Monday, 19 December 2011

Handmade Monday: Viking weave

Just because it's nearly Christmas doesn't mean I don't keep having mad ideas.  So this week, while everyone else was getting sorted wrapping presents and decorating trees, I decided to learn Viking weave!  Luckily it's very easy to do, but it is quite time consuming, leading me to reflect that the Viking folk must have had plenty of long, dark evenings to fill with no TV distractions!

Fragments of the chain have apparently been found in Viking graves and were sometimes used as currency.  This little bracelet in copper wire is the only finished piece so far. The findings were all hand made too, so don't look too closely!

It's great fun because as you weave the wire looks quite messy and you think you've made a mess of it, but once you start pulling it through the drawplate, a bit of magic happens and it all comes together quite nicely.  Hoping to post a tutorial in the New Year when I've had more practice.  Currently having a go at double knit which is going well considering how awful I was at real knitting ;-)

A couple more makes from this week picture here too.  Hope you like them.  The watermelon tourmaline is a new gemstone for me and I love the range of colours.

So now I'm off to catch up on some of those non-crafty Christmas tasks.  Merry Christmas everyone!

And here's the link to find out what other crafty people have been up to this week.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Handmade Monday: recent jewellery creations

Hi all,
Have been neglecting this little blog recently - poor thing!  But now I'm over my little op and back into the crafting mode, I thought I'd share a couple of recent makes with you.

Firstly, this woven bracelet and earrings set.  You might have seen the bracelet before as I made a prototype in the rubies and one in the emeralds and couldn't decide which I liked best.  Blog followers voted for the rubies, so I kept the emeralds for myself!  Then decided to do earrings to match.  One thing I learned was that it's probably best not to attempt a weaving design where you need to get left and right as mirror opposites when you've recently had a general anaesthetic and lots of morphine afterwards!  I had several failures before eventually cracking these ;-)

It's getting to feel a lot like Christmas is creeping up around here, so I've resurrected and remade these snowmen earrings.  I think they should really be called 'snowpeople' but there you go!

These amethyst beaded bead earrings are a variation on the carnelian ones I did for Comic Relief.  The basis ball of beads was made in the same way as this tutorial.  They are really purple but look blue somehow in all the photos.

That's probably enough for now.  Back soon!

Here's the link to see what others handmade crafters have been doing this week.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Handmade Monday: Wire and some handmade finds

This week I've mostly been coiling - again! This bracelet and earrings set incorporate green peridot and bronzite gemstones with the coiled wire.

Coiled wire gemstone bracelet and earrings
Feeling a little dispirited crafting-wise as sales are non-existent at the moment.  Hoping it will pick up soon and be a good Christmas for us online sellers.  I now have some minor surgery booked in a couple of weeks, so worried that I might miss the busiest time. 

While I've been promoting my shops, I've found lots of lovely handmade things that are going on my Christmas list.  This brooch is just one of them:
It's from Ruth Charlton Ceramics on Etsy.  Ruth is based in the Lake District and specialises in faces and people.  Good, isn't it?

Inspired by this find, I did a treasury of faces on Etsy.  Never ceases to amaze me what talented people there are out there.

And I'm not ignoring Christmas completely - started a Pinterest board with some great deer - one of my favourite animal + Christmas themes.

Here's the link to see what others handmade crafters have been doing this week.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Handmade Monday: Poppies, gizmos and more wire work

Gothic blue jewellery setAre you bored with the wire work yet?  I know I keep posting about it but I can't get enough of it.  This week I finished this set where each bead is caged in twisted wire.  I hand twisted the wire (me and power tools would be a dangerous combination!) and the spirals so the set literally took hours.  Decided not to sell them as the time they took would make them so expensive, and there's always a chance that the twisted wire might snap on knitwear - I wouldn't want to be responsible for ruining someones warm woollen sweater!  Those are just excuses because I want to wear the set myself ;-)  I did make an extra pair of earrings - they'll be going in the shop soon.

Also this week, I invested in a wire coiling gizmo machine.  What an excellent toy!  I can now waste hours at the table turning the handle until I'm mesmerised!  The first real results are these earrings.  I thought the coiled wire looked a bit festive, so I added ruby and green chrysocolla rondelles.  What do you think?

I always like to support the poppy appeal, but at the moment haven't ventured into brooches.  So thinking outside the box, I had a go at some poppy earrings in ruby red jade, onyx and emerald.  They don't lie flat - naughty little gemstones! - but that does give them a quirky little 3D feel!  There's a donation to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal with each purchase too, so you can wear these poppies with pride.  Why have one poppy when you can have two?!

Quite a busy week, and I managed to fit in a project management exam as well.  Actually most of these makes were a diversion from revising for that exam if I'm honest.  So if I haven't passed, at least I have something to show for it!!!

Here's the link to see what others handmade crafters have been doing this week.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Handmade Monday: Beaded stars and flowers

This week I decided it was time to take on board the fact that it will soon be Christmas - I've been in denial for a while!  This star or flower could be a little bit festive, so I thought I'd post a little tutorial in case you want to make your own.

You will need:
  • 25 beads for each star or flower
  • Monofilament or beading thread
  • Jewellery glue (optional)

I used 6mm beads which make quite a chunky star about 4.5cm across.  I've used two colours of beads in this example just to show how you are basically creating a circle and five little triangles and to make the explanation easier.  The two colours could be an interesting effect though!

1. To start, thread 3 beads on a long strand of monofilament.
2. Cross the two ends of the monofilament across a fourth bead...
3. ...pull the ends of the monofilament so the beads form a diamond shape
4. Add 5 more beads to one end of the monofilament (keep using the same end of the mono to thread the beads on from now on, but you will need to keep pulling the other end tight as you continue beading)
5.  Put the end of the thread that you added the 5 beads onto back through the second of those 5 beads
6.  Pull the monofilament so that it forms another diamond shape next to the first one, separated by one extra bead as shown in the diagram
7. Repeat steps 4-6 again to form another point of the star
8. Repeat steps 4-6 again twice to form the last two points of the star
9. You can see that the purple beads will form the inner circle, and you need one more to complete the design so thread on that additional bead by crossing the two end of the monofilament through it
10. When you pull the threads through, you'll see the star shape forming - nearly done!
11. The first thing you'll notice is that the star is quite floppy (!) and the two ends of the monofilament are not in the same place.  Start to rectify this by threading one end of the monofilament through all the inner circle beads, then threading through each of the points of the star in order.
12.  Once you've done all the extra threading, the monofilament ends should be in the same place and now you can knot them and glue the knot.

Your star or flower is now ready to use as you wish.  Perhaps a necklace, bracelet or Christmas decoration?  They look nice in neutral colours as well as the brights.

This one I've made into a simple necklace

Here's the link to see what others handmade crafters have been doing this week.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The dog's blog: An update on my assessment

Hello again,
Lots of you were kind enough to wish me luck with my Pets as Therapy assessment last week (see this blog if you missed it) - thank you.  Well, I'm happy to report it went really well - I got top marks in everything except that right at the start I pulled a bit, which I always do when I'm excited because I'm in a new place.  Even when I was being brushed, I totally resisted the temptation to even try eating the brush!

Mummy and Daddy were so pleased with me that I was immediately taken to Pets at Home to get treats (and a little tug toy gift for my friend Buddy who kindly lent me his short lead for the assessment).  Then we went to the park for a lunchtime walk where I met another three friends, the retired guide dogs, who are always great fun to run around with. 

After all that activity, I was totally flaked for the afternoon! 

Now the forms have to go back to the Pets as Therapy office where they decide whether I'm suitable, which could take three months.  The whole thing was nearly off when Mummy discovered she had to include a photograph of herself with the application as she's totally phobic about having her photo taken.  Anyway, she's decided she can always wear a balaclava during the visits so as not to scare the patients!  Finding a photo of me was not a problem as the place is full of them.  I chose this one where I think I look calm and serene :-)

See you soon,
Lucca  x

Monday, 10 October 2011

Handmade Monday: clasps and flowers

 I've been messing around with wire again and begun a quest for my favourite handmade clasp!  These are some of the contenders.

Some days, I like the more complex ones and other times, I'm really attracted to the simpler models.  What do you think? 

As well as these, I found a wonderful tutorial on how to make wire work flowers and now I'm getting a bit obsessed with making them!

 Dinky, aren't they?  So far, I've made them in every type of wire I have, so it's about time I started using them.  Here's a pair of earrings which I think might be the most delicate that I've ever made, combined with my favourite beads at the moment, red and green Brazilian jade.

Want to see what everyone else is up to?  
Here's the link to find out what other Handmade Monday folk have been making this week.  

Friday, 7 October 2011

Folksy Friday: Walking

A crisp Autumn day is the perfect time for a walk, in my humble opinion.  Now the leaves are swirling down, and I have some time between jobs, the dog and I are making the most of it and having lots of long rambles.

Found these beautiful images on Folksy.  Click on any of the pictures to be taken directly to the shops

fruit fridge magnets fruit wreath stained glass fruit bowl

1. Sunday papers by iolaire
2. Girl and scarf lino print by holly prints 
3. Together fine art print by Bridget Wilkinson 

apple bookmark pear door stop

1. Walking the Dales Way by John Robinson Photography
2. Walking the Dog by Paul Watson Photography 
3. Small World #4 by Beanphoto

See more beautiful images on this Pinterest board

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The dog's blog: In training

This is me at the end of the Pennine Way in Scotland.
Just a quick blog from me - I've been in serious training since I got back from holiday for my assessment tomorrow and not had time to blog much.  I've never had an assessment before and tomorrow someone will decide if I'm suitable to be a Pets as Therapy dog - there's a link there if you've not heard of the charity which arranges for dogs (and cats) to visit hospitals, hospices and care homes.  Mum thinks I might be suitable, and that having a 'job' would be good stimulation for me.  I don't mind at all, especially if it involves more fussing and petting and lots more people giving me treats. 

So wish me luck.  I've been practising the tasks really hard and the only one I'm really struggling with is not mouthing my brush.  It would just be so much fun to get that brush in my mouth and run like the blazes away from mummy and have a really good chew of it...

Love Lucca  x
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