Ta Dah!

Look at this. This is the clearest and most tidy that my work table has been since… since… I started working on it:

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Also: I have a tidy, tidy stash:

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All orders are packed (thank you!):

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Essential purchases have been made and delivered –

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– and appraised by Dexy:

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And unwrapped:

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(yep, all essential stuff, that….)

Which means….. it’s time to get the mud out!:

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If you have any bead custom order requests, now would be a good time to ask. Email me: somethingtodobeads@gmail.com.

Final day of Sale, plus things and stuff

I’ve done a woeful job of promoting it but today is the last day of the Spring sale in my jewellery shop.  In case you don’t know, I’m offering 25% off all jewellery, including a good number of pieces that have already been reduced. All you need to do is apply the coupon code SPRING25 when you check out. This means you can get this bracelet for £22.50, which seems a crazy price, frankly.  (Click on the links below the pictures to go straight to the shop listing.)

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Sea Wreath

These earrings – always a bit of a personal fave – can be yours for 12.38.

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Picasso Coins

This bracelet will be just £20.25.

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Soft Geometry

Which, again, is pretty daft. And this necklace can also be had for £22.50.

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Folksy

Sometimes you just want make space and what have you… Many of the items in the ‘Sale’ section of the shop will be removed and no longer available from tomorrow, and the price of those that remain will be put back up. So, it’s now or never on a good few items…

Aside from all this, I thought I’d share a few pics of other things that have been happening, like you should do on a blog. On Thursday, the gallingly good Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads shared a post on Art Jewelry Elements showing some stamps that she had made by lino-cutting. This is the sort of thing I have been meaning to do, but I hadn’t managed to get my finger out and do it. Thanks to Caroline, I finally gave it a go.  As Caroline said in her post, it’s often not really desirable to use commercially produced stamps and textures, and I generally try to avoid doing so. I made some plaster moulds whilst I was still doing pottery classes last year and I’ve loved having them to use. I wish I had the opportunity to make more. I do own some moulding compound but I always feel I should be all organised and have everything planned before I use it, and that sort of thing tends not to happen in my world. The beauty of the lino-cutting thing is that you can just have a bit of a doodle and see what you come up with, and the materials are relatively inexpensive so it’s no great disaster if you bodge it up. I’ve got a little mound of carved lino bits now.  I’ve yet to try them out properly on any clay yet but I did try a few bits, just to see if I was on the right track.

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a huddle of houses

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some flowery bidnizz

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scribbly Giacometti-style faces

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And as you can see here, you can save up any stray offcuts and carve them to make textures for rolling beads over. I’m looking forward to seeing these glazed.

What else? There’s been some sun the last few days – the proper stuff that actually makes you feel that Spring might just be a possibility. Dexy has be sprauncing around on the terrace sniffing the air…

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…despite having mysteriously developed arthritis in his back legs. He’s only six. He’s a medical marvel, really – always managing to find some new ailment requiring extensive and expensive treatment. Thank the lord for pet insurance. Apologies for the cruddy little mobile phone pictures. Here’s some better shots of him that I’ve had on my desktop, waiting for to be shared, for an age.

snoozy dex

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. I’ll leave you with a tune that’s been buzzing round my head for the last day or so…

A little late: a smattering of new beads… and something new…

[NB. I wrote this post last weekend and planned to publish it when I put these new beads in the bead shop.  Anyway, there were so few beads, they sold very quickly so I didn’t get around to publishing it. Anyway, I’m just going to publish it because it’s there and written, etc….]

As you may know, I haven’t made many beads of late.  However, I had to get the clay out for a couple of things recently, so I decided to make a few bits for the shop. The tiny birds and geo patch birds I made a few weeks ago went well, so I decided to make a few more.

geo patch bird group

There are a number of the tiny pairs in different colours.

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And a couple of loners, including this sweet wee blue guy.

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These are likely to be the last polymer beads I make for a while. Why?

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I’m trying my hand at ceramics. I did pottery for several years when I was younger and I’ve wanted to go back to it for some time.  There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve forgotten so I’m doing a course of classes. I’ve also got myself a big lump of clay at home. I’m not sure how it will all work out (whether I’ll get a kiln or get firings done elsewhere, for example) but I’m enjoying it immensely.

ceramic beads

So, I’m putting the polymer to one side for now to focus on ceramics.  Accordingly, I’m afraid I won’t be taking custom orders for a while.  So, this batch of birds will be it for the time being.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.