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Sunday, 9 December 2007

Soap Scents

It's been a fun few months. Illness, both mine and the children, has taken up all my time and it's been enough just keeping up with the world let alone adding crafting time on. I have lots of projects in the pipeline and am having fun but not seriously crafting at present. I am still working on image transfer to polymer clay. I can do this and it works well I just can't find a suitable varnish to seal the images. It either stays sticky and doesn't set or sets and then becomes sticky after a few months. Tcch. The fine tuning is always the hardest.

On fine tuning I've been making soap tonight. I have a new base recipe in development which is needing tweaking and I thought tonight I'd go for it and make a full size batch with a nice scent for christmas presents. It looks good so far. I know I shoudn't peek, buthey, we all do it. It's gelling nicely at present so this could be the definitive base. I've made up a new scent mixture as a heavier Christmas smell and have used 4ml ylang ylang, 4ml cinnamon and 12ml sandalwood. A nice treat for the nose and hopefully a good present for my friends.

I've also been fiddling with soap wrapping. I like waxed paper. I like the bareness of it. Thinking on it though I think for the price I charge for a bar of soap maybe bareness is not acceptable. If you want to treat yourself you want something that looks good as well as feel and smell good. That makes it sound as if I overcharge! I don't . One of the reasons this new base recipe is taking so long is that I can't get the price in for less than £5 because there are so many goodies in it. OK if I ever get to be a bulk producer, but those days aren't here yet. Slow and steady and building , but not bulk yet. Anyway I have had a brainwave and have got some lovely paper that is affordable and now I'm prevaricating. Full soap wrap? Or strip of paper round soap? The strip looks good, but for hygiene maybe the full wrap. I need to sleep on it.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Better late than never

Ah well I keep slacking off or never really starting depending on how you look at it, but that's the problem at the moment - I'm having a few problems with my eyesight and so am avoiding computer work unless definitely needed. I know it's not going to make a problem but for reassurance that I'm not making the problem worse I'm resisting the temptation to be on here till all hours.

Anyhoo. Tiaras. I started making tiaras as a fiddly thing to replace jigsaws. Less space, less mess etc. etc. Don't you believe it though. Instead of bits of jigsaw everywhere now there's bits of wire, beads, tools, half finished headpieces...... I have fun though. They're very satisfying to make, and , yes, it's tempting to wear the finished product to do the washing up. Queen for the day and all that.

The last one I've had a chance to concentrate on was the Snow Queen tiara. Small coronet base and rows of wire 'twigs' all threaded with seed beads and wrapped in very thin wire, capped off with wire closed circles. Looks good and stops the beads falling off! It took me from start to finish about 10 hours to make. I think I should have picked bigger beads than seed beads, but then the effect wouldn't have been the same.

This the base of it. The base and main wiring alone took over 3 hours.

Gradually building up and supporting the many fronds.


I have many more ideas in the pipeline but so little time. Funnily enough people seem to like the tried and tested designs rather than trying something new - so I don't get much (or none actually) chance to let my imagination run riot for someone. Anyone out there willing?

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Oh Drat!

Never fiddle with your blog layout on a night shift! I've managed to delete all the buttons and webring codes from here - oh it's going to take a while to put all those back!!!

Maybe later.

Getting there!

Well, who knew that things would be so busy lately! Not only on the work front but at home. Every one of my children is having repeated bugs, one after the other and what with work commitments on top, crafting and blogging are taking a distinct back seat.

My latest mission is to complete the challenge for the latest EtsyUK craft challenge - theme being fairytales. No way will I win, especially after seeing bunny's entry, but I've started and spent hours trying to produce a Snow Queen coronet so I'm determined to finish. I will bloody well finish !!!! I can already see where things could have been easier for me so after spending days thinking it out putting it into action has produced the glitches that I couldn't foresee (although I probably should have!). I have 4 days to finish it in so you never know!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Fabric Heaven

Bit of a late night tonight. Am sitting waiting for my little one to settle. Chickenpox being rife throughout the children this past few weeks the small one is suffering more than most and, even though he's supposed to have recovered, he's still not 100%

Have discovered a wonderful fabric seller with genuine vintage fabric - from the bolt as well. Just have to save my pennies now and then one big shopping spree! Although I did buy some curtain fabric today so have already spent some :-(

As part of the Etsy group we have a swap group which brings up some wonderful items. I got some lovely blue linen like material from Sakura and made a bag with a patterned wool mix. Her material gave the lovely contrast detail and an aqua blue cats eye glass toggle finished the bag with a loop closure. Now my sewing machine is working again (after months and months) I'm pretty happy. 3 visits to the repair man and I was beginning to think of giving up and buying a new one but today - taadaa - it works!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Back on the Bandwagon

Well I started, then I neglected but hopefully now time is going to be a bit kinder to me. A month of night shifts and 3 children with chickenpox have meant I've been hoarding my time a little preciously. Hopefully I'm also going to be able to do some more making as well.

I have plenty of bags in the pipeline but I've now had to take my sewing machine back to the shop twice after a full service as it still stops working mid sew! Maybe I could handsew the bags - possibly add value? Unlikely. Jewellery wise I have some great ideas as well just not enough time or determination at present. I'm waiting on a macro lens for my camera so that might give me the impetus. I don't want to end up with hundreds of things to take photos of in one go. A bit lazy too. So I've been concentrating on soap making. Turned out some nice stuff but have had one complete disaster which I'm going to try and convert tonight. I had to stop in the middle of this batch as one of the children had fallen out of bed! Can't be helped as they're usually so good once tucked up and falling out of bed has never really been an issue - which really surprised me!

On the nature watch front my hedgehog has been either fighting or mating, I'm unsure which. I got quite worried a few weeks ago when all I could hear was load snuffling noises from the garden which turned out to be two hedgehogs having a good sniff. They really are loud once they get going. So we'll have to wait and see. The hedgehog poo count has gone down though so I think only one hedgehog is still here. I think the previous 'incontinence' might have been related to just coming out of hibernation. Just as well because I really wouldn't have thought one little hedgehog could afford to waste that much food.

I also have a red kite that regularly hangs above my garden. I think he must live in the neighbouring woods and he's a real treat to watch flying by. We heard a major commotion the other day only to see him zooming past chasing a goose. I think that would possibly be a bit too much for him in a fight, but the goose wasn't having any of it anyway.

Otherwise I have giant (well not too giant but relatively speaking) spider balls everywhere in my garden. Love to take a proper photo (with a superb macro lens) but this will have to do:

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Ten things about me. Part Three & Final !!!

Now I have a free moment (and the children and husband are sleeping) I can hopefully finish these. Sooo...

6. I started my working life as a computer operator, then programmer (oh the joys of BASIC, COBOL and PASCAl!). I then became a factory worker, shop assistant, groom, bar maid, bouncer (for one night), and the list goes on. I also acquired three degrees along the way. I really wanted to be a pathologist (and not because of Quincy). Instead I applied for a job as a trainee veterinary nurse, but was considered unsuitable. I'm now a nurse and look after human beings - go figure that one!

7. I have an incontinent hedgehog living in my garden. Or, if he's not incontinent he has regular buddy parties in the middle of the night.

8. I failed art & design at school and was asked to leave the class and find something more suitable. Not my fault! I just can't draw! I can copy brilliantly but freehand drawing - no way. (Should I be owning up to that?)

9. My first car was a 1967 old Post Office Bedford van complete with quadrophenic stereo and fully carpeted throughout.

10. I married my first boyfriend, twenty years after we first met (sweet :-))

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Ten things about me. Part Two !!!

2. I've lost my train of thought now. OK. Got one. Back in my twenties I bummed around the country fruit picking. Oh, and firebreathing. I got very good at spitting, and burped paraffin like mad in the pub later! Least I think it was paraffin, which just goes to show (referring back to number 1) that time does fade every memory.

3. I was deported from Singapore after entering the country illegally, about 10 years ago. I shunted off to the mainland and stayed at the top hotel in, I think, Jota Bahru. This was a 20 storey plus monstrosity and I was on the 22nd floor. Confidence building as it was, of the 6 lifts available one was permanently open with a sign in situ stating "Permanently reserved for the fire brigade".

4. I, myself, have gone diving in Alaska. It was actually no colder than diving in Scotland. But then if you've ever been diving in Scotland you'd understand the slight understatement there. I spent the first dive basically bricking myself that a Killer Whale would appear in front of me only to surface to one of the best sights of my life. As I broke the surface of the water a Golden Eagle 'landed' beside me, grabbed a fish and flew away. I'd obviously disturbed his prey enough to distract the fish and enable the eagle to grab an easy meal. Totally awe inspiring seeing the speed and power of that bird.

5. I used to go open ocean swimming with a complete nutter. Why? I don't know. This man was ex-SAS/SBS/who-knows-what but something dark and deadly along those lines. He was navy I just can't remember which 'elite' bit he was. Anyhow, we used to swim out to sea and go hunting sharks and other interesting things. Then all of a sudden he would just disappear from sight only to reappear aeons later after doing what I would class as record breaking breath holding dives. I swear I looked like a struggling fish on the surface the first few times he did that! Shark bait if ever anyone was. He just used to disappear. He'd never let me know he was off. Which after being p'd off the first few times was actually quite good for me because it taught me the value of paying attention to what was going on around me and not just what was in front of me.

Oh yea - and I have swum with one of the most deadliest animals in the sea - a sea snake. Quite a venomous one as well according to the guide books. I actually thought it was a piece of plastic floating in the water. Had a good swim, just a bit nerve wracking trying to make sure I stayed permanently 5 feet away from it. I don't know if snakes value their personal space, but I figured this might be any reasonable animal's zone of tolerance.

I have also nearly had a heart attack when faced by a cod. Anyone seen a real live one? Have you any idea just how large they are? I thought it was a bloody big shark and nearly dropped dead on the spot as it swam towards me!

Tagged!!! 10 Things about me (part one)

Ooh I've just been tagged by Sakura and now am supposed to indulge in a bit of tell all with ten things about me - and then tag ten other people to keep the ball rolling. I'm trying not to read hers as I don't want to be influenced in any way. Ten things though, just pulled out of the air. Well I suppose the first one then is easy.

1. I'm forty this year - I therefore have great claim to not remember things easily unless somebody reminds me about them, or gives me a hint. I apparently fed my son at 3 in the morning the other night and I can't actually remember getting up for him. Although that's probably exhaustion rather than age.

2. Ah well this one will have to wait as I've been called to dinner, because this is MY night and my husband has to do everything!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Ninja Challenge

Wow, it's been a week since I've been here! Busy week though. Trying to find car insurance as my own has gone through the roof. I tried one site that advertise as guaranteeing to be less and they quoted £1500 for the year for me and my husband - I've only got a little Peugeot! Anyway, what with potty training and teething going on and the usual lumps and bumps of childhood this is the first chance I've had. I can't say that things are peaceful around here. I have turfed the kids out to nursery, but the baby is lying in his cot, kicking heck out of the footboard at the moment. So a bit noisy, all in all.
I've got 4 volunteers to test my new soap. I usually use friends and family, but as it seems to have been such a grotty winter for coughs and colds and generally people feeling like crap I've decided to spread the love a bit. Soaps should be ready in a couple of weeks.
As for the ninja challenge, I didn't even get mentioned. Boo hoo. Kezzaroo won. That was really a no brainer, her being the Queen of Ninjas and everything. She produced a wonderful pink & cuddly bedtime ninja, complete with poop panel at the back of his babygro!

Lilley and memake came joint second with a trio of polymer clay ninjas and a ninja purse respectively. Third went to askey for a great ninja greeting card. They can all be viewed through here . Me? I made a baby ninja bandana bib. My only excuse for failing so miserably was that the photo was very bad quality, although I did have a great model!

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Always Fresh

Well, I've been beavering away today starting to reduce prices in my etsy shop for the sale starting 1st april. The site takes such a long time to load that editing is very time consuming.

I've been listing (this time readymades on ebay). Gosh that doesn't half sound like contraband.

Had a sudden design inspiration whilst making soap last night resulting in the flower brooch.

The soap? Still to see. It smells nice although not really of grapefruit & lime, but give it a few weeks and i'll let a few people try it out.

I've finished my etsy uk design challenge producing a baby ninja bandana bib - otherwise known as ninja pig. My son looks really cute with it on!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007


Been a bit poorly lately and am only just starting to catch up with things. However been very busy today.

Have just finished a batch of soap - grapefruit and lime. This is a new mix for me so I'm not certain that I've got the ratio of essential oils right. Still give it a few weeks and i can try one and see!

I'm also getting started on the etsy UK ninja challenge. Deadline is sunday, so hopefully i'll get finished in plenty of time. Entries can be viewed here and I think the final vote will be taken that evening.

Tonight I'm also hoping to finish off a few bits and pieces and also flip through to the etsy Uk myspace blog. I've sadly ignored that for the last week. Hopefully it has been standing up well by itself!

Oh yes - why smarties? Because I got white smarties in the packet today!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Blogging Lots

Am working hard here working out myspace for the group EtsyUK. This place is so much easier to use. Trying to work out my links list for here and re-erecting a fence in the back garden. Now that's an interesting task when done in the dark!

Couldn't do it in the daytime because I couldn't let the kids run amok without me to intervene - twins really do work together and they end up in all sort of fixes, current being trying to take all the pictures off the walls. So had to leave it till hubby home, hence putting up fences in the dark. We do have the kitchen light to help us, but I can't say it does much for my husband not with all the swearing I hear.

I'm on tenterhooks at the moment waiting the delivery of my new overlocker. How sad do you become when you get older and have more children. Something new for me that I can do at home whilst listening out for the children. Oh, hold me back! :-)

The funny thing is, if my husband bought me it for my birthday I would be extremely upset and he would get the silent treatment. Because I bought it for myself ... and he doesn't yet know ... it's a guilty secret and much better than chocolate. Loving it!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Well, Happy Mother's Day folks. I've spent a wonderful day in bed with a vomiting bug that my children gave to me. At least they love me enough to share :-( At least my husband seems to appreciate my hard work a bit more so he's organised icecream for me. Always the way to my heart.
I've had my sewing machine returned and have spent the evening trying to get it to work. No hope. Have to pay to get it serviced. I kind of figured it wouldn't work when the person who borrowed it over a year ago returned it to my mother's house (not mine) and when I took the lid off there was a dead spider in it.
May have to buy a new overlocker after all. My next design idea - Baby Ninja Bandana Bibs!

Friday, 16 March 2007

Still on the introduction!

Oof – what a day. I’ve just returned to work, even though on vastly reduced hours, but it’s hard. Everything’s changed! Well actually it hasn’t, it’s all the little things. New phones, new contacts, new people in post, name changes for the posts. Little things that build up!
I mean – what’s a workplace development co-ordinator & facilitator? An education co-ordinator was sufficient before! Anyhow this is being written at work. I have to do something J The workplace smoking ban is now in place. I don’t smoke at home, I don’t smoke in the car, and I don’t smoke in the street – I have nowhere else to smoke except at work, but I can’t do that when it’s dark as we have to go out onto the road, beside a load of bushes. Not being paranoid, but I’m not doing that by myself. So this is keeping me occupied in my down time.
Tomorrow hopefully is jewellery time. I’m still trying to master making heather from bead and wire. I think what I produce is pretty good, but then I know what it’s meant to be. Do other people?

I’ve been involved in teaching some jewellery techniques recently so thought I could write them out for this blog. It might ensure that I write them clearly and intelligibly. I think I could start with basic techniques and build up, sort of jewellery ABC. My main problem is that I cannot draw! So I’ll have to gradually write them and try and take photos at the same time. Could turn out interesting, but may not get uploaded for a while.

Flash your Pants for Comic Relief

A challenge for Comic Relief! What to do? Yes, everyone with a bit of ingenuity joined in made a pair of pants. Everyone that is that is involved in Etsy a web-based outlet for handmade goods.
The Great Pants Challenge is now closed and numerous votes have been taken – with the outright winner being:
Bunny - with a nifty picture of The Annual Pants Day Festivities in Knickerville. Check it out below:
Normally Bunny produces customised shoes, jewellery and phtomanipulations among other items. For a look at her shop and a good browse through her goods (rather than her pants) visit

Second place goes to sea urchin with ceramic his and hers pants

And third to Kezzaroo with felted Mr T pants

Thursday, 15 March 2007


Well, I'm trying to blog again. I used to enjoy it - writing about something that interested me, something that irritated me or just little incidents of the day. All based on my work at that time. But then I ran out of time. Three children later and my goals in life have changed. So, I'm back to blogging, but from a totally different viewpoint.
This time, it's really about what I enjoy doing that's gradually replacing my previous work.
Years ago, I made jewellery as a hobby. I played around with clay. I loved working with paper and paste. Then I ran away to sea and found it all a bit difficult to do when we were listing to port. I've taken it all up again now and am enjoying it more than ever. I've already sold to the USA and Australia so my plans for world domination are progressing!