Wednesday, 18 December 2013

And the winner is ...

Anne Jones, whose heroine is the vicar of Dibley!  Please contact me (via Facebook is fine) with your address, and I can get the pendant packed up for you, ready to send tomorrow if you're in the UK, or after Christmas if not. :)

As is traditional with my giveaways, all names went into my straw hat and my impartial hubby selected one. 

Thank you so much to all who entered - I've had SO much fun reading all your comments!  Thank you for sharing your heroes and heroines with me. :)

Until the next giveaway, then.  Merry Christmas!  I hope you all have a good one, and that next year is a fabulous one for all of you. xxx

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It's Giveaway Time! (ends 18th December 2013)

Yay, it's giveaway time!  A short while ago, I passed the 2000 likers milestone on my Facebook page and I promised a giveaway as a big thank-you.  It's a big deal to me that two thousand people have bothered to press that 'like' button, and I want to give something away to say THANK YOU.  Thank you for liking my page, following my ramblings and commenting on them so I don't think I'm talking to myself and start licking the walls or something ... Thank you to those of you who follow this blog, the lovely people who share my work, and of course a HUGE thank you to every single one of you who has purchased a piece of my work.  From the lowliest headpin to the biggest commission, each sale is incredibly valuable to me.  Many of you are artists and craftspeople too, and you will certainly understand that there is nothing in the world like the knowledge that someone appreciates your work enough to pay for it.  I never take it for granted, I can promise you. x

So, without further ado, here is the piece of jewellery I shall be giving away - many of you will have seen it before, as it's a festive piece and quite dear to my heart - my Christmas Fairy Door. 
It is a pendant intended to be worn on a necklace, but if you don't wear jewellery you could always use it as a Christmas ornament. :)

Okay, the rules:  the giveaway is, as always, open to all of my followers, wherever in the world you may be.  There will be no substitutes for the item - what you see is what you get.  This will be shared on my Facebook page, but is not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook.  All you need to do to be entered is to answer my question and comment HERE on my blog - entries on my Facebook page will not count.

To make this fun for all of us, I'd like you to answer a question - your answer will count as your entry.  Only ONE answer will be allowed per person, and you must include your NAME in the answer.  Anonymous replies will not be entered.

Here is the question:

Who is your favourite fictional hero/heroine and why?  You may choose a character from film and television if you don't like to read.  PLEASE ONLY CHOOSE ONE - this is part of the fun, that you need to whittle it down to one favourite.  You have time to think about it, the giveaway won't close until a week today (18th December).

So, to recap, here is how you enter:

  • Enter by commenting here on my blog.
  • Choose ONE favourite hero/heroine and state why you love them.
  • Include your name in your entry.
  • Enter by 18th December.
I will announce the winner here on 18th December.  The prize will be sent out after Christmas.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas-themed Jewellery

So my immersion in all things Christmas - I'm still in the middle of decorating anything that doesn't move - has me thinking about seasonal jewellery.  I'm generally very bad at anticipating seasonal occasions - yes, I know they come round at the same time every year! - but the one I can throw myself into with ease is Christmas.  It would be nice to pretend I'm a shrewd marketer (stop that sniggering at the back), but the truth is it's no hardship to put together some pretty pieces with plenty of sparkle in Christmas colours.  I've always loved festive jewellery - I was always the one at work with the flashing earrings and necklace! - and I've been making it since I very first started.  I have several pieces that come out with tedious (for everyone else, I fear) regularity at this time of year.  This is one of the first Christmas necklaces I made:

And I wore another early necklace of mine on Sunday when I was decorating my tree and wailing along with all the usual cheesy classics:

Earrings are a perennial favourite of mine to make:

And of course I like to sneak in the odd wirework pendant:

What are your thoughts on seasonal and occasion jewellery?  I'm very inspired by the seasons and the weather, so I enjoy making pieces that epitomise the feeling in the air, especially winter and Christmas with its cold snap and warm feeling.  And I love to decorate myself along with all those things I mentioned before that don't move.  Spring will be no trouble, although I may struggle with the occasion that is Valentine's Day - I'm going to set myself a challenge to make a few Valentine's themed pieces next year! ;)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Bring on the Sparkle!

Given that it will be the 1st of December on Sunday, I'm surely allowed to mention the C word now?  As I've been making Christmas items for weeks now, I feel that I'm already well-immersed in the festive spirit.

This is not a problem for me - I love this time of year.  From the moment the leaves start to fall and the air begins to taste cold, I'm readying myself for sparkle.  I always make myself wait until the 1st to decorate my trees (yes, plural!) and to start playing my many Christmas cds.  This year, I will have a tiny tree in my workroom (bedroom) and I will as always be decorating hubby's workshop, too.

I have been trying to support handmade artists even more this year - as we all know, sadly not everyone appreciates a handmade gift, but for those who do, there is such a wealth of talent out there.  I, like everyone else, was spoilt for choice!  (Can't show any of them here, though - presents, and all that.) ;)  I still have a few to buy, and then I can enjoy wrapping them on the floor of our living room, with a wee dram of something festive, while the tree sparkles in the corner and a Christmas film plays on the telly.  (And I try to pretend my knees will in fact see 40 again, and aren't going to make me pay for hours of sitting on the floor.)

And we may even have snow this year - having struggled to work several years in a row, the glamour of snow has almost worn off for me; it is a nightmare for travelling, in this country, at least!  But it is pretty - and it brings sparkle to dull days, which surely can't be a bad thing.

How many of you will be trimming your tree (not those of you who have real ones, of course - unless you want a pile of brown needles and a stick come Christmas Day)?  Think of me if you are, unwrapping my precious tissue-wrapped glass baubles and having a little sniffle as it reminds me of loved ones long gone.  I hope you are all able to enjoy the festive season this year.  I'm sure this won't be the last time I mention it, but the countdown is starting - bring on the sparkle! :)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Inspire Me!

Anyone who's been following my work for a while will know that I love to make wearable wire pictures.  Lots of things inspire me, from the changing seasons:

to the changing skies (I love photographing the sky, too!):

And from creatures:

to flowers:

Inspiration is all around me, in this fabulously diverse world of ours - may I never run out.  You probably all know you can commission me (and often do!) to make a picture of your own dreamscape, but I'd like to ask you all to flood me with your ideas just for the joy of it.  It doesn't do to become too blinkered or set in my ways (although I hope I haven't!) and you're all fabulously diverse yourselves, too, so I'd like to know what lurks in the depths of your imagination.  Hit me with your ideas, no matter how wacky - I may not have the capability to actually make what you come up with, but I'd still like to hear them!

And, as it's snowing outside right now (un-forecast, naturally), here's a recent commission to leave you with:


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The pencils are out again ...

Yes, it's true.  As I blogged some time ago, after many (MANY) years of barely looking at a pencil, something about the newly found creativity caused by my adventures in wire, made me suddenly want to draw again.   I started simple, with the odd hand-drawn card:

Cats are a recurring theme; they do amuse me, with their snooty dignity (until they have an itch  ... ) ;)

I was rusty, as you can see!  But it was fun, and I discovered that I enjoyed using ink for a change.  And when we were away by the sea (which always relaxes me and makes me feel creative) I had a play with my old favourite - the coloured pencil - as well as my fineliners.

I still love coloured pencils best of all - give me a paintbrush, and I'm hopeless.  And none of these are huge; my love of wire miniatures is too ingrained now, I think - I struggle to create on a grand scale!  I've almost finished the latest one, but it's under wraps as it's to be a present, and I've just started a mermaid (I'll talk about my love of mermaids - and that rarest of creations in art, mermen - another time!).  I have no amazing skill with a pencil, but it's been quite good to realise I still enjoy wielding one. What creative endeavours different to your main hobby/business do you enjoy? :)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Sparkle for your Glassware

For the last week I have been mostly making wine glass charms.  I am a huge fan of them - I have them for all different occasions; handmade polymer clay pumpkins for Halloween, lettered ones that allow you to spell individual names and of course several types of Christmas ones ...

I love the idea of decorating your glassware at Christmas with a bit of extra sparkle - okay, let's be honest, they aren't entirely necessary for identifying your own glass, I mean, how often does someone 'mistakenly' run off with your drink?  And if they do, chances are you'll just steal their drink by way of revenge.  But neither are candles necessary (unless you're in the grip of a power cut) - they're pretty, though, and they make everything sparkle.  And as we all know, you can never have too much sparkle. ;)

I have some larger rings that I bought by mistake (not uncommon for me, as many of you may know!) and I'm thinking I could use them to make very pretty wine bottle charms.  I quite fancy weaving a few wire shapes to personalise them, too, in this sort of style - ah, the possibilities are limitless ... :)

So, whether (like me) you're a fan of wine glass charms, or you hate them with a passion, I'm sure you can enjoy your favourite tipple with or without decoration (although if you look too long into my eyes, I may be able to hypnotise persuade you that you NEED that little bit of extra sparkle for your glassware ... ).  Bottoms up! :P

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Step with me into another realm ...

For once, this post has nothing to do with wirework, jewellery making, colour, or any of the other things involved with my main obsession - although it does affect it indirectly, in the form of occasional inspiration.

Like many people, my first love has always been books.  Specifically, reading fiction - tales spun from someone else's imagination, and crafted into a story with passion and skill.  From the moment I first learned to read, books have provided a way into a fantastic realm, occasionally a way to escape from every day life, and - often without realising it at the time - a way to learn.

That delicious joy of curling up in the warm on a cold, rainy Sunday, with what is basically a pile of paper and ink, and allowing it to transport you to somewhere you have never been before - or perhaps, somewhere you have been and are keen to revisit - is for me, without equal.  When I find a new author whose writing sucks me in and makes me feel, it's a two-fold pleasure, because not only do I have their current work to savour, there is always the likelihood that there will be more to come.  Or if there is no anticipation of new work, there's often a back-list to search out and devour.

For me, the most important part of a novel is the characters.  The plot is important - after all, you haven't really got a story without one - but if the writer can't make me believe in the characters, laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, then for me they've failed.  But when they succeed - oh my, they've got me for life!  (At least when it comes to re-reading - I will freely admit I have abandoned authors when they've lost me along the way somehow.)

So what I would really like to know is what is your favourite novel/series?  Don't be shy - I'm no snob when it comes to reading (or music).  If it has value to you, then it's worthy.  My favourite books have been The Wraeththu trilogy by Storm Constantine since I was a teenager - I fell in love with the characters and I've never fallen out of love with them.  The books are fantasies set in a post-apocalyptic world and they are all character-driven, with a central love story running through all three.  The characters get their share of heartbreak and joy, and as a reader, so do I.

So please share with me the book(s) that you'd have to take to that fictional desert island - I am always looking to be sucked into another realm ... :)

Credits for royalty free photos:

Books Isolated by Supertrooper
Without Fear by Jennifer Ellison
Forests in Danger by xedos4

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

On the Beauty of our Fair Isle ...

As anyone who follows my Facebook page will know, I've just got back from a long weekend in Suffolk.  And the thing that always strikes me during our infrequent trips around the country, is how much outstanding beauty there really is in this fair isle.  And how little of it I've seen so far.  I still haven't made it to Scotland or Ireland (oh, the shame!), although I have seen some of the beauty that is Wales.

You may (!) know that I'm an absolute sea shore addict - if I don't see the sea for many months at a time, I start getting terrible withdrawal symptoms and having dreams that I'm swimming in it ... ;)

But it's not just the paddling and the fresh air of the seaside that make me happy - I love, love, love trees (you'd never guess, right?) and leaves and mushrooms and the sky ... I could go on, but you're probably already yawning!

And it isn't just nature that draws me - I'm a sucker for historical buildings, particularly castles, abbeys and priories, where I can stand in the middle of the ruins, imagining the history happening all around me.

Suffolk in October is beautiful - torrential rain and all.  We saw so much fungi (does anyone else get excited by toadstools?  We have a LOT of pictures ..! ) and the heathland was all colourful and glistening.  There was an abundance of acorns crunching underfoot and the cider smell of the tiny apples that were scattered around the trees.

All of this adds up to the best inspiration for jewellery-making I could possibly ask for.  I love this country, and while there are many places in the world I would love to see (and many that I never will), I am truly grateful for the beauty that is not far from my doorstep.

And I got to paddle (in the pouring rain) on my birthday, then eat an ice cream in a very steamed-up car - does it get any better than that?  No, it most certainly doesn't! :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

I Can See a Rainbow ...

Colour is a funny thing.  Different colours - even different shades of one colour - provoke very different, often passionate responses in people.  Take me for example.  Before I discovered an addiction attraction to a rainbow of jewel tones, it was pretty much all about black for me.  Yes, green was my favourite colour, even back then - it's hard to dislike the colour of grass and trees, after all - but I was very unadventurous with colour.  If I could find an item of black clothing - and accent it with some silver jewellery - that was good enough for me.

Then I discovered beads.  And a whole new appreciation of colour pretty much swamped me.  I still tended to stick to schemes in different shades of the same colour to start with, but suddenly I was a fan of vibrant colour!  Then of course, I discovered coloured wire, and that was it.  With so many shades, and so many, MANY shades of seed beads to pair it with, I was like a kid in a sweet shop.  And I still am.  My bracelets have become far more adventurous, colour-wise, and I actually need the 'fix' of a colourful wire pendant when I've been working on monochrome ones for a while.

The only thing that has endured is that I still love green.  And while I'll never fall out of love with that sludgy olive green that was really the only colour I liked in my teens and twenties, I have a tendency to select something a little zingier these days - like my jewellery gift boxes ... ;)

Has anyone else discovered a passion for colour they never knew they had?  What is your absolute favourite? :)

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hopes and Dreams ...

I have been giving a lot of thought recently to my hopes and dreams - where I would like to be in the (near) future, and what I would like to be doing with my life.  It suddenly hit me last year - probably triggered by hitting the dreaded Big Four Oh - that certain aspects of my life were not bringing me happiness, and that time may be running out to change that.  All I wanted was to find my own fairy door and step through it into a simpler, magical realm.

One of the main reasons for this is that, for various reasons, that most precious of things - time - seems to be about as common as hen's teeth for me right now.  I work full-time, do my self-employed hubby's accounts, my own accounts and, of course, pour everything that's left into my jewellery business.  There was a point last year when I considered dropping the jewellery altogether, but I couldn't quite bring myself to do it.  Primarily because I love doing it, and because it makes some of the other stuff bearable!

I've never been the sort of person who sets goals for myself and then beats myself up when I don't reach them, but I have been giving some thought to the things I would really like to do with/have in my life.  It goes without saying that health and the people who matter to me are more important than any of these, but here, in no particular order, is my (fairly humble) list:

  • Work full-time at the jewellery business
  • Own a dog
  • Live somewhere that is in walking distance of the countryside
  • Do all the above, and still have enough money to visit the sea every now and again 

See, when I write it down, it looks achievable, but isn't it strange how things that some people take for granted often seem quite beyond our reach?  I may never achieve these modest dreams, but perhaps many others dream of owning their own house, having full-time employment so that they can pay their bills, and having a significant other who loves them.  So, on balance, I consider myself lucky to be where I am right now.  At some point, I will have to sort out this time issue - there really is only so much of me to go round! - but my life could be so much worse.  And if I can't just pop out of my front door and go for a walk in the woods, I can reach for the wire and 'draw' myself a wood, and that's pretty cool, huh?

So what are everyone else's dreams?  I'd love to know.  It's important to have them, but equally important to be grateful for what we have, I know.  :)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

We have a winner!

Firstly, I would like to say thank you for all the truly lovely comments you have all left on my blog over the last week.  I wish you could all win!  Here is the hat I always use for my giveaways - looking a bit worse-for-wear after being shoved in a cupboard since the last one! ;)

The winning slip of paper is always chosen by my hubby - who has no interest in who wins, and is still muttering that he should be paid for doing this 'job'.  There is no cheating!  In the past I've had one winner from Germany, one from America and one from the UK, so everyone is truly eligible to win. :)

He's just had a really good rummage around in the hat - with well over 100 entries, there was plenty to rummage through.  I know you're all itching to know who's won, so without further ado, the winner is ... Kyley Nevard!  Well done, Kyley - if you could let me have your address (pm through Facebook is fine)  I will get it packed up ready to send.  Thank you SO much to all who entered! xxx

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Summer is here - and so is my giveaway (closed 14th July) ...

Helloooo ... is anyone still there?  My goodness, has it really been over a year since I last blogged? Naughty Weeze!  It's another summer now, and a bit hotter than the last one at the moment!  And it's long past time to resurrect my poor, neglected blog. ;)

Very unusually, I'm writing this on my laptop, which means it's taking twice as long as I keep hitting the mouse pad with the heels of my hands and inadvertently deleting whole lines!  It's just too hot to use the pc upstairs, so I'm lurking in a darkened room, fortifying myself with homemade ice cream soda and listening with half an ear to the tennis, hoping Murray wins ...

So, what's been happening in my year of blog silence?  Well, I've been pouring my energy into my Etsy shop - which I have filled with lots of lovely handmade findings as well as all my latest jewellery creations - and my Facebook page, created two wirework tutorials, made many custom items for some truly lovely people, turned 40 (eek!) and still managed to work a full-time day job without (quite) cracking up. :)

And in the last few days, I have reached 1000 likers on my Facebook page - this may not sound such a huge number on the grand scale of things, but when I think that over ONE THOUSAND people have taken the time to visit my page and click that Like button (hopefully because they do genuinely like it), I'm quite humbled.  To me it is a big deal.

So, to say a big fat THANK YOU with squirty cream, cherries and chocolate sprinkles on top, I'm going to be giving away the following summery necklace, which I have just finished making especially for this purpose.

And all you have to do to be entered into the draw, is leave a comment here WITH YOUR NAME in it.  I will be closing the draw at 1pm GMT next Sunday the 14th July and announcing the winner as soon as they have been chosen.  As is traditional with my giveaways, all the names will go into my straw hat, and the winner will be chosen by my long-suffering hubby.  This is open to all my likers, wherever in the world you are, but please only enter if you have liked my Facebook page or you follow my blog, as this particular giveaway is meant to be a thank you for following me, and not leaving my ramblings to echo lost and unheard ... :)

*Please note - your comments need to be moderated before they will show (a measure I had to take because of spam) - but they will show, fear not!*