and I did not mess up one wire, I think I may have got the hang of it now. I spent two nights making these nice little notebooks. Just right for going back to school!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Toy

Wow, I have given myself a treat and bought a Bind-It-All, I have been thinking of buying one for quite a while, Lynn is the culprit and the inspiration after seeing the books that she produces.
I have posted my efforts so far but I am am not letting on how many times I got things round the wrong way. Needless to say I will probably need to buy more wires.
The book above is covered with one of the Artylicious papers, front and back. I used polymer clay with a Ten Second Studio mold for the main feature on the front. Once fired and cooled I coloured it with the Tim Holtz alcohol ink and a corner swirl from Maya Road, painted and embossed.

I was quite pleased with this book. I decided I needed an album to store my holiday photographs, usually, I take them and download them and they don't ever get printed. Well, this year it will be different. So when I get back from holiday I am going to print and stick and finish my album.
I have added tags inside so that I can journal where the photographs were taken. The tags were first distressed and then stamped using some of the elements from the Journalling A4 themeplate. I finished the book with the little closure from Zutter, they really are nice and look very good. When the album is finished rather than it gape open with all the bits and pieces that I intend to put inside, I will be able to keep it neatly shut using this ingenious little fastener. You get two little decorative keys with the closure, these I threaded onto ribbon along with a few beads and tied it to the wire binding.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Collection of Wires

In my last post I said I was doing a set to match one of the wire bracelet watches, well ta...da............I got it finished.

All using the same basic pattern, the necklace consists of six of the flower diamonds and is strung together using 6mm jump rings.

The watch is made up from four diamonds with two half diamonds to hold the fastener.

The bracelet is made up using seven of the diamonds.

In each diamond I have placed one Hematite bead.

Thanks to Emma for lending me her neck and wrists.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Collection of Watches

In a previous post I mentioned the fact that I had bought two watch faces and attached them to bead bracelets, well one thing has led to another and I have bought several more, as you can see.

Some have been beaded and others have their bracelets made with twisted wire using the wire jig.

I have combined this watch bracelet with beads and I am currently working on a necklace and bracelet to match.

The bracelet watch above is done from twisted coloured 18 gauge wire, gunmetal, although in this picture the colour is not showing up too well. It is joined together with silver jumprings. The connectors between the watch and bracelet are done with 18 gauge silver wire

Purple and blue beads made this little bracelet very striking.

My favourite is this antique gold watch face which is inlaid with Mother of Pearl. It has tiny black stones around the outer edge on one side. The clasp finishes it off and gives an elegant look to it.

I liked it so much I have kept it for myself!

Black and cream made a lovely bracelet for this watch, the middle two strands in black have been twisted while beading. A close up of the twisting can be seen below.
Coffee and cream beads have been twisted to form this bracelet.

I have no excuse now to be late anywhere with all of these watches!

Time is of the Essence
"I'm late, I'm late..." - White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

I have a stand at Wolsingham Show on Sunday 7th September, so if anyone is in that neck of the woods please feel free to stop by and say hello, I will have plenty of Christmas gifts for you to buy!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

View from a Window

Now we all know about Health & Safety and the regulations about spending time at a VDU, you need to have time out to adjust your eyes. Well how's this for a nice view to help adjust your eyes.

We have a lovely patch of grass outside our office window and these little creatures come out on an afternoon and sit and munch away to their hearts content or lay sprawled in the grass sunbathing, until of course you shut the window and scare them away. You can have at least a dozen at any one time, the babies are so cute.
I don't think the people who own the allotments are quite so fond of them, they sneak under the fence and eat the veg!

We visited Hamsterley Forest a few weeks ago, we often stop for a picnic, weather permitting. I took a few photographs while we were there. It is a beautiful place to visit.

This has to be my favourite photograph, the piece is called The Green Man. It is carved logs which are placed at intervals, when you are close to them or at a different angle they don't appear to be anything much. It is when you stand away from them directly to the front that you get the true picture. Good eh!

We do have some wonderful scenery up here in the cold North East of England.

Tunstall Reservoir, Wolsingham.

A rainbow that appeared above the rooftops after one of our heavy rain storms and the hot air balloon that followed shortly afterwards.