Welcome to Octoberfest 2013!
Sunday, 27 October 2013
Saturday, 26 October 2013
Welcome to the 6th Do Over Challenge hosted by mixed media artist extraordinaire Jeannie K Dukik of Jewelry by Jeannie.
For this Challenge, Jeannie sent 20 lucky participants a piece of jewelry to make over. Check out the beautiful packaging!
Thursday, 5 September 2013
I know I've been neglecting my blog of late, very tired recently, but this is just a quicky post to let you know about a wonderfully inspiring blog hop hosted by Toltec Jewels to celebrate Autumn.
Despite it being spring in my half of the world I spent most of my life in the northern hemisphere so my heart and soul are in Autumn even if my body is not! And autumn is my absolute favourite season. The cool, long evenings and the burst of reds, golds and yellows in the trees. So if you've got time go have a looky see at the beautiful imagery posted on Toltec Jewel's blog (link below).
Monday, 12 August 2013
Thursday, 1 August 2013
The Polymer Clay Collective is a super-friendly facebook group dedicated to all things polymer clay and for all levels of experience from 'just starting to dabble' to 'Wow! How did you do that?'
Monday, 29 July 2013
Saturday, 20 July 2013
Friday, 19 July 2013
Alenka of Pepita Handmade is very generously sponsoring a blog hop to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of her blog :
Thursday, 18 July 2013
It's only the third day back at school after two blissful weeks of school holidays and already we are all pooped and counting the days until the term ends :-(
I miss the lazy mornings, the cuddles throughout the day, the random pieces of art we created and going out in the brisk winter sun to explore and run and climb.
Even though we were all hit by a particularly nasty bug we still found plenty of cheap and easy-going ways to have fun inside on flu days. When it got particularly bad we'd all snuggle up under a blanket and play together on the iPad.
So my 5 year old, 4 year old and I have picked out our top iPad activities to share with you. Most of these apps are for you to use together with maybe one or two that might keep them entertained by themselves for a wee bit while you whip up your favourite flu-busting food for them!
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Saturday, 29 June 2013
I was super lucky enough to recently win a give-away by Cyndi Lavin of Beading Arts. There are some great resources on her site for beaders, mixed media artists and polymer clayers and Cyndi has some great free tutorials too - one of my favourites is the splendiferous Resin Polymer Clay Bezel, pictured below.
Saturday, 22 June 2013
Saturday, 15 June 2013
I've had cruddy germs this week but thanks to my beautiful better half I've actually been allowed to stay in bed to recover. The last time that happened was the first few days after my youngest was born! Wow it makes so much difference to have that time to fight off yucky flu.
In between sleeping and loudly complaining of feeling cruddy I've been meandering around the internet, just having a looky-see, no particular purpose in mind. And these are my three favourite picks of the week:
Saturday, 8 June 2013
Friday, 7 June 2013
Monday, 3 June 2013
I was in heaven this Sunday. Surrounded by tools, metals, findings, sparkles, cabs, jewellery, wire, blow torches, chemicals, glass, polymer clay and not one, but two dogs! Sigh, bliss.
A wonderful bunch of ladies descended on the Whimsical Bead in Healesville for the most incredible workshop - 'Combine, Connect, Consolidate' - run by the amazingly generous Kay Lancashire of Kay's Artycles.
There are some great pics of the big mess and beautiful stuff we made on the Whimsical Bead's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheWhimsicalBead).
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Recently I've been finding it very hard to find time and space to do me-stuff including blog. Y'all know how it is. Family and life are up the top on the list of important things and blogging way down the bottom!
I think my beautiful girl is feeling a bit lost and left out now her brother has started school and she's become droopy, sad and very, very demanding. So me-stuff has been out the window for the past few weeks and all but the most essential housework is just not being done (woohoo!).
Instead, me and my little bird have been creatively recycling everything into 'stuff'. She loves putting stuff together with me, loves the huge mess we make and loves being able to play with something that she made with her own hands.
This is our most recent creation - the old pencil Fort /Cot made by glueing all the pencils with broken leads and felt-tips with no ink that we've been accruing in a big ol' box for the past few years. I love my hot glue gun!
Next on our list is a giant toilet roll castle, a plastic bottle waterfall and re-purposing of the innards of a broken pepper grinder.
Yes we have a grubby, messy house and yes my other half is not best pleased about that but rather a sad looking house and happy kids than the other way round.
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Had to share a particularly embarrassing moment I had today (hope my other half doesn't read this).
I was talking to a vague acquaintance about a doctor we both know. I can never remember that particular docs name (not that I'd mention it here anyway) she's a great doc but kinda lazy so I call her Dr Slacko.
Anyhoos a wee while back my better half had an infection on his elbow and Dr Slacko had the nasty task of squeezing his pus out. I was telling this story to Mrs Vague Acquaintance in the supermarket, but distracted by errant offspring it came out like:
"Poor Dr Slacko gave his wotsit a squeeze and his gunk came flying out and whizzed passed her hair."
Mrs Vague Acquaintance gave me a long hard stare and said "well anyway, I'd better be off now" and pushed her trolley laden with various children and food items away as fast as her little legs could carry her.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Welcome to reveal day of Jeannie K's 5th Do-Over!
For this challenge, Jeannie sent each of us one of her pieces that she wasn't completely happy with. Our task was to redesign that piece and make something new and spangly from it.
My problem, was that I liked my piece from Jeannie so much that I was loath to fiddle with it! A beautiful long necklace of large shiny silver plate links (I would get steel core, very substantial and attracted to magnets) interspersed with clear glass nuggets. It sparkled in the sun and attracted lots of comments with it's simple beauty. Oh yes I took it for walks and shopping before that fateful day when I got my pliers out.
Here's the before piece as kindly modelled by a random passing ballerina :
Monday, 1 April 2013
(Apologies for lateness, I had this set to post automatically in the wee hours of the 31st and then forgot to check. Clearly I do not know how to use technology properly, doh! Better late than never though.)
Today is the day for my first ever reveal of a blog hop challenge and I am inappropriately over-excited about it! The challange was to create a unique piece of jewellery based upon a given colour palette. Here's the palette I chose:
Thursday, 28 March 2013
I can't remember exactly how it came about, but a comment from my talented bead soup partner Karen Mitchell gave me the urge to have a go at kumihimo.
Being a wee bit in the sticks I can't just pop out and buy art and craft supplies at my nearest shops and being impatient and I couldn't be doing with ordering online and waiting for one to turn up. So I had a go at making one myself.
Tada! My amazingly crappy looking contraption made from an old CD, a bit of craft foam I found in my kids art box, copious glue and a now extremely blunt pair of scissors. But it works really well. I can't show you my completed items because they're for the BSBP party (although I have somewhat given it away in the pics above).
Now for all of the effort it took to make compared to how cheap kumihimo discs are to buy I would suggest just getting a new one but if you really fancy having a go at making one yourself then here's how to do it:
1) Get yourself a CD you don't mind ruining and measure the diameter.
2) Hop over to http://friendship-bracelets.net/wheeldesigner.php to design yourself a template. Set the diameter to your CD diameter and choose the number of strings you're going to use. Personally I would suggest no more than 8 strings because it gets way too difficult to cut enough slots in your CD for more than that.
3) Print out and cut out your template and lay it on top of your CD. Don't glue it yet! Draw around the template, using a permanent marker, onto your CD.
4) Using a strong pair of scissors that you don't really care about roughly cut out the shape you've just drawn onto the CD. Perfect doesn't matter here, the CD is there to give you stiffness and strength that cardboard or foam alone won't give you. And you need the extra cardboard /foam on top because the CD edges will wear your threads. So I recommend making more of a star shape than worrying about nice curved edges. You can see in my pictures that the CD ended up being cut to a lot smaller size than the final disc and that the slots in the CD are more valleys than slits. It's the slits in the foam that hold your cords/threads in place.
5) Now find your self a bit of foam, or failing that, glue a few layers of card board together and glue your paper template on top of your foam/cardboard. Once dry, cut out your kumihimo disc shape - nicely this time - and give yourself a wee bit extra slit than suggested by the template for extra holding power.
6) And the final step is to glue your mutilated CD onto the bottom of your foam/cardboard kumihimo disc. I can't remember what glue I used, some general purpose craft glue I think, I wouldn't have used superglue because I can't be trusted not to glue myself together.
Once your glue is dried there aresome nice easy instructions on the friendship bracelet site here.
All in all it took a good hour to make and another 24 hours for the glue to be properly dry. A messy make but it does do the job and I made some really nice things with it.
I had so much fun making kumihimo cords that I bit the bullet and bought myself a proper one online.
From making my own I realised that the thicker the foam, the stiffer the disc will be and the easier it will therefore be to use. No one likes a floppy disc! (Bad IT humour - sorry)!
And those tiny little ones might seem appealling because firstly they are the cheapest and secondly they are so weeny you can pop them in your pocket and take them anywhere. BUT the smaller they are, the harder they are to use and the bigger, 'normal' size ones are just as portable and fit nicely into your average handbag for on-the-move-anywhere-braiding.
So I highly recommend the 6" Kumiloom pictured above (no, I don't get paid for recommending them unfortunately).
It's way thicker than the beadsmith version and the straight, rather than round, sides make it a breeze to remember where you were if you have to put it down.
Last I checked it was around 8 US dollars I think (I couldn't find any available in Australia) but if you are just starting out why not treat yourself to a complete starter kit (about 30 - 40 bucks).
The one I got includes 16 bobbins, a proper Kumihimo book, the big kumiloom disc pictured above and oodles of cords and beads as well as clasps AND glue so you can whack out some gorgeous bracelets and necklaces straight away without having to buy anything else.
Sound like a salesman don't I?!? Sorry, I was so impressed with my kumi-kit that I had to share! Now the project kit I bought can be found here or search for "Kumiloom" on ebay.
If you're unsure that this is for you then have a go at making your own first and using bits of wool or even thin strips of old fabric.
As for me, I'm a convert and you'll see me regularly at the beechworth bakery kumi-looming with a coffee while my gorgeous kids are safely locked in the kids area!
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
I made an unconscious decision this year to exercise the much under-used right side of my brain and have been getting seriously into the whole blog-hop phenomena. Yep, I've signed up for another one!
The Do OverChallenge is run by the fascinating Jeannie K Dukik and involve re-jigging a piece of Jeannie's that she considers un-sellable.
Now I would post a before picture here but I actually adore the piece that Jeannie has sent me and I suspect that I'm not going to make huge changes because of that. So you'll have to wait for the reveal day on the 21st April! If you are in the USA there is still time to join in - head over to Jeannie's site for more details : http://www.jkdjewelry.com/doovch.html
Jeannie creates some pretty unique beads, components and jewellery, but this is harldy a surprise, she seems a unique person. Have a look at her 'Jeannie Who?' section. Wow! Writer, athlete, hairdresser to the stars, incredible dramas, an eclectic range of talents. The kind of lady you want to sit down with a huge pot of tea and question for hours. I'm not sure I'd ever be as comfortable sharing so much on a blog as Jeannie does but I'm certainly glad she does!
Thanks Jeannie for running this challange! Here's a list of the other participants so far:
Beti Horvath http://stringingfool.blogspot.com/
Charlie Jacka http://clay-space.com/blog
Ginger Davis Allman http://thebluebottletree.com/
Jeannie K Dukic http://site.jkdjewelry.com/blog
Kathy Lindemer http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Lynne Bowland http://www.islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.ca/
Molly Alexander http://beautifullybrokenme.blogspot.com/
Mary Govaars www.mlhjewelrydesigns.com
Mowse Doyle http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com/
Penny Houghton www.smellynelly.blogspot.com (you are here!)
Renetha Stanziano http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Rita Avila http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com/
Susan Delaney www.ladyflowersbysusan.wordpress.com
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Today I had my first weekday child-free morning since, ooh, can't remember. With youngest in 3 year old kinder for 3 hours and eldest just started prep I had 3 whole hours to potter around second hand shops and indulge myself the biggest take-away coffee I've ever seen.
So what shall I do with all this free time? Sign up to another blog-hop! I'm so remote from most of my family & friends that I'm getting a real kick out of connecting with people and ideas this way. I've actually signed up for another challenge too but I'll blog about that one later.
I'm really tempted to go straight for the palette on the right, but I do have a tendency to go for oranges and browns so I may push myself out of my comfort zone a wee bit and try one of the others. Who knows!
Reveal date is March 31st so be sure to pop back and have a looky-see at everyone's creations. Big thank you to Bonnie for organising!
These are the other participants so far:
www.smellynelly.blogspot.com (you are here)
Nancy Smith (Blog Address to Come)
Monday, 18 March 2013
My home is currently the location of multiple rebellions.
My 5 year old is rebelling against being told what to do. My daughter is rebelling against eating anything that is not a sandwich. Not entirely sure what my other half is rebelling against but it involves lots of complaining, grumpy faces and sitting parked in front of some form of goggle box. As for me I'm rebelling against not having any time off. And I'm sure all the Mum's out there are familiar with that one!
Every fortnight I leave the lot of them to their small skirmishes and immerse myself in clay for 4 hours. I rarely ever get to finish my projects, and if I do, I rarely like them, but I recently made some loud and spangly beads based upon a tutorial by Randee M Ketzel and, when I got back from my 4 hour retreat, I refused to be good little housewife until I'd found coordinating beads and strung them all together.
I love the fascinating patterns created by using Randee's technique and the strange, loud clashes of colours created by using blobs of 'scrap' clay. These loud little beads are my Rebel Yell against the unending piles of laundry, the ever growing stacks of dirty dishes, the piles of clothes that won't put themselves away and the endless all- encompassing dust. Sigh. I'm off to hang out the washing!
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
For Valentines day Irish Mishly published a free Angry Birds video and my son and I made some for Dad. My son liked his so much that Dad only has them 'on loan'. I like them so much that I am sharing them with you.
All his own work and he's only five! He even put a red fence around the red one and made a white base for them all to sit on. My little artist!
Meanwhile my less-than-tiny hands has been having fun with my bead soup and I've almost finished two items. I'm really pleased with what i've done so far. Here's a wee teaser pic:
Monday, 11 March 2013
I've finally got a bit of space and time to do some blog-hopping and eye-up some of the wonderful bead soups people have created. Here'a a wee selection of some of my favorites - click on the blog names to take you to the respective blogs for more info (let me know if the links don't work):
Artistry HCBD : Mmmm, look at those beaded beads and rich colours.
Lamplight Crafts : Turquoise is definitely the in color at the moment. Check out the fabulous glass swirls and how the color palette has been chosen to match.
Mrs M Makes : Of course all soup requires a spoon. What an amazing handmade component!
I could go on and on and on .... and I'm sure I will on another post!
So inspiring. What I find really interesting is the similarity in colour palettes and materials. Lots of turquoise, dusky peaches, earthy tones and natural or nature inspired components. A collective mind at work or are we all unconsciously influenced by fashion trends? Fascinating.
Fair to say I'm loving my first BSBP and am wriggling like an impatient five year old for the first reveal. Are we there yet? What about now? Are we there now?!?
Sunday, 10 March 2013
Lately my Mojo has been limping along, so to give it a kick in the pants I've been learning new techniques and taking inspiration from tutorials and patterns I've purchased online.
I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you. Quite a task in itself because my list of besties is huge, but the four I've listed here have inspired me in unexpected ways.
This is the first set of tutorials I've purchased from Iris and it won't be the last! I love the quirkiness of her designs and every project is achievable. There's none of that "I'm never going to achieve that level of perfection" with Iris. It's more "ooh, I never thought of using it that way". On the pricey side but well worth it. These tutorials will give your creativity a massive boost.
A very well written tutorial and one of the easiest to follow I've come across. The three projects in this tutorial force you to slow down and smell the daisies. These simple techniques make glorious colour graduations available to those who don't want to or don't have the money to invest in pasta machines and all the fancy schmancy clay tools. I spent a blissful four hours in an almost meditative trance manipulating clay and colours.
This was one of my first bead weaving projects ever. The first earring took me 6 hours to complete, the second about two hours. I've got wonderful memories of sitting on the porch of a house we'd rented for the week, swearing like a trouper and scattering tiny little seed beads all over the place while the rest of my family explored the beach and made friends with thousands of tiny purple crabs. They came out so beautifully (not mine in the picture though) and I was so proud. I lost one recently and I doubt I'll be able to make an exact replacement so instead that one earring will become a tiny wee pendant or charm. A keepsake from a wonderful holiday and a reminder that even the tiniest thing, when combined with other tiny things can create a fascinating, beautiful structure.
Connie's beautiful bracelet (featured here on the front of the mag where I came across it) left me thinking "Flipping heck! You can do all that with wire?". And although I am absolutely rubbish at wire work I still have a bash now and then. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the work that others do in this simple medium.
So there you go,four of my mojo-starters. Hopefully my mojo will stant dancing and prancing again with the onset of cooler weather. In the meantime there's a whole internet full of tutorials for me to explore.
Monday, 4 March 2013
The past few months, and especially the past couple of weeks, have been really draining for my family. Nothing major, just a whole bunch of niggles and problems that have all come at once and I'm starting to feel trapped again. My inner polar bear is pacing it's man-made enclosure and is roaring to bundle my family up and go explore unknown places.
When I feel like this I seem to completely shut up shop, I don't want to see my friends or chat with acquaintances, I don't even want to socialize electronically (hence no blogging or facebook activity) or by written word and, probably worst of all, my need to create 'stuff' leaves me entirely. All the things that could lift me up and give me perspective on just how tiny my problems actually are seem beyond me.
So after a bit of a rough night I'm giving myself a wee shove and putting finger to keyboard. Might just be the push I need to break out of my own shell.
This picture of my son getting soaked and laughing reminds me there are much better things to think about. But any tips any of you may have for lifting my gloom cloud would be much appreciated.
Monday, 18 February 2013
Just so you can compare.
I think I did OK with the colours but it's certainly not on a par with what Karen sent me.
I'm finding it a really fascinating journey. Hopping around to look at the bead soups other people have created and getting a brief glimpse into their lives, dreams and thoughts at the same time.
My better half is finding it very difficult to understand why I'm so rapt with BSBP - which surprises me little since he & I met through work.
His mind is still required to create within strict rules. And yet he is currently embarking upon a very similar journey.
Not bead related, a much more typical 'manly' themed project but it elicits the same excitement in him and he is engaging with new people and learning new skills.
Despite our projects seemingly being worlds apart we have daily show and tells with each other.
These things keep us young and alive and I hope our passions inspire our children to constantly look for the new and find pleasure in the smallest of things.
Sunday, 17 February 2013
And what an absolutely fabulous soup sent by Karen of Over the Moon Design sent!
Here's the little box and bags, a look at the gorgeous colours of sari silk I get to play with:
Here's main course :
Close up of the bicone beads, I've never seen anything like these before:
Look at the colours in these, beautiful:
Simply gorgeous Tibetan Agate Barrel beads:
And then she went and spoiled me and sent dessert too!
What a beautiful stash! I immediately knew what I wanted to do with the wooden tree, barrel beads and sari silk and I have got lots of ideas for the rest.
You can see that Karen's really thought about colour, shape, texture, size, weight and style. When I made my soup for Karen I spent a long time thinking about colour combinations and relative sizes, all other considerations didn't even enter my wee little mind. I think that really shows the difference between a true artist (Karen) and a wannabe (me).
Tomorrow I'll put up a piccie of the soup I sent Karen and you'll see what I mean. My efforts look so bland compared to Karen's!
This simple excercise of sending and receiving soup has been an eye opener for me. I think I will also put together and sending Karen a dessert using what I learnt from the soup she sent me. I'm off to have a troll around the other paticipating blogs to check out their soups. I'll pop up a list of my faves later in the week.
Tara for now xxx
Saturday, 16 February 2013
After seemingly endless weeks of increasingly hot and humid days with no rain I am thoroughly worn out and would kill for a long, deep, bubbly bath <sighs with longing>.
Those small niggles associated with not being connected to mains water have become big pain-in-butts with no rain for so long. Selective loo-flushing, 30-second-once-a-week showers, 60km round trips to the launderette and no drinking water means I am truly living up to my Smelly Nelly moniker. And being a delicate skinned European import I sweat like a hairy docker in the sweltering Aussie heat.
Yes I am a big sweat-dripping bag of good old fashioned grumpy whinges. Truly a joy to be with at the moment!
I had a moment of "woohoo! I'm gorgeous" the other day though. Went to pick up eldest from school, and to keep cool (& save on washing) I've been wearing loose floaty skirts and umm, let's say saving my underwear for special. I Walked past some sparkies to some cheeky smiles and floated around the playground relishing the breeze on me bits n bobs.
I pick up my gorgeous son (affectionately known as Evil Monkey Boy) and on way past sparkies get an actual wolf-whistle. I remember those! All puffed up with "someone fancies me even though I am sweaty betty with coffee stains and hairy pits" until we get to the car. EMB pipes up, "Mum, I can see your bum". Oh yes, somewhere between home and school my skirt has developed a hand sized rip in the seam over my right buttock. My entire butt cheek is clearly on view, visions of how gorgeous I am come crashing down and burning red cheeks of embarrassment take over.
How many Mums and Bubs got a clear view of my big ol' butt cheek I wonder? Aaargh!
All these minor niggles and big embarrassments have left me utterly zonked out with zero urge to do anything. But when I came across this goal setting method on facebook this morning I thought "you know, I could probably do that without sweating anymore than I already do". So I am sharing this motivational piccie with all those of you struggling through this nasty little fire season too.
Keep safe, keep cool and find time to go a little nuts. xxx
Tuesday, 12 February 2013
At the moment I'm rediscovering my love of bangles. In used to wear arms full of them, chunky, thin, fancy, plain, all the way up to my elbows. I loved the variety and I loved the feel of them clanging and rattling as I moved. I'd constantly be taking one off to play with it and examine it in detail.
With the coming of babies jewellery became impracticle. Always being yanked at or catching on something and always that worry that something small may get sucked of chewed off and do bubba some damage.
Now my bubbas are (mostly) out of the yanking and popping things in mouth stage I'm finding myself popping in a pair of earrings or whacking on a bracelet more often.
I treated myself to Iris Mishly's Extrudinary tutorials and youngest and I have been popping out extruded bangles with abandon. So fast, easy and pleasing with never ending variations. A fabulous way to use up cruddy coloured clay.
Here's a pair I finished off at this Saturday's clay play.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
I've picked and packed the bead soup I'm sending to my BSBP partner Karen Mitchell of Over The Moon and here's a little teaser piccie for you.
Karen is a australian based bead maker and jewellery artist who specializes in mixed media techniques and I am very excited to be partnered with her! Bead soup off to the post office tomorrow.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
I'm off to the Whimsical Bead today for a much needed clay play and I plan on making pressies for some of my favourite people. To make them extra special I'm going to have a go at making these beautiful origami boxes Ellie Kneeland to pop them in. (Click on piccie to take you to the guide.)
Friday, 1 February 2013
I'm a big fan of OTTBS (Operation Tackle That Bead Stash) , a super-friendly group of beaders and artisans, and this was goung to be my entry fro the January challenge, but forgot the blue!
Never-the-less I am extremely pleased with it so far. This peacocky looking creation came about when I was looking to create a neclace to match the Crystal Feather Earrings I made from a pattern from www.jayceepatterns.com (the most beautiful patterns on this site, well worth checking out). Not the best match for the earrings I know but I'm still chuffed.