Thursday, 21 March 2013

Making Hollow Beads

 Have I mentioned before how addicted I've become to making hollow beads?! I think I may have mentioned it once or twice! The components I made for the AJE Component of the Month challenge for my turn this month were the copper hollow beads that you can see above, and if you'd like to see how I made them click here to see the post I wrote for the AJE blog today!

P.S. I'm currently working on a limited edition batch of these beads to go in my Daisychain Extra shop!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tutorial Tuesday - Armful of Flowers

The April edition of Beads and Beyond magazine came out last week with a flower bracelet that I had lots of fun with. My starting point was discs of silver and copper - well, they started out round discs, but that was before I hammered them into submission! Each stem of a flower links behind the next like a daisychain.

And there's more! Each two page project in the magazine includes a varation, another way of using the design idea. The variation for this project is a brooch, and I've written a blog post for the Beads and Beyond magazine blog - - with step-by-step photos of how to make it. You can find it here, and if you have a go I'd love to see what you make!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Good old fashioned bartering

A good friend of mine makes absolutely gorgeous polymer clay jewellery, including beautiful large hollow beads. She and I have just spent a lovely evening in my workshed where I taught her how to make her own sterling silver ear wires and simple clasps, and she swapped her son's old car seat for the tuition - I posted about the earrings she made a couple of weeks ago here. Her son had grown out of the seat, we needed another for T's car, and it's perfect for Jamie.

I'm a hopeless gardener. I'm forever optimistic about it but once I get out in the garden I don't know where to start, especially as the garden got out of hand while I was in the last few months of pregnancy with Jamie and then I was so ill after he was born. I perfectly happy weeding and cutting the grass but heaven help me when it comes to the rest of it, and what with the business and the boys I don't have the time to get the garden back into order. But another lovely friend of mine is has a small gardening business, and when I asked her if she could fit me in she suggested swapping gardening for jewellery. She gets so much more done in an hour than I could in a whole afternoon, and I get the time for jewellery making instead!

And then there's Brenda, she of the amazing stones that I've used in quite a few of my designs, such as here and here. She, and her husband Paul, regularly come for jewellery tuition, which she partly pays for in cash from stone sales in her etsy shop or in stones that she lets me choose from her stash. And, of course, they use Brenda's stones in what they make with me too! One of the rings that Paul has made Brenda is pictured above.

Three win-win situations - three situations where we swap our skills and goods for other skills, three situations where both parties are delighted with the deal that they've made. Good old fashioned bartering at its best! And I'm sure that my friends and I aren't alone, especially as websites, usually locally based at first, are now being built to help people link up to swap their services. So, have you turned your time and skills into useful goods or skills for your household, or treats for yourself even, without purses being opened?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Soup's ready to cook!

There was a sigh of relief on both sides of the Atlantic last week when the Bead Soup ingredients that my partner Deborah Read put together for me arrived safely. They had actually arrived in the UK over a week before that but I was out when the postie tried to deliver them so I came home I found one of those lovely "while you were out" cards. Unfortunately the sorting office had put my parcel in such a safe place that it took them a week to find it!

So, here at last are the wonderful goodies that Deb sent me! She has been so generous.


At the moment I'm leaning towards using one of the dichroic glass pieces to use as a focal - but knowing me I'll change my mind before our reveal on 6th April!

If you want a reminder of what I sent Deb, have a look here and here. We actually sent each other similar colours!

AJE earrings challenge reveal

It's my turn to write the AJE post for the earrings challenge reveal, so I thought that I ought to get my own reveal post up on time for once!

I've continued on my poppy and wood them. Afterall, I make so many poppy head pins, charms and earwires for my Daisychain Extra shop that I should make more use of them in my own designs! And I bought some beautiful wooden beads from Smitten Beads in the New Year, and I'm really enjoying showing them off in earrings.

Ebony and Silver use a pair of hollow silver beads that I made as a demonstration for one of my college classes. I've given them a lovely matt finish and teamed them with long ebony twisted beads - hanging from poppy earwires of course!

Out of the Blue has Czech glass turquoise faceted beads and ebony rondelles strung on poppy headpins that I've turned into earwires.

I've kept to a turquoise/aqua theme for the earrings I chose from the AJE Earring Challenge Pinterest board - click here to see!

Saturday, 16 March 2013


the new additions to the Daisychain family!

Aren't they adorable? They are brother and sister, Mollie and Pickles, and Jamie and I picked them up from the Blue Cross animal rescue centre on Friday. We've had our names down in the waiting list for kittens since the New Year, and they called a couple of weeks ago to say that they had a litter ready to go home and were we still interested? What a silly question! I fell in love with them at first sight. It took me ages to get these photos of them yesterday as they were dancing all around the kitchen, skidding on the laminate flooring and generally exploring so most of the photos I took were of blurred balls of fluff! We've let them in the sitting room with us this evening after the boys went to bed, and after a good old explore in every single nook and cranny that they can squeeze themselves into they have fallen fast asleep curled up on the sofa pressed up against me. I am definitely in love!

Our adoption of them has been bittersweet though. As those of you who I'm friends with in real life or on facebook will already know we lost my beautiful Millie cat on 19th November. It was horribly, horribly sudden. She spent the Thursday afternoon basking in the winter's sun on the roof of my workshed, keeping an eye on what my student was making. Friday morning she was quiet, but not unusually so considering she was 12, but by Friday tea time it was obvious that she was ill. T was taking the boys up to his Mum's for the weekend as I was teaching on Saturday, and after they left I took Millie to the vets. They found three tumours in her chest cavity, and said that we'd probably have a few months with her at best, but on Monday morning it was painfully clear that she'd had enough. I think she'd been hiding how ill she was until she couldn't cope anymore and it was time for her to go. It still makes me cry now just typing this, which is why there was no way I could write about it before, but she had a good life with all of us at her beck and call, and we were able to say goodbye to her. She's left me with plenty of good memories to smile about though - remember the climbing the bathroom wall incident?!

So, bringing the kittens home has reopened some barely healed wounds, but it's going to help heal them too. Our house has not felt complete since Millie died - and now it's full of two bouncy kittens and two equally bouncy boys getting up to mischief! Thankfully all four of them are getting used to each other already!

Friday, 15 March 2013

New Daisychain Jewellery website party - Pinterest competition winners

Only a week has gone past (ok then, eight days!) since my last blog post but so much has happened! I think the next few days are going to be days of multiple posts to try and catch you all up with life at Daisychain HQ, but my priority tonight is to announce the winners of the Pinterest competition that has been running over the last two weeks to celebrate the launch of my lovely new website. To remind you, the rules of the competition can be found here.

So, without further delay the winners are....

First prize of £50 gift certificate for the Daisychain Jewellery website - Kira Withers-Jones with her pin of my Luna earrings.

Second prize of £30 gift certificate for the Daisychain Jewellery website - Linda Landig with her pin of my Dusky Rose pendant.

Third prize of £20 gift certificate for the Daisychain Jewellery website - Sarah Goulding with her pin of my Ever Decreasing Circles pendant.

Congratualtions ladies! Emails will be on their way to you tomorrow. And a big thank you to everyone who took part in the competition!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

AJE earrings challenge - reveal 4

One week I will actually publish a blog post on time for the Art Jewelry Elements earrings challenge reveal! I'm quite pleased with myself that I have made a pair of earrings for each week, even if I did get a bit behind with taking photos of them while I was setting up my new photography lights. I find earrings the hardest type of jewellery to make - they have fewer components in them than bracelets or earrings, so for me everything in them has to be perfectly balanced, and there's no room for error.

Top: Tropical Flowers, Bottom: Tropics

This week's offerings have a tropical colour scheme - partly because I want to see far more of the sun that we have started to see a bit this week, and partly because I just love the combination of brown, turquoise and deep red! Both pairs of earrings are waiting for new homes on the website here.

I'm really pleased with the earwires on the second pair. A lovely friend came round last Thursday evening so that I could show her how to make silver earwires to compliment her beautiful polymer clay beads. Joanna and I spent a fun couple of hours in the workshed melting wire into headpins, turning loops, twisting wire, and these are the earrings she made....

Aren't they beautiful? I love Joanna's beads, especially the hollow beads that she makes. And remember when you look at these that she hadn't made a single earwire before! You can see more of Joanna's work here.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

New Tuition Dates available

Well, it's all change over here at Daisychain Headquarters! What do you think of the new blog look so far? Definitely more in keeping with my new website, don't you think? There are still a few bits and pieces that need tweeking, but they'll be done soon!

I put some new private tuition dates on the website late last night, and almost before I had a chance to publicise them much half of them were booked up! There are dates in May and June left, so if you would like to come along and learn how to set stones, make chains, learn how to make Keum Boo jewellery or to improve skills that you've already got please see here for more details. Dates for July will be available as soon as possible.

Friday, 1 March 2013

New look website party!

Welcome to the new look Daisychain Jewellery website party!

We've been working hard behind the scenes over the last few weeks, but it is finally time to reveal the new look Daisychain Jewellery website!

I hope that you enjoy the cleaner, fresh look and the ease of navigation around the site. Each collection of jewellery (Golden, Bloom and Unique) now has it's own section that can be found either through the drop down menu choices at the top of the page or through the beautiful carousel photos on the home page. Information on my jewellery tuition can also be found through the drop down menus, and new tuition dates will be added to the website over the weekend.

Anyway, all good parties have good bags and games don't they? Here's mine!

First of all, the goodies

Every jewellery order of £30 or more placed before 15th March will receive a complimentary pair of sterling silver Loveheart earrings as shown above. This design isn't available to buy on the website yet, and would make a lovely treat for yourself or a friend - or maybe even a Mother's Day gift!

And the game
As I seem to spend a fair bit of time on Pinterest at the moment, I thought I'd make the competition a Pinterest one. You will see that each piece of jewellery on the Daisychain Jewellery website has a "Pin It" button beneath the main product image. Simply pin an image of your favourite design (or designs!) to your Pinterest boards before midday GMT on Friday 15th March to enter the competition. I can easily see who has pinned which image from the website, and all pinners will be entered into a draw to win the following:

First prize - £50 gift certificate to be spent on the Daisychain Jewellery website
Second prize - £30 gift certificate to be spent on the Daisychain Jewellery website
Third prize - £20 gift certificate to be spent on the Daisychain Jewellery website

There are, of course, a few rules:
  • Only pins of items of jewellery from the Daisychain website ( pinned before midday GMT on Friday 15th March will be entered into the draw.
  • The competition is available to both UK and overseas residents
  • Each time you pin an image of a different piece of Daisychain jewellery you will be entered into the draw - so the more pins you do, the more chances you have to win!
  • Gift certificates remain valid for a year from 15th March 2013 (i.e. they expire at midnight on 15th March 2014) and are only eligible on the Daisychain website (
  • Your Pinterest account must include a method by which I can contact you if you have won (e.g. a link to your Facebook account, a link to a blog, an email addres etc). Winners will be contacted by the end of Sunday 17th March. If any winners do not respond to that contact by Friday 22nd March the names of new winners will be drawn. The names of winners will also be listed on my website and here on my blog.
Remember, the more images you pin, the more chances you have to win!

Good luck!

So excited!

Today's the day when lots of hard work behind the scenes by me, my lovely friend Nicky and the equally lovely people at Big Front Door will finally pay off! Hopefully - I am keeping my fingers crossed as when I'm doing something like this I always have a last minute panic that some gremlins are going to get involved.

Anyway, what have we been doing? Only building a brand new fantastic completely new look website, that's what! I am so excited it's ridiculous! I've pressed the buttons to tell the web and google and any one else who needs to know that my website is moving, so sometime before tomorrow morning this front page....

will be replaced with this one..... (maybe with a different photo as I've got a loop of gorgeous photos in a carousel)

I'm having giveaways and competitions and lots of lovely things to celebrate over the weekend, so do come back for more information - or even better sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Facebook by following the links on the left to get the information as soon as I write it!


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