Friday, 5 June 2009

woodwose carving

I'm lucky to have a beautiful woodwose carved from drift wood gracing my garden at home. This is attached to the clematis arch referred to previously in the wire flower post.

I really like the way in which the blooms grow round the woodwose and give it a completely natural setting.

You can click here to find out the background to this wonderful carving created by Woodwose Carving.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

wire flower

Isn't it amazing that when you have objects in the house or garden and you see them every day, that somehow you don't actually notice them?
This beautiful wire flower was made some time ago by my husband and adorns a clematis covered archway in our garden. It was only because I was photographing the lovely blooms that I looked up and was reminded of this unique, hand-crafted flower perfectly at home amongst its more natural counterparts.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

canned art

Ever thought what could be done with all those drinks cans that get thrown away each year? (of course I expect most of you, like us, put them in for recyling). However there is so much more you can do with them before putting them in for recycling. There are many websites where you can download instructions for making useful and interesting objects from cans.

We've recently taken on a share in an allotment and needed to find a practical, effective way of discouraging birds from eating the seeds and young plants so we found instructions for making birds scarers from drinks cans. As you can see from the photos, these birds scarers are not only very practical (and they work!) they add an unusual element of interest to the plant beds.

bird scarer on a stick is not only free to spin in the wind but is a great way of attaching a label to identify what has been planted!

our youngest son thinks that these work by the birds flying into the blades and being chopped up! Not true, I hasten to add...

Monday, 4 May 2009

sculpture trail walk

As today was a UK Bank Holiday, I decided that it would be good to have a proper family day out. So we packed a few provisions and headed off down to the Forest of Dean. We had a super day; the weather was ideal for walking and we saw some fantastic sculptures. Click here to go to the Sculpture Trail website to find out more about the sculptures and artists who created them.

an iconic symbol of the Sculpture Trail - 'Place' by Magdalena Jetelova

'Fire and Water Boats' by David Nash

probably my favourite - 'Iron Road' by Keir Smith. This runs along a disused railway embankment. Each of the 20 sleepers is carved with a unique and individual design

'Cathedral' by Kevin Atherton

If you're ever in Gloucestershire and you fancy an interesting walk, then I highly recommend you pay a visit to the Sculpture Trail near Speech House, Forest of Dean.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

sweet love heart keyring

These heart keyrings are made from thick grade jewellery wire fashioned into a heart shape with a variety of seed & pony beads and bugles threaded on in a random manner. In the picture below, the right hand keyring has an additional 'dangle' hanging in the middle of the heart.

These keyrings also double up as eye catching bag charms.

click on images below for enlarged view

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

blue glass and wire necklace

This necklace is made from glass beads, individually hand-mounted on handmade headpins and linked with jump rings. This is a long, continuous necklace which can just be slipped over your head - no fastening required.

While I enjoy working with other materials, glass beads and wire are my favourite media when it comes to jewellery making.

Click on image to enlarge

Monday, 16 February 2009

flamboyant green necklace

I've been experimenting with the light box in order to take shots of some of my jewellery.

This necklace is made from acrylic beads, strung on to 7 strand tigertail. This is a really eye-catching piece and not one for anyone who doesn't want to stand out in a crowd. The large beads are interspersed with glitzy 'dangles' which are individually strung and attached to the main necklace. This would look fabulous with a plain black or green plunge neckline top or dress.

click on either image to enlarge

This closeup shows the detail of the necklace:

I normally prefer to work with glass beads but, in this instance, glass would just make this particular necklace too heavy to wear. Overall I was very pleased with the finished piece. I especially like the way the acrylic appears to ripple as it reflects the light, so I would say it seems to have been a good choice of material.

For those who have been reading the saga of the light box, these shots were taken with two lights sources (one from each side) using a Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6 digital camera set on macro mode. The results are more successful than earlier jewellery shots as I've managed to eliminate any peachy glow.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

tweet, tweet

Ooops!! There appears to have been somewhat of a hiatus since my last post. Now, I could cop out here and blame the snow (last seen over a week ago) but that would be unfair of me.

The cause of my temporary disappearance? Well, I've kind of become sucked into the world of Twitter ( To be more specific I've been trying out TweetDeck - a Twitter-friendly application - ( The authors of TweetDeck say that "it [TweetDeck] aims to evolve the existing functionality of Twitter by taking an abundance of information i.e twitter feeds, and breaking it down into more manageable bite sized pieces." So there you go. It takes a little while to get to grips with TweetDeck but it is a versatile bit of kit and is quite customisable so you feel that you can really make it your own. One of the features I like best is that you can set it to remember your Twitter login details so you directly access your Twitter account on application startup.

In the last week or so I've found a number of (UK) celebs regularly tweeting - Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Phillip Schofield, Rob Brydon to name but a few. Its also an amazing resource to make contact with others sharing the same interests through the simple but powerful search engine.

It is also possible to post links to photos uploaded to sites such as TwitPic ( whereby you login using your Twitter account, upload your photo and your Twitter status is automatically updated with a link to the photo. All very clever stuff.

So, if you feel tempted to see what all the fuss is about, come along to my Twitter page and say 'Hi'.

Monday, 2 February 2009

tag...I'm it !

Oh-er! I've just had my first tag. Wow, wasn't really sure what to do so checked out what others have done. Once I got my head round it all (yes, I know it is really quite simple) I had a rumage through my album and came up with Clontarf Castle, Clontarf, Dublin.

It really is classed as a castle and is situated in the centre of the suburb of Clontarf about 5 miles NE of Dublin. It used to be a private, family home but is now a rather lovely 4* hotel. Had the pleasure of staying here when we visited Dublin last year and definitely recommend it.

A little known fact (well, we didn't know this) is that Bram Stoker resided in Clontarf while penning "Dracula". So our visit was very educational as well as pleasurable !!!!

Clontarf Castle at night (c) emjaydesigns 2008

OK, time for me to pass on the tag. Firstly the rules:

1.pick the 6th picture from your 6th photo folder
2.tell the story around it

3.pass it onto 6 other people

I will be tagging:

Apologies in advance to those bloggers I have tagged - please don't feel obliged to play if you are too busy or just don't want to. Its just a fun way to get know a little more about you.

Well, that's it from me for now. Tag complete !

Sunday, 1 February 2009

the (in)famous light box

So here it is (finally) a shot of the homemade light box. It is quite big - standing 58 cm tall, 54 cm wide and 36 cm deep. The fabric over the top is an old muslin square and the two sides are covered with a cut up old white shirt. The background is a piece of stiff white paper which turned out to be not quite stiff enough (see earlier post) - this issue is still to be addressed; just need to source some Bristol board as per the original construction notes.

This one is just the right size for my husband to photograph his carvings but is somewhat too big for jewellery photography. However, the design works well so I'll make a smaller version but with an open top and fabric-covered front. The reason for this is so I can shoot the items from directly above using macro-mode on my camera. I'll probably also use a perspex shelf to raise the items away from the background.

It's big, it's ugly but it is clever!

photo (c) woodwose carving 2009

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

scrappin' again...

While going through some photos on my laptop, I came across one taken in Dublin. I think it captures the fun that we experienced during our weekend there that I just had to create a layout for it.

Layout created using Scrapbook Flair software
Papers & Elements: freebies from
Photo: D.R. Jones (c) 2008

Sunday, 25 January 2009

the light box cometh

We now have a light box! thanks to my very kind, generous, gorgeous (can you spot the ego massaging going on here?) husband. I think he got fed up waiting for me to get on with the construction of it and decided to do it himself. Thanks Babe :-)

The making of it was pretty straightforward, following the instructions I've linked to in an earlier post. We managed to source all the materials from stuff we had kicking around the house (see, I knew my hoarding instincts would pay off in the end). The only thing we bought was a large sheet of white stiff paper to act as a sloping background to eliminate shadows. Unfortunately the paper wasn't stiff enough and so creased somewhat. But nevermind, that issue can be resolved at a later date.

Anyhoo, on to the testing out of the light box. My husband took photos using two different digital cameras with the light source in different positions, i.e. from the top, then coming in from either side. I've posted some sample shots below. As you can see, not all shadows were eliminated but the most interesting revelation was the difference in using 2 different cameras. My husband's camera [Panasonic DMC-FX12 with a Leica DC lens] produced very white, almost clinical shots showing lots of detail. Whereas my camera [Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6] came out with softer, sepia-toned images, giving a moodier feel. This was probably in some respect down to the exposure settings so will need to play around with that to get cleaner results. This could well explain why my earlier jewellery shots came out rather pink-tinged; I had put this down to a previous poorly designed lightbox and the use of a patterned background. I will re-shoot some jewellery in the new lightbox and experiment with the camera settings to see what, if any, improvements can be gained.

Another thing we are going to try is to make use of 2 light sources and try different lighting configurations, e.g. top and side or both sides etc. I think it will take a while to work out the optimum combination of lights, camera settings and angles.

Picture A using Konica Minolta camera:

Picture B using Panasonic camera:

photography copyright (c) Woodwose Carving 2009

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

knitting & jewellery alterations

I've actually been getting on quite well with my scarf. Since my last post I picked up the knitting needles, decided the scarf was too wide so ended up ripping it out and starting all over again casting on fewer stitches. So far I'm happy with how its turning out and should have it finished by the weekend - at least I hope so as its so blooming cold here at the minute that I need it!!!!

Have also (this morning when I should have been making packed lunches for school) altered a necklace I made a while back but was never really happy with it. Will post up a photo in due course - light box not quite constructed yet - but basically it had too many "dangles" on it which made it look rather cluttered. So I removed some of those to give the necklace better balance. I then decided that I could do with a pair of earrings to match, so I added a dangle on each one of a pair of ear wires and Ta-Dah!!! instant matching earrings. Was quite pleased with the result. Is this the beginning of the end of my creative block? We shall see...

Monday, 12 January 2009

creative block

Hmm, today sees me somewhat lacking in design ideas. It hasn't help trawling through other blogs and seeing the fantastic work that others are producing. There are just so many talented people out there that it makes me feel somewhat inadequate! I guess I need to do something a little different for a few days - I have a scarf sitting in my craft bag which I started before Christmas and have not picked up for about 3 weeks now. Maybe I'll get on with that for a while.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

how to make a light box

Looking back at my previous posts with the jewellery shots, it struck me that the light box I had made perhaps wasn't ideal for obtaining really good photos of the objects. Perhaps the light was in the wrong position or maybe the background paper was too pink as the shots have a lot of red in them. So I decided to see if I could find a better example of a homemade light box. I came across the following website: which has a lot of positive feedback so I'm going to give it a go and will report back in due course with some, hopefully, improved jewellery shots.

Friday, 9 January 2009

aqua necklace

This necklace is fashioned from aqua faux suede thong with pale blue organza ribbon knotted to it at even intervals. The dangles are individually hand strung glass beads in a variety of shades of blue. These have been secured to the thong in groups of three using jump rings. The necklace is secured with a toggle clasp. A nice lightweight necklace ideal for Spring and Summer. I also created a matching bracelet and earrings to complete the set.

red glass bead necklace

This necklace was designed some time ago using red seed beads and a variety of red glass beads and clear crystal beads. These were strung on 7-strand tigertail with a lobster clasp to secure. The drop is a large matt red glass bead fitted on a headpin (I cut off the head and created a loop - I don't believe in spending money on eye pins when it is so easy to create your own!) with 3 smaller matt red glass beads hanging off it.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

scrapbook collection

I don't want this blog to become overrun with scrapbook entries (as the whole point is for me to blog about a number of my craft interests), so I thought I'd post up a link to a website where I'm publishing all my digital scrapbooks. Check out: to see my 'collection'.

Scrapbook Flair is a great resource for free template and design downloads. There is also a free-to-install application for creating digital scrapbooks - well worth trying out before spending out hard-earned cash on commercially available software. I have used this software for the scrapbooks created to date and haven't encountered any problems with it.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

phone charms

Phone charms can be quite expensive to buy but are easy to make. Buy phone lariats in bulk (ebay is a good source of craft supplies). A pack of ten can be obtained for less than £2 = 20p per unit. For one phone charm you will need:
  • Mobile phone lariat
  • Jump ring
  • 3 head pins (use long ones to vary the length of dangles)
  • Selection of beads in variety of designs / colours to your requirements
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Wire cutters (to alter length of head pins)
Fit a jump ring to the barrel of the lariat - this is where the "dangles" are attached. Take a headpin and thread on some beads in the colours of your choice and close off with a loop. Repeat twice, altering the length of the remaining head pins to suit your requirements. Dangles look best when hung in odd numbers, so carefully fit the 3 on to the jump ring and there you go. One mobile phone charm for a fraction of the price that you pay in the shops!!!


These photos were taken at a Hatherley Park, Cheltenham last Sunday. It was a really cold and frosty day and while we were there it began to snow (very lightly). The boys decided this was their cue to make snowballs. They were pleased with their efforts even though there was only enough snow to make tiny small ones!

Design credits:
Photos - Emjay Designs
Layout - Scrapbook Flair
Theme - Sooze "Winter Fun" freebie download from

Monday, 5 January 2009

a walk up a hill

Some images taken on a (rare) sunny day during August 2008. We packed a rucksack with provisions and headed up Cleeve Common near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. A wonderful walk with amazing views and the chance to observe the local wildlife - well, some cows!!!
The layout used for this page is "Spontaneous Delight" from Shabby Princess. Photos by Emjay Designs.


I've been interested in scrapbooking for a couple of years now but have only just discovered digi-scrapbooking. This is my first layout using a free piece of software from Scrapbook Flair. I'm quite pleased with the results and I'm looking forward to experimenting some more.