Friday, 27 June 2008

Little budgie birds

So what's this obsession with birds I hear you ask? Hollybird Beads? And today's blog title too... Well, it's all because of a certain little fella who went by the name of Pip.

Pip was a small, green, 6 week-old budgerigar, and arrived in our household just after my 10th birthday. For some reason I had decided I wanted a budgie as a pet, and I think my parents were relieved I wasn't asking for a puppy and so they agreed. I don't think any of us knew quite what we were letting ourselves in for!

Pip was already handtame when he arrived and grew quickly accustomed to his new surroundings. He learnt to talk, and was bold and inquisitive, and quite the trouble maker at times. His favourite thing was toast - we would often leave his cage door open for him to come and go as he pleased if we were in the house (provided no windows were open) and if free to do so, the instant he heard the toaster being taken out of the cupboard he would fly into the kitchen and sit on the toast-making-person's head, chirruping loudly, until it was done and no peace would be had until you had broken off a chunk for him to eat. He was a small bird with a big personality, and when he passed away after 10 years with us, although we were upset to lose a member of the family, I knew that at some point another little feathered friend would occupy out house in the future.

Our second feathery companion, Smudge, only stayed with us for 6 months, due to a sudden and upsetting illness which left me dazed - it is a horrible thing to see an animal so obviously sick, but to be unable to do anything as you wait for antibiotics to kick in and fight the infection. The Smudge experience didn't mean that I turned away from budgies, but I wasn't sure when I'd want to take another one on.

Well...a few months after the loss of Smudge, I was in the local pet shop (as an animal lover I tend to treat pet shops as minature zoos and go in just to look!) and spotted a white budgie in amongst a cage of youngsters singing its little heart out. I remarked on having seen this bird to my family but nothing more happened...until the next week when I returned to the pet shop where little white one was still there and still singing away. I asked mum and dad to come in and "just have a look"...and then 15 minutes later he was coming home with us!

Holly, who is a boy despite his name, is not like Pip or Smudge, he is his own little person. He adores having his head and under his chin scratched for him and has proven himself to be my best student talking-wise, counting amongst his repertoire "pretty bird," "bye bye bird," "whatcha doing?" as well as a host of sound effects including blowing kisses, whistling and the telephone. Hollybird, is one of his many nicknames. My birds have had their own nicknames...some of Holly's other aliases include Puffin, Squeaks, Beeps and Stink (all terms of affection I hasten to add!)

There are tonnes of books about cats and dogs, but few about these "little clowns with wings" as I have heard them referred to. So this is my shout out to the humble budgerigar...and with it comes my latest piece of jewellery. When I saw this PMC budgie beads set on Etsy I just had to have them and with a few bits of spiral rope and a beaded clasp I fashioned myself a budgie necklace - just to promote their cause a bit more!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Race for Life 2008

Well, yesterday I managed to move myself along a distance of 5km, under my own steam, along with 3500 other people to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Yes, I took part in my local Race for Life event, and what a day it was for it - nice and sunny but with a good breeze to keep us cool. We didn't run (except for a little dash at the start to get out of the way since we semi-accidentally ended up amongst the more serious runners!) but we made it round in a pretty respectable 52 minutes. I was expecting to ache this morning but nope, my legs still appear to be in perfect working order. Think the next aim is to do some running training and maybe join some people from work in entering a 10k event - I think I might have caught the running/jogging bug :S

Finished a few bracelets over the weekend too but the photos are on my home computer and I'm at work as I write this. Will post pics later hopefully.


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

First Post

Well I created this a while ago and then never posted anything (shame on me, huh?)
Welcome to my little corner of the world wide web - it's gonna mostly feature my latest jewellery making efforts...but I'm sure if I have anything else to say it'll end up on here too!
Alas, I cannot spend all day creating pretty things - I'm studying for a PhD so my beading time is pretty limited, particularly as I commute to London during the week (and due to my tendency to drop/spill/knock flying beads and needles I don't think beading on the train is advisable!)
To crack things's a pic of the latest piece I finished. Made using the instructions featured in Bead Magazine for the lovely and ultra talented Lynn Davy (go check out her gallery for more drool-worthy beadwoven goodness).

(excuse the duvet cover background!)

Instead of the original pink 'Rose Garden,' I instead went for zesty lemon and limes with a bit of sunset orange and tropical blues to create this took a long time to complete, but is so worth it (my mum said it is a "work of art" - thanks mum!!) - all I need now is an occasion to wear it.
Well that's all I have to say for now - except that today I saw the most HIDEOUS blazer style jacket today on the underground. Imagine a Butlins redcoat-style jacket, but imagine that the designer decided ' if I was going to make a jacket like that, but in the three most revolting colours I can dream up...what would that look like?' We're talking vertical stripes of lime-mould green, dirty terracotta orange and dingy navy-grey blue! And someone presumably designed this catastrophe, then a shop bought in the stock...and then someone went into the shop and thought 'ooh, that looks nice.' My mind boggles sometimes!