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Friday, 9 October 2015

From Scratch

Hi Everyone
Today's the From Scratch offer is a beading kit. This kit is called a Starburst Pendent and featured in a recent workshop - read back on Tuesday's for more on this one. I've created a few different colours in the kit with an option of two different chains. The chain could be Sterling Silver or Antique Bronze. The kits will be in the shops in a few weeks.


At the moment, I'm developing some packaging which will turn this pretty, simple kit into a lovely gift. I've come up with a few ideas - a hand printed cotton bag or a little wooden box. The box is favourite at the moment but I will make several of each before deciding on the final packaging.
Here is a quick look at my printed fabric approach - this is just a scrap from initial experiments :


I will play around with lots of ideas before deciding on the final design. I like the idea of big bows - not sure how or why ? but for some reason the idea won't go away ! Somewhere there will be lettering or handwriting. 
The other approach is a little wooden box. It's not really either/ or in any of my packaging lines. Each item I produce is an individual, unique piece - the same can apply to packaging too.


I'm hoping to offer the packaging in little kits too - watch this space for more details.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Clay Day

Hi Everyone
I'm giving an update on my own little jewellery development project today. Progress is slow but thats OK with me. My plan is to enjoy making things just for me and part of that process is to take my time - I'm the client so I can decide.
So far, I've made beads for a bracelet and developed some small stud earrings. I did think the bracelet would take a clasp but I've now decided to use the stretch threading approach. I made a couple of silver clasps but will use them with a necklace. There are some beads left over from the bracelet and I plan to add to them today. I'm also going to develop slightly different shades of the same colour clay today and will just see how it goes. Ive got an idea to make each bead slightly different. I want to try a few new carved beads, similar to the bracelet beads (maybe larger ? ) and the necklace will have some of the character of the bracelet. I was keen from the outset to incorporate some silver into these pieces and have decided to use closed jump rings I made last week. I will make some more today.


I've especially enjoyed spending time thinking and working with silver. I've made some earring posts from scratch and although this is such a time consuming thing to do and completely unnecessary (posts are relatively inexpensive and widely available) I have felt very satisfied with the results. My posts also have a certain 'raw' feel to them which I like.
Here are a few images of my process :


These posts (above) are flat based and like the ones which are available to buy.
The next image shows another way of making and attaching silver posts - this requires the 'balled' silver post to be embedded into the clay - it works well with pre cured designs. The flat base is required if the posts are to be attached to a cured bead. In the bottom two images, the 'balled' silver posts have been hammered flat before sticking to the clay. The bottom right image shows a tiny piece of clay added post curing and results in embedding the 'balled' silver into the earring bead.


I like the idea of producing a much larger 'balled' silver post, shaping the wire into an earring hook and enamelling the 'balled' silver with bright colours. Will try out this idea later today and share next time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Recipe Wednesday

Hi Everyone
The recipe for today is a fruit muffin, named Chocolate Fruit Muffin ! - no bright ideas came forth this week !
The recipe is from an old book of mine but I've changed the ingredients a few times and I think this is to be the settled list. Start with two bowls - one for dry ingredients and one for wet. I think this makes the whole thing seem very simple and I can whip up the whole thing in about 6mins. This list makes 12 muffins.
The dry bowl needs : 250gms plain flour, 25gm cocoa powder, 2tsp baking powder,1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda, 100gms chocolate chips (any milk,plain or white). Quick stir.
The wet bowl needs : 2 eggs, 85gms sugar (any sugar which will easily mix in),85gms melted butter, 150ml milk. Quick stir.
Combine both wet and dry bowls together. If the mixture is not 'loose' (this will determine how moist the muffins turn out) add a bit more milk. You don't want a runny consistency. 
Place 12 muffin cases in a tin and using two teaspoons divide the mixture into the cases. I like to fill up a spoon and use the other to scrape into the muffin case. Place in a pre heated oven 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 18-20mins. That's it. 
I like to sprinkle icing sugar over the top just before serving.




As you can see, I also added a Flake and some raspberries and .........  cream ! 
Everyone likes this pudding. It needs a bit of planning for mid week but it's in the book because I feel comfortable making it quickly and it needs very little effort. Also not much washing up (always the decider !) The boys gave the pudding 5/5 and my mark is also 5/5. So it's the first 10.

Next time ....... you will love this one or hate it !

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Making Framework

Hi Everyone
The Making Framework has another new project today. It's a beaded pendant for a necklace. The pendant could also develop into a ring or a bracelet but for today we will stick with the pendant.
Here is a quick look at the finished item - which comes in a few different colours and chains :


As mentioned, there is a choice of colours and chains but essentially the project is about creating a single beaded component which will form the pendant. The beading technique is very easy and the pendant is created very quickly. The challenge is to keep all the beads 'tensioned' to give a pretty starburst/flower look. It's possible to create a domed component by tensioning the thread tightly, we will try a range of different tensions to find the one we like. The pendant is heavy enough to hang nicely on the chain and is a good learning project. I'm not sure which one I will make in the workshop ? , I keep changing my mind. 
Last time, the Making Workshop Group struggled with a beading project making small beaded charms (see our invite below). I hoped, I had not turned everyone away from beading. The Daisy Bracelet (also in the invite below) was a great success but the charms proved very challenging. This week , I have a chance to persuade everyone they can achieve a great result and have a nice time too. 

Last time, the group felt stressed out by the relative difficulty of the beading skills required. I do understand their problems, I too felt the same when I was learning how to make the charms. I think the difficulty comes from using very small seed beads and ending up with a small item which lacks structure until complete. 
Today, the pendent project comes together very quickly and the colours are distinct (I think this enhances the beading pattern and allows the brain to understand what comes next - as a result early success is felt ! That's my hope anyway. We need to have a positive experience this time.

While developing these projects ie. The Making Framework Projects, I'm analysing all the skills (in detail) needed to complete each project  - some of these skills are about making decisions and communicating eg asking and giving support etc. I'm not necessarily talking about the craft skill needed when working with certain  materials. Alongside the obvious, I hope to identify some of the soft skills used and/or developed via the project. I will be reporting on this aspect of the project next time.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Make Art Monday

Hi Everyone
My Eyes project is moving on but ....... very slowly. I had hoped to have a finished sketch but not quite there. I've still got decisions to make about the eyes. I spent lots of time developing the eyes for Lee and my sketch has lost a little of the detail. This detail makes the character come alive, so it's very important to get it right. I've decided to make a face shape on the final surface and work on just the eyes. When I'm happy with the detail of the eyes, the remains features will follow. This is my usual way of working with faces but I'd changed the process to get the head shape/size as I wanted. 
Here is a view of the latest sketch with a little colour going on :



I need to keep on reminding myself my aim is to create a series of pieces to accompany this piece - in the original, Lee doesn't have a face so I have made some progress.

Will keep going today and report my progress next time.

Thanks for reading