Tuesday, 29 June 2010

What is it about blue?

 Couldn't resist doing a quick blog about this bracelet.  It combines two things I'm really wild about at the moment, the 'Picasso' lampwork beads that look like someone in the millefiori-making room has gone mad, and cobalt blue.

I haven't always liked blue so much - green used to be it for me, but I did read somewhere that it's the nation's favourite colour.  Who knows how they work that out?

Anyway, it's available in the Folksy or Dreamaid shops.  Do I want to keep it for myself?  Absolutely!

Solution: I'm off to break the habits of a lifetime and make a second one for me - belated birthday present!!

Monday, 28 June 2010

BESTeam weekly feature: Swing Station Studio on Etsy

SwingStationStudio SwingStationStudioSwingStationStudio
SwingStationStudioSwingStationStudio SwingStationStudio

Colour, colour, colour - beautiful prints made into beautiful and practical bags, purses and housewares is what you'll find at Swing Station Studio on Etsy.

I just had to make a collage to show some of the great patterns on my favourite items.  Click on any of the pictures to be taken directly to the shop.  Each one would be a pleasure to use!

Heather, from Fort Collins, CO runs Swing Station Studio. She says her interests also include cooking, painting, reading, and sleeping! Helping out are hubby and fluffy little doggie, Ginger.

You can see how well made the items are, with the seams double stitched and co-ordinating linings inside.  Swing Station Studio ships internationally and will even contact you to arrange hand delivery if you live in the area.

I think my favourite overall though is this Birds of Norway fabric box purse.  The print is so lovely and you could store a substantial amount of things inside.  I love the fact that Heather will make any shape or size of purse in any of the available fabrics, so you could have a truly customised item.

And how cute are the elephants featured on this zipper pouch? They even have glitter!

You can find out more about Heather and this great shop by following the links below:





Wednesday, 23 June 2010

BESTeam weekly feature Fish Princess Designs on Etsy

How lovely to feature a shop where all the jewellery makes you go 'oooh lovely'!  Such is Fish Princess Designs on Etsy.  All the lovely items feature natural gemstones, pearls, beach stones, beach glass, fossils, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver, gold or copper - all my favourite material too.

You can see the inspiration from nature (Fish Princess is a keen fisher woman in her spare time) in this howlite and freshwater pearl necklace with bronzite beads.  It's a really striking statement piece, in this season's top colour and the pearls compliment the semi precious stones perfectly.  At 21 inches it's a great length for summer tops as well.

For a real bold look, that necklace would work, I think, with these great hammered copper teardrop earrings.  They have a real Etruscan look, don't they, and again the sky blue of the turquoise howlite really pops against the beaten copper.

Texture is so important in creating a look and I love the way the pattern of the metal takes up the matrix of the turquoise howlite.  The real beauty of natural stones is really enhanced here.

This design is also available with beautiful denim blue lapis stones , light topaz crystals and in the with copper beads too.

This also took my eye, because lovely blue coloured pearls are really hard to come by, and the combination with the blue Swarovski crystals and silver accent beads in this bracelet is delightful. 

I could have picked so many other items - it's really a pleasure to be browsing here!  And what's more, Fish Princess is keen to work with you on custom orders too.

Find out more about this great seller at

Friday, 18 June 2010

June loons Go Animal!

Love these animals listings from the loons

Froggy card by Crafty Mushroom

Delicate tea light holder by Bex by Design

Isn't puppy gorgeous?  If only I didn't have a dog that chews everything, I would adopt him!  By northfield primitives

 Foxy by NOfkantsCurios

Cheeky squirrel earrings by Mary Elliott Jewellery


Water vole earrings by Ruby Rattingtosh Creations

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The joy of handmade

If you've bought a handmade item, why did you choose it?  Was it because it was unique, one of a kind?  That's got to be the number 1 reason.  In an era when the vast majority of things we buy are mass produced,  unique item has to be a real winner.  No-one else will have one!  And of course with Dreamaid you know in addition that your purchase is going to benefit someone less fortunate than yourself.

Handmade items really are  made with love
Another big plus is having something made with love.  You will get an item that been through a design and production process.  The difference is, that design process may well have taken place in the crafter's head, in the shower or at the kitchen table.  Sometimes an idea of mine is kind enough to land itself when I'm near my design book, but often they come along on the way to the day job, whilst walking the dog or halfway through Coronation Street!

Then there's production.  With one unique item to make, it's got to be right.  With jewellery, sometimes the actual act of putting together doesn't take a lot of time, but again we crafters have to find those few still minutes in a busy day.

Stand well back - knotting in progress!
I love making statement semi-precious stone necklaces where each bead is knotted individually.  The knots take a little while to do, but it's beautifully quiet time and a chance to think about what you're making, and wonder who might wear it and for what occasion. 

There is one part of the process some of us struggle with and might like to get someone else to do, and that's the photography.  You want your picture to convey the beauty of your handcrafted lovely - but often the light, the camera and the props have other ideas!  That's why handmade items are usually even better than you imagined when you see them for real.

So there's a quick step through the handmade creative process.  Now you know that the process begins and ends with a love of crafting, inspiration from real life and a desire to make something really beautiful that will be unique for you.  Each of the sellers on Dreamaid has also made a commitment to donate part of their profit to help those in the Third World.  Together with you, they can help to share that message of love further with each handmade item.

So smile as you browse!

Blue Forest Jewellery Blue Forest Jewellery Blue Forest Jewellery

Monday, 14 June 2010

BESTeam weekly feature Lightkeeping on Etsy

This week I'm very pleased to feature Anastasija, whose store Lightkeeping is one of the first shop I came across on Etsy, and one of all-time my favourite shops.  It's great name for the shop, as light, colour and energy buzzes from these beautiful pieces of lampwork, semi precious and wooden jewellery.  There are stunning colour combinations, pretty quirky pieces, and a fusion of form and light in each of the pieces which is truly artistic.
Here are a few of my favourites:

These blue and white lampwork earrings are just so pretty, and they reveal something of the traditions which this talented crafter has absorbed, taking their inspiration from Russian blue and white Gzhel ceramics. 

While we are on lovely shades of blue, this Day at the Beach bracelet and earrings set also took my eye.  It's a collaboration piece using lampwork beads from another self representing jewellery artist.  Those turquoises are the perfect thing for summer, and also for winter when you need a reminder of the summer!

The colour of these lovely lilly earrings and pendants is truly beautiful - they are fire agate, and if you've ever seen that stunning semi precious stone before you will recognise the transluscent tones in here.

In a different colour palette, here are the Funky Swirl earrings in teal and green.  Those colours just pop with each other.  Very retro, very pretty!

My last pick, but I could have picked everything really!  These earrings are hand painted wooden beads, so lovely and light.  I think this folk art style is really trendy at the moment, and these would suit anyone.

You can find out more about Lightkeeping at the blog and by following on Twitter.

Click here to tweet: Visit this beautiful BESTeam Etsy shop

Friday, 11 June 2010

Folksy Friday - red and white

OK, so this is sort of for the world cup, but if you're not that way inclined, it's just a set of lovely red and white makes arranged in a sort of pattern!  In any case, enjoy, and click on the links to go directly to the shops involved.

Passionate about photography NOfkantsGimme that Thing
Twinklyspangledropsconeblue forest jewellery
Knitted Babies Bigsisters handmade treasuresEidelweiss

And just a couple of other topical items as well!
England for Girls by the Jewellery Angel
England Flag Badge by Gift Shack

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dreamy Thursday - A green theme

Out in the countryside at the weekend, the profusion of different greens was spectacular and really made me think of how nature reflects her colours in plants and, happily for me, in gorgeous gemstones.  I've just added a page here on the blog about jewellery combinations which I really enjoyed putting together - please have a glance and see what you think.  In the meantime, here are some beautiful Dreamaid green makes with a touch of nature added!

dottery pottery the glitter tree

minXtures FFSC

SteamPunkGlass stowlyboxx 

1. A lovely cup of tea from dottery pottery
2. Beautiful necklace by the Glitter Tree
3. Cuddly greenfly by MinXtures
4. Three bags in one by FFSC
5. Green nebula pendant by Steam Punk Glass
6. Organza hair clip by Stowlyboxx

Click on any of the product pictures to go directly to the shops.

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