Wednesday, 31 August 2011


A very quick post tonight as it's been a bit of a hectic day - dentist appointments, general back to school stuff to finish off and a magazine deadline to meet. I did have time to go to the sorting office and collect a parcel from Mindy Macgregor and make a pair of stud earrings for a friend's birthday present, so there was jewellery fun in the day too!

As soon as I saw this beautiful cabochon in Mindy's etsy shop I just had to have it! I've got a necklace in mind for it and, unsurprisingly, it features one of my poppy clasps too.

And once I'd put the cab in my shopping basket it seemed shame not to add these too :) My favourite is the blue dotted and red striped bead. The plan is to turn these into pendants like the Fairisle ones I made last year.

Yet another design that I've had planned for ages! I'm really pleased with these, and hope that my friend likes them too! I'm planning on listing these and an oxidised version on the website too.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Art Bead Scene August challenge

Every month the editors at the Art Bead Scene set a challenge - using the artwork posted as your inspiration create a something, not necessarily jewellery, using art beads. I've been following the blog for a while, but this is the first month that I've taken part in the challenge. Mind you I left it right up to the deadline, which is tonight!

The inspiration was this beautiful poster advertising American Crescent Cycles - you can see more about the designer and the poster here. As soon as I saw it I remembered two lampwork beads by Isabelle Anderson - beautiful swirls of blues, greens and coppery tones. I've had them for a while and kept gettign them out to admire them while they waited for the perfect project! I've used two of my oxidised copper poppies, one as a clasp and one as a connector together with Swarovski crystals, copper beads and copper jumprings. 

The idea was to create a bracelet that would look good no matter which way round it spins on your wrist - and according to the friends who was testing it out for me this afternoon, it works and got her lots of complimnents! Mind you, I think she was pointing it out to people and asking "do you like my new bracelet?"!

Poppies are here at last!

I have been working on some poppy clasps for my etsy supplies shop for a week now, and promising a few people that they would be uploaded soon - and here they are! Oxidised copper, oxidised silver and polished silver poppies with a choice of hooks on the back to turn them into clasps or wire figures of eight on the back to allow them to be used as connectors - perfect to use in place of a bead, as a charm on a bracelet or as part of a pendant! Each one is slightly different due to how I make them. I used a couple of the copper poppies this afternoon, so as soon as I've edited the photos of what I made I'll post that here too.

Tutorial Tuesday - Bead Soup Party gift box

I thought that as the school holidays are almost over (already!) it was about time that I started up my Tutorial Tuesday posts again, and as nearly 400 of us beady bloggers are in the midst of creating our Bead Soup Party pieces, what better than a Bead Sop Party tutorial?!

It has been lovely to see not only the wonderful bead soups that everyone has had through the post but also the beautiful and imaginative ways many people have packaged up their beads for their partners. I showed you the lovely way that Janna packaged up the soup she sent me, perfectly matching the theme of the beads inside. Well, the tine above is how Jenny Cameron packaged up the soup she sent to her partner, and she's written up a tutorial for it. She put so much thought and effort into decorating the tin, and it goes beautifully with the soup she sent. You can find her tutorial here!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Bead Soup for Janna

It's been rather crazy here over the last few days, what with back to school stuff to organise for both Ben and T, meeting up with friends, work on the garden, teaching, more teaching, magazine deadlines, commissions - you get the picture! So, I've got quite a few blog posts lined up for the next couple of days!

Janna (my bead soup party partner) got her bead soup on the same day that mine arrived - fantastic timing! I showed you a sneek peak before she got it,

and this is a much clearer picture of what I sent her!

The lampwork beads are by Isabelle Anderson, and no matter how many photos I took I just couldn't capture their beauty properly! They are completely round, not donuts, and have light colours (pink, blue and white) encased in clear glass so that the colours look as if they are swirling around. The blue one also has fine silver dots inside. There are also Czech glass beads, antiqued copper beads, large copper jump rings that I made myself, and also one of my daisy toggles that I made for Janna - although I only realised after I took the photos that I'd put the wrong sized toggle with the daisy. I did remember to change it for the right size before I posted it off to Germany! I can't wait to see what Janna makes with it all. Pastels and shine aren't her usually ingredients of choice but I wanted to challenge her - after all, that's what the party is about! I thought that antiqued copper rather than shiny silver would soften the challenge a little bit though :)

Please do go and visit Janna's blog to see what she thought of what I sent her! We'll be posting the finished pieces on 17th September.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


I can't show you the main piece that I've been working on this evening as it's a commission and my client is coming round to collect it tomorrow evening - as much as I want to show it off I'd better let her see it first! I can show you some of the smaller projects I've got on my desk this week though.

I'm still using my cupcake tin to try and keep myself organised. It works most of the time, but every now and then I overload it and can't see the projects for the beads! So, I've tidied it up just for you.

  1. Stone settings for a magazine project for later in the year - hopefully!
  2. Beautiful beads by Isabelle Anderson waiting to be made into two bracelets
  3. Oval hoop earrings for my etsy shop - I need to hammer, file and oxidise them tomorrow
  4. Ring examples made while teaching yesterday
  5. I haven't got as far with this stone setting as I'd like  - I think I'm going to have to wait until Ben goes back to school and I've got more work time!
  6. Copper poppy clasps - just for you Rebecca! These need cleaning up and then they'll be on etsy too, along with silver versions.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

How many pages?!

I finally picked up my copy of this month's Beads and Beyond magazine yesterday morning - with my earrings taking pride of place on the front cover!

They're really easy to make, especially if you've got a wirework jig such as a wigjig, and I included templates to show were to place the pegs, but they're simple to make with round nosed pliers too. I've also got a necklace with one of Mindy Macgregor's beautiful poppy heart beads in this month's magazine, and when I showed T it then sparked off a conversation about just how many pages my work or writing is featured on this month.

I counted 14 including the front cover, Michelle and Becky's intro, the picture on the contents page, the two Spotlight pages, 6 project pages, two pages for the designer challenge, and even at the back of the magazine one of my copper daisy clasps on the preview of Rebecca Anderson's necklace for the October issue. T says only 10 of those count as they're the ones I'm paid for!

The soup ingredients are here!

My bead soup ingredients have arrived safely from Germany - and they are beautiful! Look, even the parcel Janna wrapped them up in is gorgeous! I have plans for the button she tied the parcel up with....

And this is what I found inside - a real seaside soup! There's a beautiful epoxy clay pendant that Janna made herself in lovely soft shades of greens, matching silk ribbons, shells, sea urchin spines, Indonesian glass beads in such a soft shade of blue, silver beads, cotton pearls that Janna has made, mother of pearl, lucite beads, and a gorgeous silver hook clasp, again made by Janna. She has sent me so much and my head is buzzing with ideas -  I am a very lucky girl! The pendant did stump me for a little bit as it's just so different from and much bigger than anything I've worked with before, but that's the fun of the Bead Soup Party!

Thank you so much Janna - I just hope that you like your soup as much as I like mine!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Teachers' Presents

I've just been editing some photos and I realised that I haven't shown you the thank you presents that Ben and I made for his teacher and classroom assistant. He liked the clasp I made for the poppy bracelets and asked if they could be necklaces  - yes, my eldest has a good eye for jewellery and is very complimentary when I show him a new design! He knows how to get into my good books :)  He had asked a while back if he could come and make something in my shed, so on the last weekend of term he and I spent a brilliant afternoon working together.

After the obligatory talk about how many things there are in Mummy's shed that could hurt him if he didn't use them properly and that he was only to touch something if I told him that he could etc etc he hammered out discs (yes, those flower petals start out as perfect circles!), domed them and helped to hammer them into shape, chose the balls for the centres from my pot of melted scrap, watched from a safe distance while I soldered them together and polished them. We decided to oxidise the one for his classroom assistant as it seemed to be more of her style, and I wanted the pendants to be slightly different as well. He was so good and careful, and so pleased with what he had made! And most important of all, both recipients loved their presents!

 I loved teaching him how to use some of the tools - I'm so proud of how careful he was and how well he concentrated - remember he's only five and a half!   I think what Ben loved the most though was showing off the photos of him making the pendants and explaining what he had done. He's already decided what he wants to make next - a necklace with a train on it!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


It's been a few weeks since I've been able to get into the workshop on a Wednesday, but T took Ben out for a couple of hours this afternoon while Jamie had his nap so I nipped out and did some work on an order for one of the galleries I supply. Lots of doming, filing and sanding discs and sawing out lovebirds and then starting to apply 24k gold foil to them. I've still got more Keum Boo (applying the gold) to do, but they should be on their way to Brighton by the weekend. Now I've got to go and tidy everything away as I've got two ladies coming for tuition tomorrow!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Getting ready to party!

It's Bead Soup Party time again! I'm really excited to be taking part again, especially as I had to miss the last one as Jamie was so little. For those of you who haven't come across the Bead Soup Party before (where have you been?!?), you can read more about it here, but basically Lori Anderson decided to set up a bead party on the internet where partners sent each other bead soup ingredients and had to make something from what they were sent as she didn't live close enough to other beaders to arrange one in real life. It has grown so much! I took part in the first two which had about 80 and 100 people respectively - this fourth party has nearly 400 people from all round the world! Lori has worked so hard to pair us all up and to make sure that we all know what we're doing. She does the pairing up herself rather than allow a computer programme to do it randomly to make sure that we all have partners who will challenge us.

My partner this time round is Janna Harttgen and you can find her blog here As you can see from the photos above our styles are very different - as Janna described it I like shiny and she likes more unusual rougher materials! Janna uses a beautiful mix of materials in her jewellery, and is far more adventurous than I am - I hope that some of that will rub off on me! For example, Janna described the gorgeous earrings above as "I riveted links of an old amber bracelet of mine onto the halfs of a found bottle cap and added indonesian glass beads and matte onyx drops" - I would never have thought of doing that! I can sometimes find myself making the same style of jewellery over and over and losing a bit of spontaneity from my work, especially when I've got a lot of orders from my NOTHS shop or from a gallery (for example I've got 20 keum boo pendants to make this week for a gallery), so I'm hoping that Janna's bead soup will challenge me and get me creating something very different from my usual style!

My bead soup ingredients went in the post this afternoon - fancy a sneak peek?

I do love playing about on picnik!

You can also see a sneak peek of what Janna has sent me on her blog here. You'll be able to see the soup ingredients in their full glory when we've received them, and you'll be able to see what we've made on 17th September!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Happy Anniversary

To my wonderful parents - Happy Ruby Wedding Anniversary!

It was a lovely day sitting, eating and chatting in the garden today. Thank you for everything you do for us, especially everything this year.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Spreading the jewellery making addiction

Take two friends with hopes of setting up their own jewellery business, silver, hammers, saws, torches, a few files and me in my workshop and this is what you get.....

Sunday was my first day of private tuition since before Jamie was born, and it was lovely to be back - in many ways it was as if I'd never had a break! Susie and Julia made a bangle each and then a pendant in the afternoon. Julia's pendant may look simple but it takes a good eye and careful filing to achieve a smooth symmetrical shape like her tear drop. Susie decided to make a pendant with a more organic feel, with silver balls forming the centre of a flower.

I taught on Thursday this week as well  but as Anna and Syd were both working on more complex pieces they haven't quite finished yet - I'll show you the pictures when all is done and polished! All the tuition dates for August have now been booked, but I have three dates in September with hopefully a couple more to come when Jamie settles into going to the childminder's on Thursday. The dates I have so far are Thursday 1st September, Saturday 10th September and Sunday 11th December. More details of private tuition can be found here - email me if you would like more information or to book a date!

And the giveaway winners are....

Cilla for her comment on the giveaway blog post and

Lynda Taylor for signing up for the newsletter

I'll email you ladies!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Home again

Well, so much for my new resolution of blogging more often! I came down with a horrible bug just before the end of term and, unusually for me, spent most of three days in bed. This bug seemed to be doing the rounds at school, but not amongst the children - it was the mums at the school gate that seemed to be coming down with it! Thankfully I didn't miss any of Ben's end of term activities though. I can't quite believe that it's a while year since this post and Ben has now completed his foundation year of school. He's excited about going into Year 1. He's still with the same class of children and the school have done a really good job of preparing them for next year.

I did take my laptop with me on holiday to Suffolk last week and planned to do the giveaway draw then and inflict my holiday photos on you show you what we were up to, but the advertised wifi in our accomodation was very hit and miss! At best I could get a slow signal in the corner of the garden. I do love Suffolk though, mainly because parts of it are still in the 1990s! We had a great time - met up with family and friends, visited all the places I used to go to when my brother and I stayed with our grandparents during the summer holidays and generally relaxed. Ben loved it all, even sharing a room with his teething baby brother, and Jamie just loved all the cuddles from family and friends. I'm not going to inflict all our photos on you, promise, just the highlights of my favourite day of the week - a day out at Aldeburgh with my friend Kate and her children.

Ben and Ben daring the waves - and my Ben losing!

I gave up trying to get a shot of all four children looking at the camera!

Chilling on the beach

The best photo of all

Normal service (whatever that is!) will be resumed tomorrow with new jewellery and the giveaway draw at last! 

I've just seen on the post I linked to that I got a bug at the end of last academic year too - hopefully it's not going to be a recurring theme!


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