Tag Archives: Craft

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.

Dragonfly Days

Dragonfly Days

Today I am not asleep.  I’m very proud of this fact.  And I’ve done tons and it’s only midday!  Fatigue is horrible and it has been ruling my days, but I’m battling it now,  it’s official.

I took the kids into school, tramped up town, saw my GP, picked up my prescription, bought fleaing and worming tabs for the furry beasties I care for, nit treatment for the kids in case they bring further small insecty pets home, arranged to go into the Help the Aged charity shop (locally known as Help the Hagged which is very un PC I think) for two hours tomorrow and ate a bacon butty from Greggs.  Exciting stuff, if you live a quiet life that is.  Which I do.

Less staring at the walls, more action!  I had a chat with a friend the other day and we both decided that it would be good to do more stuff so we’d have more news to share.  She mentioned she was going to do pole dancing lessons.  I don’t think I could teach poles to dance, so I’m passing on that particular activity.  I mean, they don’t do much do they? Perhaps I’ve just talked to them in the wrong tone of voice in the past.  Lampposts just ignore me.

So, I’m just going to go into a charity shop and amble around.  That’s brave for me at least.  I’m also going to challenge my cash till phobia.  I once worked in a co-op for extra cash when I was a teenager and the cash till was possessed or something.  It just beeped and threw out random numbers, and I gave the wrong change a lot.  That job didn’t last very long and I’ve avoided any job in retail ever since because I’ve worried they’ll make me use a till again.  I’m facing my fears.  Hopefully this will open up more job opportunities for me.

Oh and I’ve made a couple of dragonflies recently, both are custom make for customers.  I’m rather proud of them.  When I get down I lose my creativity and my lust for life – so I’m working hard to get past that too.  Making things make me happy.  I feel like I’m achieving something if I have something actually in my hands that I’ve put together.  Here’s a couple of pics, I do love dragonflies, I think they’re beautiful insects.

Wirework and scalemaille dragonfly.  Doesn't fly very well unless you lob it across a room though.

Wirework and scalemaille dragonfly. Doesn’t fly very well unless you lob it across a room though.

This is made from copper wire, upcycled wire from wine bottles, cultured pearls from an old necklace and an old battered locket.  Again, this refuses to fly but will hover if held with a piece of string.

This is made from copper wire, upcycled wire from wine bottles, cultured pearls from an old necklace and an old battered locket. Again, this refuses to fly but will hover if held with a piece of string. 

So that’s me today.  You could say I’m a bit like the dragonflies above – the right shape and size, but not actually doing what dragonflies are supposed to do…ie, flying.  But I’ll get there. I’m just stretching my wings a little today.  Flight will have to wait for a while, but I’m getting there. Hope that makes sense, in my head it does anyway.

 

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!

Something Else.

Something Else. 

Hello.

*pauses*

You still there?

You’re a patient one aren’t you.  I’ve been gone for a bit haven’t I.  Well you see, life gets in the way sometimes and in typical me-fashion, I’ve been distracted.  It’s the sparkly things that …..

‘Oooh!  What’s that over there?’  ‘Do I see a sparkly thing?’

*disappears for another month*

I’m very sorry for being a slacker.  You know when you don’t see someone for a long time and it’s a bit awkward trying to start a conversation again?  That’s me.  I just got a bit disillusioned with writing and this blogging malarkey, so I decided to make crafty stuff for a bit.  It’s been very hard to come back to this, but I’m here.  Writing is like breathing for me, I can’t survive without doing it for too long.   So, if you’re still willing to listen, I’m still willing to write.   Even if you’re not, I’ll probably just do it anyway.

IMG_0470

I made this, even the chain and the swirly bits! This is one of the sparkly things that filled the writing gap for a while.

My kids are getting older too, Darlek is nearly 9 and Sausage is 5.  They deserve their privacy now.  Their friends are starting to amble around the tinternet.   It’s maybe time to stop.  This limits my material to be honest.  I’ve had to reconsider things a little.  Maybe I should write about other things now.  Like puddings or summat, god help me.  I’m terrible at cooking.  Perhaps not.

I get most of my ‘hits’ from people accidentally landing on this blog whilst searching for images of Postman Pat believe it or not.  If I wrote new plot lines for Pat, and uploaded thirty odd images of Jess the Cat and friends every day I’d have a mega successful blog with lots of traffic. It’d be crap though.

We have a new kitty, maybe I should start 'The Kitty Chronicles.'

We have a new kitty, maybe I should start ‘The Kitty Chronicles.’

I'm not having any more kids because, although I love 'em, they drive me a bit nuts.  So, here's my new furry baby.  We'll be picking him up next week.  What do you think of 'The Doggy Diaries'?

I’m not having any more kids because, although I love ’em, they drive me a bit nuts. So, here’s my new furry baby. We’ll be picking him up next week. What do you think of ‘The Doggy Diaries’?  Yay?  Nay?  His mates can’t use the internet so they won’t be able to tease him when I write about how he threw up after eating a two week old dead seagull.

So…well….I’ve not exactly lost my mojo, I’m just in the process of finding a new one.  I’m going to have to do ‘Something Else.’

Either way, I’m back.  Hello keyboard, old friend.  I have missed you.