Wednesday 28 December 2011

Recipe: Cranberry & Orange Cookies

Cranberry and Orange cookies

I had an orange and some dried cranberries left over from Christmas cookery stuff and I wanted to turn them into some biscuits but I couldn't find a cranberry and orange biscuit recipe that I liked so I got my Joliver on and I made up my own.  I'm really pleased with how they've turned out so I made a note of my recipe and I thought I'd share it with you lot too.

Cranberry & Orange Cookies
Makes about 16-20


110g softened unsalted butter
100g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
50g soft dark brown sugar
150g plain flour
1/2 beaten large free range egg
100g dried cranberries
Zest and juice of one orange
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl mix the softened butter and sugars with an electric whisk until creamy and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix in.

Add one teaspoon of grated orange zest and two tablespoons of the orange juice and mix again.

Stir in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.  The mixture will be quite thick so you might need to switch from the electric whisk to a wooden spoon at this point.

Add the cranberries and make sure they're mixed in really well and are evenly distributed.

Roll heaped teaspoons of the cookie mix into balls and place onto a baking paper-lined baking tray.  I put about six biscuits on one tray.  You need to space them well as they do spread.

Bake in the oven at 180°C (160°C for fan ovens) for about twelve to fifteen minutes until the edges are golden. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

The cookies will crisp up as they cool but they should have a nice soft, chewy centre.

Merry baking!

Thursday 22 December 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

I've just added three more sets of Freshly Baked Beads to the website. There are the pretty blue and pink ones up there ...
Lampwork Glass Beads
... these lime and mandarin ones ...
Lampwork Glass Beads
... and these deep red and blue ones.  Polka dotty madness!


Lampwork Glass Beads

I've just put these bright and vibrant lovelies on the Freshly Baked Beads page.  Proper jolly beads!

Tuesday 20 December 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

I've just added these bright and breezy 'Clementine' and 'Lime' beads to the Freshly Baked Beads page.

Friday 16 December 2011

'Zing' & 'Starshine'

Lampwork Glass Beads

Just like the television schedules, my bead listings go all to cock at Chrimbletide.  They're all over the place.

I've just put the zesty 'Zing' beads above and these shimmering 'Starshine' beads ...
Lampwork Glass Beads
... on the Freshly Baked Beads page.

Tuesday 13 December 2011

A splash of colour

Etched Lampwork Beads

I thought it was about time I made some beads that were actually colourful, as opposed to clear and white.  I've made these cheery-looking ones which are available as a mix (above) or in their individual colours as sets of five. Please click here for details of how to buy.

It's been mega-hectic here.  I've been working 'double shifts'; starting early in the morning, letting the beads cool whilst I clean and package others and then I go back out the shed and make another kilnful.  Yes.  Hectic.

I have done nothing - and I mean nothing - Chrimbletide-wise.  Nothing at all.  This will not end well.  I really hope that you are more organised than me and that all your festive preparation is coming along nicely.

Have a good evening!

Tuesday 6 December 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

Yep, even more white and clear beads.  These ones include some spacers made with a gorgeous transulcent white alabaster glass.

These are £18 per set and are available on this page.

Thursday 1 December 2011


Chilly-Frosty-Brrr Beads

Oh my sweet Father Chrimble.  It's here. December is here.

I'm not even going to remark about the fact that I'm not even going to mention how woefully unready I am for Chrimbletide.

Instead I will just tell you that I've added some more chilly-frosty-brrr beads to the Freshly Baked Beads page.  Great for last minute jewellery. Get yours whilst they're ... cold and icy-looking.

Thursday 24 November 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

I've been spending a lot of time in my shed.  In fact, today is day eleven in an unbroken row of shed days.  I've been making beads like a mad thing, getting up early to clean them and rushing to the post box or Post Office at the last minute in the evenings.  My candle has been flaming at both ends.

Anyway, I've just updated the Freshly Baked Beads page with some winter favourites.  There are another five sets of each of the Sugar and Snow beads above ...
Lampwork Glass Beads
... and there are ten strands of these White Shimmer spacers.

All beads are £10.00 per set including worldwide postage, and can be found here.

Wednesday 23 November 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

These flowery beads are for sale right now (yes, as I type!) along with a few other sets.

They can be found in the usual place.  

Monday 21 November 2011

Winter is on its way

Lampork Glass Beads

It's getting chilly.  I spent almost the whole weekend in the shed and yes, my feet can definitely confirm that winter is on its way.

To celebrate this weathery fact I have added some icy-looking beads to the Freshly Baked Beads page. These would be wonderful for wintry creations and Christmassy jewellery.

Saturday 19 November 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

Blimey.  These beads have given me a right old headache!  They were supposed to be for sale last night but I just couldn't get a decent photograph of them.  This is because some of them are red.  Red glass in a bit of a pain to photograph so I waited until this morning so I could take advantage of the daylight.

Lampwork Glass Beads

Hmmmm.  They still didn't co-operate.  I've spent far too long taking bazillions of photographs this morning and these are the best I can do.

Lampwork Glass Beads

These red and burnt orange gems will be for sale at midday today. 

Have a great Saturday!

Wednesday 16 November 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

I have several strands of these dainty bead pairs for sale at 7.00pm (UK time) tonight. At only 9mm diameter these little lovelies would be great for Christmassy earrings.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Crème Brûlée

Me with an actual factual cupcake

Next time you're in a Costa do yourself a massive favour and try one of their utterly delicious Crème Brûlée cupcakes.  The sponge is filled with custard and the cake is topped with vanilla icing, a dusting of chocolate and a chocolate button.  I love these cakey delights so much I made some glass ones:

Lampwork Glass Cupcake Bead Set

I also made some pretty 'Cosmic Purple' nuggets that need to be seen in real life - the colours in these are so pretty. I reckon if they have gemstones on Saturn then they might look like these, hence the spacey name.
Lampwork Glass Beads

All of these beads are for sale right now in the usual place.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

For Sale

Lampwork Glass Beads

I've just added the very berryish beads above ...

... and this flowery key bead ...
Lampwork Key Bead
... to the Freshly Baked Beads page of my website.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Blue Sky Thinking

Cloud Fluffs

I do quite a bit of cloud gazing.

Whilst I sit in my shed and wait for glass to melt or beads to round up (because the key to this malarkey is all about the glass teaming up with gravity and them working together, you know) I sit and watch the clouds.


During the week I took the photo at the top of this post and the puffy cloud fluffs reminded me of some cloud beads that I made years ago.  I decided to revisit those and yesterday I made a bunch of cloudy glass gems.
Lampwork Cloud Beads

These blue beads are decorated with delicate white 'clouds' and are encased with a thin layer of crystal clear for sparkle and depth.

The cloud beads will be for sale, along with some other glass lovelies, on my website at 8.00pm this evening.

Have a happy Saturday! 

Tuesday 1 November 2011


Lampwork Glass Heart Bead

I'm in a spotty kind of mood and there will be a couple of spotty heart focals and some spotty beads for sale on the Freshly Baked Beads page at about 8.30pm (UK time) tonight.

Have a great Tuesday night!

Thursday 13 October 2011

'Autumn Berry'

Lampwork Glass Beads

Look!  I made some beads!

I know, I know, this is what I do but as you know I've been finding it tricky lately.  If you like these autumnal-looking pretties they can be found in the usual place.

Thank you to everyone who commented on and sent me emails and tweets regarding my last blog post.  I will address those all in another post very soon.

Best wishes

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Thinking out loud

I figured that it's about time I wrote something here.

Something that explains my long blogging silences.

A few of you have written to me and asked me how I am because I'm quiet and you know that my brain is a little crazy and you worry for me and that is lovely.

I'm fine.  

That's a lie.  I'm not fine but I'm not sat here in a corner, rocking back and forth either.  If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I'm here and I'm well.

I'm not fine with the beads.  I'm not.

I've been feeling very un-beady for a good few weeks now.  It's a mixture of things; Chris is working very very long hours at work and I am seeing him less and less.  I'm lonely.  I spend all day alone (except for Twitter which is the only thing that is keeping me sane right now) and I've been spending most of my evenings and weekends alone.  I have no friends round here and all my family are miles and miles away.

So I've been going into the shed every day and I've been making orders because I can't make my normal beads because my brain is not in a beady place but I have to make beads because if I don't make beads I don't make money but the orders put my brain in less of a beady place and I sit there hot, grumpy, shouting at the radio and making beads nonetheless.  

I'm rambling here.  Stay with me.

So yeah, beads.  Beads.  Beads By Laura.  That's me, isn't it?  Well, I won't fib - for the past few weeks I've been seriously considering chucking in the bead towel and getting a 'normal' job.  And I'm NOT writing this so you all go "Oh, Laura, you can't do that!  We love your beads.  Don't think such anti-bead thoughts!" and I know you like my beads.  I do too.  But right now we're not the best of friends.

I think what's happened is I've got stuck.  I'm in a bead rut and I can't get out of it.  And yes, I've done the make-a-different-kind-of-bead, use-glass-you-never-normally-use, try-a-new-technique approach but it just won't work.  I think I need some kind of Bead Guidance Counselling or something.

I am out of touch with the bead world.  Hell, I was hardly in touch with it but I've stopped reading anything beady, website or blog-wise.  I follow hardly any beady types on Twitter.  I told a stranger the other day that I make jewellery because I just couldn't be arsed with explaining the beadmakery thing.

And that's why I've not had much to say here.  Here on the Beads By Laura blog.  About beads.  I feel guilty and I feel bad because you're all so wonderfully supportive.  I feel like an utter bitch writing such a miserable post, I really do, but this is just the way it is at the moment.

So what now?  Well, I finish up my pending bead orders and I see if I can muster up any genuine love again for melting glass, I guess.  I'm thinking I'll see how I'm feeling by the end of the year and then I'll make a decision about my bead future.

I know that sounds dramatic but like I said, these words are my current thoughts all spilling into my ever-sickening-ever-baddening-ever-playing-up laptop.  I repeat, it is not for attention or compliment-fishing (someone anonymous always leaves me a charming comment about that whenever I write anything like this so yeah, my arse is covered) and it is just me being honest with you.  Because you deserve that.

In the meantime, if I have got beads for sale, I will tell you here.  If I don't say anything it's because I've got nothing to say.  That's all.

Now, please know that I'm okay; I'm not crying here or popping Prozac like Tic Tacs.  I'm alright.

Just explaining my blog silence, that's all.

Thanks for reading.

Monday 12 September 2011

I'm having a little sale

I'll be taking the Beads To Order page down in a day or so but before I do so I thought I'd have a little sale.  There is currently 20% off all bead orders.  Woohoo!  Please click here for details and to place your order.

Wednesday 7 September 2011


Lampwork Beads

These old-looking ivory and turquoise beads are for sale in the usual place.

Still got no words.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

'Blue Moon'

lampwork Beads

These velvety, spotty lovelies are currently for sale in the usual place.

In case you hadn't noticed, I've got Blog Block.  It's like I've forgotten how to write.  I don't know what to write.  I occasionally get the urge to write but when I sit down to do so it just doesn't work. I've got no words.  I'm wordless.  I've run out of write.

I'm sure it'll come back.

Monday 29 August 2011

'In Love At Last'

Lampwork Glass Beads

This large set of striking black, white and red beads will be for sale on my Freshly Baked Beads page at 8.30pm (UK time) tonight.

The beads were named by @thishenryjames via the wonder of Twitter:

I know I've been quiet on the blog front.  All is well; I just haven't had much to say.  I've been churning out bead orders in the shed and quietly knitting and tweeting in the evenings.

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday Monday!

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Beads & Earrings

Lampwork Earrings

It's been way too hot to melt glass in a wooden shed today so instead I've been making jewellery and photographing beads.  Those 'Inky Nuggets' earrings up there and the bright and cheery 'Fruity' beads below ...

Lampwork Beads

... are on my Freshly Baked Beads page right now along with a few other beady bits and pieces.

All Pandora Ladies, All Pandora Ladies ...

... All Pandora ladies, Or the Trollbeads ladies, Now put your hands up!

That's right!  Put your hands up if you fancy the idea of some of my beads a-spanglin'-and-a-danglin' from your chosen bracelet of charms.  I fancy the idea of turning some of my beads into dangles for the thread-a-bead-onto-a-chain bracelets that are so hot right now.  Like this:

Lampwork Glass Pandora Bead Dangle

I've tried the silver-lined donut-shape beads before but to be honest their shape is so limiting when it comes to design that it puts me off.  The dangle beads however are a different matter as they will allow me to make slightly smaller versions of my usual beads.  All findings are sterling silver and the loop will slide onto any of the popular bracelet systems.

So please comment and let me know if you would be interested in buying these.  The one in the photo above is just a little red heart but I could do all sorts of beads (yes, yes, including a limited selection of cupcakes) and I'm thinking that they would be about £12.00 each including worldwide postage.

What do you think?

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Nice Picture

Assorted Lampwork Beads

I've just taken this photograph of last night's beads and I wanted to post it here. I just think it's a nice picture.

Monday 25 July 2011


Green Glass Beads

I've just put these frosty green lovelies on the Freshly Baked Beads page. There are another four sets too and they're all waiting for new homes .....

Tuesday 19 July 2011


Glass Beads

I've just added an array of 'Beadlings' to the Beads To Order page.  These little lovelies measure 9mm diameter and would be great for making earrings and dainty bracelets.

Glass Beads

These spotty glass gems come in strands of a dozen for £12.00 or you can order five strands for £50.00.  

I've also added some Beadling Mixes to the Freshly Baked Beads page. These sets contain ten pairs of Beadlings and cost £20.00 each.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Are you ready to order?

Assorted Lampwork Glass Beads

Or do you need a bit longer?  Can I get you some drinks?

If you'd like to take a look at my beady menu please click here.

Also, you might like to know that you can now select Insured And Trackable Postage as a side order.

Please excuse me - I'm off to bake some more beads.

Enjoy your meal ..... I mean, Sunday.

Friday 8 July 2011

Bead-On-A-Key Winner

Thank you for all your giveaway entries.  I've just used to select a number betwixt one and sixty-three to choose the winner of the Bead-On-A-Key and that winning number is ...

... number six!  I make that @HelenStellen so many congratulations to you, Helen. Your key will be winging its way to you next week.

Thank you to everyone who entered the draw; I'll do another one soon.

Have a great Friday night!

Tuesday 5 July 2011


Lampwork Glass Beads

These galactic-looking beads contain swirling swathes of several shades of blue, a touch of ivory and lots of fine silver to give a starry effect. They are encased in crystal clear for depth and sparkle. 

If you fancy giving these cosmic blue 'SpaceScape' beads a home they can be found in the usual place.

Have a lovely evening!

'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

Through the wonders of Twitter I am the proud owner of this beautiful painting by Elizabeth O'Connor of Gallery6.  Elizabeth likes my key beads and I like her paintings.  Apryl suggested that we do a trade (Apryl loves her crafty trades and I can't blame her; I would love it if Tesco accepted beads as a form of payment) and so we did.

Elizabeth (she's probably frowning at me now for calling her that so from now on I will refer to her as 'Liz') creates expressive, abstract paintings using mixed media.  Some of her canvasses remind me of nebulae and interplanetary mists and others are like moody colour storms and crashing waves of paint.  Lovely stuff.

'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

Liz asked me what colours I'd like the painting to be and I asked for fern and olive greens and shades of grey.  I had already picked out the perfect spot in the living room for the painting and those colours match our lounge. (Are you surprised?  Were you imagining a sea of red and white polka dots?  No, that's the kitchen.)

A few days later the postman delivered the canvas and I fell in love with it as soon as I unwrapped it.  The colours are perfect and the painting has all these wonderful little details.  I just sit and look at it sometimes; I get properly lost in all the swirls and silvery touches.  It's just beautiful.

Detail of 'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

Detail of 'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

Detail of 'Lichen' by Elizabeth O'Connor

I think I will commission Liz to do another painting when we eventually get round to decorating our bedroom.  If you'd like to pretty up your house with an Elizabeth O'Connor original too her website can be found here.  Make sure you have a look at the Gallery section - the 'Acid Pop' painting is particularly pretty.

A huge 'thank you' to Liz for my gorgeous piece of art and also to Apryl for suggesting the trade.

Friday 1 July 2011

Prize Draw: Bead-On-A-Key

Lampwork Glass Bead-On-A-Key

I can't believe how quickly this year is whooshing by - it's been ages since I last did a prize draw so I thought I'd better arrange a giveaway.

The prize is this bead-on-a-key.  It would look great threaded on a long chain or length of ribbon or if you don't fancy wearing it you could just keep it as a twiddly ornament thing.  

Lampwork Glass Bead-On-A-Key

The bead is periwinkle blue dusted with purple enamel and decorated with white spots.  It moves up and down and spins round and round the antique Victorian key.

The key is 60mm long.

Lampwork Glass Bead-On-A-Key

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this key bead all you need to do is enter my prize draw. The rules of the giveaway 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 Kates and Helens 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 Friday 8th July when I will pick the winner using a random number generator.

♦ I'd really appreciate it if you could mention and link to this prize draw on Twitter, Facebook or your blog.  You don't have to and you don't get an extra entry BUT you will receive a virtual handshake or hug from me (or both if you like) if you're kind enough to do so.  (Tell you what, I'll even throw in a cyber-kiss-on-the-cheek if you want one!)

I hope that all makes sense.

Good luck!