Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kumihimo - Part 2 - By Sue (Flamin'Eck)

Kumihimo blog week 2

It has taken me a while to get my head around the instructions for the weights for the Maru Dai.  I had looked online for weighted bobbins (tama), but with little luck.  They are extremely expensive, and come in three different weights, so eventually, if all the weights were purchased it would be around or above £100, dependent on the finish, wood or acrylic.  Being a cheapskate I decided to go for homemade.  I am fortunate in having good friends, one of whom provided me with eight clear pots with a screw on lid.


I was going to use sand but this didn't quite work out; stainless steel shot was perfect!  It means I can change the weight according to need.  I drilled a hole in the tops of the pots and also another (for my sons diabetic testing strips), which I would use for the counterweight tied to the centre braid. Ah, how I love my trusty Dremel, just perfect for little tasks like this.  And there I was stopped dead by an evil invention aka 'the Slipping Hitch', which you can just see in the book in the second picture. Aaaaarrrrgh!  I tried to do this so many times and simply failed.  Repeatedly.

Thank goodness for my friend visiting.  Linda (of Earthshine beads) was staying overnight, and between us we puzzled out this dreadful and fiendish thing.  I'd given up on my glass bobbins by this point and we decided it was best to use the weights as bobbins themselves, it took a fair bit of time but we actually managed to attach a weavers knot to each and then the slipping hitch to set up the Maru Dai for weaving. My conclusion?  Buy the dratted things!

It is possible to weave like this and it would be fine for small and simple braids, but it's not the most comfortable bit of kit, tends to tangle, and I think it would be much faster to use the specifically designed tama.  It is, however, a great way of starting to braid on a Maru Dai, and will give me the opportunity to purchase the tama as and when I can afford them while still being able to make lovely braids. Again, the lovely Linda has come to my rescue and found a website which sells everything I could possibly need in the future The Carey Company.
Now to find which threads work the best .... I'll tell you all about that next time.

Written and illustrated by Sue of Flamin'Eck

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bling! Online newspaper for CPteam and friends

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to see the day's crafting news from twitter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Thing A Day Keeps The Blues Away - Lynn Davy

A Thing A Day Keeps The Blues Away – Meeting the Year Long Challenge
Lynn Davy


We have a Year Long Challenge running on the Craft Pimp Forum. The Challenge is to make something every week of 2013. I got a bit carried away though and started making something every day.


So far I have just about managed to keep this up and as a result I now have a lot of Thing-A-Day Things, in spite of the fact that I have already given away or sold quite a few of them.

Here are most of the ones I’ve got left.

That’s quite a pile, and I still have three quarters of the year to go...

Why did I decide to set myself this challenge? Rampant over-enthusiasm, I think, coupled with the realisation that my stash is just going to become ever more unmanageable if I don’t start using my craft materials instead of hoarding them.

I do seem to have quite a few beads – this is the tip of the iceberg, a selection of goodies from the lovely folks I’ve met on Craft Pimp:

And I have a cupboard-and-a-half full of paper, paint, scrapbooking stuff and vintage fabric along with several boxes of found objects and bits and pieces that I just couldn’t bring myself to throw away.
Definitely time to start using them up.
Some days it hasn’t been easy to find the time to make anything... my default is earrings, although sometimes those take me ages because I am picky about finding just the right beads (and also a bit rubbish at wirework so I often have to have several goes at my wrapped loops). I have also resorted to folding a sheet of paper into an ‘instant book’ at five to midnight...

... although the result has been very useful, it lives on my work table so I can instantly scribble down all the new ideas that are generated by constantly making new things.
And my most minimal ‘make’ was probably this:

One fabulous Tan Grey bead and a lot of cursing as I tried to get the light switch cord through the hole without it fraying! I do love this though, and use it every day.
Useful ‘makes’ are the most satisfying of all, because I can justify keeping my cherished materials if I’m actually using them. The one I’m most proud of – and also probably the most challenging – is a vintage fabric cover for my ancient sewing machine.

Sewing is not one of my creative skills – or wasn’t until recently – so this took me a long time to design and engineer, and it isn’t perfect by any means but it keeps the dust out of the machine and I get to see that lovely fabric every day.

The machine is quite happy to sew paper as well as fabric – this is a first attempt at paper patchwork, covering a handmade book (also stitched) that is now on the other side of the Atlantic cheering up a friend of mine:

On the days when my beads aren’t speaking to me, I’ve turned to other materials instead and have had a go at mobiles, decoupage, book structures and mixed-media sculpture.
Like this collage, wire and cotton butterfly.

And this windchime with Tan’s lovely ceramic components, the inside out of a roll of parcel tape, some bits from an old book, a lick of paint and some leftover tapestry wool.

Silk painting and patchwork are on the to-do list as well. And I have a chair seat that needs re-upholstering...

A crafter’s work is never done. And a good thing too.

You can see more of my Thing-A-Day things on my blog:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Interview with Kayleigh Sexton - Cyndra Arts

Today I am interviewing Kayleigh Sexton of Cyndra Arts. Kayleigh's creations make me feel happy, she has a wonderful creative touch combining bright colour combinations and quirky shapes with sparking charm and whimsy.

How did you get started as a polymer clay artist?

One day I was in The Range, and I saw this colourful stuff called ‘Fimo.’ I’d never heard of it before and immediately I thought ‘oooh I could make my own beads, how cool would that be!’ So I bought a few blocks and made my first beads that evening. I’ve always been creative and arty but especially since then I have wanted to make things more and more.

What would you like to do/learn/take up in the future to further your process?

I want to learn to fuse glass. I took a day class last summer and absolutely loved it. Since then I have been adamant that I want a kiln and glass is the way I want to further my work, and with a kiln looking like it’s coming my way sooner rather than later I can hopefully start down this path very soon!

How has your crafting and inspiration evolved over time?
I think my crafting has become more sophisticated, but I haven’t let ‘me’ disappear out of my work. I started very simple with polymer clay, and progressed to more complex but fun and funky designs. I gained inspiration from other polymer clay artists and they helped me progress to where I am now. I then found the plastic that I’ve been using more recently, and have been progressing in the same way as I did with the polymer clay using other artists as a way to learn and getting inspiration from all things colourful.

 What is your favourite ever piece of work?

These doorknobs. They were commissioned by my Dad and Step Mum for their kitchen. My Step Mum and I went and chose the colours to match the house and then she let me do what I wanted with those colours to make them fit in with the rest of the house.

I absolutely love them, and so do they. They look amazing in their kitchen (though we never realised how many door knobs a kitchen could have!!) and I am so proud of them every time I go to open a cupboard. Even though I made them, I still have to stop and touch them because they are so tactile, and I just love to look at them. I also added a personal touch to some of them which only they and I know about so it makes them even more special to me.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! Other art, the natural world around me, things in shops, colour combinations that I glimpse here and there. It comes from everywhere really.

Do you craft for your living or is it more of a hobby/passion/obsession? 

It is my passion and obsession, and this is the reason why I will one day craft for a living :D 

What is your greatest crafting success? And your most spectacular failure? 

I think the biggest success would be the Nightmare Before Christmas wedding cake topper I made for my sister in law. It was incredibly fun to make, and went down a storm at the wedding. There are things I would have changed about it, but I am really proud of it.

As for the failures, I have some really ugly earrings that I’ve made recently. They will never come to anything. They are the combinations of heating them too much so they splodged everywhere, and colours that don’t quite go together. I have a whole pile of earrings like this!

What other crafts do you dabble in/would you like to try?

Well I’ve just learnt how to make French Beaded Flowers, which are really therapeutic to make. I’d love to be able to have a go at making pots. Clay looks fun, and messy which makes it even more intriguing!

Do you listen to music while you create? What is your favourite track? 

I like to listen to audiobooks. I love to read, and I love to make, so combining both is perfect! The Harry Potter audiobooks are some of my favourites, as are all the Stephen King audiobooks.

Who is your favourite artists or designer? 

I have always loved Dali’s work. It’s so surreal and completely amazing. I could stare at his paintings all day. I also love the watercolours of Amy Brown. She paints fairies and mystical creatures and you can just get lost in her world when looking at her paintings.

When not creating/crafting what is your favourite thing to do? 

Spending time with my lovely man. Soppy I know but time with him is always happy time.

Who would you choose to play you in the movie of your life? 

Drew Barrymore. She’s brilliant, is always smiling and has just the right amount of ditziness about her :D

Monday, March 18, 2013


Check out Bling! Our online craft newsletter for CPteam and Friends.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

TUTORIAL - Lampwork Sheep

With thanks to Laney Mead of IzzyBeads for this fabulous tutorial on making a little sheep from melted glass for those lampworkers out there :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Listings from the CP Team!

Beautiful new items are listed every day week and month from the members at Craft Pimp.
To see the most recent items in real time... click HERE.

It's forever changing, updating as more items can be listed within minutes of the previous listings when the team are on a roll.

Here are a few of the most recent listings that I found whilst having a looksie. I couldn't stop myself from making 2 treasuries of some of the best to show you! One withe such an eclectic mix ... and the other which has beautiful beads, beadwork and jewellery that has beads! haha!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kumihimo - Part 1 - By Sue (Flamin'Eck)

For a while now, I've been playing with kumihimo braiding.  I started off as many do now, with one of the flexible discs, which are numbered and have slots that you use to place your threads.  The slots provide tension, so generally you only need to weight the central braid.

I was very fortunate in that a friend of mine recently gave me a traditional style Maru Dai (thanks to Blue Box Sue), which is a wooden table, with a hole in the centre, four legs and a base; this is what the Japanese have been using for braiding for centuries.

So, what to do with this mysterious piece of kit?  Buy a book! I eventually plumped for this one

This is a really well written book with good clear instructions of how to set up your Maru Dai, a basic history of braiding,and a design section which helps you create your own patterns as well as give instructions for loads of designs. There are other great books out there, this was simply my choice :)

The history behind kumihimo is fascinating.  Braiding is bound up in religion and ritual, from burial ceremonies in Peru to securing Buddhist scrolls in Japan, from the use as sling weapons to the obi, which ties the kimono.

So, time to have a go.  First of all, I needed bobbins to wind my thread around.  Being a lampworker, that part was relatively easy, I made them out of glass.  Of course.  No lampworker can resist the opportunity to use the flame in whatever project in which they might be involved.  A tube of borosilicate glass with wound ends did the trick, and I can make larger ones if I need to, though the book gives various options.


I decided to try to braid without weights for my first braid.  I bought some recycled sari silk which looked gorgeous, but was completely unsuitable for this, it fell to pieces as soon as I tried winding it on the bobbin, boo, hiss.  So back to using what I already had.  I used eight equal lengths of Superlon, wound them on the bobbins, and cussed royally for a while why I tried to master (or mistress) a larkshead tie ... which is not what I ended up with!  Still, I persevered, and braided a simple pattern.  Which resulted in this:

As you can see, although pretty, the braid is quite loose - it may have worked a lot better with beads.  Over the next week I will be making weights myself, and attempting to braid with those.  Wish me luck ;-)

Sue - Flamin'Eck

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Craft Pimp Team Treasury Showcase!

Throughout 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. Here are the most recent 10 that have showcased wonderful products from the CP team!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Creative Paperclay - a review

Today we have Vic from Cornish Dragon write a review on air dry clay!

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I have heard of air drying clays before, but never paper clay. This intrigued me and I thought I'd like to try it ot. The clay I purchased was by Creative; other brands are available like DAS and Karugaru.
So what can you do with Paper Clay? Like polymer clay you can make lots of items with the clay like models, doll making, jewellery, scrapbooking and lots more. The paper clay has some advantages over polymer mainly it doesn’t need to be baked in an oven, its lightweight, it can be painted, moulded over wire, Styrofoam shapes, and you get more for you money. The disadvantages are it can take from 1–3 days for the clay to dry, it can crack while drying and there is only one colour - white.

The clay itself wasn’t as white as I was expecting, more a pale grey or ecru, It also has a spongy texture. I cut a piece off my block and started to smooth it over some Styrofoam shapes to form a body. And I used some of my sculpting tools to smooth and shape some features. I did find the clay started to dry as I was working so I found it helpful to have a small bowl of water handy to dip the tools or my fingers in to help smooth out the clay. When I had finished sculpting I placed the finished model on to a playing card and left it to dry.

This is my moon gazing hare I also made, for this one I used more water to help smooth out the body. When I finished my hands were covered with clay which washed off very easily, more so than with polymer, and left no residue or dryness.

Both of the sculptures have now dried and they are not as smooth as I would have liked but I will sand the surface to get them smoother, paint them and give them a protective coat of varnish.

I would certainly use the paper clay again; the models I have made are really light which I think would be an advantage in jewellery for making beads.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Heart Murrini Tutorial / Pictorial

Continuing on from our wonderful lampwork workshop review a few days ago ... well, here is a great free tutorial from Jolene at KitzBitzArt Beads & Frit 'n' Chips on how to make Heart Murrini!

Thanks Jolene!