Wednesday, 16 October 2019

New larger beaded beads

Something new has landed in The Curious Bead Shop!

I've been selling my 10mm handwoven beads for sometime now, and I love playing around with the different colours of seed beads available (you may have seen my new Crunchy Leaves Autumn collection which I launched last month). Recently, I was approached by a customer with a request for larger beaded beads, which is something I do in fact already make for my own jewellery - so I have decided to make them available in the shop. I've started with a small range of 8 different colours - inspired by sea view sunsets - most of these colours are already available in the 10mm size but Frosted Mauve is a brand new tone. 

These chunky beads are made using 3mm glass seed beads rather than my usual 2mm beads, and measure approximately 16mm in diameter in comparison with my standard handwoven beads which are approximately 10mm. You can see the two sizes side by side above for comparison. I really love the rustic, colourful character they bring to a piece - there's something incredibly fun and playful about them in this size. I also think they work really well with larger ceramic and lampwork glass beads - not just aesthetically, but because the centre of them is wood, they aren't too heavy. 

Don't worry if you are not a jewellery maker - below are a few of my designs featuring these larger beaded beads, so you can get your hands on them ready to wear. And if you are a jewellery maker, hopefully these will give you some inspiration for your own pieces. I've just shared bracelets here but I think they would also look fab in a simply strung necklace and could be a real statement piece! 


Golden Glow

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

FLASH SALE at The Curious Bead Shop!

Just a very quick post to say I'm having a FLASH SALE in The Curious Bead Shop today - it's the first of the month so why not? 25% off (almost) everything today - sale will run until 10.30am tomorrow morning (UK summertime). Head over to The Curious Bead Shop now!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

September Song - a new mini-collection

A new mini-collection has hit the shop! I don't always work in this way - creating themed collections of pieces - but for the new month and new season, I decided to have a play in this way, and I am pretty pleased with the results! 

I began by collecting together a selection of my beloved handmade art beads - ceramics, lampwork glass, polymer, even a few metals thrown in there too. Most of these beads have been in my collection for years, and so it is a real treat to work with them - and about time too! I haven't really added to my art bead collection at all since the end of my pregnancy, but rediscovering these pieces is just as wonderful as discovering new pieces. 

Within the collection, there are definite groupings although there is of course some overlap between them all. Firstly, a soft, Summer-turning-gently-to-Autumn collection of tonal greens, bronze and topaz. Perfect for the new season, but fresh enough to be worn all year round. (I am a great lover of ALL the colours ALL year round, but I know many folk enjoy having special pieces for each season.) These are playful yet gentle, soft yet fresh and I love the simple, natural feel that they have. 

Autumn Walk


September Song


Woodland Wander

Next came the metallics. Only a few pieces here, and I am still working on a couple in this palette as it's one I adore. Warm, slightly oxidised coppers tone perfectly with deep, steely-grey silvers and warm rusts. These dive straight into the heart of Autumn and the earlier nights we are already having - the low light of a dusky evening, and the steely grey mornings we are often having here in Edinburgh. This palette will take you right through Winter and keep some warmth with you in the coldest months. 


La Vie Boheme


Lastly, a summer throwback - perhaps our traditional Autumnal Second Summer? Here's hoping - I like all the sunshine and heat that Edinburgh can throw at me, which isn't always much! Just along the sea path at the front of my house there is a slightly untamed grassy area. We only moved to our new flat in May and the walk along the sea front is one of my favourite things about living here. At one of the corners I pass daily grows a beautiful Buddleia, which has bloomed all summer in a glorious range of purples from lavender and lilac through to warmer, pinkier shades. It smells glorious and attracts a lot of beautiful butterflies and I have enjoyed passing it often over the past few months. Even on the coldest of current days, it is a shot of summer whenever I walk past it. These pieces are inspired by this tree and the summery feelings it invokes, whatever the weather.




Which piece is your favourite? Which colour palette are you drawn to most, and do you go for seasonal colour changes or embrace them all, all the year round? 

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Just stopping in very briefly to let you know that I'm having a sale in both my shops! 15% off at Songbead and a huge 20% off at The Curious Bead Shop. Childcare is expensive (spoiler alert!) and as I'm still not able to do any craft fairs at the moment, my sales options are limited - so hopefully a treat for you with some money off, and some extra support for my family. We really appreciate it! I know we just have to get through the next 18 months and then when they can start nursery with state-funded childcare, things will be a little less tight. My wee family and I thank you gratefully! 

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Mood Boards

I've been playing around with a few mood boards, combining pieces of jewellery that could easily be worn together or in combination. 

None of these sets were designed together but what can I say? I do love the way certain colours look together! Turquoise and purple are such very happy bedfellows. 

Here, a grey-blue bracelet alongside classic Grellow. I feel I need a proper Grellow bracelet in the shop though - what do you think? 

Long-standing followers will know of my ever-enduring love of red and turquoise. They are such an ideal combination in my book, although I know they can be a little bold for some! Are you brave enough to embrace them together? 

Which colour palette is your favourite? 

You can find all these pieces in my shop here. 

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Earrings earrings earrings

Playful Days

Do you love earrings? I really, really, really do. It's definitely the item of jewellery which I have the most of myself, and if I am buying jewellery from another maker, 9 times out of 10 it's a pair of earrings which I gravitate towards - not least because the price points are often smaller - statement earrings are definitely easier on my purse than a statement necklace, understandably!


As my going back to Songbead work happened just after a house move, it will probably come as no surprise to you that it was hard to find various things in the first few weeks. (Let's be honest - it's still quite hard to find various things even though we've been here almost 2 months now!) 

Tropical Treetops

One of those things was the little stand I use to photograph my earrings. It's nothing fancy - a solid wood flooring sample from B and Q which I have painted and drilled holes in, and strung some fine thread across to suspend earrings from, but it does the trick nicely. 


Anyway, it was one of the things which disappeared - until this past weekend, when we were sorting things out for my wife's 40th birthday party, and in going through a couple of boxes, it was unearthed. Quite a relief as I had a fair pile of earrings stacking up which I hadn't been able to take any decent photos of! 


That said, in looking through my earring shots from a few days ago, I think it may be time for a new photography set up. Getting all the parts of each earring to line up and the earrings to hang parallel nicely is not easy when they are merely suspended from thread! 


So I am on the look out for something slightly different - where the earrings can hang more as they would from ears - in mid air, so to speak, and each earring to hang straight up and down, rather than leaning towards each other. Watch this space! 

Silver and Gold

All of these earrings are now available in my etsy shop so hop over there now if you're as addicted to earrings as I am! 

Disco Inferno

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Firth of Forth or Whale Watching 2019

Back in 2014, I designed a bracelet using one of Kylie Parry's beautiful whale beads. (You can see and read about it here). Upon starting my jewellery work again, and routing through my bead stash, I stumbled across another of these precious handmade ceramic pieces and remembered my old blog post so looked it up for a read through - only to discover these words:

"The sea is amazing in all its guises, and I do have dreams of one day having a coastal home, somewhere around Edinburgh. I just have to look at the sea to feel a sense of inner-calm wash through me. Ok, we don't have the weather of the Californian coast, but Scotland's not so bad-looking either!"

How fitting to reread this post at this time, only weeks after we moved to Newhaven, in one of the coastal prongs of Edinburgh's northern coast, right on the water. Of course, I knew I had to revisit and revamp my original design. 

A medley of pressed glass rondelles with a smattering of lampwork glass and a few of the 'original' Indonesian drawn glass beads, and a full strand of dramatic stick freshwater pearls, making a bolder statement than the original individual keshi pearls. 

The Firth of Forth is wild - and whales are occasionally seen there too!

 Like the original bracelet, it closes with a beautiful handcast pewter clasp in the shape of a starfish. I hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane, and the funny synchronicity of life.

You can find Firth of Forth here


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