Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

I hope 2009 will bring us all health and happiness.

I don't really do resolutions - I know myself well enough to realise that I'll have broken them by about the 7th January... but I am determined to update this blog more regularly and to try new jewellery making techniques in 2009. Read on... and see if I succeed!!

I am in the middle of moving into the new workshop... and as you can see Cleo is 'helping'...
She's very excited that I'll be just off the kitchen and not up two flights of stairs, when she wants to tell me that she hasn't been fed for 'weeks'...

I'd better get on, actually, because we're having a New Year's party tonight and we've allocated my old room for people to sleep in! So, unless they're going to sleep with their heads on boxes of beads and their feet on my polishing motor, I'd better get the room cleared.

I'll take photos of the new workshop, all finished, on Monday, and let you see it. I can guarantee it will never be that tidy ever again!

Have a splendid evening, whatever you're doing, and a fabulous 2009.

Much love to all.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Yet another quick note... but this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2009.

With all my love,


Friday, 5 December 2008

Another quick update...

I promise that after Christmas you'll be sick of me updating the blog... but for now, it's another rushed entry. Got events tomorrow, Sunday and Monday morning. Then a party next Thursday and an outdoor (!) event on Friday... and then I'm finished for Christmas!!

So what's new?

Well, the workshop is coming along. Here it is with the funky shaped computer desk, the lovely IKEA cupboard (constructed by Tom) and the start of the workbench. I'm itching to get in there as the light is brilliant, but we're still waiting for the plumber to come and attach the radiator. It's far too cold to work in there at the moment - although it might come in handy as a second fridge over Christmas!!

Watch out!! What do you think of these? The bracelet part is byzantine with knobs on as I call it. They are selling pretty well and I'm enjoying making them. I've also done some in copper which is really pretty.
The rest of these are black sets using Black Agate. As always at this time of year, black is very popular.
The first one incorporated some lovely Sterling rectangles and Swarovski Crystals for a Christmas sparkle.
This is the seond of the Murano pendants in this style. The other one was slightly larger and that set has been sold. I was very excited when I found the glass beads with silver and gold in them and knew instantly that they'd go perfectly with the pendant. So I added in some black agate and Sterling Silver tubes.
The last black one is all black agate with Swarovski Crystals.

I think our decorations might go up this weekend. Tom's very keen to start getting into the festive spirit. I'll let the kids do most of it... but I'm very particular about my tree, so I'll do that - sometime! I'll take a photo when I'm done.

Right, I'm off to put my feet up and gather my energy for selling loads tomorrow (hopefully!).

Take care, All, and have a lovely weekend.

Much love.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Hello.... Goodbye

Just a very quick post to give you all a wave...

We're in the middle of a very hectic series of events - five in four days! A Christmas shopping evening last night, an office sale today, a Christmas Fair tonight and then Saturday and Sunday at Berkeley Castle.

We love selling our wares so it's not really any hardship, just tiring.

Hope to have the energy to report back on Monday.

Have a fine weekend, Everyone!

Much love.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Indigo Indulgence

As I didn't post any pics of jewellery in my posting of this morning, thought I'd show you a few new things, hot off the press.

All these feature beads by Denise Karan of Indigo Lily. I'm just hooked on Denise's beads at the moment!

First up are some really pretty beads that I've had for a little while. I didn't want the jewellery to turn out too 'girly' so even though I've used more pink, in the form of sea glass, I think picking up the green from Denise's beads has steered it away from the Barbie look. The green is Ruby Fuschite, which also has areas of a gorgeous dark pink which, hopefully, holds the whole thing together.

Then, back to my newest favouritest finding, the add a bead pendant. These beads made me think of wintry Yorkshire moors (although, come to think of it, I've never been on the Yorkshire moors in the winter, so I suppose this is what I think they'd look like!).

And although I've never been swimming in the Caribbean - and I even when I do swim, I don't do underwater... these colours are what I imagine you'd see.

And I love the contrast of the greens in this set.

Right, better get back to it!

More soon...

Totally Floored!

Brian and I made really good progress on the new workspace this weekend. We put down the vinyl tiles and got the skirting board on. It's beginning to look really good!

The table leg you can see on the right will form part of the support for the desk (which will be on the left where all the sockets are) or the workbench (on the right), so you can see that those unsightly pipes will be under the bench and so not visible. We are going to put the vinyl tiles on the window sill too, so everything will be wipe clean.
All the stuff on the left, the meters, wires etc will be boxed into a cupboard and so hidden away from sight. And on the right where there's no skirting and you can see pipes jutting out of the wall, that's where the radiator will go - which will have a cover.
The steps turned out rather well - if I say so myself (can you guess that I did them?!). The riser for the top step uses the faux slate that we've got in the kitchen (which is through that door) and then the rest uses the tiles from the floor. We've put non-slip metal edging on each step so that I should be safe going up and down the steps. When this was the kitchen (up until last year) it was always my biggest worry, that I'd slip going down the steps. I did once trip going up and the dinners slid off the plates onto the dining room floor!
If you look closely (but please don't) there is a bit of a gap at the bottom of the steps where the tiles don't meet... we're going to put in a bit of quadrant there. The floor/step junction is quite uneven to difficult so get a good line.

The next two photos - again non-jewellery - I took with my phone last Friday. They are of Millennium Square in Bristol. It was such a gloriously sunny day, everything shone and twinkled and I had to get a shot. Looks more like August than November!
Right, that's it for now. Hopefully there will be jewellery to show you later in the week. We are just about to enter a completely mad couple of weeks with 8 events in 12 days! YIKES! So if you don't hear from me until the end of November, I'll be passed out in the corner from exhaustion...

Take care, All, and much love.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Out of my comfort zone...

...with grateful thanks to Tan... Tania Grey of Tan, Of Course.

When I'm blending colours with beads, I'm not too adventurous - keeping things matching and toning... but then, when I have some of Tan's beads, she gives me a sharp boot up the bottom and sends me WAY outside my comfort zone. Her colour combinations are always interesting and they inspire me to put colours together in a more interesting and unusual way.

Take this one for example:

Just look at the fantastic colours in Tan's beads! I found turquoise freshwater pearls and candy jade chips to echo the colours and teamed them with Sterling Silver.

The name of the set comes from the wonderful Burl Ives' song which was part of the soundtrack to my childhood. Remember the chorus?

Oh the buzzin' of the bees
In the cigarette trees
Near the soda water fountain
At the lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
On the big rock candy mountain

You can hear Burl sing it here.

These beads are a little more subdued, but still have surprising colours... the soft heather purple, with red and turquoise... translated into a necklace with garnets and glass seed beads.

Purple and green is a favourite colour combination of mine... so these beads always had my name on! Here the beads are Amethyst and Peridot.

Lastly, here's anther shape of bead by Tan. One of her lollipop beads... and what great colours! Here I've made it into a pendant with my new favourite findings.

We had a very fine weekend, lots of eating, drinking and making merry. And, I didn't fare too badly at WW on Tuesday. Think I'd better be good the rest of the week in case it catches up with me!

A quick *wave* to my bro and his missus, who have recently become blog readers!

I cannot let the day pass without saying, "Well done, America!" I'm not a political person, but today I feel we have witnessed history in the making.

Enjoy your fireworks if you are having them... be safe and have a sparkler for me.

Much love to All.

Friday, 31 October 2008

A Plethora of Pendants

I've been making quite a few (as you'll see) of these pendants. I've only recently discovered these findings which are great for showing off Lampwork beads. And they should be shown off... each one is hand-made (not by me!) and involves melting glass in a flame while turning the mandrel on which you're making the bead. Then putting on different glass and swirling and shaping and all sorts of complicated and clever stuff.

I just buy them from the artist and put them together with some other beads. The easy bit!

All the beads in these pendants are by Denise Karan of Indigo Lily Lampwork. I love Denise's beads. She's such a busy lady - she's doing a joint honours degree, works permanent nights on Friday/Saturday and Sunday and still finds time to make these gorgeous beads. She's an inspiration!

This next one is still a pendant, but something a little different. I treated myself just before we went away to a new book by Susan Lenart Kazmer called Making Connections: A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists. It's a very long winded title, but basically it means joining things together without having to do any soldering.
I've been SO inspired by this book... I've got pages and pages of sketches of things I want to make. Some will have to wait until January - the quiet time - so I can experiment and learn some new techniques, but others I hope you'll be seeing quite soon.
This pendant 'Mellow Fruitfulness' is the first item that I've made using something I've learned from the book. The large Carnelian teardrop hangs from a trapeze made from Sterling Silver, as you can see in the second picture which shows the back. I've then added a froth of Carnelian chips and freshwater pearls. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and will be using the trapeze again in future projects.

Because the pendant is very busy, I went for simplicity in the earrings. Freshwater pearls on elongated Sterling Silver kidney wires.
This next set is called 'Now Pipe Down!'. I've had these fabulous lampwork beads - the work of the supremely talented Isabelle Anderson - for quite a while and they kept nagging me to get something made with them. This is the result. I wanted the beads to be very much centre stage as they are just so beautiful, so I've threaded them with lots of Sterling Silver tubes, round beads and some lovely Stardust beads. Although I've had the design for this set in mind for a long time, I was surprised when the silver sections took on this almost chemical model effect. But I like it! And now I've made something with some of these beads... hopefully, they will 'Pipe Down'.
And lastly, a bracelet. Made with some stunning sea glass beads and Sterling Silver beads. I love sea glass, it's the matte effect, I think. Etched beads have the same look and I love them too.
Well done, on getting to the end of this looooooong post! There was just so much to show you.

On a family note: it was Brian's birthday on Wednesday. He arranged it so he was working from home which meant we could pop to the pub for lunch. And then we went out for an Italian meal in the evening. Doesn't auger well for WW next Tuesday! Especially as we're up to Leicester this weekend to go out for a meal on Saturday night and Sunday lunch! I think I'll be just drinking water on Monday...

Have a lovely weekend, All and take care.

Monday, 27 October 2008

A weekend in The Hamptons

Nah, not THAT one... but a very nice boutique hotel in Ilfracombe!
That's it... right in the centre of the photo. A gorgeous (and huge) Victorian villa. We were only having a long weekend away and so we thought we'd treat ourselves to somewhere a bit special. And it was. A fab hotel which I thoroughly recommend. Why not have a browse of their website (and no, I'm not on commission!).

Here's a few pics from the weekend:
I've been besotted with balconies ever since I was quite small, always wanted to own a house with one. I'm very lucky that I do now, it's small and we don't do anything with it, but I'm chuffed as anything anyway. These I thought were just so pretty and delicate looking.

I spotted this man out with his dogs... just image how many plastic bags he must have to take around with him! And then later in the day we spotted another man with just as many!

This is the last section of a four part mosiac to commemorate Jonathan Edwards triple jump successes and in particular his world record jump of 18.29 metres. When you see the distance that he hopped, skipped and jumped it's just astounding.

This name plate was just outside the tapas bar we went to on Saturday night... and, of course, I had to have a photo of it!

The 'cooling towers' are the rather wacky theatre in Ilfracombe... but I took the photo for the fantastic rocks in the foreground.

I saw these chaps out rowing in their boat and thought they must be mad... and then I turned the corner...

and there was another lot of them!

So, I'm all refreshed from a fab time (and LOADS of yummy food... what's that? Yes, of course I had a cream tea. You can't go to Devon and not have one, can you?!) and raring to get back to the beads. Will try very hard to get photos taken to show you this week... and update the website... and do the accounts...

Take care, All, and much love.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

I've been tagged!

Thanks to Caroline of Crafted Gems!

The rules are as follows:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.

So, 7 facts about me...

1. I'm a BIG Bruce Springsteen fan. I've seen him about 10 times now and absolutely love to see him live. The last time was the day before my birthday this year in Cardiff. Gotta love The Boss!

2. I hate feet. Not mine... mine are lovely, pretty and perfectly formed... but anyone else's... YUCK!

3. I cry when I hear Away in a Manger.

4. I used to write fiction for the women's magazines and have been published in Bella, Best, Chat, Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Realm, Woman's Weekly, My Weekly, Take a Break and Fiction Feast. In fact, I used to run an agency for women's fiction with my gorgeous buddy, Cari, to sell other people's work to the magazines.

5. I hate lettuce. I can see no good reason for it to exist. The same goes for wasps - which I am allergic to.

6. I once made Mick Jagger a cup of tea. My granddad used to work in Birmingham Town Hall as catering manager and when The Stones appeared I went with him and got to meet Mick and the boys (as they were then!).

7. I can whistle with my tongue out. So can Tom. But we've never met anyone else who can do it. Next time you see me in person, ask me to show you. Bet you can't do it!!

So, who to tag:

1. Izzy at Adventures in Glass

2. Liz at Crimson Moon

3. Jo at Daisychain Jewellery

4. Cristina at Cristina's Jewelry

5. Laura at Beads by Laura

6. Maura at Blue Daisy Jewellery

7. Manda at Jewellery Craft

What a week!

PHEW! It's been a crazy (but wonderfully successful) week here at Coburg Crafts!

Last weekend we held a two day party here which not only gave me a chance to see some of my lovely friends, but also to display every single piece of jewellery and gift items that Sarah and I had available!

Then Wednesday was another really super party at the home of a good friend - so more catching up with friends - and she had great display space so again a great opportunity to show off the range of goods we now have - which is expanding all the time.

And then this weekend we were at Sarah's with all her chums.

I was very delighted on Friday evening when my Murano Mystery (see post below) set was purchased by a lovely man (yes, you read that right!) who, in fact, bought all the Christmas gifts for the ladies in his life from us. Thank you, Kevin!!

So, a great week. In fact, October has been a great month! WhooHoo! And we've got loads of events in November too. I'm going to be very busy trying to keep the stock levels up.

With so much going on, it's been impossible to photograph everything, so you've missed a few lovely things, but here's a couple from the remaining stock that I'd like to show you...

Firstly a few 'stand alone' earrings - no necklace to go with these, just the earrings.

Here's Dainty Dangles - these are the tiniest of tiny pearls - I almost went blind making these!

These pearls are pretty small too... Gossamer Window
Parisian Nights - gorgeous purple pearls on Sterling silver chandeliers
These next two use a new pendant finding that I've just discovered. You can unscrew the top and put on the beads - which means that these wonderful hand-made lampwork beads can take centre stage - where they belong!
First up is Toffee Tornado featuring a gorgeous tube bead by Denise from Indigo Lily.
Next is Midnight Moment with beads by Suzy Hannabus.
This next set is (another) one I'm tempted to keep as I love it. Black onyx teamed with sterling silver beads that are faceted... but not just faceted, but SO faceted that they look - and act - like mirror balls. Just so twinkly!
This dainty set is called Blue Lightening because the labradorite flashes blue. It's a fabulous stone and here it's teamed with sterling silver tubes and rounds.
Progress on the workshop! It's now painted. All white to maximise the light in the room. It's lovely and bright in there. We did make a start on the floor today, but those puddles on concrete could still be felt through the underlay and hardboard, so we're going to have to chip them off. Hopefully it won't take too long and then the floor can go down. Will show you!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Quick update...

Just got five minutes (while I drink my coffee) to let you know that we got in to be part of North Somerset Arts Week... YeeHah! It's not until next May but I'm already excited!

And just in case you've got your eye on it, What Colourful Teeth You Have, Grandma from the previous post, sold last night. In fact, I could have sold it three times over. Better get on and make some more in that style.

Hope you're all behaving yourselves!

Back to it. Busy couple of days ahead....

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Two whole weeks have flown by! I really don't know where the time goes to.

So, what's new? The workspace doesn't look a lot different to the photo in the last entry, except that the walls have dried out and we've filled the holes etc that needed attention on the other walls. Oh, and we've taken up the tiles from the floor. Next is sanding down the filler and then - maybe - we'll get to the emulsion! Everything always takes so much longer than you think doesn't it?

Mum came to stay the week before last, which was lovely. We made a whole heap of jewellery together and she went off with some to finish off which I should get back on Wednesday. We work well together and, thankfully, have similar taste.

Here's a few bits from the heap!

Firstly, this exciting set:

The focal is Murano glass from the island of Murano just off Venice. I went to Venice for the first time a couple of years ago and just adored it. Would love to go again. Anyway, in the set, I have echoed the colours in the focal with black onyx, gold vermeil and sterling/gold vermeil tubes. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

This one features Spiderweb Agate - isn't it just fab?! There's also some black onyx in there too. This had hardly been finished before my mate, Kathy saw it and put her name on it. I was rather hoping to keep it for myself! Hey ho!

This one features a gorgeous bead by another mate, Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork. I know Julie is a big fan of Smoky Quartz and so that came to mind when I was thinking about what to do with this one. I think it goes really well with the turquoise coloured lampwork, don't you?

This is a really fun necklace - one that Mum helped to string. I've called it 'What Colourful Teeth You Have, Grandma' because the beads reminded me of teeth and from there my mind went straight to Little Red Riding Hood. Sometimes I worry about the wiring in my brain...

And, with an eye on the calendar, I've started to make a few festive items. This shaggy loop bracelet with its gold jumprings and red and green beads just makes me want to sing a few carols and put up some tinsel.

Mind you, I might be best advised to do it now as I know that I'm going to be mega-busy in the run-up to Christmas and might not have the time for festive singing and tinsel decorating when it gets nearer the time!

This last week seems to have been mainly taken up with admin. Hardly any jewellery made at all. I have been putting together an application to take part in North Somerset Arts Week. This meant deciding on a venue, getting together photographs for the brochure, writing blurbs and directions, and it all seemed to take ages. BUT, it has gone off in the post this morning, so fingers crossed we'll get in. Here's the photograph that has been sent off to respresent mine and Sarah's jewellery... must admit to being rather proud of it.

We've got a busy week coming up: a ladies' evening at Nailsea Rugby Club on Wednesday, back to Axa on Friday and Churchill Craft Fair on Saturday. Should be good. Good job Mum and I got such a lot done!

I hope you are managing to get out and enjoy this fabulous Indian summer we're having. A couple of good friends dropped in for lunch today on their way to Cornwall and it was so lovely to be able to eat outside. We seemed to wait all summer for a chance to enjoy our new garden furniture, so I'm really pleased that we got to use it before it gets too cold.

Right, take care all and I'll try and catch you up with happenings next weekend.

Much love to all. xx