Friday 28 May 2010

More Luminobeads

Etched Lampwork Glass Beads
More Luminobeads and there are more coming up soon so if you missed out on getting hold of some this week maybe you'll be in luck next week. If you have any Luminobead colour requests or ideas then please post them in the comments section.

I'm off up to Cambridge for the Bank Holiday weekend. It looks as if this is going to be my final weekend at Chris's flat. The next time I travel up there will be to move into the new house. That's a very strange feeling .....

Thanks for all your prize draw entries and for all the fab comments and blog mentions. I've been visiting the blogs of everyone who has posted about the draw and will continue to do so.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday 26 May 2010


Etched Lampwork Glass BeadsMy Luminobeads are always popular so I tend to make them in batches. After I'd etched this bunch and they were in a heap I just had to take a photo because I love the way these colours look together.


It's Wednesday which means it's time for five weblinks .....

1. Uniqart

Detail of 'Sparrow & Apple Blossom' by Caroline BletsisCaroline Bletsis of Uniqart is truly an Arty Lady Of Many Crafts. The woman is amazing. She knits, she crochets, she sews, she makes jewellery, she cooks, she gardens, she probably does a bazillion more things but most of all she paints. Caroline creates the most amazing artwork in several different mediums. The photograph above shows a detail of her latest painting which is a sweet little sparrow and some apple blossom. Caroline blogs almost daily and she sells her work in her Etsy Shop.

2. The Panopticon

This is the
blog of Chicago-based knitter Franklin Habit. Whenever I see that Franklin has blogged I always smile because I know that I'll be in for a good read. His sense of humour is fantastic and he knits the most fabulous things. Fellow 'Cast On' podcast listeners will know his voice - he has read stories for 'Cast On' many times. If you knit (and even if you don't) do pay a visit to Franklin's blog - you will not be disappointed!


myPANTONEI like colour (obviously) and I like playing about with it to work out new bead colour combos. I also like to look at non-beady things and extract potential colour palettes from them. Pantone have an application called myPANTONE for the iPhone and iPod Touch which does exactly that. At £9.99 it's pricey but so very worth it. You can use an existing photo or you can take a picture of something you see when you're out and about with your iPhone and the app will analyse it and produce a palette based on it. I've used this several times for beads and it really is very useful. Please click here for more information.

4. Print & Pattern

Folding bag by PaperchaseI love Paperchase. I like wandering around it gazing at all the loveliness and stroking the occasional notepad, box or roll of ribbon. If you do the same thing in stationery shops or if you just love fabrics, wallpaper and patterns in general then you need to visit Print & Pattern. It's described as a website 'that celebrates the world of surface pattern design'. It really does do exactly that. Please click here to see all the eye candy.

5. Off-Mandrel

I thought I'd give a shout-out to Off-Mandrel. This is where I buy a lot of my glass from. They have have a walk-in shop in Glasgow but they also do mail order. I cannot fault their customer service - delivery is fast and everything is always presented really nicely. Fab place!

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Lonelies Prize Draw

Lampwork Glass BeadsI haven't done a prize draw for yonks! While I was washing up yesterday my eyes fell upon my Lonelies Jar and I thought that it was about time all the beads inside it got a new home.

My 'Lonelies' beads are all first quality. They are experiments, one-offs and leftovers from sets. This particular strand is 300mm long (12") and contains 41 beads - 20 patterned and decorated ones and 21 spacers. That's a lot of jewellery-making potential right there!

Lampwork Glass BeadsIf you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this strand all you need to do is enter my prize draw. Regular prize draw entrants do read on as I've changed the prize draw rules ever-so-slightly. They 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 you blog about and link to this prize draw post I will enter your name twice. Bonus!

~ To enter you need to leave a comment on this blog post. If you've blogged 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 Friday 4th June.

~ 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 4th June to see if you've won!

I hope that all makes sense. Good luck everybody!

CiM Testing : Sherwood

Creation Is Messy 'Sherwood'Sherwood is another brand new Messy Color glass an it's a forest green with a very subtle, slight blue hint to it. In the CiM palette I'd say it's probably closest to Split Pea.

The thing about CiM greens is that they really fill a gap in the 104 palette. Sherwood is a proper 'natural' kind of green. You could use it for vine cane and leaves and it wouldn't be too in-your-face and garish. (Yes, Effetre Grass Green, I'm talking about you!)

The photograph below shows Sherwood compared to other glass colours :

CiM 'Sherwood' test beadsBeads from left to right : Sherwood, Sherwood etched, Sherwood thinly encased with Vetrofond clear, Sherwood thickly encased with Vetrofond clear, CiM Split Pea, CiM Commando, Effetre 216 Light Grass Green.

Here's a list of my Sherwood findings :

  • Not at all shocky.
  • Melts nice and smoothly - on a consistency par with Commando and Split Pea.
  • A little streaky, as in it produces striations.
  • Loses its crispness and definition and tends to spread when used as stringer.
  • Etches really well.
  • Has a tendency to bleed at the edges when encased BUT it is an opaque green and opaque greens do like to do that!

The photo below shows Sherwood as polka dots on a Dirty Martini bead encased with Vetrofond clear :

Cim 'Sherwood' as polka dotsAnd the following photo illustrates what I mean about the stringer spreading thing. Of course, this effect isn't a bad thing - sometimes you can use this type of glass property to your design advantage. The Sherwood is used on top of Dirty Martini here :

CiM 'Sherwood' as stringerSo yes, Sherwood is a nice green. I'm not a massive fan of opaque green glasses (because they don't always do what I'd like them to do, but hey, that's probably just my glass control freakishness thing) but if I was going to make some realistic looking floral beads then this would be one of the greens I'd go for.

Monday 24 May 2010

'Lavender Blush' Luminobeads

Etched Lampwork BeadsSome etched Luminobeads in lavender and a kind of pink-lavender. Soft and pretty.

I will be posting details of a Prize Draw tomorrow. The prize will be a strand of Lonelies so if you're interested in taking part stay tuned .....

'Softly Softly'

Pink & Grey Lampwork Glass BeadsI knew after I made those 'Ballerina' beads the other day that I hadn't got the pink and grey thing out of my system and sure enough, when I sat down to make beads yesterday morning those were the colours I gravitated towards.

Pink & Grey Lampwork Glass BeadsThe result was this large(ish) set of beads which I've named 'Softly Softly'. This strand sold last night but I re-photographed the beads in the morning sun and I thought I'd blog the pictures for you.

Looks like it's going to be another warm one today so I'm off to make beads right now before the conservatory turns into a sauna!

Sunday 23 May 2010

'Pecan Pie' & Melvin

I love it when I find a new colour combination that just works. This strand of beads is made from CiM Butter Pecan, CiM Sepia and CiM Tamarind and I am delighted with how they've turned out.

They look extra delicious in these photos because they're taken in direct sunlight. I always love sunbathing beads, especially transparent ones because they cast their colourful shadows all over the show.

These beads will be for sale over on my website at 9.00pm (UK time) tonight.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend? It's mighty warm here - I've actually got a skirt on! Without leggings! Anyone who knows me knows that it must be warm if I've got my legs out.

The sky is so blue and Melvin, the local Red Kite, has just flown over. I meant to mention him/her the other day. A couple of weeks back I was pegging the washing out and I heard a really unfamiliar bird noise. I went through my RSPB Birds App on my iPhone but couldn't identify it. Then a few days ago I was sat outside eating my lunch and I heard the noise again. I looked up into the sky to see a huge bird with a really distinctive pattern on its wings and a forked tail. The bird was really graceful, just gliding through the sky. I knew it must be a bird of prey and with a bit of Googling I identified it as a Red Kite. Its Latin name is 'Milvus Milvus' and that is why I've nicknamed the bird Melvin. It's quite a sight to see such a beautiful bird against a bright blue sky. I tried to photograph it but alas, my camera is too wimpy so I've just had a scout about on Flickr and found this image :

This wonderful photo is by Andrew Withey and he's got some really amazing shots in his Flickr Photostream. Please click here to take a look at them.

All righty then. I'm off to melt some glass and make some beads .....

Friday 21 May 2010

Kenneth Lives!

Pink Lampwork Glass BeadsThe relay for Kenneth arrived today and I fitted it, revved the kiln up, held my breath and was elated to find that Kenneth is working again! Yeah!

And in answer to your question, Sue, fitting a new relay is really easy. The longest part of the process is unscrewing/replacing the dozen screws on the base of the kiln to get to the workings. Aside from that it's just a logical process of moving the wires carefully from the old relay across to the new one. I call Robin at
Electric Kilns whenever I need a relay or if I'm having kiln trauma and he is always so amazingly helpful.

So anyway, with Kenneth in full working order I was able to make a few beads. Not many because by the time I'd mended the kiln and had a celebratory bacon sandwich it was afternoon and also the conservatory was 31°C (sudden sunshine-a-rama today) and I was wilting a bit. So the small set that I do have ready are those pretty 'Ballerina' ones up there. Soft pink (
CiM Desert Pink if you're interested) and grey. Very '80s, don't you think?

I will be making beads all weekend to make up for what I haven't been able to do in the past couple of days so do check in over the weekend to see what glass creations I come up with. Then I'm reckoning that I'll be selling said beads on either Sunday or Monday night.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Those green socks

Hand Knitted 'Laurel' SocksSo these are the lime green socks that I finished the other day - the ones that I paired with a purple dress and shocked Chris with.

Hand Knitted 'Laurel' SocksThey are pretty bright but I like bright! The yarn is from Violet Green and it's Sappho in 'Pale Lime'. The yarn is nice to knit with and it has a lovely sheen to it. The pattern is 'Laurel' from Wendy D. Johnson's book 'Toe Up Socks For Every Body'. I like the yarn and I do like the pattern but I can't seem to love these socks 100%. They kind of dragged on a bit and I did quite a bit of frogging as I kept missing the occasional yarn over at the start of rounds (always an easy and annoying mistake to make) but maybe they'll grow on me. I did think about abandoning the socks halfway but I decided that I have far too many single socks and I carried on and finished them.

Laura Random Giveaway


And the winner of them is Val from Suffolk, UK.

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.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Stay with me, Kenneth!

Kenneth The KilnI have no beads to show you. There I was today making beads when all of a sudden I noticed that something was amiss with Kenneth, my kiln. He was losing heat. I turned the kiln off and on again (works with many things) and he started heating up again but after a few minutes his temperature dropped. At this point I removed my iPod earphones to listen to his relay which wasn't doing its normal clicking on and off. Funny - the click of the kiln becomes white noise after a while but you soon notice when something isn't right about it.

Swearing followed and a slight panic set in. Then I remembered that last week Kenneth was displaying symptoms of a dodgy relay but I must have blocked it out because I didn't want him to be ill. More curse words fell out of my mouth as I realised that no more beadmaking action would be taking place today. There is also the fear that this might be more than a broken relay but the problems are pretty much the same as when Kenneth's relay went last time so I have everything crossed that he'll be okay. I've ordered a new relay and that should be here in the next couple of days and then I'm hoping that once I've fitted it it'll all be alright.

I'm trying not to get lairy about this. I've made a rice pudding to calm me. Pudding is good. Pudding always helps. Not going to get stressed .....

So no beads for a couple of days, people. Pants!


The first thing I do each and every morning is visit my favourite websites and blogs. I sit here with a cup of tea and click away seeing what's new and what everyone else is up to.

I've decided that I'm going to share five of my web finds with you every Wednesday in a feature that I'm going to call 'Webnesday'. Get it? (Don't try and say that word as it probably won't work - it's more of a visual thing.)

1. Pursuing The Art Of Curiosity

'Cherry' choker by Jennifer DangerfieldFirstly I'd like to draw your attention to Jennifer Dangerfield and her wonderful blog 'Pursuing The Art Of Curiosity'. I have known Jennifer (on a virtual basis) for years - we've never met but we have sent each other countless emails and she works the most amazing wonders with my beads. The 'Cherry' choker above is just one example of that. Jennifer has recently returned to blogging after a long hiatus. I'm delighted about this as I have missed her. Please click here to read Jennifer's blog and click here to visit her website which includes a gallery of her fabulous jewellery.

2. So What's New Today?

'Orange Tulip' by Tina ScottNext up is 'So What's New Today' which is a blog by Tina Scott. I have known Tina for about five years now and she is one of the nicest people in the world. I have met her in actual real life, in fact I stayed at her house for a couple of days during which time I threw up all over her kitchen floor, the thought of which still makes me cringe to this day. But because of her one-of-the-nicest-people-in-the-world status she looked after me brilliantly and never mentions the kitchen floor incident. Seriously, I still blush about that whenever I think about it - my face is hot pink right now! But anyway, I digress. Tina is a fellow beadmaker but at the moment she is really concentrating on honing her photography skills and she is blogging the results of her online photography courses. Her photos are fab! Just look at that 'Orange Tulip' one up there. Please click here to visit Tina's blog and click here to have a look at her Flickr Photostream.

3. Artist's Palette Yarns

Hand-dyed yarn by Artist's Palette YarnsNow for a web shop. You know I like yarn. You know I like socks. That means I like sock yarn and I know that some of you do too. I'm aware that a few of you have been inspired to take up sock-knitting because of me and my sock-knitting obsession and for that I apologise. Not to you but to your other halves. I know that Chris thinks of my sock-knitting as quirky and very Laura but sometimes he just cannot hide his Sock Shock when I put on a completed pair. The other day I finished knitting a pair of green socks, put them on and then set about getting dinner ready. When he glanced over and saw my feet he let out an 'Argh!', recoiled and guffawed. Thinking back I was wearing lime green socks with a purple dress so I guess a lot of his shock stemmed from that wacky colour pairing. But anyway, if you do knit socks then you may or may not know of Artist's Palette Yarns. They have an amazing selection of hand-dyed luxury goodness and their sock yarns are particularly delicious. I am currently knitting a pair of pumpkin-coloured socks with their Smoothie Sock yarn. Please click here to have a browse.

4. Howard The Drummer

I don't want to make 'Webnesday' all about blogs, beads, socks and jewellery. Sometimes you stumble across a great YouTube video that you just want to share. Take a look at this one. This is a four year old boy playing the drums. I know. If someone asked me if I'd seen the cute-four-year-old-boy-playing-drums video I'd normally pull the same face that I pull when someone emails me a bunch of photos of tiny fluffy kittens posing harmoniously next to big dogs. Normally I detest that kind of thing but seriously, the video of Howard the four year old drummer is pretty amazing! Take a look at it here.

5. Emma Kennedy

And finally a link to a very funny lady - Emma Kennedy. My book-on-the-go at the moment is her hilarious 'The Tent, The Bucket & Me' which is Emma's recollections of camping holidays with her parents in the '70s. It is highly amusing, as is her website. If you have time take a look at her family photos in her Galleries section as the captions that accompany them are very funny!

And that concludes today's Webnesday feature. I'll be back soon with photos of those green socks that shocked Chris .....

Tuesday 18 May 2010

CiM Testing : Hippo

Creation Is Messy 'Hippo'This is a brand new colour from Creation Is Messy but it's a Limited Run meaning that once it's gone it's gone.

Hippo is an opaque grey with a hint of brown about it. It's very similar to CiM Khaki but in my opinion it behaves a little bit better. It's great to work with - it's got a nice medium consistency, it doesn't reduce or devitrify and it looks fab when etched. It also encases really well.

The photo below shows a strand of test beads I made to compare Hippo with other colours :

CiM 'Hippo' test beadsBeads from left to right : Hippo, Hippo etched, Hippo thinly encased with Vetrofond Clear, Hippo thickly encased with Vetrofond clear, CiM Khaki, Effetre 268 Pearl Grey and Effetre 252 Dark Grey.

As I say, Hippo has got a hint of taupe or ecru about it which means that it works beautifully with brown. The 'Earthy' polka dot beads below have a core of Hippo encased with Vetrofond clear. The polka dots are CiM Adamantium and the spacers are CiM Mink.

Lampwork Glass BeadsHippo works quite nicely as stringer too. It's quite crisp and smooth and only spreads if you really, really heat it. The beads below show Hippo paired with Adamantium.

Lampwork Glass BeadsIt's a shame that Hippo is a Limited Run because I really like it. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to grab a stash of it while I can!

Almost There

Somewhere just outside ReadingWhile I was travelling home from Cambridge yesterday I started doing some rough calculations in my head. Maths and I do not mix and we try and avoid each other as much as we can but I found myself working out a few train-related stats.

I have been travelling to see Chris every other weekend for almost three and a half years. That makes :
  • About 90+ return train trips, not including random ones here and there

  • Approximately 340 hours of travel

  • About £3,100 in train fares (thank goodness for my Network Railcard!)

I have also consumed umpteen travel sandwiches, bottles of water and packets of Wine Gums while journeying. I have read many books on my travels too. I've got through two little wheely suitcases - a wheel fell off the first one and the second case is hanging on for dear life but I can't complain as it was only a tenner from Tesco.

I have also discovered that :

  • A lot of people do not understand the concept of 'Keep Left' and 'Keep Right' when using the escalators and walkways around the London Underground.

  • The idea of letting people off the train before you get on seems like a pretty simple one but it challenges many people.

  • Some passengers on trains do like to sit and call everyone in their phone book and relay the same story over and over beginning each conversation with 'Yeah, I'm on the train' with no awareness that the person sitting next to them might not want to hear about their relationship woes or office-related talk. This is where I heartily thank Apple for inventing the iPod.

  • It is actually quite satisfying to ask someone if you can sit in the seat next to them, upon which they have carefully arranged their bag, coat, laptop case or shopping in an attempt to stop anyone sitting next to them. Why do people do that? Everyone deserves a seat on the train. Stick your luggage up on the luggage rack and prepare to interact with fellow passengers - I've had some really good conversations with total strangers just because the seat next to me was free.

So what's with the calculations and train talk?

Well, pretty soon the regular train travel will stop.

Like, next month.

I feel that we're pretty much through all the niggly might-go-wrong stuff now so I can tell you that Chris and I have bought a house in Cambridge. Almost. All the big things are done and we're waiting for the solicitor and contract malarkey now. The survey, mortgage and other big scary things are all sorted and we're in that house-buying limbo. We put in our offer about ten weeks ago and I've managed to keep quiet about it all this time - I didn't want to jinx it, you see.

So that is why I was compelled to work out all that train stuff. Obviously I will be using trains to travel back to see Dad and everyone but not on a bi-weekly basis. I think I may have to make about two more Cambridge trips before the move and that is such a bizarre feeling, I can tell you. I'm almost there .....

Thursday 13 May 2010

'Springtime V2.0'

Lampwork Glass BeadsThe last lot of beads I made in this colour scheme proved pretty popular so I've made some more.

Wednesday 12 May 2010


Lampwork Glass BeadsI was in a bit of a purple mood yesterday and I decided to make a set using a few different shades of it alongside CiM Glacier - probably my favourite blue glass. I do like making these matching-but-not sets. I can imagine the beads as part of a charm bracelet or they could be used for pendants and charms.

Monday 10 May 2010

More Powder & Paint Lentils

Lampwork Glass Lentil BeadsSome striking grey, red and black ones .....

Lampwork Glass Lentil Beads..... some soft yellow, peach, pink and purple ones .....

Lampwork Glass Lentil Beads..... and some vibrant bright green ones.

Powder & Paint Lentils

Lampwork Glass Lentil BeadsI had a moment yesterday while I was melting glass where I just decided to go crazy and do something out of the ordinary. So I dusted off the lentil press and got some enamels out and I had a play about. I started doing some scrollwork but my mind just wasn't firing on all perfectionism cylinders and I eventually ended up making these pretty lentils which I'm calling my 'Powder & Paint' beads - powder because of the enamel and paint because of the splodgy, not-as-orderly-as-normal stringer.

These and more like them will be for sale on my website tonight at 8.30pm (UK time).

Sunday 9 May 2010

'Blue Spottiness'

Etched Lampwork Glass BeadsEtched Luminobeads but with tri-colour spots as opposed to just the one colour. These will be for sale in the usual place at 8.30pm (UK time) tomorrow night.

CiM Testing : Dirty Martini

Creation Is Messy 'Dirty Martini'I'm not a big drinker, in fact I hardly ever drink alcohol at all so when Creation Is Messy introduced Dirty Martini to their palette I had to have a Google to find out what makes a martini dirty. Turns out it's the addition of olive juice or brine to the normal gin and vermouth mix.

But CiM's Dirty Martini is alcohol free - it is a very pale green glass with just a hint of grey about it. Since it's been available it has been one of my favourite glasses as it is just so well behaved! It is a clean, crisp colour with a slightly stiffer consistency to it which makes it superb for encasing with transparent glasses as it holds its shape and doesn't drag about the place. The 'Apple & Blueberry' beads pictured below are Dirty Martini encased thinly with CiM Mojito - a proper cocktail of glass!

Lampwork Glass BeadsI've heard some people say that they think Dirty Martini is a little too grey. On its own it does tend to look a bit pale but all you need to do to 'lift' it is to add stronger greens to the mix and I promise that this will make the Dirty Martini sing - the pale green beads in the 'Springtime' set below are a good example of this :

Lampwork Glass BeadsI'm always on the hunt for new colours to use for my fine stringerwork. I actually have quite a limited palette when it comes to that because only a handful of glasses behave exactly as I need them to. I am super-pleased to discover that I can add Dirty Martini to my Perfect For Stringer List. The beads below have a core of CiM Oz encased in Mojito and the stringer is Dirty Martini. You can see that it keeps its definition, doesn't bleed or spread and it also yields that wonderful reaction line - the slightly darker line you can see running through the centre of the stringer on the scrollwork bead :

CiM 'Dirty Martini' as stringerSo all in all I would say that Dirty Martini is a must-have colour. It's unlike any other shade in the 104 palette and it is absolutely wonderful to work with.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Angry Birds

Angry BirdsWhen Em came to stay last week we were comparing iPhone apps and she had one called Angry Birds. I'd seen it on the App Store before but I'd never really taken much interest in it. This is partly due to my DoodleJump fixation - one compulsive game is enough! But I gave in and downloaded Angry Birds and now I just cannot stop playing it. DoodleJump has temporarily taken a back seat while I try and conquer nasty green pigs by flinging various birds at them from a catapult. I know that sounds bizarre (it is a bit) but the game is ridiculously addictive. If you've got Angry Birds on your iPhone then you'll understand what I mean and if you haven't then I recommend it - it's fun!


Etched Lampwork Glass BeadsI know that a lot of people think of grey as being a dull and boring colour but I like it. It's not as harsh as black, it goes lovely with pastel colours such as pink, periwinkle and mint and it looks fabulous teamed with silver. I wear a lot of grey and I figure that if I do other people must so I'm sure there's a need for grey beads out there somewhere!

These 'Slate' beads have an opaque core which has been encased in transparent grey and decorated with pale grey stringerwork. They've also been etched to a soft velvety finish.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

'Rosebud' Socks

Hand Knitted SocksThe socks that I started last week are all finished! I'm really pleased with them and the colour is great. They're knitted in Wild Fire Fibres BFL Sock in 'Cranberry'. I'd had the yarn in my stash for a while - I was just waiting for the right pattern to come along and Wendy D. Johnson's 'Rosebud' one from 'Toe-Up Socks For Every Body' was spot on.