Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Z-Beads Blog

One of my favourite lampworkers has recently started blogging and I'm very pleased about it because her beads are just gorgeous and she has me in stitches with her writing so I urge you to go visit Sarah Moran's blog and see what I'm talking about.

Sarah sells her beads through her Z-Beads website but if you fancy nabbing some of her 'Superstars' you really have to be lightning-quick because these get snapped up in seconds when she lists them. I am fortunate enough to own some of Sarah's glass beauties and they really are fabulous. Go on - go have a look-see!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Cupcake Desktop Wallpaper

Cupcake Desktop WallpaperThe last time I uploaded a couple of Cupcake bead group shots to Flickr a few of you set them as desktop wallpaper.

The original size of this image is 1024 x 768 pixels so if you click the image up there then right click on the picture and select 'Set as Background', you should be able to have cupcakes galore on your desktop! If you have a different screen resolution then please do email me with the size you need and I'll send you a re-sized image.

Enjoy!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Beads, Dangles & Shudders

Lampwork Glass Beads With Fine SilverYou lot seem to be loving this style of bead so here's another set for you.

Lampwork Glass Cupcake DanglesI've also added the option of Cupcake Dangles to the Cupcake Beads page. These make excellent little Christmas gifts (and don't shout at me - it's not too early to be organising Christmas pressies. It'll be here before you know it!) and they're fab for attaching to your mobile phone, camera, zipper pull or wherever you fancy a bit of cupcake cheeriness!

You know I mentioned the spider influx the other day? Well, I had spider trauma this afternoon. I spent all day making beads in the conservatory and then late this afternoon my sister called me so I went outside to have a chat on the phone. I glanced up at the conservatory window and there, as bold as brass, was a big fat hairy spider. It was horrid. Its legs! It had such legs! It had shoulders. And elbows. And wrists. And I swear it was looking at me with a big spidery smirk on its face. I froze and went into full-on spider benny mode. I couldn't concentrate on my phone conversation, I started sweating and my heart was beating like a mad thing. I also started that jogging-about-on-the-spot-with-arms-flailing thing but the spider just sat there. You see, this is where the irrational part of my fear comes in. I was in the garden, in the open air, about seven feet away from the creature. I knew it wasn't going to get on me and I knew I could leg it if needs be. But I couldn't move as I had to keep an eye on it to make sure it didn't go anywhere because then I wouldn't know where it was and that would have been worse than it being in plain view. So I was stuck. Dad was out so I stayed talking on the phone to Em until he got back. He came out into the garden (after seeing me acting like a pillock through the conservatory window) and moved the offending spider. He picked it up with his bare hands - his bare hands! - and threw it over the fence. I screamed (deafening poor Emily in the process) and had a tiny breakdown which including me ripping at my hair and slapping my thigh. (I don't know what was with the thigh-slapping - it was just a reaction.) It took at least an hour for me to recover from the incident and even now I keep getting the willies every time I think of those angular zig-zaggy legs. *Shudder!*

I know I probably sound really wimpy and pathetic but I'm telling you, it's a genuine fear - not just a girly-wirly-I-don't-like-spiders thing. I'm scared witless of the buggers!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

This week .....

Lampwork Glass Cupcake Beads..... I have mostly been making these. Cupcake beads are available to order here.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Muchos Spiders

I just read an article on the BBC News site about how they reckon there's going to be more spiders than usual this autumn. I was very brave and clicked on the link for a read even though there is a picture of one of the aforementioned eight-legged critters accompanying the headline.

John Partridge, some spider expert, says "If you can, get up close and have a look at how beautifully coloured they are."

Nah, you're alright John. I'll just run away screaming, if you don't mind?!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Sparkly Loveliness

Lampwork Glass Beads With Fine SilverDroplets of fine silver upon rich blues and subtle blue-greens, encapsulated in crystal clear glass for depth and sparkle. Delicious!

Martha's Bath

Guinea Pig BathtimeI've just had to give Martha the guinea pig a bath. She keeps getting covered in mud from climbing in and out of flowerpots and she doesn't wash it off. I keep cleaning bits of her but today I decided it was time for a proper full-on guinea pig bath.

A hair wash with warm water and a dash of Johnson's Baby Shampoo .....

Guinea Pig BathtimeA rinse .....

Guinea Pig Bathtime
A towel and blow dry (with the hair dryer on cool) ......

Guinea Pig BathtimeAnd I finally had one clean, fragrant and pampered guinea pig.

Guinea Pig BathtimeMartha seemed to enjoy it. She was so calm and she was rewarded with a lettuce leaf for her good behaviour. I wonder how long it'll take for her to get muddy again?

Boppin'

Mika's 'The Boy Who Knew Too Much'I got an iTunes gift card for my birthday last week and with it I have bought Mika's new album 'The Boy Who Knew Too Much' and it is rather spectacular! I have listened to his first album a squillion times so a whole new wodge of Mika music is a real treat. Thank goodness for digital music because if we were back in the early 90s and we still had cassettes then I would have worn 'Life In Cartoon Motion' out by now!

The new album really is fabulous - plenty of beadmaking-chair-boppin' is happening along to 'We Are Golden' and 'Blame It On The Girls'. Happy tunes!

I'll be back later today with beads .....

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Ripple Socks

Hand Knitted SocksThe yarn for these socks came from Vik at Wild Fire Fibres and it's in a fab colourway called 'Ripple'. It's a mix of pink, purple, blue and white. I wanted a pattern that would really show off these colours so I opted for good old feather and fan stitch which creates a wavy effect.

Hand Knitted SocksI'm going to write up the pattern for these along with a few other sock designs. I'll then upload PDFs of the patterns so any fellow sock knitters can download them for free. I'll let you know as soon as the patterns are available.

Back To Work

Pine TreesThe woodland weekend away went far too quickly! Chris and I had a wonderful time at Center Parcs. I think that's about the seventh or eighth time that I've been there and it's always great. It's very relaxing and so quiet.

The LakeThere are no cars and no light pollution so when you're in the outside pool at night having an evening swim you can look up and see a bazillion-and-one stars. There is an abundance of wildlife too. The squirrels outside were very friendly. One of them (who I named Simon) actually ventured inside our villa a couple of times. We also saw rabbits, ducks, geese and a heron.

Simon SquirrelThe waterfowl were so tame that they were taking bread from my hand. Very cute!

Me And The WaterfowlSo holiday time is over and now it's no rest 'til Christmas! We're on that slippery slope. The shops are already stocking festive wrapping paper, cards, selection boxes and jumbo tubs of Twiglets.....

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

Tea For One SetBig thanks to everyone who has sent me birthday greetings via blog comments, email and e-card. Today I am a whole thirty two and I'm having a great birthday!

I got lots of fab pressies! Emily (littlest sister) sent me an ├╝ber-cute
Paperchase Tea For One tea set which I am in love with. I have a cup of tea poured from the very pot next to me now.

And the lovely Janine sent me a wondrous recipe book which is full of cakes, biscuits and more. She also gave me some sweet little rose earrings. Thank you, Janine!

Birthday Gifts From JanineChris is taking me to Center Parcs tomorrow for the weekend so I'll be quiet until next week when there'll be more of those 'Atlantis' beads that you all seem to like so much!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

'Atlantis'

Lampwork Glass BeadsThese striking beads consist of swirls and swathes of various blues along with some fine silver inclusions. I've wrapped them all in a layer of transparent pale blue glass which has given them an amazing depth and sparkle. These are true glass gems!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Purple Chocolate Of Joy!

Milka ChocolateOh how I love Milka chocolate. It's just so smooth and creamy and it has a shiny purple wrapper. With a purple cow on it. What's not to like? It was always quite tricky to get hold of here in the UK but Tesco recently started stocking it. Result!

Lynne and John (Chris's Mum and Dad) have got Milka hot chocolate for their Tassimo coffee machine and I'm now considering getting a Tassimo for the Chris And Laura Box. I tell you, that is one tasty beverage!

Monday, 14 September 2009

And in bead news .....

Etched Lampwork Glass Beads..... I've made some more 'Frosty Flowers' beads. These ones are tangerine and pale blue. I really like that soft purple against the orange. Zingy!

Early Birthday

Crocheted Hat, Scarf & Gloves By LynneIt's my birthday on Thursday but the celebrations started a little early. Chris and I went up to visit his family in Manchester this weekend and we had such a fab time!

On Saturday we had a lovely barbecue. Chris was head chef and he did a great job. The weather was just right and we sat outside until gone 9pm. We even saw bats flitting about at twilight which Chris's Dad and brother found a little bit perturbing.

I got some wonderful birthday pressies from Chris's Mum and Dad. Lynne made me this fantastic hat, scarf and gloves set. They're crocheted in a beautiful blend of pinks. Isn't she clever? When Chris and I get a place next year I'll probably have a shed for beadmaking so Lynne thought that the fingerless gloves would come in useful during the winter lampworking months and she's not wrong - from previous shed experience I know that they are very chilly places from November through to March. Chris's parents also gave me a pair of china mugs featuring a pretty poppy design for the Chris And Laura Box.

The long journey to Manchester and back meant that I got a lot of sock-knitting done so I'll have another pair to show you in the near future. I do like Manchester - I've been there several times now and everyone is always so jovial and friendly. Great place!

Florspace Prize

Florspace MiniZI entered a prize draw on Lyn of Florspace's blog the other week and I was delighted when she emailed me to tell me that I'd won a prize!

This gorgeous little MiniZ purse arrived today and it's just perfect for keeping my new shiny pink camera in and as you can see, it matches. Bonus!

I have an array of Lyn's MiniZ purses as well as a knitting bag that I got her to make for me. The MiniZs are really handy and they make excellent little Christmas gifts. Make sure you zap on over to her shop and take a look around.

I'll be back later on today with beads and weekend news .....

Friday, 11 September 2009

Mars Socks

Hand Knitted SocksI finished kintting this pair of socks a few days ago but I hadn't shaved my legs and there was no way I was taking photos of them. It would have looked like Chewbacca was modelling the socks!

As you can see, leg shaving has occurred. Girls, isn't shaving your legs just one of the worst lady-faff chores? It is so boring.

Hand Knitted SocksAnyway, depilation aside, these hand knitted socks are my own design. They're knitted in Regia Galaxy yarn in a wonderful blend of reds, oranges and pinks. I think Chris is going to hate these but I like them. The stitch pattern is horseshoe print lace and I had to do maths - yes maths - to get the pattern to work. There's a lot of maths involved in knitting. I found a wonderful formula for sock-knitting online yesterday and you have to do algebra to use it. Algebra! I never thought I'd have to work out what x is equal to when it's over the y and nineteen times the z ever again! Give me letters over numbers (or should that be l/n?) any day, thanks.

Alrighty then, that's me done blogging for the next couple of days. I'm off up to Manchester this afternoon to go and visit Chris's family. I'd better go pack my suitcase.

See you next week!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

'Claire'

Lampwork Glass BeadsWhen Claire was choosing colours for her beads during her lesson on Tuesday, she made a dotty bead in this gorgeous combination of pale blue and soft violet. I loved it so much that I told Claire I was going to nab her idea and in return I would name the resulting set of beads after her.

These are proper old school Laurabeads - fine stringerwork in a multitude of designs.

'Frosty Flowers'

Etched Lampwork Glass BeadsThese glass pretties have a core of pale yellow which I've cased in lavender rose and decorated with blue flowers. I etched them to a matt finish for that lovely, soft glow.

I photographed them out in the early morning sun and I have to say it's feeling quite autumnal out there. The air is crisp and fresh. I do so love the autumn and winter.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Bumps Or Not?

Bumpy Lampwork BeadsYesterday I was having a conversation with Claire who came for a lampworking lesson. I asked her for her opinion on bumpy beads - the type with raised dots.

I've known people who hate them and people who love them. They're a bit of a Marmite thing, I guess. I decided that I'd do a little blog-based survey about bumpy beads so I could get some actual stats on the topic.

Over on the right hand side of my blog is a little poll. If you get a second please could you vote? This is totally to satisfy my own curiosity on the matter and the results will bear no relation to what beads I do and don't produce in the future. I'm just intrigued.

If you have any further comments or opinions on the (oh-so highly important) matter of bead bumps then please do post them in my comments section.

Thanks muchly!

PS : The 'Maria' beads up there are long gone - I'm just using them as an example of bumpy beadness.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Bring-Along-A-Sock

Sock Bag From Roseland BagsYou know that I am totally obsessed with sock knitting? Of course you do - I bore you with it often enough. Well, Vikki over at Wild Fire Fibres posted a picture of a groovy sock bag that she bought the other week and I followed her link to Roseland Bags and got myself one. I do have sock project bags but this one is extra-über portable due to its handle which means it'll be fab for train knitting. It's arrived just in time too as I have a three hour train journey up to Manchester on Friday.

The bag is fantastic and is really beautifully made. It's black corduroy with hot pink polka dots and vice-versa for the handle. I love it! Julie makes lots of other bags in an array of wonderful fabrics so why not head on over to her website, check out what she's got and maybe treat yourself?!

Monday, 7 September 2009

'Merry Berry'

Lampwork Glass BeadsI just love this colour combination. Deep pink on purple with turquoise accents. Nice!

Prize Draw Winner

I've just done the drawing for the Cupcake pendant giveaway and the lucky winner is Deborah Chowney who chose Lemon Drizzle as her favourite cake!

Well done, Debs. Your pendant will be on its way tomorrow - I hope you like it.

Thanks to everybody who entered the draw. Reading all those favourite cakes was quite hungry-making! I'll do another giveaway in the not too distant future .....

Sunday, 6 September 2009

'Dusk'

Lampwork Glass BeadsIt's been another busy day here. Nicky came to visit and we had a lovely lunch and a good old natter and catch-up. I do miss her being just around the corner.

The beads pictured have been knocking about for a couple of days now so I thought I'd clean them and give you a look-see. Black, periwinkle and white. Very glossy and oh-so dotty!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sisters On Ice

Me & My SistersDad and I went down to Southampton today to see Robyn as she's celebrating her fifth birthday. She decided that she'd like to go ice skating so Sally, Paul, Robyn, Emily and I took to the ice at Gosport Ice Rink and we had a couple of hours of skatey fun! Robyn did really well, bless her. By the end of the session she was skating along away from the edge holding Sal's hand.

The photo above is of me and my two beautiful little sisters - Emily is on the left of the picture and Sally is on the right.

I'm totally worn out now so I'm going to grab myself a cup of tea and settle down on the sofa with my knitting.

Friday, 4 September 2009

A bead for me!

Lampwork Glass Heart NecklaceRemember that 'Big Red Heart' I made not so long ago?

Well, I said then that I thought I'd have to make one for me and here it is. This one is bigger than the other heart and I've decorated it with lots of white spots. I've wired it very simply and it hangs from a long silver chain. The bead took me over an hour to make as melting in all those spots so that they kept their roundness was a slow task.

I'm mega-pleased with the end result, though. At last - a bead for me!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A Post Post

Postman PatPostman Pat always delivered his mail. Greendale could have been submerged under floodwater, it could have been blowing an almighty gale, his van might have broken down or he may even have had to outwit a thieving magpie, but Pat Clifton would always make sure his letters and parcels got to the people who were waiting for them.

Why the heck can't Royal Mail do the same?

I have customers waiting for beads to be delivered. Beads that I have packed up all carefully and paid money to the Royal Mail for so they can deliver them sometime this century. The other week they lost an expensive parcel of beads. Gone. I can't replace them as they were pretty much a one-off set. They were the 'Sea Breeze' ones, in case you're wondering .....

But it's not just outgoing mail. I am waiting for glass, jewellery supplies and sock yarn (OK, that's not important but it's the principle of the matter) to arrive and I am getting impatient. How on Earth is anyone supposed to efficiently run a business in this country when the people we pay and rely on, and put far too much trust in, couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery?! (Did you see how polite I was there?)

So, beloved bead customers, if you ordered Cupcake beads and pendants in July then rest assured that they were posted a few days ago and they are on their way to you. When they arrive on your doormats is a different matter and is totally in the hands of our rubbishly naff postal service but I'm hoping that it'll be sometime before Christmas. But of course if you live in Greendale then I'm sure you'll have them already! ;o)

EDIT : I've just seen the new Specsavers ad. It stars Postman Pat himself. Spooky!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

'Fruity'

Lampwork Glass BeadsBanana yellow and pomegranate red with touches of blackcurranty purple. Fruity!