Thursday, 30 December 2010

Fresh start


I didn't manage a Christmas post this year - there was 'flu in the house We haven't been 100% here, and we had to change our plans, but we did enjoy a small, quiet Christmas here at home and Nanna came to stay. I do hope your Christmasses were free of viruses and weather problems.

The days are now starting to get longer and I do enjoy this time of year - it feels fresh, and my outlook changes. I start eyeing the garden again with plans for the clearing and rearranging that I didn't manage in the autumn. I went out there yesterday and managed to find a few spots of prettiness to pop in a jar.

January's Splash of Colour project will begin this Monday coming - the 3rd. I started the project in the hope that looking at bright colours throughout the winter may help that rather grey, hibernating feeling that can descend. Blogging colour at the beginning of every month from November until February would mean only four such posts to get us through the winter - we are half way through, which feels good.

Happy New Year - see you on the other side

Note: The SOC flickr pool is here, but I'd love to incorporate non-Flickr participants in the colourful mosaics if I can. If you'd like to send me a photo or two then it would be great to be able to include them.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Poppy-rocket-book



When someone asks me to make a custom piece it's an exciting process - the best part of jewellery-making. Ideas fly back and forth until we hit on a plan. This design was to be based around a silver ring with a collection of gems and silver shapes hanging from it, building on the theme of one of my seaside necklaces.

The customer, a fellow blogger, had asked for three charms, one to represent each of her children. To denote one of her boys, who is passionate about reading, I made a little silver book. The other little lad is excited about space travel so his charm is a fifties-style rocket (with echoes of Wallace and Gromit's spaceship). Her little girl is represented by a poppy - it's a frequent nickname for her. To give an idea of scale, the rocket is 15mm long.



By pure chance, the children's three birthstones, and two more gems with special significance, turned out to be complimentary tones of blues and greens. There's a little uncut rock sapphire hanging beside the poppy and I added a rice-Krispie-ish tiny vintage freshwater pearl as a highlight.

This necklace gave me the making buzz that Tania blogged about recently. Starting with a lump of precious silver clay and knowing I needed to make a rocket had that plunging feeling about it. It was like the slightly scary high of being on a zip wire. I just had to jump off and get on with it. After I'd finished the rocket I confess I danced around a little bit - it was part relief, part giddiness. It was good and not a square of chocolate was in sight.



Massive thanks to Forestpoppy- I've heard that she's received the necklace through the post just now and will be opening it in a quiet moment later, when her littlest is asleep.

Eeep: nearly forgot, the winner of the little wreath is Kristina - could you send me your address and I'll pop it in the post. Congratualtions!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Natural colour and mosaics



I just braved the freezing fog, determined to find some natural colour in the hedgerows and garden. It's in isolated spots but it's still out there. The pink Daphne blossom (second from right at the top) and yellow winter-flowering Jasmine (centre) have to be my favourite right now.

Thankyou once again for the wonderfully uplifting and colourful contributions this month. It's been lovely to take a few minutes here and there amongst the mad dash and enjoy these images and blogposts. I've made three more mosaics from the SOC Flickr pool. Along with the red one from my last post I hope they make your eyes happy this morning:


Rainbow in December:



1. Harrietroach56 2. Scented Sweetpeas 3. Buttons ribbons and other things 4. Daisleyboxes
5. Little Green Shed 6. My nest of yarn and buttons 7. Trashalou  8.Dragonfly
9. Kitty W 10. Trashalou 11. Domesticali 12. DawnMarieg2
13. Living on the Edge 14. A Beatnik Love Affair 15. Belper 201 16.Living on the Edge


Decorate:



1. Itchin Stitchin 2. Little Green Shed 3.Wild Acre
4. Bunny Mummy via Attic24  5. Linaloo 6.Green Rabbit Designs
7. Summer Fete Love 8. Green Rabbit Designs 9. Helen Phillips


Finally, an unashamed blast of colour:

1. Dragonfly 2. Living on the Edge 3. Loujanu22
4.The List Writer 5. Miriam Weaver 6. A Beatnik Love Affair
7. Me 8. Kitty W 9. Tales from a Cottage Garden

There are also some truly gorgeous images from t and cake (who many of you will recognise) and Paula.

Next month's Splash of Colour will begin on Monday 3rd January. The post holiday slump may have hit by then so I think we might be needing a boost.

Edited to add: I'll be drawing the winner of the jewelled wreath later today and will announce it next time - there's still time to pop a comment here.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Splash of Colour: Red mosaic




















These are polymer clay beads. I didn't make them and I haven't used them yet. I might end up keeping them in their own little stash though, just for those colours and for the miniscule flowers. I did make the little earthenware bowl though, many years ago in pre-baby days at a residential pottery course near Flookburgh.

I just had some fun making a quick mosaic with some sumptuous red images from the Flickr pool. For some reason these gorgeous reds make me hungry




1. Buttons, Ribbons and other things 2. Mrs Pao 3.Little Green Shed
4. Forestpoppy 5. loujanu22  6.A Beatnik Love Affair
7. Ali 8. Dragonfly 9. Daisleyboxes

Thankyou to Val who tutored me in the ways of Big Huge Labs. The Splashes of Colour will continue until Monday so there's still time to join in, pop your blog on the linky two posts back and hop over to the other bloggers in the colour party.

There'll be more mosaics to come...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Jewelled wreath tutorial


































Many thanks for all your lovely lovely comments on my little jewelled wreath. I will be drawing the winner of the little wreath giveaway on Monday when this month's Splash of Colour draws to a close.

Here's my tutorial so that you can make a wreath of your own. There's a new link in my sidebar so you can refer to this whenever you like:



You will need:


  • Galvanised wire about 1-2mm in diameter (available from hardware stores or garden centres)
  • Silver-plated or copper wire about 0.5 or 0.6 mm in diameter, available here or here
  • Green beads to act as leaves, I had a bag of glass peardrops in olivine: they're here
  • Red and/or white beads to act as berries: I used freshwater pearls from here
  • Wire cutters and pliers, available from hardware stores or here.
  • Something to act as a circular former around 7cm in diamater. I used the top of the squeezy tommy ketch bottle. A narrow jar would do just as well.

Step 1


Cut a length of galvanised wire about 80 cm long. Bend the wire twice round your former leaving one long and one short end (short end should be just a few cm long):










Step 2


Remove the wire and bend the short end round and round the circle to secure.









Step 3


Bend the long end into a loop and secure by twisting round the circle as before.







Step 4

Cut a length of silver-plated or copper wire around 80cm long and twist firmly two or three times round the top of the circle, near the loop.



Step 5

Now the prettiness begins. Take a green/leaf bead and thread it onto the silver-plated/copper wire. Push it up to the circle of wire, hold it firmly where you want it with your thumb and twist the wire firmly once or twice round the circle to secure it:





























Step 6

Add another leaf bead, push up to the wire circle, hold it where you want it with your thumb and twist to secure in the same way.



























Step 7

Once you've mastered attaching the beads like this you're away! I've used the following pattern:

Three green leaf beads
Two white 'berries'
Three green leaf beads
One red 'berry'
Repeat the above.

The beads can be moved and adjusted very slightly once they're attached so you can perfect your arrangement.

































































Step 8

You will start to run out of fine wire around half way round. With a cm or two to go twist very firmly round the wire circle three or four times, snip off the excess and squeeze the end with pliers to prevent scratchy bits.

Cut another piece of wire, twist round two or three times round and begin again.

Step 9

Continue with your chosen pattern until you reach the top loop again. When you have closed the circle twist the wire firmly three or four times, snip off all remaining ends and squeeze with the pliers to prevent sharp ends.

































































Step 10

You're finished!


































Hang it on your tree/in the window to catch the light/on your ear if you're feeling a bit Pat Butcher-ish.

Have a nice cup of tea.

I will return tomorrow with more colour for December. Thankyou so much to all who are joining in - it's serious fun. The Splash of Colour Flickr pool is looking STUNNING. Have a peep here.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Splash of Colour December: Beaded wreath


































It's December already. How on earth did that happen? Splash of Colour week is back - a little late I'll admit, but  hopefully it'll be as enjoyable as last month.

For anyone who might be new to my blog I started a winter project last month to seek out, photograph and blog colour around the first week of every month until March. The aim is to banish winter greys (or indeed any blues that might be lurking) by looking at colour. It's a kind of experiment and I really think it began to work last month. Everyone who joined in enjoyed it and several said it boosted mood too! There should be no shortage of colourful subjects this month: baubles, berries, whatever looks festive and cheery.

The Splash of Colour Flickr group is here if you'd like to have a peep. I checked in just now and I can see there's some gorgeous images on there already today.




































There's a good deal of red, green and white around at this time of year. I've been using these colours to make these little beaded wreaths for several years and today I was feeling slightly Marie-Antoinette-ish so I've used cranberry and ivory freshwater pearls for the berries.

I'll be posting a little tutorial in a day or two if you'd like to know how I make them.


































In the meantime I'm giving one of these wreath decorations away so if you'd like the chance to win one just pop a comment here. I'll draw the winner in a week.

Add your blog here if you're joining in, then link back here and we'll have a blog hop. Enjoy the colour....



Saturday, 4 December 2010

Silverpebble etsy launch



I've finally managed it. I've launched my silverpebble etsy shop. You can see a sneak peek there in my sidebar.



There's a collection of little hand-made nature necklaces on my shelves - the shapes and designs that keep cropping up in my mind and that are inspired by Fenland walks and my wild and woolly garden. There's a little wintry seedhead brooch too.

If you would like to have a peep here it is. I'd love to know what you think.



I'm quite nervous and am very very new to the workings of etsy but I'm thrilled to be part of the etsy community at long, long last.


































So, there may not be a huge trumpet fanfare but there might be a small toot on a kazoo and possibly an extra biscuit with my tea today.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Clogland






















I bought these 1970s clogs from etsy in the summer. I'd checked and rechecked the continental sizes against the UK ones. All seemed well and I took the plunge. They arrived and they were even more beautiful than in their picture. The handpainting was stunning and I couldn't wait to put them on (and to possibly do a small cloggy dance). You might be able to guess what happened - they were at least a size too small. There was some clog anguish. I considered reselling them but couldn't bear to part with them.

I've just hung them up on the wall. I think they might have become a Christmas decoration. Ahem. It's December right?

Their vibrant colours reminded me - this month's Splash of Colour week will begin next Monday, the 6th December. I'll be posting colourful images to help us through the winter. There are now 42 members of the Splash of Colour Flickr pool. It's a good place to visit if you want to take a look. I've made a new button for the project this month:











It would be wonderful if you could join in next week.