Thursday, 30 April 2009

Hag-stone for luck and zebras cos I like them

When we were on holiday, we bought a book entitled "Walks on the Northumberland Coast" by David Haffey. One of the walks he details in his book, entitled Newton-by-the-Sea and Football Hole we did on the Thursday. One of the quotes from his narrative on the walk is "The boulder-beach is worth checking for lucky hag-stones (rocks with holes worn through them: a twist of wire through the hole turns a stone into a protection against witches)."

I was absolutely gobsmacked when I found one! As you can see, I have put a twist of wire through the hole ... just in case!
Hag-stone inspired handmade lampwork beadsI will NEVER sell this (even though I could turn it into a pendant) as I want to remain lucky and witch-free! However, it did inspire me to make the beads which I picture here with it. They are a mixture of two shades of grey opaque glass which I just mish-mashed together in the flame and pulled out into a thick stringer. I then made the beads with this which gave a marbled grey bead and then I applied dots of ivory which had been rolled in silver leaf, the whole thing was melted and then some extreme gravity swirling. I was wearing a pair of faded black denim jeans this afternoon when I was photographing them and they go perfectly! I might etch these tomorrow before they become jewellery to give an even more organic look.

Here are some Zebra striped beads which I made after becoming inspired by some similar ones in the book I read on holiday about the history of glass beads. I love all animal prints so I couldn't fail to like these: Lampwork zebra stripe glass beads

Last of the photographs taken today are three beads that I will probably go into production with shortly as I was pleased with them:
I will be taking photographs tomorrow of the jewellery I made with the green shoots beads from yesterday. They look really good teamed with some labradorite chunks and bali silver bead caps.

Second series

This will never do! Remember how pleased I was when I discovered Anthony Head was in Jonathan Creek? I just started watching the second series and he's been replaced by someone else (who seems fine) but I would prefer AH! Huh!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Green shoots

I made oodles of these beads yesterday. They are very simple but I needed simple yesterday - just a very light coloured aqua glass with green silver-rich frit melted in and then reduced to give the shiney irridescence which the photograph doesn't quite capture but you get a bit of an idea how pretty they are. Green shoots handmade lampwork beads made with aqua coloured glass and green reduction frit Something made me mad yesterday morning, I haven't been as angry as that for a l-o-o-ng time and when I went out into the studio, my hands were shaking and I just felt cross all over. I couldn't make anything until after I'd written a letter absolutely laying into the offending party (not a member of my family and not likely to be anyone who reads this). I won't go into all the boring details as it'll take far too long. Just someone being extremely thoughtless and in the big scheme of things the problem they created will just go away in the course of the next few days.

When I get like that, it completely blocks my creative abilities and so I needed something that I could mindlessly get on with. DH gets annoyed that I let something like that interfere with my work but I'm a sensitive little soul! Once I'd written the letter, I calmed down quite a bit as I felt like I'd dealt with it. But I still had a total blockage on all the lovely new ideas I had woken up with that I was going to try. Hence simple beads, repetitive making over 30 of them but it enabled me to get my inner calm back. They are going to make some really smashing jewellery, sometimes it's quite difficult to fit complicated art beads into jewellery designs. However, the jewellery has to wait today, because the weather is nice for the first time this week, I'm going to get all my gardening duties out of the way.

The letter has been posted today but I cut it down dramatically into something a lot more professional and matter of fact - rising above it all! The good news is I am back to myself now. I've had a lovely morning trying lots of new things out on beads that are presently annealing in my kiln so hopefully I will have more interesting beads to show off tomorrow!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Back to work

I have been away for the last week in Northumberland, we stayed in a self-catering cottage called The Haven in Bamburgh. We have stayed there before several times and it's very aptly named. The weather was amazingly good it was dry ALL week and sunny a lot of the time! Lucky, lucky us! We did lots of walking, eating and relaxing. No work, no internet connection, no mobile phones.

Missy our dog had a lovely time too - she has been in a sulk since we got back cos she isn't getting as much attention as she did when we were away! She is missing all the lovely long walks in scenery like this:Geoff and Missy in Football Hole close to Craster
It was my birthday whilst we were there and I got loads of super presents from my family. One of which was a book on the history of Middle Eastern and Venetian glass beads. I have finished reading it and it has tons of illustrations. I have several ancient-bead-inspired ideas which I jotted down in a notebook and I'm going to get started very very soon!

I also read Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer (the third book in her Twilight series) whilst we were there and also finished off two pairs of socks! I was really pleased with the design that emerged from this Fortissimo sock yarn - isn't it jazzy?!Newest pair of socks knitted on holiday

Friday, 17 April 2009


I have been trying to take photographs of my Pandora beads but the weather has thwarted me. On Wednesday and Thursday it was really overcast and I like natural light for my jewellery and bead photography. This afternoon it was bright enough but windy. I take the photographs outside on a sheet of A4 photocopying paper but keeping it held down was a nightmare! Photography is something I do under suffrance, I have to do it in order to market my wares but I would rather be beadmaking or jewellery making!

I took these photographs of new products added to the website today and then gave up - I will try again with the Pandora beads next week.
Copper and recycled glass handmade lampwork beads teamed with genuine baltic amber necklaceHand made lampwork bead made with recycled wine bottles, copper beads and genuine baltic amber beads earringsEarrings made with handmade lampwork beads and bali sterling silver beads

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I've got piles!

Piles of gravel and limestone on my new drivewayBut fortunately, not the painful kind! Today the gravel arrived for the top dressing of the new driveway and path to my studio. The pile on the right is a bit of limestone that's being saved for a a new pathway at the front of the house, the other two are of the gravel.

New path to my beadmaking studio with machine in the backgroundHere is a picture of the new pathway (minus gravel at the moment) which goes up to my studio and will be a boon in wet weather. There used to be a hump where the bare earth is; the machine in the background removed it and so it's now level. When I was wearing my boots with no grip, I slid down the incline and ended up with a muddy bum so no more falling over for me!

The guys are coming tomorrow to spread out the gravel, topsoil/level the bare bits and reseed with grass. It's going to look really great when it's all finished then it's up to me to plant out the huge area under the ash tree.

I haven't posted any pictures of new beads for ages but I have been working on some - particularly Pandora beads. I have found it very tricky with the greater quantity of glass to stop them from going lopsided. I think I was putting them away in the kiln too early and the glass was slumping from still being warm. It couldn't possibly be my technique ... well actually I think some were! However, when I'm twirling them to make sure they're level and not lopsided, I'm now looking at them end on which I don't have to do with smaller beads on normal sized mandrels. I'm also waiting a bit more before putting them away - bigger beads hold heat for longer. As a result, the beads are far more even and some are even saleable. I'm going to open a shop on Etsy for selling these as well as having them on the stall on Saturdays.

I have been silver coring some today and hopefully will photograph and post them tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Home again

We decided not to do the market today; given our last experience when it rained all day we couldn't face it. Especially when the forecast says this horrible wet drizzly patchy rain is going to last all day in East Anglia. So we are at home. Sincere apologies to any of my regulars who turn up expecting to see me there; it's very rare that I don't show up!

Sterling silver initial pendant hammer finishedI forgot to mention in my blog entry yesterday that whilst I was not beading much during the driveway works, I have made several of the sterling silver letters of the alphabet in the
initials pendants range. I now have a better idea of how long they take to make and so am able to reduce the price from £35 to £28 - great value.

This one is a stylised version of the letter P.

Friday, 10 April 2009

New blooz

Sorry, I've done it again, new products were added to the website yesterday, only two are blue this time. But in my defence, I haven't been able to make many beads because of the new driveway.
Hand made lampwork navy beads with lapis lazuli and sterling silver necklaceEarrings made with handmade lampwork beads and sterling silver beadsStering silver earrings made with hand made recycled glass lampwork beads and copper beads

The driveway is nearly finished, it should've been finished yesterday but due to the Easter holidays, the haulage companies were too busy to deliver the topdressing gravel. It's coming on Tuesday and the guys from Albion will arrive on Wednesday to spread it and tidy everything up. It should be a fairly quiet (and quick) to do so I may be able to work in the studio without too much disturbance next week. I have made a solemn vow that I will not make any blue things next week at all!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Beware roadworks!

Driveway roadworksWe are having a new driveway put in at home, the one that was there before didn't go far enough and it was really only a bit of parking. This is our first year at this house, during the summer it was fine but muddy days were a bit of a trial. We can wipe our feet and take our shoes off but Missy, our dog, doesn't ... so we can keep the house kinda clean as long as muddy pawprints get cleaned up but going to the car, there was no non-muddy route so the car is in a perpetual state of yukkiness. We are putting in the driveway now ready for the next wet spell (obviously this won't occur during the summer ... HA! ... we hope!!)

Driveway roadworks studio endMy studio is the converted shed you can see to the right; the guys, Lee and Dean (wonderful chaps) are putting in a path from the house to the driveway today and I think I'm just going to be in the way today if I work out there so I will be indoors finishing off a couple of commissions and working silver - no beadmaking for me today. I just got the first disc of the first series of Jonathan Creek from Lovefilm yesterday as I never watched it on TV when it was aired. I discovered yesterday that Anthony Head (my favourite actor) is in it so I am bound to enjoy it whilst making jewellery - yay - that's a bonus!

Monday, 6 April 2009

New page on the website

I met Hazel of Sulis Glass on Saturday. She stopped by my stall during a day out in Cambridge and introduced herself as a fellow lampwork beadmaker. I have seen her postings on Frit-Happens and we had a lovely chat - what a smashing person. It was quite a quiet day as the Grand National was on and Cambridge must be a gambling City cos everyone was either watching it at home or at the bookies ... good job Hazel turned up else I'd've been bored stiff! I remember one year it was the Grand National and the Prince of Wales wedding to Camilla - the market was like a ghost town!

Actually it wasn't that bad, the weather was great compared with last week and I sold quite a few things to some European ladies who were visiting from Holland. The strong Euro is helping my sales beat the financial crisis.

I have finally got all the designs for the initials pendants that I was burbling on about last week scanned in and I have created a separate page on my website under
Jewellery > Initial Pendants.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Oh dear, I've just updated the website with the other new things I've made this week and I've realised that I am back on a blue kick - tut, but I do like blue soooo much!
Sterling silver hammer finish earringsHand made lampwork bead with lapis lazuli and sterling silver charm dangles braceletEarrings made with handmade lampwork beads and sterling silver beads
A very witty visitor to my Art & Craft market stall once told me that I should call my business Booze Jewels because of all the recycled beer, wine, gin and sherry bottles that I use to make some of my lampwork beads with. DH has just informed me that I should call it Bluez Jewels now! :-)

New mermaid beads

I'm really pleased with the beads that I made into this bracelet. I have made some similar round ones before (see my Gallery page) but I encased in clear. They were really pretty but now I've made them into lentils, I used some glass with the merest hint of aqua in it as the encasing gives a halo effect which is more interesting if it has a little colour in it. They are so seaside!
Mermaid bracelet made with handmade lampwork beads
I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front as it was my year end on 31 March and I have to count all my stock and materials and get all my accounts in order. If I don't do it now, I will forget when it comes time to file my tax return. I'd rather not pay the tax man any interest or late penalties - he gets enough off of me as it is!

I wish the weather would make up it's mind; yesterday it stayed cloudy and cold all day, we even lit a fire in the evening. This morning it was the same but this afternoon the cloud has burned away and so it's now nice and warm. Trouble is, I had already made a nice warming stew for dinner; it's simmering away on the stove as I type and has been since just after lunch. It feels like we should be eating a salad instead. Oh well, if that's the worst of my troubles, I'm not so badly off am I?!