Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Flower Bangle Challenge names!

Thank you so much for all the entries into my Flower Bangle draw! All the names went into the hat this morning and......drum roll please!.......

The Flower bangles will soon be flying off to:

Sherri Stokey - Knot Just Macrame
Shannon Chomanczuk - For My Sweet Daughter
Jenny - Shyme Design
Keri Lee Sereika - Pink Lemonade
Heidi Post - Ex Post Facto Jewelry

Ladies, I will be emailing you later this evening. You have until Saturday 30th June to decorate your bangle  - good luck!

P.S. I've updated the blog hop button as I realised I'd got the wrong date on it - oops!

P.P.S. The Birthday Sale in my Daisychain Extra etsy shop ends tomorrow - use the code "BIRTHDAY" to get 15% off your order!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tutorial Tuesday - Adding a photo to your blogger sidebar

Following my post about my Flower Bangle Challenge I was asked by a few people how you add a button to your blog - so here's a quick tutorial!

A blog button is simply a picture that has a hyperlink to a website - in this example I'm using the picture I edited for the Flower Bangle Challenge and I'm linking it to the post I wrote about the challenge. The tutorial assumes that you have saved the picture to your own computer - simply right-click on the picture and choose "Save picture as". It is always best to save a picture to your own computer as otherwise you are using someone else's bandwidth, which isn't very polite!

1. Open up your Blogger dashboard and choose "Layout" from the drop down list for your blog.

 2. This will take you to the Layout page. Click on Add a Gadget.

 3. Scroll down the list and choose the picture option by clicking on the plus sign.

 4. A small window will open up with options for you to fill in. Click on "Browse" to go and search for the picture you want to use.

5. Once you have chosen and opened up the photo you will see a preview of it. At this point copy and paste in the link you want the picture to go to when people to click on it. The link to the blog challenge post is You can also add a title and a caption if you wish. I added text to the picture, but if I hadn't I would have put the blog hop details in a caption.  Save the information you've entered.

6.  The small window will clsoe down. Click and drag the picture to where you want it to be, and then save the arrangement. You can drag the button to the top of the page as well.

7. And there you have it - one lovely button! Blogger has tonnes of different gadgets that you can add to your blog, and for most of them it's simply a case of clicking on the one you want and filling in the boxes!

Thank you so much for all the entries to the Flower Bangle Challenge! Entries to the draw close at midnight BST tonight so you've still got time to get your name in the hat! Click here for details.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Call for Gallery Submissions

Thank you so much to everyone who emailed me some pictures - such gorgeous macramé work! I now have enough for a fantastic gallery, and the book will be out in the first week of June!

I've mentioned once or twice now that I'm writing an ebook on combining macramé, art beads and wire. I've been designing projects, taking hundreds of step by step photos of the projects and of the macramé knots, photos of tools and materials as well as writing. I've really enjoyed designing the layout of it all, and it's nearly finished! The picture above is of the front cover - well, the current front cover anyway as I'm sure I'm going to keep changing my mind about which projects to have on the front!

I've just got to ask a couple of friends to proof read it for me - and add one last thing.... which is where one or two of you will hopefully come in! I've got a gallery section in the book where I'm showing off not just more of my designs but some from other designers too, as inspiration to show what can be done with a few simple knots. And there's room for a few more. So, do you use macramé in your jewellery designs? I'm looking for designs that use macramé as just one element in the jewellery along with art beads and maybe some wire or other metal components as well - which you probably could have guessed from the name of the book!

If you would like to submit any of your designs, please email me at with a couple of photos, a little bit about yourself (assuming that you're not someone I email already!), a little bit about the materials you've used and links to your blog/etsy shop/website. Photos need to be lovely and clear, and the macro setting on your camera is best for that. You will keep all copyright to the photos, and links to your websites and a little bit about you will be included in the gallery.

Thank you!

Friday, 25 May 2012

New designs, a celebration - and a new design challenge for you!

It has been a whole year since I opened my etsy shop! I started off with a few daisies, a couple of lovebirds, but I now currently have 108 designs for sale, and I've had 314 sales. Thank you so much to all of you who have supported me in this by buying, spreading the word through blogs and magazine articles, and just generally by being wonderful! I opened up the shop as a little side-line after people kept asking if they could buy my clasps, and it has all grown wonderfully. And it is always so fantastic to see what you all make with them.

I'm celebrating with 15% off everything in the shop when you use the code "BIRTHDAY"
at checkout until the end of May!

I've been busy editing photos and listing new designs in my etsy shop this week. Some are ones that I've had ready for a while but hadn't got round to posting, others are newly designed over the last week or so - here's a selection!

I love making my lovebird clasps, love coming up with new combinations of textures to use on the body and the wing. I'm also really really pleased with my new flower bangle blanks. There are three different designs, the poppy you can see above plus two differently textured daisies. The bangles open up behind the flowers so that you can decorate the wire with fibres, beads, wire or anything you can think of and not have to worry about so much space being taken up inside that you end up making the bangle too small to fit over your hand.

And my new blog challenge is on these cute flower bangles!

I want to see what you can come up with, what unique ideas you can use to decorate the bangles. So, I have five bangles, a mix of the different flowers but all oxidised copper, and if you're up for the challenge this is what you need to do.....
  • leave me a comment on this post, complete with your email address before the end of Tuesday (29th May)
  • grab the flower bangle button on the left to put on your blog with a link back to this post
  • make something beautiful with your bangle and post pictures of what you have made on your blog on the last day of June, Saturday 30th June. 
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 as soon as I've made myself a bangle as well!

In the past I've run my challenges as "first come, first served", but this time I've decided to have a little draw. So, leaving a comment will enter you into the draw, and the first five names out of the hat will get a bangle, and this is open to those of you overseas too! Good luck!

Forgive me blog readers...

for I have sinned. It has been 9 days since I have blogged.

Heavens! Has it really been that long?! Time is not just flying by at the moment, it's in a jet plane breaking the sound barrier. I was going to call this post "What a week" but I've got a feeling that I've used that title at least a couple of times before. But it has been a crazy week! T's Dad came to visit, T had to have a couple of days of work with a bad back (very unusual for him, he never has sick days), Ben and a friend have been preparing for the school talent show next week (I taught them some magic tricks!), T's Mum and StepDad arrived for the weekend this afternoon - you get the picture! And Jamie started walking too. Only when he wants to, that is. After all, he can speed crawl everywhere a lot faster than he can walk! He's just this week seen the advantage of being able to see higher up as he moved around the house, which has meant that I've had to clear things away a lot better and Ben can now longer assume that if he leaves a lego model on the table that it is safe from his baby brother! I want to take some photos of him toddling about but that's proving rather difficult at the moment as he just doesn't want to stay still, so you may have to wait a while!

My work has been lovely and busy too. I think that the gorgeously sunny weather has got people thinking about new outfits and new jewellery to go with them, which is fine by me! It's getting to the stage that I need to wither clone myself or get a helper. Any takers? You have to love jewellery and beads, put up with me singing along to Radio 2 and be willing to be paid in malteasers and cuddes from Jamie. The picture above is of the parcels that I took up to the post office today, and there was double that amount yesterday, some etsy orders, some notonthehighstreet and a couple from my website too. I've worked out a system with our lovely local post office that I buy the main stamps I need from them in advance, collect customs labels and air mail labels from them too and do as much preparation as I can at home, usually in the evenings when everything is alot quieter. It makes everything so much quicker at the post office, which is very important as I usually have on if not both of the boys with me! I've sent parcels all over the world this week - everywhere from the Bronx, LA and Dallas to New South Wales, Hong Kong and Vancouver and back home again to Manchester, Cambridge and the Isle of Wight!

Right then, another quick post about some new designs (easier to keep them separate so I don't get muddled!) and then I'm off to catch up with some of the blog reading I've missed in the last nine days!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


A good morning's work! Sawing, filing, drilling and hammering. 
Soldering next!

If you...

Following on from a converstation with Ben on the way to school this morning...

 My first thought was a jewellery making technique (of course!) but then I thought again, and knew what would one day be the most wonderful "thing" to have named after me - a grand child. In the distant future of course, considering my boys are 6 and 16 months old! And probably just a middle name otherwise it could get a bit confusing! Ben decided that he wanted to have a train or a lego model named after him!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tutorial Tuesday - Looking Glass Pendant

I have had Marcie Abney's beautiful Looking Glass pendant pinned on one of my boards in Pinterest for ages, and I thought that it was about time that I shared it on here! I love the fact that it looks absolutely gorgeous but only uses a few resources and is perfect for presents. She's written a great tutorial to show you how to make your own, and you can find it here .

Monday, 14 May 2012

Home is where the heart is

Did you see the photo I put on my BTW post last Wednesday? BTW stands for Bead Table Wednesday, by the way :) In case you didn't see it, here's a quick reminder

I'd been pulling together beads to use in the Art Bead Scene challenge for this month that uses this picture by Maurice Utrillo as it's inspiration, and took a quick photo before I got started on the silver work. Well, this is what I ended up making.....

What's that? You don't see many of the beads I originally had piled up? Well, you see that's what usually happens when I'm making a new design, especially a one-off piece! However, one thing did remain from my original design  - the house clasp. I've had this design sketched out for months, and I knew that this was the perfect challenge for it. As always, I've made it so that the hook of the clasp is hidden underneath, so that the flow of the design is uninterrupted and which ever way the bracelet turns there's something lovely to look at.

The other pieces in the bracelet are a gorgeous lampwork bead by Mindy Macgregor, pretty ceramic beads in a lovely turquoisey blue from Bohulley (part of a great parcel of goodies that I had last week!), Czech firepolished beads, a Swarovski crystal and more silverwork by me. The length of the bracelet can be adjusted slightly as the clasp can hook onto any of the rings at the end of the bracelet.

And it's name? Well, with a house and a heart it just had to be "Home is where the heart is"! I am reopening my etsy jewellery shop at the end of the week, so this bracelet will be on there then.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Happy Dance!

I know I've been quiet here over the last week, but it has been for good reasons, promise! I've been really busy working on magazine articles (can't show you anything to do with those yet though, sorry!) and the ebook that I mentioned last week. That's been coming along really well (well, I think so anyway, and even T thought it was looking good!), and I'm hoping to be able to release it in a week or so. In the meantime though, here's a quick sneak preview of one of the projects that's in it....

But anyway, I want to tell you why I've been doing a happy dance, or rather happy dances, around the house over the last couple of days!

A while back I posted that I'd was one of ten designers nominated by the Beads and Beyond readers for the Readers' Designer of the Year. This afternoon July's issue of the magazine arrived ......and I won!! I am so amazed, and so chuffed!! Thank you so much those of you who voted for me! It means so much that people actually like the projects I write. As much as I love working in my shed, hammering away, it can be pretty isolating, so this really does mean a lot to me. Hopefully you can see from the (poor, taken with my iphone) photo that my lovely friend Rebecca Anderson came second out of the ten - personally I think her projects are more appealing to a wider set of readers as they don't need soldering kit etc to do!

And the second thing - yes, there's more! If you can remember back as far as last June I wrote that I'd submitted a project to a book for the first time and that it was accepted - and the book is now available to pre-order! 30-minute Bracelets is one of Lark's lovely books, and has over 60 projects by some fantastic designers such as Erin Prais-Hintz, whose blog I love to read. I haven't had my copy of the book through yet as it's probably still flying over the Atlantic, but I've seen the front cover on Amazon, and that's what started the happy dance, as you see the smoky quartz bracelet with the oak leaf clasp on the front cover? That's mine that is!!

Well, I think that's enough excitment for one day. I'm off to give Jamie his late night feed - that'll bring me back down to earth!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Treating myself to a play break this morning and choosing beads for this month's ABS challenge.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

One Crayon Colour Challenge

Time for another challenge! I've been busy working towards deadlines this week (which is why I've been so quiet!), so it was great being able to put them to one side for a little while and just play! I loved looking at all the designs entered into Sally Russick's last challenge, so I was really pleased to get a place on her latest challenge - I just squeezed in at the last minute! This time, Sally challenged us to use just one colour to design a piece of jewellery - which I actually found a bit harder than I thought I would as I've been really enjoying mixing the colours is recently!

My crayon colour was blue, and this is what (after a couple of false starts) I came up with.....

Lampwork beads by Beads of Passion
Czech glass faceted beads from Five Sisters
Silk ribbon from Marsha Neal Studio
Sterling silver bubble connectors made by me!

This started out as a bracelet and then turned into a long necklace which I wasn't completely pleased with, but I could put my finger on why! While photographing it I finally realised that although I loved the blues in the beads I'd chosen and was really pleased with the bubble connectors I'd made everything was too spread out and the beads would have looked lost unless it was worn with the plainest of tops - and so the bead and silver section got doubled up and it turned into a shorter necklace that looks far richer and makes more of a statement!

If you'd like to see how I made the bubble connectors please have a look at this tutorial!

To see all the other challenge designs please visit:

Hosted by:
Alicia Marinache
Catherine Pruitt
Jenny Davies Reazor
Jennifer Judd Velasquez
Birgitta Lejonklou


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