Friday, 28 January 2011

This week...

...I've been dreaming up ways to use these beautiful vintage keys,

eldest began to write independently and she announced that her toy monkey had become a girl,

a tiny rainbow appeared on the kitchen wall,

I began a new book,

I took the plunge and decided to start teaching workshops again.

I met with Gina and Celia for a treat: a sunlit walk at the Anglesey Abbey winter gardens.

All in all it was a good week.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


In the last two or three years I've associated winter with worry and with illness - difficult things have happened during the winter months, but I think my dread of it is lifting. This year I've managed to see winter as a natural part of the year, rather than a dismal aberration. 

Despite me being able to be more accepting of winter I have still been slightly obsessive in hunting for signs of Spring. I've realised that if it were the 25th July, six months from now, and I were posting about the signs of winter it would seem odd, but finding these tiny flowers gave me a real thrill this morning.  I was surprised that the snowdrops and aconites were flowering already. 

The Splash of Colour Project has been a real boost too. Our final splash begins next Tuesday, 1st February but meanwhile I made a sidebar button out of the little aconite I found in my friend's garden - do go and take a look at the Flickr pool - it'll make you feel good.

Meanwhile thankyou so much for all your comments on my vintage seed label giveaway. The lucky winners are number 3:

Jacquie at Bunny Mummy, and number 50:

Steph at Curlew Country

Congratulations - a parcel of cheery is coming your way!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


There's something about lockets that I find captivating. I think it's the fact that they're tiny, closeable compartments. At school I had a friend who kept minute shells from a memorable holiday in a locket around her neck.

The idea of a a tiny drawing or a fragment of precious fabric inside a locket appeals to the little girl in me I think - it's miniaturisation combined with keeping something safe or secret.

When I find a vintage locket the thought of its previous life adds another dimension. Researching makers' marks and dating the hallmark is exciting and it adds to the story. I was lucky enough to unearth this small heart-shaped locket recently.

I was thrilled when I found that it's by Georg Jensen, a renowned Danish jewellery company and mark is specific to pieces imported to the Bond Street Georg Jensen shop in the 1950s. Jensen himself created exquisite Art Nouveau designs in silver. He died in 1935 but his team of designers continued to innovate and the company is still known for jewellery design today.

Choosing the gems and making small silver pieces to go with each locket is my favourite part of making the lockets wearable again. The engraved designs on this oval one reminded me of French mirrors so I chose a feminine rose quartz, clear swarovski and tiny vintage pearl to match it and made a silver piece to echo the fern-like pattern.

All three lockets are in my etsy shop. For the next day or two there will be free postage to anywhere.

Don't forget my vintage seed label giveaway in the last post - it's open until this Sunday coming, 23rd January.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Vintage seed label giveaway

I nipped to the garden centre the other day to buy some coal. I was in a hurry so didn't have time to browse but whilst at the checkout I glanced over my shoulder and saw that something had replaced the cut price Christmas decorations: racks and racks of seeds ready for Spring. It was lovely to see them but almost better than the prospect of Spring was the look of the seed racks. They're like enormous colourful mosaics. Sometimes I just stand and look at the seed section in garden centres. I suspect this makes me rather strange but I think they're beautiful.

A month or two ago I vaguely remembered some vintage French seed labels being used by Poshyarns to make a beautiful framed mosaic. I had a sudden attack of the wanties and bagged myself a couple of packets online, then rustled up a string of colourful little flags.

They're easy to make:

Spray mount two labels back to back to make each flag
Use little pegs to attach them to raffia
Hang up

These vintage seed labels are from a website called Burgundy Brocante and are featured in the Emporium pages of February's Country Living magazine. They date from the 1920s and the images are just lovely.

Jane from Burgundy Brocante has very kindly given me two extra sets of these beautiful little labels for two more projects. If you leave a comment on this post I'll pop you in the hat and draw the two winners in a week's time. I'll be including raffia and tiny pegs in the parcels in case you have an urge for bright little flags. Good luck!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Glass half-full

I was thrilled to have been tagged by Colette, Robin and Jenna for seven things about myself. Thankyou! I decided it would be a good chance to record seven things I am enjoying at the moment.

I used the catalogue card-maker here.

*This is a definite sign that Spring is approaching and you can hear the song here. I suddenly remembered this drawing from 1984 (I was twelve):

..and on the next page of the same sketchbook I found these:

If you'd like to take up the baton and have fun with your own catalogue card then I really recommend it.
Happy Friday.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Splash of Colour: January mosaics

I do wonder whether looking at an image containing lots of vibrant colours together releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, especially if the colours transition through the rainbow.

So, here's an experiment. It's Monday. If you're feeling a bit dreary then take a look at this:

1. Planet Penny 2. Su (Tiny Acorns)/Living on the edge 3. Megan Ashman 4. Green Rabbit Designs
5. Domesticali 6. Kitty 7. Loujanu22 8. Sharne Gregory
9. Helen Phillips 10. Itchin' Stitchin'11. MKirkman 12. Little Cotton Rabbits
13. Milk Cloud 14. Megan Ashman15. Magic cochin/Purple Podded Peas 16 The List Writer
17. Like it or lump it 18. Coffee Lady 19. Thimbleanna 20. MKirkman

Any better? If so then the Splash of Colour project is working, which is very good news. Even if you were feeling pretty good but it gave you an extra boost then it's all worthwhile. Don't you love Like it or lump it's expression whilst looking at those lollipops?

When I built this mosaic from the Flickr pool and clicked 'Create' I gasped. I just chose them at random and stuck them all together but something is happening inside my noggin when I look at it. Something good.

Here are some more delicious eye treats from this month's contributions:

1. 77Belle/Miriam Weaver 2. Naturally Carol 3. MKirkman 4. Peeriemoot
5. Harmony and Rosie 6. Domesticali 7. Megan Ashman 8. Little Green Shed
9.Trashalou 10.MKirkman 11. Dragonfly 12. Linaloo
13. Summerfete14. Milk Cloud 15. Homemadegorgeous 16 Rowan Benjamin
17. Little Green Shed 18. Fan my Flame 19. Paula's Homemade Life 20. Troc, Broc and Recup

Thankyou so, so much to all the SOC contributors. The project has really worked for me this month. It's been a joy looking at the colour, it has helped me through a rather grim spate of illnesses going on here.

There are even more beautiful images from Menopausal MusingCattapilla Dreaming, Driftwood (I had problems with permissions - sorry Tess), Dolls from the loftNiminy Fingers, Tales from a Cottage GardenSunbeamsintheafternoon, Swedish House, Nero's Post and Patch, Positively Mom, Wild AcreMrs Pao, Travelling Holy Cow, Hobsdyke and Buttonsribbonsandotherthings so do go and take a look. If I've missed anyone out apologies and I'll edit the post for you.

I'll leave you with this picture of poppies, drawn by eldest just yesterday:

...and an invitation to the fourth and final colour carnival next month, beginning Tuesday 1st February.

After that it's Spring and with a bit of luck the sunshine might be back.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Beaded colour

Thankyou so much for the well wishes for the girls. They're better, thank goodness and eating like small horses again.

I finally managed to finish the colourful beaded project this afternoon. I found one or two spare silver charms in my bead box so I attached those to the bracelet too. I might keep this one as a small reward after a tough old week.

The Flickr pool has been a valuable source of colourful escapism over the last few days. There are over 500 images over there now! It's truly fantastic. Thankyou!

This month's linky list is still active too so you can go and feast your eyes by hopping amongst the participating blogs.

Tonight I'll be rustling up some mosaics for the final fling tomorrow.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Off colour

We have yet another virus in the house. It's been here since Monday. We've cancelled playdates and eldest hasn't gone back to school yet. I have to admit, I'm tired of viruses.

My colourful beading project is on hold so to perk myself up whilst the little ones were asleep just now I trawled through my photo archive to find some cheerful images. Bottom left is youngest on her second birthday last summer.

If in doubt, make a mosaic.

Thankyou so much for the injection of colour this week - it's been much needed and appreciated. The SOC colour project will be continuing until Monday 10th so pop your blog on the linky list in the last post if you're posting along with us.

There are now 53 members of the SOC Flickr pool. It's really lovely over there - do go and take a look.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Splash of Colour: Semi-precious

Now and again I use uncut rubies and sapphires in my beaded jewellery but most of the time I use semi-precious stones. It's the jewel colours that draw me in, particularly the spectrum from green through to violet. Stones from left to right: Tourmaline, fluorite, iolite, peacock pearls, amethyst. When they're facetted or teardrop-shaped the excitement is even greater. Sometimes I just get them out and look at them. I have a gleeful pirate moment which can help during a dreary January day.

For the last couple of years I've been making more and more pieces using silver clay but before I had children semi-precious beaded jewellery was very fashionable and at one point I had small collections in three or four galleries around East Anglia. Tiny garlands made of gemstones are still popular but I make less of this kind of work.

I miss the beading process though. It's repetitive but incredibly satisfying. Gems are added one by one to the chain. There's a tutorial here. It's like a favourite recipe or knitting pattern - familiar, therapeutic and when it's finished the feeling can be better than chocolate.

I'm going to use the stones in these pictures to make a something this week. I have the time to do it, which is a real treat. I'll keep you posted.

It would be lovely if you join in with Splash of Colour this week - I think we could all do with a post-Christmas boost. The flickr pool is here. Drop me a line and let me know if you're not on Flickr but would like me to include an image and link in the end of week mosaics.

If you're joining in then add your blog to this list and link back here so everyone can come and see your colourful images.