Chop chop!

In Europe we’ve been signing documents for centuries. If you couldn’t write you used to get someone else to fill in forms for you (hence the variations in spelling of some surnames) and you marked the paper with a cross.

In China people used a stamp, known as a chop, to “sign” documents.  I’ve read that they used to say that whoever held the chop in a company holds all the power. Whilst this practice has changed and signatures are becoming more common, you can still get a chop made.

Examples of chops:

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I’ve seen places selling chops all over South East Asia, and have liked the idea of owning my own chop, but was always unsure as to how good a chop made by someone who sold chops as a sideline, as part of a gift shop. Hong Kong however, has an alley of stalls specialising in chops.

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Man Wa Lane, known as Chop Alley, is in Sheung Wan on Hong Kong island. 
Choosing a stall to use was hard as they all appear pretty similar!  I eventually  chose to use Hung To Chops and Printing.

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Like many of the stalls on Man Wa Lane,  the stall sells more modern stamps as well as the traditional chops.

I had lots of stone chops to choose from (as well as other options).

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I previously had decided I wanted to have Mrs M on my chop, along with a flower.  I went through rough ideas with the chop maker and we eventually sketched out a design on my receipt.

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The chop would be ready in just over an hour,  but I wanted to keep sightseeing,  so I waited a whole day!
I was amazed at the detail put into a little chop by hand…

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When printed it looks like this:

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It was well presented in a case, complete with some ink:

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I’d chosen a chop with two dragons twisted together.

I’m very pleased with my chop and think it is a perfect souvenir for a crafter like me! You’ll find me using the stamp in the future on my papercrafts etc ☺

Felting Fun!

I thought I would share with you the samples I made as my first real play with felting.

1. Flower (could be used as a corsage )

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2. Multi layer felting onto tweed

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3. 3d bird

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4. Felting wool onto felt made from recycled plastic bottles

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5. Silk onto demin and tweed

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As you can tell,  I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting!

Murano and Murano Glass ☺

Murano is more than just a pretty island near Venice.

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Murano is also home of Murano glass, which is world renowned.

You can find more than glasses and vases such as these, which we used in a restaurant in Lido, Venice:

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You can find stunning chandeliers, sculptures and much more.

If you visit the island you can watch some glass blowing. It’s amazing to watch something colourful and beautiful being made from a lump of molten glass. Many fornaces don’t let you take photos and in the first one we visited we saw colourful glasses such as the ones above being made.

Luckily the second one we visited allowed photos ☺

The fornaces literally use furnaces:

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In these photos a vase is being made:

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Ta Dah!

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We also saw this being made:

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You can see it being made yourself ☺

I have uploaded my first ever video to YouTube.
Watch Glass Blowing in Murano here:

http://youtu.be/Ixi9QbuKQhM

Long time no blog!

It’s almost a year since I last blogged. Oops!

I haven’t stopped crafting, but sadly life (work, house renovations, work, holidays etc) has meant that I haven’t had time to blog.
I’ve signed up for my third term of silver jewellery classes, making jewellery from scratch, so I still am trying and learning new things.

To keep up to date with what I’m doing follow me on:
Twitter: @mrsmmakes
Instagram: mrsmmakes

Hope to see you there soon ☺

P.S. Here is a selection of recent makes:

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And there are more!

7th Bead Soup Blog Party – My Reveal

I first came across the bead soup blog party last year, not long after starting my blog. I thought it was a great idea and I saw some really inspirational pieces. When I saw the sign up for this year’s bead soup I had to sign up. My jewellery making skills are very basic compared to a lot of people, but I hoped to still make something nice.

In my first blog soup post I explained the principle behind the idea of bead soup. When I wrote that post I didn’t take some of the beads out of the bags they came in as I was a bit scared to lose any beads. I can show you these beads better now.

In your make you have to use the focal and the clasp supplied by your partner. I was sent these:

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If you look closely at the focal you will see little pearls, so I decided to use these, from my soup, in my piece:

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I used some silver coloured beads from my stash in addition to these. 
Here it is:

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And up close…

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I was also given an assortment of quartz beads:

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I wanted to use these to make a separate piece and decided to make a bracelet.

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I didn’t use all the quartz beads as there were quite a few. I’m sure I’ll use the rest of the beads relatively soon.

So there you go, that’s my little contribution to the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party. Why not visit some of the other blogs? You’ll find some far more impressive pieces. The main Bead Soup Blog Party website has links to all 541 people taking part.

Spring Sewing Swap 2013

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I have really enjoyed the swaps I’ve taken part in. Shopping or making for someone else, who you don’t really know, is both a bit of a challenge and lots of fun!  Swaps are also a great way to get to meet other crafters. Oh, and you also get to receive some lovely goodies…

So far, in 2013, I have taken part in two swaps. My most recent was the International Craft Swap, organised by Rachel of House of Pinheiro. I made a few gifts for Jo of Sew Little Time and she made me a lovely wash bag. I’ve also swapped beads as part of the 7th Bead Soup Blog Hop with Jenny of Shyme Design (my make will be revealed soon). Those swaps are both over now, but after so much fun I want to do more!

Kerry of  Kestrel Makes is organising a Spring Sewing Swap. In her words:

” Who doesn’t love to receive a package of sewing items in the mail? And how fun is it to shop for someone who loves sewing as much as you do?”

The swap is based around sewing, but it is open to sewers of all backgrounds and abilities. I’m a beginner sewer (sewist?) and do indeed love doing everything Kerry mentions. I’ve signed up for this great sounding swap. If you want to know what is involved, you need to visit this post on Kestrel Makes.

Why not sign up yourself? You have until May 1st.