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