Friday 31 May 2013

Naturalight Magnifying Craft Lamp

I thought I would share with you this wonderful little craft lamp.

I bought it when it was half-price in Hobbycraft a few weeks ago.  Reduced from £34.99 to just £17.49, I thought it was too good a bargain to be missed.  So into my basket it jumped.

From "Naturalight",  it's not the prettiest of lamps, I wanted to use it in my living room as that's where I do most of my wool-craft, and for a few days it was hidden down the side of the sofa, to be brought up and placed on the table when necessary.  Now, it has pride of place on the table and sits there quite happily.

It is adjustable, both the arm and the head so you can position it exactly where you need it to point.

The daylight bulb is a good sized one, it's actually a ring shape and it sits around the magnifying part you can see in the photo.  It is nice and 'white' bright, meaning the colours that you are working with stay true, unlike other table lamps that makes cream look like white and yellow look like green!  And the light 'spreads' well, rather than it being too spotlight like.

I have only used the magnifying glass part once to  look at some really small print on a pattern, but it works really well.  The nice part is you can just close down the top when not using the magnifying part and it just looks like a desk lamp.

These are still on the £17.49 price offer, but I cannot find any on the HC website so find your local store and pop on down to grab one quick  as they are nearly £40 + postage on the Naturalight website  ;)

Disclaimer:  I wasn't given a lamp to review, I purchased it myself and the views are all my own.

Zesty Wire Necklace

One of my magazine submissions this one, such fun colours, bright and zesty, perfect for summer.

You will need:
  • Selection of Lampwork Beads ***
  • 0.8mm Silver Wire (4m coil)
  • 24-30 Closed Twisted 8mm Jump Rings
  • 10g Matching Seed Beads - sz 11
*** I got the Lampwork beads in the photo from Tan Grey, you can find her HERE.

What you do:
  • Take a 10cm piece of wire and bending it roughly into a third, loop a closed 8mm jump ring onto it. Bring the wire back around and wrap it twice round the stem.
  • Thread a Lampwork bead onto the long length of wire, and form the shorter length into a curl and lay it flat on one side of the Lampwork bead. 
  • Thread on a jump ring and bend the wire back over the back of the bead (opposite to the side with the curl).
  • Wrap the wire twice around the stem as in Step 1, and form into a curl to sit on the same side as the first curl.
  • Take a 50cm length of wire and using a knitting needle or mandrel approx 3mm in diameter, wind the wire tightly around it to form a coil.

  • Cut the wound wire into pieces approx 20mm long, and file off any sharp edges. (You can also tuck the edges down so they touch the wire on the coil below).
  • Take a 6cm piece of wire, bend a third and loop it onto a jump ring attached to your previously made Lampwork link.Wind the wire twice around the stem neatly. Cut off the excess with wire cutters.
  • Add 9 seed beads, and then slide on of your coils over these beads.
  • Add another jump ring to the end in the same manner as at the start of the link. This is your basic design, continue until the necklace is nice and long enough to slip over your head.
  • You could also make a matching bracelet  :)

© Sue Simmons / The Bead Shed

Thursday 30 May 2013

Egyptian Choker

Walk like an Egyptian with this colourful choker style necklace.

You will need:
  • Ready made Choker with screw ball end 
  • 95 x 50mm Head pins 
  • 4mm Cube Beads (check hole size) 
  • Fast setting Acrylic Glue 
  • 10g 6mm Bugle Beads 
  • 10g Sz 6 Seed Beads 
  • 7g Sz 11 Seed Beads 
What you do:
  • Put a tiny dab of glue on the end of a headpin and slide on a Sz 6 Seed Bead, followed by a Sz 11 Seed Bead and then the Bugle Bead.
  • Leave to dry for a few minutes. Acrylic glue is much better than superglue as it will not taint your beads, like some superglues can.
  • Using round nose pliers turn the very top of the pin into a loop, making sure it is tightly closed.
  • A tip is to make your pliers with a dot of permanent pen so you can make each loop the same size time after time. 
  • Make approx 95 of these pins. 
  • Unscrew the ball from the end of the choker and thread the pins on alternately with the cube beads, leave a tiny space at the end for the choker to fasten.

© Sue Simmons / The Bead Shed
April 2008


Last weekend my Hubster and I went to Morecambe for the weekend.

It's only just over an hour from home, but I fancied somewhere by the sea. I love the sea, it's just so vast and moody.  Having said that, if your thing is staring wistfully out to an never ending sea, then Morecambe is not really the place as you stare right across the bay to Grange Over Sands  :)

Eric Morecambe  (of Morecambe and Wise fame) is featured heavily, from his statue to Eric's Café opposite, shop windows done out 'Eric style' and even the Weatherspoons pub called The Eric Bartholomew  (his real name).

We arrived Friday afternoon, having stopped off in Lancaster for lunch and a wander around Standfast Fabric Factory shop.  Oh, my, what gorgeous fabrics, you can read all about that visit HERE.

The weather wasn't so great, but not so bad either.  We checked into our Hotel (The Auckland) where we had booked a sea view room, had a cuppa and chilled for a little bit while watching walkers on the promenade.

On the friday evening we drove into Lancaster and had a lovely meal in a very noisy wine bar called Oscars. We had booked a table, but on arriving and hearing how noisy it was we walked back out.  I like to be able to talk to who I am with when out to eat.  But outside I decided to stop being so old and we went back in.   I am so glad we did as the food was amazing.

When we went to bed that evening we took the decision to leave the bedroom curtains open so we could rise with the natural light - I like to do this when I go to Higham Hall as it means I am not waking up with a noisy alarm clock then feeling grumpy all day.

As it happened, the natural light, as in the sunrise, started blinding us at 4.00am, so we decided to roll with it, get out of bed, and go take some photos.

And Andrew wrote me a message in the sand  :)

You can see some more sunset and sunrise photos HERE if you like.

I used to go to Morecambe a lot as a child, and then as a teenager - jumping on the train, having a day out, then back home for supper.  It has changed a lot since then, the biggest change being the absence of Frontier Land, which was the pleasure park area.  A £5.00 wristband would last all day and numerous rides on the dodgems.  (I could never stomach the ghost train, scared the life out of me!!)
All that is left is the old polo tower and the front entrance, which is still a family bar/pub.  Behind the bar where the park once was is just a mass of waste land.  How sad.

After a long day strolling around shops (mainly craft and charity shops) and heading back into Lancaster for a lovely curry at the Bombay Balti  we managed to catch the sun setting too.  Got some quite nice photos although the sky was not as fiery as I would have liked  :)

I took some crochet of course..... I always have a craft bag of some sorts with me, it would be most rude not too!  Here I am crocheting myself a jumper, and also working on my 50 Stitches Challenge.

Because he knew I would take some craft stuff of some sort, Andrew took a Chain Maille book and some rings.  He swore a lot, dropped a lot of rings, swore some more, then gave up.

Sunday saw us strolling around a market and car boot sale, then we spotted a vintage bus rally.  Oooo, 'photos to make Daddy L jealous' I thought and got up close and personal with some very old, but quite shiny, buses.  I looked like a completed enthusiast trying to take arty shots and tutting very loudly when a bloke with a snappy camera and a note-pad got in my way.

If you are a vintage bus enthusiast, you can find more photos to drool over HERE.

And of course you cannot go to the seaside without buying a windmill....

And you cannot go to the seaside and not bring sticks of rock back for the children and their partners  :)

We had a very lovely time in Morecambe, although we did miss our Dotty Dog. It would have been no good taking her though as dogs are not allowed on the bead between May and October.  I totally understand this as dog muck is not a great addition to sand castles, but while we were there we spotted a couple of girls walking their pony along the water edge  (the pony was loving it), so apparently horse poop is fine, dog poop is not  :)

If you would like to see more photos of Morecambe Bay click HERE.

I love seaside towns, which is your favourite?

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Last weekend there was a Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Hobbycraft in Carlisle.

It was the brainchild of my colleague Charlie, and it ran over Saturday and Sunday.

You may remember I knitted some little cakes and biscuits for the event.  But better than that, there was REAL CAKES !

Unfortunately I wasn't there to document the event, so I sent Daddy L in my place, armed with a long list of things to photograph.

People came in fancy dress, there was white rabbits.....(Amanda & Shelley)

Cheshire cats....(Hannah)

Mad Hatters.......(Shona & Helen)

Tweedle Dee AND Dum  - together as one (Marie)

There was plenty of activities, a Cheshire Cat hunt, Iced Tea, Face Painting, mug designing and lots more....

And colleagues painting each other!
We had a fabulous caterpillar to watch over the proceedings with the wonderfully colourful pom-pom segments made by local schools.
And of course a Mad Hatter's Tea Party would not be complete without Alice.....knitted by Gaynor.

And a dress made for a life sized Alice by the fabulous Lauren, our costume making colleague.