Sunday, 29 January 2012

Magic number Giveaway WINNER is...

Very many thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway.

It was really interesting to hear about the things you are hoping to achieve this year and from reading your comments I can see many of you face the same challenges and barriers as me and as each other, be they big or small. I think that's kind of comforting and yet again makes me glad to part of this beading and blogging community.

And now back to the matter in hand. I've tried to put together a good variety of bead sizes, shapes and colours for my giveaway prize and this is what's going into the winners goodie bag...

And without further ado the lucky winner is:

Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry

Congratulations Melissa, I hope you like your prize. Let me know your mailing address and I'll get these shipped double quick!

Once again, thanks to everyone who took part and here's to the next 100 sales.

Have a great week all.


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud...

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood...

Well actually, it's got my blood racing lately and of course by mud I mean beads and jewellery elements made from clay, ceramic, porcelain, earthenware etc. I'm not clever enough to understand the nuances and differences of each of these but I'm growing to love them all.

If you've ever visited this blog before you'll be very well aware of my fondness for lampwork glass beads and that will never change. This year though I want to stretch myself and my jewellery designs  by using different materials more and by mixing materials together. So obviously I've had to do a bit of shopping to build up some supplies (there is always a way to justify shopping) and today I thought I'd share some of my favourite 'muddy' finds.

I just love these bead sets by Bo Hulley... the gorgeous glazes are so light and bright and I can't wait to use them for some fun summer jewellery. I found Bo on Etsy but we are in fact almost neighbours, with just a few miles of land and a stretch of water between me on the south coast of England and Bo on the Isle of White. Amazing then that I've only just discovered her beads but I'm so glad I did - her shop is full of lovely colourful goodies.

These beauties are part of a large consignment I have on order from the lovely Marla James of Marla's Mud. I love the natural forms and cool hued glazes on Marla's pieces and her shop is just full of temptation in the form of organic and nature inspired designs. I can't wait for these to arrive from the USA so I can get cracking.

Here we have selection of more of my favourite finds...The 'sweet tweets'  are by LeAnne Weih of Summers Studio and although I've just bought the little birds I've actually had the owl forever as I can't bring myself to part with him. 

More fabulous glazes on these textured disc charms and pendant from Mary Hubbard of White Clover Kiln. That green is to die for and they're such versatile pieces.

The ceramic Bracelet bars are from Captured Moments and although I love them they are quite a challenge to my natural design style...but I am determined to rise to that challenge!

The  pretty set of beads with a heart charm is  from Gaea Cannady. I love the mix of natural but rich colours in this set - so pretty.

My 'last but not least' selection includes gorgeous beads by Rob Johnson of Pebble Dreams. I was actually scouring Rob's shop for lampwork when I noticed these lovely organic beads in rustic tones and had to have them (needless to say I bought some lampies too!).

Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads made the pretty earth toned beads and tree of life pendant and I just love the tiny sea urchin beads that she makes in a range of colours.

I was really drawn to the 'brick' beads from Duane Collins of Elements Pottery. The chunky shape and matte textured finish contrasts with the pretty pastel colours and will be very interesting to work with. 

Finally, another set of beads form Gaea - love that pumpkin.

Now all I have to do is work up some designs that push me beyond my usual design habits and show off all these pieces in their true glory. Once I've cracked that I'll come back and show you the results. Oh, and if you'd like to share any of your sources of muddy treasures - please feel free, but just in case you haven't had a enough mud for one day, I've made a companion Etsy treasury for this post which you can find here - enjoy

And don't forget - If you haven't entered my magic numbers giveaway yet there's still time - the winner will be drawn this coming Sunday January 30th.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Magic Number Giveaway...

What a great start to the week... I woke up this morning to find I'd made my 100th sale in my Etsy shop, the target I set myself for my first year achieved in ten months. The fact that the door fell off my washing machine five minutes later did stop me in my tracks for a few minutes (there goes the bead budget for a while) but hey, I'm still dancing!

As I like to share a bit of happiness when I can and as this is an achievement worth celebrating I'm going to have a little giveaway. I'm not going to show you what the prize is yet because I don't know myself. What I plan to do is dig deep into the bead stash I shared in my last post and put together a little bag of gorgeous goodies for the lucky winner. If you don't make jewellery or collect beads don't worry - there will be an equally lovely alternative available.
Does that sound good?

Will any of these make the cut...?
So, all you need to do to take part in the giveaway is leave a comment here telling me about a goal you're hoping to achieve this  year. It doesn't have to be anything huge - just something that's going to give you a nice warm feeling inside and a sense of achievement.

If you can share the giveaway on Facebook, twitter or your own blog, you'll get an extra chance to win for each. Following me here or on my facebook page will also get you extra entries. Don't forget to leave separate comments for each one so I know how many times to enter you.

On Sunday 29th I will draw a winner and show everyone just what's in that goodie bag so I'll see you back here then.

Good Luck!


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Bead Addiction...Fact or Fiction?

Beady people joke about it all the time, some people name blogs and businesses after it and I for one know it can seriously damage your wealth. So is it a true addiction or can you give it up?

This is my current stash of handmade beads bought over the last 18 months or so...It doesn't include any of the enamel or metal clay pieces I make myself and there are many more of them dotted around the place waiting to be put away or used in a project, not to mention the ones on order that haven't arrived yet! Since most of those sections have 2,3 or more sets or focals in each, I guess there must be not far short of 200 of them in total. There are beads here that I love so much I don't use them for fear I may have to part with them - What's that all about...!?

Needless to say, In addition to these I have slightly, but not much smaller stashes of manufactured beads in sterling silver, base metals, gemstone, Czech glass, wood and bone, pearls, shell, ceramic and the rest, and off course all the requisite findings and metalwork.

Czech glass, which I don't even use much
I know I'm not alone in this and some of you will have stashes far, far bigger than mine - my question is have you ever tried to stop buying and did you succeed? Obviously they're only beads and there are more important things in life which we would all put first if we had to, but that aside, why is it we (notice how I'm making you all co-conspirators here...) have to have them and we have to have them immediately?

I don't do new years resolutions but I did promise myself I would try to start using up some of my bead stash before I bought anymore this year and I think I've made three items with things I'd been hoarding. However, Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder - otherwise known as my Etsy purchase history, tells me that I've also bought 19, yes 19 new items! I think that's what's known as abject failure.

Boxes of gemstones and pearls - but just the little ones!
The crux of the matter is that like any addiction you've got to want to give up...and we all know I don't. Maybe I should but hell, I was never great at "I should" and besides. beads are good or me - they make me happy (denial - who me?). But if you do have any tried and tested methods or 12 step programmes for just maybe cutting down a wee bit I'd love to hear them. Then perhaps I can have another go at curbing my habit, just maybe not until after the Big Bead Show comes to town next  month...


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Lost for words...

For the first time since I started writing this blog I find myself in the rather scary situation of having nothing to say. People who know me will either be laughing hysterically right now or concerned for my health since it's almost unheard of for me to be lost for words - but there it is...

Everything I consider writing about seems to be banal, unoriginal, repetitious and irrelevant so why would anyone want to read that? Maybe it's just the time of year and my imagination has gone into a little restorative funk, who knows.

Anyway, rather that tie myself in knots about it I'm going to let somebody else do the talking on this very subject while I go off and file my tax return - a task that requires no imagination and will hopefully shock my brain back into action again!

No poem today.
The words won't come.
My mind is bare.
My pen's struck dumb.
The page is blank.
I've nought to say.
And that is why
No poem today.

By Greg Pincus

Normal service will (hopefully) be resumed as soon as possible.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Lights, Action, Camera...

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

OK - so it might not be much of a threat to the Twighlight saga but I thought I'd have a little bit of fun and use this free video software to produce (I'm available Hollywood...) a little promotion for Valentines day. It's a bit quick but that's how they get you to buy the flies on me you know. What do you think? I might try an upgrade sometime. If anyone else has used this for promotion I would be interested to know how and what you thought of it.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Raring To Go...

Happy New Year!

We none of know what's ahead of us for 2012 but I was up with the lark this morning and I'm feeling ready to take on the world. 2011 was way,way better than 2010 for me and I'm hanging on to the belief that the only way is up for all I'm worth, especially where my jewellery is concerned!

I met so many talented people and discovered so many new things last year that I developed a bit of an insatiable appetite for trying new techniques and buying all manner of tools and gizmo's, which meant that by year end both my head and my house where somewhat cluttered.

So over the past couple of days I've had a major clear out of my workspace in an attempt to make it a more inspiring place to create. I moved in extra storage so that everything is easily accessible and removed unused clutter to temporarily clog up a spare room until I can get it in the loft. I've even sorted out the mountain of paperwork that was threatening to engulf me at any moment and put everything where it should be.
A place for everything and everything
in its place...but for how long?
Natural daylight, tools at hand and drawers of beady goodness...
looks like I missed the drawers on the left though
The bang and burn station with a
favourite print above it.
And that's why I'm feeling so chipper this morning - because I have order in my life! Ok...I have order in one room and the rest of the house needs to be restored to pre-festive normality but it's the most important room isn't it!?

My bead collection didn't escape the overhaul either and once again I find myself both delighted and slightly horrified at the quantity of beautiful beads I've managed to accumulate. But all the clutter in my head disappeared while I was organising so now I can't wait to get stuck into coming up with some new jewellery ideas.

I think I need to make space in my Etsy shop for some of these these new ideas too, so I'm having a little sale with up to 20% off selected items. The sale will last until January 18th and I think there are some great bargains so don't forget to take a look and pass the word on if you can. Oh, and the bronze grab bags I mentioned in my last post will be coming soon...the listings are just taking me a little time.

On sale now
I hope you all have a lovely relaxing New Years day and many great days ahead.