Friday 28 May 2010

Bead Soup

My bead soup arrived in Germany with Nicki a few days ago and yesterday, my very own package arrived here in Manchester! I was so excited to open it, my sweetheart picked me up from school and we went round the corner an sat down over a pot of tea to open it. I make it sound as if we were both equally excited...the excitement was mainly on my part of course!! Needless to say, it's a wonderful selection and made me feel quite overwhelmed and wonder if Nicki would be as pleased as I...

I haven't had the chance to photograph my wonderful beads yet so I won't share them with you yet (if you hop over to Nicki's Reef you will see her picture though) but here are the beads I sent to Nicki. One blue bead soup (the 'main' one I suppose) and a little brown one as well. Can't wait to see what she makes!

Thursday 27 May 2010

That Time Again...

...time for Andrew's giveaway...

Can't you just imagine these nestling in your palm? I certainly can...Look at these beautiful glowing treasures...I was going to suggest you go over to Andrew Thornton's blog to enter his regular Thursday Giveaway but on second thoughts, DON'T! I want these for my very own.....

Monday 24 May 2010

Travelling beadwork

I had a mad dash after school today to the train station as I'm going down to London to see an old friend perform a solo recital at the Wigmore Hall. This is a VERY prestigious venue and I can't believe that I used to sing on a regular/frequent basis with Marcus, who is singing tonight! Such lofty heights. We're not in touch anymore but I really felt I wanted to hear this recital, it's 3 years (I think!) since he moved down to the Royal Academy of Music in London and I'm really interested to hear what's happened to his voice since then. It's a great programme tonight, Schumann, Schubert, Britten - all some of my favourites - and as Marcus recently won the Wigmore Hall song competition I'm sure it will be an evening to remember! A far cry from the slightly depressing day I have had at school which involved my teaching various kids to sing Lady Gaga and the Spice Girls amongst others. And that's not mentioning the swathes of High School Musical I have to plough through at the moment. I mean, seriously, the Spice Girls?! They were around when I was at school! Surely they don't have that much longevity? I take it in turn to let the children pick their own songs versus it being my choice...needless to say, I am looking forward to after half term when I can pick some songs that will actually result in some useful and productive work being done! I love the kids but RnB doesn't really work very well for getting anybody to sing WELL.

Enough with the rant! Obviously I couldn't possibly face the trip down to London without a bag of beads and this morning I felt in the mood for a needle and thread rather than the pliers. So here's what will become another Right Angle Bangle...

Sunday 23 May 2010

Lampwork Sunday

Well, it turned out to be slightly less lampwork and slightly more sitting drinking vanilla milkshake in the sunshine today! We've had an absolutely gorgeously, wonderfully hot day in Manchester - real holiday weather! I don't want to get too excited as it may well not last but today was glorious whatever happens the rest of this week.

Here's what I did come up with. Slightly erm, interesting was still very light outside but somehow my wee camera didn't agree, and I've had to fiddle like mad on iphoto!

Gemstones, freshwater pearls, Czech and Swarovski crystal

I haven't quite brought myself to break up Loupiac's beads of yesterday's post but I have broken into my second Alison Davies set from the recent Beads Up North fair. They are AMAZING. Alison even told me herself that she almost didn't put them up to sell as she was so fond of them! Needless to say, I'm glad she did. The photo that you reach on Alison's site if you click here is much better than mine but still doesn't show quite how pretty they are - they are lighter and softer and more magical somehow.

Like I said, not my best pictures but I hope you can see just how lovely the beads would look if I had a good picture of them! And how sweet is the wee honey bee charm? Very cute I think. AND look at the sheen on that stick pearl! They are gorgeous! Check them out here. Well worth the money for a very generous strand - I used them in my Beach Bride set too and still have SO many left over. A little goes a long way with a stick pearl I think.

On another note, what do you think of my new font? I think I am a fan - a bit retro, like my Granddad's old typewriter. I'll have to see how it looks when I click 'Publish Post'...

*** PS Hey! I really like it! I think it's a keeper! ***

Saturday 22 May 2010

New Stuff

My lampwork hoard is steadily growing...someone take my card away from me! This week's new beads were a bargain though - Loupiac was having a bit of a clear out so I snatched these up. And she stuck in the three babies underneath. Thanks Loupiac! Aren't they glorious? I just love the colour combination! Bright, summery and peppery hot. My sweetheart is working nights at the moment so tomorrow I am PROMISING myself I will spend making more jewellery with my lovely lampworks. They can't just sit around looking pretty any longer! I'm going to kick their asses and make them do some work for me :-)

My other purchase was a local one - very local! A wee shop just around the corner from me which sells lovely bits and pieces randomly had these tiny tile beads. They are about 1cm square. Not sure they are meant to be beads per se but they will be sweet wee charms. There were no details as to who had made them so I can't tell you about the creator but DO visit Frames if you are ever round South Manchester; it's a gorgeous shop full of gift-y things and I have bought loads of bits and pieces to decorate our flat over the last few years.

So, what have you bought this week? Or are you more restrained with your purse strings than I?!

Thursday 20 May 2010

Andrew Thornton Giveaway

Andrew Thornton is having another giveaway! In fact, he has them every Thursday so even if his blog wasn't one of the best around you should definitely become a follower for that reason alone. This week he is giving away a whole bunch of beautiful lucite beads - just look at them, aren't they just gorgeous? Hop over there now and leave a comment to be entered into the draw.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Finished pieces

Just a quick post to show you the pieces I finished this evening after work.

First up is the bracelet for my Mum - a belated birthday piece.

Garnet faceted buttons
Sterling silver

I just added the silver flower charm at the last minute but I really like it - what do you think?

Swarovski crystal
Some kind of green semi-precious stone which I can't remember the name of!
Mini Czech cathedral beads

Next up is my ribbon necklace from the other night - I should probably call it something like 'Key to my Heart' or something similarly nauseating but I can't quite bring myself to do that! I do like the wee brass charms I have used in it though. I love to decorate the backs of necklaces, it makes them really pretty when you have your hair up.

Lastly (due to failing light!) is a sweet wee bracelet I made with the piece of ribbon I had left over from the necklace. Again, I have used SowZere, Vintaj and Patina Queen, and again, some semi-precious stones which I can't remember the names of...I think the turquoise beads are dyed jade but I'm not sure about the blushing pink bead...I remember I bought it in the Tower Street bead shop in London though! Oh, and the brass bead caps are from Brass Bouquet.

Incidentally, have you been wondering why SowZere is called SowZere? Well, I's the explanation taken from Diane's website....

'The silk ribbons evolved from my textile background and my love of dyeing and using silk fabrics and threads. When I was asked why I always used silk I would reply 'Well you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear' and the name stuck - but the spelling was changed! '

So there you go! Her ribbon is absolutely beautiful, I think you should DEFINITELY all go and buy some...

Tuesday 18 May 2010

The Postie's Gifts

Just thought I would share with you some lovely things that came in the post this morning. It's always a good day when you get home and there are little brown packages waiting for you!

Firstly, some lovely thick sterling silver chain which I ordered a few days ago to complete a bracelet for my Mum. I am about to go up to the gym so I think I might pack up my beads and go and sit in a cafe afterwards to finish the bracelet off.

Secondly, some absolutely gorgeous beads from Mamacita Beadworks. I bought a Songbird from her a few weeks back and I loved it so much that I just had to order a few more. Mamacita's beads are all hand cast in pewter which is a metal I love - they have a lovely weight to them. Can't wait to create something with them but I do love when new things arrive to just sit and look and hold them! So full of potential.

PS I am now off to post some Bead Soup to Nicki...

Monday 17 May 2010


Just a quick post...inspired by Lorelei's ribbon tutorial, I have made this sweet wee necklace tonight. I randomly bought two packs of absolutely stunning hand dyed ribbon from sowZere last week, without any real ideas of what or how I would work with it. Yesterday, Lorelei posted a video tutorial on how she uses ribbon, so I decided to use her finishing technique with some of my lovely ribbon. Simple but pretty I think. And look how sparkly the swarovski pendant is! At least, I hope you can see how sparkly it is, it being a phone pic..turquoise and caramel, my favourites.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Bunny Love

So, Nicki (my Bead Soup swap partner!) has asked if I can show you the rest of my rabbits. It's rare to get a picture of all four together as they don't all get on but here is one of the two I have showing the whole clan! From left to right - Petula, Rufus, Elphaba and Maisie. Rufus and Maisie were the original rescue bunnies and about a year ago we got Elphaba and Petula. Petula is a bit of a bully unfortunately so we have to keep her away from Maisie who she likes to chase around the living room. But they all love Rufus and vie for his attention - very bad feminists!

Use the Muse III - Completed!

I've just been reading back through my blog, seeing what I have written about in the past and I realised I never showed you my completed entry into Use the Muse III! How rude of me after giving you a sneak peek. Better late than never, here it is...

I didn't win of course, but I have to say, I was so pleased with how this piece came out! I loved the butterfly muse so much, and the mix of beads that came with it was really beautiful.

Saturday 15 May 2010


Today I thought I would introduce you to one of the four girls I live with. Boys are seriously outnumbered in my flat! This is little Maisie, our Netherland Dwarf rescue bunny. She is super cute and we love her lots.

Friday 14 May 2010

One last blog...

...because I forgot to show you this piece! I had a day off work on Wednesday as I had completely lost my voice (literally, silent!) and such a thing is not really conducive to teaching singing. I spent the afternoon drinking cups of tea in nearby East Didsbury playing with a new batch of Vintaj brass and here's what I came up with. I love the rich caramel depth of patina-ed metals and brass is my new favourite!

Carnelian rounds
Peruvian Opal

I've kind of overexposed this last picture so you can see Norma's beautiful boro lampwork bead more clearly. It's so beautiful; swirly and delicious. The colours aren't quite right in the over-exposed shot but at least you can see the pattern inside. I took a hilarious shot up against the window thinking that the light might shine through the bead but alas, it looked utterly awful! Last post for today, I promise...

Andrew Thornton Giveaway

Andrew Thornton's blog is one of my favourite places on the internet. He is a beautiful writer as well as artist and he has recently started a weekly giveaway programme - go and check it out! This week he is giving away these beautiful spring coloured resin beads.

Mum's Bracelet

Yesterday I went on a quick trip with the BBC to London - down to St Martin-in-the-Fields to sing for Ascension Day, broadcast live on Radio 4 last night. It's probably on the BBC's Listen Again application - we were singing some really lovely music; Vivaldi's Gloria and a couple of other short pieces. The Gloria is a very popular piece and so over played that sometimes it's hard to get excited about singing it, but it was presented in such a way that we (the choir) all agreed that we really heard it for the first time in years! It's a great work and well worth a listen.

I'm back in Manchester again now so thought I'd show you a couple of pictures of what I got up to on the train down. I have decided (rather belatedly!) to make my Mum a birthday bracelet. I don't even think she knows what a blog is, never mind that I have one, so I think I'm safe to show off these photos here!!

It's obviously not done yet - I have ordered some chain from Palmer Metals not 10 minutes ago- but I made a good start. My Mum is normally a blue person but she also really likes (and suits) delicate spring pinks and purples - any colour you get a Sweet Pea in, Mum looks good in! I got the beautiful lampwork beads from Alison Davies at the recent Beads Up North fair a couple of weeks ago. I've paired it with some sterling silver and some cute garnet buttons from Etsy, which are actually a bit pinker in real life and VERY sparkly!

Beach Bride

Woo-hoo! The new Beads and Beyond is out now and is filled with lots of delicious projects and stunning photographs. I am such a big fan of this magazine! As you can see from my sidebar, I've been lucky enough to have had quite a few projects published by them over the past year and in my opinion the quality of this mag goes from strength to strength. The photography has always been really top notch but they recently had a mini makeover and now the pictures are more stunning than ever! It really is such a privilege to have my jewellery presented in such a beautiful way.

Here is my project from this month - Beach Bride. I had originally named it Something Blue but there was already a beautiful Blue Topaz ring by Jane Kharade called Something Blue so they went for Beach Bride instead which I think suits it perfectly - somehow the stick pearls do look quite beachy! I completed the legal bit of getting married on Saturday (wedding itself not until August but the humanist civil partnership we are having is not recognised by law so we had a legal trial run!) and I in fact wore the necklace on the day which was lovely. I had actually bought some jewellery from Eve Smith to wear but annoyingly the neckline of my dress didn't work with the beautiful necklace I had bought. Another time! I did manage to wear the bracelet however, which came complete with some Moogin beads! The whole day was lovely beautiful and amazing. It was also my Mum's 60th birthday so we had a double celebration - it was so great of Mum to share her big day with us!

Wednesday 12 May 2010


SO, you thought I was going to let this blog slide again? Never fear, I'm back after a couple of weeks off...I kept meaning to blog but didn't really have much to say! And more to the point, I didn't have any photos to post. I am RUBBISH at taking pictures. I'm not really a happy snapper, it all seems like a bit of an effort for often a very poor result. But tonight I got my wee Olympus out and took some pics of some new pieces I made over the past few days. Because we all know blogs are really all about the pictures...

I decided that my big stash of lampworks really deserved to be turned into some jewellery.


The CUTE pewter birdie is from Mamacita Beadworks. And guess what? He's a songbird. Or is he a she?

Sarah Downton

(I just couldn't get a good picture of the lampwork bead in this bracelet. And I'm not sure it works too well with my new music background and I've used so many transparent and delicate beads. But here it is all the same! Check out the beads here.)

Clare Scott
(Again, not the best lampwork pic. I need better light! But you know, you've seen my other picture of this one, right?)

Lush Lampwork
(This is going to be a necklace. I just need some co-ordinating chain to complete.)

So, what do you think? I really like my 'ye olde notation' backdrop but perhaps just for darker/more vibrant pieces. And I so need a lightbox or just to be organised and take pics in the 2 minutes of sunshine we seem to get a day here in Manchester *sigh*. We're currently house hunting and I am obsessed with figuring out directions and angles and which way the sun moves around each flat/house that we look at - not just for picture purposes of course, also because it affects my mood so much. Any one else the same, have a touch of SAD?! N.B. Where it says 'winter depression' read 'all-year-round depression' for Manchester! We don't get the best of weather. At least I have my beads to cheer me up!


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