Tuesday 29 November 2011

Today's the Day....for great giveaways

Day 4 of Lori Anderson's Virtual Craft Fair to be precise and the day that that I get featured along with a whole bunch of other talented artists, all of whom have a give away - this is mine...

A gorgeous pendant that features a seaside themed conch shell focal bead by UK glass artist Julie Fountain with matching bead earrings. These beads have the most fabulous lustre which makes them really striking. Needing little more to accent them than simple copper beads, the pendant hangs from a fine copper chain and the earrings dangle from copper ear-wires.

Chain measures approx. 47cm (18ins).
Pendant measures approx. 3.5cm (1.5in) from the top of the bail.
The shell measures approx. 2.5cm  x 1.8cm (1in x 0.7in) 
Earrings measure approx. 2.5cm (1in) from top of the ear-wire.

Value $55

For your chance to win one of the 70 giveaways up for grabs just hop over to Lori's blog and leave a comment. You can get extra chances by sharing the Virtual Craft Fair with your friends too. You can then visit the blogs and shops of all the Artisan and maybe bag some yourself some great bargains. 

Virtual Craft Show visitors to my Etsy shop will qualify for FREE STANDARD INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING on all purchases until Saturday 3rd December - just use coupon code 'VIRTUAL'.

I'm off to check out the days talented artists now and I hope you have a great days browsing and shopping!


Thursday 24 November 2011

Virtual Craft Show and Pumpkin Pie...

Just a quick post to remind you that the first ever 'Virtual Craft Show' starts this Saturday 26th November over at Lori Anderson's Blog Pretty things and runs until December 3rd.

Lori will be showcasing 70 Artisans and this will be your chance to visit their Shops and Blogs, discover new artists, shop for Christmas (or yourself!) and, take part in the activities that could see you win one of 70 giveaways over the course of the week!!! No braving foul weather either - you can do all this from the comfort of your own home.

For the duration of the show I will be offering free shipping on any purchases from my Etsy Shop to all you Virtual Craft Show visitors. Just enter Coupon code VIRTUAL to take advantage of this special offer.

I'm sure many other artisans will also be running special offers too so keep your eyes peeled.

I'll definitely be looking to start my Christmas shopping at the show and hope to see you there - don't forget to tell your friends either...

Oh and a very happy THANKSGIVING to all my friends in the USA today!


Tuesday 22 November 2011

Full of Flavour Bead Soup

In between the big Bead Soup Blog Parties that Lori Anderson organises there are some smaller bead swaps. We don't have to make anything for these - they're just for a bit of fun and chance to get to know fellow beaders. My partner for the winter swap is Kate Gardenghi of Tropical Blonde who makes her own beautiful Polymer Clay beads.

My beads arrived this morning and Kate has put together a gorgeous selection...

The beads arrived in these lovely little silk pouches - so pretty and a little bit different. First to tumble out were some of Kate's own Polymer beads.

As some of my favourite colours are green, teal and turquoise, I was delighted to find these lovely flower beads and matching focal along with some little disc beads and some toning ceramics. I think these are just perfect for the current season.

Next came a big selection of green Czech glass and Miyuki cubes - so fresh and lush, and aren't those little bug beads the cutest!?

The final ingredients for this tasty bead soup were lovely sea glass barrels, a couple of funky large green tree agate faceted rounds and some pretty Grossular green garnets (garnets are my birthstone) along with some copper beads that complement the aqua tones just perfectly. And the final touch - a luscious rich burgundy red length of Sari silk.

I'm totally delighted with my goodies - thanks very much Kate, you did a great job picking for me and I'll be working with these very soon.

Hopefully Kate will be as pleased with the beads I sent her when she get s them :0)


Friday 18 November 2011

It's a charmed life...

Well it certainly has been for me this week...

I've been working on a number of commissions including quite a large order for the beaded lampwork bag charms/key chains I started adding to my Etsy shop a few weeks ago.

I thought these might make good Christmas stocking fillers and they've sold quite well so I'm hoping they will prove to be as popular at a Christmas craft fair I'm doing next month next month.

The great thing about these is that I can batch up all the bits and pieces - beads, charms, cords and clasps and then sit quite happily making them whist I watch TV. I can't do that with most of my jewellery pieces that's for sure.

And as I've still got lots more to make that's exactly what I'll be doing this evening!
So how are your Christmas preparations going - are you doing any special jewellery items?


Sunday 13 November 2011

Santa Baby...

I've spent quite a lot of time this week adding new stock to my Etsy shop and whenever I do this, it's inevitable that I get distracted by lots of beautiful handmade creations that I come across en route. As we're all gearing up for the festive season I thought it might be nice to share a few of the things that have made it to my Etsy favourites and would definitely be on my Christmas wish list. As I have a huge variety of favourites I'm going to split them into categories and do a little series of these posts over the next few weeks.

And what better place to start than with jewellery. Some of these artists have influenced my own work and some I just dream  of emulating - I hope you love the pieces as much as I do.

Earrings and pendant by Celie Fago
Celie Fago is a Doyenne of the metal clay world and oh, how I would love to be able to achieve the originality and refinement of her designs. I think I need a lot more practice before my clay work becomes anything more than rustic!

Pendant by Suntribe Designs
Earrings by Mocahete
Mocahete features the work of Dante and Sabrina Acevedo and was one of the first shops I came across on Etsy and then I discovered its sister shop Suntribe Designs. I just love the beautiful ethnic and tribal  designs and the stunning quality of the metalwork and finishing.

Necklace by Stacy Perry of Hodgepodgerie
I actually discovered the work of Stacy Perry of Hodgepodgerie 2  long before I knew about Etsy. Her bold wire and metalwork is just beautiful and she has a really great eye for colour and detail. Her jewellery is also quite relaxed and lots of fun which is something I try to achieve with my own designs..

Bracelet and necklace by Cyndie Smith
If money were no object I could probably relieve Cyndie Smith of her entire stock. Beautifully made organic designs in metal that are stunning pieces of art but also immensely wearable. I have yet to attempt fold forming but Cyndie's work really makes me want to give it a go.

necklace by BlueSagePearl
There's a saying in the culinary world that 'what grows together, goes together' and I think a similar adage can be applied to grouping materials together when designing jewellery. This gorgeous necklace from BlueSagePearl combines similar but complementary stone beads to create a design with both understated elegance and high impact. I often find designs like this that at face value seem quite simple the hardest to get just right.

Enamel bangles by Lia Bowen of Bullfinch Barbury
You may be aware that I've recently added enamelling to my repertoire of techniques. At the moment it's limited to quite simple earrings but these lovely bangles from Lia Bowen of Bullfinch Barbury have me yearning to do so much more.

Lampwork beads by Amber Van Meter of NaOs Glass
I just adore the the work of Amber Van Meter of NaOs Glass and have coveted these beads sets for many, many months. OK, so strictly speaking they're not pieces of jewellery but if anyone wanted to see my face light up on Christmas morning, finding these in  my stocking would do the trick! Don't go running away with the idea that the end results would be for sale though - these are most certainly keepers

These next two pieces are definitely not jewellery but every girl needs somewhere to keep her beads and jewellery doesn't she...?

Apothecary Chest by Red Rooster B & B
Printers drawer jewellery display by Black Forest Cottage

Oh well, I can dream...do you think Santa reads my blog?

I could seriously go on with this for a long time but I think I'd best call a halt for today - I'm sure there will be time for a second round of jewellery favourites before the holidays.

So have you started your Christmas shopping yet, have you finished it already and if you could have anything, what would you love to find under the tree on Christmas Day?

Happy dreaming!


Saturday 12 November 2011

Virtual Craft Show - dates for your diary

Even if your haven't started you Christmas shopping yet I'm sure you've been thinking about it, so I wanted to give you a heads up on an opportunity to visit a fabulous craft show from the comfort of your favourite chair.

Hosted by Lori Anderson - she of Bead Soup fame, on her blog "Pretty Things', the show will run for 7 days from 26th November to 3rd December and will feature 70 artisans (10 per day) including yours truly. Each artisan has contributed a piece of work as a giveaway and you will be able to leave comments to qualify for entry to win one of these. That's 70 giveaways on 1 blog over 7 days! There will also be links to the shops and blogs of all the Artisans so you can shop for Christmas presents to your hearts content - how easy is that?

To find out more just pop over to Lori's blog but most importantly - put the dates in your diary. You really don't want to miss this one. 

So I'll see you there on the 26th then.


Sunday 6 November 2011

The shows will go on...

Oh what bliss!...10 hours sleep last night instead of the 5 I've been averaging for the last 10 days! I'm still feeling quite dozy so there will definitely be a lazy Sunday afternoon and evening chez moi!

I'm pleased to say yesterdays show went off without a hitch and whilst I didn't make a fortune, I did come away in profit and I'm happy with that for a first show. It was a Contemporary Jewellery Fair and the vast bulk of the stands were exhibiting Precious metals and gemstones. The majority of people seemed to be repeat visitors who come back to see the sellers they've met before. So as a newbie and the only person selling mostly Bronze I perhaps had a harder job. I don't mind that though - you only learn how to pitch a particular show by trying it and I can't afford to carry precious metal show stock at the moment. I got a lot of very good feedback on my Bronze pieces - people are less aware of bronze clay as a medium (in the UK at least) so maybe I can help raise some awareness through shows like this.

I also met some lovely people and picked up some good ideas for stands which I'll put to good use in the future. Unfortunately the pictures I took of the stand didn't come out that well so here are just a few stock  close ups...

'A Dragons Tale' necklace featuring lampwork beads by Kaz Baildon 
Bronze and Lampwork earrings
Pendants - freeform, shell and vintage button moulds
My next show is a general craft show in December which will be a more relaxed affair with a Christmas feel to it. I can have more fun with the stand at this one and am looking forward to it now I've dipped my toe in the water and have show stock to build on.

In the meantime I have to get back to doing some routine things like the housework I've been ignoring for a fortnight - wow! what a mess. It's amazing what you don't see when you so closely focused on one thing. I'll also be posting lots of new pieces (including bronze) in my Etsy shop over the next week or so and getting back to regular blog and Facebook posting.

It's so nice to be back!


Tuesday 1 November 2011

Counting down the days...

Well, just a few more days left until the big day - my first jewellery show. I'm still manically busy but in some ways that's good because I'm so busy finishing stock that I don't really have time to worry about the event itself.

I'm very conscious that just about everything else in my life is being ignored at the moment including this blog. So to rectify that and to force myself to take a break I took a few quick pictures and thought I'd give you a sneak peek at some of the rronze pieces I'm taking to the show. Most of the stock still needs to be assembled and that will be my lot for the next couple of days, but this gives you just a little taster...

Necklace and pendant with Carnelian and Pyrite

Various earrings

More pendant components

There is still a mountain of bronze components on my work table, a batch in the kiln and another waiting to go in but that's it. Once it's all finished, cleaned and assembled I'm done - well apart from pricing it and setting up the display that is! I've always been last minute kind of person - I guess I thrive on the pressure but, even I have to admit I've cut it very fine this time.

I'm really looking forward to the show and also, to a really, really, really long lie in on Sunday. After that normal service will be resumed and I'll be back to catch up on recent events.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the Rowlands Castle/Portsmouth area on Saturday, why don't you pop into the Contrasts Jewellery Fair and say hello.

By for now.