Monday, March 19, 2012

Spotty Dotty.......

My 3 year old little girl has developed a passion for spots, dots and all things bright and made of circles. Here is a super little collection of dotty spotty lovely handmade delights from CPteam.

Psychedelic Agaric - Big Hole Bead from Pandanimal

Fused glass quirky orange Owl decoration from VenusArtGlass

Pig Flu focal glass lampwork bead from Izzybeads

Sunday, March 18, 2012

[AOTM] Lynn Davy - "Starting your journey onto the seedy-side"

What do I need to get started on my journey to the Seedy Side?

A quick guide to basic materials for seed beading. There is a lot I could say on this subject but I’ll try to keep it simple!

Seed beading or ‘beadweaving’ is great because you need so little equipment. Basically you need some beads, a needle, some thread, something to put the beads in, and scissors.

So quite why I have an entire roomful of bead stash is a deep mystery to my long-suffering family…

The equipment is simple, but the choices are wide and it can be hard to know where to start.

Thread, first.

For years I beaded with polyester sewing thread because there wasn’t anything else. I still use it sometimes for the pretty colours. But it tends to fray and tangle and these days there are plenty of specialist beading threads on the market.

Of which the best IMNSHO is a Japanese effort called KO. It’s expensive but smooth and pretty non-tangly. It achieves this by having a coating on the outside of the thread, so be warned: once you’ve unpicked a couple of times, you’re at risk of the coating becoming damaged. Change your thread as soon as it starts to look at all frayed or wispy. Otherwise you will find it suddenly disintegrating into a fluffy mess!

A cheaper alternative for a beginner is Nymo – widely available and the dinky little spools are so handy. It does tend to fray a bit and you shouldn’t suck the end in order to thread the needle, as that just makes it fray apart even more. I still use this a lot. It comes in B or D thicknesses – B is thinner – I mostly use D.

For weight-bearing or rigid constructions there is Fireline – originally a fishing line but very popular with beaders. It takes a bit of getting used to as it is stiff and gets kinked and tangled – I hated it when I first tried it but now I wouldn’t be without it. Much cheaper if you can get it from a fishing shop and not a bead shop. I mostly use the 4lb size (that’s the breaking strain… 6lb is thicker and even tougher).

Needles – beading needles are specially long and thin and widely available from bead or sewing shops. Size 10 or 12 is an ‘average’ beading needle; as with beads, the higher the number, the smaller the size, so for tight spots or very small beads you might want to go down to a size 13 or even 15 needle. Use the thickest needle you can get away with, especially if making a big piece. It’ll be easier on your hands.

I sometimes use short ‘sharps’ needles if I’m stitching one-bead-at-a-time designs. They’re more robust and less bendy. My long needles always end up looking like bananas…

Scissors – any sharp embroidery scissors will do. Some people swear by a heated ‘thread zapper’ to burn away any wispy loose ends. I’ve never trusted myself not to burn through something vital though!

Oh, and something to put beads in – there are specialist mats and trays of all sorts, but I swear by my trusty plastic Nutella lids!

Stay tuned for more about beads in the next post…

Friday, March 16, 2012

TUTORIAL - How to make a recycled glass dish out of double glazing

With thanks to Jill from Kiln Fired Art - on her BLOG ... she recorded her own tutorial to share on how to make a recycled glass dish out of old double glazing!

Inspirational video, great way to recycled - makes us itch to get a kiln so we can do the same!

Thanks Jill!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Window Shopping with the CP team

It's February, and we've been window shopping on Etsy!

Fresh inspiration from CP team, window shopping collections on one of our favourite websites, treats we are looking forward to buying for ourselves, or for others this year. If you want to see a bigger picture of anything ... just click on the picture and it'll fly you away to Etsy!

What cute creations have recently caught your eye?

Get Funky

Euphoric colour

Looking for creative inspiration?

Fantastical Beauty from all over the UK

Mouth watering!

Morning Chorus

Team members Diane's very first one - so pretty!

Just the thing to get you in the mood for you hollibobs

Sunday, March 11, 2012

{Blog Review} Kayleigh at DizzyKitten!

Who is it?
Kayleigh at Dizzy Kitten

What Craft is it?
It's all about the Polymer Clay!

What to expect:
• Inspirational art in Polymer Clay
• Funky, bright items!
• Personal experiences and life stories

Why we LOVE IT!
We do love a blog that doesn't just talk about the craft. Even though we are constantly inspired by her bright and funky polymer clay creations - there's tales and stories about birthdays, university and mid-week posts that keep us updated with whats going on with her!
Always a bead to brighten your day, always a creation (like a frame or a book) to make you inspired.
Other places on the web to find Kayleigh
Website - CLICK HERE
Flickr  - CLICK HERE
Facebook - CLICK HERE
Pinterest - CLICK HERE

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Drunkard's Path Strip Ruler by Creative Grids

In the world of quilting there are so many tools and accessories to make specific tasks easier. A case in point is the vast range of rulers available from Creative Grids. I bought their 45 and 90 degree angle ruler (it results in half square and quarter square triangles if you were wondering) a little while back to go alongside my purchase of the book "Jelly Roll Sampler Quilts". Whilst browsing the shop I bought it from, I also saw the Drunkard's Path ruler and decided right away that I must have it!

It's taken a few months to actually use it for little more than the straight edge side, but I have successfully tried it out this weekend. First you use the straight side to cut the strips (3 1/2" for the outside of the curve and 2 1/2" for the quarter circle shape), and the length of it means you can cut fat quarters into strips. I was lazy and just used it for scraps, so my strips weren't really strips at all.

Anyway, after you cut the strips, you rotate the ruler and using a little rotary cutter, go round the curves starting in the grooves. This is great for accurate cutting, but it does require a little rotary cutter and I prefer to use bigger ones so I found myself using two different tools.

Also I'm left handed (which you can tell from the pictures!) which is never a problem for me as I was brought up using right handed scissors and eating with cutlery in the correct hands, however I think this is to my advantage when using the cutter as I found it easier to cut the curves with my left hand (or your right, right-handed reader!) and then the straight edges of the pieces with my right so you do have to be a little ambidextrous.

It would be great if this was available in different sizes, as this produces a finished size of 3"- this does mean that if you arrange the curves in a 4x4 grid though you get a great 12" standard size block and there are tons of combinations you can make. The little instruction book that comes with it is very informative, not only explaining how to use the ruler but showing some of the blocks it can make- don't throw this away! The examples are shown on the ruler though if you do make this careless mistake ;) An excellent feature.

A problem I found is you can splinter the edges of the ruler a bit if you're giving it some welly, which isn't great for your rotary cutter's blade. It was true to it's name though and was non-slip! Anyway, there is no way on earth I'd be able to cut these shapes accurately without this tool so I'm pretty happy with it. Sewing the curves is a different matter though, that was quite tricky and I probably need a little more practise. Not that that is the ruler's fault.

And here is my finished first project using it- ta da!

A demonstration video on how to use this ruler is available on YouTube here.
The Creative Grids Non-slip Drunkards Path Strip Ruler is currently £19.96 from the Creative Grids website.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

[AOTM] Lynn Davy - "Daisy, Daisy"


Our great friend and Craft Pimp Team member Lynn Davy is our "Artist of the Month" this month!
Widely known in the beading world, she creates beautiful beadwork, tutorials and kits and has been featured a lot over the recent years in beading publications.

This month she will contribute to our wonderful little blog about her beadies, inspirations and life and we're so glad to have her here! Over to you Lynn ...

*** *** ***

My ancient computer recently decided to start switching off random but rather crucial bits of itself and paint its screen with flickery stripes of pink, green and turquoise. A curious coincidence considering that I had just decided to make this random blog a springtime one and write a tutorial about daisychains...

I'm a botanist by training and find endless inspiration in flowers of all sorts. My garden is a complete jungle inhabited by lots of wildlife and things that my tidier neighbours call 'weeds'. I tell them there are no such things as weeds, just flowers that are growing where you didn’t plant them.
A daisychain is one of the simplest of all seed bead constructions and it's the first one that I learned, wayyy back when I was only ten and just beginning my journey to the Seedy Side of Beading.

The yellow-and-blue effort (there wasn’t a wide choice in seed bead colours in 1974) was my first-ever piece of beadweaving. I still love the stitch. It's quick and satisfying and you can play with colours and patterns and mess around with joining up multiple 'chains' to make a slinky fabric

or even a rope.

And it’s very very simple – a sequence of two stitches – so I thought it would be perfect for my first CPteam tutorial and especially for those of you who haven’t yet discovered the delights of beadweaving!

So here we go. Grab some seed beads in three or four colours (preferably bigger beads such as size 8's if you haven't indulged in much seediness before), a needle and some thread.

1. Tie a 'stop bead' to the end of your thread. This is just there to stop beads falling off the end and will be removed when you've finished, so don't tie it too tight. Just going through it a couple of times will do. I like to use one that's not the same colour as my working beads; it's the bright red one in the photos. Now pick up five beads in your 'petal' colour and one in a contrast colour for the flower centre. Go back through the first 'petal' bead.

2. To complete your first daisy, pick up three more 'petal' beads and go through the bead next to the centre bead.

 3. Pick up three ‘petal’ beads and one ‘centre’ and go back through the last bead you added in the previous step.

4. Complete this flower with three more ‘petals’, going back through the bead next to the centre bead.

5. Keep repeating steps 3 and 4 to make a chain.

6. In the basic pattern, the flowers are all joined together: the side petals are shared between one daisy and the next. But what if you want separate flowers so you can make them different colours? Well, the easiest way just carries on the basic sequence of two stitches but adds green ‘leaf’ beads between the daisies. Like this… after completing a flower, pick up two ‘leaf’ beads, a ‘petal’ in your next flower colour, and one more ‘leaf’. Stitch through the last bead of the previous step, just as you did in step 3. Same stitch, different colours.

7. Pick up two more ‘leaves’ and another ‘petal’ and go through the ‘petal’ from the previous step. Again, same stitch, just different colours.

8. Now repeat step 3 in your new flower colours…

9. …and repeat step 4 to complete your new daisy.

10. Keep going, adding alternate ‘leaves’ and ‘daisies’, until the chain is as long as you want.

11. And here is how to add different colours without the leaves. After finishing a flower (you can start this after step 2 if you don’t want any leaves in your chain at all), pick up two ‘petals’ in your new colour, and go through the last two petals of the previous flower again.

12. Now stitch through the two beads you added in step 11, without adding any more.

13. Add three ‘petals’ and a ‘centre’… sounds familiar? That’s right, it’s just like step 3.

14. And another three ‘petals’ to complete the flower, just like step 4. Easy peasy lazy daisy!

15. Add another two ‘petals’ in your next colour, as in step 11…

And there you go – just keep adding new colours to your heart’s content!

Have fun with your daisychains, and don’t forget to leave a comment as to how you got on!
Hmmm, sun’s out now, I think I might go and do some more experimenting…

TUTORIAL - Simple Beaded Beads

Lots of beaders in their work like to create beaded beads in their designs. There are many ways to make a beaded bead - and this design is simple to make and will give you an extra detailed component to put in your creations.

This bead design is very simple, check out the tutorial and you will see that you can make these too! Once you make just a few, you will not need the instructions anymore!

Hope you like it!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Window Shopping with the CP team

This past February, and we've been window shopping on Etsy!

Spring is just around the corner and we can feel it in the air as you can see from our window shopping collections on one of our favourite websites, treats we are looking forward to buying for ourselves, or for others this year. If you want to see a bigger picture of anything ... just click on the picture and it'll fly you away to Etsy!

What fabulous goodies have recently caught your eye?

Brilliant inspiration for Mother's day

Super spring colours in They Call Me mellow Yellow

Didn't get a Valentine? Go on and treat yourself :-D

Chase away those winter sniffles with a dose of Vitamin C

Wishing for Spring

Whimsical cute

Variety is the spice if life - how true!

Ooooh shiny

{Blog Review} Life with Izzybeads

Who is it?
Laney at IzzyBeads

What Craft is it?
It's all about the Lampwork and glass fusing.

What to expect:
• Lovely stories about life and lampworking
• Great photos of animal adventures and glass beads
• Clean not overcrowded blog and easy to read
• Lampworking tutorials

Why we LOVE IT!
Laney's stories about bead fairs, tales out her studio and her animal adventures are always a pleasure to read. Addicted to every post, she makes us laugh with tales about being mad or eccentric. Probably something all crafters can relate to! Her beads are fabulous too, and we like to see what she has been working on in the previous weeks - gorgeous critters with cute bums and cheeky chickens inspired by her own battery-hen-rescues, behind each creation comes a little tale.

Amazing whimsical critter beads, or even something fromt he vegetable patch - she makes according to what inspires her in that moment, and that sort of impulsive variety means that you never get bored!

Other places on the web to find Laney
Etsy Shop - CLICK HERE
Ebay Shop - CLICK HERE