Saturday 30 June 2012

Bead Soup Is On It's Way....

Well, I finally bit the bullet to make my final decision and yesterday my parcel of Bead Soup ingredients began their long journey to Jenny Cameron in Indiana. As Jenny and I are in the first reveal I'm hoping they get there quickly so she has plenty of time to play and find some inspiration.

All I can do now is sit and wait and chew my nails until they arrive safely and hope that Jenny likes them - this is the worst time for me as doubts creep in and I worry that I've got my selection totally wrong. But there's nothing I can do about it now so I'll just have to keep everything crossed for a week or so.

So do you want to see what I've sent Jenny...yes?...of course you do but you know the rules - no pictures until partners have their parcels. Oh alright then, maybe just one very heavily disguised little pic and it is heavily disguised - even I don't recognise what I've sent!

Now you'll just have to wait until Jenny gets her soup mix to find out what this really is. Oh and Jenny if you're looking at this, that bit on the left really isn't the "baby poop green/brown" it looks!

Have a great weekend all!


Thursday 28 June 2012

Free Bracelet Tutorial and Giveaway....

 Anyone remember this...

This is one of the pieces I created for the Bead Soup Blog Party back in September of 2011 and since then a lot of people have asked me about the technique I used for the beaded section.

I've always been happy to share it with anyone who asked but when it came up again very recently I thought perhaps it was time I put together a little tutorial, although 'tutorial' does sound rather grand considering it's such a simple technique! 

For the purposes of the tutorial I've worked up some bracelets which are very versatile and I think look pretty cool. You can go with a simple single colour version like this...

Or toning shades of your favourite colour...

Or you can mix it up a bit and have fun with contrasting colours...

And you can create different effects simply with the way you place your colours...

Not only are these little bracelets good enough to wear on their own they're also perfect components for stacker sets. You can mix and match several of these together or you can mix one with other styles as I've done here...

Pretty effective don't you think? The techniques is also easily adaptable for necklaces.

I've set up a separate page for the tutorial and there is a link at the bottom of this post but before you dive in there's a little something extra I want to share. Since this is the first tutorial I've ever written and I like to celebrate firsts, I'm giving the bracelet stack away to one lucky blog reader. 

To be in with a chance to win just share this tutorial post on any or all of your preferred social networks  be that Facebook, Twitter, Google +, your own blog...wherever you like. You can also get extra entries by signing up to follow my blog or my Facebook page. (Please note: I am having issues with my Facebook business page at the moment so if you cannot access it through the link above please go to my personal page and click the link under my profile picture). Once you've done that come back here and leave a separate comment for each of the ways you've shared - if you only leave one comment you'll only be counted once. 

The giveaway will close at 8pm BST on Sunday 1st July and I will pick a winner using

So here's the link to the tutorial - I hope you give it a go and have fun with it and good luck with the giveaway.


Saturday 23 June 2012

Back in the Soup Kitchen...

I missed the cut on Lori Anderson's last Bead Soup Blog Party so I was delighted when she made the decision not to limit numbers this time around but instead, to host three consecutive parties. All credit and huge thanks to Lori too for yet again taking on this colossal task and working it to the best fit for all. It takes a huge amount of effort with not a little heartache so three cheers for Lori.

So last night the e mail arrived from Lori telling me who I'd been paired with and boy was I happy to discover my partner was Jennifer Cameron. I knew straight away who Jennifer was - uber talented lampwork artist, designer of gorgeous (and just my personal style) jewellery and founding member of new team blog, Art Jewellery Elements

Lampwork beads where what got me into jewellery seriously and Jennifer creates fabulous organic, sometimes other worldly beads that open up all sorts of design possibilities. Just look at these beauties...

Jen Cameron Designs
 Jen's talents don't stop at glass though - she appears to be a bit of a dab hand with chain maille and metal work too...

Jen Cameron Designs
This necklace is so me! There's some pretty cool wire work in this gorgeous serpent bracelet too...

Jen Cameron Designs
Of course, it's also a little intimidating to be partnered with such a prodigious talent and I know I will spend hours pouring over beads trying to select the perfect ingredients for Jen - but that's half the fun. We've already exchanged introductory e mails and I'm looking forward to finding out more about what makes Jen tick to help me with my selections.

Jen and I will be participating in the first reveal on July 28th so make sure it's on your calendar and I've no doubt there will be some little teasers to whet your appetite before then so stay tuned.

Have a great weekend all.


Friday 22 June 2012

Sublime Design...

So many people have been sending me pictures of the lovely things they've been creating with my bronze components that I've decided it's about time for another little video compilation. Don't forget to send me your photos if you'd like to feature in one of these videos or the Designer Gallery on this blog.



Thursday 21 June 2012

Natural Beauty...

Sometimes nature just makes my job so easy....

Bronze sundial shell pendants

Bronze sundial shell pendants

'Nuff said!


Wednesday 13 June 2012

Nuts about Knots...

Those of you that have been following this blog for a while will know that I love to add new techniques to my jewellery making repertoire and that sometimes my addictive personality runs riot - heck that's how THEA too was conceived. If you've been following me on Facebook of late, you probably also know that my latest passion is Macrame - Macrame bracelets to be precise!

I know it's not new (far from it in fact) but for some reason it's something I've never really got around to trying even though it's been on my to do list forever. Then a couple of weeks ago I spotted this Tutorial for a macrame bracelet stack by Sherri Stokey who, if you don't already know, makes the most divine and intricate micro macrame jewellery you could imagine. I love bracelet stacks but again, I don't think I've ever made any so I decided to knuckle down and get cracking starting with some single bracelets...

This was my first attempt and I was pretty pleased - the tension wasn't perfect but nothing too obvious. One of the things I really like about this style of bracelet is that gorgeous buttons can be used up front and centre to create great focal points. This one is pewter from the wonderful Mamacita beadworks and I've teamed it with lampwork beads Pure Glass Beads.

Well, I had much fun making this one I went straight on to another one...

This time I used one of my own bronze buttons as the closure in a lovely summery concoction of classic turquoise and Ivory with gorgeous lampwork beads by one of my favourite glass artists Rachel Bishop of Puffafish. This one was much more even and by the time I'd finished it I was well and truly hooked.

There is something very relaxing and therapeutic about sitting threading beads and tying knots. I can't watch TV without having something to do with my hands (I only ever half watch anyway) and macrame is just ideal.

So, time to try some stacker sets then. One of my other design passions is colour and at this point I realised that this would give me endless opportunities to explore and play with colour palettes and of course, I got even more excited. 

When I started thinking about stacks I wasn't sure what beads I was going to use but they needed to be cost effective and fairly light...three of these with lampwork beads though lovely, would be both costly and pretty weighty. Then I opened the box of Greek ceramic discs I use as accents in a lot of my jewellery and voila! problem solved. These little pretties come in lots of gorgeous colours and I was amazed at what a perfect match many of them were with my cotton and hemp cords.

This was my first set...

I just love this colour scheme...the softness of the eau de nil and ivory tones are lifted by the saturated but slightly muted orange to produce a perfect summer palette. Again I used my own bronze buttons in three different styles to ring the changes.

Now, I don't know how many colour permutations there are in the first picture of this post but I'm pretty sure I'm going to find out, and I have more cord and beads on order! I can't stop making these and everywhere I go now I'm noticing trios of colour combinations.

Any interesting buttons will work well like these mother of pearl stars I just happened to have in my bead box.

Brights, bolds, earthy, pastel, naturals...oh the list is endless! So anyone who is expecting a gift from me in the near future, you know what you're getting - you just don't know what colour it will be.

I'm still making some individual bracelets as well and this next one has actually been worked around a Vintaj brass hoop. The beautiful lampwork tube focal is by Magdalena Ruiz.

And the last one for today was designed around this fab and funky button by Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork. Julie makes gorgeous feature buttons as (as well as beads) and of course I have a few more designated to future macrame projects.

So I hope you enjoyed that little peek at what's been going on on my bead table, dining table and lap at of late and I'm sure I'll have lots more to show you soon.


Sunday 10 June 2012

Shop Update Tomorrow...

Oh my, it's been another mad, mad week with constant rushing around and trying to keep to many balls in  the air - always dangerous for a klutz like me!

I haven't had much of a chance to post this week but just wanted to give you a heads up on a THEA too shop update happening tomorrow evening (Monday 11th June). Lots of new goodies going into the shop along with some restocking of some old favourites.

I'm hoping the week ahead is going to be a little less hectic and I'll get to do a proper, interesting post! I'm really looking forward to next weekend too when I'm away visiting old friends that I don't get to see too often. Being away from home means I just have to ignore the 'to do' list and chill out for a while - sheer bliss!

I hope you all have a great week ahead.


Thursday 7 June 2012

Art Bead Earring Swap

Welcome to the Art Bead Earring Swap hosted by Diand Ptaszynski of  Suburban Girl Studio. A while back, Diana put all the participants for this swap into groups of three with the aim that we each made a pair of earrings for our two team mates, in my case Jan Onipenco of Molten Mayhem and Tania Spivey of Moobie Grace Designs. To give these ladies a starting point I suggested 'gardens' as a theme for the earrings they were making me and boy, have they cultivated some beauties...

First up are these gorgeous creations from Jan...

Jan has made the most divine lilac and teal swirled lampwork beads which she's set on silver headpins with silver caps and tiny green accent beads.

These are suspended from beautifully coiled copper tendrils and oh so pretty resin and brass flower heads, all on silver wires. I love the soft purples and greens of these earrings and they remind me of a passion vine that  sits just outside my patio window in the summer  - perfect!

Then we have the earrings Tania made for me...

Sadly, despite being posted in plenty of time the postal service has let us down and these have not yet arrived. Fortunately Tania took some photos herself which she has been able to send me but I know she is very disappointed that the surprise may have been spoilt for me. Well all I can say is having seen these pictures I'm very excited and the fact that I know they're coming won't diminish that in the least! So here they are...

Aren't they stunning...? Tania made the Polymer Clay drops herself along with the copper headpins and silver ear wires.

The drops are accented to perfection by clusters of the prettiest little shell and glass bead dangles. I love the combination of the vibrant colours and the soft peachy pink tones of the shells.

I can't wait for these to arrive and I know they're going to be even better in the flesh. Jan and Tania - thank you very much for my earrings both sets are bloomin' marvellous!

Thank you very much for stopping by - you can see the earrings I created for Jan and Tania here:

Jan Onipenco
Tania Spivey

And you can see what all the other participants designed by hopping through the blogs below - have fun and I'll see you there.

Diana Ptaszynski
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt  You are here
Jenny Davies Reazor
Melinda Orr
Cilla Watkins
Stephanie Haussler
Sally Russick
Susan Kennedy
Cheryl Brown