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Sunday, 29 March 2015


Thought I would start with the bits that look okay.

Front border

More front garden pots
What's gardening got to do with beads, you may ask? Probably not much directly, except that one of my main bead and jewellery events of the year happens in my garden. That is the Isle of Wight Arts Open

I have been part of Open Studios for the past six Summers and two Christmas'. The Summer event takes place on the last two weekends of July, with the West Wight, which I am part of, taking place this year from Friday 17th - Monday 20th July. I will write more about my open studio preparations as the event draws nearer.

At this time of year, although I haven't abandoned bead making, it does take second place to the garden, or rather it will do once I get started!

So far all I have done is to make a list of jobs to do, and a very long list it is too! I was going to make a start today, but the weather is just too horrid. It's at this stage I wish I had a nice little courtyard garden. At least this year I have remembered to take some before photos.

View from my summerhouse

A very tangled horseshoe shaped border

A sad greenhouse

desperate looking pots outside my summerhouse

This time a tangled pot combination

Bare vegetable troughs outside back door

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Stall at West Quay, Southampton

Why am I writing about what was probably my least successful stall? On the down side I not only sold very little and few people even stopped to look [I do struggle on the eye catching presentation bit]. This was a shame, as I like explaining how my beads are made and watching how people then take a closer look. Never mind, win some, lose some.

Enough of the negatives and onto the positives. Firstly, I was in West Quay and situated quite close to my favourite department store, John Lewis. Every three or four hours I would leave Mark in charge of the stall and have an amble around the different departments, mentally adding things to my wish list.

I feel a little sad that I won't be having another stall at West Quay, as the other stall holders were delightfully friendly and the chats made the day a very pleasant experience.

There was art work, embroidery, iPad and tablet rests and of course all sorts of jewellery. On the stall next to me was Michaela  Carrington who deservedly did well with her fused There was a stall just round the corner where a man wrote and drew on single grains of rice! I watched him write 'Congratulations' on a tiny grain. He didn't even use glasses or a magnifying glass. He would then suspend the grain in a tiny vessel of liquid [ some sort of oil, I think?] which magnified the grain so it can be read by people with normal eye sight.

We managed to get wifi and so were able to unobtrusively follow the Six Nations Rugby. We were packing up and travelling home during the second half of the England v France game, so I didn't get find out what a great game it was until later.

Anyway, even though I won't be there, if you happen to be in West Quay at the end of June, take a look, there's some interesting things.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Advantages of Simple Stringing

In my early jewellery making days I attended and enjoyed a silversmithing course. However on discovering glass bead making, I just didn't want to do anything else, especially something so intensive as silversmithing. I have also dabbled in beadwork and fused glass, but nothing holds me like bead making.
There are several reasons why I like to use simple bead stringing techniques.

1.The main reason is I like my jewellery to be about the beads I make. I don't want anything to detract, complicate or make them fussy.
Part of Spring/ Summer Collection

2. Less time making and joining components means more time creating beads. Yippee!

3. My beads are almost indestructible and so would probably outlast the finest clasps and findings. Simple stringing means that if a clasp, wire or ring breaks it is very easy to repair, replace or refresh.
In fact, all my jewellery except for sterling silver earring components, postage and packing, I will repair free of charge. So actually my jewellery is guaranteed for life!
Tactile Disc Bead Necklace

Bell Flower Earrings 2015

4. All my jewellery can be altered and made to measure to fit an individual. Necklaces and bracelets can be made bigger or smaller or beads can be arranged in a different way.

5. An item of jewellery can be changed while new or to an old favourite at a later date. Beads can be added or changed to create a new look.
Stringing with metal twisted beads

6. The findings are reasonably less expensive, so more of the value is in the originality and design of the handmade beads.

I know there is the issue of allergies. I always use sterling silver for earrings. Clasps etc. are generally silver plated and bead wire is nylon coated [tiger tail]. My glass beads have no rough edges, on the contrary they are very tactile. For those that don't like bare necklace wire, I also use seed beads that leave no exposed wire.
Memory Wire Bracelet fits nearly all Wrists

Seed Bead covered Wire

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Mad about Mauve

My Mauve Beads

 Whenever I have had the chance during the last 3 or 4 weeks I have been working on the second part of my Spring jewellery, which has a mauve theme.

Yesterday [Saturday], I had a super session making beads in my Summer house. I know it was a gorgeous sunny, Spring day, but as I had enjoyed a lovely long walk with Mark and the dog in the morning, I didn't feel I was missing out too much. Also the summerhouse didn't require much heating either, so win, win.

I didn't make all these beads yesterday, but was pleased that I stuck [more or less] to what I set out to do, that is, make mauve beads and I'm pleased with the result.

 With Mother's Day in mind, I took a small collection of my mauve and white jewellery along to the Quay Arts at Newport Hopefully I will get at least a few items added to my website and Etsy shops in the next day or two as well.Little House Jewellery at

The two smaller beads are to combine with my knitted jewellery