Sunday, 19 January 2014

Hearts and Flowers

 Well it's that time of the week again when the lovely Wendy at Handmade Harbour gets everyone together for Handmade Monday to see what we have all been up to over the previous week.

I have had quite an unproductive week as far as crafting has gone. I had a bad reaction to one of my lupus meds so spent 4 days feeling so sick I had to lie down. Thankfully I have felt a lot better the last day or so and managed to get some photos taken for my new website. I was hoping to have got a lot more done as I am being promoted over at British Crafters this week and wanted to have lots of things all ready in my Etsy shop. Tomorrow the theme is 'Hearts and Flowers' so I have selected an item from my shop that fits the theme and sent my link over to Dottie who will do the promotion. It is the first time I have done something like this so am excited to see how it all goes.
 I have included a couple of photos of my Murano heart earrings to this week's Handmade Monday blog post seeing as Valentine's Day is approaching. These cute Murano hearts and Swarovski crystals look so pretty I think? Murano glass jewellery always seems to do well at craft fairs as I think people can recognise the quality of the glass ad the colours are just stunning.

Anyway, it's just a short blog post from me this week as I have to try and catch up with all the time I have lost this week whilst sick. I will leave you all with a picture of Maisie the kitten that I took this morning. She is getting more beautiful by the day I think and her coat colour is so unusual. Have a great week everyone and thank you for taking the time to read my blog xxxx

Maisie surveying her territory!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Poppy's Art Beads

 Well, it's been another busy week here at Poppy Designs. I have spent the majority of my time photographing my newest range of 'art beads' jewellery and it seems to be taking forever! I am in the process of setting up my own website, which is very exciting, but there is sooooo much to learn. It's nowhere near as easy as it looks to do a professional-looking website.
On a much more interesting topic than my issues with web design.....I have managed to photograph most of my Poppy's Art Beads range. I think these are my favourite designs I have ever made! I have made little sets of beads (in a range of between 5 and 9 beads) and then created necklaces with them. All the necklaces feature 'art beads', polymer clay beads, shell pearls and Swarovski crystals. The one pictured at the top of this blog post is my favourite. The red, yellow and black art beads were supposed to look a bit like poppies, I am not entirely sure I succeeded in that, but nonetheless I love the way they have turned out.  I first tried out this design at Knutsford Christmas Market and sold out within the first hour, so I have spent quite a long time creating a whole new range and currently have about 50 of these necklaces in different colours and designs. I have added them to my Poppy Designs Etsy Shop and a few pictures to an album on my Poppy Designs Facebook page....and a couple of pictures below :

Poppy's Art Beads - navy set with shell pearl and Swarovski crystals

...trying to photograph the black/silver one when Poppy popped up to see what was going on!

 Along with the 'art beads' necklaces, I have also used this technique to create a range of polymer clay pendants. So far I have only had time to photograph a few of the heart shaped ones, but I have also made butterflies and have lots of other ideas in the pipeline. The heart pendants are strung on necklaces of ribbon and cord and I was really pleased with how well they turned out. Again, I trialled a few at my Christmas Fairs and they were really I have made loads more.

Green and white heart pendants

Navy blue and white heart pendants

I really love making them so I hope they are a success this year. I don't have many craft fairs booked yet for this year, although I have sent a few applications for stalls off. I am finding it very difficult to find good fairs and I think it is getting harder. There seem to be fewer and fewer genuine craft fairs about, which is a real shame.

Anyway, before I get on my soap box, I am going to sign off and head over to Handmade Harbour and see what the other crafters have been up to over the last week........thanks for reading and have a lovely week xxxx

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year and welcome to my first blog post of 2014! I have a feeling it's going to be a great year, not least because I love the number 14! 2013 wasn't the best ever year for us. My health suffered at the start of the year with a nasty flare of SLE which led to months off work and a much reduced schedule of craft fairs. Thankfully I am now much, much better and back at work in my day job (which I LOVE), back crafting and jewellery making and even managed a couple of fairs on the run up to Christmas. 

There were some great points to 2013 though.......we got my rescue boy, Dexter, on New Years Day. He had been abandoned in a garage on a building site just before Christmas 2012 and my very kind neighbour (who works there) brought him home over New Year so he'd be fed. I couldn't bear to think of the poor little animal having to go back to living rough so I adopted him, cleaned his fur up from oil and petrol and goodness knows what and gave him a new life of being pampered and spoilt! I'm not quite sure how thankful he was at first seeing as it involved a trip to the vets for neutering.....but he seems to have forgiven me now and has enjoyed a lovely 'first' Christmas with us. He is still reluctant to go outside (I think he is worried about losing his home again) so he is on the whole an indoor cat, although he did enjoy a few hours a day in the garden over the summer. 
I have added a picture of him in his santa hat below!
Dexter in his santa hat

 We also welcomed a new kitten, Maisie, at the end of May. I had seen her photo advertised as she was being rehomed and fell in love with her sweet little face. My husband didn't take much persuasion to get a third cat (I may have shamelessly used my lupus) to cheer me up.
Maisie on her way to her new life at Poppy Designs Towers!
 I mustn't neglect a mention of my other cat, Poppy, on here who wasn't a new addition in 2013. Here she is sitting on my lap whilst I am trying to make polymer clay beads. She is absolutely fascinated by my jewellery making......hence 'Poppy Designs' and sits for hours watching me making things. I even have a little basket on my desk for her (and Maisie) to sleep in whilst I am making things. More often than not though they like to sit either on my lap or under my craft light!

2 year old Poppy
 I won't drone on forever, but I have included a few more photos of other favourite, new things in 2013. Firstly my new (well 8 years old, but new to me) little sports car. I absolutely love it. It was a treat to myself back in the autumn and an amazing bargain. I cannot fit any of my craft fair stuff in it so I either have to use my husband's car or get him to help me now (the preferred option!).

My lovely little sports car
 My favourite jewellery making technique of 2013 was (and still is) polymer clay. I came up with a new range of polymer clay pendants and Poppy's Art Beads which I just cannot stop making now. I sold out the whole range at the first fair I took them too.....Knutsford Christmas Market (which I have pictured below as my favourite event and new event of the year) and then spent 2 weeks making non-stop to have enough stock for my last fair (which was a low point of 2013....but that's a whole other story). I must now muster up the energy to photograph all my new makes and designs and upload them to my Poppy Kitten Designs Etsy Shop and the brand new website I am in the process of setting up. I will leave to to peruse my last couple of photos and pop over to see Wendy at Handmade Harbour to join in with Handmade Monday!
Polymer clay canes before being made into pendants

James, my husband, behind the stall at Knutsford Christmas Market.