Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Tribal Steampunk ~ Cold Connections

I was reading the Love My Art Jewelry blog and found their post on "cold connections". That sparked my interest because I hadn't heard the term before. Lo and behold it's something I do almost all the time!

Cold connections, so I read, are a number of different techniques varying from using rivets, to screws, wire wrapping, and prongs/tabs. The idea is that you don't have to use heat, torches, etc. to secure your metalwork.

I immediately started to look for something I've made that fit Love My Art Jewelry's challenge.

Tribal Steampunk is a mixed media necklace I made. It has a bit of a "cyber" feel with the electric blue lampwork, and an enchanting vintage feel. The focal piece is what made me choose it for this challenge.

The focal is a tiny copper book that I made with copper sheet and bound by sewing the pieces together with copper wire. I drilled a hole into a vintage Irish coin and used wire to attach a vintage Swarovski crystal and a tiny LED light to the front. The coin is secured in place by fastening it with the same wire to the cover of the book.

The book is also sewn to a scrap of vintage velvet and more copper wire work in the background.

The cold connection techniques I used all revolved around wire wrapping. I used simple wire wrapping, weaving or sewing to bind the book, and wire to secure the layers of metal to the coin.

You can check out the Love My Art Jewelry blog for links to the Flickr group with photos of what other artists have created.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Sale!

Hello there! Christmas is almost here, and I've decided to have a special sale. It'll be the last one of the year and expires on December 26th.

You can use the coupon code SALE25 to get 25% off in my Etsy shop from now until December 26th. There's no minimum purchase on orders either! 

International orders (outside the UK) might not arrive before Christmas, but it's a great chance to stock up. Enjoy!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas Special: The Beading Glass

I'm very happy to announce the latest issue of The Beading Glass. It's an extra special Christmas edition for December, and it's packed! If you enjoy the usual issues, you'll love the extra interviews with artists and the extended Bead and Jewelry Galleries filled with Winter and Christmas inspiration.

You can view The Beading Glass on the embed below, or in your browser.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

What's new?

I'm trying really, really, really hard to blog more. It's not that I don't have anything to share here, but that things have been so busy. And hey, one thing leads to another, and you just don't have the time.

But here I am! Want to see what I've been up to?

It's getting a wee bit Wintry here with even a sighting or two of the first snow flurries. I made some of my favourite birds with an extra light dusting of snowy white...

And a large Cardinal focal bead - my home State's bird back in NC.

Finally,  some fun beads I like to call coral caps. They were inspired by coral, barnacles, and deep sea tube worms. The colours seem just right for Winter designs.

And in other news, you can now find one of my newest tutorials in Old Bicycle Shop. The kit comes with everything you need (minus the tools!) and my tutorial. The tutorial has step by step instructions and detailed pictures throughout.

It's a very elegant bracelet, and you can even get the kit in a silver colour option! As with all my work, if you do buy the tutorial, my personal contact details are provided, in case you need a little extra advice or help.

Finally, I'm working on a special Christmas edition of The Beading Glass. If you haven't found out about it yet, it's a monthly inspirational e-magazine that I write. It showcases a variety of talented artists in one of a kind jewelry and bead making. Here's the November issue. Enjoy!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

New beads

It seems like ages since I've had a shop update. It seems even longer since I made some cute birds and animal beads. I've had a rustic phase (you probably noticed!) recently, but I squeezed in a few of the old favorites in this time.

Cute and colorful guinea pigs

Bird pairs for earrings

 And something new - leaf headpins.

And finally, these cute little beads. I made a few bunny charms and single bird beads for people who like to use them in bracelets.

I hope you like them! There are a lot more in my shop and more to come next week, plus a few pieces of jewelry I'll show you later.

Anniversary Giveaway: Winner Announced!

It's here! I can hardly believe it. One year ago today I opened my shop on Etsy. It started with jewelry and has become a home for my handmade beads, too. And what a year it's been!

This giveaway was to say thank you to all my customers over the past year who have made my experience on Etsy so great. So, thank you! But I'm sure you want to know who the winner is now...

Here's a reminder of the prize.

I used a random number generator to pick the winner.

Mr. Random chose number 15...which is...

Rebecca Anderson!

Congrats, Rebecca! And thanks again to everyone who's been a part of my first year. Here's to many more!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

OctoberFest 2013 Blog Hop: Fall Reflection

The Autumn has always been my favorite season. I have many fond memories of road trips to the more scenic parts of North Carolina with my family. Well, most of NC is beautiful, but to get the best show of Autumn's colors, we'd drive to the mountains. 

From there, you could see the exciting terrain dappled and splashed with fantastic colors. I always think of leaves and those trips to the mountains when the Fall comes around.

I couldn't resist joining in Rita's OctoberFest. She challenged us to share our happy memories, recipes, crafts, or whatever we were inspired to make. I was so distracted recently, I forgot I signed up! It wasn't until Rita, very efficiently, emailed the participants with a full list of blogs. With only a few days left before the hop, I wasn't about to give up, so I went on a walk to find some inspiration.

The colours here in the UK are not always as dramatic - maybe it's that mild, crawl into the cooler months - but there's still plenty of inspiration out there. I love the surprise of orange leaves popping out from these trees.

I know what I said about the leaves in my home State being more dramatic, but these wild rose hips were stunning! There were bushes full of them along the path sprawling in all directions.

And finally, the reason I walked on this path, to find a lovely oak tree. I've been watching this tree since Autumn began to creep in. I saw the first tiny signs of acorns turn to huge, green fruits until there was one last acorn waiting to drop. A glimpse of the faded branches of Winter, and a reminder of the new growth to come.

With all those images in my mind, I began to form my earrings. I chose some Czech glass leaves in warm orange and fleeting green and paired them with my handmade blackened brass wire leaves.

I call the earrings Fall Reflection because of the memories they evoke (thanks to Solange for the great name!).


I wasn't sure what beads to use above the leaves, but I found some recycled, and worn little bead caps in my stash. I thought they'd give the earrings a great "assemblage" feel. Last night, I thought about some African trade beads I bought from my friend at Ahowin. I thought the bright red might clash with the leaves, but they look beautiful against the dark metals. A lot like the rose hips!

The metals are all brass and patinaed with heat from shades of nut brown, to remind of the acorns, to black. I think the pops of color from the rose-hip red trade beads and the leaves are a wonderful reminder of Autumn.

I hope you've enjoyed sharing in my Autumnal inspiration! There is much more to see. You can find all the blog hop participants below. A big thank you to Rita for hosting this great blog hop! Happy hopping!

Octoberfest 13 Artists

Caroline                                       http://
Andrea Glick-Zenith           
Dolores Raml                     
Karla Morgan                     
Susie Harris                       
Kay Thomerson                 
Jean Yates                        
Kelly Hosford Patterson     
Kathy Lindemer                 
Liz E                                  
Jasvanti Patel                    
Christie Murrow                 
Jodie Marshall                   
Andrea Trank                    
Dini Bruinsma                    
Elsie Deliz Fonseca           
Karla Morgan                    
Vera Lynn                         
Rana Wilson                     
Catherine King                 
Lily Vincent                       
Janice Hidey (Janimar)     
Cory Tompkins                 
Candida Castleberry        
Cynthia Kent Machata      
Alicia Marinache               
Linda Anderson                
Leah Curtis                       
Jennifer Reno (JenRen)    
Robin Reed                       
Tanty Sri Hartanti              
Lisa Lodge                        
Ingrid A.                            
Judy Turner                      
Gina Hockett                     
Nelly May                          
Tanya McGuire                 
Sonya Stille                       
Carol D.                            
Asri Wahyuningsih            
Ginger Bishop                   
Shaiha Williams                
Toltec Jewels (Rita, your hostess)

Monday, 21 October 2013

October ABS Challenge

This month the Art Bead Scene has chosen a beautiful, Japanese painting. I loved the soft, subtle colors and couldn't resist taking up the challenge. Not least because the painting is of an owl - one of my favorite animals.

I immediately thought of a ceramic owl pendant I had in my stash. The pendant was given to me in this year's Bead Soup Blog Party by Marcia Dunne and made by AngelWhisperer. Finally, it has a home!

The owl is a soft sage green color with speckles of brown. It's almost so subtle you could miss the owl. A little bit like the real thing...

I wanted to keep the necklace fairly simple with a linear chain - not too busy. I used rustic Czech glass beads and leaves to pick up on the forest theme. There are leaves dotted along the chain to draw the eye down to the focal.

For the focal area, I made a "messy" brass wire wrapped circle. I forged a base out of thick brass and wrapped it with handmade headpins. They twist and turn organically like twigs. And below them is a little cluster of grey-green leaves with the owl just peeking through...

The rest of the necklace is made up of a double strand of recycled leather and a hand forged clasp; slightly patinaed for a rustic feel with gentle organic curves.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my necklace! Be sure to check out the other entries in the ABS Flickr pool.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Missing Link: Don't miss it!

I'm sure you've all been following Cindy Wimmer's blog tour for her book, The Missing Link. Today the tour stops on one of my favourite blogs - Art Bead Scene. You could win Cindy's book just by commenting over at the ABS!

The more I see this book, the more I need to have it. Don't miss your chance to enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Beady Eyed Bunny Giveaway!

Happy anniversary! Well, almost. Nearly 1 year ago I opened my shop, Beady Eyed Bunny, on Etsy. I never once imagined it would be doing so well! And so, to thank all of the wonderful customers who got me this far, I'm celebrating with a giveaway.

And what could it be? Beads, of course!

I've made some new beads especially for this giveaway and for one of my lucky customers. I went through a phase not long ago of making floral beads. For the prize, I made a pair of my cute little birds in moss green with sweet pink flowers on their chests.

There are a couple beads to match the birds as well as a pretty, sparkly, floral teardrop with a light blue base. And finally, an Autmnal bead in russet, shades of orange, and a lime green frill.

All of these beads will be going to one winner! And as this is a thank you gift, all past customers will be entered into the giveaway. New customers who place orders between now and November 2nd (my shop's anniversary!) will also be entered into the giveaway.

Giveaway is open to past, present, and future customers of my shop until November 2nd. I'll ship worldwide. 

The winner will be drawn at random on November 2nd. Good luck!
For anyone who does not make jewelry (or collect beads!), I will substitute the prize for a custom, handmade piece of jewelry.

A big, big thank you to all my followers and customers! It's turned out to be a great first year thanks to your encouragement and support. Thank you!

Monday, 2 September 2013

New polymer clay beads

I've been busy, busy recently making new beads. I was inspired to do a few carvings and miniature, sculpted paintings, but also some Autumnal versions of the old favorites. Here's a sampling of what I've made...

Autumnal lop eared bunny beads in shades of pink and peach.


A soaring gull found his way into my shop, too. He's warm white in color with very slight brown highlights and traces of blue. The flying birds are harder to sculpt, but worth it. This one's full of movement, and the hole placement allows it to "fly" up to the right or down to the left.

These berry-licious headpins are on solid brass wires. The leaves are oak shaped and have a slight translucent effect. Very warm and berry - yum!

While we're talking about Autumnal beads, I came up with a new ceramic-styled acorn bead. The acorn is raised and textured on a white background. I added a bit of brass to highlight the details.
Finally, these are some of the carved and painted beads I made. This first one is of a hare jumping in front of the moon. There are twinkling stars, a deep blue night sky, and a glow from the distant moon.
This one is my first attempt at a faux raku styled piece. A shimmering unicorn in blues, purples, and rusty reds...

And a good old-fashioned white unicorn...for good luck. :-)


And finally, this sweet little dormouse. I was inspired by an adorable photo I saw online and made this little fella. He's already found a new home in Belgium.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Indian Creek Art Glass

A few months ago (probably more!) I was lucky enough to win a giveaway by Julie of Indian Creek Art Glass on her blog. I can't tell you how excited I was. All those gorgeous lampwork beads...all mine!

Well, I got in contact with Julie, and she very kindly and quickly sent my parcel full of treasure. But...after a while, the package was sent back to Julie! I gave her the wrong address by accident, and boy, did I feel stupid...

Julie very kindly sent a replacement which I received a few days ago. WOW! Lots and lots of beads...

Julie sent me a huge string full of gorgeous spacers. There are a few pairs I'm going to use for earrings, and I love using mismatched beads in bracelets. There's everything from pretty pastels to dark, rustic beads. The striped orange pair and the ivory and blue are my favorites...

The parcel was full of a mix of spacers and Julie's disc beads. They're all simple, pleasing shapes, and have a lovely organic feel. But the real beauty is in the extra detail Julie adds. It seems like each of the little spacers has something extra special...a flattened edge, an extra flash of silvered glass, or swirls of color. I love them!

Julie's disc beads are a great example of that subtle detail. Check out that 3 disk bead. Red circle on one side...

And orange on the other! The two gray ones are going to be earrings, I think. I might use the larger one as a button clasp or maybe connectors?

I can't say thank you enough to Julie. She was very generous and understanding after my little mistake...which we will not speak of anymore. :-) Now it's time to bead!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Beading Glass - Nature for August

There's a new issue of The Beading Glass for August. It's nature themed and packed with beautiful designs and inspiring artists, including some of my all time favorites. I hope you'll enjoy reading!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Giveaway winners announced!

The giveaway is now closed and I've chosen 3 winners with a random generator. Thank you all for entering my giveaway! Here are the lucky winners...

Wendy Smith

Gill Snape

Cory Tompkins

The winners have been notified by email, so check your junk folders! Your personal discount codes are there. If you haven't received the email, let me know, and I'll send a new one.

Thanks again for entering!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Giveaway for three!

I've had a fun idea for a little while and with a variety of new beads in Beady Eyed Bunny, it's the perfect time! So here's how it works...


I'm giving away 3 discount codes to 3 lucky winners. The discounts will be 10%, 20%, and 25%. Plus each winner will receive an extra freebie in their order! Beads for free! Does it get better?

All previous customers of my shop will be entered into the draw. If you're not a returning customer, you can put your name in the hat by commenting on this post.

Gain an extra entry by going to my shop and choosing your favorite item. Come back here and leave another comment letting me know what it is.

Make sure you leave your email address or have your email address on your blogger profile. I must have a way to contact you!

Simple! Good luck!

Winners will be announced here and on my Facebook page.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Fun with clay

July turned out to be an incredibly busy month. That left me with little time to blog and share with you what I've been up to. Between custom orders in my shop and squeezing in a camping trip, I've been making lots of new polymer clay beads. There are the old favorites - bunnies, birds, and bright colors, but I've also had a little adventure making more rustic beads. I love, love, love rustic beads and have always leaned towards that style in my beads.

Let's start with cute and colorful. Besides bunny beads, I've started making a new style - guinea pigs!

And since we've had a few delightfully Autumnal days already here in England, I couldn't resist making a few Autumn pieces. The little birds remind me of apples. They're luscious apple green with touches of russet and flecks of yellow for a mottled look. Like real ripe apples!

These next ones have beautiful colors like Autumn leaves. They were made to resemble batik prints and vibrant silks. The first pair has a bright yellow base with rust red and a bold splash of black.

The second pair is lime green with a touch of acid yellow and rust red. They're both printed with floral filigree designs and perfectly lightweight for earrings.

And now for those rustic beads I promised! Not only have I been making beads, but I've caught a bit of a bug for headpins, and connectors...and chandeliers, and just about anything I can make out of clay! I had my first try at a double sided bead. Again with that beautiful floral filigree print, but this time with dark, rich colors - purples, blues, and raspberry reds.

The headpins  have been lots of fun to make. The possibilities seem endless, and I love the organic shapes. They're all on solid brass wire. The second pair below is one of my favorites. The colors are subtle, but there's something deliciously earthy about them. They remind me of little chunks of wood covered in moss. I've printed them with Celtic-styled swirls and circles. I can just imagine a little fairy carving them long ago...

These headpins are a little bit different. They have a similar floral filigree print, but I've added a brass metal coating to these and just a hint of color with bright red and yellow.

Ok, I know this is probably a picture overload at this point, but I promise I'm almost done! I've been playing with new techniques. I had this idea to make some little donut beads with printed sides. I came up with these faux ivory beads. They have shades of brown, orange, and touches of mossy green to resemble old, worn pillars or pottery.

These last few beads all came from the same idea. I love the combination of blue and brown, and since I've had birds on the brain recently, I had to make some nests. This first one says "whisper" above the eggs.


I made a few Southwester styled pieces with simple carvings and patterns. This is one of them - a pair of rustic daisy chandeliers.

Phew! That's not everything, but some of my favorites. I hope you liked them too!