September 12, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Those of you who are regulars to this blog, would have figured that I love pearls. I try to use them mixed in with other beads and stones as I think that they are beautiful and add a touch of lustre.
Of course the better the quality, the dearer they are. So pearls should always be knotted to avoid the cliche image of a necklace bursting and pearls cascading across the floor. But to knot pearls is tricky.
The Beaderie runs Pearl Knotting classes which I managed to get to in August (I nearly didn’t make it thanks to the horrors of train travel but I covered that on twitter). For £25, it’s a class well worth doing. You come away with a lovely freshwater pearl necklace, the self-satisfaction of having knotted it yourself and most importantly you will have learnt a new technique.
It is a useful technique that I’ve adapted to use with semi-precious stones as well. Because of the consistency of the knots, I’ve included them as a feature using double strands of coloured thread so that the knots show.
I’m still experimenting with knotting in my design. Do you use knots in your design? Let me know in the comments.
May 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
April 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
After a week-long stay in the Lakes, we were all packed up and ready to drive home. It had been a lovely week which we had thoroughly enjoyed so when my husband announced that he didn’t feel like heading back home, it was no surprise that my daughters agreed with him and to his suggestion that we should drive to Edinburgh instead. But that’s not on the way home (Cambridge) !
It was a beautiful sunny day and three hours later, we were in Edinburgh heading for the Castle, when I spotted a bead shop. Fortunately, the traffic light was red and there was a parking space we could dive into. And so, by pure chance, we discovered: The Little Bead Shop. What a gem!
It’s more like visiting a friend’s rather than a shop. In the front window is a round table which a huge dish of assorted beads, which is where my youngest daughter settled down to pick beads and create her necklace. I should say at this point, Deanne who was in the shop that Saturday, was an absolute star. She explained where everything was in the shop, answered our many questions, helped Lauryn and me with our dilemmas of what to buy and shared ideas with us. Her friendliness and warmth made The Little Bead Shop memorable and a real delight.
Without realizing it, we spent an hour there. We came a way with lots of lovely beads. Inspired by the blue skies and lightness of spring, I created this necklace and pair of ear-rings:
And here’s a snap of some of the other beads I got from The Little Bead Shop:
ps. The Little Bead Shop are running classes at the Edinburgh Bead Fair on 8th of May – sadly I won’t be able to make the trip up to Edinburgh for that. But if you’re in the area – it looks really promising.
pps. Deanne promises that The Little Bead Shop will have a new online store soon.
March 28, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Taking photos of jewellery has proved frustrating particularly when the flash is required. I found it really difficult to capture the subtle colour or sheen in the beads and crystal without the flares from the flash. This prompted my web search for a solution. There were lots of suggestions on how to make a home studio and while these were really creative, it meant giving up space permanently to a home studio which I can’t really do.
So when I found this kit on Amazon, I was really pleased. The kit includes the bag which opens into the white tent, a pair of lights, a tripod and white, red, blue and black background sheets. All this for £31.45 and free delivery. Reasonable, I thought. The reviews on Amazon were mixed but in the end I decided to purchase the kit.
I was really excited when it arrived and was tempted to blog about it immediately but then I realized that it was not as simple as it promised. On Amazon, this is the Manufacturer’s description:
Combine your digital camera with this kit, and you`ll have everything you need to get great shots. In less than a minute, you can have everything out of the case, set up and ready to use. When you`re done, it is just as quick to take down and store.
Hmm. Their description is not entirely accurate. Here’s why:
- Yes, it is a good combination with a pocket digital camera but not with the one shown in their picture. The ‘tripod’ is really a camerastand, that although heavy, it isn’t stable enough to balance a camera with a large lense in the same way a proper tripod does.
- You can’t set everything up in less than a minute.
- When you are done, you can’t pack it away immediately either as the lamps are too hot to handle and take a while to cool down.
Two other issues & solutions:
- The wires fitted on the lamps are rather short, so I’ve added a multi-point extension cord to my kit
- The background sheets come folded and the creases show up in the light. Because the sheeting is flocked on one side, I was reluctantto iron the creases out. Instead I rolled the sheets around a tube for a week but that didn’t work. So I’ve given up and instead use dress fabrics or felt from the fabric store.
On the plus side:
- It is all very neat and compact.
- I am now able to take photos at night.
- The white tent creates a clean canvas against which I can create the look and feel that I want.
I have yet to figure out the best positions for the lights but I’m sure I’ll work that out in time.
If you have any photography pointers, please post your suggestions here.