Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Polymer Clay Challenge!

This year I decided to start a new polymer clay challenge as I failed so miserably to keep up with the 52 Earrings in a Year Challenge!  So I am taking part in Elvira Kricks - 12 Polymer Projects in a Year.  I think I should be able to stick to this one.  It was a shame I couldn't keep up the earring challenge because I was learning so much about polymer clay with every pair I made and I was really enjoying thinking of new idea each week ..... although most of the time the ideas came from my trips out with my family ..... but there we are!
The idea for this flower came from a couple of scribbles in my sketch book.  It all happens in my sketch book! I made some sunflower earrings last year as part of the earring challenge and ever since I have wanted to try some different flowers.  I limited myself to two colours ... black and white and made a very simple flower petal cane.  I didn't take any photographs .... sorry ... I was too absorbed making the petals. 
I used all the off-cuts to make a disc shaped base to rest my flower petals on as I constructed my flower.  I have noticed as the flowers in my garden (and bought flowers) die their petals start to curl up at the ends.  I quite like this, so I thought I would try this with my flower petals to see what happened.   

I wanted to take this a little bit further with the next flower I made, so I added two rows of petals on top of each other.  I really like this effect!  


So happy was I with all the petals curling that I took this another step forward and went for maximum curl ... this is my favourite flower.
I haven't finished yet.  I am going to make some more flowers and use them to make a very striking piece of jewellery.  I will save the result for another blog post as I haven't finished making all the component parts yet!
I was not alone when I made these flowers.  I had three very eager children watching and desperate to make their own flowers.  So, I chopped off some slices of my flower cane and let them have a go at making a flower too.  Here are their results .....

I think they look fantastic, but then I would because I am their Mum!  They look like a pen and ink drawing, very striking and artistic.  When they are not looking .... I am going to place them on some white textured paper, add a black mount and frame them in a black box frame.  Unfortunately, they all want to take them to school to show their class and I am not sure if they will survive the journey .... we will see!
This is my first entry in the challenge!  Hooray!
Sarah xx

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monthly Make - January 2013

Many times I have recieved a compliment about my work followed by .... "...but what would I do with those beads?......"  So, I have decided to start a new monthly blog called the Monthly Make.  In  this I will challenge myself to find a way of using my beads .... This challenge will not include using my beads for jewellery but other ways in which my beads can be used!

Ok, so here goes ........

Felt Flower Brooches!

1.  Make yourself a card template in the shape of the petal that you would like. As it is coming up to Valentines day I decided to make a heart shaped petal but you could have round, oval, triangular or something more elaborate.  There are many, many options.  I also made a large and a small template for different sized petals. Then, using your templates cut out 5 large petals and 3 small petals (or as many as you would like).

2.  This is where you can let your creativity flow and decorate the edges of your petals, add sequins ... embroider flowers, make them as pretty as you like or just leave them plain and simple.  Both can be equally as effective!  I like to stitch around the outside of my petals in a contrasting colour.

3.  Once your petals are ready, it is time to construct the flower.  This bit can be a little fiddly .... or it may just be me!  You are trying to achieve a little pucker when you gather all the petals together.  The way I do this is to do a running stitch through the base of each petal and then carefully pull them all together into a bundle.  When I have them all arranged the way I want them, I securely stitch all the petals together.


4.  Repeat step 3 with the smaller petals. Then stitch these into the centre of the large flower.

5.  We are now in a position to decorate the centre of the flower.  I had a quick look through my bead box and found this very lonely purple lentil bead.  I like to clash my colours!  I stitched the bead into the centre of the flower.  The orientation of the bead will depend on the surface decoration.  I have used one of my implosion beads in the first photograph and I finished this off with a tiny seed bead to cover the bead hole.  I have placed the purple lentil bead on it's side so the bead hole isn't visible.

6.  Now, depending what you want to use your flowers for, you may/may not want to add a brooch pin.  I must confess that I am not a very neat sewer as you can see from the photograph below .... So, if I wasn't going to add a brooch pin I would hide this by gluing a red circle on the top using my glue gun.  If I was going to add a brooch pin I would sew it directly onto the flower.  I would then open the pin and attach a patch of felt over the back of the brooch pin.  It finishes the flower quite neatly!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and if you have a go .... I would love to see your flowers!

Sarah xx

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 Here I come!

I spent last week working hard getting all my accounts ready and sorting out all of my tax.  I was quite surprised at the amount of glass I have accumulated over the last year and all the different colours I had stashed away.  Whilst I was doing a stock check I also decided to give my studio a good clean.  I don't think I have seen the surface of my desk for quite some time and now it is a shiny sparkling wonder of cleanliness. 
All of my tangled and untidy stringers (thinner bits of glass used for decorating the suface of beads) are all put away in any container I can find .... looking very messy but not on my nice clean desk.
I have an old plant pot full of sand from Exmouth Beach (I think) holding all my mandrels in place ... ready for action ....
Now I thought having a good clean and tidy would also bring lots of inspiration but it seems to have had the reverse effect!  Help!  I am starting 2013 with no ideas, an empty mind, a thoroughly clean studio .... have I cleaned too much?  Have I cleaned away all my inspiration? 
I always go back to my photos of Barcelona for inspiration .... but even they aren't  helping me this morning!  What to do when these moments occur?  Write a blog post about having a nice clean studio and a mind empty of all inspiration, hoping that something will occur as these words are being written.
I am waiting for a Eureka moment to occur within the synapses of my brain!  Apparently the human brain is estimated to have between 100 - 500 trillion synapses .... so something should be happening deep within my cerebral cortex very soon! ....... I hope ......
Sarah xx

Monday, January 7, 2013

Beadscrumptious in Bloom!

Periwinkle Beads.

Britain in Bloom!  This is a competition held every year by the Royal Horticultural Society.  Villages, Towns and Cities are transformed with beautiful floral displays to win the Britain in Bloom award for that particular year.  It was started in 1963 by the British Tourist Board until 2002 when the Royal Horticultural Society became the lead organiser.  Quite often on our family travels we have passed through towns and villages displaying their Britain in Bloom winning plaque! 

2012 brought my own little tribute to Britain in Bloom!  I made quite a few lampwork floral sets, in many different colours and usually inspired by a particular flower I had seen that morning on my walk back from the school bus.  So to finish 2012 and welcome in the New Year 2013 (I love odd numbers) I thought I would share some of my own 2012 Beadscrumptious in Bloom!

My adventure making floral beads began with this little bead!

This developed into the Periwinkle series of beads at the top of the page.  I used these beads to make some pretty pieces of jewellery.


Well, it is no secret that the weather in Britain this year was a complete washout! So, to keep myself sane because I really do love blue skies, flowers and summer time.  I just kept making happy flowers trapped within the glass, suspended in time ... a bit like our summer this year!

I had my own little summer happening in shed/studio/shed!  To finish off my year I made myself some periwinkle beads with a little extra sparkle!

I haven't quite decided where I am going with the floral beads this year but I am sure I will have some fun along the way.
Some of the beads featured in this post are available in my shop on Etsy (soon to be on my website shhhh don't tell anyone yet)..... Beadscrumptious on Etsy!
Sarah xx