Tuesday 30 August 2011

Fashion or Favourites - what comes first...?

This weekend I managed to grab time to catch up on some much needed web browsing - one of my favourite stress antidotes and a chance to go through the bits and pieces I bookmark when I don't have time to relish them there and then. One thing that caught my eye was the Pantone colour forecast for this coming autumn.

Now, I'm not exactly what you'd call a fashion icon - I'm a 'know what I like and like what I know' kind of person...not very exciting but there you go. What's worse, if I'm at home working it's also quite likely to be frayed, stained or burnt, depending on what I'm doing! I do have a few of these forecast colours in my wardrobe but the brighter one's certainly only in little splashes and most likely summer clothes. I tend to be more adventurous with my accessories.

This got me thinking about the beads I buy to make my jewellery with. I've never in my life consciously bought a bead because it was a fashionable colour/shape/size although their availability may be influenced by this of course. So I wondered, did I have anything in my collection that was going to be on trend this season or, were all my designs going to look like museum pieces? 

I decided to put it to the test - a little nervously I might add, by matching my lampwork beads to see if any of them had anything like a 'fashion icon' prospect - and I was quite pleasantly surprised...


Emberglow and Honeysuckle - check

Phlox and Cedar - check

Deep Teal and Coffee Liqueur - check

Coffee Liqueur, Nougat and Orchid Hush - check

Nougat, Orchid Hush and Quarry - check

Bamboo and Quarry - check

So there you are, it seems that even if my wardrobe is sadly lacking in the cutting edge fashion stakes at least I can say some of my beads make the cut. Obviously, I'm ignoring the fact that this is just a small part of my collection and the rest...well, they are there because I love them whether they are the next big thing or not and that, is exactly how I will continue to choose my beads. And anyway, I like museums!

What about you - will you be setting any trends this season? I'd love to hear...

Thursday 25 August 2011

The puzzle is solved.....

Now that the puzzle of the parcel tracking is over and Julie has received her beads soup ingredients, I can how you how the picture puzzle was solved...

This is the soup mix I sent built around some Bronzclay pieces that I made specifically for this event. I think it's a fun collection and Julie says she loves it all so I hope she has loads of fun turning it into something spectacular. Julie has taken some pictures that show the items much more clearly too so check out what she had to say on her Blog.

Hopefully everyone now has or is close to getting their parcels so , let creativity commence!


Wednesday 24 August 2011

Never a dull moment in Bead Soup Land...

Well now I'm just a confused bunny...

As per my last post,  according to the Royal Mail tracking system the package I sent to my Bead Soup partner Julie is still sitting in the sorting office in Northern Ireland having been returned from the USA. Which is more than a little strange since Julie has just taken delivery of it at her home in Minnesota!

I have no idea what's in Northern Ireland and whether it's coming my way but I think someone, somewhere has had a very bad day at the office. I'm just so relieved that Julie has got her beads and what's more important, she loves them.

So now we can both concentrate on the important task in hand - designing beautiful jewellery - Yay to that!


Beads soup mix has gone...and come back again!!!

What a difference a day makes...

The happy bouncing bunny of yesterday has found an alter ego and is now a frustrated, hopping mad bunny! And why? Because I've been tracking the Bead Soup pack I sent to my partner Julie and for the past 4 days it's been in the US postal system with the status 'awaiting delivery'. This morning however, the status had changed and the package had been delivered... to a sorting office in Northern Ireland!!!

I have absolutely no idea what this poor little package did to be ejected so cruelly...and neither do the Royal Mail until it has been 'processed' and sent packing on it's way back to me. Thankfully Julie is not stressed by this and I have just put together a second package to send off to her asap. 

Fingers crossed!


Tuesday 23 August 2011

Soup's arrived...and am I happy...?

See that picture above...that's me that is - one very happy bunny bouncing around the house this morning after the postie delivered the bead soup sent by my partner Julie Nordine.

I knew that whatever Julie sent me would be a pleasure to work with - with the fabulous beads she makes and her background in interior design how could it be anything else. But I still gasped when I saw the contents of Julie's parcel. She's been incredibly generous, sending me several focal pieces and a beautiful clasp as well as a whole heap of goodies to go with them and, I can honestly say there is not one piece in this mix that I don't love. How spoilt am I ?!!!

I guess you want to see what I got now don't you? Well brace yourself here it comes...

How Stunning is that not so little collection...?

I just adore Julie's signature acorns and that etched copper leaf is to die for. As well as those I have lots of  Vintaj to play with, gorgeous turquoise nuggets, crystals, pearls, pretty silver beads and to top it all off that sumptuous silk ribbon.

Can you tell how happy I am by any chance? There are already a number of ideas sparking up in my head but I think I will just sit and look at my treasure for a day or so while they settle into something coherent.

Julie - thank you so, so much - you've made my day and this party very special. I really hope I can do justice to your beautiful beads. Again - thank you.

Good luck to you all with your own beautiful soups too - this is gonna be one helluva reveal!


Sunday 21 August 2011

A new string to my bow...

Yesterday I spent the day at an introductory kiln enameling workshop at Flux 'n' Flame and had loads of fun and a very productive time. I think I'm going to enjoy enameling!

There were only 2 of us in the group...say hello to Sally our tutor and Pam my classmate.

Pam's been making jewellery for many years and like myself works with metal clay. Because we were both  'au fais' with kilns and workshops, once Sally had given us the basics we were able to dive in and get creative. Having such a small group was great - we all hit it off which meant we had a lot of fun and had the time and space to bounce ideas off each other. 

So here's a closer look at a few of my first creations...

I'll swear all the little glass stringers I used on that blue square were black so how did some turn out that mauve colour? I guess have a lot to learn about the properties of glass! I think the oval is quite pretty - just a  shame I forgot to drill it first (doh!) but I'm sure I can do something with an enamel cabochon.

These were playing with copper wire embedded in the enamel and I'm looking forward to developing this technique and recycling some of my wire scraps while I'm at it.

Matched pairs...well almost anyway. We were firing these separately and I obviously mistimed the blue ones. I did re-fire them to try and get the colour the same but they started frying a bit around the edges. It only takes minutes to melt the enamel and just a few seconds can make a visible difference...all part of the learning process. I do like the fact that they look like grumpy little faces though. One of the burgundy ones isn't quite fired enough but I'll sort that when I fire up my own kiln.

And then of course there's the obligatory disaster...

This one fell off its trivet in the kiln - it started life as straight black lines on yellow, and the piece of Millefiore glass I'd added all but slid off. That said, I dropped it after I'd photographed it and the 'lump' broke off so I may well re-fire it and see what happens. One of the things I loved about the day was that when things didn't go to plan you could just change the plan.

So there you go - not exactly refined masterpieces but good enough for me to want to get stuck in and try and develop a style of my own with this medium. It's always good to be able to add a new string to your bow and for someone like me who loves colour, enamel is a perfect fit. If anyone is thinking of having a go, I'd thoroughly recommend it - great fun and quick results.


Wednesday 17 August 2011

Soup mix is on it's way...

Well that's it, after hours of trying out different combinations of beads, I've boxed up my final selection and put it in the post - It's all up to my partner Julie now. Obviously I can't show you what I've sent as that would spoil the surprise but just as a tasty tempting morsel...

Not much of a clue there is there!!!

I do hope Julie likes what I've sent - I can procrastinate for hours when I'm doing special projects for myself never mind choosing beads for someone else that I don't really know; but I guess that's what makes it so exciting.

Now I just have to sit back and wait for my soup mix to arrive...what will be in it I wonder..? 

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas!


Sunday 14 August 2011

We have a winner...!

Yay, we have a WINNER!

Before I reveal who it is I'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone who joined in the fun and helped me hit my target in a matter of hours, never mind days.

Ok, back to the matter in hand - drum roll please.........and the winner is...


Congratulations Gemma, send me your address details and I'll pop your pendant in the post asap.

But we're not quite done yet...I still need some more lovely Facebook fans so....If  I can top 200 by the end of August one randomly selected fan will win these sterling silver, lampwork and Swarovski crystal "Blueberry Ripple' earrings.

Lampwork beads by Rachel Dawes
So carry on spreading the word and I'll see you back here soon.


Saturday 13 August 2011

Minnesota Bead Soup

Well the Fall Bead Soup partnerships have now been announced and my soup will be coming all the way from Minnesota. My partner is The supremely talented lampwork artist Julie Nordine and I am over the moon to be paired with her. Julie  has an organic style of working and she uses the most delicious rich, jewelled and earthy colour palettes. I've borrowed some pictures from Julie so I hope she doesn't mind...

For me, great beads conjure up an image or feeling when you first see them and many of Julie's beads make me think magical and mystical as in an enchanted storybook sort of way - but then I'm often told I'm away with the fairies!

Both the style and the palettes are right up my street so how could I fail to be pleased - my only concern is how I live up to this with the soup I send to Julie...eek! But that's the thing about Bead Soup, you get to taste something different from what you're used to.

I just had to include this next picture...It's so lovely I've added it to my Pinterest Board...

Can't you just see a big bowl of these wonderful acorns sat on a coffee table looking beautiful.....?

You can find our more about Julie and her work at her Credit River Art Glass Blog

Whilst I'm here I'd like to say a huge thank you to Lori Anderson for organising this event. With over 360 participants it's a mammoth task to match people appropriately and not just randomly. Lori has done this pretty much single-handedly and whilst dealing with illness in her family. Hats off to you Lori - you did a great job.

Good luck to everyone who's taking part in the Bead Soup Blog Party - I can't wait to see what everyone does...


Wednesday 10 August 2011

I'm giving my heart away...


So much for the end of August - less than 24 hours and we've topped 100!
Thank you all lovely people. I'm going to leave this open a little while longer to give people a chance so I'll pick a winner over the weekend. In the meantime, keep spreading the word...200 Facebook likes by the end of August and there'll be another pressie up for grabs by all FB followers.

Well a very pretty lampwork one anyway...

I've set myself a goal of reaching 100 followers for the Gossiping Goddess by the end of August - that means at least another 13. If I manage to do that I plan to celebrate by picking one of my lovely followers at random to win this lovely lampwork heart pendant.

The beautiful  heart focal was made by UK glass artist Karina Thornhill with a base of "Dirty Martini' glass decorated with blue and black. I've set it on a lightly oxidised, handmade copper pin and bail with a coil embellishment and it comes with an 18" pure copper ball chain.

If you already follow my blog you can qualify for extra entries for the draw by spreading the word via your own blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. You'll get an extra entry for each one so be sure to leave me a comment here letting me know what you did.

If you're not already following join here and then get extra entries by spreading the word as well. Simple.

I will announce the winner on September 1st 2011 (or sooner if the target is reached) and if by chance I happen to reach 200 Facebook likes by the deadline as well, there will be a second prize on offer for all my Facebook fans.

Good Luck and see you back here soon.


Sunday 7 August 2011

Cheeky Charm...

Just a quick post to bring a smile to your face...

I belong to a forum called the UK Jewellers Collective (UKJC) - a great bunch of people and a great place to find advice and support on all manner of things. We recently had a charm swap with the theme of 'summer holidays' and my entry was this rather pert sunbather...

It's called 'Sun Worship and is a double sided charm modeled in Art Clay 650. I've never actually modeled in this way with metal clay before so it was a useful exercise as well as a bit of fun, but I did practice with Fimo first.

Now, if you're out catching some sun today don't forget to use sunscreen - you don't want your pert little places getting all shiny and burnt now do you...


Friday 5 August 2011

Return of the Muse

After best part of a week feeling just 'blurgh!' I'm happy to say that over the last couple of days I've really felt a lot better and back to myself again - so much so that I've even made a few pieces of jewellery. A week is not really that long but it's amazing how it seems so when you return to a creative activity after a break.

To get myself into the swing of things I decided bit of organisation would be therapeutic so I set to on my stash of handmade beads and components. I didn't think to take a before picture but this is what they look like now...

I always start sorting by colour but invariably find other criteria to refine by so I have to be quite strict with myself or it would take over the whole day! Most of these are lampwork beads but there are also some ceramics, metal pieces, fibre art beads, polymer clay and my own metal clay beads.

So with that done the creative juices were flowing again and I was off so I thought I thought I'd share some of the results with you...

Hippie Chick - lampwork by Lori Lochner with coppered Greek ceramic beads &
adjustable leather cord
Black Magic Woman - lampwork by Outwest with integral copper ear wires
Fjord - lampwork by Caroline Rhodes with copper and a Lapis charm
Moondance - Dragons Vein Agate with sterling silver.

The beautiful stone bead in the last piece was named after the Van Morrison song because it just reminded me so much of a beautiful autumn sky. 

I'm also very excited this week to have signed up for my first 'Bead Soup Blog Party' over at Lori Anderson's blog Pretty Things. If you've not heard of bead soup, it's an event where jewellery makers are paired up, swap beads with their partners and create something using the goodies they receive. The aim is to stretch yourself by using beads you may not have thought to use and of course, to meet other people who could be on the other side of the world and who share a love of beads and jewellery. The event culminates in a blog hop of everyone who took part and by all accounts, it''s going to be one helluva party this time round! Entries for the party are now closed but If you'd like to know more take a look at Lori's blog.

Well I'm off to start selecting beads for my partner, whoever they may be... I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.