It’s been a while…

December 4, 2011 § 20 Comments

The big reveal is here!

Here’s the finished ornament featuring a ceramic button from White Clover Kiln, seed  beeds, Czech glass and some leftover bits and pieces…

On our tree…with some shadows!

Peyote stitched button and seed bead stitched metal ring


Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the participating blogs for some more pretty ornaments 🙂


I haven’t posted on this jewellery blog since the Bead Soup swap months ago – but I have been very busy over on my other, fashion-related blog!

Anyway, to get me back into the swing of making and posting regularly, I’m taking part in the Art Bead Scene Holiday Ornament blog hop. Today I’m posting a little teaser of the ornament I’ve made using a gorgeous ceramic art bead:

It’s a bit of an unusual colour scheme for Christmas but the finished ornament looks great! The official ornament reveal and blog hop is December 6th, so be sure to come back then for the final piece and a list of all the participants.


Bead Soup: The Big Reveal!

September 17, 2011 § 85 Comments

Hello again!

I’ve had a lovely break and now, I’m ready to get back into jewellery making and blogging. What better place to start than with the big bead soup reveal?

Here’s what Ana sent me:

A beautiful concoction of blue, yellow, texture and cool beaded beads! I have to say straight away, though, that I didn’t use the clasp…I know, I know, that’s the whole point! But I was just stumped as to what I could do combining the clasp and the bigger beads, as I don’t tend to wear multistrand pieces. So my next post-Bead Soup challenge is to make something with that clasp!

Here’s what I did make:

First up was the satin cord dragonfly that Ana’s boyfriend made. As it was already attached to a metal ring, I thought this would be best as a key ring or bag charm. I paired it with some bright ceramic beads in the tones of the bead soup for a playful look.

Next were Ana’s beaded beads that combined different textures and colours. I wanted them to be the focus of the entire piece, and as they were quite  chunky, thought they suited a necklace best. I used yellow agate donuts and a combination of crystals, seed beads, and the blue glass beads in the soup alongside the beaded beads to create this fresh, zingy necklace. It has a great spring feel and I think that I’d wear it with a plain white or navy tshirt to set off the colour contrast.

This long, simple necklace was next, using some of the cane glass beads from the soup. I wanted to pick up on the yellow and blue colour theme but using this mustard cord, brass wire, and beads with a little more depth gives it less of a bright and more of a sophisticated edge. Very simple but highlights the beads and the different textures perfectly.

This bracelet was the final piece I pulled together from the soup (although I still do have loads of beads left!) After the bright and sophisticated pairings before, I went for something a little darker and more moody: a contrast of matt blacks and sparkling blues. The lucite flowers are wrapped using antique gold findings, and the toggle clasp is in the same colour. This piece really draws out the different bead surfaces – smooth, sparkling, rough, matt, and metallic – and it a little more interesting that a simple strung bracelet through the little explosions of flowers.

This bead soup was my first one ever, just like Ana. I really enjoyed it and found it challenging but in a productive way. I normally steer away from very vivid colours together but the yellow and blue really popped, and I found myself pushing my design skills to think of other colours that blue could be paired with without becoming just a ‘backdrop’. What I like most, however, is that I’ve now used beads in these designs that have travelled all the way across Europe, and when I wear them I will be thinking of Ana in Slovenia, and all the other bead soup partners across the world who must think the same!

I can’t wait to go through all the blogs to see everyone’s soups, although with over 300 to look at, it might take some time…Check out what Ana made with the bead soup I sent her over on her blog. PS It’s awesome.

Bead Soup Blog Party: Update!

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am getting some seriously wonderful parcels at the moment. There’s a few that will be arriving soon that I have yet to tell you about…but this one I can!

My bead soup arrived from my partner, Ana Krepel-Novak who lives in Slovenia. Ana’s blog is called Cat’s Pajamas, Dog’s Tuxedos, which I immediately loved. She makes her own beaded beads, so I’m glad Lori paired us up as we’ve got the tiny-beads-round-bigger-beads thing in common. She also makes her own clothes and does lots of cool DIY projects, and writes about fashion too.

Here’s the soup she sent me – when I opened the parcel I said ‘awesome’ to myself:

I love contrasting colours, for a start. I also like yellow but find it quite tricky to work with, so that’s great too! Ana also sent me a multi-strand clasp, the type I’ve seen but never used, so I’m looking forward to making some multi-stranded. She also sent me, as the focal, a very cute satin cord dragonfly that her boyfriend made on a ring. Plus there’s the beaded beads and the glass ones too, including some lovely cane glass beads.

What I like about this collection of beads is that it’s in colours I like, and textures I like, but would never have chosen myself. The aim of the Bead Soup Blog Party is to really try and stretch creatively by taking one someone else’s choices, and I think that’s exactly what Ana’s selection is going to make me do. You can see what I sent her over on her blog (and she’s written an amazingly nice post, including being lovely about a focal I made and referring to Joan from Mad Men…a gal after my own heart!)

The big reveal for all the Soupers is September 17th – so remember to come back and see what I made!

I’m having some blog issues at the moment with getting images up, so some of the posts might be a little late coming…but there’ll be there 🙂

Copper Diem’s Treasury Challenge

August 16, 2011 § 1 Comment


I had a family reunion this weekend which involved a 4 hour train journey to my mum’s, then a 2 hour car journey down South, and then all the way back up again yesterday. So you’ll forgive me for completely forgetting to post the results of Copper Diem‘s awesome Etsy treasury challenge, right? Right.

Here’s the treasury Amy from Copper Diem sent me:

A beautifully textured treasury in orange and teal – one of my all time favourite colour combinations! I loved the variety of texture in this treasury and wanted to pick up on that in my piece, along with the different curved shapes (like the bracelet and the swimming pool ladder).

Although I completed the piece very quickly, I still don’t think it’s quite finished. It’s a double bracelet that can be wrapped around twice, but I’m still not sure of the fastening and whether I want to make it a bit longer.

The beads are a mixture of Czech and Indian glass, freshwater pearls, seed beads, some wooden  and metal beads, ceramic ‘cornflakes’, and the two glass hoops in red are by HMB Studios. The whole thing is strung on some thick matte brown leather, and to space out the dangles I used antique gold jump rings and thick hoops. Threading all those on took a very very long time but I’m pleased with the texture it creates, and the weight of it is just right.

To save your scrolling finger I’ve decided to put the photos in this gallery format, which I think looks nice…might try it for some other ones too!

I don’t know if this is in the rules of not BUT a friend of mine, Emily, who is getting more interested in jewellery making (ok, so I’m encouraging the habit – and?!), doesn’t have a blog. So I gave her the link to the same treasury as me so she could make something in the challenge too! Here it is:

I’m really pleased she made this necklace. Great colours and sparkliness – and look at all the dangles! We didn’t compare notes on these designs and yet we both thought of putting pretty dangles and different textures together. Great minds think alike! It’d be great to get your thoughts on her work, and also so we can encourage her to start her own jewellery blog 🙂 Woo Emily!

You can see all the rest of the participants in the blog list below. Thanks to Amy for such a cool challenge and I hope she does another one soon! (Oh, and sorry I was late).

Copper Diem
Fuego, metal y color
Silver Nik Nats
Beads and Bread
Copper Penny Designs
Green Shoot
Wild Sally Road
Mamas Got To Doodle
Beads for Busy Gals
EBS Jewellery
Cianci Blue
Beads for Brains
Nicki’s Reef
Sweet Girl Design
Nicole Rennell

Bead Soup Blog Party

August 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh! What’s that?

On the right hand side there? That purple box thing…what is it?

I’ll stop being an idiot now. I’m getting far too excited but it’s because I’ve just signed up for my very first Bead Soup Blog Party run by the incredibly talented and also incredibly foolhardy Lori Anderson. If you click on the button it will take you to her blog page all about the Bead Soup.

The Bead Soup Blog Party runs twice a year and involves the following:

Sign up between August 1 – 3: you must have a blog to participate.

August 5: Lori partners everyone up with another beading blogger (see what I mean about foolhardy?)

By August 17: you send out a collection of bead soup to your partner, which must include a focal bead, a interesting clasp, and some coordinating beads

You then photograph your beads that you receive, make something, and then everyone reveals their fantastic makes a month later on September 17 and you take about a week to tour round all the blogs. I’m very excited because, at last count, there are 150 participants from across the world! I’m looking forward to reading new bead blogs and interacting with some new beaders – in fact, I may have already started putting together my bead soup (because I’m like that).

If you’d like to take part you still have another 2 days to sign up, so get on it.

Margie and Me June Challenge

June 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

I really like both the palettes for the Margie and Me challenge this month. You can see both and read more about the challenge over on La Bella Joya’s blog.

I decided to go for the brighter, ice-cream coloured palette because I love these colours anyway, and also because we just got some great new size 9 seed beads in at work in the exact colours of the palette! In making the piece, I wanted to evoke some of the shapes of the houses in the picture above, and also the feelings that immediately come to mind when I think of Miami: brashness, glamour, glitz, and a bit trashy. And I do love all of those things!

I used pastel coloured opaque and pearl finished seed beads in a peyote triangle stitch to create a small pendant, and combined it with ceramic cylinders (as seen here), brass wire, chain, and polymer clay beads.

I made the polymer clay beads myself by making round beads, baking, and then sanding into hex shapes when cool. I made wirewrapped links for all the beads, and also made large connector rings using brass wire that was hammered and sanded. I really like the pendant’s hanger which is just made from shaped wire with seed beads and wrapped loops at each end. Very simple technique that looks striking when combined with other elements.

I wore the necklace out in a simple outfit with a coral pink t-shirt and jeans for a press event. Although I didn’t use the greens and blues from the palette, I did get seed beads in those colours so would quite like to attempt making some more Miami-themed jewellery in time for summer (if it ever arrives here!)

Hope you like my Margie and Me June entry, and don’t forget there’s still time to take part. The final reveal of all the pieces will be June 28th…yes I know I’m early but what with moving I wanted to make sure I made it! Don’t forget, I always like to hear people’s comments on the jewellery I make so leave one here or tweet me @ebsnare. Over the last few days I’ve got some good feedback and I do really appreciate people taking the time to tell me what they think about my work (good or bad!).

Taking the Next Step

June 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

I’ve always loved making things. When I was little I made a mess, then I made cards and drawings, then paintings. I started cross stitching and knitting, then sewing, and then making my own clothes. I’ve done screen-printing, ceramics, accessories, home furnishings, glass painting, baking, and all manner of other things. I can’t imagine my life without it being chock full of hobbies and creative endeavours going on all around me.

Although I’d always been interested in jewellery making and re-purposing broken pieces, it wasn’t until I started working in a bead shop that what was a hobby then became a near obsession. It isn’t just the jewellery I like, it’s the objects themselves: the beads, chain and findings, the glass, ceramic, acrylic and metal materials, the textures and colours and when it’s put all together to create something wearable and beautiful. Now, beading and jewellery making are a huge and wonderful part of my life.

I have lots of other things going on in my life at the moment (including university, freelance writing, blogging and moving house) but sometimes you need to kick yourself into taking something you love a step further. I’ve started an Etsy shop but haven’t felt inclined to market and publicise myself terribly much – I’m not sure why, maybe because there’s so much work involved, and because right now, I haven’t got that time. There’s a few shops and galleries in our area, though, that I’ve seen and thought…’Could my work go there?’

Often I dismiss these thoughts, but a while ago a friend sent me a text saying ‘Have you seen this gallery X? And have you tried to get your work in there?’ It was only after I read this that I realised: people thought my work was interesting. Not everyone, and maybe just a few, but people thought it was interesting enough to go for those opportunities. Without that first nudge, I might not have started to think differently.

So this is the next step for me. I can’t commit to huge things now (like diving straight in to approaching a shop) but I can plan for the future. In August a fantastic photographer, Anthony Farrimond, and I will be working together in shooting my jewellery collection, so I can put together a portfolio to approach shops and craft venues, as well as (possibly) trying again online. Anthony wants to increase his fashion and jewellery portfolio, and I want to develop working relationships with photographers and get my portfolio off the ground – so it’s an ideal opportunity. It also means that I have two months to develop my body of work, create new pieces, and finally make those collections that have been rushing round in my head for so long.

I’m really excited about taking the next steps in something that has changed from a hobby into a passion, and feel lucky and honoured to have friends who tell me the right thing when I needed to hear it, even if they didn’t know I did (thank you Emily), and have met professionals who I know will take my work and create something wonderful with it (thank you Anthony). Watch this space!

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