Monday, 16 January 2017

A necklace for every day of the week!

Last week I decided to concentrate on jewellery making. (I actually made 8 but one isn't for me, hence the title) I bought a kit just before Christmas from Amazon, with some cabuchons. Basically with these sets you choose some papers (the G45 12 by 12 pad is perfect for this, as the example papers on the cover page are just the right size) glue them to the cabuchons with glossy accents, then leave them to dry overnight. Once dry, glue them with a stronger glue to the bases, then make up your necklaces. I made five of these.

 See what I mean about the G45 papers? Perfect size. Unfortunately the 8 by 8 pad I have is a little too small.

I also dug into the latest BH box, using the moons to make a couple of necklaces. I found some beads from a previous box and attached them to the moons, then made up the necklaces with various beads and beading strings.

For my final one, I made up a dome charm as I've done before, with a ring pull. I filled it with blue beads and some shells, before gluing it to the base. I used eyepins with some beads to attach to the ring pull, as well as a silver shell bead, then attached it to a silver chain.

This one is definitely my favourite. I love the little shells, and it's perfect for a seaside town.

seven days of zilch,
a week without notes or coins
no money to spend

As you can see from the haiku above, last week's resolution was a no spending week. Admittedly I've done spending bans before, though this was a little different by the fact I could spend no money at all. This meant that I had to buy the food I needed for work the week before, as well as doing the usual to avoid frivolous spends. It's funny really; when I was a child I was used to having no money. We weren't exactly well off (think getting most of our clothes second hand from the NAAFI, and renting electrical appliances instead of buying them outright) but we did as well as we could with what we had. I remember getting EMA (education maintenance allowance back from the time they used money to incentivise you to stay in school after GCSE's instead of forcing you like they do now). It was £30 a week maximum, so obviously I got that, but I didn't fill out the forms straight away so ended up getting it backdated, to what was a whopping £700. I had never seen that kind of money before, and admittedly went a little nuts. Spending has been varied since then; I've got to the point where I am not in debt but I do tend to spend what ever money I have spare. It's a long way from when I used to get £5 a month pocket money. I bought a rabbit from my £5 one month, and had it a grand total of one night. Small piece of advice - black rabbits and night time do not mix, as my dad found out when he accidentally let it escape. I had to wait another month before I could buy another one.

Anyway, enough blathering on about not having much money. Plenty of people around the world have a lot less money growing up than I did. Last week was easier than I thought it would be, but I did record what I felt each day.

Monday - No urges today. I did however get a little pissed off with a company called Lindy Bop. All last week they were offering 20% off, so I partook the day it was due to end. Once the offer was supposed to have ended they extended it and added a free gift with every order. It's not much but I wasn't the only one annoyed. I did get my embossing powders in the post so that probably quelled any urges.
Tuesday - No post today, and the first day of the week I left the house. Stayed in work during my break as usually I go to Sainsbury's. Was slightly tempted by a Sizzix 90% off sale but deleted the email.
Wednesday - Lindy Bop dress arrived. Long shift at work, otherwise known as an AFD. Put on my work trousers first thing and found a split right in the wrong place. Felt like an omen but I luckily have a spare pair. Good thing I noticed before I left the house! Dug through the recycling at work and found an old newspaper (not that old) with some puzzle pages in which kept me occupied during my break.
Thursday - day off. Made necklaces all day. I did look online for findings, as the BH box doesn't tend to supply crimp beads and the like, but didn't purchase any.
Friday - Longer shift than expected as somebody went sick. Got out a pair of sausage rolls ready for work...and left them in the kitchen. Well, the cats enjoyed them, gnawing at them even though they were still frozen(!) Had an emergency packet of microwave rice so had that for tea. Did find an unexpected stash of peanut M & M's that we bought for Christmas.
Saturday - Hunger and the smell of chips do not mix! There are far too many chip shops in town, all of which smell heavenly when you are walking past them with a grumbling stomach. Walked past a chip wrapper in the alley on the way home so someone didn't resist. (Not me! What, did you think that I had looked for a few chips in there?)
Sunday - went into Sainsbury's looking for things for next week. Didn't buy anything. It was our delayed Christmas works do in the evening. I avoided going to Spoons as we have a small budget from work, which covered the meal but not drinks. Went to a carvery - lovely meal and best of all free!

So, it was a successful week. I will admit I don't think that these actually save money, as you just divert the spending to another week when you can spend.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

So what resolutions have you made?

As I said in the last post, I decided to do things a little differently resolution wise this year. Before I get onto that, I want to get the crafting related posting out of the way first.

I wanted to do a simple tag, something that reminded me of one of the things most important to me; writing. I started off by inking the tag, stamping it with a script stamp, then using the ink spatter stencil with the black soot distress ink, following on with clear embossing powder so that it had a shine on the ink. I embossed a feather, spraying it with Lindy's spray then rubbing the raised parts with brown ink. I added black soot and clear embossing powder onto the nib (always loved the feather pens and inkwell). Finally I stamped a sentiment that was relevant to writing.

Here is my stitching update. As you can see I've started on the next flowerpot.

I've also got the December Bead Haul box through. The theme was heavy metal this time, which did disappoint me a little. Yes, metal may be popular through the winter but I would have preferred a little pop of colour to remind us that spring is round the corner. Here is what I got.

Beading wire. Makes a nice change to have this in here.

A tassel charm. I can see this on a necklace below a large bead or gem.

Two celtic knot charms.

Some beads.

More beads. This is where I would have liked to see some colour to be honest.

Some cord. Again, a nice change.

Findings. Interestingly enough, all silver. Obviously to fit in with the theme, though gold and brass are also metals technically.

More beads.

Some....weird....springy things. No idea what to call them, as the picture that accompanies the box each time did not have names. However, these are super light and would make good earrings.

A wing. One of the few things with some colour, but I don't think I will be using it as jewellery. More likely going to be part of a mixed media project in future.

More beads.

Two moon charms. Too big for earrings (not to mention facing the same way) but would be good as necklaces, especially as they have the hook on the inside so you can add a ghostly pearl perhaps.

Origami foxes. These probably would have had a more appropriate home in the last geometry box, but they fit this one too.

Some kind of statement pendant. I will admit I do not like this, but I will find a use for it somewhere.

I don't know if these are headpins, or decorations in their own right. I like the bunch of grapes look on them.

Right. onto the resolutions. I have decided this year to do a new thing every week. Strictly speaking, they don't have to be so new that I have never done them before, but the key is to do something different. I have already decided on the things I want to do, though not the order yet as some will be more season specific than others. For now, here is week one.

see beauty in words,
poetry in syllables,
metaphors abound.

So week one's challenge was to look at Haiku's. I am beyond useless at poetry, never graduating beyond the need for consecutive lines to rhyme so poetry was an obvious challenge to me. Haiku's are a form of poetry popular in Japan, characterised by how small the poems are. In Western society we have adapted them to three line poems, such as the one above. The first line always has five syllables, the second seven, and the third five again. Modern poets think that we should not be restricted to that rigid set of syllables, but I thought I would stick to tradition. Haiku's have always made me think of still waters and cherry blossoms, and I have found this week that they are particularly helpful in indicating to a person what words are useless. In other words, how to eloquently express yourself without the overuse of superfluous words. (Such as that last sentence) Usually in writing, words like of, that or the are fine, but with few syllables allowed, you really have to think about what you are trying to express. I decided to do a Haiku for each of my weekly tasks, so I will start each week with the Haiku relative to that task. Interestingly enough this week has done something positive, as I found myself walking to work this morning and contemplating a garden I walked by, and spontaneously coming up with a Haiku for it.

the holly bears fruit,
in dead of winter life blooms,
amongst leafless trees

So perhaps there is a poet in me after all!

While looking into Haiku's, I found a couple that other people have done that I particularly liked.

Rushing blue-green tide,
slip smoothly through tinted waves,
underwater world

Feeling your spirit,
is as on springtime mornings,
when breathing deeply

If you are interested in Haiku's yourself, this website is a good place to start. Just remember, it is five-seven-five, and it can be addictive!


Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 is dead, long live 2017!

Ok it's not officially over yet (at time of posting anyway) but it is the last day, so as well as the last of my declutter and the usual crafting stuff, I'm going to review my resolutions that I made at the top of the year, as well as letting you glimpse a sneak peek of next year's. First of all, the last declutter of 2016.

Mango and Papaya shower gel. The scent doesn't stay long with this. A bit of a disappointment really.

Alphabet strip die. As you can see by the various dents it's past it's best. I've used this a lot, but I've now invested in some thinlit alphanumeric dies, which will remove the need for putting a die through the machine so many times in order to cut a simple phrase.

Rusty blades. Only a poundland set so it's not much of a loss.

Toothbrush. Don't worry that's not tooth gunk! I've been using it to spatter metallic colour on things, but I was too lazy to wash it and now it's useless.
Body butter. Damn body butter! Had enough of it long before it ran out but I persevered. Mostly.

Stitching wise this is where I am up to with the current one.

A little progress, but it's still going to be a good couple of months till it's finished.

I was a little low this week, and as such I didn't feel like doing any crafting. But it is pointless having a crafting blog with no crafting in it, so I grabbed a few things, sat down at the table and waited for inspiration to hit.

I started off by inking a small tag with distress ink, adding versamark through a stencil and adding Verdigris embossing powder, as well as using ink through another stencil. I then added a sentiment, and used my new distress crayons to ink the edges. Once that was done I started with the embellishments. I added a scrabble tile that I inked, cut some spring greenery out and inked with vintage photo and peeled paint inks, and added some flowers. Finally I used Lindy's embossing powder on a wooden embellishment, added a photo from Tim Holtz photobooth set, and used crackle accents, taking care when dry to take a couple of bits out. The picture I chose had a handwritten message in the corner, so I cut that off and used it in the corner of my tag. Finally I added a gingham bow.

I like to think there is a story attached to this. An old woman, sitting there alone looking through treasures of her daughter who she lost. The last letter from her, some flowers she pressed into a book the day she was born, and a cracked photo, the only one she has left. It's a bit melancholy admittedly.

Onto this year's review. If you remember I had five resolutions. They were to save 250 a month, to walk or cycle or do weights every day, to finish the first draft of one of my books, to finish my Beauty and the Beast cross stitch, and finally to give up fizzy drinks for one year. Well I am pleased to say I completed all tasks successfully! The one thing I am disappointed about was that the fizzy drinks and the exercise (which admittedly I did kind of do the minimum a few days) did not do what I hoped they would do for my weight, but then that's my lack of willpower when it comes to chocolate etc, which is something I will work on.

2017 is going to be a little different. I'm not going to set myself five resolutions, but one big one. Or rather 52 little ones. That's all I'm going to reveal about them right now, apart from a clue to the first one.

At the stroke of twelve,
resolutions start anew,
last year forgotten.


Monday, 26 December 2016

a few things in and a few things out...

Hope you all had a nice Christmas! First of all, here are the decluttered items. I'm stopping doing this at the end of the year, so I can concentrate on next year's resolutions (more on that next time). Here are last weeks items, plus todays.

Lindy Bop skirt. I do love Lindy Bop but sometimes they don't suit me. This skirt is a bit too full, so you need a petticoat underneath it or it ends up getting caught between your legs. I've got a Lindy Bop dress that is a similar pattern, so it's going to the charity shop.

A sweater vest. I went through a period of wearing stuff like this, but if you've got a bit of a belly it doesn't suit, plus I don't wear trousers much anymore. Charity shop.

A black blouse. Not fond of the short sleeves so charity shop.

A Forever 21 top. This makes me look a bit frumpy to be honest. Charity shop.

Lindy Bop dress. The fabric is what put me off this. I love the cotton ones, hate the shiny polyester ones. Didn't realise this was when I ordered it. Charity shop.

Polka dot shirt. Got a couple of white based blouses that are much nicer than this. Charity shop.

A summer dress. It's....nice, but I prefer the cut of Lindy Bop. Charity.
A hair brush. Did you know you are supposed to replace these every couple of years? Never knew myself. I've had this one for....longer than that. Bin.

Now for the ins. Christmas presents!!!!

Distress crayons and a Tim Holtz bag.
 Dies! Lovely selection. A couple of embossing ones too. Can't decide which is my favourite.

Sarah Millican DVD. I watched this tour live. She is an amazing comedian, you should definitely see her if you have a chance.

Pair of Skechers. I go through trainers really quickly so these are much appreciated.

A Pandora charm. I love the little glasses on here.

A Beast showcase figure. This is really unusual.

I had last week off, but being Christmas, I didn't do much in the way of crafting. I did make something though.

Apparently part of my hair wanted in on the pictures! This started off as a wooden sign, which I painted with white gesso, before adding some texture paste with the brick stencil. once dry I sprayed with various lindy's sprays. I die cut some gears, alternately embossing them with lindy's embossing powder, and ranger Verdigris powder, before gluing them on and finally adding some yellow flowers.