May 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My lovely friend Susanna has wanted to introduce me to another of her friends for sometime now. So after lots of texting, we eventually settled on a date when we could all meet. And what a treat it was. Her friend was none other the Elise, new owner of The Bead Store!
When I first entered, I was quite speechless. It is one thing to browse a web site, scan a page in a category and look at an item one at a time. But seeing rooms full of beads – floor-to-ceiling shelving of beads, in a myriad of colours, assorted textures, in all sizes – it was almost too much to take in. It was unlike entering a bead shop and I think it was the sheer quantity of beads that just made it feel like bead heaven.
Elise shared with us how she had spotted that the business was for sale and then discovered that the Bead Store was in Mevagissey, Cornwall, where they had booked their holiday cottage. So that holiday last summer resulted in her and her husband buying the Bead Store. In the four weeks after, they converted their garage space into what is now their work space for the Bead Store, and took over running the web-only Bead Store.
Elise walked us through each section, showing us the Czech pressed glass beads, the TOHO beads, the Swarovski collection, the finely detailed lampwork beads, the shelves laden with TierraCast findings… the Union Jack Shamballa beads perfect for the Jubilee celebrations in June… how cool are these?
And then I found, we were sitting on the floor surround by beautiful semi-precious gem stones…a whole variety of agate stones, Citrine teardrops, crazy pink agate. It was surreal. I was in seventh heaven. I absolutely love stones. I find handling gem stones very therapeutic and uplifting. The Citrine teardrops for example – the faceted cut of the teardrop stones, shower light and warmth, the sunshine that cheers you up, encapsulated in those little stones:
And of course I fell in love with these:
And couldn’t help playing with these:
I can’t really do justice to everything The Bead Store stocks. Nine months in, Elise is now introducing new beads and has lots of ideas for the store. It was a privilege to spend two hours with someone as passionate about beads as I am. This is definitely a Bead Store I’ll keep going back to. And a massive Thank You to Susanna for making the introductions. ♥K
February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
I have to confess that I’ve always preferred neat ear-studded earrings and only started making dangle earrings recently to match the other items I’ve been making. There are two online resources that I recommend before you start making your earrings.
The first is this YouTube clip on how to make a Wire Wrapped Loop. It’s by Juliet of Spoilt Rotten Beads. She does make it look easy and it is after a bit of practice. I had lots of practice making these loops for my Profusion of Pearls necklace. You can make the loops tight and neat as Juliet demonstrates or go for a more casual layering wire wrap.
If you also want the close-up view to examine exactly what is going on at every stage, have a look at this Beading Daily article: Six Steps to Perfect Wrapped Loops. To make open loops, cut your wire after you ‘swing it under’ (step 3) instead of wrapping.
Once you have learnt how to make the wrapped loops and the open loops, the variations are endless. If you are joining multiple loops, as in these stardust earrings, you need to make sure the loops face the right direction – the loop below needs to be perpendicular to the loop above. To give you an idea of what you can make, here are some earrings that I’ve made:
Have fun! ♥K
January 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
How rapidly time flies and to my shame I see the last time I posted was in October. I haven’t been idle – just too busy with family and work to blog. I have managed to get some beading in, so here’s a quick recap of what I’ve made in the last few months of 2011.
Still delving into my stash from Singapore, I made this Aquarmarine and blush pink rice pearl necklace knotted on two strands of silk.
I’m still working on a pair of Blue Chalcedony earrings to go with this necklace. Although I’ve made them up several times, I’ve ended up taking them apart again. So that’s still a work in progress.
Then there’s this Carnelian necklace that I teamed with Silver-plate netted balls I found in Spoilt Rotten Beads.
I love the way the Carnelian stones were cut but when I originally paired them with solid silver balls, I thought it somehow looked too heavy and didn’t bringing out the curves and varying shades of the Carnelian. Adding the netted balls worked a treat as it provided both the space and a sense of lightness between each carved piece. The earrings were trickier (maybe that’s just me) but I like the way the Carnelian pieces swirl when I wear them.
A busy month with Ballet and Piano concerts for both my girls and organizing a birthday party for 35 seven-year-olds, but I still managed to fit in a Wire Wrapped Jewellery Workshop by Mani Lindenthal at Spoilt Rotten Beads. This was my first class in wire worked jewellery and it was an enlightening morning. Mani is a very warm and friendly teacher who is clearly an amazing jewellery designer, happy to share her wealth of experience – visit her site: Mani Design. I did her Glamourous Cuff and Ring workshop.
Here’s what I started off with:
As I got into the wire wrapping and working my choice of beads into the cuff, I realized that I needed a fifth bead to give each section a focal point. I chose to add the lovely Shamballa beads that Spoilt Rotten Beads stock with very pleasing results:
I love the cuff and it made a perfect present for a lovely friend but I wasn’t too happy with the ring – it really needs more work.
And Finally December…
A colleague asked if I would make two Christmas presents for her. I was really nervous about this. She gave me the colour schemes she wanted and off to The Beaderie I went. I have to say at this point, The Beaderie is expanding rapidly, it’s amazing how Sally and Andrew have transformed the store adding twice as many beads and semi-precious stones to choose from.
Here I’ve used these olive-sized Amazonites and faceted aquamarine stones with frosted silver balls as spacers, finished off with silver plate oval link chain.
For the second necklace, I couldn’t resist the red coloured faceted red stones (The Beaderie has rows of these delciously coloured stones that are so tempting). This I teamed with flat Bronze coloured glass beads, black faceted crystals and champagne miyuki beads as spacers:
I hope the recipients of these presents liked them.
Well there, those are the highlights of the last quarter of 2011. My new year’s resolution: to blog about each project as soon as I’m done.
All the best wishes and Happy Beading in 2012!
October 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
Earlier this week I tweeted that I was working on a project but couldn’t say any more. Before I reveal, here’s the story behind it:
I wanted to create a Birthday present for a lovely and very glamourous friend. But where to start? Up to now I’ve been working in pearls and stones that I would wear but my style is not hers. I started on an opera style necklace of pearls but somehow couldn’t imagine her wearing it.
Then inspiration! And of all times: early morning, 6 or there abouts, I was still half asleep while getting ready to leave for work, it hit me – I knew exactly what she would like. But I didn’t have time to do anything about it and had to catch a train instead. It was really difficult to concentrate that day, my mind kept going back to this:
How would I turn this into a necklace? What would go with this? When I finally had the opportunity to get all my stash out, I had a play around and tried different combinations.
I decided that I liked the black combination best although I didn’t think the faceted glass beads worked. I started stringing the Malachite with 4mm black bicones instead but it still lacked a certain something. So I started over, this time adding black seed beads. No, didn’t work. Undo.
It needed just a hint of sparkle, to throw light on the black and the Malachite. I went through my collection again and there it was: a tiny tube of Miyuki Galvanised Silver Delica. And those tiny beads made the difference:
I gave it to her this morning. I’m happy and relieved she liked it.
What do you think? Would you have done it differently? ♥K
September 27, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Most of my beading lately has been stringing and knotting, so for a change I decided to try something new. I’ve been admiring wire-wrapped jewellery for a while now and I do have lots of bits and pieces I’ve bought but never done anything with. So I thought why not experiment?
I’ve used beads left over from two different project, a hair comb and .4 mm silver plate wire.
I started wrapping the beads on in a regular pattern but didn’t like it so I took it apart and went for a more random pick of the smaller crystals working in the pink cathedral beads at regular intervals. I wasn’t satisfied with what I had done so I put it aside. (I use empty business card boxes to store my work in progress so that I can carry projects in my handbag. )
Last night when my usual fast train home was cancelled owing to points fault, I had to make a detour and catch a slow train home instead. Sitting there feeling rather miserable, I remembered my bead box in my bag which cheered me instantly.
Looking at what I had done with ‘fresh’ eyes I realised I didn’t like the angled pattern, so I worked backwards weaving more small crystals along the outer edges.
It’s not perfect but I think a good start. And my 6 year old daughter loves it in her long black hair.
May 15, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Here’s the bracelet I made this weekend. I saw this design for a charm bracelet in The Bead Pot in Canterbury. But I’m not a fan of bracelets with assorted charms so I decided to use ruby cut glass beads instead.
I started by attaching two lengths of silver plate chain to a jump ring and toggle end.
Next, I made a wire-wrapped loop for each ruby bead.
I fed the silver plate head-pin through the glass beads and the link in the chain alternately, then closed it off with a ruby bead in the loop. Repeat every three links with the ruby bead on the other side. It was easy to do once I got the knack of handling the beads and chain on the head pin while making a close loop (need to be careful that the chain doesn’t get tangled).
It is surprisingly light on the wrist and reflects in a very pretty fashion. I’ll definitely be making more of these.
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.
April 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Last week was spent walking and climbing the hills around Buttermere in The Lake District. Buttermere isn’t as famous as Windermere but I think is the most beautiful of all the Lakes. It is one of my favourite places for a rejuvenating break. Surrounded by serene views, I spent a few evenings bead-weaving, creating a 3-tiered Cheveron Bracelet of blues and pinks. Here are pics of my new bracelet and scenes from around Buttermere:
February 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Lanyards & security cards are a fact of working life. I have to have mine on me every working day to get beyond my immediate office into the rest of the building and yet it is the one item that is simply too boring and ugly to contemplate. And it gets grubby too with the constant use. I’ve been looking around at other lanyard options – there are lots of printed tape ones with patterns (I’ve even got one with the penguins from the movie Madagascar as a joke about keeping cool). I’ve seen some very pretty beaded lanyards but nothing to my taste. I wanted something simple that would look good with my suits but not clash with my other jewellery or accessories. So I’ve created this lanyard for my security card and it can be used also as a simple necklace without the card. What do you think?