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Me Made May 2016

30 Apr

In May 2014 I was in awe of all the wonderful Me Made May photos popping up on Instagram, at the time I was very much of the opinion of “wow, I’d love to do that… but I don’t have enough handmade items, or the time to do it!” Then May 2015 came round and I there were lots more lovely handmade and inspiring outfits cropping up. However last year I thought, this time next year, maybe I’d join in…!

The knitters and sewers at Knit In Notts have spoken about it a few times with no real commitment being stated so when I saw that Jem Weston had shared her pledge on Instagram (@jemweston) last week it gave me the kick up the bum to also join in!

This is my pledge – stated over on  “So Zo…What do you know?” blog (the creator of the MMM challenge).

 ‘I, Steph Gibbs ( @nettynot on Instagram), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear a handmade garment, each day for the duration of May 2016, as well as finish some UFO’s!’


I feel I need to remind myself that a challenge, which Me Made May is, should test me, if it’s too easy it’s not a challenge. I do not own enough items to wear a different handmade item every day, however I’m already looking forward to being more creative with my outfits. I intend to include garments that I’ve customised in some way too, as that’s always a useful skill and a nice way to rescue clothing or make then your own. I also hope that this challenge will make me more productive and think about how I’m using my time in the evenings, so I can be more efficient and finish some UFO’s.

I’m going to address a few different areas of my handmade wardrobe for this challenge….

Sewing – I’m going to look at all the handmade garments in my wardrobe, mostly skirts, that just require slight adjustments to make them wearable again.

Knitting – I’m going to wear more of my hand knitted garments, I have several that I don’t make the most of, which is madness when I think about the amount of time spent making them.

Jewellery – Almost all of my jewellery I have made myself (occupational hazard) and have so many necklaces and bracelets, yet I always wear the same few on rotation. So I’m going to wear more of the vast array I have (& maybe cull the items that I’m not going to wear again – it is the right time for a Spring clean after all).

There’s a few specific things that I’d like to do during May and this challenge (I am aware I’m being a little ambitious, but if I commit them to computer screen, they’re more likely to get done) and it’s not as though once May is over I’m not allowed to keep challenging myself, right?!

I have already cut out all the pattern pieces (about 6 months ago) to make the Mimi blouse from Tilly and the Buttons – Love at first stitch book, I have suitable fabric that already washed n ready to go. I intend to complete this by the end of May!

Cross Pockets
I have brought the problematic Cross Pockets Cardigan out of hibernation and ripped it back to the waist ready to re-knit and hopefully fix the issues I had – I want to complete this by the end of May too!

Mini blouse fabric - Nettynot Blog

I stared a dress version of Coco last summer, however when it got to the trying on stage I realised it just wasn’t going to be a flattering fit. Disappointed and slightly annoyed with it, it has sat in a cupboard out of sight ever since. However that’s no reason why I can’t turn it into another Coco top, which again I’d like to achieve before the end of May.

As well as fixing and adjusting any handmade items in my wardrobe that don’t fit I also intend to tackle my pie of broken jewellery/not quite finished jewellery.

I’m not a huge fan of a selfie (also I’m pretty rubbish at photographing myself) however I do endeavour to record at least some of my MMM16 progress over on Instagram (@nettynot) if you’d like to follow.

Thanks for reading 🙂


Beading for Victory

5 Aug

For the last 5 years I have helped my Mum out at the Lunesdale Agricultural show, she’s the show secretary, so each year I’ve lent a hand with various little jobs and also acquired the role of steward for the mounted fancy dress (that’s kids and ponies in fancy dress to us muggles). It’s quite wonderfully refreshing really and a stark contrast to working in a city some 150 miles away. The first year I helped out I was told off by a 10 yr old boy for not knowing my sheep breeds (maybe I should have asked him if he could tell the difference between knitting and crochet). Being at the show each year I took the opportunity to enter some of my handmade items into the home industries competition.

Trophy image - Nettynot BlogHaving won several 1st, 2nd and 3rd prices for various items over the years, from pin cushions to knitted garments, hand felted items, cushions and jewellery, I very much wanted to win a trophy, but hadn’t held out much hope. Until last year, I won best exhibit in classes 1-5 with my bead woven star pendant (I was rather chuffed), you can also see my second prize winning bracelet on the right. It’s the only trophy I’ve ever won so I’ve enjoyed it sitting on my mantle piece for a year and there’s a part of my very happy that my name appears on the show’s website in the winners list 2014, sadly there’s no space to get your name engraved on the trophy (that really would have been the icing on the cake)!

This is the last year my Mum will be secretary and therefore I probably won’t be attending again. So my last opportunity to enter some creations. Several weeks ago I made a beaded bracelet with the intention of entering it in the home made jewellery category. It’s something I’ve wanted to make for while and this gave the the perfect opportunity to get on and do it. After doodling a few ideas while watch films recently I was eager to get started. I’ve already worn it loads, I purposefully went for colours I that would go with lots of things I wear. I’ve had lots of compliments too (thanks). Last week I decided to make another one, this time a thinner version based on the same design, swapping the blue for red, the subtle difference has made quite a difference to the finished look. I love this pattern and I’m already day dreaming of using it in some fairisle too.
Jewel loom bracelet - nettynot blogI do love a bit of beading on a loom and even more so now that I decided to buy a Jewel loom, they make life so much easier and the lovely ‘hide everything’ connector ends are brilliant, not only do they finish the bracelet neatly – I don’t have to sew in all the ends – whooh!

Finished handmade beadloom Bracelets - Nettynot Blog

I haven’t entered as many items as I have in previous years, life has been getting in the way and now I’ve achieved my dream of winning a trophy there’s less impetus. Despite having a dress to sew for a wedding I attended last weekend (blog will follow soon) and being in the middle of a (minor but ongoing) house disaster I have entered 3 other items too.
Superduo Necklace - Nettynot blogI made another piece of jewellery, a simple necklace with Superduo beads and Swarovski crystal, using peyote stitch in the round, joining the circles together as I went. I’m also entering the jumper I finished knitting earlier this year and a made a small patchwork pin cushion, not up to my usual standard of pin cushions but I really enjoyed making it so we’ll see what happens. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Macrame Bracelet

3 Jun

A little while ago a had an experiment with Macramé which I mentioned in this previous blog post. I’d made a simple knotted bracelet introducing different sized beads. My long term intention was to make a friend a bracelet for her birthday, after she’d commented on a macramé bracelet we’d seen at a show earlier this year. My macramé skills left a little to be desired, mainly down to a tension issue, hence needing  a practice project.
Macrame Bracelet - Nettynot BlogI have worn this bracelet quite a few times, but knew I needed to make the gift a bit more impressive. To pinterest I went in search of a little inspiration.

Macrame Inspiration - Brooch on Pinterest

I came across this picture of a brooch which triggered an idea in my mind. I’d already gathered and bought some beads and S-Lon cord for what I had in mind. To be honest, other than a bit of a practice and looking for inspiration, until I start making something I truly don’t know how things will turn out. Sometimes they work as I imagined and other times it’s a disaster – but a good way to learn.

I got started and played around with a few different bead combinations and then got stuck in. The knotting for this project it relatively simple, using forward and backward knots. Macramé is definitely made easier using a Macramé board and pins.

Macrame Board - Nettynot BlogMacrame bracelet growing - Nettynot Blog

I made the bracelet over a few evenings, I found it quite therapeutic and good to have a slight change from all the recent knitting.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - Nettynot BlogHere’s the finished article, I’m really happy with how it turned out, and not too dissimilar to what I had imagined. I also love the texture that’s created on the back of the work.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet back - Nettynot BlogI made a few minor mistakes, which are hard to identify and I didn’t even notice until the very end, as they didn’t effect the pattern on the front I decided not to worry about them, it just makes it more unique!
Turquoise Macrame bracelet  front - Nettynot BlogFinding ways to start and finish macramé neatly is the biggest challenge, though using these little triangular connectors I thought made a nice feature. To finish the end of the bracelet I knotted the pairs of threads together; looping them though the connector creating a larks head knot.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - knotted end - Nettynot BlogTo secure all the knots and ensure they wouldn’t come undone I used some hypo cement on each knot. I chose to add a toggle bar for the clasp, I think they look so much better than a trigger clasp (my usual go to clasp), and I find them much easier to do up single-handed.
Turquoise Macrame bracelet - toggle clasp - Nettynot BlogI have now given the finished bracelet to my friend for her birthday and it seemed to go down very well, even if a few extra jump ring are needed to prevent the loss of blood flow to her hand, but these things are easy to adjust.

Thanks for reading!

Silver Art Clay Day

30 Apr

Since discovering that I teach Silver Art Clay workshops I’ve been asked by a couple of friends whether I’d show them how to make something. I casually said “Yer sure…” then a few more friends asked and so a date was set! I hired the workshop space at The Bead Shop and last Sunday got set up to show everyone.

I feel here I should tell you what Art Clay actually is; Silver Art Clay is mouldable clay make out of recycled pure silver, water and an organic binder. You can shape and manipulate the clay however you like and once it’s fired (the binder burns off and the water evaporates) you are left with pure silver – magical really! It’s popularity increased hugely after it was featured on Kirstie Allsopp‘s “Kirstie’s Homemade Home” series several years ago, although I seem to remember Kirstie’s items weren’t overly successful, she and many others watching, were blown away by this wonderful material.

Our Art Clay Day; I did a quick demo to begin, then found out what everyone wanted to make, guided them in the right direction and off they all went.

Everyone busy - Nettynot BlogI had to stop myself going into full on teaching mode, as it was a relaxed craftanoon and I was giving everyone free rein, after all we have a small picnic set up too and I was technically NOT at work –  there’s always more to do than I anticipate, with “does this look alright”, drilling holes and antiquing finished pendants, it all got a little busy towards the end. But it was ALL worth it! I find it immensely satisfying to teach someone a new skill and help them to create a unique piece of jewellery from scratch and it’s even better when you’re showing your friends! (sorry for the cheese – but it is true!)

No cheese here though, probably the only thing we didn’t have…mmm.
Picnic - Nettynot blogHere’s some pieces in progress, Margaret brought along a collection of vintage sugar craft cutters which make great pendant shapes. Rebecka took inspiration from her background in textiles and started weaving clay together and Jem went free form, creating lots of different pieces, look out on her blog for a post soon showing off her finished pieces.

Art Clay in progress - Nettynot BlogThere was much excitement as everything went into the kiln…
Pre-firing Art Clay - Nettynot BlogHere’s some of the wonderful makes! Lots of different bits n pieces – makes me happy! Anyone who is familiar with some of Amy Blackwell’s illustrations might spot her distinctive style in the form of a lovely hand.
Kiln ready - art clay firing - nettynot blog I do like a good before and after shot – although my camera was misbehaving for the finished jewellery.

Finished Art Clay Pieces - Nettynot BlogEverything was a bit too shiny for my camera, however I’ve pinched a few photos from the others, which show of the detail much better.
Some finished Items - Nettynot BlogYou can achieve so much with Silver Art Clay, it’s a wonderful material. It allows you to make anything from stunning sculptural pieces to simple items with imprinted texture. Once an item is fired you can sand and polish a piece until you get a mirror finish, giving it a high end ‘bought from a posh jewellers’ look. However I’m much more in favour of something that’s been handmade retaining a handmade element. When I finish an item I tend to give it a quick burnish, to highlight all the raised detail, which contrasts well with the matte surface of the lower detail – simple yet effective.

Rebecka’s woven pendant above was antiqued using liver of sulphur, which oxidises the surface (basically speeding up the tarnishing process), she then polished over the raised areas creating that wonderful contrast and highlighting the detail.

Button Charm - Nettynot Blog

I found a bit of time to utilise a mould I’d made from a metal button and created a small charm pendant. This is the kind of small project that’s very achievable and a great way of replicating something.

Thanks for reading!

Get it Done February!

1 Feb

I’ve been finding it a little too easy to procrastinate lately, so I have decided to take action and give myself some much needed focus. Inspired by the ladies of The Bead Shop’s bead group, who challenge themselves each February, previously they have made a pair of earrings every day of the month and the discussions leading up to today has centred around ‘finish something February’.  So I’m going to get something done every day in February too, not just the usual everyday sort of stuff like washing up or cleaning, but those things it’s so easy to put off. As every creative person knows, whether it’s knitting, sewing or jewellery making we all have unfinished projects, so I hope to get some of these tick off the never ending to do list as well as do some of those jobs and projects I’ve been making excuses about getting done!

Get it Done – Day 1
Since I was inspired by bead group I thought it only right to start with a jewellery project. I bought these lovely beads at The Big Bead Show last year and so far they have spent 4 months sat in a box hidden away! The larger round flattish beads are Eagle Eye, subtly iridescent, grey beads and the tiny ones are 3mm matte haematite beads.

Lovely Beads - Nettynot Blog Post Given that the beads are so lovely I didn’t want to over complicate things with a fancy pattern, so I went for a simple strung necklace and I had enough beads, so I also made a matching bracelet and earrings! And all in an hours work!
Jewellery Set - Nettynot BlogI realise I’m bias, working at a bead shop, but making your own jewellery is so rewarding and can be so much more affordable too, even when you buy quality beads! I hope to get a bit more jewellery made and finished this month, so watch this space!

Selfish Beading

23 Jul

I love a bit of beading, however working in a Bead Shop and teaching beading workshops, the last thing I want to do sometimes is play with more beads when I get home. However occasionally I see a project or inspiration strikes and before I know it I’m buying beads on my lunch break and spending my evening beading. This has happened to me on several occasions lately.

Bead & Button Magazine

These bracelets caught my eye on the front cover of an American beading magazine, Bead & Button, several months ago, it took me a while to getting around to making the bracelet, I was a little slow to start but soon got going. It was designed as a bangle, but I prefer bracelets so I beaded a toggle clasp into my bracelet.

Beaded Bracelet from Bead & Button - Nettynot Blog

What appealed to me about the design was that it was reversible, having two layers of beads I wanted to create a bracelet that when it was viewed from either side you couldn’t see any of the other side, so I chose a dominant colour and then two different complimentary colours, meaning the edge would all be the same colour. I rather like the result.

Peyote Triangle pendant - nettynot blogRecently when teaching a workshop for a reversible peyote triangle pendant, I thought about making my own smaller, monochrome pendant, so I did, this simple pendant lead me to thinking about my next endeavour…

Beaded Peyote Star - Nettynot Blog


The shapes you can make with peyote stitch and delica beads are very geometric and when weaving the beads together it’s easy for your mind to wander and wonder what happens if I just add a few more beads here or there and then you soon find your design has evolved. The funny thing is when I started bead weaving more seriously I though peyote stars seems so advance (which I guess they are for a complete novice) however I found I’d surprised myself as how easy I found it, as many things do when you know how. I went for colours and a pattern that I like so that I might wear the pendant, even though larger pendants aren’t my usual cup of tea. If you want some bright and bold patterns check out Pinterest and search for Peyote triangles – you’ll see some amazing creations.

My hard work isn’t going to waste, even if I don’t wear the star, as I shall be entering my bracelet and star into the Lunesdale agricultural show’s home industries competition, which you’ll hear more about later. In the mean time I need to figure out an appropriate way to hang and display my star pendant.

New Year Catch Up

19 Jan

The New Year for me is usually a quiet period spent having a sort out in my craft room and catch up with some unfinished knitting and starting some new ideas off. In part that is true, however I have been far busier than usual at this time of year.

For Christmas I knitted my Mum a jumper, after she swooned over the jumper I knitted for my sister last year, so now they have matching jumpers.  I chose a different main colour more suitable for my Mum so as least they won’t look so daft if they happen to wear them on the same day.  However with all the crafting for fairs and gifts and not to mention the sociable side of the festive period I didn’t finish in time and my Mum received this for Christmas…

To be continued jumper

*Hangs head in shame* I was disappointed that I didn’t finish in time (I was probably a little over ambitious only starting it in November), however over Christmas day & Boxing day I managed to get it almost finished but still ended up returning home with needles still attached.

I have to admit Ravelry’s project function came into its own for my when it came to knitting this jumper. The pattern I knitted from was originally for a cardigan and when I knitted it last year I made a few adjustments and was very glad I had made notes on what I did differently. I still managed to go a little wrong on my adjusted sleeves, however that was down to me not paying attention to what I was doing. I knew I had to do a lot of increases on my sleeves, I had a guess which rows I’d need to increase on, however I was wrong and ran out of sleeve before doing all my increases. It definitely pays to do a few calculations before your start, which would have saved me a lot of time. However you do live & learn! It is now finished and is with my Mum, it is reported be very cosy & fits well. Phew!

Fair Isle top of jumper
In addition to finishing the jumper I had the pleasure of working with this stunning fabric, which my friend bought for curtains to go in her newly decorated lounge, I hope to write a little blog about her lounge – she gets stuck into all aspects of her decorating from flooring to lampshades and it is one of those lounges that actually looks like the beautiful home decor images you see all over Pinterest.

Jems Curtain Fabric
In a few weeks my Silversmithing course comes to an end and since the course is run by a college as opposed to privately run, I actually have had a bit of course work to do; I spent a Sunday afternoon putting together a sketchbook in preparation for a mini presentation, it took me right back to my college days, documenting my ideas, cutting and sticking bits together. However it was quite therapeutic and did help me finalise my ideas. I also had great fun gathering a few tips and technique ideas on a new Pinterest board, the novelty of Pinterest is yet to wear off – I still find it incredibly useful & not to mention addictive.

my sketchbook

Although I still have a few weeks to go before my course finishes I decided to indulge in a selfish project; ages ago I bought myself one of those very useful mini storage draws from IKEA, I had the intention of decorating it, in some way, but there always seemed to be other things that needed to be done so the draws have been sat naked in my craft room for over a year now…
IKEA mini draws
Watch out for a full blog on the results tomorrow.


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