Bead Auctions – Ceramic Art Bead Market

Just a quick post to let you know that I have a number of pieces up for auction on the Ceramic Art Bead Market on Facebook. The auctions end at 9.45 tonight (BST). If you’re not a member, it’s easy to join. Simply go to the page and click on ‘Join Group’. Once you’re approved, which should happen fairly quickly, you can scroll through the current auctions including my items. Here’s what I have available:

moth 1pouch 1cone pair 1headpin bundle A 1headpin bundle B 1

I’ll be auctioning some more items, including more ‘exclusive’, ooak pieces, in the next few days. Here’s another link to the Facebook page.

Art Bead Scene – Editors Take The Challenge (July 2015)

I haven’t participated in the Art Bead Scene editors blog hop for some months now, but I’ve pulled out the stops and joined in this month. Each month some or all of the Art Bead Scene editors join with the readers in making jewellery inspired by the monthly challenge image and participate in a blog hop to share their makes.

800px-Bartholomeus_van_der_Ast_still_life_with_shellsStill Life with Shells, (1640)

Balthasar van der Ast

This painting has really grown on me.  It’s funny; when I decided that I’d make sure to take part this month, the planned challenge image was actually a different painting. I really liked it and when, because of doubts over the copyright, it was pulled at the last minute, I was a little disappointed. But, like I said, I’ve found this painting increasingly intriguing. I like what it does with the rubric of the still life. You initially assume it to be a faithful study of shells and other natural forms, but then you find, with a closer look, that there’s something subtly fantastical about it all. I also really like the colours, along with all the patterns and textures of the shells. I did an Etsy picks post last week focusing on these features, and, in the pieces I’ve made, I’ve been very much lead by them. First up, a pair of earrings:

A Catch of Thorn 1
(ceramic spines – Slate Studio; lampwork glass – Glass Bead Art)
I originally picked up the little bits of twig I’ve used here for a different pair of earrings. They didn’t work in that design but I was very pleased to have them to hand to use in this pair.  In the Etsy picks post I featured a pair of lampwork beads from Naos Glass. I’ve actually had some of them in my stash for an age and this seemed like the perfect occasion to use them finally.  I’ve teamed them with some of my carved porcelain drops.
Beacon
 (lampwork – Naos Glass; ceramic drops – Something to do Beads)
Next I went for a necklace. This was prompted by me wanting to use one of these shell pendants that I got ages ago. They were one of those purchases where you don’t think to check the size, where they turn up and they’re much, much bigger than you imagined? Well, I made the necklace, but I decided the shell pendant looked a little cheap and uninteresting next to everything else, so I’ve swapped it for a Scorched Earth pendant, which is far nicer.
Further Out
(ceramic pendant – Scorched Earth; ceramic connector – Slate Studio; porcelain shard – Something to do Beads)
Why must necklaces be so tricky to photograph? I followed this up with a bracelet that is also rather resistant to having its photo taken. Oodles of art beads in this one.
Down By the Water
(lampwork – Outwest, Bluhealer, Glass Bead Art; ceramic bead and bar – Something to do Beads)
Another of my Etsy picks was a set of Marsha Neal’s ceramic points. Again, I’ve got a little collection of these which I’ve been a-hoarding quite some time. So for my final pair of earrings, as with the Naos glass, I made myself put some to use.
Deep Down Things 1
(ceramic whorls – Marsha Neal; fibre beads – Cornish Contemporary)
I’m rather tempted to hold onto some of the earrings but I’m keeping up my self discipline and all these pieces are now listed on Etsy.
Here’s the links to all the other participants from the team:

Bead Shop Sale!

So, I must be brief because Ive had far too little sleep and I’m struggling with the simplest of things. This is just to say that there’s a lil’ sale going on in the bead shop. You can get 25% off all beads if you use the coupon code SAVE25 when you checkout. The sale runs through the weekend, until Sunday night / Monday morning. Here’s a few of the things you could bag.

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Click here to see what else is available. Cheers!

Stacked Earring Challenge the Third

Before I say anything else, I really need to apologise some. As I’ve said before, angrily, I have a whole lot of trouble getting my blog set-up to approve the comments I really want to read from you living, breathing, reading folk. At the same time as it’s busy marking these comments as spam, it happily builds up great heaps of actual spam in the moderation queue. So, it gets hard to pull your much-appreciated comments out from the slew of bunkum.  I’ve just sifted through a mountain of spam and found numerous comments for the last post and posts prior to that. In short, I’m really sorry that people are having difficulty commenting, but if it doesn’t appear immediately (for which: sorry!), your comment should be unearthed in the not too distant future and I will be extremely grateful that you made it.

Anyway, on with the earring challenge.  You can read all about what it’s all about here. This  time it was Leah‘s turn to send out the beads. It was a real treat of a parcel.

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I was really taken with a number of the beads in this little lot. I’m looking at it now and shaking my head over not having made more. Why didn’t I get round to using x, y, or z bead? Unusually, for me, I was particularly drawn to a number of the small beads in this parcel. The ribbed clay tubes were instant favourites when I spied them. I had soooo many  ideas for them – I had to get Leah to tell me where I could purchase more. Anyway, I had two designs I particularly wanted to try. One was to combine them with lots of the other small beads to finish little tassels on fine chain.

procession 1

(ear wires – Lucy Haslam)

With the exception of a couple of seed beads, all the beads on these chain drops are from Leah’s pack.  I guess they’re like lots of little stacks on the end of the chains.  The other plan I had was for these:

(candy cane sticks) 1

(polymer bicones – Graceful Willow)

I’m afraid they ended up being a bit of a cheat because while my design originally used three lots of Leah’s beads (one of the rules), it didn’t look right when I put them together.  Still, I really wanted to go ahead and make them anyway.  Similarly –

remembrance 1

These do have three sets of beads from the pack, however.  The other beads that really caught my eye when I opened my pack were the large turquoise czech glass bicones. I already have a number in different shades in my stash and I do like them a lot. I added red and purple beads from the pack and teamed them with some vintage filigree ring findings that I patinated.

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(ear wires – Yvette Goodridge)

This pair also makes use of some of the larger beads in the pack.

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(ceramic tips – Scorched Earth)

Finally, I made these:

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Again, I’ve gone with a number of the little beads for this final pair.  I really enjoyed working with this pack – thank you, Leah! Now to go see what everyone else has made!

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Leah Curtis – Beady Eyed Bunny

Malin de Koning – Beading by Malin de Koning

Heidi Post – Ex Post Facto

Back to stack – another wee earring challenge / blog hop

A couple of months ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I participated in a earring making challenge / blog hop, organised by Malin de Koning. If you read this blog regularly you may remember it. Malin sent me and three others the same set of beads and we all made earrings from them, then did the blog hop. Here’s a link to my post.  Well, we all enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again, only this time I selected and sent out the beads, which were these:

10984650_10152962219981598_930617816_nSomewhat inevitably, when picking these beads, I went towards things that had been in my stash for a while, things I’d been struggling to incorporate in pieces.  I combined these with some new beads that I bought especially for the challenge, some of my favourites, and some neutrals and some smaller filler beads to balance out the larger, more elaborate shapes. Perhaps it’s because of my ‘issues’ with the colour – I’ve written about my ambivalence towards green before – but somehow I managed to add lots of green to my pack.  Maybe it’s because I don’t tend to use it and so have more surplus to share. I don’t know… To make matters worse, for some reason, I ended up adding in a certain amount of purple. Now, I know green and purple is a popular combination with many – maybe one of the other participants will be delighted with it! – but I personally don’t get on with it. I think it dates back to when I was on the cusp of my early teens, when I painted my entire bedroom purple and green (they were my favourite colours then), and was a little too keen on tie-dye and patchouli oil.  As a result of this, I see purple and green and I see: !STYLE ERROR!  Consequently, when I came to working with this lot of beads, I found I’d hobbled myself.  I kept putting things together, seeing these colours together, and thinking, ‘no, no, nooooo’. Still, ultimately, it meant I was challenged to arrive at other combinations and to think about different colours a bit, so that was good.  Here’s the first pair I made.

pair 1

When Malin set the first challenge, she suggested we focus on stacked earring designs. I was feeling a bit stacked out at the time, so I tried doing other things with Malin’s pack. This time, maybe because I was struggling with the colours, I went super stack happy, as you can see above and below.

pair 2

And again here:

pair 3

In this last pair I allowed a bit of the purple and green in, whilst trying to dilute it with other colours. Here’s some more major stacking:

pair 4

Possibly a stack too far….

The first few pairs came together relatively easily, but then I hit a bit of a wall. I was at the point of thinking I was all done, but it was then that I really pushed myself to try mixing in other colours and being a bit more inventive with the beads I had left. I put a couple of wooden discs in the pack, unsure what they’d be used for.  Eventually, I thought to use them as a backing to these tin bead caps (from Lorelei Eurto).

pair 6

I really like the top of them but I’m not certain about the drops. One of the ‘rules’ Malin set was that we should use at least three beads from the pack in each pair of earrings and it seemed a shame not to include these vintage glass leaves somewhere.  Now I’m thinking that I might ultimately cannibalise several of the pairs I’ve made and combine the top of one with the bottom from another, etc.. Anyway, next pair: if I hadn’t been pushed, I’d never have thought to use the colours I’ve used here.

pair 6

I really like the combination. I think I’ll leave them as they are.  More heavy stacking here:

pair 7

Yes, that baggy wire on the top right bead is annoying!  Again, after I made these last ones I thought I was done, but then this improbable pair came together, which I was quite pleased with.

pair 8

I’ve stacked the lower section on some skinny vintage chain links. Then, when I really, really thought I was done….

pair 9

After which all I had left was:

left overs

I should probably have forced myself to make something with this last little lot – hey ho. I can’t wait to see how the others have used the beads I sent to them. And we’ll be doing this challenge again soon with another pack chosen by Leah Curtis. Looking forward to that too!  But for now, here’s the links to all the other participants blogs. Go look!:

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Leah Curtis – Beady Eyed Bunny

Malin de Koning – Beading by Malin de Koning

Heidi Post – Ex Post Facto

Important Stuff about Bead Custom Orders

I’m starting work on a new batch of beads.

houses

I have lots of plans for new designs and I’m looking forward to coming up with other new things as I go along. I’m also planning on making more of the beads that have been particularly popular in the past. One thing I have noticed in previous updates is that there are certain designs that sell out very quickly.

medium yellow roses 2

In the past, I’ve had a number of people be disappointed that they haven’t been able to bag the beads they wanted. I could just make extra of all the beads I think are or might be popular, but it occurred to me that it would make sense if I offered customers this opportunity to place custom orders for things they particularly want, whether it be things they’ve missed out on or things they’ve had in the past and would like to buy again.

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If that’s you then could you please message me using the following address: somethingtodobeads@gmail.com. Unfortunately, the comment function on this blog is, well, bloody useless, so a message would be much safer.

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Also, do have a look at my Sold Items in the Etsy shop to see if there’s anything there that you fancy.

birds for rebecca

I’m afraid that I won’t be making any of the polymer or patina pieces you might find there, but there’s plenty of ceramic items from which to choose.

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[A brief aside: there will also hopefully be a limited amount of patinated chain!]

purple haze calla lily pair 2

The firing schedule that I’m falling into means that I’m not always in a position to take custom orders, or if I can, it’s often the case that I’ll have to ask the customer to wait for a month or usually more. So, I hope taking advance orders now will suit some of you.  No upfront payment is required, however.

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So, the email address again: somethingtodobeads@gmail.com.  If you could title your emails ‘Custom Order’ that would be really helpful.

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Thanks!

SPRING SALE – 25% off all jewellery

Yes, I know it’s not very Spring-y yet but I felt like it was time to get the house in order anyway. I have yet to really get going with designing new jewellery for sale this year, what with the beads and magazine pieces and other stuff. Before I do start making and listing any new stock in the jewellery shop, I thought I’d have a bit of a sale. I’m offering 25% off all jewellery, including items that are already in the ‘SALE’ section and have already been reduced. The discount code is SPRING25. This means that there are lots of big ol’ bargains available. Such as, numerous bracelets for between £15 and £18. (Click the titles to head straight to the listing.)

feathered bed

(Feathered Bed)

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(Pop Pewter Bird)

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(Ring of Roses)

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(Lone Flyer)

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(Petals)

And there are numerous pairs of earrings for which will be just £10.50 with the discount code, including these:

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(Shell Like)

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(Wee Buds)

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(Serrated)

As for necklaces, this will be only £16.90.

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(Peeper)

And this will be £24.00 with the discount code.

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(Cascade)

There are plenty of other ‘sale’ items that can be reduced further with the coupon code, as well as all the full price items.  The sale will run until the end of next weekend, closing on Sunday night (8th March). After that, a number of items, including most of the ‘sale’ stock, will be removed from the shop, as will the sale section. So, if you’ve had your eye on something now is the time to grab it. Here’s a link to the shop. And that code, again? SPRING25 Cheers!

Art Bead Scene team member’s challenge blog hop

Once again, the editorial team (or some of the editorial team!) from Art Bead Scene have decided to take on the monthly challenge. Here’s the challenge image.

Amapolas-News of spring and other nature studies 1917

Amapolas, 1913

Illustration published in News of Spring and Other Nature Studies

by Edward Julius Detmold

I have to admit that this one had me a little stumped. It’s been a hectic (for me) week and I left my makes till the last minute. So, yesterday saw me scratching around, desperately trying to put something together. For some reason, I was quite set on making earrings. I’m not sure what my problem was. There are a couple of obvious tropes – poppies and butterflies – but the things that appealed to me most in this image were the windswept-ness (nope, not a word) and the slightly faded, washed out colours. The poppies and butterflies I had in my stash were too crisp and stylised to work, so I tried focusing on the colours. As ever, Brandi’s palette post was a great help. I tried pulling together various elements using the different shades Brandi picked out, but I was still struggling. Finally, I remembered some suede poppies that I got some time ago. In the same box I found some lovely wooden oval shaped buttons, that matched the grey-brown in the palette. I stacked up some bead caps to form the poppy centres and – lo! – I had the makings of a pair of earrings. But I’d forgotten something – guess what? Art beads, of course!  I tried sitting a number of rondelles on the top of the buttons but they were all too big and too busy. Eventually, I reached for a pair of lampwork spacers that I’ve had for ages. They were just right: and a beautiful shade of deep olive green. Unfortunately, I’ve had them so long, I have forgotten where they came from….. Sorry!

poppy earrings 1

Perhaps art beads should be playing a more prominent role but, really, after all my troubles I decided they’d have to do.

poppy earrings 2

To compensate, I managed to come up with another pair. I decided to swerve the various reds and worked with some of the more muted, earthy shades, the greens and browns. I’d already been playing around with a pair of bronzy-brown Scorched Earth leaves. I teamed them with some of my own ceramic roses.

rose leaf earrings 1

The roses had actually been kiln casualties.  I glazed them with one of the most crazy glazes I’ve ever encountered (I hadn’t used it before). Anyway, it broke up in a very strange way, leaving the roses largely a creamy colour but with a subtle marbling of plum, which is a good match for that in Brandi’s palette.

detail rose

It’s quite a pleasing effect and I might have listed them if they hadn’t also adhered themselves to the wires on which they were hung. Still, I kept hold of them and now I had the perfect use for them. After sitting some dainty dusky pink and white picasso rondelles on top of the roses, I made the wires into connectors. I hung the leaves below them with more czech glass and some little porcelain beads.

rose leaf 2

Looking at these pieces, I seem to have travelled some way from the inspiration, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So long as the process leads to results with which you are happy, then the inspiration has served its purpose.

Be sure to have a look at what everyone else has come up with:

Art Bead Scene

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Tari Sasser – Creative Impressions in Clay

Heather Powers – Humblebeads

 

Thank you, Malin! – a wee earring challenge / blog hop

Wow – I hadn’t realised it had been so long. I’ve just discovered that I haven’t yet posted in 2015. So, happy new year and all that.  I’ve just had to pay for my slackness by having to delete the 1100+ spam comments that had built up in my absence. I can only delete 20 comments at a time so it’s a laborious process. Anyway, on with the point of this post…

Several weeks ago, that lovely and talented woman, Malin de Koning, contacted me and a few other beaders to see if we’d be interested in participating in a little earring challenge type thing. Malin had sorted out a little bundle of beads and suggested that she send the same assortment of beads to each of us, and proposed that we each come up with some earring designs which we’d share on our blogs today. Malin was particularly interested in stacked earring designs, but it was agreed that we needn’t limit ourselves to such designs alone. The only other ‘rule’ was that each earring pair should include at least three of the beads that Malin sent. There’s something so Malin about this selection!:

10922104_10152884289906598_1029839112_nOne of the reasons why I’ve neglected my blog so far this year is that I haven’t made much jewellery yet. In fact, the only pieces that I’ve made have been for magazines (excluding some earrings for an ABS tute). So doing this challenge was something quite different to what I had been doing and it was a nice change. It was also surprisingly liberating.  Having a small pool of beads to start with lead me to reach for things in my stash that I may have overlooked another day. I’m afraid my stash is so ridiculously gigantic that I sometimes find it a bit overwhelming (especially when it’s all been tied up as it is at the moment).  I was also glad of the opportunity to have a bit of a think about earring designs. I’m aware that lately I’ve fallen into certain habits when it comes to earrings (and bracelets too). One of my challenges this year is to try and break from some of these.  Stacked earrings are a bit of a habit for me so, while I’ve made some stacked pairs, I’ve also tried out some other things. I’m not wholly happy with all the earrings I made and some may well get the chop or be re-worked, but I enjoyed sitting down one empty afternoon and just focusing on this little challenge. Indeed, I enjoyed it so much I ended up with 8 pairs of earrings! Here they are:pair 1These are perhaps my favourites; they may be keepers. The three beads at the top were from Malin. I love those green wheels: they’ve got a real vintage feel – not sure if they are or not. The tubes are from Jon Burgess’s recently(-ish) opened shop. (Go look! – but don’t buy the things I have my eye on….) This next pair turned out better than I hoped.

pair 2

All the beads here are from Malin with the exception of the faceted drops. I love using waxed linen in earrings but I find they’re hard to store if I do. Tips, anyone? Here’s a couple of kooks:

pair 3

Again, most of these beads are from Malin. The double ended copper twisty bobs are from Tracy Smith – wish the nearest one wasn’t sticking out at that distracting angle.  This next pair is (a) a bit of a cheat and (b) the kind of earrings I’m totally in the habit of making.

pair 4

Only the pearls and the ribbed wheels are from Malin. I didn’t mean to cheat; I was going to include some little metal rounds but the hole was blocked in one and I made these on the hoof so it couldn’t be helped. More John Burgess beads, btw.  And – of course! – Scorched Earth. Ditto:

pair 5

Here I’ve used the silver cylinders and gold wooden nuggets from Malin’s pack. Again, these are very me-y earrings. The next are less so. Amongst the beads that Malin sent were a couple of lots of donut-shaped beads with largish holes. These are particularly useful in stacked designs because you can sit a smaller bead above it, in the hole, and get a smooth tapered outline. However, I didn’t end up using them like that.

pair 6

Along with the wooden discs, the striped seeds are from Malin. I’ve done a similar thing with these, using linen instead of wire.

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The white beads and the wooden tubes are from Malin’s pack. I’ve teamed them with some copper drop connectors from Joanne Tinley.  Finally, these nearly didn’t get made:

pair 8

But I couldn’t resist sitting those little enamel flowers in the large lucite ones. The metal spacers and the golden yellow wheels are also from Malin.

And that’s the lot. Big thanks again to Malin for organising all this! If, by any chance, you’re interested in owning any of these, please get in touch. I’m really intrigued to see what the others have made. Here’s the links to their blogs:

Malin de Koning – BeadingByMalindeKoning – www.beadingbymalindekoning.blogspot.se

Rebecca Anderson – SongBead – www.songbeads.blogspot.com

Leah Curtis – BeadyEyedBunny – www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.com

Heidi Post – ExPostFacto – www.expostfactojewelry.blogspot.com

Christmas come early… come late

Hello all. I hope you’ve had an at least tolerable Christmas…

xmas tree…and that your festive season has been full of good things,

photo-5 copy 3like fluffy pink elephants and stuff.

Last time I posted, some days before Christmas, I mentioned that I has amassed a pile of parcels full of good things like beads and glazes.

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I also mentioned that I’d be back in a day or so to share this early xmas bounty. Well, I never got around to it so that’s what I’m doing today, some days after xmas.  I meant to take the pictures of the contents outside, on a white background, but it was cold and I was lazy – it may even have been raining – so I ended up taking them on my scruffy, stained work surface. Sorry about that. Anyway, on with the good things. I’m sure a fair number of you will recognise the red wrapping on that top package. A Petra parcel is always very welcome and this one contained those dinky Christmas trees at the top of this post.

PetraI’m loving those spiky ring things. Not entirely sure what I’ll do with them yet but you know how it is when you have to have something? Course you do!

A number of the parcels were things I ordered in Black Friday sales, like this little bundle from Earthbutter Beads.

earthbutter

The colours in those raku rounds are so subtle and beautiful; I had to order another two more sets just to ensure I had enough to bring myself to use some.  I did a similar thing with the earring pairs I got from Slate Studio.

slate studio

I knew I’d need to keep a pair of each for myself.  I love Sarah’s beads so I stocked up when she had her Black Friday sale. Ditto Tree Wings Studio.

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I can’t get over how teeny those little birds are!  More Black Friday purchases here, from Happy Fish Things.

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I got a few beads to keep this necklace company on its way over the Czech Republic.

happy fish necklace

I’d had my eye on it for ages and it had already been reduced quite a bit. I did try taking a pic of me wearing it. I won’t bother sharing that!

What else? I’d also stocked up on more Madeline Bunyan polar bears. I didn’t get around to using them this year but they’ll be ready for next Christmas!

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I wish I’d got a better picture of these Numinosity goodies.

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Also wish I’d managed to bag a few more of them whilst I was shopping. Finally, beads-wise, some lovely new designs from Blueberribeads.

blueberribeadsJust lovely!

Edit: I forgot to include these:

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How??! The wonderful Moogin Mindy, of course.

Now for some really fascinating pictures.

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Proper eye candy, hey? Wanna see more?

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I just can’t stop buying glazes…

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In fact, I think I might just have to have a little browse to see if any online suppliers are  running end-of-year sales.  Speaking of the end of the year, let me leave you with the best of wishes for 2015.