Thursday, 30 December 2010

Here's to 2010!

Which started off a little ropey with. . .

January's wisdom tooth of doom and us not moving house when we were supposed to

In February we didn't move house and I made some wedding jewellery

In March we didn't move house, I became increasingly grumpy which was relieved by a trip north

Then there was April when we said our goodbyes to the Midlands and, after seven months of house selling shenanigans we moved to the Scottish borders!

May was all about settling into our new abode and starting to finally realise the sea glass and pottery jewellery ideas which had been brewing for years

June was full to the brim with local visits, learning new jewellery making techniques and launching my very own website!

July I continued working hard, announced a new stockist in The Smokehouse Gallery and had a wee holiday when my parents came to visit

August brought visits from much missed friends, jewellery work shops and my first fair since we moved

In September we celebrated the start of a new term without going back to school, I appeared in the local paper, attended another fair, visited Crossing Borders Open Studios, made my first bezel set ring, provided Chirnside Gallery with some jewellery, foraged for elderberries and damsons and enjoyed some stormy seas

October led to two more fairs, many new jewellery designs and seeing R's painting exhibited

November brought three new gallery stockists and snow, lots of snow which was beautiful but cancelled my last Christmas fair

Now December brought festive joy and R asking me a very important question* to which I answered yes!

Happy New Year Everyone!


*yes, I meant he proposed and yes, we are very excited!

Friday, 24 December 2010

24th December Christmas Stars

A perfect treat to leave for Santa this Christmas Eve and to keep little hands busy as excitement mounts!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

19th December Cranberry and Pear Pies

I have a confession to make amidst all this festivity: I do not like mince pies. This recipe looks like it just might fill the pie gap!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

16th December Mulled Wine

* I haven't tried this recipe but it does look mighty fine!

Fancy giving mulled wine as a gift or need a simpler recipe? See this recipe from 4Food.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

15th December Christmas Crackers

Now you can put your own choice of treats, jokes and hats inside your own handmade crackers! Cracker snaps are widely available to buy online and there should just be time for delivery if you order now, in the mean time start saving your bog rolls!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Eleven

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

  • Worry
  • Lethargy
  • Wasting my time on things I'm not digging
  • Jealousy
  • The need to explain why I'm doing what I'm doing
  • Being defensive
Only 6?

See point 3.

11th December Bath Bombs

The Excellent Living Guide offer both a Bath Bomb for Beginners Guide and a huge 48 page guide to the process all for free! Generous souls! I really want to try this, but might wait until I'm back in NI as bad things might happen in my suit case if I attempt to bring my first attempt home!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Ten

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

After an age of faff (not on our part) we made a decision which allowed us to move.

We now live somewhere where people create scenarios and sculptures on the beach.

I'd say that it's all played out rather well.

10th December Baileys and White Chocolate Fudge

A delicious gift or treat for you! Think I am going to make some of this for our post man as a thank you. We've doubled his work load since we moved in!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Nine

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

My socks have been rocked by many a dinner with people I love on this side of the Irish sea. Now I am very much looking forward to Christmas with my fabulous family, some of whom I haven't seen in over a year.

I cannot wait until the yarns over a drink with friends, catching up on all the happenings, looking forward to exciting things (happening very soon for some people!) seeing how children have grown, walking the dogs, seeing my brother's new house and more importantly seeing the siblings themselves! Yay!

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A fabulous read, highly recommended.

9th December Christmas Card Gift Box

A great way to upcycle old Christmas cards into pretty little gift boxes. Tutorial from Spotted Sparrow.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Seven

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Since moving into the new community where I now live I have retained a shy distance which I'd like to ditch and really get to know the people I'm meeting. Especially the people at Church who have been so kind and welcoming and I still feel a bit socially awkward.

The last time I moved community came so much more quickly and easily as anybody who has worked in a school will probably have felt. Now, working for myself I do not have loads of fab colleagues around. However, I do have the joy of working with R and am also so glad his lovely Mum and Dad are nearby, although we must start varying the times we call round as it always seems to be exactly tea time / dinner time and it's starting to look a bit suspect!

The internet has allowed me to continue a sense of community with friends far and wide and introduced me to so many people through this blog, twitter, Facebook and the Handmade in Europe Artfire Guild. I really appreciate the chat, comments, links and laughs, thank you all.

7th December Lacy Christmas Tree

Monday, 6 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Six

Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made are these aqua sea glass and recycled silver star earrings. Next year I am hoping to clear some space for some more making in addition to the jewellery; making some marks on paper again and making some progress with the sewing machine which remains untried under my work desk.

6th December Denim Christmas Trees

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Five

Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I let go of being a secondary school English teacher. Even though I left my full time job over two years ago I continued doing supply at my old school and a few others. So it was only when we moved at the end of April that I actually really let go of that job. Last week I had a voice mail from the supply agency I worked for who were just checking if I would be coming back from Scotland as they had work for me! This really made me laugh and no, I'm not coming back!

I have been glad to let go of the too-much-for-one-person workload and very happy that despite being many miles away from the fabulous friends I made I haven't had to let them go. Thank goodness for the internet!

If any of my old students ever stumble across my blog I'd just like to say hello and hope you are doing well!

5th December Quick Sew Christmas Stockings

Saturday, 4 December 2010

New Ear Studs

Pretty new recycled fine silver ear studs now available; hammered sparkly stars and satin effect brushed silver hearts.

Reverb10 Day Four

Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

'Wide eyed wonder'

'Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands hath made'

This phrase and snippet from 'How Great Thou Art' came into my mind when I thought about the whole idea of 'wonder' as did a memory from a radio programme where a couple explained they decided not to have children because they felt they had retained their sense of wonder at the world. I thought that was interesting perspective and nobody can deny the wonder with which children approach the world.

It is more than curiosity isn't it? Wonder is what can happen when you allow yourself to be amazed, surprised, delighted and awed. How to cultivate a sense of wonder then, apart from staring around you, asking questions like a small child and belting out a few verses of How Great Thou Art?
meeting a camel on the way to buy groceries always helps the wonder
The prompt asks how did I cultivate a sense of wonder in the last year. I went out into my surroundings and looked around. I talked to people. I enjoyed books, films, music, paintings, the internet. I took photographs. I prayed. I joined my Church in praise. I sat quietly. I remembered I have my own permission to be as excited as a small child at Christmas time at any given moment.

Perhaps that is why a sense of wonder comes easily to me.

4th December Christmas Pudding Tree Decoration

Laura Howard of Lupin Handmade has kindly added a whole selection of felt and paper craft tutorials on her website including several festive makes.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Reverb10 Day Three

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colours).

Having spent a few years asking my students to do writing tasks like this it is only now sitting down to do one myself I remember how difficult it can actually be! I skipped Day Two's prompt as I arrived late to Reverb and writing is not my central focus. Note I did not say I am not a writer as to do so could potentially risk the wrath of all those students who I challenged over using this very phrase, 'we are all writers' I would declare swishing around the class room to an accompanying chorus of grumbles. However, I do concede it isn't always easy.

Since arriving at our new home there have been many moments of feeling alive again after the dormant winter of waiting. One particular moment happened after a day of working hard on some new pieces, R had been hunched over his drawing and we went for a short walk up the road. The air was crisp and clear with a late summer fragrant chill and it felt good to stretch mind and body away from the work table.

As the road rose we could see over the fields and standing grazing nearby were three deer. I still get such a thrill seeing deer so close and these were so close I could see them without my glasses! After a few moments of silent admiration they noticed our presence and pranced off into the distance as the sun's light faded. By the time we turned to head back it was quite dark and to the reverberating calls of pheasants and owls we strode home feeling fully alive with the happy realisation that we live here.

To get involved in Reverb10 see the website.

3rd December Snow Candle

If you've still got plenty of snow how about trying to build a snow candle, great if you've got guests or just to bring a little festive warmth to the garden. Tutorial found on BBC H2G2.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Reverb10 Day One

For the month of December I will be participating in Reverb10 which is 'an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what's next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we'll do both'.

So here goes . . .

The first prompt: December 1 One Word - Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My word for 2010 has to be moving. I talked about it, thought about it, worried about and finally did it. Moving house, moving countries, moving, moving, moving. To those readers who stuck with me in all my many complaints about the process and to my long suffering friends and family, thank you!

Moving encapsulates more than just the physical up-sticking we have gone through though. My work has started moving in directions I am happier with and excited about and even my online presence has been moving away from the shops here there and everywhere to what is, hopefully, becoming a more coherent, centralised space.

As for 2011 I'm going with progress. I can be a faffer cautious decision maker for all sorts of reasons whether lacking confidence, being a little overwhelmed by choices needing to be made or passing butterflies distracting my attention. Now that the big "brave" things like leaving my job and moving are out of the way I would really like 2011 to be a year of progress.

2nd December Beaded Bauble

This tutorial is coming early as these take a while to make! Last year the ladies on my jewellery making course and I had a go at making some beaded bauble covers and they turned out really well with range of colour combinations used to great effect. However, they are quite time consuming unless you are a swifty pro beader!

Such a beautiful effect and a lovely gift idea. If you would like to buy a kit which includes all instructions, beads, thread and a needle check out the listings over on Damselfly Gemma's Folksy Shop. For just £4.00 you will get everything you need to make a beaded bauble cover like this:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1st December Advent Calendar

Welcome to December and the first in my Advent Calendar of making joy! Over the next 24 days in the lead up to Christmas Day itself there will be a quick link to something festive including a stack of fabulous craft tutorials and recipes! With many thanks to all the people out there on the interwebs who share such brilliant ideas.

Hopefully you will find something fun to make with your family or ideas for handmade gifts, may the festivities begin!

Happy Christmas!

Just in case you've got a little spare time today and no advent calendar!

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