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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Holiday Day 2

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm going to make a batch of new buttons from polymer clay. My starting point is a couple of moulds as well as some buttons already created. I'm hoping to finalise the buttons for the Freya doll (read back for more on Freya).


Will share my creations tomorrow.

Thanks for calling in.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Holiday Post 1

Hi Everyone
It's a holiday week - this week. Each day I will aim to post a photo story which gives a flavour of my day(s) - this should give a little collage of my week.
Today, I'm sharing something which happened on Saturday. I went to a felt making workshop and made a lovely bowl/vessel run by one of my lovely friends (thank you Yvonne). I enjoyed being a member of the class as much as the the actual 'make' and lost myself in the making process. I love my felted thing and I've had a bit of a re think ! I'm going to turn it into a bag with a clasp. I intend to line the felt and possibly add a few beads. Here it is at the moment :


Thanks for calling in.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Crochet shoes etc. !

Hi Everyone
I'm delighted to announce,Freya has a tiny basic wardrobe - a dress, undies (finally fit) and some shoes. 

She is coming together but needs more. I started a little jacket yesterday and there's a bag and some hair accessories almost ready to add to her look. Ive researched some embroidery ideas to add to the dress, so will also have a go with that. I'd also like to give her a little dog, so will plan how to make that later. After all these plans are realised, I'll leave her there for a while and make the next doll. The new doll will be Miss Mitchell. 

I've allocated a day to developing the crochet doll world and will have an ongoing series of projects within the overal idea. I like the PaperSac Village theme (search back through the blogs for more on this) which I've had a long association with. When I get something more definite I will share my plans.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Crochet Distractions

Hi Everyone
I had a very lazy day yesterday. My work list was abandoned !! - I was very excited to take delivery of a couple of lovely books about making purses, which distracted me (all day). I'm developing some purse projects of my own and wanted to make up some samples to inspire my designs. I will share some ideas over the next few weeks. One of my new books uses crochet to make the purses and I was particularly drawn to a little Bobble stitch purse. I decided to have a go with this crochet stitch, new to me. It's my new favourite stitch and came together quite quickly.

The pattern for the purse is quite short and reasonably straightforward. I eventually made a little square. Here's the first line of the purse in my photo. Unfortunately, my work list is rather long at the moment so having tried out the stitch, I need to wait a few days before I can get going with the purse. I'm also waiting delivery for some little snap frames for the purse, somewhere in my house, I have some of these frames but ............. where ?

In the meantime - Freya is still waiting for some accessories. Her undies are not there yet, several pairs have been made but as you can see - all is not well. I've put together a list of essential items which will be started today. She needs shoes, socks, a jacket and a hair accessory as well as a bag. After these items are created, I will be ready to make Miss Mitchell. I'm incredibly slow when it comes to crochet but I'm enjoying the process so no problem there. I did finish Freya's dress yesterday - other than a little button. I've made a polymer button (waiting to be cured) and will add some similar buttons to her shoes (eventually). 


Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Crochet News etc.

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm reporting on the huge success of our recent crochet Making Framework Workshops. Our current project (last 3 sessions) has been to make a simple crochet sack with some mini embellishments. All our Makers have done a great job. Most of the group had never crochet before so we were starting from scratch. Here is a selection of the amazing sacks under construction. All the completed sacks looked very different. Hopefully, we will return to crochet (in the future) and build upon the techniques practiced in this project.


Crochet seems to have been one of those skills that take a little time to learn but also generates lots of creative impulses to experiment and adapt the stitches. Well done to everyone. Next time, we are moving on to another material and another range of skills. We will start making some polymer buttons which we will then use to make and embellish things. The buttons (initially) are to be attached to little cards - waiting for the right use over the next few months. Here is a quick example of what we will produce :


I love buttons ! - I'm never sure what to do with them but I'm especially drawn to buttons attached to cards on pretty paper. I will work on the cards to make them more attractive but you get the idea from the images above. The buttons will be used over the next few workshops as actual buttons but also as embellishments. More on this project in the  next Making Framework post.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A Dress for Freya

Hi Everyone
Not a huge amount of progress yesterday with Freya's kit. I managed to make most of her dress and she looks quite pretty. I changed my mind about the sleeves, I hadn't considered how she would get the dress on ! I added a little scalloped edge to the bottom of the dress and this gave me the idea to embellish the side of the dress with more scallops to give the appearance of a cap sleeve. The dress will fasten with a little button on the shoulder. Here she is - having a first fitting !


 Freya's head is quite large because of her amazing hair and I will need to take this into account when designing her outfits.
 I did start the dress design with an idea of using different stitches to give a fabric texture and am pleased with the result. I'm thinking, I will embellish the dress with some flower designs, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.


I'm hoping to create something inspired by these beautiful littles dresses. I can also see some hair embellishments and perhaps a bag with a similar flower idea. I'm thinking about some ballet pump shoes and possibly little socks too.

Thanks for calling in.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Freya and her kit

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a little news re Freya and her kit. I've has a bit of a disaster re her undies ! I must have made 6-8 pairs - all did not fit ! I've (for the moment) abandoned the undies until some specific yarn arrives. I've started on a dress. The dress looks like a mini sleeveless top at the moment and has given me an idea to make such a top after the dress is made. The dress will have sleeves and a frill at the bottom - so a bit more work needed. Here she is with extra hair extensions  and her dress 'to be' :


I've made Freya much bigger than the book doll by changing the crochet stitch and (other than that) have tried to follow the patterns (exactly) in the My Crochet Doll book. Freya herself worked in this way (I terms of proportions)but it's now obvious that the clothing needs to be redesigned. I've no problem with that and will probably go for socks, shoes, undies and some accessories (bags, hair bows etc) with a little jacket. Hopefully, I can make goof progress today.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Hello Freya

Hi Everyone
 Welcome to Freya. Her body is complete other than the ankles ! - I'm going to make some shoes before deciding on how I should finish the foot. She has generally, turned out very well and is very cute. I love her hair, I knew this would make a big difference to how she would look. However, I've run out of yarn and need to shop for more - she will get a few more extensions later. She does have a good head of hair but I do want more !! More hair will allow for lots of styling options !


I gave her major surgery yesterday, her head has been reduced by 1/3. It's more in proportion and I could possibly go with a slightly shorter and wider head for Miss Mitchell ?. I think, the only construction issue I have is the arms. I like the shape and proportion of the arms but the attachment point (at the shoulder) is a bit untidy.the arms are stitched onto the body just under the head position. I'm considering making the arms (ie the actual crochet) as part of the body. I think, I can develop a technique for making the whole doll as one, other than the head. If the arms were connected via the pattern of the body, the finish would look more professional. I think, a particular approach to stuffing could ensure the arms work as they do now. 
Freya, at the moment,is very much a 'rag doll' style. She could be given an internal pipe cleaner/wired framework but I think as a toy the rag doll works. Miss Mitchell (the next doll) will get this internal framework to allow for lots of photo opportunities in different little photos stories. I'm looking forward to making a few different size dolls too. I do love the size of Freya - she measures approximately 50 cms and is quite a substantial doll but I'd like to make a smaller size.
PS - I didn't manage to make Freya any clothing - just ran out of time. Hopefully, I can make her some kit today.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Welcome Freya (almost)

Hi Everyone
Freya is almost with us ! She has all her body parts. However, as predicted,yesterday, the head is not in proportion. I'm still slightly puzzled about the size - I've checked the number of rows and it should be Ok ? However, it's much too long - I think I need to loose about 3 or 4 rows from the forehead. I need to take off the top cap and redo.


My plan (today) is to resize the head, attach the arms, make some small item of clothing and develop the hair. I'm quite optimistic she will be complete by tomorrow. 
Moving on ......... I've decided, the bigger crochet project is to be given a dedicated day for development - I think, Wednesday is to be the day.  I want to explore clothing and accessories with Miss Mitchell and develop Miss Mitchell herself (read back for detail on this idea). I think, I've made silly mistakes with stitches because I've been trying to squeeze the project into a short time. I've come to the conclusion, I need to have short planned sessions where I develop specific items or parts of an item.
For now, I'm still quite excited about how Freya will turn out. The hair will be the defining job - she is to get lots of hair and I'm sure she will look great by the end of the day.
Call in tomorrow, fingers crossed she will be complete.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

My Crochet Doll

Hi Everyone
I'm still 'battling' on with my crochet doll - to be known as Freya (it's official). Much frustration yesterday !!!
I decided,early on, to follow the pattern exactly. I wanted the discipline of keeping the detail and proportion of the doll - to adapt later. I must have made and remade the legs about 6 times. Each leg seemed to be slightly bigger than the other and the development of the body and legs together proved very challenging. I think it's to do with being very strict on counting crochet stitches, continually ! I felt like I was following every instruction (precisely) but I must have been increasing stitches. Eventually, I adjusted the body at the begining (where the legs connect) and decreased the extra stitches at that point - only an extra 6 stitches (3 from each leg). Hopefully, I'm now on track and can finish the body today. It's also time to stuff the legs - exciting !!
Here she is, so far :


Freya's head looks large (to me) - I will probably end up doing this again. I did count the stitches but something tells me it's not quite right ! The head is made in 2 parts - the brown part is the top where the hair is attached.
Call in tomorrow for an update. I know Freya will be great but it's a challenge at the moment.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Crochet Dolls

Hi Everyone
I spent most of my making time (yesterday) developing the crochet prototype for my Miss Mitchell doll. I've decided to follow instructions in the My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian as a learning activity for me. I'm already considering changes in size and proportion but it's a great little pattern and Isabelle's doll is so cute, it's a pleasure to work with. 
My plan is to produce (exactly) the doll in the Isabelle's book, I'm not sure about her clothes ? Miss Mitchell needs a specific fabric dress which I will need to produce, probably a hand painted fabric in silk. I'm also keen to add some beads and other embellishments in her 'couture' dress and hair. However, for the prototype doll, I do need to decide on something for her to wear. All the clothing in the book is crocheted but there are lots of different clothing ideas. I like the bathing suit and there's a lovely little dress with a cute jacket. The book also includes lots of little accessories - my favourite is a shopping basket with leather handles; there's also cakes, teddies, hats and many more.
I need a name for the prototype doll and am thinking about 'Freya'. I know a child called Freya who reminds me a little of the photo of the doll in the book, so that's a good name for her. Here is a quick view of her head (in 2 parts) plus 1 leg and 1/2 leg. I'm hoping to complete her body today.


I'm going to try and complete Freya this week, keep calling in to check her progress.
Thanks for reading.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Bezel Progress

Hi Everyone
I've a tiny bit of news re the bezel project. Last week proved to be challenging because of time and lots of unexpected jobs ! However, I've managed to move the bezel project to 'almost complete'. I've a small fitting job and it's done. I'm pleased with progress. I chose (no idea why ?) to make a bezel for the most difficult shape I could !!!, all sides different sizes. Generally, the job was quite straight forward. My only issue was soldering the initial bezel top. I didn't pay enough attention to cutting the silver strip which resulted in the join being difficult to solder. However, the silver was quickly re cut and soldered without any further issue. I needed to stretch the bezel, to compensate for my initial mistake, but it worked well.


I need to finally set the stone and I'm there. Hopefully, can make some time today.


Thanks for reading.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Making of a Bezel

Hi Everyone
I'm still way behind with my work output this week. I spent most of yesterday doing other things and work didn't happen ! However, I did have a lovely day with my Dad and did some more knitting (my cardigan from Wed. Blog) last night. 
I did spend a little time with my bezel project ie preparing the bezel materials and measuring my stone. I even got the silver ready for soldering. Today, hopefully, I will finally get my little bezel sorted. It is such a small thing to achieve but that's my goal for today. 

I'm quite keen to get going with a crochet doll project too this weekend but need to source the yarn, so I need to take some time out for that job. The doll will be based on this doll :


My version will be more like my Miss Mitchell doll. Here is Miss Mitchell for a quick reminder :


Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Ring Gem

Hi Everyone
I've failed to make progress with the Gem Project I talked about at the begining of the week.  So many other things have taken over this week - such as life !! However, I've decided on a specific gem to make my first item. I'm going to start with a green odd shaped stone and will attach it to a plain silver band.


I hadn't realised the stone was rather an odd shape but I'm going with it, it will be a little different (which appeals).  I will make a standard bezel and simply set the stone after attaching to a ring shank. 
My 'poly gems' have not been made yet, I'm planning to develop a mould to develop the shapes I want. Hopefully I can manage that little task too. I will report progress tomorrow. 

Thanks for calling in today.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Knitting distractions !

Hi Everyone
I've not been very productive (work wise) this week - so far ! My planned bezel work has been rather slow to start. My distractions have taken over. Crochet is the main problem but knitting comes a close second. I've (almost) always got a knitting project going and I'm quite excited about the latest. It's a lovely little cardigan. The item is made on a single circular needle and is ingenious, in design. No seams and lots of shaping going on. I'm already planning on a second cardigan in another colour. Not sure about the colour yet ? The yarn I'm using is something I've had in my stash for many years. I'm not sure where is came from but it's a merino cashmere mix, lovely and soft. The cardigan has a 'waterfall, front with short 'cap' sleeves. The more I work with it, the better it gets.
Here is a quick look at my project :


To add to my distraction, I'm off to a weekly knitting group event. This group meets each week and although we do all knit, there's lots of chat and lovely coffee/snacks - great.
So, I won't get going with the bezel work this morning. Perhaps, I can find an hour or so later in the day ?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Making Workshop

Hi Everyone
Today, there is another Making Workshop, it's the second in the crochet series. We will build upon the introduction project (mini baskets from our last workshop -  check Tuesday blogs for more) and develop a couple of crochet embellishments for the baskets. The embellishments will be a heart and a flower. Both the heart and the flower are a great way to introduce new crochet stitches to the group. We will also spend some time understanding and working with a simple pattern. Often, the pattern instructions can be daunting, however, the heart and the flower are very short and I've produced a sheet which gives a simple task on each line of the instructions. Hopefully, we can work slowly, together and get there ! If we have time, there is a second project - a little purse.


The purse project will be open to lots of variations such as different colour and stitch combinations. Our Makers can work on the project at home if they are confident with the pattern. Next time we will make some special, custom polymer buttons designed to compliment the purses.
I will get some images and share photos of our progress next time.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Bezel Day

Hi Everyone
Today, I'm starting a new little project. I'm planning to make bezels for a few stones. I've developed some 'poly gems' as I'm calling them. These are little stones made from polymer clay, I see these as part of a simple ring. This is an experiment to see how they work. I've also got some more traditional cut stones which will make larger components.

I've got plans to make a rings, pendents and a couple of bracelets using the finished bezel components. I'm using sterling silver for the bezels and will see how they go before deciding on how to use them. I've an idea to use chain for the bracelets and pendents but this may change. Im going to make a mould from one of the larger cut stones before I use it, this will allow me to develop a few poly gems with the same shape.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Poly Button

Hi Everyone
I spent some time yesterday working on a few little crochet purses as samples for our next Making Workshop (next Tuesday). The purses are a super easy make and will give another little crochet project (read back last week for more on an introduction to crochet workshop) for our series. I wanted to make some buttons to add to the purses and also thought I would try and develop some additional embellishments. I came up with different shaped 'button like' items to sew onto the purses. I like the way they have turned out. I'm also thinking of adding some words to the embellishments. The samples in the photo don't  have words but I'm keen to try out the idea.


I will go into more detail re how I made the purses next time. I should also have some of these word plates to sew onto the purses.

Have a great weekend.
Thanks for calling in.

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Hi Everyone
Yesterday's production was a little 'light'. I spent lots of time finishing and polishing faux Turquiose beads ready for a few more earrings. These beads were left over from the faux Turquiose project and it seemed a good idea to develop them into earrings. I quite enjoyed doing this job - not usually a favourite ! The sun was shining and I seemed to relax into my work. I'm hoping to complete all the pieces from my last 2 Collections, ready for a big photo shoot at the weekend. Here's a quick look at progress to date (with the earrings) : 


I'm going to give the new barrel polishing system a go later (read back yesterday for the barrel story). The shiney stuff in the photo is from yesterday's pile. The new stuff (on the left) needs pickling, shaping and polishing.

Thanks for calling in.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Simply Metal - tumbled !

Hi Everyone
I'm sharing a little pile of shiney silver stuff (mainly earrings) made amongst the recent Collections. My little story today is about my tumbler machine. I've had my basic tumbler for quite a few years, initially bought for tumbling my polymer clay beads. A few weeks ago, to improve my system, I bought something called Barrelbrite.Barrelbrite is a burnishing powder, used with steel/stainless steel shot in a barrel tumbling machine to deburr or prepolish precious & base metals. I was convinced this would enhance my final silver jewellery pieces. 
Disaster ! - at the end of several hours tumbling, I found a thick, black sludge in my tumbler with all the jewellery pieces coated with sludge and very dirty. I couldn't decide what was causing the problem ? After lots of different combinations of cleaning the barrel, cleaning the shot and using soap instead of Barrelbrite; I decided my problems must be the actual barrel material reacting with the Barrelbrite. I've continued using the tumbler with soap (instead of Barrelbrite)  and all was well. However, I eventually decided that I should buy a new barrel designed specifically for metal. The new barrel arrived yesterday and I was optimistic  ! This time the new barrel would not turn on the tumbler. Again, lots of fiddling - changing combinations of loading the barrel etc. I eventually abandoned the new system, tumbled the silver pieces and at the end of the session, tried my new barrel again. Success ! - I've no explanation of why it didn't happen at first but I've moved on and all is well. The only issue now - what about the Barrelbrite ? I will find out next time.
In the meantime, here is my lovely shiney earring components, developed with my old system  :


Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Simply Silver Complete

Hi Everyone
It's a back to work day (from a long Bank Holiday weekend) and I'm rounding up the results of the Simply Silver - Organic Circles Collection. I've finished the range and am quite pleased with results. I need some professional photos (these are snaps I took !) - booked in for next weekend.


The tumbler has done a great job on shining the metal, I love the combination of the Copper and Silver. I'm waiting delivery of some labels and some new little boxes before the collection is officially launched but the main piece designs are good to go.

I'm a little undecided about which new plan I will start today. I have a number of options and will spend my work day planning the next Collection.

Thanks for calling in.