Tuesday, November 3, 2015


birthday necklace

My beads are at last all in one place rather than scattered around several locations not to mention in two countries.  They are safely stored in the middle room upstairs in our French house, the room that we still call the “room with no name”.  It’s not really a bedroom, more like a study but “study” doesn’t quite sound right either.  So for now it’s the middle room.

This necklace has been in the making for months, the work on the house taking up so much time and energy that there seems to be none left for beading.  But with my friend’s birthday coming up, the motivation to get on with it was there.  I managed to clear enough space on my table to get all the components out and finish it. 

The chain and the some of the beads came from charity shop finds, others from the only source of beads I have found so far in France, a shop called Centrakor.

birthday necklace2

The addition of the copper chain was simply one of those “I wonder if” moments.  I thought it would make the necklace more interesting but also wondered if it might affect how well it drapes.  As it turns out, it still drapes very well and I’m very pleased with it.  It’s an effect to be used again, I think.

Friday, July 10, 2015



Living in two countries means I have had to make some difficult decisions and compromises.  We haven’t really settled into a routine yet in terms of how much time we spend on which side of the English Channel.

The hard part has been deciding where I want to do my beading.  I didn’t think it was a good idea to divide my bead stash and have some here and some there.  I felt that would never work as I was bound to be in one place needing stuff that was in the other to make a piece of jewellery.   For months they languished untouched and unloved in my dad’s spare room, where I could barely get at them, let alone do anything with them.  Finally I decided that the place to have them is the place where I have most room to spread out and play with them and that is the house in France.


I am always on the look out for new beads but have yet to find a bead shop in France.  The only beads I have come across are small quantities in the craft section of some supermarkets or DIY shops, mainly aimed at children.  There is a chain of shops called Centrakor which sell some beads in some of their stores.  The selection of beads is not bad and they do seem to get new stock in occasionally, but they are more expensive than in the UK.  But beads are beads and a girl can never have too many!


These mustard and turquoise coloured beads are a recent acquistion from Centrakor.  As soon as I got them back home I just had to play with them.


A good source of new beads in the UK is charity shops.  I bought all of these from local charity shops and they cost very little, each piece a bargain if you consider how much it would cost to buy all the components separately.  They are destined to be dismantled and reused in totally different pieces, although I confess that I have already worn the little bracelet just as it is.


I bought this necklace for the copper chain – worth much more by itself than the price tag on the whole necklace.

You don’t find charity shops in France either – or at least I have never seen one.  An organisation called Emmaus has warehouses in large towns where it will accept donations and have sales periodically.  You often see Emmaus vans running around as they collect stuff from house clearances and take them to the warehouses.  But it’s nothing like here in the UK – where each town usually having several different charity shops to browse in.  I have occasionally found jewellery for sale at the French equivalent of the car boot sale – called a vide grenier or brocante – although often the stuff for sale is cheap plastic rubbish and anything having nice beads in it can be overpriced, considering it’s secondhand junk!

So my bead stash is in France, a country where it seems to be very difficult to buy beads.  I will just have to make sure  I look for them when back home in the UK.  Which will give me something to do and can hardly be classed as a hardship!