Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Lots to catch up on!

Hmm, 2 1/2 months since I last posted.  Where does the time go?  I've got quite a bit to show you so this may be a long post. ;o)

Firstly, back in October I made this necklace using a fabulous handpainted wooden button from Fiona Macneil and beautiful lampies from Laney at Izzy Beads.

I created a bezel and bail for it using delicas then added the teeny lampie toadstools to the bottom.  I made a simple spiral rope to go with it and was really pleased with how it turned out.  I've got a few more of Fiona's buttons still to play with so expect some more pics soon.

I made this Halloween bracelet, again using a Laney Mead lampie.  This time a little witch that I'd had for a while.

Her body forms part of the clasp and the fringe represents her cloak.  Another Laney bead, this time simply turned into a pendant for my Sister and suspended from a silver chain.

Inspired by some hair clips that a friend had made, I searched online and found some blanks and came up with these for my Nieces.  They loved them and I can see me making lots more.  Might see if I can come up with some Christmassy designs to put in with their presents.

This bracelet was for a 'Bah Humbug' challenge over on Bead Buddies.  We were only allowed to use black and white.  It's really light and easy to wear.

More wooden buttons, this time as earrings.  They're simply set into a beaded bezel and hung from sterling silver earwires.


The last couple of weeks I've had three Secret Santa gifts to make for various forums/groups I'm a member of so can't show those yet.

These started off life as a zipper pull I designed for Kieran (minus the bows) and adapted to become earrings.

I'm not really into the whole skull thing normally but I think these are kinda cute.  Then, I adapted them to become these alternative Christmas ones:

Not sure what I'm gonna make next.  Maybe more skulls, or I might bezel some more of the little buttons, or maybe some more hair clips...

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I finally did it!

This afternoon I finally got around to listing the tutorials for my peyote stitch cuffs in my FB shop. :oD  I think you've seen most, if not all, of them on here at some point and probably a few extra too - tutes for the others will follow shortly.  My favourite is this one, even though I haven't worn it yet as I still haven't finished the necklace to go with it:

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Remember me?

I got kinda sidetracked by life over the last month or so which is why there have been no posts from me.  So, I come back and find everything's changed.  Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out. :o)

Most of the beads I bought from my trip to Stourbridge are labelled and put away for future use but I did manage to make a necklace using one of them:

I used Lynn Davy's 'Nemesis' pattern and Lesley's gorgeous focal bead and added some teeny little lampies plus a larger one for a clasp from Tan Grey.  I think they work really well together. :oD

Since then I have been busy planning for my Parents' 40th wedding anniversary which is next weekend.  I have a cake to decorate - hopefully with a stunning red rose from Sabine Little.  I've still got to figure out how I can safely attach it to the cake without risking breaking it.  Wish me luck!  There are also cupcakes to be made and, of course, a card.  I'm in the middle of making a cuff bracelet for my Mum to wear and I may still change my mind about my jewellery too.  Looks like it's gonna be a busy week!

Last weekend was a good one.  On Sunday I went to a cbeading class with the wonderful Laura McCabe.  Her site is temporarily closed just now while she is over here teaching but please make sure you check it out when it reopens next month.  The class I went to was the Treasure Necklace and it was a great day!  The necklace is made up of lots of beaded lockets that open up.  Fabulous!  I've not finished it yet but I will post some pics when I do.  Watch this space. :o)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Stourbridge Bead Fair

I decided midweek that a trip to Stourbridge was in order as I found out that it's only about an hour and a half away from here and quite a few of my friends from Bead Buddies were going to be there either selling or buying.  I made cupcakes last night to take with me and got Steven to drive.  This is what I bought:

Top row: 4 sets and a focal from Vickie (Beads4Breakfast), 5 little beads from Lesley (Madcat).

Middle row: lentil set from Lush Lampwork, owl from Min Fidler, focal from Jeannette.

Bottom row: 2 silver clasps from George, focal set from Laney (Izzybeads).

I could have bought soooooo much more though!
The skull and zombie are actually for Kieran.  He's always asking me to make him something but, generally speaking, beads are girly so I've never really been able to.  I think I'm just gonna hang these two from lengths of leather thong and hope he likes them.
I fell in love with the owl although I've no idea what I'm gonna do with him.  I do know that he's mine though! :o) 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

There's nothing like standing on the rocks at Godrevy with the waves crashing around you to make you feel insignificant!  I could stand there for hours watching the sea.

The other thing I love to do is to get my bare toes in the sand and walk into the waves.  Not too far - I can't swim - but I love the sea at St Ives.  It's so clear and warm.  We spent the other two days on the beach soaking up the sun.  A little too much sun, as my back will testify.  Ouch!

I took my beads with me as usual but didn't take them out of the box!  I did go and buy some new ones though. :o)  I wanted to make a metallic version of my Harlequin Cuff but didn't have any metallic Delicas so I had to go and fetch some.  This is how it turned out:

I love how different it looks from the original.  I might do a pastel version now.

I'm currently working on the Piet Mondrian inspired cuff for Linda, the winner of my August competition.  I must confess, I hadn't a clue about his work before Linda suggested it but I did some research and I think I've come up with something suitable.  The only problem I'm having is that it's all straight lines so I'm having to use square stitch.  Square stitch was the first stitch I learnt and I used it lots at first.  Now, I'm finding that my tension is dodgy and  I can't seem to get it to sit straight.  Give me peyote any day!  Thankfully, I'll only have to stitch it the once then I can do the tute and kit and it will be up to someone else to stitch them. ;o)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

And the winner is...

I know I'm a few hours early doing the draw but we're unexpectedly going away for a few days tomorrow and I wanted to be able to take it with me so I can get it done in time.  Congratulations to Linda (Madam Steph) who entered over on the Bead Buddies forum!

I've been working on a few new designs (some from your suggestions) and have already managed to stitch one of them.  This was suggested by Nic and is based on her blog background.  Hope you like it, Nic. :o)

I've also been busy writing up tutorials for all the cuffs I've done so far and will be putting them up for sale as soon as I can.  Meanwhile, I'll leave you with some more recently completed ones.

Millefiori Cuff

Harlequin Cuff
Poppy Cuff

Friday, 12 August 2011

Competition Reminder!

Just posting a reminder of my competition.  You can check the details out here.  There have been some great entries so far and I'm busily trying to work my way through them in preparation for the draw.  You only have a couple of days to get your entry in, so what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Exciting news...well, sort of.

The door and window for my studio are being delivered tomorrow!!! oD  Finally, work can start on the alterations - well, just as soon as Steven's back recovers!  He pulled it yesterday while lifting stuff in the garage and hasn't even been able to walk properly today.

I've got sore hands today after spending most of last night and almost all day today stitching a couple more cuffs together.  This time yesterday I hadn't even started them and now one is completely finished and the other is almost done. :o)  I can't show pics 'cos the first one is a present for a friend.  The other one is another zebra cuff for my SIL which I'd best get finished as she needs it for Friday.  Speaking of cuffs, if you haven't done so already, don't forget to leave me a comment about what pattern/theme you'd like to see on a cuff.  (See my previous post for details)

I'll leave you with a pic of my new beadies.  They were delivered from the States yesterday and I've already used some of the delicas.

Nice aren't they? ;o)

Sunday, 31 July 2011

August Competition

Well, as promised, I'm going to have a little competition to win one of my 1" cuffs.  All you have to do is tell me what sort of pattern/theme you would like to see as a cuff and I will then design and make it for you.  Obviously it can't be anything too detailed as I only have a 12/13 beads wide strip to work with but other than that anything goes! :oD

Just leave me a comment with your suggestion/s and I'll see what I can come up with.  You've got till August 15th to get them in and I will then pick a winner at random and get it stitched and sent out before the end of August.

Here are a few more of mine:

Moroccan Cuff

Floral Cuff 2

Autumn Flowers Cuff

Leopard Print Cuff

Have fun deciding!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Cuffs Galore!

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks since my last post.  I've been thoroughly enjoying not having to go into work and instead settling down with my beads and thread making up more of my cuff designs so that I can photograph them ready for the tutorials.  So far they have all been 1/2 inch width but I'm planning on doing the 1, 1 1/2 and 2 inch sizes too.  Here are a few of them:

Zig Zag Cuff

Heart Lattice Cuff

Floral Cuff

I've got 15 or so designed already - but only 8 of them stitched so far.  I guess I'll be busy again this week!

I've got a bracelet to design and make for a swap over on the OTTBS blog and a couple of pieces to come up with for a collaborative effort over on Bead Buddies to raise money for the Disasters Eergency Committee who are working to help people affected by the famines in Africa.  I might send them a couple of my cuffs. :o)

Work on the studio is still on hold while we wait for the door and window.  I'm getting fed-up of waiting now and I know my regular group of beading ladies will be too, especially now that I'm not in the shop on a Saturday.  They're coming round to the house in a couple of weeks for the afternoon instead but that means making a concerted effort with the housework.  *Booooooo*  I hate housework!  Still, it has to be done and it'll be nice to have everywhere tidy for once.

In other news, Kieran left primary school on Friday.  My little boy is all grown up and off to big school in September.  Where does the time go?  We had to go to school for his leavers' assembly on Friday afternoon and everyone was in tears.  We've seen all the kids grow up together for the past 7 years and now they're all going off to different schools. :o(  I made a couple of pieces for his teacher to say thank you:

Forget-Me-Not Cuff


I hope she likes them!

If any of you have a particular theme that you'd like to see as a cuff design, let me know and I'll try and come up with something.  In fact, I might even run a competition to come up with the best idea, with the best idea being made up and presented to the person who came up with it.  Watch this space for details and, in the meantime, get your thinking caps on. :oD

Saturday, 2 July 2011

My last day at work

It was fun today. :o)

I made cupcakes (lemon, vanilla, choc and choc/hazelnut) and designed another kit for my final beading demonstration.  It's a zebra cuff done in peyote stitch and then stitched to a cuff blank. 

I'm slowly building up my collection of kits and will hopefully be able to get them listed for sale soon.

My colleagues bought me a beautiful orchid, bottle of wine, chocs and gave me money to buy myself something with.  I also had some really lovely cards.  Almost made me wish I wasn't leaving.  Almost.

So what am I going to do with my time now?  Well tomorrow I'm going to be glued to the telly watching the Wimbledon men's final even though Andy Murray isn't it.  I'm hoping that Rafael Nadal retains the title.  After that, who knows? 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sorry I've been AWOL

I know it's been ages since my last post but I am having issues with my laptop atm and it's making life difficult.  It seems to have a mind of it's own and works when - and if - it feels like it!  I feel a shopping trip coming on, I think.  In the meantime, I'm hoping that Steven will be able to retrieve all my files and stuff.  I'm gonna be one very sad girl otherwise. :o(

Anyway, since my last post nothing much has changed with the studio conversion.  Steven and Kieran spent a week in Spain and apparently had a great time.  I sat here, watched the tennis from Queen's Club (great win for Andy Murray!) and beaded. :o)

Here are some of the things I've made recently:

From my last demonstration at the shop

For a challenge on the Bead Buddies forum.

Adapted from the Mad Rings 2 pattern by Heather Collin.

For my SIL.

For my Niece.

For meeeeee :oD

The last two are patterns from Threadabead.  I've got a couple more bangles to do now for my other Nieces.

My big news is that I've handed in my notice at the shop.  I've decided it's time to concentrate on my jewellery/beading.  My last day is July 2nd and I can't wait.  Now I've finally made the decision I'm really looking forward to it!

Hopefully I'll be able to post again soon. :o)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Work In Progress

Not a lot has happened in the 'studio' since my last post because we've been out or the weather has been bad but yesterday it was lovely out so Steven decided to get in another day of clearing the rubbish.  He's hoping to get it all cleared before next Tuesday when he and Kieran are off to Spain for a week - leaving me here with peace, quiet, tennis on the telly and beads! :oD  Bliss!

Well, you asked for pics, so here are a few:

Would you just look at the state of that!  You can see my new bathroom suite on the left behind Kieran's jeep.  Hopefully we can get it fitted soon 'cos it's taking up an awful lot of space in there.  You can also see Steven on his way to the skip with some rubbish.  On the very left of the pic is the wall of my house, while to the right is my neighbours.  We are joined by the garages so it creates a 'corridor' of the drive which incidentally, is also full of junk.  Mainly old plant pots.  Some still with the remains of plants in.  They're going in the skip too.  There is also a tree of some description which has self-set into the drive.

This is the skip full of rubbish he'd cleared when he packed up for the day:

We are at the very bottom of a hill, it's not a dodgy camera angle.  Honest!

It has been nice out today too so off he went again (this is most unusual as any of you who know him will know already).  This was the garage this morning:

It's a lot less cluttered than yesterday.  Even more so now!  Hopefully tomorrow he will be able to get the last of it out and into the skip so they can come and pick it up. :o)

Last night, while I was trying to post this, my laptop died on me.  It's been off for a check-up today and they said it's pretty much terminal.  The wi-fi card has gone and it's overheated and cooked the insides.  We've downloaded all the files onto an external hard drive so thankfully I still have everything important.  The wi-fi problem can be temporarily solved by plugging in the dongle I have for when I'm away from home and connecting it to our modem (or so we were told).  I just need it to last long enough to get the studio sorted out then I will have a pc in there and won't need it as much.

In other news, I have been playing with a bracelet design for Saturday's demo at work at come up with this:

I'm not particularly happy with the strap but I don't have enough rivolis to use them all the way round, which is what I think I will end up doing for the kits I'm planning when I get round to making them up.  I'll try and get a better pic of it tomorrow if I can.  Let me know what you think. :o)

Friday, 27 May 2011

All systems go!

Ok, so work has finally started on what will become my little studio.  Well, I say work, what I actually mean is that Steven has started clearing the garage of rubbish!  We've got a huge skip sat on the front lawn that is currently getting filled with a whole host of things that 'might come in handy one day'.  You know the sort of thing - old shelf units that you no longer use 'cos the shelves are bowed, boxes that have been stored in there since the day we moved in five and a half years ago (if we've not touched it in that time we probably never will, right?) and not forgetting the assortment of stuff that gets chucked in there because there's nowhere else for it to go.  I've measured up the space and I think I have about 2.6m x 3m to play with once the dividing wall is up (still need somewhere to store stuff, don't we). 

I've already bought a set of spotlights to fit into the ceiling after seeing the ones in the kitchen at the Bead Retreat last weekend.  They were fabulous to work under so I thought I'd get myself some.  Tomorrow Steven is going to buy a new door and pick up some ceramic tiles that I want for the floor.  I'm keeping everything light as it's a small space.  I'm also thinking maybe I can have a worktop and cupboards down one side with a sink in one part so we don't have to keep trekking through the house.  Then a couple of shelf units (without bowed shelves ;o)) and a table and chairs and we're done.

Sounds so easy, doesn't it?  I bet it'll take the best part of the Summer if not longer (knowing Steven, it'll probably be Christmas) but I will take progress pics just as soon as there's something to show.

The other thing I've been doing this week is organising next year's Bead Retreat.  Yes, I know it's early, but we had such a fabulous time this year that we all wanted to go back to Endmoor Farm again and I thought it best to get it booked up asap.  We've got more people wanting to come than there are spaces so I hope it'll all work out.  I might have to look into finding extra accomodation! :o)  It does make me smile that people enjoy themselves so much that they want to come again.  Who knows where it will end up?

I'll finish off with this picture of the things I made while we were in Monyash. 

The necklace is from an issue of Beadwork magazine and is designed by Lynn Davy.  Mine has pink opal drops and Swarovski crystals on it but it still needs a clasp.  The other two pieces I have now finished as brooches.  The top one has a polymer clay flower cabochon and the other one is based on two really pretty ceramic heart buttons that I was given by Catherine.  I'll post a pic of the finished pieces next time.  Now I'm off to watch CSI:NY. :o)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Bead Retreat 2011

Well, where do I start?

I don't think I've ever had such a fantastic weekend!  With 14 avid beaders sharing the same space for 3 days you might expect there to be the odd disagreement but there really wasn't.  We all got along so well and had so much fun that I'm already looking into booking up for next year!

Friday morning was quite hectic as I got everything packed and ready to take with me, then we set off for Matlock to pick Catherine up from the train station.  I had a slight panic when she sent me a text saying there was a signal failure and her train was delayed.  Then another saying it had been cancelled and she was waiting for a bus which would take her about an hour.  I did the shopping and went straight to the cottages, meeting up with Helen and Ellie on the way.

The cottages were brilliant!  So clean and spacious, just what we needed.

Aster arrived next, just as Helen and I were leaving to pick Catherine up.  By the time we got back Barbara, Faye and Deborah had arrived, Lyda and Michelle followed us in and Lesley, Lisa, Mary and Shirley a short while later.  Everyone sat eating cake before we went to the pub for our tea.  We managed to get ourselves chatted up by the friend of a John Terry lookalike who was on his stag night before heading home to bed.

Saturday started early with beading taking place even before breakfast!  Aster, Catherine and I nipped into Bakewell to grab some food for later and headed up to the farm shop at Pilsley too. :o)  Lunch consisted of pizza, chicken, salad and more cake, then it was back to the beads till it was time to organise Aster's surprise baby shower. :o)  She hadn't a clue what we were up to and it was really lovely to see her face when she saw all the presents and stuff.  She'd thought we were going for a walk and when Catherine brought her into the cottage by the front door she saw the bunting and thought we'd gone into someone else's cottage!

After playing some games and eating the yummy cupcakes made by Lesley, we went back over to the main house and carried on beading till bedtime.

Sunday was wet and windy so we stayed in and beaded - from 9:00am till around midnight!  Stopping only for food, drink and loo breaks. ;o)  Where else could you sit and bead for 15 hours and not get moaned at?  There were some fabulous pieces made over the weekend and you can find them here (along with the rest of the photos).  There are far too many to post them all here.  I'm hoping that people will add to them too so keep checking back to see what's new.
I honestly can't remember a time when I've laughed more than last night.  I went to bed with a headache from all the laughing.  I'd love to share the jokes with you but I simply can't remember them all - and I'm not sure some of them are suitable for a public blog!  It was so sad this morning when we all had to say goodbye and I know I'm not the only one that can't wait for next year! 
If you want to hear more about this year's Bead Retreat - and maybe come along to next year's - check out our FB page.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

And another one....

Well, get me, two posts in one night!  Now that doesn't happen often. ;o)  I've been wanting to tell you all a bit more about the Bead Retreat I've organised, with help from Catherine, for this weekend but I wanted to get all the blog ring posts done first. 

Anyway, 18 months or so back I was talking with my friend, Crystal and we decided that it would be fun if we could organise a weekend away just for us.  No husbands or kids, just beads.  In the end Crystal couldn't make it but I ended up in a lovely cottage in Monyash just outside Bakewell in Derbyshire with 7 others from the Bead Buddies forum. 

It was the first time most of us had met each other in real life but we got on really well and all said we'd like to do it again this year.  So we are.  Bigger, and hopefully better, than before!

This year we are again staying in Monyash.  At a farm this time, in 4 separate cottages but with a communal garden and games room.  It is a working farm so there will be cows and sheep to look at if we get bored (not likely but still...).  There will be 14 of us this year plus 2 dogs and 1 'bump' and it's gonna be a blast!  Our FB page is here if you'd like to see what sorts of things we get up to. 

I will hopefully be able to update the blog while we're there but, if not, expect a post or two when we get back on Monday.  In the meantime I shall be organising, sorting, planning and making in preparation for Friday.  I wish I could let you in on some of what will be happening but I know some of you will be there and I want it to be a surprise! :oD