Monday, 26 November 2012

7000 Bracelets Blog Hop

I seem to be signing up for blog hops a lot lately. This one is for a good cause. Organized by Sue Kennedy of Sue Beads, it's for the 7000 Bracelets for Hope campaign - a bracelet program for people or families who suffer from rare genetic diseases. You can read more about the program here

I was hoping to make a couple of bracelets but in the end, completed just one. 


I used dyed quartz rondelles that I've had for ages, a stamped metal blank and some Czech glass. I couldn't resist adding a pop of colour with the red flower beads. I hope whoever gets it will like what I made. 

I've listed the other participants of the Blog Hop below, but in case the links don't work (I'm having issues with my computer, which is also why this post is a day late), you can find them on Sue's blog. She also has information on how to donate bracelets if you're interested. 

Many thanks to Sue for coming up with this meaningful Blog Hop, and for letting me play!

Monday, 19 November 2012

A Special Blog Hop

It's probably not the brightest idea I've had - seeing as I'll be super busy in the next couple of months - but I've signed up for Lori Anderson's Memories and Thanks Blog Hop. I'm hoping to also play in her annual BSBP in March 2013 but I just couldn't pass up the chance to join this special Blog Hop. There's an amazingly moving story behind it and I encourage you to go here to read about it.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Back...with rings

Real life has been a little crazy lately, which accounts for the blog silence. I haven't been entirely unproductive however. Two weeks ago, I made a couple of rings using materials I had lying about. 

Plastic bag from Victoria & Albert Museum in London (isn't it pretty?)

+ glass domes + adjustable filigree ring blanks + glue / resin =

I think the rings are just about the darlingest things I've ever made. They've already found new homes, but I hope to make more and list them in my sadly-neglected Etsy store. They'd make wonderful and inexpensive holiday gifts. 

Lesson of the day: plastic bags are more useful than you'd think. Especially the pretty ones. 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

My holiday beads post

I love going on holiday. Especially to some far away place. Apart from being a nice break from work and everyday life, holidays abroad mean that I get to shop for beads that I wouldn't normally be able to find here in Singapore. Of course there's always online bead shopping (which I periodically indulge in), but shipping costs can be dear.

This holiday, I discovered - and exercised - my normally absent self-control and didn't buy every bead in sight. So the resulting loot turned out pretty small, but I love every single piece I carted home.

My Paris beads. 
Top pic: vintage glass and lucite (acrylic? plastic?) beads. 
Note to self - next time, buy more. 
Bottom pic: Enamelled metal flowers, glass drops and acrylic nuggets. The purple glass beads on the left are from the UK and shouldn't be in the pic. They snuck into the picture when my back was turned. 

Beads from jolly ol' England - well, London to be specific. Still can't believe I only bought what you see up there. Oh, and a pair of froggy charms. Those charms have since been turned into earrings for a friend (see below).

Oh and I went a little crazy buying buttons. They were too pretty to say 'no' to.

I've never included buttons in my jewellery before and I have no clue as to how I'm going to use them. So you'll have to give me some ideas k?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Back. Finally.

Actually, I got back last week. I'm still readjusting to life at home, and to be honest, there are days I wish I were still on holiday. I had a grand time in Paris and London - and yes, I managed to squeeze in some bead-buying. I'll leave my beads post to later, but for now, I wanted to share some highlights of my trip. 

Highlight No. 1:

Vintage beads (ca. 1960s) at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen in Paris. Some other bloggers have mentioned this famous flea/vintage market and the great finds you can unearth here (beads! buttons! ribbons!). The store is an absolute treasure trove of vintage beads and findings and should definitely be on your list of places to shop at if you ever visit Paris. If you can, set aside an hour or two (or more) to trawl through the stacks of bead boxes. I definitely do not recommend going when you have just got off the plane and are clearly woozy from jetlag - which was the case with me. If I had been more rested, I would probably have bought more than the 16 euros worth of beads I came home with. Which - on second thought - might have been a blessing in disguise. Who knows how much I might have spent if I'd been my normal self :-)? I should also warn you that the place is mighty dusty, so don't breathe in too hard.  According to the elderly lady who owns the store (my French-speaking friend struck up a conversation with her while I was sorting through what I wanted), most of her customers are either Americans or Japanese. And she said the Americans usually buy huge quantities. Which made me wonder, is this where all the online vintage bead stores get their stock? 

Highlight No. 2:

Visiting the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club. I watch football - or soccer as some of you may know it - and have been a supporter of The Arsenal for more years than some of my co-workers have been alive. This is their brand new spanking home and it is amazing. In the face of disappointments and upheavals the club has faced in recent years - and it has faced many - it was good to be reminded of the club/team's rich history and also, that 'class is permanent', even if success may not be. However much I, and my fellow long-suffering supporters, may wish it were.

Highlight No. 3:

Freaking butterbeer guys!! Need I say more? There are only 2 places in the world you can drink this. Florida, USA and Watford, UK at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London. The drink is divine, and tastes like a root beer float with a touch of cream soda. Not as sweet as you think it might be. The only downside was having to drink this outside on a cold, grey, rainy day. The cold made me forget my plans of refilling my cup and pouring the drink into a thermos so I could savour it later. Wish JK Rowling would just give in and let some soda company manufacture and sell this drink worldwide. She'd be the richest person on the planet (if she isn't already). 

Is it sad that the highlight of my holiday would be beads, football and butterbeer? You'd think I'd have said visiting Monet's home in Giverny- which I did - or seeing Vincent Van Gogh's grave - which I also did. Huh. Who knew?

Friday, 7 September 2012

Taking a break

I've been MIA for the past few weeks. And I apologise. My creative juices have run dry and I haven't felt like blogging. I have unfinished projects lying about and I'm still making my way through the 3rd reveal of the BSBP.

The silence will likely continue as I'll also be going on a much needed holiday for 3 weeks. First to the City of Lights where I hope to make it to the Les Puces market where I hear vintage beads and buttons abound. I'll post pics if I'm successful in tracking them down.

And then, I'm hopping over to:

Yup, Jolly Ol' England where I hear it's been raining a fair bit. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather clears up because I want to do some bead shopping if I can. And to visit a haberdashery (does anyone still use that term anymore?) shop.

I hope to return in a better creative mood, and with bags of beads and buttons. I promise to post pics and also - possibly - to have a giveaway again. Till then, take care and keep well everyone!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Thank you & BSBP 3rd Reveal

I'd like to thank everyone who came by and read my Bead Soup Blog Party post. A massive thank-you also goes out to the lovely people who took the time to leave a comment. I read every one and did my best to either reply, or post a comment on your blog. If I've inadvertently missed you out, I'm so very sorry. I'll do better next time. But please know that I appreciate each and every comment I received. 

In other news, today is the 3rd, and final, reveal date of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party. I highly recommend that you visit each participant's blog to ogle the pretties they've made with their respective bead soups. You won't regret it, I promise! Head to Lori's site here to see her reveal pieces - superwoman that she is, she participated in all 3 reveal dates - before hopping over to the other blogs. Have fun!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Yay! Soup's on!

Hello and welcome to the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party from sunny Singapore!  Before I go any further, I'd like to thank Lori Anderson for putting this massive party together. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and better and better.

This is my second time playing in the BSBP and my partner for this round is Carmen Lau of Little Maketto. Carmen lives just north of the border in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which is about a 5-hour drive from Singapore. If you recall, she sent me a huge helping of bead soup. 

One that terrified me, and made me face up to my fear of - gulp! - pastels. Her soup was a genuine challenge and it alternately frustrated and inspired me. My biggest struggle was what to do with the focal, and the baby blue and pink crystal rondelles. 

Eventually, I made the following pieces. Yes, I made several - the challenge I set myself was to use as many of Carmen's beads as possible.

You wouldn't believe the number of times I made and re-made this necklace. Or maybe you would. My biggest headache was how to attach the oval focal to the chain. 

My next task was to overcome my deathly fear of pastels. I knew I wanted to use the blue and pink rondelles in a bracelet, but I didn't want to just string them. I finally made a connector out of air-dry clay, paper and resin. And I made it pink. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? In a stroke of luck, I also had some blue chain in my stash that matched the colour scheme perfectly. 

Up next were some simple earrings.

I thought I was done by then. But Carmen also sent some champagne-coloured teardrop crystals and tiny red glass drops that just begged to be paired up. 

I'm not entirely happy with the necklace, but at least it's a different style from my usual. Finally, I used up the bulk of the remaining beads in making a ring, and a bag charm/zipper pull. 

There are still a few assorted beads left (including two beautiful silver filigree hearts that I am so hoarding) but I think I did pretty well in attempting to use most of Carmen's beads. 

So, that's it from me. Thank you so much for visiting and reading till the end. My thanks also to Carmen for sending me such a generous soup that stretched both my skills and creativity. 

Now, if you aren't too exhausted, let's grab a drink (or two..or ten) and go blog hopping!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Adlinah Kamsir, Dream Struck Designs (you are here)
Adrienn Lukacs, Raszputyin Designs
Agata Grygiel, Cytherea Bijoux 
Alenka Obid, Pepita Handmade 
Amy Dickerson, Damyjo Designs 
Amy Schmidt, Amy's Treasure 
Amy Severino, Amy Beads 

Andrea Trank, Heaven Lane Creations
Anke Humpert, Anart Island Studios
Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
April Grinaway, Brooklyn Bead Goddess 
Ashley Bunting, Miss Ashely Kate 
Astrid Boyce, Astrid Boyce Beads 
B.R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem Studios 
Barbe Saint John, Saints and Sinners

Beata Benkone Meggyesi, Beahobbi
Brandy McNair, Bella Vita Handmade Jewelry 
 Bryna Lumb, Bryna's Bead Box
Carmen Lau, Little Maketto
Cate van Alphen, Fulgorine
Cathie Carroll, Cathie Carroll's Studio
Cathy Khoury, Touch Jewelry 
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads 

 Collette Collins, Fire Fly Myst Artisan Jewelry
Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul 
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
Deana Hager, Just Deez'Art & Life
Debbie Phenes, Deb Joy Sing
Dhea Powers, Java Bead

Diana Welte, Lilyweeds
Dita Basu, alankarshilpa
Dorota Zeranska, gdymamczas 
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Eva Sherman, Eva Sherman Designs
Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead and Metal Works
Francy Inman, Francy's Studio

Ginger Bishop, lilmummy likes...
Giorgia Rossini, Jo in Wonderland
Ine Vande Cappelle, Jewels by Ine 
Iveth Caruso, Creative Atelier 
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Jackie Ryan, Kydo Jewellery
Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
Jelveh Jaferian, Jelveh Designs
Jenna Tomalka, Twin Birch Studio
Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Beads

Jennifer Van Horn, Jennifers Jewels and Junk
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Johanna Rhodes-Nash, Fire Phoenix Creations 
 Joyce Blair, Bent Wire West Coast
JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
Karen Vincent, Swallow Tail Jewellery
Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
Kayla Potega, The Eclectic Element 
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Kris Lanae Binsfeld, Cherish Designs by Kris Lanae

Kristen Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
Kumi Fisher, Malie Kai Designs
Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Leslie Wayment, AA Beads & More
Linda Murphy, Bonita Bead
Lisa Johnson, Whimsey Wonders

Lisa Sittniewski, Love, Yesterdays
Lois Moon, Que Onda, Q'Town?
Lola Surwillo, Bead Lola Bead
Lorelei Eurto, Lorelei's Blog
Lori Bowring Michaud, Artfully Ornamental
Lori Finney, Using My Beads
Margareta Saari, Mags-koruja
Maria Horvath, Horimarika Beads
Marian Hertzog, M's Place

 Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.
Mary K McGraw, MK's Creative Musings
MaryLou Holvenstot, time2cre8 
Martha Aleo, Ornamento
 Maybeline Tay, The Jewelry Larder
Megan Collins, Churchy & Her Sailor
Melissa Meman, Art. Life. Love.
Melissa Mesara, One-Eared Pig Beads
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs

Pam Farren, re-maker
Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs
Patricia Handschuh, The Color of Dreams
Patty Miller, CabariBeads
Penney Klapoth, Faerie Acres
Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
Rhea Freitag, starrgazer creates
Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle

Sabine Dittrich, PerlenDschungel
Sandra McGriff, Creative Chaos
Sandra Neights, Petalo Azul
Sandra Young, It's a Bead Life!
Sara Oehler, SoftFlex Girl
Saturday Sequins, Saturday Sequins
Shanti Johnson, Sunshine Bliss
Shari Replogle, Plays With Paper
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads

Stefanie Teufel, Stefanies Sammelsurium
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Tina Holden, Polymer Clay Bytes!
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends 

Tracey Nanstad, A Beadiful Mess
Tracy Choy, BumbleBeads Designs
Valerie Norton, Hot Art

Thursday, 9 August 2012

And the winner.....

....of my first ever giveaway is....drum roll please......Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures! Congratulations Lisa! I'll be in touch soon for your mailing address. I hope you enjoy the bead soup.  

PS. In the interests of transparency, please know that the winner was picked via the time-honoured, fool-proof method of picking names out of a bowl. Yes, I'm sophisticated like that :-). 

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bead Soup updates, new work and a giveaway

Warning...long post ahead. But do read till the end - you'll be greatly rewarded (i.e. there's a giveaway).

If I've been strangely silent these past weeks, it's because I've been in a tizzy figuring out what exactly to do with the bead soup I received from my partner, Carmen of Little Maketto. All those baby blue and pink beads have me seriously terrified, and the last thing I wanted to do was to blog. 

But I had a breakthrough yesterday, and finally created something that didn't look like it needed to be binned. I hope you'll come back on August 11 to see what I made. 

Btw, have you visited the BSBP participants who revealed their pieces on Jul 28? If you haven't, I suggest you do so by going here. I'm still making my way through the list but I can assure you that you'll be drooling over the stunning pieces everyone created. 

Now, despite my recent silence, I haven't been entirely up to nothing. Hair-pulling and teeth gnashing apart, I've been playing with resin. Again. A good friend in the US sent me some Jewelry Resin a while back and I finally took it out to play yesterday. I'm used to ICE Resin so the product wasn't entirely unfamiliar. It did need an extra step to prep it though, but the results were pretty good.

This pendant was a huge disappointment. You can see resin seepage at the top. I used 3 layers of Mod Podge to seal it but I guess I wasn't as careful as I'd thought. The little cloudy bit up top is also where I sanded away a tiny bit of fluff that settled during the curing process. I'll be brushing on a layer of resin to cover it up later. I hear that works. 

Now this is my Christmas in August pendant :-). My first attempt at including glitter in my resin experiments - boy, does it get everywhere! The glittery brads remind me of Christmas ornaments so I'm calling it my Deck the Halls pendant. I might list it in my Etsy store. What do you think...should I? 

Ah...this ring. I had a smidgen of resin left and didn't want to waste it. Desperation led to squished up paper and leftover rhinestones haphazardly stuffed into a ring blank. Not a complete eyesore. Surprisingly. 

And finally, to wrap up this (very) long post, I'm pleased to announce my very first giveaway. It was only after I posted my previous blog entry that I realised it had been my 100th post. An accomplishment for someone who often begins something, but doesn't necessarily complete it. Unless it's a book. So to celebrate this milestone, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who's come by, read my posts, left a comment etc by giving away the bead soup below. 

It's rather a mixed-up bead soup - by which I mean, I chose beads that had meaning for me and which I thought were pretty and not because they coordinated with each other - but I hope you'll like it. From top left, going clockwise: resin pendant (my handiwork), wooden squares (could be faux wood; I got them from Japan), small glass discs (also from Japan, they reminded me of candy), amethyst (my birthstone and if you believe in crystals, it guards against guilty and fearful feelings), vintage faux pearl clasp, brown/amber lampwork glass (again, from Japan), rhodonite (just cos it's pretty, and also raises self-worth and wards off negativity), dark blue lampwork w/silver foil, vintage orange  beads, and blue lampwork bead (from Japan too). 

The giveaway is open to anyone and everyone. Just leave a comment and I'll pick a random winner on Aug 9. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

New experiments - updates

Remember my previous post about my air-dry clay and candy mold experiments? This pic?

I spent a Sunday afternoon painting the little critters, rubbing on some gilders paste and sealing them. Basically seeing what would work and what wouldn't. Only 3 turned out passably well. I was aiming for 'stunning' but they came out more 'weatherbeaten' than anything else. 

One turned out frankly hideous and will not be photographed - ever. Another is pretty dodgy - I added a layer of Diamond Glaze on top thinking it might improve matters. It didn't. You're not getting a pic of that either. And the last one I quite liked, but then I dropped it and its little paisley tip broke off.....

I'm going to keep on experimenting with the clay and molds. Hopefully, I'll have nicer stuff to show the next time.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Bead soup has Malaysia!

Yes, my bead soup package has reached my partner Carmen in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Carmen will be blogging about the beads I sent on her blog Little Maketto this weekend, so be sure to check out what she says about them.

But in the meantime, here are some pics of the beads I chose for her. Carmen shared that she has difficulty using pink beads in her designs so of course, I couldn't pass that up. My bead soup to her has lots of pink!

Here's a closer look:

Btw, that resin pendant was one of the very first I made when I started experimenting with resin. It turned out pretty well - no bubbles! no smudges! - and since it's pink, I thought I would add it to the soup just for fun. The real focal of course is that beautiful lampwork glass bead by Susan Farley. I can't wait to see what Carmen does with all that pink! Tune in to both our blogs on Aug 11 when we'll reveal our pieces.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Amazing giveaway by Lori of Pretty Things

The fabulous Ms Lori Anderson - yes, she of Bead Soup Blog Party fame - is having a fantastic giveaway. Actually, she's having FIVE giveaways. How's that for generosity?

You can go here to see what you stand to win. But hurry, you'll have to comment on her blog and on yours by 13 July (today!) to have a shot at the giveaway. Good luck!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bead Soup's here....Part 2

As promised, here are pics of my bead soup from Carmen. Earlier than expected. Yay!

The beads in their neatly packaged little bags. And a pretty little note card with a glitzy car charm attached (you'll see it up close later). Clearly, Carmen has a very good relationship with all things neat and tidy. She's nice and thoughtful too - see pretty notecard + sachet of sweeties (pic in yesterday's post). 

The beads after I broke them out of their plastic homes and got my dirty little paws on them. Carmen sent me a ton of ingredients. 

The focal:
Which is grey/silver with blobs of blue, pink and maroon-brown. All colours I never work with. And which also has no bead hole (ie. it's a donut). Help!

The clasps; Carmen sent me two - a toggle as well as a box clasp:
Kind, generous person that she is, she also sent bead caps, some butterfly spacer beads, 3 charms, 2 leaf connector components, a length of cable chain and two beautiful heart beads that I am sorely tempted to hoard for myself and not use in my reveal pieces. 

The coordinating beads:
Carmen really mixed things up when it came to materials. Here you have dyed shell teardrop beads, cherry quartz squares and freshwater pearls. And if that weren't enough, she also sent some faux pearls, Korean and Chinese crystals, wonder beads and Czech pressed glass. 

Finally, here's a closeup of that cute car charm she added to her note.

Phew! What a load of pics! Massive thanks to Carmen for sending me such a generous and challenging bead soup. I foresee a fun (but possibly painful) old time ahead of me as I try to figure out what to create from her varied ingredients. Those of you playing in the BSBP, I hope you get your bead soups soon - if you haven't already. Happy creating!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Bead soup's here!

Yes! My bead soup package from Carmen, my BSBP partner, arrived safe and sound this afternoon. As you can see, apart from the beads - no, she didn't send Swarovskis; Carmen's eco-conscious and uses recycled packaging, which I think is fantastic - she sent me.....candy!
A whole sachet of marshmallows and sour gummies that turn out nice and sweet after the initial face-grimacing sourness. Thanks Carmen! The candy will come in handy when I try to figure out what to do with your bead soup. Sweets always help me to think :-).
From the pic above, you can see that Carmen has been most generous with her bead soup. The 2 bags were stuffed full of beads and charms and other good things. I love the little card she sent, along with the tiny sparkly charm that was attached to it. And I have to say I was most impressed by the neatness of her penmanship. I just hope she's able to read what I wrote on her package; my handwriting is admittedly atrocious. I knew I should have been neater. 

As for the actual beads themselves, well, you'll have to wait. I want to photograph them in natural light to do them justice. Which means you'll get to see them tomorrow at the earliest - or more probably, at the weekend when I'll have more time to take pics. So check back soon to see what Carmen sent me!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Signed, sealed, delivered

Well, more like sealed and mailed. Yup, I finally sent off my bead soup package to my BSBP partner. Phew! I was a couple of days late, but I got it done in the end. 

I'm hoping the package will reach my partner, Carmen Lau, in a few days, since she lives just 5 hours or so away up north in Malaysia. You can find Carmen at her blog/blogshop Little Maketto where she sells the cutest girly accessories. 

Carmen shared that she usually works with ready-made chain, metal charms and simple wirework. Hey, kinda like me! She also said that she usually gravitates towards colours like white, black, blue and red. So I took all that into consideration and spent a happy weekend putting together a bead soup that would (hopefully) challenge her.

I hope she likes the choices I made. Below is a teaser pic of what I eventually sent her. 

Monday, 2 July 2012

New experiments

Paisley-shaped pendants made from air-dry clay using a candy mold. And one little hand-shaped polka-dotted heart. I had to pry the pendants out of the mold so they're all a little wonky at the top near the hole. I have to figure out a way to get them out of the mold without denting/tearing up the clay. If I let them dry in the mold, would they pop out easier? I know they shrink a little when they cure but I have nightmares of them being bonded to the mold. That happened to the resin I poured into a few of the molds. I didn't think I'd need to use mold release and happily poured resin into 5 of the little paisley molds only to find out a day later that the resin was now part of the mold. Sigh...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

New necklace

I made this some months ago but never got around to posting a photo of it. I love the Jade Scott focal. It's so pretty that I kept everything simple and minimal. Which if you've noticed, is what I usually do. I don't know if this means I'm lazy - which I am - or if I'm just a sucker for uncluttered designs  - which I also am - or more likely, if I'm overwhelmed and paralysed by too many choices so I go for the easy one. 
Whatever. It's still pretty though. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

In the beginning.........

.....was this:

The pieces above were the first jewellery I ever made back in 2007. 

Back then, I was in a job that constantly stressed me out and was making me increasingly unhappy. I used to joke that I never saw the sun during the week - leaving for work when it was still dark and leaving the office long after the sun had set. It wasn't much of a joke though. So in an attempt to 'reclaim my life' I signed up for a bead making class at a community centre a few blocks away from my home. 

For almost the first time in my life I discovered that my hands were capable of making something that was both functional and beautiful. During the 10 lessons, I learnt how to make simple wire loops, twist wire and weave beads together to create rings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches. There were setbacks of course. Simple loops were not so simple for me. I was often all thumbs when it came to weaving tiny seed beads together. And I was usually one of the last ones to complete that night's project. 

Despite that, I enjoyed myself hugely and discovered that creativity wasn't entirely foreign to me :-). Given how much I gained from that class, it's rather odd to realise that I haven't taken a jewellery making or beading class since. Hmm, maybe I should start scouting around for some classes.....

6th Bead Soup Blog Party

The fabulous Lori Anderson is organising her ever-popular Bead Soup Blog Party once again, and lil ol' me is playing. Yes, yet again. Having played earlier this year, I can say with complete conviction that it was one of the best experiences of my life. Apart from all the fun of sending and receiving pretty beads, making new friends and gawping at all the outstanding creations made, I think I grew as a jewellery designer and maker. I certainly tried techniques and designs that I would probably never have considered if I hadn't been given that particular bead soup from my partner. So if you've been contemplating taking part but haven't taken the plunge yet, I say 'Go for it!'. You won't regret it. FYI, the next BSBP will be in Jan/Feb 2013. 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Not your everyday headpins

Are you as in love with fancy glass head pins as I am? The ones in the pic above are from Etsy sellers HavanaBeads (on left and right) and Midgetgembeads (centre). I'll have you know that they're even prettier in person. 

My only issue with their outstanding gorgeousness is - how the heck do I showcase all that pretty? At the moment, the 3 sets (and ahem, some others) are sitting quietly in my bead case, waiting for me to be inspired. 

Now, if those headpins were in your stash, what would you do with them? Make a pair of earrings? A pendant necklace? Would you keep it simple or pile on the gorgeousness with other artbeads? After all, as I understand it you can never have too much pretty in your life. I'd love to hear your ideas - so any comments would be great!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Repairing and re-purposing

I can go weeks or months without making a piece of jewellery. I don't know why it happens - and I certainly don't like it - but it does. What helps me get back on track is turning my focus on other things  - like repairing or re-purposing old pieces.  

A dear friend handed me the necklace below with a request to please 'save' it. The repair work is pretty simple - I need to re-string the beads and maybe replace the clasp and some of the beads. It's nice when I can help out a friend and make her happy with just a half-hour of my work. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Letting go and having fun

I have - at various times in my life - been called anal-retentive, uptight and a perfectionist. And yes, when it comes to some things, I admit I can be all 3. I brought this 'I need to make things perfect' mindset to my jewellery making too. Especially when I first started out. But slowly, I've been learning to let go, to embrace the imperfections that come with making things by hand and to just have fun. 

Last week, I had fun experimenting with some not-very-expensive materials. Air-dry clay + paint + ICE resin =

This is a pic I would not have posted a year or even 6 months ago since every item you see in it has several flaws and isn't 'finished'. I wasn't guided by any particular design or vision; I just sat down with some clay and made what my hands felt like making. I also tried not to overthink the colours when it came time to paint the lil critters. Looking back, the one area where I should have put in more thought was the 'dunking them in resin' stage. The resin basically pooled at the bottom of each charm/pendant and pulled away from the clay so I'm having to snip away excess hardened resin and file the edges. 

What I learned from this spur-of-the-moment project was:
a) not knowing how something will turn out when you start making it can be both enjoyable and therapeutic.
b) resin reacts weirdly with air-dry clay. It makes the beads look like they've been shrink wrapped in plastic. I don't know if this is due to some strange chemical reaction or if it's because my resin is (shh! don't tell anyone) well past its 'best before' date or possibly a result of my amateurish technique. 
c) flawed objects have their own innate charm.

Now you've seen my perfectly imperfect charms/pendants, what do you think I should do with them? I'm leaning towards the idea of key chains or phone charms myself. Or maybe use them to pretty up presents and gifts. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

I'm back...with a sale

It's been awfully quiet here lately. Life has been busy. And I haven't been in the mood to make jewellery. It happens. Quite often actually. But I think I may be breaking out of that rut - I found enough energy and enthusiasm to play around with air dry clay, paint and resin last Sunday. I'll probably post pics at the weekend so you can see the results of my messing around. At the moment, the results are pretty dire :-).

In the meantime, to spread some cheer - which I'm sure we all could use - I've decided to have an Etsy sale. Use the coupon code MAYSALE15 when you check out to get a 15% discount on everything. Enjoy!