Friday 27 September 2013

'Acorn & Oak Leaf' Necklaces

Lampwork glass 'Acorn & Oak Leaf' necklace by Laura Sparling
I'm fully aware that I'm neglecting this blog.

Since I made a page for my beads on Facebook I've found it so much quicker and easier to use that for updates. However, I know that not everybody uses Facebook so I must make more of an effort to update here more often.

So what have I been up to?

Making acorns and oak leaves, mostly. These aren't strictly beads; they're headpins. The oak leaves are hand-shaped and the acorns are finished off with a little brass bead cap.

Lampwork glass 'Acorn & Oak Leaf' necklaces by Laura Sparling

These necklaces are available in a variety of autumnal shades and if you fancy you can mix and match acorns and leaves.

Each Acorn & Oak Leaf necklace costs £18.00 and they're available to order right here.

Going back to Facebook ... if you do have a Facebook account then you might be interested to know that I am giving one of these necklaces away over there. This one, in fact:
Lampwork glass 'Acorn & Oak Leaf' necklace by Laura Sparling
Please visit my Facebook page for all the giveaway details.

Have a fab Friday!

Thursday 12 September 2013

Hollow Nuggets

Lampwork glass hollow nugget beads

I've just added a few strands of hollow nugget beads to the shop.

Lampwork glass hollow nugget beads

These lightweight lovelies would make fab chunky bracelets or eye-catching necklaces. I reckon that Wilma Flintstone would agree with me.

'I totally agree with Laura about these beads.' ~Wilma Flintstone, earlier today

All but one of the strands contains graduated sizes.

Lampwork glass hollow nugget beads

They're priced at £14.00 to £15.50, are in stock and ready for posting.

They catch the light beautifully, as transparent glass always does, but the nuggets' facets seem to make them extra twinkly.

Monday 9 September 2013

Shop Tidy

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

I've just had a little tidy-up of the loose beads section of the shop.

New (and in stock beads) include the 'Calm' ones at the top of this post and the 'Aqua Marina' ones below.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

There's also one set of the 'Ocean' earring pairs left.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

All of the beads mentioned are in stock and ready for posting.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

CiM Testing: Tuscan Teal, Trade Winds & Absinthe

Creation Is Messy Tuscan Teal, Trade Winds & Absinthe

Yet more beautiful glasses from my CiM testing bundle.

This time I put Tuscan Teal, Trade Winds and Absinthe together. All three of them next to one another screamed "Mermaids! Underwater! Marine!" at me so I decided to listen to them and I made this 'Aqua Marina' set.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

The patterned beads have cores of Tuscan Teal and Trade Winds encased in Effetre Pale Aquamarine and are decorated with Effetre Periwinkle. The heart is CiM Absinthe.

These three CiM colours are all similar to others in the existing CiM palette but they're just a little bit different at the same time.

*Tomorrow's World face* Let's have a look ...

Tuscan Teal
CiM Tuscan Teal
The Tuscan Teal is similar to Great Bluedini but in my opinion, Tuscan Teal is a touch more blue. This greenish-blue (or is it a blueish-green?) is pretty intense on its own so using it in moderation really allows the colour to do its thing. It's another no-fuss CiM colour and it melted smoothly. It also etches very well. If you like making ocean-underwater-marine type beads then this one is a definite must.

Trade Winds
CiM Trade Winds
A beautiful transparent blue that's very much like Leaky Pen except again, I'd say Trade Winds is a tad bluer. It's not quite as intense as Leaky Pen but it's still best used in moderation as opposed to on its own. This deep kingfisher blue is gorgeous but like Leaky Pen it does have a tendency to pit and fizz whilst in the flame; you just need to keep working it and the pitty-fizziness will stop happening. It etches with no trouble at all.

CiM Absinthe
Now, when I looked at this in rod form I was all "Absinthe? But it's a bit blue?" and I've seen enough Moulin Rouge and read enough books about 1800s French art to know that Absinthe is green. Not just green but greeeeen. Admittedly, this glass loses a lot of its blue and becomes more green when heated but it still has a blueish hint about it but ... hey, that's just its name, Laura, now can we talk about the actual factual glass itself, please?

Why, yes, of course we can. The glass is a stunner. I love it. I want to buy all the Absinthe glass because it's truly magnificent. This is one of CiM's 'moonstone' glasses which means that when used for anything more than about a 10mm plain round, it'll start to develop milky, translucent wisps. The greenish 9mm spacers in the 'Aqua Marina' set at the top are Absinthe and they are transparent but the heart is a different story.

CiM Absinthe

The more you work and re-work this glass (the act of striking, I guess, whether intentional or not) the more likely you are to achieve the 'moonstone' effects. I've tried my best to capture these effects in a photograph but nope, it's one of those things that your eyes have to look upon in real life. 

It's a pretty similar glass to CiM Peacock Green and just like Peacock Green, Absinthe won't etch. Mind you, that's no bad thing because the light playing through shiny Absinthe beads is a thing of eye-pleasing wonder.

CiM Testing: Aloe Juice, Muskmelon & Mint Chip

Creation Is Messy Aloe Juice, Muskmelon & Mint Chip

I love green beads. I have three of my own bracelets that I wear and two of them are green. When I'm out shopping for clothes (not often) after choosing things in black and grey, I opt for green.

However, when it comes to green glass, I am mega fussy. There are some very strong green glasses out there; bright emeralds, vivid grass greens and vibrant pea greens. Thing is, I like my greens a little more subtle, so when I received my latest batch of CiM test glass I was over the moon to see some really pretty, pastel greens.

I immediately put the Aloe Juice with the Muskmelon and the Mint Chip and got to work on a set that combined all three.

Lampwork glass beads by Laura Sparling

See? Soft, delicate greens that look very crisp and fresh. The greener ones are Muskmelon encased in Aloe Juice, decorated with Mint Chip. The paler ones are Mint Chip encased in CiM Clear*, decorated with Muskmelon. The spacers are a mix of all three greens.

Now for a bit about each green ...

Aloe Juice
CiM Aloe Juice

This is just a beautiful transparent green. It's a proper green green and not a yellowy one like some other transparent greens are. In the CiM palette I'd say it's closest to Appletini but a touch greener. Aloe Juice is super-smooth, not stiff and the rod I had was totally bubble free. It also etches to a perfect 'sea glass' finish. Yup, Aloe Juice just became my favourite transparent pale green.

CiM Muskmelon

Muskmelon is a cream-green. An ivory-green. The colour reminds me of lime milk jelly or the creamy mousse part of a Key Lime pie. Yes, imagine mixing evaporated milk with a touch of lime green and you'll have yourself Muskmelon. It's a nice glass. Totally fuss-free and Goldilocks (just right) to work with. It's streak-free (so many opaque greens are streaky) and it works well as stringer too. It also etches beautifully. All-in-all, it's a fab opaque ivory-green.

Mint Chip
CiM Mint Chip

Imagine CiM Dirty Martini but a touch greener. Mint Chip is a gorgeous, soft mint green and it's one that I'll definitely be purchasing. Again, it's not streaky, it etches like a dream, works as stringer and is a doddle to use. I do like an unfussy glass! It does appear quite a bit paler when encased with clear but that is totally normal.

So that's that. I'll definitely be ordering Aloe Juice and Mint Chip. The Muskmelon is one of those it's-nice-to-know-it's-there colours that would be just right for certain things but I'm not sure I'd buy a whole wodge of it.

* I used to swear by Vetrofond Clear. For years. Then after a few bad batches of it I decided to give CiM Clear a whirl and eventually fell in love with it. It wasn't love at first melt and it took me a while to get used to it but now I adore it. CiM Clear likes to be worked quite cool but oooh, it's lovely. Way fewer bubbles and less scum than Vetrofond Clear.