Thursday, 25 August 2011

Holiday Fun

I know that strictly, this is off topic, but I wanted to share some of my holiday photos with you all... Last week I went to visit my best friend (and her husband and baby), and then went to visit my family for the rest of the week.  It was a lovely, relaxing week, spending time with my family and boyfriend, doing a bit of the tourism thing in the south east, the highlight of which was a trip on the London Eye.  
Now I fully admit that I am not a big fan of London - too many people, most of whom are only thinking about what they're doing, and not the people around them.  I know that sounds like a  sweeping generalisation, but at heart, I am a country bumpkin, and cities freak me out.
So... the London Eye... I'm scared of heights, I'm slightly claustrophobic... it would be fair to say I was a little nervous, but it was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it heartily.  It was a cloudy day, but that didn't ruin it at all.  I surprised myself by being totally taken by the houses of parliament... a gorgeous building, it just inspires wonder - especially at the skill of the crafts-people who built it.
I took one photo of the houses of parliament which I am immensely proud of... especially the fact that it is so crisp, there is no reflection from the inside of the pod, and I even managed to get a nice red London bus in the foreground!
I love the way the style of the architecture of the houses of parliament contrasts with that of Battersea power station.
There was a lighter side to the trip to London...
This was the penguin outside the London Aquarium... it was very cute!  
Tim and I had some fun chilling out at my parent's house, the weather was quite nice, and it was just nice to be somewhere peaceful!
And we also had a nice time on a very windy beach where my Nan lives...
Holidays are great, aren't they?? I can't wait for my next one... a week learning silversmithing and precious metal clay!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Beading up a Meld

Tonight I started work on a project for a challenge, a beading challenge, organised by the Bead Mavens.  It's called the Maven Meld, and the idea is to make a piece of jewellery based on two or more of the tutorials written by the Mavens (a group of top class beaders, who design the most beautiful beaded jewellery).
So, I've been giving this challenge a lot of thought... like, several weeks thought - which is quite unusually for me; normally I just start beading and see where the beads take me.  Basing some jewellery on two other people's tutorials is much more difficult than it first seemed!  Normally I never stick to patterns, and add a little twist of my own, but actually getting two patterns to meld seamlessly was really tough.  
I've decided to base my design on the Trellis Necklace by Nancy Dale, and the Satellite Bead by Heather Collin.  It's going to be like a Pandora-style piece, with three satellite beads on a trellis rope, all based on my favourite shades of green, and grey with silver thrown in for good measure.  I've made two of the satellite beads, the third is going to have different shaped silver beads, to make it stand out as the centre bead.  

I'm not sure what the plan for the trellis rope is, but it is going to involve the teal, the matt black, and its going to be accented with the light grey AB beads.

As it all comes together, I'll keep on posting... 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Teaching my boyfriend to bead - Part 2

So, after the first beading lesson, Tim was up for more!  On Sunday we sat down to continue with the RAW bezel he started earlier in the week.  Again, Tim only had the sticking power for an hour of beading, but he did complete the second (more complicated) row.  
Tim does have quite a skill though... he only needed a couple of pointers, and I think the only thing that drew his attention away from it was the football... but... he is a boy after-all!
On the other hand, I sat and beaded my afternoon (and evening) away and finished another beaded pendant and rope... I really have entered into a love affair with RAW... I can't believe it was once my nemesis!  
I just love this cab - it's a gorgeous soft grey shell jasper, and it goes so well with the victorian shades of soft peachy-pink and light grey.  And it's all finished off with an assymetric heart-shaped toggle clasp.  I wore it to work today, and I had a number of very positive comments... I wore it with a pinky flower print top, so it was the perfect combination!
My next project is going to be similar, but made with yellow-jade (a pale greeny-yellow colour), and actually 3 cabs of decreasing size.  I'm quite excited about how it's going to turn out.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Teaching my boyfriend to bead

I like to bead... I also like my boyfriend (that's a slight understatement... I love him loads actually!), but up to now, they have been separate 'likes'... until yesterday that is!!
Yesterday, my boyfriend asked me to teach him to bead!  :)
This is Tim, isn't he pretty??  Tim's usual hobbies are similar to most blokes... he likes watching football, rugby, F1, he likes to read and go out walking, and now he likes to bead!
Last night, after dinner, we sat down together at the dining room table, with the following things each:  bead mat, needle, thread, beads, cabs.  The aim was for me to teach Tim to make a beaded bezel for the cab using right angle weave.  Those of you who know me, know I have only recently learned RAW myself, but I found it simple enough, so I thought it would be a fun place to start a beading adventure.  
It turns out, Tim is a good student!  (well, except for when I tried to teach him to crochet... big fail!)  Lesson 1 was less than an hour, and in that time he made a piece of RAW long enough to go around his chosen cab, and joined the ends together.  His beadwork is really good, with a nice, even tension.
Tim's verdict is that beading is fun!  He said it was quite relaxing, almost meditative, and his exact words were "I can see how this could become addictive!"
All I can say, is bring on the weekend!!  We've got a whole lot of beading planned!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Rainbow Bright

Not so much chatter about the 80s cartoon character, but colour - and more to the point, my relationship with colour!
Those of you who know me well know that you will hardly ever see me wearing blue (I have two blue tops, and one of them is technically turquoise - that's the extent of my blue wardrobe!).  Tonight, I wanted to carry out a little bit of a colour experiment, which is a bit of a thinly veiled attempt to re-organise my seed bead and delica stash.  I thought it might be interesting to lay them all out in colour and size groups, and this was the result!

So, I've noticed there are two colours noticeable  by their (almost) absence... blue, as expected, and red, which surprised me!  I have lots of brownie-reds, but nothing scarlet, crimson or otherwise properly red.  The other surprise was the large number of goldy-bronze beads... I'd always considered myself more of a silver person, but I guess I like gold colours more than I thought!  

Part of the incentive for looking at these colours was down to some semi-precious cabs  I ordered, a whole kilo of them!  They came in all sorts of colours and sizes, but they were all oval.

I'm thrilled at the number of green and grey stones (mmm, favourite colours!), but the cherry quartz ones have left me a bit stumped!  I love them, don't get me wrong... but they're red!  I've no idea what to do with them!  The part of me that uses logic, says red and white beads would work well as a bezel, but as you can see, I don't have (m)any red beads.
This is the point where I'm asking for help... how can I combine the beads I have with the cherry quartz (the red cabochons)??  Any other ideas for colour combinations for the other stones would also be greatly appreciated... as much as I love beading and jewellery design, colour is still the thing I struggle with most.  This year I have turned a corner with my colour combinations, but it's still something I need to work on.
Oh, and before you suggest I buy some red beads, the whole point is not buying any more beads in an attempt to save up for my jewellery making holiday in September!