For the lastest DIY interview of the month, Miss Millennia spoke to Nikki Bonham-Hall, a mother, blogger, and crafter. Her blog, Bead it and Weep, caught our attention not just for the great pun, but also easy-to-follow DIY projects featured on it. In her own words, Nikki's blog is “a mix of jewellery and craft tutorials, new music I have discovered, photography and anything else I have found interesting or inspirational.” Below, Nikki explains how she got into making her own jewelry, gives advices to the DIY newbies among us, and more.
Miss Millennia Magazine: Could you tell us a little about yourself, hobbies and what you’re interested in?
Nikki Bonham-Hall: Hello, My name is Nikki. I live in Cambridge with my husband and two children. My “main” hobby is making jewelry. I call it my main hobby as I think it is the one I have most experience in. I have become interested in making my own clothes and have been knitting more and learning to sew. I would also call my blog, Bead It and Weep, a hobby as I have found that designing and running my own website has made me learn about computing and website design I wouldn't have otherwise learnt…and I love it.
M3: How do you manage your time between running a blog, crafting, and parenting?
Nikki: I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to push out blog content and make things but I realised that it was silly. My family comes first, crafting and blogging comes second. It is that simple. It goes in cycles—sometimes I have plenty of blogging and crafting time and sometimes I have very little. I've learnt to go with the flow and become more organised. I am better at identifying when a period is coming up when I can't blog or craft much so I will make a few extra things or write some blog posts in advance and schedule them to publish when I can't be at the computer.
I am very lucky though my kids sleep really well and go to bed about seven and are asleep pretty quickly. Once they are asleep it is crafting time. Of course that could change at any time…
Where do you look for inspiration?
The short answer is everywhere. When I meet someone I am usually checking out what jewelry they are wearing. I look in shops and magazines to see what the jewelry trends are not that I stick to them but I can usually get some ideas. I like Tumblr as well; I follow some artists who work in a style that I like and that gives me ideas.
Sometimes it is simply necessity, for instance I need some new tablecloths and place mats (a bit boring I know) I can make some cheaper than buying them so I am getting out the sewing machine and I'm going to make my own.
Do you have any advice for brand new DIYers?
Don't compare yourself to other crafters. It is easy to go on the internet and see craft bloggers with their amazing crafts but we never show the three failed attempts before the final version that was carefully photographed. Maybe I'll start a section on my blog with my craft fails…
Don't give up halfway through. Things always look rubbish half-finished, keep going.
Don't be afraid to experiment, try new things and new products you will learn something from the process and it may spark some inspiration to something great.
How long have you been making your own jewelry, and what sparked it?
When I was about 15, my cousin gave me a little jewelry making kit and up until I went to university I made my own beaded jewelry. For a few years, I stopped crafting and concentrated on learning photography at evening classes and my job as a physiotherapist (which is what I studied at university). Once I became pregnant with my son I started to get an interest in crafts again, probably because I couldn't go out like I used to and I'm not very good at sitting still. Weirdly what got me started again was making sock monsters. I had this idea that I would make toys for him and then I found there was a bead shop really close to where I live and that was that. After a few months of making beaded jewellery again I went to evening classes to learn silversmithing for a year. I have a basic set up at home now and have been teaching myself more techniques. I also have found that things I struggled with as a child like sewing with a sewing machine and knitting (I hated those at school and refused to learn.) I could do as an adult. My sewing is probably the weakest, but I have a friend who is very knowledgeable and helps to correct my mistakes.
What has been your biggest struggle in achieving your goals? How are you overcoming it?
I love blogging but my biggest struggle is not comparing myself to other bloggers and crafters. I would love to do more complex silver jewelry but I don't have the space or the time but that's ok. I guess I'm really happy with what I'm achieving at the moment.
What is something you absolutely must have?
My jewelry making tools. I would be lost without them. I have found that I just have to make things and not having my tools would mean I couldn't do anything.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Watch out, once you get going crafting can get addictive! It is however very rewarding especially when someone compliments you on something you made.
Thank you to Nikki for the interview! If you haven’t checked out her blog, Bead it and Weep, do yourself a favor and head over there now. If you don't visit for the DIY projects, go for the great photography and the music and book suggestions. And if you know any women that inspire you with cool blogs or just cool lifestyles, and you think they’d be great for Miss Millennia interview, send me an email at [email protected]!