Monday, 29 November 2010

Mystery guest in the studio

Today, I had a visit from a lovely guest, whom quite a few people will know by name, and a fair few personally. If you're out and about online, this won't be much of a secret, so if you spotted her posting that she was coming, *sh* :o)

Mystery Guest in the Studio

Otherwise.........who might it be? :o)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Poppy time

I'm always quite late when it comes to beading ahead of the season, but recently, I've had the poppy fever - and all ahead of Remembrance Day. I've also found that a bit of sparkle has started to find its way into my beads, but I shan't mention the C-word just yet. Anyway, it's a funny old thing, isn't it? As a lampworker, I'm inspired by the spring, the shoots and buds inspire me to get the frit out, do blossoms and vines....but jewellery makers need to get their beads ahead of the season, not when it's already in full flow. Right now, everybody is busy preparing for Christmas (oops, I said it!) markets, while at the same time trying to hold on to the last rays of sunshine. So, just out of interest, how do others deal with tis? The hell with it, and bead whatever, put things aside for ten months ;o)? Or enjoying being ahead of the times?

Anyway.....time to share some poppies!

The Way We Were Focal



Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Leave it to the professionals!

Recently, pieces of the Alcazar range travelled up to Chester to be part o a professional photo shoot. Expertly modelled by Tabitha Courtney Smith, hair and make-up by Clare Ardern of Harryjon, and photos by Claire Penn of Claire Penn Photography. It's amazing what a difference it makes when the professionals get a chance to play with my humble roses, isn't it? The two shots below are my favourites. The photos will be used for banners and advertising - one of them was already sent somewhere to hopefully go into print, but I'm not allowed to say where ;o)



Thursday, 2 September 2010

The rest of the festival

It hardly does the International Festival of Glass justice to lump the rest of it into one post - there were other masterclasses, in engraving, Ghanaian bead making, casting, blowing - if I ever thought I was aware of the versatility of this lovely medium, I am now even more aware of it - I just wish I could use them all :o)

The Biennale private preview meeting was rather posh, with press and artists mingling, I now can put more faces to names. During the course of the week, I also met the lovely Carrie Fertig, who has work both in the Biennale and the exhibition at Plowden and Thompson's - I covet one of her feathers :o)

Selling over the week-end was great, because it turned into a 'saying hello to lots of old friends'. On Saturday afternoon, I was back at the Ruskin, presenting my work as part of a quick-fire pecha kucha. That was interesting, and again getting an opportunity to listen to others' inspiration behind their work.

I had to leave on Sunday night, and missed all of the lectures and demos - on Friday, I had a go at glassblowing, and I was absolutely thrilled with the, just where could I get the money and space for a glassblowing studio??

So much to say, so little time!

Where shall I start?! Since I last posted, I have begun my full-time beadmaking adventure, attended the most amazing Masterclass with Gianni Toso, sold at the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge, sent stock to new gallery, met one of the Dragons from Dragons' Den, and launched my new jewellery range. And that' just beadie stuff! So, let's take things slowly, and let me tell you about the masterclass!

Gianni Toso has a history in glass that goes back 700 years on his father's and 650 years on his monther's side (on one branch of my family, I can get back to the late 18th century, farmers and shepherds, mostly, as far as I can tell.....hmmmmm! Not sure what that tells you.)

I had the honour of spending a week with Gianni, both as his student, and, together with the other class members, as part of the evening entertainment. The week has left me dazzled - by Gianni's skill, and warmed - by his generosity with his knowledge and friendship. Since he won't mince his words (the best free-standing butterfly I made was called 'arthritic'), every 'brava' from Gianni felt fantastic. But even more so, I could feel myself growing - I daren't say 'as an artist', that sounds rather poncy. But I think I left the week being more brave than I started it, with ideas for experimentation. I will always be making beads, but I am finding myself getting frustrated by the vulnerability of them, the idea that they have to be 'wearable'. Gianni's creations are so fragile you wouldn't subject hem to daily wear and tear - they are made to be admired, and seem so delicate that they are removed from the day-to-day world. I'd love to develop further in that direction.

I'll tell you more about the rest of the festival later!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

London Glassblowing

Yesterday, I went to London to meet up with the lovely Becky, and together, we visited London Glassblowing, where my rose rings have been on show for nearly a month now. Originally, the exhibition was for London Jewellery Week only, but got extended until the 4th of July - now, it has been extended until the start of Art in Action next week. What a great place it is, round the corner from London Bridge Station, with the workshop in full view (they've even put chairs out!) It was fabulous seeing other artists' work (both jewellery and other). I enjoyed seeing more of Julie Anne Denton's jewellery, and loved seeing Peter Layton's various designs (my favourite being a very grown-up version of 'lace') - but what stood out most was Anthony Scala's absolutely gobsmackingly beautiful frozen rapier. It's a full-sized sword, with a hand guard that looks like it's made out of crushed ice crystals, with a beautiful, precise blade.....yum!!! I met Anthony as well, and so managed to convey my drooling admiration :o) And I had a chat with Peter Layton, too - all in all, a most fantastically spent hour or so.

As well as doing all that, I dropped some more roses off, and took a photo - I'm afraid my SD card broke first thing in the morning when I tried to document Marjorie Moo racing a snail, so the photo is only from my mobile. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them there!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Respect your fuglies!

How many fugly beads have you got sitting somewhere? I don't mean the ones that are okay, if it weren't for the sharp edge, or the crack - I mean the bona fide butt-ugly beads that you start with high hopes, realise half way through that they're 'a dead duck', keep playing with in the hope to rescue them, and finally pop them in the kiln in the hope that the kiln fairies will - magically and overnight - turn it into a thing of beauty?
Well, I have several. And I can tell you - I respect my fuglies. Sure, I'm upset when I waste precious torching time to create something not even a mother could love. But you never know where things might lead.

So let me introduce 'Pumpkin in a Tutu' (and thank you to the fabulous George Harper for naming it so appropriately)! You know, a couple of years ago when I made this bead, I was actually proud of it.....for about 20 seconds. Then I was embarrassed, and then, after it got named, it made me giggle.

I hardly invented 'ruffles-on-beads'. But for me, the Pumpkin in a Tutu started a journey...which...well, probably hasn't ended yet, but the last stop was here:

I made the bead above about twelve months after the first one, then took it to my class with Claudia Trimbur-Pagel to decorate. As I said, I'm sure it's but one more stop on a long journey, but sometimes it's nice to look back to see where we came from :o)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Fairs coming up

There is one month left until the big 'going beadie'-point, but summer fairs don't know that, do they? So there are a couple of fairs in July, which, should you be near Sheffield, I can wholly recommend.

The first is 'On the Waterfront', and annual summer fair at Victoria Quays in Sheffield (near the train station). From 11-4 on the 11th of July, local arts and crafts people will be showing off their wares. The fair is alongside a canal, which makes for a pretty walk before or after you spend your hard-earned money with the crafters.

The following week-end, on the 17th of July, it's the Craft Candy summer fair, in the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield - that's where the Winter Garden is, too, so there are lots of opportunities to spend an interesting day, looking at exhibitions - to see what's on, click here.

To everybody else with summer fairs to attend, happy selling, if they're outdoors, keep the SPF high!

The photo shows the bead 'Shakuhachi', named after a type of bamboo flute, and part of a recent batch of oriental beads that went online yesterday.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Meet Marjorie Moo!

I just realised that some of you might not have met Marjorie Moo yet, although she has found fame (albeit not fortune) on Flickr & Facebook.

You see, one evening, when the sun disappeared among the trees and the mice tucked their babies in with the fluff left behind by the owl and the pussycat, a bead maker sat in her studio. She had been tasked with making twenty fat cows, and she had made eleven. But she was getting tired, and the last cow had had a crack, and the one before that had her ear melted to her horn. Speculatively, the bead maker eyed the very last mandrel left. Should she? Shouldn't she? Her conscience fought with her weary bones, and won. She wound the white glass on that she would need for the body, and shaped the rump. She added some legs and arms, and looked towards the work surface to find the black stringer to give the cow her pattern. But the black stringer was short - it wouldn't be long enough to add all that was needed - spots, eyes, ears...what to do? Of course, new stringer could be pulled, but after a long, long day, this was the stringer that broke the camel's back.

So instead of black, our bead maker picked up red, and yellow, and green, and blue. And she giggled happily as she made every teat on the udder a different colour, and she thought that this little cow surely must be one character, to go through life looking like this.

The next morning, the kiln held twelve cows - nine 'normal' ones, two damaged ones, and Marjorie Moo. Apparently, the others had made fun of her in the kiln, but she didn't mind, she had the frame of mind of those who are born different and care not one bit about it. And although Marjorie isn't always happy (who is), she has a sunny nature and a gentle soul.

If you want, you can follow Marjorie's adventures on Flickr, there'll be a new one every day:

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Jumping off the cliff

As some of you know, full-time beadiness for me is a mere six weeks away. It won't be easy, I know that. But I got this card from my Mum, and it's going to go in my studio today. In German, the word for beads is the same as for pearls, so it works better in German, but:

"If you want pearls (beads), you must throw yourself into the sea."

Come on then, let's jump in at the deep end :o)

Friday, 11 June 2010

Understocked or overkill?

Open Studios start tomorrow - two week-ends open to the public, and what I thought was tons of stock suddenly looks a bit..........pitiful. I mean, don't get me wrong, there's plenty (and boy, am I grateful for my tutorials in Making Jewellery magazine - without those, there'd be a lot less!) The question pops up so often 'how much stock?' Well, here's what I tried to do - whether it helps or not, I'm not sure:

First of all, I looked through everything, for items that I feel I've 'overtaken'. They're not bad or second class in any way, just designs I don't feel people would look at and say 'I know who made that' - those I put in a completely separate place, as sales items. Then I grouped things together, something I rarely have the space for at craft fairs: Hollow lace necklaces, rose necklaces, etc. It's fluke that they're in groups of three, but that looks good. Printing and laminating only one price and title for them shows customers they're a 'range', and they'll be quicker to pack up (no removal of tags). I need to take a photo of my hugely ingenious display feature, but I'll leave you guessing for now as to what it is.

The wedding range went into the display cabinet, since I don't really expect to sell a tiara off the cuff, but you never know :o) With rings, I made sure I have a few of each, though I didn't have time to make tons - hopefully, I'll be able to 're-stock as I go', since I'll be at the torch a lot of the time. So, the main ranges have a work surface all to themselves - which leaves only ne bit of surface area, which I'm using for leaflets for future markets I'll be at, maps to other artists a guest book, and the enforced 'evaluation form'. I'm really liking it - although I do wish we'd persevered and got a second light in.....if it's nasty outside, I might have to find space on the worktop for a light.

That's it........just need some sleep, and I'm ready to go.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Holidays on 'Balconia'



In Germany, where I grew up, there's a phrase for staying at home for the holidays - the above 'holidays on balconia'. And with the weather as lovely as it was today, it really felt like a holiday. So I only took a couple of hours or so at the torch, and quickly got into holiday-mode - soon, I'll be going to Devon for our summer holiday, and today's ring toppers got there just a tad ahead of me.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Rings at London Glassblowing

I just thought I'd share some exciting news - over the last few nights, I've been busy making rose ring toppers to go down to London Glassblowing, for a special exhibition to coincide with London Jewellery Week. I'm rather excited about this - after I'd made ten, I looked at them, and realised that they were all uni-coloured, so I made three with some funky summer frits - I liked the result so much that I thought I'd call it the 'Ascot Ladies Day' range (and no, I cannot for the life of me decide whether that's intended as a possessive or not, i.e. whether there's an apostrophe missing. I've found both versions. Just adding this because I don't want you to think I missed it out!)

There are 13 rings going to London today, together with a selection of rings, to make sure punters get the right size. I hope somebody takes a picture of them in place....or maybe I need to make a trip down to London to see!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Take Heart

I had some unexpected extra torching time over the week-end, and used it to increase the ranges of ring toppers. The heart ring toppers I made for the Flame Off flew out, with only a few left over afterwards, so I thought I'd find a way to structure them and put them online to order. For starters I have concentrated on polka dots, since I'm doing a vintage fair at the beginning of August (the 1st of August, actually, first day of self-employment, and a Sunday - no slacking here at Little Castle Designs!). I played with a few colour ranges, and then, when the first batch came out of the kiln, plugged the colour gaps with even *more* colours...and finally played even longer with arranging them for a photo.

For the vintage ones, now have several designs - leaves going in one direction, then the other...big dots, small dots...but I like these best! Already, the lovely Nicola of suggested that I do a pink and black dotty heart with a white rose...pic to follow shortly!

Right, I'm working from home today, but that's work-work, not bead work...for another nine weeks! Have a fab (short!) week everybody!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Happy Birthday, sis :o)

It was my sister's birthday a week ago, and I had wanted to make her something special. When I recently blogged the special keepsake key ring with fingerprint and sterling silver charms, he seemed to like the idea, so I thought I'd make one just for her. She's a fabulous photographer with absolutely stunning photos on hr Flickr ( - I once nicked one of her flower makros to create a sticker cover for my laptop. So a camera definitely had to go on the key ring. She also loves the sea, and sails frequently on a traditional sailing boat, so one of those had to go on, too, together with a ship's wheel. The beads I made are Rocio Silver Mist and Reichenbach Antique Clear with its fabulous aquamarine look, plus some sterling spacers, sodalite, and lead crystal beads. And Toby the munchkin kindly provided his fingerprint for his favourite auntie.

I couldn't show photos until postie had delivered, but now it's there! Happy Birthday!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Beads are my world - the world is a bead

I had this bead for absolutely ever - well, no, that's a lie - I've had it for about three months, made it in February. All it needed was a core. Ah...that's all.....except I liked it so much, I was absolutely terrified of breaking it! I had blown the enamelled shards for it, used my shiny new brass roller, carefully rescued it when the bead release came out of the kiln and I thought....'ooooooooh! It looks like the whole world got captured inside this bead'

And then it sat there, and sat there, and sat there. Until yesterday. And I sawed the tube, annealed it, pickled it, riveted the bead, and polished it up.

And guess what? Of course it happened - a small chip came loose. But I don't think you can see it unless you know. So I think I'll now have to work a bail for it and wear it myself. What a bummer ;o))))))) That tiny chip is, in fact, a perfect excuse ;o)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Business blogging: Google Alerts

I thought I'd do some irregular blogging on some information, which you might find useful or not. Most people might well do any or all of these, but I figured....why not. So, for today...have you heard of Google Alerts? I *love* Google Alerts! They are a nifty little feature of Google - if you go here:, you'll see the box shown here. Type in your search terms and your email address, and I'd suggest you set it to once a day. Now, I use it to keep an eye on my business, hubby's business, and my workplace, so I have alerts running on my name, my business name, etc. - you set up a different alert for each one. First thing in the morning (usually), I get an email - one for each alert - with links to the pages where the terms I have flagged up have cropped up over the last 24 hours.

The internet is vast, and we can't be everywhere at once - and Google Alerts aren't failsafe! Still, it's a great buzz when I find that a link takes me to the website of somebody who bought some beads off me a while ago, and is now listing a beautiful piece of jewellery they made with it. Google Alerts also catch Flickr photos, Facebook links, blog posts, etc., so if one of you were to blog 'I read this interesting blog post on Sabine Little's blog' or 'the Little Castle Designs blog', I'll find that in my inbox the next morning.

You could go further and use it to track trends or ideas - but be prepared for a lot of reading and clicking! If, for example, you track 'lampwork jewellery', that'll give you lots more results that little ole 'Little Castle Designs'.

Anyway, I hope you can use this info to get a bit more info about how and where your business name is appearing on the Internet!

If you'd like more of these posts, let me know, please? Apologies to all to whom I've just done the granny-sucking-eggs thing to!

And..trying a new thing - this *should* be a retweet button:

Thursday, 13 May 2010

What a difference a day makes...

...24 little hours....have I got you singing?

Some of you know I've not been well - yesterday, I should have had the results from a glandular fever test, but guess what? They're inconclusive, and I have to have it repeated in three weeks. Ah well!

This means I've not made as many beads as I would have liked, but I have spent more time online. This in turn meant that, yesterday, I re-acquainted myself with my FaceBook business page, - and its 85 fans (except FaceBook now call them 'Likes'). I set myself the target of getting to 100 before the end of the day, and thanks to you all, I - we - did it :o)))) It even continued growing overnight, and is now at 107!! Thank you all, I'm all chuffed! I will soon get to work and connect a shop to the page. In the mean time, I'm planning a fan-giveaway, which I'll list over the week-end, so if you're not a Fan / Like yet, do join! (but then, I would say that!) - the Like box is just to the bottom right of this post ;o)

The other thing that made me happy yesterday was a meteoric rise up Lampwork Go Top 100 - on my homepage is a link to that page, and you can enter a vote, before you get taken to the Top 100 website. Now, in all honesty, it means little in the world overall, it won't feed starving children, it won't improve world peace...but it does mean that you guys took the time to click and vote for me, and that, of course, means the world!

Thanks to my sister for the screenshot of my site a no. 2......I now want to see if I can get to no. 1, of course, even if just to take another screenshot and treasure it :o)

So, thanks to social networking and you all, after one little day, I feel thoroughly smug about my online presence. I know there are others who have lots more Fans, etc., but I'm getting there. Thank you for helping along!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A new website!

No, not a new address, but I've worked hard to get the best out of MrSite - I'm sure I could do more if I had the skill, but I'm pleased with how it looks so far. In the process, I became good friends with a couple of slate place mats, re-discovered some beads, finally got round to take pictures of some new jewellery (although it's not listed yet), and finished last night at 10.30pm on the pleasant feeling of listing new beads on my new website. Hurrah!

All the work's not done yet, in fact, there are a couple of tabs still missing, but I realised I was so daunted by the task, if I didn't start somewhere, it'd never get done. I hope you like the new site!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Travelling Rose Ring Toppers

The exhibition my rings were part of at in Germany is now over, and I thought it might be time for the remaining ring toppers to come home. Not so! They've caught the travelling bug and like it in Germany, so I have allowed them to stay on, to be shown and stroked (and sold) at the Mannheim Festival 'Glas und Kunst im Park' (Glass and Art in the Park): - it looks like a fab event - have fun everybody who gets to go, I'm still looking into travelling to Wertheim, if I get my act together!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Choose your future

My calendar at work tells me it's 68 working days until the end of July - annual leave not yet deducted. I've just had a fab week-end with the family - long overdue, involving fish and chips in Bakewell and a trip to Chester Zoo. This morning, it's back to the grindstone, but the grindstone will change soon. So as I look at the keys to my two current 'work places'...which would you choose to unlock your future?

Have a good week, everybody!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Here we go, here we go, here we go... we go, here we go, here we gooo-hoooo! Good things are afoot, but I can't tell you what they are, you'll have to wait, but they could be gooooooooooood!

I'm back in the groove now, working during the day, lampworking in the evening, catching up on Flame Off orders. Thankfully, my next fair is now not until June (Open Studios) - so I should be in a position to make new stock. I'll comment on the post below in a minute, but wanted to say 'thank you' for all your lovely comments. I'm planning a teaching session at one of the bigger studios, so if you fancy a day of roses, butterflies, surface-sculpture beads, etc., keep a few pennies behind from that large glass order you were just about to place (see, I know you were. Are you like me? A permanent basket open, ready to check out? Frantz Art Glass are very tempting like that, they really do save your basket between visits. I order about twice a year, but *boy*, do I order!!!)

Have a lovely day, everybody!

Monday, 19 April 2010


It seems all I'm doing is apologising for not why break with this new tradition - apologies!

Last week-end was the Flame Off, and I had such a marvellous time! I left Sheffield at 5.30am on Friday, driving down to Towcester to join my friend Sarah for breakfast. In my car, I had a whole load of rings, and all the ring toppers I'd managed to make...slightly hampered by the fact that my kiln had broken down last week!!! As a result of this, I didn't have enough stock - apologies to all who came to the stall not being able to find ring rose toppers!! Becky and Sarah were great company as fellow store holders - thanks, ladies! At 3.45pm, a voice came over the tannoy, asking for Sabine Little to report upstairs....time for my demonstration, in front of crowd and cameras :o) I thoroughly enjoyed myself demonstrating - apart maybe from the hole that piece of pinged-off stringer burnt into my thigh :o)

Doing the demo was my absolute highlight...although next morning came close, when Sharon Peters gifted me with her demonstration bead from the day before - thanks so much, Sharon, he has already assumed his pride of place!!!

Friday night, I went out for a curry with the fabulous Downton family (and the equally fabulous Sarah & Simon & Becky). Becky heroically did the driving, while Sarah, Sarah and I indulged in the vino stuff - three glasses later, sleeping was no problem!

Saturday was more selling, and making a couple of purchases - I've got a new press to play with :o)) I was asked for an impromptu demonstration of a butterfly - thanks to Richard Downton for letting me use the photo :o)

And then, all too early, it was time to go home many people to hug and chat to, so little time! Thankfully, I'll be seeing a fair few of my glassy friends on our holidays in Devon in the not-too-distant future. But still - roll on next year!!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Bite Me!

What can I say - a post-and-run kind of blog post, but this one tickles me, so I think it deserves its own post ;o)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Abraham De Lacey Guiseppe Casey Thomas O'Malley

As you might have noticed, there haven't been many beads online for a while. However, things have happened - behind the scenes, so to speak. A selection of my rose ring toppers went over to Germany, to be on display and for sale at the Ringtage Exhibition (Ring Days) in Walldorf at 'Galerie Sam', an exhibition led and curated by Aleksandra Baum, from the 26th of March to the 23rd of April. I hope they do well!

For those of you who are local, please come and visit me at the Open Up event, where artists around South Yorkshire open their studios to the public. The event isn't until June (12th/13th and 19th/20th), but you might as well pencil it in ;o)

And, finally, there are beads online. Hurrah! Mainly roses and butterflies, but some ammonites, too - I have a new press, and I'm not afraid to use it! What's with the title of the blog post? Well, the little one and I have been ill, and watching Aristocats has cheered us up, especially O'Malley the Alley Cat :o) The rose above is 'Casey' - and many other Aristicats names appear on my website this week :o).

Sunday, 14 March 2010

This is your life!

This is the commission I was talking about the other day - no, not the courgette! I was approached by a lovely lady, and entrusted with making a bag charm/key ring for a special birthday gift for her partner's mother. We started out with a finger print from the grandson, and a kanji bead for luck and happiness. When we exchanged emails and I said I could incorporate other beads that were meaningful, the piece progressed. The piece was to definitely come from all three, including the grandson, and together, we searched for special connections and memories. I found out that their is a mutual enjoyment of trains, that nan and grandson sing nursery rhymes together, and that the grand son (only a couple of months older than my own son) sings Bah Bah Blacksheep with his nan, giving both of them lots of fun. I found out about Welsh origins and daffodils, gardening, a love for chocolate and cats, a family history that included a miner for a father, and a life lived near the sea.

...and so I went about creating. It will be sent off today and given as va present next week, but I have permission to share it now. Some commissions are just a bit more special than others - thank you!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Strangest commission?

You never know what can happen when you take commissions! And this very moment, I've got two running, each winning a top title. One in the category 'loveliest thought' - I'll write more about that soon! But yesterday, I got a commission for a courgette necklace. I had the day off work to stand at a local business event, flogging my wares. It was a networking event, so I didn't expect much in the way of sales, so I was surprised when a lady stopped by my stall and to a shining to my bramble tiara. It transpired that she works as a children's entertainer under the stage name of 'Madame Zucchini and her vegetable theatre'. We worked out that the tiara was maybe a bit OTT and not necessarily the safest costume part around lots of children, when she asked whether I could possibly make her a courgette necklace. Well!! I love a challenge :o) So watch this space for some courgettes in the near future, and watch out for Madame Zucchini and her vegetable theatre!!

Monday, 8 March 2010

It's the Final Countdown!

Doobedoodoo, doobedupdupdoo, doobedoodoodoo, doobedupdupdoobedoo, doobedoo, doobedupdupdoobedoobedoooooooooo...

Today, ladies and gentleman, the final countdown starts - 100 working days until self employment (slightly kerfuffled by the fact that I've actually got a stinking cold and temperature, which probably means I won't get much work done today!) The working days don't include annual leave I still have to take, so it's more like 85, really, but this way, it's easier to count. I love my job, there is so much to do still, the next two months especially will be absolutely frantic, with a book to edit, a conference to organise, assignments to mark...but slowly, irrevocably, the end...or indeed the nigh.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Maybe I've gone bonkers, but...

...this week's beads tell a story, I think. I only realised it on my way to work. See what you think (bead names in bold)!

The Rough Pups Were Feeling Blue.

Life was stressful, they were running around, being here, going there, always just keeping on top of things. And, over time, the world seemed to lose its colour. Everything seemed muted, soft, without colour. It was as if everything around them spoke 'Sotto Voce', 'under their voice'. The world, in short, was not as it should be.

The struggled to understand. Colour was seeping away, from their days, even from their dreams. They went to The Magic Tree to ask for advice. Its branches were silvery blue, as if it got its colour from the night sky itself.

The rough pups told the tree of their problems, and it said "I might be able to help. Let my branches reach out, reach within you. Let the Tribal Dreams stored within me guide you on your way."

The rough pups saw the tree tremble and shiver, and its branches and leaves reached out to them. The world basked in a shimmery blue. Everything around them now glistened and gleamed, in the beautiful shades of blue the Magic Tree had shown them. The rough pups thanked the tree and went on their way in wonder. Yet, the further away they got, the less the magic seemed to work. Life, everyday worries pushed the magic away as they carried on living as before. They weren't sure what to do. Visit the tree every day, to see more of the magic? Or just accept that life would be in black and white? One morning, a rough pup woke up and turned to the others, and said "Remember When Your Dreams Were In Colour?

When they were green, and blue, and purple, and yellow, and red, and brown, and swirled and dreamy?" The others nodded. "Who can help with our dreams?" They asked themselves. Then they knew. Morpheus, the God of Sleep. He'd know what to do.

They reached Morpheus, and he nodded sagely when they told him of their troubles. "This has happened before, my little rough pups", he said gently. "You've simply lost your way. Nobody can give you back the colour in your life, or in your dreams. You must remember who you are, and what you aim for. To find the colour again in your life, you must be Rooted in the Stars, rooted in your dreams. You must reach and explore, and be brave, and fall, and get up, and try again. Your dreams are who you are. Even when you are stressed, or sad, you must dare to dream, and dream in colour. Then the roots from your dreams will reach through the stars to you."

So the rough pups made time to dream. Not just when they were asleep, but during the day, too. They made plans that were new, and uncertain, and sometimes a little mad. They took risks, and sometimes, they fell flat on their faces, but when things worked out, they were beautiful. And when they didn't, they helped each other up. And tried again. And soon, the colour returned, and their lives were bold and beautiful again.


....told you it was bonkers. :o)
Beads are on sale at

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I have a fair in four days. That in itself is not cause for panic - except for the fact that I wanted to change my range until then, and create a number of new pieces of jewellery for it. And therefore, the beads for that! Well, that's unlikely to happen! Fortunately, I found some pieces that I'd made in a frenzy for the Christmas fair I did, and guess what? They aren't even on my website! Funny how they're not selling, eh? Ah well, at least they'll mean I'll have stock!

I didn't manage to add new beads to the site this week-end, due to life getting in the way. However, expect a little (only a little, mind!) flurry of activity tomorrow night!

A non-beady photo, to explain one of the reasons why I've not made as many beads as I would've liked: work took me to Greece for a couple of days last week!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Cloud 9

I have been told today that I have won the Flame Off Artist competition, and will be demonstrating on Friday, 16th April, at this year's Flame Off in Towcester. And whilst the thought of being on the same list as Sharon Peters, Diana East, Teresa LaLiberte and Lorna Prime fills me with absolute terror.........I'm rather excited!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Getting there!

I'm slowly catching up! I've been having a number of fun commissions recently, which I'll hopefully be able to share soon - the personal kind, where you tailor a piece exactly to the recipient. I love those kinds of commissions! I just made another batch of butterflies, and since they seem to be flying out of the shop, I think it can safely be assumed that spring is on the way. More soon!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

57 Channels and nothing on

...sings Master Springsteen. For me, read: so many toys and no time to play! I have until the end of the week to write four tutorials and complete a few commissions...not to forget a meeting tomorrow night, and two evenings 'toddler duty' when hubby is out. Did I forget to mention work during the day?

On the other hand, I received no less than four toys today, and, I'm sorry, they demand to be played with! If I'm a really good girl, maybe I'm allowed to play with them this week-end? Pretty, please?

Sunday, 31 January 2010

What lurks in that cupboard?

I'm spring cleaning. Well no, not really, but I'm getting very annoyed with my ineptitude to keep my findings in one place, so every time I make a piece of jewellery, the search starts - where are the jump rings? They jumped away! Ceramic Spacers? Lost in space! Loose chain? Unchained and gone walkies. Don't get me started on head pins, my pliers, or my bead reamer! So (once again, trust me, this is not the first time) I vow to do better, and start little boxes. And come across a little bag of scrap silver. It doesn't look familiar. Hang on...I've got another bag of scrap silver...somewhere. Forget tidying up, I'm on a money-making mission! After unearthing two more small bags of scrap silver, I find a piece of jewellery that I made in my beginner's silver smithing class back in 2005. Okay, I was proud of it in week 2 of my course, but let's be honest - I'll never wear it. Neither will I ever wear (or have I ever worn) that huuuuge cuff I reticulated towards the end of my first year, or the bangle that I engraved so wonkily. Hang on!! This is starting to look promising! Out come mis-shapen castings (at which point, I find a pair of tiny 'blob' earstuds made of casting scrap, and put them to one side - they will get worn again!)

I'm still looking, but I've gone over the 200g mark. Now all I need to do is send it off, and the order I just placed at Cookson Gold will be - for want of a better word - free! Recycling, kind of.

In honour of the 'heavy metal' theme, a metallic rose topper:

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Three Ps

I like playing around. I normally have very little time to play around, and, if I'm honest, little time to do the whole PPP thing, you know the one, practise, practise, practise. And that's okay...sometimes. Sometimes, it's okay to just do what you find easy for a while, to settle, to gain confidence, to establish yourself. Sometimes, you need to play. Nobody will ever see those beads, they're colour combos that you thought might be worth trying, the first goes with a new press. If you try it once or twice, then move on to something else...that's playing. And sometimes, you need to play.

But sometimes, you have to practise. There is an idea in your head, a bead that you see so clearly, you are convinced if only you lit your torch, you would hold it in your hands the next day. How can you not - you see it so clearly?

First, I made the murrini. And I have to say, hurrah, it turned out pretty much exactly as I wanted it. Apart from the fact that I'd done a black outline on it, which grew ad infinitum on the bead - blob-headed geishas! So, I ground the edge of my titchy-tiny murrini, to see if that would work in principle. Huzzah (this is why the face is a bit grimy, but at least now I know it's worth to do another one! And thus started the PPP - colours for the cherry blossoms, for the dress, the obi (belt). Research into layers of dress, right over left, left over right...translating these into stroke order. What to melt in, what to leave raised. Which colour for a background.

This is the bead I'm happiest with. It's not perfect, but it's the result of a lot of PPP - don't be surprised if there aren't too many beads newly up for sale this week-end! I've got some more PPP to do ;o)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Let the sunshine in!

Thank you to everybody who nominated me for a sunshine award - I got four of them!! So, in no particular order, thank you to

Jean -
Mel - and

Thank you all so much, it's lovely to know that I'm spreading sunshine. Having had a look around, though, it seems so many people already have one of these, so apologies if I'm re-nominating.

And because I cannot resist showing this one off:

Monday, 25 January 2010

What a lovely week-end!

On Saturday, a group of lovely people descended on my studio, bearing biscuits, chocolate, homemade fudge, and lots of other goodies! We had such a fab time, playing with the torches, demo-ing to each other, and...hmmm....expanding our horizons. Dawn brought her grinder, and June brought her Koil Cutter...and now I have tool envy ;o) No, seriously, thank you all for a fantastic Saturday!

On Sunday, I had a bit more time making beads, and since the first two rose ring toppers sold before I could even take a proper photo of them, here's one:

I am liking these very much, and I hope the ring system will take the UK by storm, lol!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Catching up!!!

Apologies, the day job has been getting in the way....but things have been happening, nonetheless!

Here's what's happened since the last blog:

1) I launched the RingXChange range on my website - see here! You only need one ri
ng, which is stainless steel, with a screw in it
, then all toppers have the matching nut, one ring
fits all toppers, and feel free
to experiment with creating 'washers' out of other m
aterials - I have a couple ready, but still need to take photos. No, that's a's a piece of driftwood from my honeymoon! I have made some rose and other flower toppers, too, but not had a chance to list them!

2) I have been on a fabu
lous course with Claudia Trimbur-Pagel, who is a lovely lady, and a great teacher! I am still waiting for my beads from the course, but will post photos when I get them!

3) I have finally
connected my Midrange burner, and am now officially owner of a two
-torch studio, equipped to teach two people at the same time, so...bring it on! :o)

4) As if that was not enough, I have agreed to teach a group workshop in November, 6 peo
ple, so I will have a 'travelling' set-up of hothead torches.

5) I have been busy writing tutorials, both for magazines and a
book. In this month's Making Jewellery magazine, you can find three of my tutorials, two involving
lampwork beads, including a kanji bead with
the Japanese/Chinese for 'Love', just in time for Valentine's Day. The 'Hidden Love' choker reveals the bead as you move, hi
dden by dangly sterling squiggles.

My roses are featured in this month's Bead Magazine.

And finally, I got the images from when the press came to call back in November/December. Shaun Flannery sent them, and here's my favourite:

...and my apologies for the rubbish formatting in this post!

So...things have been busy :o)