Friday, August 28, 2009

Back on Tuesday

You may have noticed i've not been here much since being back off holiday. I have decided to extend my holiday a little and will be back on Tuesday. Tuesday is the day our visitors go home and I finding it hard work to devote time to them and Northern Dawn.

I am working tomorrow at my 'day job' and am off to the Bead Fair on Sunday. I am so looking forward to it. I am going to allow myself a very small spending budget but I'm sure I will be quite inspired by what I find there. Even if I can't spend a lot of money, I can still collect information and ideas!

So I will be back Tuesday and you can look forward to more holiday photos, artwork & Jewellery over the coming weeks.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 1 - Applecross

We started our holiday at Applecross camp site. Applecross is located in Wester Ross on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. It is accessible by only 2 roads. The original road is called the Pass of the Cattle, or Bealach nam Bo in Gaelic, which is the highest pass in Scotland and until 1976 when the coastal road was completed, the only way of getting to Applecross without a boat! For more information have a look at this website: The Applecross Peninsula
A view from the pass getting to Applecross

Just before it rained! Taken in Applecross village

Sand Bay, round the corner from Applecross. This is where the bothy in the TV show Monty Hall's Great Escape is. You might be able to see it on the right hand side of the bay in the photo.


A place call Toscaig. The end of the road, if you head South out of Applecross village.

The view from the campsite. It more than made up for the hideous weather!

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

In need of renovation!!

Hi all. I'm back from my holiday. I was actually back Friday evening but up until today the poor PC was so busy updating my antivirus scans and whatnots it had a fit & crashed whenever I tried to do anything. So now I am back blogging & tweeting.

I have just uploaded 305 photographs to the computer from the holiday. I will sort through them and put some up here and on Flickr as well. Had an absoloutely time touring up the west coast of the Highlands from Applecross to Durness, via the Isle of Lewis, where the photograph was taken. Not sure what happened to this little house, but the aga's still intact, even if the walls aren't.
Visited loads of lovely little villages and coves, ate far too much chocolate cake, had a trip in a glass bottomed boat, survived camping and a smelly B&B and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Am more determined than ever to get myself a croft on the west coast and leave the world of '9-5 normality' far behind. Just need to convince hubby it's a feasible idea!

I am at work all day tomorrow, so not a lot will be done, but hopefully I will have some photos to show you and then it'll be back to making on Tuesday.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Scottish Bead Fair

Have just found this advertised in my Make Jewellery Magazine: The Scottish Bead Fair. I need to find a way to amass a fortune before 30th August! It is hosted by Precious Sparkle Beads and as well as loads of trade stands it has classes and demonstrations as well, including Knots & Knotting by Dorothy Wood and Precious Metal Clay with Emma from the Little Bead Shop in Edinburgh, both of which are seriously tempting me! Tickets are only £4 and most exciting it's in Perth which is actually a feasible distance for me to travel in a day without leaving at 4am and not getting home till midnight!

I'm not sure yet if I can go as hubby is away that weekend, but the in-laws might still be here to keep an eye on the doggies for the day. If they are, i'm going. Now, better get making so I might actually sell something on either Etsy or Folksy and get some money to spend at the fair!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going Green

It would seem that being 'green' goes hand in hand with being creative. Perhaps because creative people see colour and texture where others see rubbish? Who knows. I decided this week's Folksy Favourites would showcase sellers creating from recycled materials. Here's my 5 favourites from the many I found.

This shop features lovely handmade, recycled earrings and embroidered brooches amongst other bits and bobs. The earrings pictured are made from paper beads, coated with PVA glue to make them watertight and hard. They are really pretty and certainly will make a statement, then you can tell everyone that asks about them that they are created from recycled paper! In her profile, Kerli says: "I do like mad jewellery, corduroy, colourful things and board games. And recycling. And sometimes I have little animals in my head that need to come out... " Kerli also has a blog:

Cat Loves Bear

This shop deserves a mention just for the gorgeous photo in her shop header! This shop features lots of lovely textile work, including shopping bags made from discarded shop curtains, which is what the photograph is of. You can help save the environment twice, not only by not using plastic bags for your shopping but by putting your shopping in a bag that's already using recycled materials. The shop features a fantastic range of a huge variety of bags in many different colours. A shop I feel I may well be shopping at myself.

British Cream Tea
Ooh, I love cream teas, you can't come from the West Country (which I do originally) and not be exposed to the yumminess of Cream Teas. And this shop is just as yummy. It is full of felt food. I have to admit I didn't know what I might do with felt food but that didn't stop this shop making me want to buy some! Some ideas of uses are pin cushions, holiday decorations or party favours. The featured item is obviously a French Fancy Set. They are all original designs, handmade and stuffed and use recycled felt. Absoloutely gorgeous.

Handmade by Tigerlily
This shop features a range of items from paper goods to bags, all created using ethically sourced materials. The item featured is from Made by Tigerlily's range of note books. It is 5" x 7" and made from 100% recycled card and paper. Ethical as well as being very pretty.

Stuff made from things. Sounds interesting, hey. This is Faye Wilson's subtitle to her shop. Faye says this about her shop: "I love mixing materials and textures to create different and unusual pieces. I try to recycle as much as possible and LOVE bashing old copper water pipes and hot water cylinders into delicate earrings and brooches." As well as gorgeous earrings made from bashing hot water cyclinders, there is the lovely pair of Earrings in the photograph, made from an old painting that was damaged. As she said, they are totally unique. What a fantastic idea.

I hope you enjoyed this week's shops. I think recycling is so important and I love it when people have the creativity and imagination to create something gorgeous out of some old rubbish.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Monday To Do List

I've been working all weekend so have had no time for blogging, tweeting or making things :( We also have my parents-in-law staying, who are lovely, but any visitors deserve a bit of attention so I can't spend all my time they're hear locked away in my little studio! However, I do need to get on and do some Northern Dawn work because we're off on holiday for a week on Friday, so tomorrow's To Do List:

So, quite a lot to fit in before heading off to work at 4. I do have the rest of the week off but have plenty of things to fill that time. Hopefully I will have lots to show you in the coming days.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Waiting for the postie - Etsy Favourites

Don't you just love it when the postman arrives with a mystery letter or an eagerly awaited parcel. The best bit about online shopping is the arrival of parcels, like Christmas whenever you want it!

Today's Etsy favourites theme is therefore based around the excitement of the postman arriving.

Weaver Copper Designs

What better place to receive your letters than in a fantastic handmade mailbox. This gorgeous mailbox is made of steel then covered with a sheet of antique copper, which is embossed, hand coloured and then lacquered. It is approved by the United States Postal Service. As well as gorgeous copper mail boxes, this shop also features bird feeders and rubbish bins.


When you've collected your letters, you need a beautiful letter opener to open that seal. And Gwynstone is the place to shop for one. The item featured is a letter opener and magnifier set, made with recycled glass beads. The shop also features lovely items of Jewellery and Bookmarks featuring semi precious stones.

When you've opening your letters you need somewhere to store them. Why not use this pretty cottage style mail holder. It is a vintage mail holder that has been rescued and painted by this very talented Etsy seller. This seller specialises in romantic, shabby and chic decor and the items in the well stocked shop includes bird house, plates, trays and keepsake boxes. If you like traditional cottage style items this shop is the place for you. This seller also has a blog at:

Perhaps you want something a bit more more modern to store your letters. How about a Wall Pocket from this seller. The Wall Pocket featured has a French Kitchen theme and would look lovely hung in a kitchen or office space to store your bits and bobs. It is lined and contains a webbing tab for hanging it up. The seller, Julia, says she loves to create pretty things and she certainly does. She also has a blog:

Would you prefer something to put on your desk to keep your correspondance in order. Then how about a Mesquite & Maple Inbox. What a gorgeous, unique way of keeping a desk tidy! This shop is quite new and only contains a few items but the ones it contains are lovely. They are handmade from Mesquite logs and the Mesquite used in the Inbox featured comes from a tree in the seller's own backyard.

So there you go, now you can collect, open and store your post in style. I hope you enjoyed today's favourites, I certainly enjoyed finding them.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

A work in progress

I thought I would show you a work in progress this evening, a Macrame Necklace using one of my Rune Pendants. It's only half finished, but it should get done tomorrow, ready to go in a shop.

It's the Rune for Self Confidence and the knots used are traditional macrame knots, the Josephine knot (close up above), double half hitches and the square knot which is one of my favourite knots.

I used some waxed linen cord for this project, it's the first time i've used it. It's slightly sticky which doens't make it great to work with, but does mean it holds the knots' shape nicely. I think it creates a good, slightly distressed look, which I think suits the pendant.

I also really like the background for this necklace. I took the photographs on an ancient railway sleeper that we have as steps in our garden and I think the sunbleached old wood really suits the rustic look of the necklace.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I found these lovely Rune Pendants on an internet site when buying some other Jewellery making bits and thought they were lovely. I like old symbols and whatnot and love the rustic look of these pendants so bought several with different symbols on. This particular one is for me and is the symbol for Persistance. I wear it as inspiration not to give in, to remind me that one day that first Etsy sale will actually happen!

I do think that I'm getting somewhere. My page views are going up on Etsy, i'm gaining more followers on both Twitter and the blog and featuring other Etsy & Folksy sellers has really helped me spread the word around and a few of the lovely people I've featured have then put links to the blog on their blogs. I do really feel it's helping. I now have 16 hearts, compared to 3 at the end of June, if i carry on collecting them at the rate I am now, I'll have 84 by the end of August!! Unlikely, but nice if I did.

I still need to join Flickr and I also need to make a Facebook fan page, they may well be jobs for tomorrow. I think the main thing is just to stay focused and carry on making. I am also planning on making a couple of Etsy purchases, so at least then I'll have some feedback as well.

Tomorrow I will have some Jewellery to list, some Rune pendants definitely and maybe some knots as well.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Drunk & Disorderly

Yesterday was the last day of my NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), and what did I do? Miss a blog post!

This was entirely because we have two friends staying at the moment that have cycled from Lands End to John O Groats. They arrived yesterday so we stayed up late celebrating, hence the blog post title! So by the time I remembered I had to do the blog it was actually today already and I was far to drunk to do anything, let alone type a complete sentence suitable for my readers to read. I have spent today suffering and never want to drink wine again as long as I live.

Tomorrow I am getting up early to say goodbye to our friends when hubby takes them off down to the airport and as it's my day off my 'day job' the rest of the day will be spent tying knots, so I should have plenty to show you tomorrow.

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Sunday, August 02, 2009


Flickr is a photo hosting website. I have known about it for many years and have used it to look for reference photographs for my drawings. However, I have never used it to host my photographs, mainly because I have my own web space and i've never been a great one for putting my photos out in cyber space.

Since joining Etsy, Flickr has come up many times as a useful promotional tool and I have looked at photographs on other Etsy sellers accounts. In the Etsy Success email I received on Thursday one of the useful forum posts it pointed us in the direction of was this one: How to use Flickr to get exposure for your Etsy shop, posted by dottyral, who makes very cool pin cushions. She discusses rules, Flickr groups, contacts and tags.

So, one task for tomorrow, join Flickr and start uploading some photos.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Saturday Shopping List - Ceramics

Well Ceramics wasn't actually the theme I had been planning my shopping list around but I was a bit disappointed with the offerings on Folksy for my original theme so after some rummaging I discovered the following lovely shops, all based around the theme of ceramics.

Lauren Ceramics

Lauren Ceramics is a shop containing all manner of ceramic items from brooches to pen pots. She describes her items as modern and delicate. They are all handmade and designed in Lauren's studio in Reading using a method called slip casting. Lauren has her own website and a blog at

This shop contains some very pretty handmade ceramic buttons created using a technique called Raku firing. These buttons are truly individual and would look lovely on some chunky handknitted clothing or maybe even incorporated somehow in jewellery. I'm thinking of a way to do it!!

Sea Urchin

This shop contains some really striking and different ceramic jewellery. Lisa, the owner of the shop says she is obsessed with texture, colour and new materials and loves to experiment. Many items, like the pendant featured incorporate fused glass and precious metal lustres.

Isn't this nodding dog gorgeous. I just couldn't resist him. As well as the nodding dogs this shop contains quirky cuff links, plaques and ceramic eggs. The shop owner describes her shop as Poignant, humorous work in porcelain and mixed media inspired by classic toys and curios. This is definitely a shop to visit for something a bit different.

This is another store that creates items using the Raku technique but this one contains pendants and brooches as well as buttons. Jude is based on the Isle of Wight and creates her gorgeous items in a tiny studio in her house by the sea. Sound absolutely gorgeous. The pendant featured has been glazed with crackle glaze and is a totally unique piece.

So there you go, the Folksy shopping list. I keep forgetting that Folksy doesn't feature nearly as many sellers as Etsy and therefore I will have to remember to create wider searches when doing my favourites feature. As you can see though, from this week's sellers that it is quality not quantity that really counts.

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