Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Odds and Ends Necklace

I made this necklace using a few leftover beads that I had in my stash which is why it is called an "Odds and Ends Necklace". I love making this type of necklace because they are brilliant for using up several beads that you have leftover from other pieces of jewellery that you have made, also you can be creative with your colour schemes. I added some purple silk cord bought from Bijoux Beads to finish off the back of the necklace. I also added some leaf and feather charms to one side of the necklace for a bit of extra detail.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

I'm back...it's a whopper of a post!

I'm now back in the UK after spending a week in Italy and I've got to say, after a week of temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, it was a shock last night when we got off the plane and were faced with rain and freezing cold temperatures!

While in Italy I stayed in an apartment about two hours away from Naples in a small town called Santa Maria de Castellabate which was by the sea. We visited Pompeii and I was amazed by the size of it, the ruins were much bigger than I had thought. We also walked up to the top of Vesuvius (you don't have walk all the way though, you can drive the first part luckily!). We visited several towns but a particularly lovely town was Sorrento where there were amazing shops, they were completely packed full of goodies, I could have bought everything! On the last night we watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Italian, which was interesting!

I hope you have all had lovely holidays too. I just wanted to show you some of the buys that I brought back from my holiday...

I seem to have become a bit of a postcard collector and I bought quite a few on this holiday.

I bought these postcards in Sorrento, they are watercolour paintings by artist G.Ospitali printed onto lovely textured paper.

I bought these postcards from the top of Vesuvius (yes, I know what you're thinking, I wasn't expecting there to be shops on the top of Vesuvius either!), when I bought them the shop keepers stamped the back of the postcards with a special stamp to show where you had bought them (you can see the stamp in the photo below). 

I bought these three postcards at Pompeii.

There is a bit of a story with this ring...
There was a jeweller's shop near to where I was staying, I saw a beautiful cameo ring in the window and wanted to know how much it was. So I went in and tried to ask how much the ring was (which is pretty hard when you don't know much Italian!) but instead of telling me the price of the ring the shop owner got the ring out so that I could try it on. When the cameo ring didn't fit the shop owner got more rings out of the window and even out of the safe in the shop. Most of the rings were too big and the only one that did fit was 140 euros and was very pretty but looked more like a wedding ring! I had to tell the owner that I would think about it and make a quick exit! So I was thinking, where can I get a cameo ring? I was just about giving up when I found this one in a shop on the top of Vesuvius, it was the last place I expected to find a cameo ring!

I also bought this beautiful Millefiori pendant which I will add to some gold chain.

This small ceramic cat has a tiny candle which smells gorgeous.

I bought this tiny bowl in Sorrento.

I also bought this wooden painted cat.

I bought this wool from a small wool shop near where we were staying, its very soft because it is made from llama wool.

Before I went on holiday I mentioned that I was hoping to find some craft supplies, unfortunately, apart from the wool I was unable to find any. But I'd be really interested to hear about where you have been on holiday and if you were able to find any interesting crafty buys. I'd love it if you left me a comment to let me know.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Wirework Squiggle Necklace

In my last post I mentioned a necklace that I was making out of work hardened wire squiggles. Now its finished and here it is! The idea came from a project in The Complete Guide to Wire and Beaded Jewellery by Linda Jones. I made several squiggles out of wire and added some heart beads in between each squiggle. I also attached silk cord to the back of the necklace for the perfect finishing touch.

I'm heading off to Italy for a week tomorrow, so unfortunately I won't be blogging (or making!) for a while. But I hope that I'll be able to hunt down some good craft supplies while I'm there! I hope that you all have a lovely summer whether you're going away or not.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Wire work Necklace and Earrings

I've been having fun trying out my new metal block for work hardening wire recently, I really don't know why I didn't get one sooner! Work hardening gives my wire work a lovely delicate finish. If you're not familiar with wire work or the technique of work hardening you are probably wondering what I am going on about! Basically, work hardening flattens and spreads out the wire and makes it stiffer by gently hammering the wire on a smooth metal block. 

So, with this new technique mastered I was finally able to some wire work flowers that I had had my eye on for a while. The wire work flowers are featured in The Complete Guide to Wire and Beaded Jewellery by Linda Jones. I made the flowers into a necklace and added lilac Swarovski beads in between the wire work. I also attatched some gold chain and a clasp to the back of the necklace to finish it off.

After having another flick through the book mentioned above I saw a necklace with what I can only describe as squiggles of wire in between glass beads. I started to make the necklace using silver wire for my squiggles and work hardening them, but I made two of the squiggles wrong because they had less bends in  the wire than the intended amount for the necklace.

So, not liking to waste anything, I used the two squiggles of wire to make a pair of earrings, adding two seed pearls and two small Swarovski hearts. I have an 'Oscars' award ceremony for the end of my first year at Sixth Form tomorrow and I think these earrings will be the perfect accessory to wear for the occasion! The necklace is not quite finished yet but I'll make sure I show you as soon as its finished!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Vintage Style Necklace

I made this necklace using several different beads, some ribbon and chain. I added several groups of beads including small clay roses, pearls and glass beads onto headpins and attached them in between pieces of chain. I also added a bow made from ribbon onto a piece of wire. Simple but beautiful!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The National Gallery and a Decorated Sketchbook

I had another visit to The National Gallery on Friday, I was really pleased to be able to see the Leonardo da Vinci Burlington House Cartoon this time because last time I went the room that the cartoon is in was closed. I bought some more postcards of artwork, personally I love Leonardo da Vinci's work so I bought a few postcards with his work on as well as a few of my other favourite paintings that I saw in The National Gallery. I also bought a book about Leonardo da Vinci, it has some beautiful pictures in it, I especially love the sketches, some of which were studies for paintings.

Manon Balletti by Jean-Marc Nattier

Detail from The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the Infant Saint John the Baptist
(The Burlington House Cartoon)
by Leonardo da Vinci

The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and the Infant Saint John the Baptist (The Burlington House Cartoon)
by Leonardo da Vinci

A Basket of Roses by Ignace Henri Theodore Fantin-Latour

A detail from The Virgin of the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci

I have got another art project coming up for my A-levels so I bought a plain brown paper covered sketchbook from Paperchase. The sketchbook also has lovely brown paper pages inside. The theme of my project is going to be nature so I cut different flowers and leaves out from wrapping paper and glued them onto the front and back of the sketchbook and added a sticker for my name.