Wednesday 29 May 2013

New Beads

Lampwork glass beads

I've just added these 'Damson' beads ...

Lampwork glass beads

... and these 'Beach' ones to the shop.

Each strand is priced at £18.50 but don't forget, you've got until Friday to use the discount code SUNSHINE+BEADS to get 10% off.

Best wishes,

Prize Draw

Lampwork glass beads

Time for a prize draw, I think ...

Up for grabs this time is this little set of flowery beads in coffee and mauve. Some of the beads are shiny and some have been etched to a velvety finish.

To be in with a chance of winning the beads all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post. Please leave a full name, a Twitter username or a website link in your comment so that I can easily contact you if you're the winner.

The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world but it's only one entry per person.

On Sunday 2nd June I'll draw a name at random from the comments and that person will be the winner of the beads.

(You might also want to sign up to my mailing list to be informed of any future giveaways, along with bead news, special offers and the like.)

Good luck!

Sunday 26 May 2013



I took this picture yesterday whilst I was sprawled on the lawn, talking to a passing guinea pig. It was sunny then and it's sunny now. This is good weather on two Bank Holiday weekends in a row. Witchcraft!

Anyway, in honour of this sunshininess I'm giving you 10% off everything in my shop. Just enter the dicount code SUNSHINE+BEADS at checkout. This code is valid until midnight on May 31st.

Have a super duper day!

Saturday 25 May 2013

Been beady busy

Lampwork glass bead bracelet

I've been busy in the old shed-o-beads, although I couldn't manage a full day today as I've done something to my arm. I don't know what's wrong with it but my left arm is so painful. I can't lift it very high and I can't reach behind me. Hopefully it'll be better tomorrow.

Anyway, enough about my arm; I've got beadiness to show you! First up is the 'Triple Chocolate' bracelet at the top of this post. It's a rattly bracelet loaded with dark, milk and white chocolate coloured beads and it is full of shimmy and shine.The bracelet is priced at £35.00 and is available over in my bead shop.

Lampwork glass bead bracelet

Next is this green, white and ivory 'Blossom' Droplets bracelet which was inspired by the tree that I look out at whilst I do the washing up. The bracelet is £28.00 and is also for sale in the shop.

And finally some loose spotty beads.

Lampwork glass beads

These 'Blackcurrant & Vanilla' ones ...

Lampwork glass beads

... and these 'Aqua' ones are £18.50 per strand and can be found - yeah, you guessed it - in the shop.

Beadiness shared. Mission accomplished. That's all from me.

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Prize Draw Winner

I just set the random number thing generator to pick a number betwixt 1 and 41 and that number was 22. Counting down the comments list I make the winner Janine of Cherished Trinkets. Hurrahwooyay!

Thanks to all who entered and also for your lovely comments. I'll sort another giveaway in the next couple of days so stay tuned.

I'm A Little Teapot

Lampwork glass teapot charms and pendants

Well, I'm not personally, but these little trinkets definitely are. Sweet little beady teapots are now available in my shop.

Lampwork glass teapot charm and pendant

Each teapot costs £6.50 and you can choose if you'd like your teapot as a charm with a lobster clasp for attaching to a bracelet or as a pendant with a bail ready for you to slip onto a chain.

I'll be adding more teapot colours and designs shortly. I'll keep you posted.

Lampwork glass stretch bracelet

I've also been making Droplets bracelets, all featuring purple. The 'Berry & Amber' one above ...

Lampwork glass stretch bracelet

... and this 'Groovy' one were custom orders ...

Lampwork glass stretch bracelet

... but this 'Thistle' one made in shades of green and purple is available over in the shop.

Well, this post is all about the ... ellipsis, isn't it?

Right, that's blogging, Facebooking, Pinteresting and tweeting done. I just need to Flickr, compose a newsletter and ... make some beads.

I'm already exhausted and it's only midday!

I'll be back later to draw the winner of the bead giveaway.

Have a great afternoon!

Friday 17 May 2013

Bead Giveaway

Beads By Laura Bead Giveaway

I've made lots and lots of flowery beads this past couple of weeks and as such I have quite a few spares floating about. I thought I'd give some of them away in a little prize draw.

If you fancy having a go at winning this strand of six 13mm flower beads in turquoise and yellow, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post. Please leave a full name, a Twitter username or a website link in your comment so that I can easily contact you if you're the winner.

The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the whole entire universe but it's only one entry per person.

On Wednesday 22nd May I'll draw a name at random from the comments and that person will be the winner of the beads.

(You might also want to sign up to my mailing list to be informed of any future giveaways, along with bead news, special offers and the like.)

Good luck!

Thursday 16 May 2013

I bring you (more) flowers

Lampwork glass beads

Yes, more flowery beads, this time in the ever-so-'80s colour combination that is soft grey and lemon yellow and also in very pretty and cheery turquoise and pink.

Lampwork glass beads

Both sets are in the shop now and I've also made more of the 'Banana & Strawberry' and the 'Forget-Me-Not' beads.

I've been bead cleaning, photographing, Facebooking, Pinteresting, tweeting and now blogging since I woke up. I must get my arse down to the shed and start some non-cyber-virtual actual factual work!

See you later,

Saturday 11 May 2013

Owl Winner

I've just used to pick a number betwixt one and fifty-three and it gave me number forty-two. Counting down the list of fifty-three comments over on the Owl Giveaway post, that makes NC the winner. Woo! NC, please contact me with your postal address.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I'll be doing another giveaway very soon

Thursday 9 May 2013

More Blue

Lampwork glass beads

I am hooked on this colour palette at the moment. I don't know why I'm drawn to these colours right now but just stay with me and I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon. The 'Forget-Me-Not' beads above are turquoise encased in pale aqua, decorated with little blue flowers.

Lampwork bead stretch bracelet

And then there's this 'Sea & Sand' Droplets bracelet which is made in turquoise, light blue, pale aqua, seafoam, ivory and light taupe. 

Both the beads and the bracelet are available in my shop as I type.

Have you entered my owl bead giveaway yet? I'll be drawing the winner tomorrow night.

That's all from me; just a quick post tonight.

Thanks for stopping by,

Encasing reds, oranges and yellows

I awoke to an email this morning asking me about encasing reds, oranges and yellows. I've had a couple of emails about this in the past so I thought I'd write a little blog about it.

We're all told that you can't encase the warm, 'special' glass colours like reds, oranges, corals and yellows because the resulting beads will crack. That is mostly true but as with the majority of rules, there is an exception or two to it.

I always experienced cracking troubles whenever I encased yellow ... until I encased Creation Is Messy Pumpkin, that is. I made some encased test beads with it, thinking 'These will crack, they will ...' but weeks later, they hadn't. I still have those test beads and they've still not cracked. They were encased with Vetrofond clear. 

Unfortunately, CiM Pumpkin no longer exists.

Encased lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

The yellow in the beads I blogged yesterday was actually CiM Creamsicle. I know, I know, it's yellow and Creamsicle is orange. For a while, the only Creamsicle I could get was this batch that was yellow.

I have had zero problems with Creamsicle (whether it is yellow or the orange colour it should be) and in fact, it is one of my favourite glasses. It doesn't streak, it needs no striking, I can encase it with no cracking issues and it also works as stringer.

Encased lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

Almost all of the encased orange beads of mine you see are Creamsicle and the ones that aren't are Effetre Orange 422. (Again, no cracks for me.)

Pre-Creamsicle, an oddlot of Effetre Coral called 'Peachy Coral' was my orange of choice and again, I never had any cracking problems with it. But alas, it is no more. (I treat normal Effetre Coral like Quorn; I won't touch it because I don't like it.)

You see, one of the reasons I don't offer remakes or custom orders is because of the inconsistency of glass. When I'm out of that Creamsicle-That-Is-Actually-Yellow-Not-Orange, I can no longer make encased yellow beads ... until I find another yellow that works.

Glass, eh? It's a fickle beast and I always feel that we, as beadmakers, cannot make it work for us; we have to work with it and all its little quirks.

Now, reds. Ah, red. Gorgeous, lovely red. I like red. Love it. But crikey, working with it can be a nightmare. Opaques streak and they won't work properly as stringer because when you stretch it out it goes a tad transparent. Again, if someone asks for 'red polka dots' it's a no because red glass is a bugger.

If you encase transparent red or yellow, you will get cracks. Maybe not all the beads you encase will crack, but at least 70% of them will. There are some encased transparent red beads in my gallery (and yep, people ask me for those a lot) but I no longer make them because even though I kept those beads for a fortnight before selling them, I wasn't confident that future ones wouldn't crack at some point. I will not sell a bead that I don't have confidence in.

But I encase opaque Effetre Red 424, 428, 432 and 436 with no troubles.

Encased lampwork beads by Laura Sparling

The only clears I encase with are Vetrofond clear and CiM clear. I also encase with various Effetre and CiM pale transparents.

So, to summarise ...

  • Orange: I only encase CiM Creamsicle and Effetre Orange 422
  • Yellow: I only encase CiM Pumpkin and that Creamsicle batch
  • Red: I only encase Effetre Red 242, 428, 432 and 436
  • I never encase transparent/translucent red, yellow or orange
  • My clears of choice are Vetrofond clear and CiM clear

Now for a little disclaimer bit. Every beadmaker is different. We all work in different ways. We all have different torches and those torches will all have varying oxygen and propane mixes. As a result, what works for one lampworker might not work for another. These findings are mine and are meant as guidelines and advice only.

I hope you find this helpful.

Happy melting!

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Shop updates and Pinterest

Lampwork glass beads

I've been as busy as a busy thing today. I still am. I'm just having a quick blogging break to show you these 'Banana & Strawberry' beads that I've just put in the shop. They remind me of milkshake. Such happy beads.

Lampwork glass owl pendant

I've made more owl beads and I've also made a couple of owl pendants and those are over in the bead shop too.

I'm really yawny. That's probably because I was up until 1:30am looking at Pinterest. You know how the other day I said that I just didn't 'get' Pinterest? Yeah, well I'm eating those words and I now I do get Pinterest. The place is addictive! So many beautiful, ingenious and wonderful things to look at. My username over there is beadsbylaura, if you fancy following or whatever.

Right, I must get on with bead stuff. I have orders to pack up and a newsletter to write.

Don't forget to enter my owl bead giveaway, if you've not done so already.

Happy Wednesday night,

Tuesday 7 May 2013


Beads By Laura now has a Twitter account. I've had a personal one for ages but this new one is dedicated to the business of beads.

Follow @beadsbylaura for bead news and assorted shed-based shenanigans.

Owl Giveaway

Lampwork glass owl bead

I'm overrun with these little fellas. The owls are sitting in the kitchen window sill and whenever I walk in there it's like they're staring at me.

How do you fancy a shot at winning one of my owls? (Of course, if you want a guaranteed way of owning an owl bead, there are some for sale over in my bead shop ...)

This little owl - Rufus, I'm calling him - is made in dark grey-brown and he comes with a strand of a dozen 7mm spacer beads that match him.

To be in with a chance of winning him, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post. If you've not got a Blogger profile, please leave your full name or a Twitter username or something that I can use to notify you if you're the winner.

On the evening of Friday 10th May I'll draw a winner at random.

The prize draw is open to anyone anywhere but it's only one entry per person.

Good luck!

PS: You might want to sign up to my mailing list to receive news of future giveaways and special offers, as well as general bead news.

Monday 6 May 2013

A parliament of owls

Lampwork glass owl beads

Yup, a 'parliament'. That is the collective noun for a group of owls. Personally, I prefer a 'wise' or a 'hoot' but there you go. I don't make the rules, which is probably a good thing.

Anyway, yes, owls. Look at them! Six of them. Half a dozen little chestnut-coloured wit-woos waiting for new homes.

At only 13mm tall they would be great for charms, dangles and pendants. Because they are handmade each one is ever-so-slightly different. They might have different sized beaks and ear tufts and varying levels of staring intensity, but I guarantee you that your owl will be downright lovely.

Lampwork glass owl bead

If you fancy rehoming one (or more) of my owls, they are £9.00 each and are available over in my bead shop.

Thank you to everyone who has liked my Facebook page so far. I'm still finding my way about the place over there. It's a whole new language but I think I'm muddling through okay.

I've added a Droplets Bracelet ordering page to my bead shop, should you want to purchase a bracelet similar to the one I blogged yesterday.

Hasn't it been a gorgeous day? I know, right? A Bank Holiday Monday and sunshine? What is this witchcraft?! Chris and I had our first barbecue of the year earlier and we even got the patio table and chairs out for the occasion.

I hope you've had a lovely day and that it's been sunshining in your part of the world too.

See you later,

Sunday 5 May 2013

I'm On The Facebook

As that annoying tit on the BT ad says, "It's 2013. Get with it, grandma!" so I'm getting with it and I'm giving Facebook another go. I'm not on there in a personal capacity; just in a beady one.

Please click here to 'like' my 'page'. Please? (My only like so far is from me.)

Droplets Bracelet

Lampwork glass bead stretch bracelet

I've just made this summery Droplets bracelet for a customer. She wanted lime greens, oranges and aquas to match the fabric of a dress that she is making.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

The beads did a spot of sunbathing after their clean and wash. Isn't morning sunshine through coloured glass one of the prettiest things in the world?

Lampwork glass bead stretch bracelet

The beads are strung on three strands of clear elastic beading cord. I just had to try it on and I didn't want to take it off. The bracelet is so light and gently rattly and it catches the light beautifully. I'm definitely going to have to make one of these for me.

If you'd like me to make one of these Droplets Bracelet for you too then please click here for ordering details. All you need to do is tell me what colours you'd like your bracelet to be. These bracelets cost £25.00 each and postage within the UK is free. Postage elsewhere is £3.50.

Thank you to everyone who emailed or commented about the owl bead on my blog and via Twitter. There will be more so stay tuned ...

Now, to do some houseworking! My dad is visiting this afternoon and I must clean the windows. Sunshine through coloured glass might be all kinds of lovely but sunshine through double glazed windows covered in rain marks, dust and cat nose smears? Not so much.

Have a wonderful Sunday and if you're lucky enough to be having a barbecue, have a burger for me.

Saturday 4 May 2013


Lampwork glass owl bead

This little fella was waiting in the kiln for me this morning. He's quite sweet, isn't he?

Lampwork glass owl bead

The owl bead is only 13mm tall and would make a nice charm or pendant. He comes with a strand of twenty co-ordinating spacer beads. If you'd like to give him a new home, he's for sale over in my bead shop.

I'm going back down to the shed now; I've got to finish some beads for a bracelet order.

Have a fab evening!

Friday 3 May 2013

'Green Goblin' and Prize Draw Winner

Lampwork Glass Beads

When Chris saw these lime green and orchid pink beads he said they reminded him of the Green Goblin from the Spider-Man comics and yes, he's right, look:


The pink spacers are enamelled; not my usual dusting of enamel but a total two-coat covering. This set of 'Green Goblin' beads is available right now in my bead shop.

Now, to prize draw shenanigans. 

There were thirty-seven entries so I used a random number generator which chose ...

... number sixteen. I counted sixteen comments down the comments list and the winner is Jo Thoday. Well done, Jo! Please email me with your address and I'll get your blue beads in the post to you.

It's been a lovely couple of days. The local cherry trees are in full bloom and they really are an amazing sight. I like to stand underneath them and look up at all the branches laden with pretty white blossoms and they look so beautiful against the clear blue sky.

Cherry blossom

Last year I stopped when I was walking past the cherry trees and picked one of the cherries. It looked delicious and I popped the whole thing in my mouth, bit into it and URGH! It was the sourest, most bitter cherry in the whole world ever and I had to spit it into the piece of paper I had in my pocket which I soon realised was my shopping list. So that was annoying and I shan't be sampling the cherries again this year.

But still, pretty blossoms.

That's enough waffle from me. Enjoy your Friday night!