Course Review, Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Pause for Thought

Last Tuesday I attended a crafting class.  Not an unusual experience for me – my regular followers know how much I love a craft class!

This time the class was Aromatherapy in Jewellery.  The class was held at the Bead Shop in Nottingham – one of my favourite places to visit!    The class had two parts – the making of the jewellery, followed by the Aromatherapy.  The lovely Steph started off with an over view of what we would be doing, and we got started making a pendant using lava stones.  Once the pendants were complete we got to design our matching bracelets – lava stone and hematite!  The bracelets were made on elastic cord, which I have never used before, so I got to try out something new!

After the jewellery was finished, Karen from Bamboo Yoga took over the class (see below for her details) – It started off with an explanation of her background story, and how Bamboo Yoga came to be, and her passion for oils, yoga, and clean living – and her complete faith in the healing benefits of oils.

Then we got started on the oils!  Karen had bought a selection of oils which we were able to smell (divine!) and as we went along she explained the benefits and the uses of the individual oils.  It was absolutely fascinating, and the time flew by!  After a very thorough talk, where we were able to discuss individual points of concern, or particular ailments we all suffer from, we were then able to select an oil to use on our jewellery – and we got to take a small vial home with us as well!

By chance, we all chose the Lavender oil – which smells absolutely glorious!  We applied it to the jewellery, and I could immediately feel a sense of relaxation coming over me.

I could have happily stayed there chatting for hours!  The class really did fly by, and it gave me so much food for thought, which is what this post is really about!

I have been thinking for a long time about lifestyle.  In todays modern world, everything is so immediate, and fast.  People don’t take time for self care anymore, and I think it is fairly safe to say we all feel the downside of this.  Everything we drink, eat, use on our skin, use in our house – it is all packed full of chemicals.  Which cannot be good for us.  We are obsessed with social media – we spend hours and hours every day looking at the phone in our hand, instead of seeing the beauty of nature around us.  Connectivity has never been so easy, but we are so disconnected from each other and the world around us.

I have been suffering with niggly ailments for so long now.  Nothing major, but a series of annoying illnesses, periods of anxiety and stress, and an overall sense of things just “not being right”.

Sitting in the class, listening to Karen talk really made me start to think about all these things.  Changes that I need to make, things I need to do, the most important of all, to just take time for me. 

So……what does all this mean?  It means I need to take stock of my life, and decide how I want to live it.  It really is that complicated, and also that simple!  I really think it is fate that someone comes along at just the right time to prompt you to sit and consider the things that have been at the back of your mind for so long.  Watch this space as I delve into the realms of healthy living!

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Where am I?

Christmas is a coming, and I am taking part in a selection of online emporiums between now and Christmas! 

8th to 11th November      Paper Panda & Friends Emporium            https://www.facebook.com/groups/PPFEmporium/

30th November                  Enchanted Christmas                     https://www.facebook.com/events/306022997012242/

3rd & 4th December                          The Makers Emporium                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/498933563623248/

7th December                     Paper Panda & Friends Christmas Stocking Fillers                  https://www.facebook.com/groups/PPFEmporium/

Love and hugs

Zoe xx

Bamboo Yoga    https://www.bambooyoga.net/

Facebook            https://www.facebook.com/yogabamboo

Uncategorized, Course Review, Inspiration, Update

Wire Work

Wirework

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe it’s August already!  Where is this year going??????  I have just realised how long it has been since my last blog post, and I have been so naughty neglecting it!    But…….you may be happy to know (or not!) that I have just brainstormed a load of topics for future blog posts, so stay tuned!

Anyway, to catch you all up on what has been happening in my little corner of the world……..

I recently attended a wirework jewellery class.  It was run by the very lovely Jo of Willow Moon jewellery (See link below) and the class was to make a wirework bracelet and ring in copper wire.  Jo also offered the option to make in sterling silver, for a very small extra fee.  I really wanted to make something that I could wear every day, so I went for the sterling silver option!

After a good introductory chat from Jo, where she explained all about what we would be making, the different options, and an overview of the tools we would be using, we got started!  I chose to do a sleek, non-beaded bracelet.  Jo measured out the wire we would need, and we got to work! The design used seven lengths of wire, and I swapped two of them for copper to add another pretty element.

All throughout the day Jo explained, and demonstrated, each technique very clearly and by mid-afternoon myself, and the other three ladies had all managed to finish our bracelets!  They were all very different – but equally beautiful!    To finish off the class, we then made wire wrapped rings!  Jo had a lovely assortment of beads for us to choose from, and I think we all managed to make at least two!  They were quite quick and easy, and huge amounts of fun!

Jo had also brought some examples of her own work in, which were completely drool-worthy!  She also had an assortment of semi-precious cabochons, and the most gorgeous lilac coloured pearls that she explained a lady had used in a previous workshop to make her bridal tiara!  How amazing is that!

The class ended far too quickly for me!  I could have stayed on for hours!  But Jo did send me home with the copper wire that I would have used for the standard class option, so I had goodies to play with at home! 

Needless to say, when I got home I promptly got my tools out and had a practice, and managed to make another two, slimmer, bracelets! 

So,  the end of this tale is that I have completely fallen in love with wirework!  I ordered some supplies in, and I have been practising!  Many of you will know that I have a hoard of gemstones and beads, and this is giving me a fantastic chance to use some of them!

I have made myself a pendant in a similar style to my bracelet, and a couple of wire tree of life pendants, wrapped around some gorgeous labradorite!

I will keep you updated on my wirework experimentations, but I also wanted to quickly mention a big upcoming project.   Starting from the 1st September, I am running a month long Stitch-A-Long!  There are plenty of details on my facebook page and group, but this will also have its own blog post shortly!

In the meantime, I hope you are all enjoying the lovely weather – stay safe!  Wear sunscreen!

Hugs

Zoe

https://www.facebook.com/willowmoonjewellery/

Course Review, Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized

2018 Round Up!

Happy New Year!

I would like to wish you all the very best of wishes for 2019 – may you all be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise in 2019!

The beginning of a new year is the time when I like to do a little reminiscing of the previous years – the highs, the lows, and everything in-between.

2018 was, on the whole, a good year for me.   I was able to combine my love of crafting, with learning new skills and techniques, and put them to (hopefully) good use!

To finish off this year of blog posts, I thought I would have a little run through of my favourite projects of the year!

1 & 2.  Early in the year I started to combine my love of embroidery with my love of beads – the first project I did was this pretty beaded butterfly.  A range of insects and creatures followed, including the little bee!

3. While learning bead embroidery techniques, I came across Shibori ribbon. This beautiful hand dyed ribbon used in jewellery creates the most beautiful effect – This was my first necklace, and I was super pleased when one of my gorgeous friends purchased it, and it went winging its way to the US.

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4 & 5.     In my Facebook group, I have a challenge post whereby group members can challenge me to design a hoop based on a theme of their choice – My two favourites this year have been the Northern Lights, and Sunset.

6. Summer saw my friend’s daughter getting married, and I was super proud to stitch this hoop to commemorate the big day. I am thinking of offering similar as a commission next year!

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7. More experimentation!   This time with beading!  I taught myself to do Peyote stitch beading, and had sooooo much fun learning how to make these little tube pendants.

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8 & 9.     This is perhaps my most favourite hoop I have ever made.  I love this fox design.  It is so pretty, and intricate.  I really wanted to push myself to work on a more detailed design, and I think I achieved it with this.  I followed this up with a whitework version!  I love how the same pattern looks so completely different just be taking away the colour.

10. If you follow my Facebook page, you will already be aware of my love of thread! I am a compulsive thread buyer, and I am not ashamed!  Hand dyed threads are my weakness – they come in the most beautiful colours, and variations, and I think the seahorse sets these off beautifully.

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11. October & November saw me making forays into the world of chainmaille! This came about following discussions in my Anglo Saxon history nightclass (have I mentioned I’m a bit of a geek!)  The first weave I learnt was Byzantine, which is shown beautifully in this copper bracelet

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12 & 13. Never satisfied with keeping things simple, I experimented a little more with the chainmaille after I came across these fabulous coloured rings!  One of my beautiful friends promptly named the first colour range unicorn, and I absolutely could not resist making a rainbow version.

14. I have been collecting (or hoarding) lampwork glass beads for literally years now! I finally decided it was about time I got to using some!  This rainbow bead came from the fabulous Sally Sutherland, and I think it paired perfectly with the Swarovski sparkles!

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15. One of the new ranges I will be working on in 2019 is a botanical range – this simple, elegant leaf design is the first in the range. I envisage this on the wall in a beautiful conservatory!

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16. My last hoop of 2018! I thought it was very fitting to end on a unicorn!  Again, this is a much more detailed design, stitched with gorgeous threads I purchased at the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate.

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So there we have it!  A few of my favourite makes of 2018.  Throughout the year I was privileged enough to work on a number of commission pieces for people, and I attended some fantastic classes, which have really helped to expand my skills, and my confidence.  I am looking forward to more in 2019! 

I will be releasing some new embroidery hoop ranges, which I am very excited about, I am working on some different mixed media makes, and I am expanding my jewellery range to include more sterling silver pieces, and some new chainmaille designs.  Just because I love you, here are a couple of peeks!

Well, if you made it to the end of this looooooong post – thank you!

Here’s to a fabulous 2019 – see you all soon!

Zoe x

Uncategorized, Course Review

Wire Wrapping Class

On Saturday I took myself off to Nottingham for the day again, to attend another class at the Nottingham Jewellery School (which is fast becoming my favourite place to visit).  This months class was Wire Wrapping, with the fabulous Angela Askins of Angleberry Jewellery.

The day started with an introduction to wire, the different types, strengths etc. and what to look for in a good working wire.  Angela had also brought her bead boxes with her, which I could have happily spent the rest of the day playing with!!!!!!

After a brief overview of the tools we would be working with, we got started.  The first task was to master turning loops and making our own ear-wires.  I was particularly interested in this, as I get through a lot of earwires!  We practised this for a little while, then moved on to making earrings wrapped with beads.

A short break for lunch, then back to it – in the afternoon session we were making figure of eight links, which could be used for so many things, then on to a wire wrapped ring!   Angela gave full instructions on how to get the sizing right, and how to make sure the ring is finished perfectly, so it is comfortable to wear.  We had a little time left at the end of the day, so practised making spirals, and adding beads.

It really was a thoroughly enjoyable day, with a lot of laughter, and I went home with two finished pieces of jewellery, and the makings for several more.  As soon as I got home I added bails to the two spiral pendants, and used the figure of eight links to make a bracelet!

I noticed today that the course is being run again next year – if you are able to get to Nottingham, I highly recommend booking yourself on it!  Pop across to the Focus Galleries website for details of all the upcoming courses.  I can’t wait for the next one!

https://www.focusgallerynottingham.com/

Until next time…….