Thursday 31 October 2013

The Handmade Show, Sunday 3rd!

Wow! Yes, my first show of the season is this Sunday, 3rd November. Can't quite believe it's come around so quickly! If you are in the Perthshire area, or fancy a trip to the very lovely Perth Concert Hall for a spot of handmade shopping, then I'd love to see you there :-) I will be next to the super-talented Aileen Clarke, and Soul Silver Glass and Swallow Glass Studio will also be exhibiting. Hope to see you there!

Sunday 20 October 2013

New jewellery at

So, this week I launched my new website! Pretty pleased with how it's looking and the feedback I'm getting is good :-) Requests to see my face (maybe...) and also to see necklaces 'on'. I hear you - I know how much easier it is to decide on a necklace when you see it hanging. It's something I've struggled with in terms of photography, but it's going to be shifted up my list of priorities in terms of stuff to get sorted, so that you can see that aspect of my necklaces as well. Same goes with earrings too - I want to find an easier way to show them hanging. It's always a bit of a leap of faith to buy something you're going to wear online, so I want to make sure my customers have as much information as possible from the photos I provide them with!

Here are a few pieces that you can snag in my shop. Remember to use coupon code LAUNCHPARTY20 at checkout to take 20% off all orders through til the 29th October!

Want to get a wee bonus for your order? Sign up to my new newsletter here too to get an extra coupon code in your inbox. 

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Friday 18 October 2013

Songbead Website Launch!

Yes, you read that right - I finally have a proper website for Songbead! I have been working on it for the past week or so, tweaking and fiddling away, learning the ropes of how to run such a thing, photographing, editing, loading, writing.......and finally, I am ready to go LIVE. 

I'm very excited about this new spot on the interweb for Songbead (me!). I have a web store there, you can read a little about me, direct links to my etsy shop and my blog....I am working on a Songbead Events page that will be popping up soon....There will be glitches, I'm sure, and little things I want to change or fiddle around with, but for now I am pretty pleased overall!

To celebrate, I'm having a launch party to celebrate! I have a special coupon code for you to use on any of my jewellery at Simply enter LAUNCHPARTY20 at checkout and my website will take 20% off your jewellery for you! Happy shopping :-) 

I'd love for you to take a look and let me know what you think! 

Thursday 17 October 2013

A Necklace and a Newsletter

Yep, this post is pretty much about what it says on the tin! 

This week has not been as productive work-wise as I'd hoped, as I've been laid up with a nasty bug. However, I have tried to be busy, in between coughing and spluttering, it's just that my general pace has been slower. I've been working away at quite a lot of new pieces (preparing for something new that's in the pipeline - all will be revealed soon.....!), as well as a new Beads and Beyond project and a few commissions that I've fallen behind with due to the hectic past few months. Trying to catch up, as well as forging ahead! Especially as I'm off on holiday, basically as of tomorrow, and won't be back at home in Belfast until the 29th! (Never fear - I'll be taking a travelling kit along with me. As always....;-))

Anyway, back to the title of this's the necklace I wanted to share with you today. I've entitled it Fire-Berries, and I wanted to talk a little bit about it and why. 

I recently got a new order through from one of my favourite art bead suppliers, Green Girl Studio, including this pretty pewter bird pendant. In it's beak it holds a berry, and as soon I saw it, an image - a memory - came into my mind. 
Some of my favourite books - both as a child, and still now, as an adult - are The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I'm not religious, so they don't have that particular resonance for me, but the stories - the stories! And the imagery, the wonderful characters and the landscapes and countries and worlds that he draws are just wonderful. I have them all on audiobook, read by an incredible and much-missed British actor, Michael Hordern, with the most beautiful, atmospheric music written and played by harpist Marissa Robles. I got as a gift on cassette when I was about 5, bought them again on cassette when I was about 18 as my first lot had well and truly died, replaced them on cd about 5 years ago, and then over the past year, I've been downloading them so I can listen to them on my phone. They really are THAT good - at least to me, who's been living with them in this particular version, for almost 30 years now. 
Anyway, BACK to the soon as I picked up the pendant, I knew that this particular bird was holding Fire-berries, which are in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Here's the extract from the book where the berries are mentioned:

“Aren’t you a star any longer?” asked Lucy.

“I am a star at rest, my daughter,” answered Ramandu. “When I set for the last time, decrepit and old beyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to this island. I am not so old now as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from the valleys in the Sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I have become as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take my rising again (for we are at earth’s eastern rim) and once more tread the great dance.”
“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of."
(And of course, in my audiobook version, this is accompanied by the most beautiful, haunting music, which I can near enough hear in my mind whilst reading these words.) 
For me, those berries were what I saw when I picked up this pendant. 

I had a stash of these wonderfully vibrant encased orange lampwork beads from Juli Cannon, and a wonderful etched lampwork disc from Helen Chalmers. Once I had them it all came together very naturally - knotted etched glass on one side, lampwork and pressed glass on the other. Another lovely touch to this is that the reverse of the pendant holds some of my favourite words from one of my favourite poets; Emily Dickinson:
"Hope is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul - "
You can read the full poem here

A very literary necklace! At least to me. It doesn't need to be for the wearer. That's the beauty of hidden words in jewellery. You know they're there if you want/need them to be. If you're more into pictorial imagery then you can forget the words.  
On to the second part of this blog post....I have, at long last, started a mailing list! Not much to say about this really, other than I would, of course, love you to sign up. I'm aiming for roughly one a month, with perhaps the odd extra one thrown in for good luck if I have extra special news to share, secret sales, new collections etc. You can sign up here:

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And if you do, there will be a very special Songbead offer popping into your mailbox shortly afterwards.....if that's not temptation for you then there will extra exciting news and another special offer in my first newsletter! I'd love to keep you in the loop with what's going on with Songbead. Hope you'll want to join me! 

Sunday 13 October 2013

Autumn Leaves

A spot of colour inspiration for you, from outside our backyard.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Coffee Shop Creativity

Wednesday was a super-productive day for me. I work best when in a busy but not chaotic environment  - a 'mix of calm and commotion', as it is described at Coffitivity. It's a fun (if a little silly) website that plays background sound from a coffee shop - it's true what it says though! That kind of burble does foster creativity - for me, at any rate. Not knowing anyone apart from my partner here in Belfast, I have been spending a lot of time by myself in our house. Not bad - we have a lovely house, even if it is still a little (a lot!) empty for my liking....but I have missed getting out and about. So on Wednesday afternoon, I took myself off to my new favourite coffee shop, Common Grounds, and drank tea and ate cake (only one small piece, I promise!) and.....made jewellery. I had a select palette with me, as you'll see, and everything just flowed. It really was a fantastic afternoon! I'm thrilled with all the pieces I made. Perhaps you'll see something you'll like - take a peek :-)

Friday 11 October 2013

FLASH sale at The Curious Bead Shop

Let's get this weekend started with a FLASH sale! Hop over to The Curious Bead Shop and take a whopping 15% off all orders from now until the end of Saturday, using coupon code OCTOBERFLASH13. Not sure how coupon codes work? Send me a convo before checking out and I will point you in the right direction. 

Happy shopping!

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Monday 7 October 2013

A Good Post Day!

Don't you just love a good post day? Yellow, white and manilla packages never fail to excite me. I don't get as many of these as I used to - I've learnt to be more retrained since going full-time with my jewellery and bead business - so when they do happen, they are extra exciting :-) 

Today's haul contained two extra exciting packages, all the way from the USA. A Green Girl Studios restock - whenever I designed with these in the summer, the items would disappear from my stand super-quick! Some old favourites, like the keyhole and the butterfly key; and some new-to-me pieces - like the little sparrow (bottom right), and the butterfly link. I am excited to get designing with all of these!

Next was a packet of gorgeous polymer goodness, in my favourite heathery, Scottish shades of teal, aqua and purple. Alison of Beads by Earth Tones makes some of my favourite polymer beads around, and a parcel from her never fails to delight! 

Watch this space for new designs featuring polymer and pewter, coming soon!

Sunday 6 October 2013

Luck of the Irish

Wow! A necklace, I hear you say! Well, you hear me say at any rate. Sometimes, I get real necklace block - I've blogged about it in the past, and it's something that I have improved upon over the past year or so. But after my busy summer, and then my move over to Belfast....well, my brain has been reaching for its comfort zone, at least in terms of designing, and so bracelets, bracelets, earrings and bracelets it has been. 

Last night, I was chatting with some of the member of my Curiosity Club in our FB group, and asking them what challenges them in designing. Symmetry/asymmetry were two things that seemed to challenge us in equal measures; flat beads, certain got me thinking about what challenges ME, and I decided to work a few of these challenges into one piece. It's easy to work within one's comfort zone, but sometimes the most satisfying designs are those in which you pushed the envelope and tried something a little different. 

And here you have it: the piece containing three personal challenges. 

1. It's a necklace. Not so much of a challenge for me anymore, but right now when my brain is full and a little tired, it is definitely more of a challenge to sit down to a necklace, rather than a bracelet or earrings.

2. The Lucky Horseshoe pendant from Heather Millican. I have had it for some months now, and really - how cute is it?! But for the life of me, I couldn't work out how I could get it to hang in a way I was satisfied with. 

3. The lime-green Picasso faceted rounds, which were one of those purchases where for some reason, my monitor colours were different from the finished beads. Or maybe I just didn't look hard enough at the listing. Wouldn't be the first time....

I'm not usually a fan of a yellow-y green. But one of the things we were discussing last night was pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, particularly in terms of colours. An inspirational source I cited was (check it out if you haven't already - awesome stuff!), and something I truly maintain is that you can work with any colour, if you find the right palette and proportion. Here, pairing the limey green beads with the turquoise coins really works for me. And I've linked those two greens with a deeper green Picasso-finish seed bead, separating the coins. 

I also solved my horseshoe dilemma by hanging it first from a lampwork disc from Helen Chalmers (more teal there, to link with the ceramic coins), and then in turn from a branch component. Something of a nod to a saloon door there, for me. And the green, the luck, the daisy...(not quite a 4-leaf clover, I know, but almost!) had to be called Luck of the Irish, didn't it?! That'll please my Mum too - it was her name suggestion! Thanks Mum :-)

If you fancy a little bit of Irish charm in your life, this necklace is now for sale in my etsy shop. :-) 

Friday 4 October 2013

New jewellery!

Hello! A quick stop in to let you know that there are some new pieces listed at over at Songbead :-) Take a peek!

Thursday 3 October 2013

New Curiosity Kits!

A quick post today....just stopping by to let you know that there are *brand new* Curiosity Kits available in The Curious Bead Shop! I've spent the past couple of days designing and making these kits up - it's a labour-intensive task, but definitely a labour of love! 

Hope you love them. Let me know if there are any other colours or themes you'd like to see!


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