Friday, 20 January 2012

Colour and Doodles

Both kids off sick, Defi has wallowed in the mud and Iz had a dip in the river, not quite lunch and I am exhausted already! 

I found this fabulous inspirational picture on the internet, absolutely fabulous dont you think? - brilliant colours to make you mouth water.

I do love all thing quirky and colourful.  Just lately all my beads seem to have bums, googly eyes and a toothy grin, nothing like cheering up a dreary January.  Someone else who is quirky, and a member of the Craft Pimp Forum, is Inkydoodlecrafts.  She has an Etsy Shop with some fantastic fun and colourful greetings cards.  This is one of my favourites..Pirates Ahoy  She also has a blog and can be found here   Just click on the links to take you to the shop or blog, or click on the Craft Pimp Forum picture link at the side and join some fabulous crafting people.

I am off to hide in the shed and melt glass, anything to keep away from the bugs loose in our house!

Laney x

Monday, 16 January 2012

Mad or Eccentric?

Last night, my son was talking at me.  I was sitting in front of the telly, doing my usual, reading a beading book, whilst trying to bead with those fiddly seedy beadies, whilst having a glass of wine and trying to stop the daft dog from sitting on me and upsetting the whole precariously balanced lot over me and the floor. 

Anyone with teenage kids, knows that you only really half tune in to what they are saying and over the years I have honed my skills, I listen for the key words, sex, drugs and do you want a cup of tea?.  Sex, because its been that long since you could be bothered its nice to know if its still in fashion.  Drugs, because the last time you were deliriously happy was when tube feed legal drugs during childbirth, and finally, 'cup of tea' because anyone with teenage kids also knows that the rarity of being asked is not worth missing it.  So there I was half listening, nodding occasionally and using the daft dog leaning on me as a screen to carry on with what I was doing. 

My son is 18 now, so we are usually treated to the grumpy mutterings first thing in the morning when he is locating all the kit he needs for college but didn't put away or wash last time, so its now a search and find mission and strop over the stink, being a Sports Ed student it all stinks!  Other than the grumpy mutterings and search and find missions, we usually only communicate when he is drapped, Orangutan style over the fridge door complaining that there is nothing to eat, or I am demanding a date and time for the bedroom to be rediscovered, a search and find mission of epic proportions.  So there we were, he was happy and chatty and I was half listening.  Then I heard new 'key' words, 'mad' and 'eccentric'.  I realized he was talking about me.  The cheeky sod.  I was in the room. 

Ben, thats the boy, works part time in town and has befriended to his advantage, the woman across the road from where he works and whom owns the cafe and feeds him, regularly in exchange for his brawn in moving her fridges for her staff to clean behind.  When he turned 18 on New Years Eve 2010, she gave him a card and he had a drink with her, his first legal one!  I was really disappointed as he didn't want to have a drink out with me, so took to calling her his second mum, as a bit of a joke, and it stuck.  He now refers to her as his second mum, and to be fair her cooking is sooo much better than mine.  He has arranged that we meet.  This second mum and I.  She being a loud Brummy lass with a language to match even the most urban dictionary clued up teen and I am...well....just me, the odd bad word escapes my lips, but on the whole I stick to the safe words of bugger and blimey, a throw back from my Londoner roots on my fathers side East End!  So this coming Saturday I am, with the hubby, having breakfast at the cafe.  Now, Ben was telling me how similar we are as women, unless she is 6ft tall, blonde and a figure to die for, we will have nothing in common...yeah right! ..except the boy, but apparently, according to my son, we are both 'mad' and 'eccentric'.  Which did get me thinking, she is a cook, so arty and creative, I am an artisty person, I don't cook, but am creative.   So.  To be arty and creative do we have to be 'mad' and 'eccentric'? 

I just hope she doesn't have the wacky sticky out dyed bleach blonde just taken the hat off look and washed out faded clothes with the odd hole, because then we would be twins!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Elephant beginings

I love the animal beads, I think I could just make them and nothing else.  I belong to the Craft Pimp Forum Craft Pimp Forum and have got involved with the Beads of Courage programme.  I first saw this programme a while ago, but it was being done in America, and although I did ummm and ahhh over sending some beads over there, it never happened, but I never forgot about it, so...when I heard that the programme had finally come over here to the UK, I was one of the first to get fact I have it on good authority that I was the first person in the UK to send fabulous is that!!  I now try to make at least one Beads of Courage bead everytime I am in the studio and save them up into a nice pile of beads and send them off.  

So what is Beads of Courage??

Beads of Courage is an organisation that provides care and support to teens and younger children going through the serious illnesses and treatments like cancer.  The donated beads are given to the children at various stages of their treatment and helps them to take control of their own situation and the beads allow them to keep a record of the really important milestones of their treatment.  All beads are donated.  The artist doesn't receive any money or postage expenses, its all done from the heart to the children.  The best part is that it is now in the UK so all  UK lampwork, and other mediums, artists can donate.  Its a wonderful idea and I am very proud to be a supporter.  

To get more information on Beads of Courage please click the link Beads of Courage  or go to the Craft Pimp Forum where there is some information too.  

Most of my glass beads are whimsy, but most have sticky out bits which are not suitable for children, so I decided to design a range of whimsy beads especially for the Beads of Courage programme.  I am willing to share my design and give a simple tutorial on the understanding that you make LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of these beads, but DON'T SELL any of them.  Donate them ALL to Beads of Courage...please x

So here we go, first tutorial I have ever done, and the first Whimsy Creature Bead Tutorial for Beads of Courage.

How to make an Elephant Bead

I am assuming that everyone who wants to make this bead has some knowledge of lampworking and working with the flame and glass.  Its not a difficult bead to make, but do remember to play safe!

Whimsy creature beads can be any colour, but for this one I have used:

1 Rod of Grey
1 Stringer of Grey
1 Stringer of light ivory
1 Stringer of black
1 Stringer of white
1 Stringer of clear

1 Lentil press by Zooii
Lampworking tools, such as pick, sharpe blade etc.,

Start by winding a nice sized blob of grey onto a prepared mandrel. 

After pressing into the lentil press, no need to be fussy about any over spill...

add a stripe of grey glass to both sides of the lentil, 

Using your tweezers pinch the stripe of glass two or three times, this will be the ear of the elephant,

do both sides...and using your sharpe blade, gently press the 'ear' crease up slightly to give more defination to the face shape.

Now add the eyes, I layer black, white, clear and then a black dot for the iris, but you can use another light transparent instead of clear to give different colour eyes, can you see the elephant yet??

Using the grey stringer, draw a J shape from between the eyes down to the bottom of the 'face'

Using your sharpe blade, put some 'dents' into the 'trunk', then using your pick gently push the end of the trunk in to shape the elephant mouth.

Next, using your stringer of light (or dark) ivory, make two little stripes either side of the trunk,

again, using the grey stringer, put two dots on each top of the ivory stringer and gently press down, we now have tusks on our Elly!

Give your elephant a nice warm bath in the flame and pop into the kiln for annealling.  All Beads of Courage beads have to be annealled and properly cleaned before you can send them in.  Using the lentil shape means you don't have to concentrate too much on good ends, again, pointy and sharpe ends are no good to the children.

Finally....after soaking in a nice hot kiln, and cooling!! take out your Elly, give him a good clean and put him to one side whilst you make lots more.  You could add a bow to the ear for a girlie Elly, or a bow tie under the trunk for a boy Elly, have fun, but make lots!

This is the first tutorial I have written so if you spot any terrible mistakes, please let me know, I am planning on doing some more so all input is welcome.

Laney x

Saturday, 7 January 2012

End of the first seven days in Jan...

Its already 7th January 2012, can you just believe it, Christmas has been and gone, the New Year celebrations came and went, my kids turned 16 and 18, we all ate well, laughed lots and enjoyed being lazy, some more than others!! On the first of January, New Years Day, I lost Lithium one of my ex-batt chooks.  Sadly, she had been ill last summer, but never really recovered, still, she had nearly 2 yrs in the sunshine digging up the garden and rooting around in the compost.   


On a lighter note, I finally managed to clean the oven, just before Christmas.  It had taken me nearly a whole year of threatening to do it and about four months of having the stuff sitting on the kitchen side waiting to be used and gathering graffiti from the children, who delighted in my anguish at getting round to the one job I loathe with a passion..I don't even like cooking!  Still, I was very proud of my nice shiny clean oven, until this week, when it decided to go bang!!  Still, out with the old and in with the new, the new cooker arrives next Thursday and I have vowed to not clean this one as it was obviously what killed the last one!! 

As much as I tried, I never seemed to get to the torch as much as I would have liked over Christmas, a silly hand injury forced me to endure the rubbish on the telly, with decidely bad grace, even playing with the little seed beads - to which I have found fabulous fun in the evenings making long ropes of seed beads and beaded beads - I couldn't do, so I just sat and sulked in front of the telly.  But, I have been in the shedio a few times this week, so here is a little taste of what has been happening creatively, I have been loving making sculptural beads and decided that I am going to do those much more than the sets, unless I get the urge, as the sets just don't fill my creative spot! 


Hibiscus and buds

All of the sculpted flowers are large focals.  They are truly beautiful little works of art.  As well as flowers I have been making some fun sculptural beads, it is the year of the dragon this year after all...

Baby Dragon

Collie Dog-Rose

Dendrobatidae or Poison Dart Frogs - I just loved them for their colour!

So the end of the first week of the New Year hasn't been too bad.  Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday season. 

Laney x