Friday 27 June 2008

Encased Frit Beads

These may look basic but getting that encasing just right so that there's zero base bead 'bleed' onto the encasing layer around the bead holes isn't quite as easy as it seems.

I'm off to Cambridge this afternoon. I wish someone would hurry up and invent a teleporter. One of those has got to be better than a three hour train journey!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 25 June 2008

Cloudy Thinking

I took this lovely photo of the sky on Monday evening. Are you wondering why I'm pointing my camera skywards?

Well, for about three years I've been trying to make beads that are evocative of clouds. I get an idea, try it out, it goes wrong and I shelve the cloud bead plans. I do this every few months and never end up with anything vaguely cloud-like. Until now.

I was twiddling about with the cloud bead idea again and came up with these. They're very subtle but I think they have a definite cloudy fluffiness about them. They're quite reminiscent of those altocumulus clouds in the photo. Oooh, get me getting all meteorological!

Now I have a basic cloud bead that I'm happy with I can hopefully develop the idea further. Stay tuned for cloudy progress . . . . .

Tuesday 24 June 2008

Love the lovely polka dots!

I'm a bit polka dot crazy at the moment. There's something quite soothing about making these beads. Must be the repetitive dot placement - I kind of get into a polka dot trance . . . . .

I went for a mooch around the shops in town on Saturday and a most excellent thing happened! The other week I had to buy new jeans because my old ones were too big. Yay! The no pudding thing is really paying off. So I had to buy one size smaller than I usually do. I thought that maybe that was a bit of a fluke and perhaps the size was wrong. But on Saturday I found a skirt that I really liked (yes, that might be shocking to you because you may know that I normally avoid dresses and skirts like the plague) and I instinctively picked up my normal size 14. I did have a quick look to see if there was a size 12, but no. I trotted off to the changing room and tried the skirt on . . . . . and it fell down! It just would not stay on my hips. I got changed and when the assistant said 'Any good?' I proudly replied 'No!' with a big grin on my face. I think she thought I was a bit loopy.

Could it actually be that after about a decade of size 14-ness I may actually be a size 12? It was a shame about the skirt because I liked it but to make it all better I bought new shoes instead!

Friday 20 June 2008

No wonder I've got hayfever .....

. . . . . with all these flowery beads about! Even more Floratabs, this time in a gorgeous dusky pink.

An here's an actual proper real flower. This is about the only flower currently brightening up the garden. During the summer I normally have pots of vibrantly coloured blooms all over the show but after last year when every flower carked it due to a combination of slugs, snails and Dad forgetting to water the garden one very warm weekend when I was away in Cambridge, I really can't be bothered!

I love the colours of this rose and I reckon that they would be great for summery beads. But whenever I make yellow beads no-one seems to want them! I guess yellow is one of those colours, isn't it? It looks great on some people and awful on others. If I wear yellow I look all pale and washed out. My sisters wear it and they look fabulous. Mind you, they both seem to have permanent suntans which probably help. They just need to look at the sun and they develop a golden tan whereas if I spend more than five minutes sat in the sun I turn a lovely shade of pink . . . . .

Thursday 19 June 2008

'Classic' Floratabs

Floratab beads in the classic colour combination of ivory and turquoise with just a dash of black.

Tuesday 17 June 2008

'Blaze' Floratabs

Here are the beads I mentioned earlier. A variation on my Floralentils. Comfy-to-wear tabs in vibrant fiery colours. I like. Do you?


Last week I literally ran out of energy. The past few weeks have been so mad what with all the tarting-up-the-house stuff, people coming for viewings and me trying to fit beadmaking in with all that. Plus there's the emotional side of things - selling our family home is something that I always thought would be done a couple more decades down the line. Then there's the thought of moving to a brand new place away from my sisters and my friends. I hate uncertainty and it plays havoc with my general mood and bead creativity.

So when I got on the train for Cambridge on Friday evening I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A weekend away from house stress and sitting next to my torch literally forcing myself to make beads seemed very inviting.

And what a lovely weekend I had! The weather was great and on the Saturday Chris hired us bikes and we cycled to Waterbeach and had lunch at a really nice pub/restaurant place. The cycle route went right along the river - very picturesque. I took the photo above with my mobile phone.

The weekend break seemed to help with my beadmaker's block. I went down to the shed this morning feeling quite refreshed, armed with a sketchbook full of doodles of potential bead designs. I put some of them into practice and I'm pretty pleased with what's in the kiln. I'll post a photo of the resulting beads here later on this evening.

Friday 13 June 2008

Golden envelope time

Thanks to all who entered the prize draw - heck, there was a lot of you!

I've just pulled a name out of the hat and the winner is . . . . .

. . . . . Jennie Pusey! Congratulations, Jennie.

I'm off to Cambridge now so I'll be back next week, hopefully with a bit more beadmaking time and energy, a still-working kiln and not quite as much house tarting-up to do . . . . .

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 12 June 2008

Free beads, anyone?

These beads are made from shades of pinky-purple glass and they have particles of frit caught inside them. They catch the light beautifully and are subtle but pretty.

And they could be all yours . . . . for free!

I thought it was about time I did another bead giveaway so if you fancy a shot at winning this set of eleven beads all you need to do is email me at with the words 'Free Beads' in the subject line.

You have until 3.00pm (GMT) on Friday 13th June to enter and I will then draw a winner at random from all the entries. I'll announce who that is here on my blog tomorrow afternoon.

Good luck!

Wednesday 11 June 2008

'Cinnamon' & 'Freshmint' Spanglentils

More etched lentils. These have enamels on them which etch to a lovely silky finish. Very strokeable beads, these!

I had a major panic the other day - Kenneth the kiln got sick! I think he may have secretly been a bit miffed about me taking a week off and then waltzing back into the shed like I'd never been away. He stopped heating up and that's a slight problem where beadmaking is concerned!

After emergency investigative kiln surgery and a couple of telephone conversations to kiln oracle Robin at Paragon Kilns it was decided that Kenneth's relay had broken. Kenneth's relay has now been replaced and I'm pleased to say that he is working once again. Huzzah! A huge thank you to Robin for his expert advice, help and superb customer service.

Tuesday 10 June 2008


Receiving flowers is always wonderful but when they're totally unexpected it's that little extra bit special.

These beauties arrived out of the blue this afternoon. They're a 'Just Because' gift from a fab friend of mine. I was so touched that I shed a tear or five. Thank you so much, Kanina - they're gorgeous!

Monday 9 June 2008

Watch Me Create

Watch Me Create is a fantastic team blog run by American lampworker Lori Greenberg. Members contribute by documenting their creative process as they create new bead designs and styles.

I'm really pleased to say that I am now a contributor to Watch Me Create and it's fabulous to be up there alongside such talented beadmaking folk. I made my first introductory post today. I'll be blogging there often so if you're interested in finding out more about how the beadmaking part of my brain functions make sure you bookmark the Watch Me Create blog and check back often.

Sunday 8 June 2008

'Shoreline' Spanglentils

Did you think I'd fallen off the edge of the Earth?

I haven't posted for ages because I've spent the last week decorating, tidying, sorting and generally turning the house into a show-home. Yes - Dad and I are moving. The house went on the market on Monday and we're going to move to Abingdon in Oxford. This house is just too big for us now so we're getting a smaller house and I will eventually move out totally one day . . . . . just as soon as Ewan McGregor leaves his wife! ;o)

It'll be sad to leave here and I'll miss being just around the corner from Sally, Emily and all my friends but I'll only be an hour up the road. My grandparents live in Abingdon and most of the rest of my family are in and around Oxford so that'll be nice. I actually lived the first year of my life in Abingdon, not that I remember anything about it, before Mum and Dad moved to Southampton because of Dad's job.

Buster can't understand what's going on. He hates disruption and what with all the decorating, cleaning and estate agents and viewers coming in and out of the house all the time he's very confused. Today he spent most of the day sunbathing on the lawn which I mowed yesterday. That did my hayfever the world of good, I can tell you. I was sneezing non-stop for about quarter of an hour after that!

So this move means that I'll be leaving my beloved shed behind and Beads By Laura will be getting new premises. I was very miffed when the first viewer said that my shed would make a perfect kennel for her dogs! She said she wasn't going to buy the house as it was too dark on the landing. What?! If the snooty woman removed her head from her backside maybe she'd find the world a much brighter place. Miaow!

I made beads today for the first time in ten days. I had a load of silvered ivory left over from my Wilma beads so I made these simple-but-effective lentils. They're etched to a satin finish and are quite evocative of the seaside methinks.

I'll try not to leave such a gap between this post and the next.