Saturday, 30 June 2012

TSBH In progress

Today is photography day as I prepare for my jewellery stall at a local craft event. While I had the camera out, I thought I'd share a few pics of my of my project for the Thrift Store Blog Hop.

Once I got home with my £0.99 copper ring, I immediately knew what I wanted to use with it. I cut up some sage green silk, frayed it, and started deciding on what ceramic beads to use.

I have a lovely stash of ceramics thanks to Tan Grey and her Swappage Emporium. The first thing I chose was the lovely, purple flower pendant. I accented it with two ceramic beads in light pinky-purple.

I had a few ceramic buttons in mind before I chose the heart. But the hearts won! Finally, I made a hammered copper clasp as a closure. I already know how I'm going to finish the bracelet off, but you'll have to wait until the reveal!

Don't you love the rustic, bohemian feel? Here's a final shot of Tan's ceramics. Check out the subtle texture on the heart.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

6th BSBP

I'm sure all of us are excited to have joined Lori Anderson's 6th Bead Soup Blog Party. This is my first time at the BSBP, and one of the reasons I started my blog.

When I first read about this amazing international swap and blog hop back in March, it felt like it was a long wait. And here it is!

My swap partner, Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, and I will be revealing our creations on July 28th.

All of the pairs (trios in some cases!) of swappers will be sending out their bead filled boxes and bags by July 2nd. Since that's just one day after a jewellery show I'm doing, it's going to be a busy week!  Luckily, I've already started on Maryse's package. Now for a little bit about my swap partner...

Maryse is a talented glass artist, and sells her beautiful beads in her Etsy shop, GlassBeadArt. I've grown to love lampwork beads, and feel lucky to be paired with such a wonderful beader.

Here are a few of my favourites from Maryse's shop.

Aren't these adorable?

Maryse also makes her own rosaries and Christian inspired jewellery in her other shop, which you can find here. Check out Maryse's blog to see what she's up to between now and the big reveal.

You can find the entire list of participants and reveal dates on Lori's blog here.

Happy hopping!

Thrift Store Blog Hop

Sarah Goode from Pookledo is hosting a blog hop. The challenge is to find something from a thrift store for under £1 ($1.50) and use it in a piece of jewellery.

I found this cute, copper ring for £0.99. I don't usually go for hearts, but I love copper and saw some potential in this.

In fact, I like it so much, it's going to be hard to use it! It's a nice, chunky ring, and I already know what materials I'm going to use with it - how is the question.

Stay tuned for my 'in progress' post on this challenge. The final post will be the blog hop itself on Saturday, August the 4th.

Here are the participants so for --

Sarah -
Deb -
Kimberley -
Skye -
Ambra -
Beti -
Emma -
Shelley - 
Tammie -
Leah -
Denielle -
Keri Lee - 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ceramics and Glam

A friend of mine sent me a hoard of ceramics and lampwork recently. I've mentioned Tan before, but this is the first time I've used her ceramics in my jewellery. And I love them!

I paired these adorable, blue ceramic buttons with Tan's etched lampwork beads. They didn't need much to transform into a cute pair of earrings.  

The buttons have a great texture, and the glaze almost has a gradient from blue to pale blue/white. They're super light and beautiful. I'm going to make a similar pair in pink with more of Tan's art beads and buttons.

The next piece I have to show you is a bit more intense. I've been wanting to use this large cubic zirconia for a while, and knew I wanted to pair it with purple and black. I entered this necklace in the UKBeader's June challenge - Summer nights.


For the focal area, I made a textured, copper cap for the CZ and added a beautiful vintage Swarovski crystal Lori sent me. I incorporated more of the shimmering Swarovskis, other vintage beads from Old Bicycle Shop, garnet, and amethyst. There's also a set of Tan's lampwork beads in the mix.

The back of the necklace is made of a garnet colored faux suede. Everything is connected with copper wirework, and a forged copper clasp I made. 


Here's a final detail shot of some of the Swarovskis and Tan's lampwork beads. Don't you love the purple-pink color of the little Swaros in this light?

If you'd like to get your hands on some of Tan's art beads, have a look at her site. She's more than happy to swap her lampwork and ceramics! 

Friday, 22 June 2012

Nod to Vintage

If you've been following my work, you'll know I'm on a vintage buzz. You also might have noticed I lean towards moody, gem-tones and don't always do 'zingy' colors.

When I received these orange and salmon flower components from Lori Anderson in our vintage bead swap, I immediately thought 'hippy chic(k)'. I couldn't resist using the metal flowers straight away and paired them with beautiful blue lampwork beads by Tan Grey.

The color combination and floral components made me think of the 60's (way before my time!). I kept the necklace fairly simple in design making up the length of the necklace with beaded chain. Lori also sent me the bubbly glass beads I used for the right side of the necklace.

I made a large, forged copper clasp that sits about halfway up the right side to break things up visually.


It was nice to break my personal mold with this necklace, and I'm hoping to keep moving in this direction. Maybe the Bead Soup Blog Party will be another chance to push the envelope!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lavender Lagoon

Lori, of Pretty Things, was my partner in a vintage bead swap on the Bead Soup Cafe. She sent me an amazing collection of acrylic, lucite, metal, and some glass beads. I used some of these gorgeous beads in this design.

Lavender Lagoon is a mixed media necklace with both new and old beads. The lampwork focal is by Tan Grey, the mossy green surrounding is silk, and there are a number of gemstones, as well as gold plated wire.


I used some of the beautiful, vintage beads Lori sent me to make up the length of the necklace. There are shimmery, misty purple rounds, and silver speckled acrylic beads. The little lucite flowers reminded me of lilies floating on a pond.

I loved how the amethyst chunk looked against the green silk. Other gemstones I used are moonstone, peridot, and a lace agate coin.

I nestled Tan's focal lampwork bead inside the silk focal for added depth.

Here's a closer look at the focal area.

Tan has a site dedicated to swapping her art beads with other artists. She just restocked the shelves today - have a look!

Thanks again to Lori for being such an amazing swap partner! And to Tan Grey for the beautiful lampwork.

Beads for Blogging

Tanya Ozanne of Fusion Muse will be doing frequent giveaways of beads from her shop, PloiThai.

All you have to do is keep an eye on her blog for the giveaways, make sure you have a current blog, and follow the instructions here.

If you win one of Tanya's packages, you need to share about it on your blog, and create something with the beads you won.

Check out Tanya's Etsy shop to see what you could win!

Monday, 18 June 2012


This is a one of a kind art doll I made recently. She is the third doll I've completed and by far the smallest.

From her iridescent wings, to her silk costume and puffy pink pig tails, each detail is handmade. Her body is sculpted from paper clay, which I sometimes use for art beads. Her eyes, lips, and other details are hand painted with acrylic artist inks.

The costume is made from silk and synthetic organza. The pink ruffles of her top and the sage green of her skirt remind me of azaleas.

Wigging this doll was probably the hardest part. I settled on a thermal, color changing hair. It's called saran and is soft to the touch (and slippery to use!). The thermal saran is pretty amazing stuff. With a 20*C change in temperature, her hair goes from a raspberry pink to white and back again. 


In all, she took more than 6 hours to sculpt, costume, and wig. It seems a long time for such a tiny doll!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ebook feature

Joanne Tinley of Daisychain Jewellery has written an ebook on combining wirework, macramé, and art beads. There are 6 new projects using art beads from Moogin Beads, Humble Beads, Starry Road Studio, Beads of Passion, and over 100 photos of step by step instructions on macramé techniques.

There's also a gallery with inspirational jewellery from six artists. I was lucky enough to be one of the artists featured in the book's gallery.


I made Aurora Nights specifically for Jo's ebook, and was thrilled when she accepted my bracelet. Here's a bit more about Aurora Nights.

The focal of this bracelet is a beautiful dichroic cabochon by Laney Mead. I complimented Laney's cab with a vintage lampwork bead from the Netherlands (Old Bicycle Shop), Chinese crystals, Czech glass, and foiled lampwork. I added organza ribbons and cotton cord using square knots to secure the crystals along the bracelet.

I used copper to wrap the cab and join everything together. Finally, I added my own wire wrapped and forged clasp.


Jo's book is available in her shop, Daisychain Jewellery. Expect to see new work from me using some of the techniques in her book!