Wednesday, 20 January 2010

From Snowed-in to Snowdon. Well, not quite..

OK. Ten AA batteries and a flash headache later (!) I have managed to come with a couple of pics I like. They're not great by any means but they're the best of a very bad bunch!
I'm having a crisis of confidence about entering this in the challenge though. The other entries are amazing! However, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 'no-one can make you feel inferior without your consent' which I think is going to be my mantra as I list it on Etsy!

See what you make of the photos. I still need to have a play on paint shop (that'll be a laugh seeing as I've never really used it before...) but all constructive criticism most welcome. I'm going out to play in Ambulances tomorrow night so they'll have to wait until the weekend to be 'perfected!

Monday, 18 January 2010

The big freeze has defrosted!

Happy New Year! After a slightly prolonged absence, I’m gradually starting to get my mojo going again. The run up to the holidays was very hectic; all the usual pre-Christmas pandemonium, I did some extra shifts in A&E, I had a few commissions to finish for Christmas Eve and we were snowed in almost permanently from the 18th of December to last Thursday. Cabin fever was most definitely becoming an issue…..

The snow has (mostly) gone now and it seems to have taken my inertia with it. Judging by the amount of work I had on before Christmas, I think I scunnered* myself of anything remotely bead-like. On Saturday I picked up some beads for the first time in weeks and I actually finished something!

I started beading on Saturday with the intention of trying spiral peyote for the umpteenth time; I know how it should work but for some reason, it never does. I had several sizes of abalone iris seed beads and I did actually manage spiral peyote for the first time EVER!!

In typical Me fashion, I then decided I didn’t like the way the spiral curved – I’d used 11/0, 8/0, 6/0 and 3/0 beads and the 3/0 beads were really just too big. So, it was dismantled leaving me with a sizeable pile of bead soup. What, I asked myself, can I do with this? Quite where the idea for freeform peyote – a style that in my symmetry-obsessed head I’ve always been petrified of – came from I will never know. However, my bead-soup fast became an undulating fabric of random ruffles resembling what? Wet seaweed although fortunately without the olfactory associations!

What’s more, I think it’s going to be my first entry for the Etsy Beadweavers Challenge. This month’s challenge is the ocean. I was brought up next to the sea and thinking about it makes me conjure up images of shimmery seaweed when the tide’s gone out. Many people hate seaweed but despite being much-maligned as slimy and horrible, seaweed has loads of health benefits; it is rich in vitamins and minerals, promotes healthy skin and hair and helps regulate hormones! So I have created my Kelp Cuff!

I’m so pleased with it but I have one problem. I just cannot get it to come out right in a photo. If anyone has any handy photography hints PLEASE feel free to share!! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a pic of the view from my bedroom window, just until I can get something decent of my new creation!

*Scunnered: A Scots word used to mean that you are world weary, down-trodden, and thoroughly bereft of any lust for life

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Blogging not beading...

OK, so I've been very remiss about getting around to updating. Too busy beading, not enough blogging....

Paris; Ah Paris. I found 1 bead shop, 4 beads (cost me 15 Euro!!! It was my birthday though so I only felt a teeny bit guilty...) and too many hookers to mention. It appears that the bead shops are expertly hidden down one of Paris' many red light rues - so expertly in fact that they were impossible to find. Maybe they were all obscured behind the 'Zapping' parlours and 'Salons de Climax' (ew Gads - well frequented at 1pm). The Parisians certainly don't seem to mind mingling with the underbelly of society but as a wee Scots lassie I'm afraid it's a bit intimidating to me. Don't get me wrong, it's the oldest profession in the world and goes on everywhere but that was just a bit too public for my liking. Ladies of the night at lunchtime? Mais non! Pas pour moi....

The ubiquitous magasins du sex aside, I really enjoyed it. The buildings and history are amazing, I didn't have a single bad glass of red wine and the Parisians were not quite as rude as anticipated - apart from one taxi driver who referred to us as 'branleurs' whilst having an animated conversation into his bluetooth headset... Everything was prohibitively expensive what with the Euro being so much stronger than the pound at the moment but I did manage to snag a rather fab Burberry blazer in a vintage shop. Vintage shopping in Paris FYI is a rather odorous experience and not for the faint of heart or hungover of constitutions...

And a quick note about the beading... The grand bijou is getting there. Slowly. I've taken a couple of pics but it's been raining all day here so the light is terrible and the colours are all wrong. If we get any sun I'll update things! I think it needs some more yellow so I'm off to look for something with a bit of sparkle. I'm thinking margaritas in Jonquil - the big question is can I stop at just that.....?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Game on!

A wee bit of excitement before 'Le Weekend' - I can now call myself an Etsy beadweaver! If you don't know what this is, you should go and check out the EBW Team on Etsy - and if you don't know what Etsy is then shame on you!!

I seriously need to step up my game. The team run challenges with a new theme every month and this month it is Super Power Jewellery. I'm so gutted I missed this one, I could think of loads of things to do. Maybe I'll just do my own one. Hmmmm, there's an idea... Join in and vote for your favourite between 9th - 15th October.

Next month's challenge is 'Beauty of the Flower'. I'm more an abstract kind of girl, which literally translates as I change my mind continuously as I'm making something so it's never quite what it was origianlly intended to be! I'll have to do a wee challenge entry sometime soon though.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


OK, so I went for the big time - a big bead embroidered collar. I started on the computer to get my template (I'm so anal about symmetry it's sad), traced it onto some Lacy's and got the rivolis looking as good as they're going to get. I'm now left with this huge expanse of white and lots of purple seed beads. Do I dye it? Colour it in? I'm so afraid I'll spoil it now but I'm not sure of the best plan of attack.

I've been having a look at some of Sherry Serafini's work ( - I really love her use of texture and colour. I think one of my main problems is lack of variety in my bead collection. Despite the vast number of shoe boxes I have managed to fill! Maybe my resolution was a tad premature and I'll have to buy more beads. Quel nightmare!

An even bigger nightmare (can you sense the sarcasm) is that in a fit of Friday night boredom we decided to go to Paris for a weekend. It's my birthday on the 10th of October so, international jet setters that we are (I wish!), we've booked four nights of la Vie en Rose. Sad to say, I've already figured out where the bead shops are - they have a BEAD DISTRICT!!! Sacre bleu! Unfortunately, it is the same locale as the red light district apparently so we'd best make sure to have a good look in the window before venturing into any shops!! Keep an eye out for the low-down on Perles a Paris!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Big project ahoy!

Like everyone who develops an addiction to small sparkly things, I have lots of mis-matched odds and sods lying around. I had a bit of a conscience-be-damned splurge last year and I've not quite used everything I bought at that time (read 'most of it remains untouched...'). I have therefore created Craft Commandment Number 1:

"Thou shalt not start a new project unless it makes a dent in the stockpile of random stuff in the cupboard."

I made this decision following the discovery of 12 vintage Swarovski 12mm volcano rivolis at the bottom of a box in said cupboard that I had completely forgotten I owned. Coincidentally, this was on a day where I had scoured Etsy, ebay etc. for about 3 hours trying to find vintage volcano Swarovski pieces becasue I quite fancied buying some for a future project. Oops.....

Put simply, I have far too much stuff but I'm too much of a hoarder for a de-stash sale. (Craft mantra number 1: "I bought it because I liked it so I'll keep it.") When you have too much, you forget what you have and so buy more. Voila, a vicious circle. I plan to pick some random stock item for each project then design around it. I currently have my eye on some heliotrope and tanzanite rivolis - I might even embark upon the first big bead embroidery....

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tea Tray Studios

Welcome to my blog, where I will try and verbalise the trials and tribulations of being a creative genius on a tea tray!

I jumped back on the crafting bandwagon in October last year, having been inspired by a colleague who had taken up beadweaving. Beads and jewellery were a favourite pastime when I was growing up but I fell by the wayside when I left for University. I moved back home to live with my parents 2 years ago - it was only supposed to be for six months but, well, thank you recession! I've discovered since that what started as a way to make the odd piece of jewellery has turned into a creative obsession. I have more ideas than I know what to do with but that, dear friend, is not the issue. The issue is I HAVE NO SPACE!!! My studio consists of a tackle box and a 12x16" tea-tray. Occasionally I'm allowed to commandeer the dining table, but that never lasts...