Monday 20 December 2010

The List & A Christmas Story

Blogging on the sofa
It's 09.59.  I am sat here on the sofa in my pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers with a blanket on my knees.  I have just eaten a slice of hot buttered toast and enjoyed a mug of tea.  My hair looks like a small rodent or five crawled into it before dawn, had a rowdy rodent party, made a nest and slept restlessly.  Chris is upstairs, asleep in bed.  The guinea pigs are squeaking and squabbling with one another in their cage.  The kitchen looks like the kitchen of a flat rented by four teenage male students.  Outside the grass is peeking through about one centimetre of frozen icy snow.  It's -8°C out there which is not conducive to bead production in a garden shed.

Yes. It's the Monday Before Christmas.

I have written a list of Things That I Need To Buy And Do This Week.  It's a long list.  I expect you have one the same?  Or are you one of those hyper-organised types that had all your Christmas presents bought, wrapped and stashed away in various hiding places before the end of October?  If you're the latter, how do you do that?!

Bead orders are coming in thick and fast - thank you, ace customers of mine, for buying my glass creations.  And if you haven't taken advantage of my Winter Discount yet don't forget you only have until tomorrow to do so - details here.

Today I must do some Chrimbletide preparation.  I need to cross things off the aforementioned list.  If I don't do this I fear I will end up a jibbering wreck, crouched in the corner of the untidy kitchen, rocking back and forth muttering about turkey crowns, napkins, Paxo and brandy butter.

So today I need to accomplish the following :

  • Get dressed
  • Tidy and clean the kitchen
  • Tidy and clean other parts of the house
  • Clean, pack up and post what feels like 764 bead orders
  • Marzipan the Christmas cake
  • Nip into town and buy some of the things from The List
  • Clean the guinea pig cage
  • Take some pictures of my new hat to show you
  • Sort out something for dinner
  • Sit down with The List, hopefully cross all these things off it and then most probably replace those things with other things that I forgot to add to The List in the very first place.

It's now 10.46 and I am going to put my plan into action.  Wish me luck.  I shall report back later and let you know how I got on.

In the meantime, do yourself a favour and if you get a few spare moments (I know, I know, spare moments at this time of year are as rare as funny cracker jokes) nip over to Karl Webster's blog and read the Christmas story that he has written.  It's called 'A Week Before Christmas' and it is brilliant.  I've been reading it as Karl published it chapter by chapter but he's just made it available as a whole.  It is Christmassy.  It will make you laugh. It might make you cry.  It made me cry.  It's wonderful so make sure you have a read.

I really am going now.  The things on The List are not going to cross themselves off .....

Happy Monday!

Sunday 19 December 2010


Lampwork 'Luminobeads' by Laura Sparling
I know how much some of you love my Luminobeads so you may be pleased to hear that I've just made some of them available to order.  All ordering options and details can be found here

You may be even more pleased to hear that I've extended the 25% discount sale so you can nab some Luminobeads for a bargain price.  This special offer is only available until Tuesday 21st December so be quick!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Thursday 16 December 2010


Lampwork Glass Heart Beads
At the suggestion of Chris and my Twitter pal Helga Hansen I've added a couple of heart focals to my Beads To Order page.  These shiny hearts are £8.00 each and can be found here.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Proof I've always loved Kermit

Me and my Kermit
Does anyone else keep random stuff in their address book?  I was writing Christmas cards this morning and when I got my address book out this photo fell out of it.  I'm guessing that this was taken in about 1979 and it shows you that I've always loved Kermit.  It also shows that wallpaper was one-of-a-kind back then - check out my Grandparents' lounge decor!

When I was a child I got through many of those Kermits.  They were that wire-skeleton-covered-in-foam type of toy that has been outlawed today.  When the wire would poke through Kermit's hand or foot thus posing a safety hazard, Mum and Dad would pack Kermit into a box and before I went to bed they made me put the box outside the front door.  They told me that they had called 'The Kermit Doctor' and that he would collect Kermit from the doorstep, take him to 'The Kermit Hospital' where he would make him better and then he'd drop him back.

Sure enough, within a short time Kermit was back, all mended and better.  Of course I never noticed that on his return he looked a little less loved and pretty pristine - almost like he was new, which of course he was.

The Kermit Doctor must have 'operated' about three or four times until Mum and Dad were no longer able to replace Kermit because the toy manufacturer stopped making him, probably because of his dangerous wire construction.  I fear a small child may have lost an eye in a terrible Kermit-related incident in the early 80s  .....

So there you have it - proof that I've always loved Kermit.  As you can see from my last blog post I still have a Kermit.  He's slightly smaller than my first one(s) and is furry as opposed to foamy but that's good because I'm hoping that I'll never have to make that dreaded call to The Kermit Doctor.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

'Tis Me!

Hand Knitted Hat
Both my Dad and Chris's Dad have recently made comments about my lack of bloggage so I thought I'd better get on and write something!

So why have I not blogged 'properly' for ages? Well, the simple answer is because I haven't really had much to say.  I've been spending my days in the shed making all the bead orders that my fab customers have placed.  It's been pretty cold down there recently - some days I have about four layers on.  I also invested in a Thermos flask so now I have tea on tap dans le shed.

All in all, "It was cold today and I made beads and drank tea in my shed" wouldn't really have made for interesting blog reading and that is why I've been quiet on the blog.

Hand Knitted Hat

But today I have things to show you.  First off is a hat that I knitted to keep me warm in the aforementioned chilly shed and whilst out and about in cold Cambridgeland.  The pattern I used is 'Estella' by the wonderful Ysolda Teague.  It's knitted in Rowan Pure Wool DK in purple and grey which is my current favourite colour combination.

Our Christmas Tree

In Christmas news the only shopping we've done has been food-related or decorative and sparkly.  We really need to go and do some actual gift shopping.  We put our tree up on Saturday.  We went for a fake one because transporting a real one when neither of us drive would have been tricky.  You can see from the photo that I still love my red and white polka dots and yes, in case you're wondering, that is Kermit sat atop the tree.


Why Kermit?  Why not?  He matches nicely.  Chris even found him a little Father Christmas hat in the full-of-festive-tat-and-things-that-drop-glitter-everywhere Christmas shop in town.  Kermit was going to be a temporary tree topper until we found a suitable star but we've decided to keep the frog as he's ace.

'Beads & Beyond' Magazine

If you've picked up the January issue of Beads & Beyond magazine you may have seen the two page feature on my beads!  I'm really chuffed with it.  Although I've had mentions in bead magazines before this is my first proper interview.  The January issue of Beads & Beyond is out now.

That's about it.  See - I told you I haven't really been up to much!  I will be back in the shed tomorrow making more bead orders, probably feeling slightly cold and drinking tea.  If anything interesting happens I'll be sure to let you know .....

I've just added these .....

'Black & White Polka Dots'
..... these .....
..... and these .....
..... to the Beads To Order page of my website.  What's more, it's still 25% off so make sure you take advantage of this offer while you can!

I'll be back later.  I have a Christmas tree and knitting to show you along with a load of assorted waffle so do pop back this evening.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Saturday 11 December 2010

Winter Prize Draw Winners

I've just drawn the winners of my Winter Prize Draw.  I assigned each of the comments a number between 1 and 115 and I used Random.Org to choose the numbers :

Comment number 75 and the winner of the first prize is Frau Putz.

Comment number 39 and second place is Sue.

Comment number 7 and third place is Laura B from Blue Eyed Night Owl.

Congratulations you three!  Please email me with your addresses, and Sue and Laura please let me know if you'd like 'Sugar' or 'Snow' beads.

A big thank you to everyone who entered the draw!  I shall do another one in the New Year.

Have a great Saturday night!

Friday 10 December 2010

Special Winter Offer

For a limited time I am offering a 25% discount on all bead orders.

Please click here for all the details.

post signature

Friday 3 December 2010

Winter Prize Draw

'Winter Mix' Beads

Well, hello!  I do hope you're keeping well and warm wherever you may be.

I think a prize draw is long overdue.

How do you fancy winning some wintry beads?  I've got three prizes up for grabs.

First prize is at the top of this post - a set of my 'Winter Mix' beads.  This is a strand of four 'Snow', four 'Sugar' and ten 'White Shimmer' beads.

And whoever wins second and third prize can choose between a strand of six 'Snow' or six 'Sugar' beads :

'Snow' Beads
'Snow' Beads

'Sugar' Beads
'Sugar' Beads

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.

♦ To enter the draw you need to leave a comment on this blog post.  No email entries this time, I'm afraid but please bear in mind that you do not need a Blogger account to comment on this here blog.

♦ When you 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 Loris and Kellys 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 11th December when I will pick the winners using a random number generator.

I hope that all makes sense.

If you're new to my blog, hello and welcome! I do bead giveaways both large and small quite regularly 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!

post signature

Wednesday 1 December 2010


Hello!  I'm going to write a proper post in the morning but for now I just thought I'd give you a quick reminder about Christmas bead ordering. 

If you'd like beads delivered before Christmas please place your order by the end of tomorrow. All bead ordering details can be found here.

That's all for now.  See you tomorrow!

Saturday 27 November 2010

'Winter Mix'

Clear and white lampwork glass beads
I made these beads yesterday as a kind of 'snow dance' in the hope that they would bring some snow to our little part of the world.  It kind of worked - this morning we woke up to a fine (read as 'pathetic') dusting of snow.  The sun has come out and most if it has thawed now.  Maybe we'll get some proper snow soon .....

You all seem to be absolutely loving the clear and white beads at the moment so I thought I'd make up a sort of icy glass bead potpourri to add to the Beads To Order page.  This strand contains four clear 'Sugar' beads, four white 'Snow' beads and ten 'White Shimmer' spacers.  I can imagine these with some crystal and silver in a frosty-looking charm bracelet.  It'd be just perfect for the festive period and would match the snow that seems to be slowly covering the UK.  The 'Winter Mix' strand costs £20.00 and is available here.

I've also made my 'Snow' beads available as sets of six and these can be found over on the Beads To Order page too.

Chris and I are making our Christmas cake this weekend.  I know, I know, we're late with it.  Recent family events threw everyday life up into the air but things are getting back to some kind of normality and I am determined to get the ingredients and get baking this weekend.  If we chuck enough brandy on the cake I'm sure it'll be fine in time for Christmas.

Right-o, I think it's about time to find my scarf and gloves and venture to the shops .....

Have a great Saturday!

EDIT : Just re-read this and I apologise for my ridiculous over-use of the word 'snow' in this post.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Orders & Tweets

Lots of lampwork glass beads!
The photograph above is to prove that I haven't been sitting around doing nothing, although my lack of blogging activity may have made it seem that way.

I've been nice and busy making orders which hasn't been half as stressful as I thought it would be - you know what I can be like with things like that.  The picture up there shows some of the beads that I've made in the last week. 

If you fancy placing an order for some beads and you'd like them before Christmas (sorry to mention the C-word there) then you'll need to place your order by December 2nd.  All ordering details can be found here.

I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying the wonders of Twitter.  I spend most of my day alone - Chris sometimes pops home for lunch but apart from that and a couple of bike rides to Tesco a week I'm practically a hermit.  Twitter enables me to have conversations and interaction (even if it is about Gillian McKeith and random sandwich fillings) with other people and that's great.  I love chatting with my guinea pigs but for some reason it's always a one-sided conversation so tweeting with fellow Twitterfolk is brilliant.

Alrighty then, I am now off to clean the guinea pig hutch out (glamorous!) and then take care of the rest of my rather long to-do list .....

Have a great afternoon!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Thanks & Lonelies

Many thanks to everybody who left comments for me and sent emails to me about Grandma.  Your kind words and supportive messages were so lovely.  You lot really are the best!

I've just added some strands of Lonelies to my Etsy shop so please do pop over there if you fancy a look.

I will write a proper blog post in the morning.

Enjoy what's left of your Tuesday!

Monday 15 November 2010

Another Unhappy Post

I can't believe I'm writing another bad news post.

Sadly my dear Grandma died yesterday. It was unexpected and came as a real shock. I'm now on the train to Oxford to be with my family for a couple of days.

So I expect I shall be quiet (even quieter than I've been recently) but I'll be back soon. Lately it seems that just as I pick myself up after one bad thing something else rubbish comes along and knocks me over again.

There won't be any Freshly Baked Beads on Wednesday but please feel free to place bead and PDF orders as usual.

See you soon

Saturday 13 November 2010

Clear & White

Clear & White Lampwork Glass Beads
You don't get much simpler than clear and white.  It's just so crisp, fresh and pretty.  I can imagine that these beads would be great for bridal jewellery and even Christmassy winter accessories.

Clear and white beads are now available to order on the Beads To Order page of my website.  I'm hoping to add a few more sets to the online 'catalogue' at some point this weekend.

I'm off down to the shed now to melt some glass.  Have a great Saturday wherever you are and whatever you're up to!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Beads To Order

Hello Beadpeeps!

Just thought I'd let you know that I've decided to make a selection of my beads available to order.  At the moment there are ten sets to choose from and I will expand the choice in time.  Let's just see how this goes.  You can use the shopping cart buttons to place your order but if you don't use PayPal you can always email me your order and we can sort payment by cheque or EFT.

Please visit my Beads To Order page for all the details.

Again, I am really sorry for not posting recently.  It's still mad here.  I do try and tweet daily so if you're on Twitter do follow me and say hi.

Have a good evening!

Thursday 4 November 2010


Lampwork Glass Beads
I know I've been a tad quiet on the blogging front.  I've just been really busy.  Making beads, mainly.

Chris has been really busy at work which has meant late finishes which in turn equal late dinners.  At the times I'd normally be blogging I've been cooking instead. It's all a bit hectic here, really.  I've been missing regular blogging - I really must set aside time to get back into the swing of things.

I'm hoping to put a few beads in the Etsy shop at some point on Friday so do check there tomorrow.

In the meantime have a great Thursday!

Friday 29 October 2010

New Beads

Lampwork Glass Beads
This is just a quick post to let you know that I've just added these beads to my Etsy shop.

Have a great Friday night!

Thursday 28 October 2010

Warm Hands

Hand Knitted Fingerless Mitts
I've been doing lots of knitting.  I'm working on a pair of socks that have been languishing on the needles since we moved in and I'm also teaching myself stranded (Fair Isle) knitting. 

I made the fingerless mitts above for my sister Sally for her birthday.  The pattern is Ysolda Teague's 'Veyla' and it's great.  A quick but very pretty knit and Sally is absolutely delighted with them.

And then Chris asked me to make him another pair of fingerless gloves, this time in dark red.  These are a mish-mash of a couple of standard glove patterns.  They're knitted in DK weight yarn so they should keep his hands nice and warm.

Hand Knitted Fingerless Gloves

Many people wonder if fingerless gloves are effective.  They really really are - they keep your wrists warm which helps and even though your fingers and their tips are exposed your hands are kept surprisingly toasty.  Also, and in Chris's case this is of major importance, the free fingertips factor allows you to use the touch screen of your iPhone with ease.  Result!


Lampwork Glass Beads
More scrolly beads, this time in pale grey and brown.  Very neutral colours - perfect for everyday wear.

As I type, these beads are available on the Freshly Baked Beads page of my website.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Stash Busting

Turquoise Lampwork Glass Beads
Yesterday I was sorting through my glass stash and I kept finding rods of glass that have been sat there for years.  I looked at them and thought 'Why don't I ever use these?' and do you know, I didn't have a decent answer for myself.

Actually, that's not one hundred percent true.  I kind of do know why I avoid certain glasses.  Some of them do things that I don't like.  Take Effetre Turquoise for example.  I rarely use it and when I do it is in the form of stringer.  I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've used it for base beads in my whole beadmaking life.  It has a tendency to go a tad streaky and it also has a habit of developing a grey metallic sheen which can make the resulting beads look grubby. 

But my reason was naff.  Turquoise is a nice colour and many people love to wear it.
Turquoise Lampwork Glass Beads
So I decided to make a set of beads out of plain, un-encased Effetre Turquoise and then I decorated them with some fine scrolly stringerwork in CiM French Blue.  Yes, the turquoise went a little streaky.  Yes, it got a grey sheen which I've now removed.  But hey - those are some nice beads, even if I do say so myself!

These will be for sale on my website at 8.00pm UK time tonight.  Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to dig out some long-forgotten glass and see what I can make with it .....

Monday 25 October 2010


Spotty Lampwork Glass Beads
It took me ages this morning to clean all the beads that I made at the end of last week but they're all done now and can currently be found over in my Etsy shop.  There are some strands of mixed pairs that would be great for making earrings.  Please click here to take a look.

Wednesday 20 October 2010


Lampwork Glass Beads
Green and purple.  It's an odd colour pairing but I always like seeing it.  In my mind it just works.  The time of year greatly affects the feel of the combination, though.  In spring mint green and lavender look fresh and floral.  In summer emerald and purple look bright and cheery.  If you pair olive and indigo in autumn it has that Halloween feel to it and that's exactly what I was going for with these beads.

These will be for sale on my website tonight at 8.00pm UK time. 

Monday 18 October 2010

Even more beads

Lampwork Glass Beads
I've just added lots of beads to my Etsy shop.  There are the 'Olive' ones pictured above .....

..... these pale and pretty 'Coconut Ice' ones .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... a strand of 'Regal' ones .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... and a chilly-looking set called 'Iceberg'.
Lampwork Glass Beads
There are also a few strands of Lonelies waiting for new homes too.  All of these beads are currently available over on Etsy.

Have a fab Monday night!

Friday 15 October 2010

In The Shop

Lampwork Glass Beads
I've just added these three sets of beads to my Etsy shop.  Up there is 'Berry & Blue' .....

..... then there's 'Apple' .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... and 'Ink Blue'.
Lampwork Glass Beads
I'll try and add a few more sets to the shop at some point over the weekend.

Have a good Friday night!

Thursday 14 October 2010


Enamelled Lampwork Glass Beads
I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has left comments and sent emails and tweets about Buster.  Your kind words and thoughts are really appreciated.

I started making these red beads on Tuesday morning and I had to stop after the Buster news on Tuesday afternoon.  I carried on with them yesterday and they were really comforting to make.  I've told you before that I like making polka dot beads when my mind is preoccupied - their repetitiveness and regularity is quite soothing.  And of course you know how much I like red and white polka dots!

These three strands already have new homes but do check my Etsy shop tomorrow night as I'll be adding some beads to its virtual shelves then.

Tuesday 12 October 2010


I'm finding typing this really hard as I'm looking at my laptop through tears.  Dad called me this afternoon with some sad news.  He was calling to say that Buster died this afternoon.

This was a total shock.  I last saw Buster at the end of August and he was absolutely fine - eating, purring, sitting on my lap and generally just being himself.  I always asked how he was whenever I spoke to Dad and the answer was always the same - he's fine.

Buster on the lawn

But last night Buster was very ill and this morning he was even worse so Dad took him to the vet.  The vet thinks that Buster has had bowel cancer for some time and last night something just went wrong.  Because of his age - he was fourteen - the vet didn't think surgery and treatment would help him so Dad asked the vet to put Buster to sleep.

We'd had Buster since he was two.  We got him from the Blue Cross and I fell in love with him the minute I saw him there.  When I left home earlier this year I was distraught about leaving him and I've been missing him terribly.  Chris doesn't like cats, you see, so Buster stayed with Dad.  Although Buster was ill I'm pretty sure he wasn't suffering because as I say he was eating and everything and being his normal self.

Buster in my suitcase

I'm going to have to stop typing now.  My laptop is getting very wet and I need to go and get a tissue and some paracetemol - I have a crying headache. 

I just wanted to write a goodbye post for my Buster and to tell him thank you for being our cat.  Love you, miss you and sleep well, FurryPurry. ~X~

All Sorted

Lampwork Glass Beads
And they're all sold too but I thought I'd brighten up this dismal October morning with a splash of colourful glass beadery.  Pictured above are 'Pumpkin' .....

..... then we have 'Moonbeam' .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... followed by 'Peach' .....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... then 'Lavender'.....
Lampwork Glass Beads
..... and finally we have 'Deep Blue'.
Lampwork Glass Beads
There you go.  If, like me, you're looking out of your window at a plain expanse of pale grey sky I hope that my beads have brought a touch of colour to your morning!

Monday 11 October 2010

Blue & Purple

Blue & Purple Lampwork Glass Beads
This weekend there was a definite blue and purple theme happening with my beadmaking.  I am still in love with CiM Sepia Unique - its gorgeous tanzanite hue is utterly lovely.

These need stringing and photographing in their respective sets and then they will be for sale in my Etsy shop at some point this evening.

Have a good Monday!

Saturday 9 October 2010

Thursday 7 October 2010

Etsy Update

Lampwork Glass Beads
I've just put a few beads in my Etsy shop.  There are some Lonelies, including those Berry ones up there, and there are also some sets of spotty beads that just would not behave for the camera last night!

And no, I haven't changed my photo setup.  I just decided to take advantage of the autumn sunlight which shows the beads off beautifully.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Autumnal Beads

Lampwork Glass Beads
It's that time of year where I just can't help being influenced by all the lovely colours that Autumn brings.  Reds, ambers, browns and yellows are everywhere and it just looks so pretty.

Tonight's Freshly Baked Beads include the amber and purple ones at the top of this post and the encased frit beads below :

Lampwork Glass Beads

When the light catches these frit beads it almost looks as if they've got fire inside them.  They really glow!