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

Ley Holloway is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Monday 31 May 2010

Treasury for Bank Holiday

I've never done one of these, I was inspired by the first person in it, this gorgeous cat family is one of my favourite pieces, click on the link to go to the shops

 I love these turquoise cats

Lovely cuddly feline, she has lots more in her store

Nice simple design and fair trade too

Finally a picture of my lovely Finn who we lost a couple of years ago, I've been looking at pictures of a kitten on someone else's site, getting that urge again!
I hope you like my choices, I only searched in  Dreamaid and MISI so maybe  I'll do a wider search next time.
I started working on some bits for the lace piece again last night, I've made a coil of copper wire; which I've melted and heat treated a bit, that echoes the pattern on the lace, not entirely sure what to do with it yet..........
If anyone has any suggestions for the next move please feel free, I may ignore you of course but I may not.

Friday 28 May 2010

Latest stuff

I've finished piece of jewellery that I posted about a few days ago. It's a new take on the pendants on torques. I've been working on this piece as a rest from the coffee lace piece which I'm a bit stuck on. I did have a minor inspiration last night, I'll try it tonight and let you know if it's a real breakthrough or a really rubbish idea!
Here's the new piece I'll probably post it on Dreamaid later:

This is the closeup view, the torque is about 16" round and fastens with a hook at each end which link into each other.

In my last post I mentioned my young friends getting married, I have the bride's permission to post this image in which you can see my tiara. When she returns it I'll post a closer view.

You can just make it out it's made with lots of different white and crystal beads, mostly vintage, with 1 blue one, 'cos you know "Something old etc......."
Beautiful dress isn't it and what a perfect day and location, high on the cliffs overlooking Watermouth Bay and Combe Martin. I think I got the name of the headlands wrong in my last post sorry, It's probably Lester point and Hangman point.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Friends getting married

A nice couple I know, who both work in different parts of the library I work at,  got married on Saturday. They're mid 20s, the perfect age and have been sweethearts for 9 years or so, practically since they were children. I saw some photos posted on facebook today and they were lovely. I lent the bride my first attempt at a tiara, more of a posh alice band really, but it looked really pretty, adding a little extra sparkle to an already lovely bride. Foolishly I haven't any photographs of it yet. Here's a picture of the view from the hotel they married in.
Eat your heart out, I live here! Well just up the road a bit, but I pass this view on my way to work in the mornings when I work with my husband. This is Little and Great Hangman cliffs off Combe Martin. The hotel is called Sandy Cove. They couldn't have asked for better weather and they had the whole day there, ceremony and everything. It's lovely having young people start their new lives together, they are the second wedding among library staff this year, both couples have actually been sharing their lives together for a while and have recently decided to formalise their relationships, I'm pleased that this is something they have wanted to do. Both couples have said what a nice feeling it is,and the bride from the first wedding expressed surprise that she actually feels different, she hadn't expected to want marriage, as she has no intention of having children, but when asked, she agreed and is now really glad they did.
I'll have some pics of the bride and the tiara later.

Monday 24 May 2010

New piece and dead bats

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half in the garden digging a bit more of the jungle. It gets taller every time of course and I managed to sting myself on some nettles I'd already dug out! When my husband got home from work we went down to the seafront for an ice-cream only to find that the van had gone home! We found that one of the harbour shops was still open so we got our ice cream, the van is the best in the area made by Hockings and is really delicious, hopefully there'll be plenty of other opportunities to indulge.
We went back out to the garden to lay some weed suppressing membrane when the air had cooled a bit and found a dead pipistrelle bat at the bottom of the garden, poor little thing. There are a number of suspects of the four legged variety around, and the bat's fur had a slightly matted look, as if it might have been in someone's mouth!

Here he is, these are the smallest bats in the uk but I think they're also the most common, apparently they are usually 3- 5cm long with a wingspan of 19 - 25cm. I've always thought they were really cute, but then I like mice too. I'm glad to know there are some bats around locally, not too surprising as we have a stream running past the front garden and a wildlife reserve at the back.

Meanwhile back at jewellery, I've put the lace piece on hold for a bit as I'm not sure where to go with it. I started this piece as a complete contrast and to go back to my usual style again. I had a sudden inspiration and it's growing onto the torque like seaweed on a rock.

I'm quite pleased with it so far, let me know what you think. The other side will match more or less and I have plans for some dangly stuff at the bottom.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

My first commission

I was commissioned at the weekend to make two pendants as bridemaid's gifts for a wedding next month. I was thrilled to be asked and the customer was really nice and undemanding, I've read other people's experience of having argumentative and difficult people who keep changing their minds. Luckily my customer had seen something on my MISI shop that he liked and wanted two similar items. After the exchange of a couple of emails the decision was made and I was able to go ahead and make what he wanted. He has paid me, lovely, and I'm posting his pendants to him tomorrow
The criteria for this customer were, handmade and preferably in Devon, I've provided a little 'story' to go with the pendants explaining where seaglass comes from which was something he particularly wanted.

This is one of the pendants, the other is almost identical.
Obviously you don't get absolutely identical pieces of sea glass, by the way that's a good tip for telling the real thing from fake stuff produced in a tumble polisher, if someone's offering a lot of 'sea glass' jewellery that all looks exactly the same shape or size you can be a bit sceptical about the sea glass. You get a lot of similar shapes, after all glass breaks in certainw ways because of it's structure and the sea acts on it in similar ways, ask a scientist! I have found it very hard to match two pieces, for pairs of earrings for example, you have to be quite forgiving n your matching, nearly rather than exactly the same.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Quick Laugh

Found this face inside the onion we used for today's dinner, looks a bit worried, but then I would too!

Took the laughing pepper picture ages ago, can you tell that I get a bit bored cooking dinner?

More stuff about jewellery soon I promise.

Saturday 15 May 2010

10 minute holidays

As owners of a tourist attraction we don't get summer holidays, we go away in November or December. Don't run away with the idea we are in the Caribbean though, last year we were in Branscombe South Devon. It's a lovely little village, we had forgotten  that was where the Napoli broke up,

Link to the Wikipedia page about Branscome
The ships anchor, absolutely huge, is there as a memorial. Having seen the news reports, and now visited the village, it must have been horrendous! The village is very narrow and is all along one road spread for miles, with a tiny square where we rented a flat, and a couple of even smaller roads leading off.
As you can see the weather was brilliant, but it was December!
As you can imagine February, when the season starts officially,  to November is a VERY long time. We have had some time off earlier this year but as it involved funerals and very sad times for our family not really a restful time.
We take what little time outs we can, like the walk on the beach a couple of days ago or a quick visit to a cafe after the weekly shop or as this morning after the bank run for the week.
It's amazing how much relaxation you can squeeze into ten miutes if you have to. I'm lucky as I get Sundays off when it's term time but that means a whle week of housework, gardening and anything else crammed into one day.
This approach to relaxation could apply to anyone, if you're feeling stressed take 5 or 10 minutes out,  go somewhere quiet, a local park, your back garden, or just an empty room if you're at work, anywhere you can be quiet and preferably alone or with someone you don't have to talk to if you don't want to. Just stare at the landscape or the sky or an attractive plant, even a blank wall!  It will pick you up no end. I'm hoping this will help other people to deal with their stress. if not maybe a book will help you find your own way to deal with it.

Thursday 13 May 2010

The joys of coastal living

After yesterday's stint in front of a computer today started a bit differently! We left home early to stop and get some stationery and post the earrings I sold on Tuesday (Hooray, on Folksy). We always allow plenty of time in case of parking problems and as we found a little space straight away ended up a bit early. So, since our route to work is along Combe Martin sea front, we stopped for a little stroll. The only other people on the beach were two small boys, up on the walkway that takes you to an old silver mine entrance at low tide. Flat calm, sea gulls floating inside the breakwater, the rocks looking as if they were floating too.

I found a couple of bits and pieces for my jewellery, I find more ceramic than glass on that beach, there must be a rubbish dump from years ago somewhere near it. My husband suggested I try beading round a pice of a large terracotta flowerpot, that would be a challenge wouldn't it!
What a nice start to a day. 

Most of these pictures are straight off the camera I hope they look ok, I usually have a little tinker with photoshop before I upload.

 Found this book on Amazon looks like it would be interesting. I didn't know they did individual areas from the air like this, I've seen the UK one and it's fascinating .

Here's a further stage in the development of my new lace piece, it's giving me pause at the moment, I may want to add some other stuff to the lace, bits of silk perhaps or some little bits of the leather I backed the stone with, don't know.

I've finally decided the giveaway on my storefront will be this little piece:

So get everyone over there becoming fans please! I need 100 before I can give it away.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Learning the basics

I've been training to be a computer basics trainer today, I spent most of the afternoon following a government approved training course called myguide. If you have a friend or family member who is terrified of computers I can recommend it, it takes you through everything from how to turn the computer on and off to sending emails and online banking. It was quite fun until I got 4 out of 7 in the email quiz, went back to do it again and got 3 out of 7! Just goes to show you if you think you know what you're doing you can miss the details and get it all wrong. Got tripped up in the adding an attachment section, their email system is quite different to mine and I kept forgetting and trying to do it the way I usually do!

You can always find a book instead I suppose and read that before you even touch one of these mad beasts. One part of the course was a crossword, where the clues were answers to basic questions about using a keyboard and a mouse. I got all the answers on the grid and it said I'd got it wrong! It did the same thing to my friend as well so a minor glitch there but it was fine otherwise.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Nothing Much

Coming to the end of another working day, promise myself no computer stuff this evening, going to get on with beading work.
I while ago I gave out some sunshine awards after Joyknit was kind enough to nominate me. I completely fogot the last person's name and I think it was she who asked me to send her details of how I make the pebble jewellery. I sent her the first installment and then my hard drive crashed and I lost all my old emails etc. I've tried trawling for her  - you know  'next blog'- as that's how I found her in the first place, she doesn't seem to be someone I'm following, twit that I am I forgot to do that. If you're out there please get in touch as I'd like to continue the series.
Also does anyone else use Open Office? Havingreal trouble with their database programme.

Sunday 9 May 2010


My only day off this week so I was determined to make the most of it. A latish start, I got up as my husband was leaving for work! I usually try to do an hour of yoga before breakfast but I've had a dodgy back for over a week so I was taking it a bit easy today. Breakfast, and then housework. Very dull but it's gotta be done don't it. I had lunch around 3.15, well I didn't get up 'till 9.30! then attacked our disastrous garden.

We live in a tiny 19th century cottage with 2 rooms down and 2 up but it has loads of garden, seemed like a good idea when we bought it! There's about 50 feet at the front which is relatively cvilised and almost looks like a garden.

 By the way does anyone know what those white flowers are?

There's 100 feet at the back, fine except that it slopes very steeply. Outside the back door is a tiny yard with steps leading up about 6 feet or so to the garden, which hasn't had anything done to it for years. Last year our neighbour, who does gardening professionally, strimmed it down for us, took him a day and a half! We had dug over the bottom few feet and put fleece down, and some slate chips on the first flat bit, but that's it. So the last two sundays I've been digging a bit more, trouble is there's a lot of bramble which has roots about a mile long! By the way while digging I met a slow worm and a newt.  At least the wildlife like the garden!

This is a view from our back bedroom window, the stone wall at the top holds back the bank leading up to an old railway line which used to run trains to and from Barnstaple and brought holiday makers from all over. It didn't close until the early 70s and is now part of the national cycle network. Actually that bit of wall is behind my neighbour's garden as the angle of the gardens is a bit odd, you can just make out the blossom from the smaller of two apple trees, we've never had fruit from that one as the crows get them before we've managed to struggle up there! There's the remains of a dry stone wall just above the fleece covered bit, I'm hoping  to rebuild that eventually.

Here's a slightly closer view,you can see all the stuff I've dug out in the wheel barrow!

After my husband got home we sat out in the front garden for a cup of tea and spotted these new ferns growing against next door's porch wall under an old fuschia.

Planning to get on with some beading tonight, I have a repair to do for a friend who was given a piece of my work as a leaving present when she changed jobs last year. I need to find a way to stop my vintage bugle beads from cutting through the threads! Any tips anyone.

Saturday 8 May 2010


 I read on someone else's blog that Saturday is a day for not doing much, or something like that, unfortunately I was at work today, a fairly busy day at the library  becuase the weather was so awful. I suppose most places it's the same but I think perhaps being in a seaside area makes the weather more of a factor. I'm working away on that coffee lace piece, at the moment my head is full of  ideas and not enough time to put them into practise. Frustrating, I'm sure I'm not the only one, we all have comitments in our lives, whether it's family or work or whatever.
One of my other strings, something else to keepme busy, is illustration. My husband is a writer and is currently updating a little book of nonsense poems we published a few years ago, I've done some black and white pictures to illustrate the poems and designed the original cover, I've done a few more pics for this new version and I must get on and do the new cover!

Here's a couple of the illustrations:

The speech  balloon has something in it on the page!

Link to my husband's writing
Hopefully these pictures give you some idea of how mad the writing is!

Wednesday 5 May 2010

New Lace piece

I've started another piece using lace. This time the centre is really large piece of agate which I bought as a rather ordinary brooch from my local collectors market. It has fascinating pattern of swirls in shades of golden brown with faint greenish streaks. The lace is a wide coffee coloured piece with thick embroidered flowers and loops.

I've photographed it among the chaos of my beading mat, showing some of the beads I'm using. There's quite a wide slelction and all sizes from quite large old white beads to tiny ones, some of which I can't get on the needle properly, I have to be very selective with those. I'm influenced by a book I found in our library stack it's a book about Roman ruins in Libya, have a look at this mosaic (the third one down called 'fishing'), it is astounding in it's delicacy and realism. The colours of the stone are the colours of this agate with soft blue greys and dull reds. The plan is to embroider beads onto the net between the embroidery, trying to give the feel of the old mosaics and worn plaster of the roman buildings, As the lace is very wide I plan to create pleats in the top edges to creat a curve. I'm hoping this will echo the carved pillars. I think it will be quite special when it's done, I hope so anyway. I've discovered copper clay recently, I understand you can fire it with a torch so I might make some embellishments with that if I can afford to buy some.


Hi I've finally decided, now I have a Facebook Storefront,to have a giveaway. Once the storefront reaches 100 fans I'll be giving a piece of jewellery away. I haven't chosen the piece yet but I will announce it soon.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

May week

As we came home from work yesterday, (the joys of owning a tourist atraction!) we spotted three of our local morris men in green rag costumes and black faces. It's great living here all those traditions are happily alive

This photo was taken about 4 years ago when we still took occasional days off, that first May bank holiday was always a bit dead in our old shop.
I've just opened a facebook storefront http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=388700616004&v=app_135607783795  Hopefully it might get a bit more attention than some of the other sites I'm trying to sell through.

Currently working on another lace piece, no pictures yet I'll post some when I get the chance. Here's my most recent finished piece.

I've called this one Green Egyptian I'll go and load it into Folksy & Coriandr and everywhere else now.
The 'stone' is a piece of very dark green sea glass. This type of glass is thought to date from as far back as the 17th century, it looks black until you hold it up to the light and tends to be very thick but very smoothly rounded due to the length of time spent in the sea. The piece uses mostly new beads in the woven necklace with some vintage ones in the mount and the loops hanging below. the 'gold' accent is part of a very gaudy 70s ring which I cut up, I've enamel painted the cut surfaces to get rid of the grey base metal! Effective though I think.

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