Thursday, 20 August 2009

Cuff Round The Ear... ops! I mean... Wrist!!

I was out shopping when I spotted a groovy wrist cuff in Castlecourt around Easter and I bought it to bring home and try my hand at replicating it, on my first go I used second-hand beads as I wasn't sure how it was going to work out (this one would definitely be at the difficult end of the jewellery making scale) so the beads are a little bit crazy multi-coloured but it's kind of fun!
(If I make it again I think I will use mini pearl beads to make it a little classier!)

I didn't have any measurements for this so I just laid wire along the bought bracelet to gauge the length of each piece - the bought one is much stronger than mine and bounces back into shape a lot more easily (mine tends to take on the shape of the last way in which it was bent) and despite all my attempts at measurements (which are reknowned for being poor at the best of times!) this one is a little too big for my wrist but it does make a nice mid-forearm-near-elbow cuff!

The plaiting was pretty hard and all the lengths are tapered (in the bought one) so I just attached them all at an angle to make them fit!! As mine is a little on the generous side space-wise whenever I wear it I use ribbons to hold it together, Handsome Prince says I should attach lobster claw clasps to hold it together but I think that will take away from the overall effect, after all this type of cuff isn't really supposed to have a fastening, just cling to your wrist and then spring back to shape after you take it off and I think (in my humble opinion) that the ribbons are sweet and add a whole other dimension (if slightly out of theme) to the whole ensemble!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Legend of Ballintoy Bay

Ballintoy - that haven of liberty and fun-tastic times - is also the location of a little known legend that stems from the Bodensee in Germany and ends in Greenisland...
...Once Upon A Time (this is starting to sound like T.F.A.O.L-M-P!) there was a wealthy family living on the north coast of N Ireland, in a fabulous manor house overlooking Ballintoy Harbour and Sheep Island. They were healthy and happy, the parents and their six wonderful children lived in peace and in love until one tragic day the parents were killed by the children's evil Aunt who usurped the manor and lands and exiled the children to work in far off lands. The poor little orphans were bundled onto a ship bound for unknown lands but on the third day of their voyage, after much weeping, wailing and struggling the youngest child escaped from her bonds and ran onto the deck of the ship and cried out for help. Her cry was heard by a water nymph who came to the aid of the small child and asked how she could help, the child explained that she and her siblings were being sent away from their family home to work as slaves. The water nymph promised to help the children and though she could not magic them home she devised a plan whereby she would turn the children into dolphins so they could swim home to their beloved Ballintoy and the moment their fins touched the secluded, sandy shore of Ballintoy Bay they would turn back into their human form and could claim back their ancestral home. The children happily agreed and as the nymph promised, she transformed the children who swam delightedly homewards to their beloved Ballintoy.

However, their wicked Aunt was also a sorceress and once she heard of the imminent return of her nieces and nephews she ran to the coastline and kept watch night and day for the return of the six dolphin-children, seeing them from afar she set her own spell upon the children, that they would never again return to their human form but the moment they reached the shore they would shrink to the size of ants and turn to stone, where they would be overcome by the waves crashing on the beach and the children would surely drown. But her spell was not powerful enough to entirely overthrow the nymph's spell and so the moment they came ashore the dolphin-children shrunk to the size of ants and turned not to stone but to steel and were frozen in suspended animation so that they could neither breathe nor drown. The cruel Aunt ran to the waters-edge to ascertain the fate of her unfortunate nieces and nephews but as she leant forward the water nymph leapt out of the water, threw her cold arms around the Aunt's neck and dragged her down into the depths of the ocean and she was never heard of again.
But as for the children, their tiny steely-dolphin forms were swept out to see and carried by the ebbing and flowing of the tides across the wide world for 6 long centuries when they were finally washed up on a stony beach and were discovered by a master-crafter of fine jewellery who was travelling through the south of France. He picked up each little steel dolphin and carried them back to his home in Germany were he gently and lovingly crafted them into a delicate and delightful child's anklet.

Not long after that a small, ginger girl from the north of Ireland happened upon a shop in the Bodensee where she was holidaying with her family. The little girl instantly fell in love with the dolphin anklet and purchased the item and treasured it above all her possessions. But as fate would have it, one day when she had returned to her homeland and was spending a fun-filled weekend away with her cousies she happened to travel down to a sleepy fishing village just outside Coleraine, known as Ballintoy. She and her cousies decided to go swimming in the cove, formerly known as Ballintoy Bay, and watch the sunrise. Before entering the water she carefully removed her anklet, not wanting to wet the chain, and leaving it with her clothes, happily plunged into rollers and enjoyed hours of fun and frivolity with her family. Upon returning to the pile of clothes she left abandoned on the beach she discovered her dolphin anklet had gone! She searched frantically up and down the strand, in great distress at the loss of her beloved anklet but she would never find it. For the dolphin-children having returned to their homeland and in delight had slipped away from the girl and once they gained the familiar waters beneath their home they turned back into living dolphins and frolicked with joy and they lived out all their lives below the sea cliffs of Ballintoy.

Now the young girl grew up but she kept her love for the anklet dolphins with her and even when she returned, years later, to the Bodensee she went in search of more dolphin anklets. And though she did find others, none ever resembled nor meant as much to her as the one she bought all those years ago. As an adult her love of jewellery resulted in her crafting jewellery as a hobby and she knew that she must recreate a dolphin anklet to remind her of the one that was lost. And this is it...
The ginger girl always remembers her anklet with fondness and whenever she travels to the north coast she is always on the lookout for six dolphins playing among the waves, though she has not seen one even to this day. But, dear reader, she has never given up hope that perhaps one day, maybe darting through the moonlight reflected on the waves, or smoothly sailing through the first golden rays of sunrise, gilding the rippling water, she will spot the dorsal fin of one of her darling dolphins - fun-loving, free and fabulous! And They All Lived Happily Ever After. The End.

-Can't think of a pithy title to do with pegs-

This entry is surprisingly hard to find a title for - nothing 'peg-y' was coming to me, all I could come up with was 'Peg Me!' (in the theme of 'pick me') but the very fact that I would have to explain it means it wasn't a particularly good title, so I'm just going to go with 'Peggy Sue' (for obvious reasons!). So back to the jewellery...

Fun, funky and fast. I found a bag of multi-coloured pegs in a craft shop in Belfast and decided to turn them into a pair of earrings. Just pick your colour scheme, number of pegs and shape (this one is zig-zag, but you could also do curvy pointing towards or away from your face, for example) and then clip them in place!! Word of warning however, they do tend to 'ping' off every so often so a wee blog of wood glue between the 'nippy-bits' should hold them in place. I haven't glued mine because I like being able to change the colour combinations and length to suit my mood - 2 pegs day wear, 4 pegs night wear - but the sky is the limit, you could clip them all the way down to your waist if you so desired! Or simply make lots of versions and secure them all safely with glue, as a bag of about 50 pegs costs abround 80p-£1 you could make as many of them as you want!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

"CHARMED to meet you!"

This is another bag charm that I made for my mum - she has the most *blinged-out* handbags!!
This one has longer charms hanging off it than the previous one (though the premise of rainbow colour scheme is still the basis) and I really enjoyed picking which beads should go with which charm - the variety of choice is such fun to work with!I just love the wee copper heart - I didn't have a charm that would go with the the peachy coloured bead so I fiddled about with a bit of copper wire and bent it into the shape of a heart - I love the adaptability and versatility of wire work! And it means it's a little bit more personal than before. (I'm think of making a bag chain made up only out of home-made charms..hmm...)
I used a phone charm I got in a sale (just lots of thin metal butterflies) as the wings on the little angel, her skirt is a lily-esq flower bead and her head is a pink pearl - so easy and just made up of pieces I had in my bead-box (the wonderland that it is!)
The bicone beads above her head are all Swarovskis (in fact all the crystal beads in this piece are) they are super-sparkly and come in such a huge range of colours - perfect! Oh also, the wee silver heart hanging off the red charm is part of an extension chain that I cut-up to match the silver hearts and rose - mucho romantic-o!! And as it was a pressie for Mumito I had to add in a wee flip-flop sandal charm as Mum loves her sunny summer holidays, so when she looks at it (even in the bleak mid winter) she can remember fun times and look forward to more to come - she is such a suntot!!!

Honey, I'm Home!

Well I do believe it is about time for another post, now that i'm back from my fantabulous holidays and geared up to make more jewellery!! When I was away I treated myself to some fabulous beads and I just couldn't wait to get home and get making - in the last four days I've made 4 necklaces and two pairs of earrings and I've plenty more to come! In fact today I am sporting one of my newly made necklaces and it just makes me want to get home all the faster to get back at it! Also another reason for cramming as many pieces as I can is that I have (provisionally) got a new job for a jewellery shop in Carrickfergus making their jewellery sets!! I fear it will seriously detract from the time I can work on my own pieces but the extra money will be spent (in its entirety!) on new beads and charms - which I think is a pretty good exchange!!

But now, back to the jewellery...