Archive for Out and About

GBUK Bead Fair this Saturday and new Silver Glass course vacancy

Friday morning

So tomorrow is the day…the day when we get our glassy bits from our glass-blowing taster last month. I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. I have to keep myself from bobbing up and down when I think of it. More importantly though, tomorrow is the GBUK Bead Fair at the Loyd Lindsay Rooms, Ardington, Oxon. The fair starts at 1pm and goes through to 5pm and will be amazing. It will be bringing together lampworkers from around the UK, both seasoned veterans (like myself) and exciting newcomers. Days like this are always very sociable, so we’re looking to forward to spending time in the company of our friends and have lots of good natters.

Of course I have some new beads, I’ve been playing with my new hand shaped nugget which I love  and have strung the faux bo beads shown below into lovely sets for you to buy and use. I’ve also been playing with animal print designs in amber colours, as these are all the rage this season.

But now I have to show you what the spiders have been getting up to on the hedge outside our front door (photos taken 8am Tues 21st Oct)……

Ah, I should add that I have a new course vacancy….

***1 place on a 1 day silver glass and sparkly bits course Thurs 14th October***
On this class we will be covering – using silver glass, dichroic glass, sparkly stuff (see my tuition page), 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!
Contact me now to book your place on this jam packed day.

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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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Glassy Heaven

Monday morning

So the schools went back on Thursday, and this year we had the great pleasure of seeing our daughter start at Secondary school. She looked so smart in her new uniform that I was bursting with gooey feelings (very unlike me). After the obligatory photos on the doorstep in the same place as the ones we took when she was 5 and starting primary school, she was picked up by my friend. As we wandered back into the house after her departure we both groaned and panicked because in the excitement she’d not returned into the house to collect her brand spanking new gym kit. WOOPS. It was a very mad dash after several rushed phone calls to get her kit to her before she walked the final few minutes to school from her friend’s house. I’m not one to run around her but you seriously can’t start a new school without your gym kit and it was partly our fault.

Of course going to big school means she starts earlier, as she has to be at school earlier and it’s further than the 3 minutes (literally) around the corner that we are used to. Which also means that she comes home later too.  The upshot of this is that I get a bit more time to work during the day, and so far, even with 2 days under our belt, it seems to be making a difference. I made a record 99 beads on Thursday (a record for me anyway) and seem to be using the time productively so far.

My other big news is that I had an ab fab weekend at Stourbridge last weekend. at the International Festival of Glass. We left last Friday and attended the Bead Fair on the Saturday and Sunday. We had an enjoyable meal out at the Chinese on Friday with friends, a very raucous meal at the Curry House on Saturday evening with more nutty glassy friends, and a quiet one with friends at the hotel we stayed at on Sunday. But the best part of the weekend (which was already super brill) had to be Monday, when Rick and I had a chance to try our hand at glass-blowing. I’d noticed that the taster session on Monday wasn’t full and amazingly when we enquired there were still 2 places on the 4 place course.  So at 2pm after a very rushed lunch we entered Hot Shop no.1 and had the best time ever. The 4 of us took turns after being shown demo of what to do. We made a snowman to get us used to the basics, then swiftly moved on to blowing a bowl and then made a classic paperweight. It was so much fun I can’t tell you. I’ve been wanting to try ever since watching Norman Stewart Clarke and I have to say I loved every minute, I just want to do it again now!

Here’s a couple of photos and a link to Rick’s Flickr account where you can see all the photos from the weekend, The Bead Fair, meals out, Bienale and our glassblowing.

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

Glass Blowing

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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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Phew….another fab course..thank you Andrea

Friday morning

Wow what a week, I was going to post earlier than today but I’ve been a bit busy, again. This week I had the pleasure of attending another course, this time with the marvellous Andrea Guarino who came over from America to teach at Creative Glass. She has now gone to Zurich to their Swiss head office to teach a couple more classes. We had a fabulous 2 days with Andrea, who showed us how to make several of her bead designs, mainly to teach the techniques she uses to alter the appearance of the simple Effetre glass palate. We learnt some reactive  twistie recipes and some neat tricks for colour reactions. We also got to play with some of Jim Moores’ fabulous tools, something I’ve been intrigued by for a long time, and we loved them so much that we had to have a tool lottery to fairly decide who could buy what tool. I fortunately got second or third dibs and got the tool I was desperate to own, a large one and a half inch lentil masher. I was seen stroking this tool at some point and there is a photo of me doing this lurking on t’interweb somewhere. Andrea is great fun and a very generous teacher, and I’d thoroughly recommend going on one of her courses if the opportunity arises.

The course was also made very memorable by my friends who attended it. We had a real blast, and all got on very well with each other and Andrea, the guys at Creative Glass haven’t ever heard so much laughter at one of their courses before. Unfortunately the down side of all this is that I’m rather weary again, having had 2 intense days of tuition, a late night out for a meal with the lasses and 2 days manic driving back and forth to Rochester. Oh well, it was so worth it.

Today I’m catching up with stuff, listing more goodies on Etsy …. keep an eye out for new stuff during the day……and getting really stuck in to sorting my work for the Bank Gallery Exhibition that we set up in 11 days time. Oh and I have to check how my laminate floor will look when put in my studio.

Some photos of the course with Andrea

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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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Thursday evening

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

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

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

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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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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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The Big Bead Show looms – this Saturday

Weds Morning

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

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

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

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

OK I must whizz, the torch beckons.

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A whiff of Autumn in the air

Thursday evening

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

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

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

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

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Tuition Date and stuff

Friday morning

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

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

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

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

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Free food!

Monday evening

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

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

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It’s still mad!

Sunday evening

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

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

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

Comments are disabled’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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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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It’s official……..

Tuesday evening

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

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

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

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

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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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Big Plan(t)s

Friday afternoon

So I’m sat here, in the shade, on the new patio, as our neighbours have called it. Only I haven’t told them that a new studio is coming next week, when they said ‘we saw your new patio, didn’t you used to have a shed there?’,  I just smiled sweetly (yes it is possible) and quietly said yes. Hmmm. I wonder what they’ll think. When we put up our last shed there were comments from one of their daughters like ‘That’s a big shed for your garden’… wasn’t actually, I’ve seen as large in much smaller ones. So I’m getting a bit nervous about when the new one arrives and is errected. I mean, it’s not really a problem, as our garden is almost the shed width longer than theirs (about 6 foot), so it will be further back than the end of their garden, and it’s also wider by 3 foot, and lower down. Poor dicky had to dig 2 Hippo bags of earth out to cut into the slope of the garden, and even that level is lower than theirs, the corner with the studio is at least 2 foot lower than the bottom of their garden (which is terraced down away from them), so even though the new building will be taller, it will also sit snugly into the lawn and not peek out too much more than the last one, and it will look really smart. Ho hum. Actually I know it will be OK, they may just be a bit surprised.

It’s been a really lovely day, very relaxed and enjoyable. I started by trotting down to the Doc’s for my 84 day weigh in, pre breakfast and mugs of tea of course as you have to be as light as possible don’t you?  I thought I hadn’t lost much this time, but the graph he’s keeping is still showing the same gradient, so that can’t be bad, I’ve now lost 2 stone 9 pounds, and my jeans I used to wear years ago before I really ballooned out are getting really baggy all over and loose around my waist so that I have to hitch them up regularly. Can’t be bad. I just wish it would come off faster, but to be honest I’m not really having to try that hard and certainly not starving myself as that is so counter productive.

After breakfast I drove down to my friends house in Ashington for a coffee morning, than followed that with my first visit to Big Plant nursery nearby to ogle the plants and get ideas for our garden.  I stayed much longer than I planned, as I had intended to just whiz around and see what they’ve got. At around 1pm I took to the car again and had a very pleasant drive to Horsham Fencing, past the fabulously blousy Leonardslee Gardens, to look at the sleepers and get prices. I arrived home in time to have a leisurely lunch while watching Neighbours (bye bye Harold) and then do the school run, well, walk actually, I can quite categorically say I have never run it!

And now I’m here, outside on the new patio, lol, blogging and contemplating how many sleepers we need, enjoying the twittering of the birds, yep, they were there first, and watching the bees or wasps come and go in between their digging holes in the bare earth. Watch out Rick when you cut away to put the sleepers down tomorrow!

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