Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Beads, beads, beads

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

I've not got a lot to say, really. My groin is still injured, and I'm increasingly pissed off about not being able to go for a run, so I thought I'd post photos of the beads I've made over the past few days. There are the 'Magma' beads up there and then there are these 'Mango & Blueberry' ones...

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

...and then 'Minimalist Mango'...

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

...and these 'Cornflower' ones...

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

... and I had a big Lonelies jar sort out today and I ended up with three strands of assorted beads.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

Some of these beads are in the shop as I type, so if any of them tickle your bead fancy, do take a look.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

One of those tedious running posts

My running diary

This is my running diary. I bought it to keep a record of my running progress. Sure, my Garmin watch and app, and Strava take care of that for me in a digital format but I wanted a physical thing that I can actually fill in, with a pen. I'm also hoping that writing in it every day will help to improve my ever-crappening handwriting. These days I only ever write shopping lists, greetings cards, bead package address labels, and terrible, awful illegible notes for essays, and the latter have got so bad that I now make notes on my laptop so I don't have to spend ten minutes trying to decipher what the hell I've written.

So far my diary is full of me moaning to myself about not being able to run, along with a record of what exercises I'm doing each day to fix my banjaxed groin. It has one date in it, though – a race date! My first one. Me doing an actual running race! It's the Supernova 5K in London in March. The race is at the Olympic Park and it's run at dusk. Everyone gets given a head torch and you wear neon clothing and lights about your person. I've seen some photos from previous events and it looks very pretty and a lot of fun. Chris and I are going to make me some form of neon tutu that will be lit up with little LEDs, and I'm going to get some trainer lights and wear some of those glow stick bracelet things. I'm a bit excited, can you tell? I'm pretty confident that I wont have a repeat of my first running-in-a-tutu experience. I did a Christmas parkrun in December and the Facebook page said to wear a festive outfit, so I did. 

Me, the Christmas tutu tit

Yeah, you know when Bridget Jones turns up to the tarts and vicars party dressed as a sexy bunny but when she gets there nobody else is in fancy dress? Well, that happened. There were 460 runners in normal running gear, with a handful of them wearing a Santa or an elf hat (lazy festive outfit cop-out) and then me in a red tutu, long striped socks and Father Christmas deely boppers, and two six year olds dressed as an elf and Mrs Christmas. I decided to just style my way through it, and I stood in the queue, warming up like normal, but looking and feeling like a complete tit.

Tutu and trainers

I ran the whole 5K in my tutu and socks because they said festive outfit and festive outfit is what they got. So yeah, hopefully everyone (well, everyone except the inevitable snooty super-serious runners) at Supernova will embrace the light-up dress code and I won't be the solitary tutu tit again.

Anyway, I think I'm going to do one post a week here about running. Maybe on a Sunday. Runday. Sunday Runday. Or something. That way I will limit my rabbiting on about running to one easily-avoidable post for all the people, who like me six months ago, do not want to read about running. I always scrolled right on by all those tedious route maps and times that people posted on Facebook and Twitter. Now I actively seek them out, following other running people and bookmarking websites and blog posts about injuries, exercises, fartlek (I know), nutrition and just about anything I can read about running. I've just finished listening to the audiobook of Christopher McDougall's Born To Run which was so good even a non-runner would find it interesting.

See? I think I could easily waffle on about running for one blog post a week. I do have beads to show you today, though. They are these 'Purquoise' ones. And yes, I know I've named umpteen sets of beads 'Purquoise' over the years but I've become lazy with bead-naming. Simple as that.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

The beads are in the shop as I type. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to squeeze my exercise ball betwixt my ankles and knees in an attempt to mend this sodding groin injury. Have a good Saturday!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Standard January sky

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

Isn't January just the worst month? It's long and nothingy and it promises everything yet delivers nothing. Nobody has any money because they spent it all on food and other people at Christmas. (Yes, I grow increasingly Scrooge-like with every passing December.) Then there are the resolutions. Everybody starts a January full of plans to do this, do that, lose weight, get fit, give up this, or take up that, but by the middle of the month most people are all "Ah yeah, I remember now, shiny new years are pretty much like all the other years" and most of their plans dwindle away. Until next year. This is why I don't make resolutions. I never keep them so why make them, break them and therefore disappoint myself? If you want to do something, don't be worrying about the date – just do it.

My main issue with January is the sky, though. It doesn't do anything. Right now, the sky here is just shades of pale grey. Hang on, I'll show you...

Standard January sky

See? No glimmer of sun, no actual moody clouds, no rain, no nothing. Just dismal, light grey blandness. Standard January sky. I spend a lot of my day looking out of my shed window at the sky, while waiting for glass to melt or for beads to round up, and looking out at that particular flavour of sky is depressing. I'd rather it rained than do nothing; at least if it's raining it's actually doing something.

Standard January sky is a nightmare for taking bead photos. I've not used an actual 'proper' camera for taking bead pictures for about eighteen months now. I use my iPhone. It's less faff – no cables, no memory card, no batteries – but I can't use it with a daylight lamp as it makes the camera 'strobe', so I rely on daylight for bead photography. It's great when it's a nice day but the nothingy January sky is an arse-pain for taking nice bead photos.

Handmade lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

I had a right old struggle this morning taking pictures of the 'Garnet & Grey' beads above and at the top of this post. The beads are a rich, deep garnet red in real life but no matter where I went to take their photo – the lounge window sill, outside on the garden table, down on the lounge floor next to the back door – I couldn't capture their true richness and niceness. Thanks, standard January sky, you big pillock! Ah well, I just hope the buyer of them does that "They're so much nicer in real life" thing.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Long time, no type

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

The last time I posted here (let's not discuss how long ago that was) I was telling you how I couldn't run because I was injured.

Well, since then I've got myself un-injured, turned forty, bought new running shoes, restarted and completed Couch to 5K, run two parkruns, have achieved a sub-30 minute 5K, run a 6.5K, and got injured again! This time it's my groin and it's on the mend so I hope to be back out running and working my way up to a 10K soon.

The face of a woman who had just run 3.1 miles in under 30 minutes

I've also completed my first year of university and will be starting my second year in February. It's going to be a lot of work and I'm pretty apprehensive about it, to be honest. I'm filled with all the self-doubt and "I don't think I can do this" about it but I shall see how it goes.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

And obviously I'm still making beads because that is what I do. The 'Blackcurrant & Mango' ones at the top and just above are the most recent and I'm a bit in love with the colour combination.

Lampwork glass 'Anemone' implosion beads by Laura Sparling

I've also made a few Anemone beads which I've turned into necklaces.

Lampwork glass and sterling silver 'Indigo' Anemone necklace by Laura Sparling
'Indigo' Anemone necklace

The aforementioned beads and necklaces are in the shop at the time of typing.

It's now time for a cheese and pickle sandwich (I tried Branston pickle for the first time ever over Christmas and I am now obsessed with the stuff) and then I'm heading shedwards.