Saturday, December 04, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Ah the news is full of horror stories about the snow and ice. Here in Belfast we've had some snow bit very little compared with the east coast of England. So here it's just enough to make it look pretty but without too much agro ... although I still have a beef over the pavements not being clear at all!!!!
Anyway I took myself off to Victoria Park this morning for a walk. It felt like I had the place to myself apart from some feathered friends of course ...
Winter in Victoria Park

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Holidays Are Coming ..

Well according to a popular drink "the holidays are coming". I dislike it when the seasonal alie in the supermarket starts looking glittery in August but when Coca Cola billboards and adverts start appearing I have to admit that it is probably time to start thinking about the festive stuff. Iwanted to make my own cards this year, and preferrably not as they were being posted.  I'm not for one minute suggesting this has gone entirely to plan but I have managed to make a reasonable batch of cards to be sent from me. Maybe the snowy weather has spurred me on :-)

I fell in love with the Percy and Penelope theme from DoCrafts so most of the cards are from that set. There are some others like the Bently Bear toppers.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Minty fresh

Heck it's gone cold. All the more reason to get the heating going and have a crafty weekend. Not sure it'll turn out quite like that but I have a four day weekend so there's a remote chance. 

However while I'm pondering and planning the weekend here's another catch up.  These lovely minty beads are painted glass pearl beads that I purchased at the recent craft show at the Kings Hall.


The necklace has been made using three strands of tigertail. All strands are threaded through the larger beads then threaded individually though small beads in between.


The bracelet is using a new technique where the beads are wired and linked together. I will be covering this technique in more detail in a new post. 


There are also some earrings using headpins and fish hook earring findings.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

See those seeds?

Oh dear this is the first technique that I haven't gotten along with. Perhaps my aversion comes from picking up the tutors example and losing a whole string of seed beads. Embarrassed or what!!! 

The earrings use tigertail, crimp beads, beads and earring findings. 

Slip both ends of the tigertail through a crimp bead. move the bead towards the loop and crimp leaving a small loop for attaching to the finding. Thread on beads to each side of the tigertail allowing for the beads to stagger near the loop so that they dangle freely. Finish the end of each string with a crimp bead into which the end of the tigertail is threaded back to make a small, tidy loop. Staggering the length of the two ends is the most effective look. Ensure that both earrings in the pair are made up the same.

The necklace uses tigertail, crimp beads, seed beads, focal bead and findings.

The tassle is made using the earring technique to make three items. Unlike the earrings these do not need to be identical and staggered lengths look effective. 
Take one longer strand of tigertail and thread through the top loop of the tassles. Thread both ends through a crimp bead so that the tassle sits in the middle on the long strand. Thread the same two threads through the focal bead and crimp together again. String seed beads onto each of these strands to the desired length and terminate with findings.

Using Felt bead, seed beads,class hurricane beads, muyuki glass seed bead cubes.


Czech glass hurricane beads 9x7mm 'Mitsuba' and Miyuki glass seed bead mix 4mm cubes EARTHTONE from Beadaddicts on ebay


Tigger time?

More tigertail makes this time with three separate strands of tigertail wire which are crimped only at the ends.  Each strand is a different length so that when they are crimped together it gives the appearance of wearing three necklaces. I've used different, yet complimentary combinations on each strand within a necklace.

The class make ... first attempt
 The first attempt used a variety of beads including some of the felt beads I made earlier.

I love the classic look of black and silver.

Soothing lilac
Your eyes do not deceive you the tigertail is coloured :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't like the dark

I have to admit I'm struggling with the long nights and ever so short days we're having at the moment. It's proving hard to keep motivated to do much and the blog is one of the victims of the hibernation mentality. That said I do have some makes to photograph and write up so I think that will be one for this weekends list.  
Decorating the attic has turned into a painful process to some extent due to the limited daylight hours as checking on the coverage when painting white emulsion is a real hindrance. It's getting there just much more slowly than I would have liked. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fabulous Friday

Ok so it's not Friday as I'm writing this but tomorrow I'm off to the Creative Crafts show in the Kings Hall, Belfast. Been looking forward to this for ages. Credit card at the ready :-)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Not much crafting

Not much crafting being done at the moment but I'm making great progress on redecorating the attic. Wallpaper stripped, paintwork cleaned and today I removed the old carpet. Will be continuing with painting and papering this weekend and will hopefully be read for a new carpet by the end of next week.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Victoria Park

Some pictures from an autumn walk in my local park. 

"Victoria Park, situated in east Belfast, opened in 1906.

One of the park’s biggest attractions is its lake, which was originally used for boating. Today, it is home to a range of water birds such as swans, geese, ducks, herons and migrant waders. Some of the waders have also been recorded in the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia.

All grown up and waiting to transform

Due to its rich variety of wildlife, the open water in Victoria Park is part of the Belfast Lough ASSI (Area of Special Scientific Interest) project.

There are also many pleasant walks around the park, with recent tree planting providing shelter for many small birds.

A poetry trail, which features ten nature-themed poems written by local primary school pupils and etched onto metal plaques, also provides a pleasant route around the park.

Look out as well for the special inscriptions on the park benches. Created by artist Eric McKillen as part of our Art in the Park programme, they include words and phases which capture the essence of the park, such as `an island of nature surrounded by busy lives` and `silken swoop of elegant swans`.
One of the Art in the Park benches

The park also contains Victoria Park Playing Fields."
Not quite in the park but a path towards it

Friday, October 29, 2010

Verdant variation

I'm finding that when buying beads I'm drawn to blues, reds and somewhere in between. So with some of my latest buys I've intentionally looked at another colour scheme, greens and yellows. Here's my first venture with these new beads. 

It's raining, it's pouring

Good grief the rain is just not letting up today. So I've ventured up the attic stairs to try and sort through whatever is still up there. The plan has always been to get it decorated so that I can have a spare bedroom. Of course there were two bedrooms on the first floor but one is now a study/craft room and as we all know that is a necessity.
I've got to say though that the attic room is a lot bigger and I can imagine it as a craft room :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gone eShopping

With few options for buying beads locally I'm turning into an ebay addict where the jewellery making is concerned. Beads and findings galore are out there to be discovered. So how do you decide who to buy from? What are the deciding factors? What to look out for.

Well you have to remember that almost anyone can sell on ebay. I like to get a fair deal and if possible at the same time support small and/or local businesses. Remembering that he price of the item is far from the whole story when postage is added and you risk getting stung by customs and excise if the items are from further afield.

If I find a seller I'm happy with which includes good communication, the items being as advertised as well as a good product, at a good price then I am much more likely to go and see what they have when looking again.

Some of my top sellers whom I thoroughly recommend are ...

Beadaddicts , GartreeCrafts , K2-Accessories and Pandas Patch

Monday, October 25, 2010

Different flavours of christmas cards

At least three different flavours of christmas cards in the making ...

Did you know penguins are taking over the world?

A Victorian Christmas?

Red and Gold

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Laptop decoupage

While I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last couple of days I've been in front of the fire and tv with decoupage for christmas cards. It's been a relaxing task which has suited my mood.

When I've been at the computer I've been looking at other crafty blogs and am enjoying getting ideas and inspiration from others :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Triple tigertails

Another technique and effect using tigertail wire can be achieved using multiple threads.

Materials and Tools: Tigertail wire, crimps, beads

This recipe uses a repeated pattern using seed beads, a slightly larger bead for each thread and then a larger bead for all the threads.

1. Crimp all three threads together, including the fastener as appropriate.
2. On each of the threads add 3-5 seed beads, one larger bead, 3-5 seed beads. 
3. Add a larger bead with all three threads going through the same bead.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 to required length.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chasing the tigertail

The tasks in this project are basically to group and string beads and practice crimping onto the tigertail.

Materials and Tools: Tigertail/Beadalon wire, crimps, beads, fastener findings

Tigertail and beadalon are the commonly used brand names for a fine nylon coated steel wire used in jewellery making. The inner is make of steel threads and these make the wire springy when released from the reel, quite firm for threading through beads and means that the wire will kink or fold if pressure applied.

Each group of beads is symetrical with the centre bead being larger, pairs of beads either side and a crimp on each side of the group. I want the crimps to hold the group in place so the outer beads need to have a centre smaller than the crimped bead.

Cut a piece of tigertail long enough for the desired project. String the centre group of beads onto the wire and allow to fall to the centre. The crimp is then closed or crimped using flat nose pliers or a crimp tool.

Flat nose pliers: Place the crimp between the jaws of the pliers and squeeze. The crimp will be flattened onto the wire. If you need to squeeze further make sure it is in the same direction or you will open the original crimp.

Crimp tool: The crimp tool has two notches, the first notch has a small dimple on one of the jaws, when the crimp is squeezed together this dimple will make a crease or fold in the crimp. The second notch can then be used to curl the ends of the squeezed crimp towards each other.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Autumn Inspiration

Making the most of the autumnal crisp, clear days to go for a walk. Capturing some autumn themed inspiration on the Comber Greenway.


Some finished items

Here are some items made with the beads and techniques I've been learning so far.

Polymer Beads

Felt Beads
Twisted Macrame

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Macrame with cotton cord
When I think of macrame I think of plant hangers from my childhood but the technique of macrame can be applied to different materials. I've tried out the same technique with cotton cord, embroidery thread and wire. 

Tools and Materials: Cord/Wire, Beads, findings, tape or clip.

This technique has a core that runs from end to end and two strands with which the knots are made. Cut two core strands, these should be the length required for the project (eg measure around the wrist for a bracelet) plus some length for finishing the ends. The other two strands are at least double the length of the core strands. 
Fasten the four strands together. This can be done by knotting or fastening into an end crimp as required. The point is to secure the four ends together. This end can be taped down or held in a clip to keep it on one place. 

Lay the core strands straight down and lay the longer strands one on each side or the core we'll call these strands one and two. Lift strand one and thread under the core strands leaving a loop to the side. Then thread it over strand two. Pick up strand two and lift over the core strands then down through the loop left by strand one. Pull strands one and two so that they form a knot around the core strands. Repeat starting with strand one every time to form a flat, braid style knot. 

Alternating the starting thread (or starting from the same side) each time will produce a twisted result.

The different materials give different effects as do the tightness of the pulling together at the end of the knot.
Macrame with embroidery thread
Macrame with wire
Macrame with a twist

Friday, October 15, 2010


Exams over it's time for everything else :-)  Starting with a bit of a tidy up so I actually have space for my crafty stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Exam season

First of two exams was this morning.  Don't think I'll have done too well but I stayed there and waffled for the three hours. It's been a couple of years since I last did an exam and despite knowing this wasn't a good course for me I'm quite calm about the whole thing. 

Next one is on Wednesday so back to the books until then.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The magic of felt

Materials and Tools:   Merino Wool Tops, Hot Water, Soap

Pick a piece of the merino wool. Taking a piece of the merino wool is like pulling at candy floss, this thin fibers string out like a web. Starting at one end of the piece fold or roll the end into a ball and work the fibres around this ball until all of the piece is in a loose ball shape. 

Merino wool tops
Dip the ball of wool into a container of the hot water and soap. Remove the wool and squeeze out the excess water, taking care not to scald yourself with the water. 
Place the wool between the hands and roll gently to form a ball. As the fibres knit together to ball becomes smaller and dense. 
If there are any cracks or folds appearing add some more fibres around the original ball. Repeat the dip in the water and rolling and hopefully the crease should be removed. 
Once happy with the resulting ball dip in cold water to rinse. Then allow to dry. Thorough drying may take several days. If using as a bead then introducing a hole with a needle is best done before the bead dries.

Finished beads

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fun with Fimo

Materials and Tools:   Fimo (other brands available), Craft Knife, Pasta machine, Cookie cutters

Fimo needs to be conditioned to allow it to be worked into whatever is being created. Conditioned clay is soft and can be manipulated without it cracking. This is achieved by rolling and kneading the clay making it warm and soft.  This process can be done by hand or helped along using a pasta machine (on the widest setting). 
For the next stages the conditioned clay should be in one of three forms. Rolled in a ball, rolled out into a sausage shape or rolled to an even thickness (using pasta machine is ideal or alternatively can be rolled by hand and spacers at each side of the clay will ensure an even thickness).

Making canes
Once conditioned the clay can be built up into canes. A cane is a stick of clay which contains a pattern depending on how different colours have been assembled. 

bullseye - Think of a bullseye at the centre of a dart board. It consists of a solid colour surrounded by a ring of another colour.
Roll one colour into a sausage shape. Take a flat sheet of clay in an alternate colour and wrap it once around the sausage. This should be a single layer, the seams should meet with no overlapping. Can add more layers to suit (an additional layer is a good start). 

swissroll - Lay one flat piece of clay on top of the other. Trim so that both pieces are the same size. Starting at one end Roll the two pieces together. At the end trim at an angle so that the outer colour is complete. The view from the end of the cane should be a two colour swirl. 

stripes - Lay one flat pieces of clay on top of one another.Trim to make all layers the same size. 

The canes can be sliced thickly to make individual beads, or thinly to be impressed into base pieces to make beads or pendants.