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Archive for Jewellery

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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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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I was a British Bead Award Finalist! woo hoo

Wednesday evening

Oh it’s all go! I’ve been at the Surrey Guild Gallery again today, and will be teaching again tomorrow. It all just seems to be non-stop for me at the moment, which is good but a little exhausting. After my big push for the Big Bead Show on Saturday I’m feeling totally shattered and keep falling asleep watching telly in the evenings! I spent the day in the gallery today matching beads to make earrings and floater necklaces (when there were no customers), it takes time but I think it is worth it, as I am very particular about attention to detail in my lampwork glass beads and jewellery. I am now ready to start making my jewellery again, just in time for the start of the run up to Christmas and the few craft fairs and exhibitions that I am taking part in.

The Big Bead Show was fun, it was lovely seeing all my friends again, meeting all my new customers and and seeing all my students who came to say hello, thank you for making my day. Our mystery free gifts went down very well, our new Sarah Downton Fridge Magnets with stunning photos of my beads, all photographed by Rick. I can also reveal that I was  finalist in The Bead Awards, something that I had to keep quiet for ages! I was one of 6 finalists chosen from many applicants, there should have been just 3 finalists but the standard of entries was so high that the judges had a real job deciding. In the end they chose to call in 6 entries and chose 3 winners. Unfortunately I did not come in the top 3, but I did have my entry on display in the awards room and was given a finalist certificate. I’m really pleased to have got so far, and would like to congratulate my friend Francesca Cerretta who came first with a really quirky bead, Manda Murdimer who came second with her sublime cored bead and Rachel Elliot (3rd) with her Retticello bead, and also Emma Baird and Marion Sidebottom who were the other 2 finalists with me.

Here are the beads I entered….Transition iii

Transition iii front viewTransition iii

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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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Phew..it’s been mad

Monday evening

Oh woops! I’m back, yes I do apologise for the long gap between posts. It has been manic and I’ve had to have my head down and keep focused and working hard to fit everything in over the past month. Open Houses, which were in full swing on each weekend sandwiching my sponsored walk, were successful, we had several visitors, and almost everyone left with some sort of goodies from one of the 3 of us. We had a lovely 2 weekends, with good weather and fun together in Ediths beautiful sloping garden, making new friends and enjoying each others company.

After that I had to prepare for the Contemporary Art, Craft and Design Fair at Winchester, this included getting all my stock ready, then a trip down with my cabinet to set up, 2 days stewarding on the Thursday and Friday, and then another trip last Sunday to break down the exhibition. I saved my energy and booked the salubrious Travelodge north of Winchester, and enjoyed 2 days there, with some fun but very rushed shopping in my lunchtime, and a very quick visit to my friend Simon’s bead shop there called World of Beads. Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a trip to the Hampton Court Flower Show the same week as the Winchester show, phew.

Then it was back home to yet more teaching, trying to tidy the house and catch up with stuff in general, and prepare for the next bead fair, which is this coming Sunday, at Ardingly. I will have my usual mix of yummy colour beads as focals and sets, and my fun bargain pots, which I have restocked since the last fair at Dorking. Catch you there, I expect I’ll be upstairs so do come and say hello and get yourself some of my new bead designs.

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New tuition dates and 3 days to go to Open Studios

Tuesday morning

I have space on another 2 day Beginners Glass Beadmaking Course next week, Mon 22nd – Tues 23rd June. Email me now to reserve your place on this or the other course from Mon 29th – Tues 30th June (one space remaining) running the following week…….

3 days until I have to set up my cabinet for Horsham Open Studios and counting (do you see my necklace at the top of the link web page? eh? eh?)……all is going well, if not a bit manic, as I am working from when I get up,  almost until I go to bed, with only enough of a stop just to eat lunch and dinner. But I’m getting there, at my last count I had 50 pieces of jewellery to put in my cabinet, not including beads on thongs or phone dangles, so I’m almost there. All I have to do now (ha ha…all) is clear out my cabinet which I use as a store most of the time, dust down the shelves and try laying out my display. Then I have to label my pieces with codes and prices and do a stock list so I know what’s sold, organise my packaging, leaflets, mirror, earring holder etc….I always forget how long that part takes. Then I have to find the lights, keys, extension leads etc…it all takes so long, so if I can get most of my work made and finished today that gives me a couple of days to sort the rest hopefully. Roll on Saturday….slowly please.

In amongst all this I have managed to book my ticket to the Hampton Court Flower Show (yipee), but more importantly I need to find time to go for walks, as my Race for Life sponsored walk is next Wednesday.  Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, you know who you are, but there is still time for more sponsoring for those of you who haven’t so far and would like to. It’s very easy, just follow this link to sponsor me on-line and help such a worthy cause that affects all of us at some time and in some way.

I have to admit to struggling with this post today, as I’m outside on my favourite bench (well, it’s the only one we have actually but I love sitting here) in the very bright sunshine, with my brightness turned up so high, and I’m still struggling to read what I’ve put or even worse find the cursor! I thought I should pop outside and get some fresh air after being cooped up indoors all day yesterday. Well, I’d better get back to the grindstone…laters.

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Open Houses countdown…1 week

Thursday morning

1 week and counting until Horsham Open Houses, eek. This Horsham event starts next Saturday and obviously I will need to have my work set up by next Friday, so eeeeeek. I did start making beads for this months ago, but still feel the need to make specific designs and sizes to make the collection of jewellery that I have envisaged in my head. I also have to go and collect my exhibition pieces including my Transition necklace, that were on display in the Bank Gallery, Chobham, so I have something really special to display. I have all my headpins made and pickled and need to tumble polish these before I can use them, and I have a very boring job of making my own style earwires over a few evenings too. Thankfully I can make up the earrings without these then pop them on when they’re all done. I’ve also decided to make a display of my silver cored beads, and I’m working hard to make extra for this event and for Winchester also….I haven’t added this to my events page yet, but it’s the Contemporary Craft Fair in a marquee at Winchester Cathedral that I did 2 years ago with the Surrey Guild.

I announced in my news section on the home page that my Transition necklace image was used this year for the front cover of the Open Houses brochure….well this is now plastered all over Horsham town Centre, with lots of laminated notices around the town to advertise the event, woo hoo. I thought I’d be more excited but actually I’m not, lol. I’m hoping to see them on all the lamp posts around town too if they put these up again this year. I’ve just added a link to the Open Studios web page, and it’s there too!

Open Studios Poster

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The importance of being ernest

Weds morning

Hi ya! It’s happened again, 2 weeks almost have passed and I haven’t been in to say hello! So here I am, and what’s been happening in Sarah’s world? Quite a lot but I’m not going to bore you with lists of what I’ve been doing, as much as I love lists. What I will say is that after all the glass beadmaking tuition I was doing, that we managed to go camping with our little caravan (oh the shame) at Whitsun, which also means that we now have our long awaited car…at last…and it has enough wellie to tow…which was why we had to wait so long for the right car in the first place. Half term has come and gone, and we attended a lovely family wedding last Tuesday of all days, well it was half term and after a bank holiday, so it seemed kind of right.

We had the new bead fair at Dorking Halls this Sunday gone, and true to form it was sweltering hot, just like the old days when we used to have a shared GBUK stall when I first started beadmaking and selling my handmade glass beads. I was even in the same room out of the 3 there that we used to be in.  So a big hello to everyone who came to say hello on Sunday and I hope you enjoy using the beads you bought.

This week I’ve started preparing in ernest for the Horsham Open Houses, 20th, 21st June and 27th, 28th June. We’re a month earlier than previous years which is really good as we won’t be clashing with all the summer events like Wimbledon and Hampton Court Flower Show and other fun stuff, so hopefully the number of visitors should be up. This has confused me somewhat though , as I keep thinking I have loads of time to prepare when I haven’t. I may even trot off now to make some beads, rather than making up some jewellery….

I’m also really pleased to have my transition bead necklace on the front cover of the guide this year!

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Less haste, less waste

Weds morning

The chaos continues as does my floundering. I’m trying so hard to use this time that I have unexpectedly on my hands, but it seems to be slipping through my fingers like a handful of sand. I’m trying to do my two column A4 long list of jobs and have only managed to knock 5 off so far, I think I may have to look at getting the quick ones done so I can have the pleasure of more ticks and crossing out. I should also set up my stock control programme that I bought a couple of years ago, as now would be the perfect time for stock control with it being a new financial year and having all my glass indoors near my scales……..oh dear, doesn’t it sound boring? I think if I start counting and logging stuff I may just loose the will to live, which is odd because I didn’t mind doing this stuff years ago when I was a student and got paid for it. I guess it’s different when there’s lots of other things you’d rather be doing, like making beads and jewellery, but of course the beads production is definately off at the moment. I may attempt to start making pieces for the Open Houses in June, or at least start making lots of headpins and earhooks for my special pieces, but oh no, that’s a bit mind numbing too, oh dear.

The good news is that my tool for lining big holed beads came last week and it’s wonderful. It’s so much quicker than doing it with dapping punches and doesn’t leave lots of dents and scratches that then have to be polished out. I’ve lined 4 beads succesfully which are sitting proudly on my Pandora bracelet, and only managed to break 2 so far, and that was only because I was being careless and was in a rush as I had to pack up for dinner. So the addage ‘more haste, less speed’ is so true (….or should that be ‘less haste more speed’?) although maybe I should tweek that to ‘more haste, more waste’ (my tip for the day….slow it down). So Silver Lined beads will be coming soon, I have a few that I made a while back using the traditional method and that fit the Troll bracelets with a 4mm hole, but I will be doing some larger 5mm hole beads to suit Pandora also. Now I have to think of a suitable name, which is quite hard for me as I never really do the fancy names, watch this space.

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Get ahead……so far so good

Tuesday morning

What a wet day, it’s been so dry lately I was almost thinking it was time for Rick to give the lawn it’s first haircut of the year. At least if it’s wet it can’t be so cold as it was a month or so ago, although they are predicting another cold snap for the weekend, which is a bit annoying as I was thinking we could make a start clearing out the garage.

The kiln is on and heating up (8 deg C today in the studio) and I have yet to don my thermals and stuff, although I haven’t need the long johns for a week. In store for today I’m planning to continue making handmade glass beads for my jewellery range ready to make more pieces to top up my Surrey Guild cabinet, and hopefully make a stock of jewellery ready for the forthcoming Open Houses. I’m also starting on my beads for the Dorking bead fair and to put in my webshop. I’m absolutely determined to try and get ahead this year while things are a bit quieter as I hate the stress and last minute rush of preparing for fairs and shows, and I want to try and avoid this as my fairs seem to be at the end of weeks off school and during our summer holiday season, which is rather unfair on our daughter if I have to sit and work when we could be doing fun stuff together at home. How long I’ll stay ahead will be seen, I really hope some other problem doesn’t rear it’s ugly head this year, we could really do with a break from dramas.

On a lighter note I was relly pleased yesterday to actually achieve making almost an inch of a chain linkage that I’ve liked for a long time but never had the time or decent instructions on how to make it. The chain in question is Jen’s Pind and makes a chunky looking but nicely articulated piece. Following the instructions every third link looked wrong, so I undid it and made the links look how I thought they should and hey presto, what a result. I now have to wind and cut more jumprings so I can continue the linkage and make either a necklace or bracelet or both. It really helps to get the ratio of wire diameter to ring diameter  correct, as I had tried it out using cheap wire available that was the wrong ratio and the whole pattern just didn’t work.

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New Beads for sale, in time for your Christmas makes

Thursday lunchtime

At last, I have restocked my shop with some of my handmade glass beads, and I hope to add some jewellery later to the jewellery and pendants sections. Please do go and take a look see. To order just drop me an email and I’ll send a Paypal request unless you tell me otherwise.

2 deg C, that’s what it was in my studio yesterday, brrrrr, and it was soooo cold that I decided to have the heater up full blast.  That was a huge mistake, as halfway through my session something went click and I was plunged into darkness and silence as the light went off and my radio, oxygen concentrator and fan heater came to an abrupt stop. Oh dear, my first thought was that we had just had a power cut, but a quick whizz up to the house to inspect the many clocks and appliances told me otherwise. An hour later and I had pulled myself together and found the blown fuse in my new Wattmeter, removed it from the circuit and managed to have lunch too.

So today, I just can’t bear to be outside again, its been really cold this week, and even with my thermals head to toe I’ve been feeling it. Let’s hope it warms up a bit next week, a bit of rain would help……tee hee. I’m hoping to make some icicles (glass ones, not ice ones, I know I’ve been complaining about the cold snap), some big holed beads for my lovely Pandora bracelet that Rick gave me for my birthday (which reminds me I need to order some larger silver tubing), and some whopper beads to adorn some of the many beadable winestoppers I had Rick bring back from the States in October.  I’m hoping to make some of these to put in my shop, and I’m planning to make a new section for my big holed silver core beads that I made to fit the Troll System. I’m still trying to think of a suitable name for them, I wish the names came as easily as the designs.

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Running on Empty (still the song titles)

Thursday morning

It’s not snowing here, all though it is oop north, we just have cold and wet, good job I’m not torchering today, even if I wanted to I couldn’t just yet as both tanks of propane are empty, and I really don’t have time to get refills. I have a pair of rather interesting raised design beads from when I was ‘running on empty’ before the flame finally disappeared, I may just turn them into a pair if earrings for me I like them so much. I have all sorts of jobs to do today to get ready for my fairs and exhibition, including cleaning my 96 beads (boo), making up jewellery (yay), making tens of headpins (boo), looking at my pretties and deciding how much to charge for them (yay)……..I also have my new simple beads ready for my ‘credit crunch range’ and they’re rummy, I may even design a tiddley pendant to go with them if I have any spare matching beadies. Have a fun day, I know I will, even if it does get a bit manic.

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Countdown to Christmas fairs, 1 week and counting

Friday morning

230 beads…………that’s how many I had to clean after my mamoth session on Tuesday added to the results of all my play work last week. Yikes, I really should try not to let them pile up like that. Today I’m having my final bead making session for the magazine comp, at least I hope it will be, I may have to sneak out tomorrow and finish off if the beads don’t sit properly together. My work on this on Wednesday was, I feel, successful, but it’s adding to what I’ve already done that could potentially be a problem as I’m reet proper fussy when it comes to making up my really posh sets.

I had another fab teaching day with 2 lovely ladies yesterday, and that was my last bit of teaching until the new year, and of the course the last this month, which has been chocka full of teaching dates. Now all I need to do is get ready for the 2 fairs I have next weekend, and the 2 exhibitions I think I’m doing, that also start next Saturday, so have to have the pieces to deliver on Friday at the latest. I’ve been trying not to get stressed about my work during the run up to Christmas and this has been working well, but to be honest, it’s working too well, so well, that I’m so laid back I’m horizontal and have done almost nothing to prepare. I have a stash of beads I made last month waiting to be turned into jewellery, but all my time has been spent doing masses of teaching, making my weekly order and getting to grips with Double Helix glass as well as my efforts to enter the magazine comp. I would normally have been making up jewelley in every spare moment, and all evening, but I’ve been so tired or busy cleaning beads and preparing my studio and tidying up from teaching that by the time all that’s done I need to rest……..I think I’ll put it down to still being a bit under par from the huge doses of anaesthetic earlier this year and my continual healing, after all it does get a bit zingy around my scar from time to time, so stuff is obviously still happening on some level.  Right, I’m off to run the kiln and start making beadies again. TTFN.

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It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to (But I don’t)

Saturday night

It’s my birthday and I’ve had such a great day. We didn’t do much but I’ve been pampered from start to finish, apart from having to tidy the fridge to put in the remains of our Indian takeaway tonight. The day started with a fab pressy that Rick got me when he was in Minneapolis last month – I made him visit the Pandora shop to look at some big hole beads and a chain bracelet, so I can wear my own glass big hole beads together with his choice of beads to fill the spaces. What a perfect combination, now he can actually buy me jewellery! It’s been lovely to just have a rest today to be honest, as I’ve been working really hard but struggling not to get tired.

My experiments with Double Helix glass continued yesterday, where I made some gorgeous transparent red beads with streaks of my newly conquered Phyche glass, which I reduced to a lovely variety of shades of greeny-blue part shiny colour..ish…thing. I also experimented combining it with some of my CIM (Creation is Messy) colours to see what would happen, and got some interesting reactions where the CIM has concentrated the silver to the edge of the Phyche streaks, yum. The dinking around with my designs for the perfect set to enter Beads & Beyond continues and I only have just over 1 more week to achieve this. eeek.

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Less of the Sergeant, more of the dancers please

Monday morning

Well helloooooo there. I probably shouldn’t be so chirpy as I am missing my jewellery class yet again – the place to go for me to have a fun afternoon chatting with like minded jewellery making obsessed ladies. And especially today they are having our Christmas class jewellery sale. Yes I’m a bit sad about this, but maybe it’s a good thing as I am still just sooooo wacked out. We really must get our car situation sorted out….anyone got an estate car for sale? anyone? anyone?

I just popped out to my studio, and man, it’s chilly out there, only 5 deg. C this morning, but I’m off out to make some handmade glass beads in a mini mo for my regular weekly order. Then tomorrow and Thursday I’m teaching yet again, I seem to be doing about 2 days a week at the moment, which is so much fun and a bit tiring but hey ho, it’s worth it.

The big question on everyone’s mind today is…who on earth is voting for John Sergeant in Strictly Come Dancing? It sure ain’t me, but he really should go now, I know he’s fun to watch how badly he does everything, but it now seems so unfair that the really fabulous contestants are being booted off the show a week earlier than they should and missing their potential to learn new dances and improve more. I suppose maybe we should be asking ourselves if the BBC are cheating and keeping him in to give the show controversy and generally rigging the polls to suit what they feel the show should be like? Or does he have a huge cake baking, blue rinse, daytime TV watching, lady fan base? Who knows.

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Panda monium

Tuesday morning

9 weeks today, and what can I say, things have been going extremely well, and I’m feeling more like I’m getting back to where I was before the op in terms of my range of movement (well, it’s better actually), apart from getting incredibly tired very easily. I had a few busy days last week and at the weekend and today it’s all caught up with me, I’m so tired, which is a real nuisance as I was planning to make beads today and tomorrow before the school holidays start on Thursday and for the bead fair at Ardingly this Sunday.

Instead I will be trawling through my many bead boxes putting sets together from my oversize stash to bring you as yet unseen beads, some which I made with the purpose of using in my jewellery designs but haven’t and also more of my older beads that I never put into sets. I’m also sorting out some more bargain beads for my bargain pots and reducing some focals and bead sets. I suppose you could say I’m having a summer clearance but it’s not really that fancy or grand. I’m determined that I’ll be ready in good time the day before and I’m doing my best to get megga organised, famous last words. It’s always those little bits that take the time, they’re unseen but make a difference to presentation.

So what else will be new? My daughter told me to make my favourite animal, so I’ve designed a panda bead and have made a few for Sunday, also I will have a few more fish beads in new designs, maybe more if I have enough energy to make some tomorrow, but I’m not going to moan about it.

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Open Houses countdown 3 days to go

Wednesday morning

I have a zillion and one things to do today, OK not really, but I do have lots to do and I shouldn’t really be here talking to you but I am so there. Yesterday was my 6 week from hip hop day, and it was a good one. No more blood thinning jabs in my belly and I got rid of my sexy white compression pop socks just in time for the hotest day so far this year and spent the day sporting a cool pair of shorts. I even managed to get a steaming hot mug of tea down the steps into our garden so I could sit and slurp on my favourite bench. I also haven’t had any painkillers since Sunday night, how cool is that? I have to admit having a moment at 12 noon yesterday, as that was when they woke me up in recovery and I felt so chilled. This whole experience so far has been completely different from my last surgery, where I was still on crutches and using a wheelchair after 6 months, but here we are, 6 weeks on and I practice walking in the house without sticks when I feel up to it, although I do still need my crutches. Chalk and cheese.

Half way through my recommended recovery period and I think it’s going really well, now all I have to do is pluck up the courage to try making beads again. My brain has been and is still so ditzy and slow that I haven’t dared approach the flame for fear of doing something stupid and burning myself, also my mobility and flexibility constraints have made me wary of trying to sit for any length of time in my studio or reaching to get things and forgetting my hip precautions. Add to this my tiredness after short times of activity and you don’t really have the best of situations. So I’ve decided to leave well alone until I feel I can enjoy making glass beads in safety.

I do have lots to do to get ready for Open Houses this weekend. I’m setting up my first display at the 2×4 Studios in Horsham today and have several jobs that I must do for that, including fitting out my flat display cabinets, deciding exactly what I want in them and how I’m going to arrange and display them. I also have to get all the ‘stuff’ together to make my sales, for example packaging, a sign to explain what I do, a mirror etc…..phew. See you later.

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Open Houses start this weekend

Monday tea time

Open Houses as part of the Artists and Makers Festival in West Sussex starts this weekend and continues the following weekend. I am exhibiting in 2 places, my first and main venue is at Edith Barton’s house in Plummers Plain, where I will have my tall cabinet of designer glass bead jewellery. Edith has once again opened her summerhouse in her huge garden to display her work together with mine and 2 other local artists, Thea Taylor who will have sculpture on display indoors and outside, and Katherine Haynes who makes bags and lampshades from bubble wrap. We are discussing having demonstrations like we did last year, and I may be taking my equipment to make handmade glass beads again, this will depend on how energetic I’m feeling by then. Come and see our artworks, enjoy some refreshment while you watch a demonstration and have a leisurely stroll around the garden whilst admiring the sculptures.

My second venue is in the 2×4 Artists community room in the Drill Hall in Horsham town centre. I will have a smaller range of jewellery for sale, but in different colours from the other venue, so don’t forget to check out both places. The room will of course be displaying many pieces by my fellow artists in the group, including paintings, mixed media, textiles, sculpture and printmaking. Studio artists will also be opening their doors as always.

More information is on my events page and by clicking on the links to the festival website where a pdf of the festival guide can be downloaded, and a festival map can be viewed. Unfortunately this map doesn’t so far appear to have our Horsham locations marked on it, oh well!

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