Saturday, 31 December 2011

Tumbling into the New Year: 2012 with New Beginnings (Post 56)

I'm not a great one for New Year's Eve ... yet, strangely, I love the 'actual' New Year.  I feel revitalised, just love the thought of what the future may hold and feel positive to have that fresh start.

As some of you may know, this year I took unexpected early retirement which took me a while to settle in to. I'm so used to a 9-5 routine that to suddenly have time to do .... 'what' ... was really quite daunting.  I spent the first few months doing 'nothing' and wondering where the days were disappearing to.  Then I gave myself a bit of a talking to and began to enjoy this new found freedom.  

Started a Keep Fit regime, lost 18 lbs and took time out to assess things.  I think I OD'd on surfing the net though!  As much as I love it, it does eat into valuable beading time. Interestingly though, I'm not alone as this is a feeling that many of you express.  

Like diets, 'everything in moderation'.  I haven't set any New Year Resolutions, as such but will be focusing back on my Jewellery and other crafts.  To put myself back on track I have joined up to 'Make a pair of Earrings a Week' at Tackle That Bead Stash. A first for me ... it should also mean more regular Postings to my blog.

Work In Progress (WIP)
Still working on those socks ... I dropped a stitch, unknowingly and now I'm in the midst of backtracking to restore to its previous glory.  Mmm, and my sister said it was easy!  Never one to give up mind, so I WILL finish them.  Enjoying making them, just beading beckons more at the minute!

Making good progress on Lone Beader's Terrier Brooch - I'll save that for next time though!  Diana is following my progress and is happy for me to blog about 'Little Rudy'.

So much that I want to say, but hey ... next time!  I'll close by wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year.

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'

Charters x

Can It Be Right: (Post 55)

Firstly, I hope you all had a great Christmas.  Mine was a little unusual this year, as I went on holiday early arriving back on Christmas Day.  Thanks to the wonderful support of my family all the usual panic of christmas shopping etc and food preparation was taken care of - as Christmas evening was spent with my family and Turkey for boxing day cooked for me.  Thanks goes to you ... xx Aren't I spoilt!

I'd like to say a huge welcome to two very talented artists who have recently joined us, and, (judging by the profile picture) another artistic fellow beadworker:

Pearlysmiths : Angela a Jewellery Designer, specialising in Wedding jewellery, beaded accessories, and so much more.   Whilst also running numerous jewellery making workshops.  Some very interesting pieces.

Kerrie Slade : Kerry a contemporary Beadwork Designer, features in many Beading magazines including international countries;  and also teaches her skills to others.  No doubt, those of you who are avid headers will already be familiar with Kerrie's work.

Catherine: The very latest virtual friend.  Who, is a mystery to me at the moment, but hopefully will have a blog or Facebook to see more of her beautiful beadwork.

So, can I just say Thank you for following and to ALL of you, its great to share my blog with each and everyone.

I am guilty of over-surfing, (is there such a word?).  By that I mean I spend too much time browsing the web and not enough producing the goods.  I like to call it research.  One thing I have noticed is 'similarity' between jewellery designs.  I don't consider myself an expert by any means, but quite often I think, 'I'm sure I've seen that on somebody else's blog'?  I think that this is inevitable when the same 'technique' is used but I was saddened to hear that a certain artists work is being blatantly copied and reproduced as original by somebody else, when it is clearly not.  I won't go into specifics, some of you will know what I'm eluding to.

I've always stressed in my posts that its good to be inspired by other artists work, but you should always acknowledge them if reproducing their designs.  Aside from being dishonest, its bad karma - what goes round, comes around ...

This is my late 'catch up' but I really would like to do a Happy New Year post as well.  So ...

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Is Aiming for Perfection a 'Gemini' Trait? (Post 54)

My beads arrived for the Lone Beader's Jack Russell Tutorial which were smaller than I expected. (The power of great photography) - not strictly true, I did know what I was letting myself in for.  I usually work with Size 11/0 these were a size smaller. Nothing to say you couldn't use the other one's but as we all know little is always cute!  Imagine my shock when I hadn't ordered black.  Such a silly mistake.  So, I may have to do these one or two features as a 15/0?  I did get the right one's for the cute little nose though.

The Lone Beader's Terrier Tutorial 
I haven't made a start on it yet, because I sort of got side tracked the other week on knitting SOCKS!!!  Didn't I tell you to expect more variety with my handcraft. This is where I embrace the 'Gemini' in me.  I have so much enthusiasm and get a little side-tracked sometimes.  At the minute, my sister has been singing her praises on the joy of sock making.  She did such a good job that I just had to make some. Admittedly, hers looked lovely - well ... it was fun to knit with 4-needles again.  

All was going to plan, even managed to shape the heel then, the Gremlins appeared out of the blue and I discovered, (24 rows too late, may I add) that I had dropped a stitch.  AAAAhhhhhhh! Although I was able to rescue it, the perfectionist in me demanded I rip it all back.

So ... poor Rudy, the terrier that is, is 'on hold'.  With the build up to Christmas he may not appear before the New Year.  I hope when I do make it I can do justice to Diana's tutorial.  Her work is so detailed, its a joy to look at.

The last week or so I am doing a lot of jewellery designing in the twilight hours of sleep.  Which is good ... and will at some stage be put into practice.  Which brings me on to my next post - 'Can it Be Right'?  More about that later ...

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'

Elf Taught? (Post 53)

It crossed my mind that a lot of what I know has been 'self-taught' or as I like to say 'elf taught'. Interestingly though, as you read through other artists' blogs you come across a majority who also admit they have had no formal training and quite often have 'accidentally' taken up their chosen craft.

Being left-handed, has never been a hindrance to me, but it has affected others who have tried to pass on skills of one sort or another.  I remember most vividly, as a child, learning to knit.  My mum could not understand how I could do something, which looked completely different to what she was showing me, yet surprisingly turned out as it should, and I know it was very difficult to teach me.  (I would imagine, this is where I first started teaching myself).  My first knitted project was a bright red dress.  It took me just three weeks and I was so proud of it.  I wore it to a disco ... and probably constantly for a while.  

I went on to teach myself all types of knitting stitches, but could never get the hang of crochet. Never one to give up though, one of these days I will conquer it!

Its been a while since I did any regular knitting, but recently re-introduced myself to it.

Fingerless Gloves
These gloves match my scarf, made of baby alpaca wool, a lovely sage green.  My husband's first comments were, 'what is the point'?  I think they are very useful.  How many times have you been shopping and tried to get out your purse without dropping your gloves.  With these you can still control your fingers.

Maybe being so close to Christmas, when all the musicals come to the forefront, these perhaps remind you of 'Fagin's gloves' in Oliver Twist!!

I'm never far away, from jewellery making and bead embroidery is another form of art in itself.  To return to my earlier comment; 'elf taught' artists.  

One beadwork artist which is really inspiring is Diana L Grygo, aka The Lone Beader.  

"a self-taught bead embroidery artist currently working in Quincy, Massachusetts. She loves to create extremely dimensional beaded paintings by stitching glass seed beads to felt. Her work also combines images from history with ideas of the future using mixed media. Her current pieces are inspired by pop culture, dogs, classic cars & city scenes".
Source: Artist Profile - Lone Beader Website 

Take a look at the Lone Beader Blog, to see her how her journey unfolded.  Diana has just brought out a very detailed tutorial for a cute Jack Russell brooch (or pendant) which you may also like to take a peek at.   What particularly stands out, is her attention to detail and she manages to produce this amazing beaded art work whilst still working full-time - there's dedication for you.

Before I forget, continue to be inspired by checking out Wendy's  Handmade Monday No: 43 link party, where you'll also see some outstanding work, again, many of whom I know are 'elf taught'.   

'Keep Watching, and I'll Keep Blogging'


Twitter Surprise (Post 52)

Still finding my way around Twitter, but loving it!  I expect it'll be even better when I understand it?  I have come across a couple of Giveaways that I want to share with you.  Both blogs are worthy a visit and I can't believe I've not come across them before.  Aside from the lovely offer, you must take a look, they are very inspiring sites!

Sue - Mrs Micawber's Recipe for Happiness

Sue has a wonderful blog, where she covers a wealth of 'thrifty' tutorials; covering cookery, knitting, crochet, jewellery making, poetry and 101 other useful points of view.  You need to pop over yourself, because I'm sure what ever your craft is Mrs Micawber will have some hints and tips.  Her slogan being Living graciously on limited means.  The 'giveaway' is in celebration of Thanksgiving, passing the 100-follower mark and topping 100,000 plus page views.  The prize a beautiful Jane Austen Knits publication, a bar of chocolate, a christmas ornament and a mystery gift!  
Closed: Lucky Winner was Stephanie at Millefeuilles - Well Done Stephanie!

Emma - Silver Pebble

Emma specialises in silver clay jewellery, although you will find her blog covers a multitude of crafts and is written in a nice chatty manner.  Emma's jewellery will truly inspire you.  You will also find some great tutorials!  The 'giveaway' is Kirstie Allsopp's new Craft Book and a Art Silver Clay starter kit.

Closed: As at 3rd Dec, results still to be announced ... ooh! 

Both 'giveaways' are international and I'm sure with such generous offers they will be well subscribed to.  So pop over, you know what they say, 'You have to be in to win'.

Thanks to 'Mrs Micawbers Recipe for Happiness' and 'Silver Pebble' for hosting these 'top' giveaways!

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'