Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Conquering Christmas

This is William. Some of you may have met him before, but if you haven't, this is William - he's a conker. He has a fine set of eyes, a small lopsided nose and a faint mustache.
He regularly goes on great adventures and one day he would like to rule the country or maybe the world, he's certainly got the potential. 
Yesterday, Christmas Day, William decided to take a break from his adventure seeking lifestyle and enjoy all things festive.
I say 'take a break' but that rascal never can stop - in the morning he climbed up the Christmas tree - he nearly got to the top - but he didn't want to do too much; no point in over-doing it on Christmas day!
William's not scared of many things, however, he was slightly taken aback by the giant sized bottle of gin that was found, on the ground, under the tree!
He couldn't believe his eyes when he found a plate of dates and mince pies......
........ and a platter of cheese and grapes. All of which he found very tasty.
He tried some port, never had any before, went very well with the cheese he thought.
After all his tree climbing, pie-spying, date eating, cracker pulling, cheese foraging, grape munching, port slurping he was quite tired.
But one thing caught his eye - mistletoe, hanging from the lights, he went to have a look. He was sure that he heard, on one of his adventures, that under mistletoe you get kissed......... he must have just missed her
- 'oh well' William said, 'it's time for bed'.
'What I day I've had, full of festive cheer, I know where to come back to next year'

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pegging it towards Christmas

Ok, ok, ok. I know it's been a while. But I have just got married, started another year at university and got a brand new nephew - these three things have played a major part in the last few months and so have halted my continuous flow of sporadic blogging.

It's November and already the tunes are in your head, come on - don't deny it, Noddy Holder has started singing once again - ' here it is....' yeah, you've started! Now, are you going to stop? '....everybody's having fun.....'

Here we go: I found this recipe for a christmas decoration on Pinterest, (originally from this website, and it inspired me to make some. Firstly, because I knew I had everything at home, secondly, it looks simple and thirdly, (and most important-ly) it's Chriiiiiistmaaaaas!!!

You need 8 wooden clothes pegs, a gluegun (and glue sticks), gold spraypaint (and newspaper for floor protection), glitterglue and a some thread.

 get your 8 pegs..................  
de-spring your 8 pegs .......


Plug in your gluegun and have some spare sticks at hand (careful it gets hot).
Start gluing the pegs together, back to back, like above.
Until you've done all 8, then.....
arrange and glue into a snowflake shape. I found it easiest to do it by North, East, South, West (let it dry) and then glue and insert the North-East, South-East, South-West and North-West pegs (again, let it dry).
Then spray! GOLD! Remember - outside, with newspaper underneath - and then let it dry - have a cup of tea!
Time to make those golden pegs sparkle - I've used silver glitterglue - I think any colour would do.
After the glitterglue's dried attached a loop of thread to the snowflake - here I used elasticated gold thread, and then you're DONE.
Now you can display it. I would take a piccie of mine on a Christmas tree but we haven't got ours up yet, so a door handle did the job.
(P.S. If you do use your own stash of clothes pegs remember to replace them before your next load of washing.)
(P.P.S. check out my Facebook page too)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Don't want to scare you but......

August - yes that's this month - the sun has been shining and the heat has arrived (can't say it's going to stay long). Weddings are being celebrated in style outside, full-length cricket matches being played and it is truly a Pimms and ice-cream time. Lovely.
But I found out today what is arriving in our stock delivery next week - some of you may have guessed it - Christmas stock. Yes, Christmas stock! Oh my - however, it is only 128 days to the 25th December.
This got me thinking about what I can start making to add to my own stock.
So I cut out a sort-of (Christmas) tree like shape from a scrap piece of card. 
I then pinned my template to some green felt and cut out two (Christmas) trees.

Everyone knows that I love buttons - so I sewed a scattering of green buttons on one and red buttons of the other - bit like baubles. Baubles. (funny word - go on, say it out loud!)
I then relied on the good-old edge embroidery - the buttonhole stitch - and fixed the two (Christmas) trees together, which I stuffed with toy-filler (a chop-stick is a very useful tool for this) and added a hanging thread before I closed the stitch.

People, don't be scared - enjoy creating (Christmas) decorations, have fun! I did. Simple and easy. Sometimes that's the best way.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Snap shots of our garden

Just sharing some of the lovely colours that can be found in our garden at the moment. All of the flowers have been attracting lots of bees (bumble, honey and solitary), butterflies (white and peacock) and other insects (bee-fly, other flies and spiders).

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Where do you start?

Do you ever have those days when you want to make so many different things - some cards, a piece of jewellery, do a bit of sewing, cross-stitch, crochet.... on and on..... - but you don't know where to start? Well, for me that day is today.

It's like i've got 'inspirational overload', think i'm going to have to cut back on some of the wonderful websites, blogs and Facebook pages that I follow? Hang on - let me share them with you maybe that will help:

A Common Thread (lots of different work in all media)
Yarnbomb Consortium (great pieces of allsorts of work)
Etsy (do the taste test)
Artist Emily Barletta (if you like sewing and art you'll love her work)
Jane Foster (great prints and designs)
Upsydaisy Craft (lovely ceramic earrings - my favourite are the blackbirds)
Cornflower Blue (amazing crochet work - 3D artwork - may have seen her work on Pinterest)
Artist Angie Lewin (great lino prints - when I see a card of her's in a shop I buy it)
Textile designer Karen Barbe (some amazing embroidery)

There's a few for you to have a shufty at, these are only some of my favourites - I could go on, but I won't.
Time for a coffee then some knitting, no - crochet, no - sewing, no - beading, no - card making, no - painting ....... oh I don't know......

Friday, 20 July 2012

'Like' my page - yeah?! Like.

Howdy people, blog followers and all! Well what a week - hope you checked out my Esty Shop - if you haven't click here and please let me know what you think.
And just to throw more demands on you, if you haven't liked my Facebook page click here and like it! If you're an avid crafter and have a Facebook page I'll like you back :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Welcome to the launch of 'byECKcraft'

Here we go! (drum roll.............. trumpets.........)
Hand me those scissors......... snip -
'I am proud to announce that 'byECKcraft' is now open'
Champagne and cake for everyone!
Please check out my little shop - feedback would be great too - tell me what you think.
Ribbon Wrapped 'Dragonfly' Bracelet

Friday, 6 July 2012

Night Market

My space on the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre market stall.
We made it into the local rag too!!!
Click on the link below to read the story

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Twinkle Twinkle

Instant coffee finished = empty jar.
Stick on a scattering of star stickers (got mine from the local WHS - a good number for your money).
Spray a thin layer of gold paint over the jar (follow the instructions on the can - please make sure you are in a well ventilated area outside and definitely newspaper down - I learnt from mistakes - ooooops).
Go and have a cup of tea whilst the paint dries.
Spray another layer of paint (also, make sure that you don't spray too close to the jar or the paint will just run and look yukky).
Go and plan your next crafting project.
Spray again.
(I sprayed the jar three times, quite patchy in places, but it's up to you.)
When paint's dry, gently peel off the star stickers, a craft knife (or finger nails) can help. Some of the paint may have run under the stickers but the main shape will be obvious.
Et voila, plonk a candle in and you have a tea-light/candle holder. 
(idea -  try arranging the stars in constellations)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

June - Summer? I think so,

Finished uni for the year. Woop! Passed all modules - YES! Get in. Now a chance to craft. Check it out so far.
Above, a selection of keyrings with swivel lobster clasps attached, so that they can be used as an accessory as well as the obvious. Nice block colour theme using glass beads, wire and waxed thread.

Now, here is my effort of being 'in fashion', if you are an avid pinterest user no doubt you'll have come across a similar pattern to these. My interest in knots can been seen in a previous post (, but I had not tackled macrame knotting before. So I gave it a go - resulting in a simple and 'current' bracelet.

The items seen above are soon to be for sale in the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre, alongside other pieces of my creation, a couple being the two designs of brooches seen below. A lovely crochet flower (left) and colourful 'yo-yo' brooches (right).
Also on show are my, what I call (mothers that's for you!), 'worm' bracelets. No, they are not found in the ground and eaten by birds or help with composting. But they are a lovely allignment of buttons that wrap around your wrist which are fastened in place with........ a button! (I love buttons) I've done a series of different colours, some block and some not.
I'll be back soon with some other stuff, no doubt.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

carrot sticks, humous and malteasers

today  - I've been finishing off my Medieval Landscapes essay, to tell you the truth I haven't really enjoyed this one. More historical documents make a web of archaeological deciphering more like a cocoon - it just goes on and on, with different stands taking you in different directions. So much more to take in, process and then regurgitate into something original (hopefully interesting). I've certainly learnt things, but this has been the most challenging task so far.

Friday, 11 May 2012

It's complicated now? How about a few hundred years ago?

It's around 1000 years ago, perhaps a few decades earlier.
What have you got? Possessions are few, family - maybe, livestock - if you're lucky. Survival would be doubtful if you were on your own.
Communities were needed, people joining forces just to survive was an answer to this. But where do you set up a community (a community in the Early Medieval Period (EMP) would be small hamlet-sized)? Does a small settlement in the middle of nowhere mean a fresh start and a new beginning or is it seen as an escape, or rebellion, and is as far away from someone/something as you could get?

Who would you be influenced by (this depends on where you are in the UK)? Look who's around, Romans have dissolved and dispersed, there are new folk coming and going around the country - Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisian and Franks - and soon Vikings, each party leaving their mark on the landscape and impression on the communities. There are still people from the west (Wales, Cornwall, and Devon, with a few up-North in Scotland too) - the Celts - who were continuing the fashion of Iron Age settlements.

Another factor to take into account is which kingdom are you in: Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumbria. Don't forget religion, again, depending on where you were - but moving with the times a Church based religion was the thing - Christianity. Sticky situations if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Let's say you found a spot, it's in the southwest of Mercia, not too far from the boundaries of Wales or Wessex. The nearest well-established town is Gloucester, only a couple of miles to the east, you've got the River Severn on your doorstep, the Forest of Dean a few miles to the west. It's mainly flat with a slight incline up to a main trackway, possibly Roman. Fields of green, large open spaces and only you and your fellow colleagues. How would you use the landscape?

After a relocation, relocation, relocation, it was time for getting your hands dirty and start farming,  Or anything that would bring produce and would aid self-sufficiency. Your new spot gave you a fresh canvas to start with, but remember there's only a few of you, best to start off small. Gain interest from people and travellers, and their trust, they may let you borrow their oxen and plough. Building a community, bit by bit, furlong by furlong.

............................... to be continued........

Saturday, 21 April 2012

BFF...... innit.....

Hello there! Yes, I know I should be doing some research reading and making notes for (and probably actually writing) my assignments - but hey, it's not a proper assignment without the thrill of a bit of procrastination is it?

Whilst scouring one of my various sources *cou-internet-gh* for information on champion landscapes (winning in some people's eyes) with open-field systems with nucleated villages, I happened to come across a great pattern for a type of jewellery that I had not seen, or even tried to make, for about - let's say - a hundred years. Ok, not that long, but it's been a while since I made a................. friendship bracelet.

So, I found this pattern via and decided to create. I grabbed a handful of thread, two colours, four strands of each, and started knotting! I followed the pattern given and produced a line of 13 hearts (an unlucky number, I hear you say, but only to some) this number fitted well. I finished up by top and tailing the piece with a crimp and four 6mm jump rings and finally a trigger clasp.

I have somehow managed to make 3 more of these - now, back to those books and let's unravel what was once a working medieval landscape........ back in a bit xx

Friday, 3 February 2012

January - you start the year off fine, February - you're my little valentine

Well hello there, long time it's been since I last wittered on. But it has been busy. Um... (not in any particular order).... I got engaged, I started university, there was Christmas thrown in, work and I got engaged! And we're currently looking after a mad springer-spaniel - PENNY - she gets very muddy.

I've been making things and creating pieces of art (?!) in the meantime and I've had my work on display at the Gloucestershire Arts and Crafts Centre (sold a couple of item too!!)
This week I dabbled in cards - I always though I would never craft cards - only due to the fact that I'm not a great fan of paper art, I haven't got the patience or the precision for it. With Valentine's day around the corner I picked 'hearts', learnt a crochet pattern, made a mess of the sitting room, with felt, eyelets, buttons and thread. Hey presto!

I enjoyed making these more than I thought I would. My favourite is this one ----->
(not Valentine's, I know)
We'll see how these go down in the Arts and Crafts Centre.
 See you soon.