Wednesday, 25 January 2012


First on my list today was some organising - a few jobs that didn't actually take that long, that I've been meaning to do for ages and will save me time now that I've actually done them! The one that's going to save the most time was finally organising the index cards that I write out the "recipes" for the clasps and pieces of jewellery, such as my Golden Collection, that I make to order. Although each piece turns out slightly differently as, afterall, they are handcrafted, the recipes help to make sure that they are made in the same way. However, the cards have been just bunged into the box for the last couple of years so that I've had to search through them each time - such a silly waste of time! I don't know why I'd put off organising it for so long, as it only took me 30 minutes! Tidying up the table it's sitting on is a constant job though......

And the rest of the day was spent on etsy orders. Something else that I've been doing to be more efficient is getting a supply of customs labels from my local friendly post office so that I can fill them in at home while I'm wrapping up the parcels rather than hold the queue up and fill them in at the counter.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tutorial Tuesday - adjustable silk necklaces

Janna got me started using silk ribbons in my work after gifting me some beautiful silk ribbons in the Bead Soup ingredients she sent me for the last party, so I was really pleased to see Jennifer Cameron's tutorial for her beautiful coils that turn the silk into an adjustable necklace - such a simple but brilliant idea! You can find the step-by-step photos here (and have a look at her beautiful lampwork while you're there!)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to all of you who entered the voucher giveaway - I'm just sorry that there can only be one winner! Until the next time, anyway. It's been great to read through all the comments. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one with a messay area under a desk or table full of things you keep meaning to put away! It seems as if we're all too busy creating to have time to tidy up - or at least, to keep things tidy when we're in full creative mode!

Anyway, the winner as chosen from the hat (well, bowl) by Ben before I took him to school is.......

Sorry there's no picture of little pieces of paper today, but T took my camera to work for a project and left for work before Ben did the draw!

Congratulations Jean! Please contact me (email address is on the left!) so that I can sort out the voucher for you!

While you're waiting...

...for me to post the winner of the £20 voucher, there's another giveaway to tempt you here!

Lesley Watt from Thea Jewellery woke up to her 100th sale in her Esty shop this morning and is celebrating with a giveaway! She makes beautiful jewellery and makes a lot of her own components, and the giveaway is either a beady goody bag or something to tempt those of us who prefer to buy jewellery than to make it. You can find her blog here and her jewellery on Etsy here.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Poppy Challengers!

Thank you so much to all of you who left such lovely comments on the poppy challenge. It's always so much more fun with more people playing along!

I wrote everyone's names on pretty lilac paper and Ben picked five out for me and they are................

Jennifer Cameron
Molly Alexander

Congratulations! I will be emailing you tomorrow to get your addresses.

Thank you again to the rest of you - I wish I could have sent you all something, but I will be doing more challenges, promise! By the way, there are still a couple of hours to enter my £20 voucher giveaway - leave a comment on this post to enter!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

There's still a little time left....

Thank you for all the comments entering the challenge and giveaway lotteries! It's always more fun with more people! And it's lovely to see so many new people (or de-lurkers?!) too - I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs next week.
There's still just under an hour left to enter the lottery for the Poppy Challenge, and the giveaway comments can be left until midnight tomorrow (GMT that is).
Good luck!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Made with love

Every halfterm Ben's class has a different topic, and all of the subjects are then taught around that topic. In the past we've had Superheros and The Night, and this halfterm the topic is one that has really caught the imagination of the parents as well as the children - Old Toys! The children have been comparing new and old toys, what they're made from, how they work etc, and had to interview a grandparent about their childhood toys. That homework came home the weekend of Jamie's birthday, which was perfect timing as Ben had four grandparents to ask!

Mum and Dad had a search through their loft and found some of my old toys for Ben and I to take into school yesterday. My parents moved six times (I think!) in about 9 years due to Dad's job so they've had to have a few clear outs, but they found some things I have very fond memories, including some Sindy clothes that my Mum and my Grandma made for me. Mum made the knitted jumper and skirt below, and Grandma sewed the rest. Grandma served an apprenticeship at a fashion house before the war, and it really shows in all the beautiful details in the clothes. Just look at the shaping on the bodice of the pink dress, and the layers in the skirt!

There are clothes for Sindy to wear during the day, made from material that Grandma saved from a yellow dress Mum wore as a girl and a pair of Grandma's trousers, party dresses made from a nightie and Grandma's and material from the suit she wore to Mum and Dad's wedding 40 years ago. How wonderful is that? And of course, every Sindy has to have a wedding dress, complete with veil! I remember Grandma giving me dolls clothes for several Christmases, and although I do remember loving them and thank her for them it's only now that I really appreciate just how much love and work she and Mum put into making them. I know that I have them to thank for my love of crafts and for teaching me to crochet and knit and sew - even though my sewing skills are very limited!

I don't have daughters to make dolls' clothes for, but I do have a God-daughter, two nieces and friend's young daughters who I consider to be family, so as they grow older (they're mainly preschool age at the moment) I will be adding to their dolls wardrobes. I made a start at Christmas with some knitted clothes for our eldest niece's Baby Annabell, and she loved them! She's already put her requests in for her birthday present!

This is the least blurry picture I managed to take of Katie at Christmas!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Special Giveaway

It's been a strange kind of day. I spent the first part of the morning finishing off my 2010/11 accounts and taxes - there's nothing like a deadline with a £100 penality for missing it to concentrate the mind! I then had an hour or so before I was due down at Ben's school to talk to his class  - more of that tomorrow - and I had planned to spend that working on a commission but then the electricity went off. Today is the second time in just over a week that we've had a power cut. The first one started while I was picking Ben up from school and lasted until gone 10pm, and the whole of our area of Southampton was out, not sure why. Thankfully our stove runs on gas so I was still able to cook the boys their tea by candle light, and Ben thought it was brilliant! Today's power cut was caused by workmen cutting through a cable. It didn't last for long, but it was long enough to stop me working before visiting the school. So, what's a girl to do in her workshed when she can't make jewellery? Why, rearrange and tidy up the shed of course, completely ignoring the fact that it's raining and she can't put things outside out of the way! I've been meaning to take a book shelf we don't need anymore out of the dining room and use it to house my ever-growing book collection. The original, smaller bookshelf has been turned on it's side and put under the table my photostudio set up is on to try and organise my "I'll just put it there for a little while" area properly. Everyone has one of those, don't they, a place where everything that you haven't quite organised a home for yet is put, just for a little while until you get round to it? Please tell me that it's not just me! I gave the rest of the shed a bit of a tidy too, and came back from school feeling organised and raring to go!

From chaos to some kind of organisation. Any bets on how long it will stay this tidy?!

Anyway, I promised a giveaway earlier in the week and meant to include it in my 500th post yesterday, but it's probably a good job I forgot as trying to run a challenge and a giveaway in one post would have only got me confused! I've been thinking about what to give away - jewellery or clasps? And if jewellery, earrings or pendant? Too many choices! In the end, I thought I'd let you decide, and so I'm giving away a voucher, and the winner can decide whether they would like to spend it on my Daisychain Jewellery website or in my Daisychain Extra shop.

So, does anyone fancy a chance to win a £20 voucher? 

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post before the end of this Sunday, 22nd January. Tell me what you'd like to organise better in your work area, whether it's a separate room, a corner of the dining room table (that's where I started!) or a set of storage boxes piled up in the corner. What would you have in your ideal work space? To get a second chance at winning blog, facebook or tweet about my giveaway and leave me another comment telling me that you've done that. I'll post the winner next Monday!

I'm looking forward to hearing about your ideal workareas, and remember, you've only got until midnight GMT on Sunday! Good luck!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

My 500th post and a challenge!

Who would have thought it? I've waffled enough over the last few years to have written 500 posts! As promised I have finally uploaded some the new designs I've been working on over the last week, mainly daisies with a few baby poppies thrown in the mix for good measure.

There are toggle clasps, hook clasps (and connectors are on their way) in two different sizes and with a different texture than the ones I listed before Christmas. I love this texture - it's made with my favourite hammer (yes, for those of you who are relatively new or who haven't come to one of my classes, I have a favourite hammer!), and I don't know why it I didn't think of using it on the daisy clasps before now!

The poppies I listed today, and a week or so ago, are lovely little baby ones. There are poppy headpins and dainty poppy charms, and the challenge I promised you earlier today is on the poppy headpins. There are 5 pairs of poppy headpins, a mix of silver, oxidised silver and oxidised copper, available to 5 people willing to turn them into lovely jewellery. I'm running the challenge a little bit differently than the Oak Leaves Challenge - this time I'm going to take a leaf out of Lori's book and run a lottery - although I expect that it'll be a lot smaller than the Bead Soup lottery!

To enter the lottery, leave a comment on this post before the end of Saturday 21st and on Sunday I will pick 5 names out of the hat. If your name is picked out:
  • grab the poppies button on the left to put on your blog with a link back to this post
  • make something beautiful with it and post pictures of what you have made on your blog on the last day of February, Wednesday 29th February. 
You will also need to tell us a bit about your design process, what other ingredients you used etc, and link to the other people taking part. I'll be taking part in the challenge too. You don't have to make jewellery - if you think of some other creative way of using your poppies, go for it! As before, the challenge is open to those of you who are overseas as well.


I had convinced myself that there was no way I was going to win, afterall, so many people had entered, but I did!! I've won the lottery! Ok, not the Lotto or the Euromillions (not surprising really seeing as I've never bought a lottery ticket!), but I'm one of the lucky 200 who have won the lottery to take part in the 5th Bead Soup Party.

My partner this time round is Michi, Michaela Pabeschitz, who lives in Austria not far from Vienna, a city I've always wanted to visit. She makes really gorgeous lampwork beads, and I just hope that I can do whatever she sends me justice. I've got a few ideas of what to send her, but I'll probably change my mind a few times before I actually post her parcel.

The full list of participants in this party can be found on Lori's blog here. We've got to send our parcels out by the end of the month, and the blog hop is on 3rd March. I'll blog some more about the party and some teaser photos before then!

I've been a bit quiet on the blog over the last week as I've been beavering away on some new designs, some for my daisychain extra shop on etsy and some for my Golden Collection as this is the set of jewellery that galleries seem to like and I put on NOTHS as well. It's taken me ages to take and edit the photos and write the descriptions, oh and price everything, but I'm just about there! I had planned to list at least some of the new clasps on etsy over the weekend, but we were doing too much DIY, so I'm going to start listing them tonight. I'm also going to run another challenge using one of the new designs. It'll be run slightly differently than the Oak Leaves challenge I ran last autumn, and because my next post will be my 500th (!!) there will be a special giveaway too - so come back again tonight!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A strange kind of day

Well, a strange kind of week really. My mind has been playing the "this time last year" game  - you know the one, your mind keeps thinking back to what you were doing at precisely that time a year ago despite you trying to keep occupied with something else. Last Thursday night and Friday I was holding Jamie and thinking back to how wonderful his birth was. As this week has gone on, however, I've been dwelling on different things - this time last year I still thought I just had bad mouth ulcers, this time last year we were sitting in the waiting room waiting to see the consultant, this time last year I was told I had cancer. I'd been feeling a bit gloomy over the last few days, and to be honest I hadn't been looking forward to today. I know I should have been focusing on the fact that the operation and treatment was successful, that I no longer have cancer, that I am very, very lucky, and I do know how lucky I am.

In the end, though, today has been good as it started with Ben's class assembly. His school is wonderful at celebrating the success and progress of the children, and at involving the parents, and the teachers and children work so hard on the assemblies. Ben gets so excited about taking part, and I always come out of the assemblies smiling - so, the perfect start to today.

My main jobs today have been to complete a gallery order (lots of keum boo) and to make some more designs for my etsy shop. I listed some more poppy designs in the shop at the start of the week - smaller clasps and some sweet baby poppy charms - and today I've been mainly working on daisies and hearts. I'll leave you tonight with a quick look at some of the new designs. They'll be uploaded tomorrow and over the weekend - and there's a new challenge coming tomorrow too!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Oak leaves and owls from the Bahamas

Well, one oak leaf and one owl anyway - and a cute birdie too! One of the oak leaves that I sent out for the Oak Leaf challenge in November took nearly two months to arrive safely in the Bahamas. I was just about to give up on it and send another when Kim emailed before Christmas to say that it was finally there. Now that the holidays are over she's had the time to make it into a piece of jewellery, and she's used it with a cute lampwork owl that she made herself. I love it! You can see more pictures of Kim's necklace here.

In case you didn't get a chance to visit the other blogs taking part in the challenge you can find them here:

Melissa Meman of Art, Life, Love
Niki Sayers of SilverNikNaks
Amber Boorman of Larksong Studio
Rebecca Anderson of Songbeads
And you can see what I made here!

I've got another challenge planned - and I'll be posting more details on Friday!

Monday, 9 January 2012

5th Bead Soup Blog Party!

One non-birthday and family thing that I did manage to do over the weekend was to enter the lottery for Lori Anderson's 5th Bead Soup Party. She's running it as a lottery with no more than 200 participants this time round to keep it all manageable, and if you'd like a chance to take part follow this link before the end of today - I can guarantee that you'll have lots of fun!

My Birthday Boys

My little boys are growing up. I know that's only to be expected, but it is still a bit of a shock to the system to realise that my baby is now one year old and my big boy is six! The problem is, you see, that I'm certain that I'm still 27, and T says he's sure that he's 31. Never mind!

It was Jamie's first birthday on Friday, although in many ways late Thursday night and early Friday morning when I went in to his room to feed him were more special to me as I kept thinking about that time last year. I had a very quick labour with him - contractions started about 11pm and sped up dramatically, we got to the hospital about 1am after phoning a friend to come and look after Ben as we realised that there was no way that my Mum could get over here in time. I was holding Jamie in my arms by 1.40am, and then we were able to get home before Ben woke up for school! Jamie and I had quite a quiet day on Friday as it was a school day, so Saturday felt more birthday-like with family over for a party. Both boys had a great time with both sets of grandparents and my brother over to make a fuss of them! Jamie, of course, didn't realise what was going on, while Ben had been excited all week. They are so wonderful together - Jamie adores his big brother and definitely saves his biggest smiles and laughs for him, and Ben is so patient and loving with him. How long that will last is anyone's guess, but I'm making the most of it!

We're definitely going to have a quieter weekend next weekend. The last four weekends we've either had visitors or been visiting family for Christmas, and we had T's Dad here between the Christmas and New Year weekends too. That's what happens when you have two children born so close to Christmas! Lots of fun, but I'm definitely more relaxed now it's over!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


I've been busy today - lots of shiny silver just out of the tumbler! This is a mix of etsy orders, bits and pieces for new designs and some new designs for my etsy shop.

Thank you for all the orders of clasps during my sale - it's on until the end of Friday, and I've got new designs to list tomorrow.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!

I know, not the most imaginative of titles for a post at this time of year is it? The sentiment is true though, I wish each and everyone of you a very happy and healthy New Year. Did you stay up to see the New Year in? If any of you have read far enough back in my blog to reach this time three years ago, to this post, you'll know that I tend to find New Year's Eve a bit of an anti climax and my favourite way to spend the evening is to invite some friends over, cook them some good food, open a few bottles of wine and have a great evening of chat and silly games. This year my friend Kate and her family came to visit us from Suffolk and our friends from across the road came over too. The children were great - Jamie and Kate's Emma settled down really well and the three older boys were settled down with a Scooby Doo video and snacks for a sleepover.

No resolutions this year (there's no point, I always get stressed about them and then break them!) but lots of aims. The main aim for the house/family is to finish the work on the sitting room. We've painted, got new sofas, bought a new rug, and the room loks completely different and much bigger, but the new shelving needs finishing before I show you what we've done. I've got lots of aims for the business, but the three I'm going to concentrate on for now are getting the ideas I've got sketched out into my etsy shop, getting my jewellery into three more galleries by the end of this year and spending more time working on one-off pieces of jewellery. This last one is partly because I absolutely love making one-off pieces, and also because I have so many lovely stones and lampwork beads that I really must use!

The ones I've bought most recently are below. The lampwork is, of course, from Mindy Macgregor. I had thought that her poppy beads were my favourites of all time, that she would be hard pressed to improve on those, but these beauties are just amazing! The colours are absolutely gorgeous, so jewel like. I can't quite decide which out of the three beads I've shown closeups of are my favourite of the set. These are big beads too - nearly 2.5cm in diameter. They're destined for long necklaces, hopefully before the end of the week.

And these are the stones I bought from my friend Brenda when I saw her just before Christmas. I had promised myself that I wouldn't buy anymore, but I couldn't resist! Afterall, they are unique - once they're gone, they're gone! the labradorite pear is my favourite - the electric blue flashes are some of the best I've seen, and I'm so pleased I could get them in the photo. I haven't decided what I'm going to make with these stones yet, but I do know that I'm going to set the emerald-cut green onyx upside down. The faceting on the back is too good to hide and I just like the idea of setting it in a different way than might be expected.

deep purply blue iolite, an amazingly flashy labradorite, rose-cut black onyx and emerald-cut green onyx

Well, those should keep me busy for a while! What are your hopes and plans for the New Year?


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