Monday 30 November 2009

New design!

Hi there! Just a quick post to tell you about a new design of mine, now listed in my Folksy and Etsy shops. Hope you like them! Blue Moon, Purple Passion, Shimmering Mint, Hot Hyacinth and Pool of Gold.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Edinburgh Beaders

Hello again! So little time, so many blog entries - I don't know what's going on! I have decided to do an entry enthusing about some of my friends' beady goodness. Top picture is the VERY talented Emma Baird's wonderful lampwork beads. Emma (based at The Little Bead Shop in Edinburgh) came 2nd in the British Bead Awards - 2 Edinburgh winners, yay! - with her lovely piece, Shield of Light - but also had these beads short-listed and displayed at the Big Bead Show last month. I think they are absolutely breath-taking and can't believe they didn't come top of the show! I want them for my very own...

Next up is ANOTHER Edinburgh beader - Jane Lock - based at the other Edinburgh bead shop over on the other side of town. It's very near my Mum's house so I popped in when I was back home-home at the weekend and she showed me not only her gorgeous Laura McCabe Geo Floral Beaded Bead but this STUNNING bracelet of hers which is her own original design. It looks pretty cool in this picture I've pinched from her blog but honestly, you have to see the thing in real life! It's awesome! I've never seen anything quite like it - gorgeous!

Monday 23 November 2009

My prize and other stories!

My prize!
Originally uploaded by Songbead
Still at 'home home' in Edinburgh; I'm loving it. It's pouring with rain most of the time at the moment (as it is all over the country!) and when it's not bucketing, the wind is fair blowing a gale. But it still makes me glad to be at home! One of the reasons I'm back in the 'burgh is that I am teaching two classes at The Little Bead Shop in Bruntsfield tomorrow and Tuesday nights. I've blogged about the shop before but I'll just say again that it really is a fab place and if you get the chance, do pop in and say 'hi' to any of the lovely staff there! I'm teaching a spiral stitch bracelet tomorrow evening, complete with a lovely sparkling beaded clasp, and on Tuesday, a Herringbone circles bracelet that I designed over the summer. My only version of it has been living in The Little Bead Shop since June so I have no photos for you, you'll just have to wait until I finish version 2 (tomorrow's job!).

The other news I have to share with you is a not so small package that arrived for me a few days ago. A wee while ago I was one of the lucky winners on Dinky-Daisy's blog giveaway and on Thursday my lovely prize arrived! I have used my phone camera which is a little dodgy but you should be able to see the contents of my exciting parcel...a beautiful wee purse, which I was expecting, a brooch and two sweet little cards, which I wasn't! Thanks so much Debs! What a wonderful surprise to receive through the post. Go check out her gorgeous wares!

Saturday 21 November 2009

Locks, Keys and Keypers...

Over the last couple of months I have been a bit naughty and ordered a few little packages from America. I know lots of beaders will frown upon me for this but I just love the stuff you can get over in the States! It's not to say that we don't have lots of fantastic suppliers and artists here in the UK because we absolutely do, but there are also some pretty awesome ones over the pond and sometimes I just can't resist dipping my toe in! I am particularly into the wonderful work of Green Girl Studios at the moment...gorgeous.

Anyway, I am 'home home' at the moment - by that I mean the home in which I latterly grew up and where my Mum still lives, here in lovely Edinburgh. How I adore it here! I brought the bits and bobs I have been collecting recently and tonight piled them all together on my bed in my teenage room. And look what I discovered! I have strange obsession with keys and locks.

Now, I had noticed that keys are de rigeur amongst jewellery artists at the moment, but I hadn't quite realised how attracted I was to such things at the moment! I think their rise in popularity has something to do with the 'steampunk' movement in jewellery but personally this is not a style which particularly appeals to me per se. I think keys, locks, lockets and secrets are things that I have been drawn to from a young age and I don't think I'm alone on this one! I have been remembering back today to the 80s, back when I was just a wee young thing (honest!) and thinking of a toy that I used to covet - Keypers. Does anyone else remember these??

My friend Stephanie had an orange snail and I just LOVED it. My parents were not into 'trendy' or 'faddy' toys so I knew I would probably never have one but they really were such fun toys, with their keys and secret compartments! It must be the same appeal as lockable diaries, something else which I loved when I was a teenager in the 90s. So now I have to see what I will do with my small cache of locks and keys! And perhaps now that I'm all grown up, search out a Keyper all of my very own...

Friday 13 November 2009

Topaz Cuff

I've been working for a while on this cuff for my godmother, who's 60th birthday it is on Monday. Unfortunately I have a big audition in Manchester on the same day so I can't go home to join in the celebrations but this cuff will be travelling up to Edinburgh in my place over the weekend! As long as I finish it that is...I started it quite a while ago but ran out of the Swarovski margaritas I was using to shape the beadwork. Who would have thought it would be so hard to get some more in the same size and colour? I am a terrible impulse bead buyer; I hardly ever buy beads with a specific project in mind and I NEVER keep a note of where I have bought things or what their 'official' colour is. But I had thought that 10mm Swarovski margaritas wouldn't be so hard to buy again, and I knew they were light topaz ab. I scoured the internet for these beads, cursing myself for starting the cuff with them when I knew I didn't have enough to finish the piece, and just could not find a UK seller that had these!! Weird. I'm sure somebody somewhere in the UK must sell them. But I couldn't find them! So I had to get them sent from the USA. And then they took over 2 weeks to arrive before turning up this afternoon! Phew! So today I managed to complete the surface beadwork and tomorrow's job will be to attach the velcro and back it. Fingers crossed I get it finished in time for it's cross country journey on Sunday! Here's a finished cuff I did for my wee sister's birthday in the summer.

I love making these cuffs; they take a while but they are more achievable than my mammoth collar projects! Which I also love of course but they are more of a time commitment.

Monday 9 November 2009

Use the Muse!

Here is a sneak preview of my entry into Use the Muse III - an American beading contest run by talented bead artist Scarlett Lanson. All entrants purchase a kit which contains various elements but most importantly, a Muse which must be kept secret until the 'big reveal'. I emailed my entry - Autumn Jewels - this afternoon and am really pleased with my finished piece! It's quite a simple necklace but very often (and especially in beadwork) I think that simple works best. We are sometimes in danger of over egg-ing the pudding when working with beads and we can easily forget that less is often more. Hopefully in a few weeks I will have the complete piece to be able to show you...the Muse is beautiful and I can't wait to see all the other entries!! It's lovely to see what people create with the same ingredients.

Monday 26 October 2009

Ceiba Pictures

I know I only blogged yesterday - and TWICE!! - but I thought I really should put up some pictures of the Ceiba species in real life. See my first blog entry yesterday for my designs inspired by this beautiful species.

As usual, I have just pinched these from the web; so if it's yours and you'd like me to take it down, just say! I have used your pic because I like it!

Sunday 25 October 2009

Exciting News!

After posting my Ceiba entry, I realised I haven't shared some exciting news with you! I was placed third in the Crystals category in the British Bead Awards! Unfortunately I had a wedding (work!) that weekend that I couldn't get out of so I couldn't make it down to the Big Bead Show but I had an email from one of the organisers a few days ago. Needless to say, I'm chuffed to bits!!

Ceiba Completion!

I have finished my Ceiba commission! I sewed my last stitch just after midnight on Friday night which is about 3 1/2 weeks since I received the commission. I really hope my lovely Edinburgh folk who it is for like it! I am very pleased with it - it has pushed me in a direction that I would not have gone in otherwise. With my (admittedly limited so far!) bead embroidery, I have never been tempted to create anything pictorial - I usually go freeform - and I haven't done much combining of bead embroidery and bead weaving as yet. So this project has been just great for pushing my personal boundaries! Unfortunately I haven't sent it as yet; when I went to the post office on Saturday morning, I was told that (due to our postal strikes) Special Delivery could not be guaranteed. So I will try again tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed! Here are some pics for you to see the spoils of my labour...

Friday 2 October 2009

exciting commission!

When I was in Edinburgh last week,I received an exciting commission thanks to gil and the little bead shop! I have been asked to design and make a cuff and necklace based on the beautiful ceiba trees,specifically of south America. They are stunning,majestic creatures and some species have the most beautiful vivid red flowers. This is such a great opportunity for me,I usually work almost entirely free form so it is good for me to work in a more disciplined manner. The bad news is I said I could complete it in around three weeks! I'm not sure what I was thinking, perhaps I was drunk on beads?! So I have cracked on with the cuff but am now awaiting wrist measurements before I can preceed too much further. Eek! I am going try and post some photos from my camera although I fear I may not be able to achieve this...

Monday 28 September 2009

Little Bead Shop

So, I'm just back from my fabulous home town - Edinburgh! I was there on a flying visit to do a day's teaching at the rather wonderful Little Bead Shop in Bruntsfield. I had a small but very sweet class doing my absolute favourite thing in the whole world (apart from singing Handel...Bach...Rossini..Mahler...oh, Ok - I have lots of favourite things to do!) BEAD EMBROIDERY. Everyone (including my lovely Mum!) did a really good job getting started on a beaded cuff (like the one above), I only work with a few stitches as the beads really do the rest for you, and everyone left having made a really good start to their project. Below are two of my own beaded collars for your perusal.

I had a great day and I hope everyone else did too! Gil Baird, Little Bead Shop proprietress, has a fantastic shop with a really unique range of beads and I thoroughly recommend if you are visiting Edinburgh (something I recommend in itself!!) you pay it a wee visit. Everyone who works there is always super helpful and lovely and if you're lucky, there may be some of the very talented Emma Baird's BEAUTIFUL lampworked beads...She's also very good at photography as you can see from the three pictures in this blog entry! It's a great place to visit and you can be sure of a cheerful welcome. I have a few more classes scheduled in November and December and I'm really looking forward to them already.

Wednesday 23 September 2009


For some time now, I have been trying to come up with some beaded butterflies. Not entirely original in that there are tons and tons of beaded butterflies out there but I do love the wee things (and stars. I love stars!). So it's been quite a challenge to come up with a design that's slightly different from all the others out there in bead land but I think I have finally come up with something that I am happy with! I need to photograph the little beauties so I can share them with you but until then I thought I'd tell you about a giveaway I've just entered at fellow bead artist Lorelei's blog as it is also on the theme of butterflies - this time created by AMAZING artist Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios.
One of the things I love about the world of the blog is the national and international interaction it creates between people - these two artists are based in America and hand crafting artisans working in their own studios...and yet with a few clicks on Cagney (my lovely MacBook, I love her...), I can see their work and read their interactive diary. Amazing!

Thursday 10 September 2009

I've been tagged (quite a while ago now, oops!)by the lovely Dinky-Daisy, thank-you. Have a peek at her shop, it's full of lovely goodies!
Right down to the rules,
  • Link to the person who tagged you...yep done
  • post the rules, here they are!
  • Tag six people with a link (not sure I'm going to manage this one!)
  • Let the victims know...(if there are any!)
  • let tagger know when your done.
  • And most important write six things about me..
Thats the rules now on to interesting facts about me....well... you can make your own mind up on that.;-)

1. I'm a classical singer in 'real' life - I consider myself very lucky that I'm able to call my two passions - music and beading! - my job. I do all sorts of singing but I particularly love Handel at the moment!

2. I am Scottish and proud!

3. I have my ears pierced 13 times - 5 on my right ear and 8 on my left. I usually only wear one pair of earrings however! Must buy some more studs.

4. I have three stars tattooed on my back.

5. I have a Masters in Compostion (musical composition!).

6. I am addicted to cheesy American detective dramas - think Murder She Wrote, Quincy, Cagney and Lacey...I love them all!!

So there you go, you decide if you think they're interesting or not! I'm not sure if I'm going to tag anyone yet; I'm quite new to this whole blogging thing and don't know if I'm brave enough to tag 6 strangers!

Cover Girl!

How exciting! I have made the front cover of Beads and Beyond with my sparkly pink chandelier earrings! I haven't seen the magazine for real yet but my lovely friend Susan texted me a photo of her copy. I can't believe it! Only a few months ago I could only dream of having my little designs featured in print and now I'm on the front cover...I really am chuffed to bits!

Saturday 8 August 2009

I've just seen the new issue of Beads and Beyond (out on the 13th August) and I am thrilled to see one of my wire leaves on the mini photo display on the front! It's so exciting to see your work in print and I think Beads and Beyond is really a fantastic publication, especially since its revamp! My design is second from the left, next to the lovely summery daisy. And the stunning necklace on the very front is by Eve Smith, fellow Scottish artist, with lampworks by Clare Scott. Below is a close up picture which I took of one of my leaves.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Etsy Beadweavers Challenge

This is my latest challenge entry into the Etsy Beadweavers Challenge! I have been a member of this group for about 2 months now and they are a great bunch of artists, very inspiring to see such a variety of work. It's also been a great push for me to to work to titles and deadlines. The challenge title this month was 'First Ladies of Style'. My entry is called 'Bright Young Thing' and is inspired by the stylish women of the 1920s. You can vote at our blog - - between the 9th and the 15th of August, where you'll be able to see all the other fantastic entries! My etsy shop is for those interested :-)

Sunday 19 July 2009


Originally uploaded by Songbead
Here is my first bead embroidered collar, finished a couple of nights ago - it took me a week but it was an incredibly intensive week! I have absolutely loved working on it and when I had finally completed it and another bead embroidered collar I was also working on, I felt quite bereft! Not quite sure what to start now...

Tuesday 12 May 2009

So, I've been lucky enough to have had a lot of time at home recently, squeezing in a lot of designing and (not so fun) writing up instructions for classes. AND (keep your fingers crossed!) possibly for publication sometime in the not too distant future! Nothing is set in stone as yet so I will say NO more but I am feeling positive! I've been on a wirework bend recently but the past couple of days I've picked up my needle and thread again and it feels much more time consuming but I just love the process of thread, needle, beads...wirework is great, as things work up so quickly but I think in a past life I must've been a seamstress. My heart lies with the needle and thread! Hopefully I'll have some pics for you soon but at the moment I have lots of 'ideas' pieces and not many (any) finished articles. Soon my pretties! x x x

Tuesday 21 April 2009


So, I have just got back from the most amazing and inspirational week in Barcelona! What an incredible city. Such a mind-blowing combination of gothic, twisted fairy-tale and the very, very contemporary...full of beautiful colour and awesome architecture. We visited as much Gaudi as we possibly could and I have come away with my mind bursting with crazy colours and shapes! What I found particularly fascinating was the inspiration Gaudi got from nature - the way plants and animals are structured, and the way he used straight lines to make curve after curve in his buildings. Amazing! I'm hoping I can use my trip as design (structure and colour!) inspiration but right now, my mind is just too over-awed to do much other than gawp at Gaudi's brilliance!

*I have used photos from what I think are open sources; if I have used one of yours inadvertently and you would like me to remove it, please contact me, and know that it was only because I loved your photo so much! There wasn't quite enough sunshine for my own photos to be web-worthy!*

Friday 3 April 2009


So, I thought I might have a go at this blogging thing. If nothing else, it seems a good space to lay thoughts out and to reach beyond my bead-filled wee flat! Hopefully, some people will enjoy my ramblings, however (in)frequent they prove to be... Above are a few of my pieces, all currently for sale at my folksy shop at I'm currently working on some new designs so watch this space for works-in-progress...


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