Friday, 7 September 2012

A Folksy Harvest

Well, the summer has been busy & very wet, but although that distracted some of us from our blogs it has not stopped the creativity that is evident on Folksy

This is a time now for the harvest to be gathered in, but not surprisingly after such a wet British summer things are a little delayed. So as some of the real crops aren't all in it was fitting to show you some of the harvest that is 'in' on Folksy. 

These are a few of my favourites, but follow the link to the forum thread at the bottom & you can choose for yourself!

For more see; Folksy Forum

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Chainmail Love

Chainmail or chainmaille has been around for a very long time but has become increasingly popular in recent years not just because of the growing interest in re-enactments , but also because of its versatility in jewellery & fashion. Created simply with jump rings which can be of all types of material, not just wire (eg; rubber) & a whole variety of thicknesses & sizes.

You can buy pre-made jump rings with neatly sawn off ends, but if money is an issue then you just make your own jump rings by winding wire around  any regular tube eg: a nail, pen or knitting needle provided it is the size that you want. You then snip through along one side creating independent rings with standard wire cutters, although this will give a slightly slanted cut to your ends. Using a jewellery saw will give a neater finish to that when you close the jump rings they shut together more closely.

I discovered chainmail a couple of years back by seeing an article about Dylon Whyte who is an avid chainmailler. At first attempts, I nearly gave up as it is very intricate, time consuming & fiddly! However, being myopic I soon learnt to lift my specs up on my head & open & close those tiny links using my very good near vision! Investing in narrow ended pliers & good lighting is also a must! 

The oldest piece of chainmail is thought to be some 2700 years old. It has been found in the graves of 5th century Scythia & also Celtic warriors. It's recognizable strength was  utilized at its peek in the middle ages with armour. However, it is still used now for protection eg: butchers gloves, shark protection suits.

The most recognisable pattern is the European 4 in 1 which is exactly as it says - 4 rings through each one ring. However there are many other weaves now used in jewellery, such as byzantine, persian, dragon scale etc. Many can be seen at the site.

It was being used in jewellery as early as the Roman times & by early Egyptians. Wearing chainmail jewellery gives you a wonderful feel of travelling back into those times of hero knights & warriors, hidden treasures & ancient spiritual connections.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Folksy Pig Sty

Well, the title may sound a bit controversial & I might sometimes think that Folksy mucks things up from time to time, but this is actually just a showcase of some of the cute little piggies that inhabit Folksy. Links to their shops are just below each photo, so have some fun mucking around with some Folksy piggies!

                                                                      Sew Good Pals

There's also a pig pen on pinterest now, so more pigs will be added in due course;

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Birds of a Wire

 Several highly unusual birds have started flying in to Spiral Fountain Jewellery. From the rarely seen Kingfisher to a very cute Blue Tit. Each and everyone of them is made of simple wire & the odd bead. Every one of them is painstakingly handcrafted - hours of work! However, every loop of wire is worth the effort to create these unusual pendants, as it helps to bring to life a reminder of these wonderful creatures, surviving in the wild against the odds.

As a member of the RSPB (Royal Soceity for Protection of Birds), I am passionate about our wild birds & love to help them as much as I can. I keep a garden full of shrubs, trees, flowers & provide food & water to help ease the fight they have every year to survive. It is a honour to even vaguely emulate their beauty in my wire pendants.

So, enough are 'The Birds,'

The Blue Tit...a favourite little visitor of our UK gardens & they love to peck away at seeds, nuts, insects & caterpillars

The Goldfinch..our most brightly coloured finch. Nyger seed definitely attracts this one, if it's in the vicinity of your garden. Some migrate to Spain in the winter & they're a very sociable bird...just like us Brits!

The Humming Bird...the tiniest of birds, a hovering specialist with an average wing beat of 70 beats per second! Found naturally in the Americas, but as far North as Alaska & as far South as Chile. This wire humming bird pendant necklace is created using enamelled copper wires.

The Kingfisher...the lover of the riverside, looking for fish & waterside insects. Mostly found in Southern England, but can be spotted further North.

The Swallow..can't wait for this summer visitor to return to our courtyard, nesting in the old barns. I know that the good weather is back then! They love to swoop & dive bomb for insects, with most of their time being on the wing.

The British Jay...I finally saw my first Jay ever, just a few weeks ago. This shy bird prefers to hide in woodland, so it was a real honour to catch a glimpse of one flying past with that distinctive flash of sky blue on its wing.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Jasper the Jewel

Another semiprecious gemstone that is loved by many jewellers is jasper. It is simply so versatile because it comes in a great variety of forms. It is basically a chalcedony, but can appear in a whole variety of colours from red, brown, yellow to green & even blue.

Jasper is a calming stone, protective & believed to align chakra energies

It is mentioned in the bible & even ancient egyptians wore jasper scarabs.

The name Jasper comes from the Greek word 'iaspis' - speckled stone.

It is known to be the birthstone for March

There are simply so many types of jasper, I can't name them all, but here's some to getting on with!

ocean jasper
rainbow jasper
red jasper
leopard skin jasper
kambaba jasper

spider web 

green jasper
fancy jasper
dalmation jasper

Some jaspers are named after their place of origin, such as mookaite - named after the 700,000 acre farm in Australia where it was first found.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Folksy Items of the Week - Easter Bunny Fest!

Until I started looking into this I had no idea that the Easter Bunny was as old as Anglo Saxon times, or earlier. The original pagan goddess worshipped at 'Eastre' was worshipped through her symbol - the rabbit. What better fertility symbol than hares & rabbits who can breed better than anyone in the springtime! The edible Easter bunnies were really an invention of the Germans  in the1800's & were made of pastry and sugar. German children would look forward to a visit by the Oschter Haws almost as much as Santa himself! However, you had leave out an Easter bonnet or basket for the Easter bunny to leave you some brightly coloured eggs.
Well the Easter bunny definitely seems to have visited Folksy this week!

Just spotted a bunny rabbit in my garden. I don't think she's the Easter bunny though as she's not left any colourful eggs. Just a bunch of little brown droppings after munching her way through some of my spring flowers! Still can't complain as if you read my last blog post you would know that rabbit droppings are good for fertilizing the soil!!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Mythical Mushrooms

Following on from last week's blog about fairies it seemed logical to have a chat about mushrooms & toadstools too. They have long being regarded & illustrated as the dwellings of fairies. This probably comes from the belief around mushroom rings that these were created magically by the fairies.

Now don't step into one as you mighty die young, disappear or be forced to dance with the fairies until you drop dead or go mad! Some believe you have to run around the ring 9 times ( but not 10 as that doesn't work!) & under a full moon & in the direction that the sun travels in the day...have you got all that? Well a simpler way may be the belief that if you wear your hat back to front that'll confuse the fairies!

There's still a lot of belief though, that a mushroom (fairy) ring brings a lot of luck. There are some that believe that sheep eating fairy ring grass, will then flourish & that crops grow better around them.

However the simple scientific explanation is that fungi like toadstools & mushrooms are nitrogen hungry & so as they deplete an area the successful spores are those that are further out & so a gradual ring forms becuase in the center there is no food for them! However if the soil where they are successfully growing is nitrogen rich you can see why those crops might be doing so well!

Knowing your mushrooms is a dying art & there are few now that would chance knowing the differrence between the hugely poisonous ones from the safe & nutritous ones. Any way nowadays it is easy to grow your own with mushroom kits & be content that these ones will not kill you - fairies or not!