Sunday, 27 January 2013

Curious Bead Shop Update!

So, it's somehow been a busy week in the land of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop. One of those weeks that feels busy, but you're not quite sure what you've achieved come the end of it.....

One of the most exciting events was my new order of beads for Curious. It wasn't quite so prolific as I had hoped - my supplier was out of stock of quite a few things I had ordered - but I did a good restock yesterday, and also got 5 new beads in. Some beauties, I'm sure you'll agree!

From left to right, clockwise:

I've got to say, although I like them all (well, that goes without saying - everything in The Curious Bead Shop is hand picked by me - I'm surely not going to pick anything I don't like!), I am particularly drawn to both Purple Rain (this cut is just stunning!), and Urban Landscape. I love the mossy look the green splash gives these small but very useful beads. They remind me of the type of wild life that grows on an abandoned industrial estate - hence the title I gave them - the really sturdy and stubborn plants that grow, often upwards, whatever the conditions are! I could see these, and Coal Dust, in some edgy, very contemporary designs. 

What is you favourite out of my new beads? What is your favourite colour of bead to buy?

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

More Bird Beads on Art Bead Scene

I have taken over the weekly 'Show Me Sunday' posts over at Art Bead Scene from Melanie Brooks, who is taking time to explore avenues within her business other than beads. We ask you each Sunday to list us your favourite handmade bird beads. Last week, I made a treasury of some of my favourite finds; this week, we had such a great response (plus a little more etsy trawling on my part - it's a hard life.....) on ABS and on Facebook, that I was able to make another treasury.

'More Bird Beads!' by thecuriousbeadshop

More gorgeous handmade bird beads from artists all over the world. Featured on

Raku Nightingale Bead

Bird Skull

Deep purple bird cage cerami...

Destash Porcelain Birds and ...

Bird Bee Eater Charm from El...

Blue Chirps - Handmade Polym...

Pottery Cuff bead with Birds...

Bird and Beads Pastel Colors...

Etched Copper Dotted Birdie ...

Hand Cast Pewter Love Bird

Little Flying Bluebird bead ...

Handmade bird pendant, Handm...

Artisan glass lampwork sandp...

Handmade Ceramic Porcelain B...

Sweet Bird / Ceramic Bird a...

BIRD FOCAL Lampwork bead fs0...

I also had a lot of fun last week creating mini collage boards combining some of the amazing handmade beads I had picked with some of my beads and cord from The Curious Bead Shop. I thought I would do it again this week too. 

Looking through The Curious Bead Shop, it's feeling a little empty at present. I ordered a new batch of beads in December but due to the holidays I am guessing, they have not arrived yet. Fingers crossed for this week! There are a lot of Sold Out listings I'd like to update. I will let you all know when they arrive.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A couple of owls....

It's been an evening of owls for you have a favourite image to work with in jewellery? I adore owls. Not sure why. I have a feeling it may just be as simple as - they are very cute. I like to think my mind works on a deeper level, but I'm not sure it does! The necklace owl is from kylie parry, and the bracelet owl is from Nancy Schindler. Love them both.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Photographing - white or rustic? And do I need a new camera....?

For the past wee while - about 6 months now -  I have used an old, white cupboard door to photograph on. The past month or so, I've been using a light tent and photography lights to shoot with as well. Before this, I've always had to go outside for my shots - for some reason, despite our flat not being particularly dark, there's just not a good spot for snapping here - no big window that gets the right type of light. It's frustrating, and I am always trying new things to see if I can improve things. The photos I have taken over the past couple of weeks, using the light tent set up,  have just been rubbish. They haven't seen the light of day - it's been a case of loading them onto the computer and then immediately deleting! I don't know why. So today, I decided to get out and about and try shooting on a nice rustic, weather-beaten table. It's 8.30pm here, and I've just finished loading them onto the computer and editing them. And most of them are pants. Hours of work altogether, and almost all for nothing. *sigh* It's so annoying. 

Anyway, I thought I'd show some of the ones which worked better than others. I'm not thrilled with any, but I want to show you what I have been working on despite that! I got at least one of most of the items of jewellery I was snapping, but not enough to load anything onto Etsy. 

I've been wondering if my camera is partly to blame. I mean, I am sure I am personally partly to blame too - camera skills are a constant work in progress - but I have been investigating what features are recommended in cameras for jewellery photography anyway. Mine has a really good macro setting. But you can't adjust the aperture or shutter speed and I think these things could make a difference.....another thing to add to the shopping list! My birthday is in April so perhaps then.....

So I wonder, what do you prefer? Rustic wood background or white? And do you think it matters if shops have a mixture of backgrounds? I've been thinking of shooting on a rough piece of linen too, which I did a little of back in the Spring. 

Feeling a little frustrated this evening and hoping for some inspiring advice here in blogland! Any given, much appreciated :-)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bird Beads

Today is my first day as Show Me Sunday editor over on Art Bead Scene. I shared a killer treasury of beads over there today (if I do say so myself!), featuring a vast array of bird beads. Every Sunday in January, I am asking folk to leave me links to bird beads they know and love - they can be ones that you have made yourself, or just bird beads that you love. I got the ball rolling by creating my own bird bead selection box. Hop over if you want to see all of the beauties that I found! As I say over there, some may or may not (ahem!) have found their way into my shopping cart.....

I thought I'd showcase a few of them here, and pair them up with some of my beads and Irish waxed linen cord from The Curious Bead Shop - a bit of eye candy as to how you could use these lovely art beads, combining them with some stunning desginer Czech glass. 

I'm having a free shipping weekend in The Curious Bead Shop so it's the perfect time to pick a few pretties up - UK orders over £20 and international over £25 qualify! Use coupon code FREESHIP13 at the check out and etsy will alter your total (any problems, drop me a line before checking out and I will walk you through it :-)). 

Hope you are all having a great weekend. I spent yesterday in London, one of my favourite places, and despite the dreary weather, I snapped some good shots on the South Bank which I will share with you later this week. Back in Manchester now and ready for the week ahead....

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

Welcome to Lori Anderson's Memories and Thanks blog hop. Normally, I leave these things to the very last minute and whip something up in the 24 hours preceding. I haven't done that this time. There are two reasons - firstly, as frequent readers will know, I haven't been very well recently - I have has a vicious virus over the past few months which came to a head over Christmas and really stopped me in my tracks (I'm doing much better now though so don't worry!). And secondly, whilst I could have stayed up late creating something, that somehow felt wrong for this blog hop. Somewhat disrespectful, to not put proper thought into it. So rather than not take part at all, I have decided to repost a post from Art Bead Scene that I wrote last year, about a bracelet I made for my little house bunny Maisie, who died on the 2nd January last year. She is still sorely missed, and it feels appropriate to remember her here again on this occasion.

Please hop over to for the full list of participants. Thanks to Lori for organising another great blog event!

If you are reading this blog, jewellery is most likely a beautiful and enjoyable part of your weekly or even daily life. Certainly, there are not many days that go by when I don't play with the beads, just a little! Jewellery is beautiful to look at and can be an expression of how we feel; how we perceive ourselves or wish others to perceive us. But jewellery can be more than even that - it can capture memories, it can act as a talisman, it can keep those we are parted from with us. And handmade art beads are the perfect way to capture these memories and thoughts - individual tiny pieces of art, worn close by.

My family recently lost a very dear member - our little house bunny, Maisie. We were pretty devastated by our loss, and I wanted to create something for myself to remember her by - something special, that I could keep close by and feel that she was still with me. So I decided to create a bracelet, commemorating her and her sweet nature. It struck me that bracelets form the perfect 'memory jewellery' - not only are they visible to others, but unlike necklaces and earrings, can be seen by the wearer.

I thought of the things that reminded me of Maisie. She was a tiny bunny, and we had nicknamed her our 'Maisie bird' due to her daintiness and her quick, darting movements. So this beautiful lampwork bird from Elise Thomas, which my partner just happened to have given me for Christmas, was perfect to capture her. 

She was black and white in colouring so freshwater pearls and Czech glass were the perfect framework for the lampwork bird. She also loved rose petals - not something she got to eat often, I must say, but on the few occasions that we had roses, she really enjoyed them! So a sprinkling of tiny Czech glass flowers were the perfect accompaniment, and also broke up the stark monochromatic colour scheme. A heart frame from Fallen Angel Brass (a deep, rich colour to co-ordinate with the colour scheme I was working with) I adapted into a clasp completed the bracelet - perfect, again, for capturing just how much we loved Maisie.

Not only was making the bracelet incredibly cathartic for me, but every time I see or wear the bracelet, I am reminded of my sweet girl. For me, it was the best way to honour and remember someone so important to me.

Why not create your own memory jewellery? It could capture and much missed and loved pet like mine does, but equally well a friend or family member who lives far away, a place you have visited and fallen in love with, a memory from childhood....there are so many possibilities here. Think of the elements that make up the person, place or thing you want to capture...find an art bead or two that really speak to you and frame them with your favourite beads. Memories captured forever, to be kept with you and worn, rather than just sitting on a shelf or bedside table.

Friday, 11 January 2013


Sometimes a colour just speaks to you. This week it has been yellow. And red. I've been listening to both I realise, looking at this happy bracelet and yesterday's post as well. How about you?

Features handmade ceramic beads from Earthenwood Studio, Jubilee and Bo Hulley Beads.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

First post of 2013

So, we're over a week in and here is my first post. I don't quite know where the last week and a half went, but somewhere. I'm still here! Slowly coming out of the viral coma that has plagued me over the past 3 months (I hope. Still coughing my guts up several times a day but I'm getting there!). I'm definitely still feeling a little sluggish though! And I have found myself sitting in front of the beads, not managing to do very much, on several occasions over the past week - and it's not that I don't have a to-do list - I really do! - but somehow, my body - and my head - is telling me to rest. Just for a bit - to take it easy for a couple days more.

I have created a few new pieces though! And I am hoping that tomorrow will be a major photography day. Jewellery, magazine shots and a secret tutorial I am working on - they all need snapping. But until then, I have a few Instagram shots to share, before these are all grown up and in my etsy shop. Having fun with colour, as you can see!

As you can probably also see, I am also having fun with Golem beads. They had a very excellent sale just before Christmas, and I placed my first (very big!) order with them. Their European shop was very well stocked and I went a little bit crazy! Pleased I did though. I am sooo into the beads they sent me.....they are unlike any ceramic beads I have bought before. Totally unique. And I love them, needless to say! I don't think it will be my last order.....

Hope you've all had a good January so far. I will be stopping by sooner rather than later! Can't let this wee blog of mine get too dusty.


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