Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Colourful wooden beads for the summer

It has been rather damp here for the last few weeks. While the rest of the UK has been basking in sun, it has been dull and grey and wet in the Scottish Borders. The wet weather is taking its toll on my poor hands too. Usually I don't have to worry about my hands until late autumn when I start upping my use of cod liver oil. But this summer has been bad. As a result my paper bead making has been severely limited. So I have been painting wooden beads instead. As you can see, there is a summer theme going on. Bees, and ladybirds, flowers, lighthouses and starfish. It's a cross between summer in a country garden and at the beach. I wonder why? If you want to see more examples then you can find them on my web site.

Honey bee wooden hand painted bead

Flower wooden hand painted bead
ladybird wooden bead hand painted

lighthouse wooden hand painted bead

red lighthouse wooden hand painted bead

bee square hand painted wooden bead

Starfish hand painted wooden bead

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Teneriffe at Christmas

Gina-B Silkworks has some new kits out for making Teneriffe lace including one with Christmas designs. They are really cute. You can make Teneriffe medallions with Christmas trees, bows, candles or reindeer. Due to work issues, I didn't get to make as many samples as I had hoped for this month's show but I did get this little box finished with the Christmas tree motifs on the medallion. You do need to buy some of the looms that Gina has as well as the Christmas kit but one loom and some festive designs can make a whole host of imaginative gifts and cards.

Another way of using Teneriffe lace is to add it to a canvas. This piece was made by layering lots of textures like tissue paper and cheese cloth onto a small art canvas, adding some Teneriffe medallions (including some of my early attempts that did not look all that great) and painting over it all with cream acrylic paint. I then added some pink and blue highlights among the textures and some gilding wax lightly over the very top. A few jewels, pearls and jewellery findings along with a short quote finished it off. Something a bit more modern using a traditional craft.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ribbon flowers

I came across a lovely company the other week on one of the craft channels - Ribbonbox. They supply products to make your own fabric flowers but they are so simple and so effective that I wanted to give it a go. So I looked out my stash of wire edge ribbon and artificial flower stamens and followed along with the demos. 

The flowers in the photo below are the result. Really nice blossomy flowers, one anemone and one poppy. Bear in mind I did not use Ribbonbox's kits (they come complete with ribbons, stamens, leaves, etc) but they will definitely be added to my crafting wishlist.

The poppy was nice as a little addition to a birthday gift for my sister - a little pencil drawing of Indy.

Monday, 19 June 2017


I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I have a newsletter sign up at the top of my blog now. I am a little nervous about it. Not being one for asking for anything, I don't find it easy to ask people to sign up for things. I always figured people should be able to choose for themselves with me pointing things out. That makes running an online business a bit of a challenge though. With my new web site and shop I am having to expand the way I expose my work to folk - and it's scary!

So, here is my request:

If you would like to see product updates for art, beads and pretty much everything else I sell, photos for inspiration and even special offers that are reserved for newsletter subscribers then please click on the 'Newsletter sign up' link at the top of my blog. You will find it on the green strip below the big header picture. I won't bombard your email account with lots of emails, I promise. I expect to send updates out once a month at most and I won't sell or hand over your personal details to anyone else. It would be lovely to have a few more readers.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Another painted wooden pebble

A quick pic today - a hand painted wooden pebble with a British robin. It might be a bit early for Christmas themes but I have been making samples for Gina-B Silkworks' show next weekend and it is Christmas related. I think it inspired me to think of the robin.

Hand painted pebble with a robin

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Wooden pebble painting

The spring and early summer flowers are in full bloom in the garden at the moment - even if the sun has forgotten to show itself again. That is only to be expected in the Scottish spring/summer though - one day hot and sunny, the next cold and grey. The flowers inspired me to make a little 'thing' by hand painting some wooden pebbles that I found on Ebay. This type of folk flower reminds me of honeysuckle so I had to paint it in the colours of one of the honeysuckle plants that flowers in the garden during the summer.

hand painted wooden pebble

However, I started thinking about what else I could paint on a wooden pebble and figured some of my wildlife paintings might work well. The pebbles are about one and a quarter inches wide by one and a half inches tall so it's a small surface area to work on - though not as small as the wooden beads I painted previously (see here and here). But they work really well.

This is a little blue tit that I painted on one. I don't use acrylics very often but they actually work really well on wood.

blue tit on hand painted wooden pebble

Of course I could not leave out a badger from my painting experiments. Unsurprisingly this might be my favourite.

Hand painted badger pebble

Friday, 26 May 2017

Afternoon trip

We have been having some fabulous weather here this week. It may turn out to be the best weather of the whole summer - that tends to happen in Scotland. My sister and I took a trip to the local ford yesterday so Indy could enjoy a little splashing time in the river. The scenery was amazing. I live with it every day but it takes those times when I can leave work behind, get out of the house and into the wilds to see it's beauty up close.

Scottish Borders scenery

Morebattle, Scottish Borders

Scottish Borders scenery

Saturday, 20 May 2017

More hand painted wooden beads

I managed to get a few more wooden beads painted this week. More wildlife and more flowers. I have to say, it's a lovely change from the paper beads. It combines my love of beads with my love of animals and painting. What's not to love? Some of the flower beads are sold already but some of the wildlife beads are already listed in my new web store here.

Hand painted wooden beads with wildlife images

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Wooden wildlife beads

Something a little different from paper beads this week - hand painted wooden beads featuring some wildlife and nature. These are just prototypes but if all goes well - and my hands don't pay the price for all that tiny detail - I will try selling some. The small oval beads are just under 1.5 inches long and just over three quarters of an inch wide. They are officially the smallest canvas I have ever painted on. Tomorrow will be varnishing day. I just don't want to take a chance varnishing today if there is any doubt that anything is still wet.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sample paper beads

I have been making some sample paper beads this week for a customer. She wanted beads with sea, sea-life and coastal themes and pointed me in the direction of some images that she liked. These are the beads I came up with. Definitely candidates for new bead designs so watch this space.

paper beads, sea life

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Journey journal

I took part in Linda Matthews' Creative Stitch Alchemy course recently. The idea was to make a mixed media mini journal using the theme of 'Journey' as a springboard for ideas. It uses fabric, lace, hand stitching, machine stitching, beads, sequins, rhinestones, whatever you fancy. I have always been inspired by India, the colours, the wildlife, the architecture. So I used it as my inspiration. I hand printed and hand dyed some of the fabrics and used leftover tatted pieces that I made some time ago. So it really is original to me. The finished journal is a bit bigger than the size suggested in the instructions but it allowed me to use pictures printed on fabric in mine. It was a really nice little course that allowed me to do something a bit different and I am really rather pleased with the finished journal.

Front cover: 

Inside pages: 

Back cover:

Friday, 7 April 2017

At long last - new old paper beads

Vintage word paper beads

Yes, I finally got them made. The Vintage Word paper beads that I used to make are now available in the new style. Being able to print them out instead of individually painting each one means the beads will all look similar and I won't have to worry about variation between sets. Hooray!

There is also another new set of Oriental themed paper beads - Oriental Flowers for the spring.

Oriental flower paper beads