Some simple earrings

August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

Remember I said that I’d made some great earrings for a gift for someone?

Well, here they are!

Made from Czech glass, agate rondelles, antique gold findings and those excellent long kidney earwires. I don’t think I will ever be able to get as beautiful photos as these ever again, by the way! The sunshine was just right, the colours sparkled, it all worked. These were for a lovely friend who kept mine and Him Indoors’ bikes for a few weeks (a month?) while we moved house. Thank you Squash, you rule!

These are some earring experiments using Czech glass again (alright, it’s an obsession. Sue me.) and these darling headpins from Beads Direct – copper, with tiny hearts on the end. You can also get stars, and different colours too. Love them!

Looking forward to tomorrow as I am off to a secret bead shop location to review the next in the series for Bead Shops of Britain. Oh how I love doing this project 🙂 Have a great weekend!


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.

Works in progress: Sea Anemones

July 29, 2011 § 4 Comments

As I’ve started creating more seed bead work, whether it’s weaving or embroidery, I’ve found myself wanting to experiment and push myself more into creating unusual, expressive work.

Recently I’ve been working more on one off pieces using semi-precious stones. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy semi-precious cabochons in the size I want, because of the work that goes into making them so perfect. Instead, I use tumble stones from a local gem and crystal shop which are a lot cheaper but still as beautiful (I especially try to pick out ones with irregularities). I’ve been making the pendants into necklaces: every time I stop and think, ‘Will this go on a bracelet?’ but I can’t ever stop myself from a little more embellishment here, a few more stitches there…and soon it’s too big and has to go round my neck!

Stone: merlinite (also known as dendritic opal) This is one of my favourite pieces of jewellery I’ve ever made!

Stone: still can’t remember… But pink and grey is one of my favourite colour combinations

Stone: sodalite – again with pearls, Czech glass, etc. This time with an asymmetric stringing sequence

I’ve been calling these anemones because they remind me of the tiny jelly-jewel-like creatures you see attached to rocks by the sea. Creating them is organic too, as I put all the coordinating beads together and then experiment with balancing the drops, frills and beads across the pendant. They seem quite fussy and ornate but when they’re teamed with simple clothing they add a little bit more detail and complexity to an outfit.

As you can see I’ve done three already and sort of getting into the habit of a particular style (which I like) but it’s never good to repeat things too often. So I’m going back to doing some bead weaving and stringing, and then will come back to this. In week 9 of Heather Powers’ ‘Inspired by Nature’ challenge the theme is urchins – so I think I will make something then, a little more spiky and punk perhaps! I’d like to join in with some of her challenges before then (dragonflies are so cool!) so may see some other bits before then.

Hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my new pieces: as always, I’d love to hear what you think!

Bead Table Wednesday: 27/7

July 27, 2011 § 4 Comments

This post is more of a recap than anything, although it does have a completed piece which I photographed in some previous posts.

Last weekend I took part in a local handicrafts show. It was the first time I’d entered my work into a real life competition (rather than on a blog!) and I dreamt up a specific piece just for the show. I worked really hard and used a lot of techniques I’d  never done before, including encasing buttons like cabochons and freeform bead weaving. Here’s the final piece:

And some closeups of the little details on the clasp:

…and on the peyote stitched tube that holds the chain together:

I entered three pieces into the show: this one, last month’s ABS necklace I made, and then a pair of traditional-looking cream and lilac earrings. There were a couple of other entrants who had made some sweet strung necklaces.

When I went round after the judging, I saw that my earrings had got second prize, which was really good. However, I did feel disappointed that I had worked really hard on the colourful piece above but hadn’t received any prizes. Maybe it sounds like I’m a bad loser but it was a little disheartening! The piece that won was a tiara with crystals and pearls – traditional but well made. I think this was a case of not judging the audience properly, instead putting in a piece that was maybe a little too outlandish for the show. But I’m pleased I made it and I think it looks fabulous just the same. Plus the whole show was great! Originally it was an agricultural show but has grown to include lots of other things, like handicrafts and stalls for local producers and businesses. They had a show of prize animals, including llamas and baby kid goats which were adorable! Him Indoors also enjoyed himself:

Not sure how safe it was to pet the cow…but they seemed very gentle. They also had a display of vintage cars (loved them) and engines (also loved them). It was a very fun day and instead of worrying about the prizes, enjoyed everything else!

Lately I’ve returned to working with beaded semi-precious stones. Here’s a little preview of one of the pieces, but I want to wait until later this week to reveal them all!

There’s pearls, Swarovski, some beautiful Czech glass from Yashma Creations, strawberry quartz and a piece of … I can’t remember (and I only went in the shop today)! I will find out. It’s getting warmer here and my brain is frazzled (American readers, it is in no way as warm as it is in some of your states…I am just a weakling when it comes to warmth!)

I’ll be revealing some more finished pieces later in the week. Meanwhile, have a look at the other BTW photos over on Flickr!

Bead Table Wednesday (?): 19/7

July 21, 2011 § 6 Comments

Mis-timed this post so unfortunately going out on Thursday instead of Wednesday…never mind! I’m managing to fit beading in this week (somehow!) despite doing more hours at work and juggling a million other things. But that means I’m too tired to think of something witty and stimulating to write. You’ll have to have a look at these instead.

Slightly more developed piece from Saturday

Over the top? Me?

Love these pinks against the blue and orange.

Sometimes you want to make simple stuff, like a clustered necklace.

Glass beads, lucite flowers, metals, and sparkles.

Other times you want to make complicated, black and red, evil ruby eye of ancient god type stuff.

I ended up remaking that last piece and getting some better tension and shape to the whole thing, as well as changing the colours of the crystals slightly. Next is to work out how it will sit as a pendant or focal.

In other news, and related to beading, this week is my last week at the bead shop where I have been working for the past year or so. I’m sad to go because I really like working with our team, and I love the regular customers who always pop in, and of course I love the beads! But unfortunately I can’t survive financially on the hours I have, plus I need to concentrate on my dissertation. I would love to own my own bead and jewellery shop (an emporium!) one day – anyone who’s interested in beading I’m sure feels the same – but for now it’s time to stand on the other side of the counter for a while. Onwards and upwards! In the meanwhile, I have some more projects brewing, including a necklace for a gift, and a bracelet inspired by these flowers that are all over Yorkshire:

It’s called Rosebay Willowherb over here, but in America its name is Fireweed, which is a lot more explosive and exciting! Thanks to Leeds Daily Photo website for the wonderful picture and information.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the BTW posts over on Flickr! Have a good day and hope you are moving onwards and upwards too 🙂

Saturday’s Stuff I Love

July 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Just a small selection of Stuff I Love this Saturday, as I haven’t had much time to catch up on all the blog reading (there are so many!)

Turquoise glass and clay connector from Artisan Clay

Spiky lampworked glass ‘sea anemone’ beads by BatChen Designs

Beautiful pastel bracelet from For My Sweet Daughter for the Margie and Me Challenge

Rich and textured earrings from Kristi Bowman Design

Clasp by Melinda Orr that I am love with. The colours and textures are wonderful!

Ephydriad earrings by Fanciful Devices – bold and powerful.

Another thing I really love is represented by this picture:

I took this book out from our local library yesterday, expecting it to be fairly regular designs with maybe a few nice ones…and I was completely blown away! The designs are really modern and exciting, lots of interesting use of texture and scale, and the instructions are easy to follow. Turns out one of the authors is editorial director for Beadwork and Stringing magazines, the other a jewellery design and education co-ordinator for Soft Flex. So of course they’re going to be awesome!

The last thing I love this week is also represented by an image (of my own work!):

This piece has changed slightly from when you saw it as part of this week’s BTW. On Thursday I went to my first ever beading group in Skipton, North Yorkshire, which is about 30 minutes on the train from where I live. I was a bit nervous and arrived early, but all the group made me feel really welcome and were very enthusiastic about my work! They were all very adept at beadwork, working quickly and able to talk at the same time (which is quite hard when you’re concentrating and counting). It was good to hang out with people who understood my interest in the subject and also had enough technical knowledge to suggest new things I could do and ways to add to the piece. I will be embellishing this pendant/piece further in time for a handicrafts competition coming up very soon (next weekend!).

And very quickly, as they arrived this morning, UK beaders should check out Choosy Beads: fantastic beads, some lovely Czech glass, and best of all – I ordered yesterday lunch time and they arrived today! Woo! I’m off to Nottingham again today for another bead shop visit. Have a great weekend whatever you’re doing!

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