Making jewellery

>> Friday, December 29, 2006

My new thing over the holidays has been making jewellery. I've done beading over the years, then put it aside for awhile in favour of all the textile type stuff. But I felt inspired over the holidays and have got back into the jewellery.

I actually have a large box with two large drawers filled with tons and tons of beads and findings. I love buying beads and things, but then I don't always get around to making things with them. I'll show you the box sometime, it's quite a collection.

My favourite materials are swarovski crystals and pearl beads with silver findings. I've also been wanting to make something with my two favourite beads that were a gift from Bradley, a tiny white elephant bead, and a tiny pink bird bead (both made from mother of pearl). The two necklaces I made from these beads are keepers, but the most of my other creations are going into my etsy shop.

The top of the page shows my white elephant necklace, and this is the pink bird version:
Some blue amazonite, swarovski crystal and glass bead earrings (given as a gift to my friend Jaimie):
Freshwater pearl silver flower decorated earrings:
Matching necklace with a freshwater pearl, new and vintage crystals:
Swarovski crystal earrings in pink and brown:
And lastly, this necklace is about to go into the shop... it has a grey freshwater pearl that I love, also from Sassy Bead Co. It's not one of the black pearls you see more often but a lovely silvery grey colour. I've looked for more of the mother of pearl beads at the Sassy Bead co. where they came from but they didn't have any left. I think they had some other animals...but the elephant and bird were my favourites. Has everyone noticed all the new bead stores on Queen West? It seems to be a real bead neighbourhood there - you can find just about anything. I think I still like Arton best - they really do have great prices.

Ok, back to knitting...


Christmas crafts continued

>> Thursday, December 21, 2006

How did it get so close to Christmas already? I was a little groggy from having a cold for a week so that may be why I didn't notice the time flying by. It's also my excuse for not managing to send out cards this year. But still, I've been busy making some presents and also these new stockings for me and Bradley. They're made from white microfleece lined with a pink patterned cotton fabric. I embroidered the little trees and then added the red rick-rack at the end. The rick-rack has an extra loop for hanging up the stockings.
Then at the end I added tags with our names...just to make sure you-know-who knows whose is whose. Merry Christmas everyone!


Small Christmas tree

>> Friday, December 01, 2006

This year we bought a wee (artificial) tree, just 2 feet tall which is the perfect size for our little home. I waited until the beginning of December to decorate it, since November just seemed too early. And I decided in a madcap flash of inspiration that the colour scheme would be red and white.

In previous years I've bought little potted trees, but I never did seem to be able to plant them, so they would linger along for a few months (which is actually quite nice in the wintertime) but then start to look sadder and sadder and eventually die. So it seemed perfect when I found this little artificial one in a Queen West furniture shop (and for only $11.50). It looks quite real, and the branches have wire inside so you can adjust them.

When it comes to miniature trees I like the ornaments to be proportional in size. The first thing I found was a box of red glass balls. Then I gathered up all the little red and white ornaments I had from previous years and added the red bird for the top. At that point I found some little pinecones I had gathered up sometime last year (where? when?) and knew I had found the perfect finishing touch. So this is my Christmas decorating "how to" for this year.

I've been doing a lot of painting lately so I had this little container of white paint. Debbie Travis sells them at Canadian Tire so you can try out her paint colours. Such a great idea, and even better they have little brushes attached to the lid. So the first step is to just brush paint along the outside of the cone so that it looks like snow.
Then the second step is to hot glue gold thread to the top so that you can hang the ornament.
Here's a close-up. I even think the hot glue looks a bit like sap so it doesn't look bad at all!
And that's it! I love our tree this year.


Bird satchel

>> Thursday, November 30, 2006

One of the first things I made when we returned from our trip was this bag. I don't know why I make so many but whenever I get inspired with a new idea I can't help it. I have tons of my handmade bags that I've only used a few times, sometimes only once!

While I've accepted the fact that I can't resist buying new crafts supplies, especially vintage or anything that resembles a "grab bag", I still try to "use what you have" as often as possible. This bag was made from leftover scraps of brown cordoruy on the sides, and a scrap of upholstery fabric for the front and back. It's quite thick, and therefore good for a bag, and is a kind of peachy colour with a cream coloured scallop pattern. The inside is lined a white cotton with pink "v" pattern. I added a compartmented (is that a word?) pocket inside and one big lined pocket on the front.The strap is light olive green cotton, and is adjustable so that the bag can go work as a shoulder bag or have the strap go across the chest.

The front flap of course is the best part, made from a piece of the lovely pink wool sent to me by Cathy as part of a swap package (Thank you Cathy!). I appliqued a branch with flowers and a bird from wool felt. I don't know why always the bird motif but it's still my favourite. I'm just not tired of putting birds on everything.One of my favourite parts are the middles of the flowers which are affixed in the middle with a star of thread, but have the ends free to stand out.
In the meantime I am already inspired with an idea to make another one with a similar shape but quite different materials. That's right, another bag. And I can't say for sure but this one will probably have a bird on it too.


Bird card set

>> Friday, November 24, 2006

My bird card set is now all printed up. I had them printed on letter size card stock and then trimmed them myself so I could do the rounded corners.

These cards are going into my etsy shop today!


Winter chickadee

>> Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I just finished the fourth and final piece in my bird series of paintings. These are watercolours that I'm having printed on postcards and will sell in my etsy shop as a set. I'm working on getting them printed today! The cards represent the seasons, so this is winter, with a black-capped chickadee. Here's a detail: In case you're wondering I just checked today and while I didn't think of it before, it luckily turns out that they don't usually migrate.


London - part two

>> Friday, November 17, 2006

When it came to craft shopping in London I relied on the advice of a fellow blogger: Ruth Singer who posted about textile shops she recommended. It turns out we were staying nearby to the shops she mentioned.

We found both Cloth House Shops and I took pictures at my favourite one. The picture at the top shows what I bought there, a nice soft blue gingham and a polka dot fabric, and some vintage trim. The trim was very expensive but I thought they were worth it.
There were tons of spools with vintage ribbons and trim.
And of course the requisite wall of buttons:
We also visited the famous Liberty shop. They have several floors including home decor, jewellery and cosmetics. I bought a notebook, some fabric and a few buttons.
These are the cotton fabrics I bought, the one on the left has strawberries and flowers on it. These cottons are fairly thin and nice and soft - I would probably use them to line bags and pouches.
And that was it for crafts shopping. On the last evening we had planned to see a play about T.S. Eliot and his wife (Tom & Viv) but it was sold out. So I got my wish which was to see Mary Poppins which we had seen a poster for the day before. We bought two of the last four tickets ten minutes before the show began and I could. not. believe. my. luck. It was the perfect way to end our trip and I recommend it because it was Absolutely Wonderful. Happy two months Bradley!


London - part one

Ok, here it is I'm wrapping up the honeymoon pictures as of today! After one night in Grenoble we flew to London for our last few days. First of all I'll just show some of our pictures from visiting Kew Gardens. We'd both been to London before but never to Kew Gardens and it was really wonderful. I wish we'd gone earlier because we stayed for three hours but it wasn't enough.

There are several greenhouses, all kinds of gardens and a pagoda. There are paths that wind around everywhere and there's just so much to see. I loved this huge tree - you can see how huge because Bradley is behind it and he's really tiny in this picture.
This is the pagoda:
We climbed to the top and this was one of the views. You can stop at each level of the pagoda and look around. It was good timing because after we came down it started to rain and there wouldn't have been a view if we'd climbed up later than we did.
Just loving berries as usual.
Inside one of the greenhouses there were lily ponds with koi fish.
We also saw a bird with a red breast in a tree very close to us singing! I tried to take a picture but it was a bit too dark so it came out blurry.I think holly makes me think of England more than any other plant. There was a whole avenue lined with various kinds of holly trees.
And finally, while everything was quite beautiful we must remember that nature can also be dangerous...
London part two will be all about my crafts shopping in London!



>> Thursday, November 16, 2006

This has nothing to do with crafts, but I really wanted to show off all our amazing mountain pictures from our visit to Mt. Blanc. That's right, I'm still going on about my honeymoon and we haven't even got to London yet! I think Mt. Blanc was my favourite place because it was so beautiful everywhere and I love hiking in woods and (apparently) on mountains. I've never been on a mountain before and I can't wait to go back.

When we arrived in the afternoon it was very cloudy and it soon began to rain. The picture at the top is the view from our hotel window. We could see glimpses of the mountains and even a snowy glacier right from the balcony! But it was so frustrating having clouds covering everything and it really began to pour in the evening. We spent quite a while walking around town looking for a raincoat for me.

The second day things cleared up a little and we took a train up the mountain so we could see the ice caves and this glacier:From here we did some hiking and even saw a marmot hiding under a rock. It was very scenic despite the foggy clouds that were still lingering.
I love this view of the mountain because it looks like it could be in Narnia.
Lucky for me, Bradley LOVES maps and did all the navigating so I could just follow his lead. He bought a fantastic map at the tourist place that had details of all the hiking trails throughout all the mountains that surround Mt. Blanc on either side.
On the second day it was still overcast so we went hiking again in forested areas of one of the mountains across the valley from Mt. Blanc. The scenery really looks similar to forests in Canada.
There are chalets up in the mountains where you can stop and have tea and cookies or drinks and a meal. The chalets are quite picturesque but there was a sign asking us not to take pictures of the house. On a clear day this picture would have had snow-capped mountains in the distance.On our way down the mountain we came across a field of blackberries. I picked lots of them (I love picking berries) and we had a picnic of baquette, goat's cheese and berries. We were in the habit of having baquettes everyday in Paris so we had carried them with us on our hike!
Up until this point we had a great time but Bradley was sorely disappointed about the weather particularly as he had wanted to take the cable cars up to the peak of Mt. Blanc and there was no point going with all the clouds. So on our last day it started out foggy but by 10 o'clock we were so thrilled to finally see the sun peaking out and see this glimpse of snow-capped mountain tops.
On that day we took the train partway up the mountain then did a five hour hike across to where you take the cable cars. It was so beautiful!I did not realize how goofy my sunglasses are until seeing the photos...

This is the kind of path we were following, in some areas it was quite steep and the path was very narrow. We got a bit of vertigo in places and decided not to look down too often! Believe it or not some people were actually parasailing from the mountain tops.
The autumn colours were gorgeous... more berries...
This is the area near the cable cars - a huge snowy glacier.
Here is the view into the valley below:
And the view in the other direction:
If you look carefully you can see tiny mountain climbers in the snowy expanse of the picture below. They are the little row of dots near the bottom of the picture. This was the view from the top of the mountain once we took the cable car up.
This is the view from the top across the mountain range towards Italy. There is actually another cable car that will take you across to Italy where you can descend and spend time in a village. We had wanted to do this but it was too late in the season and that route was closed. It was disappointing but at the same time this trip looked a little scary!And here you can see how happy (and emotional) Bradley was to finally reach the top of the mountain on our final day there. Thank goodness the rain cleared up! After this we had to rush down and run to catch our next train - which we did with only minutes to spare.


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