Sunday, 18 February 2018

Bird painted wooden beads

With spring being just around the corner the garden is full of birds, both big and small. Time to paint some new beads with some of the stars of the garden bird parade that happens every day.

The blackbirds come in tribes these days. With it being a cold winter these birds, who are usually wary of other blackbirds in their territory, become much more tolerant. In hard winters I have counted as many as nine blackbirds in the garden at once.

Hand painted wooden bead with blackbird.

 The blue tits are nearly always in the garden. Such colourful little birds and always a pleasure to watch.

Hand painted wooden bead with blue tit.

 The greenfinches have been fewer in number for a few years. Ravaged by a bird related virus, there are only two or three that visit now.

Hand painted wooden bead with greenfinch.

And many people's favourite, the robin. There are a few robins in the garden at the moment, this being mating season for some robins.

Hand painted wooden bead with robin.

You can find them on Etsy or in my web store.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

My first quilt

Just before Christmas I finally finished my first proper patchwork quilt. I am so pleased with it. So the seams are a little off in places and the colours are not always in the right places - or even the right pattern for the project. But I made a proper quilt.

I used several charm packs and fabrics from Moda in traditional patterns and backed it in fabric from the Gratitude collection in Parchment, also by Moda.

At the moment it lives on my bed. It is an excellent extra layer on the cold winter nights. However, what really struck me when I finished it was how close I felt to history. For centuries people made patchwork quilts to use up old fabric and make something functional. It would often come from necessity rather than fun. But there is something very wonderful about a home made quilt. It gives a comfort that I have never felt from a shop bought quilt. I can't help but wonder if that magical feeling happened for our ancestors too.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Sketching the garden flowers in bloom

I can't believe it has been over five weeks since I last wrote a blog post. My last post was Christmas Eve - and I can't believe that Christmas has been and gone either. January has been a really slow month though. Not much in terms of creativity but lots of reading - mainly about business related topics.

I have done a little painting though. A selection of mini landscapes (which I will post about later) and some quick sketches of the flowers that are bursting forth in the garden. The flowers were an exercise in speed painting and took about ten minutes each.

Christmas rose watercolour sketch

Iris watercolour sketch

Snowdrop watercolour sketch

Finally, I painted one of the rabbits form the field opposite my house. We had snow for a few days and I watched this guy playing in the field after one heavy fall. I couldn't make up my mind if he was enjoying it or annoyed at having to dig for his supper.

Rabbit watercolour sketch

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, my best wishes to those who don't and a happy New Year to everyone. I have appreciated every sale and letter of encouragement over the last year. It has been a struggle for many people, I know. We are all watching the world stage and wondering what the future will hold. Things are uncertain for so many of us. So it awes me that people choose to spend their hard earned money with me, to take time to look at what I sell and 'like', 'favourite' or share it on social media. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

I forgot - Beads for Christmas: part 3

I forgot to mention these new beads - Mindfulness Words on Etsy (still not updated the web site). The second bead from the top actually reads 'Living in the Moment'. I just couldn't fit it all in the photo. As someone who has meditated and practised yoga for a long time I figured they were rather apt messages for me to remember. I am in need of a break.

Mindfulness paper beads

However I am now officially on holiday from work and, boy, am I going to be creative. At least that's the plan. New crafts I'm hoping to try - chocolate making, marquetry, hand dying threads. Crafts to finish - the binding on a quilt, a knitted scarf, a crocheted duck and sewing a little shoulder bag. I'm only off for the week though. I may need another holiday by the time I'm finished.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Beads for Christmas: part 2

These are the new Bohemian beads I promised. Three sets in purple, blue or turquoise and brown. I am rather fond of these ones. I have a soft spot for all things Boho anyway but I may have to make myself something with the turquoise and brown ones. As I mentions in my last post, they are only available on Etsy at the moment.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Beads for Christmas

I finally found some time to make some new beads designs - and update some older ones. You can find them on Etsy at the moment while my web site undergoes some updating.

I added a new colourway in the Moroccan beads - Moroccan Sunrise. These are one of my all time best sellers so I am hoping people will like the new colours. Of course, the original Moroccan beads are still available too.

Years ago I sold some mermaid theme beads and with the resurgence of ocean themed crafting I thought these might go down well, along with.....

 .... these lighthouse and beach beads. A customer asked me to make some sea themed beads for her earlier this year. I thought these worked out so nicely that others might appreciate them too.

There are three more brand new designs to come shortly. This time in a Bohemian theme. I have to admit that they are looking rather nice. Hopefully they will be online in a few days.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Knitting is addictive

So, when I was little I was taught to knit at school. My first project was a scarf. My second was a snake - don't ask why the teacher chose a snake. I'd imagine the pattern was a simple one for teaching increases and decreases. I have no idea what happened to that snake. I don't remember it much from my childhood so I can only assume it was so horrible that it was disposed of not long after it was made. Anyway, that was the extent of my knitting experience. Let's just say it traumatised me. I never wanted to knit again. Until about a year and a half ago.

I like socks. Being an outdoors type of person I wanted big chunky socks to wear with my walking boots. I tried crocheting them and used varying kinds of sock looms - just to avoid knitting them myself. It didn't work. The resulting 'socks' - and I use that term loosely - were awful. There was nothing for it, I had to KNIT them. Step in, Craftsy. I took a toe up knitting class which was excellent. I knitted my first pair of socks and they looked like socks. I was so pleased. Except they don't tell you that knitting socks is addictive.

I took another Craftsy class on knitting top down socks, then one on more advanced sock knitting. OK, I don't mind the thought of more craft classes and more socks. Problem is, I am now knitting lots of other things too. Scarves, Christmas decorations, mittens, hats, bags. I am using wool and acrylic and alpaca and bamboo yarns. I'm even using blends of yarns. What happened to me? For most of my life I proudly professed, 'I HATE KNITTING!' Now I buy books about knitting - knitting patterns, knitting stories, I even join Facebook groups for knitting! I am taking a class on knitting cables and have successfully wrestled with colour work. This week I bought two more Craftsy classes - Bavarian Twisted Stitches and Next Steps in Fair Isle. Why is there no health warning about knitting? 'Knitting can seriously damage your bank balance.' I think I am doomed to cupboards full of yarn and an empty bank account. But at least the family will have lots of knitted goodies.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Sale time

I really am useless at keeping the blog updated at the moment. Too much to do, too little time. I just wanted to mention that I am having a 15% sale in my Etsy store at the moment. The sale includes some art, hand painted pebbles and thread wrapped brooches. They are all ideal gifts for loved ones - and a little unusual too. Do pop by and have a look if you are interested.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


It has been quiet here. Lots of bead making, of course, and a few partially finished knitting and sewing projects. One of the things I have managed to finish is a cute little knitted pumpkin from a pattern by Denton Foreman on Ravelry. The Pumpkin Spice pattern is so easy to follow, even for a beginner knitter like me. I even learned a new technique - purl front and back. I have already started on another one and suspect the house will be full of knitted pumpkins this autumn.