Category Archives: Craft Projects

Lowly Roots

Lowly Roots

I’m a huge fan of recycling, or upcycling or whatever the in-term is at the moment.  There’s something so satisfying about transforming old, abandoned, scruffy, broken items  into loved, treasured and beautiful things.  My kids are terribly embarrassed by their magpie mother, if I walk down a street I always keep a close eye out for sparkly things – whether that be pop can tabs which can be spray painted and daubed with nail varnish to make bracelets, odd earrings, scattered beads from snapped necklaces, nuts, bolts, washers, straggly ribbon blown by the wind and caught in spiky bushes….anything really.  I’ll often go into a shop and fish out the change in my pocket, only to find the spare change is outnumbered by small metal objects that can in no way be exchanged for a can of pop or a pint of milk.

Here’s a few things I treasure, all found objects.  Laugh if you must, maybe it’s not normal.

A turqouise glass bead I found by a riverbank on a dog walk.  An archaeologist friend of mine said that beads such as this can sometimes be from the iron age, but then again, it could just as easily be from a broken bracelet from Accessorize, lost on a sunny day spent by the river. Who knows?  I like it.

A turqouise glass bead I found by a riverbank on a dog walk. An archaeologist friend of mine said that beads such as this can sometimes be from the iron age, but then again, it could just as easily be from a broken bracelet from Accessorize, lost on a sunny day spent by the river. Who knows? I love it because it was lost and rolling around amongst the rocks, and now I can make it into something pretty again. 

I'm not enthralled with this bee to be honest.  It'll probably be pulled in pieces and made into something else, but I do love what the abdomen is made from.  I found it squished in the middle of the road, probably run over by a million and one cars.  If you look carefully you can see the image of a pylon-like tower with zig zags coming out of the top that look like the symbolize radio waves.  At the bottom it says 'BBC' so I'm presuming it was some sort of promotional pin badge.

I’m not enthralled with this bee to be honest. It’ll probably be pulled in pieces and made into something else, but I do love what the abdomen is made from. I found it squished in the middle of the road, probably run over by a million and one cars. If you look carefully you can see the image of a pylon-like tower with zig zags coming out of the top that look like the symbolize radio waves. At the bottom it says ‘BBC’ so I’m presuming it was some sort of promotional pin badge.  This is almost impossible to see on this photograph by the way, it’s hardly visible because of the damage.  Say what you like about the bee, it’s not great, but the pin badge did make a fabulous bee’s bum, or at least I think so. 

I think this is called a nut?  Not as in hazelnut obviously, more of an industrial 'nut', most probably used with a bolt to secure things to things.  I'm very vigilant when I walk past garages and where people fix cars outside their houses, because there's a higher llikelihood of finding strange little odds and ends that I can scavenge.  The next pic shows what I made from it.

I think this is called a nut? Not as in hazelnut obviously, more of an industrial ‘nut’, most probably used with a bolt to secure things to things. I’m very vigilant when I walk past garages and where people fix cars outside their houses, because there’s a higher llikelihood of finding strange little odds and ends that I can scavenge. The next pic shows what I made from it.

I turned the 'nut' into a pendant after gluing and wireworking random bits and pieces onto it.

I turned the ‘nut’ into a pendant after gluing and wireworking random bits and pieces onto it. The copper coloured central ring and the metal outer ring were also just picked up off the pavement in passing. 

Maybe it’s the remains of the ‘Hunter/Gatherer’ instinct.  The same reason why it’s so therapeautic to spend hours picking masses of blackberries from hedgerows, when you could easily just bob down to the grocers and buy a box of them for not very much money and save yourself the trouble of purple stained clothes and thorns embedded in fingertips.  I could just buy supplies from craft shops, or simply spend a couple of quid on pre-made jewellery from shops, but there’s no challenge in that.  Besides, I can make things that I can actually see in my mind’s eye, and they’re unique.

If you’re willing to invest a bit of time pulling  things in pieces you can find all manner of things too.  I had so much fun disembowelling a bedside clock a while ago.  It was broken and ugly so I didn’t feel guilty ripping it in bits. After messing around with a screwdriver, ripping off the facade and rooting around amongst the innards, I found all these gorgeous little things.

I never imagined a dissected clock could be so interesting!

I never imagined a dissected clock could be so interesting!

I 'sewed' some of the clock to a wirework bee I made.  All held in place with the wire you can sometimes find wrapped around corked wine bottles.

I ‘sewed’ some of the clock to a wirework bee I made. All held in place with the wire you can sometimes find wrapped around corked wine bottles.

It’s just so much fun, and so fascinating to see what you can do with something and nothing.  My dad used to play a game where he’d draw a squiggle on a piece of paper, then my sister and I would take turns trying to make little pictures out of them.  That’s all I do with metal and wire really.  I just pick something up, look at it, turn it round, put it on something else, attach it, embellish it somehow and then it becomes something else entirely.  Make no mistake, this doesn’t always work.  I’ve made some monstrosities in my time.  I tried to make a german shepherd out of wire once, and it ended up looking like a weird dog wearing baggy pants, a friend said that it looked like a canine MC Hammer.  Here it is for your amusement and my embarrassment….

Dog wearing pants that are far too big for it.

Dog wearing pants that are far too big for it.  I was trying to copy a sillhouette and it just didn’t work at all!

Anyway, I digress.  This is just an example of how doodling with metal can be fun. It doesn’t always come naturally to me, but because I love it, so I persist, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The point is, from just a piece of wire, or an abandoned bit of tatt, you can come up with all sorts of things.  Silver or gold, or expensive materials are things of beauty, you can’t deny that….but I’m actually proud of the lowly roots that make up many of my creations.  I’ll proudly boast that something is made from a broken hair clip and feel absolutely no shame about it at all.

Life’s about making things up as you go along, or at least it is for me.  You find the sparkle on the pavement, the simple little things that make up a day and turn them into something good and worthwhile.  That’s the idea anyway.

Advertisements

Steampunk Geekery

Steampunk Geekery

A while ago I posted a picture of a top I was working on.  Tbe plan was to customise an M & S undergarment with chainmaille and scales to make it look steampunky.  I quite fancy doing more of these because with a minimum of chainmaille you can get maximum effect, if you see what I mean.  A proper full chainmaille top can literally take weeks of work and the materials alone cost a fortune.  Customising items is quicker, plus I can get more precise sizes if the base garments are pre-chosen by the customer.

Well, that was a waffly paragraph, I’m just thinking aloud and justifying my reasons for pulling a perfectly good piece of lingerie in pieces and sewing bits of metal onto it.  Here’s how it looked the first time I blogged about this.  It looks rather different now as you can see in later photographs.

Planning Stage

Planning Stage – I decided I didn’t this in the end, so it looked very different by the time I finished.  Check out later pics!

You can see above that all the chains are pinned rather than sewn in place and that the straps are still intact.  After a lot of pondering, I changed my mind about this design. The scales looked too much and the chains on the seams would restrict the flexibility of the material.  Plus the metal rose on the bust looked like a big bobble …sooooooo  I took the straps off and attached a japanese weave choker with chains supporting the bust – added a dangling pendant with a sparkle of red beads and scales to emphasise the neckline – echoed the pendant design along the bust and finally, I sewed solid metal rings that look like studs below the bust and around the back so the design continues right along the bra line.

I was rather embarrassed to show my parents my project and had to explain over and over again, that it's not 'kinky' and that the idea is that it's worn as a body top with a long victorian fitted waist and flared skirt with a bustle in a steampunk stylee.

I was rather embarrassed to show my parents this particular project, I had to explain over and over again, that it’s not ‘kinky’ and that the idea is that it’s worn as a body top with a long victorian fitted waist and flared skirt with a bustle in a steampunk stylee.

My dad doesn’t know what steampunk is and I swear he thought it was some weird fashion to do with odd people, alternative music and steamtrains.  My mum thought it was ‘interesting’ and fekkit, I like it anyway!

Each 'stud' is sewn individually so that if one comes loose, the rest don't all fall off one by one.  It is, as you might say 'quality'.  And these little rings took ages to sew in place I might add.

Each ‘stud’ is sewn individually with double thickness thread which is looped several times so that they won’t come loose.  It is, as you might say ‘quality’. And these little rings took ages to sew in place I might add. Ages.  Ages and ages.  Did I mention that they took me ages?  Donkeys years.  

All the chains, and the outer jump rings on the japanese weave, are sewn onto the actual material with four stitches on each jump ring, in four different places on each and every ring, so that if one thread slips through the gaps in the jump rings in one place, they are still held in place by the other three stitches.  That may sound like gobbledegook.  It is in fact just common sense.  This is the sewing version of superglue.  Those goddam rings 'aint coming off in a hurry in summary.

All the chains, and the outer jump rings on the japanese weave, are sewn onto the actual material with four stitches on each jump ring, in four different places on each and every ring, so that if one thread slips through the gaps in the jump rings in one place, they are still held in place by the other three stitches. That may sound like gobbledegook. It is in fact just common sense. This is the sewing version of superglue. Those goddam rings ‘aint coming off in a hurry in summary.  They are well ‘ard.

Another pic.  I'm not very good at this newfangled photography thing.

Another pic. I’m not very good at this newfangled photography thing, but I think you have a clearer view of the bust here. 

This is for sale if anyone is interested, although you do have to be a 34B.  It is £50 plus postage and it’s completely unique. the materials are bright aluminium and they are glass beads, I think the ‘studs’ are steel, although I can’t be sure as they’re upcycled from an old bracelet.    If you think I can do any customisation for you, please do let me know.  Happy to help, any suggestions as to further projects, contacts with people or businesses who would be interested in selling things like this, anything……would be appreciated.  I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it wouldn’t do if we were all the same would it.

P.S  I’m not modelling this so don’t ask me. 😉

 

 

New Project!

New Project!

I feel like I’ve broken the ice now, so I hope to be posting a lot more now.   Up until now I’ve thought ‘I can’t post about that, no-one will be interested’.   It’s either that or shurrup and hide on Facebook.   Worth a punt I suppose!

Here’s what I was working on last night.  I’ve been trying to master how to make chainmaille bra’s for a while, but they’re turning out to be rather a challenge.   So, I’m going to cheat for a while and dodge learning how to do them from scratch….I’m going to use existing tops as a template instead.  That way, fabric is next to skin, which will feel more comfortable, plus if anyone decides to buy anything from me I can just take their measurements and source the appropriate clothing to embellish.  That avoids the endless issues with shaping the cups to the individual.

Gawd, I sound like I know what I’m on about.  I’m just experimenting really.  I’ve tried looking for work for a bit of extra income but jobs are thin on the ground around here and never seem to fit around life with two kids and a massive dog.   So, I’m trying to make more things and maybe I’ll open an online shop dooeywatsit when I feel more confident.

Here’s the very beginnings of my new design.  This is just pinned in place very roughly, I shall probably be attaching chains along the seams and adding a few sparkling scales.  The idea is that it will end up being something that can either be worn as a clubbing sort of top, or underwear.  Either way, I’d like it to look classy and preserve a bit of dignity.  Chainmaille is well, rather see through if you don’t add a lining, so can be difficult to wear.

Waffling aside, here it is!

Japanese weave outline, with a 'rose' added for a bit of detail.  It'll look tidier when it's sew in place properly.  Probably adding chain to outline the bust too.

Japanese weave outline, with a ‘rose’ added for a bit of detail. It’ll look tidier when it’s sewn in place properly. Probably adding chain to outline the bust too.

Not appropriate for the school run, I know the mums there would look at me funny if I turned up at the school gates in wellies and this outfit….but it will hopefully look amazing on the right person at the right event.  I’ll update as I progress with this.  It may yet end up as a disaster, but I’m going to work on it anyway and hope for the best.

Wish me luck 🙂

Chains and Fings.

Chains and Fings.

After much soul searching and umming and aaahing, I’ve decided I will blog, but not directly about my kids.  They need their privacy now.   I still intend to write like a loon though, if you’ll bear with me. I’ve been very involved with my crafting recently and have done a few Christmas fairs locally, plus I’ve been focussing on my FB page where I sell some of my creations.

So, here goes.  A few pics of how I’ve been occupying my time:

A little chainmaille bag made in a japanese weave.  Cute and little.

A little chainmaille bag made in a japanese weave. Cute and little.

A 'Clockroach' made out of an alarm clock I pulled in pieces, two silver beads and a bit of wire.

A ‘Clockroach’ made out of an alarm clock I pulled in pieces, two silver beads and a bit of wire.

A slave bracelet commissioned by a customer.

A slave bracelet commissioned by a customer.

 

Xmas jumper

Made this for my daughter for Xmas jumper day, she refused to wear it. Can’t see why. I think it’s beautifully understated and tasteful. (I was quite proud of it to be honest and was rather gutted)

This is my Bumbling Bee, I shaped a wirework bee and then 'sewed' the gears and odds and ends on with the wire you get wrapped around the necks of posh bottles of wine.  Also made from bits of a disembowelled clock.

This is my Bumbling Bee, I shaped a wirework bee and then ‘sewed’ the gears and odds and ends on with the wire you get wrapped around the necks of posh bottles of wine. Also made from bits of a disembowelled clock.

So, this is how I’ve been passing the time of day.  I have to say, as you will already know, I hate housework.  Crafting is a great way to avoid it.  So my house is a pig sty, but I have pretty shiny jewellery ornament things to make up for it.  My husband would prefer a clean bathroom probably, but hey, life’s too short to peel toothpaste off the taps.

I think it’s about time I entertained the other love of my life, writing too.  I’ve missed being on here and apologise for the last blog post.

More to come, I’m not abandoning my virtual online baby Brink of Bedlam just yet.  x

Chainmaille Madness! My Most Ambitious Project EVER.

Chainmaille Madness!  My Most Ambitious Project EVER.

For once I’m actually reviewing my own product here, I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting and here’s the result.  It’s a completely hand-made chainmaille  top, made with pliers, patience and a fair amount of swearing.  Each bright aluminium link has been lovingly opened and closed and generally messed around with by me.  I’ve never made anything like this before, so this is my first attempt.  Whaddya think?  I finished it last night, took photos and bunged it on Folksy for sale so I’m, as they say, buzzing.  It would be quite useless in the face of battle, but it would be fantastic at a cocktail party or in a club, as long as there’s no-one shooting arrows at you at you.

Made from Bright Aluminium which is a surprisingly light metal, so this is comfortable to wear and won't weigh you down at all.

Made from Bright Aluminium which is a surprisingly light metal, so this is comfortable to wear and won’t weigh you down at all.

Made to my own design, so this is completely unique and a stand out piece.  The scales are made from bright aluminium too, so allt he materials match perfectly.

Made to my own design, so this is completely unique and a stand out piece. The scales are made from bright aluminium too, so the materials match perfectly.

Can be worn over a bra top, or over a camisole if you're feeling a little less extrovert.  Catches the light beautifully and drapes like a dream.

Can be worn over a bra top, or over a camisole if you’re feeling a little less extrovert. Catches the light beautifully and drapes like a dream.

Each diamond is reinforced with a 'Mobious' link, which is three rings intertwined for extra strength, and they look pretty too!

Each diamond is reinforced with a ‘Mobious’ link, which is three rings intertwined for extra strength, and they look pretty too!

Here's a close up of the weave, you can see the Mobious links more clearly here.   This will not rust by the way!  Can easily be cleaned with light detergent, warm water and a bit of a polish with a soft cloth.  No messing around with dry cleaning at all!

Here’s a close up of the weave, you can see the Mobious links more clearly here at the junction of the diamonds. This will not rust by the way! Can easily be cleaned with light detergent, warm water and a bit of a polish with a soft cloth. No messing around with dry cleaning at all!

I’m not used to this blowing my own trumpet sort of thing, but if I want to sell this, then I have to.  *blushes* Feel free to drop by my Folksy account if you’re interested or I have a ‘Bumbling Bee’ Facebook page if you prefer.  You’d be very welcome on either page and I do list other items too, which you may like.

I put a lot of time, effort and skill into my work and I’d love your feedback.  Please do drop by!  This top took me approximately a month of spending almost every available minute with a pair of pliers by the way.  You could call it knitting with metal I suppose.

Bumbling Bee Facebook page can be found HERE and my Folksy page is HERE.

I am open to negotiation by the way, especially if you mention that you discovered my work via this blog.  ;O)

Anyway, I hope you like my very new hobby, which is mostly just another really elaborate way to avoid doing the housework.  The Brink of Bedlam household looks like a bomb has dropped on it, but I do have a lovely top to show for it.

My mother does not approve and thinks I should clean the cooker rather than make chainmaille tops, but what the hell!

Treasure Hunting and Wire-Work Projects

Treasure Hunting and

Wire-Work Projects.

Yesterday we decided to go for a walk, I wish we’d had the camera so I could show you where we went.  It’s down on the banks of a nearby river and it’s absolutely beautiful there.  On a sunny day there really is no beating it.  It’s always been one of my favourite walks.  We were treated to ducks and teeny tiny ducklings  bobbing around on the water.  A lucky start for them, if they’d hatched two or three weeks ago they’d be snow-duckies.

Anyway, we wandered around the gravelly banks going ‘Ooh!’ at the pretty stones, falling sideways into shallow water occasionally and filling our pockets with what we call ‘treasure.’  Horace found huge rocks and tried to smash them with other rocks to see if there was anything inside them.  One stone he found sparkled when chips came off it, I think it was probably quartz.  As for me, I trawled the ground for river glass, it’s like sea glass, but worn by the rivers motion.  It’s lovely stuff, all soft edged and sparkly amongst the pebbles.  Sausage  kept finding really huge stones and nearly dropped quite a few on his toes.  All of us filled pockets and enjoyed just being outside and in the fresh air.

I walked home feeling like I had really heavy buttocks because my jeans pockets at the back were full of rubble.  Put it this way, I was grateful that my jeans were held up with a good sturdy belt.   Here’s what we ended up with:

All carefully washed and dried.  Spot the old metal helicopter part, useless but I couldn't help but pick it up.

All carefully washed and dried. Spot the old metal helicopter part, useless but I couldn’t help but pick it up.

Once cleaned up I bobbed what I could in a jar, they look so pretty all jumbled up.

Treasure!

Treasure!  Old pottery, river glass, sparkly quartz, stripy stones.

I was so pleased to see that amongst our find were a couple of small loops of wire, probably left over from fencing.  I’m really into making jewellery at the moment, especially wire-wrapping so I loved the idea of being able to make things entirely sourced from rubbish…..or treasure as we know it.

This brown glass glows amber when the light shines from behind it.  I used pliers to shape and pull the wire I found into something that would hang it from a window.

This brown river  glass glows amber when the light shines from behind it. I used pliers to shape and pull the wire together.

This is made with copper wire I already own.  Wire-wrapping is surprisingly easy and effective looking.  Anyone who knows what they're doing will be able to see my rubbish links etc, but to the untrained eye, it doesn't look so bad I think.

This is made with copper wire I already own. Wire-wrapping is surprisingly easy and effective looking. Anyone who knows what they’re doing will be able to see my rubbish links etc, but to the untrained eye, it doesn’t look so bad I think.

The wibbles, as I call them, are a way of tightening the wire around the glass so it doesn't come loose.

The wibbles, as I call them, are a way of tightening the wire around the glass so it doesn’t come loose.

This is made with finer copper wire, possibly a little fussy but I do love making swirls.

This is made with finer copper wire, possibly a little fussy but I do love making swirls.

Brown river glass seems a lot harder to find.  I do wonder how many years these have been rolling around on the bottom of the river.  I think they've seen many fishes, floods and ducks  in their time.  (as they have eyes.....obviously!)

Brown river glass seems a lot harder to find. I do wonder how many years these have been rolling around on the bottom of the river. I think they’ve seen many fishes, floods and ducks in their time. (as they have eyes…..obviously!)

Green copper wire, you have to be so careful not to scratch off the coating when you use this.  It does help to bring out the hint of emerald in the glass though.

Green copper wire, you have to be so careful not to scratch off the coating when you use this. It does help to bring out the hint of emerald in the glass though.

Most of these are too heavy to be used in jewellery, I think that they look better as window hangings or maybe garden ornaments.   The sunshine brings out their natural jewel colours.

The main problem with this river glass is when you go hunting for it, you do have to be careful what you pick up.  Having lacerated hands does not make for great crafting, so if you do decide to have a go at this, please do be careful and remember to wash your hands and the glass, pebbles or bits of pottery before you do anything with it.  Rivers, although pretty, can be pretty mucky places.

Not a great photograph and they'd have looked nicer if the sun had been shining.

Not a great photograph and they’d have looked nicer if the sun had been shining.  The colours stand out so much more when these have back-lighting.  I did spend ages trying to space these out so you could see each separate one, but it was frankly impossible.

This is what I’ve been doing instead of housework. Typical.  So Horace doesn’t have any clean socks washed, but he has some mega-cool window hangings instead.  He is very pleased as you can imagine.

12 Days of Christmas! Mould & Paint Christmas!

12 Days of Christmas!  

Thanks to UKMumsTV! 

Day 3 of the 12 Days of Christmas inspiration list includes a ‘Mould & Paint Christmas!’  Darlek is very crafty (in  more ways than one ;o) as are many children – I think this will be great for keeping her entertained over the Christmas Hols.  If you’d like a minute of calm to enjoy a mince pie or two, this project could be the perfect gift for your little one.

Plaster Fridge Magnets & Ornaments Moulding & Painting Kit

This is for ages 5 and over and with a bit of effort, will mean you have lovely festive magnets to decorate your bulging Christmas fridge.  (the fridge will match my bulging waistline by the end of the Christmas period too no doubt!)

If you’d like one of these kits you can find it HERE and it is £6.98 from Great Gizmos.  There’s a whole range of them from 4Mould&Paint so you’ll be spoilt for choice.