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.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Day trip to Berwick-upon-Tweed

It has been years since I have been the the beach. Growing up I always lived within a short car drive to the sea shore but in recent years I have not been able to travel too far. However my sister wanted to take Indy to the beach for her first experience of the sea and I tagged along. A great opportunity to take a few photos - and have a paddle. Is it just me, or does the beach bring out the kid in us all?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Sew, time for a change

At long last, I finally managed to get some hand embroidery patterns up on Etsy. I have been embroidering for over 30 years (boy, does that make me feel old!) but I always struggled to find the kind of patterns I wanted to embroidery. Now, with embroidery being so popular, I am seeing other people embroidering using the kind of images I like. But those stitchers are still drawing their own patterns. Would you believe it took me this long to draw my own animal images to embroider? I guess I'm a bit slow. I am hoping others might like to embroider wildlife too so I have made the patterns available for sale on Etsy.

First up is a collection of six mammals - one rabbit, one hare, two red foxes and two British badgers. The picture below is of some of the pieces I have stitched. I used stem stitch and seed stitch for them all but have mixed things up with the badger by using acrylic paints to paint the embroidered images after stitching. The fox on the mini cushion was appliquéd using Bondaweb/Under Wonder then machine stitched into place.

This little rabbit (one of my favourite patterns) was embroidered using stem and seed stitch with a little satin stitch for the eye and made into a needle case.

Then there is a collection of six British garden birds - two robins, a wren, a coal tit, sparrow and chaffinch. Again I used a combination of hand embroidery stitches (stem stitch, back stitch), acrylic paint on the robin in the picture frame and appliqué on the robin on the cushion.

The coal tit on the notebook cover, however, was free motion embroidered. This is my first successful free motion attempt and I am really pleased with it. It took a while to accept the wiggly nature of free motion embroidery though. I guess I'm still a perfectionist at heart.

Friday, 28 July 2017

What's new, pussy cat?

A quick pic today - a pencil drawing of a lovely little cat. Sadly the circumstances behind the drawing are heartbreaking. I was asked to draw this by a lady whose daughter's cat was run over and killed a few weeks ago. Needless to say I wanted to draw something that would give her daughter some happy memories.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Colourful wooden beads for the summer

It has been rather damp here for the last few weeks. While the rest of the UK has been basking in sun, it has been dull and grey and wet in the Scottish Borders. The wet weather is taking its toll on my poor hands too. Usually I don't have to worry about my hands until late autumn when I start upping my use of cod liver oil. But this summer has been bad. As a result my paper bead making has been severely limited. So I have been painting wooden beads instead. As you can see, there is a summer theme going on. Bees, and ladybirds, flowers, lighthouses and starfish. It's a cross between summer in a country garden and at the beach. I wonder why? If you want to see more examples then you can find them on my web site.

Honey bee wooden hand painted bead

Flower wooden hand painted bead
ladybird wooden bead hand painted

lighthouse wooden hand painted bead

red lighthouse wooden hand painted bead

bee square hand painted wooden bead

Starfish hand painted wooden bead

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Teneriffe at Christmas

Gina-B Silkworks has some new kits out for making Teneriffe lace including one with Christmas designs. They are really cute. You can make Teneriffe medallions with Christmas trees, bows, candles or reindeer. Due to work issues, I didn't get to make as many samples as I had hoped for this month's show but I did get this little box finished with the Christmas tree motifs on the medallion. You do need to buy some of the looms that Gina has as well as the Christmas kit but one loom and some festive designs can make a whole host of imaginative gifts and cards.

Another way of using Teneriffe lace is to add it to a canvas. This piece was made by layering lots of textures like tissue paper and cheese cloth onto a small art canvas, adding some Teneriffe medallions (including some of my early attempts that did not look all that great) and painting over it all with cream acrylic paint. I then added some pink and blue highlights among the textures and some gilding wax lightly over the very top. A few jewels, pearls and jewellery findings along with a short quote finished it off. Something a bit more modern using a traditional craft.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ribbon flowers

I came across a lovely company the other week on one of the craft channels - Ribbonbox. They supply products to make your own fabric flowers but they are so simple and so effective that I wanted to give it a go. So I looked out my stash of wire edge ribbon and artificial flower stamens and followed along with the demos. 

The flowers in the photo below are the result. Really nice blossomy flowers, one anemone and one poppy. Bear in mind I did not use Ribbonbox's kits (they come complete with ribbons, stamens, leaves, etc) but they will definitely be added to my crafting wishlist.

The poppy was nice as a little addition to a birthday gift for my sister - a little pencil drawing of Indy.

Monday, 19 June 2017


I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I have a newsletter sign up at the top of my blog now. I am a little nervous about it. Not being one for asking for anything, I don't find it easy to ask people to sign up for things. I always figured people should be able to choose for themselves with me pointing things out. That makes running an online business a bit of a challenge though. With my new web site and shop I am having to expand the way I expose my work to folk - and it's scary!

So, here is my request:

If you would like to see product updates for art, beads and pretty much everything else I sell, photos for inspiration and even special offers that are reserved for newsletter subscribers then please click on the 'Newsletter sign up' link at the top of my blog. You will find it on the green strip below the big header picture. I won't bombard your email account with lots of emails, I promise. I expect to send updates out once a month at most and I won't sell or hand over your personal details to anyone else. It would be lovely to have a few more readers.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Another painted wooden pebble

A quick pic today - a hand painted wooden pebble with a British robin. It might be a bit early for Christmas themes but I have been making samples for Gina-B Silkworks' show next weekend and it is Christmas related. I think it inspired me to think of the robin.

Hand painted pebble with a robin

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wooden pebble painting

The spring and early summer flowers are in full bloom in the garden at the moment - even if the sun has forgotten to show itself again. That is only to be expected in the Scottish spring/summer though - one day hot and sunny, the next cold and grey. The flowers inspired me to make a little 'thing' by hand painting some wooden pebbles that I found on Ebay. This type of folk flower reminds me of honeysuckle so I had to paint it in the colours of one of the honeysuckle plants that flowers in the garden during the summer.

hand painted wooden pebble

However, I started thinking about what else I could paint on a wooden pebble and figured some of my wildlife paintings might work well. The pebbles are about one and a quarter inches wide by one and a half inches tall so it's a small surface area to work on - though not as small as the wooden beads I painted previously (see here and here). But they work really well.

This is a little blue tit that I painted on one. I don't use acrylics very often but they actually work really well on wood.

blue tit on hand painted wooden pebble

Of course I could not leave out a badger from my painting experiments. Unsurprisingly this might be my favourite.

Hand painted badger pebble