Thursday, 9 December 2010

Tuesday November 9th, 2010

Woo today is my sisters 24th birthday. Earlier this after I was browsing through my new bead book ('Its all about the Beads' just in case you're interested) and it was then I had one of my 'eureka' moments. I suddenly remembered I had a large teardrop style pendant in green, red and blue with a sort of silverish (is that a word?) tint, I'd gotten it free with a magazine yonks ago, I knew I had 10 metres of black waxed cord I'd purchased on one of my Beads Unlimited shopping sprees as well as some thin black organza ribbon and 2 small black hoops to sit either side of the pendant. The only thing I was lacking in were the crimp beads that were especially designed for cord and that kind of thing. So up to Pink & Dizzy I strolled, initially I had planned on using the round leather crimps but as the shop was empty I thought I seek advice. For some reason I get so embarrased about seeking help, I know I shouldn't but it's just me.

I'm so glad I did seek aid, she was very helpful and recommended the flat leather crimps instead, saying they were her personal preference. Personally I thought they would perhaps suit my design better too, particulary as I was using ribbon in addition to cord.I trusted her judgement and snapped them up. They were so simple to use I actually got both of them right on the very first attempt, my god that is saying something. Including all the measuring of the ribbon, cord and putting it all together it took less than 10 mins and cost barely anything to make. So if that piece does ever sell it will be pretty much free money and I'm certainly loving the sound of that.

Monday November 8th 2010

I really wanted to make some things for my stall but wasn't quite sure what, in a book I recently purchased the author said a good money earner for stalls such as mine was to create pairs of 'simple earrings'. Personally I think that transpires as just whack a few beads together, whack them on a ear hook and hope for the best but well worth a try. I thought I'd begin using a pair of the purple satin acrylic leaves I purchased yesterday, all I simply did was put a violet seed bead at the bottom of a headpin, added the leaf, another seed bead then adding an ear hook repeat and there you go, I was liking this 'simple earrings' style. Feeling the love I went out to make a second pair, this time I placed a silver saturn bead, a 20mm turquoise & black cord bead with a turquoise 7mm frosted glass bead above it, ear hook added then repeated.

Personally I don't think they look too bad I much prefer the corded ones to the leaf ones but that's just me. If anything they are really stall fillers, if they do sell then it's easy money - each pair took no longer than five minutes to put together and less than a quid to make so if they do get left behind I can just take them apart and reuse the beads and findings. Simple (as that annoying meerkat would say). I put the pix up on my flickr page so you can see for yourselves.

Just wondering out of interest; why is 'JEWELLERY sometimes spelled like that on other occasions spelt 'JEWELRY' I think the latter version is American but (if that's the case I prefer the English method) just weird to me.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sunday November 7th, 2010

Today is actually Matty's birthday he's 20+7, so today was all good, we went out for a rather delicious meal with chums and then went round some of the large retail parks around the Swindon area and one of those parks just happened to have a Hobbycraft. I went into Pets at Home to purchase some hamster supplies but I had to leave that to Matty to do because I knew if I'd stayed in there longer than necessary I would've left with a dwarf hamster and cage etc. I love hamsters as much as beads and we already have 2 so I had to reluctantly had to accept the fact that we could have no more. In a bid to cheer me up I popped into Hobbycraft and treated myself to a bead splurge; even my boyfriend's birthday cannot keep me parted from these gems. I left with several packs of satin acrylic beads in various colours, shapes and sizes and a pack of bells - I was especially pleased with these as I'd been looking for some to use in some Christmas charm bracelet projects I had in mind. I'd looked on the Beads Unlimited site but they were all out of stock.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Saturday November 6th, 2010

I've just spent the last 2 hours going through my bead box, just running all the beads through my fingers in a bid for sudden inspiration, it was at that point I realised that for a while now I'd been making a rather foolish mistake, which has kind of dropped me right in it. In my sacred box are vast numbers of beads, what I think are 'pretty' beads, ones i got because I liked them but my fatal flaw was that because I liked them so much I've been very reluctant to use them so I haven't. Now the sentiment has gone I really want to put them to use but like a fool I only purchased 1 of each and I'm troubled as to what to do with them, earrings aren't really a possibility, maybe I could make a bracelet using the eye pin and jump ring method, I don't want it to look naff, like I've just whacked a bunch of beads together, I want it to look unique you see. Inside the mags and books I see pieces made from quaint matching beads and I don't have that, just a mis-matched box of 'bead soup' I guess that would kind of be an appropriate way to sum it up. As I was sat there playing with them whilst eating all the caramel kegs I'd sneaked from the Roses tin I thought that if I were to give this jumbled box to a pro beader like you see in the 'bead soup challenges' what would they come up with?

Today I received a copy of the mail order catalogue from Bijoux Beads based in Bath, I'm reaching the big 30 next month so I've convinced Matty to go to Bath for the day so I thought I'd get a sneak preview of what they had to offer, the fact that there are several bead shops there is merely a coincidence - honest, I had no idea ;)

Friday November 5th, 2010 (bonfire night) 50 DAYS TILL XMAS

Less than a month to go now, less than a fortnight in point of fact and I am really starting to get tremendously nervous about the whole situation. I am kinda excited about the prospect of hosting my own jewellery stall but as it stands my doubts, nerves and lack of confidence are clearly overshadowing those feelings. I guess every other fellow beader must encouter such thoughts at some point in their beading world.

The primary reason for my feelings of doubt is probably due to the fact that I have only been seriously into the art of jewellery making since March, yep that's all a mere 8 months. In that time I have had NO lessons (primary due to lack of funds, self-taught all the way, not that I'm bragging about that it's why I'm worrying because I'm not 100% certain if I'm doing things correctly, if there are any other alternative techniques I could be using, you know that kind of thing. With me it's simply a case of looking through the books and magazines, trying out their ideas and just hoping for the best, trial and error really.

Then again it could be said that I have certainly progressed since March and the days of the 'lonely blue earring', my Flickr page is evidence of that I've got approaching 100 things up there and my current profits have exceeded £150 as it stands. Yeah, I think I'll quit the whining I guess there must be some very talented crafters out there who would love to seize an opportunity like I have. Whatever happens whether it's a great success or a complete disaster it will be an experience, a learning curve for sure. When I chose to record my experiences as novice the thought of something like this happening to me so soon never even crossed my mind, so it's going to be an interesting affair, even beyond my expectations. I'm going to be writing in here now every day up until the stall and for a while afterwards too, I want to get all my thoughts and feelings together, all out in the open it'll clear my head then and hopefully help me or at least that's the idea.

After much recommendation I finally ordered a copy of 'It's All About the Beads' by Barbara Case.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday October 15th, 2010

A month ago, the date of my last entry my gosh, where does all the time go? I really need to create some form of organisation thing going on. I must bless my blog with my creativity more often, I wouldn't mind but it's not as though nothing has been going on in my crazed, novice beady world.

Currently my forthcoming stall at the University of Bradford Christmas fayre is a month and 9 days away so I've really been busy completing orders, coming up with ideas for the stall, waiting for supplies to arrive and in additional to that I've been devoting my attentions to my hamsters, the new retro sweet shop opened in the Wootton Bassett High Street, arrow words, Jewel Quest, bead & finding shoppping and Matty. Amongst all that I also found myself falling victim to what could be described as every beaders nightmare - BEADERS BLOCK, one day I was sat with all my tools out ready to get stuck and it just came and slapped me in the face like a salmon. The conition lasted a few hours, it was so frustrating & it was pissing it down (sorry raining heavily) so I couldn't really go for a walk up town for inspiration.

In my last entry I wrote of a shopping list for my latest creations, the majority of that has all been used up now and I've just had to order yet more supplies. I tell you if you'd have said to me this time last year I would be doing be making money from making jewellery and having my own personal stall selling the fruits of my labour I would have laughed in your face because the idea of making jewellery didn't even enter my head until March so it's been about 7 months or something like that. Crazy man and the great thing is that there is so much, much more to learn.

I would just like to take this opportunity ro claify that the reason behind my influx of purchases is due to the fact that I have been using the money from jewellery sales and Matty's very generous donations (bless) it's certainly not because Mr Cameron and chums have increased the allowance of those poor, unfortunate people who are desperately seeking work but as things stand I'm just chasing rainbows.

Well that's it fpr this installment but I swear on all the sherbert strawberries on the world I will write in here regularly not just once a month because that's just slackness on my part. I'll keep you up to date on all the stalls developments so until next time dear readers (I really hope there are some or all this writing has been it vain) I bid you a fond beading farewell.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Friday September 17th, 2010

Greetings oh loyal and humble diary tidings, I sincerely hope you can forgive my incessant absence. For I can bring no fanciful or elaborate excuses all I can say is that I have been stupendously busy and by that I mean real busy.

The reason? Wait for it…drum roll please… I am due to have a stall at the University of Bradford Christmas Market on November 24th selling only my personal handmade creations. Well, my mum is actually having it on my behalf (that’s where she works you see) I live a good few hundred miles away from there so I’m going to be posting my goods up there for her to sell. The weird thing was that it was all her idea, I guess the fact that she herself is prepared to sacrifice one whole day of her English life to sell my crafts is one true compliment and I can honestly say that is without doubt the best one I’ve received so far.

Now that is officially confirmed I am now in a serious predicament for I need to make things – enough to suffice a market stall before mid-November, quite daunting circumstances to find oneself in, especially as I still consider myself to be a mere novice. Personally I would have waited till next years but then again it’s all about challenge and motivation, my mum must see something in my pieces to do this for me, with my current profits exceeding £150 so far it could to be a success and that would be far more rewarding.

It would be quite fair to say that I possess a somewhat vivid and colourful imagination hence inspiration isn’t so much a problem but as they say ‘every little helps’. I’ve been scouring my backlog of bead magazines, books I’ve rented from the library even flicking through the Argos. Now with a bunch of ideas chilling out in my head I now have to work out how I can pull them off economically whilst maintaining the best possible quality. Hmm, I compiled a shopping list of some essentials; jump rings (various sizes), bead caps, head pins, bracelet blanks, charms of various descriptions (charm bracelets have become an inadvertent speciality) and lastly some satin acrylic beads. Alright so the latter can’t really be considered an ‘essential’ more of a luxury. These past few weeks has seen me develop a fondness for these beads, they have so much potential and are perfect if you want to achieve a vintage/Victorian look. I must get some, especially as I’ve just discovered an eBay shop that sells them in bulk at very reasonable prices so I’ve got no excuses have I?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Monday August 30th, 2010

I've just read a previous entry I compiled on these very pages, it was telling of my woes and disappointments regarding my jewellery pieces (or lack of rather). With great sadness I wrote of how I'd gotten into the art of jewellery making several months prior and simply didn't have much to show for it in terms of actual output, somewhere in the region of 18 items I think. But I'm proud to report that since that melancholy day my output has practically doubled, well the content of my Flickr page has at least I am pleased to announce. I don't know what it is but recently I've been getting in to really hardcore, it certainly isn't a bad thing. One possible explanation for my sudden bout of creativity could be put down how I've recently started to store my masses of beads, while I was up visiting my mum my grandma and I paid a visit to our favourite place; Haworth alias 'the village that time forgot'. As it's complimentary alias suggests it's a very ye olde traditional place and it was in it's old Apothecary I discovered some vintage glass jars which I purchased specifically for bead storage. It was in these jars where I literally poured all my beads the unpredictability and complete randomness at which they landed inspired colour schemes and ideas that I might never have even contemplated before, I even rebelled against the convention of colour schemes and matching beads I opted for complete randomness for a few pieces and it worked quite successfully (or at least I think so). The only real down side to keeping your beads in jars is that if there's a bead you really want to use that's chilling out at the bottom you have to strategically pour them all out to reach it but they make great decor too. My relationship with my 'sketchbook' is also on the rocks because I'm finding it easier and better to just make ideas up as I go along with the beads I have as opposed to planning the pieces out in advance. well it must've worked because discovering this new technique I've been on fire, well you know what I mean.

Looking through 'Beads and Beyond' magazine I spotted the 'Jewellery Maker of the Year' competition, looking at some of last years winning entries my heart sighed the skill, creativity, use of colour and finish was astounding but maybe in a year or so I could even think about entering for anything like that - I still consider myself very much a novice but I would love to have the belief and confidence to enter one of these competitions and just maybe do quite well out of it. I guess it doesn't matter if it takes a few years for that to happen as there are so many of such competitions held annually so we'll see. But before I can even contemplate such a thibg I really, really need to work on my wire wrapping and wrapping loops. The latter is rather crucial as I use them a lot but it's a very hit-and-miss situation; one time it'll be absolutely perfect and on another occasion it'll represent a jangled, tangled mess of wire. The amount of headpins I've gone through trying to perfect this technique is unreal. It might sound trivial to some of the more advanced folk but for some reason I just can't quite perfect it, consistently at least.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Monday July 26th, 2010

The day had finally come, my outing to Leeds I'd been waiting for this day for ages, now don't get me wrong Swindon town centre is alright, Bradford's lets not even go there - literally but I do miss the city life. Leeds especially because I worked in the offices of the town centre for over 2 years and it's home to so many little boutiques and other independent little shops that you just don't find anywhere else.
With my mother in tow we wondered around visiting Poundland, HMV, Primark and a whole host of other stores we got to Yum Yum Beads. Oh, I died and gone to heaven beads, beads everywhere, it was almost like Aladdin's Cave (except you were the one that was paying). I left my bags in sole charge of my mum, took a bowl and was off whacking in beads of all colours, shapes and sizes along the way.I was so absorbed in my task I wasn't even counting the actual cost, my mum expressed her concern regarding this matter until she got looking at the beads herself. Handing me some brass and a whole variety of purple beads she asked me to make her something with them (results on Flickr). I could've have looked in there all day but I was ushered out (mum wanted to get to Greggs before the lunch time rush). All in all I'd spent over £20 in there on individual beads, I had no idea what I was going to make with them I just put in the pretty ones that I really liked. In WH Smiths I picked up the new issue of 'Bead' magazine and was surprised to discover that my letter I written to them congratulating them or taking the poor into consideration when coming up with their great projects. Now not only was it published it was also 'star letter' to which I am going to be receiving a whole 'goody bag of beading delights' awesome. Without wanting to sound like a bighead I think I have a valid point, I mean there's nothing worse than falling in love with a potential project only to discover that the necessary ingredients are quite specialist and pricey as a consequence. Recently I've been quite fortunate (and selling on eBay) and being able to indulge in what I refer to as 'bead splurges' but as these are quite seldomn I tend to buy in bulk and little trinkets from Pink and Dizzy. I don't have the financial means to pay a couple of quid for an individual bead or the experience to use it to its full potential, so there you go that's pretty much the jist of it anyway.

I had planned on sitting down with the beads on the table trying to come up with ideas on how to use them when we got home, but another social gathering had been arranged and I didn't leave the pub till gone midnight - on a Monday night as well, shame on me, was great fun though and the kebab was amazing.

Saturday July 24th, 2010

In the past I have always stated that it would be the ultimate dream to make an item of jewellery that people would actually want to wear, so much so that they would be quite willing to pay for that pleasure. When I seriously got into the art of beading only several months ago such a chimera was at that time unattainable, laughable even almost like that of a silly childhood fantasy but whatever it was, it was certainly out of my reach.

But it was on Friday July 23rd when my perceived impossibility actually materialised. On this grey summers day in my native homeland of Bradford (I was there strictly to see family not the sights). At my mum's continual insistence I brought up a box of all my individual creations (that transpires as basically everything on my Flickr page). I remember feeling slightly reluctant to open up pandora's box and reaveal all to her expectant eyes for fear of mockery, laughter or even worse that look of disappointment, confronting my fears I took a very deep breath and waited.

I needn't have worried, for she loved the majority of them (not so keen on the gumball pieces). The relief was immense, turns out she liked them that much she took the charm bracelet, purple rosary beads and the chunky black & purple necklace to work show collegaues, they weren't with her when she returned. Yep, the lot had gone been snapped up straight away, I was dumbfounded; the necklaces sold for a fiver each and the bracelet eight quid. I was so chuffed it was unreal but that was only the beginning. That very same night there was a family gathering to celebrate my grandma & grandad's 50th wedding anniversary and my mum took out a further few bits and I left with a further £15 in return for my handmade crafts bringing the suntotal to a whopping £33. Now that may seem like nothing to the pro's but for an absolute novice it's pretty good not only for the wallet but my ego too.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Monday July 19th, 2010

I was looking at Flickr page earlier and felt quite disappointed, I'd seriously got into the craft of jewellery making in around Feb/March time and I just don't seem to have much to show for it. As it currently stands I have a mere 18 items upon there and that's everything I've ever done, ever. Even 'The Lonely Blue Earring' is up there and that was the very first thing I made. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh, but to be honest I think it's fair to say I've progressed since I put those blue beads together, I guess I'd be more concerned if everything up there looked pretty much the same, but I've tried out new things (whether they've worked is another matter entirely). As I get more confident in my abilities I will be making alot more things I assure you. I'm getting there albeit somewhat slowly. The ideas are there certainly.

Writing of ideas I read a piece in a magazine about how to go about putting together an ideal sketch book. Hmmm, looking at their 'ideal' I laughed out loud, there is no chance I could produce anything up to that standard. I can't draw for toffee, in fact there's more chance of England winning the next World Cup than me producing a work of art. I still chuckle when I see my 'seahorse' that looked more like a brontosaurus and my 'butterfly' that just looked like 2 letter B's (obviously one was a backwards B) with a sausage in the middle. At present I have a simple exercise book covered in dogs, I'm well passed the middle page so I'll think about that later on.

I'd come in to a bit of money after selling my old PS3 as I'd just upgraded to a PS3 Slim (thanks to the Carphone Warehouse). I used some of that to have another bead splurge, I ordered lots of goodies from eBay, a box of delights from Beads Unlimited and I went and raided Pink and Dizzy. It was then I'd got the pack of glass crosses I'd been waiting for in order to get started on the rosary bead project I'd seen in a copy of 'Bead' magazine. I used the actual design in there purely as a guide, with regards to the colour I did it purple and used a whole variety of beads and bits that I already owned, I also made it rather long as well. Although it cost less than a fiver to make to make as 'Bead' stated, it certainly took longer than 2 hours, saying that I was routing around for beads for ages, getting food, playing with the hamsters and was distracted by the TV so I guess that kinds of explains that. I was in fact so pleased with the eventual outcome of it I chose to make another one, only this time in red. Because I ordered the mixed coloured pack of crosses I plan on making more of these rosary beads using a variety of colours - maybe go monochrome, use charms or take on themes autumn colours, fruits of the forest, the ocean, sunset, you know that kind of thing.

I'm off up to Bradford on Thursday for a week to visit my family, as soon as this was confirmed pretty much I was online checking out numerous craft and bead shops in Leeds (I knew for a fact there'd be nothing of that nature in Bradford), I'm all too aware there is a Hobbycraft as it was situated round the corner from where I used to work - I spent many a lunch hour in there, but much to my delight I found another one in the town center 'Yum Yum Beads' it's called I believe and judging by it's online shop then it looks most interesting, I'm sure a few quid will be spent there.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wednesday June 30th, 2010

Phew, phew and thrice phew. I had finally managed to find my two formally AWOL library books.I had gone along to the library to return my mountain of jewellery making related books when the librarian asked if I'd like to renew the additional two books remaining on my ticket. This was news to me, I had no idea I was clearly under the impression that the ones I had just returned were all the ones I'd had. Perplexed I politely asked for their titles before readily agreeing to their renewal, I was really hoping my psuedo enthusiasm disguised my initial panic, inside I was thinking 'oh my god, oh my god, where the hell are they?'.

'Perfect Match' (a book on making earrings) and 'Making Necklaces' (title self-explanatory) were the books I sought and I spent the evening searching frantically moving the bed, checking behind the bookshelf, even inside my pillowcase (don't laugh I have left books in there before). It was then I had visions of them having fallen into the bin somehow and already been disposed of then I would be forever in the libraries debt. I was sat in the spare room absorbed in 'The Jolly Postman' when Matty casually strode in opened up the box file where we keep the boring but necessary paperwork and blow me down there they were. The relief was tremendous, up until that point Matty had been about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, but right at that very moment I could've kissed him but I didn't instead I gave him a finger of my Twix, a very noble gesture on my part, besides I had another one in the fridge and he did only find them by accident after all.

Now reunited with my books (mine for 3 weeks) I browsed through 'Perfect Match' and was immediately inspired by the ocean/sea range, so much so I'm considering purchasing some African Recycled Glass beads to make them happen. I guess it is kind of ironic that I have a love of making these earrings without actually having pierced ears, but that might be soon set to change. In a previous entry I wrote that my lobes were too small for the piercing procedure to take place but it turns out they're not so I could soon be wearing and flaunting my very own creations before you know it (obviously when I get good). Using up some of my plastic charms and beads I put together a pair of earrings kinda similar to the gumball charm bracelet (also featured on Flickr).

Friday, 25 June 2010

Thursday June 24th 2010

Good golly gosh it has been a long time hasn't it? Why it seems only yesterday I was grinding my teeth with torment and vengeance whilst attempting to complete the now 'infamous' 5 strand bracelet. But firstly allow me to apologise sincerely to you dearest diary and loyal companion for my recent neglect, but there have been many of what I'd consider to be justified reasons for this i.e. stupendously sunny weather, barbeques but perhaps more significantly the World Cup. Yep, I'm a self-confessed football fiend and as it stands right now, the only games I've missed are the ones that have been on at the exact same time, but thanks to the genius of the red button I can flick between the channels. I said this before the tournament and I'll say it now if I had any money I'd put it on Argentina; remember kids you read it here first.

Anyway I'll move on but before I do can I express my admiration for the World Cup Coca-Cola song (Wavin' Flag - Knaan). It's amazing, initially I got the tune in my head because of the ad, so I looked it up, downloaded it and it's been on my player ever since. It's so catchy and summery 'when I get older I will be stronger, they'll call me freedom just like a waving flag'...Ahhh, amazing.

Despite the fact that I have slacked off a bit from putting finger to keyboard and recording the gradual progress of my beloved recreational activity I have not vacated it. In fact if you care to visit my Flickr page you will find two new pictures waiting to be stared at. The first being THAT bracelet, initially I said that I was going to keep it as it was so I could laugh at it, feel myself turn red each time I caught a mere glimpse of it to the point where I'd want to dig a hole and bury it. But rather than put myself through that humiliation voluntarily I chose to take it all apart and start again. I pretty much kept up with the initial design but replaced some of the smaller more overlooked beads with some larger and brighter ones for a better effect, which seemingly worked. The finished piece looked a whole lot better and as for the fastenings then in a bid not to destroy my newly beaded strands I paid meticulous attention to detail, ensuring each individual wire was carefully wrapped around the jump ring and secured with a crimp bead. This time I ensured all the loops were the same or at least very similar in size and I think you can really notice the difference when you compare the 'before and after' pictures. I appreciate that it might not appear to be 'perfect' in the eyes of the pros but that's why I'm not one - yet at least. Not only was I pretty damn pleased with the outcome I was also greatly surprised at how well the whole procedure had gone - well compared with my previous effort.

The other piece is very simple indeed, my mum called me asking if I could possibly make her a necklace that consisted of purple and black because at the Bradford University where she's some kind of manger they've been given a purple & black uniform so she was seeking jewellery to match; the theme was CHUNKY. Flattered that my services were being sought to Pink and Dizzy I scurried and got a bunch of satin diamond and an aluminum pendant then got to work. The picture is the final outcome, I showed it to my mum she was most impressed by it but I'll be giving it to her in July when I pay a flying (well National Express) visit to northern dwellings.

Last night I actually had a dream that Matty had his name changed officially to 'Apple Green Beads' I don't quite know what to make of that, too much beading on the brain you reckon?

Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday June 7th, 2010

At last, I can finally boast to completing my latest production. I had literally been working on this piece all day Sunday, pausing only to have the infamous Sunday Roast (and pudding), playing with the hamsters, eat cheese puffs and occasional trips to the latrine. I didn't even sit down with the Papers and their many supplements till 11:50pm, by the time I'd finished they were well out of date.

So just what was this stunning work of art that I sacrificed my whole Sunday for? It was simply a five strand bracelet (or five strand bracelet disaster as I refer to it on my Flickr page). I'm sure it'd take the pro's no time at all but I continue to reiterate the fact that I am a simple novice. The idea came about after seeing these multi-strand bracelets in numerous books and magazines in a whole multitude of designs, I was feeling ambitious so I thought I'd give it a crack. My theme was complete randomness, just making it up as I go along, there were two primary reasons for this, the first being that it would ensure my design would be completely unique
and secondly I didn't really have much choice in the matter. You see whenever I invest in beads I always favour the 'mixed' packs that vary in colour, shape and style so I didn't really have any that would create a full strand.

It was all going so well, all my thread was all measured and cut correctly, beads by my side I started threading like a fiend possessed. It wasn't until I'd completed the third strand that I realised that just like the Titanic I'd hit an iceberg. In other words I'd cocked up - royally. Instead of slipping each of the individual threads through a single calotte and knotting it, I'd only gone and looped the threads at both ends securing the loop with a crimp bead. Trying so hard to remain optimistic I daringly proceeded but deep down I knew that just like the great ship itself I was sinking very slowly.

It was only after I'd attached the lobster clasp to the finished 'piece' that I gasped in horror, each of the individual loops varied in sizes meaning all the strands differed in length to the point of ridiculousness. The clasp was a pointless addition, the bracelet was that big (one strand alone almost fitted around my wrist twice). You could simply slide it on to your wrist only to watch it immediately fall off sending it crashing to the floor, it was truly heartbreaking - for me at least.

I asked Matty for his opinion, after all what could he say that I hadn't already said and thought to myself? He said he liked the actual design idea of it but would maybe have been better suited to a necklace, hmmm, he was certainly on to something there (not that I let him know that). After much thought I chose to keep the bracelet for pure comedy value, where I can look back at my novice days with fond memories.

As soon as funds allow, whenever that maybe I'm going to have a huge bead splurge and seriously consider that necklace idea. Looking back it certainly wasn't a whole Sunday wasted a very important lesson was learned that day, well two actually the first being don't ever let enthusiasm and delirium get in the way of studying instructions and logical thinking. The second, never eat a huge bag of cheese puffs immediately after devouring a chunky slice of strawberry cheesecake, don't do it, trust me, I suffered.

On a more positive note, Saturday night I put together lovely pair of summery earrings I called 'Lemon Drops' (again check out my Flickr page if you care to take a gander). They were inspired by all the gorgeous weather we'd been having (notice how I used past tense). I really wish my username didn't have 'wine gum' in it, I'd kill for a pack of those right now.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Wednesday May 26th, 2010

There I've done it, I bit the bullet and finally put my beloved 'Scribblenauts' and its Offial Guidebook up for sale on eBay. Despite playing it and completing it I was still somewhat reluctant to let it go, I don't know why really because I doubt I'd ever play it again (especially with the new 'Professor Layton' game coming out at the rear end of the year). I had been dead set on putting it up on eBay yesterday but I was so bummed out after the death of Paul Gray I didn't bother instead I just ate loads of Sainsbury's Cheese Puffs, amazing aren't they? (for those not in the know Paul Gray was actually the bassist for the legendary band that is SLIPKNOT, of whom I am a very big fan). Selling my worldly goods is my attempt at raising capital for what I've named 'Helen's bead fund'. My target stands at £60, enough to go on a huge splurge that in theory should keep me quiet for a while, in between watching The World Cup of course. As I write (or type rather) my current total stands at...drumroll please...£3.85, ok so it's a start, even Sir Richard Branson had to start somewhere.

I skipped happily up the High Street to purchase the newly released edition of 'Bead Magazine', well there was actually a repatriation today so it was a rather a sombre trip up town, I stood by paying my respects then flitted off home. Nibbling on a scone (I was all out of cheese puffs) I sifted through the magazine and before I knew it all these ideas leapt right at me like thet were fresh salmon. I was particulary interested in the rosary style necklace and think I'm going to very bravely attempt it or at least something that resembles it. Anyone who knows mw will be aware that I don't actually go out to replicate the design entirely, instead I merely use it as a template and add to it my own eccentric personal twist that makes it that bit more unique, the other reason I never copy from others designs is that in my case the piece will never end up looking as good as the one I'm copying. Amongst its pages were also some rather delightful seed bead pieces, now I will learn this trade at some point, as soon as finances allow. Back in the day when I was a hardcore novice I didn't entirely understand the idea of seed beads, I was obviously familiar with what they were and what they could be used for, however, I was ignorant to the concept of sizing so blissfully unaware I went out and bought loads pf them. On further examination I remember thinking 'good golly gosh, they are a trifle small' being a glasses wearer I could only just about see them let alone bead myself a masterpiece. Anyhow it later transpired that I'd only gone and bought 15/0 the smallest size going and for that reason they're pretty much useless, still you live, you learn.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday May 16th, 2010

Firstly dear loyal readers I would like to apologise for my lack of entries over this past week or so but there has been a bereavement in the family, my little baby hamster alias HAMMY tragically had to be put down. She was 2 and a half and had contracted a fatal illness. I'm coming to terms with it now but it broke my little heart and I have a lump in my throat as I'm typing this but I'm feeling a little better today. HAMMY was the first hamster me & Matty got together, we do have another one called MUI MUI who is a year old and we're going to get another one soon. HAMMY will never, ever be forgotten - ever. It's comforting to know that she had the best life we could ever give her and she'll be remembered for the way she lived instead of the way she died. R-I-P little HAMMY.

Moving on, I finally grew a pair and sent the infamous silver necklace and earrings to my mother as a very, very belated Mother's Day gift. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous by her reaction, I knew she finished work at the Bradford University at 4:00pm so I waited anxiously for her text, it was like the jewellery makers equivalent of waiting for exam results. When my phone vibrated at 4:18pm I jumped out of my skin (I choose to have it on vibrate because ringtones and message beeps made me jump, for a while I considered ordering a variety of gun shot ones from Andy McNab's website but living next to RAF Lyneham it probably wouldn't be the smartest of moves so I decided against it), I tentatively reached for my phone and read 'O2 have new offers, check out our website for further details...' or something along those lines. Groaning I was about to put the phone back when it went again, this time it was my mum and it turns out she loved them them all and went as far as to say she was going to take them to London with her next week. In the note I popped in with them I asked her to be brutally honest, it might have come across as though I was inviting criticism, maybe even begging for it. In truth I didn't want her say it was good just because it was me that made it. You'll never learn your craft that way.

While frantically searching through my sock draw in a desperate bid to find a pair that matched I found a carrier sack in there containing numerous blocks of Fimo, that I'd obviouly purchased at some point and completely forgotten about there was blue, yellow, flourescent orange, red, green and white. Hmmm, I just decided to have a bash at making some beads at some point, if I'm feeling daring I might try the funky looking millefiori look. Regrettably I don't have any clear varnish right now or I would have done it already, saying that maybe clear nail varnish will suffice I do have that, as long as they are bright, crazy and unique I'll be happy. I gave up on finding a matching pair and grabbed a 'High School Musical' I love TRoy sock and a 'Nightmare Before Christmas' one (please, please don't ask - I don't want to go there). Right now as I type I'm watching 'Ghostbusters 2' and briefly considered making a Fimo Slimer, but there's no way I could do him justice and I certainly don't have enough white to even thinking about attempting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man - shame.

I was browsing through the Argos earlier this after just of curiosity to see if they still sold the Soda Stream (they do by the way) and while I had the catalogue in hand I examined the jewellery section to dare I say check out the competition and see what Elizabeth Duke was up, but I was taken aback by the sudden influx of 'celebrities' flaunting 'their very own' lacklustre designs. I'm sorry Coleen but there's no way I'm contributing to your handbag fund by paying £40 for a silver chain with some gold coloured crystal attached to it. Then there's Lily Allen seeking £23 for a 'base metal smiley face pendant'. It's not the prices that bother me so much it's more the unimaginative, flat and complete lack of character these mass produced products have. Now it may sound like I'm going off on a bitter rant but it just bugs me to see some silly ass 'celeb' gurning stupidly modelling their latest money-making scam, especially when you know that they'll never adorn them again. In the jewellery making magazines I
read each month I continue to amazed by some of the tremendous, original pieces sent in by their readers. They are the visual definition of talent, a talent to be envious of and not in the same caliber as the tacky 'celeb endorsed' nonsense that are an insult to every true jewellery maker. I just read that back, it does really sound like I'm having some sort of period induced rant doesn't it? Please someone agree with me, there must be someone who does surely, I'm not the angry, bitter, twisted person I sound like - the whole situation wound me up that's all.

It may seem that my ambition to work with resin might really happen, you see I've been doing some research and found that there is actually a kit specifically designed for resin virgins like myself, it comes with everything to get started - right down to the gloves. I showed it Matty and suggested he read it, much to my surprise he did and that initial look of horror and panic that he'd expressed when I first confided that I'd like to try working with such chemicals wasn't there, instead he seemed reassured at the inclusion of the health and safety information. The whole kit costs knocking on £40, which I'll admit is a lot to me living in recession Britain and all that but when funds allow it, it'll be a case of 'look out world resin Helen is has landed' (you best take cover).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tuesday May 4th, 2010

I sure wish I hadn't got long ball wire earrings in bulk, I've literally got hundreds of them. Yep, I can mae earrings till the cows come home, in fact five of the eight items on my Flickr photostream are ear related. Now don't get me wrong I enjoy my little silly self making them but because I don't have pierced ears (my lobes are way too small apparently)there isn't a whole lot I can do with them. It isn't as thought I can casually flaunt them on a night out secretly yearning for compliments. At present all those featured on my photostream including 'the lonely blue earring' are safely tucked away in generously sized seal-grip bags in little coloured plastic boxes going nowhere. Why couldn't I have got chains, bracelets or even brooch bars? At least then I could've got some use out of them. Still it's my own fault I'm in this predicament but I was just a sucker for a bargain.

My Bank Holiday Monday outing was a surprise trip to Swindon's very own 'Hobbycraft' and all I can say is 'holy hell'. I was there mesmorised by the rows upon rows of rather delicious looking beads, crystals, ribbons, tools and findings - even the plastic storage boxes were enough to get me excited. How could I possibly decide what to purchase? Well I guess my very limited budget would kind of limit my options. It seemed the woman beside me was facing the same dilemma as I, although judging by the way she was stripping the racks putting the goods into an already overflowing basket like she was a contestant on 'Dale Winton's Supermarket Sweep' money clearly wasn't an issue. I wouldn't be human if I said I wasn't jealous, I know it's one of the seven deadly sins but I will confess I was seething with envy. My wicked thought were interrupted at first by a rather obnoxious sneeze followed by Matty coming charging down the aisle demanding that I hurry up. I couldn't blame him really we'd been in there approaching 2 hours, in that time I must've got my daily 10,000 steps just pacing up and down the bead section. Still in a flurry of confusion I told him to pick something for me, he thrust a pack of 'fancy glass beads' in crimson into my hand and escorted me to the counter. Passing the magazines I noticed a copy of 'Creative Beading & Jewellery Design' I'd seen it advertised and knew it was only available in selected specialist bead and craft stores so I snapped it up too. As I was leaving I too a copy of 'Hobbycrafts' jewellery making leaflet because I could, it was free and I need all the help I can get - although I'm slowly becoming a dab hand with the earrings now.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Thursday April 29th, 2010

I've just completed my shopping list, this is the fourth time I've done it now and what started off at £15 has now worked its way up to almost £45 including P&P of course. The reason? Well I was sheltering from the rain in the local library where I was leafing through some of the various pamphlets and brochures on local places of interest, it was while I was looking at an image of Stonehenge that I had another one of those eureka moments. I wanted to put together some form of multi-strand bracelet with maybe three strands (four if I'm feeling ambitious. The theme I've chosen is
Luck of the Irish and it's going to consist of a variety of green beads, whether they be seed, round, cubes, fire polished, bugles, plastic, glass or pearl (I would have put Swarovski Crystal but I'm on a budget), they just have to br green in order to qualify. Now not only on these three strands will there be a mish-mash of green beadage but also several silver 'good luck' charms (hence the theme), including horseshoes, leprechauns, four-leaf clover, coins even a pot of gold (alright, a glass vial with gold glitter inside). Now all of these will be thread on beading wire (coloured green of course). When the rain finally stops I scurry down to 'Pink & Dizzy' an awesome bead shop I'm lucky enough to have just up the road and spent all my loose change, and yes some of those purchases were green. It's quite cool really because for those who neither know or care my favourite colour is green and I've been thinking of ways in which I could use it.

I know I can confide in you dearest blog, do you know what I was thinking earlier, you'll never believe it but I was thinking about what designs I'd have on my business cards and then, oh yes it gets worse I went on concluding that when I sold something I'd package it in a kids party bag as opposed to the traditional transparent bags. Then it was reality check, I was like woah, woah, woah, slow down, slow down, slow down, my brain was having a Usain Bolt moment leaving me still at the starting line. I'm embarrased to admit I even had thoughts like that, I'm blushing at the very thought of it. Shame on me.

At least now I've got that damn Wham song out of my head.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wednesday April 28th, 2010

Right they're both done now, I've just been adding the finishing touches to my latest creation; a simple pair of Autumn style earrings (check out if you want to see them - there's nothing like a bit of shameless self-publicity). Now these were not the the outcome of a cartwheel turning eureka moment as with my previous ideas. I was simply browsing through my loyal Tupperware, mulling over what beads I already had and just whacked something together. I've come to terms with the fact that the 'Message in a Bottle' project has been put on hold due to the fact that I have barely any of the necessary beads or charms I'd need and nor can I afford to (victim of the recession you see beaders). Making those earrings was also the first ever time I've used crimp beads - ever, please bear that in mind if you do take the time to look at them

Today, however, I did eventually get round to paying of my library fine of £2.21 so I rented out 8 books of the art of beading and jewellery making woo-hoo. Matty (my boyfriend as I live with him and he graciously contributes towards this new found habit I best give him a name) will be most displeased, he often complains that my Tupperware and tools take up enough space as it is. My thumb is all better now but I've noticed gradually that the sun is once again bleaching my ginger locks turning them kind of a weird strawberry blonde, some may think that's odd but trust me it happens everytime we get sun for more than three consecutive days, it goes back to being unbleached as the Autumn comes in.

I confided in Matty earlier that I was interested in working with epoxy resin, now instead of shaking me warmly by the hand and congratulating me on my willingness to experiment the poor man looked horrified, stating he wouldn't trust me working with chemicals for my own personal safety. I was slightly perplexed at such a reaction because even though I caused a test-tube to violently explode and singed my hair on a bunsen burner I still left school with a grade 'B' in chemistry. But then again how many people can boast to actually almost breaking an arm by falling up the stairs in a completely 100% sober state - exactly, I think I'll wait a while, it's a shame I'm such a dope I had several spiffing ideas using resin as well.

On a safer, more chemical-free note I really want to give bead-weaving a try or working with seed beads in general. In the books and magazines I open them only to see these magnificently woven pieces gazing back at me saying 'you will never be able to make me, never, not in even in your dreams ginger so forget it'. I can't help but feel slightly intimidated, is it hard? (sorry I've got no idea who I'm asking there). If it isn't I could maybe teach myself it, I have masses of seed beads, just no needles or proper beading thread - shame.

Before I go, to the shop that was playing

'FREEDOM' by WHAM I just want you to know that I hate you.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sunday April 25th, 2010

Hmmm, I guess it could work, in fact I'm pretty sure it will. I'm referring to the outcome of my infamous eureka moment, since that Friday evening this latest piece of wizardry has been re-drawn three times (although to be honest it doesn't matter how many times it's done my seahorse still looks more like a Brontosaurus) and now I've just finished expertly colouring it in with my finest Crayola colouring pencils. Incredibly the inspiration behind it came from VH1 and The Police classic 'Message in a Bottle'. I guess you're kinda curious as to what it is, am I right? Well it's simply a silver charm bracelet (as my entries progress you will no doubt learm of my obsession with them) that will feature numerous nautical charms, fish, boats, shells, seahorse/dinosaur, palm trees etc, then a number of golden and blue coloured charms to represent the beach (but I'm sure you figured that out), then finally the focal piece will be a glass vial containing a tiny rolled up piece paper stained with tea (for that aged and vintage look) and well that's it. The drawing in my sketchbook is pretty laughable but the cool thing about being a bad drawer is that you can almost guarantee that the finished product will always look better than the one on paper.

Today I had been initially planning to do some serious work on my wire wrapping but this had to be suspended due the reason being that I'd bitten my thumbnail down way too far and it hurts like hell, even writing is a struggle. Amazing isn't it how thumbs are taken for granted, they may seem small and insignificant but when they're down and immobile you really miss them. Get well soon thumb I need you. I was working my way through the Sunday supplements, (I swear it's crazy how many you get, you want a simple Sunday newspaper but each one seems to come with a trees worth of extras) in one particular magazine I spotted a rather delicious looking pink necklace, seeing it's accompanying price tag I recoiled in horror. 'I could make that easily' I scoffed out loud, alright so I couldn't but that still didn't justify it's ludicrous price tag.

I think I'm going display some of my creations up on the beaders forum, scared as I am it's the only way my works will ever really get seen. Believe it or not fellow beaders I don't actually wear jewellery at all so I can't shamelessly promote myself by flaunting my creations, so it looks like pix are what it's going to be - I will be nervous though.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Friday April 23rd, 2010

Oh diary I am so consumed with discontent, for here I sit in my bed chamber quite literally surrounded by Tupperwear boxes overflowing with beads, sandwich bags filled with various findings, pairs of pliers randomly scattered about the bed linen alongside stacks of craft magazines. Yet all that lies before me is a sketchbook, it's crisp white, virginal pages remain untouched. My creative mind is a blank canvas. I'm sure there must be a word or term for this; jewellery makers block perhaps? That doesn't quite sound right does it? Not snappy enough, just consulted a magazine it is actually referred to as 'beaders block' you see I'm catching on, learning the lingo.

Last night, however, I did actually create 2 pieces, well pairs of earrings under the themes of 'Strawberry Fields' and 'Winter's Tale' for the former I just used a variety of red and green beads, for the latter I opted for a number of wintery related colours white, silver, grey, clear, lilac and even a very light pink. Now I am not one to boast but I was pretty pleased with the my efforts, so much so that I abruptly sought the balls to put them up on the gallery of he 'Bead Buddies' forum for all to see. So with the pictues taken I set about the task in hand then my eyes fell upon the works of my fellow beaders, astounded and amazed by the gems they had created I logged off immediately, painfully concluding that I still have a long, long way to go.

And now here I sit in solitude, patiently waiting for an idea to leap out right at me like a fresh salmon. My silver foil lined heart beads are staring at me, taunting me with their fiendish glint. Averting my gaze I look round the room Mui Mui the hamster is ferociously attacking a floret of broccoli, next to the laptop lies 'World of Warcraft' (I swear on my round nose pliers that's NOT mine), an emptied bag of pick 'n' mix, the case for 'Professor Layton & Pandora's Box' (which IS mine). Gingerly I picked it up and started flicking through the inserts and that was when it happened, I felt like jumping on the bed shouting 'eureka', it was the equivalent of Bradford City scoring a goal (not an own goal), it was clearly a euphoric moment. I took a swig of Lucozade and tore open a bag of Haribo I'd been saving for such an occasion and once the initial merriement was over I picked up my sharpened pencil and began to draw...