AJE Component of the month Blog Hop

So, some weeks ago, I was one of a lucky little bunch of beaders who won a giveaway and received one of Lesley Watt‘s beautiful bronze pod beads.


Lovely, hey?  They were the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month this September. The one requirement was that we winners make something with one of them (tough, I know) and that we share what we made today.  I’d been admiring these beads for a while so I was very pleased to win one.  Here’s my pod:

pod necklace 1

Can you tell that I’ve used it in a necklace that’s particularly tricky to photograph?  Well, I have, see:

pod necklace 2 I decided some time ago that I wanted to make some sort of a lariat kinda thing but I only arrived at the design a few days ago.  I’ve added some Scorched Earth bead caps to echo the shape of the pod, and hung them from some of my verdigris patina chain.

pod necklace 4

Thankfully, it wears a lot better than it photographs!

A large thank you is owed to Lesley: thank you, Lesley! If you fancy getting one of these pods you can find them in Lesley’s shop, Thea Elements.  As I said, I wasn’t the only lucky winner.  You can have a look at the other winners’ (or guest designers’) pieces by following the links below.   The members of the AJE team have all been given the opportunity to use one too.  I’m really curious to see how everyone used their beads – I’ve got a feeling there’ll be some surprisingly different designs.

AJE team

Since last time

It’s been over two weeks since I last blogged.  Tsk tsk…  I’ve had some distractions – visiting London to meet my new nephew being the one of the pleasanter ones.  There have also been new beads and some new jewellery designs.  I planned to say more about a number of these things than I will do here, and I will say more in time.  Perhaps it’s the impact of listening to George Osborne’s voice for 54 minutes, but I’m feeling a little short on chat today!

I’ve made quite a lot of beads recently.  I’ve been wanting to try some text-y beads and charms for a while now.  I made a bit of an error before I started, when I ordered my stamps.  As I often do when I order things online, I failed to consider how large the letters were.  Once I opened them up, I realised they were quite large.  I had planned to put little phrases on things but with these stamps I’d be limited to very large pendants if I did that. So, I opted for single words. The matter of what words to use is something I’m going to come back to.  Briefly, for now, I picked words associated with intimacy and constance – fitting for jewellery, I thought.

new words 4 blog

I was anxious with these that they shouldn’t end up looking like Swoondimples rip-offs, especially as the font on the stamps looks very similar.  I hope I’ve avoided that – please do say if you disagree!  It becomes quite hard to tell once you’ve looked at something and fussed over it for some time.  There were quite a number of attempts that ended up in the dud tub, but I’m fairly pleased with this handful.  New, smaller letter stamps are on order.

I also got some new birds and houses made.  A number have sold but these are still available.  bird and house top up

I also finally got around to sending some new stock to Big Bead Little Bead.   There are more houses there now, along with owls and hedgehogs.

And now for the new jewellery.  Hopefully, I’ll get these listed on Etsy shortly.

scribed bracelet

(bronze clasp – TheaTOO, ceramic hoop and cap – Scorched Earth)

rusted indigo

(ceramic button – Scorched Earth, polymer slices – mepale bird bracelet

(ceramic bird – Blueberribeads)

I had to use that Blueberribeads bird to justify getting some more, this time in grey.

grey bird earrings

I got a bit behind with the AJE earring challenge, so I had to make up several pairs.

spring dahlia earrings

(lampwork dahlia beads – Ciel Creations, lampwork headpins – Earthshine Beads)

And I finally got a pair made with my own beads.  These pods are also available in the bead shop.

pod earrings

I’ll leave you with one last pair of earrings.  No art beads, just lovely czech glass and some vintage, antique silver hoops.  I’ll be back soon – I have Bead Soup Blog Party pics to share.

opal glass coin wreaths

Nearly there

It’s half past five and it’s still light.  Hallelujah.  It’s also been sunny – well, sort of – today, so I seized the opportunity to take some pictures.  I made a couple of bracelets this week that I’ve been planning to make for a while.  They were some time in the planning because I kept thinking of other things I needed to get to finish them.  I spent a fair while looking for the perfect citrine for this bracelet:

luxe 1

(lampwork focal – Moogin; patinated brass toggle clasp – Abyjem; ceramic wheel – Slate Studios)

There was a time when I couldn’t really see the appeal of yellow stones.  I’m dotty about them now.  It’s a pretty luxe bracelet, all in all.  I often avoid mixing together so many pricey materials, dreading to think what price I’ll have to put on them, but I decided to go to town with this bracelet.  I took a similarly cavalier approach when making this one.

violet rocks 2

(ceramic hoops and chain links – Scorched Earth; lampwork beads – Glass Bead Art; ceramic round – Grubbi)

violet rocks 4

I’m really quite pleased with the way it turned out.  And the photos are a lot better than a number I’ve taken recently.  I’m nearly done with all my shop overhaul-ing, so it’s the last few days of the sale.  To mark this, I’m now offering 30% off everything currently in stock.  Just use the discount code FINALDAYS.  Remember, some pieces will be going once the sale ends so if there’s something you’ve had your eye on, now really is the best time to bag it.  Before I go, here’s a few more new pieces that will be available shortly:

Mint, mink, pink 1

(ceramic pendant – Gaea)

teal tops 1

(polka dot beads – Bo Hulley)

forest fire 1

(ceramic flower – Captured Moments)

It’s now half past six – I’ve spent a long time saying very little!  Time I was off…


Tait beads and kitchenware love

So, I’ve got some things planned.  Most involve the jewellery shop (of which, more soon), but there are some changes I mean to make to the bead shop.  There are a number of designs that are made-to-order.  In time, once I’ve got stock levels up, I’m aiming to shift over to having listings just for beads that are in stock (although I’d still be happy to do custom orders of out-of-stock beads).  There are several pluses to this, I think.  It will mean that there is more variety, more new and different beads for returning customers.  It should – I very much hope! – give me a greater push to keep working on new designs.  I also wonder whether people are less inclined to buy made-to-order beads.  I’d be very interested to hear what anyone else thinks on this.  Do you prefer to order something that you know is already made and ready to ship?  Also, do you put off buying made-to-order beads, thinking, ‘I can get that another day’?  I’m being quite frank in asking this, I realise, but I would be interested to know.  Some of my made-to-order beads are more popular than others.  The ombre owl has been very popular – like all owls!  I’ve had fewer takers for these.

tait blog


tait for blog

It may just be that my lovely bead buyers don’t share my love of vintage ceramics.  I say ceramics, but that sounds a little grand.  It’s really the kind of mass-produced kitchenware that has now become very popular with collectors and vintage enthusiasts (and has, of late, regrettably, been Alsop-ed too).  I have quite a lot of it.  I am a terrible cook so I don’t have that excuse for buying it, and I’m running out of places to display it.  I’ve always had an attachment to it.  When my grandparents passed away and the house had to be cleared, it was a box of plates and bowls and mugs I took away – things I remembered using everyday as a kid.  I started making these beads after a weekend visiting a close friend, Pech, who is also a vintage crockery lover.  We managed to spend a good part of my stay looking at the stuff, in one form or another – in some pop-up cafe, whilst browsing around numerous second-hand and vintage shops, and during a lazy hungover sunday, when we looked at more of it online and in books.  This is starting to sound rather nerdy, yes?  Had I anticipated writing this post, I’d have taken some photos.  Instead I’m borrowing some from one of the collections on hoarder-chic site, Obsessionistas, which looks like a good place to lose a few hours, should you need to.




All of these designs are by Jessie Tait.  It was her work, in particular, that I had in mind, when I started making what I’ve called, naturally enough, Tait beads.

Tait bnw bicone - front shot?_edited-1

They are all quite large beads.  I hadn’t realised until recently that I often seem to make larger beads, without really planning to.  I’ve started to work on smaller versions of some designs, but I quite like the size of the Tait beads.  They sit nicely in your palm, with a pleasing thing-ness.  One other thing I’ve found myself doing is forgetting to use my own beads in my jewellery.  So, as I was making up several of these beads, I made an extra one that I used in a necklace yesterday.  I kept to the typical 1950s Tait colours and mixed in some fabulous vintage glass.

tait necklace 4 blog

The photo isn’t great, but I like the necklace.  Which is just as well because there was a lot of knotting, cursing, chopping up and staring again.  I stayed with the vintage homewares feel when making my second pair of earrings for the AJE earring challenge, although these remind me of a later decade.

aje pair 2 again

The lampwork beads are wonderful – just right.  When I signed up for the AJE challenge, I had a bit of a hunt around Etsy for bead pairs, and came across Journey Beads (also genschi).  I got a couple of pairs there, and, getting ahead of things, I’ve made my third lot of earrings with the other pair of beads.  The embossed blanks are available from Claire Braunbarth at Smitten Beads.

cherry blossom earrings

These just make me think of cherry blossom.  I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to seeing some cherry blossom.

Late present and AJE earring challenge

There’s still a lot of snow on the ground.  Dexy remains unconvinced.

Dexy for blog

The snow coincided nicely with the arrival of a late Christmas present.  With some money I received I treated myself to a Gaea Beads gift certificate.  I had been wanting to try them out for ages and there’s such a wide selection on the website I knew I’d be hard pressed to pick just a couple.  So, my gift allowed a bit of a spree.

gaea beads for blog

Lovely, yes?  I particularly like the faceted heart, the polka dots and the textured peanut.  Rather stupidly, I didn’t think to order any pairs, because they would come in handy right now.  I’m taking part in the Art Jewellery Elements Earring Challenge.  Today is the first reveal day.  So, here’s what I made.  I used a pair of beautiful ceramic buttons made by Jane Lidbetter and available from Big Bead Little Bead.

AJE earrings pic

I do like the way the czech glass spindles pick up the pattern painted on the buttons.  There are heaps of folk around the globe taking part.  There’s also a Pinterest board where a number of participants are sharing their earrings.  It’s time I went to pin mine.