Thursday 29 April 2010

Favourite Flowers

Red TulipMy little sister Emily is visiting for a few days which is lovely. We don't get to see each other much and it's fab to have her about the place. When she arrived on Tuesday she brought me a gorgeous bunch of bright red tulips - my favourite flowers.

Today we popped into Oxford to look for a bridesmaid dress for her. We found a couple of potential frocks but no purchase was made so that job is still on the wedding to-do list, as are many many other things ....

In bead news I have another set of polka dotty beads, this time in purple and spearmint.

Lampwork Polka Dot BeadsI reckon this'll be the last polka dot set for the time being - I'm all dotted out!

Wednesday 28 April 2010

CiM Testing : Pumpkin

CiM Pumpkin - Plain and EtchedYou know how I feel about yellow beads - I blogged about it a few weeks back. As I said in the comments for that post I am drawn to warmer, slightly orangey yellows and CiM Pumpkin is one of those.

Pumpkin is a rich, smooth mango colour. It also reminds me of tinned peaches! Below is a set of test beads that I made in order to show you how Pumpkin compares to other yellows and yellow-oranges :

CiM Pumpkin Test BeadsBeads from left to right : Pumpkin, Pumpkin etched, Pumpkin thinly encased with Vetrofond clear, Pumpkin thickly encased with Vetrofond clear, CiM Creamsicle, Effetre 412 Dark Yellow and Effetre 416 Bright Yellow.

As you can see, the Pumpkin is lighter in colour and less streaky than the Effetre Dark Yellow. I found the Pumpkin very nice to work with - it's got a middle-of-the-road consistency. It encases really well too and looks absolutely beautiful when it's etched.

Pumpkin has an element of translucency about it and that is always a sign that the glass may not lend itself to the kind of fine, crisp stringerwork that I am do. My suspicions were confirmed. The photograph below shows Pumpkin as polka dots on a CiM Peace bead cased with CiM Simply Berry.

CiM Pumpkin Polka Dot BeadsAs you can see, the dots have lost a bit of their yellowness and as linework the stringer loses its crispness and definition. That's not just limited to Pumpkin - a lot of the 104 yellow-oranges do the same thing. As I say, I think this might be related to its slight translucent properties.

But as a base glass and for raised dots and relief work CiM Pumpkin is a stunner. The Pumpkin beads below are encased with a thin layer of Vetrofond clear and the stringerwork and spacers are CiM Lapis.

CiM Pumpkin and CiM LapisIf you're looking for a smooth and fruity yellow-orange then I suggest you give the lovely CiM Pumkpin a whirl. I can imagine that it would look ace with bright pink, rich purples and darker oranges and reds.

Monday 26 April 2010

New Video : How to strike CiM 'Sangre'

I've just uploaded a new video to my YouTube Channel.

After my
CiM Sangre post I had lots of emails from people asking about how you actually strike this glass. It's one of those things that is easier to show you rather than to put into words so I've made a video.

Apologies for the aeroplane noise near the end of the movie. We live quite near an airfield so it's a pretty regular occurrence. You can still hear me, though.

I hope you find
the video helpful.

Wendy does it again!

'Toe Up Socks For Every Body' by Wendy D. JohnsonI was totally converted to toe-up sock knitting when I purchased a copy of Wendy D. Johnson's 'Socks From The Toe Up' book last year. If you're new to sock knitting I cannot recommend that book highly enough.

A few months back I was pootling about on Amazon and I saw that Wendy had a new sock book called 'Toe-Up Socks For Every Body' in the works. Oh, imagine my sock joy! I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon and it finally arrived a few days ago. The book is wonderful. It contains twenty one patterns for some of the most lovely socks I've ever seen, all of them knitted from the toe up. I was all in a quandary about which pair to attempt first so I let logic take over and I'm currently working on the first pattern in the book - the 'Rosebud' socks.

'Toe Up Socks For Every Body' by Wendy D. JohnsonAs the book title suggests 'Toe-Up Socks For Every Body' contains patterns for women, men and children and it also contains lots of helpful information on designing your own socks.

If you're a fellow sock knitter I am sure you'll love this book. Or if you're a new sock knitter why not head on over to Wendy's fabulous website and try out some of her free patterns and who knows, maybe you'll become a toe-up convert too!

Thursday 22 April 2010

Lots of Lonelies

Lampwork Glass BeadsI've been sorting through my Lonelies jar and the beads I'll have for sale tonight will be strands comprising of this little lot.

My Lonelies are experiments, one-offs and leftovers from sets. All of these beads are first quality and I’ve sorted them into colour groups so the strands are all from the same colour family but they’re all a bit mix-and-match as opposed to my normal homogenous sets. So these would be great if you like making phone charms, charm bracelets and using the odd lampwork bead here and there.

These will be for sale on my website at 8.00pm (UK time) tonight but be quick, though because whenever I normally list Lonelies they fly off the virtual shelf!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

CiM Testing : Sangre

CiM Sangre BeadsI'm kicking off my Creation is Messy testing at the beginning of the rainbow and the first colour I'm posting about is Sangre. This 'dense and saturated striking red' is an utterly gorgeous colour and for a striker it is pretty easy to work. The colour is as richly red as its name suggests - sangre is the Spanish word for blood.

Striking colours develop in the flame. By gently cooling and reheating the colour will become deeper and more vibrant. Some striking glasses are easier to strike than others and Sangre is one of the easy ones.

The beads at the top of the post include two plain Sangre beads - the one on the left is just straight plain Sangre and the one propped up at the back is a thin layer of Sangre over a CiM Peace (white) core. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Sangre acts as an encasing glass.

CiM Sangre BeadsBut in my opinion the best way to show off this wonderful red is to use it in moderation and to let the light shine through it. The beads above have a core of Sangre which I've heavily encased in Vetrofond clear and decorated with polka dots in CiM Peace. As you can see I've got quite consistent results with the glass regardless of the fact it's a striker. I really didn't treat it any differently to a non-striking transparent and I went about my beadmaking business in a pretty normal manner. That's what I mean when I say Sangre is easy to strike.

Sangre, like most transparent reds, likes to be photographed in natural daylight or else it will look like it has a brownish tinge to it. The two photos above were taken in the early morning sunlight.

The photograph below was taken in the shade of the conservatory and shows one plain Sangre bead and one that is etched. The glass etches really well.

CiM Sangre BeadsCiM Sangre will definitely be my 'go to' transparent red from now on. Love it!

Creation Is Messy Testing

I'm pleased to announce that I am now an official glass tester for Creation Is Messy.

What does this mean? Well, I get to try out new colours and then I document my findings. I will be posting about brand spanking new CiM colours here on my blog. It's pretty exciting for me because it means I get to play with glass that not many other people have used. How fab is that?

But I'm not just sticking to the brand new colours as far as testing is concerned. I am going to work my way through the entire CiM range (which right now stands at about 70+ colours) and I will tell you about my findings right here on my blog. I'm doing this because I believe that beadmakers' experiences with glass vary depending on working methods, torch, beadmaking style and the like so this means that one particular glass can yield umpteen different effects. My test findings may help other beadmakers when choosing glass to work with.

Working my way through CiM's massive colour range will also push me to use colours that I may not normally be drawn to and this may result in some pretty interesting and different beads from the ones that I usually make.

I'll be testing CiM glass and posting about my findings as and when so if you're a fellow beadmaker and you're interested in following my testing project do subscribe to my blog or add yourself as a follower. All subscription links are over there on the right hand side of my blog.

Just a quick post .....

Lampwork Glass Polka Dot Beads..... to show you this handful of loveliness. I made these polka dot gems yesterday and I've been out in the morning sun taking photos of them. Just off to sort through the resulting pictures now and I'll post again later on.

Tuesday 20 April 2010


Hand Knitted SocksThe other day Chris pointed out to me that I hadn't blogged any of my sock knitting for a while. This is because I have been suffering from severe SSS - Second Sock Syndrome. This is when you knit the first sock and then you just can't be arsed to complete the second one. I have six socks that have no partners. Aw, isn't that sad?!

Zauberball Crazy Sock YarnBut I am knitting socks. I completed this pair a couple of weeks ago but never got round to photographing them. They're knitted in Zauberball Crazy sock yarn which I purchased from Loop at the end of last year. These socks hung about on my knitting needles for the best part of three months and I finally pulled my finger out and got them finished. I like them - they match but they don't, if you see what I mean. The yarn itself is a lot of fun to work with - you don't quite know what you're going to get until you knit it up.

Thursday 15 April 2010

'Purple Polka Dots'

Lampwork Glass BeadsYes, more polka dotty beads. You know me and polka dots - I make one set and then I can't stop! These pretty purple ones (which I am in love with) are CiM Heffalump encased in Vetrofond clear, decorated with CiM Lapis polka dots. The spacer beads are CiM Crocus. Purpletastic!

Wednesday 14 April 2010


Lampwork Glass BeadsPretty polka dot beads made from CiM Glacier and CiM Fremen. These will be for sale on my website at 8.30pm (UK time) tomorrow night.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Green & Cream

Lampwork Glass BeadsI couldn't decide what colour beads to make today so I texted Chris and asked him (he's good like that) and he said I should make green ones. This tied in nicely with a request for a green and cream bracelet that I had from a family member last night so I spent the day making green and cream beads.

These are a mix of CiM Dirty Martini, CiM Split Pea, CiM Butter Pecan Unique (a very pale version) and Effetre Sage Green transparent. I think this mix of colours makes for a really fresh-looking set of beads.

EDIT : Chris has named these beads 'Pacers' after Pacers Mints which were a sweet available in the 1980s. Here's a link to the television advert for them. I have no recollection of these sweets but Chris is a year-and-a-bit older than me so maybe they were just a tad before my time!

Monday 12 April 2010


Black & White Lampwork Glass BeadsBlack and white beads. Simple. Classic. Timeless.

Sunday 11 April 2010

Some new beads

Spotty Lampwork Glass BeadsI've just been taking advantage of the bright sunny weather and I've been out in the back garden photographing yesterday's beads.

The ones at the top of the post are made from CiM Pink Champagne, a glass that begs to be photographed in natural light in order to show off its wonderful pinkness. The beads have a core of CiM Heffalump cased in the Pink Champagne and the spots and spacers are CiM Lapis which is actually a gorgeous indigo. Such a girly set of beads!

The lentil beads below are a rich warm gold-yellow with metallic accents and subtle pink touches. They have a brilliant glossy shine to them.

Lampwork Glass Lentil BeadsBoth of these bead sets and more will be available to buy on my website at 8.30pm (UK time) tomorrow evening.

Friday 9 April 2010

Laura Random Giveaway


And the winner of it is Cheryl from North Carolina, USA.

Keep your eyes open for more Random Giveaways in the future .....

Note : For all of the details regarding my Laura Random Giveaways please click here.

Jewellery by Beady Pool

'Seaspray' Earrings by Veryan ParkerVeryan Parker of Beady Pool has emailed me some photos of jewellery that she's made with my beads. The beautiful 'Seaspray' earrings above and matching bracelet below are currently available in Veryan's Folksy shop.

'Seaspray' Bracelet by Veryan ParkerThe super-pretty 'Cosmos' earrings below were available but alas, they've been snapped up already.

'Cosmos' Earrings by Veryan ParkerI just had to post the photo of them though because I think they're so lovely and I wanted you to see them.

If you've got photos of jewellery that you've made with my beads do send me an email as I would love to see your work and I may well feature it here on my blog.

Thursday 8 April 2010

Em's 21st Birthday

Em with her birthday cakeToday Dad and I travelled down to Bournemouth to see Emily, my littlest sister, for her twenty-first birthday. I cannot believe she's twenty one. That makes me feel quite old! That's Em up there with her birthday cake that I made for her.

Mmmmm. Chocolate cake!I was chuffed with the cake. It turned out really well and it's SO chocolatey! The recipe is a Nigella one from her book Feast. The recipe can be found by clicking here.

We had a nice day - the weather was beautiful. We had lunch at a great restaurant called WestBeach and we sat and ate outside on the deck that overlooks the seafront. So nice! I had some of the best fish and chips I've ever had.

I've had a busy couple of weeks, hence the lack of beads and blogging but I have a free weekend coming up and I'll be melting some glass. Stay tuned for new beads .....

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Clearing Up Confusion

I know this post might sound a little bit snotty but I would hate to mislead people with regard to the glass that I use to make my beads. As a result of some recent confusion, I'd just like to point out that any names I give a bead or beads are not necessarily related to or indicative of the glass used to make them. For example, my 'Blush' beads are made from Effetre Rose 082 and not CiM Blush. I called them 'Blush' because they are a soft pink and it was the first name that came into my head for them. Similarly, my 'Champagne' beads are an oddlot of Effetre Light Brown 018 and are not CiM Pink Champagne. They're not even pink.

I love CiM glass and I normally refer to the specific shades of it that I've used whenever I post bead photos on my blog. I also love Effetre glass too and no, I don't always post exactly what colours I've used because I do like to keep a few glassy colour recipes to myself. Surely that's okay?

I don't like writing moany blog posts because I hate reading other people's moany blog posts but I feel I need to clear this matter up. Just because I call a set of beads 'Sky' it doesn't mean that they're made from Effetre Light Sky Blue 224.

While I'm here I'd also like to talk about my bead photos. You are more than welcome to use any images from my blog, my Flickr gallery or my website for personal reference, linking purposes and so on - please feel free to right click and save away! But if you would like to use my images for other reasons such as blog articles or inclusion in magazines and the like, please email me for permission to do so. This is only to avoid any incorrect description of my work. It is not because I am a mean and miserable bead diva.

There we go. End of moany blog post. Again, my apologies for any confusion caused.