Tuesday, 25 May 2010


Yesterday was my sister-in-law's birthday so I can now show you the necklace and earrings I made for her.   This was actually the first set I made using sodalite and black onyx and I really liked how it turned out.

When we were in Vancouver last week we went to Granville Island and, browsing amongst the craft stalls, I found a lovely pendant which I bought as a present for myself.  I've got a weakness for Murano glass anyway - I already have very different two pendants from Murano - and this is in a typical Italian style: millefiore.  I've only ever seen this style of glass-making either in Italy or, more surprisingly, in Caithness, Scotland.  Not sure if Caithness Glass still produces millefiore paperweights ... but I remember them from a visit there as a child in the 1970's.

So, here's my necklace:

I just need to sort the clasp out (it has the tiniest lobster claw I've ever seen!) and then I'll have a very wearable necklace that goes with a lot of my wardrobe (turquoises and reds).

I've got a few projects underway at the moment - the sweater that I'm knitting is a longer term project - but I'm also working on some summer birthday presents.  

Watch this space!

Saturday, 22 May 2010


You may have noticed that it's been a little bit quiet on this blog for a few weeks.  We've been on holiday - so nothing has been sewn, or knitted, or made into jewellery.  The only thing I have been doing is taking rather too many photos (over 30GB so far!)!

I'm rather attached to my camera and it has had a great workout over the last 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies / Vancouver.  The scenery has been (to use a much overused Canadian term) awesome and the wildlife even better.

Hop over to my other blog to see some photos:  http://fiona-canadacalling.blogspot.com/ (the last 4 posts contain a selection of my holiday snaps).

Meanwhile I'll leave you with one of my favourites:

This little hummingbird was our dinner / breakfast companion in Revelstoke.  He's a real cutie and I'm going home to buy a hummingbird feeder for our patio!

So we fly home tomorrow a little bit tanned and very relaxed to wall-to-wall sunshine (after 4 very changeable days in Vancouver) in Toronto, a border collie who will be beside herself to see us again and a mountain of washing.  At least it's a bank holiday weekend, so we can catch up with all the necessities before diving back into normality on Tuesday

Friday, 7 May 2010

Jewellery Box Makeover

So, I seem to remember admitting to not being much of a jewellery wearer and I'm determined to change that.  There are some things at the bottom of my jewellery box that haven't seen the light of day in many a moon and most items fall into one of the following categories:

- love the idea of but can't stand one or more of the component parts (and therefore don't wear)
- not very fond of (and hence have never been worn)
- love, but the style, colour, metal don't love me (again - a recipe for never being worn).

There are some pieces in there that don't fit any of these categories because they're lovely and suit me - I guess we'll just have to blame laziness or lack of outfit co-ordination abilities for not wearing these pieces very often (although I am trying).

Realising that before I create too many more things to stuff into the jewellery box - undoubtedly never to be worn either - I thought I would put some of my new skills to good use and try to adapt some of my existing collection into things I am more likely to wear.  And so the box was upended onto the bedspread and I did some sorting.

Some changes have been minimal - links taken out of earrings to shorten them or changing those pesky lobster claw clasps to toggles (I'm not a fan of the lobster claw and my fingers stubbornly refuse to undo the things).  There were these two Maori pendants that I simply love but that were on the traditional waxed braids which, frankly, looked a bit tatty and cheap.  No respecter of tradition, I've put a silver bail on each pendant and can now hand them from any chain.

So much better!

I forgot to take a 'before' shot of the next necklace.  I have no memory of where or who I got it from (sorry!), but the green shells were strung with some very ugly, dark beads.  Never has it been more satisfying to get the wire cutters out and destroy a necklace!  I'm fairly sure I will never re-use the dark beads although they have been saved just in case, but there is just a chance that I will wear this:

       Green shells with fake pearls and seed beads.

Seed beads are not my favourite things in the world after this project.  I bought some to try out braiding with beads and got very, very fed up stringing them.  However, the braiding experiment worked - I just need to work out what I'm doing with it now:

Back to my jewellery box... and I couldn't resist some of the local semi-precious stone: sodalite.  It's effectively lapis lazuli without the gold flecks of pyrite and it's mined in great quantities in this province  I made this fairly chunky necklace and bracelet out of the sodalite, some black onyx and some spacer beads - I like the look of it, but I may get those wire cutters out and re-do it so that there are fewer of those large discs.  Somehow it doesn't sit quite right at the moment:

That's the great thing about your own jewellery - you can change it as often as you like!!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Making Things for Me

Last week wasn't a very satisfying week.

  • I didn't made any jewellery.
  • Or progress with my crochet (still a disaster)
  • The sweater I started was frogged twice ... before I gave up and decided to try a different pattern instead.  Oh well.
  • The bag that I was making to take on holiday in a week's time was on the cutting table for a week, half-finished because my sewing machine was having hiccups and needed some maintenance.
  • And the summer top that I ran up last Monday didn't fit well.

It wasn't a good week.

However over the weekend a few things started to come together and most of these things have now been resolved.  I'm happy to say that I'm half way up the back of a different sweater pattern - I went for a nice easy one that I could knit almost without thinking while watching TV; the bag is finished as is a small jewellery travel bag and the top has been adjusted with the addition of some elastic.

So, here are some of the things I've made:

The bag is exactly the same pattern as the last two I made: the Day Bag with the addition of a zippered gusset at the top instead of a magnetic snap - I'll be carrying my passport around in here, so I wanted it to be very secure - and purse feet.  I also put a small swivel hook on a ribbon inside for my keys and there are two internal pockets - one with a zip.

I just love this fabric!


   The zip.  Not very exciting, I realise!      And you can just about see the purse feet despite the pattern!

A couple of weeks ago I found a great tutorial on Purl Bee's website for little jewellery bags for use when travelling.  I had some spare material left over from making my hat and I decided to give it ago.  This is when i found out that sewing free hand circles isn't my forte!!  The bag is quite cute and has little pockets inside so that you can separate out your earrings and necklaces.  Next time I'll trace out the circles first on the fabric!

And finally, that top!  I've never sewn jersey-type material before and my machine really didn't like it (hence the need for some maintenance).  I've never seen so much lint from just a few seams!  The pattern is from a Canadian company, Jalie and comes in several versions - a sleeveless top, the same again with long sleeves and a version with a zip neck - so this can be made up in light weight jerseys and heavier fleece materials for winter (always good - especially in this climate!).  I found it really easy to make once I got my head round the instructions ... but the sizing was off for me and it ended up being too baggy.  I can imagine that for a fleece version where you want to wear something underneath, this wouldn't be so much of a problem - but I couldn't wear it as it was and needed to either unpick it and sort it out properly (not the side seams unfortunately - I'd have ended up doing something to the back) or resort to a touch of elastic.  

I voted for the quicker option and voila:

Maybe not the best photo, but you get the general idea. I think I would prefer it with sleeves and I will make that version before we get round to another winter.  It is very comfortable and cool to wear which was great with this weekend's heat and humidity!

And there you have it. 

Now, I just need to finish up a few odd projects that are lying around before we go away on Sunday and I'll be very happy!