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. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Barrel Polisher

When I was first learning how to make jewellery, the workshop I was in had a barrel polisher. So it was on my wishlist when I started putting my own workshop together. I love the results of the polisher and the fact that it can work away and do its thing without any interference from me. 

So last Friday I noticed Cookson Gold had a #FreebieFriday on twitter. To enter I got to pick out a tool up to the value of £80 and send a tweet. That's it. So of course the barrel polisher was my choice. I have entered a few times before so thought little of it until Monday when I received a message to say I had won. I was so happy which only got better when on Tuesday afternoon when it was at my door. I can't believe how quick it has arrived. Now I have to pick up some of the of the shot so that I can get to polishing so hopefully I will have some very soon. 

Thank you to Cookson Gold I'm so happy with my prize and you have helped me move my workshop along another little bit. You can find the barrel polisher here

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm Back...

I've been quite busy lately and haven't had a lot of time to share on here so I'm back and have a few things to share in the next little while. As is always the case there are certain things I can't share until certain times but this week Beads an Beyond Magazine shared a little sneak peek inside their next issue and my bracelet was part of the collage. I took part in the October issue Designer Challenge using a beautiful pack sent from Beadsisters (they put together an amazing pack so thank you for giving me such beautiful materials to work with). I submitted three pieces bu I can only show you one just yet. 

So here is my bracelet using Czech Glass Pearls, Glass beads and Seed Beads on Memory Wire. I love the way the piece was displayed and photographed (I need to take notes here I'm not the best photographer). I can't wait to share my other two pieces so check back during the week for my post. 

You can order the October issue of Beads And Beyond Magazine here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Day To Vote

Its the last day for voting in the Ecuadorian Hands contest that I have entered my earring into. I could win some lovely new tagua beads. So if you have a few spare seconds please cast a vote, today is the last day for voting. Thank you all. Click here to vote

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tagua Earrings Please Vote

I recently entered my Tagua earrings into a contest held by EcuadorianHands to win some Tagua Beads. They are such great beads I would love to win them so I'm shamelessly begging for votes. There are six entries which are all beautiful so I have my work cut out for me trying to get some votes. 

To cast your vote click here. You will see the six entries and under the final two pictures a voting box shows up. I'm not sure why but you can't see this voting box on a mobile phone but it can be seen when using a computer. Thanks in advance. 

You can also see my text and picture tutorial on how to make these earrings here. Or a video version here

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Made Another One

.... I just couldn't help myself. I have a bit of a wire wrapping bug after finally getting out of my making slump yesterday. This time I really wanted to make a fuller piece using a selection of Czech glass pearls and crystals I received as part of a challenge pack a while back. The colours worked so well together I knew they would suit a piece like this. This one is also slightly bigger. I think I much prefer this one although the gemstones in the other piece are beautiful too (who says I have to choose between them anyway, I plan on keeping both). 

So all in all I have had two very productive days in comparison to the last few weeks. Click here to read the blog post on the piece I made yesterday and find out the inspiration behind it. You can see it in the picture below. Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comment section below.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Getting Out Of The Creative Slump

I have been in a creative slump lately. I have plenty of ideas, that's not the problem. Its trying to get one of those ideas into a piece that has been my issue. But today I decided enough was enough and I grabbed my pile of Beads and Beyond Magazines for some inspiration. I have found in the past that following directions to a piece can get me past my slump and get some lovely pieces made. And today it worked. I came across the Saharan Sands project by Dawn Fuge in the June 2014 issue and knew I had to try it out. 

I substituted the pyrite in Dawns instructions for mixed gemstones I had in my stash. I managed to squeeze in so many gemstones into this little pendant.  

I used: 
Rose Quartz chips, 
Rhodochrosite chips, 
Freshwater Pearls, 
Labradorite chips, 
Moon Stone, 
& Opal 

I love how the piece has turned out and if you have been visiting my blog for a while you know I love working with copper so I'm a very happy little jewellery maker today. Now to decide what to make next. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

5 Minute Earring Tutorial: Tagua Beads

I wanted to put together a quick tutorial to show you how to make the Tagua Bead earrings I made recently. They are so quick and simple and can be made in 5 minutes. Let me know in the comment section blow if you have tried them out. 

What You Need:
Tagua Flat Slices
Tagua Coins
2x Ball Head Pins
2x 4mm Jump Rings
2x 1.25inch Length of Small Silver Chain
Earring Findings

Slide one of the coin shaped beads onto a head pin.

Make a loop on top of the bead.

Attach the head pin, leaf slice and chain together using the jump ring.

Attach the top of the chain to the earring finding. Now make the second one exactly the same and enjoy wearing your new earrings. 

I got the Tagua Beads for these earrings from Ecuadorian Hands. They have a great vast range of shapes and sizes available. See my post about Tagua Beads here

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tagua Beads Jewellery

I have spent some time trying to decide what I wanted to make with the beautiful Tagua Beads I won from Ecuadorian Hands recently and today I finally decided on a few pieces. These beads are so beautiful and have such an amazing story that I didn't want to overwhelm any piece I made. I wanted them to be the sole focus of the pieces. Jewellery is so often a conversation starter and I know that these will definitely be the focus of a conversation. Here is a reminder of the beautiful beads I was sent. 

The first piece I made was a bracelet. I wanted something summery and beachy to show the mood of the lovely weather we have been having so I came up with this bracelet. It is simple and focuses solely on the beads. I used cotton cord to string them and as per my style I layered the multi-strands that have great movement and never stay in any particular spot. 

The second piece I made was a pair of earrings. When the beads first arrived my sisters loved the combination of the green and pink so I went with their choice and made a long dangley earring again solely focusing on the beads. The colours are so strong and bright I felt I didn't need to add anything here at all. I love the visible grain on the beads, its so pretty. 

And finally the third piece I made was a necklace. (I wanted to finish out a set) I made the chain using antique copper coloured jump rings and I made a pendant in a cluster type style. I hadn't used the round tagua beads yet so I wanted to get them in somewhere and this seemed perfect. I surrounded the tagua beads with white glass pearls again not wanted to loose the beautiful tagua beads in the piece. I think this one has become my favourite of the three pieces. 

I love these beads and cant wait to make more pieces using them which I'm sure you will see very soon. I just could't wait to share these pieces. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beaded Loom Band Bracelet: How to

This is my tutorial showing you how to add beads into a Loom Bands bracelet.

What You Need:

  • Loom Bands (50-60)
  • Colourful Wooden Beads (with a big enough hole to pass a band through)
  • An S clip
  • A Loom
  • A Loom Hook

Pass a loom band through each of the beads keeping the bead in the middle of the band.

Start by adding your first band to the loom making sure you twist it in the middle. 

Add the second band straight onto the loom above the twisted band.

Add the third band straight onto the loom.

Using the loom hook bring the bottom band over the loom pegs and into the middle.

Add another band straight onto the loom.

Continue the bracelet along for a few more bands before you start to add the beads.

Add the first beaded band onto the loom just the same as you would any other band.

Continue along with just a plain few bands after the bead. (I use three bands between beads it gives just enough space).

Keep going until you have reached the length you need. Finish the bracelet by adding an S clip to the end. Enjoy wearing your new bracelet. 

Click here to see the video version of this tutorial.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tagua Beads

I entered my necklace that I made for the Bead Soup Blog Party a while ago into a contest to win $20 of Tagua Beads from Ecuadorian Hands. And thank you to everyone who helped and voted for me because my necklace won. Today I received a lovely package of beautiful Tagua Beads.

So I thought I would tell you a little about them. They are known as the exotic ivory and are made from the Tagua plant. They look and feel like Ivory but give you a guiltless option for making beautiful jewellery. The beads are carved and dyed in so many beautiful colours and shapes. Click here to view pictures showing the manufacturing process.

I can't wait to get making some pieces of jewellery with these great beads. I think they may become a staple in my stash so I best start deciding which ones to order first (there are so many to choose from I want them all). 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Loom Bands Tutorial: Fishtail Bracelet

I have had a go at making a few bracelets today using the loom and loom bands and I'm kind of hooked now. My favorite bracelet so far has been the fishtail bracelet so I have put together a tutorial to show you how to make one. Out of the few colour combinations I tried out today I love the black and white one so that's the one I'm going to show you. 

What You Need:

A Loom
A Loom Hook
About 60 Loom Bands (in two colours)
An S Hook

Take the first loom band in your first colour and loop it like shown in the photo making sure to twist the band.

Now add a band in your second colour. this should be put straight onto the loom and now crossed in the middle.

Add another loop of the first colour straight onto the loom.

Using the loom hook, take the bottom band from the left side over the loom pin and into the middle.

Now to the same with the bottom loop on the right hand side.

Add another band of the second colour straight onto the loom.

And continue the pattern along adding a new band each time.

After a while the pattern will begin to emerge. Keep going until you reach the length you need.

To finish the Bracelet remove it from the loom and remove the 2 unused bands.

Add an S hook linking either end together and your bracelet is now ready to wear.

     I have also put together a video tutorial that you can watch by clicking here