Tuesday, 30 October 2012

more pretty jewellery

I'm preparing for The Handmade Show in Perth, this coming Sunday (4th November). Hot on the heels of this are 6 other events between now and Christmas, so I am trying to stock up as much as possible! I have a mixture of events - a couple of open house events, 2 local fairs, Perth, and then a fair down in London on the 22nd - a totally new venue for me. It can be a bit of a guessing game, thinking what to create for such a mixture of events....so I'm trying to make sure I have lots, or at least some(!) of everything. Here are some of the new pieces I've made in the past few days.




Vintage Circus

I keep promising that items will appear in my etsy shop and failing to deliver - apologies. Light is a nightmare at the moment (if it's not horribly overcast, it's raining...), and we are in the midst of having our floorboards sanded (taking much longer than estimated.....) so setting up anything in the house is not practical right now. In fact, the only place to sit, be, work, is on/in the bed. Not ideal! But hopefully soon things will be back to normal....just in time for the Christmas craft fair rush.....! Hallow's Eve Eve all.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Gift Guide: no.1

I am a subscriber to the lovely British magazine, Ideal Home. I love looking through it every month - it's full of impeccably stylish houses, gorgeous interior design, and beautiful items for the home. Of course, my home actually looks like a slightly rabbit-chewed not-quite-student but definitely not-a-proper-grown-up cross between a house and a flat, and I don't think that our purse strings will ever allow us to live in the pages of Ideal Home, never mind that I am simply awful when it comes to interior design (too big. Can't do it!). 

This month's arrived a few days ago, and it is geared towards Christmas, which is approaching apace. One of this month's feature is a Gift Guide. It's gorgeous, and whilst almost every single item is from an independent co., there's practically nothing handmade on it. So I thought, why not create my own? Some beautiful eye candy, and hopefully some good ideas for your Christmas list. I feel strongly about supporting independent artists all the time, but especially at this time of year.

Rather than compile a huge list, I'm going to do a series of smaller, more palatable ones, starting here. A random selection of pretties; perhaps other selections will be themed - we'll see.  

Starry Starry Circus Night from ButterscotchBeesting

Saturday, 27 October 2012

A few pretty pieces in the autumn light

Golden Hour

Flight of Fancy

Road Trip


Reverse side of Nesting. 

I'm hoping to make it out to snap some pics today, and upload into les shoppes later. I'll make the links live as and when. Toodles!

Art beads from: 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Show Us Your Hooters!

There's a new site in jewellery town, and it is called Artisan Whimsy....now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not terribly computer savvy. I'm absolutely FINE, but it takes me a good while to get my head round something new - took me about 7 years longer than everyone else to start using Facebook. I'm still not convinced by Pinterest.....but very, very slowly, I am educating myself on this new site. All the popular kids are there, and I don't want to get left behind ;-) Why not sign up yourself if you haven't already? 

A contest that AW are running is called Show Us Your Hooters. How could I possibly resist? 

I made the perfect pair of earrings for the challenge.

Lovely freshwater pearls, twigs from SmittenBeads, and gorgeously sweet owls from BeadsByEarthTones. One of my absolutely favourite polymer clay artists! Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself. 

So, I think the deal is that once we've all entered, there's a vote. And I have spotted some absolutely lovely designs in there already! Why not sign up if you haven't already, and take a peek at the owl-centric jewellery, and cast a vote when the time comes? Plenty of eye candy, I can promise you!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Jewellery Fair Display

You may have spotted over on Art Bead Scene this weekend, a run down of my new jewellery stand for craft fairs. If not, hop over there now (if you leave a comment, you can also be in for a chance of winning a pair of my Om earrings in the colour of your choice......a pretty cool Studio Saturday prize if I do say so myself!). The last shot in my post, is of my practice set up in our spare room. Which is also a music room, and a library - hence the load of books as a backdrop. I was remiss and didn't say this in my post, and some folk thought I was going to take all the books along as my backdrop to the fairs that I do! I can't imagine quite how much work that would be, having just emptied the spare room to get the floorboards polished in there........we'd be there for hours! Here's the shot, so you can see our practice run.
Dry run in the music room, books not included! Or beige carpet, thankfully.

Helen and I  had our first go at a proper craft fair with this set up, on Sunday. And I'm pleased to say, it went really well. We had our most successful day at this monthly market for 2012 - which may have been in part down to the stand, or may also have been because it was October and getting closer to Christmas, because it was a beautiful sunny Autumnal day and because the market was a lot busier than it has been. It was also our card payment acceptance debut! If that makes sense(!). The second sale of the day was a card payment, so that was pretty exciting. It was also the only card payment of the day, but we know now that the set up works, and that we know how to use it. I had a meeting with the gentleman from CardSave (the company who organise the set up for me) about a month ago, and we decided on a virtual terminal, rather than a card machine. Thinking of my clientele, a card machine would probably have been the ideal, but the monthly cost was reduced significantly for the virtual terminal, so we've gone for that. It's a little complicated for us - involves using my iPhone as a WiFi hotspot, we had then hoped to use the iPad but it wouldn't pick up the signal, so we resorted to a laptop instead which is slightly less portable - and the customer or seller then types all their card details into a payment 'gateway' on the screen, just as if they are making a purchase online and using their card to pay. It doesn't save any of the details for us to access, but I am aware that some people may be a little hesitant as it is unfamiliar. We'll see! I am hopeful, and excited that I can now offer this service at events.

Here's a couple of shots from the day:

A couple of thoughts upon reflection.

*The log is a good prop, but the items on it are hidden within the crate. Work out something different......

*I have nowhere to put my lower priced bracelets. Time to drag out the bracelet stand, give it a bit of a white-wash and work out a spot for it....

*Work out some way for the earring cards to be punched in a more consistent fashion. If the earrings hang too close to the top, or the central punch for hanging is off, they just don't hang nicely at all!

*We now can't see out from the back at all. AT ALL. And remembering our thefts in the summer, that is not great! So one of us needs to be round the front at all times, and if Helen can't help me out at a fair, I need to try and get a helper for the day. Or else can't accept card payments on that day. 

If you sell your jewellery (or anything else for that matter!) at fairs, how has your stand developed? Does it constantly change, as mine has done, or have you reached a level that you are happy with? And if you don't sell, what do you like to see as a customer? Sometimes when it's your own stand, you stop 'seeing' it, if that makes sense - you miss the obvious. But so far, I like the way my new look is shaping up....If you fancy seeing it in person, check out my Forthcoming Events tab at the top of this page for craft fairs I'll be attending soon. I also have 2 open house events coming up soon - if you're in the Manchester or Edinburgh areas, please do email me if you wish to attend - they will be relaxed, intimate social events and are the perfect way to start your Christmas shopping!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mismatched Earring Swap

A few weeks back, I signed up to be part of Diana's Mismatched Art Bead Earring Swap, and got partnered up with the lovely Jayne of Mama's Got To Doodle. Now, unfortunately as I am over here in the UK and she is over there in the US, Jayne's earrings haven't quite made their way over here quite yet.....damn you, customs! So I'm sharing Jayne's picture of the earrings I made here - handmade lampwork beads by Moogin, leather flowers, freshwater pearls and copper. I will post when my earrings have arrived so you can see what lovelies Jayne has no doubt created! 

This is a blog hop, so do take a minute or two if you have them to hop around these talented folk's spaces:

  Diana Ptaszynski www.urbangirlstudios.com your hostess
Charlene Jacka http://clay-space.com
Stephanie Woods www.rainydaydesigns.com
Shelley Graham Turner www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Brit Pack Beaders: Materials Reveal

Welcome back to the Brit Pack Beaders Design Team. Our latest challenge is well underway, with the final reveal happening on the 24th October - mark your diaries! Just in case you've forgotten who exactly we are, here's a quick recap.

from l to r: Lesley, me, ClaireJo and Bo

This time around, it was my turn to select our inspiration piece. I hunted around for a bit, but I eventually chose a piece by one of my very favourite artists - Margaret MacDonald. You may know Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect, designer and artist, and one of the Glasgow Four, of whom Margaret MacDonald was also a part. MacDonald and Mackintosh were also married, and whilst you can very much see their mutual influence, each has a style of their own. I find MacDonald's use of colour and form simply mesmerising, and I hope that if you like the work I have selected, you will be inspired to seek out more of her art. 

Here is the piece I selected, The Red Rose and the White Rose:

(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012

And without further ado, here are the beautiful materials I have to work with. 

Focals from Bo, stringing materials from Lesley, connectors/charms from Jo and accent beads from Claire. What a beautiful selection of materials to work with. Aren't you just the teeniest bit envious? ;-)

Where is the clasp, I hear you cry? Well, I am off for a very impromptu weekend at my parents-in-law, and it is true of me that if I can forget something, I will.....it is my job to provide the clasps, and the one I made for myself is currently sitting on the kitchen table at home......You'll just have to check out what I sent everyone else!

Please join us here again for our full reveal, on the 24th October. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

PIF Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Sammy, Leigh, Kat, Claire, Heidi, Jules and Sandra - you are the winners in my PIF Giveaway! You should all have received an email from me with details - if not, then check your spam and leave a comment here to let me know. Hurrah!

I leave you with a new listing from yesterday....

available in my etsy shop now....

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

and the winner is.....


Congratulations - send me over your address and I will post your surprise bead soup out to you :-)

Thanks everyone for playing along! you still have a chance to win a prize from me.....check out this post for details.....;-)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Pay It Forward

***Remember to leave your email address in the comments!!! If I cannot contact you, you cannot win.:-( ***

Recently, Pip held a little PIF giveaway on her blog, and I was one of the (very!) lucky ones to get my comment in on time. And so without further ado, here's your chance to win a gift from me......it goes like this....

I’ll send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this blog post. Plus I will select another three at random to also receive surprises....The gift will be a handmade surprise by me and will be sent to you some time in the next 365 days (yep, mystery gift at a mystery time).
  To complete signing up you MUST play along too. To do this you must blog a similar post and pledge to make a surprise gift for the first three people who comment on it. So, do you want to play? Comment below and I’ll sent a thoughtful handmade gift to the first three people who do.Just how much fun is this?!   So, what are you waiting for - get commenting!

Here’s what you need to do, leave me a comment and make sure you include your email address in the comment if your profile doesn’t include it already. If I cannot contact your easily, unfortunately that will mean your comment will be discounted. And that would make me very sad.

I’ll email you for your snail mail address and a ask a few questions (likes/dislikes, favourite colours, sizes general stuff like that). 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Art Bead Scene Today

Hop over to Art Bead Scene today to check out my post on sharing your skills and teaching. Includes details of my upcoming classes at The Big Bead Show on the 20th October!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Bead Soup Book Blog Hop Week!

Phew, don't try to say that quickly! Welcome to the most wonderful and gracious Lori Anderson's celebratory week, all geared around her awesome book, Bead Soup.  

This is a fun week of blog hopping, giveaways, prizes including beads, tutorials and much, much more. Are you excited to play along? Because you should be. You definitely should be. 

I was invited to be a part of this fantastic project to be part of the international crowd within this book. I didn't wait to say yes.....Lori used my bead soup to make some really gorgeous jewellery. (I deliberately chose her signature pink and purple colours, especially for her, by the way. Hope she liked them!)Here's a peek at what I sent Lori.

Can't wait to see what she created with it.....are you intrigued????

 Living in the UK, my copy of the book is still swimming it's way across the atlantic to me. But I've seen extracts from the book, and believe me, you won't be disappointed. Lori's brainchild, the Bead Soup Blog Party has been running for a few years now. The idea behind it is that two bead-loving strangers get paired up, and send each other a secret bead soup - a focal, a clasp and some co-ordinating beads. You then turn it into something lovely and post about it on your blog.....it not only is a whole load of fun, but it really stretches each and every one of us creatively. You get beads that someone else has selected but have to turn them into something YOU are happy with....I have participated almost every time and have never been disappointed with the creative push it has given me. This book shows just what can happen when jewellery is created with beads unseen.....a riot of styles, colour and design. I am so excited for my copy to arrive and I hope you will be inspired by this week to grab yourself a copy

Blending a bead soup is a fun project in itself. I like to work on one in a slightly different way from some folk. I put a little of this, a little of that in.....usually starting with a colour scheme in mind, I throw in whatever feels right, rather than equal measures of things. There are always one-off surprises in my bead soups! I think this might be because it's a similar way to how I design. I often work with selections of whatever happens to be on my table/desk etc. Sometimes things land together fortuitously, and you know it was meant to be........I hope my soups are like that too - little pockets of mixed up beady joy, just waiting to become jewellery.

And so in celebration of this fabulous book, I am giving away a specially blended soup, perfectly seasoned here in the UK. The giveaway is open to anyone who wishes to participate - UK-based or anywhere else in the world! I would love to send this soup out to you, and see what you transform it into.....Just leave a comment here to take part. Here's super-sneak peek.....

Here's what you've got in store both today, and over the rest of the week. So many goodies to be won! And don't forget to tune in on the 9th for the grand reveal of all the lucky winners...

Rebecca Anderson -- http://www.songbeads.blogspot.com *you are here!*

Barbara Bechtel -- 

Tuesday, October 2nd

Lori Anderson -- www.PrettyThingsBlog.com

Kerry Bogert --   http://kabsconcepts.com/wp/ 

Jennifer Cameron -- http://glassaddictions.blogspot.com  

Wednesday, October 3rd

Lori Anderson -- www.PrettyThingsBlog.com

Thursday, October 4th

Lori Anderson -- www.PrettyThingsBlog.com 

Jeannie Dukic -- http://site.jkdjewelry.com/blog  

Lyn Foley --  http://lynfoleyblog.com  

Friday, October 5th

Lori Anderson -- www.PrettyThingsBlog.com 

Brandi Hussey -- http://www.brandigirlblog.com 

Cindy Wimmer -- www.SweetBeadStudio.com

Barbara Lewis -- Painting With Fire

Libby Leuchtman -http://libbyleu.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 6th

Lori Anderson www.PrettyThingsBlog.com

Sunday, October 7th

Erin Prais-Hintz -- http://treasures-found.blogspot.com  

Monday, October 8th

Lori Anderson, www.PrettyThingsBlog.com -- grand prize with a TON of goodies to enjoy 


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