Events, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Update

New Beginnings

Hello!

It’s been a while, but I’m back!

I was struggling for a long time with running my craft business in the midst of this horrific pandemic.  I have been working at the day job throughout – initially just part-time in the office, but the last couple of weeks, I am back to fulltime.  I am fortunate enough to work just a short walking distance from my house.  There are only a few of us in the office, and we have a lovely large space, so can spread out nicely.  Being in the building trade, we are already super conscious about Health and Safety, so I actually feel safer at work than I do going to the supermarket!

But, getting back to Athena Makes!!!! I am finally getting my ass in gear! I posted about this on my page recently, so apologies if you have already read this, but at the beginning of the year I was actually seriously considering closing Athena Makes down. I had completely lost my mojo, I wasn’t loving anything I was making, and I seriously struggle trying to sell items I don’t love myself! Sales were down, a lot of the emporiums I take part in were either postponed, cancelled, or the organisers of them just didn’t seem to be giving them the time it needed. I was feeling quite lost, and despondent, and honestly didn’t see a way forward.

Being made to stay home, and change our ways of life actually gave me the boost I needed to get creating again.  I was a slow process, but my embroidery mojo has returned!  It really is hard to put into words how good this made me feel. I absolutely love my jewellery making, but embroidery is what makes me feel good about myself! The therapeutic value of stabbing a needle into something cannot be valued highly enough!

I have been working on some new ranges!  I have a range of floral creatures – so far a fox, elephant, narwhal and penguin, with plans to do many more.

I started a new range of quote hoops – uplifting, meaningful, or just plain funny quotes.  But possibly my favourite new range is my vintage hoops.  I have a huge stash of vintage fabrics, trims and embellishments that I have been collecting for years.  Putting these together with modern embroidery techniques is so much fun, and I am loving the results!

I have also still been making jewellery.  I have been working on new chainmaille designs, and have been raiding my gemstone stash for some new designs with sterling silver.

I am also finally getting my Etsy shop updated – I am regularly adding links to the newly listed pieces as they are uploaded. Some of these you may have seen before, but now they will all be available in one place.  I have got a quite a backlog to get through, so if there is anything in particular you would like adding – just shout!

I have also launched a new scheme this month – RAOK boxes (Random Act Of Kindness).  At the beginning of every month I will be putting post up on my facebook page, where people can nominate themselves, or a friend to receive a box of goodies.  There will be handmade items from me (of course!), handmade goodies that I will be purchasing from other small businesses (spreading the love!) together with bits of stationery, tea, and chocolate!

I will pop the link below for this months post.

I think that’s it! If you have made your way through all that – Thank you, and well done!!!! It really does mean a lot to me when you leave a little comment, or a like on my post. And I love to answer questions!

Love and huge (socially distanced) hugs.

Zoe

Xx

RAOK Link

Inspiration, Uncategorized, Update

June 2020

Hi Everyone!

I always seem to be apologising for how long it is since I last posted!  At the beginning of the year, I had the best of intentions for at least monthly posts.  I had a list of topics to focus on each month, and had ideas for competitions, and giveaways for you all.

Then Covid-19 happened.  I honestly don’t know what to say about the last few months.  I think we have all verged between fear, anger, resignation, apathy, and empathy.  There have been times that I could have easily sat and cried, or screamed.  The one thing that I strongly believed was that the only saving grace of this pandemic was that it was bringing people back together (while socially distancing!)  It was starting to help communities care about each other again.  Neighbours were helping neighbours.  People were checking in with their families and loved ones, it was starting to feel like people were starting to re-focus on the important things in life.

Then another in a long stream of black men was killed by a member of the police force that is supposed to serve and protect them, and the world started to fracture again.  I am incredibly lucky to live in a country where this level of racism is rare.  It certainly still exists in the UK, and it is horrific that in this day and age racism exits anywhere, but the scenes in America are truly heart-breaking.

Many people will wonder why I am posting this.  I am a white woman living in the UK that could not possibly have any understanding of the pain racism causes.  But what I do have is a voice.  What I do have is a page, and a forum where I can speak out, and I should.  Everyone who has a voice, should speak out.  Long gone is the time of silence, and “minding your own business”.  This is every human beings business, and we have a duty to stand by our black communities, and unite with them to fight.

Tomorrow I will be sending out an update blog, which I hope will make people smile, and be uplifting, but for today, I just want to finish with the following quotes, which I think sum it up

“I am not black, but I stand with you”

“I understand that I cannot begin to understand, but I stand”

Events, Inspiration, Update

2019 Roundup!

Hello everyone!

It seems like an age since I have blogged, so brace yourselves for a long one!

It has been a busy few months of crafting, classes and the day job!

In November I made my annual pilgrimage to the Knitting and Stitching show at Harrogate – it was a jam packed day, full of lovely shopping, workshops, inspiration, and I even got to meet one of my idols, the fantastic Georgina Bellamy (That Embroidery Girl).

I bought lots of goodies which I will be putting to good use on some new projects that I have planned in for next year – more about that later!

More recently, I have been experimenting!  I have been making jewellery for about 20 years now, but one thing I hadn’t tried was resin.  I bought myself a little starter kit from Resin8 a while ago (Link below) and I have to admit I put it in the cupboard and forgot about it.  Browsing on Facebook recently I started seeing quite a few resin pieces, and it reminded me about the kit – so I dug it out, and gave it a go!   What can I say?????? I’m hooked!  I absolutely love working with resin!  There are just so many possibilities!  You take this boring looking product, add colour, glitter, whatever, pop it in a mould, and the next day you have an amazing, individual item! 

Needless to say, I got straight online and ordered more supplies, and I have been playing ever since!  I have tried out adding colour, adding mica powder, adding glitter, and even adding dried flowers and shells!  The initial results were………ummm, I’ll call it interesting!  After the first batch, I could easily see where I had gone wrong – too many bubble, not enough resin, or too much resin!  But I am very happy to say the next batch turned out so much better – and I have some pieces I absolutely love!  I went to a posh dinner the other night, and wore one of my new resin pendants, and I received some lovely compliments on it – which absolutely made my night!

I have plans for lots more resin goodies coming up!

So, this leads me on to future plans!  In 2020 I really want to focus on growth.  I have been ticking along quite nicely for the last few years, but in 2020 I really want to challenge myself!

I will be continuing to work on my “For the Love of Bees” range –  this includes a variety of bee makes in different forms of embroidery, beadwork, and jewellery.    I will be developing a new range of mixed media embroidery works – incorporating different elements of fabric, and embellishments to form a range of nature inspired hoops.

I will be running another Stitch-A-Long!  I ran the first of these in September, and it was so much fun!  The next one will probably be in February – watch out on my Facebook page for more details.

Thinking about jewellery makes – I will be focusing on more high end pieces, using sterling silver.  I have a charm bracelet range coming soon, which I am hoping to expand as the year goes on.  I will be working on more chainmaille makes, as these seem to be popular, and I will definitely be working on more resin!  I have two weeks away from the day job over Christmas and the New Year, so will be using this time to practice, and to start producing the first saleable items! 

I think that’s all I have to tell you for now!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your kindness and your support over 2019.  It truly means the world to me!  As a little thank you, (and to thank you for reading this far)  I would like to offer the first 5 people to either comment on here, or message me, a £5 gift voucher off any future purchase – no end date, so you can use it whenever you like!  The voucher is  valid from any purchase made directly on Facebook, Instagram, or from any online Emporium I am taking part in!

So, last but not least, I wish you all Yuletide Blessings, a Merry Christmas, and a very happy, healthy and safe New Year.

Love

Zoe xx

Course Review, Inspiration, Uncategorized, 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/

Events, Inspiration, Update

What have I been up to lately?

Quite a long update for you today!  Points to everyone who manages to get to the end!!!!

I have been continuing to challenge myself with my work recently – which I am really enjoying!

One of my recent makes was the beaded hedgehog – I hadn’t done any bead embroidery for a little while, and decided to throw myself back in at the deep end!  I love how he turned out, but at the time I really thought I had bitten off more than I could chew!  Those spikes took a loooooong time to do!  Every bead is added by hand, then the spikes stitched in place.  I’m sure you can imagine, it took quite a while to do!  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed bead embroidery though – there will definitely be some more coming soon!

I have been lucky enough to be able to collaborate with one of my absolute favourite artists recently.  The amazing Christiana of Canea Chrysalis very kindly designed a pattern for me based on her fabulous Paperhorns!  (Disclaimer – Christiana is one of my bestest friends) It was a total honour to work on the design, and I am super happy with how it turned out!     If you don’t know about the world of the Paperhorns – check out the Facebook page here www.facebook.com/CaneaChrysalis/

Across on my Facebook page I ran a voting poll recently to select an animal art challenge piece.  There was a list of unusual/obscure creatures, and the followers of my page got to like, or comment on the one/s they wanted to see!  The results were quite varied, and unexpected, but the winner was the Pangolin!  I love pangolins so much, but they are not the easiest of things to embroider!  Getting the detail in, while working with a very limited palette was quite a challenge!  I do love how he turned out though – and he is available should anyone like to adopt him!

Pangolin

I am already planning ahead for the next Makers Emporium event (which will be the 31st May)  The theme this month is all things Floral.  I have already completed a trio of Floral Affirmation hoops – I love this type of design – Simple, but effective!  These three will all be available on the night, alongside some floral animal hoops I am currently working on, and possibly another little surprise!

I am trying to get this all done in advance as I am off on my holibobs next week!  A week in glorious Norfolk, with my lovely mum and the dogs.  The plan is chilling, drinking eating, and maybe a little bit of crafting!  After that I am back at the day job for a few days, then I am on jury duty for a fortnight!  I am not sure if I am looking forward to it or not – but it should be interesting!

Last weekend I attending a full days class on using silver art clay – it was a fantastic day, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I got to make lots of lovely things – but they deserve a blog post all of their own!

I would love to hear what you think of my latest endeavours!  Pop a comment below, or message me!

Bye for now

Zoe

x