So it begins (again)

Yes, I know, first I was at Blogger, then WordPress, then Blogger and now I’m back here again. BUT! This time I am going all serious (ish) with a WP blog and hee-ven-shwa-lee a website with shop. As this will be at least 17 different kinds of exciting, it will take some time for me to cobble it together using bits of leftover wool and some bubblewrapΒ create a professional website.


So please to be your most patient and delightful selves while I crack on with it. Thank you.

Making wire rings

Happy New Year, 2015, woop woop, it’s a different number. πŸ™‚

I have decided to spend this year doing more of what I love, and ideally not frittering away quite so much time on the interwebz. I am not going so far as to call it a resolution, but it’s at least an intention of sorts.

The internet *is* a good source of inspiration and information for us creative, crafty types though, and I was inspired to have another go at making wire rings. I’ve already made a few wire rings in the past (jade ring, silver spiral ring and this wire wrapped bead ring which I still wear). Here is my latest effort.

 I’m just playing around with wire at the moment, trying out new techniques. I can’t decide whether I prefer the ring on my index finger or thumb. Note the massively unimpressed cat in the background – she offered no opinion either way. Pfft.

I used a tutorial on the JewelryMakingJournal site: Easy Folded Wire Ring Tutorial. It was really easy to follow, and you can see how different shapes and designs can be created relatively easily from a simple piece of wire. I suspect the wire I’m using is not thick enough, but for practising it will do for now.

Have a look at some gorgeous examples of what you can do when you get really good at wire wrapping…

 Wire wrapped agate ring by EmmaWyattArt

Sterling twist ring with haematite by NanFanJewellery

Green Agate copper ring by CopperingJewelry

A Right Royal Ring

Not one of my best titles, but it’ll do for a lazy Saturday afternoon post.
I am an expert at making things which are a pain to photograph properly – earrings which refuse to behave, felt vegetables which have appalling posture, and sparkling glass rings. So I am quite pleased with how the photos of this particular ring have turned out.

Purple Crown Ring
 OK, so there’s a wee bit of reflection, but it does show the shimmery swirlyness (technical term) off rather well. And also…now it’s purple, now it’s blue!

Blue Crown Ring

Yup, it’s exactly the same ring, ladles and jellyspoons – there’s nothing up my sleeves.

I am still fascinated with the whole galaxy/night sky thing, and am itching to have a go at some night sky photography (when we finally get a clear night). Until then, I’ve been playing around with the galaxy idea for jewellery again. You might have already seen the galaxy rings I’ve made before – if not, you can find them here: click here for galaxy rings. But I had some metal blanks in my stash, and I wanted to try making tiny galaxies in other ways, so I painted directly onto metal.

Galaxy Stars Pendant
I think it’s worked quite well, although it needs to be sealed before I can make it into a pendant or earrings. Which might involve me having to try out the jewellery resin I bought some time ago. Exciting stuff!

Oh, and the title has given me an earworm. Which of course, I feel I should share with you all. πŸ˜›

A visit to Chester Zoo

I hadn’t been to Chester Zoo since I was in junior school, which is a good *mumble*ty years ago, but it has been on our ‘to visit’ list since we moved back to the UK last year. And this week, we had a day off work and decided to go. And it was SO good. I managed to take over 400 photos (still haven’t gone through them all yet) and I could’ve taken loads more. There is so much to see. Luckily for you, I’m just going to share a handful (OK, there’s about 20) of pics in this post. πŸ˜€

A mandrill. Look at his lovely face. In front of the enclosure was a helpful guide to mandrill behaviour, which told you what their different facial expressions meant. I suspect this one is ‘I am not signing a model release form’.

“It’s right behind me, isn’t it?”

Happy Smileyphant.

Check it out, dude…I’m totally a rock!

I was discussing the silkiness of this monkey with a lady stood next to me and we decided that the zoo probably has a beauty salon for the animals.

See? Tell me that none of this is down to make up. And possibly a wig as well.

This lovely otter swam all the way over from the other side of the pool (right next to where his pals were hanging out) to tell us that he couldn’t find his friends. They’re right there….you just…oh, never mind.

Lunch on the go.

These penguins totally have swagger.

When I take a photo of my cats mid-wash, it’s cute. This is beautiful…but disturbing. I was suddenly very aware that there was only a wire fence between me and this chap.

And in true cat fashion, seconds later…

Red pandas. Red. Pandas. RED PANDAS.


This was taken through a tiny gap in the wooden fence, hence the ‘vignetting’ at the edges of the picture. The easily accessible viewing area was devoid of any animals. These guys were sunning themselves on the other side where they thought no-one could see them. Again with the typical cat behaviour.

Wartypig and wartypig junior (with dinky tail!).

Fruitbat. I love bats, but I was slightly nervous of being in a massive cave enclosure and having dozens of them swooping and zooming past me. Nervous in a ‘on the Waltzers at the fairground, can’t stop giggling like a loon’ way. It’s all fun and games until someone gets batpoop on their camera (hint: it wasn’t me.)

The capybaras experiencing a post-lunch slump.

“O hai!”

A miniature monkey. Looking slightly peeved.

A beautiful rhino.

Meerkat action. In which you get to…wait for it…compare the meerkats. Or at least, the one or two posers who were totally into having their picture taken.
If you haven’t been to Chester Zoo recently, it really is worth a visit.  Loads to see and do AND they have a monorail!

A visit to the Wildflower Artisan Market in Knowsley

We’ve visited the National Wildflower Centre at Knowsley several times, but we’ve always managed to miss the Artisan Market that is on the 4th Sunday of every month. Today, we were lucky enough to have a day free and the weather was half decent, so off we trotted.

The stalls were mostly in the courtyard, with a few dotted around outside. There was a campervan with a cupcake stall attached, a couple of stalls dedicated to treats for your dog, and a lovely flower stall. However, we decided to do a circuit of the stalls before buying anything.

Which worked well for approximately 30 seconds, when we discovered this stall:

olives and garlic on artisan food stall

Garlic, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, vine leaves…

Olives, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese on artisan food stall

Seriously, how could we not buy something? And the stall owner was so lovely, we got to try the different olives before buying. YUM.

We wandered dangerously close to a pie stall but got back on track, and saw some gorgeous pictures and vases on a stall that creates cyanotype art – the shop is called The Way To Blue.

And then we found the stall which sells ‘postcode honey’ – all made from pollen from flowers within a few miles of the  Wildflower Centre. Again, we tried a few different types, and it was so interesting to taste the differences which come from the different pollens. And it all comes highly recommended by the bees:

Bees on jar of honey

Several bees on jar of honey

I got chatting to a very nice lady who asked if I kept bees (sadly, I do not, although I did get one to sit on the wooden spatula I’d used to taste some honey for a minute or two), and who did mention that it’s possible to rent hives or if you don’t have space, to put them with other hives in someone else’s space. INteresting).

Next to that was another stall of enticing jars – this time, jams and chutneys from The Talking Bee. What a hard life I do lead! πŸ˜‰

Jars of jam and chutney on artisan food stall

I tried the beetroot chutney (deliciously earthy and not too sweet) and the Husbinator went for the Scotch Bonnet chilli jam – which was obviously quite spicy.

We discovered the bread stall far too late in the day, but we did find out that they run bread-making courses, which might be something for the next few months.

Loaf of artisan bread

And then back to the flower stall we spotted on the way in, to buy some of these gorgeous scented violas.

Scented violas in sunlight

 And as if all that wasn’t enough, look what we spotted on the way out:

Small white fungi in woodland

Yes, it is THAT time of year again. SO excited!