Welcome to my blog, random stuff about me and where I live, plus some bits about my jewellery.

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Wednesday 31 March 2010

Windy day

Yesterday we had some really dramatic wind, living on the coast you can get some exciting weather! I had to get a bus from where I work to a little hamlet which is as close as I can get to where my husband works at this time of year. He is usually waiting for me but yesterday he got held up by customers and I had to stand in the rain on this deserted corner, getting odd looks from a man across the way. It was chucking it down when I got off the bus, luckily it stopped and was just windy!

I didn't take this picture yesterday, actually I realise it's about 4 years old! but it shows the dramatic waves we get in the harbour, hopefully the people and lamp posts give an idea of the height of this wave!

I have done some more work on the moon piece but I haven't taken any more pics yet, again, not sure about the other side matching the first.

Here's a pair of earrings I'm going to post on Folksy today.

Sunday 28 March 2010

At last

here, at last, is a further stage in the devlopment of the Moon piece. I've now undone the right hand end 4 times! I was determined to actually add something new to it last night so stayed up much later than I should considering the clock change!

I decided that the lace looked wrong flat so I've wound a strand of beads around it. The strand is actually attached at the edge and a couple of points on the lace so it stays where I want it and doesn't just gather up at one end. I quite like it but I think there may be a lot more to come. I bought some more silver clay the other day with a voucher I got from Spoilt Rotten Beads. I have plans for little silver beads, or some such with lace patterns pressed into them. I shall probably have to have one of those trademark fringes along the bottom edge with the above beads on it.
Lots of primroses and primulas flowering in the garden and the first actual daffodil flowers, I believe we also have a few celandine growing on our steps, the steps are gravel, shallow wooden edged flat bits with gravel on rather than having a slope up to the door. Means that seeds take a good hold there most of the time!

Thursday 25 March 2010

Last 3 sunshine awards

Here are the last three, sorry to be so slow with this. Really hard to choose between all the fascinating stuff.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Another sunshine award

Only 1 blog to pass it on to today, had to work until 7pm, so if I search any more shan't get any beading done. The moon piece is progressing slowly. I've reached that point where I'm not sure of the next move but I have some ideas so I'll post a picture when it's moved to a more interesting point. The sunshine award is 2 posts below by now sorry. Help I've forgotten who I nominated, Whover you are I meant it sincerely. I've left a comment on your blog so you'll know (added Weds)

Monday 22 March 2010

Four more sunshine awards

Ok now I have to find 4 more people to give this award to.

Ok 4 more tomorrow and I'm done.
I'm going to work on that moon piece some more now, got some to undo before I can carry on.
Watching a sweet film called The Fox and the Child which I think is french originally but has a narration by Kate Winslet and a little dubbed dialogue.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Sunshine Award

I'm going to find at least 4 blogs to pass this on to tonight, I've been a bit useless since I got mine. Here's what to do for those I give it to
The sunshine award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blogging world.
The rules for accepting the award are as followers
  • Place the logo within your blog or post
  • Pass the award on to 12 bloggers
  • Link the nominees within the post
  • Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blog
  • Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award
The Logo is in the post before this one 'cos I'm so disorganised.
So far I've nominated:

Friday 19 March 2010

Many Thanks to Joyknitt for nominating me for the sunshine award, very chuffed indeed
I shall have to spend some time finding some more lovely people to nominate, might take a while, as Joy says there's so much great stuff out there. I've been working at my local theatre tonight, watching The Steve Howe Trio. Enormous fun just the right blend of Yes stuff re-arranged for this jazz trio and some excellent modern jazz, and I got paid! Now watching Prog Brittania 70's nostalgia night.

Thursday 18 March 2010

A bit further along

It's coming along, I'm quite pleased with the beaded bit at the end of the lace, I may gather the lace in some way, I'm working on ways to do that, either with strings of beads wound round it or actually gathering it across the centre and adding beads once it's done. By the way technically it's not lace, it's net with embroidery on but lace is a useful shorthand. If anyone knows what the technical term is let me know.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Next phase of the moon

Here's the first part of the necklace bit, I've decided to use some of that old lace as you can see, not sure how I'll finish it, watch this space.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

New piece in progress

I've started work on a new piece that I've had in mind for ages. I made a little pendant a while ago using a piece of rock crystal with a little painted heart under it. The pendant sold on MISI and I rather liked the effect.

I've had a disc of crystal for a while, I bought it from a local gemstone stall and it came from a chakra set. I've tried a couple of different approaches with it, going for an open mount with no backing but I didn't like it. I finally produced a drawing I was really pleased with. I wanted a moon face, which is difficult to get across without being too obvious and unoriginal.
The double face effect happened almost by accident but I think it was meant to be. this is the drawing attached to the background before beginning to work.

Here's the crystal on top of the drawing. Usually I would glue the stone to the background, but because the disc is not flat I haven't been able to do that. It makes working on it quite tricky but not impossible.

Here's the moon with it's finished mount. There's a lift row of old crystal bicone beads and a row of slightly uneven silver coloured seed beads. Because the lift row beads are not spherical gaps appeared between each bead, to fill these gaps Ive attached  small ab crystal tube beads which lie all at the same angle against the bicone beads. After gluing the backing to white leather there's a finishing row of old opalescent white seed beads.
I now need to make it into an actual piece of jewellery. I think it will be somewhat similar to this one: Moonlit Water necklace although  I've been inspired by Tom Binns use of lace in the Vogue article about his work and I have a fairly large collection of lace trimmings................... watch this space!

Friday 12 March 2010

Vogue ad

The issue of Vogue with my little feature in came out on Thursday. It looks quite good, just waiting for a response now. Hopefully there will be one!  I have plans for a piece of jewellery which involves a clear crystal circular stone (a chakra stone from a set I bought) with a picture of the moon behind it. Usual mount of beads and stuff I expect, although I have a collection of old lace I've been wondering what to do with and saw a 'proper' designer in Vogue, a necklace of chains with lace. Might try adding some to this, see what it looks like.
I'll post some photos when I've got some. Going to watch The Bubble now. Bye

Friday 5 March 2010

How to: Creating a mount around a stone with beads.

For those who would like to know, this is how I make my work. This is the first stage; the stone, or in this case a piece of sea glass, is glued to a piece of stiff interfacing or something similar that doesn't fray. If you are using dark colours paint the backing to match if you like, as it can show through particularly at the edges. I've left it white to make it easier to see.
Stage 2, apologies for the slightly blurred image, this stage is only necessary if the edges of the stone are uneven or do not lie flat on the surface. If you are using a cut cabochon with a flat back you can go directly to the next stage. 
This stage is called the lift row, it takes the beads up to a level with the top surface of the stone so that you can begin creating the mount itself. Thread about 3 feet of thread onto a beading needle.  Attach the threaded needle to the backing close to the edge of the stone. Thread enough beads to go around the stone as closely as possible. The beads will need to be the right size so that their top surfaces sit level with the top of the stone more or less, bettter to be slightly below than too high. Take the thread back down through the backing at the same point you started so that the beads form a loop around your stone, then bring the needle back up about 1/4 of the way around and stitch over the original thread down to the backing between two beads, ensure that the beads still sit regularly around the stone. Repeat this at 1/2 way round and 3/4 so that the loop of beads is fixed down at 4 evenly space points. Now stitch the thread down between every bead, making sure that they sit as close to the stone as possible. When you have gone all the way round between every bead in the loop bring the needle up through the backing and take the thread through the holes in the beads as many times as you can round the loop until the holes are completely filled with thread. Fasten off the thread at the back.
Start a new length of thread and bring it up between the lift row and the stone. This is the first bezel row, if you are using a more normal cabochon with a flat back this would be your first  row. Using beads of a smaller size than the lift row,  if this is just your first row and has no lift row beneath it then size 10 or 12 is an appropriate size, with a lift row then that will determine the size if this row. Thread four beads onto the thread and put the needle back through the backing at the end of these beads, again down between the lift row and the stone, or as close to the edge of the cabochon as possible, ensure that the beads lay flat  on top of the lift row if there is one, touching closely, make sure they dont dip down between lift row and stone. Bring the needle up again at a distance of two beads, behind the first four beads. Thread on two more beads and take the needle through the first four beads again. You need to use the finest needle you can, because you will be going through these beads several times. Thread four more beads onto the needle and again take the needle down into the backing at the end of these beads, then back up through 6 beads back, two beads behind the four you've just added, and thread through these 4 beads. Continue until you have completed the row. The last section may not accommodate 4 beads, so add as many as will fit comfortably, dont add too many or they will sit up above the row and look untidy. Now thread around and around the row of beads as before until the beads' holes are as full of thread as you can get them. Fasten the thread off and thread a new piece again.

Stage 4 2nd bezel row.
This is the last row of the bezel which holds the stone in place, if you are using a large flat backed stone you can add further rows after this, but it gets harder to do! As you can see the stone starts to disappear under the beads. Thus row is similar to the last but with a slight difference. Using smaller beads again, usually size 12   (or 15) on a regular flat backed cab. Bring the needle up between the first bezel row and the stone and thread on 4 beads, take the thread back down at the end of these four beads, ensuring they lie flat and as even as possible. For your first try use nice even modern beads so you get a really good finish and don't get put off, you can see in my photo that I've used old, slightly uneven beads for this row, I think it adds character! This time bring the needle up between the 2nd and third beads and take the thread back through beads 3 and 4. Add four more beads and take the needle down at the end of these 4 beads, back up between beads 2 and 3 of the last 4 and thread through  beads 3 and 4 again. Continue like this until this row is finished and thread through the beads again until you can't get the needle through any more. this is the bezel finished. Your stone is now held firmly onto this backing as it would be by a metal bezel.
This stage is very simple, glue the completed bezel onto a final backing. I use clothing grade leather for mine but you can use anything that doesn't fray, there are specialist backing materials available from beading suppliers, in vinyl and stuff like that. Make sure that the glue doesn't go right to the edge of the stitching as you need to stitch through this bit, it's not a disaster but it makes things a bit easier if there's no glue here, once the glue is dry, I use normal PVA type glue, then trim closely through both layers make sure you don't cut the stitching.
Stage 6 trimmed edges.
Stage 7 edge row.
This row hides the edges of the two backing pieces and is crucial to get right. Using size 12 beads or a suitable size for your piece, fasten a piece of thread to the piece at about 2 mm from the edge and thread up through both layers at a slight angle to bring the needle out as close to the outer row of beads as possible Now you stitch a row, using brick stitch, around the edge of the two backing materials, thread a bead and go back through the backing layers again thread up through the bead, add another bead and go back through the backings, thread up through the second bead, pulling the thread out parallel to the work, thread a bead, back through the backings and out through the bead just threaded, thread another bead, stitch through the backing layers and thread up through the last bead and so on, keep the stitches very neat as they show on the back, make sure the beads sit neatly next to each other, you are trying to hide the join between the two layers. As you pull the needle back out of each bead keep the thread absolutely parallel to the work or this row will not sit flat. Go back down through the first bead when you reach the end of the row and fix your thread by working back through several beads and cut off, at the back, level with the surface. Use glue or nail varnish to fix it. I've actually used delica beads in this photo, rounder beads are easier to use for this stage. but I don't like an easy life.
 This shows the back after the edging row is finished. Note that the beads sit round the edge flat, they don't stick down below the edge or up above it, this takes practise and care, to pull the thread out through each bead exactly parallel to the backing, if you pull upwards the beads will sit upwards like a pie crust!  Similarly if you pull downwards you get a flange effect and the inner backing will show.

Now you can do the fancy stuff round the edge. Just a row of beads stitched onto the stitches of the edging row will hide them, like brick stitch but without going back through each bead, I like to go a bit nuts at this stage!  You can do simple picots, frames of brick stitch or peyote, or mad fringes like mine, you can also do fancy work on the inside edge of the bezel if you like, best done before the final backing stage. This is the time for experiment and fun.
The finished piece 'cheated' with the necklace part of this one, it's part of the beaded strap from an old evening bag I bought for the beads on it.
I'm sorry if these instructions aren't wonderfully clear, when you know how to do something you can think that you've explained it perfectly well when you haven't really. I thoroughly recommend the book 'Beading with Cabochons' by Jamie Cloud Eakin, which is how I learnt to begin with.
I know that there is a completely different technique using peyote stitch which doesn't use a backing and leaves both sides of the stone visible. I don't get on with this technique at all, mostly because I don't like peyote stitch, although other people use it very effectively. 
I recommend using a thread conditioner like Thread Heaven or similar and 1G thread from Japan, be prepared to break a lot of needles, particularly if, like me, you prefer to use size 12s and 15s rather than 10s and 12s  for your bezel rows, I've even used size 24 sometimes.
Happy beading folks.

Brick stitch instructions here: http://www.beadjewelrymaking.com/Arts_and_Craft_Idea/flat_brick_stitch_instruction.html
Or do a search, loads of people offering instructions. There's an excellent book 'Beading with Brick Stitch':  http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=beading+with+brick+stitch&sprefix=beading+with 
which looks like it might have gone out of print as it's quite pricey on Amazon at the moment.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Mothercare cosmetics

I had a reply from Mothercare about the cosmetics in their Watford store, apparently they are for use by people using the photo booth concession, not for sale. I still think makeup has no place in a store for babies and young children.

Wednesday 3 March 2010


I am fairly incensed today, visited Mothercare in Watford, they have a large edge of town store there. Inside are a couple of concessions, Early Learning fine, Clarkes Shoes also fine and a cosmetics studio! Complete with those canvas chairs you find in Boots where posh cosmetics companies do a makeover and try to sell you stuff you don't want for outrageous prices! What's wrong with these people, this is a shop for kids up to about 7, how can they possibly either want or need cosmetics. I have written to Mothercare about it, I know I've been living in Devon for the last 6 years but really! I thought we were finally getting a sensible backlash against the adult nature of kids lives these days. There are all these lovely educational toys, pretty pink little girl dresses, and a makeup stand! I'm really glad my grandchild is a boy! Stand up for a real childhood for your kids not a miniature version of an adult.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

blog trawling

Been having a bit of a trawl around the blogs using that 'next blog' button. There's an amazing variety out there from really bland to really exciting and interesting. Lots of quilters, that skill eludes me totally, even looking at a book makes me glaze over. I'm not a planned crafter, my work evolves as it goes, I start with a central stone or piece of glass and just start beading, the most I do as a plan is get all the appropriate colours and add the next row as seems appropriate. I suppose that means my work reflects my mood quite well. A classic example is this piece:
I actually had a drawing for this, but it was for a necklace! it took so long to do to this stage, plus it wouldn't curve as I wanted it to, so it became a bracelet and I made the silver shell button to finish it off. People seem to like it though so there you go!

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