Friday, 28 December 2012

I'm back! With a couple of coupon codes....

Well, it has been a while since I was here! I must apologise for the radio silence. Much business and a vicious cold that has plagued me for months now and has developed a real sting in the tail, means that I have been suffering somewhat. Still pretty tired, but with a delightful stretch of time ahead of me before school starts up again, I am taking time to reflect upon the year that lies behind us, and what 2013 has in store. 

At this time of year, it feels good to do a little mental cleansing - tidying up loose ends and looking forward to the new year. I have lots of new ideas for Songbead - not plans as yet, but ideas, marinading away in my slightly fuzzy brain. One of them is developing a collection, or collections throughout the year. Building on certain core ideas with specific imagery and components. Another is developing my own range of handmade findings....I have been using handmade clasps and earwires in my work for a while now, mainly on sale at craft fairs, and I feel I am ready to take this to the next level yet. I am also keen to expand my current stockist list - at the moment, I have jewellery for sale in shops in Perth and Chester, and I would like this list to be longer. Developing strategies for - and building up the confidence! - approaching shops with a cohesive range of jewellery is something that I am very keen to begin working on. Last but not least, is widening my list of magazine publications. I am in a very fortunate position that I am published in Beads and Beyond on an almost monthly basis now, but I would like to submit to other magazines as well, and see if I can be accepted for some American publications as well. We shall see if I can manage all of these targets in 2013!

Of course, another area to build on is that of my new supplies shop, The Curious Bead Shop. After a little over a month in business, I am pretty pleased with how it is doing! 167 sales down and counting. I would love to hit 200 before the year is out but that is a pretty high aim....if you'd like to help me out with that ;-), then I have a little sale incentive in the form of a coupon code.....12% off for the end of 2012. Use coupon code CURIOUS12 - this coupon code will run through 2nd January, which is our last official holiday here in Scotland. I am hoping that 2013 will see many more components, beads and goodies hitting Curious....any ideas as to what I should stock? What would you like to see?

Here's a small selection of some of the gorgeous Czech glass Curious currently has in stock (don't forget the linen cord too though!):

On a similar vein, I am having a post-Christmas sale in my jewellery shop. As I mentioned earlier, I am looking forward with positivity and creativity to the year ahead, and what better way to do it than with a quick end of year sale to send out some inventory to new owners? I had hoped to have this in place for Boxing Day (the 26th), but life (and illness!) got in the way. Better late than never! This will run through to the 6th January, the last day of Christmas. Like I said, I am looking ahead to 2013 with many ideas of how to build and develop my burgeoning business - so use coupon code HAPPY2013 to take 20% any purchases between now and the 6th. Here are a few of the goodies you could snatch up at bargain prices:

I may pop in again before the year is out, health permitting, but either way, I hope the rest of 2012 is happy, peaceful and full of good friends, good food and drink, and loved ones. Wishing you all the best. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

And the winner is.....

Fresh Baked Designs!

Congratulations, please contact Bo and she will sort out getting your beads to you :-) thanks everyone for playing along!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Holiday Ornament Annual Blog Hop

Welcome to Sally Russick's Annual Holiday Ornament Blog Hop! Christmas decorations (as we call them over here in the UK) are some of my very favourite things about the season - my Mum has the most wonderful collection of beautiful and handmade pieces on her tree, and I plan on continuing the tradition - replacing things bought in a flurry of 'wow! 100 baubles for 99p!' with things that are hand crafted and unique.

I was lucky enough to be paired with Melissa Meman - but guess what, Melissa was not so lucky to be paired with me :-( Sadly, the December post has let us down. After last year's debacle (both my partner and I completely missed the date for this hop!) I made sure that I posted on the date, or even a couple of days before. But, unless Melissa is lucky today, her ornaments will not have reached her. So sorry Melissa! I hope they reach you really soon.

I was lucky though, and received my beautiful ornaments about a week ago. Take a peek at them, hanging on my tree:
Pictured next to my Kylie Parry bird...

Aren't they just beautiful? Melissa torch enamelled the components herself! I have my torch firing set ready to go after Christmas, so these were particularly apt and inspiring for me. She also hand crafted the steel hooks herself - aren't they lovely? I am definitely going to be borrowing this idea from her for some Christmas gifts! And she also snuck in some chocolates - including a dark Lindor - my absolute favourite, how did you know Melissa? Thanks so much for being my partner and I do hope your ornaments reach you soon!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gossiping Goddess and Cheeky Cherub Designs Challenge - Reveal

A while ago, Lesley Watt, the Gossiping Goddess herself, challenged some of us to take rogue beads from Kaz of Cheeky Cherub Designs - lampwork orphans and lonelies - and create something with them. Today is the reveal! 

I wasn't sensible enough to take a shot of the bead by itself. So you'll just have to see what I turned it into! It is such a striking focal, I decided to make a long, chain pendant with it. I played around with a few things, and then I found this indigo washed brass wing I've had for forever from Miss FickleMedia - I think it may even be one of a pair, I should see if I can look the other one out....and somehow, they just worked together. Quirky and striking. I also had a few briolettes already wrapped, and picked out a dyed chalcedony (the larger of the two), and then dug around for some carnelian to wrap to go alongside it. A long length of chain, broken up by a Bo Hulley bead and a tiny orange lampwork nugget from Radiant Mind (I think they have changed their name a few times, and unfortunately I can't find them online anymore!. 

I've tried to include quite a few shots really showcasing this amazing bead. You can see the layers of petals inside here. It really is a beautiful piece of work! What a privilege it was to work with. 
 One of the reasons I wanted to keep it as a pendant like this was so that when being worn, all the detail can be seen - you can look down through those orange petals and turn the bead around. None of the beautiful detail need be lost. 
 And the blue petals here, layered on the outside. 

Check out the others who are playing along!

Thanks to Lesley and Kaz. 

Sharyl Macmillan-Nelson -

Caroline Dewison -

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Guest Giveaway Post - from Bo Hulley Beads

Bo: I've been threatening a giveaway for a long time, and having reached 500 likes on Facebook today it seems like a good time to offer a little thank you to all my wonderful friends and customers on Facebook. I don't wish to upset Facebook by breaking their rules so Rebecca has very kindly offered to host it for me on her Songbeads blog. This is the set I'm giving away, which includes some of my favourite Czech glass beads from The Curious Bead Shop.

{Ed: If you can't wait for the giveaway results, shop for some gorgeous handmade ceramic beads here at Bo's Etsy shop! or some unusual czech glass beads at The Curious Bead Shop}

There are lots of ways you can enter this giveaway - just make sure you pop back here, leaving a separate comment for each share or like that you do.

1. Leave a comment here saying you'd like to enter! Easy peasy. 

4. Share this post on your personal profile on Facebook.

5. Share this post on your business page on Facebook.

6. Blog about this giveaway.

7. Tweet about this giveaway!

Phew! If you manage all of these you will get 7, yes that's SEVEN whole opportunities to win this gorgeous hand crafted set of beads. 

Giveaway closes next Sunday, on the 16th December, at midnight, and the winner will be announced on Monday 17th. Just think what a lovely Christmas present you could be in for!

Please leave your email address in your first comment, so that we can get back in touch with you and tell you that you have won (hopefully)!

Contest now closed.

Etsy Deal of the Day!

Was £30, now has 25% off - £22.50 ($48 to $36 now approx.).  24 hours only - deal ends midnight 9th December!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Desk Disaster...

Lord help me and my messy's my new beading station. A brand new spot for me to sit and create....and already it looks like this! I've tried to make it vaguely artful with the help of Instagram, but really. It is just.a.mess.

After my December Begins post, my body finally have in, sent me to the GP and told me to take a week off work. So for once, I listened, and have been trying to rest a little. I sent off a huge load of jewellery to Funky Aardvark in Chester on Thursday however and am now horribly low on I'm cranking out the jewels. Or trying to at least! My brain is definitely slow and fuzzy right now. But I'm doing my best - 2 more craft fairs left to go, 16th in Altrincham and 22nd at Spitalfields, London. I will try and have some photos to share with you tomorrow!

What are you up to this wintery night?

Monday, 3 December 2012

December Begins....

So, today is the first Monday of December - the first Monday of advent. I am not religious, but both of my grandads were Methodist ministers, and as someone who has from the age of 6 been part of a choir, I have always been involved in Advent and Christmas concerts, and loved the rituals and run up to the 25th. Christmas Eve is near enough my favourite day of the whole year!

I am doing much less singing this year for one reason and anther, and I am a little sad that I won't be part of a Messiah, or a Bach Passion or even carol service or a carol concert. Apart from if you count my secondary school's forthcoming Christmas concert, where I'll be waving my arms in front of the choir for the last time.....I love the build up to Christmas and the little rituals we all have - be they things that we all share, like gobbling up chocolate advent calendars, or personal, family events. One of my atheist friends and I have for I think 13 out of the last 14 years attended midnight mass somewhere or other. Two of my friends host an annual 'Winter Wonderland' dinner party between Christmas and New Year. My Mum collects beautiful nativity settings and interesting and unique advent calendars, and always has an advent candle without fail. Not being religious really doesn't stop you enjoying the festivities and taking a moment to pause and reflect on the year!
Usually this moment takes place after the 24th - when you work in music and jewellery, everything is all go until you hit the big day! But this year, I am going to do my damnedest to take a moment in December. I have had the most manically busy and stressful November, flying from one end of the country to another doing various things. Most of what November contained was positive (although the greatly extended floor sanding less so....!) but I must admit to being exhausted by it. And also struggling to rid myself of a chest infection that has been with me for over 2 months now. I need a rest. And easy as it would be to crash on until the 25th, I am going to try to just slow my pace a little. Whether that will be possible or not is another matter.....I have 4 singing exams coming up, 2 school concerts, a production of Joseph to rehearse, and another 3 craft fairs before Christmas, along with my one dose of singing Christmas carols, as part of a quartet for a corporate event ( not exactly scintillating but I do love carols). And bearing in mind that I am writing this post on my phone, sitting on the bus on the way home from a full day of school teaching to an evening of private teaching...! Wish me luck as I try to steal back a moment for myself....

What are your December plans? Do you have a crazy month? Or are you fortunate enough to be able to savour the run up to Christmas a little?


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