I don't know why I got the urge to make beaded beads, I was just drawn to the idea.
I know that I started beading, to prevent myself from learning to knit! I really wanted to learn to knit, but at the time my local yarn shop was owned by someone who was wanting to be rid of her business, and was completely uninterested in setting me on the knitting path...........That's all changed now, because she sold the shop to Eileen, who has transformed it from a forlorn place, into a wonderful shop with an ever-increasing stock of lovely yarns, and the place people go on a Wednesday evening to knit, crochet, and have a good natter, accompanied by tea and biscuits.
I don't think I realised just how addicted I would become to the beading......... it was those colours! Just looking at a selection of beads was enough to make me drool and throw financial considerations to the wind.
If I'm learning a new craft, my first port of call will be a bookshop.
Gathering, gathering, gathering......... information.
I slowly taught myself through instructions I found in those books.
I just wish The Art of Beaded Beads had been published when I first started beading, because if there was one book I would recommend, it would be this one, there is some extraordinary sharing of information in this book.
I have to admit, my technique was never 'perfected', that wasn't through lack of enthusiasm, it's just that I wanted to experiment, and do my own thing........... as in the necklace I showed you last Friday. While I admire those perfectionists, whose beading is a triumph of technique, enormously, (infact, I'm in awe of them), I'm too preoccupied with doing things that aren't really in the rule book. Ideally, I would combine my approach, with perfect technique, so there's a challenge for me!
Some other books I'd recommend are The best Little Beading Book, this has good basic instructions.
Creative beading is a charming, inspiring book, with instructions for some lovely things to make.
Some things are confusing, and it's always difficult to know how to handle them. As we get older, we cultivate stock responses to situations, and if it's a nasty situation, we try to keep our emotions under control. Well, that's what I've tried to train myself to do............
Some things are just plain baffling........... I had a conversation today with someone who tries to make a living as an artist, and during the conversation, I mentioned that I had started a blog. "What's the point of a blog?" she asked, in slightly sneering tones. So I started to explain why I do my blog, and the community that has developed around blogging, then it occured to me to ask her if she's ever read a blog....... and she said no, she hadn't.
I carried on trying to explain the allure of the blogging world, and she suddenly said in the middle of it, "Well I think blogging is a big waste of time". Not said in a soft manner either.
I retorted shakily that I didn't think that was a very nice thing to say, she just shrugged, and said that that was what she thought. I did manage to croak out load I thought she was rude.
Needless to say, the conversation came to an abrupt halt.
In sticky situations like this, I start to shake, my mouth goes dry, and I feel I need a nice hot cup of tea.
I have never been able to train myself to shrug it off when people say mean things.
I wonder how people like Alicia from'Posie gets Cozy', and Jane from 'Yarnstorm', and the thousands of people who read and love their blogs, (infact, see it as an essential part of their daily reading and entertainment), would feel, if those blogs were dismissed as a waste of time. The very thought seems outrageous!
I mentioned that I'd had over 10,000 hits on my blog, and I started it less than a month ago, but that didn't seem to interest her at all.
Actually, when I came home I double checked that figure, and the number stands at a very exciting 10,317!
Unfortunately another habit I can't curtail, is that I really do listen to people.......... so even when someone says something mean, like blogging is a waste of time, I start to mull it over, and so I began to wonder if my blog is a waste of time....... as she said, what's the point of blogging?
I enjoy it, that's the point.
When I was choosing the colours for the Rebel Jacket I think I went a little over-the-top...............
It did not occur to me at the time that I would have to be in the 'right mood' to wear this piece, maybe even drunk........
........... perhaps drunk on happiness.
Those of you who have had the opportunity to see and feel the 'Synchronicity' yarn by 'Alchemy-yarns of transformation', may understand how I got carried away with this luxurious fibre. Not only is it like knitting with butter, the colours are extraordinary. If you're a lover of intensely bright colours, I've not seen anything else to match this stuff.
It is pricey yarn, so when I found that knitting it to the specified gauge made it too big for me, I decided the only thing to do was re-knit it.
There are a lot of 'plackets' to knit, and i-cord, which I know from having read other people's blogs, they found tiresome. But I found the detailing the most enjoyable part of the knit, I like a challenge.
'Sargeant pepper' is what most people's reaction to this jacket is, on the few occasions I wear it............
I think I should go and put it on............... now!
When someone's Birthday is on a date close to Christmas, I imagine they get asked how they feel about that.
The sensitive subject of gifts is probably an issue, some might receive their Christmas and Birthday gifts as one present ...............
Celebrating, is that another issue? Does the Birthday party seem less of an event if it's so close to Christmas Day?
What if you were born on Christmas Day? How does your day combine with all the traditions of Christmas day.......? That must be, well, tricky, to say the least.
Last night we celebrated my Mother-in-Law, Susan's, Birthday.
Alan, my Father-in-Law, made an abundant, delicious curry, and Tamsin created the three tiers of Fairy Cakes, (which were even more spectacular when the candles were lit).
This was the start of of Birthday celebration season for us. December is one long party. There are three more Birthdays to go before we reach Christmas eve.
What my photographs don't capture, is the party atmosphere when four children from age six down, are enjoying themselves. The twin 'rosebuds', didn't let their age or height stop them from joining in.
Cassie's art direction for this photograph was invaluable..........She really caught the essence of 'party' in this little still-life.
And Rory, as the only boy amongst three sisters, made sure he was not forgotten about. This is the moment before a series of events, which led to the entire contents of the bowl being scattered over the floor.
But we all made sure that in the general chaos we reminded each other that it wasn't a children's Birthday party, it was an adults Birthday party.
The words 'happy Birthday Susan' reminded us who's Birthday it was..........
"Ellie............are you awake.........?"
"Maybe. What do you want Douglas?"
"Ellie............ what would you do if you had opposable thumbs..........?"
"I'd make lists".
"Do you want to know what I would do Ellie?"
"My first list would be the number of times you've woken me up".
"I'd save up my biscuits so that I could then pay for a flight to America".
"My next list Douglas, would be the number of times you've sat on my side of the sofa".
"How many biscuits do you think I'd need to save to pay for a flight to America?"
"Why on earth do you want to go to America Douglas?"
"There's someone I'd like to go on a date with over there".
"But what about me.............?"
"Well, you could save up your biscuits too............"
"I'm not saving up my biscuits".
".........and she might have a brother you could date......."
"I'm NOT saving up my biscuits!"
"Who is it you're so keen on meeting up with then?"
"She's dreamy......... her name is Clover Meadow ......."
"well you'd better start saving then Douglas, and don't you worry your little head about me".
Our first Christmas card arrived on Friday!
The Christmas lights have been put up in town, and a local pub has a board in it's window showing the countdown to Christmas day.
The local garden centre has rigged up it's blacked-out grotto to display anything that lights up.
I love going into these areas. It is like entering a magical wonderland of sparkle.
The more kitsch something is, the more enchanted and childlike I become. Those snowy scenes with tiny ice-skaters magically skating round an ice-rink, a church or house lit up near-by, hold a special fascination for me.
I remember going into a shop once where a great big cuddly polar bear was slowly breathing and sighing, and I was totally drawn into believing this mechanical wonder.
It was hard to drag myself away, especially when the urge to snuggle up with him was so strong...........
This Christmas card we received is by Mark Hearld, designed for Godfrey and Watt Gallery. I love it, and there's the bonus of feeling like we've received a free piece of Mark's work!
This a close-up of the 'fluorescent' necklace I beaded.
There are no rules or pattern I follow when I'm doing this beading.
I have a basic idea of colour combinations, but the form the necklace will take is a mystery.
That's the fun of doing my 'freeform' beading.
It isn't a quick process though.
This piece represents hours of work.
it was worth it..........
Last week it was our fifth wedding aniversary.......... it seems like yesterday we were married, how time flies.
When I wrapped Hugo's gift, I thought I'd not stint on the heart theme...... hopefully the contents would live up to the exterior.
A knock on the door mid-morning.
Imagine opening the door to these! Just fabulous.
When Hugo buys me flowers, he always goes to a local florist called 'Buds'. They know me in there, because I used to drop in and just linger, admiring the flowers and getting a colour fix, and occassionally buying a bunch of tulips or daffodils when in season.
Actually, the truth is, they know me better for a silk flower habit I used to have a few years ago! My excuse was that real flowers die, so if I couldn't enjoy life without having flowers in the house, buying swathes of silk flowers made better financial sense. Lets say this brought out the addictive side to my personality, and it made no financial sense at all in the end. Some day I shall illustrate what I mean...........
The flowers were a great surprise, as Hugo had already been very generous with his gift of a scarf by Samantha Holmes. It is made of beautifully soft Alpaca, and wearing it is like having a warm, soft, sleepy baby snuggled into your neck.
Hugo's love of chocolate has to be specially catered for on occasions like these. So I gave him a 'chocolate tasting' experience.
Hugo is currently working his way through this pile, and I am acting as assistant taster, mainly taking notes you understand.............
So at some point I shall share the observations with you. I'll be giving chocolate reviews, trying to mimic a wine tasting.
I'm just sorry I won't be able to share the chocolate itself with you.
Yesterday, I had a telephone conversation with a friend who I had not spoken to for about a year. As the conversation progressed, it slowly emerged that some terrible things had happened in that year, and I just happened to call when she was finally managing to emerge from a dark time, feeling very fragile.
With my friends fragility lingering in my mind, I was thinking about my post for today............
I suddenly remembered a series of photographs I took a few weeks ago, which took on a whole new symbolism.
A tree growing strong in the ruins of a house.
At the time, there seemed something magical about a tree growing in a house, a house that is tumbling down. It was marvelous that something so strong and positive was emerging from something as sad as a house slowly disintegrating.
In the light of yesterdays conversation, the fragile shadow on the sunset gold wall, cast by a strong little tree, seems ..........well, perfect symbolism.
Yesterday I confidently proclaimed that I was going to go to town on colour in this blog. Then I started to worry about making such a statement, and that it was potentially quite restricting......... the more I thought about the task I had set myself, the more I felt ill-prepared and shackled. So I think the best thing in a situation like this is to come clean and regret my rather grand ideas, and admit that maybe I was getting above myself! So while I do love colour, and it is a good salve on grey days, I may actually just celebrate the colour grey, rather than fighting it with colour.
After all, this blog isn't meant to be about 'fighting', it's about enjoying life..............
I want to try and cheer up anyone who is feeling jaded, I relate to the struggle people are starting to experience with the short hours of daylight.
The only remedy I can think of is to show colour, colour, and more colour.
Infact I'm going to try and do my best to become the unofficial chief of cheerer-uppers.
There's an ulterior motive behind this of course. A purely selfish desire to be cheered up.
Yesterday I couldn't understand why I felt a little grey, but then it dawned on me that I was reflecting the day.
Even when it's a grey day, I'm going to do my best to bring you colour.
Even when it's pouring with rain, cold and cheerless, I'll try to bring you........... colour.
This hat and scarf I knitted a while ago, and I love the intense deep orange of the yarn. They are knitted in Lana Grossa 'merino big - superfein'. It is lovely yarn to knit with, and washes beautifully. The pattern for the hat is from 'Pure Cashmere' by Debbie Bliss. The scarf is the 'Here and There' pattern, from 'Scarf Style', by Pam Allen.
After I had knitted my scarf, Hugo decided he wanted one too, with one less cable repeat, and shorter length.
The hat is knitted from a Patons pattern - 'PBN C 4847'.
And the yarn I used for this hat and scarf was Rowan's RYC Cashsoft DK. This is divine yarn to knit with, so luxurious and soft, but it hasn't fared that well after being knitted up, it gets a fuzzy layer building on the top.
I wonder if I've set myself a hard task by wanting to bring you colour in the months ahead.............
Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.
AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT MY BLOG AND WORK: Please note that the photos and text, my creations and my art shown on my blog are copyrighted and may not be copied, in whole or in part, without my express permission. Patterns and techniques shown in my tutorials may be followed but for personal use only and not for commercial reward. Thank you.
Books I have illustrated!
The Best Gift of All
Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon