Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Capturing cabochons

It's no secret that I adore handmade glass cabochons. I've used them in bead embroidered pieces many times, stitching a bezel of tiny size 11 seed beads around them to secure the cabochon to the backing. The down side of this was that you had to cover quite a bit of the outside edge - unless you were prepared to also use a glue on the back. I've never been happy to use glue in my beadwork, and wanting to show off every bit of the glass has led me to my wirework pieces. 'Ivy Lustre' has proved to be such an enjoyable challenge in this respect.

I really wanted to showcase the triangular shape of this one so the wire is carefully engineered to make a tension setting for it. Here is a picture of the back of the necklace showing the tension mounting.
This has allowed me to make a wire squiggle over the front top to echo the foiled stripe that catches the light within the glass.
More pictures and a bit about what inspired me to make it can be found on my website at: http://www.beadizzy.com/

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Ivy lustre - a necklace of foliage and berries

Mindfulness….. It’s a word I’ve been hearing a lot recently. I’ve heard it on TV in advertisements for those adult colouring books that have become the latest craze, and I’ve come across it all over the internet. The pace of modern life is so hectic that it seems we are making time for a little calm and creativity. Turning separate elements into something lovely is the ultimate relaxation therapy and escape. The satisfaction of ending up with something that you’ve made – that is more than the sum of its parts, that contains a small bit of what makes you tick, is what every artist is after. It can be a cupcake, a painting, a poem, a tapestry, a dance, or a necklace – it will be a magical process and it will contain a piece of you. The mindfulness bit comes in its making, deciding whether to have pink or chocolate frosting, knowing when to stop painting that sky, or choosing whether to include pearls or crystals in your jewellery project. You simply have to have your focus in the moment and as a result you escape from the stresses of everyday life for a while.

When it goes well you are in ‘flow’ Yet another modern buzz word! Intuition kicks in and the work goes well. Challenges resolve themselves as you lose yourself in the project and everyday life takes a back seat, just for a few minutes, or a few hours if you are lucky.
I’ve had such a lovely week working on this ‘Ivy Lustre’ piece, and it’s reached a happily challenging stage in its creation. At first a thought I would thread a piece if wire right across the top of the pendant section of my necklace as shown in the first photo when it was in the early stages.
 But it just doesn’t feel right to have it like that and it needs to be curvier. So as you can see in the pictures below, I am in the middle of resolving this particular challenge. I also decided to swap the large round copper coloured bead on the top left hand side in favour of a flat oval one, so that I could lay a little trail of wire over it, to echo the piece I laid over the main cabochon.

Looking at a book on art nouveau jewellery has helped to give me some inspiration.
They knew all about curved organic shapes. My intention is to make something reminiscent of trailing ivy greenery with a hint of frosted berry, a piece you could wear over the festive season.  I’ll get there in the end!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Season of mists....

Where has the year gone? A catalogue of Christmas food goodies is now sitting on my kitchen table, picked up in the supermarket this morning - and we haven't even done with the pumpkins and toffee apples yet! No doubt about it, time goes oh so quickly as you get older. Only a few weeks to go before I send Mr J up to the loft to get the tree down again.

We went out for a longish walk this morning and I have come back with an idea for a piece of jewellery using beaded beads over red leather cord. I've not made beaded beads for ages, it's so rewarding seeing a pile of elements grow and then having the fun of putting them together into a necklace. I will take the colours from the Autumn hedgerow, blackberry, hawthorn, burnished yellow leaves - nature paints such a pretty picture this time of year.

Meanwhile, Misty Dawn is all finished. Apricot agate is said to be good for the immune system, so this is perfect for a winter outfit, although wise to put a scarf on to be extra sure!


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Misty dawn necklace

A few weeks off has done me a power of good. I’d got to the stage where I felt totally ‘burned out’ as it were, and a minor illness which needed some tablets from the GP to sort it out left me feeling totally lack lustre. Impossible to be creative when you are feeling like that so I took some time out and just concentrated on cleaning the house and giving the workspace a good tidy up. Eventually got back my energy, but found it hard to get the creative side of the brain to kick in again.

The workspace was inviting with a clean desk, pliers neatly lined up in a rack like soldiers waiting for orders, and beads sorted into containers. That sort of tidiness just screams creative block and procrastination!

Then one morning I took Mr J his coffee into his den and looked out of the window. It still quite early and the dawn was breaking into the most beautiful misty shades of apricot, muted blues, greys and mauves.

Autumn skies can so often surprise and delight. My muse was awake and on the case straight away. A piece of Apricot Agate was selected, beads tipped with pleasing abandon in a mix to match the sky, and wire began to wind like the silhouettes of branches under the dawn sky. All’s right in my world again.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Creating soldered bezels for polymer clay

Jewellery making has been a bit slow over the last few days. Enjoying watching the Olympics and as it only comes round every four years I don't feel at all guilty. When I have been making, it's been outside in the sunshine and making good use of the workbench Mr J bought me for my 60th birthday. An unusual pressie to buy your wife I know..... but then I like to think I'm an unusual wife!

Got both these soldered this morning and they are ready to go to the next stage.

The larger one is having a centre inspired by sunflowers inside so should be truly eye catching. Not sure what colour the other one will be yet, but I'm leaning towards a marine inspired colour palette.

Must say I love my Knew Concepts saw frame. I used to struggle fiddling about with intricate piercing but I treated myself and have never looked back. I wouldn't use any other frame now. Pricey, but worth the extra money. Just look at the concentration!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Sketches for a sunflower necklace

The last few weeks have seen me honing my wire wrapping and weaving skills. With wirework it’s all about practice, practice, and yet more practice. I really wanted to get to the stage of being able to make interlacing and weaving on a symmetrical piece, and I wanted the backs of my pieces to look neat and symmetrical too. Several pieces of jewellery with an elfin flavour later and I am pleased with my progress.

The Aubretia pendant was my first micro mosaic piece – the closest I think I have ever felt to painting a picture with jewellery making. It has gone off to a new home so I am especially happy.

Now I’m feeling like making a bold and colourful statement piece inspired by sunflowers. Here are the first very rough sketches – you don’t need to be a Van Gogh to record your ideas, doodles work fine.  It’s just helpful to be able to organise what’s in your head and play around with options regarding shapes.

I decided after some doodling that I wanted petals in different sizes to create a dynamic shape, and after really looking at pictures of sunflowers, I realised how beautifully textured the centres are, chocolate and purple colours lovely against the orange petals as the photo below shows.
Now I know what I am aiming at I will be able to do a more detailed watercolour before I start construction. This week’s learning curve will be all about learning some new polymer clay techniques. I will be using a clay roller to  make some colour gradations, using a technique called a ‘skinner blend’ More about all that in my next post.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The fly that thought it was a bee

Mr J and I have done our bit for recycling this year. It all started when our fence blew down. The old post had snapped... we needed a new one. Out on one of our walks Mr J spotted something in the hedge. Someone had dumped a fencepost, a newish one, exactly the right size. Mr J hoisted it over his shoulder and it was soon given a new lease of life. Good for a few years yet we hope. A few days later we also rescued a big brand new patio planter. This is now full of pretty plants including some aubretia which tumbles down the side very prettily. We were sitting outside one lunchtime when we noticed something that looked like a miniature humming bird with a long proboscis hovering and feeding on the tiny centres of the aubretia flowers. It looks like a tiny bee but when we looked it up it is actually a fly. This charming looking little creature has a less than charming life cycle though. Its own larva live on the larva of actual bees! I do hope the residents in the various bee boxes we have in the garden this year are safe.

I love the way jewellery from the art nouveau era used shapes from nature, and observing this special tiny creature has influenced my latest piece. Using a new technique to make the centrepiece enables me to have tiny flowers in it. The picture below shows it in progress with wire wrapping partly done. When it has been antiqued and buffed to make it look vintage it should be unusual and rather pretty I think.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Wild spaces

The area we live in has seen many changes over the past 20 years. It still just about manages to hang on to its identity as a village, although some of the farmland has been turned into housing estates over the years. But there are still plenty of wild areas to enjoy, and one of these is a very special little grove of trees. For a while though this favourite walk through the trees has been closed off and we could only peer in through the wire at the increasing tangle of undergrowth and gathering wind-blown litter. Then one day things started to happen. Men with diggers and chain saws turned up and I started to worry.  But something wonderful has happened. The ancient trees have been treated to some professional surgery, little areas of wild flowers have been planted, and best of all a proper footpath through the grove has been made. It has taken a month for them to complete it and we took a first stroll through it last week.

Funny how some areas can just feel magical. This small grove is just a stone’s throw away from the airport, but judging from the age of some of the mighty oaks which line the footpath leading up to it and a look at some ancient maps of the area, this was once a field boundary in what was farmland. The farm would doubtless have employed many local men and we know there was a smithy as we have a road called Blacksmiths Way in the village.

The house where Anna Sewell lived and wrote Black Beauty is not far away. Horses still graze in the pasture opposite and her window looked out onto it. The old photograph above shows horses on the road nearby to her house.

So we linger amongst the trees and hedgerow, watching squirrels, jays and speckled wood butterflies in the wood, and discovering interesting tiny creatures in the hedgerow. We notice wild roses become hips, hawthorn berries reddening and the year racing oh so quickly by. Every sunny (or rainy) walk together is treasured.
Spent the morning cutting shapes and drilling holes with my Proxxon drill stand. These will be used to make a necklace, with the ring shape soldered on and filled with something richly purple berry coloured. Unlike the year, I'm going sloe! The leaf shapes are going to be earrings.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

Wirework inspired by wild roses

Delicate pale pink wild roses are in bloom in the hedgerows just now. Their time is all too brief and I always find myself wanting to capture their transient beauty in some small way. In this instance I decided to showcase just one pretty glass bead within a filigree tracery of sterling silver to create a wirework pendant.

The challenge was to include a heart shape to surround the bead and to make a bail that suspended it nicely from the rose pink thong. After some trial and error I managed a pleasing little heart shape in the centre of the wire weaving.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Using polymer clay to create a vintage look

People who create art are incredibly lucky to have a wealth of exciting new materials to work with. Polymer clay, resin, cool melt enamels and metal clays are the chameleon characters on the jewellery making stage and can reflect many different moods. Take polymer clay for instance – this magical material can be made into a piece that looks as if it has just stepped off the set of a Bollywood film, or can be crafted into something that looks as if it came from the jewellery casket of a pre-Raphaelite beauty. Modern clays and resins are professional grade and really tough. I sand and finish with the same tools I use on metalwork. My ‘Rhiannon’ necklace is complete at last and has a decidedly vintage look. 

Constructing  it proved to be a challenge but  I’m pleased with the way it hangs – in a pleasing ‘V’ shape on the chain which has little bamboo coral beads in it to echo the inlay on the main sections. I decided that this design needed some negative spaces, little areas to give the eye a break. I also included the paler blue areas within the darker blue to draw the eye down over the centrepiece.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Celtic knotwork necklace

Rhiannon is a Celtic goddess of the moon and is also said to be the legendary Lady of the Lake who gave the sword Excalibur to King Arthur. Being of fairy descent, she was betrothed to another of her kind. However she fell in love with a mortal named Pwyll. Leaving the world of magic, she became mortal, married Pwyll  and  bore him a son. Her original suitor stole the baby away in vengeance and Rhiannon was accused of killing her own child. She was made to wear a horse collar and sit outside the castle walls, offering to carry any visitor to the castle on her back. She bore her hardships with patience and years later her son returned. Her husband and his people were full of remorse and despite her many years of ill treatment Rhiannon forgave them. For this reason she is a goddess associated with fortitude and forgiveness.

Well I have needed patience to make a jewel inspired by her. It took a few goes before I got the wire twisted into Celtic knotwork and then to end up in the correct position to wire in the side pieces. But it’s coming along nicely and it’s been fun finding out about all the myths and legends associated with Rhiannon. That’s the wonderful thing about jewellery making – you learn something new with everything you create. Apart from learning all about her story, I found a nifty way to keep the wire taut. A cork mat and some macramé pins did the trick.
As always when learning a new technique it’s thrown up a lot of ‘what if I did this or that’ sort of ideas, so looking forward to making some more woven pieces using the macramé pins.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Weaving a spell with abalone shell

I imagine that a magical woodland creature would wear an adornment with shapes taken from the natural world. Snippets of beetle wing here, a tree seed there and some little curling antennae. Such is the whimsy of an elfin jeweller.

I'm pleased that my finished piece turned out pretty much like my original sketch, although I did turn round the side elements. Little changes and tweaks always suggest themselves as work progresses. That's all part of the magic.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Celtic Tree Calendar

Did you know that we all have a birth tree? According to ancient Celtic Ogham Lore there is a tree for every month of the year. Being born in May, mine is the Hawthorn. I made a list of all the trees in my sketchbook, we are now in the time of the Oak, which is my husband's tree. Well, he is strong and steadfast certainly!

As my polymer and resin components need time to sit and 'cure' before I sand and polish them, we went for a stroll. Hedgerows are rather wet as we have had heavy rain but nonetheless beautiful as usual, with all the elder in flower and lots of little helicopter shaped tree seeds everywhere. That gave me an idea, so got out the sketchbook to sort my ideas out. Here is my drawing and below it the start of a new piece. Very relaxing listening to the rain and twisting wire into plant-like forms.



Thursday, 9 June 2016

Painting the seasons with polymer clay

I've been jewellery making outside on the patio over the last few days as the weather has been glorious. A straw hat and a big green umbrella keeps the workbench shady and the shapes of my terracotta pots and the varied hues of flower petals inspire my choices of form and colour. I have an interesting urn shaped pot and I cut a piece of copper out that refers to its outline. Underneath it the breeze has left a confetti of fallen petals. Blue aubretia petals mingle with scarlet geranium in a mixture of pleasingly faded glory - I know I should sweep them, but they look so pretty that for a while I let them be whilst I grab my clay and mix colours in a painterly way. Only difference is, I use a set of little dentists tools rather than brushes. Having made a soldered strip that stands on my hammered copper backplate I decided to use polymer clay to fill it. This will be done in layers, baking between each layer and then putting a final layer of resin on top. I will then sand and polish it until it has a soft sheen - I want the surface to look a bit like old watch glass. I like things to look vintage, not blingy.

The picture shows my sketch of roughly how I want 'Rhiannon'' to look when she's done, with the red polymer baked and the blue piece about to be fired. I'm aiming at a Pre-Raphaelite look.

I like working outside, it makes you think differently, as you are responding to what's going on around you. This is something I'll be exploring more as the year progresses and hopefully I'll become better at being able to capture what I feel about the world around me in metal and mixed media.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A bohemian beauty from front to back

A brief postscript to my last post about the things I remembered about my various Aunties when I was growing up. We had a bit of a family get together this weekend and I was determined not to be the aunt who sits in the corner with ‘Woman’s Weekly’ Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘Woman’s Weekly’ of course, it has kept me entertained in the doctors waiting room and the hairdressers on several occasions and provided Victoria Wood with a very funny line in the ‘Ballad of Barry and Freda’ So I said Yes to all the activities suggested by my 11 year old great nephew. I was shown how to play something called ‘Assassins Creed’ on the Xbox and then played a game in the garden which involved me becoming a human skittle. I was persuaded to put on a helmet with a plastic bottle sellotaped to it and stand still whilst balls were thrown to dislodge the bottle!

Back home to more genteel activities and have put the final touches to my latest piece. I paid extra attention to the back, as this is a symmetrical piece and the wire needs a more precise path than when I’m making freeform shapes.


I’m really excited about making a forged and soldered base for wire wrapping, it opens up a lot of possibilities that wire alone can’t manage. Lots more pieces to follow over the summer hopefully.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Aunts, eau de Cologne and art nouveau

You end up going down some interesting alleyways when you wander down memory lane. Thinking about my childhood led me to remember my Aunts. Several and varied, they played an important part in my early life. Some of them are recalled clearly, as they lived nearby, others visited occasionally, bringing birthday and Christmas gifts. One occasional visitor was Aunt Blanche. Black clad, with a built up shoe and sporting a chignon, she was a one woman neighbourhood watch of a lady, she would brandish a poker at would-be vandals, and once painted (illegally of course) her own double yellow lines on the pavement outside her house. I thought she was wonderful, and for several years running she would bring me a volume from the ‘Observers books of wildlife’ series. I had Wildflowers, Birds, Fish…. and several others. It started a love of wildlife that has stayed with me all my life.

Then there was Aunt Frances, who lived in Reedham, a windswept marshy village on the Norfolk Broads. I remember her kitchen, with it’s rag rugs and table covered with a tablecloth long enough to make a perfect hiding place for a little girl. Best of all though was the egg timer she kept on a shelf. Made in the shape of a horseshoe, it fascinated me and I would sit in my hidey hole under the table and turn it over and over. Then Uncle Alfred would tempt me out, put me up on his shoulders and walk round his garden. I was terrified and thrilled in equal measures as he was very tall and I’m scared of heights to this day!
Then there were Millie and Lilly, the aunts from Newcastle. Millie had a handbag full of lovely objects it seemed to me. A powder compact that clicked shut with a snap, Yardley lipstick in a gold case, 4711 eau de Cologne, mint imperials and a little round box of wet circular wipes called ‘Quickies’  I remember  being thrilled at having my face wiped with one of these, instead of the usual aunties standby of hanky corner and spit!
So what has all this rambling got to do with jewellery making? Shapes and impressions find their way into what you create. Wire can be bent into the shape of a powder puff handle on a half forgotten dressing table set. Beads can remind you of the blue-green of a perfume bottle.  It’s a lovely way to recycle memories and daydreams and is why handcrafted jewellery is so …. well, magical I guess.

Just getting started on my ‘Millie’ necklace, with art nouveau influenced shapes soldered together and now to have glass, shell or other pretties added.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Maid Marian Necklace in Copper and Silver

There have been many versions of the Robin Hood stories on TV and film over the years. I’m going to show my age here – I remember the one on TV when I was a small child starred Richard Greene as Robin Hood and Patricia Driscoll as Maid Marian. This was in black and white of course, and it had the catchiest theme tune ever. Those of you of a certain age will be able to hum it no doubt. Maid Marian had the most wonderful dresses, all velvety and flowing, but she could also be one of the lads, shooting bow and arrows and sporting tunic and tights. I so wanted to be her!
Fast forward many years into the future, I am a blushing bride, standing outside the wedding room of the registry office on the arm of my brother. I have asked them to play a piece of music by Handel as I walk down the aisle. The door opens and we enter…… to the strains of Bryan Adams singing ‘Everything I do I do it for you’ A mix up I assume, but luckily we like the Kevin Costner version of the Robin Hood tale and that song has now become ‘our tune’ in the way Mr Handel never could have.

My Maid Marian necklace has leaf and arrow shapes, as well as crisscross binding in sterling silver. The colour of the beads really had to be green, to match Robin’s tights!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Texturing jewellery components with hammers

Mr J has been full of bright ideas recently. It all came about when I said that I would like to spend more time working outside this year. Hammering, sawing, sanding…. These are all jobs that a jewellery maker could do outside – with the right equipment. I have a super space upstairs to work in, custom built by Mr J. But I needed a work surface that was foldable for outside. He suggested one of those workmates that carpenters use and we set of to the DIY store to take a look. We decided on the deluxe version and Mr J treated me to it! When I set it up it quickly became obvious that I would be using it a lot over the summer – it’s just the right height to clamp the bench pin onto and sit and do sawing and filing. I made a length of Viking weave chain and clamped the drawplate in the jaws – perfect. Then I put a sandbag and a steel block on top and got to work with the texture hammers. After that I was hot so Mr J (more brownie points for him) got to work modifying the patio to include special bricks that hold an enormous green umbrella. So I now have a perfect outside space for my creations! Here’s what I produced.

2 pendant components ready to have some more pieces soldered onto them, and a length of Viking weave, which one of the pendants will hang from. Goodness I slept well – fresh air and exercise to blame. Pity it’s set to rain for the next few days.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Hotting up!

Note to self.... be more adventurous. I really let rip with my imagination and construction techniques in this piece. I must admit, it's a bit scary working with molten silver and red hot copper but it does make for a lovely organic look and makes an exciting base for wirework.


The craters left in the molten silver dictate where the gemstones sit. I decided to keep the cord relatively simple - so ordered some lovely red leather thong from Cooksons hoping and praying the red agate ovals had holes big enough to slide on. They did... Yay!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Fanning the flames

Every so often it happens. You start a piece and it just doesn't get you excited. It's hard sometimes to put your finger on exactly why. My husband came through and looked at the white shapes that I'd intended to represent ice. 'They look like teeth' was his comment. Heck - he was spot on and into the bin they went!

Most times you can work through the initial creative block by making some modifications to the design. Other times it's more productive to walk away for a while and do something else rather than sit at the bench staring at a pile of components. So that's exactly what I did. Spent the afternoon with the torch melting silver into nuggets and interesting shapes.

When I got them cleaned and took them upstairs I laid them on top of the copper shape I'd already cut and hammered. Immediately the creative juices were flowing. I cut the top off the copper shape and soldered and fused silver onto it. Then I made a silver bail and soldered that to the top. After that I soldered on 3 small rings and I filled these with clear red 'efcolor' enamel. The piece was heated so that the enamel powder melted. I didn't procrastinate at all - I just got on with it, the piece almost seemed to be telling me what it wanted to be!

I wanted a red and black colour scheme to tie in with the pyroclastic flow of the silver so I chose red agate, coral shapes and some dark coal colour jasper beads to include in my wire wrap. Now to design a chain for it. More red and black I think.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Doing the Walford wiggle

A productive morning hammering a texture onto the copper and melting silver to make some bold pieces to solder on along with a winding squiggle.

For some reason when I lay it sideways I keep humming the theme tune from EastEnders! Just as well I'm going to reshape it when I've finished filing it!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Making a viking weave neck ring

Don't know about you but my heating is on. It's what Mr J and I call 'casserole weather' and I'm aiming to fill the house with lovely cooking smells later - something hot and warming ladled into a bowl is called for this evening. Thankfully I've got something on the go jewellery-wise that involves firing the butane torch up. Spent the morning doing a sketch for a new piece and cutting out the shape from copper sheet. A while back in silversmith class I made a viking weave neck ring with a hammered copper pendant attached to it.

I loved the technique and it's high time I made something else using it. So 'Gerda' is under way, here's my sketch and the sawn out shape with the inner opening marked out with the scriber.

I will not pierce this out until I have annealed and hammered the copper shape, otherwise the metal would distort too much (I learned a lesson with a previous piece!) Then I'm going to add some silver to it by soldering on some tiny pieces of melted silver. A flowing line of silver wire will support wrapped stones in the opening in the pendant. I'm thinking of keeping the beads glacial in colour to carry through the norse theme. I like the idea of them enclosed and icy within the copper shape.   Lots to do but I'm thinking it will be spectacular when done. Fingers crossed and wish me luck!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Raindance Necklace

It’s been a mix of sunshine and storms his week – typical British April weather in fact. Some days have been too wet to venture outside, so I've been sketching, reading and creating between the showers.  As suddenly as they arrive it seems, clouds vanish and there is a rainbow droplet on every breeze-stirred leaf.  They dance and catch the sunbeams and it’s easy then to daydream small magical beings into existence and imagine the finery they might be wearing.

The fair folk are elusive these days. We are in too much of a rush and seemingly there is no time to pause and be mindful of the small everyday miracles in the environment that can spark our imaginations. Instead we walk along with mobile phone to ear, oblivious to the beauty of nature, which, after all, can be spied in even the most urban of environments.

So I’ve been taking my time with my 'Raindance Necklace', letting it evolve organically between spells of gardening.  I want the back section firm but flexible, so I am using several strands of tigertail flexible beading wire.  Another couple of days and I should have a necklace fit for a rainy day fae to dance in.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Making the workspace wonderful

I guess it's the same for any craftsperson, your workspace evolves over time until it becomes a place where you have everything in place to express your unique artistic vision. My working area has taken many years to put together and it has seen a few changes.

Inevitably, new techniques are tried and some abandoned, whilst others become life-long loves. This has nothing to do with being fickle. It's simply that a creative person always stays very much in touch with the child inside them, and children love to play, experiment and test new things out. Finding ways to keep tools and materials organised is all part of the fun. Charity shops finds can often be re-used to keep files to hand, or pens and pencils organised. Here are three of my recent purchases.

Filbert-file-keeper is a little handcrafted mouse who lives in a tree stump and keeps my needle files handy. He cost me £1 from our local Sue Ryder shop! Made by 'Tom Thumb Designs' in Yorkshire according to the label underneath. I think the person who crafted him so beautifully would be pleased to see him so obviously enjoying his new job as jewellers assistant. The china piece with pink flowers is a vintage tooth brush holder and the pen pot with the Welsh ladies was just £1.50. Not only is my desk a lot tidier, but the charity benefits too. Win win.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Rainy day dreams

I'm in a happy state of 'flow' today. Pulled out several of my boxes of beads and selected those that reminded me of woodland walks when the first wild flowers appear and April showers leave sparkling jewels in the hedgerows. Far too wet to get much gardening, or walking done today, so making something inspired by the season is a wonderful way to channel daydreams and memories of nature rambles. 

After a morning spent with fingers wandering around this gorgeous glass cabochon, I've the beginnings of a necklet. The little flat blue glass rounds remind me of pretty little speedwell flowers. Tomorrow will be spent adding the accent beads with finer gauge copper and sterling silver wire.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Bermuda Triangle Necklace

I swear there is a Bermuda Triangle thing going on in my bead collection. Things are bought then vanish for a few years only to appear when I'm least expecting it. Maybe it's the same rift in the space time continuum that seems to swallow lone socks in this house. This lovely cabochon turned up in the bottom of my stationary drawer and I can't remember when I bought it.

Thought I'd better tether it with some wire before it wandered off again, so shaped some pretty waves and twists with some copper and then crafted it a necklet with some marine blue leather thong. I think it would look great with jeans and casual top, as well as something more dressy.

More pictures of it are on my website at: http://www.beadizzy.com/bermuda.htm