Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas (A Tad Bit Late)

I'm a little late saying Merry Christmas because I forgot to schedule a post and have been so busy. I hope you all had a great few days with lots of lovely presents and food and people. We had a great family filled few days and things are slowly returning to normal. So what was your best present? Or your worst?

Also just before Christmas I entered my Swarovski Heart Earrings into the Swarovski Create Your Style contest on facebook and they are up for a public vote so please click here to have a look and see all the entries. I love these earring so I really wanted to show them off a little and thought it would be nice to enter a Swarovski Contest because I haven't ever entered one with them. And its great to see other peoples work with the other available components. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New EU Vat Regulations

As of January 1st there are new rules coming into effect if you sell digital or downloadable items online within the EU. I don't do this but know a lot of people who sell their patterns or tutorials or even ebooks so this is really important. I have only just heard of this this week so there's a strong chance a lot of you haven't heard about it as well. 

I have seen quiet a few people worrying about all the new regulations and how they will affect their business and time constraints. Hopefully you may find a few answers in this FAQ I found online. It seems to have the most (legal jargon free) info I've found so far. If you have other links or info to add please leave it in the comments section below. 

Hoping the New Year isn't too complicated for all of you who trade in digital products. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some New Tagua Beads

You may remember I had entered a contest back in August to win some Tagua Beads and I won them. Today the arrived so I can't wait to get working with them again. Click here to read my post all about Tagua beads and see how they are made. 

I entered the contest with a pair of earrings I had made using Tagua beads. You can see the tutorial I posted on how to make these earrings here

So here are the beads that arrived today. I was struck by the red Christmas feel to them. I have a few ideas of what I want to make using these beads so hopefully I will have a few pictures to share in the next few days. 

Click here to visit the Ecuadorian Hands website and see the range of Tagua beads that they have. And keep an eye out for their contests and your chance to win a great pack of lovely beads.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Sales

I thought I would put together a little post of the sales I have seen going on online for Black Friday and the weekend. Hopefully you can pick yourself up a little bargain or some presents for someone. I will be adding more as I find them and feel free to add any sales you have found to the comments below. 

Cookson Gold:
Click here to see the sale. There is up to 75% off beads and 30% off tools and packaging amoung other great discounts.

Noseks Just Gems:
Are offering 25% off everything in stock on their website. All you have to do is enter the code black friday at the checkout. This is valid until November 30th.

Jewellery Maker:
Are offering 20% of all Gems and Beads by using the code BLACKFRI20 until midnight Monday 1st Decmember (Uk time).

Are offering 25% off everything with the code JOYFUL along with free Swarovski Crystals. Check out the site for details.

Beads Unlimited:
Have 60% off all sale stock on their website.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Swarovski Heart Earrings

Last week I posted about the beautiful Swarovski Patina Hearts I won from JillyBeads and promised to show off what I had made with them so here is my first little piece.

I made a pair of earrings (which will be going into someone's Christmas present) using the hearts and a lovely deep blue pearl. I wanted to add some colour but not have the colour overwhelm the heart. I think they actually look quite festive so they will be a great addition to a gift. 

I still have eight of the Swarovski hearts left so its time to plan a few more pieces now (probably more presents). 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Lovely Bead Haul From Beads Unlimited

I submitted a picture of a necklace I made a while ago having seen the Sarahan Sands piece by Dawn Fuge from the June issue of Beads and Beyond magazine. I used Gemstones in my piece that were odd pieces left over from other projects so it was a perfect way to use up some of my stash. 

After the issue came out I received a voucher for Beads Unlimited and last week I finally picked out some lovely things I wanted. I taught it was a great time to stock up on what I refer to as essentials. So I picked out glass beads and pearls, chain and cord and a couple of toggle clasps. 

I love using a magazine to help me get some inspiration when I've had a bad run with a bit of blank mind and that is what I did with this piece. It really helped me get some inspiration and practice working with wire which is something I'm not an expert in. So I decided to try a second one using a pearl mix I had in my stash. I think I prefer the pearl mix piece because of the combination of all the colours. 

So thanks again to Beads and Beyond magazine for printing my piece and of course Beads Unlimited. The staff are always so helpful and nice when you give them a call to place an order or check something out. And now I have to decide what I'm going to make with all my lovely new beads. (Hopefully you can see soon). 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Swarovski Crystal Patina Hearts

Have you seen the new Swarovski Crystal Patina finished hearts? I recently came across a giveaway of some through JillyBeads and I was so lucky to win a pack of 10. They are beautiful, They have the sheen and sparkle you would expect from Swarovski but also a vintage feel to them too. 

The hearts measure 10mm x 10mm and I have decided already to use a few as part of gift I am making as Christmas presents this year. (I'm sure I will be able to share photos of them soon). I feel so lucky to have gotten my hands on so make lovely Swarovski hearts so thank you to all at JillyBeads I'm really going to enjoy incorporating these into my Christmas presents.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Book Review

I pre-ordered a copy of Jessica Rose's book Bead And Wire Fashion Jewellery way back in the summer and now its arrived. Jessica is the owner of The London Jewellery School and and a major inspiration to me so I want to share her new book with you all so that maybe you can find some inspiration too. 

The book is broken up into six sections including detailed areas on tools, materials and techniques. The techniques section shows how everything from making a simple loop to a wire charm and even making your own ear hooks and catches. Even though I have been making jewellery for most of my life I have still learned something from this book that I would never have done before like making my own catches. I think its something you may see popping up in my work from now on. 

There are 18 projects in this book broken up into sections for Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets and Rings. I love that each project is preceded by a whole page displayed as a mood board for that piece. Mood boards are a great way to get a feel for a piece before making it so using this technique in the book shows how you may change a focal colour slightly to suit your needs and it still work out well. 

Having never made a clasp myself from wire I decided to make a few using Jessica's tutorials. I think I have just gotten stuck in the idea of buying them all the time and just never thought about making my own. And this is how they have turned out, It's a new skill I have now picked up and hope to use more often in my work. I won't be worrying about running out of clasps anymore. 

I also wanted to try out one of the Ring tutorials. Jessica has two different rings using similar techniques so I decided to try the Entwined tutorial which actually consists of three beads but I loved how mine turned out using just the one ceramic bead so I finished it there. Jessica's tutorial calls for a gemstone but all I had in the size required was this vintage coloured ceramic bead and I used silver plated wire instead of gold plated.

This is the first ring I have ever made entirely. I have made the odd ring using a ring base and attaching beads to but Jessica's instructions and multiple step-by-step pictures are so helpful this was my first go. I have a few variations I'm going to try out now with different wires and beads so I'm sure you will be seeing them in the next while. 

All in all Jessica's book is fantastic. The instructions are clear, the pictures are really helpful and the tips dotted throughout the book help so much. My favourite parts have to be the mood boards before each tutorial. They just give you so much inspiration and confidence to make a piece. 

So finally I want to share the link so that you can buy the book if you wish. Click here to go to Amazon. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Having An Amazing Week

So this week started off great with finding out Monday morning that I had won the Cookson Gold #FreebieFriday giveaway. As part of the competition I had chosen a barrel polisher and it arrived on Tuesday afternoon. You can see my post about that here.

After I posted a blog post thanking Cookson Gold on Tuesday I was told something else was on its way as a surprise so today my neighbor came in with a package she had taken in while I was out. I was so happy to find a bag of mixed metal and shape shot for the barrel polisher with a lovely note saying "I'd hate for you to have to wait to buy some, so here is some to get you started."  So thank you very much Steph, it has been a long road trying to build my workshop and this helps me move along so much.

Also this week I received my copy of Jessica Rose's book Bead and Wire Fashion Jewellery thank I had pre-ordered way back in the summer. I have really enjoyed playing around with the tutorials in the book so keep an eye out in the next few days for a post all about the book. 

And last but not least, Yesterday I went to the shop and picked up a copy of the October issue of Beads and Beyond Magazine to see my pieces I made for the designer challenge. You can see my post with a larger photos here

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Designer Challenge in Beads And Beyond Magazine

I took part in the bead soup challenge for Beads and Beyond Magazine again (October 2014 issue). I love doing these challenges. I always get new things I have never worked with before and it is a great personal challenge to try and use these pieces. It also offers me a look into the items carried in shops I may never have known about or had the chance to shop in yet. 

This months challenge pack was put together by Beadsisters. Beadsisters have a huge range of rings for making chainmaille so I was really happy to find out the pack was coming from them. The pack had some great jump rings and pearls in it in beautiful colours. I made some pieces that are quite different for my style but I love how they turned out. I made three in total. 

I think my favourite piece is the necklace. Its simple and stunning at the same time. The colours of the beads that Beadsisters picked out work so well together with the colours of all the findings. Don't forget to pick up the October issue of Beads and Beyond Magazine (click here to buy online) and see what the other designers made using the same pack.