Friday, 29 March 2013

Deco Rose Findings....a sneak peek....

Something's been brewing in handmade findings......check them out! Including a collaboration between myself and's a quick sneak peek!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Back from Milan - and some new colourful jewellery

Morning all! At least, it's morning here is whistling, wet and windy Manchester. We're thinking of venturing out to the cinema to see Life of Pi later today, let's see if we brave the weather.....

It's been a bit quiet here on the blog recently, and that's due to a couple of reasons - one, we were away in Milan last week for a work conference (not my work!), and two, I had a ridiculous pile of stuff to do before we left on the 15th. 9 (yes NINE!!) magazine projects to get done before we headed to the airport! They kind of sucked my time up a was a good feeling to get them all done and sent out. 

Our Milan itself was....ok. I couldn't really be more than luke-warm about it. We had some lovely times and also some fairly pants times! 

Pants - 
*Most of the weather (the photo is the view from our hotel room....)
*The fact that despite the freezing weather, our hotel room was always weirdly hot at night to the point of not getting much sleep.
*The fact that our hotel mucked up our booking. 
*The fact that as the weather was pants and Helen was at a conference and the hotel staff were generally a wee bit snooty and grumpy, I didn't have much to do apart from sit in my hotel room. 
*The fact that the Euro is so high compared to the £ that we spent a bomb on seemingly not very much. And a lot of that was pizza and wine I think.......

Lovely - 
*The weather on our last day, which was also when Helen's conference had finished. 
*The views from the roof of Il Doumo on this last, beautiful day (where the shot above was taken)
*The fact that on that same, beautiful day, we had a great tramp about Milan, discovered corners we hadn't seen so far, in our search for a bead shop, and met many friendly and non-snooty Milanese.
*Vigano, the bead shop we found.
*The fact that I am the type of person who can quite happily sit and entertain myself all day as long as I have beads and my phone to listen to audiobooks (although I'd rather not have to stay sitting on a hotel bed whilst doing this!!)
*The fact that I had the chance to just sit and create without feeling I 'Should Be Doing Something Else'
*The fact that the hotel had a wee gym which made me feel slightly better about the quantities of pizza and wine we consumed. 
*The fact that the last night was spent in a lovely and friendly hostel, rather than a snooty hotel.

So, you can see that the 'Lovely' outweighed the 'Pants'. But it wasn't our best trip away, that's for sure!

But, as I told you in the list of Lovelies, I did manage to while away the hours with my beads.....and it was brilliant to be able to do that without thinking that I should be doing something else really......

Here's a few of my Milanese creations:

{EarthShineBeadsBoHulleyBeadsBeadyEyedBunnyGolemCapturedMoments, czech glass, resin, Greek ceramic washers}

{Bo Hulley, vintage lucite, czech glass, brass, 7 ply Irish waxed linen cord}

{TheaToo, vintage carved acrylic, czech glass, 7ply Irish waxed linen cord}

So you see, I do have rather a lot to show for Milan! And although I am always a sucker for colour, I think the unexpected ice and snow inspired me to even more cheerful and colourful palettes in some cases. 

Here's hoping that we get some more sunshine here in the Uk soon. I could do without the wind whistling through the rafters quite so much!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Facebook Appreciation Sale!

Well, I just stopped by my Facebook page and was astounded to spot that I have hit 1,200 likers on my business page. WOW. I really am bowled over! I know that not every liker will ever visit my page after popping by and clicking the 'Like' button (we are all guilty of that at times - at least, I know I am!), but I love the direct and immediate communication you can have with friends, admirers and customers via- Facebook. It's different from this blog, which I wouldn't be without - and ultimately, probably prefer - but I do love that it's so easy to stop by Facebook, quickly update my status, post a photo, and then get immediate feedback from the ether. Here, conversations can be had - my writing is (at times!) more considered, it's more of a journal. I can look back over old posts and see how my work has changed and developed.....I love that. It's a great landing pad. But if this is a landing pad, then Facebook is a busy town centre - there are innumerable people, but you can bump into anyone and everyone in the space of a day!

Anyway, to celebrate, and to thank my Likers - both on Facebook and here on my trusty landing pad of a blog :-) - I am having a FLASH sale in my jewellery shop. 15% off from now through until the end of Wednesday 13th if you use coupon code FB1200 at check out. I have so many other pretties ready to be photographed and put in the shop, and I'd love to say that I will have them in tomorrow, but alas, I have sooooo many looming magazine deadlines, along with teaching commitments, that I fear that this will not be the case. I will do my best however! Here are just a few of the items you could snag a great deal with, with this coupon code, if you act quickly.

Thank you everyone for your fantastic support! I appreciate every single one of you :-)

Friday, 8 March 2013

New goodies heading my way.....

Some new beady goodies on their way or that have arrived recently. Excited to break out the brights for the Spring! And the umbrella lampwork beads - what could be more perfect for April Showers? 

from Swoondimples 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Curiosity Club

If you saw my post over at Art Bead Scene last week, you will know that I am a big fan of a 'Bead Club'. I have been a member of 3 over the past couple of years and each one has proven inspirational and exciting. Who doesn't love getting beads in the post? And even better, surprise beads, made by one of your favourite bead artists? Sign me up!

Last night, my Curious Elf assistant (who also goes by the name of Helen) came up with a brilliant idea, combining my new Curious Inspiration Kits with the idea of a bead club........and so The Curiosity Club is born! Each month, members will receive surprise bead kits in the post from The Curious Bead Shop (otherwise known as Rebecca), containing czech glass, cord, and occasional extras - silk ribbon, vintage acrylic, other exciting goodies from my own personal stash. 

I can't wait to get started on these kits and sending them out to all the lovely folks who have signed up. We (Rebecca and Helen) launched The Curiosity Club last night, we have 5 members signed up already! You can opt to sign up in 3 or 6 month blocks for these monthly surprise kits. These kits are going to be very special indeed.....

I am also going to give members the opportunity to post their creations on a monthly basis to be entered into a draw to win more Curious goodness.....I hope some of you will want to be a part of our little gang! I can't wait to get going......

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Curious Update and Inspiration Kits

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day. Here in Manchester, we actually have some sunshine! I am beginning to feel that Spring really is just around the corner, and I'm hoping - after an incredibly busy week in the Songbead/Curious household, to get out and about and enjoy it whilst it lasts. (Because here in Manchester, you just know it won't.....!) 

Last Tuesday was probably my most exciting post day ever. Beautiful czech glass beads arrived in multitudes from a new supplier. My biggest shop update yet! And boy, has it kept me busy this week.....I am so chuffed and grateful with how my fledgling business is going. I don't really know what expectations I had when I started Curious last November - more an aim to bring unusual Czech glass to the UK market - the type of glass that I could often only find for sale in America. And it seems I am not alone in my love of designer Czech glass! 

Here's a snapshot of some of the lovelies that hit my shop this week.

Top row (left to right):

Middle row (left to right):

Bottom row (from left to right):

I'm still far from the stage of being able to simply stock everything that I would like to. Maybe one day,  but I don't have this in mind to become a full-time job. In a way this seems good to me - I have no ambitions to become a one-stop bead shop; rather, a place to go to for an excellent choice of select items. I only want to stock supplies that I am truly passionate about and would use in my own work. Hence my current stock of beads and cord.....I keep saying it, but I really do have plans to roll out my own line of copper findings very soon! And I'm in talks with an artist about custom items for Curious....all very exciting. 

This week, with such a great influx of new stock, I decided to create some 'Curious Inspiration Kits'. Select packs based on colour schemes. They have flown out of the shop! I'm incredibly pleased that they have been so popular, and I will definitely be making them a regular feature. For now, I am down to the last 1 or 2 of most of them, so if you'd like to snaffle one up, I'd advise you move quickly as they were only listed on Friday!  Here's a peek at the different kits.

I'm already planning some more for the end of next week. It was great fun coming up with themes and names for them all! 2 of them contain Liberty's of London silk bias binding ribbon from my own personal stash, a gorgeous material that I've been hoarding for some time. I thought it was about time I shared the love! I'd love to hear what colours of themes you'd like to see turned into kits....

Friday, 1 March 2013

Challenge of Music - Bach's Prelude in G for solo 'cello

Welcome to Erin's annual Challenge of Music blog hop! I think I am right in saying I have taken part in every one of Erin's challenges, and I've loved them all. 

The Music Challenge is particularly apt for me as I am a sometime musician. I teach singing, cello and piano, and occasionally sing professionally, although due to a number of vocal health issues I've had over the past year or so, I don't do so much of that anymore. And whilst I've been mainly a singer of recent years, I grew up playing the cello (even have a postgrad diploma in it!) and the piano, so am a lover of instrumental music. (Side note: You generally can't call a piece of music a song unless it is peeve of mine, please humour me!!) I love orchestral music, chamber music but one of my best and first loves are solo 'cello works, in particular the solo 'cello suites by J.S. Bach

When I was married back in 2010, my dear and lovely friend Roz (a professional 'cellist) played the first movement of the first 'cello suite as we walked into the garden to be married. It was something I had known I'd wanted if I were to get married, for some time.....Often when people are married, they simply walk in to an instrumental extract. Not for me! Well, not the whole suite, but we had the whole of the first movement. You simply can't cut music as exquisite as Bach's short - it would be a crime! Like beginning a Shakespeare play and then cutting straight to the last page.....

When I first began thinking about Erin's challenge, I knew that I would like to use Bach as my starting point. To me, Bach is to music what Shakespeare is to the English language. If I only had to listen to one composer for the rest of my life, it would be Bach. Hopefully I won't ever find myself faced with that dilemma of course! 

I made a couple of pieces listening to and thinking about Bach's 'cello suites. I had one all planned out to reveal today....but alas and alack, the photos simple have NOT worked. Trust me! Rather than show you a pretty piece of jewellery in a very bad light, I thought I would share one of the others I made, and in fact the first one I came to. I feel bad as I've shared it before as it wasn't my planned reveal, but hopefully some of you will not have and it won't matter too much. Piece number 2 will follow at a later date, I promise!

I'm not one for sketching; I'm not one for trying to create a literal meaning from a piece of music. Bach's instrumental music is wonderful to me, because despite, or perhaps because of, being highly emotive on an individual level, it is pure music. It is aural architecture. It is the lines and forms and curves and swoops of life and nature and our surroundings. This necklace is not a literal transformation of the Prelude, but inspired by it. Thank you for the trigger, Erin!

Here are the other hoppers:

Erin Prais-HintzAlenka ObidAli McCarthyAlicia MarinacheAmy SeverinoAmy GrassCarolyn LawsonCece CormierCynthia Riggs Ema Kilroy (bowed out)
Emanda Johnson Emma ToddErin KennyEvelyn ShelbyEvie and Beth McCord Gerd AnderssonHolly Westfall Jennifer Justman Jenny Davies-Reazor Jess GreenJudy Campbell Karla MorganKay Thomerson (bowed out)
Kristina JohanssonLola SurwilloLynn White (bowed out)
Malin de KoningMallory HoffmanMary K McGrawMelissa Meman (bowed out)
Melissa Trudinger Michelle EscanoMichelle BourbonniereMichelle Heim (bowed out)
Michelle Mach Molly AlexanderMolly Schaller (bowed out)
Monique UrquhartNiky SayersPam FarrenRebecca Anderson Sally RussickSharon Palac (bowed out)
Sharon DriscollSusan KennedyTari KahrsTracy Stillman (bowed out)
Veralynne Malone

Challenge of Music - delayed!

Please bear with me - I have had a photographic problem - the post will follow as soon as I am able......!


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