Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A colleague asked me to make another birthday necklace for her. The vague idea was for a messy necklace for someone who likes nature. So I was thinking shell, bone, wood and semiprecious beads. Then she added that she also likes sparkly things. Hmmmmm.

She also wanted a the birthday girl's name on it. As I was unable to get to the bead shop to buy the letter beads, she volunteered to fetch these for me. She also bought a selection of other beads that she thought I might put in the necklace. Now there's a surprise, I thought.

This is not what I had in mind at all. However, I added a pretty shell pendant I had picked up at a charity shop last year and some other "natural" beads of wood and shell - et voilĂ . A necklace for someone that likes nature and fairies, made from a mixture of natural and sparkly beads but pretty all the same.

I hope she likes it.

Friday, February 19, 2010


When I was recently unable to get out much, I did a bit of internet shopping and ordered some beads. Then these lovely beads from Artisan Clay plopped through the letterbox, all the way from America.

They are beautiful glazed pendants with some toning semiprecious beads.

I can hardly wait to get going with them.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Now that I no longer have to sit with my foot up most of the time, and I can sit at the table for long enough, I can get back to making some jewellery. Thank goodness.
Having sorted my beads and being in the frame of mind to be sensible rather than indulgent, I decided to get on with finishing projects that were already hanging around. This is one I was doodling with a few months ago.

The beads are dyed shell, hemetite, Czech crystals and aventurine. The clasps and earhooks blend in with the hemetite circles and rondelles.

Monday, February 8, 2010


This is another kit that I bought recently from Celia at Jencel. I had fancied doing one for a while so, being confined to the sofa and she having a sale on, gave me the perfect excuse to buy one.

Detail of the way the beads are strung.

It uses three strands of wire of all the same length and the beads are strung so that two wires pass through each bead at a time, alternating which wire misses out, if you see what I mean. It's a very neat idea and produces a pretty, delicate and lightweight necklace. I'm sure that once my beads are sorted and I'm up to speed on my feet (literally), I will be making another one.

It's a very nice design and well worth the money. Well done, Celia.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I have now got lots and lots of beads. They are not very well organised and it's so frustrating when you don't know what you've got or where you've put it. Rummaging through tupperware boxes of little plastic bags was becoming a pain and things were getting very jumbled up so I decided to have a big sort out. It's good for the soul anyway, like spring cleaning.

Bead storage is a problem, I find. Somehow I have ended up with a hotch-potch of boxes that don't necessarily stack too well. It would be nice to afford one of those custom-made drawer systems that are advertised in the glossy bead magazines but they are sooooo expensive.

Here are some of my current solutions.

These clear plastic bead boxes are ideal for small quantities of beads as you can see the colours properly. I have bought them for about £3 each from Hobbeycraft or John Lewis. Last year I swooped when they were "buy on get one free" somewhere.

These cases are less than £3 each from Focus. They're not quite so good in that the lids aren't completely transparent but they hold a lot of beads for the money.

I also saw these in Focus. Just over £5 for a pack of three boxes and they look as though they will hold plenty of beads and be good for findings, too. Filling them is my next task.

I spotted these ice cube trays a while ago. For less than £1 each they make a good recepticle for beads whilst work is in progress and I find they help with the tidying up and putting-away of beads when something is finished. I have to exert enormous will-power to do this, otherwise I end up with a box of mixed beads that would take hours to sort but otherwise just be completely fogotten and therefore wasted.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I love books. Always have. Fortunately there are lots of books on beading and making jewellery available so I have treated myself to some. I have also been given some as gifts and borrowed lots from the local library (although parting with these after a couple of weeks is hard!).

A friend spotted this book in a secondhand shop and bought it as a present for me. Miriam Haskell (1899 -1981) made costume jewellery for the rich and famous in the 40's, 50's and 60's.

It's full of fabulous designs. Some of them would be impossible to repeat using the basic skills I have but there others that have given me lots of ideas.

In the book, it's interesting to see how a very chic but simple outfit would be transformed into something quite spectacular by the addition of the right piece of jewellery.

These necklaces are some of my favourites. They would go perfectly with a "Carmen Miranda" outfit !!