Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Search for the perfect book

I know it's been a few days since my last blog, but I've been so busy and haven't had chance to get on the computer much or take photos of my new jewellery makes. I spent hours this morning in town, hunting for the perfect book for a new crafty project.

I saw this brilliant idea on a craft forum I go on...... Making a bag from a book, and I was inspired to make one as a wedding gift for my friend so she can keep wedding memories and bits and bobs from the wedding in it. The lady, Kaz, who posted about it on the forum blogged about it here

It all seemed so easy when I was sat in the library with a cup of tea and some toast, feeding Emily. Get a cheap hardbacked book from a charity shop and there are a few of those in Barnsley, and some nice co-ordinating or contrasting fabric. So how hard could it be?

Well in the first charity shop I spotted a shelf full of hardbacked books and soon realised that the majority of hardbacked covers are black, brown, dark blue or dark green - not really wedding keepsake colours.
So there I was, knelt on the floor pouring over the books, just focussing on the colour of the backing boards by titling each book towards me and I spotted one that was cream, slipping the dust cover off, I saw it was a lovely cream and in perfect condition, brilliant I thought until I noticed that the title of the book was "How to murder your husband" and this was printed onto the spine - not so brilliant. Would have been great if I'd wanted to make a comedy, fun present, but I want this to be serious and something for them to treasure, so I headed to the next charity shop. So not only was the colour of the backing boards important, but the title also had to be appropriate. I continued my search, avoiding anything with "dead", "blood", "murder", "affair" etc in the title. I eventualy spotted another potential candidate in one of the charity shops, entitled "The Perfect Day" (so far so good), the backing boards were white (not as nice as the cream but still good) and they were in good condition, but then I realised it was a bit too slim - the hunt goes on. Six charity shops and £11 later I still hadn't found the right book, I had accumulated a door frame baby bouncer (£4), a leaf shaped glass dish that I'll use for displaying my bracelets in at craft fairs (£1 - bargain!) and a long pink beaded necklace with light and dark pink faux pearls, pink seed beads and 7 large dark pink beads in bead cages (£4 - not such a great bargain, but need some pink beads and pink seed beads and the bead cages will come in handy) and some super glue and fabric glue from the pound shop. I was debating whether to trek over to the larger charity shop near the train station as I was feeling a bit deflated by this point and my feet where aching, but remembered that this shop does have a lot of books, so off I went. On the first shelf I spotted a book with a lovely purple hardback board for £1 so I decided to get this to practise on and if all else fails purple is my friend's favourite colour anyway. A few shelves later and I found one with a lovely light teal-blue cover which I thought would also make a nice bag and that was also only £1, then just when I was about to give up, I tilted a shabby looking book toward me and saw its backing boards were a pale colour, white or silvery or maybe grey, I slipped off the dust cover and to my surprise found that it was a lovely shiney silver! It was just perfect and a good size as well so I quickly checked the title, praying it would be something suitable - "Rite of Spring" - well, could be worse, in fact a marriage is classed as a "rite of passage" and the wedding will be in Spring (next March) tenuous I know, but better than "How to Kill your Husand". I gave the cover one last check for damage and realised, to my utter joy, that the book title wasn't printed along the spine, so it was indeed the perfect book and only £1 as well.

I was so engrossed in finding the book that I completely forgot to look for fabric to line the bag with and by this point I could face going into another charity shop, so that'll have to wait until another day.

Oh, I also nearly lost Emily in my jaunt around the charity shops, I left her parked (in her pram) at the back of the shop, out of the way and was just looking at books a few feet away from her, when two ladies started wheeling her into the back of the shop! I went over and told thhem the pram was mine and apollogised for
leaving it in the way and they thought someone had left it to be sold! It's a tandem pram, and Emily was in a car seat, cocooned and hidden from view inside the two hoods (car seat hood and pram hood) so they hadn't seen her! I'm glad I spotted them before they got into the back of the shop, otherwise the hunt for the book would be out of the window!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baby massage

Well Emily and I are going to baby massage today, quite looking forward to it as I never got the chance to take Archie. Hope she doesn't just cry all the time. knowing my luck she'll decide she wants feeding right in the middle of it.

Had a good jewellery day yesterday, I made a bracelet and necklace from some bargain beads I bought recently, I did the earrings to go with the necklace and bracelet for my friend. I finished off a wire wrapped cuff I started on Tuesday and I had a go at a stretch bracelet with those yummy cream/brown beads I bought in Leeds and blogged about the other day - but I don't like it, it's not quite big enough, it's slightly tight on me and I've got small wrists! need to find something to space it out a bit......hmmmmmm.

Haven't got any pictures of my new stuff yet as my camera battery is charging but will try and take some later and post tomorrow. I've got loads of ideas for stuff I want to do next (some inspired by others' work and some are all my very own ideas!) After making my wire wrapped cuff I'm addicted to wire wrapping, I love it. There's an article in one of the recent bead mags on wire wrapping and it said once you start you'll love it - I didn't really believe it, but oh my God how wrong was I? Wrapping neat little spirals and making unruly wire do what you want it to do is somehow very satisfying. I don't think the other half is a fan of the cuff though, he keeps picking it up and turning it round with a funny look on his face, he said it's very Boudicca-ish! Not sure if that's a good thing or not! I like it anyway and am thinking of making a delicate necklace to go with it, illussion thread and swaro's I think - I got a lovely swaro mix for my birthday - "Contempory Christmas" all purples and silvers.

Anyway, can't sit blogging all day - better start making the curry for tea while Emily sleeps, and got a cuppa to drink and some chocolates that just need eating (I don't normally eat chocolate every day I promise - it's just that I got a load for my birthday!) Look out for lots of pictures of my new stuff tomorrow

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Naughty naughty naughty!!!!!

I had a trip to Leeds yesterday to meet some friends for lunch, my partner had put some money in my bank account - more than I expected really so I thought I'd just have a quick look in yumyum beads.......I couldn't resist buying these
and these
I can feel some bracelets coming on methinks!
I then went to the outdoor market and got two necklaces because I wanted the pendants - I'm sure I can do somethng more inventive than just threading them onto ribbon and they were only £2 - £3. Then I popped into TK MAXX as I'd heard about a fab bargain to be had, 9 tubes of guitermann beads for £6.99 and I eventually found them and got some of those too, I then had to force myself to go home before spending any more money!

I met a lovely lady, Chris, on Sunday at Barnsley craft market. Chris is a fellow local jewellery maker and gave me lots of tips and advice for which I'm very grateful, I left feeling very motivated and full of enthusiasm, so now I'm doing a craft fair in November and going to see if I can do a school fair at half term, I've also made some headway on my website too. I was so elated when I got back from chatting with Chris that I finished my commission necklace too:
So I've just got the earrings to make now, but I'm going to enjoy a cuppa and some chocolates first while Emily is sleeping

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What have I done today..............?

Not a lot really. I finished the necklace this morning to go with the purple and black bracelet, but haven't taken any pics yet. I popped up to my work space in the spare room last night at about 11:30 just to have a look at what I'd done so far with it and thought "I'll just thread a few more beads", the friend I'm making it for was visiting me today so I wanted to have something to show her that would give her an idea of the what the finished piece would be like. Suddenly it was 1:30am!!! Time has a habit of doing that to me when I'm beading. I could hear my other half snoring downstairs and assumed he'd gone to bed (I work in the attic room) but I could hear that the computer in our bedroom was still on and I found him asleep on the sofa. Anyway after the late night and having to get up at 5am to feed Emily and express some milk I was quite tired today. It was lovely to see my friend Barbara though, she loved her bracelet and what I'd done with the necklace so far and then she took me, Emily and Archie out for lunch. When we got back both kiddie winks went to sleep so I finished the necklace (it was calling to me I swear), just got the earrings to do now - hopefully the beads I ordered for them should come on Monday.

I wasn't the only one who was tired today though, although he didn't have to get up in the middle of the night, my other half had disturbed sleep too - I changed Emily's nappy at 5:30am and opened a new packet of baby wipes right next to the baby monitor in her room, the other bit is in our bedroom at the side of the bed and apparently it was louder than being next to a plane taking off - he jumped out of his skin and struggled to get back to sleep after that. He then had to work all day too, not sure what I'd rather do, two young kids and two kittens, dirty nappies and night time feeds or his job, dealing with naughty people, injunctions and ASBOs

Other than finishing Barbara's necklace I just spent far too long on the UK craft forum (as usual), found some unusual acrylic beads which have a smooth satin feel that I'm tempted to order and make myself a necklace out of and arranged to meet a friend who I've never met in person before (we met on a mother and baby forum and had our babies within a day of each other) we're meeting in Nottingham - a place I've never been to before. I'm also going to meet a fellow jewellery maker who I've never met before in my local market tomorrow, so it's all go.....

Things to do next week:

Barbara's earrings
set up a Facebook group for my jewellery
Look at my website and try and finish those niggly bits I haven't done yet, like terms and conditions, returns policy and payment method.

Busy week then

Friday, September 11, 2009

lovely purples

I've been busy today making this lovely purple bracelet for a friend of mine,

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out and I love the photo, I took it in the bath! I've just got the matching necklace and earrings to do now.
I might be able to get a stall at a craft fair near Leeds in November, so I'll have to get cracking with making lots of stock. Must make lots of earrings as people are likely to be happy treating themselves to a nice pair of earrings - or buy as a gift and it won't break the bank during these hard times. I've made a few pairs....
Maybe I should make some Christmassy ones too, I got a whole load of fimo for my birthday so I could make some snowmen and santas to turn into earrings, or maybe I'll just stick with beads, not sure.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Taking the plunge

Well, as this is my first ever blog I suppose I had better include a bit about me, who I am, what I do etc. I am Nicola, a busy 31 year old mum to Archie (17 months) and Emily (8 weeks) and stepmum to Jacob (9 years). I'm currently on maternity leave from the NHS, where I work as an information analyst, collating and publishing national statistics on smoking, drinking, illegal drug use, obesity, physical activity and diet.

I have recently discovered a new passion that has been keeping me even busier. I have discovered the joy of jewllery making. I started off by making breastfeeding bracelets because I wanted one but didn't know where to get one from and so bought the materials to make myself one, but thought that if I could sell a few I could cover the cost of the materials and tools I'd had to buy. if you're now wondering what on earth a breastfeeding bracelet is I'll blog about those soon so keep your eyes peeled. I took the family to a local bead fair, worried that my poor partner would be bored out of his mind and struggle to entertain the children, but he loved it and got right into the swing of it, coming up with ideas to expand my jewellery making beyond breastfeeding bracelets, so a few hours and £40 later I had some materials to make some necklaces and it all started from there really.

So far I've made a handful of necklaces, some sets of matching necklace, bracelet and earrings and loads of breastfeeding bracelets. Last week I helped Jacob make a necklace and bracelet for his mum's birthday. My latest make is a charm bracelet for my mother-in-law for her birthday. She wanted something bright blue and fun so I've made this....
Which I've called "Under the sea". I've also been asked to make some jewellery for my friend to wear to a christening, something aqua coloured, I'll be doing that soon so look out for pictures.

I've sold two of my necklaces (well my partner sold them to colleagues at his work) which I was very pleased about, but also a bit sad as they were my favourite ones, I had to remind myself that I'm making them to sell, not for me to keep! This was my most favoured one and I can't find another pendant like this.

I didn't get chance to name this one, but I loved it, so simple and elegant.
well I think I'll sign off for now, I've got housework to do and need to post my mother-in-law's birthday present.