Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Art of Awareness Blog Hop

Today is a special day - it's the Art of Awareness blog hop, organised by Lori Anderson and Heather Millican. I expect most of you are familiar with both of these wonderful ladies - Lori of the infamous Bead Soup Blog Parties and Heather is the bead artist behind Swoondimples, some of my absolute favourite art beads to work with. More importantly, they are two of the sweetest people that I have the good fortune to know, and I'm so glad that the art bead world has allowed me to get to know both of them and call them my friends! 

This hop was definitely a blog hop with a twist. Everyone who signed up got to choose and purchase a very special bean bead from Heather, in the colour and with wording of their choice. Because this is the Art of Awareness blog hop though, each colour had certain significance, and would have a special ribbon stamp on the back. 

I've never made any awareness jewellery before - I don't think it's quite such a trend over here in the UK, in fact the only awareness colour I knew off the top of my head was pink for breast cancer awareness. But what some of you may not know is that my wife has MS, having being diagnosed back in 2010. She's very well with it the majority of the time, and although she has certain ongoing symptoms from previous attacks, for the most part she's - we've - been very fortunate. Other than the old having MS in the first place. That's still quite a bummer, it must be said! 

The MS awareness colour is orange, and as you can see... is what I went for. We have been through quite a lot recently - talking and accepting Helen's MS as part of our lives (and if you are the partner of someone with a chronic illness then believe me, I know how much of that specific journey is yours too!), getting a balance between self-care and not allowing our lives to be entirely dominated and determined by the MS. Not living in fear - nor living in denial. I won't say that those things aren't part of our lives still, but we are getting better, day by day.

I asked Heather for the words Be Here Now. I think for those reasons I described above. I have more tendencies towards living fearfully and Helen has more tendencies towards living in denial, but we both have found that we need to stop, take a breath, and be in the moment. 


Yes, Helen has MS. Yes, it is unfair and can be a big challenge to live with it as a not exactly welcome presence within our little family. Yes, MS could have terrible potential possibilities for our future. But these are not certain by any means. Nothing is set in stone. 

And whatever the future holds, that fact is that right now, Helen is well. Right now, that is our reality, and that is something to hold on to. To focus on. To fully embrace.

Neither daily panicking about the future, nor constantly trying to be superhuman to prove that MS isn't defining us is a good way to live. All we can do is stop, breath, and be here now. 

If you want to read about my actual design process, check out my post over on Art Bead Scene!

Thanks Lori and Heather for organising this great event. Quite a personal one for me! Now take a minute if you can to check out what some of the others created:

Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Laurie Vyselaar
Mallory Hoffman
Evie and BethMcCord

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Me and Mr Rufus

Oh hello there! This is what the start of my day looks like every day just now, pretty much. Just me and Mr Rufus, chilling out. Look at his poor wee shaved ear! His fur is taking SO long to grow back there. Rufus and I send you all greetings from Edinburgh!

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. 


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