I know, I know - it's been Ages and ages and ages since I've blogged. I'm a bad, bad blogger. the worst. Terrible. I should be struck off the blogging list. forever. and never allowed back. Unless...
I could show you some lovely necklaces I've been making - would that help to redeem myself with you?
I hope so...
This is the first. I got really into vintage imagery recently - particularly victorian. Don't ask me why, but I just couldn't resist this intricate hot air balloon. I printed it onto shrinkable plastic and hung it on a chain and quite frankly, I love it. i love the sense of adventure, the venturing into the unknown and the sheer audacity of the Victorians flying off into the atmosphere, never probably sure whether they'd make it or not. Maybe I want to channel a bit of that!
I've been knitting - but I'm holding off knitting for my baby until after my 20 week scan (May 6th.) But I made this yellow and green cardigan for the 3 month old baby of some of our friends.
The pattern is from Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino book and it's the first time I've used her Cashmerino yarn which is lovely - soft and cosy but machine washable. I've added a selection of green vintage buttons of different sizes.
A little blue glass bead offsets the silver. Jael loved it and both of the older boys thought it pretty cool to see their names stamped out like that too.
We went away for a few days last week with the 5 of them to Wales to try our hands at surfing. Well, obviously being preggers I couldn't really have a go but I had great fun watching the rest of them. Cole loved it (although was a bit freaked out when he rolled off the board and it ended up on top of his head under water. It only lasted a second but it was enough to make him want to stick to the boogie board from then on - can't say I blame him!)
But John was amazing - he stood up on the board on his first day which is apparently pretty difficult to do.
The boys seemed to be having the best fun and I was a little jealous - although it was almost worth it just to see the comic genius that was John getting into his wet suit for the first time! Those suckers aren't easy to maneuver into believe me! As you can see from the pictures, the weather wasn't great - in fact, these pictures were taken about 30 minutes before the heavens opened. Not that the boys cared because they were in the water already wet, but I was sat on the shoreline desperately trying to gather everything up and get back to the car!
But the weather this weekend has been gorgeous - so sunny and spring like. We've been out in the garden a lot and planing lots of seeds as well as harvesting the last of the winter crops we planted in the autumn - including this beautiful purple sprouting broccoli. I can't wait for summer and now this baby is on the way and I'm feeling energised and optimistic I think it's going to be a time that I really enjoy.
I've been making pendants - little phrases pop in and out of my mind - some I automatically reject, others sit with me and percolate a while. I always try to allow myself the leeway to be surprised at what my own subconscious will throw up. Phrases from movies, a poem, my childhood, things friends have said to me, or just how I feel about someone or something. I love the idea of wearing words - words are so powerful in how they can shape our experience or view of the world that I love wearing words of wisdom, or inspiration, or love.
So my latest have come from a variety of sources. I grew up in a town just outside of Liverpool in England. My mum's family were scousers but because I didn't live inside the city limits I felt a sadness and envy of identity that those who knew where they were from could have. My teenage self longed for anything that would give me a stronger connection to the city so, even though I grew up in the 1970's and 80's, my favourite band growing up were the Liverpool sons, The Beatles.
Now, when all my friends were into Abba and The Jackson 5, my love of these 60's throwbacks did not help my cool factor one bit. Never mind, I continued to love them and what they represented to me and as I grew up I learned the real genius of their music and how influencial it's been.
So when I was thinking up ideas for pendants the one phrase that kept coming to mind was this one. Who could argue with that?
I also made 2 with 'You Make My Heart Sing' - one for the woman who inspired it (Ms Twiggy of the Pea Sticks) She used this phrase to describe how she feels about her son and I instantly knew what she meant - which parent hasn't felt that 'love you so much my chest's gonna burst' feeling? So I made this pendant for Twiggy - and another for my Etsy store.
For my birthday back in August John bought me some metal letter stamps and silver and bronze discs to use them. And they sat in a drawer while I dealt with my fear factor of using them!
I think it was the idea of using a precious metal and making a mistake which, believe me, I've NO problem about mistakes when I'm sewing or knitting - I mean, it's practically compulsory - but then most knitting or sewing mistakes are fairly easily rectified or at least not too expensive. But I had visions of going through each of the discs at the speed of light making mistake after irreversible mistake!
So it's taken me a while (over 3 months) to summon up the courage to start working on them. I really wanted to make some Mother and Child necklaces for some of my friends who are mothers. Ok, I won't deny that there were a few hiccups along the way but overall I'm pretty impressed with the end results.
I've got a couple of friends who don't really wear silver -not for allergy reasons but because they've had their colours analysed and as 'autumns' shouldn't wear cool colours. Actually, I'm an autumn too but I'm not as hard line about it as they are - I quite like breaking the rules a little bit. Anyway, a bit of silver is delightful (and so much more affordable than gold.
But I'm hoping they'll cope with a bit of silver on the bronze discs I've used for them. Actually, the bronze was quite a bit harder than the silver so had to be whacked good and proper to get a good impression.
Now the gift anxiety begins - 'will they like them? Should I have bought something instead? Do they look good enough or a bit homemade?' Silly I know but I seem to do it every year - you'd have thought I'd have learned by now wouldn't you?
This weekend's been busy, busy, busy. I've still not finished my college assignment - so I really shouldn’t' even be writing this post but where's the fun if you don't procrastinate up until the panicked last minutes?
Cole had 2 friends over to stay last night - not too bad - all finally quiet and asleep by 11.45 (!!!) but apparently that's early for them based on other parent's experiences of sleepovers. Cole managed to lose a tooth (but it was a loose one and he didn't seem a bit bothered by the fact it was knocked out by a straying lightsabre!) and one of the other boys decided to draw fake blood on his face with a red marker pen - oh that was a fun half our in the bathroom trying to get it off!
But now the other boys have gone home and we're sat together watching Stardust - him sewing a cushion for his Dad and stepmum for Christmas and me typing away (Yes, I'll get back to the assignment in a minute, I promise!) All the while my lovely husband is upstairs wallpapering so that I can get on with my work.
So that's what I'm going to do before making a big pan of split pea and ham soup for dinner.
I said I'd been making jewlry didn't I? I've been beavering away, experimenting and being (I think anyway) a bit brave by working in ...silver. I wanted to make some lovely gifts for loved ones this year and I also wanted to make something that would combine text and messages with something really pretty.
Although I've been working with silver discs too and stamping phrases and words onto them, the first lot to be unveiled in my Etsy store are these pendants inspired by the ee Cummings Poem - I carry your heart with me. I've loved this poem for ages and it really sums up how love feels - me anyway. That overwhelming, bigger than the both of us feeling that falling in, and being love, creates. It also expresses how I feel about Cole.
I remember when he was first born and being in that exhausted, glad it's all over, what is this magical creature who's been plonked on me? sort of way. I felt this emotion that was completely, utterly, scarily, all encompassing. The last stanza of the poem sums it up so perfectly for me:
i carry your heart with me
by e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
So I've been making these pendants around the lines. I've been using art clay silver which is utterly amazing stuff - it looks and works like clay but once it's fired it it 99.9% fine silver. So these one's are going in my Etsy store because I think they would make wonderful Christmas Gifts - I love it when I make something (and it doesn't happen that often) that I know I'd love to receive myself as a gift. I've been wearing my Gold Mother pendant all week and it's attracted quite a few positive comments. But more importantly than that, it means lots to me and feels really precious. So I don't care that they aren't perfectly made with clean lines and a flawless finish - beauty for me comes from the imperfections. Which I KNOW makes me sound like some slightly new-agey, hippy type but I don't care cos I am!
It's been a funny weekend because we have no heating boiler and it's cold - plus I'm having to visit friends to get a shower! We've got this wonderful boiler insurance from our energy supplier who promise a 24 hr response - except that it broke on Friday and they only managed to get someone out to us today and now they can't get the right part until Friday which will mean a week - a week!!! without hot water. And I know that it could be lots worse - there are plenty of people even in this country who don't have hot running water but that doesn't stop me feeling chilly, grumpy and slightly smelly! John's been having cold showers but frankly I'm not brave enough! So I'm relying on the generosity of my friends for now and I'm very grateful that I can.
I did it again - made a bag for someone who was going to PAY for it. I know after my last experience that I'm likely to be certifiable but I really struggle saying no!
So this lady wanted a sparkly bag with sequins and as I hadn't done anything like that before I thought I'd give it a go. I'm pretty pleased with the results even if I say so myself. But then, can I take any credit when it's the lovely, lovely Amy Butler fabric (again!) that really deserves the credit? My recipient loved it anyway.
Talking of bags, Christine has set up a lovely website selling her delicious handmade bags. I'd well recommend a visit to it.
I'm entering into that gift making for Christmas mode. This year I'm going to make some foodie gifts - I love baking with Cole so it's something we can enjoy doing together, plus I think it teaches him something nice about gift giving and that Christmas isn't all about spending a ton of money. Effort and love are far more important.
I've been making lots of jewelery over the past few weeks which I'm loving.
This was one of my first attempts but as there's a mistake on it (which I don't think is that noticeable and I quite like because it adds to the naive quality of the lettering - I mean that I've not bothered to get straight!)
The wording is significant to me because it's become a bit of a fertility symbol for me recently. We're now into month 7 of trying to conceive and some days it's hard not to get a bit despondent (although I'm not obsessing like I used to about it all)
Anyway, when I was much younger I used to love the band James (actually I still love them) and they did a song called Gold Mother. I'm a big believer in how our thoughts contribute to our reality - we get what we focus on. So I decided after my last miscarriage that I was going to avoid negative thinking around it and focus on positive thoughts of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. So I often put Gold Mother my ipod and dance like a maniac around the bedroom! And the necklace is a daily reminder for me to remain positive and think good thoughts.
My other pieces also feature lovely phrases and words. I've given a few away as gifts and I'm going to sell a few too. They're sterling silver and accented with beads or vintage pearls.
This one's accented with a little gold nugget bead (I changed my mind about the pearl after a few days as I thought the gold was much more fitting)
I'll debut them over the next few days because I'm going to put some of the items in my Etsy shop.
There are many, many cool things about having a blog but this is a first for me - I've been sent a review copy of a book! And it's a book I probably would have bought and paid for anyway because it's by Sonya Nimri who did the wonderful Just For The Frill Of It which is all about refashioning and revamping thrifted and vintage clothes.
This book is called Beadaliciious and it's all about beading and creating jewelry from new and vintage beads and jewelry bits. I have a lovely morning flicking through the pictures and dreaming of the pretty things I could make. It's given me a inspirational kick up the butt - I feel fired up to scour the local second hand shops to find things to break apart and revamp- bring on the cameos and strings of pearls.
In addition to inspiration, Sonya also has a really nice, easy to understand way of explaining techniques and how exactly to go about things. And her designs are lovely. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post pictures of them - I'm really tempted but I'd hate to be infringing some copywrite laws! Suffice to say, the jewlery is gorgeous with a funky, vintage meets modern twist (think Kate Moss or Dita Von Teese)
I had a lovely couple of evenings working through the stash of buttons I've accumulated. I love vintage buttons and have, well, probably too many (is that possible though? - I think John would say 'yes'!) But I just love them so much so they're staying!
Anyhoo, I made some button bracelets which I'm totally in love with. I wore the cream and white one when I met one of my friends for dinner the other night and the waitress asked me where I'd bought it - I love it when that happens!
I've tried a couple of different techniques. The red and green I strung with hemp string/twine and then sewed the string onto the crimson velvet ribbon. It makes it feel lovely and soft on the wrist and, well just looks so pretty!
For the reds I used some red embroidery floss and did a little loop at one end for one of the buttons to fasten into.
I made 2 of the cream and glass because I just love the milky colors so much and the way the vintage glass shows off the light. I've used wire to string them with two rows of buttons - large on top and some smaller ones underneath. Doing it this way makes the buttons sit nice and chunkily together, and shows off the vintage glass really well.
Look what gorgeousness arrived in the post today! I'm totally in love with these millefiori glass beads - look at the colors! I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do with them yet - possibly some bracelets and maybe a necklace or two. I was going to do some today - you know in that 'oh my goodness, I'm so excited, I must do something with them NOW!' kind of way. But I didn't have any silver split rings or wire - kind of essential in jewelry making!
I also wanted to show some of the pictures of the beautiful flowers my friend Mel brought round for me - how beautiful! I felt so spoilt it was wonderful. It also seems slightly decadent to have 3 vases of flowers around the house - silly I know but it's just made me ridiculously happy to see them.
Thank you to everyone who's left fantastic comments this week - I am a bit behind in my replies so please bear with me - it's been a bit of a funny old week so I've not been quite as on the ball with the blog as I'd have liked. Normal service will resume shortly - honest!