Monday, 29 August 2011

Andrew Thornton August Reader Challenge

Andrew Thornton is one of my favourite bloggers. I was so excited to see his Readers' Challenge and thrilled when I managed to snag a kit for the August challenge. (See his July challenge here.) When it arrived in the post, I couldn't believe just how many beautiful beads were included. A beautiful Diane Hawkey 'magic' bead, a sweet Marsha Neal charm, a generous bunch of Swarovski crystal elements, two pretty lampworks from Bernadette Fuentes and Sue Kennedy. Some vintage acrylic, a luxury bead mix, copper chain....a bounty of treasure to work with! I've been dying to get my hands on Diane Hawkey for a good while now and Marsha Neal makes some utterly gorgeous botanical pieces - I've a few of her pendants now and I adore them. A very pleasing selection to me! 

Now, I love red. It's one of my favourite colours to wear. But not to work with in jewellery design, for some reason. (Unless combined with turquoise, of course!) I have tried to work out what this reason is. I think it's primarily because of the lack of shade variation within red. I'm really no colour expert, so I may be using the wrong technical terms here but if you think of blue from very pale to very dark, there is a huge variation of shade to pick from. Similarly with green. (Oh yes, and they are my favourite colours to work with!) But with red, very pale is pink. And very dark verges on brown. And I know there is still texture and shape to work with but I think the lack of shade variation shies me away. So one of the reasons I bought this kit was to give myself that personal challenge; to work with red 'en masse'. I've also had requests for more red pieces at the craft fairs I've recently started participating in, so this kit was always going to give me a good push that I needed!

And this piece is such a good example of why I *love* challenges like this. I love red, but I hardly ever work with it. I love Swarovski crystal but usually resort to using it in the same old ways. I have had the tiny red bell and cool toggle from MissFickleMedia for forever it seems, love them but never could think of how to use them. And spreading out the elements of Andrew's pretty package out in front of me, this bracelet started to take form.....I am so pleased with how this has turned out! Totally different from anything I have made before. A bit kooky perhaps but I think it is a success. Any thoughts? Is it too off the wall for you or would you wear it? All comments gratefully received!

I still have a fair sized bounty left over from Andrew's gorgeous kit, which you can see here. Including the mystery item, a beautiful Andrew Thornton original copper coin, which you can see here! It has a gorgeous heft and weight to it, and is a beautiful shade or selection of shades I should say, of shimmering, rich copper. I had intended to incorporate it into this piece but it just didn't sit right - and time has run away with me for a second piece, which I fully intend to create using the lampworks, Andrew's coin and Marsha's beautiful charm. So watch this space for further pieces using these components!

Please check out the other challengees and see what beautiful goodies they have come up with.

Thanks so much Andrew for creating this beautiful kit and sharing it with us - it has really stretched me, in a very positive way!

Friday, 26 August 2011

My first vlog

Feeling inspired by Malin's brilliant Swedish lesson, I decided to try my hand at vlogging. I am so rubbish with technology, I don't know how to trim these thing down, plus I'm doing it all on my iPad. So it's a wee bit long, feel free not to stick with it if you don't want to! My mum and sister were asleep in the rooms next door so if I don't sound particularly excited, it's just because I'm trying to keep my voice down :-)

I'm allergic to my Mum's cats so sorry about the sniffing! Hopefully I'll have a go at this another time; if this embedding works, it's pretty easy. If it doesn't I'll have to try another tack...might try a beading tutorial next time. Anything anyone would like to see?

Anyway, it's 2.04am here and I must go to sleep. Night night! X

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


some beading, or rather, bead sorting in the sun

lots of aqua in here...

...gemstones, pearls, czech glass, crystal, vintage and new,silk ribbon, faux suede cording...

...lots of pretty handmade beads...

I didn't get SO far with the sorting... :-)

Sabrina and Rebecca's Bead Soup

Sabrina's soup has arrived! She's going to blog about it tonight I think. She says she already has loads of ideas...eek! I better get started. I will post my pictures of her soup but I'll wait until after she has revealed it later today. Until then, there's a sneak peek on this wee can see we went for similar colours! Sabrina's beautiful beads are on the right, and some of the soup that I sent is on the left. Elise Canning rose, pre-war ceramic flowers from an unknown Scottish artist.

I've decided to do a link so it's easy to find our Bead Soup posts - check out my ungainly button to the right-hand side of my blog! I am soooo not computer savvy; I thought about trying to do a lovely tab at the top of the page like so many of you have....couldn't work that out....then I thought of doing a button - well, I have worked that out (probably in the most round about way but as long as you get there in the end, right?) but it's a bit too big for my side bar. Not sure how to fix that.....but it still does the trick! Here is the button I created:

Obviously, I can't work out how to make this picture a live link....but if you click the one on the side bar, it will take you to all the posts relating to Sabrina and my particular Bead Soup Swap.

Whilst I'm here, I'd like to also say a massive thank you to the wonderfully wonderful Lori Anderson. Wow. She is a force of nature! I can't believe just how much work she's putting in - every time we do a Bead Soup Swap but especially this time around with not only 360+ participants but also so much on her personal plate. We really appreciate everything that you do Lori! THANK YOU. Lori recently received her own personal bead soup - check that out here.

If you're participating in the Bead Soup Swap, I hope you're having as much fun as I am :-)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Some ceramic goodies

Last week I had a good post day - you know the ones! - when two lovely packets popped through the letter box. One from Marsha Neal and one from Kylie Parry. Two gorgeous ceramic artists. Can't get enough of clay beads at the moment! I took a bunch of photos with my phone but a lot of them didn't turn out very well so I will just share a couple with you. Iphone 4 is doing well but it can't beat my trusty purple camera!

I've been lusting after some of Kylie's 'Story Beads' since she first started making them. Aren't they gorgeous? Love those birds in silhouette. The flower pendant are a new design for Kylie - peonies. I bought two of these in a pale pink and this warmer pink pictured above. 

I was lucky enough to be one of the 5 purchasers to snag a goodie bag from Kylie when she hit 2000 sales in her Etsy shop

My goodie bag included a honeycomb pendant, a round bird pendant and a sweet wee mushroom. YOu can see them below.

This picture also includes the beautiful pieces I bought from Marsha Neal - a stunning flower pendant and a lovely butterfly. I have used the flower in that same green that the butterfly is glazed in before, in one of my favourite pieces of recent months. I have a not-so-secret ambition to one day make my own ceramic beads but until I work out how I'm going to manage that, I'll keep on buying from the many clay artists out there that I love! Thanks ladies.

Do you have any secret bead making ambitions or are you happy to stick with jewellery? 

Monday, 22 August 2011


Here's my mini reveal - the commission bracelet I blogged about on Saturday. Paula loved it - hurrah! 

vintage lace
freshwater pearls
golden rutile quartz
vintaj brass

Genea's Great Giveaway!

Head over to genea's blog for this super awesome giveaway she is having! Make sure you post on her blog, not mine, to win the prize!


Hello friends!

Ok so it took me longer than I wanted to get this give-away going. I am totally blaming that on moving! Anyways, here we are FINALLY!  The awesome thing is that with the wait I also added some of my "Wing Ding" beads and some matching rubber o's from, My ELEMENTS! So let me refresh your memory of what it was. Remember these FABULOUS clay pendants I got from Cindy Buehler?
Yeah, f*ing awesome, right?! 
Ok so what is included in the give-away? 
You will receive: One of Cindy's scraffito pendants, 5 of my "Wing Ding" beads and 15 rubber o's from MY ELEMENTS. So what is the big deal with this give-away? Well Cindy wasn't sure if she was going to make more of these, but I think they are pretty incredible! So I thought if we do a give-away and you all LOVE them like I do, maybe we can get her to make more for us beaders!

So how do you win? Well here's what you have to do.... You have 5 chances to win. 1.Leave a comment below tell me what ideas you have for these beads(what you would create with them) or what you like about them. 2. Follow this blog. 3.Post this give-away on your blog. 4. Post this give-away on your Facebook. 5. Post this give-away on Twitter. 

PLEASE also leave your E-MAIL address in your post so it's easy for me to let you know you've won!
Just post from now(Monday, August 22nd) to Wednesday August 24 at midnight(pacific time) to enter to win!

Want to see what I made with mine? I had wanted to make a late b-day present for my MIL and just NOW got to creating it yesterday. Here is what I created!

Another close-up of Cindy's wonderful pendants!
Are you inspired?! Go on and enter!

Good luck!

xo Genea

Sunday, 21 August 2011

I heart macro

It's time for Studio Waterstone's "I Heart Macro" slash "I Heart Close Ups: Up Close Photography for Macro Makers and the Camerologically Challenged".

I've cheated this week and am sharing an old shot, but it's one that I love. A wasabi peanut! Or half of one at least. 

Hop over to Studio Waterstone by clicking the button below to check out the other entries.

studio waterstone

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bead Soup Has Arrived: A Story in Pictures


Thanks so much Sabrina!

A bracelet for Paula...

As any regular readers will know, I recently began taking part in Altrincham's new Vintage and Craft Fair. Last month, I was lucky enough to receive a commission from a fellow stall holder, Paula. She is getting married in a month and wanted me to create her a bracelet for her to wear on her big day. What an honour - and a slightly scary one at that! It's always such a privilege to create wedding jewellery but a special type of treat to have a commision from someone who knows you only through your work. But daunting. Very daunting.

Tomorrow is August's fair, and I completed Paula's bracelet a few days ago. Last month, she brought in some samples of fabric and trim that she will be wearing on the day. Very vintage chic! Some lovely off-white, ivory shades. The bracelet came about in quite a fortuitous way - I have a few bits and bobs from pieces that hadn't quite worked out for one reason or another - a strand of linked beads, a scrap of vintage lace....they were lying on my beading table and they all came together very naturally. I just hope she likes it!

I'm not going to share the finished piece here until Paula has seen it and given it the stamp of approval (there are a few options for change I have in my mind, so hopefully one version or another will fit the bill!) but as we are in the season of sneak peeks, here is mine.....

It's something I would have worn on my big day and you can't do more than that, can you? 

Hope you are all set up for lovely weekends. I'll give you the (mini) reveal on Monday :-)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Gardanne Giveaway!

My new favourite bead artist Anne is having a sale, going all the way to Sunday. Check it out here!

She makes stunning lampwork beads and enamelled metal pieces. I have bought a couple of packages from her recently and been soooo impressed by the wonderful quality of her work. Here are some earrings I have made with her pieces:

She's also having a giveaway - check it out here! If she gets 100 entries, she'll throw in a second goody bag what are you waiting for?!

Allegory Gallery Design Team

Well, this week I've been privileged to receive some very good, and very exciting news. I am one of twelve  jewellery designers selected to be part of Andrew Thornton's Allegory Gallery Design Team. 


This is a *serious* honour! 

If you don't know Andrew and his beautiful work then firstly, you should, and secondly, hop over to his thoughtful, reflective and inspirational blog And then check out his big cartel shop and see some of the unusual and pretty beads and elements he has for sale.

If you haven't been following his gallery journey then do read back a few posts to get filled in on the picture and follow his dream as it goes from just that to a reality. I blogged a few days ago about the fundraiser programme that Andrew has started. You can tell just from reading Andrew's posts that this is going to be a special place, and I'm chuffed and thrilled and honoured to think that I will play even a small part in it! 

The Design Team are a small group of diverse jewellery designers and we'll be working with Allegory Gallery elements on a monthly basis, coming up with new, unique and (hopefully!) inspirational designs that we will share with our readers. So excited. (Did I mention that already?!) I love working to a brief or with set elements - I find it really focuses the mind. 

Please check out these other designers on board - such an eclectic and wonderful group to be a part of! Thank you, Andrew. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A trip down Etsy's yellow brick road...

My attempts at photography have been blighted - blighted I tell you! - by the damned rain. We seem to have left summer behind in July and June :-( I love the summer, everything seems better when the sun shines. 

So instead of a post filled with my own photos, I have decided to share some of my favourite pieces of jewellery, from some of my favourite people on Etsy - some new finds and some old friends.

First up, a necklace I've had my eye on for a while from my lovely friend Heidi of ExPostFactoJewelry.

Heidi has combined some of my favourite elements - namely, sari silk and MissFickleMedia patinated links! Beautiful. I have never bought any Golem beads but I will. One day. 

Next, some beautiful earrings. In fact, this post is going to be mostly about the earrings! I absolutely love earrings - can't get or make enough of them. If I go abroad, I usually try and get a pair to remind me of my trip.  

But back to these earrings. Here are some from my dear friend Malin, in Sweden. A Mildly Wild Fusion.

Can you spot the connection? Yes, Malin is also a MissFickleMedia fan. Who isn't, quite frankly?

Next, a new 'discovery' of mine. Melinda Orr of ORRTEC. She makes some totally awesome jewellery, and elements too - I've got some beautiful patinated charms on their way to me. (Missed her Bead Fest sale though. By ONE day. Drat!) 

How could I resist the turquoise and red? (I couldn't). They'd look pretty great with Heidi's necklace, no?

So, the reason I 'discovered' Melinda's stunning work, is that Lori of Studio Waterstone has started putting buttons on her website. She's also started making these *gorgeous* recycled leather cuffs. If I wasn't super skint (I really and truly am...) then I would have one of these winging their way to me as well. Alas not. 

Pretty, no?

Back to the earrings. My lovely friend Stefanie makes very beautiful pieces; like Malin, Heidi, and me, she's a big fan of recycled sari silk. You've probably seen some of her lovely silk bracelets around the place, or read her interview on JewelryAccord. (Check out Malin's too. And Melinda's!) But I think these earrings are very sweet, despite the lack of silk :-)

And now to some earrings that I actually own. These are show.stoppers. And, as I'm a short necked girl (an Anderson family failing), they very much sit on my shoulders. But, I *love* them. So glad I splashed out. Gorgeous elements and beautiful colours.

Made by *guess who*? First one to guess correctly wins a prize :-)

I hope you've enjoyed my little trip down Etsy lane. What have you got your eye on at the moment?

Been meaning to take photos and blog for a week....if I post this now, it means I have to, right?!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Please check this out and support Andrew Thornton's dream!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton: Allegory Gallery Giveaway: One...: "To celebrate the opening of the Store, I wanted to do a series of giveaways. It's just my little way to thank everyone out there who is hel..."

Friday, 12 August 2011

Sabrina Staub

Meet Sabrina, my Bead Soup Swap Party partner! I am so excited that Lori has paired us together.

Something you don't know about my family is that my Mum used to live in Switzerland, back in the late 60s/early 70s. She worked there before going to university and then went back to work for the summers inbetween her university semesters. She lived and worked in Zurich (sorry, I don't know how to create an umlaut on my keyboard!) and still has lots of friends in Switzerland round that area. We used to visit quite often (every 2 or 3 years) when I was growing up as Mum had, and still has such strong connections. I haven't been since I was 18 (12 years! Horrifique! I'm so old...) Mum, sister and my partner and I are holidaying in Zurich and Valatta (a small alpine town just outside Zurich) in September.

So when I had an email from Sabrina in Basel, I was over the moon! How wonderfully serendipitous. We may even manage a meet up when I go over, depending on our schedule (which will be dictated mainly by my Mum, she has bad arthritis and her mobility is often poor) as Basel in the next canton over from Zurich. I am excited! Emailing Sabrina has also given me a chance to practice my German....which I love but am NOT good at. My Mum is fluent (still!) in Swiss-German and I used to speak a very little when I was wee but it is long forgotten now. So I've been trying to write some of my emails in German whenever I have contacted Sabrina. Good practice indeed!

Another reason I'm so thrilled about this swap is that Sabrina is a pretty awesome lampwork artist. How totally fab! Anyone who has ever read this blog before will know I adore lampwork beads and have a bit of an addiction.....her work is stunning; cool and clean and colourful, and really, really beautiful. 

Check out her blog, her website and her DaWanda shop. I hope you are all as lucky as I am with your swap partners!

Here's a sneak peek of what will be in the post tomorrow......x x x

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Beads of Clay Blog: 2nd Wednesday Giveaway time! Why do we give away o...

Check out this fab giveaway!

Beads of Clay Blog: 2nd Wednesday Giveaway time!
Why do we give away o...
: "2nd Wednesday Giveaway time! Why do we give away our work? Because we can! Today we are giving away ALL of these beautiful handmade cer..."

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Gaea Ceramic Bead and Art Studio Blog: Summer School & Giveaway

You've got until tonight-ish to enter this fab give-away!

Gaea Ceramic Bead and Art Studio Blog: Summer School & Giveaway: "We have been enjoying our summer vacation and while I try to keep things fairly relaxed, there is still a certain amount of work that should..."


I was one of the lucky buyers to snaffle up one of Heather Humblebead's Groupon-style vouchers a few months back. Here are some of the fab goodies I treated myself to. Can you tell what my favourite colour is...??! 

Heather is a fabulous artist. I'm only a recent 'convert' to polymer clay but I absolutely love it now. Heather is one of my favourite bead artists, full stop. I also adore Barbara of Floridity's work, particularly her cute birdies

Who are your favourite bead artists? Is there a medium you were unsure of that you've now come around to and if so, what made you change your mind? I'd love to know!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Hello from the hospital...

....I'm not here for anything bad though, before you ask!
My partner is a doctor and I'm here at her hospital today (in the canteen!) because we came straight from her own hospital appointment this morning. I don't often venture into the personal on this blog but today I will. Helen has MS, fairly recently diagnosed (about 18 months ago) and we go to the neurological centre in Manchester once about every 6 months.

Now, I am the biggest supporter of the NHS. I truly, truly believe in health service, free at the point of delivery. I want to pay taxes so that the poor and needy can get the SAME treatment as I do, regardless of situation and circumstance. I'd be happy to pay more tax for this. We are so fortunate that we live in a country where this is possible; where things may be sometimes slower than ideal (often this is not the case however) but treatment is free at the point of delivery and we do not have added financial worries because of a chronic illness. I cannot imagine living with this on top of the illness itself. But I've got to say, I've been less than enamoured with the treatment Helen has been given since her first point of contact with her gp, in regards to her MS. But doctors are people, and people are human and therefore fallible...such is life. So every appointment feels a little like a battle, and is upsetting for us both, especially Helen who is normally so strong and stoical. Today was only a little battle; a mere digging in of heels on my part (it's a bit of a good cop, bad cop set up, and I'm definitely the bad...) but still, a reminder of that which we don't want to really think about. A scheduled scan for a possible attack which may or may not have been MS, perhaps stress and tiredness. We shall see.

So I'm now at my second hospital of the day, waiting for Helen to finish her own clinic (she is a Urology registrar), over on the Wirral, about an hour away from Manchester. I think when you've had a rough day, it's good to know that somebody you love and who loves you is near, even if you're not together. We shall hopefully go home to some nice food, and an evening in with The Killing (we've hit episode 12, there are 20, and we're thoroughly addicted and are at the stage where staying up all night to see the series through seems like a good option even with work the following day!) and some beads for me. Putting the morning behind us.

Speaking of beads, I never travel without are a few earrings (all Gardane components) I've made during my stay in the canteen. Please note the attractive Formica table...!

These are particularly gorgeous lampworks - you can't really see it in this picture, but the play of light and colour in the beads is beautiful. Thanks Anne!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Happy Monday!

Some beautiful sunflowers that my friend Charlie brought me at the weekend. Thanks Charlie!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

I Heart Macro

So, I tried to capture a few things with my macro-tastic camera today, but nothing was quite as effective as the seed beads were for me last time. Here are a few close ups I snapped.

Tried out one of my cool camera settings here too - I love the drawn effect this results in. Check out the other folk joining in here, on the lovely Lori's blog.

I've developed a recent obsession with sticky tape....particularly Japanese/Korean style tapes, like the ones pictured below. Some are so pretty. I have to work out what else to do with the tapes apart from seal up parcels! I've got a few - the ones pictured - but also, a very pretty roll of lace trim, with adhesive on the back. I can see it being very nice on something or other....not sure what yet!

On another note, I also treated myself to a bead weaving kit this week, from the lovely Bead Merchant. I usually do my own designs with bead weaving, but I find the best way to stretch myself; learn a new stitch or technique, is through a pattern or a kit. I've done a couple of Bead Merchant kits before and never been disappointed so am looking forward to this one. 

Last week was a bead weaving week (sad I can't share my finished piece yet, I am thrilled as I said with it, but I must wait until the British Bead Award Gurus have spoken! :-)) but this week, I'm back on the wire. After two beading classes yesterday and the day before, I was ready to do something less focused and labour-intensive! 

So here is a simple knotted bracelet using water and wood components from MissFickleMedia, a sweet bird from PatinaQueen and some absolutely gorgeous, fat freshwater pearls from one of my very favourite bead shops, PreciousSparkleBeads. Who now carry some of my jewellery! VERY exciting. Dawn (the owner) is a truly awesome lady, and she's one of the people who have really given me the confidence to try and sell my jewellery, as well as teach. Not only does she sell wonderful beads, but she's also a very nice lady. I've just ordered some pyrite ovals and some very special Amazonite cubes from her, hopefully they'll arrive in the next few days. 

Hope you've all had a great week. Whilst it was lovely to be home (Edinburgh), it's always a little stressful running around, catching up with lots of people you haven't seen for a while. So it's good to be back in Manchester, with my sweetheart :-) We're watching The Killing (original version, in Danish) at the moment, downloaded from iTunes. Tricky to bead whilst reading subtitles, but I'm managing it somehow! Love a good crime drama, it's definitely my favourite genre to watch. I recommend The Killing if you can cope with high levels of tension! 

Enjoy your Sunday evening. x x x


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