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

Friday 23 July 2010

Treasure from Trash

I've finally managed to make something that resembles a bracelet from the pair of old sugar tongs bought for £1.00 from my local market. It's not easy, especially as I don't really have any silversmithing tools, the tongs are not actually silver,they are some kind ofalloy, which I guess has brass or copper in it as it goes interesting rainbow colours when you heat it. As it has taken me so long to finish it's not polished yet, although I quite like the patination effect in places, there are some ugly marks I want to get rid of before I call it properly finished. Any way here it is for what it's worth.

Here are the original tongs, about 6" long and the spoon ends are about the size of small tea spoons.

This view shows the flattened spoon bowl.

This view shows some of the interesting colours that have developed on the metal, I need to decide wether to keep them or not, unfortunately some areas have actually turned black and not in a nice even way but in blobs and patches.

The other side.

I have a vague intention to make some kind of pendants from an old Tate & Lyle treacle tin, the sugar connection you know, and drill the bracelet to hang them from it, I'm not sure, or maybe just threaded on the narrow sections on rings so they move, may not do that at all, but I like the slightly steampunk look of the thing and I think that would enhance it. Well it's 20 past 11 on Friday so if I don't post now the deadline will have passed so that's that.

Flower Treasury

Time for another treasury, with stunning imagination I've gone for flowers:


This pretty summery necklace, caught my eye, hand made foxgloves and a little butterfly peeping out at the right hand side.

Really unusual glass chips on this memory wire bracelet, never seen millefiore as chips before, lovely.

It's really nice to see such bold fabric used for a little girl's dress. A lovely change from Bratz (Ugh) and other pink sparkly adverts.

The star of the show! I love this clever bag, so adaptable and well designed and vegan leather! I must investigate this material.

Very clever lady. 

These lovely old fashioned soap roses are a nice bit of nostalgia, this is the kind of thing my aunt used to have in her bathroom. A lovely gift for anyone, real elegance and beautiful packaging too.

Finally this dramatic necklace, a really different design and  very elegant and striking.

Well of course I have to have a piece of my stuff in here too so here's mine

I'm not totally happy with the photo, I got carried away in the garden when the sun finally came out, but it's a pretty necklace anyway.

Hope you like my choices.

Vintage thingies thursday

 This is a link to a lady who has a regular spot about vintage stuff, I've posted something on there, I hope! Link over and have a look.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Paper and sheep

Spent the day making 11 sheets of paper from the pulp, I've added some dried fuschias and some kind of wild cereal into a couple of the pages. I also put in some thin slices of shell which flaked off the inside of what might be an oyster or something like it. Bleaching doesn't seem to have made much difference to the colour so it'll be grey paper, oh well.

Yesterday a friend, who keeps sheep, gave me a fleece. It was fun bringing it home on the bus, I suppose living round here people don't think twice about a feed sack full of smelly wool. I left it outside last night and it's been lurking in the bath most of the day. The first lot of water was totally opaque brown! It's getting cleaner but it will take a while, then I'll have to card it, anyone know where I can get cheap carding combs? I'll probably use a couple of wire dog brushes as a substitute.

This is the fleece after several washes, one with grated soap in the water. I managed to pull a little out and wash it thoroughly, I laid it into a sheet of paper, not totally successful as the lanolin in the wool has repelled the top layer of paper. We'll have to see how it is when it's dry.

I had planned to make the limbs for the puppets from copper mesh with a bit of paper on it, so far I can't get the paper to stick to the mesh. At the moment the wierd Barbie has paper coated arms to see if I can make the limbs entirely out of paper.

Thursday 15 July 2010

At last the starch has arrived

Yesterday morning the packet of powdered starch I ordered finally arrived, it took quite a while to get here, which is annoying as I've had all this pulp hanging around waiting for it. It's doubly annoying as I discovered that I could buy liquid size from a papermaking site much more cheaply than I thought. Ah well you live and learn.
I found a really strange doll in a charity shop yesterday. I decided I needed a teenage doll, like Barbie or one of those, to use as a kind of mould to create limbs for my puppets. The only one I could find is really weird. She has mauve translucent arms with glitter in them, partly translucent legs and very mad hair. She looks extra strange, as she has obviously lost her original clothes and someone has given her a pair of pink knitted shorts! More strange yet, when I got to work after buying her, I was rummaging in my bag for something and discovered that bits of the doll light up! Her legs glow red and her torso blue. Seems you might give a child nightmares with such a strange being. There's a slot in her back where the electronic gubbins are for the lights so I think she might have had wings once. She's wearing really odd pink boots too.
Very strange, I think you'll agree.
A bit of research has turned up the fact that she is a Fairytopia Crystal Barbie apparently from some ghastly Barbie movie
Here's what she should be wearing, poor thing, I was right about those wings.
I think the knitted shorts are a much better look, and the pink kinky boots! unfortunately one of her feet has broken off inside the boot. It's a good thing I only want her for her body! ( she'll be a template for limbs made from wire mesh) Luckily I have other plans for the feet, those scary permanently tiptoe barbie feet don't really do it for me.
I may redress her when I've finished using her, I can see all sorts of slightly punk fairy outfits coming to pass here! And maybe a metal replacement foot?.....ooh yes all sorts of possibilities. Of course if you've fallen in love with this little fairy you can find her on amazon and buy one of your very own, see the search box above.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

The recycling project moves on

I've made a few beginnings on the Beaford Arts recycling project. I've spent some time thinking about what should be included, the centre is about performng arts, and about outreach and bringing arts and community together. I started thinking just about a book, and I think there will will be one. I've begun to make some puppet figures, so far only the heads, I'm planning to represent a performance space and have some puppets that can move by some mechanical means. The movement wont be very sophisticated, probably a crank that turns to make them 'dance' a bit.

The heads are just faces because I'm making them with paper casting, I think they may stay that way, my thinking is connected to the ephemeral and artificial nature of a performance, putting on a mask or alter ego to perform whether as an actor or a more direct performer like a musician. I've always liked the Quay Brothers so an element of that wierdness might creep in.
I have a roll of copper mesh and I think the bodies may be formed from that, probably with more paper attached.
The rabbit has not been an unqualified success, it was really difficult to remove from the mould and I had to repair a couple of bits.

You can see there are a few cracks still, I'm not sure how to repair the outer surface, where it's whole and well moulded it has a wonderful silky smoothness which would be lost if I repair the outside with extra pulp, unless I can somehow put it back into the mould to redry. It took about 4 days to dry enough to take out the first time, and that includes 2 1/2 hour sessions in the oven and sitting it on a radiator at night and in the morning when we have one on in the bathroom.
I intend to give it a 'performance' element by applying a story to the rabbit's surface and some kind of noise creating thing inside. I'd like to have an electronic 'voice' inside the rabbit but it's proving very difficult to find one exccept on import sites that want you to buy 1,000 units! By the way does a rabbit make a noise?

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Trash To Treasure

Makers-online and Uk handmade are running a competition to make something beautiful from rubbish. I bought these sugar tongs for £1.00 from my local collectors and antique market. I've seen jewellery made from cutlery, admittedly usually silver, and wondered if I could do it too. We'll see.

Further moves on the recycle front

I've made a start on the project, I've been amazed how much pulp I've ended up with from only a few brochures, maybe 1/2 dozen or so, so thanks to the lovely people at Beaford for the offer of another 75, but I only live in a tiny 2 up 2 down cottage!

Here are a couple of the containers I have in my kitchen, I promise the faces floated to the top of the right hand one without any interference from me, couldn't resist the photo.
As one of the events in the brochure is called Rabbit Faced Story Soup, I thought I should make a paper cast in an old rabbit shaped jelly mould that I happened to have in my kitchen cupboard.

I'm fairly sure there were more than one of these moulds once, possibly even three sizes. The pulp I've used for the rabbit is at a farly early stage and still very lumpy with big flecks of printed surface, it will be interesting to see if anything recognisable ends up on the outside, that might dictate how he gets finished.
I've been thinking about where this project is going, Beaford Arts is very involved in the communities where it takes the performances and has a policy of connecting artists withe the region. I've got a vague idea that my life and surroundings should come into the project somewhere. This morning while I was working on making the pulp finer I spotted a piece of kitchen paper I'd been draining raspberries on, and into the pulp it went.

I've made an experimental sheet of paper to see if it's working. I've sprinkled a few of the staples in between two layers of paper to see how that works.

Earlier today I was searching for thick square cut leather thonging, the only place that had any was Fred Aldous. I was really chuffed to find an old friend still in business, I had a Fred Aldous catalogue years ago before anyone had even thought of the internet, and there they are still trading, not only that but they sell Clothkits, how wonderful to find that they are still around too, I feel quite nostalgic. Anyone who was over 10 in the late 60s early 70s should remember Clothkits, they were and still are, a brilliant company selling screen printed kits for toys and clothes with real style. These days it's a real pleasure to find companies that have survived the times. Since we lost Woolworths I've been feeling that the whole world is wrong!  You know what they say about not missing things 'till they are gone......

Saturday 3 July 2010

Arts Project

I've set myself a project, following my appraisal at work where I was asked what I was personally doing to improve the green credentials of Devon (2nd largest county in the UK!) I spotted a whole load of out of date brochures for a local arts company,


Beaford Arts,in the recycle bin. I've decided to do something with them, so I've torn them up and they are soaking in a bowl on the floor. I'll either make papier mache or even some hand made paper. I've kept one set of pages back and a few of my favourites twice. I'll add some extracts, individual words and bits of images on the surface of whatever I end up making. I notice, looking for the website to link to them, that the brochure is printed on recycled paper, I like the idea of endlessly recycling things, changing their use and appearance  each time and probably losing a tiny bit each time.

I'll probably pulp it tomorrow, I expect it will end up as paper, depends how I feel tomorrow, I've only really got one day to make paper, if that's what I decide to do, as I'm working part of every day next week. Oh yes and I'm going to a clothes swap party tomorrow afternoon. We'll see how it goes, no time for housework tomorrow!
PS I've kept the staples, or some of them, they came out still closed as I tore the brochures in half and picked them off the torn edges, maybe I'll add some to the paper too.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Ponds Cold Cream Rip-off

Very, very unhappy with Unilever  who make Ponds Cold Cream. I've been a fairly regular user until now. I wasn't able to buy it last time I tried, shortly after La Minogue announced she would be switching from botox to using cold cream. Clearly the good people at Lever rubbed their hands and immediately began thinking of how to increase the price. Having run out of the Boots version I bought instead I was pleased to find Ponds back on the shelf. I was a little surprised to find it now in a box,but at the same price so I bought it, in something of a hurry. On opening said, celophane wrapped, box I found a minute jar with a very large lid, in a box with a carefully raised bottom, the jar contained around 1/4 that the old plastic one did at the same price I had last bought it for. OF course there's now a lot more packaging as well,very green Unilever.
 This is a rough idea of the difference between the two sizes of container. I haven't been able to find the pot I used to buy, I think it was the same size as the Boots one which is 200ml the new one is 50ml! The image is a bit exaggerated actually but you get the idea.
I can only hope that the celebrity interest fizzles out really quickly and leaves them with nobody, as I'm pretty sure most of their loyal old customers will feel the same way I do.
Boots will be getting my custom for future purchases of this cream unless they pull a similar despicable trick!!!!!!!!!

Well that's my vent over.

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