Bead Peeps Swap n Hop Reveal! Um… err… well…

My dog ate my homework?

My cat chewed my cables?

I broke my fingers?

I…

I suck.

Truth of the matter is, even though I got an awesome, AWESOME, AWESOME set of beads from my partner for the swap, I haven’t been well and life hasn’t been that grand that I have wanted to create any more more than the occasional doodle in a sketchbook. And even those suck. I also think my partner, Candida of Spun Sugar Beadworks, (her blog) has been having a rough time with the health of her little boy so I am not even sure if she’s managed to even open her swap box from me!

I feel awful because Linda, our swap hostess, had put such hard work into pairing everyone up. I must thank her for her efforts. The excitement surrounding this hop has been huge considering she’s virtually taken over what used to be the yearly Bead Soup hop project.

So if you’re here because of your travels through the list, my apologies. But let me show you what I will be using to create something special in (hopefully) the not too distant future.

My goodies from Candida.
My goodies from Candida.

Please note, because I was in a general state of “not good” from months back already, I totally neglected to take a picture of what I sent my partner. Hopefully she’ll post a picture of it soon.

Please follow this link to the massive list of beadsters who joined in the hop and enjoy!

Polymer Clay Adventures – Feathers and Dragons and Tentacle-y-things…

I’ve decided to dive back into the madness that is polymer clay. It’s been fun having a fiddle and a play with the squishy stuff again. I used to enjoy sculpting though it’s been almost two decades since I picked up any sort of clay. As a teenager I used to make cake toppers for my mother’s Christmas cakes and it was something that I always enjoyed in school, but 20 years means that there’s been a huge lapse in the skill set and polymer clay isn’t exactly like working with sugar past or mud clay. Polymer clay has a bit of a rebounding rubbery type texture when sculpting it which takes a little getting use to. Not to mention my fingers are all thumbs and shakiness which makes fine detail somewhat tricky.

I was inspired again by a challenge in the Australian Beading Forum group on Facebook, posted by my friend, the insanely talented Neva of Nifty Creations. What was it? Dungeons and Dragons, of course. Even though I’ve never really played the game except to steal a few ideas for some fantasy fiction I occasionally write, I was all over this.

The chance to make some fantasy themed jewellery? HELL YES! I had been wanting to do something like this for ages and it was just the push that I needed to get started.

The challenge came in the form of the requirement of using two different mediums with which to create a piece that went with the theme. Oh well, nothing like a challenge to inspire new learning! Since I am neither a wire-worker or a clayer, so naturally I decided that those two mediums would be the most fun to use!

And by “fun” I actually mean frustrating swear-word-inducing and almost-marriage-ending tantrums as a result of using…

Anyway…

I knew I needed some practice before I started, and of course I had to buy ALL THE THINGS that go with claying, so I marched on down to Spotlight and bought a week’s wages worth of stuff to add to the collection of bits and pieces that another friend had kindly donated for me to use.

And then I jumped in and started making stuff.

This was the first project I’d done a couple months ago:

Renlish.com - Clay Play - Feathers
Feathery, pearly goodness!

These feathers are based off a tutorial by Mandarin Ducky which you can find here on Youtube and they were lots of fun to make. Unfortunately that same day the manbeast was helping me open a packet of blades (for cutting clay) and ended up gashing the tops of his fingers quite badly. On his painting hand. He still hasn’t forgiven me.

After that successful first step, I wanted to try something a little more sculptural and opportunity came knocking when another friend posted a picture of a polymer clay and dicro cabochon pendant that she’d fallen in love with on Facebook. So I made her one…

Renlish.com - Polymer Clay - Tentacle-y Thing!
A rip-off of someone else’s idea.

I make absolutely no allusions to the fact that I am the original creator of this style of pendant. This is an exact copy (mostly) of the picture I saw on Facebook. I just happened to have the right sort of cabochon and the clay on hand to make it.

So all of that leads us to this, the Dragon Shade.

“The Dragon Shade is a powerful amulet said to be carved from the scale of a slain black shadow dragon. Its jewel holds the spirit of the beast which can be unleashed upon unwary heroes with an arcane spell.

(Which means if you come across anyone wearing this amulet, run. Run far, far away. Run very quickly.)”

Renlish.com - Polymer Clay - Dragon Shade Amulet
As evil as it is pretty.

Technical: Blood, sweat, tears, and many swear words. Also polymer clay sculpting and Viking weave as well as a bit of beaded chain and some coiled and oxidized copper end caps.

All by hand.

I need a freakin’ drink.

“All the pretty things!”

This weekend just past, I had the delightful chance to experience a new market event as somewhat of a guest of honour.

Err. Well, no, not really. Hehe. More of a serial pest than a guest of honour.

But Nuffnang and Piccadilly Market had come together to allow 10 bloggers (including yours truly) to check out what is a new-to-the-area artisan market now being held in Williamstown. Being a local yokel, I said yes to the invitation (twice, I was so chuffed) and scampered across to Williamstown to see what it was all about. And I was so glad I braved the bright but chilly weather. The morning included a lovely, yummy breakfast and then a fun scavenger hunt which took us all around the market to look at all the pretty things!

Check out the video to get an idea of what it’s like:

A lovely lady by the name of Janina Lear has been running the market out of Deakin Uni in Geelong for the past four years and this was the first time the market had been held in Melbourne – and I’d have to say it was a crazy success from what I could tell.

There was around 60 stall-holders for this market, all beautifully arranged in the ballroom and function room of the Williamstown Town Hall. There is a clear focus on quality and original hand-made artisan clothes, jewellery, toys, decor and homeware, food and more. If trash ‘n treasure markets aren’t really your cup of tea, this little gem might be just the ticket.

As I said in the beginning, we were supposed to be doing a scavenger hunt, but to be honest, I got so completely distracted with all the pretty things that I forgot to go in search of what was on the list (even though I stumbled across a few by accident).  And sadly, my reluctance to enter the modern age and get a smartphone so I can play with Instagram truly bit me in the bum this day – there were prizes up for grabs for the best Instagram picture of the morning and I couldn’t complete! WAH!

To top the morning off, the folks at the market had very kindly  contributed to the biggest goodie bags I think I have ever seen for us all. Everything from fudge by The Fudgeman, pompom garlands from Dear Mabel, gorgeous steampunk necklaces from Run Wild Horses, bags from Saquito, lip balms from Bellalu, earrings from Gabby,  soy candles from Love & Light and so much more.

You can find all of the stall holders links, including many more not mentioned right here.

Thank you, Janina and Nuffnang for arranging our gathering.  Even though I am a small-fry, non-professional blogger, I had a fantastic time and can’t wait to get down to Geelong to see the Piccadilly there too.

Piccadilly Market is on again in Geelong on August 3rd and in Williamstown on November 9th!

Here’s a MASSIVE photobomb of some of my favourite bits from the market.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Piccadilly is held in the gorgeous ballroom of the Williamstown Town Hall

Williamstown Town Hall is a beautiful building and I confess in the 17 years that I have lived in the area, I’ve never gone inside!

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Breakfast! (Omnomnom!) And our little scavenger hunt sheets.

Quiche, yoghurt, fruit and chocolate. That’s my kinda breakfast!

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
The beautiful scented soy candles from Love & Light.

Things that make you go “Mmmmm…”

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Seagals gorgeous little stand was filled with crafty, colourful odds and ends such as Scrabble tile bookmarks and hand-made gift tags.

Too much colourful fun. Loved the Seagals stand.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Fell head over heels for these TEEEEEEEEENY-tiny little street lamps from My Fairy World. Perfect for a wee fairy garden.

Actually, I fell in love with EVERYTHING at My Fairy World.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
My favourite print from Copenhagen Delights – this was a gorgeous little smock dress/top for a little girl.

The clothes from Copenhagen Delights almost made me want to have kids to wear them. I’ll have to borrow my friends’ children, I think.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Can you believe this is dog food? I was like “YES! COOKIES!” and then “Awww, maaaan!”

Fabulous doggy treats from Pooches on Pakington.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Some of the printed gift tags from Dear Mabel.

Dear Mabel had a gorgeous array of handmade decorations.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Apple Pie soap, anyone? (Oh, HELLS yes.)

Yummy soaps from Tubtime Treats.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Little Puddles had the most adorable stand that was filled with a plethora of goodies in cotton-candy colours

Little Puddles was definitely one of my favourite stalls – so colourful and sweet!

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Possibly some of the best smelling lip balms I’ve ever tried.

Everyone needs Bellalu lip balm in their lives.  We scored a jar of the watermelon one in our goodie bags and… well, I died.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
A handful of my favourites from Gabby – Handmade Resin Jewellery.

Beautiful pendants from gabby.

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Another sweet stand filled with quirky shelf toys, prints and jewellery.

Bird & Blossom

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
I wasn’t the only blogger drooling over these bags from Sophie Taylor. Fell in love with that pale mint one!

Sophie Taylor

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Gorgeous knitted clothes and hand-made jewellery from Lauren & Angie.

Lauren & Angie

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Got one of these beautiful vinyl bags from Saquito in our gift bags – SCORE!

Saquito

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
I need that sausage dog cushion in my life. Lilly Pilly Designs
Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
Some of my favourite designs from Miss Moi Jewellery.

Miss Moi

Renlish.com - Piccadilly Market, Williamstown
I FOUND STEAMPUNK!

I get super-excited when I see anything assemblage like the jewellery from Run Wild Horses.

Watching the Morning

dragonrockFull list of stock credits can be found on my deviantART page.

Another for my Dragon Worlds series.  Been working on this one for a while. Still not entirely happy with it.  I think it’s because it’s in portrait orientation rather than landscape. It’s not quite as epic as I was hoping it to look and I think the lack of background is the reason why.  Feel free to leave your opinions. I really can’t fix this without starting from scratch and that’s something I’m not really inclined to do unless I’m particularly inspired to revisit Photoshop and battle the dragons again.

The Morrighan

morrighanFull stock credits can be found on my deviantART page.

The Washer of the Ford
There is a lonely stream afar in a lone dim land:
It hath white dust for shire it has, white bones bestrew the strand:
The only thing that liveth there is a naked leaping sword;
But I, who are a seer am, have seen the whirling hand
Of the Washer of the Ford. Read more

London

londonsilhouettes001

I absolutely adored London.  It was big and dirty and scary.  It has the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Churchill Museum (which I adored), the Brittish Museum (which was unfortunately filled to the brim with school kids). I loved the muffins and juice we got from the little cafe right nextdoor to the hostel we stayed in. I loved the fact that we were right across the road from Shepherds Bush station.  I even adored how people got really narky when you didn’t stand to the right on the escalators but didn’t actually say anything to you until they managed to get past and then they’d only grumble and insult you under their breath. I loved being in the shadow of Big Ben. I loved walking through Regents Park even though Allison and I were trying to find London Zoo.  I love how English people don’t know how to queue.  London is fun.

Read more

Nereid

fantasyretouch001

Just getting back into the swing of things and practicing some new techniques in Photoshop.   Almost got the painterly effect going (though that wasn’t the aim).  Below you can see a picture of the after/before comparison.  All the details as to the stock providers and a bigger version of this image can be found on my deviantART account, and the image “Nereid”.

fantasylady2-fb