Sunday 26 August 2012

I'm still here!

Although I've not blogged for almost twelve months, I am still very much here!

It's been a busy year. Building work at home meant my bead studio had to be packed away for several months. I missed being able to make beads more than I'd have thought possible. All building work is now complete though, and in addition to a lovely big kitchen, I now have a brand new studio. I'll post some pics of it soon, but in the meantime I have something completely different to show you.

Whilst I was torchless I desperately needed some other outlet for all that pent up creative energy! So, I dusted off my sewing machine, and made myself a couple of skirts. Then I made some new cushions for the sofas in the conservatory, and some more for my studio.

I got the sewing bug! So, when my trusty heatable wheat bag needed replacing, it seemed obvious that instead of buying a replacement, I should make my own!

So, I made one, but filled it with rice instead of wheat, and I added a handful of the most gorgeous lavender flowers. Then I thought I'd better make a spare in another fabric. Then I thought perhaps my Dad might like one for his aches and pains.

I kept stumbling across really lovely fabric, and then I found some pretty ribbon. So I made more. Now, I seem to have more than I need! So, I thought I would set up an Etsy shop, and see if anyone else would like one. I called it 'Ricicles'! See what I did there??

My rice bags are pretty amazing, even though I say so myself! I've made some pretty floral ones, but I've also made some in more basic ticking utility fabric, so they'll hopefully appeal to achey men too.

They can be heated in the microwave (for about 90 seconds), or popped in the freezer as a cold pack. The nicest thing about rice is that it doesn't go stinky in the same way that wheat bags sometimes can, and it really moulds to your body, so stays put.

I use my rice bag every single day. It really eases the aches I get from sitting at a desk all day in the week, or at the torch at the weekend. In the winter it'll warm my feet in bed a treat.

I'm hoping to sell a few, but if I don't I know what my family will be getting for Christmas this year!

Come back soon and I promise I'll have some pictures of my new studio, complete with super duper extraction system!

Sunday 28 August 2011


Another blog - I know! No blogging for months and then two in one week. It's amazing how much more beady stuff you can get done when you have a week off work!

I made this Samburu bead set, and then etched it to a matt finish, which I think really suits this design. I love the colour reactions in these beads, and the fact that you can see the traces of silver that I burnished onto the bead to help the colour reactions along.
I made a couple of focals too. Well I made three actually, but one broke when I cleaned it. Urgh! It was the nicest as well, but that's the law of breakages! That'll teach me for not keeping the one end warm enough before I placed it in the kiln. Tsk!

This is a much paired combination of turquoise and silver;

... and another favourite combination of mine - turquoise and purple. This time I've made a spotty bead, just because I love how the turquoise saturates as it tries to move away from the purple glass.
Thank you for looking!

Sunday 21 August 2011

Bucket & Spade and Other Beads!

I'd had this set of beach beads in my head for a while, and I finally got around to making them this weekend. I love making murrini, so these barnacles were a good excuse to pull some starburst cane. These beads remind me of beach holidays in Bournemouth, when my Grandad would buy me a new bucket and spade and a little packet of paper flags. Bliss!

So, here they are, Bucket & Spade;

This is another set I've been wanting to make. I've wrapped shards of glass around a base bead and then used some flame jiggery pokery to get a nice oil-slick effect of blues and purples. I've called this set 'Voyager' in honour of Voyager 2, which launched 34 years ago yesterday, in Silver Jubilee year, and is currently around 13 light hours from Earth. Yes, I know, I'm a geek...

Then I made some pebbles. Always nice.

I played with some silver glass twistie, getting a nice organic reaction with one of my favourite terracotta red glasses.

And because I like blue...
That's all for now. I'm off to enjoy the rest of the summer while it lasts!

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Bluebells & Pebbles

A few days ago I went for a walk in nearby woods, and there was a beautiful carpet of bluebells, as far as the eye could see. I also heard my first cuckoo of the year! I came home and just had to make a set of 'Bluebell' beads in bluebell colours.

I haven't made any of my pebble beads for ages, but they are one of my favourite sets to make, so I made 'Lyme'.

Finally 'Caribbean', a set of turquoise beads, some etched and some shiny.

I hope you like them!

My aim is to try and get more torch time than I've been managing. Time will tell whether I can make that a reality, but these extra bank holidays have been splendid!

Sunday 30 January 2011

In Full Bloom

Now I don't know about you, but I'm missing a bit of colour in the garden. Those who know me will vouch for my impatience. My answer was to create my own spring colours and trap them inside glass!

This set is aptly called 'In Full Bloom' and I hope they put some colour into your day too.
Have a great week!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Maasai Necklace

I wanted to show you this gorgeous necklace that Nia Clement has made using a set of my lampwork beads and lots of Bali sterling silver.

Of course, the last time I saw these beads they didn't look nearly this good! Nia has a way of designing jewellery that shows beads off to their very best. I think the name Nia has given this piece is perfect.

This necklace has reminded me that I should explore the techniques I used in these beads again. I'm buzzing with ideas at the moment, and am looking forward to getting an opportunity to light my torch.

I love to see how people use my beads, so if you want to share any of your creations with me I will show them off here for you!

You can see more of Nia's work at Gemwaith Nia Jewellery.

Saturday 22 January 2011

Stellar Beads

I made my first beads of 2011! This set, in different shades of blue, is called Stellar, and quite possibly represents too many hours spent gazing up at the stars lately!

These may be my first beads for 2011, but definitely won't be my last. I hope you like them.

With Valentines Day just a few weeks away I felt compelled to make a heart. This one is hand-shaped and ideal for someone who likes to hint at romance without the addition of girly pink!

I have been fortunate to have been featured in a number of Etsy treasuries lately, and here are some of them. My beads are in excellent company, so I encourage you to click the pictures below to visit the treasuries for yourself.

See if you can spot my beads.

This treasury, 'For the Long Journey' was curate by Lynn Davy, who, as Nemeton, designs and makes the most incredible creations, using all kinds of beads, from weeny seed beads to lampwork beads. Lynn cleverly created this treasury by searching on one of the words in the title of the previous item. Ingenious!

'Pink Smoke' was curated by Alison of Ami Designs. This treasury features some gorgeous items in subtle pink tones.
The very talented George curated 'Dreaming of Caribbean Seas'. There are some fabulous blue-green tones and sea-themes going on here. Do pop along and have a mooch around George's fabulous range of handmade jewellery findings.

That's all for now. Enjoy the weekend!