Monday, 3 December 2007

Work in progress 3rd Dec 2007

Work in progress 3rd Dec 2007
Originally uploaded by bexybeads
Just to prove I'm still alive and still crafting - when I get the chance. Quick snap of my latest works in progress. I'm trying to stock up for the Christmas rush (Hmmm! what's that then?) and building back up my Celtic connection.

The lovely big buttons come from our fabulous local craft emporium, Flawless Designs. I only went in to pick up some crochet wire and ended up with a huge haul of goodies. Fatal!

For anyone interested and in the area, I'll be selling at the Craft Market in Candleriggs, Glasgow on Saturday 8th and Sunday 16th December - hurry on down to get those last minute bargains and stocking fillers.

Honeybeedz - affordable jewellery for gifts or treats.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Sound track for my life

The ever wonderful Kezzaroo came up with the idea of compiling a sound track for your life. Hers is featured in her blog and after much (much much!!!) thought, here's mine!

(By the way, if you have a spare hour to kill, click all the links for the full effect!!)

Opening Credits
- I'm Every Woman by Chaka Khan

Waking Up - Wake Up Boo by the Boo Radleys (sadly, it's not usually like this but I like the idea)

Average Day - Nine to Five by Dolly Parton (oh, yes!)

First Date - It has to be First Date by Blink 182

Falling in Love - Crazy for You by Madonna (oh those school discos!)

Love Scene - Moondance by Van Morrison

Fight Scene
- I Hate You So Much Right Now by Kelis (say no more!)

Breaking Up - Don't You Want Me? by Human League (check out that make up, and hers too!)

Getting Back Together - Reunited by Peaches and Herb (corny but true)

Secret Love - Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks

Life's OK - Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves

Mental Breakdown - My 19th Nervous Breakdown by the Rolling Stones

Driving - Fields of Fire by the ever wonderful and sadly missed Big Country

Learning a Lesson - With a Little Help from my Friends by the Beatles

Deep Thoughts - Shipbuilding by Elvis Costello

Flashback - At Seventeen by Janis Ian

Partying - In the Kitchen at Parties by Jona Lewie - all time 80s classic

Happy Dance - Love Shack by the B52s

Regretting -
Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythymics

Long Night Alone - In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Death Scene - Blaze of Glory by Bon Jovi (as Dylan Thomas said 'Do not go gentle into that dark night)

Closing Credits - Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (actually I prefer the Ramones version!!)

Monday, 11 June 2007

Look what I got!!!

I was the lucky recipient of this awesome handmade bag in the recent UK Etsy Secret Swap. It was made for me by LoveALittle - and I love it a lot.

She tells me that the main fabric has been recycled from a skirt which was washed in Timotei shampoo and a conditioning rinse before being made into the bag. It's definitely worked as this is the softest bag I've ever had. None of this Botox injected snakeskin rubbish!!

The design is made from rag rugged fabric samples which have then been surface embroidered by hand. The handles are sewn on using a gorgeous rainbow thread and add to the glory of this little gem.

I've already paraded it round the local supermarket and out to dinner with friends. Safe to say, I love it and am a very proud owner.

And this is what I swapped for it - which now belong to the very talented TheDominoEffect.

In case you're interested, these little beauties are another example of my Celtic Connections range and have been knotted from dyed leather. The pendant is hung from an antique copper chain to complement the warm tones of the leather.

The earrings and pendant both feature the Turk's Head knot. There are other examples of different styles available to buy in my shop.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Stirling, Scotland's heart

The excitement of this week has been being present at the launch of a new campaign to promote Stirling, the place where I'm really proud to live and work.

Located right slap bang in the middle of Scotland, Stirling is Scotland's newest city. We gained city status as a gift from the Queen just after the millennium.

Many of the reasons we were made a city are
encapsulated in the latest promotion campaign.

As well as being Scotland's newest city, Stirling is also its ancient capital and is bursting with history. We have a beautiful castle to rival Edinburgh; there's the Wallace monument commemorating one of our national heros (and off which I've abseiled!!); and there's the site of the Battle of Bannockburn - which we Scots won (for a change)!!! Few cities can rival Stirling's dramatic and bloody past or can claim as significant a contribution to Scotland's history.

And if you've got little people to think about there's tons more to do than just castles and battle sites. It's not far from Stirling to Blairdrummond, Scotland's Safari Park. In the city itself there's a fun visit to the Old Town Jail to be had, lots of fantastic play parks to experience and if all else fails, how about a trip on the bus.

Stirling's location is amazing - so easy to get to and then to use as a stepping stone for some of Scotland's most beautiful places. Apparently almost 60% of Scotland's population are within an hour's drive of Stirling and it's certainly dead easy to get here by train as well. In fact, it's even
relatively easy to get here from either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airports - I should know I have to pick my husband up from one or other of them on a regular basis and I certainly wouldn't be doing that if it was a hassle!!

As well as being a gateway to Scotland's beautiful Highlands and right next door to Loch Lomond, Scotland's first National Park, Stirling is a wonderful place in its own right. The castle sits dramatically against the historic old town and looking down on the newer Stirling. From all parts of the city you can't help see the stunning landscape it stands in - mountains, rocky crags, the winding River Forth and rolling open fields. For me that's one of the things makes Stirling an amazing place to live.

Oh, that and the shopping of course!!! The shops in Stirling are great - everything from the High Street staples to big box retail parks to small independent gems. And if that's not quite enough, you're only a short train ride away from the mecca of shopping in Glasgow! What more could a girl want.

Stirling is really buzzing at the moment - lots going on and lots being developed, new housing, offices, transport links, even a new multiscreen cinema is being built on the banks of the River Forth. It's no wonder that businesses are starting to relocate to Stirling and have their Headquarters here. We even had local boy and entrepreneur, Nick Nairn launching the new Stirling, the Brand at the Castle on Tuesday evening and singing our praises!

As I said, I'm proud to live and work in Stirling. And now you can see why!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

And the winner was....

The winner of the UK Etsy May challenge was .... Greygoat with her amazingly awesome flower strewn 'art pants'.

You'll remember the challenge was to create something, anything, on the theme of flowers. We had all sorts of entries, from photographs, to drawings, to jewellery, to glazed pottery. And these amazing pants!

Hats off to Greygoat - truly amazing. A well deserved winner. And even better, they're available for sale here along with many other gorgeous pairs of pants from this very talented designer.

Honourable mention must also go to the two runners-up:

TheDevilsWallpaper with two haunting paintings involving flowers.

And Reform, with a simple but beautiful flower sketch.

Fairy tales is the theme for next month's challenge - off to get my thinking cap on!!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Stop and smell the flowers

This is my latest craft creation, made for the great UK Etsy monthly challenge.

This month's challenge was on the theme of flowers. Closing date is 31st May and already there are some awesome entries.

I'll do a full round up after judging, but meanwhile you can revel in the beauty that is my entry.

Made from swarovski crystal briolettes and bicones plus two absolutely gorgeous spotty heart shaped pottery buttons from Woodlane Crafts in Doune.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Moving up

As those who know me in real life will know, I was recently lucky enough to get a promotion at work. Not only does this mean I get a scarily senior job, it also means that I have inherited a beautiful corner office - with high ceilings, original cornices and immensely huge (and very empty!) walls.

I do have a few small prints from my previous office, but they are seriously lost on the vast swathes of empty wall that I now have.

So this weekend, rather than worry about whether I can actually do the job they've appointed me to, I've entertained myself by picking out some art work that I might just get to hang on the walls of my luscious corner suite!

To set the scene, imagine yourself in the top corner of a late 19th Century house. Original cornice work is still to be seen around the edge of the white ceiling. The walls have been painted a delicate shade of primrose yellow and a (new) blue-green carpet graces the floor. From late morning onwards, sunshine bursts through the large sash windows on two walls of the room. A functional desk sits in one corner, while a pair of brown leather couches are angled to form an informal meeting area. Two large green palms sit in corners of the room.

And to this haven of light and space, I'm thinking about adding some of the following:

Last Light by BudanART.
A Canadian artist, Mandy, based in Pickering, Ontario and working alongside her photographer husband, Steve.

One Tree Hill by LittleArty
A New Zealand based artist with a real passion for her art

Atlantis Underwater CityScape by TheDevilsWallpaper
An artist and writer based in Southampton, UK - and a bona fide Dr to boot!

Darling Garden by WhimsicalNature
A New York based artist currently exploring the use of nature in abstract forms and bold colours

Captive Audience by Pinwheel
A professional and entirely self taught artist born in England, raised in Scotland and currently living in Wales

Always making the wrong choices by Gorjuss
Also known as Scottish painter, Suzanne Woolcott

Secret Prism by Scheri
Boston, Massachusetts based artist who uses art as an escape from the everyday grind (and joy) of child rearing.

Tourmaline by BettyCBowen
A lifelong artist living and working in the town of Cushing, Oklahoma. Betty took the inspiration for this picture from a ring she bought in Italy

I'm sure you'll agree there are some great choices there. Anyone want to give me a helping hand in deciding which one(s) I should choose - feel free to leave me comments to help me decide!

I'm already lucky enough to own this original artwork, Down to the Sea, by MaeveW. Maeve is based in Nottingham, teaches art in school and has been drawing since she was a child. I love this painting because it looks a little bit like the road down to the beach in the village I grew up in.

I have a strong suspicion that this will be making it into my office before too long.

Along with these cute little prints from Bunny , a London based artist and artisan, who as well as producing gorgeous prints, makes the most beautiful to-die-for customised shoes that you have ever seen.

All this amazing art work is available to buy on Etsy - but if you buy the one I want before I do, there'll be trouble!!!

Sunday, 6 May 2007

One of my favourite places

Today on another website we've been posting pictures of our various houses. While I was putting one of my house up, I got to thinking about one of my favourite places - where I used to live in the Scottish Borders.

It was this artist (Tom Davidson) that made me think about it. I've got a number of his fantastic works of art in my house. I've even bought this one for my big sister to hang in her house in Canada.

Scottish Borders is a truly amazing place - beautiful countryside and real communities. And above all, a really strong arts and crafts spirit.

Even the small village I lived in had its own art gallery - with coffee shop attached, much to the delight of my dad when he came to visit. Lots of cakey cakies! The FlatCat Gallery is a treasure chest of art, jewellery, knick knacks and other delights. Many a birthday and Christmas present was bought from there.

It also sells (and uses) amazing furniture made from wood left pretty much in its natural form - all burrs, blemishes and all. Tim Stead was a legendary craftsman who has sadly passed on, but it's good to see his workshop is still flourishing with equally talented craftsmen and women carrying on his trade. This is the kind of furniture he and his workshop are famous for.

As well as amazing arts and crafts, the Scottish Borders also has an awesome array of great places to eat. One of our favourites was a little restaurant called Chapters in the small village of Gattonside, close to Melrose. We had many a celebration meal there in our time in the Borders.

Also worth visiting was The Old Thistle Inn in Westruther - out in the middle of nowhere but serving the most fantastic selection of steaks you could ever ask for.

Our most regular haunt, however, had to be our local pub, The Eagle in Lauder. Sadly they don't have a website but suffice to say we would go on a regular basis for a meal in the lounge bar and never be disappointed. We did once try the public bar but after a tumbleweed moment when everyone stopped drinking and stared at us, we stayed faithful to the lounge bar thereafter.

Anyone thinking about visiting the Borders should definitely head for Melrose, home of the rugby sevens but also home to some gorgeous pubs, shops and cafes plus an amazing abbey.

Kelso, Coldstream and Jedburgh are also worth a visit, as is the coastal area from Eyemouth, through Coldingham and all the way to Berwick, just across the Border in England.

Not surprisingly with all the beautiful scenery in this area, there are a couple of long distance walking routes that go through the Borders. The longer of them is the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick in Dumfries & Galloway in the south to Cockburnspath just in the Borders in the north. The shorter is St Cuthbert's Way, following the ancient monastery trail from Melrose in the north to Lindisfarne in Northumberland in the south. I've walked a couple of sections of St Cuthberts Way and can vouch that the walking is relatively easy and that the scenery is truly stunning. A friend of mine walked the middle section of the Southern Upland Way at Easter and was very taken with the area, never having visited before.

I'll finish now and wait for my cheque from the Scottish Borders Tourist Board! Seriously, it's a beautiful part of the world and well worth a visit. It's more than just the bit of Scotland between England and Edinburgh - a true gem in its own right.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Having fun at Craft Fairs

Not sure what you've been up to with your Sunday, but I spent mine at a craft fair in Glasgow - selling (with a wee bit of buying as well).

As anyone who has sold at a fair will know, they can be interesting experiences. This was my second time with Alcraft and fortunately it was marginally more successful than my first fair with them. The venue is fantastic - an inside venue in a courtyard space with bars and restaurants all round, and (apparently) one of the best coffee shops in Glasgow right on the corner! Needless to say my meagre profits made their way quite quickly into Coffee Merchant's tills.

So back to my stall. I really must make it look more professional. There are (inevitably) lots of jewellery sellers and in comparison my stall looked decidedly amateur. On the plus side, I was selling distinctive items - unfortunately not many people wanted to buy them. Everyone says
how much they like it, but very few people actually buy.

But I did manage to sell this rather extravagant gothic black wire crochet choker, which I was very pleased about. It's been starring in my Etsy shop ever since I made it for an Etsy creative challenge - lots of views but no buyers - until today!!! Success.

I also sold this wrapped stone as a pendant necklace. I'd added a celtic knot as another focal piece to the thong but unfortunately I didn't get round to photographing it before it sold. Ironically, I sold it to someone I see every week in one of the local cafes. She just happened to be in Glasgow and had popped in for a coffee before meeting her friends.

This is quite a family effort in fact. My sister taught me to wire wrap. My mum polished the stone. And I put it all together!!

My final sale was a custom order for the woman who organises the craft fair. All in all, not a bad day.

Besides selling, it also let me get to know some other crafters, all of whom were very friendly. And also very talented. So promotion time is here ....

I was sat next to a lovely woman from In-House Arts who was selling personalised children's pictures, cards and notelets. Guess what my nephew will be getting when I go to visit him in the summer?!!! Unfortunately, I neglected to ask her what her name was - but she was great company all day.

Opposite me were the couple from Allan Topen Photography. I'd met them before at previous craft fairs and they were also responsible for encouraging me to give Alcraft a try. Allan is a very talented photographer, with an eye for classic (and not so classic) Scottish views.

I also met retired teacher Dona - who used to teach music and is now making her living selling traditional pomander jewellery. Pomanders date from the 16th century and were used to ward off infection and surround the wearer with a beautiful smell instead. Dona makes hers by infusing pomander beads with essential oils - lavender, rosemary and rose for example - and then capturing them inside silver filigrees. I was so envious - she even has her own hallmark! As you'll see from her website, her jewellery is really lovely.

So that was my Sunday - how was yours?

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Challenges and opportunities

Let me introduce you to some of the other UK Etsy crafters and what we get up to in our spare time and in the name of craft!

We have been challenging ourselves for the last couple of months to come up with handcrafted items on a theme. Mistress of the suggestions box is the awesome Kezzaroo

She makes a variety of things but in particular some fantastic little 80's TV stars like this one - the dreamy (if you like that kind of thing!) Hoff from Baywatch

Information on our challenges can be found in our Flickr photo pool.

The first challenge coincided with UK Red Nose Day and our challenge was to create 'pants' in our various crafting media. And that's pants in the UK knickers sense, not pants in the US trousers sense. We had lots of entries but the winning one was from Bunny. And here it is - a beautiful print full of knickers!

The next challenge was on Ninjas. Again, lots of entries with the winning one from Kezzaroo. And here it is - a fluffy pink ninja - not something you see everyday!

The third challenge was to create something inspired by a Movie Star. And the winner of that challenge was Memake. And here's her winning entry - a Cary Grant carry bag - truly masterful.

Our next 2 challenge titles are flowers (in May) and fairy tales (in June). So watch out for more inspired creativity from the UK Etsy crafters.

And just for the record, these were my attempts

Red Wire crocheted pants
Red coated copper wire crocheted using a normal crochet hook with beads added to the wire before crocheting and then finished off with a pink satin ribbon cord around the waist. Not to be recommended for wearing - except by people who like scratchy pain and draughts!!

Beadwoven Ninja cuff bracelet
Hundreds and hundreds of tiny tiny seed beads have been woven together in a pattern to pick out the staring eyes of a ninja warrior. Not sure about the ninja's staring eyes, but mine were just about crossed by the time I finished this.

Brangelina copper initial necklace - unisex on a braided leather thong.
Two different coloured pieces of leather thong have been braided or plaited together to make up the necklace part of this jewellery. Then a handshaped letter 'A' was made from copper wire and attached to the necklace.

Not quite as dramatic as a vial of blood but a much more romantic way for Brad to show his love for Angelina.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Yet more ways to waste time

Oh dear, I think I'm about to get as addicted to blogging as I already am to my Etsy shop, Flickr and various online forums!

I've just spent the last hour playing around with layout - when I really should be doing something more productive with my time. Plenty of gardening to be done for example!

For the blog addicted amongst you, I've added links to some other blogs that you might want to have a look at. Most are other UK etsy sellers. But one is by/for a friend of mine who is currently on expedition in Nepal - go Kristine. An amazing woman, she has opted to spend a month away from her husband and 3 lovely children to climb Mera Peak in the Himalayas and take part in a community project after that. Keep up with her adventures on the WomenwithAltitude blog for the next few weeks.

I've also added a link for you to my sister's amazing Ebbandflo Etsy shop

Have fun looking. And check back soon to see what else I've managed to waste my time on!

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Blogging baby steps

At last I've decided to start my own blog. Not sure what I'll do with it but here we go!

Instead of crafting, unfortunately I've had to spend the day doing real work stuff - boo! But any evening of crafting awaits.

At the moment I'm mostly working on my Celtic connections range for my Etsy shop (

For example, this is one of my necklaces. Celtic knotting in shades of pink satin cord.

Keep checking back for more items and works in progress - if I remember to keep blogging that is!!