Saturday, 12 August 2017

Jewellery and gardening

 My best friend who lives in Canada had a big birthday at the end of July and I knew that I wanted to make her a proper, hand knotted pearl necklace with sterling silver findings.  I gathered everything I needed; pearls, silk thread, sterling silver toggle clasp, sterling silver beads, sterling silver french wire and watched many a video on the internet as well as consulted books on the subject.  I decided to use a pair of jewellery tweezers to help with the knots as I felt this looked the most user friendly way to choose.  I stretched the silk thread the day or so before starting in order to lessen the stretch once the necklace is worn.  It took an afternoon to do the knotting and threading, after a couple of false starts and a few choice words.  I was really pleased with the end result.
 I duly sent the jewellery off, but as sometimes happens, circumstances conspired against me and the parcel's progress went a bit quiet.  I had sent it with tracking and signed for, to try to ensure it arrived safely, but after a good fifteen days, missing my friend's big day (bother), it hadn't arrived and I was more than a little worried.  However, when I checked the tracking progress again, it suddenly reappeared and my friend has now received it.  She left me a lovely phone message and I think she liked it!  
The garden is slowly starting to show its late summer colour - this year, the dominant colours are blue/purple/lilac, thanks to the agapanthus, clematis and hibiscus.
 One of my favourite plants for July/August is Hibiscus Syriacus 'Oiseau Bleu/Bluebird' which has the most exotic looking flowers and which has flowered brilliantly this year.  It is always featured on my blog.
However, to offset all the pastels, I have enjoyed seeing the crocosmia (here, it is 'Columbus') unfurling, with the rich yellows and oranges providing a lovely hit of colour.  Lots to enjoy in the August garden.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Creative endeavours

I have had some time off work and have managed to complete two projects.  I have made another needlefelted sheep, based on a Lincoln Longwool sheep.  I think I have improved on the way the head attached and placed, so it is a matter of more practise.
 Here are two real Lincoln Longwool sheep.
I used Lincoln Longwool fleece to add the curls.
 Here are my first two sheep together. The start of a little flock, I think.
 My other creative endeavour was to upcycle this card index unit.  The unit had been sitting under my table with nothing in it for a long time and I decided it would be perfect storage for Blockwallah stamps.  However, it was covered in a dull, ugly brown textured paper, some of which had come off.  So, out came the emulsion paint (the same shade I used on my paper storage unit.)
I covered one side in this lovely paper (which has glitter in it)...
 and the other in this (being very pleased with the way it complemented the paint).
 The back got a makeover too...
As did the top.
For the drawer fronts, I used the same papers as I had used for the paper storage unit.  I think it is a huge improvement and am really pleased with how it looks.  I have lined the drawers with remnants of oilcloth as the stamps have been oiled and this can mark some surfaces.  My pretty card storage index now has a new lease of life on my shelves.