Archive for July, 2006

One month downtime (not downton)….eeek

Monday lunchtime

I thought I’d pop up and say hi. The school holiday is now in full swing, so I’ve decided to take a months break from the computer! eek, it’s going to be very hard to do, but I need to spend some quality time with my family and time to try to get the house and garden tidy (ha ha). I may be popping in from time to time to blog, but don’t hold your breath!

So…..the upshot is, please don’t be upset or annoyed when I don’t reply to your emails. If you’re interested in tuition and can wait for a reply, please feel free to send me a contact form and I’ll reply when I can.

Also, a reminder that the GBUK Bead Fair in Stourbridge is fast approaching, details are on my events page and you can also visit

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Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…

Thursday afternoon

How is it Thursday already? It’s been an exciting week, well, for us anyway. It’s amazing how simple things please simple minds, but that’s what’s happened. I’d been watching Ebay over the last couple of months to see how camping equipment was selling and just popped in there last Thursday for a check up. The tents and awnings were selling well (at last), so it was time to take the plunge and get rid of our surplus frame tent and spare awning. To cut a long story short our tent got all it’s bids in the last 2 minutes…can you believe it! It’s a bit annoying really cos I feel sure we’d have got a better price if they’d started 5 or 10 minutes earlier….lol. Anyway, the awning went up 2 days ago and that’s sold now too. So hurrah for Ebay. What’s so sad is how excited you get watching the final couple of minutes, and how you jump and woop when it’s sold. I can see how people get addicted to this.

Our other excitement was our bread making today.  We’ve had a bread machine for 2 years now, and I’ve never had sucess with making dough then turning it into rolls or ciabatta.  But today I think I cracked it…we made pizza dough this time, which is quicker and doesn’t do a full prove in the pan, then sucessfully made bread rolls (this has to be said ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ stylie, by roling your r’s), a small Foccatia and a round of dough balls like you have for a starter in Pizza Express.  Blooming perfick.  (We saved you a dough ball Rick.)

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Here comes summer (but you already knew that)(continuing the theme of song titles)

Sunday Evening

I think I’m already gearing down for the school holidays, I feel soooo lazy, and just want to veg and I have this irresistable urge to go shopping for new clothes (don’t know what that’s about). I don’t even know what I’m blogging about this evening. Normally I go into blog mode on my computer to make me think about what to write, but tonight it just doesn’t seem to be happening. I think maybe all the heat and May-June-July stress has addled my brain. Also the excitement of watching our auction on Ebay to sell our old mamoth frame tent (in excellant condition, 6 berth, only used 4 times) has overshadowed everything (not really!). Got to put the old awning from our old caravan up next, should have done it the same time as the tent, but I spend time marketing it so we can be sure of a good price (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Trouble is we’re so unused to Ebay that putting up an auction seems to take an inordinately long time, it didn’t help that Rick had nearly finished the listing and then lost it and then had to start all over again.

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0118 999 881 999 119 725……….3

Friday morning

Oh the joy of having E4+1. What a great channel, all the fab C4 programmes and repeats of wonderful comedies like ‘The IT crowd’. It’s like Faulty Towers and Father Ted all rolled up in one. Last night’s episode was very memorable, the long phone number for the emergency services “well that’s easy to remember”, the stress tester, a fire extinguisher that catches fire in an office fire, red shoes that are way too small and the ‘ah, made in Britain’ joke. Also we saw Moss testing his stress levels as he had his hand with fingers spread open on the desk and stabbed in the gaps with a screwdriver back and forth for about a minute without getting his fingers – amazing. Pure genius. Roll on next weeks episode.

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still too hot

Thurday lunchtime

Sports day has been postponed unitl September! So I get to work at home all day, but still a bit too hot for me to make beads unfortunately. So now I’m panicking as I look at my planner and see how many days I have left to make beads and jewellery for the GBUK Bead Fair in August at Stourbridge or to make some pieces for sale on my website. I’ve decided that since the school hols are approaching so rapidly now, I should give my family a bit of a break from my business and so have decided to delay the launch of my on-line shop until the beginning of September (are you taking this in Rick?). What with family loyalties, the glass festival and getting our house and garden looking half decent I shall be taking a well deserved break (or as much of one as I can have) during August, ready to return for business in September. I can’t believe how quickly the year is zipping by!

August isn’t here yet though, so keep those emails and lampwork tuition enquiries coming. Off to get me some lunch now and hang up the washing (such an exciting life).

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Oh, the shame of it!

Wednesday morning

Oh the shame of it! We watched a repeat of Top Gear last night, very funny, they really laid into Caravans and their owners. It was great watching these car buffs being so incompetant with the caravan they bought. They managed to drive it into a bollard, reverse it into an awning, failed to turn it around in a lane, forgot to hitch up again and drove off without it, then set fire to it. They had the police then a fire engine out. Now whether it was all set up I don’t know, although I suspect it was, a salutory lesson on how fragile they are, and how quickly they go up in smoke.

here’s the shame of it….we have one! And I always feel shame when we set off, cringing about the people that might be stuck behind us, thinking about how we as a family when I was a kid always used to mock caravan owners….the shame of it. Still, they uped the speed limit to 60mph for towing, so for most A roads there isn’t such a problem now, also with motorways you can tuck yourself in on the inside lane while everyone shoots by at 80mph…..but oh, the shame of it.

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Hot hot hot

Tuesday morning

I’m having a cool day indoors today, not going to risk trying to make beads in this heat, at least I don’t have to this time. I’ve two lovely scars next to each other on my arm from the other weeks’ hotscapades (new word to describe foolish hot behaviour, similar to icescapades but not related to ice skating) – well if Will Shakespere can make up new words so can I.

Today I’m endeavouring to tidy my desk indoors, oh I hate this. It’s looking better but somehow I always end up with different size piles of BITS. They might be headpins mixed with odd beads, stray findings, business cards and other stuff, then piles of flyers I need to refer to, and various small stuff that I will forget about if I throw them away or put them away (only to be discovered 5 years later after clogging up yet another drawer, and been searched for voraciously several times in the interval to no avail). How do people get truely organised, do everything they need to do, and keep their pads tidy? This for me is like THE question, you know, the one about The meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything, it probably has an obscure answer like ’42’ and no one knows what on earth it means. Maybe I should just resign myself to the fact that I’ll never get a handle on it.

Anyway, they just said on the news that sunscreen doesn’t work effectively if it’s rubbed in, oh now what? Honestly, now they say it should stay in a thick layer on the skin to work properly. But you know what? Experts are also saying we’re suffereing from a lack of Vitamin D because of all the care we’re taking of our skin now… can’t win.

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She’s a daytripper, one way ticket, yeah (tribute to Beatles)

Saturday evening

hellooooo. a quick blog before I turn into bed, well, go to bed, not actually turn into a bed, that would just be silly. I’ve had a lovely day today teaching a new student, (Hi Julie) and I’m going to pop down to the studio in a minute to check on our dichroic beads, can’t wait to look and see.

Yesterday we took my daughter out of school and went to Art in Action again in Waterperry, just outside Oxford. We had a leisurely trip up, parked at my friends mums house in the village, then had a very civilised mug of tea and catch-up with old friends before walking up the road to the show. Such a lovely show to visit, loads of marquees specialising in different diciplines from woodworking to metalwork, jewellry making to textiles, asian arts and sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics, performance arts, and of course glass. Everyone who is there demonstrates what they do, and are allowed to sell their work so you can just go around all day watching artists do their thing. There was also a craft market, a materials maquee where you could spend lots of lolly, and an exhibition of the Best of the Best. I do like days out like yesterday, but I’m absolutely shattered now, so night night.

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Wish away wheelie washers

Thursday morning

On my bench, with my tea, hee hee. Just thought I’d come outside for some fresh morning (or what’s left of it) air and to compose my thoughts for the day. I didn’t realise how dusty my screen had got! I’m desperately trying to catch up with the washing, oh yes, the laundry overfloweth once more, what do I mean ‘once more’? That should read ‘as usual’. I hope the weather holds so I can get it all dry. Actually it’s a bit of a tight squeeze on the bench because my beautiful Crocosmia Lucifer has grown so tall that it’s now flopping sideways and covering half the seat. I’ll have to get Rick to help me control it with one of my bargain plant stakes that I bought at the show last week.

Ughhh, the lovely garden noises are being spoilt by the sound of the Wash-a-wheeli company that come down our close. Even though we don’t have ours done, they insist on parking outside our house with their racket, and have damaged the branches of our tree more than once by squeezing under it with their noisy van. Grrrrr. So much for a few minutes peace and quiet. Ahh, sounds like they’ve finished, and so have I. byeeeeee.

OOOO, I should add that Art In Action started today, and continues until Sunday. The lovely Di East, Dora Schubert and Amanda Glanville will all be there on Di’s stand, so pop along if you’re intrigued by lampworking and see how it’s done. There are of course loads of other crafts to be seen demonstrated, and the show is well worth a visit if you’re into art and craft.

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What a boar

Wednesday morning

Another day of mousework today. Woopee, not. I made a few beads yesterday and have to get them out of the kiln, they include a glass ring, oh yes. I decided to try one of the ring mandrels that Martin at Tuffnells has started to stock, it was difficult to get a thin coating of mandrel release, took ages to dry, then after I’d made my ring, it didn’t fit in the kiln! Well, it went in but I couldn’t close the bead flap. I had to turn the kiln around and use the side door, knocked all the other beads on mandrels sliding it in, then could only fill the kiln half full because it got in the way! lol. Can’t wait to see how it turned out, just off to see……..oh it’s cool. It came off the mandrel easily, but is a bit of a pig to clean – I won’t be using my diamond drill bit or I’ll mess the surface. I will however be cutting the mandrel handle down to a shorter length so it fits in the kiln sideways without hogging all the space.

Talking of hogs…did you know that the male hedgehog was called a boar and the female a sow? or that their young are called Hoglets? I helped my daughter with some homework yesterday and we found all sorts of interesting facts about hedehogs on t’internet. The most interesting (apart from being able to swim, climb almost vertical walls and run at 2 metres per sec!) was that they love to eat snails and slugs, and eat about 200g a night. Now I could do with one of those in my garden. Some plants are looking a bit lacy to say the least, but the hostas with crushed up egg shells do seem to be fairing better now, together with the hosta with a natural mulch (it was left under the holly tree in the corner of the garden). I may even start mulching other tasty plants with my free holly leaves.

Here’s a few pictures from Hampton Court Flower show last week, it was very hard to make a choice.

Cornish gardenPlumbago in the Caribean gardenUrban JungleFlower cusionsWater lilies

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Tempus Fugit, don’t it?

Monday evening

Where did the last month go? It seems only yesterday I was posting about the RAG Open Houses, and here we are 3 weeks later and we’ve had a late dinner after popping down to Worthing to collect my work and display case. And now I’m shattered.
We had a lovely day at Lingfield Bead Fair yesterday, we met up with old friends, and new. It was lovely to see all of you who came to say hello and have a chat. Now I have to catch up with housework (yuk) and sleep, washing and shopping, while making sure I get all my work done before the school holidays start. I’m planning to have fun tommorrow making nice beads in my studio, I have 2 commission beads to make, but will see where the muse takes me tommorrow. Night all.

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Caught at Hampton Flower Show

Friday evening

yo dudes and dudettes. I’m grinning from ear to ear (wot? there to there?) I got back home an hour and a half ago, from a brilliant day out at the Hampton Court Flower show. I decided spur of the moment last night night that I was going to take the day off and spoil my senses, and I’m so glad I did. You know a girl has to have some time off occassionally.

I think one of my favourite gardens was the Couch Potato one, full of recycled things, including TV’s full of water and aquatic plants. They even had a copper water tank on it’s side (we have one of those in the garden – doesn’t look very good at the moment though, our plumber thought I was mad wanting to keep it). I even nearly got rid of it last week, now I’m glad I didn’t.

I’ll stick some photos up when I’ve downloaded todays crop – I think I took around 260. I also bought some hot plants, Crocosmia Lucifer, Helenium, yellow Coreopsis and a lovely orange flowered one with burgundy foliage. I also bought Garlic scented chives (yum) and 5 different lavenders for our new revamped front border. OOh and a lovely white Agapanthus. I can’t wait to get them in the garden, well, tell Rick where to put them…oh dear, that sound a teeny bit rude.

Which reminds me, I spoke to one of the show garden designers who thought she had a dichromatic bead necklace on.  Hee hee.  Off to finish watching Gardeners World

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Thursday morning

Boy have I got a lot of gorgeous new beads for your consumption on Sunday at Lingfield. I’ve been slogging away in the heat this week to ensure a lovely display of my new range which hasn’t been seen on t’internet yet. Shades of blues, turquoise and teal blend together to produce the most yummy beads yet. I’m also working on some new fish designs today, as my newest ones sold the other weekend at Barton, just popped up for air and to do a quick blog entry (although this is my second attempt, the first disappeared). I’ve been far too busy lately, all the finer points of life seem to be passing me by, sob, sob. Still, it should be a bit easier next week…..all I have are orders for wedding jewellery and a couple of phone dangles….and making sure I get everything done for the GBUK bead fair before the school hols start……and all the other stuff involved in running a business. Hmmm…..easier next week?…..famous last words.

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My new man

Tuesday evening

Cool at last, but boy hasn’t it been hot today. I was mad enough to make beads during the day again today, at least I got started earlier than normal, although it would have been earlier if I could have got my didymium specs over my normal glasses. It was absolutely sweltering and I think the heat must have made me careless cos I kept catching myself on hot stuff and burning myself. Would you believe it the first time I ever wear shorts to make beads I had lots of glass popping everywhere, and of course most landed on my legs even though they were under the bench. The last straw was with a bead that I’d parked in the kiln to answer the door, I caught my hand on the scorching mandrel (460 deg C) getting it back out of the kiln and then all the stringer popped off, most of making it’s way straight to me, and one bit even got my lips. Ouch ow and double drat.

I have to say the best bit of the day was when we had a 5 minute shower. I could tell it was raining because that lovely smell you get when it’s been hot and it’s just started raining, came wafting in on the only cool breeze (in fact the only breeze) of the day. It was a lovely feeling sitting melting my hot glass, with the smell of hot wet dust and a cooling breeze and the sound of rain on the plants and the studio roof. Bliss. Have a cool evening.

ps. here’s the new man in my life…..

new garden sculpture

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Mozzie Watch

Monday morning

A quick hello before I go to my studio and make beads. It was already 17.5 degC out there when I turned the kiln on. I’m hoping to get a head start and make beads before the scorching heat comes today.

In the battle of ‘mozzie versus me’, I prowled the upper hall last night before bed on ‘Mozzie Watch’ and managed to split a good number with my trusty pink critter splitter. The score last night was Mozzie 1, me 9. Forget the World Cup or Spring Watch, it’s all happening here. And a quick update on those old snails….I decided to try protecting my beloved Hostas with a crushed up eggshell mulch, and so far it seems to be working a treat. One poor Hosta that they munched almost the whole thing might just be recovering, not sure, but the last one they were attacking is now unfurling it’s tender, if not small, leaves. My hostas are not looking at all good this year, I did have 8 or 9 large plants, but only one large one this year, and most of the others are non-existant. That’ll teach me to put all my energy into beadmaking at the expense of my plant collection. Hmmmph.

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