Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pet Portraits

I have been producing custom Pet Portraits for quite a while now and currently have 3 that I am working on, the progress of which is on the blog: Laura's Pet Portraits Blog

I produce Pet Portraits in coloured pencil and graphite portrait. My portraits are traditional, highly detailed portraits of any pet, though most of my portraits are of dogs. My website has a gallery plus details of prices and sizes as well as a secure order form: Laura's Pet Portraits.

This is one of my past graphite pet portraits

I have more examples of my portraits on my Flickr photostream:

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 03, 2009


We moved into our current house in January this year and it's a bit of a 'project' as it needs quite a bit of updating and cosmetic work. We are slowly working our way through it and are currently decorating our spare bedroom which will then become our main bedroom. We have now finished the decorating, we just need to get the carpet in before the new furniture arrives a week Tuesday. I thought I would share some pics:

Before: This wasn't actually what it looked like, this was after we peeled off the many layers og wallpaper and paint to find bright blue glossed walls!!

Intermediate: First we sanded and painted the woodwork then did a basecoat of pale cream all over to hide the blue!

And after: 2 walls papered and 2 painted. We're really pleased with it.

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Black Cat for luck?

Yes, i'm back with the Etsy favourites. This week I have picked a semi-topical theme - Black Cats, which are of course related to Halloween which is all over Etsy at the moment. The other reason for choosing Black Cats was for some ideas for my Mum's Christmas present as she has a mental little black cat. So here they are, my favourite Etsy shops for the week:

Gorgeous handmade stained glass items in as many different shapes as you can think of. Most of the items in the shop are pendants and all have a lovely whimsy look to them - perfect for creating personalised Jewellery for loved ones. The featured pendant is Spooky, a cute black cat. The body is black glass and the wire is copper tinned wire that then makes the legs, ears, whiskers and face. The items are so cute in this shop and very unique as well as being very reasonably priced.

One of my favourite materials for Jewellery is silver and this lovely shop is full of handcrafted silver items. All items are hand pierced, sawed or filed and are so delicate. The little cat featured is only half an inch across and so pretty. The shop also features oxidised silver items and earrings to go with the pendants. This shop also has a regularly updated blog:
"One man's junk is another man's treasure" is the slogan for this shop and it is truly amazing what gorgeous items Dwayne produces from 'rubbish'. This black cat is created from horseshoes, discarded bits of tools and nails! Other items in the shop are things like a saw blade flower and a drill bit dragonfly. This shop is the place to shop for something entirely unique and different to decorate your home or garden with.

This shop features handmade items such as cards, lunchbox notes, personalised gifts and blessing blocks. I have to admit to not knowing what a blessing block was when I discovered the lovely BOO blessing blocks in the photograph. They appear to be decorative blocks that are given to celebrate a blessed event, eg: birth of a child, wedding, anniversary or even halloween. I think they are lovely. The set featured are 2 and half inch square, handmade and hand decorated with lots of halloween inspired ghosts, spiders, cats etc and can be customised pretty much any way you like.

You will notice my favourites often feature art and jewellery. These are two of my favourite things and the artwork in this shop is brilliant. I really like the bright, whimsical style of Susan's portraits. The featured artwork is an original ACEO, obviously with a Halloween theme, hand painted in watercolour. However I think my favourite things in this shop are the 'Custom cat lady' portraits - if you know anyone who loves cats (and I know several!) this is the perfect gift, an original portrait featuring the cat lover and their cat(s) all at a very reasonable price. Susan has a blog featuring her cat ladies at:

I hope you enjoyed these (slightly spooky) favourites as much as I enjoyed finding them and happy shopping!!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review

Recently I had someone comment on this post: Pan Chang Knot and they asked if i learned how to tie the knot from a book. Yes, I did. I am self-taught with my Jewellery making and have learnt it all from books and magazines. I am a self confessed book addict so thought I could do some reviews of some of the Jewellery and craft making books I own. So, the first one:

Chinese Knots for Beaded Jewellery by Suzen Millodot
  • Paperback
  • Published by Search press (2003)
  • 80 pages
  • £7.49 off Amazon

This book was the first one I bought as a guide for tying knots and it is probably my most used one! It features instructions on how to tie 14 different knots and then 16 projects, mainly necklaces with a couple of bracelets. The instructions to tie the knots and the project using that particular knot all come together so you don't have to keep flicking backwards and forwards from the knot instructions to the project instructions.

Each knot shows step by step instructions on how it is tied, either with very clear diagrams or photographically or both. The written instructons are also very clear.

As well as the instrcutions provided for the projects there are also a number of other Jewellery items photographed for each type of knot that provides inspiration for attempting your own knotted jewellery projects.

At the beginning there is a comprehensive section on different cords, beads, findings, equipment and calculating cord lengths. All of this information helps when you have the confidence to develop your own pieces.

It is a really good book, particularly for beginners and one I would definitely recommend.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Relisted Necklaces

I have just relisted 3 items on Northern Dawn on Etsy. These were three items that went in the shop right at the beginning and have just expired, so I thought I would try them again. Re-listing items on Etsy put them back at the top of the search results and is a technique that is nearly always mentioned when talking about improving sales.

So, my three items:

Button Knot Necklace with a glass pendant: FOR SALE: $23.00 (approx. £14.00)

Glass bead cluster necklace: FOR SALE: $23.00 (approx. £14.00)

Fabric bead cluster necklace & earring set: FOR SALE: £29.00 (approx. £18.00)

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Labrador Rescue

I was out on Saturday helping raise money for a Scottish charity - Labrador Retriever Rescue Caithness and Scotland. My 'day job' had a stall so I was one of the volunteers on that. In between doing a little bit of raffle ticket selling I snuck off outside to watch the displays, which were a Gundog display and the Northern Constabulary Police Dog team.

I had a lovely day and as usual loved watching the dogs working. I think a dog with a job to do is so lucky, they just love the mental and physical stimulation. All the working dogs I've ever met have been so fit and healthy and the ones on Saturday were no exception:

Police Dog:

And this beautiful Newfoundland was helping with the fundraising:

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some bracelets & a Camera

Well 2 things done off the To Do list so far.

I actually completed 2 bracelets today. Both feature the very versatile button knot and beads I picked up from the Scottish Bead fair at Perth.

I have not worked out costings for them yet, but they will be For Sale tomorrow in my Etsy & Folksy shops.

I have also listed my Nikon 35mm SLR camera for sale on Ebay. As well as the camera the listing includes 2 Nikon zoom lenses, a Lowepro camera bag, an autofocus flash & a battery grip plus extras such as filters. It's not been used for over 3 years so I decided it was time to sell it and put the money towards a new digital camera as my little point & shoot digital really needs upgrading. It is all in working order though and I even have instructions and original boxes for some items! here is the listing: Nikon F80 SLR plus accessories. Happy Bidding!!

Labels: , , , , , ,