Thirty Things Hath September

…Well, maybe not quite thirty things since some of these took more than one day to complete! But still, I crafted every day. Can’t believe I’m now into the last quarter of the year and it’s time to start thinking about making things for Christmas presents.

My favourite September ‘make’ was more of a ‘makeover’: a probably-1930s octagonal library table that was battered and sad and had spent a year in a damp garage followed by a year in a dusty and spidery garden shed. Its veneer was splintery and stained beyond my ability to repair, but the structure was sound in all its joints, so I cleaned it, evicted the spiders, and decoupaged the whole thing with an assortment of vintage book pages. The top is a map of our local ‘patch’ from an old atlas. Four sticky, smelly coats of yacht varnish gave it a nice antique-y golden glow and it’s now back in action and proving very useful.

After a week of paper, glue and varnish it was a relief to get back to the beads! I’ve been trying to come up with some new designs for possible tutorials. Don’t ask me what stitch those hex pieces are, because I really don’t know. Although I came up with a few unprintable suggestions in the course of trying to figure out how to make the turn at the end of a row. Stay tuned.

At the end of the month I got the sewing machine out again and recycled a pair of old curtains, a bedspread and a grey felt blanket left behind by the removals company – all in the cause of re-covering three bentwood armchairs that we suddenly realised were twelve years old and getting rather tired in the upholstery department. This was my biggest-ever sewing project so far and I’m delighted with the results. I’ve known and loved this fabric all my life and now I get to see it – and more importantly, use it – every day. Plus, it’s proved to the family that there IS a point to my zealously hoarded vintage fabric stash!

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A Thing A Day in August… was quite hard work!

Summer holidays, family fun, lots of things to do and plenty of sunshine to laze in… August was fantastic. But sometimes making a thing-a-day was a hard commitment to stick to. So one or two things went over more than one day… and on one or two days I might have made more things (or fewer) than exactly one… but who was counting?

Anyway, here are the results of my work and play. Mostly play. I like the Scilly holiday diary books best but they were also the biggest challenge since I had taken no crafting materials with me and had no tools other than nail scissors. The free sewing kit from our first night in a hotel was absolutely crucial!

The most useful make of the month was definitely altering the kitchen curtains so they have nice free-running curtain rings instead of daft sticky fabric tabs that look great but don’t actually move along the curtain poles. It made me take the curtains down and wash them as well. I think I can safely say that I am no longer scared of my sewing machine now…

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A Thing a Day in July… helps the time to fly

Aha! I am a step ahead of myself here – there is a folder in with July’s photos that already has all the thing-a-day things neatly sorted into it. I must have been bored. Or putting off doing something more important. Anyway July was hot, hot, hot and sunny and I loved every minute of that blue sky and warmness. Lots of these things were made in the garden…

A few of these were abject failures, but even so they were worth doing – you never know whether something will work until you try. And sometimes not even then. But at least you know how NOT to do it the next time…

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A Thing A Day in June… keeps your mojo in tune (or something)

June was great. I like June. The days are long, and I do prefer to bead in daylight. Somehow the colours never look quite right under electric light…

I carried on with my self-appointed task and reached the half-way point. I did a little happy dance. I don’t think anybody else noticed. But then I’m not really doing this for anybody else, am I?

Still, if there is anybody else reading this, here is what I did in June.

Oh. Apparently I made a blue beaded bead pendant twice. Filing system FAIL! If I find out what I actually did make on the 22nd (or was it the 23rd?) I’ll come back and let you know…

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A Thing A Day… Adds Up To A Lot Of Things by May!

Wow. There really are a lot of days in a year. You realise this if you mark each one by making something – or part of something – and then look back at the pile of somethings!

May’s pile of Things was a good one, made more exciting by the fact that I was also working in secret on an entry for the Battle of the Beadsmith competition organized by the Beadsmith company over on Facebook. I wasn’t allowed to show and share it before the end of the month, although now of course I can slot its photo into the gallery. It deserves its own post… meanwhile you can check it out on FB here… and do have a browse through all the other photo albums, there were some utterly awesome entries for this year’s Battle!

OK, on to the gallery for May:

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A Thing A Day Keeps the Blues Away – April

This gallery contains 30 photos.

Oops, I’ve got behind with posting these photos. As well as with many other things… but NOT with my year-long challenge! Here are April’s ‘makes’. Some big, some small, some a last-minute rush, but all keeping my creative urges satisfied. … Continue reading

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A Thing A Day Keeps the Blues Away: March

Oops, I seem to have got behind myself with posting photos. But rest assured, the Thing-A-Day Challenge is still on track even though some of the Things are still rather minimal.

March was cold and wet here in the UK and it seemed that Spring would be a long time coming (which indeed it was: I am typing this in May and still wearing a winter fleece jacket as I look out of my window at the green leaves on the trees!) but I tried to cheer myself up with some spring-themed and colourful makes. In between I did a lot of experimenting and submitted a bunch of designs to Beadwork magazine, one of which was accepted and will be published in December, so watch this space – I’m not allowed to show it to you yet.

Here are my March makes:

I learned quite a few things making these. F’r example, it’s really hard to make a dodecahedron with heavy, slippery crystal pearls… and you should never attempt to incorporate ‘peanut’ beads into a cabochon bezel because the little beggars stick inwards as well as outwards. And a light pull cord needs a surprisingly large-holed lampwork bead (the light pull is the most minimal make but it certainly wasn’t the quickest)!

Stay tuned for April’s makes coming soon. Meanwhile you can check out my recent adventures in upholstery on the Craft Pimp Forum blog…

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A Thing A Day Keeps the Blues Away… February

Somehow I’ve managed, by hook or by crook, to continue making something every day for another whole month…

It’s definitely been a good habit to get into: it’s still producing lots of new ideas and it’s making me actually get on and use materials that I’ve been hoarding for years. Plenty of those still to go, some of them very precious and intractable, but I am determined to make myself work with them instead of just stroking them for the umpteenth time and putting them back in the box.

Anyway here are February’s offerings:

And I’m still crafting away at a thing a day!

(plus a few secret things that I can’t show you yet ;) )

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A Thing A Day Keeps The Blues Away… January

This gallery contains 31 photos.

It’s been a long chilly winter and it ain’t over yet. Many things have conspired to keep me away from my poor neglected website; I am planning a big spring-clean and update but it’s going to take me a while. … Continue reading

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I’ve been away. I’m back. I entered a contest.

Beaded bead pendant 'Take Five' for Beadwork's Anniversary Contest

'Take Five'

Real life has been somewhat of a trial recently and this blog has been one of the many things that have fallen by the wayside.

However, I am back, I am beading again, and I was determined to finish my entry for Beadwork Magazine’s 15th Anniversary Beaded Bead Contest. They’ve printed one pattern in each issue this year and the finished jewellery item had to feature at least one of each.

I adapted all the patterns to have some kind of five-fold symmetry: three are now dodecahedra and the other two are pentagonal instead of hexagonal or square. This was an interesting challenge and one that I really enjoyed. The dodecahedron is such a satisfying shape and thanks to having been on a ‘Platonic Solids’ workshop with the fabulous¬†Laura McCabe a couple of years back, I now understand how to put one together!

I strung the beads into a pendant and added a beaded bail, then hung it on five lengths of fine copper chain and added a clasp.

Click on the link to visit the contest gallery; you can vote for as many entries as you like and there are plenty to choose from. Just click on your chosen image and then on the pale blue ‘Vote for this!’ link to the right of the enlarged picture.

And I promise not to be away for quite so long before my next post!

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