Thursday, 30 December 2010

Back to work...

This year I wanted to take quite a bit of time off over Christmas, mainly to spend with Graeme whilst he is back from uni, I've missed him so much and it's brilliant to be able to spend so much time together.  I'm counting down the month till his graduation!!  I also managed to sort out my leave so that I only had to work 2 days of each of the 3 weeks over Christmas and New Years so it feels like ages since I have worked which is a very good thing.

On to the presents... I got the best surprise ever!! My parents got me a new phone, and the one I really wanted the HTC Desire Z, it's so pretty!! I have been playing with it continuously since Christmas, it is completely customisable like my last phone so I have set up my desktops the same as before (it's nice that I don't have to change everything) but it also has so much more... 

I had an android phone before but it was very temperamental and decided that it didn't like 3G or the marketplace so it's fantastic to use a phone that works perfectly.  I know its sad but the first thing I downloaded was angry birds (love that game!!), I also really wanted to try out the Amazon kindle app which is surprisingly easy to use, I downloaded a multitude of free books from Amazon, I'm part way through Alice in Wonderland as we speak.  One feature I loved of my old phone was the side slide qwerty keyboard which was the biggest reason why I had my eye on this phone.  Instead of sliding it sort of lifts and drops into place but it does feel a lot sturdier than it looks, it also means I have use of the whole screen when typing. The only problem is I keep mistyping, as the keys are arranged a little differently so I apologise if anyone gets half finished texts from me.  

My other presents included a couple of beautiful scarves, a gorgeous twisted gold and white gold diamond necklace with from Graeme, Christmas tree earrings, lots of books including the first 4 from the Guardians of Ga'hoole series (I loved the film, in 3D it was absolutely amazing, but I am a bit partial to animated films) and Toy Story 3 yay!!  Like last year Dad and I bought the same present for each other, this year it was an AddictABall, we did get different sizes so it wasn't that bad.  They are addictive and ridiculously hard, I have only completed the first section of the small ball, i'll be here till next Christmas at this rate...
Mum got the Lego Harry Potter board game for Chris and I which was also awesome, and great fun to make and play, which we did all afternoon.  I love Lego!!
So all in all it was a pretty fantastic Christmas, I hope you all had a brilliant time too.

Lastly, for those of you who want to know, I made personalised headbands as Christmas Eve Surprises for the girls, which suited them both very well; although Graeme said it looked as though we had ears hehe.

Oh and Scott and Graeme had to try them on too hehe, very fetching!!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve Surprise

Finally I am back to health and have been going full speed to get everything finished in time for Christmas.  It has been a tad stressful as a passed on the illness to mum so she has been tucked up in bed the last few days.  But the house is tidy, the presents are wrapped and I even had time to make a little surprise for my best friends for our annual Christmas Eve jaunt to The Manor, can you guess what they are??

A very merry Christmas Eve to everyone and have a fantastic time tonight, see you all at The Manor!!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Feeling Poorly...

So I have had a ridiculous chest infection for the past few days which means I am not only lying around with a cold and headache, I also have a brilliant honking cough (I do sound like a goose!) which just makes me feel sick.  To make matters worse we have 3 inches of snow today, it's still falling now and I really love to go out walking in the snow, especially with Graeme now he is back from University for Christmas :o(

I am rubbish at being ill, I really hope it clears up soon!!

So, I have made no progress at all with Christmas Presents (everyone might get theirs a few days late!!) but fortunately last weekend I had already prepared the following tutorial post, for once I have thought ahead! I hope you like...

Sparkly Sequin Earrings Tutorial

I love making earrings and as I have read so many different tutorials to get my inspiration, I thought it only fair to share one of my designs.  I recently blogged about some sparkly sequin earrings that I am making for Christmas, so here's how it's done...

1: Start by gathering everything you need:
0.8mm Wire
Round Nosed Pliers
Flat or Chain Nosed Pliers
0.4mm Wire
Earring Hooks
Jump Rings

You can make the jump rings and earring hooks yourself but I choose to buy them as I am making quite a few.

2: Lay out the design with the jump rings and beads.  I am making a downward pointing triangle so each dangle increases by 1 jump ring up to 5 then back to 1.

3: Using the cutters cut the 0.8mm wire to about 10cm; it can be longer or shorter depending on how low you want the earrings to hang.  Shape the wire into a horseshoe and make a loop in one end using the round nosed pliers.

4: Because the jump rings I am using are larger than the beads, I made mini jump rings using the 0.4mm wire and the round nosed pliers, so the beads would stay in place.  If using smaller jump rings or larger beads this step can be missed out.

5: Using 2 sets of pliers prise open the jump rings, thread on a sequin or two and the mini jump ring to complete the first dangle.

6: Start again on the next dangle this time using 2 jump rings and a mini, keep going until all the dangles are complete.

7: Thread a bead onto the wire, then the dangle, then another bead.

8: Continue in this pattern until you have threaded all the dangles and beads onto the wire.

9: Using the round nosed pliers, make a loop at the other end of the wire at 90 degrees to the first.  Open this loop and thread it onto the wire underneath the first.

10: Attach an earring hook to the first loop and voilĂ  a masterpiece!!

These are for a special friend of mine, I really hope she likes them.  If you want to link to this tutorial or try it yourself don't forget to comment and let me know how you get on!!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Pom Poms!!!

Who doesn't love pom poms?? I like to keep my hands busy when watching films and I watch a lot of films. I think I will add these to my Christmas tree...

At the moment they are hanging on my wall, I don't have enough yet, I will have to make some more yay!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Flower Accessories

I love accessories!! Jewellery, Hair clips, bag charms, brooches love them all!!  My biggest problem is I buy them, then forget to wear them. So recently I have been making a big effort to accesorise, even if I'm just going to work.  I have loads of scraps left over from my ear warmers so I decided that instead of putting it in a drawer and saving it for something I might make in the future to use it now and make lots more flowers to use as brooches, head bands and clips.

Using the left over buttons I started by making the simple flower that I used on my ear warmers, but these are not exciting enough for a jacket or as a hair clip so I have jazzed them up with embroidery and beads (both which I have in abundance, must stop buying things!!).

I love these, they were so quick to make and I can colour them to match my outfit.  I raided my dad's garage and found some badge pins to sew on the back.  Now these can be used as a brooch, a hair clip if you thread  the pin through the clip or it can be pinned to a hair band.  A couple of weeks ago whilst shopping with a friend I came across this flower hair piece and brooch on sale in Miss Selfridge's.  It looks so easy to make I may have to make some more!!

I have found lots of other tutorials to make fabric flowers which I must try out, these are some of my favourites:

1: Pom Pom Flower Headband by Diary of A Preppy Mom
2: Jersey Knit Flowers by A Little Lovely
3: Fabric Flowers by Mad Mim
4: Flower Pins by Make It Do
5: Ribbon Flower Tutorial by Bustle at Etsy

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Gift 3: Japanese Ball Necklace

When I was much younger my family went to a re-enactment day at a Castle, (I can't remember which one it was, far too long ago!) my brother bought a bag of jump rings to make some chain maile. It was great fun to play with, he made a wrist cuff (bracelet!) I was so jealous and always wanted to try it myself but never got around to it.

As I had lots of jump rings left over from my sparkly earrings I decided I would make some chain maile earrings as well.  This did not work well, the wire was far too thin and flimsy so they lost their shape and looked silly.  Oh well, I will have to get some thicker jump rings before I try this again. In the mean time I still really wanted to make something chain maile and found a gorgeous necklace called a Dodecahedron Pendant or a Japanese Ball.

I looked everywhere for instructions and was just about to give up and try and dissect the design myself when I found the website M.A.I.L. the Maile Artisans In League.  It has hundreds of brilliant ideas and tutorials.  The tutorial for the Japanese Ball was very simple but the jump rings I used were a little too large so it didn't fill out to sphere.  I ended up using a coloured bead on the inside to pack it out and this actually looked really nice.

The design used 2 jump rings in the middle with single jump rings holding them together around the edge, but I have seen lots of designs where they use the ratio 3 in the middle and 2 around the edge. I think this will make the design a lot more ridged and hold its spherical shape better.  Before I make any more I also want to find some stone beads, like the ones on the charm stone bracelets we had at school to place in the middle.

So that's it on the gift front this year, I have told my friends they can only choose 2 out of the 3 as I won't have time to make more!!  It seems funny giving my friends gifts that they have decided themselves, but in a way I'm glad they will get things they really want and will cherish.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Gift 2: Sparkly Sequin Earrings

As many will know I have a love of anything sparkly, I do very often get side tracked in shops if I see something glittering.  I also have a love of dangly earrings, my collection grows bigger every week, but unfortunately it is an expensive hobby!! So when I spotted dangly sparkly sequin earrings in Tescos I couldn't resist, although the price tag of £8 seemed very unreasonable for what they were.  I knew I had all the materials at home so I decided to make my own.

On my first attempt I ended up making all the jump rings myself which took forever , they were all different sizes and shapes, but they were a labour of love and it looked awesome!! Until, I accidentally left them in my bag, all the sequins got scuffed and lost their sparkle, I did the same with a sequin necklace too. Note to Self: Never leave sequins in a pocket or bag always hang up after use!!

For my Birthday my lovely friend Gemma bought me a voucher for Hobby Craft, so I decided to start again and bought jump rings (it will save so much time!!), beads and earring hooks in gold and silver.  The best thing about this is I know most of my friends and family wear silver so the gold is all for me yay!! I have a huge bag of sequins which I bought when I was about 12 and still haven't run out, but these were from a table confetti pack.  I loved the combination of colours; turquoise, lime green and opaque yellow (the pictures really don't do them justice, I will take some more when it gets sunnier).  They only cost a pound and I had loads left over so will have to think of something else to do with them.

Now for party time, these are the perfect accessory to glitz up any look!!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Gift 1: Warm Ears

I have not been very good with presents lately, Christmas or Birthday.  I blame it on University taking all my money, but as that was over 2 years ago now and I got away lightly compared to the students of today, I feel some making up is in order.  Fortunately I have been doing lots of research on the interwebs to find some ideas.  I made some mock ups for myself to show everyone and they love them, the perfect Christmas presents at a low cost but with a lot of handmade love...

When the cold weather started I decided I really wanted to make some ear warmers.  At first I had decided that I would learn to knit and make them out of wool but after browsing around the blogasphere I came across some gorgeous ear warmers made from different fabrics over at delia creates.  This has since become one of my favourite blogs, I love all of her ideas for accessories, the home (I just can't wait to get my own place to decorate) and her recipes look divine, that peanut butter cake yum!!

Anyway back to ear warmers, I did try to hunt for fleeces to cut up (like in the tutorial) in the charity shops around work, but I either couldn't find a material that wouldn't fray or a colour that I liked.  I ended up buying some grey fleece from John Lewis which at £7 a metre was pretty pricey, but I loved the colour and texture and as it was for myself at the time I didn't really mind paying £1.75 for a quarter.  I also wanted to change the design slightly, I made it thinner with only 2 flowers and to add a bit of colour I used deep pink buttons and thread.  After my first attempt which went horrendously wrong I also decided to scrap the button on the back and use a popper instead, I still stitched a button over the top to make it look pretty.

 My friends loved the design and have all requested one for Christmas, of course they all wanted different colours so I had to make a trip to the fabric market in town to buy all the supplies (a lot cheaper than John Lewis!!).

I'll be posting again soon with the results, I hope everyone likes them!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Three Little Ducks

A couple of months ago my Granny gave a bunch of Lavender from her garden so I decided to make some lavender bags.  I didn't want to make the traditional square or tied bag so I browsed the internet for ideas, (browsing is one of my favourite hobbies!) I found quite a few bags shaped as animals so I had of course my first project had to be a stuffed duck.

I found some gorgeous Amy Butler fabrics in John Lewis, but as it was expensive I didn't want to waste it, so used some cheap black fabric to practice with.  My first duck made out of 3 pieces was a traditional rubber duck shape, it is fat and has a very thin neck which flops over to one side even though I stuffed it full of rice to try and pack it out (I didn't want to waste the lavender), he had to be named Fail Duck.  The second is more stylised, I got rid of the beak and neck and made it out of 4 pieces with a felt beak, although this made the design very square.  I am only just getting used to my mums sewing machine again so I sewed right to the edges of the fabric, BIG mistake, he is huge and wonky, he is named Fat Duck.

So the third duck is much smaller I made the edge pieces curved to give the design more shape and I added some webbed feet as Mum kept saying it looked like a bird (I realise a duck is a bird but you know what I mean!).  As it looked so awesome I decided to replace the rice stuffing with a rice and lavender mix so it still had some weight but smells fragrant, very fragrant!! I might not need so much lavender next time, he is named Stuffed Duck.

As I am doing a million and one things at once I shall continue my stuffed adventure in the new year, but right now I have the mammoth task of making all my friends Christmas presents.  I hope I have enough time to get everything finished, It's already 5 days into December and so far I have nothing except the ideas, better get started.  Although I have tonight off as I'm going to see my friends band Ghost in the Static play their first gig after getting back together, to the Cellar Bar Wahoo!!