Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Treasure hunting

a tray full of treasure
A very English treat is to stumble upon a church or town hall, when there is a sale underway. With the current upsurge in interest for all things vintage, handmade or home produced, it's easy to find these events in a town or village near to home. Wandering about these impromptu sales is the perfect antidote to too much work.
This stall at a local antiques and craft day,  drew me in with its seductive colours. It was run by a really lovely lady too.
It's my experience that there are two types of people, the majority, and those all too rare souls who are pure energy and inspiration. Usually we encounter such folk exactly when we need to, and they will often just come right out and say things that can change our life forever...

treasure chosen
'I see you are living your bliss'... she said.
I'd never heard this phrase before, and being somewhat jaded from a heap of deadlines, I was about to dismiss such a seemingly drippy comment. But seduced as I was by that bead tray, I stayed. I learned so much about each of the stones, their source, their history; books were recommended and my choices of beads congratulated. Slowly my work tense shoulders dropped and I became my better self.
Despite the chores of paperwork, the sometimes achingly exacting deadlines, and the insecurities of the creative life; she is right. I love what I do...
I love most, the promise of new ideas.
So, my little stash of treasure is hours of imaging new designs, it's the gentle delight of touching silky smooth stones beautifully crafted by the stone cutters. Most of all it is a reminder to make time to do things I love the most, first for a change.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Milk crate chic

grape hyacinth and primroses
My lovely German beady chums call the pass time of browsing for inspiration 'Schnicky Schnacky shopping'.
Whilst on a trip to the lovely town of Totnes in Devon (a haven for schnicky schnacky addicts), I found this adorable little milk crate. It reminded me momentarily, of being made to drink definitely 'on the turn' warm milk at small school.
The government meant well, bless 'em, but those little quarter pints of 'free school milk' lined up in crates by the radiator all morning, had toddlers little hearts sinking across the land.
Shuddersome thoughts were soon banished by more grown up imaginings of eclectic mixes of garden flowers and how lovely they would look in a mini milk crate.
Zeitgeist moment

Once home and for their first outing, I took cuttings from the riotous proliferation of primroses and grape hyacinth that have colonised the lawn.
Spring has been even more dreary than the long and soggy winter, so the lawn mower is staying put and these cheerful ambassadors of finer weather are more than welcome.

Anyhoo,  imagine my enormous delight, (and, ahem, a solid justification to self that my frippery was so 'on trend' darling...), when I found 'my' mini crate gracing the cover of a spring issue of Country Living magazine.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cat out of the bag

folded and ready to go shopping
My brother recently fulfilled a lifelong dream, when he travelled to Japan for a month. He also did very well in the gift buying department for we many girls in the family.
A simply beautiful set of hand printed papers, each with a different pattern now sit on my desk, too lovely to do anything other than leaf through while daydreaming, or to use for back grounds in the occasional beady photograph.
But, squeee...
He also gave me this fantastic fold up bag. It is beyond adorable, the tail has a snap fastener that keeps it safely attached to my satchel. It is just the right size for those, 'I wasn't going to buy anything today' shopping moments.

guarding the goodies
When full the little cat drapes over the top of the bag to keep it closed. Folding it up and tucking the bag part away is a most happy ritual. It even has weeny paws printed on the underside. Awww! Bless!

I decided that it needed a spruce up and washed it... only to discover that it is almost waterproof, so if I am ever caught out in the wilderness I will be able to catch rainwater. I spent a very happy ten minutes filling it up to test my theory, there seems to be no end to the joys this little present brings.

So the cat is definitely out of the bag... I'm a sucker for cute!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Show time already?

Who knew!... it is a beyond lovely experience to be invited to teach six different classes and to then have them all fill up too.
I'm heading out for four days at the Great British Beadshow, where I'll be teaching the masterclass and two more workshops. Then a little mid May lull to regroup and get my boxes shipped ahead, before setting off to Milwaukee for my first ever Bead and Button show.
It's no secret that I love teaching, and I'm getting the anticipatory tingles of having some designs I'm really looking forward to sharing with everyone.
The build up has been an epic of bead ordering, kit packing, colour deciding, do-overs and re-works. Lost packages and held up parcels, plus plenty of track stopping moments like that 'have my heart set on it' 2.5mm crystal? sorry, now out of production! Or, 'We have 900 in that colour pearl and you say you need 1500?, would a different colour for the rest do?'... Finally the compromises and colourways came together and it's been lovely to sit and work with each one in turn, just to triple check as I go.

'Acantha' left to right:
Rust/Scarlet; Lime/Teal: Silver/ Pink: Turquoise/ Violet
I have some truly lovely friends who, when I hit the wall, come along with pack lunches awesome chocolate brownies and rolled up sleeves, and just get stuck in, while I peel myself off the wall and back to having a sense of humour. Big hugs and a huge thank you to Dawn and Sally.

Acantha, showcases SilverSilk and Czech spike beads. As part of the Symbols and Trinkets series, Acantha is a 'Dowsing for Happiness' amulet. The colourways are listed beneath the photo so class attendees can have a good look and choose favourites ahead of time.

'Indiaman' left to right:
Silver/ Fern: Indigo/Teal:
Bronze/Violet: Plum/Astral Pink
'Indiaman' is a two day class for B&B. Named after the trading ships of the East India Companies, crossing oceans to bring so many jewelled treasures to our shores. This design is full of 'colour on colour' scrunchy texture, and features Albion stitch in lots of variations.

Ambrosina, is a medley of netting techniques and will be taught for the Guild and later this year at Beader's Best in Hamburg too. It has starting points in a design I made for a friend, and it's been a joyous journey to revise, explore and create a completely new design from that first idea.In this class, students will have many design options to play with.

'Ambrosina' left to right:
Lime/Coconut: Raspberry/Plum;
Mint/Turquoise: Earth/Ivory
Looking at the boxes all packed and ready to go, the samples up on the display boards and the crisp piles of class notes, it feels nice to have come out the other side of total mayhem.
Now I'm looking forward to days and days of beady fun.