Bead shopping

Last weekend I went bead shopping, I was intending to buy some white ceylon size 11 Czech seed beads and some superduo’s. The seed beads I need for a work in progress and the superduo’s because I’d read an article on the beading daily newsletter, with a project that I want to try. I found the seed beads but the colours were rather uninspiring so the project has been saved for a later date.

However while browsing the bead shop, a few things caught my eye. I, as is always the case, ended up spending much more than I anticipated. I probably should have taken a picture of my haul before I started doing things with it. The first thing that caught my eye was a ceramic giraffe bead with blue and white glazing. I picked up three, with plans to make a earring and necklace set for my sister. She is about to do her masters exams, and this would make a nice little gift to cheer her up. They had a whole range of creatures in a similar style, some looking much cuter than others. I bought an owl to put on a simple chain for my other sister. I think it will probably be her first ‘real’ necklace – she’s not the girliest of girls, but she likes owls and it is not too girly. I then bought some enamel beads in a orange/blue colour scheme and a set of glass beads, which are black lined with an iridescent effect. Oh and an iridescent cabochon, for when I eventually learn how to bezel.

giraffe set

The necklaces for my sisters, I knocked up pretty quickly once I got home. I recently bought a lot of findings when beadaura in London Covent Garden shut down. I also had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with the enamel beads. I strung them up separated with some small gold bead caps and turquoise seed beads and attached them to gold chain. I have a couple of other necklaces in a similar style that I wear a lot.

enamel beads

The black beads I am less sure what to do with, so I shall sit on them for a while and see what I come up with.

Manx Fuschia – Cross Stich

crossstitch fuschia upright 2Fuschia’s have always been one of my favourite flowers, I think at some point they are every girls favourite, with they way they look like ballerina outfits. Back in my days of making dresses for the flower fairies in my grandma’s garden, they were always my first choice. I wanted my first post to be a completed project so I’ve been putting the finishing touches to this small cross stitch card over the last few days. It’s incredible how different and much more impressive the piece looks once the outlines have been added to the shapes.

crossstitch fuschia flat

Cross stitch was how I learnt to sew. I remember doing a cross stitch with blue wool, the sort where the pattern is drawn onto the cross stitch material. Although I can’t remember what the pattern was or what happened to it now. For some reason I think it was a bear. I used to do lots of cross stitch as a kid, but stoppped as I got older and turned to other things. I have a feeling I found the patterns a bit old fashioned or twee.

This card was a small kit that was in my grandma’s sewing box. She passed away a year ago and this easter we went through some of her sewing things.  Between me and my sisters, most things found new homes. I took this particular cross stitch because a) I love fuschias and b) we were doing a lot of travelling over that holiday and I wanted a small portable project I could do on some planes and trains. I’ve really enjoyed doing this cross stitch and am definitely planning on  keeping an eye out for other small kits that I like. I like the one which come with cards, they feel more useful. This one will now go into my card box and we’ll see where it ends up.

I had to learn how to do a french knot for this project and rather enjoyed doing them by the last fuschia. Being able to watch you tube tutorials about whatever techniques you need to master is such an incredible thing. We are rather lucky, that we have these resources at our fingertips. Today I used one of the how to videos from needlenthread which was really clear and repeated itself multiple time so you could practice at the same speed as the demonstration. I got given an embroidery kit for Christmas and I think this will be a really useful website because it didn’t exactly come with a lot of instructions.


Over the last year and a half, it feels a bit like I’ve lost myself.  At that time I started a PhD. Before you start everyone says that a PhD is hard, and I brushed them all off. Hard, I could cope with that, I had worked hard through my degree and school and I thought I knew what I was letting myself into. Actually in terms of hard work and the amount of time it requires, I’ve had more free time than I’ve had for years, hence all the craftwork. But all those people, didn’t mean hard work, they meant it would be hard, it would be difficult and that I would struggle. As someone who is academic and had always found chemistry very intuitive, struggling with chemistry was a novel and unpleasant experience. Unluckily the first real rough patch with my work, coincided with a difficult personal experience. And the feeling of losing the thing I was good at, threw me for six. This is something I’m still recovering from, but along the way I started making things again. Picking up the needle and diving into a project, kept me busy and my mind occupied. As time proceeded I realised how much I’d missed all of these processes, and began to enjoy them fully. And as I did more and more, my skills have improved and I’ve begun to feel confident about trying new techniques  and showing off the things I’ve made. I’ve started to find myself again.

So here goes an attempt to be proud of what I’ve done, of what I’ve made. I’m hoping to show you things I’ve made and some of the things I’m hoping to make (always a longer list). Lets see what happens.