Thursday 30 September 2010


Teal Lampwork Glass Beads
These beads sold last night but I thought you might like to see them anyway!

They are Creation Is Messy Mermaid Unique encased in Vetrofond clear and decorated with Effetre white.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Restore Default Bead Settings

Black and white lampwork glass beads
I think of my bead creativity as quite a technical thing.  My brain gets littered with bead thoughts scattered here and there, just as a computer gets clogged up with all sorts of data.  Eventually everything slows down and routine tasks become a struggle.  When that happens it's time for a defrag.  You give the computer time to sort through itself and to have a bit of a reorganise.

I do the same with my brain.

After I defragment my bead brain I always find that the settings have switched themselves back to default.  My default beads are black, white and clear - one of the most basic colour (or not) combinations but one of my favourites.

I thoroughly enjoyed making these and I hope you like them too!

Monday 27 September 2010

Flat Batteries

Handknitted 'Hap Blanket'
I know I've been a bit quiet - I've had a few days off from the beads in order to recharge my lampworking batteries.  They were pretty flat, you see.  I made beads on Friday and am just about to head down to the shed to make some more so I will be back later with photos.

My knitting needles have been click-clacking away recently and I've finished a couple of projects in the past few weeks. 

One of those projects was a fab Ysolda design - her 'Hap Blanket'.  It's getting quite chilly here in Cambridge so I decided we needed a smallish blanket for the sofa.
Handknitted 'Hap Blanket'

It's knitted in Rowan Pure Wool Aran in charcoal grey and sage green which matches our sofa and curtains nicely.  The yarn is so squishy and soft.  I unpinned the blanket from the blocking mat this morning and I expect it will be deployed during tonight's television viewing.

I'll be back later with beads .....

Tuesday 21 September 2010


Green Lampwork Glass Beads
Well, Fiona was right.  I knew midway through the first act of Wicked that I was going to have to make some very green beads.

After faffing about with various shades of green I chose CiM Oz (appropriate) and encased it thickly with Effetre Olive.  This has given such a vibrant green!

These will be for sale on my site at 8.00pm on Wednesday night.

Monday 20 September 2010

Wicked Weekend

'Wicked' at the Apollo Victoria in London
Chris took me to London for the weekend to celebrate my birthday.  On Saturday afternoon we went to see Wicked which was absolutely brilliant!  Afterwards I kept wondering about Elphaba's make-up.  I reckon Rachel Tucker must have a heck of a hard time getting rid of all that green!

Rachel Tucker as Elphaba in 'Wicked'

We stayed in a swank riverside hotel on Saturday night.  I like to judge a hotel room by its tea and coffee making facilities and these ones were great - big mugs, a variety of Twinings tea and Walkers chocolate biscuits, no less!  Yesterday we had a wander along South Bank and ate lunch in the pub where we went on our first date and then we caught the train home.

We had a really great weekend!

Sunday 19 September 2010

Lonelies Winner

Prize Draw Winner
Cor blimey!  That was one huge marathon name-writing, paper-cutting and folding-up-paper session!  There were a whopping two hundred and twenty names in the drawing for the Lonelies beads.

Chris has just drawn a winner from the salad bowl (yes, salad bowl) and that lucky person is Sarah Barnett of PrestoBeads!

Well done, Sarah.  I shall get your beads in the post on Monday.

Big thanks to everyone who entered, tweeted and blogged about the draw.  I shall do another one next month when there will be second and third prizes up for grabs too. 

Saturday 18 September 2010


Spring Bulbs
It was my birthday yesterday and I had a lovely day.  Dad came to visit which was great ( I do miss him!) and we nipped to Homebase to spend some of my birthday money.  I bought lots of spring-flowering bulbs and some pots to plant them in.  I got tulips, daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops and if all goes according to plan the garden will get its first splash of colourful floweriness in about February.

I've gained another wonderful recipe book.  Chris gave me a copy of 'The Great British Book Of Baking' which accompanies the BBC's The Great British Bake Off.  The book is superb and I think we've decided on which recipe will be tried out first.

I received lots of cards, both paper and electronic, from my lovely customers so thank you very much to everyone who contacted me with birthday tidings.

I will do the drawing for the Lonelies giveaway either tonight or tomorrow so do check back to see if you're the winner .....

Have a fab weekend!

Thursday 16 September 2010

'Midnight Gems'

Blue Lampwork Glass Beads
These little fellas sold last night.  They're Effetre Ink Blue encased with Sepia Unique and decorated with white stringerwork.

Monday 13 September 2010

A quick Etsy post

Lampwork Glass Beads
I've just added a few beads to my Etsy shop.  They include those wispy purple-pink ones up there .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... these ethereal yellow and silver nuggets .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... and a trio of Flurries.

Friday 10 September 2010

Fresh Bread

Fresh Homemade Bread
I took a day off from beadmaking and this morning I did a spot breadmaking instead.  I've been meaning to do so ever since I watched the bread episode of The Great British Bake Off a couple of weeks ago.

It's just a plain white loaf and the recipe I used was fantastic!  It was a BBC Good Food one and can be found here.  It's definitely the best loaf of bread I've ever baked and we'll be having it (well, what's left of it) with soup for dinner tonight.

After reading all of the helpful comments on the recipe page I put in slightly less salt than recommended and I also used 150ml of boiling water mixed with 150ml of fridge-cold milk.  That made a nice tepid liquid for the yeast.  I also reduced the oven temperature and increased the cooking time.  The loaf is soft, fluffy and has a nice crisp crust.  Delicious!

I can't speak highly enough of the bread recipe - it'll definitely be my go-to one from now on.

Thursday 9 September 2010

If Barbie bought lampwork beads .....

Pink Lampwork Glass Beads
..... then I reckon she might like these ones.  At least I hope she would!  They're very Barbie - bright pink and white with touches of pale blue, indigo and green.
Pink Lampwork Glass Beads
These sold last night but there are a couple like them in the strand that I'm giving away in my prize draw.

I'll see you later.  Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Bead Giveaway

Lampwork Glass Beads

Time for a prize draw, methinks!

Up for grabs this time is a bunch of my Lonelies.  There are twenty seven beads here - thirteen decorated ones and fourteen spacers.  The beads range from 9mm to 13mm diameter.
Lampwork Glass Beads
My 'Lonelies' are experiments, one-offs and leftovers from sets. All of the beads are first quality and I know a lot of you like to use them for pendants, charms, bookmarks, phone dangles and the like.

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning these beads all you need to do is enter my prize draw. The rules of the giveaway 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/or Twitter account and you blog/tweet about and link to this prize draw post I will enter your name twice. Bonus! If you'd like to mention me in any tweets my Twitter ID is beadsbylaura.

♦ To enter the draw you need to leave a comment on this blog post or email me at

♦ If you've blogged/tweeted about this draw please say that you've done so in your comment or email and I will do the two name thing.

♦ If you're entering with a blog comment please leave a name of some kind, be it your actual one, a nickname or your blog user name - just something rather than an anonymous comment.  If you have a popular name please leave some kind of initials.  Last time I had lots of Lynnes and Sues enter and that got a bit confusing!  Something like 'Laura S' would be great.

♦ Entries need to be in by 7.00pm (UK time) on Saturday 18th September.

Phew!  I hope that all makes sense.

If you're new to my blog, hello and welcome!  I do bead giveaways both large and small on an almost monthly basis so please add yourself as a follower or subscribe to my blog using the links over on the right hand side - that way you won't miss out on any future free bead opportunities!

Good luck everybody!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Twenty Question Tuesday

Hello Gorgeous
A couple of weeks ago the lovely Sue from Hello Gorgeous asked me if I'd like to take part in her Twenty Question Tuesday blog feature.

Today is my Twenty Question Tuesday so if you fancy a read please click here.

Big thanks to Sue for featuring me!

'Happy' Beads

Lampwork Glass Beads
These are happy beads indeed!  Light blue bases with dark pink, indigo and green.  I really enjoy making this type of bead.  The number of different designs you can create is pretty much endless.
Lampwork Glass Beads
These will be for sale on my website tomorrow night at 8.00pm (UK time).

Monday 6 September 2010

CiM Testing : Sepia Unique 2

CiM 'Sepia Unique 2' Beads
I was delighted to find a rod of this beautiful glass in my testing package from Creation Is Messy.  As a fan of Sepia I was intrigued to work with this Sepia Unique.  It's not at all brown.  In fact it's a gorgeous smoky blue with a tiny hint of mauve about it. 

It was a total pleasure to work with and if you're a fan of blue you need, need, need to grab some of this while you can.  It's a Messy Unique so it's best to be quick before it's all gone.

This Sepia Unique looks fabulous with silver.  Here it is with  fine silver and Vetrofond Clear :
CiM 'Sepia Unique 2' with fine silver
And it looks gorgeous when etched.  Here it is with Effetre 268 Pearl Grey polka dots and etched to a velvety finish :
CiM 'Sepia Unique 2' Etched

As I say, if you love blue then I highly recommend this Sepia Unique.  It's just totally lovely!

CiM Testing : Sepia

CiM 'Sepia' Beads
I used to love Effetre's 018  Transparent Light Brown.  I say used to because I haven't used it for years as every time I buy a bundle it's not right.  I don't know if Effetre changed the recipe or formula but the 018 glass I've bought over the past couple of years has been more like Straw Yellow.  As a result I now have a massive stack of yellowy glass that is nowhere near as nice as the Transparent Light Brown of old.

But that doesn't matter because now we have Creation Is Messy's Sepia which is, dare I say, even nice than the Effetre Light Brown. Sepia is browner and has an ever-so-slight pinkness to it.

Sepia melts really well - it's smooth but not gloopy which makes it great for encasing.  The photograph below shows Sepia over a base of CiM Butter Pecan and they're decorated with Butter Pecan spots :
CiM 'Sepia' & 'Butter Pecan' Beads

This beautiful brown also looks great when it's etched.  Here are some Sepia beads decorated with CiM Chai polka dots :
Etched CiM 'Sepia' Beads

It's good to know that I no longer have to worry about ordering glass that is supposed to be brown but is more like a yellow as I know I can rely on Creation Is Messy's beautiful Sepia.

Saturday 4 September 2010

Hades & Peace

Black & White Lampwork Glass Polka Dot Beads
I got a delivery of glass for testing from Creation Is Messy on Thursday and I've been playing about with all of the delicious glasses.  I'm going to be adding a couple of colour testing posts to the blog this weekend so do stay tuned.

One of the CiM glasses I've been experimenting with is Hades.  This is a really intense black.  Black glass is actually transparent and is normally really saturated purple or blue and when you pull that into fine stringers the black is no longer black.  Hades, like Effetre's Intense Black, doesn't do that.  It maintains its blackness even when pulled into freakishly fine stringer.

This isn't the first time I've tried Hades - I've used it before but this time I set time aside and really watched how it works.  I've found that you have to treat Hades really gently.  The beads at the top of this post are CiM Peace (white) with Hades polka dots.  You may be able to see that the polka dots are not totally flush with the base bead.  They're really nearly almost smooth but I was erring on the side of caution when it came to melting the dots in.  I've decided that if you work the Hades slowly in a cooler flame it will keep its crispness.  If I'd melted these dots in at my normal rate they would have feathered and bled at the edges creating a murky grey-brown halo to the dots.  So I went slowly which paid off and the result is crisp jet black on plain white.  Simple yet striking. 

There's more to discover and say about Hades but I will save that for a proper CiM testing post.

Friday 3 September 2010

Slight change of wedding plan

Yesterday Chris and I came to a decision about our wedding.

We've postponed it until next year.

I know.  You're probably thinking that it's quite a drastic measure?

Let me explain.

We got engaged and booked the wedding back in December.  Then we set about finding a house to buy which took longer than anticipated.  Then we found a house but the process of buying it also took longer than we thought it would.  We moved into the house in June and we're still getting into the swing of paying for it.

When Chris and I sat down and made our wedding to-do list we were crossing things off it that made us question if getting married this year was the right thing to do.  I had planned to have my hair put up and what flowers I'd be having in my bouquet.  But we had to cross both those things off the list in order to pay for food for the guests.  Also Chris was looking at ridiculously cheap suits and that's not right. 

It just felt wrong.  Do you know what I mean?  Every time I thought about or someone mentioned the wedding I just felt a sense of dread.  It wasn't going to be as we had planned and we were more sad about it than happy.  Obviously three weeks before your wedding a few nerves are okay but I tell you, it was making me feel sick just thinking about it.  I've even been off pudding and chocolate! 

The one thing we both knew was that we wanted to get married to each other but not in the way that we would have to in three weeks' time.  Also, we didn't want to look back on our wedding day and think 'That's not how we wanted it to be' just for the sake of waiting a little bit longer.

So Chris and I made the decision to postpone the wedding.  It was a difficult and upsetting thing to do but we both feel such relief.  The knot in my stomach is slowly undoing and I feel about a stone lighter.  Chris is happier too. We were both a little sad last night but this morning we feel a lot better about the situation.

Chris and I now have some breathing space and time to plan and budget to make our wedding the way we envisaged it back when we first got engaged and this time we won't have estate agents, train commutes and the whole new house thing encroaching on the wedding planning.

Many thanks to everyone who left such lovely comments on my last post.

Thank you for reading

Thursday 2 September 2010

Polka Dotty Interlude

Lampwork Glass Polka Dot Beads
At the end of my last post I told you I'd be back later with beads.

I didn't come back, did I?

I got sidetracked.

Our wedding is in about three weeks' time and my brain is all awhirl with wedding thoughts.  Chris and I sat down and wrote a to-do list on Monday and now we're setting about crossing things off that list.

As I've explained before, when I have things on my mind I find concentrating on beads quite a tricky task.  Yesterday all I could make was polka dot beads.  I think that the regularity and just-so-ness of them allows me to switch to bead autopilot and simultaneously think about wedding hair, wedding food and other wedding-related malarkey.

Even though our wedding is going to be a small one it's still stressing me out.  I seem to be in a constant bad mood at the moment and poor Chris never knows if he's going to come home and find a happy Laura or a whining snappy one.  It's a wonder that he still wants to marry me!

Please bear with me during this polka dotty interlude .....