About Me

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North Somerset, United Kingdom
My parents were worried when I ran around with scissors – now I play with fire and (intentionally) break glass! Based in the beautiful South West of England, close to the sea and often the scene of beautiful sunsets, I am inspired by the countryside around. Working with sea glass collected from remote beaches, soda lime glass from Murano, Italy, Europe, USA and beyond, I create artisan beads, for use in my own jewellery or for you to enjoy in your own creations. But I couldn’t stop there; continuing the theme from round rods to flat sheets, mostly from the USA, I break large sheets of transparent, opaque, multi-coloured and dichroic glass into much smaller pieces to make a kiln-formed range of bright, colourful jewellery and home decoration. Each piece I make is individually designed around the shape, size and beauty of the materials and intended to be unique, wearable, usable and affordable. All my glass work is kiln annealed for strength and durability and designed to give pleasure for years to come.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Are you ready, are you steady ....





Let's get cooking.....

Can anyone tell me where the past 10 days have gone?  I waved my husband off at the station on his way to a conference in the US and headed home to a long list of things I was going to get done before he comes home on the 21st.  List ... what list?  Oh that list!

First up was make a Christmas cake - yes I know I have left it a bit late, but I now have three!  and some bird cake!

At the end of my garden there is a lane, owned by one neighbour, giving back access to my other neighbour in the middle terrace.  Overgrown and unloved, the large bramble 'pile' in the corner is populated by hundreds of tree sparrows and a loved up pair of pigeons.  And possibly a pair of blackbirds who seem to always have a cuckoo chick in tow. And magpies when the crows destroy their nest in the Horse Chestnut tree.  An avian high-rise!

In January I took part in a challenge on a craft forum to create recycled bird feeders and these have been reused yet again for bird cake.  They are now in-situ and proving very popular with the local residents and a passing robin.

So, that's them fed, what about us?

I have a boiled fruit cake recipe that forms the basis of all my fruit cakes.  Whatever I have also goes in, and yesterday was no exception.  I've added extra glacĂ© morello cherries (the ones I didn't eat), chopped dates, almonds, ground almonds, a bit of a bar of white chocolate, a jar of gooseberry conserve and a large jar of cherry conserve (we aren't jam eaters, just jam receivers). Of course all this extra throws the recipe out of the window so I go for 3 eggs, perhaps more if I can get the whole lot in the Kenwood Chef bowl and still  mix at fast speed as the boiled recipe is still hot and cold eggs, hot fruit = scrambled eggs if you don't get your skates on. Not the prettiest cakes, but, judging by the Chef's Perks in the bowl, pretty tasty.

Of course, you can line your cake tin as Mary Berry would, but I have gone for speed and taste over presentation. 






And the prize for 'can you eat it?  No you can't :( goes to one of my mother-in-law's cyclamen. 

Visitors always gave her plants - she gave chocolates and biscuits away, preferring to be malnourished (medically confirmed).  After she had a stroke in May and ended up in hospital for months on end, we were left with her home to care for, and the plants!  My husband didn't want them to die, I think it was sort of wishful thinking if they were there she might come home although in his heart of hearts he knew this would never be the case.  So when I did the house clearance (saving him the pain) I put two of these to one side in case I could resurrect from the slimy mess they had become to a plant we could take to her.  I kept cutting the really long leaves off, far too long and leggy and the cats kept pulling the plants off the window ledge, but  I've now got some sturdy growth and flowers - they'll soon be ready to go back to her care home room and I'll take back whatever else looks like it needs a trip to A&E.


So, are you ready for Christmas?  No, me neither!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I'm raising funds for an Epilepsy charity with my zip pulls - perfect stocking fillers!


Zip pulls – bag tags – purse bling – (and I’m told) crochet stitch holder & knitting row marker - or clip on your Crimbo tree

This is a lucky dip to raise funds to help cover the postage cost for the Christmas Teddy Bears for Children with Epilepsy - Christmas Epilepsy Teddy Bears 2014. (more info in these links)

You can make a request for big or small and a colour and if I have it you can have it – if I haven’t I’ll send a lucky dip. Most are as shown in the picture (those cards are approx 70mm x 45mm to give scale).

£2 each (donated to cover the Teddy Bear postage costs as explained) + £1.20 UK or £4.25 International postage per postage box – I can get 10-12 in the box for this price. If you want more, message me and I’ll work out a postage price for you.

Payment by Paypal gift/friends and family - if you want an invoice, 10% extra to cover the Paypal fees.

Parcels sent next day by 1st class UK post, happy to post abroad but cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas.

Email me if you would like to order.

Go on, you're sure to have at least one jacket with a missing zip tag, and it's all for a good cause - and of course they are great stocking fillers. Great too for your purse, no more fiddling with tiny zip tags and taking your gloves off at the bus stop to get your ticket/money out

Let's help make Christmas a little bit more special for a child with Epilepsy.



Saturday, 15 November 2014

The answers - and the winner is?



Here are the answers to the riddles I set

And the winner is?

No one!  No one has sent me their answers by the closing date so no one wins.

I thought this might be a bit of fun for some, but I was obviously mistaken. I hoped that the 'I want it for free and I don't want to do a thing to get it' culture hadn't spread to my blog followers. Or perhaps the prize of a handmade sterling silver and glass pendant does not appeal?  Perhaps you expect more for free? 

I have tried for interaction and failed.  Only one comment was made throughout the 8 blog posts.

Probably best I say no more on the matter.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

And on to fresh adventures – the last riddle



 



All good days must come to an end – our membership to the RHS expired at the end of October and we decided not to renew this year.  There are plenty of other places to explore.



What’s next?  Well, I’m planning to add fused glass to my repertoire.  I’ve booked on a ½ day taster session in a week or two, to get some pointers.  As is always the way with me, I hate going on any kind of course without having had at least a mini-dabble first so I’ve splashed some cash, bought some glass and made a couple of sun catchers


 

and a coaster for husband. 



They’re not bad for someone who’d not cut glass until a few days ago.  (I did this with lampworking, arranged to go on a taster session on the Friday, had the session Saturday and signed up for the evening classes starting in a few weeks – by then I had my first torch and had made some beads).



So, for the last riddle…..


First you see me in the grass dressed in yellow gay;

Next I am in dainty white, then I fly away.

What am I?



So what next?



 



Beads (shown below) or a pendant like (but not) this one - see the blog post for details



You have until midnight Thursday13th November UK time to email me at sue.harris@blueboxstudio.co.uk with your answers – I’ll announce the winner on my blog within 7 days of the closing date – and publish the answers so everyone can go ‘oh, of course, that was the answer to that one’, just as we did when we saw them.  

The winner has 7 days to claim their prize, either the beads or the pendant, you choose, so don’t forget to check my blog!  If the prize isn’t claimed in this time the winner will forfeit their prize and I’ll draw another winner.


So, good luck, let’s get those entries in.  And thanks for playing along x

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The cottage garden and the penultimate riddle






Hidden in the midst of RHS Rosemoor is a cottage garden, complete with thatched ‘cottage’, a shelter for weary visitors.  Or, when we were there, a very noisy one shouting into his mobile phone!   

A tame(ish) pheasant (or Partridge as Himself calls them) wandered nearby, picking up the fallen bird seed; it was the nearest we had got to one and he wasn’t leaving before he had finished eating, for anyone.  I almost touched his tail feathers, and then he gave me a look of horror and walked off.

 
 
 
 



As all country cottages should have, there was a small orchard - complete with concrete fruit!

and a comfy seat from where to watch



the dragon on the summer house roof!  Perhaps he's central heating?






So here’s riddle number 7 – is anyone taking part?  Do I get to keep my prize?

Without fingers I point
Without arms I strike
Without feet I run
What am I?

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Craftsman’s mark – and riddle number 6



Old buildings, or new made to look old?  


Carpenter’s marks or scratches in the wood?  
 

Keys to where? there are no doors.  



The 6th riddle – how are you getting on with these? Comment if you are taking part - let me know :)


A container without keys or lid,
But a golden delight inside lies hid
What am I?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Mellow fruitfulness – and the fifth riddle



Autumn – John Keats


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.



And the fifth riddle……

Of the kind I am blue and of the peasant I am red
Of the frog I am cold and of the dog I am hot instead
What am I?







Friday, 31 October 2014

The veg plot – and the 4th riddle




As those of you who follow my blog and ramblings will know, our garden floods when it rains heavily so all the borders that matter, in the back garden, are raised.  As a result we grow our veg in pots – when we remember to plant the seeds.  RHS Rosemoor seem better at this than us, I wonder why?




Hidden down the end of a path is their veg garden, full of pumpkins and squashes, melons and onions, chillies and salad crops, sunflower heads for the birds – and a scarecrow gardener.   





Now we are half way through the riddles – here is riddle number 4.

I am not alive but I grow
I do not have lungs but need air
I do not have a mouth but water kills me
What am I?















Tuesday, 28 October 2014

And there’s always a cat – and a prize - and the 3rd riddle


 

We joined the RHS a year ago with all good intentions and on a bit of a whim.  With my Mother in Law being taken seriously ill and having to go into care, the 6 months that we would have had best use of our membership has been spent driving up and down the M5 sorting out her needs and home.  So, having made the decision to let this lapse this year, we made one last visit before the membership runs out at the end of October.  Were Rosemoor (or any other RHS site) closer than 90 miles away, our decision might have been different.

On our first visit we discovered a cat.  The staff tell us it lives nearby and just visits.  I’m on holiday, my cats are in a cattery, I have cat withdrawal symptoms and my new moggy friend and I just shared some love.  I know my red coat does me no favours, but it is warm and considerably larger than I am – before you all feel the need to comment!

  

I’d just said to Himself, ‘I wonder if we’ll see the cat again?’ when who should come round the corner? Yes that is the same red coat in the top photo, yes it is dribble-proof. 
 


Is it the same cat?  Well, if not, it’s just as friendly.  We did spot another who must be family but was not so friendly, or just plain scared of people shooing it from the cafĂ© area.

So, despite only being away for the day, I did get my cat-fix!

So who is playing along with the riddles?  Come on, leave me a comment so I know someone is taking part :)  If you read the T&Cs in the first post (there, just in case anyone thinks a bit of fun should be run along the same stringent lines of the National Lottery - I can't afford Alan Dedicoat to draw the winner!) you will know that you have a chance of winning even if you don't get all 8 clues right.

The prize - a choice of a set of three beads, the large lentil is over 30mm diameter, or if you prefer, I will use the largest bead in this set and make a pendant, wrapped in sterling silver, similar to the photo below.

 
 

How are you getting on with the riddles?  Here’s the third one:

It happens once in a minute
Twice in a week
And once in a year
What is it?