Sunday, 19 December 2010

Tree time

Its nearly Christmas, which i dont think has escaped anyones notice, although I am feeling singularly unready for it. I think it is the snow, it has put me out of whack somehow. We braved the trip into town yesterday and I can imagine there were lots of unhappy retailers, the last saturday before Christmas and it was dead. Not completely deserted but people were few and far between and given the state of the roads hardly surprising but it just didnt feel like Christmas because of it.

However I have been sorting out Christmas trees, our tree in the living room looks much as it did last year but this year i did a little tree for the studio too (which will move inside just before Christmas day).
I got a bit excited about the idea of having this mini tree in the studio and so I decided to put handmade decorations on it. This is the tree I used to have as a teenager so it does have some bits (paper garlands, bead strings and a cute little string of brass bells) that I want to keep on it from then, but as far as baubles go I wanted to make my own. I have made blown glass baubles in the hot shop before but there is no way this little fella would hold that kind of weight so I made lampwork baubles. 

As I have had a (very very lovely) surprise early Christmas present this week in the form of a sandblaster, which my lovely Himself decided was too big to wrap up or hide anywhere, I had to include a little sandblasted  disc too.

And simply because I have one, and they are gorgeous I had to include this adorable little ceramic button by the terrific Tan of course.

Im thinking I may have started another little Christmas tradition and that it would be nice to make at least one new ornament for it each year and (hopefully) see my skills in this area improve or at the very least see how they evolve ! 

Now Im off to make some mince pies and hoping that the smell of them cooking wafting around the house will make me feel more Christmassy. 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Its that time of year, things are getting Christmassy, the mornings are frosty, and I made Penguins.

"So, erm, do you come here often ?"

So far I have made 22 penguins and I managed to get some pictures of some of them last night before they put on their new outfits and went out into the world as phone charms. I love making penguins, I love the fact they are all different, the expressions it is possible to get on their faces. They were so cute that I had to keep one for me.

Is there anything that you love to make near Christmas, something that makes you feel all festive ? Feel free to comment or leave a link to a photo, Id love to see. 

Monday, 6 December 2010


If you havent noticed it, scroll down a ways and have a look at the badge down there on the right, yes thats it the reverb10 one, have you had a look at the site yet ?  There are daily prompts to reflect on 2010 and lots of participants, some of whom have shared their blog details if you want to follow their responses each day.

I signed up at the beginning of the month thanks to noticing it on Ali Edwards blog. I had already decided to do some form of photo diary for December and this fitted in quite well so I have been joining in, in a digital format, pairing photos with words in Photoshop each day. Todays prompt was about making which was perfect for me at the moment. So out came the sewing machine again and off I went, inspired to action.

6/12/10 photo, taken with the iphone hipstamatic app

I have been wanting to make myself a tool roll for my "essential" lampwork tools, the ones I take with me when I go to classes or meet ups, so, I did. And Im quite pleased with how it turned out. 

Have you dusted off any making skills recently and made something in a media you dont usually work in or used a technique you havent tried for a while ?

Thursday, 2 December 2010


I have decided I need to make some changes and improvements to my website (you may have noticed that for me my website is an ever evolving creature, which, like my glass work, I keep trying to improve) so I have been reading about ways of writing better product descriptions, and I thought that might be interesting to you too, if like me you occasionally struggle to hit the right note

Christine Gierer's Handmade Results - Handmade jewelry descriptions

Meylah - how to write product descriptions that tell a story

Karon Thackston's 7 step process for writing enticing product descriptions

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

1st December, advent calenders a go...

The countdown to Christmas has begun today, despite my best plans I am so not organised and ready !! I think I am now going to be doing lots of internet shopping of necessity due to the snow, as in true British fashion a little sprinkling and everything has come to a halt.

Its not that we have that much snow, maybe 3" tops, but there are roads closed and few or no trains !! The view from the studio window is rather picturesque though -

The picturesque-ness does not extend to the inside of the studio which is freezing, I have been torching practically sat on my heater ! However it was a productive day and commissions and presents have been worked on. 

We have had a sudden influx of birds visiting cat tv (the bird feeder) so I have also taken some nice photos of them today which Im thinking might make nice Christmas cards if I get my skates on and get them printed, then there might even be time to "embellish" the cards before sending them.

I hope you Christmas preparations are going well ? Are you the organised type or a last minute dasher ?

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ice Burst Pendant

What a lovely surprise, I got a message from Jess to say that she has featured my Ice Burst Pendant in her weekly wow spot on her blog Handmade by Jess.

Im in great company with a pair of Lynn Davy's gorgeous sparkly earrings !!

Friday, 26 November 2010

The finished beads

This is what the two sets of beads look like once they have had their masking removed and been cleaned up.

Ice Stars -

Frosty Daisies - 

The beads have a core of one colour and a thick coat of enamel, they have been masked off with a resist and then sandblasted to give this finish. I let the sandblast eat quite deep as I like that effect, but tried to keep smattering of enamel to keep that frosted feel.

Its a dirty job..

I thought it might interest you to see some pictures of what I have been working on whilst I have been very quiet this week. So I thought that I would share some work in progress pictures..

Can you guess what I have been doing ??

How about if I give you a bit more of a clue, one step further along the process -

Any guesses ? Answers on a postcard please,.. well ok then in the comments !! I'll share the pictures of the finished pieces soon.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Handmade Christmas - Tree Decorations

I love decorating my Christmas tree, its something I look forward to every Christmas and I love collecting new decorations. All the garden centres locally seem to have put their stocks of Christmas decorations out now to tempt me so I have been investigating the handmade alternatives.

This beautiful blown glass ornament is by Cane River Glass on Etsy, I love the colours in this, it would look so fab on my tree...

Lace Snowflake ornament by Embroidery Impressions on Etsy. So delicate and so pretty !! 

Delightful turned wood ornament by Holz fur Haus on Etsy, isnt this gorgeous ??  The contrasting colours of the wood work so nicely and the shape is lovely.

Porcelain Snowflake ornament by D Hergt Designs on Etsy. I think it is the delicate use of colour in this that draws me to it, a lot of the other ones I saw had the texture or a colour but I love the way this has both working together.

I found it quite interesting that as I was looking around online for handmade decorations, I was struggling to find them with the search words I expected. As you can see Etsy did eventually come up with some delights but I was surprised at how little I could find in general. What words would you choose if you were looking for tree decorations ?? And please, if you have any you have found that you love do share a link.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Craft Fair

I have spent a lovely day today doing a craft fair and sharing a table with my friend Sarah of Flame Force Five. It was great to meet people, renew old friendships and make new ones. I know I have been a little quiet recently so I though I would share some of the new pieces I took with me.

I was really pleased with this necklace, it is quite delicate looking but has a really nice weight to it and a subtle sparkle.

This one I originally made for me (now there is a surprise seeing how much grey it is...) It's of a moody, dark and gothic feel with the lavender and grey and I call it my twighlight necklace as it makes me think of the vampire books !! 

And this one is the opposite, I didnt originally make it for me but have had the beads for a while faffing them into different arrangements and I have totally fallen in love with them, so this one went to be sold but came home with me ! 

The beads are made with Bullseye glass (unusually for me) which does have the most amazing Dichro, much more sparkly than the standard Effetre stuff, and I cased it with Bullseye's colour shifting Rhubarb glass which goes from a deep pink to a gorgeous green !! The doodles are silver paint I drew onto the beads and fired on. 

Now, I think its time to put my feet up with a nice cup of tea (and fondle my new necklace....).

Friday, 19 November 2010

Some days, you need a bit more..

And its even better when you make it in your favorite glass espresso cup. 

Normal service will be resumed shortly ! 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Handmade Christmas - Cards

For the run upto Christmas I thought I would do a weekly post on handmade Christmas things. Im hoping to buy handmade (or swap, trade or make my own) as much as possible this year and thought it wold be fun to share what Im looking at and maybe inspire you with some ideas too (and do feel free to share links to things you like too !)

As Im trying to be more organised this year (aka, not do everything on the 24th December), I have started looking at cards and these are some of my favorites. Im feeling all excited by typography at the moment and these cards are hitting that spot.

From The Green Gables these cute all colourful cards.

From Storeyshop on Folksy,  handcut and personalised cards.

From Typoretum, bright and cheerful this one is antique wooden type printed.

From RockPaperInk on Etsy, lovely Letterpress design.

If you are feeling all inspired but like to design your own you can always upload your own desing and get them printed with MOO. Hmmm.. now how much time was there before Christmas ..

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Blog Tidy

I know it isnt spring but (unless you read through a RSS reader or similar) you have probably noticed I have made a few changes to the blog and had a bit of a tidy. I have been thinking quite a lot recently about what it is I like about my favorite blogs, why is it when I see there is a new post (I use safari's built in RSS reader) from certain people do I rush to read them before others. And I have been looking at some of the plentyful online resources about blogging and trying to decide where I want to go with this blog.

I have come to really enjoy sharing things on here but I realise I am rather random in my witterings !! So if you have any thoughts on posts you have enjoyed, topics you like to read about (or ones you dont like) then I would be delighted if you would leave me a comment. Im planning to make a few changes, to be a little more focused in my approach and hopefully you will enjoy reading as much or more than you do now !
One of my new pendants

...and for anyone interested my current favorite, rush to blogs, at this very minute are The Noisy Plume and  Brandi Girl...  I let you know as a discover new favorites, its one of many things Im thinking I should share more.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Nelli Rees "Glass Bead Jewellery Projects" Book

I am most excited today to have received my copy of this book. It seems like ages ago Nelli said she was writing it, (and to be fair with publishing times etc it probably is). I have always admired Nelli's take on tombo dama beads and as a result have been greatly anticipating the arrival of the book and it definitely lives upto expectations.

I love the book cover, it is a soft back book and has a matt front cover that has ben spot laminated over the pictures (aka the pictures are glossy the rest isnt) which is an effect that I love - I have been trying to source a company who does spot laminating on photobooks for ages but that is another story- and it makes a great "oooo" first impression.

I havent had a chance to sit and read cover to cover but I have had a good nosey through the book. It has been split into sections for different abilities and each lampwork tutorial is then followed by a step by step tutorial on a piece of jewellery made with those very beads. I am always intrigued to see how different people use beads and I think this format is a great idea especially for those who are new to lampwork. I know when I first started making beads, having made anything i liked i had to immediately make it into jewellery so i could wear it and show it off. Looking back at the things i made then its rather clear to see i was as new to wire work and stringing as lampwork and a bit of guidance would have been very useful ! So congratulations to Nelli on a lovely book which I am looking forward to sitting down with a brew and reading thoroughly.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cabochons a go ....

Im very very pleased to say I have got a new section on my website, may I introduce you to my cabochons -

I have been making cabochons for quite a while and mainly using them myself in my own jewellery with a couple of exception that escaped out into the big wide world to other jewellery artists. I decided a few weeks back to put together a range of cabs for sale and have been experimenting and investigating what I like and what works ever since.

The cabs are a complete mixture in style and there are some boro ones as well as soft glass. Im still going to be experimenting with these for a while yet so expect to see more variety yet, some which may turn into proper ranges at some point and some that will definitely be one offs !! 

Monday, 25 October 2010

Autumn Colours

Well, I still havent managed to have a day out and about with my camera (a treat I was promising myself last week)  as I have now had to send it back to the repair folks again as its not happy. However due to the wonderousness that is my iphone all is not lost !

Himself has been most patient in putting up with frequent requests to "stop the car, now" while i get a picture of an amazingly coloured tree.... and waiting for me when I lag behind as I found a pile of leaves just needing to be recorded ... and .. and..

I love autumn, I love the colours, the bright sunshine, the blue skies, the briskness to the air. I love the way it makes me want to play with colour.

I have been making autumn inspired Rocks, I love these because having settled on a shape (and what a lovely organic and tactile shape it is too..) I feel free to just play with colour, mixing and matching to my hearts content. 

All of the Rocks sets have some silver glass in them producing its characteristic mother-of-pearl type shine, perfect to remind you of autumn sunshine on frosty mornings !

Do you like autumn or hate it ? Does it inspire you ? If you have made something inspired by Autumn feel free to share a link in the comments section so we can come and see it.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

First Frost

Brrrrrr... Its been freezing here today ! Quite literally ! This morning saw us waking up to the first frost of the year and the end of a number of my plants in the garden which is now looking very sorry for itself ! I spy a weekend filled with gardening, digging plants up to put them safely away for the winter. Did I mention I love gardening ?? (yep, even in the cold !).

I had a visit today from the lovely Kay of West Beach Beads who kindly braved the arctic (ok, slight exaggeration, but the heater really didnt seem to be making much impact on the cold out there) temperatures in my studio and bought some of her gorgeous beads to show me. All the kitties introduced themselves to her (sorry Kay !) and, apart from one mouse, behaved themselves !

I have high hopes of what went into the kiln today and hope to be back tomorrow with pictures and an exciting announcement this space !

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Gosh, nearly a month since I last blogged !!! What a bad blogger I am !

It has been a very busy few weeks, we have been to Barcelona (wonderful, I love Barcelona, the weather was amazing and we indulged in lots of spanish hot chocolate. Heaven.) I have started teaching a glass after school club locally and last weekend I gave my very first lampworking class !

I wont bore you with hundreds of photos of Barcelona, (and as usual there are 100's !!) but will sum up by saying I took lots of photos of patterns -

Sampled lots of cake shops -

And got quite addicted to a new iPhone photo app that takes interesting panoramas -

My class last weekend was hosted at Fire Works studio in Bristol by the lovely Georgina Black and her husband. They were great and made everything run smoothly and trouble free and John even cooked us a wonderful lunch on Sunday !!

I had a great group of students, and we covered working with transfers, various ways of making cabachons and things you can convert cabachons into like buttons and pendants.

As all the beads and cabs were still in the kiln on Sunday when we finished I havent seen finished beads first hand (Pictures would be great ladies, hint hint lol) but Georgina did put a few pictures up on Frit Happens. It was a great weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed and Im looking forward to seeing what everyone makes with what they learnt.

Im now busily getting back to "normal", filling some gallery orders, making beads and preparing for my next class in Cheshire next month.

I will be back much sooner this time with pictures of new beads !

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Rocking again

Its been a little while since I made Rocks and so I decided it was time for some, partly because I found a string of orphan rocks in my clearing out, and decided that I really liked the look of the thickly encased one therefore I needed to make some more, so I grabbed some silver glass and set off in search of that lovely mother of pearl shine.
My clearing out is part of the new studio plan ... work has currently come to a halt on the studio from a building point of view but I have been having a BIG sort out / clear out trying to get all bead / glass / metal / jewellery related things from their various locations around the house and outside into the studio. You would be amazed at some of the things I have unearthed !! .. or maybe shocked lol ! It has had the added benefit of me actually listing things in my Etsy shop again as I have decided for the time being to use that as a Sale area for all the bits and bobs I have unearthed.

Torch was poorly yesterday but Im pleased to say is better now (huge thankings to my lovely Himself for fixing it) so Im back off out there to melt some more glass and who knows there may be even more rocks soon !! 

Friday, 24 September 2010

Lace bead

I have had an idea for a bead running around in my head for a while now, I love lace (although I prefer mine not to be the frilly variety!) and lace patterns seem to be calling out to go on a bead. I started out by getting pieces of lace and looking at how they went together and thinking about the type of lace I needed for the qualities I wanted the bead to have - a delicate pattern that would, like lace itself, let you see through it to what is behind just slightly veiling. I drew out numerous designs and had several sets of transfers made up but none have been quite right. I finally got some I was happy with and set about having an initial go at putting it all together as I imagined it to be and this is the result -

I am pretty pleased with this as a first go although there are areas that need work so I think you will be seeing several more of these in the non too distant future !

Thursday, 23 September 2010

And the bead goes to ...

Comment Number 8 - Rustyhammer !! Congrats Sharon :o) I will get you your storm coloured bead made tomorrow and on its way to you asap.

Huge thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment and take part !  

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Change is as good as a rest..

And on my day off I made -

Please excuse the fact thy have not yet been cleaned, they are all big hole beads the big one is 12mm hole and the little ones 5mm, they are only very simple beads but I had such fun making them !! Very definitely "Happy Beads" I love the colours together and they make me smile just looking at them so Im thinking these are keepers to be make into something for me !!

Do you have colour combinations that make you smile ?? Do share please, Im in a happy mood and feeling like sharing it so if you post your colours I'll pick one person at random and make you a big bead in your colours...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I had a day off.

There I said it.

Yesterday, I took a day out of my making time, I still went into the studio and I still lit my torch but I had FUN, I played. It was important for ME to take a break, and a change is as good as a rest they say, so that is what I did, I had a change, I played and messed and poked about at my glass, and do you know what ? I didnt make a single saleable thing all day. !!

I know I should probably be telling myself off right now, after all what a disgraceful, frivolous, and downright unsensible thing to do but you know what I feel great. It was what I needed to do, today Im all geared up to make lots of exciting things, get the website and etsy updated, do some photography, finish my to-do list and basically aim for world domination lol.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself some time. Since I have been beading full time I have been getting a bee in my bonnet about spending all of my time making things to go online. I have been productive, and it does feel good getting lots done, but my "work / life balance" (to come over all corporate on you) was getting out of sync. I do this because I love it, and I want to keep it that way.

Things were getting rather too much like the second verse of this poem, I want to enjoy the journey and take time to see the real butterflies not just the ones that come out of my kiln....


Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask "How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say "Hi"?
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over

Monday, 13 September 2010

Mangobeads New Studio

What an amazing weekend ! We are home, somewhat tired but definitely feeling the love (and the cheese ) following a most fabulous weekend in Devon at the opening of Mangobeads gorgeous new studio.

(Picture of Manda Demoing in her new studio - isnt that the most gorgeous picture on the wall behind her !?!)

For a lot of the time as most of you know I spend my time in my garage on my torch, and as Im not exactly Miss Sociability this suits me down to the ground. It does mean that when the chance for a get together comes up it is quite a big thing and I have a tendancy to get rather over excited !! This weekend was no exception and was one of the nicest glassy get togethers I have ever been to, with so many lovely people there the only shame was in lack of time to talk to everyone I wanted to talk to for hours and hours each. There were demos to watch, both "formal" and impromptu and lots and lots of beady swapage going on and I think I can safely say a great time was had by all.

I dont have a lot of pictures (Got carried away with the talking...) but there are some on Flickr here for those that are interested.

As well as all the lovely glassyness we did discover on Saturday evening a (slightly surreal) carnival of pipe bands in Bideford !! Not, I have to confess, what I was expecting in the very south of England but fantastic to watch and listen to non the less.

Further down the road from where the bands were marching there was a funfair !! At which point I rather made up for the lack of photos I didnt take during the day funfairs being one of my favorite things to take photographs of !! I wont bore you with all of them, just a couple I particularly like -

All in all a fun filled and fantastic weekend with lots of lovely people, now I just have to work out how to settle back into my routine .....