Archive for Life

Mojo a go go

Monday evening

Hellooooo there, thank you to all my friends, customers and students who came to say hello yesterday at the bead fair. You all make my bead fair days so special, it’s great to catch up with you all and share news and coo over beautiful beads and bits.  I’ve spent the day recovering from all my preparation efforts from the fair, as I had 4 full days bead making and spent all Saturday stringing up sets, pricing stuff and packing up. Of course we celebrated the day with a lovely curry when we got home, yum yum.

So now all I have to do is finish my accounts (ha ha) and get my tax out of the way, then I can start on my new efforts for this years business. I’m hoping to spend some time developing some new designs and hopefully some new colour combinations, although I will be continuing my favourites, as they are so lovely. I’m looking forward to spending time playing with new ideas without the pressure to stock up for an event, I just hope my mojo doesn’t go go.

Here’s some snaps of the bead fair from my stall, and ‘the boys’, sorry Jim, you’re out of focus….

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Back to Realitity…review of ‘Inception’

Thursday morning

A couple of weeks back I talked about my disappointment as I got up one morning, started making loads of jewellery, then woke up and had to start  again. I’ve been dreaming loads lately, mainly because I’m still under the weather with this weird virus that seems to make me sleep loads. I have one day when I feel much better, and then the next day I feel poopy. This is not helping me get my accounts done swiftly and on to making beads for the next bead fair on the 23rd of this month.

I’ve been in a mega dream state these past 2 1/2 weeks, and on that vein we sat down and watched the film Inception. This was an eagerly awaited treat for Dickie and I, and it was with expectancy that we sat down to watch at last on Sunday evening. The film started and had us hooked in fairly swiftly but it got a bit boring at one point and I found my attention drifting and missed what was being discussed. I think the problem was that it was jumping around in a bit of a disjointed way, one minute you’d be in one place and the next you were watching another scene. This was probably to emulate what a dream state can be like, which was in keeping with the premise of the film, but at times rather confusing for me. I held on in there and was rewarded with an action packed story that unfolded on several levels and all the while had me questioning if there would be a twist at the end and what it would be. I was disappointed that the dreamlike special effects they made a big thing of in the trailers weren’t very much in evidence through the main story, I would have liked more weird wowness, but then that wouldn’t have been appropriate to the story. The main theme was about stealing some information from a businessman by planting an idea in his head, and also discovering why our main character had so much angst. On the whole I liked the film and would like to watch it again to get more information and to better understand ‘the rules’ of invading peoples dreams. I always like a film that gets me thinking about it for days afterwards (as this one has), in this case I’ve been trying to work out what was reality and what wasn’t, and how the rules fit (if indeed they do) with what happened. So if I had to give this a star rating (like they do in the Radio Times) I think this would get a 4 out of 5 for me.

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I’m reviewing the situation

Monday lunchtime

More new beads on Etsy! OK., so I’ve only listed repeat sets of my most popular designs, but hey, that’s what I planned to use Etsy for. To get to my shop click on my name in the widget on the left or click  here.

Also I have another new teaching date on my tuition page, Tuesday 1st February is a one day beginners course. Just drop me a line now to book the last place and learn a new skill for a new year.

I’ve been thinking for a while about adding another category to my blog, one where I review what film, TV series or more exciting, the latest book I’ve read. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at reviewing something without giving the bulk of the plot away, but it could be fun to try. Just recently I’ve actually started reading books again. It’s been a long time coming as I used to read like a mad thing when I was at school (I had oodles of time then) and when I commuted on the train to work, but since I bought my first car and moved away from home (that would be around 1985 I think) I have let my fiction reading slip completely. I’ve read at least one book a year on holiday and that is all for the past few years, conveniently the new Harry Potter books came out in the summer, but since picking up Stephanie Meyers’ Twilight series I’ve gone potty for her books and reading in general. So much so, that I’ve made a new year resolution to keep reading fiction throughout the year, and also to try to take up some of the others things I used to do before lampwork glass bead making took over my life. I was going to start with my first review today, but I’ve already written enough and my accounts (yuk) are calling. Toodles.

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Happy New Year

Wednesday lunchtime

Happy New Year to all my friends, customers and family.

Ooh my! almost a month since my last post. It always happens when I’m really busy, too busy really. The last 30 days have gone in a haze of exhibition preparations, stewarding trips to Guildford, Christmas shopping trips, Christmas day itself, then …the inevitable illness that always seems to follow. Oh yes, just when you think you have survived, you (well me) get struck down with something seasonal. I managed to hold out until Boxing Day, when I was home caring for our little one, when I started the inevitable sniffle, then masses of sneezes. I’ve now been unwell for 9 days, I’m feeling much better but I’m still struggling with feeling giddy, especially now as I type, and I’m also struggling to breathe properly.

But of course with a new year, those pesky resolutions come to mind. I think I managed to do most of the ones I made regarding my business last year, all except one….wannna guess which? ha ha, you know already! That would be the one where I keep up to date with my accounts, which I didn’t, of course. Actually I did make a decision this last year about 4 months in, that I wouldn’t try, and that I wouldn’t beat myself up about it either. And here’s why.

I think it actually uses more time up to do accounts once a week, as you have to get everything out, get into the mindset, then do your task. You also have to remember what you did before and not replicate the task. I believe it’s better to save it up to do in one hit or a few smaller ones, so that is what I plan to do this year. Although things are easier again as I did all my filing and tidying up for this years accounts after I did last years work, always a good idea that, and I had a mega filing session half way through the year too, so invoices and receipts only need sorting from January to April. It also helps to be more organised with the paperwork, and I’ve been far more disciplined this past year with where I put my papers and printing out relevant paperwork. So I’m not going to get disappointed with myself, but pat myself on the back and hope that I can get through my accounts as quickly as possible. Here’s hoping.

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Dream state

Tuesday morning

Dreams. We all have them. But I’m not talking hopes and dreams, I’m talking of gently coming out of a deep slumber type dreaming here. I get loads, so many that it’s unusual for me not to have one in the morning. They often have recurring themes, and I often visit the same places regularly. I wasn’t going to divulge what I dream, but I may as well tell you that one of my regular haunts is a very big modern house with lots of rooms and a massive garden that stretches off into the distance. We don’t have the real luxury of that but at least I get to enjoy one of my dream properties regularly, including the joy of rediscovering a room that I had forgotten existed. We wouldn’t mind that here in our real house, although several months after we moved in our present house we rediscovered the cupboard under the stairs.

Dreams can often confuse and disappoint. Take this Saturday, when I had to get up early and continue with my preparations for the exhibitions I have to set up this week. I got up and ploughed on with my work really well, feeling relaxed and on top of things, enjoying the early morning weekend peace downstairs,  only to wake up at 10:30 and find that I’d seriously overslept and had to remake all the stuff I’d already done that morning. Oh that sucked.

Still, I successfully prepared my pieces for the Winter Exhibition at the Bank Gallery at Chobham, and now have today and tomorrow to prepare for the Surrey Guild Guildford Exhibition ‘Unique’. I’m feeling very jaded but also optimistic. Let’s hope the snow stays away so I can get stuck in. Here’s some more snowy photos to get you even more in the Christmas mood. Please excuse the dodgy photos, my camera is on it’s way out and Picasa isn’t playing ball either, it keeps changing the photo next to the one I’m trying to tweak. Bye y’all.

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More space man

Friday morning

Hurrah, we have more space in the lounge! Oh yes, we got stuck in last Saturday and actually managed to reclaim some floor space. We spent the day emptying the cupboards we bought to house all our daughters toys and bits when she was little, and for the old huge telly to sit on. It was 2 Ikea kitchen cabinets, both 60 cms wide and 60cms deep sitting out from the wall so that the TV could be rotated, and to cover the fireplace hole left when the old house owner sold up and decided to take his new fireplace with him because we refused to pay extra for it. Well it was a bit naff and not to our taste. We also (when we moved in) pulled off all the 70’s naff stone fireplace surround and hearth as we were terrified that our baby (just starting to walk at one year old) would fall and crack her head open on it. So all these years it’s been hidden by cupboards.

I have to confess to being rather staggered by the amount of rubbish that we had been storing in these cupboards, as I’d been saving all sorts of bits and pieces to use for junk modelling, something I used to love as a kid, not really realising that now if you want lovely shiny paper or card you can go and buy it. Gone are the days of recycling your Quality Street wrappers to make light catching jewels to adorn a mobile, although I bet someone out there is doing it well, but not the kids. Anyway, we have successfully sorted lots of paper and bits for recycling, and even managed so far to rehouse one of the 2 cupboards in a very successful position even if I do say so myself.

So now all we have to do (ha ha) is make some sort of fireplace surround to fake a fireplace and make the area look good. At the moment we have a small cube storage unit (one destined to go into my studio) with the TV on it in front of the fire area. Then we should have even more floor space. Talking of my studio……..how cold? I popped out to put the kiln and heater on before coming here, and it was so cold that it was almost hazy in there. The kiln was reading 1 deg C when I switched it on, and I’m sitting here putting off the inevitable. It will be interesting to see how warm I am in my new improved super dooper insulated studio. Please think warm thoughts for me.

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Dust, anyone?

Friday morning

2 posts in one week, boy we’re steaming. So it’s full speed ahead in the run up to Christmas, I know it’s a bit of a dirty word, but the event can’t be ignored, in fact I don’t wish to ignore it, I just wish it wasn’t all such hard work.  I used to do loads of fairs in November and December, but gradually whittled them back until I was only doing 2, and this year I have none for the first time. This is good because it means we actually have some Saturdays available, not many, but a couple, and we’re planning to use them fully.  Now this may sound like I’m sitting back and doing nothing…so wrong. I have 2 exhibitions with the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen, one at Bank Gallery in Chobham which runs from 7th December to 16th January 2011, and one in Guildford from Friday 10th December to 24th December (this means more stewarding dates and lots of jewellery to make and catalogue). More details to be found on my events page.

We’re also in the throws of having a good old clear-out, general tidy up and major reorganisation downstairs and anywhere else that things are being moved to….you know how it goes…..

‘Let’s move this’ says Sarah
‘OK, but where shall we put it?’ Says Dickie, trying not to laugh at the Darth Vader mask that Sarah is wearing as she has a real problem with the dust.
‘Oh, that could go in the _____ (insert place name here).’ replies Sarah
‘But if we put it there, then we need to move the ________ (insert name of object or furniture).’ whines Dickie
‘OK, but where will we then put the ________ (insert name already inserted above) that we move?’ says Sarah, trying to sound chirpy but getting annoyed at the amount of work to gain an extra 2 square metres of floor space.
‘Dust, dust, anyone? High calorie or low? Dust?’

…..and so it goes on.

So the plan is to regain as much lounge space as possible, I’ll let you know how we get on, maybe, if it goes well. I also probably should put on a face mask.

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My last phew weeks

Wednesday morning

Well hello there. Bet you thought I’d gone. It’s about time I re-surfaced really. So what’s new and what’s been happening? The past few weeks have been full of teaching, half term ending with the Big Bead Show, and a week long stint of stewarding in the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery in Milford. To say I’m exhausted would be very true. The Big Bead Show was an excellent day out, we saw lots of friends, regular customers, lots of new customers and lots of students came by to say hello and to show off their new lampworking equipment or glass and tool goodies. Thank you to everyone who came and made our day really special.

My week in the gallery at Milford was an interesting one. I started off by cleaning my cabinet and all my jewellery in it, that took 2 days, as every time I was about to do something someone came in and I had to stop. But it all looks nice and shiny and new again now, together with the new pieces that I made while I was there. I also spent a day hatching a cunning plan to sell more in the gallery, and spent all of 2 days at home busy making lots of big hole beads and little project sets to sell. I have designed new packaging to sell these new pieces and spent Friday and Saturday packaging up my smaller items to sell and display in the gallery. It would be fair to say I worked a 16 hour day from Monday to Saturday last week, no wonder I’m officially pooped.

So, if you are in the market for a beautifully made individual  Big Hole Bead with no silver lining (I’ve called them Sky Beads) pop on down to the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery and have a look in one of my wicker baskets. I have singles, pairs and trios available to buy, already gift packed for a perfect stocking filler, prices from £3 up to £10. I also have my handmade icicle hanging decorations, these look lovely on a tree or hanging in doorways or anywhere else that they will catch the light. My other stocking filler is a pretty handmade lampwork bead with 2 plain coordinating beads on an adjustable cotton thong necklace, again gift packed, making the perfect stocking filler at only £5.

I have a couple of new tuition dates on my tuition page, one of these is my last teaching date for 2010 on Wednesday 1st December,  drop me a line now to reserve your place on either of these courses.

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The saga ends and more tuition news

Friday 8th October

I’ve finished………all the Twilight Saga books, yep, that means I’ve actually read more than one book this year, so my total is 4, and what fab books they were. I was so trying to pace myself, but found that I wanted to just keep picking them up, especially the last book, Breaking Dawn. I couldn’t keep away from it for long and found myself totally absorbed in the world of Bella and Edward. I’ve now also watched both films…..ooops, Rick, I didn’t mention that last night……and I have to say that even though they were good, I don’t know whether I would be itching to read the books if I saw the films first. I’m going to try and keep up the reading momentum if possible and the first book on my short list is Eragon by Christopher Paolini. I also have the next one in that series that I picked up in barely read second hand form for 20p…..bargain.

So today sees me doing lots of little jobs around the house and for my business, rather than making beads as I’d hoped. I started the morning by baking some of Nigella’s Banana and Chocolate muffins (actually called banana and butterscotch but I used choclit instead as she suggests). This was my first foray into muffin baking and didn’t go too badly, even though the muffin tray dips were far too big and the cases floated around in the dips in a sort of square shape because they had been in their box for far too long. I’ve now filled the house with the lovely aroma of baking and have even washed up! And there are now only 2 soggy bananas left instead of 5.

New beads are available in my Etsy shop and I have another new date for tuition, another silver glass course on Weds 20th October, same description as the previous date.

So here are the details for course places:-

***1 place on a 1 day silver glass and sparkly bits course Thurs 14th October***

***1 place on a 1 day silver glass and other intermediate techniques Weds 20th October***

On these classes we will be covering – using silver glass, dichroic glass, sparkly stuff , encasing, presses and shaping, long tubes and flame know-how – or as much as we can get through on this massive list in one day!

Email me now to book your place.

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Judging Sarah and the Big Bead Awards

Friday mid day

Have you see the date? 10/10/10….I had to post today just so I could type that. Hee hee. Where has the last week gone, I know, it’s just zipping away and I should stop commenting on it. I was going to do lots of bead stuff today but so far I’ve done washing, made the workmen outside mugs of tea (they’re doing the path down our road), I’ve sorted getting the tree root out from the front garden….you know, the one that got left when we cut the tree down last spring in an attempt to save money? The one that  has now ended up costing as much to cut down ourselves and remove the root as it would have done to have it done professionally? And I got up early again. It’s been really good so far with our daughter going to secondary school as we’re all up much earlier and by the time 9:30 comes I’ve got lots done. The downside is that I haven’t managed to pull back my bedtime yet and I’m feeling rather jaded now with the extra hours and all the extra work/housework…yep that too, that I’m doing.

Yesterday I had the enormous privilege and pleasure to go down to Arundel and help judge the entries for the British Bead Awards organised by Bead magazine. I met Elizabeth Cornish, Jasper who was filming (Oh yes), the new editor Chloe, and Helen O’Neill, the official distributor for PMC in the UK (not to be confused with Art Clay). It was a fun day and very informative as we chatted about our relevant field of expertise and shared looking at the wonderful entries. The film will be showing at the Big Bead show at the end of October before being shown on Bead TV, and the winners will also be revealed at the show at the awards ceremony. I can’t wait!

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Behind the times

Friday eveing

What ho! yes, I know, it’s a fairly corny greeting, but that’s what I got just now when I listed in Etsy this evening. Yes, I have some new beads, one set so far, but I’ll add some more in the next few days once Rick has gotten (I know, very American, it’s the books I’ve been reading) around to watermarking the photos and working his magic on them. It’s been a while since my last confession post, and even longer since I updated the front page of my website by adding news. During the interval I’ve had such a long rest that I don’t know that I can really be bothered to do any work and I feel very guilty when I do because our daughter is at home during the day while the school holidays continue. I’ve been manically juggling making beads for the Stourbridge bead fair next weekend, making beads for my jewellery range to stock a new outlet (I’ll let you know where when I’ve sent the package), and I have 130 beads to make by next Thursday for my regular buyer. It just never seems to let up.

On a fun note, during my break I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading. A friend recommended Stephenie MeyersTwilight books and I’ve been steaming my way through them. I read the first one in 3 days so I could vet it for my 11 year old daughter, and because I was so hooked. I then realised I need to slow down and enjoy them, so I decided I had to pace myself to 2 or 3 chapters a day while I read New Moon, and now I’m on Eclipse, struggling to keep to less than 3 chapters a day. It’s been a while since I was so addicted to my books, it’s been like that for all the Harry Potter series, and I miss not having my yearly book from JK Rowling. I’m just wondering what I’ll do when I’ve finished Breaking Dawn……probably read The Host, as I got a copy when I bought the 2nd and 3rd books in Asda. Hee, hee.

Well, I’ve just spent too long looking at Stephenie Meyers website, I really don’t know where I was when all the fuss was going on, but I hope to be up with the latest developments from now on.

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Here comes summer

Thursday afternoon

I have sore fingers. that would be down to the couple of hundred or so beads that I have just removed from their mandrels. And I still have 7 soaking in Coke as we speak. You know you can always tell how busy I am these days by the lack of blogging. I’m feeling a bit all over the place, my mind is going here and there right now, thinking about all the stuff I’ve done since I last checked in here, all the emails I’ve replied to, beads I’ve sold, places I’ve been, people I’ve met. It’s been a very busy but fulfilling few weeks. Open studios went really well, our numbers weren’t massive, but everyone who came left happy bearing Popped Bubble Designs or gorgeous lampwork bead jewellery. They were treated to Elderflower Cordial and demos from myself and Katherine.

After that I had to have a quick turnaround and prepare my work to put on permanent display at Shop Maltings. This is our new venture as a collective with the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen and Farnham Maltings. We have been invited to use the cabinets in the foyer, glass wall cabinets along a very busy corridor and a small retail space. So last week saw me preparing for that, going there to set up last Thursday (very challenging as my plan for the display didn’t work due to the different stands and the shelf depth) and then returning last Friday for the private view. My daughter and I had a lovely evening over there with drinks and canapés, then a trip to the local Pizza Express while Rick gigged in Haywards Heath with the band he’s in.

There’s always lots on this time of year, and I had been planning to go to the Hampton Court flower show this week, but you know I’m not sure I have the energy, after attending sports day this morning and parents induction at our daughters new school last night….can you believe it she starts secondary school in September! She had a great day at her induction yesterday and we returned in the evening to meet her new tutor and managed to get her kitted out with her new uniform. The first thing she did when we got home was to try it all on properly, she’s so excited and can’t wait to start….long may that last!

Here’s a few shots I took outside Farnham Maltings.

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Open Studios have begun

Monday morning lunchtime

Well hello there! At last I’ve managed to get outside and take up my new position to write something. Once again it’s been all go with exhibition preparation, web site stuff and general hecticalilty (good new word that, whatcha fink?). I managed to get my work priced up early, but only by 4 days, as doing the New Surrey Guild of Craftsmen website took over that week. I’m not going to post a link to that just yet as we have to finish tweaking the front page before we put it up, and we’re doing that this week.

We’ve also been working hard on trying to get our garden looking respectable after a year of barrenness, well, several actually. I couldn’t understand why the garden was in such a bad state, and have to keep reminding myself that neglect of anything not top priority is what happens when you are unwell/disabled or having whatever problem you have. You really don’t realise what an impact bad stuff has on your life until you look back from your better place and see the effects of whatever it was around you. Life has to be prioritised into what you need to do to keep you happy (which in my case was making beads and building up my business), and to live from day to day, like food! Oh and a wee bit of the dreaded washing and cleaning.

So today I’m very pleased to be sitting in my new blogging seat, which is actually a problem area in the garden where we can’t plant anything because of the manhole cover that the daft builders positioned next to our fence and over the drain that runs exactly along our sunniest border, nutters. Now this is extremely annoying as we only have one sunny edge in our garden and this is it. So I devised a cunning plan to make a Mediterranean style gravel seating are over the cover. This can be lifted if access is needed as the gravel sits on a membrane. I love it.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to sit outside with a steaming hot mug of tea and enjoy the lovely weather and relax a bit after my hectic week last week and a weekend of welcoming visitors to our Open Studio in Horsham. We fling our doors open again this coming weekend, and it would be lovely to welcome some of you too. For more details please follow this link.

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Choices

Tuesday morning

We all have choices to make. At our daughters school they say ‘You can make a good choice, or you can make a bad choice’ in the hope that the kids will behave in a good way. Choices can be major or not, like whether to post yesterdays blog draft, which as it happens wasn’t up to standard. But today I think I’m going to be radical and make what I hope is a good choice, do I make beads in my lovely new wired up studio (do you see how I got that in?) or do I sit indoors and price up my work for the Open Studios that start a week on Saturday? I think pricing work a week and a half early would be really exciting (in a weird sort of way) and to be honest rather grown up for me, a bit scary really, but I think a good decision as hopefully it will mean a less stressful build up to the event and maybe give me some gardening time. It will also give me time to mull over what gaps I have and what beads I should actually make when I do get out to my lovely white studio with the pale beech laminate floor (ooo look I snuck another bit in about my lovely new refitted studio).

Don’t forget to check out my Etsy shop, lots of sets sold from here at the Dorking Bead Fair 2 weeks ago, but I have added one lovely set of Silver Waters. Just click on the Etsy widget on the left. Also I have a couple of glass beadmaking lesson dates:-

***1 place on a 2 day Beginners Course on 12th to 13th July***

***1 place on a 2 hour taster on Friday 25th June 2-4pm***

contact me now to book your place

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Tapas on the Tapas Tree

Sunday evening

We have a bird tree. Everyone is doing stuff online, it’s all Facebook, Bebo, forums and twitter. Remember Cameron and his funny faux pas on Absolute Radio when asked if he uses Twitter? ‘Too many twitters make a t**t’?  I think we have the coolest twitter place here, I can see it as I sit here typing this post. I can hear it too.

We have a bird tree and right now the birds are twittering in it to their hearts content. It’s a holly tree in the corner of our small garden, one that sits over the corner of my studio and shelters one half of it from the ravages of the winter. The tree keeps my studio dry in the rain but sheds (no pun intended) many holly leaves down the gap between the fence and the studio in the autumn.

I can’t help thinking one of the funniest lines I ever heard in a song……’mangos on the mango tree, tapas on the Tapas tree’.

We have a bird tree….and I love it.

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2 years on

Thursday morning

I have to post and run today. It’s been another manic couple of weeks, with a couple more of the same to come.  I was madly getting ready for an exhibition that started last week at the Bank Gallery in Chobham, and would you believe it finishes this Saturday?  So I  have to go back at the start of next week to collect my cabinet and work. I don’t know how I’m going to fit this 3 hour round trip in, but it will have to happen. And I must remember to take some Blue Tack or Sellotape to stick my parking ticket to the windscreen or I may end up with another parking ticket……oh yes, last Tuesday when I was stewarding and putting my work in my cabinet I somehow managed to displace my parking ticket that I’d faithfully bought, so that the warden couldn’t see it and I ended up with a parking fine, which I contested but they’re being jobs worths about. Here’s a few shots of our exhibition at the Bank Gallery.

So today my job is to prepare for the Bead Fair at Dorking Halls this Sunday. I have beads to clean, dry and inspect…boo, beads to sort into sets and string together, and beads to sort for the bargain pots…yay. I also have all the other small jobs to prepare for the event, the ones that need doing but don’t actually look like they’ve happened, you know, like sorting my float, leaflets and sales sheets etc., boring but very important. I will have more luscious beads, including my Etsy shop stock ( I must work out how to put this on holiday for Sunday), more bargain beads and my usual supply of chains.

Today is also a very special day for me, as it’s now 2 years to the day that I had my hip replaced. I think my last post about hippiness was probably a year ago, no, make that the end of last June when I did the Race for Life. What a difference it has made to my life and that of my family. Two years down the line I feel like me again, it’s taken a while, but the thought of limping and using a stick are starting to fade into the past. I am still concious of walking when I do go out, but it is with a huge grin on my face and a heart full of joy and gratitude for the wonderful technology we have here. Life is sweet. I should celebrate. I’d better plan something in my hectic schedule.

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I’m ranting today…must be election fever

Thursday morning

It’s general election day and my mind is turning to think about the things that could be done better in this country. And I’ve been thinking about some things that keep getting in my way near the front door, and that seem to keep increasing in number, and won’t go away even when I do what it says on the label. Hmmm, what could it be? Phil the Bag? or any of the number of cheap thin virtually useless plastic bags that seem to keep getting dumped through our letter box, at least one each week. It’s not even like you can use them for kitchen waste as they have holes in them. So I’m going to have a bit of a rant now, because I’m getting really fed up with them. I thought we as a country were trying to do our best not to use plastic bags, and I as well as Dickie always take our own bags to do our shopping now. We’re trying so hard to keep our plastic levels down, and yet the charities seem to have a free pass to dump at least one of the offending bags through our letter box every week. How does that work?

I’m a firm believer in recycling as much as possible, and this week we in Horsham were really pleased to have a new street collection on Tuesday that took away junk mail, paper, newspapers, all types of card, glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, cans and foil, and basically combined most of what we already recycle with the addition of the things we used to have to take to other centres. The only extra thing we can now recycle is waxed food paper cartons, but hopefully more people will now recycle what we’ve been doing ourselves. I hate to think of all the clothes that are simply thrown away because they’re no longer wanted, and I also know that charity shops are struggling because people that used to give their clothes to them are now selling them on Ebay. I’m cautious about putting my clothes in the recycling bins in supermarket car parks as one of my friends told me how she saw a car drive up to one, the driver then dangled their child out of the window and into the top of the bin to rummage through it and remove what they wanted! Now maybe they were in need, I guess that was OK, but you hear of companies that do kerbside collections for charity, then set up a shop selling what they collect for their own business.

I have to say I wouldn’t mind the bags so much if they actually did what they said they would, i.e. if you have something to put out you use the bag or if not then put it out and they will collect it back. So what actually happens? I’m sure you know already.  You put out the empty bag and it sits on the doorstep until it goes dirty and rotten and looks a complete mess, because when they do turn up in the van to collect the goods people have left out, unfortunately the company that sells stuff will have been around first and nabbed the charity bags…oh yes, I’ve seen it happen, even when the bags were explicitly labelled with the name of the charity on it, then the charity guys don’t even bother getting out of the van to collect the empty bags, and so the pile gets bigger. You can’t win.

So what’s to do? I really don’t know. Maybe they should think of a better greener way to collect. Obviously the bags make people think about donating, and make it easy to just open it and start filing it, but shouldn’t there be some sort of ban on littering our houses with plastic junk?  Just like the amount of junk mail we get, which has increased since some bright spark said it was all right for the junk mail allowance that Posties deliver to go up in quantity. How green is that? IT’S NOT.

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Moved back in…yipeeeeee

Tuesday morning

It’s official, I’m back in my new improved studio. I have insulation, posh lining and a pale laminate floor. I also have a new shelving unit for my glass and a new workbench (well, kitchen worktop). It all looks lovely, now I have to tidy up my jars of glass and organise some way to display and store my huge frit collection without the labels fading in the sun light. I have lots of jars to soak labels off, as I just used to use them as they were, label and all, to store glass rods in that I am using, but no more, I’m on a tidy up spree. I’ve ditched lots of rubbish that was in the old studio, including all those lovely colour wine bottles that I thought I would turn into beads. I’d love to spend the time recycling glass, but to be honest it takes too long for my style of beadmaking. I’ve got really ruthless and have decided to part with glass I won’t ever use and clear out a few bead presses also. All of yesterday was spent sorting out said rubbish and going up and down the steps between the house and garden with handfuls of things to put back in the studio. We can now see the floor in our lounge again, such a relief.

Here’s a couple of shots of my studio progress…..hover over the photos for captions

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Yet more new beads

Friday afternoon

More new beads…..I persuaded Rick to take some photos last night after he got back from band practice, and I’ve listed 4 new sets on Etsy today. Photos below. Unfortunately he forgot one of the angles that I like for each set so the poor duck will have to repeat the process tonight. We also have the exciting prospect of a trip to Ikea at some point this weekend to get flooring for my studio and some shelves to put the glass on.

I had a dream of what my studio would look like when finished and it’s gradually changing into something that I hadn’t envisaged and that I’m not so keen on. I know that practicality should come first, but I’m still a bit sad. But, it will still be lovely and I can’t wait to get back in there and start melting glass again. I also can’t wait to get the new torch that I fell in love with at Flame Off last weekend. It’s a HUGE torch, with a mahoosive flame that melts boro like chocolate. It has a large burner with a Minor burner on top, and you can light one from the other and swap easily between the two flames. Unfortunately this poses another problem in my studio because the flame is so much longer when you have it turned up for the boro. At least I found out at this stage so I can tweek my layout to suit it or install some type of flame insulation opposite where I decide to position it. I’ll have to wait a couple of months before I invest in it as I will also need another oxycon (the machine that extracts the oxygen from the air to supply my torch).

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I’m back….(a bit like ‘Here’s Johny)

Tuesday morning

Where do I start? Lots has happened here and globally, so what should I talk about today? I decided to write a list of possible blog topics, and it hasn’t really helped, so maybe what I’ll do is give you a very quick run down of what’s new? Or should I? Maybe I should keep all my stuff and eek it out over a couple of weeks to keep you coming back in suspense. Or is too much suspense bad for your health, now who was it who wrote that, was it Douglas Adams?

So here’s what’s been going on, the lounge is still full of my studio equipment and glass, but not insulation boards or plasterboard, Easter came and went, I went on a course then attended Flame Off with Dickie and DD and now I’m so shattered I can’t believe it. Oh and a big volcano went boom and stranded lots of people all over the world including my uncle who lives in Madison Wisconsin and whom I saw yesterday at my parents house. There, I’ve said it. But of course there’s all much more to it than that, and I’m rambling, probably because I’m so tired.

The last few days have been so peaceful, and the sky so clear and lovely. I heard my first plane in days, about 10 minutes ago, and 5 minutes ago looked up in the sky to see a plane very high up leaving a contrail across the huge expanse of clean air…although it probably isn’t, it would be nice to think it was after 5 days rest from aeroplanes. Maybe there should be one day a year across the world where nothing flies anywhere, wouldn’t that be great? They would have to choose a certain 24 hours across the world so it all happened at once, but I think that would be a great idea. Many people have forgotten just how noisy all that daytime background noise has got, and it was a real pleasure to go outside at my parents and not be bothered by City Airport, Stansted, Heathrow or Gatwick noise. It was just so peaceful. Lovely.

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