Friday, 30 September 2011

September Embers - finale

A final farewell to the September Embers. Well done to all those who made sales and listed everyday. I missed a Sunday!  I'm sure I'll see some of you in the October club. I've tried to link pictures today to a sort of ashes, orange, Autumnal range of colours. My own Autumn pendant has a bit of gold sparkle and a butterfly too.

Blog readers.

Please use a 10% off coupon in October for 10% discount  in my ETSY shop. Feel free to pass it on.

Quote BLOG10 at checkout

NOfkants Curios
Polly Crafts
Wellydog gallery
Ravens Stained Glass

Monday, 26 September 2011

Firstsite - First Impressions


"Did we pay to come here?"

"Why is that naked lady covered in paint?

"Can I keep it?"

"Is that another soup can by Andy Warhol?

Soundbites (from the mouths of babes!) at the opening of Colchester's brand new art space - Firstsite

The building has no foundadtions and sits on an Ancient Monument Site.It sits on 24,000 tonnes of hardcore recovered from the demolished local garrison.

20 plumbers were hired to lay 20,000 metres of TECU Gold cladding. This covers the building and in the sunlight  was quite an awesome first impression.

The light and airy entrance hall was dominated by one of those classic "Oh no! the cleaners have 'tidied it' works of modern art. There were 2 large fingers, lots of moulds, art materials and bits of junk. We made our own stories up about severed fingers, axe murderers and Queen Boudica. Later we found a help leaflet. My impression of this art would have been so different if I'd read it first. The piece is part of a work in progress by Danh Vo titled 'We the People'. He has been making a full sized copy of The Statue of Liberty and he's doing it piece by piece and leaving it in galleries all over the world. Now that's original!

I felt a bit wobbly as we walked around the curved walls, the floor seemed to slope as well and we kept veering to the edges. Weird. Why would you have curved walls in an art gallery? The space for hanging art was extremely limited. There were 4 small galleries with very little in them.

I completely missed the Henry Moore. I think I was expecting a smooth, giant sculpture of epic proportions perhaps in the 'D'shaped garden. It turns out the few rocks in a case were the inspirations for those more famous sculptures. To be fair, there were also two 'Helmet Heads' which I suppose linked to Colchester's military history.

Speaking of links to Colchester and yes I completely missed this one (again) was the screen print soup can by Andy Warhol.The boys recognised the artist and quickly moved on to the body-painted naked lady photos nearby. It was 'Oyster Stew'. Well done to the art gallery for getting this one. Colchester in Essex is very famous and has been since Roman times for it's annual oyster feast. Can't stand the things myself!

Having swiftly moved though the galleries we found the teaching area and the boys quickly gathered up drawing materials and paper to design dinosaurs. This gave us a chance to collect all the information that we had been lacking previously. It all began to make a lot more sense. There was a great booklet for families and also bags of objects  for them to take on their journey around the gallery. Maybe next time!

We were drawn to activity on the lawn after this and the sun made for a very arty, relaxed atmosphere. The boys made 'art' using coloured tape and shapes of thin wood. They wrapped the tape around to create stripes of pattern that turned their long thin strips of wood into instant swords.

We enjoyed our trip and will be back for more.

There's a craft course that I quite fancy and the boys would like to try the Saturday morning drop in sessions and events over half term. We'll try the cafe next time too although will not forget the little cafe next door in the Minories garden. The bunting around the garden is really funky!

For more information visit

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Folksy Friday - September Embers

I've listed lots of new items in my shops this week in hope of a Christmas rush! I absolutely love the greens and blues in this pendant. I think it looks like a landscape with spirals of land at the bottom, vegetation in the middle and a swirly blue sky at the top. Takes a bit of imagination but humour me!

So green had to be the link for Folksy Friday this week. Well done on all of your sales.
As always click on the picture to go straight to the shop.


Be Beautiful Again Trinkets
Baggie Aggie Too
Adien Crafts
Diomo Glass Gifts
Gail Griggs Photography

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


I thought I was clever using buttons as embellishments to cards and jewellery but these take buttons to the next level!

Works of amazing art by Jane Perkins

Please pop on over to  
for lots more of these amazing recycled button pictures.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ceramic painting

Bit of a late summer holiday post but better late than never!

I have a kiln that I use for glass because in a pre-child life I used to have a mobile ceramic painting business. Since a relocation and a course in glass fusing the kiln has not been used for it's original purpose.

My husband sent me on a fused glass course for my birthday a few years ago and luckily the kiln was good enough to have a digital controller and ramp up programme as well as the cone firing that ceramicists use. The only draw back is the size of the kiln. At least I can fire lots of champagne bottles in it!

Back to the original purpose today though. I let the boys get out the coloured glazes which seemed OK despite having been stored incorrectly for a number of years. I was more concerned with the clear glaze. That had to be stirred for close to an hour before all the lumps disappeared.

The boys wanted to draw Pokemon characters so we found some pictures to trace and with a special paper managed to transfer the image onto the plates.

An octopus was easier to paint for the 5 year old. This is the pre-fired piece.

The finished pieces!

There are mini masks, hippos, love hearts (for mummy), Christmas stars for the tree, an octopus and some pokemon plates. The boys were really pleased with the results and now have their own plates at tea time.

I had a go to at a more subtle design but 2D work is really not my strong point.

We had such a good day and now have some ideas for Christmas presents.
 I thought about painting some stars too for my etsy shop. They have a little metal loop and might look great as a tree ornament or strung together as a garland.What do you think?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Folksy Friday

I'm still going with the September Embers listing club despite a few wobbles this week. I've got a new batch of items fresh from the kiln  and have been sanding and gluing like crazy. My favourite is this blue pendant which apparently looks like a charm to ward off an 'evil eye'. It will be listed for sale as soon as I finish this. Please click on the pic!

A collection of vaguely bluish items from team members today. Please click on the picture to go straight to the shop.


Cufflinks - Alibali Jewellery
Bracelet - Esme Dodsworth
T-shirt - Hugs and Kisses
Naming Day Memory Book - Dottie Designs
Hat - Booties by Dannie
Turquoise Felt Flower Brooch - 'Blooming Petals' - made by Lolly

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sardinian Cork

I had not given them a second thought until arriving in Sardinia - CORKS.
I've certainly come across a few though!

Now I know that:

-  Sardinia is the main place for cork production in Italy.

-  Cork comes from the bark of special cork oak trees. (Quercus suber L.)

-  The cork is  harvested every nine years in a rather labour intensive process. One tree can grow around 2.5 to 5 cm of new cork in three to ten years.

- The estimated lifespan of the cork oak is around 150 years and the bark of the tree cannot be harvested until it is around 25 to 30 years old

Calangianus is the hub of the action, the cork capital.

- The cork is boiled to increase flexiblity and to remove unwanted extras then pressed before being processed.It is scraped clean by hand.

- The by products of production are used to dye wool.

You can make a lot more from cork than wine bottle stoppers!

 This is a very short video on the method of removing cork bark from the trees.

The shops are full of cork products that range from pens, to actual cork paper to containers and lampstands. Amazing!

By buying wine with corks rather than plastic stoppers you will be helping to keep this sustainable tradition alive and preserving the ancient cork forests of Sardinia.

Go ahead drink more wine, just do it sensibly and with a cork stopper!

So I just had to browse my favourite shopping mall for cork inspired items.
Please click on the pictures to go directly to the ETSY shops that sell these unique cork products.

Recycled Wine Cork Cufflinks by Miss Courageous

Cork Oxford Shoes by August Ballarinas

Beach Tote in Cork by Flux Productions

Custom Cork business Cards (set of 24) by Wearhouse Industries

Handmade Salvaged Wine Cork Mosaic by Bheaded5

Monday, 12 September 2011

Paper Sculptures

I've just clicked a link over on FOLKSY and due to being socially out of the loop (not on twitter or facebook) I've missed out on this fabulous article that has been circulating around. Perhaps you live in an exotic foreign place or out of the loop too and you've also missed it.

Anyway.... Last March a sculpture carved from paper and mounted on a book appeared in the Scottish Poetry  library. It had a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive - the library's Twitter account - reading:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…
... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

Mysterious paper sculptures
Next to the 'poetree' sat a paper egg lined with gold and a scatter of words which, when put together, make "A Trace of Wings" by Edwin Morgan.

The mysterious paper tree

Recently a lot more have appeared. I love the tea cup, amazing feats of engineering.
This link is to the original blog and lots of other articles written by very important newspapers on the subject. I can't compete so please go and have a look. They are amazing, they blew my mind.I can just about make a folded and cut Christmas snowflake out of paper.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Folksy Friday - September Embers

It's the start of a new month and the start of a new listing club on FOLKSY. I've joined the September Embers to try and list something everyday in September. The idea is also to promote the other shops and generally help each other. I've viewed and stumbled this week (although I still don't really have a clue what I'm doing with this) and today I've blogged about some favourites.
Please click on the link to go directly to the shop.


Cola cube Bracelet - Maram Jewellery
The Tower Bridge - Ialbert
Vintage Style Red Pendant - Just K jewellery
Silk Covered Buttons - Sophie's Stuff
Strawberry Earrings - Carol's Crafts
Hair Accessories - Nofkants Curios

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Thames Festival.

The Mayor's Thames Festival takes place in London this weekend.10th/11th September. There are events planned all along the river from parades and fireworks to crafts and music.

I've picked out a few of my favourites from the programme to 'whet' your appetite!

Akari Lantern Project

Sat 10 – Sun 11 September 2011 / 12 noon  6pm, Saturday & Sunday
Tate Modern grass
Image: Japan Society

It is 6 months to the day since the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March. You can join lantern-making workshops, badge-making workshops, origami crane sessions and other Japanese craft activities to raise awareness of local communities affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Rivers of the World

is the Festival’s flagship art and education project.

Artwork: Coombe Girls             

In 2011, students from London, Bangkok (Thailand), Washington DC (USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Seoul (Korea), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Derry / Londonderry & Donegal (Ireland) have worked with artists to create magnificent artworks inspired by the study of their, or their partner city’s, river.

The artworks are on display in the gallery@oxo and along the banks of the River Thames.

Chapeau Magique and La Galette

Sat 10 – Sun 11 September 2011 / 1pm - 6pm
The Bandstand in Gabriel's Wharf

  • This looks so much fun.
    Huge sheets of brown wrapping paper are used for the large-scale production of origami wizard hats, in a magical playground environment underneath an ever-unfurling 7km roll of paper. Children and adults too are invited to roll and fold and squeeze and scrunch their very own paper hat.

    Please follow the link for more information.

    I've made this treasury today, inspired by the river.