Saturday 28 February 2009

Actual Edible Cupcakes

Homemade Lemon CupcakesSally and the kids are visiting today so I was up and about early this morning baking these cupcakes to have after lunch. The cakes are vanilla with just a touch of lemon zest and they're filled with zingy lemon curd. I've topped them with delicious lemon cream cheese frosting and decorated them with little lemon jelly slices. Citrustastic!

Friday 27 February 2009

Sock-Making : Pink Fluff

Knitted SocksThese soft and fluffy pink socks are for my niece Robyn. I've also made her a little Cupcake necklace. She's coming to visit tomorrow - I can't wait to see her! I miss her so much. I used to see Robyn every week and now we've moved I only get to see her every couple of months. And of course it goes without saying that I'm looking forward to seeing my handsome little nephew Dylan too. Apparently he's now doing that kind of crawling-rolling-slithering thing that younglings do so I'll have to make sure that I put any pointy and child-unfriendly knitting implements right out of his way!

The pretty green and flowery bag you can see in the photo was a gift from Veryan. (I've been given a lot of gifts lately - I'm such a lucky girl!) Veryan sent me this cute little bag to keep my sock knitting in which is very handy as I keep losing needles and stuff all over the show. In fact, I've left my scissors and tape measure at Chris's flat so hopefully a bag will help me keep everything in one place. It's also mighty brilliant for putting your ball of wool in as you knit. It stops it from rolling across the carpet and getting chased by a tabby cat. The bag is from Nics Knots on Folksy. Nic Lucas makes lots of cute little bags and needle rolls in all sorts of lovely fabrics. Thanks so much Veryan - that was very sweet of you!

Win Some Sparkly Treasure!

Hoopla Pendant By Nicola RyanLook at this! My fab friend Nicky is giving away - yes, giving away - this totally gorgeous handmade 'Hoopla' necklace. To be in with a chance of nabbing this sterling silver beauty all you need to do is visit her blog and do what she says. Easy peasy!

Make haste, though! You've only got until this evening to enter .....

For Sale

Lampwork Glass Bead PairI've just added five lots of beads, including this earring pair, to my Etsy shop. All the beads that I've listed are from the Lonelies stash that Jelveh kindly sorted out for me yesterday. Why not pop over there, have a browse and see if anything tickles your beady tastebuds?!

Thursday 26 February 2009

Fantastic Day!

Jelveh in beadmaking actionI've had such a incredible day today! Jelveh, a very talented and experienced beadmaker, came over to melt glass, have lunch and have a good old chat. We've only spoken by email and today was the first time we actually met face-to-face and do you know, I feel like I've known her for years. You know when you 'click' with someone? Well that's exactly what happened.

Me showing Jelveh my stringerworkJelveh came bearing gifts of pudding! And gifts of glass - she gave me a strip of the most gorgeous dichroic glass you've ever seen as well as some goldstone ribbon and some cute star murrini cane. Watching Jelveh work was wonderful. She has so many skills and she showed me some pretty nifty glassy tricks and techniques. Jelveh also fell in love with Brenda and Edith, my two guinea pigs.

Jelveh and BrendaJelveh also gave me a good talking-to, in the nicest possible way. Most of you know what an utter pain-in-the-behind perfectionist I am, yeah? Well, I think Jelveh may have helped me with that particular problem trait of mine. She tipped out and sorted through the contents of my not-so-good-beads bag. All of my recent students have seen this bag of beads and most of them do the whole "Laura, why don't you sell these?" thing and to be honest, when I look through them sometimes even I can't see the reason why some of them never made it to the website. Like I say, I have a problem. So Jelveh spent ages grouping the beads into colour sets and she made me look at my 'rejects' in a whole new light. The beads aren't seconds (I kill those in the water jug or bin them) and I've promised Jelveh that I will add the sets she put together to my Etsy shop over the course of the next few days. In fact, tonight I was going to list the Lonelies from the last post but instead I put the first of the Jelveh Groupings up on Etsy instead and guess what - they've sold while I've been writing this post!

Me with BrendaI'm really glad that Jelveh and I spent the day together. I've learnt a lot from her and she's shown me a whole new way of looking at my work and enlightened me about the way other people see my beads. She is such an amazing lady and I loved listening to her American accent. The way she says 'aqua' and 'awesome' is so cool! Most of all I feel like I've made a really good friend and it is such a shame that Jelveh is moving back to the States next month. I hope I get to see her again before she goes.

Make sure you check out Jelveh's beautiful beads in her Etsy shop and also pop over and have a read of her blog.

Lonelies and blog stuff

Assorted Lampwork Glass BeadsI've been sorting through my Lonelies jar and I've split this little lot up into three batches that will be available in my Etsy shop later on today.

Oooh - I've just noticed that Blogger have fancied up the Followers section over there on the right. I like what they've done! I'm going to be having a sidebar tidy-up soon and I'll be altering the way I display my list of favourite blogs so if you want a direct link to your blog from mine then 'following' is the way to go. Click the 'Follow' button to add yourself and your blog to the list.

Also, did you read the interview I did with Janine Byrom of Cherished Trinkets last week? At the end of that I mentioned that I'm looking for more people to interview and feature on my blog but not one single solitary person has contacted me about that! I fear that I didn't quite explain myself properly so I thought I'd clarify what the interview thing is all about. Here goes :

If you have an arty-crafty-makey business (and no, it doesn't have to be jewellery or bead related) then contact me with details of your work and your blog/website/Etsy shop etc. I'll then take a look at your work and send you a few questions about what you do. Then I'll publish your answers on my blog along with lots of lovely photos of your work and an advert in the 'Featured Artist' section of my sidebar. Your advert and link will be displayed, totally free of charge, for about a month. Now, how does that sound? If you're interested in participating in an interview then please send me an email at . Thanks muchly!

Tuesday 24 February 2009

P-P-P-P-P-P-P-P-Pancake Day!

I'm not ashamed to say that I am a huge fan of Tony Robinson's classic BBC children's television series Maid Marian And Her Merry Men. So much so that I have all four series on DVD and watch them often. They still make me laugh! Just goes to show that in my mind I am indeed still a twelve year old ... but then you already knew that, right?

Anyway, this is the video of the Maid Marian 'Pancake Day' song that I always sing when I'm making pancakes which is what I'm just about to go and do now .....

Laura Sparling Script

My Handwriting FontWhat that image up there says is :

Hey there, Blogpeeps!

I've just made this font at .

You download a template upon which you write the alphabet, numbers and other characters. Then you scan it, upload it and voila - you'll have yourself a brand new font based on your actual handwriting.

Imagine that - your handwriting appearing on your monitor as you type. Ingenious!

This is my first attempt and it's a little bit wobbly so I'll probably have another go later on this evening.

Best of all you can create your font absolutely free!

Try it - it's fun!

Monday 23 February 2009

Asking For Trouble

'Asking For Trouble' GoodiesI came home from Cambridge today to a slew of letters and packages. I love getting post! Amongst my mail was a little package from Nicky. It was this beautiful button bag and cute 'Cakeify' cupcake brooch from Asking For Trouble.

The button bag is just great and it couldn't have come at a better time. The plastic lid on Mum's old button jar is cracked so I was going to have to find some new receptacle to keep all the buttons in and now I don't need to! I've transferred all the buttons over and now I have a pink bag full of buttony goodness.

Big thank you, Nicky! That was so sweet of you.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Camera Shy

Fingerless GlovesThis is Chris modelling his new fingerless gloves that I made him. I should make it clear that he asked me to make them and I haven't forced my hand-knitted goods upon him! Chris totally detests having his photo taken so I feel pretty honoured that he let me take this picture and then allowed me to blog it.

Friday 20 February 2009

Wonderful Work

Jewellery By Maria João RebeloMaria João Rebelo of Cool Temptations emailed me this photo of an elegant necklace and earrings set that she made using my Luminobeads. Very classy, don't you think?

Thanks for showing me your wonderful work, Maria João. It's always nice for me to see what happens to my beads once they reach their new owners. I'm nosy like that!

Thursday 19 February 2009

How do you make a cute cupcake cuter?

Lampwork Glass Kawaii Cupcake PendantYou happy it up with a little Kawaii-style face, that's how!

Japanese Kawaii things are just so sweet and smile-inducing. I may be putting my neck on the line saying this but I can honestly say that I've never seen any kind of Kawaii lampwork bead, let alone a Kawaii lampwork cupcake. Is it possible that I've come up with a bead design that is totally one hundred percent mine? Is it?

He'll be in my Etsy shop very shortly .....

EDIT - He was in my Etsy shop but he's already been snapped up. Let me know if you think I should make more Kawaii Cupcakes!

Looking for an oxygen concentrator?

If you are (and you're in the UK) then my blog-buddy Jelveh has one for sale at a bit of a knockdown price. If you're interested, head on over to her blog and contact her for details.

Cupcake Pendant Winners

I've just done the whole names-on-paper draw thing (yes, using the Lego tombola!) and the three winners of the Cupcake draw are Learna, Ladymeme123 and Ollee! Well done to you all. Please can you contact me and let me have your addresses and your Cupcake choices and I'll get your pendants made and in the post to you.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Reading all those pudding comments was really fun! This was my biggest draw to date - there were absolutely loads of you who joined in. Make sure you stay tuned for news of another giveaway soon.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Sock-Making : My Assistant

My Furry Purry Sock-Making AssistantBuster has no fear of knitting needles .....

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Artist Interview : Janine Byrom

'Pink Flutter' Bracelet by Janine ByromJanine Byrom is a jewellery designer from Manchester. Her eyecatching designs have a vintage feel about them and she always includes such pretty and unusual items in her work. Janine sells her jewellery in her Cherished Trinkets Etsy shop.

How long have you been creating jewellery?
Since 2005. I had such a horrible year that year and I had a lot of time off work to deal with the consequences. During that time I spotted a simple charm bracelet on a website and thought "Hmmm I wonder if I can do that?" so I had a go and found I couldn't but it didn't stop me having other attempts until I could. From then on I was addicted!

'Violet Whisper' Earrings by Janine ByromWhat are your favourite materials to work with?
I have so many! I don't think you can beat sterling silver really. It's so versatile and people seem to always go back to silver. I also like to age sterling silver to create a vintage effect. Saying that, I am really fond of materials such as brass, ribbon and pearls!

What inspires your work?
I get inspiration from so many things - it could be a picture in a magazine, a celebrity on TV or my Nana's jewellery box. You just have to look a bit harder sometimes!

'Alice In Wonderland' Bracelet by Janine ByromWhat five words would you use to describe your jewellery?
Girly, Unique, Fun, Bold, and of course Cherished!

Do you sketch your jewellery ideas on paper or do you design them in your head?
I can honestly say I have never sketched a design, sometimes I will start out not knowing how the piece will go and it just 'comes together'. Other times an idea 'pops' into my head and won't go until I've made it. This can be annoying at 4 o'clock in the morning! When designing charm bracelets and bits with lots of lovelies on, sometimes laying the pieces out first in their chosen design helps to picture how the finished jewellery will look.

'Purple Berry' Earrings by Janine ByromWhere do you make jewellery? A workroom? The kitchen table? The sofa?
Living in a small apartment makes it quite hard to have a nice big work space so I organise my materials in boxes and tend to get them out and work at the table. Sometimes I will work on a project whilst sat on the sofa with a beading tray on my knee. If I'm comfy I work better!

While working is your workspace neat and tidy ..... or a little bit messy?
My bead trays are all organised in colour schemes and tend to be tidy. I try to have a good tidy out about once a month as this way I get to see exactly what I have to work with.

'Mystic Key' Necklace by Janine Byrom
What jewellery project are you working on right now?
I'm working on a pair of brass and carnelian earrings. I've made one but I get bored doing the same thing so I'll go back to them. I'll probably make the other one today actually.

If you could design a piece of jewellery for a celebrity, who would that be and why?
It would have had to be the beautiful and classic Audrey Hepburn. How wonderful it would have been to see her in some Alice in Wonderland jewels!


Thanks for your answers, Janine. I reckon one of your Alice charm bracelets would have looked amazing on Audrey!

Make sure you head on over to Cherished Trinkets and see what delights Janine currently has for sale. Janine also blogs and she has a wonderful website too!

~ If you would like to be a featured artist here on my blog, please send me an email.~

Fingerless Mittens

Handmade Finglerss MittensThe concept of fingerless gloves of any type has always baffled me. I've never really understood the point of them ..... until now. They're not just warm - they allow you to use a touch screen mobile, operate the click wheel on an iPod, apply lip balm and eat crisps without the hindrance of woolly fingers. Ingenious!

I made myself these because I lent my other gloves to Emily and in true younger sister fashion I've not seen them again. These fingerless mitts are knitted in a beautiful shade of pinky-purple yarn and for a bit of je-ne-sais-quoi I added some buttons. They serve no purpose whatsoever but they look nice. They're from my Mum's button jar. Vintage! The other week Lori Anderson posted a photo on Flickr of her son having fun with buttons and it reminded me of the hours I spent as a child sorting through my Mum's button collection. So I fished out said button jar and spent far too long deciding which pretties should grace my gloves. I finally went for these little flower-shaped ones.

Catching Up

Veryan's First BeadsThere are lots of exciting things happening in my little beady world. I will try and get some 'normal' beads made today alongside glass cakes. Huge thanks to everyone who has placed Cupcake orders - your custom is much appreciated.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to blog about beadmaking lessons. Well, they're still happening and last Wednesday was great. My student was Veryan Parker who is a jewellery designer. Veryan had never had a go at lampworking before and I couldn't believe how well she did. She's a bit of a natural at this beadmaking malarkey and she filled the kiln with a wodge of beads including the set (yes, an actual set) of frit beads pictured above. Veryan has blogged about her glass melting day so if you get a chance make sure you head on over to her blog where you can take a look at some more photographs of her first beads.

Coming up : Knitting news .....

Fabulous Fella

ValentinesI know Valentines Day was on Saturday and therefore I'm a tad behind with the topical romance-related blog post but I just have to mention the fact that I had the bestest Valentines ever! I don't think Chris was over the moon about me blogging this (as his Mum's probably reading) but I told him I simply had to because I thought it was lovely and I wanted to ..... well ..... show off really!

On Friday night I arrived at Chris's flat and as I opened the door there were pearly pink balloons everywhere. There were candles and red heart-shaped fairy lights too. There was also a furry red heart-shaped cushion on the sofa, a dozen red roses and fizzy pink wine. Chris cooked a fab dinner and pudding was strawberry and cream tart. He also gave me the lushest box of Hotel Chocolat Valentines chocolates and dang, they're good. Like really good.

Do you see - I couldn't let all that effort and romantical wonderfulness go unmentioned, could I? I tell you, it was like something out of a movie! I'm such a lucky girl.

Thursday 12 February 2009


Lampwork Cupcake PendantsTime for a giveaway, methinks.

And I'm giving away not one, not two, but three Cupcake pendants! Yes, three lucky people will win a custom made wearable Cupcake. The winners will get to choose exactly how they'd like their cake to look and I will add some sterling silver and turn it into a pretty pendant for them.

To enter, all you need to do is tell me what your favourite pudding is. Please post your favoured dessert in my comments section (or send me an email if you prefer) and I will draw three names at random on Thursday 19th February at 7.30pm UK time. The draw is open to anyone anywhere in the world but only one entry per person please.

If you want to get your hands on a Cupcake bead in the meantime, they're available over on my website and in my Etsy shop.

Good luck!

Wednesday 11 February 2009

How lush is this?

Sophie's Toes YarnVery lush. I bought this gorgeous hand dyed 'Harlequin' yarn from Sophie's Toes on Etsy last week and it arrived today. Sheer beauty. I really can't wait to turn this into socks! I started work on another pair last night so I must finish those first. I also received some funky coloured wooden double pointed needles in the post today that I ordered from the highly efficient Stash. Knit-tastic!

I signed up to Twitter this morning. I think it could become ridiculously addictive. I don't do Facebook or My Space but Twitter seems to be right up my street. I've added my Twitter updates on my blog sidebar so come along and follow me and my 'Tweets' if you like!

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Sock-Making : Purple Sockness

Handmade SocksIt had to be done. I love purple. I love socks. That is a recipe for ..... purple socks!

So here we have my second pair of handmade socks, this time knitted in 4 Ply yarn. They're very soft and cosy.


My little beads were featured on All Things Cupcake. Ace!

In case you were wondering, I haven't forgotten how to make beads that aren't in the shape of cakes. I've just about worked through my wodge of Cupcake orders so 'normal' beadmaking service will resume shortly .....

Sunday 8 February 2009


I love Etsy. It's full of wonderful handmade items. I spend ages there just looking around and oohing-and-aahing over all the amazing creations.

I've just set up an Etsy shop. I'm going to list some Cupcake beads there along with my Lonelies and the occasional bead set so make sure you surf on over there every now and again and have a look at what's in stock.

My Etsy shipping is free no matter whereabouts in the world you are. Everything there is listed in US Dollars so you may well need to do a touch of currency conversion from time to time. I recommend Google Finance or XE for this. If you're a non-US resident don't let the currency thing put you off. PayPal converts everything for you so making payments is an absolute doddle!

I'll be adding more beads to my Etsy shop over the next few days .....

Saturday 7 February 2009

Oven Gloveliness

Oven GlovesI found these delectable oven gloves in a shop in Abingdon today and at the bargain price of £2.99 I just had to have them. I shall use them when I'm baking actual proper edible cakes as opposed to glass ones.

Random Poetry Moment

'Ode To My Lunchtime Sandwich'

Cheese and Salad Cream,
You're such a winning team,
On white bread,
With Clover spread,
Oh cheese and Salad Cream.

Friday 6 February 2009

Yes, more Cupcake beads!

Lampwork Cupcake BeadsI'm working my way through my stack of custom Cupcake bead orders. Please visit my Flickr Cupcake Gallery to see the full version of this photograph.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Cupcake Frenzy!

Glass Cupcake BeadsOh my! You've all gone totally mad for the Cupcake beads! I've had so many orders. Thank you very much everyone. I made a start on the orders earlier today and here are the first few beads.

You've all selected such beautiful colour schemes for your cakes. I've created a Cupcake Bead Gallery over at Flickr so you can see what people have ordered so far. I'll update this gallery regularly. If you'd like to order Cupcake beads but you're stuck for colour ideas then maybe the Flickr Photostream will help you to make up your mind.

Cupcake Update

I've had a good old think about it and you may be pleased to hear that I'm going to make my Cupcake beads to order.

Please click here for all the details .....

Snow Glee!

Me In The Snowy GardenI know that the snow is causing a huge amount of disruption across the country at the moment but I'm totally loving the stuff! I went to bed late last night (I was absorbed in knitting a sock) and when I turned the television off I could hear the soft sound of snowflakes falling upon the conservatory roof. All of our Monday snow had melted away so my snow excitement was renewed and I kept waking up every hour or so last night to peer out of the window and see if the white stuff was still falling.

When I got up this morning I was delighted to see about ten centimetres of snow outside! Snow just makes everything look magically beautiful, doesn't it? Like an absolute child I got dressed and rushed outside to play. Yes, I'm thirty one but you've got to make the most of snow like that!

I built a little snowcat. Her name is Bianca and her eyes and nose are made of beads from my Lonelies jar. I only made a tiny one as I didn't want to use all the snow up!

Bianca SnowcatNow that my hands have thawed out and my kiln is warmed up I shall switch from fashioning cats from snow to creating cakes from glass. Thank you so much for the fabulous response to last night's Cupcake beads. Something tells me I'll be making a lot of these. Do any of you out there have any colour or decoration suggestions for them? If so, please leave them in my comments section and I'll see what I can do.

See you later!

Wednesday 4 February 2009


Lampwork Glass Cupcake BeadsDue to the weather my student couldn't make it here for her lesson today so I spent the day working on these babies instead! And work on them I did. After fifty plus attempts and experiments I eventually figured out the best recipe and method for baking these glass treats.

I adore cupcakes and not just the actual edible ones. I ooh-and-ahh over any cupcakey products that I see in shops and online. I love the look of them. They're colourful, cute and smile-inducing. They can be any colour. These ones in particular have 'chocolate' cake bases and they're all topped with icing (or 'frosting' as they say in the States) and an array of decorations. My head is full of cupcake bead ideas!

Lampwork Glass Cupcake BeadI think these would make super pendants but at 15mm high they would be great as charms too.

I thought I'd post these photos here so I can get some feedback about them from my wonderful blog followers before I launch into creating a bakery's worth of glass cakes. What do you think of them?

Tuesday 3 February 2009

A 1970s Me

Vintage LauraI've just been having a bit of a laptop tidy-up. While I was getting rid of old photographs and documents, clearing away unused icons and emptying the overflowing recycle bin, I found a few pictures of me as a child. This one made me giggle so I thought I'd post it here for you to have a look at too!

It's yours truly sat in a bucket of water on a hot summer's day. As you can see I've always had the wiggy hair. My love of sparkly things goes back a long way too. The photo is pretty grainy but if you look carefully you may be able to see a bracelet on my left wrist. Apparently I wore it from just a few months old. I've still got that bracelet and it lives in my jewellery box. It doesn't fit now, though .....

Monday 2 February 2009


Encased Frit BeadsParticles of pretty multicoloured frit suspended in sparkling crystal clear glass. There's something magical about encased frit - the encasing layer gives such depth. These are simple but eye-catching beads. I've teamed them with some spacers made from a gorgeous vanilla coloured glass.

While we're on the subject of gorgeous coloured glass, I've been playing with some of the newer Creation Is Messy colours. I love CiM glass - the colours are so smooth, clean and crisp. CiM's glass colour names are pretty cool too. Here's a few test beads that I made with 'Crocus' and 'Heffalump'.

CiM Test BeadsLavender coloured glasses are notoriously difficult to photograph. They don't like artificial light but they just shine in natural daylight. I'll definitely be getting more of these two shades. Sublime!

Sock-Making : Sockcess!

My First Pair Of Handmade SocksHuzzah! My first proper pair of socks! I totally love them. They fit perfectly and they're so warm and snug. I knitted them in a groovy-coloured variegated yarn in shades of orange and purple.

Detail Of Groovy YarnI finished knitting them last night and it couldn't have been better timing because today it's snowing outside. I'm so excited! I absolutely flippin' love the snow and I just did a little it's-snowing-and-I'm-wearing-my-new-socks dance in the conservatory. In fact I got a little bit snow-crazy and flung the conservatory door open and sat there with my legs dangling outside to test the warmth of the socks. They're toasty!

Socks & SnowI know I sound like a sap but I think it's safe to say that I'm totally addicted to knitting socks. I've already started another pair. I think the ladies in the local wool shop are going to be sick of the sight of me!

I'll post again later with bead news .....