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

Spotlight on: Claire of Clasibags

Oooh, now where do I start?  Not only does Claire make some fantastic knitted and felted bags, she also makes her own lampwork beads, jewellery and takes commissions for wedding stationery.  I have to wonder when she finds the time to sleep!

Okay, well I guess I should start with Claire's bags.  Here is a beautiful felted one in a gorgeous shade of pink:

I love the flower on the front too. :o)

This knitted one looks sooooooo fluffy.  I think I'd end up just sitting and stroking it if it were mine!  Again, the colours are gorgeous and the flowers really finish it off nicely:

Claire makes the flowers herself too and you can also buy them as brooches from her website:

If jewellery is more your thing, you should check out this site which features some beautiful earrings, necklaces and bracelets like this one which features one of Claire's own lampwork beads:

My favourite though, is this necklace, aptly named 'Heather Dreaming'.  Gorgeous isn't it:

Finally, here is an example of some of Claire's wedding stationery which can be commissioned through the same site as her jewellery:

If you'd like to find out more about Claire and her work why not check out her FB page and Blog.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Spotlight on: Mel of Inkydoodlecrafts

I've only recently discovered Mel's work through the Craft Pimp forum but I'm amazed at how fabulous some of her pieces are!  Take this for instance:

Who wouldn't be thrilled to receive a card like this?  I also love the Royal Wedding hat that Mel made for her daughter.  I can't imagine the amount of work that must have gone into it!  No wonder it won first prize.

The flowers that it is decorated with were also handmade by Mel and similar ones can be found in her Ebay shop

If you take a look at Mel's Etsy shop you will find some beautiful enamelled toppers like these:

and also these fabulous enamelled tiles:

Don't they just shout Summer at you?

If you would like to find out more about Mel's work you should check out her FB page and  Blog where you will find a wonderful dragonfly drawing and see how Mel turned it into a finished design.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spotlight On: Dianne Sandland

I've really enjoyed reading about Dianne while doing the research for this blog - and looking at some of her gorgeous silver work.  Since retiring four years ago Di has fallen in love with silver and also enjoys lampworking too.  Me?  I've fallen in love with this etched silver clasp:

I would so love this for something just for me!  Isn't it beautiful? 

These beads are already sold but I loved Di's description of them so much that I thought I'd share it, and them, with you:

'A set of five lentil-shaped sterling silver beads that have been etched with the words of a love letter. Because all love letters are secret, it has been etched in mirror writing so protect the lovers...'  Awwwwww.

Finally, how about this fabulous amber pendant?  I've no idea how you would go about making something like this but I do love it!

If you would like to see more of Dianne's work why not pop over to her Etsy shop or to read more about her life, check out her Blog.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Spotlight On: Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass

I've known of Jolene's gorgeous glassy work for a while but have only recently discovered that she makes fabulous polymer clay beads too.  Her tattoo beads are amazingly detailed as are these beautiful rose beads.

I am in awe of anyone who can do canework like this - especially when they have small children to look after as Jolene does!  For those of us not blessed with that particular talent Jolene also sells the canes for you to use in your own work.  Look at these, aren't they beautful?

Looking back through some of Jolene's past work I found this picture of some of her fabulous lampwork beads.  Don't they just call out to you?  They certainly did to me.  The colours in them are really zingy and they look good enough to eat!

Jolene has also recently set up the Craft Pimp forum.  It is a great place to meet like-minded people across a huge range of crafts - and the eye-candy in the galleries is definitely worth a look!

If you would like to find out more about Jolene and her work why not check out her Etsy shop, Blog and FB page.  And don't forget to pop on over to the Craft Pimp forum too. :o)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Trying to catch up

I've not been around as much as usual the last couple of weeks so I'm going to have to try and catch up with myself.  Please bear with me, normal service will be resumed shortly.

We recently lost my Grandad, just a year and nine days after we lost my Nanna.  It's been a rough couple of weeks but hopefully, after we scatter his ashes tomorrow, life will return to something resembling normal. 

In the meantime I have been making up kits for my Rivoli Flower Necklace - which I demonstrated at work yesterday.  It went down really well!

I'm also preparing for the upcoming Bead Retreat that I've organised with a group of beady friends.  Only 12 days until we'll all be in Monyash eating cake, drinking wine and beading.  Not necessarily in that order. :oD  I can't wait and I know the others are just as excited!  Check out our FB page here if you'd like to see where we're going and what we'll be getting up to.  More on that soon.

I'm about to get caught up with the Craft Pimp blog ring so get ready for some more posts really soon.