Thursday, 30 August 2012

Paper butterflies....

Butterflies are one of my most favourite things - they have a 'special' meaning to me and I guess that's why they seem to end up in every craft medium I've tried!   

With it being nearly time for the kids to go back to school, I have to say it's shame it seems to have been mostly a wet English summer this year which has not only kept us indoors more than we wanted but has affected all kinds of things... not least the butterfly population and I haven't seen half as many as last year so far. 

Well, hopefully these little beauties might go some way to making up for the lack of them this summer!  As you can see, this week I've been playing with paper crafts which are great for kids and it's one of the cheapest indoor crafting activities to do!

paper butterfly

I made mine from some free papers that came with a craft magazine a few years back and never got used (yes, I am a hoarder too!) and then several more from colourful fashion magazine pages which are a good thickness for this kind of project - you just need to trim the pages into squares.   Finally, I simply used nylon thread to string them all from a circular plastic bag handle.  They certainly danced around in the breeze like the real thing when I was trying to photograph them!

Check out the tutorials page where I have just posted a new step-by-step for making these lovely, floaty paper butterflies and let me know what you think!

paper butterflies

Happy Making :-)

Friday, 24 August 2012


Have I been quiet lately... well, that's largely down to having had a few new video projects on my 'to do' list at the end of last week. I try to make them fairly regularly for my You Tube channel 'BeadClub' which  I set up back in 2008. It originally featured just beading & jewellery tutorials aimed at those wanting to learn the basic techniques such as making simple or wrapped loops, how to string a pendant and so on because there weren't many good tutorials out there at the time and only a handful of magazines plus my bead shop customers would often ask me how to do this or that.  

When I watch my early videos it does make me cringe a bit because I think I sound very 'teacher-ish' which is not quite the same as everyday real life!  I am pretty sure my videographer skills have improved alot by now too and I seem to have helped spawn a generation of 'hands only' videos (I never felt it necessary to show my whole body when all viewers really want to see is the actual techniques!) Still,  people seemed to like them and encouraged by the response I was getting from the YT community and the increasing number of subs I have carried on adding to the library over the past few years! 

I have recently started to make other crafting technique videos which makes it a bit more challenging too. My latest videos are a continuation of my 'How to Crochet' series and I had lots of fun making up these little crochet friendship bracelets to demonstrate how double crochet stitches can be used in more ways than one (and not just for the usual yarn type projects). 

crochet friendship bracelet

They are so simple to make - if you fancy having a go zip on over to my channel here and watch how it's done.  It's the sort of mini-make that can be very addictive....

Enjoy xxx

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A tourist eye's view...

It's not that I really need an excuse to go shopping but it always feels extra good to have a 'proper' reason and for a couple of weeks now I've been making a list of crafting bits & pieces I need for a class I've been asked to run later in the year (plus a few extras for some little ideas I have been having...)

Yesterday I popped over to Bath for a spot of shopping & lunch before picking G up from an over-nighter with family. I had also decided to take my camera to get a few shots for a newsletter I've been writing and it felt really strange and touristy as, having grown up there, it's not something I've ever really done before! Anyway, I thought I'd share a few pics....

Bath Abbey....I must have walked past it a zillion times and have only ever previously taken photos of it on various New Years Eve's when the light has been bad and the churchyard filled with tipsy revellers! The churchyard is a great place to sit and eat a sandwich on your lunchbreak - no need for a book (or kindle)  as there is usually a busker or lots of 'people-watching' type entertainment.  Just be sure to watch out for the greedy pigeons who will try to get as close as they can to your food!

bath abbey

Couldn't resist this shot - can you spot the Centurian?  From this angle he looks quite real  and he never fails to remind me of Bath University freshers week with the streets full of over-excited toga clad (very inebriated) students! I may confess to having worn the odd DIY toga to a fancy dress party myself in the past too... well, you know what they say -  'When in Rome...' and all that ;-)

Ahhh..The Roman Baths.   Since my first school trip it's always been a dream to actually swim in it but sadly, unlikely to ever happen although I did learn to swim in 'The Old Royal Baths' which I remember as steaming and slimey bottomed due to the warm mineral water so I guess that is kind of close! This picture is taken from a street at the back of the museum where you can just see the top halves of some of the stone Roman figures surrounding The Great Bath.  If you want to find out more about this historical place of wonder have a look here

Bath city

'Bath in Bloom' is an annual event that always ensures a good amount of tumbling floral displays - both in town and out (in actual fact many neigbourhood gardens get quite competitive over it!).  Anyway,  if flowers are your thing there's lots to see on the main streets and even in the little cobbled yards like Abbey Green seen here. And yes, there happens to be a little bead shop down that way (not that I need any more of those these days!)

Northumberland Place is one of my favourite little narrow backstreets (and a quick cut through from the main street to the Guildhall Market which is a great place to browse for crafting bits & pieces!).  The shops may have changed over the years but it still retains alot of character. The eagle eyed among you might just spot 'The Makery Emporium' which is full of vintage and unusual pretties from buttons, fabrics, paper and more!

No crafting mission to Bath would be complete without seeking out this little treasure of a shop.. it's tucked away down the end of Old Orchard Street - a tiny shop crammed full of beautiful yarns simply called 'Wool' and it's a must for crochet & knitting addicts! Talking of crafting addicts, I guess I'd better give you a quick peep at some of my haul...

As you can see, this time it largely comprises of fabrics, some threads & yarns that I just couldn't resist and of course, I've already started making with several items so I may be quiet for a few days...

Happy crafting!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Natural inspiration..

Today, in keeping with typical British tradition, our summer weather is patchy sunshine at best, monsoon style downpours at worst! Can't really complain though, seeing as we were forcast a drought a couple of months ago.

Anyway, whilst wandering around the garden after a particularly heavy shower to see what flowers had survived I came across these dainty beauties which I thought looked really pretty 'accessorised' by the rain drops. 

bell shape flowers

I was sat staring at the picture later on, thinking about how they would look pretty as a piece of jewellery when I had a small flash of inspiration and decided to get out some of my flower beads & crystals and here's the result....

flower charm necklace

If you would like to see how to make the charm cluster on this necklace pop on over to my new 'Tutorials' page for a free step-by-step guide (I'd love to see yours if you make one!)

Happy Making!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

One for the Tate?

I am really liking my son's first 'abstract' artwork (cue 'proud mum moment')  At the end of last week, with the sun still shining we found ourselves with a free day and decided to try and find something we could do outside. So, after a quick shopping trip into town to get a canvas, we covered the table with sheeting and let rip with the paints!  I have to say I am not, nor ever have been,  hugely knowledgable or clever with painting but we both thought this would be a fun activity and, having surfed the net for examples of modern art, we also decided there were no real rules on design and certainly no limits on colours - all of which meant total artistic freedom!

Everything was set up but in spite of all the tubes of colourful paint available, this time G decided on a simple range of his favourite 'aqua blue' tones and went into a lovely chilled, trance-like mood whilst mixing & spreading paints onto the board (anyone with an 8yr old boy will get what a rarity that is!). When I asked if I could put his painting on the blog he said he would like to be quoted as saying 'It was really good fun!'

In terms of arty analysis, I'd like to think that the blues reflect his inner calm that day and maybe that slight resemblance to a flag reflects all the patriotic influences such as the Jubilee & Olympics? Ok,  you can stop laughing now.

We've hung it on his bedroom wall,  amongst his posters and other works of art and it is actually quite calming to look at....hmm...  maybe there is a budding talent there..... maybe I should send it to the Tate just to see what they would say ;-)

Enjoy your week!