Tuesday, 13 April 2021

CiM Testing: Jacaranda

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with CiM Jacaranda

Obviously I was going to love this glass because it’s purple.

Jacaranda is like a less translucent/more transparent version of Crocus.

Jacaranda is transparent in rod form but it developed a soft mistiness as I used it and it has retained this after annealing. The effect is really pretty.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with CiM Jacaranda

The rod was ever so slightly shocky in that it fractured several times but not enough to send fragments flying. Apart from that it’s fuss-free.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with CiM Jacaranda

These beads are CiM Foam encased with Jacaranda – three with a thin layer and three with a heavy one – and the polka dots and spacers are CiM Lapis.

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

CiM Testing: Lingonberry

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with CiM Lingonberry

Lingonberry is a transparent, utterly gorgeous cranberry pink.

When I test CiM glass I tend to avoid reading other testers’ posts (don’t hate me for this, other testers – it’s nothing personal) until I’ve used that colour myself, so I’m not influenced by what others have done or discovered. After I’ve used a new Creation is Messy colour and I’m writing up my findings on my blog, I go and fetch the link for the colour on the CiM website and I have a read of how other testers found the glass. Pretty much every tester mentions that Lingonberry has a ‘butterscotch cast’ or that it yellows in certain lights. I didn’t find this at all. I notice that Alexis Berger used Lingonberry to make a glass flower on her Hot Head torch and she didn’t get the butterscotch/yellowing either which makes me think it could be a working temperature thing? I work slow and cool (not the Fonzie kind of cool) so maybe that’s a reason for no yellowing?

Now, on to the unfun part of my findings… . I made six beads with Lingonberry. All of them were CiM Foam encased with a thin layer of Lingonberry. (The polka dots are Reichenbach 104 Deep Black if you’re interested.) As I was cleaning the beads three of them cracked. The other three are okay at the moment but that doesn’t mean they won’t develop fractures further down the line. We shall see.

The cracks are compatibility ones as opposed to thermal ones. The photo below shows the fractures.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with CiM Lingonberry

Obviously this only means that I found that Lingonberry has compatibility issues with Foam. It doesn’t even mean that others couldn’t combine those two glasses and create stable beads. As I always say, there are so many factors and variables involved in beadmaking – torch, working style, technique, what phase the moon is in etc – and two beadmakers can use the same two glasses but get entirely different results. So yeah, I got cracked beads but that doesn’t mean you will; I’m just telling you what I found.

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Friday, 9 April 2021

CiM Testing: Scotch Broom

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Scotch Broom

CiM describe Scotch Broom as a transparent yellow but I’d say it’s more translucent. It’s my favourite kind of yellow; a warm, rich mango one.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Scotch Broom

The glass is very well-behaved. It does require a little bit of striking to get an even colour but a waft through the cool part of the flame as a final step is all that is required to do this.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Scotch Broom

These beads are CiM Foam (white) encased with a thin layer of Scotch Broom. The polka dots are Reichenbach 104 Deep Black and the spacers are Effetre Black 064.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom is a delicious-looking glass and I do hope I’ll be able to get my hands on some.

All beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

CiM Testing: Marmalade

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Marmalade

Marmalade is a transparent rich deep orange. It's pretty much the same hue as Kniphofia. It has a lovely working consistency and it’s not at all shocky or bubbly. It does require striking but it’s an easy one to strike. Like the Kniphofia, I just used it as I would any other transparent and by the time I was done making a bead the colour was even and rich all over. Do note that I work quite slowly, though, and I swear that’s the key to a good strike. Cooler, slower working conditions where you repeatedly remove the bead from the flame and then reintroduce it (which is what naturally occurs when you make an encased bead with surface decoration) allow the colour of a striking glass to develop without much effort.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Marmalade

These beads are CiM Foam (white) encased with a thin layer of Marmalade. The polka dots and spacers are Effetre Dark Periwinkle 222.

Marmalade is a glorious orange and I like it a lot!

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Friday, 2 April 2021

CiM Testing: Robert E.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Robert E.

Robert E. is a transparent medium blue. It’s lighter and brighter than CiM Sapphire. The glass is slightly stiffer to work with than the Effetre transparent blues but it doesn’t haze or fizz like they often do. No shockiness. Robert E. is a very nice colour and a well-behaved glass.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Robert E.

These beads are thin and thick layers of Robert E. over CiM Foam. The spots and spacers are Effetre Dark Grey 252.

The beads were photographed outdoors in natural light.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

CiM Testing: Beeswax Misty and Beeswax Milky

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Beeswax Misty

There are two versions of Beeswax, which is an opal yellow.

I found Beeswax Misty to be quite soft to work with. No shockiness. The beads in the photo at the top of this post are just plain Beeswax Misty with polka dots in Effetre Turquoise 232. As I expected it to, Beeswax Misty reacts with stringer; you can see the polka dots are slightly darker in the middle. The beads above were photographed outdoors in the morning sunshine.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Beeswax Milky
CiM Beeswax Milky

The milky version of Beeswax reminds me of the lemon part of a lemon meringue pie. This glass isn’t as soft as its misty partner but it reacts with stringer way more.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Beeswax Milky

These beads are plain
Beeswax Milky with polka dots in Effetre White 204. I had to go really careful and slow melting the dots down flat otherwise they distorted quite badly. No shocking, no scumming.

The Beeswax Milky beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

A bit of a crochet post

Crochet blanket - pattern is Attic24 'Aria'

I finished my sister's Aria blanket on Friday. It was a lovely day here on Saturday so I washed the blanket and spread it out on a duvet cover on the patio to dry in the sunshine.

Crochet blanket - pattern is Attic24 'Aria'

Washing knitted and crocheted items always brings them to life. I didn't block either of my Aria blankets as such, by which I mean I didn't stretch and pin them. Just a wash, a spin and a gentle smoothing out did the trick in this case, and made the slight scrumples and scrunches disappear.

Big thanks to Lucy of Attic24 for such a lovely pattern - so lovely I made it twice.

I started another crochet blanket project on Saturday and this time its a big one. This thing is going to be about the size of a double bed sized duvet. The pattern is the Rainbow Sampler Blanket by Kirsten Ballering of Hakk Maar Raak.

Crochet blanket WIP - pattern is Haak Maar Raak 'Rainbow Sampler Blanket'

The blanket is made up of stripes featuring various crochet stitches in a host of wonderful colours. I'm making it in the same colours and yarn as Kirsten used for her original blanket. The yarn is Scheepjes Colour Crafter and my word, it is the softest acrylic I have ever encountered. And yes, that is a 6mm hook for working DK yarn. In both knitting and crochet I always have to go up at least one needle or hook size to get the gauge required. My natural yarncraft tension is tight like a tiger!

In bead news, I will be adding a few beads to the shop tomorrow at 16:00 (UK time). I do have a mailing list that you can sign up to if you'd like to receive news of shop updates. The emails are very short and I don't pester you on a daily basis. This mailing list is not my old one (pre 2020) so if you were signed up to my previous mailing list and aren't getting emails from me, that'll be because you need to subscribe to the new one. You can do that here.

Big thanks to everyone commenting on my blog posts, and also to people who subscribe to the blog by email and who send me replies. It's really nice to know that people read my ramblings and it's always great to have a little conversation with you.

Monday, 29 March 2021

CiM Testing: Kniphofia

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Kniphofia

Kniphofia (Latin name for the red hot poker plant) is a deep, rich, translucent orange.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Kniphofia

Kniphofia melts smoothly with no shocking and it’s got a nice working consistency. Like other transparent oranges, it does lose its colour as you work and it requires a level of striking to get it to return but fear not, it’s dead easy to strike; just use it and it’ll do the work for you. The photo below shows a bead with its polka dots added, before I melted them down flat, and you can see that the colour of the Kniphofia is uneven. I didn’t do anything to rectify that except for melting in my polka dots (quite slowly because that’s how I work) and by the time I’d done so the Kniphofia was a uniform orange all over.

Handmade lampwork glass bead

These beads have a core of CiM Foam encased with a thin layer of Kniphofia. I stuck with the red hot poker theme and used Effetre Pastel Yellow 418 for the polka dots and spacers.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Kniphofia

The first two photos were taken indoors in natural daylight and the one just above was taken outdoors in full sunshine.

Friday, 26 March 2021

CiM Testing: Burnt Sugar

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Burnt Sugar

Burnt Sugar is a transparent brown that has a beautiful warmth to it due to its subtle coppery and almost rosy tones. It has a great working consistency – not too stiff and not too gloopy – and it melts smoothly without any scumming or hazing. Not at all shocky either.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Burnt Sugar

These beads have a core of CiM Foam encased with a heavy layer of the Burnt Sugar and they’re decorated with polka dots in Effetre Red Roof Tile 440. The spacers are plain Burnt Sugar and they are slightly paler than the main beads. I reckon that this is because the longer you work the glass, and the more you cool and reheat it, the warmer and more saturated the end result will be.

Burnt Sugar is a glorious colour and a really well-behaved glass. I love it.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

CiM Testing: Avalon Misty and Avalon Milky

Handmade lampwork glass bead in Creation is Messy Avalon Misty

Avalon is a very pale green and there are two versions of it - misty and milky. The photo above shows the misty version.

Handmade lampwork glass bead in Creation is Messy Avalon Misty
CiM Avalon Misty

Like most of the other CiM opals Avalon Misty does that ‘batik’ effect thing with stringer. This bead is pure Avalon Misty with scrolls in Effetre Lavender Blue 247.

Handmade lampwork glass bead in Creation is Messy Avalon Misty

In the top photo and also in the one above you can see the yellowish flash that the CiM misty opals have when the sunlight shines through them. Avalon Misty is a very pretty glass that was fuss-free to work with. Guaranteed to get you humming Roxy Music too!

The milky version of Avalon is denser opacity-wise than its misty counterpart, but still a bit see-through.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Avalon Milky
CiM Avalon Milky

Avalon Milky is such a lovely pale mint green and I always want to pair this kind of colour with lavender.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Avalon Milky

The beads here are plain Avalon Milky with polka dots and spacers in Effetre Lavender Blue 247 and you can see that the polka dots have done that darker-in-the-middle, slightly feathery batik thing.

Avalon Milky was a tiny bit bubbly but that’s pretty standard with a lot of these translucent glasses. No shocking or scumminess, though.

The picture below shows an Avalon Milky bead next to an Avalon Misty bead so you can see their differing opacities and that ethereal opal-like flash of the misty version.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in Creation is Messy Avalon Misty and Avalon Milky
CiM Avalon Milky (left) and Misty (right)

All beads in this post were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

Blog like no one is reading

Chris asked me yesterday how my blog revival was going. I told him that next-to-nobody is reading it or interacting with it but that I don't care and I'm carrying on regardless because I find it comforting. It's nice to put a few thoughts and pictures out there, I think. Little snippets of life recorded until the servers are no more. I'm enjoying reading other people's blogs too. Bring blogging back, I say!

Crochet blanket
Crochet in the morning sunshine

I've not got much to report because nothing much is happening. I've been getting up early to crochet before work because the mornings are lighter earlier and once the sunshine has woken me up I'm awake for good. There's no point lying there in bed effing-and-jeffing at Twitter and the news on my phone, so I get up, make myself a cup of tea, feed Nigel, then get a couple of hours of crochet done.

Lampwork beads on mandrels

I'm enjoying the new CiM colours and there are some really lovely ones in this batch. I'm in a polka dot mood this week so every passing bead is getting polka dotted to within an inch of its life.

Lampwork bead in CiM Heather

This bobbly one is polka dotty too, just with added raised bumps. In case you're interested this bead is CiM Heather with polka dots in CiM Quetzal, topped with CiM Aegean.

I'm very much liking the springtime. Last week the flowering cherry tree I walk past on my way to the shop had burst into full bloom.

White flowering cherry tree in full bloom

I love this particular tree because we used to have one like it at home. My Great Uncle Bernard gave it to me when I was really small. I got a flowering cherry and my mum got an apple tree. Here's a photo of me watering one of them just after we'd planted it.

Young me doing some gardening
Socks and sandals

Both trees grew to be quite large over the years and sadly we had to have them taken down not long before we moved as the roots were doing damage to the lawn. Still, whenever I see flowering cherries I always think of the one at the bottom of our garden.

Anyway, I'm off to clean some beads and take some pictures of them and then I should be back later with another testing post.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

CiM Testing: Coming Up Roses

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Coming Up Roses

Coming Up Roses is a transparent pink glass that has a slight purplish hue to it. It has a nice smooth, not-too-stiff working consistency and it wasn’t shocky but the rod I had did have a fair few microbubbles in it. They’re not a major issue, though. Remember that you’re looking at a photo of beads that shows them way bigger than they are in real life. The beads here are only 12mm diameter. What I’m trying to balance here is telling you to not let the tiny bubble thing deter you from using this very lovely colour, with simultaneously letting you know that the tiny bubbles are there.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Coming Up Roses

These beads are CiM Heffalump encased with Coming Up Roses, with polka dots and spacers in Effetre Lavender Blue 247.

The beads were photographed indoors in natural daylight.

CiM Testing: Dollhouse Misty and Dollhouse Milky

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Dollhouse Misty and Milky

Dollhouse is a very pretty rose quartzy pink glass and there are two versions of it - misty and milky.

Dollhouse Misty has the translucent opalescent thing going on that CiM does so well.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Dollhouse Misty
Dollhouse Misty
Photographed indoors in natural daylight

These ones have a core of CiM Heffalump encased with Dollhouse Misty, decorated with spots of Effetre Violet 272. The spacers are plain Dollhouse Misty. 

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Dollhouse Misty
Dollhouse Misty photographed outdoors

I had no troubles at all with this one. It melted nicely with no shocking or scumming.

Dollhouse Milky is milkier than its misty counterpart, and more opaque yet still translucent. A really lovely colour and glass. Again, no trouble with it at all.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Dollhouse Milky
CiM Dollhouse Milky

I just made solid beads with it, decorated with polka dots in Effetre White 204.

Handmade lampwork glass beads made with Creation is Messy Dollhouse Milky
CiM Dollhouse Milky

Both photos of Dollhouse Milky were taken indoors in natural daylight.

The photo at the very top of this post shows the misty and milky versions of Dollhouse next to each other.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Nothing in particular

Creation is Messy glass rods

In bead news, my bundle of Creation is Messy testing glass arrived this week and it's going to keep me busy for quite a while. I made a start with the testing and the first colour I tried was a misty opal pink called Dollhouse. I'll give it, and its milky opal counterpart, a proper write-up in a separate post next week.

Handmade lampwork glass beads in CiM Dollhouse Misty

In a recent post I mentioned my Akihiro Okama 'Sakura' bead and I said I'd take a photo of it to show you. Here it is:

Akihiro Okama Sakura bead

I bought this bead in about 2006. It's quite big and it's very beautiful. It has a 4mm hole and as you can see I just used a couple of sterling silver round beads and wired it very simply as a pendant and it's strung on a long chain.

Akihiro Okama Sakura bead

In crochet news, I finished my Attic24 Aria blanket a couple of weeks ago. It's such a joyful thing!

My completed Attic24 'Aria' crochet blanket

I'm pretty sure that no two squares are the same.

My completed Attic24 'Aria' crochet blanket

My completed Attic24 'Aria' crochet blanket

My completed Attic24 'Aria' crochet blanket

When I first posted photos of the blanket in progress on my Instagram stories, my sister fell in love with it so I said I'd make her one too. I started hers about ten days ago and this time I made all the inner circles first...

Crochet circles

...and then I added the second colour to each one, stringing them in order on a circular knitting needle as I finished them. I got this tip from one of Amanda Perkins' books. There are a hundred squares in the picture below but I managed to fit the remaining forty-four onto the metre long needle. 

Crochet squares on a circular needle

I'm currently on the adding-the-third-colour-to-each-square-and-joining-them-as-I-go stage and I have thirty-six squares left to do.

In other news, I've not been running for a few weeks because the last couple of times I went out I came back all stressed out about people who'd given me grief for not wearing a mask. One woman got pretty flipping shirty about it. I wasn't huffing and puffing and I'm super conscious of keeping my distance from people, but still you can't please all the people all the time and all that. After this I tried running in a mask and I got two miles in and couldn't catch my breath. The mask gets absolutely soaked with wet breath condensation and it is zero fun trying to breathe through that. I decided that running with a mask was a no-go so for a few runs after that I stuck to quieter routes at quieter times but people were still tutting and giving me filthy looks so I thought I'd give the running a break until lockdown restrictions are eased and people will be less freaked out by a ploddy-jogging middle-aged woman.

I don't know when lockdown restrictions are easing and frankly I've lost interest in any kind of dates, numbers and what's what with this stupid bloody virus. Sick of it. I went back to the foodbank on Friday for my first shift since my arms malfunctioned and one of the other volunteers who also runs asked me if I was still running. I told him what I've just told you about the angry woman and his advice was to "Just ignore anyone who shouts at you. Get back out there!" and I think that was the boot up the arse I needed to get my trainers on and go for a jog. I did just that today.

Carpet of narcissi

Spring is officially here and my run this morning was so springtime with its sunshine, birds singing and this carpet of cheerful narcissi. I ran my standard route and nobody shouted at me and none of the other runners I saw had masks on either. Good times.

I'm off to complete the census now and then tonight is Line of Duty night and I am mighty excited!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.