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.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Where did the year go?

 Well, what can I say?  I'm not much of a blogger?  Oops. I've ignored this?  Well, I have my reasons.

Some of you follow me on Facebook so will know.  I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease in September after a particularly harrowing 3 months, much of it with my Doctor screwing up his nose and saying things like 'I' think this needs urgently checking out' then leaving me to the mercy of the NHS who give me an 'urgent' appointment for 6th February 2016.  In the end I emptied out the piggy bank and went privately to see a consultant who, after a lot of prodding, probing and biopsying, gave me the 'good' news that I have Crohns - the other option of 'bad' news was not for the faint hearted which is why I went privately!  If you have no idea what Crohns Disease is, look it up - it is not a laugh a minute; it is nothing like IBS, it can't be cured, it isn't 'something [you] ate, it will not go away with Aloe Vera juice and yes I am sure your best friend's aunt's dog's 3rd cousin's father-in-law was cured of it when he drank jingo berry juice standing on his head and whistling Colonel Bogey.  Since I 'came out' (well, who likes to admit they have painful gastric ulcers anywhere between their tongue and their tail) I have had them all.  I know people mean well, but forgive me when I don't laugh - it might cause me pain.
red christmas balls
 So, that's where my last 6 months have gone, along with the holiday we had to cancel 2 days before travelling because I was not fit to travel - and the resulting 2 month wait for a travel insurance handling company to pull their finger out and deal with a simple claim (each spurious request for information that they had not earlier requested meant we went back to the bottom of the pile, I kid you not).  In the middle of this I have had to deal with (and still am) an elderly cat who might have stomach cancer and certainly has pancreatitis that is not responding well to antibiotics.  Our cats are much loved and we love them, even when they are ill.  So to be facing an unexpected diagnosis of  '1-2 weeks' then pancreatitis, inconclusive biopsies (thank heavens I pay all that money out each year for pet insurance (and better than travel insurance!)) it has been gruelling alongside my own pain and other issues.  So there it is.  It's been wearing to say the least and it ain't over yet!

What plans for 2016?  Hopefully better health!  I'm now taking a chemotherapy drug (not just for cancer it seems) once a day for probably at least 5 years which should get me in remission in 3-6 months - a long time but I'll take it, it's shorter than 'forever'.  Some days I am 'normal', as normal as I ever am :) other days I can hardly get out of bed.  So some days you will see me posting new work, making new work, talking about new work ...... and other days you will wonder just where the heck I have gone.  Sometimes the good days come together, sometimes the bad days come together.  I am just thankful to have a good husband who doesn't mind cooking dinner, going to the Post Office to post orders, will walk out into the cold and wet and turn kilns off and not criticise when he comes home to find me (and usually the cats) reclined on the sofa watching non-brain-taxing programmes on TV.  I am wondering whether to move into property development or the antiques trade?  But then moving to another country seems quite attractive..........

I am planning another 2 week selling event on AHandcraftedMarketplace.co.uk   from mid January (not sure of the exact dates, follow my Blue Box Studio Facebook page for up to date details.... but I will be making the video that accompanies my work on the 12th of January so must be around then.  My theme for the early part of the year for this and my Etsy shop is Valentine's Day on 14th February and Mothers Day (UK) on 6th March.  I will also be making glass beads which, if I don't get time before, will be for sale on UK Lampwork Bead Showcase on 28th January. 

My Etsy shop will not be closing over the festive period, although I might be a bit slower to respond than usual - especially during the final ever Downton Abbey on Christmas Day - there are some limits to my attention and even my husband won't get much sense out of me when that is on.  I love period dramas, I will miss this one.

So, that's it, Merry Christmas, wishing you whatever you wish yourselves. Thanks for sticking around this year, I hope you stick around next year, I'll try and do better then.

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Time to get back on the road again - and other stories


 This weekend sees the beginning of my fairs season

I will be in 

The Winter Gardens, Weston Super Mare

Saturday 17th October
9.30am to 5pm

 I have been asked to take part in an online event, selling items exclusive to to one particular venue - more of that later (not sure how much I am meant to say before it goes live)
It will be a totally different experience for me, but going occasionally outside of my comfort zone is good for the soul, and I promised myself in 2002 that nothing would ever stop me from trying anything new again.  Other than anything to do with heights, I don't do heights.

For the new event and new experience I need to offer work not available elsewhere, so
will be offering necklaces and earrings in a new style, coasters in a new colour and (hopefully) these gorgeous tea light or trinket dishes - I have just three of these on offer but will be trying to get more of this design as I think it is rather gorgeous.

If you'd like to keep up to date with my new outlets, events and news, why not join my monthly newsletter?  Subscribers get special offers, discount codes, free gifts and lots more ..... you can sign up using the box on the top left of this page.  

If you are also on Facebook, why not follow me there as well, just click the link in the word Facebook :)

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Who do you think you are?!


I was only thinking the other morning, I have a lot of new 'friends' and customers and they are probably thinking 'who is she?  Where did she spring from?  So I thought I would share my journey with you.  Obviously it's not my autobiography, even I'd glaze over after the first few pages - this is more 'edited highlights'.  I am available for 'Who Do You Think You Are' and 'This Is Your Life' but I doubt a book will follow, even if they say every one of us has a book in us.

I've been making 'something' since I was 5, but you don't want to hear about all that! I luckily had practical parents with a ‘can do’ attitude.

What about now, how did I get to now?!

In a nutshell? I got bored at a quiet craft fair. I was running a stall for someone else, and had nothing to do. Everyone around me was making something, I didn't 'make'. So I changed that and started making simple bead jewellery. That was way back when in the last century. 

If jewellery was work, then I needed a hobby. A book on Shibori dyeing allowed me to splash dye around with no one tell me I was doing it wrong – deep joy. Now I had both textiles and jewellery to make and sell. And no hobby!

Long walks along beautiful beaches, collecting sea glass, can I make jewellery from this? Yes I can – if walking along a beach, with the sun on my back and only the cry of the gulls for company constitutes a day at work, then that’s the job for me! Sea glass jewellery it would be.

Collaborative work with another artist led to rolls of velvet moving in – she had the know-how, I had the sewing machine. She moved onto other things and I camped out in the library reading anything I could on devoré and decolouring techniques on velvet. By now it was clear I could not do all this in the kitchen – if nothing else it’s too easy to stir the dye spoon in the pasta, so I decamped outside to a garden studio. And then another studio. I’ve had to stop at two – no garden left!

This one is the original Blue Box Studio - it is tiny!

Knowing I would try my hand at most things arty, friends asked me to make up the numbers for a glass bead making day. Four of us sat down to see what this was all about, two of us then signed up for the short course and only one of us, me, actually settled down to make beads. There are more colours of commercial glass than sea glass. And sitting over a hot flame is warmer than a windy beach in winter. That’s my excuse.

 And, with my love of keeping warm, I decided, with a heavy heart, that rising fabric costs and competition from cheap imports flooding even the 'handmade' market, I would, for now, discontinue getting dye everywhere. Now I had spare space which I needed to fill. Not for long! I had wanted to try fusing glass for a while but my little kiln limits what I can do, so when a kiln was offered for the right price (ignore size, what has that to do with it?) I bought it, then some glass and started working with glass sheets instead of rods. We named her Delilah (after the Tom Jones song - 'why? why? why Delilah?!'), she disliked the long car journey home and died, thankfully we managed to resurrect her but she has her 'moments' of non-co-operation.

On the whole she is well behaved - we have 'understanding talks' and 'meaningful discussions' and she rewards me with beautiful things worthy of any home.  Some of my items are seasonal and 'made to order'  repeatable items, but largely, with all my work, what you see is what I have.  How many of us have said 'I wish I got that when I saw it'?  I'm still saying it!!

These gorgeous Christmas coasters (although I think the fairy princess has a job throughout the rest of the year, what little girl wouldn't love her?) and the Christmas themed decorations are limited short runs, limited by the amount of materials I have and my time, once fairs start and orders taken, to fill the kiln with more.  

I think the hearts make wonderful love tokens, or perhaps something a little different for wedding favours? 

So, that’s it in a nutshell. I work with sea glass, glass rods and glass sheet to make jewellery, beads and home accessories. Have a look in my Etsy shop and see what takes your fancy. 

I believe that even handmade work, with added passion from the artist, needs to be a sensible price for the item - I collect art glass perfume bottles - but even I stop at times at say 'how much?' There is a finite limit to all budgets.  My ethos is  'making the unaffordable affordable........', but remember you are paying any artist for their time, a life time's expertise, their imagination, and in return you get a little piece of their soul and passion.  And your car mechanic / electrician / decorator (examples - other trades are available) charge a lot more per hour than most artists - we are all experts in our field and yet artists are more likely to hear 'I could do that' (I expect you can. but it wasn't your idea it was mine) and 'I could make that for far less' (perhaps you can but are you going to and do you have access to the £000s materials and equipment needed to do it?).  I can paint a room, but at the end of the day it will take me longer than my decorator, and for what he charges I could be more gainfully employed and less likely to destroy the carpet with painted footprints.  With the right tools, anyone can have a stab at most things, but do most of us have the right tools to do the job?

And for those who will go ahead with a plan to DIY - I do have 'Round Tuits'!  It might help get the job done?


Friday, 2 October 2015

Whoa, stop the world I want to get off!

What a week!  One minute it is Sunday, and here we are at Friday - I'm not sure where the days in between went? I had a bead Showcase on UK Lampwork Showcase on Sunday which was very busy, followed by a couple of busy days selling in a few of the Facebook groups, so by Wednesday the bead box was looking very depleted.  Just the oomph I needed to get back out there making beads, a bit of motivation always helps when you aren't feeling 100%.

Continuing my participation in the Craft Pimp 52 things Challenge 2015, and with everything else going on at the moment;  this week is week 40.  First was an order for 4 robin coasters, now on their way to warmer climes, and because I had the glass and a spare space in the kiln, 2 more small tea light / change/whatever dishes, this time powder printed in purple.  These will be in my Etsy shop shortly, priced at £6 each + postage.

Robin coasters, as well as Santa, Rudolph and the Fairy are available to order at £7 each + postage, again from my Etsy shop.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

According to plan - and the things that don't!

So, berating myself for not actually doing anything with my blog since August, I find that the blog posts I had done and scheduled to publish were just sitting there, glaring at me with that malevolent look that says 'go on, I dare you!'.  So, that didn't go according to plan.

Oh well, one published, another ready to go later and this one under construction.  

And what else didn't go according to plan?

Well, there was the holiday that never was.  I should have been putting my feet up in Scotland for a week, but all those hospital appointments came to something.  In the 2 days before setting off I saw 2 consultants (they move faster when you cross their palms with silver, a lot of silver) and was told getting in a car and driving for 2 days to a remote part of Scotland a long way from possible hospital care was not a good idea.  My GP said 'are you really going?'  closely followed by 'bring me in the travel insurance claim form and I'll complete it for you (in return for 25 pieces of silver crossing his palm).  Seems I have Crohn's Disease.  Google if you like but it is a bit gruesome, very painful until under control, chronic, as in stuck with forever, and probably not for discussion around the dinner table.  I'm glad we didn't go, I'm on a mega dose of steroids and my brain is thinking it is back in the psychedelic 1970s.  Also not going to plan is moving from the consultant's private to NHS list - I can't get past his Rottweiler of a secretary - she insists he doesn't mean what he said in the letter he wrote me and 'shall I tell you how this will work?' No, love, you've picked the wrong one to talk down to.  The consultant wants me to have a fast-tracked MRI and be in his clinic in 4 weeks (this is week 3) and the NHS has given me an MRI date for 9th February 2016.  Let's do the time warp now?  This could turn into a Rocky Horror for someone.

Image result for free clip art stomach pain

As one who is big on 'brick bats and bouquets' can I just say that all bar the holiday cottage people  insisted that we have refunds or not pay in the circumstances.  How lovely is that?  Even the holiday cottage owners have said they will discount our next holiday when I am able to travel and will discount further if the travel insurance don't pay up.  I'm sure they will, but if they don't I shall be having words with Benenden Healthcare who sold it to me, seeing as they funded some of my private medical care and tests!   

As a thank you for my wonderful 2nd home from home for my merry moggies, a bouquet - made by a new Clevedon florist Peony & Rose- aren't they gorgeous?  I was tempted by a bouquet I saw at our local country market yesterday, but it was vegetables or flowers and the veg won.  Perhaps when business picks up in the autumn, I can treat myself?

I've had 3 household 'disasters' - a leaky radiator, the loo packed up and the vacuum cleaner died on me, thank heavens for extended warranties and heating and plumbing care plans.  We've more than covered our costs with those this week.

Then there was a kiln 'diz-ast-er dahling' moment, said in my best Craig Revel Horwood voice - everything came out with luminous spots and ruined an entire firing - problem solved and lesson learned.  They're quite pretty but not what the customer ordered, so will be in my sale bin at a fair.  They should have looked like these, not radio-active measles after a Sellafield staff party!

And just as you think it is safe to come out of the kitchen ............... I have a steroid induced brain fog disaster!  I made some pendants.  I used some transparent frit on the base layer. What attribute does 'transparent' have?  it's not opaque    Bench full of pendants that will not hide metal bails.  OK, let's think about this.  After several cups of coffee I worked out that I would have to make glass bails, so armed with a metal one, some thin strips of compatible glass and another cup of coffee I made some bails that I first kiln annealed so they didn't fall apart, then tac fused to my pendants so they won't fall off.  Whilst I am not sure this is a new way forward, I am pleased with how they turned out seeing as it was a 'wing-it' plan and design.   It's those at the top of the page - what do you think?  They are week 38 in my 52 things in 2015 year long challenge. 

So, what to do?  I'm thinking sit down and don't move, less can go wrong that way?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

And then life takes over

Or rather women!  So, this week's 'makes' have been 'a mess' - yes, that's what I've made so far!

I'll have to work twice as hard next week, but this week I've

  • ordered a bedroom carpet, twice, as the manufacturer has now discontinued the colour I wanted, which matched the other bedroom.  
  • organised for a painter to paint the lounge and
  • a plasterer to re-plaster the aforementioned bedroom, after the carpet goes down - we have paying guests arriving, 
  • arranged for the painter to come back after the paying guest, after the plasterer plasters and the plaster dries
  • bought rather a lot of paint tester pots and narrowed down my choice to two colours
  • bought assorted shades of paint - Homebase had an offer on, get it whilst you can!
  • popped along to the hospital and calmly awaited my test results (slight exaggeration, it was very stressful) - but at least we now have a diagnosis, and a new life living with Crohne's Disease - it could have been worse, they did start mention words starting with C.....
  • collapsed in a heap and declared the rest of the week cancelled. 
Damn!  Just remembered, I need to get curtains cleaned and altered (to match the new carpet) - a woman's work is never done!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Full steam ahead

It's been a better week this week, I've actually felt more like doing something.  I've finally finished a few more love tokens and a few more festive danglers for your tree (non-festive trees are fine, our is).  I'm still working on other shapes and ideas but ideas aren't flowing well this week.  These are available from my Etsy shop from £3 + postage.

I have managed to make a few more beads ready for my next Showcase sale and, more importantly, complete a commission for some 'heart & wings' coasters which are a design I have made exclusively for Heart Rhythm mediators to help fund-raise for them and also give something unique. These are powder stencilled on to white glass then fired for a second time to give a permanent design.  I think these might have to be my week 36 challenge to make 52 things in a year.

If you have a design you would like printed onto coasters, enquiries welcome, minimum numbers apply as it takes me a lot of time to design and hand cut the stencil.

It doesn't look a lot when you look at it like this - but have been pre-occupied with hospital test results, which has sapped my energy a bit :(

Friday, 28 August 2015

One of them weeks

What a week!  It's certainly been action packed.  On the 22nd I had a 1-day showcase on UK Lampwork Showcase - wasn't sure what to expect as the bead groups have been quiet over the Summer but overall was very pleased and had great fun.  So much fun in fact that I'll be doing it all again on Sunday 27th September.  This Facebook group is 'closed' which means you have to join to take part and(I think) see the listings (?).

As many of you who follow me on Facebook will know, I've been a bit under the weather recently.  Things took a turn for the worse, the NHS declared 20 weeks was an acceptable waiting time from the date they got my Dr's letter; my Dr decided upwards of 2 weeks was an acceptable time-scale to write in ()as far as I am aware he's still not written it) ...... so, having had a wise moment in 1974 when I started my first proper job and joined Benenden Healthcare for what was then pennies per week, I gave them a call, they expressed horror and said 'get thee to a private consultant'.  So I did.  He took one look at me, went pale and told me to report to the hospital 07.30 in 3 days, I was officially an urgent case. 

I'm usually thinking about waking up around 07.30, but in this case I didn't get a lot of sleep, mainly due to the pre-meds they gave me, but the 40 minute journey from home with a husband who thinks everyone should arrive a good 30 minutes earlier than expected so drove (my car) like a maniac was to put it mildly 'interesting'.  The procedure wasn't bad, a spot of sedation, some gas and air and I really don't remember much after 'did you have a good journey in this morning?' - did I even answer?  How long was I staying?  That depended on a lot of things - mostly what they found.  As it happened they tired of me long before I tired of a working TV, reclining bed, room service and snoozing in peace and quiet and they packed me off home at the end of the day.  I get the results next week, hoping for good news but the consultant wouldn't be drawn on what he found other than 'I took a lot of biopsies'. 

So, to be honest, I've done notalot this week.  Well, I read a couple of books and discovered I quite like Cathy Kelly for lightweight reading and gone right off Jody Picoult, which is a shame as I have another 3 of hers lined up.  Perhaps it's just this one - there are animals in it and a hint of animal abuse, which would get to me.

What did I achieve?  I did finish some more of my powder printed sun catchers in the hope we get some sun before October.  These are in my Etsy shop at £10 each + postage.  I also made a few more love tokens for week 35 of the Craft Pimp 52 things in 52 weeks challenge - perfect for those needing a 'get out of the dog house' present!  Whilst I was cutting small pieces of glass, I've made a start on tree decorations for that thingy at the end of the year.  For those who like us are totally Bah Humbug, these are just fir trees, ok?  There are also snowflakes (or pretty round shapes if you prefer the BH version) and other shapes will follow shortly.  Available from my Etsy shop at £3 each + postage.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The wanderer returns

These are my week 34 creations for the Craft Pimp '52 things' projects - if you've been following you'll know that we are trying to keep ourselves motivated throughout the year by making 52 things in 52 weeks.  I have weeks where I waver, so some weeks I get more than one thing made to make up any shortfall - I think I am now ahead of myself.

Dearly Beloved returned from 3 weeks in the US on Sunday.  Obviously he had missed me because when I asked what he thought of these a an idea, he called them 'love tokens', bless him.

Thinking ahead for the coming busy season, I often have customers looking for little gifts, for a couple's or baby's first Christmas, 'I'm in the Dog House' gifts.......  so came up with two designs as a first wave of ideas.  All are about 3cms square (that's just over an inch) with the white, capped with clear and featuring an encased red copper heart being fridge magnets, the clear with copper hanging ring and powder stencilled blue heart are designed to hang - the ribbon reads 'love and happiness' in English and French - I thought it rather fitting, but obviously the ribbon could be removed and the token just hang from a window or wall hook.

Both of these are now available from my Etsy shop, priced £3 + postage.  More designs and love tokens are in the kiln, so keep checking back as I have some Christmas themed tokens quietly cooking today - perfect for your Christmas tree.

My heart love tokens are available to commission and would make wonderful wedding favours, for your guests to take home and remember sharing your wonderful day.  Enquiries welcome.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Keeping up the momentum

Here we are at week 33 - only 19 more to go, 18 to Christmas (am I annoying you yet?)

Well, you've all heard of Amazon?  Did you know there was going to be a new new Handmade Amazon?  I've been accepted to sell there.  Any more than that I don't know, whether it will be worth it, whether it will fill up with cheap imported 'handmade' (don't make me laugh) tatt? 

This week I have made a few bead sets, but life is quiet in the bead market so these are mostly for me to make into pendants for my Autumn and Christmas fairs, my Etsy shop and of course, when I find out enough to be able to open my shop there, Handmade Amazon. 

My main makes this week have been some larger printed glass decorations, these are almost twice my normal size, but still suitable for hanging in a window (excuse the garden background, I sadly don't have a window overlooking a manicured Eden, I have a working garden with 2 studios and water butts to stop any more water than necessary soaking into a garden that floods at the slightest hint of rain - these 'overflow' into a drain system).  These will shortly be, along with lots of other gorgeous pieces including the pretty spotted dish below, in my Etsy shop.

Tell me what you think?  Like, dislike?  How's your day going?  Just comment below :)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

So, where did last week go?

Now, this just isn't fair!  I know I wrote a blog post for week 31 of my 52 things in 52 weeks challenge, I scheduled it, to get ahead of myself and it has vanished.  Oh well, here we go again!

Week 31 - 'The Boss' (sadly not Bruce Springsteen) is on his annual sojourn in Tucson and complaining about the heat (he's got air-con!) and I am still in Blighty complaining about the heat (I have central heating!).  Yep, that weird noise I heard at 5am the other day was the heating kicking in, it thinks it is Winter.  So, what's new for last week?  Two new idea for my Christmas fairs, but available from my Etsy shop in the meantime are pretty glass key rings with an assortment of designs - last week it was inset butterflies, more of those later, and lovely brooches with Celtic inspired dichroic glass motifs.  All of these will be packaged to be ready for giving, wherever bought, so I think they will be perfect stocking fillers and Secret Santa gifts at £5 each.

Maureen-Josephine - known to all as Motivational Mo-Jo, is still missing.  Not much inspires me at the moment so I am starting lots and finishing little.  I start out with a plan but by the time I am up and breakfasted, I get waylaid and before I know it, it's Friday.

I have a small pot of beads to clean - yes it should be bigger, but if you are looking for my new beads, things are so quiet everywhere (even Tesco was nearly empty yesterday afternoon!) that I have started to list them in my Etsy shop but you can keep track of (nearly all) my August listings on my Pinterest page.  I have lots of boards with my work on so if you see anything you fancy and wonder where it is, check in the text for a reference number or name and drop me a line and I'll let you know.

Week 32 is now upon us today!  More key rings, but this time I have powder printed, fused then added a pretty butterfly or bug decal, high fired so it permanently melds into the glass.  Just a few of these, only one of each so if one takes your fancy, mosey on over to Etsy, where they have taken up residence.  I have some more key rings in other designs to finish and list so keep popping back, after all, the one thing we all have in our lives is keys.  I've made these pretty enough to be attractive, large enough to be found at the bottom of a bag and small enough not not be obtrusive :)

So where will week 33 find me?  Come back and find out :)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

52 things - week 30

Good heavens, I'm keep up for 1 week!

My new make for the 52 things in 52 weeks, week 30 is some pretty things - what are they..... wall art?  sun catchers?  Whatever.  An adaptation from my transparent printed coasters, these are fired several times to get the glass powders in the centre and then the glass powder printing on the top, then it is all fired again to make one piece of glass. 

This is still a learning curve for me and I did come away from this thinking I could have managed this in 2 firings not 3 if I had used my brain a little more.  A couple of these have sold but the rest are in my Etsy shop over 2 listings, so do take a look :) 

Priced at £10 + postage, with an optional strong window sucker thingy if you choose to hang in a window or from glass.

So, tell me, what do you think of them?

I have more bright ideas in the kiln for the next few days - perhaps week 31's post will actually happen before week 35?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Little steps!

Nothing like a blog for making you feel you aren't keeping up!  I'd like to say I've been sitting on the sofa with a good book, but that'd be a lie (well, for a lot of the time).

So, let's try 'little steps'.  A few words here and there.  With a theme, one I've mentioned before.  My 52 things in 52 weeks challenge on the Craft Pimp forum.  I think alot are falling by the wayside but I'll keep trying......

So, as Horace (Roman poet, I think) said, 'and to make an end is to make a beginning, the end is where we start from'

So, starting with the end, this is my last 52 in 52 make, I think we are up to week 29 now - I have a client (OK, husband - but he is paying) who teaches Heart Rhythm Meditation and wanted gifts for his meditation retreatants and for his hosts when he is in the USA in a few weeks.  He asked for a heart and wings design, so I created these (go me, I drew something, my art teacher would be so impressed), made stencils and then powder printed onto plain coasters.

These are a multi-stage process.  First the 2 layer coaster has to be made, then the glass powder stencilled on, once for the blue ones, in 2 stages for the red and yellow and each has a firing after printing.  Another satisfied customer :)

If you'd like to see my other 52 in 52 makes - they're in a Flickr folder, do have a look.  I also have lots more photos of current work in my Pinterest boards - look for the current month's board as well as boards for jewellery, fused glass etc

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Trying to keep up and ending up ahead of myself!

Well, here we are at week 16 of the Craft Pimp challenge to make 52 things in a year - my challenge is more to record what I am doing, with my bias being towards fused glass, which I am learning as I go along.

I guess my new make for this week could be my new business cards?  With champagne tastes and a water budget at the moment, ordering from my normal supplier, Moo.com was not an option.  My primary need is for events, where everyone gets a card when they buy, but I am realistic enough to realise most will end up in the bin.  A friend recommended Instantprint, but my first effort to create a flyer with them ended in dismal failure so I had looked at other option which wouldn't have portrayed the image I wanted.  Armed with another cup of coffee I tackled the design page on Instantprint again and with a bit of compromise and a few choice incantations when things didn't line up, I ended up with these.  They were either going to be a big box of expensive cards if I'd got it wrong, or a big box of inexpensive cards if I'd got it right.  

Opening the box today, I heaved a sigh of relief; they are as thick and good quality as Moo, far far cheaper and I rather like them.  No, they've not paid me to give this review (but can if they like), but on price, speed (2 days) and timed delivery by DHL they win my vote.

North Somerset Arts Week starts on 1st May, for 10 days, and have been getting low on some items for a while, so no better time than the present to get on with it and make.  Bead sales are slow at the moment so it has been lovely to make what I want to make rather than what I think I should make.  I've no idea why the market is slow - if you know, from either in the UK or the US, do share, I really would like to know if it is me, the market, the world, the election, the end of tax year; or a saturated market.  I digress...... so I have made some ball stud earrings on surgical steel (now in my Etsy shop) and ............

some smaller pendants for necklaces (also in my Etsy shop) with a good supply of 'spare' pendants which I will display separately during Arts Week along side my similarly presented fused glass pendants.

Even these pretty cards have caused consternation!  I bought a couple of packs from a gift shop thinking they might work as a presentation idea.  They clearly do, customers at recent fairs were happy to buy just a pendant, so many of us have a spare chain at home, why not use it? and I present these in an organza bag so they are gift-ready.  Then I ran out of my initial supply and the shop doesn't have more.  Panic!  Having trawled t'internet for hours I couldn't find them, then spotted them on, where else, Ebay.  So I am now restocked, and from the packaging, I have found both the wholesaler and their retail outlet so that's one less panic in my life.  I wanted 'monochrome' cards so they don't compete with the colour of the jewellery, but there are loads of gorgeous designs - I could have got carried away.

My week 16 in lieu of week 17 make is more fused glass stud earrings, always popular at events.  Again I intend these for Arts Week, from experience I know people prefer to buy inexpensive items so they can have some money left for the next venue as well, so these, on sterling silver, will be £10 a pair - and might make it into my Etsy shop if I get a minute or two.

Quick heads up, I will be shutting my Etsy shop for, probably, about a week from Thursday evening.  I need to have a stock check to keep the tax man happy and with the weather being nice and life being quiet, I thought now was as good a time as any to strip out my studio and paint inside in readiness for arts week, have a few lazy days, enjoy a bit of 'us' time with my husband - and my cats, who are elderly, quite poorly, get told 'in a minute' perhaps too often and I ought to practice what I preach and 'take time to smell the roses' before my 'roses' leave me.  Yes, I am dotty about my mogs, they are my family.  I'm around if anyone needs me, just removing as many distractions as possible.