Wednesday, 8 December 2010

hibernation!!


I've just been woken out of my temporary blogging hibernation with a jolt! I have won the most beautiful amazing giveaway at the Mimilove blog!! I really can't believe my luck!! As I just said to Karen, I haven't won anything for a long time so I must have been saving all my luck up for something really wonderful! If you've not seen Karen's stitching and painting magic before go and take a look, it's really amazing artwork!! And to top it off I won a lovely book as well so maybe there will be some stitchery going on around here soon too!

Here I have been braving the cold and ice of the forest every day with the wolflet. The freezing fog has created the most amazing winter wonderland, with mini icicles adorning every leaf, twig and branch.

These photos of the rose are from last week before the real deep freeze kicked in. Needless to say, the rose is now hibernating too.

I've just been cutting out a freezer paper stencil with a scalpel knife. I'm typing this while I'm waiting for the paint to dry on the t-shirt. I'm so impatient that I have to distract myself so I don't pull the stencil off too soon and ruin it. There are also some silver metal clay presents in the works too but I will post about that another time so as not to spoil any surprises.

Keep warm and snug wherever you are! I am off to celebrate my win with a hot chocolate!

Friday, 1 October 2010

planning a trip


It's all excitment here as we plan a trip to Dorset, somewhere we've never been before. I'm dreaming about Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and all these other intriguing names of places to go and visit. We'll be staying in a very old, thatched cottage just south of Dorchester so all of Dorset will be within reach to explore. I'm in the middle of making a list of the best beaches, places to eat, pubs (especially dog friendly ones) and interesting places to visit so if you have any suggestions please leave me a comment.

If you've ever wondered how I package up my pebbles there's a great post at Vintage Squirrel with some photos. Thanks Katie! Katie has been making ace bird stencils on the wall of her loo recently and has a dog called Porridge who looks very similar to Floss but I bet isn't half as naughty. Floss snaffled half my lunch off the kitchen worktop yesterday. I only turned my back for a few seconds. That'll teach me to leave anything too near the edge!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

fruit-ion... bead magazine and pie!


Here's the article about my pebbles in Bead Magazine (issue 25)! It has been months in the making, so long ago that I thought it had been forgotten about and wouldn't happen, especially as Jean Power (the old editor who originally spotted my work on Etsy) left the magazine halfway through the process. But here it is!!! And I'm so pleased!!!

Mr P made me a lovely apple pie with some windfalls from the bramley tree I used to climb when I was a kid in my parents' garden. The pastry was extra tasty having cinnamon added to it and it was not too sweet, not too tart, just right. Loving the bakery typography! There's no mistaking it's a pie ;-) It's fab having a husband who can cook. It's a military operation clearing up afterwards but I find that funny and Mr P looks great in his stripy apron.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

happiness!


My little robin pebble made it onto the front page of Etsy this morning in a really lovely seasonal looking treasury. What a great start to the weekend!

My mum and dad brought me some sweet, delicious damsons and a bottle of homemade apple wine yesterday with strict instructions to drink it a little bit at a time in case it's like rocket fuel! It was so potent last year that one glass blew my head off. It is delicious and sneaks up on you because you really can't tell how alcoholic it is. I think a good weekend will be had. :-)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

autumnal pebbles



Yesterday I saw the most beautiful fly agaric fungi in the forest. They were HUGE! And so many of them! I've never seen so many in one go. That'll teach me not to carry my camera with me. I will have to take it with me later to see if I can get some good photos. So anyway, I decided to celebrate with a mushroom pebble.

This new bird pebble I think is my most favourite pebble to date. It has a curved line running all the way round it and I wanted to make use of it in my design. Really pleased with how it's come out. Anyway, into the etsy shop they will go.

The very exciting news I was talking about...! There is an article about my pebbles along with an interview in Bead Magazine (UK issue 25 - published today). I haven't had a copy in my hands yet but the proof looked ace. I can't wait to get hold of it so I can show my mum. I think she will cry!! They are also having a give away of 3 of my pebbles. If you see it please give me a shout and let me know what it looks like :-) I can't stand the suspense but I won't be able to get a copy until the weekend. Eek!

Friday, 3 September 2010

pebble offerings




Feeling all autumnal here now, I was inspired to carve a squirrel onto one of my pebbles yesterday. The ideas are flowing at the moment so I am making the most of it. Hopefully more to come.

Have a great weekend :-)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

the heart of snowdonia


Photos from a refreshing trip to Wales we had one weekend recently. We're lucky to live close enough to Snowdonia to go for the day although we haven't really explored this area at all so after this natured filled walk I hope we'll be going again.

This walk had it all really... streams, waterfalls, rivers. Mountains, fields, woodland. I love these twisty gnarled tree roots. There was a rope swing over the water, an idyllic place to be.

And this tree within a tree.


This is Floss looking like butter wouldn't melt shortly before she snaffled Mr P's sarnie. Very naughty girl.


After Mr P had been lugging Floss over these ladder stiles (lovely aren't they?) she nimbly climbed over one herself which made me giggle. Ah it's so good to get out in the fresh air.

Can you feel Autumn coming? I can sense it waiting in the wings.

Something ever so exciting is happening in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to see my mum's face! I will keep it a secret for now although it is very difficult!

Now I'm off to carve some pebbles but I will be back soon.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

silver metal clay adventures


Major excitement here! I've just made my first ring using silver metal clay and it must be beginner's luck because it has come out pretty much exactly how I hoped!! I am beyond pleased!!

The gorgeous lampwork bead was made by the very talented Julie of Lush Lampwork. I'm not sure my work could ever really do it justice but when I saw the bead on her website I knew just what I wanted to make. The colour and texture reminded me of sea glass and the ocean in general.

I had seen a project I wanted to try in a fantastic book by Kate McKinnon and the ring is based on this. This is by far the best book I've seen on metal clay and goes into great depth about the material and working practices, and uses silversmithing techniques too.

The book helped so much and I learned a lot just from this one project. This was the first time I'd attempted to make a rivet which was exciting and just a bit scary when I had to cut the wire to less than 1mm before hammering it flat on the top. I made a little flower shaped washer with a dotty texture to go underneath.

There was a bit of guess work involved when it came to making it the right size for my finger. I thought that it would still be way too big after being fired, even accounting for the shrinkage so I just couldn't believe it when it slipped onto my finger perfectly! How lucky!! Definitely beginner's luck I think.

I have also fired the sage leaf from the last post. Here it is straight afterwards. It has oxidation on the surface which has to be removed with a soft brass brush before finishing.

I think I'm falling in love with the whole process. I just can't help but get excited about possibilities of this material! It is like alchemy!

Monday, 7 June 2010

trying to be sage


I've finally found the courage to crack open that pack of silver metal clay!! I've been so worried about wasting it with it being expensive that it had stopped me from using it until I realised that I had spent more on books about PMC to learn how to use it because of the fear of ruining it!! Ha! So I thought this is a bit silly, just get on with it!

After planning for hours and hours what I was going to do with it I selected a sage leaf from the garden and finally taking a deep breath I opened the packet!! According to Wikipedia sage
has been used since ancient times for warding off evil, snakebites, increasing women's fertility, and more.
Marvelling at how heavy it is and how strange the thought that it is almost all silver with a bit of organic binder when it looks just like clay. It rolled out beautifully, then I pressed the sage leaf into it, cut around it, smoothed the edges and left it to dry, adding another strip on the back to act as a bail.

This is how it looks now it has dried. I used quite a lot of clay and now I'm trying to pluck up the courage to fire it. The surface is quite bitty from the tiny hairs on the leaf and I'm wondering just how it's going to look after all the tiny silver particles have sintered together.

Wish me luck!! Eek!!!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

peacock blue


Iridescent shimmering hues of turquoise, blues and greens. As beautiful as the Atlantic on a sunny day.



I had been following them around, waiting and waiting, hoping for a display. I'd almost given up hope when this one came strutting along and shook his tail feathers right at me to everyone's amusement. I think he liked the attention.

video
It was taken at Trevarno in Cornwall. A really lovely place where they make organic soaps, beautiful gardens, hold the national daffodil collection (a whole field of daffodils - stunning) and have a gardening museum full of old advertising signs and tools. Well worth a visit if you like that gentle way of life.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

ice cream dreams


I thought I would share my favourite image from our holiday in Cornwall, taken in St Ives. I literally took thousands of photos while we were away (I love having a digital camera!) which is why I still haven't posted any up because it is pretty daunting to choose which ones! But I think I might try to group them together into little themes.

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I am now the age that I thought was properly old and grown up when I was a teenager. I thought that by this magic age I would have everything figured out, that I would know everything (ha!). I think that in reality I'm still that same person just in an older body! Well that's just me anyway. For my birthday celebrations I went to see Show of Hands (again!) at Band on the Wall in Manchester's northern quarter. They were brilliant as always and as it was such an intimate venue (standing room only) we got right to the front! The atmosphere was amazing!

Dreams for this year include:
  1. Finding a way to help other people/animals/charities. This has been on my mind a lot recently. It probably wouldn't be worth me doing a sponsorship type event because I don't come into contact with that many people in my day to day existence. I wonder whether it would be possible to set up an etsy shop and donate all the profit to a worthwhile cause? Did anyone see 'blood, sweat and luxuries'? Really shocking and thought provoking!
  2. Reading more. Have you discovered any good books lately?
  3. Getting back to painting again and using up some of the craft supplies I have squirrelled away around my room like lino, sculpey, pastels, stamp making, resin, silver metal clay. Not to mention all the books I have on different crafts.
  4. Working with PMC and learning to solder.
  5. A secret one that I don't want to share at the moment.
  6. Getting Floss a doggy passport and heading across the sea to Brittany. Would probably prefer to go without her but just can't bear the thought of her in kennels.
  7. Lots of summer bbqs, get-togethers, gardening and veg growing.
  8. Finding a haircut that suits me.
  9. Learning how to deal with clutter better. I am a bit of a hoarder.
  10. Making my time with Mr P really special.
  11. Getting fitter and shedding the weight that seems to be creeping on when I'm not paying attention!
  12. Making the most of opportunities that come my way.
I'm sure there are loads more now I've started thinking about it.

Playing frisbee fetch at Marazion.

Bye for now.

Monday, 10 May 2010

birthday wishes and a misadventure



Look who's turned 1 year old today! And we are very very lucky to be able to say that because while we were away Floss had a major misadventure at Kynance Cove. We had been looking forward to exploring the beach all day, it's a quite isolated, wild place with lots of rocky inlets and a gorgeous sandy beach. We waited until 7pm because of the dog ban during the day but unfortunately by this time the tide was in so we decided to go up onto the clifftop instead to see the view.

Well we were just about up there when Floss saw a bird and bolted. Usually she's very good at coming back but not this time. We raced after her as fast as we could with Mr P in the lead when he shouted, "She's gone over the cliff! She's gone! She's gone!" I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. I felt sick to my stomach. And we looked over the edge. It was about 50 ft to the bottom. Then oh my god, there she was, swimming in the waves trying to scramble onto a rock that was jutting out of the water. The next hour and a half were the darkest minutes I've ever had to endure. Mr P ran to find a phone as there was no mobile coverage and I was left to watch her struggling, trying to jump onto a tiny ledge on the sheer cliff face and then falling off into the waves again and scrambling back onto the rock. The tide was coming in and the water was rising and I really thought she was going to drown while I stood watching helplessly. I have never felt so useless or so alone.

It seemed to take forever for Mr P to come back, the Coastguard on the way. But one of us had to stay by the phone. So I went as I couldn't bear it any longer. And there I sat with tears streaming down my face, praying and hoping and wishing, all my resolve gone. The Coastguard arri
ved about half an hour later and I led them to the cliff edge and there we sat waiting for a team to arrive that would abseil down to get her. They did an amazing job but my heart was in my mouth. The rock that she had scrambled on by this time had big waves breaking over it so I think she would have drowned had she not been able to jump from it to the cliff face. I will never forget the haunting echoing clang of metal being hammered into the clifftop mixed with the crashing of waves from below as long as I live. It seemed to go on for such a long time. A lovely man who later got a big hug, eventually abseiled down, managed to grab her collar and gripped her under his arm before carrying her back up to safety.

How very very lucky we are. A couple of metres to the right and she would h
ave fallen on the rocks, thank god there was water there. We are so very grateful to the Coastguard. And we really can't believe that she is still with us. We took her to see the vet and there was not even a scratch on her. The next day she carried on as though nothing had happened at all while we were counting our blessings. She is our little wonder dog and I love her so much.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

crafting birds




Just a quick post before I go. The birds and berries design has proven to be popular. Here's the latest one which is destined for a lovely lady who makes her own jewellery. It's made with two holes to become part of a bracelet. I had to simplify the design to fit it into the space but I think it's come out really well.

I'm hoping to be able to post from Cornwall so with a bit of luck and a tailwind on our travels I'll catch you soon!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

peaks and troughs







Now, not to get confused, this isn't the Lake District like the last post but the Peak District, Shutlingsloe and Wildboarclough to be exact. We did a bit of driving over the weekend and it was interesting to compare the two places for they have many similarities but quite a different feel about them. They both have dry stone walls, moorland, rather large hills (although higher in the Lakes) and sheep (to Floss' eternal curiosity) but I've been trying to put my finger on what makes them seem so different. While both stunningly beautiful the Peaks seem somehow more desolate and wild, bleak even sometimes. The Lake District has a quainter, cosier more colourful feel and of course water. Lots of it. And it's just struck me what a difference that makes to me, reflecting the light, sky and mountains. Maybe it's the bracken warming up the Lakeland fells with its lovely shade of rusty orange for half the year. One thing's for sure and is the always the same wherever you go, walkers are a friendly lot, saying hello on passing.

In other news, we are heading off to a land of ocean, cream teas and pasties for a while so I will be pulling the shutters down on my shop for a couple of weeks. When you have been looking forward to something for so long it seems surreal when it is finally upon you. Our first trip away with Floss... I'm sure it will be a challenge but hopefully rewarding too! I stupidly got the dates wrong with regards to the dog bans on the beaches, I am kicking myself for this. So we will be getting up early to visit our favourite haunts (as the bans tend to run from 7am/8am til 7pm/8pm) and also hunting out dog friendly pubs and tearooms. Any suggestions please leave me a comment won't you. I can't wait to see the cottage, it looks beautiful and is tucked away down a lane with views over the ocean just outside St Ives. To hear the waves crashing and smell the coconut scent of the gorse and see the high hedges filled with Spring flowers, it's my idea of heaven.