Archive for General

Snooooooooooooooooowwww again

Wednesday evening

And again, all over the place. Woo hoo it looks so lovely but also means that our daughter was home again today. More work has been done on her igloo, and she even made a snow girl. We had to use celery instead of a carrot for a nose as I can’t eat celery and I’m reluctant to use what veg we have left! Needless to say I’ve found it very hard to work again today after my huge success yesterday when I worked hard ALL day and ALL evening not stopping until midnight. I think I burnt myself out, oh dear. I was also worried about getting to the surgery for my flu jab as I thought I’d have to walk there and back (3.2 miles) in the snow and ice. Fortunately I got the car off the drive and we had a quick jaunt there and back. So I finally succumbed and had the jab! Well they did ring me and offer it, so I thought maybe I should have it, although our daughter did get swine flue in the summer and we certainly didn’t. So far no odd effects, not even the achy arm she promised.

And today I also got excited about my first advert! If you get Making Jewellery magazine I have an advert in the free courses guide, complete with a photo of my pink frit swirlers as can be seen on my tuition page and the home page….yes….more excitement, Rick actually put some new photos up for me. And even more exciting….they used my photos on the front page of the courses guide too. If you’ve looked at my tuition page since yesterday you’ll also see that I have at last announced my first special courses. Just drop me an email for details on how to book and to choose your dates.

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Tax doesn’t have to be taxing

Tuesday morning

Still snowy out there, and very cold. Far too cold to be in my studio at the moment, but hopefully it will be warm and snugly by February when we’ve put in the insulation.  Normality is sort of returning, as today is the first day back at school since all the snow, they had 4 days off in total and my how it disrupted my work plans.  I’m taking a very quick break from doing my accounts, as I have thrown myself headlong into getting them done in time. I have so much to do this month it’s crazy, as I also have a bead fair at Ardingly on 24th January, and lots of other jobs to be ready for the 20th January….but I guess I can’t tell you about that, you’ll have to wait and see what I’m not talking about ;.)

I’d have to agree with the statement of my title, it’s not taxing, but doing my yearly accounts is. I was feeling very despondent last night as it all seems to be taking so long and all the things I did throughout last year to make things easier don’t seem to have worked particularly well. I appear to have a few receipts missing in action, although these are from when I was officially on sick time off and following that when I was technically taking it a lot easier. I have to admit that my head was a bit all over the place then, and they’ve probably been ‘put’ somewhere that seemed sensible at the time. Some of the processes I put into place did work, sort of, but it’s still a mix of some bits been entered and others not, which means I have to check everything. NNNNrggghhh.

I really want to get to grips with this so I don’t have so much stress next year. So I have another resolution…..wait for it…to try and do my accounts monthly or every 2 months (sounds familiar doesn’t it!)…..if possible…remembering that I need to work a couple of months behind so that I have all the relevant paperwork and statements. I honestly tried so hard last year, but as I was trying to do January at the end of Jan I got unstuck straight away. Hmmmmm, I wonder if I will manage it?

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Snoooooooooooooooooow

Thursday evening

Snoooooooooooooooooooow. Yes it came 2 nights ago and there’s loads of it. Yesterday we went for a walk and admired all the huge snowmen and women. Normally when you make a snowman all the snow on the lawn disappears and you get left with patchy snow and a straggly sad looking snowman. Not this time. There are loads of monster snow families around the place and still masses of snow left to play with. We had several snowball fights, my daughter came off worse than me (oops) and I made my first snow angel. So she’s home again tomorrow, that’s the third day in a row, let’s hope she can go back next week or I’m really going to struggle to get my work done. I’m loving it, but below I’m going to have a rather huge moan about something…..

So my question is, what on earth is going on with this country when people are too scarred of being sued to clear the snow? I remember when I was a kid, most people used to clear the snow in front of their house, much to my annoyance. Now it would appear we all sit home and whinge about the councils not gritting everywhere, instead of taking responsibility for our paths and clearing up. This really gets me hot under the collar, especially as my approach to life is that if you need to complain, then something obviously needs doing about whatever you’re complaining about, so why not get off your derrière and do something about it? But apparently now people won’t clear the snow because if you do and someone has an accident, then it’s your fault! What’s that all about? I think this government should do us all a favour and make it compulsory to clear snow and ice like many of the countries in Europe and stop pandering to this compensation culture. I think things have got into a bad state when people are too scarred to help their fellow human beings when help is needed. Moan over!

I have to say though that all this snow keeps reminding me of a Cat in the Hat story I had as child. The Cat had a bath and left a pink ring around the bath, and his friends tried everything to get rid of the pink, which gradually got transferred from one item to another. Things came to a head when they used a fan and splayed all the pink on to the snow outside and ended up with a huge pink snowdrift! And on that note…have a pink warm and toasty evening.

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It’s here again!

Tuesday morning

Oh yes, it’s the time, and it seems to have come around so quickly, that I have to do my tax return. And guess what? I think you’ve guessed it! If it was just a matter of filing in a form with a few details it would take about half an hour tops, but of course it isn’t. Yet again I have let the finance side of my business slip dreadfully, and actually this year it really bothers me, well it sort of does and kind of doesn’t. I was reading an article in Glass Bead (the magazine by the ISGB) about the 7 deadly sins of business, and ‘Running in the Dark’ was one of them. So what is this?….It’s what I’m doing! I have a rough idea of how much money is coming through my business, but I don’t know exactly how much until I do my yearly accounts. Hmm. This would be a real problem if I was driven by my company profit (or loss), but I’m not. I am doing this professionally to earn money, and I am running a business, but huge profits are not my primary aim.  My main objective is to be creative and to teach others the wonderful creative experience that is glass beadmaking. I guess this attitude goes with being creative, I would rather use my time making beads and jewellery than doing boring accounts. Oh well.

So maybe the question is should I get all accounty and do forecasts and monthly accounts? Would this help me focus more or would it just use valuable marketing time? You see the problem with running your own business, especially where you spend time personally creating art to sell, rather than buying in stuff and selling  it on, is that you only have so many hours in the day, and way too many other jobs to do to keep up with everything. I have written about this before, probably last January and the one before!

Anyway, I’m not going to ponder this issue for long, well, at least not here. I have stuff to get on with, and maybe I should be grateful I have to do office stuff this week as it’s way too cold outside and I still have to go get my warm studio boots from my friend. I’m not procrastinating my jobs, and have ‘set to’ with vigour to get this done, the first thing being to finish tidying my desk, especially since I need to fit a new larger laptop here.

Toodles.

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The end of the naughties

Thursday morning

To quote Britney Spears  ‘Ooops I did it again’. This is becoming a bit of a bad habit, not blogging for days on end. But, well, you know how it is on the lead up to Christmas and over the holiday.  At least Rick didn’t put Buffy on again the day after our mammoth Buffy Fest. Unfortunately we now also own the complete box set of Angel and 2 series of Dr Who, the ones with Billie and David Tennant (no 2), and one with Martha and David (no 3) ….I really have no idea when we’ll be watching these, as contrary to popular belief we do not spend every hour of every evening glued to the telly, as we have rather of lot of stuff to do all the time. And did I mention Shaun the Sheep? I also had series 1 of this given and was staggered to see there are 40 episodes…I had no idea there were so many.

It’s been a good holiday so far, probably far too much relaxing going on in all honesty, but I certainly needed a rest after all my running around to Guildford and back and keeping my exhibitions topped up with jewellery. So what else did I get for Christmas? I have to say my favourite present is a Wally trolley! Oh yes, I thought I’d never be seen dead with one, but they’re coming back into fashion, all the trendy ladies in France use them. I really don’t see much difference between a trendy trolley (and it does have to be trendy) and a suitcase on wheels. I was also very encouraged to see about 4 ladies my age and younger using them for their Christmas shopping in Horsham town centre. I shall be using mine for my exercise power walk to the local shop and back. This summer I was totally weighed down with very heavy bags of spuds and copious pints of milk and it was really getting very tiresome and sore on the hands and my back and shoulders. So I shall now parade to the parade with my black, red and white spotty bag on wheels (oh my dear, a plaid one just wouldn’t do….I wouldn’t be seen dead with the traditional looking ones).  Mine also has a built in coolbag, a pocket for a brolley, and various pockets for different things. Click here if you fancy a sneak peek at my designer chic! Oh what a wally trolley dolly!

Dates are booking up fast for beadmaking tuition in the New year…..see my tuition page for details and contact me for available dates.  I have 1 space for a beginner on Friday 5th February. I also decided to add some of the many testimonials regarding my courses that I’ve been collecting for the past few years. Thank you to everyone who has written such lovely comments in our book, you’ve all been great students!

Have a Happy New Year!

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Buffy Fest

Monday night

EEEk, almost a month has just gone since my last blog entry. Looks like I’m slacking a bit here…..OK, so I am on the blog front but it’s been all go. After a couple of months of hard preparations for my 2 exhibitions and 2 school craft fairs I can now see light at the end of the tunnel. Both exhibitions are in full swing and are going really well, details are on my home page and events page that I updated tonight. All I have to do now is to keep my work topped up with new pieces as they sell before Christmas, as both venues are attracting lots of attention, as is the Surrey Guild gallery in Milford. So if you are in need of inspiration for lovely Christmas gifts then you could do no better than visit one of the 3 venues, or even all 3 of them!

I’ve also updated my events page with some of my Bead fairs for the coming year, it’s already starting to look busy.

Today has been a bit of a weird one, as Rick stayed home still trying to get over the cold he got last weekend. The naughty boy put on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer just to have a peek, and 8 hours later we had got through half the 4th season….that’s 11 episodes for the uninitiated…..oh my…sounds terrible, but we have NEVER done anything like that before, and in my defence I did sit at the table the whole time and make 5 pairs of earrings and core 15 of my Cloud Beads. I also managed to break 2 as usual, I always break one in every 9…..I hope he goes to work tomorrow!

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45 million anyone?

Wednesday morning

What would you do? I mean with that much money? I was pondering this question on Monday last week as I drove to do another day of duty in the Surrey Guild Gallery. We all know that 2 bunches of people won that much in the lottery, one half was shared by a syndicate, but the other by a couple. They say that amount of money is life changing, and I suppose it is for the couple who won it.

So here’s what I would do with it.

1. Move…yay! Well actually I wouldn’t move straight away (probably) but I’d love to buy a plot of land (preferably near the sea) with a lovely view and location and build a Huf Haus, or maybe 2 or 3, one for my parents and maybe another for my brother if I’m feeling generous…lol. Although the other houses would have to be somewhere else, I wouldn’t want to be living on top of relatives now would I? Our house would have to have several outbuildings also, one for my lampworking studio and jewellery workshop, another for Dickie and his bits and bobs which would probably be a recording studio, and another probably for fun or maybe a guest house/suite for having people to stay. Now that would be good for students wanting an overnight place. Oh and I mustn’t forget the garage, and a workshop for doing ‘stuff’ like storing bits and doing odd jobs. Did I tell you I went to see a real live Huff House once? I fell in love, especially with the laundry chute which I thought was well cool. Imaging being able to chuck your dirty laundry on the floor and it land up right next to the washing machine? bliss.

2. Not have to worry about earning money any more. I know, maybe this isn’t a job, but it is something you would have to do, as well as trying not to worry about having so much money or feeling guilty about having it when so many people as so poor. Not easy this one.

3. Have a party to celebrate. Of course you would. And you’d probably have some extravagant stuff too like non stop flowing champagne (over a pyramid of champagne glasses darling) and Beluga Caviar…do you like caviar? Not so sure I do but you’d have to have it just cos you could! Actually I’m not so keen on Champagne either, I prefer something like Pinot Noir Brut, so maybe we would have that, although I expect the best Champagne is going to be nicer than what we would normally buy.

4. Go on holiday. Lots. To lots of nice places. I think I’d ditch the caravan, although it does have it’s uses, hmmm, now there’s a conundrum. No, I’d keep the caravan, on site and use it once a year when we go to our Whitsun camp with friends. Oooo, that would also mean I could afford to go and see the Northern Lights.

5. Have a spending spree in Heals or somewhere with dead cool furniture, to furnish the Huf Haus.

6. Have a beautiful lampworking studio, and stop worrying about having to cover costs all the time or do as much work as I feel I have to at the moment. I’d also host ‘get-together lampworking fun days’ for my beadmaking pals.

7. There’s lots more I could add to this list, so I think there will have to be a part 2….coming soon.

I have to get on with my exhibition prep, which involves going to my studio and making beads for part of the day, but I don’t wanna go out in the cold and wind!

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Laptop woes

Monday evening

Oh dear, I’m really slacking on the blogging front at the moment. It doesn’t help that I can’t move my laptop from the desk, it seems to have turned into a desktop machine, as it crashes when I try to move it. I do need a new laptop, and I’m very disappointed that the journey to buy a new one is frankly rather boring…and I’m not talking about the drive from Horsham to Crawley. I’d been thinking for years that getting a new one would be so exciting, but alas, after a small amount of research it looks like I’ll be going with the same make of Acer again, in a boring colour. I’ve been watching all the Dell ads on telly, and have browsed their website, I’ve even fallen for one of the wacky patterns…this one…Horizontel del Infinto but honestly don’t see the point in paying an extra £75 for a pretty pattern….this is the engineer and tight wad in me! Although a quick look at the website whilst putting this link in would make it look as though the pattern is free at the moment…no I just checked it’s an extra £89! forget that. That aside, they don’t seem to have what I need for a price to match the Acer. rats. Also I’ve left it so long now that I think I may have a mercy mission this week to rush and buy a new one, rather than waiting for a custom job. ho hum.

This week I’m getting ready for another show, or rather a month long exhibition. This is with the Surrey Guild, and we’re setting up this Friday. The event is a selling exhibition at Guildford House Gallery in Guildford High street, and opens this Saturday, running until Christmas Eve. After that I am preparing for another Surrey Guild Exhibition at the Bank Gallery in Chobham. Then it’s prep for the 2 school craft fairs I’m attending. So it’s all go at the moment. Fortunately (or rather unfortunately) I didn’t sell much at the fair the other week, and so have lots of pieces made already for the Guildford show, but I do have to re-label everything and do my inventory sheets (joy of joys!)…let’s hope the laptop copes.

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Procrastination Rules

Monday morningish

Procrastination rules again. Today was my day to go to my jewellery class, but due to unforeseen circumstances I am at home with my daughter who is on her last inset day of the half term. I should be busy making jewellery for my private craft fair on Thursday, but oops, look, here I am, getting distracted by t’internet. What’s a girl to do? So I’ve been looking at a thread on Frit Happens about Etsy, teams and treasuries. Now I stupidly opened an Etsy account in a rush (several months ago) to buy something from someone on there, and didn’t realise until it was too late that my account name sets my shop name. Rats. I really don’t want to go by the name Silverlemon anymore, at least not for my sales. So I feel like I have shot my self in the foot really.

So Etsy, it looks like a good place to be, especially with the FH Team, but I’ve snuck on over there a couple of times and just panicked when I tried to set up a shop. Where to start? How to do it? Can I change the name? Will it be easy to maintain? eeeeeek. It’s a good job I have a Dickie Doodah! Etsy is such a big place and I’m not really much of a surfer. I can’t be bothered following links here, there and everywhere. I have to confess to being very matter of fact about the internet, it’s there for me to research when I need it and that’s just about it. I can’t be doing with all the randomness, I just don’t have the time, and I really can’t be bothered. I’d much rather be sat watching a good film with a glass of wine. Maybe part of the problem is that when I go to a shop or website, especially a glass supplies shop,  I just want to spend lots of dosh. Hmmm, so if I’m like that, lots of surfers must be…….Etsy shop, here I come….in a few weeks when I have the time ;>)

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The Big Bead Show looms – this Saturday

Weds Morning

Hello campers. Well the weather out there is getting nippy to say the least. I’ve just popped out to turn on my kiln and the temperature is reading 11 deg C, which is a bit better than yesterday when it read 8 deg c, even in the afternoon. I think it would be fair to say that Autumn is well and truly here, especially when I’m backed up by ‘Autumn Watch‘ on telly, although what do they know, we still had ‘Spring Watch’ in June, and I thought that was the summer!

This week I’m getting revved up for my last Bead Show of the season, The Big Bead Show, organised by Bead Magazine, which is this Saturday at Sandown Park, Surrey. It’s just down the road from Hampton Court, but nearer to the M25 so it’s really easy to get to. I’m getting excited about this show as it’s sooooo huge, and several of my bead making friends are also attending, either with stalls or just visiting, so it should be fun. They will also be revealing who the winners are in the first ‘British Bead Awards’ competition and displaying the finalists work.  I hope it will be busy and everyone will have forgotten the ‘recession’. But if you haven’t, remember that the best way to beat a recession is to spend your way out of it! Oh and I will have some special free gifts for anyone spending over £20 on bead sets or focals…oooh I love a mystery.

I’m busy making some new beads, I’ve just fallen in love again, this time with Aurae, another of the fancy silver glasses from the States. I’ve had a rod, kindly given to me by my friend Judith Johnston, since my course with Gail Crosman Moore at the beginning of April, but have only just got around to trying it….how shocking is that! But I lurve it. It gives these gorgeous pinky, purple, bluey lustre tones, just yummy. So look out for a couple of new elegant sets with those colours this Saturday.

Don’t forget I have a couple of spare places on my courses, pop on over to the Tuition page for more details if you fancy having a go.

OK I must whizz, the torch beckons.

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A whiff of Autumn in the air

Thursday evening

Well hey there, nearly the end of another week, where did it go? I’ve been very busy going out every day, mainly as it’s my stint at the Surrey Guild Gallery in Milford, near Godalming. I have topped up my stock of jewellery on display and have been enjoying meeting the visitors to the shop. As ever I’m loving the journey there and back, especially the part where I go over the hills in the woods, hmmm, sounds interesting, but it really is just like Cornwall only without the sea being just over the hill. I always feel that I may just get a glimpse of Robin Hood as I drive through the lanes between the steep banks of knarled roots filled with soil and leaves, amid the dappled light filtering through the ancient trees and newer sapplings that seem to sprout everywhere. ooh get me!

As I travelled today there were flurries of leaves drifting down to the ground like silent snow, sometimes there were only a few leaves floating slowly to the ground, while at other times there were fast and furious flurries that reminded me of snow storms. Areas of the ground between the trees were carpeted with autumnal coloured tapestries of fallen leaves in orange, gold and red, whilst other areas were green with grass. Just beautiful.

I can’t say that about the drivers out and about! I’m so glad I don’t have to drive to work everyday any more, I really did hate that. The amount of numpties driving out there amazes me, from the nutters who go storming along so fast (often on motorbikes….I wonder why they think the speed limits don’t apply to them?) to the poor learners who drive at 15mph along a 40 to 60 mph road (this is itself doesn’t worry me too much, as we’ve all been there) but whose amateur teacher doesn’t have the sense to get them to pull in at some safe place to let the normal drivers get past. Yes, I had to trail behind an excruciatingly slow learner for a whole 15 minutes, this in my opinion is not on at all, and I blame the teacher for not having the good sense to get her to pull over so I could pass. Phew, rant over.

So, another weekend approaches, and the 20th annual Harrow Bead Fair is looming fast. This year will be the last time at the Harrow Leisure Centre, and we’re even in a different hall this year. I have heard rumours that the show will be relocating to the Hatfield University next year, to the same hall as we were in 2 weeks ago for the Beadwork Fair. See you there….Harrow that is…..I will be waving at the flat I used to live in that we have to pass to enter the Leisure centre, as I used to live within spitting distance of the centre. Ahh, happy times, and ogling the spot of pavement where I was stopped and questioned by the Police who had been tipped off by neighbours who thought that I was doing a ‘moonlight flit’ when I was moving in at 2am one morning, not very conventional I know, but true to my form at that time as a student!

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Tuition Date and stuff

Friday morning

Tuition date announced……I have 1 space available on a 1 day Beginners Course on Saturday 10th October. Contact me now to book your place!

Another day another dollar, or should that be bead? We had a great time last weekend, catching up with bead making friends from around the country and generally having a good time, oh, and we sold beads! I managed to stay fairly chilled in the end, and set a time limit for pricing up my new bead sets, which I actually managed to stick to, so I didn’t spend all evening sitting at the desk working like I’ve always done in the past. It was lovely to see some of you guys again and to meet some new customers. I am now preparing for the next flurry of fairs, which are next weekend at Harrow and 2 weeks later at Sandown – The Big Bead Show, this is the one where I need lots of stock, my new arrivals area was decimated at the end of the day last year. So I have had my head down as much as I could this week, and will be popping off into the studio shortly to continue my exploration of colour…..I’ve been trying new ways of using my many pots frit and I’m really pleased with yesterdays haul.

Just lately my mojo (and I actually don’t like using that word) seems to be coming and going. One day I have loads of ideas, and the next I struggle to think of what to make, even though the previous day I will be itching to try lots of ideas. I think maybe the pressure of fairs booked and only having a certain amount of time during the day to make beads isn’t helping. I know when I can spend time at the torch and feel I must produce as many saleable beads during this time as I can.

Forget all the business stuff I have to do, which again is falling behind as is the housework, blah! I guess there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I should stop being so hard on myself. The kitchen looks like a bomb hit it, and it’s not just me, it’s Rick, we both hate housework and will do anything else when home to avoid doing it. I’ve come to the conclusion today (well, actually I’ve always known this) that I hate washing up too, it’s all such a waste of creative time. I wish it would all go in the dishwasher. Maybe we should buy some cheap saucepans that can be bunged in with the rest of the stuff, or maybe we should be training our daughter to do the pots and pans….hmmmm….now there’s a thought.

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Bead fairs this weekend! woop woop!

Friday morning

HI yal, looks like I’ve been quiet again for a bit doesn’t it? Far from it, life has been full of stuff to do, especially as I have 4 bead fairs in the next 4 weeks, and no, that’s not one every weekend, but  I kick off with 2 this weekend (eek). I’ve been busily working away making lots of new beadies for you guys to buy, and also trying to have a life. This has meant that my normal time for blogging, which was sort of first thing on a work day, has been sadly neglected as I’ve tried to get in the studio earlier to make better use of the time I have at home alone. I think it has been working.

Anyway today has been a right mare so far, I was supposed to be chilled and gently preparing for the weekends’ fairs, but instead I am all stressed and shaky as my plans for how the weekend would run, more specifically the childcare I had arranged for my daughter, has been changing every half hour and distracting me from my preparations and previous calm state. Oh well, it’s all sorted again now, so I’ve come on here to calm down and get my head together again. You see, what you see as a calm veneer at bead shows, is the result of several frenzied days or weeks preparation. Lots of beadmaking, preparing mandrels, removing and cleaning beads, making up sets and reorganising display materials and wares for the fairs. I always seem to be running last minute, but this is mainly because I always try to make ‘just a few more beads’ and then have to do everything just before I go to bed. I think as a self employed person it’s very easy to put masses of pressure on oneself to make a certain amount of stuff, I always feel there’s not enough and I should be doing more. There are always jobs that need doing, and when you’re at home, it’s difficult sometimes to get out of work mode. I also find that I like making the beads more than preparing them for sale or any of my other jobs.

Anyway, this weekend, there are 2 fairs, the first is in Creaton, near Northampton, on Saturday 19th Sept, and doors are open from 1pm to 5pm, an unusual time because it is the GBUK fair (Glass Beadmakers UK) after our AGM. If handmade lampwork glass beads are your thing, then this is most definitely the fair for you, as the majority of stall holders are our members selling their own handmade glass beads. Tuffnells Glass (major glass pimps and all round fab people) and Proops Brothers (a fab tool company) will both be there also.

Sunday I will be at Hatfield for the Beadworks Fair. Details of both these events are on my events page. I have several new sets and designs premièring this weekend, including some sets with hollow focals. I’ve also topped up my bargain pots again, and hope to have a dotty pick n’ mix in this seasons colours, or should I say my take on this seasons colours. I will also have my usual high quality sterling silver chains, cables and ‘add a bead’ bangles for sale.

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Free food!

Monday evening

Nearly back to normal at last. School started again last Friday and today is the first full week of the new academic year. I have many plans, mainly ones that involve a better work/life balance, with hopes to sort out our house and at the very least do some much needed decorating in our bedroom (was that a pig I saw fluttering above my head?). We have been working hard on the garden to landscape the area around my new studio, and to try and get some order and de-somninfy (new word) the garden. We still have 2 yellow Hippo bags of earth but plans are afoot to make raised beds and dump the earth in them. It is at this point that I realise that as much as I love gardens and enjoy going to The Hampton Court Flower Show and specialist garden centres, that I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to planning a plant border. I know what I like, very architectural type plants, and would like to have lots of jungle type plants but also want to have a couple of fruit trees, an apple and maybe something else, but do these really fit with olive trees and Eucalyptus? I have to admit though, it will be just lovely to actually have a proper space to put some plants in the prime sun catching area of our garden.

Maybe we should also have some brambles, they seem to grow where they want, but I’d love to have them where I’d like them. I think the garden probably isn’t large enough, and who needs their own brambles when there are so many bushes producing blackberries along the main road 2 minutes from our front door? Free food? oh yes, 570 grammes of hand – picked blackberries, enough to make Nigellas’ Blackberry Crisp, which apparently isn’t crisp but soggy. The process took about an hour and a quarter to gather enough fruit, as the bushes weren’t exactly dripping with perfectly ripe berries. I think it would have been cheaper to buy them and make beads to sell for the same time, it’s all relative you know, but I did get to spend quality time with my daughter during picking, and you can’t really put a price on that.  Pudding tomorrow night I hope. Yum.

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6th Annual Stourbridge Bead Fair – this Sunday

Saturday afternoon

Hi there, I’ve been long gone, having a bit of a break from all things beady, yes I actually didn’t do anything bead related for nearly 2 weeks, that has to be a record for me. I’ve been so ridiculously busy that I decided to have a complete break and not even read or think about anything beady if I could, it seems very strange but I just didn’t want to know. It’s been a real overkill time for me, with lots of work pressures from all sorts of places, and has been rather too much for me. I was feeling like I was about to burn out.

Anyway, I’m sort of back, feeling more refreshed, and I’m in a laid back mood trying not to get stressed about tomorrows bead fair at Stourbridge. I have some new sets for your perusal, and have topped up my ever popular bead bargain pots, so there will be lots for you to rummage through.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with lots of our  bead making friends again, and aim to have a relaxing day tomorrow if I can. See you there.

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It’s still mad!

Sunday evening

Another looooong gap since my last blog post. I just can’t seem to catch up at the moment. I feel like a cat or some other animal chasing it’s tail. It’s been all go and shows no signs of letting up, long gone are the days when my summer meant a long gap with no sales, now it seems to be one of the busiest times of my year, with lots of bead fairs, exhibitions and Open Houses. Ardingly fair was a lovely day, meeting old friends, regular customers and recent students, and now I have Stourbridge fair, then the new GBUK fair and Hatfield Bead Fair zooming up rather fast. Closely followed by The Harrow Bead Fair and The Big Bead Show…….I don’t know how my friends who do loads of fairs cope with the work load. It’s even harder when the school hols are on, as I feel torn between spending quality time with our daughter and trying to restock ready for the next event.

Today we had the fun job of driving all the way down to the Isle of Purbeck and back to take our daughter and her cousin to their first ever summer camp away from their parents. I thought the journey would be quite fast but hadn’t banked on the holiday traffic so we got caught in a couple of traffic jams, but it was a very pleasant day….apart from the horrible Wimpy Burger…..which as Rick says, certainly lived up to it’s name, hee hee.

So tomorrow and for the next week I have the days to myself more than normal, as I don’t have our daughter after 3pm either (obviously). I’m hoping to gets lots of work done, do my commissions, my regular order that has started again, and top up my bead fair stock. I also have a talk to organise for a ladies’ lunch group this week, something I have never done before, phew again. Have a good week.

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It’s official……..

Tuesday evening

………Rick is a drummer….I’m his groupie…..and buffets are mostly beige.

How do I know I this?  Ha well, over the last 3 months Rick has been going to band practise one evening every week, with a group of friends who he used to play with 17 years ago, he was the dep drummer when their drummer went to the States for 6 months all those years ago, but now he’s the real McCoy drummer.  They had their first gig last Saturday as the new line up and it rocked. I think they got away with it! So if he’s a drummer my second statement follows.

As for buffets, they often have a distinct beigeness about them. It’s something I’ve noticed over my many years of professionally attending parties and office lunches. lol. My previous experience of buffets done by my mother and MIL are ones full of lush salads, bursting with colours of greens, reds and orange from the various salad leaves, raw peppers, cucumber and tomatoes, together with beautiful main dishes of pale pink whole salmon, rich red beef, pink ham, bacon and vegetable quiches and flans, purple beetroot and colourful accompanying pickles. This mass of colourful food is normally followed by a selection of sumptuous home made deserts (brought by the people invited to said buffet), all colourful and delicious, like fruit salad, pink and red fruit trifle, banoffee pie (OK this one is beige), huge pavlovas piled with red strawberries and cream or kiwi and grapes, and yummy chocolate gateaux decorated with Malteesers (OK it’s another brown one, but it’s not beige!). However my experience of office buffets and some peoples party buffets is one of plate after plate of deep fried meaty things like chicken nuggets, scotch egg balls, cheese puffs, chicken drumsticks, spring rolls, pakoras, onion bhajis and samosas, cheese sarnies….do you spot a theme here? There may be a plate of crudities and dips if you’re lucky, and a thin sprinkling of  watercress and a few twists of cucumber here and there, but not very often. This was  a real problem for me about 20 years ago as I was totally vegetarian and therefore couldn’t eat anything but the cheese sarnies. Anyway one of last buffets I attended even followed through the beige theme with the puds being mini chocolate éclairs, mini doughnuts, mini teeny cream filled swiss rolls, mini cream slices (no jam, so completely beige) and even a plate of beige muffins. I truly thought some colour would appear on the table with the afters, and was pleased to see a plate of melon arriving…..but oh no……it was orange….woo hoo.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being  food snob here, it’s just a different way of doing things and actually does make a change for me from all my vegetable salads and stuff, but I do maintain that they’re beige…or orange……….

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One year on….hip hip hooray

Thursday evening

Yesterday was an important day for me, the 1st anniversary of my hip replacement. Can you believe it’s already a year on? I find it difficult to grasp, however so much has changed, and all definately for the better. It was with so much fear and trepidation that I travelled to Oxford to have my surgery last year, I knew I had one of the best surgeons in the UK (well, the world actually) but you still can’t help feeling like a lamb to the slaughter, and for me my main aprehension was knowing that once my femoral head was cut off and replaced that there was no going back, it would be replacements for the rest of my life, which was one of the reasons I held out for so long. I had also hoped that they would come up with something else to help my hips, but nothing new was really happening.

So this time and one day ago last year, I would have been lying so relaxed and chilled out, with my legs completely numb from the anaesthetic, complete with lines, drains, oxygen and morphine clicker, which I definately didn’t use enough and they took it away in the afternoon of the second day….rats! Actually, that was good, I hardly needed it, and survived just taking paracetamol from a couple of days after the op.

So, what has changed…..everything! I had no idea how good it would be. I can walk again, I now haven’t used my sticks since the middle of September, I can do my shoelaces up and almost reach my feet to cut my toenails properly. I can put my own socks on without an aid, and can walk almost as fast as I used to before all this started. I no longer have pain (in my right hip) or need to go to hydrotherapy every week. I’ve lost weight and am returning to my true self that I lost 15 years ago. I’m so happy again, and I laugh and smile lots now, and have fun and make jokes. Life is truely good and I’m so glad to be mobile. My legs are also the same length for the first time ever in my life (I’m actually about an inch taller – which I love!…..my passport is wrong though, lol), and I don’t wear my right shoe out faster than the left one anyone. My left hip is becoming a cause for concern as it’s struggling to keep up and aches quite a lot now, but it’s not holding me up or preventing me from doing what I want to anymore. We have to watch this space, but hey……life is good. Also on June 24th I’m planning to do the Race for Life 5Km walk in Crawley for Cancer Research UK, and have started training. If you’d like to sponsor me, please follow this link to my sponsorship page. Thank you.

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I love my new studio!

Tuesday morning

I love my new studio! I can’t get over how spacious it feels inside, you could really swing a cat in there (apologies to all cat lovers), whereas the last one you could pick up a mouse but not even swing it…not that there were any mice in there of course. I have 2 workspaces set up in a sort of minimal way, and I’m determined to keep it as clear as I can until we start lining the walls, however I don’t seem to be succeeding. I keep needing more things to be able to work, ‘oh just that tool’ and ‘I really want to try that glass I bought at the Flame Off‘. What’s a girl to do? All that scrumptious new glass and lovely new colours from CIM, I’m aching to try CIM Sapphire and Cornflower and TAG Taxco Silver Turquoise. OH dear, I’m going to have to take the rest of my box of goodies down to the studio today and start using it, I can always stash it in one of the wire drawers I have.

I really don’t know where the last 2 months have gone, well I do, but didn’t get the jobs done that I’d hoped to, as I thought I’d have loads of time to update my website, write tutorials and generally tart things up a bit. But taking down the studio and preparing for the new one took all my energies and thoughts, I suppose I thought that may be the case, but had hoped that I’d be able to take advantage of the time and sort some indoor jobs. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I have a huge new studio and can make handmade glass beads again, which is bliss. I also started my glass beadmaking courses again last week, and have a couple of days this week and several dates to look forward to throughout June. Anyway, enough of my wittering, I need to get my kiln on and get making beadies for the Bead Fair at Dorking Halls on 31st May.

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New studio arrived!….at last

Friday morning

Where did the last week go? So much for blogging 3 times a week. We have been busy, honest, and you already know how hard I find it to concentrate when works are happening at home as I have to be tech (which I like)  and nourishment support, doing all the stuff that women normally do, and you know how much I can’t stand doing that for long. lol. Well, we bought our sleepers and got them down bit by bit (hmm, sounds like putting a baby to bed), but work had to stop as we weren’t totally confident where the door would be and how high it would be off the ground, but most are in and holding back the slope while we speak, and we’re going to get a couple more tomorrow to finish the job neatly. Our garden looks a bit like the Somme at the moment, with trenches and piles of earth all over the place, together with piles of slabs, yes they’ve been piled up in 3 places now during this job, 2 Hippo bags of earth, one forming a temporary home for an old Hydrangea, and general mess around.

The shed arrived and was installed yesterday morning, much to my relief, and looks lovely in the garden, well, I think it does, but our daughter keeps saying it’s too big. It is big, 12 x 8 foot, but actually sits down quite nicely, even if it is a bit pale and eye catching at the moment. I had thought I’d leave it ‘au natural’ but I think it could do with painting a nice colour so that it merges into the garden a bit while remaining a feature due to it’s size, but that will have to wait for a couple of months until the timber has dried a bit from the pressure treating. Plans were to have it all neatly fitted out for when I start teaching again next week, but as it’s arrived so late we’re only putting in the bare essentials to get started and so I can prepare for my next bead fair in May and Open Houses in June. We did have 3 weeks clear for the lining and fitting but that was truly mucked up by the shed people.

Here’s a few pics to keep you amused, a bit of a photo story

Old studioInside the old studioinside old empty studioEmpty space baseNew baseLovely sleeperssides comingNew shed!inside new studio

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