Saturday 31 March 2012

Spotted and Pinned!

My clasps and findings have been featured on both Art Bead Scene and Rebecca Anderson's Songbeads blog this week. Rebecca is one of the ABS blog team, and has written both a tutorial (using my poppy and daisy clasps, silk and macrame) and the Studio Saturday post over there this week - head over to the ABS blog and leave a comment on her Studio Saturday post to be in with a chance of winning a set of my poppy headpins and charms, and to get a code for my etsy shop that will get you 15% off until the end of May!

And the "pinned" part of the post title? I've set up a Pinterest board for designs made using my Daisychain Extra bits and pieces - you can find it here, and if you've got pictures of jewellery made using them please let me know where they are and I'll pin them. All the photos get linked back to your website/blog/etsy shop or wherever the pictures were pinned from, so it's an easy way of getting some more publicity.

There will be a shop update later on this evening - some new made-to-order designs that I've been working on for a while and some limited edition pieces too. I'll post here again when they're in the shop!

Friday 30 March 2012

Beach Day

My poor boys are ill at the moment - Jamie started coming down with first of all a tummy bug at the end of last week, had a couple of days when he was tired but ok, and now has a horrible cough, and I had to go down to school to pick Ben up early yesterday as he's got the cough and a slight temperature. There's so much going round at the moment!

All this and being busy with orders and teaching (more of that later!) has meant that I've barely had time to turn the computer on, but all week I've been wanting to show you the photos I took on the beach on Sunday. Yes, the beach! In March!! The weather is so fantastic at the moment, more like June usually is, but not quite warm enough to go without a jumper on the breezy beach.

Ben and I met my parents at West Wittering beach on Sunday, leaving Jamie with T. It's not too far from where my parents live, and I really should take the boys there more often. Although Southampton is right on the coast, we don't have any decent beaches here as the docks take up most of the water front but there are beautiful beaches in both directions from us along the coast and we need to take advantage of them more! The Witterings are perfect for sand castle building, so that's what we did - and watch to see how well our castle defended itself against the incoming tide of course!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Tutorial Tuesday - covering crimp beads

I don't use many crimp beads in my jewellery but when I do I have to admit that I don't cover them up, I don't think about how they can be hidden. This is mainly because until now the only way I knew of covering them up was by using crimp bead covers, and I really don't like how they look! Lorelei Eurto has solved that problem for me though, with a great post on some imaginative ways of hiding those sometimes ugly squashed bits of metal. You can find her tutorial here.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Thank you!

Rebecca's the cover girl this month with her gorgeous romantic spring bracelet!
It's voting time over at Beads and Beyond again! The finalists to the Jewellery Maker of the Year have been shortlisted, and the readers have also nominated their favourite Beads and Beyond Designer - the lovely Rebecca Anderson and I have both been nominated, thank you so much it everyone who sent a nomination in! It's so lovely to know that people like the projects I send in. And congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted. There are some really beautiful pieces of jewellery and lampwork in the finalists again this year - I have my favourites, but I'm not going to tell you who as I don't want to influence you!

To see all the finalists and to vote for your favourites in each catagory, visit the Beads and Beyond voting page here - you have until 1st April! I know I'm probably slightly biased, but I really do think that B&B is the best on the UK market, and one of the best available in the States too as there is a really good mix of materials and techniques, and a far better ratio of projects to adverts than many craft magazines.


Sitting in my workshed, sun shining in through the windows, working on new pieces for my Etsy shop. 
Hope you're all having lovely days too!

Sunday 18 March 2012

Happy Mothering Sunday!

A little late in the day, I know, but Happy Mothering Sunday to mothers, grandmas and anyone else who mothers anyone! T and the boys gave me a lovely day today. A lie-in this morning then T took both boys to Ben's swimming lesson so I could have a leisurely and uninterrupted breakfast and shower (bliss!), followed by lunch out. After lunch while Jamie was napping and T and Ben raced round the Mario Kart tracks I went out the shed and just played, tried out a few ideas that I've been wanting to have a go at for months. One of them worked even better than I'd hoped for, so at one point I was dancing round the shed! I'll be able to show you the results of it in a couple of days. All in all, a lovely day!

Saturday 17 March 2012

Doing what we can

One of the proverbs Judy kept on her blog

This week a member of our beading community left us far too early. Judy Glende was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in December, her second battle with cancer, and one that she battled bravely. Whilst it has been wonderful to see how so many beaders, designers, lampworkers, jewellery addicts, whatever you want to call us, have pulled together to offer our support and prayers to Judy's family, we know no words that we can offer can bring them the comfort and peace that they need.

A member of our local community here lost her battle with cancer a month ago too. I haven't mentioned it here before as I was only just getting to know her, and it's not my story to tell. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of January, shortly after stopping breast feeding her youngest son, by which time it had spread all over, including to her spinal cord. Aggressive chemo was started to give her as much time as possible, but an infection on top of that led to kidney failure only a few weeks after her diagnosis. Her friends, church and our school community are giving as much support as they possibly can. Her two eldest boys are either side of Ben in age, and her baby is 5 days younger than Jamie - another reason why I haven't written about it here. It's just too close to home, makes me realise again how close a call I had last year.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the Bead Soup pieces I've made with the wonderful lampwork Michi sent me and of doing some fundraising with them, and Tania of Moobie Grace Designs has organised a design challenge in honour of Judy that will also be a fundraiser for cancer charities. I'll post details of what I'm going to do with my Bead Soup pieces next week, but you can find details of the "Flap Your Wings" challenge (named after Judy's etsy shop) on Tania's blog here.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

BTW part 2

It took me a while to get going this morning. I knew what I wanted to get done, has my list of jobs drawn up, but it wasn't until mid morning that my brain was ready for the delicate task of stone setting! Lots of hammering had to be done to wake me up first. Wednesday morning, you see, is the morning after the night before of teaching two 2 hour college classes back to back - the 15 minute break between the two never really happens! Don't get me wrong, I love teaching my classes, love helping my advanced class bring their beautiful designs to life and teaching them more advanced techniques, love seeing the delight on the faces of my beginners class when they complete a new piece of jewellery - and reassuring them that everyone, no matter how experience they are, has off days when things don't quite go as well as they planned! But some Wednesday mornings are a bit sleepy.

Anyway, I did get my list of jobs done in the end. Parcels have been sent with NOTHS orders in time for Mothering Sunday, two of the stone settings that I posted a picture of this morning have had more silver added to them and added the box of items to be sent off to Goldsmiths' Hall for hallmarking, new clasps made to polish tomorrow and list on etsy before the weekend.

This evening has been spent editing photos of the four pieces I finished today and listing them on my website - you can see them above. The lampwork cabochon much admired in the comments on my post earlier today is by, of course Mindy Macgregor. I've taken about 50 photos of this pendant to try and show the colours and the pattern on the cab as clearly as possible! The silver surrounding the cab has been decorated to mimic the pattern on the glass. The other two cabs are porcelain, shaped and glazed by Lisa Stevens. I've used a combination of bezel and prong settings to hold the stones in place - I love how it has worked, and I'll definitely be using this design again! The fourth pendant has been sitting on my desk part done for weeks, and I finally finished it this morning as part of my "warm up"!

All of the pendants are now on my website - and the lampwork cabochon has 10% off as I've decided to extend the Moogin sale until the end of March as Moogin March sounds good and I want to buy more of her beads!

BTW part 1

My job for this morning - stone setting! I've been using these as examples for my college classes and it's time to finish them today.

Wednesday 7 March 2012


Today has been a day of hiding away from the rain inside my workshed, standing over a hot kiln working on some keum boo jewellery. I've been putting the finishing touches to a couple of gallery orders, but although that was most of my work today I forgot to take any photos! Never mind, I do still have some photos to show you as the last hour or so of the day was spent taking and editing photos of new pendants.

Some more Moogin Special pendants!

These are all made with Moogin lampwork beads with such beautiful detail. My favourite is the one in the middle with glorious shades of purples and reds. The centres of the flowers are slightly raised rather than melted completely into the bead, and so the bead has a lovely texture to it. I have to admit that I've been hoarding this one for quite some time!

These three have all been listed on my website, and remember that there is 10% off jewellery with Moogin Beads during March. The Peacock bracelet that I made for the February ABS challenge sold today. I've started making a couple more feather clasps so I think I'll be using another one in a bracelet soon.

Thank you for all of the lovely comments you have made on my Bead Soup post! I'm about halfway through the list of blogs - I will get there, but I want to leave a comment on each blog I visit so it's taking a while!

Saturday 3 March 2012

Welcome to the Party!

Welcome to the Southampton leg of the Bead Soup Blog Party Hop! This party has definitely been the best one yet, and I think that's got quite a bit to do with the Bead Soup Cafe group that Lori (our hostess) set up for us on Facebook. It's been an easily accessible place for us to chat, post pictures and ask questions about both the party and anything to do with jewellery. It's a private group, but anyone who loves beads is welcome, whether or not you're taking part in the party - you can find us here. Thank you Lori for setting it up, and thank you so much for being such a wonderful party hostess!

Before I show you what I've made, here's a quick reminder of what my partner Michi sent me. She was amazingly generous and sent me not the one focal bead, clasp and a few supporting beads that the party calls for but FOUR beautiful lampwork beads that she made herself, a clasp and a whole supporting cast of other beads. As breathtaking as her lampwork beads were and as much as I love them and am in awe at Michi's skillful work, they were definitely a challenge for me. I have become far more comfortable working with brighter colours over the last couple of years, but I think that it was the addition of the blue that made these beads so much of a challenge. The blue meant that I wasn't able to add colours like browns into the mix to tone the colours down and bring them closer to my comfort zone. I had plans for three of the beads, but due to Jamie being ill earlier in the week I've only been able to finish work with one of the focal beads. The other designs will be posted over the next week, so it'll be an extended party here!

So, are you ready? Here is my main design..... (Heavens, I'm nervous! I really hope Michi likes it!)

I knew that I wanted to use the brightest bead in a bracelet, mainly as the general expectation would be to use it in a necklace! However, this is a big bead, 4.5cm long, so I decided to make a brangle - half bracelet, half bangle - so that the metal section of the design would hold the bead comfortably on top of the wearer's wrist, showing it off. The red spacer beads either side of the focal were made by Michi too, and I decided to oxidise the bracelet as, well, bright silver was just too much next to the bright beads!

I made the clasp on the bracelet, so of course that leaves the clasp that Michi sent me to use in another design.....

The toggle clasp that Michi sent is so lovely, such a pretty, intricate design, that I decided to use it as a charm on a pendant rather than a clasp so that I could show it off more. The lampwork bead here is one by Isabelle Anderson that I've had for quite a while, and I added a faceted peridot bead to add a brighter touch to the design. The pendant hangs from dark pinky purple silk.

I had time to make one more piece. Actually this was the piece that I made first to get me into the swing of things! I loved the ceramic beads that Michi sent me, and I've brightened them up (see, she has influenced me!) by using them with amethyst, faceted smoky quartz and more of the pinky purple silk. I made the silver rings, and of course I made the clasp too, one of my daisy hook clasps. I gave the silver a slightly matt look to fit in better with the beads. I am awful at photographing long necklaces (and this one is over 80cm long), but I'm hoping to get a photo of me wearing this one later on today when the light's better.

Thank you for partying with me here in Southampton! Please do go and visit the rest of the bloggers taking part. I'm off to see what my partner Michi made with the owl clasp and large heart focal bead I sent her!

Hostess, Lori Anderson  
Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer
1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)
21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

Friday 2 March 2012

Just a few finishing touches....

It's nearly time to party!

The 5th Bead Soup Blog Party is tomorrow - well, today if you're in New Zealand like some of the other party goers (and my friend Hellie - hello Hellie, I will Skype very soon, promise!), and you can see from the map that Lori has put together that there are jewellery and bead bloggers from all over the globe taking part! I've got a couple of finishing touches to do on one of my pieces, so for now I'll leave you with a hint of what's to come.

Oh, and if you've no idea what on earth I'm on about and what a Bead Soup Blog Party actually is, take a look here!

Thursday 1 March 2012

Moogin Special!

If you've followed my blog for a while you will realise by now that I LOVE Mindy Macgregor's beads. Actually, let's be honest here, even if you've only read the posts from the last week or so you must have realised how wonderful I think her beads are by now! I love them so much that when Mindy sends out her newsletters letting people know that she's just listed new beads on Etsy I know that if I go and have a look I will definitely end up buying at least one, quite often a set, as I know that if I don't buy them when I see them I may never see them again - unless I see them on Rebecca Anderson's blog that is. She loves Moogin beads just as much as I do and sometimes we end up unknowingly racing each other to buy them!

Anyway, I have been badly neglecting my jewellery website in favour of my Daisychain Extra etsy shop in the last few months, and I've been really bad at listing my new jewellery on there. So, I've been busy taking and editing photos today, concentrating on the jewellery I've made with Mindy's beads. I've listed six new pendants on the website this evening, and there are more to come over the next few days. I started with these pendants as I adore all the bright colours in them - they bring a touch of summer! The focal beads are some of the largest round beads I've seen, and the detailed patterning on them is beautiful. I've soldered, hammered and polished "bubbles" of sterling silver to go between the focal bead and the brightly coloured spacer bead on each pendant, and hung them from long chain.

And the special part? Well, apart from the fact that Mindy's beads are special in their own right, for the next week, starting today, I'm offering 10% off all of the jewellery I have made with Mindy's beads. The reason is simply that if you buy the jewellery, I can buy more of Mindy's beautiful beads and make more jewellery with them - everyone wins!

I've set up a separate section on my website here for all of the jewellery using Mindy's beads, and the discount has been automatically applied.


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