Hello and welcome to my little section of the cyber world! I'm a working girl who spends most of her spare time surrounded by beads and wire, and when I'm not doing that I'm probably reading or baking... or wedding planning... I have an online shop where I sell my beaded creations, and this is a place for me to talk about anything that strikes me!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Project Linus

If you sew or knit and would like to be part of an amazing charity, then check out Project Linus. It's a totally voluntary organisation that provides comfort quilts and blankets to traumatised babies, childrens and teenagers.

For children in tough times, whether through illness, a tough family life or any other reason, something as simple as a handmade blanket or quilt can mean so much. It's an indication that there is someone out there who loves, someone who cares, someone who is thinking of them. A blanket is something they can take with them, it is something they can curl up in, it is a source of comfort and a way to lift their spirits.

Since 2000, nearly 110,000 quilts have been donated and have brightened the lives of children across the UK.

In their own words:

"Give someone a hug today.

There isn't enough love in the world."

These were the poignant but inspiring words of the mother of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen.

We cannot reach out to every distressed child but we can help to provide them with tangible evidence that someone cares, along with the physical reassurance that comes with being snuggled up in a quilt and the lift to the spirit from the bright colours and cheerful patterns sewn into it.

So if you sew or knit, and would like to give a wonderful gift to a child in need, please check out their website for information on how to get involved and how to contact your local representative.

(Photo from the Project Linus UK website)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Interview with Silky Prudence

This week I've interviewed Sara, the brains and fingers behind Silky Prudence. This is a gorgeous shop, full of knitted items; ranging from evening shawls to cosy neckwarmers, you're sure to find something here.

Let's get started... we'd like to get to know a bit more about the person behind Silky Prudence.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A bit unoriginal but I'd have to be a cat – I have two and would to swap lives with them for a day. I watch them when I'm working and they're either sleeping, eating or playing – three of my favourite things!

What is your favourite time of day?

Early mornings when no one else is around. I love getting up and standing at the back door with a mug of tea, listening to the birds singing and smelling the wafts of lavender coming from my little herb patch. It sets me up for a few hours designing and making before everyone else gets up to shatter my peace and quiet.

Cadbury’s or Galaxy?

Galaxy for me please!

What’s your favourite colour?

Green. Especially deep forest and emerald green.

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I come from a very crafty family; my mum is a whizz with a sewing machine and a pair of knitting needles so all my clothes were handmade, right down to my school uniform. She taught me to sew and bought me my own little Sindy dress-making patterns – I distinctly remember making a kimono for one of my Sindy's and being very pleased with myself! Her mum, my Mama, taught me to knit when I was 5 and I taught myself to crochet when I was at university and sat at the back of extremely dull English lectures.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

Kid mohair-silk blend. It feels so ephemeral that it's like working with cobwebs and when I'm making a piece with it I can imagine its new owner feeling like a fairytale princess when she wears it.

When you need some inspiration, where do you go?

Into my garden to look at the different colours and textures of the plants and flowers - I love the way Nature doesn't care about colour coordination and just throws things together that look stunning. And I adore Haberdashers - there are three that I go to in London just to gaze upon the rows and rows of ribbons, buttons and pretty, pretty things; VV Rouloux, The Button Queen and Barnet Lawson. It makes me so happy!

What’s the first thing you remember making?

Apart from the Sindy kimono I think it was probably a very wonky dishcloth from the times spent sitting on Mama's knee as she taught me to knit. My first 'proper' thing was a Breton jumper when I was about 15 and it was huge!

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

It would have to be my lime Grace Scarf:

I love the combination of the soft fluffy mohair with the zingy lime colour.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Les Miserables

Last Saturday night I went to the theatre to see Les Miserables, I'd never seen it before, and all I can say is it was absolutely fantastic! The music and singing was amazing, a really great evening out.

Pop Idol Gareth Gates played Marius, I was never a fan of him (not being a fan of reality shows in general) but he really does have an amazing voice and was very very good.

If you get a chance, GO GO GO!I've just ordered the books now, there's supposed to be a lot more to the story that never made it onto the stage...

It was another important evening too - first outing for my brand new boots :) awesome! Hehe!

P.S Picture from Wiki

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

My Folksy Favourites

It's Tuesday again, and time for more of my favourite items from Folksy. With over 500 sellers on Folksy now, there are a lot of items to choose from!

For those of you out there who like to make your own items Folksy is also a treasure trove of crafty supplies, many of them unique. Abstract Cat Crafts is a lovely shop selling skeins of hand dyed wool in fantastic colours. Just take a look at this one, if ever there were colours to lift you out of the winter blues then these are they!

Another fantastic place to go for your crafting supplies is The Bead Shack. This is a real treasure trove of beads and findings; cute, glamorous, practical and pretty, it's all here. Some of my favourites are these absolutely adorable frogs! They'd be perfect on a bracelet, climbing round your wrist!My final choice for this week comes from Mollimoo, a fantastic first port of call for funky buttons. With buttons in every colour and design imaginable, they're perfect for finishing off that bag, cardigan, or just for sewing all over your jeans :) My current favourites are these stripy ones, the colours are so bright and clear and the stripes are lovely and bold.

I hope you like this week's picks!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Top 20 Films

Following on from my favourite books from last week, someone suggested I list my favourite films. I have to admit I'm not nearly such a big film buff as I am books, but if I find something good then nothing will tear me away.

Having said that, it does take a very good film to make me do nothing but watch the film. I'm a confirmed fidget - probably part of the reason why I like craft so much, it gives me something to do with my hands! More often than not if I'm sat in front of the television I will be busy making jewellery, knitting or writing letters whilst watching. Obviously this has a tendency to distract me from the film, and if I get too distracted I'll give up with the film and go and get a book.

So, my list of favourite films is made up of films that have held my attention enough that I watched it and paid attention all the way to the end! My tastes lean generally towards science fiction and fantasy, with a good smattering of rom coms for when I'm in a silly mood. No horror movies though, I'm not someone who likes to be scared for my own amusement!

As with the books, these aren't in any ranked order.

1. The Bourne Identity
2. The Matrix (the first one)
3. Notting Hill
4. Bridget Jones' Diary - to be watched with my sister and chocolate :)
5. 300
6. Family Guy Blue Harvest - sooooo funny!
7. Sliding Doors
8. Lord of the Rings - the first two, I did like the third but found the end dragged out too long
9. St. Trinian's
10. Armageddon - my favourite of all the end of the world type films
11. Independence Day - Just cos Will Smith is awesome
12. Men In Black
13. Finding Neverland - but make sure you have a considerable supply of tissues
14. The Italian Job - the original one of course!
15. Space Cowboys
16. Twilight
17. The Towering Inferno - a bit dated now but great
18. Kingdom of Heaven
19. X-Men - the first one
20. Groundhog Day

Friday, 22 January 2010

Make a necklace with me!

This is the first of my tutorials; how to put findings on a necklace, an essential skill!

Many of my necklaces are made on tigertail, a brilliant wire that's incredibly flexible but makes very strong jewellery. To finish the necklaces I use a number of different clasps, but almost always attach them in the same way.

First off, you need a necklace to put findings on! For the sake of argument, and in true Blue Peter style, here's one I made earlier...

Now you need to gather together the relevant findings. To put a basic clasp on a necklace you need the clasp, two jump rings (I normally use 6mm), two crimp beads (small metal beads that can be crushed flat with pliers) and two wire protectors. You can see in the picture that I've put one of the jump rings on to the clasp - depending on the clasp this may or may not be necessary.

Now you take the crimp beads and put one one each end of the necklace before the final bead. Once you've done that, thread on the wire protector, then slide the clasp into the horse-shoe shape of the protector. Pass the tigertail back through the first bead, the crimp bead and four or five more beads.

Pull the end of the tigertail tight, so that the clasp and protector lie next to the end of the necklace and there are no gaps.

Take your pliers, and squeeze the crimp bead hard (you can't do this too hard) to flatten it around the wire. If you tug the wire now it should be secure. You can cut off the end of the tigertail up close to the necklace using wire cutters.

Now do the same to the other end of the necklace, using the jump ring instead of the clasp this time. And you have a finished necklace!

I hope you find this useful and like the finished product!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Interview with TopFloorTreasures

Time to get to know some of the Folksy sellers a bit better! TopFloorTreasures, run by Zoe, is a real treasure trove of fabric craft. With gorgeous pencil cases, cushions and decorations, this is definitely a shop to be aware of. To help us meet the person behind the shop, Zoe has answered a series of questions about herself and her work:

We would like to get to know a bit more about the person behind TopFloorTreasures, so, if you were an animal, what would you be?

I’d probably be a cat – most cats love cuddling up to someone and I’m quite a snuggly person so it makes sense to me!

What is your favourite season?

It used to be winter, because I loved being all warm and cosy at home. But now it’s summer because I love going out on daytrips and discovering new places (and let’s face it, daytrips are a lot more fun in the sun!)

Vanilla or chocolate?

Chocolate, definitely, if it’s for eating! But Vanilla Body Spray from The Body Shop is one of my favourite smells :)

What’s your favourite colour?

Red is my favourite, although those who know me always seem surprised to find that out. I hardly ever wear red clothes and there’s barely anything red in my house! I love all shades of red, but the brighter the better.

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I used to work as a seamstress for Burberry (many years ago!) and was given a sewing machine a few years later. I only got started as a business a few months ago due to my personal circumstances changing which meant I needed to become self-employed rather quickly. My boyfriend lent me the money to get started and here I am! I have always loved arts and crafts and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but until the time came when I just had to go for it, I had always been too scared to start up on my own!

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I love sewing and at the moment I’m just using 100% cotton fabrics in prints that catch my eye. I intend to start using other fabrics in the near future, like babycord and canvas. At the moment my favourite designs are Matryoshka designs and Japanese prints, although I’m yet to use them, but can happily spend hours looking at them on supplier websites! And anything Kawaii, it’s so cute and I just love it!

When you need some inspiration, where do you go?

I tend to indulge in a heavy stint of blog-surfing! There are some amazingly talented artists blogging out there. One leads to another, then another, and another and before I know it several hours have passed and I’ve amassed hundreds of ideas in my head. I write down my ideas in a book and do lots of little drawings so I don’t forget them.

What’s your best crafty tip?

Always keep a little bin under your workspace for all the bits of thread and fabric that get snipped off along the way. I still end up covered in bits though! And always count your pins as you put them into your project and count them again when they come out – then you know you haven’t left any in or dropped any on the floor!

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

My favourites tend to change every few days but at the moment my absolute favourite is my Retro Dots zippy case / pencil case (below). I love the fabric which is designed by Patty Young and is called Mod Dots in Paprika. The colours remind me of warm summer days. I could happily keep all of my zippy cases, as I love them all really, but must be good and sell them!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


Mmmmmmmmm I made paella for dinner last night :) it was so good! I've never made it before, so I semi-followed the recipe off the back of the rice packet. Unfortunately I failed to take a photo at the time because I was so hungry and it looked so good, so you can have a photo of the leftovers instead which I ate for lunch today :) :) :)

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 chicken breasts, chopped
2tsp paprika
1 leek, sliced (this wasn't in the original recipe!)
a handful of mushrooms, chopped
a mixed pack of asparagus, spring onions, baby courgettes and sugar snap peas, chopped (good ol' M&S)
11 oz/300 g paella rice
2 pints vegetable stock
salt and pepper
3tbsp dry sherry
a big handful of prawns
a big handful of frozen peas

1. Fry the onion and leek for aaaaaages (like 10 mins) in a mixture of olive oil and butter (REAL butter whatever the doctors say, the taste has no comparison!) until it's all soft and lovely.
2. Add the garlic and chicken and fry for a few minutes.
3. Add the rest of the veg (except the peas) and fry for 5-10 mins until it's starting to look cooked.
4. Add the paprika and some seasoning, then stir in the rice and cook for about 5 mins so it's well coated.
5. Add the stock, heat up to the boil and then turn it down and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 mins (most of the stock should be absorbed)
6. Pour on the sherry, add the prawns and peas, put on a lid and give it another 5 mins.
7. Stir it all up, dollop (I love that word!) onto plates, and eat!

I think it'd be good with some fresh parsley on top too maybe... only we didn't have any so I couldn't try it out.

This should serve 4 people with reasonable appetites :) Enjoy!

Incidentally, I emailed this photo from my phone to the computer - being very technical today! My bit of advice - unless you get free internet don't bother, it cost £2!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

My favourites on Folksy

I thought it'd be worth giving a bit of a tour around some of my favourite items on folksy. Here are three of my favourite items out of the hundreds currently on offer; the pictures are all links so just click on them to follow through to the original item!

Starting with jewellery, never a bad thing to do, the shop Rose and Raven stocks some truly stunning pieces, all with a really luxurious look. I've had my eye on this gorgeous pair of earrings for some time now:

Moving on to another love of mine - bags, another item that has been on my favourites list for some time (waiting for me to come up with an excuse to buy it!) is this cute bag from The Posh Scarecrow. I love the bright colours and bold design, and is big enough to carry all the paraphernalia I seem to find it essential to lug everywhere:

And finally, with all the cold weather and snow recently, hats have been getting more and more attractive... especially this fantastic beanie hat from Hats and More, fantastic bold colours and it looks all warm and cosy:

All gorgeous items I hope you'll agree, and there's plenty more where those came from!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Top 40 books

I always think that the books someone likes gives a real insight into who they are... having said that, I'm concerned what the amount of trash that I read must be saying about me!

I love reading though, always have done, and with few exceptions will read almost anything that's put in front of me. I unashamedly love the Twilight books (and will freely admit I hadn't heard of them until the first film came out), I'm also a massive Austen fan and have failed on numerous occasions to make it to the end of a single Charles Dickens book (I will though, at some point!).

So, here goes. Nothing definitive, this is currently my top 40 list of books - books that I've thorougly enjoyed reading for one reason or another; not necessarily great literary masterpieces, just ones I've found to be good reads.

In no particular order... (and possibly missing some of the girl trash I thoroughly enjoy reading on the train, I've got to keep some semblance of credibility :D)

1. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling
3. Bridget Jone's Diary (the first one) by Helen Fielding
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Emma by Jane Austen
7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
8. Charlotte's Web by E B White
9. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
10. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenberger
11. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
12. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
13. Mister God, this is Anna by Fynn
14. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
15. Wild Swans by Jung Chang
16. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
17. Any one of Jasper Fforde's books, they all make me laugh :D
18. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
19. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
20. First Casualty by Ben Elton
21. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
22. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory
23. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson
24. Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley
25. Mervyn the mouse :) :) :) :) the ultimate kiddy book left on my shelf from when I was about three.
26. The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
27. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet
28. The Duchess by Amanda Foreman
29. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
30. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
31. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
32. Katherine by Anya Seton
33. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkein
34. The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
35. Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
36. Day of the Triffids by John Wyndam
37. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
38. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
39. Sweet Clarinet by James Riordan
40. Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

Sunday, 17 January 2010



Welcome to Flutterbies!

I have always loved any craft, be it sewing, knitting, glass painting, silk painting... you name it and I've probably tried it somewhere along the way!

Some years ago now though, I fell in love with beads and the endless possibilities for working with them. I primarily make jewellery, and for some time have been using it for birthday and Christmas presents as well as selling it through some local shops.

A few months ago now, I discovered an amazing online community called folksy which enabled me to set up my own online store. With support and encouragement from all the other amazingly talented people there, I'm more passionate about my craft than ever!

So welcome to my blog, where I'll share photos, tutorials, hints and tips, links to some of the best handmade items out there, as well as the odd competition and giveaway. So please add me and keep checking back to see what's new!