Friday, 31 August 2012

Metal, Lace & Flowers Earrings

As I was browsing ELLE magazine, I found some fantastic earrings by Dolce & Gabbana. Unfortunately I don’t have the £505 to spend on such lovely trinkets!

What I do have is a big crafting stash, so I sat down and came up with these:

DIY metal and lace earrings

And here are the luscious Dolce & Gabbana earrings I was inspired by:

gorgeous dolce and gabbana metal resin and lace earrings
Sorry it isn’t a pin or link to a particular website!
Try as I might, I couldn’t find these online.
So here’s a picture snapped on my phone, from ELLE UK, September edition!

As you can see, my earrings didn’t turn out much like the designer ones at all, hence only being inspired by! I'm sticking to my resolution to use up more of my stash rather than buy more.

These were fairly easy to make once I’d figured out a design, though the process was a little slap-dash. I didn’t have any nice filigree to mount the flower onto, so I used multi-strand bracelet links instead. A quick eBay search for ‘round filigree’ throws up a heap of options though, at reasonable prices!

And of course, I took pictures along the way so that I could share a tutorial with you!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Question (And an Answer)

There’s a question that I’m sure all craft bloggers have been asked.

Maybe once or twice, maybe countless times.

A question that we, as readers of craft blogs may well have asked, too!

"Where did you get your supplies?"

If I had a pound for every time someone asked me that question (in its various shapes and forms) I’d...have spent it on craft materials!

But where? you might ask.

In answer, here are my Top Ten crafting supply sources!

(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post)

Admittedly, I’ve only been here twice. The first time I bought feathers, the second time I bought some little charms (supposedly for card-making/scrapbooking; I used them in sewing and jewellery projects). If you have one of these vast shops near you, they do sell products for pretty much every craft and hobby (hence the name!) If I could get to my nearest branch more easily, I’d be a lot poorer!

9. Brighton Bead Shop, Brighton
A short walk from Brighton station, this is a great place for jewellery-making staples, as they sell selected beads in bulk. I’ve found this a great place for buying plainer beads. They also sell fymo!

 8. Wilkinson
Home of spray paint, frames and faux flowers. :)

 7. The Works
Good for painting and card-making supplies! I haven’t been for a while since my most accessible branch was closed down. Boooo. They also sell books, gift wrap and random other bits and pieces, all for wonderfully discounted prices.

 6. Family members
In my case, the source of ribbons from chocolate boxes, old buttons and broken jewellery!

 5. Charity shops
Now, charity shops appear to be selling less actual craft items (though branches of Cancer Research seem to sell more than others) but charity shops are good places to pick up fabrics (in the form of scarves, sheets, curtains etc), beads (jewellery) and various pieces that only need looking at in a different light to become a fabulous craft!
(Check out my post on charity shopping for some tips!)

4. Fabric Land (various locations)
This is my sewing mecca! What you find here depends on the season, but the prices are always very competitive and you’ll find a huge variety of haberdashery alongside the fabrics. Though they have a website, it’s definitely worth taking a stroll around one of their shops if there are any in your area.

Beyond the jute string, PVA glue, paper (including specialist printer papers!) and card-making supplies there are plenty of things that can be bought for alternative uses--that pool noodle can be chopped up to make a wreath form, pillowcases become bags/shirts/skirts...
Usually I leave the 99p Store and Poundland with less money and more projects in mind than I went in with!

2. Big Bead Boutique, Brighton
I fell in love with this shop the very first time I went in!
This is an awesome place for jewellery-making supplies. Here you’ll find lots of interesting beads, charms, findings in variety of colours (not just plain old gold or silver!) and premade jewellery, among other things. 
The owner really has her finger on the pulse with what is trendy, whether it’s amongst fashionistas or the alternative crowd. The shop also hosts workshops for all ages, birthday parties and hen parties.

And now, my #1 source for crafting supplies?


 1. eBay
Seriously. It lacks the excitement of nosing through shelves, but if you’re after something, chances are eBay will have it. You’ll probably also find lots of other cool things in the process! Even though buying from eBay might mean having to pay postage, that postage is cheaper than a bus fare into my nearest town to search for what I'm after! With eBay, I can avoid the cost and stress of shopping in a real shop and have far more choices than I might have on the high street.

So there we go, my crafting supply list! Hope this is useful to some people--a lot of the local shops have web shops too, if you’re not in the area!

If you’re still looking for ideas, check out my post, Crafting on the Cheap.
I’m a total cheapskate at heart and dislike spending a lot of money if I can spend less, or make something for less than it would cost to buy similar!

Once again, this is NOT a sponsored post. I want to tell you about shops and products I truly love :)

Friday, 17 August 2012

Easy Crystal Necklace

Are you a jewellery-making novice? Or are you looking for a teenybopper-friendly craft?
Then this is the project for you!

easy crystal necklace tutorial

I first made one of these necklaces before I reached my teens! They are incredibly simple to make and require no jewellery making tools. The only tools you’ll need are scissors and a ruler or tape measure.

crystal necklace how to

Here’s the tutorial. It’s really easy!

how to make a crystal necklace

You’ll need:
Nylon thread/jewellery thread (you could use embroidery floss for this!)
Crystal chip beads*
Round, flat bead to use as a clasp

* Source: most of mine came from old crystal chip bracelets/necklaces, but a quick search on eBay for ‘crystal chip beads’ throws up a lot of results!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Elizabeth Kostova

When I originally decided to write about books here alongside crafting, I’d intended to steer clear of international bestselling authors. I wanted to write about awesome books that people might not have heard about.

But sometimes there are books that just have to be shared with others, even if they are international bestsellers.

So this post is dedicated to two works by Elizabeth Kostova.

The Historian
I have written about The Historian before (in my Halloween-o-rama, last year) but here I am writing about it again!

I only happened upon this book by chance and nearly put it back on the shelf, until I noticed one of the reviews mentioned Dracula. I’m a fan of vampire fiction, particularly the stuff that involves some history, so I snapped it up!

The story has multiple narratives - that of Paul, his tutor Batholomew Rossi, and Paul’s sixteen year old daughter - but is written in such a way that it doesn’t become confusing. They search for Dracula’s resting place...Meanwhile, Dracula is searching for a librarian.
Mystery surrounds the characters of the books--what happened to Paul’s wife, the secret behind the strange book marked with a dragon that appeared on Rossi’s shelf, and then the next that appeared for Paul...mystery and history come together to take the characters on a journey from America into Europe, through England and France, into Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, countries traditionally at the very heart of Dracula’s history.

This book is a total dream.
It lacks the vampire-and-human romantic sub-plot often found in vampire fiction, instead we are presented with a marvellously descriptive tale packed with history and character. Just like a vampire, this story draws you in and before you know it, you would be captivated. Putting this book down is incredibly hard to do!

The Swan Thieves
There are three similarities with this book and The Historian: the author, the multiple narratives, and mystery. Other than that, this is completely different to The Historian.

The Swan Thieves is about a psychiatrist named Andrew Marlowe, and his new patient, Robert Oliver, an artist recently arrested for attacking a painting in the National Gallery of Art. Robert Oliver refuses to speak of what drove him to the attack, which leads Andrew to speak to those closest to Robert Oliver. Through doing so, he discovers Robert’s past, his passions, and slowly unravels the mystery surrounding a young woman in the time of the French Impressionists.

Once again the tale takes us on an international journey, its multiple narratives set in America, France and more.

Kostova’s style of writing tends very much towards the intellectual and descriptive rather than drama and action, which leads to a very fulfilling and inspiring read.

If you only read one of these books, read: The Historian if you’re into vampires, The Swan Thieves if you’re into art and psychology. Either if you enjoy mystery.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Feather Cuff DIY

After resolving only to craft using items already in my stash (and gaining some great suggestions!) I came up with this feather cuff, which used a bunch of leftover bits and pieces.

DIY feather cuff 

It would also make a cute Native American Indian-inspired headdress for a toy! ;)

This is a teen-friendly craft, though could also be suited to children (with an adult to help with the press studs!) if the chain is omitted.

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a tutorial, so here’s how to make a feather cuff!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Maxence Fermine: Colours Trilogy

I’m going to start writing about something new on this blog: books!

Since childhood I’ve been an avid reader. There’s something great about picking up a book and getting lost in the storyline.

So I’d like to share some of my favourites with you.

I’ll try to write briefly about several works of an author in each post and hope that somebody will find something new and fun to read!

To begin, here is a little about the writing of Maxence Fermine.

L-R: The Beekeper, Snow, The Black Violin

These three books are Maxence Fermine’s colours trilogy. Originally written in French, they are published in English by Acorn Books.

This is the first of Fermine’s books that I read! I wouldn’t have picked it up, only the kanji on the cover interested me and then I was intrigued by the blurb.

Set in Japan in the late 19th century, it is the story of Yuko Akita, a young man reaching the time in his life where he must choose his vocation. His choice is to become a monk or a warrior--but Yuko wishes to be a poet.
But Yuko’s only ever writes haiku about snow (the book itself contains haiku). Yuko is sent to study with an old poet named Soseki.
After a difficult journey to where Soseki lives, Yuko discovers that the poet is blind, and finds out about the young Soseki: that he was in love, with a tightrope walker named Snow.  

This book reads beautifully, capturing the essence and simplicity of haiku within the prose. At 100 pages long, it’s one of those brief, literary treasures that pops up only once in a while but leaves a definite mark in the reader’s memory.

The Black Violin
Another beautifully-written story with a romantic vein, this story is based around music (as you might have guessed!)
This time around, the tale is set in Italy in 1797. Reaching Venice with Napoleon’s army, violinist Johannes ends up boarding with Erasmus, an elderly violin-maker. One night, Erasmus tells Johannes of his life, and of ‘the Black Violin’. But Johannes becomes obsessed with the violin, and with finding the mysterious woman who saved his life when he was injured in battle.

Once more this is a short book, but that doesn’t at all detract from the storyline.

The Beekeeper
Beginning in France, 1885, The Beekeeper follows the journey of a young man named Aurelien. At twenty, Aurelien has decided to buy some hives and become a beekeeper, so that he could make honey. He would then be the only beekeeper in Langlade, and sell the best honey on Provence.
But as his aspirations begin to come to fruition, tragedy strikes. Following a dream, Aurelien sets off on a journey towards Africa, a journey upon which he meets a number of interesting people, including a woman with ‘skin the colour of honey.’

For this book, I’d like to share the first line, as I love it:
“Aurelien Rochefer was born in a painting of sun and light. A painting called Provence.”

This is the final book in the colours trilogy and also the longest, but it wraps the trilogy up nicely.

These three books are lovely reads and having been translated from the original French hasn’t taken away from their beauty.

If you only read one of these books, read: Snow. Of the three, I found it the most captivating.
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