Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New Year's resolutions ... so far so good!

I try not to make too many New Year's resolutions ... I am not very good at seeing them through. This year I made 3 resolutions - just 3. Resolution 1 was to learn a new craft. I have done this with much gusto as you've probably realised from my recent posts. I am of course referring to my chain maille pursuits.

Resolution 2 was to use up my accumulated stash of card blanks, coloured cards and paper, scraps of wrapping paper, my small collection of stamps and punches, bits and bobs which come free with crafting magazines and make my own greeting cards for friends and family. I shared some of the simple cards I made earlier in the year on one of the My Creative Space posts. I made about 6 or 7 for myself and almost a dozen for my mum. At the weekend, I realised that I was down to my last birthday card and broke out the stash to make a few more.

A little coloured card goes a long way when it comes to punching out a few shapes and sticking them together. The odd metal brad adds a bit of interest.

I found a couple of packs of die cut flower shapes and thought it might be real cute to add some 3D-ness to one or two cards.

There are those metal brads again. I love these metal brads. I'm always worrying about the shapes I stick on the cards falling off and the brads provide that bit of security. These shapes are going nowhere!

There's a bit of a floral theme going on with this bunch of cards. Mr CraftAdy peered over my shoulder when I was sticking some bits down and said "They're very girlie." I guess they are but I like them.

I think I need to start looking for a few 'un-girlie' bits and bobs to make cards for the guys. Otherwise, I'll only have girlie cards like this one.

For now the stash is getting used and I don't need to purchase any store-bought cards for my girl friends.

Resolution number 3 was to do more sewing .... hmmmm, I have several months left in 2011 to try to achieve this resolution. For now, two out of three ain't bad, huh?

Have a great day, friends.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Half dragonback in silver and gold.

I finished this half dragonback bracelet in silver and gold recently. A friend of mine had asked me to make it for her.

I like the gold and silver combination.

I have decided I need more of these in my life ... maybe a silver and pink one for myself. Or silver and violet .... hmmmm.

I seriously love this weave - it's substantial and feels wonderful when worn. As it's made from bright aluminium rings, it's light and ever so easy to wear.

Have a fantastic week ahead, friends.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Comic relief

Comic Relief is a British charity founded back in the mid 1980s in response to the famine in Ethiopia. One of the main Comic Relief events is Red Nose Day, a telethon held in March every year to raise money for good causes throughout the world.

Every year, the kids' school or nursery celebrate Red Nose Day by encouraging the children to dress up or wear the red nose (all proceeds of red nose sales go to the charity) or have silly hair for the day.

This year, Red Nose Day took place on Friday 18th March. Dinoboy's school said they could go to school with their red noses and wear them all through the school day. Donations of £1 were requested if the child participated.

He wore his red nose all day and promptly lost it at the end of the school day. Good thing I'd bought 3 noses so we have 2 left ... somewhere in the house.

Missy Moo's nursery opted for wearing pyjamas and sporting silly hair-dos all day. Which was a good thing as the red nose I got for her was too big to fit onto her little squishy nose!

She settled for a nice Red Nose Day deely-bopper instead. Good fun!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

My creative space

Sorry it's been so quiet around here recently. I've been busy with a few chain maille projects. Last week Dinoboy asked if I could make a rainbow rubber o-rings and anodised aluminium cuff for his friend at school for her birthday. After I finished that, I made another half dragonback bracelet for a friend. Right now I am working on a double width beaded helm weave choker for a friend at work.

My poor sewing machine is feeling very neglected. Missy Moo wants me to make her a pretty dress soon. Hopefully once I get this choker project done, I can do Missy Moo's dress for her.

Find out what's happening in other creative spaces over at Kootoyoo's blog.

Have a creative day, friends.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Half dragonback bracelet finished

I started this with full intentions of making it a dragonback bracelet. But I decided to skip the last step which was adding the final row of rings on the back through the middle. Due to the size of my rings and probably the aspect ratio of the rings too, the last row would have made the bracelet really stiff. I liked the slinkiness at the half completed stage. So it's staying as a half dragonback. Each side of the bracelet looks slightly different from the other. This side has a curved edge.

You can't see it very well in the next picture but the other side has a ridge of rings on each edge. I used blue anodised aluminium rings down the spine and plain bright aluminium rings elsewhere. These are 5mm internal diameter rings made from 1.29mm gauge (16AWG) wire. It's got a slide clasp as a fastener.

Everytime I made a new bracelet, I decide it's my favourite! LOL! This is my current favourite.

Since finishing this one, I've made an identical one for a friend at work and there is another one in progress with gold rings along the spine for another friend.

If you fancy a go at this, here is the tutorial I used. Oh and if you're making this weave, you need to make your European 4-in-1 starting chain longer to start with. In the 5mm id rings of the same gauge I've used, the finished bracelet has 7 spine rings to an inch of bracelet. The spine rings are the middle row of rings on the European 4-in-1 starting chain.

I have to head into work later as we have an open day today and we're expecting a few hundred people to come visit the university. So I'm off to do some house chores now.

Have a great weekend, friends.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


There are lessons we are all taught during our childhood. These are lessons that I in turn try to teach my kids. Lessons that I hope they take with them into adulthood, just as I imagine my mother must have hoped for me when she taught them to me.

Today I realised two things. Firstly that I have failed to learn some of those lessons and carry them into my adult life. And secondly, I was reminded of how fragile friendship is and how easily we can damage something beautiful.

‘Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal’ (Proverbs 12.18).

The words we choose and the way we use them can be profoundly damaging to others. My mother always told me to think before I spoke out loud and to remember that words have the potential to hurt. I remember reading somewhere that it is only in the dictionary that speech should come before thought.

Yesterday, in a moment of thoughtlessness, I said something that hurt a friend of many years. I did not mean to cause hurt but in that fraction of a second, I didn't consider the effects of my words before hand. What I said hurt my friend and I did not realise it until some time later. On my way into work this morning, I was struck by the thought that I might have been hurtful. My thoughts were confirmed later in a brief interaction with this friend.

I sought my friend out at the end of the day and apologised for hurting her. I had not meant to hurt her. My apology was accepted but I somehow feel that something in our relationship has been irrevocably damaged.

Friendship matters. It matters a lot to me. Yet, it is the most fragile of relationships. I'm grateful for each and every one of the men and women whom I count as friends. Through life's changes, they are there for me. And it is my heart’s desire to be there for them. But such is the nature of friendship that it is inherently fragile – easily damaged by careless comments and words.

My failure to remember the lessons I was taught in my childhood cost me today. My heart is heavy tonight and I am saddened by the feeling that I have lost something I can’t even put my finger on or describe. When I am able to, I shall have a chat with Dino-Boy and in time, with Missy Moo too, about hurtful words and try to teach them the lesson I forgot until it was bit too late.

My Creative Space

I'm learning a new weave as I wait for some new supplies to arrive so I can start on my commissioned chain maille pieces. This is the Full Persian Weave in 6.9mm internal diameter 16 gauge aluminium rings.

It makes a lovely rope effect chain. There are some great youtube tutorials around if you're interested to learn this weave too like this one, this one or this one.

Since I already have so many bracelets, I'm thinking of working this one up to a necklace. I think it'll look fab as a necklace.

For other creative spaces, visit the home of My Creative Space over at Kootoyoo's.

Have a creative day, friends.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sales and commissions! Woohoo!!

This week has been a great week so far. I sold my first chain maille bracelet to a colleague on Monday! It was one of these neoprene o-ring and multi-coloured aluminium rings bracelets.

That same morning, I got a commission from another colleague who wanted a choker in the double helm weave like the bracelet I showed you in my last post here.

Then a third colleague asked if I could make one of the neoprene o-ring and multi-coloured aluminium rings bracelets for her 8 year old niece. Woohoo - I was on a roll!!!

Over the weekend, I finished my half dragonback bracelet (the one I was working on in my last My Creative Space post last week) and wore it to work on Monday. I bumped into friend at lunchtime who said she was enjoying the photos of my chain maille work. I showed her my new bracelet and she immediately asked me to make her one!

On Tuesday, I sold this bracelet to yet another colleague. Actually, it was this colleague who suggested this particular colourway (thanks Margaret!) and it's worked out really well.

I got a fourth commission this morning for another half dragonback bracelet. Wow! I am going to be very busy in the evenings for the next two weeks at least working on these commissions. I couldn't be happier!

I hope your week's going great so far, friends.

Monday, 7 March 2011

And the obsession continues ...

I'd been meaning to try the Parallel Helm Weave for ages but didn't have the right sized rings in my chain maille box until recently. There's a fabulous tutorial here on Jeff Olin's fantastic CG Maille website.

I wanted to make it girlie and throw in a few seed beads. My first attempt at a Helm chain looked pretty enough but it looked too similar to the centipede weave I had worked on earlier here. Then it struck me that I could double up the chains, weave them together and make a fabulous wide chain.

This 7 inch cuff bracelet is made from eighty-two 8.5mm bright aluminium rings, seventy-four 4mm gold-plated aluminium rings, twenty-six glass seed beads and a slide lock clasp. I think this is by far my favourite piece to date. Do you like it?

Just for good measure, I made a pair of matching earrings too.

For some reason, I was reminded of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings when I was making this double-width Helm chain - I kept thinking of Helms Deep, identified in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book as "the great fortress of Rohan".

Have a great week, friends.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

My creative space

My space is still being occupied by jump rings. This is my current in-progress bracelet. It starts out life as a simple European 4 in 1 weave strand.

Weave in some more rings along the side and you get the start of a weave known as Dragonback. This is possibly the most complicated weave I have attempted so far.

Find out what's happening in other creative spaces around blogosphere over at Kootoyoo's.

Have a creative day, friends.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ad·dic·tion [uh-dik-shuhn]

– noun
The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

I am starting to think I have a problem, friends. I am addicted to chain maille!! I can't stop! If I am not sitting at my table messing about with a bunch of tiny metal jump rings, I'm staring at online tutorials for weaves. And if I am not doing that, I'm tinkering with one of my bracelets and wondering what other colours I can do the same weave in. Heck, I even dreamt about chain maille the other night! I ask you - how bad is that?!!

This is my latest bracelet. I wore it to work the other day. It's made from sections of European 4 in 1 chain maille squares linked together by pairs of red aluminium rings. I really like this one.

And this is the Vertebrae weave choker I made for my cousin in Washington (the state, not the city). I can't wait for her to see it.

Everything's been set to one side whilst I indulge in my current fascination with chain maille. It's terrible. On the plus side, I get some fabulous bracelets to wear every day!