Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Earring Pairs

Lampwork Glass BeadsHello you! Did you have a good weekend?
I had a bit of a busy Bank Holiday weekend and as such I only have these few beads to show you. These silvered ivory and fine silver earring pairs are for sale over in my Etsy shop as I type .....
Eagle-eyed readers may notice that if you click my blog header a different web address appears in your browser bar. That new URL is www.beadsbylaurablog.com and it is my new blog address. Fear not, you don't have to change a thing as Blogger will redirect the old address to this new one so the transition should be nice and smooth for you. However, if you find things aren't showing up as they should on the old Blogspot address (such as the Followers displaying incorrectly) I suggest that you re-bookmark the new URL instead.
Have a good Tuesday! I'll be back later with beads.

Friday, 27 August 2010

'Purple Passion' Bracelet by Janine Byrom

Handmade lampwork and sterling silver bracelet by Janine ByromIsn't this bracelet just wonderful? It features a selection of my beads and was made by the very talented Janine of Cherished Trinkets. If you fancy treating yourself to this gorgeous bracelet it is available here.
Janine is known for her Alice In Wonderland jewellery and she has just started selling her handmade Alice charms so that other people can create Alice-themed jewellery too.
Alice In Wonderland charms handmade by Janine ByromIf you get a chance do go and have a browse around Janine's webshop or have a read of her blog.
Have you made jewellery with my beads? I send beads off to new homes all over the world but get to see very few photos of how they end up being used. If you have got some photographs of work featuring my lampwork please do email them to me. I'd love to have a look!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Breezy Beads

Lampwork Glass BeadsThe weather has been really angry today - lots of dark moody clouds and really blustery wind. I had to have the door and window open as it does get quite warm in the shed and the breeze made beadmaking quite tricky. My torch flame kept blowing about at crucial moments.
This little quartet of blue beads was going to be a larger set but I gave up trying to apply tiny dots upon tiny dots in the breezy conditions. Annoying. But it was just as well as I'm not really happy with the yellow on these. I used Effetre Opal Yellow which is great but it's one of those slightly unpredictable difficult-to-get-consistent-results-with glasses. You don't really know what you're going to get until the beads are annealed and cool because the colour changes and develops in the kiln.
Lampwork Glass BeadsSome of the dots are cream, some are primrose yellow (which is what I was aiming for) and some are peach. Hmmm.
Although the windy weather made melting glass a tad irksome it did wonders for the washing. I pegged a load of laundry out on the line and it was dry in about forty minutes. At one point I did see a sock and a pair of my knickers fly across the grass but fortunately I managed to grab them before they took flight and left the confines of the garden!

Laura Random Giveaway

Lampwork Glass Beads*** THESE RANDOM GIVEAWAY BEADS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED ***
Up for grabs today were these four brightly-coloured beads. Two rounds, a square and a triangle. Vibrant and fun!
The lucky winner of them is Karen from Gloucestershire, UK.
Please keep an eye out for future Random Giveaways. The best way to do this is to add yourself as a follower or subscribe to my blog. Follower and subscription links can be found over there on the right hand side.

Note : For full Laura Random Giveaway details please click here.

Monday, 23 August 2010

More Keys

Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadHere are a couple more key beads. This pale green and pink floral one is another fixed bead - it doesn't move on the key. As I said in my last post, the bead design and whether or not you make it fixed is dependent on the shape of the key.
Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadI've made some co-ordinating beads to go with the key. I know that some people like to add bead charms to the bow of the key so I thought that I'd provide some matching ones.

Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadI reckon that the keys would look great hanging on oxidised silver chain or maybe some pretty ribbon.

Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadThe next key I used had a long shank which lent itself to a movable bead. I can imagine that jewellery fidgets would appreciate the twiddle factor of this key bead!

Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadI'm really looking forward to seeing what people do with these key beads. I'm picturing them as necklaces but maybe you have different ideas?

Lampwork Glass Antique Key BeadAll of the key bead sets will be for sale on this Wednesday at 8.00pm (UK time) on the Freshly Baked Beads page of my website.


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Key Bead

Lampwork Glass Key BeadOn Twitter the other night I exchanged a few tweets with Helga Hansen about key beads and it struck me that I haven't made any for ages.
So this morning I got up early and set about finding where I'd put my antique Victorian keys - things still aren't totally unpacked from the move, you see. I eventually located them and set to work.
Lampwork Glass Key BeadI make my key beads with the Jelveh Designs Key Mandrel which is a fab little thing. Jelveh kindly gifted me a couple of her Key Mandrels and I can't speak highly enough of them.

Lampwork Glass Key BeadIt's fun tracking down keys to make the beads on. I buy most of mine on eBay. It's always interesting to work out what type of bead will work with whatever key you're using. This black and white spotty one needed to be a thin bead due to the ridges on the shank and also because of the 'bit' - I had to go careful working around it. This one also has a nice bow (the loop at the top of the key) and I think the simple smooth lines of the key work well with the simple design of the bead. I didn't use any bead release for this bead so it's fixed on the key and doesn't move.

Lampwork Glass Key BeadThe other key bead I made today is slightly more ornate - I will show you that one tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by and also cheers to everyone who has commented about my website revamp. Much appreciated.
Have a lovely Sunday evening!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

New Look

My eyes are all skew-whiff and my mind is a tad scrambled but I'm happy to say that the website revamp is now complete. Please click here to have a look.
Chris did the banner and footer - he's a bit of a clever computer geek, you see. I told him that I would like red and white as my colours and he came up with the groovy glassy-looking logo which I am just loving!
Chris and I hope you like the new look too.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Special Bead Days

Lampwork Glass BeadsWhenever someone writes to me and asks if they can buy a set of beads from my gallery I always feel a little bit bad when I reply and tell them no and that I don't do remakes or commissions. That person has seen my work and likes it enough to want to buy it and I then I go and tell them that it's not possible.

Why do I say no?

Well, it's not so much me that's refusing - most of the time it's my Beadmaking Muse. I tell you, if I could remake beads on demand I would. Every now and again I have Special Bead Days upon which I make really good beads. And that's not me blowing my own trumpet. By 'really good beads' I mean beads that I love and am mega-proud of.
There are special-beads-gone-by that I would love to make again! They include :

The 'Plume' beads at the top of this post.

My 'Pleats' beads :

Lampwork Glass Pleat BeadsMy 'Quant Geometrics' discs, squares and triangles :

Lampwork Glass Disc BeadsAnd my 'Candy Rainbow' Lentils :
Lampwork Glass Striped Lentil BeadsIt's the Candy Rainbow ones that I would love to be able to re-do the most. I like them. I'd wear them. I want to make more.
But I just can't. I've tried and tried. I give it a go every other month or so. It's not a glass thing - I know exactly what glass colours I used and I remember how I made them but for some reason I just cannot do it anymore.
I reckon Special Bead Days have something to do with outside determining factors. Factors like what colour socks I've got on, what day it is, what phase the moon is in, what song is on the radio, what the weather is doing but most of all, what kind of mood I'm in. Life things and moods affect my beadmaking greatly. If I'm not in the right frame of mind I just can't make beads full stop. Some days plain spacer beads are a challenge. Sometimes all I'll be able to make is spotty or dotty beads. But other days I get on a roll and time absolutely flies by and I make good bead after good bead and it makes me really happy and I go 'Yeah! Bead power!' out loud. Yes. I do. I say it out loud.
I'm guessing that the beads I wish I could make again were made on Special Bead Days when all of the outside determining factors were aligned and in harmony. Maybe I'll never be able to replicate them. But that's not all bad. Yesterday I was trying my hand at the old Candy Rainbows again but I ended up making these :
Lampwork Glass Lentil BeadsOkay, so they're not as nice as the original Candy Rainbow lentils but I reckon they've got potential. I could, and probably will, investigate the possibilities of these further.
So if you email me and ask for some beads you've seen in my gallery please know that my 'Sorry but no' answer is nothing against you. I love that you like my work so much and that you would willingly part with your hard-earned cash for it and for that I thank you. You'll have to have a word with my Beadmaking Muse. I don't know if said muse is male or female (can you even have a man muse?) but if you do manage to pin The Muse down please can you ask them what colour socks I was wearing on the day I made the Candy Rainbow lentils?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Last night's beads

Last night was so busy! I can't believe what I managed to cram into the space of about four hours :
  • Unpacked the Tesco delivery
  • Washed hair
  • Got dinner ready
  • Cleaned beads while dinner was cooking
  • Photographed beads
  • Ate dinner
  • Listed beads on website
  • Sold beads
  • Gave the guinea pigs their dinner
  • Did the washing up
  • Wrote out all the prize draw names
  • Did the prize draw and wrote resulting blog post
  • Listed some beads on Etsy
  • Sold the Etsy beads
And then I eventually sat down for the night. Anyway, in case you're interested the beads I sold last night included those 'Berry Gems' ones up there and the 'Purple Roly Poly' lentils pictured below :
Lampwork Glass Roly Poly BeadsI left these lentils smooth - no enamel or frit on the surface. It's been ages since I made Roly Poly beads so it made a nice change. Fellow glass twiddlers, if you fancy making some of these my PDF tutorial for them is available here.
See you later!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Winner

I bought this cute red and white polka dot bowl and matching spoon ages ago and it has been sat in the kitchen windowsill ever since we moved in.

I've just put all the names of everyone who entered the prize draw in the bowl (I knew that I would find a use for it!) mixed it up with the spoon and asked my glamorous assistant Chris to draw a winner and that lucky person is Lorraine at Fairly Girly. Well done to you! Please email me your name and address and I'll get your Nugget beads in the post to you.
Big thanks to all who entered, blogged and tweeted about the draw. I shall do another one soon!
Have a good night, everybody.

'Rainy Day'

Lampwork Glass Polka Dot BeadsThese beads were made on a drizzly, overcast day. The sky was pale grey with little patches of blue peeping through the clouds.

Lampwork Glass Polka Dot BeadsI liked the colours and decided to make a polka dotty set using them.

I'll be drawing the winner of the prize draw tonight so if you haven't entered yet do click here to put your name in the hat.

Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, 16 August 2010

CiM Testing : Count von Count

Creation Is Messy 'Count von Count' in daylightLike most lavender glass, Creation Is Messy's Count von Count shifts between blue and purple depending on the light that it's in. In natural daylight it's a beautiful lavender (see photo above) and in artificial light it shows up as a pretty mauve-blue:
Creation Is Messy 'Count von Count' in artificial lightEither way it's a wonderful colour and it's a great glass to work with. It melts nicely and it behaves a little better than Effetre Dark Lavender, which is probably its closest match in the 104 colour palette.

Whoever named the glass Count von Count got it spot on. It really is the colour of the mathematician vampire muppet in Sesame Street!

I love to use Count von Count as an encaser. If you try putting it over CiM Heffalump and add a touch of CiM Lapis you'll be in some kind of purple paradise .....
Lampwork Glass Beads..... and if you give the glass a quick dip in a bath of etching solution it looks equally lovely!
Etched Count von Count spacer beadsCiM's Count von Count is now my transparent lavender glass of choice. If you're purple-obsessed like me then trust me, you need this glass in your stash!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

New Video : Encased Silver Wire Bead

I thought it was about time I did another video for you but this time it's a little different. For a start you see me - me and my face actually talking to you as opposed to just my hands making beads!

Encased silver wire lampwork beads

The video shows you how I add fine silver wire to a bead and then encase it. I've had various emails recently about how to fix silver wire to a bead, when and how to encase it and where to buy silver wire. I'm hoping that this little movie answers your questions.

If you like the video (which I hope you do) I will make some more. Just let me know if there are any lampworking techniques that you'd like me to demonstrate for you and I'll see what I can do.

Please click here to visit my YouTube Channel.

Big thanks to Chris for the filming and the editing. You're a star, Mister G!


Video Notes

~ Silver wire for lampworking must be fine silver. Sterling won't work.
~ Fine silver wire is available from CelCool Silver and Glass Diversions.
~ My demonstration beads are CiM Leaky Pen with Vetrofond clear.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Beads & Beyond

This is just a quick post to tell you that I have a tutorial in the September issue of Beads & Beyond.

The tutorial shows you how I make my hand-shaped heart beads.

The magazine is in shops now.

New Beads

Lampwork Glass BeadsI've just added some new beads to my Etsy shop. Those pretty ice blue ones up there are for sale and there are five strands of glimmery nugget beads awaiting new homes too.

Lampwork Glass Nugget BeadsIf you fancy having a go at winning a strand of these assorted nugget beads please enter my prize draw. Please click here for all the details.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Twisted Limone Designs

Hand painted self striping sock yarn from Twisted Limone DesignsI bought some sock yarn the other day. It feels like an absolute age since I knitted socks and I had the sudden urge to make some. I know, I'm odd.

So I was scouting about online for yarn and then I noticed Karen at Rainbow Feet had updated her Etsy shop with some of her groovy hand painted self striping sock yarn and a ball (or two) of it may have fallen into my shopping cart.

This ball of vibrant acid yellow-green and hot pink 'Fruit Salad' arrived in today's post and after I finished beadmaking for the day I got my knitting needles out and set to work.

Hand knitted striped sockThe yarn is knitting up nicely. I was assuming that Chris would hate the resulting sock but he said he actually quite likes it. To be honest I was a little bit disappointed - I kind of like shocking him with way out socks!

Anyway, if you're a fellow sock knitter you should go and look at Karen's shop - Twisted Limone Designs - on Etsy. Last time I checked she still had a few balls of self striping yarn in stock .....

Win these nuggety lovelies!

Lampwork Glass Nugget BeadsLet's do something cheerful.

Let's have a giveaway!

Do you fancy having a go at winning this set of ten gleaming nugget beads? These tactile lovelies are made in beautiful jewel tones of blue, green and purple and they contain fine silver droplets that give the beads a bit of glimmer. They measure about 12mm in diameter.
Lampwork Glass Nugget BeadsIf you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this strand of beads all you need to do is enter my prize draw. The rules of the giveaway are are as follows :

~ The draw is open to anyone anywhere in the world.

~ It's one entry per person BUT if you have a blog and/or Twitter account and you blog/tweet about and link to this prize draw post I will enter your name twice. Bonus! If you'd like to mention me in any tweets my Twitter ID is
beadsbylaura.

~ To enter you need to leave a comment on this blog post. If you've blogged/tweeted about this draw please say that you've done so in your comment and I will do the two name thing.

~ Please leave a name of some kind, be it your actual one, a nickname or your blog username - just something rather than an anonymous comment.

~ Entries need to be in by 7.00pm (UK time) on Wednesday 18th August.

~ All entries need to be made by commenting as opposed to emailing me. Commenting is really simple and you don't need a Blogger account to do so. Just leave your name in your comment and check back on Wednesday to see if you've won!

I hope that all makes sense. Good luck everybody!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Just to say .....

..... that there won't be any beads for sale on my site this evening.

I received sad news today. Herbie died early this morning. So I'm not really in a beady frame of mind.

Normal bead service will resume shortly .....

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

New Beads

Lampwork Glass BeadsI've just put three lots of beads in my Etsy shop.

There are those pretty wispy pink ones up there .....
Lampwork Glass Beads..... some more indigo and orange ones .....

Lampwork Glass Beads..... and some blue and silver glimmery ones.

More beads tomorrow!

Monday, 9 August 2010

New beads in the shop

Lampwork Glass Bead TrioI've just added some trios and Lonelies to the shelves of my Etsy shop.

Please click here to have a browse .....

Just a little update

Hello beadpeople. I've been a bit quiet, haven't I? It's been over a week since I last blogged.

I was in Oxford on Thursday and Friday - I went to see my grandfather (Mum's dad) who is known as 'Herbie'. His name is Herbert and when I was a child I started calling him Herbie. I was Nannie and Herbie's first grandchild and all the other family and grandchildren followed suit and before long everybody started calling him Herbie and it just stuck. Anyway, I went to visit Herbie as he is very ill. I also saw Dad, Sally, Emily and Robyn and Dylan (my niece and nephew) so that was nice. It was also great to see Buster again. I do miss him.
Etched Lampwork Glass Beads

Because of said family things going on last week I found it a bit hard to concentrate on my beads. I've just put some etched midnight blue beads in my Etsy shop and I'll try and add some more beads later on today.

I've been reading all about the wonders of gardening. We have two gardens that need some prettying up so I bought myself a copy of Alan Titchmarsh's 'The Complete How To Be A Gardener' which is an amazing book! I have learned a heck of a lot already just from dipping in and out of various chapters.

Installing the composterA few weeks back I ordered a composter for the garden and it arrived last week. Chris and I cleared a space for it and installed it on Saturday but not before Chris had hidden inside it. Unfortunately I ruined his joke as I saw him climbing into the composter before he could jump out and surprise me!

Chris in the compost binIn knitting news, I do have a project on the needles. It's a multi-coloured scarf made out of all my oddments of sock yarn. Sounds horrible but it's actually looking really nice. Hang on, I'll take a picture .....

Hand knitted scarf made form sock yarn scrapsThere you go. It will eventually lose the bright pink edge as that is just a provisional cast on. The scarf is knitted along the long edge. The pattern I'm using is a very simple slip stitch pattern which produces a flat, almost woven-looking fabric. More details about the pattern can be found here.

And finally, if you're a Twitter user you may be interested to know that I've re-signed up to the service. I used it for about three weeks a while back but stopped using it. I thought that I'd rejoin so I can keep you updated with Etsy listings and also because I was missing Peter Serafinowicz's witty tweets. My username is beadsbylaura (surprsing, huh?) so do follow me if you feel like it. There's a Twitter link over there on the right hand side of my blog.

That's enough of my waffle for now - I'm off down to the shed to make beads .....