and the winner is…

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Hello all you lovely people. Sorry I have been out of circulation for a while. I have been in job application hell and all spare moments when not working, have been dedicated to the plethora of teaching jobs that came out after the easter holidays. There haven’t been many jobs in my sector up until this point, so it came as a wonderful but stressful surprise to see so many. But I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and feel like I will have some time to spend catching up with you all soon.

So on to the long awaited winner announcements from my birthday giveaway…

Congratulations to all my winners! Please can you all send me a message with your address via my facebook page.

Thanks for being so patient and understanding.

TTFN

Laura.x

Birthday Giveaway!

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Birthday Giveaway!

Well folks it’s my birthday next week. So to celebrate I’ve decided to have a party and play a game of  ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ (or tag the area on the picture). On my facebook page I will put up a selection of images in an album titled BIRTHDAY BASH with the prizes hiding in them somewhere.

In each photo in the album there will be one of the above prizes lurking. All you have to do is tag the area you think it is in and pop me a comment to show you’ve entered. Don’t look too hard, they are very well hidden so you are effectively blindfolded. Hehehe. Can’t make it too easy.

Please would you share the birthday joy around and get lots of other people in on the act.  I’m hoping everyone will have lots of fun playing! I will also be dreaming up some other party games that we can play during the week so we can have lots of birthday fun.

The competition will close on Thursday at 10pm and I will announce the winners on Friday evening. Have fun!

TTFN Laura.xxx

Snowy drive

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Snowy drive

Not one i took today but one of my favourite snow pics. My dad took it a few years ago and I love it. You can see where he’s going and where he’s been. Such a great composition. Hope everyone is keeping warm in the arctic conditions out there. It’s such a shock after last weeks t-shirt and skirt weather! xxx

An angel is born…

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An angel is born…

I have been commissioned to make an angel as a bridesmaid gift so I thought I’d share it’s development with you. From the initial sketch to the making of it. Give you an insight into how I work.

The customer asked me if I could make an angel brooch and sent me a picture of a necklace she had seen. Could I do something similar? I don’t have the facilities for casting in my tiny work area so we needed to work out a different design that would work as a brooch.

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It’d be great to hear what you think.

If you have a commission you would like to discuss I’d love to hear from you. I work in silver, gold, upcycle materials and old jewellery. Check out my facebook page for more examples of my work.

The life of a games widow…

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I met Ben just over 4 years ago.  When I told my friends he was a computer games programmer they were impressed, especially my much younger brother and his friends.  I think the general idea of someone working in the games industry is that they get to play games all day and it’s all a bed of roses.  I think that may have been my idea of the industry at first but I was soon to discover the truth.

For the first two years of our relationship he was working for a games developer on games such as  Formula 1 and Dirt 2 (Racing games).  My idea of hell!  It is a pretty high pressured environment which places great demands on its employees during certain times of the development.  It isn’t unknown for them to ask all staff to do overtime to reach a ‘milestone’, but this overtime can be all night or whole weekends.  It was difficult to find time for each other during these milestones.  He’d get home shattered and fall asleep before having a chance to phone me (I was living 3hrs away) or I’d come down to visit and he’d be told he was needed to work.

He dreamed about working in the games industry all his life and he did enjoy it, but after nearly 5years he started to feel constrained.  He’d never be able to work on anything that he particularily enjoyed.  It was after all just a job.  So after a long time of umming and ahhing he decided to take a leap of faith and go ‘Indie’.

He’s been developing his game for just over two years now and until he started working at home I really hadn’t taken in just what making a game means.  I’ve learnt far too much gamer’s language (although thankfully I have avoided actual programming language) – did you know that the thing that tells you all your info in games like your score, life, etc is called a HUD or heads up display!  I didn’t and I sometimes wish I was still clueless ;D  He’ll be ‘coding’ all day and then when he wants to test something he presses a button and suddenly there before him is a real live playable game.  I can’t say I’m mathematically minded and I am rubbish at physics so all his code looks like gobbledigook to me, but that moment when all those algorithms and formulae become his beautiful game I am astounded!

The game has moved on a lot since this video was created. I shall nag him to make a new one!

To raise extra funds for the game he worked on a school maths project for gifted and talented students programming a basic game using maths equations. The game was similar in style to worms. The students could design their own levels, characters and then using equations sort out the trajectory for the missile, etc. He could tell you about it much better than I can. http://www.benbradley.com/blog/

Substream is taking more time than we originally predicted because the game is much more involved than Ben planned. It is what gamers call a ‘shmup’ or ‘shooter’. A flight simulation type game where you shoot at various enemies. What I like about the game is the huge variety of music and the way the landscape and all the elements of the level are tied to the music. Each instrument is linked to a different element in the level. eg. The rainbow colours are tied to the individual notes played on the accordion.

Ben is working as a contractor for his old firm for a while to fund the games completion. I think it’ll be another year before he releases it but I am so very proud of him for following his dream and no matter what happens I will stand by him. I for one can’t wait to see the game in it’s finished state and look forward to working on our next project which Ben is hoping to rope me into. I can’t say I ever envisaged that I would be involved in the making of a computer game but I am excited about giving it a go. I’m sure it’ll be a huge learning curve.

TTFN

Laura.x

How to make paper beads

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As promised today is the day I share the instructions on how to make the first piece of jewellery I ever made!

When I was 11 I went to a mother/daughter craft day.  The subject jewellery making.  It was there that my passion for jewellery making was ignited.  We only started with the basics (paper beads, felted beads, machine embroidered work) and I wasn’t to learn about working in silver for another 8 years but I’m not sure I’d be who I am today without having been on that fantastic day.  I don’t know if I ever told my mum that or really thanked her for it.  I guess nows the time.  Thanks mum!

Now for the tutorial…

How to make paper beads

You will need:

  • Paper (colourful magazines, wrapping paper, flyers, etc)
  • Cutting mat
  • Scalpel/ craft knife
  • 30cm ruler
  • pen
  • cocktail sticks
  • glue
  • Varnish (I find quick dry clear nail varnish works well)
  • Polystyrene or something similar to stand the cocktail sticks in while the varnish dries.

(If you don’t have a cutting mat and craft knife a good pair of scissors or a guillotine will work just as well.)

1 .

Cut out a rectangle the length of your piece of paper.  The width of the rectangle dictates the length of the bead. I usually make them 4cm long.  The length of the paper dictates the circumference of your bead.  The longer the paper the fatter the bead.  (see Paper beads/earrings instruction sheet for a diagram).

2.

Cut diagonally across the length of rectangle to make two long right angled triangles.

       

3.

With the ‘wrong’side of the paper facing towards you start to roll your paper around the cocktail stick.  It can be a bit difficult at first.  I tend to roll it back and forth a few times to make it flexible and forming around the stick.

4.

When you have the paper started off glue across the strip and roll to secure it.

N.B. –  Make sure you don’t roll it too tight.  The cocktail stick needs to be removed later, so give it a little freedom but not too much. (a bit like my fiancé in the kitchen 😉 )

5.

Get your glue and glue the rest of the strip.  Roll the bead tightly.  Maintaining the 90 degree straight edge when you roll is vital!  This will be the bottom of your bead. If it does start to deviate, give it a little push/tap to flatten it out again.  When you have finished it should be cone shaped. (see video below)

6.  Repeat steps 3-5 to make your second bead.

7.

Last but not least stick your coctail sticks in your polystyrene and give your beads a coat of varnish. This will give them a nice glossy finish and protect them from the elements.  Don’t forget to coat the bottom of the bead too.

Once dry your beads are ready to be made into whatever you so wish (earrings, bracelet, necklace, etc).

There will be a slight colour difference between your beads, especially if you use the two that made up the same rectangle.  If you want them to match as closely as possible I recommend making a batch then matching them together.

 

To make barrel shaped beads, the starting paper is slightly different.

You need to start with an isosceles triangle. Here’s how I make mine…

  1. Measure 10cm from the edge on each side of your paper,  marking each 2cm point (2, 4, 6, 8, 10).
  2. From the corner of the bottom edge of your paper (0 cm) draw a diagonal line to the 2cm point at the opposite side.
  3. Join this point to the 4cm mark on the side you started from.
  4. Repeat until you have drawn out two 4cm wide isosceles triangles and two 2cm wide right angled triangles. (see pictures below).

 

5. When you have your isosceles triangle shapes (the two larger ones in the above picture) cut out, repeat stages 3 onwards of the cone bead tutorial but keep the point of your paper rolling towards the centre point of the bead.

The small 90degree triangles make the cutest little beads.

As I said before the width of your piece of paper is the overall length of you bead.  If you want to make beads that are much longer, bamboo barbeque skewers are fantastic but they are also good for rolling a series of beads on one stick.  I’ve included a PDF instruction sheet I made for some students a few years ago.  Hopefully it covers any points I may have forgotten in the blog.  Feel free to print it off and share the bead making bug.  Hope you enjoy making them as much as I did all those years ago.

Paper beads/earrings instruction sheet

Next bead making tutorial will be plastic bag beads.  Keep your eyes peeled.

TTFN. Laura.xxx

Junk junkie

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