Monday, 22 December 2008

Putting off housework

Right now I should be cleaning the house - instead I am tinkering on the computer and thought I would quickly post up a picture of the beads I purchased on my recent jaunt to Barcelona.

As you can see, I was quite restrained and didn't buy loads of things - it's difficult to justify it as I am only making pieces for myself, family and friends for now. I do have a few ideas brewing for these beads tho and would be interested to hear what you would do with them....
OK - can't put it off any longer - gotta go and chase that dust....

Friday, 19 December 2008


The reason there is an "etc" in my blog name is that I'm a bit of a dabbler. Sometimes I see things and think "I could make that" and then have a go. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it's just a disaster. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was walking through the haberdashery department of a large store en route to the toy department and I saw this wool. It jumped out at me and said "buy me and make a scarf with me". Now, I am not a knitter. In fact I haven't done any knitting for about 20 years, basically because I was never very good at it. Knit one, purl one, drop one, that's me. And once they've been dropped that's it, if you see what I mean. Game over, so to speak. However, I now found myself accosting the shop assistant about what size needles to use and how many balls etc and here's the story so far:

OK, so it's not rocket science or anything, but I am really chuffed with it. The wool is lovely - it's called Saltado from Schachenmayr and it changes from fringes, to chenille to bobbles so you don't have to join new wool all the time. Brilliant - this kind of thing wasn't around when I last did some knitting - the most exciting thing was mohair - and I'm really enjoying doing it.

Apart from the usual Christmas things I've made a couple of pairs of earrings:

handmade birthday earrings
Funny colour for Christmas, I hear you say, but they are for a birthday celebration and I happen to know the birthday girl loves these beads...And then there's:

handmade commission earrings
These ones are the commission I mentioned in my last post. The request was for plain and simple, to match a rather lovely jazzy necklace, which had these black beads in it. Wishing you all a stress-free run up to Christmas :)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

A bit hectic

This is what it looks like here at the moment. It's been snowing for the past couple of days and that means our afternoons are taken up with playing in the snow. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours helping to build snowmen and sledge runs and generally standing around in inappropriate clothing until I was freezing. Of course, the children had all their gear on. Today I was better equipped and spent a couple of hours helping to pull various sledges back up the hill. It was good fun. This and the fact that my daughter will be 8 tomorrow has made for quite a busy week. I've got children coming for lunch tomorrow and other people coming for tea and cake in the afternoon and the "party" on Sunday will involve taking 6 children to the theatre followed by pizza and yet more cake back at ours. Now, I am not that domesticated. Despite being a "stay at home Mum" at the moment, I'm not very good at "rustling something up". So, last night I had a thought and asked my daughter if they still took birthday cake into school in the second year of primary school (surely not, I was thinking, hoping..) Of course, she says and don't try and palm me off with something savoury, we did that last year. Sigh. So, today, another trip to the Co-op to buy more cake ingredients and 2 trays of Brownies and a sponge cake later...that's quite an achievement for me.

So, with all this activity, no time to make any jewellery, although I did buy a few beads in Barcelona last weekend - just waiting for some better light to take some photos. BTW, the information on the bead shops from Daisychain Design's blog was spot on and I spent a lovely couple of hours exploring before meeting up with my friend in the evening. A good time was had - we didn't do any of the tourist "sights", as we did that last time we were there - just alot of walking, talking, shopping, eating and drinking.

I've also got a small commission to do - a dainty pair of earrings to match a necklace. Unfortunately I've realized I'm out of headpins - sure sign that I should do a silversmith course and learn to make my own. Still haven't managed to find one in Switzerland this space !

Thursday, 4 December 2008

One of those weeks....

I've had one of those weeks. Where you race around and chase your tail trying to buy things or get things done and you can't buy what you want and you can't get things done. Right, that's that off my chest now. Or almost - I also could not make jewellery this week - try as I may. First off I was repairing a necklace for a friend and could not get the cord ends to go on to save my life. One of those foldy box things. In the end I had to put the whole thing down and tell her I would drop it round when it was finished. Later this week I attempted to make a bag charm as a Christmas present. I fiddled and crimped and threaded and fiddled some more, but it was just pants. Does anyone else have these "phases" or is it just me ? Anyway, I finished said bag charm this morning and it is OK - not the best thing I have produced, but still, here it is:

But it's not all doom and gloom, as I am off to Barcelona tomorrow for 2 days. Olay ! I've been a few times before, but never armed with a list of BEAD SHOPS !! Thanks to Jo of Daisychain Designs for that. Wishing everyone a great weekend !

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ex-pat life

As it's December tomorrow, I was reminded that I have been an "ex-pat" for 20 years now. I left England in December 1988 to go and work in Austria as a ski rep for a Winter season. Well, that one Winter season turned into 12 years, before moving to Switzerland, where I've been for 8 years now. However, I still think in English and prefer to read and write in English too. My children speak a different language to me (well, don't all children, I hear you say !) - I mean their mother tongue is different from mine. I try to speak to them in English as much as possible, but they nearly always answer in German and speak to each other and their friends in Swiss German....Strangely, they do have certain words they say in English - only the other day my 5-year old son was telling me he was playing at being a Mini Kick. Thinking this was some new mutant I'd not yet heard of, I nodded non-committally, then it dawned on me that he meant GUINEA PIG ! Duuhh ! Anyway, enough of this and more of this:

This is "Blackie". Wearing it as I write. I had great fun practising wrapped loops with this - made one afternoon for the evening, when I realized I had no jewellery to go with the top I wanted to wear. Still not completely happy with the photography, but I thought it was interesting to see the reflections the clear crystals produced. There is a word for that which I learnt in Physics many moons ago and escapes me for the moment. :) Have a good week.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Need some help..

At the weekend I built myself a light tent - thanks to a link on Contrariwise's blog , an excellent blog, entertaining and very informative. In the past I have taken photos on my patio table in natural light, but, now the days are darker, taking photos is proving a bit difficult. Anyway, the light tent looks pretty much as it should, but I'm not sure I've got the lighting right. I'm using one lamp with a daylight bulb of 8W/40W and I've a feeling I should be using more lamps and stronger bulbs. Any tips here would be very much appreciated:)

Below are a couple of fun pendants I made very quickly in the Summer. I bought the synthetic cord at a haberdashery dept. and some of the beads are the children's wooden ones ..again..I've left the cord long so they just slip over your head, but have added a slider bead to the end to alter the length if required. I've actually worn them alot.

As you can see from my efforts so far, I have used inexpensive materials while I practise my skills. I am desperate to start working in sterling silver, but must admit not really knowing where to start. Wirework would seem the obvious, as I have done quite a bit of wirework using craft wire. But would I need to tumble everything? I can't find a silversmith course in my area otherwise that would be a good starting point - hammering, soldering and piercing all sound like heaven and I really would like to be able to produce my own components. !!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Cathy's Bag Charm

Earlier this year I spent a very pleasant weekend with my friend Cathy in Nice. We have been on many trips together and always have a good time, as we like to do the same things i.e. lots of exploring on foot punctuated by regular coffees, a bit of culture (small dose), shopping (large dose) and sampling local food and drink (generous dose)! We had been to Nice before and there is a lovely jewellery shop on Ave. Jean Médecin called Perrusset, where I always manage to part with a few Euros. On the last day we took a short train trip down the coast to Villefranche, where we found a craft fair on at the castle. We always seem to sniff these things out - funny that! Anyway, there was a lovely stall selling glass pendants and we had to have a couple (well, it would've been rude not to!!) and here's mine.

Strolling round, Cathy was ogling some bag charms. Oh, I'll make you one, says I, as if I am an expert on such matters and actually never having made a bag charm in my life. Ok, great, says Cathy, in bright pink or electric blue please (not one for subtle colours, our Cathy). Anyway, here it is -

I had great fun making it and she was pleased with it. So much so, that she has "ordered" another one for Xmas. Which means a trip to my local bead shop.....again...tee hee.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Need more sleep

But, actually, have only got myself to blame. I am a bit of a night owl and, instead of getting myself to bed at a decent hour, ready to face the early morning scramble of getting 2 children off to Kindergarten and school, I mess around surfing the Web or flicking through the TV channels. Then I still have washing to hang up or put in the dryer or the kitchen to tidy up ! Grrrr.. Still, I have had a relaxing morning to myself, so can't complain. The children come out of Kindergarten/school at 11.55 a.m. What ? I hear you say ? That's life in Switzerland for you. There are advantages and disadvantages of this system, but overall we are very happy with it. Getting a job will be a bit tricky, especially when you don't have Mum or Mum-in-Law around the corner, but will cross that bridge when I come to it. One of the advantages of having the afternoons largely "free" is that the children can play with their friends or do other activities.

Thought I would show you this. I liked the colour combo of these beads, but they were on a memory wire necklace which I found uncomfortable to wear. So I re-cycled them and made this bracelet
Anyway, enough for today - will get an early night tonight. Promise !

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Feeling a bit nervous...

Welcome to my blog ! I've been thinking of starting one for a while now, but kept hesitating, worrying whether a) I'd have enough to say (not usually a problem for me !), b) if anyone would read it and most importantly c) if my "stuff" is really good enough to post up on it. Hmm. Anyway, I've done it now.

I've only realized I have a creative side since having my children, although I was creative as a child. With the children I started making cards and other simple projects and found it very enjoyable. I've always loved jewellery, so when, a couple of years ago, I discovered our town has a bead shop and that there are books and tuition on the Internet, I was hooked. I've been reading various jewellery blogs over the past year and am totally in awe of the beautiful things people are creating. I am nowhere near that stage yet! So far I've made a few things for myself, friends and family, but my goal would be to have my own shop online. As my youngest child has just started Kindergarten and I haven't yet re-entered the world of paid employment, I am finally enjoying a bit of "me" time. Hopefully I'll be able to put it to good use and practise my jewellery making skills - tips and suggestions welcome !

This bracelet I've called "Berries". The children had been given these wooden beads so I commandeered a few (bad Mummy !). I just wanted to practice doing wrapped loops but got carried away and before I knew it had a bracelet. The wooden beads make it lovely and light to wear.

Back soon !


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