Friday, 26 February 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ SP Jewellery

Let's meet Sharon from SP Jewellery...

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?
I first started making jewellery at school in my Textiles classes - so I would have been about 14 or 15 which is 16 years ago. My teacher had boxes of tumble polished gemstones in the store cupboard - I started stripping electric cables for the copper wire and used that with the stones...
I have always crafted as a hobby, but after I left my job 10 years ago when I had a breakdown I needed to fill my time and also make money as work wasn't an option so I started selling my stuff!

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are, how do you work around them?
The worst thing is that it is quite isolating for me, I am at home by myself most of the time - but it is something I have got used to :( friendly places like the Misi forums are literally a life saver for me!

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?
As jewellery is so competitive my main advice would be to try and be a little different, or specialise in something so hopefully you get a name for yourself for that particular thing...

How did you find Misi?
I was invited back in the beginning by Emma, I listed a few things and left them up for a while, but started listing properly last November.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?
I like these earrings because they are a bit different to what I usually do and took me ages!

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
Bodrighy and ArtbyMimi these are the 2 I've spent most time looking at...I'm just waiting for a day when I have enough money to buy from either!!!

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite time of day?
late evening - it's when I am most productive (don't ever ask me to do anything in the morning)

What is your favourite chocolate?
I don't eat much chocolate - but aeros are nice - milk or mint.

What is your favourite colour?
orange / red / green, everything should be brightly coloured - I recently painted my bathroom what I thought was pale lime green but it is almost fluorescent - we're just starting to get used to it.

What is your all-time favourite movie?
Lord of the Rings

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
I'm a bit boring, I'm not really interested in anyone famous....Rupert (my bf) is quite enough for me!

How many DVDs do you have?
I have 147 DVDs, I did have more but sold some on Amazon before Christmas to raise some cash :)

Thank you Sharon. For more examples of Sharon's creative talent ~ visit SP Jewellery on Misi.


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Candle Cavern

Nature’s Natural Purifier
by David

Picking a subject for this blog I thought would be easy – just pick something interesting and talk about it. Then you worry that what may be interesting to you may be mind-numbing to others. So I decided to think of something that’s positive for us and those around us AND we can enjoy it.

As a candle maker, throughout my time I have used mainly soy wax as a candle medium. This is aimed at wanting to develop & promote interest in candles from natural products and from a sustainable source. It was this ethos that led me to work more and more with Beeswax which, I confess, I now thoroughly enjoy as much.

By nature, I am a curious type and decided to find out exactly what it is, where it actually comes from and the benefits of beeswax. I found a lot of fantastic information and research (from the good ‘ole internet mainly) opening an interest and enthusiasm to use, produce and provide candles from beeswax as well as promote the natural benefits that beeswax contains.

As most of us know, beeswax is the building material of the honey bee which they use to make honeycomb. But, the benefits of using it as a candle fuel generally is quite revealing.

Firstly, beeswax candles burn brighter, longer, and cleaner than any other candle! The flame emits essentially the same light spectrum as the sun and in the process of burning emits negative ions that are known to clean the air. These negative ions help rid the air of pollen, dust, mould, toxins and many other pollutants and it is this feature that makes beeswax candles ideal for allergy sufferers – something that affects and limits many people to a greater or lesser extent.

Air contains electrically charged particles or ions. Ions act upon our capacity to absorb and utilise oxygen, and therefore cause powerful effects on our lives and well being. The ions in the air can affect our mood, energy and health. Positive ions are loaded down with pollution and allergens that are drawn to them and suspended in the air. Negative ions, on the other hand, remove the pollution and allergens from positive ions, allowing them to drop harmlessly to the ground.

As it burns, the candle flame convects air, passing it through the flame. It burns off pollutants in the same manner as a catalytic converter in your car. Thus, beeswax candles are natural air purifiers.

I admit I am a convert and believer that beeswax candles can help practically as well as provide a pleasurable experience. It does cost more but sometimes you get what you pay for!

Lots to be found at my Misi store.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Kim's Creative Crafts

I would like to introduce Kim from Kim's Creative Crafts. Let's find out a little more about her.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?

I started crocheting about 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I was bored of knitting as I could only really knit blankets and scarves as they were the easiest. I learnt how to crochet from watching tutorials on uTube, then learnt how to read patterns and now I know enough to make my own creations.

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?

Sometimes I find it difficult to crochet around my life as a stay-at-home mum to 2 small kids but I find the time to do it while the kids are asleep!

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?

I would deifnitely recommend reading books from the library, watching tutorials online and look out for inspiration wherever you are.

How did you find Misi?

I found a thread about MISI on the Bounty website in the arts/hobby forum.

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?

At the moment I love my easter egg cosies even if it is a little early for Easter!

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?

Thats a tough choice - can I choose two? Looby Crafts for her gorgeous cards and Poppy Patchwork for the amazing denim items!

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite time of day?

Early in the morning, not too early though - when the day still smells fresh.

What is your ideal vacation?

Going back home to Cape Town.

Where were you born?

Cape Town, South Africa

What is your favourite animal?

The first one that springs to mind is a Bengal Tiger.

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?

Hmm...tough one... Jared Padalecki or Jenson Ackles!!

Thank you Kim. Take a look at Kim's Creative Crafts on Misi.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Joyknitt


I've never really "been" anything which has a title, like a teacher, or a policewoman, or a secretary, and never really wanted to be, I have spent most of my adult life, well 39 plus years of it, as a full time mum. thats not to say I haven't worked, as any full time mum will tell you, I have been nurse, childminder, head stroker, food fixer, drinks fixer, clothes maker and mender, food and supplies purchasing officer, pram pusher, nappy changer, hand holder, taxi driver, classroom assistant, swimming lesson clothes changer and dryer, readee (I think I just invented a new word, it means being read to), school outings tag-alonger and head counter, uniform washer and ironer, sports day helper, christmas fair helper, summer fair helper, argument mediator, peacemaker, bruise and cuts tender, bike pusher, birthday party organiser, cake baker, pet cleaner, house cleaner, toy sorter (lego, my favourite), and in latter years driving instructor, banker, cookery teacher, and oh I could go on and on and on, you all know how much a mum does.

I've also had some really good fun along the way, especially on the school outings, joining in with ice skating, abseiling, rock climbing, archery, orienteering, and I've been to the natural history museum, the british museum and the science museum, as well as the roman remains at fishbourne and the observatory at hurstmonceaux. and family outings when we have been to the victory and the mary rose at portsmouth, hms belfast in london, madame tussauds and the planetarium, chessington world of adventures, thorpe park and alton towers, the eiffel tower, montparnasse tower and cite de science in paris, seaside holidays in bournemouth and cornwall, one magical trip to the usa where we went to niagara falls, and many, many more. so bringing up kids has been my greatest achievement and living and learning through their experiences has taught me a great deal and made me the person I am today.

but now they are grown up and I am retired. it happened quite suddenly, one minute my first son was born, and a few weeks later, so it seemed, the fourth one is off to university and I am in an empty (well, almost, husband and cat are here as well) house. all I ever wanted to do when I was a grown up was to get married and have children and now I have done it, fairly successfully, I think, and its time to move on. its time to do something for me.

It took me quite a while to get used to the idea that no-one had any calls on my time, all the time I was "mumming" I used to dream about a future when I had all this time to myself but it always seemed to be just out of reach, just a few more meals to fix, a few more teenage mountains to climb, a few more tantrums to be overcome and a few more tears to be shed. and I do really miss having little dependents around, but what I love is the freedom and knowing they have all turned out ok, they are reasonable members of the human race, what more could I ask for.
so picture me now, a little granny figure sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch with my cat and my knitting on my lap. I wish!!! well in fact I dont wish, I am as busy now as I ever have been, I am a self employed phoenix trader selling cards at craft fairs and home parties, I make my own bread, I house sit for our local b&b establishment when the owners have evenings out, I drive back to surrey during half-terms and holidays to catch up on the older two sons and their partners and the grandchildren, rog, my hubby, and I walk all over the place, we are having great fun discovering the wonderful wiltshire countryside we moved to a year ago, we go to the gym once or twice a week, we are also renovating our house and outbuilding (big enough for a studio for me and an office for him), turning our small patch of unkempt grass into a decent lawn and useful vegetable patch, and later this year I am embarking on an open university course on digital photography. and I just about have time to sit down in the evenings in front of the tv to do some knitting or crochet, which is my "me" time.
So retired I may be, but idle? no thanks.

4 Sons


Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope you are all being spoilt rotten by someone special in your life.


Friday, 12 February 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Spratsie

This week's Misi crafter is Daisy from Spratsie... I think I may have to add a new question soon ~ how do people come up with their shop names?

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?
My husband is the one who started out originally, doing little dragons and some of the earlier work in my shop. I got inspired by watching him work and thought I'd give it a go as well and surprisingly it went really well. From there on it just kept evolving. I've been doing this for about 6 months now. Looking forward to making some bunnies and chicks for Easter,They are going to be so cute. I love how things come alive in my hands!

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are how do you work around them?
Not really, although I must say I don't really like working with white, it stains really easily! Before I start I wash my hands really well, wipe the surface I work on and try not to touch anything but the white clay.
The other thing that breaks my heart is when a sculpture falls over or breaks while it's baking...not fun :(

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?
Buy some good tools and soft clay. I found Sculpey is a good one to use. I use Fimo as well but they are very hard and need a lot of kneading. When I started I bought some books to learn a few techniques, they came in very handy.

How did you find Misi?
By luck! I first opened a shop on Etsy but didn't have much luck and a lot of friends asked me if they could buy straight of me as they didn't want to pay in dollars. I had a browse around thinking there must be something similar here in the UK and up came Misi...hurray!

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?
I like my valentines sculptures but my favourites at the moment are my "cupcake magnets". I made some for myself and they look so cute on top of our microwave!

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
Oh there are so many!! I like the chocolate truffle company, the chocolates are so yummy.
Another favourite is The Pink Fairy Cake, her items are gorgeous.
I've also got a lovely print made by Artbymimi, and am planning to buy some more!
I love buying keyrings and charms and recently bought some really nice ones made by Sprinkles Sparkles and Beauchique.

Random Facts about you:

What is your favourite colour? I can't decide between yellow or pink.

What is your favourite TV programme? Lost (can't wait for the new season to start), Grey's anatomy, 24, Friends, Glee, How I met your mother, Flashforward and I am currently re-watching all the Beverly Hills 90210 series (about to start season 8...I love it!). As a teenager I watched Twin Peaks and it freaked me out but I would love to re-watch them all again just to see if it would make any sense this time.

What is your favourite food? Chinese, I could have that every day. I also like exotic fruits such as mango, papaya, pomegranates, lychee's,...

Summer or Winter? Summer, nothing beats a beautiful summers day

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
Heath Ledger if he were still alive :( , Brad Pitt and Joaquin Phoenix (that reminds me I'd like to watch Quills again, such a good movie)

Thank you Daisy. Daisy's lovely unique figurines can be found in her store on Misi.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Guest Blogger ~ LiveWire Jewellery

The trials and tribulations of the frustrated but endlessly enthusiastic crafter

So first a confession, I’m not a very arty, crafty, creative type! I never have been. At school I was more into sports (and boys!), I enjoyed trying out art and craft but I never really pursued it and I certainly didn’t show any great promise! So it’s funny now that as I’m writing this in my studio I’m surrounded by boxes of beads, gemstones, ribbon, metal, pliers, hammers…

It all snowballed rather quickly, one day I bought a couple of beads to match an outfit for a wedding and managed to make a pair of earrings after cannibalising another shop bought pair and then a few tools followed, a few more beads, a bit of wire, some leather cord, a few more beads…it didn’t take long for me to develop some kind of magpie like obsession with shiney, sparkly, beautiful beads so if you see someone hunched over trays of beads, scuttling back and forth, already weighed down with materials that’s probably me!

But it’s not just about the shiney beads (or gorgeous fabric or whatever your addiction is) it’s that whole process from start to finish, the fantastic idea, the problems and setbacks that always plague the crafter and then the glorious finished item! I think it satisfies some deep urge in us to use our hands in a really practical way especially if, like me, you’re still waiting to give up the nine to five (you certainly don’t get the same satisfaction from filing away some paperwork!)

And that is what I think connects us all, the very essence of what we do, the ‘handmade’, not from some factory churning out thousands of the same item. It’s made with love and passion, with paper cuts and fingers super-glued together, with hundreds of failed attempts and sighs of frustration, endless cups of tea and some late nights, it’s all those half finished projects lingering guiltily in a box and the thrill of your first sale. So fellow crafters be proud of your work and make sure you tell everyone, ‘I made that!’

Live Wire Jewellery

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fabulous Friday... The Interview ~ Live Wire Jewellery

Today's Fab Friday crafter is Steff from Live Wire Jewellery. Steff creates some really unique shapes with her jewellery ~ worth a look.

How did you get started in your particular craft and how long have you been doing it?
It all started when I went in to my local art and craft shop, i'd been in lots of times before but never really bothered with the jewellery section. Then on one visit I noticed some gorgeous orange lampwork beads that I thought would look perfect with an outfit I was wearing to a wedding so bought a couple without thinking about what I was going to do with them. When I got home I managed to make them into earrings by destroying another pair and using the components, needless to say with a pair of my dad's old pliers they weren't very neat but they did the job and it got me hooked! That was about 3 years ago and from those two lampwork beads I now have a whole room of beads, tools, gemstones and books!

Are there any negative aspects to doing your craft and if there are, how do you work around them?
I enjoy making chainmaille pieces but it can make my eyes feel really tired looking at all those jumprings and working out where they all go! so I take regular breaks to give them a rest, it also gives my hands and wrists a break and gives me chance to raid the fridge for a snack!

What tips would you give to anyone thinking of starting your craft?
Take a class or buy a book/magazine etc. When I started out I didn't know the best way to make jewellery, so pieces broke and clasps fell off. It saves a lot of time by learning a few key techniques!

What is your favourite item in your own Misi shop?
My Mint Box Chain Bracelet, it started off as a (very) long length of wire which I've coiled to make little jump rings, cut each one by hand and then woven them into a box chain. Finished off with a roughly polished nugget of fluorite, one of my favourite semi-precious stones.

What is your favourite shop on Misi (besides your own)?
I recently stumbled across Imps and Things which has some amazing handmade tree sprites and imps, that just have such fantastic expressions!

Random things about you:

What is your favourite time of day?
Those very rare times when I wake up before my alarm!

What is your ideal vacation?
I like to go to far flung places (when I can afford it!) being able to visit a Masai village in Tanzania was amazing, and I got to see the beautiful colourful jewellery they wear.

Where were you born?
I was born in Godalming, a small town in Surrey (less than an hour away from London, England). Godalming has a wonderful little craft shop which started me off into the crafting world!

What is your favourite animal?
Well it's got to be dogs or more specifically my dog Ichi, she's only 2 and is the most affectionate dog ever!

What actor/actress would you NOT kick out of bed?
Christian Bale without a doubt!

Thank you Steff. Take a look at Live Wire Jewellery ~ inspiring creations.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Guest Blogger ~ Just K Jewellery

Those of you who know my work will be aware that I often embed sweets in resin but I’d also scrounged some fragments of material from my mum – she makes patchwork quilts and the materials she uses are ideal to use with resin as they have small patterns.
I mixed a batch of resin and half filled a selection of different shape moulds. As I’d already cut the material to shape I knew it was the right size so I floated the material on the resin and gently pressed it down until it was submerged.

I was going to use a polo mint in the rectangular shape so I let this resin cure until almost hard. I do this to avoid getting air bubbles under the sweet.

I added some more clear resin to just cover the polo mint, let it partly cure and then sprinkled some crushed glass and silver glitter onto the resin and left it to cure fully under lights. The lights help to speed up the curing process.

The next stage is to add the second layer of resin. I mixed a batch of resin and put a small amount into another mixing cup. I added some metallic claret coloured pigment powder, mixed well and then poured it into the mould. I didn’t have enough for the second mould so I added some more clear resin to the mixing cup and this time some red glass paint. I mixed well and poured into the mould.

For the last pieces I stirred some metallic blue pigment powder into the resin and poured into the moulds. This time there was some blue resin left over so I added more clear resin to the mixture and a couple of drops of black glass paint. Again I mixed well and poured into the polo mint mould.
Once the resin had cured fully I was able to de-mould them. I like to leave them under the light for a few more hours before handing them. There are always some rough edges on the back which I rub down with wet and dry paper.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with these pieces yet. I might make the blue floral squares into rings by gluing them to flat pad ring shanks. The red floral batons will probably become necklaces so I’ll drill a hole into the top with a pin vice and then glue in a top pin.
If the polo mint becomes a key ring I’ll drill a hole all the way through the top of the piece and use a large jump ring or triangular clamp to attach it to a key ring blank. I like the effect of the glitter sparkling against the midnight blue resin, makes me think of stars in the night sky, this one might yet end up as a pendant.....

Karen Rickard