Friday, 1 May 2015

Stacked Earring Challenge Take 3!

Hello all! It's time for a little transatlantic, trans-North Sea earring swap again. Malin started our little group back in January with these words:

"The idea is that I give each of us the same set of beads. Beads that I believe would be nice to use in earrings. Nothing exclusive, and no art beads. Just a group of different beads that I myself believe can be used in fun and interesting ways in earrings in a stacked style.

I am longing to see how we all use the same things but in different ways. I am thinking we could all make at least one pair of earrings, but hopefully more. And that we are free to add our own extra beads and/or other components, if we at least use three (3) of the beads from my set in each design."

This time around, the lovely Leah Curtis of Beady Eyed Bunny  sent us this a really delicious selection of beads, which you can see below in Malin's picture:

What you can't necessarily tell from this picture is just how beautiful weeny most of these beads are. For some sense of scale, the turquoise fire-polished beads in the bottom LH corner are 4mm, and the gold seed beads to the right are a small size 8. If that's too technical for you then trust me, these beads are on the wee side which for me is just *perfect*. Yes, I like the big fatties too but personally, small is almost always better when it comes in bead form! I think that's actually part of the reason I like beads in the first place. 

And you will see with the earrings that I created that I continued with the 'weeny' theme. Even within the selection of beads which Leah sent us, I really gravitated towards the weeniest of them - the largest beads I used were the long stick gemstones in the second pair. I tried to make the earrings themselves slightly longer by hanging them on short lengths of chain, which I am wont to do, but to no avail - they just looked better as they were. So here you go, my weeny collection of teeny earrings! 

DISCLAIMER - I must apologise for the slightly dodgy pictures (no, not like that - get your mind out of the gutter!). We've recently moved house and I HAVE NOT got the hang of the light in our new flat as yet. I'll get there but these are all blue-washed and slightly fuzzy to the max, despite my best efforts editing with iPhoto afterwards. Ah well! You get the idea! 

Now go and have a peek at what the others did with the same collection of lovelies! Thank you Leah for the gorgeous and inspiring bundle. 

Claire Lockwood - SomethingToDoWithYourHands -

Leah Curtis - BeadyEyedBunny -

***Rebecca Anderson - Songbead -*** You are here!

Heidi Post - ExPostFacto -

Malin de Koning - BeadingByMalindeKoning -

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Tree Wings Studio - Art Jewelry Elements Reveal

I was lucky enough to be chosen this month to take part in the Art Jewelry Elements CoM Challenge.  I decided to throw my hat in the ring because just *look* what was on offer from the wonderfully talented Tree Wings Studio for us to work with (if we were lucky enough to be chosen, which I was :-)) - 

Aren't these just gorgeous? Look at all that texture. I chose a grey driftwood heart and it swam across the sea to me very quickly, all the way from Virginia, USA to Edinburgh, Scotland.

I thought straight away that it was the perfect bracelet bead, and so that's what it became :-) A lot of stitching later...

 Look at this extra dose of cuteness that Rebekah added! Words are always something I like to add in to my designs if they feel right. 

I decided to add one of my new handwoven heart beads. I wish I had a nice matte, non-metallic grey seed bead (anyone know of one?)  as I feel that the blue heart would have been even lovelier in a soft grey to match Rebekah's heart, but there you go. Aqua had to do!

I also selected a gorgeous pewter Tree of Life button from Green Girl Studios to fit in with the wooden heart.  

This bracelet is available in my etsy shop now

Thank you Rebekah and AJE! I can't wait to see what everyone else made. Check out their links here:


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Big Birthday Bash Sale!

Good morning everyone! It's my birthday, and I've got a bunch of lovely discounts for you over at The Curious Bead Shop, just for today :-)

I kicked the celebrations off at midnight but they are carrying on all through today (the 16th) - yay!

Orders over £10 - Take 10% off with BIRTHDAY10
Orders over £25 - Take 15% off with BIRTHDAY15
Orders over £40 - Take 20% off with BIRTHDAY20
Orders over £50 - Take 25% off with BIRTHDAY25

And as an extra special super bonus, all orders over £100 can take a huuuuuuuuuge.....

34% off with BIRTHDAY34!! 

(Can you guess my actual age now?!) 

Guys, I will not be offering this big a discount again. I usually have a big birthday sale in my jewellery shop on my birthday, but due to difficult family circumstances, Songbead is looking on the bare side right now. I'm planning on holding a special post-birthday one day event there at some point in the future. 

This is just a little thank you from me to you for all your support over the past 2.5 years, and please know that you will be helping me and my little family with some expensive and ongoing vet bills, and for that, I TRULY LOVE YOU!

 THANK YOU!!! x x x

I'm chilling out today with this amazing wee man, before going out for a birthday tea tonight. If *only* I actually could put tiny wee hats on my bunnies! Raise a glass for me tonight :-)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Finally, some new work...

I know, I know - there's an awful lot of tumbleweed round here. Life's been tough and I just don't feel I always want to write about the difficult things that go on behind the scenes! But this weekend, I managed to whip up a few pieces, and this morning they (and a couple of others from a few weeks back) met up with my iPad and Instagram. It feels good to have something to post here. And, if you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me through the radio silence! I know it's easy to stop reading blogs when the authors seemingly drop off the edge of the world. I'm still here, just struggling a little. We will get there though. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Stacked Earrings Challenge No. 2

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear - I'm rather late to this party, and for that I must apologise! Life has been - well, let's just say hectic for now, and agree that I will fill you in on the details later. Thank you lovely teammates (is that the right term for them?) for your patience. 

You may well remember this post from back in January. Here's what Malin proposed to a small band of us:

"The idea is that I give each of us the same set of beads. Beads that I believe would be nice to use in earrings. Nothing exclusive, and no art beads. Just a group of different beads that I myself believe can be used in fun and interesting ways in earrings in a stacked style.

I am longing to see how we all use the same things but in different ways. I am thinking we could all make at least one pair of earrings, but hopefully more. And that we are free to add our own extra beads and/or other components, if we at least use three (3) of the beads from my set in each design."

It was such a fun, inspiring and minimally pressured hop that we quickly decided to carry it on. This time around it was Claire who sent out a delicious group of beads to whet our whistles. Claire is one of those designers who works with a little bit of everything, and I knew her selection (as seen above) would be interesting and inspiring, but also challenging. I'm not quite sure I have fully risen to the challenge - please see first paragraph and said hectic life(!) - as I have only managed two - two! - measly pairs of earrings. However, I really quite like both of them, so that's something, isn't it? (Isn't it!? Please say yes!) 

First up, this moody little pair of stackers. A few days after Claire's package of beads arrived, I received another package - this time from Jana of Happy Fish - which included these too-gorgeous-for-words bats. They are double sided! Which is why I had to do mismatched. Aren't they fab? I thought the deep turquoise glaze went so well with the deep emerald of the quartz(?) on the top nuggets. Barrels. Oblongs....I am not quite sure what to call the shape of these! Anyway, they are very cool, and are cut so that they stack together *perfectly*. Admittedly, this is a fairly pants photo but (would you believe it?) it is the best of around 20! My current earring photography set up is good for some pairs of earrings, but I'm finding any with a little more dimension than others (for example these, with their stone stackers set at opposing angles) just don't hang nicely. They flip and look very awkward. And these (as you can see) don't sit right on the flat either. Ah well! I am in the process of moving house.....*slowly*......and so hopefully I can find a nice wee spot with a neat set up like Heidi's. 

Secondly, these babies. I'm really rather pleased with these. I don't often use buttons in my work, aside from an odd button/loop clasp, and I'm not sure if I have ever used them in these are a bit different for me! I loved working out ways to connect them, the right amount of wire for each link or loop, and getting them to hang nicely. 

I also somewhat fell in love with those little green sunbursts. Aren't they great? So retro, so vintage. They totally remind me of something - a company logo or similar - but I can't quite place exactly what. I really like their slight matte-ness, and how deep-set the sunbursts are. So yeah, I pretty much love them the best out of all the beads that came from Claire (thanks Claire!). Sorry other beads. I do like you too, just not quite as much. Although the sunbursts do look rather happy in those cute little 'angel wing' beads. 

Thirdly......oh dear. There is *NO* thirdly.....for now. I will definitely make more with the little large pile I have left (cough cough!) and share here again. Hopefully next time, things will be a bit calmer, I won't be acting as a nurse and also trying to organise moving house and goodness knows what else! But you'll see more from me very soon - I promise. Thank you Claire for the delicious little round up of beads, and apologies I haven't managed to make more extensive use of them as yet!

For now, check out everyone else's posts, as they have all made OODLES more earrings than I have managed (*slaps wrist heartily*):

  • Rebecca Anderson - SongBead
  • Leah Curtis - Beady Eyed Bunny
  • Claire Lockwood - Something To Do With Your Hands
  • Heidi Post - Ex Post Facto
  • Malin de Koning - Beading By Malin de Koning

  • Saturday, 14 March 2015

    A quick hello and a sale!

    Hello everyone! I am well and truly due you a proper post or seven here, but if you follow me on Facebook then you'll know I've been through quite a time of it recently, which has left me lacking in time and mental or emotional energy for things like this blog. But things are hopefully finally moving in the right direction (I'll fill you in later, I promise!) and I hope to be back blogging sometime next week. In the meantime, I just wanted to let you, my lovely readers, know that I am having a Spring Clean Sale over in my jewellery shop on etsy. Just use coupon code SPRINGCLEAN15 and you can take a huge 30% off your order, and have a proper treat. I don't know about you, but 2015 has been a slim year for me so far, so I know that I would appreciate a generous saving (you're welcome!). Above is a selection of some of the jewellery available in the shop right now - quite a few of these pieces have sold - thank you! - but there are still lots of lovely one-of-a-kind pieces that you can slice a whole fat 30% off. I'm very happy to think of them flying out to new homes where they can fulfil their jewellery destiny! Check out my shop here

    Friday, 20 February 2015

    The A to Z of Me!

    WARNING: This post has NO PICTURES.....!

    I'm sure it comes as no surprise that as a blogger, I quite like reading other folks' blogs too. I used to just use my blog roll right here (down on the right!) to read blogs, but for the past year or so I've been using Bloglovin' to follow all my favourite blogs. Other than the missing g and apostrophe in its place (yuck) I really like Bloglovin' - it's easy to use, and best of all (for me), it comes with an app which I have on both my iPhone and my iPad. (And yes, you guessed it - I'm typing this on my MacBook.....I am not quite an Apple junkie, but getting there...!). 

    Along with your own feed, BL also shares popular posts (on a different tab, you don't just get them stuck in there amongst all your chosen favourites) and whilst some of these are not things I would necessarily read - 'how to make delicious chocolate brownies that are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, sugar-free and chocolate-free from only kale and dust' is not really my idea of a good time - some of them are really fun and a good read, and I appreciate getting a peek into other people's lives through their blogs. It's just a little more personal than Facebook, isn't it? It's also quite refreshing to read non-jewellery blogs from time to time - shock horror, I can step away from the beads from time to time! 

    One of the blogs that I stumbled upon through BL (Sophie Cliff) shared a post last week which seems to be a current trend in some blogs, and I thought it was quite a neat idea. So here goes - the A to Z of me! Some silly, some personal and some in-between. 

    A - Acupuncture. I've had quite a few health issues over the past 18 months, and since moving to Edinburgh in August, I've been going once a week. It makes me feel that I'm taking just a little more control of my life and is hopefully helping to sort things out for me.

    B - Come on, you know what that's going to be. BEADS......It could have been so many other things though - books, beverages, Belfast, bunnies....but no. It really does have to be beads. I love how old they are as objects, how accessible they are to each of us; I love their symbolism, I love their teeniness, I love their colours - I love working with them. I love all the materials they can be made from - from the humblest of plastics to the most expensive of gemstones. I love the friends I've made because of them, and also, through sharing them with other people they pay my rent and help put food on the table. Pretty great wee things! 

    C - Camper vans. Preferably VW. I WANT ONE!!

    D - Detectives. Poirot, Miss Marple, Quincy, Cagney and Lacey, Columbo, Sherlock (Holmes), Jessica Fletcher, Broadchurch, Shetland, Vera, Morse, Lewis....etc etc etc. Watching or reading, you cannot beat crime drama, IMHO.

    E - Earl Grey tea. My favourite. Preferably decaf - since I switched over at home a few years ago, my tolerance is SO low, I try to avoid caffeine when I can to avoid feeling like a jangly mess.

    F - Food. Yum. I really love it (a bit too much!) and I've recently got back into cooking, since we've been living with Mum. It's so much easier to cook for 3 than it is for 2, somehow.

    G - Grey hairs. Not too many yet, thank goodness, but I am going to dye the heck out of them when they arrive. Love grey on other people, but I will die a blonde, people!

    H - Home. It's proved a somewhat elusive concept for me during my adult life. I lived in Manchester for 13 years, but it never felt like my home (much as I loved it). 11 months in Belfast and it truly did feel like my home, and then we had to leave to return to Edinburgh, the place I'd thought of as home all the way through living in England. Still getting used to it being my full-time home. 

    I - Introvert. That's me. I recently took the Myers-Briggs test and came out as 100% introvert! No surprise to me however. I am so much more comfortable here in the written word rather than the spoken.

    J - Jewellery. I love it. Love, love LOVE it. Love wearing it, making it, sharing it with others - I really do. It's such a special form of art. I mean come on - art you can wear! How awesome is that?!

    K - Keyboard - well, piano really. I don't play so much anymore but I used to all the time when I was teaching. I am so looking forward to having my clavinova back when we are in our own flat, and I can play again. 

    L - Love. The world could do with a wee bit more of it! 

    M - Music. It has been a central part of my life since I was 6 and joined my first choir. I have a complicated relationship with it, as I grew up and spent most of my 20s wanting to be a full-time performer and - well, that is not going to happen for me. But still - I AM doing some more performing later this year, which I'm ecstatic about, with the most fantastic and exciting music theatre group. Music is and has been so important to me that I really can't leave it off this list. 

    N - Northern Ireland - It's my Soul Home. I adore it - the people, the scenery, the music, the culture. I am still sad that our time there was so short, and I'm already looking forward to our next trip over. 

    O - Ovaries. Mine don't work so well right now but I'm hoping that will change soon!

    P - Prosecco. Need I say more?

    Q - Queen. My favourite band, ever ever ever. Ever. I still have not a little of that teenage obsessive thing for them. I love them, and I have for very long time. 

    R - Rabbits - my fur babies. Rufus, Florrie and Lily are our little ones right now and I ADORE them all!

    S - Silver-smithing. I've gone back to school and am learning how to slice, melt and solder metal, and I love it! Can't wait til I can start to incorporate what I'm learning into my own jewellery.

    T - Travel. I really do love it. I've been lucky enough to visit France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Madeira, Corfu, Lanzarote, Fuertaventura, Tenerife, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Italy, USA (Illinois, California and Florida), Israel, Egypt, Ireland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Russia in my time, not to mention exploring a lot of Northern Ireland and the British Isles too.

    U - Untidy. I am SO untidy. Really and truly and I don't expect that to change any time soon, however hard I try (which isn't always much, granted!). Helen (who is tidy) and I have a theory - everyone falls into one of four categories: Clean/Tidy, Clean/Untidy, Dirty/Tidy and Dirty/Untidy. Thank goodness, I am definitely CLEAN/Untidy. The worst of that little lot though is Dirty/Tidy. Disgusting - but deceptively so. Yick.

    V - Voting. There's been a lot of talk on this subject recently, not least in Scotland where we recently had a referendum. I'm not necessarily the most political animal, but I think it is so, so important to exercise ones right to vote. Yes, sometimes it does feel like you are choosing between dumb and dumber, but people have died for the right to vote, and it only takes a quick look at a country without democracy to see how important it is to get in that polling booth, even if you just put a cross next to the 'None of the above' option. Use your voice, people! Not everyone is privileged enough to have one in this world.

    W - Wine. But of course.

    X - Xylophone. Because I can't think of anything else beginning with an X right now.

    Y - Yellow. It's actually one of my favourite colours, which is unusual I know. Sunny, happy and bright - what's not to love? 

    Z - Z├╝rich. My Mum used to live there, so we have quite a special relationship with it, and with Switzerland as a whole, as a family. It's a FANTASTIC city, full of beautiful architecture, cool shops, cheese, culture, cheese and one of my favourite languages to listen to. Oh, and did I mention the cheese?

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that little trip around me and my life. Send me the link if you decide to do an A-Z post too!


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