Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bead organisation

I'm still feeling really under the weather so today I have spent the day in the living room not doing too much - watching a guilty pleasure of mine, Doc Martin, and playing with beads. It's 5pm now and I only got out of my pyjamas an hour ago! A proper lazy sick day.

A while back, we bought up some old bead shop trays from a vendor who was shutting up shop and had brought them along to a bead fair. My lovely father-in-law (I think that might be the first time I've actually referred to him as that!) made me a cabinet to store the trays in and I have slowly been transferring some of my enormous bead stash over to the wooden trays. Today was the day of the art beads...

I didn't realise I had so many! Like many of you I'm sure (I hope?!) I'm a total hoarder and can't bear to use many of the pretty things I own until I have held onto them for a good while...perhaps seeing them all laid out like this will inspire me on!

I thought I'd share a few of my favourite drawers with you. This belongs to Eve Smith of Silver Meadows, who not only makes beautiful jewellery but also enamelled metal components and very fine handmade headpins! She is from Prestonpans just outside Edinburgh (where I'm from originally and my heart still belongs :-)) so it always makes me extra happy to buy things from her Etsy store. I'm on my iPad and not sure how to create links from Blog Press so I'll just give you her address instead - Check it out!

Next up is 4 drawers - clockwise from top left, Gaea Cannaday, Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit, Shannon LeVart or Missficklemedia and Lisa of Sea Urchin. Do you spot a colour theme?! Sea Urchin is a British artist but the rest are from the US. I should also add that I have a small but very full box of missficklemedia metal components which are not involved in my beaders trays! I love her work muchly :-). As for Gaea, couldn't you just eat her beads?! There's another drawer which you can see on the top photo, just below Sea Urchin containing larger Gaea pieces. And Nancy's beautiful sea coloured pieces...well, I have enthused before in my blog about just how glorious I think they are and how I hoard them close to my heart....and now you can see them. Just ridiculously beautiful in my opinion. All of these artists make me hope so much that one day I will be able to take a clay class.

Lastly are another two artists - Menage Studio at the top and Beads by Keira beneath. Ménage Studio shocked me greatly by making me like polymer clay. I must confess, I am generally not a fan of the medium. However, I was visiting If 2 by Sea's blog a while back though and spotted a pendant Christi had used and immediately was smitten. The amount of artistry and craftsmanship which goes into these clay pieces blew me away! I love these two little birdies; one of my favourite images anyway but so pretty here especially. Keira is an American lamp worker but she lives here in the UK - right down south in Kent. I came across her lovely beads at the Big Bead Show down in Surrey earlier this year and adored her lampwork keys - another of my favourite images to work with in jewellery making. I also have a very cute polka dot coffee mug which she had lampworked...but did I mention, I have an entire tray dedicated to lampwork?! It's only half full, admittedly, but give me time....that post is for another day!

How do you store your beads? It's a common question in our little community I know but one I personally never tire of - perhaps because I am generally so messy and disorganised, I dream of the perfect storage solution - tidy but with things in easy access and the ability to see what you're working with! I love to read others' posts on this so let me know your solution! Hope you are enjoying these last few days of the year, best wishes for 2011 when it comes.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Moo Cards

SO, I bet quite a few of you are already converts to Moo....I have seen other folk with these pretty, pretty cards at bead and craft fairs (where I've been as a customer) and always thought they looked very lovely. And of course, they are a common and welcome addition to many an Etsy purchase! However, I haven't really ever sold very much of my jewellery; in part I'm sure to the fact that I have never really pursued that line. 

When I started getting into beading in earnest, I did initially set up an Etsy shop (now ground to a halt) and shortly after a Folksy shop (a UK equivalent of Etsy), 

but very soon after this, I fell into teaching and let any attempts to sell my wares slide. About a year later, I submitted some of my designs to magazines and have happily never looked back! So I have never really had much need for business cards and although I have some, and they are quite nice if I do say so myself, they are quite cheap in price (although not in quality I would say!) from a company I am sure many of you are familiar with(!). 

And I have happily bobbed along, not really trying to sell any jewellery, occasionally someone buying the odd thing from my Folksy site (which on more than one occasion has resulted in a panicked search for said item as I have no recollection of where I put it once I had photographed it!), sending off articles to Beads and Beyond, teaching beading at my local Bead Shop. 

But this December, I have somehow managed to sell quite a bit of my wares! Which was lovely and, I must say, somewhat unexpected.

 A lot of my new college friends have been very interested in little jewellery side line, and a few of them bought some Christmas presents from me :-). So, the point I am trying to get to in a very long and convoluted way is that I thought I might try out Moo! And here is a very fuzzy picture of some of the free-ish sample pack of cards I have ordered. 

I have peppered this post with some of the pieces I have sold in December. Some of them, I didn't even manage to photograph before they disappeared off in their little organza bags! Are you spotting a colour theme?! Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by this green/blue/turquoise theme. I'm really looking forward to my sample cards and (even more excitingly for some reason!) the sticker book I ordered along with it! I always put stickers on my packaging since I bought some very pretty bird themed ones in Edinburgh over the summer. I thought it would be nice to have my very own ones to use instead of just the birdie ones! 

I hope you have all had a lovely Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever way you choose to celebrate this festive time of year. Mine wasn't too exciting but I caught up with some dear friends and am hoping to clear out my flu bug before I have to go back to work and college. Best wishes for the new year when it comes!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Today's Work...

I've been cooped up in bed all day today, my disgusting cold has taken a turn for the worse, so I have stayed tucked up in my old bedroom! However, this was not without it's plus points - I have made most of my Christmas presents whilst bedridden! I think I can safely say that none of my friends or family even know that I have a blog (or even possibly what a blog is!) so I am going to post some pics here of what they are all getting. SO, if you are expecting a present from me and you have somehow stumbled onto this page, STOP NOW!!! Not always the best colour in the pictures - obviously there is no daylight!! and some pieces have worked much better than others. I made another couple of pairs of earrings but didn't photograph them as yet. In no particular order....

Bracelet for Anna Whyte

earrings for my Mum, featuring Mystic Topaz drops

Earrings for my best friend's Mum, Alison (these are a lovely powder green, not dull yellowy beigey green!!)

Sweet and simple bracelet for Susan using Vintaj and AAA grade pearls. She's not very girly but is a big supporter of my jewellery and wears a lot of my bracelets all the time!!

My piece de resistance - for my best friend Rosamunde. Using lampwork, those amazing, fat AAA pearls and apatite. Oh, and hand dyed silk ribbon and Vintaj, of course!

And again...

...and again. 

Citrine and Swarovski bracelet for Fiona

Necklace for Anna Metcalfe

Earrings for Laura (terrible picture!! They don't have that jaundiced glow in reality!)

Bracelet for my sister

As you can see, I've been on quite a wire wrapping kick today (and last night). It's partly being inspired by the wonderful Denise Yezbak Moore but it's something I've enjoyed over the past couple of years, and my last few Beads and Beyond projects have included some. I think that somehow it marries my love of beadweaving and wirework. It feels akin to the beadweaving to me. And I like that I'm not merely linking pre-made things together in a chain. Which, don't get me wrong, I also love to do, but it's been fun to mix it up. It's 12.20am here now so I must go to bed and try to get some good sleep tonight! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve tomorrow. 
x x x

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

New Listings in my Folksy Shop

Just a quick post to show you some new pieces listed in my Folksy shop...perfect for a last minute/belated Christmas pressie, no?

Candy Drops - Chalcedony and Aged Brass

Burgundy Baubles - Lampwork, freshwater pearls and aged copper *

Aegean Seas - Lampwork, Czech glass and aged brass

Wishing you all a not too stressful few days in the run up to the Christmas weekend!

* I was visiting Denise Yezbak Moore's blog the other day - she is a fabulous wire and bead artist and I noticed she had decorated some ear wires in a way similar to the way I have here. I loved it so much I had to have a go myself! Her work is STUNNING - go check it out

Sunday, 19 December 2010

And the winner is....

...Niina! Congratulations Niina, send me an email with your address and I will get your silk ribbon necklace posted out to you.

I'm poorly sick in bed again - we finished our run of Carmen last night and it was predictable. Since we went into production I would say that 1/3 - 1/2 the cast have had nasty colds that have caused them to be off sick and now it's my turn :-( So I'm in bed watching cheesy dvds and trying to complete a beading project who's deadline is looming imminently...very imminently!'s not going so well as I have that awful cotton wool head thing going on...yuck. I'm meant to be going to our end of term party tonight which one of my course mates has organised - if it was just a standard party I would give it a miss but we've all paid £30 per ticket as it includes a lovely 3 course dinner! So I think I will just drug myself up to my eyeballs and go along. I'm sure I will have a brilliant time once I'm there. 

On a slightly disappointing note, I recently had one of my necklaces stolen. I was in a hotel bar (a Radisson one, quite posh you would have thought!) meeting a friend who was up with work from London and I had brought along a necklace for him to give to his girlfriend as a Christmas present from me. It was sitting in an organza bag on the table and we literally left the table for a couple of minutes and when we returned it had gone. I feel really sad about this - I had chosen it for Hannah specially and I had used lovely sky blue hand dyed ribbon which I now don't have any more of. I'm sure whoever took it won't be reading this but it makes me very sad that they would do this. I shouldn't have left it on the table, I know, but we were surrounded by Chris's orchestra workmates and I felt we were in safe company. I guess you can never count on that in a public place. 

So, some good news for Niina and some bad news from me! Hope you are all having great weekends. Last one before Christmas! I can't believe it. I still haven't got any of my Christmas presents....but I still have a week I figure. Are you more organised than me, or are you in a similar position?! Have a good week!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


This is just a really quick post to say a massive 


to everyone who voted for me in the Beads and Beyond designer competition....I am so very pleased and honoured to announce that I have been  voted Readers' Favourite!!! I couldn't believe it when I opened my copy and saw that I had won. I am so very touched - it is wonderful that the readers themselves have chosen me from amongst such great company - I'm told it was a VERY close run thing! My bloggie friend Jo and talented beader Vicky Fisher were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Congratulations to them both and all the other winners. 

To celebrate and say thanks to everybody who reads my little blog, I'm finally having a giveaway! Not the big(ish!) one I have planned but a small one. I'm giving away one of my lovely (if I do say so myself!) ribbon necklaces. I have used hand dyed silk ribbon from Sowzere Designs and a beautiful lampwork orphan from Clare Scott Beads, antique copper and brass, and Czech glass. I love the bead and ribbon so much and I hope you will too! It's quite a long one so there's no clasp, it just slips on. Just leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning, and for an extra chance, become a follower and/or blog about my passing on the love giveaway! Just leave me an extra comment to say you have done so. I want this to be short and sweet so I will draw the winner this Sunday evening. Good luck!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A quick pre-Carmen bracelet...

Sitting in the refectory of my college, doing a little beading in the hour before we are called...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 6 December 2010

New Items in my Folksy shop - and a special offer for my blog readers!

Just a quick post to show you some new items I've just loaded into the shop - I have had a surprise morning off work due to too much ice at my school so spent it photographing and writing descriptions!


Arabian Nights - custom order, SOLD

Sugar Plum - SOLD

Cherry Berry - SOLD

Jade Baubles - SOLD

PS Send me a message on Folksy (it's very simple, just like Etsy - you just need to set up an account) and I will refund you 10% on an order if you mention this blog post!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Colour Challenge - Under the Sea

N.B. I really tried to spell colour "color" but I just couldn't do it. It just looks wrong to me, as I'm sure my spelling does to some of you! I'm sorry!!!

So, I didn't even know if I would get this challenge done in time. As I said in my last post, life is extremely busy for me at the moment! However, Tuesday's pupil postponed his lesson to Thursday (I have to say, I was not disappointed!!) so I decided to use my free evening (post-Carmen rehearsal!) to have a go at it. I had some ideas from the LOVELY colour chip Erin had sent me (what a great girl she is! Thanks so much Erin for organising this challenge with your usual wonderfully generous spirit!), specifically some amazing Peruvian Blue Opal (Under the Sea) large nuggets I bought a wee while back from my favourite bead shop, Precious Sparkle Beads. They are very, very special....but I have put them somewhere, em, special...and I couldn't find them! So that idea went by the wayside. I did however have a bunch of equally lovely Peruvian Blue Opal rounds which worked perfectly with the colour scheme I had.

I also had some Green Opal (I think???) rounds which I thought would be perfect as the Painted Basket element. I really wanted to take Erin up on as many challenge points as I could so I had a look through my art beads - they should be highly organised but they are not...I do have a box of Nancy Schindler/ Round Rabbit beads however which I absolutely adore and I pulled out some gorgeous pieces which were just crying out to  be included as Gray Teal (Ok, I coped with gray ok! It would normally be grey over here!!). I had quite a few options as I am an absolute turquoise/teal/aqua person and have been hoarding Round Rabbit pieces for a while... 

My original idea was to make a necklace - I pulled out my stash of Sowzere hand dyed ribbon and there was the most perfect winter aqua shade in my bag which I started on, but my piece just wanted to be a bracelet! I made the initial green opal round component and then I had my 'ping!' moment when I spotted the dotty round in my Round Rabbit stash.

The rest of the bracelet followed quickly and I have to say, I really like it! I like the title 'Under the Sea' and I tried to make the colours flow from Canvas Loafers (pearls)

to Painted Basket (green opal),

like looking down through water to the depths below. I have used Brass Bouquet and Vintaj brass to complement the lovely colours and spaced out my colour elements with Green Amethyst oval nuggets. I really hope you all like it - I'm very interested to hear any comments and even more to see what everyone else has come up with!

I loved the whole process of this colour challenge. I find custom pieces and working to a set brief really helps and focuses my work and this one was no exception - it helps me so much to have a set direction. Thanks so much Erin - I'm so glad I was able to find the time to take part in this wonderful challenge. Please check out everyone else's pieces - I can't wait to see all the other paint chips and the jewellery that has been inspired by them!


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Where have I been???

My goodness, almost a month since I have blogged! I am way behind with all my plans for this little space. They are temporarily put on hold whilst I juggle my full time college vocal studies course, part time school teaching job, private singing lessons and beading commitments. Needless to say, I'm fairly shattered at the moment. The last few weeks, I've left the house every day before 7.30am and not got back till after 10. Not fun! I was hoping this week would be a bit easier but due to a concert postponement (power cut at the venue 45 minutes before we were due to go on...) that's two more of my evenings wiped out for this week. One of the things keeping me so busy is my college production of Carmen, we are in intensive rehearsal mode right now and will be until we open on the 5th December. I can't wait till we're in production! We're all sold out for the entire run and have been for ages (I'm just in the chorus but the principal cast are absolutely amazing!) but if you ever get the chance to see this fantastic opera then take it! It's sometimes considered the first musical; it's a real showbiz piece with love, death and high drama throughout! And some very beautiful music of course.

With the little time I've had for beading, I've been working on my Beads and Beyond projects. Here's the latest issue of the mag and I will pop back he later and add a picture of my project - Berries and Bling. 

***Here it is!! Not the loveliest picture as I took it on the not very attractive beige carpet we have in my flat. Yuck! I'd love to get it changed at some point - I'm not the biggest fan of beige in any context and especially not in carpet!***

I love the names the team come up with for my projects! So much better than any of my efforts would be. I was particularly pleased with the clasp I made myself - I have no metal smithing skills but with a little wire wrapping I came up with this pretty toggle clasp using a Vintaj birdie. I love making my own components for larger pieces and it's amazing what you can do with a little wire and some beads. 

Hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend - it's turned very chilly in the last few days - 1 degree c this afternoon! - so I am curled up with my iPad next to the fire. At last a chance to catch up with the beads!


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