Thursday, 29 September 2011

It could be you....

First of all a big thank you to all you lovely people who commented, tweeted, blogged and Face booked...(my English teacher would not be happy with some of those verbs) about my latest addiction, and for all the lovely things you said. I'm always a bit reticent when I show people new things I've done and it's a real confidence boost to get so much positive feedback.

Now then...onto the 2 lucky winners of my Blog giveaway - drum roll please...

Congratulations to..... Courtney Breul and Therese Frank who both win a pair of custom made enameled earrings.

Ladies, if you could let me know which design you would like (you can get a clearer idea of the designs from the listings in my Etsy shop) and I'll get cracking as soon as possible.

Thanks again everyone and have a great day.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Goddess Giveaway - Pick a colour, any colour...

If you follow my blog regularly you'll know that over the last couple of months I've been trying to develop a new string to my jewellery making bow by learning to enamel using a kiln. My original aim was to be able to get some enameled items ready to sell by the end of September or early October.

Well, as of today there is a range of simple, fun and affordable enameled earrings for sale in my Etsy shop and that I think, is a good reason for a little celebratory giveaway. And of course, the prizes have got to be enameled. Two lucky winners will be able to choose a style of earring  from the designs shown here and I will make a pair up for them - any size, shape, colour or mix of colours - the choice will be theirs.

The giveaway is open to everyone and I'm sure you know the drill by enter just leave me a comment on this post. In addition, spread the word through your own blog, Facebook, Twitter...whatever your preferred social networks are and you'll get an extra entry for each one. Following me here or liking me on Facebook will also qualify you for extra entries. Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each way you share the good news so I know how many entries to put in for you.

The giveaway will run until midnight on Wednesday 28th September and I'll use to select the two lucky winners and post the details here so don't forget to check back then.

I am planning to get a wider range of enameled items into the shop before too long and am looking forward to developing some new designs as I progress, so I do hope you like these earrings.

Good luck and I'll be in touch on Thursday.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Soup's still bubbling away...

Well it's Friday tomorrow which means it's almost a week since the Bead Soup Blog Party and I'm still feasting on the wonderful dishes that were served up. I spent a lot of last weekend hopping and although I've had to step back this week I fully intend to complete the task this coming weekend.

Julie Nordines design with my focal
In my opinion the whole thing has been a resounding  success, largely due to the efforts of the indefatigable  Lori Anderson...I'm sure if I'd been running it there would be bodies strewn in my wake!!

This was my first BSBP and I've been delighted by the exceptional standard of workmanship and the level and variety of creativity I've seen. It's also been hugely inspirational for me to see a little of other peoples creative processes. There are lots of ideas, not designs or anything like that, but little bits pieces here and there that I've made a note of and will be trying out for myself - so thanks to everyone who supplied those!

I'd also like to give a big shout out for Julie my bead soup partner for the amazing job she did with the beads I sent her. I felt so proud to see something I'd made used in such a creative way - she did stunning job and as for that 90 inches of lariat...I think she should get an award for bead endurance!

And all it's glorious 90"!
But now it's time to think about the next Bead Soup Blog Party in 2012. This time it will be run on a lottery basis so there's no guarantee of a spot but, I for one will getting my name down and keeping my fingers crossed...that should make for interesting beading!

To find out more about it just hop over to Lori's blog

In the meantime you can find my Bead Soup creations here.

Bye for now.


Circadian rhythms and blues...

To visit my Bead Soup Blog Party post just click  here

So it's 2.30am on a Thursday morning and I'm sat in bed writing a blog post - why would anyone do that?
Well certainly not out of choice that's for sure!

From time to time I go through a phase where I am unable to sleep at night, and by that I mean as soon as I go to bed I no longer feel tired. I have learnt that there is no point in lying here tossing and turning as it just makes me frustrated. So now I have to get up and do something, anything that will keep me occupied probably until around 5am.

I quite often work on jewellery during these periods and have actually come up with some pretty decent designs. The problem is I tend to get engrossed and at times have only just stopped myself from incurring the wrath of my neighbours by launching into a full scale metal bashing session!

Nocturnal Inspiration
This pattern will usually continue for a couple of nights and be followed by a night of the 'sleep of the dead' because I'm so exhausted and can go on for a number of weeks, even though I try to follow the principles of sleep hygiene. Since I have always been more of a 'lark' than an 'owl' I have a tendency to put it down to being a 'woman of a certain age' (which to be honest is what I put most things down to) and those dear old hormones interfering with my Circadian Rhythms. I do wonder sometimes if I just went with the flow and slept during the day - which I could do quite easily, whether I would become completely nocturnal...bit of a lonely existence though with just the birds and critters for company.

So there you go...I don't have a beading head on tonight so I'm writing this post as an alternative to talking to myself, which will probably seem like madness on the morning but, hey ho!

Still a couple of hours to go so I guess I'll go tidy my Etsy shop or start my tax return or something...

Sweet dreams.


Saturday, 17 September 2011

Bead Soup Reveal - Lets get this party started!

Well it seems like a long time ago now since we found out who our Bead Soup Blog Party partners were and began swapping beads across 5 continents and 21 countries but finally the time for the big reveal has arrived. 362 reveals to be precise so this is going to be something of a marathon blog hop and whether you're reading this on day 1 or day 31, I hope you enjoy it and all the other ports of call along the way.

Before I show you what I've been up to here's a quick reminder of what my partner Julie Nordine sent me - a fabulous collection of lampwork and etched copper focals, Vintaj Brass, Silk Ribbon and assorted delicious beads...

The aim of the Bead Soup party is to stretch yourself by doing something different from your norm and whilst I do work a lot with Lampwork, Julie's selections weren't without their challenges for me. I'm a 'less is more' kind of person when it comes to jewellery design and my default setting for focals as beautiful as the three Julie sent me, is to hang them simply from a gorgeous chain or cord and let them speak for themselves - after all, who am I to try and improve such great work? For the purpose of this exercise however, that would make this stop on the blog hop pretty boring!

Akin to this is my use of fabric and textiles - or rather the lack of it. Other than using it as a straightforward hanging mechanism, I never really know what to do with fabric. I'm not that great with small beads either - I tend to use them as spacers or accents on earrings and that's about it.

When I set to creating these were the things I wanted to try and address along with one other that constantly alludes me - asymmetrical design which I love in other peoples work but, try as I might my brain always wants more order.

So let's get on with the show then shall we... As they were themed, my first inclination was to use all of the focals together in one piece, but I started to have so many ideas for each element that I decided to use them individually to create three separate pieces. The first of these is a necklace called 'Wood Nymph' which includes the etched copper oak leaf pendant and Vintaj chain and findings from my soup mix.

Click images to to enlarge
It's perhaps inevitable that one would think of woodland when working with oak leaves and acorns, but there's something about Julie's beads that quickly had me thinking about enchanted forests, fairies and things of that ilk - and that's not something I'm predisposed to by the way.

The weight of the focal on this necklace is held by a double rope of size 8 seed beads interspersed and linked with brass jump rings. The colouring on these is quite subtle and difficult to capture on camera but they are iridescent green and gold with pink flashes. The chain gives a decorative swag to the piece and the lovely gossamer light (detachable) silk ribbons from SowZere Designs add an ethereal, feminine touch that I imagine a Wood Nymph would have.

The inspiration for my next piece was a childhood memory that came to me when I first started shuffling the beads around to see what the possibilities were. The turquoise nuggets and the white pearls kept making me think of blue skies and fluffy white clouds and then as I shuffled, the tiny ivory acorn rolled into the mix and it hit me - sky and acorns can only mean one thing... So who remembers the children's tale of Chicken Licken (or Chicken Little depending where you hail from) who thought the sky was falling in when an acorn fell on her head...?

This piece is a bracelet which I've called 'The Sky never Fell" and in addition to the mini acorn focal, turquoise nuggets and pearls from the mix, I've added Vintaj rings and a clasp.

This bracelet has actually achieved quite a feat in as much as I rarely make and never wear bracelets with lots of little dangles on them because after about 10 minutes, all that jangling drives me nuts and I have to take it off. This one however has barely been off my wrist since I finished it - I just love it! The pearls tumble about in a soft, fluid fashion with the movement of the wrist and It feels very feminine - something else I don't do!

Now for my last piece... which turned out nothing like my original plan and is the one that gave me the most headaches - yes, it's the asymmetric one. I still can't quite get my head round this -  I think it works but that wire in my brain is still sending out sparks every now and then. Returning to my enchanted forest theme I've called this one 'Titania' after the queen of the fairies in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - hopefully it won't be "ill met by moonlight..."!

Here I've combined the large acorn focal, Vintaj clasp and silk ribbon from the mix with a matching Vintaj ring and chain from my collection. I've connected two lengths of chain with the tiny glass beads Julie sent me to create a broader chain which mirrors and balances the ribbon on the opposite side and I guess, sort of satisfies my need for symmetry...

Well, I've had a great time being part of this Blog Party - I've used up the vast majority of my soup mix and I think I've managed to meet the challenges I set myself. These pieces are very different from my usual style - a little more theatrical perhaps and I'm really pleased that I managed to achieve something different. It did feel a little odd at times but the whole point about being out of your comfort zone is that it's, well, uncomfortable -  but the stretch feels good.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you enjoyed the post - I'd love to hear what you think about my designs...Don't forget to hop over to Julie's blog to see what she's done with the goodies I sent her and then you can find the rest of the Bead Soup Party  participants in the list below. thanks again Julie for sending me such great ingredients to work with.

Finally I'd like to thank Lori Anderson and her helpers for the time and effort that has gone into making this a truly memorable event - well done Lori and three cheers for you!

Happy hopping!


The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke