Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Fitting it all in

The snow this weekend threw out all my plans for the build up to Xmas. I had to abandon my car on Saturday, then go and retieve it on Sunday.

My shopping for food and presents starts now, with only three days to go.

There are some pics and updates coming soon, its just a question of finding the time and fitting it all in.

Friday, 17 December 2010

I'd like to be in America......

I'd like to be in America, as they have so much cool stuff for the artists over there.
But at the moment I am very happy to be in the UK, because my friends have managed to organise and send me some cool tools and elements for me to use. The only draw back is I probably won't be able to use any of it til after Christmas, but hey, that's like knowing about a really nice present you are going to get. I feel all happy and bouncy.
In the mean time, would you like to see some beads I have been trying to make with twisties made with reactive glass? (Some of them turned out to be not so pretty). Can you see the earthworms?
I just have to keep practicing. Sigh.
Hope to have something prettier to show you soon.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cats to Canada

I have a request to make cat beads for two little girls in Canada. One needs to be orange, and one needs to be pink. Their mum wants a santa for the tree.
Guess what I'll be doing?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Feeling neglected?

I think the blog is feeling neglected.

I have been trying to get some beads made with reactive silver glass twisties for an exchange due in a few days. Its not going too well at the moment.

I have also been trying to get a presentation sorted out. Every time I think I have it cracked, I go back and start reviewing it. I'm not going to do any more. I have to learn it for Friday.

I have also taken on a voluntary role within GBUK. Its kinda fun in a slightly stressful way. I had my first Skype conference!! That was weird.

And I made some fun beads, which seem to fit in with the current weather conditions at the moment. Do you think the snowman on the left looks slightly psychotic? Well he is up to his neck in snow.

Monday, 8 November 2010

A day at the seaside..........sort of

I went to Hayling Island on Saturday for a GBUK regional meeting hosted by Kay Thornhill.
The first member of the family I met was Woody, the labradoodle, very friendly. (The name made me think they were made up cartoon dogs).

I spent a great day with Kay and other lampworkers, sharing techniques and "how to's", and basically getting studio envy.

Then I joined my hubby and friends, who live locally, on the beach for a meal and fireworks. The sea was there, but it was too dark to see it. What a fantastic way to spend the day.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Rain, rain, go away.....

My hubby won an auction on ebay for an 8 person tent at a ridiculously low price.
It had to go up at the first opportunity. Unfortunately, 10 minutes after it went up the heavens opened, and it got wet.
You can't put a wet tent away (I didn't know that as I'm not into camping). So we waited for the sun to come up today and dry it out. Too bad the clouds made it over our garden first.
Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Ooops. I did it again.

Yes, I did it again! I was smoking! (In a different way).
I was building up a nice big hot gather of glass for a murrini, when it popped off the mandrel and straight into my lap. While I looked for something to pick up the glass, there was smoke rising up in the air clouding my vision, and making an awful smell. I managed to get the glass somewhere safer, but I had to dump the water from my jar into my lap.
Thank goodness the only casualty was the apron. At this rate I 'm going to have to get several at a time just in case.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Even more sorry for myself

Why is it, that when you're ill you can't take advantage of being at home and do the things that you want? I've been ill for several days, and am feeling sorry for myself. My eyes hurt too much to read or watch TV for long. OK, I'll shut up now.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Feeling sorry for myself

The oxygen conentrator is back, but minus the power cable. Guess getting back to normal is going to take longer than I thought.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

What's going on???

What's going on?
My camera doesn't work, so no new pics.
The hot head (did get connected in the end, but) is reducing my silver glass immediately, so it looks like baby poo because it is over reduced.
I can't find a certain bead I need to finish off some jewellry. Ahhhh!

However, on the less frustrating side, my oxygen concentrator should be back by the weekend, but I probably won't have time to sit and play.
Never mind, I do get to spend time with all my friends in bead group on Saturday, and that is usually a laugh and a half.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Withdrawal sypmtoms

Yes, I broke down last night and wanted to torch. Got the hot head out, and sat with the pieces in front of me. What the hell do I do now? I cannot remember how to set it up!!!
I guess my work space will be really clean now. I might even have to do some housework.
NAH! just joking.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Used the sat nav to go to the bead fair in Uxbridge, the new venue for the (Harrow) bead fair organised by the Bead Society. I ended up in the car park of a leisure centre. Luckily it was only a few hundred metres from where I actually wanted to be.
I was on a fact finding mission, which helped me to restrain myself from spending a lot of money. I did meet one of my beading buddies from bead group, who was having a great time choosing lots of lovely sparkly beads for her stash.

I also had to leave my oxycon with Tuffnells glass for servicing. If I get severe withdrawal symptoms I will have to break out the hothead torch. Don't know if I will have the patience to work that slow again. Well it gives me a chance to clean up my work space. I might even be able to organise everything better. Hmmm, well maybe.

Steam + carpets =

Steam cleaning carpets really does make them look cleaner. Only problem is they stay damp for a long time.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Scissor happy

Sunday was spent with my lovely aunty, (who is sadly suffering from vascular dementia).
It was a good day, and I cut and styled her hair, which is now really short. She looks really cute, and elfin. I love her to pieces and am glad we had a good time together.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

A nice day out.

Today was the GBUK AGM and bead fair. I attended both.

I was with a lot of very talented beadmakers, surrounded by lots of fantastic beads. I'm afraid I have no pictures as I forgot to take my camera, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I'm afraid I was very naughty and bought lots of silver glass. I'm going to play with those in the next few weeks, as I need to get my silver twistie beads ready for the exchange.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Jelly and ice cream.

Saturday night, after dinner, I saw the flashing light on the telephone and listened to the message on it, with the result that within 30 mins we were on our way to a 21st birthday party.
The birthday boy came as Super Ted, and others were sailors, flappers, gangsters, school children, construction workers, and cowboys and indians.
In the tradition of all good birthday parties there was jelly (3 types) and ice cream. Yummy.

Bead happy.

Saturday was beading group. It is so lovely to meet up and socialise with like minded creative women. We always have a laugh, and there is always gorgeous beadwork on display.
I started a beaded chain to use with a lampwork bead. It is mainly green, with some copper. Looks very pretty. I just have to work out how to attach the lampwork bead. On the chain, or as a pendant? Hmmm, will be trying that out later, probably much later.
The lampwork does seem to take precedence. I tend to bead once a month at bead group, and realise anew how much I like the tiny beads too. I just wish I had more hours in the day, then I could lampwork for 6 hours, bead for 6 hours, and do housework for 20 mins. have to get those priorities right!

Lets have another go

Ok, I signed up for a bead exchange to make lampwork beads with reactive/silver glass twisties.
I love silver glass, and thought this would be right up my street. So far all my efforts have produced colours reminiscent of baby poo.
Thank goodness I only have to produce a minimum of three beads. Oh well, back to the torch, lets have another go.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Please sir, I want more.

More business cards that is. So I thought I would share some of the images of my work that I used for the cards, including my favourite lampwork bead to date, and its one of the ones I made in the very early days of using the torch

That's it, the last picture = "Icelandic Crater".
The name behind this one came from the following experience. Hubby and I were in Iceland a few years back, and went to see an implosion crater. The earth/rocks/soil was this fantastic rust colour, and the water in the crater was the most vivid blue in contrast, with streaks of bright green mossy plants on the slopes.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

In the round

In spite of the tube strike, we managed to get to the Globe theatre last night, to see the first Globe production by a female playwright called "Bedlam". Great costumes, and as ever, clever use of the stage. Lots of laughter, tongue in cheek quips, and a happy ending.
I am not quite sure of the time setting, probably 18th century, and it was a bawdy, rollicking tale set in a madhouse. I felt right at home!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Ah, bliss.

You have to love the bank holiday weekend. That extra day allowed me to sit down and torch. I am blissed out. It really helped me to chill out. I made some beads with a new press and frit I bought at Stourbridge. I hope to have some pics soon.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Treat time

What a treat, went to the International Festival of Glass at Stourbridge yesterday.

Wonderful exhibition. Have a look at some of the exhibits, adn things for sale.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Does my bum look big in this?

I had a hospital appointment today, and was asked to change into a gown.
Half way through the treatment, the practioner came in very apologetic, and said that they needed the room for something else, and I would need to be moved. So I had to grab my things and walk down the corridor. Those hospital gowns are open at the back, and I had to giggle, wondering "does my bum look big in this?" LOL.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Little furry visitors

At work late last night, turned the corner and there was a little furry creature running down the corridor. I am very poud of the fact that while I exclaimied very loudly, I did not in fact scream the place down. I did however, walk very fast in the opposite direction. And then went home!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Little green visitors

Late last night I only had time to make a couple of beads, before the heavens opened, and the rain came down in a solid sheet. It lasted quite a while. The doors to my work space have to be opened and closed from the outside, so after a while I had to take my courage into my hands, and hop out into the garden to shut the door. I did not take an umbrella, as it is only a few feet from the back door.

I know there were other things out in the rain with me, and I am sure I saw something moving and hopping on the floor in front of me. I am such a scaredy cat, that I screamed and kept screaming, but managed to move forward to shut the door. I thought something may have hopped into studio, but with the rain beating down on my head and wetting me through I ran back into the house. I was cold and wet, and went to bed.

Late this morning I got my husband to go in and check, and sure enough, there was a green frog sitting by the glass doors, waiting to be let out. The poor thing has gone off home now, and I can go back and torch without being nervous about anything "jumping" out at me.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Fire! Fire!

I decided to thin down the bead release. I dipped my mandrels and off I went.
I wanted to try and make a galaxy bead in miniature. Just after I shaped the bead into a barrel, the whole thing slid off and into my lap. After a moment of panic, when I remembered not to pick up the bead with my fingers, I used my long nosed pliers to get the bead into the kiln. When I looked down at my lap, I was on fire. Literally!

Good job I was wearing my work apron. It has ended up with a nice hole in it, surrounded by a dark charred outline, but it saved me from having a hole in me. Just a little bit of excitment to keep me going.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Seeing the light

Forgot to say that my light tent has arrived. Altough it is a small one, it is bigger than I anticipated. But damn it, its something else I have to practice. This was supposed to make it easier. I thought I would be able to put it up, and have perfect pictures. Things just aint that easy.

Fringe benefits

The Camden Fringe is on!
The event has got bigger with 8 or 9 venues this year. OK, compared to Edinburgh that might not seem a lot, but it is. This was the week for me to get to some of the performances. Comedy, puppetry, dancing, singing and nonsense. I have been intrigued, have laughed, and have been downright puzzled by some of it.

I saw two comedians who did a presentation on why Star Trek Voyager is good for you. It seemed serendipitous that I had some of galaxy beads with me. I asked them at the end of the performance if they would like one each, and they accepted. My hubby thinks I'm mad! I have to keep pointing out that its one of the things he knew about me from the start. All my very good friends share the same quality.

If I'm good maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a few more shows.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Lights! Camera! Action!

Ok, I have found a light tent which comes with little lights, and a mini tripod. It is small enough to fit on my table, so I have ordered one. Does this mean that I will be able to take better pictures? I really hope so. I look enviously at other people who have marvellous pictures on their sites.
And of course the advantage is that I can take pictures at any time of the day or night.
I can hear my beads. "I'm ready for my close up Mr. de Mille" :-)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Two weeks?

Blimey, its been two weeks since I last posted.
In that time I managed to go the the bead fair at Ardingly. I took my aunt with me. She loved it, and got quite carried away, insisting that she buy some beads to get started on something. But not size 11, we have size 8 beads in a lovely mix of pinks and violets, with a tube of light green thrown in. I'm seeing flowers. Peyote stitch here we come!

And this weekend I managed to make some galaxy beads on the torch. Each one took me an hour. As you may guess from that, each one is pretty substantial. I tried to take some photos last night, but when I put them into photoshop I realised that I am going to have to try again. The cropping and magnificiation made them look so fuzzy, they were hardly recognisable. The good thing is that I realised why I couldn't download the photos in the first place.

So I hope soon to have some pics. But don't hold you breath, just in case. :-)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Shhhh! No lampworking going on at the moment, I seem to have misplaced my mojo.
Went to beadgroup on Saturday, and as usual throughly enjoyed the company of like minded women. I spent the time restringing a neckalce for a friend. No brain power needed, so totally soothing to begin with, but a little boring at the end. I just need to find a nice clasp to finish it off.
Sunday I played with crystals again. My sister asked if I could make her a bracelet. So I used right angle weave in a turquoise AB, with a contrasting top decoration in fire opal orange. I think its really pretty, but I need to get my camera sorted!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Shake those hips

I really enjoyed the belly dance class, but I had forgotten how hard it can be. At one point I had to stop with the giggles, as we were stepping back, swinging our hips, and changing our arm postitions at the same time. I felt like an out of control windmill about to fall over, and that image popped into my head and I just had to stop and laugh.
Will be going again, as long as my bad ankle holds up.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Busy bee

Okay, I have been a busy bee, but not necessarily all to do with beads. Have spent a lot of time commuting up and down between north and south London to spend time with family and sort out things with same.

I also found an exchange on Lampwork etc, the Candyjacks one, which means I have to make new murrini. While I love doing that, the end results are not always as good as I had hoped. I had decided to go for a summer fruit colour scheme, but then started getting distracted with other colours. Some combinations have worked better than others. But I am keeping them all simple at the moment, usually just four colours/layers. Maybe I will make some more sophisticated ones too, when I have at least two clear hours with no interruptions.

Ooohhh. My friend has found a belly dance class nearby. Guess what I will be attempting tonight. Thank goodness its cooler, it will be much more fun. I just need to find my hip scarf now. now where did I put it.......................?

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Feeling uninspired

Sat at the torch last night and wondered what to make. Felt totally uninspired, so decided to do something else instead. Felt happier when I had sorted out my crystal collection. But I'm not sure I have all the clolours I need....... Uh oh!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

What happened!

What happened to this week! I have only managed a single Pandora style barrel bead, using my new CG beadroller. AAAAHHHHHH! I need to torch!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Osterley Park

Spent Sunday at Osterley park, with a table of my wares.
What a beautiful setting, a beautiful day, and a very laid back atmosphere. In truth it was too hot for anything else. Luckily we had a patio umbrella, which we moved around as the sun moved, so we could stay in the shade.
I would show you some pics, but the computer and memory card won't cooperate at the moment. Its that techonolgy thing again!

Another plus was that I met some lovely people. Thank you to all who stopped and chatted, and to those that bought some items.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Some etched beads

Here are some of my attempts to photo the etched beads I made in the Katherine Wadsworth class.
The first one shows that the silver glass on the surface of the bead has been protected against the etching solution, and windows have been made on the bead, allowing you to see into the bead and its otherwise hidden pattern.
The second shows the sun and geckos, made with the use of stickers cut from craft punches.
The last one demonstrates a hand drawn design applied to the glass surface before etching.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Still catching up

Still trying to catch up and tell you about the rest of the lamp work classes I took.

I did a class with Katherine Natalia Wadsworth, who challenged my ability with heat control. It was good for me. I am an impatient lamp worker, so doing something more slowly, and learning greater control was a very useful skill to learn.
Katherine taught us so many different ways in which to etch beads, from using simple craft punches, using resist gel, painting on a wax resist, to making our own intricate hand cut stencils. It was a lot of fun, and gives a whole new dimension to the beads. Her beads are really different. Go and have a look at

My last lampworking class was with Michael Barley, who has a very calm, almost zen like teaching persona. He showed us magical reactions beyween the glass and silver leaf, and how to get windows on the surface in order to see into the middle of the bead. How to layer colours together, and get beautiful patterns showing through in his Baleen bead.

Now I have to put all these techniques into practice, and develop and extend my skills. All the teachers were so generous, sharing their ideas and experiences with us. One day, after the dreaded practice, practice, practice, I might be able to do them justice.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

More beads

Here are beads from the second day. Different decorative techniques with silver leaf, silver glass, and glass powders. Do you like?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hot glass, cool beads

I was in the lamp working master class at the Bead and Button show. Working with hot glass to produce cool beads. Have a look at some of the beads made on the first day.

These are not all mine! I wish!

These are mine. See the ammonite. And the galaxy bead middle front row? OOHHHH! I had fun!

Finally, catching up

Okay this is two weeks late, but better late then never.
I was in Milwaukee two weeks ago, and had a bit of a wander around, in the blazing heat. Okay it was somewhere in the 80's F, but there was no shade. I was hot. And sticky. But I came across a cool sculpture, that made me think of minstrels (minstrels = chocolates in a hard shell). What do you think?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Poorer, but richer too.

I have had the best time in Milwaukee at the Bead and Button show. It was their 10th anniversary, and there were 650 classes running over 8 days.
It was an intense week of classes and shopping. (I went over budget. One year I might manage to avoid this.... Nah, you 're right, that's unrealistic!).

The focus of my week was lamp working, and I took some fantastic classes with some really brilliant teachers - Andrea Guarino, Katherine Natalia Wadsworth, and Michael Barley. A huge thank you to them. I learnt so many new techniques, I just hope I can do them justice when I come back. Some of the classes were not lamp working related, and I enjoyed those too. I did three short classes, and came away with the finished projects, so I got instant gratification. I am flying Tuesday night, and arriving back in the UK Wednesday morning. So I am hoping I can share some pictures before the end of the week.

This time the show was a really social experience. I kept bumping into old acquaintances, and made friends with many new people. I feel enriched by the experience.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Not again!

Yes I admit it, I have just repacked my suitcase again! I decided to use a slightly larger one, so I have a little room for manoeuvre.
The only thing I have to decide now, is which pieces of jewelry to take and show off at Bead and Button. There will be some impressive competition.
What I have realised is that I have been concentrating on the lamp work so much in the last 18 months, that bead work has taken a back seat, so I am low on new bead work pieces. However, I don't seem to have many finished lamp work projects either. I have so much fun / frustration making beads, that I forget to make them up into finished pieces. I'll be raiding my box tomorrow. Do I take a different piece for each day? That's a lot of jewelry. Hmmm. Decisions later. I'm too tired now.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Whats going on?

Bank holiday weekend. Lots of free time to spend creating and making. I don't think so.
I am very lucky, and I am off to the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee. I seem to have spent the whole weekend getting everything ready. Not just clothes, shoes and other essentials, but all the tools as well. And I have been doing endless loads of laundry. Where did it all come from?
So I'm sorry to disappoint, with these tales of mine, which are not so beady at the moment. I must find the time to make some beads for a project I have to do over at the show, then I'm ready. I think. I'll have to go and check my lists again. I have lots of bits of paper with lists on them, that way I can pretend I'm organised.

Anyway, off to see what I have may have forgotten to pack. Again! (Anally retentive. Moi?)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Thats where they got to!

Just thought I'd share this info with you. My husband has been raiding my findings box for crimp beads, and is using my tigertail beading wire. He has recently developed a deeper interest in fishing, and is making his own traces. He uses this to attach the fishing lures (bait) to the fishing line. I better watch out, it might be my dichroic beads next!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Getting the best deal

Getting the best deal on foreign currency meant that I took a trip to Queensway last night.
I was amazed to see Bayswater station only 50 metres away down the road.
What a multicultural area it is. So many different types of food places to eat in, and an oriental supermarket. Of course I had to go in to have a nose around, and in the spirit of being adventurous, I have come home with some palm seeds in syrup. I'll let you know about those at a later date, when I actually taste them.

On the beadmaking front, things have been a little slow the last couple of days. I did use my shards on a couple of different coloured bases, and so far the transparent dark aqua blue, and the transparent pink are the favourites. I will try to take some pics. Promise.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Lazy hazy afternoon and glass blowing

I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend and her two week old baby yesterday afternoon. I had lots of cuddle time, I had forgotten how nice it is when they are that small, and sleep contentedly in your arms.

After that I got carried away blowing glass shards. I now have a small tin full of reactive glass shards, and I can't wait to see how they turn out on different colour bases. Watch this space, I might even take some pictures, although I mustn't forget how technically challenged I can be!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A bit of a shock

I got tickets for Carmen at the O2, and we headed off on Saturday evening for some culture. The performance was in English so was an added bonus. The use of the stage (which was huge) and the sets, were very effective. At the end of the performance there were hundreds on the stage. The last few scenes were magical, there were flame dancers, fire eaters, stilt walkers and gymnasts. My eyes were flitting around trying to take it all in. The only part of the evening I did not enjoy was the ascent and descent to my seat. As we walked up the tunnel towards the seting area I got a bit of a shock. We were up in the top level, and for someone with a touch of vertigo, it felt as if I was tilting forward, about to fall down to the floor way below. Once I was in my seat I stayed glued in it, and did not move. By the end of the performance I think my knees had locked into place.

We rushed out, with the other 15,000 people in the audience, and struggled to the tube. We managed to get into the first one, and got home before midnight. Wonderful!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Technically challenged

Decided to list some items in my etsy shop. It has taken me one hour to put one item in! Guess I'm just technically challenged.
This one is a focal bead called Springtime blossom.
There's not a lot there at the moment, but if you feel like it, go and have a look at

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Well, I have finally taken the plunge and started a blog, which was inspired by my participation at the Beads Day at Broadfield Glass Museum ( The museum is filled with some fabulous inspiring glass pieces, both functional and decorative, with information about the history of glass as well.

I had my own hand made lampwork beads for sale, along with Pauline Holt ( and Lorna Prime (www.pixiewillowdesigns,com). I think our styles complimented each other perfectly, covering a broad spectrum of styles. Each of us also gave two demonstrations during the day. This was the first time I have demonstrated lampworking in front of people, and my hands were shaking so much that I wasn't sure I could actually make a bead. I took a big breath and went into teaching mode, and tried to keep talking about what I was doing. I hope it was what people wanted?

For my first demonstration I made a latticino cane and a simple murrini, which I then included in the bead. For the second, I showed how to blow a shard. I also pulled some silver stringer, and used both to decorate a bead in which I had included some dichroic glass, and frit. I thought I might have overloaded the bead with too many elements, but it turned out to be really pretty. Unfortunately, thermal shock broke it later, but I managed to retrieve the two biggest pieces, and plan to turn them into little cabochons later.

And I must say a big thank you to my DH who got up at the crack of dawn, helped keep an eye on the stall, gave out information about my work very knowledgeably, and who drove me there and back, so I could rest as I had got myself wound up tight before the big day.

It was a lovely setting, and in spite of my nerves, I had a great day too.