Tuesday, 31 January 2012

New rings - and more yellow...

I've been going a bit mad making rings the last few nights. I mislaid my mandrel for a few weeks, since taking a rings making class about a month ago, but came across it on Sunday afternoon. Here are three to add to my collection - there's one hiding at the back, very similar to the one on the right. The first one I made was huuuge, so I decided to recreate it higher up my mandrel! Pleased with my colour choices. Mint and strawberry, and look! more yellow. I can't keep away! Reminds me of a lotus blossom or waterlily. The lampwork discs are from Gardanne Glass.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Andrew Thornton Challenge, or More Yellow!

So, perhaps I should rename this blog YellowBeads, as that seems to be the only colour I am blogging about at the moment! Today, it's more yellow....this time, from Andrew Thornton's Challenge. Andrew sent us some really beautiful components, the kit remained sight unseen until it arrived with us, so I didn't know what I was in for until it appeared in the post. As I have already said in this post, yellow is a challenge for me.....but one I am trying to rise to more often. 

The mystery component was made by Andrew himself, a beautiful bronze pendant, with a tiny tree, it's branches reaching upwards. Combine this with handmade and vintage components and a delicious luxury bead mix and you have a pretty delicious kit in lemon and lime shades.

Immediately I saw the kit, a painting by one of my favourite artists sprung into my mind - The Tree of Life by Klimt. I had it up as a poster in halls at Uni eleven years ago, and in my shared houses the following two years, until it fell apart from being put up and taken down too many times. I really should get myself another print, and put it in a clip frame this time! Until then, this necklace will have to do. It's not got quite as much bronze tones in it as it should (I should have pulled more of them out of the bead mix) but the vibrant yellows and verdant greens which Andrew selected for us are perfect to herald the coming of spring (hurry up! I am ready for more light and sunshine!). I've gone for my currently usual technique of knotting the beads together. I love the drape this achieves. I've layered the pendant with an etched Vintaj pendant and used a clasp from an old bead soup swap, but other than that, the beads are all from Andrew. Thank you Andrew! I have really enjoyed the challenge and am sad I missed the boat with your next one, they have consistently stretched me creatively and I have loved it! Please visit the other challengees here:

Rebecca Anderson (you are here!)
Therese Frank

and of course

Andrew Thornton

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Vintage Beads from Europe

Back in November, the lovely Vente from Vintage Beads sent me a bag of delicious beads, all old or vintage lucite and plastic. A lot of fun! And some real pretties in there. I've picked out some of my favourites and I have finally got around to blogging about them here.

 I love the melons with gold lining, they are so retro. And the turquoise flowers...of course, how could I not love these? ;-) And of course, I had to find some red to compliment the aqua flowers. Faceted nuggets. I've also made a ring using some of the beads. Because the lucite is so wonderfully light, I've made a proper knuckle duster! Great fun to wear. And more yellow....turquoise and yellow is such a fresh and sunny colour combination.

Thanks Vente! I love your beads!

Allegory Gallery

Please check out Andrew's post here and go and help Allegory Gallery out on Facebook

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Yellow Necklace!

The title says it all! Two jewellery hurdles for me - necklaces and the colour yellow - in one piece. Really, the title should be THE Yellow Necklace, as it may well never happen again ;-) I've had the Jade Scott focal for about a year and finally decided to put myself on the line and USE IT. You know when you're afraid that the piece of jewellery won't be as beautiful as the component? I've had that fear with the love letter for a good while. In fact, I have it with many of my hoarded art beads....but I decided to throw caution to the wind, use it with other art beads (lampwork leaf headpin - Jenni Connolly; lampwork disc Gardanne Glass; verdigris clasp - MissFickleMedia) and embrace the yellow! What do you reckon? I'm pretty pleased with it, partly because it tackles lots of my personal creative fears.

How about you? What colours/styles are your stumbling blocks? Do you battle with them or just ignore them?

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Hard Day's Beading

This is what you get/need/deserve at the end of a hard day's beading, right?! Today was meant to be a school day, but my voice is still recovering from the flu, and aches after even an hour of teaching singing, so I decided to be sensible and call in sick. But it's not been a wasted day - I've completed my April project for Beads and Beyond. Here's a sneak peek....

I'm on my mobile so hopefully the photos will pop up in this post in a way that makes sense with the words.....! I've used some gorgeous art beads, as usual, but you'll have to wait til the issue's out to see who they are from ;-)

Until then, here's a quick picture of the current Beads and Beyond project.

Featuring Kylie Parry ceramics and Elise Canning polymer clay. I'm particularly pleased with this project, really love the hot pinks and Kylie's amazing peony pendant!

Happy Wednesday everyone.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

i heart macro

A close up from one of yesterday's designs, now listed in le shop

Sterling clasp from Daisy Chain Designs, copper link from Metamorph Supplies

Hope over to Studio Waterstone to check out the other Macro-ers.

studio waterstone

Saturday, 21 January 2012

New Bracelets and Bunny Battles

Today was a coooold day in Manchester, as some of you may have seen from my Facebook page! I must have been snapping pictures outside on our tiny balcony (it's more like a fire escape, just one you can't escape from!) for about 20 minutes but they were a long and chilly 20 minutes, despite the layers and woollen cuffs I had on! After 20 minutes, my hands were pretty much entirely numb and the photos were starting to get fuzzy, so I had to call it a day. I don't think the incredibly strong winds helped the cameras stability either! Hopefully tomorrow will include a calm spot or two and I can have another go. Pay cheque at the end of this month is going to include splashing out on a couple of lights so I can get a photo set up indoors. The weather in the UK, and particularly in soggy Manchester, is simply not reliable enough. Too cold, wet and worst of all, dark, for so much of the year. I have really waited long enough to get my ass in gear and sort out my photos so February it is!

Anyway, here are some of the photos that I DID succeed in taking. Some better than others, but you will understand why [see above paragraph!]. Amongst other things, I've been working at a few variations of my Gardenia bracelet in various different colours and styles - still all OOAK, but the original bracelet was my starting point. They'll be popping up in my Etsy shop over the next few days but if you'd like one before they are loaded, just leave a comment or shoot me an email :-)

Czech rosebud beads, hand knotted on hemp cord with a Round Rabbit focal that I have turned into a clasp with a twig toggle (£26).

Green Girl Studios pewter fish, Mamacita Beadworks bubble charm, MissFickleMedia verdigris seahorse charm, Pinocean baby lampwork bead, Czech glass, agate, jade and Bali style silver plated brass clasp (£30). 

The starting point with this one was the gorgeous pewter fishie - I saw him swimming along a watery, aqua river of glass and metal. The clasp, although silver plated, is of wonderful quality; I picked it up at Yashma Creations and I will certainly be back for more.  

Daisy Chain Extra copper clasp, Mamacita Beadworks handcast pewter rose charm (oh, how I love this little charm!, Czech glass (£28).

This one hasn't quite turned out in a way that I am happy with, photography-wise. The selection of flowers are, whilst still delicate, a lot more varied in colour, and less washed out that they appear here. This is in fact my favourite (I think!) of all the pieces I have made in the past week or so, I'm  disappointed that the photos don't quite reflect it to my liking.

Green Girl Studios baby owl handcast pewter bead, Daisy Chain Extra lovebird copper clasp, earthenware and porcelain beads from Gaea and ChelleV2 (£30).

Jade rounds from a Cup of Bead Soup swap with Jenny (thanks Jenny!), handmade copper clasp from (you guessed it...) Daisy Chain Extra, hand forged copper link Metamorph Supplies, Czech glass flowers (£26).

Handmade sterling clasp from Daisy Chain Extra (Jo's signature daisy), hand forged copper link from Metamorph Supplies, Czech glass, waxed linen cord (£32).

The Czech glass beads in this one are amazing, they have the most beautiful frosted finish. I had the idea of flowers, peeping through the frost over the coming months, when making this one. They are also from Yashma Creations - she has them in a few colours right now, but her bead stock changes often. That's actually one of the things I love about buying from little shops on Etsy - the ever-changing stock, the small batches - even in factory made glass such as the Czech beads I am so in love with, you can never be sure you'll find quite the same beds when you next return.

In other news, Rufus and Lily are not quite best buddies as yet....tonight involved the new girl nipping poor old Mr P (as we affectionately call him, Rufus Pufus, Pootles, Mr P....yes, we are very sad!!) on the nose, to the point of drawing blood! Dearie me. He's fairly nervy now and I don't blame him. Try again tomorrow evening. However, he's been hopping around much more and the interest of there being a new bunny in the room, even penned up, has definitely perked him up, which is great. He's been very depressed since Maisie's death. As have we all. A new cheeky face is a good thing for all of us. Give them a bit of time, and I am sure Lily and Rufus will become friends. Let's hope so anyway!

Hope you are all having a great weekend and there are no animal brawls going on in your neck of the woods :-)

Friday, 20 January 2012

New bunny take 2!

So for one reason or another, we weren't able to adopt little Meadow who I blogged about the other day. I took down that post as it was making me sad to look at her sweet face. However, we WERE able to pick up Lily yesterday afternoon! So meet the new member of our family. She's safely ensconced in her little pen for a few days, until she feels settled, then we'll begin letting her out for short periods and introducing her to Rufus, who you can see skulking at the back :-) So glad we have a new friend for him, hopefully it'll bring him out of himself soon.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Some new bracelets, and colour questions

This year has been quite a funny one so far. We are still feeling the loss of our little baby girl and things just feel a little out of sync. But I've been trying to sit down and create when I'm in the right mental space and it does help. Bead therapy, eh?! As usual, I seem only capable of creating bracelets and earrings - I find necklaces so challenging! Maybe it's because I rarely wear them, I'm not sure. Anyway, after a few days of making bracelets and earrings, I decided I just had to at least try and make at least one necklace! I actually have managed 5 (five!! Count them!) necklaces, over the past three days and I am quite pleased with most of them (one needs to be taken apart and redone but even that, I think is essentially ok). but as usual, I can't manage to take photos of them that look any good! So they will have to wait for another day. 

HOWEVER, I have managed a few half-decent photos of the bracelets. (And PS, if anyone has any top tips for photographing necklaces and earrings, please leave your comments below! I struggle...) Here's one I posted on facebook the other day, with a clasp by Jo of DaisyChainDesigns and an antique copper link by MissFickleMedia. My 2012 jewellery resolution is to be more adventurous with colour. I so often stick to monochromatic colour schemes (or turquoise and red of course...!) and whilst i do love them, and the textural possibilities they offer, I want to branch out. Two people who I really admire for their colour choices are Malin and Lorelei. They put things together in such a beautiful way. And I'm going to use Design Seeds as inspiration also (thanks, Erin!) So I'm trying to branch out and this bracelet was one of my first goes at that:


I've had some pretty positive feedback on it via Facebook, and I am quite pleased with it myself! It's a little different in design from things I've done before, so I'm pleased with that too. And isn't Jo's clasp stunning? I love working with them, they really make any piece pop. She's got a really good selection available here.

Another colour branch out for me is Sun Street. Originally I thought Rainbow Street, but then I noticed that along with Elukka's gorgeous house being in sunset tones, all the Czech ovals have little suns pressed into them, so Sun Street seemed more appropriate. What do you think of these colours? Do they work for you? I am quite happy with them but they certainly are out of my usual colour comfort zone!

Sun Street 

Elukka's houses just kill me every time - they are a real staple for me at the moment. In particular, this sunset orange glaze, absolutely gorgeous to my eyes.

How do you all feel about colour? Do you have certain combinations that you always fall back on? Do you instinctively know what goes together, unlike me?! I am so interested to hear your thoughts - I love colour, but it's something that I find it easy to be intimidated by.

Hope you are all gearing up to a great weekend! We are off to our friends Andrew and Tom's camply fantastic WInter Wonderland belated Christmas dinner tomorrow and it's always spectacular. Will be great to take our mind off the past two weeks.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Jelly Flower Earrings

Hand crafted stoneware bead caps from ChelleV2, hand forged antique brass ear wires from MetamorphSupplies, Czech glass, waxed linen cord. I think I was channelling Malin when I made these...yellow fuchsias or multi-coloured jelly fish.....you decide. A definite one of a kind. £22, with free postage to anywhere.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Holiday Ornament Swap

So here at last are mine and Jen's posts....better late than never. Sally Russick (formerly of Wireworked and now of The Studio Sublime) organised a swap just before Christmas, and sadly the holiday post held up Jen and my ornaments until this last weekend! They arrived within days of each other which was good. 

Jen made me this most beautiful, crocheted flower decoration. It's so pretty - all shades of mauve, deep lavender, plum - and completed it with hand crafted spiral decoration and hook. There is no light in our flat at all but I've tried to really capture the colours and textures in these photos. We have decided to keep it up all year round, it's so lovely - it's clipped onto a vase we have with dried lavender so it goes very nicely. A little reminder of all we've been through these past few days; lavender seems an apt plant to attach this to. 

Here it is, on my old bureau. It's in the hall upstairs, between the kitchen (to the left) and our bedroom, so we will see it many times every day. 

Jen was also kind enough to send me an amazing stash of beads alongside her beautiful decoration - I have really been spoilt! We are in the midst of some full on wintery dark storms here, so my photos of the stash were deemed definitely not good enough for this post....I aim to try again later on and add to this. But THANK YOU Jen for your wonderful generosity.

Please check out Jen's post here, Sally's new, beautiful blog here and the other folk taking part (blog reveal was officially the 17th December) listed below. Thanks for your patience Sally in bearing with us. 

1. Sally Russick   The Studio Sublime
2. Kim Hora   KimmyKats
3. Kathleen Lange Klik   Modern Nature
4. Susan Kennedy    Sue Beads
5. Jenny Davies-Reazor    The Art of Jennifer Davies-Reazor
6. Christine Altmiller    One Kiss Creations Beaded Jewelry
7. Jeanette Blix Ryan   Jeanette Blix Metal and Wire Jewlery
8. Holly Westfall  Silver Rose Designs ~ Handcrafted Jewelry
9. Mallory Hoffman   For the Love of Beads
10. Tamara Soper  Handcrafted Baubles by Tamara
11. Rebecca Anderson  Songbeads
12. Jen Velasquez   Jenn Judd Rocks
13. Jennifer L Justman   Souls Fire Designs
14.  Sandi Volpe  Sandi Volpe Handcrafted Jewelry
15.  Melissa Meman  Melismatic  Eclectic Art Jewelry
16. Hope Smitherman  Crafty Hope
17. Patty Gasparino  My Life Under the Bus
18.  Cindy Wimmer  Sweet Bead Studio
19. Erin Prais-Hintz  Tresures Found/ Tesori Trovati Jewelry
20.  Alice Peterson  Alice Dreaming

Monday, 2 January 2012

Rest in Peace, Maisie Girl

My darling little bunny, sweet Maisie, passed away last night. We think she had been poorly for about a month or so, and had also broken her leg and had an operation, so this past month has been particularly traumatic for her. She stopped eating a few days ago but with help and encouragement from us, and syringe feeding her liquid bunny food, we thought she was on the mend. Sadly, we had a trip to the emergency vet last night and despite their best efforts, Maisie passed away.

I can't tell you just how devastated we are. She was and is, so precious to both me, Helen and her bunny companion, Rufus. I am typing this through a haze of tears, in which I have spent most of today and last night. She was the best of pets, sweet and a little bit cheeky, fiercely loving and protective of Rufus, and so changed from her nervous nature when we were first lucky enough to bring her home with us, 4 years ago almost to the day. She was a rescue rabbit and I hope I can say that we gave her a good and happy life for the time she spent with us. Although she was 5 and has always been delicate, none of us were ready for her sudden departure. Helen and I buried her in our garden, next to a lavender patch, this afternoon. We both miss her so much and are struggling to imagine life without her.


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