Happy Winterval…

Well, I did have the best of intentions. I was going to write a proper ‘end-of-the-year’ post – thoughtful, retrospective, entertaining, insightful… but… I’m just beaten. Really, totally beaten. My head is fit to split and I’m seriously in need of some down time. So, this is just to say thank you for your company this last year. I hope you’ll be back in 2017. In the meantime, here’s a slightly blurry picture of Dexy looking surprisingly content about being wrapped in tinsel – an annual tradition.

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Happy Winterval, dear reader!

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…

dex in the sun

…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.

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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…

Some of the new things….

So, writing for two other blogs has lead me to neglect my own. I have bags of new stuff to show you: both jewellery and beads.  I added some of my new ceramic beads to the bead shop on Thursday. A good number have been snapped up, which is great because it gives me an excuse to keep making them, which I’m absolutely loving doing.  There is still a reasonable number of beads available, so do have a look if you fancy.  I’ll do a post here soon about the new beads but if you’re particularly curious, head here to see a post I did about them on Art Bead Scene.

Today, I’m gonna share my latest jewellery makes. Tomorrow is market day, so are you ready to see the inevitable heap of new things?  Whenever we get to this time of year, I tell myself, ‘Don’t go overboard with the autumnal designs’. And, every year, what happens?

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(lampwork rondelle – Puffafish; wooden barrel – Pymatuning Crafts)

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(ceramic leaf: Scorched Earth)

mosaic

(ceramic bead – Gaea)

[I have a confession to make here: that pod-like ornament thing, I spotted it (and very much liked it) in a Fanciful Devices piece. She did share where it came from and without giving it too much thought, I ordered some. Then I wasn’t sure about whether that was a good thing. But, well, they turned up and I’d paid for them, so I thought, ‘Sod it’.]

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fire fly 1

I actually made the following one a little while.

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But it sold the other day, so…

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I do love Jo Lucksted‘s woodland critters – They match these czech leaves perfectly. And, well, yes, autumn.  I put these together super quick today.

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They’re less autumn than some of the other pieces. I rather like them; I won’t mind if they don’t sell.  It hasn’t been all falling leaves and mists and fruitfulness.  Here’s a pair of earrings made with one of my ceramic bits.

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(ceramic feather – Something to do Beads; ceramic drop – Scorched Earth)

Which leads us neatly to this month’s crop of Scorched Earth earrings. More asymmetry here –

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(ceramic spike – Scorched Earth; ceramic connector – Ragged Robyn)

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I won’t give the credits for them all. Basically: Scorched Earth!

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These were harder to photograph than they had any reason to be. As were these…

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And while we’re on the subject of tricky to photo, bloody labradorite!

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(ceramic wheel – Happy Fallout)

I also made a crop of cheaper earrings recently with some particularly choice new czech glass shapes, sans art beads.

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I do love a 70s colour scheme…

Oh my goodness! I’ve still got a heap of photos to add. Hmmmm…. I can’t face it! There’s been just far too much photographing and photoshopping recently.

dexy hates photography

Dexy agrees. He’s sitting, here, in front of my ever-so hifalutin photo set up. He goes crazy when I start setting it up. And I’m starting to feel a little crazed going through all these photos (maybe you are too?), so I’ll be back another day with the rest of the helping. It’s time for wine!

New jewellery – quite a lot of it….

What a week…

the naturalist

(ceramics – Scorched Earth)

well, ten days, really.

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(ceramic droppers – Scorched Earth; ceramic birds – Happy Fish Things)

What has been happening?

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(ceramic droppers – Scorched Earth; ceramic tubes – Golem Studios)

Well, Dexy got sick. He had a dreadful ear infection, which required a general anaesthetic so it could be flushed out.

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(ceramic droppers – Scorched Earth; patinated hoops – Grubbi)

So that was all quite stressful.

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(polymer flower and bird – Tree Wings Studio)

Then I went to an open house at Smitten Beads, which was great but far more ‘active’ than I’m used to. That’ll teach me to be such a homebody.  I picked up a stack of new good stuff and met a load of folk I’d only ever ‘met’ online.

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(ceramic leaves – Scorched Earth; lampwork beads – Earthshine)

I’d just about recovered when my laptop died. The hard drive went – just went. Nothing there, gone, kaput. Had I backed up all my images and software?

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Had I hell.

into the trees

 (ceramic house – Elukka; enamel leaf – Gardanne)

I’ll spare you the details – because they’re long and not very interesting – but I did manage to get the hard drive and software replaced without paying for them.

ocean side

(ceramic round – Slate Studio)

Or breaking the law.

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So, thank heavens for that!

one daisy

(lampwork beads – Earthshine)

But, oh my, I don’t like being without a laptop. I kept getting that phantom limb thing where I’d turn to check something on it then find it wasn’t there.

crystal tip earrings

Of course, all this turmoil has prevented me posting new designs here. As you can see, there are quite a number.  Some have been listed, and some sold, but if there’s anything here that catches your eye that you can’t find in my Etsy shop, do get in touch.

holding light

 (ceramic spiral coin – Gaea; beaded bead – Malin de Koning; clasp – Amanda Davie)

So, apologies for another image heavy post…

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 (enamel matchsticks – Numinosity)

 …although I’m quite relieved that I have all these images recorded on my blog because they’re no longer on my computer.

delft 2

 (ceramic lentil – Golem Studios; lampwork discs – Helen Chalmers)

ombre sky

 (ceramic lentil – Golem Studios)

I’m getting busy and posting all this now because it’s market day tomorrow.

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sun into the evening

I’ll be stationed outside the George Hotel, in Frome town centre, from 10am till 3pm.

beach bird

(driftwood bead – Nature Scavenger; ceramic urchin – Blueberribeads)

Can you tell that I’ve yet to get to grips with my new version of Photoshop?!

catchy monkey

(copper pendant – Thea Elements)

tango teal

(driftwood bead – Nature Scavenger; lampwork beads – Glittering Prize, Helen Chalmers)

my bracelet

(ceramic leaf – Bo Hulley; lampwork beads – Glass Bead Art)

This last bracelet ended up being really small. So, regrettably, I’ve had to keep it for myself.   Anyway, that’s the lot. Ciao for now.

Clearing

I’m having a cull.  I’ve been meaning to do it for some time.

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You know those pieces that end up hanging around? Or those pieces that nag at you because some element of them isn’t right?  Or those things you were never entirely convinced by and that didn’t prove you wrong and sell?  Today, I’ve chopped all mine up.  This might seem rash – certainly, only the other day, a piece which I had mentally marked for the chop went and sold.  Still, I feel better for it.  I’m also hoping that this array of retrieved beads will prompt some new design ideas, which have been a bit few over the last couple of days.

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I have made some new things.  Earrings mostly, and one bracelet…

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The bracelet has been listed on Etsy, the earrings will join it in the next few days.  Do pipe up if there’s anything you’d like.

This way

(ceramic arrows – Scorched Earth)

watercolour

(glass headpins – Numinosity Beads)

silk slippers

button buds

I also made a pair for me, with these beautiful heather-y spikes…

heather spikes

(ceramic spikes – Scorched Earth, lampwork beads – Glass Bead Art)

…because I clearly need more Scorched Earth earrings… s.e. earrings

I also need to learn how to make my camera work in non-macro mode.  Before I go, I had calls for more pictures of Dexy, which I am always more than happy to share!  He’s not the easiest beast to photograph, but today he decided to oblige and sat still long enough for me to capture a good portrait.

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That’s the lot for now.  I guess I’d better go and tidy all those liberated beads away…

oh dear, oh dear, oh beads….

Oh dear

desk

I had a bit of a hectic few days over the weekend and the backend of last week. I had some bead custom orders to make and a magazine project to make and write up.  The trouble is, I get caught up in doing these things and then things just get out of hand.  This is the result – bead mayhem. I have all these beads that I’ve ordered recently that I’ve either not had chance to put away or that I’ve left out with a view to making something.  And there are these ‘exploded’ orders that I’ve pulled open for the vital elements that I needed and that have remained in their ransacked state.

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Predictably, there’s a Scorched Earth bundle that I raided last week.

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Aren’t these toggles amazing?!

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So, the task for this afternoon will be sorting this lot out, putting some away, deciding what I need to leave out to use in the near future.  Before I do that, I thought I’d share some of these new goodies with you – knowing you’re likely to be one of those peculiar individuals who loves looking at beads.  I’ve had some fabulous post days recently, this morning included.  I’m loving this new Moogin colourway.

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I think at least 2/3s of this little bundle will be staying with me!  Here’s some more gorgeous glass.  I had these in my cart for some time; I’m so glad I got them.  They’re from Rachel Art – this is my first order from her.

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The colour mix is fabulous: bright red and citrus shades with grey – it really works.  I’m just trying to work out how I can use a number of them together so I can incorporate the full range of colours in whatever I make.  They were beautifully presented too.  Here’s some more yummy glass, from Earthshine Beads (which was also beautifully packaged) – plus an enamel leaf from C-Koop.

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I’m sure these should be used together – again, I just can’t work out how… Perhaps I’ll mix in some of these.IMG_2356

I love deep red picasso finish glass so I’m finding this pile very pleasing. I’ll be struggling to separate them, but I guess it must be done. (Beads here from The Curious Bead Shop, Lima Beads and Smitten Beads).  These headpins would fit in this mix rather nicely, I think.

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Mmmm – lovely goodness from Bo Hulley, of course.  More ceramics here, from Happy Fallout.IMG_2387

This is the *third* set of palimpsest beads that I’ve ordered and I’ve still barely touched the first.  I. just. love. them.  I have a similar problem with my Jubilee beads.  These will be joining my sprawling conurbation.

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Another building here, from Blueberribeads, along with some sweet hearts.

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And here’s another first order from a new-to-me maker, Margit Boehmer.

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Kinda wish I’d got more now. I also have a couple of bundles of vintage wonder waiting to be used/filed.  This lot is from Bumbershoot Supplies.

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Loving those vintage sequins; I’ve wanted some for a while.  Fabulous colours!  I’m also loving this little lot too, from Vintage Bead Cache.

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I think that’s the lot!  Thankfully I’ve also just received a pile of bead boxes.

dex yawning

Dexy finds beads very boring indeed.  He’s waiting on a walk, right now.

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Not impressed. So, I’d best get on and walk him before turning my attention back to this chaos.  Before I go, a question (assuming you’re still reading!): white czech glass starburst coin or blue ceramic star?

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I’m thinking white czech glass….

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.